Thursday, March 23, 2006


Not the hugest of days yesterday. Having been snookered in my aim of pushing my bike around to bear the big red dustbin on my cap collection round, in true style I made myself a device that worked well and looked pretty much like a tea-pickers basket. Then I hoofed it around the show. The reaction pretty much reflected the show and the stand: a high-quality minority actively getting into the spirit, and a majority who couldn’t give a hoot. Sad. Still, maybe if I keep up a cheery daily presence it may pick up.

Another idea I had was to see about inviting a mobility disabled person to bring in their motorised wheelchair and do the collection on my behalf: a neat way around my problem, with some possible positive PR for the cause of a few other folks. I pitched it to the Daily Mail journo, but suspect the reaction so far may make it less of a story (unless that in itself is a story). He did at least indicate that the Vac:Sac feature may yet appear.

Otherwise a quiet day, and I think I get more tired by inactivity, because today has not been a real stretch but I feel shattered again.

Anyway, I did another Cap N’ Cork round, and the awareness does seem to be going up (the cries of ‘Yo, it’s Captain Cork’ as I make my rounds make it a worthwhile effort), so it is worth persevering. One reason I’m not getting many is that many are reusing their water bottles with tap, which I guess is a win, if only in another way.

On matters blogworthy:


There was a BBC expose in the news yesterday about estate agents. It made grim reading/viewing. Other than wondering how these folk could live with themselves, I also can’t understand why a lot more attention is not paid by the authorities to such financially ruinous practices rather than an obsession with petty fines for minor ‘offences’ by genuinely law-abiding folk. We really seem to have a skewed system these days. And no one culpable ever gets held to account. Especially when quite ridiculous cases get taken to law. Of course the legal profession always gets paid, and that needs addressing, as they have no incentive not to engage in such grotesque abuses as it fills their pockets no matter what. But there does need to be more accountability on an individual level for costs to the rate/tax payer when things simply should not develop to a court case (or pay out). Some teacher is claiming £1million because her chair made a noise. This should not have got any further than an internal conversation. And if anyone does get paid sorting this out, then those who allowed it to get any further (and especially her) should bear the cost of it being escalated.

Even in the show I get an uneasy feeling when I walk in prior to opening and see cabals of sales guys huddled around their managers at their morning briefings, sucking up the best ways to screw a sale out of hapless visitors. It’s bad enough that many ‘show prices’ are above normal retail, especially online, but there are some practices out there that leave a bad taste and taint the show and those of us here trying to do an honest job.

Sadly, it seems there is no limit to what a person is capable of to put a little more in their pockets. I understand the need to earn a living, but there seems to be a competitive culture that pushes people into darker areas of ethical behaviour with no real benefit to anyone.

It makes me appreciate my Dad all the more. He found a product he believed in, made by a company he respected, and made a massive career diligently selling it to people who needed it, wanted it and were happy to have him facilitate its sale and support to their organisations. And he gave his son a heck of a life and education on the proceeds. Thanks, Dad. I hope I can do the same for the boys via


I have to say I am appreciating my morning Metro. Not only is it a nice free way to pass some time on the tune ride, but there is usually a snippet or two of useful info in there (just like!). The news aspect is a little cursory (unlike but I will miss it as a digest of tips when I leave London.

For instance, in a remarkable example of Kismet, with the remains of Emma’s main CPU still smouldering, today there was an article about places to recover data (and we had lost the last week’s worth of sign-ups), and also some budget back-ups to consider. A bit closing the stable door, but better late than again.


Must confess I drifted in a tad late today. The show does seem to be a tad busier, but I truly dread the 10pm close tonight.

At least my recuperative lie-in gave me another chance to catch up on the news, and maintain the blog with a few more observations.


I’m pretty sure I’ve used this title before, but is one of my better ones (immodestly), and will always hold true.

Although definitely falling into the BTN category, not only are the news pages pretty full of the environment these days, but also the lifestyle sections too. Juts looking at the weekend Telegraph extolling eco-friendly ranges, and yesterday the mail had a piece on what to do as we’re not supposed to fly abroad. I just wonder how long travel and fashion editors will find talking about, and promoting, eco-versions ‘fashionable’ before they drop them in pursuit of newer, and likely less green fare in the near future. Today, camping near the Eden Project, tomorrow, a weekend break with [insert freeloading celeb here] at Ayers Rock (courtesy of [insert savvy travel agent who knows a few thou funding a freebie to get a full page article beats the price of an ad any day]).

It’s a bit like the Xmas pet ads: The planet is for life, not just a Sunday feature.


I could of course have a little swipe at the budget, but most news media have got there ahead of me. As I sipped my one luxury at the show, a morning cappuccino, it is rather silly to think that the price of one of these every few days will put off some Yummy Mummy from buying a Chelsea tractor. Was it worth even the sop?

But what did get me excited was another article I read, whereby the Chinese Govt (not usually know for its enlightened social policies) is popping a tax on chopsticks to reduce (and make some dough from) the 90 billion chopsticks the population throw away each year.

I’m not sure, but that smacks of having the prudent potential to really make a difference, rather than a few cheap points and a headline. Eh, Gordo?


More quality over quantity. I just had a great chat with a lovely lady who sought out our stand as the only oasis of real re-anything in the show (including the massive govt-funded recycling stand: ‘Useless’, she said, ‘a bunch of glossy brochures that don’t say anything’). Doesn’t help us much with our search for money, but I did feel a certain sense of vindication that we’re on the right track.

She was telling me about a thing called the Tank Exchange, which we must track down. Basically it’s a place you can buy massive bowsers that are used for importing Orange Juice, and turn them into rainwater collection devices. How cool is that?

It also got me to thinking we must do more to encourage people to share stuff on the site that we may not know, hence allowing us to let everyone else know about it and promote it. I think it would be best to re-design the Answers page to accommodate this, along with a new filed to locate their postcode area.

It’s funny, because even as I was writing this having just talked to the previous lady, another has asked me what she could do with her year’s collection of yogurt pots, which her council site rejects even though they take plastic.

Having now found out they can be tuned into kitchen units, I am pondering how we establish a financially and environmentally sound relationship via between consumers, local ‘reps’ and the recyclers/recycled goods manufacturers such that this refuse can become a profitable resource.