Umer Ashraf is an entrepreneur who owns the Glasgow-based iCafé shop chain, as well as smoothie and juice bar Paradise Bay, in Oban, ScotlandQuotes are beautiful things. They colour the canvas of conversation and often express the most complex elements of the human condition clearly and concisely. I usually quote the likes of Shakespeare, Socrates and Martin Luther King when I am discussing current affairs with friends. But recently, I found myself (in what one could justifiably call a rage) quoting Ghandi to a frightened pseudo-checkout operator while buying milk from Sainsbury’s.Let me elaborate. I have high standards when it comes to customer service. I like connecting with human beings and find great joy in brief social encounters. So I’m a great believer in the virtue of patience and normally have no problem queuing at checkouts, as often the wait is well worth it. For example, earlier in the day, I was in line at WH Smith to pay for my FT Weekend. On reaching the counter, before me was the face of a beautiful young African woman with the world’s biggest frown on her face. Her beauty was a relief given that, a quick flick through the FT while waiting meant all I’d seen for the previous five minutes were pictures of Angela Merkel, William Hague and Vince Cable! Yet her frown disheartened me. I could see she was frustrated at having to serve misanthropes all morning who neither said please nor thank you. So I made it my mission not to leave until I had cheered her up. It didn’t take long. As she handed over my receipt, I asked her to bin it for me. Pointing to the FT I said: “Unless it is really bad news, I won’t want my money back”. She lit up with a large smile. Mission accomplished. We had transformed what could have been a mere commercial transaction into a social one.Popping into Sainsbury’s on the way home, all I wanted was a bottle of milk, but as I went to pay, all the checkouts were closed during a peak period and all I could see was a swarm of frustrated customers dashing to and from malfunctioning self-service checkouts. Never before had I used one of these machines, but I was not given a choice, and everything that could have gone wrong did. It wouldn’t recognise the bar code, it wouldn’t accept my coins, it kept vomiting vile dictatorial commands, such as “remove item from this area”. I was delaying the long queue behind me, full of growling customers.With my patience tested to the limit, I let rip on the customer assistant. “Why do you have these bloody things”? I yelled! The entire supermarket froze in silence except for that dastardly machine. The trembling assistant replied: “I’m sorry sir, management make all these decisions; they think it will speed up customer service.”Instantly, I thought of Ghandi and quoted: “There is more to life than increasing its speed,” before walking out.Back at home, with no milk to enjoy a hot chocolate, I opened the FT and read this headline: “UK supermarkets to increase self-service checkouts”.”I want my money back,” I yelled out, only to remember what I’d said to the assistant at WH Smith and, in tandem, the most common platitude of all: “Be careful what you say.”
All the dance partners have now been confirmed for the 2014 Cyclone Taylor Cup starting Thursday in the Hertiage City at the NDCC Arena.Beaver Valley was the last team to book its ticket to the BC Hockey Junior B Final Four after the Nitehawks disposed of the Kamloops Storm in six games in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League Final Friday in Fruitvale.The other two dance partners are the Victoria Cougars of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League and Aldergrove Kodiaks of the Pacific Junior Hockey League.The winner of Cyclone Taylor Cup advances as the provincial champions to the Keystone Cup for the Western Canadian championships.The Abbotsford Pilots host the tournament April 17-20, featuring the top teams from B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Northern Ontario, along with the host Pilots.The Nelson Daily has a capsule look at the four teams vying for BC Junior B Hockey supremacy:Nelson Leafs — Cyclone Taylor Host TeamThe Green and White took the shortest route to the Junior B tournament.However, it’s not the way the host team wanted to advance to the four-team affair.Nelson was knocked out by Beaver Valley in the Murdoch Final in six games.The Leafs were a battered and bruised team and paid the price of not having their two goalies — Brad Rebagliati and Adam Maida — as well as a healthy leading scorer — Jamie Vlanich on the roster against the Hawks.However, after being unceremoniously eliminated during the KIJHL playoffs, the Leafs have had a month off to rest those weary bones.Leaf coach Frank Maida gave the Leafs two full weeks away from the rink before resuming training April 1.When Nelson opens the tournament Thursday at 7 p.m. against Victoria, Nelson should be ready and rested for the Cougars.Nelson will rely heavily on Vlanich and linemate Travis Wellman to power the Leafs offence. But don’t be alarmed if Nelson Minor Hockey products Carsen Willans and Linden Horswill, playing their final games for the Green and White, doesn’t continue his goal scoring in the Cyclone Taylor Tournament.On defence, the Leafs will be bolstered by the return of smooth skating Robson Cramer who sat out the final games of the Murdoch Final due to a suspension. Joining Cramer is hard-hitting captain Darnel St. Pierre, Patrick Crome, Austin Seaman and Nick Trefry.In goal, Rebagliati is slated to man the nets after recovering from injury.Nelson will be looking to win its first Junior B title since Fritz Koehle coached the Leafs to the provincial crown in 1968.The last time the Leafs played in the Cyclone Taylor Cup was in 2009 when the squad, coached by Simon Wheeldon, lost in the final to Richmond Sockeyes. Beaver Valley Nitehawks — KIJHL ChampionsBeaver Valley won its second