Monthly Archives: December 2011

Merry Christmas

I hope you have all found what you were hoping for under the tree this morning!

I would just like to take this opportunity to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and lets hope that 2012 brings you joy and laughter, good health and happiness – we all deserve a bit of that!

He just wanted a decent book to read …

Not too much to ask, is it?  It was in 1935 when Allen Lane, Managing Director of Bodley Head Publishers, stood on a platform at Exeter railway station looking for something good to read on his journey back to London.  His choice was limited to popular magazines and poor-quality paperbacks – the same choice faced every day by the vast majority of readers, few of whom could afford hardbacks.  Lane’s disappointment and subsequent anger at the range of books generally available led him to found a company – and change the world!

“We believe in the existence in this country of a vast reading public for intelligent books at a low price, and staked everything on it” Sir Allen Lane, 1902-1970 founder of Penguin Books

The quality paperback had arrived – and not just in bookshops.  Lane was adamant that his Penguins should appear in chain stores and tobacconists, and should cost no more than a packet of cigarettes.

Reading habits (and cigarette prices) have changed since 1935, but Penguin books are still around – and hopefully will remain so for a long, long time!

The missing horses heads

My regular trips to Falkirk have been brightened in recent months by the appearance of the Kelpies at The Helix.  Just as you approach the Grangemouth junction on the M9 you were able to see these magnificent beasts standing proud at the edge of the canal.

A couple of weeks ago, however, I noticed that they were no longer there and everyone I asked in the Falkirk/Grangemouth area had no idea where they’d gone – or why they’d been moved!  If you go onto the Helix website they are still maintaining that “Although the equine sculptures won’t appear on site until the second half of 2012, we’ll be following them on every stage of their journey from final engineering design through to construction and installation.”

So what was it I was seeing before then … Scotch mist????!!!!

Today, however, the mystery has been solved – hurrah!!!  A friend tweeted that she’d seen them at Edinburgh Airport and, sure enough, there they are – apparently having been given a new temporary home. 

The Airport is currently looking at options for a sculpture on the welcome roundabout – something that will inspire those arriving in the city and give a memorable farewell for those departing.  The Kelpies give an idea of what a sculpture could look like and the impact it will have on the airport. Staff are keen to get feedback from passengers before they finalise the potential design for a permanent sculpture.

For the non-Celts reading this, a kelpie is a supernatural water horse from Celtic folklore that is believed to haunt the rivers and lochs of Scotland and Ireland  It was believed to have the strength of ten horses and the endurance of many more.

I had to find out more and so imagine my surprise when I found out that the full scale versions when they do get their permanent resting place at the Helix will stand 10 storeys high, a third taller than the Angel of the North, weigh 400 tonnes and be more than just decorative!

They will create one of the most dramatic gateways through which to enter Britain: two vast equine heads, centrepiece of this £49m eco-park at Grangemouth, are to guard the entrance to a canal link connecting the Firth of Forth with the Clyde in Glasgow.

But unlike Antony Gormley’s sculpture outside Gateshead, the Kelpies will be functional as well as aesthetic, operating the first lock on the east end of the Forth-Clyde canal near Falkirk. The heads will slowly rock forward and back to push water into the lock and raise boats into the canal.

“When you sail in from Europe or elsewhere in Britain, the first thing you will see will be these colossal horses’ heads welcoming you to Scotland,” the sculptor Andy Scott said.  “All the industries along the canal would’ve used horses, and all the farms along the canal would’ve used horses,” he said. “It’s a theme which keeps coming back. I just enjoy playing with the reinterpretation of an enduring theme.”

They will be a magnificent sight I am sure and I’m looking forward to seeing what theses beauties look like some time next year!

‘Please **** off, you’re too stupid to get a job’

This was the email that a “top recruitment executive” sent out last week and he has now been forced to quit his job – after he mistakenly sent the expletive-filled rejection email to 4,000 people.

Gary Chaplin, who reputedly earned £200,000 per year at Manchester firm Stark Brooks, received a mass-mailed enquiry from Manos Katsampoukas.  But instead of replying to just him, he accidentally replied to all the 4,000 employment leads Katsampoukas had contacted in the first place.  The Sun reported that Mr Chaplin was so incensed by the email, he replied by telling the prospective employee to ‘f*** off’.

