Welcome to my blog, Whats this about then?

This is a place where I will be posting all sorts of things not just things relating to Derby and Derbyshire. On here you will find details of any videos I’ve made of things in Derby and also Time-lapse, stop motion animation, Tutorials etc. If I find some useful software for PC or iPhone then I will feature it here.I’m sure that there will be something of interest to someone on my many posts.Please leave comments on any posts if you like them.
Don’t forget if you are new to my blog and would like to read through the previous posts then see the Blog Archive section on the left side of this page.
Also there is a Search box at the top left of the page if you are looking for something but cant remember where it was. I am a trustee member of "Friends of Friar Gate bridge", aiming to get this bridge restored.

Tuesday 25 December 2012

Boxing Day Deals on Amazon, Get a bargain without going out.

Now you have opened all your Christmas presents and had your dinner why not get some bargains in the Sales without leaving your home. No need to queue for hours in the rain waiting to park up!

Perhaps you have had some Amazon Vouchers for Christmas and was wondering what to spend them on, now is a great time to use them as you can save some money.

Amazon start their sales online now.

Its a chance to buy those presents for yourself that you wanted but never got :)

If your thinking of getting a new TV then January is the best time as the sales start on Home Cinema :

Amazon January Offers in TV and Home Cinema.

Did you wacth The snowman and the snowdog on Christmas Eve? The wonderful music that was used in this animated film is available :

Happy Christmas

Thursday 20 December 2012

Derby Virgin Media Broadband Internet doubled in speed, has yours yet?

If your ISP is Virgin Media and you live in Derby then you may have noticed that the speed of your Broadband Internet has recently doubled or will be very soon. Running speedtest.net test on my connection I get this result :

Here are the results during the speedtest :
Download test :

Upload Speed:

To find out when your area's going to be ready, just use the postcode checker below :

They'll be upgrading our network area by area. Once the job's completed, a total of 186,000km of cable and 38,000 street cabinets will have been upgraded.

I'm guessing that you will need to have the newer type of cable modem to get the really high speeds of 120Mb they are offering. I have the black VM Cable modem which is not too old. (model Ambit E08C013.00). See the video of this cable modem.


Tuesday 18 December 2012

Premier Inn Hotels - How to connect your Media Player, Video Camera, Digital Camera, Games Console etc to the Television in your hotel room.

If you stop in Premier Inn Hotels then you may well have looked at the back of the television in your room and wondered how do I connect my own stuff to those video inputs. Looking on the remote control they give you its not possible to select anything. Well I have the answer to your problem.
With my guide you will be able to connect your media player, Video Camera, Digital Camera, Games Console etc etc and watch on your tv in your room. No longer are you limited to Freeview, load up your media player with what YOU want to watch!

This guide relates to the Philips FlatTV Screen LCD TV. Model No. 20HF5335D/05 known as a "Hospitality Television" because Philips designed it specifically for hotel use. These seem to be the standard TV used in Premier Inn Hotels.

I have created a detailed guide for you here :
Premier Inn Hotel TV,  How to connect your Media Player, Video Camera, Digital Camera, Games Console.

My how to guide video on connecting your devices to the hotel TV :

Hope this helps anyone wanting to connect their equipment.
Feel free to link to this blog the video or my web guide from Facebook etc.

If you found this of use then please leave a comment on either my YouTube video or this blog post.


Monday 17 December 2012

Festive Flapjacks, A popular treat with a seasonal twist.

Following on from my Ultimate Flapjack recipe I decided to create a Christmas version. These turned out pretty well and tasty so decided to share the recipe here so you can have a go at making them yourself.

Here is a close up view of what we are going to make. Chewy Oats with a succulent mincemeat layer filling.

My Festive Flapjack.

Items needed to make a tray of Flapjacks:
These items will leave you spare ingredients to make further Flapjacks in the future. For instance the sugar and Syrup will do for several trays of Flapjacks!

1) Lyle's Golden Syrup 907g
2) 1kg Quaker Jumbo Rolled oats. box
3) Demerara sugar 1Kg bag
4) Lurpak “unsalted” 250g x 2 packs. Any "Unsalted butter" will do such as Tesco Value unsalted butter or Countrylife unsalted butter.
5) Mincemeat 411g jar of quality mincemeat (e.g. Tescos Finest Mincemeat)

Other items needed :
  • Greaseproof paper or Baking parchment to line baking tray.
  • Large cooking pan (must be large enough to be able to easily mix all the ingredients without it going all over the place.)
  • Non stick Baking tray approx 32cm x 24cm x 4.5cm deep
  • Electronic kitchen weighing scales.
  • Oven.
  • The tablespoon from a set of measuring spoons

Ingredients needed for 20 off pieces
300g unsalted butter
75g Demerara sugar
120g Golden syrup (6 tablespoons approx)
450g Jumbo rolled oats
411g jar of mincemeat

1. Preheat the oven to 150C/ Gas Mk 2.
Line the baking tray with baking parchment and leave it in oven to heat up.

2. Melt all the 300g of butter in a large pan with the Demerara sugar, Syrup and a pinch of salt. Stir well to combine, make sure everything has mixed together well.
The mixture will start to boil and foam at this point take off the heat and stir in all the oats until all completely covered.At first it may look like there is not enough to cover all the oats but it will, Turn the mixture over and over many times to ensure everything is fully coated.

3. Remove the baking tray from the oven and spoon out HALF the mixture into the tray. Press evenly into the tin using the back of a large spoon making sure its all pressed down firmly.

