I went for a walk through Maidstone yesterday and happened to have a cup of tea at the cafe in the House Of Fraser store at one end of the Fremlin Walk shopping experience. The following photograph was taken through a window while sitting and drinking.

Fremlin Walk
Fremlin Walk

Upon initial inspection the place seems nice and pretty but when you gaze for longer you can see how horrible and soulless the design is. All the buildings are the same, the colours are all pastel shades meant to compliment each other and the trees are evenly spaced. The place has no soul. It has no organic-randomness. It’s a designed space and I think it looks horrible.

Towns are organic growing places where new buildings should have purpose and style along with individuality. We shouldn’t have everything looking the same, it should be interesting and varied. Too much order is a bad thing, although you could argue it is very efficient but at the same time it lacks a certain quality.

Places like this don’t looked lived-in. They look forced. I shall go and find some contrasting pictures over the next week to continue my thesis. I’ve got some ideas of where to go.


This view was quite nice [note the lack of buildings though] although I missed getting the best symmetry. Maybe I should return to try again?

Probably Magic

Heading East
Heading East

This place was heading east early one morning [probably to Frankfurt] and the colour of the sky and the line of the contrails caught my eye. It looked lovely.

Wokka Over Maidstone
Wokka Over Maidstone

Then there was this Chinook. It passed right over my work place and was such a lovely sight and sound. It amazes me just how technologically amazing we are as a species. Now although I know how these things work it does seem like magic at times!


Finally, yesterday this Spitfire flew over my village. I keep trying to remind people that one day they will be gone and we won’t see them flying anymore. It’s a lesson I have learnt from seeing many planes in the 80s at various airshows without really appreciating just how special they all were.

Don’t Patronise This

While waiting for my fish and chips to cook last night at the world’s most homo-erotic chip shop I saw a magazine with the following advert:

Mostly Bullshit
Mostly Bullshit

The Young Men’s Christian Association has a Wellness Centre which I guess promotes wellness.

WELLNESS is NOT a DEFINED MEDICAL TERM. Therefore it means fuck all in this context. It’s why promoters of bullshit use the term, because it DOESN’T MEAN ANYTHING. Look, I used bold and block caps there! I must be annoyed.

Even the logo looks new-age and bollocks.

Of the services offered at the religious centre (which probably isn’t religious but the name is) some are utter bullshit before we’ve even had to look into them and some are possibly iffy by association. I have looked at their website and I will quote so in the following.


I have rubbished this within these communications and so I can tell you now, it is bollocks. On the website there is information about osteopathy and babies. Just don’t.

They claim to be able to help with

  • migraines and headaches
  • asthma
  • sports injuries
  • disc problems
  • sciatica
  • trapped nerves
  • tennis elbow
  • arthritis (wear and tear)

I very much doubt this as there’s no good evidence to show that osteopathy works for anything. They even lost “lower back pain” recently. Have a look at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). God, this makes me so sad.

“Oh but it worked for me/my relation”

No, it probably didn’t. We humans are terrible at separating out what really happens and our experience.

Sports Massage

It feels nice. It massages you. It costs you money. They claim it helps you but these are all self-limiting problems and while a massage can do damage it might help you.


Grade A bollocks. They claim it works:

Acupuncture is the insertion of fine needles into the skin at predetermined points to affect the internal levels of energy. It may be deficient, excessive or stagnant and therefore not flowing in the most efficient manner. When energy, called Qi, in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is not in balance then we see symptoms, at all levels. Some symptoms are obvious, such as those affecting the physical, others less so, such as those that affect the emotional and mental.

There is absolutely NO evidence for Qi. In fact different practitioners will use different locations on the body to cure the same thing. It doesn’t work.

Acupuncture and other traditional Chinese medicine was promoted during the Barefoot Doctor scheme the communist government of China so that Doctors, who were short on real medicine, could “do something” to keep people happy even though it clearly didn’t work.

Reflexology / Aromatherapy

See “massage”. This is all bollocks. Aromatherapy smells nice. Reflexology feels nice. It doesn’t do anything else. The Wellness Centre says:

  • Boosts the immune system, which is weakened by constant stress.
  • Can relieve stress as it calms and soothes.
  • Is a good preventative medicine.
  • Improves the circulation.
  • Can be very helpful at encouraging the body to heal itself and gives the recipient a feeling of well being, relaxing mind and body.
  • The Digestive system is encouraged to work to optimum efficiency.

Boosting the immune system means nothing. Is a good preventative medicine for what? Encourages the body to heal itself, now I’m laughing, such a wishy washy phrase.

Psychological Therapy

This is probably the most important here and possible the one that can the most effect but I would worry about the company that this service keeps and I would prefer to book myself into a proper clinic. Yep, having looked over the website this seems quite legit. It’s just a shame it’s in a house of crap.


