Sunday, 29 March 2015

Why some things affect me and others don't.

I have already blogged about how I am unable to empathise with other people and struggle to understand their issues and events over the last couple of weeks have just emphasised this.

I went numb when I heard about the Germanwings flight crashing into the Alps, purely because of where it had taken off from.  Once I had checked that there was no-one I knew on it, end of problem.

Jeremy Clarkson has been sacked for giving his producer a split lip, and yes, I signed the petition to get him re-instated.  This is because I enjoy watching Top Gear, I like Jeremy Clarkson and so his sacking affects me as the show is no longer going to be the same and my enjoyment of it will be lessened.

I know that more people signed the Clarkson petition than signed one to end FGM, and I added to that imbalance, but FGM doesn't affect me therefore I have no interest.  And I know that people will probably be horrified at that admission, but that is how I am.

If it doesn't affect me and mine, then it might as well be happening on Mars.

Silent Sunday - 29/03/15

Monday, 23 March 2015

Bring back the workhouses.

I don't mean gruel and straw mattresses, but the concept is good.

Apparently homelessness has increased more than 50% in the last 5 years, and this could be a way towards solving that issue.

A workhouse, for want of a better word, could provide a safe place to sleep, store personal items and three meals a day; a safe place to shower and launder clothes.  In return, each resident goes out to work 5 days a week at one of an approved list of employers, with work clothes provided.  

A weekly allowance would be given to allow leisure time activities but random drug and alcohol tests would be compulsory.

This would let the residents learn a trade and be able to apply for paying jobs eventually moving out of the workhouse and gaining independence.

What do you think?

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Random words and phrases that spill over from your childhood.

Like most children, I called birds Dicky Birds, this was shortened in our family to Dick-Dicks.  To this day we still say to the dog, 'don't leave your toys outside, the dick-dicks will have 'em', and she goes out to fetch them.

That's another thing, all our dogs have had names, but have always been referred to as 'The Dog'.

Oranges were 'nongs' and I still occasionally think this word in my head, the same with 'ooshes' which were shoes.

I can't hear the word 'phenomonen' without whispering 'do doo d-do do' under my breath and a video of The Muppets in my head.

(I know it's Mahna Mahna, but it is close enough in my head).

The word 'pastuerised' is always followed by 'cos past your eyes is best'.

'Flash' is always followed by 'a ah'.

'Vile' is always spat out in a Linda La Hughes way.

And Muriel is always pronounced as 'Mariel' and in an Australian accent.

Do you have any family words that you have to make sure you don't say in public?

Silent Sunday - 22/03/15

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Are dreams trying to tell us something?

I don't mean in the Freudian snake means a penis type thing.

And I know that if you are going through a trying time at work or in your personal life, your brain is not just going to switch off when you go to sleep.  I understand that my dream about working at a till was because I had just done a 12 hour shift AT a till.

But recently, well over the last few years or so, I have been having dreams that, although they vary in theme, are always set around the same place - a building, or group of buildings - that I have never, ever seen, or at least do not recall seeing.

One set of dreams involved a white, single storey shopping complex.  It was set in a green surrounding which doesn't exist as I know the road that I 'drove' out on to.  The first time this property appeared in my dream, I was taking my original Fiat 500 to be repaired in the specialist garage there.  I don't own a Fiat 500, original or otherwise.

The building next appeared in a dream a few nights later.  This time I was shopping.  As I walked down the lane (no car this time), one of my bags broke.  A handy table was at the side of the road and I put all my shopping on there to try and sort it back into the remaining bags.  The Police came along and arrested me for shoplifting as I could not find my receipts.

A few nights later I was back, with Mum and Dad, for my day in court - apparently the garage/retail shop emporium had one of those too - but I never actually made it to court as I woke up.

Another property was at the seaside.  In one dream I was with a group of people, some I knew, some were the 'I know you in the dream but have no idea who you actually are, or even if you exist', type that always seem to pop up.  

We were walking away from the sea front and passed a big white house with a huge balcony.  A few nights later, the house was in my dream again, but this time I owned it and I was looking at the street I had previously walked down from inside it.

I have not dreamt of either of these places again.

Did the dreams mean something?  Were they trying to tell me anything?  Or, as is more likely, were the random firing of my synapses creating coherent images?

Will we ever know?

Silent Sunday - 15/03/15

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Have you ever had a free upgrade, or other goodies?

I have had an upgrade once, although to be honest, I am not sure if it was an upgrade.  

I had booked a weekend away at a caravan park and paid my deposit.  Unfortunately the booking system was not fully automated so I had to wait for a real person to check availability (even though there was availability according to the website at the time of booking).  A week later I was advised that the level of accommodation I had booked was now sold out so I had been downgraded to the next level down.  Thankfully they did reduce my balance payable, unlike another holiday company that I have recently had dealings with.

By the time the holiday came around, the site had scrapped most of the level of caravan they had downgraded me to so then had to upgrade me back to the original level, as they had purchased more of those.

And yes, I did get ridiculously excited.

Sorry, that was even more rambling than my usual posts!

I know I will never get a flight upgrade, as I don't travel on flights that even have anywhere to upgrade to, other than sitting with the pilot.

But just once, I would like to walk into a hotel room somewhere to find a bottle of wine on ice, compliments of the hotel.  I've even considered contacting the hotel I have booked in Spain and asking for a bottle to be in my room waiting for me.  Obviously I would have to pay for this, but if I did it now I might have forgotten about it by June.

A free drink in a restaurant if I've bought a meal.  And I don't mean free refills of pop or coffee.

A free sample box of chocolates in with my shopping.

Have you ever had a free upgrade?  What was it for?

