Monday, 25 June 2012

Facebook - A Public Service Announcement

Recently, I've noticed various people in my Facebook feed who have seemingly decided to make their posts public.  However, when I've messaged them to let them know, they've all been horrified and immediately amended their settings to keep their posts friends only or some other custom setting.

How does it happen?  Why does Facebook suddenly start making your updates public?

Read on, and find out how you can stop yourself from making potentially embarrassing social media faux pas...

When you update your Facebook status on a computer, you will do it in a box that looks like this:

Next to the button where it says "Post", you'll see a drop-down arrow.  Clicking on it brings up a range of options, like this:

Most people choose to share their status updates with their friends on Facebook (perhaps unsurprisingly!), but you can customise your settings still further so that you can share specific things with certain people and not others (useful for all sorts of reasons...).

What you might not know is that if you change your settings once, it keeps them like that for the next post you make, and the next (including photos, videos, etc you may choose to share).  So whilst you may want to broadcast to the world that you've had a lovely meal at a certain restaurant, you may not want everyone to know that you've just fallen over the dog.

Where many people seem to come unstuck is using Facebook from their phone, because if you don't let your settings load properly (and sometimes it'll take several tries, especially if you're in an area with poor signal), the Facebook app automatically posts as "Public".  And then, even if you use Facebook from a computer next time, it will still be making your posts public unless you amend your settings again.  You can do this very easily by just posting another status update with the settings changed.

Have a look down your feed - have you got friends who may be sharing more than they think with the outside world?  You'll see the icon for Public, Friends or Custom under each post - if you see a lot of globe icons, point them in the direction of this blog post.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Everywhere you always take the weather with you (or FGS, it is JUNE)

Great British weather. All of these. Every day.
Apart from stiff upper lips, a penchant for pomp and a greater-than-average tolerance for "celebrity" (c'mon, guys, Fearne Cotton?!), one thing we Brits are famous for is blathering endlessly about the weather.  Today, I would like to share with you my theory as to why and blather endlessly myself about the unseasonably damp spell we've been having recently.

Everywhere you go in the UK, you'll hear, "Cold, isn't it?" or "Hot enough for you?" or "Lovely weather for ducks!" type remarks.  Some people complain, and other people complain about the people who complain, saying such insightful things as, "It's never right for some, is it?!"

So, why are we famous for banging on so incessantly about the weather?  Well, I'm not a meteorologist, fgs, so don't shoot me if this is a load of baloney, but I think it's because we have "weather" rather than "a climate".  So we don't have a traditionally rainy season (well, we do, it's called "summer" - ba-dum-tss!), a season where it is markedly hot-without-precipitation, a couple of months of guaranteed snow, etc.

Instead, we have the kind of year-round unpredictability that means that every day is pretty much a series of unforeseen shocks, meterologically-speaking.  We simply have weather that takes the weather forecasters by surprise (don't it, Michael Fish?)...

On the bright side, our changeable weather that means that we are never short of a small-talk conversation starter, however tedious the ensuing chat may be.  But think about what it would be like if we had the kind of weather that was:

  • hot, damn hot in summer
  • snow in winter
  • damp in autumn
  • bit blowy and rainy in spring, but quite bright
And then imagine it's like that every year.  No unseasonably warm spells in the middle of November.  No snow in June.  You wake up, the weather's exactly what you expect it will be, according to the calendar.  You put on the clothes you've decided you'll wear the night before (heck, the week before, the YEAR before) and you go about your day, not giving a second thought to any of it.

Wouldn't we get a lot more done if it were like that?  No, "Ooh, it looks like rain, shall I take a brolly with me?  A sou'wester?" or "I've got a thin raincoat, but it's not very warm, perhaps I'll need my thicker coat" or "Well, I know it's July, but it might get a bit nippy this evening, I'd better put a thin sweater in my bag" - IMAGINE not having to plan for all elemental eventualities!  We would probably have found time to have cured cancer, invented something considerably better than the wheel AND written a far more plausible ending to Lost than the one they limped tortuously towards for 1,407 series #stillbitter

In fact, we wouldn't be called "Great Britain" - we would be called "Superb Britain".  And we'd win Eurovision every year too.


