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Well here we go room 101 has hit the target, as have many other people. I am going to try and limit myself to 5 things that I really want to go into the pot. Yes it is difficult to limit to only five but hey I like a challenge. 1. Hospital Waiting lists Yes I know that this is far beyond my control and no I am not blaming any one person, political party, or organisation but hey surely we can do something about this. Ever since I can remember the only thing with more people on it was the unemployment list. We can build houses, why not hospitals. We can make jobs interesting and well paid (well nearly) why not doctors and nurses. Lets sort it out and get the lists to be something you tell the grandchildren about, starting with….when I was a young 2. Political Correctness How many times has there been a court case about what something can be called. Bin Liners, Robinson Jam Logo, Nursery Rhymes, person instead of man…. the list seems to get bigger year on year. Yet most of the time it is the “Do Gooders” who are the ones that impose these views on us and expect us to accept them. They believe that they are doing it for the good of the “underdog”, no they are doing it because they feel they have something to prove. For years language has existed and evolved so why do we need to constrain it. 3. 10 items and less checkouts Oh I agree that these are great if you have ten items or less, you supposedly whiz through until you find that the ten people in front of you all have to pay by plastic or cheque. But this is not the real reason to bin it. The real reason is for all those people that have 11 items. Whoa now hold on there real dilemma time. Do you try and sneak onto the queue and hope that no-one counts as you empty your basket. Standing there as a fugitive hoping that the checkout person (see I remembered) isn’t going to tell you that you have more than ten, or give you a nasty look instea
d. Or do you just join the queue next to it with the people doing there monthly shop for a household of twenty, hoping they might let you go in front. Make all tills the same and let us choose where we want to stand. 4. Pelican Crossings No not all crossings, I think that the zebra crossings are great but why do we need to have the pelican ones as well. The problem is there are two types. Type one, the lights go red as soon as the button is pressed allowing about two cars through between pedestrians. They cause traffic jams when there is no reason. The other sort is that which takes ten minutes for the lights to change leaving you standing in the rain. The problem with both of these is the button. As a kid, yes we all did it, the button was there to be pushed whether you were crossing the road, waiting to cross the road, had just crossed the road it didn’t matter you just pressed the button. It isn’t just the kids how many times have you pressed the button only to find a break in the traffic safe enough to cross. Both leave the driver sitting there looking at a red light and no pedestrians it really does wind me up. Last but not least 5. Satellite Channels I love watching films and I will watch a film more than once if I think that it is worth it, but I do not expect to watch the film every night for a week, sometimes even twice a day over an entire month. With all the films that are around it must be possible to vary the schedule a bit more, we used to only get the classic movies once a year on Terrestrial TV (Star wars, Mary Poppins, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) and I think that was why they invented the video. What do the Satellite companies do, they introduce thirty or so new channels showing about 5 new films every hour on the hour for a month and then charge you extra to watch them. The point of getting satellite was for more variety. Yeah they have more channels but most of it is repeated at least twice a day
. SORT IT OUT There you have it my top five whinges, well for today anyway, maybe some of you agree. Thanks for reading.
Now from that title you might think that I am against the Monachy, well I am not. I do think that there is a historical and current value of the Monachy although the values to the country are completely different. With regards to this years coming event of the Queens Golden Jubilee there is constant reference to the wonderful celebrations of 1977. Yes I was there, aged 5 and a half (so it said on my school work) wearing a soilders uniform. Red coat, Buzbie and black trousers with my wooden rifle made by my Grandad. The street was closed off and there was food and drink well into the night (well I think I fell asleep about 8, but then that was the middle of the night wasn't it??? Now in true Marty McFly style "Back to the Future" and the big question "will it work again". Sadly I think NO. Peoples attitudes and environments have changed dramatically over the last 25 years. Every day on the tube you see hundreds of people keeping to themselves, not talking. Neighbours over the casual nod of the head in acknowledgement barely a word spoken. Streets now have large numbers of cars. People have other things to do or wish to be with their families street parties would stop you being able to drive anywhere. Plus probably the strongest reason is the larger number of anti royalists in the country. Before anyone starts shouting I am not having a go at them, merely trying to point out that they would be the least likely supporters of a Royal event. So what are the government doing to try and persuade people in the belief that a street party is the way to go? Extra bank holiday and cash, plus a belief that it can be like the good old days. Forgive me if my history is wrong (I was only 5) but there didn't appear to be the violence, riots, etc back in the late seventies on the scale and frequency there are now. How will an event like this be bought together amoung people that cannot get along on a daily basis? The oth
