Go off-topic in the Lobby

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Thought for today

I may be called this, or maybe called that
I’m used to it you see
Whatever I am, well tit-for-tat
My ailment is not the real me
Sometimes these names aren’t repeatable
If only they had eyes to see
Labels are for jars and not people
The place where they’re supposed to be.

Which? comments as government responds to UK product safety review consultation
11 November 2021″

https://press.which.co.uk/whichstatements/which-comments-as-government-responds-to-uk-product-safety-review-consultation/https://press.which.co.uk/whichstatements/which-comments-as-government-responds-to-uk-product-safety-review-consultation/

Which? press releases are open to everyone to see. They comment on a current issue, such as this, but rarely include a link to the source material so we can see just what gives rise to the comments. They have told me in the past that their releases are only intended for the press so they don’t include links (wouldn’t the discerning press perhaps like to make their own minds up?); but I think we should have the opportunity to see the original material. In this case it involves product safety and, in part, the role of online market places. Of very real interest to all consumers, isn’t it?

Anyway, here is the government document referred to;

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1032752/call-for-evidence-response-11-2021.pdf

It would appear that Which? might not have submitted any evidence to the review [unless they exercised their option to remain anonymous under the following exemption: “ . . . this list only includes organisations who have explicitly stated they are happy to have their submission publicised without it being anonymised“].

I noticed that, but neither were BSI mentioned. I presume Which? were involved. Perhaps they could publish their submission for us. @jon-stricklin-coutinho, Jon, can you help?

Firstly – to regulars and staff – please note my near complete absence over the last few weeks was all “me” – nothing to do with what was or was not happening here. Life does get in the way sometimes.

I’ve just been Sifting through posts of a few days ago. They took me back to places called Dillo, W?OL, Wollucs, NewWol, the Winter of discontent.. A lovely trip down memory lane.

It is a great shame that things in these cycles Ian describes become so polarised. What may not be apparent from all the above musings is that, the cycles were broken not solely due to W?Ltd. Such was the passion by the few non-staff august contributors in many cases of the interactions, members of staff contributing often dreaded when it was their turn to take the tiller. There was a duty of care to staff to not stress them out. Mea culpa both before I was on council – and if truth be known possibly afterwards too.

In fact, it was the imminent demise of the original forum system – a system which I was sure was to overall CA benefit (and would have been much more so with incremental rather than quantum leap change) which prompted me to stand for council. My manifesto at the time was reasonable, but not significantly different in content and promises to many others. In terms of standing in the CA, I was not a public figure (not a lawyer, no public office, never been in politics, or government, my only postnominals were BSc (Eng)). But I got on, amazingly with my first application, with some formidable competition. And as I recall, the electorate was significantly rather than marginally behind me. The only significant difference between my statement and that of my fellow applicants was reference to and support of the forums, with the intention of standing to preserve them. That alone reinforced a long-held belief that for each regular contributor – and there were perhaps no more than a dozen – there were hundreds if not thousands “lurking”.

In this conversation site, by reference to the “Find Other Community Members” tab, one can reasonably deduce that the number of regular lurkers (as opposed to opportune sporadic very occasional or one-off visitors) is far lower. So – either the one-offers/sporadics have been put off by what they found (lobby spats etc.), or by not finding what they wanted or – worse, and sadly more likely, finding what they wanted, contributing – and then not readily finding their way back – or finding the topic drifted and not feeling able/willing to draw it back on topic.

I still think that a forum system – off the peg engine with branding applied (exactly as was done in Web Crossing days – but with a more modern engine of course – there are dozens of them) would stand a better chance of greater engagement than convo. But maybe I’m biassed.

I agree that the present software is not ideal, Roger. Apart from you and Ian, most of us cannot relate to the early days when Which? facilitated online discussion. I regret that I was not involved but at least I was online elsewhere in these days.

Much has been said about the desirability of contributors logging in before posting but with the login problems that we have experienced it is hardly surprising that many do not. (I have noticed few problems recently and no-one has been complaining, so maybe a solution has been found.) None of the other forums etc. have had login problems.

I’m far more concerned that Conversation is not as friendly as it used to be, as can be seen by looking back a few years. I have commented before that it is common for a visitor to post a comment, which is then used as the start of a discussion between others, generally a couple of regulars. Well that’s my humble opinion.

Two things, Roger: the number of regulars in the original forum was 60+ in 1998/9. I have the list 🙂 The other tiny thing is that a Quantum leap would be a miniscule and exceptionally tiny one. But I blame Sinclair and a certain TV show for making that basic error… 🙂

I guess it depends on your definition of regular. For a regular poster to make the cut in my definition s/he would need to be contributing most weeks in a year. Does your list include the one trick pony “Always pleased to hear from you..” who used to chip in perhaps 3 or 4 times a year – but was an extremely regular lurker?

I truly can’t think of more than 20 regular actives from that era – but I may have inadvertently exaggerated it on the low side.

It only used those who were contributing regularly; almost as often as we were 🙂 There were rather a lot of us in those heady, early days.

I haven’t experienced any initial log-in problems lately but my log-in often drops out mid-session, usually when I switch from posting in ‘Latest comments’ to trying to post a comment in the new Lobby.

Blimey Ian, my brain must be playing tricks.

Apart from the 15 or so regulars past and present in Cafe-Dillo (including sadly those who have moved to the next world as well as those who have simply abandoned), I can think of only a few more regular non staff late nineties contributors, referred by nicknames in here that only you and I would recognise, not out of cliqueness but for data respect:

CS, Dipsy, Keswick’s two adversaries (DW and the real accountant), Ash, the Mongman, Rikkog… Perhaps we should take this to email.

Remember, I’m including staff who also chipped in regularly.

That’s hardly surprising when you consider that some regulars are hell bent on going against the grain and displaying huge chips on their shoulders. What better way to discourage newcomers to the fold.

