Friday, 30 November 2007

News: Chocolate lorry goes to Timbuktu

Two British adventurers are setting off on a journey across Europe to west Africa in a lorry powered by chocolate.

Andy Pag, of London, and his co-driver John Grimshaw, of Poole in Dorset, were leaving Mr Grimshaw's home town on a cross channel ferry on Friday. They are travelling in a Ford Iveco Cargo lorry powered by fuel that began life as chocolate, in a bid to raise awareness of green fuels.

The 4,500 mile (7250km) trip across the Sahara should take about three weeks.

The pair will take a small processing unit with them to convert waste oil products into fuel, which they will then donate to an African charity, along with the lorry.
"If we can make it [to Timbuktu] with bio-fuel there's no reason why motorists can't use it on the school run or on their commute to work" said Andy Pag.

They are taking 2,000 litres (454 gallons) of bio-diesel made from 4,000kg (8,818lb) of chocolate misshapes, the equivalent of 80,000 chocolate bars, to fuel their adventure. But they will not be able to dip into their tank if they feel peckish as the bio-diesel does not look or smell like chocolate. The fuel is made from cocoa butter, which has been extracted from the waste chocolate.

The pair will begin their journey by driving through France and Spain and then catch another ferry to Morocco. Mr Pag, who is 34 and from Croydon, and 39-year-old Mr Grimshaw, an electrician, will then cross the length of the country to Mauritania.
From there they will cross the desert until they reach the city of Timbuktu, in the west African country of Mali.

The journey is expected to take about three weeks

Both men are keen environmentalists and want to raise awareness of the benefits of bio-diesel, which produces lower carbon emissions than fossil fuels and is made from renewable resources.

Mr Pag, an engineer-turned journalist, has already been to Africa several times but said he wanted to make this trip carbon-neutral. He approached Ecotec, a firm in north-west England which makes fuel from renewable resources and had been in talks with a large chocolate manufacturer about recycling chocolate into green fuel.

Mr Pag said: "Timbuktu is a city which is being eaten away by the encroaching desert. It's at the sharp end of climate change. "Timbuktu is renowned as being the back of beyond, the furthest place away that you can possibly imagine and if we can make it there with bio-fuel there's no reason why motorists can't use it on the school run or on their commute to work.

"I have made many expeditions and visited these amazing landscapes but to get there I have contributed to their destruction by driving a guzzling diesel engine.

"I wanted to do something that's carbon neutral. What we have actually done is carbon negative."

Source: BBC News

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Bill Gates' Life Rules for the Real World

I saw this on a blog today and wanted to share it. Even if Bill Gates did not really say these things, they are true.

Bill Gates recently gave a speech at a high school about 11 things they did not and will not learn in school. He talked about how feel-good, politically correct teachings created a generation of kids with no concept of reality and how this concept set them up for the failure in the real world.

Rule 1: Life is not fair - get used to it!

Rule 2: The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.

Rule 6: If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were, So before you save the rain forest from parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as MANY TIMES ass you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.

Which Sports Car are you?

You're sporty, yet practical, and you have a style of your own. You like to have fun, and you like to bring friends along for the ride, but when it comes time for everyday chores, you're willing to do your part.

Take the Which Sports Car Are You? quiz.

Monday, 26 November 2007

Christmas Spending in the UK

According to Stephen Fry's source on "QI",

* we spend £20 billion each Christmas
* 1/3 of all books, clothes and toys are sold in the 8 weeks before Christmas
* 150 million Christmas cards are sold
* we decorate 7.5 million Christmas trees
* we use enough wrapping paper to giftwrap the island of Guernsey

That is ridiculous. Consumerism gone mad but we love it.

Harrods excel in beautiful displays and extravagance. If you can, visit Harrods during the Christmas season. Book ahead for Santa's Grotto in the Toy Kingdom.

Visit EuroTravel for travel to and within Europe.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

England exit Euro 2008

Well people are certainly passionate about English football. As Bill Shankly said, "Football is not a matter of life and death. It's more important than that."
McLaren is a nobody who was trained by Sven and that should have set warning bells ringing. I blame the FA for appointing him when the choice was obviously made because preferred choices said no.

Sven played a disasterous 4-5-1 with Rooney on his own which cost us the World Cup. What made McLaren think it would work with talented but non-speedy Crouchie on his own? Where was support on the left? Look at the film. Time and time again, there was no one on the left.

Yes, he was unlucky with injuries but England failed to qualify over 12 games, not just 1.

Choosing a new inexperienced goalie? Please. My 9 year old could have done better. This was no time to drop experienced Robinson. All credit to Scott Carson for trying and pulling off two very good saves but the pressure of the night was too much to ask.

The injured Owen and other first choices should not have played in the Austria friendly. Friendlies are designed to test new players. Owen and Crouch together up front would have been formidable.

Frank Lampard should have been dropped ages ago. I could not believe he was selected to take the penalty but thankfully he did not miss - this time.

