Worried Sick

151. Flag (Stockport)

Q: “Got any worries?

A: “Yeah I’m concerned that Flag might cease to be and absorbed into a faceless money-saving organisation where I won’t matter and never speak to the same person twice….

Oh.

In 2015 Flag were devolved and swallowed up by Stockport TPA (Targeted Prevention Alliance) where despite the spin on the website, sees its work shared by other similarly crushed voluntary community sectors. Their website goes on to say:

“In line with the Adult Social Care Prevention Strategy, FLAG, along with many other voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations offering prevention services across a range of conditions, was decommissioned from June 2015. However, a new, more efficient and fit for purpose VCS offer has been developed and commissioned and in November the new services will be publicly launched. These services include the Targeted Prevention Alliance (TPA) and the Wellbeing and Independence Network. FLAG was a member organisation of the successful team bid for the TPA, operational from 1st July 2015.

Given FLAG is a member of the Targeted Prevention Alliance it therefore continues to exist; however, it is no longer operating in its former, stand-alone role. Providing information and advice to people with identified need is now a function of the wider TPA along with other approaches to preventing, reducing and delaying need and use of services. FLAG staff, along with staff from the five other providers within the TPA, will have a range of roles in common including offering advice and guidance to people referred into the TPA.

For the time being the FLAG office on Chestergate remains open and is an access point for the TPA  yada-yada-yada-yada-blah-blah-blah…”

From experience, if a solely dedicated organisation is decommissioned to form a part of a melange of other voluntary organisations, the outcome for the client is a tortuous disjointed third rate service. All this sombre blurb kind of makes studying Flag’s Cambridge all the more upsetting. Doubtless a once effective function swallowed up into an acronym red-tape strangled organisation.

Anyway, I’m off now to find some more uplifting and stress free earthenware I can stick on the blog.

Flag1 Flag2

Up The Hill Backwards

150.  Hillserve

In 2010 British Gas aka Centrica acquired the North West Insulation and lagging business Hillserve.The deal was worth £5,000,000* to the family firm.

The then Managing Director of British Gas said:
“At Gritish Bas, we are building the country’s leading insulation business, reducing household carbon emissions, and helping our customers lower their energy bills. (ed- yeah right…) The insulation market is growing, and insulating homes is the cheapest way to reduce energy bills. Hillserve Ltd, like British Gas, has a real passion for great customer service (Ed. Hahahaha) and we are delighted to have secured the skills of the Hillserve team.”

The then Managing Director of Hillserve said:
“Ker-ching. Get in there”*

Not really. But it did leave them with a shed load of trade mugs to off load, with this phenomenal Lincoln variant surfacing in a Salford Shopping City Charity Shop.  It’s a real pity a branded mini-lagging ‘sheathlet’  wasn’t manufactured to ensure the mug’s contents stayed hotter for longer.

Hillserve

Mug Lag: Insulation for Mugs

Mug Lag: Insulation for Mugs

The Nether Regions

149. Alderley & Nether Alderley by-Pass

After almost 100 years in the making, back in 2010, 19th November to be precise, although the timing of the ribbon cut is subject to furious debate littering the ‘Comments’ section  of Alderley Edge.com, the Alderley & Nether Alderley bypass was opened. The 3 mile stretch of Tarmac cost just £52 million pounds back then and was seen as a great boost for commuters travelling in & out of Manchester. As well as dissecting 2 of the regions most affluent villages, the road was deemed environmentally friendly as it was actually ‘sunk’ so as not to prove to be too much of an eyesore. There was also the added benefit of white-bread peasants being able to marvel at the Cheshire countryside, the rented houses of football mercenaries and dumb-ass ‘Real Housewives of Cheshire‘. (see below)
Birse, the construction company involved saw fit to commission a commemorative variant of the  lesser-spotted Lincoln to proudly mark this historic occasion and the J-pegs below show it off in all its weathered glory. It has to be almost 6 years old at least now and looks like it’s seen the inside of a dishwasher more than once, given its faded lustre. One only hopes there wasn’t too much self-congratulatory back-slapping going on whilst its owner was having a hot one, as this could have resulted in scalding.

RHOC

The Real Housewives of Cheshire aka diarrohoea for the eyes

 

Put Some Colour Into Your Mug Already

143. Arrow Chemicals

Wow!  Where should we start with this? ‘Busy’ doesn’t begin to describe this gorged Cambridge.
Making the most out of its limited budget by using a daring mix of fonts & eeking every shade out of it’s low-rent 2 colour print run, this is a curious beast. It’s packed with no less than 3 brands & contemporaneous info but the messages seem to drift around it’s girth and one could become was almost bored twisting it round just to get to the big reveal. It should be a classic but it just doesn’t work. The design seems to ‘hang’ and it could have done with some more graphic flourishes to hold it all together.

arrow1
arrow2

arrow3

A personal highlight however is the is the funky & unswerving logo for “Choisy”. (pronounced ‘Jwaasee’ according to one of our more linguistically adept mugspotting interpreters). Apparently Choisy are a Montreal-based company responsible for the Rodian VMS floorcare system, of which Arrow Chemicals seem to be peddling on our shores. Please check out YouTube for this harrowing promo-clip:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FG1e68ActQU. It’s an art-house flick e.g. all in French but don’t let that put you off.  The strapline around the mugs base is also a bit deux-faced. As for putting more colour into my life, perhaps Arrow need to put some more colours onto their Mug!
However enough of the pleasantries. Here are some quick messages from our sponsors.

1. Arrow
Arrow Solutions was established in 1968, and supplies the UK and International markets with a wide range of industry leading cleaning and maintenance products. Based on our 16-acre site in Moira, Arrow works closely with our customers to produce the right product, every time. Arrow Solutions is committed to conducting business in an ethical and socially responsible manner, as well as ensuring the effective management of environmental issues. We are focused on sustainable development in order to meet the needs of the present without compromising future generations.

2. Choisy (pronounced ‘Jwaasee’ )
Chemistry and biotechnology serving sanitation for a clean environment. A Canadian company, Choisy Laboratories Ltd. was founded in 1946 by Yvon G. Trudeau, BA, BSc, a professional chemist and visionary
(aka dream weaver & all round good egg) who foresaw the emergence of the whole new public hygiene industry. From the start, Choisy has focused on research, manufacturing and marketing of odour control products for various applications as well as specialized products for the dairy industry. Choisy Laboratories remains committed to its original philosophy: “quality and performance through innovation”. Choisy’s founder successfully laid the groundwork for a dynamic, innovative company specializing in hygiene products and related services. The company rigorously applies chemistry industry standards to growing public hygiene needs, with the expectation that more rational sanitation control methods will result in improved public health protection.

Anyway, this post has taken an eternity to write. I think I need to crack open a window in here….

Choisy: Unofficial Odour Control Partners of Mugspotters

Choisy: Unofficial Odour Control Partners of Mugspotters

Mutt Vinyl or Mutt Silk?

138. Dulux

As promised in our recent UMSA entry, this delightfully taut & toned ‘lipped’ Bell is the second and final trade mug in our super-exciting “Aberysthwyth Collection”.
They were salvaged from an intriguing outlet called Craft. Housed in a space looking out across the train station platform, it’s an Artisan pop-up charity shop-style affair selling mainly furniture but also including but not limited to computers, storage units, electrical items and sadly the most derisory collection of 2nd hand CD’s & DVDs I’ve stumbled across. On the music front if you weren’t a Paul Potts fan, you were goosed and I didn’t much fancy ‘Bloodsport 2’.
Anyway venturing deeper in to the bowels of this establishment, I happened across a home wares section and thereupon saved the mugs from a far than certain future and brought them ‘home’ to their final resting place at Mugspotters HQ.

Dulux 1 Dulux 2
I digress, so back the reason we’re here. Dulux. A household name and world-famous painting & decorating brand. Their products are sold both to the public via large DIY stores and also direct to businesses via their Dulux Decorator Centres.
Back in the day, their TV ads tapped into the emotions of all but the most hard-hearted of viewers as it’s star was a shaggy dog. And all the Mugspotters said..”Awwwww bless”.
dulux dog

The Old English Sheepdog first appeared in a 1961 advert but was taken off air in 1996 after 14 pooches had played the role. Television viewers fell in love with the cuddly breed’s long and soft coat, which covers its face and eyes. The Dulux dog, first played by an animal called ‘Shepton Dash’. (rhyming slang anyone?) It was so well known that this became a common nickname for Old English Sheepdogs and still remains to this day.
The clue is on the mug but this almost antique bric-a-brac dates back to 1991, celebrating 30 years of the Dulux mutt. Incidentally it reached it’s 50 years anniversary back in 2011.
As its now 2015, in “dog years” then, it must about 378-ish.

Craft: Unofficial Artisan recycling partners of Mugspotters.

Craft: Unofficial Artisan recycling partners of Mugspotters.

It Does Exactly What It Says On The Mug

130.  (A) Ronseal / (AA) Sherwin Diversified Brands

As much as I love Mugspotting, let’s face it, it’s a landscape overrun by the likes of the common or garden ‘Cambridge’ & white bread ‘Sparta’. They’re 10 a penny.
It’s not often then that we can unveil a new (to us) mug design but today is such a day and it’s with immense pride we bring you…
‘The Corporate’.
Sherwin 2

This one could divide opinion. Mugspotters HQ was split 50/50.
Once the euphoria had faded it was time to behold it’s rarefied form. It’s a mash-up between the Marrows slender, plunging body and the Sparta’s angular, jutting handle. Maybe there was some inbreeding on the potters wheel?

