Thursday, July 31, 2008

Another year...

Yet another year older and today I have reached the grand old age of 33. G told me that I can no longer describe myself as being in my early thirties and that I now qualify as being in my mid-thirties. I’m not sure I agree with that, but it’s my birthday so it’s not a day for arguments. G and I are going out for dinner tonight, which I think is for Spanish food, which should be good.

Anyway, #happy birthday to me# and I leave you with a great song, which is Beautiful Child by Rufus Wainwright.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Things to see, people to do

G and I were thinking about going to Montreal in September but for a variety of reasons that isn’t looking possible now and we’re going to go next year instead. We’re going to Glasgow in September anyway, as G’s sister is getting married so we’re going to stay up there the following week and have a holiday. But we haven’t decided where or booked any flights or hired a car or done anything about it at all really. Perhaps we should think about that some time soon.

I was talking to the chap at work who has taken a bit of a shine to me – on Monday he even gave me an apple he had grown on his allotment. Anyway, yesterday he told me that if I was ever in an accident he would happily give me the kiss of life and he would try and make sure he hadn’t eaten garlic. I thanked him for thinking of me but said that I hoped I would never require his services.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Yesterday I discovered how easy it is to get credit in the UK, despite the ‘credit crunch’. I need a new credit card, as the one I currently have is being transferred from Visa to American Express and I don’t particularly want an American Express card. I found a cash back card that means I will get money back on all my purchases, filled out an online application form and within seconds of filling out the form was notified that my application had been successful and I would be sent the card within the next few days. That was certainly much easier than I had expected, particularly as I thought it might be loads of hassle to get a new card, but nope, it was as simple as filling out a form.

I am reading four different books at the moment. I will add the other books to my sidebar at some point, but one of them is Aesop’s Fables. I have wanted to read them for ages and they are just very short and easy to read fables that are meant to be lessons about human nature. I was a bit concerned that they might be hard going but actually they are very accessible, so if you are looking for something to read then maybe give them a go. Anyway, here is “The Eagle and the Fox”:

An eagle and a fox, having become friends, decided to live near one another and be neighbors. They believed that this proximity would strengthen their friendship. So the eagle flew up and established herself on a very high branch of a tree, where she made her nest. And the fox, creeping about among the bushes which were at the foot of the same tree, made her den there, depositing her babies right beneath the eagle.

But, one day when the fox was out looking for food, the eagle, who was very short of food too, swooped down to the bushes and took the fox cubs up to her nest and feasted on them with her own young.

When the fox returned, she was less distressed at the death of her little ones than she was driven mad by frustration at the impossibility of ever effectively avenging herself. For she, a land animal, could never hope to pursue a winged bird. She had no option but to content herself, in her powerlessness and feebleness, with cursing her enemy from afar.

Now it was not long afterwards that the eagle did actually receive her punishment for her crime against her friend.

Some men were sacrificing a goat in the countryside and the eagle swooped down on the altar, carrying off some burning entrails, which she took up to her nest. A strong wind arose which blew the fire from the burning entrails into some old straw that was in the nest. The eaglets were singed and, as they were not yet able to fly, when they leaped from the nest they fell to the ground. The fox rushed up and devoured them all in front of the eagle’s eyes.

This story shows that if you betray friendship, you may evade the vengeance of those whom you wrong if they are weak, but ultimately you cannot escape the vengeance of heaven.

I have to say that I don’t really think life is as simplistic as that or that vengeance is really a desirable answer to life’s turmoils, but it’s interesting to get an ancient take on life. Maybe, as they say, there’s nothing new under the sun.

I saw that the pier at Weston Super Mare burned down yesterday. G and I stopped off there on the way to Cornwall a few weeks ago and were not that enamored with the place, but we did only go into the town and not to the sea front. I sent an e-mail to check if G had been involved in torching the place but got an outright denial in response. I still have my suspicions though.

