Well I think this is interesting …


Youngest is doing his usual Saturday ‘thing’ and watching YouTube videos on my laptop. He does this every weekend, after he has had his wash/bath, he’ll come down and sit at my laptop until his lunch is ready. I was going to use my older laptop to do some work on but I thought I would give this a go.

So, I am sat at the living room table, with my iPad Mini and TechGear bluetooth keyboard, writing this post directly into the iOS WordPress editor! An unusual experience to say the least. I think I may have tried using the editor before on my laptop, but usually like to write posts using Open Live Writer (OLW), which is a free piece of software born out of the now defunct, Windows Live Writer. If you’ve not tried OLW, can I suggest you give it a try. Back to the post in question!

I found the settings for Tags and Categories and managed to add some, but it is a lot harder to actually work with. In OLW I have a single button that will post some work as draft. I can then go into the web version of WordPress, check for any errors (there usually is a couple or six!) before I finally post. The iPad app seems to offer the same facility, but it is going to take me a while and a lot more practice if I’m going to make a habit of it.

One thing I have found, it seems to quite difficult to centre a line of text. There must be a way, but maybe not with this keyboard.

** Update** I think I may now know why. The Techgear bluetooth keyboard is mapped for an Android no iOS. There are (apparently) a number of differences between the keyboards of the two systems

Doing a bit of computer housekeeping …


I (currently) own two laptops. My main one sits on my computer desk in the living room but the previous one lives in S****s (the spare bedroom) bedroom. Both work fine but the old one was beginning to get a little slow. So on Friday I decided to give a good clear out and try and bring it to a more reasonable speed. I first spent about three hours getting the system up-to date. As I tend not to use it as much as I use the more recent one, it had fallen a little behind with the “up-dates”.

On Saturday morning I ran a small piece of software that checks most of my applications to see if there re any updates for them. The list was quite large, but as I was not going to be using all the applications on the laptop, I only updated a few. Later in the day I began to uninstall some of the bigger software apps. I managed to get three done before I got fed up with it. Started again this morning and after around four hours, I was in a position to write this post. The machine is now much faster, and it is my intention to use this one to work on any creative writing I happen to be engaged in.

The problem I had was the the Microsoft cloud storage on the ‘old’ laptop was called “SkyDrive” whereas on the ‘newer’ laptop it’s called “OneDrive”. It caused me a bit of grief to get the two synchronised, but I eventually got it sorted. You see if I wanted to do any work, such as write this blog on a Sunday, it was a problem. R*** like to use my newer laptop before he has his lunch, and this has now become part of his routine. It meant that any ideas I wanted to write down had to wait until he had finished.

Full of cold …


Yep, I’m full of cold. It started with a bit of a cough at the beginning of the week and it’s now reached the ‘messy’ stage. Problem is, that on Saturday, we are all going for our annual ‘flu jab’. I’ve been told, that with any prosthetic heart valve, the flu vaccination is a very good, if not essential idea. Not sure if I will be able to have it. Certainly don’t feel up to having it at this precise moment.

===============

Related image
Bramham All Saints Church

We went to church on Sunday. Not such a big thing you may say, many people do. I used to go often when R*** was a lot younger, but as he has grown up, getting out of the house on his ‘days off’ is a big problem. I can understand too. He goes off to his daycare centre Monday to Friday, so on the weekend, all he wants to do is be in his room, doing the things that he likes to do. A bit like most of us really. If it’s not something you have to do, then why do it? Anyway, he was on respite at the weekend, and it seemed such a good opportunity to go. It was interesting seeing people that we know, but have not seen for a while. We are looking to go again on the 5th November, when R*** is on a weekend respite again. This could become a regular occurrence.

 

=============

Now the bathroom is finished, I’m looking to start on some decorating. I need to tidy up the paintwork in the bathroom, (ceiling and door frame to be precise) but want to have a good go at it without too many break-offs. R*** goes on respite again on Monday, so I could probably do that in one day. I then need to start on the staircase. There is not a lot to paint, but it will be the access that will be the main issue. Hopefully, if I can crack on, I should get it all done before he returns of Friday afternoon. Ideally, I’d like to have all the work done by the end of Thursday, but that may be pushing it a little. It’s all in the planning! I’m thinking though, that the doorframes, may have to wait until the following week.

