Vodafone network Royal Wedding statisitics

Here is some interesting information about the Vodafone mobile phone network during the Royal Wedding.

Network Wide Statistics

• Voice:
– entire Day attempts: 63,350,126 – down 2.17%
– calls between 09:00 and 12.30 – 12.4 million – down 17.4%
– calls between 11:00 and 11.30 – 1.65 million – down 31.6%

This is to be expected due to the metric focusing on the network as a whole and being a bank holiday where we have lower traffic than a normal working day. This fact makes the next set of statistics so impressive

• SMS:
– entire Day attempts: 138,446,608 – up 12.3%
– between 08:00 and 14:30 – 20.3 million – up 16%
– between 11:30 and 12:00 – 2.14 million – up 33.4%

– 8am to 1pm – 185,108 – up 28.8% compare to last week
– peak between 11:35 and 11:40 – 4580 MMS submitted – up 53.59%

• Data
– 10:00 to 15:00 – 12.85 Terabytes sent/received – up 20.5%

Looking now at two of the primary online news sources we see significant uplifts in traffic driven by our data subscribers:

Mobile Website Traffic – Network Wide

• BBC News
– 161,350 Megabytes of traffic (entire day)
– 36.69% increase from the previous week
– peak between 11am and 1pm where traffic increased 219.47%

• SKY News
– 29,041 Megabytes of traffic (entire day)
– 45.27% increase from the previous week
– peak between 11am and 1pm where traffic increased 462.52%

Focussing in on the Royal wedding route we see some impressive results

Royal Wedding Location Statistics 08:00 – 15:00

• Voice Traffic
– total Attempts: 1,102,834 – 26.96% Increase from the previous week

• SMS Traffic
– total: 1,487,014 – 67.22% increase from the previous week

Royal Wedding Statistics – Bucklebury 08:00 – 15:00 (Katherine’s home village)

• Voice Traffic
– total Attempts: 14,027 – 6.27% Increase from the previous week

• SMS Traffic
– total: 29,953 – 12.12% increase from the previous week

Looking in general across our top sites that covered the Royal wedding route we can see that we carried a staggering amount of additional traffic with a very impressive call performance.

Top Site Traffic 08:00 – 15:00

• Temporary site at St James Park
– voice Attempts: 36,561 – Previous week site was not live.
– dropped Call Rate: 0.55%

• St James Park
– voice Attempts: 25,424 – 456.81% increase
– dropped Call Rate: 1.63%

• Hyde Park
– voice Attempts: 25,383 – 377.66% increase
– dropped Call Rate: 0.83%

• Knightsbridge
– voice Attempts: 37,197 – 152.34% increase
– dropped Call Rate: 0.8%

• Buckingham Palace
– voice Attempts: 22,138 – 503.87% increase
– dropped Call Rate: 0.75%

• Hyde Park
– voice Attempts: 23,086- 157.43% increase
– dropped Call Rate: 0.5%


Sunny Sunday Kew again

Zen Garden
Zen Garden

When I told Kev that we had been to Kew the weekend before he was keen to go this weekend whilst he and the family were down for a visit. So we woke up in good time to get ready prepare a picnic and head off to Kew. It did not quite work out like that, we started watching the Chinese Grand Prix and Helen decided that she would like to go to church as it was palm sunday. Who were we to argue it would mean we could see the finish of what turned out to be quitre an exciding race. Race over we quickly made sandwiches and put together some chrips and cake, we had a picnic ready to go.

Getting to Kew is really easy just round the M25 then get of at junction 2 of the M4 and you’re practically there. The car park was slightly more full that the week before but we both found spaces with ease. Once in the park we decided to keep to the river side of the park and headed in when we were level with the tree top walk. Helen looked after the bags at the bottom whilst the rest of us did the high altitude walk. Ben showed of his reading ability by reading all the signs on the walk way. Hayleigh started winging so we decided a picnic stop was in order, we found a shady spot an were soon tucking into to our trout or cheese sandwiches.

Suitably refreshed we headed towards the the Pagoda, by way of the bridge over the lake, which is quite an interesting design. We spotted a few Parakeets on the way over. It is strange once you have seen a bird for the first time you then start seeing them much more.  Just before the Pagoda there is a  Japanese Zen garden, very tranquil I must say.  From the Pagoda we headed towards the end where we cam in with the plan of visiting each of the green houses on the way.

Kew Pagoda
Kew Pagoda

Hayleigh did not like the heat of the greenhouses so we did not spend too much time in each. The highlights were the carnivorous plants, and the lizards in the Princess of Wales greenhouse, which we had not seen before. Ben and Hayleigh particularly liked the giant cat fish. We were fairly tired by the last of the greenhouses so we headed towards the exist for a coffee at the cafe near the exit, which has a children’s playground near by.

Whilst the kids were playing I was minding my own business when a little girl came up to me and declared that she had lost her parents. This was a tricky situation, what do I do? If I take here to a member of the Kew staff and her parents come looking for her and see me leading her away from the play area, what will they think. At the same time the poor kid was lost. I asked her what her mum looked like she said black short hair so I said well lets have a look round and see is we can see her. Luckily for both of us she spotted her mother some hundred yards away and went running off.

