Thursday, September 23, 2010

back door tax hikes

Two conversations in the last 24 hours have got the hairs on the back of my neck twitching away.

As you may, or may not, be aware I'm selling a business that I've run for the last ten years. One of the legal requirements to be able to do so is that I produce an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for the premises. Just like when I buy a fridge, freezer or washing machine that has the certificate label on the front I assumed that people would look at it, say "oh an E rating", and that would be that. Not so according to the assessor who is coming to perform the check next week. His understanding is that the EPC will become compulsory for business from Oct 2011 and companies will be "encouraged" to improve their rating to reduce CO2 emissions.

I was talking to someone I know who has recently had their business premises assessed for it's rateable value by the Valuation Audit Office (VOA). He says that he had a specific 10% reduction in his rateable value because the unit he rents is single glazed and uninsulated. Looking at one of the VOA valuation scales confirms that a premises will have it's rateable value increased or decreased if insulation is present or absent.

If businesses are "encouraged" to improve their EPC rating then their premises will increase in rateable value and therefore the level of rates due. "Encouraging" companies into a position where they increase their tax burden in the name of environmentalism? That's the kind of behaviour you would expect from the government. Oh.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

snitchline

Just a few days ago some other bloggers wrote about the Sussex Police website that encourages drivers to 'snitch' on other drivers for driving offences. I'm sure they weren't the only two to pick up on this new initiative and react with dismay at the idea. The majority of those who commented also thought it was a crappy idea and reminiscent of Stasi Germany.

Well chaps. Can I disagree briefly?

This evening at around 6pm I was proceeding in an Easterly direction along the Old Shoreham Road (A270) approaching the junction for West Hove Sainsburys. I was driving *cough* at the 40 mph speed limit when a vehicle raced past me in the outside lane. It was definitely travelling at speeds in excess of the posted limit. A *cough* passenger in my vehicle managed to take a photo of the rear of the vehicle with a mobile telephone device. Would you like to see the photo?



Whoever it is that works for this nannying outfit deserves everything they fucking get. Speed kills? Cunt.

Monday, September 20, 2010

an open letter to CEOP




Dear CEOP,

My sons, aged seven and nine, were both sent home at the end of school with copies of the questionnaire pictured above this week. It is aimed at schoolchildren in Key Stage 2 aged between 7 and 11. I've read through it with the older of the two and we both think you are fucking retards (although he expressed this in less colourful language).

Ignoring questions 1 and 2 for their interfering nature one of the responses that could be chosen for question 3 is ridiculous. Shopping? A seven year old? How do you expect them to pay for goods online? As far as I'm aware no bank will issue a child of that age a credit or debit card.

As my son pointed out your chosen responses to question 5 indicate a level of understanding of language that even he finds laughable; specifically the option "Nintendo Wii". There is no website specifically for Nintendo Wii. There are web servers that allow you to play specific games online, there are forums that people use to discuss the Wii, but unlike Club Penguin which is a specific site, there is no "Nintendo Wii" site. To mix the two types of experience into one group of answers displays a gross naiveté and lack of understanding on your part.

The questions about social networking sites worry me greatly. I read the terms of service of Bookface, piczo, and Bebo, all of who say that the minimum member age is 13, and I'm wondering what relevance they have to my seven year old son? As for faceparty well, why the fuckitty fuck would you tell young kids about that site? It's foul, aggressive in nature, and actively encourages kids to use their parents credit cards to sign up for £9 per month 'adult verification' so they can access porn. Why on earth would you put that on my kids radar?

Then the questions about accessing content on mobile phones. How many 7 year olds have a mobile phone, let alone a multimedia capable handset? I may be old fashioned in my views but neither of my sons has a phone capable of that kind of thing.

You end with a question about whether these kids use youtube or wikipedia. Am I to assume that these two sites are next in your sights to target for your "panic button"?

My wife and I agree that the best place for your survey is the recycling bin. We will not be allowing our sons to complete it and we will be writing to the school to alert them to the nature of some of the information you are placing in front of our kids. It's almost as if you are trying to create a problem to justify your continued existence.


