More local paper sausage roll anguish

Who could forget the sorry tale of Linda and Tony Gilkes and their pie-related FURY at Morrison’s supermarket on Teeside?

Nope. Me neither.

But irritation involving savoury pastries is not a particularly common occurrence, and I – quite reasonably – thought that we were probably done with it for this year.

How wrong I was.

Because suddenly, there was this:

Here’s the first bit of the story:

A PENSIONER who eats ten sausage rolls a day was horrified to find that his packet only had nine.

Horrified, readers. HORRIFIED. (Just like you were when you found out that he eats ten sausage rolls a day.)

Please meet our 74-year old protagonist Tony Francis, described thus:

a regular purchaser of the snacks from his Aldi supermarket at Boundary Road in Portslade

As you’d need to be if you were stuffing ten of the bastards down seven times a week.

He might be from the opposite end of the country from the Gilkes’, but he is equally pissed off at his local supermarket because when he took his 9 sausage rolls, he found that they were full of METAL!

(Except they weren’t.)

Mr Francis said: “I was gobsmacked.”

Gobsmacked, readers. GOBSMACKED!

Gobsmacked enough to get in touch with his local paper and tell them all about his non-story. What follows is that story in the words of Mr Tony Francis.

I was in Aldi and usually buy the pack of 10 sausage rolls. When I got them home I found out there was only nine. So I tried to get in touch with the supplier, but ended up going through to Aldi itself. That’s when I found out that the rolls I had been buying every day had been taken off the shelves because metal was found in them.

On the plus side, Mr Francis is now magnetic and hasn’t misplaced his keys in weeks.

I’m joking, of course. The batch that he’d been eating had no metal in them at all, and weren’t the ones involved in the recall, as confirmed by an Aldi spokesbeagle:

The packet Mr Francis bought was not affected by the recall in June.

See? So all’s well that ends well, right? Not quite:

Mr Francis said the supermarket should have done more to warn him about the danger:
He said: “I’ve decided not to eat them. Surely they should have said it was not safe. I know it is not good PR. As a business, I would try to keep it quiet and move them off the shelves.”

Ah yes – the old hush-hush approach.

Like… er… this?

Aldi says product recall notices were displayed in prominent places such as the store entrance for six weeks. It includes a picture, product name, and reason for the recall.

Six weeks is forty-two days. That’s four hundred and twenty sausage rolls in Tony Francis’ world. You’d think he might have noticed that (what we presume must be) his favourite snack had disappeared off the shelves and was featured in big posters at the door of the store each time he entered. Or perhaps he missed the signs because he was so intent on foraging for his delicious flaky pasty-coated addiction in the discount superstore.

There’s a lesson in there for us all. Mine probably involves Castle Milk Stout.

There is good news for 6000 miles… at the end of all this though, thanks to a suitably bizarre inclusion in this wholly bizarre tale.
Here’s Mr Francis one last time:

But as a customer, I live on my own and this is a regular purchase for me. I’m not very IT friendly, and when I learned about it, I thought ‘crikey, how bad could it have been?’

It could have been really bad, Tony. Really bad. But your prowess in this new-fangled online world is of limited relevance here. Even if you were Bill Gates and you were eating ten metal-infused sausage rolls a day, it could still have been really bad.
The only positive about your lack of IT gumption is that you’ll likely never see this blog post taking the piss out of your allegedly traumatic experience at the hands of Aldi and their plutonium sausage roll manufacturer.

But we wish you well, and hope that you have found a less metallic, better counted replacement snack for your eating needs.

Maybe try to cut down a bit on the numbers though, ok?

Gold Rush

When I hear a song and I enjoy it, it doesn’t bother me who it’s by.

I’m not proud.

Obviously, if it was by Beyonce or Sicky Dion, I might have other thoughts, but then I wouldn’t enjoy anything by them, so moot point.

And of course, there are some bands and artists that I am more likely to enjoy; Death Cab For Cutie seem to be becoming one of them. I heard their new track Autumn Love this week, and loved it.

And I would love to share it with you, but there’s no video just yet, so I’m going to have to use their last release Gold Rush – in which lead singer Ben Gibbard takes a walk along his local pavement sidewalk playing a more subservient version of Richard Ashcroft.

Although this wasn’t the video I wanted to share, I do like the song and the narrative of the video: everyone being too concerned with their cellphones to notice that the world is irrevocably changing for the worse around them.

The eventual, inevitable smothering of our protagonist is not lost on me.

