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Merry Christmas

As I explained last year I don’t work Fridays, and college is closed until a.d. iv non. ian. mmvii. So, merry Christmas and a happy New Year! To keep you going, I offer a choice of Christmas cracker joke:

  1. A group of chess contestants in a hotel reception are bragging about how good they are. The manager asks them to leave as he doesn’t want “Chess nuts boasting in an open foyer”

    Source: Gordon, Birmingham, a comment to Your favourite Christmas cracker jokes,

  2. What do you do if a kitten spits at you?
    Turn the grill down

    Source: Cristmas Crackers by Rob Manuel. Warning: this is one of the pleasanter ones.

Two of everything in Sandy

Following my post earlier this year pointing out that there are two Lloyds chemists a few doors down from eachother, two Forbuoys newsagents across the market square from eachother, and two Budgens, stevepsandy was good enough to write a couple of lengthy comments to explain these points. As the comments feed for this website is still in progress for Aurlog, I reproduce his comments below. Many thanks!:

The issue of two chemists newsagents and Budgens is quite simple:

1. The big ‘Fourboys’ in the Market Square, used to be a private newsagents for many years, then got taken over by the TM Group t/a Fourboys. The little Forbouys down on the parade opposite used to belong to Jack Berry. When he retired and sold up, Fourboys took it over. These two units now trade under the Martin McColl banner, which is the lates incarnation of the TM Group (HO Brentwood Essex).

2. In a not disimilar fashion the two chemsts almost side by side were also competing. The big one, next to the chippy, was for many years a launderette and when first opened as a chemists, was called ‘Cooks’. The small chemist, next to the alleyway leading to the Health Centre, used to be owned by a small independent, who had several pharmacies in the region (can,t recall their name off-hand but it was someone’s name, first & surname – female). The small chemist was eventually sold off to what is now Lloyds and the’Cooks’ chemist was already (it’s believed) another trading name of the Lloyds group. It’s not clear why both chemists now trade under the Lloyds banner but the two offer similar but differing services. The little Lloyds tends to be the more traditional type of chemist, selling prescription and non-presciption drugs OTC items & preparations, health related testing kits, general bathroom and washroom products and so on. The big Lloyds, whilst selling much of what the little one does, because of its’ larger floor and shelf space, sell a wide range of haircare accessories, beauty aids, giftware and since recent times, invalid buggies! So, in short, the two offer quite a complementary service.

3. Budgens (now franchised in both sites), part of Musgrove Budgen Londis Group (MBL), trades both in the town centre and on the new Fallowfield development in the north of the town. The Budgens franchise in Fallowfield has come after a long battle with the developers, planners and other interested parties, to get some retail provision on the new estate (at one time, there were even plans to convert the original proposed retail units into yet more housing!

So now you know – or at least my take on the issue.

Incidentally, the Post Office (where it is now used to be an Eastern Electricity retail shop) has expanded into next door, where there used to be a dry cleaners (even before the dry cleaners, it was a sports shop). Anyway, since the ‘expansion’ we now have a Spar convenience store, incorporating the Post Office, the dry cleaners (no dry cleaning on the premises – its all sent away), alimited range of Spar branded and mainstream branded grocery items and even (as if we didn’t have enough facilities already)self service take-away coffee unit. Oh and by the way, the stationers, up on the High Street, ‘The Knack’, is rumoured to be closing down soon (lack of trade?) It used to be a Video hire Shop before it was a stationers – not sure what it was before that.

The ‘proper’ dry cleaners next door, ‘Clean Stream’ used to be an estate agents (no doubt competing with Brown’s opposite). Not sure what it was immediately before that.

There is more but I’ll save that for another time.

Since my last post I have received information that in fact, what is now the Chippy was the old launderette, so I am not sure what the big chemist might have been before Cooks/Lloyds. Someone out there will surely know.

Ten years on the internet

As 2006 comes to an end, I am running out of time to say that I have been using the internet now for ten years. One of the first things I did, under the tutelage of sil, was to start writing my own pages, so I have been on the web for ten years too. I don’t know what editor I used to edit those pages, although I remember only ever using Lynx to browse them while still at university, only being introduced to flashy new browsers with pictures the following year when I started work. Sadly no record exists of it on the Wayback Machine. The earliest existing version of webpage I have written is from June 2001, although the July 2001 version is more comprehensible.* The current version, which is basically a fancy list of links for work, is not really too different.

My first email was to Tim and easily persuaded me of the advantages of electronic communication. From the university’s computer centre, I asked if he wanted to go for a drink. By chance he was also logged on somewhere in town and agreed. With little delay, therefore, we proceeded to the pub. In the days before mobile phones, this was something.

* Where it says Respect my authority! there should be an image of Cartman in policeman guise. The two words moo around the email address should have a little image of a cow similar to the icon you can see (hopefully) in the address bar above. I think the Cartoons image was a Dilbert image.

You are person are of the year

005 (Well, it was on Ceefax). Time Magazine has named You person of the year, Yes, you. You control the Information Age. Welcome to your world.

There is a word to describe this but I don’t want to use it on my weblog, so I shall link to it here. I don’t think any of those definitions really does the word justice except perhaps sense 4 of the artistwd entry. This is the trouble with American definitions of a British word. Anyway, here is the opening paragraph of the Time article to ram the point home, as it were:

The “Great Man” theory of history is usually attributed to the Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle, who wrote that “the history of the world is but the biography of great men.” He believed that it is the few, the powerful and the famous who shape our collective destiny as a species. That theory took a serious beating this year.

For your convenience, I have abbreviated the rest of the article thus:

…cosmic compendium of knowledge Wikipedia…million-channel people’s network YouTube…online metropolis MySpace…Tim Berners-Lee…Silicon Valley consultants call it Web 2.0…revolution…from Baghdad and Boston and Beijing…rumpled bedrooms and toy-strewn basement rec rooms…Facebook…Second Life…Amazon…podcasts…global intellectual economy…seizing the reins of the global media…massive social experiment…

In a bucket.


001 again. For a fuller explanation, see Arantius Urus. Please note that the spelling of said weblog has been corrected since I first mentioned it. Aurantius would probably be something to do with the law of gold or golden soup, or nothing at all. Bodes well for the accuracy of the rest of the posts anyway.