Monday, 30 April 2018

30th April 2018 - Just a thought

Thought for the day:"Never look down on someone - unless you are helping them up"

Busy Busy Busy - oh - and busy !

I know that he died on 4th April but it got lost in the lists

Sunday, 29 April 2018

29th April 2018 - Just a thought

Thought for the day:"Do flat-earthers travel the world on a plane ?"

Just a thought today and Secret Monitor Sunday Lunch


Saturday, 28 April 2018

28th April 2018 - Vollsanger's Top Ten

Thought for the day:"Have you been hit with a Rhythm Stick? You could be entitled to compensation for personal Ian Dury"

A lovely installation in the Commemorative Order of Thomas of Accon this morning.
A day looking at ritual and logistics for future ceremonial ..
So not much time to write of things more deep ...

So will just share  Vollsanger's top ten

But before I got to bed I found this time lapse record of the building of a Film set for Wolverine
Fascinating ...

set building 


Friday, 27 April 2018

27th April 2018 - Darwin !!!

Thought for the day:"They said "lie on your stomach for acupuncture". I didn't see the point."

I have an interesting twitter feed entitled "Why women live longer than men"

I sometimes agree with the sentiments !!

There are a number of stupidities in the world!!!

here are just some ...

and then there are some that make you wonder what occurred before to warrant the sign !!!

but occasionally you see a sign that you just have to love...

Sadly most of them are moving clips - but if you enjoy try the link


Thursday, 26 April 2018

26th April 2018 - Forgotten Force ... or April Fools?

Thought for the day:"is Nitrous Oxo a laughing stock?" 

This interesting little picture from 1968 came up on my feed - and to be honest it was before my time and I am sure that the control room had changed by the time I got there in 1978.

Of course - I wrote about the upgrade in 1997 when I was part of the problem
Upgrade to Command and Control

But as the day comes to a close, I read upon my twitter feed that my old Chief Constable is returning from Australia to come to a celebration of 50 years of the Dyfed Powys Police...

Comes as a bit of a shock to most of us who have served the force over that period, I initially thought it was only me that had not heard, but no!! A quick post upon the facebook pages for "Members of Dyfed-Powys Police" shows a similar lack of knowledge.

One colleague, an ex superintendent with whom I am in contact from other circles, tells me that he had a very late invitation due to being a senior member of the Operation Julie Case, considered to be one of the important stages of police history in the period. Interestingly - the Wiki entry for the operation lists two and a half years and eleven police forces and does not actually mention Dyfed-Powys police at all though the latter stage was in West Wales.

It seems that a very restricted invitation list was put together - certainly I can find little mention.

A news report on 30th March in the South wales Guardian tells me that the Force is celebrating by appointing a Poet. Chief Constable is quoted "We are very fortunate that the famous welsh poet Eurig Salisbury has agreed to become the force poet to help us celebrate the work of Dyfed-Powys Police over the next year.”

The article mentions "Over the last 50 years the force has seen a lot of changes including the uniform worn, the locations of police stations, the improvements in technology and the make-up of the police family." yup - many of us were involved in a lot of those decisions. I certainly had my grubby fingers in the rise of technology, building police headquarters, development of sub-divisional policing, introduction of PACE, reformation of a traffic unit, and many colleagues worked hard in all these areas and there were those who did the actual policing of the force area - the largest force area in England and Wales - policed by the smallest work force.

However - the article also mentions the following :
In 1968, the force saw the official opening of the first phase of the Royal Mint’s move from London to the new plant in Llantrisant, Trawsfynydd nuclear power station, the only nuclear power station to be located in a national park, is opened and Welsh actor Rhys Ifans is born

Hmm!!!  Llantrisant is not in the force area!!!
Trawsfynydd is not in the Force area!!