On to the weather this "summer".  For inverted commas are indeed needed to describe the shower of showers, gales, hail and other such unseasonable shite the heavens have seen fit to throw at us thus far this year.  Apparently, factfans, it is because the jet stream is further south than usual.

But I can't help feeling that I would like to complain to whoever is in charge, please.  Because that's what we do, in Great Britain, isn't it?  Complain and seek compensation.  You can do it with your Oyster card if your London Underground tube train is delayed for more than 15 minutes, after all, so surely you must be able to complain about your summer being delayed for well over a month. I'd quite like some vouchers.  Maybe they could be for a trip to a place where you can set your watch by the seasons?

Or maybe for some galoshes.  Funny, you never hear anyone speak of one "galosh", do you?  Why is that, I wonder?  And, just like that, I prove why we will remain "Great Britain" - we are too easily-diverted by weather-related trivia.  And, if "summer" continues on current form, we must be careful we don't enter next year's Eurovision as "Mediocre Britain"...

Friday, 8 June 2012

Homeopathy (or There's A Little Of Me In All Of You)

Pilules, little pilules, and they're all made out of hokum
Today, I have been mostly ranting about homeopathy.  To myself (and anyone who'll listen, but I live with people who don't really pay much attention to my bangings on any more - I really must get a cat for Proper Ranting Audience purposes, but until then, you're stuck with me).


Homeopathy, for those of you what haven't heard of it (ALTHOUGH - no, hang on, will define it first), literally means "like sickness" and is the theory that giving patients highly diluted preparations of substances that are believed to cause similar symptoms to the ailments they are intended to treat will cure them.  HOWEVER, the mere fact of this existing as a definition must homeopathically mean that you are aware of it.

Because the whole thing is bunk, surely, as Jennings or perhaps the Famous Five would have said.  Bunk as in "rot" or "poppycock" or "load of ol' shite" (all phrases you'll find in the Buckeridge and Blyton novels).

So, homeopathy works on the principle that you take little pilules of stuff that contains something that once was a first cousin three times removed of the thing that you might have.  Only it isn't the thing you might have, it's something like it.  Clear?

The problem with this being SO dilute thing is that, for instance, the water we drink has been through numerous kidneys before we drink it (I was told 11 times when I was a child, which was in nineteen-hundred-and-frozen-to-death, so it must surely be many more times by now).  Does this mean that it has essence of contraceptive, eau de chemotherapy and whiff of beta-blocker about it?  Actually, the Daily Mail, which can always be relied upon to be level-headed and non-reactionary, says that, indeed, fish are all female these days and men soon will be ladies if they keep on drinking water, because of the homeopathic contraceptive effect (I may be paraphrasing wildly).

So, what does this mean for us?

I'm thinking of launching a new range of homeopathic lifestyle solutions.  These include:

  • the homeopathic diet, which means that because someone else near you is eating celery, you will lose weight.  Huzzah!
  • the homeopathic birthday card, which means that because someone else sent one, you did too.  Never feel guilty for missing a birthday again!
  • the homeopathic pay packet, very useful for employers, who will be able to claim that paying £1 is exactly the same as paying £1k, because that £1 has TOUCHED other money in the course of its history.  You're rich, beyond your wildest dreams!
  • the homeopathic buffet, which consists of one sausage roll and one cocktail stick cheese/pineapple combo, from which you must imagine a whole "Mum's Gone To Iceland" spread of beige processed semi-digestible comestibles and entire cheese/pineapple hedgehog.  Tuck in!
And some others, which I have already thought of, homeopathically, and which you have already found funny, homeopathically.

In fact, my husband told me some Interesting Facts about Charles Dickens earlier, so I am now, homeopathically speaking, a famous novelist.  And so are you, because you've read this.  Well done.  Well done, you.

I have a horrible feeling that I will be stabbed to death by a homeopath for posting this.

Well, I say stabbed to death.  They might make me look at a photograph of a knife.  Because that'll learn me, won't it?

