New gallery “Blackpool” added

Pictures from my visit to Blackpool in September 2018 now included as a new gallery.

I stayed at the Royal Carlton Hotel on the seafront and was so shocked I had to write this review on TripAdvisor:

Las Vegas it isn’t and the only nuggets you’ll find on the Golden Mile will be McNuggets. But when you ascend your own Blackpool Tower and rise above the ubiquitous tat, rampant obesity and obligatory sportswear you will see a fairytale city full of people having fun. The glitter and sparkly lights are just skin deep, but underneath all that is a city that is reinventing itself and presenting a new model for British coastal holiday towns everywhere.
The renovated seafront, the beautiful trams and the city centre are a welcome sign that somebody, somewhere, is doing something right. Blackpool is big enough for everybody and will always have a special place in my heart as the birthplace of the first commercial Crystal Maze.
The Royal Carlton hotel was disappointing; despite its marvellous location and pretentious name it provided only a basic level of comfort and quality. The bedroom walls were paper thin and the window catch broken and dirty. However, breakfast was good, the staff were friendly and helpful and, at the end of the day, it was actually quite good value. Maybe it should be spelled “The Royle Carlton Hotel”.

The hotel responded:

Dear Carl,
Thank you for your review,
I can only comment on your feedback on the hotel itself although your statement on the resort in general may be more suited to another site – we are sorry the Royal Carlton wasn’t to you expectations on this occasion.
We do urge our guests to please make reception aware immediately of any issues whatsoever so they can be resolved whilst at the hotel, once notified of your dissatisfaction with your room
Another more suitable room may have been offered as a kind resolution – subject to availability at the time. With regards to the window catch, this has since been rectified by our onsite maintenance team
So we do thank you for bringing matters to our attention – and apologise for any inconvenience caused.
Thank you very much for the kind words on our breakfast and service – the Royal Carlton prides itself on delivering superb customer care with excellent food so it really is great to hear you enjoyed the food on offer
And that you found our staff to be extremely helpful and friendly.
It is also great to learn you found your holiday to be very good value for money.
Overall we are pleased you enjoyed your time at the Royal Carlton and hope you will choose us again for a future holiday to the resort.
All the very best,

Happy Christmas!

Cornucopia will take a short break before Christmas during which there will be no emails, posts or comments responded to. However, this won’t stop you enjoying  all the other benefits of browsing this amazing website!

In the meantime, I wish you a very happy Christmas from Brighton, UK.

Be Awesome Today

The Lord looked upon the land and was pleased with what He saw. It was the Sabbath and the people were resting and giving thanks for all that He had given them. Then He saw a sign saying “Be awesome today!” and was angered by it.

He decided in His infinite wisdom that, although it was the Sabbath, it was time to teach the people a lesson: that the word “awesome” is an awesome word and not to be taken lightly. So He visited upon the earth seven plagues in seven days, the like of which had never been seen. When He was finished and the last of the plagues was gone, He looked down upon the devastation and was pleased with what He saw.

Then He saw a man praying on his knees, the man who had written the sign. And he said

“Forgive me Lord for what I have done, but I didn’t mean that kind of awesome”.

And the Lord replied

“There is only one kind of awesome and now you have seen an example of it. Go and tell the people what you have seen and let that be an end to it.”

Thus was the rightful meaning of the word “awesome” restored.

Caterpillar on my Lettuce

There’s a caterpillar on my lettuce

“There’s a caterpillar on my letttuce!” These were the words uttered by angry farmer Kevin Giles (58) on seeing his neighbour, Lance Fielding (29), a builder, driving his CAT across the field of lettuce.

He had just lost a planning application to gain access to the main road via an old farm track and is appealing the decision. Meanwhile, the plucky builder has found his own way to the busy A27 near Alciston, East Sussex.

Campaign breakfasts

Following a resounding election result, I wondered if it could have anything to do with the breakfasts the two main party leaders have been having on their respective campaign trails? Spooky eh?

