Arcticterntalk.org

The blog of a travelling psychiatrist and football lover. Who happens to be a halfway decent photographer. Takes a cynical view of the world

Archive for the day “December 31, 2013”

Abolition of Paper Tax Discs in 2014


On Thursday 5 December 2013, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that the government will change the law in 2014 to reduce tax administration costs and burdens associated with vehicle tax. New system will be digital record. This can be checked by mere mortals by visiting this site

http://www.gov.uk/check-vehicle-tax

Paper tax discs will be replaced with electronic system from October 2014, with monthly direct debit option for 5%, or annually or even bi-annually. The government will do well out of this as the government estimates that it will lose around £35m due to Vehicle Excise Duty evasion in 2013/14, which equates to around 210,000 un-taxed vehicles, or 0.6% of the traffic on UK roads.

Maybe CCTV will then be able to stop motorists flouting the red route lines as shown in photograph below.

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A Dead Swan at Painshill Park. Why do Cygnets die?


Painshill Park is an amazing park in Surrey near Cobham just off Junction 10 of the M25 and well worth a visit. We have been regular visitors now for over 10 years but yesterday saw a sad sight of a dead swan, cygnet really. No clear reason why it had died, no injuries visible, weather no worse than normal .Just sad really. The swan was lying near the top of the main lake not far from the Ruined Abbey and plenty of other Swans and Cygnets were swimming around.

I did a little research to find out maybe what might have happened. Swans firstly tend to have few real predators except when young. New born cygnets are mainly lost to crows, herons, magpies, turtles, pike and large perch. Both cygnets and full-grown swans are also the prey of foxes and mink. Other dangers include vandalism, pollution, dogs and various poisonings. Who knows what happened to our cygnet?

The Daily Mail however do have an online story of interest. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-454255/Mystery-heartbreak-seven-cygnets-vanish-one.html

Seven cygnets have vanished without trace in a week from Cheltenham. The rangers report that the last time they indeed lost a cygnet of this age was in 1991. So the death of our cygnet is unusual. Other trawling of websites suggested this:

The cygnets may have picked up something on the migratory pattern, i.e., lead poisoning, botulism (although most of the time, it would be a more immediate death (within 24 hours if botulism is the culprit). Do the cygnets look like they have lost muscle (neck) control? Are they exuding a thick saliva from their mouths and exhibiting convulsions prior to their demise? These questions would lead to some type of poisoning.

 

Dead Swan Dead Swan2 IMG_6208IMG_6208 IMG_6199

Who Actually is Barry Waitrose? Does he know Vincent Tan?


I do not know nor have met Barry Waitrose. In fact none of you have. But Barry a suburb of Cardiff if I recall has a Waitrose so I am told. This story from the excellent Independent made me laugh. For the full details just click away here http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/waitrose-faces-middle-class-revolt-over-free-coffee-loyalty-card-9030195.html

 

But essentially Waitrose now invite folks to sign up for a free loyalty card enabling them to have a free cup of tea/coffee regardless of any purchase in the store. Great idea. I think the marketing term is loss leader. I think the card also allows some discounts on certain products, but in any case it is free, took 2 minutes to sign up for and may be helpful. Seemingly some Waitrose customers think otherwise and consider that the wrong types of customers are coming into their shops with ” tesco bags”. One such comment comes from Barry Waitrose.

Who are these clueless people? Do they really think that shopping in a specific shop makes them better people? Delusions of grandeur or simply delusions……. Is there something wrong with the air in Cardiff? Firstly Vincent Tan and now Barry Waitrose.

 

However who is Barry Waitrose and has anyone ever met him?

 

 

2013 in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,400 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Another Great Initiative From Brentford Football Club Jan 11th


As a season ticket holder at Brentford we have a great offer for all season ticket holders to be able to purchase up to 4 tickets each for £5 for the home game versus Port Vale on Jan 11th. They must be bought in advance and not available on the day. Yet another piece of good marketing and good common sense from Mark Devlin and the team at Brentford.

January is a fiscally challenging month for most and initiatives like these do really help.

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Football Ticket Prices Fall and Potentially Football is Free now in 2014


Going to football games is not a cheap hobby. Let me give you an example. A ticket for an away Brentford fan at Peterborough on New Years day costs £25 if bought in advance and £28 on the day. This is for a standard league 1 game. It is good to see a few initiatives from football clubs to overcome this and potentially help themselves too. Lets not forget that ticket revenue is only one source of income, sales of items from club shops, burgers and programmes also contribute. At a recent home game Brentford in league 1 took around £11,500 in catering income alone, and let me tell you their catering is no Fat Duck.  Lets examine a few of the good guys:

  1. In 2013 Brentford had a ” pay what you want” game. The deal was simply you choose what you pay and anything over 5£ for the ticket was donated to a sports charity. The only thing asked was that the ticket was bought in advance. They also had a similar venture in 2012 however sadly on that day the game was postponed due to adverse weather.
  2. In 2014 on February 3rd, the game between Hastings v Walton and Hersham in Ryman South , is a ” choose your own admission fee” game. The rationale here is that the game was previously abandoned after 61 minutes and this now has to be replayed. The only costs that Hastings are aiming to recover are the travelling costs for the away club ( fair enough) and the match officials. All other monies will be donated to St Michaels Hospice. A great and sensible initiative . Any locals who do not normally watch Ryman league football should come on down and give it a try, potentially at zero/little cost.
  3. As a season ticket holder at Brentford we have a great offer for all season ticket holders to be able to purchase up to 4 tickets each for £5 for the home game versus Port Vale on Jan 11th. They must be bought in advance and not available on the day. Yet another piece of good marketing and good common sense from Mark Devlin and the team at Brentford.January is a fiscally challenging month for most and initiatives like these do really help.
  4. In 2014 on Jan 4th Basingstoke v Tonbridge Angels in Conference South (Skrill South) is essentially pay what you want minimum £1. On the excellent club website, Sarah Parsons explains“‘This is a gesture to the whole town and outlying districts, we are giving something back to the community by allowing people to come to the match for a price which they decide. We know that January can be tough on family budgets so come to the football match and spend the day with us, and in the clubhouse afterwards. We really want to open our doors for people to come and see us, old fans and new fans, everybody is welcome. Maybe family, friends or workmates of existing fans have always been shy to come along in the past. We have the exciting prospect of a new ground in the pipeline but why not come along and start supporting your local football team now? We know many will still support the likes of Arsenal & Chelsea in the big Premiership matches, that’s fine, but maybe if people came along to see football at this level they may be pleasantly surprised. Ultimately the Town’s football team will be what we as citizens of the Town make it. We have to set a £1 minimum entrence fee due to rules but hopefully people will give us more as every penny helps a small club like ours to grow to become something that the whole Borough can be proud of in future. Tonbridge Angels are a good side in our league and we anticipate a good competitve league match. Our team currently sit in or very close to the league play off positions so it would be great if as many people as possible came through the gates to roar their Town on and hopefully towards victory on the day and ultimately promotion to the Conference National league at the end of this season “This is an initiative that should be supported and encouraged.   www.basingstoketown.net/the-club/town-announce-happy-new-year-day/. Lets us hope that more clubs will go down this route. Nonleague football is a great game and often skill and excitement levels are equal to those in some of the lower leagues. The catering is undeniably better than at league clubs!Image-620x350

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