Friday, March 30, 2012

Kindle Spring Sale.

Okay bargain hunters, just a quick post today for me to mention the Amazon Kindle spring Sale . In this sale you will find selected Kindle eBooks from £0.99. The promotion ends April 12, 2012 - so I suggest you get browsing for your bargain.

A quick browse this morning before I leave home to go down the farm, has bagged me a bargain for just 99p. People know how much I enjoy crime thrillers and Dark Video by Peter Church looks like a good read for me. Dark Video is set in South Africa and was published on 28 Feb 2011.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The guessing game from the Highways Agency.

There has been a lot of lively debate and confusion down the farm about a new guessing game. It all centres on a weight restriction of 17 tonnes between Junction 3 to Junction 2 eastbound and Junction 1 to Junction 3 westbound on the M4 motorway. The Highways Agency reports on it's website...

Traffic bulletin: M4 Junctions 2-3, vehicle weight restriction starts tonight

HIGHWAYS AGENCY News Release issued by COI News Distribution Service on 23 March 2012 

Please be aware of the following traffic bulletin from the Highways Agency:

The Highways Agency is advising drivers that a weight restriction on the M4 between junctions 2 and 3 in west London is being introduced overnight tonight, and will remain in place until further notice. 

Vehicles weighing more than 17 tonnes will be directed to follow a signed diversion route between the two junctions via the A312 and the A4.

The restriction is a precautionary measure, after a scheduled inspection on the Boston Manor viaduct, just west of junction 2, identified a possible need for maintenance work.

The restriction is not expected to increase journey times on the M4. Drivers on the A4 and the A312 are advised to keep up to date with traffic conditions and allow extra time for their journeys if necessary. 

...Now the trouble is that I and my friends down the farm all drive 2 axle coaches with a maximum Gross Vehicle Weight of 18 tonne. We never know how heavy our passengers and their luggage actually are, so we are in for a guessing game as to whether you are driving below or above 17 tonne.

But there is another problem, the signing for this weight restriction. Reading the above notice or the DOT Matrix motorway signs well before Junction 3, you would think the weight restriction applies to ALL road vehicles. But when you get between Junction 4 and Junction 3 the signs show No HGV over 17 tonne beyond Junction 3. You wonder if this weight restriction applies to ALL vehicles or ONLY those plated as GOODS.

The nationwide company is no help either, as they have instructed ALL coaches to follow the lengthy time consuming diversion along the A312 and the A4.

I took the diversion yesterday and my driving time without a break was 4 hours and 41 minutes. The legal maximum is 4 hours 30 minutes. So, whatever the driver does, it is wrong. You can't win with this new guessing game.

Today I did the maths and reckoned that 13 passengers and their luggage may weigh in at around 20 cwt - 1 tonne at an average of 12 stone a passenger. Take that away from our Gross Vehicle Weight of 18 tonne and you come down to the magical 17 tonne limit. So I took the view today that my actual weight was below 17 tonne AND the weight restriction only applies to Goods vehicles. I continued along the M4 to Victoria Coach Station in London.

Had I followed the diversion instructed by the Highways Agency and the nationwide company I would have exceeded 4 hours 30 minutes driving without a break. This offence would put me in the frame for a £60 on the spot fixed penalty fine. I would not be able to claim "unforeseen delays" as I had done the same journey the day before. I am sure I made the right decision in this awful guessing game. Of course this mental calculation assumes that any of our coaches with a full compliment of passengers and luggage is actually below it's Gross Vehicle Weight and is not overloaded. That we will never know until it is too late. Who will be to blame when VOSA order the driver onto the weighbridge and find the coach is overloaded? You've guessed it - the driver, not the fat cow on the coach with 2 heavy suitcases.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

56 days in jail for posting on Twitter.

