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Category Archives: General

Lead-less

Ladies and Gentle-wotsits it is my most sad of duties to inform you that after many years of diligent, unstinting service that PaperMate NonStop has ….. stopped.

We first met sometime back in 1986 at a trade convention at ExCel London, I was at College and as members of the IQPS invited to attend. Wandering around the office administration and secretarial ‘services’ (it was the 80’s innuendo abound), marvelling at this new word processing technology that the offices of the day were moving into but our College was not, getting to play with the contraptions of reprographics and binding, there were plentiful mounds of branded freebies and persuaders.

One of the stands was PaperMate to service the secretary with all her scripting need, plus stylish pens for her executive boss as well. I remember the posters of the NonStop held in beautifully manicured figures against the crisp lined note pad and the indecipherable squiggles of Pitman Shorthand (we were taught Teeline which didn’t need lined paper or think and thin strokes). Along with their brochure and a small telephone message pad adorned with their logo and hearts was the NonStop pencil all in a small carrier bag.

As a treasured item NonStop was kept for something special, nestled beside the run of the mill pencils and a few Derwent Cumberlands (the Rolls Royce of pencil, according to Dad). After college NonStop joined the ranks in my home office, where across the past 34 years we have scribbled, ticked, crossed, shaded and drawn countless times. The natty eraser at the end sadly never reached its potential, preferring to leave a greyed smudge across the paper rather than lift the erroneous graphite. NonStop has battle scars, a few scratches and the clip broke off many years ago, but duties were carried out with out fuss or fanfare.

The young whippersnapper from the pen chest has been promoted, it will not feel the same as my old faithful friend, but during these most difficult of times, we must all learn to adapt.

Farewell my ever faithful mate to paper.

 
16 Comments

Posted by on March 29, 2020 in General, Uncategorized

 

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Tick Box Engineering

I’m at it again. Another customer survey has dropped on my mat. This one a lot more properly put together than the previous poorly photocopied double sided single sheet job, this is a twenty page booklet.

As you can see, the choice of options for the various questions is rather well thought out and worded, with seven levels of perception. It went on to ask how I felt about particular situations in my personal circumstances.

However, it was the next question that let it down. It was “Does the service help you to achieve this” with a yes or no answer. I had a problem with this because I wanted a third option, so I could put “sometimes” or “to some degree”. Putting no, is not justified but putting yes seemed to give the impression that all was hunky dory.

As I got to the last page, I wondered whether I had been sent the survey in error, because the question asked whether I purchased additional care independently and how this was paid for. You see folks, I self-fund, I get zero financial assistance from any Council or Benefit. So cheekily I added a box to the set and added that.

Yes, I am a rebel!

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2020 in General, Review

 

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To License or Not To License…

I’ve been following the ‘debate’ on Twitter about the possible scraping of the BBC License Fee and making the BBC a subscription service. It’s been quite interesting weeding through the ignorant crap to find the intelligent comment. I have always felt that many people (myself included) don’t really know how far and where all the tendrils extend but I have also felt that like with any non-commercial cantered organisation, it is likely over staffed and mildly inefficient and archaic in its ways – and I think this is so with the BBC.

How people access their media entertainment has vastly changed, the style, genre and quality of media has dramatically changed – not all for the better. Statistics and research shows that the under 30’s are not sitting watching tv in general, or the BBC in particular, live as it airs but tending to pick and choose via the iPlayer on their smart tv’s and mobile devices. But they are still accessing BBC tv, however it is all the other branches of the organisation that are getting overlooked when people are questioned about it.

It stands to reason that people will only comment on the area of the corporation they access, that’s the only bit they know. So what of the BBC do I regularly access.

  • BBC tv, admittedly I don’t watch as much as I used to, but I do watch numerous dramas series whether it’s weekly ones like Holly City, serial dramas like Peaky Blinders, or one off dramas like the Christine Keeler story; several quiz shows fun ones like Richard Osman’s House Of Card and impossible ones like Only Connect; a lot of the tennis especially Wimbledon; and films. I watch things live as well as via the iPlayer.
  • BBC radio. I listen to The Archers each week, and often listen to panel games, comedies and dramas on BBC Sounds. I used to listen to BBC2 daily when I spent mornings at my desk but it’s a habit that has been broken. As a child it was the local BBC station we had on for news, weather, traffic, to hear if my school was closed on snow days, etc.
  • BBCNews. Generally I tend to avoid the news but I do tend to watch my local BBC programme most nights, and tend to catch the BBC headlines. I find the delivery (if not the content) less sensationalised. I will often peruse the website for info, but find the content dated compared to some news sites.

