Archive for June, 2010

Top Shelf Goodies

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

I usually get my lunchtime sarnie at Sainsbo’s, on the way in to work.

That’s not because I like Sainsbo’s sarnies especially – they’re OK, but I prefer Tesco. Actually, I prefer “Eat”, but I have a deep rooted objection to spending longer queuing for my lunch than I’m going to spend eating it, to Tesco or Sainsbury it has to be. And there’s a branch of Sainsbury within easy walking distance, but I’d have to divert well off course to get to a Tesco.

Part of the problem with Sainsbury is their uninspiring range of sandwich fillings: Cheese and tomato is only interesting for so long – about two seconds – and even the all day breakfast is stodgier than the bread it comes in. And don’t get me started on smoked salmon and cream cheese.

Smoked salmon and cream cheese? Oh, OK then. Who the hell had THAT idea? ”Hey guys, here’s an idea: Y’know how smoked salmon has a really light, delicate flavour, and a texture that melts across the tongue? Well, let’s make a sandwich out of that, but slather it in really cheap cream cheese to stop people noticing how unpleasant the bread is!”

The reason I mention all this is that I spotted something in Sainsbury this morning that I’d never noticed before: Their sandwich section has a top shelf! And just like all the racier stuff in the magazine section is on the top shelf, so it is with sandwiches. I found a pork, apple and stuffing sandwich that was not only made with real pork, apple and stuffing, but also had bread that didn’t taste like cardboard!

I will return to Sainsbo’s top shelf again…maybe tomorrow…

We Have a Winner

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Remember I told you I had some exciting news that I couldn’t share before the weekend?

As most of you will know, I’m the webmaster for the drama group of Purple Fred (whom, you’ll be delighted to know, I love very much [PF that is, not the whole drama group]). We’ve been running an online competition to choose a new logo for the group: First of all, members and friends were invited to submit ideas, then the members all had a chance to vote for their favourite. And on Saturday – at the combined “Last night of the Show and Forty Fifth Anniversary of the Society” party, the winner was announced…


…designed by ME!!!

It was a bit embarrassing really, being that I was the one who counted the votes – although it was all checked and ratified by the committee so it IS fair.

I won a load of theatre vouchers…now, what shall I take Purple Fred (whom I love very much) to see?


Thursday, June 24th, 2010

You really were going to get the Lord Young rant today…but then he went and spoiled my fun by saying something sensible. I can’t prove it because the forum where I found it is down for maintenance, and although I’m sure it was in the Daily Telegraph, I can’t find it on their website anywhere.

The gist of his comments was that the problem with Health and Safety seems to be peoples’ perception of it, rather than the law and practice itself. Which of course is what this blog, and most of the rest of the Health and Safety profession has been saying all along.

We’re not out of the woods yet, and he’s still saying some incredibly daft things – earlier this week he was quoted in The Scotsman as saying “”Every piece of electrical equipment in an office has to be checked every five years. There are risk-assessment officers all over the place. It’s nonsense.” (see link). Yes, it’s nonsense – I thought I’d seen most of the Health and Safety myths going round, but this every five years is a new one even to me. And of course, this very blog debunked ages ago, the idea that there’s any legal specified frequency for electrical testing (see link and follow the link within that for even more info). As did the Health and Safety Executive in their Myth of the Month web page (see the July 2007 myth).

So since my blood pressure remains dangerously normal on the “Lord Young” front, I thought I’d share this with you. And note to Purple Fred (whom I love very much) – don’t worry, I’m not really going to cook it. I’d love to try a tiny slice, though…


Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

I was going to have another Lord Young related rant this evening, but then something good happened…

The train was late getting into Southampton – about fifteen minutes late, thanks to Notwork Rail signalling problems at Waterloo. Those of you who knew Henners may detect his hand at work…and it wouldn’t surprise me a bit. Normally the train being that late means waiting for an age for the bus home, but the 17A must’ve been a bit late and came round the corner as I came out of the station.

I really couldn’t be bothered to run for it, especially as I’d had one or two gins on the train (two, actually) and there was only one person waiting to get on. But then that one person saw me coming, recognised me as someone who usually catches that bus, and made the bus wait for me!

Restores your faith in human nature…a bit, anyway!


Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

…or in other words, someone I introduced to caching, has placed their own first cache!

Of course, there’s already the excellent Pay Closer Attention 007, by Paws for Thought, as well as the two predecessors to that cache. But now…

Ya ta ta TAAAAA…

M’lovely Purple Fred – whom I love VERY much – and MiniFred have placed Fred and Mini’s Series Number 1, close to one of our favourite New Forest pubs. And well done to Seeking Salters, who found it on the day it was published!

There’s something else quite exciting, but I can’t tell you that until the weekend…


Sunday, June 20th, 2010

What I was going to write about tonight can wait…

In the last half hour I’ve heard about the death of Henry the Thirst. I was going to say, “…also known as…”, and his real name – but the name he chose for himself was the one he wanted to be known by, and suited him so much better.

Farewell, old chap, and rest in bucket loads of peace. I’ll wave as the train goes past Thirst Hall in the morning.

All American Hero

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

I’m only surprised it’s taken this long…

(from the Demotivational website, part of the ICanHazCheesburger group)

What have Rob Green and Michael Jackson got in common? They both wear gloves for no apparent reason.


Monday, June 14th, 2010

Many of you will have seen this news story, or the interview with Lord Young on the telly, about a gubmint-sponsored review into Health and Safety legislation.

It’s worrying that the review is being led by someone who thinks that lunacies like “Safety goggles to play conkers” and “toothpicks banned in restaurants” are a result of Health and Safety law. They’re a result of policies being made and implemented by people who don’t understand either the law or the risk reduction process, and an argument for better health and safety, not less.

Lord Young also said this morning that part of the problem is that anyone can set themselves up as a Health and Safety consultant with no qualifications – which is true, but in a speech on 24th March this year he criticised the professional body for failing to campaign for better regulation of the profession – despite the fact that the Institute has been campaigning for exactly that for five years.

So, more in hope than expectation, here’s my shopping list for what I’d like to see come out of the Young Review:

  1. Regulation of the Health and Safety profession, to require that only individuals of proven competence can practice as Health and Safety Advisors. You have to be of proven competence to be a gas fitter or electrician – why not a Health and Safety person?
  2. Insurers forced to better support companies with compensation claims: I’ve seen cases where insurers have paid out on obviously-phony compensation claims, rather than go to court and fight them. This alone has contributed hugely to the growth of the “Compensation Culture”, and of course the insurers rarely suffer – they just put the premium up next year
  3. Trade unions forced to take responsibility for malicious false claims made by their members and carried out by union lawyers: Again, I’ve seen claims where the claimant had obviously made untrue statements – only to get away with it because insurers wouldn’t tackle unions.
  4. Consistency of enforcement by the Health and Safety Executive, which is a bit patchy now. And fire safety – which is in part enforced by the fire authorities – is even worse, with businesses in some areas receiving improvement orders when they’re doing what businesses in other areas are being advised to.
  5. And this one’s a real dream…

  6. The Press forced to adopt a more responsible attitude to reporting, so the only things reported as Health and Safety stories are real Health and Safety stories rather than pathetic scaremongering (incidentally, we recently read of a health and safety prosecution after a gym user was killed in a lift accident – where were Clarkson, Littlejohn and all the other idiots then, with their “too much Health and Safety law”?)

Meantime, what effect am I expecting to actually see over the next couple of years? Not much.


Sunday, June 13th, 2010

Me an’ Purple Fred an’ Mini Fred had a barbecue this afternoon – and apart from me completely failing to set anything other than charcoal alight (see here) it was pretty much as you might expect a barbecue to be. But it DID remind me of something that I failed to blog about when it happened, back in February…

In connection with one of PF’s drama things, we had a smoke machine to play with. It was a big industrial smoke machine possibly designed for Wembley Stadium, but we were confident that with judicious use of the settings we could get it right. Time at the technical rehearsal was going to be tight and we had to arrive at the theatre already knowing how it worked, so we set up a little smoke machine practice at PF’s house.

We set the machine up in the conservatory with the nozzle pointing down the garden (we’re not THAT daft), and PF and MF stood outside in the cold to observe effects: Because of the length of the mains cable, I had to stay inside in the warm with the controls.

