Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Twist in my Sobriety

Guess who's Nightshift this Hogmanay (or as famously once described "Mahogany").

Thus, as one of the few sober eens amongst the stocious throngs, I thought this video was apt.

Bliadhna Mhath Ùr to all and sundry.

......... and the twist?

There's a bottle of Laughing Frog with my name on it waiting for my return home.

Slàinte Mhath!

© Noddy

Published by Toy Town™ Times

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A powerful wee message

There was a time when my father passed away far too young in life and I was 'lost' without him.

I was searching for the friend, guide and counsel he represented.

I was unable to settle and one night I woke bolt upright from my sleep and these following verses were directed to me as if in a dream.

Being hardly the world's foremost expert on The Book, I hadn't even heard of Ephesians and knew even less about what was within.

Reading the verses, I found I had a new 'Father', guide, friend and counsel. There was an even more humbling message, which to this day I find so difficult to reconcile with my less than perfect 'brand' of Christianity.

On this special eve, I bring you my own revelation and the genesis of my faith.

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.

And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession — to the praise of his glory.

Ephesians 1, v2-14

© Noddy

Published by Toy Town™ Times

Nollaig Cridheal

Getting my Xmas message in early 'cos some of us have to be up at dawn to go to work.

But to you and yours. Have a cracker.

© Noddy
Published by Toy Town™ Times

Friday, December 19, 2008

Feel Friday

I am filled with a deep foreboding.

It is the dreaded 'Feel Friday' and guess who is lates?

People, oft referred to as 'pilot lights'* will be thronging toy toon sinter after much ale and jolly offices japes. Mix this with the usual suspects and the happy homecomings thereafter and we are due for a busy night.

Wish me well and if you are one of those aforementioned types, remember a whole weekend care of the local free B&B is a rough way to sleep off a hangover.

To fellow short straw pullers throughout the emergency services, the best of Scottish to you all.

That cough of mine seems to be getting worse. Now what's that number again for absence management?

*i.e. they never go out.

© Mr Plod

Published by Toy Town™ Times

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Xmas Lichties - The Finale

I fear I am becoming obsessed, so whilst not promising, this may be the last offering. Epileptics look away.

© Nod
Published by Toy Town™ Times

Mair Xmas Lichties

H/T to RT.

By the way I'm still waiting for those photos folks.

© Noddy

Published by Toy Town™ Times

Hacked off

Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.

A wee while back I posted about Gary McKinnon and suggested the US might overreact a tad.

The latest article from the Beeb suggests he could face up to 70 years in gaol. That's enough for me to suggest
Mr Obama might want to reconsider when he comes to power in the New Year.

© Mr Plod

Published by Toy Town™ Times

Far div yi bide?

Anither wee doric tester for yi.

© McNoddy

Published by Toy Town™ Times

Monday, December 15, 2008

Wither Forecast

Aye, fine, bit nae abidy gets the choice tae bide at hame. Some of us hae tae work 24/7. It's been chookin it doon hale watter a' weekend. Drookit I wis, min. Mind yi, jist as weel it wisna caller or I'd be knee deep in sna.

© McNoddy
Published by Toy Town™ Times

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Jox Vox - Vol. 1

You might have noticed from my sidebar that due to the apparent demise of fellow Polis bloggers, I appear to be the only Polisperson posting from north of the border.

I feel it incumbent upon me then to keep everybody up to date with the weird and wonderful happenings, Polis related or otherwise, up in the frozen wastelands of God's own country.

Following on from what might be considered the pilot post, I have decided to post regularly on such matters and I have these following offerings for you.

BBC NEWS | Scotland | North East/N Isles | Pub-goers to be tested for drugs

Random drug testing attacked - Press & Journal

Well at least it's a better plan than this or this.

Maybe Mr Rumbles should have a peek at this before he opens his mouth and puts his foot in it.

Twining will like this snippet.

Up here in Draconia we still occasionally persecute, sorry prosecute, very wee weans. But just to level the playing field, I believe adults will now have to suffer like the little children. It's significant that once the pain is to be meted out on adults, a furore starts. I did warn you. A crafty US judge has taken this principle even further.

We have just celebrated St Andrew's Day and Gadget will be interested to note this ovine method of marking the occasion.

You can read this snippet and make your own mind up. I have. Get off your behind, quine.

A while back I bleetered on about prostitution. I think that the Polis are going to say to the Law Makers, "We told you so."

