Archive for December, 2004

Voting in my poll

As at this days date, the votes for my poll are very small, only 6 people have actually bothered to vote.

The votes are:

Yes, I will make this my browser’s home page!!! 17% 1
Yes, I will bookmark this site! 17% 1
Yes, often and whenever I remember! 17% 1
Fairly regularly. 17% 1
Now and again. 0% 0
No, it is really not my “cup of tea”. 17% 1
No, it is a terrible site. Rubbish. 17% 1

Now you may think that receiving the “rubbish” vote would be upsetting. And, to be quite honest, it was, at first. But then I thought back to something I had said a long time ago. Many people get upset if someone doesn’t like them. Now I know the vote doesn’t mean the person didn’t like me, but this story is still relevent. There are some people who get upset if someone doesn’t like them (forgive me for repeating myself) but I thought long and hard about this, and I think I would be upset if everyone liked me.

I mean, if you think about it, the real meaning of that could be construed that I didn’t have any spark. Any push. Any real personality. I then came to the conclusion that it is better to be oneself, and let the devil take the hindmost. Or something like that.

Let me explain. A lot of friendships and marriages end because one party finds the other party is not the person they thought they were. So if I hide my autocratic nature, bloody-mindedness and other enduring traits, what then?

So I determined to be what I am, from an early age. I haven’t made a lot of friends in life, but the ones I have made have been good, and have lasted. Apart from the occasional hiccup.

I have had many acquaintances, have been engaged six times, and married twice. But it has been a fun life and nobody I parted with has hated me. Or so I think!

But I still wish that bastard had been more diplomatic!!!!!!!


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Does anyone remember Donovan’s “Catch the wind”. The lyrics, appended below, are beautiful and I learn he wrote not just this song, but most of his early work.

A trip to will produce a potted life story, too long to write here. However, I will say that the first ten years of his life until 1955 were spent in Glasgow before moving to the lush Hertfordshire countryside which opened his eyes to nature’s beauty.

Last year (2003) saw him collecting an honorary “Doctor of Letters” at St Albans Cathedral on the 19th November. This was for his huge contributions to song and poetry by the University of Hertfordshire.

Read and enjoy the words of “Catch the wind”…

In the chilly hours and minutes

Of uncertainty

I want to be

In the warm hold of your loving mind.

To feel you all around me

And to take your hand

Along the sand

Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind.

When sundown pales the sky

I want to hide a while

Behind your smile

And everywhere I’d look, your eyes I’d find.

For me to love you now

Would be the sweetest thing,

T’would make me sing

Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind.

Dee dee da da la da da da da da

Ya da da, da da, da da

When rain has hung the leaves with tears

I want you near

To kill my fears

To help me to leave all my blues behind.

Standing in your heart

Is where I want to be

And I long to be,

Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind.

Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind.

So for all of you who had forgotten Donovan, he is still around, and still singing…

I am discovering a whole new world since I downloaded an add-on for WinAmp v5.x which allows me to right-click on the song I have playing and click the “get lyrics” tab.

We often listen without hearing and, this way, by reading the song’s words whilst the song is actually playing opens up whole new vistas!


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Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Internet is a great place for finding information and, once there, Wikipedia is a great encyclopedia to visit.

I have just shown you one extract, Dr Anton Rupert, an Afrikaner I had the good fortune to meet over 25 years ago, at a cocktail party in London. He was quite short. I don’t know, perhaps around 5’2″? Anyway when he walked into the room the magnetism was extraordinary.

Perhaps, if you read the Wikipedia extract below, it might become apparant why this was so.


Anton Rupert (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)

Anton Edward Rupert (4 October 1916 – ) is an Afrikaner-South African billionaire entrepreneur, businessman and conservationist. He was born in the small town of Graaff-Reinet and grew up in Stellenbosch, where the Rupert Group still has its headquarters.

After dropping out of medical school due to a lack of funds, Rupert earned a chemistry degree at the University of Pretoria.

