AUTOMATICALLY UPDATED PERSONAL VIDEO BLOG
(This video blog below is my personal log and is not all Wye or
Forest connected - Scroll below for the Wyenot blog)
video blog above is my personal blog and covers more than just
Ross-on-Wye, the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean.
The written 'Wyenot Blog' can be found below . . . . .
28th December 2009 - Wishing you all a Happy and Prosperous
At the time of writing, heavy snow is forecast overnight
tonight, ready for the New Year. We had a nice quiet family
Christmas but things soon got back to normal and, to be
quite honest, I am bored, so I'm thinking of going out overnight
to time-lapse film the white stuff accumulating.
only work I did on Christmas day was my annual visit to
cover the old folks lunch at the Ryefield Centre. I like
covering this event because the genuine people are there
- those who willingly give up part of their own Christmas
to help others. Unlike the Flower Shows and the Christmas
Tree Festivals, there is no competition as to who can do
the most do gooding in public and this always makes for
a nice atmosphere.
'What's On?' page is looking extremely sorry for itself
at the moment. I do know of several events which are due
to take place in 2010 - all of the usual ones plus at least
one new one but if the organizers of these events do not
take the time to ask us to publish details about them, I
am not going to publish them. Usually, we end up
chasing people by phone for their 'What's Ons' but I am
not going to do that this year. If there are no new events
sent in, without further prompting, by the time that the
current two still listed have passed, I shall simply remove
the page. I am not being difficult here - I am simply sorting
the genuine readers with a care for what the community as
a whole is putting on and who take the trouble to find out,
from the users who only look after their own interests without
a thought for how their events become popular.
Year's Eve will soon be upon us. I'm not sure where
we are heading for the evening - probably a tour of Ross
Town to see what is going on, finishing with the usual at
the Market House. Last year, I suggested that we might provide
the midnight countdown and Aulld Lang Syne - which would
have been quite useful as the Market House clock is currently
not working. When I suggested it in the relevant places
though, the idea was not turned down exactly but the subject
was immediately and conveniently changed and so I took the
hint. We'll see you there anyway though, if you are around.
all of our readers, wherever you be a Happy and Prosperous
22nd December 2009 - Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
The winter solstice occurred at precisely 16.47 GMT on Monday
and from that moment, here in the northern hemisphere, the
days will gradually begin to get longer. The change from
darker to lighter days takes about 3 days to noticeably
kick in, hence the 25th December becoming 'natalis Invicti'
the Birth of the Unconquerable - the sun.
in Ross-on-Wye and the rest of the UK, the Christians will
celebrate 'Christmas' - the birth of Jesus Christ and on
its 'Eve', Noddy Holder's pension fund will be given another
massive royalty boost as radio stations around the globe
give the 'Christ' removed, 'Merry Xmas Everybody'
song more airplay.
of this bears absolutely no relevance to reality though.
I have been looking at Facebook this week and the fact is...
life as we know it has changed forever! 'Rage Against
the Machine' has beaten the 'X-Factor' winner to the Christmas
Number 1 slot. Tina had to stop me going to the garage and
hanging a noose from the rafters - and we haven't even
got a garage! I am still reeling from the shock and
though... Whatever your politics - be they Christian,
Islam, Bhuddist, Labour, Liberal Democrat, Conservative
or Monster Raving Loony -
whether you worship God, Bing Crosby or Simon Cowell - -
- - or whether, like me, you just wish for it all to be
over and for Spring to bring renewed life to the rivers,
forest and countryside of the beautiful Wye Valley - we
wish you a
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
you enjoy the Christmas film from Ross.
leave you with the best Christmas cracker joke I've ever
heard. Somebody read to me on Sunday: Why does Noddy have
a bell on the end of his hat? .... Because he's a twat.
16th December 2009 - Free Christmas Download Coming on Sunday
Firstly I would like to apologize
for the poor quality of some of the photos in the news
articles. I have been trying out a Nikon D300 camera for
a friend who was having some problems with it. I can see
what you mean, Andrew. The photos in this week's news at
the Council Coffee Morning, Rudolph in Three Crosses and
the Maltings carol singers were taken with it. They all
turned out fuzzy, with poor colour resolution and I have
had to do a considerable amount of sharpening and contrast
adjustment to get them into a near usable condition. I have
since reset most of the camera's settings back to factory
default and will experiment further when the next opportunity
did some specific filming and started to put the
Ross-on-Wye at Christmas film togetherthis week.
As a result, I must have had at least 20 people ask me,
'What was going on in town on Thursday? I saw you filming
by the market house.' The
only unusual thing going on was a sky with no clouds in
it and a dry pavement. I was taking advantage of this rare
December phenomenon to shoot a time lapse sequence for the
film and was there for two hours, so a lot of people saw
me whilst driving past.
film is almost complete and I am very pleased with the result
but I have one more pretty major sequence to shoot this
coming Saturday before finalizing and releasing it - the
Ross-on-Wye Christmas Carnival. Once this event is over,
I shall return home and immediately begin work on the final
edit, which should be finished by Sunday evening. As I said
initially, the film will mainly benefit the town in the
lead up to next Christmas but it is also my 'Christmas present'
to our 2009 readers. Look on Wyenot during the evening of
Sunday, 20th December to watch.
A free download of a 720i High Definition file of
the Christmas film, for shops and others who rely on tourism
to use, either on computer screens, or to put on DVD (to
run in DV quality) will be available. I will include instructions
for its download when I run the film on Sunday.
On Page is looking
depleted of events for next year. This page is one of THE
most popular pages on Wyenot with people visiting the town
and, unlike what's on events in the newspaper, it is free
to use (see instructions on page) and has nation/world-wide
coverage. It is THE most successful means of boosting
visitors at local events because virtually everybody taking
a holiday or weekend break in Ross looks at 'Wyenot' first
- look at how Jamstand, Ross Country Music Festival and
many other of the events which have become major over the
past few years have grown through our work publicizing them
to the world free of charge. Despite
this, we virtually always have to chase people to list their
events just to get the town looking busy on this page.
year, I am NOT going to chase anybody. If you do NOT
send in your event without prompting, it will NOT
get advertised, free of charge on our 'What's
On' page. If this means the end of the 'What's On' page
then so be it. It's up to you. If you are organizing an
event, just put yourself out for five minutes and think
where a high percentage of your visitors to past events
have come from - or have your event become a lot less successful
in 2010. I'm just fed up with thinking for and chasing people
who do not bother to think for themselves. We do not get
paid for advertising these events, so it would be no loss
to us if the 'What's
On' page were to be discontinued. Use it or lose
support from local business
has made me feel more optimistic about the future of Ross
and has given me more hope for the future of 'Wyenot'. At
last, after 10 years, local shops seem to be realizing its
value and are coming on board. On Friday, Tina and I visited
'Ross Old Books and Prints' to take photos and notes to
make an ad on Wyenot and I actually felt, 'These people,
along with others we have recently built ad pages for seem
genuine and a huge asset to Ross'. I was (this week) asked
to remove a shop ad page from 'Wyenot' as the owners had
decided to retire but forgotten to mention it to me. Some
people had turned up at a local café and asked the
proprietor why the shop had closed as they had made a special
journey to Ross having seen it here. Coincidentally, I bumped
into the retired owners of the shop on Saturday (Sweetest
Memories), who told me, 'We spent lots of money advertising
the shop in various ways when we opened it but the ONLY
ad which did any good at all was the cheapest of all - the
£90 per year one on the Wyenot website'. Thank you
for your support, Paula and Andrew. We wish you a long and
else running a B&B business which they decided to stop
due to their other venture, a tea garden, being very successful
also recently said to me: 'Thank you for removing the B&B
ad. You might like to hear a success story from a different
point of view to the usual.... Our phone has rung constantly
with enquiries about the B&B over past years. We forgot
to tell the other advertisers - Smoothhound etc. to remove
our B&B ad but the moment you removed it from Wyenot,
the phone stopped ringing. Stopped dead that day. We have
not had one call since.
may seem that I am blowing my own trumpet a lot here but
that is not why I mention these things. I mention them because
hearing this type of feedback spurs me on to think of more
I can do to boost the success of all local business. I am
not going to continue to do so though at the expense of
New Year's Resolution this year is, as always
that I will try to make 'Wyenot' more of a success for the
town than it already is - by continuing with the successful
series of video films and by promoting individual local
businesses in the best and cheapest way possible.
year though, I have added to it one more point...that
I'm not going to do this at the expense of myself. I intend
to stop all favours such as, 'We can't pay you but can I
use that photo you took of.., in our brochure'. 'I promise
to advertise in future but will you just run this news item
about our new shop free?' Of all the 'New Shop in Ross'
articles I have run in the past, under the heading of 'news',
not one single one of them has ever kept its promise to
take out an ad.
new year's resolution is to keep promoting Ross to the best
of my ability, but not at my expense!
the run-up to Christmas and the Christmas Carnival on Saturday,
look out for our Christmas in Ross film on Sunday evening
and we wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
scene from the Christmas film.
