Archive for December, 2008

Things are getting even worse

From BBC news-

More than 340 workers at a caravan manufacturer in Hull have lost their jobs as the firm effectively ceased trading on Wednesday.

Atlas Caravans, based off Hessle Road, has called in a firm of administrators. Despite a series of cost-cutting measures, 344 jobs will go.

The administrators, BDO Stoy Hayward, said the firm had suffered a “significant downturn in demand”.

They said market difficulties and “discretionary spending” were to blame.

Graham Newton, from the administrators, said : “Atlas has seen a significant downturn in demand, aggressive competitor pricing and has struggled with a high fixed cost base.

“The administration reflects the continuing market difficulties being experienced by those who manufacture high capital value but discretionary spend items.”

Mr Newton also cited “poor trading conditions in the caravan sector” which, he said, “were no different to those being endured by high street retailers or motor vehicle dealers”.

He added: “Atlas, however, remains a very strong name in the industry and we remain hopeful that there will be significant interest in the remaining business and its assets.”

Atlas was the one manufacturer that I thought had a good chance of survival. Whilst their “high range” caravans were possibly overpriced against competing makers, Atlas had a thriving export business and had just recieved a large UK hire fleet order.

I hear that Park Resorts are in trouble, too.

Fortunately, we’re a small operation and our debt to equity is very healthy… so while the coming years will be difficult, I’m confident that we will survive.

No new car this year, and maybe a few less holidays for me.

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A (politically correct) seasonal message

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my Best Wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all.

I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2009, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make Britain great ( not to imply that Britain is necessarily greater than any other country or is the only “Britain” in the western hemisphere or elsewhere), and without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith, or sexual preference of the wishee.

By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms:

* This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal.
* It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting.
* It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/him or others, and is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher.

This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of Good Tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.

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A message for the Government

According to carbonfund.org, Junk mail produces more greenhouse gas emissions than 9 million cars.

Maybe the Government could consider putting a tax of say 5p on every item of junk mail.

If that doesn’t restore the economy, at least it will save the rainforests…..

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Shortage of caravans in 2012?

In May this year 50 of the 420 staff at Explorer Group lost their jobs, with management warning more were to follow. 50 more workers have been made redundant since then and last week management said a further 19 jobs were at risk- a total of 119 jobs lost – more than one in four.

This mirrors job losses across the sector with a number of companies in the city of Hull alone – the hub of the UK’s caravan industry – already shedding more than 700 jobs this year.

Explorer profits fell from £3.3m in 2006 to £2.8m in 2007, despite demand for mobile homes to house victims of the summer‘s floods.

There has been a raft of job losses in Hull which is home to a number of major caravan companies.

The Swift Group has made almost 400 people redundant and is stopping production of the Ace and Abbey brands once existing orders have been completed.

289 jobs have been lost at Cosalt Holiday Homes which has closed down permanently. Currently the factory is being stripped of the woodworking machinery.

99 jobs have been lost at Willerby Holiday Homes.

80 jobs have been shed from Atlas Holiday Homes.

50 jobs have been shed from ABI.

European components costs have gone up as the pound fell against the euro, driving costs of Holiday Homes in an upwards direction.

My Prediction:

The loss of over 1000 skilled workers, and the permanent closure of the Cosalt factory, will leave the caravan industry unable to increase production in reaction to an economic upturn, and it is likely that once the economy starts to recover we may see the return of the 18-month waiting lists for new caravans that we last saw in 2004.

Source – nebusiness.co.uk – Dec 11, 2008.

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Understanding how Engineers think

Two engineering students were walking across a university campus when one said, “Where did you get such a great bike?”

The second engineer replied, “Well, I was walking along yesterday, minding my own business, when a beautiful woman rode up on this bike, threw it to the ground, took off all her clothes and said, “Take what you want.”

The second engineer nodded approvingly and said, “Good choice; the clothes probably wouldn’t have fit you anyway.”

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To the optimist, the glass is half full. To the pessimist, the glass is half empty.

To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

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Meet the President

One sunny day in January, 2009, an old man approached the White House from Across Pennsylvania Avenue, where he’d been sitting on a parkbench. He spoke to the U.S. Marine standing guard and said, ‘I would like to go in and meet with President Bush.’

The Marine looked at the man and said, ‘Sir, Mr. Bush is no longer President and no longer resides here.’

The old man said, ‘Okay’, and walked away.

The following day, the same man approached the White House and said to the same Marine, ‘I would like to go in and meet with President Bush.’ The Marine again told the man, ‘Sir, as I said yesterday, Mr. Bush is no longer President and no longer resides here.’

The man thanked him and, again, just walked away.

The third day, the same man approached the White House and spoke to the very same U.S. Marine, saying ‘I would like to go in and meet with President Bush.’ The Marine, understandably agitated at this point, looked at the man and said, ‘Sir, this is the third day in row you have been here asking to speak to Mr. Bush. I’ve told you already that Mr. Bush is no longer the President and no longer resides here. Don’t you understand?’

The old man looked at the Marine and said, ‘Oh, I understand. I just love hearing it.’

The Marine snapped to attention, saluted, and said, ‘See you tomorrow, Sir.’

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The church organist

Miss Beatrice, the church organist, was in her eighties and had never been married. She was admired for her sweetness and kindness to all.

One afternoon the pastor came to call on her and she showed him into her quaint sitting room. She invited him to have a seat while she prepared tea.

As he sat facing her old Hammond organ, the young minister noticed a cute glass bowl sitting on top of it. The bowl was filled with water, and in the water floated, of all things, a condom!

When she returned with tea and scones, they began to chat. The pastor tried to stifle his curiosity about the bowl of water and its strange floater, but soon it got the better of him and he could no longer resist.
‘Miss Beatrice’, he said, pointing to the bowl’ ‘I wonder if you would tell me about this?’

‘Oh, yes,’ she replied, ‘Isn’t it wonderful? I was walking through the Park a few months ago and I found this little package on the ground. The directions said to place it on the organ, keep it wet and that it would prevent the spread of disease.

Do you know, I haven’t had the flu all winter.

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