Tuesday, 28 October 2014

There are no new complaints, they are all recycled.

It was pointed out to me that some of my younger readers may not be familiar with 'Outraged of Tunbridge Wells' so I thought I had better explain.

The term is shorthand for the most provincial, narrow-minded grouch, the sort who pens angry letters to local newspapers. I always imagine a retired Colonel type, a blustery gent whose monocle drops out of his eye at the sight of a lady's ankle.

I was googling to try and find a copy of such a missive to illustrate my point, and I came across this.

SIR – On behalf of the menfolk who, either having their hour’s break for lunch, or, in many cases, having had sandwiches for the midday meal, wait for a bus to take them home to a well-earned hot meal, I protest that it is sickening to see the buses come in loaded chiefly with women returning from shopping during the lunch hour or between 5pm and 6pm.

I, myself, this week on one occasion had to let five buses go and not until the sixth was I able to get on.

No doubt if you publish this a good many women will want to pull my hair out, but I take that chance, knowing full well the menfolk will agree I am correct.
So come along, ladies, look after your husband. Shop early and help him get home in comfort and good time.

RT Corden
December 5 1947

Now, substitute 'working people' for 'menfolk', and 'the unemployed and mothers with pushchairs and children in tow' for 'women' and you will have a modern day issue for many a current bus user.

It just shows that there are no new complaints, they are just updated and recycled.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Outraged of Tunbridge Wells

In a wave of outrage which, in previous years, would have had people reaching for their fountain pens and dusting off their best Basildon Bond (these days, a keyboard and 140 characters have taken their place), people have been lambasting ASOS for selling these cushions.

It's disgusting!!

It shouldn't be allowed!!

As a diagnosed Depressive who suffers from severe Anxiety Attacks, I actually find it quite funny.  I wouldn't buy it, but that is because I actually have no idea what the purpose of cushions is.

Now this one does get me reaching for the Basildon Bond.

It actually makes me feel ill just having it on my post.  But no-one seems concerned about this at all.

Why would you want something like this in your house?

Friday, 24 October 2014

Payout for child fathered by deep cover PC.

It has been on the news the last couple of days that a woman 'Jacqui' has been awarded nearly half a million pounds in compensation for having a baby with a deep undercover Police Officer.

Apparently he was part of team created to infiltrate protest groups back in the mid 80s and she was one of the activists under investigation.

According to the BBC report, fellow former SDS officer Peter Francis told Radio 4's Today programme that sex was "used by almost everybody who was serving in that unit".

He added that undercover officers were "expected, not ordered" to "engage in relationships" and that while there was no policy on becoming involved in sexual relations, there was "no policy saying that you couldn't either".

Now I have read the report a few times and can see no mention of a gun being held to Jacqui's head forcing her to have sex.

There is no mention of her having a gun held to head forcing her to keep the child.

The sex was obviously consensual.

To all intents and purposes, Jacqui had a relationship with a man, didn't marry him but had his child and he then disappeared.  Unfortunately, this is not an unusual occurrence.

So why is this pay out of taxpayers' money justified?

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

The outcome of my holiday complaint

I have accepted £100 from the booking agents, I have been trying to get my money refunded for nearly 4 months now and I have to accept that I have reached stalemate.

ABTA have been no help at all.

I looked into the small claims court, but it is too much to pay out to start proceedings, I am already a couple of hundred pounds down and I can't afford to pay out anymore.

Somewhere2Stay are still refusing to comment on, or even acknowledge, the month it took them to tell me that the Maritim had refused the booking.

As well as the difference in price between the hotels and the cost of eating out even though I had paid for an evening meal, there was the cost of a taxi to the airport from Calella, this cost €120.  I had booked a return transfer and I received confirmation of the time of the return trip and pick up location.

For whatever reason, the time of the pick up was changed, the transfer company contacted all the hotels where pick ups had been arranged so that they could put signs up in the reception area noticeboard to notify the traveller.  Unfortunately, as I had been moved, I did not receive any notification.

After waiting at the pick up point for an hour, I tried ringing the contact number on the booking confirmation, but there was no answer.  I walked down to the train station and took a taxi.

I have calculated what the holiday cost me.

I expected to pay £510

I could have paid £420 had I booked the Santa Monica myself, choosing B&B and eating meals out.

I ended up paying £685.

(I laid all of this out in an excel spreadsheet but I couldn't post it to my blog!)

So lesson learnt, make sure the company you are ultimately booking with is reputable.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Does Coventry city centre really need more identikit pubs?

Coventry city centre is failing.  Shops are closing and moving out.  If a building remains empty for more than a week it is turned into student accommodation, or so it seems.  

In the last few years, the Leofric Hotel, main Post Office, a 7 floor office block and a Yates's have been turned into student halls.

The Post Office sorting office in Bishop Street has been sold for redevelopment, presumably for more student accommodation.

We have a 3 storey Primark, several pound shops, cheap card shops.  We also have many, many phone shops and bookmakers.  We have 2 Costas and a Starbucks, plus several independent coffee shops.  We have several charity shops.

And we have pubs.

Lots and lots of pubs.

All of which could be located in any town or city within the country.  

Whilst both city centre Wetherspoons have local photos adorning the walls, they are still very obviously Wetherspoons, and whilst the beer is reasonably priced and the food good they are still just part of a chain.

I know that it is a problem everywhere, but we are losing all the pubs with individual character, everything is becoming an identikit pub, almost flat packed to be assembled anywhere.

We still have a few independent pubs, or at least pubs owned by small breweries, hanging on, such as The Old Windmill in Spon Street.

Also known as Ma Brown's, it was in here that my Great-Grandmother, called Granny Brown (no relation) by everyone, knocked a man unconscious with one punch as he was pestering another woman and wouldn't leave off.

There is The Whitefriars Ale House in Gosford Street.

There are a couple more, but they are few and far between and get very busy with people who like to be able to tell what town they are drinking in.

This week we had the news that Cathedral Lanes, another White Elephant shopping centre, has been sold to be changed into yet more pubs and restaurants.

Will they be like a breath of fresh air?

Or will it be same-old-same old?

The first establishment is due to open in December 2015, so I guess we will have to wait and see.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Who do you see when you watch a film?

I am watching The World Is Not Enough in which Remmington Steel plays James Bond, Jean Pargetter plays M, and Basil Fawlty plays the future head of Research and Development (R).

And I was wondering, when you watch a programme or film, are you immediately immersed in the plot and the characters, or do you think 'oh, that's so and so from such and such show/film'?

If you watched The Bill, did you see Tucker Jenkins, Mark Fowler, or did you forget all of those and just see Gabriel Kent?

Do you see a director credit of Susan Tully and think, wow she is really good, or did you think 'Michelle...' or even Suzanne Ross?

Did you watch Star Wars and shout out 'Mr Bronson'?

Does everything you watch seem to link back to Grange Hill, generally via Albert Square?

Do you see Gwyneth Powell and shout 'Mrs McCluskey', or Michael Cronin as 'Bullet Baxter'?

Or is it just me?