Why was Wembley's roof not closed to keep out the rain? Taking the financial and sacreligious decision to play American Football on the hallowed turf certainly backfired. I do not know how much the FA earned from that game, but they will now lose plenty more from England failing to qualify. The UK economy in general will suffer.

I fail to see why El Tel (aka Terry Venables) should be chopped. Surely he never supported McLaren's decisions? I thought they should consider him for Head Coach - again. Mourinho, Scolari, O'Neill are all excellent choices but still foreigners and the FA are talking about making the English football game English again.

Here is my suggestion - Vinnie Jones. He would lick the boys into shape and cut down some egos. Did you see him in "Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels"? (Oh, I have just been told he is Welsh).

PS When Peter Crouch starts a game, he often scores. When he is brought on as sub, he doesn't. When will the England coach and Rafa Benitez notice that link? At least he was our hero briefly.

More comments on

My Domain Names for Sale

I have a couple of domain names for sale:

so I checked on ebay to see whether they offer such items and of course they do. Some start at just 99pence whilst others run into thousands of pounds.

One is being very optimistic is for sale. The price is a cool 8 million pounds...yes, £8,000,000

We can all live in hope.

If you are interested in either of my domain names at a very reasonable price, just send me a comment with your email address.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Men at Work

I could not resist posting this one.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

What's So Wrong With TV?

I am fed up with people decrying TV as a bad thing to be avoided.

What is wrong with TV? I watch wonderful documentary programmes on history, art, travel, National Geographic programs on animals, natural wonders, building megastructures and biographies to learn about other people's lives.

My husband also watches programmes on cars which he enjoys. It is better than wasting thousands of pounds buying them and polluting the atmosphere more.

We watch all sorts of films to amuse us, challenge us or just entertain. It is healthy to laugh at comedy and much British TV comedy is excellent.

Our children watch their favourite characters then play with those toys and recreate stories. My son has even created his own Doctor Who site

We watch intelligent quizzes like Stephen Fry's "QI", topical satire like "Have I Got News for You?" and learn new facts. We watch channels in other languages.

We watch football matches if England or Liverpool are playing, rugby if South Africa or England are playing.

We never watch soaps, limit watching the news, do not buy from TV shopping nor watch anything which is an insult to our intelligence.

We also read books, including personal development, novels and non-fiction. I do SuDoku and brain training. We all play chess, in fact our 9 year old wants to be world chess champion. He watched a fascinating programme on a female grand master which inspired him. We play family board games, read with the children, go on country walks, visit interesting places, art galleries and museums.

Oh, and I watch many programmes which stimulate ideas and discussions for blog postings on my 10 different blogs and 11 Squidoos.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Don't Take Your Man Shopping If He Doesn't Want to Go

This is why women should not take men shopping against their will.

After Mr. And Mrs. Fenton retired, Mrs.Fenton insisted her husband accompany her on her trips to Wal-Mart. Unfortunately, Mr. Fenton was like most men - he found shopping boring and preferred to get in and get out. Equally unfortunately, Mrs. Fenton was like most women - she loved to browse.

One day Mrs. Fenton received the following letter from her local Wal-Mart.

Dear Mrs. Fenton,
Over the past six months, your husband has been causing quite a commotion in our store. We cannot tolerate this behavior and may be forced to ban both of you from the store. Our complaints against Mr. Fenton are listed below and are documented by our video surveillance cameras.

1. June 15: Took 24 boxes of condoms and randomly put them in people's carts when they weren't looking.
2. July 2: Set all the alarm clocks in Housewares to go off at 5-minute intervals.
3. July 7: Made a trail of tomato juice on the floor leading to the women's restroom.
4. July 19: Walked up to an employee and told her in an official voice,
"Code 3 in Housewares. Get on it right away."
5. August 4: Went to the Service Desk and tried to put a bag of M&M's on layaway.
6. September 14: Moved a "CAUTION - WET FLOOR" sign to a carpeted area.
7. September 15: Set up a tent in the camping department and told other shoppers he'd invite them in if they would bring pillows and blankets from the bedding department ..
8. September 23: When a clerk asked if they could help him he began crying and
screamed, "Why can't you people just leave me alone?"
9. October 4: Looked right into the security camera and used it as a mirror while he picked his nose.
10. November 10: While handling guns in the hunting department, he asked the
clerk where the antidepressants were.
11. December 3: Darted around the store suspiciously while loudly humming the
"Mission Impossible" theme.
12. December 6: In the auto department, he practiced his "Madonna look" by using different sizes of funnels.
13. December 18: Hid in a clothing rack and when people browsed through,yelled
14. December 21: When an announcement came over the loud speaker, he assumed a fetal position and screamed "OH NO! IT'S THOSE VOICES AGAIN!"

And last, but not least.
15. December 23: Went into a fitting room, shut the door, waited awhile,then yelled very loudly, "Hey! There's no toilet paper in here!"