From humble beginnings as a chemistry lecturer, manufacturing cigarettes in his garage, Dr. Rupert built the tobacco and industrial conglomerate Rembrandt and oversaw its transition to the industrial and luxury branded goods sectors, with Rembrandt splitting into Remgro (an investment company with financial, mining and industrial interests) and Richemont (a Swiss based luxury goods group). Currently, the Rupert business empire encompasses hundreds of companies located in 35 countries on six continents, with combined yearly net sales in the region of USD 10 billion.

Dr Rupert has also been deeply involved in environmental conservation and his companies have been prominent in funding the fine arts; since 1964 foundations established by Rembrandt have used a part of the group’s profits for the promotion of education, art, music and the preservation of historical buildings.

He has also played an important role in the South African Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC), a non-profit company whose loans to small and medium-sized businesses have created nearly half a million jobs since 1981.

Although he was openly critical of the apartheid system during that era, both at home and abroad, he avoided confrontations that may have threatened his business interest.

In 2004, he was voted 28th in the Top 100 Great South Africans (see List of South Africans).

Business career

Dr. Rupert established the tobacco company “Voorbrand” in the 1940’s. He soon renamed it Rembrandt Ltd., whose overseas tobacco interests were consolidated into Rothmans in 1972.

In 1988, the Rembrandt group founded the Swiss luxury goods company, Richemont, which in turn acquired Rembrandt’s shares in Rothmans. Richemont also owns such luxury brands as Cartier (jewellery); Alfred Dunhill, Sulka and Hackett (designer clothing); Seeger (leather bags); Piaget, Baume & Mercier and Vacheron Constantin (Swiss watches) and Montblanc (pens).

In 1995 Rembrandt and Richemont consolidated their respective tobacco interests into Rothmans International, which was at the time the world’s fourth largest cigarette manufacturer.

In 1999 Rothmans International merged with British American Tobacco (BAT), the world’s second largest cigarette producer. Remgro now holds a 10% and Richemont an 18.6% share in BAT.

Dr Rupert’s eldest son, Johann Rupert, is now the CEO of Richemont and chairman of Remgro.

The Rupert family is also deeply involved in the South African wine and liquor industry, owning the L’Ormarins and La Motte wine estates and having a stake in Rupert & Rothschild Vignerons (the wine-making partnership between the Rupert and Rothschild families). (At the time of his death due to a car crash in 2001, Dr. Rupert’s youngest son, Anthonij, was head of Rupert & Rothschild Vignerons.)

The Ruperts also partially control of two of South Africa’s largest wine merchant houses, Stellenbosch Farmers’ Winery (SFW) and Distillers Corporation, who together produce one of every six bottles of wine in South Africa and nearly eighty percent of the country’s brandy.

Among other interests, the Rupert Group also owns South Africa’s second-largest chain of private hospitals, the Medi-Clinic Corporation, with 3,900 beds.

Conservation involvement

Dr. Rupert is a founding member of the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) and it was in his role as the president of the organisation’s South African branch that he took a lead in the creation of trans frontier parks (also known as trans-frontier conservation areas (TFCAs) or “peace parks”), such as the Lubombo Trans-Frontier Conservation Area.

With an initial grant of R1,2 million (US$ 260,000) from the Rupert Nature Foundation, the Peace Parks Foundation was established on 1 February 1997 in order to facilitate the establishment of TFCAs in southern Africa. Nelson Mandela, Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands and Anton Rupert are the founding patrons of the Peace Parks Foundation. (Prince Bernhard is another founding member of the WWF and a close personal friend of Dr. Rupert.)

I liked the bit about owning hospitals since he is a tobacco baron!

If you own a Cartier Watch, or a Mount Blanc pen, amongst other luxuries, then you have one (or more) of his products!

Follow the link below for Wikipedia…


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What did you get for Christmas?

