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We purchased this dishwasher back when our Bosch took it onto itself to refuse to fill. We tried everything to get the 'boon to household peace and prosperity' to work again, with my dear hubby trying his best to strip her down and check out all possible causes but all his valiant efforts came to nothing.
Even giving the pump a 'seeing to' didn't improve things and so we finally came to the conclusion the gunk and pitifully low pressure and unfiltered nature of the water supply to our wee house had seen an end to what had been a true ally in the field of housework and all that entails, dishes wise that is.
Now a dishwasher breaking down, oh all right, dying on us, was not the end of the world but, as I explained in an earlier opinion, DH was not a one to be doing the dishes. In fact that was the reasoning behind the purchase of the BOSCH...
His stance was that the housekeeping could afford to cover the purchase of a dishwasher, no problem, as long as he did not need to take his turn at doing the dishes, ever again!
So, this left us with something of a problem. We'd booked to go a holiday that year and as holidays are not that common an occurrence around here, we had used up almost all of our 'contingency funds' paying for the holiday leaving us with little or nothing for a new dishwasher. We most certainly dd not have enough for another Bosch. Which, as it turned out, was a great pity. Not just because the Bosch had been such a good friend to us but because the dishwasher we did purchase turned out to be anything but ...
As with the Bosch, the new dishwasher was a manual one.
We had only ever had a manual dishwasher and, as my old Gran used to say, the less there is 'fancy' in a machine, the less there is to go wrong.
Although rated as 'Cleaning Efficiency C' it has, I'm delighted to report, turned out to be an excellent exponent of dishwashing...
if only that was all there was to it!
The negatives involved in purchasing this model of dishwasher began to show almost immediately when we found that, during the coldest winter months, the water refused to heat sufficiently when set on the lower of the two heat settings with this only being overcome by resetting the dishwasher to both the 'hot' and the full length cycle.
As you can imagine, this is far from being an 'environmentally sound' setting and we also discovered to our dismay it's a rather uneconomical one with the new setting immediately starting to show up on our meter readings!
Fifty-two centimeters in height and freestanding in construction this, as with any dishwasher we have, sits neatly on the shelf to the left of the kitchen sink. Lack of space in our 'galley kitchen' means dishwashers in our house have to be 'freestanding' and 'table top' or 'compact' in design.
The outward appearance of this Matsui is far from attractive, but tell me you've found a dish washer that is in any way 'attractive' and I'll be thinking you've found yourself a 'Toy Boy'.
Although there are a quite a few Internet based references to the noise levels this model of dishwasher gives off, I found that to shut door or two between it and ourselves goes a significant way towards 'dampening' its 63 decibels.
Described as having three 'programmes, as mentioned earlier, it has a twenty-eight minute 'economy' setting and a longer one, where, being manual and not digital in nature, the longer setting time wise means a warmer wash for the dishes.
In theory, the two settings, time wise, can be set on either a Hot or an Economy setting, water temperature wise but, as mentioned above, the setting appears only to work in the summer time, especially when we have a winter like this last one (2008/09)!
Luckily for us, being pensioners, most of our dishes need only the lower setting so, except in circumstances, such as those described above, we tend to use the 'economy setting almost all the time.
Now I feel we come to the single most irritating feature of this model of dishwasher. In its advertising blurbs and its user manual there are claims that this model has four place settings ...
Well, all I can say about that is, if this is four place setting then the Bosch must have had eight!
The layout and structure of the interior is my biggest gripe when it comes to this particular dishwasher.
With the Bosch I immediately found I could place all our dishes wherever I wanted and they would sit and stay and not cause any problems. It even had a 'cup rack' that I never had to use. The bottom of the rack was a neatly meshed grid that held anything you wanted it to and, as it was my first dishwasher, I assumed all dishwasher would be laid out and structured in a similar manner ...
The Matsui must have been designed by a ten year old.
A ten year old who had been told to economise on the base grid, completely to the detriment of the overall design!
I place full sized plates in there and they end up sitting far too low and catching on the rotating washer arm upon which the entire dishwasher depends, thus forcing me to reset the placement of every dish in the the darn thing. Cups and glasses are another bone of contention. Try placing them anywhere on the floor of the washer and they'll likely as not fall over, as the base is too widely spaced to support anything smaller in circumference than a pint glass and here was me trying to cut down my drinking!
Then we come to the cutlery holder.
We are advised in the 'user manual' that the 'cutlery holder' can be 'reset' position wise ...
What they Should have said is that it Has to be reset,
as there no supporting grid whatsoever underneath it
(that's right, no supporting framework, simply a gap !)
and no matter how you chose to place the cutlery holder, it can simply fall though and foul up the rotor blade in the same manner as plates that are too large or too small to fit what few placement options do exist!
I would have though that a basic grid-work, the kind that covers the bottom of all dishwashers, would be an essential part of any dishwasher design!
Apparently not, ... not in this model of dishwasher any way!
I used to be a contented housewife... but that has all 'gone out the door'
since we purchased this dishwasher!
A blatant piece of bad design has lead me to;
swear more often than I used to,
it has me wishing for a bigger kitchen,
wishing for a bigger house,
and, for the purposes of this revue, most importantly of all,
wishing for a better quality dishwasher!
Bosch SKT5102 Compact Dishwasher- White
We purchased this dishwasher when my DH decided he'd rather pay out his
hard earned cash than bend over our wee sink one more night.
We're both quite tall and had only really discovered our sink is as low as it is
as we aged. When we were younger it was no problem to lean over all the
time whilst washing dishes. Later we'd tried putting a second basin under the one with the dishes in it but that didn't really work out properly so we reverted to using the sink and experienced increasing back pain as we did.
Why are UK sinks set at the average height of people way back in 1950 something?
Don't sink manufacturers realise we've all grown since then!
The Bosch was a huge success. So much so, when it finally 'died' on us around eighteen months ago, we immediately got a another dishwasher ...
not a Bosch ... I though back then that All dishwashers were them same ... Oh Dear Me ... How Wrong can somebody be! ...
but more of that on DooYoo at a later date.
There's only two of us but we tend to use dishes in what is thought of as
'bachelor fashion'. That is we use dishes up as we go along, not bothering to wash any between meals only at the end of the day and always ensuring
there's plenty of dishes in the cupboard to cover our next meal's demands.
We were lucky enough to always have kept to using glass and Woolworth's
china, something that was always cheap and available. It's neither now sorry to say.
That meant getting the dishwasher didn't throw up any "Will it go in the
dishwasher" quires that most folks might experience in the same position.
The way this great little dishwasher is laid out is a total dream.
I didn't realise it at the time but was simply grateful that the Bosch designers had obviously put a Lot of thought into its layout and affects that would have on its capacity. There's a place for everything you might want to put in there. I personally never had to revert to using the cup rack but apart from that it was a total dream to use.
Not too noisy.
We could hardly hear it in the next room and in council flat, that's quite a
It held all our dishes. Three meals full, cutlery and baking utensils, casserole
dishes, you name it ... it held them. No problems whatsoever and with the
addition of excellent advise in the users manual that came with the machine.
In that users manual there was a hint that Everyone should be aware of,
especially in these Difficult times financially speaking ...
The Bosch User Manual stated quite Clearly that I should *never* use as
much cleaning product as might be recommended by said product's
Back then it was Only powder that was available and Finish's
recommendation was to use at least two heaped tablespoons full in every wash.
The Bosch manual said I would need "less than one third" of that.
Well that, and the fact that we in Glasgow have some of the softest water in the country, meant I only had to use less than a desert-spoonful!
Their wise council also helped teach me that anything that attempted to have me use far more than that in any dishwasher was tantamount to conning myself out of the best the Bosch machine could do wash wise.
Using too much 'dishwasher detergent', whatever form it comes in, means your machine will not work at its best and you are, most likely, significantly shortening its life-cycle by quite a few years.
So, I never ever use Dishwasher Tablets, Gels, Buds, or whatever else the
big name brands try to sell us in their fancy TV ad campaigns. I Always used
powder and I know from Experience that it saves me many many pounds a
year to do so.
