Thursday, 31 August 2017

Home from Home

I have been scrambling about under the furniture, searching the sofa and counting the pennies in the cider jar trying to put together sufficient money for a deposit on a house.  So far I have £32:23 pence and a one Shekel coin!  I am unsure this will be sufficient.
The thing is the man downstairs is moving out  After ten years or more of little contact (we fell out quite easily years ago) he has scraped together money enough to buy something somewhere.  This was helped by bumping off a relative quite recently and obtaining a good amount to enable the purchase.  I hope all goes well for him but I hope more for a decent newcomer into the building and not a couple of loud young folks pretending they are married, that always leads to noise, argument and the rest.  

The local rag tells us the average cost of a home around here is now £293, 251.  They also helpfully inform those willing to pay such an amount what they will need to earn thus:  "Braintree, hourly wage £19.13, weekly wage £717.38, yearly salary £37,303.50." That's £19 an hour!  OK, you take along a girl friend and ensure she is working but you still require £10 an hour and to also ensure you can keep your job.  Sickness, unemployment, pregnancy and other unfortunate events will surely hinder the income somewhat and we have not mentioned food, bills or life itself yet.  
Just how do people manage to buy?

This all goes back to the vile Thatcher, the woman who sold off all the council houses as well as most of everything else and forced the nation to rent expensively or pay through the nose for accommodation they could not afford.  This led to the inevitable as people sold when prices rose, moved into more expensive homes and when the economy collapsed they were out on their ear and called scroungers by the Tories.  
Harold MacMillan, a Tory who understood deprivation, was responsible for creating three million homes in the aftermath of war, he watched as she sold them off and began another era of deprivation.
The daughter of Thatcher, one George Osborne, a man deprived of her intellect which tells us something, knew how to make personal money and took her policies to their logical conclusion by ceasing to spend on public requirements, privatising them all and cutting aid to those who need it.  Under he and his toff pal David Cameron the number of food banks operating at life's bottom end rose from a mere 66 to well over a thousand and it is still rising!  What is worse is that the working poor are making use of them not just the benefit scrounger (@Daily Mail).

Two things strike me as interesting here, one is the fact that in this county our area is the cheapest!  You require more, much more, to buy elsewhere in the county up to almost £49 an hour in the dearest areas.  Where do they get the cash? 
Now obviously nearer London the Rock guitarists, actors, and celebs you wish to avoid can splash out on mock Tudor mansions costing a million or two, those laundering money from abroad may wish to remain near the airport and others come from money dating back to the days of the wool trade and know how to fiddle the books in a manner unknown to those of us from North Edinburgh. Even so the number of ancient houses once the lodge of farm labourers that are priced at around half a million is enormous and folks gazzump to by!  
I see little opportunity to obtain one of the houses I have eyed up recently and I have put my name on the local Housing register in case something happens with my landlord, decent though he is his age is in the 80's depending on who you speak to and what may happen we know not.  A brief glance at the available properties on offer show none in this town and all with many people ahead of me in the queue.  
What I require is my sister to keep buying those lottery tickets, win a fortune and pass some on to me.  This was a hope for a while now dashed as she now puts the lottery money on the mantelpiece and saves it!  The good Lord will however look after me and I have had 21 years of relative peacefulness in this place.  It has been a vast improvement on London and I trust him to lead me on. That said Brexit will lead to much deprivation in the land and this place will soon be a palace in comparison to those losing their homes and filling cheap boarding houses.  I have been fortunate so far, have you?  

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Museum Day

Lots of kids.
Rush here, rush there.
Lots of kids.
Rush here.
Rush there again.
Talk, talk, talk....
Phone calls.
Last week of school holidays.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Holiday Monday

Morning arrived quite early today as it often does.  The early sun inspired me so much that long before eight I was engaged in exercising my knees to a painful level.  The stretching ensured that I had therefore to sit and ache for a while before stuffing myself with peanut butter covered brown (organic) bread before realising this was not the best option.