=============

I have once again used the new WordPress editor to publish this, and the jury is still out. I have yet to work out how to publish as a draft, or in fact if I need to publish as a draft first.

~~~~~~

** I have just discovered the ‘Preview’ button. This seems to work as a draft mode, allowing me to check what the post looks like before posting. So no real need to post a draft first. I have also just found the Windows Store ‘WordPress.com’ app. So the next post will be using that (if I can remember) **

Friends … real friends??


This is a bit of a rhetorical question I suppose, but are your FaceBook friends real? It is something I have started to think about recently. In fact as recently as 1 hour ago!

About a year ago, I came across someone I have known or been known to, for about 60 years. This person was a good friend of my parents and her daughter was a friend of mine. When we moved house in 1966 all contact was lost and it was through FaceBook that I was able to get back in contact again. We have chatted (the mother and me) on a number of occasions and it was good. However! The daughter seems to have dropped me from her friends list and I don’t know why. It has happened just recently, possibly in the last couple of weeks. It is this that makes me question the reality (if that’s the correct word) of FaceBook friends. The thing is though, I have friends from work, who are FB friends who still ‘appear’ to be friends. In fact, I have been chatting to two of them tonight. Now they may just be humouring me, I would not like to speculate on that, but from what they were saying, I get the impression that we are still friends.

Now, saying all that, I have myself just ‘unfriended’ (what a stupid word) a couple of people that I used to work with. They have not responded to any messages or posts and so I get the feeling that I’m just a number in their ‘friends’ list. I don’t want to be a number. Is that wrong?

No Weekly Photo Challenge this week …


This is going to be a short one! The WPC this week is “Fun”. I struggle with this. What is ‘Fun’? What’s fun for you, and you, and you and even you is quite likely the opposite of what I would call fun.  I fact, sitting here on a Saturday night, I can’t recall anything I do that I could call “Fun”. There are many things that I enjoy (typing this is something I like to do) but as for ‘Fun’ …

What is Fun? I had a look round a couple of dictionaries, and most entries seem to have the word ‘amusing’ as part of the definition. On that count, I suppose watching my collection of Tony Hancock DVD’s (I still want to call them videos …. so sad) would count as being ‘Fun’ and although they are great to watch … Fun?

I have, for a long time believed (how difficult is it to spell that word!) that I may qualify to have the title “Grumpy Old Man”. After this post, there is no question!

Today so far …


A trip to Farndale this morning to see the famous daffodils. I have been before, many years ago, but on that occasion, the daffodils had bloomed early and there was very little to see. More successful today, but they were starting to look past their prime. For me, if you’ve seen one daffodil you’ve seen them all.

After the walk, we visited the Feversham Arms Inn for a spot of lunch and an alcoholic refreshment. My choice of burger was not my best. It sounded good, but was very dry and to be honest, quite tasteless. But everyone elses choice was fine. I will live with it.

First day …


Well I think I slept okay. I don’t remember too much. I do remember getting up in the middle of the night for my usual visit to the toilet. Totally confused, I completely forgot that we had an en suite and trotted of downstairs. How I remembered there was a toilet downstairs if I had forgotten there was upstairs, I will never know. Still the sun is shining and we shall where today takes us.

Worrying day … not going too well …


It was never going to be a good start to the day. R*** has had an infected thumb for a couple of days now. K*** was worried that it was getting worse and thought he would need need to see the doctor. Not so bad I hear you say, but here comes the crunch. Today was the day the rendering was to be started and was also the day we were going away for couple of days. Add to that, R*** going on respite for four nights, made for a nightmare of a start.

Still it all now seems to be getting better. R*** got off okay (taxi manage to eventually pick him up). The plasterer started and was getting on quite well. We got off for our break after a not too long delay and found the place we were looking for with no problem.

Posting might be an issue at this cottage. There is wi-fi and it is quite good, but there is no phone signal (like being back in the 1980’s) and I’m missing it already.

All going along nicely …


The hospital appointment went well. The doctor has always had a knack of being ‘a little behind’ as the nurse politely put it. So it was no surprise when the appointment was delayed by about 30 minutes. I had blood pressure taken and the (same) nurse observed that the ‘bottom half’ was a little high, but nothing to worry about. I put it down to driving through the centre of York. Why is it, that visitors to that grand city seem to like wandering into the road for no apparent reason?

Anyway, the ultra-sound scan I had the previous week was just what the doctor was expecting. He listened to my heart, and that was fine, and he never even mentioned my blood pressure. We had a chat about how I was feeling as opposed to before the operation, and what was going to happen in the future. That was it! In his words, it was ‘all going along nicely!’

===========

That is about it really. I’m on leave for a week and I don’t really know whether anyone will pick up the work I do. My line manager (gnash, growl, spit) should do it, but I can’t see it happening unless she is forced. I would say I don’t care, but I do! I know I will be checking my emails every day, and I’ll try not to answer any of them, but for the past ten years, I always have kept in touch while on leave. It’s just something I do.

I’m not sure about this …


When I say “not sure…” I mean I’m not about why I’m posting this, but here goes.

I’ll give a bit of background first. One of the aspects of the work I’m currently on, is the need to do testing of certain pieces of computer software. The testing involves working in a ‘clean computer environment’.  This basically means that the PC’s used to test have been stripped back to the standard they were when first installed. It’s a bit of a tedious process that usually involves sitting a room with eight or nine computers and the system manager. Nobody else. That’s the background.