We had, of course, failed to take into account the wind direction: While PF was shouting “There’s not much smoke, turn it UP! Turn it UP!”, I was in the dining room with the kitchen and hall smoke alarms going off, and unable to find my way across the room to turn it off.

And that’s what today’s barbecue reminded me of. The burgers were nice, though.


Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

…I found ‘em!

The train was on time this morning, and it was only raining a bit, and that was good enough for me. One of the caches I found was a bit of a novelty…as you’ll see if you check out the cache page – you don’t have to be a cacher to spot the uniqueness, it’s pretty obvious!

And then – in a moment of serendipity worthy of the twilight zone – I drew Germany in the office World Cup sweepstake!

Beaten by the Weather

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

I had two caches lined up for this morning.

Unfortunately the train was late getting in to London, and then it was chucking with rain when I got there – I like caching, but not enough to be late for work AND spend the day in wet clothes for it. I’m hoping to get my average up to one a day for the year, but even at my current rate it’s going to take a while!

Still, those two will still be there tomorrow.


Monday, June 7th, 2010

That picture I told you about yesterday? I found it! And here it is :-)

And on to last weekend: With the weather being so nice, m’darling Purple Fred1 and I decided that finding somewhere nice to snooze in the sun would be good, so after a bit of research we headed for The Vyne, an NT property near Basingstoke (and also close to the Royal Palace of Sweden [Hampshire Edition]), where we did indeed slob in the sun. And of course, the fact that The Vyne has two geocaches in the grounds had nothing whatever to do with our decision to go there.

Back in the car park, in the hedge alongside where we were parked, PF spotted some ladybirds…umm…making more ladybirds. Or at least, trying to – one of them seemed to be a bit of a beginner, to say the least. The male of the other pair, much to PF’s amusement, knew a very clever trick with his back legs!

On Sunday I was being an important Raynet person on a fundraising event for Marie Curie: PF and MF came and joined me as I was about to stand down from my checkpoint, although as I wasn’t quite ready they went and did a cache without me, before coming back to collect me and heading off for lunch at a lovely New Forest pub.

And then we collected two more New Forest caches on the way home, and two more in Southampton.

So, we had fun in the sun, found geocaches, helped out at a charity event,, and PF had a real success on her ebay sales. So that was our successful weekend :-)

Oh, and here’s another picture I took at the Vyne…

1 And yes, I still love her very much :-)

Missed Opportunity

Sunday, June 6th, 2010

I spotted a brilliant “oops” photo the other day.

I was reading some online news about a speech the new Home Secretary had made, and the picture of Theresa May illustrating the story was one of those which MPs’ press advisers are supposed to prevent. Have a look at the picture illustrating this news story.

The picture I found – and really wish I’d saved so I could share it with you now – was an uncropped version of that. She’s standing in front of a poster showing what was then the Conservative party slogan, “Now for Change”

Except the way the picture was framed, and the way she was standing, makes it look like the slogan says “Now for Hang”.

Unfortunately by the time I came to blog about the picture, someone at the website where I found the story had realised what they’d done, and withdrawn the picture – the story is now unillustrated. So the moral of this story is – if you see a picture that makes you laugh, grab it straight away!

I’ll blog about what a great weekend I had tomorrow.

Patently Genius

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

Me and Rob had a BRILLIANT idea the other night.

If you’re not familiar with the periodic table, go and have a look here. I’ve always thought the periodic table beautiful, taking the chaos of what some would consider a random universe, and describing it in perfect order.

The trouble is, it’s a bit difficult to learn, and a basic knowledge of where everything in the periodic table goes is essential for A level chemistry students, or at least it was in my day. They probably get to take a printout of it into their exams nowadays. Anyway, have you noticed – as we did – how the table layout looks a bit like a larger version of a keyboard?

Now these days, everyone knows that the top row of a keyboard is QWERTYUIOP, and a reasonable number of regular users will have meorised ASDFGHJKL as the second. So wouldn’t it be fab – and make life easier for the chemists – if someone designed a computer keyboard that was the same as the periodic table? Then everyone would quickly memorise the table layout, and as an added bonus you’d have all those extra keys to play with. Just think, you could describe this entry as RuBBiSH in two fewer keystrokes than normal.

Anyone know the phone number of the patent office?