A light bulb moment

More thoughts, submitted on an occasional basis by our Guest Blogger:  Jack Diamond.


Light bulbs, it used to be so easy.

When one blew, which wasn’t that often, you would simply take it out and replace it with another. Job done.

Not anymore. Not these days.

Back in the not so distant past, light bulbs came in only one fitting (at least here in the UK) and this was the bayonet fitting. You pushed the bulb in and twisted it, and did the reverse to remove it.

Nowadays it’s not so easy.

Why? Because light bulbs these days come in a whole range of sizes and fittings. Here’s just a few…

Bayonet cap light bulb

It’s smaller brother, the small bayonet cap

Then there’s the Edison Screw, which comes in a range of sizes –

5mm Lilliput Edison Screw; 10mm Miniature Edison Screw; 12mm Candelabra Edison Screw; 14mm Small Edison Screw; 27mm Edison Screw and the 40mm Giant Edison Screw

And that’s before we get on to halogen bulbs or fluorescent and led strip lights.

So, the light bulb in your bedroom has blown. You get a chair, stand under the light fitting and remove the bulb. That’s the easy part.

To your dismay you find the bulb is a screw fitting. All the other bulbs in your house are bayonet fittings. Or are they? You can’t remember.

Checking the cupboard downstairs, you find you have an ES bulb (that’s a screw fitting to you and me) but, would you believe it, when you offer it up to the light fitting you find that what you have in your hand is an SES (Small Edison Screw bulb) and no use whatsoever.

Rechecking the cupboard, you have no ES bulbs, only bayonet and this one SES bulb.

When did it all become so much more complex?

Why do we need all these different fittings for bulbs?

Instead of having just one 40 watt bulb and one 60 watt bulb as spares you now need a whole range of spares in different sizes and fittings. Crazy.

And, let’s not even get started on what happened to the 100 watt bulbs and, more lately, the 60 watt bulbs. Again, back in the old days, in a large room you would have a single 100 watt bulb (a bayonet fitting, of course). But these got banned by the European Union back in 2009, followed by a ban on 60 watt bulbs two years later.

Now, to get a decent amount of light, you have to have three or four lower wattage lights placed strategically around the room. So, logically, you’re going to get through more light bulbs and, therefore, be more often in the position of not having a spare of the right size or fitting.

And this is progress?

And then, to add insult to injury, there’s the cost.

Again, light bulbs used to be cheap but now they costs anywhere up to £4 or £5 for a normal everyday bulb. So, you have to buy more of them (because of the plethora of different fittings) and they cost more.

You’ll have noticed that I’ve talked about 60 watt and 100 watt bulbs. Well, I shouldn’t have, because that’s changed too. We’re supposed to talk about ‘lumens’ now, not watts. But, of course, none of us do.

And – what’s more – even if you still talk about the wattage of a lightbulb, well, that’s changed as well. Take a look at the packaging for a lightbulb below.

28 watt is, apparently, the same as 37 watt.

Pardon? Or should I say ‘What?’

The definition of a watt is as follows:

The watt (symbol: W) is a derived unit of power in the International System of Units (SI) defined as 1 joule per second and can be used to quantify the rate of energy transfer.

(from Wikipedia)

So, someone explain to me how 28 watts equals 37 watts.

As I said, the whole thing is crazy!

But, that’s progress and, as we know, progress is a marvellous thing. Isn’t it?

Thanks for reading. Oh, and remember to switch the light off after you – the bulbs cost a fortune you know!

Jack Diamond


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Education, education, education

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Back in June 2015 I wrote a blog post titled Dumbing Down Education? where I showed some of the questions asked of 16 year olds sitting their GCSE Maths papers.

Well, I decided to take another look at exam questions following the furore over SATS (or National Curriculum tests) for 11 year olds.



This was the first year that the curriculum has been in operation and therefore the tests have been changed to reflect new, higher expectations of both the teachers and the pupils.

Following the results of the tests, official data shows 47 per cent of pupils did not make the grade in reading, writing and mathematics. Some headteachers had called for the test results not to be published as the results were lower than expected.

So, what were the tests? Were they really that difficult that nearly half of the 11 year olds didn’t pass?

As a matter of course, having two children, one 9 year old and the other 6 years, we download past SATS papers and give these to our kids to try out. Obviously the 6 year old is a long way off being able to do much of what is expected of a child 5 years his senior but his older brother, age 9, is a more relevant example of what might be expected (even though he is still 2 years short of sitting the SATS tests).

