Proper Feature: Hornsea, yet another bank-free community

Hornsea, yet another bank-free community

In a weekly coffee morning, held in the Parish Hall, opposite Lloyds bank in Hornsea, pensioners are discussing the imminent closures of the town’s two remaining banks.

This small town on the East Yorkshire coast has been caught up in the accelerating pace of Britain’s bank closures. Hornsea residents have been left with a feeling of abandonment following the recent revelations that both NatWest and Lloyds will close their branches in June.

The decision is linked to a steep decline in usage of traditional branches in favour of online banking.. Banking giant RBS announced, earlier in the year, that it is to close 259 high street branches across the UK, including several in Yorkshire. A total of 197 RBS-managed NatWest outlets and 62 RBS branches will shut in 2018 due to changing customer habits.

Hornsea is on the front line, facing a double whammy. Both its NatWest and Lloyds branches will close within a week of each other this June. Alongside RBS’s planned 259 closures, Lloyds is axing 49 branches , which includes the Horsnea bank.

Many of the town’s 8,500 residents are both angry and dismayed. Pensioners at the coffee morning are furious about the closures.

Jean Robinson, a 75-year-old retired fruit wholesaler, has been running the weekly event for 10 years, including organising a minibus to pick up people who struggle to walk, or who live in the nearby villages. She is incensed at the branch closures.

“It’s disgusting, we could have done with one bank being left”. she says.

Don Paget, a 95-year-old Lloyds customer, also condemns the bank’s actions. He is semi-blind and says his condition means he can’t use the internet.

“It’s terrible,” he says. “ All the old people here use the banks a lot. It’s dreadful that they’re not caring about the older people, just money.!”

Ron Hughes, a fellow Lloyds customer in his seventies, is registered blind and would also find internet banking “just impossible”.

“What’s so dreadful is both banks are closing but they’re not taking into account the needs of people,” says Hughes. “You see the people in wheelchairs on the high street. The bank staff know the community – if someone doesn’t come in as normal they will share that information with the family.”

In this retirement town, where over a third of it’s residents are over the age of 60, many are concerned about how closing the last banks in town will impact the Hornsea community. Susan Stoddart, a 68-year-old Hornsea resident, understands banking is moving online but says:

“It is such a shame the banks are going. It will take so much away from Hornsea. We need people not computers. They don’t give you a smile and a good morning.”

Many young people in the town, whilst typical of their generation in that they rarely use bank branches themselves, are also opposed to the closures. Software developer Dave Yeomans, 31, has not set foot in a branch for over a year but he is still concerned about the older generation.

“Older people are not luddites,” he says. “Many simply don’t have the access or the inclination to take up these technologies.”

The banks may want people to believe that this is a story of enlightened pensioners managing their ISAs and direct debits on their smartphones. Yet five million British people don’t even use the internet. This is the major dilemma for Britain’s big banks. How do they adapt to the rapid take-up of digital banking without leaving vulnerable customers and small businesses that rely on branch services behind?

Stephen Jones, chief executive of UK Finance, said:

“Banking is in the midst of a customer-led revolution with more people than ever before making use of digital innovation and alternative ways to bank to help manage their money on a daily basis. However, banks are very aware of the role branches play in the community and conscious that customers and businesses should not be left behind. That is why decisions to close branches are never taken lightly and why it remains important that customers continue to be able to access banking services if a local bank branch closes.”

The problem for Hornsea residents is that the closures will make it difficult for customers to access bank branches. After June, the nearest Lloyds will be in the outskirts of Hull, 16 miles away, a two-hour round trip by bus. The nearest NatWest will be in Beverley, 13 miles away.

Patrick Finn, a Lloyds Bank customer, emphasises:

“To pay anything in involves a 35-mile drive to Hull. If you live in a reasonably sized town you shouldn’t have to travel for 40 or 50 minutes to get access to a bank.”

A number of residents contacted MP Stuart Graham who wrote to both banks to raise concerns. He said:

“It’s important that banking services are available to everyone, not just the tech savvy and people who are able to drive to alternative branches. I have also asked the banks to provide information on how alternative face-to face banking services can be accessed by my constituents.”

In response, Lloyds plans to introduce a mobile bank van service. NatWest says it will employ a community banker based in Hornsea to serve customers in the area and help them access alternatives, including basic banking services at a Post Office counter in the back of a local shop.

