council tax for westminster

22 Feb

london 10.55am 5.3C overcast/cloudy thursday 2018

i have read in the news that westminster council is asking rich residents to volunteer to increase their contributions to the council tax. i thought this means they are sending letters to rich residents, those living in band H properties , if it exists. 

i dont know forgot what the highest band is in westminster. haha. but i do know it is very low, and that those living in houses that are worth more dont get to pay anymore council tax.

but today simon and i got a letter each from westminster council saying they are freezing our council tax, and introducing a new voluntary community contribution initiative.

they said ‘whilst freezing council tax for everyone, we are inviting those living in the most expensive homes to make a voluntary community contribution’. 

i think it sounds like a good idea… hope it takes off and those who live in multi-million £ houses will contribute. maybe we can acknowledge those who do, give them a medal or something haha. just to encourage them to do so. 

the council tax for band D, which is mine, is only £688 a year. it is good to know it will remain so this coming year .

googling it, i find the highest  is band H £1,736 a year. the council is very efficient. street cleaning is very good. and gabbage collection is great. and the recycling bins get emptied regularly so they never overfill. i live in a housing estate, so our caretaker takes out the bins for the trucks to empty, and so we dont even have to remember which day they come to put the bins out. and we dont have to sort out our recycled rubbish into various categories either. so we get the luxury of just dumping everything into the same bins. i dont know why we are exempt from sorting out our recycled rubbish when i hear other councils penalising and fining households for putting rubbish in the wrong bins, or even putting out their rubbish on the wrong day of collection. 

we get added services too, in that our streets are lined with trees, and they need trimming every 2 yrs, and we get all that and dont seem to be charged extra for it. maybe they come under another authorities budget, under road works perhaps. haha. same as the re-paving of our pavements. maybe council is not responsible for that too. 

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kfc running out of chicken in uk

21 Feb

london 7.17pm cloudy 6C wednesday 2018

here in uk, we have kfc (kentucky fried chicken) running out of chicken and forced to close its franchise shops and sending their workers home without pay. it is a real bad cockup, all because they moved their supplier to dhl. maybe they wanted to save money, by going to a cheaper company. but this event must have made their franchees lose money and workers lose pay. i wonder whether the kfc company will compensate their franchees. it seems it will continue for weeks, so not something that is solved quickly.

their previous company that had been handling all this without any incident in the past must be grimly smiling… you cant blame them if they are thinking it serves them right for moving to another company. kfc never realise that the previous company were good at their job, and because there have been no trouble of this kind before, kfc thinks it is an easy thing to do, supplying chicken to all their franchises and anyone can do it. so they move to a cheaper supplier and this hits them.

the losses must be in the millions. tough shit for the franchisees.

all the other independant chicken outlets will benefit that is for sure, and maybe new customers who have been ex kfc customers may even like the other independant chicken shops and not go back to kfc even after they get normal again.

i myself have not eaten kfc, nor the others , so cannot really say which is better. so does kfc really taste better than the other independant fried chicken places?

there is no shortage of chicken you can buy in the supermarkets, and that is what i do, buy frozen chicken pieces from sainsbury 2.5kg for £4. in fact, a few weeks ago they even reduced it to £3.50. i got half of that cooked in a curry now , whilst the other half is in the freezer.

i think fried chicken is very fat loaded. it is better to roast it. but of course to those who like fried chicken nothing can compare. 

i am looking at this tv food program, comparing squeezy jars with those in glass bottles. and they cost more when sold in squeezy jars. people like the convenience, they can just squeeze the jar, and it is stored upside down so easy to push out. and people dont seem to mind paying more for it. i mind, but then, i seldom buy these things… mayonnaise, ketchup, things like that i hardly use. to me they are just salt and suger and vinegar; i can use the real thing, salt and suger or vinegar rather than buy those sauces with their coloring agents.

but interestingly enough i buy black soya sauce. and light soya sauce when it was sold cheap.  there is definitely something in soya sauce that adds flavour to the food that is not possible to replicate with just salt and suger. in that same program, they showed that aldi is copying the m&S sandwiches and wraps. there is no copyright on salads and these ready made foods it seems so aldi could do it, even with the same packaging… and because they copy only a limited selection and buy in bulk, they can undercut the prices and sell it cheaper. and they taste just as good it seems. aldi has very few branches in london, i know only one , in the old kent road, and so may be they wont be making such a big effect on M&S in london. but maybe up north where they have more branches, they might be a serious competitor… though i cannot imagine any M&S customer abandoning it for aldi. haha.

i think if u really want to save money you should make the sandwiches yourself, and bring it from home. so i should think anyone who buys their sandwiches will be those who are not cost conscious. and so they will continue to buy M&S.

