James Miller


Saturday, April 28, 2007

Ipswich Send Leeds Down


Well they are almost down. They could win nine nil next week and still stay up if Hull lose. Unlikely.


I didn't go, but if I could have, I would have.

Since I started following football in the 1960s, Leeds have always been a load of thugs and there are many fans of other clubs, who think that the old Third Division is ideal for Leeds.

The East Anglian Daily Times summed up the feelings of many of those fans.

Ipswich had never had so many people cheering them on, with the majority of football followers appearing to have a dislike for Leeds following their chequered history - and quite happy to see them relegated to League One.

And of course the Leeds fans rioted.

Energy Efficient Light Bulbs


I think that changing light bulbs is not as easy as you think and I suspect that this is why take-up has not been as high as it should have been.

I should say that light bulbs have been a pain to me for many years, as both the houses I've lived in, in the last thirty years have suffered from power surges, which have blown ordinary bulbs long before they have done. So I did try and convert earlier.

Typically, I use 20 watt and 11 watt GLS ES bulbs with one or two specials. The main problem that I have is that I have several decorative lights, that need 60 watt small bayonet candles. I can't find this bulb at all. A subsidiary problem is that I have some dimmers, but these are on lights not used very often.

To get the bulbs I need, I have to get them on-line. 20 watt GLS ES bulbs never seem to be stocked in supermarkets or DIY stores and decent long life 60 watt candles are not.

So I buy them on-line from The Light Bulb Company.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Farmers and 4x4's


Let's stop perpetrating the myth that farmers need 4x4's. I'm a stud farmer and don't have one.

They may be good going on bad roads, but so is a well designed car. But their ground pressure means that they chew up the tracks around the farm and make it rutted and difficult to travel on. We use large garden tractors with a trailer for small works around the farm and a proper tractor for the heavy stuff.

4x4's have their places. But not many. And certainly not in Chelsea.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Planning Regulations


Over the last six months we have been obtaining the planning permission for a new office on our stud here at Newmarket. There have been no objections, the building will replace an eyesore with a sympathetic, timber clad, hi-tech building, but why has the process taken so long?

Surely, as we need more houses, factories, offices and other buildings to replace and augment our stock, isn't it time that the planning process was reformed. For a start building regulations are at the whim of the local council instead of to a national standard, that could be enforced by private consultancies in a quick and efficient manner.

I should say that the new building will incorporate a ground source heat pump, very high insulation, solar panels and low energy lighting.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Rose Coloured Spectacles


Do we look back on the past and think it was a lot better than now with behaviour?

In some ways it may have been, but I had my arm broken at school in 1962 by a bully, the council estate near us was virtually no go and when a few years later I served in the local pub, it was as tough as anything I've seen lately.

And this was in Southgate in North London.

Government Regulation of Sex


It has come to my notice, that the average couple don't have sex enough.

The Government has therefore decided that everybody should fill in a form each week to certify that they have had sex at least seven times a week.

Seriously though, do you think that the advice on too much TV for everyone will be taken seriously. As a child I spent about five hours a day playing with my Meccano set as I had no friends locally.

Was that harmful? Probably.

We just need common sense in all things.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Hanging On


Whilst phoning the DVLA in Swansea, I misdialled their number by one digit.

I got what seemed to be a very respectable phone system, that said I was first in the queue, so I waited as I didn't realise I'd misdialled. Nothing was said that it wasn't the DVLA.

I was completely fooled and hung on for 30 minutes.

That's fraud and I reported it to OFCOM. But there are thousands of numbers out there waiting for those misdials.

So be careful.

As an aside when I did through on the correct DVLA number, I got all the answers I needed in about ten minutes, including a small wait for connection.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Alan Sugar - A Pussycat?


A couple of years ago, I was with a friend whilst he talked with Alan Sugar on the telephone, as he guided him through a fairly complex software problem Alan Sugar was having on his computer.

There was no bluster, no tantrums, just intelligent and serious dialog as the problem was fixed.

Never underestimate Alan Sugar.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007



Drugs are the symptom, but they are not the problem.

What we should do is solve the problems that mean that people take to drugs. Perhaps, that is a lack of education, a lack of good jobs for young people or any number of a number of factors. I've never seen a serious survey on the whys of drugs, but there is any number of statistics about what drugs do to people.

Take Karen, who was on the radio this morning. She became a prostitute. Why did she do that?

Drugs will only disappear, when there is no need for them.

I've never taken illegal drugs, but I will admit that when I've been unhappy in the past, I've taken to the bottle. Perhaps, if I had had access to drugs, I would have taken them.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Freedom in the USA


Guns are supposed to be a freedom issue in the USA.

But today, after the horrors of the killings at Virginia Tech, an expert on Nicky Campbell's program this morning also said that the reason that a lot of child porn comes from the States is that it is also a freedom issue concerned with the right to Free Speech.

Obviously, America can have it both ways.

Monday, April 16, 2007



Who's mad enough to drive around with a bomb in the boot?

LPG goes bang in a big way.

