For anyone who hasn't picked it up.  I'm going to be leaving work and going back to college for a couple of years.  I'm off to train for the Church of England at a college just inside the M25, near Potter's Bar.  I'll be starting in September, so hoping to move in mid-late August.


I'm looking for somewhere to stay in Melbourne, Aus for the weekend of 27-29th March (no points for guessing why).  Anyone got suggestions?

Top down Government

"The Prime Minister has said it is not acceptable and therefore it will not be accepted. It might be enforceable in a court of law this contract but it's not enforceable in the court of public opinion and that's where the Government steps in.'' Harriet Harmen

Plane Stupid, or just plain stupid?

I'm not normally one to get involved in climate discussion, but I couldn't resist this one.  The Jeremy Vine show had a spokeswoman on from Plane Stupid, defending the Stansted break-in  (I won't get into the ridiculous 'end of the world' scenario she painted).  During the interview, she said that she was going on holiday to Morrocco this year, but by train, rather than plane, so as to 'reduce carbon emissions' and prevent climate change.  Now, a quick calculation at (the first one I could find), suggests that the carbon emissions from a direct plane flight to Marakech (straight line distance) is 0.6 tonnes compared with 0.45 for the train journey.  A difference of 0.15 tonne, or 0.7 of a tree (OK, 1.4 trees if you want to come back again).

The train calculations are based on the route plan (again, the first I could find).  The assume a 200 mile trip inside Morocco as I couldn't find any figures for it.  It also doesn't cover the ferry from Algeciras to Tangier (1 hour for a fast crossing, 2.5 for a slow one).  The train also takes 48 hours, so I've not allowed any extra carbon for the extra costs that would incur (you can have them for free!).  There is a difference in carbon, but not enough that I'd want to go on national radio telling the UK how much better I am for taking the train, rather than flying.

Free Stuff

Not sure if anyone is interested, or know someone who might be.  I've been having a clear out, and current have several years back issues of Autosport lying around.  I've also got a box of 'blank' video types which have been previously used to record F1 races from 97ish-02ish.  All free to a good home (or even a bad home, to be honest).  You will need to come and collect, mind you.

Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling.

So, utility companies are making quite large profits (obviously the result of improved competition!).  The answer?  Spend £900million on reducing bills...  What are they doing?  Reducing their tariffs?  Giving us all cash back on our bills?  Nope, giving out grants for loft insulation and cavity wall insulation, and reminding us that a cold winter will just give them more money[1].  For those who aren't pensioners, and already have insulation?  How sweet it is...


of televisions and license

The inimitable Jeremy Vine is/was discussing TV licences.  Quite a timely piece, as the optional tax is up for discussion in the budget.  Some interesting things came out.

i - Having aTV does not require a licence (I knew that)
ii - Watching bought/rented DVDs, videos doesn't require a licence (I knew that too)

I also thought that you couldn't watch things previously recorded.  So, I can't not have a license and watch stuff that someone else has recorded for me.  A reading of the licence last night, and confirmation by BBC spokeswoman, reveals that:

'You need a TV Licence to use any television receiving equipment such as a TV set, digital box, DVD or video recorder, PC, laptop or mobile phone to watch or record television programmes as they're being shown on TV. '

This means, and was explicitly stated, that if you only use, for example, BBC iPlayer[1] to watch programmes that have previously been broadcast then you don't need a licence.  Which is great news.  Mostly, any TV that I want to watch is on at a time that I can't watch it, so I've been known to take advantage of the iPlayer to watch 'what I want, when I want'.  The other use for the dreaded television is the minion's (very) occasional viewings.  Some of these are on DVD, so falling under the category of (i), anything else is generally on at the 'wrong time' anyway.  All in all, it looks like the TV licence money can pay to keep us warm over the winter[2].

Oh and the spelling in the title was deliberate, in case you were wondering.

[1] Can I point readers at
[2] This global warming stuff means that it's getting a bit nippy here.