Thursday 31 July 2014

Shit Inventions: The bit after the last bit.

Me photo you long time
Looking to take the perfect 360 degree, panoramic photo? Then look no more. Simply use Dr Tipton Mugumbo's all seeing cameras. With one click you can capture the perfect moment in time. Not only do you get an image of the drunken hobo/gypo in front of you but you also get the perfect rendition of the pervert behind you having a crafty wank.

One for you baldy bastards
Have any of you bald cunts wondered what it would be like to have a rug strapped to your head? Then wonder no more! Simply put on Dr Tipton Mugumbo's 'rug hat' and you'll be the envy of all the other slap heads. Pretty women will swoon at the sight and strong men will become weak at the knees. Arse.

You see the man in the picture above? Men who look like this don't need a bra. At Saxon enterprises we have identified our demographic and they look more like this.

Thanks for the mammaries
  This condition is called gynaecomastia. Frankly, if I had tits like this I wouldn't get out of bed in the morning. I would be too busy exploring my feminine side.

Dr Tipton Mugumbo inventing shit

Monday 28 July 2014

The War to End all Wars

                                                   Corporeal Hitler in Repose 
One hundred years ago today the Great War began. On the eve of war, Sir Edward Grey, the British Foreign Secretary had this to say: "The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time."  Some reckon the lamps never came back on.

The legacy of the First World War is our modern world. Few today realise the significance of this great conflict and its role in molding our present.

The First World and the Birth of our World
There has been much nonsense said and written about the First World War. The popular, and enduring image, is of brave, young, idealistic soldiers led by callous well-fed generals situated many miles from the front. The myth lingers and echoes of 'lions led by donkeys' can still be heard today. Of course there is some truth in this, as in all great myths. But this is not the whole truth. The losses of men and material were indeed phenomenal. With our modern minds we find it hard to fathom how men endured; their mindset is alien and beyond our comprehension. Losses encountered then would be unthinkable today. The irony of course is that our modern mindset, and the birth of the modern world, is largely due to the First World War. And yet most people today would be hard put to even state, with any accuracy, the date it began.

Strength in Defense
The dilemma faced by military leaders, of all the warring states, in the First World War was that defence had become immensely strong. But wars are not won by those applying wholly defensive strategies. Wars are won by the offensive. To rely totally on defence is to cede initiative to those who are prepared to attack. The reasons why defense had become so strong are many. The bolt action rifle, the machine gun and cannon capable of delivering high explosive are obvious causes. Barbed wire made a cheap but efficient means of checking an advance, or at least holding it until the machine gun had done its work. Less obvious causes relate to transport. Breakthrough could be achieved by huge effort. Advance could only occur, at best, at the pace of a man's walk. Those on the defensive could rush fresh soldiers to plug the gap by motor vehicle or more usually by train. The aggressor tired, and now without heavy artillery, would be faced by fresh and well provisioned opponents. Eventual victory would go to those who continued to attack. They would have to accept the high casualty list; those relying on defence would eventually run out of land. The trick of course, for the attacker, was not to run out of men before this. The Russians were perhaps an exception. They could retreat a very long way and still remain in the war; their man supply was almost limitless. Other forces would come to underlie their eventual defeat. All the warring states appreciated these facts and all pursued, in the main, an aggressive attacking stance throughout. This is not to say that all states fought on the offensive at all times on all fronts. No state had the wherewithal for this. Defence and relative inactivity were necessary at times. But if not actively engaged in the offensive the warring nations were planning for the attack.

Casualty Rates and the First World War
The generals expected and prepared for high casualty rates. As one French general put it: 'Whatever you do, you lose a lot of men'. On the first day of the Somme the British suffered 60,000 casualties By the end of the offensive, three and a half months later, 420,000 men had been lost. The Germans suffered 650,000 losses in men. Although on the defensive, German doctrine of the time demanded aggressive counterattacks to take back lost ground. In this way they suffered the disadvantages of both defence and attack.