Thought for today

WELCOME TO THE NEW WHICH? CONVERSATION

There are those amongst us who are overly critical
With negative comments, highly analytical
Where news and views go uncontrolled
That discourage newcomers to the fold
With observations so untypical
And connotations abundantly political

Beryl
27th May 2016

I’m not sure how to deal with this, Beryl. Our community could try to self-police the problem. I’ve seen this happen on other forums. Sometimes it has worked and on other occasions it has exacerbated the problem.

I’m not sure how to deal with this, Beryl. Our community could try to self-police the problem. I’ve seen this happen on other forums. Sometimes it has worked and on other occasions it has exacerbated the problem

And on W?OL it worked very well, with regulars regularly regulating with a velvet glove, and the forum staff were by and large very appreciative of proportionate contributions by regulars keeping the ships (yes plural) generally in calm waters. However, when the skippers (again plural) steered and throttled their crafts to Wollucs and the Winter of Discontent Straight, a fair few users got royally peed off and snapped at everyone’s heels, just in case they had played a part. Of course this anarchy was unfortunate – but tigers caught by their tails do tend to lash out.

It is quite obvious to me Wavechange, that to some the past, which no longer exists is/was of much more importance than the here and now. Times change, if you fail to keep up with it, you just get left behind in a constant world of dissatisfaction and discontent with life in general as it exists today.

It would be impossible to self police when there are too many opposing chiefs and not enough Indians in the camp. Anyone who constantly posts opposing comments on a website that has the interests of the consumer as its main focus, has no business taking part in it. This is tantamount to a form of intellectual trolling by the back door, and it’s really the responsibility of the organisation to deal with it by pointing them in the direction of the front door and throwing away their key.

There is another way to deal with people so afflicted, and that is to superficially agree with everything they say on the surface and then ignore it and move on, but that could prove difficult for newcomers to the fold.

“Unconscious people, (consciously unaware), when challenged, will only become more unconscious.”

This is the root of the problem we are experiencing on Which Conversation at present which, if not addressed, will eventually lead to its eventual break up.

I’m very conscious of the trolling, Beryl, and much of it is hardly intellectual. I recall that the Community Guidelines used to refer to the practice as ‘mean’ – a good description. Perhaps the best way to deal with it is to disregard provocative comments and spoil their fun. I miss contributors like DerekP who had the ability to disagree very respectfully.

I have tried to support those including yourself who have been treated unkindly, especially new visitors who make valid and inoffensive comments that are marked down.

I have noticed that you and John have recently had a disagreement about providing evidence. Perhaps it is better to move on. I think you took exception to a post about lactose and diabetes and I’m happy to discuss this further in The Lobby. If I’m wrong I’m happy to admit it.

John questioned whether it was wise to make bank account details known to others. I was not aware of any problems but Roger gave an example of how someone had used these details to set up a direct debit for Jeremy Clarkson. I am due John an apology, if he is reading this. I now have another example of the inadequacy of our banking system.

Beryl says: 13 November 2021

It is quite obvious to me Wavechange, that to some the past, which no longer exists is/was of much more importance than the here and now. Times change, if you fail to keep up with it, you just get left behind in a constant world of dissatisfaction and discontent with life in general as it exists today.

But if we don’t learn from the past, then things will never change, surely? The past informs our future, in ways that might well surprise.

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”

It’s my contention that in one salient and extremely vital aspect, Which? has not been learning from the past. Thus it is repeating the same mistakes again and again.

Ian – Learning from the past is not actually living in it. A mindset that is stuck in the past is an indication the present, which is all there ever is, is not a comfortable place to be.

“To constantly complain is non acceptance of what is.”

What constitutes what is? The here and now, complete with changes derived from lessons learned from the past and enjoying the roller coaster ride along the way.

Wavechange, I appreciate your concerns, and apologies for anything I have said that you may have found disconcerting or offensive in any way.

Whatever I post on this website is normally carefully considered and researched with back up evidence, and I expect the same in return. I have learned from past experience, failure to do so will be met with fierce opposition, which can deviate from the main topic, despite all attempts to abide by the Terms and Conditions laid down by the Convo editorial personnel.

However, when I am faced with an issue that threatens the existence of an organisation that supports the ordinary consumer, I feel duty bound to challenge it. Evading an obvious problem does nothing to solve it, as it is bound to be repeated over and over again at some future date.

I am all too aware of the continuing underlying, all pervasive current issues that exist on Which Conversation, and have read the many comments posted therein from victims who have been defrauded out of their savings by failure of the banks to provide sufficient security measures to protect their customers savings, but when that issue is used as a egotistical means to score brownie points, it tends to lose all its credibility.

That is the main problem we are facing at present. Everyone is entitled to complain about an issue they are not happy with, but continued criticism on a daily basis, as I have previously stated many times before, stifles and impedes progress and solves nothing.

Hi Beryl – I did not reply because I was going for a walk. As you must be aware I am strongly in favour of the banks taking action to ensure that money transferred to fraudsters is returned to their customers. I’ve suggested that there should be a fee for this service, certainly if there is evidence of carelessness.

Whatever we post on Conversation is not going to influence the actions of the regulator or banks. In the same way that someone playing Monopoly or Diplomacy might engage in fantasy, most of us get a little carried away in imagining what could happen if we had our own way. It must be amusing for those who work in retail banking or regulation.

You have not said anything that I regard as offensive but you have obviously upset others recently. Maybe we deserve a little humour.

Wavechange, I hope you enjoyed your walk and it helped to refresh and divert your thoughts away from from all things related to Which? Conversation, at least in the interim period. I went for the Covid booster yesterday, and apart from the usual sore arm, so far there is nothing to make any fuss about. I also enjoyed a pre Christmas visit from close relatives, which left little free time for anything else.