By far and away my favourite snippet recently has to be the Spiderpig debacle. Brilliant.

As regular visitors will know, I have a passion for whisky (in moderation of course) and our wonderful Chancellor and his boss, despite being Scots, seem determined to destroy the industry and dent my pocket. I have four related offerings to mull over whilst you sip (very slowly) your dram.

Outrage at tax raid on the whisky industry - Press & Journal

Excise duty increase leaves a bitter taste - Press & Journal

BBC NEWS | Scotland | 'Whisky sour' claim after Budget

BBC NEWS | Scotland | Whisky duty rise 'to be revised'

I cannot leave you without commenting on what's happening down south. The new Government inspired (tongue firmly in cheek) Police Pledges leave me awestruck and this article's heading sums it up;

Police will respond quicker to burglary victims if they are 'upset' - Telegraph

I have yet to entertain a genuine complaint of housebreaking from a cheerful householder! I'll let Jacquie Spliff know when I do.

Secondly, I note there's been a bit of a stooshie over some CCTV footage again. Don't mess with me has posted the most illuminating take on this in my view. I also direct you to a previous post on the Perils of CCTV from my good self.

Finally, Jox Vox rule.

© McNoddy

Published by Toy Town™ Times

Xmas Lichties

I dah ken aboot you, but fan the winter festival time comes aroond, een o' my favourite pastimes oan the job is tae ging roond an' see fit folk hae been pittin up on or ootside their hooses in the wiy o' Xmas decorations. Aye, Xmas I said.

It iywiz scunners me 'at the guid folk o' the sink estates seem to hae a puckle o' siller left in the bankie to spend on feel inflatables and hunnerds o' lichties emitting a carbon footprint visible fae the ISS.

I hae started a competition amongst my colleagues tae undertake a Phase B search tae find the worst excesses. There is a clear leader already wi' a 30 foot tree in a garden wi' tinsel (aye tinsel!) and a flashing star on the top,
an' lichties a' oer. Jist to ram the pint hame, the same folk hae put up mair lichties a' oer the gable end o' the hoose. I hanna had the chance tae ging roon the front tae see fit delights await me yonder.

I wis considering takkin my camera wi' me on nichts jist tae record a' the worst eens and get a snap o' the hale hoose aforementioned, but 'at wid be surveillance an' I hanna had time tae pit in the necessary forms!

Please feel free to join in the competition! Jist mind the paperwork first, min.

© Mr Plod

Published by Toy Town™ Times

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Mourne Mourns

This terrible incident highlights just how fine the line is between life and death for all those who serve.

It also looks like this was a particularly dreadful way to go.

I can only hope, but somehow doubt, that those who caused the assistance shout to be made, realise the implications of their actions.


© Mr Plod

Published by Toy Town™ Times

Monday, November 17, 2008

Time to get bizzy, apparently.

Personally, I thought I had been, but it seems I need to address some learning points.

© Noddy

Published by Toy Town™ Times

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Dead Jolly

Just back from a very long shift that started teatime yesterday.... all say ahh!

As a famous dead Scottish TV detective once said, "There's been a murder."  As anyone Polis related will know, no-one actually says that - it's just a suspicious death till the charges are laid, but it was a good line.

Meanwhile a leading Scot commemorates another dead Scot rather well, if I may say so, here.

While on the topic of videos, please ensure you've seen the video in my last post.  In SMT mode, I require acknowledgement that you have undergone this bit of ODL via the post's Toy Town™  Thoughts link.  I will be checking! 

© Mr Plod
Published by Toy Town™ Times

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Seeking attention

I was directed to this site by UHDD. I watched the video at the same time as I was considering another post on autism related matters in respect of an article I read.

Please take time to watch the video and read the article/comments.

The point the video makes and one that hit home was that making snap judgements without investigating properly can seriously discriminate against those with conditions they would not wish upon their own worst enemies.

As stated, coincidentally, I had seen the headline about Gary McKinnon and was about to launch into a tirade about why the heck should British taxpayers have to fork out for his detention over this side of the pond, when suddenly the fact that he has Aspergers grabbed my attention. I hope to God that the USA's intoxication with all things security related does not cloud the fact that Gary may not have had the restraint in his actions that you or I might imagine as 'normal.' I will be watching that case with interest.

Never, ever, think that those with problems with their noggins are less human than you or I.


