A tale of a Scotsman living in SW london...

Saturday, February 10, 2007


So, the media having exhausted the bird flu story, they now try and create a new one by highlighting the conditions the birds are kept in. How is this new news?

Must be a slow news day...

Friday, February 09, 2007


Installing new PC hardware - Rule number 1.

If, while installing a new hardware device in your PC, you find that what was working two minutes prior isn't after you've moved some of the connections into the correct socket, it almost certainly isn't the software that you've just installed, uninstalled, re-installed, played with the settings in the control panel, panicked that you've buggered the card and then thought, hang on, maybe I'll just check that the microphone isn't in the speaker socket and vice versa.

I hang my head in shame....

Le Mans

Ah, diesel cars. Smelly, slow, fitted to estate cars.

Really? Well, you may not be aware that of late Audi has wiped the floor with pretty much anyone at Le Mans 24hr race of late, taking 1,2,3 finishes, and winning every race since 2000 (officially, Bentley won it in 2003, but as they are owned by VW/Audi group, and Audi didn't race that year, I think it's safe to assume that with a splash of paint it was the Audi car painted and rebadged). Last year they got so cocky, they entered a V10 diesel - and won.

Well, the French have had enough. Peugeot confirmed they would be entering this years race, and now the car has done some track time. Now, Peugeot are interesting as they wiped the floor in the early 90's before becoming bored and entered F1 (where they failed spectacularly), then rallying (where again they won everything). Now, with no F1 and no rally car to build, they've gone back to 24 hour racing. And built a 5.5 litre, twin turbo V12 diesel, with 700bhp and nearly 900lb/ft of torque. That's immense! Plus, it sounds like a proper race car and not a diesel with lots of driveshaft and gearbox whine.

Plus, without the paint on it, it looks like a Stealth bomber. Roll on June....

Video link - http://www.eurosport.co.uk/carracing/mc_vid32301.shtml


Well, the drive home yesterday through "snow chaos" was the easiest and quickest I've ever driven from Worcester to London. The car park had turned to slush, and with hardly any cars on the road with clear roads it was actually a very pleasant drive home.

While driving it did make me wonder what the fuss had been about. Granted, earlier in the day it had been heavy, and I wasn't on anything other than major routes, but was this an example of media hysetria perhaps? At least the snow got them over the bird flu fixation...Oh no, apparently it's all out war with Hungary over that one.

It makes me think - when did the news become a mission in blame? It may be rose tinted glasses, but looking back I can't recall the news ever being a witch hunt. An example...So Steve McLaren loses, suddenly he is the "under fire" manager. Why? Because some players didn't play well? They haven't noticed that they haven't played well for 6 years....

The media could be doing with learning some realism, although I don't suppose that sells papers and gets them viewing figures.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


OK, so it's snowing. A lot. Had to scrape 5cm off the car to get it out of the car park this morning, however taking it easy out of the car park managed to negotiate out. The town roads seemed ok, quite slushy but nobody was in a hurry and they were quiet. 20mph was plenty!

The trickiest bit was the car park!!!! Like an ice rink, very slippy. Car broke away twice into a little slide, nothing nasty as I was only doing 5mph, but enough just to remind you what your driving on has no traction whatsoever!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Public speaking

Things not to say in public....

Romanian President Basescu was meeting the software giant's chairman in Bucharest to celebrate the opening of a Microsoft global technical center in the Romanian capital.

"Piracy helped the young generation discover computers. It set off the development of the IT industry in Romania,"

Bill gates apparently made no comment.

Link - http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/01/AR2007020100715.html


Well, it's not snowing yet but it can't be far away. Had to really scrape the car this morning, however as I'd packed for the farm I have my heavy boots, gloves, scarves and thermals all in the car. Think I might need them.

Talking of the farm, a very pleasant afternoon was spent yesterday down the farm, helping on a test. By helping I mean - keeping as far away as possible of the two ton "monsters of mayhem" (a phrase coined by a member of our team) while writing down what I was told to. Interesting to see how it all works, and you forget just how big a cow can get. And as for the bull...

Monday, February 05, 2007

Cracking weekend

Yesterday continued what was a great weekend. Very nice walk round Richmond Park in the afternoon, dodging the dear who look a bit startled at the moment (well, they are all a bit shaggy and it's the annual cull, I'll excuse them) and chatting about wedding plans. Seems we have a date now, if not a venue. The plan at least is to book the venue provisionally today, then go and see it later this month again when it'll be a bit more finished, and also suss out the area some more for local hotels we can put people in. It's not a hardship - the surrounding area is just stunning so I can see a pleasant weekend coming up.