From one seemingly very independent person to another, it is not my intention to upset anyone unless they persist in declaring what appears to be fictional hearsay that bears no resemblance or evidence to the important issues put before us on Convo. I am also still thankful to able to enjoy the benefits of most of my mental and physical faculties, despite my advancing years.

I am not expecting any immediate unrealistic results from the banks or the regulator, but anything of importance presented here, I am sure will be read, analysed by editorial staff and be put before Which? Board of Directors, who will decide what action, if any, will be necessary.

One thing I am pretty sure about is that Which? need to persist relentlessly for PSR intervention if the Banks show any sign of relaxing their commitment to authenticate CoP at the point of verification from the payer who has entrusted them to safeguard each transaction until it reaches its correct designated account.

Well, well, Beryl, you have, at last, admitted that the past has some value. If we don’t learn lessons from past mistakes we make them again, probably making them more difficult to correct. That’s really what I’ve been saying to you all along and you have told me, all along, I was wrong.
It is actually quite difficult to live in the past. Technology has moved on and when old things break, they can not be replaced. Life styles have moved on and it is difficult to adopt one that does not recognise this. Sadly, I can’t now pass half a crown across a shop counter in return for a gallon of petrol. There are times when I think, with regret about what might have been, and, provided that comes with the realisation that there’s not much that can be done about it, one can debate different outcomes with interesting hypotheses….before returning to the real world and the next great adventure. Very often the conclusion drawn is that what happened was for the best. You and I both know that good living is an attitude of mind. being perpetually miserable would be a dreadful curse.

Vynor, I think we are at crossed purposes. I have not ever told you you were wrong.

When I say you can learn from past experiences, you can’t ever go back there because it doesn’t exist. You can only exist in the present because it’s always the present. It’s never anything else but the present. Memories of the past are just thoughts and conceptualisations of events that happened in the past, they are not happening now. People who sit and think all day about events of the past are missing out on their real life which is happening now.

That does not mean you are wrong, it just means you don’t get it yet.

Beryl – I had a pleasant walk with a friend and an unplanned meal outside a pub. Thanks to recent wet weather I have not had much exercise recently and I’m still recovering.

I don’t actually see much distinction in your last sentence Beryl. It seems as though we can now agree that the past contains lessons for the present. Common sense tells us that we can not actually live in the past, since it’s been and gone, but the difference between the past and the future, is that the past can be annotated accurately (provided humankind is capable of being dispassionate, knowledgeable and truthful.) One accepts that any description of past events may be flawed or incomplete, but that does not alter the actual facts and events themselves. Someone says something and it is reported verbatim. An election is won or lost and the facts are recorded. A volcano erupts and we know exactly when that happened, etc. “The future is alterable and depends largely on decisions taken today. One can argue that these actions are predetermined, and there is no proof, either way, that this is so. (I tend to think not.) When we look back on them we can analyse trains of thought, motives and what ifs, but there are usually two or more outcomes from most actions and, hopefully, people can influence each other, personally and nationally.
I have two kinds of past memories. There are those that impose themselves, uninvited, in remembrance of past mis-deeds (someone up there is exacting his/her/its retribution) and those pleasant memories triggered by place, word, scene, music, sound etc, that one welcomes and dwells upon. I’m quite sure you have some of these that bring a smile and a happy recollection. Schubert’s Trout brings me back to a great hall in Windsor, where, short trousered and treble I sang with a thousand others under the baton of the County Music Director Robert Noble. An unforgettable day.

Yvnor, I think we are making some progress at last 🙂

I loved hearing about your past memories, and I have mine also, some really lovely, others not so. The key here is to stay present and remember, all those bygone memories, good and bad, actually took place when it was the present, as it’s always the present. Once you grasp that fundamental truth, it will open up a whole new way of viewing your life while it still exists in the never ending present moment.

Eureka!!! You’re breathing, you’re alive, you write beautiful
poetry on your boat in the here and now. The future never arrives because it’s always today, my favourite day 🙂

I’m glad you are out and about again with friends who I assume have been tested for Covid Wavechange.

It doesn’t take very long for the legs in particular to start to lose muscle strength, and a good walk, hopefully away from pollution and noisy traffic, will soon restore them to their normal fitness. I have a good workout each morning to get the joints all moving again before breakfast, but it’s not quite as effective as a brisk walk in the fresh air, even more so if you can muster enough courage to keep on walking past the local 🙂

I’ve been out and about (locally) all year, Beryl. I meet up with friends outdoors and keep my distance. Apart from once when there were no other customers I have not been inside a pub since before the pandemic.

I can’t remember the last time I went inside a pub Wavechange. It was probably at a family funeral!

The hospital where I received the vaccination was very well organised, making sure everyone kept a safe distance, including the chairs in the waiting room afterwards, each one being sanitised after it became vacant.

BBC uptake this morning, reports 50% of the booster (3rd vacc) gives sufficient protection against the virus. I have yet to check that out, but you may have heard more since then.
I have had no reaction with this one (Pfizer) so far so hopefully it will stay that way.

Unfortunately those who have booster jabs are not fully protected and can be carriers of the virus asymptomatically – as a child might. It’s encouraging to see that more people are to be offered a booster.

The best protection we have is to keep away from people outside our household as much as possible.

We have to return to normal life; isolation is not a real option for the future. Providing we are all vaccinated we should (most of us) not, apparently, suffer severe effects if we do contract Covid. The booster dose appears to confer a very high level of protection.

Austria seems to have a sensible approach to segregate those who have chosen not be be protected by vaccines from the rest; vaccine take up seems to have suddenly been improved.

We each have an obligation to avoid infecting others and, I would have thought, avoid overloading the health service. Either vaccination or isolation seem pragmatic approaches.

Morning everyone – Long time no see!

How’s everyone?

Hi Abby – How are the house improvements going?