© Noddy

Published by Toy Town™ Times

Change we need

Once you go Barack, you never go back.

I am aware that fellow bloggers are split on who should have won the US Election.

I don't know if Obama can live up to the hype and rhetoric, but I do know that his election heralds a new era as far as diversity is concerned. Let's face it he has been welcomed with open arms by most black and white constituents even though he is actually mixed race. That, I think, speaks volumes about change in the USA and I hope will project a more tolerant attitude to others abroad and a similar sympathetic response from us foreigners to the US. God knows the USA needs an image overhaul abroad!

In terms of genuinely amazing events this stands up with other sights I never thought I'd see in my lifetime such as the fall of the Berlin Wall.

© Noddy

Published by Toy Town™ Times

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hundred Acre Hood and other tales

A wee round-up of happenings north of Watford Gap.

Lost and Found.

A Toy Town
Polis spokestoon commented, "We are glad to see the wee bear back with Piglet, Eeyore and the gang. Winnie has a serious pot habit (honey that is- ed.) and he was persuaded by some clever but unscrupulous types to venture into Toy Town™ to source his stash. Fortunately, we combed the city and in the bees nest that is Hundred Acre Hood, during a co-ordinated intelligence-led sting operation our colleagues traced Winnie. Toy Town™ Polis would like to take this opportunity to reiterate that it will not tolerate the kidnapping of toons."

PC Milne (no relative) added, "
I'm glad he didn't come to a sticky end."

The local paper reported that, "After a hive of activity in the north of the city, Pooh was rescued."

Jacquelyn Liddell, Managing Director of Storybook Glen, originally told BBC Scotland when Winnie was reported missing that: "It's shocking. I just wish parents would see where their children are at night."

Wise Owl responded last night by stating, "Sometimes people jump to conclusions."

Eeyore, never one to be serious, said, "Here's some more Poo."

When asked to comment, Piglet merely said, "Oh, d-d-d-dear."

Bad day at the Office - Part 1

Some days you just wish you'd been elsewhere. Horrendously bad luck all round, for the bereaved, the other car driver and the poor Polis.

Bad day at the Office - Part 2

Every custody officer's and force's nightmare, but whatever the reason it's even more of a nightmare for the relatives. However, after the loon's last two exploits, I do hope he'd asked for forgiveness for his sins before his untimely death.

Note to Northern Constabulary - I'd start crossing your collective toes if I were you.

What a silly Hunt

Well clearly the digit curling up North isn't working. Read the article's comments to get the full flavour of the 'story'.

Judge Dredd

I have to admit I had to read this article twice. Well that's because the first time I fell off my chair in shock. Without wishing to add my support so freely to the vigilante system in Prison, it should at least make those who commit the more dastardly of crimes think twice, because despite it all there is still a moral code amongst some of the pros amongst the cons!

That's enough jox vox for now.

© Mr Plod

Published by Toy Town™ Times

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Furry boots

Woke this morn to an inch o' sna and decided 'at global warning is definitely a fraud

Stonehead captured the affa bonnie scenes.

Weather seems to be changing for the worse even in places you'd least expect.

Last weekend saw Mr UHDD in peril fell running in Cumbria and all who link to Mrs UHDD will be glad he and his clamjafry came oot safely if somewhat drookit. 

The accompanying video shows 'at it wis dreich right enough.  Here's a shorter taster.

I was going to suggest that Mr UHDD sat down with a wee dram and watched this, especially after the last episode linked here amongst the comments made.

Wrap up and dinna forget they furry boots, min.

© McNoddy
Published by Toy Town™ Times

Friday, October 24, 2008

To Twother or not to Twother

At first glance at the headline for this report from Reuters, I thought we'd had the good old pint metricated.

However, it appears that someone thinks there is somebody out there somewhere who cannot cope with a whole pint of beer/cider, but thinks a half pint is too little.

Plain daft if you ask me, but apparently it's a common measure (425 mls) in Oz and known as a Schooner in most states there, but not all. I always knew Aussies were lightweights!

I won't bother to twother.

On another booze related tack, this proposal fairly took the wind out of a Toy Town
™ publican's sails (Geddit?). Speaking from experience, at 3am in the morning in the town centre at weekends, I'm rarely running into folk blootered on tins of Tennent's Special from the Offie. I wonder where they've come from? Mind you, the publicans can now say they only need to pay 2/3 of the cost, 'cos abidy will be downing twothers, even the quines.

