# Thursday, 20 September 2007
People in Italy are being asked not to eat pasta for a day. The move is part of a protest against rising prices. The price of pasta in Italy is likely to rise for 20% due to the fact that it is becoming more expensive to produce. The problem has arisen due to the fact that fewer farmers are growing durum wheat and are instead concentrating on producing sun flowers which are used to produce bio diesel. Farmers have been actively encouraged to grow sun flowers instead and are rewarded with incentives. The knock on effect is a shortage of durum wheat and the proposed rise in the price of pasta.

posted on Thursday, 20 September 2007 17:26:09 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
I have been getting a lot of apples in my fruit and vegetable box recently, not that I’m complaining. It appears it’s down to a bumper apple crop this year which is a result of the warm string and the summer rain. In fact the apple crop is up 10% on last year. An amazing 8,000 tonnes of Braeburns are due to arrive in supermarkets this week, with around 45,000 tonnes of Cox’s also due to go sale. I quite like apples so am looking forward to happily munching my way through a few of them.

posted on Thursday, 20 September 2007 15:48:58 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
I spend a lot of time reading other peoples blogs, one that I have recently subscribed to is a travel blog called realtravel. A recent article that I found interesting was a two week travel itinerary for China. The suggested itinerary takes you through most of the main attractions as well as suggesting places to stay. It starts off with three days in Beijing before moving onto Xi’an, the home of the Terracotta Warriors and then to Chengdu and the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base.

Another interesting article deals with travelling with children. The article talks about what is the best age for children to travel. It also deals with setting reasonable expectations, for example combining visits to museums and shrines with more entertaining things, like roller coasters and ice cream for the children.

posted on Thursday, 20 September 2007 12:57:44 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, 19 September 2007
Ahoy there! Today is Talk Like A Pirate Day. Talk Like A Pirate Day was started in 1995 when two friends decided it was great to talk like a pirate and there should be a day when you can do just that. Yarrrr! If you need some tips on how to talk like a pirate you can visit the website for some tips. If on the other hand you would rather look like a pirate, you can head down to The Joke Shop for all things pirate-like Arrr!

posted on Wednesday, 19 September 2007 15:22:14 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
I opened a new box of paper the other day and put the old box to one side for recycling. As you can see within a few minutes there was a cat in it.

posted on Wednesday, 19 September 2007 11:01:22 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, 18 September 2007
This story is the first story on this topic I have come across. It has been reported in China that a man has died after playing computer games non-stop for three days. The 30 year man fainted at an internet café where he had been playing an online gambling game. It is thought he succumbed to extreme exhaustion. Paramedics that were called to the scene were unable to revive him and he was declared dead at the scene. China is currently one of the largest markets for online games and now has several clinics to treat what is called “internet addiction”. I like to play computer games and myself have spent a long weekend pretty much doing nothing except playing games, most of the day and night. I am thinking back to when I purchased the last Tombraider game, with its combination of storyline and puzzles, it really got me hooked. Depite the many hours I devoted to completing Tombraider I still can't quite believe that someone could become so addicted to a game that they could die from exhaustion. Even I managed to stop for food and sleep.

posted on Tuesday, 18 September 2007 17:03:47 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [1] Trackback
Lloyds TSB is the first high street bank to introduce plans to cut overdraft charges. The banks will introduce the new charges on the 2nd of November. They plan to cut the interest rates for unauthorised borrowing by a third as well as reducing the charges for going overdrawn. They will also reduce the charges for bounced cheques. Lloyds say they are reducing charges in response to customer feedback. They will still charge customer £15 a month for going overdrawn and then a daily rate of between £6 and £20 depending on the size of the overdraft. I think the fact that they are reducing charges is a positive step, it will be interesting to see if other high street banks follow suit.

posted on Tuesday, 18 September 2007 08:54:55 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, 17 September 2007
Many things affect the cost of your insurance but the main reason you are paying more could be your post code. I was reading this article that suggests residents in South Norwood pay more than three times as much for building and contents insurance as someone who lives in Barnstaple. The website also provides a post code checker so you can see how the area in which you live affects what you pay. The results show you a typical annual premium for a house in your area, as well as where it ranks in the country. My breakdown was as follows:

Your postcode breakdown:  
•    Your league position: 1365 out of 1659
•    Your premium: £190.25
•    The national average is £169.45

posted on Monday, 17 September 2007 14:04:05 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, 16 September 2007
I just opened a bottle of Vashon Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2006. This is a really fruity full bodies red wine. It has a slightly oak like taste. I thought this was a really nice wine and good for the price of £6.49 a bottle. Slightly strong at 14% volume but it still gets five stars.