Monday, July 28, 2008


Another good weekend over, good not least because of the lovely weather. Saturday G and I went for a walk with a few other people, which was really nice. However, we did the walk at the hottest part of the day and despite drinking lots of water, I ended up feeling somewhat worse for wear. We went for a bite to eat afterwards but the damage was done and I could only eat a bit of the food on my plate (it is unheard of that I wouldn’t clear my plate). People went off for a drink afterwards but I had to go in search of a chemist to get something to stop me feeling incredibly nauseous and also to get some stuff to rehydrate me. I took the anti-nausea stuff while I was still in the chemists because I was so desperate to take it. I think if I go out on such hot days again I might have a bottle of water with the rehydration powder in it to sip while I am walking to try and minimise the effects of the sun. Anyway I managed to drive home safely and I felt much better as the evening wore on and felt totally fine yesterday. Despite the above it was a good day and a good weekend.

Yesterday G and I were talking about how to pair socks. G thought the manufacturers should put some kind of code in each sock so that you could identify its pair. I was kind of perplexed by this and said I usually managed to pair socks by just matching it with the one that looks the same. G seemed to think this was not as easy as it sounds. However, I then suggested that manufacturers could attach a small magnet on each sock and when you want to pair all your socks you just throw them all up in the air and the ones that match would stick to each other and be ready paired. There does seem to be the somewhat unfortunate flaw that while you are wearing the socks they could end up sticking to each other if the magnets get too close or alternatively cans and other metal items might get stuck to you as you walk down the street. I think this might require some more thought.

I have this weird thing going on at the moment where I keep using the wrong word. Instead I use a word that is totally different but sort of rhymes. So last week I was having a conversation and meant to use the word “banana” and instead used the word “pyjama” or instead of “flaw” I used “thaw”. I don’t even always notice that I do it. Surely that can’t be normal. I am hoping that it isn’t an indication of me starting to lose my mind, what with imminently getting older. It’s very odd though and I am hoping that it has just been due to tiredness.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Reasons to be grateful

I had a fairly successful day off and got various things done like getting my hair cut and mowing the grass and such things. At least now it is Friday and so I only have to get through today and it’s the weekend. G and I are going for a walk tomorrow, which should be nice, although I think we might be due thunderstorms tomorrow.

I got a letter from my power company yesterday asking me to phone them as they were about to issue me with a very high bill. I called them to find out what was going on and the chap said that according to meter readings I had used 22,000 units of electricity. That is really rather a lot… Anyway, after a bit of discussion it seems that a couple of meter readings ago they transposed my gas and electricity readings and this mean that there appeared to be a massive difference. The problem was fixed by them simply entering the figures the right way round, which is rather better than a bill of several thousand pounds.

I contacted the water company a few weeks ago to ask if they were going to provide compensation for cutting off our water supply. They wrote back and said that they would credit my bill by £40 for the inconvenience and them failing to do it within their set timescales. It seems it pays to ask. However, I spoke to one of my neighbours yesterday to see if she’d been given a credit (which the water company is obliged to pay and we shouldn’t have to ask for) and she said no. It seems that it definitely pays to ask.

If sometimes you think that you have life a bit tough then perhaps you can take comfort in your name not being Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii. Surely some people should not be allowed to breed. However, it seems that the name “Number 16 Bus Shelter” was acceptable. I know it would have been cruel but I was disappointed to see that someone was banned from calling their twins Fish and Chips. If you ever find the need to come up with names for children then I would really like you to give careful consideration to calling any offspring Fish and Chips, I for one would support you in that choice. Please.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Everyone's a winner

I woke up this morning to find that I had left the back door wide open all night. Fortunately I live in a pretty safe area, but that probably wasn’t ideal. I have been quite tired all week, so perhaps it is a good thing that I have the day off today and maybe might regain the ability to remember to shut doors.

