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So where I lived for a while as a student has just gone up in flames.

The residence was based around a former house owned by the Cadbury family, with formal rooms and a large sweeping staircase. The University of Birmingham had added side extensions with bedrooms many years before. For a couple of years I lived in the room on the top left of this image (the part that is on fire):

On reflection it was all in pretty poor shape when I was a student, without proper heating (gas fires, the one in my room being condemned with instructions not to use it) and low-grade electrical supply (2 amp maximum). Optimistically you could describe it as faded grandeur. But we were students, away from home for the first time, and living in a large house in what are still impressive grounds.

Ah, but no more. Seven years ago the university decided that the building was past the point where it could be upgraded to work to a modern standard, and was closed pending some decision on what to do with the site. I guess that question is a little easier to address now since presumably the house is now a complete write-off regardless of its historic value.

Sometimes when I am in Birmingham I drive by to see the old house. Now all I have is the memory.

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When I was a boy the one thing I really disliked were the “back to school” signs that appeared towards the end of summer holiday. But John Lewis has put this started the school holidays this way; just one day into the holiday. I don’t mind Christmas shopping coming in early autumn, but please, spare the “back to school” till later.

When I was a boy the one thing I really disliked were the “back to school” signs that appeared towards the end of summer holiday. But John Lewis has put this started the school holidays this way; just one day into the holiday. I don’t mind Christmas shopping coming in early autumn, but please, spare the “back to school” till later.

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Crowds out for the start of the third stage of the Tour de France in Cambridge on a summer mid day. It was a really nice community feel, which made it worth while. But as a spectacle: we got there more than an hour before, and others had been there before us for a long time, but the cyclists were all past us in 10 seconds! Too quick to actually see faces or team names. But that’s ok, it was nice to be in Cambridge on a nice day with everyone else.

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Queen Mary University of London has a set of very lovely old brick walls that used to surround some cemeteries. Most of the cemeteries have gone, but the walls remain. And at this time of year they look good with the plants growing in front of them. I hope you can enjoy them too.

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Urban fox lurking on scaffolding around the second floor of my department. It is not a great photograph, but I had to be quick. I came to the staircase and there looking into the window was this fox. It turned away quickly as I tried to launch my phone camera. It looks rather scrawny in my view, very thin without a good coat. But it seemed to me to have blood around its mouth as if it had just killed and eaten. A few minutes later as I left the building I saw it trotting off.
I saw a fox with a bird in its mouth a couple of weeks ago but my photograph on that occasion was very poor. I am presuming it is the same fox.
It is interesting it had worked its way up two floor levels to be on the builders’ scaffolding.

Urban fox lurking on scaffolding around the second floor of my department. It is not a great photograph, but I had to be quick. I came to the staircase and there looking into the window was this fox. It turned away quickly as I tried to launch my phone camera. It looks rather scrawny in my view, very thin without a good coat. But it seemed to me to have blood around its mouth as if it had just killed and eaten. A few minutes later as I left the building I saw it trotting off.

I saw a fox with a bird in its mouth a couple of weeks ago but my photograph on that occasion was very poor. I am presuming it is the same fox.

It is interesting it had worked its way up two floor levels to be on the builders’ scaffolding.

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On the River Deben at the small village of Waldringfield, Suffolk.

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The stopping train from Cambridge to London Liverpool Street leaving Great Shelford station on a Sunday morning.

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Always curious as to who it was thought that reducing the M11 down to two lanes from three on approaching London was a good idea. This is the traffic at this point at 6.30 am. Like, why?

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Westminster Abbey (London) from outside. A fine medieval gothic building, mostly built by Henry III,

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I have asked several academic colleagues from Scotland about whether the infrastructure for continuing research funding after independence will be ready on time. I sense there has not been a lot of discussion on this. As far as academics claiming to want to stay as part of the UK because they get a bit more research funding that is their fair share by a per capita count seems to me to a vindication of the accusation that academics have an overly focussed view of the world. Whilst they might well lose out from independence (I actually imagine the process will be very productive), the argument that it would be best to stay within the UK because Scottish academics can milk a bit more money out of the kingdom than they might do after independence is barely worth writing to the national newspaper about.

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Regent’s canal by Queen Mary University of London, photographed around 7 am this morning. Very peaceful in a bustling area.

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So where else would the Brimsdown Business Area be? Guess someone thought this tag line was a good idea :)

So where else would the Brimsdown Business Area be? Guess someone thought this tag line was a good idea :)

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Punts on the River Cam in Cambridge, by Queens’ College and the famous Mathematical Bridge. Taken on an early summer Saturday afternoon.

Punts on the River Cam in Cambridge, by Queens’ College and the famous Mathematical Bridge. Taken on an early summer Saturday afternoon.

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Singer in a bin in Cambridge.

Singer in a bin in Cambridge.

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Singer in a bin in Cambridge.

Singer in a bin in Cambridge.