KIJHL title in three seasons.The Hawks may have won three straight had the Castlegar Rebels not eliminated Beaver Valley in the seventh game of the Murdoch Final last season.Castlegar went on to win the 2013 KIJHL crown.dThe Hawks are loaded with talent. But the driving force of the team is the two-headed monster in Dallas Calvin and Ryan Edwards.The two Trail natives combined for 82 points in 41 games.However, if Calvin and Edwards are not scoring the Hawks can look down the line up to see Riley Brandt, Dan Holand or Braden Fuller fill the void.On defence, Fraser Stang anchors a blueline that batters and beats up opposing forwards.And in goal, all-world Brett Clark, sporting a 14-5 playoff mark with a 2.38 goals against average — and two playoff shutouts — is there to keep Beaver Valley in the game.Beaver Valley, winners of the BC title in 1997 and 2001, begins play Thursday at 3 p.m. in the NDCC Arena against PJHL chanpion, Aldergrove Kodiaks.Aldergrove Kodiaks — PJHL ChampsThe Kodiaks did the unthinkable in the Pacific Junior Hockey League Final.Trailing 3-1 to Junior B powerhouse, Richmond Sockeyes, Aldergrove rang off three straight wins — including a 5-1 road win — to dethrone the reigning PJHL champs.Aldergrove is led by 20-year-old McHaffie twins — Spencer and Scott — who combined for 19 goals while adding 20 assists to lead the Kodiaks in the playoffs.On the blueline is rookie Jeremy Lagler who finished the PJHL playoffs tied for third in team scoring with 13 points.In goal, 20-year-old Jordan Liem backstopped Aldergrove to the amazing comeback in the final against Richmond.Victoria Cougars — VIJHL ChampionsVictoria made it look easy en route to capturing its third Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League title.The Cougs dumped Peninsula Panthers in six games to clinch the Island title.Victoria is led by Snohomish, Washington sniper Michael Fretz who led the Cougars in playoff scoring with 10 goals and 15 assists in 15 games.Alberta native Blake Roney was right behind Fretz with 12 goals and 10 assists with 19-year-old Sam McMullen also scoring a dozen goals.In goal Nathan Hargrave etched out a skinny 1.71 goals against average to lead the Cougs.Check out the Cylcone Taylor website for full schedule and ticket information.
Sandhu, got the bulk of the work for Ridge Meadows in goals, finishing the season with a 9-14 record and a 4.20 goals against average for the fourth-place Flames.Lindsay, who spent three seasons in Nelson, struggled to find a place in the lineup having been injured for most of the season.Lindsay played only 19 games for Nelson, finishing with a goal and 10 assists.“Austin was hurt for most of last season and was uncertain if he wanted to play this year,” Dooley explained.“Ridge Meadows was willing to take that chance so we cut a fair deal with them.”Dooley said it was tough to give up on the Kelowna native but thought it would be best for the Leafs to give Lindsay a chance with another team.“I spoke with Austin prior to the trade prior to moving him out of respect because he’s been with us since he was 16 (years old), Dooley said.“I told him I wasn’t going to do anything without chatting with him and he thought about it and was ok with the move.”Nelson, struggled to finish fourth in the Murdoch Division before getting ousted from post season by Beaver Valley, opens the KIJHL season with main camp August 12-15 at the NDCC Arena.All 20 teams in the KIJHL meet June 24-25 in Osoyoos for the league AGM. The Nelson Leafs completed a blockbuster trade by Junior B standards Thursday shipping center Austin Lindsay and cash to Ridge Meadows Flames of the Pacific Junior Hockey League for two players — forward Dale Howell and netminder Jason Sandhu.Leafs Sean Dooley said the coaching staff is confident the two 20-year-olds will be key building blocks Nelson needs to begin building a winner in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League.“Howell is a proven scorer in the league which was something we lacked up front last year,” Dooley explained after completing the inter-league deal earlier in the day.“We know Sandhu and believe he has the ability to be one of the top goalies in the league this season.”“(Sandhu) is 6’4 so he’s a big body,” Dooley added.“He had the opportunity to back up in the BCHL this year but Sandhu (along with Howell) want to push for a championship.”Howell, at 6-foot 170 pounds, finished the season for the Flames with 18 goals and 23 assists in 44 games.
ARCADIA, Calif. (March 18, 2016)–With a devastating late kick the final furlong, longshot Miss Double d’Oro flew from last to first to win Friday’s $75,000 Arboretum II Stakes by one half length at Santa Anita. Ridden by Santiago Gonzalez and conditioned by Neil Drysdale, Miss Double d’Oro prevailed in a field of nine older fillies and mares as she covered 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf course in 1:13.98.Off at 10-1, she paid $23.00, $6.00 and $3.80.“We realize now that she’s got that one short kick,” said Drysdale. “So you need to sit tight and make a run.”A 4-year-old Kentucky-bred filly by Medaglia d’Oro, Miss Double d’Oro is owned by Calumet Farm. In getting her third win from 10 starts, she picked up $47,700 for the win, increasing her earnings to $155,950.Off as the solid 3-5 favorite, Dreamologist sat a close second down the hill and was carried wide at the dirt crossing by pacesetter, Tesalina. Ridden by Flavien Prat, Dreamologist overhauled Tesalina with about 50 yards to run, but couldn’t hold off the winner late and paid $2.80 and $2.20.Ridden by Kent Desormeaux, Tesalina was very erratic crossing the dirt but kept to her task gamely, finishing a nose in front of My Year Is a Day for third money. Off at 4-1, she paid $3.20 to show.Fractions on the race were 22.07, 45.07 and 1:07.96.First post time for an 11-race card on Saturday is 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m.