9th December 2009 - B side of I'm Walking Backwards to Christmas
Some weeks I can write a blog easily and on others, I struggle
to think of much, if anything to say. This week is a bit
like that, I'm afraid as the weather has been mostly dull,
we have been catching up with the accounts and I have just
covered the necessary. Not the most exciting of weeks! It
puts me in mind of the Goons record, 'I'm Walking Backwards
to Christmas' which I used to own on a 78. On the other
side, Spike Milligan simply said, 'There's nothing on this
side.......long pause......Are you still listening?...........Might
as well beat a tin or something'... It was one of the best
records the Goons ever recorded.
did manage to get out one evening during a break in the
cloud and take some film of the stars rising from the inside
of King Arthur's Cave but I think, to be honest, that was
the highlight of my week.
wise, I thought that the Ross Christmas Festival went down
very well, if a little early in the year for one like myself,
who tends to do his Christmas shopping during the late afternoon
on Christmas Eve. I took some Christmassy photos there,
for use in the Christmas film I'm making. I've solved the
music problem there, by the way. My brother, John plays
the piano well and is going to record some Christmas carol
arrangements for me, which I can mix with general outside
rather than waffle on about nothing, I'll write more when
I have something to say. Here's looking forward to spring
and the lighter nights... Look forward to seeing as many
as possible at the other Christmas events first though!
1st December 2009 - LIGHTS, 2009 AND ARTHUR'S STONE
decided to remove the blog I wrote yesterday about my experience
at St. Mary's on Saturday. The experience upset me deeply
but there is no point in holding a grudge as doing so would
put me on a similar level to those involved.
now has its new Christmas lights, which I must say are a
tremendous improvement over those of past years. I like
white Christmas lights. I did film the switch-on and will
continue to film for the Christmas video. I actually spent
the Friday evening and Saturday morning searching for music
which I could license to use as the soundtrack, so far,
unsuccessfully. I can easily get hold of a licensed CD with
tacky supermarket piped Christmas music but this is not
what I want to use. I would like to use proper Christmas
music - in particular, the Coventry Carol - but it needs
to be a version for which I can be granted lifetime and
international broadcast rights without too much expense
involved. I never make back the money I spend on licensing
music for my films on Wyenot because they are free for anybody
to watch. I hope I might see some return when I release
the DVD this coming spring.
put together a new film over the past week - a narrated
wildlife / cider making review of the year 2009. I am actually
quite pleased with this one, though unsure about my voice-over.
I don't like hearing my own voice recorded but feedback
so far is good. It can be seen, either in the separate article
or as the first item in the above video blog.
has this week off as we need to catch up with our accounts
for the tax return. Yesterday was the first sunny day in
ages and during the late afternoon and evening, wanting
to escape for a while, we went to visit one of my favourite
places locally - the Neolithic longberrow, Arthur's Stone
to film some time lapse of the stars. The photo below may
seem nothing unusual, until I tell you that I took it nearly
3 hours after sunset, and that it is lit by nothing other
than the light of the 26 day old moon. It is such a long
exposure that even the apparently black (to the naked eye)
sky over exposed to the point that it looks blue and the
Stone - a Neolithic longberrow by moonlight.
25th November 2009 - WATER AND EBENEZER SCROOGE
can count ourselves lucky in this part of England that the
big storm passed to the North of us - we have however not
been without rainfall. I do not understand why my automatically
recorded rainfall chart differs so much this week to the
figures produced by Ross weather station. I hate to say
it but, from memory of becoming very wet on several occasions,
I know which set of figures I am more inclined to trust
on this one occasion. Having said that, the rain did mostly
fall in heavy showers rather than continuously and my weather
station is located on the opposite side of town.
is the rain which falls in Wales that affects the depth
of the river, which has burst its banks several times over
the past two weeks. I have not been out this week with the
cameras every time the river has risen but I am keeping
a close eye out and will cover any serious rises in water
generic flood film I finished last week has proved to be
very popular. It is probably because I spent hours working
on it and saw the various sequences too often during the
editing stage but I was not overly impressed with the final
result of that particular film on first watch-through. Public
opinion however has said otherwise and it has in fact generated
the most positive feedback in a short period of time of
all the short films I have made for Wyenot. Thank you to
those who took the time to send feedback. When I hear nothing,
as is often the case, it can be quite disheartening but
your response has kept the windy, rainy, dark November miseries
is looming on the horizon and begins for us news-wise this
coming Saturday, with the switching on of the new Ross Town
Christmas lights. We will of course be covering all of the
major Christmas events for Wyenot News and if you attend,
you will almost certainly see me, not only taking photos
for the news but video as well. Special attention is being
paid to the town this year by the Town Council and by Ross
Traders. The lights are going to be better and there will
generally be more going on.
planning some Christmas 2010 promo: Yes - Ross-on-Wye's
biggest, Bah Humbug Scrooge said that! 'I've seen the ghost
of Christmas future,' he lied.
I will be shooting video at this year's Christmas events,
it will not be appearing immediately on the news, as will
the photos. I am filming for a reason. My plan is to wait
until all of the pre-Christmas events are over, including
the Christmas Carnival and then edit together what I am
hoping will be a nice 'Christmas in Ross-on-Wye' film at
the end. I shall release it on Wyenot late this year (after
the Carnival) but it is really aimed at bringing people
to the town next year. If I can get enough really good footage
together this year, I will be able to make a pretty good,
'Come to Ross at Christmas' promo for next year, which should
help the town and its traders as a whole. If you have a
Christmassy event or even a Christmas scene planned which
I do not know about and you would like it included, please
let me know. (I already have filming of the house lights
in the many decorated streets in mind.)
I need to switch off and down a neat cup of tea to recover,
having written all that positive stuff about Christmas.
It isn't my favourite time of year but if I have a technical
challenge to occupy my mind whilst others enjoy the season,
I'm happy. That's about all for now. It's a quiet news week
but things are about to buck up on that front, I feel. Have
a good week!
18th November 2009 - THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY
surprise! Our coverage of the River View affair last week
was the most viewed news item ever on Wyenot, with over
a thousand readers on its first day of publication and continuing
similarly all through the week.
It even overtook the BNP protest in terms of readership.
This makes me quite sad really. It's human nature I guess
but if we publish something good, hardly anybody reads it
(the Community Policing video, released the same day has
been watched 50 times, to date) but the moment something
has been quite sparse this week but I have not been idle.
I spent virtually all of the weekend (and last) filming
the River Wye for a sequence showing the water levels increasing.
My original intention had been to show all four seasons
on the Wye, narrated. I do have the footage but when I put
it together on Monday, it just seemed a little long winded
- a bit like a Horizon programme - going on just to fill
the hour long slot. Having worked on it for most of the
day, I decided against early in the evening and ran with
just the deep water footage - some from July and most from
the past two weekends.
are very late and very early scenes included, so I did not
get much sleep while the river was high. On Saturday, Tina
wanted to go and see the band, Silva at the White Lion.
To be absolutely honest - good as they are, this is not
really my thing so I delivered her to the door, acted sociable,
took a few photos and then went out filming while she danced
the night away. I knew she would be complaining about her
back the next day!!!
Sunday evening, I finished the filming by taking a trip
up the rock in Yatland. To my surprise, I met quite a few
people I know up there - not all at the same time and this
passed the time until dark fell, when I was left alone.