It’s overcast but dry and fairly warm here, so time for a walk.

Good to hear from you Abbi. I hope your life on the other side of the fence is a happy one and, when you visit, as “one of us” (as opposed to “one of them”) you can comment as you would want to. I have to add, that the above distinction is not really meant in a derogatory way on this site. The “them” actually refers to those who face criticism from many who have seen better days in the past. Read back above from Roger and Ian to add substance. to this comment.

We’ll keep quiet about the home improvements! Builders here are like hen’s teeth!

It was is a beautiful day in Belfast today – bright sunshine. Unlike yesterday when you would have had difficulties seeing your hand in front of your face!

@vynorhill Whatever happens in the world it is somewhat comforting that some things never change! Although the most rebellious thing I am likely to say is I am about to buy a Don’t Buy car because I think the review was nonsense. 😉

I presume the best colour choice for a Don’t Buy car is lemon. 🙂

Good luck with your new purchase Abby. I think there is a car to suit each individuals needs. I recently bought my 2 year old used Adam from the Vauxhall garage that had looked after my old car for almost 18 years, so I could almost guarantee it was from a reliable source and in good working order.

I miss the good old days spent south of the border in the beautiful Emerald Isle on the coast near Dublin, and the lovely friendly Irish people, also chatting to the baker on the front porch who delivered fresh Irish bread in a large wicker basket a couple of times a week. The beautiful scenery made up for the changeable weather which was never the same from one day to the next. I was quite upset when we finally had to leave it all behind and move back to Blighty.

Is it a yellow duster Abbey?
Hope things are working out well for you. Are the draughty floors cured?

@beryl That’s so true about the weather. The hills around Belfast look beautiful even when it’s raining! The coast pretty much anywhere in Ireland is beautiful though.

We’ll have to see about reliability with my new car – that’s the bit that wasn’t great in the review. Although it really is luck of the draw. I never had a problem with my last two smart cars and the Kia we bought on the strength of the reviews for reliability has been in the garage when it’s less than a year old!

@malcolm it’s a Smart fortwo. 😊 We had the windows fixed and that seems to have made the drafts less of an issue. I also did some work on the draughts in our bedroom which has made things a lot better. There’s still a lot to do but it feels like home and we are doing things bit by bit.

@wavechange 😁 I’ve actually gone for red, much to the 9 year old’s delight.

I’ll bet that you are the envy of the owners of cars that are too big to fit in small spaces, Abby. Make them see red. 🙂

There were pictures of the Belfast hills on the news tonight. Looks lovely. Better than London, eh? Houses take time to do. In fact, I don’t think they ever get finished, always something to do and then the decorating you did years ago needs – well, redecorating.

Reminisce over lunch with Don McLean on a grey November day.

youtube.com Mountains o’ Mourne (Don McLean)

Thought for today

Q. Why is it cool to watch football?

A. Because there’s a fan in every seat.

Football has been around since the days of Greek mythology. I can’t remember who played centaur forward.

Stepping away from mythology into the real and present world, Socrates scored the only goal [off a slick pass from Archimedes] in the most famous football match ever seen [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfduUFF_i1A ]

Understandably, there was a debate about the reality of the result.

Well done Soccerates.

LENGTH OF GUARANTEES – some good news

Some of us have suggested over the years that Which? should provide information about guarantees in its reviews. I was encouraged to learn that Which? has done this for some products: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2021/11/who-offers-the-best-guarantee-the-crucial-check-to-save-you-time-and-money-this-black-friday The length of guarantee can be found in reviews under the heading of ‘Tech Specs’.

Most of us will have had experience of making claims under guarantees, whereas claiming under the Consumer Rights Act can be a challenge.

I do hope that Which? will include the length of guarantees in reviews of other products. It’s always worth keeping an eye open for offers of free or cheap extended warranties offered by manufacturers and retailers.

This is useful advice on when to use the Consumer Rights Act and when to use a guarantee:
How to make a guarantee claim when something goes wrong
You’d hope that trying to resolve a fault with a product that’s still within its guarantee period is straightforward, but this may not always be the case. It’s usually more straightforward to make a faulty goods complaint under the Consumer Rights Act if your purchase has developed a fault within the first six months. In this instance, you’ll want to contact the retailer, rather than the manufacturer, to resolve the issue. After this period, the onus is on you to prove the product is faulty.
If the manufacturer or retailer has a good guarantee, that might make the issue fairly simple to resolve, and underlines the importance of a good manufacturer guarantee period that extends past the first year.

Read more: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2021/11/who-offers-the-best-guarantee-the-crucial-check-to-save-you-time-and-money-this-black-friday/ – Which?“

So the fuel crisis seems to have passed – although prices are high – and there will be enough turkeys for Christmas. Good news.

So more turkeys have volunteered, have they? I thought there was going to be some reluctance in the flock this year.

Luckily they didn’t chicken out.
Personally I would not choose turkey; I would much prefer duck or goose, or better still a fairly rare sirloin or ribs of beef.

DAYTIME CHARGING OF ELECTRIC VEHICLES

A neighbour had a car charging point fitted and soon after the start of the month a new car arrived. I had a chat with him and established that although he received a grant for the charging point he is using normal rate electricity to charge the car, which does about 190 miles per week day, comfortably within the 250 mile range. From what I have seen he plugs it in when he gets home and he may be using considerable power early in the evening when the load on the grid is highest. I mentioned that some companies offer smart tariffs that provide an incentive to buy electricity at a cheaper rate overnight and at other times when demand is less. He did not know about these tariffs and said that his wife looked after the bills. Never mind, he is impressed by his savings in fuel.

With the number of electric vehicle registrations increasing, particularly battery electric vehicles with larger batteries, the daytime demand on the grid might grow. The local Tesco has free charge points and these are in great demand throughout the day.

