Apple rules the world….

Another Apple eureka moment! Our iphone4′s arrived at the weekend. We have forty of them ‘on the fleet’.

It's very new and shiny!

We were lucky in our timing – our contract ran out just as the new phones were announced. I blogged about my trying to escape the o2 ‘retentions team’. In the end, a very helpful lady in the business accounts team brought some common sense to the proceedings and we switched to Vodaphone yesterday. It went reasonably smoothly…although we have some problems. Hopefully all will be resolved in the next few days.

My handover was smooth. One old phone went off and when I switched on my newest one – it worked.

So what about this new ‘toy’. Well it is smaller and thinner – but I think a little heavier. But the real story is the screen – which is just astonishing! Apparently the pixels in the screen are now so small that the human eye cannot actually discern them! That’s why it looks tack sharp. Music videos look like full HD.

My first impressions though (after the screen) were that this is quite a solid phone. The chassis is clearly built to last. The stainless steel edging adds to the durability. It’s a pity it doesn’t fit the cradle in my car or my trusty Sena leather case – bought in Los Angeles last September!

But the new camera is also rather good – now 5 mega pixels, so it will be good as a back-up camera. I haven’t tried the new HD video yet.

I have been running the OS (Operating system) for a couple of weeks – and I love the folders – and multi-tasking!

Once again Apple seem to have created a piece of technology real estate that looks great and works out of the box. Genius!


Lot’s of people have asked me about the problems the new phone has (apparently). I have tried holding the phone in all manner of different ways and I can’t get the calls to drop? A slightly irritating feature is Vodaphone’s answerphone service which rings me constantly to tell me I have messages. But my list of messages by name has gone?


It seems the explanation about the antennae was simple after all….over to Apple.

By Tim Garratt Posted in Business Tagged , iphone4, iphone4 antennae, Los Angeles, o2, USA trip, Vodaphone

Sunny & Friendly Wales

I was in Wales at the weekend – a trip to see some old friends daughter get married. It is many years since we crossed the border! Last time it was raining. It put me off.

Very tasty Ice cream was 'ere!

On the way we stopped (well slowed down) in Ross on Wye. We had intended getting some lunch. I have driven past the spectacular backdrop from the valley below in numerous occasions. But we didn’t stop, primarily because it looked so run down. Maybe we were in the wrong place – but I think one-third of the shops were vacant!

So we headed for Abergavenny (Y Fenni) which had a bit more life. A good lunch was followed by a walk around this market town. They have a Waterstones and a recently opened FatFace.

But what struck us was the friendly people in the independent shops. The guy who ran Retreat Clothing, the staff in the incredibly sweet Bumble & Bucket and those in Harry’s sandwich shop.

When we found our hotel in deepest Monmouthshire, the owner greeted us out of the car – recognising the postcode on our reservation and sharing his memories of him opening the Baltimore Diner in Nottingham in 1983! I went a week after it opened with my new found Class of ’88 (I was reminiscing about them last week!).

So off we set in search of the Wedding reception – on a farm!

We had great evening – the weather was fantastic and the setting was stunning. It’s a sign of my age that I can remember the bride being born! It was nice catching up again.

But I am worried. Abergavveny looks like it is after the moniker if friendliest place in Britain, whereas we all know that Nottingham has that crown. Probably?

By Tim Garratt Posted in Grumpy Old Man!, Nottingham Tagged Abergavenny, Allt Yr Ynys, Baltimore Diner, Bumble & Bucket, Fat Face, Friendliest Place in the World, , Walses, Waterstones, Wedding, Y Fenni

Rebel Rebel… the story of Nottingham?

Much of my blog is centred on Nottingham – mainly because it’s where I was born and where I live and work.

I try to deliver stories on my blog about my home City – which I am proud of – and want to see succeed. I am involved in lots of projects which I hope add to the place.

I go to lots of presentations – and I get to hear lots of facts – but I want to try to get away from this and concentrate on what makes Nottingham different! So here goes. I would welcome your help!

We seem to be an Industrious lot. And independent – we speak our minds. Not in a brash way like a Mancunian might. I think we are a bit of a City of Rebels – dating back some time. We are renowned for our friendliness. And hopefully the cleanliness of the city too.