After about an hour of filming up there alone, a young couple
arrived in the darkness. I think my presence there had spoiled
their plans and so they stood, looking over the edge. They
stayed for about ten minutes then wandered off and had just
reached the footbridge when the most amazing thing happened.
If only they had stayed - I would love to have shared the
experience with somebody - even perfect strangers..... Without
warning, a fireball meteor just fell from the sky - and
I mean FELL. It came from the region of the W shaped constellation,
Cassiopeia and dropped vertically, glowing brilliant white,
so large I could see the rock itself until it burned to
nothing at about 10,000 feet - a third the height of a passenger
jet. As it fell, it began to spiral as it became smaller
in mass and the friction of the atmosphere slowed its fall
to parachute speed. Had my camera not been set up taking
automatic shots, I could have taken a straight point and
shoot type of photo. Sounds like the astronomer's version
of the fisherman's 'one that got away' story but I can assure
you - it is absolutely true! I did catch the International
Space Station in front of the Milky Way on one frame, and
have published the photo below to prove it. :-)
that's enough from me as I can't think of anything else
to say but the flood sequence can be watched, either in
the Blog player above or in the separate article. Have a
ISS orbiting below the Milky Way whilst I was filming at the Rock.
This is a 180 degree straight up photo and the thing in the top
right is a flagpole.
11th November 2009 - FIREWORKS, A NICE MEAL AND COVERING
can say that nothing ever happens in Ross! I had expected
the beginning of November to be a quiet period but it has
been far from quiet. We were up working on the news until
the early hours this morning and then needed to watch some
poop on television to help us wind down enough to be able
to sleep. I think it was actually 55 minutes past Milkman
when we finally switched the light off. (Milkman o'clock
has become a precise Time Standard in the WNN household
due to our long working hours, and is the time we hear the
milk float rattling its way along our street. It is a precise
measurement of universal time and equates approximately
to 3.00am - a measurement which tends to vary between the
summer and winter months, and one's global position.)
were rather hoping that it would remain dry for this year's
Ross Lions firework display, which took place in the grounds
of the Chase Hotel on Saturday. However! Although not monsoon
conditions like last year, once again our camera lenses
got wet, along with our bodies. It was still a great display
though and lots of people managed to make it to the event.
wise, I have not achieved a lot this week, although I did
manage some nice sunrise footage by the River Wye on Saturday,
when the water levels were high. I am keeping this back
for a future 'River Wye' tourism project.
that, although I had only published the one firework article,
we were pretty well up-to-date with the outside reporting
of news on Monday, Tina and I decided to take a lazy day
and save the work for Tuesday. That was a big mistake because
the unexpected always happens when you least expect it.
I guess that's why it's called the 'unexpected'! We had
lunch planned at Bridge at Wilton so that Tina could introduce
me to Paul, the new chef. We were just about to leave when
somebody stopped me whilst loading my camera into the Wyenot
Mobile and mentioned the incident which was taking place
in River View. I went by that way on my way to the Bridge
and took a photo, thinking that it would all be over in
I'm usually one for plain food - mostly involving chips,
the meal was lovely. We finished, took some photos and left
for home. As we drove up Brampton Hill, I heard somebody
shout, 'Good! Wyenot News are here'. I was only driving
past, Gov. Honest! Other people also began waving at us
and pointing, so I thought I had better get out of the van
and see what was happening. I spoke to the Inspector McLaughlin,
who gave me a rough outline of what was going on, I took
some more photos and went home to work. My intention had
been to wait for the official info from the Police Press
Office, however pressure to cover the incident started arriving
via email and phone, so I returned to the scene a few times
throughout the day and covered the event photographically.
very little else to say really other than what we thought
would be an easy day, turned out to be very stressful, trying
to write up the stories we had covered earlier in the week,
editing press items sent in to us and simultaneously covering
a very topical incident photographically. I was in and out
of the house all evening - stress about the time I was going
to see my bed adding to the pressure I was feeling to get
the incident reported. My job was easy compared to that
of the Police but I am so glad that yesterday is over! And
that it ended without a shot being fired!
apologize if this seems hastily written but I had 4 hours
of sleep last night and my writing is not up to much at
the moment. Hopefully, things will get back to normal for
my next blog. Until then...............
5th November 2009 - BRIEF NOTE ABOUT THE WEBCAMS
format change: I have changed the way the webcams
on Wyenot are viewed today. In some ways, I prefer this
new look but the change was not purely for cosmetic reasons.
Because the original system opened small windows which could
remain open after a visitor had left Wyenot - and because
those small windows could be linked to by other web sites
they were being abused. Other web sites - particularly fishing
sites (not local, funnily enough) had been pulling them
and making them appear as part of their own fishing web
site. Some were pulling the windows virtually 24/7 - stealing
my bandwidth, along with the pictures supplied by Rose Cottage
and the White Lion.
have changed the system so that they open in a normal size,
Wyenot.com style window, which in Internet Explorer, returns
to the top of the page on the 60 second refresh. Hopefully
this will stop the system being abused. I intend to continue
to regularly change the webcam url as well, as an added
precaution against theft. This will make no difference to
the way our regular viewers see the camera (other than it
will not be worth adding that page to favourites) but it
will be a considerable inconvenience to those pulling the
4th November 2009 - AUTUMN ART CAVES FIREWORKS AND A CASTLE
sunshine arrived for a day last Wednesday and
as a result, I was able to finish off the 'Autumn' film
for the tourism pages of 'Wyenot'. That is now up and running
on an updated Forest
of Dean page but can also be seen in the video blog
above. When I say 'updated' Forest page - I have updated
the photographs but have yet to write some better text for
the page. I shall try to do that this week. The film is
a culmination of two months work and included 5,700 photographic
frames run as video frames plus three actual video clips.
I prefer running still images as fast stop motion frames
as this produces crisper images. I hope this will attract
more visitors to the area next autumn.
tourism 'Places to Visit' page of 'Wyenot' I have updated
this week is the King
Arthur's Cave page. I have long thought my original
photographic pages showing the Doward caves were too personal
and have removed these in favour of just straight forward,
autumnal photos of the caves. Actually - this page is worth
looking at, even if you know the caves well because I used
an extremely wide angle lens to take the pictures, and some
inside photos were taken using long exposures in natural
light, rather than flash light. These show the caves, quite
possibly as you have never seen them before.
of Ross Traders:
I received a call this afternoon from Richard Mayo, Chairman
of ART, the Association of Ross Traders asking me if I would
be willing to help promote a possible future parking scheme,
which is currently in the ideas and planning stage. I would
just like to say here that the answer is YES. Promoting
the town of Ross-on-Wye is what Wyenot is all about and
has been from the very beginning. I built it specifically
to help everybody in the town that I have enjoyed living
in since 1976.
everybody uses the internet to look up holiday destination
information these days and 'Wyenot' has become THE reference
source for virtually everybody visiting Ross-on-Wye and
a large part of the Wye Valley before they plan a holiday
or weekend break in the area. People from all over the United
Kingdom, and indeed, the world use it. During the months
of November and December, Wyenot's pages are read mainly
by local people reading the news and a few holiday planners
but on 1st January every year, the page view count triples,
from around 2,000 to around 6,000 pages per DAY, with people
looking for somewhere to visit. The viewer figures drop
a little during February and the first part of March but
then it picks up again. Throughout the summer, 6000 plus
pages of information are read daily - about 4,000 of them
by town visitors looking for places to stay, things to do.
I will help the Association of Ross Traders in any way that
I am able by publishing details of new schemes to attract
business into Ross. I do not mind publishing this information
for free, on the most frequently read visitor pages of Wyenot,
such as the Ross-on-Wye
and other related pages. 'Wyenot' is the obvious place to
post this kind of information as it has a far bigger reach
than the local radio or local newspapers.
Over the past 10 years, 'Wyenot' has attracted hundreds
of thousands of people to the town of Ross-on-Wye. Without
traders realizing it, every single one of them has gained
business as a result of my efforts in keeping it running,
which takes up virtually every minute of every day of my
life, including Christmas Day. The reason 'Wyenot' is so
hugely popular and successful is purely down to the amount
of work which goes into it keeping it current - covering
local news and events - photographing scenic places to visit
in the area - making films about local places of interest
- and projects like the recent 'Navigating Ross and its
Car Parks' video. In return for this, all I have earned
for myself is bags under the eyes, aching bones and a huge
many guest houses and other places offering local accommodation
have supported Tina and I with this venture, very few Ross
Traders have. I can count those who have on my fingers.