er thing that is needed is someone to organise the day. Who wants the hassle, the pressure and the disappointment (if it goes wrong) of arranging a day like this, even if the money that is to be shared out covers the day and people don't have to put their hand in their pocket. People are always quick to condem something as a failing (we have a great example in the dome) nice idea, wrong solution, but we are poor at doing anything to actually try to improve or to assist. I would like to think that there will be some form of celebration on the day, provided that it isn't rammed down our throats between now and then so that we are sick of it by the time it happens. But I still believe that people are too busy with their own lives to join a celebration on the scale of those experienced across the country in my youth (blimey I am sounding old now) To all those that do decide to participate and expecially to those who organise events I wish you all the success and happiness for the day. I also hope that most of my points are wrong, people never cease to amaze :@)
Well it seemed about time to write another op, so I wondered what to do the next one on....the answer was right under my nose (especially as I have had the flu for the last two weeks) A tissue, bless you, (the old ones are still the best) that is more than just a piece of paper. It’s a revolution in nose wiping. The first thing that you will see is the rather subtle yet noticeable box, blue, yellow and green. The blue and yellow start at either end and merge into the green as they move across the box. What next, well they are three ply which gives you quite a good amount of protection from ending up sneezing all over your hand...or others if you are that unlucky. The come in 4 great sizes: Mansize, Regular, Box and Packet so there is a variety for every sort of location and person. Three quarters of the way down the box you will find that the tissue does not pull the next one out. Normally I curse at this point and try to push my hand into the box to grab the next one normally to get half a dozen. There is a reason behind it.....the box is going to run out soon!!!!!! (still doesn’t stop me moaning though) Right so what about this balsam within the fibres of the tissue. Yes it is great, it does stop your nose becoming sore, when you have gone through a box you will be eternally grateful for this addition, BUT. Yes I am sorry to say that there is a downside to this wonderful advancement in nose care and that is the sticky fingers that you get when you use them. The balm comes off on the fingers and can make your hands feel greasy. This is then transferred to anything that you touch, the phone, computer keyboards, etc. Apart from looking nasty, there must be some hygiene issue here, whatever is on your hands from the tissue is slapped around with its own glue. They are also pretty poor at wiping up any spillage’s that may occur. Their competition on the market at the mom
ent appears to be Tempo who have apparently mastered the art of a wash resistant tissue. This is something that Kleenex haven’t claimed yet, but I am cautious of using something that doesn’t disintegrate in water as I am not sure how absorbent it can be. Well despite all my complaints about the greasy fingers and lack of absorbency I would still go for this tissue over the others, you could say it wins by a nose (well that’s an achievement two cheesy jokes on one op)
The acts of vandalism are evident in nearly every street in the country. I am not saying that this is a past time restricted to the UK but this is the area I am more familiar with. The dictionary describes vandalism as: "The deliberate destruction caused by a vandal or an instance of such destruction". There are many examples visible from the high publicity of graffiti, to the various bus shelters, phone boxes and abandoned cars that seem to bere the brunt of peoples aggression. I cannot understand what drives people to do such wanton destruction of property that doesn't belong to them, or maybe that is the reason. The fact that it is not theirs, I guess brings an element of danger into getting caught either by the owner or by the police. Or just disrespect for peoples lives with the example of litter being thrown over fences into peoples gardens. At one time I believed that all of this was due to jealousy. The scenario of "if I can't have it, why should they?", but I now feel that it goes further than that. It would seem that the aggression which is borne by the current climate and unrest around the world, not taking into account recent events, channels the aggression and the release of which ends in violence. I would say that the only saving grace is that the violence is against an object and so no one gets hurt, but I would be wrong. All of these objects belong to people, whether personal or something that they repair in their line of work. These are the scars which are unnoticed. The pride that people take in their belongings, their work and their lives is hit by the acts of vandalism, but go unnoticed because "its only a car!" But it seems that the attitude towards vandalism is changing in that people see it and then just carry on. I am not talking about the actual act here, but how many times have people walked down the road, seen the broken bus shelters, phone boxes, cars, just sighed
mumbled to themselves and carried on? It seems that nothing is ever done about the acts. Indeed the figures from the home office suggest that vandalism cost the country over £1billion a year, wouldn't we be better off spending this on something else, such as the National Health? But vandalism does go beyond the visual to that which can cause death. In talking to a friend at the weekend it became evident that the people who carry out these crimes are looking for more daring challenges. They have taken it into their minds that sneaking onto railway tracks and breaking the signals would be funny. In parts of the country there are security patrols beings used purely to stop this happening. With all the problems and dangers on the railways over the past ten years can we really afford for this to happen? But there are another group that have an even more horrific concept. Paint the light green! The idea of this is that the drivers of the high speed trains think that that light is green and proceed at speed through the signal. As I understand so far it has been the duty of the driver to try and distinguish what is a true signal and what has been vandalised. Cages have been put up around the signals to try and deter these acts but we should not be taking preventative actions that almost accept it will happen. Why do our laws allow people to get away with these acts, does it need to take another disaster such as Hatfield or Clapham Junction before people start to realise the consequences of their actions? It is down to everyone to try and do something about this by getting involved in stamping out vandalism and instilling the attributes of right and wrong in children from an early age.