Corwumph, Jennings!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

#ladyflat (or A Place To Call My Own)

I live with two male children and a man.  And, you know what?  Sometimes, I crave lady space.  Surroundings with clear surfaces, expanses of pale oatmeal-carpeted floor not strewn with Bakugan and Transformers and Lego.  Somewhere that crystal vases can be placed on glass tables, with fresh-cut flowers, safe from footballs (NOT indoors, how many times?!) and random small boy boisterousness.

I mentioned this hankering to several friends of mine, all of whom have young children.  The resounding response was, "Oh, YES!" and soon photos started appearing in my Facebook feed, where I'd been tagged in pictures of beautiful places worthy of the #ladyflat tag.

So, I thought I'd share some here, in a blog post which I will update from time to time.

#ladyflat drawing room

#ladyflat bathroom

#ladyflat bedroom

#ladyflat #ladygarden (yes, yes, fnar, etc)

#ladyflat staircase-cum-slide (means "with", filthmeisters)

#ladyflat #ladystudy for writing blog posts
and charming letters on pretty stationery

Monday, 4 June 2012

Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, tis off to Legoland we go (or That's 12 Hours Of My Life I Won't See Again)

On Friday 1st June, the boys' school had an INSET day, so, together with a friend and her two children, we headed to Legoland for our semi-regular annual jaunt.  We try never to go in your actual school holidays, because it is busy enough at the best of times, let alone when everybody can travel freely and without incurring the wrath of the unauthorised absence fairy.
And, as we meandered our way through the brightly-coloured plastic brick strewn landscape, it occurred to me that I could probably put together some kind of Top Ten Tips For Surviving Legoland blog post.

So, in a rough chronological order, here they are.

1. Don't pay full price.  Only a dick would spend north of £100 taking two children to Legoland.  Instead, use Tesco Clubcard vouchers, Nectar points, or you can sometimes find deals on Groupon or other voucher websites, or even booking in advance through Legoland's own website - basically, there'll be a deal somewhere.  Use it.  My friend used Tesco Clubcard vouchers (which require a degree of planning and forethought that I seldom display, since you have to send away for them in advance) and I used Nectar points (which only requires a quick swipe of one's Nectar card at the till.  You can pay in multiples of £5.00 for tickets, which meant that I spent £110-worth of points and paid the extortionate additional sum of £1.60 in actual cash).  You will also be charged £2 for the car park, but we needn't have done, because there was nobody checking tickets on the way out (NB I am not suggesting you don't pay it, because the Legoland Police may well be out in force on the day you go and you may be thrown into Legoland Jail for not paying it).

2. Get there early.  There will be a queue to park.  There will be a queue to get into the park.  There will be queues to get into queues if you don't get there early enough.  You will want to eat your own face off with boredom by the time you're through the gates if you don't get there early.  So get there early.  The park opens at 10am and, on the day we were there, it shut at 5pm (though in truth, we didn't leave till - oh, well, I won't spoil the ending for you - you'll just have to read on!).

3. Take a buggy with you.  We had two eight-year-old boys (one my friend's, one mine), a six-year-old boy (mine) and a five-year-old girl (my friend's) between us, none of which has used a pushchair in anger for some time, but we took one with us.  And we piled it high with drinks bottles, cool bags for the picnic, towels and swimmers for the Waterworks, a cuddly toy, a fondue set and three cabbages.  Crackerjack!  Or was it The Generation Game?  We may never care.  You can dump the pushchair before you go on the rides and it will be there when you come back (just don't leave valuables on it, kids).

4. Plan your route.  Preferably, do this in advance, using the interactive Explore Legoland map.  Or, do as we did - wrestle with children who are determined to look at the map upside-down, then all run off in different directions.  One way or the other, you'll settle on your first thing - do this quickly, because the queues (did I tell you of the queues?) will build up swiftly.  Perhaps here I should mention the Q-Bot, a small, hand-held device which you can program to queue for you.  Since it costs between £15 and £70 extra per person, and neither of us had had the foresight to marry or become millionaires, we opted to queue for ourselves.  Take a moment to consider that, had we decided to plump for the £70 per person option, we would have spent a further £420 between us, simply to get on stuff more quickly.  Coo.

We decided that our first thing would be the Spinning Spider, and queued for approximately 20 minutes to get on it.  This ride is a version of Waltzers and a relatively large number of people can ride it at once, meaning the queue tends to move pretty quickly.