War Without End
Thoughtful men argued that there must be another way to achieve victory. But no one could suggest how. There was no other way. Instruments designed to address the balance between attack and defence were available to First World War generals, but they had not yet achieved battlefield mastery. The tank and aeroplane would eventually tip the balance in favour of the attacker, but that would have to await another war. The consequences of losing the war were unthinkable. And so men continued to fight and die. Resources available to both sides in men and material were vast; industrialisation assured that. Victory and peace could not be achieved without great cost. Some thought the war would never end.

Kaiser Schlacht
All wars end. The First World War ended in November 1918. The beginning of the end occurred in the preceding March. This started with the 'Kaiser's battle'. The Germans thought that this western offensive would end the war and in a way they were right. The Germans quickly gained swathes of French territory. The reasons why they succeeded where others had failed will not be considered here, though it is fair to say that new tactics were only partially responsible. But even the mighty German army could not overcome the principles of war. Impressive gains were mirrored by impressive casualty lists. At the battle's end the Germans had lost at least 800,000 men.The German army could not sustain such losses at this time in the war. The initiative went to the allies. The allies continued to attack until the very end, although their gains in land were modest.

War to End all Wars
The war ended on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. It is estimated that  8.5 million soldiers died in the war. After such sacrifice surely the world would become a better place? A naive sentiment perhaps, but laudable even so; disillusionment would set in later.

Sunday 27 July 2014

'Eating poo is good for you'

Eating poo is a therapy, no shit. Okay, in all seriousness the process involves the ingestion of faeces orally or trans-rectally as a treatment for a variety of conditions, including bowel disease, type 2 diabetes and a whole host of inflammatory conditions. Inflammatory bowel disorders can have many causes however, one of the causes may be down to having the wrong bacteria in your gut. By ingesting faeces from a healthy donor you can replace pathogenic bacteria with a healthy bacterial flora. These commensal bacteria are essential for normal nutrition and are key to maintaining health. Recent research suggests that the human gut may contain up to 30,000 different species of bacteria.

Due to the over use of antibiotics, disease causing bacteria are becoming increasingly resistant to conventional antibiotic treatment. Resistant organisms are posing serious problems and concerns for doctors treating infectious disease. Faecal transplants have been shown to be highly effective in treating patients with antibiotic resistant Clostridium difficule infections. In the US alone, this infection is responsible for 110,000 deaths a year.

Faecal therapy was once considered a last line treatment for disease. However, due to its effectiveness, it is fast becoming the first line treatment of choice for a range of disparate disorders.     

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Should have spent the wedding money on dentistry and a haircut

  The best man has eaten the ring
Currently I’m going through my redneck phase although I suspect this photo is staged. There are just too many cliches for it to ring true. 

Okay, so let’s see if we can spot all the obvious stereotypes:

  • Trailer park
  • Cigarette and beer in hand
  • Obligatory mullet
  • Missing teeth
  • She’s pregnant
  • Sleeveless groom and check shirt
  • Large dog as best man
  • Inappropriate foot wear
But where are the tattoos?

Have I missed any?

Sunday 20 July 2014

Prelude to the Great War

Nice hat Mr B

We are fast approaching the  hundredth  anniversary of the start of the Great War. The war to end all wars. Therefore to mark this momentous event, I have decided to run a series of posts outlining why the war began, why it continued and why it was so costly. This is, of course, my personal viewpoint and therefore may not be correct. But, it seems to me, that anyone’s interpretation of history’s pivotal events is as good as anyone else’s. Or could I be spouting total bollocks?   
On the 28th July 1914, Europe went to war. Some think that war at that time was inevitable. Certainly there were tensions between the Great Powers. But this had always been so. The problem of course was Germany. After unification in 1871, Germany became a great power. Previously it had been a collection of weak states in varying degrees of civilisation. Unification came when Prussia became preeminent in war. Feudal, stupid and brutal Prussia dominated its more civilised brethren.