Wow, yes I will say that again..WOW. I have had the DVD of this film for a few months and have never seen it before. I had been told that it was good but thought it was one of those that you had to be in the right mood for. Reluctantly over Dinner I agreed to watch it. Right tray on lap, plate on tray, food on plate, beer nearby, phone close, remotes very close, DVD in player and I think im ready. No wait, turn the TV on. The general story is about a lad (Jimmy) creating a band in the suburbs of Dublin. First thing to say is that there was no mention of the political tension between England and Ireland, what a relief. The story follows the creation of the band, their successes and their failings up to the point that they....no I had better not say anymore there may well be someone out there that hasn?t seen it. The manager and creator of the band wants them to be different and to sing a different style, so we get Dublin SOUL and do they manage it! The team that make the band are fabulous with renditions of famous Soul Tunes such as ?Mustang Sally?, ?Try a Little Tenderness? and many more. Now don?t let the style of music put you off, there is some great acting and superb one liners. But the cast bring more to the story than just the songs. You have the change in their situations as they become well known and the dream of them all to be stars and get out of their home life, but in saying that you are always waiting for the next tune to come along and get the foot tapping, there goes more of my dinner off the plate. A few of my favourite scenes are their first concert, and the auditions (which come about by an add in the paper) The cast of the film are mostly unknowns, well a couple of them I recognised, but that may well be because they have been in something since the film was produced. The DVD has a few extras, scene selections, Trailer, behind the scenes, music video and a few sample tracks from the music CD.
By the end of the film I had managed to endure the problem of my dinner flying from my plate as I got into the music and had thoroughly enjoyed the film. It isn?t totally predictable and you find yourself siding with different characters at different times. The film moves at a fast pace and doesn?t tend to dwell on events. They happen, you see them and then they are gone. A lot is still left to the imagination but there is plenty of Sexy Soul (as they put it) to move you along. The Director, Alan Parker, has a grand history of films including Fame, Bugsy Malone and Mississippi Burning, since The Commitments he has also directed Angela?s Ashes and Evita. The cast were put together by him and a number of auditions for singers to get the right band. He managed it and his efforts are immortalised in the film and now my memory. Would I recommend this film to anyone who hadn?t seen it, anyone over the age of 15 as thats the certificate ;). Yes, Yes Yes, get out there and see it. To anyone who has seen it before ?I give you the hardest working band in Ireland....The Commitments?
