Monday 31 May 2010

New Look Talisman Square

After all the demolition, this is what we can look forward to. Discovery Properties (Cobalt Estates) have put up a few blue boards with the Talisman Kenilworth web address and a big MORE SHOPPING! - irony at work here?

Looks to me like the developers have successfully saved some money on paying the business rates on those empty properties then. They have twelve other projects knocking around with nine completed and four ongoing (including Kenilworth). In my opinion, it looks like the big stuff like Waitrose, Homebase and the odd Vue Cinema are easier to slot into a large unit than the small ones with small businesses. We can see Darlington, Letchworth and Wells and next on the list for Discovery Properties.

So, no car park and with the promise that some Kenilworth Art will feature on the hoarding it looks like that's it until next year. Perhaps we can see the square come to life with some markets on a Saturday or the people of Kenilworth setting up some stalls of their own? Who knows.

Tuesday 25 May 2010

News and how to use this site?

If you know what you're looking for, type a word or two in the search box on the right. If you are just looking, click on word from the tag cloud (this is the A-Z contents of the site - the more times a phrase is indexed, the larger the font becomes).

There is also a list of the most recent posts (also on the right). You can scroll down to the site archive and see all the 130+ posts in date order.  If something is missing - and I know it is, just let me know (I will not stop until I answer all of What's in Kenilworth?

I am pleased to say that Google are indexing these posts with Google Street View showing as limited augmented reality, for example, see the road outside the Sweet Shop.

Data from the sites tell me people are looking at pages here for just over 6 minutes and at nearly a thousand page views, the site is growing in readership quite well. Remember, most people will see pages from websites these days without ever going past the front page.  This site is written as a blog and every single word is Google searchable - try it for your self from search page on this page or any Google search box on a mobile, laptop or pc. I know Google's page rank sorts pages and sites, but look at the way this site is moving up the Google rankings - it is doing well without any SEO or clever web page techniques (and there are many).

My advice, get a message, say it and Google will find you - it's that simple and that's it. I will and can show you how. I am a teacher by trade, but have used the web since it started - I find it easy, but as I have said before, I know others do not and I will help you.

I would like to put a group together to meet in person to help everyone blog and web publish. If you want to know more email me at My idea is to meet anywhere in Kenilworth that has free wifi - that's Costa, Pizza PizzoStarbucks and maybe The Virgins and Castle (when I check it out). BT have a great way for home users to share their wifi signal, see at - see the photo on the right for a quick map.

It seems the UK is short on good bloggers. It is the new way of mass amateurisation. In other words, anyone can be anything they like armed with a mobile phone, laptop and some web access. Take a look at my Google Profile and see what Pete Cashmore is all about - ever heard of him? I thought not. To be well known bloggers you must be known as a result of doing something on the web, not as a result of something else. For example, Stephen Fry is well known on Twitter etc, but he was a comedian/actor first. Martin Lewis from the is known because of his website. Martin is a financial journalist, so he may not count either. If you want to know more see the Forbes Web 25 or even the Top 100 Blogs in the world. Look at number 3, it's run by Pete Cashmore. I do not use mashable, I prefer as Kevin Rose blogs and videoblogs about how he's done it all, see

Also, remember any text that is blue is a link to something else, for example, the word 'augmented reality' above links to the Wikipedia page: which describes what that subject is all about. Great, because the key words in this digital age are clickable, searchable and linkable - and if you are not any of those, Google will not find you. I think of the internet these days as Google because at at 63-90% of a market share (it depends where you get these percentages - just Google Market share for yourself).

If I have not bored you already - head on over to The Mike Downes Page and see some of the books I've read and ideas I have. See you there.

Beading Crafty‎ in The Square

Beading Crafty‎
25 The Square
01926 858442‎

Friday 21 May 2010

Sure Clean in The Square

Sure Clean‎
27 The Square
01926 857566

SureClean offers the finest dry cleaning and laundry service complemented by our tailored repairs and ironing service. We are the one stop shop for all your clothes care needs

Google Business Listings - Errors and Opportunity

There is the real world and there is the Google world and in between there is someone like me. One of the tasks I have set is to close the gap where Google Maps are inaccurate and outdated. For example, searching for 'supermarket kenilworth' returns the usual results including Budgens (which closed in 2004) and Sainsburys is listed as being on a farm near Stoneleigh.

So why is this? Google Maps collects data mostly from I have 150 Kenilworth businesses listed on this website - which are accurate as I live in Kenilworth and I know they exist. I was happily correcting the errors and now Google are off to moderate the listings - word from the web is this could take a while.

I can provide a service for those businesses that do not have their own website and have not claimed their business listings either. If you have a Kenilworth Business and want to be found on Google, claim it yourself (you will need a free Google account) or email me and I will tell you how and make sure you have the right help.

