Showing posts from February, 2006

Interesting Fact # 247 - Broadband in the UK

Broadband accounts for 64% of all net connections in the UK.

(Now we just need a bit more wifi!)

Interesting Fact # 248 - Cleaners

The number of cleaners in the NHS has fallen over the past 20 years from 100,000 to a low of 55,000 in 2003-4.

(Interesting when you consider the rise in the number of MRSA cases.)

Interesting Fact # 246 - Working hours in the UK

In spring 2005 in the UK, one in five full-time employees reported usually working more than 48 hours a week.

(So much for 9 to 5.)

Interesting Fact # 245 - Credit Card Transactions

In the UK transactions using credit cards trebled from 1991 to 2004.

(Well it can't all be me - I've been out of the country since 1999.)

Interesting Fact # 244 - Debit Card Transactions

In the UK transactions using debit cards increased ten-fold from 1991 to 2004.

Interesting Fact # 243 - House Prices

The average asking price of a home in England and Wales has broken through the £200,000.

(That's the average price?)

Interesting Fact # 231 - Testosterone

The intensity of a bird's song is related to its testosterone levels - it's the fittest birds that sing the loudest.

(That explains football chants.)

Interesting Animals - The Robin

The robin is one of the birds that starts the dawn chorus and one of the last to stop singing at night.

(Scientists from the University of Sheffield think that robins in urban areas are now singing during the night because it is just too noisy during the day.

When the red, red robin comes bob bob bobbin' along.)

Interesting People - George Formby

George Formby's song "When I'm Cleaning Windows" was originally banned by the BBC for its suggestive lyrics.

(They were sensitive souls in those days.)

So what was all the fuss about?

When I'm Cleaning Windows lyrics
George Formby
- written by George Formby, Harry Gifford and Frederick E. Cliffe
- as recorded September 27, 1936 by George Formby (1904-1961)

Now I go cleanin' windows to earn an honest bob
For a nosy parker it's an interestin' job

Now it's a job that just suits me
A window cleaner you would be
If you can see what I can see
When I'm cleanin' windows

Honeymoonin' couples too
You should see them bill 'n coo
You'd be surprised at things they do
When I'm cleanin' windows

In my profession I'll work hard
But I'll never stop
I'll climb this blinkin' ladder
Till I get right to the top

The blushin' bride, she looks divine
The bridegroom he is doin' fine
I'd rather have his job than mine


The BAFTA 2006 Film awards at the Odeon, Leicester Square, London.

The main awards are:-

Best film
Brokeback Mountain
The Constant Gardener
Good Night, and Good Luck

Best British film
A Cock and Bull Story
The Constant Gardener
Pride and Prejudice
Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were Rabbit

Best actor in a leading role
David Strathairn - Good Night, and Good Luck
Heath Ledger - Brokeback Mountain
Joaquin Phoenix - Walk the Line
Philip Seymour Hoffman - Capote
Ralph Fiennes - The Constant Gardener

Best actress in a leading role
Charlize Theron - North Country
Judi Dench - Mrs Henderson Presents
Rachel Weisz - The Constant Gardener
Reese Witherspoon - Walk The Line
Ziyi Zhang - Memoirs of a Geisha

Best actor in a supporting role
Don Cheadle - Crash
George Clooney - Good Night, and Good Luck
George Clooney - Syriana
Jake Gyllenhaal - Brokeback Mountain
Matt Dillon - Crash

Best actress in a supporting role
Brenda Blethyn - Pride and Prejudice
Catherine Ke…

Interesting Fact # 230 - Smoking

Someone with a 20-a-day habit will spend £31,025 on cigarettes over the next 20 years, according to the NHS's stop smoking website.

(That's enough to buy a house in some countries.)

Interesting Fact # 229 - Sounds

Children and teenagers' more acute hearing means they can detect some high-pitched sounds inaudible to adults

(In the UK these sounds have been used in a device to ward off gangs from trouble-spots.)

Interesting People - Walt Disney

Walt Disney is reported as saying "I love Mickey Mouse more than any woman I have ever known".

(Well that says it all as I doubt any woman made him as much money.)

Intersting Fact # 228 - Attention span

According to a book "The tyranny of numbers" by David Boyle, visitors to art galleries spend only 3 seconds in front of each picture on show.

(I think that is the attention span of a goldfish too.)

Interesting Fact # 227 - Heart attacks

One in 14 men having a heart attack drive themselves to hospital.

(Well it's probably faster than waiting for an ambulance.)