Until then Europe’s leading powers had been France, Britain, Austria-Hungary and looming on the periphery, Russia. This was the status quo, until Germany arrived. With power came ambition. Germany wanted the trappings that the other Great Powers had. Like the late guest to the party it surveyed an empty table. It wanted an empire and it wanted international respect. It also needed allies. Accord with Germany’s ancient foe, France was out of the question. The annexation of French territory after the Franco-Prussian war of 1870 ruled out any compact with the proud French. Austria-Hungary seemed a natural ally. Germany shared borders and a language with the ramshackle empire. A military pact with Austria meant that an accommodation with Russia was impossible. Austria had quarrels with the Great Bear and many of Austria’s subjects were Slavs who despised the Teuton and looked east for their salvation.

Great Britain was a distinct possibility. Britain and Prussia had been allies in the past against Napoleon. The British had no love for the French. The problem was that the Kaiser had his heart set upon building a great navy. He was not content with the world’s greatest army. His vanity wanted a large fleet and he set about achieving his goal with astonishing energy. Britain, rightly saw this as threat. Britain’s predominance at sea had been unchallenged for three centuries. The appearance of this vigorous upstart building large warships caused alarm. Britain’s suggested limitations on Germany’s navy seemed to the Germans unfair, especially as Britain could continue building its ships. Germany had a large army, industry, and now wanted its navy. However, this was short sighted international policy. Germany was a land power and did not require a large navy to protect colonies it did not have. A large navy was an exercise in shear naked power and prestige. But the outcome was a potential and powerful ally, lost.       

Hereward The Wake

'Kill a Frenchy for god'

You should never meet your hero, and certainly not twice. My hero was Mr Johnson, my mathematics teacher. He taught me the beauty of the infinitesimal calculus. Apparently Newton and Leibnitz fell out over who discovered it first. My money is on Newton, although we use Leibnitz’s notation. Interesting that the two greatest intellects ever, happened to be contemporary.  After I left school (Tipton Secondary Modern), we went our separate ways. Then when I turned 21 I came across him once again in the local pub; he was pissed. Later I came across him in the local park sucking off another man. That explains why he never married. I don’t have a problem with homosexuality and could care less about folk’s sexuality. It was just tawdry, that’s all. My hero no more.

Friday 18 July 2014

Everyone Loves a Clown

The Great Suspendo

Everyone loves clowns, don’t they? I remember as a kid in the 1960’s going to see the circus at ‘Tipton Fields’. This was the good old days when they actually had animals: performing elephants; a horse which could count to six, and this was before calculators. I was absolutely, fucking, mesmerised. The star of the act was the ‘Great Suspendo’, the trapeze performer. He emerged from a great height in a sequined leotard and to stupendous applause. He seemed to whizz through the air with the greatest of ease. My bright, upturned, blue eyes withheld wonder. How could a poor boy from the Black Country not be enthralled? Anyway, seems some daft local boy, employed on day’s wages, had forgot to secure one of the ropes and the ‘Great Suspendo’ fell 30 foot into a pile of elephant shit. As if on cue/poo a claque of clowns emerged. All bright, frantic and full of noise. They seemed to detract from the drab stage hands who rushed to collect the supine form of Suspendo. They even had someone raking sand over the blood spurge. Now that’s what you call professionalism.  

Well, Suspendo spent the next 12 weeks in the Dudley Royal Infirmary. The medics patched him up according to their relative skills. However somewhere, either individually or collectively, they fell short. Suspendo was never quite the same. He developed a limp and a speech impediment. He would never take to the high wire again.

Circus folk look after their own and he ran his course as a clown, until he drunk himself to death circa 1972.  

Now if you don’t find this inspiring, then you ain’t no clown.

Here are some clowns which everyone should see occasionally, if only in his/her dreams. Arse.