I realize that times are hard for everybody but keeping
this level of business flowing into Ross is far from easy
and I need more support from Ross Traders. If more local
shops supported us by advertising on our 'Shops' page, Ross-on-Wye
Town would look a far more vibrant and interesting place
to visit and more people would come to Ross as a result.
I AM SAYING IS: I will help Ross Traders in any way
I can, providing that it is not all one way traffic. In
return, I would like some more support. Our advertising
costs £90 per YEAR for a full page, which, unlike
having your own web site, advertising on local radio or
in the local newspapers, will get seen by people all over
the UK who will know where to find various shops before
they leave home. Equally, local people will be able to look
up local shops on their lap top computers.
I could, I would make our advertising cheaper but I simply
cannot afford to do that. Building each advertisement takes
an awful lot of my time. Just work out how much advertising
you would get for £90 per year on local radio or in
the newspaper. Look at other town web sites and see if they
are half as popular, or if you can get a year's ad for £90.
To use a cliché regarding local traders - I'll scratch
your back if you scratch mine.
I am not - never have been after making huge amount of money
for myself. I'm not a materialistic person and could not
care less about having a big car or holidays in the Bahamas.
Been there, done that in a past life with the holidays abroad.
I love England and just want to earn enough to live whilst
doing what I enjoy - making local scenic and local wildlife
films, and helping Ross to thrive. (And glancing through
my telescope at the stars when the opportunity arises.)
Annual Ross Lions Bonfire and Firework Display
is due to take place this coming Saturday at the Chase Hotel.
All of the money taken at the gate goes towards the
Ross Lions charity and the event is by far the charity's
biggest fund-raiser. Last year, it rained heavily and everybody
got very wet. Tina tried to help out by holding an umbrella
over my cameras but they still got soaked. Let us hope for
a dry display this year. We will be there to cover the event
and look forward to seeing as many as possible of you there.
last thing. I thought readers might like to see
the photo below, which I took of Wilton Castle last week.
Again - as you have probably never seen it before. It is
a time exposure taken during a brief break in cloud cover,
at night. The stars are genuine - not painted in. A lens
open for a long period of time can gather far more light
than the human eye. If you look closely, you can see them
trailing more in the top left (south and further away from
the pole star) due to the rotation of the earth. The white
streak, bottom right, is traffic on the bypass.
you are near to Ross and enjoy watching fireworks, I hope
to see you Saturday, if not - until next week....
Castle at night.
28th October 2009 - A BIT OF AN UNUSUAL WEEK!
you very much to all who wrote in answering my navigation
video poll. Usually when I ask a question which involves
an email response, only a few regulars take time to answer
it but the response to last week's poll was huge. Everybody
chose the straight video version of the info film, I remade
it this week, adding some additional routes and it can now
be seen live on the main Ross-on-Wye
page of Wyenot. I still have more routes to film but the
weather has not been right for filming this week. This was
the important one to get finished first though as it is
from this direction that the one way system tends to direct
visitors past rather than through Ross. Maybe a few more
will stop and visit shops in town now.
was a strange day. My only plans had been to go to Broome
Farm and cover the story of Ross Girl Guides and their visit
to learn the apple juice stage of making cider. (No. They
were not there to earn their cider drinking woggle!) Throughout
Friday and Saturday though, I kept receiving emails informing
me of the BNP Party's visit to Ross and the planned protest.
I had seen the police helicopter hovering on Friday. It
was on an information gathering mission, looking at the
grounds of the Chase Hotel to plan safety security measures.
Although we have our own political views personally, we
do not favour or disfavour any one particular political
party with Wyenot and there were too many emails for me
to ignore, so I covered the protest - purely from a Ross-on-Wye
local news point of view. We rushed from Broome Farm and
the Girl Guides, straight to the protest in Gloucester Road.
covered the protest with photography and video. This made
me quite sad, in a way. The video I enjoy filming and editing
is the local scenic films, such as those I have been producing
over the past year to boost tourism. These films are always
popular, but on average, each one takes about a month after
upload before it reaches 1000 views. The controversial BNP
protest film on the other hand, was watched 300 times within
an hour or two of upload. It was watched so much in fact
that it jammed the You Tube view counter at 330 views and
many hundreds, probably a thousand views were not counted
(this is a bug in the You Tube system with popular videos).
That 'Protest' news page became the most read news page
in any one day since I first started Wyenot News. It alone
clocked up 750 visits on my server log, in just its first
day, and continued similarly over the following days.
was not intending to make a personal political statement,
regarding the BNP but I will just say that following the
video upload, the BNP have shown me their true colours.
Within hours I started receiving not very nice mail from
BNP supporters. This is an exact copy and paste of one of
them, sent to me by somebody calling himself, 'NOislamification'...
'lmfao @ you pathetic fat unwashed traitor. youl never stop
the bnp, you just make us stronger'
no skinny waith, I know but he is wrong about one thing.
I took a bath as recently as last April. The spelling and
general grammar in the email say it all really and running
a news report does not make me a traitor. I have never supported
the BNP, so how can I betray them?
weather has not been good for continuing filming for
my 'Autumn in the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean' film and
it does not look good for at least another week. I'm hoping
that the leaves stay on the trees in their autumn colours
long enough for me to make it. It could end up becoming
an autumn wind and flood film.
about it at the moment other than that there might be a
little good news. I contacted the disputes department of
the bank about my problem with 'Bitesizedeals.co.uk' in
California (mentioned a couple of blogs ago). When I explained
my situation, the bank said, 'Bitesizedeals is a name which
is NOT unknown to us!' They are hopefully going to get my
money back for me, which is something of a relief. The down
side is that I need to post hard copies of correspondence
and there is a postal strike.
you find this week's news interesting. Until next time...........(Although
she found it very funny, Tina advised me against the joke
I was going to put here on grounds of political correctness.)
21st October 2009 - TICK FOLLOWED TOCK
use an Americanism, which I really do not like doing, I
was truly blown away by response to the 'Yat
Rock by Starlight' film I uploaded during the week. (Top
one in the video log above.) It seems to have gone down
a storm on You Tube, Vimeo and Facebook with people saying
things like, and I quote directly from Vimeo, 'wooooooooooooow!'
and others on You Tube asking, 'tell me how u did this plz?'
and 'Absolutely fantastic !'.
The film has been watched over 300 times, from various different
uploads within 7 days.
answer to the 'How?' question is: with a lot of patience,
taking hundreds of 30 second long exposures in total darkness,
sometimes alone at the top of Yat Rock for hours on end
whilst getting spooked by strange noises in the woods. Sometimes,
Tina came with me to film and sometimes, my friend Mike.
In all, the time I spent filming it was a relaxing and most
enjoyable experience. The sequence is less than 2 minutes
long but the response it has generated has prompted me to
film many more star sequences and make a longer edit - nothing
to do with 'Wyenot' and tourism - simply for pleasure.
than that, this has been a pretty mundane week. Other than
covering the articles which can be seen in this weeks news,
tick has followed tock on my wrist watch, the fine weather
turned from sunny to dull on the day I had planned to film
more autumn scenes and life has gone on. I can't really
think of much else to write at the moment other than: please
let me have your opinion on which 'Navigating Ross' filming
style to go with. The town's diabolical one way system does
nothing to help local tourism, thousands and thousands and
thousands of people who visit Ross look at Wyenot before
leaving home and I really want to get this going to help
all local traders.
next time... Have a good'n.
14th October 2009 - 9 MILLION AND COUNTING PLUS A WARNING
you to those who have remarked that the counter on the bottom
of the pages of 'Wyenot' clocked over an impressive 4 million
pages viewed this week. This is pretty good news, however
it is unfortunately inaccurate as this counter grossly under-reads...
