Monthly Archives: April 2015

TED Talk – How to buy happiness

In this 11 minute talk at TEDxCambridge in April, 2012, Michael Norton, who is a social science researcher, shares fascinating research on how money can, indeed buy happiness — when you don’t spend it on yourself. Listen for surprising data on the many ways pro-social spending can benefit you, your work, and (of course) other people.

Through clever studies, Michael Norton studies how we feel about what we buy and spend.

Why you should listen

Michael I. Norton is a professor of business administration in the marketing unit at the Harvard Business School. He holds a B.A. in Psychology and English from Williams and a Ph.D. in Psychology from Princeton. Prior to joining HBS, Professor Norton was a Fellow at the MIT Media Lab and MIT’s Sloan School of Management. His work has been published in a number of leading academic journals, including Science, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Psychological Science, and the Annual Review of Psychology, and has been covered in media outlets such as the Economist, the Financial Times, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post.

His research has twice been featured in the New York Times Magazine Year in Ideas issue, in 2007 (Ambiguity Promotes Liking) and 2009 (The Counterfeit Self). His “The IKEA Effect: When Labor Leads to Love” was featured in Harvard Business Review‘s Breakthrough Ideas for 2009.

 

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Change the Tune

I’m not a Green Party voter, however, their Party Election Broadcast this evening was so entertaining.

Rather than talking to the viewer, they put on a spoof boyband who, after a brief introduction, sang the Green’s message. The four ‘members’ of this boyband were portrayed as David Cameron. Nick Clegg, Nigel Farage and Ed Milliband.

Leaving politics aside, I thought it was the most entertaining Party Election Broadcast this campaign to date. I wonder if they will rise up the music charts or get on X Factor?

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Dover Police DashCam Confessional – Shake it Off

Take a look at this version of the Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” that has had more than 34 million views in the first 15 weeks!

Delaware police officer Jeff Davis, who became an Internet star via a dash-cam video showing him dancing and lip-syncing to Taylor Swift’s pop hit, talks to Carson Daly about his new found fame and shows him a few moves.

Hope you enjoyed it, and here’s an interview with the Delaware police officer Jeff Davis:

Viral ‘Shake it Off’ cop strikes again:

Hope you enjoyed this trilogy of YouTube videos.

 

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Tour de Yorkshire is coming to Addingham

After the huge success of the Tour de France last year, Addingham will have the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire coming through the village on Sunday 3rd May, 2015 at about 3.30 pm.

There are 18 professional teams competing in the Tour de Yorkshire including Team Sky and Sir Bradley Wiggins’ own team, Team Wiggins. Yorkshire’s Olympic Gold Medalist Ed Clancy will race for JLT Condor.

Throughout the morning there will also be The Maserati Tour de Yorkshire Ride or “sportive” and around 4,000 amateur riders will pass through the village.

Here is an Addingham Tour de Yorkshire information sheet that you can download.

Download (PDF, Unknown)

 

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Supermarket Loyalty Cards

Last year, Morrison’s introduced a store loyalty card called ‘Match & More’. Tesco and Sainsbury’s already had loyalty cards (Sainsbury’ one is the Nectar Card), giving card holders points for every £1 you spend in store and also do a price comparison* and give you a voucher to redeem against your next shop to cover the price difference (if lower elsewhere in stores they match against).

Tesco Clubcard give points for every £1 you spend and a voucher to redeem against your next shop for the amount you would have saved if you had done a comparative* shop at the cheaper of Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons.

Sainsbury’s Nectar Card members get Nectar points for every £1 they spend and a voucher to redeem against your next shop for the amount you would have saved if you had done a comparative* shop at Asda.

This is not the case with Morrison’s Match & More card.

With the Morrisons Match & More card you do not get points for spend (except when buying fuel, which is 10 points for every litre of fuel).

This means that, apart from fuel you only get points if you spend more than £15 (no minimum spend at Tesco or Sainsbury’s although you need to buy at least 10 items) and then you get 1 point for every penny that you could have saved on your comparable* groceries at the cheaper of Tesco, Sainsbury’s, ASDA, Aldi & Lidl.

* Comparable groceries, is a ‘shopping basket’ of groceries the supermarket decides on and you have to have at least one of the products in the supermarkets comparable ‘shopping basket’. This means that you only get points on the negative price difference on the products you buy that are in the supermarkets comparable ‘shopping basket’, not comparing your whole shop.