New EV registrations surged to over 17% market share In June 2021, apparently, and the UK charging infrastructure is lagging far behind. Interesting times ahead.

Good point. I often wonder how on earth all the millions of motor cars kept on the public highway or in estate compounds are going to get charged up other than by spending time at a commercial charging station. Even in the outer suburbs, off-street parking is not necessarily common. We can’t have cables running across the footway everywhere or trailing from upstairs windows.

Whether charging pedestals every twenty metres or, for economy, droppers from overhead cables will be the solution is not the issue; in neither case will it happen overnight. This is effectively putting people in terraced houses and flats at a severe disadvantage if the alternatives to electric motoring become prohibitive in the next few years..

Decent employers might fit charging points but, other than that, it’s hard to see how lower-income groups will manage.

Some people can charge cars at home and the the first person I knew with an electric car charged it at work (a university), less than fifteen miles from home. He has never had a home charge point. The neighbour I mentioned earlier can charge his car at work. No doubt these are exceptions but I have spoken to others with charging facilities at work.

I hoped we could have a discussion about how to encourage EV owners to charge their cars overnight when there is currently no shortage of power from the grid, rather than during the day. I would not want to encourage anyone to use white goods overnight because of the fire risk but it would be useful to have cars charged overnight.

For obvious reasons, the early purchasers of battery-powered vehicles will have made sure they have suitable charging facilities either at home or at work, but most employers do not provide on-site parking, especially in town centres. And, as Wavechange says, using employers’ facilities would normally involve charging during the daytime which in future could be charged at a premium compared with a night-time recharge.

Most schools seem to have given over a significant area of their playground space for staff parking, and most clinics, surgeries and hospitals have staff parking provision. Perhaps energy companies will be contracted to install and supply the necessary infrastructure since its absence could become a recruitment impediment.

Banks, shops, small offices and light industrial units do not usually provide employee parking but no doubt arrangements could be made with commercial landlords to install charging points and then it would be up to user firms to organise an access timetable. Making this work is not impossible but will take some ingenuity and give rise to some uncertainty and another little bit of occupational irritation until it all settles down.

I would expect public car parks and large commercial car parks at supermarkets, shopping centres, retail parks, railway stations and entertainment venues to provide charging facilities but I would expect the cost to be at a premium to the domestic tariff. Many such establishments are now starting to install renewable energy panels or turbines which could assist with keeping costs down through the export of surplus power or its use as part of the operation’s own energy requirement. The amortisation of the infrastructure investment is now becoming more favourable.

I wonder if the challenges of moving to electric vehicles could mean a substantial reduction in commuting. John has suggested various possibilities that could provide many more charging points for employees but where does the money come from?

Increasing generating capacity, which will be necessary as we move from fossil fuels, will be expensive and electricity is likely to cost more. I expect that cheaper rate electricity at night will encourage more car owners to charge their vehicles at night.

I’ve been meaning to read up on the comments on EV cars here. I’m getting a Smart Fortwo in a couple of weeks with a wall box at home. The range is only 60 odd miles but for me that is more than enough. As it’s mostly for shorter journeys and let’s face it, northern Ireland is not that big! If I’m going further is only 40 minute charge time. Although the charging network isn’t great here. I’ll have to see how that all works out. I’m hoping the switch for a second car will make the switch for the main car easier.

I don’t suppose employers will generally be providing free electricity for their staff [unless they are generating their own perhaps].

The unit price for the electricity supplied will include an amount payable as a return on the charging infrastructure. A period of free charging might be used as a recruitment incentive or as an executive benefit-in-kind [and therefore taxable].

It will certainly make sense for anyone who can charge their vehicle at home to do so; this will further relatively disadvantage those who cannot do so.

I foresee more front gardens being turned into car standings and having turntables installed — and more dropped kerbs [footway crossings] will make it even more difficult for councils to install kerbside stanchions.

In itself, the power required for vehicles to haul half a tonne of batteries around on under-inflated rubber tyres is a major inefficiency. The steel wheel on a steel rail powered directly from an overhead cable should surely boost the extension of existing tramway systems and the provision of new ones. Given the amount of carbon consumed in the manufacture of cars, the environmental benefits of railway electrification and investment in electric public road transport will only accrue if people give up cars on a very large scale.

The British Lung Foundation have this comment on electric cars: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/nov/16/electric-cars-are-not-a-magic-bullet-for-air-pollution.

They are correct. We need fewer vehicles doing fewer miles, in towns and cities. So more and better public transport. For the benefit of everyone, not just those who can afford a car (or is unable to drive).

“Cheap” electricity at night is such because of reduced demand and the need to keep the generators working. Once people start charging a lot of electric cars “off peak” that incentive will disappear as consumption become “peakier”, so costs will rise. We will also have to recover the huge losses in fossil fuel duty and VAT that a switch to electric will cause, so be ready for a mileage tax.

It’s difficult to know what will happen, but a huge number of people do have homes where they can park and charge their cars. Some might give up driving, particularly if public transport improves, but I suspect that there will still be a strong incentive to have private transport. I do hope that the move to electric vehicles will be accompanied by a significant decrease in travel – both by personal and public transport.

Abby – Please report back about how you get on with your new EV.

A full life cycle analysis of cars seems the sensible way to make an assessment of their effectiveness in reducing pollution. I wonder if it will include PM2.5 as these seem to be of increasing concern.
”Alex Damyanov, incoming Technical Manager for Green NCAP explains, “Looking only at tailpipe emissions flatters all-electric vehicles by ignoring the energy consumed in producing the electricity they use. We know that, and we are working to refine our rating scheme to reflect that fact. Next year, we plan to also provide consumers with a total life-cycle analysis (LCA) which will allow them to see for themselves which car offers the cleanest mode of transport, depending on the use they make of the car, where their electricity comes from, where the vehicle is produced and how it is ultimately salvaged.”