In an effort to avoid stiffening up I went for a walk down the hill.  Here stand houses dating back to the 13 -1400s.  This one stands close to a similar effort that forms the back end of a house on the corner.  I suspect that these once served workers from the nearby fields or possibly in the many weaver connected trades that flourished down this street.  I also suspect that once these had thatched roofs and were not so dainty as they now appear.  I suspect also they cost less that the vast price they go for today.  
Street Details

Essex houses, made of timber and plaster, often have patterns such as this on the walls sometimes covering the entire wall.  Whether the design has any significance I cannot say having found no information of the houses I pictured.  How long they have been there is also hard to tell.  These building go back several hundred years and have found many uses, Inns, weavers, dyers, various cloth trades (the 'Bays and Says' of the Flanders folk who worked here in the past were famous. No one receiving these goods checked them as they knew they would be correct and they would not be cheated.) and of course one pub remains but the shops have gone with the weavers and their cloth.

This fellow and his mate has been gracing the doorway off 'Wentworth House' since the 17th century but the house itself probably began back in the 1400s.  Over the years, as with all the others, it has spread from a mere hall, added rooms, workrooms and then another storey on top and until quite recently was in a mess.  Restoration has given someone an expensive but historical work of art.  

The smaller houses go back a bit also, these have interesting but not always genuine ancient items upon them.  Genuine in age maybe but possibly in some cases recovered from elsewhere.  This is one of three in a row, well decorated, brightly painted and costing a small fortune with a very busy main road outside the window.  Why do people buy there?

My limbs told me to head homeward so I eased my eyes by bathing them in greenery by the river.  This is a well kept spot but someone had chucked some files away at one place.  I was tempted, not to greatly, to jump in and seek my fortune but managed not to.  

Someone has been tending these trees for many years but I know not who.  This was merely a place for the river to overflow (sorry Texas) and now contains recent housing costing just under half a million.  I am sure they all have a  stock of sandbags at the rear nowadays.  

The reflection makes this picture a bit abstract and it takes some looking to understand it.  Lovely and quiet today, no kids yelling, no couples groping, no passers-by,  just the birds and the slow flowing river.  Flowing so slow I thought it had stopped.  Recently there has been a plan to put a number of (expensive) houses across the other side.  This has caused upset and will certainly spoil this walk and the view over the other side.  Money however speaks volumes!

This is what happens when thistles explode!  So be careful when passing them.

Having exercised, walked, eaten and slept I now sit here aching all over wondering why I bothered!  Tomorrow it is museum day and the last week of the holidays.  I expect thousands will come in tomorrow and many mums begin to long for the peace and quiet next week.  I will be longing for it also by lunchtime!

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Nothing Happened

All day Saturday nothing happened again.
I mean I bought bread and cheap soggy fruit but that's not exciting is it?
So I sat in the park and awaited six O'clock so I could watch the rerun of the football.
Nothing happened in the park.
Not a thing.
The weekend holiday may have taken many away, it may be their shopping was done, it may be nothing was happening but nothing happened.
And my dinner was lousy...

So I mused.
Why, thought I, why has Donald Trump not been shot yet?
He lives in the USA where thousand shave already been gunned down, many fatally, so why has this notorious man not been shot?  The population of the USA contains more headbangers per square in than anywhere else on earth and all are armed to the teeth so how come no-one has tried this yet?
I can understand normal enemies not killing him, you know, North Korea, Russia, China etc, as he is doing more for them being alive than he would dead.  It is well known that British intelligence had been working on ways to kill Adolf Hitler when it was realised it was better to keep him alive as he was as his decisions were working in the allies favour.  So also with Trump.
But surely there is one nutter there who might try?

Books: I thought of a book that might benefit another and ordered it!  I think I have become obsessed!  At one point today I accidentally found myself in a charity shop looking at books.  'Go home' said a voice in my head but my feet remained there until I had searched all shelves.  That reminds me I must look up Amazon to see if they ha...

Worryingly the first sign of Autumn has been sighted, in that there tree.  The leaves are losing their colour and beginning to fall.  Certainly it gets darker earlier, though the clouds don't help, and already people whisper the 'Christmas' word to much chagrin all around.
Did summer happen this year?  I suppose it happened like it always did but I may have been sitting in here watching football that day.

I asked Bert here how things were going, and he was going before he bothered answering. Tsk!