Well, I got the odd present. You know, bottle of Scotch, wine, fizzy, boxes of Chocs and the usual stuff that a 65 year old gets because nobody can think of anything he might still want in his advancing years – like a year’s pass to the local massage parlour, or a Lamborghini Murcielago, a car I would surely welcome, even if I am rather set on the latest Landrover Defender! Go on, click on the link and take a look, and dream!

Well, I got the next best thing. One of these natty little Gillette Mach3 electric razor. Not much thicker that the ordinary Mach 3 but it contains a little AAA battery which moves the blade, very minutely, and “creates a gentle hum” that makes the hair stand up on end. Read a paragraph from the CNN write-up

“The M3Power comes with a Duracell battery — also manufactured by Gillette and lasting three to six months under normal use — that fits in the handle and powers a small motor that generates what Pesce described as a “gentle hum.” That energy increases the tension in facial skin, and essentially props up hairs, which can otherwise lie flat.”

Well, I am using it, and I love it. It certainly gives me a faster shave, and to a lesser extent, a closer shave. Enough to justify the “under a tenner” price tag. But whether enough to pay extra for the new blades, I am not so sure. However, I can definitely confirm that the standard Mach3 blades will fit it.

Whilst this is aimed primarily at my male readership, I can suggest that the ladies take a trip to the linked Lamborghini Registry. Once in the Home Page”, Click on “Cars” and then on the “Car’s Page” click on “LM002” and you will have a 4×4 to surpass any 4×4 on the Mum’s run to your local school! This is still very much a Lamborghini and I believe can travel up to 100MPH over rough terrain! You’ll be the talking point of the town – if you can get hold of one!


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Help your friends visit you.

Do you have a digital camera?

Why not produce a one page PDF of how to get to your home? Or two pages if you need to show a “by public transport” and a “by road” scenario? There are many free utilities that will give you a PDF driver to print to, and many programs already offer this internally.

You can include parts of a map you can scan in from your road atlas, photographs of the approach to your road, simple directions that all can understand. If you are using one of the Map websites, you could include their websites full URL address to your sectional map. It is difficult to actually copy the maps as they come in nine separate pieces, but a screen capture program may get around this.

This can also be useful if you make a purchase on the Internet and are expecting delivery by van. You can then send them the PDF to help their driver reach you.

Don’t forget to include your full postcode in case the driver has a GPS system in their vehicle. If you have SatNav (Satellite Navigation GPS) yourself, you could also include the waypoint details (Lat and Long) as well.

Apart from saving you postage in sending written directions, your friends and family will think you efficient. And what is more important, the company you are dealing with will mark you down as someone who, perhaps, knows their way around , and should get a good service!

Unless the company is Minolta, then they wouldn’t give a damn either way!.


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The Sales

We went to Brent Cross – our local and large shopping mall. We went early to miss the crowds and got there five minutes before the actual stores opened – although the centre and coffee shops were open.

It was packed! We changed a couple of things and had intended to buy Pam (my wife) quite a few new clothes. But because of the huge crowd, we decided to go back after the sales and pay the full price! It really was that bad.

The bus was full going there, but empty going back! There aren’t many shoppers like us, evidently!

We are now relaxing at home with a nice hot coffee, totally exhausted – and we spent less than half an hour there.

To all you bargain hunters out there – I really do raise my hat to you.


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If you can buy cheaper

Have you come across the statement issued by some companies which run along the lines of:

“If you can buy cheaper elsewhere, tell us and we’ll match their price”

If I can buy cheaper elsewhere, I buy from the company offering decent terms in the first place. I would never go back to the company issuing statements like the above! What are they really saying? Probably something along the lines of…

“We know we are over-charging, but we want to take as much money as we can. So apart from the idiots who buy from us in the first place, we also want to take money off the wiser shopper.”

The only way I would go back to these shops would be, as – in fact – one company actually offers…

“If you can buy cheaper elsewhere, tell us and we’ll not only match their price but we’ll give you an additional 10% off as well.”

The sales are now on, buy wisely and remember, “buyer beware”.


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