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Thursday 28 February 2013

I admit it, I’m a banker

Sort of.

I left a link in a post to ZOPA.
Here’s what it does

Zopa is a marketplace for peer-to-peer lending. People lend and borrow money with each other, sidestepping the banks.

Peer-to-peer lending is a smarter, fairer and more human way of doing money. It's like borrowing and lending with your friends and family - except there are thousands of people you can lend and borrow with.
Both lenders and borrowers get better rates, because peer-to-peer lending is more efficient than the traditional banking model. Banks have massive overheads, with thousands of employees to pay and hundreds of branches to maintain. So they have to take large margins on the money that passes through them.
There's no smoke and mirrors here. Banks use your money to make even more money for themselves. They lend some of it out, gamble some of it on the price of tin or the Yen depreciating, and invest the rest in any other money-making schemes they can think of.

Now I’m a lender. To put it short and sweet, I put in, lets say £1000, and Zopa lends it out to a hundred borrowers at £10 each to minimise my risk.
Of course theirs always risk of someone defaulting. However looking at my defaulters today has given me an insight on how the habits of people have changed since the credit crunch of 2008.
Sorry about the poor image.

As you can see in 2009 there was only one default, but in 2010 there was a whopping 18. Then just three in 2011.
My take on it is that a lot of people struggled on and finally admitted defeat in 2010 with just a few managing to hold on till 2011.
I think that people have now pruned back their expenditure and are now balancing their expenditure against their income. I did expect quite a few defaults as quite a few borrowers reasons were “Consolidate existing debts”.

The only hope I can give from the figures above is that we have moved from the “I want it now society” into a more realistic “I’ll buy it when I’ve saved up for it” society. Just like it used to to be in Sensible Britain of the past.

At the moment in the “A” market I’m currently lending at 6%, but of course I don’t get a return of 6%. I have to pay a fee of 0.5% to Zopa and I also have to factor in a 1% default ratio. This gives me a pre-tax return of 4.5%.
If you try to get a loan from Natwest for a £1000 for instance, you will be charged a whopping 22.9% for the privilege.
So I can’t be an evil banker really. I don’t really make much myself, and help others in need. Maybe I should register myself as a charity!

*Everyone else seems to be able to.*


mary had a little pig


Wednesday 27 February 2013

Money under the mattress.


Well not quite.

A few years ago when I retired, I received a substantial lump sum as part of my retirement package. Now of course I couldn’t leave it in my current account, earning next to bugger all, so I looked around for various means of at least keeping my money abreast of inflation.

Some of the money went into unit trusts, some went into ZOPA, and some into a plethora of savings accounts in several different banks. (Eleven).

A fair few months ago I looked at my spread sheet (More about that later) and looked at one account which strangely I hadn’t noted a figure of amount invested, and thought I’d check the account online. (The last time I accessed it was over six months ago). However I couldn’t gain entry so I put it off to another day. A couple of months ago I tried again. Still no access.

Last year I paid a lot of money for my eldest daughter’ wedding and had drawn money from various accounts which I closed on completion. So I presumed till last week that this account must have been one of them and closed .

Not so.

Last week I received a phone call from an Indian call centre. (The bank was a British subsidiary of an Indian bank). The caller implied that my term deposit in the account that I thought was closed was no longer going to pay the interest, and would revert to a derisory amount , and would I like to switch to a new deal? For some reason I thought this was trying to get me to save with them. I hung up.

I’m a fool. (I’ve said it so you don’t have to).

However on Saturday I received an Email from the bank reiterating the same message that I received by phone, It also showed the capital that had been invested. (My eyes lit up).

This morning I phoned them up and found that the reason I’d been locked out of the account was because I’d not accessed it on line for six months. After verifying my details, (why  they need my cat’s middle name is beyond me?) I finally accessed my account.

It held over double what I thought I’d invested (Interest added). I didn’t know this as as I’d looked at the wrong bloody spread sheet. The up to date spread sheet, showed that it was a three year fixed rate deal.