This is another that is probably good. Physiotherapy is a protected term and so it should be the real stuff. The problem is it’s hard work and some people obviously want the quick fix of bullshit medicine (see above). The chap’s website looks pretty flash but overall this is the second worthwhile thing on here.

Nutritional Therapy

This is bollocks. If you want the proper stuff you go see a DIETITIAN, that is a legally protected term for someone who has qualifications in diet. ANYONE can call themselves a nutritionist because it’s not legally protected. She claims she is a Naturopathic Nutritional Therapist, this fills me with utter fear. Naturopathic is a nonsense term invented to sound great but mean nothing. According to her website she can help with the following:

Some of these things are diet related but I wouldn’t want a quack telling me what I’m allergic to. Proper allergy testing takes a long time. Oh, and notice that Cancer is mentioned in there. Fucking Cancer. from the website:

“There are numerous studies suggesting a link between some foods and certain types of cancer. However, it would be a broad statement to claim that diet can directly cause or treat cancer.”

I can correct her if you want. It would be ILLEGAL to claim to be able to cure cancer. It shows just how fucked up these people are when they make iffy claims.


I know nothing about pilates but isn’t it posh yoga? Just helps you move.

There are more claims on the website of these people and I will cover a few of them here with my crude guide to efficacy.

Food Intolerance Tests – more than likely bullshit.

Hypnotherapy – I’m becoming convinced it’s bullshit.

Neuro Linguistic Programing – bullshit.

And, I’m done. There’s only so much I can take of this bollocks. Look, it says Wellness. It doesn’t mean anything. Don’t go there. It’s in a christian association building for fuck’s sake.

Rogue One

This feels like a hard communication to write and for people who are interesting in not knowing anything about this film please consider this a warning that there are going to be many spoilers.

I took a trip with some science type friends to see Rogue One, the stand-alone Star Wars movie set in between film episodes three and four. I went to the Odeon cinema in Maidstone which was fine. As is a custom now I rated the film after watching it on IMDB, you should probably read this communication about the rating system and you might also be interested in this one about Star Wars Episode Seven.

I think I ought to explain this rating as a six is pretty low. Episode 7 got a ten by default but the more I think about it the more I feel I should have been more honest with myself. I’m not sure it would get a 10 now, even though I own a copy. Rogue One will probably be purchased which would default the score to a 10, but in reality the film was a little bit shit.

The Best Thing About This Movie

Do Not Read On (mostly because it is poorly written)

The best thing about this movie and quite likely the only good thing about this movie was the droid K-2SO. I would have quite happily listened to him much more throughout the film, he was the only character who seemed to have a sense of perspective, or even character. He was voiced by Alan Tudyk who has been in some of my favourite shows.

I was slightly bothered that there were no floating words telling me what had happened and that we didn’t get the Star Wars opening theme. Start with a child disobeying her father and then watching her mother killed, obviously you need psychological trauma and daddy issues to be a hero. Then we have little sequences on lots of planets that I couldn’t give a shit about and we learn that the Empire is making a massive weapon.

This film seems to be consistent with conspiracy nuts in that it believes you can have a massive infrastructure project and keep it secret from everyone, even though everyone knows this is being built. Also, it seems that the entire galaxy knows that a cargo pilot has defected with information and he needs to be debriefed.

I spent a large amount of the first act worried about intelligence gathering in a age when the whole galaxy has access to rumours and ideas. I just didn’t like it.

Then the heroine gets rescued and debriefed / interviewed in the Rebel fucking control room in front of the senators and all the bloody equipment. You DON’T put prisoners in the control room, what shit.

Then some stuff happens. I may have to come back and fill this in once I’ve seen the film again. Perhaps I can over my prisoner logistical problems.

Then we have a scene in the control room again where the Rebel senate appears to be discussing ALL the details about the secret plans in front of everyone including every pilot and vaguely important person. “The secret plans are held on this planet” etc. Arrrrrgh.

There’s a blind monk who chants shit about the force, but the film maker clearly shows him using his hearing to work out where things are, he doesn’t use the force. He’s a charlatan.

Let’s invade a planet and make it look like a Vietnam War film, that’ll keep the dads happy. I seriously felt like I was watching a ‘nam film. Bloody palm trees.

Why was there a random shutter opening and closing at the top of the data tower. WTF? It makes absolutely no sense that it is there, apart from trying to appease kids who watch and play computer games and need to get the timing correct.