On Friday I was to do the usual testing and arrived at the test room as expected. I was then told that there would be someone else testing. I got on with my work and paid little attention to what was going on. Someone came into the room and they were welcomed by system manager with “Hi there Helen. Can you sit at your usual seat?” Helen is not her real name.

Helen answered, and the voice she had sounded a little strange. Not a woman’s voice I felt. I was then introduced and I turned to say hello. It then became obvious, that Helen was actually a transgender person.

Now this is where I worry about this post. I sat there trying to understand how I felt about this person. The conclusion I came to, was that there was no feeling apart from the fact that they were testing like me. I didn’t feel embarrassed, uncomfortable, intrigued, worried, disgusted or anything like that. It was the first transgender person I had met (at least I think it was) and it felt strangely normal, whatever ‘normal’ means. Should I have had one or more of the feelings I mentioned? At the end of the day, Helen was simply a human being that had decided what they wish to look like, what they wanted to be called and how they wanted to live their life.

On reflection, I think I must have made the mental decision that on this occasion, I’m not entitled to have any opinions. It is what it is and they are what they choose to be. I have no right to approve or disapprove.

=========

Talking of decisions, I think I’m going to stick with Open Live Writer for my blog editor, well at least for the time being. It doesn’t seem to work too well with images as my entry into the Weekly Photo Challenge shows. I could not get the images to show how I wanted them too, and it looks a little like a rushed job. The blog template in Word seems to be better and so does the WordPress editor. Both appear to have better options for working with images.

A recent idea (as recent as five minutes ago) flashed across my mind. That was, I wonder if I could create an Infographic image of the pictures I wanted to post. I have seen a lot of Infographics floating around on the internet, and have been wondering for a while on using the idea. Not sure if it will work for a collection of images, but I think it will make positioning of the pictures a little easier.

I have that “must test this out” feeling coming over me again, so expect some more ‘quick’ posting over the next week or so.

And so the end of the first week…..


Well here we are, six days in and I really don’t feel any different. It seems that is will make a difference being this age as things might start to get a little cheaper. More on that later.

The ‘big day’ went as well as I could have hoped. I did not want any big celebrations or fuss that I think people might have wanted to plan, so it was a quiet day. I had changed my Facebook profile to not display my birthday, to see if anyone actually remembered. Guess what? Nobody did remember. It has come to something, when people, including some family members need a social media site to remind them of birthdays and the like! What was a surprise was, when I was searching for something on Google, I hovered over the graphic on the Google web site, and saw that Google sent me birthday wishes. Was a bit of a shock, before I realised that Google does actually know my birth date.

Lots of presents and a few cards, and a nice day out with K***s parents at Harlow Carr gardens. Then lunch at The Black Swan in Burn Bridge, near Harrogate.

One of the ways that being 60 has got a little cheaper is my prescriptions are now free. After my operation, I realised that it would be cheaper if I got a prepayment prescription certificate (or PPC). This drastically reduced the charges by over half. But, it seems that when you get to 60, the charges stop and all my medication is now free. The pharmacist, told me to reclaim the balance, and it looks like I may get somewhere in the region of £25.00 back.

= = = = = = =

On Wednesday we set off for a couple of days break at The Black Swan (different one from before) in Fearby, just outside Masham. We got there in good time and decided that we do the Black Sheep Brewery tour. It was a very interesting couple of hours, and if you are in the area, I suggest you give it a go. You will not be disappointed. Especially with the beer sampling you get at the end of the tour! Now this was another way that being 60 was a little cheaper. The tour cost is £8.50 per person, which includes 3 x 1/3 of a pint of beer as your sampling. However, and I never spotted this, if you are a ‘senior’ aged 60 or over, you get in for £6.99 and still get the beer at the end. It seems that there are a lot of places that do this kind of reduction for people over 60, and I’ll need to look out for them. One thing that bothered me a little, was that no proof of age was required ……. Maybe my little joke about being as old as I look was not such a joke after all!

We arrived at our place of stay, at around 4pm, booked in and then went for a short walk round the village. It seems that The Black Swan is the only pub in the village. It worried me a little, that it might be a bit noisy later on in the night, but it turned out not to be the case.

The restaurant/breakfast room/bar had an unusual collection. The whole of the roof was covered with chamber pots. Must have been over 200 hanging from the ceiling. It made for an interesting if somewhat bizarre display. Mind you, saying that the landlord seemed to drive everywhere in an old U.S. army jeep, so I suppose each to his own.

Thursday was the day we were to do what is known as “The Druids Temple Walk”. Now this is not as dramatic is it sounds. The Druids Temple is actually a folly built in about 1820, by the owner of the Swinton Estate, as a means of employment for local people. It is stated that it is a 5 mile circular walk, although to me it seemed to feel more like 8 miles! But it was worth it when we got there.

We had a quick visit to Thirsk on Friday on the way home. Nothing special there for me, I’m afraid, but K*** seemed to like the place. K*** likes to make our breaks last as long as possible. Me, on the other hand prefer to get home as soon as possible on the last day.

All in all, it was a good couple of days away. The weather could not have been better and the scenery was just perfect.

= = = = = = =