I’m not going to say how much, as if I do, the kids will be around on the doorstep with their kids dressed in rags and barefoot, asking for a hand out. (Hi Lizi & Kat).

I now have a substantial buffer to ride out the economic slump. I can afford decent whisky again.

Motto: There’s no fool like an old fool.

Monday 25 February 2013

Cease and desist.

I’m talking about you, Charities.

You should stop deluging old and vulnerable people, such as my Mum in law, with an endless bombardment of telephone calls and letters asking her for money and implying that she is heartlessly, single handedly, killing children in the third world. Oh and Tigers as well.

Your constant bombardment is now turning her to decide not to give anything to anyone of you.

Personally I refuse to give to any charity that pesters me on the phone or by letter. I prefer to give to charities that don’t waste their donations on TV adverts, unsolicited phone calls, and mail shots. If they’re that good then they shouldn’t need to indulge in this sheer waste of their donation money.

So I’m off out tomorrow to buy MIL an industrial strength shredder for starters and then sign her up to the Telephone Preference Service and the Mailing preference service.

Oh and before someone says that I’m a heartless bastard that doesn’t care about the third world or children (We have to think perpetually about the Cheeeeldren), I’ve seen how some of the charities work in the third world.Ooverpaid and absolutely useless.

One Example:

Various charities had been in Angola for five years. A sewage plant had been inoperative for twenty years. Disease was rife in the region and nothing was done by the NGO’s. It took myself and a contingent of Royal Engineers, TEN days to get it operational. (Blowing own trumpet, SORRY).

The moral is choose, who you give to, wisely.

Sunday 24 February 2013

Saturday 23 February 2013

Friday 22 February 2013

Climate Change?

A simple vid that should be shown widely, to impart the fact that the so called Climate scientists, Politicians, Greens, Wind farm companies, Uncle Tom Cobley and all, have justified milking the populace. This Vid debunks the models that purport to show CAGW.

Says it all really. Even the Met Office and the chairman of the IPPC, Rajenda Pachauri, have had to admit that the world average temperature has flat lined for the last sixteen years. Mind you, trying to find that press release on the Met Office’s web site is beyond me.

Bed time story

A new take on that bedtime story and how the world was going to overheat from Global warming. Just watch it and smile. How true it is.

(Beware. Sweary words at the end).

Thursday 21 February 2013

A second opinion should have been obtained


The doctor said, 'Harry, the good news is I can cure your headaches.

The bad news is that it will require castration.
You have a very rare condition, which causes your testicles to press on your spine and the pressure creates one hell of a headache. The only way to relieve the pressure is to remove the testicles.'
I was shocked and depressed. I wondered if I had anything to live for.

I had no choice but to go under the knife.

When I left the hospital, I was without a headache for the first time in 20 years, but I felt like I was missing an important part of Myself.

As I walked down the street, I realized that I felt like a different person. I could make a new beginning and live a new life.
I saw a men's clothing store and thought, 'That's what I need... A new suit...'

I entered the shop and told the salesman, 'I'd like a new suit..'
The elderly tailor eyed me briefly and said, 'Let's see... Size 44 long.'
I laughed, 'That's right, how did you know?'
'Been in the business 60 years!' the tailor said..
I tried on the suit it fitted perfectly.
As I, admired myself in the mirror, the salesman asked, 'How about a new shirt?'

I thought for a moment and then said, 'Sure.'
The salesman eyed me and said, 'Let's see, 34 sleeves and 16-1/2 neck.'
I was surprised, 'That's right, how did you know?'
'Been in the business 60 years.'
I tried on the shirt and it fitted perfectly.

I walked comfortably around the shop and the salesman asked, 'How about some new underwear?'
I thought for a moment and said, 'Sure.'
The salesman said, 'Let's see... Size 36.
I laughed, 'Ah ha! I got you! I've worn a size 34 since I was 18 years old.'

The salesman shook his head, 'You can't wear a size 34. a size 34 would press your testicles up against the base of your spine and give you one hell of a headache.'

