Fun in the Dip … but Stockton-on-Tees’ tree is pitiful!

Image: Rutters

Image: Rutters

There’s a lot going on at this time of the year. In just about every corner of the land there are twinkling lights, decorations, Christmassy music … and in The Dip, street markets, dancing and the opportunity to make your own mincemeat. Rutters pushed their spreadsheets and calculators aside for a day to join in the community effort to support their neighbourhood. And by all accounts it was a roaring success!

And while the good folk of Hollingdean were having fun and enjoying themselves, bear a thought for the residents in Stockton-on-Tees whose Council did away with the town’s 40-foot spruce and replaced it with a pathetic cone that has earned it the dubious description of being “the worst tree in England!” Shame, the townsfolk are understandably feeling a bit bleak and Alex Moore’s article that included a few photos illustrates why. Ebenezer Scrooge must have moved the 250 miles from his counting house in London.

Even further away than Scrooge from his old stamping grounds of the darkrooms and newspaper offices in London, Darryn (Mr Paparazzi) Lyons was snapped recently in the mayoral regalia of Geelong, Australia where he has been elected mayor of his birthplace. He even dyed his trademark Mohawk white in order to blend in with and match the outfit. Someone unkindly suggested that at a cursory glance he could easily be mistaken for a large badger with a gold chain.

Another, possibly more respected photographer, Arthur Edwards, has been reflecting on some the more memorable images that he has taken over the years, many of them of the Royal Family. Who can forget his photo of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge dancing in carefree manner in Tuvalu after their own paparazzi incident in France (pics that Arthur didn’t take, incidentally), or the one of the Queen looking very happy at Epsom? It seems that this type of thing happens at this time of the year – the pulling out of old albums, sorting the best pics and then reflecting on the whys, whens, and wheres of each one (and if Uncle Dick is due to visit for Christmas Day and he hasn’t been around for a while, best to dig out an old snap so it’s easier to recognize him).

Following on from Rutters blog from October 23rd when the Fighting Talk issue was raised over food wastage from the major supermarkets and who was to blame, well it’s reared its head again. Tesco are now firmly laying the blame on the consumers as to the reason that they, Tesco, chuck so much produce away! Yes, it’s the consumer’s fault for being so fussy. Mr Simister of Tesco said that they would try to persuade customers to buy misshapen fruits and vegetables. That’s a comforting tactic. So when you pop off to the supermarket to buy your Brussels sprouts or carrots or potatoes for Christmas dinner, listen carefully to the shop assistants who will be doing their very best to convince you to buy the oval sprouts and the crooked carrots. Maybe they’ll convince you that there is more flavour trapped in the curves than there is in the straight ones.

It’s reassuring to know that Tesco is placing the responsibility on each consumer to be less fussy in the build-up to Christmas.

Fighting talk!

Every householder is, in reality, an amateur stocktaker. A person who checks to see what they have, what they need and where to get it at the most economical price without leaving any waste. A person who needs to get the most out of every pound and, hopefully, have something left over (profit margin). Perhaps that’s over-simplifying a noble profession that is essential in today’s business world, but it’s all about budgeting and using money wisely – whether in a business or at home.

Image: Adrian van Leen

Image: Adrian van Leen

So the war that has erupted between consumers (home-stocktakers) and suppliers (supermarkets) has probably been simmering for a while now. Tesco has weighed in by accusing each household of wasting £700 quid a year on chucking food out. So they have launched “a campaign” to help curb our profligacy! Meanwhile, WRAP (the Waste and Resources Action Programme) have retaliated by turning their ire onto Tesco and telling them it’s all their fault for packaging and presenting products in the way that they do and making it impossible for careful shoppers to buy only what they need.

Both sides have trollied out statistics and reports, with figures, to support their arguments. “… one survey indicates …” “… alarming figures show …” etc etc. Just an observation here – no one has EVER asked my opinion for a survey, nor have they ever approached any of the many people I know. Where do they get their figures? How do they come up with “15 million tons of food is junked” … why not 14.326 million tons? Or “customers chuck away 40% of apples” … why not 42%, or 31%? The numbers just seem to be too neat. It’s probably a very good thing that most pubs have professional stocktakers like Rutters doing their stocktaking. At least they know where they are. Pity the pub that uses a “survey group” to do their stocktaking – Thumb-suck Incorporated!

A fight of a totally different nature could also break out when Sir Alex releases his autobiography. It seems that the rule of “keeping things that go on in the changeroom, in the changeroom” don’t apply to him anymore. There might be some folk mentioned in his book who might like to give him a bit of the old hairdryer treatment themselves. Among lots of other revelations, he apparently goes into great detail about what he really said to this one and that one.

Sorry chaps, you’ll have to delete all those recorded after-match interviews he gave – he didn’t really mean what he told the press at the time. Posh was the underlying reason for Beck’s cut above the eye (Sir A was annoyed with how David changed when the two started walking out together), and the reader will get the low-down of how he froze Rooney out when he played away from home, again. Plus it promises to deliver a whole lot more insight into the workings of the coach’s mind and events in his long career with Man U.

Another fight won in County Durham even with energy suppliers all across the UK announcing price hikes. Victory for Licensee Leo Gillen in his legal battle with Npower over a backdated £38 000 electricity bill.

The energy company could not be reached for comment. They’re probably out there conducting another survey.

What’s in a name? … burger all, it seems!

The management in a Tesco store didn’t find the antics of the pair masquerading as a pantomime horse quite as amusing as the person videoing their antics. The video, that went viral on YouTube, has the cameraman giggling as the ‘horse’ makes its way through the food section calling for its mom. The other shoppers seemed to see the joke – so did the cashiers. Management are so humourless.


The news that prompted this prank was that horse meat was detected in the composition of burgers and other meat products. Tesco cleaned everything off their shelves so that even people who didn’t care about it couldn’t get a burger for love nor money. And there are a huge crowd who really don’t care! One telling post on the social media that caught my attention was the one that stated “if the package had only displayed x-percentage horse meat, it would have been fine.”

The fuss, it seems, is not about the horse meat, but the fact that the ingredients weren’t spelled out. One wonders for how long the horse meat-additive has been going on for, months or (perish the thought) years? One also wonders whether people exercise the same diligence when dining as they do when shopping. Continue reading