Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Jumbo Jet

The sudden surge of air traffic in the mid-60s caught cities and airlines off guard. Air traffic was increasing by 15-20% per year and airports were becoming congested. Both bigger aircraft and much bigger airports for them to land at were needed. All three of the big names in American civilian transport had solutions to the problem. So did the new European consortium Airbus. McDonnell Douglas launched the DC-10. Lockheed, which had sat out the jet age after making the popular L-1049 Constellation in the 1940s, announced the L-1011 TriStar. Airbus announced the only twin-engine jumbo jet, the A300. Boeing announced a plane much bigger than either of them: The jumbo jet called the 747.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Patio garden sun loungers and recliners Tobin

Given the recent fantastic weather, I am tempted to slap on the sun tan lotion and sprawl out in the garden. Trouble is, I need to have something to sprawl on to enjoy the sunshine an flowers. Brief research shows that garden furniture is very complex for the buyer... Does anyone know the difference between a garden steamer, a garden sunlounger and a garden recliner
I certainly don't and this leaves me with a conundrum. What if I buy the wrong thing, perhaps I really want to steam in the garden and kit recline, or do I simply want to lounge about?
On the other hand, given the recent news about the Tobin murders, do I really want to lounge about on top of my patio, without first checking for bodies buried underneath?
The garden would be a lot less tranquil with groups of forensic detectives trooping through the garden looking for clues to how the previous owner fertilized his lawn with non standard gardening methods.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Barbeques or barbeskews?

Now that my garden is finally looking lopped, trimmed and the lawn edged, it's time to think about what I should do to enjoy it whilst the British summer lasts. The annual spring gardening schedule is pretty much completed thanks to a run of good clear days, the plants are growing well and the bald patches in the lawn are coming back to life. Don't have the hose on and a dog tied up in the garden... The combination of mud and digging makes a real mess.
I have had several barbeques before. Using an old mazola oil drum and some chicken wire, I knocked up a massive barbeque on which you could roast a lamb or pig. Very tasty, BBQ lamb. I have also owned a more glamourously looking barbarque but made the mistake of painting it with hammerite to protect it from the weather. The food that came off that BBQ didn't taste as good, so I used it instead as the basis of a bonfire for small garden cuttings.
Anyway, I'm now considering gettig barbeque mark 3 and believe I've solved the problem of enjoying the garden and having a barby at the same time, the Barbeskew .
This little number looks cooking fantastic to me. It rotates the meat for you and ensures it gets evenly burnt on all sides :)
Hopefully it'll also cook other foods like peppers, but really I think it's a mans domain, roasting meat outdoors on a barbeque.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Polish aircrash, Icelandic ash cloud, coincidences

Is it me?
Grounding of all air activity is unheard of in our lifetimes, probably even in history of airtravel. We know for sure that big business employs actuaries and risk assessors to take decisions based on costs and not preventative safety.
So, how can the CAA be so sure that an aircraft is likely to fall out of the sky?
What key information do they hold that tips the balance to choose loosing millions per day, over risking passenger safety?
It's not as if a there is evidence that this airbourne glass from a volcano in Iceland is that dangerous, or is it?
The news recently of the entire Polish government dieing in an unprecendented aircrash might just have a bearing on recent events.
With evidence of the dangers, the decision to cancel all flights looks far more like sensible risk assesment and probabilites. Without evidence do we really, truly believe that all air travel would be stopped, with the vast costs incurred, on the basis that it might be dangerous.
I draw your attention to rail, hardly a safe form of transport in the UK, yet the trains are still running.
It's simply mathematical risk with a model based on some strong evidence...

Friday, 9 April 2010

Bamboo products

Bamboo seems to be all the rage. It has moved from being a simple garden accessory for training plants or a feature fence to being used for everyday articles from bamboo bicycles to bamboo clothing.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

The Tanfield Tale - Smiths, SEV-US, Optare and Roy Stanley

Once upon a time there was an electric vehicle manufacturer called Smiths. It made niche electric vehicles in the UK for 75years then was bought by Tanfield, led by the electric vehicle enthusiast Roy Stanley. Smiths grew to become Europes largest electric vehicle supplier, with customers ranging from Sainsburys to DHL. The real prize for Tanfield and Smiths would be the US Market though. So, with Obamas presidency and the turn away from oil after appetite for war in Iraq dropped off, the timing was right for the creation of Smiths USA (SEV-US) and the claiming of grants in Kansas to create new employment opportunities in an emerging industry. The desire to invest in EVs in the states is strong if recent price rises following flotations of green stocks on the NYSE is a taken into account. The clamour for shares in future technology companies drives prices to 3 or 4 times initial offer prices in many cases.

Back to Tanfield, they hold a 49% stake in the SEV-US operation and recently Roy Stanley has devoted time in the states to raise the profile of SEV. The result has been to generate enough interest to make an offer to Tanfield for the remaining stake it holds in SEV. The offer Of over 33 million equates to 45p per TAN share, with an additional payment of a similar amount due when SEV-US floats on the US exchange before 2015. In total the offer is worth around 90p per Tanfield share to holders.