I first uploaded 'Wyenot.com' to make it 'live to the world'
back on 12th December 2000, I used a different counter,
which eventually crashed out and so I abandoned it. Learning
from the trial and error method, I then made an error with
the current one and for 4 years, it only counted visitors
to one page of 'Wyenot', rather than all pages. As a result,
the 4 million figure does not come anywhere near the total
amount of pages which have been viewed. The figure it should
read (taking a rough server log count) is approximately
9,125,000 - over 9 million page views and counting. I
realize that I should stop paying the 18 US Dollars per
year renewal fee for this counter but it is embedded on
so many thousands of pages of 'Wyenot' that it would take
me the proverbial 'Month of Sundays' to remove the code.
If I did not remove the code, it would leave an unwanted
ad for The Counter.com on every page. I therefore pay the
18 dollars per year out of laziness, I guess. To quote another
cliché ('clamp', if you speak English), they have
me by the short and curlies.
to a much more serious matter: BEWARE
if you buy anything on the internet and pay by card, on-line.
To help with the local films I am making, I needed/wanted
a very specialist fisheye lens for my camera - the type
which does not come cheap. The cost was on the absolute
limit of money I felt I was able to spend, if I did not
buy anything else for several months. From the shop I generally
use for purchasing my camera equipment, the price was £519.00
plus postage (it is so specialist that no shop within 50
miles keep it in stock), making a total of £527.
I was doing the right thing, I looked on the internet to
see if I could find it cheaper. I looked up the specific
lens model number on Google, adding the suffix 'UK' and
this brought up the page of a company called 'Bite Size
Deals.CO.UK' which were offering the lens for £475.
'Great', I thought and started to place my order. When I
went to the 'shopping trolly', the site then said I had
a further discount of £2.00, bringing the price down
to £473.00. I put in my card details, ordered and
forgot about it for most of that day.
the late afternoon, I received a phone call from California.
'You placed an order with Bite Size Deals and before processing,
we would like to ask you a few questions to protect you
against credit card fraud,' said the man at the other end
of the line, speaking with a broad American accent.
My suspicions were aroused. 'This is most unusual,' I said.
'I gave you all of the necessary security details when I
placed the order on-line.'
but we have to check, otherwise we will not be able to process
your order,' said the American, who then began to ask for
a lot more details about my account. I began to seriously
suspect this was not genuine and told him so, refusing to
answer his questions about my card account.
you do not give us these answers, we will have to cancel
your order', he said.
was angry by this time. 'Firstly, your web site gives the
impression that you are a British company and secondly,
I am not willing to give details of my bank account to somebody
I do not know, in the USA, over the phone. Go ahead and
Cancel. I will buy the lens from a company that I know for
sure is in England.'
your order is cancelled', he replied and the phone conversation
checked my email and, immediately, I received confirmation
that my order had been cancelled. Thinking all was well,
I reordered from Jessops Photography, at £527.00.
was the following morning that I checked my on-line banking,
to make sure the Jessops payment had gone through. To my
amazement, having called me to 'Protect me' from card fraud
and having cancelled my order because I was not willing
to give them the information, 'Bite Size Deals.co.uk' had
taken £473.00 from my card. On complaining they say
that they will refund the money, but that my refund has
'joined the queue and will take up to 30 days'. My further
emails of complaint to the company, who should not have
been able to make the charge to my card as I had not answered
their security questions have bed answered with stereotype
replies, not relating to my actual complaint. They are playing
a 'we do not understand' game.
a result, until / if I get my money refunded, the one lens
has has cost me £1000.99. I WOULD ADVISE ANYBODY
THINKING OF USING 'BITESIZEDELAS.CO.UK,' DON'T DO IT. THEY
ARE NOT IN THE UK AND THEY HAVE £473 OF MY MONEY,
WHICH THEY HAVE NO RIGHT TO HAVE TAKEN!!!! (See statement
seems that, whenever things begin to look up, something
else is waiting around the corner but despite this, I have
remained pretty cheerful this week and have been relaxing
by filming at Yat Rock. I hope you enjoy the 'Yat Rock by
Starlight' film and I'll be back here next week. Wishing
you all better luck than mine.
7th October 2009 - ZEBRAS AARDVARKS AND GENERAL UPDATES
response from Ross traders who have taken out ads within
the past weeks (since the Traders' Meeting) has been very
pleasing - one of them writing to me to say they were really
impressed and are definitely going to spread the word to
other local traders. This is great news for Wyenot, and
for the town, which will benefit as a result of more shops
appearing on our 'Local Shops' page. I have completed two
of the new advertisements and have virtually completed the
am very seriously considering - in fact I have made up my
mind to make a pre-Christmas promotional video within the
next few weeks, highlighting our local shops and what they
have to offer - just those who support us, of course. This
will not be a chargeable thing - just another part of the
service to our supporters. Our £90 per year advertising
service does not stop at just the page - it covers extras
such as this, photographic 'What's On? events and personal,
more detailed coverage of news items.
listed businesses on our 'Accommodation' pages in alphabetical
order, right from the very beginning. This seemed the fairest
thing to do at the time however, recently, two accommodation
owners actually changed the name of their house so that
it begins with the letter 'A'. This is, of course, one method
of getting to the top of the listing but I feel that doing
this is somehow, not quite right. I am afraid that I am
not going to keep messing about, shuffling the listings
on these pages because people change there house name from
Zebra to Aardvark.
am trying to think up a fair system to help those who wish
to be listed at the top of the page. This thought is only
in the embryonic stages at the moment but I may consider
keeping all the current listings on the page in alphanumeric
order, but introducing a new, limited section at the top
of the listings, in which those who have a page with us
can bid on top of the usual £90 per annum fee for
an extra 'top of the page' listings. This is just a thought
at the moment and I may dream up a better solution first.
Any thoughts or ideas on this matter would be welcome. We
want to help those who help us, in the fairest possible
have continued to film Autumn approaching this past week
and the time lapse footage is building up nicely. It has
however been difficult at times due to weather conditions.
The difference between clear sky and just small amounts
of thin cloud can make a huge difference to how a river
or lakeside scene appears on film. Looking at the weather
forecast and then banking the exact opposite type of weather
occurring has been working remarkably well in this respect.
is about all I can think of at the moment, other than I
was rudely awoken this morning after just 4 hours sleep,
by workers who wanted me to move my van so that they can
dig the holes in the road necessary to 'move the electricity
cables from overhead to underground'. Now, in Cawdor, as
in other parts of Ross, the cables ARE overhead and desperately
need moving underground but here in Hillview Road... I have
the 'before' and am going to take some 'after' photos of
the overhead to underground transition for a 'Spot the Difference'
article. I was extremely self-controlled and refrained from
'green side up'' jokes when the workmen were relaying the
turf, having dug across our lawn.
30th September 2009 - FILMING AND A NEW RIVERCAM AT SYMONDS
I don't know how it happened but the above video blog player
has been showing the wrong set of films for, I don't know
how long. I have only just noticed this and corrected it
(I hope) but somehow, things have become muddled. All of
the films are still there, but not necesarily in the right
week I have continued filming and taking photos for my series
of local promotion videos and future new tourist information
pages on Wyenot.
recent 'Portrait of the River Wye at Symonds Yat' film has
gone down extremely well. I deleted the first version of
the film because I was slightly unhappy with one small technical
issue and I filmed a better ending (due to weather conditions)
after having completed the 'final' edit. That version had
been watched over 200 times in just a day at the time I
deleted it and had been given 6 five star ratings on You
Tube. The updated
version, at the time of writing, has been uploaded for
less than a week, has already been watched over 300 times
and currently has 9 five star ratings. I hope this does
a lot to boost tourism during the 2010 season.
am currently working on two things in particular - a page
and film about Garway Hill and an Autumn in the Wye Valley
and Forest of Dean film. I have completed much of the Garway
Hill filming but I am not going to rush production as I
want to produce as good an edit as possible, first time
round. I need to wait a few weeks before filming some of
the autumn shots for the other.
other major update, tourism wise, to Wyenot is the addition
of a second webcam, located at Symonds Yat East and producing
a live picture every minute. From experience of the White
Lion camera, I know that this will be a tremendous boost
to that area. Thank you to Nick and Angie of Rose
Cottage Tea Garden for having the camera installed and
supplying the picture.
is always a little lacking at this time of year but we have
a few items this week. I hope that you will bear with us
through the quiet news period of September and October.
