Sunday, 31 July 2016

Overheard Print Rubbernecking

Overheard while watching Iron Man II:

Hay: "Mickey Rourke is the Axl Rose of the acting world."

Hay wanted to print something from her mobile this morning while still in bed. Our printer is kept in a cupboard in the living room, and as I head the printer burst into action I said to her that it was usual to open the cupboard door before printing so the paper doesn't crunch up. She ignored me, the reason being evidenced below:

She obviously knew from prior experience that the printer is lined up exactly with the bottom gap in the cupboard door.

Went to Weston Super-Mare yesterday with a couple of guys from the Village Hall Committee to drop off a marquee we had borrowed for the village Queen's Birthday event. On the way back we got caught up in an 11 mile traffic tailback caused by an accident on the M5 northbound carriageway between Weston Super-Mare and Clevedon. The motorway was shut for at least an hour as two cars were tackled by no less than 4 fire engines, 4 ambulances, an air ambulance and God knows how many police cars, all of which (with the obvious exception of the air ambulance) had sped past us down the hard shoulder from the Weston direction.

While we were sat in the queue we noticed that traffic on the southbound carriageway was sporadic, and once we managed to get past the accident we noticed why - rubbernecking.

I was using Waze as my navigation tool (all agreed we should have heeded its advice and taken the back route through Weston to Clevedon, rather than the motorway) and it proved extremely useful in that someone had put the accident on the Waze map and several comments by Waze users near the scene kept us up-to-date on events.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

PR Faux Pas

Twice in two days I've heard company PR people trying to defend the indefensible by not answering an accusation and instead gushing unrelated positive points about the company in question.

They (and they're usually women) don't seem to realise they are making themselves look stupid and their companies unconcerned, especially when eventually forced to say something about the accusation and responding with the mantra that it's being taken very seriously, when it's manifestly obvious from the evasions that it's not.

Companies go up in people's estimation when they face the music, take it on the chin and outline steps being taken to improve matters. Only having a plan shows whether the accusation is being treated seriously or not.

One was a supermarket chain and the other a train company.

Friday, 29 July 2016

A Mecca for Viruses

Well, the Ghost Push virus seems to have gone, but I'm not sure how I achieved this, unless the Stubborn Trojan Killer App was updated during the day without me being aware of it. I ran several scans throughout the day, with the usual result that it couldn't kill the virus, and then after a scan during the evening it reported no virus, and all the annoying symptoms seem to have disappeared. I had played with a few root application Apps during the day, so it's feasible I turned something off that was the cause. Time will tell.

Was watching something on the local news about Beatrix Potter last night and heard the expression; "It's a Mecca to Beatrix Potter fans," in reference to an old tailor's shop in Gloucester. I wondered why we use Mecca as a reference point for pilgrimages, rather than somewhere more local, like Santiago de Compostella, Lourdes, Notre Dame or the The Guinness Storehouse (the latter two vying for the most popular tourist attraction in the Europe).

Thursday, 28 July 2016


Got a virus of some description on my mobile phone. Had it since about April. It manifests itself only when I'm using some of my Apps, such as Chrome, the Nat West App, Wikipedia and one or two others. In Chrome it opens a page to some spurious advert (prevented by  blocking popups, but the blank page still opens), in other Apps is can either open up an advert mid operation, or prevents the App from working properly by freezing hyperlinks or just crashing the App.

A clue is that the virus wants to open, but anything I can find on this refers to removal from PCs, not Android phones.

I've tried all manner of anti-virus Apps to get rid of it, but nothing detects it and removes it. I've looked for which of my Apps permit drawing over the screen and freezing them, but all to no avail. I don't want to do a factory reset as my phone is rooted and I don't want to lose my data.

Anyone else having this problem?

Stop Press - just used an App called Stubborn Trojan Killer which found a Ghost Push virus, but couldn't remove it. Apparently it installs in the root.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Drone Jobs

Amazon to use drones for dropping off orders? That's like saying mobile phone manufacturers are aiming to make smart phones you don't have to charge for a week. They probably are, but the technology is way off yet. Even a £1,000 drone has a maximum flying time of about 20 minutes (unburdened), which at 50 MPH means 16 miles, there and back, not accounting for the weight of the parcel taking a lot of battery power. Unless battery power increases exponentially, it will have to be limited to well within an 8 mile radius of a depot, meaning only facilitating city centres.