Rhys was born in Haverfordwest so at least he counts - except that he was born in 1967 a year before the formation of Dyfed-Powys Police

[source S Wales Guardian 30th March]

But you know - you cannot blame the Press when the Dyfed-Powys Press report for 29th March reads:

"Dyfed-Powys Police is delighted to announce that on 1st April 2018 the force will be celebrating its 50thanniversary.
On the 1st April 1968 Carmarthenshire and Cardiganshire Constabulary, the Mid Wales Constabulary and the Pembrokeshire Police came together to form Dyfed-Powys Constabulary, making it the largest police force geographically in England and Wales. The name changed to Dyfed-Powys Police in 1974.
Over the next year a number of events are planned to mark the special anniversary and officers and staff, serving and retired, will have the opportunity to came together to share their memories and experiences about life in the force over the decades.
In 1968 we saw the official opening of the first phase of the Royal Mint’s move from London to the new plant in Llantrisant, Trawsfynydd nuclear power station, the only nuclear power station to be located in a national park, is opened and Welsh actor Rhys Ifans is born.
Over the last 50 years the force has seen a lot of changes including the uniform worn, the locations of police stations, the improvements in technology and the make-up of the police family. "

Is it only me or does anyone else see the irony in the reference to April 1st ...

I shall now go back to my books ...
And lift a glass of Chateau 41 to all my colleagues over the last 50 years of Dyfed-Powys Police - the forgotten !!


Wednesday, 25 April 2018

25th April 2018 - Ritual and Eulogies

Thought for the day:"One of the the Circus's Russian acrobats in the human pyramid has been deported. Now they don't have Oleg to stand on."

So - in answer to the Picture for the Day (below)  - Bob Williams - a colleague poster replied:

"St├ęphane Grappelli used to tell a story about when the Quintette du Hot Club de France was booked to play at a dance for a naturist club. They duly stripped off but when the curtains opened they saw that everyone else was fully clothed. They carried on and played the gig. But it is worth remembering that the guitarists were seated with guitars on their laps, the bass player was standing behind his bass, but the violinist..."

A bit of a marathon today - Red Cross Of Constantine down in Bridgend with the Appendant Orders, though luckily a non - speaking part as torch Bearer, followed by Allied Masonic Degrees this evening and a rehearsal for St Teilo ...

2nd degree tracing board tomorrow - but if the weather holds will have to try and get some of the rubbish taken up to the dump !!

Meanwhile two elder statesmen of the Masonic Orders have passed recently - I found myself writing the following short eulogies for W Brother Geoffrey Steele, and W Brother Roy Roberts.

Eulogies (by Ill Knight Iain Sewell)

Roy Roberts
It was with sadness that we all received news yesterday of the passing of Roy (RDR) Roberts. He had been in failing health over the last couple of years but had devoted a large part of his years to Masonry and was a faithful and active member of this Conclave.

He received Grand honours in Mark, Knight’s Templar, and Royal Ark Mariners.

He joined the Red Cross of Constantine rather later than many of his degrees, becoming a member of Maurice in 2002 and served in the Chair in 2009 and 2010. He was always willing to work hard and support in this degree. He received recognition as Divisional Herald and P Div G Almoner in 2013. He was always willing to assist in Ceremonial and ritual.

Geoffrey Steele
Since our last meeting we have sadly lost one of our Elder Statesmen – A gentleman, a prolific Mason and a loyal member of this Conclave, the Order and Masonry in general…

There are those here who probably knew Geoff Steele better than I – I first really got to know him when it was decided to Found this Conclave here in Carmarthen in 1997

He was always kind, helpful  and of good humour.

However I soon found that as I joined many other orders, Geoff Steele was always there, always supporting, and usually one of the senior members of the Lodge, Chapter, Preceptory, or Conclave…

He was initiated into the Bute Lodge No. 960 in Cardiff on the 7th March 1954 – which incidentally was 3 weeks after I was born and attained the Chair in 1983.

In this Order he was a member of Aberteifi, Dewi Sant, Maurice and Brenhinoedd de Cymru achieving Past Grand Prefect in 1994, PG Chamberlain in 1999 and PG High Chancellor in 2005.
He achieved Grand Rank or Equivalent in Knight’s Templar,  Secret Monitor, Royal & Select Masters Royal Ark Mariner and Allied Masonic Degrees,  and he was member of many lodges across Wales.