Events will soon be starting up again in November with the
local firework display and then, I hate to say it but Christmas
is looming on the horizon like a bad dream. Most regular
readers will have gathered over the years that I cannot
stand the Christmas period. I find it clinically depressing.
Not the Christian festival itself but the commercial bullshit
that comes with it. There are bound to be lots of local
news stories arising from the 'Season of Good Will' though
and local news will soon pick up again.
next week.... Have a good'n!
23rd September 2009 - LOCAL SUPPORT SEEMS TO BE ON THE
was not sure whether or not to make that bold statement
in the headline. Many years ago, I was talking to an aunt
of mine, who is long since gone about car tyres and punctures.
'I have been driving for 5 years now and have never had
a puncture.' I said. Guess what I found when I went to get
in my car to drive to the station the very next morning!
mentioned us at a meeting of the Local Traders' in the week.
I have no idea what he said but as a result, two shops have
definitely come on board and we have an enquiry from a third.
This is really good news... For us, but also for the town
as a whole! This will of course help us to keep 'Wyenot'
running but I would particularly like to emphasize the 'for
the town as a whole' bit.
accommodation section works fantastically because thousands
of tourists looking for somewhere to go look up Ross-on-Wye
or Symonds Yat on Google, arrive at Wyenot and all that
they need to book a holiday or short break can be found
in one place...... places to stay, places to dine, places
to drink, places to visit and things to do.
have always also been able to look up one or two shops,
but so far, in the 9 years, since I started 'Wyenot', not
many have come on board and that area of our tourism medium
has seemed pretty void of information. With more shops coming
on board now, to help fill our 'Shops' page with links to
pages on Wyenot about individual local traders, Ross-on-Wye
will look a much more interesting place in general to the
thousands of people who visit Wyenot every day of the week
throughout the holiday season. More people will find the
Town of Ross itself interesting, rather than just stick
to finding somewhere to stay, eat and the places of scenic
and historic interest. They will also be able to look up
more places to shop and EVERYBODY
will benefit as a result. All of the information will be
in one place.
the way I see it anyway. I know that the first time Tina
and I wanted to book a short break in Burnham on Sea, I
searched the internet high and low and had the Devil's own
job finding somewhere to stay, or any other local information
because there was nothing like a 'Wyenot' equivalent for
that area. There is now - a pretty good one (www.burnhamonsea.com),
with lots of local support, but at the time...
that's enough of that. This week has been a quiet one
for news and events, which may not be good for those who
like lots of local news to read, but for us the quieter
period has made a refreshing change. As well as allow us
some free time, it has given me the opportunity to work
on more tourism attracting content for 'Wyenot'. I finished
a second film project for Symonds Yat, which I actually
began 2 years ago. This can be seen on the above video log
as well as in a separate article for this week. It can also
be seen from the Symonds Yat and many other tourist information
pages on Wyenot.
film was an absolute pleasure to make, especially the
more recently filmed scenes, due to the peaceful times I
spent filming both at dawn and after dark. The final time-lapse
sequence in the film lasts no longer than 15 to 20 seconds
but it took 12 hours to shoot. The reason for this is that
each individual frame took 1 minute to shoot, so that the
river, cloud and stars would show up in the dark. The photo
below is my favourite frame from the whole film. I hope
you enjoy watching, and that the resulting movie will reap
rewards for local tourism. If it gets watched only half
as much as the one I made in March, it should do well.
favourite frame from the film. The view from Yat Rock as darkens
falls and the stars gradually emerge.
15th September 2009 - DOWN BY THE RIVER AND FILMING JESSE
week, our routine turned out to be somewhat different from
the norm. Some will remember last October, when I made a
short video for my life long singer/songwriter friend, Steve
O'Kane, to go with his song, 'Down By The River', showing
a kingfisher diving and other local wildlife. That song
and video became a favourite with many people around the
world, not only on Wyenot but also on Facebook.
weekend, Steve came to Ross to perform some of his songs
at Ross Cider Festival - I filmed one his songs and used
it in the video coverage of that event. Coincidentally,
before Steve came to Ross, he played at the Havering Show
and met another friend. When he told her that he was visiting
Ross, she said, 'We have an apartment in Ross which you
can use if you wish.' As a result, Steve and his partner,
Fiona ended up spending the week in town, sleeping in Brook
House but spending the days with us. We spent a lot of time
'by the river' and I even got my small boat out.
seen last October's video, many people mentioned that they
would like to see Steve perform the song live and so he
did just that so that I could film it. Not only that but
he actually performed it 'Down by the River' - here in Ross,
by Wilton Bridge. At the time of writing, that film can
be watched, second video in on the player above.
I hope all of Steve's followers enjoy watching this very
'spur of the moment' recording. Steve and I were sat in
the White Lion just prior to the recording and it was a
'let's do it now' decision to film.
evening was also a very different evening for me. Another
of my long term friends from my 'Dagenham Roundhouse' days,
Ken, with whom I had kept in touch but not actually seen
for 30 years called recently. I have to admit that my interest
in heavy rock music has been waning of late but Ken is still
very heavily into rock and blues. Although he has moved
to Swindon, Ken is still involved in both visiting and arranging
rock concerts involving some of the more well known bands.
asked me to Swindon on Saturday evening to film the legendary
guitarist, Jesse Davey and some of his friends, including
the also legendary Jon Amor. Both are members of a former
band called 'The Hoax' (and no, this is not a hoax) who
are big names and have a huge following in both the USA
and Holland. They have appeared on Jools Holland's 'Later'
programme and have a following here also but they are far
better known across The Pond.
Hoax are reforming for a few concerts later in the year
and Jesse and Friends are next performing in Holland on
3rd October but in the mean time, I was asked if I would
film their gig in Swindon on Saturday evening. It was nice
to see Ken again and to meet Jesse and Jon for the first
time and we had a somewhat different kind of Saturday from
the usual 'about town' stuff, so there is no film from Ross
this week. The first (most recent) video in the Auto
Log above is Jesse and Friends, performing at the 12
Bar on Saturday evening. Within a few hours of uploading
this, I began receiving requests from across the pond to
upload more of this film but... Sorry, I cannot do that.
It was a great evening but I filmed it for the band. They
may upload more in the future. BTW: Jesse is second from
the left in this video and, in what is evidently his usual
modest way, his friends are taking the lead. Jon Amor is
the vocalist and guitarist.
have been covering some local news during the week, which
can be seen below this week's blog on the News page but,
this week has been very different for us. Although local
events are cooling down now for the winter, we will continue
to cover those that do take place. The next biggie being
the Ross Lions' Firework Display in November.
you to Tim Harris, who was the one and only person who took
the trouble to reply with his thoughts regarding last week's
blog. It's nice to know that somebody out there cares. I'll
give your idea some thought, Tim.
O'Kane 'Down by the River'.
10th September 2009 - CIDER FESTIVAL AND ONWARDS
in case you have not noticed it in this week's
news, Ross-on-Wye Cider Festival took place at Broome Farm
over the weekend. Tina and I camped in the orchard for this
year's festival and really enjoyed the whole event, from
Friday evening's ceilidh to Sunday's farmers' market. This
of course had the advantage of me not having to drive, so
I took the unusual step of partaking of some of the fruits
of the orchard on both Friday and Saturday. I don't think
I partook quite as much as Tina did as I was busy filming
- probably had my '5 a day' though in liquid form and despite
the fact that I was working, I really enjoyed the event
I have mentioned, time and time again... Broome Farm is
my absolute favourite place to visit in the whole of the
Wye Valley, and not because I am a cider drinker (I actually
prefer a nice cup of tea to any form of alcohol) but because
everybody there is so friendly and welcoming. Going there
is like going home for a huge, happy family reunion. One
immediately becomes a part of the family on first meeting
the team and they all become friends for life.
was really nice that my friend of decades, Steve O'Kane
and his partner, Fiona McBain were able to visit and perform
at the festival on Sunday. Steve and Fiona have stayed here
in Ross ever since, sitting in our living room with Tina
and putting up with the expletives coming from this office
for 2 very long days as I struggled to put the video films
of the event together. Having finally finished all that
though, getting most of the local news up by the early hours
of Wednesday morning, we then spent the rest of sunny Wednesday
messing about on the river. In all, it has been a very enjoyable,
if not profitable week and, as I type, Steve and Fiona are
in my little boat, heading for Symonds Yat via the pretty
route and I am going to meet them there shortly.
the subject of the 'if not profitable week', I am thinking
- I am going to have to branch out a bit from Wyenot very
soon. Wyenot is helping everybody locally by bringing in
the tourists but I am still running it at a financial loss
to myself, which I cannot maintain any longer. I am not
thinking of winding it up but I am thinking of branching
off into video production - maybe weddings, promo video
- anything. I seem to be spending 99.9% of my life just
lately covering events with video and photographically without
getting paid a penny for it. Maybe I should start advertising
this service as a service I charge for. Any thoughts, anybody?