Monday will be interesting I think. The team I work with now, seem to like to ‘celebrate’ people’s birthday milestones, and they seem to know when everyone’s birthday is. Thing is, that I’m not in my main office tomorrow, so I’m not sure how things will pan out or what might happen when I go to the main office on Tuesday. I think I need to get some sweet stuff to take in on the Tuesday, but I shall just have to play it by ear. Before the last workplace review, the team I was in just did not do anything for birthdays. They didn’t even send each other Christmas cards, which always seemed unusual. I did get a ‘Get Well soon’ card after my operation, but it was given to me about 2 weeks before I returned to work, so I felt a little bit cheated.

 

 

Tomorrow is another decade !!!


Let’s start with the title of this post shall we? Tomorrow, 20th April 2015 I will reach a milestone in my life. The day will see me hit 60 years old! And in reply to all those kind people ….. yes I do look it and at times I do feel it. So that’s that out of the way.

For an early birthday present, S**** took me to see the wrestling at WWE Live. It took place at the Leeds First Direct Arena, which is a fairly new venue. Although I love watching the wrestling, the thought of going to see it live was something, I had never really considered. So it was a bit of a surprise when he produced the tickets. To be honest, K*** bought mine and he bought his own, but the thought was his. I really enjoyed it. It was great to see some of the big names in the wrestling world. The seats were good, and we both had a good view of all the action. I know it’s all scripted and it is more of a pantomime that a sporting event, but it is very entertaining. The atmosphere was amazing, and I have to say, I did get into it quite a bit. Even the two kids right behind me that were joining in, with very annoying voices added to the whole enjoyment of the event.

It was good to spend some time with S**** as father and son. It has been a while since we did anything together. We used to go to the local pub for the ‘Quiz Night’ every Tuesday, but that stopped when one night R*** flipped and K*** struggled to cope with it.

But, the day was not without its problems. I needed to get some cash as the ticket machines in the car park would not accept my debit card, so tried to use the nearest ATM. Again, my debit card was not accepted, not even to obtain a balance. Luckily, I had a card for another account with me, so all was not lost. However, it did nag me a little, and I could only put it down to my card being damaged or something.

When I got home, I checked my account on the website, to find that there had been two unknown transactions for $200.00. A swift panic call to the bank, quickly sorted the issue out. It seems that a clone of my card had been used in New York on the 10th. The bank had picked it up as a potential fraud, as they said that the time difference between the last use in England and the use in New York was too short and when the second transaction was made, the card was blocked.

I now have a new card and the cash has been refunded, so all’s well.

+++++++++

Remember me talking about my mobile phone? I was going to get a Windows phone. I was still not sure about changing operation systems, but when I talked to the sales person about the phone, he advised that “…. We no longer stock that model, because of the issues with it….” There was no mention of what issues they had, but it made the decision for me. I had another phone in mind and I was kind of hoping they would be out of stock of the Windows phone. So in the end I settled for an HTC. I went with the HTC Desire 620. I have had an HTC phone before and was very pleased with it. Up to press, I am very satisfied with this one too.

I was a bit worried about the new contract though. It cost slightly more (the provider has changed all the ‘plans’) and has only a 2gb data allowance. My previous contract had unlimited data, and although I checked my data usage and found it never went above 1gb in the whole 2 years. I was still concerned that I may be losing out. I am monitoring it and well within the limit. I have not used the internet as much as before, so it might take a couple of months before I’m sure I have enough.

+++++++++

And now, a question. Why, when the road sign indicates a 50 miles per hour speed limit, do some drivers think that it means ‘drive at a speed between 30mph and 40mph’? It happens all the time. The major road when where we live to the centre of Leeds, is an ‘A’ road and for a great deal of it the speed limit is 50mph. You never actually get to that speed! There is always some driver that, for whatever reason drives slower than that. It’s not an age thing or a gender thing. It’s not just at 50mph it happens. Many times on a 30mph road, does one driver takes it to mean 22mph. Do these people own the road? Do they apply some complicated mathematical formula that calculates the speed for them? Or are they simply just inconsiderate drivers? I tend to think the latter applies. Rant over!

+++++++++

Finally, does this theme work? I have struggled a little with themes for this blog, as I never really know if it looks right. I think it does, but I’m not the reader. Would be interesting to know your views.

Satisfying week


A great week off from work. Used the last 5 days of leave for 2014/2015. So we had two nights in Whitby. It’s a place we both like and have done for quite a long time. Whitby has lots of history about it, and I’ll mention some of that later.

We stayed in a hotel called “The White Horse and Griffin” which is a very old coaching inn, located near the harbour. The bar is interesting, as it is quite a narrow room. In fact the doorway you can see in the picture, is more or less, the width of the bar. There two seats at a table to the left of the door as you enter and to the right there is room for what can only be described as a shelf with stools. There is a gap between these that is suitable for two slender people to walk down together.

The room was good and comfortable and the food was excellent. The only downside, if you could call it a downside, was the Wi-Fi. It was really, quite poor. You could only pick it up in certain parts of the room, and whilst the hotel information said it was available in the public rooms (which was the bar, restaurant and breakfast room) it was very hit and miss there also.

Still, we did not go there for a technological experience, and one day, I will simply leave my tablet at home and forget about everything that is going on elsewhere. I say that now, but I don’t think it will happen soon. We are all too reliant on these things today. It’s true! I feel quite naked, if I forget to take my smartphone when I go out of the house. It’s a little bit scary really!

