The Anonymous Widower

The Hornets React

I said in this post, that the hornets would react and they have according to this piece on the BBC.

Hundreds of Twitter users have reacted to a footballer’s bid to find out who is putting information about him on the website by posting new messages online.

I’ve just looked and the BBC is right and they’re even easier to find, even if you don’t know the name of the footballer.

I think that this story has run its course, so if Imogen would like a nice meal one evening next week, all she has to do is post a message here and I’ll see what I can do.  As the lady is Welsh some nice Welsh lamb in marmalade might be a suggestion. It would be more appropriate if we can find some Welsh marmalade.

But on second thoughts, why would she want supper with me, a broken down widower?

May 21, 2011 Posted by | Computing, News, Sport | , | 2 Comments

The Joy Of Sox

I always read Melanie Reid in the Saturday Times.

Today she talked about her awful socks and proposed a satirical book called The Joy of Sox.

I sympathise with her.

I do my own washing and find sorting it difficult after the stroke, as it is an action that needs two good hands and I’ve only got about 1.6.  But until recently, I found putting them on difficult and spent a great deal of time finding ones that were easier than others.

But in the last couple of weeks, my hands seem to have cracked the problem and now they go on like they used to before I had the stroke.

Here’s wishing Melanie the same sort of progress.

May 21, 2011 Posted by | Health, World | , , | Leave a comment

Caitlin Moran on Slutwalk

I’m not sure about SlutWalk, but Caitlin Moran in The Times today has a thoughtful piece that should be read by everyone.

She says that it is movement that has captured the anger in young women across the world.

I would agree, but it’s not just young women that are angry.  Look at the protests in Spain by young men and women about the lack of jobs and as Caitlin points out, the protests across the Arab world and especially Tunisia.

And pensioners and others are angry at how their savings have been ruined by the bankers!

We will see more protests in the current months, unless governments take radical decisions to improve the lot of everyone.

To return to SlutWalk, I’ve always felt that anybody is entitled to wear what they want and not what someone tells them to. As an example I’m not struck on facial piercings, as they give me the creeps, but if someone wants them, then that is their affair!

Obviously what people wear should not be illegal or offensive.

So a T-shirt praising nuclear power or the building of waste incinerators would be acceptable, but one praising the works of Adolf Hitler would not be.

May 21, 2011 Posted by | News | , | Leave a comment

The Queen Goes Walkabout

The Times indicates today that the Queen on her visit to Cork, broke away from her carefully scripted itinerary and actually met the Irish people.

I suppose at her age, after a life in which she lived through the Blitz and still rides regularly, she knows a threat when she sees it and sensed that in Cork, her biggest danger was from obsessive secutrity, so she did what she does best and just met and talked to the people.

The Times describes it like this.

In the closing hours of the tour – in, of all places, the rebel county of Cork – she broke off from her carefully choreographed itinerary to meet the cheering crowds gathered outside the city’s English Market.

And there’s this from the Irish Times! She even ended up on the Gaelic Football pages of the Irish Independent. That must be a real first, as usual the only sports pages she graces these days are the racing ones.

I think that in a few weeks time after Barack Obama’s visit, the vast majority of the Irish will remember her visit much more than that of the US President, as I suspect the number of ordinary Irish men and women he meets will be counted on the fingers of one hand.

I suspect bookmakers will be offering very short odds on the return of the Queen to Eire. Especially, after this piece in the Irish Independent.

I think we should all be prepared for a flood of adverts extolling the sites and virtues of Cork.

May 21, 2011 Posted by | News, Sport | , , , | Leave a comment

The Palm Dog

Most cinema enthusiasts have heard about the Palme d’Or awarded at the Cannes Film Festival for the best film.

I hadn’t realised until today, that there was also a Palm Dog, awarded to the best performance by a canine.  The award this year was won by Uggy, a Jack Russell, in a film called The Artist.

May 21, 2011 Posted by | News | , , , | Leave a comment

Why Did London Ever Buy the Bendy Buses?

One of the bus routes, the 141,  near me, has some double-deck buses that are about ten years old.  So they are not in the best of condition, but they don’t break down and take passengers, both able-bodied and disabled with ease.

Today, I was on a new Dennis Trident and from where I sat in the front, I could see the warranty plate.  The chassis and bodywork got twelve years, the engine three and the gear-box five, which struck me as a firm statement of reliability by the manufacturer.

I also have the 73 or seventy-free near me, which are younger than the older 141s and are starting to look rather tatty. Given their accident record and the fact that passengers, drivers, cyclists and pedestrians don’t like them, it always puzzles me, why anybody would be stupid enough to buy the damn things in the first place?

Especially, as they are Spanish-built, whereas both Wright and Dennis Alexander buses are assembled in the UK.

