Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Dogs Banned From Park

Southampton pet lovers set to march with pooches to Civic Centre

BARKING mad! That’s how dog lovers have described plans to ban their pets from parts of Southampton’s parks.

Owners say they will march on the Civic Centre with their pooches and armed with pooper scoopers to stop them introducing new dog control orders.

Under the new scheme city bosses would hold the power to add more restrictions to where dogs can roam free. Dogs are currently banned from 14 per cent of the city’s parks and open spaces.

The plans could be introduced as part of a green parks code to clarify the rules in the 49 parks and green spaces and Dot has already spread word to her customers.

Joy Donnell, from West End, was outraged by possible plans to install 1,000 warning signs for dog owners, costing £35 each, across the city.

Joy, 42, said: “Haven’t they got anything else better to spend their money on?

“Why don’t they spend that money on youth programmes or support for older persons or even more bins for dog mess.

“If all the council can do is be unclear on the decision to stop dogs being walked in parks, more dog owners will take to footpaths.

“That will mean there is more dog mess on pavements along with more dogs that are bored silly and not getting enough exercise.”

The council have said that they will not move to change any of the restricted areas in parks at this time, but would have the power to do so in the future should the plans get the green light on Monday.

Monday, 28 September 2009

They’re At It Again!


Pump down the volume, EU to tell MP3 makers

Tens of millions of people will be forced to listen to portable music at permanently reduced volume under European Commission proposals to be unveiled next week.

The plans, trailed ahead of talks between Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva and gadget manufacturers on Monday, are aimed at reducing health hazards but also nuisance complaints.

Brussels says the dangers arising from high volumes or long periods spent wearing headphones or earplugs means developers of MP3 players including iPods and mobile phones will have to lower permitted noise output levels.

According to a report issued by an EU scientific committee in October 2008, as many as 10 percent of listeners risk permanent hearing loss by listening to loud music every day for five years.

Brussels wants the maximum decibel level to be reduced from 100 to 80 decibels, with all new music players built to the new standards.

A normal conversation is held at around 60 decibels, according to medical charts, with a loud rock concert measured at about 115 decibels.

Kuneva has previously expressed her fears over "irreversible degradation" in the hearing of today's youth.

Can’t these “Bunny Fucking Tree Huggers” keep their noses out of people’s business’s?

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Corks Do It for Orchids!!

Bottle corks are being reused to help orchids grow

HERE’S a corker of an idea from north of the border…Steve Scott, a senior horticulturist at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is recycling bottle corks to help plants such as orchids that thrive in a dry growing medium.

The 43-year-old, who works as a barman by night, has already used thousands of wine and whisky bottle corks in the past 18 months.
“The hardest part of the job has been manually cutting all the corks into pieces using secateurs. However, it has been worthwhile because the plants are thriving,” he said. “Some of the corks are mixed in with soil and compost, but for plants that grow in dry mediums I have solely used cork.’’

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Go Organic – Grow Garlic

Garlic is one of the most pungent and life-enhancing vegetables you can grow and it does surprisingly well in a soggy northern climate.

I have just finished lifting mine and nothing quite matches the heady whiff of garlic fresh from  the ground.

Garlic is a member of the allium family along with onions, leeks and shallots and like its cousins it is very easy to grow. It is generally disease free and one of the few things untroubled by slugs and snails.

The only disadvantage of growing your own garlic is that it needs to occupy the ground for a very long time – almost a whole year in some cases – but it has the good grace to take up very little space.

Garlic is usually planted in the autumn although some varieties can go in as late as February.

The bulbs are split into individual cloves which are planted 15cms or so apart and about 6cms beneath the surface of the soil.

Like nearly all bulbs they don’t like to sit in wet soil where they can rot. If your ground is very heavy dig in some bulky organic matter or grit and plant the cloves about 3cms deep.

As long as you keep it weed-free and well watered in dry weather garlic will look after itself.

It is possible to grow supermarket garlic but much better to buy some seed from one of the specialist suppliers.

Like all alliums, garlic is sensitive to day-length and garlic grown in Spain or the South of France will sulk at northern latitudes.

So all you “budding” vampires in northern latitudes…..Watch out!

Friday, 25 September 2009

Dogs’ Do Do


A group of upstate New York dog owners thinks it has a can-do plan to profitably compost the tons of dog doo left behind by the roughly 50 000 canines that use the city's pooch park each year.
If their pilot project is successful, the Tompkins County Dog Owners Group and Cayuga Compost hope to market usable compost within the next two or three years.
More importantly, finding a use for the billions of pounds of pooch poop produced yearly in the United States could also lead to a significant reduction in the amount of waste material sent to landfills, said Leon Kochian, a spokesman for TC DOG, the not-for-profit volunteer group involved in funding the project.

