Saturday, 31 January 2009

Blonde Moments

Proving that blondes do have more fun, a top 50 of classic quotes:

1) Paris Hilton talking to press about the US chain store: "Wal-Mart... do they like make walls there?"

2) Jessica Simpson on NewleyWeds: “Is this chicken, what I have, or is this fish? I know it's tuna, but it says 'Chicken by the Sea.'

3) Alicia Silverstone on her role in Clueless: "I think that the film was very deep. I think it was deep in the way that it was very light. I think lightness has to come from a very deep place if it's true lightness."

4) Chantelle Houghton when Big Brother said she had changed since becoming a celebrity: “I've changed? What do you mean... I've changed my clothes?"

5) Jodie Marsh in a recent interview: "Eskimos are uncivilised because they don't have any shops."

6) Paris Hilton on her technique on the red carpet: "I don't really think, I just walk."

7) Jessica Simpson on her first day at high school: "A teacher asked us if anybody knew the names of the continents. I was sooo excited. I was like, Damn it! It's my first day of 7th grade, I'm in junior high and I know this answer. So I raised my hand, I was the first one, and I said A-E-I-O-U!"

8) Goldie Horn on her favourite types of films: "Comedy is funny".

9) Sam Fox on fitness clothes: "I’ve got 10 pairs of training shoes - one for every day of the week."

10) Britney Spears on her taste in clothes: "So many people have asked me how I could possibly be a role model and dress like a tramp and get implants... all I have to say is that self-esteem is how you look at yourself and I feel good enough about myself so wear that kind of clothing... the breast implant issue has nothing to do with that..."

11) BB's Helen Adam’s on education: "The worst thing is when the press call me a dizzy blonde - I got a B in Drama, a D in English, I did a hairdressing course and a beauty certificate."

12) Lady Victoria Hervey on the homeless: "It's so bad being homeless in winter. They should go somewhere warm like the Caribbean where they can eat fresh fish all day."

13) Britney on Japan "I've never really wanted to go to Japan. Simply because I don't like eating fish. And I know that's very popular out there in Africa."

14) Jessica Simpson when offered buffalo wings: "Sorry I don't eat buffalo."

15) Paris Hilton on her fame: "There's nobody in the world like me. I think every decade has an iconic blonde, like Marilyn Monroe or Princess Diana and, right now, I’m that icon."

16) Chantelle Houghton on George Galloway: "He looks at us like we're stupid, scatty, uneducated girls. He's a right chauvinistic pig, whatever that means!"

17) Cameron Diaz on science: "I've been noticing gravity since I was very young."

18) Britney Spears on where she might start her theatre career: "I would rather start out somewhere small, like London or England.”

19) BB's Helen Adams on magic man Paul Daniels: "Yeah, you know Jack Daniels... he does all the magic stuff!"

20) Christina Aguilera on film festivals: "So where’s the Cannes film festival being held this year?"

21) Paris Hilton on her career choices: "First wanted to be a veterinarian. And then I realised you had to give them shots to put them to sleep, so I decided I'd just buy a bunch of animals and have them in my house instead."

22) Alicia Douvall on motherhood: "I think a 16-year-old with a nice, sexy figure will do really well as a model as long as she's managed well. That's why I'm happy for Georgia to have a boob job because it will give her a career."

23) Chantelle Houghton on hearing George Galloway was an MP: "Does that mean you work in that big room with the green seats?"

24) Britney on capital punishment: "I am for the death penalty. Who commits terrible acts must get a fitting punishment. That way he learns the lesson for the next time."

25) BB2's Helen Adams on pulses: "How much chicken is there in chick peas?"

26) Chanelle Hayes on her Posh spice obsession: “I like what she (Victoria Beckham) wears. That's what magazines are all about - there's always a picture of a celebrity and where to buy a replica of what they're wearing. It's not as if I'm doing anything weird.”

27) Paris Hilton on her title: "I don't want to be known as the Hilton heiress, because I didn't do anything for that."

28) Tara Reid on her fellow blonde celeb: "I make Jessica Simpson look like a rock scientist."

29) Ivana Trump on literature: "Fiction writing is great. You can make up almost anything."

30) Christina Aguilera on herself: "I'm an ocean, because I'm really deep. If you search deep enough you can find rare exotic treasures."

31) Britney Spears on her first tour: "Where the hell is Australia anyway?"

32) Alicia Douvall on surgery: "I know it (plastic surgeries) will kill me. But I'd rather die trying to sort things out."

33) Jodie Marsh on cooking: "Is an egg a vegetable?"

34) Kimberly Stewart on Jennifer Aniston: "I like her cos she's like, homely. She must have something else going on cos it's not like she's gorgeous or anything.”

35) Jessica Simpson on her mood at the VH1 '05 video awards: "Isn’t it weird I’m getting all emotionable."

36) Helen Adams on BB2 : "I probably sound Welsh on the telly."

37) Mariah Carey on the death of the King of Jordan: "I loved Jordan. He was one of the greatest athletes of our time."

38) Chantelle Houghton on different types of doctors: "What’s a gynaecologist?"

39) Pamela Anderson on her secret to success: "I don't think about anything too much . . . If I think too much, it kind of freaks me out!"

40) Ivana Trump on getting one over on her ex's new girlfriend: “Gorgeous hair is the best revenge.”

41) Brooke Shields on her campaign against smoking: "Smoking kills. If you're killed, you've lost a very important part of your life."

42) Heather Locklear on being proud of her heritage: "From an early age I was aware of what America meant, and how the Marines at Camp Pendleton were ready to defend us at a moment's notice. I also remember what fabulous bodies those troops had."

43) Jessica Simpson on her scantily clad videos: "I'm definitely shy, so it was definitely acting for me to drop a trench coat and be in a bikini and try to get my cousins out of trouble by using my body. That was definitely acting!"

44) Chantelle Houghton working out the shopping budget: "Eleventy-twelve pence? I don't get it. How much is that then?"

45) Britney on why she did a cover of I Love Rock and Roll: "I always loved Pat Benatar."

46) Emma Bunton on moobs: "I wish men had boobs because I like the feel of them. It's so funny - when I record I sing with a hand over each of them, maybe it's a comfort thing."

47) Cyndi Crawford on modelling: "In the studio, I do try to have a thought in my head, so that it's not like a blank stare."

48) The late Anna Nicole Smith on suicide bombers: "Doesn't that hurt?"

49) Jessica Simpson to the President when visiting the White House: "I love what you’ve done with the place!"

50) Mischa Barton on being blessed with looks: "Pretty people aren't as accepted as other people. It comes with all these stigmas."


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Yes, that has been done on an Etch-a-Sketch. Incredible.

Laundry in Kho Chang

The standard price seems to be THB 30/kg plus YHB 50/kg for ironing.

A week's worth has set us back a piffling THB 75 (including wrinkles), which is about £1.50.

That's a Biggie

Germans have been rushing to get their lottery tickets as the roll over has reached 35€ million tonight.

That would sure come in handy.

Only two jackpots have ever been higher: 37.6€ million was up for grabs in October 2006 and December 2007 saw the national lottery rise to an all-time high of 45.3€ million.

One For Hanna

More Canadians can correctly identify Steve Urkel than can correctly identify their prime minister.

I couldn't do either. :o)

Brilliant Bogs

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The top one is great- it's one way glass so no one can look in...

Memory Lane

Research by OnlineOpinions has revealed what Brits miss, as follows:

1. Bobbies on beat - 72

2. Snow at Christmas - 59

3. Top of the Pops - 53

4. Children playing in street - 52

5. Opal Fruits - 44

6. Apprenticeships - 44

7. Only Fools and Horses - 44

8. Red Phone boxes - 43

9. C&A - 42

10. Steam Trains - 40

11. Postcards - 38

12.Ask Jeeves - 37

13. Fuel in gallons - 37

14. Letter writing - 35

15. Local bank managers - 33

16. Outdoor swimming pools/lidos - 31

17. It's a Knockout - 31

18. Marathon Bars - 30

19. Spangles - 29

20. Old Grey Whistle Test - 24

(Scores in percentages)


An employee of the Berlin Postbank ordered the bank's safe to be scrapped during a branch office move. Unfortunately, they failed to check whether there was any money in it.