In my mind, Morrisons are selling us short. At least with Tesco and Sainsbury’s you get a voucher at check out for every shop where there is a negative price difference on the comparable ‘shopping basket’ products you buy to spend on your next shop. In addition you get points for every £1 spent to turn into vouchers.

Sainsbury’s Nectar Card points can be redeemed through Nectar to spend with any participating partner.

Tesco Clubcard vouchers do not need to be spent at Tesco or Sainsbury’s stores. My wife converted our Tesco vouchers for Pizza Express ones (we got £80 to spend on Pizza, as Tesco give you 4 times the voucher face value to spend at Pizza Express). There are numerous other participating Tesco partners.

In Summary

The Morrisons ‘Match & More’ card allows you to collect points when buying fuel (10 points per litre) and a point per penny that you would have saved on any product in their comparison ‘shopping basket’ if bought at the cheaper of Tesco, Sainsbury’s, ASDA, Aldi & Lidl. You get a £5 voucher to spend in store for every 5,000 points.

Tesco gives you a voucher to redeem against your next shop for the amount you would have saved on any product in their comparison ‘shopping basket’ if bought at the cheaper of Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons. Plus you get 1 Clubcard point for each £1 spent in store or online and for every litre of fuel bought. Every 150 points is worth £1.50 and this can be boosted up to 4 times the value by converting them to ‘Boost’ tokens’ for spending with a Tesco Boost Partner.

Sainsbury’s gives you a voucher to redeem against your next shop for the amount you would have saved on any product in their comparison ‘shopping basket’ if bought at Asda. Plus you get 1 Nectar point for each £1 spent in store or online and for every £2 of fuel bought. Every 500 points is worth £2.50.

As far as I’m concerned, the Morrisons ‘Martch & More’ card is price comparison card rather than a loyalty card and offers far less benefits than the Tesco Clubcard or the Sainsbury’s Nectar Card.

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Where Can I Buy Alcohol Free Wines, Beers & Ciders?

I am building a record  of what the national supermarkets are offering in the alcohol free wines, beers and ciders range. Click on the following links to check out your supermarket.

ASDA

Co-operative (Coop)

Morrisons

Please note that this is being added to as I visit a supermarket for the first time to check the range.

 

 

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Alcohol Free Beers and Wine Range – Asda

ASDA Logo

I checked out the alcohol free range at ASDA today, there was a good offering of alcoohol free and ‘light’ alcohol wines but no alcohol free beer available today 23 April, 2015.

I do know, however, that ASDA normally stock a selection of alcohol free lagers and I will list the ones I have seen in the past.

San Miguel 0.0% lager – 330 ml bottles (0.0% ABV)
Bavaria 0.0% Original lager – 330 ml bottles & cans (0.0% ABV)
Beck’s Blue lager – 275 ml bottles (not more than 0.05% ABV)

Eisberg Riesling Alcohol free white wine – 75 cl bottles (not more than 0.05% ABV)
Eisberg Rosé Alcohol Free rosé wine – 75 cl bottles (not more than 0.05% ABV)
Torres Natureo De-Alcoholised Muscat white wine – 75 cl bottles (0.5% ABV)
Torres Natureo De-Alcoholised Syrah red wine – 75 cl bottles (0.5% ABV) This is my favourite offered by supermarkets.
Torres Natureo De-Alcoholised Syrah-Cabernet Sauvignon roseé wine – 75 cl bottles (0.5% ABV)
Fre De-Alcoholised Merlot red wine – 75 cl bottles (not more than 0.5% ABV)
Fre De-Alcoholised Chardonnay white wine – 75 cl bottles (not more than 0.5% ABV)
Fre De-Alcoholised White Zinfandel white wine – 75 cl bottles (not more than 0.5% ABV)

Although not available at ASDA Harrogate today but ASDA do have their own-brand alcohol free wines. These are not de-alcolised as they are made from Muscat grape juice concentrate blended with sparkling water, this makes it more like a Shloer type drink and not a wine drink. The choice available from ASDA is:

ASDA Extra Special Alcohol Free Sparkling Muscat – 75 cl bottles (not more than 0.0% ABV)
ASDA Extra Special Alcohol Free Sparkling Pink Muscat – 75 cl bottles (not more than 0.0% ABV)

There is also a good range of ‘Light’ wines that have an ABV of up to 5.5%.

To see the UK legal definitions of a non-alcoholic beverage check out my blog Alcohol Free and Low Alcohol Drinking.

