BBC BLOGS - Anne Diamond's Blog

Archives for June 2012

The wonder of Hawkeye..

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Anne Diamond | 15:30 UK time, Thursday, 28 June 2012

tennis racket

In my view, watching tennis has become even more of an entertainment since the introduction of Hawkeye. I've been along to some big exhibition matches, and one final at the Royal Albert Hall, and the use of Hawkeye got the crowd all riled up and laughing.

So it was really surprising and fascinating today to hear the story of Hawkeye - the technology that can tell you accurately whether a shot was in or out.

It all started around here - in Basingstoke. Then it grew and grew. It began as a technology that could help, in cricket matches, tell whether a shot was leg-before-wicket. From cricket, it moved into tennis, and is now established in most of the big championships, and of course now we hear it could be moving into football too. That means Hawkeye in Basingstoke is growing, and many staff spend their time flying around the world and attending top sporting events.

Terrible job but someone has to do it!

Wow, what a story....

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Anne Diamond | 10:00 UK time, Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Anne with Jeffrey Blum

Morning! I've just got to the BBC studios from Daybreak. It means I get here a bit early but it gives me time to sit in the BBC restaurant and have a panini and a cup of coffee. I met a really interesting man at Daybreak today. He was a guest on their programme, but he came up to me in the green room and introduced himself because he recognised me.

He was in the studio to talk about the Queen meeting the IRA man Martin McGuiness in Belfast later today. It really is a remarkable thing, isn't it that the Queen is actually going to shake hands with him - since, if you think about it, he was in, if not high up within the IRA when they assassinated Lord Mountbatten.

Anyway, this man I met is called Jeffrey Blum - he was a victim of the IRA when they set off a bomb in 1992 in the City of London. He was just an innocent passer by, and he was almost killed. His right arm was almost blown apart and his skull was pierced and broken by huge bits of glass. He was in a coma for nine days.

There he was this morning showing me how surgeons literally rebuilt his arm. They took out a big chunk of muscle from his back, and put it where his bicep should be - his whole arm looks like an anatomical dummy's - you can see the insides though wafer life skin grafts - absolutely amazing.

You'd think he'd be bitter but he actually works with IRA prisoners to try to get them to see a future of peace and reconciliation. Amazing. I'm going to talk to him on BBC Radio Berkshire before 11 this morning. He's worth listening to.

This is me with him this morning.

Olympic Torch....

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Anne Diamond | 11:11 UK time, Tuesday, 26 June 2012

anne torch

Coming live from Henley's River and Rowing museum.

Look at this!

It's the Olympic torch from the 1956 Olympics which were in Melbourne!

Here goes - the Diamond Railroad!

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Anne Diamond | 13:00 UK time, Monday, 25 June 2012

A cardboard model of Anne's new railway

This is probably going to be a very long, slow, hazardous journey. But I might as well share with you from now on, that I have become a woman obsessed - with model railways.

Ever since I was a child, I have always wanted one. But I was a girl. And I don't think my Christmas requests were taken that seriously by Santa. For a while, I conformed to stereotype and tried to get excited about Sindy and Tressy dolls (Tressy was the one whose hair grew when you pushed a giant button on her stomach), but my interest in them lasted just a few weeks. Then I was back, in my cousin's playroom, standing enviously in the corner as he showed off his steam train that burped giant puffs of smoke when you put a special pellet in its chimney.

Sadly, they don't make those anymore.

But hey, I can still build my dream model railway.

I've been thinking and planning all weekend. In the end, at about two in the morning, I thought - why not build it now? Right now - to give me an idea of what it could look like?
So I started cutting up cardboard boxes - and I came up with this - a miniature version, in cardboard and pink tissue paper, of my ideal layout.

Now to go out, buy some wood for a baseboard, and build the real thing.

Watch this space.

All change for Ladies Day tomorrow..

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Anne Diamond | 14:30 UK time, Wednesday, 20 June 2012

A horse with a union jack hat

Just a wee reminder that I'm off to Ascot tomorrow - so I'll be on in the afternoon on BBC Radio Berkshire, and Sarah Walker will be doing my morning show.

Hats on and fingers crossed for some decent weather.

Looking forward to a dazzling day!

A trio of titfers....

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Anne Diamond | 13:30 UK time, Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Anne and guests in Hat's

Thanks so much to Adrienne Henry who's a Reading milliner who popped into the studio today to show us how to 'make your own' Ascot hat.

