Monday, December 28, 2009

Boycott Tesco's

I have always been slighty dubious about Tesco's practices but in the last two weeks their practices have enraged me. Firstly the article published by the BBC, which reported on a line of christmas cards sold by Tesco's, which can only be described as racist. I myself have red hair and was extremely offended.

Secondly, and the issue that I am most personally aggrieved over the closure of a local bar in their continued aggressive dominance of British retail. The Quay bar has long been established in Leicester and I was a regular in my student days. Recently in the last month a church put an event on in the bar and a week later were planning another event to encourage community cohesion in surrounding area until they turned up on the night (22nd Dec) to find it closed. The event had been discussed with management but no-one had mention or seemed aware of Tesco's intentions to gut the popular venue. The refit was planned over the Christmas period whilst the students and local residents were away so that no one can protest against Tesco's plans, a convenient coincidence perhaps?

However what is most ridiculous is the location, the Quay is a small venue, surely only large enough for a small Tesco Metro and is only 10 metres away from a small Sainsbury's and within three minutes walk of a large independant off-license, a Spar and the student union shop. With a large Morrisons supermarket and a countless small shops situated within a 10 minute walk.

Why, Tesco's, is no part of Britain allowed to be untouched by your greedy desire? I'm fed up with seeing your corporate and bland Tesco branding everywhere, its sickening. Please also spare a thought for the wonderful bar staff formally at the Quay that where made redundant at Chrsitmas. Nice touch Tesco's.

Friday, September 04, 2009


I was just listening to last-fm and the Fray - How to save a life was playing a song that had meaning for many years but now it seems trivial and immature.

A good friend took his life 6 weeks ago due to severe depression and it seems there was very little anyone could do, nothing I could say that would change much. I wished that I had the opportunity to tell him the things that I wrote in his tribute but deep down surely he must have known how much I appreciated him, why else would I have spent so much time with him. The truth was masked by a chemical inbalance in his brain, I still remember him as a strong man that I looked up to and I never quite realised how troubled he was.

I went with his widow to find a spot to scatter the ashes at the weekend and just felt so numb, I found it difficult to get upset. I couldn't even be happy at my brother telling me his girlfriend was pregnant last night, it didn''t help that i didn't believe him after all he is a joker like me, its how we cope.

It reminded me of one of the first blogs a wrote several years ago at a difficult time in my personal life reflecting on a life that seems so rehearsed, it couldn't feel any more true at the moment. Events that happen in your life that are meant to make things feel real just seem like a dull continuous story. I had a blood test this morning for a ongoing health issue and the needle kind of hurt more than previously (although I try to be a man about these things), but it didn't seem to wake me from feeling like I am sleep walking all the time.

The morning motorway commute worryingly feels like I am on autopilot. Sitting in the office I am trying to focus and get to grips with the research and finish the report due on monday but its not working either, going for a run used to work as well but I just feel continually knackered, the wind and extreme rain over the last few days has helped temporaily but done little overall to wake me, perhaps its my , my health or grief I'm unsure but i just want to wake up.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Extremes of Weather

After a week of extreme heat 30C+ for a week, the rain has come in avengence with seemingly no end its been raininig on and off since Friday and my vegetable patch has benefitted tremedously. However the downside to the rain is flash flooding, luckily not my house but the M1 was awful last night it was more suited to boats than cars and I am still worried about my car which was taking in alot of water and I thought I sealed the suspect door seal but the mats were damp again yesterday. So will this be another summer like last year a week of sunshine followed by 2 months of rain. Well I'm camping for a week in August on a site with approx 11 thousand others so I'm hoping not, otherwise it will be a classic British mud bath.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Sunday evening and I'm sipping a black coffee, whilst listening to Pink floyd Division Bell. Outside a faint rainbow has just come and gone behind a grey cloud. Its been raining all day but the sight of the golden light through the cloud briefly through my office window was amazing.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Visual of Literature View so far

Wordle: Literature Review

Well this is how wordle sees it, MS Word Autosummarise was not very helpful and I'm still stuck on how to start the paper.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The Design Process

This post is being started so I can attach an image to an online questionaire but thought it might also help with my Literature review. What is the first image you think of when you consider the term design process?