Like Morrisons, ASDA has also made a decent effort to provide for those customers that want a wine, beer or cider that is alcohol free from time to time.

Back to Where Can I Buy Alcohol Free Wines, Beers & Ciders?

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Alcohol Free Beers and Wines Range – Morrisons

Morrisons Logo

Morrisons has certainly made an effort to offer a reasonable range of alcohol free beers and wines.

In april, 2015 I visited the Morrisons store in Skipton, North Yorkshire and the following was the range of alcohol free beers, wines and ciders:

Bavaria 0.0% Original lager – 330 ml bottles & cans (0.0% ABV)
Cobra Zero lager – 330 ml bottles (0.0% ABV)
Fosters Radler lager – 300ml bottles (o.o% ABV)
Beck’s Blue lager – 275 ml bottles (not more than 0.05% ABV)

Kopparberg Alcohol-Free Pear cider – 500 ml bottles (0.o% ABV)
Kopparberg Alcohol-Free Mixed Fruit Cider – 500 ml bottles (0.0% ABV)

Morrisons also have there own brand 1% ABV apple cider in 500 ml bottles (classed as low alcohol)

Eisberg Chardonnay Alcohol free white wine – 75 cl bottles (not more than 0.05% ABV)
Eisberg Cabernet Sauvignon Alcohol Free red wine – 75 cl bottles (not more than 0.05% ABV)
Eisberg Rosé Alcohol Free rosé wine – 75 cl bottles (not more than 0.05% ABV)

Morrisons also do a range of wines that are ‘light’ in alcohol but at 5.5% ABV they can’t even be classed as ‘low alcohol’ although it has less than half the strength of normal wine.

To see the UK legal definitions of a non-alcoholic beverage check out my blog Alcohol Free and Low Alcohol Drinking.

Well done Morrisons for a decent effort to provide for those customers that want a wine, beer or cider that is alcohol free from time to time.

Back to Where Can I Buy Alcohol Free Wines, Beers & Ciders?

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Alcohol Free Beers and Wines Range – Coop

Co-operative logo

I live within 100 metres of a Coop supermarket, I’ve visited many others and checked the Co-operative online shopping site. Guess what? As of 22 April, 2015 the Coop offers no alcohol free wines, ciders or lagers that I have seen!

Shame on you Co-op, you are supposed to be the peoples co-operative!

If the situation changes, I’ll list any future offerings here.

To see the UK legal definitions of a non-alcoholic beverage check out my blog Alcohol Free and Low Alcohol Drinking.

Back to Where Can I Buy Alcohol Free Wines, Beers & Ciders?

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Good Pasta Bad Pasta

With the 2015 London Marathon taking place on Sunday, the runners will now be ‘carbing up’ on pasta prior to and on the morning of the big day. Indeed, the London Marathon organisers hold pasta parties on the weekend of the race.

Does that mean that pasta must be so good for us and a great provider of energy?

The answer is yes and no.

White Refined Pasta

The pasta that is generally sold and eaten is made from white refined durum wheat semolina, which is mixed with water, made into shapes, and then dried. Sometimes pasta may contain optional ingredients such as eggs or vegetables.

Unfortunately any white refined carbohydrate such as pasta, rice, bread and sugar contain a lot of empty and unsatisfying calories.

This means that eating refined white pasta does not give your body the nutrients it needs. Additionally, white refined pasta does not satisfy you for long and actually leads to more carbohydrate cravings and overeating.

Refined pasta and indeed any refined carbohydrates are likely to lead to weight gain and therefore more likely to be overweight or obese, which puts you at risk of developing chronic health conditions such as heart disease, type II diabetes, cancer and digestive issues.

Whole Wheat Pasta

The main difference  between white and whole wheat pasta lies in the processing. Whole wheat contains 3 parts of the grain:

  • The bran (the outer layer of the grain)
  • The germ (the sprouting section of the seed)
  • The endosperm (the large starch centre)

During the refining process of white pasta, the first two parts, the bran and the germ, is forced out of the grain, leaving just the third part, the endosperm behind.

Although the endosperm has a lot of nutrients, a lot are lost after the refining process due to not retaining the bran and germ.

Whole wheat pasta on the other hand, provides the most nutritional benefits including the bran and germ’s vitamin E, the major B vitamins, antioxidants, appetite represent fibre, protein and healthy fats. As it is an appetite represent you are less likely to put on weight by overeating and your energy levels will be boosted for longer.

