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# Saturday, August 30, 2008

At PC2Paper we are always looking for new travel blogs to highlight in our Travel Blog of the Week spot. If you write a travel blog why not submit it here in the comments section for a chance to be featured on this blog. Or perhaps you have come across an interesting travel blog that we have not yet featured. Either way we are looking for your suggestions, we know there are loads of great travel blogs out there, why not help us find them?

posted on Saturday, August 30, 2008 8:48:26 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Trackback
# Friday, August 29, 2008

Virgin Atlantic have seen a welcome boost in profits due to record numbers of business passengers. The airline has seen passenger numbers rise by 22% this year as they have taken the market share from BA and other rivals. Virgin has put some of the gains down to the problems that faced BA during the opening of Terminal 5. Virgin flew a total of 5.7 million passengers during the year, up 7.6% and has said it had begun the current financial year on a firm footing, with sales between April and June up 16% to £645.3m.

posted on Friday, August 29, 2008 9:27:57 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Trackback
# Thursday, August 28, 2008

This article suggests that many British beaches are being contaminated by sewage. The problem is down to the wet summer putting increased pressure on water treatment systems meaning millions of litres of toxic waste are being pumped into the sea. According to the article two thirds of the 488 bathing beaches in England and Wales suffered increases in peak sewage pollution last month. The worst affected beaches are also some of the most popular with Totland Bay, Camber Sands and Watergate Bay being affected. In some cases blue flag beaches which should guarantee that no industrial or sewage waste affects the area have also been contaminated. One example is Porthtowan a blue flag beach in Cornwall where cotton buds and sanitary towels have been found. The Environment Agency has found that at 310 testing sites peak levels of bacteria found in faeces were higher in the first three week of July than in the same period in 2006.

posted on Thursday, August 28, 2008 8:35:37 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Trackback
# Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Post Office has released a list of possible branch closures across Edinburgh, the Lothians and the South of Scotland. A six week consultation will begin to decide the future of 26 branches and the downgrading of a further 32 offices. The company has said that almost all of the areas population would see no change to their nearest branch and will still remain within 1 mile of a post office. During the next six weeks people are urged to make their views known. The full list of closures is below.

The following 26 Post Office branches are proposed for closure:

  • Breich, Rashiehill Terrace, Breich, West Calder
  • Broomhall, 41 Broomhall Drive, Edinburgh
  • Calder Crossway, 10 Calder Park, Edinburgh
  • Carrington , 4 Primrose Gardens, Carrington, Gorebridge
  • Cramond, 20 Whitehouse Road, Edinburgh
  • Dalmeny, Main Street, Dalmeny, South Queensferry
  • Easthouses, 1 Mayfield Road, Easthouses, Dalkeith
  • Elm Row, 20 Elm Row Edinburgh
  • Elphinstone, 3 Main Street, Elphinstone, Tranent
  • Goldenacre, 20 Montague Terrace, Edinburgh
  • Gorgie, 556 Gorgie Road, Edinburgh
  • Grangepans, 14 Grangepans, Bo'ness
  • Lasswade, 12 High Street, Lasswade
  • Lincluden, 40 Lincluden Road, Dumfries
  • Longstone, 7 Kingsknowe Road North, Edinburgh
  • Magdalene Drive, 46 Magdalene Drive, Edinburgh
  • Newton, Main Street, Newton, Broxburn
  • Nicolson Street, 79 Nicolson Street, Edinburgh
  • Pilrig Toll, 10 Newhaven Road, Edinburgh
  • Polbeth, 12-13 Limefield Road, Polbeth, West Calder
  • Poltonhall, 12 Hopefield Park, Bonnyrigg
  • Rosetta Road, 1 Weymss Place, Peebles
  • Shandon Place, 57 Slateford Road, Edinburgh
  • Scheuchan Street, 59 Scheuchan Street, Stranraer
  • Warrender Park, 73 Warrender Park Road, Edinburgh
  • West Barns, 2a Edinburgh Road, West Barns, Dunbar

The following 32 Post Office branches are to be replaced by an outreach service:

