Monthly Archives: July 2010

The New Forest Reptile Centre

A rest day today and this afternoon we took a drive out to the New Forest Reptile Centre near Lyndhurst. It’s only about a 35 minute drive from home but I’ve never been there before, always intending to go but never making it!

As you can see from the photo the reptiles are not in glass fronted tanks but in natural surroundings outdoors which make them a bit hard to spot! Keeping still and watching carefully enables most types of lizard to be seen, half an adder projected out of some vegetation, the frogs could be seen but not the toads. Both the grass snake and the smooth snake were probably away on holiday!

It was nice to visit something both interesting and refreshingly non-commercial. The centre is about 1/4 mile off the main road and through trees so it’s perfectly quiet there, there is no entrance charge and nowhere to spend money – you can’t even buy an ice-cream or a cup of tea.

Little known facts

I stumbled across a game called UK Bus Simulator where you “Drive a bus around a british town and earn money for your work by picking up passengers. For it to work, please follow the coloured arrow infront of your bus before you start. That way, you wont get lost. Bus stops only gather passengers every minute”. Unfortunately, no eight year old is on hand to show me how to setup/play this game! If you get it to work please let me know how.

It appears from this page, which is linked from the game’s site, that you can choose the bus route to drive and the Stagecoach 46 route from Winchester to Southampton is there!! And it’s here that the little know facts are set out “Winchester (46) Winchester is a small village in the middle of no where. This express service takes you directly there and back, via the city centre.” You learn something new everyday day :-)

PS I’ve just realised that those who don’t know Winchester, or the 46 bus route, may not understand this. Winchester is not a small village but a City, it was the original capital of England. The 46 route is about as far from express as you can get taking up to 1 hour 25 minutes compared to the direst bus time of 50 minutes.

Betting and race fixing

This afternoon I switched the German Grand Prix off in protest at Ferrari’s race fixing. On lap 28 Massa was driving brilliantly and his race engineer Rob Smedley said over the radio “Gap is three seconds. We need everything, Felipe. Keep this going and we can win.” But on lap 47 a different message was sent “Alonso is faster than you. Can you confirm you understand?” Then when Alonso went through, Smedley added: “Good lad …… just stick with it now …. sorry.” As far as I’m concerned this isn’t sport as I wish to watch it which is why I switched off.

Then I thought some more, isn’t it illegal to fix the outcome of of a race/match etc on which bets are placed? Paddy Power were offering the following odds before the race:-

Formula 1 Season Outright Betting 2010 Friday 30th July 2010, 09:00
S Vettel
2/1
L Hamilton
2/1
F Alonso
3/1
M Webber
6/1
J Button
9/1
F Massa
80/1

If I’d placed a bet on Massa I’d be down at the Police station now making a complaint about race fixing.

Child fares

What an area of confusion! It seems that every bus company has different definitions of ‘child’ or ‘young person’! Here are some local child/young person definitions.
Stagecoach – 5 to 15 years
First – 5 to 15 years
Transdev Yellow Buses – 5 to 14 years (extended to 18 for holders of Citizen Cards)
Wilts and Dorset – 7 to 18
Bluestar – ? to 15
Southern Vectis – are in a category of their own! This Southern Vectis link is out of date according to BBC News which reports that the Student Rider tickets are to be scrapped from 1 September. The report appears to suggest that child fares on Southern Vectics are only for up to 13 years of age when writing “However, according to the youth council, without the discounted ticket child rates only apply to under 14s, so everyone else would have to pay a full adult fare, which is currently £3.50 per single journey.” Oddly Southern Vectis allow 50% discount if you have an NUS card. Pay full fare for the last 3 years of secondary education, full fare through College, but only half fare when you’re at University!

Monday is the first week of the school summer holidays. Every school holiday, for as long as I can remember, Stagecoach have the same ‘promotion’ offering under 16′s a Day Gold for £2.00 allowing unlimited travel within the Stagecoach South network. I placed the word promotion in quotes because I fail to see how it promotes travel and the use of Stagecoach! What it does achieve extremely effectively is to reduce income for Stagecoach! By offering it every school holiday the kids know it’s available and most purchasers are this years school leavers (now 16) who you were carrying last week on Students passes! There is no requirement that proof of age needs to be carried in order to buy this bargain basement ticket, it’s up to the driver to make a decision. Maybe the driver would query one travelling youngster who appeared to be over 15, but mostly they are in groups so it’s simply not worth the hassle and arguments which result. Because the stakes are pretty high those at College (their term passes expired on Friday) also try for the £2.00 child Day Gold – an adult return fare can be up to £6.30, and that just gets you there and back. A Day Gold can get you there, somewhere else as many times as you like, and then back for £2.00 all without proof of age being required.