A number of studies have shown that eating 3 x 118 ml portions of whole wheat pasta a day can reduce the risk of heart disease, type II diabetes, cancer and digestive issues.

Eating Whole Wheat Pasta

I find whole wheat much more flavoursome with its strong, nuttier and grainy consistency. I switched my step-children from white refined pasta to whole wheat pasta without telling them and they have not noticed a change, they simply like it!

Whole wheat pasta is readily available in all forms from major supermarkets as well as health shops. Look out for 100% Durum Wholewheat Semolina on the label ingredients.

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Eisberg Alcohol Free Wine

Eisberg alcohol free wines are produced in Germany and made in the same way as normal alcoholic wine. It is only after the wine has been produced that the alcohol is removed.

I enjoy the pleasant taste and the low price per bottle (£2.75 a 70cl bottle at Morrison’s in April, 2015).

The Range

Eisberg Chardonnay

 

Chardonnay

According to Eisberg:

The perfect party tiple, a fruity, non-alcoholic white wine with soft vanilla aromas and crisp apple flavours and a hint of honey on the finish.

Best served with chicken and salad dishes.

 

 

 

Eisberg Cabernet Sauvignon

 

Cabernet Sauvignon

According to Eisberg:

A rich, non-alocolic red wine with deep ruby colour and aromas of cherries and plmns.

Best served with lamb or beef dishes.

 

 

 

Eisberg Rose

 

rosé

According to Eisberg:

A refreshingly juicy, non[alcoholic rosé with succulent aromas of ripe strawberries and a hint of cherries.

Best served with your favourite spicy food.

 

 

 

Eisberg Riesling

 

Riesling

According to Eisberg:

A fresh, aromatic non-alcoholic white wine with honeyed aromas of rosy apples and juicy melons.

Best served with fish or chicken.

 

 

 

Personally, I find them quaffible alcohol free wines, there are others I prefer but the price tag make them excellent value. I wish pubs and restaurants would at least offer bottles of Eisberg or other alcohol free wine – not found any that do yet!

eisberg alcohol free wines are commonly available from many supermarkets, I personally get mine from Morrison’s and ASDA.

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San Miguel Goes Alcohol-Free

Carlsberg UK has added alcohol free lager to its San Miguel range with two new products, San Miguel 0,0% and San Miguel 0,0% Limon.

San Miguel 0,0% was launched in February, 2015 in ASDA and Tesco as well as smaller independent shop. San Miguel 0,0% Limon was launched in March in ASDA as well as smaller independent shops.

San Miguel 0.0% is the first Spanish lager with 0.0% alcohol. It is available in 330ml bottles, it is said to “maintain all the flavour, freshness and quality of alcoholic beer”.

Malty notes of barley provide a subtle roasted flavour, with balanced bitterness to deliver great beer refreshment.

San Miguel 0.0% Limon, available in a 330ml slim-line can, is an alcohol-free lager with real lemon juice, containing subtle malt and hop notes with the great lemon aroma and taste, for an easy drinking experience.

I hope that the big beer and beverage companies in the UK are now finally responding the growing trend towards good tasting alcohol free beers that offer the same refreshing lager taste for non-drinkers and for occasions when alcohol may not be a suitable choice.

The current RRP for the San Miguel 0.0% is £3.49 (4 x 330ml) and £3.49 (4x 330ml slim-line can) for the San Miguel 0.0% Limon.

SanMiguel_0.0SanMiguel_0.0_Limon

San Miguel 0,0% and San Miguel 0,0% Limon

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I must get fit!

Up to six years ago I completed marathons in under three and a half hours and regularly ran 20 to 40 mile off road races over the hills.

At that time I was physically fit as you can see here:

Me in 2008

Me on stage at age 50 in early 2009 – 11 stone and low body fat

Things changed in the Spring of 2009 when, as a result of a rugby injury, I had a total knee joint replacement that meant that I could no longer run to keep fit (so that the artificial knee joint wouldn’t wear out too soon).

With less exercising, eating the same and having a drink or two when I would normally be training, I’ve gone from 11 stone and low body fat to 13 stone 10 pounds. Basically, I put on nearly three stone of fat in six years. Imagine that extra weight being a pile of sugar and having to lug it about.

Bags_of_ Sugar_Piled_Up

 Every kilo of extra weight is a bag of sugar being carried around!

I don’t believe in the blame game. It is easy to blame my knee replacement, but that did not cause me to eat and drink more than I needed. Neither did it stop me from going swimming, riding a bike or going to the gym.

