Saturday, 21 February 2015

Plane Driving

Flying to the Canary Islands? It's not that different to travelling by car.... is it?

We’re shooting off to the Canary Islands in a few days, and naturally, we’re flying there. The boat takes too long. By the time your average tramp steamer has covered the 2,000 miles from here to Lanzarote, the pubs are shut.
I’m luck inasmuch as flying doesn’t bother me. I made a study of it years ago and I know what's going on most of the time. There are differences to driving a car, but they depend on your point of view.
For example, at a certain altitude usually somewhere above 25 feet you’ll hear the engines die off. There’s no need to panic. They’re not cutting out. The driver has simply shifted into top gear and he doesn’t need to lay the pedal to metal anymore. It’s a bit like reaching 70mph on the motorway. You don’t need your toe hard down to maintain it, unless you’re still in third gear, in which case you’d better plan on stopping at every other service station to top up the tanks, especially if you’re going on a long journey. Well it’s the same with a plane, except that there aren’t many service stations at 35,000 feet. Come to that, there aren’t many on the M6 North of Chorley, so there’s hope yet.
To make turns, the pilot pulls the control column one way or the other, but instead of turning the front wheels, it operates the flaps which make the aircraft tilt, changing the centre of gravity and pushing it into a turn. Afterwards, he pulls the stick the other way, changing the flaps and to righting the aircraft. On my car, you turn the wheel, the car tilts and turns, you straighten the wheel and it goes straight ahead, but it still tilts because the rear springs are shot.
Flying is incredibly safe. The pilot has any number of onboard warning systems to tell him when things are going to go wrong before they actually do go wrong. My car has a diagnostic system, too, but it tends to tell me when things are going wrong after they’ve done so. What is the point of a warning that flashes “ABS failure imminent” when your bonnet is already embedded in the back doors of that van in front?
Naturally the pilot of a modern aircraft doesn’t do most of the work. His autopilot does it for him. The last time I left the car on autopilot, we almost ran through the front windows of a butcher’s outside Tesco.
I’ll leave you to ponder that while me and Her Indoors zoom off to Lanzarote and in the meantime be good, and if you can’t be good be careful. If you can’t be careful, take up woodwork. It’ll keep your hands busy.
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Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Liar, Liar

Did you hear about the chef who got fired for telling the truth? Flatcap did and here's his take on it. 

I dropped on this tale of a chef, allegedly fired by the railway company he worked for after he told passengers why they couldn’t have a full English breakfast. This weren’t a case of him saying. “Don’t you think you’re big enough, you fat bastard, without adding another layer of lard?” Oh no. What makes this news is that he told them the truth. The train was short-staffed and a boiler had broken down, therefore meals were off.
This story comes on the back of the news that whistleblowers in the NHS and other industries are often ostracised and bullied.
It occurs to me that companies do not want employees who tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth. In that case, why don’t they employ me? When you talk about lying, I am world class.
It’s true. I’ve fifteen books to my name and they’re all fiction. There’s not a single word of truth in any of them… and that includes my biography. Mind you, those twenty plus years I spent in the wilderness trying to find myself, are not complete lies. I lived in Leeds.
When it comes to telling porkies, I am Olympic standard. Everyone knows I got nicked for speeding last week. What everyone doesn’t know is that I got a round of applause and cries of ‘author, author’ from the cops when I told them I was late for the United pep talk, and the first team couldn’t set foot on the pitch until I’d given them my blessing. I might have got away with it but both cops were City fans.
We’re all brought up to learn that telling the truth is the right way to live our lives. Obviously, the corporate powers that be we brought up differently. Like politicians, they learned that the Flatcap lessons on economical veracity are usually best for your bank balance. And if you do get caught out, blame it on your predecessor.
So if you’re listening, all you chief exec’s, here’s a skilled liar at your service.

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Saturday, 14 February 2015

Happy Valentine

Flatcap reflects on love and marriage and offers advice on how to enjoy a successful (and economical) Valentine’s Day.

