The major task, which the international community is facing today in the field of water resources, is the transfer of committed obligations into concrete actions that need to be.....


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Winter Motorcycle Riding Tips
For some bikers, winter riding is simply not an option.

Origins of Christmas
From the Old English 'Cristes Mæsse'....

Christmas shortbreads recipe
plain flour
butter, chilled
golden caster sugar
vanilla extract
large egg yolks

Rolls Royce Ghost 4WD
The all new Rolls Royce Ghost is not just another addition to the already wonderful list of cars from the house of Rolls Royce but it is set to redefine the standards for the luxury saloons.

Being waterwise Saving water inside your home....

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Water Cooperation

The major task, which the international community is facing today in the field of water resources, is the transfer of committed obligations into concrete actions that need to be implemented on the ground for the benefit of people, ecosystems and the biosphere as a whole.

Nurturing the opportunities for cooperation in water management among all stakeholders and improving the comprehension of the challenges and benefits of water cooperation can help build mutual respect, understanding and trust among countries and promote peace, security and sustainable economic growth.

  • A multilevel, inclusive approach for water cooperation
    Water resources management issues must be addressed at the local, national and at appropriate regional and international levels. All stakeholders, including those in government, international organizations, the private sector, civil society and academia, should be engaged, paying special attention to the livelihoods of the poor and most vulnerable people. Water management choices must also be consistent with other government policies and vice-versa. All the while, social, political and economic decisions must be made in a way that seeks to balance and fairly distribute the allocation of natural resources while keeping in mind the biophysical limits of the environment.
  • Innovative approaches for water cooperation
    Mobilizing political will and commitment to address water issues worldwide remains crucial. Equally important are forward thinking and a willingness to consider innovative ways to approach local, regional and international cooperation. Open discussion of the issues shaping our water resources today and strong citizen participation in decision-making (which is key to fostering good governance and a climate of accountability and transparency) can stimulate cooperative action and political commitment. Promoting a culture of consultation and increasing participative capacities will help to deliver benefits in all areas, including collaborative water management.
  • The benefits of water cooperation
    History has often shown that the vital nature of freshwater is a powerful incentive for cooperation and dialogue, compelling stakeholders to reconcile even the most divergent views. Water more often unites than divides people and societies.
  • Cooperation for peace and security
    At the global scale, the effective and mutually beneficial solution of water resources-related problems underlies peace, security and stability of our nations. Fortunately, our planet actually has sufficient water resources to provide 'water security' for all. But this can become a reality only if we change our conceptual approaches to water management. Throughout history, nations have learned how to share the benefits of the river. The key issue here has always been and remains to be the development of rules of conduct to handle disputes peacefully.
  • Cooperation for sustainable development and environmental sustainability
    Water is key to sustainable development; it has value from a social, economic and environmental perspective and needs to be managed within a sound, integrated socio-economic and environmental framework. Upstream and downstream, water stakeholders will have to be involved in management decisions. It is impossible to maintain the integrity of a balanced ecosystem without an overall strategy on water resources management. We all have a shared responsibility for protecting the shared environments surrounding rivers and their associated watersheds.
  • Cooperation for poverty alleviation and universal water access
    Water contributes to poverty alleviation in many ways – through sanitation services, water supply, etc. Water of appropriate quantity and quality can improve health and, when applied at the right time, can enhance the productivity of land, labour and other inputs. Reaching these goals is achievable and would cost far less than having to provide the necessary health care to treat people suffering from preventable diseases caused by poor water and sanitation. Each responsible government should provide a solid regulatory framework and implementation structure to manage the use of its water resources.

The benefits of cooperation

  • Gains from cooperation can include the costs averted by reducing tensions and disputes between neighbours. Strained interstate relations linked to water management can inhibit regional cooperation across a broad front, including trade, transport, telecommunications and labour markets. Obvious examples include the Euphrates, Indus and Jordan Basins.
  • Cooperative approaches to river systems can also generate less tangible political benefits. The Nile Basin Initiative links Egypt politically and economically to poor countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. These links have the potential to create spillover benefits. For example, the political standing that Egypt has acquired through the Nile Basin Initiative could reinforce its emergence as a partner and champion of African interests at the World Trade Organization.
  • Cooperation at the basin level can promote efficient techniques for water storage and distribution, expanding irrigation acreage. The Indus Waters Treaty of 1960 was the precursor to the massive expansion of irrigation works in India, which in turn played an important role in the green revolution.
  • Cooperation between municipalities and private providers can stimulate resource mobilization. The Tamil Nadu Urban Development Fund, established by state authorities in 1996, developed the Water and Sanitation Pooled Fund—a 300 million rupee facility generated through bond markets for 14 small municipalities—with a partial credit guarantee from the US Agency for International Development.