No, if there is going to be blame, there is only one thing responsible for the weight gain and lack of fitness – ME!

Today, the 20th April, 2015, I am starting to put things right with eating and drinking sensibly and commencing an exercise programme to get fit without damaging my artificial knee joint.

You may wonder why I am publicising this? The answer is that by going public I will have to achieve my goal as I will not put myself in a position where people say that I am a loser without will power and strength of character.

I will post updates on my ‘back to fitness journey’ each weekend below. I hope it encourages others to look after their health.

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Train ticket booking should synchronise with Europe

The United Kingdom has been in the European Union (EU) for 42 years and yet, we have different terms of travel in the UK to Europe. In addition we can book Eurostar (and other European train journeys) four months in advance for the cheapest tickets, yet in the UK we can only book three months in advance.

How does this affect the UK traveller going by train to Europe?

For a start, to get the cheapest Eurostar tickets you need to book four months in advance. Eurostar can book your ticket from any mainline UK station, however, only 3 months in advance. By that time you are paying more for your Eurostar part of the journey.

Is there a solution?

Well you could book Eurostar four months in advance for the cheapest fares and book a ticket with the UK train company three months in advance for their lowest fares.

Good so far, but what happens if your UK train is delayed and you miss your Eurostar connection? Well, you have a problem as you may have to book another Eurostar seat and probably at full price!

Why? Because the UK terms of travel are not Europe’s International Conditions of Carriage (CIV), CIV stands for the French ‘Condition International de Voyage’ I believe.

By not being covered by Europe’s International Conditions of Carriage (CIV), we are not protected if our UK train is delayed and we miss our connection. we will not necessarily be put on the next available Eurostar at no extra cost.

Is there another solution?

Yes, but not a very well known one!

There are special fares from most stations in Britain to a destination called London International (CIV), designed to be used in conjunction with Eurostar tickets.  They’re a well-kept secret! If you contact your rail company, the person you speak to may well be clueless as I experience today – I had to educate the people I spoke to and after they spoke to more senior managers availability of these tickets were confirmed.

These fares are specially intended for use in connection with a Eurostar ticket.  They come in two versions, Advance (must be booked in advance, the price varies, it’s only valid on the specific train you book) and Open/Saver (flexible, usually valid on any train that day, can be bought on the day of travel, price doesn’t vary).  Since 2010 these special tickets to London International no longer exist from every station in Britain, but they still exist from most stations on most train companies’ networks so are well worth knowing about.

These fares are not expensive if booked 3 months in advance, I bought 4 adult tickets and a child ticket from Skipton in North Yorkshire to London International (CIV) and with my Family Railcard it cost me a mere £38.15 (£8.90 for each adult and £2.55 for the child). Without a rail card each adult would have been about £12.00.

You must allow enough time to connect with Eurostar as you need to check in and go through French immigration at the station on the UK side. I check with Eurostar as to time to allow for connection (normally over an hour) as if you leave it too tight and miss your train, you may not be covered to be put on the next available train at no charge as you did not allow for the required connection time between your UK train arriving in London and the Eurostar leaving.

If you are buying a ticket to or from London International (CIV) and you are told it does not exist and you have to book to a mainline station such as London Kings Cross, Euston, St Pancras etc. stand firm and insist that there is one and refer it up to a supervisor or manager if necessary.

I had no problem booking my tickets at Skipton station at the Northern Rail ticket office but when I rang up National Rail enquiries the person I spoke to had no idea about tickets to London International (CIV) and insisted I book to London Kings Cross. Before concluding my enquiry, I told him that he was wrong and needed to ask a manager to advise him. After hanging up I went to Skipton station to book my tickets.

For more comprehensive information, please visit Buying UK Train Tickets to Connect with Eurostar, this is a web site by the Guru of Eurostar and train travel in general The Man in Seat Sixty-One… where you can also book your train journey.

Is it not about time that UK train booking and Terms & Conditions synchronised with Europe after 42 years of EU membership?

 

 

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Ilkley Rugby are Champions!

What a thrilling season this has been. First half of the season saw all 5 of Ilkley’s losses due to injuries in the early season. The good thing was that players from the 2nd team stepped up to the plate to fill in for injured players.

After defeat away to Northern, Ilkley went on a 14 game winning run from the beginning of December to the end of the season.

Despite Ilkley’s winning streak, Sheffield, the league leaders, also kept winning leaving Ilkley nipping at their heels throughout the second half of the season. Last weekend Sheffield slipped up losing 9-8 against Percy Park which allowed Ilkley to go three points clear at the top of the table after beating Driffield by 27 points to 22.