Regards, Wal Mart

Wanda Jenkins
"Blessed Are The Cracked, For It Is They Who Let In The Light"

Tuesday, 13 November 2007


I was told these were Tommy Cooper's jokes but I cannot say that for sure.

1. Two blondes walk into a'd think at least one of them would have seen it.
2. Phone answering machine message - "...If you want to buy marijuana, press the hash key..."
3. A guy walks into the psychiatrist wearing only Clingfilm for shorts. The shrink says, "Well, I can clearly see you're nuts."
4. I went to buy some camouflage trousers the other day but I couldn't find any
5. I went to the butchers the other day and I bet him 50 quid that he couldn't reach the meat off the top shelf. He said, "No, the steaks are too high."
6. My friend drowned in a bowl of muesli. A strong currant pulled him in.
7. A man came round in hospital after a serious accident. He shouted,
"Doctor, doctor, I can't feel my legs!" The doctor replied, "I know you can't, I've cut your arms off."
8. I went to a seafood disco last week...and pulled a muscle.
9. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly. They lit a fire in the craft,it sank, proving once and for all that you can't have your kayak and heat it.
10. Our ice cream man was found lying on the floor of his van covered with hundreds and thousands. Police say that he topped himself.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Stick Your Chewing Gum Here

I saw this board adjacent to a traffic light crossing in Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey. What a good idea!

Friday, 9 November 2007

Absolutely Priceless re House Title

Part of rebuilding New Orleans causes residents to often be challenged with the task of tracing home titles back potentially hundreds of years. With a community rich in history stretching back over two centuries, houses have been passed along through generations of family, sometimes making it quite difficult to establish ownership. Here's a great letter an attorney wrote to the FHA on behalf of a client that is absolutely priceless.

You've got to love this lawyer and it is good enough to share.

A New Orleans lawyer sought an FHA loan for a client. He was told the loan would be granted if he could prove satisfactory title to a parcel of property being offered as collateral. The title to the property dated back to 1803, which took the lawyer three months to track down. After sending the information to the FHA, he received the following reply (actual letter):

'Upon review of your letter adjoining your client's loan application, we note that the request is supported by an Abstract of Title. While we compliment the able manner in which you have prepared and presented the application, we must point out that you have only cleared title to the proposed collateral property back to
1803. Before final approval can be accorded, it will be necessary to clear the title back to its origin.'

Annoyed, the lawyer responded as follows (actual letter):

'Your letter regarding title in Case No. 189156 has been received. I note that you wish to have title extended further than the 194 years covered by the present application. I was unaware that any educated person in this country, particularly those working in the property area, would not know that Louisiana was purchased by the U.S. from France in 1803, the year of origin identified in our application.

For the edification of uninformed FHA bureaucrats, the title to the land prior to U.S. ownership was obtained from France, which had acquired it by Right of Conquest from Spain. The land came into the possession of Spain by Right of Discovery made in the year 1492 by a sea captain named Christopher Columbus, who had been granted the privilege of seeking a new route to India by the Spanish monarch, Isabella. The good queen, Isabella, being a pious woman and almost as careful about titles as the FHA, took the precaution of securing the blessing of the Pope before she sold her
jewels to finance Columbus's expedition. Now the Pope, as I'm sure you may know, is the emissary of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and God, it is commonly accepted, created this world. Therefore, I believe it is safe to presume that God also made that part of the world called Louisiana. God, therefore, would be the owner of origin and His origins date back to before the beginning of time, the world as we know it AND the FHA.

I hope you find God's original claim to be satisfactory. Now, may we have our damn loan?'

The loan was approved.

Source: received in an email

Laughter Videos on-line

A new page of comedy videos has been added to the Laughtershare website and there is a huge selection of free gifts at the bottom of the page.

The free gifts include hundreds of ebooks, MP3 tracks, product samples and vouchers (the last two are US only). To collect your gift simply visit the link below:

Click here for Laughtershare

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Another Death from a Brain Tumour

I have just heard that Sarah Wattyn, daughter of a work acquaintance Christian Vermeire, died from a brain tumour on 6 November. She was just 26. Christian had sought help from every neurosurgeon in Belgium then found someone in Munich who said he might be able to help. A fund raising benefit was organised but it was all too late.

I have had two brain tumours removed, each time saved by a life-threatening operation.

My heart goes out to Christian and his family.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Book Recommendation - "Stars and Bars"

I just read a fun book by William Boyd called "Stars and Bars". It is the story of Henderson Dores, an English art historian who has been transferred to a Manhattan auctioneers. He is still feeling out of place in America and desperately wants to make his mark. His chance arises with the prospect of the sale of a private art collection. All he has to do is pop down to Georgia and make arrangements.

Is it that simple and straightforward?

The book is very funny and you must feel sympathy for Henderson who is only trying to do his job despite most unusual circumstances.

ISBN 0-14-007596-8