I met up with one of my housemates from uni yesterday and she seemed on good form. She doesn’t actually live very far from me and we normally see each other very regularly but due to various things haven’t seen each other for several weeks. I told her what had happened with A and she wasn’t very impressed but mainly thought that it was just such a waste to have willingly had a relationship with me and to then lie about it. She asked why I thought A had lied to C about it and I said I thought there were two main reasons first that A is a very private person and probably didn’t want to discuss it with C particularly but that was before they were particularly good friends. Since then they have got to know each other much better and it was too late to back track (and unnecessary because it was of no consequence, until it became an issue due to me going out with G), but also because A runs away from things and has a history of this. Maybe it’s easier to run than to deal with things properly, but then I suppose you face the consequences of that instead. Anyway, I feel less annoyed about it all today, so that’s a good thing, and mainly I think the issue is that in my usual slow pondery way I am just thinking things through and when I have done that all will be done and dusted.

The surveyor has just gone and he seemed like a nice chap. I pointed out all the faults with where we live to try and make sure that he comes in with as low a valuation as possible for us buying the freehold (‘us’ being me and two of my neighbours). It feels like we are finally making progress on it.

G and I had a discussion yesterday about how the new job is going. G is really enjoying it but has an issue in that they no longer have easy access to coffee. They do actually have a kettle, but I had not realised that G doesn’t actually like instant coffee. The main reason that G works is to make sure that I can retire early*. I was hoping that I could retire by the age of 33, but as my 33rd birthday is next week I am now beginning to accept that is unlikely, so I am willing to extend the deadline to 34. However buying coffee from a coffee shop is going to seriously dent my pension fund so today I have been tasked with going out to get G some of those individual coffee filters in order to find a compromise. It’s a win-win. G gets decent coffee and I get a step nearer to my early retirement.

*G may have a slightly different interpretation on this matter...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I felt so exhausted yesterday. I think it’s a combination of having driven over 1000 miles last week and also not having got used to having to drag myself out of bed so early every morning to go to work. At least I am off work tomorrow, even though it is because a surveyor is coming round.

I am having lunch with a friend today for a bit of a catch up. We arranged it earlier this week by e-mail and while we were sorting out a plan I told her about what I’d found out about A i.e. the total reinterpretation of the past (meaning blatant lies) and this bizarre belief that me applying for that job was some grand plan to get us back together. She actually knew at the time about what happened and replied and said that she was sad to hear that this was how A now explained things, but that being the case A “seriously needs some help”. I have to say that I felt kind of vindicated that someone who actually knew a lot about what happened and with whom I had discussed whether to apply for that job was so unimpressed with A. I am also seeing one of my housemates from university tonight who also knew about when the stuff was going on with A and I imagine will be equally unimpressed. I do still feel really mad about what has happened (which is an impressive thing for A to have achieved as I had never been particularly annoyed until now!). I still can’t quite decide whether to do anything about it all but at least it helps having a couple of people who knew what was happening at the time and cannot believe how warped A’s interpretation of it all is. Having said all that, as odd as it may sound, I would still stick by what I said a long time ago about having no regrets and this post still stands. A bit bitter now? Yes. Regretful? No.

I will actually try and post something here about the role of the narrator in telling a story, which is something I mentioned a few weeks ago, but while we were away on holiday we were listening to the talking book of ‘The Blind Assassin’ by Margaret Atwood. That is a very long book in unabridged form, let me tell you – over 18 hours. Anyway, that had a really interesting quote in it which said:

“The only way you can write the truth is to assume that what you set down will never be read. Not by any other person, and not even by yourself at some later date. Otherwise you begin excusing yourself. You must see the writing as emerging like a long scroll of ink from the index finger of your right hand; you must see your left hand erasing it.

Impossible, of course.”

Most interesting and is now sitting there in the back of my mind seeing how it fits with my other thoughts on the role of a narrator. Further food for thought.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Here are a few photos to start you off with from my holaday. These are some of the ones off my phone and I need to get the ones developed from my camera.

So here is Lizard Point, the most southerly point of the mainland UK:

Some of the flowers at the Lost Gardens of Heligan:

The Giant's Head at the Lost Gardens of Heligan:

The biomes at the Eden Project:

In the Mediterranean biome there was what we concluded was a Triffid in a deckchair:

I shall leave you with a quote from G who was reading The Day of the Triffids while we were away:

"You know how you said that when you read this book you either put yourself in the place of someone who is sighted or who is blind. Well actually I don't. *raises an eyebrow* I see myself as a Triffid."