To give you an example of what is expected of an 11 year old, here’s the first five questions from the maths tests for 2016.






Now, adding 100 to 987 or dividing 326 by 1 doesn’t seem very taxing. And I can confirm it’s not very taxing for a 9 year old either, never mind a child two years older.

Yes, obviously the questions do get slightly harder as you go through the paper but there’s only 35 questions in this maths paper and just answering those first five correctly is a reasonable chunk of the test.

So, what to make of the fuss kicked up by some teachers and headteachers? Changing the curriculum is always going to throw up a few problems, the least of which is when people compare the latest results with the previous year. Last year around 80% of the children passed the test, this year only 53% did.

But is the change a good thing? On balance I would say yes, it is. One of the more noticeable changes to the curriculum in maths in the past year was that teachers are now allowed to teach the children the times-table. By this I mean teach them by repeating the tables over and over until they become second nature to the child – the way most of us learnt them in the past. Almost unbelievably, teaching tables by rote (by repetition) was not allowed in schools in recent years and, if schools did teach that way, they would get marked down by OFSTED.

So, it seems some common sense has prevailed.

Now all the teachers need to do is ensure that the kids they teach can add 100 to 987 or divide 326 by 1. But perhaps that’s easier said than done when reading, writing and arithmetic have to be squeezed in at Primary School alongside guitar lessons, golf lessons, dance, drum lessons, tennis, trips to supermarkets (I kid you not!) and everything else.

Perhaps, and it’s just a thought, schools should concentrate on the important things (to most people this would be reading, writing and arithmetic) and leave the golf, tennis etc to after-school clubs. But, hey, what do I know? I’m just a parent!


Thanks for reading.

Jack Diamond

(The views expressed in our Guest Blogs are personal opinions only and do not reflect the views of PCGraphics.)



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Compensation culture UK

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More thoughts, submitted on an occasional basis by our Guest Blogger:  Jack Diamond.


It’s gone mad, hasn’t it? Compensation culture, I mean.

I was out driving the other day when I had an accident. Yes, it was my fault, I drove into the car in front. Not a serious accident – or so I thought at the time anyway. The car in front pulled away at a junction and the road was clear in both directions so I followed. Then the driver in front slams their brakes on. There’s a minor bump; after all, we were only going a few miles an hour. We both pulled over and noted there was some damage to the bumper of the car in front so we swapped insurance details. All fine and dandy.

A few weeks later I get a letter from my insurance company saying they are settling the claim for damage to the third party’s vehicle plus paying something in the region of £5,000 in compensation for ‘whiplash’ injuries to soft tissue.

Now, I do have the details of the person who was in the car in front of me, I have their address and phone number. Do you think it would be right for me to contact them and ask them what they are playing at?

I’m not one to call someone a liar but in this instance I shall make an exception. I don’t believe there was ever any whiplash injury in this accident. What I think happened was that the person was contacted by some unscrupulous no-win no-fee outfit and told they could claim several thousand Pounds in compensation if they simply tick this box. It’s probably difficult to turn down that sort of offer, especially if you have very few or absolutely no morals.

No, it didn’t cost me anything, not directly anyway, but it costs us all more in increased insurance premiums. In fact, it costs around two billion Pounds per year. We all have to pay in the end.

It’s interesting to note that 8 out of every 10 personal injury claims in road traffic accidents are for whiplash, yet we’ve had head restraints fitted to every new vehicle in the UK for many, many years now which are designed to help prevent just this sort of injury.

And it’s not just motoring insurance either where this compensation culture exists.

I was reading recently about a woman who is suing a holiday company because she was knocked over by a wave when in the water and broke some bones. Sorry, but how is the holiday company to blame for this? Or is it a case of ‘I’ve been hurt, someone must be to blame’? Someone apart from herself, obviously.

When did we start to blame someone else for what goes wrong in our lives? When did we stop being responsible for our own actions or accept that something might just be an accident and not someone’s fault? And when did we, as a nation, become so morally corrupt that we would lie about an injury just to get a payout?


From the BBC website: Does the UK have a problem with whiplash?

The UK has been called the “whiplash capital of Europe”. It’s said to cost the insurance industry about £2bn a year.


And there’s solicitors who make a living out of making claims on your behalf: 

Bott & Co is a multiple award-winning specialist no win no fee consumer rights solicitors firm … We employ over 105 staff … The business had a turnover of £11.1m in 2015.