Think too how the M25 was closed for a day because a van caught fire with gas cylinders inside it. LPG is not as bad as acetylene, but I've worked on chemical plants with both gases and keep as far as possible from them.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Sickies in the Civil Service


A friend of mine wrote a computer program to track correspondence in the London headquarters of a large Government Ministry.

Her view was that they were seriously overstaffed and actually didn't need her program, if they adopted the sort of management policies and staffing levels that are typical of well run organisations.

So perhaps, they take sickies there because no-one notices when they do.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

New Technology


I read an article in The Times today and found it interesting, even if they got the web site URL wrong. As a nearly 60-something, who's been involved in technology all his life, I'm best described as a very late adopter, unless it is seriously good.

All my software is developed on a 6 year old Dell, as I argue that if it runs on that it'll run on anything. I use a Nokia 6310i mobile phone as I can't see the point of getting anything better, especially as I just had it repaired for £23. (It also links perfectly to my new Jaguar.) I do not have any flat screen TVs, but I do use a widescreen LG monitor, as widescreen is so much better for Windows. The two main TVs (CRT) in the house are driven by Sharp TU-R160 Freeview boxes. (Even the wife can work one of those.) They must be the only modern technology in the house. Other than the LED energy-saving lights that is.

New technology, or at least the way that trendy designers present it, is in danger of vanishing up its own backside, as it's all style and no substance.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Hidden Britain


Everybody misses out Newmarket when they talk about East Anglia.

Not the racecourse, which is high profile and rightly so, but the infrastructure of racing, the Devil's Dyke, the museum, the studs, the heath (an SSI) and some of the historic villages.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007



Who needs sat-nav?

What's wrong with an up-to-date map?

I live in a large rural postcode and the centroid is just outside my house. So I get all the idiots, who use the sat-nav to find houses half a mile away, knocking on my door for directions.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The End of the Death Penalty in the US?


Is the tide turning against the death penalty in the States. Note that I said States and not America as it appears that the Federal Government is still as vindictive as ever.

But take this article by Russ Feingold in The Chicago Tribune for today

The effort to abolish the death penalty got a boost recently when the Tribune ran its outstanding March 25 editorial calling for an end to capital punishment.

The Tribune's words are yet another sign of critical momentum that has been building across the country, as more and more states follow Illinois' lead and re-examine the death penalty. Maryland and Virginia, for instance, have both elected governors who personally oppose the death penalty.

In Maryland, Gov. Martin O'Malley has said that he would sign legislation to repeal that state's death penalty. In Virginia, Gov. Tim Kaine recently vetoed bills that would have expanded the list of crimes eligible for capital punishment.

The biggest obstacle to abolishing the death penalty doesn't lie in states like Maryland and Virginia, but in neighboring Washington, where the federal government is headed in the other direction. As states have re-examined the death penalty, Congress has done little to address concerns about putting innocent people to death, and has done nothing to address concerns about racial bias in the death penalty system.

Instead Congress has steadily expanded the list of crimes eligible for the federal death penalty, and the federal government has continued to pursue more and more federal death penalty prosecutions, including in jurisdictions that do not themselves have capital punishment.

As more and more state governments question the death penalty, and the Tribune and others speak out about the injustice of this practice, Congress should follow suit. It's far past time that Congress took the lead in questioning, and ultimately abolishing, the death penalty.

Let's build on the growing momentum nationwide to end capital punishment and restore fairness and integrity to our criminal justice system.

The author is the Democratic Senator for Wisconsin.

Polish Immigrants


I'm nearly sixty and growing up in London every class at school had its Polish child. There was nearly a million Poles who came into the UK just after the war. Many moved on but a lot stayed.

So what's different?

Monday, April 02, 2007

Overtaking Ban For Wagons


Lorries are being banned from overtaking on stretches of the A14 from today.

I think this is a good thing, as I've seen frustrated drivers undertake a slow moving pair on the M11. If it saves one live it will be worth it.

No Smoking In Wales



It should have been made illegal years ago. And I can't wait to go into that disgusting pub in the Newmarket Road in Bury St. Edmunds on the first day of the ban in England.

When we started Metier in Ipswich in 1977, we made the office non-smoking. We were ridiculed then, but now everybody knows we were right.

Soft Southerner Gets Three Cycling Golds


There was an incredible performance by Victoria Pendleton who was born in Bedfordshire and lives near Newmarket, when she won three gold medals at the World Track Cycling Championships in Palma de Mallorca.

Good luck to her.

Unfortunately, I suspect that at the Olympics next year, she will hardly get a look in, due to some wonder Chinese pharmaceuticals.

Why is the Olympics in China anyway with their human rights records? I suppose one good thing is that they are cutting the number of executions they carry out.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Harwich-Felixstowe Tunnel


About fifty years ago, I read a book review of the greatest hoax of all time, The Harwich Felixstowe Tunnel, which would open up the East Coast road. Apparently, it had taken place in the Edwardian era and they had even got a special train to come up from London carrying the Lord Mayor.

Now looking back as I can't find any reference to this, was the Tunnel the hoax or was the book a double bluff.

Perhaps someone could enlighten me.

Let's All be Ill in Wales


It's worth it now, as they now get free prescriptions.

Which of course the English are paying for.