In December 2010, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2013 as the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation The objective of this International Year is to raise awareness, both on the potential for increased cooperation, and on the challenges facing water management in light of the increase in demand for water access, allocation and services. The Year will highlight the history of successful water cooperation initiatives, as well as identify burning issues on water education, water diplomacy, transboundary water management, financing cooperation, national/international legal frameworks, and the linkages with the Millennium Development Goals.

Statistics: Graphs & Maps
This section presents some examples of statistics related to water on:

  • Water and Urbanization
  • Water and Climate Change
  • Water Resources
  • Water Use
  • Drinking Water and Sanitation
  • Water, Agriculture and Food Security
  • Water Pollution, Environmental
  • Degradation and Disasters

Report and statistics available on

10 Things You Should Know:

1 – One drop of oil can make up to 25 liters (6.6 gallons) of water undrinkable.

2 – Seventy percent of the world’s water is used for agriculture, 22 percent for industry and 8 percent for domestic use. Low and middle income countries use 82 percent of their water for agriculture, 10 percent for industry and 8 percent for domestic use. High income countries use 30 percent of their water for agriculture, 59 percent for industry and 11 percent for domestic use.

3 – A person is able to survive one month without food but only five to seven days without water.

4 – Of all the Earth’s water, 97.5 percent is salt and 2.5 is fresh. Of that water, about 70 percent is locked in glacial ice and 30 percent in soil, leaving under 1 percent (.007 percent of the total water) readily accessible for human use.

5 – A water footprint, or virtual water, is the amount of water used in the entire production and/or growth of a specific product. For example, 1 kilogram (2.2 lbs) of beef has a water footprint of 16,000 liters (4,226.8 gallons); one sheet of paper has a water footprint of 10 liters (2.6 gallons); one cup of tea has a water footprint of 35 liters (9.2 gallons); and one microchip has a water footprint of 32 liters (8.5 gallons).

6 – It takes 94.5 to 189.3 liters of water (25 to 50 gallons) to take a five-minute shower; 7.6 to 26.5 liters (2-7 gallons) to flush a toilet; 7.6 liters (2 gallons) to brush one’s teeth; and 75.7 liters (20 gallons) to hand wash dishes.

7 – 6,000 children die each day from preventable water-related diseases.

8 – The population of the United States is approximately 304 million; the population of Europe is approximately 732.7 million; 1.1 billion people lack adequate drinking water access; and 2.6 billion people lack basic water sanitation.

9 – The average American uses about 575 liters of water (151.9 gallons) per day, with about 60 percent of that being used out-of-doors (watering lawns, washing cars, etc.). The average European uses 250 liters of water (66 gallons) per day. 1.1 billion people lack adequate water access, using less than 19 liters (5 gallons) per day.

10 – The average American uses 30.3 times more water than a person who lacks adequate water access; the average European uses 13.2 times more water than a person who lacks adequate water access.

Source :

Christmas shortbreads recipe


plain flour 325g/11oz
butter, chilled 200g /7oz
golden caster sugar 125g/41/2oz
vanilla extract 2 tsp
large egg yolks 2

you will need
2-3 baking trays lined with baking parchment

  1. Set the oven to 180C, 160C fan, gas 4. Place the butter, flour and sugar in a food processor and blend until it makes fine crumbs. Add the egg yolks and continue to blend until the mixture clumps together (or rub the butter into the flour until it forms bread crumbs, then stir in the sugar and egg yolks and beat with a wooden spoon until it forms a dough).
  2. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead lightly into a ball. Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 mins.
  3. Roll the mixture out on a lightly floured work surface and cut out your shapes.
  4. We use fluted round cutters for some, using a smaller cutter to take out the centre of some to make ring shapes. We placed a doiley over some round shapes, and rolled lightly with a rolling pin to leave a pattern, and used fluted square cutters. To make the Christmas tree shapes we used a large tree cookie cutter. Make sure you cut a bottom and a top biscuit. In the top biscuit dough, cut little holes using various sized piping nozzles. We also used some square cutters. To decorate we used the end of a small star shaped piping nozzle or a wooden skewer to indent a pattern, or used the end of a large piping nozzle to cut out small holes in the dough.
  5. Place your biscuit on the baking trays. Bake for 10-15 mins depending on size and thickness, or until just pale golden. Allow to cool for 10 mins on the baking trays then cool completely. If liked, sandwich the biscuits with jam, dust with icing sugar and tie with ribbon.

