Life, The Universe and Small Things all covered in one friendly blog.
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30 November, 2009

Turn That Phone Off!

As you fill your car with petrol you will probably spot a sign similar to the one on the left, indicating that we must not use our mobiles on the forecourt of the petrol station. It is one of those notices that every petrol station seems to have but if you ask them why I bet they don't know.

A friend of mine had a new car with something really strange about the petrol cap that the previous owner had fitted and she made the mistake of calling up from the forecourt to ask how to open it. The woman assistant came flying out of the office yelling and shouting at her to put the phone away, but for what reason.

There has never in the history of petrol or mobile phones been an explosion on a petrol forecourt caused by a mobile phone, no there hasn't, and why should there be.

There is the technical ramblings on the Internet that the electro static can build up on you and discharge as you fill the tank etc, but there is a huge problem with the "a spark can blow up the petrol station" theory. Any car with a poor HT (high tension) lead, you know the one that makes that lovely light display when you open the engine cover in the dark, thousands of sparks flying all over the place, would be a far greater risk than something from a mobile.

Interestingly if there is any risk of exploding when you fill up it is more likely to be for women with nylon nickers, yes, apparently women are less likely to touch the car body when they get out of the car and the first time they earth the static built up is when they touch the petrol nozzle into the tank.

So us men are ok and if your a woman, the next time someone comes rushing out to tell you off for using your mobile simply smile and say "Its OK I've taken my panties off in the car".

27 November, 2009

Do you want a carrier bag ............

Since the Carpetright fiasco I am always a little wary of mentioning store names in a blog, but as most other places are more grown up than Carpetright, and lets face it no other shop is trying to sell us goods by scaring the heck out of people with snakes, spiders and god knows what else crawling over their products, I think I will risk it.

In a branch of Wilkinson's as I got to the till the very pleasant lady said "do you want a bag", "no thanks", then she went on "postage stamps, mobile phone top ups", "OK stop" I don't need a bag stamps or anything other than what I have put in front of you thank you. "You must get fed up if you have to say that to every customer" I asked and she told me that if she doesn't ask she would be disciplined. No way, seriously?

But this could get out of hand, what if some manger decides that none of us remember anything we go into the store for, the next time I get to the till might be:-
"do you need a bag, postage stamps, mobile phone top ups, sugar, tea, deodorant,toothpaste, matches, dishwasher tablets,shower gel, ....................................toilet rolls, christmas lights, pens, pencils, lawn food, bird food, mouse traps, light switch, fire lighters, saucepans, oven gloves, children's toys, paint, wool, sour cream ........................................................................... wet wipes, dental floss, ............................tea towel, air freshener .......................................... "etc. etc.

Won't it be great if it does happen, then when she gets to the end of the list Ill say, now there was something, what was it.

999 - Tell me the Postcode or you don't get an ambulance!

It is amazing the lengths that people will go to to reduce the number of reported road accidents in the UK, the latest seems beyond belief.

A friend of mine was walking along The Mall in London when he witnessed a cyclist get hit by a car in front of him. As people went to help he did the most obvious thing, took out his mobile phone and dialed 999.
He asked for ambulance and police and was then totally stumped when the operator said "whats the post code there". "Um, I have no idea, its The Mall London, you know the red road that goes to Buckingham Palace" , "well I need the post code", "I don't have it how would I know it" "well without it I can't do anything". This went on for several minutes until he gave up as no-one around knew the postcode so he hung up, to be rung back a few moments later asking if everything was OK because he had been cut off on and emergency call.

For F..... sake, this is unbelievable isn't it, there he was with a cyclist laying beside a taxi and the dum twit operator wanted the post code, how would any of us know the post code of a road we are walking along, why would we.

If it had been me I would have been tempted to say either ER2 2ER or "I am a terrorist with a rucksack of explosive in The Mall and I am walking towards the Palace" I bet they would have sent some police then.

22 November, 2009

Save the newt, kill the humans

I was at a nature reserve I often go to and several things occurred to me.

It is relaxing and interesting watching wildlife and birds but there are groups of people who go to the hides who I really wish I could understand.
I say groups but I am not exactly sure what the difference is between the two other than a member of one group was slagging off the other last week. The groups I am referring to are the serious bird watchers and the twitchers. (I thought they were one and the same but I am obviously wrong)

Why do they do it, how do they find it so interesting, and why can't I understand it are just some questions that spring to mind as I see someone with a note book and £3000 of spotter scope who tells me he has been there since 8am and its now around 3pm.

By all means be interested in birds but when I hear people having an orgasm because there is a lesser spotted dingle fisher flying over I just don't get it. I would love to get so carried away but I am just as happy watching the bird over there, the one with the long beak and the brown bit that just caught something.

I was in a hide the other day and someone asked me "have you seen the sandpiper", nope sorry and if it was pecking my left ear I wouldn't know it was a sandpiper, perhaps I should, but I don't and maybe that's wrong, or maybe they are, who knows.

It has now become a standing joke between and the other half, "have you seen the sandpaper [sic]" said in a fake posh accent, now describes anyone who is a little too into bird watching.

I have wandered off track of the title so let me get back onto it. The nature reserve joins onto a firing range where today the army were busy blasting the heck out of something with machine guns. It just seemed wrong to be in an area where if you trod on a newt you would be barred for life and yet 1000m away people were training hard to kill humans.