Meanwhile, another British institution is tinkered with and goes down the plughole of multi-nationalism. However, on reading the article, apparently the change in the speaking clock disnae bother the rest of the Union and is only upsetting for our English cousins. Perhaps we could have a separate Jock Clock.

Calling time folks.

© Noddy

Published by Toy Town™ Times

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Those men with big hoses....

.... have all the fun.

By the way, did you know Fireman Sam was a ginger?

Why can't I get calls like
this and this to brighten my day.

I have to ask how the Lothians F&R Service justified their call out and just how do you cover a camera in chocolate? That certainly made Bumpy Dog raise his eyebrows.

No doubt they called it a training exercise. It sounded like a bit of a marathon, but it made me snicker.

Getting back on topic in respect of the wee rodent, and being ever resourceful, I have found a friend more than willing to find Fudgie.

Indeed, as you can see, she begged me to be let loose.

She whispered to me that she's a no nonsense, don't need all that specialist kit, cat. That's a boost. She did ask if there was a bounty though. I told her that it would be no picnic, but if she was successful she could revel in being a smartie and do a twirl.

Ripple of applause please!

Time out methinks.


Thanks are due to DBA Dude again for keeping me up to speed on developments in the crisis situation and major incident that was the disappearance of Fudgie. A Galaxy of friends met her when she reappeared. No photo opportunity though as she was so tired she just flaked out.


© Noddy

Published by Toy Town™ Times

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sweet innit?

"A 13-year-old girl who has had four sexual partners, smokes dope, drinks beer and has been excluded from school 40 times is considered "sweet" by her mother and given cigarettes as rewards for good behaviour."

I was researching (sounds good eh?) another post when I came across the headline above and the full report in the Daily Torygraph. Please read it. It beggars belief and is a sad indictment of modern Britain.

Now, if it had been in the Daily Wail I might have just shrugged it off, but given it's in an allegedly respectable publication, for some unknown reason I began to weep uncontrollably.

Whatever next?

© Mr Plod

Published by Toy Town™ Times

Meanwhile across the Pond

.... and you thought it was just a British disease.

It seems the Polis worldwide are total meanies.

© Mr Plod

Published by Toy Town™ Times

GOD bless her

I'm going to pose the question and hang the consequences.

What kind of religion is it that drives you to shoot at point blank range a defenceless woman who works with disabled children for a charity in a foreign land?

It would appear some folk need some extreme diversity training.

Being serous, this was murder plain and simple and that, my friends, was still a sin the last time I looked!

God rest her righteous soul.

© Noddy

Published by Toy Town™ Times

The Policeman says........

.......this is the Script.

© Mr Plod

Published by Toy Town™ Times

Sunday, October 19, 2008

So Emo

Go on tell me you didn't have a lump in your throat.

You can see/download the HQ version here.

© Noddy

Published by Toy Town™ Times

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Help the Aged

Many a moon ago I used to work for Help the Aged, so I feel that I am in a good place to advise our elderly parishioners on ways to improve and extend their lives.

I offer these following two snippets by way of a public service announcement, the second being especially for us First Aiders.

Silver Surfers.

Stayin' Alive.

I have looked out the flares and kipper tie for my next refresher course.

© Chill Bill

Published by Toy Town™ Times

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A' Ghàidhealtachd

From the STV series "Highlands" comes this episode about God's own country; Assynt.


© McNoddy

Published by Toy Town™ Times

Monday, October 13, 2008

Stirring it up

A local item of interest to all lovers of Porridge, but also a plug for an older post you may have missed regarding refreshment breaks.

© Mr Plod

Published by Toy Town™ Times

Friday, October 10, 2008

Ma heid is yarkin'

A while back I posted about the lack of a sense of humour at the Portman group in relation to various Scottish ales and their names.

I'm glad to report, well actually update from the Beeb, that the world is not square and
I quote,

"A House of Commons motion has been tabled aimed at protecting a Scottish ale called Skull Splitter.

The Orkney Brewery fears the product could be withdrawn from sale following a report commissioned by alcohol watchdog the Portman Group.

It has been claimed its Viking-branded bottles have an aggressive theme.

Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael said losing the name would be a serious setback, and called for the complaint to be rejected.

