Archive for January, 2008

Burger Me!

McDonalds are about to offer GCSEs. 

There’s not really anything I can say that’s going to be any funnier than that.  So I won’t comment.

However, other bloggers have … and the best has to be Professor Scrub.

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I’ve REALLY got the hump….

Recent research by the AA shows that road humps double the carbon dioxide emissions and fuel consumption by forcing drivers to brake and accelerate repeatedly. A car that achieves 58.15 miles per gallon travelling at a steady 30mph will deliver only 30.85mpg when going over humps.

The results, calculated by averaging the performances of the two cars, also showed that reducing the speed limit from 30mph to 20mph resulted in 10 per cent higher emissions. This is because car engines are designed to be most efficient at speeds above 30mph.

A motorist who observed the speed limit on one mile of 20mph road during a daily journey would produce an extra tonne of CO2 in a year compared with driving at 30mph on the same stretch. The AA’s president, said: “Humps are a crude, uncomfortable and noisy way of slowing people down and this research has shown they are also environmentally damaging.”

Previous research by the Transport Research Laboratory found that air pollution rose significantly on roads with humps. Carbon monoxide emissions increased by 82 per cent and nitrogen oxide by 37 per cent.

So there you have it, the proof that speed humps apart from destroying our cars and injuring our backs, are also destroying the environment.

Well done, once again,  government “experts”.

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We are sailing… we are sailing…


The rain is incessant. We have two caravans partially sited, sinking into wet ground.

Even when they are lifted back, using techniques disturbingly close to those mentioned in the previous post, they sink again within a few metres of movement.

Siting operations have been abandoned. We’ll try again in a couple of weeks. So we’re eating into the non-existent time allowance… things MUST be ready for 1st March.

Next week the tree surgeons will be doing their job. I won’t be here to see it though… there are suitcases, passports and tickets waiting at home… and we’re off to the airport this afternoon.

The BA shuttle to Heathrow, and then a long transatlantic flight to Miami. A night in an airport hotel to catch up on sleep, then a week cruising the Caribbean. The (library) photo shows our ship leaving Port Everglades, Florida. Our cabin is the balcony one deck down from top, about 30 rooms from the back. Boy am I ready for this break. A week with no stress, filled with hot sunshine, cool beer, warm seas, hot tubs, and wall-to-wall service.

If you haven’t already, I highly recommend a cruise holiday. If you have, I equally recommend another one.

I bet they don’t have trouble with siting caravans on wet ground in the Caribbean…

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The Deep End

Two more caravans left the Park today, for disposal. 14 and 18 years old, the 14 year old one was still in good condition and had a few more years service left… while the 18 year old one would still have been fine, had the owner turned the stop tap off.

Once a caravan has had a water burst, it is often badly damaged. Carpets throughout need replacing, chipboard furniture will have swollen, and caravans built with plain chipboard floors (ie early 1990’s) need new floors.  (Nowadays, floors are made from “flooring quality chipboard” which has been developed to resist water damage with a waterproof glue.)

One new caravan has been delivered today, but it is stood in the car park. It has been raining for days, and the ground is wet. Especially at this particular part of the Park. Wetter than I have ever seen it, in 41 years. With a couple of inches of water laying on top of the grass, it looks more like the Florida Everglades, but without the alligators.

We can’t drive a land-rover across it, let alone safely push 8 tons of caravan across. If a caravan sinks in soft ground, raising it is a difficult process. In 2005 a man was tragically killed doing what was always thought to be a routine operation.

The method that was being used is one that was used almost universally. Blocks and jacks. For years and years it had been done that way throughout the country, and there is still no real alternative.

What concerns me is that I had to search, search and search again for details of this tragic event. Surely the details should have been circulated to Caravan Parks, in order that we could compare our working practices to prevent a recurrence.

But no. We got a leaflet from the trade associations about safe siting of caravans, and out of 60 pages wittering about “systems of work” and “developing a plan” there is half a page warning about dangers during jacking operations. Worded in extremely vague terms.

An extremely important bit of information is lost in a sea of irrelevent details. I know that there are rules about information being publicised during a court case, but the result was that between March 2005 and two months ago, hundreds of caravans around the UK were being jacked in exactly the same method that led to this fatality, and nobody warned us.