Use our whiplash claims calculator below to see how much you may be able to claim.


From the ITV website: Three holiday makers sue travel company after being injured by waves on beach

Three British tourists are suing a tour operator after they were injured by waves at a beach while holidaying in Cape Verde.



Thanks for reading

Jack Diamond


(The views expressed in our Guest Blogs are personal opinions only and do not reflect the views of PCGraphics.)

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Police Interceptors (or not)

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More thoughts, submitted on an occasional basis by our Guest Blogger:  Jack Diamond.


I’ve been watching the television recently. Yes, you might say that was my first mistake but, actually, it was quite enlightening. Let me explain.

I was watching a programme called Police Interceptors (other police programmes of a similar nature also exist, I’m not necessarily recommending this one!).

You probably know the type of thing the programme is about. A policeman in a car notices another driver acting suspiciously or it gets flagged up by the ANPR system in the police car (ANPR is something the police have in their vehicles which automatically checks number plates and flags up any vehicles which aren’t taxed, insured etc).

Quite often the baddies decide they don’t wish to stop when requested by the police and press the pedal to the floor, racing through streets and across the countryside (even through the countryside in some cases).

The police have a difficult job now, trying to stop the vehicle whilst at the same time being aware of public safety. One car racing through a built up area at 90mph is bad enough but having two, three or more doing the same thing brings some obvious problems.

And the more the police chase the vehicle, the harder the bad person tries to get away so he (or she, for the sake of equality etc) drives faster and more recklessly.

In a number of cases, where public safety is deemed to be at risk, the police give up on the chase and let the baddies depart. Obviously this isn’t a very satisfactory outcome.

Well, and here we come to the point of my ramblings, why is it not possible for the police to have some safe method of stopping the vehicle? And, I mean an electronic method, not the ‘stinger’ (a roll of spiked metal designed to puncture the tyres of a car as it’s driven over it) which they use at present.

A 'stinger' or spike strip

(Stinger or spike strip – photo courtesy of WikiMedia Commons)

Cars these days are full of electronics, from your key fob to open the door to the engine management system (a small computer) under the bonnet. In this day and age it can’t be beyond the realms of possibilities to have an override circuit built in to the management system which can be cut out to bring the car to a safe halt. Why can’t cars be built with this installed and the police given the power to press a switch (like a key fob) which will kill the engine of a vehicle which is being pursued?

It seems so obvious that you wonder why it isn’t being used already.

Yes, you could argue that criminals might get hold of these fobs and be able to stop other vehicles, but to what end? Surely the benefits of the police being able to end any vehicle pursuit whenever they want (and whenever it was safe to do so) would override any other concerns?

But then, if they did that, what would we watch on the TV on a wet Thursday evening?

Thanks for reading.

Jack Diamond.


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Don’t get me started…

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More thoughts, submitted on an occasional basis by our Guest Blogger:  Jack Diamond.


Spam, spam and more spam

Well, here’s a piece of spam – several pieces in fact. Not very nice, is it?



But, obviously that’s not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about the other sort. The sort that ends up in your email inbox every day.

Did you know that approximately 150 billion emails are sent every day? The majority of these are apparently sent by businesses so, assuming most of us work 5 days a week then that’s around 750 billion emails getting sent out every week.

At the last estimate, in 2010, there was just short of 7 billion people in the world. By my calculations that would mean that, every week, each person in the World could be receiving over 100 emails.

Obviously, there’s quite a sizeable number of people around the World who do not have access to the internet or don’t have email accounts and these people are not getting the benefit of the 100 emails each week. Meaning that the rest of us are receiving their share too.

Now, that’s just simply not fair.

I don’t want to deprive these people in far flung corners of the World from getting their share of the email deluge. But, more importantly to me and my sanity, I really, really don’t want to be receiving all this spam in my inbox.

Admittedly I don’t actually get to see most of it, it gets filtered out automatically by spam filters but a proportion of it still gets through.

But it’s just staggering how many emails are flying around the World each day  – 150 billion of them. And how many of them actually get read or even glanced at? If my own personal experience is anything to go by, then only perhaps around 10% of emails get read by the recipient. The rest gets deleted automatically as spam or, if it gets through, is trashed because I’m not interested. Based on that assumption, around 135 billion sent emails each day are considered spam.

With that in mind, it’s hardly surprising that the average office worker spends 28% of their time at work reading or writing emails (these were figures from 2012 so it’s probably more than that now).