Six-year-old boy on Dragon roller coaster
Happy 6yo
The next thing on our list was The Dragon, a roller coaster (relatively tame, no loop-the-loop or anything).  My eight-year-old was determined not to go on it, but I persuaded him to trust me, for I knew he would enjoy it.  Only one of our children was tall enough to ride without an adult with them, my friend's eight-year-old.  Handily, Legoland realises that, having queued once, the last thing you'll want to do is queue again with your other too-short-to-ride-solo child, so lets you stay on and ride with the other child without queuing.  And, yes, my eight-year-old loved it.  As did my six-year-old.

5. Decide what NOT to do.  Don't do the sodding Fire Academy.  You spend an eternity in a queue before getting onto the fire engine, where you then have to work a lever like a crazy person to move the appliance along a track towards a "burning" building, before leaping up and down pressing another lever so your child can aim piss-weak streams of water into the cut-out of a house, then it's back to the fire engine to hammer-and-tongs it back to the start line (which has now become the finish line).  Your children won't be strong enough to help all that much, one or all will complain they haven't had a turn doing some portion of the tedious task and you will start wondering why you didn't have the foresight to bring a hip flask with you.

In the same vein, if you've seen fish before, don't queue for Atlantis Sub Store.  Last year, I spent about two hours queuing for this unutterably dull "voyage" to the bottom of a puddle to look at fish you can see in any local aquarium.  I think there may be a code of silence regarding this "attraction" being not all that attractive in reality and I am expecting the Legoland Police to pounce upon me for mentioning that this is really a pretty crummy experience.

But do go and see the Pirates Of Skeleton Bay Stunt Show though, because it includes the opportunity for your children to spray the performing adults with water, which they will find hilarious.  And stunt pirates tumbling off a lighthouse, which is always good fun, I'm sure you'll agree.  It's on several times a day - we saw the 4pm showing, which was jam-packed.  And do make time for a mooch round Miniland for it is a wonderful spectacle of the astonishingly versatile nature of what are essentially little bits of plastic (does that spoil the magic?  Sorry).

6. Take diversionary activities with you.  Some of the queues (I do apologise, I say "queue" a lot in this blog post.  There's a reason for that - can you guess?) have things to do for children in them, but it is worth taking something to do with you as well, so that you can occupy them.  I must remember this, should I ever go anywhere where queuing is such a large part of the day again.  For this time, I forgot it and I spent a large portion of the day channelling Joyce Grenfell, saying, "Don't climb on that.  Please get down.  Oh, fgs, get off that.  You will fall and hurt yourself.  Yes, I know you want to look in the moat to see the dirty Lego fish, but it is A Long Drop from these crenellations.  Ooh, look at that wizard's cloak made from Lego."  Gingerbread men went down a treat, but you can't feed children biscuits for several hours of the day, because it will mean they get wedged in the fleeting ride at the end of the queue and the fire brigade may need calling.  The best queue was for the Boating School, where you steer a boat through a safari landscape of Lego elephants and polar bears (wearing sunglasses, for some reason).  This was because it had several stations where you could build Lego into towers (though, as a sign somewhat bizarrely warned, not too tall, for health and safety reasons.  I'm unaware of someone being fatally felled by a too-tall Lego tower, but maybe I'm just reading the wrong news stories).
Eight-year-old boy driving Lego car
He's eight. Promise.

7. Get your story straight.  Your children will be asked how old they are by Legoland staff if you take them on the Driving School.  They need to be six, so either make sure they can lie convincingly (and  also ensure that the older ones won't grass up their younger siblings) when they're asked, or take them on the one for little kids next to the big one.  Discretion prevents me from recounting what we did with the five-year-old in our midst.  I will tell you that I went on the Legoland Driving School in Copenhagen Legoland when I was 15.  And the age limit is 13.  Oh, the shame.

8. Take your own drinks.  There are all manner of stalls selling things throughout the park.  You can, for £6, purchase a vat that you can have refilled with fizzy pop as many times as you like at any stall selling drinks, but we went for the cheaper option of bringing water with us, which had the added bonus of ensuring the children weren't off their tits on sugary fizz as we made our way round the park.