4.Empty the enire jar of mincemeat on top and spread it out evenly across the surface so that it goes right to the edges and all the oats are covered.

5. Once your happy with the mincemeat layer you can spoon out the remaining half of the oat mix on top and spread this out, making sure you don't disturb the mincemeat layer. Press this top layer down with the back of a large spoon.

6. Bake for 35 minutes at 150C on the middle shelf.
Remove the tray and place it somewhere to cool down for at about 15 minutes.
Then press the surface down with the back of a large spoon.

Leave to cool down for at least an hour before cutting into pieces.

Happy Christmas.


Video of Maps app in "follow mode" running on an iPhone 3GS while on a moving train. Using ios5

This is a quick simple video showing what the Maps app on an iPhone 3GS looks like in "follow mode" when you are on a moving train. I find it interesting how accurate it follows the railway tracks.
You can see the shadow cast by bridges in the home button on the right, as you can see it coincides with the bridges on the map.

We take this technology for granted, imagine going back to the 1980's and telling someone what you can do these days they would not believe you could have such power.

If you own a smartphone and use the built-in mapping application then you will probably be aware of what it can do. On my iPhone 3GS (still on ios5) the "Maps" application allows you to see Satellite imagery for your location by simply tapping once on the arrow button (bottom left of the Map screen) it will go into "locate" mode. Your current position on the Earth is marked by that blue dot with the white circle around it.
When you do this it uses the built-in GPS to find you and show the map.

If you tap the arrow again it goes into "Follow mode", this means it will move the map arround as you move around and keep it centered.

If I had not done this video in follow mode then the blue dot would have moved down to the bottom left and gone off screen.

If you tap the arrow for a third time then it puts it into "compass mode", this is the same as follow mode but now also orientates the map so the roads are exactly as you see them now. (assuming you are holding the phone the correct way around!).

As you probably know one of the biggest features that iOS 6 removed was the Google Maps App. This is the one reason I have not bothered to update my iPhone from ios v5.1.1

If your trying to work out where the train journey is, its near Stockport in Manchester, UK. The phone is running on ios 5.1.1, The network provider is o2 PAYG using their ALL ROUNDER WEB bolt On.

The blank squares at 2:24 are because it has not managed to download the data for those sections in time so they appear blank and then fill in as they move.

If you have updated to ios6 and miss the Google Maps app then you can now download it as a free app !
Google Maps App for iPhone ios6.

Its almost the same as the ios5 maps app but you have to get a google account and sign in if you want to save addressed etc.

Hope you found this of interest.


Sunday 16 December 2012

Video of Defiant Architecture at 1 The Avenue, Spinningfields, Manchester.

This very odd looking building is at 1 The Avenue, Spinningfields, Manchester.
I love this building the way that large section of it just hangs in free space.
The building consists of two mirror-image parallelograms, stacked one on top of the other, resulting in a three-storey 75 foot cantilever on the east end of the building.

I like the way that massive overhang just sits there!

You can see it under construction on Google Streetview in July 2008 :

The summer photograph you can see at the start and end of my video is one I took on 31st July 2010.

Hope you enjoyed seeing this strange building.

If you enjoyed this then you may like my video of 122 Leadenhall Street, London being demolished :


Friday 14 December 2012

Video of Manchester Christmas Market on Albert Square December 2012.

Here is my video of this years Manchester Christmas Market on Albert Square "The European Christmas Market".

This is the Manchester Christmas Market on Albert Square filmed in December 2012.
Manchester's award-winning Christmas Markets. Considered to be amongst the best in UK and Europe. This year there are over 200 stalls! Never seen this many before.

Have you been this year?

The Manchester xmas markets takes place from 17th November to 23rd December 2012.

As well as this massive "European Christmas Market" on Albert Square there are 7 others :
Manchester World Christmas Market - Brazennose Street
Manchester German Christmas Market - St Ann's Square
Manchester Christmas Arts & Crafts Market - Exchange Street
Manchester French Market - King Street
Manchester Christmas Market - New Cathedral Street
Manchester Christmas Market - Exchange Square
Manchester Christmas Market - Corn Exchange

Manchester Albert Square Webcam.
There is a webcam that looks down on the Christmas Market on Albert Square so you can see all the stalls right now! See how busy is gets. In this webcam you can also see some of the market that goes down Brazennose Street.

Live webcam view (click to enlarge):
Live webcam view of Albert Square in Manchester, UK.

Very impressive.Well done Manchester.


Thursday 13 December 2012

Video of a Winter train journey through Hope,Edale,Hathersage and Grindleford in Dec 2012. Stunning scenery!

If you have never been on a train between Derby and Manchester Piccadilly then you are in for a real treat. The Section between Sheffield and Manchester Piccadilly passes through some of the most stunning scenery I have seen on a train. After the train has gone through Totley Tunnel is goes through Hope, Edale, Hathersage and Grindleford.In my video you can see that the countryside is covered with a heavy hoar frost.

Here is my video of a Winter train journey through Hope, Edale, Hathersage and Grindleford in Dec 2012. Stunning scenery! :

Or click this link : Video of Winter train journey through Hope,Edale,Hathersage and Grindleford.

If you fancy going on the train from Derby to Manchester Piccadilly say for the Manchester Christmas Market then it only costs £34.20 (open return) per person. At Manchester Piccadilly just get on the free Manchester metroshuttle (Orange Bus No1) and get off on John Dalton Street.

Hope you enjoyed it.

Monday 10 December 2012

Christmas Poundland tat, very funny video from Ashens.