Skull Splitter, an 8.5% ale created more than 20 years ago, is sold internationally.
The brewery said the ale was in fact named after Thorfinn Hausakluif, the seventh Viking earl of Orkney, nicknamed "Skull Splitter".

Mr Carmichael said the name would be inappropriate if it were a low-priced drink aimed at youngsters.
But he said it was an award-winning beer which is bought by discerning drinkers who appreciate its quality and who drink it responsibly".

Orkney Brewery's parent company, Sinclair Breweries Ltd, earlier said it was "stunned" by the complaint and hoped for "common sense".

The Portman Group confirmed a complaint was being investigated."

Common sense - fit?

Meanwhile, as pointed out by DBA Dude over at his blog, said brewery (which now owns the Atlas brews) is doing its bit for Red Squirrels with its new brew. As DBA says, no fluffy tailed beasties are used in the brewing process, but let's wait till the Portman Group hear about that one. They'll go nuts.

Aye an' anither thing, fit does this tumshie think he's dae'n? Dis he nae ken it's the mither tongue?

© MacNoddy
Published by Toy Town™ Times

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Cup of Tea?
That other cartoon character asks me to direct yourselves to his place.

Put the kettle on.

© Mr Plod

Published by Toy Town™ Times

Monday, October 06, 2008

But the Bish bashed back

I'm keeping my posts short and snappy today.

"He's a great leader and doesn't cloud his views in political correctness."


© Chill Bill

Published by Toy Town™ Times

Not as we

Am I alone in wondering what “ism” I can tag myself with to claim that I’ve been discriminated against?

© Mr Plod
Published by Toy Town™ Times

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I refuse to wear a hoodie

I'm feeling lazy today.

I think my brain has been drained what with all that ramming I've had to do, so I thought I'd just point you in the direction of a few snippets that came to my attention.

First and foremost, let's get to the major headline today......

Postman Pat is now a toonser.

Add this to the nonsense I previously alluded to and I fear for the countryside and all our cherished memories. As stated, I will not be modernising any day soon. No hoodies for me, innit.

What has been genuinely worrying me lately has been the way the media describes 'life sentences'. In some cases this only means a life time order.

In two recent cases, life actually meant 9 years in one sentencing and then 18 months (and with backdating!) in the other. It is only if the scoundrels don't rehabilitate that the life bit kicks in. In the case of the former I'd suggest he's already shown his inability to reform on more than one occasion.

Incidentally, is it just me that finds it bizarre that a prison inmate was allowed out on day release to go to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. I also wonder where there might be room for the blighters to be banged up.

Sticking with criminals, an article directed to me by DBA Dude struck me as being a little non-diverse in suggesting that the average scrote has a poor diet based on fast foods. As Baldrick would say, "I have a cunning plan - feed all custodies Double Whoppers and Big Macs. What's that you say ... we already do?"

There's been some good news. With Joanna Yumley at the helm, they couldn't fail.

Some news even gladdens the heart.

Two final snippets. One from the land of make believe and the other unbelievable.

I'm knackered. Off for a lie down.......but in the bare spedroom!

© Noddy

Published by Toy Town™ Times

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

That Wenus Voman

Fit am I tae dae?

She fit haes tae be obeyed has bin spikkin in tongues recently fit I dinna unnerstan.

Noo, usually it's affa difficult to mak oot fit she's bleetering aboot, partly due tae the fact she's a quine onywiy, bit add on her Invernesian twang and I'm dumfoonert maist o' the time.

Aye, I ken a sair fecht, bit listen up it gets wirser.

She's takken to spikkin in Dyslexic.

I caim hame the ither day an' she tells me 'at there's a domestic crisis seein' as a, "splug wis parkin". I'm nae quite sure far hid the wirse loose connection.

Then the ither nicht I asks her fit she wanted fae the chippie an' she answers, "een o' they
Humbo Jaddocks." Eftir 'at I wis affa worried I'd repeat said phrase fan I wis doon at the shoppie.

But, she left the best far fan she wis keekin at the telly at sum cookery programme. Add the teuchter accent and say after me, "I've nivver had lack of ram."

Noo, surely yiv hae a pucklie o' examples yersel tae tell us a' aboot.

n.b. Diversity rating : 0/10

© McNoddy

Published by Toy Town™ Times


Since 9th February 2006, the selected residents of Toy Town™ have kept you up to date with the happenings hereabouts.

This is post 501. Ripple of virtual applause please.