  • Ancrum - Hosted
  • Bonchester Bridge - Hosted
  • Bowden - Mobile
  • Eccles - Mobile
  • Greenlaw - Mobile
  • Hutton - Mobile
  • Morebattle - Hosted
  • Clovenfords - Mobile
  • Fountainhall - Mobile
  • Oxton - Mobile
  • Heriot - Mobile
  • Balmaclellan - Mobile
  • Colvend - Mobile
  • Corsock - Mobile
  • Creetown - Partner
  • Dunscore - Hosted
  • Kirkcowan - Partner
  • Lochfoot - Mobile
  • Moniaive - Partner
  • Mossdale - Mobile
  • New Abbey - Mobile
  • Bentpath - Home
  • Boreland - Hosted
  • Collin - Hosted
  • Ecclefechan - Partner
  • Eskdalemuir - Hosted
  • Glencaple - Hosted
  • Drem - Hosted
  • Garvald - Hosted
  • Gifford - Partner
  • Innerwick - Hosted
  • Stenton - Hosted
posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2008 12:38:54 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Trackback
# Monday, August 25, 2008

blogoftheweek_thumb This weeks Travel Blog of the Week is Weird Meat - a food and travel blog. The blog is  an exploration of how different cultures around the world feel about food. The author spends his time searching for strange things to eat and when he finds something odd, eats it and posts pictures and an article about his experience. The most recent post sees him in Taiwan sweird_likelocal2-713229ampling chicken testicles and deer penis wine. The wine (pictured right) comes in a large glass jar which is filled with liquor. In the middle of the jar is a preserved deer penis. The verdict is that it is "brutal strong" and not cheap at $9 USD for a shot. Another interesting culinary experience sees the author at a shop specialising in odd duck parts. Here he purchases some duck heads (pictured left). The heads are cooked and seasoned and then split down the centre so you can scoop out the brains and cartilage. Apparently they are tasty but rather chewy. 

drunk_shrimp2-750854Another article looks at a dish called Shanghai Drunken Shrimp (pictured right). The dish which sounds fairly tame is  actually live shrimps which are served swimming in a bowl of sweet alcohol. The alcohol makes the shrimp a little less feisty but the experience is still made more interesting because the shrimp bite barat2-705799ck as you try to eat them. The trick apparently is to leave them in the alcohol for just enough time to get drunk and stupid before digging in. Something with slightly less bite is fried rat (pictured left) which the author tries in Cambodia. This  dish is BBQ'd so that it is well done and tastes like chicken. In all this is a great blog filled with lots of interesting material but is probably best enjoyed on an empty stomach.

posted on Monday, August 25, 2008 7:23:53 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Trackback
# Saturday, August 23, 2008

New facial scanners are being tested at Manchester Airport. The scanners are under trial as part of government efforts to improve security and reduce passenger congestion. They can be used by adult biometric passport holders. It works by scanning passengers faces and comparing them to the photograph that is digitally stored on their passport. Passengers will be able to pass through unmanned gates to avoid queues and the scanner will check their passport has not been tampered with and that they are not on any security lists. At the next gate a facial scanner will also read their face. If they are rejected by the system they will be directed to immigration officers for further checks.

posted on Saturday, August 23, 2008 9:57:38 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Trackback
# Friday, August 22, 2008

Monday the 25th of August is a Bank Holiday in the UK. This means that there is no postal collection or deliveries on this day. Any mail sent after 5pm (UK time) close of business on Friday 22nd of August will be processed on the next available working day, Tuesday the 26th of August. Any Special Delivery or Recorded Delivery items sent after 1pm (UK time) on Friday the 22nd of August will be processed on Tuesday the 26th of August. Customers should also be aware that delivery of mail during this time may take up to 2 days longer than normal.

posted on Friday, August 22, 2008 1:26:05 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Trackback

Strikes by airport staff that were planned for this weekend have been called off after talks. The strikes were expected to caused widespread disruption over the bank holiday weekend as cabin staff and baggage handlers were due to walk out. Although the strikes have been called off at Gatwick and Manchester, flights at Stanstead could still be affected by a separate dispute involving security staff.

posted on Friday, August 22, 2008 12:17:07 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Trackback

Passengers on a flight from Newcastle Airport had to leave their luggage behind at the last minute because the plane was too heavy. The 151 passengers were informed that the aircraft needed to lose weight and were given the choice of half the passengers getting off or all the passengers flying but without their luggage. At first volunteers were sought to get off but as few people were willing to leave the flight eventually left four hours later with the passengers minus their luggage. Passengers were assured their luggage would follow them but some people claim they were had to wait three days before it arrived.

