Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Sad case of the disintegrating spork

Another disappointing product, (and it was the EXPENSIVE one).

Earlier this year I found myself out on a long walk and got lucky with bargain snack off a supermarket clearance shelf but…

Found it hard to eat yogurt with my fingers (no real problem if you know how to make a temporary spoon out of paper though).

I used to carry various tools, but travel light now (and you might want to read up on the latest crazy knife law, just about anything will get you arrested and fined – unless you are a criminal who doesn’t care).

I picked up a Summit brand spork in Tesco, for £1.50 with a little toy carabiner included. It’s the red one in the pic below.

Also pictured is a pair of similar sporks I picked up later in Asda – this time, two for £1.

Spot the difference?

I’ve used all three for soup for a while now, so each has had the same use.

The expensive one, the Summit item from Tesco, lost the tip of a fork tooth (no idea where it went).

Then a whole tooth fell off all by itself a few days later.

Then I noticed the fork section was shrinking, or closing in on itself – originally it had looked like other two, now it’s almost a spoon!

Take a closer look at the red fork part – the whole thing is disintegrating and breaking up. It doesn’t even need a close-up.

That’s not fit for a food grade product. It’s not worth a complaint, and I wouldn’t eat off the spoon end after seeing the other end fall apart. Off to the bin for you Mr Summit spork.

By way of contrast, the Asda items (50 p each as opposed to £1.75) still look the same as the day I bought them.

I think the pic tells the story better than any more waffling or  moaning from me.




December 11, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

Modern tools seem to be rubbish

While I accept that I often buy cheap tools in the knowledge that they are rubbish and to be treated as expendable, or even disposable, for use in awkward situations, I don’t extend the same low expectations for those I consider to be of reasonable quality.

Cheap copies are usually easy to spot, especially some items on sale in ‘Pound shops’ which can be less than useless once unpackaged and handled. That said, I’ve also picked up some surprisingly good items, which I suppose make up for the outright disasters.

My best and most reliable hand tools are probably post war industrial items, and can be used hard without any fear of breaking.

But I’m finding that even a decent modern tool doesn’t like to be stressed. Some very expensive wire-cutters (for PCB use) started to throw off chips of metal from their edges, even though they were only used for trimming copper wire on electronic components.

More recently, while using a pair of new(ish) angled pliers to attach some instrument springs, one part just failed outright and failed. They weren’t even large hand tools, so I couldn’t exert that much effort. Pretty sure there must have been a flaw in the metal.

Irritating, as I had found them to be quite an effective shape, since another problem with modern tools is often poor design, and shapes that don’t work well, or are awkward to use or hold.

Broken Pliers

Broken Pliers

Maybe I just have to remember that not ALL my tools are as robust as the few Snap-on examples I own. While I don’t treat them as indestructible, the seem to be, as I used to have a friend with a small car repair business. It was quite impressive to watch him abuse his Snap-on tools, use them as levers, or hammer sockets as if they were drifts, yet they appeared undamaged, even after being hammered mercilessly with a mallet.

April 28, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | 2 Comments

Poundworld’s first real failure

Overall, I’m usually happy enough with most items I buy from the various ‘Pound shops’, and judge them from a realistic point of view given the price… £1.

But the one pictured below was a near total failure, and I have to get the disappointment out of my system.

I do a lot of walking and clock up 12 miles or so without realising it (and didn’t know this until I strapped on a GPS watch recently) and that get boosted with some running too. I don’t have any foot problems as a little care goes a long way, but some of my ‘tools’ are wearing out, so I thought I’d add some newer items when I spotted then in Poundworld (and that is specific, not a generalisation).

As you’ll see, for the grand total of £1 I got 4 new ‘tools’: an end operating nail-clipper; a side operating nail clipper, a hard skin remover or file; and a metal nail file.

The two nail clippers probably work, but their cutting edges are just ground into the bare metal, and were left with the resultant burrs still attached. I can’t use them for their supposed purpose as they are the wrong shape to fit curved human finger or toe nails – their cutting edges close to form a straight edge and and that hurts as they flatten the nail before they actually clip. Good for the tool box though, and clipping soft copper wire from the back of PCBs.