Regular readers now have the option of becoming "Followers" (all very cult like I know) and can show their allegiance/addiction/adulation for this s(h)ite by adding themselves to our followers on the links bar. Go on, it's painless.

© Noddy

Published by Toy Town™ Times

Monday, September 29, 2008

Get out of jail free

You may have seen this cartoon before, but how long will it be before it's true, now that the jails are full.

© Mr Plod

Published by Toy Town™ Times

DJ Macca

Thanks to my wee nephew for spotting this bit of meganews.

Sir Paul and dance music? Wrinklies really should grow old gracefully.

My sources (A1) tell me that the ex Mrs Macca is to release an album too. Intelligence provides that the genre is hip hop.

© Chill Bill

Published by Toy Town™ Times

That's settled then.

Heard the one about the children's home not accepting their runaways back at 2am because the other cherubs were 'settled' and the influx of the returnees would disturb the others?

Laugh, I nearly choked.

Sticking on topic for a change, on two occasions recently, when asking parents for a photo of their missing weans, I was amazed (well not really) to be advised they didn't have such a thing. That speaks volumes to me.

Mind you there's no test before you have kids, but sometimes I wish there was.

Meanwhile below there's a few snippets I read which might help understanding some kids.

Autism in girls may be missed.

Let's not turn our back on troubled children.

Parents need lessons in ADHD.

It also seems we are persecuting our future generation according to Barnardos.

Kids, who'd have 'em.

© Mr Plod

Published by Toy Town™ Times

'Lassie' Dies

Sad news from Toy Town™ folks.

I posted about Senga's (that's Agnes for our non-Scots) heroics a while back which were highlighted in court by the accused's brief.

I like dogs, even landsharks, and this is a wee tragedy. It is also a sickener for Senga's handler and family as the hounds live with handlers these days and her handler will now have to start from scratch with a new dug.

But, in typical black
Polis humour, here's something canine related that made me chuckle.

© Mr Plod

Published by Toy Town™ Times

Scots beers ASBO'd

Those of you not from planet Zog will have gathered that one of the sub-plots of this blog is my passion for beer (and of course Whisky). Brown and black stuff in particular, but always in moderation.

I am now advised that one of my favourite breweries, who produce the wonderful Red McGregor and the even more wonderful Dark Island, are to have their spectacularly named Skull-Splitter beer banned.

And if that's not enough, the over-enthusiastic amateurs at the Portman Group are having a go at another Scots brewery in Toyland

I am going to go out on a limb here to suggest that your average preteens-binger or confirmed soak would be unlikely to buy any of these beers whilst White Lightning, Buckfast, Stella, cheap vodka and alcopops are available.

Even the quines are not amused.


© Noddy
Published by Toy Town™ Times

Over-enthusiastic Amateurs

Not my words, but those of the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.

A while back I posted about the ancient art of conkers.

According to the editorial, the above organisation's sponsoring of this "
life-threatening sport of conkers represents a volte face of quite earth-shattering proportions".

I'm looking forward to some more meaningful volte faces from more important organisations, who might just have had a few decision makers categorised as over-enthusiastic amateurs, but I'm not holding my breath.

© Noddy

Published by Toy Town™ Times

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Give me some piece

There is a story that the derivation of the Scots word 'Piece' comes from the old rural habit of drying oatmeal gruel, not unlike a slab of dried porridge, and leaving it to go hard in the bottom of a kitchen drawer and then cutting off a bit (piece) to take as part of a packed lunch.

Nowadays, a piece is more generally a sandwich or one's packed meal taken to work (even if it's not a sandwich any more and more likely a microwave lasagne from Tesco). You keep your nosh in piece box.

In the Polis, our refreshment break is known as "piece time." It is an unintended, but amusing play on words. However, as I will elucidate, increasingly rarely do I really get some peace or even my piece, and even less often at what might be considered a reasonable time of the day or after a reasonable duration of duty.

But if you think I have a problem, consider the guid folk over at the SAS.

Now, presupposing you have the time, go and have a keek at these links.

Tea Break Paramedic criticised.

999 crew sacked in meal break row.

Fears over Paramedic meal breaks.

Taking a break.

There are some glaring issues highlighted.

There can be no doubt that in the case of the ambulance service, and indeed the Polis, the public expect, quite rightly, that they have a 24 hour service. However, despite frequent drunken abuse to the contrary, we are human and need our downtime and food. Our welfare must not be ignored. Long term, regularly interrupted or non-existent breaks do nothing for our health.