If you have not seen the Poundland tat review videos from Ashens then you are missing a real treat, these are hilarious reviews of the crap that you can get in Poundland and 99p stores for Christmas. Ashens does quite a few of these reviews, watch and see what you think.

Christmas special Poundland Tat 2012 :

New for Christmas 2012 "Poundland Is The Best Thing About Christmas" :

Christmas Tat video :

Christmas tat video 2010 :

A character that became a regular in his videos was "chef excellence", in this video here was where we first heard about him.

There are too many funny videos he has made to list. A classic one was the Poundland Pizza review.
Hope you enjoyed these videos. If you like his videos why not subscribe.

Happy Christmas

Wednesday 5 December 2012

Norton AntiVirus 2013 - The cheapest place to buy the latest version and other tips.

Update Nov 2013 : As per my notes below, I've just bought a 2 licence copy of NAV 2006 from ebay for £9.99, because the key has never been used its still valid for version 2014. So thats just £4.98 per computer! Beat that !

Do you use Norton Antivirus? if your Subscription Status is getting low then you will soon need to buy the latest version of this popular software. If you shop around a bit then you can save lots of money. I will show you here what you need to do to get the best deal and also some handy tips on this software.

Norton AntiVirus 2013

How many days subscription do I have left?
To see how many days subscription you have left on your current Norton product, simply single click on the little Norton Anti virus icon on the system tray (bottom right of Windows 7). A panel will pop up like the one below. If there is no icon in the system tray then double click on the "Norton AntiVirus" icon on your desktop. if there is no icon on the desktop then goto Start - All Programs - Norton AntiVirus and select Norton AntiVirus. If you can't see that either then perhaps you don't have Norton AntiVirus!

Norton Antivirus 2013 Status panel showing subscription status.
As you can see at the bottom it tells you how many days you have left before the software will stop working and you will need to renew your subscription.

When it does actually run out it will look like this :
Norton AntiVirus when your subscription has run out.

If you click on the "Renew Now" button it will take you to this screen. Click on the link "I have a key or code to enter." (below where it says Renew My Subscription).

I have a key or code to enter link.

It will then show you the screen where you can now enter your 25 character prodcut code from the paper CD envelope. Once you have done that click NEXT.

Time to enter that long key code!

If you entered the key code correctly then it will ask for your Norton Account email address then your password. the product will then be activated.

The best price for Norton AV
The worst thing you can do is to click on the "Renew" link next to where it says how many days remaining you have and buy another years subscription using Norton's own online purchasing page as you will pay well over the odds for your software.
I have just tried this option on my pc which currently has 53 days remaining to see how much it would cost for a years subscription and it says £29.99 for a years subscription renewal for 1 pc.

In previous years I have managed to but this software a lot cheaper from www.ebuyer.com by getting the OEM version (System builder) of NortonAV, but I have just found it even cheaper on.......

Argos !, yes surprisingly you can get "Norton Anti virus 2013-3 user version" for just £19.99
so thats just £6.66 for each PC. Argos order code : 675/9692. It comes in a DVD case.
Of course this is a real major saving if you have a couple of PCs and a laptop as you can protect them all in one go, compare this with if you selected the renew option on your three computers which would have cost you £89.97. Argos wins !!!

On Ebuyer it costs £13.49 + £2.98 postage (£20.47) for the 1 user version. so if you only have one pc this is not too bad or Try Amazon links below.

Norton Antivirus 2013 links :



If you only have one pc then you can sometimes get the single user version cheaper on Amazon for around £12 :

Some points worth noting about NortonAV.
Did you know that when you get your new CD of Norton Antivrus you do NOT need the cd. All you need is the Product key which is printed on a label on the paper CD envelope. It is this 25 character serial number which activates your subscription for 365 days.

If you enter a new product key before your current subscription has run out you will loose the remaining days you had left. i.e. it will not add them to the new subscription so wait until its about run out before renewing your product!

The NortonAV product key only becomes active when you use it, so there is no problem buying the product now even if you are not going to use it for many months, the keys do not run out until you use them.
Because the key never expires it means you can even buy a Norton Antivirus from 2006 and use the key off it to activate your 2013 version ! Not many people know this fact, as long as the key has never been used before it will work.

You can not use a "3 user" package on the same pc to get 3 years subscription, it has to be 3 separate PCs.

If you are currently on Norton Antivirus 2012 then you can upgrade your software for free to Norton Antivirus 2013. To do this get the information panel up (as per the screen grab above) and click on the "Support>" link (top right of panel) and then go down to "New Version Check". If your product is valid it will say you are eligible for a free upgrade. Just follow the instructions to update your product to the latest version.

If you have more than one PC that you use Norton on then the "3 user" version will generally be cheaper than buying 3 single user versions.

Hope this is of use to someone.


Wednesday 28 November 2012

How to make a 2013 personalised calendar from your own photographs, easy to follow video tutorial. Free templates provided.

My 2013 Calendar Tutorial Guide.

Looking for a personalised gift this Christmas that will be enjoyed all year?
Its less than four weeks to Christmas day and your wondering what to get, how about creating something unique that nobody else will have?

Three years ago I created a set of calendar templates and a video tutorial on how to use them.
The free 2013 templates have a decorative framed image area into which you can import your own images to produce the nice edge effect below.

My tutorial has proved very popular with over Nineteen thousand people following my guide so far.

Here is an example of what you will be able to create using my free 2013 Calendar templates.
Go on make someones day this Xmas by giving them one of the best and very unique presents that they can enjoy all year.

