Second Language London

I know – another London post. But this is interesting and kind of fun: a tube map with the second most common languages (after English, innit) spoken at each stop.

Tube map14FINAL_opt


You’ll need to click it to make it bigger.

A few things struck me immediately: the huge number of Bengali speakers in East London (the size of the dots relates to the percentage of speakers of that language). Perhaps unsurprisingly,Bengali is the second most spkoen language in London overall.
Also, the way that the groups stick together: that brown diagnonal of Lithuanians in the South East, equally, the dark orange of Punjabi in the South West and the light pink of Gujarati in the North West.

Afrikaans makes an impact too – in dark green, right at the top of the Northern line: Colindale, Burnt Oak and Edgware. When I knew Saffas in London, it was all Acton and Putney – now replaced by Arabic and French. There are a lot of French speakers in London, which, as the cartographers point out, might include French speakers from North and Central Africa as well, although:

Since London is now the sixth biggest French city and has a resident member of the National Assembly to represent expatriates, it is a fair bet that many are from France

Linguistic diversity is rampant too:

Around Turnpike Lane 16 languages are spoken by more than one per cent of the population, topped by Polish at 6.7 per cent.

More details here.

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Coleen is new bonnag champ

I know. You’ve been on the edge of your seats waiting for the results to filter through from the Isle of Man. And I can now officially reveal that the new World Bonnag Champion is Coleen Cowin, having beaten off some strong competition from two time Champion Vanessa Callin. In fact, bookies’ favourite Callin seemed all set to make it a hattrick of wins before a bewilderingly disastrous incident with the bicarb.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the competition, it was only Mrs Clague that let the Clague household down, with hubby Gordon taking first prize in the men’s event and son Bryce demolishing his opponents with a magnificent Manx Bunloaf-style bonnag in the youth section. This being the 21st century, it’s less likely that Mrs C will be cast out from the family in shame.
But still, if she was, who could really blame them?

The 2015 Championships were nothing if not innovative, with a gluten-free bonnag side tournament and a Mandoza-inspired 50-50 bonnag competition, whereby a half-plain, half-fruit bonnag is presented to the judges in kwaito style.

If you want to make your bit for World Bonnag stardom in 2016, now seems a good time to start with a basic fruit bonnag recipe (the plain bonnag really being suitable only for industrial building projects, IMHO) like this one:

Fruit Bonnag
2½ cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup currants
1 tbsp margarine
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 large tsp mixed spice
1 few drops vanilla essence
1 cup or more buttermilk
Rub the butter into the flour. Add other dry ingredients.
When will mixed, add buttermilk and mix.

Bake about 1 hour at 180ºC.

Cast out Mrs Clague.


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Breakfast shovel

Back to my Ellan Vannin, with its green hills by the sea.

If you go to The Ticket Hall restaurant in the Douglas railway station in the Isle of Man and you ask for breakfast, you get it served like this:


I’m guessing that as a restaurant in the ticket hall (see what they did there?) of a steam train station, this is a nod to the engine drivers and firemen who used to cook their breakfasts in the firebox on the trains.

Nice touch? Too much of a gimmick? I’ll leave that up to you to decide, but in the meantime, please note the absence of any bacon (surely some sort of UN resolution has been broken here?) and just imagine the size of their dishwasher.


5 Comments | Tagged , , , | Posted in positive thoughts, that's a bit mad, uk

What the German Navy did next

I wrote about those three German warships off the coast of Struisbaai earlier this week. I jokingly suggested that if they were going to try and invade South Africa, I’d (probably briefly) attempt to see them off using the joint defences of a slingshot and a beagle.
I say ‘jokingly’, because they were there on a friendly, cooperative military exercise with the local SA Navy. They pose no danger to the local area or community.

Well, apart from that fishing boat that they tried to sink, of course.

Commercial fisherman Anthony Day told the newspaper he and nine crew members set off from Struisbaai harbour at about 02:30 in his 28-foot ski boat. At the harbour he had spoken to people from a charter company who told him a radio-controlled vessel there was due to take part in an exercise.

He headed in the opposite direction from the Denel missile testing range at De Hoop, but later saw a ship approaching. Next thing three heavy-calibre shots went off in quick succession, landing about 15 metres from them.

Day said the shots were so loud his ears rang, and he could smell gunpowder.

Although he had his navigation and anchor lights on, he immediately switched on his deck lights so they could see it was a fishing vessel. He tried to radio the ship but got no response, and then radioed Cape Town Radio telling them he’d been shot at.

Cape Town Radio apparently made contact with the ship and told him the commander had said the shots had been fired in error.

WTF? “Fired in error”. That’s reassuring.
Almost as reassuring as the next line in the article:

The SA Navy and German navy told the Cape Times they were unaware of the incident and would release a statement when they had established the facts.

But, but… der Kommandant just said he did it by mistake. Now they are unaware of it?
You can’t have it both ways.

I’m no expert on guns and stuff. I prefer to rely on beagle power during times of conflict. Don’t we all? But the 76mm guns which were likely the source of the incoming “heavy-calibre shots” aren’t small. I’d guess that your average 28-foot ski boat is unlikely to survive a hit.
Which brings me to the next set of reassuring points: why did they fire upon and how on earth did they miss a fully lit fishing boat in the middle of the night? With all that technology on board these modern, expensive warships, shouldn’t that be a bit of an easy target?

Apparently not, no. Fortunately for Captain Day, it takes a few shots to find your range. What a waste of big bullets. Zat ist ferry inefficient, nein?
It does give me new hope that myself and Colin the beagle might get a few barks in before we’re vapourised though.

The three German warships post has done great business on here. Little did I know that there would be a real story that came out of it. Wow.

I, like you, cannot wait for the official explanation on this one. Watch this space.

1 Comment | Tagged , , | Posted in cape agulhas, in the news, that's a bit mad, this is south africa


A bit of acoustic Skunk Anansie to get you through your Thursday afternoon.

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

I’d love to have shared my favourite one from this album Because of You, but there’s no video available for that one, so this, almost equally pretty song is what you get.

Memories of THAT NIGHT at Rocking the Daisies have come flooding back.

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