So these rebels?

The obvious and famous one would be Robin Hood in the 13th Century. The story is well documented – if more legend than fact, but he robbed from the rich and gave to the poor. My mate John Lyle has developed some brand values here.

Then King Charles I raised his standard in Nottingham in August 1642. The King apparently commenced the War in Nottingham because of its central position (and his belief that the people would rally to his support) but they did not. He left Nottingham in September 1642. Sent off with his tail between his legs!

In January 1840 there was an attempt to seize the town hall by the Nottingham Chartrists – who were reported to be arming themselves. There was rioting, resulting in four hundred arrests. But, there was another side to Nottingham Chartists, for whenever money was needed for the National Rent, a fund set up to help supporters of Chartism who had fallen on hard times, or the ill, sick, victims and widows in need, there were considerable contributions from the town.

And then we can come in to the 20th Century and look at the likes of Brian Clough – a hugely successful manager at Nottingham Forest who did things his own way. Charismatic, outspoken and controversial – pretty much sums him up. Then Alan Sillitoe: maverick and mischief-maker – who died recently.

There will be others and the story still needs work…But if you have any ideas please feel free to comment!


I have decided to make this a page – and I will add to it when I think of more rebels…

Greater Nottingham has gone!

It hasn’t really – it’s been here a very long time – and I am guessing that it will be here for quite a bit longer.

But it has been banned by Councillor Kay Cutts, leader at Nottinghamshire County Council. It is apparently now to be known as “Core City Area”.

But I foresee a problem here. We already have “Core Cities”. They are a network of England’s major regional cities: Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield. It’s great that we are a core city – but we seem to have just lost our identity in one foul swoop. Or we are sharing our identity with Brummies, Scousers and Geordies.

Sorry, but I don’t think this is going to work.

Perhaps Nottinghamshire County Council is up for a rebrand – “Core City Area County Council”? And I presume we are dropping Nottingham from the City Council too…

Apparently you can’t mention ‘conurbation‘ either.

This is all supposed to make things easy – and distinguish between Nottingham City and the outlying boroughs – Beeston, Arnold, Hucknall, Carlton and West Bridgford. I hadn’t thought that there was any confusion. The form part of “Greater” Nottingham. Actually they are not “core”, which implies at the centre?

Alan Rhodes, leader of the opposition described the ‘ruling’ as “bureaucratic nonsense”. I’m with him on this one.

I would have thought that the energy ought to be expended elsewhere at the moment. Like on the budget?

Ghost Bikes get exorcised in New York….

In New York there’s news that ghost bikes are to be removed from the sidewalks by the Sanitation Department. They have been deemed an eyesore?

As my picture shows, these are visible reminders that are seen in various parts of my favourite City. This particular bike was near Houston close to Bleeker Street. In my favourite city, this is probably my favourite Street!

There are 67 of these bikes in the City – a reminder for the families of the 108 cyclists killed since 2005.

It seems a pity to me that these memorials need to be removed – just because they make the place look untidy. In fact I had not realised what they were – thinking they were Street art! They are generally painted white and adorned with flowers. I have seen a few on my travels…

Last year there was outcry in Washington about a similar incident – as was reported here.

I can understand why some of the rusted old contraptions, tyre-less and with their somewhat ‘warped’ frames need to be removed from railings. They are clearly abandoned (the white paint is a clue!) But these are different? They provide someone some comfort – and perhaps serve as a reminder to pedestrians, cyclists and motorists of the fragility of life.

Clearly you can’t let these memorials build up – but 67 in a city the size of New York isn’t really doing much harm?

By Tim Garratt Posted in Business, Grumpy Old Man! Tagged Bikes, Bleeker Street, Cyclists, Ghost Bikes, Houston, , Sanitation Dept., Washington

I didn’t mention the Emu

I was back last night at Nottingham Trent University – I think for my 4th visit since the new Arkwright & Newton buildings were opened three months ago. This time the occasion was the Alumni Midsummer celebration.

Hosted by the Chancellor Sir Michael Parkinson it was yet another trip down memory lane. I met up with David Richmond – one of my original lecturers back in ’83 – he is now in his 70′s. Worryingly he recognised me! I still have his book.