9. Eat before you leave.  One child per paying adult eats free in selected restaurants across Legoland after 4pm.  Since it will take you another eon to leave the car park, in nose-to-tail traffic, it is a good idea to wedge your children as full as possible on pizza before you go, to avoid having to either pack a picnic tea as well as lunch, stop en route home or feed them when you get in.  We opted for the pizza/pasta/salad buffet, which was eerily like a Pizza Hut eat-all-you-can experience.  At what worked out at a fiver a head once the free child meals were taken into account, this was very good value indeed, we felt.

10. Buy ice cream last.  You don't have to do this, of course.  You can move swiftly past the kiosk on the way to the car park, to sit in traffic for another hour before you leave Legoland behind.  Or you can eke out the pleasure experience for another 45 minutes by queuing to buy an ice cream, then eating it perched next to sweaty strangers on one of the not-enough benches before trudging back to the car (which will be considerably easier to find than in a crowded car park, because almost everyone will have left by the time you've eaten your Cornetto).  This approach also handily means you can tell the children they can have an ice cream on the way out, so you don't have children eating ice cream in the hottest, waspiest part of the day.  And they won't fill themselves up with it mid-afternoon, meaning they'll still eat their dinner.  Result.

So, there you have it.  My Top Ten Tips For Surviving Legoland.  A quick recap:

1. Don't pay full price.
2. Get there early.
3. Take a buggy with you.
4. Plan your route.
5. Decide what NOT to do.
6. Take diversionary activities with you.
7. Get your story straight.
8. Take drinks with you.
9. Eat before you leave.
10. Buy ice cream last.

I spent £1.60 on entry (using approximately one squillion Nectar points as well), £2 on the car park (which I needn't have done), £3.20 on a bucket of Coke to try to stave off a headache that I developed in the queue for The Dragon (something to do with repeatedly dragging the six-year-old off the ramparts), £15.30 on dinner and £8.40 on ice cream.  Just shy of £30 on a day at Legoland for one adult and two children isn't bad, I don't think.  I can think of things I'd rather have spent it on, but that would be Very Selfish of me.  And the boys had fun, so that's all that matters, right?  Oh, and painkillers finally eased the headache, thanks.

NB - we actually left Legoland at 7.20pm, more than two hours after it officially closes.  We weren't the last to leave by any means.  Approximately an hour of that was queuing for and munching ice cream, and persuading recalcitrant children that their bladders would burst if they didn't visit the lavatory before we got in the car to go home.

Legoland Windsor logo

Sunday, 3 June 2012

The Apprentice Final Four (or The One With The Fop, The Eyelashes, The Wrestler And The Bumfluff)

Plan. Four of 'em.
So, 16 become one as tonight we learn who is to be crowned Apprentice winner 2012.  Nick Holzherr, Tom Gearing, Jade Nash and Ricky Martin are the four finalists, having beaten the other 12 hopefuls to the last show.  We're playing Apprentice bingo this episode, so we'll be looking for this phrase:

  • the process
And...we're off!

Four remain to fight for the chance to become Lord Sugar's business partner...

The call comes mid-celebratory champagne.  And it's Lord Sugar, asking them to spend two days getting to know their business plans.  Surely they already know them?  Aren't they meant to have written them?

Nick Holzherr

Nick thinks his business plan is a very good idea.

Tom Gearing

Tom's got a beardier face today.  And a quiff.  I forget whether he said anything about his business plan.

Jade Nash

The last woman in the contest, but she feels this is irrelevant.  She knows her business plan will make money.  Which is sort of the point.

Ricky Martin

He's at the top of his game and guarantees Lord Sugar a return in his investment.  And possibly a friendly wrestle.

Ohhhhh, the business plan scrutiny begins!

At the Institute Of Directors (I had lunch there once, v nice, involving champagne).

Nick's business idea

Ingredients for recipes to purchase at a single click.

Tom's business idea

Collective investment for wine, using it as a hedge fund asset.  Wine and hedges - one step away from tramps on park benches with tins of Special Brew?

Jade's business idea

Largest telemarketers call centre to do something dull.

