Stormy Weather, Water and Doris

Stormy Weather, Water and Doris

I was reading up about weather storms and wondered why it is that most storms are named after women. I couldn’t seem to find a definitive answer though – some sites indicated that a few decades ago it was usual to assign female names to hurricanes but no other storms (heaven only knows why); however if you look around the globe, storms in the West Indies used to assign the names of Saints to their bad weather, e.g. Hurricane Santa Ana and after a book by about a storm named Maria by novelist and historian George R. Stewart, naming storms gained popularity.

*During World War II, US Army and Navy meteorologists responsible for plotting the movement of storms across the western part of the Pacific Ocean began to use names for cyclones in their forecasts.

In 1953, meteorologists in the United States began using female names for hurricanes. A quarter-century later, meteorologists began naming storms with both male and female names, first in the eastern Pacific Ocean, followed by the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico one year later.

Today the World Meteorological Organization is responsible for the lists of names used for hurricanes across the globe in the five oceans.

Then, in 2015, the UK Met Office and Ireland’s National Met Services collaborated to experiment with a new way to name windstorms expected to affect the United Kingdom and Ireland.

This brings us to an expected storm predicted to hit our shores soon – and they’ve named her Doris.

Now, I don’t about you, but when I hear the name Doris (and the UK has quite a few famous people named Doris), it doesn’t really conjure up the idea of a wild storm, lashing the coastline and creating watery havoc.

Now that I’ve read up a bit more about the how and why of how wild weather is named, I do understand the method, but honestly, Storm Doris? Brings to mind more crumpets and tea indoors I’d say.

Anyhow, with the approach of Doris, it would seem best to batten down the hatches, and make sure your water boiler’s switched on and ready to provide you with a continual supply of hot water for the aforementioned tea and hot drinks that you should have with your crumpets or elevenses.

*excerpts from an article at CNN.

Cables under Water

Cables under Water

Recently in my neck of the woods we had a huge brou-hau-hau with a well-known ISP (internet service provider). It was a bun fight of note. I don’t know about where you are, but where I am, service providers have a rather unpleasant habit of blaming other service providers. A common excuse is, ‘Oh, the underground cable is broken’ or, ‘the undersea cable was used in a tug-of-war competition between a griffon and Godzilla’ – okay, slight exaggeration there, but honestly, it may as well be as farfetched as that. Or is it?

I stepped away from my usual station at the water cooler – actually let me caveat that with – stepped away from the water boiler (it is bleeding cold you know) and followed the undersea cable. Not literally!

What I think a lot of us don’t realise is that apart from all that we see – telephone poles suspending bundles of cables; the cables installed in our homes connecting to our devices – there’s actually a whole lot unseen going on out there that allows for us to operate in a ‘wireless’ world. But what we see is just a small part of the physical makeup of the net. The rest of it can be found in the coldest depths of the ocean. Here are just a few things you might not know about the Internet’s system of undersea cables.

  1. Cable installation is slow, tedious, expensive work

*Ninety-nine percent of international data is transmitted by wires at the bottom of the ocean called submarine communications cables. In total, they are hundreds of thousands of miles long and can be as deep as Everest Is tall. The cables are installed by special boats called cable-layers. It’s more than a matter of dropping wires with anvils attached to them – the cables must generally be run across flat surfaces of the ocean floor, and care is taken to avoid coral reefs, sunken ships, fish beds, and other ecological habitats and general obstructions. The diameter of a shallow water cable is about the same as a soda can, while deep water cables are much thinner – about the size of a Magic Marker. The size difference is related to simple vulnerability – there’s not much going on 8,000 feet below sea level; consequently, there’s less need for galvanized shielding wire. Cables located at shallow depths are buried beneath the ocean floor using high pressure water jets. Though per-mile prices for installation change depending on total length and destination, running a cable across the ocean invariably costs hundreds of millions of Pounds.

  1. Sharks are trying to eat the Internet.

There’s disagreement as to why, exactly, sharks like gnawing on submarine communications cables. Maybe it has something to do with electromagnetic fields. Maybe they’re just curious. Maybe they’re trying to disrupt our communications infrastructure before mounting a land-based assault. (My theory.) The point remains that sharks are chewing on the Internet, and sometimes damage it. In response, companies such as Google are shielding their cables in shark-proof wire wrappers.