what they say will happen

20 Feb

london 9.31am 9C drizzly tuesday 2018

 

 

 

the predicted weather outcome for the coming week. very unusual to see the uk in solid blue even for a day nevermind for a continuous 2 or 3 days like it looks like here. there seem to be a simultaneous warming of the arctic going on too. a strange anomaly. 

i must remember this is all computer simulation, using data that they have input in and using programmed software that assumes certain things. so it will be interesting to see if this simulation is anything like what will turn out for real. i had a look at the 7day forecast in this website showing the pattern and it shows that during the day , even at the height of the freeze, the day temperatures in the uk did rise above freezing, so it is not solid below- zero temperatures throughout. northern france, germany and the eastern european countries were all below freezing throughout… so they will get the brunt of all this cold weather. i had a look at the forecast for berlin, -3C/-9C for the coming monday 26.2.18. i guess they have cold winters every year, and most probably they dont have these screaming headlines that we have in uk. well we dont have these events that often, the last one was in jan 2013. so i guess u could excuse us for talking excitingly about it. haha. 

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just a fried pork chop meal by simon to make you hungry. haha.

water bill

19 Feb

london 9pm 11.1C drizzle. monday 2018 . its warm for sure, but forecast says from next monday will be freezing all day. we shall see if it is so.

i got my water bill for the next year. it is £316.05, consisting of water cost £172.07,  waste water cost £143.98 . i dont have a water metre. the flats in this block all share a common water tank for the bathroom and wc water supply that is why we cannot install individual water meters. anyway i put it here just so i can have a record of it to look back on in future. they calculate the cost depanding on how many adults and how many bedrooms your flat has. with us, it is 2bedrooms and two adults. 

we take water for granted here, but only when we have a drought and water is cut off that we really find out how important it is to have running water in constant supply. i think it is a modern luxury that not many appreciate. i am surprised there is never any religion which worships water or is based on it. water is life yet as far as i know there is no religion based on it. people worship fire but no one i know worships water. perhaps just as well, otherwise we will have all kinds of weird practises about water imposed on us in the name of that religion. 

 

reproductions and original paintings

18 Feb

london 7.07pm 8.6C overcast, rained earlier, night now sunday 2018

this post about a chinese man who copies van gogh’s paintings and style and reproduces his art… is interesting. it gives me a glimpse of what life is like for those people in china who reproduces whole sale famous paintings. he sells his paintings to a souvenir dealer for $80, and they are sold to tourists for $600. he never knew they were sold for so much, and he had been doing it for 20yrs. i think that knowledge will make him feel exploited and disastisfied. so perhaps it was a mistake by the dutch dealer to invite him to amsterdam. 

what make me think is that even after all these years they still could not make enough money… i would have thought surely it must have provided them with a comfortable living… but all that hard work and it still did not give them a living… they are still poor. if it does not pay well, it is surprising to me that they still want to continue working like that and for 20yrs… 

what i find very poignant, is his comments about amsterdam when he saw it for real. he said it was smaller than he had imagined. that it seems everyone in china is so used to seeing huge cities with tall buildings in china, even in small towns that no one in the west  have heard of, that they are put off when they come to the west and see how small those western cities which they hear so much about ,really are.

i can remember in the past, when i was growing up, we expect western cities to surpass in size and beauty our own towns and cities in our own country. that is what we expect and what happens. but now it seems for chinese people it is the opposite, they find when they come to the west, it is smaller than their own cities. after he went to amsterdam, he decided to make art himself. and try to paint china scenes with van gogh’s style. maybe he can paint old china, one that is disappearing and so preserve it for posterity. he started off with painting his old mother grandmother, and the village where she lives. then he could paint some of the city scenes, before they get cleared and replaced by modernised skyscrappers. one day i am sure they will all look back on old china and regret its passing and his paintings can remind them. he should try to imagine some parts of china as like venice. something that makes it reek of the past, a romantic past… and try to paint that. take as his model cavarregio and his paintings of old venice. though it has to be said that cavarreggio did not make any money out of his art either.

looks like the fate of all artists is to make paintings that enrich collectors and they themselves must die penniless. 

utube link to that video about the copy painter in china. the link at the aljazeerah site is not working.

