# Monday, 06 December 2010

Over the past week the snow has been causing all sorts of problems which is hardly surprising since we have had 15 inches of it in Sevenoaks. With that amount of snow I think people expect roads to be blocked and train services to be cancelled. The situation has been that no trains have been running out of Sevenoaks at all for nearly four days with the service just starting to get back to normal.

South Eastern who run the line have been getting a very bad press as a result. The main problem, however, seems to be the fact that they have not given their customers any information. Rather than tell people there have been no trains running their website and the National Rail website were for most of the time showing all services as running normally. This resulted in frustrated commuters turning up at the station expecting a train service when there was none. In fact the only reliable information available has come from Twitter where customers have been venting their frustration.

The one TV interview with South Eastern’s Sarah Boundy failed to address the problems. She highlighted the fact that South Eastern have a new website that was able to cope with the increased traffic. Unfortunately she missed the point that a new website is not very useful if it doesn’t contain up to date information. It took South Eastern two days to change the site to indicate which routes were running by which time customers had already stopped trusting the information given. All in all this has been a complete disaster for South Eastern. It will be interesting to see if they learn from the experience.

posted on Monday, 06 December 2010 08:59:19 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

According to this article McDonalds has launched its own degree course for its managers. The course which is accredited by Manchester Metropolitan University is a two year foundation degree in managing business operations. It is a customised version of Manchester Metropolitan University's management development programme and allows McDonald’s employees to get a recognised qualification without leaving their jobs. The course will be a combination of classroom study, e-learning and training in the workplace.

posted on Monday, 06 December 2010 08:40:58 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, 05 December 2010


If you are looking for something a little more unusual for your garden then you might be interested in this black petunia. Called Black Velvet it has been developed using natural breeding techniques to turn the petals a dark colour. They will be on sale next spring for around £2 to £3 a plant.

posted on Sunday, 05 December 2010 12:47:58 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, 04 December 2010

Some of the largest drug and cosmetics firms have backed plans to cut animal testing. AstraZeneca, Procter & Gamble, Unilever and L'Oreal have endorsed an initiative to end the use of animals in research and safety testing. Instead they believe the future of safety testing for new drugs and chemical products lies in new technologies that use cell culture and computer models. It has long been argues that animals are poor models for testing drugs and products to be used by humans because their biology is different, however, scientists maintain that animal testing is an important safety step.

posted on Saturday, 04 December 2010 13:30:58 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

This is a slightly odd story. It’s an incident where a man left £80,000 in a carrier bag on top his car and drove off losing the money. The cash appears to have vanished and the man reported a case of lost property. The situation is now being treated as theft by police. If you find a bag full of cash in Westcliff on Sea, Essex then you might want to contact Essex police.

posted on Saturday, 04 December 2010 13:28:11 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, 03 December 2010

That's’ according to this article which highlights how reliant the birds are upon human intervention. The birds have been brought back from the brink of extinction by a programme to install nest boxes. However, without a continued conservation effort the birds could be at risk. Between the 1930s and 1980s numbers of barn owls fell by as much as 70% with only 4,000 breeding pairs of birds. It is thought that the installation of nest boxes has now halted the decline and in some cases it has been reversed. Barn owls are largely reliant on areas of ungrazed and unmown grassland where their favourite food field voles like to live. With less of this type of habitat available barn owls tend to hunt alongside roadside verges which is unfortunately a risky pursuit with large numbers being killed by cars every year. Whilst the nestbox scheme is encouraging it appears it needs to be an ongoing project in order to save the species.

posted on Friday, 03 December 2010 14:35:02 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, 02 December 2010

Log Cabin

I thought we had a lot of snow yesterday but today we must have at least 18 inches in the garden today. You can get an idea of the conditions from the picture of our log cabin. It is now more than knee deep and in places where it has drifted much deeper. Currently no trains are going out of Sevenoaks station and the car is stuck in the drive. Even if we could get it out the roads are simply too dangerous. A walk into town yesterday found that most of the shops were shut and our local Co-op whilst open is limiting bread to one loaf per person. Personally judging by the state of the roads I’m surprised they have had a bread delivery at all. This is certainly the most snow I have in Sevenoaks in my lifetime and the bad news is its still snowing. I have a feeling it might just get worse before it gets better.

posted on Thursday, 02 December 2010 10:48:36 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, 01 December 2010

According to this article Heston Blumenthal’s Christmas pudding is selling for more than £100 on Ebay. The pudding is unusual because it has a whole candied orange inside it. It was on sale for £13.99 at Waitrose but having proved very popular it quickly sold out. It appears, however, that it is much sought after and people are prepared to pay a lot more than the original value for one. It does look nice but I’m not sure I would pay that much for it.

posted on Wednesday, 01 December 2010 08:35:56 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Snow I woke up this morning to find a covering of snow in the garden. It’s not very thick at the moment but it certainly looks pretty.

posted on Tuesday, 30 November 2010 10:10:55 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, 29 November 2010

This is an interesting idea from a website called useyourlocal.com It allows users to have their parcels delivered to their local pub so that they don’t have to wait in for deliveries. It costs a pub $50 a year to subscribe to the service, they then give customers a unique code which they enter when placing an order on a site such as Amazon. The landlord of the pub received an email when a delivery is on its way and the customer simply picks it up from the pub.

It looks like a good idea and something that could help the local pub become an important part of the community particularly at a time when many pubs are struggling. Looking at the website though there are currently no pubs offering this in my area. It does also appear to need quite a bit of updating as in my local area there are least 5 pubs listed on the site that I know have been closed for several years.

posted on Monday, 29 November 2010 11:49:56 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback