Our five top tips for storing away winter clothing

  1. Air tight plastic containers are the best things to pack your clothes into. Ensure that they are clean and dry and line them with cotton sheets.
  2. Clean all outfits before putting them away. Remove any stains otherwise these will darken during storage.
  3. Do not hang any jumpers on hangers as they will become misshapen beyond repair. Fold & place in your plastic container with the heaviest garments at the bottom.
  4. Remove any plastic from your garments such as dry cleaning protection as this can trap moisture in and ruin clothes.
  5. Pack shoes with tissue paper to help them maintain their shape.

For a longer term storage solution, call Admiral Self Storage on 0800 783 9516 or visit our website at https://admiralstorage.co.uk.

Our purpose-built storage rooms are clean, dry and secure with CCTV, highly sophisticated alarm systems and 24 hour security monitoring.

What do you do when you’ve got too much?

Schools and businesses are starting to give themselves more space by getting rid of the filing cabinets.  But where does the paperwork go?

I hadn’t realised this at first, but it seems that slowly the NHS has gone paperless.   Patient records and reports between hospitals, clinics and surgeries have been scanned and logged.

Yes, the GP will still give you a piece of paper to take to the chemist, but even that is due to go soon.

But, on the other hand, school offices most certainly haven’t gone paperless.  Which is a shame because if you have peeked inside a school office in the last few years you might well find that even if it is in one of the schools rebuilt under Tony Blair’s Building Schools for the Future scheme, the school office area is still likely to be woefully inadequate.  Not in every case of course, but quite often.

Which means that an office that ought to be able to accommodate four people can actually only hold two, because there is a filing cabinet against every wall – a cabinet that not only occupies space on the ground, but also needs space in front of it to enable the drawers to open and for the administrator to stand in to find files.

This is actually quite dangerous because the cabinets are (obviously) packed with paper. Now although it is true that paper packed tightly together doesn’t combust nearly so easily as individual sheets, the fact is that most fires in schools are started by intruders (usually ex-pupils) who don’t think of starting a fire until they are actually in the school. They then use such combustible material as they can find.

The problem for the school then is not only that the school burns, but with it go its records.  If only they had scanned in all the documents, they would then have them not only encrypted on the school’s own server, but also on one or two off site servers by way of backup.

However, I can now say that the move towards regularising this position is underway, and some schools – at least around my area – are starting to clear filing cabinets one by one, and scan in their records.

As the process develops the old filing cabinets are emptied into boxes, and the boxes are brought to Admiral for storage.

Of course, it could be argued that the school is now taking up the same amount of space but just elsewhere, so I asked one of the school managers involved exactly how the process is working.

He said, “We realised we had to do something about the office space, and we’ve seen other schools adopting this scheme, so we drew up proposals.

“But when they went to the governors there was a problem – they came up with every objection under the sun.  They were concerned about security, about losing files, one of them even said (with a smug grin on his face) ‘what will you do in a power cut?’

“I told him, if the power went off, we’d have to leave the school, so whether we had records in the school or not would be neither here nor there, but he just shook his head, mumbled about the process being ‘too risky’ and that he would vote against.

“So we just kept coming back to the issue of not having enough room, and eventually we did get the governors to agree – but only on the grounds that we kept all the paper records off site for another five years.”

And that is how they have ended up with Admiral.

Of course, this is not a problem for us. As the school works through its records it scans and then removes more and more pieces of paper, and every couple of weeks another box or two comes over to us.

I’m happy to store the materials, and I gather the school administrators have never been happier.

If you are in the Midlands and have materials to store, please do get in touch so that we can help.  I can’t help you find the right scanner, nor can I help you convince the governors, but I can most certainly hold the old files for a few years, until you know the scanning system is indeed working.

You can find more information on our facilities on our website at www.archive-document-storage.co.uk. Alternatively you can call us on 0800 810 1125.

Admiral Document Storage Ltd
Bloxwich Lane
Walsall
WS2 8TF
Tel: 0800 810 1125

Email: info@archive-document-storage.co.uk

www.archive-document-storage.co.uk

What is it that creative people do that gives them the constant flow of new ideas?

It is not surprising to find that some of the people who store paper in the Admiral Document Storage warehouse are highly creative for, as I have mentioned previously, people who create original work often like to keep their original notes.

Indeed, given that the original draft of Bob Dylan’s Times They Are A Changin’ sold in 2010 for half a million dollars, you can see the appeal of holding on to anything that might one day become famous.

When possible, I do try to grab a few words with such people, and of late I have been trying to get them to tell me what it is that makes them creative. How is it that they can come up with ideas for books, songs, films, dance steps, apps, programs, and children’s toys all day long, when I can’t?

Now I must admit that the answer that I often get when I ask creative people what it is that makes them creative can be very disappointing. The most common reply is, “I don’t know. I just do it.” Which by and large isn’t much help.

However, once or twice I have been given some real insight into the working of the creative person’s mind, and the information I’ve been given is, for me at least, very insightful.

For although the two people who gave me helpful information approached the topic in different ways, the particularly interesting fact that emerged is that these two visions are not contradictory. Indeed I suspect both are true, and in fact each flows into the other.

There is, it seems, a way of becoming creative.

So, if you fancy turning yourself into a highly creative person who can do (to quote Bob Dylan one more time) “what’s never been done”, then read on.

The underlying view is that if you want to be creative (no matter what the field) you have to practise being creative.

This makes a lot of sense to me. After all, when as a child I wanted learn how to swim (and then having got the basics I wanted to learn how to swim well) I practised. This wasn’t of my own volition, I must admit, because I was by and large much happier mucking about in the pool with my mates, but swimming was on the agenda so I practised, and got better at it.

Now most people don’t see any link between learning to swim well and being creative. But if you treat each of them as a skill, there is indeed just such a link. If you want to be creative, you have to practise being creative. It is as simple as that.

But how?

Now that is the interesting part. And, because I don’t want to keep you waiting, here are some just some of the techniques which I was told about, and which I am now using.

First I was told about using dreams as a source of creative ideas. What I had to do was to put a pen and notebook by my bedside and then, upon waking, write down whatever was in my head.

Despite feeling that I didn’t dream much I did it, and was surprised to see that after a week or so I was managing to jot down some fairly whacky scenarios every night. More alarmingly, after about a month I woke up one morning, looked at my notebook, and found half a page of moderately coherent notes seemingly from a dream. I had no memory of waking up. Creativity was becoming part of my existence.

Of course, some artists do use their dreams as a source of ideas, but that is not necessarily what this is about – for one doesn’t have to use the ideas. One is simply stimulating one’s creative activity.

The second part of the process is to deliberately go out and do things one doesn’t normally do. One of my informants told me that he and his wife had at one stage joined with three other couples, who each took it in turn to organise an afternoon or evening out for the group of them, doing something they enjoyed but which they expected the others would not normally do.

A trip to the opera, an afternoon on a ski slope, a visit to a football match, an evening learning some basic dance steps were all on the agenda.

Everyone was seriously challenged by at least a couple of the events, but everyone found the whole process really engaging and stimulating. And, he admitted, occasionally frightening!

The final part of the process involved taking something one knows about and then deliberately pushing the boundaries. This can be just getting in the car and driving to a village randomly selected on a map. For the dance enthusiast in the group it was once a month going to a club where he knew no one and spending an evening making friends, dancing with new partners. The football fan regularly sought out a ground he had never been to before – often hundreds of miles away.

In short, what these people who were interested in creativity were doing was endlessly challenging themselves to go beyond the boundaries of their normal safe world and try something or somewhere quite different. It didn’t have to have anything to do with their job or their particular area of expressing their creativity. They just challenged themselves.