My badge had ‘class of 88′ on it. But looking round the giant class – I was just a baby! I was the only surveying student from ’88 – but there were plenty of old(er) boys. It made me feel much better.

And then I saw Paul Hacking, who now works at the University as Head of Careers – I haven’t seen him for many years. He was a lodger with my parents (he was studying at ‘The Poly’) when I was 9, that was quite some time ago…

Michael Parkinson ambled over and chatted with us for 10 minutes of so. He was very relaxed and clearly enjoying his role as Chancellor. He also gave a small speech as part of the formal proceedings – without notes. He is a very natural orator.

Earlier in my day I had given a talk to WREN (Women’s Real Estate Network) at Geldards offices in Nottingham. I had to rely on my trusty MacBook Pro and Keynote. As I listened to “Parky” talk, I realised what a consummate professional he still is. He captivated the audience with an easy style – relevant, topical and witty. He made it look all too easy! I guess that’s why he was a very successful TV presenter!

He was also very complimentary about the University and, in particular, the new buildings – which he suggested had given Nottingham something to be proud of.

As I blogged about before, I agree with him wholeheartedly. It’s a great facility.

And I thought mentioning the Emu incident might not be very diplomatic…so I didn’t!

By Tim Garratt Posted in Business, Nottingham Tagged David Richmond, Emu, Geldards, Keynote, MacBook Pro, Nottingham Trent University, , Paul Hacking, Rod Hull, Sir Michael Parkinson, Women Real Estate Network

The World Cup is not green?

The obvious answer is that the FIFA cup is actually 18ct Gold. Like in the Spandau Ballet song. But It wasn’t originally – the Jules Rimet cup was Gold plated.

But I digress – the world cup most definitely isn’t green. According to research done by the Norwegian Embassy and the South African Government – the amount of of CO2 emitted during the competition will be a staggering 2,753,251 tones of CO2. That’s about the same as a million cars in a year! Or six times the amount emitted during the last World Cup in Germany!

The make up is travel prediominantly – for both participants and spectators. But you also need to add in the accommodation energy use, the stadia construction and subsequent stadia energy use.

As The Guardian put it – the amount is the equivalent of 6,000 space shuttle flights or 20 hamburgers for every man, woman and child in the UK.

Perhaps the 2018 (and ideally the 2014) event need to have a much keener eye on the green credentials? Certainly the England bid has a green agenda – as has been widely publicised.

Although we can introduce ‘green’ buildings and stadia, transport will still be a major issue. Local, public transport is all well and good, but for fans who travel all over the world to see their team, it’s difficult to see how this element can be mitigated!

Unlike the Spandau Ballet song – we’re not indestructible…

[I realise I have gone all green and this will worry some people. Don't worry - normal service will be resumed shortly...]

Budget 2010 – ouch? A bit!

Just like the Dentist or the needle waving Anaesthetist – that phrase ‘this might hurst a bit’ could have been yielded by George Osborne yesterday – in his first and ‘emergency’ budget. But maybe it was only a bit…

We knew what was coming – like that moment before a car crash – you just have to brace yourself. The nation’s debt has now reached £903bn – equivalent to 62.2% of GDP, the highest since records began in 1993. Apparently last years borrowing was better than expected at £154.7bn – that’s ok then.

Despite Joe Public’s innocence in all of this – he is going to get hit hard. It’s worse if he works in the Public Sector. I can’t help wondering what the Government have been doing with all of these taxes they collect? Wasting it presumably? To the man in the street he doesn’t understand the figures. His household budget is fairly simple to understand – salary in less what he spends = savings (or borrowings if he spends too much). This Government have introduced this new language which implies that “we” have borrowed these bucketloads of wonga. Well I haven’t. And I suspect you haven’t either? So who has and, more to the point, what have they done with it? It can’t all have gone on cleaning Moats out?

Still, “we” have to pay and the budget yesterday was our penance. But on reflection it could have been worse than it was?

Where the wonga goes...

The big stories for property were probably two-fold.