Someone get me my Triffid gun.

Monday, July 21, 2008


Well, how have I never been to Cornwall before?? Cornwall is such a lovely place and it was a really great holiday. The weather, on the whole, was sunny, and it was really peaceful and quiet and there were very few people about and we just wandered from place to place and saw the sights and ate food and strolled about and generally had a nice time. The place we were staying was really lovely and everything about the holiday was great – it was very hard having to come home.

A brief summary follows, which I may expand on, with a few photos, in due course:

-Stayed in a place called St Keverne, which is on the Lizard (if you think of Cornwall as a boot, The Lizard is the heel). Really nice place and there was even the local brass band playing in the small village square one evening.
-Lizard Point – the most southerly part of the UK. Very beautiful. The village there is a bit uninspiring but you can just walk past that and walk along the Cornish coast. Lovely.
-The Eden Project. I suspect I am in the minority here, but I just did not get all the hype. Basically it’s a couple of biomes and they have lots of plants in them. It’s quite interesting, but was in essence just a couple of large greenhouses. I had expected much more of it. It costs £15 each to get in, which actually we didn’t pay as we got the tickets free via Nectar, but I have no idea what would have justified that cost.
-Lands End. The shops etc that have been built there are somewhat tacky (if you have ever been to Niagara Falls it is a bit like that but not quite as tacky, there’s no Dracula’s Castle etc but there is a Doctor Who exhibition etc which seems an odd place to have it) but you can ignore those and just walk along the coast and appreciate the views and enjoy the fresh air and the sea and soak in the wonders of the English countryside.
-St Ives. A lovely town, although I think best avoided at peak holiday season (which we were there just before it started fortunately). We also had a really nice cream tea there.
-St Michael’s Mount. When the tide is low you can walk out there along a causeway and at other times you have to take a boat – a very short trip as it is only 400 metres out into the sea. We only went to the base of St Michael’s Mount, but there is also a castle there. Really lovely place to visit and we walked one way and got the boat back because the tide had come in (lots of people waded until the water was really quite deep, it’s amazing what Brits will do to save £1.50!).
-Roskilly’s Farm. They make famous Cornish ice cream – and it is very nice. This is where they actually make the ice cream and it was about a 10 minute walk from where we were staying. A really pleasant place to visit and you can have lunch there and eat ice cream and about 4.30pm watch the cows being milked etc.
-Around the Lizard generally – Coverack is lovely and has a really pretty harbour where we sat and ate fish and chips and ate more ice cream. Driving through Goonhilly Downs was sort of mesmerising because it is really flat land and there are massive satellite dishes on them and wind turbines where most of the UK’s communications are processed. That probably doesn’t sound interesting at all but there was something really impressive about it. There were also other small harbours that we walked to that were just so peaceful and you could just look out to the sea and watch the waves.
-The Lost Gardens of Heligan. These were the precursor to the Eden Project. These gardens were much more impressive and beautiful and also a lot cheaper to visit. I’d really like to go there again, I wouldn’t say the same of the Eden Project.
-Fowey. Another nice little town and the home of Daphne du Maurier. A nice place and set in a lovely bay. We didn’t get to spend much time there, but what I saw of it I liked.
-Jamaica Inn. This is on Bodmin Moor and we stopped there on the drive home as I had read the book, Jamaica Inn, while we were away, which is a du Maurier book of an entirely fictional story set at the inn. It is basically a somewhat touristy spot and is basically a pub, hotel and a gift shop, but there was something nice about stopping there and trying to imagine the story unfolding – and for somewhat of a tourist trap it wasn’t actually a rip off to eat there etc.

