The Anonymous Widower

When Airlines Knew What Service Meant

I was just talking to a friend, whose son  had got mixed up in all the delays at Stansted. He had got no sense from an Irish so-called airline and had had to come home.

It got me thinking about how airlines used to know what service meant.

Many years ago all five of us went to St. Lucia on an all-inclusive holiday with British Airways.

I think we were due to come home on the Thursday, but due to an engine failure on the incoming flight, it became obvious that we would have an extra night on the island. We were moved that night to another hotel and were told that although we would get home on Friday or Saturday, they couldn’t be sure how long we’d be stuck.

We eventually heard that it would be the Saturday, as although there would be an incoming flight on the Friday, it would be coming in late as it was carrying the spare engine and the crew to change it, and because of the extra load, it would be refuelling in Bermuda. We did get a view as it flew in to land of one of the strangest sights in aviation; a Boeing 747 carrying an extra fifth engine under the wing root. There’s a video of one here.

So we ad two extra nights on St. Lucia and very late on Saturday, we boarded the 747 to go home. I can’t remember if it was Thursday’s, Friday’s or Saturday’s plane, but it was one of the then new Rolls-Royce powered 747-200s.

The pilot did announce though, that it would be a direct flight to Heathrow, instead of via Barbados, so he apologised if the take-off was a bit noisy, as he’d be using full everything.

I remember he was followed down the runway by a tug and they backed the plane as far towards and over the fence as they dare. It was a noisy but safe take-off and we arrived much earlier than expected non-stop into Heathrow.

The one thing that spoilt the flight, was rather a heavy landing, for which the pilot apologised and blamed the new auto-land system, which as he said needed a bit more tweaking.

February 5, 2012 Posted by | Transport | , | 1 Comment

Coping With Solar Gain

I’ve now found out why it is that my health has got worse since I moved into my new house. The picture shows my south-facing windows.

My South-Facing Windows

The house is probably highly insulated, has under-floor central heating and I suspect that the floor slab between the two floors is fairly immense and thus takes not only a long time to heat up, but a long time to cool down. At times, when I’ve been away for a couple of days in the cold, it seems that it’s almost taken another few days to get the house warm.

But when it gets hot, it gets very hot, as the light coming through the windows warms the house by the same principle used in somewhere like the Palm House at Kew Gardens. I have measured a temperature of 30 degrees.

To make matters worse, I also have a roof light.

My Substantial Roof Light

Not only does the house get hot, but also the air inside gets very dry. This means that my throat, ears, eyes and skin are all very dry. This article on Dry Skin and Winter Itch led me in the direction I have gone. Firstly, I installed this simple meter on the wall.

Combined Barometer, Thermometer and Hygrometer

So that I could measure everything properly.

I also purchased a humidifier from John Lewis to try to get the humidity between 50 and 55%.

Bionaire BU7000 Humidifier

I then turned the heating down as low as it would go and still maintain a temperature of about 22-23 degrees and used the humidifier to adjust the humidity to a comfortable level.

Then I did the difficult bit and decided to have a lukewarm bath every other day to moisturise my skin. My ears and eyes have definitely got better, but my throat has only marginally improved. That could be because of the cold outside, as it’s very dry there.

I’m now trying to see if I can cut the solar gain in the room, by some simple passive method like the right blinds. This article has been a help.

So what am I going to do first.

If you read the article, it indicates that one of the best systems is to use a blind or curtain, with a pelmet and a vent. I’ve tried a simple John Lewis blind to see that it looks like.

a Test Blind

Four of these cut to fit two to each window might be a good start.Note that the opening top windows can be used as the vent. And of course the blinds can be adjusted up and down for light control and visual security. For the pelmet, I might seriously consider a U-shaped one, that also acted as a shade for an LED ropelight to downlight the windows internally at night.

February 5, 2012 Posted by | World | , , | 1 Comment

Do We Get A Bonus for Losing?

The caption is on a cartoon in the Sunday Times, showing two Scottish rugby players, leaving the field in their RBS jerseys, with a banner saying RBS 6 Nations in the background.

Fred must be laughing into his Shreddies.

February 5, 2012 Posted by | Sport | , , , | Leave a comment

Too Fat For His New Sofa

This was from today’s Sunday TImes.

A disgruntled consumer says her £2,000 sofa suite should come with a “weight warning” after her husband was told he was too fat to sit on the edge of his seat.

Perhaps if he lost weight, they might be able to buy a better quality sofa for the same money.

February 5, 2012 Posted by | News | , | Leave a comment

Forget the Superbowl! The Biggest Game Tonight Will be the Battle of Rosario

Last time there was a small skirmish in the South Atlantic, we had just a few dozen marines on the Falklands and South Georgia. This time, I hope we’re better prepared militarily, with HMS Dauntless, probably a submarine, several advanced fighters and quite a few ground troops.

I suspect though that the troops won’t be watching the Superbowl, as at the same time the opening salvo in the next skirmish in the South Atlantic will be taking place in Rosario.  This time, though it will be eleven brave women, armed just with sticks, taking on Argentina in the final of the Champions Trophy, after beating the other old enemy, Germany, in the semi-final, yesterday, as is reported here.

I suspect the Duke of Cambridge wishes he could take a few people to the match in his Sea King.

February 5, 2012 Posted by | News, Sport | , , , , | Leave a comment

More Idiot Train Reporting

Ben Ando on the BBC this morning, made the mistake in thinking that the A14 carries a lot of trucks with containers from Felixstowe to the North and back. Nowadays a high proportion of containers go by train via Peterborough and Nuneaton. In fact, I reported here, that they seemed to have decreased in number significantly.


But of course there might be more on the roads this weekend, as that idiot went too fast over the points at Bletchley.

February 5, 2012 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment


There has been a lot of discussion about what happiness is lately.

When you’re a widower or widow, happiness is a big hug from someone, who has suffered the same loss. Sadly, I think many never get that luxury.

February 5, 2012 Posted by | World | | 2 Comments

How To Move An Agricultural Roller! Or Not!

Some years ago, I needed to move an agricultural ribbed roller from my house to my stud, which were about a mile apart. The roller was built from a series of sections and was about two metres long, with a stout triangular frame at the front to hitch it to the tractor.


I had a Land Rover Discovery at the time, so using some rope, I tied the frame of the roller to the toe-hook on the back of the 4×4.


As I wanted to do it slowly, I felt that six o’clock on a Sunday morning would be best, as there was little traffic about. It took me about an hour, with no mishaps en route.


It was only on Monday, that I found I’d woken everybody up, and they’d all wondered what made the amazing noise.

February 5, 2012 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

A Doggy-Bag Story

We had dined in one of Mumbai’s finest restaurants and they didn’t stint on the portions.

And we failed to eat it all!

So they gave us a large doggy bag and told us to give it to one of the beggars outside. We tried to refuse the bag, but they insisted.

In some ways it’s sad that mothers have to beg for their food in one of India’s richest cities, but they have put a system together to help.

February 5, 2012 Posted by | Food | | 1 Comment

Russia And China Give Their View On Freedom

Russia and China have vetoed a resolution from the West and the Arab League to try to end the carnage in Syria.

But then what is going to happen, when their own dissidents protest? After all to Putin it would appear democracy is something to be manipulated for your own ends and the Chinese just feel it is not the right system for China.

February 5, 2012 Posted by | News | , , | 2 Comments