Nevertheless, the town’s politicians are not placated by the pared down services Lloyds and RBS are offering. Anne Padgett, the town’s Mayor, is drawing up plans to launch an independent bank to make up for the vital services being lost. Councillor Brian Morgan suggests an alternative currency as part of a possible solution. He says that this has already been used successfully in several other towns and cities and would help to boost the local economy, since money spent within the town remains there. Brian argues that local currencies are “good examples of how towns can be masters of their destinies.”

There is some scepticism as to how a local currency would be able to fill the void left by the loss of the banks. However, there is the possibility of bringing a Credit Union to the town which may be able to fulfil this need in the immediate future.

Despite opposition and protest, there is no doubt that the closures will go ahead as planned. Figures given by a spokesman for NatWest show that, since 2012, the way in which people use the NatWest Hornsea branch have changed dramatically. Transactions in the branch have reduced by 23 per cent since 2012 with only 70 customers visiting  on a weekly basis. 58 per cent of customers are now choosing to bank digitally. Whilst figures, published online by Lloyds’ own review of the Hornsea branch, show that 814 customers use the branch, they say that the number of customers who visit on a regular basis continues to decline.

David Dunning, a former employee of NatWest, and author of ‘Hornsea, A Reluctant Resort’ says:

“There is still a lot of debate going on about how we can replace the disappearing banks. The reality is that they will not change their minds, the small local branch is no longer a viable option. We must embrace the 21st century. Everybody – individuals and businesses alike – must stop worrying about how to do their conventional banking and focus on doing things differently. I haven’t written or received a cheque in 10 years and I rarely carry cash. There are better ways of handling your finances.”

RBS and Lloyds argue closures are a necessary response to customers’ shift online. The big five lenders, which includes HSBC, Barclays and Santander, also argue their profits are under more pressure than many Britons realise, with competition from a growing band of challengers and low Bank of England interest rates. These pressures have led to several rounds of aggressive branch closures already.

Record bank closures are part of a wider story of building pressure on Britain’s high streets, with retailers also pulling out in the face of intense competition from online rivals.

This does little to appease the fears of pensioners at the Hornsea coffee morning. Hilary Brant, a 68-year-old resident, concludes:

“I dread the day we have no banks, I recently had to sort out a very complicated and unusual procedure that would have been impossible to do online, I fear for the future.”

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Critical Evaluation of Documentary

The film documented the creation of a new skate park in Hornsea. Looking at how the project developed over a three-year period and showing a positive end result.

I chose to use a storytelling approach, structuring the documentary with a clear introduction, middle and ending. The story begins with background information on Hornsea and how this project came about. Hornsea is presented in a short film with a descriptive narrative. The tone is formal as the information is factual. As the documentary develops the narrative becomes more chatty and upbeat to illustrate the positivity of the project.

I included the interview with Councillor Robinson to give some background information on the project and to introduce the people involved. It was also a link to the original skate park user group in 2003. I think that it was important to show the connection between the two projects. My idea was also to show that, whilst the growth of the internet is effecting local businesses, social media was an important means of communication and  instrumental to the success of the new skate park.

The filming of the interview was arranged in an informal setting. The original video footage was extremely lengthy and required a lot of editing. I also realised that it was slightly out of focus. However, I decided to include it in the final film because it is informative and gives credibility to the documentary.

As the background information finishes the documentary is brought into the present with a clip of Russ Heideman, who worked on the design of the skate park. I should have shown him introducing his name but unfortunately I forgot this important point. The video becomes more upbeat at this point and the interview helps to show how this project has involved the participation of young people.

The video of the Mayor on the skate board brings in humour and shows the atmosphere at the opening event. The quality of the recording is not very good. I was not able to get close enough to film it and used my phone for this footage. Nevertheless, it linked to the events of the day and was important in the sequence.

It would have been easier to work with others on the filming of the opening jam as I found it impossible to film from the many different angles. The majority of the action was filmed on a Canon 750D  camera, positioned in a tree from where I was able to see all of the skate park.

The actual event lasted the whole afternoon. I went down before it started, during the set up, to try to get an interview from Paul Regan, the organiser. Unfortunately, he was very busy but I was able to obtain permission to film the event. The parents of the youngsters involved had signed consent forms at registration. I stayed for most of the activity in order to get footage of each of the separate 30 minute jam competitions. These involved different specialities;  scooters, BMX, skateboard and inline skating. I also took several photographs throughout the day.