Cornwall is such a great place to visit and hopefully some photos will help to convey that a bit. It was just such a relaxing time, visiting beautiful places and soaking it all in. We did lots but also found loads of time to read and just not do very much at all. We both enjoyed every part of it (despite being perplexed by the Eden Project, but we did basically get in for free so we’re not complaining). Lovely place, friendly people, beautiful sites and a slow pace of life. Marvellous.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Checking Out

Today will be my last day in the office for a week. What joy! There has been a distinct lack of preparation for our holiday, but I have packed the Ark building kit just in case. I know how to prioritise. I did, however, discover yesterday that we Brits have been misusing the term ‘monsoon’ of late, which actually refers to a wind (and in a specific geographical location), not rain.

Anyway, so tomorrow, we set off for a very welcome break in Cornwall. We have the Eden Project tickets and an idea of other potential activities, plus I have a stack of books to take with me. I probably won’t read many of them, but I can’t cope without having a selection of books to hand.

Rightio people, I’ll be gone for a week, so I’ll see you when I get back. Then I’ll wow you with tales of listening to talking books, the variety of drinks I put in my flask and how many steps I walked each day. I am sure you can hardly wait.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


There are certain aspects of our lives that we might assume we never have to question. We get up in the morning and get washed and dressed, which (for most) includes putting on underwear. It’s one of those things that you just do and then hopefully forget about for the rest of the day. So imagine your surprise when during the course of the day you find your bra is vibrating. Initially you ignore it thinking it might be your mobile phone (doesn’t that give you a whole load of new ideas about where you could store your phone if you don’t want to carry a handbag…), but then you decide this needs further investigation, at which point you find a small bat inside your bra. I imagine that would be quite unexpected for most people – and you also probably never would have expected the BBC to publish your bra size on the internet (which was of course an entirely necessary level of detail). At least it wasn’t a spider, which *clearly* would have been much worse.

But how do you actually end up with a bat in your bra? Seemingly drying your bra on the washing line is more risky than we realised. Also is a bat so small that it wouldn’t cross your mind that you look slightly deformed in certain areas of your personage? Well clearly not. I’m sure there is much mileage for inappropriate jokes, but I’m not that sort of girl*.

Just to add to the concerns you probably already have about me based on the details in yesterday’s post about some of the plans for my holiday, G has already given me two of my birthday presents. G is one of those people who is rubbish at keeping a surprise secret, but actually in this instance, I have been given them already as they will be useful for our holiday. The first present is a wind up torch. I have wanted one of those for years and so that is a great present. The second is a pedometer. It’s not just one of those ones with a pea like thing in it that basically measures every slight movement – which could just be you shaking the pedometer up and down to increase your number of steps. Instead this one is meant to take three different measurements and so only counts actual steps and be very accurate (although I think that it slightly undercounts sometimes). You’re meant to do about 10,000 steps a day and since I have had it, it seems that I am doing at least 12,500 steps a day, which is pretty good. I think G is fearful that I will be insisting we walk lots while we are away, which might have some truth in it… What’s the point in having these things if you don’t make use of them is what I say. Well, I’m going to have a fun holiday anyway, even if it means dragging G along behind me.

Oh and last night I went to another radio broadcast. It was called Miranda Hart’s Joke Shop and was quite funny. It will be on Radio 2 at the end of August. Anyway, it was at the BBC Radio Theatre at the top of Regent’s Street. I have now discovered that you should never try and exit Oxford Circus tube station during the evening rush hour in torrential rain. At some exits there seemed to be a standoff between the people trying to exit the station and the people trying to get in. We found another exit and went out that way with a lot less trouble. But trying to get past all the people trying to get into the station was practically impossible and there was just gridlock. As this was keeping from eating food in advance of the recording I valiantly fought my way through, but it was quite some task. Think oxford Street at Christmas with added rain and then double it and you might have some idea of how many people were in trying to get into the station.

On the way home things were somewhat calmer, but when I changed trains I was writing for the train to depart and a female member of staff said to a couple of lads who walked past her “have a safe journey home”. They then boarded the train, but a few seconds later one of them stuck his head out of the carriage and asked her if she wanted to go for a drink sometime. She declined saying she was much too old for him. Potential romance on the tube. How lovely.