Looking at the media stuff, they're quoting a 'range' of 15 miles, but it's unclear as to whether that's a radius or the there-and-back range.

What with technology replacing jobs, someone in government is soon going to have to consider paying everyone a universal basic income funded by taxes on companies shedding people through the use of technology. That salary could be used to simply fund a life of doing nothing (replacing the benefits system), to set up a business (probably servicing drones) or as an augmentation of a working salary, if you're lucky enough to have a job that still uses people. It's been under discussion in several European countries, such as Switzerland, where a recent referendum threw it out by a 76.9% majority,

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Forgotten Tall Immigrants

My short term memory is quite atrocious these days and I make notes on my phone of items for the blog as they occur to me. Well, I was watching something on telly last night and it sparked an idea for a blog subject. I thought to myself; "Shall I make a note of that?", but decided not to, as I was convinced I would remember it. An hour later I couldn't, for the life of me, remember what on earth it was. 

It did return to me, however, when I woke up this morning. It was while watching Michael Portillo on one of his railway journey documentaries and the fact that the Ellis Island immigration centre, which was built to accommodate 4,000 immigrants a day, sometimes had to cope with 16,000 a day. Between 1892 and 1954 it processed over 12 million immigrants, mainly from Europe, who made America what it is today. A salutary lesson poke in the eyes for people who don't like immigrants.

My son's are tall (both taller than me), particularly No.2 Son, who is already 6' 1" at age 16 (and seems to eat like the proverbial horse). This morning I saw on the BBC news website that a new study has shown that when it comes to height, Dutch men and Latvian women tower over all other nationalities. Latvian men are 4th in the tall stakes and Dutch women are 2nd. My two sons are a product of a genetically Anglo-Dutch father and genetically Latvian mother.

Now when it comes to my two daughters, by a 4' 11" English mother, they both struggle to reach 5 feet. Genetics is a strange thing.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Sunday Green Kayaking

Can anyone recommend a decent Sunday newspaper? We take the Sunday Times. This is mainly because the accompanying Sunday Times Magazine used to have half decent and interesting articles; however, of late, the Sunday Times Magazine has descended to an intellectual par with its sister magazine, Style. It's all tittle-tattle, adverts and associated bollocks.

Spotted this over the weekend in Chipping Sodbury:

Is that what's called green motoring?

Went kayaking on the Avon with No.2 Son yesterday:

That's the 'doing embarrassing things with dad' stuff over for this year.

Sunday, 24 July 2016


Overheard while watching the TV programme, Full Steam Ahead.

Hay: "Do you think the Brexiteers will want to do away with the railways?"

Someone on the radio yesterday was trumpeting the 'fact' that the UK is one of the world's leading trading nations. We're 9th in the list of gross export value, which isn't so bad, but 33rd on the list of exports per capita, which is worrying. More worrying still, we're 2nd in the list of highest trade deficits; only the USA has a higher deficit.

Once the redundancies from the loss of confidence kick in, then the exports per capita figure could improve, unless there's a swathe of company closures too, which seems highly likely given order books are at their lowest since the global recession.

One hopes the fall in sterling will do something to counter the deficit, as the Brexiteers are maintaining, but the Brexiteers also maintain the fall is temporary, so not much hope in the long run.

Seems to me that Brexiteer logic is to translate everything, no matter how dire, as a positive and a sign of a bright and rosy Utopian future.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Glug, Glug, Glug

Spotted yesterday - nice name for a company that does plumbed in water coolers:

Talking of which, the submersible pump for the caravan's water delivery system packed up yesterday. Got a new one, but the coupling on the caravan is so old that I had to do a bodge to get it to fit. Have ordered a new housing so I can do a proper job in the next week or so. Need to find a cheap way of plumbing the caravan into a permanent supply, rather than using a refillable 40 Ltr roll-tank. They make roll-tanks with a side filler and you can get an adaptor with a ball-cock, but they're ludicrously expensive.

Roof trusses were fitted to the 2nd cabin yesterday:

Thursday, 21 July 2016

House of Cards Drones

I'm increasingly hearing of Powerpoint presentations being described as 'decks'. Never heard the expression before joining my current company, but I just heard Hay use it yesterday too. Seems the term has been around for over a decade without me noticing. Must be an Americanism.