Having said that, I find it inconceivable not to respond to genuine calls for our skills and presence, even when my fork is about to be raised to my mouth. I will come back to this later, but a little ancient history first.

When I was fresh out of the wrapper, I recall that our skipper would routinely advise the shift who was piecing when as part of his briefing. On a night shift (then just 8 hours duration) half the shift would break at 1am and the other half at 2am for a fry up at HQ in the 24 hour canteen (i.e. before even the canteen staff went onto a 9-5!). Life was good and I didn't miss many of my appointments with the crew. Moreover, the Gaffers would turn up too and it was a good opportunity for shift bonding and the inevitable moaning!

Like the canteen, the booked break soon disappeared down the black hole of reorganisation. Along came the divide of response/neighbourhood policing, variable shift patterns and what I will term 'departmentalisation.' Now shifts are longer, break cover is apparently non-existent and the general demand on response teams is such that a piece time is no longer regarded as a necessity of a briefing or even in the mind of skippers as the shift progresses. Fellow troops will know we now 'grab' a piece when we can. Often this is at a desk as we update databases or fill in forms, sometimes it is in the cars as we hurtle from one job to another. Admit it, you'll all have been clocked by Joe Public with a Ginster's pastie in your mouth as you whizz by. I even suspect Inspector Gadget has been seen devouring a doughnut on the move!

I have known all too often what appears to be the unwritten rule that we must wait for the next shift to come in to get a break, because calls are ‘piling up.’ That can mean an eight hour haul till 10pm! Now that’s a long time for my belly to be empty and an even more daft time to eat. In simple terms it ain’t healthy. Particularly as there is the temptation to sneak in that Mars bar to keep you going!

It seems to me that the same problem presents itself to the Paramedics, particularly those in rural areas where there is no cover at all. It is hardly surprising then that they have called for established breaks to be mandatory and undisturbed. Surely it is for Management to arrange for suitable resourcing to obviate this problem of lack of cover.

I may be described as getting old in the tooth when I grumble about being disturbed on my admittedly paid for break for the same old dross, even if it is a ‘Grade 1’ call. Purely in welfare terms, the dross calls of a routine day and the invariable lack of resources to cover same bites my arse as that lasagne goes back in the micro for the umpteenth time as I leg it out the door to find on arrival at the call that Joe and Josephine Public are telling each other what a respective waste of space they are.

Now, when it’s a genuinely important non-routine call, where my services are really required and rapid response is the call of the day, I don’t mind. That’s what I’m paid for, even during my break and I accept that willingly.

Strictly speaking, I am entitled to 20 minutes break at some undefined time in a shift and by break that means completely away from my work environment, with no interruptions. When was the last time your skipper, gaffer or SMT asked you if you got that? Answers on a postage stamp please.

Now back to the SAS.

But hey, have a cuppa first and switch the phone/radio off.

In the Unionised world, breaks are stipulated and it appears that the ambulance service, as far as Paramedics are concerned anyway, have been run ragged for too long and have 'settled' for one or other option of single payments per disruption, yearly bonus for same or to be paid for the break time to always be available, whilst other have accepted their breaks are unpaid and as such cannot be asked to 'work.'

Given that the Paramedic concerned chose to be unpaid and if he did attend a call there would be all sorts of ramifications therein. Would the SAS 'cover' his backside if he responded and things went Pete Tong? You go guess!

Looking at the Editor's comment viz;

"Publicly, the ambulance service insists Mr Park was within his rights. Let’s hope that, privately, it is embarrassed and ashamed."

It only needed one word to be changed from the third person to the first and poor old Alfie would be the target of derision.

To me the simple issue is resources. There needs to be some compromise in rural areas were staffing is understandably thin. It seems ludicrous and palpably unworkable in such circumstances, were there is no relief that a Paramedic can be off duty during a tour of duty. Needs must and I would say the option to be unpaid is a non-starter, but Management must then take their staff’s welfare into account and assure there is cover for breaks.

In the world of the poor Polis, that would mean closer supervision and filtration of the nature of calls responded to by munching moaners and attention to ensuring staff get a reasonable, and reasonably timed, break each and every shift, even when the brown stuff really hits the fan.

Meantime, far’s that bridie, min?

© Mr Plod
Published by Toy Town™ Times