My photograph of Duffield in Winter in one of my landscape calendar templates :
My calendar template with one of my photographs of Duffield used on it. YOU can create this !
 It will soon be Christmas and you may find this of use, I created an easy to follow tutorial on how to make a printed calendar using photographs YOU have taken.
The monthly calendar templates are provided free so you can make a unique gift for someone right now.
All you need is Corel PaintShop Photo Pro (or any photo editing software that supports layers such as Gimp, Photoshop etc), A colour printer, some Matt finish paper and 12 images of your choice.

If you are interested in giving it a go then have a look at my 2013 Calendar Guide page here :
Complete guide on how to make a 2013 personalised calendar from your own photographs. <-- Click me now to start making a great gift for Christmas.

I hope this has inspired you to have a go at producing a truly unique personalised Xmas present that you will be remembered for, for the whole year ahead. Use Matt Paper as I suggest and it will not cost a lot of money to make several of these calendars.

Matt Paper allows printing of high resolution images but has a finish that you can write on which you need for a calendar! Matt paper can be bought for as little as 4 Pence per sheet.

In my written guide I have supplied detailed instructions on how to use my templates with Photoshop and even the free image editing software Gimp.

If you do find my tutorial of use then please leave a comment on either the video or my blog post saying what you created.


Saturday 24 November 2012

John Lewis Christmas Advert 2012, The snowman buys gloves for the snowwoman.

Just over ten years ago I created a web page for My Favourite UK Television Adverts. This was extreamly popular but in recent years now everyone has broadband and we have YouTube I have decided to start updating my UK TV Adverts page again. The main reason for this is that there have been some really good telly adverts in recent years and there not on my adverts page.

One which I keep seeing at the moment is the John Lewis Christmas Advert featuring the snowman that goes on a long difficult journey to the city to buy a present for the snowwoman.

The music used is awsome, I don't normally like covers but Gabrielle Aplin's version of the classic Frankie goes to hollywood's song "Power of love" is very good and fits the little story really well.

If you have not seen this tv advert before then watch it now by clicking on the snowman :

Click here to watch this great tv advert now.
or clicking this link :
 John Lewis Christmas Advert 2012 with the snowman and snowwoman.

I guess the snowman must have been shoplifting to get these gloves as its not got any pockets for money or a wallet, I guess it could have had one of those contactless credit cards that you just swipe hidden in its snowy body ! Just enjoy the advert lol!

Music used in this advert :

2011 John Lewis Advert - Boy who can't wait for Christmas day
Last Christmas John Lewis also had a great advert with a nice twist at the end of the advert.

If you have not seen this tv advert before then watch it now by clicking on the image here :

Click here to watch this great tv advert now.
or clicking this link :
 John Lewis Christmas Advert 2011 - Boy who can't wait for Christmas day..


Wednesday 21 November 2012

Bonnie Prince Charlie battle re-enactment 1st and 2nd December 2012.

On the weekend of Saturday 1st December and Sunday 2nd December 2012 sees this annual re-enactment.

The video below is one I made at last years battle on Derby's Cathedral Green :

On Saturday, a camp will be set up by Jacobite re-enactors at Swarkestone, which will be overwhelmed by Redcoat soldiers loyal to King George, then retaken by the Prince's men.
Map location :

Want to learn more about Bonnie Prince Charlie? :

On Sunday, the Jacobite army will enter Derby, marching from the Court house on Corporation Street then down East Street and St Peter's Street and across the Market Place to Iron Gate, where they will challenge the mayor of Derby

The march starts at noon from Corporation street.

Interactive Route map for the Bonnie Prince Charlie parade in 2012 :

View Jacobite re-enactment marching route in Derby. in a larger map

The bronze statue of Bonnie Prince Charlie on horseback that takes pride and place on the new Cathedral Green is by sculptor Anthony Stones and was unveiled in 1995, to mark the 250th Anniversary of the Prince's advance to the city.

Who was Bonnie Prince Charlie :

View my photographs from previous Bonnie Prince Charlie events :

2003 in Derby
2004 in Derby
2004 at Swarkestone
2005 in Derby

Turn up and show your support for all the people that take part in this re-enactment.
For more information on this event see HERE.


Monday 12 November 2012

Derby's Christmas Lights Switch On takes place Saturday 17th November 2012.

So who is turning on Derby christmas lights in 2012?
Stacey Solomon and Carolynne Poole !

Derby’s annual Christmas lights switch-on will take place on Saturday 17th November 2012.
There are two switch-ons to see. The one in Derby's Market Place and one in Westfield Derby. Below I have provided all the details you need as well as info on the Ice rink and shop opening hours for Christmas.

Westfield Derby Christmas Lights Switch-on

Stacey Solomon will turn on Westfield Derby Christmas Lights :
stacey soloman 06

Visit Westfield Derby on Saturday 17th November for an afternoon of festive fun!

X Factor and 'I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here' star, Stacey Solomon will be helping Santa switch on our Christmas lights and will also be performing live on stage. It's free, just turn up on the day and join us as we start the countdown to Christmas.

And, it doesn't stop there... Stacey and Santa will be joined by a whole host of Christmas friends including Sam from Gem 106, the Heat Dance Academy and the winning choir from our 2011 Christmas Choir competition.

Exact Map location for The 2012 Derby Westfield Christmas light switch on

Stores will open at 9am and the countdown to the Christmas lights switch on will start at 2pm.

Westfield Derby shopping centre Christmas opening hours:
From Thursday, November 15, the centre will open until 9pm every Thursday and Friday.
This will be extended from Monday, December 10, when it will be open until 9pm on all weekdays. From Monday, December 17, Westfield Derby will be open until 10pm on weekdays.