Friday, 25 August 2017

Friday: Bank Holiday

Being a bank holiday the population has rushed to get away from it all and found it all at the railway and bus stations, on the motorways and in all the holiday 'get away from it all' hotspots.  Naturally road and rail works begin at this time as once the rush is over less people travel.  Quite why more people do not leave on Thursday and return Tuesday I know not as most can make such arrangements.  
Once I entered Kings Cross station for the eight O' clock train for Waverley and found myself amongst half the population. This was in the eighties and before the Conservatives had managed to mess up the railways and increase prices while giving profits to their friends in foreign countries and the crowd enabled the railways to put on another service.  A porter announced the 'other train' on a far platform and a mad rush ensued.  I remained where I was (near the front) and obtained a seat on my train.  However I was soon crushed in alongside others with people standing all the way to Edinburgh!  I was unable to get out until we reached the destination and while standing in Newcastle the 'other train' arrived alongside.  It was clear there also the crowds were standing all the way along!  Even losing folks at Newcastle did not make much difference that day.  I ensured I never went anywhere on a bank holiday again.
Of course I cannot go anywhere this Monday Holiday as there will be no transport.  Buses are hard enough to find and the Tories have cut another one this week, Sunday Service on the buses means no service here.

The talk re books has forced me to send off for two second hand ones via Amazon.  Not that I need them, I just need to buy them!!!!  I also feel I must wander around the charity shops, on a Saturday, to check the books.  On top of this I found myself searching my books for one to browse and here it is beside me.  This is a good example of why never to dump books, unless they deserve it.
Since writing began in Sumer some three and a half thousand years BC there must have been millions of words written.  For much of that time most could not read but in the last two hundred years reading and writing has been a worldwide activity.  The availability of books or reading material through cost often being the only hindrance but even in such circumstances books, magazines and papers do get passed around.  The problem being only the type of writing being read.
The bible was and is still often banned as it enabled people to think free, governments and wrongdoers hate that.  Politics has banned many books that oppose the emperor whoever he may be and as we have seen the influence of newspapers can give a referendum a bad name.  People are lazy and prefer to be told how to think and tabloid media know this and too many follow their lead so they can live an easy life.  That does not work!
Read uplifting, refreshing, entertaining and thoughtful good things to change your world and the word around you.  Hmmm, maybe I ought to write another book ...?   Jenny, Mike, here is your chance to advertise!

One of the local papers has published a list of items referring to Essex towns in something called the 'Urban Dictionary' whatever that is.  We are listed thus:-

 9. Braintree
"Where the true G's r from innit.
"Braintree U.K u gotta visit it's the place 2 b 2005 true ghetto visit Braintree n ur a true G [sic]."

I have absolutely no idea what they are talking about!  Other Essex town are listed and in my limited experience of them limited correctly here:- 14 Towns.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Shut Up!!!!

Another day another chance to milk it for the Royal benefit scroungers.  How they suffer!  Sure losing a parent who was good to you is bad especially when you are young.  Sure the workings of the royal house can be unbearable to one and all at that age.  Sure it was a tough time but it is tough for those of us who find another days news full of your tale of woe.
We had this a week or two ago when ITV offered a pastiche of their pain, although they treated their father (at least Williams father) badly.  Now the BBC is advertising their version of this much used tale that is showing on Sunday night.  This time Charles gets a mention in passing.
The trouble of course was the need for an heir.
Charles wanted Camilla and the house considered her too old for kids, or maybe she had them by another by then.  So it was choose a floozy and they chose a dumb one.  Quite what they saw in Diana, a 19 year old with the intellect of a meal worm, is not clear.  Young, attractive, and they thought pliable so he was forced to have her, and she jumped at the fame opportunity.  Two kids, one with red hair, and then dumped.  Did she expect less?  She never loved him, he never loved her.  There was no place of contact between an intelligent thinking man with a sense of royal responsibilities and a girl who read '19' Magazine.  How did anyone consider this was going to work?

Now years on someone is making money out of this disaster.  How much better if Charles had got his way and married a woman he loved and who cared for him?  Instead we find the women who lived their lives through Diana in tears because she has gone and their lives are broken again.  These women understood nothing of Diana, nothing of her life and read into it their own to no effect.  This has been fed by the grasping media who have enriched themselves with the Diana cult and keep feeding it whenever they wish.  I expect pull out sections abundant at the weekend with yet more of the same old stories and old pictures and older half truths once again.
Like Charles poor Diana chose badly, both mismanaged the situation and her untimely death has not healed matters.  The royal management led to this, the family, the backroom advisers, the people themselves.  Charles at least has Camilla, William his wife whom the media wish to make Diana two, and Harry is desperate to get his leg over somewhere, even to the lengths of a dubious American lassie. 
This saga ought to be closed down but it will continue for years to come so please boys keep your emotions to yourselves and shut up!