What a glorious waste of time! What were all these people doing before we had email? I’m pretty sure we weren’t all sitting around reading and writing letters to put in the post for 28% of every day.

I’d guess that the idea originally was that email would speed up communication but, in effect, it’s simply created more and more communication than we ever had previously. And, if the contents of the spam folder on my computer is anything to go by, the vast majority of this communication is not wanted and a waste of time.

I never liked spam in tins and I don’t like it in my inbox either.


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Don’t get me started…

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More thoughts, submitted on an occasional basis by our Guest Blogger:  Jack Diamond.


I was listening to the news recently and, out of the blue, I came up with some more quite staggering ideas to help the World run more efficiently. You might remember that I’ve come up with brilliant new ideas previously (see here) but, strangely, no-one seems to have taken up these brainwaves. But, anyway, not to be deterred here’s the latest…

Accident & Emergency

You will all have read recently, if you live anywhere in the UK, about the crisis in the NHS. Apparently there are too many people turning up at Accident & Emergency (A&E) Departments at hospitals with minor complaints, things which should ideally be treated by a GP.

The problem is, so we’re led to believe, that it takes so long to get an appointment with a GP that people go along to the hospital A&E Department to be seen more quickly. Obviously, this blocks up the A&E Department for those who have more serious complaints – actual accidents or emergencies, rather than a cold or sore throat.

Well, my cunning plan is…wait for it…why doesn’t every hospital set up a small department alongside A&E where the less serious patients can be diverted to, leaving the main A&E Department for the serious cases? This other department would be staffed by a couple of GPs – there’s already an ‘out of hours’ GP service at hospitals where you can go at night, for instance, if you have a minor ailment. Well, why not extend this to the daytime too?

The Triage Nurse at the hospital would decide, based on a person’s symptoms, whether they actually need A&E or can be diverted to a see a GP.

It sounds logical to me. But maybe that’s the problem? Huge organisations such as the NHS don’t seem to want to take the easy, cheap, effective solution. They appear to want to spend millions of Pounds on doing research and spending vast sums on computer systems when all that’s needed in some cases is some basic reorganisation and logical thinking.

So, that’s fixed the NHS. Now onto my next brilliant idea.


Black boxes on airplanes

We’ve all read over the past 6 months or so about airplanes crashing and the resultant search for the ‘black box’ flight data recorder (not sure why it’s called a black box when, I think, it’s actually red in colour) to find out the circumstances of the crash.

Well, surely the answer is for airplanes to automatically send the data not to the black box on the plane, but to a central data bank (or several data banks spread around the World) where the data can be retrieved instantly after an incident such as a crash.

This would dispense with the need for divers searching the seabed for the box and risking their own lives. We’re all familiar with ‘Cloud’ back up services for our computers, aren’t we? Well, isn’t it time that aircraft manufacturers caught up with everyone else in the World and backed up the flight record data ‘off site’ (i.e. to one of these data centres)?

Again, it seems so logical and straightforward that you’d wonder why it’s not being done already.

And, look, I wont even ask for any payment from aircraft manufacturers for using the idea (ok, a few grand would come in handy – hardly noticeable in the cost of a plane).


Now for something altogether less serious but slightly daft…

I recently bought a bag of peanuts from Lidl and, for want of anything better to do, glanced at what was written on the packet. And, yes, you’ve guessed it, there was the absurd health and safety notice informing the consumer of said peanuts that the packet ‘May contain traces of nuts’. Not actual peanuts, you’ll notice, but ‘traces’ of nuts!

I didn’t know which was more stupid, that the packager of the peanuts felt the need to inform the purchaser that the bag of peanuts contained nuts, or that I was only buying ‘traces’ of nuts!

Knew I should have gone to Waitrose or M&S anyway!


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Don’t get me started…

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More thoughts, submitted on an occasional basis by our Guest Blogger:  Jack Diamond.

You couldn’t make it up 

Twelve thousand five hundred (yes, that’s 12,500) people travelled to Peru – with most of them flying – to talk about CO2 emissions.

Now, does any part of that statement sound incongruous? It would almost be funny if it weren’t true.

While the rest of the world is using text, email, conference calls and Skype, 12,500 people travel to Peru to have a chat. The UK alone sent 45 delegates.

But, don’t worry, there’s more too…

The 50,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide which were emitted during the conference is more than that produced by some countries. Yes, a conference in Peru debating how to cut CO2 emissions puts more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than several countries. You really couldn’t make it up.

