Nice one Cyril!

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This old tune came to mind in the middle of the night. You don’t hear it much (justifiably) but the first 15 seconds of the record make it the best football song there is (narrowly pipping “Three Lions on their shirt”). After that sublime start, it reverts to the normal football song formula of choruses by people who shouldn’t have been allowed within 15 miles of a microphone plus the inevitable key change which prolongs the misery for another 30 seconds. The song is about Spurs stalwart Cyril Knowles – “one of the best left backs ever to grace the game”. There is a video of some of his greatest moments below the record. Cyril Knowles tragically died of cancer aged 47 in 1991.

Modern use of gadgets which grandad would recognise #2

I have recently started using some new “gadgets”. Normally such items are very new. But in these cases they are gadgets which my grandads would have recognised.

Shaving foam and gel is a bit of a pain because it blocks up one’s multi-blade razor. I used to spend ages flushing hot water through my razor to clear all the gunge left from shaving foam.

Solution: I now use an old-fashioned shaving brush and shaving soap in a bowl (all for a few quid at Wilkinsons).

The soap from the brush is not glutinous so does not clog up multi-blade razors.


Modern use of gadgets which grandad would recognise #1

I have recently started using some new “gadgets”. Normally such items are very new. But in these cases they are gadgets which my grandads would have recognised.

About six years ago I stopped wearing a wristwatch because I was fed up of the slight discomofort of doing so. In any case, I decided I could use my mobile phone (or any one of the many clocks which surround one on a daily basis).

In fact, that left me unable to see what time it was when my mobile was switched off. (And, a bit like a watched kettle never boiling – switching on one’s phone in a hurry seems to take an age).

So I hit upon a solution.

A pocket watch.

For a few quid on Amazon I picked up an excellent pocket watch, with a chain to attach it to my belt loop.

I have used it on a daily basis for the last year or so and it is a godsend.

Are “Just-in-time” supply chains evil?

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It is strange what topics come up at an annual Liberal Democrat dinner, but this topic, in the post title above, came up at one I attended last week.

It’s a big subject.

First of all, we need to be clear what “Just-in-time” actually means. It is a phrase which is bandied about so that it sometimes ceases to have any precise meaning.

In its purest,original sense, Just-in-time refers to Just-in-time manufacturing, as defined by Wikipedia:

Just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing, also known as just-in-time production or the Toyota Production System (TPS), is a methodology aimed primarily at reducing flow times within production system as well as response times from suppliers and to customers. Its origin and development was in Japan, largely in the 1960s and 1970s and particularly at Toyota.

Continue reading

In praise of Parish Councils

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This is a rather unfocussed post, but I just wanted to give a shout-out for Parish Councils.

One of our number here at LDV Towers, Mark Valladares, writes a blog called Liberal Bureaucracy. One of its main subjectival strands is Mark’s role as a parish councillor. Just leafing through some of the post titles gives one an excellent flavour of parish council life: Continue reading

Janet Fookes’ winning ways – and they had nothing to do with her red hair!

Last week on t’internet, a toe-curling interview from 1970 (above) was doing the rounds.

It featured a newly elected MP speaking on the BBC election night TV programme.

Nothing unusual about that, except that it was – GASP! – a woman MP!!!!!!!

The behaviour, during and after the appearance of Janet Fookes, of Robin Day and Cliff Michelmore gave whole new meaning to the word “patronising”.

So I thought it would be a good idea to balance things out. Continue reading

Vintage election nights: the time a painter had to come on screen to extend the Swingometer

I have always remembered the classic moment when, during the BBC general election night TV coverage of 1970, a painter had to be brought on to extend the swingometer. This was because the Conservative swings were unexpectedly high, and the swingometer didn’t go far enough to cover some of them.

In these days of high tech, it is difficult to believe that such a thing happened. Indeed, as I have recalled the incident over the years, I don’t think many people have believed me. Continue reading