Friday, 30 September 2016

C & H

Calvin and Hobbes

Simon Calder's Q & A on BA's In Flight Food

Q What’s changing, and when?
From 11 January next year, anyone in economy on a short haul flight – which BA defines as five hours or less – won’t get the familiar complimentary snack and their choice of drinks from the trolley. Instead, they will be invited to buy from a range of Marks & Spencer snacks, ranging from a packet of crisps at £1 to a Ploughman’s sandwich at £3. They’ll also have to pay for drinks: a cup of tea will cost £2.30, a gin and tonic £6.
Q How do I pay?
Not by cash; only credit or debit cards will be accepted. However, if you’ve got an excess of Avios – BA’s frequent flyer currency – you can pay with those, using the BA app on the smartphone.
Q So if we’re paying for inflight catering instead of getting it for free, will fares fall commensurately?
Not necessarily. At the prices being charged the move is not going to make a fortune for BA. Agreed, it will turn food and drink from a cost into a “revenue stream”. But the airline hopes it will actually make its offer more appealing, by offering passengers a better choice and quality of food. Its research shows that many passengers don’t value the free catering. In a ferociously cost-sensitive market, it seems it’s the headline fare that matters.
The move will also align BA with its sister airlines in the IAG conglomerate: Aer Lingus and the two Spanish airlines, Iberia and Vueling: at the moment if you buy a BA “codeshare” flight that’s operated by one of those airlines, you’ll have to pay for stuff, and conversely passengers who book with those airlines and happen to fly with BA find that they get food and drink. It’s a messy marketing message, which this move will solve.
Q But it could also get messy if people can’t immediately distinguish between BA long haul and short haul?
Yes. For most flights it will be obvious – if you’re flying to Asia, Africa or the Americas, that’ll be long haul, and to Ireland, Germany, Scandinavia and Europe’s Mediterranean nations, then you’re flying short haul. But there are some oddities: Moscow, which is a four-hour flight, is classed as a long-haul service, while Larnaca (500 miles further) is short haul.
Q What logistical implications are there for the cabin crew?
At present, on short flights such as Manchester or Newcastle to London or Heathrow to Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris, the time in the air when food and drink can be less than half-an-hour. At present that’s enough time to dole out a snack with a maximum choice of two items, and serve drinks without the need to collect money. With passengers now choosing from a menu of a dozen or two items, and paying for drinks – not with cash but by plastic or frequent-flyer points – it’s going to get quite exciting on board. But of course some passengers will decide they don’t want anything if they’re paying for it, or bring their own on board, or even see if they can last for a couple of hours without eating or dirinking anything,
Q What about people with bookings that they made on the basis of BA’s previous promise that: “Whenever and wherever you are travelling we offer a complimentary snack or meal and bar service.”
Tough. The airline is writing to such people, which include me, saying that if we were expecting free food and drink we should adjust our expectations. 
Q How does this new policy compare with other European airlines?
All the budget airlines – EasyJet, Ryanair, Norwegian etc – charge for all food and drinks. And the “full-service” carriers are moving towards that model, but very slowly and without any consistency.
SAS Scandinavian Airlines charges for food and drink – but does provide free tea and coffee. Also in the north, Icelandair charges adults except for tea and coffee, but under 12s get a meal free. And that applies long-haul as well, as I discovered on the trip from Reykjavik to Anchorage in Alaska… coming home, I packed a picnic.
Air France and its subsidiary KLM, as well as Alitalia, provide free food and drink, and Aegean of Greece serves generous meals even on short flights.
Lufthansa still gives free food and drink on all services, as do its subsidiaries Austrian and Swiss but its subsidiary Brussels Airlines charges in Europe – unless you are connecting from a long-haul flight, in which case you get a free soft drink or coffee on production of the boarding pass.

Thankfully I Shall be Long Gone

In 50 years, ‘muvva’ rather than ‘mother’ is probably going to be the standard way people address their mum, according to new research.
HSBC has released a new report which attempts to predict what British regional accents will sound like in 50 years, based on current linguistic trends.
The report, by linguistic experts Dr Dominic Watt and Brendan Gunn, writes about specific words that will develop to sound different to the modern day.
The reasoning behind the change is the general trend of shortening words and simplification of pronunciation. 
They also looked at trends in different regions:


  • Think will become 'fink'
  • Mother will become 'muvva' 
  • Trees will become 'cheese' 
An average sentence, for example:
I think that care is a beauty
will become:
I fink that car is a booty


  • 'Manchestohr' will become 'Manchestuh'
  • 'Aapeh' (happy) will become 'happee'
  • Toast will become 'terst'
An average sentence: 
Manchestohr makes me aapeh
Will be:
Manchestuh makes me happee