  1. The Internet is as vulnerable underwater as it is underground.

It seems like every couple of years, some well-meaning construction worker puts his bulldozer in gear and kills Netflix for the whole continent. While the ocean is free of construction equipment that might otherwise combine to form Devastator, there are many ongoing aquatic threats to the submarine cables. Sharks aside, the Internet is ever at risk of being disrupted by boat anchors, trawling by fishing vessels, and natural disasters.

After reading all of this, colour me more eddicated and pretty impressed. And perhaps a little more patient when I hear that my lack of connectivity is due to an undersea cable breakage Them there sharks have to eat too you know.

*Extracts from an article at Mental Floss

Winter Snow and Hot Water

Winter Snow and Hot Water

We Britons are big on weather – it’s the go to topic of discussion irrespective of whether we’re chatting with colleagues around the water cooler or family or friends, and it’s the safety topic when you’re chatting to strangers or people you’ve just met.

Discussing the weather isn’t just exclusively a British thing though – it’s pretty much a global go to safe topic around the world. If you’re a southern hemisphere dweller, you’ll invariably be moaning about the heat at the same time that the northern hemispherers will be complaining about the icy winds, the piles of snow, but wherever you reside, there’ll be a whole lot of weather talk going on.

Thing is though, often the weather isn’t really topical, it’s actually quite dull “Here, mate, seen the weather – 1 degree difference between yesterday and today – isn’t that something?” Well, actually, no  … it isn’t.

But, whatever our opinion about the topic of weather, there’s no denying it has a huge impact on our behavioural patterns; moods; what we eat; our travel patterns; clothing and what we drink.

F’r instance, in the summer months, we’re constantly on the lookout for the perfectly chilled water (perfectly understandable), but come the winter months, like now, with all the snow and brrr, there’s nothing better than a cuppa to stave off the chill, so you’re more likely to be on the lookout for a water boiler that can provide you with a constant hot water supply throughout the day.

Either way, even if you’re freezing your tootsies off trudging through the snow and all you can think about is a piping hot drink when you get inside, it’s worth keeping in mind that you’re just as likely to become dehydrated in winter as you are in summer, so by all means, drink those hot drinks, but balance out each hot drink with a drink of cold water and keep yourself fighting fit and healthy come rain, snow or shine.

Water Cooler, Water Boiler … Cuppa Tea

Water Cooler, Water Boiler … Cuppa Tea

There’s been some rather soggy weather in England this week – bit rude I’d say – it’s only October.

While you’re keeping warm indoors and contemplating life, the weather in general and how soaked you’ll get outdoors if you make a dash for it, here are a few thoughts that may make you beam with British pride; warm you up and intrigue your grey matter.

It was recently the 385th anniversary of tea in the UK.

They say that a cuppa cures all ills and they’re not far wrong – whether you’re using your hot water boiler or combination AquAid chiller/boiler in the office, or school or at home – or boiling water with the kettle at home – there’s very little that can’t be cured by the brew.

But a few years away from our four hundredth year of drinking tea, our knowledge may not be as encyclopaedic as we’d like to think it is! In celebration of this anniversary, a few facts and myth busters that may amuse or interest you:

How many cups a day?

More than 165,000,000 cups are being drunk in the UK every single day of the year.

Brits didn’t invent the tea bag

The tea bag was invented by a nation that is more associated with coffee – America.

Although there are some records of loose-leaf bags being used in ancient China, the first labour-saving teabag was created by US tea merchant Thomas Sullivan.

Tea breaks were invented by modern office workers

Tea breaks are actually a tradition which has been around for about two hundred years. Initially when workers commenced their day at around 5 or 6am, employers allowed a break in the morning when food and tea were served. Some employers repeated the break in the afternoon as well, according to The UK Tea and Infusions Association.

Between 1741 and 1820 industrialists, landowners and clerics tried to put a stop to the tea break maintaining that tea drinking and rest made working people slothful. Modern thinking couldn’t be further away from this – regular tea breaks can play a vital part in the day to help maintain a positive attitude towards work and a very necessary fluid intake.

And the best news of all;

Tea doesn’t go off

Take note though, if you leave your tea for a time, those little leaves won’t be as fresh after six months. The flavour may not suffer, but the brew will lose its antioxidants. The best way to preserve the efficacy of the antioxidants is by storing your tea in a sealed container in a dark, cool place.

If this weather keeps up, proper tea storage certainly won’t be hard.