"There was a large Dumpster at the park, and it was just always overflowing with plastic bags of dog poop. The amount was unbelievable," said Kochian, a Cornell University biology professor who owns a yellow Labrador retriever.
"Ithaca has a reputation as a green community. ... It made sense to us to find a way to compost and spare the landfill from all the plastic bags," Kochian said.
Dog and cat waste contain parasites and pathogens that make them unsuitable as compost for vegetable gardens and topsoil and can run off into local waterways and diminish water quality, said Cary Oshins, an assistant program director for the US Composting Council. Composted pet waste can be used for deep-fill or other purposes.

A handful of dog parks in the US provide on-site composting receptacles but none has tried moving it offsite to a large-scale composting facility in a commercial venture, according to DogParkUSA.com, a national dog park Web site.
But large-scale composting has worked at the Parc Notre Dame de Grace in Montreal, Canada, where municipal officials have been composting dog waste since 2004 and annually divert about a ton of dog waste and 7 000 plastic bags from the local landfill.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Dog Toys!!!!

The 'Hot Doll' sex toy for dogs

It is billed as the "must have" accessory for lonely dogs, the first ever canine sex toy.

Dog owners need never be embarrassed again by their lovelorn pets as they mount the legs of guests, the postman and even stuffed toys.

The makers of 'Hot Doll'', which costs £350 and is the first sex toy for canines, claim the toy will make it easier to control and improve a dog's behaviour.

A spokesman for Feel Addicted, the French design firm who came up with the idea, said: "Dogs have sexual needs or domination problems, which push them to climb on various object such as cushions, teddy bears, and worst case on legs of you neighbours, guest, postman or your own.

"Hot Doll is designed to control this problem. Designed for dog needs, it's easy to teach them to use it.

"Its shape and materials allow the product to be stable, to grip on the floor, to be resistant and to have a soft touch.

"We want to introduce to dog owners and his companion finally a world adapted to their needs. "

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Monkeying Around!!!

Can you ape gorillas and help raise cash?

Little and large monkeys can do-oo-oo their bit to save endangered gorillas with the help of a Bracknell adventure centre.

Staff at Go Ape in Nine Mile Ride are urging people to take part in the Great Gorilla Run, taking place in London on Saturday.

Runners have to run wearing gorilla suits and Go Ape has already enlisted 60 people to take part in the race.

Last year’s race raised £250,000 for the Gorilla Organization but the organisers want to beat that this year.

Anyone wanting to take part can visit


For more information on the charity visit


Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Paris Bees

Paris rooftops abuzz with beekeeping

Common sense says it is better to keep hives of stinging insects in the countryside, away from city centers packed with people. Yet on storied rooftops and public gardens in the urban jungle of Paris, the bee business is thriving.

Bees are disappearing from fields across France and elsewhere in the world, victims of a slow decline in number because of loss of habitat compounded by a recent and mysterious catastrophe variously blamed on disease, parasites and pesticides. The most recent science research points to a combination of interacting diseases for new collapses of bee colonies.

But in the heart of the French capital, Nicolas Geant is preparing to sell off his honey. It comes from hives on the edges of the soaring glass roof of the Grand Palais exhibition hall, just off the Champs-Elysees.

"Paris has many balconies, parks and avenues full of trees and little flowers that attract many bees for pollination," said Geant, who has 25 years of experience under his belt.

The Grand Palais beehives went up in May. They also sit in the Luxembourg Gardens, on the gilded dome of the 19th Century Palais Garnier and the roof of the ultramodern Opera Bastille.

"In Paris, each beehive produces a minimum of 50 to 60 kilograms (110 to 130 pounds) of honey per harvest, and the death rate of the colonies is 3 to 5 percent," said Henri Clement, president of the National Union of French Beekeepers.

"But in the countryside, one beehive only gives you 10 to 20 kilograms (about 20 to 40 pounds) of honey, and the death rate is 30 to 40 percent. It is a sign of alarm."

The Luxembourg Gardens' hives alone produce more than half a ton of honey per harvest. It is sold to the public during the last weekend in September, and the income funds beekeeping classes and the facilities.

A “buzzing” good idea then!

Monday, 21 September 2009

A Good Vintage?

French winemakers hope for a fine vintage

Wine lovers rejoice. The weather gods have smiled on French winemakers, raising hopes in the country’s vineyards that, after two years of dismal sales, 2009 will produce an outstanding vintage.

Vintners this week expressed optimism about the prospects of producing a highly desirable vintage .

The grapes, they said, had benefited from a severe winter that killed off harmful bugs and allowed the vines to rest. A wet spring had also replenished a depleted water table, helping to produce a bumper crop.

Most important, summer has been unusually fine, warm and dry yet not too hot. Nights were noticeably cooler than in the heatwave vintage of 2003, for example, when many grapes turned to raisins on the vine.

Frédéric Engerer, who straddles two regions at Chateau Latour in Bordeaux and Domaine d’Eugénie in Burgundy, eastern France, said this year’s grapes were very good and reminded him of the 2000 vintage, another standout year for red bordeaux.

In the far east of the country, 12th-generation Riquewihr vine grower Etienne Hugel reports that 2009 “looks to be a great year in Alsace”, while in the Rhône Valley, Jean-Luc Colombo describes this year’s growing season as “exceptional”. He began picking as early as September 1, a week ahead of usual, a sign of unusual ripeness.