The rise in the CGT will hurt many private investors (particularly in the buy-to-let market) who have relied on capital growth as savings. The buy-to-let market has pretty much propped up the housing market for the last 20 years. But the investment market will also feel the pinch – a rise of 10% on the tax is unwelcome – but could have been much worse. Rumours of 40% or 50% were circulating. I think we will see a slowdown in property up to the £1m level coming to the market in the short term whilst people come to terms with this element. The long term supply of rented property might be hit too.

But the VAT increase from next January will have an impact. I act for a number of organisations in the public sector (Councils, Educational Establishments and Healthcare providers) – they can’t reclaim VAT so will see their costs on VAT-able services and goods increase by 2.5%. In the case of what little Capital Projects are left (they are being hit hard) this can be significant. As an example, I am involved in a £3m project – the costs will have increased by £75,000. There was also a rumour that VAT might be applied to new houses (this was a LibDem manifesto suggestion) – but this did not materialise.

We already have an issue where property is let to a tenant who is not VAT registered, but the property is. The rent on such property has just gone up by 2.5%! This potentially has an effect on rents – reducing the net rent available and reducing investment sentiment.

On reflection then this wasn’t as bad as it could have been – unless you are in the Public Sector! A case of clever PR by the new Coalition – leaking “very bad news” to then deliver just “bad news”?

World Cup Sportsmanship?

As I said last week, I have lost a bit of interest in football.

But what of the French? Anelka sent home for dissent. The team then boycotting the training session. But the worst part of all was the appalling sportsmanship of Raymond Domenech at the end of their match against South Africa last night. Refusing to shake Parreira’s hand was surely the lowest point of the last few days.

With millions watching around the World these so-called professionals have the duty to show sportsmanship and dignity. Kids watching pick up on this sort of behaviour. Like the swearing and ‘professional fouls’ this behaviour has no place in sport.

He should hang his head in shame. And should be charged with bringing the game into disrepute.

By Tim Garratt Posted in Business, Grumpy Old Man! Tagged France, Raymond Domenech, Shaking hands, South Africa, World Cup

Nottingham – the first six months of 2010

I guess we were all concerned about 2010 when we looked at budgets and the economical outlook last year. With an election looming and little sign of liquidity in the lending market it was always going to be an ‘interesting’ first six months.

One of the new University of Nottingham buildings

So I was really interested to see some facts from my friends at Invest in Nottingham about some of the good news stories from the first six months of the year – and it’s not all bad! For a quick rundown…

12th January – a £5 million Energy Centre is announced for The University of Nottingham Innovation Park. The 2,100 sq m facility will provide research and development space for collaborative projects between the University and industry.

19th April – Crytek announce their move the Southside Business District. One of Europe’s leading video gaming companies’s announced it is to move its UK headquarters to the Southreef office development on the edge of Nottingham City Centre. The move will see up to 90 jobs relocate to the new 17,500 sq ft office.

26th April – E.ON announce a new 105,000 sq ft office to be built on part of the city’s Guildhall side following pre-let for Miller Birch.

25th May – Jamie Oliver is set to open an Italian restaurant in the city centre. The Jamie’s Italian restaurant will be the first outside of the South-East.

27th May – the launch of The Portal – a 90,000 sq ft £40 million data centre that will provide the city with carrier neutral national and international high-speed fibre links. The Portal is set to put Nottingham firmly on the UK’s ICT map and could provide excellent data links for schemes in Nottingham including MediPark, Sneinton Market, Eastside, Southside amongst others.

27th May – Launch of Southside Business District at Invest in Nottingham Day. Southside Business District is an initiative to create a world class business environment in the heart of Nottingham. The District is centred around The Hub – Nottingham’s soon to be created transport hub where train, tram and bus will connect the city to national and international destinations.

1st June – Local business Sygnature Chemical Services is set to double in size over the next five years and is investing up to £500,000 in facilities in BioCity, Nottingham. The company now employs 36 people within its team and plans to increase up to 50 by the end of next year.

7th June – The University of Nottingham announce a major new building programme which will further enhance the campus facilities. Over £35 million will be invested in 4 new, state of the art, environmentally sustainable buildings across two campuses.

10th June – Changan Automotive announce a new Research and Development Centre in Nottingham which will create up to 200 jobs over the next three years.

Here’s to the next six months….