Well the first point I guess to make about speed cameras is that the police have taken the concept of hiding under the hood of the old camera and managed to hide 8ft tall grey metal boxes from the unsuspecting motorist. A skill I reckon Paul Daniels would be proud of. But is this the right way to stop speeding? I guess on the plus side it catches the person who is going too fast because they don?t have time to brake. The problem is that it only catches someone once and then they are aware of the camera. The other problem is the driver who sees it too late but still decides by slamming on their brakes that they can get away with it, much to the annoyance and danger of the driver behind. So if they are put where people can see them does it work as a deterrent? Well yes it does, we have all been behind the wheel or behind a car that slows to a varying degree as they approach the camera and then turn into Michael Schumaker as soon as they are past the tell tale white lines in the road. The problem is that not all the cameras work. What is the point of having a paid for box when it is sitting there idle. That leads me nicely onto the next problem?the white lines. Forget whether the driver can see or not see the camera, if they are looking at the road they can sure as hell see the row of white lines painted there to catch them. Some of the newer cameras have infra red beams and a single line in the road, by the time you have reached the line, that?s it. Newer cameras are designed to average your speed over a set distance. Nice idea but there are a couple of flaws with this approach: 1. They are only used on motorways, what about the more apparent dangers of speeding in a town where there are pedestrians, who can be killed by a speeding motorist. At least on a motorway it is a vehicle against a vehicle. 2. It anticipates that the driver will travel the distance between the two points at least. If the cameras are too clo
se together it will create a bottleneck as people drive within the limit. If too far apart people will get wise and change their route. 3. If people become wise to the location it can only serve to move the drivers from the motorways back onto the A and B roads, where there are less cameras. 4. The new cameras are designed to take a picture from the front of the car and transmit this to the DVLC Directly so that the drivers details can be held and the picture displaying the driver can be used as evidence. This is in my opinion the biggest flaw?.. Motorbikes!!!!! As pointed out by a friend of mine, they do not have a number plate at the front, so it would appear that the cameras are there merely to catch the unsuspecting car driver. Isnt this a little unfair as most motorcyclist get to their location a lot quicker, even if there is a traffic jam as they can ride between cars (yes I am a bit jealous here) Okay so people say that the camera is there to stop the driver speeding and make it safer for all. They are there to uphold the speed limit. If this is the case why are they not set at 1mph over the speed limit for the area? It is because it is legal to drive up to 10% over the displayed limit, 55 in 50 zone, 77 in a 70mph area. The only exception to this appears to be where there are road works and the mobile cameras have been used. Which I guess is to protect the workmen (when they are there?). Another point is that cars have improved both their safety and their braking to such a degree that most cars are able to stop within half the documented stopping distances of the highway code. The only reason cars take so long to stop is the driver and their reaction time. Most people drive to their own abilities, only a few idiots think they are racing drivers and the cameras are not going to stop them. If cars are that much safer why do we need to have so many controls on the faster roads. People call for the speed limits to be increase
d but I do not think this is the best action as people will always brake them, just don?t be so tough on the regular driver, target those who are a threat and driving with total disregard for any laws. The final point to my argument is that the cameras are mostly on motorways and act as a money making function, more than a speed regulation device. I heard on the news last night that there are plans to move the cameras to accident black spots, this I cannot agree with more, but at the same time look forward and think of what impact this will have. It could potentially move the black spot elsewhere, a bit like sweeping it under the carpet for someone else to deal with. If the cameras are making that much money, how about investing some of it into hospitals to help those that are hurt by the careless motorist instead of the driver just seing it being used against them. I am all for saving lives on the road, but do it properly without trying to dupe the driver.
I have been donating blood for about five years now and I must admit it is the most gratifying thung U have ever done. I am proud that I may help someone survive for half an hour of my time, three times a year. Not much of a price to pay is it. Why did I start, I guess my Dad was the first reason. No not because he needed it but because he started giving blood because of my sister. Twenty years ago my sister had an operation that went wrong and they needed pints and pints of blood. The problem was that she had rare antibodies in her blood which meant blood type ?o? was no good. Did you know that there are volunteers on the blood service with rare blood groups that are on call. There are, when my sister needed the blood, ,they were called and collected by the police to donate. They also donated a couple of times, staying in the hospital so that they could keep an eye on them. They saved my sisters life. So my dad started giving blood. As I child I had to give regular blood tests and I hated it, the pain was horrible, so it took some time for me to go?.believe me I was cacking my pants when I went, 23 year old and I was worried it would hurt. What would happen if it made me cry, if I let out a yelp, the nurses would laugh at me. I have never walked into a room feeling so scared and then made to feel relaxed so quickly. There are Male and Female nurses, all happy to see you there doing your bit. Taking the time to talk to people and make the time go quicker. I followed my Dad like a lost sheep. ?Have you donated before?? the nurse asked me. Now I was embarrassed instead of scared, so I just shook my head. I was treated like royalty, told not to worry, the Sister would see me first, but to sit down and read all the leaflets carefully. The leaflets outline whether it is safe for you to give blood, both for you and for the person that may need your blood. The questionnaire was very straight forward, yes / no boxes (you fill this in eve