Of course, you need her expertise and guidance, not to mention all the trademark paraphernalia. Along with my guest, local businesswoman Jacqueline Hylton, we thought we'd show off some of her headpieces.

I reckon they each suit our personalities, don't you? I just want a few more of those long feathers.

Building up steam...

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Anne Diamond | 12:46 UK time, Monday, 18 June 2012

A friend dropped off a copy of "Railway Modeller" for me in the studio last week, because he'd heard me say that I have always wanted to own a model railway - ever since I was a little girl. I didn't want to play with Sindy and Tressy dolls, I wanted a railway layout. My cousin Peter had one, with a locomotive that pumped out smoke from its chimney. I used to stand and stare with envious eyes.

Now, looking through the pages of the railway magazine, I have started to realise that it's never too late - and that I could still realise my childhood dream. It's not just a world for youngsters (in fact, anything but...), it's an obsession shared by thousands of older people who can at last afford the time and money it needs.

What's more, it's not just for the seriously nerdy. Yes, there are clearly hundreds of men in lofts surrounded by acres of miniature trains and layouts in ultra-accurate detail, carbon copies of The Real Thing. But there are also people who delight in building fictitious villages, made-up railway companies, and even fantasy islands!

So I'm working on a villagey landscape loosely based on the seven villages of Malvern (in Worcestershire where I was brought up) with a GWR railway livery, a backdrop of the Narnian mountains, and a mainline for the Hogwart's Express.

So far, I've made a carboard non scale model of what the layout could look like. Watch this space.

Feeling very grown up...

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Anne Diamond | 13:30 UK time, Thursday, 14 June 2012

David cameron leaving downing street

.....with another invitation from Newsnight to go on their programme discussing the Leveson inquiry. Of course, it has been a particularly fascinating week which started with Gordon Brown and ended with David Cameron talking about their relationships with the press and in particular the Murdoch news empire.

I get stopped a lot in the street and in supermarkets by people who say they've seen me 'on the Leveson inquiry' - like it's a TV channel! But I do wonder how many people are really interested in what is being revealed (or not) by the inquiry. It is still my hope that, whatever its popular appeal, the inquiry proves to be a game changer, and results in healthier attitudes and relationships between the various power players who think they run the country!

A touch of Sgt Pepper, we reckon!

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Anne Diamond | 11:10 UK time, Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Anne and Di wearing the Olympic Games Maker uniform

My lovely guest Di Hughes (she of the Reading Royals Synchronised Swimming Club) is an official 2012 Games Maker - that's a volunteer to you and me.

And she's just got her Games Maker outfit, designed by Stella McCartney. Look closely at the epaulettes - and there's a lovely military style cuff with three buttons - very much a hint of Sgt Pepper, we reckon.

A nod to her famous Dad, perhaps?

Britain's King Canute moment at the Jubilee.

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Anne Diamond | 14:44 UK time, Tuesday, 12 June 2012

thames barrier

My guest this morning was Howard Davidson, Director of the Environment Agency in our area. He has a mammoth job - basically responsible for everything to do with air, land and water - and particularly at the moment, floods!
He's also responsible for the Thames Barrier, the giant construction that quite literally holds back the tide.

Legally, the Agency can only operate the Barrier when there's an environmental need - when the incoming sea threatens the Thames basin. So when the organisers of the Jubilee River Pageant asked if they could use the Barrier to 'equalise' the water throughout the river, and make it easier for the thousand participating craft, the official answer had to be 'no'.

However, they managed to get around this by shifting the timing of the only one time they CAN operate the Barrier without an environmental need - and that's the annual test.
So while the rest of us were celebrating a Jubilee event, the guys at the Thames Barrier were testing it! Clever stuff!

Good luck to all doing exams!

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Anne Diamond | 12:47 UK time, Monday, 11 June 2012


Got a lonesome little text from one of my sons while on air today. He's been swotting like crazy all over half term, and late into the night, trying to prepare for his A levels.

If hard work were all it took, then he deserves to do pretty well. But sadly, when it comes to exams, you do need a bit of luck, too. You need them to ask you a couple of questions at which you can excel.So imagine my upset when I got a text saying 'well, that did not go well...' It's so sad. He left home with such optimism this morning. He's said that none of his questions were 'meaty' enough to write a good essay.

Exams may be difficult for those doing them, but they're agonising for us parents. I think I'm going to have to go home and make a lot of soup. And help with a bucketful of revision. And talk a lot about positive thinking.
And cross legs, fingers and any other available digits, limbs and protuberances. For the next few weeks. Grr. I hate this time of year!

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