posted on Friday, August 22, 2008 8:03:15 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Trackback
# Tuesday, August 19, 2008

blogoftheweek_thumbThis weeks Travel Blog of the Week is Backpacking Travel Blog. The blog concentrates on travel around Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia and South America and is predominately a photo travel blog peppered with comments. Whilst it is unusual to choose a photo blog as the PC2Paper Travel Blog of the week, this blog is full of great pictures and is well worth a further look. Here are just a few of the photos.

Ta Prohm Crickets

Above the amazing temple Ta Prohm in Cambodia and the local snack of fried crickets.

Below a tree frog in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest and a waterfall in the Canaima National Park

Tree Frog Waterfall

posted on Tuesday, August 19, 2008 9:36:31 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Trackback
# Monday, August 18, 2008

Travellers could face chaos on the Bank Holiday weekend as staff at Gatwick and Stansted airport have voted to go on strike. Workers are set to stage a strike on Monday 25th of August and 29th of August after rejecting an offer in a pay dispute. The unite union has said that all baggage handling and check in operations will be halted at a number of airlines with the dispute likely to spread to other airports over the next few weeks because of similar disputes over pay.

posted on Monday, August 18, 2008 8:46:24 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Trackback
# Sunday, August 17, 2008

You would expect train travel to be getting better rather than worse but this article suggests otherwise. The article makes the claim that train journeys actually take longer today than they did 20 years ago. This is despite improvements with faster trains and track improvements. The worst area appears to be London and the South East where passengers have to allow an extra five minutes for their journey compared with 20 years ago. A spokesman for London TravelWatch said “Some increase in journey times may be justified by more passengers, thus longer stopping at stations. However, modern trains serving most London routes have better acceleration, which should offset this to some degree.” Does your journey take you longer?

posted on Sunday, August 17, 2008 11:58:26 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Trackback
# Saturday, August 16, 2008

The village of Booze in the Yorkshire Dales could soon have its postal service restored after the council have agreed to pay for road improvements in the area. The service was suspended by Royal Mail because it said the narrow track leading to the village was too hazardous for its workers. This has meant that 11 households have had to travel 30 miles to collect their mail. The council will make improvements to passing places on the route and Royal Mail have said that deliveries will resume on the 1st of September once the improvements have been made.

posted on Saturday, August 16, 2008 10:21:19 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Trackback
# Friday, August 15, 2008

Ryanair will cancel thousands of bookings that are made on third party websites. The airline's boss is taking the hard line stance against websites that compare prices between different airlines but which he says charge more for flights than if they were purchased directly from Ryanair. Any passengers that book through these websites will now see their bookings cancelled. The company also believes that the so called screen scraper website are illegal and that causing disruption by cancelling booking made through them will be easier than taking them to court. Screen scraping sites currently account for 0.5% of Ryanair's bookings but this amounts to 1,000 flights a day. Ryanair has no means of contacting affected customers, this is down to the website that has taken the booking. So if you have made a booking through an external website you might want to check it is still valid before flying.

posted on Friday, August 15, 2008 10:14:48 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Trackback
# Thursday, August 14, 2008

South West Trains have converted one of its diesel trains to use bio-fuel in order to test an alternative power source. The train will run on a mixture of soya, rape seed and diesel. The experiment will run until the end of the year with the train operating between Exeter and Waterloo. Other rail operators are waiting to see the results with a view to implementing similar schemes if this is successful.

posted on Thursday, August 14, 2008 12:48:46 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Trackback
# Wednesday, August 13, 2008

At PC2Paper we usually experience a very good service from Royal Mail with only a few letters lost in the post. It does appear, however, that some mail can take a very long time to arrive. This article highlights the case of a postcard that was delivered after 79 years. The post card was posted in 1929 in Essex and arrived at its destination last Thursday. Royal Mail have said it is difficult to determine where it has been for the last 79 years.

posted on Wednesday, August 13, 2008 8:32:34 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Trackback
# Tuesday, August 12, 2008