Monday, 21 August 2017

Old Pictures

I have not been travelling around much this year and this disappoints me greatly.  Either my knees or my health or the weather have hindered me.  This in spite of strenuous efforts at exercise that have left me in more aches and pains than before, I'm told this is a good sign...hmmm.
However I looked at some old pictures and thought these were not bad, probably because they have been hidden for a while.  These books still line my dusty shelves and most of them have either been read or made use of in previous studies.  Greek tragedies are to me not something to get me excited even when a brief understanding of the background is clear, drama is not my thing.  Aristophanes is good however, he is the satirist and a very good one even through translation.  Bare faced cheek towards Sophocles is abundant in some of his works, well worth reading.  
Josephus 'Jewish War' written to help the Romans understand that strange people they had just crushed is also worth reading.  In spite of his abundant lack of humility Josephus is a good read and historians claim it is reliable, though exaggerated in places.
Some of those books have been sitting on the shelves for over twenty five years, one or two of those considerably longer, yet I cannot see myself letting them go to a good home, even the tragic Greeks would leave a gap.  Isn't it funny how some books must be kept, just in case, while others of less worth, trashy novels, can be dumped easily?  
Books are a must, they are always useful!

Many moons have passed since I took this early morning shot.  I suspect that as the year turns and the nights draw in I may get more chance to find such sunlight at the bottom of the empty car park!  While the US can spot an eclipse I can just as easily spot threatening rain filled clouds passing by ensuring I cannot see the sun much more efficiently than any eclipse can manage.  

This postbox has been collecting letters since the reign of King George V who reigned from 1910 - 1936.  I suspect this came nearer the end of his reign and that he neither made use of it nor knew of it's existence.  When employed at that job I have had occasion to empty the contents, not very exciting I must say, and at least there were no nasty surprises found therein as there have been on other occasions.  
Famously imperialist English arrogance placed a brand new pillar box in the new housing estate in Edinburgh after the war bearing the legend QRII.  This of course refers to the newish queen who got her well paid job in 1953.  However as the Royal Mail imperialist soon discovered there had not been a Queen Elizabeth in Scotland before so the legend 'II' had to go.  This was emphasised in those non terrorist days by a Scots hero placing a small piece of gelignite into said post box in a safe manner and destroying the offensive item.  Boxes, Royal Mail vans and other apparatus since that period are now bearers of QR and no longer the offensive QRII.


Thursday, 17 August 2017


Yesterday morn I was greeted by sunshine reaching through the kitchen window, starlings squabbling over the feeders and above streaks of blue mixing with white clouds.
Today I find gray clouds cover the earth, the streets damp with rain and at eight in the morning contractors using power drills and small JCBs to dig up the neighbours paved front garden! 
How am I supposed to hear Radio 3 with that cacophony in the background?
I sit here in the drawing room filled with the emanations from the rubbish bin that has required emptying for a while as four (Polish?) workmen do their best to make as much noise as they can while attempting to ensure the job lasts long enough to claim overtime.  I notice the woman next door has not yet appeared, either she did not expect them and is hiding in the back of the house or she is back in bed with her head under a pillow trying to avoid the noise.  
It is a small front of a bungalow and this was concreted over a while back to allow cars to park, possibly she wishes to amend this either to improve the house and raise the selling price or turn this back into a garden.  Either way it ought to be done when I am elsewhere I say.

Lunchtime has passed, the work next door has not completed yet.  If you take a large tin, fill it with stones and rattle it back and forward for thirty minutes, stop for five then begin again over and over then you will begin to understand what I have endured cheerily this morning. 
In spite of this I have continued to work (HA!) and even exercised as I must in a vain attempt to put life back into this fat bloated hulk of mine.  I was encouraged in this by the nurse, an adorable ex-Stasi Commandant, who offered me a choice of one hours exercise a day or twenty four hours of death a day, tact not being an attitude taught back in Berlin.
I therefore exercised for a while, straining and stretching and aching all over.  All this while the rattling stones outside bounced in their tin.  The small JCB has piled some of the concrete into a pile to be dumped in someones back lane when no-one is about while as yet the woman of the house has not shown her face.  It did strike me that these men possibly have arrived at the wrong house while she is on holiday.  This will give her something to boast about later will it not if that is the case?
It will soon be over, sooner if I find a shotgun!