Went out into the garden this morning at about 5:30 and heard what I thought was an electrical buzzing noise. Further investigation revealed a drone hovering in the field by the railway. Resplendent in dressing gown and flip-flops, I wandered over to the field to find a bloke practicing with two drones. The smaller one had cost him over £1,000 and he said I didn't want to know how much the larger one cost. The larger had a range of over 2 miles and is equipped with all the gizmos to make it fail-safe. It's quite rekindled by interest in drones, but it will have to wait till after the wedding and all the cost that will entail.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Selling Off the Family Cabin

People are decrying the sale of ARM Technologies to the Japanese; however, that's how Israel has one of the fastest rising economies in the world - they create new IP, build it, sell it off (usually to America) and then get to work on the next IP. It probably has something to do with them having the one of the highest number of PhDs per head of population; producing more scientific papers per capita than any other nation by a large margin; having the largest number of startup companies globally, second only to the U.S.; being No. 2 in the world for venture capital funds, right behind the United States. Selling off the family silver is not a problem if you have a silver mine.

What with Brexit having trashed a large segment of UK science funding, perhaps the pundits are right about not selling off ARM, as we're not going to be very good at creating university spin-offs from now on. We'll just have to settle for being number one in abusing foreigners and nostalgia for Empire.

The 2nd cabin is progressing well, especially with the advent of the good weather:

Roof trusses go on tomorrow and Friday.

If anyone wants a bespoke cabin built, then let me know and I'll put you in contact with Colin. He absolutely loves building them and would be happy to spend the rest of his working life doing it. However, you must want one built within a reasonable commuting distance of Old Sodbury.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Turkish Delight Car Mascots

Can't help but think Erdogan is trying to be another Assad.

A bit of DIY yesterday. I bored a hole in the plinth I use for the Bohemian glass car mascot I bought on eBay last year, inserted a little LED light I bought for Christmas from IKEA and, hey presto, an illuminated car mascot.

Not a perfect photo (took it in the darkened bathroom and had to edit out the tap on the left), but it conveys the effect I was after - and achieved. Below in situ.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Panoramic Spiders

Been experimenting with those panoramic images. View them on a mobile phone on Facebook and they move as you move your phone. Obviously not here.

I used an App called Panorama 360, which stitches multiple images together, although I think it will work with just the camera.

Not a panoramic image, but I couldn't help but take a shot of this chap, who has been busy during the night.

Sunday, 17 July 2016


Hay: "You should get your beard professionally trimmed at the barber."

Chairman: "Barbers don't do that kind of thing anymore - there are no old fashioned barbers."

Hay: "There must be - beards have never been so popular since Edwardian times."

Chairman: "I always thought most women didn't like beards."

Hay: "Oh, I wouldn't say that's true. Beards suit most people. Not women though."

Saturday, 16 July 2016

A Severe Case of Sleeping Sickness

Overheard, now that No.2 Son is finally ensconced in the caravan I bought last weekend:

Chairman (via Facebook Messenger at 10:01): "When you're awake, come in for some breakfast."

Chairman (via Facebook Messenger at 12.38 when No.2 Son had still not shown signs of life): "Make that lunch."

Seems I now have two teenage sons with severe cases of sleeping sickness.

Friday, 15 July 2016

A Poem for Xenophobes

The True Born Englishman

Thus from a mixture of all kinds began,
 That het’rogeneous thing, an Englishman:
 In eager rapes, and furious lust begot,
 Betwixt a painted Britain and a Scot.
 Whose gend’ring off-spring quickly learn’d to bow, 
And yoke their heifers to the Roman plough:
 From whence a mongrel half-bred race there came,
With neither name, nor nation, speech nor fame.
In whose hot veins new mixtures quickly ran,
Infus’d betwixt a Saxon and a Dane.
While their rank daughters, to their parents just,
Receiv’d all nations with promiscuous lust.
This nauseous brood directly did contain
The well-extracted blood of Englishmen.

Which medly canton’d in a heptarchy,
A rhapsody of nations to supply,
Among themselves maintain’d eternal wars,
And still the ladies lov’d the conquerors.