Derby Christmas Lights swtich on - Market Place

X-Factor’s Carolynne Poole will be turning on Derby's Christmas lights :

Carolynne Poole

Entertainment will begin at 3.30pm, with the Capital FM roadshow hosted by Capital FM Breakfast Show presenters Dino and Pete featuring performances from local artists.
These will include Christmas carols from local choir Sing For Your Supper and a performance by musicians from Virtulight – part of Derby’s Festival of Light celebrations, who will start the show.

Exact Map location for The 2012 Derby Christmas light switch on.

There will also be plenty to entertain shoppers earlier on in the day as a selection of walk-about acts perform in and around St Peter’s Street from 2pm – 4pm. A festive parade, from The Spot down to the Market Place, will begin at 4.15pm and crowds and Christmas shoppers can expect to see Frosty the Snowman, Jack Frost Stilt-walkers, the villainous Captain Hook (EastEnders & Gavin & Stacey’s Larry Lamb), Dame Able Mabel (Jason Sutton) and of course, Santa!

The parade will be led down to the Market Place by The Ambassadors of Borrowash brass band. Once the parade reaches the Market Place the crowds will then be treated to performances from local band The Struts and X-Factor’s Carolynne Poole.
The Struts are Luke (vocals), Adam (guitars), Gethin (drums) and Jed (bass) and they are based in Derby. Their influences include The Stones, Queen and Kasabian and they have a new rock n roll vibe, a blend of vintage and fresh. Singer-songwriter Carolynne reached the live shows stage of this year’s X-Factor competition, with Gary Barlow as her mentor in the Over 28’s category.
She was the first act to leave the TV talent show, when Louis Walsh controversially took the vote to ‘Deadlock’ after first saying he wanted to ‘keep Carolynne’, causing Gary Barlow to walk off stage. A Facebook page entitled "Bring back Carolynne Poole a judges decision should be final" received over 12,000 'likes' in less than 24 hours.

The lights will be turned on at approximately 6pm by a selection of performers involved in the event and they will be joined by The Mayor of Derby, Councillor Lisa Higginbottom and the Cabinet Member for Leisure and Culture, Councillor Martin Repton.

Stacey Solomon will be here at Westfield Derby to turn on their Christmas lights.

Derby Ice Rink
It proved popular last year, drawing people to one of the city's most attractive shopping areas. Derby's Cathedral Quarter. The ice rink is located on the Market Place in Derby, in front of the Assembly rooms.

Opening Times:
The rink will open from Saturday, December 1st to Sunday, January 6th between 10am and 9pm.
Peak prices are: adults £8.50, over-60s and students £7.50, under-16s £6.50, family ticket (four) £27. Off peak: £6.50, over 60s, students and under 16s £5.50, family ticket £21

Each skating session lasts 50 minutes

You can book your tickets online using their website : www.derbyicerink.co.uk


The Derby Santa Run 2012 at Elvaston Castle on Sunday December 9th (in aid of Rainbows Hospice)

Join Elvaston Castle Santas On The Run event and help raise money for Rainbows Children’s Hospice. It is taking place in the beautiful grounds of Elvaston Castle, Derbyshire on Sunday 9th December at 11.00 am.

Derby Santa Run 2011

The term ‘run-up to Christmas’ is taking on a new meaning this year as thousands of people all over the country clamber into Santa suits for a series of festive fun runs to raise money for children’s hospices. Watching hundreds of sweaty Santas pummelling the bridal paths in the beautiful grounds of Elvaston Castle should be a hugely entertaining spectacle in its own right. Knowing that their seasonally sporting silliness aids the essential work of Rainbows Children Hospice should be incentive enough for many more people to get on board.

Anyone can sign up for the event. You don’t have to be Olympic fit, just in reasonable, er, ‘elf’.  You can run, jog or walk the 2.2 and 4.4 mile circular route and by taking part this Christmas you can help make a real difference, get fit and most importantly have fun.

All entrants will receive a Santa suit on registration and everyone is asked to try and raise a minimum of £20.00 in sponsorship.

Fantastic prizes are on offer for the most money raised by both the adults and children! So what are you waiting for - go on sign up

Suits may be posted,collected prior to the event at local collection points or on the day at the event - details will be confirmed once registered

Derby Santa Run 2011

Location : Elvaston Castle, near Derby.
Sunday, 9th December at 11.00am
Distance:  2.2 miles and 4.4 miles

Join hundreds of Santas for Derbyshire’s Santas on the Run event. Put on your santa suit and run, jog or walk the 2.2 mile route. or for the more serious runner out there hit the 4.4 mile run and do the track twice!

Runners will be timed with results being posted onto the website the following day. We encourage all fundraisers to raise as much money as possible.

For more information on the 2012 Elvaston Castle Santa Run see :

Map location for Elvaston Castle Charity Santa Run.


Tuesday 6 November 2012

Google Street View is recapturing Derby right now (Nov 2012)

update : These new Google Street Views are now live.
I'm sure you have all seen and used Google Street View but I noticed that Google are currently recapturing the streets in Derby at the moment.

The google street view car had to stop on Friday afternoon while I had my car door open, it then sped past me ! I did a double take as could not believe I had seen an actual Google Streetview car.

Keep an eye out for it in Derby. Its a black car with a distinctive 360 degree camera mount on the top of it. It has a orange stick man logo (google streetview icon) on the back of the car. 