““Cheap” electricity at night is such because of reduced demand and the need to keep the generators working. Once people start charging a lot of electric cars “off peak” that incentive will disappear as consumption become “peakier”, so costs will rise.”

This may happen but at present the overnight demand is much lower than during the day.

RAIL IMPROVEMENTS
https://www.railtechnologymagazine.com/articles/governments-integrated-rail-plan-announced-today
It will be interesting to see what this £96bn announcement will be for. If it improves conventional rail transport in the Midlands and North then it will be worthwhile. We certainly need more capacity and quicker journeys but I do hope there will be an emphasis on moving freight off the roads rather than encouraging commuting.

Edit: (thanks for the reminder wavechange; I have used headings before. Air pollution is part of the electric vehicle debate, of course – in fact, central to it. It was interesting to have a view from the British Lung Foundation, in view of their concerns about those with respiratory disease including asthma).

However, from later information, it seems that one intention is to give Northern and Midland commuters the same sort of service as experienced in the South. I hope that is not the case.

I used a heading – as suggested in the introduction – to have a focused discussion on daytime charging. Maybe you would care to do the same for topics such as air pollution and rail transport.

Interesting times to come:

As of May 30 next year, any new home charger being installed must be a “smart” charger, connected to the internet and able to employ pre-sets that limit their ability to function from 8am to 11am and 4pm to 10pm. This is to avoid putting the electricity grid under stress at times of peak demand, potentially preventing blackouts.
https://www.driving.co.uk/news/environment/ev-chargers-switch-off-peak-times-blackouts/

The legislation will not apply to home chargers.

This article mentions the possibility of power from vehicle batteries supplementing the grid at times of peak demand – so called vehicle to grid (V2G). I hope that electric vehicle owners are aware that this will gradually reduce the working life of the battery in their vehicle and replacements are very expensive.

Thanks for that link, Wavechange. I had not seen mention of that new legislation in any other media.

You mentioned that the legislation will not apply to home chargers. But the article makes clear in the sub-heading that it will not apply to public charging points. Unless I have misunderstood it, the law will only apply to home chargers.

The legislation will not apply to Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland as such issues are matters for the devolved Parliaments, though they might themselves introduce similar legislation in time.

I was surprised at the size of the kerbside charging point shown in the picture at the top of the article. It’s as big as a post box and far less attractive, and it has an electrical connexion cabinet behind it on the backline of the footway. A street full of these will not be a pretty sight [but dogs might be delighted — wear disposable gloves before handling the cables].

Another interesting point is that when two cars with front-end connection points share a charging point [as shown in the photograph], one of them will have to face away from the direction of traffic; overnight this will presumably require the placing of a red reflector or light on the near-side flank.

Thanks for pointing out my mistake, John. I did not get round to checking that post. I have yet to look for legislation and remain to be convinced by the story, but thought it might get the discussion back to daytime charging.

From an aesthetic point of view, cars crammed into tiny front gardens are bad enough but a proliferation of charging pillars and cables don’t help. We have heard about the possibility of going back to trams and trolleybuses, so cables everywhere. 🙁

Edit: Here is a recent document about smart charge points, which might be the basis of the press article: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1015285/electric-vehicle-smart-charging-government-response.pdf

When considering “off peak” tariffs to reduce the cost of charging an electric car at night it must be remembered that you will pay more for daytime electricity than a standard tariff. So a proper evaluation is necessary if you are to save money.

Of course it will. The intention is to use smart tariffs to provide cheaper electricity at times of lower demand. This is already crudely achieved with Economy 10 tariffs. At present the variation in load on the grid is very inefficient. The Sunday Times article seems to be rather speculative rather than based on facts.

The point I was making, of course, was that it is your overall electricity costs that matter. So it will depend whether you consume enough cheaper-rate electricity off peak to offset the higher-than-normal cost of your other usage. I believe with my past supplier that required between 50 and 60% of off peak consumption.

That seems obvious to me. What could be more of a challenge is to decide which tariff will be the best choice, particularly if you have no experience of owning an electric vehicle.

Smart metering looks like a good way of helping EV owners benefit from cheaper electricity without the necessity of installing a dual meter system.

It, for many, should not be difficult to estimate your off-peak electricity use. If you currently use little after, say midnight, then from your BEV performance and estimated annual mileage you can make a rough estimate of how much consumption will be added. No doubt simple tools will be available to aid this calculation. It is not that critical to get it too accurate but it should show just how clear the decision is.

This only is relevant if you have to make the choice between a two tier time tariff and a fixed rate. If you are on a smart tariff then this calculation will not be necessary as you will simply pay for what you use and at what time.

It’s worth looking into smart metering tariffs because there are options. Some smart tariffs just provide a cheap rate period overnight but the Octopus Agile tariff has variable rates during the day, published in advance. Suppliers will use variable prices to encourage us to use electricity when it is cheapest and avoid using it at times of peak demand. Drivers may have to charge their cars during the day and even at times of peak demand but it will cost them significantly more.

It looks like all new homes in England will have to have a vehicle charging point installed as well as new-build supermarkets, workplaces, and buildings undergoing major renovations from next year. See –
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-59369715

I strongly support this move but it will be interesting to see how it will work for new properties that do not have off-street parking within their own curtilage [e.g. most ‘affordable’ homes, some flats and some estates where there are communal parking places or rows of garages distant from the properties to which they are assigned].

According to the article, Britain currently has about 25,000 charging points, but the Competition and Markets Authority has said it could need 10 times as many before 2030. Unless that figure includes multi-unit locations as a single charging point, that seems an underestimate to me; I would expect we shall need at least one million individual public charging units allowing for geographical spread and turnover time at each point.

John, I don’t know what logic drove you to that figure, and whether you watch Richard Osman’s House of Games where one round requires estimates of unusual things.
In that same spirit:
Assume one charging point takes about 5 hours to fully charge one car, and that charge will cover one week’s motoring. Therefore it can service 35 cars a week. There are around 36 million private cars, so that leads to a requirement of…… around 1 million charging points.
You win that point. 🙂

Well, in theory. But many, as you say, will not be able to have a personal charging outlet. Where will we put all the public charging points required? I doubt we can. So we will, I believe, see a very substantial reduction in the number of private vehicles. Not necessarily a bad thing. Most private vehicles are idle for most of the time so it would drive a move to more public transport, taxis (but an expensive option), rental cars. Unless we get hydrogen power, then motoring life could be more like now. But at a cost.

This is interesting news. Communal parking areas with chargers do make more efficient use of space but some discipline will be needed for vehicles to be moved after charging. It’s interesting to see that battery electric vehicle sales have overtaken hybrids, so maybe ‘range anxiety’ is less of a concern.

It’s important to find ways of encouraging drivers to charge their vehicle at night to balance the load on the grid. Public charging points are mainly used during the day and perhaps the same will happen with communal charging points.

The theoretical calculation of the public charging point requirement depends heavily on a degree of organisation and discipline that I just do not believe will come about. An appointment system? Penalties for no shows or late arrivals?

I agree that there will have to be a massive reduction in personal car ownership. My concern is that the wrong sector of society will continue to enjoy the privilege. We are going to have to change the habits of the population formed over a century within the space of twenty years at the most [and probably much less in reality as fuel for legacy cars becomes increasingly unavailable]. Unless we can replace all the lost railways lines, and provide new ones for places that have been created or expanded with hardly any public transport provision, the transition will stall and there will be ‘left behind’ people and areas on a scale that is like nothing we have seen before.

Perhaps economic factors and conditions will adapt life in parallel with the changes required: wage levels, house prices, retirement locations, work opportunities, the location of hospitals, schools and colleges, a massive rise in the number of bus and train drivers, and so on and so forth. We won’t get there by sleepwalking as we seem to be doing at the moment.

Obviously, if there are not enough charging points there will be much less personal travel, but how we plug the gap in an equitable and prioritised way is side-stepped as someone else’s problem.

I read recently that the German government has a policy to install one million charging points across the country by 2030.

Trying to find out more I discovered a November 2019 article with this target, John. Without knowing how many could charge their cars at home in Germany and how often those dependent on public charging points routinely need to use them, it’s difficult to know what is needed. I believe that renting is more popular than in the UK which could be another factor. Inevitably the UK will compare its performance with other countries, particularly those in Europe.

Thought for today

Q. What’s the difference between a guitar and a fish?

A. You can tune a guitar, but you can’t tuna fish.

I think you have to be somewhere on the plectrum to understand that one.

Fish seem to deal very well with scales.

I’m not sure what music fish play but it’s catchy.

Fin landia is popular.

You can tune in to whale songs for a good nights sleep.

Youtube.com – Humpback Whale Songs of the Ocean – Deep Sleep Music Relaxation – holistic hypno

Ele Clark, Which? Retail Editor, said:

”“Our research has found that many people regret Black Friday purchases, as the hype around the sales pushes them to make rash decisions………
A strikingly high number of shoppers feel rushed into making Black Friday purchases – and many live to regret it, according to a Which? survey of 2,000 members of the UK public in September 2021. Worryingly, many Black Friday shoppers turn to credit or borrowing money to pay for purchases they couldn’t otherwise afford.

Read more: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2021/11/black-friday-pressure-drives-debt-and-regret/ – Which?
https://press.which.co.uk/whichpressreleases/black-friday-shoppers-rushed-into-purchases-they-later-regret-which-research-reveals/

This begs the question as to why Which? continually publicise Black Friday “deals”,
https://www.which.co.uk/news/2021/11/best-black-friday-2021-deals/
when this maybe leads them into buying stuff they don’t need, that is not a good buy, and probably not the best price.

Perhaps publicity should be restricted to what most would regards as useful and necessary purchases some may have to make, and only Which? Best Buys at genuinely better prices.

The shopping channels use this kind of sales tactic on every “show” they produce. At some time or other they will:
Be at the busiest point in the show.
Merchandise is flying out and you need to hurry to get it.
Thirty percent of the stock has now sold out and gone.
We are likely to have a sell out before the end of the show.
Check out your baskets or someone else might take the product from you.
This is probably the last time we can get this product. When it’s gone, it’s gone.
This blockbuster price only lasts until midnight tonight.
If you want this product you need to get a move on, it’s going fast.
We’ve only got a handful left in the pink.
The blue version is proving most popular its the one everyone’s going for right now.

I sometimes tune into the shopping channels over a late night bed time drink, when the brain refuses to be creative and I’m too comfortable to get up and go to bed. On one such occasion a thousand pound watch was up for sale in three different dial colours. We were told that there were a handful of each colour available, and that the usual retail price for this movement was in the tens of thousands of pounds. The green one sold out, came back in stock, sold out and was back in stock at the end of the show. When I finally switched off and went to bed they had all gone, but were available again the next day. I was gently amused at the reaction of the presenter (and his side kick) to each watch as it came on screen. We were supposed to have a collection of watches for different occasions. I have one on my wrist and that completes my watch collection until it stops.

There seem to be more and more Black Fridays each year – or is it just one very long day? Amazon’s seems to be 240 hours. Will we soon have Black November? That would be more honest.

I have one wrist watch, for which I had a new battery and strap fitted at a cost of £15. I missed it when the battery died; far more convenient to look at my wrist than dig out and unlock my phone.

I have posed this question before: when we (some) have more money coming in than is necessary for life’s essential – what we like to call “disposable income” – just what should we do with it if we don’t spend it on non-essentials?

