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|Most Recent Edited Entries|
A87784302 A Potted History of Bovril
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We have the first slow-worm.
Now let's build a lizard.
I joined h2g2 in 2003. I fled here along with a number of people from the BBC Radio 4 messageboards after many months of technical problems made the site unusable. The others have all long gone, but I stayed, fell in with some very friendly people, and here I am today.
I started writing edited guide entries in 2005. I try to pick subjects which interest me. If I hear a fact and think the world needs to know it, then I might research it, and some of these exercises turn into entries. I'll write about anything, but recurring subjects are mathematics, words and nostalgic food brands.
I've volunteered as a scout and sub-editor, and for a brief period of time was a guide editor (post-BBC, of course). I'd love to do more, but my job in real life simply doesn't give me enough time at the moment. Maybe one day it will.
Most people here would know me from posting to the Askh2g2 forum. Other things I've done include maintaining a list of edited entry citations, sending difficult quizzes to the h2g2 Post, and running the now-defunct Entry of the Month competition.
If you're new to h2g2, then welcome. Please take a while to explore - it's a lot bigger than you think. You'll find an eclectic set of bookmarks below.
| ||People have been talking about this Guide Entry. Here are the most recent Conversations:|
Welcome to this Researcher's Journal. If you'd like to comment on anything they have written here, just click the relevant 'Discuss this Entry' button.
2 Weeks Ago
This morning I missed my normal bus from the station to my office. As I was a bit late, I hopped on one going vaguely in the Holborn direction, then caught another going from there to the office. This second bus journey was my first trip on the Boris Bus.
Introduced in 2012, this retro-designed London double-decker bus allows you to hop on the footplate at the back, just like buses always used to in days gone by. You can then climb the curved staircase to the top deck. I can't imagine how it got past modern health and safety legislation. It gave me a little frisson of excitement. For a few short minutes I was transported forward in terms of displacement, yet back in time to an On The Buses 1970s sitcom world of clippies in peaked caps.
I've only seen one of these on the road, it's on the 38 service which rins from Victoria Station to Holborn and beyond - handy for the Shakespeare's Head.
Pan Yan Fan?
3 Weeks Ago
As you may have seen, h2g2 got a mention in The Register this week. I'm proud that they gave a plug to my entry on HP Sauce. It would be interesting to learn how many read this entry as a result of this exposure.
The Guide Editors have kindly featured my Bovril entry on the Front Page today, with a link to HP Sauce and a couple of other food entries. I'm always looking to write some more of these when I get time, as it's the kind of topic that lends itself to an h2g2 entry, and allows a bit of freedom to be quirky.
One of the comments posted on The Register was that we didn't have an entry on the now-departed Pan Yan Pickle. This alternative to Branston Pickle disappeared from the shelves after a factory fire in 2002 destroyed the only copy of the secret formula. I've started researching Pan Yan, and it's got a fascinating history - all will be revealed in due course.
One thing I'd really like to know is what people recall of the taste. Did you eat Pan Yan Pickle? Can you remember what distinguished it from Branston? Please let me know
Shakespeare's Head Uncovered
3 Weeks Ago
Anyone who's been to an h2g2 London meet over the last few years will remember the venue - the Shakespeare's Head, Holborn - being covered in scaffolding.
Well, this week it all came down, revealing the building, Africa House, in all its architectural glory.
It's not just the facade that's been cleaned up, the whole building was gutted and reconstructed to provide some very posh office space - see the brochure:
Anyone fancy working there? I could be tempted
Snogs in the Key of Life
4 Weeks Ago
Some typoes inspire creativity. When you type 'thong' instead of 'thing', it can be a bit of an embarrassment, or maybe it provokes gentle ridicule. But we all have a good laugh about it in the end.
Today's typo was to type 'snog' instead of 'song'. It got me wondering how many well-known titles would have an entirely new meaning if their creators had done the same.
Frank Sinatra's 1956 masterpiece 'Snogs for Swinging Lovers' is a case in point. Or what about Elton John's breakthrough hit, 'Your Snog'.
Supertramp's 'Logical Snog' sounds a bit of a passion killer, as does Beautiful South's 'Snog for Whoever', and Blur's 'Snog 2'.
But the typo can add another dimension. Elton returned to the theme with the evocative 'Sad Snogs Say So Much'. Roberta Flack sang about a man 'Killing me Softly with his Snog'. Neil Sedaka sang of 'Our Last Snog Together'.
Finally, they can be plain weird: 'The Pushbike Snog' or 'The Banana Boat Snog'. Is anyone up for 'The Smurf Snog', 'The Wombling Snog', or Keith Harris's masterpiece, 'Orville's Snog'?
Rowing in the Office
Mar 22, 2013
The Management decided the Workforce weren't productive enough, and needed to be motivated. But how should they do it?
Eventually one of the managers had an idea. Why don't we get away from the day job and have a workshop?
What an idea!
The managers went on an outward-bound course to work out ways to make the workforce more productive. In the morning they had lots of fun doing watersports and solving problems involving bridging rivers using telegraph poles and oil drums. They stayed at a fine hotel with wonderful food and a lovely comfy bar. They booked the conference suite with all its plush meeting rooms with whiteboards and flip charts and coffee and biscuits. They did lots of little exercises and icebreakers and group brainstorming sessions.
Eventually one of the managers had an idea: Why don't we make the workforce teams competitive, like we saw in the Olympics?
What an idea!
But which event should they choose to model the workforce on? It had to be something graceful and powerful, something with a clear goal. Something with pureness and simplicity. Eventually one of the managers had an idea. Why don't we model the workforce on the sport of rowing?
What an idea!
They organised a coach trip to Henley-on-Thames to watch some rowing. The event which they liked best was the eights. Each vessel was crewed by eight powerful strong rowers. At the end of the boat sat a small individual, the cox, who shouted instructions to the team through his megaphone, ensuring they all pulled together. As well as this he had his hand on the tiller, and steered the boat on a direct path to the finish line. This vision of man and machine in perfect harmony was imprinted in the minds of all those managers who witnessed it.
Back at the conference suite, they discussed rowing in detail. What did they each like about what they had seen? They split into groups and did some role-playing exercises. Eventually they came together and reported their findings that evening to the Chief Executive.
The rowers, they explained, are analogous to the workforce. Each is given the tools to do his job (i.e. oars). Each is given training. The only thing, however, that provides direction and motivation is the presence of the cox. The cox provides expertise. He knows what to shout and when to shout it. He provides direction to the rower in both a physical and metaphorical sense. Without his presence, all the effort of the rowers, not to mention the tools and training, would be wasted. Clearly the cox is a prized individual that we should all aspire to.
The Chief Executive was impressed. He thanked the team for their analysis and looked forward to seeing their ideas put into practice as soon as possible.
* * *
And that, my friends, is why I am a rower in the boat that is my office. I am blessed to have eight managers with megaphones telling me what to do and steering me in each of their directions.
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