The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.

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12:18pm on Monday, 18th March, 2019:

Important Safety Warning


This arrived this morning.

Ye gods, I'm lucky to be alive!

The last recall I had was for my car, which took a month to get seen to because everyone else with a Ford Focus also got one. That one involved the brakes suddenly not working.

Personally, I think Sainsbury's coffee is more likely to kill me than their cafetière is.


4:53pm on Sunday, 17th March, 2019:

British Isles


I came across this ad back in January and have only just found the screenshot I took of it.

I'm sure there's a Brexit metaphor in there somewhere.


4:35pm on Saturday, 16th March, 2019:



I can't believe that Flying Tiger didn't put their "herb infusers" within the reach of small children in the hope that said small children would indeed grab hold of and brandish them, asking their parents what they are in a loud voice in front of everyone.


12:03pm on Friday, 15th March, 2019:

Pleasant Pheasant


We had a visitor this morning.

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that pheasants are so tame, because most of them are bred in captivity. I am, however, surprised that one of next door's cats didn't get it.


6:41pm on Thursday, 14th March, 2019:



It used to be that there were worn-out patches in front of the boards in the lecture theatre, but not any m0re.

Everyone performs from the side of the stage now.


3:31pm on Wednesday, 13th March, 2019:

Did You Know


Did you know that the part of Great Britain west of a line drawn between the Wirral and the Bristol Channel covers an area roughly the size of Wales?


3:24pm on Wednesday, 13th March, 2019:

Campus Blend


The café in the STEM centre describes its Campus Blend coffee in these words:

It's hard to imagine how any coffee could be said to be creamy, let alone silky. Its "notes" include not just almond, not just croissant, but the very intersection of the two; this, combined with malt and the particular flavour of chocolate you get in truffles, leads to the final taste.

OK, so given that this taste could in practice basically be summarised as "sawdust" I can see why they might not want to advertise it as such, but really, this kind of pretentious language is the stuff of wine labels (and indeed "almond croissant" seems to be some kind of official term sanctioned for wine label usage). It may well hail from Cocafelol, Honduras and Chirinos, Peru, but it's going in a plastic-coated paper cup with two sachets of sugar and a glug of whatever that off-white liquid is in the milk jug.


6:33pm on Tuesday, 12th March, 2019:



I spent several hours this week looking for (and finding) patterns in the data of one of my PhD students.

As a result of this exercise I now have a fuller appreciation of why scientists, whether physical or social, always want more data. If you have enough, you can find pretty well whatever you want to find in it.

Sadly, my student has more scruples than I do, so won't be using my "findings" in her thesis.


5:12pm on Monday, 11th March, 2019:



Well, this makes a change. Instead of the usual chalk rendition of the UN Declaration of Human Rights on the steps between squares 3 and 4, this morning I was greeted by an essay on the environment instead.

Somewhat ironically, all the effort that went into this is going to result in zero reductions in waste, therefore it is itself a waste of energy.


3:06pm on Sunday, 10th March, 2019:

Wrapping Up


Usually when it comes to birthday presents for our daughters, my wife pays for the presents and I wrap them up. Previously, I was of the opinion that I had the better of the deal, but now I'm, beginning to wonder if I've been the victim of a long-term plan.

I've just spent two hours wrapping up a pile of presents, only one of which was in an actual box. None of the rest were the same shape as each other, if indeed they had a shape at all. There were several things that I didn't even kn0w what they were, some kind of female clothing I think; I just wrapped them up and hoped for the best. There was one black bag that I was forbidden even to open, so alarming were apparently its contents. I had to make a box for it out of an old shoebox and then wrap that up. There were also bottles of stuff that I've no idea what they did, but could at least see which way up they went.

Three rolls of wrapping paper ran out, too, and I have to buy that, not my wife.

Yes, overall I think I've been outplayed here.


3:01pm on Saturday, 9th March, 2019:



I thought I'd better take a photo of this so that the next time someone moves it and it falls to pieces I don't have to spend 20 minutes figuring out how to put it back together. I can spend 20 minutes looking for this post instead,

Damn those Christmas crackers and their puzzle-content ways.


6:03pm on Friday, 8th March, 2019:

Better Colchester


The latest unsolicited magazine to arrive through everyone's letterbox is Centurion — "your news from Colchester Borough Council". It's packed full of Borough Council news goodness, with a particular highlight being the page showing the faces of 51 councilors, all of whom have insincere smiles except the hipster, who may be smiling, may not be, you can't tell because of his beard.

I also like an article headlined "Colchester in the top three in England!". So, that would be third, then. The article's opening paragraph tells us that the borough's recycling rates are among the very best in the country, but reading on it transpires that actually it's the one with the third-highest increase in household recycling. That means it went from terrible to merely bad, then.

This is my favourite part, through, a full A4-sized half-page of filler.

It's clipboard clip art, but although the right hand is writing on it, the left hand isn't actually holding it.

I'm pleased with this, as it shows the council isn't wasting money paying expensive graphic artists to produce its imagery. It shows they're trying to keep council tax under control.


6:36pm on Thursday, 7th March, 2019:

Think Again


From this month's Elite, the advertising magazine delivered free to every household in our village earlier this week:

I suspect that no-one in the village other than perhaps the author of this piece would answer that question in the affirmative.


3:43pm on Wednesday, 6th March, 2019:




6:51pm on Tuesday, 5th March, 2019:



This appeared at the university today in my favourite poster spot between squares 2 and 3:

"I know! Let's put up an 8-metre by 2-metre piece of paper telling everyone not to waste paper!"


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Copyright © 2019 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).