A early dinner out at the local Thai (always stunning food and brilliant service) was had before heading to the Wimbledon Theatre. It's funny, I can see it from my back door, it's less than 2 minutes walk away, and yet it's only the second time we've been. Anyway, it's all been done up and now gets the touring west end shows which has revitalised it. Last night, we had Omid Djalili, the Iranian British comedian ("the only Iranian comic - still 3 more than Germany!"). Very funny, although some of it is a little close to the "I shouldn't laugh at that but it's so true" line. Recommended though.

Link to some of his material: http://www.seeitfirst.co.uk/boundandgagged/omiddjalili.html

Sunday, February 04, 2007

How to wash your car

OK, so yesterday I didn't get to wash the car, but today I have. Absolutely filthy, but worth the effort. Anyway, most people don't look after their cars properly (I'll admit the odd bout of neglect as well) but even washing weekly can screw up your paint if you do it wrong. So a little tutorial is in order...

  1. rinse the worst of the deposits off the car (using a hosepipe if possible, if not a light wipe with warm water will do)
  2. fill two buckets with warm water, adding car shampoo to one
  3. using a sheepskin mitt, wash the car starting at the roof. After each use, rinse the mitt in the bucket of water to get most of the grit and deposits out of it - this avoids any light scratching and swirls in your paint.
  4. once you've been over the car, do the wheels - wipe with mitt and rinse. If necessary, use an alloy cleaner for as small a time as possible!!! Use a toothbrush if your alloys are fiddly
  5. rinse the car with clean warm water (or hose it)
  6. dry the car
there you go, a quick overview. You can then wax the car, using polish if you've got a weekend to lose. One tip is to get some car wax and wax your alloys when clean - this just makes it harder to get bits stuck to them and easier to clean.

Some products - I really Meguiars stuff (I love the NXT shampoo). I binned all the Autoglym stuff after I'd tried it, it really is very good. Big bottle may look expensive, but it last ages and it smells nice ;-) Get some of their microfible cloths as well, really useful for polishing and drying and machine washable. The best Megs stuff I've used is in the NXT range - the wax is a doddle to put on. Cut down the time I take to wax the car by at least half! Other stuff worth looking at is P12s wax, and Poorboys has a good reputation too.

Megs is available in Halfrauds, or www.seriousperformance.co.uk for the full range.

You can also get into clay bars and stuff - but that's when you lose SERIOUS time. Worth doing if the car has a lot of tar marks or sap on it, but remember to wax AND polish afterwards, ideally in multiple coats.

Just remember, if your thinking this all sounds like too much hassle and use fairly liquid (a HUGE no no - it strips all your wax off) - your car is likely to be the second most expensive thing you own - look after it and it'll be worth more come trade in.

Video technology

At least 5 times this season someone has brought up that football should use video technology. This is usually just after someone (usually playing for Arsenal) has been judged to have been fouled and play was left to continue and Wenger was furious as a result (I always find his eyesight a cause for concern. If I missed everything contentious that my team had done and yet, miraculously, could see everything done to my own team, I'd be getting my eyesight checked, but that's by the by).

The argument goes that it's used in rugby and cricket and doesn't disrupt the game. I would argue that it does, but rugby and cricket have more natural breaks (setting up a scrum for example) so it's less noticable. Football is a wonderful, fast flowing game and one of it's appeals is being aggrived when you don't get the breaks (hence famous songs involving fans questioning parental lineage and the referee). It evens itself out over a season (yes, even for you, West Ham fans - having spent millions on a new defensive partnership only to see them both out injured within a week - gutting).

Now, yesterday was a prime example of why video technology is not fool proof. Wilkinson scores a try for England. He certainly (and this pains me, but he played very well) deserved it. As he flew through the air to touch it down, some questions were raised if he had touched the flag on it's way (which would indicate he was out of touch and the try should not be awarded). Actually, it was his right leg that was on the floor in touch, certainly all of him from his knee down was well grounded before he touched the ball down. This should have resulted in no try being awarded, but yet, the video ref missed it and the try was given.

So there you go, video technology is good, but mistaked can happen - it's not the answer to all our prayers. Much better to allow mistakes in the heat of the moment and allow the game to flow, than to slow it up, and STILL have mistakes made.

And anyway, Wenger would still claim he'd forgotten to set his video and had missed it...