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!

This Lobby is closed to new comments

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!?


Doctor: you’ll live to be 70.
Patient: But I am 70.
Doctor: see; what did I tell you?

When you are eight years old you probably look forward to having fun on your next birthday. I suppose it’s benign.

Welcome to Learn Your Name In Morse Code Day, the day in 1838 of the First demonstration of telegraph messages sent using dots and dashes and the day in 1922 on which Insulin was first used on humans to treat diabetes.

*** *- — **- * *-** **-* -*** — — *-* *** * The inventor of Morse Code. In C. 1837 when the telegraph first made it possible.
Typically the formatting here has ruined this, but you get the idea.

The old short wave band used to be full of Morse Code chatter at amazingly fast speeds but like other forms of communication, the internet has taken over.

My old Perdio Town and Country had a shipping band. I practiced my ability to decode messages – and got to the point where I could get probably 2 words in five. Of course these days I;d write a small (and I man small) programme and get the lot all typed out for me!

Been there. Done that. Forgotten it all. I used to listen to marine band VHF, which was less of a challenge.

As part of our handy hints column:

Commuters: Keep the seat next to you empty by smiling and nodding at people as they board.

Clumsy? Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by asking someone else to hold them

Maybe it would be best to stick to peas and beans.

Oversleeping? Place a mousetrap on top of your alarm clock.

For those who don’t live in the mountains, be grateful. We’re currently experiencing very high winds, torrential rain and mini-power glitches.

We are all going to be battered this weekend. According to forecasts, this seems to be quite normal weather for the Highlands and Islands. One can see the design of crofts and other dwellings that they are built to counter these conditions, but the life style up there must be different to compensate. It is idyllic in the holiday season but the winter months must be a challenge, especially since daylight is also less. Nature keeps reminding us that our presence here is very much on its terms and it is not going to be abused without some reaction.

Welcome to World Pharmacist Day, the day in 1895 on which the National Trust was founded and the fateful day in 1950 when a Swedish tanker rammed the British Truculent in the Thames, killing 64.

History is all too often something that never happened, written by people who weren’t there.

If you’d been born a thousand years ago, just think of all the history you woudn’t have to learn.

I decided not to learn about our unpleasant past, such as med-evil history.

Throwing Christians to the lions in ancient Rome had one advantage: no pitch invasions.

Welcome to Sceptic’s Day, the day in 2004 when Shipman was found hanged in his prison cell and the day in 1938 on which the Church of England finally accepted the theory of evolution,

I wouldn’t say the hotel was exclusive, but room service had an ex-directory number.

That won’t stop those nuisance calls about breakfast being served.

In one cheap hotel I called room service and asked them to send up a larger room.

One hotel we stayed in was really old fashioned; in the morning we got wake-up letters.

Welcome to International Kite Day, the day in 1900 when Puccini’s opera Tosca opened in Rome and the day in 1975 when 17-year-old Lesley Whittle was kidnapped in Shropshire.

My Uncle’s hotel was so cheap he resorted to stealing towels from the guests.

That must have been the one where ‘Breakfast not included’ was one of the selling points.

We stayed in a cheap hotel where the bathroom was so small you couldn’t brush your teeth sideways.

Well, we did stay in a hotel where a friend (well upholstered but not grossly) could not sit on the toilet that was squeezed between the bath and the wall.

However, he had no trouble with cleaning his teeth; the glass at the side of the bed was adequately large.

Some expensive hotels are so posh they make you wear a tie in the shower.

The Planet is warming- but it seems we – humans, that is – are cooling. From New Scientist:

Everybody knows that the average human body temperature is 37°C – but everybody is wrong. It turns out that the bodies of people in the US have been cooling since the 1860s.

To find out what really happened, Parsonnet and her team combined three data sets. The first covered 23,710 Union Army veterans from the American Civil War, whose temperatures were measured between 1860 and 1940. “It took me a long time to find a database back to the 19th century that had temperature in it,” says Parsonnet. The other data sets spanned 1971 to 1975 and 2007 to 2017. In total, the team analysed 677,423 temperature measurements.

On average, American body temperature has declined by 0.03°C per decade. Men born in the early 19th century had body temperatures 0.59°C higher than men today. The data for women doesn’t go as far back, but their body temperature has dropped 0.32°C since the 1890s. That means average body temperature today is about 36.6°C, not 37°C as widely thought.

Parsonnet offers two pieces of evidence that the fall is real and not simply the result of older thermometers being unreliable. First, the cooling trend is visible within the more modern data sets, in which the thermometers used were presumably more reliable. “The decline we saw from the 1860s to 1960s, we see the same decline from the 1960s to today,” says Parsonnet. “I don’t think there’s much difference in the thermometers between the 1960s and today.”

The full story.

That is really interesting – I have said for years that my body temperature reads low but when it has always been met with scorn. I now have New Scientist to back me up! 😉

I thought that 36.8°C was regarded as normal (oral) body temperature and that is usually rounded up to 37°C. I am on 36.6 today, which has been normal for me since I first encountered a clinical thermometer.

Temperature measurements depend on where they are taken: oral, ear, underarm, or somewhere else. Hopefully this information was recorded in the 19th century studies to allow meaningful comparison with modern data.

Well that’s four hours of my life I won’t get back.

Some so-and-so attempted – with a correct (and therefore compromised) password attempted to get in to my google account from Poland. Fortunately the location was sufficient to require the second phase of authentication – so I clicked “no” in the barrage of security emails. I then took stock of all my passwords and decided – perhaps unnecessarily – to dust off the lot and alter any of those with a sufficiently similar one to that compromised. All done except four – which require more effort – because they want to authenticate me – using my address… Grrrrrrrr