It has been announced that Blackfriars station will close until 2011 to allow extensive work to be carried out. The work will include lengthening platforms, building a new entrance to the station and the redevelopment of the station. During this time the overground routes will remain open but there will be no connection to the Underground. Currently around 44,000 people use the station every day. It is expected that many of these people will have to use Farringdon Station as an alternative as people try to find alternative routes. 

posted on Tuesday, August 12, 2008 9:21:39 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Trackback
# Monday, August 11, 2008

The news that British Airways profits have fallen by 90% is likely to have the effect of soaring prices for customers as the airline tries to avoid going into the red. Already prices have risen by around 7%. Carriers are currently suffering more badly than during the recession that followed the terrorist attacks of 2001. During April, May and June profits at BA plunged to £37m from £298m last year, a drop of 88%.

posted on Monday, August 11, 2008 10:19:50 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Trackback
# Sunday, August 10, 2008

blogoftheweek_thumbThis weeks travel blog of the week is Orbitz Travel Blog written by the Orbitz staff and contributors. The reason I have chosen this blog is because it has a wide variety of articles that look at different aspects of the travel industry. The most recent article looks at family friendly adventures in Edmonton. The article highlights the Edmonton Marriott hotel at the River Cree Resort which is recommended for being particularly child friendly. It also looks at the Valley Zoo with its petting zoo, animal shaped pedal boats and pony rides.

In contrast another article on the blog discusses how to find gay luxury in the Caribbean. Whilst the options initially appear fairly limited the author does have some good recommendations. Puerto Rico gets the thumbs up because the main city of San Juan has a gay beach which is something of a rarity in the Caribbean. The British Virgin Islands also appears to be a good destination to find gay luxury with the Aquamare resort getting a good review. The resort includes three villas on a private beach and has the advantage of being gay owned. It also offers five star treatment and has its own private chef serving up gourmet food and even a professional masseur. It sounds great.

Another post looks at the complexities of group travel. Travelling with a group of people can sometimes be a challenge especially if people within the group have different expectations about the trip. The article recommends asking a few important questions before travelling such as is the trip a vacation or are you expecting to spend time sightseeing. It is also worth considering what sort of budget you have in relation to other members of the group and outlining any "must do" items that members of the group have in mind before you go. Its all good advice and if followed should lead to a happier group holiday with many less arguments.

posted on Sunday, August 10, 2008 12:27:48 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Trackback
# Saturday, August 9, 2008

Visitors to Kew Gardens can now take advantage of a hi-tech tour guide. The device is a handheld computer that uses a global positioning system to pinpoint where the user is. It then automatically tells them about the plants and trees that they are walking past and shows information on the colour screen. It costs £4.95 a day to rent and is able to show video, text and pictures as well as having games for children.

posted on Saturday, August 9, 2008 11:39:29 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Trackback
# Friday, August 8, 2008

British Airways will reduce the number of flights from Scotland to London with the frequency of services from Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh falling by 6%. Under the proposal dozens of flights between Aberdeen and Heathrow will be cancelled during the winter schedule which runs from October to March. BA have blamed the cuts on the doubling of fuel costs and the worst trading environment ever.

posted on Friday, August 8, 2008 9:01:12 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Trackback
# Thursday, August 7, 2008

British Airways will cancel one in twenty flights in order to try and lessen the impact of the economic downturn. The cut backs are likely to affect domestic, regional and European services and will mean that around 6,000 flights disappear from the winter schedule. Gatwick could lose up a fifth of its BA services with Heathrow also suffering some losses. Passengers are likely to also face rising fares and fuel surcharges.

posted on Thursday, August 7, 2008 9:35:57 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Trackback
# Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Safety officials have confirmed that an exploding oxygen cylinder was probably responsible for the hole that appeared in one of its jets during a flight. Inspectors had previously ruled out corrosion as the cause of the accident. It appears that the oxygen tank exploded through the passenger cabin floor causing the large bang and decompression of the cabin. Qantas will now inspect every cylinder on its Boeing 747 fleet in case of similar problems.

posted on Wednesday, August 6, 2008 12:13:50 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Trackback
# Tuesday, August 5, 2008

This week's travel blog of the week is Family on Bikes.