I can't speak for folks who live with a daily battle against lime scale, such as in the south-east of England, I only know that, if you water is Anything other than 'hard' then you'll Never Ever Need to use anything other than basic dishwasher powder in any Bosch machine.
I can recommend this brand of dishwasher to anyone.
I miss mine Greatly and the very first time we have enough cash in hand,
we're throwing away the one we have just now and buying another these.
I''ll finish (pun) with just a few of the reasons I love this great little Bosch dishwasher:
Free 2 year guarantee.
The compact Bosch SKT5102 dishwasher is ideal for smaller households, or
when an additional overflow dishwasher is required.
Designed for use on worktops, its only just bigger than the average microwave, and has the capacity for 4 place settings as well as fold-able plate supports.
The SKT5102 dishwasher provides pre-rinse plus 4 wash programmes
including glass setting for the same flexibility as full-size machines, and has
the usual additive indicators as well as a sequence indicator.
The SKT5102 uses just 12 litres of water during a normal 65deg C
programme, and has a heated air drying system.
This site is 'public face' of one of best survey companies there is.
With regular and reliable voucher payments and genuinely interesting surveys which are a joy to complete.
Being second to none in the survey company's field makes Pinecone not only interesting and rewarding for it's panelists, it also provides an ideal arena where companies with new products can have them receive a fair and balanced evaluation before they are placed on to an increasingly competitive market.
Around once a month, once you've signed up with Pinecone, you receive a lovely surprise in the post. That's because Pinecone are ultra reliable when paying out the little booklets of Luncheon Vouchers, their 'reward' (my word) for your completion of their monthly surveys.
In addition, although Pinecone initially contact you via email, if you miss that, the letter that comes with the vouchers tells you there is a survey awaiting online ... so there is little chance of 'forgetting' to go online to earn your vouchers.
When reading their email, all you need do is click on the enclosed link. You'll then be taken to a page where you are asked to type 'I AGREE' into the box provided. This action serves as a reminder you are agreeing any information in the questionnaire and/or about the product that you are evaluating, is Confidential.
(I could tell you about the great products I've been Lucky enough to evaluate, but then I'd need to kill you ~ LOL)
Whenever you answer a survey you are paid £4 worth of Luncheon Vouchers. Alternatively, I believe you can now opt to be paid via PayPal.
Luncheon Vouchers can be used at most food chains and at supermarkets across the country. You simply hand them over at the checkout and the staff know to enter them as 'Vouchers' ... you can either choose to use all £4's worth at once or stretch out the voucher's value over time, depending on whichever way suits your personal situation best.
Being pensioners on a fixed income the low but regular booklets of vouchers from Pinecone have come in very handy this past few years. Also, being Luncheon Vouchers, they'll not upset the tax man, or so I have been led to believe.
There had been some apprehensiveness on my part first time I used the vouchers but any initial discomfort was soon resolved as, even although the vouchers are said to be restricted to paying for "a meal", Somefields and other supermarket stores Happily accept them as 'legitimate' tender for their
food goods ... although I do not think they would be accepted for 'Tobacco, Wines and Spirits".
The surveys themselves are very easy to complete.
A great aspect of Pinecone surveys is that there is none of the commonplace and fiddly' screening' process as, once you're signed up, there's a survey once a month, with the addition of the occasional product sent out to you
to try and to pass comment on what you think of it.
In addition, whenever you test one of their 'sample' products
(which are mostly full sized, not tiny sizes) there can be an 'extra' booklet of vouchers coming to you in the post as an 'Thank You' for your evaluation.
The only drawback I can think of,with Pinecone, is one that might upset a few folks here on DooYoo although, I have to be honest here, it's one I find totally acceptable.
Pinecone is by invitation only.
I was lucky enough to find my invite link in an email site I used for a few months several years back. Although I no longer use that email site I am eternally thankful for their great link.
Apparently Pinecone, like one or two of the other ''good' survey sites, only recruit by means of advertising banners on websites. That being the case, you really should keep an eye out for them when you're surfing around as, when it comes to Survey Sites, Pinecone tick all the boxes (for me anyhow) ...
they must be one of the very best!
BEKO Fridge-Freezer - CDA543F
We first started using this great fridge-freezer around three months ago.
We had used an old combination of separate fridge and freezer for years with the fridge being a gift from a nephew who was moving to a new home and had a new fridge already fitted in his new kitchen. That nephew has moved house three times since then so that'll give you some idea of just how long we'd had the old set up.
We were investigating a new charity shop in our local shopping center when we spied what looked like and amazing bargain...
A factory reconditioned Fridge Freezer at a very tasty price.
We duly took delivery of said fridge freezer and have been its happy and very contented owners ever since.
On looking on the Internet I was able to find loads of helpful tips and wrinkles about keeping a frost free freezer. You see our old set up was anything but 'Frost Free' and so that particular 'technological advance' turned out to be the first of the benefits gained by having this great new fridge freezer in our home.
Allow me to describe this Fridge Freezer in more detail;
(apart from being 'Frost Free' I mean ... ;)
It has a capacity overall of 10.5 cu.ft
It measures only 1830 x 545 x 600
For those with a passion for the environment it is also an A Class Energy Efficient fridge-freezer.
It has adjustable glass shelves which have easy to clean,plastic, front trims.
The evaporator section, vital to the efficient running of any frost free item and to freezers in particular, is well 'hidden' being to the rear and with really good 'guard rails' behind each of the shelves, preventing any fridge items from slipping down and blocking the runaway ... it also has cold wall technology, which I believe means anyone can touch the outside and not know there is a very efficient fridge freezer running at as low a temperature as -19 working away on the inside ...
The fridge section has an automatic defrost (what a boon this is!) and an interior light, which fits neatly behind its domed 'shade', in the roof of the fridge.
The width of the shelves is very good, with nothing to interfere in any way with accessing your favourite chilled goodies.
One section of my old fridge that I never really got around to making best use of was the salad crisper. However, the crisper in this fridge freezer combination is really quite large and divided into two separate drawers, something I have found most useful in that it's encouraged me to buy more salads (good for me and the family, health wise)and has proven a great storage area for any bargains we might pick up at the supermarket.
Allow me to explain.
We love 'real' Italian coffee and just a few weeks back it was on offer for less than half price in our local store. Because I know 'real' coffee keeps for Ages when kept in the fridge, I was able to avail myself of quite a few packets, knowing I could pop them into the crisper drawer for safe keeping without disturbing the salads already there ...
Many weeks later, We're still benefiting from that particular 'bargain buy'!
Where was I?
Oh yes ... The Freezer ....
This great combo has a 4 star freezer with five drawer compartments and an 'Ice bank ' at the very top where you can lace those ice packs for use in cool bags and when you go on that picnic ...Summer won't be long in coming now, and we're more ready than we've ever been, thanks to this great little innovative little section alone.
There is a similar model on the market that has a water dispenser on the front. I much prefer the smooth uncluttered and therefore easier to clean,lines of this great fridge-freezer. And others models have an ice maker facility included, although that can add significantly to the overall cost of any fridge freezer.
Overall I can wholeheartedly recommend this brand of Fridge Freezer to anyone wanting an efficient and not too costly fridge-freezer.
Possibly the finest authority in the field of critical book reviews, The Literary Review, states unequivocally that Dead Souls is, "A brilliantly meshed plot which delivers on every count ...", and in my temporarily adopted role as your (somewhat inadequate) book critic, I wholeheartedly agree with their opinion. Ian Rankin's supreme skill, it could be said, rests with his deceptively casual consideration of minor detail and the cleverly crafted depth of his characterisations. Where some authors appear to wallow in pages and pages of unnecessary detail, within a few well chosen sentences, Rankin paints a spellbinding picture of his people, their predilections and their place in his narrative. Even Rankin's central character, John Rebus, a detective based in one of the many police precincts within Scotland's capital city, is living, day-today, with his own hauntingly real 'predilections'. He is haunted, albeit subtly, by ghosts of those he has 'lost'. Now, whether he drinks to rid himself of these 'ghosts' or in order to gain a better understanding of their situation has little to do with the main thrust of this excellent storyline however, it has provided me with the 'preamble' for this 'review' of Dead Souls; the book I consider to be the best Ian Rankin work I've read to date. Rebus is all washed up. He's over-tired, over-stressed and over the edge as far as his career is concerned. He's lost a close friend to the 'bad guys' and, as this story commences, he is considering giving it all up. Retiring. To top it all, just when he's 'running on empty', Jim Margolies, a fellow officer, commits suicide. This otherwise 'ordinary' man got up in the middle of the night, walked - in the pouring rain - - to one of the highest points in Edinburgh and jumped off. At least, that's what his wife is saying he did. Rebus wonders, why? Why walk halfway across Edinburgh in the pouring rain ? Even if you were considering suicide. It would have been more 'practical' to drive to the chosen spot. So why? Why, after years of exemplary service does a d@m fine policemen decide to end it all? Tell no-one - not even his adoring wife - and just jump. No note - no nothing. Complications. John Rebus hears from an old school friend, Brian (Barney) Mee, the man who married Rebus's 'first love'. The Mee's are worried. Their son has disappeared and, as Rebus is an old 'family friend', so-to-speak, and in 'the job', they call him up and ask for his help in finding their son who, at the time of his disappearance, was due to be married. What with reminiscences of his youth, brought on by this unforeseen phone-call, the death of a close and respected 'buddy' followed by that of a fellow police officer; it would seem Rebus has more than his fair share of haunting problems. Running in tandem with these problems, Rebus is involved in the trial of two men suspected of child abuse during their term in charge of a children's home; the same children's home where, and at the same time as, Rebus's friend and confidant Father Leary had been the visiting clergyman. As the term 'red herring' does not seem to do Rankin's 'linkages' their full justice, I'll simply say that, another 'link' emerges when a one-time resident of the home is brought to Edinburgh to testify against his abusers. Darren Rough, is to give evidence in front of the presiding Judge, Judge Petrie. However, over the years, the witness, the abused child has, in turn, become a convicted paedophile and once Rebus allows word to get out, the locals are extremely unhappy with their new neighbour. Meanwhile, back in the Rebus homeland; The missing man
, the son of Rebus' one-time 'love interest', was last seen at a bar frequented by some of Edinburgh's partying elite, and indifferently prominent among this small group are the son and daughter of Judge Petrie, Amada (Amy) and Nicol (Nicky) Petrie, two of the biggest 'spoilt brats' you could possibly imagine!. Another off-shoot of this link is that there is also a blood-relationship between the dead policeman's wife and the Petries, with the added 'spice' of the disclosure that the little daughter of the dead policeman is a regular contestant in the world of children's pageants, where the "Little Angels", all girls, are kitted-out in all-too-adult dresses and make-up and paraded for the gratification of the adoring adults, (Jon Bennett Ramsey fashion) while the ever-present male master-of-ceremonies conducts the proceedings. Sidebar: Although Jon Bennett Ramsey was a regular contestant in such 'shows' in the States, I have not, as yet, been able to discover an equivalent set-up in the U.K. ... thank heaven for small mercies, I say (GG) Much of the action is set in an area of Edinburgh which it has not, as yet, been my 'pleasure' to 'experience' and that is the docks area of Leith. According to Rankin, this area was once the favourite haunt of the prostitute and the pimp, but now is all up-market clubs, swank hotels and high-rent apartments. Speaking as I find, strangely enough, it's much the same story in Glasgow. One of the Edinburgh clubs, the one which the Mee's son vanished from, is on board a ship, which, it must be said, reminded me more than a little of such an establishment that was at that time berthed in Glasgow. Into this conglomeration of story-lines comes one Cary Oakes, two-time murderer and ex-pat Scot who, on evading jail or the chair on a technicality, is thrown out of the USA and returned to his 'homeland'. He cons a natio
nal newspaper ( one not un-like the Glasgow Daily Record) into buying his story and proceeds to make life a living hell for the 'hack' assigned the task of 'minder' and biographer. All through this narrative, Rebus is constantly on his guard, aware that things might just be getting out-of-hand. He is right to watch his back, as on at least three occasions he finds himself, to say the least, in a very tricky situation. Read this book if you are a Rankin fan. It's possibly his best. Read this book if you are a rebus fan, it's better than any television programme could ever be. Read this book if you are a stalwart detective thriller reader, it will not disappoint. Read this book if you are at a loss for something - anything - to read ... you will gently transform you into an Ian Rankin devotee. Read this book. Enjoy. GG "Jill Murphy asked me to write about one of my favourite things to help her celebrate her fourth anniversary of cancer-free living and to remind ourselves of all the nice things in the world. It takes more muscles to make a frown than a smile you know. If you'd like to join in, whether you've only just joined dooyoo, or you've been here ages, you're more than welcome. Just write about one of YOUR favourite things, make your title "A Favourite Thing: [your choice]" and include this paragraph at the foot of your opinion. And post before Friday, 9th August." GG
Ann Rule has been described as being, ? ... the foremost true crime writer in America ...? (1) and ? ... the best true-crime writer I have ever read ...? this by dooyoo?s very own ?nikkisly?, a dooyooer whose opinions I both read and value. ?Nikkisly? also finds Ann Rule?s style of writing ?easy to read...? and it is here that I find myself to be most at odds with this particular opinion. To me, Rule?s writing style is a little ?disjointed?? Maybe it?s me, maybe I have become too used to an academic style of writing, one that I?ve ?force-fed? myself this past year and more. (a strictly ?self-administered habit?,I might add). Then again, on perusing the pages of dooyoo, I find that one other dooyooer may have hit upon what it is that ?jars? in Rule?s writing style, when ?salgal? says, ?These stories are written with Ann Rule's wonderfully involved style.? Maybe that?s it: maybe Ann Rule?s style fails to appeal to yours truly as it is too ?involved?. In my defence, I should say here and now that, as yet, I have only read one of Ann rule?s books and, yes you?re probably right, I should really give some of her other books a ?run for their money?. I?ve read and enjoyed then opinions written about some of her books here on dooyoo and maybe, just maybe, I?ll get around to reading some more of Ann Rule's books ...soon. One of her books I would like to get my teeth into as it were, is her book about Ted Bundy. "The Stranger Beside Me" is a book which (in case you?ve been living on the moon or watching too much football for the past decade) is Rule?s oh-so-personal story of the infamous serial killer, Ted Bundy who, it turned out used to be a 'close' friend of Ann Rule?s. I genuinely look forward to reading about the ways in which their two lives interlinked and separated over the years; - as Rule became a Seattle policewoman - who then turned just hap
pened to become a crime journalist ... and the oh-so-good-looking serial killer, Ted Bundy, who became the steady boyfriend of one women and a serial killer of many more. Just how their two lives impacted, one on the other, has fascinated me for a long time now, and one day I?m determined to read Rule?s ?inside story?. - I mean - which came first? The crime writer or the realisation that she ?knew? a serial killer? You have my permission to tell me - if you know - it won?t spoil my reading enjoyment - in this particular case, very little could. In Ann Rule?s favour, she appears to have an excellent Homepage (1) and it?s well worth a visit, - whether you are a fan or not. There?s a few really good links 1)to her book, 2)to her bibliography and, most interestingly for all fans of the ?True Crime? genre, 3)a link to pages which give the latest news of individuals who she has included in her books. I found this link both original and interesting, and partly as a result, I?m seriously considering re-evaluating my opinion of 'Ann Rule in general', even although, frankly, I do not enjoy her style of, or her overall approach to, her writer?s craft. I'm away now to read my next 'Rebus'novel, which means there will be something positive for me to write about sometime soon ... GG Ann rules Homepage can be found at: (1) http://www.annrules.com/