The western Angles all the rest subdu’d;
A bloody nation, barbarous and rude:
Who by the tenure of the sword possest
One part of Britain, and subdu’d the rest
And as great things denominate the small,
The conqu’ring part gave title to the whole.
The Scot, Pict, Britain, Roman, Dane, submit,
And with the English-Saxon all unite:
And these the mixture have so close pursu’d,
The very name and memory’s subdu’d:
No Roman now, no Britain does remain;
Wales strove to separate, but strove in vain:
The silent nations undistinguish’d fall,
And Englishman’s the common name for all.
Fate jumbled them together, God knows how; 
What e’er they were they’re true-born English now.

The wonder which remains is at our pride,
To value that which all wise men deride.
For Englishmen to boast of generation,
Cancels their knowledge, and lampoons the nation.

A true-born Englishman’s a contradiction,
In speech an irony, in fact a fiction.
A banter made to be a test of fools,
Which those that use it justly ridicules.
A metaphor invented to express
A man a-kin to all the universe.

For as the Scots, as learned men ha’ said,
Throughout the world their wand’ring seed ha’ spread;
So open-handed England, ’tis believ’d,
Has all the gleanings of the world receiv’d.

Some think of England ’twas our Saviour meant,
The Gospel should to all the world be sent:
Since, when the blessed sound did hither reach,
They to all nations might be said to preach.

’Tis well that virtue gives nobility,
How shall we else the want of birth and blood supply?
Since scarce one family is left alive,
Which does not from some foreigner derive.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Vicky Pollard's Unelected Henderson Government

So, as a result of the Brexit vote we've ended up with a government we never elected. There's a delicious irony about that, but I doubt Brexiteers will see it that way..

I was sat next to Vicky Pollard in the Newcastle Airport departures lounge last night. The woman was on her mobile phone for a solid hour and a half at 110 decibels and never gave whoever she was talking to the chance to get a word in edge-ways. She just had to be on the Bristol flight, and I was right.

Spotted this beautiful, Art Deco classic on social media yesterday - a 1930 Henderson motorcycle. Never heard of Henderson before, but apparently they were one of the big three manufacturers, alongside Harley Davidson and Indian.

Despite a full  order book, they closed at the start of the Great Depression.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Lift Angst in Newcastle

I suffer from a little-known affliction - lift anxiety. If I get into a lift on my own, I just hope to God that no-one else gets in before the doors close and delays my journey up or down.

It  happened to me the other day in Tesco. Had the lift to myself and the doors were just about to close when a bloke and his wife ambled up to the door and managed to press the button seconds before the doors shut. Naturally he faffed around while guiding his elderly mem-sahib in. 

Just as they were about to close for the 2nd time, he spotted a woman with several rug-rats in tow, and very kindly put his hand thought the narrowing lift door gap and the doors once more opened. I was furious! Said woman took a full 30 seconds to marshal her brood!

In Newcastle today for a brief 09:30 to 11:00 sales meeting, but there's no flight back to Bristol till 21:30. Should have either booked the train back or hired a car. Too late now.

Arrived last night, and when checking in the clerk asked me for both my signatures on the check-in slip. Confused the buggery out of me, as I only have one signature.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Ginger Hipster Readings

Flew up to Glasgow yesterday for a business meeting. I know it's a cliche, but never before in my life have I seen so many ginger people in a single day - and they were all women and all attractive. Could have been dye of course.

Another thing I saw lots of was young men with very short hair and large beards of the hipster variety. What do you call older blokes with huge beards? Pensters? Hipsioners?

Plans for the wedding are progressing. We're now focusing on the things I hate - readings. Khalil Gibran and his ilk have been done to death, so we're looking for something novel and off-beat. I suggested we get a few people to read something that combines their job with a wedding or marriage theme; like my brother (an engineer) reading a technical operation manual on women; a doctor friend of ours reading a medical tract on the heart; Hay's sister (an art therapist) reading a critique of The Arnolfini Wedding, etc. A personal favourite of mine is to have a reading of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, but I doubt we'd have the time.

Monday, 11 July 2016

Caravan II

Did I hear right and Eddie the Eagle is making a bid to lead Labour? Nothing would surprise me these days.

One manky wall of the caravan sanded and painted with emulsion, satellite TV installed, WiFi set up, water heater and central heating working perfectly, fridge cooled down to operating temperature. The only thing that needs some attention is getting water to the toilet to flush it, but I think there must be a stop-cock somewhere that I haven't yet discovered.