I feel his pain.


Yesterday, while I was out shooting kids (with a drone, guys! With a drone!) – it finally happened.

Openserve came to my house and installed fibre. Super speedy, glorious, long (long, long)-awaited fibre. I’m publishing this… via fibre.
I can do anything… via fibre.

It’s even been put in a special tubing to prevent the beagle from eating it.

Isn’t modern technology wonderful?

The Weirdest Things People Have Bet On … Ever

Humans are a strange species. For one, we are the only mammals in the world drinking the milk of another species – and not only other mammals but plants, too (forgive the pun).
The best thing about being the weirdest species on this planet, though, is that we have no other similar species to compare ourselves to – all others are below our level of intelligence and civilization (or at least that’s what we think).
And, at least as far as we know, we are the only species that gambles – risking something we already have for an often slim chance of having more. Betting on different things is normal today, especially in the age of online bets and smartphones – but people usually limit their wagers to the outcome of sporting events, especially those that are on the top of the popularity list – football, rugby, cricket, and various contact sports.

Except when they don’t.

Sometimes, people bet on things that makes fellow humans raise at least one eyebrow (maybe even both).

Believing that their kids are special is normal for every parent out there – but actually placing bets (with money, at bookmakers) on the same is a tad unusual. Yet it’s not unheard of – the specialty press speaks of several football players, for example, with families so confident that they actually bet on their success. Leeds United’s midfielder Lewis Cook, for example, made his granddad a rich(er) man (by GBP 17,000 or over R300,000, to be exact) by playing his first international match before he turned 21 – old man Cook placed his bet in 2014 at odds of 33 to 1.

Welsh footballer Harry Wilson made an even bigger dream come true: his grandfather placed a bet on his football success back when he was just 18 months old. 50 quid with odds of 2500 to one have turned into GBP 125,000 (or almost R2.5 million) before he turned 17.

But the most amazing bets have still been placed on politics – modern-day politics, that is, and things that have made it into the mainstream media.
A man, for example, placed a bet on Scotland staying with the United Kingdom before the 2014 referendum. And he was so sure of his prediction being the correct one that he was willing to risk GBP 900,000 (more than R17 million) on it, at odds of 5 to 2. His actual winnings were just GBP 200,000 on this bet but he won, nevertheless.
An old lady in the US was not this lucky – she bet all her life savings (almost R10 million) on Hillary Clinton winning the US elections in 2016, and lost. Hotel Owner John Mappin was, in turn, more than convinced that Donald Trump would win the elections – his winnings worth GBP 100,000 (almost R2 million) stand witness to his prediction skills.

People are strange. Funny, but strange – especially when it comes to betting.


Today, if weather permits (and actual genuine spoiler, it looks like it won’t), I’ll be helping with recording a Guinness World Record attempt for the largest number of people playing Mancala at any one time.

What is Mancala? I hear you ask. This is Mancala (not, as Wikipedia first warns us, to be confused with mandala or Lake Manzala):

Mancala is one of the oldest known games to be played. Mancala is a generic name for a family of 2-player turn-based strategy board games played with small stones, beans, or seeds and rows of holes or pits in the earth, a board or other playing surface. The objective is usually to capture all or some set of the opponent’s stones, beans, etc. Versions of the game have been played for at least hundreds of years around the world.

It’s part of the kids’ school’s 20th Anniversary celebrations and I think it’s a great way to remember a special birthday year.

The students have made and decorated their own Mancala boards and learned how to play the game – which is no bad thing in itself, as this article tells us:

Because there’s a lot more to playing these games than just… well… playing these games:

The African continent has a long history of gameplay that extends back to pre-slavery and precolonial times. Board games, in particular, have been used to teach, or reinforce, values as well as cognitive and motor skills.

The list of requirements for a Guinness World Record attempt is unsurprisingly rather long and arduous, but the team at the school responsible for this attempt have got it all in hand. For my part, I’ll be taking Florence the Mavic up to record the fun from on high. I may have to hide her behind some trees to get some protection from the wind.

Having been desperate for rain for most of this year, the inevitable Whatsapp group set up to keep us informed with the latest updates is ironically suddenly filled with prayers for dry weather for this morning. It’s not looking promising, but we’re going to give it a go anyway – the fourth term calendar is too full to easily accept a postponement.

Wish us luck – and maybe watch out for some of my aerial footage illustrating a new World Record  for South Africa in the 2020 GWR Book.