I consider the simple school taught bubbles above with a feedback loop. However the theories now vary widely from this simple diagram, including the complicated double diamond approach, recommended by the Design Council of all people.

So thats a start any comments or other odd design process diagrams and lets agrue the merits...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Time of Year

Well there is lots of news about the recession easing evern though another friend lost his job two weeks ago but apparetly housing prices went up slightly last month. So is this really all a case of journalists suffering from SAD sunshine deficiet. The doom and gloom of a few months ago almost daily forecasts of woe suddenly come to a halt because the sun has come out and they have put on their positive and optimistic hats.

Well we will have to see I'm not sure how they can put spin on what will be a very difficult budget tomorrow.

Also has anyone noticed how the student loan company have managed to continue to fleece us by changiing the interest from the RPI which they charged us 5% based upon last year to the bank rate + 1%. When the RPI is now into negative figures, what a surprise.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Time to leave the country?

Ok now I'm starting to really wonder what Gordon Brown and his cronies are up to. My building society stated on their website this morning that they are reducing my ISA interest rate to 0.5% with effect of 4 days ago, great notice period I thought. Then at noon topday the 5th March the Bank of England announce that they are againcutting the interest rates to 0.5% so what now for my saving in my Isa 0.25% or nothing/no incentive to save or maybe they may charge me soon for the priviledge of being a good steward and being careful with my money not foolish like those who caused this crisis.

So what benefit do I get for being careful, living within my means, no running up ridiculous debt I could never pay. Well none it seems Mr Brown is happy to take from the careful and give to the foolish, for a vicars son he doesn't pay much attention to advice given in the gospels. I fixed my mortgage earlier in the year at a rate I knew I would be able to pay and didn't borrow more than I needed less than 3 times of the combined salary of my wife and I the fixed rate was 5.63%. So know I am losing out on two fronts my savings are not earning any interest and I am paying at least 2-3% over the going rate. I'm wondering when the stupidity will cease it was low interest rates that got the UK into this mess in the first with people borrowing more than 5 or 6 times their salary. The only people that are benefiting from this ridiculously low interest rate are those who borrowed 95 or 100% of the value of their homes that can now not remortgage and are therefore on standard variable rates those that were foolish with theior money are now being rewarded why?

This is wrong, the government seem unwilling to recognise that not only the banking system was wrong but the whole nature of a spend spend spend society the banks, the credit card companies, the retail sector and the foolish and greedy members of the british public are to blame for this mess so the Prime Minister wants to help them out instead of letting them learn from their lesson he punishes those that were careful in order to help those that were plain stupid.

Well its going to back fire there will be another RUN ON THE BANKS, I have just removed all my savings and on the way in and way out I saw many other clutching their savings books to do the same, so the money will no longer be with the banks to lend to the foolish or even the aspiring home owner who may have been meticulously saving up a deposit for their first home only to be thwarted by the Bank of England's so called economic progress. In Britian approximately two thirds save whilst a third don't so the government has disadvantaged the majority. So what will we do with the saving well not what the government hopes we are wise people we aren't going to buy new cars, t.v's or sofas, some may spend it on the house mine will go on new windows we badly need them, others with more money may buy a cheap property abroad well done Mr Brown the money has gone out of the country. What we aren't going to do is spend Britian out of the reccession, unwise spending and borrowing caused this problem in the first place and is never going to cure it. Spending will only move the problem further downstream it will catch up eventually.

So what now well after seeing the chaos unfold, I am even more closer to annoucing plans to emigrate once I finish my PhD. Canada isn't in an economic mess and even though America has partially caused this they are willing to learn from it and take appropriate action, lending to the industries that employ people but on the condition they produce greener goods an example is the american automotive industry, there is also talk of taking some of the bankers that caused this to trial not rewarding them with 700K a year pension Mr Brown. Even Europe has got some good ideas like Germany's policy to give people £2500 off new cars if the scrap an old one, giving two benefits, keeping people in work and improving emmissions for the environment. This would be far cheaper than buying all the banks, its not a game of Monopoly Mr Brown, I don't want my tax money or my wifes taxes paying some fat cat, his ridiculous pension for being a prat and allowing unscrupulous lending to people that could never pay.