It contained 170 000€...

After realising the mistake, the bank made urgent inquires with the scrapping company but was told that the safe had already been destroyed; and officials subsequently wrote off the money believing it would never be found.

But workers at a steel plant in Henningsdorf near Berlin, where the safe ended up for scrapping, were astonished to see euro bills rain from the safe as it was being cut open. They immediately reported the case to the police and the money– or what remained from it, was returned to the bank.


A Perfect 1 0

A rare registration plate, 1 0, has just been sold for £210 242, and becomes the third most expensive ever to be sold by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

Proving this wasn't a one off, only last week the registration plate 1HRH was bought for £113 815.

What recession?

The top two most expensive plates ever sold by the DVLA were 51 NGH, which went for £254 000 in 2006 and 1 RH which was bought for £247 000 last year and more than £1.3 billion has been raised for the Treasury by the DVLA number plate auctions since the scheme began in 1989.


A guy who had just been convicted of drink-driving, walked from the court room and then climbed behind the wheel of his car before driving off. All of which was captured on CCTV.

He was brought back before a judge at the same court and sent to gaol for ten weeks. The judge said:

"This is the most blatant breach that I've seen in a long time. I take the view that the court's credibility has been seriously undermined. You were given the document, you signed it. There is only one result of breaching a court order within minutes, that is immediate custody."

The guy said he wasn't aware the ban was immediate, thinking it only started once he handed in his driving licence.

What a Load of Cobblers

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The above stilettos are designed by Bruno Frisoni, the creative director of the French luxury cobblers.

They feature an assortment of luxuries such as 24 ct gold-coated mesh, semi-precious stones, jet, satin ribbons, silk chiffon, diamanté and crocodile skin fashioned into dainty rosettes.

The "Dovima", an 11cm, spike-heeled confection of gilded silk mesh and jewels, is embellished with a pair of rose pink-dyed, taxidermy birds with gold and crystal heads.

And they'll set you back a whopping £30 000...

It's Back

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Heinz is resurrecting its Beanz Meanz Heinz slogan more than a decade after it was ditched.

The simple slogan, originally penned in a London pub in 1967, became one of the best-known phrases in advertising. However, it was dropped in the 1990s amid concern that it drew attention away from their other products.

They are also surprisingly easy to purchase pretty much anywhere we have been so far, but naturally more expensive at around a quid a tin. Not that we buy them- we haven't had access to a kitchen for ten months or so now.

This Made Me Smile

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Not in Singapore

It costs chewing gum manufacturers 18% less to put chewing gum in blister packaging than in its traditional individually wrapped stick form.

About Time

The Channel Tunnel is finally going to have a sprinkler system fitted after the third fire in 12 years forced Eurotunnel to admit that it had underestimated the risk of disaster deep under the sea bed.

Burning trains will stop at “extinguishing stations” that will be built at intervals along the 31-mile (50km) twin tunnels. Heat detectors will locate the fire and high-pressure jets of water or foam will be aimed automatically at the source as soon as the last passenger has escaped into the service tunnel.

I'm only surprised that it wasn't done sooner.

Full Steam Ahead

The first mainline steam engine to be built in Britain for nearly 50 years was given a final test run in Yorkshire this week before it carries its first fare-paying passengers from York to Newcastle today.

Tornado, a Peppercorn Class A1 engine, was built in Darlington at a cost of £3 million after an 18 year fundraising campaign by the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust.

What recession?

Giddy Up, Dobbin

A man who rode bareback along a city road after a drinking session was fined £150.

The guy appeared before Newcastle magistrates and admitted a charge under the Licensing Act 1872 of being drunk in charge of a carriage horse, cattle or steam engine. He said afterwards:

“I had only had a couple of cans and Bart needed some exercise.”

I'm not sure if his horse was a carriage horse or not, but it sounds like a great stunt, and I love the nag's name.

Carry on Milking

Richard Branson replies:

"I rang him (the author of the letter) when I read it. It is one of the most amusing letters I had ever seen. I rang him at home at 9pm one evening.

"We had a good laugh about it. Then I contacted Virgin Atlantic and asked them to look into it. The Indians love the food, but the presentation has something to be desired. I'm sure they will be working to make the presentation better.

It [the complaint letter] was done in a humourous way."

Branson then went on to say that he regularly contacts customers who have complained. But some think it is a friend of theirs pretending to be Branson.

"I have had people put the phone down".

No Foreign Nosh in Italy

Some Italian cities have banned foreign foods, such as kebabs, to promote their own cuisine.

Luca Zaia, the Minister of Agriculture and a member of the Northern League from the Veneto region, applauded the authorities in Lucca and Milan for cracking down on non-Italian food. He said that those ethnic restaurants allowed to operate “whether they serve kebabs, sushi or Chinese food” should “stop importing container loads of meat and fish from who knows where” and use only Italian ingredients.

Asked if he had ever eaten a kebab, Mr Zaia said: “No – and I defy anyone to prove the contrary. I prefer the dishes of my native Veneto. I even refuse to eat pineapple.”

What a berk. Is he aware that the San Marzano tomato, a staple ingredient of Italian pasta sauces, was a gift from Peru to the Kingdom of Naples in the 18th century. Even spaghetti, it is thought, was brought back from China by Marco Polo, and oranges and lemons came from the Arab world.

Davide Boni, a councillor in Milan for the Northern League, which also opposes the building of mosques in Italian cities, said that kebab shop owners were prepared to work long hours, which was unfair competition.

I see, so if Italian people prefer to lie in bed and doss, it's deemed unfair that others who work harder get their rewards? Incredible.

Is That the Time?

For the first time in many a year, I seem to have woken up gone midday.

No doubt this will entirely be down to my brother in law and the Singha* beer we quaffed until the wee hours of the morning, but nevertheless, that's a first for me.

Time for a spot of "breakfast" and then we'll be back to check out the news- internet connection permitting.

*We've switched brews; the Chang at 6.4% was real hooligan soup, whereas the Singha is a more relaxed fiver percenter.

Cash Points

Plenty around but not a single bank in the neighbourhood. The ATMs are attached to local corner shops and they all charge a commission for usage. It's only THB 20 per transaction, but it will still cost you.


Strays more specifically. Not since Greece have we seen so many of the poor mutts running the streets in packs.

Harmless, friendly, docile and plentiful, they sleep in the sun during the day and then come to life in the evenings, delighting us with their dawn choruses with their barking, yelping, woofing and the like.

Like the hippie traveller- nice enough in small doses, but far too many about.

Friday, 30 January 2009

On The Move

We decided to explore a bit more of the island yesterday (Bang Bao was our chosen destination)and the simplest way is to flag down a taxi bus.

It's really flat bed truck with the rear converted to take a bench along either side enclosed in a type of roll cage and one simply tells the driver the destination before he takes off like a fighter pilot.

Dead easy, a great way to see the scenery and by far the easiest way to navigate the treacherous hills that surround us on all sides.

The only problem is the price...

Irrespective of load, the cost remains constant and it will set you back around THB 100 (one way, per person) for a fifteen minute trip, which is extortionate. A bus from here to Bangkok is only THB 350!

Bloody taxi drivers are the biggest shysters the world over.

Lost Connection

Hang in there folks, we've been off line for a while as the connection went on the fritz. It's still ropey but we'll see how it settles down later.

How Does That Work Then?

McBroon and his crew are berating the banks for not lending to UK customers, after it was recently revealed that 80% of the bail out moolah was punted out to Johnny Foreigner.

How odd that the government's own banking advisers, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank, have already pocketed more than £60 million in fees between them since last October.

I could be wrong, but they sound almost Swiss and German to me. Buy British? Yeah, that's sure what it looks like...

My Old Mate BLiar Just Can't Stop

In an interview with TTimes, BLiar says he does not know whether history will vindicate him over the decision to invade Iraq.

He also compared President Obama to himself as a leader who is more interested in the practical than the ideological.

Has this man no sense of shame?