The mid-August holiday in France is traditionally associated with a break in the weather and potentially dangerous storms that can precipitate rot in underripe grapes. But this year, the weather held in all significant French wine regions right through the month, resulting in healthy grapes with relatively thick skins.

Unusually, the weather in September has so far stayed dry. Eric Boissenot, the famous oenologist and consultant winemaker, described 2009 as “magnificent with very, very healthy grapes. July was good and August was great. The quantity will be a bit more than in 2008 and 2007 but it won’t be a massive vintage”.

The Bordeaux wine trade, bellwether of French wine, will be relieved that after two vintages that have been difficult to sell, the 2009 vintage looks highly desirable.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Dangerous Biscuits

Crumbs: half of Britons injured by their buscuits on coffee break, survey reveals

More than half of all Britons have been injured by biscuits ranging from scalding from hot tea or coffee while dunking or breaking a tooth eating during a morning tea break, a survey has revealed.

An estimated 25 million adults have been injured while eating during a tea or coffee break - with at least 500 landing themselves in hospital, the survey revealed.

The custard cream biscuit was found to be the worse offender to innocent drinkers.

It beat the cookie to top a table of 15 generic types of biccy whose potential dangers were calculated by The Biscuit Injury Threat Evaluation.

Hidden dangers included flying fragments and being hurt while dunking in scalding tea through to the more strange such as people poking themselves in the eye with a biscuit or fallen off a chair reaching for the tin.

One man even ended up stuck in wet concrete after wading in to pick up a stray biscuit.

Custard creams get a risk rating of 5.63, the highest of all.

This compared to 1.16 for Jaffa cakes, which was the safest biscuit of all in the evaluation.

Research company Mindlab International were commissioned by Rocky, a chocolate biscuit bar, to conduct the research.

It found almost a third of adults said they had been splashed or scalded by hot drinks while dunking or trying to fish the remnants of a collapsed digestive.

It also revealed 28 per cent had choked on crumbs while one in 10 had broken a tooth or filling biting a biscuit.

More unusually, three per cent had poked themselves in the eye with a biscuit and seven per cent bitten by a pet or "other wild animal" trying to get their biscuit.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Beam Me Aboard!

Jedi ejected from Tesco for wearing hood

The founder of the Star Wars-inspired Jedi faith has accused Tesco of religious discrimination after he was banned from wearing a hood in one of its stores.

Daniel Jones, 23, who created the International Church of Jediism, claims he was “victimised over his beliefs” by staff at the supermarket in Bangor, North Wales.

The religion, inspired by the sci-fi films, is practised by 500,000 around the world and requires believers to cover their heads in public places. But Mr Jones, from Holyhead, said that staff ejected him from the store over security fears when he refused to remove his hood.

A Tesco spokesman said: "Jedi are very welcome to shop in our stores although we would ask them to remove their hoods.

"Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda and Luke Skywalker all went hoodless without going to the Dark Side.

"If Jedi walk around our stores with their hoods on, they’ll miss lots of special offers."

Friday, 18 September 2009

Satnav 1. Common Sense 0

Driver followed satnav to edge of 100ft drop

A delivery driver whose BMW was left teetering on the edge of a 100ft drop after he "slavishly" followed its satnav instructions has become one of the first motorists to be convicted for placing too much trust in the navigation gadgets.

Robert Jones, 43, drove the £30,000 car up a precarious bridal path at the direction of his Tom Tom device even though the track was "clearly unsuitable" for vehicles, a court heard.

Unsure of the route home and short of petrol, he accepted the directions of his satnav even when they led him away from the main road and up a narrow dirt track.

He pressed ahead with the steep route despite the increasingly perilous conditions, only realising his error when the silver BMW 5 Series hit a fence on the brink of a high cliff.

It took rescue crews nine hours and three quad bikes to tow the vehicle to safety.

The court heard evidence from road traffic officer PC Stephen Young, who said the situation was "humorous" yet "daunting and frightening" when he arrived at the scene after Jones called for help.

He said that the bridal path, used by dog walkers, belonged to a local farmer and added: "He told me the track was so precarious that he would not, as a general rule, take his own horses down because it was so narrow."

Over-reliance on satellite navigation systems has been blamed for causing hundreds of thousands of extra accidents on Britain's roads. More than four million satnavs have been sold in the UK alone.

Earlier this year an Iranian student was banned for driving for 20 months after following his satnav's instructions to drive along a railway line in Goole, East Yorkshire.

A 52-year-old woman who did the same at a level crossing near Eastbourne, East Sussex in 2007 escaped prosecution.

The majority of young drivers now rely almost entirely on satnavs for directions, according to a survey this week.

Thursday, 17 September 2009


Wythenshawe Police Station (GMP) in England was evacuated on Monday after a hand grenade was handed in.

A female member of the public walked in with the grenade and two rounds of ammunition which she handed over to an officer at the front desk of the station.

Bomb disposal officers were called and the station was evacuated.