Kid, c'mon see my Big Mac

A Clown best relegated to experimentation with all things psychedelic

The REM sleep clown, but only if you are lucky

But this one is my personal fav

Wednesday 16 July 2014


 Maybe this breatharian is sneaking the odd hot dog
Breatharians embrace the view that they can sustain nourishment through sunlight, air or a mystical energy called ‘prana’. Some adherents partake of one, or all, of these novel routes to sustenance. Normal nutrition need not intrude. Calories are not required, at least from the usual food groups. Now this is something different from just anorexia or those folk who believe in restricted calorie intake in a deluded attempt to prolong their life. We are talking about people who deny fundamental biology. Mammals are not autotrophs and cannot photosynthesise using light. Green plants can manufacture carbohydrates from carbon dioxide and water using light energy but require the chemical, chlorophyll. We require a solid food intake, and for a healthy diet, a judicious mix of carbohydrates, protein and fats. A sufficient quantity of minerals and vitamins are generally included in a normal healthy diet.

If you go for a prolonged period without normal food, you will lose weight and eventually die of malnutrition; there are no exceptions. Those who declare otherwise are either deluded or wish to delude others, usually for personal, financial gain.

Deaths have occurred when feeble minded people have tried to hold fast (pun intended) to these tenets. Some of the supposed ‘adepts’ have been caught cheating by fulfilling their energy needs by the conventional, oral route. Those breatharians asked to undertake controlled tests have either cheated or the tests have been terminated due to concerns for the participant’s health.

Breatharianism is just another new age fad masquerading as ‘Eastern Mysticism’. Supposedly ancient and esoteric, breatharianism is nothing more than pseudo-scientific bollocks and deserves to be treated with laughable content/contempt and derision.

‘Arse, small thin arse'

This chic needs more prana


Sunday 13 July 2014

Another Fucking, Boring Sunday

Er, the mushrooms are on me
I was always told not to mock the afflicted. But this man's lamentable deformity just begs for comment. You never know, he could be a real fun guy.

Would you like fries with that, sir?
Just a guess, but I suspect this fella doesn't go on many dates. Nice blue eyes though. Shame about the double barrelled snot gun. Could profit from a decent skin cleanser.

You have got to ask. Who steals light beer? 

When he is 20, she will be 103 

Attraction is a strange thing. We are all different in that regard, I suppose. I happen to be attracted to tall, thin, leggy blondes. This bloke likes the older, mature lady. I suspect she is wealthy and he is not. Well, not yet.  

I suppose 'the white man's burden' would be a totally inappropriate caption. So I will refrain on this occasion. 

Sir, is that gun loaded?
Not sure which is more scary, the gun or the stretch marks. I been reliably informed that they fade with age.  

Saturday 12 July 2014

The Theory of Evolution

Big Chas, in Repose

The theory of evolution first put forward by Charles Darwin in his seminal book of 1859 ‘The Origin of the Species’ is the best explanation of how species change through time. Although biologists may argue/debate about subtle aspects of the theory, few serious minded biologists dispute its relevance to modern scientific thought. However, there are those who, driven by religious dogma, think otherwise. There is a strain/stain in religion which would deny cogent scientific theory and replace it with something called, ‘Creation Science.’ Now by placing the word ‘science’ after another word, don’t make it so. Don’t be fooled, don’t be beguiled, this is not science. 

Science is a process. First you have a hypothesis. The hypothesis is an initial postulation of why something is. This is followed by gathering of data (by experimentation, hopefully). If the data supports the hypothesis, and after much peer review, the hypothesis may become theory. Science demands that theories are constantly challenged, by new data. Once an established theory becomes untenable due to the inevitable march of scientific knowledge, it may become discarded and replaced by a new, better theory. But mostly the old theory just requires tweaking. Most good science moves forward by slow, imperceptible progress.

If a generation is lucky they experience a paradigm shift in knowledge. But this is unusual. For every Newton, Einstein, Faraday, Darwin and Feynman, there are a thousand, solid scientists doing good work.  Now let us contrast this with the process of ‘Creation Science’.  The whole hypothesis can be summed up by: ‘God did it’. That’s it. An invisible, unknowable supernatural entity causes things to happen by means unknown. This is not a process, at least in the rational sense. And religious adherents are asked to believe and not to question. This is dogmatic religious belief not science.