Editing the film was a long process, I had several hours of footage as well as photos that needed to be cropped, re-sized and compiled. I tried to include the most entertaining parts of the opening jam and to be able to do this I joined several clips and then accelerated the speed. I think that by adding the background music played at the event this shows a true depiction and captures the atmosphere.

The interview with Dave Yeomans, albeit rather badly editied, provides an overall summation of the work involved in the project and a conclusion to the event. I then added the information on Full Cycle, the new shop in Hornsea, to give some contrast and to add another perspective. I varied the material I included to make the documentary more interesting. I thing this works well, as does the continuation of the music towards the end and a positive conclusive narrative to end the film.

At times the sound track to the video interviews is slightly out of synch. This was due to over-editing some of the footage. I should have prepared the interviews more carefully beforehand and aimed them at capturing specific information relevant to the documentary. I found working with Adobe Premier Pro to be extremely laborious and time-consuming.

Overall, I am pleased with the final film. It was filmed from my perspective but I tried to be objective whilst highlighting the positive sides of the skate park project. When I look back, I can see many areas that need improvement. Given more time I would change several aspects. I now realise how much work is involved in creating just a short documentary film. In the future I will look towards a more collaborative approach and share the work with a crew.

 

Documentary Script and Treatment

Opening Scene

Focus on the town of Hornsea.

Establishing shots.

The film commences with photos of the Hornsea Town council sign and Hornsea sea front followed by footage of Newbegin, the main shopping street, showing various shops and commerce in the town and focusing on Natwest bank.

The script is narrated by myself:

Hornsea is a small seaside town on the East Yorkshire Coast.

Newbegin, the main high street consists mainly of charity shops, hairdressers and cafes.

The impending  closure of the two existing banks this June highlight the effects of the internet and change in consumer trends.

With nearly a third of the population over the age of sixty-five many young people complain of the lack of facilities for them.

Zoom in to a photo of the sign from the former Hornsea skate park.

Photo of the ramps showing their worn condition.

However, a focal point for youngsters is the skate park

The original park, set up in 2003, was becoming extremely run down and dangerous.

Photo of Hornsea Skate Park User Group on Facebook.

Artist’s impression of the new skate park.

In 2015 discussions began about how to create a new skate park. A skate park user group was set up and meetings organised to discuss their proposals with the Town Council.

After much negotiation and successful fundraising the plans for the new skate park were finalised.

Image sequence of former skate park and work in progress on the new one.

In 2017 the tired ramps and rails were dismantled.

New ground was laid and work began in earnest on the construction of a new, modern skate park for Hornsea.

Photo of the original Hornsea Skate Park User Group in 2002

I spoke to Councillor Angus Robinson who spearheaded the original skate park set up in 2003. He has also been instrumental in setting up the new park.

Clip taken from my interview with Hornsea Town Councillor Angus Robinson to provide

background information on the organisation behind the creation of the new skate park.

Giving an explanation of how this project linked to the first skate park built 15 years previously.

Fades into photos of the completed skate park.

Work on the new skate park was completed in 2018. The surrounding paths and benches were added just in time for the opening jam on Saturday the 26th.

Photo of the poster for the opening jam followed by an interview with Russ Heideman who designed the new skate park. Tone becomes more upbeat.

Video clip of Hornsea Mayor, Keith Himslett, on a skateboard  at the opening ceremony.

Adds humour and the clapping and cheering highlights the atmosphere at the opening jam.

The newly appointed Mayor of Hornsea, Keith Himslett was true to his word. He opened the skate park by sliding down a ramp on a skate board, albeit not in the conventional way.

Footage of the events at the opening jam on Saturday 26th may.

The skate park was officially open. The mayor remained seated as the youngsters streamed passed on their scooters.

Background music starts. Sound track being played at the skate jam. Dr. Dre, Still D.R.E (featuring Snoop Dogg).

Volume increases as footage taken from the event is played at accelerated speed.

Photo of the new rules and regulations sign mounted on entrance to the skate park.

The skate park project has been a huge success thanks to the determination of the user group and collaboration of local businesses, Councillors and various sponsors.