Now, a little bit about Whitby. It is the place where HMS Endeavour, the ship that James Cook sailed to Australia and New Zealand, was built. It has a ruined Benedictine abbey, which can trace its roots back to 657AD. Jet, the compressed remains of ancestors of the monkey-puzzle tree, can be found in the cliffs and on the moors and has been used since the Bronze Age to make beads. It was the favoured mourning jewellery for the Victorians. Of course, one cannot mention Whitby, without mentioning Bram Stokers Dracula. The famous gothic horror/romance was partly set in Whitby, and the ruined abbey has been used in many film and TV adaptations of the tale.

===========================

It was K***s birthday yesterday, and she had mentioned the day previous, that it would be nice to have a pork chop for dinner. We had two in the fridge, which she had got at the beginning of the week, and I was to get some veg when I went out. This was the plan. However, the night before, S**** had texted me to say that him and his girlfriend were coming over on K***s birthday and could stay for dinner, if it was okay, but it was to be a secret. No problem, I thought, we could have the chops today (Sunday) and I would cook the ham joint, that we were going to have, on the Saturday. Simple. But it was not to be. K*** wanted the chops on Saturday. So my trip to the shops, involved sneakily buying a couple of extra chops, extra veg and hiding them in the fridge in the garage. K*** quizzed me a bit about the number of potatoes I had got out, but I explained that I was using up some of the ones that were getting old. I think I got away with it.

All in all, it was a great surprise for here, and it all went as well as could be expected, even though I slightly overcooked the chops.

===========================

Today sees the start of BST or British Summer Time. It is the day when the clocks in Britain are put forward by 1 hour and nearly everyone gets up 1 hour earlier than usual. It goes back to the Summer Time Act of 1916. I say ‘nearly everyone’, because this time, we forgot! I put it down to having S**** and his girlfriend here the night that made me forget. It was not until K*** was listening to the radio after her shower, that she realised, she was one hour late! I will not repeat the language used, but it was not quite lady-like. We shall say nothing more about this.

Theme Change Alert


Nothing of real interest here. I have finally taken the plunge and changed my theme. I’ve been thinking about it for a while and it came to a head this morning, when I tried to add an image to a post. Everything I tried seemed to show the image with a solid grey border around the edge. It was not a good look, but I could not find anyway of stopping it from happening without editing the text and changing some the coding that was in the background.

Now, I was intending to have an image in each new post as a motivational prompt for writing. Having to mess around with coding, was not going to make life easy, and I was resigned to having to make do with what was on offer in the theme. It was only later this evening, whilst reading another blog, that I noticed the images in their blog looked exactly like the images should look. A bit of detective work and lo and behold, I’m now using the Penscratch theme as opposed to Twenty Ten. I suppose I really should have done some research and found a theme that showed images properly, but I felt sure that there was something I needed do to the image is the setting to make it look right. Unfortunately in twenty Ten, there was nothing I could do, it was either ‘like it or lump it’ as the saying goes. The only downside that I can see with this new theme, is that I cannot add an image to the title bar. However, a small price to pay, to get the right effect. I have to say though, it’s been good fun trying to get this new one looking the way I want it, so keep watching this space ….. it may change again.

 

Post with no title


When I started this blog, I had no real purpose for it. I initially thought it would be a good project to occupy me when I went through a period of staying up late. I thought it would be more constructive than spending hours on a chat-site I used to use. My intention was to post what I wanted, when I wanted and it more or less happened that way. I then had the idea to have two blogs, one on WordPress and the other on Blogger. The idea there was that I would create a post on one site, then cross post to the other alternating between the two. That lasted for about eight posts before it got confusing as to which was the original and which was the cross post. So that went out of the window. I then thought it would be good to post every day. It did not have to be a big post, just a post every single day. Another bad idea! Lasted just two weeks before I gave up.

Then it was ‘blog on a theme’. Pick an idea and blog about it on a regular basis. Great! What would my theme be? Hmmmm ….. I know ……. no don’t know enough about that…….of course, I’ll blog about …… nope that would need too much research. Between each of these ‘epic’ brainwaves, I reverted back to type and posted whatever, whenever. Then last year, along comes the “Blogging 201” and I really thought I was now in the mind-set to make this blog something! But, you guessed it, I’m back to my original ‘what and when’ and I think that’s the way it’s meant to be.

However, a friend, who reads my blog as randomly as I post, came up with an idea last week which I’m beginning to warm to. The thought would be to take a photograph of anything I want, and incorporate this into a blog post. The photo would give me the impetus to write, but it may not be the main topic of the post. The post would also have to be a minimum of 300 words and I would have to post at least three times a week.

It is something I need to think about as I believe I need a bit more structure to this site. The challenge is to start on Monday 16th. Here goes!

Pet hates: 01 – Direct mail


This may be a regular feature, I’m not sure yet. I have a few ‘Pet Hates’ and I’ll not post them in any particular order, but just as I fancy. So this is not my No1, it’s just the first one that springs to mind today.

————————————————————-

Direct mail. Now I don’t mean the rubbish that drops into my email inbox. That is easily dealt with. No the type of direct mail I hate is the stuff that get posted through the letter-box.

One of the worst offenders are the ones that try and get you to purchase something by Direct Debit. They’re the one that complete the DD forms for you and just leave you to fill in the bank details. I must have spent a good hour shredding page after page of junk that I have no interest in, just because it has some personal details on. And it’s not as if it’s just on one page! More than 20% of the documents I shredded had my details on at least two pages. In fact one of the documents was a mini catalogue, with a total of nine sheets. Each one had personal details on them.