ry time you go) then you wait to be called. There?s my name so I get up and go to a desk where they ask name and address, check my questionaire and ask me to sit down again. The tension is now building because I am getting closer to someone ripping my arm off and pouring the blood in a bucket. Then my name was called again and I had to go to another desk. This one is more scary there is a very friendly nurse with an assortment of test tubes, plastic containers, swabs and a pen. After checking my details again she talks about my history and describes what will happen (but you are gonna have to wait till I am on the table). Then she sticks a little needle in my finger, ow! Sqeezes it and then drips some blood into one of the test tubes, one drop on a little glass tube is all she needs. This is to test that you have iron in your body and are not going to be affected by giving blood. When she is satisfied I go back to my seat and wait for the final call. There it is, now I am sweating, I think I must have looked slightly worried because the nurse asked if it was my first time and then kept the chat going to make me relax. You lay up on a bed and they take the blood out of your wrong arm , if you are right handed they use your left and vice versa. When three people had been over checked my name, address, Date of Birth and cleaned a spot on my arm the sister came over checked it all again, put a tourniquet on my arm and then stuck the needle in. Did it hurt, a bit but no where near as much as I expected. In fact she was walking away and I was still expecting more pain. The whole time a nurse sat with me chatting and making sure I was okay, then after ten minutes she took the needle and hose out of my arm and asked me to press a pad where the needle had been. After ten more minutes she put a plaster on and asked me to sit up slowly and follow her to the refreshments. First timers are only allowed orange or lemon. After a few more minutes you
can go. It has changed a little since then, you only have the one nurse (sorry guys) and there are more questions to answer but the pain is still less than a paper cut and you are helping another person. They record your donations and send you reminders when you should be going, but they can change dates, locations. They travel the country and they are very regular. If for some reason you cannot donate, there are always other venues close to your home that you can attend. It is a worth while way to spend your time, there isnt the pain you think there is and it could help a friend or member of your family. Please don?t wait for there to be a need of your own to find out that you could have donated before. If you are worried, talk to your doctor, phone the national blood service or just turn up at one of their sessions, make an hour of your life count for someone else. Slightly off the subject when I moved house the National Blood Donation Service sent me ten cards to tell people of my new address, it?s a way of them advertising but it was worth it.
Here you go another person telling you yet another way to write your cv. The first thing to rememebr is that the CV is only there to get you on the short list. It isnt there for someone to read and then employ you without seeing you. So where do you start? Your CV evolves with you from the time that you do something it is worth telling someone about. Most people think that the CV starts when you leave school, ok so that is the main part but think of all the things you have done before you left: The Saturday job, the clubs you belonged to, what events you have attended, work experience (not the part about being taken to the pub every lunch time though), awards that you gained, but i would leave out the width badge you got when you were 7 years old. Basically you are trying to display yourself as a well rounded individual, that in nearly all cases is lacking experience. That is what you get once you have a job. When writing your CV it is important not to over elaborate points and stretch the imagination too far. I have been to interviews and have had people come to me for interviews. If something on the CV looks a bit ambitious you will get asked about it if you make the interview. Some people dont even get interviews because their CV appears too elaborate for their age, background, history. The CV must be honest without putting yourself down. If something you have done is good, get it down on paper, if you are being honest you will be able to talk freely about the subject at an interview. Lie and the interview will be a nightmare. OK so when you have decided on a few key points think about the layout, structure and length. Firstly the CV should not be more than three to four pages. Give someone a CV that has their entire life history in a leather bound book and I doubt it will get looked at. It should also be easy to pick out the key data the interviewer is looking for. Hiding good points in with worse points WILL get them
overlooked. The interviewer will have hundreds of CV's to read and if they are too difficult to get the details they will probably turn into paper aeroplanes. With the structure try and find a template that suites you e.g a front page that is personal details and qualifications, the rest of the CV your work history (latest to oldest). Make sure the personal details are correct, the right phone number, email address (be warned not to use a stupid address that is a joke one for your mates...it can put people off) Keep the format the same e.g. Job Title Company Date From Date to Brief description of role (couple of lines) Main Duties (Bullet points) Main Acheivements (Bullet points) The size of each of these sections should reduce the further from the present day you get. Make the bullet points punchy and know what you meant by each one without having to read the CV again. It is not essential to put all acheivements down, if you can keep some back as additional talking points in the interview. It is important to know your CV thoroughly so you do not need to be looking at it when you are in the interview. You can run through your history in the same order as you have written and pick up on the bullet points you quoted. Keep your CV up to date and review it regularly. Nothing is harder than trying to write up nine years work when you are looking ot move on, I KNOW. The memory doesnt always give you the whole picture, plus you will be wasting valuable application time writing a new CV. Finally get as many people as possible to read it and give you feedback. Listen to what they say and read as many other CV's as you can. It all helps!!! That just leaves me to say, good luck out there and maybe I will see your CV on my desk one day.