Ricky's business idea

Ethical, niche recruitment agency.  Consumer products and sustainability, usage of environment is reduced (WTF?).

My immediate thoughts

What?  I wouldn't invest in any of them.  But, fortunately for the viewing public, it's not up to me.

The Interviews

Tom's never had a job interview before.  Ooh.  Is that because he's just worked for Daddy?

Margaret questions Nick about his intelligence.  Matthew Riley says Ricky's business plan "contains many things that make him want to be sick" which is always what you hope for when you write something like that.  Bank managers love puking as they read business plans.  Remember that.

Jade's call centre is called a "grubby little business", "a bit unsavoury".  She's proposing leads for mobile phones, solar panels, debt cold calling.  Unfortunately, she hasn't included a balance sheet or a cashflow forecast in her business plan.  And she's blown the £250,000 investment in six months, according to her figures.  Jade's business plan lists four different web addresses that she's purchased.  Except she hasn't purchased one of them, her ball-busting interviewer has.  Whoops.  She doesn't have much longevity in any of her previous jobs.  But she does say "the process" *bingo*

Ricky Martin wants to be called "Thor" because he's a god (I think he's mistaken people saying "Oh, GOD" when they see him coming, don't you?).  Margaret is wide-eyed and somewhat horrified at this.  Ricky Martin is asked why he's called himself "Ricky", perhaps wondering why he hasn't been calling himself something more apt - maybe "Dick".  Do people take you less seriously in business because they can't help imagining you in Lycra pants?  OH, GOD, it's Azhar and the Tight Red Shorts all over again... *passes brain bleach*  He talks about being the sledgehammer that can get through the brick wall to the money.  Whatever the fuck that means.  Ricky's personal statement is probably the most crass, obnoxious, infantile thing that Claude's ever had the displeasure of reading.

Ricky's called himself the "best business partner on the planet".  Hmm.  Better than Lord Sugar?  He's going to teach "an old dog new tricks" - but Ricky agrees with Claude Littner that he shouldn't have done it.  However, he does think Ricky's business plan is good, except for the outlandish personal statement.

Nick's business plan is "an academic exercise" for an MBA, not a business.  His business offers a recipe website that allows people to click to buy all the ingredients for recipes from various supermarkets.  "Are you smoking something?" asks one interviewer, when he is asked why he is setting up another business when the business he's currently running has the potential to make two, three, four million pounds.  Also queried is the idea that busy families meal plan.  Of COURSE they do!  This is a red herring introduced by somebody who doesn't worry about where his next meal is coming from.  His current business partner says Nick "lacks focus".  Year five, he says Lord Sugar will make £145 million.  Is that realistic?  Nick has tested the model and wants to scale it.

Tom's business plan offers a glowing endorsement from...his father.  Did his dad write the business plan?  Tom says not...  He was known as a "BNOC - a Big Name On Campus" at university.  Margaret asks if he's sure the "N" stood for "Name"...  What on earth could she mean?  Is Tom "well-rounded" at the tender age of 23?  The money can't be raised for his business idea...can it?  He has no experience in hedge funds and is a gambler.  The risk profile on this business is huge. But with Lord Sugar backing him, that'll impress people.  He's never let anyone down in his life and he's not about to start.  When he comes out of the interview room, he says he felt "quite emotional about it", putting everything out there.  Was he wearing Lycra too?  Bleurgh.

Boardroom time

Lord Sugar says he's a pensioner now and doesn't want to be in the trenches.  He wants them to be doing the work and basically to just sit back, steeple his entrepreneurial fingers and watch the £££ accumulating in his bank.


Margaret says Jade's offering qualified leads from cold calls.  But do people want to be disturbed at home by cold calling?  One of the web addresses was still available to purchase, so Mike Soutar did buy it, to which Lord Sugar clearly thinks, "In your face".  Nick Hewer says she relies on her ability to be persuasive face-to-face.


His "old dog, new tricks" statement is rather rude.  And as for Thor...  "Is it necessary to come out with a load of bullshit now?".  No.  But his business plan is the most simple and straightforward of the lot.  Claude says he had a sleepless night before the interview with Ricky, expecting to tear him apart, but finds himself "mesmerised" by Ricky.  Karren says he's changed the most through "the process" *bingo*  And will he say something silly in business and blow it?


