Tag Archives: stuff

mobile phones and boring people

Why is it that the mobile phone culture dictates that a person’s volume on their phone is in inverse proportion to the substance of their conversation?

Riding home from London on the train last night I was joined by a fellow businessman, but a complete stranger. His papers identified him as working for a company that I know well and he spend much of the journey making and receiving calls, but I heard probably less that 30 words over about the same number of minutes of talk time despite the fact that we were sat so close. A shame in some ways because, being in an industry where I frequently earn my keep I might have picked up something useful.

Three or four rows in front and behind were a man and a woman who were both so loud that every word rang out through the carriage, and boy were they inane. Having seen them both neither looked like a gormless moron, but they both sounded that way. Do these people think that a lack of decent conversation skills can be overcome by shouting?

Oh, the joys of train travel.

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wiltshire wildlife june 2011

The local Sparrow and Starling youngsters are going through 5 or 6 fat balls a day at the moment. The Starlings are just starting to show signs of transition from juvenile feathers to the adult plumage and are feeding themselves, but the Sparrow young still, mostly, need to be fed.

Despite reports of a decline in Sparrows in recent years we have a good crop and can often have as many as 20 flitting around with their complex air traffic control stacking them for a turn on the feeder.

Fortunately we’ve had no sightings of the larger birds of prey that turned up towards the end of last year, but the Pigeons, Gulls and Crows still have spats amongst themselves, uniting against the Magpies and the Heron.

Samantha Squirrel was last seen in August and so we think that she has gone to that drey in the sky. She would have been at least 6 and had been through some hard times. A strange thing though; it was four summers ago that she moved herself and her two babies into our loft and we had to evict them in fear that they would chew up wiring with the attendant risks to them and us. Twice in the last few months an adult squirrel has come down our path, run unerringly up the cherry tree to the corner of the house where Samantha made an entry, looked around and then run back down the tree and left, ignoring the adjacent bird feeder. Could this have been one (or  both) of Samantha’s offspring, following some memory of a previous home? Maybe I’m just being wishful, but why would a squirrel just turn up, check that location and leave?

This is the fourth year that we have not had a fox take up temporary residence under our deck. Having been a regular maternity ward for several years we had enjoyed the spectacle of the youngsters play fighting in the afternoon sun, even if we did not like some of their, shall we say, personal habits.


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the end of tennis as I knew it

I’ve read in the paper’s over the last few days about it being 30 years since a certain loud mouthed brat made his mark at Wimbledon, and almost in some way celebrating those events.

For me I can only mourn the passing of a game that I used to enjoy watching. J P McE may have made the game more exciting for some, but his blatant gamesmanship in producing those stage managed tantrums was a turn off and so I did. I’ve only watched part of one Wimbledon event since (some awfully piggy faced woman was making equally piggy grunts every time she hit the ball) and that was because I was a guest in the house; I would not have watched from choice.

The Brat should have been thrown out when he failed to heed the warning and told to come back when he could get on with the game. Instead they reduced tennis to the level of professional wrestling.

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at last, arise Sir Bruce!

It’s long overdue, but at last Bruce Forsyth has got his knighthood, so the disappointment that I didn’t get mine (one in the family ought to be enough) is offset by the joy the Bruce has his, long overdue, reward for goodness knows how many years of entertaining us.

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a seminal moment, 50 years on

The news that the Soviet Union had put a man into space, and then that they had got him back again, was somewhat awesome to me as a youngster. One of us, up there. It may have been at a troubled time for the world of the cold war era, and Yuri Gagarin might have been on the other side, but he became an instant hero to me.

Fifty years on I still hold his memory in high regard. Is space research a waste of time as some would have us believe? No to me; pushing boundaries is one of the things that life is all about, and to be the first to go where someone has not gone before is a special thing.

Still one of my heroes, Yuri Gagarin got there first, and he will not be forgotten.