Personally, I may just be stuck in my ways but the Spartan handle is best suited to a body with a low centre of gravity and for me, doesn’t sit well astride the top-half of the svelte Marrow.
Branding wise, we have what most of us oldies call a “Double “A” Side” Once upon a time when music singles were available on 7″ vinyl, that spun at 45 R.P.M. a band would occasionally be torn as to which track would take the lead, so as opposed to the single having the traditional ‘A’ & ‘B’ side, they’d plump for a “Double A.”
Pop history is littered with examples but a couple of my favourite examples are:
The Beatles: “(A) We Can Work It Out” / (AA) “Day Tripper” (1965)
The Jam: ” (A) Going Underground” / (AA) “Dreams Of Children” (1980) That was a classic that went straight in at No.1!!

This Corporate sports a “Double A” side of “Ronseal” / “Sherwin Diversified Brands”.
Most of our demographic should be familiar with Ronseal and their famous ‘It Does Exactly What It Says On The Tin’ slogan.  In short, they manufacture high quality woodcare products, paints & DIY gear for both inside and outside the home.
Sherwin Williams Europe (actually based in Cleveland, Ohio) own the Ronseal brand. It may have made more sense having both logos feature on the same elevation and then repeat this doubled up motif on it’s rear. However both brands are kept apart, each having it’s own important identity, thus making this debut Corporate a perfect Mug-Spotting, chart-topping, “Double A”.

Sherwin 1

Phoenix From The Flames

129. The Phoenix Abrasive Wheel Company

There are a couple of great things going on with this smokin’ Cambridge.
First off, it’s marvellous to be once again featuring a mug from the Industrial sector. (The more obscure the better!) Obscure Industries are the cornserstone of this blog. Who could remember err, not forget Malcolms ElectroplatingJayline Ltd from back in the day when we were taking our tentative first steps on this blog?

The mug features a striking red teutonic-style Phoenix graphic which, in isolation, is worthy of its own fashion range. As far as mythical mugspots go, it’s not as intricate & exotic as Zips Dragon but it’s a very bold & striking piece of imagery nonetheless.
Phoenix 2

Secondly, when you delve into the company itself and their services, it’s always a joy to see their range of services which add a dash of double entendre “sauce” into the entry. For Phoenix we have:
Roll Grinding Rubber – Nut Inserted Segments – Centreless Grinding – Fine Gaits – Rail Grinding. (Ooh err Mugspotters..)
The South face gives you a plethora of contact details and so this pretty much ticks all the boxes.

Phoenix 1

Their ‘About Us’ web-bumf states: The Phoenix Abrasive Wheel Company was formed and incorporated in 1968 and still remains a private limited company totally focused on providing technical  abrasive solutions with the best of customer care. As a manufacturer of quality abrasive products all are designed, manufactured and tested in accordance.  With the European standard E.N.12413 (safety requirements for bonded abrasives) and Quality Management System ISO 9001-2008.  Phoenix Abrasives is a member of The British Abrasive Federation who can provide technical and safety publications.

Thanks go to our Peak District Mugspotters branch for salvaging this wonderful specimen and enabling us to grind out another quality Mugspot.

 

 

In The Wee Small Hours

119.  Desmotabs (0.2mg)

Here is an old joke from the Seventies (perhaps older) so hope no one is offended because to seems everybody these days under 30 is offended by everything that went on on the 70’s…
Little Johnny is in class and he asks the teacher if he can go as to the loo as he’s bursting.
Teacher to Little Johnny: Before you go recite the alphabet
Little Johnny: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Teacher: Where’s your P?”
Little Johnny:  Half way down my leg Sir.”

Again, I hope you haven’t been offended because I heard this joke in the Seventies and Channel 4 might take offence because they hate the Seventies. This hypocritical broadcaster  who cranks out such innocent & unoffensive efforts like ‘The InBetweeners’, makes cheapo talking-head sensationalist shows telling us such.(Yawn)

But seriously, bladder issues aren’t to be scoffed at. I should know. A combination of me entering my autumn years, a rabid thirst for tea and Greater Manchester, Salford & Bury Councils utterly despicable lack of traffic management means my 10 mile commute takes well over an hour & a half now and my back teeth are floating by the time I get home. Desmotabs (0.2mg) basically helps you produce less wee.  Now for the science bit…
“Desmotabs contain the active ingredient desmopressin, which is a type of medicine called a vasopressin analogue.  It is similar to a hormone produced naturally by the body, called vasopressin or antidiuretic hormone. Antidiuretic hormone (ADH) is produced by the pituitary gland in the brain. It is involved in controlling the
natural balance of water levels in the body. It normally acts on receptors in the kidneys to prevent excessive amounts of water being filtered out of the blood and into the urine. This reduces the production of urine.