New to Me

Out with the northern contingency of the family last night, it once again highlighted the wonders of the "English" language. I'd never come across the term "marra" and was told it meant "mate". Lo and behold, taken from Urban Dictionary:

1. Marra 109 up, 4 down love ithate it

West cumbrian slang, roughly translates to 'Mate'. Highly underused word outside of the glorious Cumbria...Spread the word, its fucking great marra!
Alreet marra, whats the crack, like
by The Marra Mar 19, 2004 share this 1 comment
2. marra 52 up, 2 down love ithate it

the slang word in cumbrian to say mate or friend
asser marra whens'oo ga'an yam
by sheiky Sep 8, 2005 share this add comment
3. marra 17 up, 2 down love ithate it

Cumbrian word for friend or 'mate'. Originates from the way marrows are grown in a field, lined up next to each other closely, as if they were friends.
Allrite Marra, hows ya doing?

Broadband for Everyone by 2012

Digital Britain's action points (key recommendations in italics)

Broadband and digital networks:

Establish a strategy group to maximise "market-led" coverage of next-generation broadband; ease access to BT's ducts, making it easier for other internet providers to lay fibre optic to the home.

Examine whether public money is needed to "further next-generation broadband deployment".

Clear the way for "fourth generation" mobile phone services, by clearing radio spectrum used for television.

Digital Television:

Examine if digital switchover help scheme should include help with internet services

Digital Radio:

Clearly commit to the existing digital radio standard, and work to the eventual switch-off of FM .

Digital Broadcasting:

Examine whether it will be needed to provide "further support to foster UK creative ambition" and "alternative funding mechanisms to advertising revenues".

Illegal downloading:

Creation of a "Rights Agency" aimed at finding technical and legal solutions to digital piracy, funded by a tax on internet companies and film studios.

New law requiring internet providers to notify illegal downloaders that they are breaking copyright law, and requirement to hand over details of "repeat infringers" to music and film companies.

Channel 4, television and media mergers:

Explore relaxation of media merger rules.

Examine terms of trade between independent television producers and broadcasters.

Establish if a "sustainable second public service organisation providing competition for quality to the BBC can be defined and designed, drawing in part on Channel 4's assets and a recast remit". Ministers will start by looking at tie-ups with Channel 4 and BBC Worldwide, but Government is "evaluating a range of options and organisational solutions".

Universal Access:

Every house to get an entitlement to 2 megabit broadband service, with examination as to who should fund it.

Creation of "champions" to encourage universal take-up, with support of BBC. Make public services easy to use online. Widen media literacy.

Wrap Up- Again

The UK is to cop another dose of freezing weather with a blast of bitterly cold air sweeping in from deep inside Russia and Central Europe, with the entire country in line for snow at some point.

The forecast for the week is for the entire country to remain in the grip of the cold snap and possibly swamped by some very heavy snowfalls.

Now will not be a good time to show you our forecast, right? :o)

Dazza? Spazzer, More Like

From TTel:

Holiday operator Travel Republic has criticised an adventure travel company for its decision to advertise "chav-free holidays".

Activities Abroad sent out an email earlier this week to 24,000 people on its database , containing two lists of names. The first list the names that it believed holidaymakers would be likely to encounter on one of its holidays – such as Sarah, Charles and Alice. The second was a list of names it believed people would be unlikely to find – including Dazza, Britney and Shannon.

Travel Republic has responded by offering a 10 per cent discount on holiday bookings for anyone possessing one of the "chav" names.

Paul Furner, managing director of Travel Republic, described the Activities Abroad's "anti-chav" stance as “offensive”.

“We actively encourage bookings from everyone, irrespective of their name and its perceived social standing,” he said.

“In fact we’re delighted to have 1600 Shannons, 1100 Courtneys, 600 Chantelles, 500 Kylies, 400 Tiffanys, 300 Candices and 200 Britneys on our database, and two Candices, a Chantelle and a Dazza* among our staff.”

The discount will be on offer for the next two weeks.

The other "chav" names included in the Activities Abroad email were Bianca and Chardonnay.

The company came up with the idea after reading about research which said children with middle-class names were eight times more likely to pass their GCSEs than children with names such as Wayne and Dwayne.

Alistair Mclean, the managing director of Activities Abroad said it was time for the middle classes to stand up for themselves.

“Everybody else in our society seems to take from us, whether it is incompetent bankers or the shell-suited urchins who haunt our street corners,” he added.

*Really? Don't they mean some knob end who was born as simple Darren but thinks his reworking of the name will make him more appealing to the opposite sex?

Or same sex...


Let the Telegraph help:

1. Keep wet boots in shape Roll up a couple of old magazines and use them as boot trees inside a pair of damp knee-length boots. The magazines will help the boots maintain their shape as they dry.

2. Make low-cost freezer storage Reuse clean, sturdy margarine and other plastic containers to freeze measured portions of soups and stocks and to break up leftovers into single servings. A 1kg container, for example, stores the perfect amount of sauce for 500g of pasta. Hint: before freezing, let the food cool just enough to reduce condensation.

3. Separate toes when applying polish Get the comfort of a salon treatment when giving yourself a home pedicure. Just place marshmallows between your toes to separate them before you apply the nail polish. Make sure your feet are completely dry though or they may get sticky!

4. Condition your hair Massage mayonnaise into your hair and scalp just as you would an ordinary hair conditioner. Cover your head with a shower cap, wait several minutes and shampoo. The mayonnaise will moisturise your hair and give it a lustrous sheen.

5. Boost the flavour of corn on the cob This is a simple way to make corn on the cob taste sweeter and fresher. Add 50g powdered milk to a pan of boiling water before you put in the corn.

6. Remove ink stains from clothes To remove ink stains from coloured clothes, an overnight milk bath will often do the trick. Just soak the affected garment in milk overnight and launder as usual the next day.

7. Repel mice from garage or shed Don’t let mice spend their winter holidays with you. Place a few mothballs around the garage and the mice will seek alternative accommodation. To keep mice out of a potting shed, put the mothballs around the base of wrapped or covered plants.

8. Clean a computer monitor screen If you’ve run out of glass cleaner, a strong, alcohol-based mouthwash will work as well as, or better than, glass cleaner on a computer monitor or TV screen. Apply with a damp, soft cloth and buff dry. Remember to use only on glass screens, not liquid crystal displays as the alcohol can damage the material used in LCDs.

9. Make a facial mask Pat your face with mild yellow mustard for a bracing facial that will soothe and stimulate your skin. Try it on a small test area first to make sure it will not be irritating.

10. Protect outdoor taps for winter To prevent damage from ice and cold temperatures, make sure you shut off the valve to each tap and drain off any excess water. Then insulate each tap by wrapping it with a few sheets of newspaper covered with a plastic bag (keep the bag in place by wrapping it with gaffer tape or a few rubber bands).

11. Stop a run in your tights It can be a helpless feeling, realising that a small run in your tights is about to turn into a big embarrassment. Luckily you can stop runs permanently and prolong the life of fragile stockings with a dab of clear nail varnish. Simply apply polish to each end of a run (no need to remove the tights) and let it dry. This invisible fix stops runs and lasts through many hand washes.

12. Stop a windscreen crack from spreading If a small crack has developed in the windscreen, working in the shade, brush the crack on both sides of the glass with nail varnish to fill it well. Move the car into the sun so the windscreen can dry. You will eventually need to replace it, but this repair will give you time to shop around for the best estimate.

13. Remove paint from hair If you’ve got almost as much paint in your hair as on the walls when decorating, you can easily remove it by moistening a cotton wool ball with some olive oil and gently rubbing it into your hair. The same approach is also effective for removing mascara; just be sure to wipe your eyes with a tissue when you have finished.

14. Clean grimy tile grout lines Make a full-scale attack on grubby grout. First, make sure you have plenty of ventilation – it’s a good idea to use an exhaust fan to suck air out of a small bathroom. Put on rubber gloves and spray oven cleaner into the grout lines. Wipe the cleaner off with a sponge within five seconds. Rinse thoroughly with water to reveal sparkling white grout lines.