A 21 year old student from Pontypridd has been jailed for 56 days for posting on Twitter. Liam Stacey provoked revulsion with comments that included "LOL [laugh out loud]. F*** Muamba. He's dead!!!", made while the Bolton Wanderers star still lay on the pitch. The 23-year-old midfielder was left fighting for his life after suffering a heart attack in a televised FA Cup tie against Tottenham Hotspur on 17 March.

Stacey, a Swansea University biology undergraduate, was quickly tracked down and arrested. Last week he admitted inciting racial hatred when he appeared briefly at Swansea magistrates' court and yesterday he was jailed for 56 days at the same court.

District Judge John Charles said: "In my view there is no alternative to an immediate prison sentence."

A longer report can be read on the BBC News website.

I am shocked at this custodial sentence and think that District Judge John Charles is off his trolley and out of touch with the majority of people. I am not alone in my opinion that a 56 day jail sentence on Liam is wrong.

Musa Okwonga , a football writer, poet and musician of Ugandan descent has written a very good article about this sorry tale of injustice...

My gut reaction, when I first read of the judgment, was that a very stiff community penalty would suffice. Perhaps Stacey could have been made to work the type of hours in the type of places that refugees work. Then he might have understood better their daily burdens, which hatred like his only serves to increase. That, combined with the adverse publicity that accompanied his trial, would probably have sufficed. Many will welcome his imprisonment, considering that the justice system has done well to move with the times, but I can’t help but feel that the long arm of the law has overreached.

...Musa mentions two tweeters who regularly write provocative tweets. Here are 2 examples to illustrate their content..

sickipediabot tweets...

Liam Stacey jailed for racist tweet, does anybody know when Dianne Abbott is due in court?.

The Funny Racist tweets...

What's the difference between the slave trade and a hurdle? Black people can get over a hurdle.

 ...Now come on District Judge John Charles, most people have a sense of humour in this country and people should be able to take comments and tweets on the chin. Lighten up for goodness sake. But on a very serious note, we MUST retain the right to Freedom of Speech otherwise we may as well become illiterate and mute.

Who is paying for Liam's 56 days in prison and the potential restriction in Freedom of Speech and expression - that's right, you the taxpayer and voter. If a football writer, poet and musician of Ugandan descent calls this custodial sentence wrong, think what the average internet user must feel.

Simply let down by this injustice in our courts.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Show us your ankles.

Now that the weather has improved and Spring is definitely in the air, I wonder if one blight on the pavement is finally on it's way out?

Lots of women all around our country have taken to the fashion of wearing some dreadful looking floppy boots. There are many floppy boots on the market, some cheap and nasty, others expensive and nasty . These women march along our pavements looking like peasant farmers, the floppy boots do not make them look attractive. These floppy boots have become an urban eyesore.

Now the sun is shining brightly, the numbers of women trudging along in floppy boots is thankfully on the decline. We are starting to see the end of this sorry spectacle on our streets.

So come on girls, be brave, the sun is out and show us your ankles.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Lucky for some.

What planet are they on, the fuel tanker drivers who have voted for strike action? Never mind looking for public sympathy as they threaten to bring our country to chaos from their strike action. There is an old saying about never looking a gift horse in the mouth. What do I read on the Telegraph website?...

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said that tanker drivers are paid an average of £45,000 a year, which is roughly double that of a regular haulage driver.

...This is disgusting, if they do not want to be a fuel tanker driver for this wonderful pay packet then they should resign and let someone else have a go. I have no sympathy for these striking fuel tanker drivers, if they are unhappy with their pay and conditions they should leave, there are plenty more drivers waiting at the gates of the terminals.

As for our government's proposal to use the Army to drive the fuel tankers, that is better than using the Army to invade other countries at great cost to the tax payer.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Drivers Notes

(SMART user 123456 ) Pax requires front kerbside seat and help with wheelchair.

Oh yeah!!...

Friday, March 23, 2012

Images are being recorded.