There are a few articles on the web about this kind of error, see one here where this company was trying to correct an entry where a hospital was having an error with it's A and E listing which stopped urgent calls getting through as Google listed the number as the general switchboard.

Boothroyd in The Square

Boothroyd & Co‎
19 The Close
01926 851451‎

Lloyds TSB in The Square

Lloyds TSB Bank PLC‎
21-23 The Square
0845 300 0000‎

Local Branch

Thursday 20 May 2010

Shop to let in The Square

(previously Wallace Hairdressing)‎
11 The Square

The Kenilworth Salon has been relocated to Solihull and Coleshill. Please call 0121 705 8070 to arrange an appointment

Specsavers in The Square

17 The Square
01926 865 030‎

Local Store

RSPCA in The Square

RSPCA Kenilworth Shop
13 The Square
01926 864308

Knight and Rennie in The Square

Knight and Rennie‎
9 The Square
01926 857 595‎
Twitter @knightandrennie

Mortgage Masters in The Square

Mortgage Masters‎
1 The Square
01926 854504‎

Castle Flowers in Smalley Place

Castle Flowers‎
5 Smalley Place
01926 851 410‎

Cupboard Love in Smalley Place

Cupboard Love
7 Smalley Place
01926 850750

Emeldas in Smalley Place NOW CLOSED

NOW CLOSED as 20 June 2011

Emeldas‎ Shoes
3 Smalley Place
01926 863 335‎

Zizzi's in The Square

29 The Square
01926 852980

Wednesday 19 May 2010

Translate What's in Kenilworth? into 57 languages

Google Translate let's you easily transform any web page or text into the language of your choice with 57 to choose from. Really useful for learning a new language, doing you homework or finding out What's in Kenilworth? if you are visiting from overseas. See Google Translate on the right of this page.

Heritage Property in Warwick Road

Heritage Property‎
1 Warwick Road
01926 859216

William Hill in The Square

William Hill
10 The Square
0870 518 1715‎


Brambles in Smalley Place

Brambles of Kenilworth
1 Smalley Place

01926 511108‎

The Picture Shop in The Square

The Picture Shop‎
4 The Square
01926 851046‎

Cabello in The Square

12 The Square
01926 851116

Hair by
Nicola Shortland

Did You Know...
Cabello is the Spanish word for hair

Rayner Opticians in The Square

Rayner‎ Opticians
16 The Square

01926 852 930

Marian Shaw in The Square

Marian Shaw
14, The Square
01926 732140

J A Moore in Warwick Road

J A Moore‎
12-14 Warwick Road
01926 852579‎

Nails 4 U in The Square

Nails 4 U‎
26 The Square
01926 511186‎

M D M Music in The Square

M D M Music Store‎
1st and 2nd floors
30 The Square
01926 863130
Tues to Fri 11-5pm
Sat 10-4pm

Great website - take a look at:

Wiggies Barber Shop in The Square

The Barbers Shop
28 The Square

Reader Review from Tony: Excellent service - I had a repair job on an expensive top London barber cut that went wrong. Amy, my barber, was great and she knew exactly what had to be done. She was very attentive and confident without being over bearing. Very skilled and all at a great price - thoroughly recommended.

Superdrug in The Square

Superdrug Stores
38 The Square
01926 850426‎
Mon to Sat 9-5.30pm

The Coventry Building Society‎ in The Square

Coventry Building Society‎
32 The Square
01926 854 971‎

The Old Emporium in The Square CLOSED

NOW CLOSED reopened as a Charity Shop

The Old Emporium‎
44 The Square
01926 859 960‎

Tuesday 18 May 2010

Escape at Abbey End

47 Abbey End
01926 863200

Google test post to assess indexing

Google is a great search engine and that is most of the time. However, sometimes text can get lost - you know it's there, but Google cannot see it.  This has happened to the post below found at:

Google indexed the blog post, proof of that comes as found it, see the search result.

Then comes a test when a selection of the post is searched from Google with quotation marks:

 "The KWN website has no relationship to the print copy edition. For example, headline as Fri 14 May 2010"

The post is now not found - how odd.  I have pasted he whole post (minus any links) below to see if Google searches correctly this time and then I will learn... let's see what happens.
Kenilworth Weekly News‎
31 Warwick Road CV8 1LJ
01926 852 870‎
(The KWN website has no relationship to the print copy edition. For example, headline as Fri 14 May 2010 reads 'Police target house burglars' - that is not found anywhere on the KWN website or with a detailed Google search). What is also alarming is the KWN website has now introduced intensive advertising).

Sad times for a newspaper that was established in 1946. When you pay 50p for the newspaper on a Friday, there are very few pages of Kenilworth News (around five feature stories a week).

Currently, the Kenilworth Weekly News sells an average of 3,533 copies per week (in a town population of 26,000 or so). That was 3,704 copies per week in August 2009 as reported by the Press Gazette.