15. Use a paper bag to ripen fruit Many fruits, including avocados, bananas, pears, peaches and tomatoes, will ripen more quickly when placed in a paper bag. To hasten the ripening process of any fruit, place an already ripe apple or a banana skin in the same bag and store it at room temperature. To ripen green bananas, wrap them in a damp tea towel before placing them in the bag. Once the fruit has started to ripen, you can halt the process by putting them in the fridge.

16. Keep bread fresh If your kitchen tends to be hot and steamy, your bread will stay fresher when stored inside a paper bag rather than a plastic one. The paper’s ability to ‘breathe’ will keep the crust crisp while allowing the centre of the loaf to stay soft and moist.

17. Strain grease from broth Use a paper towel to absorb the fat from a homemade broth or stock. Place another pot in the sink. Put a colander (or a sieve) in the new pot and put a paper towel in the colander. Pour the hot broth through the towel into the waiting pot. You’ll find that the fat stays in the towel, while the broth streams through. Wear cooking mitts or use potholders to avoid burning your hands with the boiling-hot liquid.

18. Eliminate fishy smells If you are trying to eat more fish for health reasons, but hate the smell that stays in the house after you have cooked it, try this trick. Put a good-sized dollop of peanut butter in the pan when frying fish. The peanut butter will absorb the odour instead of your carpet, curtains and furniture.

19. No more shampoo tears Don’t buy special no-tears shampoo for your child. Petroleum jelly is a far cheaper solution. Rub a fair amount into your baby’s eyebrows. It acts as a protective shield and will stop shampoo and suds running down into his eyes.

20. Keep squirrels away from bird feeder Feed the birds, but not the squirrels. Keep them off the pole of a bird feeder by greasing it with petroleum jelly. The squirrels will slide straight off, leaving the birds to eat in peace.

21. Wash lettuce in washing machine If you are expecting lots of people for an outdoor lunch and have lots of lettuce to wash, place one pillowcase inside another. Pull apart the lettuce heads and fill the inside case with lettuce leaves. Close both pillowcases with string or a rubber band and throw the whole package in the washing machine with another large item, such as a towel, to balance it. Now run the rinse and spin cycle. Your leaves will come out rinsed and dried more effectively than in a salad spinner.

22. Set up a garden sprayer Keep children cool with a homemade garden sprayer. Just cut three 2.5cm vertical slits in one side of a clean 2 litre soft drink bottle. Or make the slits at different angles so the water will squirt in different directions. Attach the nozzle of a hose to the bottle top with gaffer tape (make sure it is fastened on tight). Turn on the tap and let the fun begin.

23. Remove dents in a car Before spending money to have a mechanic remove a dent from your car, try this. Wet a plumber’s plunger, push it over the dent and then pull it out sharply.

24. Make an extra grill If you have a big party or barbecue planned and the grill is not big enough to handle all those burgers, sausages, steaks and hot dogs, improvise a second grill by building a fire in an large old pot. Cook on a wire cake rack placed over the pot. After you are finished, put the pot’s cover on to put out the fire and save the charcoal for another outdoor cooking session.

25. Use a rubber band as a bookmark Paper bookmarks work well until they slip out of the book. Instead, wrap a rubber band from top to bottom around the part of the book you have already read. You won’t lose your place, even if you drop the book.

26. Make your own brass and copper polish When exposure to the elements dulls brass or copper items, there is no need to buy specialist cleaning products. To shine candlesticks or remove green tarnish from copper pans, make a paste by mixing equal parts salt, flour and vinegar. Use a soft cloth to rub the paste over the item, then rinse with warm, soapy water and buff back to its original shine.

27. Remove wine from a carpet Red wine spilt on a light-coloured carpet seems like a disaster. But it doesn’t need to be. While the red wine is still wet, pour a little white wine or mineral water onto it to dilute the colour. Then clean the spot with a sponge and cold water. Sprinkle the area with salt and wait for about 10 minutes. Then vacuum up the residue and wait for the carpet to dry.

28. Make perfect poached eggs You know it is possible to keep the whites intact when you poach eggs – you’ve had them in a restaurant. But no matter how careful you are, the whites always diffuse into the water when you poach eggs at home. Here is the secret that restaurant chefs use. Sprinkle about 1⁄2 teaspoon salt into the water just before you put in the eggs. This helps to ‘set’ the whites in a neat package. A dash of vinegar also helps and improves the taste of the eggs too.

29. Freshen your breath the old-fashioned way Manufactured mouthwash can contain food colouring, alcohol and sweeteners. Instead, use a recipe Grandma used and your breath will be just as sweet. Mix 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon baking soda into 100ml water. Rinse and gargle.

30. Freeze a facecloth for a cold pack It is hard to predict when you will need a cold compress for a burn, teething pain or another bump or scrape. Be ready; freeze a wet facecloth in a sandwich or freezer bag. Get it out of the freezer the next time someone needs a cold pack.

31. Resize a shrunk sweater You can often bring a ‘downsized’ sweater back to full size again with baby shampoo and warm water. Fill a basin with warm water, squirt in some baby shampoo, and swish once with your hand. Lay the sweater on top of the water and let it sink on its own and soak for 15 minutes. Gently take your sweater out without wringing it and put it in a container, then fill the sink again with clean water. Lay the sweater on top and let it sink again to rinse. Take the sweater out, place it on a towel, and roll the towel to take out most of the moisture. Lay the sweater on a dry towel on a flat surface and gently start to reshape it. Come back to the sweater while it is drying to reshape a little more each time. Your patience should be rewarded with a full-sized sweater.

32. Have bubble bath Shampoo makes a nice and sudsy bubble bath. It is especially relaxing if you love the scent of your favourite shampoo and the bath will be easier to rinse out.

33. Clean the bath and taps When you need to clean the bath quickly before guests arrive, use the handiest item – your shampoo. It does a great job on soap scum because it rinses clean. You can also use it to buff chrome taps to a shine.

34. Polish your car A big soft old sock makes a perfect hand mitt for buffing the wax on your car after you have cleaned it.

35. Make cut flowers last longer Don’t throw away the last drops of a bottle of soft drink. Pour about 50ml into the water in a vase full of cut flowers. The sugar in the drink will make the blossoms last longer. Note: If you have a clear vase and want the water to remain clear, use a clear drink, such as Sprite or 7-Up.

36. Keep feet smelling sweet If you use sage only to make stuffing for a roast, then you have been missing out. Sage is great for preventing foot odour because it kills the odour-causing bacteria that grow on your feet in the warm, moist environment inside your shoes. Crumble a leaf or two into your shoes before you put them on. At the end of the day, just shake the remains into the bin.

37. Clean greasy, grimy hands To clean filthy hands easily and thoroughly, pour equal amounts of olive oil and sugar into the cupped palm of one hand and then gently rub your hands together for several minutes. Rinse thoroughly and dry. The grit of the sugar acts as an abrasive to help the oil to remove grease, paint and grime. Your hands will look and feel clean, soft and moisturised.

38. Prevent rings around the collar To prevent natural oil from your neck making a grimy line on a shirt collar, wipe your neck with surgical spirit each morning before you dress.

39. Fix a squeaky floor Don’t let squeaky floorboards drive you crazy. Sprinkle talcum powder or powdered graphite between the boards. If that doesn’t do the trick, squirt in some liquid wax to help to fill the gaps.

40. Deter a cat from scratching Stop naughty cats and kittens from scratching furniture and carpets. Sprinkle some ground red pepper on a strip of tape and attach it to the areas you don’t want them to scratch. They hate the smell and they will quickly get the message.

41. Restore the colour to blonde hair If you are a blonde who has ever gone swimming in a chlorine-treated pool, you know it can sometimes give your hair an unappealing green tint. To restore the blonde colour to your hair, saturate it with undiluted tomato juice, cover with a shower cap and wait 10-15 minutes. Then rinse thoroughly, shampoo and your hair should be back to its usual shade.

42. Remove tough stains Removing a stain that has soaked deep down into soft fibres can be hard. To remove deep stains, try using a soft-bristled nylon toothbrush, dabbing it gently to work in the stain-removing agent (bleach or vinegar, for example) until the stain is gone.