I have been using Dooyoo for a number of months now and thought it about time I came clean. I signed up for dooyoo more for the attraction of what i could get back and I dont mean other peoples opinions. REWARDS there they were like $ signs in my eyes, how can i get more. Thats when the Jeckle and Hyde characters come to life. I began writing ops thinking that people would just come and read them, indeed my first op was rejected, so i padded it out a little. Alright so I padded it out a lot and it got a some what useful rating (I will be going back to the first ones to review them). What I came to realise pretty quickly was that writing about something you are interested in gave better results and more hits. So I stopped the churning and went for opinions closer to me, now and again the old monster would creep out, but that happens less with time. Be honest about the subject and put your feeling on paper, not just the scientific salesman specs. Make it clear and re-read it for typing mistakes, hope there are none in this now I have written that :( Eventually I received some advice to rate more ops and get my name known. You know what, it works. People dont always rate your ops but you get more hits and that is a good thing for the future. I have increased the amount of rating and reduced the amount of writing, okay so sometimes I have lots of ops, other times none of my own, just beware the monster. When reading other peoples opinions it is important to take into account the subject and be fair. Where you rate lowly it is always better to give a reason and to check back on the comments to see if the writer has responded. This is the way to increase your circle (as well as writing good ops so people want to come back). You must be ready to rate differently to others if you feel the conviction to, as long as it feels right to you. Dooyoo is there as a source of information by people who have experienced
it, not just read it or heard the saleman. I use it quite a lot and sometimes get disappointed when there are no ops on what i am looking for, bugger just have to spend the money and then add my own ;) Finally so that you can all get back to your rating and writing, take note of what people say, its not malicious (sorry heard that word today and had to get it in somewhere)they are there to help. May you all enjoy your writing and reading till yoodoo us part.
I had the unfortunate opportunity to drive one of these as a hire car last week. I have looked at them before and thought...mmmm not a bad looking car from the outside. So there it was, the silver machine waiting for me in the sun (unusual I know) when I got home from work. So i get the keys and the first thing u notice is the handle on the key is almost as big as the key ring for your room when you go on holiday. Why, because it has two rectangle buttons to lock and unlock the car. Just be careful about carrying this in your trouser pocket or you may get arrested for indecency. Ok so I manage to open the door and get in. First things first...the radio. Yes there it is sitting in the middle of the centre console with a thin smile for a CD. The display for the radio is in a separate section on top of the dash in the middle, along with the clock and temperature. Novelty buttons are on the steering wheel to allow the cd to be turned on / off, volume increase / decrease and change the radio station. My first thought is whoever designed this cannot have passed a driving test. The buttons are below centre at about 5 o'clock and 7 o'clock and are part of the steering wheel consequently moving as you turn the wheel. Forgive me for being boring but aren't you meant to have your hands at quarter to three of ten to two? Ok less important (possibly) seat position. Moves forward, backwards, tilts and can have the height adjusted. This was one of the worst features. To change the height there is a plastic level to the side of the driver by the door. Lift it up past a central point to lower the seat, push it down to raise the seat. Each time you move it it adjusts the seat slightly and so you have to pump one way or tother. The lever feels pretty flimsy and my weight on the seat when you are trying to raise it doesn?t help, but hey wont need to go to the gym (for one arm anyway). The rest of the interior is pretty non descript. With the
exception of having poor visibility around the car as the windows are streamlined. Now onto the drive, started first time (thank god it was 6am and I hadn?t had the morning coffee) and pulls away smoothly. The car does run quite well and fairly quiet but does have its faults. There is a point that the injector kicks in through all gears and the revs are a lot higher than I would expect them to be before it works. If you are trying ot accelerate quickly you want the additional power as soon as possible not when you are about to go into the next gear. Braking is adequate but does not appear to have the sharpness of other cars in its bracket, especially at speeds on the motorway. The steering and gear box are average, there is no real feeling through turns and the gears are there but you do not feel that they are precise, just about there somewhere. In conclusion the car is average (very) but probably quite good around town. I would probably go for a focus over this model as it was a better all round drive.
