Sunday, 20 January 2008

What happened to my free range chicken!

For the first time in my life I can say a TV chef has had a direct influence over my life - and it was to do with chickens.

The cause? Well I blame Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (see Humane Hugh wants you to give up cheap chicken ) and I also blame Jamie Olivers TV shows about improving our diet. 

The effect on me? Well I couldn't buy my free range chicken or bacon from my local farm. For the past year I've had the bi-weekly pleasure of visiting Woodford Farm at Rochford Essex and get what is probably the best produced meats in my area - this week they were sold out.

OK so it is probably a good thing that people are looking to buy from local producers, who treat their animals humanely - well let's face it you drive past the pigs you will be eating in a few months time so you get to see them in a paddock wallowing in mud. But I can't help it if I feel a little hard done by as it has been my secret for almost a year.

By the way for those of you who decide to buy local from a farmer DON'T let your kids name the pigs. It can come as a bit of a shock to them when you tell them who's coming for Sunday lunch :-) , but why shouldn't they know where their food comes from.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Commuting into London - getting home, or not as the case was

OK, this is a gripe about travelling on the Fenchurch Street line run by C2C.

I spent over 4 hours trying to get home last night, maybe those of us who use C2C rail are spoilt, as c2c leads London commuter punctuality league by a mile. OK I can accept the poor weather caused problems, but to then be so disorganised to leave people stranded at a station for over 2 hours is pretty poor (well my time was 2 hours, others were still there when I left).

Rumour was that coaches would be at the station I was deposited at, well yes one turned up after 1 hour and with a train full of people trying to get onto one coach I didn't fancy getting into a fight to board the coach - so being an English gentleman I retired to the back of the crowd. So after waiting another hour a further coach arrives, along with another train full of people. This coach decides to park in a different location to the earlier one, so some of the new arrivals managed to get that coach, not me though and at this point people were getting angry.

The final solution for me was a Taxi and a £50 bill from Laindon to Westcliff.

Anyway why am I griping about this, well I heard this morning that the coaches went to Pitsea and not Laindon where me and approximately a thousand other people were stranded. What happened to contingency plans and managed recovery.

I work in IT and there always seems to be bad press about how IT planning and disaster recovery fails, well after last night I think it proves that IT are not the only areas that suffer from poor communication and bad planning.

I'd love to know who was in charge of the disaster recovery for C2C last night and see what the plan was, don't think it will happen though.