Boris Johnson’s breakfast
Jeremy Corbyn’s breakfast

Christmas Camera Review

In the run-up to Christmas we will be reviewing a whole range of stocking fillers for readers to chew over before dipping their hands into their pockets and doing their bit to combat the recession. This week we review two popular cameras at the ends of the range: the Tweetie Pie 5.5 Terapixel hand-held camera from Penchan and NASA’s in-orbit astronomical camera known as the “Hubble Space Telescope”.

We did a poll of readers and asked them what their preferences were for a digital camera and what they thought they could afford to buy a loved one this Christmas. Readers’ concerns focussed (ha ha) mainly on the following aspects:

• Performance
• Quality
• Ease of use
• Documentation
• Reliability & Guarantees
• Cost & Availability

The Hubble Space Telescope
The Tweetie Pie hand held camera


It’s not just the resolution of the CCD array chip in the focal plane; it’s a whole raft of technologies, conditions and facilities which make the Hubble telescope infinitely superior to the Tweetie Pie. Taking lenses, stability, atmospheric distortion, light pollution, electronic noise reduction and subsequent image processing facilities into account, there really is no comparison between the two cameras and we have to give the Hubble a well deserved five billion stars and the Tweetie Pie a poultry (ho ho) one star.


Given the harsh conditions the Hubble has to endure (especially during launch aboard the now retired Space Shuttle) and the almost unlimited funds available, it is no surprise that the quality of workmanship, materials, manufacture and testing of the Hubble are second to none. The Daffey Duck comes in a poor second here with its Barbie-doll artwork and its cheap plastic controls. Once again, we must give most of the points to the Hubble.

Ease of Use.

Despite its high specification and wide appeal, the Hubble Space Telescope is remarkably difficult to use and, worse still, difficult to get access to. Because of the stringent safety and security regulations, it is almost impossible for the average person to get authorisation to use the instrument, let alone navigate the maze of procedures needed to operate it. Even when all these hurdles have been surmounted, the pictures have to be transmitted to terrestrial ground stations and decoded, which is both expensive and time consuming. The Tweetie Pie on the other hand has no such restrictions and comes with a fully automated “dummies” mode for beginners and a USB plug’n’play adaptor. Five stars to Penchan, nil to NASA.


There are no public data on the Hubble documentation, but it is estimated there are over 200,000 pages of specifications and test results and approximately 12,000 procedures. The Penchan Huey and Dewey comes with a 25 page user manual and a handy pocket-sized guide for use in the field. Again, full marks to Penchan, nul points to NASA.

Reliability & Warrantees.

It is well known that the Hubble suffered flaws in the main optics, problems with gyroscopes and the breakdown of some of its specialised instruments. These were repaired in four shuttle missions at a cost of around a billion dollars (630 million pounds). There were no warranties and the mission was uninsurable. The Tweetie Pie has a five year guarantee and can be serviced at your local camera dealer.

Cost & Availability.

The Hubble Space Telescope programme cost approximately 2.2 billion dollars by the launch date and a further billion on repairs. It is not for sale, but can be hired for approximately £2,000 an hour, plus a further cost of £200 per gigabit of downlinked & processed data. The Tweetie Pie costs £45 from Amazon, with an extra £12 for a carrying case and USB connector.


The Hubble Space Telescope is not for the beginner or the faint-hearted. Those wishing to display largesse at Christmas should realise they may be giving their loved one the biggest headache of their life (remember, no more shuttle missions!). We suggest that, unless they are an established astronomer with an international reputation, you should either buy them a small terrestrial telescope starter kit (see next week’s review) or get them the Penchan Tweetie Pie. But please bear in mind: those hoping to take Hubble quality pictures of far-off galaxies with the digital Daffey in their Christmas stocking are set to be disappointed. Our final word on the matter is:

“You get what you pay for!