At the weekend I went to an open air concert at North Weild Essex for a seventies revival. After having a duff Bucks Fizz (not the original group) a funky Boney M the main band were there.....Bjorn Again. I could simply complete this op by saying they were brilliant, superb, amazing, but I guess I should say a little more. They are a group of Australians who put on more than just a show, it is a complete performance and a real tribute to Abba. The costumes are typical of the Abba outfits, men in white jump suits, women in long (split) skits and then rather a lot shorter skirts with Knee high boots (calm down lads). The songs covered a wide range, all of which the crowd of a couple of hundred knew every word too and sang along. Their performance on stage wasn't one of stand at the mic and sing but to dance around and reflect the moves of their idols. The performance was well rehearsed but not mechanical, there are a few surprises thrown in to make it original and they ad lib well with the audience, getting them involved as much as possible. I mentioned earlier that the group are from Australia, but this does not show in the act, they disguise their accents when talking and when singing they are brilliant. The show was a family one and everyone was up having a dance, from 5 year olds up to the grannies and granddads, they really appeal to all ages. As the show finished and people started leaving all you could hear were people chatting eagerly about Bjorn Again, or singing the tunes they had just heard (even the young children were having a go) All in all the group are fantastic, they have used the springboard of a successful group, but have made the perfect dive and not the belly flop others have. My advice to anyone is that they should see this group, they are not too big for their boots (the concert we saw was in an open field, in Essex where the tickets were £
20. Not a top club or arena yet they gave it their all and the crowd appreciated every last note. I have thought before about seeing the group but was always put off by the thought that they were using someone elses success...this just aint true. Go and see them and enjoy a night out that will leave you feeling happy and upbeat, Bjorn again even. I am definitely going to see them again.
I have been using the C2C service for over a year now since I moved jobs to London. I travel from Barking to Fenchurch Street and can get almost all of the trains that run the line, I can get all of them if I want to try out train surfing as it passes at 50mph. But all there seems to be is delays. The last couple of months have seen industrial action that only affects the C2C service, so what do they do, stop any trains stopping at Barking, Upminster, West Ham and Limehouse during peak hours. What do I have to do, try the underground....but there are signal problems at Barking and they get too crowded, or drive to a station on a different line and pay to park my car. What is their problem? Talks have broken down and I am still none the wiser as to what they are arguing about and why they haven't resolved it like other train networks. In addition to this are the new trains. A majority of the trains on this line are the old ones, with the manual throw them open doors. I admit that these are a hazard for people trying to get on and off when the train is moving, potentially knocking someone out on the platform with the door. They do not have air coinditioning, but do have heating. This is a nightmare in the summer (ha ha) when the trains are packed with people and they have forgotten to turn the heating off. But if you are near a window great. The new trains have the automatic doors, air conditioning, moulded seats so you know how many people should be sitting there. They are smoother and quieter. But I like the old trains!!!!! You are mad I hear people cry, but I have what I think is a good reason. Getting on at Barking there are only a couple of stops to Fenchurch Street where the train terminates and so most if not all the seats are taken and people are standing. The old trains have about 6 doors along the side of the carriage and so people can spread out more when standing. The new trains have two doors and where do
people satnd, in the area just inside them so that no other bugger can get on. There is plenty of room along the carriage, in the aisle, but people are worried that they will not be able to get out and so take two steps onto the train and stop. MOVE DOWN, people will let you off, but there is no room for people to get on. You stand on the platform in the morning with people pushing and squeezing into these spaces like contortionist. When the doors close it looks like people have been pickled in a jar, limbs everywhere, faces squashed against windows. All this to get to the office, how stressful is that. I am lucky and work Flexi so I have let five trains go before and then was still slightly squashed. So please, get more trains, more frequent comfortable trains so that you are not on your second shower of the day by the time you reach the office. ============================================ (01/08/2001) C2C are going full steam (maybe that would be quicker) towards the "We don't really know what we are doing award". Over the last week a number of trains have been delayed some for over 15 minutes. C2C have also got into the habit of providing extra seating at terminating stations - how nice. They let you sit on the train for ten minutes before they decide that they are canceling it. But the "I haven't got a clue award goes to one announcer".....The #.## has been cancelled due to lack of rolling stock. Ten minutes later, the #.## has been cancelled due to their being no train crew, another instance of 1 + 1 = No train. Can they please get someone with a mere ounce of common sense and stop treating the public as if they were idiots.