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No more RingGo at Swindon! FGW you are wrong

I hear that First Great Western and APCOA are ceasing the RingGo service at Swindon (and other) station car parks any day now.

This is a stupid move and I am supporting the campaign to have the decision reversed. If you are with me click on this link to make your protest heard.

Car park machines are a nightmare at somewhere like a railway station. You either need a mountain of change or, if they have a credit card operated one, the patience of a saint as they rarely work. RingGo makes life easy with a simple phone call and, when its a business trip, I can log on later and get a VAT receipt.

All stress free and one of the main reasons why I have started to use the train much more over the last year or so. I want my RingGo back!

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letters to the editor – mobile phone technology


I try not to use my mobile, or cell as my US friends call it, phone too much. After all, I am not a servant to be summoned by the ringing of a bell, and my mobile phone appears to be fitted with some sort of proximity detector that always ensures that it will ring when I am about to do something important.

For example it will often ring just as I get to the till to pay for something, or at another extremely inconvenient (or in convenience) moment when I have my hands otherwise occupied.

Surely if they can fit phones with such a device to make them ring at these times, then the same device could be made to stop them ringing until such moments have passed?

Until then I will have to carry on turning it off and back on again myself.

I think that we should be told.

Yours faithfully

Harassed of Hamilton

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a trouble shared is a trouble halved – not in my book

It is an old saying that a trouble shared is a trouble halved, and I understand the sentiment. Sure, if the person that you share your trouble with can help, then maybe it does make things much better.

But, even as the optimist that I am, for most of my life I’ve found that telling a trouble will double it to start with because someone else knows. And if you can’t rely on them to keep it to themselves then your trouble will multiply at an horrific rate.

I’m a great believer in the self help route because it has always worked better for me over my, nearly 60, years on this planet (and several hundred on a different planet if you believe some people!). It has worked much better for me that on the times that I have shared a problem.

So what prompted this thread? I’m keeping that to myself.

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Unleashing the inner poet

The Berkshire Belle and I have been together for many years now. Twenty one in fact, if my maths are right, and this for what some who knew us said would be a six week wonder.

Maybe you do try harder the second time around, as it is for us two, but somewhere early on in our time together I decided I would do the twelve days of Christmas backwards. Starting on the 13th December I would produce a card and/or a gift on each day as we ran up the the 25th.

That evolved into a card with a short rhyme (I hesitate to call them poetry) and, apart from one year when things at work were really grim, I was working away and I forgot the 13th (you only have to miss one to screw things up) I’ve done it every year since.

Unless I am going to be away I don’t write them in advance. I’ve tried and it doesn’t work for me. Normally I write them in the half hour before I go to bed and, somehow, something will flow from my heart to my hand, through my pen and onto the card.

Some are nonsense, some are topical (I was always inspired by the calypso), some try to copy the style of something well known and now and again I come up with an epic.

The common thread is that they are written with love. Some come on guys, you don’t have to copy my idea of the 12 days, but why not buy your lady a card that’s blank inside and just write her something to say how much she means to you?



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I say No Thanks to Berlin Time.

I have been reading of Rebecca Harris MP (Conservative, Castle Point) and her private member’s bill proposal to have the UK switch to Central European Time, or Berlin Time as some folks would have it, presumably to raise the spectre of Johnny Foreigner, here in the form of the Hun, taking over the country.

Xenophobia aside, for me this is plainly ridiculous and I see no point in it whatsoever. Yes it just shifts the day, but I go to work in the dark for a lot of the year anyway; I’m an early riser. Lighter evenings would result and that would be pleasant and no more, but the hard facts that are being touted are largely untrue: Last time we tried this road deaths went up, not down.

Ms Harris may be sincere, but I believe that she is misguided. Surely she could have found something more sensible to spend a private members bill on? Or has she just picked something controversial to make a name for herself?

Join me in lobbying against this daft idea. There are plenty of websites and polls opposing it.

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