All that was needed today was a win to guarantee promotion, Ilkley were up for it and streaked ahead 33-0 against Pocklington until the last few minutes when, I feel the Ilkley players were already popping the Champagne corks and taking their minds off the game, let in 2 soft try’s to win 33-12.

The players, in Grand Prix style, opened the Champagne bottles on the pitch after the final whistle blew.

Well done to the whole Ilkley squad, everyone played a part in a long and hard season. Back to back promotions is not easy but Ilkley did it.

IlkleyRugby-Champions_2014-15

The very best of luck to Ilkley Rugby next season in National League 3 North.

I encourage local Ilkley residents to watch Ilkley play next season, it’s a lovely club house, friendly people and win or lose everyone gets on.

Check out Ilkley Rugby Club and follow on Twitter @IlkleyRugby

 

 

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Addingham Seems to be New Top Gear Circuit

I appreciate that Jeremy Clarkson has had his contract terminated by the BBC and the remainder of the Top Gear series will not be aired. I am, however, dismayed that the village I live in, Addingham near Ilkley seems to have replaced York’s Elvington Airfield racing circuit for Top Gear’s ‘sensible car test’.

Roads are dangerous enough without speeding vehicles ploughing through the country roads and villages.

Addingham has a 20 mph speed limit through the main village street. There is a good reason for this, a narrow road with parking, primary school children going to and from school and buses that stop traffic movement when static at a bus stop.

I, like many other drivers, want a fast journey, however, it should not be at the risk of death or injury to others.

I am tired of cars, taxis, council & highway maintenance vehicles and occasionally buses exceeding, not only the 20 mph speed limit but way beyond in excess of 30, 40 and even 50 plus mph!

There are no traffic calming measures in Addingham and hardly any police presence which ‘allows’ drivers to ignore the speed limit in the village. Perhaps it is time to have a police presence to catch speeders (the Treasury would make a fortune from fines – maybe enough to re-instate the Addingham to Ilkley railway perhaps?)

I’ve seen children and the elderly being nearly hit by speeding drivers who find them an inconvenience whilst they crossed the road slowly!

At some time there will be a major accident and quite possibly a child or adult killed. Should we really have to wait for a death of an innocent child or adult before action is taken?

I often see young mothers speeding in their cars with their child in a child seat. How would they feel if another driver killed or injured their child as a result of speeding?

I feel it is time for speed cameras and although I disagree with speed humps in the road, perhaps Addingham warrants them.

Addingham is just one village and I am sure there are many other villages around the country have the same problem with inconsiderate and dangerous drivers.

Update

On Wednesday 8th April, 2015 just a week after this blog there was an accident on Addingham mains street. A car reversed out into the road and a car going along the main street breaked and the car following ploughed into the back of the breaking car that was shunted into the car reversing out. Judging by the damage the car that ploughed into the one in front must have been driving well above the 20 mph speed limit.

Just after the accident, I spotted many cars speeding, plus light goods vehicles and even a Royal Mail van!

My letter in the Ilkley Gazette:

Download (PDF, Unknown)

 

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The Process of Making Alcohol Free Wines

A question I am often asked is “What is the difference between Shloer and a de-alcoholised wine?”.

Shloer is a drink produced by blending grape juices to produce a non-alcoholic drink that is pleasant but is not wine and has not been produced the same way as wine.

On the other hand, de-alcoholised wine is produced as real wine with alcohol at the winery and then aged in wine barrels until it is mature enough for consumption. Much of the wine is then bottled for drinking as a fully alcoholic wine.

The remainder of the wine, wine not bottled as a fully alcoholic wine, goes through one of three processes to remove the alcohol at cool temperatures to avoid damaging the wines, either:

  1. Steam Vacuum
  2. Reverse Osmosis
  3. Centifugal Force (Spinning Cone)

The quality of the finished product can vary like any wine, however, de-alcoholised wine caught the attention of the wine world when Ariel Vineyards of California entered their de-alcoholised Ariel Blanc into an international professional wine competition and it won a Gold Medal against wines with alcohol!

The Steam Vacuum Process

This method is still used by Carl Jung Winery today and their de-alcoholised wines are readily available from the Alcohol-Free Shop by mail order or collection.