These biscuits will keep for a week in a cake tin.


Strawberries 'n' cream trifle


bought sponge cake or panettone, cut into 2-3cm pieces 1kg
ctn thickened cream, whipped 300ml
Strawberries, washed, hulled, halved, to decorate -
Pure icing sugar, to dust -
Strawberries 'n' cream trifle

Strawberry compote
  • 3 x 250g punnets strawberries, washed, hulled
  • 375ml (1 1/2 cups) dessert wine
  • 55g (1/4 cup) caster sugar

Vanilla bean custard

  • 35g (1/4 cup) custard powder
  • 55g (1/4 cup) caster sugar
  • 625ml (2 1/2 cups) milk
  • 250ml (1 cup) thickened cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthways
  • 50g ctn mascarpone


  1. Step 1 To make the strawberry compote, stir the strawberries, wine and sugar in a saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 5-10 minutes or until strawberries are soft but still hold their shape. Set aside to cool completely.
  2. Step 2 To make the vanilla bean custard, combine the custard powder and sugar in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the milk and cream until smooth. Add the vanilla bean. Whisk over medium-low heat until the mixture boils and thickens. Boil, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Transfer to a heatproof bowl. Cover the surface of the custard with plastic wrap to prevent a skin forming. Set aside to cool completely. Remove and discard the vanilla bean. Fold the mascarpone into the custard.
  3. Step 3 Place half the sponge or panettone in a 3L (12-cup) capacity glass serving bowl. Top with half the strawberry compote and half the custard. Repeat with remaining sponge or panettone, strawberry compote and custard. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight to chill.
  4. Step 4 Top with cream and strawberry. Dust with icing sugar.

Chilli lamb mini sausage rolls


Nutrition -
olive oil 1 tablespoon
brown onion, finely chopped 1 small
garlic cloves, crushed 4
ground cumin 2 teaspoons
ground coriander 1 teaspoons
dried chilli flakes 1 teaspoons
salt 1 teaspoons
sweet paprika 2 1/2 teaspoons
lamb mince 800g
cup fresh breadcrumbs 3/4
eggs, lightly beaten 2
cup hot chilli sauce 1/4
sheets frozen puff pastry, partially thawed, halved 3
sesame seeds 1 1/2 tablespoons
tomato sauce 1/3 cup
Chilli lamb


  1. Step 1 Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C fan-forced. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Step 2 Heat oil in frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, for 4 minutes or until onion has softened. Add cumin, coriander, chilli flakes, salt and 2 teaspoons paprika. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until fragrant. Transfer to a large heatproof bowl. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Step 2 Heat oil in frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, for 4 minutes or until onion has softened. Add cumin, coriander, chilli flakes, salt and 2 teaspoons paprika. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until fragrant. Transfer to a large heatproof bowl. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
  4. Step 4 Combine sesame seeds and remaining paprika in a small bowl. Brush pastry tops with remaining egg. Sprinkle with sesame mixture. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, swapping trays halfway through cooking time, or until golden and puffed. Stand for 5 minutes.
  5. Step 5 Meanwhile combine tomato sauce and remaining chilli sauce in a small bowl. Serve sausage rolls with sauce.


Mini gingerbread houses

  • 1kg plain flour , plus a little extra for dusting
  • 300g cold butter , diced
  • 2 tbsp mixed spice
  • 2 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 450g light soft brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 225g golden syrup
  • 300g royal icing sugar
  • few ping-pong-size balls of regal icing , wrapped in cling film


Put about half the flour in a food processor with the butter and whizz until you can't see any lumps of butter remaining. Mix the remaining flour, spices and bicarb together with a pinch of salt. Tip both the floury mixtures into your largest mixing bowl and stir in the sugar. (If you don't have a food processor, rub the butter into all of the flour until it resembles fine crumbs. Then stir in the spices, bicarb and sugar.) Whisk the eggs with the golden syrup and stir into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon. Using your hands, knead together into a smooth dough.

Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Roll a quarter of the dough out at a time on a sheet of baking parchment, to the thickness of 2 x £1 coins. Use a small, sharp knife to cut around the house templates - remember that each time you'll need 2 x A, 2 x B and 2 x C for one house. Remove trimmings and lift the gingerbread, on its parchment, onto baking trays. Re-roll trimmings to cut out all the shapes you need.

Bake the gingerbread one tray at a time on a high shelf in the oven for 8-10 mins, until a lovely, rich brown and firm to the touch. As soon as each tray is baked, carefully sit the templates back onto the relevant shapes and trim any edges to neaten (see step 1). Use a cutter to stamp out any windows or cut away any doors with a small, sharp knife. Let all the biscuits cool completely.

Sieve the royal icing sugar into a bowl and stir in dribbles of water until you have a stiff icing. Spoon some into a food bag (cover the rest), snip the tiniest bit off the corner and pipe any icing decorations you want onto the gingerbread. Leave to dry.

Arrange the wall biscuits as you are going to assemble them, then pipe icing along the side edges (see step 2) and stick the walls together. Pipe extra icing where the walls join each other on the inside of the house, and support the sides using your icing balls (see step 3). Leave for a few hrs until set.

Once dry, stick on the roofs, as above - you may need to hold the biscuits on firmly for a few mins until the icing starts to set - or shape your icing balls to support the edges of the roof. Set overnight, then use any remaining royal icing to help you decorate your houses with sweets and sprinkles.

Rolls Royce Ghost 4WD

The all new Rolls Royce Ghost is not just another addition to the already wonderful list of cars from the house of Rolls Royce but it is set to redefine the standards for the luxury saloons. True, it is sheer luxury that defines the car but the spectacular look that it bears is something else too.

The car successfully blends some of the heritage features so very typical of the Rolls Royce family with that of the modernistic concepts. Some of the typical features include Teflon-coated umbrellas and the Panorama sun roof which make the car extremely classy.

Delving deep into luxury features one should take note of the long list of features which include automatic air conditioning, individual seating, and the LCD screens fitted at the back of the front seats.

Features like top view camera, night vision camera, Lane Departure warning, Active cruise control and Head up Display enable the car to aid the driver with vital assistance.

The car has an extremely powerful engine and an equally efficient gear box that literally makes it fly on the roads. Driving a Rolls Royce Ghost makes one feel like conquering the roads.

Inner Space

Inside, Ghost is refined and cosseting. Entering and exiting is both effortless and graceful - thanks to the unique rear-hinged coach doors. This detail creates an extra sense of theatre for passengers as they arrive or embark at their destination. The simple yet contemporary interior offers expanses of soft full grain leather, natural wood veneers and soft wool carpets.

Design Presence

Wheel Options

The classic 2:1 proportions of the wheel to body height is key to Rolls-Royce DNA. You can choose from three different wheel options with two different finishes, each with their own special character. Each features unique self-righting wheel centres that always display the Rolls-Royce monogram the right way up. It's typical of the attention we give to the simplest details that make our cars so special.

Paint Options

"When you look closely at a Rolls-Royce's paintwork, you'll see a perfect reflection of yourself staring back at you," says Paint Associate Lisa Tandy.

There are sixteen colours to choose from or we can mix any colour you want from a swatch - maybe from a favourite tie or lipstick - Our Bespoke programme offers 44,000 hues. Further personalisation includes two-tone finishes and hand-painted five-metre coachlines.

Advance technology

Ghost is the most technologically advanced Rolls-Royce ever built. Designed around a steel Monocoque chassis and advanced air suspension system including Dynamic Stability Control and Active Roll Stabilisation to create a more dynamic drive while retaining the 'magic carpet ride'.

Powered by a twin turbo 6.6-litre V12 engine, it is virtually silent, with 80% of its torque available from idle. Coupled with the 8-speed gearbox it delivers effortless power, accelerating from 0-62 mph in just 4.7 seconds with a governed top-speed of 155 mph.

Click to read more

Make Rolls Royce
Model Ghost
Fuel Types Diesel
Price Rs.2.5 Crores
Key Specifications 6592/v12,563BHP,780NM


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Being waterwise
Saving water inside your home

Households use over 50% of their total water inside the home. Making simple changes to our habits can save lots of water. If we all reduced how much we used by even a small amount, we could make a huge difference to our total consumption. There are some practical ways to save water in your home, without affecting your lifestyle.