  • Proice (price) will become 'praayce' 
  • Yow (you) will become 'yoo'
  • Aom (home) will become 'haom' 
An average sentence: 
Yow are a great sing-guh
Will be:
Yoo are a great singuh


  • 'C-a-khe' (cake) will become 'Ch-ahhche' (emphasising the ‘–ch’) sound
  • 'Faav' (five) will become 'Faayv'
  • Top will become 'Toff' 
So the average sentence: 
A c-a-khe with faav candles
Will be:
A ch-ahhche with faayv candles
Francesca McDonagh, Head of Retail Banking and Wealth Management at HSBC, said:
Just like your fingerprint, your voice print is unique and even if your voice changes due to getting older, relocating home or feeling ill, our voice biometrics system will be able to identify you without needing to spend time remembering passwords that you may have set many years ago.
Our accents and use of language will be changing over the years, but our voice biometrics technology doesn’t make a judgement about how you sound; you just need to be you.

You can watch a video about it, below:
What Britain's accents will sound like in 50 years


Fly and Buy

British Airways ditches free food for economy passengers

British Airways has ditched free meals for economy passengers on short-haul trips and will instead offer Marks and Spencer food- at a discounted price.

For example, a packet of crisps on Ryanair currently costs £2.16 but a pack of hand-cooked crisps on British Airways will cost £1.

But if you were hoping the move would lead to lower ticket prices in economy you’d be wrong, as apparently the price of complimentary food is negligible.

Economy passengers travelling from Stansted or London City will start paying for food and drink from summer 2017, while those in Club Europe (business class) will still get it for free.

Catering on British Airways’ long-haul flights will not be changed.

Hippies Only

Tube badges
New badges being handed out on the London Underground that are designed to encourage commuters to have a conversation with each other have been branded a failure as a rival badge has taken the city by storm.
The ‘Piss Off You Freak’ badge, which aims to repel any total psychopath that things talking to a stranger in London is acceptable, has already been adopted by thousands of travellers in the capital.
It is unknown who is producing the Tube Chat badges, but it is believed they wish to remain anonymous out of fear of reprisals from victims of unsolicited small talk attacks, which have reportedly increased tenfold since their distribution began.
Transport for London have distanced themselves from both schemes, only officially endorsing their pregnancy and disability badges, but commuters are overwhelmingly in favour of the POYF version.
“There is an epidemic of unwanted conversation in this city at the moment, clearly brought about by foreigners and northerners flocking here in droves,” said Aaron Child, a Londoner.
“Somebody approached me this morning to talk about the weather, rather than asking for directions or general assistance, and I have had to take the day off work sick.
“I’m heading home now, hopefully this badge will discourage these savages from trying to engage with me any further.”
The Tube Chat badge comes with a card explaining that Londoners will “benefit from a daily chat”, but information attached to the POYF badge seeks to dispel this myth.
“Everyone around you in this hellish labyrinth of body odour and stress would benefit from a punch in the face,” it says.
“Avoid having to touch or speak to these freaks by letting them know you require them to immediately fuck off with this handy badge.”

Well Said

My theory is that all of Scottish cuisine is based on a dare.
Mike Myers

Love It

Fitting football fields into a densely populated neighbourhood requires thinking outside the box. For the Unusual Football Pitch project, property developer AP Thai teamed up with digital agency CJ Worx to build play areas in Bangkok's Khlong Toei district by making inventive use of the limited space, Dezeen reports.
The goal of the initiative was to create positive spaces where the community’s young people could congregate and play footfall. Building a standard-sized pitch would have been impossible: The few empty lots in the neighborhood are irregularly-shaped because of the buildings that surround them. Instead of fighting this limitation, AP Thai decided to embrace it.
The team claims the four non-rectangular football pitches, which range in shape from trapezoid to Tetris piece, are the first of their kind. As the short film below shows, the quirky courts are a welcome addition to one of the most densely-populated cities on earth.

[h/t Dezeen]


About one in every 30 Americans' births results in twins.