If you’d like know more about AquAid water, water cooler and water boiler products, specials and our life saving charity partnerships, please *  e-mail or us on 0800 772 3003. We’d be delighted to assist you.


How to land yourself in hot water

How to land yourself in hot water

I’m a little nervous as I write to you – as I think that perhaps this topic could land me in a bit of hot water.

Then again, I don’t see that I should be nervous, as I’m sure that the food police aren’t out to get me.

The topic for discussion is all about Marmite. This has been spurred on by the recent #Marmitegate which has been trending in the UK.

I’m not joining the fray (ahaha) about this though, what I’m wondering is what everyone thinks about Marmite. And Fray Bentos. And Oxo and for those down under … Vegemite. The reason I include Vegemite is I watched an episode of Master Chef Australia recently and one of the mystery ingredient choices was to cook a dish using Vegemite – the expressions of horror on all of the contestants’ faces was a sight to behold!  I, not having ever tasted Vegemite, of course, cannot comment – although I would like to try this wonder spread.

Marmite was a staple in our house growing up – like tea – it was the solver of many problems – from warming yourself up to staving off hunger when a tablespoonful was drunk in a mug of hot water – through to spreading Marmite on buttery toast (mathematical precision was required to ensure the correct butter vs. Marmite quotient). My little world was all about Marmite.

As an adult I discovered that there were alternatives to Marmite, mainly Fray Bentos. I became a firm Fray Bentos fan and eschewed Marmite. Brand loyalty is a funny animal (although Marmite et al are all quite vegetarian ingredients, if you can Adam and Eve it), but I did think that the Marmite manufacturers would get by without me.

Now, winter’s on its way, a spoonful of Fray Bentos in a mug of hot water is calling or asking to be spread on toast … and I can’t find Fray Bentos anywhere. I’m a sad little person.

I’ve thought about rummaging in colleagues’ kitchen stashes at the office, or staking out our office water boiler when we all descend on it for our favourite hot drink break – you know, just to see whether anyone produces a jar of the good stuff – but I’ve a feeling that this would not be seen as good office camaraderie.

What’s your favourite of the savoury spreads? Are you bereft at the thought that there may be no more Marmite? Do tell!

Hot Water? Cold Water? What’s your opinion?

Hot Water? Cold Water? What’s your opinion?

I’ll admit I’m the world’s biggest wuss when it comes to bathing or showering in cold water. Even when there are scorching hot temperatures, I’ll still opt for a mildly warm shower instead of ice cold. I may slowly turn the hot water tap down during shower but even then, I’d rather not switch off the hot tap entirely.

To be fair, if you live in a region with longer winters and icy cold weather for more months of the year than warm weather, it makes sense to keep that hot tap open, so you’d need to take that into consideration, but when all is said and done, are hot or cold showers better for you and why?

I splish-splashed across the web to find out.

In favour of heat:

  • Hot showers can relieve tension and soothe stiff muscles. If you have a powerful showerhead, even better! You can let the hot water work like a mini massage on your shoulders, neck, and back.
  • Studies have shown that taking a hot shower can amp up your oxytocin levels and ease anxiety. Anyone working with stress can use more of the love hormone in their life.
  • A hot shower also acts as a natural decongestant to relieve cold symptoms, since the hot steam moisturises nasal passages.
  • Under the weather and running a slight fever? A hot shower might be what you need to help break your fever and bring your temperature back to normal.

In favour of the cooler option:

  • Cold showers – as unbearable as they are – are actually really good for our bodies. Turning your shower cold for the last five minutes can help ‘shock’ your body awake. This instant change in temperature relieves your body of fatigue and increases your mental alertness.
  • A ’cooler’ shower (around 20 °C) for two to three minutes once or twice daily is recommended by researchers as a treatment for depression. Just make sure you check in with your doctor before testing this out.
  • On the more vain side of the spectrum, cold showers are better for our hair and skin. Where a hot shower can dry things out, cold showers hydrate and help with split ends and dry skin. I also have it on good authority that rinsing your shampoo out with cooler water places less stress on your hair, leaving your hair in a more sleek condition. All of those beautiful sleek looking seals can’t be wrong.

Whichever works for you, a cautionary note – no, I wouldn’t suggest that you filch the company water cooler or boiler to test out the hot or cold shower theory. That water’s for drinking, dear, not bathing.