  • There are a number of ways to save water, and they all start with you.
  • When washing dishes by hand, don't let the water run while rinsing. Fill one sink with wash water and the other with rinse water.
  • Some refrigerators, air conditioners and ice-makers are cooled with wasted flows of water. Consider upgrading with air-cooled appliances for significant water savings.
  • Adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street.
  • Run your clothes washer and dishwasher only when they are full. You can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
  • Choose shrubs and groundcovers instead of turf for hard-to-water areas such as steep slopes and isolated strips.
  • Install covers on pools and spas and check for leaks around your pumps.
  • Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Compost vegetable food waste instead and save gallons every time.
  • Plant in the fall when conditions are cooler and rainfall is more plentiful.
  • For cold drinks keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap. This way, every drop goes down you and not the drain.
  • Monitor your water bill for unusually high use. Your bill and water meter are tools that can help you discover leaks.
  • Water your lawn and garden in the morning or evening when temperatures are cooler to minimize evaporation.
  • Wash your fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of running water from the tap.
  • Spreading a layer of organic mulch around plants retains moisture and saves water, time and money.
  • Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your driveway and sidewalk and save water every time.
  • If your shower fills a one-gallon bucket in less than 20 seconds, replace the showerhead with a water-efficient model.
  • Collect the water you use for rinsing fruits and vegetables, then reuse it to water houseplants.
  • If water runs off your lawn easily, split your watering time into shorter periods to allow for better absorption.
  • We're more likely to notice leaks indoors, but don't forget to check outdoor faucets, sprinklers and hoses for leaks.
  • If you have an automatic refilling device, check your pool periodically for leaks.
  • Check the root zone of your lawn or garden for moisture before watering using a spade or trowel. If it's still moist two inches under the soil surface, you still have enough water.
  • When buying new appliances, consider those that offer cycle and load size adjustments. They're more water and energy efficient.
  • Shorten your shower by a minute or two and you'll save up to 150 gallons per month.
  • Upgrade older toilets with water efficient models.
  • Adjust your lawn mower to a higher setting. A taller lawn shades roots and holds soil moisture better than if it is closely clipped.
  • When cleaning out fish tanks, give the nutrient-rich water to your plants.
  • Use sprinklers for large areas of grass. Water small patches by hand to avoid waste.
  • Put food coloring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the toilet bowl without flushing, you have a leak. Fixing it can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
  • When running a bath, plug the tub before turning the water on, then adjust the temperature as the tub fills up.
  • Walkways and patios provide space that doesn't ever need to be watered. These useful "rooms" can also add value to your property.
  • Collect water from your roof to water your garden.
  • Designate one glass for your drinking water each day or refill a water bottle. This will cut down on the number of glasses to wash.
  • Rather than following a set watering schedule, check for soil moisture two to three inches below the surface before watering.
  • Install a rain sensor on your irrigation controller so your system won't run when it's raining.
  • Don't use running water to thaw food. Defrost food in the refrigerator for water efficiency and food safety.
  • Use drip irrigation for shrubs and trees to apply water directly to the roots where it's needed.
  • Grab a wrench and fix that leaky faucet. It's simple, inexpensive, and you can save 140 gallons a week.
  • Reduce the amount of lawn in your yard by planting shrubs and ground covers appropriate to your site and region.
  • When doing laundry, match the water level to the size of the load.
  • Teach your children to turn off faucets tightly after each use.


Winter Motorcycle Riding Tips

For some bikers, winter riding is simply not an option. For them, the bike goes into hibernation in the garage, protected by a thick layer of grease and covered by a tarpaulin until the spring shoots appear.

But it doesn't have to be that way. With the right kit, a little common sense, and some minor changes in your riding style, you can carry on riding safely through all but the worst of the winter weather.

Riding anytime of the year demands caution, however winter in particular can be treacherous. Almost half of Britain's motorcyclists say that riding on icy, winter roads is one of the worst aspects of motorcycling. Below are some helpful hints together with a list of the common hazards that bikers may face during the winter months.

Wrap up against the winter

It may sound obvious, but investing in specialist winter riding gear can make a massive difference to your winter warmth and comfort. One-piece leathers are clearly the best as they offer less opportunity for the icy wind to find a way in. If you can't afford these, make sure your layers overlap well.