Friday, 13 March 2015

Terry Pratchett ruined The Omen for me.

Yesterday we heard of the sad passing of Sir Terry Pratchett eight years after being diagnosed with a rare form of early onset Alzheimer's called Posterior Cortical Atrophy.  He was only 66 years old, far too young.

Much in keeping with the man himself, the way I found out was worthy of the Unseen University academics, I was at home and the laptop was on.  As with all laptops and PCs, the screen had gone black as I had not used it for a while but suddenly it flashed on and off, then on again.  The first tweet I saw was... 

Scrolling back further I found....

There was also a statement confirming the sad news.

I was introduced to Terry's books by a friend, I say introduced, I was staying over one weekend and couldn't sleep so I grabbed the nearest book from the shelf and it just happened to be Wyrd Sisters, a couple of pages in and I was hooked.

I started treating myself to a new book each payday until I was caught up and then bought others as soon as the paperback came out.

I love the characters - Death (or DEATH) and his grand-daughter, Susan, Duchess of Sto Helit, are my favourite characters, though I do have a fondness for Granny Weatherwax, Carrot Ironfoundersson, Gaspode and, of course, The Luggage.

I love that the books are written for adults, that they are hilarious and that there is no bad language, excepting 'buggrit, millennium hand and shrimp' of course.

I imagine that had a Carry On Discworld been made, Sid James would be Sam Vimes, Joan Sims - Lady Sybil, Kenneth Williams would definitely have been Vetinari, Terry Scott - Fred Colon, Peter Butterworth - Nobby Nobbs and Imogen Hassall - Angua.

One of the books that I had put off reading for a while, was Good Omens, written with Neil Gaiman.  I eventually got around to reading it and loved it, I have also since listened to the radio version.

Then I watched The Omen, or at least tried to.  In almost every scene, I could relate something back to Good Omens which meant I spent the film giggling, probably not the effect that was intended.  I gave up in the end.

Sir Terry Pratchett  1948-2015
(Photo - Dominic Lipinski/PA)

“‘I meant,’ said Ipslore bitterly, ‘What is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?” Death thought about it. Cats, he said eventually. Cats are nice.”

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Do you act offended because you are? Or because you think you should be?

I am child of the early 70s.  I grew up with tv shows such as Love Thy Neighbour, On The Buses, George & Mildred, Man About The House, Rising Damp, The Benny Hill Show and The Black & White Minstrel Show.  

I grew up with Page 3 and builders wolf-whistling women (not me, obviously) and none of it offended me.  

And it still doesn't.

Yet it seems that these days we should be offended by all of the above, and more, and yet not offended by things that would have been met with disgust back in the day.

Why is a bare breast acceptable when it has a baby attached to the nipple, and let's be honest, not everyone is as discrete as they could be when nursing, but not when it is printed in a newspaper?  This is a fairly recent change, previously breastfeeding has been seen as a private act.

Why is it acceptable these days, that when you leave the house, every other word you hear is an expletive?  Why is it acceptable that companies can advertise and sell expletive covered products?

Why is it acceptable that illegal drugs can be openly smoked in public with no risk of punishment?

Why is it acceptable for people, who have probably never been further west than Wolverhampton, to speak as though they have just stepped off the Windrush?

The Benny Hill Show, horror of horrors, a portly middle aged man chasing half naked young women about?  How many times did he catch them?  How many times did they lead him into falling down a ditch, or knocking himself out by running into a tree?

Love They Neighbour, the white man was always trying to show his black neighbour up, but he always came off worse, showing himself up instead.

I like Jeremy Clarkson, I think he is funny, I like Jim Davison for the same reason.  They don't offend me.

I am offended by the Government and high ranking officials apologising for things that happened decades or centuries ago.  That was how the world worked then, you cannot judge past events by today's moral, or perceived, standards.

I have probably offended some of you, dear readers, with my comments, and if I have I apologise, but please, don't be offended because you think you should be.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Not building enough new houses? Really?

Recently the BBC News Magazine reported that the current housing issues are down to not enough new houses being built.  This is preventing people climbing onto the first rung of the property ladder.

Really?  Not enough houses being built?  Surely the ridiculously inflated prices combined with the difficulty in obtaining mortgages combined with having to find a much higher than ever deposit is the root of the problem?

There certainly does not appear to be a shortage of property, both existing and new build, for sale in Coventry.

In the last 10 years, within walking distance of my house, there have been 4 factories (including both the Radford plant and the Brown's Lane headquarters of Jaguar Cars) and a transport hub demolished, all of which have had houses built on them.

We have had pubs demolished to be replaced by houses.

Towards the city centre, a former council depot has been cleared and houses are being built.

In the city centre itself, at least one pub, one hotel, two multistorey office blocks and the main post office have all been converted into accommodation, albeit for students.

The main sorting office for the city has been sold off for apartments to be built.

The city centre hospital, which was much more accessible to users than the current one near the M6, is being demolished for housing and a school.

Recently planning permission was given to build more houses on green belt land just outside the city.

Add this to the 1000+ existing houses for sale in the city and its surrounds and I cannot see that there is a lack of housing, just a lack of affordable housing.

People bought in the boom years and when bad times hit, no-one wanted to sell due to negative equity and not wanting to make a loss.  They just moved into smaller, cheaper, rented accommodation and rented their own property out.

Houses prices stagnated and then started rising again.  The average house price in the UK is currently £180k, the average wage £26.5k, in 2008, these were £157k and £24k, house prices have increased by 15% in 10 years whilst wages have only increased by 10% (Google is wonderful).  A 5% deposit in 2005 was £8k, the 20% now needed would be £36k which is a lot more than a year's salary.

That is what, in my opinion, is the cause of the current housing problem.