Apparently people who do this love doing it. Seemingly it gives them more of a kick than any amount of alcohol could ever do and doesn’t come with the problem of drink-drive limits.

And most certainly, looking at what these people store at Admiral, it works. I don’t know if tucked among their writings, notes, photos, recordings and drawings is anything that will one day fetch a fortune at auction, but the lives these people have sure seems a lot more interesting than another night in watching TV.

You can find more information on our facilities on our website at www.archive-document-storage.co.uk  Alternatively you can call us on 0800 810 1125.

Admiral Document Storage Ltd
Bloxwich Lane
Walsall
WS2 8TF
Tel: 0800 810 1125

Email: info@archive-document-storage.co.uk

www.archive-document-storage.co.uk

When importing products from the US it is important to remember that no one knows what they are doing.

For some weeks one of my customers has been telling me about a problem he has had with the importation of t-shirts from the USA.

His business, it seems, involves bringing in a range of shirts, which get stored at Admiral Document Storage; some of which are displayed in a small number of local shops.

Each shop only gets a couple of copies of each shirt in the main sizes. If they don’t sell, then they are taken back; if they do sell, additional copies are moved out of the warehouse and placed in the shop.

That sounds straight forward, but that is only the start of the story. For where a t-shirt design does sell particularly well, a licence fee is paid to the supplier in the USA and copies of the shirts are produced under licence for the UK market and distributed to suitable shops across the country.

All this seems a fairly logical and reasonable way of running a business, but as I have learned over the years, nothing in business is ever quite like this.

The problem, my customer explained, is that when he brings in small numbers of shirts from America there is a customs duty to be paid. Normally that is arranged without any difficulty, but this month’s supply caused him a particular concern.

Having run the process of importing the t-shirts for a number of years he knows when the shirts are likely to turn up, and when this month’s supply didn’t show up by what he took to be the due date, he started making phone calls.

Eventually these calls led him to the transport company Parcelforce who were due to deliver the parcel of t-shirts to our customer. They said that they could not deliver the parcel because it had not been cleared by Customs.

A quick phone call to Customs revealed that they were saying the opposite. The parcel, Customs said, had been cleared and was waiting for Parcelforce.

“Oh no it isn’t,” said one side. “Oh yes it is,” said the other. And so it went on.

For weeks, and weeks, and weeks.

Eventually, with pressure being mounted by my customer, and his GP expressing concern about his blood pressure, the suppliers in the US, Customs in the UK and Parcelforce were able to agree that yes, the parcel had now been cleared, £18 was due in duty, and a form was being sent to my customer.

This seemed to be a change of procedure (normally he had just gone to his local sorting office, picked up the package and paid the duty) but websites are everything these days, so he followed the new orders.

He read the form, and following instructions, went online.

On the Parcelforce site there was a notice at the top saying that he had to enter his reference number which was on the letter he had received from Parcelforce, printed top left.

And there, lo and behold, was a reference number, top left. He entered it.

It was rejected.

Given that the number was 13 characters long it was, however, quite possible that he had mistyped the code. He did it again. And again. And again. Always without any luck at all.

Eventually he went back and read the letter from Parcelforce. One third of the way down the page on the right was another code. He entered that code, and bingo! He was in.

My customer paused, and I thought that to be the end of the story, but no it wasn’t.

“I phoned Parcelforce,” he said, “to tell them that the website was wrong, and that the code number needed from the letter was the number further down the page. The lady I spoke to was very friendly. ‘Oh yes,’ she said, ‘that’s a mistake’.”

You can find more information on our facilities on our website at www.archive-document-storage.co.uk. Alternatively you can call us on 0800 810 1125.

Admiral Document Storage Ltd
Bloxwich Lane
Walsall
WS2 8TF
Tel: 0800 810 1125

Email: info@archive-document-storage.co.uk

www.archive-document-storage.co.uk

How do you write down dance steps?