If you can only invest in one piece of winter kit, then make it a quality pair of gloves. Modern technology has created a range of waterproof, thermally efficient gloves that will keep your hands warm and dry as you ride. Failing that, make sure you keep a spare pair of inner gloves in your pocket so you can change them if they get wet. The wet pair can then dry in your pocket from your body heat ready to be changed again.

Riding in the correct kit is not just a comfort issue either. If you're wet and cold, you will tire more easily and will not respond as sharply to events around you. This is particularly true of cold fingers. Combine these slower reactions with the more hazardous roads of winter, and you've got more potential problems.

Respect the winter roads

From the autumn storms, when rain falls on roads which have accumulated grease and oil all summer, to the treacherous black ice of winter frosts, the riding conditions in winter demand your utmost respect.

The simple advice is to take it easy. Save your carefree open-road riding for those glorious summer mornings. In winter the conditions need as much care as you can muster. Not only will there be much less grip on wet and icy roads, you will also be challenged by the wind and the rain as you ride along. So use your lane, and give yourself space to adapt, adjust, and slow down. And if you have a long ride ahead, plan to stop and warm up along the way.

Stop, revive, and survive

It's worth remembering that poor conditions affect everyone else around you too. Motorists, who struggle to see bikes at the best of times, are even less likely to see you when their windows are misted up. Even pedestrians become a real hazard, as they bow their heads to the rain or hunch up against the cold, leaving them prone to walk out in front of you without looking properly.

Wet Roads

Increase the breaking distance between you and other vehicles to account for wet and greasy road conditions. By increasing your distance you will get minimal spray of other vehicles and will be able to judge and anticipate other road users driving much easier. Watch out for wet leaves on the road. These can make the surface slippery and could make you lose control.


Bad weather such as fog or even low winter sun can restrict your view. Be aware of the hazards; ride to suit the road conditions.

Rider Visibility

Bikers need to be as visible as possible to other road users. By wearing reflective clothing it helps other road users to see you, especially on dark mornings and early evenings. By making contact with drivers using their mirrors, this also makes you visible to the driver.

Signal earlier

Signal earlier to give as much notice as possible to other road users of your intentions.


Check your lights regularly to make sure they are working. Also ensure your lights are visible and clear of dirt.


Check your tyre pressure to ensure it's suitable for winter riding.


In winter months, use anti-misting spray on your visor and mirrors.

Strong winds

Try to avoid riding in strong winds, however if it is absolutely necessary then be aware of hazardous objects being swept onto the roads such as carrier bags, boxes, branches of trees, cones etc.

If you do have to go out this winter on your bike, stay alert and ride well within your limit.

But For all the problems of winter riding, it still beats standing at a bus stop in the rain, or struggling to de-ice your frozen car every morning. With a little planning and a little care, you'll be enjoying the sunshine of spring before you know it.


Origins of Christmas

From the Old English ‘Cristes Mæsse’ ~ meaning the ‘mass of Christ’ ~ the story of Christmas begins with the birth of a babe in Bethlehem.

It is believed that Christ was born on the 25th, although the exact month is unknown. December was likely chosen so the Catholic Church could compete with rival pagan rituals held at that time of year and because of its closeness with the winter solstice in the Northern hemisphere, a traditional time of celebration among many ancient cultures.

Santa Claus

The origin of Santa Claus begins in the 4th century with Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, an area in present day Turkey. By all accounts St. Nicholas was a generous man, particularly devoted to children. After his death around 340 A.D. His kindness and reputation for generosity gave rise to claims he that he could perform miracles and devotion to him increased. St. Nicholas became the patron saint of Russia, where he was known by his red cape, flowing white beard, and bishop’s mitre.

Christmas Trees

In 16th-century Germany fir trees were decorated, both indoors and out, with apples, roses, gilded candies, and colored paper. In the Middle Ages, a popular religous play depicted the story of Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden.

A fir tree hung with apples was used to symbolize the Garden of Eden — the Paradise Tree. The play ended with the prophecy of a saviour coming, and so was often performed during the Advent season.

The Christmas Tree was brought to England by Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert from his native Germany. The famous Illustrated News etching in 1848, featuring the Royal Family of Victoria, Albert and their children gathered around a Christmas tree in Windsor Castle, popularized the tree throughout Victorian England. Brought to America by the Pennsylvania Germans, the Christmas tree became by the late 19th century.

