Monday, October 27, 2014

A little bit of landscape gardening

So for various reasons (partly outside influence) I have been making my garden look more presentable and hopefully come spring it will actually be quite nice.

One part of this can be seen below.

So this so-called 'planter' contains several climbing plants that will hopefully get quite big in the spring, a water feature and a rock speaker that will play music in the garden!

The trellises by the way are made from old pallets that I got for free.

So apart from the plant selection, this is all my work... I have never laid any brick before and it was fun to do. There's plenty of good advice on the web on how to do it. The wall foundation is 150mm deep concrete. Once filled with soil, the planter is completed with an anti-weed fabric covering and then the gravel. The main thing I've learnt is that laying brick is actually quite straight-forward; mixing the mortar to the right consistency, that's the tricky bit.

Anyway, here's a nice little bit of time-lapse of the building work:


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Crime Statistics

A Long time ago, I wrote about the gap between perception are reality - specifically in connection with crime statistics. I may well expand on this theme some more in the near future concerning welfare, poverty, immigration and healthcare. Issues I care deeply about and in this a (very nearly-) election year, I think them vitally important.

But for now, I just wanted to point towards this neat little Guardian article on Crime Statistics which I think summarises things really well.

Reported rapes leapt 29% in the latest figures, with more than 22,000 reported to police last year. However, according to both the ONS and the minister, Norman Baker, this rise is almost certainly explained by a greater willingness of victims to report incidents, whether recent or historic, helped, perhaps, by some improvements in police practices at the point of report. The detailed analysis of intimate violence is published annually in February. In 2012-13 the proportion of adult women who had experienced any sexual assault in the previous 12 months was at 2%, the lowest since records began.

Paradoxically an increase in reported rape is a very, very good thing. I long to see this figure falling, but only because the actual number of offenses is falling and not because (for lots of reasons) they remain unreported. I think a big step towards making sexual offenses rarer in society is seeing more victims feeling able to report it.