Thought for today

I’m weary of whiners who constantly complain
Their negative criticisms are a bit of a pain
And very depressing, why can’t they refrain
From fault finding, and glimpse just a glimmer of light
Where positive thoughts lie, just out of sight
And hope lies in waiting, to make everything right

Do they enjoy living in the gloom and the doom?
Where negativity prevails, and fills every room
Why don’t they look upwards towards the sky?
With white clouds and sunshine and birds they do fly
And trees, they are shedding a plethora of leaves
In shades yellow and orange before they all freeze
And fall to the ground to replenish and feed

It’s sad when blinkered eyes are unable to see
The blessings around them bringing enjoyment and glee
Where challenges are met and decisions are made
And the blues are exchanged for a much brighter shade.

Today is a lovely sunny day here. Certainly a Bright Wednesday and not a Black Friday.

I like that!! Agree with it too.

I prefer to think of fault finding as part of carrying out a repair and achieving a worthwhile outcome.

Lady Bracknell: “I disapprove of perfection. It leaves no room for improvement.”
The Importance of Being Earnest.

Beryl – A long time ago I said I would let you know what happened about a friend’s wife, who was keen to have the Oxford vaccine as a booster because of a history of anaphylactic reaction to vaccines. She had no adverse reaction to two doses of the Oxford vaccine and was not keen to have the offered alternative booster despite being familiar with the success of prompt treatment for anaphylactic shock. I sent official information that indicated that the alternative vaccine was available if necessary. After considerable effort she has been successful and asked her husband to pass on thanks.

Fears are not always justified but I’m glad to hear that her wish was granted.

Thanks Wavechange for taking the trouble to respond to your friends wife’s decision, and I am delighted to hear her fears were finally assuaged and everything went according to plan. However, I am still not quite clear which booster she finally received?

Unfortunately, I was left between a rock and a hard place as both Pfizer and AZ vaccinations posed a slight risk, so in the end I had no choice other than to opt for the one with the smallest risk which was the Pfizer, which so far has not posed any serious side effects. The initial two vaccinations I received were AZ, which did result in more side effects.

I could explain why my circumstances are slightly different to your friends wife, but because of its rarity, it’s quite complicated but intriguing at the same time. You have, in the past, offered to forward your contact details, via Which? Convo, so if you are still happy to do so, I can elucidate further and all will be made.clear confidentiality and in private.

I agree your comments re fault finding and repairs, and a sense of achievement following a worthwhile repair, but I also believe in recognising and accepting when the time is right, to letting go when something is beyond repair.

She received the Oxford AZ vaccine. I’ve asked Jon to pass on an email address, which any of our regulars are welcome to.

You may need to engage the services of Lindsay Hoyle if we all turn up 🙂

Amazon to block UK Visa credit cards from January 2022
https://www.which.co.uk/news/2021/11/amazon-to-block-uk-visa-credit-cards-from-january-2022/

I’m surprised that Amazon has not set up its own credit card.

They have.

Pardon my ignorance. I still tend to think of Amazon as a long river.

I thought of getting one but didn’t fancy the enormous cardboard box that comes with it.

One of the major tributaries of the Amazon River is the Tapajós; it’s a name just waiting for a debit card.

I think that’s De-Nile Wavechange 🙂

Contactless of course!

Well we needed a bit of humour.

Oh, de Nile?
Don’t pirhanas inhabit the Amazon that will strip the flesh from your bones?

Thought for today

I’m going to stop putting things off……….starting tomorrow.

There is a self-help course for those who procrastinate, but it is not yet available.

“They” say that procrastination is the thief of time. Not when you are busy doing something else.
To do a difficult job that’s been waiting to be done, find another, more disagreeable, task to avoid.
Always put off today, what you should have done yesterday and might do tomorrow.
Always do today what you might have done yesterday and could do tomorrow.
Always do tomorrow what you didn’t do yesterday and can’t be bothered with today.
Always do today first and worry about tomorrow when it comes along.
Always catch up on yesterday, today and use tomorrow to catch up on today. That way you can always plan to be busy…. and stressed out.
Always plan to do less today than you actually do. That makes you feel good tomorrow.
Always live today and accept that that’s the way it was, when tomorrow arrives, without too much gnashing of teeth.
Always treat yourself kindly and don’t forget the odd pat on the back when things go well today. You are worth it.

My grass needs cutting. I’ve put that off for too long but with good reasons – the apples need removing, it is wet, I need to visit family, it goes dark early, it is nicer working in the greenhouse, the garage needs tidying………. But I think today may be the day, well, to make a start. Or tomorrow.

There is no tomorrow ‘cause it’s always today 🙂

I have a flu jab early tomorrow so maybe I’ll do it after that. Although next week looks to be dry and sunny, albeit a bit cooler………

I read of more intercontinental warmongering, though the source does tend to be slightly sensational in its reporting on line. One thing is probably predictable. If China attacks Taiwan, Russia will do the same to Ukraine at the same time. The reverse is probably true.

A little humour. It cannot get more than embarrassing than being a squirrel that needs to be rescued from a squirrel-proof bird feeder: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-london-59333484

Looks like a nutter in a bit of a rutter in need of cutter.

Alliteration always acceptable

Thought for today

“Little Johnny, what do you want to be when you grow up?”
“I’m gonna follow in my dads footsteps and be a CoP”
“Is your dad a CoP.”
“No he’s a bank robber.”

How do you know if someone wearing a mask is a robber or someone trying to avoid spreading Covid?

Someone wearing only a mask could arouse suspicion [or worse].

That’s why it’s wise to wear a striped sweater and carry a bag marked “swag” over your shoulder so there is no confusion.

I thought that someone with a bag marked swag was a curtain fitter.

The latter should produce Confirmation of Protection Wavechange 🙂

Maybe confirmation of procrastination. 🙁

D’accord 🙂