Wednesday 20 February 2013

ASH lobbying FAIL


They’re still at their same despicable tricks. ASH that is, Here in 1990 the CEO of ASH being resoundingly castigated for trying to stack the deck in the APPG on smoking.


ASH lies

Of course we don’t live in an era in which politicians have integrity and codes of conduct. The ones that did must be turning in their graves.

H/T to Dick

Want cold beer quicker?

Just follow the instructions below.

How does that work you may say?

Simples. Salt lowers the freezing point of water. Normally water freezes at 0 celsius. The addition of salt will lower the temperature at which water freezes so that the salt water solution is still a liquid below 0 celsius. This effect will work for several degrees below the normal freezing point of water. So, this is why you put salt on your driveway in winter and the ice will melt, because the freezing point has been lowered.

salt and water

Tuesday 19 February 2013

My MP is working for me.

Is he fuck.

Some weeks ago I sent him an Email letter.

Dear John Stanley,

As one of your constituents I would like to express my opposition to the proposal to put tobacco products in plain (standardised) packaging.

This was not included in any election manifesto in 2010 and was rejected by the previous government in 2008 on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence to support such a policy.

Nothing has happened since then that could possibly justify a change of policy under the current government. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Police officers, retired and serving, have expressed concern that plain packaging will encourage organised crime. Their views are shared by many small retailers, wholesalers, packaging companies and design agencies who may be forced to cut jobs if plain packaging is introduced.

Public opinion too is firmly against the proposal. The public consultation on plain packaging attracted over 700,000 responses, HALF A MILLION of them OPPOSED to plain packaging.

Given this overwhelming result I hope that you too will declare your opposition to this measure.

I would be grateful too if you would ask the relevant ministers to consider in the final review:

(a) the likely impact on counterfeiting and the corresponding increase in organised crime;
(b) the potential loss of tax revenue; and
(c) the full impact on business, including local shops and packaging companies.

Finally, I fully understand that government has a role to play improving public health and protecting the most vulnerable in society, especially children. There is however no credible evidence that packaging encourages children to start smoking and to argue otherwise is to fly in the face of common sense.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. I look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely,

The Filthy Engineer

Bearing in mind it was an E mail, I would at least have expected an acknowledgement. No. Bugger all. I know is his office received it as I received a “read receipt”.

However this is an MP who doesn’t seem to want to engage with the medium of the internet. When he eventually replies it will be a vacuous answer on House of commons headed note paper(I have a collection). Luckily the old dinosaur is resigning his seat at the next election.

Maybe I should stand for election in the seat?

By the way. If you want to send your MP a letter protesting about plain packs then click on the Icon at the top right. Even if you’re a non smoker I suggest that you do it anyway. You’ll be next if you like to drink, eat, or just generally like to enjoy yourself.

They’ve seen that the Tobacco control template has worked to denormalise  20% of society. Now they’ll start on the rest of you.

*A party political broadcast on behalf of the Filthy Engineer party*.

Monday 18 February 2013


This is a "deceptively simple" philosophy that I have been working on for most of my life. I am delighted to say that I have finally refined it to a point whereby I think that I can share the concept with a select band of friends who may appreciate its elegance and simplicity.

give a shit

I’m at the point where it flat lines.

Sunday 17 February 2013

I wonder…..

Has the MSM been got at?

When I watch the Beeb, the main item on their agenda has been about the horsemeat debacle. Now as far as I know, no-one has died from eating horse meat. Even the Chief medical officer had to admit the fact.

Why has another scandal, where at least a thousand people have died through allegedly criminal negligence slipped out of the news? I’m here referring to those that have died in the Stafford NHS trust and elsewhere. Surely this is far more important to how we live.

I find it distinctly odd that the news media these days always bashes the private sector, but seems to steer clear of taking to task the public sector.

There is always a clamour for heads to roll in the private sector, but how often do you hear of a call for a  head civil servant to be sacked?

There’s something wrong in our priorities these days. If a private company fails it’s customers, then it goes out of business. Someone else will fill the gap.