We are all used to seeing signs and hearing announcements about CCTV images being recorded everywhere we go. It has become the norm in Britain today for everyone to have their movements monitored every day. The coach I drive every day is fitted with 8 CCTV cameras which record everything that happens. You would think that CCTV images would only be viewed when an incident needs to be investigated.

Unfortunately things have now moved onto a darker side as Michael Shephard has now found out. Michael Shephard was given the boot by bosses after he was spotted popping a grape into his mouth on CCTV. The grandad from Coventry was in his cab at the time but he says he was not driving. Mr Shephard, of Ravensdale Road, Wyken, who has been driving buses for National Express for more than five years, was suspended after the incident was captured by CCTV on the bus two weeks ago. He said: "I don't eat or drink while I am driving but I was just sat stationary at the bus terminus in Bedworth for a few minutes and took a grape to wet my mouth a bit."

The public image of CCTV is one of safety and protection but now we know the darker side. It has become a tool to control staff and sack them for petty things, even when a compliant or incident has not arisen. CCTV was first installed in buses and coaches not for the safety and protection of passengers but to deal with fraudulent claims from passengers and other road users. The manufacturers claimed any operator would get their money back within 18 months by stopping fraud. Now CCTV is being used to catch any driver out whom the employer wishes to sack. As this sad tale reveals, the sacking can be for the most petty of issues.

What can bus and coach drivers do? Absolutely nothing and this story shows just how little employers actually trust their staff to do a professional job. This trust has now been destroyed on both sides and society as a whole is the loser. Previously people were innocent until proved guilty among their peers. Now staff have to prove their innocence every day by taking a mandatory alcohol breath test before driving and then having their every gesture, scratch and movement recorded on CCTV for later analysis. Welcome to Big Brother and on my coach today maybe up to 48 passengers at a time will have their images recorded because Big Brother thinks it knows best.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bag for life?

There is one trend that is springing up around the country that is annoying responsible dog owners. It is the half way brigade. There are some dog owners who will scoop up their dog's excrement into a plastic bag but then discard it. Poop-scoop bags can be found on many beaches and in country parks.

The charity Marine Conservation Society (MCS) says the volume of dog excrement in bags left on UK beaches rose 11% between 2010 and 2011. Scotland recorded the biggest increase – 71% in one year. MCS Beachwatch officer Lauren Davis says the findings reveal good and bad habits: "We're delighted that pet owners enjoy dog-friendly beaches and clearly think ahead by carrying poop-scoop bags. But we hope our findings will now encourage them to take the bag off the beach and bin it in one of the many receptacles provided for the job. "Leaving a bag full of poo on the beach will result in preserved excrement, protected from the elements for years by a bag which could take a long time to break down."

These bag it, then discard it dog owners don't understand how much damage they are doing by their half hearted measures and sheer laziness. It is no joy walking through woods dodging plastic pooh bags hanging from branches. Left to rot away from the path, dog pooh will soon degrade just like vegetable waste but plastic bags just stay there preserving the contents. A little thought would go a long way to stopping this blight on our beaches and in our country parks. Why Scotland has a 71% increase in discarded pooh bags, rather than the UK average of 11% is very difficult to understand. I thought the Scots did not like wasting money on anything, including plastic bags.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

You want a what?

On Monday morning at 09:40 I had a telephone call from Philip, my line manager. He asked me if I could do a favour for Jason, our Commercial Director. Could I walk into Swansea Bus Station and purchase from the newsagent, 3 copies of the Swansea Evening Post?

This was a very strange request indeed. What would a man, sitting at a desk in Llantwit Fardre, a village some 15 miles north west of Cardiff, want with a Swansea newspaper, some 35 miles away? Why would he want 3 copies of a little known regional newspaper?

Then the alarm bells started ringing! The time was 09:40 in the morning and the title of the alleged newspaper was the Swansea Evening Post. Surely an evening newspaper would be published late afternoon and trying to purchase a copy at 09:40 in the morning would be a fool's errand. Would this request be swiftly followed by another request to purchase a tin of stripped paint and a carton of pigeon milk? Philip must be having a laugh!