*Actually I am that sort of girl but one likes to maintain at least a vaguely respectable public persona.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


What has happened to the weather this week? This does not bode well for a holiday in Cornwall next week. On Saturday it is going to take over six hours to drive there and so I am hoping that the weather will have cleared up a bit. I was talking to a friend about the forthcoming trip and said that we have a talking book to listen to on the way there. I do think that sometimes G and I seem like we must be about 85 years old. We might even have a flask with us. I’m also taking some Tupperware in case we want to take sandwiches with us on any of our days out. I know... I know...

I was sitting at my desk yesterday and my slightly stalkerish colleague came over and deposited a biscuit on my desk (carried in his clammy hand...). I thanked him and ate it. Later on he came over again, this time with a plate of biscuits. Before he even offered me one, I said no thanks. He said “oh yes, you’re on a diet”. I looked at him questioningly and said “I’m not on a diet”. He kind of looked me up and down and went to say something and I just said rather sternly “Do not go there - or I will punch you*”. He promptly wandered off with his plate of biscuits. Remarkably effective.

*Just to clarify, I wouldn’t actually have punched him**. I have ‘people’ to do that sort of thing. Obviously.

** Possibly still have a few anger issues going on there though...

Monday, July 07, 2008


Another weekend over and I’m now on the final countdown to going on holiday. Not a moment too soon.

It was quite a nice weekend. Friday night I met G’s (now ex) work colleagues. I have to say that I really disliked one of G’s managers, which is partly because she is a bully and I knew this in advance, but also because I found her to be a thoroughly unpleasant person anyway. I think a great cloud has been lifted from G’s shoulders to be starting a new job today.

One of G’s friends stayed over on Friday night and then was about most of the day on Saturday as well, which was very pleasant and an excuse to east scones and cakes and drink tea. After he’d gone we watched the film Crash, which for the first hour or so I found incredibly depressing and violent, but then the rest of it, whilst still quite depressing and violent put a totally different spin on things and turned out to be a really good film – about how things are not totally black and white and good people do bad things and bad people do good things and how we might object to how people treat us but then we might well end up doing exactly the same to others. Really interesting film and quite challenging.

On Sunday I commented to G that there is no set size for a football pitch and G just did not believe this (that’s what comes of watching Scottish football I guess) and so I had to go and prove this. Am I ever wrong? Well I think it may have happened once, but I don’t recall the detail of it now… Anyway this was not that instance, as you can see here. Never doubt me…

However the big news of the weekend is that the lovely Tom Foolery has given me with an Arte Y Pico Award, which was a very pleasant surprise. I now have a standard to maintain it seems (I know it might come as a surprise that there is any rhyme or reason to this blog, but if you dig hard enough you might find it. Somewhere). Thanks TF. Much appreciated.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Taking Part

The last few days a real tiredness has descended on me, which also seems to have made me feel a bit down. Anyway, yesterday was a day to lift my spirits, despite what might come into your mind when the words “work away day” are mentioned.

Whilst we sort of do the corporate thing, we usually spend the first half of the day doing something that is a bit of a laugh – and we don’t have to evaluate team building skills or say what we learnt from it etc, we just do it for the fun of it. This year, as we did last year, we had to make our way across London by following a set of clues, but also had to protect an item – that being a bear.

It has to be said that my team didn’t take it too seriously. We made reasonable progress to start with but, due to being misled by someone, decided we were so far off the pace that we might as well accept "it’s the taking part that counts”. So we just pottered around London and got to each of the places and did everything we were meant to do and stopped for a leisurely drink and just generally enjoyed the morning. We came in last time-wise, but it didn’t really matter because it wasn’t timed, as each team was going to the points in a different order and one was always going to get to the final point quickest because there’s was the most direct route, whereas we started almost at the end point and then headed further and further away. We also had to answer various very obscure questions and collect some items and I think there were other things that meant we scored points. Anyway, as it turned out, somehow the team I was in won. This was somewhat of a surprise, as we were really rubbish, so my personal theory is that one of my team mates slept with one of the judges, but it’s probably best not to look into that too much and just accept the victory.