The conference was supposed to be run on ‘green energy’ but that didn’t happen so diesel generators were used to provide the power. Perhaps there’s a lesson there somewhere. Who knows?



And in other news…

“Police were called to a road on the Isle of Wight this afternoon after a vehicle collided with a fence. The incident happened at around 5pm in Bouldnor, near Yarmouth.

There were no injuries, but the fence was badly damaged.”

With all the doom and gloom in the news these days it’s great to have stories like this in the local press. It’s brilliant, but you have to feel sorry for the fence. Hopefully it will make a full recovery.

Thanks to the Isle of Wight County Press for this story. http://www.iwcp.co.uk/news/news/vehicle-collides-with-fence-70444.aspx


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Don’t get me started…

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Yet more ramblings, submitted on an occasional basis by our Guest Blogger:  Jack Diamond.


Scotland 1 England 3

No, it’s not the actual game I want to comment on, but the absurdity of this…


The article on the BBC Sport website refers to the fact that the English F.A. have apologised to the Scottish F.A. because of anti IRA chanting by English fans at the game.

Now, I think we all know that the IRA are/were a terrorist organisation. Yet the English F.A. have taken it upon themselves to apologise for some of their supporters being opposed to terrorist organisations and chanting songs which the IRA might, apparently, find offensive.

It really does beggar belief.

Since when has it been wrong to be opposed to a terrorist organisation? Since when has anyone felt the need to apologise for disliking terrorists? Surely any right minded, normal human being would be anti terrorist?

Apologising in case terrorists have been offended by a football chant? I can only think that it’s another example of this crazy, politically correct world we live in.


Political Correctness Gone Mad

Talking about the stupidity of political correctness, take a look at the following article which is carried by a number of newspapers. It concerns a small Primary School in rural England which has been downgraded by Ofsted (Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills in the UK) because it is not ‘culturally diverse’ enough.


You may have thought this stupidity was a one-off but go back about 5 months and we have almost the exact same story, except it’s a school in Devon this time.


The school in Devon are having to send their pupils to meet and stay over with children from a ‘culturally diverse’ school in Isleworth, near London, at a cost to the parents of £35 per child. Three quarters of the pupils at the Isleworth school are from an ethnic minority background. All this for the Devon school to get an ‘outstanding’ rating by Ofsted.

As I said, it’s a crazy, politically correct world we live in.


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Don’t get me started…

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More oddball thoughts, submitted on an occasional basis by our Guest Blogger:  Jack Diamond.


Well, this week I’ve put my thinking cap on and, amazingly, come up with a solution to some of our problems here in the UK.

The problems I’ve solved are to do with defence, border controls and financial budgets.


It was simple, really. No, it was. Listen…

The first step in my mind-blowingly simple plan is for us, and here I mean our leaders in Government and our military chiefs, to stop bombing and invading other countries. I know, it’s radical, isn’t it?

And, here’s how it works.

We pull all our overseas troops home to the UK. The UK currently has troops in a number of foreign countries (source) – Kenya, Sierra Leone, Brunei, Canada, Cyprus, Germany, Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands. There’s possibly more. And this list doesn’t include those we’ve invaded or bombed recently e.g. Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and, going back a few more years, places like Kosovo.

So, now that we’re not bombing or invading other countries, what do we do with all these troops that we’ve brought home?


We use them at ports and airports around the UK to bolster the struggling UK Border Control staff. After all, these military people are all part of our Ministry of Defence, so what better job for them to do than to actually, physically defend the UK’s borders?

The clue to this thinking is really in the name, the Ministry of Defence. It’s not called the Ministry of Attack, or the Ministry of Invade or Bomb Other Countries. Their job is to defend the UK and what better place to start than at our borders?

This policy of not bombing or invading other countries will also have a few other knock-on effects which will be positive. It will save us billions, yes billions of Pounds annually. In one conflict alone, Afghanistan, it’s cost the UK around £37 billion (source). That’s one hell of a price for a war which really has very little to do with us and which has probably contributed, along with our incursion into Iraq, to many of the terror atrocities here at home.

Our bombing of Libya is estimated to have cost around £950 million (source). And that was without any troops on the ground – allegedly. The outcome of this bombing? Libya is fast becoming classified as a ‘failed state’ (source).

So, there’s plenty of money to be saved by not invading or bombing people. Plus we get a big increase of personnel at our ports and airports, which can only be a good thing.