1st September 2009 - AFTER THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND
have spent a lot of time this week adding 'Google'
advertising links to some of the pages of 'Wyenot'. Although
the place where they would definitely earn us the largest
income would be from our own information pages such as 'Accommodation'
and 'Dining', I am not adding them to these pages as I do
not want the 'Google' links taking people away from our
far, this has been something of a success in that it seems
to be earning us an average of £1 per day extra. Although
I cannot see it earning a huge revenue for us at any time
in the future, every little helps and we need all the help
we can get.
our video streaming from 'Vimeo' to 'You Tube'
seems to be reasonably successful also and is beginning
to work now as more people are used to the latter. If anybody
is interested, my actual 'You Tube' channel can
be seen here. If you do go there and watch any of the
content, I would appreciate it if those with 'You Tube'
accounts would rate the video content HONESTLY!!!.
The ratings give me some idea of the type of content viewers
like to see, or do not like to see.
have also been prepping edits of my film material
for a DVD showing Ross, the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean
at its best this week. Depending on the cost of having these
run these off professionally, with printed, shrink wrapped
and bar coded packaging, I am hoping to get these out in
time for Christmas, thus helping 'Wyenot' financially for
next season. It really depends on how much the lump sum
outlay is for reproducing the DVDs as to whether or not
I will be able to do this.
have covered a couple of events over the weekend
and the rest of the news will be uploaded by tomorrow morning.
We are behind due to it having been a holiday weekend. We
went along to the Regatta for half an hour on Monday but
the event I personally enjoyed the most this weekend was
the knights battling it out at Goodrich Castle. I shall
run some photos of this event later today but not the film
I shot. I am saving that for another short film about local
places of historical interest.
22nd August 2009 - UPDATE
other news and general updates, I have continued to make
the changeover, streaming the video on all but the Wye Valley
and Forest of Dean in High Definition pages from Vimeo to
You Tube this week.
I intend to leave the HD page as it is because on this page,
the films can be watched full screen and in much higher
reason for the change is a cost cutting exercise in order
to help us keep going. I do not have to pay when people
view the video on You Tube whereas I do on Vimeo and just
this month, I have had to pay the annual fee for the 'Wyenot'
domains and web space as well as the page counter fee. Not
to mention the equipment maintenance and replacement.
know I keep harping on about lack of financial
support for Wyenot but if you look at it seriously, the
running costs of Wyenot are HUGE in terms of equipment
replacement - thousands of pounds every year.
keep writing in saying, 'I love Wyenot and it does so much
for the town and local area. Please don't stop!'
will try my very best not to but I have a total
88 supporting advertisers paying £90 per year to support
the whole of Wyenot financially. There are a small handful
of others who support us with the £20 per month sponsorship,
but after 9 years, Wyenot is still running at a huge loss,
which I cannot sustain indefinitely from my own pocket.
I have already spent my redundancy money and pension lump
sum, earned over a period of 30 years to keep Wyenot going
and have no more financial back-up left other than perhaps
selling my house, which I am not willing to do. If support
continues to not arrive, I will have no option other than
to pull the plug.
One advertisement for one year out of the 88, before tax,
pays us less than a week's food shopping. When my roof bars
were recently stolen - that alone cost me the equivalent
of two full page ads on Wyenot for one year. Yet still people
seem to expect me to do everything for kudos rather than
money. 'Please can we use your photo in our book / magazine?
We can't pay but we will credit you with a by line'. This
past month, I have been constantly busy covering events,
working 18 hours per day for absolute zero income.
of that aside... I am happy in general with the
way Wyenot is going - especially the video but I am already
regretting making the video streaming change from Vimeo
to You Tube as I am not at all happy with You Tube's system
for counting views. I have had problems with the view count
sticking at around 300 views, when I know that people are
watching. I am not the only You Tube user suffering this
problem - it is a known issue and, according to You Tube,
happens when a video gets watched a lot in the first few
days. As long as this eventually corrects itself, it is
not a problem though.
may seem trivial, wanting to know how many people watch
what, but to me, it is an extremely good and important indicator
of which films are watched and helps me plan future film
making, both for Wyenot itself and for another project I
have in mind to support Wyenot in the future. I plan to
make a Wye Valley and Forest of Dean DVD to sell locally.
Any thoughts on this idea would be much appreciated.
I need to do something to keep us going and I am hoping
this will be a big help.
realize that what I have said about switching to You
Tube to cut costs is something of a paradox in that I have
chosen this method because it is free but need people to
support us with money. You Tube is run by Google though,
which receives a huge, world wide amount of advertising
revenue, so I do not feel guilty about that.
18th August 2009 - UPDATE
of this week's news should be available by late tonight
but I am currently a little behind in prepping. This is
due to everything I photographed and filmed having taken
place at the weekend and my not being available on Monday
to work on processing it all.
went to Chelmsford, Essex on Monday to say farewell to and
remember Joyce Evelyn Bowles, who passed away during the
morning of Sunday, 2nd August. Joyce was the mother of Bernice
and the grandmother of my three Children, Matt Chris and
Sarah. She had been ill for just over a year. We will all
miss you Joyce. May you Rest In Peace.
the way home, I specially drove through London, rather than
take the M25 so that I could film the route for reasons
of nostalgia.. That short stop motion film can be seen in
the video blog above.
Wyenot this week, I have been working to move most but
not all of the video so that it streams from You Tube rather
than Vimeo. This is not because I prefer You Tube I might
add because I do not. It is for two main reasons. One is
that more people are used to You Tube than to Vimeo, and
know how to use the system. The other is that it is a cost
cutting exercise as I am finding 'Wyenot' extremely expensive
to run and I need to cut costs to try to make some of the
advertising revenue help us, rather than just pay towards
I have only had a few days in which to study this, it appears
that the video move has already begun to make a difference
to the amount of people watching when they go to a page
containing video. To make this move, I have had to reedit
two of the films to fit them into the 10 minute You Tube
time limit. I have split the Standing Stones film into two
halves and remade the Aerial Wye Valley film. I had always
planned to remake this as I was never happy with the original
version - making the change to You Tube just made me get
around to it.
hope you find the new system an improvement. All films are
still available to watch via Vimeo from the HD
Video page, if you did prefer the old system.
14th August 2009 - JAMSTAND
a brilliant job Jack Baldus did in arranging Jamstand! The
event was great for the town of Ross-on-Wye. We have been
with Jack from the very beginning with Jamstand. The
first free Jamstand concert, back in 2007 was only given
the go-ahead a little over a week before the event, so we
were unable to give it a lot of publicity until a week before
the concert. All the same, a few hundred people enjoyed
the day, sat around the bandstand in deck chairs
had a full six months to promote the second event in 2008,
which although had its organizational problems such as lack
of toilet and litter collection problems attracted a couple
of thousand people over the course of the day long event.
year, Jack had learned from all past experience, enlisted
help from his friends and made a superb organizational job
of arranging a 2 day festival, which again attracted several
thousand people over the course of the two days.
I just wanted to say, WELL DONE JACK AND FRIENDS! YOU DID
THE TOWN OF ROSS PROUD! IT WAS HARD WORK BUT YOU GOT THERE
IN THE END.
were there covering the whole event and the video play list
below shows just how successful the event was.