A cordon with a radius of 100 metres was set up, as a result of which local roads required to be closed to traffic.

Nearby residents were advised to stay indoors and stay away from windows.

Inspector Jon Percival said: "We would like to advise members of the public that when they find hand grenades, or any type of ammunition, to call the police immediately rather than pick the items up."

A police source said that after the evacuation and cordons were put in place the woman asked "Once you'd made it safe can I have it back "

Hey…..Perhaps she really did believe in “finders keepers”

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Car Re-appears

Buried car resurfaces after 36 years hidden under mud

A car that sunk into mud on a beach 36 years ago has resurfaced, much to the surprise of its owner.

The Vauxhall Victor 101 was lost in the mudflats of Brean Beach, Somerset, in 1973.

Beach wardens Dave Furber and Pete Williams discovered the car, owned by fishermen Terry Hart, half-a-mile from the shore.

Mr Hart said: ''I'm convinced it's my car which I lost in 1973. We were out fishing and the tide caught us. We tried to reverse the car out but the clutch went and it was goodbye car. It's so nice to see it back.''

Mr Furber said: ''We first noticed the vehicle at the weekend and several other parts have emerged nearby during recent days, including a steering wheel and door panels.''

It is thought that the heavily corroded remains of the vehicle have probably been uncovered due to recent rough weather and choppy waters.

Tourists frequently lose cars on the mudflats in what is the world's second largest tide and Burnham Area Rescue Boat is frequently called upon to save people from stranded and sinking vehicles.

The latest visitor to run into trouble was fisherman David Foster whose Honda 4x4 sank into the wet sand last month as he looked on helplessly.

The £25,000 vehicle was later towed free of the mud in a two-hour retrieval operation thought to have cost £3,000.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Where The Money Goes!

How Brussels spends its money

Britain is losing out to other nations in European funding, here is how it spends its money.

* The EU is spending £1.4 million on an "interactive volcano theme park" near an extinct peak in western Hungary. The park in Celldomolk is planned around Sag mountain – a 900-foot basalt volcano which has not erupted for six million years. The town's mayor, Laszlo Feher, says it will be one of Europe's most modern theme parks, showing "the natural treasures of our volcano".

* A company that rents out snakes, elephants and miniature ponies for private parties, carnivals and TV advertisements in southern Spain received £34,900 of EU money from the Andalucia regional government under the European Regional Development Fund last year. Animales Rompeolas used the cash to launch camel trekking for tourists.

* A former Miss Seville was awarded £6,165 to kick-start her event organising company. Angela Cristina Canas Duran, 22, who won the beauty pageant in 2006, applied for the grant under a scheme to help local businesswomen develop their companies. She used the money to buy computer equipment, draw up a marketing plan and develop the website of her company, Ganas.

*A Danish businessman received more than £87,000 from the EU to help finance a ski-slope on Bornholm – an island without high hills or regular snowfall. He used the cash to mark out a run, and buy a snowblower and skis. In its first winter of operation, it was open for just one day.

*'Intertango' is described by the European Commission as a project which, among other things, will permit an exchange of young tango musicians and the 'internationalisation of Finnish tango'. The Helsinki-based project has received at least £87,000 from the EU to foster tango talent in Finland.

*The Estonian State Puppet Theatre received more than £92,000 from the EU "to develop the use of puppet theatre among the young people, disadvantaged groups and refugees within the community; to create new and innovative means of using puppet theatre".

* Around £21 million of EU funding was made available over seven years for hotels on the French Caribbean island of Guadaloupe to be used in renovation and improvement work, including the construction of swimming pools.

*An EU grant of £108,000 was given to the International Federation of Actors to investigate why older women only get "stereotypical" roles. The funding paid for a survey of film and TV producers as well as actresses in all EU-member states.

*In Tampere, Finland, the "Creative Tampere" programme, aimed at boosting business, gave £17,000 of EU funds to "city clowns", whose purpose is to contribute to the wellbeing of the town.

*The European Commission spends £4.6 million annually on its two central libraries, one in Brussels and another in Luxembourg. Each book loan is estimated to cost euro-taxpayers £570, and each visit £580.


Monday, 14 September 2009

The EU & Light Bulbs

Official responsible for light bulb ban is a former communist

The man responsible for the Europe-wide ban on traditional light bulbs can be revealed as a former Soviet Communist party member from Latvia.

Andris Piebalgs, 51, the European Commissioner for Energy, leads the team which drafted the controversial regulations that will see all incandescent bulbs phased out by 2012.

Mr Piebalgs was a Communist party member in the 1980s, when he worked as a headteacher in what was then part of the USSR.

He went on to become a government minster in newly-independent Latvia, then a diplomat, before being appointed to the European Commission in 2004.

Here is a perfect example how one insignificant person from the “backwoods” can come up with an idea that the vast majority of the EU Citizens don’t want and force it on them……Unfortunately this is only one example of “crack-pot” schemes that are forced onto an unsuspecting EU public……If something isn’t done soon the whole of the EU will become a loony's playground…..Oh and it’s a waste of time saying use your vote because when you do, and the out come is not to the EU’s liking, they move the goal posts or have another referendum!!!!!!!…..It’s time for that REVOLUTION…..