So, you build a massive tower to store all your plans for every building in your Empire. Then you need a transmitter which you just happen to build on top of your tower. Finally, you place a data reader and transmit controls OUTSIDE at the TOP of the tower. Not somewhere safe inside the building. WHY would you do that? Why would you put a control system in a place where the weather will get to you? AND then you place some of the controls on the end of a platform sticking out from the tower. Fuck this movie.

I quite liked the ending.

Sometimes, It Happens

I’ve become quite philosophical about traffic jams. Rather than get annoyed and irritated I now realise there’s little I can do and so I relax. It is highly unlikely that I will lose lots of money through a traffic jam [being late for an appearance on Dragon’s Den maybe] and it is also rare that I have to be somewhere at a very particular time. As I work in education you might consider that I should be at work for the start of the day and normally I am there with plenty of time to get a coffee, do some photocopying and prioritise my emails.

This morning was a little different. Maidstone is updating and improving the bridges gyratory  in the centre of town. This means that occasionally they have to close the roads overnight so they can get the work done. This morning they failed to get the road cured on time and so there was a delay in opening Fairmeadow, possibly the most important through road in Maidstone.

This delay meant the two lane traffic was heading around the prison which is a single lane carriageway. Thus there ensued chaos. Well, not literal chaos but lots of cars going into not a lot of space and therefore lots of congestion.

It took me ninety five minutes to drive eight miles, the first four of those I covered in about ten minutes, the rest was Maidstone. I am happy to accept these delays as the improvements to the junctions will be worth it. Also, the extra time in the car gave me more time to listen to the Skepticrat podcast. Warning, there’s swearing a-plenty in this podcast and it’s political with a liberal bias. What else would you expect?

My general thoughts on traffic jams are that they normally mean someone is having a far worse day than you. Relax, there’s nothing you can do.

To give you an idea of the traffic chaos here’s a shot from Google maps:

A Bad Morning
A Bad Morning

I am going to find another map for you, possibly a larger version with a little more detail, but it would serve you well to see a version of a “normal” morning to compare, so I intend to do that also.

So, having said that here is a map of today, the next day, a day when the roads are working “normally”. Here you go, enjoy:

Maidstone Traffic
Maidstone Traffic


I walked along the river Medway today from Allington Locks to Maidstone town centre. I should point out that the river walk is delightful, I recommend it. The only issue was the obnoxious music beingplayed by the Beefeater Inn called the Malta Inn. Why they have to pump music outside I don’t know. It spoils the peace and calm of the river.

N51 17 14.3     E00 30 30.25

This is where I was when I spotted an awesome thing of engineering. On the other side of the river was a very large Archimedes Screw. I say large because I have never seen a screw this big before. I’m used to the screws that you can play on in kids water parks and things but this was impressive!

Archimedes Screw
Archimedes Screw

I don’t know what it’s there for. Obviously it raises water and brilliantly so but why just there? I am going to have to ask around to find out.

screw map 1

screw map 2

It can be seen using images on Google earth. I was hoping to have some company or website pop up and declare what it does but there was none. It is rather an object of wonder.


Isn’t our planet amazing? It always manages to impress even when not doing much at all. This is the view of a rainbow over Maidstone, early 2015.

Maidstone RainbowI don’t have anything else to say which given the context of recent communications is a good thing.


A short while ago I went to the circus! According to the information I was given it was the Circus Of France and they were based for a while at the Newnham Court shopping thing on the edge of Maidstone.

The tickets seemed expensive to me, although the last time I went to the circus was around 1991. The arena tent itself was pretty big and we were guided to some bench seats. I tried to take a photo but dropped my phone under the raised seating. I had to borrow someone else’s phone to use their camera flash to see below the seating and to find my phone, I could just reach it!

Santus Circus Arena
Santus Circus Arena

The acts we saw were all human, so animal lovers don’t have to worry about the living conditions. There was a juggler who came on in different costumes for three different acts, the high-wire artistes also did the trapeze at the end of the show, there was a climbing rope act and also a foot juggler (who was dull). The clowns provided reasonable entertainment for the scene changes although I would have liked to see a clown car fall apart in the ring.




The first ropes act included Spider-Man, which was an interesting piece of marketing, and also the anti-Spider-Man who was dressed in black. My sons loved this. During the interval there was the chance to have your photograph taken with Spiderman. We didn’t do this, but I can understand why the circus did this.

The knife throwing act was interesting. There was the typical man throwing the knives and a woman having knives thrown at (or not) her. The lady was tied to an upright spinning disc and the disc was set in motion. Before the man could throw a knife the axle broke and the woman and disc crashed to the floor, woman first and the mechanism on top of her. I have to say the staff reacted really quickly to this and the lady came back on stage shortly afterwards and completed the act.

The best part of the show was the trapeze act:


Leaving the circus there was some lovely blossom trees.