However with the NHS we have no choice. If they want to kill us, they will. And no-one seems to be willing to hold them to account.

*I’m reading a kindle book about the travails of a GP and his dealings with the NHS at the moment. It makes you weep. (And him). I’ll post up some snippets about the over burdening management that has been created in the next day or two.*


The game all can play. Fed up with surveillance of your everyday activity, then if you’re young and fit, this may be the game for you.

I personally think that the UK has far to many. Of course I wouldn’t dream of doing such vandalism. How dare these misguided people destroy these paragons of the new world order. I mean we love being watched 24/7. Don’t we?

SOURCE and an old post

Just saying.

Saturday 16 February 2013

Saturday soliloquy

As I was lying around, pondering the  problems of the world,
I realised that at my age I don't really give a rat's arse anymore.

.. If walking is good for your health, the postman would be immortal.
.. A whale swims all day, only eats fish, drinks water, but is still fat.
.. A rabbit runs and hops and only lives 15 years,  while
.. A tortoise doesn't run and does mostly nothing, yet it  lives for 150 years.
And you tell me to exercise?? I don't think  so.

Just grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked, the good fortune to remember the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the  difference.

  Now that I'm older here's what I've  discovered:

1.     I started out with nothing, and I still have most of  it.
2.     My wild oats are mostly enjoyed with prunes and all-bran.
3.     I  finally got my head together, and now my body is falling apart.
4.     Funny,  I don't remember being absent-minded.
5.     Funny, I don't remember being  absent-minded.
6.     If all is not lost, then where the hell is it ?
7.    It was a whole lot easier to get older, than to get wiser.
8.     Some days, you're the  top dog; some days you're the hydrant.
9.     I wish the buck really did stop here; I  sure could use a few of them.
10.   Kids in the back seat cause  accidents.
11.   Accidents in the back seat cause kids.
12.   It's  hard to make a comeback when you haven't been anywhere.
13.   The world  only beats a path to your door when you're in the bathroom.
14.   If God  wanted me to touch my toes, he'd have put them on my knees.
15.  When I'm  finally holding all the right cards, everyone wants  to play chess.
16.   It's not hard to meet expenses . . . they're everywhere.
17.   The only  difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.
18.   These days, I  spend a lot of time thinking about the hereafter . . .I go somewhere to get  something, and then wonder what I'm "here after".
19.   Funny, I don't remember being  absent-minded.

Friday 15 February 2013

Have a little drink on me.

Is this what the Nu puritans hope for in the future?

small beer

Thursday 14 February 2013


Bloody con artists.

My mum in law fell over on Tuesday evening, then Wednesday morning, and in the middle of the night last night. (The old dear is 91 after all, and suffering arthritic hips and hands).

Anyway that’s just the background.

Anyway Mrs FE and myself brought her home from the hospital at midday, and I picked her mail off the mat in the process. A quick look through it was enough to ascertain that 85% of it was begging letters from just about every charity in the known world.

Once we had got her settled in her chair she started opening up her mail and asked me to open the big envelope she was struggling with.

Inside was a glitzy (Word most favoured by the Tobacco control industry when referring to cigarette packs) magazine extolling holidays with “ You will have access to a personal travel concierge” and a card that will enable her to dine out “as a full member in partnership with the Gourmet Society”.

Enclosed was a letter. In it, they have charged her the postage and have given her 14 days to decline their Bi-monthly yearly subscription of £79.99. (WTF)

It infers that she has willingly signed up to this deal. Knowing MIL better than them, I doubt it.

A bit of digging around on the net gave me some idea of how they achieve this:

1. Engage their target with “they are carrying out a survey”. “Do you like to eat horse meat  or beef? (Topical), do you prefer row boats or luxury liners, do you prefer to travel by bus or limousine, etc,etc”.

2. We support a charity, and would you like to donate a £1. (It looks like the £1 was for their postage).

3. We’ll need your bank details.

4. We’ll send you a magazine every two months.

Easy isn’t it.

