Category Archives: RANTS!

Well, it just NEEDS saying. And about 7 times out of 10, the subject later comes under scrutiny by a wider press.

Return of the Grey Men.

Funny meetings going, featuring tricky blokes, sat around together plotting – (remember Thatcher’s disposal weeks)?

It all seems a bit outlandish, me saying this – until you hear just who it is that’s having this odd, away from everyday business meeting:

  • Liam Fox
  • Boris Johnson
  • Priti Patel.

Anyway, presuming they really are talking about trade agreements (why? On their own) – I thought I’d add here a thought on what they’ve been saying.

Radio 4 reported that one of these blokes reminded the nation that we have no trade deals with America, or Australia or New Zealand.

Simplistic view that I have – I thought these places were, like a long, long way away?

Australia (or New Zealand) by sea 11, or 12 THOUSAND miles.
USA – about 3000 miles.

So we’re going to use Container ships for this trade – what a giant leap forward, in this 21st Century: ship more crap around the planet.

That’s the best we’ve got to look forward to, post-Brexit is it?

Motor muses.

A quick walk up the road (the service road where Idah’s Patisserie sits, Christchurch Road, Bournemouth) one morning got my mind brimming with annoyances within about fifty steps.

Not the best time to be blogging I’ll admit, from a tired perspective  – but I thought I’d dig my heels in and type out this poison anyway.

Annoyance#1 – walk past a 4×4 Princessvagen (white 4×4, blonde, massive sunglasses), and aforementioned Princess is sat inside; parked, engine running (diesel)- why?  For heat?  For air-conditioning?  (and if for the latter – just think about what that means – she is filtering her own air, whilst pumping a load of crap into the air of those on foot).

Annoyance#2 – Four steps on and I spot a Nissan Nirvana – pristine, no marks anywhere, especially at the ‘pickup’ end, the cover was clean enough to eat off of, no tow-bar – I got to wondering why the owner had it all?  Of course – it looks a bit like an American pick-up, of course, of course.

Annoyance#3 – the BIGGY – behind the Nirvana sat, well, what I can only describe as a Homage to glass, steel and lighting jazziness.
It was bloody enormous.  It was Range Rover Sport, minimum cost for new one?  About £60,0000.  No tow-bar.
A white van was trying ease itself past said monstrosity as I walked past, it couldn’t do it, the Range Rover was too wide – so both blokes sat inside the trade wagon cab chatting, leering at the female students on the pavement, one chucked his empty coffee cup out of the window.

Choice.   Oh god choice.  Why can’t we buy what we bloody well want Evans?

Well, quite honestly, my first thought was “bloody hell – what do you do with all that SPACE?”  I wasn’t thinking about Costs, or Pollution, or – god in heaven – people’s bloody CHOICE to do what they want.

But then choice is a double-headed banana isn’t it?

In the summer I’m often on or around the Sandbanks ferry area – and here I witness more choice being exercised – on a hot day, in a mile-long ferry queue – the choice to leave your engine on so that the air-conditioning is still working (why the hell did you bother to ‘go out’ at all?) – by god, they’re even starting to do it ON the ferry – a mere 12min run.

(The same thing happens in the winter – Car engines running on the Ferry – to keep the heating on).

So perhaps choice is a responsibility, which, sadly appears to be neglected more and more – as the UK becomes more and more liberal-minded.  Odd that.

Air pollution #1

delivery_truck

Just a thought (air quality/pollution) – as all supermarket home
delivery vehicles run quite light distances, and never far from base before returning – why are not every single one of them electric?

George Monbiot penned a beautifully researched piece << here >> about this.

And further – now the supermarkets have got back into the high street (Tesco express, Sainsburys local etc) we are seeing enormous trucks arrive to re-stock them – how is this progress?  Surely out-of-town distribution points should be where the big trucks go no further, then much smaller electric trucks complete the job?

I mean, are we serious about this or not?

You could go further – Taxis, in other words – those that merely
poodle around town all day – electric – why not?

I guess the time will come, no doubt the death rate isn’t high enough yet.

caveat emptor

sunny-instant-cash-loans-slogan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amongst the Christmas TV stuff Sunny loans implored us to chill out, fear not, Sunny offer ‘life support’ – if, IF you take out one of their loans.

Let’s just be clear here – if you borrow £500 and take a year to pay it back, you’ll be paying back £6455 in interest. OK?

sunny loans cost

OK this is all common knowledge isn’t it? You merely need to peer down to the bottom-left bit of your screen, keep your eyes fixed there and you’ll see the APR plainly displayed for each and every one of those likely to be taken in, to jot it down, grab a calculator, work out all the stuff, and make Sunny loans a company that NEVER has any customers – it’s easy isn’t it?

What the hell are people supposed to do? What with new handbags needed so badly, latest phones arriving, fitness trackers making people so cool across our screens, pet insurance sold like you’ll be a murdering bastard if you think it unnecessary.

I really don’t know what all the fuss is about? Get into sufficient mess and you can ring-up “South Today” or “Points East” or post on Twitface that your son/daughter/lovely kitten is about to die of starvation; all because of these awful terrible loan people.  They just don’t care, do they?

You Switch – you lose – eventually.

YOU-SWITCH TV ad’s April 16.

Phil Glenister, (chosen doubtless for his forthright/no-nonsense/pseudo-tough/everyman image) tells us he’s fed up with the public complaining about their energy prices.

All the UK public need to do is log-in, add a few details, switch and . . . (pause whilst he whisks a fistful of £20 notes out of his shirt pocket) SAVE.

Singularly failing to inform us that power in the UK is TWICE as expensive as the European average, or that you-switch are being PAID by the suppliers to list their services.

Who the hell really SHOULD have to switch, and deal, and switch, and deal – to get a reasonable price for Gas or Electric?