That might seem a rather odd question, and it is one that I’d never really thought about, at least until I saw a fair number of pages being placed in our storage facility at Admiral Document Storage and found that they were in fact pages of dance steps.

Of course, these days one might expect dance steps to be recorded on video, and yes, that does happen. But dance is such a personal activity, and a performed dance is such a personal expression, that it becomes hard to distinguish the interpretation of the dance from the dance itself. It is a bit like trying to learn a Bach Fugue from listening to it. Yes, if you are phenomenally proficient in Baroque music, it can be done – but not every pianist has a brain like that.

In dance, something as basic as “lower your arm” is too vague. How fast? At what angle? What pose and attitude is the dancer taking? Should one give the number of degrees of descent? And what is the dancer doing with his/her hand, fingers…

As I started to understand the problem I learned that some people have tried to explain the dance step by step, frame by frame. But then the amount of work involved becomes just too much.

But it turns out there is indeed a thing called dance notation: a combination of graphics and instruction. Movement is translated into signs with words below. It is not a perfect version, but if one also has a video of the dance, then it becomes much clearer what is in the instruction and what is in the interpretation.

Which actually makes the point that even more than most musical performances, dance never looks the same twice.

Curiously, the earliest form of dance notation that we have dates from the time of a man who liked to think he was, if not God, then at least a direct descendant thereof: Louis XIV. He wanted to regularise the dances that took place at Versailles, and so commanded that a system of dance steps be written down.

The Beauchamp-Feuillet system which followed allowed courtiers to learn the steps of each dance – and, of course, because L’état c’est moi ruled the roost, what the courtiers did, so French society followed. To dance was to dance like the King commanded.

Since then there have been many other ways of writing down dance. One that is much loved among aficionados of the dance was devised by Remy Charlip and involved drawings on cards of dancers in various positions. One is left free to dance one’s way between one position and the next, although there are also commands written in English.

It seems that all sorts of people have devised ways of writing down dance movements, and for the most part the instructions are now an additional note to the video, but somehow it seems rather reassuring that an idea first set up by an autocratic monarch, whom one can never imagine dancing at all, is still preserved in part at least.

And I’m rather proud that we’ve got some stored in the Admiral Document Storage centre.

You can find more information on our facilities on our website at www.archive-document-storage.co.uk . Alternatively you can call us on 0800 810 1125.

As TV develops, so does the way in which the writers respond to its insatiable demands.

Among the vast array of items that we store in the Admiral Document Storage facility in the West Midlands, I was recently surprised to find that we have a collection of scripts for TV series.

This is something of a new development and one that reflects the fact that (as I recently discovered) several new TV channels become available in the UK every month of the year.

As a result of this growth each of these new channels requires new programmes.

Some of the channels, of course, are very specialist. Unless you are an aficionado you might not know that there are three 24 hour a day channels that show animated horse races in which different numbered horses win at random, and on which you can bet. Hard to believe if you are not a viewer, but they are most certainly out there.

Of course, such channels are run totally by computer, but there are many, many more that show actual proper series with actual proper actors – series that don’t necessarily make the big time, but which occasionally do.

The dream of each one of these stations is that it will find, and sign up the exclusive rights to, one such successful series. Their profits come, it seems, not from the advertising or the subscriptions that they get, but from the occasional sell on to one of the bigger channels or studios.

This in turn has challenged the makers of these new programmes (most of whom work on incredibly small budgets) to find writers who are not currently signed up to existing shows.

And so it seems that a new breed of writer has emerged: one who will knock out a few episodes of a series for a modest sum, hoping (along with the producers and the TV channel itself) that the idea of the series will suddenly become a hit.

But these writers have a problem as they are working for very limited sums (their reward coming if the series is sold on, even if they don’t write further episodes) and they need to work fast. And so they need ideas.