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Why Bother….Win7

If you are thinking of upgrading from XP to Win7….Here are seven reasons why it’s not worth the bother……

1) Windows 7 still has all the security of a drunken teenager in a sports car. From Windows for Workgroups and NT 3 until today, Windows is a security joke. It used to be that running Windows just put your head into the noose. Now, millions of lazy Windows users are the reason why the Internet is a mess. If you already do all the right things to keep XP running safely, you're not going to get any safer by buying Windows 7.

2) Windows 7, no matter how you buy it, is expensive. Does your budget have the extra cash to buy a new and improved taskbar!?

3) Upgrading from XP to Windows 7 will require that you do a clean install. That means everything on your hard disk gets vaporized during the 'upgrade." Vista users have it easier. So long as they're moving from equivalent version to equivalent version or to Windows 7 Ultimate they can update without needing to rebuild their systems.

There are lots of ways, like Microsoft's own Windows Easy Transfer and I'm sure there will be many more, to migrate your data from your old system to your new one, but all of them take work. If you have a business with dozens to tens-of-thousands of Windows PCs you can count on a honking, huge upgrade bill.

4) Did you notice what I didn't say above? I didn't mention transferring your old programs and device drivers from XP to Windows 7. For that, Easy Transfer and most of the first generation of migration programs are of no help at all. You'll need to reinstall your old programs and device drivers. Then, you'll need to update all those programs and drivers. Doesn't that sound like fun? Doesn't that sound like hour after hour per PC of migration work?

5) XP already works. I can tell you chapter and verse on why you'd be better off running desktop Linux or put a Mac on your desk. Most of you though are happy running XP. If that's you, I'll be darned if I can think of a single, significant change that you'll get from running Windows 7 instead of XP.

6) If you're an XP user you'll need to learn a new user interface. Parri Munsell, Microsoft's Director of Consumer Product Management for Windows, has been fond of saying, "Our goal was to make the UI (user interface) in Windows 7 much easier to navigate." OK, I'd agree. It is a bit better.

But, I'm someone who switches operating system interfaces as often as most of you go out to get a pizza. I asked some friends who were XP stalwarts what they thought about the interface. They all thought it was pretty, but, they also all found it annoying to work with since they had to re-learn how to do XP basics. Vista users will have it easier, but XP users can expect to have a learning curve with the new UI.

And, once more, I find myself asking, "Is there anything here that's really a solid improvement on XP?" Or, to get brass tacks, if I'm a CFO or CIO, I want to know what I'm going to get out of re-training people to the new interface and I'm left thinking there's really nothing game-changing about the Windows 7 UI.

7) Finally, if you have an older PC, forget about it. I know there are people who swear that Windows 7 will run on low-powered PCs. Yeah, right. I've used Windows 7 on netbooks. It wasn't pretty. Windows 7 Starter Edition? Microsoft won't sell it to you.

Saturday, 12 September 2009


Church could have century-old bell chiming silenced by insomniac

A 12th Century church whose bells have automatically chimed every hour for more than a century could be silenced at night following complaints from a resident with insomnia.

The peals from St Peter and Paul Church have tolled on the hour, every hour, from the early 1900s when the eight bells were electronically linked to a timer.

But the historic chimes could become a thing of the past after Harriet Higgins, a nearby resident claimed they were disturbing her sleep.

Miss Higgins, 41, who lives 150 yards from the church in Steeple Aston, Oxfordshire, claims the tolls have kept her awake each night for six years.

The mother-of-two has now submitted a formal complaint to the local diocese in the hope of silencing the bells until morning.

Other villagers however are furious at the prospect of having the bells silenced.

Retired fruit and vegetable seller Richard Preston, 62, said: "I have lived here for 62 years and I can't say it has ever bothered me.

Its eight bells are electronically linked to a timer to chime on the hour.

They began chiming once on the hour from the early 1900s and have continued every night since.

The only time the bells were silenced was for three weeks last year when the clock face was regilded.

So……..Let’s get this straight…..If you start to live next to a church…..You are amazed that it’s bell ring….Or…..If you live next to a farm….You are shocked at the smells and noise of the farm animals….HOW STRANGE……

Friday, 11 September 2009

They’re At It Again!

Council canteen changes name of 'offensive' Spotted Dick

A canteen at Flintshire County Council offices has renamed "Spotted Dick" on its menu after sniggering by customers.

Officials decided to change the name of the traditional dish to "Spotted Richard" at the offices because the original name was "offensive".

Klaus Armstrong-Braun, a county councillor, said: "I couldn't believe it, it seemed ludicrous. Spotted Dick is part of our heritage. It just seemed political correctness gone mad.

"There was a sign in the dining room for things like rice pudding and then this Spotted Richard - I had to ask what it was."

Councillor Amstrong-Braun, a Green member on the coalition-run council, said: "Whoever has changed it needs to be told they are being silly."

