Pizza time...

Being a somewhat dull day, I opted to get the weekly shopping done early before the local supermarket got busy and then got on with making a batch of soup, While this was simmering away, I got on with making a batch of home made pizza. Since the last time I made pizza, the prices of some of the ingredients has increased or the quantity had been reduced where the price remained the same. Either way, it means that the costs of my pizza has increased but is still well below the amount you pay for a pizza in the supermarket and with mine, I know what is in them. It was a good way of spending the afternoon 11 out of the 12 pizzas I made are now in the freezer and the other one will be dinner tonight!

Posted: Saturday 3rd December 2016

End of the month...

Today is St. Andrews' Day and also marks the beginning of the Christmas rush. The city is getting busier as people start ruching around doing Christmas shopping something I find is getting a bit tedious these days. I intend to keep out of the city as much as I can until well after new year, only going there for essential purposes as I can think of better things to do instead of trekking round shops.

Posted: Wednesday 30th November 2016

a bit of sillyness...

The new plastic Bank of England £5 note is causing hysteria in some sections of the community, especailly vegans. This has been caused by the revelation that there re trace amounts of tallow, an animal fat used in the production of the polymer pellets that are used in the manufacture of the base substrate that the plastic notes are made from. Note that it a merely a "trace" and a trace is defined as being less than 100 parts per million. More often than not the actual figure was less than that as I often found when working as an industrial chemist many years ago and being required to analyse products.

Polymer notes are far better overall as they do not require large quantities of cotton and linen to make the paper that UK banknotes are made from and are much harder to counterfeit. Given the number of notes now in circulation and considering that polymer notes have been in circulation in Scotland for a long time now, the total mount of tallow used in producing all notes is somewhere in the region of 20 kg or less which is far less that would be yielded from the carcass of one animal. Now if such tiny amounts of animal product cause vegans such a problem, then there are many other products in daily use that they will be unable to touch such as anything made from leather.

Posted: Tuesday 29th November 2016

Towed back...

HMS Duncan heading down the river Clyde past Port Glasgow on its way to Portsmouth.d

HMS Duncan heading down the river Clyde past Port Glasgow on its way to Portsmouth in 2013.

© John G. Fender 2016

Having watched all six of the Royal Navy's Type 45 destroyers being built on the Clyde, I have a bit of an interest in them and another story caught my eye.

This was the news that the last of the six, HMS Duncan, set off from Devonport to take part in a naval exercise and two days later was towed back to port having suffered a total propulsion failure.

This is the latest failure to affect this class of ships and in January this year, the MOD announced that all six ships would undergo repairs with an estimated cost in excess of £1 billion.

HMS Duncan is 152.4 metres long with a beam of 21.2 metres and a displacement of 7,350 tons. Powered by two Rolls Royce WR 21 gas turbines linked to alternators and two Wärtsilä V12 VASA32 diesel generators, the ship is fitted with two Alstom Electric Propulsion motors and this gives the ship a speed in excess of 25 knots.

Armament consists the Sea Viper missile system which includes the Sampson multi-function air tracking radar, the S1850M3D air surveillance radar and 48 Aster Missiles in six 8 cell Sylver vertical launchers. The ship is fitted with the BAE Insyte Sampson Multi-Functional Radar as well as the Thales S1850M Long Range Radar for air and surface search. Weapons also include of one BAE Systems 4.5" Mk. 8 Medium Calibre Gun, two Oerlikon 30mm guns and up to 6 general purpose machine guns.

The ship carries a Lynx helicopter capable of carrying Sea Skua missiles or Stingray torpedoes, or a Merlin HM1 helicopter for anti submarine work. With a compliment of 190, the ship can accommodate up to 235 in better accommodation that any previous ships in the navy. The new HMS Duncan is the seventh Royal Navy ship to bear the name, previous ships including a 74 gun third rate, a 101 gun first rate, the lead ship of the Duncan Class battleships, a D class destroyer launched in 1932 and most recently, a Type 14 frigate launched in 1957. The ship is named after Admiral Duncan who won a decisive naval victory at the Battle of Camperdown in October 1797.

Posted: Sunday 27th November 2016

Shopping frenzy...

The USA has long had the tradition of Black Friday, one day in the year where people go mad shopping for what appears to be bargains. Over recent years this has spread to the UK and quite frankly it should have remained in the USA. Most of the UK high street stores have some sort of Black Friday promotion, which I interpret as a "chance to shift the rubbish no one wants to buy". People will queue up and spend large amounts of money on stuff that they either do not need or even want. At least ASDA has decided that Black Friday sales are not for them for another year, somewhat surprising because ASDA is owned by WalMart, the American store chain.

If queueing up is not an option, people will be going on line and this weekend is predicted to be the busiest weekend for on-line shopping and this will result in record amounts of spending on credit cards. The catch is the delivery system as it needs to be able to cope with the surge in demand, but the additional number of orders to be delivered will place a strain on the various distribution netowrks and no doubt some items will take longer to deliver than expected. As for me, I went nowhere near the shops today, as I don't need anything and my precious few pounds can be better spent on essentials.

Posted: Friday 25th November 2016


Winter has arrived with a vengeance here in Glasgow with sub-zero temperatures and thick fog. Living close to the river, where I stay tends to get it a bit thicker and more persistent than other parts of the city and this morning, all I could see from my windows was a grey veil, with a darker grey shadow where the trees are. It took until late morning for the fog to clear by which time the sun was shining brightly turning the day into one of those crisp winter's days that can be enjoyable if one is properly dressed, so I got out the golves, hat, and winter outfit and went out to enjoy the crisp day.

Posted: Thursday 24th November 2016

Counting the pennies...

I spend an hour of so today counting the pennies, and indeed two pence coins that had been accumulating in my jar for loose change over the past few months. There were also a few pounds worth of the tiny 5p coins in the jar as well. The "copper" coins tend to weigh you down and the tiny 5p coins are a bit fiddly, so I pop them in my jar when I get them. The "copper" coins are in fact made of steel with copper plating. Once I had sorted and counted the coins, I put them in the little bags you get from the banks for coins and took the lot into my bank to deposit in my account. It is surprising how the amount can mount up and I found that I had a total of £23.00 of loose change to pay in, giving a nice boost to my bank balance!

Posted: Tuesday 22nd November 2016

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