The google Street View car looks like this :
Google Street View car

It was also spotted on Pear Tree Road on Monday 5th November 2012 so its obviously re-photographing Derby at the moment.

The last time Google mapped out the streets of Derby was back in 2008. A lot has changed in Derby in those few years. For example look at this streetview below of Derby Bus Station, it was captured in August 2008 so there is NO bus station built yet !

View Larger Map

Control the 360 view above using your mouse. 

You can see the Google streetview car that captured Derby in 2008 as its reflected in the large windows of the building on Derwent Street. You can see it here :

View Larger Map  

Are YOU a google streetview driver? How did you get the job?

Did you know that Google Street view has even mapped out some Canals in the UK?
Have a look here - Tow path on the Llangollen Canal. Pity its not gone across the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct seems to stop at the end of it.


Tuesday 30 October 2012

Derby Bonfire and Fireworks 2012 at Markeaton Park, Sunday 4th November from 5.45pm

This Sunday the 4th November is when our annual free Bonfire and Fireworks event takes place at Markeaton Park, Derby.

The funfair opens at 2pm, with the Capital FM road show starting at 4.45pm. The stage entertainment will be hosted by Capital FM presenters and will include performances by FTW, Sophie and Matt McGuiness. The Bonfire will be lit at 5.45pm and a fantastic fireworks display, set to music will begin at 6pm.

Video of last years Fireworks at Markeaton Park:

Derbyshire based act Matt McGuinness is the singer songwriter from the modern acoustic folk band Karl and the Marx Brothers. They play upbeat passionate songs of love, politics and fun.

Anglo/Maltese singer/writer Sophie is just 18 years old but already experienced more than many twice her age. She has represented Malta at Eurovision, played lead roles in Theatre (Disney) and performed at some of the biggest music events in Malta. Sophie will be promoting her new single ‘Sunny’, a remake of the fantastic ‘Bobbie Hebb’ classic but with Sophie’s own interpretation.

FTW are the UK's hottest new boy band, set to release their debut single early 2013. Since forming in 2011, they have also supported Alexandra Burke, Example and The Saturdays. This summer, they've hit the road with Tulisa and Stooshe. The group will perform their buzz track – Loveshot, alongside an MTV style mash-up of popular hits, as well as their new single 'Supersonic'. 

Getting to Markeaton Bonfire and Fireworks via Bus:
Leave the car at home and take the Arriva Shuttle Bus!

Arriva Midlands is making it easy for anyone going to the annual Bonfire and Fireworks display in Markeaton Park on Sunday 4 November 2012 with the shuttle bus service 29S running up to every 15 minutes from Derby Bus Station – stand 29 to Markeaton Park.

Buses depart from Derby Bus Station – stand 29 from 3pm and every 15 minutes through to 7.45pm.

Buses return from Ashbourne Road/Markeaton Island at 3.15pm then every 15 minutes up to 8pm.

Service 29S will observe all bus stops along the line of route.
Great value for money fares too!
£1.50 Adult Single, 75p Child Single and 5 for a FIVER single!

Stage entertainment from 4.45pm
Bonfire lit at 5.45pm
Fireworks at 6pm

Map for Markeaton Park Bonfire and Fireworks:

View 2012 Markeaton Park Bonfire and fireworks Display in a larger map

Access to Markeaton Park for the Bonfire and Fireworks is restricted for safety reasons.
The main entrance to the park, off the A38, will be open for pedestrians. There will be no pedestrian access through the Mundy Play Centre, or across any of the three bridges into the park.

The main entrance to the Mundy Play Centre will also be closed, and the Mundy Play Centre car park will close at 2.30pm. Anyone who parks in this car park to use the park during the day should ensure that their vehicle is moved by 2.30pm. Markeaton Lane is closed to all vehicles between 3pm and 9pm, to allow safe access for pedestrians. The Police will control the road closure.

Pedestrians coming from The University of Derby car park will be directed across the pedestrian crossing on Kedleston Road and will access the park from Queensway next to the footbridge over the A38. Pedestrians coming along Kedleston Road from the city centre will also be directed via Queensway. Pedestrians from the Quarndon/Allestree areas will be directed down Markeaton Lane into the rear entrance to the park.


Thursday 25 October 2012

Video of a large Piggin' Collection. The cute ornaments created by artist David Corbridge.

Here is a video of a large Piggin' Collection. The cute ornaments created by artist David Corbridge.
If you are into collecting ornamants then I dare say at some point you will have seen these resin cast ornaments as they have been in production since 1993 and were produced by Collectible World Studios until 2006 when Xystos took over the range. You can get all the latest Piggin's as well as some from previous years from Amazon :

In my video I have photographed all of the current collection.
Do YOU have all of these Piggin's?
Which ones do you like best?

My Piggin' Video :

Best viewed in fullscreen 720p/1080p.
Can you work out the names of each and every Piggin' featured in my Piggin' Video ?

If you think you know then have a look at the answers on my Piggin's webpage.