I have known Philip since 1997 and he has never once joked with me. He tends to be a serious guy and takes his job seriously. If this was a genuine request from our Commercial Director and I did not comply, then I could be in trouble for not being helpful. Because I trust Philip and he has not lead me astray before, I went into the Bus Station to satisfy my curiosity.

There was a big stack of newspapers on the bottom shelf. I could not find a Swansea Evening Post but did notice a large stack of South Wales Evening Post with the sub heading of Swansea Final. The published date was Monday 19th March 2012 and the price 45p. Very surprised at this discovery, I purchased 3 copies and the sales woman did not bat an eye lid.

So, Philip was not joking and the South Wales Evening Post is actually a regional morning newspaper. When I handed my coach over to Dave at Cardiff West, I told him of this strange request. One of the passengers overheard our conversation and told us that the South Wales Evening Post used to be a late afternoon newspaper and had changed it's timeline but kept the original name! We think Jason wanted 3 copies because our company supplied coaches for Saturday's Six Nations Rugby Championship and there may have been some pictures of our fleet at the stadium.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

It's not over until the fat lady sings.

That is a very popular saying, isn't it, "It's not over until the fat lady sings." Well, it does not only have to apply to fat ladies, it can apply to men also, even 54 year old men with beards .

Osama bin Laden was plotting to throw the U.S. into crisis by killing Barack Obama and General David Petraeus in an attack on a presidential aircraft, it emerged Friday. Documents found in bin Laden's Pakistani compound disclose how he told senior allies that killing Obama would send America into chaos under the leadership of Vice-President Joe Biden.

"Obama is the head of infidelity," bin Laden wrote. "Killing him automatically will make Biden take over the presidency. Biden is totally unprepared for that post, which will lead the U.S. into a crisis." Bin Laden also wanted to assassinate Gen. Petraeus, who was commander of allied forces in Afghanistan, and who had been tipped as a future U.S. president.

Bin Laden, the 54yearold head of al-Qaeda, was killed in a raid on his compound in Pakistan by U.S. Navy Seals last May. The Seals seized laptops, notepads and hard drives that are said to have amounted to 2.7 terabytes of data - equivalent to about 220 million pages of text. The first detailed leak of this material shows the al-Qaeda chief selected Ilyas Kashmiri, a Pakistani jihadist, to carry out the attacks against their highprofile targets. "Please ask brother Ilyas to send me the steps he has taken," he is said to have written to a top lieutenant. Kashmiri is believed to have been killed in a drone strike on South Waziristan last June.

So, now we know that Barack Obama is the head of infidelity and he was on the al-Qaeda hit list. Reports of Osama bin Laden enjoying his retirement in Pakistan were untrue and that terrorism is not over!

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest by Stieg Larrson .

Lisbeth Salander has been arrested for attempted murder and she is closely guarded in hospital, having taken a bullet to her head. Some people within Sapo, the state security police, want to cover up her story and lock her away in a mental institution. Mikael Blomkvisk and others help to set her free.

This is the 3rd book in the Millennium Trilogy , it has 743 pages, was published in 2007 and translated by Reg Keeland in 2009. This book continues on from The Girl Who Played With Fire .

Had I not purchased a copy, I would have stopped reading within the first 20 pages. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest is the worst conspiracy novel I have ever read. Stieg Larrson drones on for pages and pages about irrelevant details. I have never read so many descriptions of going into a cafe for a coffee. To get the feel of this book, look at  the parody written by  Nora Ephron and you will get an accurate reflection of Larrson's writing content and style.

Don't bother to read the Millennium Trilogy, if you must read one, then read The Girl Who Played With Fire which I voted 3 stars on Good Reads , whereas The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo I only voted 2 stars. I think The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest  should be re-titled The Girl who dragged a bad story into 3 Books.