A spokesman for Flintshire County Council confirmed that Spotted Dick had been taken off their menu at the offices in Mold, North Wales.

He said: "It is true that the correct title for this dish is Spotted Dick. However, because of several immature comments from a few customers, catering staff renamed the dish Spotted Richard - or sometimes even Sultana Sponge.

"This was not a policy decision, canteen staff simply acted as they thought best to put an end to unwelcome and childish comments, albeit from a very small number of customers."

Spotted Dick is made from suet, flour and dried fruit - and dates back to cookery books in 1850.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

It Had To Happen!!!!

France facing 'la bise' ban over swine flu fears

It is as French as croissants and coffee, but "la bise", France's age-old method of greeting with a peck on the cheek, is facing a ban due to fears that kissing is the best way to catch swine flu.

Companies and schools have started outlawing the traditional French social ritual following a health ministry warning that it could turn into the kiss of death for the nation in the event of a winter H1N1 pandemic.

Large companies like Axa, the insurance giant, have told employees to salute each other with a wave of the hand rather than a kiss or firm handshake.

Schools in the town of Guilvinec, in Brittany, western France, were the first to introduce a bise ban for teachers and students.

Although recommended, a kissing ban has not yet been enforced by law in France – but is likely to be part of a string of emergency measures introduced this winter.

British visitors might welcome temporary respite from la bise – which often brings with it confusion and embarrassment as the number of kisses varies from region to region.

But in France, commentators are already fretting that kissing may never recover from a blanket ban in a hygiene-obsessed age.

"What if la bise disappeared from our customs for good after H1N1's passage?," asked Pascal Riché in news website rue89.fr. Until now, he went on, people "didn't realise the risks they ran by touching each other, and it was better that way".

He called on the French to "enter resistance" against any ban on kissing, but also drinking from the same glass, backslapping, or even impromptu massages.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Dangerous Proposal

Woman falls off cliff after shock marriage proposal

A man who proposed to his girlfriend during a hiking trip may have been a bit too successful at sweeping her off her feet.

Rescue officials say that soon after the woman accepted the marriage proposal during an outing along the rugged Billy Goat Trail in Maryland, she slipped and fell about 10 feet down a rock face and had to be rescued by helicopter.

The woman briefly lost consciousness, but her injuries weren't life-threatening.

The spectacular Great Falls of the Potomac River are a popular destination for hikers in the suburbs of Washington.

The Billy Goat Trail, on the Maryland side, is well known by walkers, but it is rocky and rough.

Assistant Chief Scott Graham of the Montgomery County fire department joked to The Washington Post that it must have been "a heck of a proposal."

Authorities did not identify the woman or her fiance, citing laws governing the privacy of medical records.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Sarky’s at it again!!!!

Nicolas Sarkozy 'surrounded by short people for TV speech'

Twenty short people were ordered to stand behind Nicolas Sarkozy so as to make him look taller while delivering a keynote televised speech, it has emerged.

he extraordinary scenes unfolded at the Faurecia motor technology plant in Caligny, south of Caen, Normandy, last Thursday.

Mr Sarkozy looked far more statuesque than usual as he posed in front of the large group of white coated technicians on a specially erected stage.

In scenes being broadcast across France today, a woman researcher admits on camera that she was chosen because of her small size.

Asked by a TV journalist if it was necessary for her to be no taller than the President's 5ft 5ins - a height which rises to around 5ft 7ins thanks to his trademark stacked heels - she clearly replies: 'There you have it.'

Pictures are then shown of the 20 workers on board a coach which brought them in from other parts of the three mile square Faurecia site.

Mr Sarkozy, who is notoriously sensitive about his height, did not want a repeat of the fiasco in June when he was caught using a footstool when delivering a speech alongside Gordon Brown and Barak Obama on one of Normandy's nearby D-Day beaches.

Both the 5ft 11ins British Prime Minister and 6ft 2 ins American towered above Mr Sarkozy when they used the same podium, humiliating him in front of a worldwide audience.

But while the incident in June was considered funny, this time round Mr Sarkozy was accused of scandalously manipulating his media image for political ends.

Party workers are often employed as enthusiastic 'crowds' to clap and cheer Mr Sarkozy.

Mr Schaller, France correspondent for the Belgium national broadcaster RTBF, said police had even surrounded the perimeter of the Faurecia site to keep 'undesirables' away.

He insisted that there was 'no doubt' that the French president's staff had used underhand methods to boost his public image.

When the French presidential couple met up with their American counterparts in the French city of Strasbourg earlier this year, Mr Sarkozy was again widely mocked for standing on tiptoes during a photo shoot with the far taller Obamas.

With just a few exceptions, French leaders have traditionally been men of stature, and even Napoleon Bonaparte was taller than Mr Sarkozy.

An Elysee Palace spokesman denied the latest accusation about media manipulation of Mr Sarkozy's height, saying: 'It's totally absurd and grotesque.'

