Early morning shopping...

I was up quite early this morning and decided to do the weekly shopping early rather than later in the day so headed off to the supermarket while is was just getting light. The place was practically empty as most customers were yet to get up, never mind go shopping. I was able to get everything quickly, the only impediment being shop staff shoving trolleys of baskets around as they filled the online shipping orders. Every time I go into the place there seems to be more and more people picking stuff off the shelves to fill these orders and there are times when two or three of these trolleys block the aisle. However, this is not a big problem when the store is empty, but can be a nuisance when the place is busy. When I got to the checkouts, I had a choice as there were a few manned checkouts with no customers at them already, so I was through in a matter of minutes and certainly far faster than I would have been if I used one of the self-service checkouts that seem to be invading every retail outlet these days.

Posted: Saturday 15th October 2016

Printer ink...

Much has been written about the extortionate price of printer ink, but it is one of these things you cannot do without if you need to print anything. Today, I had occasion to go to my local office supplies store and buy some of this most valuable commodity. I ended up spending a lot more money that I had anticipated, but this was in order to reduce the price of the ink to a more reasonable amount. This was due to there being an offer on whereby if you bought one multi-pack you got a second at half price. So that is exactly what I did.

I opted for the extra-large size instead of the standard size too, as that offered a small saving over the cost of two standard packs as this size of printer cartridge lasts for a bit more than two standard ones. The result is that I have now got sufficient printer ink to last for a year or so, and yes, I did check the expiry dates - all are well into 2018, so I will not end up with any cartridges of sludgy ink. Given the fall in the value of the pound against the dollar, I suspect that ink prices will go up too and they will not come down again. So it was worth spending a bit more now as I'll make a longer term saving. As a well known slogan says, "Every little helps".

Posted: Thursday 13th October 2016

That's a bit silly...

I got my electricity bill in the post today and my account is showing a healthy credit balance. Now the tariff I'm on allows for me to pay monthly by direct debit and this is aimed at allowing my account to build up over the summer to allow for the increased heating costs of winter, so it all balances out in the long run without getting a big bill in spring time. As my account is now in credit, Scottish power wants to reduce my payments which will mean that once winter arrives, it will not be long before my account heads into the red and I'll end up paying a larger monthly amount. I'll be taking this up with their customer services people to make sure that my payments are not changed. One would have thought that the utility companies would not want their customers to run up deficits, but the seem to be keen to do this if this example is anything to go by. I'll look forward to hearing what they have to say.

Posted: Tuesday 11th October 2016

Going down the river...

The Ludwigshafen am Rhein is seen heading down the river Clyde past Scotstoun d

The Ludwigshafen am Rhein is seen heading down the river Clyde past Scotstoun

© John G. Fender 2016

I spent some more time by the riverside today, this time to see some more warships head down the river after their stay in Glasgow. The ships were all heading off to take part in the Joint Warrior military exercise that is being held off the west coast of Scotland.

I have already mentioned some of the more interesting ships and today's departures included a rather interesting corvette of the German Navy. This was the Ludwigshafen am Rhein and is the last of five K130 Braunschweig Class corvettes built for the German Navy.

It was built by Lürssen Werft in Bremen-Vegesack, Germany. The ship was laid down on 14th April 2006 and launched on 26th September 2007. Owing to problems with the gearing and other problems, the ship was not commissioned until 21st March 2013. The Ludwigshafen am Rhein is 88.8 metres in length with a beam of 13.2 metres and has a displacement of 1,840 tons.

Powered by two MTU20V 1163TB93 diesel engines developing 14.8MW propulsion is via two two controllable-pitch propellers giving a speed of 26 knots. Armament consists of one Oto Melara 62-calibre 76mm Super Rapid naval gun firing 120 rounds per minute, two Mauser 27mm guns, four RBS 15 MK3 surface-to-surface missiles, two Raytheon / RAMSYS Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) 21-cell mk49 surface-to-air missile launchers.

The ship is fitted with the EADS Defense Electronics TRS-3D air and surface search radar, a 3D multi-mode maritime radar capable of automatic detection and tracking of all types of air and surface threats. For defence, the ship has two Rheinmetall Defence decoy-based Multi Ammunition Softkill System using programmable omni-spectral ammunition for protection against ultraviolet, electro-optical, infrared and radar-guided weapons.

Also fitted is the EADS SPS-N 5000 radar system that can intercept, locate, analyse, classify and identify threats and has multiple target tracking capability. The ship can also accommodate a medium sized helicopter. After the Ludwigshafen am Rhein passed by the other ships started heading down the river and by the end of the afternoon, I had seen them all go past. It will now be next year before the next visits to the clyde by so many warships when the first of next years exercises takes place.

Posted: Sunday 9th October 2016

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