21 November, 2009

Environmental damage can be great!

I have been on a short break on the Norfolk Broads, November is definitely the time to go because most people don't go there this time of year and instead of being like the M25 on water you can cruise along, at a top speed of 5mph (exactly like the M25), but you don't see anyone else for hours at a time.

I doubt there are many people who would want to fill in the Norfolk Broads but that is exactly what should be done, isn't it , because the broads were created by environmental "damage" on a huge scale.

If you grab yourself a shovel today and start to dig out peat someone comes along and tells you you are trashing the planet and makes you stop. Lets face it if you buy Irish moss peat for the garden these days you are made to feel like the worst eco-terrorist ever.

The Norfolk Broads were created by people digging peat for heating for about 500 years beginning in the 9th century. Then around the 1400s the sea level began to rise and the broads were flooded.
Which in itself is interesting, because unless I read the wrong books the 1400s were not that well know for Range Rovers, long haul flights and gas turbine generators, the things we are told will cause the sea level to rise.

My point is this, 1200 years ago people did what some today call destruction of the environment yet the result was that nature recovered to produce a fantastic habitat for millions of creatures and a scene so wonderful that thousands of tourists head for it each year.

Next time someone moans at you for buying peat for the tomatoes just say "Norfolk broads".

13 November, 2009


Have you ever noticed that some people get carried away with their titles.
I used to have a job where every so often Captain Plunket would phone up, he always introduced himself as "Captain Plunket here" although the (late) gentleman had left the army many years ago he still insisted on being called Captain.

And so it is with people who feel insecure with themselves, they need some kind of title to bolster their ego. There is a gentleman living nearby who used to be a professor, now he is retired and meddling in things he is still being written about as professor Blowers OBE etc.

The trouble with this kind of person is that the easily led go "oh gosh a professor he must know what he is talking about", in the same way as they used to go "oh gosh a bank manager he must be trustworthy". In the case in point the professor is meddling in the decision to build a new and much needed nuclear power station and has set up a group called BANNG, hence the title of this entry.

Many people nearby are falling for the ramblings of the professor who was once a government advisor so should hardly be trusted with anything important, and he is busy "proving " all kinds of rubbish about how this and that will happen if they build a power station. Did I mention there was one there before and somehow we all survived.

Me, I have never been swayed by titles and am sure the most knowledgeable people in the word are just Mr, Mrs or Miss . Professor is a job title and connected to a place of learning or study and I remember well the saying that as someone becomes an expert in a field they learn more and more about less and less, until they eventually know everything about nothing.

Me, I know nothing about everything, but give me something to write about and Ill find an opinion.

04 November, 2009

Let the poor save the planet!

I don't believe humans are totally responsible for global warming, and the more I hear from those scientists who risk disagreeing with the government view the more I am convinced that the planet will warm up no matter how much CO2 I am responsible for.

But just for a moment assume I believe all the hogwash about CO2, am I the only person who has realised that it is only the poor who are being required to cut CO2 and save the planet. The rich just don't give a stuff.

Even the super rich who are joining the CO2 band waggon preach one thing then jet off in their private jets (no air passenger tax or CO2 offsetting there) to mansions with heated pools.

While Mr poor takes advantage of the scrappage scheme to buy a new 1.25cc fiesta, it is a low car tax, low CO2 and all he can afford, Mr Rich is buying his new Range Rover for his wife to take the brats 1 mile to school "safely", car tax is no problem to him, his bonus is more than Mr Poor will earn in 5 years.

Mr Poor has put a solar panel on his roof, it cost him a fortune so he took out a loan, in 25years he will have saved his money back.
Mr Rich has a new pad for his helicopter.
Mr Poor books a family cycling holiday in Norfolk because it is a very low carbon holiday while Mr Rich is flying his private jet to Spain where he will join his boat and burn 800litres of diesel an hour for 2 weeks.

Mr Poor has turned his heating down to save money and produce less carbon, Mr Rich has built a new swimming pool, heated by gas.

And so it goes. If you believe what we are told endlessly about CO2, you have to wonder why it doesn't apply the the rich. Dont you ?

Post Script - Point proved again today, the flumps who just won £45 million immediately took a trip on a boat, booked a long haul holiday and plan to buy a top of the range "sporty Range Rover"

Come on you poor people, cut the CO2 will you !

03 November, 2009

Christmas Trees

Straight to the point on this entry, why do people buy black Christmas trees?

In a shop, where most of the ground floor is Santas that will drive you crazy within 3 minutes, reindeer that look as if they were made by a 5 year old and other Christmas trash, they have more black Christmas trees than green ones.

A little bit of research and it seems that in past years black trees have become trendy for some reason.

I might be mistaken, but before shops took over Christmas as the celebration of retail spending and a way to balance the sales figures before the new year, Christmas was a celebration of the birth of Christ. Yes I know that it was actually another celebration that was adopted by Christians, but that is a debate for another time.
What I want to know is why would you, even if you're celebrating retail therapy rather than Christ, go out and buy a black tree.

If you run an undertakers perhaps, or are trying to produce a scene for a forest fire you might want a black tree but there is nothing in the least joyful looking about it, in fact if someone were to place one in my house I would find it just a little creepy.

At least if the long summer drought has killed off all the real spruce trees this year they can still be sold, all they need is a quick run over with a blow torch and instantly sellable, which isn't a word but Ill refer you to an earlier post on language.