Because of the large number of characters and the bitty nature of this novel, I did not develop an empathy for any character. There is no central character despite the title of this story. This book is clearly second rate and there is nothing to recommend it. There is nothing original and it is very drab. Don't bother reading this very long story which as a Kindle eBook would weigh in at a huge 2654 KB.

The ending is poor and not original. There is nothing to offend anyone and this book lacks humour. I took absolutely nothing away from this novel. I will vote this book the 1 star minimum on Good Reads because it is rubbish. I feel this book never deserved any of the hype or the tremendous sales figures it generated. Just because a book sells shed loads does not mean it is any good. It was never worth the 11 reviews of praise from leading newspapers quoted at the beginning.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

One thing at a time.

Unlike women, who claim to be able to multi-task, men can do just one thing at a time. Men claim that women may be able to multi-task by doing simultaneous tasks poorly while men do just the one task really well. This gender argument about multi-tasking has gone on for years now. It is standard humour for comedians and works well when playing to the crowd.

At work I do one job at a time and do not attempt to multi-task. You will not catch me using the hands-free telephone whilst I am driving the coach. No driver will ever be disciplined for ignoring a ringing telephone because safety comes first. Instructions from the nationwide company are very strict, microphones MUST only be used whilst stationary. This instruction also applies to launching the nagging woman CD.

Sadly there is now speculation that the coach driver of a coach that crashed in Switzerland, killing 22 schoolchildren and six adults, may have been trying to insert a disc on the onboard entertainment system shortly before the accident, Swiss and Belgian papers have reported. The Dutch-language Belgian daily Het Laatste Nieuws said children who were aboard the bus reported seeing the driver handling a DVD that a teacher had given to him to play and the paper speculated that a "moment of distraction" may have caused the bus to hit a curb.

The impact with the curb caused the vehicle to veer into a "stop lane" and slam head-on into a wall where the lane ended. The bus was carrying 52 people. Swiss police say 21 Belgians and seven Dutch were killed inside the Tunnel de Geronde. Twenty-four children were hurt in the crash, some seriously. The impact was so violent that some children were thrown from windows, despite wearing seatbelts. Authorities said two drivers on the bus were killed instantly, but they have not yet determined which of the two men was behind the wheel. They said there is no evidence the bus was travelling over the speed limit. Swiss daily newspaper Aargauer Zeitung reported similar claims speculating on driver error, but Swiss police have refused to comment.

So before you drive ANY motor vehicle, think - one thing at a time. We have all seen car drivers wandering across the road as they play with their music or navigation system. Fine, play with your gadgets but for safety's sake, ONLY when stationary. Multi-tasking is a myth, so don't be the death of it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

End of an era.

It is another end of an era driving coaches under contract to the nationwide company. Until today drivers have used the microphone to talk to passengers, giving them information about the coaches and their journey. It was up to the driver what they said and we were encouraged to deliver announcements in our own personal style rather than a faceless jobsworth. I and many other drivers found it really easy to deliver off-the-cuff announcements that were friendly, efficient, personal and covered all the necessary safety information. We felt that passengers appreciated our announcements because they were never the same, the content changed over time and it was obvious that their driver was not reading from a script. It was a great system because it was adaptive and could be tailored to that unique journey - at that very time - rather than be generic. The driver then had a free platform to announce the score for that day.

A long time ago, drivers were stopped from writing about the nationwide company on the internet. Now that ban on free speech and freedom of expression has been extended to the driver's microphone announcements. The nationwide company claims this is to achieve consistency across the network!

From today, drivers MUST read out aloud on the microphone, word for word, with no variation, a script found in a bound folder. When the driver has spoken these scripted words he MUST press the button to launch the automated safety message from a nagging woman. There are a total of 12 scripted messages in the bound folder that the driver MUST use. Every time a passenger boards the coach at a later stop, the initial starting message and the nagging woman CD must be used.