I could also get started on our stock of nuclear weapons (who are we planning to use these against? Our major enemy these days are terrorists at home and we certainly wont be nuking them, or at least I trust not). So, why do we need them?

But, that’s for another day. For now, bring our troops home and make the UK a safer place. Oh, and save a bucket load of money too.


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Don’t get me started…

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More off-the-wall thoughts, submitted on an occasional basis by our Guest Blogger:  Jack Diamond.


This week I’m taking a look back in time with ‘Whatever Happened to…


First, whatever happened to – Repetitive Strain Injury?

Does anyone remember when repetitive strain injury was about as common as the adverts on Downton Abbey (for the uninitiated, Downton Abbey is a period drama on UK TV interrupted every few minutes, it seems, by adverts)? It was caused by doing the same actions, usually involving the upper arms or fingers, repeatedly and intensely over a period of time.

According to the NHS website repetitive strain was ‘a general term used to describe the pain felt in muscles, nerves and tendons caused by repetitive movement and overuse.’

So, basically, it was caused by using muscles a lot that hadn’t been used in a while previously.

And people were taking time off work for this and getting moved to do different jobs because of the ‘repetitive strain’ of doing that one task over and over again. There were even probably a few individuals who sought financial compensation from their employers for the effects of repetitive strain injury.

I wonder what today’s teenagers would make of repetitive strain? My guess is they’d probably ignore it. I mean, have you seen the speed teenager’s move their thumbs when texting or updating their Facebook statuses? And they do this for hours at a time – walking in the street, sitting on buses and trains, on the way to school, on the way home from school and, probably but who knows, during lessons at school as well.

Repetitive strain is a thing of the past. I can’t imagine any kid these days running to their mother, complaining about the pain in their thumbs from constantly texting.

Did it ever exist? Undoubtably, some people got sore muscles from doing one task too frequently over a period of time. I have the same problem when I kick a football around for 90 minutes non stop. My muscles ache.

Today’s kids, with their constant texting, have put paid to repetitive strain injury.

Whatever happened to – Acid Rain?

If you were around, and read the newspapers or listened to the news, in the 1970s or 1980s, you will undoubtably have heard of acid rain. It was, we were told, going to destroy all our forests and woodlands and, following that, probably civilisation as we know it. Well, what happened to it? Everything went quiet on the acid rain front.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have no doubt that acid rain actually existed. In fact, if I remember my geography and physics lessons correctly, all rain is acidic. But this version of acid rain was apparently caused by coal fired power stations.

Obviously, we in the UK took steps to shut down our coal fired power stations. Problem solved.

Or not. From news reports of only a couple of years ago, China was building 363 new coal burning power stations. On top of that, India was building 455. There were 1,200 coal plants in the various stages of planning across 59 countries.

So, what happened to acid rain?

I’m not for one minute suggesting it never existed and that we were misled by governments, environmentalists and the sensationalist section of the tabloid press, but we have far, far more coal fired power plants than in the 1970s and 1980s and yet no-one speaks of acid rain these days.

Perhaps it’s simply because we’ve got bigger and better things to worry about these days?

Whatever happened to – Swine Flu?

You must remember the swine flu epidemic? It was only a few years ago and our government here in the UK was forecasting 65,000 deaths in this country alone.

So, what happened to it?

Well, there was swine flu and it did kill some people – mostly those with pre-existing conditions. How many people did it kill in the UK? Certainly not the 65,000 that the experts were expecting.

The actual number of deaths from swine flu in the UK was 457.

So, we had a massive over estimate of the number of deaths. What else? Oh, yes, the government, in their wisdom, made plans to buy 132 million doses of the swine flu vaccine. The population of the UK is about 64 million. So, that would have been more than two doses of the vaccine for each and every person in the UK, assuming that every person wanted the vaccine (or, indeed, wanted two doses of it).

Why, you have to ask? Why would any Civil Servant or Minister in the Government sign a contact for that number of vaccines?

The total cost of the swine flu pandemic was put at over £1.2 billion. That’s 1.2 billion Pounds of our tax payer’s money here in the UK.

So, what happened to swine flu?

Again, yes, it did obviously exist – 457 people died from it. But it wasn’t the massive, looming disaster that we were, again, led to believe.


So, I have to ask, do you believe it these days when governments, environmentalists or anyone else give us warnings of doom and gloom about how the world is going to end, imminently, if we don’t do something quickly (which, it seems, usually means paying money to someone or raising taxes)?