Financial providers are another offender. Many of todays shredding came from providers want me to take out a loan with them. One I had received actually had all my details completed with the exception of my account number and sort code.

I know you can try and prevent most by hunting down that obscure little box, buried deep in the small print. But have you ever tried to understand what you ticking here? Sometimes you have to tick the box if you do want this rubbish (who does?) and sometimes if you don’t want it. I’ve often seen occasions where there are two boxes. One you tick if you do want mail from that particular company and another box to tick if you do not want mail from ‘carefully selected’ third parties, or vice versa.

————————————————————-

On another track, this is my 555 post on this blog, and to think I nearly gave up after the first week. Next target 1000 posts.

 

Struggling for a title …..


The title of this post actually says quite a bit. My postings are just about me and mine. There is nothing of any importance here … no themes … no political agenda … just general rants. So often when I come to add a post title, I do struggle.

Well it’s the Bank Holiday, and of course the weather is up to its usual tricks. One minute it’s dry and sunny, next minute it’s pouring with rain. We have the Leeds Festival here this weekend and if it is anything like the 2nd year I went, it will be a mud bath again! Still 99% of the fans that go have a great time. With living local to Bramham Park we are entitled to apply for a limited number what they call “Guest” tickets at a discounted rate. I’m thinking that me and K*** may apply for next year if we can get R*** on respite that weekend. Not too sure if K*** will enjoy it much, but who knows?

The Out-Patients appointment was less than interesting. I don’t really know what I expected …. maybe a chest X-ray, an EEG, an ECG, blood pressure check, weight check and maybe even a blood test! It was nothing like that at all! For a start, two of the registrars were on holiday so that left only one to take the clinic. That of course meant delays all round of about 1 ½ hours. Finally got in to see him and the conversation went along these lines:

Him: “Hello, how do you feel?”

Me: “Okay, really good. Better than before.”

Him: “Good.”

Me: “I am getting a bit of backache around my shoulders.”

Him: “That is normal. Anything you would like to ask me?”

Me: “Erm ….. can I drive now?”

Him: “Yes, but you need to tell your insurance company.”

Me: “The white stockings, can they come off now?”

Him: “Yes of course.”

He then listened to my heart and told me that the sound was good and asked if there was anything else we needed to know. Neither of us could think of anything and we came away feeling rather deflated and disappointed with the whole meeting. Apart from using the stethoscope, there was no other ‘medical’ things done. To both of us, it seemed a waste of both our time and the hospital time/resources. It could have easily been done at the GP’s surgery. I’m supposed to have a 2nd appointment in about 6 months time and then a further one a year later. Based on this last one, I don’t really see the point. I have to see my GP sometime this month as one of my medications needs a review, so I might mention this to him and see what he has to say about it.

I emailed to car insurance company yesterday morning. Nothing has come back yet, so I will telephone them on Monday morning and find out what is happening. K*** rang her insurers (I’m a named driver) and they did not seem to take any notice at all, so it may be the same with my insurers.

* * * Update * * * Received the following email from the insurance company:

Thank you for your email.

This is to confirm that there are no driving restrictions on your policy. Providing you have not been told not to drive by your Doctor or GP and you feel fit and well enough to drive.

It’s been a while….


     The title of this post says it all really….. it has been a while since my last post. But I’ve not had a lot to say !!! Well not anything that may be described as interesting. Work is still the same … no more news on the review/restructure. Still the usual issues with R***, the youngest. Oh, but wait a minute. I almost forgot ….. S****, the eldest lad has got a new girlfriend. And this time, they are both giving out the ‘hey guys, this is a serious relationship’ signals !!!! No, all joking apart, they’ve been together about a month, that we know about, and they seem very very happy. We have met her parents, even been for a meal together, which was quite a pleasant evening. It is so serious, that the grandmothers have met !!!! Need I say more !!

——————————–

     Now, about this blog. I am struggling at time to think of something to write about. I have no specialist knowledge that I can pass on, so it is basically a random record of my life. Now, I’m not sure if that is enough to blog about. For the majority of the time, it follows the same pattern ….

  1. I wake up
  2. I go to work
  3. I come home
  4. I have dinner
  5. We cope with R***
  6. We go to bed
  7. We sleep with one eye and one ear open
  8. Goto item 1.

And that for the main part is it. Exciting what !!

     At this moment in time, I am sat here, with a glass of Brandy, waiting for R*** to settle, and S**** to get in from the pub. I feel absolutely buggered and I’m up at six in the morning to start the whole shebang again. What a life !!!! Tell you what though ….. would not have it any other way !!! (Note to self…. stop bloody moaning then…)

Bloody fireworks


      One of R***’s problems is noise sensitivity. I understand it occurs with many Autistic people. It is not the volume of the noise, more the pitch or tone. He can have his video and computer at the highest volume level and not bother at all, but there are some types of noise that causes him distress. Fireworks are an issue. We think it is the sudden randomness of the noise, rather than the noise itself, but it is a problem for him. This then in turn becomes a big problem for us. You see his frustration turns into anger which turns into aggression. This aggression usually manifests in nipping, biting and what we call ‘chinning’ whereby he will grab an arm/leg/neck and press down with his chin onto that part of your body. When he gets it right, and he invariably does get it right, it can be extremely painful. Then it is time for the medication. To be honest though, he has coped very well with the past few days. The medication did its job.

