Saturday, January 21, 2006

Tesco and more

What's the difference between Tesco Express and Tesco Metro?

I've gone decaf by the way. Did I tell you? I had a hideous migraine thing last week, really not helped by the amount of coffee I drink. So, all of a sudden, I've gone decaf. And on the whole I quite like the move. Am Gonna drink caffeine when I want but largely it'll be ... OK Damon, enough with this. Anyone fool enough to be reading this will have got it by now.

Things to look at though. I'd like to recommend Jon Snow's podcast and also this rather life affirmingly fabulous story from BBC News entitled: Snake befriends 'snack' hamster.

I'm also following the whale story with some sadness. I hear now that they've managed to get it onto a barge. If you're not familiar with this story, not sure if it has reached worldwide tho it seems like perfect 24-hour rolling news fodder to me ... a 15 foot 7 ton whale has swum miles off course and has made it into the River Thames ... that big river wot flows through London.

Londoners are astonished by it. At first it was kind of cute to hear about a whale swimming past the Houses of Parliament squirting water from its blowhole as it went ... but of course, The Thames is not the place for a whale. It' is freshwater, not salt water; it's too narrow and shallow. The whale is now very distressed and vets are worried it may be too ill.

They're taking it back to the Thames Estuary and out into the North Sea again ... but what disturbs me is that animal experts are planning on perhaps 'putting it down' (a killing euphemism) if they feel it is too unwell.

13 comments:

jfsouthpaw said...

I heard this on the radio on Friday and was with a blind friend who couldn't hear it at the time, so relayed this later on. We were both amazed and wondered how the whale could have got that far up the Thames, and if it would make it back out to sea...

Have just read the sad news from a couple of hours ago.

Even though this is such a rare occurance, I can't help feeling we brits let the animal kingdom down...Would this have been handled differently in New Zealand or Australia, places which seem to care more and know more about animals? I suppose their waterways would be a lot cleaner, which would be a good start.

Katie said...

There's not much difference between Tesco Metro and Express except that the express store always seems to be smaller than the other.

On the whale story front, I was reading BBC News on the website and apparently it died in transit on the barge, so they didn't put it down Damon, it died of natural causes instead. Sad though to have an animal die like that alone without being in it's natural environment.

Katie said...
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BloggingMone said...

The whale was among the top stories in the news at least in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. It is sad it didn't make it back into the sea.
I suffer from migraine and am happy to try (almost) everything for a cure or relief. My doctor has told me that caffeine helps to reduce the symptoms. Not masses of it, but a decent cup of coffee, when the pain starts. Can you tell me about your experience with decaff coffee? Might be an option....

Becca said...

jfsouthpaw - the Thames is actually very clean - it's brown because it's silty, not because it's dirty.

And I dunno if you watched any of the footage but I don't think it's even remotely possible for anyone to care more or try harder to help a single, dying animal than all those teams down at the Thames did this week.

Damon... 'putting it down' does sound horrible but once humans have got involved there's a duty to avoid suffering and I should think whatever they would have done, had it not pipped them to the post, would have been a considerably less nasty experience for the whale than suffocating to death, which is what would have happened if they'd left it alone.

Charlesdawson said...

Has any whale rescue ever worked? Always the poor animal seems to die in the attempt.

I suspect they die of fear, exhaustion and stress; they must be bewildred and terrified by all these buzzing little creatures around them. But of course we have to try.

Lady Bracknell said...

This not exactly gripping stuff, but the official distinction between a "Tesco Metro" and a "Tesco Express" is as follows:

"Tesco Metro stores are sized between normal Tesco stores and Tesco Express stores. They are mostly located in city centres and on the high streets of small towns. Typical size is 12,000 square feet.

Tesco Express stores are neighbourhood convenience shops, stocking mainly food with an emphasis on higher-margin products alongside everyday essentials. They are found in busy city centre districts and small shopping precincts in residential areas, and on petrol station forecourts."

Which is about as clear as mud.

Although I'm sure I heard at some point that the Express stores are the ones which used to be yer average corner shop, the previous owners of which have been offered a very attractive price to vacate. Allegedly.

jfsouthpaw said...

Becca, it does depend who you ask about the water, Thames Water and most Londoners I've met share your view, but environmentalists I know disagree. Britain doesn't have a good track record for dealing with waste, even in London...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/3653590.stm

As for caring for the Wale, yes I am sure all the teams involved with the attempted rescue cared a lot. I am sure they were very upset that the whale dies. That's not what I meant by care, though. It is hard to put into words exactly what I mean about caring for animals. I am really suspicious of the way animals get anthropomorphised, and wildlife experts form attachments to them. It's not that I am suspicious of their care, I'm suspicious of the way they think they know the individual animals so well. I haven't followed the story especially closely, becauseI usually find the coverage of this kind of story gut-wrenchingly awful and I had a lot else to do this weekend. But I did hear one of the people who was with the whale when it was being rescued saying (on the radio this morning) 'I could see in it's eyes it wanted to go...(not sure, but he seemed to imply 'die' here)..I knew that even if we got him out of the river, we wouldn't be able to release him.' So I don't doubt these people's strength of feeling, but I don't trust it. I'm no wale expert, though, so excuse me for I was just wondering whether it might have been done differently elsewhere. Maybe not, maybe it would have been the exact same scenario anywhere in the world.

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Gimpy Mumpy said...

Jf, I think I know how you felt about the whale. When I first heard the story I thought 'he's left the pack for a nice place to die'. I wasn't being morbid, just many animals do this (many cat owners have probably experienced this). Then when the vets and rescuers came on the scene I thought 'let him have his dignity' and 'leave him alone'. I may be way off but that was how I felt. It seemed alot of effort for a whale who could not express his/her intentions.

marmiteboy said...

There has been a bizarre story circulating (possibly started by disgruntled locals) that the munitions testing site at Shoeburyness (which for those who don't know the area is situated at the mouth of the Thames, on the Essex side, just up the road from Southend) caused the Whale to become disorientated by the loud explosions eminating from the site. It then swam up the Thames to escape the noise. Hmm I'm not sure that this is the case at all. I tend to agree with Mumpy, animals do go somewhere quiet to die. Maybe the whale was already injured when it swam up the river. And I'm sure the spectacle of thousands of Londoners watching on accompanied by helicopters and dingys swooping by did little tocalm it.

Damon said...

This is the thing. Sky News were saying that whales often seek shallower waters when ill. Reason being because if they stayed in deep water they may sink and drown ... and whales need air.

I guess the reason why I felt bad about the whale being put down is the human intervention thing. The whale had previously been out at sea with masses of space around it, in a non human habitat. I think that putting animals down is part of the anthropomorphisation problem. Like with Euthanasia, who is the one being put out of their misery?

jfsouthpaw said...

I am with Damon on this, i really do see that parallel between euthanasia and putting an animal down because you 'can see in his eyes he wants to die'. This is really dodgy territory. I mean, if we question whether someone's lifelong lover, parent, child or closest friend can make that kind of decision for someone who cannot let their wishes be known & verified, what business does any human have making that decision for a member of another species they have only just met?

There is probably a good argument for having an animal put down, under some circumstances, e.g. when they have a terminal illness, like cancer or miximatosis really bedly. Maybe. But not becasue they look like they want to die.

Thanks, Gimpy, for reminding me about the way animals go off on their own to die. (I'm surprised wildlife experts don't call it 'Captain Scott Tendency' or something.) I suppose it was good there was only one whale. I've also been reminded that the whole pod of whales sometimes follows the sick one into shallow waters and they can all get beached & die.

I'm also told that someone is currently trying to sell bits of the whale on ebay...