Archive for July, 2008

I feel even better!

Just recieved, this morning, my first set of customer satisfaction scores from LateRooms.

Customer Satisfaction – 96.3% !    The worst score I got was 5/6 – the rest were 6/6.

Some very nice customer comments too. It’s nice to get a pat on the back now and then.

After feeling down a few days ago – it’s getting better all the time ……….

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I feel good!

When I started blogging my random thoughts and musings, I never thought I would get a landmark number of hits. It started because I’d enjoyed reading a number of blogs, in particular The Magistrate’s Blog, Inspector Gadget, Bus Driving and Mousie over the previous few months, and I thought I’d have a go.

It’s been a worthwhile experience – a couple of times I’ve been really “wound up” about something and after venting my feelings in cyberspace I have felt a lot better. So I’ve enjoyed writing – I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading!

I know Inspector Gadget has passed 1 million, but he has more sheep in his blog. However, I’m getting near to the 5,000 mark, and I’m feeling pretty good about it. I’m not sure how I’ll celebrate when the hits pass 5,000, but it will probably involve a glass and some alcoholic liquid, probably with a frothy bit at the top.

Cheers!

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Why stay at Woodlands?

There’s plenty of reasons why people choose to take a break in our cottage apartments.

As we’re near the Wildfowl Trust, I thought we’d have a few birdwatchers. Southport’s famous for golf, so I expected a few golfers. Some come for country walks, canalside pubs and to escape.

I never expected anyone to come for this reason – but the organiser of this event stayed with us for a few days last month.

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QANTAS – Quite A Nasty Time, All Scared

It seems that QANTAS’ alleged safety record is now just a myth.

http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/World-News/Qantas-Mid-Air-Drama-Big-Hole-Is-Blown-In-Side-Of-Aircraft/Media-Gallery/200807415056377

However, it was, maybe, only a matter of time. Qantas Boeing 747s are an average of 15 years old; the aircraft involved in the current incident, VH-OJK, being slightly older at 17 years.

Yet, in the previous incident involving a Qantas 747 in January 2008

http://www.travelmole.com/stories/1125399.php

Qantas denied the age of its fleet may have been a factor …. executive manager John Borghetti said the 747 was 16 years old and well within its operational lifespan. He told The Australian newspaper, “These aircraft are built to operate much longer than that ….”

For a comparison, the average age of British Airways’ 747 fleet is 14 years. The youngest fleet of 747s belongs to Virgin Atlantic at 9 years.

11 years ago, back in 1997, the age of 747s in servive was a hot topic of discussion, following the crash of TWA 800.

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9502E4D9113CF931A25751C1A961958260

Dozens of Boeing 747’s are flying far longer than the manufacturer anticipated, with only limited attention to the aging of their components, according to testimony at a hearing today into the crash of T.W.A. Flight 800. But making changes to the planes or even just inspecting them more intensively could damage wiring and thus increase risk, some experts said, casting doubts on what should be done next.

The first Boeing 747 was delivered 28 years ago this month. The planes were designed for 20 years of life, 20,000 flights and 60,000 hours, a Boeing witness said today. But 240 planes are more than 20 years old, 95 have logged more than 20,000 flights and 380 planes have flown more than 60,000 hours.

The Trans World Airlines plane that crashed had flown for about 90,000 hours, 50 percent longer than the original design, and was 25 years old, but had flown only about 18,000 flights.

”We maintain that with appropriate maintenance there is no specific life limit on the 747 airplanes,” said Robert Vannoy, Boeing’s chief of 747 fleet support. Boeing and the airlines have intensively inspected the oldest planes for signs of trouble and made fixes as needed, he said.

Lets not panic too much, though. After all,  747s have travelled many tens of billions of kilometers-enough to make more than 70,000 trips to the Moon and back, and have carried 3.5 billion passengers-the equivalent of more than half the world’s population, and have done almost all of this in complete safety.

I guess we can expect all 747s to have extra checks near the wing root, as it is possible that fatigue cracking may have originated in this area.

I think we can safely ignore any theories of explosions and bombs.

My theory – explosive decompression following failure of part of the airframe. It’s happened before:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aloha_Airlines_Flight_243

At least modern aircraft manufacturers have learnt from the lessons of the past

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Havilland_Comet

and airframes are designed with strengthened areas to stop fuselage failure becoming catastrophic. It appears that Qantas’ crew acted correctly – oxygen masks were deployed and the aircraft descended swiftly to an altitude where breathing unaided was possible.

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Try hoisting it up a flagpole and see who salutes.

In the space of 3 hours I have gone from “walking on air” to “carrying the weight of the world. When you put “heart and soul” into a business, you live the highs and the lows. Currently it’s a low.

It means that we may need to substantially revise our business model and take the business in a different direction for future years. It may mean more investment is needed, and it will be longer before we see profits paying us back. Sorry for speaking in “management language”… for further information on this language see Gus Hedges in “Drop the Dead Donkey” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drop_The_Dead_Donkey

It’s nothing new. We’ve been here for 41 years and survived enough “challenges” and “opportunities” whilst “keeping the ball in the air” and “cooking on full heat”. Hopefully we can keep our bank manager “on line” and “supportive”.

Still………. I have to remind myself of what I posted in February 2007………

When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.
(Henry Ford)

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Jasper Carrott

Back in the early days, when Jasper Carrott was moving from Folk Music into comedy, he did this great performance of Jake Thackeray’s “Bantam Cock” – it’s one of my favourites.

“He gave me a wink, and a terrible grin, the way that Rapists do…..”

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Another good man lost.

Victim of a senseless attack by the Media

Victim of a senseless attack by the Media

Let’s not worry about getting knives off the streets. Let’s get rid of journalists instead.

Hounded to death by a vicious media, PC Mulhall is the most recent to pay the ultimate price for trying to protect us.

The BBC have the full story.

 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/south_yorkshire/7515251.stm

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