Funnily enough in spite of the cacophony to my right I found myself accidentally falling asleep after a very healthy lunch (there were no pizzas left), strange how that happened but there you are.  Then as the noise continued I found work hard to cope with and, again accidentally, came across some Euro Champs League football on BTS which I had to watch.  Endure might be a better word as games at this period of the competition are often poor and mean little, especially with teams who's name you cannot pronounce and have not the foggiest where they come from.  
This passed the time until this big green lorry appeared and I knew the noise was about to abate.  He had arrived to remove the rubbish thrown up by the workers and as he left, narrowly avoiding the woman attempting to overtake him, the sound died away.  Now I feel like I have gone deaf as there is no sound, not even from the passing traffic which usually fills the air with rubbish and loud music while they queue up in the rush hour.  The mess left behind is a wonder to behold, mud stains the pavements, loose stones and earth lie all around.  I look forward to tomorrows toil, though in the meantime I had  look to see if they had brought down any of our walls, not yet they haven't.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Tuesday Tittletattle

At a rough estimate I reckon two thousand children, all screaming, shouting, yelling, came through the museum today.  This does not include the mums, grans, grandads, dads, aunts, uncles and others who accompanied them, screaming, shouting, yelling and crying out for coffee or gin and tonic!  
Kids get away with much more when with the indulgent old people than when with mum and dad.  They therefore play this to perfection and it is rare to see a grandad, always a grandad, pay for something in the shop.  Sometimes I am amazed at the energy levels of the old folks although I realise that once the kid is back with mum they will be taking another week to get over it!  
The kids are loving this exhibition, the ones doing the workshops are also enjoying themselves and I have noticed that all too often it is the mums who enjoy this most.  Either they enjoy being among the exhibits or they are enjoying the craft workshops.  Others of course just enjoy a couple of hours without the kids bothering them!  One told me she had cleaned the entire house, the first time since the holidays had started!  
She refused to do mine... 

Before I limped out the door I went through the prodedure to discover which 'House' I was now in.  This did not take long and I appear to be in 'Gryffindor.'
Whatever that means!

Monday, 14 August 2017


I'm hooked!
I have been watching these 'cab rides' for days now and cannot get enough of them.
So far this weekend I have been from Kings Cross to Edinburgh via Newcastle, Cannon Street to Hayes (wherever that is?) and Baker Street to Amersham.  This afternoon I travelled in the comfort of my chair all the way from Waterloo to Southampton without once worrying about new people entering the train and annoying me.  How about that!
Now you may say this is all very anorakish and rather silly and I must say you will have a point. However I find train travel very relaxing and these videos, of which there are millions on YouTube, offer similar relaxation.  For one thing as I once travelled regularly on the Kings Cross line it is interesting to see things from the drivers viewpoint, sight seen from the side are different when seen from the front.  As the videos are recorded at different times the scene around you changes as time passes and much of the area I once knew has long since gone.  
The trip allow my mind to wander as it does when in a train (without distractions) and the passing scene offers items to cogitate upon as we travel, it is no different on these videos.  Many topics arise as we hurtle through stations all of which appear to be called 'gentlemen' and the mind muses on the sights seen around the track as we pass through a wide variety of landscapes.  I find myself asking where this or that line curving away leads us to, I ask what are the men in orange suits supposed to be fixing on our line and will the track fail as we pass?  How come trains leaving London and heading south across the river travel over such a complex and messy area while those leaving Kings Cross appear to be in a much tidier part of the line?  The journey from Liverpool Street to Enfield Town does reveal just how filthy London can be if you allow human beings to live there.   
Even trips on the Underground across London reveal sights that while known are different when noted as we leave the tunnel and emerge into the light.  Sights and smells return even if sitting comfortably at home and memories of the stress of London life also rise to greet you as you pass from one area to another, the smiling happy passengers (sorry 'customers') bringing joy into the life around.
Naturally I have done nothing else.
I suppose I can do those things tomorrow...