INTRODUCTION After taking some time-out from my lifetime?s vocation (that of ?homemaker?) doing a university stint in the social sciences (- a move not intended to fulfil some suppressed academic ambitions, simply for ?me?) I have returned, with some vigour I might add, to my one-time part-time hobby of reading. As a result of said university course, this opinion, it could justifiably be said, has been ?a long time coming?. Sobeit; as ?big Arnie? might be heard to say, ?I?m back?. So, if you haven?t entirely given up on me, here is another ?Rebus? review, as undertaken by ?yours truly? in an opinion some time back. STORYLINE Set in Darkness is the eleventh ?Rebus? novel and the four hundred plus pages keep the reader?s interest and the storyline tension at a steady beat from start to finish. The setting, as with all ?Rebus? narratives, is Edinburgh. The timeframe is that of the late 1990?s, when the development of and the financial scandals involved in the new Parliament building in the heart of our capital city were but ?a twinkle in their father?s eye? you might say. Ian Rankin unfolds this, his eleventh ?tour de force? with his usual consummate ease. The opening scene has Rebus as a part of a group of ?interested individuals? being given a tour around one of Edinburgh?s many fine old buildings, soon to become an important hub in the layout of the new Parliament. Now, I wouldn?t be wanting to spoil your reading fun, but, as the ensuing storyline has received publicity from far more auspicious sources than my little opinion, I feel it would not to be giving too much of the storyline away to say that, within a relatively short period, a body, or rather a skeleton has been unearthed and an investigation ensues. Running in tandem with the ?skeleton? inquiry, the Group of detectives and ?highheadyins? (I think I spelt that right?) of the Edinburgh force are involved in the investigation of two other instances of ?unnatura
l death? and one involving a ?serial rapist?. Adding to these ?problems?, a villain, who also happens to be Rebus? nemesis, has ?got out of jail? and is back in Edinburgh, possibly with a settling of scores in mind. For a change, the ?S? word rears is head in this Rebus novel, in the shape of a aging super-model who make an impression on Rebus which, as far as I?m concerned, is just a little out-of-character, although, I?m glad to say, it doesn?t really detract from the tempo of the story one little bit. (no pun intended there btw - honest ;-). The way Ian Rankin weaves these various storylines together is, as always, intriguing and fascinating, making for an truly ?unputdownable? read. ANNOTATION I had hoped to read the 'Rebus' books in chronological order, but you know how things are, the best-laid plans ?gang aft aglae? (please tell me if that?s the right Burns quote). Funnily enough, plans going off course or astray, are a constituent in the foregoing storyline, - come to that, ?constituent? could also be seen as a ?key? term. ... But, I?m rambling on and possibly even spoiling things a wee bit, so I?ll close and leave you with this one suggestion; read this book. You?ll be glad you did. Trust me. GG
While traipsing round the internet the other day, I came across what turned out to be a most interesting, enlightening and restorative site. Right away, I asked the good people at dooyoo to put up this category - and today, I was most delighted to see that they had obliged, and in double-quick time too! So, with my kind thanks to those responsible for such a speedy operation, and with no more ado I’ll try my best to put you all on to what I believe is a wee ‘hidden gem’ of a site. To cover the entire site in one opinion would, I feel, do it something of an injustice. Therefore, I’ll tell you a wee bit about my favourite section, that of the free on-line health-check. To begin your quest for a healthy diet, click on the above link to enter the Nestle’ site and then click upon the “How healthy is your diet?” link at the bottom right of their homepage. Then, simply enter your height and weight, and a nifty wee gizmo automatically translates your details into the appropriate figures. i.e., if, like me you entered your height (5ft. 7in) into the wrong box, you’ll get a good laugh when the translated weight is displayed ! (which, in my particular case was “16 ft. 7 inch. - oh, and I’m ‘81 kilogram’s’ too by the way - Naw - now that just canna be right ;-) Next, I suggest you click on the “Food Guide” link and, after selecting the foods “nearest to those you ate yesterday” “for breakfast”, simply click on “Go for Lunch” repeating the same procedure here, for the ‘Dinner’ category and those of ‘Snacks’ and ‘Drinks’. When that is finished, merely selected the portions eaten of your selected items and you’ll be presented with your results, calculated from the foods you selected. (I’m sorry if this sounds complicated - believe m
e - it’s anything but ;) When I’d done all of the above, I was informed that, as far as ENERGY is concerned, - my intake was 2642 kcal and that this was a ‘High’ Energy intake. Making things just a little more ‘user friendly, there was a wee quotation which read, “Food, glorious food…” followed by the oh-so-gentle addendum - “ ... just watch how much - yours is a little on the high side.” (how very diplomatic of Nestle’ ;-) Sad to say, my ‘Body Mass Index’ was high at ‘28’ showing that I am ‘overweight’. (mind you - I think I knew that ;-)) On a positive note, my fat, fibre, vegetable, iron and calcium intake were all considered ‘OK’. Oh, and I got an ‘OK’ for my ‘0’ alcohol intake too! ... Drawing a quick cover over that ... Following on from the record of my various consumption levels, there was a neat little section which told me what it all meant in terms of my health. On a slightly negative note, I would have liked to find out more about my Body Mass Index, but I’ll be looking elsewhere for that particular information ... as soon as I can find the energy ;-) All up, this was a most useful site, giving me the information I had specifically searched in Google for ... a "free online health-check". Don’t get me wrong, I am well practiced in the ‘skills’ required to find things on the Net - as I have sometimes been heard to say -“If it’s out thee - I’ll find it !” (modest little thing - aren’t I ?). But, as this was not the easiest to find of sites, I hope this little opinion will lead many of you to check it out. This is a seriously good site - Try it - you’ll be glad you did. Trust Me. GG
This opinion could also have been entitled, "Advice to Mature Persons Considering Taking a University Course." or "What the Advisors May Not Have Told You." ------------------------- What I'm saying here is ... Any University course needs two things: i) Time and ii)Consideration ... that is to say ... When actually doing a University course, you will need time ... But first - before even starting a University course you should ... give it some consideration ---------------------------- It’s that time of year once again; the birds are singing - the sun is shining and suddenly, you start wondering if there is something else you could be doing with your life… However, it that ‘thing’ you are considering is that of taking a university course, … please, do yourself a favour and read on … 1. a ) THINK ABOUT IT TIME OUT Think about the mount of *extra* time and effort all the wonderful academic and administration staff of your chosen university will be ‘putting in’ on your behalf. Allow me to illustrate the above statement just a little … When you are attending a university … hopefully that will simply entail being on campus with thousands of other students also taking a full-time course at said university 1. b) I say ‘hopefully’, as I was naive enough to ‘assume’ that attending university on a part-time basis would not make the tinniest difference to the quality or amount of tutoring that I would be receiving … as I said – I was more than a little naive .. In the first semester I/ we were fortunate enough to be able to benefit from the wisdom of a tutor of “Economic Thought”, - who I can only describe as being a ‘born again hippie’ … then again … I have no
thing against ‘hippies’ as such so I’m doing them something of an injustice by comparing them to this particular lecturer … Allow me to explain … i)We got out of class early *every* week ii)There were no seminars (whereby the few hours made available to we Part-Time students would be utilised to there best advantage - with tutorials and class papers given on relevant topics ) Oh no … we obviously did not NEED these - as - the lecturer assured us – if we all read the books he recommended and read all the handouts so kindly provided – we would not NEED anything else … He was of course *assuming * that we all had the most amazing ‘natural’ abilities and that we would remember every word that passed from his, obviously intellectual, lips. Perhaps it might make things somewhat clearer when I explain that my first EVER University essay received the lowest % mark of my entire life – being told it was “somewhat chaotic” – OK – so it was far from perfect – I see that now – BUT – the lecturer in question failed to return the essays for his class until days before the exam and in this instance that meant no ‘feedback’ and none of the expected ‘pointers’ whatsoever. Had I been as naïve at that time as I had been when I applied for the course – I would have been truly at a disadvantage due to this lecturers lackadaisical/off-hand style of lecturing – Luckily for me – I had been given some (priceless) advice from a lecturer, in my HNC college, – who had been a University lecturer before giving up that particular "rat-race". (to the benefit of said lecturer’s sanity I might add). "A university lecturer”, I was told, "does not have to lecture on the topic as given in the prospectus..." In fact, "...they can