Christmas Stockings

According to legend, a kindly nobleman grew despondent over the death of his beloved wife and foolishly squandered his fortune. This left his three young daughters without dowries and thus facing a life of spinsterhood.

The generous St. Nicholas, hearing of the girls’ plight, set forth to help. Wishing to remain anonymous, he rode his white horse by the nobleman’s house and threw three small pouches of gold coins down the chimney where they were fortuitously captured by the stockings the young women had hung by the fireplace to dry.


Mistletoe was used by Druid priests 200 years before the birth of Christ in their winter celebrations. They revered the plant since it had no roots yet remained green during the cold months of winter.

The ancient Celtics believed mistletoe to have magical healing powers and used it as an antidote for poison, infertility, and to ward of evil spirits. The plant was also seen as a symbol of peace, and it is said that among Romans, enemies who met under mistletoe would lay down their weapons and embrace.

Scandanavians associated the plant with Frigga, their goddess of love, and it may be from this that we derive the custom of kissing under the mistletoe. Those who kissed under the mistletoe had the promise of happiness and good luck in the following year.

Holly, Ivy and Greenery

In Northern Europe Christmas occurred during the middle of winter, when ghosts and demons could be heard howling in the winter winds. Boughs of holly, believed to have magical powers since they remained green through the harsh winter, were often placed over the doors of homes to drive evil away. Greenery was also brought indoors to freshen the air and brighten the mood during the long, dreary winter.

Legend also has it that holly sprang from the footsteps of Christ as he walked the earth. The pointed leaves were said to represent the crown of thorns Christ wore while on the cross and the red berries symbolized the blood he shed.


A native Mexican plant, poinsettias were named after Joel R. Poinsett, U.S. ambassador to Mexico who brought the plant to America in 1828. Poinsettias were likely used by Mexican Franciscans in their 17th century Christmas celebrations. One legend has it that a young Mexican boy, on his way to visit the village Nativity scene, realized he had no gift for the Christ child. He gathered pretty green branches from along the road and brought them to the church. Though the other children mocked him, when the leaves were laid at the manger, a beautiful star-shaped flower appeared on each branch. The bright red petals, often mistaken for flowers, are actually the upper leaves of the plant.

The Candy cane

It was not long after Europeans began using Christmas trees that special decorations were used to adorn them. Food items, such as candies and cookies, were used predominately and straight white candy sticks were one of the confections used as ornamentation. Legend has it that during the 17th century, craftsmen created the white sticks of candy in the shape of shephreds’ crooks at the suggestion of the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany.

The candy treats were given to children to keep them quiet during ceremonies at the living creche, or Nativity scene, and the custom of passing out the candy crooks at such ceremonies soon spread throughout Europe.

Christmas cards

A form of Christmas card began in England first when young boys practiced their writing skills by creating Christmas greetings for their parents, but it is Sir Henry Cole who is credited with creating the first real Christmas card. The first director of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, Sir Henry found himself too busy in the Christmas season of 1843 to compose individual Christmas greetings for his friends.

He commissioned artist John Calcott Horsley for the illustration. The card featured three panels, with the center panel depicting a family enjoying Christmas festivities and the card was inscribed with the message "A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You."

Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer

The Chicago-based Montgomery Ward company, department store operators, had been purchasing and distributing children’s coloring books as Christmas gifts for their customers for several years. In 1939, Montgomery Ward tapped one of their own employees to create a book for them, thus saving money. 34-year old copywriter Robert L. May wrote the story of Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer in 1939, and 2.4 million copies were handed out that year. Despite the wartime paper shortage, over 6 million copies had been distributed by 1946.

May drew in part on the story “The Ugly Duckling” and in part from his own experiences as an often taunted, small, frail youth to create the story of the misfit reindeer. Though Rollo and Reginald were considered, May settled on Rudolph as his reindeer’s name.

Writing in verse as a series of rhyming couplets, May tested the story as he went along on his 4-year old daughter Barbara, who loved the story Sadly, Robert Mays wife died around the time he was creating Rudolph, leaving Mays deeply in debt due to medical bills. However, he was able to persuade Sewell Avery, Montgomery Ward’s corporate president, to turn the copyright over to him in January 1947, thus ensuring May’s financial security.

