Welcome to the Duck House

Quack!Welcome to the website of Chip the Duck. No part of this site has been the subject of an expense claim from the taxpayer, unlike this duck house.
On these pages you’ll find information and links relating to my favourite interests and activities. In no particular order these are Sir Peter Viggers’ Duck House purchased with UK taxpayers’ money, Geocaching, Portsmouth FC, Golf, Setting & Solving Puzzles, Sea Fishing, Photography, Ducks in general, all things Portuguese plus some other stuff.

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I Really Don’t Give a T#$S

up yoursI have passed retirement age which I think qualifies me to make certain observations based on experience. One of those is that I no longer really care what other people think.

That’s not to say I would deliberately do or say things that would upset people. But if others don’t like my opinions then that’s tough.

This is not something that happened overnight; it has been a gradual development throughout my life starting from adolescence when it was essential that I looked and acted to conform with my peer group. I rarely complained and generally respected authority (although that is sadly going out of the window nowadays).

Progressively my confidence grew so that I became more likely to voice my opinion even if it contradicted popular beliefs. At the same time I began to realise that most of those in positions of power were utterly incompetent and often stupid. In many cases I could do a better job than them if I had the inclination.

When I was in my thirties I was supping beer with a friend in a pub called The Gate in Barnet, North London. Not a spectacular watering hole but pleasant enough and it served a decent pint. Nowadays it’s all nooks and crannies and microwaved lasagne. It was after the lunchtime rush and we were the only ones in the bar apart from three old boys well past retirement.

The door opened and two policemen came in, one in uniform the other plain clothes, and asked the barman if they could speak to the landlord. As they were waiting  one of the old boys called out “My friends and I were just saying that this is the only country in the world where you can say what you want to a policeman without getting locked up. So UP YOURS!”. This was accompanied by the obvious gesture.

To his credit the officer in plain clothes calmly replied “And the same to you sir”.

I’m not at that stage yet, but perhaps one day I’ll speak out and amuse someone else who is half way along the road to “not giving a t#$s”.

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Odiáxere Carnaval – 2015

Odiáxere in the Algarve is only a tiny village, so I wasn’t expecting too much when I went to their carnival last week. How wrong can you be!

carn1

More…

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My Goat Eats Too Many Imaginary Carrots

It all started after I treated myself to a new Android tablet, a Sony Xperia (highly recommended).

Firstly, a normally reliable friend of mine introduced me to Candy Crush, a pointless game which kept me occupied for too many hours over a couple of months. If your idea of fun is matching liquorice allsorts whilst battling against spreading chocolate then this is for you.

But the novelty wore off. I went in search of a new free-to-play game that might be a bit more challenging. And there, in the Google Play Store was Hay Day.

Six months later and a huge chunk of my life has disappeared without trace.

If you are not familiar with Hay Day it is your chance to play at farming, starting with a couple of patches of field, some wheat seeds and a vast overgrown area of trees that you will eventually develop. Not only into a thriving farm with chickens, cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, a dairy and a farm shop, but also a separate fishing area and a town. As you expand you will join a farming co-op, open a sushi bar, coffee shop, a mine, a soup kitchen, spa, cinema… You get the idea.

farmshot

And it is highly addictive. And it doesn’t cost a penny – unless you want to take short cuts.

The graphics and programming are exceptional and you can interact live online with any of a million or more other real life players with whom you trade.

The first hour of my day involves setting up my farm and town for the day; then I return all too often. Meanwhile my other half (also an addict) is up several times throughout the night to send out her farm boy for scarce supplies. OK, I’ve also had a few sessions in the small hours, and I’m not talking about those sorts of sessions!

But it could also be a serious educational tool. Calling it a realistic business simulation would be overdoing it, but as a schoolroom activity it would teach basic business disciplines – margins (and arithmetic), rudimentary stock control, cash flow and supply chain management. Teachers take note: this will better prepare your pupils for life than reciting Shakespeare or learning about the Ancient Greeks.

But mainly it is great fun, and you don’t have to kill a single alien. Try it, but beware – you may find that your social life is sacrificed for red eyes, and that you become obsessed because your greedy pet goat eats its way through your stock of virtual carrots.

Anyway, enough of this. I’ve got chickens to milk.

goat

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Dog Castration Programme

mans best friendThat’s what we need – with all pet dogs participating, eliminating these awful animals in a generation.

Working dogs apart, what on earth possesses people to buy these beasts?

They smell, bite people, leave hair all over your house, eat more food than your kids, crap in the garden and the street, pee everywhere, bark all night, get ticks, need walking when it rains, plant muddy paws on your best suit, incur massive vet bills, need kennelling when you take a holiday, have foul breath and fight with other dogs.

So dog lovers, when can I come round with the garden shears? Or perhaps you disagree…

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Ecco Shoes Fall Apart

suedesI try to prevent my blog from becoming overly serious, although I do throw in a bit of light politics now and then. But today I want to warn you against a poor quality product on the high street so that you don’t get ripped off like me.

And if you think that I’m alone, just Google “Ecco shoes fall apart” and you will see that thousands have lost out. God knows how many others there are who have not complained.

The problem is that many of their shoes suffer from a fault in the composition of their soles which they have described to me as being of “a polyurethane material” which degrades through “hydrolysis”. In emails to me they say the problem is caused by “certain chemical stabilizers used in the production process to slow this degradation eventually being consumed”.

sandalsIronically the problem comes when they aren’t being worn. If you leave them in a cupboard for a while the soles will start to break down so that, when you next want to wear them, they disintegrate in your hand or as you walk.

Three pairs have gone this way, my men’s sandals and casual shoes and my other half has just handed me her suede shoes where the heels have suffered the same fate.

They will not give a refund or replace them no matter how hard you press them, they will just offer a discount on a replacement, so at best you get a pair with the same inherent fault at cost whilst they get away with selling crap. Great!

The moral: DON’T BUY ECCO SHOES!

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Thank you Scotland – from the rest of the United Kingdom

teapotLast Thursday the Scots voted to remain a part of the United Kingdom rather than split off as a separate country, and I as an Englishman am greatly in their debt.

I rarely go to Scotland, sharing my time between England and Portugal, so the effect of the vote on Scotland itself was of little interest. However, the effect on the rest of the UK could have been very much worse.

For those unfamiliar with UK politics there are two main parties, left-ish Labour (incompetent) and right-ish Conservative (self-serving). But Scotland is almost entirely Labour under our electoral system (which only pays lip service to democracy) and their departure from the UK would mean that the Conservatives would have no real opposition in future. A dictatorship – and we have plenty of evidence of the misery they cause.

I won’t vote for either party anyway. I will vote for UKIP, a growing minority party that wants us to leave the European Union, because the irony is that the above is more or less irrelevant. You see, we are all actually ruled from Brussels by people we didn’t elect at all.

No wonder so many don’t bother to vote.

who runs the uk

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London’s Street Entertainers

I’m currently in the UK and took the opportunity to watch the street entertainers

street entertainers

Click here for more…

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