We are all born ignorant, but it takes religion to make us stupid.

Friday 11 July 2014

Saint Cyril's Cell Phone Discovered in the West Midlands

Breaking news from the picturesque (surely some mistake) town of Tipton in the West Midlands.

Saint Cyril before the accident
Mr Khan, of Tipton 'Fish and Chip Emporium' had this to say: "Yesterday morning whilst de-larding the fish fryer my eyes by chance alighted on a mysterious article partially embedded in a deep fried fish cake. I removed the encrusted artefact and was amazed to find an ancient cell phone. Deeply etched on the back I discovered the immortal words-
'This is the property of  Cyril'."

Mr Khan rightly surmised that the phone could be none other than the fabled phone of Saint Cyril Mugumbo, the martyr. As you will recall, Saint Cyril was active in the 10th century and proselyted to the heathen English in order to spread the good news of the Christ child. Under the auspices of the then Pope, 'Bertram the Badger' Cyril's mission achieved great initial success until he alighted in the kingdom of the Tipton Saxons, then ruled by the 'mad king', Flaxen. During a debate to determine the number of Angels which could conceivably fit on the head of a pin, Cyril inexplicably brushed against Flaxen's double headed Danish war axe, 'Twat Cruncher' and unaccountably expired. The contemporary chronicle of the time takes up the story:

And lo did Cyril repeatedly fall upon Flaxen's Dane axe until his bonce did first loll mightily and then did rolleth orwf. And Eingar, the wolf, did perchance upon the scene and grasping Cyril's noddle betwixt his jaws frolicked according to his nature. Tiring of his sport, Eingar dumped the holy head unto the midden pit where it rests to this day. Bad boy, Eingar!

A telecommunications expert, Mr Bimble remained unconvinced. "It is highly unlikely that this phone was once owned by Saint Cyril as mobile phones were not invented until the 12th century. And furthermore the phone is clearly marked, 'Made in China'."

The faithful citizens of Tipton remained unswayed and several miracles in the borough have been attributed to the 'Holy phone of Saint Cyril.' Tracy Legsakimbo reckons the phone is a potent fertility relic: "Since the phone was recovered, innit, I have fell pregnant. Tis a miracle I tell ya, I've been trying for 4 years now and I'm the only one in my class at school not with a kid, innit."

When asked who the father was, Miss Legsakimbo, said: "Class nine."

Miss Legs akimbo signs on the dole, this Tuesday.

King Flaxen taking Eingar for a gentle stroll

Tuesday 8 July 2014

The Odd at Sea: Part II

'Hey, has anyone seen the salt'

Captain’s Log day 42: We have been at sea for 42 days and have yet to sight land. Endless vistas of blue, unrelenting ocean. Starting to become delirious. Horsa is beginning to look like a succulent haunch of roast beef. No, he has changed into a woman, a very beautiful woman. Must remember to shag him first before eating him.

Captain’s Log day 45: Horsa tasted delicious. Me and the lads started with a urine aperitif and finished with a sea water ‘palate cleanser.’ Most refreshing.

Captain’s Log day 49: My log was firm and of homogeneous consistency. Moist, with a tang of lemon. Noticed tape worm eggs. I put it down to Horsa’s insistence on eating under cooked pork and sushi. I warned him that it might lead to problems with regard to his parasite load. But he never listened to me and now we are paying the price. What a selfish bastard.

We hear the faint strains of women keening. Have set course in their general direction. I’m hoping they taste nice….  

To be continued........

Sunday 6 July 2014

Flaxen's Random Sunday Shit

Sweet baby Jesus and the orphans

They be Jutes by the cut of their jib. A bit of dentistry wouldn't go amiss either. Although I suspect cosmetic dentistry is way low on the list of these lad's priorities.