43. Polish a diamond ring Put a little toothpaste onto an old toothbrush and use it to make a diamond ring sparkle. Clean off the residue with a damp cloth.

44. Sweeten the smell of your home Estate agents and property stagers who specialise in making
homes appealing to buyers recommend this tip. Put a drop or two of vanilla extract on a light bulb, turn on the light and your house will be filled with the appealing scent of fresh baking.

45. Whiten tile grout Has the grout between the tiles of the bath or shower enclosure become stained or discoloured? Restore it to its original shade of white by using a toothbrush dipped in undiluted white vinegar to scrub away the dirt.

46. Make a jigsaw puzzle What can you do with leftover wallpaper? Why not use a piece to make a jigsaw puzzle? Cut off a medium-sized rectangular piece of patterned wallpaper and glue it onto a piece of thin cardboard. Once it has dried, cut it up into a lot of curvy and angular shapes. It will give you or the children something to do on a rainy day.

47. Wipe away tea stains To remove tea stains from worktops, spray a little WD-40 on a sponge or damp cloth and wipe the stains away.

48. Cure dog or cat flatulence If your dog or cat has been producing a lot of noxious gas lately, the problem may be a lack of the digestive bacteria that prevent gas and diarrhoea. The active culture in plain yogurt can help to restore the helpful bacteria. Add 2 teaspoons yogurt to the food for cats or small dogs weighing up to 6kg. Add 1 tablespoon for medium-sized dogs weighing 7-15kg. Add 2 tablespoons for large dogs weighing 16-38kg. Add 3 tablespoons for dogs larger than that.

49. Relieve sunburn For the quick, temporary relief of mild sunburn, apply cold plain yogurt. The yogurt adds much needed moisture and its coldness soothes at the same time. Rinse with cool water.

50. Clean the lavatory Here’s how to get a sparkling lavatory bowl. Porcelain fixtures respond to the cleaning agent in denture tablets. Drop a denture in the bowl. Wait 20 minutes and flush.


Evidence of speeding may have been gathered illegally over the last 15 years because 6 000 cameras were not given proper Parliamentary approval, which if proven, could mean that an estimated £600 million collected in fines and accompanying penalty points are invalid and trigger an avalanche of compensation claims from motorists.

Defending a speeding case in court, legal representatives said a change in the 1988 Road Traffic Offenders Act in 1991 had not been properly implemented.

Until then the law that merely required the Home Secretary to approve the technical evaluation of the speed cameras, but since then, additional Parliamentary approval has also been required for the devices. Successive Home Secretaries have failed to do so. The defence said:

"But this was not done. It is an insult to Parliament in general that it had not identified a single device. This is a very important constitutional point.

Since 1992 there have been hundreds of thousands of cases which we think are invalid.

Speeding fines and convictions effect the very fabric of our society. Businesses and people's lives are severely affected when there is a ban from driving or fines.

There are considerable economic considerations to take into account."

They added:

"What the Department of Public Prosecutions is saying is that a Minister for example could decide to bring back hanging and he could do so without going to Parliament.

He could draw up an order without Parliament seeing it and it would then become law."

Clearly the government will dodge this on a technicality or some other cock, but how would it be if the law was indeed applied correctly. If only...

' No More

Apostrophes in street signs have been banned by a Birmingham Birmingham City Council because its staff spend too much time dealing with complaints about grammar.

From now on, no sign produced by the council will contain the punctuation mark in a quest for consistency and to avoid costs and confusion over whether place names should ever take an apostrophe.

As the founder of the Apostrophe Protection Society said:

"This is setting a terrible example. It seems retrograde, dumbing down really. All over Birmingham, and in other cities, teachers are trying to teach children correct grammar and punctuation. Now children will go around Birmingham and see utter chaos."

He suggested the move could prove to be the first step towards linguistic anarchy.

"If you don't have apostrophes, is there any point in full stops, or semi-colons, or question marks? Is there any point in punctuation at all?"

Agreed. It's a complete cop out.

Capital Still In Front

Official Rajar listening figures published today also showed that Capital FM's Johnny Vaughan and Lisa Snowdon have held on to their number one commercial breakfast slot for London.

The 6;00 am to 9.00 am programme is still ahead of rivals Heart FM and Magic FM. The pair draw 981 000 listeners each morning. Capital has held on to the number one position for the second consecutive quarter since Snowdon took over from Denise Van Outen.

Snowdon, a former model, has juggled radio hosting with her stint on BBC's Strictly Come Dancing. Vaughan said:

"I'm chuffed Capital FM has held onto number one breakfast show slot in London. We will have Lisa Snowdon dancing on air with the news".

Figures for daily listeners

Capital 95.8 FM - 981, 000

Heart 106.2 FM - 868, 000

Magic 105.4 FM - 813, 000

Kiss 100 FM - 722, 000

LBC 97.3 FM - 398, 000

Choice FM -324, 000

Smooth Radio - 293, 000

XFM 104.9 FM -251, 000

Source - Rajar

A Tower of Tiger

Click to Enlarge

The tower is on the right as we look at it...

FAO Brendan

He rang me yesterday to see how we're getting on in Koh Chang and to help out with arranging our accommodation in Phuket when we go there in March. It was whilst we were chatting (for free with Skype which is bloody marvellous) he mentioned that he'd not seen the towers of beer that we were keeping employed in Bangkok.

I've trawled back through our photos from the night market and will lob one up next post so he can see just why they make such good sense. :o)


What is going on?

Our nearly new electric toothbrush has decided to not switch off instantly, instead preferring to cough and splutter to a halt a few minutes after we've powered down. Yet put it back on its stand it it does die instantly.

And now I'm getting zapped off the pooter every time I rest my wrists on the edge?

Am I sending out some kind of electrical force? Am I jinxed? It's a right pain in the arse.

And to Round Off

The following are real extracts from actual complaint letters sent to various councils and housing associations throughout the UK:

I want some repairs done to my cooker as it has backfired and burnt my knob off.

I wish to complain that my father hurt his ankle very badly when he put his foot in the hole in his back passage, and their 18 year old son is continually banging his balls against my fence.

I wish to report that tiles are missing from the outside toilet roof. I think it was bad wind the other night that blew them off.

My lavatory seat is cracked, where do I stand.

I am writing on behalf of my sink, which is coming away from the wall.

Will you please send someone to mend the garden path. My wife tripped and fell on it yesterday and now she is pregnant. We are getting married in September and we would like it in the garden before we move into the house.

I request permission to remove my drawers in the kitchen.

50% of the walls are damp, 50% have crumbling plaster and the rest are plain filthy.

I am still having problems with smoke in my new drawers.

The toilet is blocked and we cannot bath the children until it is cleared.

Will you please send a man to look at my water, it is a funny colour and not fit to drink.

Our lavatory seat is broken in half and is now in three pieces.

Would you please send a man to repair my spout. I am an old age pensioner and need it badly.

I want to complain about the farmer across the road; every morning at 6am his cock wakes me up, and its now getting too much for me.

The man next door has a large erection in the back garden, which is unsightly and dangerous.

Our kitchen floor is damp. We have two children and would like a third so please send someone round to do something about it.

I am a single woman living in a downstairs flat and would you please do something about the noise made by the man I have on top of me every night.

Please send a man with the right tool to finish the job and satisfy my wife.

I have had the clerk of the works down on the floor six times but I still have no satisfaction.

This is to let you know that our lavatory seat is broken and we can’t get BBC2.

My bush is really overgrown round the front and my back passage has fungus growing in it,

… and he’s got this huge tool that vibrates the whole house and I just can't take it anymore.


David Thorne's alleged conversation with an account clerk in which she refused to accept the childish painting as payment but agreed to email it back to him has been forwarded around the world.

In their exchange, which Mr Thorne insists is genuine, the clerk shows good humour in dealing with the customer's ever more absurd attempts to get out of paying his bill.

His first response to her request for payment set the tone for what followed: "I do not have any money so am sending you this drawing I did of a spider instead. I value the drawing at $233.95 so trust that this settles the matter."