The trouble with people of mum in laws age is that the moment they hear the word charity they roll over and believe the person on the other end of the line is some sort of saint. MIL lives in an age when a man’s word was his bond.

I’m not against these organisations per se. But when they screw the vulnerable, oh yes I am.

I shall phone and E-mail them tomorrow.

*I might be a bit rude*

Happy Valentine’s day.

I posted a few days ago about having a medical bracelet with the words "Delete my browser history". The video below shows how careful you should be with a shared computer.



Wednesday 13 February 2013


Not for me.


Sorry Tesco.

Tuesday 12 February 2013

Duty called

No serious or non serious posts tonight. A mission of mercy instead.

I received a call from my 92 year old Mother in law asking for help. She’d fallen over in her kitchen of her sheltered accommodation and couldn’t get up. (It was while she was trying to open a bottle of wine!).

So I leapt into the FEmobile  and sped to the rescue. Luckily she hadn’t sustained any injuries and just needed help to get her off the floor and into her chair.

Anyhoo I finished cooking her half made dinner, poured her wine , and am now back home.

Some of us do care about the elderly in our society.

I wonder if my kids will do the same.


A letter doing the rounds at the moment.


All that glitters……………..

Monday 11 February 2013

I, Pencil.

A simple explanation of how the free market works.

In 1958, Leonard E. Read published the essay I, Pencil, as a way to explain how the free market system and how voluntary interactions around the world contribute to the manufacture of the simple pencil.

Never thought about it that way, did you?

Sunday 10 February 2013

My history. Oh No.

I shall have to get one of these before I die.

medicare bracelet

After all the way the government is going with it’s obsession with trying to snoop on our online activities they’ll probably confiscate my computer to try and convict me of something and fine my estate just to get more money out of me..

Unemployment hits new group of workers.


Topical eh?

Saturday 9 February 2013

Friday 8 February 2013

Seen sense at last then?


Another hospital that has realised that the ban on smoking in the grounds is unenforceable. This time it is mine that has seen sense.

SMOKING and hospitals are unavoidably intertwined.

Yet people lighting up outside Tunbridge Wells Hospital sends a hypocritical message and leaves local NHS bosses in an awkward position.

Who would begrudge a dying man a cigarette that will do him no more harm?

Or can we really expect patients to trudge 10 minutes through the car park until they are on public land before lighting up?

That is part of an article penned in my local paper. I wonder if the reporter is a smoker? Though I don’t think he/she realises that trying to stop people in the open air on their grounds is unenforceable in law anyway. It’s not enclosed and is public land.

It looks like the hospital trust have realised that.  

Read the whole article HERE

This may take some time to remove.

A testing time indeed.

bra lock

Help is at hand

Thursday 7 February 2013

Lock them up

I suppose this may be the next stage of the game in the endless war of the Anti-smokers against the twenty percent of us who partake of a perfectly legal product.

Wednesday 6 February 2013



Dear Argentina...

NOW look. You've been whining about this since 1767 and it's starting to get on my wick.
I've ignored you until now, because you're very silly and your greatest cheerleader is Sean Penn, a man who pretends to be things he is not and once hit his then-wife Madonna with a baseball bat, tied her up for nine hours and abused her.
If he is on your side, it's not a good side to be on.

But the other day you wrote to Prime Minister Dishface demanding he enter negotiations to 'return' the islands we call the Falklands and you call Malvinas, 180 years after we cruelly stole them from you with our jackbooted naval officers of totalitarianism.
You were 'forcibly stripped' of these jewels in the South Atlantic and your people were 'expelled'.

Only, that's not quite what happened, is it Argentina? Someone obviously needs to remind you, and probably Mr Penn too, of the facts.

Allow me to start by saying there are probably things we can all agree on. War is bad, for example, and colonialism - aside from the roads, aqueducts, education, health reforms, economic development, culture, food, integration and innovation - tends to be a bad thing too.
We could probably avoid an argument over the fact that the Falkland Islands, in and of themselves, aren't exactly pretty. There are no hanging gardens, no waterfalls, no exotic wildlife. They're a windy bunch of rocks a long way from anywhere, although I grant they're nearer to you than they are to us.