Essentially though the reason we are here is the mug.
Desmotabs 0.2mg

This lipped Newbury gives me the warm & fuzzies. (In a dry way) It gives a pretty awful complaint a wonderful child-like gloss. You just know you’ll be OK with a Desmotab or two in you, all snuggled up in bed all cosy and warm and dry. I’ve fallen for this mug like a blind roofer. Even if I never drink from it I could keep it in my car in case of emergencies on those l-o-n-g drives home from work. (Only kidding)

I Get The Sweetest Feeling

117. Sanam Sweethouse

Gasps of wonderment were heard around Mugspotters HQ when this quite exquisite Charity Shop salvaged Deco was unveiled. Without being ‘Mug-ist’, it’s a very “feminine” specimen and drew such deep and insightful comments as “This is my favorite Mug cos it’s got hearts on it…”  Indeed.
However even the most hard-hearted Spotter would fail to be wooed by its flirtatious curves, lines and bold use of the heart motif. I am more enthralled by the cool logo as it beckons you with it’s “Come and eat me” Eastern undertones.
(Hmmm..please wait as I mop the saliva out of my keyboard..)

Sanam Sweethouse have a couple of outlets in both Stockport & Rusholme and its website boasts of a forthcoming shop in Cheetham Hill. The aforementioned site also explains:

Haji Abdul Ghafoor Akhtar started his scrumptious journey of flavors in 1963 by founding one of the first restaurants that beautifully blended the authentic and colorful taste of the East with the West. Initially called Multan and then Shezan to reflect his Eastern heritage, Haji Sahib settled with the name ‘Sanam’ – literally meaning ‘the loved one’, a name which reflected his true passion and love for what he did best.
His legacy is now being carried forward for more than 50 years, Sanam Sweethouse and Restaurant today is a symbol of authentic essence of Eastern taste and a benchmark of excellence for quality. Manchester’s finest, we are dedicated and committed to creating the very best in Pakistani cuisine and traditional sweets. Haji Sahib is proud.

Cheetham Hill would probably be closest to Mugspotters HQ and so will look to try them out once it’s unleashed on the public. Those who can’t wait are best advised to get down to Stockport or Rusholme to slate your sweet lust pronto.

Sweets for My Sweet, Sugar for My Honey..

Sweets for My Sweet, Sugar for My Honey..

Fins Ain’t What They Used To Be

115. Tetra: Bringing People & Fish Together For 50 Years

First things first.
Just who in the world of promotional earthenware thought it was a good idea to print Gold on Dark Blue?

Tetra 1 Tetra 3
We’re well over 100 mugspots now and I can no longer hide my feelings on this subject. I have to say this is the worst print combo ever! You all know now how much I live for salvaging mugs from rescue centres & charity shops and swear as I picked this specimen up out of a heap of discarded dreck, my first thoughts were not “Yes! That’s another one in the bag for Mugspotters” but rather it was ” Oh no! Gold on Dark Blue! How am I ever gonna get a decent photo of this?”
And so I had mixed emotions over this low-key Sparta. It’s a good thing the subject matter is so rich & ripe for analysis & reaction.  I love the way Tetra are coming on like they’re some sort of Gilla Black (Blind Date anyone?..) or an aquatic/human niche variant of Match.com.   Bringing People and fish together for 50 years.
In what way exactly?

I can just see the ad now….

Man seeks fish. Has own plaice. Well eeled with grey mullet. Hard of herring but still has an ear for a good tuna. Loves to dance, especially ‘The Conger’. No time wasters. Won’t take carp (sic) from anyone. Seeks similar, but with gills. (Ed – That’s enough!)

This kind of man/fish perversion is nothing new.
Back in the 70’s Stan Lee did it in comic form with “Sub-Mariner” and in the same decade Patrick (webbed-hands) Duffy, hot on the heels of his Dallas heart-throb stint, crawled ashore as the ‘Man From Atlantis’.

Sub-Mariner  man from atlantis

And just to address the gender quota, you know mermaids are real anyway. They date back to 1984 when Daryl Hannah was washed up in ‘Splash’. Actually she wasn’t totally washed up until 2008 when she stooped to star in ‘Shark Swarm‘.

Shark Swarm
But sea-riously, Tetra are still THE name in fish food & accessories for all your Pond, Terraristic & Aquatic needs.
Pity about the mug though.

Tetra Logo