      What I get annoyed about, at this time of the year, and especially this year, is that people ‘extend’ Bonfire Night, beyond the 5th of November. I heard on the TV someone mention, that it is ‘Bonfire Weekend’ !! I also heard, on the radio young kids talk about it being ‘Firework Night’. When they were asked, why we celebrated, they did not have a clue. At the end of the day, what are we celebrating ?? We celebrate an historic event, whereby a group of people, did not agree with the Government of the day. That group of people decided to blow up the Houses of Parliament, in order to progress their cause. Today, we call that Terrorism !!!

What, when and why blog ?


     And I think you can add “How” to that list too. I’ve been blogging for a couple of years now, well to be exact, I have had a blog for a couple of years. Over the past few weeks/months, I have been thinking about what it means to me. So I have decided to put down in writing “What, when and why I write a blog. Hopefully it might be generate some interest. I can but try.

What

     Well, I suppose what I write about is me. My opinions. My perspective on life, if you please. I sometimes write on topical subjects, but it is mainly about my life at home and work and family. A lot of the stuff I write is things that anger me. And there are a lot of things that anger me! It is a kind of release, when I can put down in words the frustration I sometimes feel. But then again, I often write, just about things that have happened. Everyday mundane things, and often when I read them back, I think ‘does anyone really read this rubbish’. I’ve often wondered if I would be better picking a subject, and writing about that. That is one of the main thoughts that passes through my head, when I sit down to write a blog post.

When

     I don’t have a fixed schedule for blogging. I just do it when  ever I fell like it. Or if there is something I want to get off my chest. When I first started, I wrote every day. Not large volumes, just a paragraph or two. I soon found that trying to keep that up was difficult. Quite often I write when something has happened that is out of the ordinary. I suppose most of the time, I write late at night, whilst waiting for the youngest to get off to sleep. Mrs H goes off to bed, then for then next half hour or so, we try and get R*** to settle. That 30 or 40 minutes is when I like to write. Very occasionally, I will write something at work, and email it to myself, to write up in the blog later.

Why

     Now that is the big question! Why? Why do I write a blog? In the beginning, I think it was because it appeared to be the thing to do. After all, everyone was blogging weren’t they ? Well I very soon realised that not everyone was doing it. In fact, out of a department of around 70 people, I was the only one blogging. As I was writing something every day, it became like a kind of diary. But that was not what I wanted. I did not want to bore anyone who read my stuff, with mundane day to day trivialities. Now, one of the reasons I blog, to keep up my interest in writing. I want to write more creatively, and have been advised, that I should ‘just write and write often’.

     I was asked recently, if I get lots of comments or hits on my blog. I of over egged and said yes. In reality, I don’t get many hits and I get very few comments, but it does not stop me. So I suppose, that one of the main reasons for writing a blog is to be read. To have something to say that might be of interest to someone else.

How

     My main blogging client, is Windows Live Writer. I have used Blogdesk, which was very good, but does not work with Windows 7. I also tried a strange program (or should I be very trendy and call it an ‘app’) called Raven, or Zoundry Raven. I did not have much luck with that one. I recently had a trial at using Word 2010. It was okay, there was a lot it could do, but as a fellow blogger said “….it was like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut…..” and I think that just about sums it up. For the time being, Live Writer ticks all the boxes.

 

Spoilt for choice ??


Choice, I hear you ask. It was either update the blog, or watch a very old movie. Well here I am.

How is R? Well the half dosage of the new medication did not work. Last afternoon, just before I got home at 4:30, he completely lost it. He bit Mrs H, so badly, that he drew blood. He ripped her necklace off, and we don’t know what happened to that. We have had someone doing some work for the past few days, and he was there when this all happened. He was very worried, and did not know what to do. He’d never seen anything like it. Anyway, Mrs H contacted his medical team, explained what had happened and told then we were taking off the the drug. They agreed that it was the best thing to do, although still saying that the effects were unusual. But, what was going on with him? What was he experiencing? I don’t know, and he’ll never tell us. One of the effects is hallucinations !! Was he experiencing this? Who knows. Even if he knew what a hallucination was, he could not tell us. It’s not something he can do. It is part of his Autistic disorder.

Today has been better. Mrs H went to pick S up from work, and I stayed with him. Mrs H does not like driving in the dark, but she has got so frightened of what he will do, that she does not like being alone with him, at the moment. However, he was fine, and we played hide and seek (the only interactive game he will play) until he could not find me. Then he started to go ‘off’. However, this time, he did his usual chin pressing for a while, but calmed down quite quickly, which given what has gone on the past week was brilliant.

I have to say, S has been fantastic. Very understanding, very calm. He seems to be able to get through to R better than us. Maybe an age thing ! It was one of the reasons he went to live away for 2 years while he was at Uni. If R had not been like he was, then S might not have gone. Although, I think we all needed him to do it, we just won’t admit it.

Well that’s it for now. i may just watch a bit of that old movie for a while.

Tags: Choice,movie,medication,blood,necklace,drug,hallucination,Autistic

England !!! This England…..


I really don’t get it. I just don’t understand this obsession, if you like, with ‘the Only Was Is Essex’. Or should that be ‘wiv Essex’. I’m quite sure that the majority of the people from that County are not anything like the two fools that were dancing (prancing) on Lets Dance for Sport Relief last night. Why do the women try to sound and look like Katie Price ? Hasn’t she got enough on her plate without hundreds of fake tanned ‘babes’ trying to emulate her. I blame Jamie Oliver and his laddish attitudes to food for this.

