Not really my style . . .


A few months ago, after reading this blog, a friend made the suggestion that I might want to have a go at creating either a video blog post (Vlog) or an audio blog post (podcast). After I had finished laughing, I tried to explain my reasons for not wanting to go down this line:

“I don’t have any recording equipment!” was my first line of defence. “You have a smartphone!” was the response.

“I wouldn’t have sufficient space on my WordPress account for audio/video files!” was my riposte. “Just create a link to a shared area on your One Drive!” came the return.

At that point, I made an excuse and logged off the app I was chatting on.

The main issue is with both a Podcast and a Video blog, is that I know what my voice sounds like. In my head, I sound like a young Charles Dance. In reality, my accent is quite broad(ish) and I sound like a poor man’s Fred Truman, which makes me feel a little self-conscious. So I don’t think you will be hearing from me in that sense, any time soon. Although … I did get a phone tripod, just in case.

<><><><><><><>

The path to “Lock-down … episode IV” has begun. I was shopping for a few essentials (wine, beer, gin etc) in a local supermarket. Ninety per cent, of the shoppers were continuing to wear a face mask as requested. But I could not help noticing five or six customers that seemed to think that pulling the neck of their T-shirts over their mouth would work. The fact that as soon as they reach out to take something off the shelf, their mouth becomes exposed seemed to have little or no effect.

I fear that these next few weeks are going to be ‘make or break’ in this pandemic. Of course, the Prime Minister cannot lose here. As the Government appears to have abandoned responsibility and forced that responsibility onto us, he is in a ‘win-win’ situation. If everything goes well after the great ‘unlocking’ then he will be the Hero of the day. However, if the whole thing goes pear-shaped, then it will be our fault for dodging our own personal responsibilities.

Everyone is doing one …


Well, it seems like it! One of my neighbours is doing one, and an old colleague has just finished his first! So I’m considering doing my own. The only issue I have is what would it be about? I mean they all seem to have a theme. By the way, I’m talking about “Podcasts.”

How difficult can it be? All I need is a microphone and a computer, in fact, I’m creating this post on a laptop that has a built-in microphone. Then there is my smartphone which can capture audio. I have a YouTube account that I can upload the Podcast to, so what is to stop me from broadcasting to the world? Well as I mentioned before “… what would it be about?“. What possible expertise or knowledge, do I have that people may find interesting to hear about.

Then, there is another option to consider. What about a Vlog? Possibly (definitely) a step too far.

Something to think about … maybe.

Pretty good service …


I needed a new case for my smartphone. As usual. I trawled eBay looking for the best buy. I wanted a red one, for no other reason but a change from black. There were very many to choose from at a variety of prices. I made my decision and placed the order. The expected delivery date was 14th – 15th September. It did not arrive and so on the 18th I logged a ‘query’ with eBay.

I was fully expecting an auto response telling that I would hear from the seller in ‘x number of days’. So you may imagine my surprise when less than an hour later, I had this response.

“Hi Sorry to hear that the item you have not received yet we have shipped on time sometime Transit let us down they lost or damaged our parcel in transit or took time in delivery , we will send you again for you please accept our apology for that we are happy to send one again for you but we do not have Red color in stock we do have Black, Purple, Pink and Orange in stock for now please chose one of them and we will send one for you asap please accept our apology for that we are struggling for stock in this Covid 19 Situations. Thanks”

Well I couldn’t really argue with that. As I have mentioned, I didn’t want black again and the thought of either Pink or Orange didn’t really appeal, I looked at the Purple and just hoped that it wasn’t too bright or gaudy. The online image did look quite bright, but I bit the bullet and finally opted for it.

I went through the messaging system again and let them know. The bit that bothered me was the words ‘send one for you asap‘. I wondered how long ‘asap‘ would turn out to be. I was very surprised when the following day, a parcel popped through the letter-box that turned out to be my new Purple cover. It must have been posted 1st class to get here that quickly and I needn’t have worried as it wasn’t as bright as the pictures showed.

A bit of fun … bad me


I’ve been having a bit of fun with the neighbours. Leeds has produced an app for the smartphone that tells you which waste bin to put out and when. It’s free and can be used on the iPhone or and Android phone. There is even an app for the PC. The take up of this app has only been about 15%, which considering the work and the usefulness of it is a shame. What happens in this street, is that most people will not put out their bin, until I do. They see which bin I put out then follow suit.

Now, this is where the fun comes in. The bin has to be at the roadside by 07:00am. Often, well occasionally I will put the wrong bin out on purpose. For example, I’ll put the recycling bin out on the evening before the general waste bin is due to be emptied. Then the next day, before 07:00am, I will swap the bins over and put the correct one out. Then I sit and wait and watch the reactions.

I know it’s bad of me, but we are all responsible for our own rubbish, so it’s up to us to know which bin and when.

I suspect I’ll get my comeuppance the day I forget to swap the bins over.

360 degree turn around …


I find more than a little ironic that a couple of months ago, parents were being demonised. Their kids were using their smart phones to chat with their friends instead of having face-to-face conversations. Condemned for allowing them to sit in their rooms with their tablets and laptops. Now look at were we are at. Kids cannot meet-up with their friends to do homework, play or even just talk. No, now its all changed, and now parents are being lambasted for doing the opposite of what the experts have been telling them for the past few years.

This virus seems to have turned the world on it’s head. I remember reading that we are now a nation of on-line shoppers and that this was having a devastating effect on the high-street. Now we are finding that the high-street is shut and have to turn to on-line shopping. I’m not sure how many, if any independant grocers or vegetable shops are open, but if any are, I cannot see them staying open much longer if the staff start falling ill. So supermarkets are now the good guys.

<><><><><><><>

On another point, the postman has just delivered today’s post. This consisted of a bank statement, a birthday card, and a couple of letters. But what I find unacceptable, is that also included with what might be important information was two leaflets for house renovations and a ‘news-letter’ advertising local restaurants! Surely this kind of stuff is not necessary. I also notice that television advertising are still showing people getting together in pubs and restaurants. There was even an advert for a well known burger chain that closed it’s stores the day before the advert was shown!

Waste of 40 minutes …


Not quite 40 minutes but it seemed like it. So what was the waste? I have been wondering about adding a vlog post to this blog. Do not know what I want from it yet, but thought it could be another string to my bow. Ladies and gentlemen, I have to announce that “It’s not going to anytime happen soon folks!” Firstly for want of a better word, the camera on this laptop is dire. In fact, it is probably worse than dire. It was grainy with the poorest sound reproduction ever. It took most of the said 40 minutes to work out how to start the recording. Then after viewing the video I began to wish I had not found out how to!

So then, onto the iPad. Much better camera, better resolution (although still very grainy), but I found myself looking at the screen rather than the camera itself. Result was that I seemed to be looking to the right all the time. Not good at all.

Next I tried my smartphone. This has a great camera. The resolution was much better but again can’t quite train myself to look at the camera.  Hence on that video I appeared to be looking at my feet most of the time.

In conclusion, unless I can get a better camera set-up, I think my days as a VLogger have to be put out to pasture. I might try and rig up my Panasonic Lumix Camera as a web-cam. I seem to remember seeing that it can connect to a computer using a HDMI cable. I also have one of those Flip cameras, but that only has one capture lens.