posted on Sunday, 16 September 2007 20:26:03 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
Oscar is a funny cat, he loves cuddly toys. He often picks them up in his mouth and carries them around the house whilst howling at the top of his voice. I have not been able to find out why he does this. His latest trick is to gradually transport all of the toys outside, one by one, whilst howling very loudly.

posted on Sunday, 16 September 2007 17:42:36 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [2] Trackback
I came across this website that offers a Photo to Canvas Printing service. They can convert any image whether it is from a digital camera, a photograph, 35mm slides and transparencies. They offer photo restoration as part of the service and can correct any imperfections such as red eye. They can also combine several images for you, convert a picture to black and white and restore damaged pictures.
If you want to combine a lot of photographs you can choose from several options, one of which is a memory board containing as many as twenty small photographs. I think this option is a really nice idea and would make a really nice personal present. Other options available include a filmstrip effect where you can combine four of five images separated by a film strip.

They offer the prints on a wide range of finishes including art paper, art canvas, photo paper and clear film. A family and friends package is also available so that if you order a main piece of art, you can have an additional two A3 duplicates for an extra £100. All the prints are offered with a full money back guarantee so that if for any reason you are not satisfied they will issue a full refund.

posted on Sunday, 16 September 2007 17:38:07 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, 15 September 2007

It’s good news for the traditional British pint, which was due to be scrapped under EU rules. The EU have now announced a U-turn on the policy which would have meant grocers would be unable to sell produce in pounds and ounces and pubs would have to stop selling pints. The EU has now ruled that pubs can go on serving beer in pints after 2009. Personally I couldn’t see myself ordering a litre of beer, mines a pint landlord.

posted on Saturday, 15 September 2007 08:46:29 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [1] Trackback
# Friday, 14 September 2007
I was chatting to a friend the other day who had been told by an advertising agency that Quark is not compatible between the PC and the Mac. I’m not quite sure where the advertising agency found their information because I have been using Quark successfully between the PC and Mac for around six years now. On one project I spent a lot of time working with style sheets between Quark on a PC and Quark on a Mac. I found with this that as long as the style sheets have all the same names they import perfectly. Saying this you can experience some slight text reflow between the Mac and PC versions of Quark. This is usually caused by the fact that the fonts differ slightly between the two systems. I would be interested to hear from other people that have worked with Quark on cross platform projects.

posted on Friday, 14 September 2007 22:10:33 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
I have reading with interest the news surrounding Northern Rock and the fact that is has recently had to ask for the Bank of England for emergency funding. As a result its shares have now fallen by 25%. Customers have also been unable to access their accounts on the website to increased demand. There have been reassurances that the business is stable but in some areas worried customers have been queuing outside branches.

posted on Friday, 14 September 2007 15:25:54 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
If you have to appear in court, I’m sure you would make all the proper preparations, such as wearing a smart suit, making sure you are not driving a stolen car, that sort of thing. One woman who went to court to pay a traffic ticket was arrested after it was found she had driven to the court in a stolen car. Now, that’s just plain stupid.

posted on Friday, 14 September 2007 11:20:41 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [2] Trackback
# Thursday, 13 September 2007
If there is one thing I can’t stand its sales calls. Usually its people who are quite obviously based in an Indian call centre trying to sell me a mobile phone contract that I don’t need or wanting me to consolidate all my debts into one easy payment. Despite registering with the telephone preferences society I still receive a huge number of these calls.

I have now started to make a game out of it, by generally asking as many stupid questions as I can think of and getting the sales person to repeat the information over and over, until they get bored and hang up. When I see an international number come up on the phone, I often answer with “Battersea Dogs Home, how can I help you”. Pretending you are deaf is always fun, as is asking them to speak slowly so you can write everything down. I have even started trying to sell things to the sales people and now actually look forward to making their life difficult, mean I know, but so is calling me at 8am on a Sunday morning. It seems some companies, have now stopped using real people. Instead of getting a person who you can have fun annoying, there is simply an automated message. These really annoy me, what’s the point in getting sales calls if you can’t have a bit of fun? Bring back real people I say.

posted on Thursday, 13 September 2007 21:57:12 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
Its bad news for farmers who must have thought they were lucky to survive the first foot and mouth outbreak a month ago. It appears foot and mouth is back again, this time in Egham, about five minutes walk from my house. It appears the disease is the same strain that was found in Pirbright, near Guildford last month. So far, it has affected two farms in Egham, with the nearby footpaths being closed off. There is also a noticeable increase in traffic where I live due to the fact that several roads in the area have also been closed. Let’s hope they can contain this latest outbreak quickly before too many farms are affected.

posted on Thursday, 13 September 2007 14:31:36 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback