The Lobby: Off-topic discussion

Hello and welcome to The Lobby! Your place to discuss subjects that just don’t fit in our other conversations. Make yourself at home!

Do you want to discuss an issue but can’t find the right place to post it? Or maybe you’re looking for somewhere to chat with your community pals? Well, you’ve come to the right place…

As with any community or conversation it can – and does – wander off-topic. This is perfectly natural, but it hasn’t always been possible to do so on some of our posts because of the precisely defined nature of each subject.

So, at the behest of some of our community members, we created this off-topic discussion area – The Lobby.

Any ideas spawned here in The Lobby could generate new posts for debate and discussion on Which? Conversation, so you – our community members – are able to help shape the direction of our community.

What happened to the original Lobby?

Why do we have two Lobbies? Well, like all good franchises, we wanted to experiment with a sequel. But seriously, the original Lobby was so popular (with almost 13,000 comments), it was becoming hard to load the page.

So we’re starting fresh with what we’re affectionately calling “The Lobby 2”.

No comments from first Lobby have been deleted, and you can still link to comments, but you won’t be able to add new comments.


To ensure The Lobby remains a healthy and friendly place for you all to share your thoughts, musings all of our Community Guidelines apply, with the exception of one:

You may go off-topic… that is the purpose of The Lobby.  🙂

Looking for other areas to talk?

• Website feedback: Let us know about any technical issues, and share your ideas on the future of Which? Conversation closure: A discussion about the closure of

Which? Members: Discuss issues related to our organisation, including governance

Welcome to the Lobby!

So without further ado… welcome! What are you waiting for!?


Use ‘Diploma’ in a sentence.
The sink was leaking so me dad called de plumber

Use ‘Information’ in a sentence.
Geese fly information

My personal favourite…

Use ‘judicious’ in a sentence.
Hand that judicious can be soft as your face

Oh, that takes me back to the Fairy Liquid commercials on our primitive Black-&-White TV set c.1958. They were in the break during Emergency Ward 10, another noted soap.

Thanks Ian.

It does, doesn’t it? Astonishingly evocative.

We seem to be missing our morning jokes, so here is a point to ponder:

All mushrooms are edible.
Some are edible only once.


Sorry; morning was busier than usual.

Welcome to Poinsettia Day, the day in 1946 when the UN accepted six Manhattan blocks as a gift from John D. Rockefeller Jr and the day in 1929 on which John Osborne was born.

Benign: what you are after you’re eight.

Terminal illness: being sick in the airport.

Been there; done that. Threw away the T-shirt.


Fibula: inconsequential lie.

Someone told me that the tibula and fibia were bones, but I think they were pulling my leg.

That was quite humerus, unlike the funny bone.

We need a punnet topic…

A punnet would be half a pun then? Something that might bear fruit?

I had a choice this morning of voting for someone who is vindictive and deceitful, someone who has been on more picket lines than I’ve had hot dinners and someone who wasn’t a politician until a couple of months ago. The incumbent MP is likeable enough but belongs to one of the above groups and the final candidate is a surrogate. I voted because I always do, but I came away unhappy.

There ought to be a box on all ballot papers for ‘None of the above’. But sadly, even that sort of protest is rigged, as if you spoil a paper you’re not even counted as having turned out.

Kevin says:
12 December 2019

Or perhaps a box for ” I want constituency-based proportional representation”?

Doesn’t solve the dullard political hack candidates representing so many parties these days, but longer term may get rid of them through natural [voting] selection.

Welcome to Violin Day, the day in 1961 when the Beatles signed with Brian Epstein and the day in 2019 that saw the Labour Party return its worst result since 1935.

I gave up watching Young Musician of the Year because there was too much violins on television.

Use ‘Fascinate’ in a sentence: My coat has nine buttons but I only ever fasten eight.

Robin Hood robbed the rich because the poor didn’t have anything worth stealing.

A topical joke: Why does history keep repeating itself? Because we weren’t listening the first time round.

