The Undelighted Traveller

‘Dear Mum, I wouldn’t go to Jeddah again if you paid me. It’s a shithole. The landmarks are roundabouts, the roads are full of holes.’
The opposite of the travellers’ delight experienced in the latest theme from Pictory.


No Chinese Surprises

Very much enjoyed listening to the Mr Daisey and the Apple Factory episode on This American Life. Learned a lot, or maybe I didn’t. As Mr Daisey points out maybe it just confirmed something I chosen not to think about too much: Chinese workers, some of them underage, work very long hours in bad conditions for not much money. And things won’t change anytime soon.

This doesn’t make me feel happy, but I can’t help thinking this was what it was like here 150 years ago. Kids cleaning chimneys, miners scraping coal from soaking pits, girls working long hours in cotton factories. Families sleeping 10 to a room. The majority of the adult population denied the vote.

Was China supoposed to shift from Communist state to Western middle class in one, smooth leap? Missing out on the two massive wars, riots, Suffragettes, general strikes and wide-scale franchisement?

Terry’s Chocolate

Today, Terry at work bought a Kit Kat Chunky for his elevenses. It was solid chocolate, no biscuit. After a bit of cajoling he rang the Customer Hotline, not so much to complain (what’s the problem with all chocolate?) as to make them aware there might be production glitch.

They apologised and have promised to send him refund – and a box of Kit Kats. Result! The whole office is delighted for him. It’s the Willy Wonka golden ticket moment for the masses.

The Duck

Back to work following a stay at the Drunken Duck, near Ambleside (Grasmere pictured, above). I love this place, particularly the Sunday night deals which leave you with the best of the Lakes, with no crowds, on quiet Mondays. Great food, rooms, toiletries, tea & scones, real fires and unobtrusive service.

One example: if they know you’ve paid for the room-and-evening meal rate, you’re given menus with no prices. When you can order what you like, why do you need to see the price? Another: DD has its own water supply, straight off the mountain. It’s pure, but a little brown. Some softarses might have a problem with this; good, I hope they stay away.

Kodak: ‘the Google of its Day’

Enjoyed this article from the Economist: Kodak’s demise in the face of digital photography. As the Fujifilm experience shows, it wasn’t inevitable.

By 1976 Kodak accounted for 90% of film and 85% of camera sales in America. Until the 1990s it was regularly rated one of the world’s five most valuable brands. In 1988, Kodak employed over 145,000 workers worldwide; at the last count, barely one-tenth as many. Its share price has fallen by nearly 90% in the past year