He was born in June 1922 and my knowledge is only in Freemasonry, but following his death I have heard tales of his exploits in the war, when he was parachuted behind enemy lines in Yugoslavia to fight with Marshall Tito’s Partisans as a member of Special Operations. Typical of the man that he never spoke of such matters.

He became a Brewery Representative for Hancocks Brewery at one time the largest Brewery in Wales and enjoyed more than a pint himself. He said every pint was a contribution to his pension fund.

Knights Roy Roberts and Geoffrey Steele can be truly said to have lived  respected and died regretted.
May light perpetual shine upon them ...

A glass of Chateau 41 is called for...

24th April 2018 - Just a thought

Thought for the day :"A recent study showed that bacon, ham & sausages can lead to an early death. This is especially true for pigs"

Turns out to be a "just a thought day"


Monday, 23 April 2018

23rd April 2018 - On Line Banking - Pleasures and Pitfalls

Thought for the day :"Don't trust stairs - they are up to something"

Frustrations of on line banking !!!  A few years ago I finally managed to get down to one credit card and as there was a fine offer of zero percent interest for 3 years it made more sense to pay monthly rather than clear it at the time. When we changed the mortgage, they recommended clearing it but it was a monthly payment and no interest so not really a matter for consideration.

But of course the months go by and if I was a little more astute I would have been counting down the days to the last free payment - but I, like many who keep the banks running, found myself with the bill with a stupid amount of interest - I immediately rushed to get funds, but decided to stall for two weeks to see if the Premium Bond cam up with Ernie before paying and then set about getting the exact payment details and doing the "on-line" transaction...

I don't check my accounts every day - I probably should - but I have a little thingie - probably called an app these day, on my phone that tells me if any account goes below £100 so generally I do not panic much...

So when I go in to pay my bar bill - yes oops - pre-ordered drinks at Swansea Masonic Hall and came home without paying I see that the account is far healthier than it had any right to be - due to the rejected payment. Seems I added a couple of extra digits in the reference and it rejected it - correctly I suppose otherwise I would still be chasing where the money went.

So another call to the company and that Russian Roulette of the "security question". I don't actually know how many accounts I may have with Halifax/Bank of Scotland and that is a question that comes up regularly. The card in question has not been used for several years as a card - only as a bank transfer and I have no idea where it is so cannot give the 3 digit security number on the back. This time I guessed correctly whether it was in my name only or there were other users on the card. That has caused me to fail in the past as two questions wrong and they cut you off..

However - with the magic of modern banking - scary as it is to watch thousands of pounds disappear into the ether - I was able to say "It has gone" and get a reply -"Yes that is received" in the space of two seconds - oh - and a confirmation text on my phone.

I remember the old days of writing out a cheque and finding a stamp and hoping there were no delays in the postal service to cause another day's interest....

But - sometimes you have to ask - and he waved the interest for the period between my failed payment and today ...   so anything is possible..

But today I can confirm that from the start of my working life I only have my monthly full balance payment of Tesco - from which I get enough points (I hope) to pay my senior Citizen rail card at half price and my trip to Germany through the tunnel.

So the sun is shining - sort of! we have had a few glorious days of sunshine - apparently that is summer over for another year and the temperature will be dropping again.

Best get in the garden and clear some rubbish - wash the car and photograph it to see if we can sell it for my father in law.  well maybe a cup of tea first !!

Maybe change a profile picture and wallpaper

Cheers !

Sunday, 22 April 2018

22nd April - 2018 - Cheese - and the Nose

Thought for the day:" Death causes loneliness, feeling of isolation"
(Real Newspaper Headlines)

While out dining I was presented with a crisis of etiquette with which I had not previously been aware.
Upon the Cheeseboard there was a slab of Cheddar - in a triangular shape and it fell to me to be the first at the Cheese....
Without ceremony - I took the kitchen knife upon the board and chopped the end off the Cheddar - working from the pointy end as being good manners not to take too much and started towards the Stilton (also triangularly presented...)