The vaporisation temperature of alcohol is lower than that of other liquids so , under normal circumstances, it would be necessary to boil wine at high temperatures to steam off the alcohol so damaging the delicate flavours. The Steam Vacuum process was pioneered in 1904 by Carl Jung. This process is done in a vacuum where vapourisation can be achieved at much lower temperatures. The wine therefore looses its alcohol but retains the characteristics and flavours that would be lost with normal boiling.  

Reverse Osmosis Process

This is the method used by Ariel Vineyards of California who have won several Wine Competition awards since winning gold medal at the 1986 Los Angeles County Fair. Their de-alcoholised wines are readily available from the Alcohol-Free Shop in Manchester by mail order or collection.

Some of ARIEL’s varietal wines are are aged in small oak barrels, and all are fined and filtered according to traditional wine making methods. Finally, more than 99.5% of the alcohol is removed through our gentle cold filtration process. This process, which uses reverse osmosis, allows alcohol to be removed from ARIEL while retaining many of the qualities found in traditional wine! Check out how ARIEL is made:

  1. The base tank is initially filled with wine.
  2. A pump pushes the wine into the reverse osmosis unit.
  3. The cylinders have membranes that separate a syrupy concentrate from the alcohol and water.
  4. The water and alcohol flow into a storage tank, and the concentrate is recycled 10-20 times.
  5. Finally, before bottling, fresh water is added to the concentrate, creating the finished product!

Reverse Osmosis Method

Centifugal Force (Spinning Cone) Process

This is a method used by Fre Wines of Napa Valley in California who’s de-alcoholised White Zinfandel wine won the gold medal at the 2014 Jerry D. Mead’s New World International Wine Competition. Their de-alcoholised wines are readily available at ASDA.

Pioneered in Australia, spinning cone technology uses a combination of centrifugal force and nitrogen gas to separate and preserve a wine’s essential flavours and fragrances during the de-alcoholisation process.

How it works:

  1. Finished wine is fed into the top of the spinning cone column;
  2. Rotating cones use centrifugal force to transform the wine into a thin film;
  3. Nitrogen gas is fed into the bottom of the column. When it comes into contact with the film, it extracts the wine’s delicate aromas and flavours and protects them from oxidization;
  4. The remaining liquid is passed through the column again, at a higher temperature to remove the alcohol;
  5. The flavour and aroma essences are recombined with the de-alcoholized wine and blended with unfermented varietal grape juice (to replace lost volume), creating a wine with less than 0.5% alcohol by volume.

 

Spinning Cone Method

 

Back to Alcohol Free and Low Alcohol Drinking

 

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Alcohol Free and Low Alcohol Drinking

In these blogs about alcohol free and low alcohol drinking, I will be looking at the production, choice and availability in the UK.

There are a number of reasons that we should take alcohol free and low alcohol drinking seriously.

Whether, you are a wholesaler or retailer of alcoholic beverages or are in the hospitality trade serving drinks to customers, you have a responsibility to encourage sensible drinking and you may find that offering a reasonable range of alcohol free and low alcohol beers and wines will boost your sales.

If I’m the nominated driver on a night out, I would choose a pub or restaurant that allows me to have a choice of alcohol free wine and beer rather than a kid’s drink as an alternative to wine or beer.

According to the NHS, 90% of men and 86% of women drink alcohol and I am no exception. There are times, however, when I and other people choose not to drink full strength alcoholic drinks:

  • Being the nominated driver;
  • Wanting to keep a clear head during business functions;
  • On a diet and other health reasons;
  • Alcohol addiction;
  • Not liking the taste of Ethanol aka alcohol which ‘burns’ the back of the throat;
  • Various other reasons including religious grounds.

Most pubs offer a choice of one alcohol free lager, most commonly Becks Blue yet there is a huge choice of others. Most, if not all German breweries offer a de-alcoholised version of their beers!

This shows a lack of imagination to attract drivers and non-drinkers into pubs when many are crying out for more custom. I will concede that pubs are traditionally watering holes for the consumption of ales, lagers and spirits. Hotels and restaurants have no excuse.

Hotels and restaurants in most cases, like pubs, will offer an alcohol free lager but do not offer alcohol free or low alcohol wines.  Hotels and restaurants are predominantly selling a meal combined with atmosphere.

Dining out with a glass of wine, is a magical experience, which is ruined when, as a nominated driver, you have to have a fruit juice or pop. It would be so easy to at least offer a simple alcohol free or low alcohol range of wine even if it’s merely a choice of white, red or rosé by the bottle.