So we will leave this caravan where it is for a while, to give the weather time to change and the ground dry out a bit.

We’ll work at the “shallow end”, instead.

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Dig deep

No. This post is not about people digging through electric cables. Or water pipes. It’s much more serious.

Click on 

The Jack Brown Appeal

Jack Brown, 5, is suffering from a rare childhood cancer, neuroblastoma. Neuroblastoma is a solid tumour cancer which spreads rapidly. Recurrence after treatment is currently considered non-curative in the UK.

Thanks to the tireless efforts of friends, family, the general public and the Met Police, Jack was able to undergo the first stages of antibody treatment to fight recurrence.

On 27th November, Jack started complaining of severe head pains. CT scans revealed a tumour in his brain, 2.5 inches in size.The brain is the only part of the body the antibody treatment cannot reach, indicating Jack’s original treatment was successful within its scope. This relapse is considered non curative except at Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Centre in New York. MSK has developed a range of options including liquid radiation directly to the NB cells in the relapsed area; this has been shown to be 100% effective. All 10 patients treated in the same way over the past three years have remained disease free; this is very significant. When a parent is about to lose their child, these statistics are vitally important.

A further $750,000 is urgently needed to complete this treatment.There is currently no UK government funding for this treatment, so this is the only hope for Jack and his family.

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You heard it here first

MPs have detected a less enthusiastic tone in Brown’s remarks on ID cards since the recent government data losses.

From The Guardian  10th January 2008,,2238201,00.html

From CaravanParkManager 12th December 2007

Remember, you heard it here 4 weeks sooner… on the blog that PREDICTS the news…

Just call me Mystic Meg…..

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A calmer day

No caravan movements today. A calm office day for me, putting invoices in order for payment, and trying to get a DJ software package to work on a laptop computer.

It seems a good idea, not having to carry CDs with me, but after a few hours playing with the machine, I don’t really like using a laptop to control the system… I prefer the “hands on” use of discs and mixer to clicking a mouse. It would be flexible to use both systems side by side, but I’m trying to reduce kit, not increase it. Still, with three cases of CDs to carry, it might be worth persevering.

I’m just about to order a large flight case that will take a fully rigged lighting T-bar… so with 4 spots and 4 scanners permanently mounted and wired, this should save me about half an hour at both the beginning and end of the night. It will take 2 people to carry the case, but overall it will be worth it for the time saving… currently the same kit fills 4 smaller cases and a stand bag…

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Well, we’re still on target. Things have not gone quite as smoothly, though…

Today’s score:

Three old caravans taken away.

Two old caravans de-sited and moved ready to be taken away.

Two new caravans delivered and sited.

One electricity supply box completely smashed (landrover drove over it). Unfortunately, landrover driver not electrocuted.

Two flags broken.

Lots of grass turned to mud.

Siting crews back – to cause more havoc – on Monday.

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Off to a fair start….

First day of caravan movements. The siting crew arrived 10.15 this morning. Three men, two land-rovers, one trailer full of kit.

By the time they left, 4.40, they had de-sited 4 caravans, and so far we are bang on schedule.

Tomorrow we have two siting crews working, 4 caravans to be de-sited, 2 caravans to be delivered by low-loader (one, new, from Hull, one, second hand,  from Garstang), 2 caravans to be sited and 3 caravans to be taken away by low-loader…. (2 locally, one back to Garstang).

Double the workforce, double the equipment.

That should equal double the work achieved… as long as they don’t get in each other’s way.

Fingers crossed… there’s still a lot to do…

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Chief Two Eagles was asked by a government official,
‘You have observed the white man for 90 years. You’ve seen his wars and his technological advances. You’ve seen his progress, and the damage he’s done.’
The Chief nodded in agreement.
The official continued, ‘Considering all these events, in
your opinion, where did the white man go wrong?’
The Chief stared at the government official for over a
minute and then calmly replied. ‘When white man find this
land, Indians running it. No taxes, No debt, plenty buffalo,
plenty beaver, clean water, women did all the work,
Medicine man was free. Indian man spend all day hunting
and fishing; all night having sex.’
Then the chief leaned back and smiled. ‘Only white man
dumb enough to think he can improve system like that.’

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