I, for one, have become slightly, just slightly, cynical over the years.



(The views expressed in our Guest Blogs are personal opinions only and do not reflect the views of PCGraphics.)

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Some vaguely articulate ramblings, submitted on an occasional basis by our Guest Blogger:  Jack Diamond.


After the vote

Now that we’ve got the independence of Scotland out of the way we can move on to other matters. How about independence for England? Or, independence for the south east of England? Failing that, may I suggest that the Isle of Wight reforms it’s independence party – I say reformed because there was a movement by the Vectis National Party to change the Island to a Crown Dependency in the 1970s.

An independent Isle of Wight? Is that a daft suggestion? Maybe, maybe not. The Isle of Man is a Crown Dependency and seems to do ok. And the way solar energy farms are springing up across the Island, plus, more recently, the requests for permission to build wind farms off the south coast, it’s not inconceivable that the Isle of Wight will be energy self sufficient in a decade or two. So, maybe independence is not so far fetched after all.

Of course, an independent country will need a leader. We all know that our current political leaders are inept, both locally and in Westminster, so we’d need someone new. Someone untainted by the past fiascos of those in power. Someone intelligent, strong, knowledgable, affable and, most of all, modest.

Now, even though I’m a shy, retiring type of person and not one to push myself forward, I could possibly be persuaded to offer my services as leader of the new Island State. But, and I can almost hear you all saying this already, why stop at simply calling myself ‘Leader’ – why not make me Emperor or King?

King Jack of Wight does has a certain pleasant ring about it, even if I say so myself. I’m also very good at waving and looking haughty, which are, indisputably, requirements for the job of monarch.

And once crowned as King, what would my first decree be? Well, the first one is fairly simple. Reduce the stupidly high ferry fares to and from the Island. Ok, we wouldn’t be reducing them so much that it encourages the riffraff to travel across the Solent – we’re trying to encourage the discerning visitor after all – but just enough so that it doesn’t put off the more desirable elements of society. I mean, we do have some standards. Of course, though, anyone from Basingstoke or Germany would be banned outright, which I’d assume, would be a universally popular decision?

Someplace to live would be next on the list. There’s nothing wrong with where I live at present, but would it really be suitable for a Head of State? Probably not, in my opinion. So, I’d need somewhere more in keeping with my new-found prominent position in society. My tastes are fairly modest as far as this requirement goes, so a small residence such as that once so loved by another monarch, Queen Victoria, would perhaps be suitable.


(Osborne House, once the summer home of Queen Victoria on the Isle of Wight)

Osborne House fits the bill admirably – not too ostentatious, an extra bedroom or two for guests and room in the grounds for a vegetable patch – and I could possibly be persuaded to relocate there. There is the slight problem that Osborne House is run by English Heritage at present but that can be sorted fairly easily. After all, once we become independent, English Heritage wont be on the Island and the property will be looking for a suitable resident. I am willing to be that tenant – though, obviously, I wouldn’t want to be saddled with the running costs of the monstrosity so that would have to be paid from local taxes. But I’ll leave the subject of taxes to another time. Some people get upset at the thought of paying taxes to keep monarchs, Prime Ministers and even Members of Parliament in the style to which they think they deserve to be kept, so I’ll wait until I’m King and settled in to my new abode before levying the taxes upon my subjects.

Next, there’s an awful lot of elderly folk on the Isle of Wight and that’s all very nice and proper but I do think it would be best for them, and for everyone else, if they were moved  to a remote, unvisited corner of the Island. Or Chale, as it’s known locally. Better for them and better for the visitors who come across. I mean, no-one who goes on holiday wants to have to fight their way through hordes of dribbling grannies to get to the beach or be run over by mobility scooters being driven by demented OAPs. So, better for everyone if they are moved to Chale, out of harm’s way.

And that’s just for starters. I’ll keep all my other plans up my sleeve until after independence and until I’m crowned King of the Island. I think that’s the way it’s done, judging by what I’ve seen elsewhere. It’s never best, apparently, to tell the general public too much or, as in the case of our current politicians, anything truthful at all.

So, you see, what could possibly go wrong with independence? I’m all for it.


(The views expressed in our Guest Blogs are personal opinions only and do not reflect the views of PCGraphics. We would also like to point out that we have no grievances against grannies, OAPs, people from Basingstoke, Germany or even those from Chale.)


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