Which begs the question about why, exactly, you never bothered to settle them.

When they were first discovered by a Dutchman in 1600 there was nothing there but seabirds. No people, no cultural heritage for anyone to trample over. Just a windy bunch of rocks.

Ninety years later a British sailor was blown off course and sailed through a bit of water he named Falkland Sound, and 74 years after that the French turned up to form a colony.

WAIT! I hear you cry. The French colonised the Falklands?
Why yes, and 18th century email being what it was the British turned up two years later and built a settlement on another one of the islands and claimed the whole lot for the Crown, unaware the Frenchies were already in residence.

The French sold out to the Spaniards a year after that, who put the colony - containing French people - under control of a governor in Buenos Aires.

Three years later the Spanish picked a fight with the Brits, kicked them out and after a peace treaty let us back in. In 1774 the Brits, overstretched by the Americans kicking off, withdrew and left a plaque behind asserting their claim. Thirty two years later the Spaniards departed too, leaving another plaque, and in 1811 the last settlers threw in the towel.

We were back to empty, windy rocks known only to whalers and sealing ships, and two memorial plaques.

In 1820 an American pirate called David Jewett took shelter there, and finding the place deserted promptly claimed the islands for a union of South American provinces which later became Argentina.

You lot didn't realise this for a year, but still didn't settle the islands.

Instead a German who pretended to be French called Luis Vernet came along, asked the Argentines and the Brits politely if they minded, and founded a little colony of his own.

It took him a few goes, but eventually he established a settlement, you named him governor and gave him the right to kill all the seals. This quite hacked off the Brits, who wanted some seals for themselves, but Vernet placated us by asking for our military protection.
It all got a bit hairy in 1831, when Vernet found some American seal ships, arrested their crews and sparked an international incident. The Americans sent a warship, blew up the settlement, and hot-headedly sent the most senior settlers to the mainland for trial for piracy.

The Argentines sent a new governor to establish a penal settlement, but he was killed in a mutiny the day he arrived. The Brits, quite reasonably, decided the whole thing was a dog's breakfast.
And now we get to the bit you're unhappy about Argentina, the invasion and forced expulsion.

The Brits arrived two months after this mutiny, and wrote to the chap in charge of the small Argentine garrison. The letter said:

"I have to direct you that I have received directions from His Excellency and Commander-in-Chief of His Britannic Majesty's ships and vessels of war, South America station, in the name of His Britannic Majesty, to exercise the rights of sovereignty over these Islands.
It is my intention to hoist to-morrow the national flag of Great Britain on shore when I request you will be pleased to haul down your flag on shore and withdraw your force, taking all stores belonging to your Government."

Now, there are many ways people can be oppressed, forced, compelled and abused - just ask Sean Penn - but a polite note is not one of them. The Argentine in charge thought briefly about resisting, but he didn't have many soldiers and besides, most of them were British mercenaries who refused to fight. So on January 3, 1833 you left, Argentina, with wounded pride and your nose in the air.
You had never settled the islands. Never established a colony of your own. Never guarded it with a garrison of your own soldiers. They had never, ever, been yours.

And now to the matter of that expulsion. The log of an Argentine ship present at the time records the settlers were encouraged to stay, and those that left did so of their own free will and generally because they were fed up with living on some boring, windy rocks.
Eleven people left - four Argentines, three 'foreigners', one prisoner, a Brit and two Americans.
Twenty-two people remained - 12 Argentinians, four Uruguay Indians, two Brits, two Germans, a Frenchman and a Jamaican.

As the imposition of colonial power on an indigenous population goes, that takes some beating. And for the sake of clarity I should point out that a human melting pot like that makes the place about as British as you can be.

A few months later HMS Beagle, taking Charles Darwin to the Galapagos for a long think, popped in and found the settlement half-ruined and the residents lawless. There were several murders, some looting, and in 1834 the exasperated British sent Lieutenant Henry Smith to run the place.