Obsessed by the idea that he's had an unconventional background, with no TV.  He was brought up in Switzerland, in a cuckoo clock.  His business plan looks like an MBA project.  He's aiming it at people who use online recipe sites.  But the £145 million is "a bit optimistic".  He has, however, excelled at businesses centred around internet sites, says Karren.


Does he like being a bit of a gambler?  He's lived a charmed existence (but criticised for being a West Ham supporter by famous Spurs fan, Shuggs).  Karren Brady was running a football club at the age of 23, so don't write him off just for being young.  The business plan is one of the best Mike Soutar's ever read.  Claude says it has the potential to be a big business, but Tom needs to tone down his ambition.

Over to Shuggs...

Jade is instantly shouty about her idea.  It isn't glamorous, but it will make lots of money.  Lord Sugar doesn't want to be involved with a business that cold calls.  But Jade says people have to tick a box to accept third party calls, so it's fine to then spew any amount of shit into their lives at all times of the day.

Tom is proposing to use Lord Sugar's name to persuade investors to invest up to £25 million in fine wine.  Lord Sugar doesn't like wide boys to use his name to persuade people to invest (surprising nobody).  But it's a gamble...what if an analyst stands up one day and says, "Nah, no good"?  Is his business plan trying to run before it can walk?  Tom says no.  He would.

Ricky is going to teach an old dog new tricks.  Lord Sugar's worried that he's being moved over.  Has Shuggs got to tell his kids they're getting a new dad?  The one good thing going for him is that he's starting a new recruitment agency in the scientific and pharmaceutical industry.  Ricky's got funds in the business plan for year four's Christmas party, clearly demonstrating huge attention to detail (or perhaps he's concerned there'll be a run on Winter Pimm's in a few years' time).  And he's not a yes man.  Oh, no.

Nick's business is translating menus into grocery lists for supermarkets - an enormous software task.  Is it possible?  Why do it?  It's a trillion hours of software writing.  Nick's already got the prototype up and running.  It's a genuinely new idea, a lot more innovative than the others.

In summary

Lord Sugar sees "light at the end of the tunnel" in all four of the business plans.

Tom's business plan could be a calamity and Lord Sugar can't have his name associated with it.  Nick was the one chosen by the other team when they needed an extra team member.  Ricky Ratchet Jaws is an expert in his field.  Shuggs can understand how his business plan can work.  Jade can be a good motivator, manager, salesperson.  But does Lord Sugar want to be associated with a cold calling business?

No, no, he doesn't.  Jade's fired.  And I, for one, won't miss her.

And then there were three...

Tom - he might like to think about throttling back his ambition.  Ricky...has he learnt to stop bigging himself up?  Nick is obviously a very intelligent fella, but Lord Sugar doesn't want to do any work.  And where's the money?

He can't find it.  So Nick's fired.

And I, for one, will miss his foppishness and outstanding hair.

Just the two of them...

Lord Sugar asks Ricky and Tom to step outside so he can drag out the process for another five minutes.  Tom's bumfluff looks nervous.

Nick Hewer says it's a fast-moving, electrifying business to be involved in, but Lord Sugar's never done business with anyone else's money.

Ricky's got a pedestrian recruitment business, but Karren implores Lord Sugar not to rule him out because he's safe.

And they're back...

In his first year of trading, Tom turned over £1.25 million.  The target of £25 million can be pulled back.

Ricky's safer, but he wouldn't invest in Tom's wine business if he's successful in the future. He says he's not a risk for Lord Sugar.  Tom says he will take a risk, but, unlike Ricky, he has actually had the experience of running his own company.

Shuggs does a recap.  Ricky's business is very straightforward, simple.  Nick Hewer's known Lord Sugar for a long time and knows he likes a bit of devilment, which Tom's business might provide.

Devil...or safety?

He plumps for keeping it simple and straightforward - and Ricky is hired.

And I, for one, am finding it very amusing that Lord Sugar has gone into business with a man called Ricky Martin, who wears Lycra and wrestles men in his spare time.