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Archive for June, 2012

Froot Loops or not–Sadly–NOT

Here is a letter I’ve just sent off to Tescos and to Kelloggs…

I would like to complain BITTERLY about the product I bought yesterday at Tescos in Hexham, Northumberland.

The product is CALLED “Kelloggs Froot Loops” – and bears NO RESEMBLANCE to the Froot Loops I first enjoyed several years ago in the USA and still do today thanks to the American store in the MetroCentre – and Ebay. I am worried that this product will do these people out of business and damage the reputation of the product.

As you can see from the photos below (sorry the colour balance is not identical in the images) – the FROOT LOOPS from the USA are shown on the left (package) and middle.

The package is virtually identical to the UK one which states it is a limited edition – presumably as it is new to the UK.

The problem is – the British product is as near to the original as Milky Ways are to Mars Bars… notice firstly the absence of blue, yellow and red – and the watered down colours of the British product.

What you can’t see however is the most important – the taste – Froot Loops have a particularly unique taste and they are very good – which probably accounts for the popularity. The product released in Britain tastes NOTHING like the original – unless your tongue is dead.

Did no-one at Kelloggs or Tescos do their research? The manager at Tescos certainly seemed unaware that the American product currently sells over here for as high as £7 or more – whereas the watered down version is £2.63 – now I see why.

I bought 2 packs of this and was ready to go out and buy more – now I feel completely and utterly cheated. Makes me wonder what else Kelloggs bring out here that tastes bland and boring compared to the originals – ALL of them??? These packs should CLEARLY be marked they are they are NOT the original product.


Middle – USA product… right – watered-down UK product

Public transport–no thanks

Tonight after a long meeting I took off from our offices in Catherine Place in London for the train. As the weather was showing signs of improving and with the traffic likely to be bottlenecked at teatime I made the mistake of taking the underground.

If you’ve not tried the London underground at peak times… it’s an interesting, never to be repeated experience. Dragging two heavy bags over to Victoria station, surrounded by masses of people in a hurry and constantly having to avoid running people’s feet over with your bag is not the most pleasant experience but when you get to Victoria it gets worse – try as I might I’ve never been able to find a lift in the Victoria underground and there is no escalator so you have to drag your bags down several flights of stairs (no wonder you rarely see really old people down there – it’s disgusting considering the efforts that small companies have to go to in order to comply with legislation) to get to the underground.

The tube was CRAMMED with people pushing into overcrowded coaches in a way we used to laugh at when watching them do the same thing in Tokyo – it must be a pick-pocket’s dream down there and I don’t even want to THINK about the carnage which would arise if the tube had to brake suddenly. £4.30 for a one-way ticket for just a few stops to Kings Cross and a rather annoying assumption that you either HAVE an "Oyster" card or even that you give a damn what the card is… in both cases I didn’t and hence stood in the wrong queue first time around.

Alighting at Kings Cross, they’ve done their best in the renewals to make sure you walk twice as far as in the past and so the whole experience took about as long as the taxi would have – but in considerably less comfort.

And so onto the government-run line from London to Newcastle – one would expect comfort in first class – especially as it can cost more than budget overseas flights – but on this occasion they were two coaches short – so the seat numbering was all to hell and the coach was quite full. I checked the first time they came around offering sandwiches and even then they were short – having only sandwiches with rabbit food …. marvellous… I declined.

The level of quality some folk find acceptable never ceases to amaze me – and some of them do this EVERY DAY!!

A Day in London

After a trip to the House of Commons on Monday night (the FSB’s "Summer Reception" wherein we met with politicians from both sides of the house for informal conversation on issues close to small businesses" and meetings first thing Tuesday I found myself with a few hours to spare before today’s director’s meeting. A bunch of us are staying at the Hilton Double-Trees in Victoria right now, formerly known as the Hesperia, formerly known as the Holiday Inn – just behind Victoria station (the constant changes confuse the hell out of taxi drivers).