3rd August 2009 - CARNIVAL WEEK AND WATER
have not had our best ever summer this year and I followed
the forecast daily last week, hoping that Saturday would
be nice for the Carnival. A lot of work goes into this event,
all year round and it would have been a shame for it to
have had to be cancelled. Luckily, with a last minute change
of venue for the field event due to flooding leaving soggy
ground by the Bandstand, Carnival went ahead. I
was surprised at the turnout, to be honest. It was brilliant
and all, other than the predictable moaners, seemed to enjoy
the Wednesday and Thursday prior to Carnival, I filmed the
river rising in time lapse (below). Unfortunately the actual
rise and fall took place at a time I was not willing to
leave a camera unattended but this film has still proved
to be extremely popular.
weekend and into late Monday, I have not had a moment's
rest from taking and processing carnival photos and video.
I filmed the event with three cameras, which was difficult
in the rain but I managed to shelter under the back door
of our van. The second part of the video of the day is made
up of over 4000 still images one second apart, each showing
for just 0.02 of a second. This is faster than the actual
frame rate of the film (25 frames per second) and makes
people movement extremely rapid.
hope you enjoy the Carnival coverage, which also includes
a joke hidden message somewhere. I would be interested to
know how many figure it out. Answers in pencil on the back
of a used £20.00 bank note please and posted to Wyenot
hours of flooded River Wye footage in 2.4 minutes (ish).
28th July 2009 - RECOVERING
last, the horrible illness is beginning to go away and I
am feeling slightly more human. The ill health as been a
combination of three things. First, I caught a 24 hour virus
- I think whilst at the Ryefield Centre to film Princess
Anne. Then I took part in a tug of war, put my back out
and couldn't walk for three days. The pair of us were a
sorry sight at home for those few days. Tina, with her permanent
bad back had to help me even to get out of bed or out of
the chair and her mobility scooter was inside the house.
Neither of us could lift it outside, so we were confined
to base. I was just recovering from that when I caught another
nasty illness. I'm not sure if it was swine flu but it did
start with a sudden cough, involuntary dripping nose and
weakness. I felt rough with that one for two weeks.
things are slowly getting back to normal and I have been
out and about filming this week to finish off the Ross-on-Wye
time lapse and stop motion film, which I began last
April. This seems destined to be a good one, despite the
fact that I accidentally left out my personal favourite
scene from the final edit. It was a scene looking at Ross
from Brampton Abbotts as it got dark with the stars coming
out and two aeroplanes with their navigation lights on zipping
across the sky. I'll save that one for a future film.
was really lucky on Saturday night, picking up an unexpected
bonus for the final scene for this film. I was stood in
the market house with the camera, filming from inside the
building down Broad Street. I was actually just thinking
of moving on to a new location when the mother of all firework
displays suddenly fired up at the Chase Hotel. I have to
admit that the first bang nearly made me poop myself but
I survived with underwear in tact and managed to run the
camera across the road to film it. I don't know what the
occasion was - maybe a wedding - maybe Bilbo Baggins was
in town and staying at the Chase but it made a great final
scene for the movie. I was filming in time lapse and so
was not recording sound. The sound I used to go with the
display on the film was recorded at a Ross Lions' display
back in 2007. The
film has only been live for a day and already, I have had
loads of good feedback from it. It is rare for people to
comment, so this pleases me. And the comments have not only
been arriving via 'Wyenot' - they have been arriving from
the USA via Vimeo - where I host my HD films. Let's hope
it does wonders for local tourism.
Carnival Day on Saturday! This is one of our busiest days
of the year - the other falls the following week - Jamstand.
The weather is not looking good but let's hope the rain
holds off!!! Hope to see you there at one or the other or
22nd July 2009 - TO CLARIFY
running the blog below, we have been receiving email which
makes me think that some have misread our intentions. We
are not stopping the publication of local news entirely.
We are just becoming much more selective about what news
we publish and less tied to deadlines.
we are cutting out are the advertisements for local businesses
which are disguised as news items, shop (and other business)
openings - whether they are officially opened by Joe Bloggs
or The Queen, and the coverage of events which take place
in venues which do not support us by advertising, thereby
gaining them free publicity.
will continue to cover events such as the Carnival,
Jamstand, the Country Festival - anything which helps
the communityas a whole and not just individuals
or their respective businesses, unless they support us
in return. We give our financial supporters as much
coverage as possible for their £90 PER YEAR
advertisements or other
sponsorship. (Which I am pretty confident is far better
value and has a far better reach than any other form of
local advertising available.)
21st July 2009 - WE HAVE MADE OUR DECISION ABOUT THE FUTURE
original idea, when I started taking photos for and building
'Wyenot', back in May of the year 2000 was to promote Ross-on-Wye
and the Wye Valley to the rest of the world. This was a
success from the very beginning. 'Wyenot' was officially
launched on 1st January 2001 and it immediately began attracting
tourism to Ross - during the foot and mouth disease crisis.
a total lack of local support during the initial two years,
the local promotion part of 'Wyenot' went from strength
to strength and is still growing to this day, bringing thousands
to visit the local area.
well as being a huge success for Ross-on-Wye and the local
area, the tourism part of 'Wyenot' is the only section which
generates us any kind of income. The income earned for us
from this is still small to this day. We cannot survive
on that alone and this is why Tina has to work an average
of 40 hours per week elsewhere. We actually find ourselves
in a situation where we need Tina to be able to give up
her job so that we can attract more income by way of advertisers
but cannot afford to do this because we need the income
from her job.
have always covered news to a certain degree on 'Wyenot'
- right from the very beginning. We have covered all major
events in the town of Ross, such as the Carnival and Gala
day since May 2000. In July 2004 however, I thought it might
be a good idea to cover more local news and added the section
News' grew very quickly and has readers, and viewers of
the video items, not only locally, but nationally and world-wide.
Over the years it has built up a huge regular readership
and people rely upon it. It has become one of those things
which is 'there'. Many - especially the younger and older,
recent computer convert generations, who have not seen it
grow have no idea how it gets there. It has become just
one of those things which appears for free when they switch
their computer on.
us however, 'Wyenot News' earns us no money whatsoever in
its own right and has grown from something which was originally
easily updated occasionally, to something which takes up
absolutely every moment of our time, leaving little left
to keep the tourism attracting part of 'Wyenot' going, hardly
any time to sleep and certainly no time whatsoever to do
anything for ourselves. To be perfectly honest. Just lately
it has been making us both ill.
DECISION ABOUT THE FUTURE: We will continue to publish
some news, however.....
We are only going to cover events photographically or
with video which help local communities as a whole,
and events held by those businesses which support
us financially by advertising.
are not going to cover any more shop (or other business)
openings. Hardly any shops in Ross support us and from
experience, once covered, we never hear from the shop again.
are going to completely abolish any deadlines - weekly
or daily and publish as, if and when we have the time.
will give us more time to get back to basics with the
original and very successful tourism side of 'Wyenot' -
the part which works for and attracts advertisers; covering
places of local scenic and historic interest, local walks,
activities and so forth - both photographically and with
News Index Page will change (I have changed it) from
being a 'NEWS' page and will become a page where visitors
to 'Wyenot' can find both the latest news items we have
covered and the latest updates / pages added to 'WYENOT.COM'
as a whole.
WILL BE COVERING SOME NEWS - EVENTS WHICH HELP THE COMMUNITY
AS A WHOLE, BUT WILL NOT BE PUTTING OURSELVES UNDER ANY
MORE PRESSURE TO DO SO - NO MATTER HOW GOOD THE INDIVIDUAL
CAUSE. OUR MAIN OBJECTIVE IS TO PROMOTE THE LOCAL AREA FOR
ITS SCENIC AND HISTORIC VALUE AS A TOURISM DESTINATION.
FROM NOW ON, WE WILL ONLY BE SUPPORTING THOSE LOCAL BUSINESSES
BY WAY OF NEWS COVERAGE WHO SUPPORT US FINANCIALLY BY ADVERTISING
- OR AT THE VERY LEAST, MAKE A DONATION TO COVER OUR EXPENSES
WHEN WE SPEND HOURS AT AN EVENT TO GIVE IT PUBLICITY, FOR
NO PERSONAL REWARD.