Ken Craymer

Two great inventions from WW1

April 15th, 2014 by Ken

We are this year commemorating the outbreak of World War I, the war that was going to end all wars, but didn’t and like most conflicts inventions inevitably come out of them. There were many that evolved during that awful period, 1914 to 1918, but I have picked a couple that are in everyday use today.

I wonder just where we would be in our modern world without the little device that has to be found on most articles of clothing that we wear, the Zip Fastener. I understand that although people had been, since the 19th century, trying to find way to make hooks and eyes work effortlessly it was actually a Swedish gentleman who immigrated to the United States that eventually mastered a way to do it. It was during WW1 that the US military incorporated it into their uniforms and after the war it found its way into civilian use.

One invention that I know came directly from WW1 was stainless steel, used in just about everything now. Our military was asking for better metal for our guns which became distorted from repeated firing. Henry Brearley a Sheffield metallurgist was experimenting with chrome added to the steel and apparently threw some of the scraps he had been working on away and was amazed to find that they did not rust. Eureka our metallurgist had discovered stainless steel and it was used in the production of aero engines of the time. Later of course it was the choice for cutlery and the vital instruments in hospitals.

I naturally am no lover of any kind of conflict, but it has to be said that it is in these times that the ingenuity of man comes to the forefront.

zip

Picture: Isobel T

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Water Fluoridation right or wrong?

March 31st, 2014 by Ken

I see the great debate about adding fluoride to the water supplies has come round again; I do not take a particular stance either way, I think that what worries people is that the state can make a decision to add something to our water supplies which may or may not benefit people. I feel sure that there must be some people who do not believe in fluoride, they consider that it causes discolouration amongst other things. On the other hand our dental profession think it is the finest thing that could possibly happen.

But are our nation’s teeth as bad as many people are saying. I think that with modern toothpaste, electric toothbrushes of many types, that the actual teeth of adults and children are better than it has ever been. Many dentists will point to the addition of fluoride in toothpaste as the reason, more attention to the way we take care of our oral hygiene and regular checkups with the friendly dentist, of course!

Adding fluoride to the water supplies will apparently cost as little as 40 pence per resident per year in the water board area, so it is really cheap. But as I say, are teeth as bad as many would have us believe? No it is the gums that are the reason so many lose teeth, often these teeth are absolutely sound, but gum disease causes them to become lose and eventually drop out. Preventing gum disease has to be the priority and this is where the dentist has to lead. Perhaps school visits and demonstration of how to keep gums healthy should be the priority, but sooner or later the state will add fluoride to water supplies, they have been trying unsuccessfully for about 40 years.

 

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Keeping your home and business premises secure

March 16th, 2014 by Ken

Although I understand that house breaking and burglary rates are falling from the time during the 1980’s which saw rapid increases, it can be still worrying when you leave your home or business premises and go away for a period.

Things have changed quite a lot since that days when you could have a set of about twelve keys and could wander about new housing estates and open just about every door lock! It was whilst I was reading a new website which has been developed for Secured by Design that I came across a lot of remarkable facts such as the twelve key saga.

If you are not any wiser about Secured by Design than I was, it is a group of national police projects that were set up in 1989 to focus and work with the industry to test houses to ascertain how secure they are. It is due to them and the locksmith industry that the incidence of house and business crime has been reduced since they were set up in 1989 and anything that reduces this crime or fear of it if you are concerned about leaving your premises can only be welcomed.

I have signed up for newsletters from the organisation to be sent to my email and you can also find a list of accredited suppliers of products such as. Lock, door, and window suppliers that are accredited and are happy to give advice on home security, it certainly makes me feel less anxious about leaving my home or business premises, how do you feel?

door chain

Picture: 0Four

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Advice and help for a friend

February 27th, 2014 by Ken

It was whilst was I was down at my local a few weeks ago that I got talking to an old friend of mine Bob and during our usual banter he told me about a problem that he was having. He has a small retail unit and it was during the conversation that he told me about the problems he was having with a company that supplies his barcode labels. Now he told me that he was not complaining about the price as he thought they seemed pretty competitive, he was more concerned with the quality of the barcode itself as often the scanner would simply not read the barcode.