The logic, as explained to me, was this. Just because a TV series doesn’t make the grade, it doesn’t mean the idea and the basic scripting was no good. It could be the production, or the acting, or the direction that failed to grab attention. So getting hold of the scripts of TV series that were quickly cancelled or never even made it to air, could be quite an investment.

The problem is that these scripts will never be found on the internet, nor are they for sale. You have to grab them when they are no longer needed by the studio making the series and then hold onto them until such time as you might need one.

This is not to suggest that a writer will actually copy someone else’s work – that of course would be illegal. But there is no copyright on ideas, and so the idea of a particular character acting in a particular way in a certain setting can give rise to a similar character doing similar things but with different words in different settings. Having earlier scripts can save the writer a lot of time searching for a character or a situation.

And thus there is a demand for scripts of unknown and even cancelled shows made for minority TV channels. Using these scripts writers who are waiting for their big break can develop ideas and options, all created while staying within the law.

It is one of those very strange developments that one would never know about unless one was told about it.

Which is why, when any company storing anything at Admiral Document Storage wants to talk to me about what we’ve got here, I always, always, listen.

You can find more information on our facilities on our website at www. archive-document-storage. co. uk. Alternatively you can call us on 0800 810 1125.

Smaller publishers are finding their own way through

The word on the street is that independent booksellers are in trouble. In the last eight years 500 of them (one third of the total) have vanished, under attack from Amazon, ebooks and the supermarkets.

This means that all told there are now under 1000 bookshops left, down from 2000 in 1990.

I got interested in this when I read that one of the top brass in the book publishing world told the press that, “The book trade, the government and the general public need to realise that if we don’t take action now, the future of our bookshops – and therefore the health of the publishing industry and reading itself – is at risk.”

And I thought … not necessarily.

You see I have a number of small publishers who hold stock in the Admiral Document Storage warehouses, and not only do they seem to be doing quite well, but they are also trading as publishers without really having much to do with independent bookshops.

This is not to knock independent bookshops in any way – I like a good bookshop as much as anyone. But I am not sure that their future is inexorably tied up with the publishing industry.

Anyway I got quite interested in this problem and so took the time to ask one of my clients exactly how publishing worked for him.

My client specialises in specific types of books – football books, books on rock music, and so on. In each sphere he enters he operates in the same way.

First off he only publishes books where there is a very identifiable market that he can reach in several ways. So he won’t publish a book on football in general, but will publish one on a particular club in the 1960s and so on.

Second, he builds a blog on the same subject as the book and writes about the topic, maybe even publishing extracts from the book. So when the book comes out he has an audience he can reach at once.

Third he does sell through Amazon, paying them to hold the book in stock.

Finally, if there are any specialist outlets, such as shops associated with the football club, independent record labels issuing the music of the rock bands being written about, etc, they are brought in as possible selling points.

It seems to me that this is the way forward for the smaller publishers, and yes, sadly, it does by-pass the independent bookshop.

But interestingly, it also by-passes the larger publishers too, and from what I can gather that is pretty much their own fault.

I know in speaking with friends that 20 or so years ago it was possible for a person of average writing ability to be able to write a book and get it published.

Today, anyone approaching a publisher tends to get a letter back saying, “Sorry we only take new authors on via an agent.” Go to the agents and they say, “We are not taking any new authors on.”

Such a state of affairs puzzled me for a while until I met up with the director of one of the more established publishing firms who confessed that what they did was look for high readership blogs. When they found one that looked viable they would offer the writer the chance to publish his/her blog writing as a book. These days that is how books get published.

I will be sorry to see more and more independent bookshops go – but I have to admit that much of the time they don’t stock the sort of books I particularly want to read.

And besides, the changeover has been good news for us. Small publishers deposit 100 or so copies of their book in our storage facility, and then take them out in groups of 20 or 50 as sales come in.

Most of them operate from their own home, using the spare bedroom, etc, as a room in which they can receive the orders and pack up the books required. An occasional drive over to Admiral Document Storage completes the entire business operation.