Yours deeply unimpressed

manwiddicombe

Sunday, September 19, 2010

scary eyed chair



As seen in the beer garden last night. To be fair it felt more sinister in the dark!

free food



The blackberries are ripe and juicy ready for picking. This was the result of 30 minutes of getting thorns in almost every part of my anatomy. Blackberry and apple pie, blackberry and apple crumble, and bramble jelly are all on the horizon once I can pick things up without wincing in pain .. ..

busted?

Driving a car is more stressful than going by bus according to research published tomorrow says the Telegraph. The results are to be used by Greener Journeys in an attempt to persuade drivers out of their cars and on to buses. The study was carried out by Dr David Lewis of Sussex University. The central claim of the study is that bus passengers are 33% less stressed than car drivers for the duration of their commute.

Greener Journeys is a collaboration of bus and coach companies and Dr Lewis is a pioneer of Neuromarketing. If you go to his site mindlab.org you can download the pdf file "understanding neuromarketing" from the resources section of the site.

Clearly I'm no expert in this field but a study created by a man who has advised numerous multinational brands on how to maximise their exposure that says bus travel is less stressful than car driving being used by bus companies to promote bus travel? I just don't buy into it.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

pervert-smoking link?



Is he smoking because he's a pervert or is he a pervert because he's a smoker?

rock-paper-scissors

I was having a conversation with my wife in which she agreed that I must have been wrong on the basis of my gender specific anatomy. Breasts beat cock every time. In rock-paper-scissors the scissors would be a cock (if you don't believe me make a 'closed scissors' as if playing the game) and rock would be breast. But what the bloody hell would paper be?

Any and all suggestions welcome .. .. ..

Friday, September 17, 2010

noisy neighbours

Children at a school near Selby have had a play break cancelled and hard ball games banned after neighbours complained to the council about noise.

Barlby Community Primary School has also put up a soundproof fence because it fears a noise abatement order.
Some people need a serious reality check. The school was inspected by ofsted in 1999 (referred to in their 2004 inspection [pdf]) so it's not a new build. Why the fuck would you move near to a school if you don't like the sound of kids playing for a couple of hours a day?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

snail

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

EDM 630

EDM 630
MAXIMUM WORKING TEMPERATURE
26.07.2010
McDonnell, John

That this House notes that whilst there is a legal minimum workplace indoor temperature there is no clear legal maximum workplace temperature so that conditions can vary greatly from employer to employer; further notes that many employees, particularly those working in bakeries, are often subjected to very high temperatures which can impact seriously on their health and well-being, with effects ranging from discomfort, stress, irritability and headaches, to extra strain on the heart and lungs, dizziness and fainting and heat cramps due to loss of water and salt; and urges the Government to provide clear and coherent guidelines to employers abouthow to combat heat in the workplace and to introduce a maximum working workplace temperature of 30C (86F) and of 27C (81F) for those doing strenuous work.
I know I'm a little late to this party but I'm curious to know how these MPs think that the temperature in commercial kitchen areas will be kept down. Cooling generally uses energy, more than those businesses currently use, a thought that has been lost on the signatories of this EDM, many of whom have also signed EDMs in favour of reducing carbon emissions.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

taking shape

Yesterday I met the person who is going to buy my business. We agreed a price and a transfer date so now I've got a definite time frame for a major change in my life. It's a little scary, knowing that in a little over a month I'm going to go from a decent income to no income at all, but at the same time it's exciting. The challenges ahead have filled me with an enthusiasm I've not felt for a very long time. There's still things to be resolved but we both want a smooth transfer and minimal intervention from lawyers so it should be relatively straightforward.