As he said he can punch the numbers in manually, but as I said he may as well just put a price on the product. Now there is one thing that I know as a customer and that it is so frustrating standing at a till or check out and having to wait whilst the operator punches in the information. Why we all get het up I not sure, but we all do.

So I told him about my experience with a company that I have used on two occasions this year Data Label who supplied me with some barcode labels and later on a special polypropylene label that I needed for a particularly harsh environment. Now I have experience that the barcodes which were supplied to me by Data Label scanned every time and as I understand it they ensure that every barcode they supply is scanned for its readability prior to dispatch.

Well Bob telephoned me and said how delighted he was with the service and prompt despatch of his self adhesive barcode labels and true to their word, the barcodes supplied by Data Label scanned every time. Nice when you can recommend a product to someone and they call and tell you they’re completely satisfied.

barcode

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Insuring your biggest business asset

February 25th, 2014 by Ken

I discovered whilst I was talking to my insurance broker last week that I had not insured the biggest asset that my company has. It was time to renew and review my policies and it was then he casually said to me, that although I had all the necessary cover such as the legal requirement for public liability and professional indemnity policies, buildings and motor etc., I had missed out on the most important, me!

Now he certainly was not suggesting that I was totally indispensable, even if I think that I am no he was rightly pointing out the impact on my family should I fall seriously ill, or even die, but also the impact on the business itself. Now as you know I stared up this business about a couple of years ago and I have been quite successful, so I have to take into account advice that I am given particularly regarding things like insurance. In a major corporation, having the MD going off long term sick will not cause the outfit to run into many if any major problems, but I am a sole trader, with a limited number of employees.

Now if I was unable to work my business would probably cease, it might be able to be picked up by family, but I really hadn’t thought about it that deeply. So how would the family fare then, could they manage financially and how would my absence affect others. I have to say it really set me thinking, so I ask you, have you insured your businesses biggest asset, I intend to.

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When will it all end?

February 24th, 2014 by Ken

There hardly seems to be a day go by when another celebrity or television personality is not appearing in the newspapers’, but the one that has raised more publicity that any I suppose, is the fallout from the “Jimmy Saville Affair” with more and more household names from the period  being cited for offences linked with sexual behaviour towards women.

We can all recall the names of those who have been brought before the courts, some have been acquitted and some have not, the latest one Dave Lee Travis had all but two charges that were brought against him dismissed by the jury. However, I read in the morning press that the Crown Prosecution Service is calling for a re-trial on the two counts about which the jury could not agree a verdict and a date has been set.

Now I have no intention of making any comment or judgement on this particular case or any of them for that matter that is not why I have raised the subject. No what I am wondering though, is just when will all this end? What I will say though is I have often wondered why it is that the persons, who are bringing to the authorities’ attention the alleged misdemeanours, have waited so long to raise the complaint. Perhaps they did and they were not believed, or the authorities at the time just thought they could do nothing or could not get a conviction. Perhaps we will never know the answer to that one.

gavel

Picture: SalFalko

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Remember to read your insurance policy carefully

February 19th, 2014 by Ken

The recent floods set me thinking that I should take a look and see just what does my household insurance actually cover. I do not live in a flood risk area, but hearing all the tales from the unfortunate people that thought they had cover, only to find that there were certain exclusions in their policy.

It was whilst I was doing some searching through the internet that I came across an item in a national newspaper that cited some research that was done by a UK insurer highlighting the rather sad fact that six out of every ten people taking out insurance for their car, travel cover, or household never bother to read the policy’s terms and conditions. Now I know that it can be a bit daunting to trawl through all the “small print” but believe me it is true that the quote in the newspaper item that the insurers who cover the car, home or travel, like nothing better than to pick over every item to see if they can find a way to reject the claim you may be putting in. Of course it is perfectly legal for them to do so, even if I and I’m sure you, think that it is a bit underhand, so read the terms and conditions and see what is included and what is not.

Also take motor insurance, if you leave valuables on display or the key in your car as you nip into that shop for a newspaper, why should the insurer pay out for your carelessness? Understating the value of household possessions is another area that the insurer can legally not pay out the claim in full.

