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Showing posts from September, 2011

Girls don’t like boys; girls like cars & money

When a friend of mine announced he was considering buying a convertible Saab, I wholeheartedly approved.After all, "cheap" does not necessarily have to mean "Daewoo Matiz" (thankfully) and I always like it when people drive something a bit different.  Too many people choose not to take the opportunity when they have it, and before they know it their Fiesta has to be sold to make way for a people-carrier.  Then they're old, and so they buy a Hyundai.  *Yawn*Of course, "different" does not always mean "good" and AutoTrader needs to be filtered quite carefully.  For example, if my friend had suggested a Rover, I'd have suggested some alternatives.  But Saabs are likeable, and have a good reputation for being well made.So when my friend suggested we went to Romsey for lunch the other day the idea was much more appealing knowing that I didn't have to squash myself in to the back of a small car with no headrests.  Instead, I could enjoy a …

The writing’s on the sign….

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The person responsible for this sign, which appeared on the BBC News Page today, probably passed their English GCSE at Grade C or above.  They may even have a Key Skills qualification in IT (which really should have pointed out the existence of a spell-checker). Or maybe the council had to find someone to do the sign on the cheap because they couldn’t pay those who are qualified enough to prevent them from going on strike.A spokeswoman apparently said “People will either think we are stupid and we can't spell or they will have a good laugh.” Actually, love, it’s not a case of “either/or,” and there is no ambiguity.  I know you can’t spell, and I am having a good laugh.Well, I’m having a laugh.  I’m not sure whether it’s good or not, but it’s either that or crying.  If I had tweeted about this I think the hashtag I would have used would be #proudtobeBritish.

England’s Green & Pleasant Land

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This is a photograph of the old US Airbase at Greenham Common, near Newbury, taken a couple of weeks ago.  The airbase was closed in 1993, and it has since been “returned to common land.”  Apparently.  Despite the hype which went with the campaign, you can see that it still bears more resemblance to an airbase than it does to anything else.  Meanwhile, nearby Thatcham and Coldash have swelled in size as new housing has been built.  I believe that most of the new developments are on previously unspoilt land, and that the development of higher ground contributed to the scale of some flooding a couple of years ago.  And whilst the new estates required new services and cabling, I am told that the infrastructure underpinning Greenham Common was state of the art.The scars you can see on the landscape will continue to last, years after the politicians and councillors who curried favour with the people with the “common land” campaign have been forgotten.It certainly gives some interesting per…

Climbing the [Google] charts with tea and cake

I’ve just had a cursory glance at the statistics for this corner of the Blogosphere.  Not only is it more exciting than returning from lunch to write a report, it is good for my ego as well.Today I learned that someone landed here after asking Google “what is lesbian tea.”  Apparently, one of my earlier posts was relevant.  Arguably, the photograph illustrated it quite well (although I prefer the term “metrosexual tea”), so I hope that they found it useful.Some say that you can’t have tea without cake, and it seems as though if you search Google for “JP’s cake corner” my rankings remain even more impressive.  Sadly, most people who end up here for that reason are likely to be disappointed.Having said that, the brownies I made recently were independently verified (by a trustworthy source) as being “good.”  That was also good for my ego, and I should probably make them again sometime.This chatter isn’t good for my report though, so I had better shut up with some haste.  Have a nice afte…

On National Strikes

I’ve not been on a train today, and neither have I experienced any bad customer service.*  Fear not, however, the trade unions are making threats again, and  that is also usually enough to bring me running to this corner of the Blogosphere with a need to vent my spleen.From what I can see, the BBC article is outlining another classic tale of self-centred union politics.  As with all good strikes, the reasons behind this latest national threat are left unclear.  There is mention of the fact that some workers are due to have a pay freeze, but if that was a genuine reason to get uppity then I’d already expect to be hearing wails of complaint from the myriad of hard working private sector folk for whom that is currently a reality.  One of these days, these people will learn to be grateful for not being made redundant.Interestingly, the unions talk in terms of “targeted” areas.  That sounds a bit specific for a general complaint about pay.  I don’t know why it’s taking them so long to draw…

On Chinese Christianity

I won’t lie to you.  Even for the geeks and ferroequinologists amongst you, my last post was possibly one of the more monotonous I’ve written.Even though it wasn’t quite as dull as this blog, I am pleased to say that if trains aren’t your thing I have found something else to talk about.The BBC have produced an interesting article on the Chinese Church, and there is a radio programme which could be worth tuning in to.  As I have two ears and one mouth, I shall listen to it now and think about spouting prolifically later.  Enjoy…

It’s all about the customer service (and the sugary latte)

I was on a train this morning (as you do), and despite the fact that it was running late, I was in a good mood.  Sadly, before some wisecrack makes a comment, this was nothing to do with a girl.  Alas. But please humour me and read the rest of my ramblings anyway.Of the things which did contribute to my good mood, the first was the fact that Danny at The Whistlestop Cafe at Barnham had still had time to shake my hand and make me a Vanilla Latte.*  It was tight, but I made my connection.The second is that Southern were really pro-active with their customer service. As we know, I am a stickler for customer service and good customer service makes me happy in the same way that bad customer service makes me annoyed.**It was clearly one of those days today, with everything except the wrong leaves on the line.  But the guard on each train was informative, and apologetic (which goes a long way).  Notably, when it was announced that the train was going to terminate early (at Fareham), the guar…

On winning a sibling…

…or not, as the case may be.  I know that I should be working but I’ve just briefly scanned the BBC News Page over coffee and feel the need to pass comment on one of the headlines, which reads “Gipsy Wedding star wins Brother.”This has given rise to a couple of questions.  - since when has “Big Brother” been acceptably abbreviated as “Brother?”  As I don’t watch it, I’m probably not in the best position to comment, but is the world really populated with people who say things like “did you see Brother last night?”*- why does the BBC feel the need to compete with The Mirror and the Daily Mail?  Besides, if they’re going to go with trashy headlines they should at least put some effort in.OK so this is not as serious as the freedom of speech issue concerning the BBC I raised yesterday, but in my best grumpy-old-man voice, I do feel that standards are declining. *Actually, the world does contain people who watch Big Brother avidly, so I guess nothing should surprise me…

The BBC & Greenbelt–a tale of Freedom of Speech?

For someone who doesn’t especially like The Guardian, least of all some of its self-righteous, self-opinionated, and generally fairly nauseating commentators (I’m looking at you, Miss Toynbee), I do refer to it an awful lot.  Maybe I’m in denial…Anyway, my attention was drawn to this article via Twitter earlier.  The link was preceded by “BBC religion producers forbidden to speak at [Greenbelt].”I’d be interested to know what you make of it.  Mr Ahmed perhaps has a fair point when he says that the producers in question “are still BBC employees and therefore anything they say about programming in the genre they work in has to be seen as official,” although I don’t understand why we have to assume that they are not entitled to their own opinions.One of the issues at stake, of course, is the fact that Britain still has a Christian constitution.  It may be trendy to assume otherwise, and in many ways we do actually live in a secular society – but at the end of the day it is still perhaps …

On playing the drums

I don’t play the drums, for the record.  But I did see a tweet this morning which amused me, and thought that I would quote it here for your general amusement and delectation.  After all, I’ve not had the chance to post much else here recently, and I’d hate for the place to become full of cobwebs again.“My neighbour knocked on my door at 2.30 this morning! 2.30am! Luckily for him, I was still up, playing the drums.”