Interview with Dave Yeomans explaining his involvement in the project and how social media has played a vital role.

Photograph of Full Cycle shop which is situated directly opposite the skate park on Cliff Road, Hornsea.

Whilst benefiting the young people of Hornsea the skate park is also attracting new businesses.

Interview with Richie Baxter, owner of Full Cycle.

Background music recommences at low volume.

Image sequence of photos taken during the event.

In a world where young people tend to communicate via social media the Hornsea skate park provides an outdoor space for people of all ages to connect. Coming together through sport to form friendships, share skills and ideas and enjoy the freedom of outdoor skating.

Credit roll.

 

Overall evaluation of my social media strategy

I have struggled with the social media work this year. I find it difficult to put myself out there on social media, so creating a presence for myself has been challenging. I had already started my own website in the first year entitled ‘The Mature Student’ so the logical step to follow was to create a community around this. However, this proved to be unsuccessful as I had not really targeted a specific enough audience.

I was not motivated to write blog posts just for the sake of it and I found that the work seemed to be pointless. Unlike my peers I did not focus on an area of interest to me. I have many interests and hobbies but most of the sports I enjoy do not involve group participation. I do not tend to join groups or belong to clubs. Therefore, the idea of creating an online community was alien to me.

Looking back to my original social media strategy my objectives where:

  • Build and solidify my social media presence.
  • Establish a community that mirrors a real life community. Engagement.
  • Meet like-minded individuals to share thoughts and ideas. Mutual support.
  • Increase traffic to my website by creating content which is helpful and informative.

I have managed to achieve these objectives but not through my original social media strategy. In February I  decided to rethink my approach and change my target audience. I became involved with community work in Hornsea and as a result I joined various groups on Facebook. Without really intending to I became part of an on-line community. I found that I was able to connect through social media and that it is an extremely powerful and useful tool for communication.

I have built up my social media presence on both of my two chosen platforms, Facebook and Twitter.

At the beginning of the year this was the summary of my Twitter followers/following:

followers on twitter December

My current status is now:

Current Twitter

I had hoped to increase my following by ten so I was pleased that my audience increased by sixteen. I also started to follow more people on Twitter as I became more familiar with the platform. I now feel much more confident in using Twitter. Although I am not interested in greatly increasing my followers it is nice to see a post being liked or re-tweeted.

I have looked at analytics for Twitter and Twitonomy to see if I am on the right track and that people are taking an interest in what I post.

From these two graphs, the first in January the second in May, I can clearly see that I am becoming a lot more active on Twitter and getting more impressions. The first graph is from January, the second from May.

Twitter JanuaryTweet Activity May

The statistics below show my  re-tweets and the potential audience that these could  reach. I find it staggering to realise how many people are engaging on Twitter.

Re-tweeted

These have been my most successful Tweets. I think the reason for this was because both Tweets related to events that people were interested in. When there is a real reason to Tweet I can understand the value of Twitter.

Tweet ActivityTop TweetTop re-tweets

I found that the people of Hornsea do not tend to communicate on Twitter, they prefer to use Facebook. I do not have analytics for my Facebook account as this is a personal account and not a business or a page. However, I have increased my presence on Facebook by joining several groups which are relevant to my local community, Hornsea.

FB groups

I achieved my second objective to establish a community that mirrors a real life community through Facebook. I became involved with work to prepare Hornsea for the Tour de Yorkshire. We communicated through social media and also met up to discuss ideas and work in progress. The Hornsea Tour de Yorkshire Working Party started with only a few original members and it now has 586. Not everybody attends meetings regularly but this group has provided much-needed support for the TDY in Hornsea and will continue with the hope that we will receive the event next year.

Through joining this group I have met like-minded individuals to share thoughts and ideas and give mutual support. I have also been involved in the creation of another group on Facebook, H.U.G., Hornsea Urban Gardeners. I met June Greensmith in March, she had started a campaign to empower the people of Hornsea to take care of their town and to make it cleaner and more presentable. Along with a few other ladies, I joined her to do some much-needed gardening and litter picking around the town. I helped June to set up a Facebook page for the group. We started with just two members, the pair of us, there are now over 200. I post to the group most days and June, as administrator, writes a post each morning.

