The web pages of Stephen Penney

Wednesday, 30th March, 2005
Only Smarties have the answer

After hearing the news that nestle are going to change their packaging for Smarties so that they no longer had the tops with letters on, I decided I needed to collect the alphabet one last time.
I'd done it before in about 1996, but it had taken me a long time and was a collaborative effort between a few of us. Unfortunately I'd long since lost the lids. This time I wanted to do it all by myself, but as I wasn't too sure when the packaging was due to change, it had to be done quickly. Also - I wouldn't eat a single smartie until I had completed the task - this became harder as the tubes mounted up in my cupboard!
I started buying individual tubes - usually 5 at a time in Woolworths, and then in Wilkinsons as they were 5p cheaper. Eventually I realised that it was easier and cheaper to buy the multipacks of four tubes (105p in Morrisons, 2 for 200p in Woolworths).
I was told by my statistically literate friends that it would take about 100 tubes, asssuming an equal distribution of letters. When I had 90 tubes and all I needed was a 'W' I was feeling somewhat optimistic. However, I was buying more and more tubes and the 'W' wouldn't come. "Can't you just turn an 'M' upside-down?" many people asked - but no, each lid definitely had the 'handle' at the bottom of the letter. Eventually, after a purchase of four multipacks at Woolworths, the 'W' came.
It took 147 tubes in total, at a total cost of around ?40. In case you were wondering, 147 tubes of smarties looks a bit like this:

So here it is - the complete smartie alphabet in all its glory, plus "Only smaties have the answer" (it turned out smartie tops are rather difficult to photograph without the right light conditions).


Thursday, 24th March, 2005
More peals

I've updated the peals so it is queryable. You can use


to find a particular ringer
(e.g. peals.php?ringer=Philip+J+Earis will list all the peal I've rung with Phil Earis), and


to find all the peals rung for a particular Guild or Association
(e.g. peals.php?guild=Hertford+County+Association to find all the peals I've rung for the HCA). You can also combine queries, e.g.


I've also put in a statistics page which I'll be adding more and more pointless stats to in the coming months.