This is seen as the first piece in the jigsaw to create a global player in the emerging EV Market. For the next steps, we need to look back over the past year at the history of events surrounding Roy and Optare. Roy announced his intention not to stand for re-election at the AGM in July 2009to the Optare board last year, citing his wish to avoid future conflicts of interest. Since then Optare has been the greatest beneficiary of Green Bus grant money with expected orders worth 12million to Optare to be placed during 2010. The first of these orders for three electric buses was received in January from Durham CC. Since then, Optare has announced that it has received a preliminary offerfor majority share of the company. As Roy is the majority shareholder, the suspicion is that the offer is related to recent events at Tanfield. Roy Stanley or tied to SEVs deal with Tanfield are growing stronger. If SEV US wanted to extend the range of vehicles on offer, then Optares electric Solo would seem a natural partner. Optare would also benefit in having access to the large US Market for a low floor bus that could be used on school routes and airport duty cycles.
So it is curious that the share price of Optare has taken a recent dip. If history repeats itself, then this is the time to expect further news on a potental offer from SEV US. Just as Tanfield dropped to 22p, the news that SEV US was interested in taking over came through.
Let's see what happens next, as we witness the creation of the worlds largest EV maker led by Roy Stanley following his dream.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Sandy Beaches

Lets reward sustainability, seems obvious eh? Bound to upset moneymakers for a while but I agree with Andy in the whole. Business could be rewarded for leaving the environment cleaner than it was when they arrived. Oil tar sands resolutions could be passed or other regulations to enforce a clean environment policy, leaving nice clean sands behind after the oil tar is removed.

Monday, 29 March 2010

George the Bear

Just how many George's are there?

George is involved in everything from Formula 1, bedtime stories, rent to buy tellies and cool facebook growler! Some of his stories are unfinished....

I've found even more George the Bears:

George the Bear featuring in a full length story...

George the bear racing Formula 1

George the Bear opening shops!?

George the bear - cool.

George the bear not finished:

George in Egypt:

Brighthouse stores

There was talk of rejuvenating the old Rumbelows name on the highstreet (I'm old enough to remember them and their tellys). The theory, it seems, is to try to use nostalgia as a weapon on the highstreet to battle the relative newcomer Brighthouse in this sector. Brighthouse has an active rollout of new stores, with recent store openings of Brighthouse at Maidstone and another Brighthouse store at Mexborough. Yet more Brighthouse stores are in the pipeline, with new shops opening in Cannock and Bromley soon.
My experience of renting TV equipment is like many other peoples, I suspect. It was necessary at a time when funds were low and technology was expensive. The latest televisions are still expensive, with HDTV and LED technology giving way to OLED in the near future, there is always an expensive telly out there to buy. So renting makes sense in times of recession if you really need the latest and greatest in audio visual equipment.
I'm still muddling along with a 20inch Sony, now over 12years old and CRT technology, but the thing just won't die. When it does, I'll be in the market for a new one and perhaps the options for buying the latest and greatest tv will be out there...
I'm not against rent to buy in principle. In fact that's how I buy cars under a contract hire plan. But with the car, I don't get the seemingly useful option to return it at any time. It looks like Brighthouse will allow a return during the rental period under their full service package.
Let's see how Rumbelows chooses to compete...

Update: Brighouse have opened another store in Bromley...

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Top 10 sleep tips

Leaving your baby to sleep at all is one of the biggest hurdles of parenting. The important thing to remember is that music can be used as medicine. Sleep deprivation as a result of not been able to settle your newborn can cause disharmony both in yourself and of course your little one. Playing music can de-stress parent and baby at the same time.

What follows are some essential tips in getting your baby off to sleep, and also some signs to look out for that maybe causing sleep disruption. Some of the tips may appear obvious, but sometimes it's the obvious that gets overlooked in stressful situations.

1) Check Nappy to see if it needs changing

2) Before cranking up the volume, always check your guitar amps temperature, this of course is a great indicator of whether you are about to blow a valve. If abnormally high, cool the room down, buy a bigger amp or move the baby closer to the speakers.

3) Is your baby hungry?...Get them a lolly and a six pack settle down to urban funk together.

4) Sometimes babies can scratch whilst sleeping, so keep expensive recording equipment near their cot in case they lay down a decent mix. Little fingers can also adjust the equaliser levels and this can cause them to really kick off. If so, place their hands in comfortable mittens/baby gloves and get them a recording contract.

5) Check leads are connected, if they are plugged in and there is no sound then buy some new musical equipment and prepare to ease babies discomfort.

6) Test for wind instruments, as your baby might have a gift for wind. If so, propbaby up and rub babies back.

7) To encourage sleep make sure you and your baby are both relaxed and sitting comfortably. Babies can sense tension, so make great stringed instrument tuners.

8) Try playing soft music at a low level in babies room to start with before winding up the bass. Dolphin music for example can be a great comforter, which is believed to imitate the sound of a mother's womb, bringing a calming affect to the child. Once the bass kicks in you won't need sleep.