I wouldn’t actually have been bothered if we had lost, as I still think there must have been something very dodgy about the scoring for us to win, but it was just such an enjoyable day and I work with really nice people as well so it put me in a really good mood (despite being in a bit of pain still now after slipping over at one point in the morning and hurting my hand and arm).

Anyway, I have a reasonably busy weekend ahead which starts with G’s leaving drinks tonight and a friend staying over at mine after that. Then various other activities planned for the rest of the weekend. Only one week to get and then I’m on holiday. Hooray!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Perhaps it's time I had a holiday...

There were two articles on the BBC this week that have slightly riled me – or technically the comments have. First was one on the switch to energy saving light bulbs and how some people are stockpiling them. Basically most of the comments are from people who are affronted by the government’s plan to phase out ‘standard’ light bulbs (incandescents), in fact they are incandescent about it. *laughs hysterically* Gosh I am on good form today… Anyway… I have to say that I am not entirely enamoured by being forced to do things in this sort of way, but I also think that there is an element where as a nation we can be incredibly wasteful and somehow think that we have a right to waste resources and that as long as “we’re not harming anyone else” it’s no-one else’s business. But I think that can be an incredibly selfish attitude and that in years to come we will face the consequences of having no concern over the way we have used and wasted resources.

I accept that there might be medical reasons why low energy bulbs are not right for everyone, but most of the people who commented seem to have made up their minds a long time ago and haven’t actually considered that technology has moved on. Let’s look at some examples:

“I will resist these energy bulbs for as long as possible […] because I have just bought a beautiful light fitting that would look terrible with these bulbs”

I know that some don’t look very nice, but you can now get low energy bulbs that look like normal light bulbs. You don’t have to get the ones that look like a coiled tube.


“Something I didn't see mentioned in your article, is what about those of us with dimmers? I have one in each of the bedrooms; I don't always want full brightness, especially when I am getting up in the mornings or winding down for sleep. Why should I be made to remove these switches in order to use CFLs?”

Well you can buy low energy bulbs that are designed for dimmer switches. In fact I have one in my living room. It works on both dimmer switches or if you have a normal switch you can actually use that to dim it as well.


“Low energy bulbs do not, in any case, save as much energy as claimed. This is because unlike conventional bulbs they produce very little heat. Therefore in a house using low energy bulbs the central heating system will have to work harder to make up the difference.”

Oh come on… Let’s just apply a few pieces of logic to this one. Does using a normal incandescent bulb mean that I can get away without putting my heating on so much or as hot? I think not. Also heat rises, so even if it does give off heat surely it all goes upwards to my ceiling. Finally, since I installed energy saving light bulbs etc my power bill has gone down by over £20 per month (I get all my power from the same company so that takes into account both lighting and heating). Using energy saving bulbs has made a marked difference.

Right, the next article was on councils stealing street furniture e.g. removing Victorian street lights and replacing them with a rather less aesthetically pleasing equivalent. I do have a lot of sympathy for people who are aghast at this and imagine it is particularly galling where the council moves the street light to a ‘conservation area’ elsewhere. I have never contacted my council about this sort of issue but everything else I have spoken to them about, I have found them to be really helpful – both council workers and local councillors. People who work for councils tend to be ordinary people (I mean that in a nice way!). They could be your next door neighbour or the person you sit next to on the tube – and very possibly often live in the same area as you are affected by the same issues. They are not just faceless bureaucracies, even though it might feel like that sometimes.

Anyway this comment riled me:

“The council have no right to go against the wishes of residents, they are servants of the people, not rulers of the people. Every major change should be discussed with all effected residents, and if it is not, then its a clear breach of democracy. But then again when did democracy ever work? Politicians rarely ask the people what they want.”