(I mentioned a deeper thought on this October of last year )

So it’s our fault is it?  Our fault we’ve neo-liberalised ourselves into believing this sort of thing is good idea.  That you can be encouraged to keep jumping around between Banks, Telecoms, Energy-suppliers, Insurance companies – in the name of some assumed benefit, not at all linked to true value or loyalty.  Such a fickle, non-enduring, PLASTIC way to live.

And remember, plastic is choking the oceans.

a long byte

17/11/2015

ExhaustedTeacher

Long day – about 12 hours today (it’s open evening here at College) – and I always find that by the time I get home (8.15pmish) I’m still buzzing – so getting to sleep is difficult.

Trouble is, the team are still in red-alert mode as we’re in the middle of an ‘observation window’ – where any session you teach on might be visited by a clipboarded person who checks if you’re brilliant, or crap.  Every teaching session needs informing by a raft of paperwork: the annual plan, a profile list of various learning difficulties, timetables, registers . . . 2-folders worth.

I am currently sat in a classroom where IT students cannot save work, because there is some system problem.  The same problem as yesterday, a different problem to last week, which was similar to the problem the week before – itself a re-run of the ‘glitch’ experienced the week before that.

Is anyone counting?

These items occurring just after the set-up weeks (Sept – into end October) where you’re requesting capacity uplifts (why?) to have printers attached to PCs that need them (why?) to have Moodle available to an entire Course (why?) – a score of IT glitches, or misconfigurations that a lecturer – moving from room to room during the course of a timetable tries to sort out, and just about manages by the end of October.  I’ve just counted – I have sent 39 emails to MITS since the beginning of this academic year – all dealt with brilliantly, I have to say.

The lecturers put a really brave face on it, but – let’s be honest, we’ve all become a little scared of saying anything.

Meanwhile (and this week alone – my god it’s only Tuesday) – we are here: Capacities shrink, or Drives disappear altogether, files appear and disappear, files become read-only, entire software suites magically ‘not there’ after some upgrade, or some alteration.

Today (18/11/15) an excellent 2nd year A-Level student was within a centimetre of losing a year’s work – where the PC was steadily corrupting her memory-stick, I had enough time to help her – in-between pressing a keyboard stroke, and then waiting for the character to appear on-screen, a few seconds later.

Wanna deal, matey?

spiv2Well I dunno – it’s all got a bit Barra-Boy spivs smoking tiny cig-ends leaning against lamp posts in the swirling fog.

What is? The process of buying stuff you HAVE TO BUY, here in the UK.

Take gas or electric. You can find a deal if you search and switch, and then comply with a few restrictions. No-one will offer the lowest possible price to you (taking into account all costs and investments needs) just because it’s a human necessity.

I mean REALLY?   You have to seek out a DEAL on Gas/Electric?

You know, I don’t really want to have to find a deal for something as basic as heating and cooking, or for a legal requirement, or to discover hidden costs, hidden deals, hidden prices.
More, I shouldn’t have to.

Train tickets?   One price somewhere, another price somewhere else, and no doubt there’s a deal to be had somewhere else again.

spivInsurance? (and don’t forget motor insurance is a legal necessity) You’ll get a quote. It will be ridiculous, you get another – no better, you go online, much different – you call the original company, and they (guess?) do a deal – bettering their 1st offer by £100 or more.

 

What does that say?
It says “you HAVE to buy insurance, so I’m gonna fleece you as much as I can – AND I’m going to send officious documents reminding you of your legal duty whist I rip you off.  When I’ve finished doing that, I’m gonna sell your details on to garages, ambulance chasers, legal firms if I discover you might have a need (?) for one of these, AND then I’ll take a cut of their profits”.

 

OK, OK I know – this is the market economy. Competition drives down prices. Competition adds choice, avoids cartels – and it seems to work – to a point.

I think in the UK, we’ve just stepped-over that point where it’s healthy.

For me, it’s starting to feel faintly subversive, with smutty, untrustworthy trickster-land dealing that subverts decent trade and denies reasonable access to fair-priced necessities.

RYANAIR – check-In

checkin

RyanAir, it seems, really don’t want you to Check-in for a flight at the Airport – they REALLY don’t.

If you DARE arrive at the airport to check-in (so, to confirm your availability is it?   or What?) you’ll be charged an extra £20 or so, and then £15 per boarding pass to print.  If you’ve got more than hand-luggage, well . . . . guess.
OK, so lesson learned, ticket prices are NOT ticket prices anymore – they’re a sort of starting-point, then add about £100 per person.

It got me thinking about this.  We were encouraged to check-in for our return flight, before we’d even got to the airport for the FLIGHT OUT.  It seemed to me (in some dreamy past, I’m sure, and totally unrelated to the real-world no-doubt) that Check-In used to be, “Yes, I’m here – and not been run over by a Camel en-route”  or  “Yes, here, and No, Aunty Frederika’s new illness hasn’t disrupted our travel plans at the last moment”.

How, in the name of God – can you check-in for something, from SOMEWHERE ELSE?

“by Sainsbury’s”

by_sainsburys

I don’t DO Sainsbury’s very much.

I have nothing in particular against them, just prefer NOT to avail myself of theirs, or Tesco’s, or Asda’s self-proclaimed bargains, price drops, ‘lower’s, or whatever else they snowball you with, the second you’re in through the door.

I’ve noticed (on one of my non-visits, you understand) that everything in Sainsbury’s these days is labelled-up like it’s some sort of highly-designed, desirable, specialist, rare, beautiful . . . thing.

A kettle, some Spread for you toast, a toothbrush – it doesn’t matter how plain, obvious or ordinary – it’s all “by Sainsbury’s” – where this kind of labelling, only 2 years ago, used to be the unique reserve of exotic merchandise.