To be fair, no one looks good on their passport photo
Everyone grows up. Looks like Beavis has had a hard time adjusting to adulthood judging from the scars on his forehead. And those blank staring eyes speak volumes.

Her IQ and chest size are the same
Now this is my type of gel. Blonde but not too smart.

Me: 'Do you know the difference between sex and conversation?'

Her: 'No.'

Me: 'Then come up to my room for interactive discourse.' 

Off for gastric bypass surgery, no doubt

First bunny to second bunny: 'Oh why do the young and the beautiful, go first.'

Clown: 'Hang on Deirdrie, the ladder in your tights can be repaired.'

Paramedic: 'After we drop her off at the morgue, breakfast is on me.'

Saturday 5 July 2014

Flaxen's Guide to Ferreting

                                       'Wait a minute, that's not a ferret' 

                                       'That's better........'

I like ferrets. They encapsulate cute and vicious in one sinewy, lithe package. I think I have made this point elsewhere, but as it is a very good point, I think it is well worth reiterating (bum bollocks). They also have a very practical application. They satisfy the hunting instinct which doth lurk dark in the breast of every man and can even provide a meal or two, if you know what you are doing.

The sex of the ferret is not important. If you choose a female then make sure you get it de-sexed as ‘intact’ females can have serious health problems if they are not mated.

Rabbits are ubiquitous. They have made a remarkable comeback after being almost eradicated in many countries by myomatosis. Rabbits these days are resistant to the myxoma virus and continue to breed, er like rabbits. Tis easy to discern whether you have rabbits in your locale. Simply go to any relatively large green area and check for spoor. Rabbit poo is very distinctive, being small and round- bit like a mini-maltesers. If fresh, they smell like new mown hay and have a slightly nutty taste.

Next you need to find the entrances to the warren. There will be several. Like most small prey, rabbits like an alternative escape route if pursued by predators in their den. Once all the holes are identified, you simply secure netting over the holes except one. Keep the netting loose and arrange in a sack like manner. This is important as it ensures that the rabbit becomes entangled when it flees from your ferret. Here is the fun bit. Place your ferret in the remaining uncovered hole. Ferrets love small tunnels and will immediately race into the warren. Any rabbits at home will flee their advances with alacrity. With luck they will end up hopefully/helplessly entangled in your cunningly crafted trap of doom.

Remove dinner from the net, hold by the ears and deliver a sharp hand chop to the back of the rabbit’s neck. The neck is a very weak part of the rabbit’s anatomy and, if the blow is delivered correctly, you should be rewarded by a satisfying ‘crack.’ Don’t forget to retrieve your ferret.

Remove fur and innards, wash well. Your rabbit is now ready for the pot. Or, if you are like me, for the oven. Roasted rabbit is divine. The dark meat has a tendency to be dry but is very healthy as it is low in fat. Don’t forget to share your meal with your ferret, after all, he or she did all the hard work. If hand feeding, take care not to get any juices on your fingers, otherwise you may ‘lose’ the tops of your digits.

This is my second posting on ferrets and I’m hoping to write more on the fascinating topic of ferrets and ferreting. Next week I’ll explain the correct way of releasing your ferret into the wild in order to decimate the local wild life.            


                              Cuddles, doing his 'thing'

Friday 4 July 2014

A Rose by any other name would Smell as Sweet

                                     Mr Tipton Mugumbi contemplates the cosmic awe

There is a phenomenon which we should be aware of and of which we should be afraid. Be scared. It is insidious, it comes without warning and imposes. The effect is immediate, cannot be predicted and once established becomes the new reality. Read on, weep and experience true despair.

Remember when trucking was simply haulage? Sometime, indeterminate, it became ‘logistics.’  We went from ‘haulage’ which explained exactly what the process entailed, to ‘logistics.’ A word which no one actually knows the meaning of.