The employee, named as Jane Gilles, rejected the drawing but agreed to return it in an email attachment. But Mr Thorne was not satisfied. "Are you sure this drawing of a spider is the one I sent you?" he wrote. "This spider only has seven legs and I do not feel I would have made such an elementary mistake when I drew it."

But after withdrawing his allegation and conceding he may have sent a seven-legged spider, he added an extra leg to the picture and again offered it as payment. "I trust this will bring the matter to a conclusion."

Mr Thorne, a self-confessed serial prankster, posted the conversation on his website and it has since spread around the internet. The spider – a crude black and white graphic with a smiley face - has become so popular that it has been auctioned on eBay, attracting a joke winning bid of several thousand pounds.

The design director from Adelaide, Australia, insists that all the exchanges on on his site actually took place.

"The dialogue in the email transcripts are verbatim. Again, they would not be amusing to me otherwise," he said. "I did amend a spelling mistake after posting the spider page but that has been the only change."

He added: "Jane from the spider drawing transcript emailed me yesterday to say that she had been laughing the whole time and had enjoyed the correspondence."


16 May 2007

Dear Secretary of State,

My friend, who is in farming at the moment, recently received a cheque for £3,000 from the Rural Payments Agency for not rearing pigs. I would now like to join the "not rearing pigs" business.

In your opinion, what is the best kind of farm not to rear pigs on, and which is the best breed of pigs not to rear? I want to be sure I approach this endeavour in keeping with all government policies, as dictated by the EU under the Common Agricultural Policy.

I would prefer not to rear bacon pigs, but if this is not the type you want not rearing, I will just as gladly not rear porkers. Are there any advantages in not rearing rare breeds such as Saddlebacks or Gloucester Old Spots, or are there too many people already not rearing these?

As I see it, the hardest part of this programme will be keeping an accurate record of how many pigs I haven't reared. Are there any Government or Local Authority courses on this?

My friend is very satisfied with this business. He has been rearing pigs for forty years or so, and the best he ever made on them was £1,422 in 1968. That is - until this year, when he received a cheque for not rearing any.

If I get £3,000 for not rearing 50 pigs, will I get £6,000 for not rearing 100?

I plan to operate on a small scale at first, holding myself down to about 4,000 pigs not raised, which will mean about £240,000 for the first year. As I become more expert in not rearing pigs, I plan to be more ambitious, perhaps increasing to, say, 40,000 pigs not reared in my second year, for which I should expect about £2.4 million from your department. Incidentally, I wonder if I would be eligible to receive tradable carbon credits for all these pigs not producing harmful and polluting methane gases?

Another point: These pigs that I plan not to rear will not eat 2,000 tonnes of cereals. I understand that you also pay farmers for not growing crops. Will I qualify for payments for not growing cereals to not feed the pigs I don't rear?

I am also considering the "not milking cows" business, so please send any information you have on that too. Please could you also include the current Defra advice on set aside fields? Can this be done on an e-commerce basis with virtual fields (of which I seem to have several thousand hectares)?

In view of the above you will realise that I will be totally unemployed, and will therefore qualify for unemployment benefits.

I shall of course be voting for your party at the next general election.

Yours faithfully,


Dear Mr Addison,

I am writing to you to express our thanks for your more than prompt reply to our latest communication, and also to answer some of the points you raise.

I will address them, as ever, in order.

Firstly, I must take issue with your description of our last as a "begging letter". It might perhaps more properly be referred to as a "tax demand". This is how we, at the Inland Revenue have always, for reasons of accuracy; traditionally referred to such documents.

Secondly, your frustration at our adding to the "endless stream of crapulent whining and panhandling vomited daily through the letterbox on to the doormat" has been noted. However, whilst I have naturally not seen the other letters to which you refer I would cautiously suggest that their being from "pauper councils, Lombardy pirate banking houses and pissant gas-mongerers" might indicate that your decision to "file them next to the toilet in case of emergencies is at best a little ill-advised.

In common with my own organisation, it is unlikely that the senders of these letters do see you as a "lackwit bumpkin or, come to that, a "sodding charity". More likely they see you as a citizen of Great Britain, with a responsibility to contribute to the upkeep of the nation as a whole.

Which brings me to my next point. Whilst there may be some spirit of truth in your assertion that the taxes you pay "go to shore up the canker-blighted, toppling folly that is the Public Services", a moment's rudimentary calculation ought to disabuse you of the notion that the government in any way expects you to "stump up for the whole damned party" yourself. The estimates you provide for the Chancellor's disbursement of the funds levied by taxation, whilst colourful, are, in fairness, a little off the mark. Less than you seem to imagine is spent on "junkets for Bunterish lickspittles" and "dancing whores" whilst far more than you have accounted for is allocated to, for example, "that box-ticking facade of a university system."

A couple of technical points arising from direct queries:
1. The reason we don't simply write "Muggins" on the envelope has to do with the vagaries of the postal system;
2. You can rest assured that "sucking the very marrows of those with nothing else to give" has never been considered as a practice because even if the Personal Allowance didn't render it irrelevant, the sheer medical logistics involved would make it financially unviable.

I trust this has helped. In the meantime, whilst I would not in any way wish to influence your decision one way or the other, I ought to point out that even if you did choose to "give the whole foul jamboree up and go and live in India" you would still owe us the money. Please forward it by Friday.

Yours Sincerely,
H J Lee Customer Relations



January 21, 2000

Customer Relations Department
1000 Chrysler Drive
Auburn Hills, Michigan 48326-2766

Dear Chrysler:

I own a new Plymouth Neon. Actually, most of it is new. In five years, I’ve had to replace most of the car because of faulty parts and second-rate engineering and inferior workmanship. Am I exaggerating? I wish I were. The fact is that I’ve had several mechanics and dealers literally laugh at me for buying this Neon. “You should have bought Japanese!” they say. I don’t think that’s funny. Do you think its funny? I don’t think its funny. Mechanics are generally not funny people.

In 1999 alone I spent over $2000 trying to fix stupid problems on this car, not including some expenses that you paid for! This is a typical year. Only one towing this year, which is an improvement over past years. However, I’m happy to report that I still have the original air bags in the dash and steering wheel! Since my car is in the shop much of the time, there’s less of a chance I’ll get into an accident. So, you’ve at least built a safe vehicle. Bravo!

There isn’t much on this car that hasn’t failed yet. It’s quite remarkable. The only thing that works well is the “check engine” light. It’s on most of the time: bright, yellow and warm. It lights up the whole cabin at night, advertising to passengers what a fine machine I drive.

Actually, I’m so accustomed to the “check engine” light, it’s kinda spooky whenever its not on – I must be a little afraid of the dark. Incidentally, the cabin is even darker than usual now since the dome light is fly-by-night, and the lights in the dashboard flicker and don’t work half the time. Oh, the bulbs aren’t out; I’ve checked that. But, if I give the dashboard a good thump, sometimes I can get the lights to come back on. It makes me feel like the Fonz!

All this being said, the car does look nice on the outside. Very shiny, a rich blue color. That’s because all of the original paint peeled right off the car. Lucky for me, all the paint peeled off while one of your wayward dealers was washing it. “I’ve never seen one this bad, usually there are signs of bad paint, but yours lost all of its paint at the same time” he said. Thanks, I like being unique!

I had two weeks left on some paint warranty as it turned out, so you repainted the whole car. Thanks! It only cost me some dubious $200.00 deductible – one of the many amounts I’ve paid that I feel Chrysler should have paid. I don’t think defective paint should cost me anything. That’s crummy customer service. How long have you been painting cars anyway? Seems like paint is something you should have down by now.

Lots of other peculiar things have gone wrong with the car. The reservoir that holds excess coolant developed a hole and drained itself, causing my car to overheat in a seedy neighborhood. That was a neat experience. Naturally, the Chrysler mechanic told me he’d never seen that happen before in a car that wasn’t in an accident. That part took several days to get since no one keeps them in stock, so I was told. Also, its wasn’t covered by any warranty since its never supposed to need replacing. I got to pay for that one too! My car has lots of firsts; your research and development department should give me a grant.