Then we have the other highly popular TV program, ‘My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding’. One minute we are getting court orders to move them on, then the next minute we think they are fantastic TV. Has the whole country become NIMBY’s ? I am beginning to think so. The same can be said of the ‘Occupy’ movement. Many many people support what they are trying to do, but only if does not disrupt their daily lives. Then it has to stop.

What is time to stop, is all these so called ‘Reality Shows’. Don’t be fooled, it is not ‘good television’ to watch the rich and famous making themselves look stupid. If they want to be like that, then let them get on with it, but not on my television and at my expense. Now, some will say “you can always turn it off”, but then what is the point of hundreds of channels, if it is turned off. We need more of, and this is in no particular order, is quality drama, quality comedy, quality documentary (do you see the theme here), quality music etc etc.

That rant is now over, although I may come back to this later.

Tags: England,obsession,Essex,babes,attitudes,food,Gypsy,NIMBY,Occupy,television,

expense,drama,comedy,theme,music

Stuck in the middle….


     Well there’s a blog title for you. Stuck in the middle of what ? Is it dinner ? Is it a queue at Tesco ? Actually, I’m talking about my latest foray into writing. This is my third attempt at a short story, and I’m stuck. I have the basic outline of what the story is, and have got the start and the middle and the end. I have also got from the start to the middle, but I am struggling with how to get from the middle to the end. I think, I need to print out what I have got so far, then try and expand on that first. The ‘start to middle’ bit could be a bit more descriptive. I don’t just want padding though, it has got to fit right. I also think I need to develop the characters more. That was something that was missing from the last attempt. What I should do, and I haven’t done so far, is write a very brief synopsis first. Then decide on the people who appear in the story. After that, I think I should build a small biography for each character. Identify their traits and characteristics, and create a personality for each one. I could eventually end up with portfolio of persona, to work with in the future. Hmmm… maybe I should create the characters first, and see how they fit into the story idea!!! It is so difficult to really get started. I have ideas bubbling around in my head, but I am not getting them into any order. I need to think this through a lot more, and start writing things down, instead of keeping them in my head. Light bulb First job then is to get one of those journalists note pads,and keep it handy. Then I can write down everything I think of, that may be useful. I often hear people say things which sound interesting or funny, but then can never remember them.

      If anyone has any ideas, then shout out. I need all the help I can get.

Tags: Tesco,synopsis,biography,Identify,traits,characteristics,portfolio,persona,journalists

How was it for you ??


As I understand it, last week was supposed to be the most miserable week of the year! Was yours? Mine certainly wasn’t. Where do these experts get these ideas from. For me, the most miserable week was the three days between Boxing Day and the 30th of December. It seemed to be three days of colleagues moaning about being at work for three days because ‘there’s nothing to do’. Then they started again the first full week back, moaning that ‘there’s too much to do’.

I think Mrs H has been ripped off. Last year she bought herself a cycle. It is one of those sit-up-and-beg’ type of cycles, with a basket on the front. Not what I would bikebuy, but it is what she wanted. It is like this one but a darker red. Well after the first couple of trips out, she got the idea that she would like to know how far she had cycled. I said I would have a look online for a cycle computer, knowing that I could get one locally for about £12.00. However, she decided to go back to the shop she bought the bike from and ask them. They sold he one that cost, in the sale, £39.99!! Well when she showed me, I immediately thought that it was more than she needed. It had been reduced from £49.99, which made me wonder if it was because they could not sell it. Anyway, I opened the package and took out the parts, found the instructions…in all 26 languages. Identified the ones nearest to English, or should I say Engrish, and began to study them. After about ten minutes of trying to understand some of the more bizarre set-up instructions, I gave up and put it all back in the package. This was not what Mrs K needed. One of the instructions was this:

1) position the cycle so that the front tyre valve is at the bottom of the wheel
2) mark in white chalk (yes that specific) on the road, the position of the valve
3) slowly move the cycle in a forward direction until the valve has made a single rotation
4) mark in white chalk (again) the new valve position
5) measure the distance between the two chalk marks

This will be the size of your wheel. Have they never heard PIxR squared.

cateyeAfter Christmas back, we took the thing back. Mrs H had also bought a wing mirror for the bike. When we tried to explain that it was more than she needed, the owner pointed out that it was the best in the shop, and that we did not need to use all the features. We also complained that the mirror seemed to have some part missing, to which the owner pointed out, that it was only a basic mirror and we should not expect much. I have to ask myself his motives here. A piece of equipment that is a luxury, he sells the best (most expensive) item. For something that is a safety feature, she gets the basic model. We came home without changing anything. He convinced Mrs H, that she had got what she needed. I was saying nothing. It was her decision. I would have asked for a refund.

So today, I made an attempt to fit the cycle computer. All the parts seemed to be in order, and once I had deciphered the instructions again, I began. Everything was okay, until I tried to fit the actual computer. It would not fit. You see, it is sort of wireless. In fact it is infrared. So that means the computer needs to be in direct line with the sensor on the wheel. As the cycle has a basket, this would not be possible with out removing the basket, which defeats one of the reasons she bought the bike. Mrs H will be going back to the shop once more. This time for a refund.

On a different note, I may be creating a website to hold my writing. It is not definite yet, as at the moment my WordPress blog seems to be working out. We shall see. Don’t forget to take a look at the two that are there now, and make any comments.