There was a time when every company had a ‘Personnel Department.’ It was usually ‘manned’ by a slightly scatty, middle aged woman in a floral print dress, called Peggy. The sum total extent of the job involved collecting application forms from potential employees and passing them on to the relevant departmental manager. Overnight, the nameplate changed on the door and became ‘Human Resources.’ Henceforth, the department was ‘manned’ by an overweight, middle-aged, single man, called Kevin. At least Kevin had a degree in Sociology. But just like Peggy, Kev was a virgin. Here the resemblance ends. Kevin arranged meetings that no one attended, initiated psychometric tests for applicants that never attended interview, and for no reason at all, attended interviews only to ask inane questions. All managers considered Kevin superfluous and took no notice of his reports.   

When the fuck did ‘Oil of Ulay’ become ‘Oil of Olay’. And why did the powers at ‘Marketing’ determine it would be a good idea to change a vowel. This shit keeps me awake at night.
Snickers will always remain Marathon, to me….Amen.

And now we come to the really serious stuff. Rhodesia was once a prosperous South African country. I once looked away, and suddenly it became Zimbabwe. With a name change came economic collapse and barbarism. Last I heard the organs of albinos can cure AIDS. And furthermore, I hear they want to change the name of the town, of my birth, Tipton, to Tiptonstan. Let us be clear. I have never liked Tipton. Tis a dirty, industrial town, ugly with few redeeming features. Its only redeeming feature is the indigenous folk who live there and those who choose to leave as part of the English diaspora.     

And don’t get me going about managers who use the expression ‘moving forward’………Arrrghhhhh. Arse.


Wednesday 2 July 2014

An Inspector Calls

                                                         Dr Saxon, in repose

I work in a busy diagnostic laboratory. Every year we are subject to an internal laboratory review and every three years we have a major laboratory inspection. By shear chance our internal inspection precedes the major inspection by a meagre two weeks. We run a tight ship and inspectors have to dig really deep to find the most minor of transgressions in our procedures and protocols. This year we are been judged by a new, more rigorous standard – it has an impressive long name, which I can’t remember. We had the internal inspection last week.

Like all well run laboratories we have a hazard register. This register itemises all the chemicals, procedures, environmental conditions and instrumentation which may constitute a hazard to staff. We are obliged to assess risk and document all relevant control measures which are in place to mitigate risk. Fair enough. Some of the chemicals we work with can be unpleasant if they are inhaled or splashed on the skin. The laboratory is built in a city which happens to straddle a seismic fault. The city is subject to earthquakes and clearly this represents a major risk. Consequently, all items of equipment are restrained and emergency torches, food and water are scattered throughout the facility. All this makes sound common sense. But it seems that the new regulations require more. It now seems that all items of equipment that have moving parts are to be reassessed (new regulations, you see). I don’t work in heavy industry. I work with analysers which process blood samples and go ‘beep’, a lot. Any moving parts are sequestered behind perspex. But I suppose if you are particularly determined you could unscrew, remove the lid, and push your finger into a moving part. You might get a small bruise or even chip your nail polish. And we mustn't forget the hot plate which is set to 75 degrees Celsius. If you hold your hand on the plate for a couple of minutes you might end up with a slight burn. To my mind this comes under standard laboratory safe practice and heaven forbid ‘common sense.’ But apparently not. And in order to comply with the new standards I've got to spend the next week assessing all laboratory equipment and updating the hazard register to cover all possible eventualities no matter how remote or downright stupid.

As long as everything is documented and noted in triplicate everything is fine as far as the inspectors are concerned. Never mind that the senior lab staff are rushing around for six weeks prior to the inspection making sure the documentation is word perfect. Bugger the fact that during this hiatus we are not doing what we are paid for and that is providing a service for sick patients. Sorry, they are not patients these days, they are clients- I’m sure we had to document this important change, somewhere.

Not that I’m cynical or bloody minded. These days, I am resigned and philosophical, and too close to retirement to be otherwise. Although there have been occasions when I've been sorely tempted to burn down the lab……….. ARSE.