Ye Olde Cheshire CheeseRather than contemplate the bad weather from the hotel room, one of my colleagues and I decided to make a day of it in London. He had a visit to the National Theatre planned so we headed off to the Thames area.

First stop the science museum which I have to say was something of a damp squib – we probably missed something but all I could see for kids were a bunch of theatrical sets with embedded touch screens and for adults a mock-up of the first lunar lander, some old cars and planes and not a lot else. If I’d paid to come specifically to London for that I’d be mightily disappointed. Next stop Fleet Street – wherein we visited Ye Olde "Cheshire Cheese" pub which did a cracking fish and chips, well worth a visit.

The Prop ShopAfter taking in the Thames view including the new Shard building, we made a fleeting visit to the Tate Gallery (no comment) and then ended up at the "Prop Shop" – a makeshift bar outside the National Theatre (created out of theatre props) where very helpful staff entertained us as I made a 3d video of the place on my new Fujifilm 3D camera.

Peter Scargill at the Prop ShopFinal stop the theatre itself, we had a personal tour of the place as we checked it out as a possible venue for events before returning to our hotel briefly to recover, next stop Brick Lane for a curry with Nigel Duncan and David Miles. I have to say, great fun, the moment you arrive, there is intense competition for your business and it didn’t take Nigel long to negotiate 20% discount, free poppadums and drinks all around (and when the bill came, sure enough we got the discount etc. – extremely reasonable pricing). If you’re in London and you love Indian, definitely give Brick Lane a go and be prepared to haggle (I should point out that on a previous trip as the owners were haggling prices we took a female colleague with us and as soon as she interjected she was told impolitely that the owner was "talking to the men" – needless to say he didn’t get any business out of us and if I could remember the name of the restaurant I’d help ensure he never got ANY business full stop – but that was some time ago).

All in all a great way to fill a few hours – today I’ve a long meeting and a short presentation to do before heading back home to Northumberland for a couple of days hard graft, catching up on the many jobs that need a decent office Internet connection for. Between holiday and meetings I’ve build up an impressive backlog so I’ll be hiding away for many hours tomorrow to catch up.

Life without a car

We’re over in Spain right now enjoying the SUPERB weather – 33c mid-afternoon and dry as a bone with a slight breeze – what more could you ask for.

Peter Scargill - collecting vitamin DWell a car for one thing… the car packed in on the way here on Saturday and it’s been in the shop ever since. Between that and continued issues with electricity one could easily get depressed were it not for the broadband working really well and continuous sun – which makes up for a lot.

Nice walk down to the market today and working on my electronics projects while Maureen is enjoying movies on NetFlix.

Still no car… more details over on the Bedrock site.


Sunset in Andalucia - June 2012

Faster Rural Broadband for Rich Shoppers

Mr Graham Jones, Labour MP for Hyndburn, Lancashire is attributed this weekend to saying that  "Faster Rural broadband will only help rich shop online". That’s according to The Daily Telegraph, Saturday 1st of June.

Is it REALLY that possible to be so stupid as to make such a comment or is it possible Mr Jones had been on the pop at the time and the journalists caught him after his 10th pint.

If not, it seems to that the people of Lancashire need to reconsider how they do their voting.. maybe mandatory intelligence tests before the elections?

Read for yourself..


If you read the blog he even seems to think that selling off Telecom was the root cause of problems.  I had to say this Mr Jones but I was around at the time – telecom costs in this country were HORRENDOUS before they were split up and things were so bad that you were not even allowed to connect your own phones to the line – the VERY BEST thing that ever happened to Telecom was breaking it up and the most competition we get, especially in rural areas the better. I VERY CLEARLY remember the USA having access to plug-in 2400 baud modems while our own telecoms company insisted we plug mechanical covers over phones achieving a fraction of that speed. I remember them telling me that UK touch-tone phones would be incompatible with the USA phones… I’d need a BOOK to tell you all the things that were wrong with our National phone service.

But then, it would not matter what the Tories did, would it..