The best advice that I can give anyone, is always to be absolutely up-front with your insurer and above all check with them to see what you are covered for, they prefer you to do that, you may be paying a slightly higher premium, though not always, and make sure that you get paid out in full, should you have the misfortune to have to make a claim.

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Some will benefit from the flooding

February 18th, 2014 by Ken

If you are one of the 5,800 homes or businesses that have been affected by the recent flooding, you cannot imagine that any benefit could possibly come out of it, but in all of these events there are bound to be winners and losers.

I have no doubt whatsoever that the unfortunate house holder will be amongst the losers, I understand that the average cost to a householder will be in the region of £30,000 to £40,000 per home and that is not including things that are just not replaceable or have great sentimental value. Some have had to take time off work, or in some cases simply could not get to work.

Of course we should not forget farmers in all of this, they have really suffered, I can imagine the distress at losing livestock, being unable to get transport through to get feed and of course fields that may take months to recover and unable to support either livestock, or crops.

Many small businesses will have suffered unimaginable damage and loss of trade and sadly this could take some of them under, I imagine it will depend upon their insurance cover. Insurance companies of course will take a huge hit, but that is why they are there and I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever is that we all will be paying higher premiums in the future, whether affected or not.

Now what about the flip side in all this, well one sector that is sure to benefit are builders, who will be called on to make good all the damage, I suppose the next problem will be getting a builder who isn’t too busy to come!

Apparently I understand that a certain manufacturer of pumps in the Netherlands is making a few Euros by selling pumps to help drain the Somerset Levels, well the Dutch know how to do it after all. But, one of the biggest beneficiaries in all of this is the makers of sand bags and the suppliers of sand to fill them! Oh well I suppose every cloud, even if it is a rainy one, has a silver lining!

Flooded area

Picture: aiddy

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A lovely wooden plaque for the bathroom

February 9th, 2014 by Ken

I had occasion to visit one of my favourite places recently and I was so pleased that I had because whilst in the delightful Victoria Shopping Centre I came across a store which was an Aladdin’s cave absolutely full of products that were a reminder of times past. Things like Victorian tin signs and old railway posters, but it was a section that had a collection of wooden plaques that really caught my eye.

I completely lost count of the number of hand painted wooden plaques that I saw, but I am told the it is around 345 that they have, the one that particularly caught my eye was a simple sign that said “Bathroom” just what I was looking for as I have spent a few days redecorating and I thought that it would really fit in. The plaque is simple, but what I like about it is that it had been made to look as though it is somewhat old fashioned and has been there for some time, I think that they call it distressed.

Anyway, I duly bought my plaque for under £4 and have fixed it to the bathroom door, it even got the approval of my partner so it must be good. I found that the store has an easy to use online service, so I expect that I will be using them for some nice old tin painted Victorian signs, if I get approval of course!

Bathroom Sign

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Now I’ve heard it all!

February 2nd, 2014 by Ken

We have all heard of some ridiculous stories about traffic wardens, most of them probably untrue, but the latest one is a cracker and it really is true, sadly it was not a warden but a mobile traffic enforcement vehicle which caught an unfortunate motorist on camera.

The joke is that although the motorist was stationary, he does not deny it, he was in a traffic queue waiting for it to move forward when the traffic lights changed. Now the fact that he stopped at a bus stop is not denied, but as it was absolutely impossible for a bus to draw in at the stop did not seem to register with the overzealous mobile operator and a parking ticket was duly issued!

I would and I’m pretty sure you would do what the unfortunate motorist did and that was to appeal against the ticket which he described as an absolute joke. The issuing authority, which was Bradford Council, apologised, but our motorist friend was not happy and said that he withdrew his appeal as he wanted the matter to go to the courts.

Well surprise, surprise, as Cilla would say, Bradford overturned everything and apparently they were all sweetness and light with the gentleman.

This is what really annoys me about some of our faceless officials, just what the hell were they thinking about and as for the mobile camera operator, well I’m sorry folks, for once words fail me, what do you think, I would be interested to know.

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