Glue oozes out of the rear window on hot days. It’s very hard to clean that sludge off the side of the car. I’ve heard different cockamamie stories from you why this happens; I don’t buy any of them. I don’t think you really know why this happens. I’ve noticed this problem on many early model Neons. I would think you’ve been putting rear windows in cars almost as long as you’ve painted them. I guess it takes a while to get that down though. I am expecting the rear window to fly out eventually. For this reason, I don’t drive behind other Neons.

The trunk latch mechanism at the driver’s seat broke, the turn signals stick, the trunk won’t stay open on its own most of the time, among other kooky things. Thinking these are only small, insignificant defects? Au contraire, mes amis! They just exemplify the lousy construction of this vehicle, which has resulted in thousands of dollars in major repairs, both to you and to me. Pardon my French.

This year, I blew a head gasket. That only cost me $1300. The mechanic told me it’s a common problem with Neons. In fact, I have a friend who had the same problem with her Neon a couple months after mine. It’s important to have common bonds with other people. Thanks! By the way, this mechanic suggested I should inquire to see if I could recover my expenses from Chrysler for that, since it is the result of a defective engine. Should I look into that on my own or can you help me there?

I’ve replaced 4 batteries already in 5 years. Once, you folks told me you found defective wiring that caused batteries to die too soon. You replaced the wiring. But since then, I’ve replaced two batteries on my own. I’ve replaced the battery cables too. This is bad. With the Franklin era electrical design of my Neon, I’m concerned I may have a major electrical failure soon, perhaps a fire.

My dad had a car explode one night on its own due to defective wiring (unfortunately for my argument here, it was not a Chrysler product. But I bet you wondered for a second, huh?). I don’t want the car to explode while I’m in it. Frankly, I do want it to explode when no one is in the car or within 100 yards of it. Then I might get enough insurance money to buy a second-hand Schwinn.

I’ve had four major brake jobs on this car. Most of the original brake system components have been replaced by Midas at substantial cost to yours truly. I have the Midas extended warranty on the right front wheel, because for some unexplained reason, that side wears out completely every year or so. I don’t drive like a loon. I do all the necessary maintenance on my car. The Midas guy blames Chrysler and so do I.

I’ve replaced the starter, oxygen sensors, and some other major components. Did I mention the car has been towed 7 times? Can you imagine how inconvenient that has been for me? I have nothing against tow-truck drivers; they are usually better conversationalists than cab drivers, so the many rides I’ve had from them have at least been affable. But I want to drive my own car places. It’s a special privilege I think I deserve.

Perhaps you could pay me for some positive advertising. I did buy the extended warranty on this car, which in fact did pay for most of the major repairs in the first 4 years I owned it, before the dreaded 70,001st mile. I am the poster boy for extended warranties! The warranty more than paid for itself on my behalf. Nevertheless, the warranty didn’t cover some things it should have, like an $80.00 towing bill because the problem turned out to be a dead battery – a battery that Chrysler replaced only a few months before and supposedly fixed the problem which had caused its premature demise (see the above section on faulty wiring and Benjamin Franklin).

One of your way too busy regional folks declined my request for a refund of that amount, reminding me that towing is not covered by the warranty for dead batteries. Since by this point, the car breaking down was not unusual and I was very familiar with your roadside assistance program, and because I knew the problem was (and is) more than just a dead battery, I wisely in my view took the car in to be fixed. The dealership and your regional guy didn’t seem to find it odd that batteries keep dying and treated my like I was out of line to ask for a refund. So I tried to complain to you directly. I never did hear back from you on a letter I sent regarding this situation. I didn’t follow up because you obviously don’t care to keep me as a customer anyway, or you are too busy dealing with all the other Neon owners’ troubles to get back to me.

I’d like to sell the car, but I can’t because I can only drive it about 30 miles before something else goes wrong. (This has been my recent experience as the car has been in and out of the shop over the last few weeks. They can’t even find what’s causing the problem this time.) Plus, if I sold it, I’d probably get shot by the guy I sell it to after he walks 30 miles back to my house. Can’t be too careful these days you know. I’ve wanted to sell it for almost 3 years now, but the value of the car was dropping faster than I could pay it off. Now it’s paid off, but not worth as much as the computer I’m typing this letter on.

So I could drone on for a while on this car. As you can tell, this car has not been friendly to me. I have been shown no courtesy from Chrysler so, at this point, there is no need for me to ever test-drive a Chrysler again. And I’ll make sure that no one I know does either. Everyone I know sees me driving borrowed cars all the time, and they know why, so they are already unlikely to buy a Chrysler.

I want to get rid of this car. Will you buy it back? This car has given me nothing but problems. It has cost me thousands of dollars, in repairs and rental cars and time. It has been in the shop for months cumulatively. Hardly something to be expected from a good car company such as yours.

If you buy it back for a generous price, I would seriously consider trading it for a used Honda off one of your lots if it’s a really, really good deal. What do you say? I’d have really good things to say about you in my really high profile public profession. It seems like you could do something here. Its annoying to me that if you add the money I paid for the Neon to the money I’ve spent fixing extraordinary repairs to the lemon, I could have bought a top of the line Honda Accord. That’s what I would have liked in the first place, but I couldn’t afford it, and I thought buying American was the right thing to do. With a Honda, mechanics wouldn’t be laughing at me because they wouldn’t be seeing me. That would be nice.

I look forward to your enthusiastic and prompt response. Since I didn’t get one last time from you ninnies, I’m also sending this letter to a few other people, just to see if they might care more. I’ve got nothing to lose and nothing better to do, since I don’t have a car to get out.


Scott Furrow
Plymouth Neon Owner


Complaint Letter of the Year.... a real-life customer complaint letter sent to NTL (to their complaints dept....)

Dear Cretins,

I have been an NTL customer since 9th July 2001, when I signed up for
your 3-in-one deal for cable TV, cable modem, and telephone. During this
three-month period I have encountered inadequacy of service which I had
not previously considered possible, as well as ignorance and stupidity
of monolithic proportions. Please allow me to provide specific details,
so that you can either pursue your professional perogative, and seek to
rectify these difficulties - or more likely (I suspect) so that you can
have some entertaining reading material as you while away the working
day smoking B&H and drinking vendor-coffee on the bog in your office:
My initial installation was cancelled without warning, resulting in my
spending an entire Saturday sitting on my fat arse waiting for your
technician to arrive. When he did not arrive, I spent a further 57
minutes listening to your infuriating hold music, and the even more
annoying Scottish robot woman telling me to look at your helpful

I alleviated the boredom by playing with my t..ticles for a few minutes
- an activity at which you are no-doubt both familiar and highly adept.
The rescheduled installation then took place some two weeks later,
although the technician did forget to bring a number of vital tools -
such as a drill-bit, and his cerebrum. Two weeks later, my cable modem
had still not arrived. After 15 telephone calls over 4 weeks my modem
arrived... six weeks after I had requested it, and begun to pay for it.
I estimate your internet server's downtime is roughly 35%... hours
between about 6pm -midnight, Mon-Fri, and most of the weekend. I am
still waiting for my telephone connection. I have made 9 calls on my
mobile to your no-help line, and have been unhelpfully transferred to a
variety of disinterested individuals, who are it seems also highly
skilled bollock jugglers.

I have been informed that a telephone line is available (and someone
will call me back); that no telephone line is available (and someone
will call me back); that I will be transferred to someone who knows
whether or not a telephone line is available (and then been cut off);
that I will be transferred to someone (and then been redirected to an
answer machine informing me that your office is closed); that I will be
transferred to someone and then been redirected to the irritating
Scottish robot woman...and several other variations on this theme.
Doubtless you are no longer reading this letter, as you have at least a
thousand other dissatisfied customers to ignore, and also another one of
those crucially important t..ticle-moments to attend to. Frankly I don't
care, it's far more satisfying as a customer to voice my frustration's
in print than to shout them at your unending hold music. Forgive me,
therefore, if I continue.

I thought BT were, that they had attained the holy piss-pot of godawful
customer relations, that no-one, anywhere, ever, could be more
disinterested, less helpful or more obstructive to delivering service to
their customers. That's why I chose NTL, and because, well, there isn't
anyone else is there? How surprised I therefore was, when I discovered
to my considerable dissatisfaction and disappointment what a useless
shower of bastards you truly are. You are sputum-filled pieces of
distended rectum incompetents of the highest order.