Hay will organise the home comforts such as towels, bedding, crockery and cutlery during the week and then No.2 Son can take up residence.

This must have been quite an expensive caravan when first manufactured in the 90s - it even has double glazing. 

Sunday, 10 July 2016



Chairman: "This Village Hall Committee thing - I have great difficulty remembering the names of all the people. The only ones I can remember are Ian and whatsis name..... the policeman..."

Hay: "Anthony."

Chairman: "That's the one."

Since being persuaded to become a member of the Village Hall Committee, I seem to spend all weekend being waved at by people I don't recall knowing. They beep us when we're walking along the main road on our weekend walks, and as I don't recognise the cars, I'm left wondering who on earth was beeping us.

The latest project:

Picked it up in Gloucester on Friday evening. 1990 caravan incorporating the worst excesses of 1990s design. £900.

No.2 Son has been thrown out by his mother for bad behaviour (he is a handful) and is looking to come and stay with us, the problem being we only have two bedrooms and he and No.1 Son don't exactly see eye-to-eye - it's no overstatement to say they hate each other. 

He's been sofa-surfing at mates' houses in Truro for the last couple of weeks while I come up with a solution. It doesn't help that No.2 wife refuses to speak to me and all communications are relayed through No.1 Son in a very oblique manner. The only solution was either to pay for a room for No.2 Son till I can get him into the Navy, or to buy a cheap caravan and he stays in that. The latter option at least gives me a tangible asset I can sell on later, or possibly use for my own enjoyment, Also, a caravan won't be too comfortable in winter, meaning No.2 Son will have an incentive to toe the line and get a job.

The problem is that I actually like the caravan, and so does Hay. Brings back memories of 5 years in one (admittedly a much bigger one) while building the house and we simply want to hook it to the car and use it to go away for weekends. I'm now full of nostalgia and re-learning all about inverters, boilers, water pumps and Calor gas.

Going to have to get a bigger 3rd car to tow it - the 1.1 Litre Hyundai Getz is not exactly up to it.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Compounding the Error

Not satisfied with sending the country into a spiral of decline, the Leave camp want to compound the error by promoting a candidate for PM who has the least experience for the job since Pitt the Younger.

It's a pity Andrea Leadsome has introduced the subject of children into the leadership contest; supporting Leave, she is obviously at odds with the youth vote. I wonder how her kids voted.

American police may be unfit to wield firearms, but many British voters are unfit to wield a vote.

Friday, 8 July 2016

Red Indian Boiler


Hay: "How's your new oil boiler?"

Hay's Dad: "It's much more economical than the old one, it uses considerably less oil. Actually, if I switched to gas I'd not use any oil at all."

Was watching one of those old, 50s cowboy films about Buffalo Bill just before the news last night. It was filmed in Spanish, dubbed into American and starred Gordon Scott. Why, when the Indians appear, do you always get that archetypal Red Indian music. The buggers only had drums, so why is Red Indian music composed for an entire orchestra?

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Pull Together in the Cabin

I'm getting heartily sick of those who voted Leave saying; "Get over it; we need to pull together," while being simultaneously bereft of a single idea or suggestion for what we do to create this Utopian vision they have of a rosy and bright future. All they are now doing is shifting the blame for our parlous state onto Mark Carney. "Wasn't my vote, guv. It was Carney talking the country down." Fantasists thinking that Utopia will spring from nothing, fully-formed - ex nihilo nihil fit, despite the .economy showing solid signs of recession

I have a suggestion - a referendum to impose a mandatory 2 year pay curb across the UK, combined with us all working 1 hour a day longer, or Saturday mornings. That would certainly allay market jitters and give the UK a much-needed economic boost, as well as heading inflation off at the pass.

We can't vote for a cut in wages or an increase in taxes, else a recession would become a self-fulfilling prophesy due to us having less money to spend, but working an extra hour a day, or Saturday mornings, has no impact on our pockets. Direct democracy in action, but I somehow doubt there will be much support for this kind of direct democracy from the Leavers, as most of them are either already unemployed or pensioners. I await a 38 Degrees petition from Leavers, but I fear they will just continue to lay more blame on Carney as a scapegoat for a self-inflicted injury.

