News Archive

Happy Birthday Internet!

So it was 25 years ago today on the 12th March 1989 that Sir Tim Berners Lee proposed a system for sharing information between computers using a series of nodes that would form a “web” which would over the years turn into the world wide web and the internet as we know it.

It will never catch on

Today is certainly a day for celebration of a system that has totally transformed the way we do everything, whether it’s all for the good is a different matter, and the message that is coming over today in the media is that we should keep a free and open internet but that tighter security and some controls need to be brought in to protect the system and the users. From my point of view the more we rely on something like the internet to communicate and share, gather and send information the more at risk we are of serious devastation should a group or individuals decide to attack it in some way. We already see the disruption when the banks get hacked or DDOS attacked taking the sites down, or if personal data is hacked and stolen. We rely so much on the internet, I can’t quite figure out where it will be in 5 years’ time let alone another 25 years.

Life before the Internet

I am lucky enough to have seen life before and after the internet … unlike my kids who think this is how it’s always been. Same with things like mobile phones .. I didn’t have one of those until I was married and now my kids are walking around with iPhone 5’s! When we went out as kids we didn’t text to say where we were, we just had a time to come home.

Back in 1989 I was only 14 … but the internet that was being invented then was going to take a decent amount of time to actually start being used my “normal” people. I left secondary school after doing my A levels, to go to University in 1993 and there was no sign really of the external world wide web. We had an intranet within Uni but only very simplistic. I remember going to Uni and the sheer panic that my first assessment had to be typed up, in a specific font & font size, double spaced, and then printed out for the tutor. What … for me that was a steep learning curve of how to actually work the computers in the IT block and use WordPerfect.

As kids we did at one stage, when I was about 12, have a ZX Spectrum with an adjoining tape drive that we could load amazing games like Daley Thompson Decathlon and bash on the keyboard to make him go faster. I also remember a weird skiing game too.


There was then a computer when we got a bit older at home but it was more of a work machine, stand alone, running off 5.25” floppy discs and tapes and hooked to a ginormous Phillips daisywheel printer. There was no reason for us to use the computer as kids and there was nothing really to do on them. It was amazing how much we did to entertain ourselves without being transfixed to an Ipad or laptop soaking in huge amounts of junk that is out there. And how addictive it seems to be for my kids at least that I have to limit their time on the internet glaring at a really rubbish YouTube video of some idiot. I don’t think I’m the only one out there who battles with their kids to bring themselves back into the real world. I’m lucky though that my kids love rugby so they do spend a large amount of time over the weekend outside, playing rugby and getting muddy.

I’m not quite sure where I am going with this post apart from that I do love the Internet … I went to University with no clear idea of what I was going to do as a career, then left University (1996) to join a company in the purchasing department where all transactions were done over the phone or via the post/fax. After 9 years in purchasing ending up being the Purchasing Manager we had moved more onto the web for ordering parts but still quite phone based, but email was much more prominent. Between 1998 and 2003 there was a big lift off and a steady embracing of the internet across many sectors. You only need to go back 16 years when we got married in 1998 to see how different things are. All the organising and preparation was done in person, by letter or over the phone….and on my wedding day when my parents went to the wrong venue at Gretna Green we didn’t have mobile phones to make a quick call, you just had a time and a place to meet.

I left my purchasing role in 2005 to run Bronco which was already reaching its 2nd birthday … so the internet had certainly taken its hold on me. In the 11 years we have been running Bronco we have seen a huge change take place in shopping habits, customer behaviour and how we all share information and keep in touch. It’s a bit scary what the next 25 years will hold, and I can’t imagine what sort of world my future grandchildren will live in.

But Happy Birthday Internet thing!

twitter birthday

Ripon and it’s Gypsum

So last night Magdalen’s Close in Ripon was rocked by a sinkhole opening up, causing a house to partially collapse and nearby homes to be evacuated, and today there have been press and news outlets buzzing around the scene, with this being the 6th sinkhole to appear in the UK this Winter, due to the excessive rainfall. Magdalen’s Close backs onto a derelict auction mart (which last week a planning application for 75 houses was rejected … phew!) and surrounding land that is known for its gypsum deposits, so there was a risk of this happening. This is the scene this morning and more info here at Shocking Times.

ripon sinkhole 2014 magdalens close

Ripon has a sinkhole appear about once a year and normally it will occur in fields or farmlands so goes unnoticed, but when it affects buildings we are all reminded that we are in one of the worst areas in the country for gypsum. I remember when we first bought a house in Ripon and had to go through lots of extra geological surveys. Gypsum is a material that dissolves about 100 times faster than limestone so there are times when it just gives way.