British Telecom - w..nkers though they are - shine like brilliant beacons
of success, in the filthy puss-filled mire of your seemingly limitless
inadequacy. Suffice to say that I have now given up on my futile and
foolhardy quest to receive any kind of service from you. I suggest that
you cease any potential future attempts to extort payment from me for
the services which you have so pointedly and catastrophically failed to
deliver - any such activity will be greeted initially with hilarity and
disbelief quickly be replaced by derision, and even perhaps bemused
rage. I enclose two small deposits, selected with great care from my
cats litter tray, as an expression of my utter and complete contempt for
both you and your pointless company. I sincerely hope that they have not
become desiccated during transit - they were satisfyingly moist at the
time of posting, and I would feel considerable disappointment if you did
not experience both their rich aroma and delicate texture. Consider them
the very embodiment of my feelings towards NTL, and its worthless

Have a nice day - may it be the last in you miserable short life, you
irritatingly incompetent and infuriatingly unhelpful bunch of *****.


Thursday, 29 January 2009

Virgin Letter

It seems that some thought the letter of complaint posted yesterday (below) was a put up job, but according to TTel, it was entirely legit:

Mr Beale, 29, was so annoyed by the state of his in-flight meal on a flight from Mumbai to London last month that he fired off a six page rant, complete with photographs of the food, to Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson.

The missive - in which Mr Beale described in detail his "culinary journey of hell" - has since become an internet sensation and has been emailed around the world.

In one typical comment he asked Sir Richard to remember the excitement of opening Christmas presents as a child.

He then wrote: "It's your hamster Richard. It's your hamster in the box and it's not breathing. That's how I felt when I peeled back the foil."

Mr Beale works as an art director at award-winning advertising agency WCRS in London.

He refuted suggestions that the letter was an advertising stunt and said it was a genuine complaint at the state of his meal.

Sir Richard later telephoned him personally to apologise and invited him to select the food and wines for future Virgin flights.

Mr Beale said: "He was incredibly nice about the whole thing but I haven't received any compensation since talking to him."

When contacted by the Daily Telegraph, Mr Beale seemed embarrassed about the success of his letter, and uncomfortable with the idea of his new found internet celebrity.

He said: "Er, I don't really want to do anything more about it, thanks."

Mr Beale, who is known to friends as Oli, has worked on television commercials including one for Brylcreem in which a man uses a series of gadgets to get ready in the morning.

In his letter he began by saying he "loved" the Virgin brand but went on to ask Sir Richard to understand his pain at being served "a sour gel with a clear oil on top" and "more mustard than any man could consume in a month."

It's also opened up a topic for similar letters to be published, which I'll lob up as it's lazyposting the head is a tad woolly...

The London-based passenger has since received a call from Sir Richard inviting him to come to the airline’s catering house next month, to help select the food on future Virgin flights. The passenger has not yet confirmed whether he would take up the opportunity.

“While we investigated his complaint seriously, and following Richard Branson’s phone call we’ve invited him to our catering house to select the next range of meals and wines we serve on board,” said a spokesman for Virgin Atlantic. “Then we can ensure his personal taste is well and truly catered for.”

Letter of Complaint

To Richard Branson from a disgruntled passenger:

Dear Mr Branson

REF: Mumbai to Heathrow 7th December 2008

I love the Virgin brand, I really do which is why I continue to use it despite a series of unfortunate incidents over the last few years. This latest incident takes the biscuit.

Ironically, by the end of the flight I would have gladly paid over a thousand rupees for a single biscuit following the culinary journey of hell I was subjected to at the hands of your corporation.

Look at this Richard. Just look at it: [image]

I imagine the same questions are racing through your brilliant mind as were racing through mine on that fateful day. What is this? Why have I been given it? What have I done to deserve this? And, which one is the starter, which one is the desert?

You don’t get to a position like yours Richard with anything less than a generous sprinkling of observational power so I KNOW you will have spotted the tomato next to the two yellow shafts of sponge on the left. Yes, it’s next to the sponge shaft without the green paste. That’s got to be the clue hasn’t it. No sane person would serve a desert with a tomato would they. Well answer me this Richard, what sort of animal would serve a desert with peas in: [see image].

I know it looks like a baaji but it’s in custard Richard, custard. It must be the pudding. Well you’ll be fascinated to hear that it wasn't custard. It was a sour gel with a clear oil on top. It’s only redeeming feature was that it managed to be so alien to my palette that it took away the taste of the curry emanating from our miscellaneous central cuboid of beige matter. Perhaps the meal on the left might be the desert after all.

Anyway, this is all irrelevant at the moment. I was raised strictly but neatly by my parents and if they knew I had started desert before the main course, a sponge shaft would be the least of my worries. So lets peel back the tin-foil on the main dish and see what’s on offer.

I’ll try and explain how this felt. Imagine being a twelve year old boy Richard. Now imagine it’s Christmas morning and you’re sat their with your final present to open. It’s a big one, and you know what it is. It’s that Goodmans stereo you picked out the catalogue and wrote to Santa about.

Only you open the present and it’s not in there. It’s your hamster Richard. It’s your hamster in the box and it’s not breathing. That’s how I felt when I peeled back the foil and saw this: [see image 3, above].

Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking it’s more of that Baaji custard. I admit I thought the same too, but no. It’s mustard Richard. MUSTARD. More mustard than any man could consume in a month. On the left we have a piece of broccoli and some peppers in a brown glue-like oil and on the right the chef had prepared some mashed potato. The potato masher had obviously broken and so it was decided the next best thing would be to pass the potatoes through the digestive tract of a bird.

Once it was regurgitated it was clearly then blended and mixed with a bit of mustard. Everybody likes a bit of mustard Richard.

By now I was actually starting to feel a little hypoglycaemic. I needed a sugar hit. Luckily there was a small cookie provided. It had caught my eye earlier due to it’s baffling presentation: [see image].

It appears to be in an evidence bag from the scene of a crime. A CRIME AGAINST BLOODY COOKING. Either that or some sort of back-street underground cookie, purchased off a gun-toting maniac high on his own supply of yeast. You certainly wouldn’t want to be caught carrying one of these through customs. Imagine biting into a piece of brass Richard. That would be softer on the teeth than the specimen above.

I was exhausted. All I wanted to do was relax but obviously I had to sit with that mess in front of me for half an hour. I swear the sponge shafts moved at one point.

Once cleared, I decided to relax with a bit of your world-famous onboard entertainment. I switched it on: [see image].

I apologise for the quality of the photo, it’s just it was incredibly hard to capture Boris Johnson’s face through the flickering white lines running up and down the screen. Perhaps it would be better on another channel: [see image].

Is that Ray Liotta? A question I found myself asking over and over again throughout the gruelling half-hour I attempted to watch the film like this. After that I switched off. I’d had enough. I was the hungriest I’d been in my adult life and I had a splitting headache from squinting at a crackling screen.

My only option was to simply stare at the seat in front and wait for either food, or sleep. Neither came for an incredibly long time. But when it did it surpassed my wildest expectations: [see image].

Yes! It’s another crime-scene cookie. Only this time you dunk it in the white stuff.

Richard…. What is that white stuff? It looked like it was going to be yoghurt. It finally dawned on me what it was after staring at it. It was a mixture between the Baaji custard and the Mustard sauce. It reminded me of my first week at university. I had overheard that you could make a drink by mixing vodka and refreshers. I lied to my new friends and told them I’d done it loads of times. When I attempted to make the drink in a big bowl it formed a cheese Richard, a cheese. That cheese looked a lot like your baaji-mustard.

So that was that Richard. I didn’t eat a bloody thing. My only question is: How can you live like this? I can’t imagine what dinner round your house is like, it must be like something out of a nature documentary.

As I said at the start I love your brand, I really do. It’s just a shame such a simple thing could bring it crashing to it’s knees and begging for sustenance.

Yours Sincererly

Can't be arsed to copy the pictures (see TTel) but what a beauty of a letter. :o)