What really shows up the bendy bus to me, is when I go shopping at Upper Street.  I have a choice of six direct routes home, but I rarely catch a 73.  I usually go in the morning, when bus loads are low, so on return on a double deck bus, I usually am able to walk easily to the back of the bus and sit with my shopping bag on the seat next to me.  So I have comfortable ride home.  On a bendy bus, space is so much more cramped, that I either put the bag on my lap or block the aisle with it. I have heard that new London buses will have seats wider than the legal minimum at 440 mm. For a small person like me, that means I can sit on a window seat with my shopping outside and not block the aisle seat.

May 21, 2011 Posted by | Transport | , | 4 Comments

Strauss-Kahn is a Disgrace

The Times today carries an article under the title of Love bomb that failed to go off, which describes in detail how he pursued a French reporter working in London. I’m not quoting from the article, as it is copyright and although it is in a respectable newspaper, it might not be 100% true. I’m no lawyer, but I would feel that Strauss Kahn did enough to fall foul of The Harassment Act.

If I or any other person, behaved like the article alleges, I would certainly have had the police at my door.

If he is that desperate for women, then he can always phone up and get one delivered on a plate wrapped to whatever taste he prefers.

Type “Strauss Kahn escort” into Google and you find this.

On a positive side perhaps Strauss Kahn and Fred Goodwin should form themselves a bank called the Wunch Bank.  They deserve each other.

May 21, 2011 Posted by | Finance, News | , , , , | 1 Comment

Wot! No Football!

Today is a Saturday without football. The Scottish and Womens Cup finals don’t count.

So I suppose I’ll have to do some more tidying up. Although, I might watch the rugby.

May 21, 2011 Posted by | Sport | | Leave a comment

A Final Good Bye TO EDF Energy – Hopefully!

When I Bought This house the electricity and gas supplier was EDF Energy. At the time I thought it would be a good idea to stick with them, as it might be less hassle to get them to continue to do the supply than change.

But after trying to get sense from EDF Energy, I signed up with nPower, as I detailed here.  I set up Direct Debits too, soon after they changed the meter on the day they said they would, and at the time precisely.

In my original post, I did imply that Thames Water, tried to get aggressive  in trying to sell me things I didn’t need. But I’ll forgive them that, as when I needed to read the water meter, the lady in the call centre told me in detail how to do it. They also gave me a free tour of Abbey Mills and the sewers with very good food afterwards.

Over the six months or so, I’ve got a lot of writs for the previous owners tenants.  The biggest of which was for several hundred pounds from a company collecting on behalf of EDF Energy. It was from an agency in Glasgow, so I suspected someone from Alex Ferguson’s charm school to give me some form of hair-drying, when I phoned them.  But I got a nice guy, who told me to forget the bill  and shred it, after asking a few questions in a polite manner.

Nothing much happened until about two months ago, except for a series of mysterious calls on my mobile phone, which might be linked to EDF Energy.

I then got a bill from EDF Energy of £180.83, which on querying with them, they said was for the time whilst they were swapping everything over to nPower.  I immediately queried it on the phone and I then got a reduced bill of £70.46, but I thought this was still too high as it ran from the 1st December 2010, when I didn’t move in until the 12th.

I was now dealing with them by e-mail and the e-mail said this.

If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact me via my email.

So I did.  Several times, in an attempt to get the bill adjusted to the 12th of December or full explanation of their calculations.  Let’s face it there comes a point, where you don’t fight a bill of seventy quid any longer, as it just isn’t worth the effort. I also put it in a letter to them.

That point came on Thursday, when I sent them the money by bank transfer. But even that wasn’t as simple as paying other companies, as their bank, doesn’t accept the faster payments system, that virtually all others do. This excellent system means you get a certified receipt for a payment within a few minutes. Read about them here in the Guardian. If ever there was a reason for Internet banking, it’s this payment system.

It’s been debited from my bank account, so it’s somewhere in the system. It’s probably being processed in some overseas department of France, if they use a French bank.

I should say that their automated system phoned my mobile phone number, despite the fact that I told them I always deal with people over my landline. This automated system had no way getting a realperson and expected me to type in the twelve digits of my debit card number without making a mistake.  I can do that easily on my large button landline phone, but not on my Nokia 6310i.  Their automated system is about as customer friendly to someone with a small disability like me, as a unicycle.  So in the end I hung up on them. They didn’t ring again.  Surely that is wrong, as some other companies, will ring you back with a real person if the person accepting the call doesn’t seem to be responding properly.

Let’s hope that’s the end of it. I shall certainly not be recommending EDF Energy to any of my friends.  As they say on Eurovision, they have earned nil points for Customer Service.

Any more calls from them and I’ll use the famous Sun headline from the 1970s or so.

May 21, 2011 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Frock Horror

As a man, this is a problem I don’t have!

I suspect though that the two women cared!

Although one might have cared more than the other, as she actually paid for the dress.

But who are Bar Refaeli and Victoria Silvstedt anyway?

May 21, 2011 Posted by | World | , , | 1 Comment