lecture on whatever topic they wish – or none at all. Be prepared for this occurrence!" ( at that time all an academic had to do was to publish work / do recognised research in their particular field on a regular basis …However, I’m sure someone in dooyoo will adjust my beliefs on this topic …? ) I believe things changed in academia in recent years – however, someone had obviously forgotten to inform this particular lecturer and – had I not been prepared - I would have been among the thousands of mature students who ‘drop-out of their courses every year. Basically, what I’m saying here is – DO NOT ASSUME anything – even the good tutors/lecturers may be as inexperienced as you are – with one of my lecturers (conspicuously) coming under pressure form above due to her inexperience and pressure from events in her personal life. 2. In addition to the above ‘small gripe’ … THINK ABOUT IT. FACILITIES If you are lucky enough to be given a tour of the facilities available on your chosen campus, then soak it all up and savour every minute - enjoy this *look* at the facilities – for example, in my own case, the university had the most fabulous gymnasium facilities, which had received funding in the millions from the EU, with the conditions attached that the facilities were not simply for the use of the students but also their family and friends! Wow, I was *Impressed* … when I first saw the gym – available on several floors and with the very latest in equipment – "…something for everyone …" I was reliably informed on the ‘open day’ provided for college students intending to follow through in to university education. 2. a) I should have realised that the ‘open day’ was simply not tailored for the part-time student when I was
referred to a ‘special’ member of the academic staff who would be responsible for administering for all Part-Time students .( with hindsight, maybe that’s the ‘short-straw’ in my university?). It was not until I had signed up and started my course that I found that the amazing facilities I had been shown were not available in the evenings, other than at times which clashed with the lecture hours. In addition, in the first semester, the library and all the computers were available until ten at night, leaving more than enough time to make use of these facilities after the lectures, which run from six until nine o’clock. In the second semester – these times were altered – after consulting the students – to where everything finished at 9:15. Yes, they "consulted the students" but – as there are thousands of Full-Time students and *far fewer* Part-Time students – then, surely, it’s something of a ‘spin’ on the true situation to say we were all consulted before the changes were brought in? 3. THINK ABOUT IT. PERSONAL LIFE / TIME OUT (2) Think about whether or not the university course will fit with your existing lifestyle. DO NOT ASSUME that you will ‘manage’. Managing is simply NOT ENOUGH. Think about the amount of time you will need to dedicate to the course. Think about the amount of time you will need to dedicate to the subjects you are taking. From my ‘researches’, I read that we all should allow *at least* NINE HOURS reading PER TOPIC PER WEEK ! That does not include time needed for research time, for travelling to and from university and extra time – depending o your own ‘personal style’ of learning. Consider exactly what taking this amount of time out of your ‘normal’ schedule will entail. What it will mean for your stamina and wh
at it will mean for your personal life. Can your family take the strain? – and believe me – there’s not a family worth the title that will not suffer from the strains involved. 4. THINK ABOUT IT. ABILITIES; PHYSICAL / TECHNOLOGICAL You will HAVE TO study/read/read/read and read again … and that’s just the ‘off-campus’ times. In lectures, - unless you are a phenomenally fast writer or can take fluent shorthand – I’d seriously advise investing in a top *quality* tape recorder and some top quality batteries - LOTS OF THEM! If you can, be sure and apply for ‘hardship funds’. AS you might guess from the above, there will be loads of little unexpected expenses such as batteries, bus fares (Oh – so you do not use public transport? What about when the car breaks down?) While on the topic of batteries – also on the ‘technical’ front, remember to *always* ‘back-up’ all your course-related work – at least once. I have personaly witnessed a student losing their DISSERTATION, simply for omitting to ‘back-up’ their work. -If you cannot use a computer – Learn – In my opinion, how else are you going to make sure your work makes it into the hands of the right person at the right time – ater all - lecturers have been known to 'lose' students work. There will be times, say when you come across a useful little piece of information while searching for something else entirely, when you will have to use old 'reliable' handwriting – BUT ensure that this information is transposed to a computer as soon as possible. Having said that, ensure that any information gained from the internet is also saved to your hard-drive *and* to a floppy (or other disc )*when you find it* – DO NOT simply rely upon you ‘favourites’ or ‘bookmarks’ to be there w
hen you need them – the Internet is changing on a daily basis and what is there today may well be replaced tomorrow leaving you up the creek without a paddle … While I remember, be sure and allow for the time and expense involved in these aspects of university life; for instance, taking back-ups costs money as does something as simple as jumping on a bus or a train. There are an unbelievable amount of little items that will eat away at your family budget so – to help prevent any unnecessary arguments over money and such-like remember this when considering item number 3). Just a little 'aside' here - I was “reliably” informed, by ‘LearnDirect’ no less – that there was no pre-set procedure for claiming ‘fee waivers’ … Ho Hum. Another useful piece of advice from that same college lecturer …. DO NOT TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER. Also – find out if you qualify for cash from the hardship funds – qualification prerequisites are, apparently, different for every university ! Whatever your chosen course; they all take *time* – and, as you’ll probable find there even more ‘contingencies’ than I have accounted for in this opinion, I should add here that all education COSTS YOU £££££££'S. Having said all that … I’ve just had a thought – If I had taken my own advice (if I had had the insight of hindsight) … there would not have been enough hours in the day to complete my course. ;-) Yes, the academic staff put in the most amazing effort to ‘support’ your study, but, when it comes down to it – YOU’RE ON YOUR OWN … and only YOU can decide whether University life is for you. I say again, THINK ABOUT IT If it’s worth doing – its worth thinking about FULLY first. Whatever you decide , Good Luck &
#8230; (– I almost forgot to say that – once in University - you will most certainly need that too!) GG
At last. I’ve been hoping something would ‘turn up’ and it has: so, … a great big “…THANK YOU …” to Zoë Page and marindina. What, you might ask, lies behind this conspicuous case of unconcealed ‘name-dropping’ ? Read on. and all will be revealed … At last, … The (utterly unexpected) opportunity to write this little piece of ‘feedback’ is going to provide me with a chance to be *totally subjective*; so, you can expect to read more than your average amount of “me’s”, “I’s”, “we’s” and very,*very few* “furthermore’s”, “however’s” or “significantly’s”. (please forgive the misuse of the double parenthesis in the foregoing – Whoops – Thinks - “You nearly let the side down there GG ! ... “foregoing” indeed! … You’ve gotta try harder to lose yon “Uni Hang-Up” with fancy words !” Where was I ? – Oh yes …(please forgive the misuse of the double parenthesis in … yon stuff I just wrote – reason being ... if I were to use nothing but single parenthesis – well, it just wouldn’t have “looked right” ! ) I digress (no – that’s not use of ‘big words’ – that’s just me being *me* !) NOTE If you have been able to get this far - then award yourselves a ‘crown’ from me – for your tenacity in the face of adversity … there I go again – and I *promised* myself I wouldn’t be using yon ‘big words’ … DOWN TO ‘BUSINESS’ I’ve been writing for dooyoo for a while now, although, if you are relatively new to these auspicious – st
