Category Archives: Food and Drink

Space Bacon


by Jake McMillan

How much do you think it would cost to carry out your very own space mission? Millions of pounds? Nope, you can do it for £200 and even buy the equipment off the internet!

To test out the new GoPro cameras Flyonthewall.uk.com are selling, they are daring to send a Bacon Explosion into space! The Flyonthewall Bacon into Space Team will achieve this using a helium weather balloon they bought from Amazon and attaching it to a ‘baconcraft’ they have designed along with around 300g of bacon.

The balloon will carry the baconcraft known as Pigasus I, 30 miles straight up into the sky and into space. At 30 miles in height the balloon will disintegrate and Pigasus I will begin to plummet and a parachute will open with a terminal velocity expected of 15.7mph.

Pigasus I

As the Bacon into Space Team are complete amateurs with no history of space engineering whatsoever, this mission proves that great technology is actually extremely affordable and conducting your own space mission is very doable. However, it still requires a lot of preparation, head-scratching, planning and good luck with the weather.

The U.K.-based team feel confident they may be able to launch in January if the weather and wind direction are correct. Not only did the Bacon into Space Team have to be sure of their science and mathematics, they also needed permission from the Civil Aviation Authority. To gain approval, this mission had to be carefully thought out and planned, with a clear focus on safety.

Flyonthewall Bacon into Space Team

The team plan to launch Pigasus I from John Coles Park in Chippenham and although the weather forecast looks good for this weekend, they need the wind to be travelling in an Easterly direction otherwise it will not be safe to launch. Dave Langdale, one of the Flyonthewall Bacon into Space Team, told me that if the wind is travelling any other way then Pigasus I could end up flying to RAF Brize Norton or towards Bristol Airport, which would not be safe. Pilots and airplane passengers might get nervous if they saw a flying pig … but who would believe them?!

Although Dave and his Bacon into Space colleagues are confident, he explained there are still a number of things that can go wrong:

  • there could be a small hole in the balloon which would mean it would take longer to go up (they are expecting the whole space mission to last 3.5hrs from take off to landing) and will be more affected by the wind;
  • they need to be able to follow and find Pigasus I when it lands (they are using a Windows phone to track it via GPS);
  • If the wind calculations aren’r right Pigasus I could blow right off the edge of the country or worse, into London city centre

Richard Linford, Managing Director of Flyonthewall.uk.com, told me, ‘This is a very exciting project and I shall be having my fingers crossed for the weather this weekend.  I will be eagerly awaiting the video footage captured from the space mission. It really does prove that state of the art technology can actually be affordable and this is a philosophy we have used across the Flyonthewall product range’.

I wish the team the very best of luck!

Related content:
Space Bacon Blog
Flyonthewall


2012 Mojito Mile


Saturday July 28th saw the running of the 2012 Mojito Mile in Clapham (South London), the 6th time a Mojito Mile (MM) has taken place since the very first one in May 2009. It was another success, as London’s best pub crawl weaved its way down Clapham High Street and along to Clapham Old Town:

2012 MOJITO MILE MAP

The Mojito Mile is not advertised publicly and is organised as a private event, meaning you have to be invited by someone who is going. This is really part of the charm of the event as it does not get so big that it is becomes unwieldy and bars are unable to cope. It brings together people who are in your wider social network, friends of friends and beyond! Many a new friendship and romance has begun on the Mojito Mile.

Everyone has different taste buds, but my personal favourite Mojitos on this year’s mile were at The Loft, a regular mainstay of the Mojito Mile. Mojitos differ greatly from bar to bar and even to the bar-person who makes them.

The Stonhouse made a big effort to make Mojito Milers feel welcome. Last year was their first time being part of the MM and in the hour and a half we were there in 2011, they sold 122 Mojitos (of different varieties) as well as other drinks.

After The Stonhouse, the Mojito Mile made its way to Venn St Records, a newish bar next to the Clapham Picturehouse cinema and making its first appearance on the Mojito Mile. Following this, we headed towards Clapham Old Town and on to Grafton House for some lovely Mojitos in their garden at the back. The final port of call was Lost Society and we enjoyed the end to this summer evening with many a Mojito (and other drinks) until closing time (1pm).

I’ve been assured that the Mojito Mile will definitely return in 2013.

Drink responsibly

Related posts:
2011 Mojito Mile
The Mojito Mile


Service as Quick as Coal


by Jake McMillan

I wrote a letter of complaint to the Coal Grill and Bar in Wimbledon (below). Unlike the silly letters to the FA about applying to be England Manager, complaining to Hampshire Council that the New Forest is not new, asking for Vagisil to change its name, this complaint is a genuine one.

I wasn’t trying to be funny, however I was going for a hint of sarcasm but I am not sure I managed it? Read the below and see how you think I did? The email had the Subject Line of ‘Congratulations on Your Service’.

I am writing to congratulate you on your truly unique standard of service.
-

In these difficult economic times most bars and restaurants are only too eager to encourage customers on their premises to eat and drink, whereas you stand apart in letting thirsty and hungry patrons sit gloriously unattended.

I really do admire your lack of greed and desire for profitability to let potential sales of drinks and food go amiss and let willing customers sit and chat assured in the knowledge they are not in any danger of being served anytime soon. It is a refreshing approach to want customers to spend less as well as helping with their diet and health by letting them drink and eat as little as possible.

Some naive restaurateurs would use your proximity to the Odeon Cinema and the footfall of customers this must bring as an opportunity to maximise sales, but no, you expertly have created an environment where you only serve customers if they really do demand it. Why have staff running around asking customers if they want a drink or to order some food when they can just stand around doing nothing.

I have had the pleasure of your unique service on several occasions this year, before I ventured into the cinema, and I really must commend you on the diligence of your staff to stand inside looking out at willing and ready to be served customers and refusing to be drawn in to the trap of taking their order.

I waited 40mins earlier this week sat outside in your area of 12 tables waiting to be attended to. Normally I have to wait sometime to be served, but this day was special in the fact I was sat at a completely empty table hoping to order a drink and a member of staff did come out eventually but cunningly avoided my attempts to get his attention or notice that there were no drinks or food on my table.

As a user of the FourSquare social networking tool, I was able to see that other customers of yours have had a similar experiences to my own and applaud you on your consistent level of service.

Once your staff have been accosted or tricked into actually serving, they are amazingly average in politeness and proficiency.

When I got the bill earlier this week I also had to admire how you have cleverly managed to minimise the 20% discount offered (either from showing Odeon tickets or VoucherCloud code) by applying the discount to the total including the amusingly named ‘optional’ service charge (10%) which I was forced to pay. It was very astute of you to realise I now did not have the time to dispute this as I had to rush off to see the film I had booked tickets for.

Well done on choosing an alternative approach to service and having the bravery to implement it so deftly.

Yours

Jake McMillan

I couldn’t find any director level contacts, so sent this to the Manager of Coal at Wimbledon and their Marketing person. It triggered a general response that day but the following day I got an email from John Gater, the Founder and CEO of the Coal Bar and Grill Group.

COAL RESPOND to my complaint: Click here >>>

Related Stories:
My England Manager (Football) Application
Complaint to Hampshire Council about ‘New’ Forest
Complaint about Vagisil Name 


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