May’s story “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” was printed commercially in 1947 and in 1948 a nine-minute cartoon of the story was shown in theaters. When May’s brother-in-law, songwriter Johnny Marks, wrote the lyrics and melody for the song “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, the Rudolph phenomenon was born. Turned down by many musical artists afraid to contend with the legend of Santa Claus, the song was recorded by Gene Autry in 1949 at the urging of Autry’s wife. The song sold two million copies that year, going on to become one of the best-selling songs of all time, second only to Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas”. The 1964 television special about Rudolph, narrated by Burl Ives, remains a holiday favorite to this day and Rudolph himself has become a much-loved Christmas icon.


Commencing on the 25th day of the Hebrew month Kislev, Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem after its desecration by the Syrians.

A search of the temple produced a small vial of undefiled oil — enough for only one day. Miraculously, the Temple lights burned for eight days until a new supply of oil was brought. In remembrance of this miracle, one candle of the Menorah – an eight branched candelabra – is lit each of the eight days of Hanukkah. Hanukkah, which means dedication, is a Hebrew word when translated is commonly spelled Hanukah, Chanukah, and Hannukah due to different translations and customs.

The tradition of receiving gifts on each of the eight days of Hanukkah is relatively new and due in part to the celebration’s proximity to the Christmas season.


Doctor Maulana Karenga, a Professor at California State University in Long Beach, California, created Kwanzaa in 1966. It is a holiday celebrated by millions of African-Americans around the world, encouraging them to remember their African heritage and consider their current place in America today. Kwanzaa is celebrated fom December 26 to January 1 and involves seven principles called Nguzo Saba: Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani (Faith).

In the Kwanzaa ritual, seven candles called Mishumaa Saba are placed in a Kinara, or candleholder, which is then set upon the Mikeka, a mat usually made of straw.

Three green candles are placed on the left, three red candles on the right and a black candle in the center, each candle representing one of the seven principles of the celebration. One candle is lit each day of the Kwanzaa celebration, beginning from left to right The colors of Kwanzaa ~ black, red and green ~ also have a special significance. Black symbolizes the faces of the African people, Red symbolizes the blood they have shed, and Green represents hope and the color of the motherland. The name itself – Kwanzaa – is a Swahili word meaning "fruits of the harvest."


Project BOOND

Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited initiated Project Boond in the year 2005. Boond is a Rain Water Harvesting Project undertaken in drought prone remote and trbal villages near our business locations. We also receive financial support from Oil Industry Development Board (OIDB) for Project Boond and for execution of projects collaborate with various local and credible NGOs like Dhan Foundation and Rajputana Society of Natural History. Till now Boond has affected 46 villages transforming them from ‘water scarce to water positive’ and more than 46 villages in the process. In it’s endeavours, Boond has successfully undertaken extensive rainwater harvesting projects near:

  1. Kasara & Mokhada, Dist. Thane (Maharashtra)
  2. Bharatpur (Rajasthan)
  3. Tuticorin, Thiruvadur, Tiruvalur, Theni Dist (Tamil Nadu)
  4. Warangal and Nellore Dist (Andhra Pradesh)
  5. Kolar, Magadi and Tumkur Dist (Karnataka)
  6. Baghpat Dist (Uttar Pradesh)

We hire professional water consultants to plan our water management projects.

The main emphasis is given to:

  1. Desilting of water tanks and ponds
  2. Repair/deepening of well building ‘bunds’ to capture and store rain water.
  3. Repairs and leak proofing of existing bunds.
  4. Revitalizing existing natural water bodies like water tanks in Southern India

The project has had a very positive impact in 46 villages.

  1. More than 500 million litres of additional water now available.
  2. Villagers have access to 80 to 100 litres of water per day per person within a proximity of half a kilometres.
  3. Rotation of 2 crops grown per year.Improved awareness amongst villagers and greater participation in village development matters leading to the
  4. process of 'Empowerment'
  5. Making resources available for poor people and integrating them with the financial institutions (approach to Micro Finance)
  6. Idle youth have learnt skills like masonry
  7. Improved attendance of children in schools
  8. Another uniqueness of the project is the concept of “Shram Daan”. The villagers perform Shram Daan once a week and get paid minimum wages for it. Seeing the growing enthusiasm of the villagers towards this concept, BPCL has initiated "Employee Volunteering" where employees participated with the villagers.

The work is carried out with complete participation from the village to not only impart a sense of responsibility toward the villages but also learn additional skill which can be later used by them as a mean of income. The project introduces the villagers to such endless possibilities, one of the important one being the check over the rampant levels of migration of people from villages to towns and cities.