 

a nice day

16 Feb

london 11.04am 7.7C sunny friday 2018 chinese new year of dog

12.39pm 7.6C sunny

still sunny even though it is 1.28pm now.

its a lovely day, blue sky and all that,  but the sun is not hot, being quite low down in the sky. i managed to sit out in it, near the library. i was just thinking it is lovely to be able to just sit in the sun with no worries in the world. one must savour such times like this. 

added 5.04pm still sunny, though sun is about to set at 5.17pm. 9.6C . i have got back from the virgin lounge. went there for an hour 3pm-4pm. it is very pleasant there. they have not made anything special there for cny, even though today it is chinese new year day . but western nations dont really acknowledge the chinese new year. and why should they really. it is allready quite good of them to open up trafalgar square and chinatown to lots of festive activities this coming sunday. they are allready setting up the covered stalls and stage in trafalgar square now in preparation for that day. 

local chinese people living here celebrate it, i think, because i went to chinatown to the grocery stores there yesterday and it was crowded with customers. 

 

chrome will block ads from today

15 Feb

london 7.23am 8.8C blue sky sunrise 7.14am. thursday 2018 rained earlier. bright contrails in the sky

read today in wordpress reader that starting today google chrome will start blocking ads. 

Some of the members lobbied the coalition to make exceptions, including Facebook, which argued that the social network should be excluded from a rule banning videos that automatically play with sound. Bounce Exchange Inc., a pop-up ad maker, argued the pop-up ad rule should be changed to exclude ads that appear when a user is idle for more than 30 seconds. Both efforts were successful.

to me the first one is bad, to allow automatic sound, but maybe it will only apply to facebook readers, (though i have a feeling it wont , and we will all suffer the loud blast of sound and not know where it is coming from) the other is good, to ban ads appearing when the user is idle for more than 30secs. but i wonder if i have misread that and they are going to allow it… i bet it is the latter… if so, than it is a bad thing because you could be idle for any reason, (or something,like you are having a toilet break or smoking break and are away from your desk to find when u come back you got adverts playing), to have an ad suddenly hiding it and playing over it … i would find that irritating.

as for their criticism that google utube will still be allowed to show 5sec ads before the main event, i think they are mistaken to criticise that…. because it is a v short time the ad plays and you can skip the ad after 5secs. i think maybe they should make that a rule for all ads.

as it is, for  now if u want to close that ad, they sometimes fool you into bringing that ad full screen instead…(they do that by putting the full screen button and the delete button so close to each other)and because the ad with its video and sound follow you when u scroll down the page so u cannot avoid them, you have to close that tag, or put on the mute button. i think they should also stop the ads from following you as u scroll down the page. though the good thing is that it allows u to find who is the culprit ad and delete it…

i dont know how to put ad blockers but i think if they persist in making the ads more intrusive, i shall make the effort to find out how to put ad blockers. but hopefully with this chrome doing it for me, i wont need to install an ad blocker. as it is, i close the ad if it is more than 10secs or 15secs. i rather not view that video. personally i dont like videos, because they take so much time to make their point and i become their captive audience and forced to sit through all kinds of talking and presentation. if i read it in a text, it is quick to get to that part where they show  what the point they are making. 

on a separate issue, i read today about google being fined by the EU  billions for anti competition issues and here is why. they kill competition by reducing the competitors place in their search result. they did that with foundem, a search engine that competes with google. i am wondering if blocking ads or even stopping all ads to appear in your website can kill your website, because you dont get any revenue . i read that google had done that with logan’s website. logan was the guy who did a video in a forest and found a suicide corpse hanging there and his fooling around it. he had millions of followers, but stopping all ads on his website will effectively kill it. google have great powers to boost your business or kill it by its actions. 

have a read of this article, it is argueing that amazon, google, apple, facebook, should be broken up. a powerful arguement.

on a lighter note, or lighter for me, but maybe not for those with expensive wooden tables …. it seems apple’s homepod have been making white rings on the wooden tables it sits on. i do know how awful it can  make your table top appear. i used to put my hot tea pot onto this table that i have, and it makes real obvious white marks on it and mar the surface. but fortunately it is an occasional table that i found in the recycling bin, so it is so useful this table that i keep it even with all those white marks on it. i noticed that another table i had with a formica top is unmarked. but i think it is a rare household that have formica topped furniture.nowadays. haha..

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a bowl that simon cooked just now, it does not look it, but it is very tasty. and my white stained table top.

added. i got my tv license reminder just now in the post. it is £147 a year now. last year it was £145.50. it used to come out of my direct debit, but i think they want us to give fresh instructions. for 3 yrs they have frozen the payment, though i did not pay this raise last year, because i was able to pay in advance of the date they raise it and it came out of my old direct debit with them… but it has caught up with me this year,so this is the first time i get to pay the new payment. some might object to even paying it at all. it is a compulsory payment whether u watch the bbc or not. to me, it is another one of those things that you pay if u live in a society. added 22.2.18 thursday. saw a article online that the tv license will be increased to £150 from april. so i have just avoided paying that because i paid it before the increase.