You can find out more about our document storage in the West Midlands by clicking here.

Alternatively please do give us a call on 0800 810 1125.

Actually we don’t store many newspapers. But where we do, there’s always something to learn

Some people assume that we store newspapers. I am not quite sure why they do that – maybe it is the image of the eccentric recluse with a complete set of every edition of Picture Post, or something like that, running out of space and turning to the local storage facility that they have in mind.

The truth is that we do have some newspaper collections at Admiral Document Storage – but not that many.

But even though I seek to disabuse people and point out that storing newspapers is not really what we are about, my protests don’t put people off.

And when I say that actually newspapers have never been a central issue for us I get a sly look as if to say, “you’re only saying that, but I know the truth”, followed by a comment about how we must be in trouble now that newspapers are in terminal decline.

Now, although any decline there is in the number of newspapers and their coverage is not of direct relevance to us, this is still a point that interests me, not least because, as with so many things in this world, the predictions made and the general beliefs as to what is going on are a long way from reality.

Newspapers in the UK do have a problem. Or rather they have three problems. But I am not sure that they are about to go out of existence.

First among the problems, the fact that the news and the feature articles are available on the internet reduces readership and this reduces income from readers.

Second, the cost of producing newspapers has gone up, due to rises in the cost of newsprint.

Third, advertisers have deserted the newspapers and gone to the internet.

In retaliation the newspapers have tried to sell advertisements in their on-line editions, but this income has nowhere near covered the losses experienced as a result of the three points above.

But curiously, not that many newspapers have folded. True, lots of the regional and local papers have moved across to being free publications – the Evening Standard in London being one of the most famous – but most of them are still there one way or another. The Mail, the Post, and the Express and Star are all still with us in the West Midlands.

Where there is a change is in the loss of journalists – the number is said to have dropped by around 25% in the past ten years.

But that is a very inward-looking issue – because aside from storing some collections of UK and local newspapers, I happen to know that we also have a collection of Chinese newspapers here.

I’ve no idea why – and of course I don’t ask my customers – I just pass on information if they choose to pass it on to me, and also (most importantly) tell me that it is ok for me to mention what they store in this blog. But in the course of finding out that we do indeed have Chinese newspapers here I also found out that the Chinese are the biggest devourers of newspapers in the world.

Now of course the population of that country is enormous, but even so, selling around 120 million newspapers a day, each day, is fairly amazing. (The number in Britain is around 17 million. In the USA it is 55 million.)

We also, very curiously, have a number of editions of a newspaper called Trud which I happened to see one day. My customer told me a most remarkable story about them.

This newspaper (Trud) was published during the days of the Soviet Union and it had a daily circulation of over 21 million. But this was nothing compared to the weekly paper with the absolutely glorious name of Argumenty i Fakty which had a circulation closer to 35 million a week at its height.

I wonder if anyone read it.

Compare this with Britain’s top selling paper, The Sun, which has a positively measly circulation of just 3 million.

In the USA they see things rather differently, and I have often wondered if any American travellers come to the UK and tell their hotel to deliver the nation’s top selling paper to their room each day. I mention this because their expectations might be unsettled. The top selling paper in the US is the Wall Street Journal.

Just in case you are interested, The Times of India is the third largest newspaper in India by circulation. Again I mention it because I have seen a few copies in our warehouse.

Of course my job is to run the facility, not look at what we are storing, but I am always happy to share information with my customers – where they wish to do so.

Somehow it seems to make life just a little more exciting.

Click here to find out more about our document storage facilities.

Alternatively please do call us on 0800 810 1125 or email us at info@archive-document-storage.co.uk.

The idea that is so powerful that it can never be put onto a computer.

I’m endlessly fascinated with what gets stored in Admiral Document Storage. Of course I don’t have access to what people choose to store with my company, but sometimes they choose to talk with me, tell me what they are storing, and occasionally I get to have a look at what’s in the box.