Fully Specced Caravan

A further twist in the Daily Telegraph investigation into financial irregularities in football has revealed that Arsène Wenger was secretly filmed engaging in ‘potential illegal financial activity’ on a number of occasions during Nicklas Bendtner’s time at Arsenal between 2005 and 2014. 
In one shocking clip in particular, the Frenchman is heard offering Jose Mourinho a ‘personal sweetener’ of a top-of-the-line caravan in Bognor Regis.
According to the report, Mourinho agreed verbally, before secretly abandoning the deal and leaving Arsène stranded in the pouring rain in a car park just off the M23 motorway. Wenger was allegedly holding the keys and waited for four hours to hand them over before realising that Jose was taking the piss. 
An undercover reporter added: ‘On fifteen separate occasions, Wenger showed that he was so desperate to offload Bendtner that he was prepared to act outside of the rules. There has even been an allegation that he offered to send Theo Walcott to mow Sir Alex Ferguson’s lawn every week for a year if the Scot took Bendtner on a free transfer.’
‘Sir Alex agreed on the condition that Theo would go up north for a trial day first of all. Upon arriving at his Cheshire mansion, Theo switched on his Flymo and snapped both ankles – Sir Alex pulled out of the deal shortly afterwards.’
‘When it became clear that Wenger was running out of Premier League options for a transfer, we posed as Eastern European people smugglers and convinced Arsène to hand over £100,000 to have Nicklas rolled up in a carpet and abandoned in the middle of Dieppe.’
‘Our investigation finished during Sam Allardyce’s final few weeks as manager of West Ham United. During one particularly heated conversation, we saw Arsène throw a glass of red wine over Sam when he suggested sending Andy Carroll the other way to The Emirates.’

Back Up Boys


Saturday 1st October 2016

Show last 5 matches and coverageFixtureKick-offStatus

Sunday 2nd October 2016

Show last 5 matches and coverageFixtureKick-offStatus

34 into 32 Does Go

I pulled out my best pair of Levis, unused in several years and took a deep breath.  I managed it but in doing so redefined the term "muffin top".

With extra bracing from a sturdy belt I felt fairly comfortable and could move readily enough, but I am unsure if it was the effect of the Pride/ESB or the lack of blood circulating that resulted in no feeling in my legs for the best part of the evening.  :o)

More Cheese

With wifey out for a massage or nail job or something later today, I get the whole bed and TV to myself for a few hours and have already planned my viewing.

  • The Saint (original and in colour)
  • Department S
  • Jason King
  • The Baron
  • The Champions
Can't wait.

All Good Again

Once again the black art that is "computing" has confounded me and our laptop is once sleeping peacefully throughout the night.

I wish I could do as well but that is what afternoon naps are for.


taxi driver who wanted THB 300 for a THB 75 fare last night.

For Real

Image result for Gurkha knife

Louise explained that once we had checked in at Security and given up our mobiles (no problem for us there) we would be escorted to the Queen Vic, the in ground pub/social club  by our very own Gurkha.

I thought she was winding me up but no, once we completed formalities and got through the gate, there he was, a solid looking, quiet chap in full Gurkha regalia, including his polished kukri (above).

That's another first, meeting a real, live Gurkha.


Most expats are familiar with the British Embassy on Wireless Road in Ploenchit. The gracious old buildings have been the setting for many a British garden party and get-together over the years.
The foyer of the embassy's main building. Photo: Jerry Jarinya/Facebook
Now, the Brits seem to be quietly trying to sell the 23-rai (9-acre) parcel of land to developers for more than THB18 billion through Thai property agent CBRE, reported Bangkok Post.
It’s a great downtown location and the price isn’t that surprising since a parcel nearby recently sold for THB1.91 million per square wah (43 square feet) by SC Asset Corporation Plc.
The asking price of the embassy is over THB2 million per square wah.
It’s not the first part of their holdings that the embassy has sold off. Ten years ago, they put 9.5-rai (3.8-acres) of their current plot on the market. It was bought by Central Group for THB950,000 per square wah. The company built Central Embassy on the land and that’s where the high-end mall gets its name.
A petition to Save the British Embassy Bangkok has been created on petition platform and has 320 supporters. The petition was created five months ago, which means that some people have known about these plans for almost half a year.
The person who started the petition, Richard Leitch, asked that Brits help to, “Save these historic grounds and not end up with a grubby, faceless office handling our consular affairs. The compound on Wireless Road is famous for its iconic buildings, including the Ambassador’s historic residence, tropical gardens, huge trees and ponds.”
Photo: Chalita Aommy Klumjui/Facebook
He went on to write that, “Many long-term British expatriates have recalled the numerous garden parties and events such as the Ploenchit Fair that were held in the embassy compound. Queen Elizabeth visited the embassy on at least two occasions.”
One commenter on the petition, Christopher Walton, made the point that the land was a long-ago gift from Thai officials for UK use as an embassy. He said that, “The UK did not buy the land and, as such, should gift it back to Thailand. To sell it for profit is tantamount to theft.”
A source that spoke to the Post and did not want to be named said that, at such a high price, it could only become a huge development by a company with overseas partners and, most likely, a mixed-use development because of its large size.
Prices for land in downtown locations are ever-rising. The one-rai parcel that holds some favorite expat haunts like Cheap Charlie’s bar, Charley Brown’s Mexicana, The Alchemist bar and Suk 11 hostel has reportedly been sold for THB2,000 million.
So far, the British Embassy has not made a formal announcement about putting the embassy up for sale.

Bangkok Coconuts