It’s Valentine’s day, the one day of the year when she expects me to show my love for her.
For God’s sake, I get the Oxo’s down off the top shelf, don’t I? And who is it who knocks out all the dents in the car when she’s done reversing into the drive? Well, she calls it reversing. I call it ram-raiding the front gates.
But no, I have to prove I love her.
This starts with a card.
Now I wouldn’t want you to think I hold grudge against the greetings card industry, but have you seen the price of these things? Scandalous. At those rates I’d expect an armed escort while they delivered it.
After the card come the flowers.
It’s a bit awkward with Valentine’s Day coming in February. The flowerbeds in the Memorial Park are a bit limp and lifeless, so you have to scour the cemetery instead. You need to be a bit careful. Last year, I forgot to change the label and I had some trouble explaining how her Valentine greeting read 'RIP Uncle Albert'.
Beyond the card and the flowers, we’re getting into seriously romantic territory with the meal.
The only advice I can give is get out early. MacDonald’s and Burger King were both chocabloc the year before last. We couldn’t get a seat. And you’ll need to take your own candles. I got a boxful for a pound just before Christmas. All right, so they were birthday cake candles, but hey, the flames are the same no matter what the occasion.
As the evening wears on, we come to the most daunting aspect of Valentine’s Day. The physical bit.
Between me, you and the gatepost, she’s getting a bit weighty for me to whisk her off her feet and carry her up to the bedroom. So I have to limp quite convincingly when she starts dropping hints that she’s feeling frisky. That way she’ll get upstairs under her own steam.
And I think she’s been reading fifty shades on the quiet. How else do you explain the way she’s been studying the small print on our life insurance policies?
But it’s Valentine’s Day and you’re married so you have to do it.
And once in the bedroom? Well, you’ve been married long enough not to need any advice from me, but if you insist, there’s one tip I give to all married men, when Valentine’s Day falls on a Saturday.
Don’t forget to record Match of the Day.
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Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Listen With Telly

It's the biggest story of the week and here's the lad with his thoughts.

The big news this week is smart TVs which are listening to your conversations and passing them on to persons or organisations unknown. Well, I say unknown, but we all know who they are. MI5, CIA, KGB, Google Facebook and Microsoft.
But you have to wonder what kind of private conversations these eavesdroppers are receiving. I meanersay, what do you talk about while the telly’s on?
“Right, I’ve brought the plans for blowing up the Houses of Parliament… oh, hang fire. Corrie’s on.”
And suppose you’re watching Midsomer Murders, and you shout, “Oh my god, he just murdered her.”
The next thing you know, armed SWAT teams are knocking on the door, and some negotiator with a loudhailer is urging you to surrender before anyone else gets hurt.
If they start listening in on conversations in our house, they’ll be really chuffed off.
They usually begin around teatime when I ask, “What’s for tea?”
“The cooker’s not got my name on it, you know.”
“So in other words you’ve bought smoked bacon again and you’re hoping I’ll make tea so you can blame my cooking. I’ve told you until I’m blue in the face, I don’t like smoked bacon.”
Sometime later, nosygits dot com may hear Her Indoors declare, “There’s a smell in here. Have you farted?”
“No. It’s the dog.”
“That means it’s you.”
“Well I told you not to buy smoked bacon.”
Matters quickly go downhill once the evening meal is over, and this time it’s usually me who starts it.
“What is this crap?”
“If you don’t want to watch it, turn it over.”
“Where’s the remote?”
“You had it last.”
“Oh, for crying out loud, the dog’s chewing it again.”
“If you bought him some toys, he might not.”
“I give him my old slippers, don’t I?”
And as the night draws on, Her Indoors only has to hear me say, “Nice tits.” Before she asks, “Are you watching Benidorm again? You know all that flesh overheats your pacemaker.”
Taking the broad view, I can’t see what the fuss is about. The only people I can see who would benefit from eavesdropping are the politicians. But would they get the message when they heard, “Aw, not another pain in the arse,” for the umpteenth time before the channel was changed?
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Friday, 6 February 2015

Flatcap Shops & Scans

A short extract from Flatcap Sez on the pros and cons of scanning your shopping as you go round.

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Sunday, 1 February 2015


A comment from my good friend Marit Meredith prompted this nonsense.