Thursday, 26 March 2015

Farewell, Jeremy

I'm not a Top Gear fan. In fact, one of the few things that bore me more than cars is blokes talking about them. But I do like Jeremy Clarkson. He's witty, entertaining, original and writes fizzingly original journalism. I do, though, think it's right that he's been sacked. And I'm frankly baffled by the clamour of people in the media justifying what was - or what appears to have been - assault.

Here's what Louise Mensch had to say on Twitter:


And fellow-blogger Guido Fawkes on The World Tonight on BBC Radio Four yesterday gave a similarly robust defence while at the same time expertly evading the obvious question (put to him repeatedly by Ritula Shah) which is - if Clarkson gets away with it then where should the rest of us draw the line? If throwing a punch, inflicting physical injury and adding insult to it (literally) is waved away as 'banter' or just 'Jeremy' then God help the rest of us next time the boss is angry.

Someone said to me the other day that it was the same when John Prescott threw a punch many years ago. And although it may appear so, it's not. Prescott's action was instinctive, instant and - vitally - provoked. Prescott had been attacked and responded almost without thinking, I imagine. (Lord knows he didn't find it easy!) 

There are other similarities between the two incidents, of course. Both received the public support of the Prime Minister of the day. Tony Blair grinned, said 'John is John' and everyone moved on. David Cameron said lots of nice things about Jeremy Clarkson, his colleagues joined in, a petition attracted huge support and everyone... was left totally confused by the line between right and wrong.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Top Tips to Save Energy

It might technically be spring, but the thermometer today has a distinctly wintry reading, which is why the home energy kit we've been sent to try by Zenith Energy is coming in handy. It contains the following:

An Energy Saving Monitor
A Radiator Booster
An Automatic Standby Shutdown, and
A Shower Timer


But you don't need fancy gadgets to start saving energy and feeling warmer, as Zenith's simple energy saving top tips show:

1. Put the kettle on... war drinks are wonderful, but don't overfill the kettle and waste energy!

2. Love your layers... adding extra layers of clothing always helps - and you can do it to the house too with external wall insulation (EWI).

3. On when in, off when out... why heat up the home when there's nobody at home to benefit? Be smart with your central heating.

4. Winter warmers... stock up your wardrobe with woolies - and not just for winter evenings. It can be chilly at any time but you don't always need the heating.

5. Don't be daft, avoid the  draught ..  draught excluders fitted to doors and windows really help keep the house warm... and the cold out!

6. Secure some heat... of course, double-glazed doors and windows will do the job permanently, as well as adding to security.

7. Close the curtains... 20% of your heat can escape through gaps around doors and windows. A pair of curtains can make all the difference.

8. Switch on to switching off... 46% of the UK population admit only switching off electrical appliances when going on holiday - and 22% not at all! But switching off everyday appliances can make huge differences to power consumption - and bring down your bills.

9. Wait a minute, Mr Postman... a letterbox is little more than a hole in your front door - great for letting in icy outdoor air. Fitting draft-proof brushes won't stop the postman pushing through the energy bills but it might help reduce them in the long term.

10. Think outside the box... it's not just windows and doors that can let in the draughts - holes around pipes and extractor fans can be as bad. Use expanding foam filler in the gaps to keep the craft cold at bay.


Friday, 20 March 2015

Make your own eclipse!

Cloudy, this morning? Can't find that pair of eclipse specs you bought? Lost your instructions for how to make a pinhole camera?

Never fear! Why not make your own eclipse instead. We did, this morning. Here it is...





Sunday, 15 March 2015

Making Mother's Day

First, get creative with a card kit. There's nothing better than a bit of glitter...


Now, how about a cake? Recipe at the ready - let's get cracking - eggs, especially:


Mix it all together...


Don't forget to clean up afterwards...


Mmmmm...


We were all well prepared this year, thanks to Tesco who sent us a wonderfully creative card making kit plus the ingredients for a yummy cake. We did go out too, briefly  - into the garden to put up the bird-feeding station that the kids had bought from Aldi. 


How to have a happy Mother's Day... with just a little help!

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Mother's Day and the #AldiChallenge

It's not long now, you know. It's probably too late to get something in the post. But it's not too late to get something planned. Which is where Aldi comes in handy.

Aldi aims to offer high quality products, at low cost prices - enabling people to do more of the things they enjoy, including activities with the family. Personally, I need no persuading but when they got in touch after Monday's Mother's Day post and invited me to take the #AldiChallenge, I couldn't resist.

Now, in case my wife is reading this before Sunday (unlikely, but...) I'm going to be a little circumspect about the precise details of my challenge. But the bottom line, the lovely, colourfully-fragrant and beautiful bottom line is this wonderful bunch of flowers.



'Perfect Mum' bouquet, it's called. And I had enough left over at the end of my 'Mother's Day' Aldi shop to buy them, too!

What else did I buy, I hear you say? And how did I manage it and still have funds to spare for flowers?

Well, you'll have to wait for the big day to find out, I'm afraid. Suffice to say it's suitably creative, involves the kids and is kind to the environment. It links with a previous post I've published recently, too. If anyone can guess what it is (or might be) I might be tempted to offer a prize. (I know it's Mother's Day but I've got a lovely little book on Fatherhood to give away!)



Until then, I keeping mum.

Although there'll be more tips on preparing for Mother's Day to come tomorrow and on Saturday.


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