The Anonymous Widower

A London Mongrel Gets Ready For Christmas

I constantly, refer to myself as a London Mongrel, as my father did.

This extract from a previous post, explains why I do.

On the other hand, I’m a London Mongrel of German Jewish and French Huguenot roots, with quarters of stubborn Devonian and solid Northants yeoman stock thrown in. A large proportion of my ancestors are also real East Enders and of course my father was a genuine Cockney.

The older I get, the more I think, the Devonian genes of my Dalston-born maternal grandmother are asserting themselves.

I was going to my son’s house for Christmas Dinner, but we felt last night, that it was best to call it off, as although, what we had planned would have been within the rules, it would be better not to take any chances.

Yesterday, there was an article in The Times about how Michelin-starred chefs were doing Christmas meals in a box for home warming through!

So last night, I bought one for sixty-one pounds from Roasted by Jack and Scott.

I’ve already got the beer in, as this picture shows.

But then it’s all gluten-free, low-alcohol beer from Adnams, that tastes just like the halves from the same brewery, that my father used to buy for me sixty years ago.

My father didn’t want me to be the alcoholic his father was, so he introduced me to beer in social settings at an early age and now at seventy-three, I can honestly say, that, there are few times in my past, where I’ve got really drunk. So thank you, Dad!

But then my father was unconventional and didn’t follow the rules.

A year or so ago, I was reminded of a story about my father by someone I was at school with at Minchenden.

My father had ordered a new Vanden Plas Princess 1100 from a garage near the school. So one morning over breakfast, he asked the seventeen-year-old me, if I wouldn’t mind picking up the car after school and bring it home.

So after school, I picked up the car and took it home.

I can’t remember, if I gave any of my school-mates a lift. But I may have done!


The one problem, I have is not being able to watch Premier League football on television, except on Match of the Day.

The Premier League have sold the Christmas rights to Amazon, which is a company, I don’t do business with!

Anyway, as the pictures come by broadband, I doubt I’d be able to watch it, as my broadband is crap.

BT told my MP, it’s because I’m too close to the exchange!


I’ll be OK. But then like my father, my sons and my granddaughter, we all seem happy in our own company.

I am also lucky in being coeliac on a gluten-free diet!

The more I research my health, the more I’m convinced that my genes have given me a strong immune system and that is protecting me from the covids.

But then, self-isolating by habit is not a bad trait in these terrible times.


December 20, 2020 Posted by | Computing, Food, Sport | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Will Business Trust Ultra-Marxist Labour?

This is a paragraph from an article in today’s copy of the Times, which is entitled Labour’s Big Call Has BT Hanging By A Wire.

Only two weeks ago Mr Jansen, 52, had dismissed the threat of Labour nationalisation, saying that BT was “not on the list” and taking comfort from comments from John McDonnell over the summer and made personally. Labour’s shadow chancellor had said in an interview in July that there were “no tricks up my sleeve” and that the “limit of our ambition” was taking the power networks, Royal Mail, rail and water companies into state ownership.

It appears John MacDonnell has either changed his mind, or was doing something rather devious.

Will business at any level from the smallest corner shop to the largest FTSE 500 company ever trust what this ultra-Marxist Labour party says?

November 16, 2019 Posted by | Business, Computing, Finance, World | , , , , , | 6 Comments

Why Did You Cancel Your BT Direct Debit?

I picked up the phone and a believable voice asked the title of this post.

As there was no number visible on the phone display, I said that I hadn’t cancelled it and said, that I’ll check with my bank, before I put the phone back in its cradle.

It rang immediately, so I picked it up and told the caller to Fuck Off, as no company like BT would react like that, after I’d told them, I would check with my bank.

The phone rang about four more times and I suspect they had control of it, so I didn’t use it, but conteacted my bank on my mobile. The BT Direct Debit was still there.

An hour or so later, I rang a couple of friends to check my phone and the phone appeared to be working fine.

On checking with BT, they told me it was a well known scam.

The strange thing was that the call came on the day before my BT bill was due to be paid.

So as the scammer, had my phone number, name and billing date, it sounds like someone had read my details in a BT database.

One thing though the helpful girl from BT told me, was that if you cancel your Direct Debit to BT for any reason, you’ll get an e-mail.

So if you haven’t received an e-mail saying you’ve cancelled, it would appear that you haven’t cancelled.

Bloodly scammers!

December 14, 2016 Posted by | Finance, World | , , | 1 Comment

BT Gets Tough With Flying Rats

Flying rats or pigeons to the RSPB, are a problem in Liverpool Street station.

So BT has got tough!

BT Gets Tough With Flying Rats

BT Gets Tough With Flying Rats

It would probably help, if everybody dropping littler got sentence to sit on top of the phone-box for an hour.

November 21, 2016 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

Do I Have The Worst Broadband In Central London?

I doubt it, but I’ve decided to keep a proper log of all the problems.

March 15th, 2016 – 06:00 – I woke up to no broadband and only now at 07:15 can I write this.

March 16th, 2016 – 07:00 – Broadband dropped out for an hour.

March 18th, 2016 – 16:30– Broadband dropped out for an hour.

March 21st, 2016 – 16:30– Broadband dropped out for an hour.

March 22nd, 2016 – 19:30 – Broadband dropped out for a period.