Friday, 11 August 2017

Frittering Away Friday

Having spent all Wednesday in futile wait for delivery, well at least it arrived so it wasn't actually futile, I spent all day Thursday catching up on things undone.
Friday has been a day where my brain closed down altogether.
Some say no change has been noted.
I tried out my new and exciting (they say) exercise regime and indeed this made a difference.
I woke up, my brain began to work anew, my breathing was considerably deeper and my body responded by aching in all the right places and soon afterwards I fell into a deep slumber.
On waking I found nothing of interest anywhere in the world and have slowly returned to the state of sloth that I found at 07:30 hours this morning.
It's been that sort of a day.

I could have read some of the books piled up in various places around the house but did not have sufficient vim to concentrate on them for long.  (By 'vim' I mean 'energy' not the old scouring powder we used to use.)  There was a thought that hoovering the floor might be a good idea, that was soon pushed aside.  Instead I watched a video of a train crossing the country in the snow at a pace that my brain could follow.  

 'Borrowed' from facebook.

How relaxing train journeys can be!  I can really enjoy a trip by rail, provided it is not overcrowded.  I have endured a commuter train on occasion and this was not a pleasant experience, outside that however such travel is comfortable and relaxing.  
Out side the window we see parts of the country we often miss when travel is by car, railways offer country views as well as the rear end of industrial sights which can on occasion offer something to contemplate also.  Comparing the 'Blue Circle' Cement works (If it is still called that) to the view if the Firth of Forth that lies on the other side of the track is worth comprehending.  While cement has its uses the view of the open sea refreshes in a way a concrete bridge never shall.
Quaint country rail stations can be glimpsed often decorated with flowers by the staff.  These are becoming rarer as cost cutting now offers a bare efficient platform and a glorified bus shelter all to often.  When I used Dunfermline station (Lower, not Upper) there was a complete set of buildings on both sides.  Today while the entrance remains extant the far side platform has a bus shelter for the commuters to Edinburgh and while a view can be seen now quite clearly the absence of proper station buildings is disappointing.  I believe Dunfermline Upper is now a  supermarket or a B&Q!
Maybe I ought to get on a train tomorrow, I better check the weather.


Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Amazon UK Delivery Shambles!

I've spent the day looking through this window for the delivery from Amazon.  Using 'Amazon Logistics' whatever that is, they have my book out last night for delivery today (hooray!).  This means sending it to the local carrier at Basildon  (a hundred miles away) and then he leaves the depot just after ten in the morning to deliver.  This sounds acceptable even if the depot is clearly too far away.  The 'OPD' vans come from Chelmsford thirty minutes drive away!   Recalling my delivery experience I know he would arrive here around lunchtime so I await developments.
Now 'OPD' offer a guide on the laptop indicating what time the van will arrive and this I have found works near perfectly.  Amazon do not offer this.  The tracking on the laptop indicates he has left the depot and 'it's out for delivery.'  It gives no indication of time.
Clearly 'OPD' win hands down.
Royal Mail deliver between nine in the morning until lunchtime, though often it can be much later, and with the sorting office being in town it can be reached if I was out and had to collect. There is no chance of getting to Basildon!  

Late afternoon I go on to Twitter and bleat re non delivery from Amazon.  Short time later an answer from Amazon Help " Our couriers deliver until 21:00! Please keep us posted on the delivery! ^MT"
Deliver up till 21:00!!!!  
You expect me to wait until NINE at NIGHT for a delivery!!!???
I sent my deliver no to them and got the reply that Amazon Help do "not have access to account info on Twitter!"  Then what is the point of being on Twitter or being Amazon Help?
I made it clear that of it is not delivered by Six the door will remain closed and I will cancel the order.  I can get books from elsewhere and have them delivered on time.
Tonight I will be watching the Dundee Derby and do not expect to be taken out of my bed (where I will watch it in comfort) to answer the door to a drookit delivery man offering me a parcel in the dark.

A quick search for 'Amazon Logistics, Basildon' reveals a whole host of complaints about bad delivery, non delivery, lies re delivery and another failing company taking on more work than it can handle.  It has too few drivers, too many inexperienced men and far too big a delivery round for them to complete.  In short a shambles and it is all Amazons fault!  Incompetence at the top using a company on the cheap and not equipped or competent enough to do the job.  This ought to have been sent out on Monday (I ordered the book on Sunday) and it would have arrived today by post if Royal Mail was used.  This is a gift for another and that makes it worse.  If I realised both Amazon and Amazon Logistics (previously called APLE) were such cheapskates I would have gone into town and bought one from Waterstones!   If they insist on using this inept company I will never use them Amazon again! 