The islands have been ours ever since, and is now home to almost 3,000 people descended from settlers who came from Britain, France, Scandinavia, Gibraltar, St Helena and Chile.

At the same time, you went on to fight wars with most of South America and colonise provinces with indigenous populations by killing or pushing them out.
When your government was broke and facing strong opposition in the 1980s, you invaded them to divert attention of the voters with the cost of 907 lives, and it cannot be unrelated to your letter that in a few weeks you face being ejected by the International Monetary Fund for lying over your economic figures.

At around the same time, the people who now live on these boring, windy rocks in the middle of nowhere are having a referendum about who they would like to govern them. You will ignore this, because you believe they do not have a right to make up their own minds and have repeatedly refused to talk to the islanders about your claims.

So allow me to make a couple of things clear. Firstly, the history of these windy rocks is an utter mess but someone had to take charge, and you weren't up to the job. We did it pretty nicely, considering our record in other places.

Secondly, only jackbooted colonial scumbags refuse to listen to the democratic voice of the people who live somewhere, so you really ought to wind your hypocritical warmongering necks in.

And thirdly - well done with the wine, and the beef's pretty good, but if you want to negotiate let's start with you taking back your Total Wipeout, because as cultural imperialism goes it's pretty offensive, and you might want to think about handing Patagonia back to its people as well.
After that we are quite prepared to let you come and holiday on these windy rocks, where you will be invited to pitch a tent anywhere you like within the 13 square kilometres where you left 19,000 landmines last time you visited.

We know they're a long way away. We know there's not much to the rocks, and there might be oil and it might give someone a claim to Antarctica.
But we also know something you don't - which is that a well-run, law-abiding and happy bunch of rocks is the best bunch of rocks you can hope to have. You're no more up to that job now than you have ever been.

In case our position is still not clear, the above could be summed up as: No.

Yours sincerely,

Tuesday 5 February 2013

Help needed from smokers.

Copied from the “Taking Liberties site”

The Department of Health is currently reviewing over 700,000 responses to the consultation on standardised packaging. Half a million names (235,000 of them submitted by Forest) are estimated to be opposed to plain packs.

Despite our best efforts many MPs appear oblivious to the size or nature of that extraordinary response. Hence we need YOUR help to tell YOUR member of parliament why they should oppose plain packaging.

To make it easy we have created a special standalone website, Say No To Plain Packs. All you have to do is:

1. Visit
2. Enter your postcode
3. Click 'Next'
4. Enter your name and address
5. Click 'Submit'

To make the letter as personal as possible we recommend that you add a comment in the relevant box (but it's not essential).

Please do it NOW! It should take no more than a minute of your time.

See also today's Forest e-bulletin, Say No To Plain Packs!.

To register for Forest alerts join our mailing list here.

Web buttons (such as the one above) are available for websites and blogs. If you want one email

Anti-smokers need not apply.


The winner!


H/T to Theo



There’s a date for that.

Did you know that today is……..

Safer Internet Day. Did you know that? No, me neither.

Of course it’s in order that we have to “think of the children” as usual. and it’s funded by the EU of course so that makes it really really important.

How did I find out about it? From my energy provider!

*Mind boggles*

Quite. Better bugger off from my blog then, you may find naughty words are used.

Monday 4 February 2013

Serves you bloody right.


People living in a multi-million pound ‘homes of the future’ project in Bradford are up in arms over the sky-high electricity bills they have racked up.

I have no sympathy for people who are enticed into buying over hyped homes like this. These are usually the technically illiterate who don’t bother themselves to look into the running costs of the relatively new and unproven  green technology.

The remainder were constructed to a slightly lower energy efficiency level, but were also equipped with air heat pumps, solar panels and rainwater harvesters.   

As an engineer the moment I hear the word “pump” I can just see kWh’s spinning before my eyes. Pumps use a large amount of energy in pushing fluids around, especially if  it has to go uphill. Ie, to upper floors.