I have lived in Ripon for about 25 years and the big one that I remember was back in April 1997 when over the course of 2 days a sink hole opened up at Ure Bank Terrace (just the other side of the River Ure to the latest hole). I remember when it was reported in the local papers (before social media and Google News!) and how this hole that was 10m across and 5m deep had a choke hole which was acting as kind of an egg timer and below what you could see from the surface was a big cave. Scary stuff. I have trawled the web and managed to find a couple of the old photos

ripon gypsum 1997 1ripon gypsum 1997

Pretty impressive!

What I like about gypsum and Ripon is the connection to one of the most famous books written. You may not have heard of Charles Dodgson as an author but you will have heard of Lewis Carroll. Lewis Carroll lived in Ripon with his father, Canon Dodgson of Ripon, in the 1850’s and it is believed that he stayed in Ripon during the time he wrote Alice in Wonderland. One of the places that Lewis Carroll spent a lot of time was Ure Lodge (now demolished due to gypsum!) where there was much disturbance to the land surrounding it with sink holes appearing. Gypsum has a shiny appearance and when it is exposed in the shafts of the sinkholes it is said to glisten, making it quite magical. So it is believed that when Alice fell down a rabbit hole (because you just wouldn’t be able to … as even Cooper tried to here) that it was more likely to be a gypsum sinkhole that was being referred to.

alice in wonderland sinkhole

If Only We All Could Get Tested

The news today that Angelina Jolie has undergone a preventative double mastectomy is brilliant. It raises massive awareness about breast cancer and for such a huge celebrity to have undergone this surgery paves the way I think for many more women to follow suit.


I have always considered Angelina Jolie as a stunning woman, as well as being a brilliant actress and having a gorgeous husband, and undergoing the double mastectomy will not change any of that. Reading the article that was released today which describes some of the procedures she had it sounds like she has just been left with a few small scars, and has had the breast fully reconstructed, so no physical change either.

Angelina had the terrible experience of losing her Mum to breast cancer at an early age, and was tested for the rogue BRCA1 gene which she has, and this gave her an 87% risk of contracting breast cancer. Having the gene also gives a 50% chance of contracting ovarian cancer too so I wonder if she will go for a preventative hysterectomy too? Now that she has had the mastectomy her risk of breast cancer is just 5%.

I am fortunate that none of the women in my bloodline have had breast cancer but it doesn’t always pass through your genes. If I was offered a test for the BRCA1 gene I would definitely go and get tested, as it would be just like getting a regular smear test for cervical cancer. Then if the gene was present I wouldn’t have any issue with getting a mastectomy if it took away the risk for the future.

It will be interesting to see what happens following this high profile mastectomy. Would the NHS ever bring the test in as a routine check for women over a certain age maybe … then what would the follow up course of action be if you tested positive? The cost of testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 is apparently $3000 in the USA which kind of makes it prohibitive to many.

According to the article, breast cancer kills 458,000 a year in the world so there should be a bigger push to reduce this. If this is the figure for the number of people who die from breast cancer, how many have suffered the affects and treatment of the cancer, including a mastectomy.

As a side note I love Mr Skin’s take on the news *farewell funbags* … I’m sure she looks just as good 🙂 (Warning…naked Angelina)

Ripon Rugby Club on Tour

Tomorrow the Junior section of the Ripon Rugby Club are heading to Scarborough for the annual rugby tour. At the rugby festival the teams from the U7’s, U8’s, U9’s, U10’s, U11’s (Ethan’s team) and U12’s will compete against teams from across the UK to see who is the champion. The tour is a great occasion for the club, for the kids to spend the weekend together and the parents, who have spent a long and cold Winter on the sidelines at training and matches, to socialise.

This year Bronco is the main shirt sponsor for the tour, and we have supported the club since Bronco started 10 years ago, and we currently also sponsor the U13’s team (Miles’ team) playing shirts. The theme for this year’s tour is Cops and Robbers, with the adults being the cops and the kids the robbers. It will be fancy dress all weekend with specific tour rules and a kangaroo court for rule breakers. The weather for the weekend is looking promising so we’ll hopefully get some sunshine 🙂

Here are the tour shirts .. the players

ripon rugby bronco tour shirt

and the coaches

ripon rugby coach tour shirt

I’ll do a follow up post after the tour 🙂