The Piggin figures you see in my video are (not in this sequence!) :
Birthday Delights, Hammy Horror, I Need A Piggin Hug, New Beginnings, Piggin Alarm - Millennium Special 1999/2000, Piggin Animal Hospital, Piggin Anniversary Special- Piggin Paralytic, Piggin Birthday Kisses, Piggin Birthday Suit, Piggin Bluetooth, Piggin Chav, Piggin Cheeky Monkey, Piggin Childish, Piggin Childish, Piggin Computers, Piggin Creative, Piggin Cuddles,  Piggin Cuddly Toy, Piggin Decorating, Piggin Diamond Geezer, Piggin Football, Piggin Gorgeous, Piggin Greedy, Piggin Hand In Hand, Piggin Happy Birthday, Piggin High Flyer, Piggin Hole In One, Piggin Holidays, Piggin Homesick, Piggin Housework, Piggin I Love You, Piggin Kiss me, Piggin Little Monsters, Piggin Many Happy Returns, Piggin Merry Christmas, Piggin News, Piggin' Off Your Rocker, Piggin Over The Hill, Piggin pants, Piggin Pest, Piggin Phobia, Piggin Pickled, Piggin Pies For Santa, Piggin Plastered, Piggin Poo, Piggin Poorly, Piggin Presents Brooch, Piggin Relax,  Piggin Romantic, Piggin Romantic, Piggin Sexy, Piggin Sleepless Nights, Piggin Special, Piggin Stocking Filler, Piggin Stress, Piggin Stuffed, Piggin Swearing, Piggin Sweetie, Piggin Tantrum, Piggin Telly Addict, Piggin Tired, Piggin Together, Piggin Top Banana, Piggin Tosser, Piggin Trouble, Piggin txt Maniac, Piggin With Love, Pucker Up It's Piggin Christmas, This Piggin Heart's For You, Piggin Tickled Pink, Piggin Wrapped For You, You Did It, Piggin Exams, Piggin Lottery, Piggin Weather, Piggin Bills, Pigin Pick Of The Bunch.

My Piggin' guide to collecting Piggins.


Friday 19 October 2012

Benefit gig featuring Absolutely's "Stoneybridge town council" on Saturday 17th November 2012 at Hampstead Town Hall, London.

If I were to say "Welcome to Stoneybridge" in a high pitched Scottish accent then it may make some of you remember the Channel 4 comedy sketch series Absolutely from way back in 1989 to 1993.
Some other familiar characters were Frank Hovis, Calum Gilhooley, Denzil and Gwynedd, McGlashan,The Nice Family, George and Donald McDiarmid and Bert Bastard etc.
Absolutely stared Gordon Kennedy, Peter Baikie, Morwenna Banks, Jack Docherty, Moray Hunter and John Sparkes.

A few years ago I started a campaign website to get this forgotten gem of a comedy released on DVD in full, my Absolutely fan website was so popular that I was able to prove beyond a doubt that this show should be released and sure enough because of my website the Absolutely box set was released.
Don't take my word for it, read it on their website ! Its true !

Well its been quite a while since we have seen the Stoneybridge town council on television, but in a few weeks time there is a Benefit gig in London that will feature two of Absolutely's Stoneybridge town council members on Saturday 17th November 2012 at Hampstead Town Hall, London.

Brucie and Boaby from Channel 4’s Absolutely will host "The Stoneybridge Ceilidh"
That's Gordon Kennedy and Peter Baikie ! you can also see Pete Baikie perform in the Glenbuck Cherrypickers, see video below.

Gordon Kennedy and Peter Baikie star in The Stoneybridge Ceilid
This concert is to raise much needed funds for ‘The Camden City Islington and Westminster Bereavement Service’ (Registered Charity No. 1071144).

The main act at this gig are The Glenbuck Cherrypickers (who have backed Glen Campbell, David Bowie, Morrisey, Nitin Sawney and Rolf Harris among others). The Cherrypickers reputation as top-notch entertainers is built on sublime 5 part harmonies, fiery picking and a stage show full of extraordinary musicianship, variety and humour.

Video of them in action:

The Glenbuck Cherrypickers, headline act at this gig.
Also on the bill are The Whole Shebang Edinburgh’s finest close harmony country blues band.
The Whole Shebang.
Saturday 17th November, 7 - 10.30pm
Tickets: £12 available on the door.

or Tel: 0207 284 0090 or email: cciwbs@btconnect.com
Hampstead Town Hall, 213 Haverstock Hill, London NW3 4QP
Tube – 2 minutes from Belsize Park (on the Northern Line) Bus C11, 168, 268.

Update : The Northern Line will be partially shut down on Saturday 17th November so there is NO SERVICE north of Euston station! So if you were planning on going via the tube you will have to catch the replacement bus service.
I'm new to this but I've looked into it and the replacement bus service is something that tfl provide when the tube is out of service. You can use your Oyster card just the same (remember to swipe when leaving the bus!) In this particular case, if you were intending to travel from Euston to Belsize Park then you will have to walk outside Euston station to Eversholt Street and wait at Bus Stop A.
Google Street view of Bus Stop A.
Here you will need to catch "Replacement Bus E" towards Hendon Central. The driver will announce Belsize Park, is the stop after Chalk Farm.

Coming back after the gig it looks like you have to catch 2 buses.

Here is a direct link to the tfl journey planner, this will tell you what buses to catch if the tube is shut. Complete with times and maps that work on smartphones.

So go along and support The Glenbuck Cherrypickers, The Whole Shebang and The Stoneybridge Ceilidh.

Google Streetview of Hampstead Town Hall.

Links for more information :
My Absolutely Fan website.

Absolutely Productions website.

How the Absolutely Everything DVD came to be.

Absolutely - Absolutely Everything [DVD] on Amazon.

Pete Baikie on Wiki.

Gordon Kennedy on Wiki.

A bit of Stoneybridge :) from Absolutely :

Andy (Absolutelyandy)

Wednesday 17 October 2012

Video of Sheffield Park Hill Estate views in October 2012. Regeneration by Urban Splash.