HUG FaceBook

I failed to achieve my final objective to increase traffic to my website by creating content which is helpful and informative. I only wrote two new posts on my website and soon realised that it was not going anywhere. The website had been useful for my work on social media in the first year but not instrumental to the work on advanced social media. I only used it to be able to post a blog entry for the fourth task we were set; tweeting a blog post written by myself on four different occasions.

When we were given the list of tasks to complete for this module I had no idea how I was going to be able to tackle them. However, after much deliberation, I am satisfied that I managed to complete all of these tasks and that the work I produced was of a sufficient standard. I used both Twitter and Facebook to complete these tasks.

I found that it was easy to research the social media accounts of two journalists. This gave me an insight into how important it is in the industry to have a strong social media presence/profile. I did not enjoy doing the accompanying presentation as this is something that I find uncomfortable. Nevertheless, it is an opportunity to improve on both writing, preparing and creating presentations. It is also important to share different approaches and ideas with my peers and get valuable feedback.

Of the five tasks I found that my social media campaign was the most rewarding. In focusing on the Tour de Yorkshire I found a subject that really interested me. I was proud to be a part of the organisation and I wanted to produce material that would be a celebration of the event. Many people commented on the photographs that I posted and I feel that I achieved audience collaboration and reached new audiences. I was also asked to do some live radio commentary for the event by Beverley FM who used some of my material.

Tweeting a live event was new to me so I chose to cover the Hornsea beach clean as it was easily accessible. I also found it easy to speak with the people involved as I already knew a lot of them. In terms of audience participation Twitter was probably not the best platform to use. As I stated earlier, the people in Hornsea do not frequently use Twitter. Also those involved did not have time to respond to my tweets as they were busy with the job in hand. I did, however, receive a lot of response from posting the photos and videos on Facebook.

FB likes 2

Overall, despite my initial reticence to become more involved with social media, I have learnt a lot through this work. I have come to understand how important it has become in our society and that creating a positive social media presence has many advantages. I do, nevertheless find that it is extremely time-consuming and that my time could be better spent. However, I will continue to improve my skills and use social media for the purpose that suits me the most. Namely, promoting events and continuing to be an active member of my community in Hornsea.

 

 

 

Produce a detailed week-long social media campaign on a subject of interest to your community.

I decided to coincide my social media campaign with the Tour de Yorkshire cycle race as it was coming through Hornsea, my home town, for the first time on 3 May 2018. Hornsea Tour de Yorkshire Working Party group was set up on Facebook in February to coordinate efforts to prepare Hornsea for the arrival of the Tour de Yorkshire. I became an active member of the group and have been part of the preparation team.

The reason for doing the campaign was to bring the people of Hornsea together as a community. In order to do this I posted on several Hornsea groups on Facebook, the most prominent being ‘Hornsea Rant, Info and Banter’ which currently has 9850 members (more than the population of Hornsea which is around 8500!) I posted the same content over 10 days to the ‘Hornsea’ group, the ‘Hornsea Peleton’ as well as to the ‘Hornsea TDY Working Party’ group.

I took numerous photos of the decorative bikes around town and then, using Photoshop,  I created a series of collages to post on a 10 day countdown to the arrival of the Tour in Hornsea.

 

Day 1- Ten days to go to the Tour de Yorkshire

This is the sign the cyclists will see on entering Hornsea for the Tour de Yorkshire. I placed the banner on the top. This is in the market place in Hornsea on the first roundabout as the cyclists arrive.

Day 1

Day 2-Nine days to go

Pupils from Hornsea School and Language College produced a lot of the art and design work for the TDY. This was one of the competition entries.

Day 2

Day 3-Eight days to go

Eight little bikes decorated by individuals and displayed around town.

Day 3

Day 4-Seven days to go

There was a competition for the best window display. This was just seven of them.

Day 4

Day 5-Six days to go

For this post I wanted people to look up to find these bikes in strange places. I got a lot of response from this post. The blue and yellow painted bikes where appearing all over.

6 days to go

Day 6-Five days to go

Five flowering bikes to show how creative people had been and that the bikes were providing motivation for people to tidy up  local spaces. and plant flowers.

Day 5

Day 7-Four days to go

These were the four signs put up on the entrances into Hornsea to welcome people.