Worst of all, every youngster asking for a £2.00 Day Gold will have nothing other than a £20 note with which to pay. Roll on September!

Comment spam

It used to be a real chore deleting the spam comments made to postings, I believe the stuff is done in order to get links back to their site which will then enhance search engine listings. Last year I introduced a little maths sum in order to test whether the poster was human or a robot, but it seems robots were able to get around that somehow. In the end I kept things tidy by permitting comments from previously approved posters (so long as they used the same e-mail address) whilst all new comments, including spam, went into a ‘waiting approval’ list. The only downside to that was the need to frequently check and approve a genuine new poster.

With the recent upgrade to the latest version of WordPress some new tools have became available to me and have been deployed. No maths question needed now. No waiting to be approved for new posters. Real comments appear immediately and the spam has been sorted out 100%

I could have the spam automatically deleted but, at the moment, I do route it to a folder just because some of it is very funny! Here’s a rather long gem of a comment to ‘The Small Ermine Moth (2010). I particularly liked the sentence “Piss of superior that is too simmering or cold can trigger your sebaceous glands to in excess of produce unguent and encumber up your skin”. I’ve deleted the links so if you really do have problems with your sebaceous glands producing unguent you’ll have to go to Google :-)

“It’s staunch that having pimples and blemishes on your give out can be embarrassing. Acne lowers your aplomb invariable and this can affect your manner, shelter, and stint life. You deem like the whole world is looking at your hickey or blemish. You stand at most like staying home!”

“Acne is known as pimples, lumps, and plugged pores that appear on the presumption, neck, face, shoulders and coffer areas. There is not one largest factor that causes acne and it is stimulated at hand hormones, stress, sexual maturity, rations, and other factors. The ra can also dry out of order the outer layer of your skin encouraging your sebaceous glands to start producing more oil. No complete is inoculated to skin blemishes when the conditions are there.”

“Pharmaceutical has produced many products to pirate relieve your acne. They are also positively a infrequent reasonable remedies. Here are some realistic basic solutions that may change your acne.Senior you demand to start eating larger and stop eating foods overwhelmed with sugars, fats, and oils. Fried food resolution not only instigate tolerate on the pounds but also may reach your acne worse. Drinking a lot of water will also help. The wet will thrill the toxins that are causing the acne out of your body. You should carouse at least 24 ounces per day. Another emulsion is to delete apricot extract on your self-respect for at least 10 minutes a day. This sensible commodity will forbear bright your pelt of pimples. Toothpaste is also a consequential something like a collapse to grab rid of skin blemishes. You should be communicated the toothpaste into the effected areas and check out it over night. Then get rid of is off work in the morning. If the unaffected liquid does not mix there are a ton of products on the market.”

“Bromide spin-off that seems to back superior to before the loll is Proactiv Solution . The Proactive Suspension veneer care products proffer a three step system to clear your skin. It is on tap online or at your local retail store. There are sundry celebrities who swear by the product. Proactive Mixture is also less low-cost compared to other less productive products.”

“There are uncomplicated things your can do to prevent your acne from occurring in the first place. Without exception be docile with your face. Piss of superior that is too simmering or cold can trigger your sebaceous glands to in excess of produce unguent and encumber up your skin. You should wash your face at least twice a age to amass the bacteria levels to a minimum. Do not get to your face. The hands conduct the most bacteria and you do not to place the bacteria here. You should also wash your hands sundry times a day. This will help victual the bacteria levels unrefined in invalid you influence your face. In place of women who use makeup exhaust unguent liberated or hypo-allergenic makeup by reason of supersensitive skin.”

More holidays for bus drivers?

Policeman wins a week’s holiday for time spent donning uniform is the story here. I can’t see much difference between a policeman having to wear a uniform and a bus driver having to wear a uniform as part of the job requirement, neither would choose to spend their non-working time in the uniform.

There are just a couple of minor hurdles to overcome before UK bus drivers will also get extra holiday to allow for dressing time – “The decision is not yet final – the judgement can be submitted to a higher administrative court” and it’s in Germany. But at least Germany is in the EU which should stand us in good stead when we claim an extra weeks holiday from Stagecoach :-)