Monday, 7 September 2009

The Binmen & A Maggot

Binmen refuse to empty recycling because of maggot

Council binmen refused to empty a recycling box containing a maggot claiming it was against council rules for them to handle "live animals".

John Harlow, 60, a parish councillor, was told the box's contents would only be collected if it was placed in his domestic waste bin.

Mr Harlow, from Leek Wootton near Warwick, said staff at Warwick District Council had displayed and ''overzealous'' attitude.

He said: ''I live in the country and see livestock like sheep, pigs and cattle regularly but there were none in my box.

''It's ridiculous. I pay nearly £2,500 per annum to the council for services. When am I going to get any?

''It is hardly surprising the odd maggot gets into the rubbish when they only collect the bins every two weeks.''

He claims contractors SITA refused to empty it because it contained a live maggot, which had crawled into a rinsed-out dog food tin.

Mr Harlow said: ''I was shocked to be told the only way they would take my recycling away was if I put it in with the rest of my un-recyclable rubbish.

''It's a disgrace when homeowners have gone to the trouble of separating their waste for recycling.''

Warwick District Council has apologised for the binmen's refusal to deal with Mr Harlow's recycling.

……and surprise, surprise….. SITA refused to comment……Well it is a Spanish company after all!!!

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Venice & The Tourist

Venice plots ban on day-trippers to stop overcrowding

Venice is considering a radical scheme under which it would restrict the number of visitors to the city by banning day-trippers, helping it cope with the crush of mass tourism.

The Italian city's beleaguered authorities are calling for "drastic decisions" to stop Venice from being strangled by the daily influx of hordes of visitors who crowd its narrow alleyways and Renaissance squares.

One proposal is that visitors will have to have hotel reservations to secure entry

Enrico Mingardi, who is in charge of public transport for the lagoon city, is proposing that tourists should have to pre-book their visits.

Mr Mingardi did not say how the booking system would be enforced, or whether tourists without hotel, museum or boat trip reservations would be turned back.

But he said the council would initiate discussions with tourist associations and residents' groups this week to explore the idea.

A council spokesman said: "The idea of setting a limit on the number of tourists has been discussed on and off for the last 20 or 30 years.

"It's always proved very controversial because it goes against the democratic principle that anyone should be able to come to Venice."

A booking system would only add to the sense that "La Serenissima" is becoming an architectural and historical theme park devoid of real life.

Its population is expected in the next few weeks to dip beneath 60,000 – a level which some residents see as the crucial number of inhabitants needed for Venice to survive as a functioning city, rather than as a vast open air museum.

No doubt the EU will step in with million’s to help Venice out or start to issue special “Tourist Cards” to enable card holders to visit sites throughout the EU.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Just A little Weed!!!


Dutch police ruin legal cannabis experiment

Dutch police swooped on what they thought was an illegal cannabis farm only to partly dismantle a scientific experiment by the University of Wageningen.

The plants were part of a legal experiment on the suitability of cannabis fibres for the production of textiles, paper and synthetic materials, he said.

"The project had been underway for years and was in its final phase, which would have allowed us to introduced these new fibres to the market.

"We will probably suffer big losses; we are busy doing the calculations."

He added the university, in the east of the country, was "busy talking to the police" about recovering costs.

Police announced on Wednesday they had discovered about 47,000 cannabis plants with an estimated street value of 4.4 million euros (about 6.3 million dollars).

But, said Vink, the plants were unfit for cannabis production due to an extremely low content of THC, the psycho-active ingredient for soft drug use.

The Netherlands decriminalised the consumption and possession of under five grammes of cannabis in 1976, though cultivation remains illegal.

Just goes to prove that the police are dumb no matter what country they are from!

Friday, 4 September 2009

Hollywood & a French Town

Anti-fraud detectives have turned their international fight against illegal downloads to a small French town, where a mystery pirate has been filming Hollywood blockbusters at the local cinema and posting them on the internet.

Detectives are so determined to catch the pirate that they posted an agent behind a life-size cardboard cut-out of John Travolta facing the cinema's audience for four days - but to no avail.

Other Clouseau-style surveillance operations to unveil "THX fuck" – the culprit's internet pseudonym, which appears on peer-to-peer film sharing sites – have all proved fruitless.

The pirate has confounded agents sent by Warner Bros and managed to escape detection despite the routine use of by agents of infra-red binoculars during each film.

For the past three years, the movie burglar has recorded a string of films with a device believed to be a mobile phone or video camera at the Ciné Lumière cinema in Vierzon in the Cher region, north central France.

The day after the French release of Superman III in 2006, the cinema received a call from Columbia studios informing them that a pirated version recorded in their theatre was available free on the internet.

At first, they suspected the projectionist until a detective hid in his cabin, but realised the film angle was wrong.

The majors were able to track the pirated internet film down to the small French town as each copy has an identity tag invisible to the naked eye which flashes up for 1/86th of a second. The soundtrack also has a tiny, almost inaudible identity sound tag known only to distributors.

