Friday, February 20, 2009

Trivial interlude

Just to check if anybody reads this (or if anybody can read it), what do you think of the font used on this site?

It's used because it is actually derived from my own handwriting, and the aim is to personalise things a bit. And give the graphologists a field day. Or garphologits as I typed first, as the house is so cold I can hardly feel my hands.

But I realise that even though it turned out better than my usual writing it tends to be a bit small, and flies in the face of accessibility. So if the people speak out against it, I'll switch back to Trebuchet MS or Verdana.

However if you want to create your own font, nip along to To get it on a website you'll need to use WEFT to create an EOT file that you will reference, with exclusions to stop others using your font (and bandwidth). Further advice at reasonable rates from Steven Heddle Consultancy...

[Further update: Sue comments below that a free service is available at, and it looks even better than Fontifier!]

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Errr... Happy New Year

Well, a lot of things have happened since the last blog.

Fuel prices have come down again, as a side effect of global economic catastrophe. Innovative measures of getting fuel from outwith the local monopolies has shown that the price could be much lower (even if shipped by road from Scrabster to Aberdeen!), and points the finger at the distributors. Of course they are fighting back now, and evidence from Shetland shows that our brave pioneers (Tullock's, Shearer's and Brass's) are liable to be squeezed- I hope their stand is rewarded with some loyalty in the face of the backlash from the distributors.

Interest rates at 1%- surely that is madness, and simply prevents the necessary correction in house prices, and penalises savers to bale out the reckless. Bah.

The Stromness Pierhead Regeneration worries me, as all the exemplary designs look hellish, and Stromness deserves more than a white box and some flagpoles. Having said that, I have every faith in the Stromness councillors to help influence design towards something worthwhile, and will keep my Kirkwall nose out of it.

Closer to home, there has been a number of meetings with Papdale East residents provoked by nuisance neighbours, but also encompassing difficulties in parking, refuse collection and maintenance of walls and footpaths. These issues are being addressed (slowly) and efforts are being made to revive the Papdale Residents Association, which would be excellent as it could call the Council (and the councillors) to account, and also receive annual funding to put towards any projects or ideas it has for the area, in addition to all the stuff the Council has responsibility for.

The All Weather Pitch debate is raging, and I have sympathy for both sides. The residents of Reid Crescent are understandably concerned that the empty and unused green space in front of them might become considerably busier, with potential parking, noise and light pollution issues. On the other hand the Orkney Football Trust are doing a good thing in trying to get a first class facility for Orkney, and have arguments that suggest the pitch will be an amenity and not a nuisance. It should be clear that the Council is not leading this, though may be asked for a financial contribution. The deciding factor may be whether this is forthcoming and whether Planning approves. If it can be shown to fit at The Meadows site, with no significant disturbance to residents, it would seem worth supporting given the benefit to the school.

Regarding KGS, the new build project proceeds, with a completion target of May 2012, building taking place over an ambitious 2 years. KGS now has a Parents Council and I understand that they have a number of issues they wish to see the school address. I hope to attend the next meeting, as both a parent and a councillor, and one of the questions I have is where is the homework for S1 and S2? As a parent I feel really out of the loop as to what my boy is meant to be learning, and yes I realise I should take this up with the school rather than bumping my gums here. I will.

[Update: I have. It would be inaccurate to say that Iain Ballantine and myself were in total agreement, but we had a good discussion and I think we are less far apart on this issue than appeared at the outset. To be continued! I'd still welcome any views from my readership (yes, all 7 of you), and encourage parents to get in touch with the school if they have any concerns they wish to discuss.]

Possible topics for the next blog: Tesco, Woolies (sob), Community Wardens, the empty Travel Centre offices, merits or otherwise of joint working with NHS Orkney, and why we must value having our own Council (see the state of Wick for further details).