The hard skin remover… politely described as ‘blunt’. You might abrade some hard skin with it if you persevered, provide you did not fall asleep or die of old age first!

The most appalling was the supposedly metal file.

I’ve angled it (ironically, using a £1 coin) to highlight the contrast between what was assumed to be the dull abrasive surface… and a couple of shiny areas that appeared after I tried filing a nail with it. Instead of the nail being worn away – the abrasive surface ‘disappeared’ as it was scraped of the metal backing by the fingernail.

Far from being an abrasive surface finish, it seems to be nothing more than a soft coating that LOOKS like a roughened metal surface, and metal below is actually smooth and shiny.

Seriously Poundworld?

I’m hardly going to travel back and complain, but this is fairy cynical junk, and some might even call it a ‘con’, aimed at silly wee teenage girls who would know little better, and might think this is ‘normal’.

Poundworld pedicure set

Poundworld pedicure set


March 20, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Nice clean safe wind power

This one’s just for fun, since it’s the weekend, and the previous post will explain why I’m fed up and in need of a smile. And, I would post some marine examples for balance… there just aren’t any (yet?).

Still, it is interesting to consider that marine power will never do this, but you have to wonder what will happen when the seals fail one day, as they will (even the space shuttle suffered from this problem, and that was rocket science) and all that nice salty and conductive seawater gets into the guts of the submerged turbines that seem to be the favoured option for tidal power at the moment.

I did come across some serious anti-wind turbine types while having a look at various wind turbine tests, and I don’t know if they’re serious or not (although they were American), but they were remonstrating with anyone that wanted to put up their own small wind turbine for their own home, and promising them doom and death for them and their neighbours on the basis that birds carry at least 50 communicable diseases, and that bird strikes would result in all the blood, guts, and diseases being sprayed all over them, their homes and their neighbour’s homes and children, and that they were terrible people for installing home wind turbines. Now that’s wind turbine phobia and hate.

fail owned pwned pictures
see more pwn and owned pictures

October 19, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 1 Comment

Modern design. Is it too clever?

The Clackmannanshore Bridge © Copyright Paul McIlroy

The Clackmannanshire Bridge © Paul McIlroy

This is just an idle observation, and made without any detailed research, but as an engineer (and one who is prepared to admit a liking for the old adage “If it looks right, it probably is”) I can’t help but wonder of too many designers are prepared to trust their productions to CAD (computer aided design), and are so keen to produce a final design that uses the minimum of everything, and exploit asymmetric construction (to make themselves look “clever”), that they lose sight of the fundamentals, and forget to use their own initiative.

While it would be silly to build everything like an over-engineered brick sh.. (sorry) toilet, a quick recollection of the past few years produces memories of the wobbly Millennium Bridge down south (of which the major design flaw of resonance should surely have been foreseen); that eyesore of the Scottish Parliament building which had a beam break loose from the roof of the debating chamber (fortunately not falling and killing anyone); the Squinty Bridge in Glasgow, found with a broken suspension link one morning, which again could have landed on someone; and now the partner to the Kincardine Bridge – the Clackmannanshire Bridge – is not even open, but is having remedial work carried out as holes in the concrete are drilled out and filled.

I’m not picking on any one of those, but I’m sure a bit of digging would probably reveal a few more, and I just wonder if they are typical of today’s engineering, with failures either before or soon after they enter service. Or, if it is just a function of the media, and the older projects designed and engineered before CAD had the same teething problems, but the media didn’t get to hear about them, and pass the stories on the the public with the same relish as they do today.

Just a thought, and I’m sure that three of the four examples being Scottish means nothing (or that my memory is rubbish).

The Clackmannanshire Bridge

I know the bridge name was a public choice ( and I’m not having a dig at the name), but I can’t help being curious about what its nickname will become in the fullness of time.

My fingers are already protesting about typing the long name a few times, and I can only imagine that once a few sets of false teeth have gone flying across the room as their wearers try and come to terms with what is almost a tongue-twister (I keep wanting to add extra “annans” after repeating it a few times), they’ll want to use something a bit shorter and snappier.

October 7, 2008 Posted by | Civilian | , , | 1 Comment


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