rike that – if you are new to these pages, then you’ll be forgiven for wondering, “ Who the heck is Glasgow Girl? ” as I’ve been ‘conspicuous by my absence’ as it were, for some time now. Earlier tonight, (well, to be honest, it was last night - as I couldn't get in to dooyoo last night ! - dooyoo think 'they' knew I was 'back' ? ) my “significant other” (auldmac, to dooyoo's-all ) drew my attention to an opinion written by Zoë Page, and it was that opinion and one other that made me realise, this might just be the ‘diversion’ I had been seeking. I, and a few thousand (100,000’s ?) others, am/are about to take our exams for the second semester of the Uni course I am/we are doing. “Easter” it might well be - for those ‘normal’ citizens out there – but for we “students” it is simply “pre-exam time” again. As I was saying (another ‘I’ – YES!) Zoë has written a cracking’ ‘piece’ – sorry “extremely fine opinion”- about an excellent true-crime book, based on the Jon Bennet Ramsey murder. AND - In the first paragraph (no less) Zoë mentions my name …! Well, put it this way – it’s not often I get a name-check – and this one is in an excellent opinion too! Thank you Zoë, it fair made my day ;-0). Zoë’s piece reminded me of the ‘golden days’ when I would read a book and then simply write about it on dooyoo … ahhh – when “Time Was long and Books Were short” to paraphrase a famous person’s fine words. … What memories – What memories ! (… yes, that’s right - The Carpenters – of Course !) Right, - after that, I came across an opinio
n by a fine dooyoo writer called ‘marindina’, about dooyoo (and a quite excellent opinion it is too) and the unexpected combination - of reading these two opinions - made little lights flash inside my head – (I know, I know, - really should try to get some more sleep – and change some of my more questionable habits !) - I realised that I could write about my dooyoo addiction and the way it has transformed over the past few months … (transformed – OK – so I used one little ‘big word’ – it’s no big deal, really...) (I’m in denial now don’t you see?!) PLUS - I could ‘get my oar in’ about a couple of little things that have been bugging me about dooyoo in general – and have some FUN into the bargain ! GOOD THINGS ABOUT DOOYOO First-off, there isn’t enough time in the world to write about *all* of the good things about dooyoo. As the Lulu song says – well almost – ♪ “How dooyoo thank someone who has taken yoo from crayons to perfume? – It isn’t easy but I’ll try.”♪ … …… (OOOhhh – I hope you were all singing along there, - by the way …) Dooyoo has been a friend in times of need; a companion in times of loneliness and an advisor (through the fascinating and entertaining opinions and kind advice of fellow dooyooers - and through the extra-friendly, above-and-beyond concern for my welfare from, not simply the members of my Circle-of-Friends but also from “them upstairs” – especially in the form of John Pugh and Jo*(hello John ;-o) What dooyoo mean – cow-towing ? I wouldn’t know where to begin, now would I? As I said, there’s simply *not* enough time in the world … I don’t care what Louis Armstrong sings – there isn’t … beli
eve me. Whoops, nearly went into “serious mode” there!” Can’t have that there here – as my Gran used to say … SMALL QUIBBLES ABOUT DOOYOO As some of you will know, I was lucky enough to find out how to insert little musical notes into my opinions – and if you find the right opinion it will tell you how to achieve this little ‘extra’ for yourselves – check them out – I think they’re still valid – i.e. – another good thing about dooyoo – your opinions stay available to read for as long as needs be … BUT *Basic Text Formatting * – how about it dooyoo? A little bit of UNDERLINING would be a most useful addition to the pages of this great internet site. For one thing - it would stop the oh-so-annoying *need* to put those awful asterisks thingies at each side of the words *I want to* highlight – and who doesn’t need to highlight a word or two every-now-and-then? PLUS Microwhatsit has this habit of changing the word to a ‘bold’ format – when Bold is another thing that dooyoo’s pages do *not* recognise … thus making it *doubly frustrating*. (just doo it *backwards* and it works first time – OK?!) ;-? Therefore – Whoops – So – I suggest – if it is at all possible – could we *please* do-away-with these horrible little asterisks? Please ? Pretty Please? As I said at the start of this little opinion, - I’ve “been away” – from opinion writing – for some time now – (I doo hope you-all missed me – Just a wee bit? – No…? oh well - …) As a result – this opinion is “somewhat chaotic” … (funny – that’s what one of my lecturers said about an essay of mine – no ‘tenacity’
some people – genius just takes a little more ‘time’ to understand – that’s all ! ) I’ve had tremendous FUN writing this opinion I’d quite forgotten just how much FUN dooyoo is – I hope you have had at least half as much fun reading it. Just to have the luxury of not *having to* be oh-so-precise in what I’m writing has been good "therapy" – AND - It’s given me an evening away from the oh-so-fraught studying – something else which has done me a power of good – getting away from it that is … what it (reading my opinion) will have done for you, I’m not so sure ;-) I’m sure we will meet on these pages in one form or another – soon - and I shall attempt to write just a little more in the coming months – once the exams are finished that is. For now, ... I'm begining to feel more than a little sleepy, and it's showing - so I'll say goodnight - and thank you - to all the wonderful people of dooyoo ... Hugs, GG PS and this IS in *“serious mode”* ... That new 'Genie' advert simply HAS TO GO GG
I just ‘happened past’ dooyoo and caught sight of this excellent category. My heartiest congratulations to whoever thought this one up! Oh, how I have dreamed of such a category. Well, put it this way – if I had thought about it for just a ‘little’ longer – then I would have suggested it myself … As I’ve spent the last few days ‘up to here’ with writing things out in longhand I thought I’d take this opportunity to do some typing and make sure, in the process, that my typing speed doesn’t go the way of my long-hand skills. ( as in, ‘down-the-pan’) You see, I need to refresh my longhand skills for the up-coming exams. The university, in its infinite wisdom, believes in encouraging we students to take up the challenge of burgeoning technologies, such as word processing, spreadsheets and the internet, however, it does not see fit to extend that encouragement to cover the exam criteria; therefore it’s back to good old ‘pen and ink’ for yours truly. I digress. Mine is not only a most relevant and current topic, it is one which we are all aware of in our day-to-day lives; if that is - we do not actually take part in the act ourselves. The subject of which I speak is that of ‘waste’. WASTE W-A-S-T-E Any way you say it, it always comes out the same. Some people have got more money than sense. How else can anyone explain the rampant amount of pure, unadulterated, wanton and thoughtless waste that is perpetrated day-and-daily on our high streets and, heaven forbid, possibly in our own homes! Take a look around you the next time you are passing a MacDonald’s or any other of the large fast-food chains which are ubiquitous -there they are - on every high street in every town and city - not only in this land of ours, but across the entire world. Loo
k in and what dooyoo see? Plates - left on tables brimming with uneaten food. Brimming with uneaten – dare I say it? Yes I doo. Uneaten – expensive food. uneaten – expensive - mass produced food - left on the plates of brain-washed, -stressed-out and exploited customers. If it was just an occasional occurrence, I wouldn’t mind quite so much – but it isn’t. Every day – it’s there in front of me and in front of you … unless, that is, it’s you that does this – this – this THING ! Have they no souls – these people who order-up food which they have little thought of eating? Have they no souls – these people who regularly leave food on their plates which costs more money than it would take to feed an entire family for a whole day. Have they no souls – these people who leave on their plates more food than I can afford to buy for my own dinner? Have they no souls – these people who have no thought of where or how their ‘scraps’ will be disposed of? Have they no souls – better yet – have they no money problems? Is all this waste simply a sign of ‘conspicuous consumerism’? Is it simply some sort of code? A code which tells their fellow humans that they are richer and therefore better than anyone else? It seems appropriate to ask – that - if this is how they treat their food … how then do they treat their families? It might also be though significant to ask , how can they afford to do such a thing? How is it possible for people to earn so much money, that a simple snack is paid for so carelessly, that the best part of it can be (equally carelessly) left for the staff to dispose of as they will? You might well feel that I am whinging on about something insubstantial and without any true significan
ce. I beg to differ. Think for a minute. Try to imagine all the waste that can be seen on our high streets on every day of the week multiplied by every fast-food outlet, restaurant and general eating area – across the entire world. Now tell me it is not important! Merry Christmas. (?) GG