The Brit awards.

Here are the nominations. I have put the acts I would like to see win in bold:-

British male solo artist: Anthony and the Johnsons, Ian Brown, James Blunt, Robbie Williams, Will Young.

British female solo artist: Charlotte Church, Kate Bush, Katie Melua, KT Tunstall, Natasha Bedingfield.

British album: Coldplay - X&Y, Gorillaz - Demon Days, James Blunt - Back To Bedlam, Kaiser Chiefs - Employment, Kate Bush - Aerial.

British group: Kaiser Chiefs, Coldplay, Hard-Fi, Franz Ferdinand, Gorillaz

British rock act: Franz Ferdinand, Hard-Fi, Kaiser Chiefs, Kasabian, Oasis.

British urban act: Craig David, Dizzee Rascal, Kano, Lemar, Ms Dynamite.

Pop act: James Blunt, Katie Melua, Kelly Clarkson, Madonna, Westlife.

British breakthrough act: Arctic Monkeys, James Blunt, Kaiser Chiefs, KT Tunstall, Magic Numbers.

International breakthrough act: Arcade Fire, Daniel Powter, Jack Johnson, John Legend, Pussycat Dolls.

British live act: Oasis, KT Tunstall, Kaiser Chiefs,


In the UK tills will switch to chip and pin by Tuesday night.

(Businesses which do not have chip and pin are liable for credit card fraud carried out on their premises.)

Interesting Fact - Valentine's Day Fact

Whale vomit is used by perfumers, to whom it is known as ambergris, and it costs £11 per gram.

(So, now you know what you're getting in that lovely expensive Valentine's Day present.) ;-)

Interesting Fact # 226 - British Citizenship

More than 70,000 people are waiting to hear if they can become British citizens.

(Since November 2005 anyone who wishes to become a British citizen has to take a 45-minute test - covering government, society and practical issues and costing £34. So, 34 x 70000 = 2380000.)

Interesting People - Samuel Morse

The text of Samuel Morse's first telegram to his partner Alfred Vail, was "WHAT HATH GOD WROUGHT?"

(Western Union - which for a century and a half brought news of joy, sorrow and success in distinctive, hand-delivered, yellow envelopes - has ceased its telegram service.)

Interesting Fact - A lost world

A "lost world" exists in the Indonesian jungle that is home to dozens of hitherto unknown animal and plant species.

(I vote that we leave it alone, now.)

Interesting Fact # 224 - Starbucks

There are at least 167 branches of Starbucks within a five-mile radius of Regent Street in central London.

(According to a report in the Guardian London has the second-highest Starbucks density in the world, just after midtown Manhattan. And they call us a nation of tea-drinkers. Hah!)

Interesting Fact # 223 - China

China sold 1,798bn cigarettes in 2003.

(There cigarettes are amongst the cheapest in the world, but it looks as though that's about to end as they introduce taxation and cancel the building of new production plants at home and abroad. Well done China!)

Interesting Animals # 36 - The rat

Rats smell in "stereo" - the rodents' brain responding differently to smells from the left and right.

I can't even see in stereo.

Interesting Invention - The Crisp

Potato crisps were an American invention (they call them chips), cooked up in 1853 by George Crum.

(In the UK chips are what we have with Fish. Crisps come in packets with such delicious flavours as Salt and Vinegar, Cheese and Onion, Beef, Bacon, Prawn Cocktail, Sour Cream and Chives and even at one time Hedgehog.)

Interesting People - Bill Gates

Bill Gates is so rich the US tax department has a special computer devoted solely to his finances.

I think that's the kind of rich I would like to avoid.

Interesting Animals - The Whale

Whales don't drink - they get their water intake from their food.

(This snippet was learned due to the unfortunate demise of the whale in the Thames.)

Interesting Fact # 222 - Mission Impossible

In the 1960s, the CIA used to watch Mission Impossible to get ideas about spying.

(This explains sooo much.)

Interesting Fact # 221 - Addiction

One percent of heroin addicts in the UK are treated with state-prescribed heroin.

(Note - heroin not heroine.)

Interesting Fact # 220 - Own brand goods

Twenty-eight percent of retail sales in Britain, by value, are shops' "own brand" goods.

(Own brand goods are goods that are labelled with the shop's own name. For example Tesco's ginger snaps and Sainsbury's Corn Flakes.)

Interesting Fact # 219 - English Girls

English girls are amongs Europe's most violent.

(Usually fuelled by Alcopops on a Thursday night. Don't say you haven't been warned.)