In response to calls for another referendum in light of many Leave voters regretting the way they voted, they ask whether we want repeated referenda until we get  the result we want. Well, duh, yes! Isn't that democracy too? People's opinions do change, especially given the abysmal  manner in which the Brexit campaign was managed - by both sides. It happens every 5 years in general elections, and whenever there's a vote of no confidence in parliament.

Meanwhile, I'm doing my own bit to ensure my pension - the 2nd cabin is progressing well, despite the rain. A dry week is needed now.

Actually that last photo has nothing to do with the 2nd cabin - it's a Triumph Datona T595 belonging to Pablo, who rents the 1st cabin for his business. I just thought it a nice bike.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Road Works

I was rather surprised last weekend when my 500SL clocked up the same fuel consumption as my 300SL on the journey to Clapham in Yorkshire, despite having an engine 2 litres larger. However, I realised that most of the journey had been at 50 mph through the interminable number of roadworks on the M5 and M6 and that must have had a dra.matic effect on the fuel consumption

We swung in at my brother's place in the Wirral on the way back home and my Waze satnav indicated I'd be quicker not going anywhere near the M6, so we took the scenic route via A roads through Welsh Wales, joining the M5 near Worcester. I guess the reasoning was that if you're going to be doing 50 mph for the majority of the route, you may as well be doing it on the shorter route.

It's obviously the EU's fault, or Mark Carney's, if the Daily Mail is to be believed (which it shouldn't be)....

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Overheard Civil War

Overheard talking to Colin the builder about the new cabin he's building for us:

Colin: "I've got Sam's brother Gavin helping me tomorrow to put the frame up. Can't understand a word he says."

Was having a chat with a friend about Brexit and she (I hope jokingly) forecast civil war if the Article 50 button is not pressed. However, if the government were to stop the benefits of those in Cornwall and Wales (the areas benefiting most from the EU, but perversely voting Brexit) and destroy the offices of the Daily Mail, any civil war would be over in 10 minutes.

I see Boris has been saying the government should tell the British the positives of Brexit. I guess that'll be things like £350m a week for the NHS (and all the other stuff they've been busy back-tracking on since the vote) and the Economist Intelligence Unit projecting a 6% contraction by 2020, an 8% decline in investment, rising unemployment, falling tax revenues and public debt to reach 100% of our national output. You couldn't make it up, could you?

Continuing on the Brexit theme, it was inevitable that Farage would resign - Harry Enfield couldn't keep that comic creation going much longer.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Beyond The Wall

Went up to Castle Black over the weekend for a journey beyond The Wall into The Yorkshire Dales and Clapham. It was chilly - seems winter hasn't left the north yet.

On the way we met up with No.1 daughter and her husband for lunch on Saturday at The Sparrowhawk in Fence. I was acting the fool and for some reason put the little chip basket my chips were served in on my head for a second or two. A little later the waiter came to get our order for some more drinks and I thought he was looking at me strangely. I felt my hair and found an errant chip fragment nestled in my bonce, which was obviously what he was staring at. Hay thought I should have added a couple of kebabs on my ears in a simulation of northern jewellery.

Clapham is a gorgeous little village and one of our favourite get-away haunts. More than half the village is still owned by the squire and the properties are rented out to incomers, but they must have children and send them to the local school. It's an attempt to keep the village alive. There's a great sense of community spirit.

On Saturday night we went to a little pub called The Old Hall Inn in Chapel le Dale. The owner is a pastry chef who in a former life specialised in sugar. Here are a few of his creations, which are scattered around the pace on display.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

The Somme

Given the anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, I've been listening to some of the celebratory stuff on the radio and it struck me as strange how popular myth evolve.

Many are saying, quite incorrectly, that it was the bloodiest battle in human history. That's simply not true. Operation Barbarossa, the Brusilov Offensive and the Dnieper Offensive far outstrip the Somme for total casualties. In terms of loss of life in a single day, it is one of the bloodiest episodes of warfare.

Another popular myth is that the soldiers who died in WWI died for us. It was Great Britain that declared war on Germany, not the other way round - and all because the Germans wouldn't guarantee the neutrality of Belgium. The background to the war was the major European powers vying for supremacy as world powers. WWII was about empire building and who could be top dog. It was war for political power, not to save anyone in Great Britain.

The soldiers that went over the top thought they were walking into shattered German defences from the weeks of continuous bombardment, when they actually walked into a hail of bullets and almost certain death - but they weren't to know that.