He told Mr Katsampoukas: ‘I think I speak for all 4000 people you have emailed when I say, “Thanks for your CV” – it’s nice to know you are taking this seriously.’

Mr Chaplin added: ‘Please f*** off … you are too stupid to get a job, even in banking.’ He ended it: ‘Yours hitting the delete button Have a nice day!’

His reply sparked uproar in the recruitment industry, with one recipient replying that it was ‘appalling’ and added: ‘It displays an unbelieveable degree of arrogance’.

Mr Chaplin has had to resign over the matter and told newspapers: ‘I am mortified by what I did … It was a moment of idiocy.’ 

‘I am now looking for a job just a few days before Christmas. If I could turn back the clock I would. I will regret this forever.’ 

So who is the stupid one now Gary???

After 30 years in the recruitment industry nothing amazes me anymore – as has been said on more than one occasion that I am aware of If you can do, do. If you can’t do, teach. If you can’t teach – become a recruiter.  No wonder our industry gets such a bad name!!!

Hurricane #bawbag

Today Scotland got away from the practice of giving hurricanes boring names with their title for the 100 mph monster that has just swept across the country : Hurricane Bawbag.

Exactly who thought up the name was not known. And not everyone (at first) knew what Bawbag meant: Your scrotum , the place you keep your balls.

But the title was cheerily adopted by at least one council and STV. Twitter users across the globe made the “Hurricane Bawbag” term viral as the winds blasted through the central belt. The name did not appear on the BBC website. The Herald and Scotsman ignored it but the Daily Record gave it a whirl.

The term featured at the top of the world-wide trends list for several hours, reported the Edinburgh website Deadline News.

User Pazpaz was among thousands of Twitter users employing the hashtag #HurricaneBawbag.

He wrote: “American hurricane namers are lazy. They pick easy ones like “George” and “Kate”. Only in Scotland could they come up with #HurricaneBawbag.”

“It Makes Me Happy When the Scots get worldwide recognition for something other than bagpipes and haggis. Let’s hear it for #HurricaneBawbag”

Bernieleslie asked: “Can we not send #hurricanebawbag homeward tae think again?”

Meanwhile, Stirling council wrote on their feed, “All Libraries are closing up at 1 o’clock – Stirling Council Website for details #scotstorm #HurricaneBawbag”

Deadline News spelled it out: For those unfamiliar with the term, it is an indelicate reference to part of the male anatomy, as well as a derogative term meaning idiot.

One firm marketed “Hurricane Bawbag” T-shirts with the tagline “a load of old wind”. They were being sold for £14 on the Get aroundGlasgow website within hours of the winds striking.

Update: At 5p.m. #bawbag was reported to be trending in the UK rather than #hurricanebawbag, “dispensing with formalities and getting straight to the nitty gritty.”

Hurricane Bawbag had also acquired its own Twitter and Facebook pages.

On Wikipedia the report read, “Hurricane Bawbag was described as a stormy day in Scotland on the 8th December 2011. Winds reached over 100mph and many schools and nurseries were closed. Within hours of the severe weather warning ‘Hurricane Bawbag’ merchandise became available online.

“It also sparked Twitter Trending topic which became the most popular in Britain. Local Authorities and National Weather Stations also used the term.”

Always in our hearts

Today, 2nd December 2011, is the 6th anniversary of the death of my amazing Dad, Leonard Jack Lewis.  3 days after his 78th birthday he died suddenly at home and we still miss his warmth, energy and humour every day.

I know I am biased but Dad really was “one in a million” and I am immensely proud of what he achieved and the man that he was.  His knowledge and creativity was always inspiring and his passion for creating good television drama guided by a strong moral compass was a true credit to him and he certainly instilled these values in me from a very young age, together with a somewhat wicked sense of humour that I also seem to have inherited!

It took me a long while to realise why every Sunday afternoon felt very strange to me until I suddenly realised that I was still waiting for his telephone call which came every Sunday, as regular as clockwork, for absolutely as long as I can remember. 

In some ways the pain of his loss does ease gradually each week/month/year that passes but he will never be forgotten and is always in our hearts.  Love you Dad x

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