Thursday, 26 February 2015

Beer £46.52 a pint

The Office of National Statistics recently told us that the Consumer Prices Index is falling due mainly to the collapse in  the oil market and a reduction in food prices. The graph they published shows that quite well.
Figure A: Contribution of food and motor fuel prices to the CPI 12-month rate: October 2009 to October 2014

It was a much lower key item which caught my eye - a comparison of prices of staple foods over the past 100 years.   I have tabulated the figures below and added the final column which is a prediction of prices in 2114 made by Lloyds Bank. How they arrived at these figures I have no idea as the past 100 years are hardly a consistent guide


Cheddar Cheese per 1b
£0.16 4.0 £3.64 22.8 £57.68

Pint draught beer
£0.11 11.0 £2.94 26.7 £46.52

Dozen standard eggs
£0.10 1.3 £2.60 26.0 £41.14

Large loaf bread
£0.06 6.0 £1.35 22.5 £21.36

Pint milk
£0.04 4.0 £0.46 11.5 £7.28

Monday, 23 February 2015

No Interest in the World Cup

Another extract from the 49-year- old Radio Times
Roy Johnstone, the sports reporter is bemoaning the lack of interest amongst the England fans in the forthcoming World Cup tournament which was taking place later that year.

I don't think he has anything to worry about

Sunday, 22 February 2015

1966 Radio Times

Been sorting out some things in preparation for the house move and one drawer ws lined with a few pages of the Radio Times.
Do you remember these programmes?

Pilot for Acorn Antiques?

The famous pole-vault

A tame version of Casualty

Saturday, 21 February 2015


Ignorant & Selfish

We have been unable to access our garage all afternoon because this car has been left here.

To paraphrase George Orwell:
all cars are equal but some are more equal than others

Bath are playing Northampton at rugby today and this car comes from Northampton

Friday, 20 February 2015

Are you a Goat?

Were  you born in any of these years?
1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003
If so, you may be a goat. As the Lunar year does not coincide with the Gregorian calendar you may have to check this if your birthday is in January or February
You can do this at the following link
What all goats should know

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Lunar New Year

Happy New Year

The Year of the Goat
Today - Thursday 19th February, 2015 - is the first day of the Lunar New Year Festival for the year of the Wooden  Ram or Goat

I wish you all a Happy, Healthy and Prosperours year.
Those of you who do not espouse Budhism or Taoism may need a few pointers regarding the 15 days of celebration which you are about to undertake.
First it may be helpful (or just confusing) to understand why the lunar new year is starting so late this year. Like the Gregorian calendar which we use in the west, it is not exact. Every four years we insert a day into February annd every century we ommit it. The lunar/solar calendar , as it is more correctly called, has a similar adjustment to make because the solar and lunar months are not equal in length. In 19 years there are 228 solar months and 235 lunar ones. So every 19 years there has to be an an adjustment of 7 months. This is done by inserting a leap month every three years. 2009 was on of those leap years with an extra month five.
To confuse you further - the new year actually started on February 19 but the festival by tradition starts on the first New Moon of the first month and runs for 15 days.
Day 1 - Feb 19
It is unlucky for women to use knives today so no food preparation. Meals must therefore consist of leftovers.
Married women should not visit their family as this will make them poorer.
Wealth and luck of the household will diminish if sweeping or rubbish disposal takes place.
Washing your hair will wash away your luck
Don't eat congee (rice porridge) for breakfast as this is paupers' fare andyou may tempt fate.
Washing clothes today will offend the God of Water whose birthday it is.
Eating meat before noon will offend the gods who visit as many of them are vegetarian.
Fire crackers and making a noise by other means are recommended for warding off the less savoury deities.
To wish others well try Gong xi fa chai which is Congratulations and make a fortune in Mandarin or Kung hey fat choy which is the Cantonese version and more common in UK.
Day 2 - Feb 20

Married women should visit their parents today and husbands must accompany them.
It is customary to take a red envelope containing new money for the parents and other relations who will assemble for lunch.
Day 3 - Feb 21
Red Dog Day (might be calle Hair of the Dog Day by some!)
After two days of eating, drinking and playing games today it is a good day to rest .
This is also the Mice's Wedding Day so you should retire to bed early . Turning out the light early also slown down their breeding according to old Chinese farmers.
Taking out the rubbins is thought to remove some of the bad spirits which lurk around this time.
Day 4 - Feb 22
Welcome the God of the Stove back with fireworks and an animal sacrifice in the kitchen.
As heaven is a long way off the God of the Stove usually arrives in the afternoon.
Day 5 - Feb 23
God of Wealth Day - so back to work and expect the Lion Dancers to pay you a visit.
Setting off fire crackers will attract customers.
Day 6 - Feb 24
If you live in Taiwan you will know this as Good Pig Day and will go to see the big pig competition. In 2007 the winner weighed 2000lb and was sold for 1 million Taiwan dollars (£20,000). It is also customary to have the cess pit cleared today. (Not really relevant if you have Elsan)
Day 7 - Feb 25
According to Chinese scriptures, the goddess with the snake body (size zero?) created humans on day seven from yellow mud. On the previous days she had created Chickens (dday 1) dogs (2) sheep (3) pigs (4) cows (5) and horses (6).
She also gave humans sex education on that day so that they might procreate.
Celebrate this in your own way
Day 8 - Feb 26
Back to work day for those who did not go back on day five
Day 9 - Feb 27
The Jade Emporer who rules all 33 heavans celebrates his birthday today and we must join in by preparing three bundles of long noodles, three cups of green tea, five differnt kinds of fruit (so that's whre five-a-day originated) and six diffeernt dry vegetables. For his guardian, who is not vegetarian, we must prepare five animal sacrifices and turtle cakes.
Remember not to offend the Jade Emporer by putting this food on his vegetarian table.
Day 10 - Feb 28
Eating Day - or left-overs day one
Day 11 - Mar 1
Rest Day - or left-overs day two
Day 12 - Mar 2
Diahorrea Day !!!
Day 13 - Mar 3
Some celebrate the death of General Kuan Yu but you may wish to recover from day 12
Day 14 - Mar 4 Prepare for the Lantern Festival which concludes the Lunar New Year Fecstival. Check that the electric lanterns work
Day 15 - Mar 5
Lantern Festival - in China this is called Yuan-Xiao after the soup which is eaten.
The story behind this festival -
Once upon a time in a land very far from here a beautiful heavenly bird flew down to a village and was killed. The God of Heaven was very displeased and decided to burn the village on day 15 of the first lunar month. However, a bright spark in the village persuaded all the villagers to make candle lanterns and to put them in all their windows. They also paraded in the street with lanterns and set off fireworks. The God of Heaven looked down and thought that the village was already burning and left it alone.
This is what your Lantern Festival should look like

