Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Our Obsession With The Weather

I often eavesdrop telephone calls, not because I'm interested in what's being said, but more because I'm surrounded by fairly deaf [as well as crumbly] people, so they tend to shout into their mobile phones. Therefore it is in fact difficult if not impossible to avoid hearing scintillating and fascinating one-sided conversations.

This morning I was treated to [from 2 rooms away at about 80 decibels] -
'Is it sunny where you are?'
'Is it cloudy?'
'Is it raining?'
'I wonder if it'll come our way?'
This to a five year old who like me, couldn't care less about the weather.

I'm wondering how much money we Brits are wasting on our mobile phones making inane enquiries about the weather of the recipients of our phone calls.
My grumpy old man asks about the weather of everyone he phones, then he'll tell them what it's like where we are even if they're only 2 miles up the road!
Of course Asda Mobile is happy about this as it makes his phone calls 3 times longer than necessary. In fact because of our obsession with the weather I'm sure all the mobile phone companies must be rubbing their collective hands.

Now me, I hardly ever talk about the weather unless it's an obvious chance to show off -
'Oh dear, is it raining there? What a shame, I'm sat in the lovely sunshine getting brown and there's a nice sea breeze so I'm not too hot'
I suppose I'm lucky, I rarely, if ever worry about what the weather is going to do, this is:
  1. Because I'm waterproof - as are most of us.
  2. Because I'm idle so don't need to venture out.
Take last weekend for example, I was informed by several people on Friday that it was going to be sunny on Saturday, so I did the sensible thing and Saturday was spent topping up my tan. Whilst doing that in a snoozy half-reading my book kind of way, I overheard yet another mobile phone conversation from the caravan next door that informed all that it would be dull on Sunday, so I decided that Sunday would be a good day to top up my blog - there were some menial tasks that I was going to mention that I'd done but I like to give the impression that I've got a maid for the washing and ironing, so I won't bother.

I know for a fairly small island we can have an amazing variety of weather all on the same day, often all in the same place. But why do we keep talking about it? I suppose that with our British reticence it's a great way of breaking the ice and probably without the weather to talk about we'd be struck dumb.

We can walk to the sea front and speak to at least half a dozen people and there won't be one of the conversations that doesn't include the current weather, also what it'll be like later and often what it was like this time last week or even last year: -

'Ay up me duck'
'Int it luvly?'
'Yeh, burrit it rained in t'naight.'
'Did it? Ah dint hear it'.
'Oooh yeh, there wus six raindrops abaht 'afe past three and it blew a gale. It were dark so ah switched laight on ter ay a look at t'clock.'
'Well I dint know owt abaht it and I nivver shut me eyes cos ah wo too 'ot t'sleep, yo musta been dreaming.'
'It were 'otter than this last wick, wo yo here then? It melted yer icecream afore yer could pay ferrit.'
'It's gunna be cowd next wick, ah saw it ont'weather.'
[We're a mixture of Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire if you were at all worried about the dialects]

These aren't even conversations with holiday makers, who I can quite understand worrying about our great British weather when they've saved up for a week at the seaside - only to find they've missed the brief glimpse of sunshine because they inadvertently blinked at the wrong moment [been there, done that, got the t-shirt]. No, these are fellow caravan owners gathering on the sea front for a moan - I'm in such good company ...

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

What No t'Interweb?

Well bugger me, I've been struggling since yesterday afternoon with my MWg zinc ii to get on the t'Interweb.

So where does the fault lie?

Is it the pain in the a**e zinc ii?
Is it something I've done? [who me?]
Have I overused my allowance blogging?
Have I been cut off for being ever so slightly annoying in said blog?

I managed to get online for a few minutes just before midnight last night, but there was nothing doing today until lunch time.

The first thing I did when I finally got online was to check if it was o2 that was at fault, phew they were.