I should point out that I was in the company of my Welsh companions but also gentlemen from the North of England in general - Cheshire in particular....

This very normal behaviour of mine went unnoticed and unremarked by my welsh compatriots....    but I became aware of a minor consternation from my left - more particularly drawn to my attention by the shocked expression "YOU CUT OFF THE NOSE!!!!"  and an apparently shared horror from other northern folk!!

Now, I am pretty well up on my manners and etiquette in most cases. I know to choose my cutlery from the outside in, to slurp my soup to the rear and the custard to the front of the bowl, to pass the salt by placing on the table and never by hand, (to taste the food before applying salt - but that is another story), to set the cutlery properly together to indicate that I have finished - but cutting the nose off was new to me!!!

Particularly as it seemed to be such shocking behaviour from the reaction of those at my table.
Indeed, I am immediately regaled with a story of a formal dinner "oop" north, where the action of one diner taking similar action had led to the cheese being sent back to the kitchens and demands for fresh!!!

Well, I enjoyed my Cheese and biscuits anyway, but lest I was falling down in my general behaviour I thought I should check where this shock and concern arose.....

And... I should have known it ... It is the French once again!!!

and - I will admit I feel quite exonerated for the actions I took since it was to a good old British Cheddar - though I would have taken similar action to the more  pungent Stilton.....

For, as you will see below should you wish to read the whole article, this all comes form the smelly and runny Brie.. Please do not allow my own preferences to drive you away from this appalling travesty of the art of cheese-making - but the custom appears to derive from the fact that the French are unable to produce a cheese which has a constant quality throughout the cheese.

It seems that the Brie matures better at the centre of the runny slab, so when it is cut out into wedges, the "pointy end" is the best of the cheese and the circumference is the poorer quality.
It therefore follows that anyone deciding to cut of the prime part - at the pointy bit or "nose" is in effect saying - "I will take for myself the finest part of the cheese and leave the rest of you the rubbish!!"
Such behaviour is understandably reprehensible - were it not for the fact that even the finest mature brie from the centre is still pretty rubbish!!!

But - for a decent British Cheese the problem does not arise. Indeed, there is no need to serve it in wedges at all - and often it is not so served, as with Red Leicester and indeed a decent Caerphilly or that Northern delicacy the Cheshire Cheese.....

And so, without apology I will continue to act in my role of Nose Cutter for the cheeses with which I am familiar and enjoy and leave the French to their own devices ...

and that's why we hate the French - Rowan Atkinson 

How to cut cheese

There’s an art to cutting cheese – do it right and you’ll ensure the best taste in every slice.

Of course, the size and shape of your cheese will dictate how it is cut, but you’ll also need to bear in mind the texture. If you’re cutting a creamy cheese like Brie, you want to ensure everyone gets a bit of the centre. When it comes to firmer cheeses like Cheddar or Stilton, you’ll want to ensure they’re equally divided and that you’re not left with an odd-shaped wedge which is impossible to cut.

Of course, it certainly helps if you have the right cheese knife for the type of cheese you are cutting. Soft cheese knives are usually designed with holes in the blade to more effectively handle the gooey textures. A small Hatchet knife is great cutting hard cheese such as Gouda, Parmesan or mature Cheddar and a hard cheese knife will make light work of cutting a Double Gloucester or Red Leicester. A Stilton Scoop is perfect for scooping your Stilton out of one of our iconic Stilton Jars. Some cheeses even has their own special equipment such as a Cheese Curler for a Tete de Moine. Cheese knives can be bought individually or as sets - take a look at our cheese knife collection and utensils and tools.

1. Round Cheese

Camembert, Reblochon, Selles sur Cher , Langres, Goddess, Fourme d’Ambert plus many of our soft cheeses or washed rind cheeses.
Many of our individual cheeses are this shape. Cut a round cheese into equal wedges by slicing it first across the middle, then making further cuts across the width of the cheese. You will get more cuts out of the larger cheeses such as Reblochon compared to the smaller goats cheeses such as Selles sur Cher.