So much for progress and the end of another era, which will be repeatedly announced by the nagging woman CD.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Free, for a time.

Andrys Basten writes a blog called A Kindle World blog . It is her labour of love and it is worth a read for anybody who owns an Amazon Kindle. She passes on a whole range of tips for the Kindle owner. She features cheap and free eBooks for readers to think about. She also lists on her right hand sidebar a number of very useful links.

I would like to draw your attention to the FREE NON-Classics Today UK: PubDate link. Quite often some Amazon Kindle eBooks are available for free but only for a very limited time. You do not know how long these eBooks will be free for, it may be a day or even a few hours! Slow moving eBooks may be free for quite a while but if they make a buzz the price will rise.

On Sunday I followed the link and downloaded 4 free eBooks to my Kindle. Looking on Amazon at those 4 eBooks today, 1 eBook is still free. 2 eBooks have risen in price to £1.95 each and 1 eBook has risen to an amazing £6.56 - WOW! - I got it for FREE on Sunday.

You may wonder what eBook I got for free, that is now on offer for £6.56 - go on have a guess?

Such a sharp rise in price would generally indicate a book that is sexy or controversial. Maybe a book that has won an award or from a top selling author. Maybe a book featured on television or has a cult following. Maybe a book by a celebrity or one that has been made into a film.

This book is non of the above, it is a little known book with a very small target audience. It is called Learn HTML, XHTML, CSS, and JavaScript With Ease by w3schools . An indispensable introductory guide to creating web pages using the most up-to-date standards. This beginner guide shows you how to use XHTML, CSS, and JavaScript to create compelling Web sites. While learning these technologies, you will discover coding practices such as writing code that works on multiple browsers including mobile devices, how to use AJAX frameworks to add interactivity to your pages, and how to ensure your pages meet accessible requirements. There are no customer reviews yet on

So this tale shows that some excellent eBooks are free, for a time. When you see them as downloadable for free, you should download quickly because they may not be free, hours later. These free eBooks are strictly time limited. Andrys Basten repeats this advice quite often and I am glad that I took her advice.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sign writing.

Road markings should be an easy job to do, just copy the text onto the road surface, it's child's play...

...and DOT Matrix signs should be no problem either, just enter your message on the keyboard...

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Having a father is a human right. 

I saw a full page newspaper advertisement yesterday that drew my attention.

This advertisement was not for a tablet computer or a trendy app. It was a political poster from the people behind Fathers 4 Justice and they have a new website that launches their iDad campaign. I fully support this campaign and think the advertisement is spot on with the tag line of "Having a father is a human right".

As a piece of art, this advertisement is bright, focused, eye catching and up to date. To introduce the idea of a dad as a user friendly tablet computer or application is cool. This advertisement is not tired or dated but at first glance appears to come from a leading electrical retailer.

On a political front, the tag line of "Having a father is a human right" should appeal to anyone interested in human rights and equality. So many children loose out when a mother denies, for many different reasons, the child to have contact with their father. The child then becomes a pawn in the power game between their parents. The human rights of the child are ignored and in the UK fathers have very few rights in gaining access to their children.

Hopefully this campaign will help move towards change so that children will be able to have contact with their fathers, it is not a lot to ask. These dads who are denied access to their children are not super heroes in fancy costumes but average human beings who make mistakes but try their level best to have a go at being a dad. All these men want is the chance to have a go and I feel their children just want to make their own minds up about their father, just like their school friends do.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Racists should be taking their pills. 

When you hear racists rant about immigrants you think they should be on medication. Now research points to the same conclusion. Tests on volunteers after taking propranolol showed they were less racially biased than those who took a placebo. The researchers say racism is founded on fear and the heart drug used in the study, propranolol, helps damp down fear by blocking nerve circuits that govern the heart rate and the part of the brain linked with emotional responses.