March 23rd, 2016 – 08:00 – Intermittent service

March 23rd, 2016 – 13:30 – Intermittent service

March 23rd, 2016 – 16:00 – Intermittent service

March 23rd, 2016 – 17:00 – Intermittent service

March 24th, 2016 – 06:00 – Intermittent service

March 24th, 2016 – 11:00 – Broadband dropped out for an hour.

April 1st, 2016 – 17:30 – Broadband dropped out for an hour.

April 7th, 2016 – 19:30 – Intermittent service

What I would like is fibre-optic, but BT have said, that I’m too close to the exchange.

March 15, 2016 Posted by | Computing | , | 4 Comments

BT Sport Channel Numbers On A Steam Broadband Box

Despite almost being in the centre of London and only about a hundred metres from the exchange, I can’t get fibre optic here. I think, it’s because unlike everybody else in the road, I have a direct line to the exchange, so that unless they dig up the road to the exchange, I can wait for ever for fibre optic broadband. I might just as well be on St. Kilda as far as BT are concerned.

So I have to watch football, as I am now, through my steam broadband connection. To be fair the picture is generally acceptable.

But the problem is that I can never find the channels, as BT’s security system gives them obscure numbers, so that their steam broadband system doesn’t get overloaded.

The channel numbers are as follows.

507 – BT Sport 1,

508 -BT Sport 2.

509 – ESPN

How logical is that?

January 24, 2015 Posted by | World | , , | 2 Comments

BT Annoys The Big Six Energy Companies

You would think that BT would be very much in bed with the Big Six energy companies, as they probably draw their directors and advisers from the same pool of fat cats.

So I was surprised to find this guide to the quirkier small energy companies on BT’s web site.

I doubt a big broadband/telephone/mobile company would get into the energy business, as the corporate world is littered with failures of companies trying to ride two horses at once. But with smart meters coming in and all the connectivity that a broadband company has, they could offer you a free lifestyle application that calculated your energy usage and suggest how you could save money.

I can certainly see these applications being developed and when properly connected to your house or flat they could make a lot of difference to your lifestyle and how you sustain and support.

Electricity, gas, phone and broadband usage can all be precisely monitored and relayed to the app on your phone, tablet or laptop.

Much modern housing also has an activity monitor in each room of the dwelling. I have one in each room here and they are the controllers for the underfloor central heating. My ones aren’t but others exist that could be connected into the system. As the average adult is quite a large heat source of upwards of a kilowatt, they can effect the heat input to the room to maintain the required temperature.

Given to, that the Internet of things is coming, which will know what’s going on in the dishwasher, microwave, cooker and washing machine, the best apps will be able to tell you why you’re lifestyle is expensive.

And of course, I haven’t linked this to your car and credit card bills, yet!

Suppose too, you had intelligent scales that weighed you each morning and automatically took things like blood pressure and pulse.

Hopefully, these apps will nudge people to a better lifestyle.

I suppose in some ways, they will be a bit like automatic lifestyle coaches, suggesting things you might or should do.



January 18, 2015 Posted by | Computing, Health | , , | Leave a comment

BT Broadband Is Like A Whore’s Drawers

All day yesterday and for much of today, BT’s Broadband service has been terrible, going up and down like the unmentionables in the title of this post.

This a typical report about the problem from the BBC.

I do wonder if the problem lies in some of the historic exchanges. I’m connected to CLIssold and as the problem seems to have occurred in all sorts of random places, perhaps it is down to some equipment that is common but not universal on the network.

It’s a blpoody pain in the BuTT.

June 29, 2014 Posted by | Computing | , | 2 Comments

Are BT Winding Me Up?

BT have said, I can’t have fibre-optic broadband, as I’m too close to the exchange.  But this poster has appeared opposite my house, on a BT box.

That is just not on.  So should I complain to OFCOM?

December 3, 2013 Posted by | Computing | , , | 1 Comment

The Scandal Of 084x And 087x Numbers

The BBC is reporting today about expensive calls to financial companies and other institutions like the Inland Revenue and the NHS. It’s here on their web site.

For the first time, since I moved to BT in 2010, to save myself some money compared to Virgin, I decided to check my bills.

I have a tariff that allows me to call any landline at any time, for a flat fee of seven pounds a month. As I have some long landline calls, I suspect, I’m quids in on this.

But what surprised me was a fairly long call to the Netherlands cost me just twenty-eight pence.  Most of the call charges were calls to mobile numbers.

As to my bank, Nationwide and my two credit/charge cards, all are on 0845 numbers, which under my calling plan are free.  Not that I ever call them, as most seem to respond well to queries sent on-line.

In fact the only higher rate number I have rung in the last few months was a short call to my doctor, to book an appointment, as it’s an 0844 number.  But whether, I’m charged for it, I don’t know. You shouldn’t be charged for calls to your doctor. Booking an appointment, is something, that should be done on-line.

There is an interesting point here.  How many of us have calling plans, on which some or all of our landline calls free. So as we realise what we get, if companies published their actual numbers, they might get a few less customers, angry at hanging on at high cost. After all, if you do call direct, you probably get in the same queue.  So you will probably wait as long, but at no expense.

The real problem is calling these numbers on a mobile phone, as I’ve found several instances of people like benefit claimants being fleeced.

November 17, 2013 Posted by | News | , , | 1 Comment