Well [in grumpy mode now] the least they could have done was let us know by text, I know that the texty bit was working ok. I'm sure the more impatient among us were on the verge of tinkering or throwing our ever so expensive gadgets at the wall [well ahem, not me of course.

o2 soon send us a text message to remind us to top-up.
And another to say we've topped-up.
And another to warn us that they're about to take £7.50 web bolt on out of our balance, so 'make sure you're topped up'.
And another for o2 Surprises.
And another for o2 rewards.
And another because o2 thinks we ought to spend more money on 'Extras'.
So why not 'Sorry o2 is having a problem'? ...

Monday, 20 July 2009

Where's Asda in Hucknall Gone?

Asda in Hucknall
Asda rewriting things?

I have recently read that Asda's parent company Wal-Mart rewrites entries in Wikipedia to show themselves in a better light - well who wouldn't?

Anyway, I've been on the 'Asda in Langley Mill' website & I noticed while looking on the little map of local Asda's that the 'phantom' Asda in Hucknall - which I have mentioned before [3rd April] - has been removed from the map & list.

But not to worry Asda, I've got loads of copies of the original map with 'Asda in Hucknall' on it. So if you need a copy to remind you where you plan to build it, just let me know & I'll post you one ...

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Missing Sentence?

I was just checking the bookmark [favourite to Internet Explorer users] I'd saved from the Derby Telegraph on 13 July when I realised that the sentence saying that Amber Valley Borough Council were meeting today has completely vanished - poof, just like that. At least I wasn't the only one who saw it so I'm not going around the twist.

I originally understood that Asda expected a decision by the end of this year so was surprised when I first read on Monday morning that planning permission would be decided today. That's why I used a question mark in the title of Monday's post .

I wish they'd make their minds up & stop altering the news, it does nothing for my paranoia ...

Flood Risk - In Langley Mill?? ;)

I've been my usual nosy self - nothing new there then - when I came across a document about 'Unsatisfactory FRA/FCA submitted (Surface water)'.

Apparently the Environment Agency have objected [June 2009] to our soon to be Asda plans on 'Flood Risk' grounds. Oh deary, deary me. It's not all plain sailing then. Oh, an unintended pun ...

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Grumpy Technology

This is mainly a set of instructions for my tired & addled brain the next time this deed has to be done.

Older readers may be forgiven for completely side-stepping this post as it's a bit techno-bobby. Younger readers can ignore it as you already know what you're doing. Sensitive readers had better close their eyes as it's a bit 'sweary' in places.

The day had arrived - My aforementioned MWg Zinc ii was failing in a most uncharitable way, every time I sent the same text to more than one person it delighted in repeating itself so I had 5 people texting me back to say they'd had 3 copies each & one greedy little show-off that claimed to have received 4. Fortunately with o2 I get 300 free texts a month, most of which I've now used on duplicate texting.

Instead of performing the usual 'hold this button & that button whilst poking the stylus in the reset hole' I decided to be brave & update the ROM. This had to be done on an XP system, not Vista [just what century are MWg in?], so out came the trusty old laptop, which was still annoyed about it's recent update to 'service pack 3' the last time we were home. So much so that when we were away again, Windows Live Messenger refused to acknowledge that it was even there, I've updated that now while I remembered.

Bugger me, I've forgot what I was writing about, oh yes, my little [little!!] black sleek pocket job. My zinc ii runs magnificantly for a month or so at a time then starts doing stupid things, so I have to return it to it's 'new, out of the box, factory settings'. A ritual that takes the best part of a day. Not necessarily because it's a big job, it's more to do with remembering how I like things & adjustments I have to make, even to the exact shade of green I like [UI Tweaker].

Right the deed is done, I've updated the ROM, it's done several reboots & it's back to it's factory settings - again.

Follow the cross around the screen & poke it - set region, ok done that. Right it's now preparing itself & installing stuff ... dum de dum, dee di dee ...

Click, BLING! Oh bugger, I've got to get rid of the clicks & turn down the volume - Ah done that, peace.