That is a very purist view of democracy and simply not one that can work in a modern age. We vote for representatives and they then have the challenge of representing all their constituents’ views - those who did and didn’t vote for them. Where you have any sizeable number of people, you will have a range of opinions and sometimes it is not possible to please everyone. Councils do often consult people and they often write to people when planning permission applications come in (or mine does anyway). The alternative is this:

Dear Mrs Smith

Thank you for your recent application to have an extension built on your property. We have to get a view from all local people to make a decision on this, as representative democracy is no longer acceptable. We have checked our records and given the number of issues already pending – from changing the time the rubbish truck starts its route each day to property extensions to deciding the budget to be spent on social services, the referendum on your case will be held in June 2011. Fortunately this will give you time to save up the £20,000 it will cost to run the referendum. However we must receive a 50% deposit within 28 days in order to secure your slot.

Yours sincerely

Your local council “We’re listening”

Democracy certainly has its failures but it could be much worse…

Anyway, you’ll be pleased to learn that by me ranting here, it stops me from taking it out on my fellow tube passengers. Don’t even get me started on that man who drank his can of Diet Coke on the tube yesterday and then when he had finished put his empty can on the floor in front of me for someone else to throw away. There are bins in most tube stations now! Throw away your own rubbish!


Have a good day all...

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Power of Advertising

In internet terms this is probably old news, but last week I was reading about a Heinz advert that has been withdrawn in the UK. I think some people have said it has been banned but as far as I know Heinz decided to withdraw it due to some complaints, which isn’t actually the same thing. I’m not defending their actions, just trying to be factually correct. Anyway, here’s the advert:

So the advert was withdrawn for showing a gay kiss. Right… well despite withdrawing an advert because people are bigots, I still think I am missing the point here. Is that a gay kiss? I know two men kiss each other but isn’t that because the point of the advert is that the Heinz product is so fantastic that the boy’s mum ‘turns into’ a New York deli guy? That’s the humour in it and people saying it’s a gay kiss are surely just a bit dense (as well as bigoted obviously). Perhaps Heinz was a bit too clever for its own good.

However, there is an advert I loathe and makes me want to avoid their product altogether – and that is Tiscali.

I just hate the entire concept behind that advert and cannot understand why anyone would think that was a good way to sell a product. Despite what it says in the advert, don’t give them a call. Well obviously you can if you want to, what with it being a free country and all that, but I’d really rather you didn’t.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Poetic Justice

Biscuits are a subject close to my heart. In fact, now I think about it, I mentioned a biscuit quote from a book yesterday. Anyway, someone I work with got back from holiday yesterday and brought some really nice biscuits for us. Where we work, there are various people nearby who we don’t necessarily know but they use the same facilities/ meeting rooms etc. They kind of camp out at some spare desks. One of those people, walked past and helped himself to the biscuits, as he went into the meeting room near where we sit. I glanced at him and he said “oh… I thought they were for everyone…” and I just said he was cheeky. He did think about putting the biscuit back, but I said he’d better eat it. But come on, surely you can’t help yourself to other people’s biscuits. If they’re left over from a work meeting, fair enough, but when they’re obviously from someone’s holiday, surely they can’t be deemed to be for everyone? Surely you can’t just help yourself. As it turned out, he hadn’t booked the meeting room and got kicked out of it a few minutes later, which I felt to be poetic justice.

G stayed over on Sunday night and just as we are falling asleep said to me “This is a bit of a morbid though to end the day on but I guess one of the advantages of being single is that you’ll never wake up in the morning to find someone dead in bed next to you. It is a risk when you’re in a relationship”. Yes… that’s true… we did talk about this for a few minutes and then we both fell asleep – and both made it through the night alive. Last night I quizzed G about this a bit more in case it was an indication of a) a desire to be single or b) a plan to murder me during the night. Apparently it was neither, but G seemed a little uncertain as to whether it would be preferable to be single or for me to dead – I’m not sure why it was always me who seemed to be the deceased in the conversation – and G said “well I’d get over it in the end, whichever it was” to which I explained that in the circumstances for me I thought being single would be preferable, as my death seemed somewhat difficult to come back from. G eventually conceded the point. I think.