One firm that we deal with produces staff training manuals and, despite the fact that such manuals could be supplied as Word documents, they still only provide them as printed copies. I asked why.

It seems that there are two reasons. The first is that documents that are provided as digital files are about 100 times less likely to be read than documents that are provided as manuals. And indeed, that “100 times” figure goes up further and further the bigger the document gets.

Second, anything digital can be copied very easily, and if it can be copied it will be copied. “If we released our manuals as digital files then we’d immediately have them circulating all over the internet. Of course we could demand they be taken down, but by then the damage would be done.”

“But printed copies can be photocopied,” I protested.

“However these days they aren’t, or not very much. If it isn’t digital, no one wants to know about copying,” said my customer.

So for him digital is out, and printing is back in. But what makes a training document so important that it needs to be protected in this way, I wondered.

The answer was clear.

“Successful organisations manage their staff very carefully and cleverly. This has got nothing to do with telling them what they can and can’t do, but it has everything to do with the management of who has the power.”

I obviously looked bemused at this point, because over a coffee I was given a more detailed explanation.

“Consider a large ship at sea,” said my customer. I duly did. “Who runs the ship?”

“The captain,” I answered.

“Fair enough,” my client said, “but what does the captain do if the ship’s engines are not running very well, and the ship is going more slowly than the captain would like?”

“He asks the engineer to fix things, I guess,” I said.

“And if the engineer says, ‘Sorry Captain, can’t be done, we need a new WX97 on the second engine’. What then?”

I thought about it. “I guess the Captain has to take the engineer’s advice.”

“So who is running the ship?”

We talked about it. Given that the captain probably doesn’t know a fraction of what the engineer knows about the ship’s engines in this regard, it seemed to be the engineer. The engineer says he needs a new component, and unless he can get a second opinion, the captain has to concur.

“Now think of a large company that is getting more orders in every week. More orders are processed through the company’s offices, but eventually the head of the order processing section says, ‘We are now overstretched, we need more staff. We also need three new computers to replace those that we bought three years ago’.”

“The MD of the company protests, arguing that the extra staff and new computers will eat up the profits that the extra work has generated, to which the head of processing says, “Fair enough, but we’ll have to cut something else because we are overloaded and the computers are too slow. Here’s our new priority schedule. Items at the end are likely not to be done some weeks because we have too much to do.””

I pondered.

“It is the same problem both ways,” said my client. “In most organisations today the MD thinks he has power, but in effect, because he cannot know about all of the operations of the business, he relies on others to tell him what’s what.

“Many senior managers will deal with this by refusing to give in, saying to anyone asking for more equipment or more staff, ‘just do your best’. Which puts the problem back to the head of processing or the ship’s engineer. Some will rant and rave and say, ‘If you can’t do the job I’ll get someone else in who can’, and will hope for the best, knowing that this might lead to a resignation or an industrial tribunal, and either way, quite probably a failing system.

“But there is worse, for in the most difficult cases the employee will be clever, and will say “here’s what we won’t do each week, because you are overloading us.” In short he gives the problem back to the boss.

“What our manuals do is show bosses how to cope with clever staff, how to retain power and how to get people to do what they want them to do. That is why we are so keen to keep it all under our hats. If the workers ever got hold of what we teach senior management, there would be hell to pay.”

I have to say that at this point that I did ask whether I could write this little exchange up on my blog, and did get agreement. “Knowing the principle doesn’t help people too much. It is knowing how to apply it that is the key,” my customer said. “By all means tell the world. But you can’t have a copy of the manual that tells them how to resolve the battle.”

So there we are. Another insight into what we store at Admiral Document Storage. Fortunately I don’t employ enough staff to lose control of my own business, but it is still frightening to think it could happen.

You can find more information regarding our document storage facilities in the West Midlands by clicking here.