On the matter of tax as well, I no longer pay now that I am doing a PhD but my wife does and as she is self employed its a bit of a pain but she paid it on time. However due to a cock up on the inland revenue's part they sent her a bill for some under paid tax quite a small amaount, it was dated the 16th feb but didn't arrived till the 4th of March with a threat that if it wasn't paid by the 28th of feb she will be charged a 5% surcharge. They refuse to remove this despite the fact that we didn't recicev the billtill a week after the date of final payment. Yet another example of the government screwing the hard working British public.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Infuriated with the British Government

I am amazed frankly at their stupidity now, how they can't see that this will only put them in a worse light. The decision announced today is the most hypocritical so far. They are taxing the British motorist everywhere they can on the fuel 60% of what we pay is tax and they have increased the car taxation bands drastically charging more for cars that emit higher C02 emissions the larger cars have gone from £180 a yr to £440 and my wife’s tiny 1.25lt fiesta from £120 a yr to £145.

Yet today they announce that plans for a 3rd runway at one of the world’s largest airports Heathrow are approved. How can they support the environmental argument for the taxes the motorist pay suggesting when they pass this new runway to substantially increase aviation in the UK? Cars run on roads some on the CO2 they produce has the opportunity to be absorbed by trees and plants therefore and larger deposits or carbon fall on the roads. Planes fly in the stratosphere they only place that the emissions they produce therefore can go is into the atmosphere further contributing to global warming. They must be either extremely ignorant or stupid not to realise this. Planes may produce less CO2 than the nation of motorists do but the impact is so much greater because of the altitude at which they fly.

Further to this how do they expect to reach the reduction in CO2 targets that they have set now, its sheer lunacy. My other accusations at the government in this blog can be excused somewhat on the fact that it requires some in depth research to discover the paradoxes they can pose. This abomination however cannot, it is a clear cut case and even if they lay on more trains to the 3rd runway as they promise they are never going to counteract the damage they are doing, to the environment and themselves. As much as I have always voted and loyally supported labour this hypocrisy cannot be ignored this is one step too far they have infuriated the British public for too long.

The argument would be that this will create jobs but hello Mr Brown who is flying in a recession anyway, isn't this, another waste of money, to add to the Olympics which is of course also not going to help meeting our CO2 level targets?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Does Global Recession = Consumption Recession?

I hope so.
No really its an interesting question, which would deserve several PhD studies of its own. If the global recession hits peoples spending power by the amount that it has in the last few months in the UK. Could it bring about a sustained or a least temporary drop in consumption.

Could and would people stop just replacing products because there is a new one available that has newer features? Would people once again treasure their old CRT TV’s and stop replacing them with the environmentally destructive LCD types (see earlier post energy efficiency or governmental deficiency) that don't last anywhere near as long. Would municipal recycling centres see a decline in the amount of products (many still working) being thrown away each week. Could we ever become a society again that sees benefits in repairing products rather than disposing of them. Or cherishing products that last a long time and caring for them in order to further extend their life, rather than despairing at an older product because it is now the wrong colour or does match a new appliance.

Could we return even partially to the consumer attitudes pre 1960's plastics mass production boom, before the days of built in obsolescence and the disposable society. A society that invests in products expecting them to last half a life time like my old iron.

I really do think that in order to significantly reduce the environmental impact that we are creating we really need to go backwards rather than forwards. Perhaps this recession is the opportunity we all need to significantly change our attitudes. Perhaps even during this down turn a product service sector may become a stronger possibility with consumers renting rather than buying appliances to allow for them to be returned to the OEM at the end of life for remanufacturing, well we can only hope

Yes this may appear insensitive with the current rate of redundancies being announced each day in the UK. But if we could go back to a time of repairing and maintaining products or offer product service sectors this will create a lot more jobs in each home country rather than the far east.

However I doubt it is even on the governments consideration list as they hand the greedy and incompetent banks more of ours the tax payers money today whilst the interest rates have again been lowered punishing those who were careful enough to save rather than contributing to this over consumption disaster in the first place. I probably should stop ranting about the government though soon as I've decided when I finish my PhD I'm going to do something about this mess and apply for a civil service position hopefully in the strategy board to influence government policy. But we will see...