We needed some bread for tea so Helen and I set off to find a supermarket and left Kev and Ron to follow on. Another good day at Kew.


A Single Man (**)

Film poster a single man
Film poster a single man

This film is takes place on a single day some time around the Cuban missile crisis. George Falconer (Colin Firth) is trying to overcome the grief of losing his long term partner, over the course of the day he has various encounters, and we are treated to lots of flash backs and day dreams. The film is visually stunning but with too much symbolism for my tastes hence only two stars.

College Lake

A frog
A frog

Such a nice day on Sunday I decided to take a trip round College lake with the Father in-law. We arrived at about 13:00 and parked up, BBOWT do not charge an entrance fee but suggest a £2 parking donation. The new visitors centre is very airy, there is an exhibition and a cafe area. The cafe area used to be on the north side of the site in a wooden building, but now you have to enter the site via the new one.

I must add that I have never really been a fan of college lake, I am not sure why maybe because the hides were very distant from the birds. The walk round was to change my opinion, there are now some new hides and well as some of the old ones. The water area close to the centre has been left to flood after they had done some earthworks, and the new hides are well placed to take advantage of the new waterscape.

We headed off toward the Bulbourne side first, it was the middle of the day so there was not much birding action to be seen, but we did spot a hovering Kestrel. Down over the opposite end to the center we came across a toad crossing the path, then went into the newly planted area which is a sort meadow area, there were some shrubs that were covered in the lady birds, lucking the indigenous species. When you turn back towards the center there are a couple of old bits of machinery reminding you that the site was once a chalk quarry.

From the new hide on the bund we saw the Ruff that they had told us about at the visitors centre. I will certainly return, later on the the year.

Walk round Cholesbury (2 Hours)

Fairly picnic
Fairly picnic

We met up with A&C for a walk round Cholesbury and were in the woods by 11:15. The weather was sunny but there was still a little nip in the air. We went past the church where some distant relative from the 1800’s have a grave, then kept to the woods and headed towards Hastoe.

At one point we came a cross a wooded area where someone had put on display lads of small fairies, and wind chimes. There was no explanation for them being there, I suggested that someone could not think what to do with a large collection they had so let them free in the woods. They were all nailed in place so they were hardly free to roam.

As we got close to Hastoe it was time to take a right and then start heading back to wards where we started. There was quite a lot of bird activity going on this time of year is a good time because the birds are becoming territorial and you can still see into the trees because the leaves are not out yet. The high lights were three buzzards soaring on the thermals and two woodpeckers doing large circuits of and area as if they were courting or chasing each other.

As we got back towards the car we came across two bumblebees one dead and the other one crawling. I took a couple of pictures and a video. Looking at the video later the bee had quite a few ticks on it. I don’t think they were the cause of death as some internet research suggested that they were harmless.

Once back at the car we parked up at the Half Moon for some lunch in the pub garden where it was only just warm enough to be comfortable. The food was up to the usual good standard. All in all a great walk and meal in good company. We were back in time to watch the boat race and Oxford won by a country mile.

Chinese State Circus

back at Christmas we booked up tickets for the new Aylesbury theatre to see the Chinese State Circus, and today was the day to go and see it. I walked home from work and we decided to go to the Wendover Peking for dinner then off to Aylesbury for the 20:00 showing.

The menu had changed at the restaurant they now have quite a few veggie dishes on the back page. I had hot and sour soup Helen had cashew wanton  for starters, then we had a selection of dishes as a main, Chinese leaves in schezwan sauce, faux sweet and sour wheat balls, with chow main and egg fried rice on the side.

We paid the bill then popped into Tesco for some supplies and parked up in town near the theatre. The theatre is a relatively new addition to the town and we had not been before. Its is in a very imposing position and when the canal basin developement goes through it will take pride of place. Its is inspired by the chilterns, the outside is all wood stone and glass then inside there are lots of random sized wood panels.

We had paid for the expensive seats in the lower circle, the show was not sold out. I wonder whether there is really a credit crunch on, the circle seats were full but the seats on the ground floor were only two thirds full. Any way I digress what was the show like you ask? I would sax mixed.

There were good bits the girls on the on the unicycles were definitely the best bits, the tumbles and pot jugglers were good, the fighting monks were not that impressive, and the strange monkey and “new york taxi driver” characters were bizarre.

Certainly my favourite bit was the unicycles, the performers were all on 10-12 foot unicycles and came on and did some formation cycling, not so impressive, but then all stopped and with one foot kept the unicycle going and with the other they flipped metal bowls on theirs and their fellow performers heads. On a couple occasions they would flip multiple quantities, facing top to bottom, which would all land stacked on their heads.

All in all the show was OK, but there were a couple of acts that made the whole thing worth watching. The theatre has fairly comfortable seats and is well worth a visit.

Trip to the library

St Pancras panorama
St Pancras panorama

Today Helen and I had planned a trip to London, it was almost scuppered when I remembered BT wanted to get their temporary mast used to hold the aerial that provides the link to the offices up and running while a tree was blocking the signal. The tree was recently cut down so there was not excuse now. They wanted to get on site to make sure the line of site was still good. Any way I phoned Mick who was on site and he agreed to let them in so we were free to go.

