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Friday, April 21, 2006


Today's circuit of Kings Heath turned up a few interesting sights, some of which have to do with local elections, new features of rubbish collection, and a vintage motorcycle.

The big blank wall on School Road is acquiring a new layer of graffiti, which makes the Lib-Dem campign placard for Ernie Hendricks either strategically well-placed or strategically mis-placed. The fact that the wall was cleared off recently, at least partly through local Lib-Dem efforts, might make Ernie's placard a reminder of that success. On the other hand, the return of graffiti is a cheeky reminder that the cleanup campaign has not succeeded, and will be characterised by a continual back and forth. In that case, the placard is like a rhetorical question: has this wall been well-taken care of by your councillors? The answer might well be no, and the character on the wall might be expressing some sort of weary disillusionment with the situation.

While on the topic of campaigns, I did note the relative numbers of placards for various parties. The Lib-Dems are well ahead, placard-wise, on the roads I travelled. There are at least a dozen of these hallucinogenic diamonds on various well-travelled lanes, whereas I counted four Respect placards, three Conservative placards, and one Labour placard along my route. These last four were all on Addison Road, along with three Lib-Dem cards. Similarly, all of the Respect cards were on School Road. The Lib-Dems also know about making their placards unmissable and obvious, whereas the Respect placard, with its red and white (horizontal) stripes, resembles nothing more than an estate sale sign of rather small proportions. Relative to the diamond shape and fluorescent rectangle of Lib-Dem cards, the ordinary rectangle and ordinary colours of the Respect placards render them almost invisible. Something more eye-catching is needed. A big red checkmark would be good. Or has that been used already?

The list of candidates includes a couple of other people/parties. I would hope to see some Green placards, and am glad to see Stuart standing again. As for the BNP, I wonder if there's any substance whatsoever to the candidacy of Keith Davies. Given that his residence is in Weoley Castle, I suspect that this is a figurative standing, not one that will actually produce any campaigning on his part. I would also expect any placards to disappear immediately...

Al-Haq, Aysan (Conservative Party)
Davis, Keith Ronald (British National Party)
Hendricks, Ernest (Liberal Democrat)
Henley, Barry Stephen (Labour Party)
Hubbard, Lynne Denise (Respect)
Masters, Stuart Kenneth (Green Party)

No, I'm not carrying on about elections, and this isn't a visual remark about campaign rubbish! This is about a rubbish campaign in the vicinity of Addison Road: translucent bin bags for garden waste. This looks like something new, perhaps something being trialled in Kings Heath. I vaguely recall something about recycling schemes and the new scheme for garden waste disposal, but this is the first I've seen of anything to do with it.

Another 'green' issue, and a return to the topic of placards is the development of local markets, unmissably evident in the number of placards near All Saints church. Nice to see they've got a web-presence (, even though it skips reference to the Moseley Farmer's Market. (Possibly because the MFM doesn't have a website of its own?) If I recall correctly the Moseley market is the fourth Saturday of each month, which means that the Kings Heath market will occur one week later in many instances.

I'll be happy to visit the new market in its shday location, and am looking forward to seeing what familiar and new stalls show up, although I won't be doing it in the style of this fully-kitted ride.

By my reckoning this is a vintage military bike, carefully restored and maintained in a monochromatic khaki green by the equally monochromed rider. I didn't get a good look at the details of the bike, but there were a couple of insignia that looked like they might have said Harley-Davidson, though it doesn't resemble any Harley I've ever seen, and I'd think one would have to go back fifty years to find a military Harley. Aside from that, what caught my eye was the spare tank, which made me wonder if it would function as a pannier for trips to the market.