Are non-alcoholic wines and beers totally free of alcohol? It is physically impossible to remove 100% of the alcohol from fermented wines and beers but all de-alcoholised wines and beers meet one of the UK legal definitions of a non-alcoholic beverage:

  • ‘non-alcoholic’ – no alcohol at all;
  • ‘alcohol free’ – is for drinks not above 0.05% abv (need to drink 100 bottles to be equivalent to drinking one bottle at 5% abv lager)
  • ‘de-alcoholised’ – is not above 0.5% abv (need to drink 24 glasses to be equivalent to drinking 1 glass of 12% abv wine)
  • ‘low alcohol’ – is not above 1.2% abv (need to drink 4 bottles to be equivalent to drinking one bottle at 5% abv lager or 10 glasses to be equivalent to drinking 1 glass of 12% abv wine)

To put things into further perspective, some orange juices have more than 0.05% alcohol and even an overripe banana can contain 1% alcohol and malt vinegar is 0.2% alcohol.

For those watching their weight de-alcoholised and low alcohol wines contain roughly one third the calaories of alcoholic wines.

The taste of de-alcoholised wine is lighter and less robust than wines with alcohol, so they will not satisfy all palates, however, I find them lighter and smoother and very easy to drink. I particularly like the fact that there is no acidic after taste or a burning feeling in the back of my throat caused by Ethanol (alcohol).

The Process of Making Alcohol Free Wines

Where Can I Buy Alcohol Free Wines, Beers & Ciders?

San Miguel Goes Alcohol Free

Eisberg Alcohol Free Wine

 

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May Ball and Tour de Yorkshire in Addingham Early May Bank holiday

There is a lot to enjoy in Addingham for the next bank holiday weekend on 1 to 4 May, 2015.

At the Crown Inn, the ‘May Ball’ black-tie do on Friday 1st May will help raise money as part of ‘Nadia’s Wish’ which this year is raising money for Manorlands Hospice in Oxenhope where Nadia lost her battle with breast cancer in 2011 and Cruse Bereavement Care which provides support to people who have lost someone close to them. Over the last two years Nadia’s Wish has raised to date a fantastic £7,767.48!

Maria Well’s landlady of the Crown Inn, Addingham, Nadia’s sister Galina Harrison and friend Beck Shaw set up ‘Nadia’s Wish’ in her memory to raise money for different causes which Nadia would have wanted to support, as well as Manorlands Hospice in Oxenhope where Nadia died.

Nadia-shaw

Nadia Shaw (Mitchell) lost her battle with breast cancer in 2011 aged just 33, but her death has inspired family and friends to raise money annually in her memory.

On the night of Friday 1st May the weekends events kick off with the “May Ball 2015 Black Tie” at 8.00pm till late at the Crown Inn Addingham with live entertainment from Ticket 415 and No 1 local DJ Martin Roe. This all takes place in the Marquee and there will be an outside bar and BBQ – Tickets £10 which can be purchased in advance at the Crown Inn.

Following some shut eye, a big fry up (breakfast available at the Crown Inn) and a recovery morning, Saturday 2nd May sees the start of the Crown Inn Beer Festival and Balloon Launch from 4.00pm with live music from ‘Last Orders’ at 6.00pm.

For anyone with any energy left, the Beer Festival continues on Sunday 3rd May at 12 noon with live music from Dr Bob & The Blues Makers  at 4.00pm.

As an added bonus and following last years’ Tour de France in Yorkshire, the Tour de Yorkshire’s third and final leg from Wakefield to Leeds comes through Addingham. The route is a 104 mile (167km) non direct circuit going west from Wakefield to the Pennines then north to Silsden Abbey and finally south east on the A6034 to Addingham and along the Main Street cutting through the village from the Silsden end and passing the Crown Inn before continuing to Ilkley and Otley towards the finish in Leeds.

Did you know? In the Doomsday Book, Addingham is referred to as ‘Ediham’, which probably meant ‘home of Edi’ the Earl Edwin of Bolton Abbey. Nowadays, it is a picturesque village with a good pub or two! In fact there are 5 pubs but the Crown Inn is the only free house in this village.

 

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Can Accounting Software be Sexy?

Red Apple Creative produced KashFlow Accounting Software’s radio and Spotify commercial as broadcast in November, 2012.

Who says accountants are boring, watch the KashFlow Sexy Accounting Radio Commercial:

 

Sexy accounting showcases the company’s playful nature and gave them great presence on XFM and Spotify.

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