The plan was to visit an exhibition that Helen had spotted at the British museum, about the history of the English language. I had never been to the British library so did not know what to expect. We parked up in Berkhamsted and got the 9:40 train to Euston. The british library is just down the road from Euston just before St Pancras station, so we walked..

The building is a modern brick built one, and has a large open area in front, which is probably popular with office workers at lunch time when the weather is warmer. There is security on the door, but they let me through. The exhibition was in darkened rooms, which I found annoying as with my glasses on I had to stand quite far away to see clearly and with them off I had to have my nose up against the glass boxes. I guess the rooms were dark to protect the delicate books.

The books covered the very earliest examples of the English language when the books were written and illuminated by hand often by monks. As you went through the exhibits the language became more up to date. Apart from the beautiful books, what caught my eyes (and ears) was the videos of comedy sketches about posh and common accents, and an interactive map of examples of local accents through the years from the 1800’s to date.

Center point
Center point

Whilst we were at the library we had a look round the permanent exhibition which contains more old books as well as some other stuff, for example a birthday card with the words of the Beatles song Hard days night on the back, as written by Lennon when he composed it, and Yesterday by McCartney on another scrap of paper.

After the library we popped into St Pancras for a coffee and to have a look at the building. We had coffee at Paul’s a French style cafe, I had a slice Tarte au Myrtles. Then we went to have a look at the fantastic building. I have recently started taking panorama shots and took the opportunity to take a shot of the glass a steel arched roof. You can see the results in this article.

We then walked towards the centre to visit Foyles, there are some lovely neighbour hoods south of St Pancras, with normal shops and businesses, the sort of place you would want to live if you had to live in London. Once back on the main drag we hopped on a bus and got off at Trafalgar square. There was an Amnesty rally going on in support of the Egyptians.

We walked up towards Charring cross road and stopped off  to have a look round the catering supplies shop Nisbets http://www.nisbets.co.uk/, if you can’t find what you want there then it does not exist. We bought nothing! Foyles was as usual full of books, we had a look around and I bought a make magazine and Helen got some more murder mystery ones.

Helen is not so keen as me to pack as much as possible into every trip so we headed back  to Euston with a quick stop off at Tottenham Court road. At Euston I god a Thai prawn soup as a late lunch, before we jumped on the train back the the open country side of Buckinghamshire.

Exit via the gift shop (****)

Exit via the gift shop
Exit via the gift shop

This is Banksy’s first film, about a French man living in California who somehow gets involved in documenting street artists and their art.

It is  filmed as a documentary with plenty of intervieww of the french man and Banksy. The french man essentially gets his camera turned back on him by Banksy.

This is a hard to explain film but well work wathcing.

Black Swan (***)

Black Swan film poster
Black Swan film poster

Film about a ballerina (Natalie Portman) who gets to play the part of the Swan Queen in Swan Lake. Natalie Portman was the young girl in Jean Reno’s film Leon many years. The film tries to show the pressures, rivalry, politics and egos of the ballet world. Portman who lives with her mother who never beyond the corps de ballet, and treats her daughter like she was twelve, becomes more a more delusional and starts t imagine and dream some terrible thoughts about her rivals, but it all seems to be part of the preparation to play the part of the black swan.

Three stars not as good as I hoped it might be, and a bit confusing.

Ice Mushrooms

Ice Mushroom
Ice Mushroom

Very cold this morning but Helen managed to drag me outside by 10am, for what turned out to be a brisk, short sharp walk round Dancersend. We parked up where Dancersend lane flattens out next to some houses and marked past the manor then licked up the footpath that heads across the corn field towards to the hills on the horizon.

It was absolutely freezing and even after 20 minutes walking in thermals we were still cold. Once we hit the hills we turned right towards the old victorian pump house that feed the hidden reservoir. Along the foot path we saw those ice extrusions I have mentioned in the past. I think they might be caused by the really wet ground pushing the water up by capilliary action with then freezes when it hits the cold. Some we saw were several centimetres long, Helen called them Ice Mushrooms and I think that is a good name for them.

At the pump house we crossed the road to enter Dancersend nature reserve, we came across a couple each with a child in rucksack on their back, and a very boisterous large puppy, looked a bit like and Irish Wolfhound it was bounding around all over the place. We headed clockwise round the reserve up the hill and then through the woods to the bottom of the reserve. There was a lot a shooting going on around the valley it it a really shame as the blasts really spoil the tranquillity of the place.

Victorian pump house
Victorian pump house

We headed out of the reserve and joined the road at the pond on the bend below the manor. So we were soon up the road and back to the car it had been a short walk but we were glad that we made the effort. Not much bird life other than Tits, Goldfinch and a couple of Jays. We decided we would have a go at a recipe I found on the internet for Cannellini Beans in tomato sauce, that meant a trip to Tesco for some beans and a visit to the cinema to watch Black Swan with Natalie Portman.

I have since found out the ice extrusions are probably ice needles as per the Wikipedia article