Right, paid for programs - SPB Wireless Monitor & SPB Mobile Shell, a word of advice, if you're going to buy more than 1 item of software from SPB then get the cheapest first as you get a discount on any subsequent purchases.

Oh, here we go, I've got redo the o2 settings, MWg auto setup always assumes I've got 'loadsa dosh' & does the settings for contract & I, being a peasant am on pay & go, fortunately I know the settings off by heart seeing as I've had to do this several times, I also have to change the settings when I use my Asda sim as MWg thinks that it's vodafone.

Testing ... bugger, wrong settings, ah yes, I forgot to change the choice of network, wireless - data settings - advanced - select network - o2 t'interweb. that should do it. Yes! I've beat it into submission.

Oh yuck, bloody bing, must change my home page to google search, damn the light has gone out, must change that, dum di dum, start - settings - system - backlight - 2 mins, it was 30 seconds, I don't know what they think I can achieve in 30 seconds, it takes that long to think about it.

Right, plumb it back into the laptop aka Phoenix [it too has had many incarnations], Oh hang on I've forgot to rename the phone, too late, Phoenix has decided that it's got a new best friend so I'll have to manually restore things. Ok, pictures, ringtones, sounds - put that sound in the windows folder or it won't find it [muttley laughing - new text message]

Back to the SPB stuff to register them - find emails, I should be able to find copies somewhere, after losing some other registration details [super granny games] & having to metaphorically go cap in hand to request a copy of the original email from Sandlot - they're always very obliging there though, I just feel such a numty losing them. Anyway NO MORE! I forward all my important stuff to my online email accounts. Um now, is it that one? nope well that one? bugger I thought I'd sent them to more than one. Ah, there they are.

Next RESTORE, this may prove to be a disaster as it contains my text messages as well as everything else - but I cunningly remembered to save a back-up from before things went peculiar so I'll use that one ... Start - file explorer - storage card - Bits & Bobs - CAB files - PPCPim Backup - expand - open - WARNING! windows has detected that you are an idiot & running this software may harm your device, are you sure you want to do it? [or something similar] I am so daring - restore - browse - hmm, it's stuck - soft reset. Oh, no need, I'm just too impatient.

Eventually it worked beautifully. I've lost some recent texts, I did try a more recent back-up but it didn't do the texts properly, Windows mobile 6.1 threads text messages like in a messenger conversation with each individual contact, I like that, it saves me moving them into files.

The rest of my day was spent re-installing programs like google maps & opera-mini [way superior & far less greedy than ie mobile], prettying SPB Mobile Shell up & of course widgeting ...

Monday, 13 July 2009

Asda To Get Decision for Langley Mill?

I've just read that there's to be an Amber Valley Council Borough meeting on Wednesday 15th July for Asda's Langley Mill proposal. Asda WILL undoubtedly get planning permission. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that ALL our comments to the council about Heanor Haulage's HUMUNGOUS, unnecessarily close workshop will have made a difference to it's positioning. But I'm not depending on it.

More grumpiness is bound to follow ...

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Yay! Blimp Season Has Arrived.

We went for our constitutional this morning via the bookies, where I was entertained no end by the strange antics of a man using one of the gambling machines. He pressed the buttons of his choice [I think he was playing roulette], then he walked away ... turned round ... walked back ... bent his knees twice and swung his arms back and forth. I watched this whole process repeated a dozen or so times before my grumpy old gambler declared that he was ready to leave.

We carried on with our walk to the sea front where I couldn't help but notice that there was a certain chunkiness about the new influx of holiday-makers. Aha, 'Blimp Season'. This is a well known phenomenon [well it is by me], in high summer Skegness could be renamed 'Tubbyness'.

For the next eight weeks we'll be immersed in a sea of blubber where I'll blend in nicely. In fact I'll probably be mistaken for a slim person, which in normal circumstances would never happen [ok it'd be impossible]. But summer in Skegness is absolutely 'flabulous'!