What is this fear that the racists are concerned about? Maybe it is the fear of the unknown, immigrants cooking with herbs and spices!

"But, but, but, I am cooking, yes!"

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Paypal Pressured To Play Morality Cop 

So this is a long story and the short of it is credit card companies, banks and other financial institutions are trying to censor legal fiction. They are leaning on Paypal to stop readers buying eBooks that include themes of bestiality, rape and incest. Regardless on one’s opinions about these objectionable topics, I view this attempted censorship as a bad precedent. Fiction is fantasy. It’s not real. PayPal’s request has caused a firestorm of debate on the Internet about censorship, and what this means for the future of ebook publishing. Most people are horrified at the thought of any censorship, while others believe such content should be restricted. It’s a contentious debate. The same censored themes are prevalent in much mainstream fiction. I believe it would be unfair to authors and readers alike for any organization to censor what writers are allowed to imagine and what readers are allowed to read.

If the PayPal restrictions were taken to the extreme, many mainstream classics including Nabokov’s Lolita or Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with The Wind could technically be banned. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo with its depiction of rape could be banned. Even the Bible could fall under the net since it contains scenes of rape and incest. Therein lies the danger of censorship. Where does it stop, and where do we draw the line?

So what more can the reader do? All we can do is sign a petition and as the tag line for Tesco goes, "Every little helps". I have added my name to this petition simply because fiction is fantasy. It’s not real.

Monday, March 05, 2012

"Bugger that, I'm off to Poundland . One has to be canny with the cash, you know."

The Queen, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, visit Fortnum and Mason, in Piccadilly, London, to view the store's diamond jubilee product range.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Work them stairs! 

I am not making this up but Liverpool City bosses are moving the office where disabled motorists must have medical examinations for blue badges from the 13th level of a car park after admitting it was “not the ideal location”.

The move follows a complaint from a member of the public who found that the lift in the Mount Pleasant car park stops two levels short of the roof. He had to struggle up two flights of stairs, to where the portable cabin offices are, to be assessed.

The complaint from the disabled driver obtained by the ECHO states that “a set of stairs has to be negotiated before emerging at the correct level and having done this there is a long walk for someone of limited ability”. It added: “It seems ludicrous that the council could not find a more appropriate setting for a disability assessment office than one that is a trial in every sense of the word”.

A council spokesman said: “We recognise it’s not the most satisfactory arrangement. We will be getting a ground floor office."

That made me chuckle for all the obvious reasons!

Saturday, March 03, 2012

"Let me at him!" barks the Yorshire terrier, in this harmless 31 seconds of video.


Friday, March 02, 2012

Starbucks coffee to be stronger with extra shot of espresso. 

Starbucks on Thursday disclosed that customers will now get two shots of espresso rather than one in lattes, cappuccinos and other coffee drinks.

But it is the announcement of an increased strength in its coffees that will be of most interest to customers, many of whom have expressed disappointment at the perceived weakness in Starbucks drinks when compared with rivals such as Costa.

The move, the first by the multinational group anywhere in the world, follows extensive research which showed the company had reported a 60 per cent rise in people wanting extra caffeine shots in their lattes, its most popular drink.

I had hoped to find a link to the news story that appeared in the i newspaper, I was unable to find the link so I have copy/pasted the content above from the Telegraph website. What the Telegraph article does not mention but the i newspaper report does, is that the "tall lattes" will go on sale from 14th March at £2.15 - there will be no price increase for the extra shot of espresso. That is good news but the really good news is that as a one-off, it will not charge customers who want to try the new drinks on that day until midday. So I will be marching along to a Starbucks around London Victoria to claim a free coffee on Wednesday 14th March. Starting work on our 117 duty at 03.15 that morning, a free coffee on my break in London Victoria Coach Station will be a very welcome bonus. To many people it will be their breakfast coffee, to me it will be a coffee in the middle of my working day.

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