Traditionally there is a quiz night held in the temple (not the pub)

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Tuesday, 17 February 2015

What is your Vole Rating?

The Environment Agency whose neglect of the Somerset Levels led to many homes being flooded last year has spent £110,000 moving 55 voles . In order to carry out the dredging that would have prevented the floods they paid £86,000 for a survey to find the water voles and £24,000 to move them to winter quarters in Cornwall. That amounts to £2000 per vole.
The people whose homes were flooded are receiving  a government grant of £5000/home which makes them  equivalent to 2.5 voles.
Am I the only one who finds this an exhibition of  concern for animals who have proved themselves very adept at coping with changes in environment a little unbalanced?

Monday, 16 February 2015

Boat Stolen

This boat was stolen yesterday from its mooring in Netherton
But before I could get it onto my bolg it was found
So here is the photo anyway
Missing: Nancy New

It Doesn't Look Like Me

According to an imigration officer I know the number of returning Brits who do not make this statement on arriving at UK Immigration each day can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Of course this can only have been the case for the past 100 years as the first UK passport designed to have a photgraph added came into use on 1st February 1915. (although the requirement to have a photograph on the passport predated the facility to do so)
For all the gen on this story complete with photographs of old documents you shoud go now to Martin Lloyd's blog at:

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Heritage Vandalism

I read this week that people with metal detectors are destroying Hadrian's Wall in attempts to emulate the Staffordshire Hoard. Unfortunately casual vandalism of historic buildings and monuments and damage caused by thieves is nothing new: what has changed is society's attitude to wilful desecration of places that enrich our culture. According to English Heritage the vast majority of such crimes are not committed by organised criminal gangs: they are committed by individuals or small groups in pursuit of easy cash.
Photo: Henry Moore Foundation
They cite the example of Henry Moore's Sundial sculpture.  It was removed from the Henry Moore Foundation in Hertfordshire in July 2012. When the thieves sold it to a Cambridge scrap metal dealer for £46.50 they did not know it was valued at £500,000. It has been recovered and returned to its owners.
Many heritage assets are vulnerable because they are in isolated locations, like Hadrian's Wall.
In 2011 an investigation on behalf of English Heritage into the incidence of heritage vandalism found the following disturbing situation.
  • Around 75,000 historic buildings and sites were affected by crime every year - about 200/day
  • In areas of high deprivation, 26.2% of all sites were subject to criminal damage although little regional variation was found
  •  The more precious the building, the more susceptible it was to damage: 22.7% of Grade I & II* compared with  18.3% of Grade II
  • Listed churches were by far the most at risk: 35.7% were damaged by crime and 14.3% by metal theft
  • 20% of Grade I & II* buildings were affected by anti-social behaviour which seriously affects people's enjoyment of  them

The impact of heritage crime is not only the financial cost of repairing or restoring ; it seriously affects people's enjoyment (National Trust and English Heritage have more than five million members) and also the local economy. The city of Chester calculate that the city walls and towers are worth in excess of £25m to the  local economy each year and one of the biggest threats to this is people urinating  around the city.
Photo:  Diocese of Chester

The cost of cleaning this menace is relatively small in relation to the benefits at risk.

At St. Peter's church, Plemstall in Cheshire the cost of replacing lead stolen from the roof was more significant.
Photo: English Heritage

In 2008 the roof was removed from Lord Burlington's temple at Chiswick House.
After the restoration CCTV and other more discrete security measures were installed to deter further theft.

Photo: Ecclesiastical Insurance Co
Financial gain is not the only motive behind heritage vandalism.

When six teenagers deliberately set fire to Hulme Coltram Abbey they stole only £5 from this  Grade I former Cistercian Monastery, now a parish church.

Photo:Eclestiacal Insurance co
In March 2010 the Church of St Mary in March, Cambridgeshire was subjected to an arson attack which appears quite motiveless.

Photo: mark Harrison
In North Wiltshire an Iron Age hill fort was damaged by off-road cyclists.  Not happy with using the private bridge which was strong enough to take a tractor, they preferred to ford the river and break down a fence and gate. When walls were built  to replace the fence ,these were also destroyed. Further damage was eventually stopped but the selfish pursuit of pleasure by a small group of individuals has jeopardised the pleasure of many more  people.

Amongst the many heritage features it contains, the Mendip Hills AONB includes four pre-historic earthwork called the Priddy Circles.

In 2011 an ignorant local farmer carried out illegal groundwork obliterating part of Priddy Circle No 1

Not all damage to heritage sites is the result of greedy, ignorant, selfish or psychotic humans.

This hole, originally thought to be made by a metal detectorist turned out to be the work of a badger!