2. Hard Rinded Rectangular Cheese

Sharpham Rustic, Double Gloucester, Berkswell, Ticklemore, Gubbeen, Cheddar.
To preserve the shape and the life of the cheese, slices should be cut lengthwise from the nose to the edge. Given that many of these cheeses are also irregular shapes, it also ensures that you, or your guests, don’t mangle the cheese or cut off their fingers.

3. Hard Rinded Rectangular Cheese

Gouda, Comte, Red Leicester
When handling a rinded, rectangular cheese, it’s best to avoid making long, thin slices. Instead, begin by making 2 portions by cutting the cheese horizontally, about a third of the way down. With the remaining larger portion, cut slices across the width of the cheese. From the smaller portion, cut slices along what would have been the length of the cheese when it was intact.

4. Soft triangular shaped cheese
(Filthy French Stuff)

Brie de Meaux, Stinking Bishop,
Ideally everyone should get a piece of the ‘nose’ from a slice of Brie, but it’s not a practical way to cut this gooey cheese. Instead, take one slice from the nose, then you can make several long cuts from the edge towards where the nose used to be, ensuring everyone gets a bit of goo.

5. Pyramid or Square Cheese

Cerney, Dorstone, Pont L’Eveque
Cut a pyramid or square cheese as you would a round cheese. So begin by slicing the cheese down the middle, then making a two further slices at 45° angles.

6. Wedge of Blue Cheese

Stilton, Shropshire Blue, Perl Las, Roquefort, Beauvale
The key is to ensure everyone receives an equal amount of ‘blueness’ in each slice. So make diagonal cuts at the two high corners and further cuts along the length of the cheese.

7. Log-shaped Cheese

Aldwych, Ragstone, Bosworth Ash
Slice a log-shaped cheese horizontally to create several small ‘rounds’.

Rind - to eat or not to eat?
Once you have cut your cheese, you can then consider whether to eat the rind. The rind is the outer layer that forms on the cheese during the cheese-making process. There are three main types:

Bloomy rinds

Bloomy rinds are white and soft and found on cheeses like Camembert or Brie. They form when cheesemakers spray an edible mould onto the cheese.

Washed rinds

Washed rinds form when the cheeses are bathed regularly with a bacterial solution during the ageing process, found on cheeses like Stinking Bishop, Epoisses and Goddess.

Natural rinds

Natural rinds form as a result of the temperature and humidity of the rooms where the cheeses are aged, found on cheeses like Parmesan and Stilton. A number of our traditional British territorial cheeses are wrapped with cloth once made. The cloth is removed once the cheese is ready to eat and the natural rind is left.

Whether you eat rind or not is purely a matter of personal preference – every cheese is different, as is everyone’s sense of taste. The rind on some cheeses, like Parmesan, is usually just too hard to be enjoyable, but we would suggest that for most cheeses, you simply give it a try.

We would also recommend you try a small piece of the cheese just underneath the rind as this is usually one of the most delicious parts.

However, eating cheese is about enjoying cheese, so eat what you want and leave what you don’t!

Well - I have had a wonderful day out today in the Provincial Sunday Lunch for the Order of Athelstan, and the added benefit that my wife was happy to drive..  We are about to sit down to watch the Antiques Road Show, and chop the noses off some Cheese with biscuits (unsalted) and a glass of Port ...


Saturday, 21 April 2018

21st April 2018 - New Dog Breeds recognised by Kennel Club?

Thought or the day:"I tried to invent a new kind of apple peeler but it didn’t bare fruit."

Was sent details of new cross breeds of dog today ...

seems legit ...

Of course they are not corgis - and today we celebrate the Queen's 92nd Birthday

Happy Birthday !!!

Another day of sunshine and heatwave - apparently it is snowing in Forest Lakes in Arizona !!

World is tipped upside down again

But a day in for a change

Cheers !

