Saturday, January 19, 2013

Duke Street Hazard - Slip Sliding Away

Just back from a family trip to Norwich, Norfolk.  Went to secondary school here and have watched the place grow from a backwater to a great centre of innovation and new ideas. With the vast expansion of the University of East Anglia and the upgrade to the Arts College, it's shrugged off its sleepy past. So, I enjoy my walks around the centre of the city.
Slipping down to Duke Street in Norwich
In the late 1970's I remember spending many hours on a Saturday morning in a tiny little shop on Duke Street. A guy who looked like Rip van Winkle had a shop selling electronic components. Infected with the radio bug by my Uncle Reg GW6WM, I started to build my own audio amplifiers. And while transistors were great to play with, valves were a lot more fun. For a start they got hot - and the anodes needed high voltages before they spluttered to life.

Went back there a week ago and there's no trace that the place ever existed.

I'm glad I wasn't in Duke Street this past week though. I left before the snow and freezing conditions hit the city and closed Norwich airport. And the bridge a little further up Duke Street from where I was standing a week ago has gained more views on YouTube this week than many community TV stations get in a year! The bridge gets very slippery and someone had the bright idea of training a webcam on the bridge to observe all the passersby slipping over. The two bollards didn't seem to convey just how slippery the bridge was - might have been better for Norwich City Council to grit spots like this, or risk the infamy of 250,000 viewers laughing at pedestrians falling over.

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