Did you know that one paper copy of the KWN laid end to end is about 24 metres in length, by selling 3,533 copies a week the paper will stretch for 53 miles - what a waste of paper and not searchable, linkable and clickable either.

The KWN is owned by Johnston Press who have financial difficulties and have shut five titles, but say they have 'no plans as we speak' to cut more titles (see The Guardian).

Johnston Press have played down suggestions that their idea of a paywall (they were asking online readers to pay £5.00 for 3 months access) for their online versions has failed, see BBC News and The Guardian once again.  In my rough estimates from searching the web, KWN may get 16% of their revenue by selling the newspaper for 50p, the rest comes from advertising. But in these difficult times advertising spending is decreasing and Johnston Press are trying hard to cope with the threat of full digital editions and competition.

For those of you who do not know, many years ago there were very few ways to get the news - the most popular, buy it every day in hard copy paper version from a newsagent (yes I know there was TV and Radio too). Since 1998 (when Google came alive) titles have disappeared as people like Google aggregate the news which means linking to all the news stories and show them in their search results.  This has left people like Rupert Murdoch not selling papers like The Times and losing money, blaming Google and trying to charge for readers for online news, see this BBC article.  Many say this will not work, I agree. On the other hand, The Guardian have introduced an iphone application and sold it via the Apple iTunes store where readers pay once and possibly never again.

This idea that a town newspaper (aka the KWN) is shrinking and may eventually close is one of the reasons I have made this website. And it does not stop there, the Official Kenilworth Town Website is also under threat as it has never really been updated since it was first published (well over a year). If you missed that article click here. Even then it caters for the large businesses but not the small ones who matter - they need the coverage most to survive.

I have always been a big fan of the Kenilworth Weekly News since my first Soapbox column in 1999, but times are changing and anyone can report the news these days - even me. (If the article is too small, click here for a larger one.

Starbucks Coffee at Abbey End

Starbucks Coffee at The Holiday Inn
212 Abbey End CV8 1ED
01926 855957
Mon-Sat 8-6pm, Sun 10-5pm
Starbucks Local Website
Free Wifi (a user code is printed on the Starbucks receipt)  Starbucks will not allow me to photograph a menu, but I can give an idea of drink prices and food options
Caffe Latte and
Cappuccino £2.05-2.65
Americano £1.75-2.05
Espresso £1.40-1.55
Fresh Filter Coffee £1.60-1.90
Classic Hot Chocolate £2.20-2.80
Mango Passion Fruit £2.80-3.20
Raspberry Blackcurrant £2.80-3.20
Paninis, Wraps, Crepes and
Sandwiches from £1.95-3.95
Fresh Fruit, Yoghurt from 50p

Iceland Foods in Warwick Road

Iceland Foods
2 Warwick Road
01926 852 786‎
Mon to Sat 9-5.30pm
The New Face of Iceland - Ellie Taylor

Halifax in The Square

50 The Square
01926 309 602‎

Mon to Fri 9 - 5.00
Wed 9 - 5.00
Saturday 9 - 12.00

HSBC Bank in The Square

HSBC Bank‎
46-48 The Square
08457 404 404‎
Mon to Fri 9.30-4.30pm

Barclays Bank‎ in Warwick Road

Barclays Bank‎
8 Warwick Road
(08457) 555 555

Monday 17 May 2010

Hallmark Thorntons in Warwick Road

Hallmark Thornton‎s
18-20 Warwick Road
01926 850 171‎

It's a Pound in Warwick Road

It's a Pound
10 Warwick Road

I cannot find a website or even telephone number for this business - but what else is there to say apart from...It's a Pound!

Royal Mail Delivery Office in Warwick Road

Royal Mail‎
Kenilworth Delivery Office
Barrow Road CV8 1AA

Edit 10 June 2016 -- Phone numbers are 01926 303701 or 01926 303702

(although this number is listed - delivery office tell me this number has not been used in five years - not that helpful I know, perhaps a personal visit it best)
Mon to Fr 7.00 to 4.00pm
Sat 7.00 to 12.00 noon
Post Code Finder

Collect parcels from this office when you have one of those slips telling say you missed the postman and the parcel needed a signature or wouldn't fit through the letterbox. Call 0845 113 312 to rearrange a delivery (This is the number on the red/white card that is posted through your letter box).‎

NatWest in Warwick Road

NatWest Bank
16 Warwick Rd

Age Concern
Warwickshire Shop
4 Warwick Road CV8 1HB
01926 258656

Age Concern Warwickshire provides a wide range of services and activities for the local community, and for older people and their carers across the County. This website is designed to provide information on the complete range of services and activities provided by Age Concern Warwickshire and allow users the opportunity to contact us about services, products, activities, job vacancies and volunteering opportunities.

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