It looks like these folks have bought a complete pigs ear of a property. Mind you I’m suspicious to say the least when they say the following:

Raquel and Sunny Tanday, both 23, and the parents of two young children, say their power bills come to about £500 a quarter since December 2011.

Maybe they are being misquoted by the paper, because a summer month quarter will use less energy than a winter quarter. (Unless they have air conditioning for the summer months, which would explain the high usage).

Anyway lets settle on £2,000 per year. Unbelievable.

I live in a three story house built in 1903. I have sash windows (Although 2/3 have been replaced with double glazed units), no cavity walls, and a non condensing boiler. I do have modern heating controls, that time the on and off of the heating for various times of day, and a modern room thermostat. I also have radiator thermostats that I can turn down for rooms that are not in use.

There is something seriously wrong with the cost they are paying. I pay about £1,400 for the whole year. Of course I have set my thermostat to 20 deg C and timed the system to come on only when needed. I’d like to know what these residents had set their systems for.

But this next piece from the council is interesting.

“We are confident that when these problems have been resolved, residents at Pavilion Gardens will benefit from lower bills in the future. We want to reassure residents that they will be reimbursed for any usage above the standard charge for their household.”

But earlier in the article their energy supplier had stated  that the standard charge , based on a national average is, (Wait for it) £1261.


They’ve bought a so called,  energy efficient home, and are paying almost £750 a year more than the standard tariff.

(If I was the council I’d be sending in the drug squad to ascertain if this was a cannabis growing operation).

And of course the council will attempt to get of the hook.

The Council stressed that it will charge the original building contractor for any costs incurred in reimbursing residents.

Good luck with that West Bowling.

These stories make you want to smoke, drink, eat, and generally abuse your body.

As I’ve said before “I give up”.  (None of the just above).


I was so depressed last night thinking about the economy, the wars, lost jobs, savings, Old Age Security, retirement funds, etc .... I called a Suicide Hotline.

I had to press 3 for English.

I was connected to a call centre in Pakistan. I told them I was suicidal.

They got excited and asked if I could drive a truck......

Good. Maybe he’ll be kicked out as an MP.


Former Cabinet minister Chris Huhne today pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice over claims his ex-wife took speeding points for him a decade ago.
Huhne entered the plea on the first day of his trial at Southwark Crown Court.
His former wife Vicky Pryce denied a charge of perverting the course of justice.

Sunday 3 February 2013

You’re British now.

A starving asylum seeker is greeted at Dover by a good fairy who grants him 3 wishes.
The Asylum seeker says "I'm hungry." (POW) a huge banquet appears!
He then says "Now I want a nice house." (POW) a big mansion with a swimming pool appears.
He then says"I want to be British." (POW) everything vanishes!
He asks "Where has everything gone?" the fairy says "You're British now mate, you're Entitled to fuck all."

Saturday 2 February 2013

I have seen the future.

Could it be that even your local take away holds all the relevant data on you in the next few years?

The way governments are going it is not an unthinkable premise. The latest wheeze by the government is to lose securely store all our personal records on a central database. Of course we all know how secure that will be. Of course it will be not long before your personal details will be sold on by unscrupulous employees who see a fast buck to be made.

Of course the government will have every last iota of how you live your life:

The data includes weight, cholesterol levels, body mass index, pulse rate, family health history, alcohol consumption and smoking status.
Diagnosis of everything from cancer to heart disease to mental illness would be covered. Family doctors will have to pass on dates of birth, postcodes and NHS numbers.

Be sure that the vid below is quite likely. Do you want it ?

Friday 1 February 2013

Assault lighter

 Bearing in mind all the furore in the USA about guns and how they are classified I just wondered how the weapons of ignition of Tobacco products would be classified by the authorities. Here are three examples:

Will it be a case in the future, that when stopped and searched I'll be found  and charged for "Going equipped for the purpose of smoking"?

Bugger. I'm probably giving ASH and their drones ideas now. Plain packaging for lighters and matches may now sneak onto the agenda.

Time to find a boy scout and a couple of twigs.

Watch out!

There’s a bear behind you..