Earlier in the year I was shopping around to find my holiday for the year (wish it was that long). We knew that we wanted all inclusive, Dominican Republic and towards the end of September. Other travel agents (not going to mention who specifically as I may do an op on them separately ha ha) either picked a date and went through all the places we could go on the one date without looking at what was available a couple of days either way; rushed through the selection so quick it felt like we had been on a roller coaster; or went for the hard sell. The young girl in Thomas Cook was a breath of fresh air, just about the point I was going to settle for a camping trip in Bognar. She took her time, showed us ALL the options (giving us the time to view, discuss and move on), looked around the date we wanted and was willing to ask her colleages for their opinion on resorts (some of which were dismissed by their comments). There was no push and after nearly an hour we decided and paid a deposit. Throughout the young girl was professional, polite and supportive. We received a letter around the time of the next payment, just advising it was due. Another letter from their customer services advising of building work going on in the vecinity. It outlined where and when the work was taking place, whether it was visible or audible and a contact number and name for any concerns. Finally this weekend we went to pay the balance. We saw another member of staff who was equally polite, professional and pleasant. All in all the service so far has been professional and a pleasant experience. If the holiday is anything like the service we have received so far I cannot wait (but have to till September..bugger)
A few years ago when I didnt work in London I was constatly jealous of my mate who was buying all this amplifiers, DVD players, minidisc players for what I called "off the back of lorry prices". He mentioned the shop was "Richer Sounds" so when I moved jobs to the centre of London I sought out the holy grail of Richer Sounds, set up by Julian Richer. My first impression when I approached the store by Liverpool Street station..I must have the wrong place here. The shop front is tiny, it's down a back road with no flashy sign calling you in. Get inside and the place is stacked with Hi-Fi separates and a box of off cut cables as well as being stacked out with people. Being the coward I am I grabbed a copy of their magazine (free) and headed straight back out the door. The magazine is only about a dozen pages long and is jam packed with products just like the shop. As I read some of the tiny articles that accompany the product I found myself smiling at the down to earth, frienly, NON in your face approach to their products. Then I looked at the prices £10 off here, £50 off there, £75 off another one and they covered everything: Amplifiers (analogue and Digital), Receivers, cassette decks (single and double), Minidisc players / recorders (portable and hi-fi), Speakers, speaker stands, Speaker cables, DJ equipment, Home cinima, DVD players, cassettes, minidics. I couldnt believe the extent and range of the products, not to mention the prices being cheaper than "Trade Selling Price (TSP)". There are a number of free fact sheets that are displayed in the shop for the customer to take, giving advice on the set up, purchase and budget considerations that are normally overlooked. One of them persuaded me to make my first purchase.....speaker wire. I have had a £1,000 stereo for 4 years using the manufacturers cable. The fact sheet says to allow 10% of the purchase price for cable, I went in expecting t
o pay £100. With guidance, not sales pitch, I spent £40 on cable and heard what I had been missing. Since first going in the shop, I have been back a number of times and is the first port of call when I want anything like the items listed above. The shop staff are great, they give you the time to look, the chance to ask "dumb" questions and the pleasure of their experience. I have never been forced in to a purchase, or felt that I was being watched as I browsed the shop. The reason that "Richer" are cheaper is because they deal direct and not through suppliers. Some of their products are by names that to the less cultures are unknown, or very new to the market but don't let that put you off, anyway they have the usual SONY, Kenwood.... Whenever you buy something from "Richer" you get a questionaire with your receipt asking about half a dozen questions where you score the experience. These go to Julian for review and you have the chance to win £20 in the monthly draw. Finally I must mention their "Cover Policy"...£20 for three years (including manufacturers year). This gives you parts and labour, replacement model, spare machine during repair and what really impressed me when I took the cover on a DVD player, dont use the cover bring the player back to the shop an ddepending on condition, original packaging money off against the purchase of a new machine. All in all the only thing that Richer sounds hasn't got is a web site - Informed by x_elf_x, that there is a web site (see comments) Thanks. The shops are light hearted with free tea, coffee, ice cream, lollipops, umbrella if it's raining. Don't be put off with initial looks that the place is cheap and you wont get the best service, I have not found service better anywhere else.
I was leant this dvd by a friend who had told me how good it was. Indeed there was plenty of hype around the film when it was released in the cinema, more when it arrived to the mini cinema, your TV. To be honest when a film receives this amount of hype watch out. Again I was proved right (unusual for a man I know). There were a couple of stories going on, which were only linked because the characters were all in the same film, but that was about it. You are left at the end of the film wondering what the hell has been going on and why have you spent an hour and a half watching the damn thing. There is some weird photography and special effects, which are actually quite good, but a real disappointment in terms of action. If there is any humour in this film it is so black and dark it was lost in the shadows (and I don't mean the lot that sang with Cliff Richard). I was really disappointed because I give any film a chance and can normally be surprised. If you have the chance of watching American Beauty or going to the fifth day of an England v Australia test, which has finished on the third day (but thats another op) go to the cricket. On the positive side ther are some good performances put in, but the cast are given no help by the rest of the film. This is more American Trash, than American Beauty.