Alternatively, please do call us on 0800 810 1125 or email us at info@archive-document-storage.co.uk

From trademarks to patents, it is quite extraordinary the things that my clients reveal.

I am, of course, only privileged to know what is in my clients’ storage boxes at Admiral Document Storage when they choose to engage me in conversation, and so it wasn’t until recently that I realised that I was housing a collection of documents relating to patents.

Now, of course, patent documentation is housed in the Patents Office in London, but there is never any harm in having copies of such documents safely stored close at hand.

Not realising what I was storing was but the first of my misapprehensions, for I also thought that patents were rather dull and boring documents full of technical details about gears and springs and electronics. Some of them are pure flights of fancy.

And that led on to my third misapprehension, because it seems that there is a lively market existing in the buying and selling of patents. And herein came my final surprise. Some people collect really odd, old, and palpably useless patents.

For example, I was shown by a client a patent that he had bought a few years ago for a radio newspaper. A rather large instrument with a number of horns of the type that were depicted on the old HMV logo was shown in the illustration. The patent described this as the International Wireless Home News Service. Wireless indeed!

Another patent was actually for something that was made – the Electrophone. The Electrophone service existed in London from around 1895 and was in essence a recorded telephone service which brought readings of the day’s news from the papers, with occasional rounds of music from early gramophone records. The service died when the BBC came along.

Returning to the fanciful, I also had revealed to me a Telephonoscope which seems to be akin to a baby watching service, allowing the parents to sit downstairs while keeping an eye on the children upstairs. Quite how the machine worked before the invention of television, let alone before the video camera, was not however revealed.

Which just goes to show how dull life has become since the Patents Office started to insist upon the requirement that working models should accompany all designs.

Anyway, all this talk of patents sent me searching for early references to those aspects of digital technology we now take for granted, and it was thus that I found a mention of the videophone in a magazine called Soviet Literature, of which we also house a complete set on behalf of the same customer. The reference to the videophone claims to come from a volume of that journal published in 1870.

Now I am not a great history buff, and, although I do know that the term Soviet came about long before the 1917 revolution in Russia, I don’t think it was that early. The first workers’ soviet was in 1905, at least according to my history teacher at school.

So it seems I have also discovered a patent for a time machine!

Reluctantly moving away from the dubious world of patents I asked my client what else he had that could arouse my interest, and he rapidly engaged my attention with the issue of trademarks.

Now trademarks, of course, can just be names or graphics, and so I tend not to get anything much relating to trademarks at the Admiral storage facility. But, this being mid-afternoon when business is a little less than brisk, I had time to sit and talk on the topic, and it turns out that the trademark name “sweet tango” (as in the apple of that variety) is owned by the University of Minnesota.

Now my response to this was and still is “why?” but answer came there none. But it might be more than a coincidence that the following week my local grocer offered me sweet tango apples on special order with the news that “their molecules are twice the size of other apples”.

I pondered the possibility of a molecule the size of an apple. Just as I am no historian I am no biologist but I really don’t think you can get molecules that big.

But it seems trademarks are big news. As with the word Twitter which, of course, has been a trademark for some time. Fair enough, the Twitter Corporation or whoever they are, thought it up.

However, it seems that they have now trademarked the word Tweet in all sorts of uses ranging from escort agencies to cremation services. Apparently if you want to use the word Tweet in relation to a service or product you are more than welcome to do so upon payment of 350 euros. I wonder if the bird population of my garden knows about this.

There is also, New Scientist magazine tells me, a trademark for a Comfort Inverter. It is, it seems, an air conditioning unit. Which is logical if one sees it as a machine that controls (or perhaps inverts) electric current to bring more comfort to your living or working space.

Amazing what one can learn when running a document storage facility like Admiral.

You can find more information about our storage solution on our website at http://www.archive-document-storage.co.uk/

You can also call us on 0800 810 1125.