Friday, 20 April 2018

20th April 2018 - of Facts and Falsehoods

Thought for the day:"They said I was average - I thought that was mean!"

Some interesting fact to share:

Time Immemorial is actually 6th July 1189 - the date of Richard the first's coronation
the date that the first statutes of Parliament declared the "limit of Legal Memory)

They developed a method of carrying livestock without messing up the vehicle !!
I thought I would share this picture of a goat carrier

and some facts that are not as they seem - this is a lovely little meme running around apparently showing that the press change their news stories dependent upon the geographical or socio-economic target audience...

In fact snopes confirms that these are just two different editions of the paper ( as shown by the little stars at the top right of the page which signify editions) and reflect the way the story broke during the day .. but you can believe anything these days !!

but some things are as they seem

They walk among us !!

Cheers !

Thursday, 19 April 2018

19th April 2018 - Robin Hood and the Wren's Nest

Thought for the day:"Our tour guide took us around an empty perfume factory today. Made no scents whatsoever."

So - Susie is still poring over the maps and the histories of the Wren's Nest where my mother was apparently born - thought we now find that the Wren's Nest was a small hamlet with a pub and not a singly house at all and may not even be int he area that we were looking...

But we managed to cast some ashes from the Bridge - not at Ironbridge itself as that bridge was all closed off for repairs but the bridge below it by the Robin Hood pub, where we had a packet of crisps and a pint...

The Bridge

Pooh Sticks

Bon Voyage

View from the Bridge

Ye Olde Robin Hood 

And so the family returns to America and I really should get on with some paperwork .. and charge the Bothy up .. Could be a day for Shorts !!!


Wednesday, 18 April 2018

18th April 2018 - Turning Left !!!

Thought for the day:"I'm struggling to put food on the table - probably shouldn't have taken the job as a waiter!"
Apparently UPS delivery vans do not turn right in the UK ( or left in the US etc)!!
Note to self - watch out for a van that does the opposite - nice to have a project ...

It might seem strange, but UPS delivery vans don’t always take the shortest route between stops. The company gives each driver a specific route to follow and that includes a policy that drivers should never turn through oncoming traffic (that’s left in countries where they drive on the right and vice versa) unless absolutely necessary. This means that routes are sometimes longer than they have to be. So, why do they do it?

Every day, along with thousands of other companies, UPS solves versions of the vehicle routing problem. In these mathematical problems, you are given a set of points and the distances between them, and you have to find the best route(s) to travel through all of them. Best is usually defined as the route with the shortest overall distance.

Vehicle routing problems are used to organise many things, from coping with more delivery trucks in cities and hailing taxis to catching chickens on a farm. The concept was introduced by George Dantzig in 1959. Over 50 years later, and despite a large body of scientific research, scientists are still looking for new ways to tackle the problem.

UPS have moved away from trying to find the shortest route and now look at other criteria to optimise the journey. One of their methods is to try and avoid turning through oncoming traffic at a junction. Although this might be going in the opposite direction of the final destination, it reduces the chances of an accident and cuts delays caused by waiting for a gap in the traffic, which would also waste fuel.

UPS have designed their vehicle routing software to eliminate as many right-hand turns as possible. Typically, only 10% of the turns are right turns. As a result, the company claims it uses 10m gallons less fuel, emits 20,000 tonnes less carbon dioxide and delivers 350,000 more packages every year. The efficiency of planning routes with its navigation software this way has even helped the firm cut the number of trucks it uses by 1,100, bringing down the company’s total distance traveled by 28.5m miles – despite the longer routes.

It seems incredible that not turning left can lead to such significant savings. The TV series Mythbusters tested this idea and confirmed that, despite many more turns, the policy of only turning right does save fuel. In their one truck experiment they traveled further, but when you scale this up to a global level, UPS really does travel fewer miles in total.

The success of UPS’s policy raises the question, why don’t we all avoid turning left (or right, depending on what country we’re in), as we drive around cities on our daily commutes? If everyone did it, the carbon savings would be huge and there’d probably be far less congestion.

So there !!!