It's coming up to six O'clock and I am off to prepare for football!

I had just posted this and settled back to work out the grub situation when there was a knock on the door.  My knees and I struggled down while again the door was rapped yet when I got there he was off up the road again!  I called far from cheerily and he returned with my precious book. 
It was as he struggled in the rain to get his failing computerised device to register that I began to feel sorry for him.  A recent immigrant I thought, desperate for legitimate work, being used by the employer and now knowing the grumpiness of the public!  I found it difficult to abuse him however I will be reluctant to use Amazon Logistics ever again as the link on Amazon UK to complaints covers several years and clearly nothing is being done about this. 

Still now I feel relaxed, at 18:15 hours!

Monday, 7 August 2017

The Benefits of the Wireless

Now OK, I realise most folks call it a 'radio' today but I always find the word 'wireless' appearing in my head and so I might as well use it.  When young we did indeed have a 'wirelss,' a great big box with an aerial that looked like a bent birds cage which hung outside the window do obtain a good reception.  I wonder if this was obtained second hand or possibly through my aunt who worked in 'Jenners' Edinburgh's principal shop, the one where all the rich women spent much time drinking tea with their pinkie sticking out and discussing the merits of other women's lives.  My mother did not have the cash for that pleasure and merely gossipped with the neighbours.  
Anyway I recall, possibly before I began school, a large 'Radiogram' appearing in the corner.  This vast cupboard had a lid which when lifted exposed the large dial for the wireless on one side and a record layer (ten '45's at one go!) on the other.  This my elder brother and sisters much enjoyed though I also took happily to their choice of 'Rock & Roll.'  
On the large dial, over a foot in length and several inches wide, there was a list of foreign places from far away.  I cannot mind now but I suppose both Long, Short and Medium wave were available on their however if we listened to the radio we most probably only had three stations at that time, the BBC 'Home Service, the BBC 'Light' programme and Radio Luxembourg which in those days played music young people wished to listen to, the BBC remained rather stuffy until the pirate radio ships gave them a shove in the 60's.  I spent many a Sunday afternoon with my head up against the speaker listening to the 'Billy Cotton Band Show,' 'The Goons' with their 'pictures in the mind' and other comedy shows that abounded in the afternoons.  During the week the 'Tony Hancock Show' brought in an audience of 25 million!  This of course before TV was common and then did similar when transferred to the telly later on.  Those days have long gone and even the dreadful 'soaps' only get 13 million by adding the two showing of the programmes together.

The Internet has been a blessing regarding listening to the wireless as the BBC iplayer allows me to catch programmes I usually miss and indeed many of those programmes once hear while munching mums salad rolls on Summer Sunday afternoons.   Now we possess the updated (though the names do need updating once again) Radio's 1,2,3,4, plus 5Live, the rather juvenile station, plus the World Service once the best of them all now dumbed down and as PC as the rest of the BBC and Radio 4 Extra, a station that plays old programmes, mostly sad to say dramas, stories and pap.  However via the iplayer I can catch some wonderful programmes and today I have been working my way through the Radio 3 excellent 'Essay' series.  In particular I have been enjoying some of the 'Free Thinking' programmes, I listened to the 15 minute ones where one person spouted their opinion on a topic (many wide and varied) and dis so in an intelligent and thoughtful manner.  I did not always agree, some were spectacularly wrong, but I had to listen and wanted to hear more.  There are so many talk shows on Radio 4 that are decidedly middle calls and usually aimed at women with problems that when you hear grown up women talk on Radio 3 you wonder if it is not time for a change in the programming layout somewhere.  Maybe the Radio 3 audience is more open to reason?

I must confess that I have had a fill of thinking talk for a while and may well retire to the West Wing and place my dull ear to the speaker again and listen out for something that either takes me out from this box or makes me laugh, I don't as yet now which.  Either way it will be better for me that glueing my face to the box in the corner where 50 channels, when they work, offer me little of value.  Once again there I must reach for the TV iplayer and seek something worthy.