Part-timers beware, “Going to University” may not necessarily turn out to be all you thought it was going to be, academically at least. I originally opted for a GSVQ course in the Social Sciences as, from the information available to me at that time, I judged, it would give me the most ‘broad based’ approach to learning; that my choices for future study would as a result would ‘open up’ in whatever direction that choice would take me. That was, as they say,my original hypothesis. You could say, my hypothesis was upheld – to a point. I realised from the start that, as a part-time student, there would be no “- Just popping down the student’s union bar for a quick pint.” i found no problem with that as I’m not exactly in a situation where I could take advantage of University social life. However, the first sign that things were not as rosy academically as I first thought, came when my university of preference, Glasgow Caledonian, sent me a sheet of the modules available to me for the coming two semesters. As far as I was concerned, I had already ‘signed up’ as it were, to study at Caledonian, as I had happily noted that the *vast* array of modules available to full-time undergraduates was second to none. However, it turned out that the part-time BASS course takes place, as do all of Caledonian’s part-time courses, on a Monday and a Wednesday evening. From those two evenings I was given a choice of three modules for the first semester and four for the second. However, of these, only two were available on a Monday evening (resulting in an “either/or” choice range) and one on the Wednesday evening, resulting in no choice whatsoever. That meant that, if I had not been genuinely wanting to do Politics, I would have been *forced* to select it – as it was the only mo
dule on offer for a Wednesday. Adding to my disappointment, the second semester was, if anything, worse than the first. The second semester held a choice of modules which included Geography, a module which I was somewhat interested in and a Gender Issues in Society module, which to say the least, I was extremely keen on doing. The “core” module of the level was available only in the second semester, and only on a Monday evening, leaving me in the situation where, - it was pointed out to me in no uncertain terms, - unless I did the (core) Research Methods module, I would be to say the least, disadvantaged at some future date. Having gained a ‘Merit’ in my Research Methods during HNC, I was interested to find out if I would be allowed “Accreditation of Prior Learning”, but as Research Methods is a “core” module” and others have tried to gain recognition for much the same thing, it would appear that I am on, as my Gran used to say, “ a hiding to nothing” if I even try for it. Adding yet again to my *disappointment*, the Gender module will not be available *Part Time* in the following year, when I would have been free to take up the option of doing it. The upshot of this situation is that, next semester, I will be studying two modules which I have absolutely no interest in whatsoever. So, all you full-time students out there, be glad – be *very glad* that you are in the position to choose the course of your future study, and take full advantage of *all* the facilities available to you. I am writing this for to fore-warn anyone intending to do a part-time BA in a University which runs along the same lines as that at Caledonian. If there is *any* way you can study full-time – JUST DO IT After all, when you think about it – no matter how hard it is for you to study full time – it has to be bet
ter than being in a similar position to myself – in that, as a “part-time” undergrad, it could be argued that I am something of a ‘second-class’ citizen. GG
96.3 - QFM ♪♪“Radio drifts like smoke into intimate places in people's lives and becomes their private property. Its association colours and punctuates vital daily rituals. It is structure and stimulation, a companion for tedious chores and a reward at the end of them” ♪♪ Liz Forgan, The Times ♪♪ Sounds quite good doesn’t it? I found this little gem of ‘broadsheet prose’ while scouring the internet for information to use in the construction of this dooyoo opinion. I found it on a site belonging to a company called, “RadioWorks”, whose homepage was emblazoned with the logo “the radio advertising specialists”. Whether or not this is the case I’m not entirely sure, all I was looking for was some background information on one of our ‘local radio’ stations, here in Glasgow; Q96, or Q_FM as it is now referred to. For anyone else out there, with an interest in all things related to “commercial radio” in the UK, then here is the URL: http://www.radioworks.co.uk/index.htm ♪♪You’ll find some interesting feature on this site, but the one which gave me more than enough information to allow me to set my thoughts down on these pages, was the section called, “Understanding Radio”. ♪♪In May of this year, it was announced that the Wireless Group, the owners of Q96 had sold-off their country-wide Scottish radio station, “Scot FM”. Why am I mentioning this as part of an opinion about a totally different radio station? Simply because reading this news came as a bit of a surprise, as TWG had be in serious financial difficulties only a year previously. The sale of Scot FM didn’t upset me one bit as I find it to be rather parochial in nature for a national radio station, with a rather strange range of programmes with one in particular presented by
a country music DJ who appears to like other forms of music far more than the country music he is employed to play. “Scot Fm Sale Gives TWG £5m Profit” is the headline emblazoned across the pages of Business AM internet site, - Apparently the sale to “GMG (the Guardian Newspaper?)for £22.5 million has enabled The Wireless Group to report a pre-tax profit of £5 million! This compares significantly to last year's £25.7 million loss.” Now that’s what I cal interesting math ! I digress. ♪♪My original intention, in writing this opinion was to draw attention to an annoying ‘new feature’ of Q96 and, if I’m not entirely mistaken, on a more than a few other radio frequencies. I refer to the way in which, in the recent few weeks, Q96 has resorted to the use of a “juke-box” to broadcast their later-evening programmes. Now, don’t get me wrong here – I think that FM radio was born to give life to music and … … music is my first love and it will be my last … music of the future and … whoops – nearly got lost in “Music” there for a minute ;-) ♪♪ FM is *the* way to hear music – if you can’t get your hands on digital that is … no hissing or crackling – heaven … ♪♪The only problem with the new set-up on Q96 is that, especially in the later hours, gets its News broadcasts and its music-playing all discombobulated! There you sit, trying to either hear the News or hear you favourite track of the moment – and – to put it politely – you’re snookered! Chrissy Hind is singing mellow, sensual verses in you lug-hole and you are just about to put your arm around your nearest and dearest – when it happens – he’s up and fiddling with the radio, “ …cause some so-n-so has just messed with the signal … ” and
he can’t hear the news properly! Only it’s not some so-n-so – it’s the Radio station responsible for the flippin’ broadcast in the first place! Ho Hum ! Well, I for one have had *enough*. I’ve checked around and it would appear the News is coming from good old BskyB – remember them? – Just when you though tit was safe to turn on your radio – “They’re B-A-C-K” (Poltergeist - yes ?) Sky News Radio, it would appear, provides radio stations with a complete service of national and international news, with a “live opt-in bulletin every hour “- plus a feed of audio and copy. to put it mildly – whichever Q is using – it is *not* working ! There’s not been much to complain about on Q96 since it up sticks and moved from the area it was set up to serve – i.e. the beautiful cathedral town of Paisley – and set up shop as part of the new ‘media-city taking shape on the banks of the - even more beautiful - river Clyde. Who am I kidding? Since they moved from Paisley, the tone of the morning show has become more than a little salacious (something which has always appeared to me to be a natural inclination for one-time Radio Clyde DJ Gary Marshall) - (did I spell it right Gary ?). What is he like now? Well let’s just say – I’m glad I’ve not got young ones listening. I know – most of what is put across is thickly disguised with a generous layer of “double innuendo” – but young ones these days are not “daft” (unlike, it would appear, some of our modern politicians ;-) The questions that must get asked and the ‘jokes’ that must get repeated ‘innocently’ verbatim in playgrounds for miles around – It does not help raise young one the best way we can, Gary, believe me. OK, so their backer and
the holders of the Broadcasting licence until 2007, I think it is, TWG are in financial difficulties. “ A cash crisis, with debts of £40m … ”, but it had denied planning to sell *any* Scottish assets ! What price now, that denial? Scot FM was wholly by TWG and it still fully owns QFM, and has a majority holding another radio station (in Dundee I think). The news said that “ After losses of £34m last year, it expects to break even in 2002” and that a broker had suggested “…it could make selective disposals to reduce its £40m debts.” Whoops – wait a minute – that’s not the amount mentioned earlier, is it? When the move was mentioned, Gus Mackenzie, former Sun editor, stated that the move to Glasgow was to be a major part of his brief, he also pointed to the fact that QFM was one of the largest stations in the Wireless Group, simply because of the size of its transmission area, which encompasses more than a million listeners. TWG’s flagship is “Talk-Sport”, which grew out of Talk Radio, and anyone who has read my opinions, knows what I think of “Talk-Sport” ! - I only hope the salaciousness and the ‘intermixed’ News and Music is not a part of Gus Mackenzie’s plans – if it is – I for one think he is on a losing wicket. Keep that for page three or whatever, Gus, radio is ours - the people’s– not Yours! However, on the “up” side, the group’s turnover was up 22% in the first quarter of this year, so thing could be worse. In my opinion, there are too few controlling bodies owning too many radio stations, and as I have been heard to say on these pages in the past, there are too many restrictions on radio in the UK as a whole. What is needed in this country (the UK) is greater diversity in the forms of radio programming available, with as many diverse groups of interest being broadcast over the a