Park Hill council estate in sheffield was completed in 1961 and granted Grade II* listing in 1998.
Currently the flats are being renovated by developers Urban Splash.

When these flats were built they were described as "streets in the sky", there are several Documentaries on the subject.

The graffiti you can see at the start of my video Clare Middleton "I love you will u marry me" is a famous bit of graffiti in Shefield and has been emphasised
by neon lighting over of the words.
If you visit Sheffield and would like to have a look around this estate then its best to walk through the railway station and to the SuperTram platform
then over the tracks and up the steps to the hill.

Some points of note :
0:40 This is the regenerated section of the Park Hill flats by Urban Splash.
1:02 Look how much these regenerated flats are selling for now!, A stark comparison to the prices that these flats would have orignally been let for!
1:33 View from the hill looking towards the city centre of Sheffield.
2:39 A view of Sheffield Hallam University.

Hope you liked my little video of Sheffield filmed in early October 2012.


Saturday 13 October 2012

Video of a skipping unicyclist in Sheffield Oct 2012. You gotta see this !

About 1:30pm on Saturday 6th October 2012 we came across this funny street performer on Fargate near to Norfolk Row, in Sheffield, UK.

His show lasted for about 45 minutes, he kept you in anticipation as you wanted to see him on the unicycle.

My video of the skipping unicyclist :

The Chilean comedian, from Sheffield, put his tricks to the test in front of dozens of shoppers on Fargate. Crowds laughed as he juggled, skipped and dodged knives while bouncing along on his unicycle.
The grand finale of his act is when he skips with a long rope while on the unicycle !

Did you see him on this day or another day? and did you enjoy his show?

Hope you enjoy the show.

Friday 12 October 2012

Video of Derby streets by car - Midland Road, Station Approach, Railway Terrace. August 2012.

Here is my latest video in my Derby streets by car series - Midland Road, Station Approach, Railway Terrace. August 2012.

In this very short Derby streets by car video I have driven down Station Approach, Railway Terrace and Midland Road in Derby, Derbyshire, UK.

Best watched at 720p/1080p fullscreen (if your system/net connection is up to it)

This is a real-time journey.

Points of interest :
0:00 Derby inner ring road
0:13 Right onto Station Approach
0:23 The right lane here is for Pride Park
0:51 Railway Terrace
0:52 The Brunswick Inn pub on the right (Famous Derby real Ale pub)
0:57 On right are a row of purpose built cottages for the Midland Railway workers.
1:00 Derby Railway Station car park on left
1:11 Entrance to Derby Railway Station
1:14 The Midland Hotel ahead (now a Hallmark Hotel)
1:18 Right around onto Midland Road
1:21 War Memorial on left
1:27 Derby Mail Sorting office on left
1:39 Left onto London Road

Andy's Driving videos around Derby, Derbyshire, UK :
Are you an ex-pat of Derby, feeling homesick? Or perhaps you just want a clear way of giving someone directions to a location in Derby or just want to show people your Derby Street. Well in this video and the many others I have made, you will be able to take a virtual drive around the city of Derby's streets as though you were in the driving seat. I use a dash-mounted camera, Traffic lights and heavy traffic have been edited out.


Thursday 11 October 2012

Derby's new interactive Bus Signs - NextBuSigns - When's my next bus?

Derby When's the next bus?
Today I found one of those brand new interactive bus stop signs so thought I would give it a go.

Derby City Council are installing over a thousand of these new MOGO "Next bus signs" which interact with your mobile phone. By using your phone you can find out quickly when the next bus is due.

You can use one of many methods to find out. If you have a modern smartphone that has built in NFC then you simply place your phone within 2cm of the yellow circle and it will interact with the sign and show you when the next bus is due. NFC is available on smartphones such as the Google Galaxy Nexus,  HTC Desire C and Samsung Galaxay SIII.

If your smartphone is a bit older and does not support Near Field Communications then instead you can simply scan the QR Code with your QR Reader app and this will show you the next bus.
For example on an iPhone get a free QR reader by searching the app store for QR Reader, I used one by TapMedia Ltd which is free, there are many other readers available. You place the camera over the square pattern in the green circle and it will show you the webpage with the details for the next buses due at your stop.

This is a MOGO interactive bus sign as seen in Derby October 11th 2012 :
MOGO Interactive bus stop sign in Derby.

A third option is to simply type in the address www.nextbus.mobi then enter the code from the red circle such as dbyamtwp
A fouth option if you only have a basic mobile phone, is to text the code in the blue circle to 84268.

A close up view of the four options you can use.
Yellow for NFC smartphones.
Green for QR Reader smartphones
Red for older smartphones and WAP phones.
Blue for old mobile phones.

Interactive bus stop sign panel.

If your viewing this blog on your pc then you can actually try scanning the QR code on screen now. Just click the picture to mke it larger then launch your QR reader app and scan the pattern.

The first Bus routes in Derby to be fitted with the new signs are the 42/43 and 44/45 services to Alvaston run by Arriva. Trent will also be having them on routes, starting with the Sixes and the Allestree buses.

If you would like to get an idea now of what the information looks like when you use this interactive bus sign then click here : Typical when't the next bus info. This is the interactive code from Ivy Square on Osmaston Road, Derby.

This latest technology has been installed on several routes in Derby and will be extended throughout the city and surrounding areas in the run-up to Christmas. It gives direct access to the Traveline website when a phone is placed within touching distance of the signs. Passengers then receive information on when their bus is due.

For a list of NFC smartphones see HERE.

What do YOU think of these? good or bad idea?