BLOG - Home Defence #A

Having worked my way through a considerable amount of my late dad’s ephemera, this (presumably now no longer restricted) Police Manual of Home Defence is easily the most unsettling item I’ve come across.

Printed by Her Majesty’s Stationery Office in 1974 it states that “it is essential that every police officer should be familiar with the effects of nuclear weapons, the organisation of the emergency services, the scheme of wartime regional government, the increased responsibilities of the police in war and the planning measures to be taken to enable forces to meet these new responsibilities” and as such goes on to say that “this manual has been compiled to that end”.

BLOG - Home Defence #C

To be honest I’m glad that I never caught sight of the manual when I was younger because quite frankly it’s not the most reassuring of documents – although I suppose it was always going to difficult to detail a world suffering from the “effects of nuclear weapons” in anything other than a dispassionately grim manner.

That said whilst it fails in attempting to be even vaguely upbeat, the mundanity of the explanatory text on subjects such as the principles of radioactive decay, do show that even when faced with the end of the world as we knew it, we were intending to keep very calm and carry on.

BLOG - Home Defence #B

I will at some point post scans of the entire document for those of you who, like me, find these kind of things endlessly fascinating – hopefully before the sound of a rising and falling note is broadcast by the BBC.

On a continuing theme it seems apposite to point you in the direction of the enormously cheery new Luke Haines record which I’m sure is going be this years feel good hit of the summer.

Excuse the grandiose title but I like to note the passing of the years, and today sees dig your fins enter its seventh year.

Some people never seem to put a foot wrong.

In this instance it’s the very fine people working at Asbury & Asbury. As once again they’re responsible for another beautifully put together object – this time a simple but tremendously handsome A6 notebook.

Taking a mild obsession about international standard paper sizes and British A roads (two things that it’s entirely appropriate to become mildly obsessed with) they’ve combined elements of the two to celebrate both paper of a width of 105mm and a height of 48mm and at the same time a stretch of tarmacadam that begins in Luton and ends in Carlisle.

With an introduction from Joe Moran (author of On Roads – something else you should investigate further) I’d suggest you buy one for the glove compartment of your Austin Ambassador Y Reg and another for home, so that you can prepare to sit it alongside the others planned in the range, which I’m sure will be as exceptionally produced as this.

Goober Patrol


Earlier this week I got to see The Goob (over at The Luxe in Wisbech which itself comes highly recommended).

I’d been meaning to see it since I first heard about it, initially for no other reason than that it was filmed in and around the flatlands of Norfolk that I call home. Thankfully the use of the local landscape was just one of a number of elements that made for a hugely enjoyable film. Elements that included the largely terrifying Lowestoft raised Sean Harris – who apparently stayed in character throughout filming (which must have made for an interesting working environment), newcomer Liam Walpole – picked up through a chance encounter outside USA Chicken in his home town of Dereham and described by Director Guy Myhill as looking like “a cross between Bowie and Spock” and cinematographer Simon Tindall whose photography of a story where the landscape is a character in itself helps us understand the claustrophobia that’s sometimes found in such wide open spaces.

After the film Director Guy Myhill and Martin ‘Fergie’ Ferguson (some time Norwich builder and now part time actor) arrived to answer questions from the audience explaining amongst other things the process of how the film came to be made and the keenness for them to make the film authentic to the area, with many of the cast and crew coming from the area – something that’s particularly evident with the success of the  various (often very badly imitated elsewhere) Norfolk accents heard throughout the film.

Sadly because of the relatively limited release you’ll have to actively seek The Goob out – but given that it’s a very fine film it’ll at least be a search that’s well worth the effort.

(I should also mention the grand soundtrack of sparse electronica from Norwich’s very own Luke Abbot, available as an LP – Music For A Flat Landscape, a copy of which should find itself in the archive here at Weir HQ some time soon.)

21st June 2015


The plan was to get up this morning at some unearthly hour to raise a proverbial glass to my dad as the sun rose at Happisburgh (at 4:28am), and then very slowly make my way to Heacham on the other side of the county to do the same as the sun set (currently due at 9:27pm).

Sadly the forecast weather put paid to said plan. And whilst there was always the possibility that the meteorological predictions made by those in the know of unbroken cloud may have been wrong, the need to test this by depriving myself of sleep seemed a little obtuse.

The weather hasn’t entirely disappointed though as throughout the evening explosions of electrical activity have dragged across the skies in spectacular fashion.

My dad adored an electrical storm so it seemed only right to do what I’ve done many many times before now and join him outside in the rain, watching and waiting for the lightning strikes.


[Apologies for the quality of these sound recordings. They were taken in the rain on my generic mobile communications device which isn’t really designed for such things.]

BLOG - Shell #1

So it seems that every trip we make to the North results in a number of fine additions to the library here at Weir HQ. Largely because of a handful of tremendous bookshops including the much mentioned (well here anyway) Barter Books, and the equally fine, although marginally less handsomely located, Keel Row Bookshop – if you’re in or around the North East both are worth spending time, and perhaps more importantly, money in.

BLOG - Shell #2

The book I was most happy in acquiring during our time away from home was The Shell Book of Roads published in 1964, which comes with illustrations from David Gentleman and drawings from Peter Branfield. As it goes it’s a beautifully put together book and whilst Branfield puts in some good work, Gentleman’s pictures are what stand out.

(I’ll put some further pictures up in the next few days of some of the other purchases made which include a number of virtually untouched Puffin Picture books, and a great Miroslav Sasek book celebrating the work of Matchbox model cars).

BLOG - Northumberland #d
BLOG - Northumberland #e
BLOG - Northumberland #f

True North


After events last Friday resulted in the local geography remaining a very disappointing but perhaps not entirely surprising hue, the tremendous Mrs Weir and I decided to spend some time in the People’s Republic of the North East. As ever our time in Northumberland was hugely enjoyable, although it would been better still had Mrs Weir not had a cough worthy of someone with a greater knowledge than her of the work of Mr Henry Overton Wills and I not managed to put my back out scouring the beaches for Victorian sea glass.

Personally I blame the government.



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