irwaves, appealing to a far wider range of listening audience Hopefully, the advance of digital radio will do just this. I hear there is a Country Music radio station available on digital radio, not just in Glasgow but in many other cities across the UK. “Magic.” say I – and “Give Us More!” – as long as they remember to keep the Music and the News as far apart as is humanly possible! ♪♪ Keep Listening – Keep Radio Free ♪♪ GG
Those of you who have read earlier opinions of mine will know I’m a regular visitor to one Glasgow’s better quality ‘shopping centres’ – that is if Princes Square can be called simply ‘a shopping centre’. I’ve waxed relatively lyrical about this ‘palace of consumerism’ on more than one occasion in these pages and – there’s no other way to say this – I’m about to do so yet again! The object of my affections on this occasion is the shop on the first floor, Phase Eight. I’m not the most observant of people and I’m a great one for just ‘browsing around’ with no real intentions of buying anything – it’s possible that at one time what I do would have been called ‘window shopping’ but after having these browsing habits as a part of my life for the better part of forty years now, it would be quite wrong of me to degrade the true value of my favourite – sorry – second favourite pastime, by calling it “window shopping”. As a direct result of my ‘casual indifference’ to the precise name over the door of the store or stores that attract my attention, it was some time before I actually put a name to the ‘retail heaven’ in question. I had been aware for some time of a store on the first floor of Princes Square that had the most gorgeous clothes for women displayed in its large almost frameless windows. I liked the way the casual but smart outfits were displayed in a natural and attractive fashion. I liked the colour combinations of taupe, cream and deep, deep chocolaty brown used to show the clothes to their best advantage. I especially liked the timelessness of the styles on show and the casual elegance which was a common feature of everything on view. My favourite item of the moment is their long winter top coat which has a country feel to it while looking so absolutely
beautiful. This is the kind of coat that will look elegant fro many years to come thus adding to its appeal as I would not have to lash out on another coat for some time to come. Instead of wondering ‘who is going to wear that?’as is the case so often on today’s high street, I found myself wondering just how anyone could walk past the shop without actually buying one. So many of the styles on show in this great store are ‘just the right’ shape and ‘just the right’ style. That is something which I believe has been missing from our major stores for quite some time now. Their Internet site does not disappoint either as the good people at Phase Eight put it, “Our aim is to delight our customers by offering them a shopping experience which exceeds their expectations and clothes that give them pleasure in the buying and wearing.” Well, Phase Eight, as far as I am concerned, you have succeeded! Alright, so the coat I fancied is priced at £1200 and there are more in that same price range, - but a Glasgow Girl can dream – can’t she? (if, by any chance, you need a ‘fix’ of real-top-quality-clothes ... ladies – here’s the Internet site I refer to in the above opinion - www.phase-eight.co.uk ) Enjoy GG
The PRESTIGE MINIT MOP. Taking pride of place in my ‘broom cupboard’ is my ‘Prestige Minit Mop’. “All right,” you might say, “nothing that ‘special’ about that, is there?” and in most instances I would be inclined to agree with you, but this is not “most instances”. Not only do I have the mop but a set of click –on attachments “Specially Designed for Instant Fixing to the ‘Prestige Minit Mop” are housed along with my wee beauty of a mop. Incredible as it may appear, I have been lucky enough over the years to find replacements for both the sponge head and the mop handle, while the rest of the set owes its existence more to the fact that they have sat, unused in the cupboard for many years. HOW OLD? Just how old my Minit Mop is, I don’t exactly know. What I do know is that it had been my mop of choice for three decades or more. CLICK-ON HEADS Aside from the sponge mop head, there are five other click-on heads in my set. What the set cost when new or whether this set of mine is a complete original set, as sold across the counter all those years ago, I couldn’t really say. It has been a long time and the memory never was much good ;-) For anyone interested in household ephemera I will now describe some of the interesting aspects of my ‘collection’. CARPET SHAMPOO BRUSH This comprises of an outer stiff brush running down the two long edges of the brush head, with a sponge centre section. The fact that these are set on a wooden base goes some way towards suggesting the age of the brush as today’s equivalent would most certainly have a plastic base. As with the entire set, the upper ‘face’ of the brush-head is indeed made of plastic, which has a rim running around its edge, where the ‘operator’ would simply slip in the folding metal section the end of
the main mop handle, and hey presto, one “carpet shampooing mop” was complete. I hope this description helps rather than hinders an understanding of the mechanisms of a Minit Mop. FLOOR POLISHER Next in my collection is the ‘floor polisher’. This has the same plastic section as the carpet shampoo brush but where the carpet shampoo brush has a bristle and sponge inset, this little beauty has a ‘candlewick’ covered sponge head. We used to get bedspreads made of candlewick, does anyone know if you can still buy them? I digress. The candlewick head is a lovely lemon colour, and as I have never used it, it is still as pristine as it was on the day I bought it. If I were to have the modern ‘laminate’ flooring – there would be no problem, as I would far rather use this ‘click-on’ mop head than one of those ‘swifer’ things any day. Is it me, or have the manufacturers pulled off an amazing coup here? In my eyes, they have managed to convince numerous ordinary folk to put ‘laminate’ flooring on their floors. Correct me if I’m wrong, but ‘laminate’ means coat, cover, or maybe the dictionary description gives an even better idea of what I am saying here … LAMINATE = “to make (material in sheet form) by bonding together two or more thin sheets” or “to make (material in sheet form) by bonding together two or more thin sheets” … What I am saying is – years ago – “ laminate” was what one did with cheap materials to make them appear better than they actually were in order to sell them at an exorbitant price … I still have the better qulity form of latter-day ‘laminate’ in my bathroom, in the form of a ‘Formica’ front panel on my bath. I remember this was specially designed and cost a small fortune but as I knew someone in th
e trade I got a bargain at the time. That’s why I have a lay-persons idea of how this ‘Laminate’ flooring is made – and – believe me – if you have followed the fashion and laid this stuff on your floor – then you could very well regret your expensive “fad” in the long run. Whoops, Pauline’s rambling again …I’ll get back ‘on-topic’. SOFT BRISTLE BRUSH This brush head is one I have used off and on since it was bought and I can say it has truly given value for money. The bristles are bright red and it is a ‘dawdle’ to clean. However, as a result of its use over the years, unlike the two heads mentioned above, it no longer has its original ‘plastic bag’ cover. SCRUBBING BRUSH This one too has seen a lot of use but like the bristle head, is not showing its age in the slightest. One small detail, common to all the click-on head, which is most useful in this instance in particular, is the little loop on one of the long edges of all the heads. This means the scrubbing brush can be hung up in an airy place to dry and as a result it does not harbour any bad smells. POLISHING MOP This head remind me of the dog in “The Magic Roundabout” (only my mop head is far more attractive). As fresh and clean as the day it was bought, this long haired mop head is another which could be used on modern flooring. Soft and lovely, it would be a shame to have to use this particular mop head, although I have lost the protective covering THE MINIT MOP HEAD This is the head that most people would think of if they have heard of the Mint Mop. The sponge heads, unlike those described above, has a metal top with four little ‘key’ which the user would simply align with four slots in the folding metal ‘head’ on the mop handle. A lever action is then used to wring excess water from the mop,
an action which is simply repeated to rinse the mop head and which allows the mop to take up more, clean water. I use this little mop on a regular basis and I am at a loss to think of just where I might find a new Minit Mop head when my present one finally reached the point of no return. I wonder, doo any of my fellow dooyooers have an idea of where I might find a replacement head? GG