It is the story of a family of four's quest to cycle from Alaska to Argentina using one tandem and two single bikes. The families aim is to break a Guinness World record for the "Youngest Person to Cycle the Pan-American Highway" and a quest to bring the world to young children in classrooms as part of a non-profit organization called Reach the World. Reach the World has been linking travelling educators with classrooms across the globe since 1998.

I have been on a lot of cycling holidays in the past but never one that involved using a tandem with a "bicycle trailer" attached to the back. What I find fascinating is the tandem actually takes three people! Shouldn't it be called a "tridem"?

posted on Tuesday, August 5, 2008 10:33:56 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Trackback

The Post Office has proposed closing 52 branches in north and mid Wales as part of a scheme to reduce the UK total by 2,500. A seven week consultation process is beginning during which people can give their views on the proposed closures. The Post Office has said that many people will not notice any change as a result of the closures but a number of politicians have said that elderly and vulnerable people in rural areas will be the hardest hit by them. The full list of proposed closures is below.

Anglesey: Caergeiliog, Holyhead; Church Terrace, Holyhead; Four Mile Bridge, Holyhead; Llaingoch Community Centre, Holyhead; Ffordd Deg, Llanbedrgoch; Bron Craig, Old Llandegfan; Siop Isa, Talwrn, Llangefni


Conwy: Abergeke Road, Colwyn Bay; Llandudno Road, Rhos-on-Sea; Church Drive, Rhos-on-Sea; Penmaen Road, Morfa; Alexandra Road, Llandudno; Conway Road, Llandudno Junction


Denbighshire: Trevor, Llangollen; Gronant, Prestatyn; Rhyl East Road, Rhyl; Grange Road, Rhyl; Clocaenog, Ruthin; Llanfwrog, Ruthin


Gwynedd: Carneddi, Bethesda; Gerlan, Bethesda; Talybont, Barmouth; Tanygrisiau, Blaenau Ffestiniog; Cwmyglo, Caernarfon; Llanwnda, Caernarfon; Deiniolen, Caernarfon; Llanfrothen; Penmorfa, near Porthmadog; Bwlchtocyn, Pwllheli; Llangian, near Abersoch; West End, Pwllheli


Flintshire: Golftyn, Deeside; Londis Stores, Holywell; Bronant, Holywell; Brynford, Holywell; Carmel, Holywell; Reflections Hairdressers, Mold; Ruthin Road, Mold; New Brighton, Mold; Rhosesmor, Mold


Wrexham: Cymau Road; Marchwiel; New Broughton; Ponciau; Rhos y Medre; Tanyfron; Acton Park; Bradley; Rhosrobin; Summerhill


Powys: Aberangell, Machynlleth

posted on Tuesday, August 5, 2008 2:10:07 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Trackback
# Monday, August 4, 2008

BA and Iberia are holding talks about a possible merger of the two airlines. Willie Walsh, the BA boss has said that the merger would help the airlines in the current economic environment and should allow them to reduce costs. Iberia currently employs 22,000 staff, has 198 aircraft and flies to 109 destinations. Under the merger it would operate mainly in South America and Africa, with BA focusing on the Middle and Far East. If the merger goes ahead the British Airways and the Iberia brands would both be retained.

posted on Monday, August 4, 2008 9:30:39 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Trackback
# Saturday, August 2, 2008

article-1039398-02188BEB00000578-563_468x391 Emirates will introduce the first in flight showers on the new superjumbo A380 Airbus. From Friday first class passengers will be able to enjoy a shower spa during the flight. They will, however, be limited to just five minutes in order to ensure that all first class passengers can enjoy the luxury. The plane carries enough water for 14 first class passengers to each have a five minute shower. The shower itself is big enough to accommodate one person so showering with a friend it not an option. First class passengers can also make use of a private suite which includes a work desk, mini bar and in flight entertainment system. It all sounds great but at a price of £4,737 its certainly not cheap.

posted on Saturday, August 2, 2008 12:24:10 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Trackback
# Friday, August 1, 2008

Ryanair have abandoned plans to raise ticket prices and will instead cut them by 5%. The news comes as the company admitted the sales outlook has worsened since June. They fear that customers are more likely to turned away by costlier flights. The cuts come at a time when Ryanair is experiencing an 85% plunge in profits in the first quarter and a 15% drop in its share price.

posted on Friday, August 1, 2008 9:39:55 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Trackback