For the next month I've got to work more than I have for the last two as one of my shift managers has left so he can go to Fiji while another has asked to reduce his hours so he can become an apprentice electrician. In fairness to the incoming owner I won't be replacing them leaving her free to recruit or not as she chooses. It's going to be a strange few weeks .. .. ..

after the movie is over



Optimus Prime didn't look quite so impressive under normal lighting conditions.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

timmy out and about



I might have been less than complimentary about gadget boy when the expenses scandal erupted but I have to admit an amount of admiration for the bloke after watching him at Shoreham farmer's market yesterday. He stood by the A-board without any sign of party minders (that I noticed) or police and talked to his constituents about whatever subjects they cared to discuss. Not the kind of behaviour you'd expect from a government minister. And no I didn't approach him. I'd been 'sampling' the Hop Token before I spotted him and thought better of it.

savings

More than 200,000 public sector jobs have already been axed or are at risk of being lost after massive spending cuts even before the Government unveils its comprehensive spending review, new research has revealed.

Councils, health authorities, police forces, Government departments and other public sector bodies across the country have all taken an axe to jobs in recent months after having their budgets slashed.
At the beginning of the summer I was talking to one of my regular customers who holds a senior position for a department in a local council. He said that the council was instructed by central government to employ people who would otherwise be unemployable. In some cases three people were being employed to do a job that should have, and quite easily could have, been performed by just one person.

Many companies in the private sector have had to make efficiency improvements to ensure their survival and now it's the turn of the public sector.

Friday, September 10, 2010

in other news

Police are taking a council to court over a controversial decision to extend a nightclub’s opening hours.

Sussex Police officers, who have never before legally challenged a licensing decision made by Brighton and Hove City Council, said they felt a responsibility to “seek further considerations.”

The action follows the council’s approval of an application in August by Jam nightclub in Middle Street, Brighton, to extend its opening hours to 5am on Fridays and Saturdays and 4am Monday to Thursday.

Police had asked for the application to be turned down, due to the 250 capacity venue’s location in the heart of the cumulative impact area ( CIA) where new and extended licences are supposed to be closely reviewed.


I was going to login and comment on the article until I read this.


Is there anything else to add?

headline of the day

i suppose i should declare an interest

Those of you who've been coming here for a while know that I am currently self employed within the broad field of catering. Well that's about to change. Sort of. As part of my journey across the abyss I've come to realise that I really don't want to be doing that any more. The working hours for running the business, a fifteen hour per day seven days per week operation, and the constant interruptions to my home and social life have contributed to that decision. Time to move on and try something new. I need employment with more sociable hours in an environment that I enjoy.

And I've found something that fulfils those requirements nestled at the foot of the South Downs. I'm fairly sure I've reached an understanding with the charming and delightful owner of Adur Brewery and will, once I've sold my business, become the next employee of the brewery. It's hard work and the pay is abysmal but I'm actually going to enjoy going to work for the first time in a very very long time.

The future is looking brighter.. .. ..

NI cards to be phased out?

According to a report by the BBC the ubiquitous red and blue NI card is to be dropped and replaced with a letter in an effort to reduce the massive hole in the public finances.

I'm no expert in these matters but I can't help thinking that the plastic card is more durable and less likely to get lost than a letter. If that's correct then isn't there a risk of more people needing to have their number re-issued because they've lost it which will create greater cost not reduce it? Feel free to disabuse me of this thought in the comments.

poetic

Seen yesterday as I wandered up a local country lane.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

timing

A post-mortem examination showed he probably died from a blow to the head before he was found by golfers as they walked between the 17th and 18th holes at the Dyke Golf Club on the outskirts of Brighton
I'm sure a quick check for DNA fragments on their golf clubs would determine whether he was struck after they found him?

boundaries

Once again the controversy over Leilani has sprung up after a battle between neighbours in Plymouth over a 10ft tall specimen in one of their gardens. Personally I can't see what they're complaining about......


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Friday, September 3, 2010

tales from the playground

As the new term began this morning the mother of a *difficult* child was heard to say
"He's been a little shit all summer holiday. And he's started to swear again"
Those two statements couldn't possibly be linked could they madam?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

stair porn



These definitely not dull steps lead up to / down from a houseboat moored on Shoreham Beach.