Wednesday, April 26, 2006


I read an online column by a motoring correspondent/agony uncle who rejoices under the moniker 'Honest John'. He makes for a worthwhile read, especially as, like me, he delights in the odd punning headline and a rather light-hearted if barbed and eyebrow-twitchy style of commentary. ButI'm not sure if I have quite forgiven him yet for accusing me of being tiddly once when i wrote to him (at least he wrote back).

Here's a typical exchange that I do trust shows why I include him in my weekly reads for this blog and's growing store of objective viewpoints:

Two drags Prescot

Six months ago, I paid £2,000 to convert my Land Rover Discovery V8 to liquefied petroleum gas, which then cost about 30p per litre. Since then, two things have happened to make me despair. First, LPG has shot up to 44p per litre. Second, Tesco has taken over two of my local forecourts and withdrawn LPG. I tackled Tesco about this, but it dismissed my concerns and waffled on about its green, bio-fuel credentials. It will soon be impossible to purchase LPG in some towns.
D.K., Prescot 

The price has gone up because, due to favourable tax treatment, the base fuel represents a higher proportion of the cost. Whenever LPG becomes popular, the price seems to go up. Funny, that. 

'Let me tell you a story 'bout a guy called Said...

... who stuck to his guns, and without meaning to be rude, said '!@$£ off' to pumping out crude. Oil, that is, black gold...

(with apologies to the Beverly Hillbillies).

I always wondered what I do, taking pot shots down from the bedroom window with the BB gun, if up bubbled the UK's only inland oil field.

Would I stick a cork in it and keep Mum? Or would I take the money and run (or become a hedge fund manager and screw everyone over. Why do these guys exist again?).

Anyway, it was inspiring to read in the following: Eco-friendly Belize wary of oil fever, that PM Said Musa has said: "We have to make sure not to skew the whole economy of the country by becoming dependent on oil," adding, "In everything we do, environmental conservation and protection is a central concern. We can't sacrifice that for short-term gain," 

But there are reasons for less optimism, if you listen to the head of the Belize Alliance of Conservation NGOs, who has said: "The country will close its eyes to environmental degradation when the dollar is flashed." 

Here's hoping he's wrong and Mr. Said sticks to his guns.

Black holes generate ‘green’ energy

No sooner do I/we get a bit of a boost about the quality of our blogging than I find myself caught with my 'blog pro' knickers round my ankles.

Because I've come across something I feel worth blogging about, but have no clue how best to credit it for alll sorts of 'ethico-legaloid-copyrighty-'it's the right thing tado-ist' reasons.

I first read about it in a nifty science summary newsletter called 'Science in the News', but the link was a tiny thingy that got me to an MSN site, but they in turn seem to have lifted it off a site called (which I do also subscribe to and read... usually, but missed this effort) who they link to but I can't see it anywhere.

Anways, as the only URL is from the mighty Bill & Co, here it is so you can figure out who to credit

Me, I just blog here.

And all I know is that I caught the headline Black holes generate ‘green’ energyApparently new study reckons these jobbies are the most fuel-efficient engines in the universe, and if you could make a car engine that was as efficient as one of these black holes, you could get about a billion miles out of a gallon.

There is also the small matter of getting to the filling station. Is it just me, but is the word 'green' being bandied about an awful lot lately? I don't mind reading such fun stuff, but let's not forget that energy, in any form, is only of value if you can acquire it for less (and that covers many parameters) than it generates. Which is a yardstick to apply to some closer to home.

I'm doing my bit!

Vindication! If from a slightly odd quarter.

Boys' toys are all very well, but a second-hand Volvo is better

'Producing a car accounts for more than 10 per cent of its environmental impact, so second-hand is better. By chance, I own the perfect second-hand blue Volvo if they want to buy it, but that wouldn't be as much fun as showing off their new high-tech gadgets.'

Me, I own a perfect-ish R-reg Volvo. What's more, it's as green as grass. I'm thinking of having a sign made up: 'The green, mean Junkk machine', and if anyone asks how its' green simply pint at the colour. The mpg is woeful, but I can't afford to swap.... yet.

It's funny, but most of the useful commentary (not to mention compelling environmentally beneficial information) seems to be from those in the media not directly associated with the environment. Which is, perhaps, why they better reflect what most of us are feeling.

MAD. And a little bit bonkers.

We're getting ready for our next batch of shows, and it's amazing the paperwork one has to wade through.
Oddly, now we are fast becoming 'veterans', and in the case of the next two they are at the same venue (Earl's Court 2, just like Ideal Home), what we are asked to do is seldom the same.
But we had to chuckle a bit with one fun piece of paper that has been uncovered for the forthcoming MAD show.
And that's the 'Telephone Bomb Warning Checklist'.
Not to be flippant about a deadly subject, but we were wondering if they were serious when it says to 'complete this form as you go along', or 'follow up your call [to the Control Centre] with a copy of this completed form', which has a list of questions such as 'What kind of bomb is it (type of explosive)?'.
I have read it. It will be somewhere on the stand. But even if we did have a phone I'm afraid I'd ask a few pithy, pertinent questions and possibly offer a few opinions to the caller before legging it to the nearest exit to tell someone.
But at least I now have my very own boxes to tick. And can only imagine what resources went into creating this form which, if I am any judge, will never be used by anyone, even if circumstances dictate, which of course one prays it will not. I'm just surprised there is not a fine for not complying.