Day 6

Day 8- Three days to go

The three main schools in Hornsea had a huge input in the success of the TDY. They spent numerous hours stripping down, then painting old bikes and placed them around the town. The pupils also produced a lot of art and design work and combined the project with their studies.

Day 7

Day 9-Two days to go

These two ladies were instrumental in tidying up the town for the TDY. This post was really popular because of the photo which showed that people were taking pride in their work for the community.

Day 8

Day 10-The day before the TDY.

I posted just a small collection of some of the photos that I had taken as a celebration of Hornsea’s first Tour de Yorkshire.

Day 9

On the morning of the TDY I posted on Facebook and Tweeted. We were fortunate to have beautiful weather.

Day 10

 

These were the two posts that incited the most comments and got a high number of likes:

Best Post

 

Most commented

I feel that the campaign went very well on Facebook. This was not about increasing traffic to my personal blog, it was to create a community around the TDY event. Many people said that they looked forward to seeing my posts in the morning and I have been asked to do a commemorative book with the photos I took. They have also been used in a treasure hunt around the town.

I tried to keep the posts as varied as possible with the theme running throughout. It was a lot of work finding the bikes and decorations to photograph and then editing and compiling the posts. I could have possibly made the posts more interesting by adding more multimedia but I did not have the time. I found that a ten-day campaign posting to several groups  on both Facebook and Twitter was extremely time-consuming.

Unfortunately I didn’t get as much response on Twitter. I posted  using  the hashtags #Hornsea #TDY @letouryorkshire @itvcycling and the days of the week.  Maybe I should have  varied the hashtags that I used. I also found that not many people in Hornsea use Twitter. Facebook is by far the most popular social media platform.

The following analytics show the number of impressions, engagements and engagement rate of some of my tweets.

Twitter Analtics

The post that got the most impressions on Twitter was the photo about the three local schools. This was posted on the Monday morning so I included #MondayMotivation. This would appear to be the reason for greater interest in the tweet.

Most Impressions on Twitter

In terms of engagements the following post was the most successful:

Engagement rate

Once again I posted this tweet in the morning and added #TuesdayThoughts.
Photographs of local people are always interesting for those who know or recognise them. Also, funny and inspirational stories are a way  to engage others.

 

 

 

 

Tweet a blog post on four different occasions

In order to see what sort of engagement I could achieve on Twitter I tweeted a blog post at different times using various multimedia. I chose to cover an event that was happening over the weekend at Filey for which I wrote this blog post.

I posted the first tweet on the Friday evening prior to the event. I had been to a photo shoot on Filey beach during the day time where I took several photos.

This was the most successful of all of the tweets in terms of number of impressions. These are the statistics:

Tweet 1

I posted the second tweet early on Saturday morning before the event was due to take place. I used a photo with a caption to catch people’s attention.

I used different hashtags for this tweet including #RoyalWedding and #FACupFinal to try to pull in viewers. These were the events that people would be tweeting about so I wanted to see if this would increase engagement to my tweet. Analytics show that people interacted well with this tweet and that the photograph increased media engagement.

Tweet 2

For my third tweet a I created a short Gif from a video I had taken on my phone. I posted it on Saturday evening as a reminder that the event was also taking place on Sunday.

This tweet was the most popular in terms of media views. This illustrates that people react more when a tweet includes multimedia.

Tweet 3

I posted my final tweet on Sunday morning at 7.24 am. I used different photos and included a Steampunk hashtag to draw people to the event.

The tweet wasn’t as successful as I expected. This was probably because I posted it too early for a Sunday morning.

Tweet 4

 

This task has been an interesting way of finding out how to engage people on Twitter. It has shown that the most popular tweets are those containing multimedia. By spending a bit more time to create a small Gif I increased the number of media views.

I have also realised the importance of including the correct hashtags. As the event was taking place in Filey my target audience would cover the surrounding area. It is for this reason that I included @ScarboroughNews and @YorkshireCoastRadio, these being the main media outlets for the area. General hashtags such as #beach and #sunshine were added because I thought people may have been looking under these due to the beautiful weather.

The time of day also effected the amount of engagement. In posting on Friday evening before the event I knew people would be looking on Twitter for activities over the weekend. Both of the tweets that I posted in the evening got more impressions than the early morning ones. I think that this was probably due to the fact that it was the weekend and that, unlike myself, most people are not awake that early. Had I been posting during the week I think this would have been different.