France passed tough new legislation on internet piracy in June, but it was subsequently deemed unlawful by the constitutional council and a new version will go before parliament in the autumn.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Now It’s TinTin’s Turn!!!!

Tintin 'to be sued' for Congo book

A Congolese accountant is to launch a lawsuit in France against Tintin for racism, accusing judges in the cartoon hero's native Belgium of trying to bury his case to protect a "national symbol".

Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo, 41, is taking legal action claiming Hergé's controversial Tintin In The Congo is propaganda for colonialism and amounts to "racism and xenophobia".

"Tintin's little (black) helper is seen as stupid and without qualities. It makes people think that blacks have not evolved," he said.

His lawyer, Claude Ndjakanyi, said there had been no response from Belgian justice. "Our request to access the dossier was judged premature even though the investigation has been running for two years," he said.

Mr Ndjakanyi claimed the silence was politically motivated: "It's the symbol of Belgium that is under attack." The lawyer said he would launch parallel proceedings in France and go "all the way to the European Court of Human Rights if necessary".

In 2007, British race watchdogs (mamby-pamy’s) pulled the book from children's shelves and attacked the Tintin cartoons for making black Africans "look like monkeys and talk like imbeciles".

Two weeks ago the work was removed from the shelves of Brooklyn's municipal library following a complaint from a reader that it "had illustrations that were racially offensive and inappropriate for children".

Georges Remi, the Tintin cartoonist who worked under the Hergé pen-name, reworked the book in 1946 to remove references to Congo as Belgian colony.

But it still contained images such as a black woman bowing to Tintin and saying: "White man very great White mister is big juju man!" Moulinsart, Tintin's publishers, argued that the whole row was "silly" and that book must be seen in its historical context: "To read in the 21st century a Tintin album dating back to 1931 requires a minimum of intellectual honesty," it said. "If one applied the 'politically correct' filter to great artists or writers, we could no longer publish certain novels of Balzac, Jules Verne, or even some Shakespeare plays."

Mr Ndjakanyi said this argument did not wash. "When the album was written there was no legal disposition incriminating racism. In 2009 there is. This isn't about history but the law."

Well I’m afraid he’s wrong…..Why don’t these PC’s start “blue-lining” everything they find objectionable….It’s a wonder they don’t hold mass book burnings like Germany did pre 39’, and look where that lead to!!!….These “mamby-Pamby, tree hugging, bunny fuckers have got to vocal and strong….They seem to instigate themselves in every walk of life and stick their noses into everything…..Governments seemed to be afraid of them and back down, all the time, to their crazy demands…..COME THE REVOLUTION

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

That French Tramp Video Game!!!

A new online video game in which users are invited to be tramps and steal and fight their way to success has provoked controversy in France, with its makers accused of stoking prejudice against homeless people.

In Clodogame, which means "Trampgame", internet users are invited to progress from being a penniless homeless person in Paris to becoming "king of the streets", the most "talented tramp in Paris" and eventually move in to the Palace of Versailles.

Players are invited to "attack other homeless people", become a "peerless pickpocket", steal from sweet machines, public toilets and laundrettes. They need to learn to play an instrument, choose a pet liable to increase their begging skills, and keep control of their alcohol intake.

The clodogame site's welcome page shows a photo-montage of a tramp in front of the Moulin Rouge.

French homelessness groups reacted with outrage to the free game, which was launched last week and has already attracted 5,000 registered users.

David Berly, the head of a homelessness collective, CDSL, said: "How can one make a game based on great suffering?

"One shouldn't take enjoyment out of the misfortune of others."

Homeless people were divided over the game's accuracy. "The drunken thief looking for a fight, that's not me," François, 44, told Le Parisien.

But Philippe, 50, said: "There is a part of reality [in the game]. It's the law of the jungle in the street. You have to fight to keep your bit of pavement, your wine bottle, your begging money," he said.

Farbflut, the German company that makes it, claims the game has raised young people's awareness of the plight of homelessness. "They are becoming more conscious of the problem. Some of them have even asked where they can send their donations," said a spokesman.

Of course….To make matters worse….It had to be a German software company that produce it….Who says the Germans don’t have a sense of humour!!!

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Online Shoppers

Online Shoppers Stranded when Recession Hits

Over 60 percent of British consumers who didn't receive goods or services they paid for in advance had shopped online, says Consumer Focus.

According to the consumer group, just under two million Brits have paid for goods or services which have never materialized after suppliers went into liquidation as a result of the recession. Research by the group revealed that the average loss per customer is US$400 (£242).

The electrical goods, music and small entertainment sectors were the worst performing, each accounting for 15 percent of all losses. They were closely followed by fashion and clothes, which made up 12 percent of paid-for purchases that have never materialized. (See also "Amazon Expert Tips: How to Make Shopping a Breeze.")

"Consumers are losing out in the fight to reclaim money from bankrupt businesses. And the problem looks set to worsen given the dramatic rise in companies going under this year. As with many things during a recession, it's the poorest who will be hit hardest," said Steve Brooker, markets expert at Consumer Focus…….NO SURPRISE THERE THEN!!!