The irony of today, for me, is that the MP, who has been returned, does a good job for the constituency and is respected here. However the party represented is unlikely to have much influence for a while and thus this MP can continue the good work and not pose a threat to the nation. If I had known that I might even have given this person my vote.

Welcome to Roast Chestnuts Day, the day in 1911 when Amundsen’s expedition reached the South Pole and the day in 1972 on which the final Moon mission returned.

The Optimist says the glass is half full. The Pessimist says it’s half empty. The Engineer says it’s twice the size it needs to be.

A good engineer would add a margin to prevent spillage.

A scientist would select a glass or other drinking vessel of the appropriate size, taking into account the proposed use.

And I’d take the half-empty glass back to the bar…

…….. and point out that as it was the lower half that was empty they should bottom it down.

And answering an age-old question that vexed so many for so long… the reason the white patch was on the top of a pint of Guinness.. so you knew it was the right way up.

Do they still sell Guinness in cans containing a special widget that, when poured, replicates the froth effect of draught Guinness dispensed through a beer engine? [As well as the rich smooth texture, the nutty aroma, the heady taste of dark malt, the sweet sensation in perfect balance with the hops’ bitterness . . . I could go on.]

I used to be fascinated by the various widgets and other devices used to produce a sustained head in canned beer that has been pasteurised to kill the yeast and inhibit flavour development from secondary fermentation in cask beer. At least two types have been used in Guinness, both of which consist of single-use plastic.

I didn’t concern myself with the technology, I just enjoyed the taste which I have not experienced for many years now.

Presumably any single use plastic widget in a beer can gets destroyed during the recycling process.

I assume that plastic widgets get incinerated during recycling of aluminium or steel cans. Unfortunately, incineration is not regarded as a good way of disposing of plastics. One company did produce an aluminium widget but plastic is cheaper.

I have not studied widgets (nor done any net research between reading the above and spouting off, so please shoot this down if it’s tosh).

I assume the intention is to maintain constant pressure in the liquid within the otherwise comparatively fixed volume constrained by the cylinder, and that it does this either with a compressible pillow or by compressed CO2 in the widget that releases under specific conditions? If that is so, I can’t help feeling there must be a better way (though cannot immediately think of one).

I’m a bit out of touch, Roger, so I’m happy to be corrected. I do have some widgets dating from the 90s, when they first appeared in cans in the UK. (I don’t know why I collected them or kept them.). Here is one from an early Guinness can:

It’s a plastic chamber with a tiny hole and the outer part holds the device at the bottom of the can. When the can is opened the nitrogen/carbon dioxide mixture is forced through the hole creating a foam. Beers contain proteins from the barley, which together with heading agents help create and retain foam, without which a glass of beer would quickly lose its head, like cider.

I presume that widgets are charged with gas, though I have no idea how this is achieved. Some other designs of widget are more sophisticated and contain a valve that is opened when the external pressure on the top and bottom of the widget is relieved by opening the can.

Using a nitrogen/carbon dioxide blend is important. Early canned beers (and keg beers) used carbon dioxide, which is highly soluble and causes problems with foaming. Nitrogen is much less soluble and produces a dense foam in the widget cans. A similar gas mixture is used to dispense ‘smoothflow’ keg beers without the beer becoming very fizzy.

Numerous different types of widgets were devised and I don’t know how many are still in use in the UK. There is a floating ball widget, that rattles around advertising its presence. There’s a photo on Wikipedia showing one of these in a Guinness can. I have aluminium widgets that were stuck to the base of cans and even a corrugated spiral that was wedged at the base of the can, but all used a chamber with a small hole. A different principle was to have a corrugated sheet of rough plastic adjacent to the can walls to induce nucleation of gas bubbles.

Do Eskimos stop their teeth from freezing by gritting them?

The Eskimo lifestyle is very basic and most of them have outside igloos.

Oh, very droll 🙂

I knew it.

Do Australians call the rest of the world ‘Up over’?