Who Won the Week (31 January 2021)

In response to Fandango’s Who Won the Week post, I have been looking at my own newsfeeds.

I found a story this week which I’m sure will be an, er, winner for the guy involved.

Over to Japan, to a town called Saitama, north of Tokyo, and entrepreneur Shota Ishida has hit on what he thinks will be a winning idea.

Many people get anxious over the question “do I smell?” and, for a small percentage of these, it can be life-limiting. They realise that they will not get objective opinions from friends (if they have any) and so Ishida, who himself admits to having gone through spells of not bothering to change his clothes, has stepped in.

For the bargain fee of around $150, Ishida will send you a special tee to wear for the day. You then send it back to him at his company, Odorate (no, I’m not making this up!), and he will them perform a BO analysis on it using the gas chromatography mass spectrometer (GCMS) which he acquired, secondhand, to launch the business.

GCMS is real technology. It is used by people like perfume manufacturers to analyse the tiniest of particles, and is also used in forensic labs. It was even “used” by the TV franchise CSI!

For your fee, Odorate will not only analyse your tee for 25 of BO’s most pungent contributors, but will also, helpfully, supply you with tips on how to combat BO.

Er, wash?


Life through the Lens (31 January 2021)

As my previous series came to an end, I had the idea to post some of my own photographs.

When my eyes were better, I used to enjoy photography. I had some decent kit and was around just as digital photography was taking off. Although it was strictly a hobby for me, two of my photos were published. One rural shot of hay bales ended up in a brochure made by the UK’s NFU (farming), another ended up in a coffee-table book about lighthouses. I wasn’t David Bailey but a couple of times, I was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time.

I thought I’d share some. All these photographs were taken by me, I own the copyright so if you’d like to use any, go for it. Just so long as you don’t use them to make any money.

My aim is to publish weekly again but this time, on Sunday afternoons. I’m just going to repeat this spiel each week, too, for the benefit of new readers, so you can safely skip to the camera graphic to save reading the blurb each time.

If you look at the category above (high on left, by the date), I’ll put every photo in that same category so you can find previously-published photos. If I feel a photo needs some explanation, I’ll maybe write a line or two to go with it. Like the last time, I’ll keep going until I run out of steam. Oh, and feel free to join in, if the fancy takes you.

I’ve linked to a higher-res umage under each photo.

This one is a memory of when we used to go birdwatching. We would travel out in the early evening, by boat, from Poole Harbour in the UK, along the Dorset coast.

These cliffs usually could not be accessed by land, so seabirds found them a safe haven. We’d see colonies of guillemots, razorbills, the occasional gannet, but the highlight would be seeing the puffins. But the boat would only get so close to the rocks, so imagine me, with my biggest zoom lens (500mm). In failing light, from a pitching deck…

You’ll see better photographs of puffin but I was really pleased to get this one.

Culinarily Challenged

inspired by Fandango’s One Word Challenge (FOWC) of 31 January 2021, plunge.

When my uncle was learning to bake,
We were scared of the hash he would make,
He at last took the plunge,
With Victoria Sponge,
Even dog had severe bellyache.


Goodness, then have put Independence Day on TV and I’m confusing it with Mars Attacks!

I’m waiting for those two kids to take all the aliens out.

Them or Us

The EU is having this weird spat with AstraZeneca at the moment, and the UK seems to be piggy in the middle.

AZ signed a contract to provide so many COVID vaccines to the EU. AZ has plants in Belgium and the Netherlands which it had earmarked for production, and they can’t keep up.

AZ also has plants in the UK, which are supplying the UK with the vaccine.

The EU thinks that the supplies earmarked for the UK should be diverted to make up the shortfall. So, that’s the extent to wgich the UK is involved – the EU wants AZ to reroute supplies which would otherwise be destined for the UK.

Yesterday, I saw stories about the EU introducing export controls (presumably they want vaccines made in the EU to be reserved for EU citizens, which seems strange when it has strict rules about protectionism) and today, I saw a story about checks on the Irish border (which is the land border between the UK and the EU).

Doesn’t all this seem a bit silly? I mean, we’re in the context where somebody could carry the virus, quite easily, from UK to EU, or vice versa, so does it not seem silly to be worrying about who gets vaccinated first?

And it makes me realise that this is a whole lot bigger than the UK and the EU. It could happen between any two neighbours. One has the vaccine and one does not, but because borders are porous, what difference does it make, who gets the vaccine first? Plus, of course, airline travel allows us to fly globally, so the spat is not even restricted to neighbours.

I suppose the cynic in me recognises that politicians will be elected by their own people, so their care stops at that point. But surely the one thing the pandemic should have taught them is that there is no them or us?