Short shorts and strappy suntops it is then, with my chunky tree trunks dangling and bingo wings flapping ...

Friday, 10 July 2009

By Jove, I've Spotted It!

I've been doing my very best Miss Marple impression regards my grumpy blog on Wikio - I still don't know how it got there in the first place, but I think I know how it gets in certain categories.

I just happened to mention a superstore, a mobile phone company, my chums, a search engine or two & my t'interweb starting point [see how obscure I've just been]. Oh dear, does this mean I'll have to remain silent or choose my words more carefully in future?

Not on your nelly! I haven't had this much fun in ages, I'm almost forgetting my grumpy status. My only problem at the moment is the weather - it's not nearly rainy enough to keep me indoors glued to my Packard Bell laptop, & my MWg zinc II, running Windows Mobile 6.1 is too difficult to see in the sunshine [told you I was going to enjoy this].

I suppose Wikio will eventually suss me out as the charlatan that I am & discover that my blog really isn't news. But for now, I'll sit in the sun at Walsh's Holiday Park near Skegness, outside our ABI Citation caravan aka 'the manor', making notes in my Wilkinson notebook with my Skegness Natureland pen, munching on a Morrisons fruit flavoured antacid tablet as my sultana & apple Oatibix has upset my fragile digestion this morning.

Go on Wikio, chew on that little lot ...

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

What's Wikio When It's At Home?

I did my usual 'Asda in Langley Mill' Google search the other day, I do this on a regular basis to make sure I'm up to date with what Asda themselves have to say [no change] & to keep updated with ALL the local councillors [one & a bit] who have given it a mention, when I came across 'Asda's Latest Langley Mill Exhibition'. 'Ooh' methinks, someone else has written about our soon-to-be Asda. Then I gave it a proper look, 'Oh, that's my blog, how did it get there?'

I did a bit of a 'Wikio' Google search & I'm still no wiser as to how my blog arrived there. I certainly didn't submit it to Wikio myself never previously having heard of it.
I did submit my blog to Yahoo search the other week & it's now listed there, well it's only fair really, my homepage is 'My Yahoo' & has been since my early days on the Internet, so reasoned that Yahoo must want to list my blog. I can only assume that after my site submission to Yahoo it somehow got tossed about in the ether to be pounced on by Wikio, then chewed up & spat back out again into one or two strange categories.

Anyway, being ever so slightly vain & more than a tad nosy I clicked on my blog's first Wikio mention [news - retail - asda] & saw that I could subscribe to my own blog for free. 'Jolly good, I'll have a bit of that', so I clicked on the subscription link or rather I poked it with my stylus widget as I was then [& now] using my glorified mobile phone, to discover that I can email it to a friend or even leave a comment, hmm, just the same as blogger then. I didn't bother with either as my friends know where my blog is & it doesn't do to comment on your own blog - no matter how good [or bad] you think it is.

Oops, I just accidentally voted for my blog at Wikio, I didn't mean to but it looked so inviting. It'd be no good leaving me in a room with a big red button with a notice saying 'do not press this button' ...

Monday, 6 July 2009

Got My New Glasses!

Been for my final [hopefully] visit to Specsavers for the next two years.

I was sorted out by a really nice lady as my new bezzie mate was dealing with another customer, although he wasn't too busy to pass comment about knowing they were going to have problems with me when I passed him with my cheesiest grin [I'd have been disappointed if he'd simply forgotten me].

It's taking me a while to adjust to varifocals again but at least I can see better rather than worse through them, I only nudged two shelves whilst at Morrisons this time rather than trying to take the entire toilet roll display with me.

I'm now peering at everything at varying distances, of course avoiding the mirrors as my wrinkles appear to have wrinkles [obviously an illusion caused by the way the lenses curve].

Now all I've got to do is find a way to get rid of the letters & numbers etched? on both lenses & I'm well away. Fine sandpaper should do the job don't you think? ...