Making the BBC a commercially motivated business will have an impact on the quantity, quality and variety of out put. It was interesting to read via some tweets areas that didn’t immediately spring to mind, such as The Proms and national and local orchestra funding, children’s tv, the nature and history out put, local news and magazine interest reports both local tv and radio, the publications available, these kinds of areas that cannot stand alone as viable businesses but can collectively support each other.

What I didn’t realise until today was that about half of my license fee covers salaries and pensions – that is staggering.

What worries me is how any change would affect what’s freely available, how much content would be lost, how it will significantly narrow what is produced being lead by what cheap to make and easy to mass sell.

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2020 in General, In The News

 

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2019

To say that 2019 has been an absolute horrid catastrophic year would be a cavernous understatement. Never at the beginning could I have foreseen the end, nor the hell in between.

I usually feel odd at the end of any given year. Many see it as a fresh page, the new beginning, the marker to strive forward. I just see it as another day, no different to the 31st, 17th or 4th. However, I’m not ready to let go of 2019, I don’t want to let go of what’s been lost. 2020 will be the first year without my Big Sis, and I am way far being ready for that. 2020 will be a year of more forced change and adapt as I try and find somewhere new to live and all the fraught difficulties that brings.

BFF and I are already planning some fun, hopefully when she visits we will over night in the city and revisit some old haunts and enjoy some reminiscent foods. I’ll still be crocheting blankets when the strive strikes. There are online projects to get stuck in to and ongoing business to fit in. I should get back to nightly reading.

Still, it will be what it will be and hopefully we are all still here by the end of it.

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2019 in General, Life

 

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We’re gonna need a bigger box

I’m not responsible for all of these blankets, seven were stitched by my BFF when she was here in September, I have done the other fourteen. 🙀 I know! I’ve never managed to get so much done, ever! In the ten weeks since BFF was here, I thought I might get four done, possibly five by the end of the year, but never would have considered fourteen.

Now, a brief explanation. Historically I could only manage a row or three a day before it would have a consequence when it came to me being able to stand up and move, it’s the physics of holding myself in the stitching position, no longer being able to stand the restriction has become redundant. When I start a new blanket after a break from regular stitching, I can only do two rows before the aches begin across my shoulders, down my upper arms and up my neck, but each day I tried adding a row, pushing myself a bit further until I was able to stitch and rest in intervals across the whole afternoon and evenings. Before long I was digging in the wool stash again for three more balls of double knit, and I needed a carrier bag for the completed ones.

When BFF visited she sent down two boxes (think large gents trainers shoe box size) rammed with her yarn, since when they’ve been hidden behind the sofa. When Nephew was here Friday I got him to grab one and empty it into the stash suitcase, thinking I could put the blankets in the box but it’s not big enough.

My current blanket will take longer, the yarn is a lighter weight so there are far more stitches to the eighteen inch row, and there are about three rows to the inch and there are twelve inches to do. I might break my rule of only working on one at a time and start a second with thicker dk so it grows quicker.

Still, some lovely pussy cats and kittens are getting an early visit from this Santa’s helper, hopefully they’ll get new homes quickly too.

 
12 Comments

Posted by on November 24, 2019 in General, Pets, Projects

 

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Tick-Tick-Boom

Right, let’s get comfy in the head’s office for a progress report ….. hmmmm

  • Complete three cat blankets ✅
  • Complete photo organising project ✅
  • Mac back up ✅
  • Add sailing blog to my website ❌
  • Add photo album to website ❗️
  • Send letter and photos to Aunt ✅
  • Finish current book and review ✅
  • Sort, weed, tidy desk and draws ✅

❗️Due to the delights of the latest Mac update, the website photo gallery is going to have to be a complete do over. Starting from scratch with eighteen years worth of accumulated archive that needs cataloguing again. That’s a three to four month job.

❌ I coulda, maybe shoulda, but just didn’t.

I might have got slightly over eager with the cat blankets but that’s another blog for another day. It felt good to get things finished and sorted but as always there are other things sneaking in to disrupt a goal. I’m trying to complete some new articles on behalf of a friend on Wikipedia, it is tedious in the extreme, the coding, citation and external references are complicated to complete, copyright free images keep getting deleted by a bot for no given reason. The articles in draft form have to be checked and approved which could take up to five months.

As for the next to-do list. Hmmm, well, let me think about that.

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2019 in General, Life, Projects

 

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Stunned

Well, dear reader, I am somewhat stunned into disbelief, silenced and generally in a state of befuddlement.

Postie dropped an ominous brown envelope on the mat. It felt a little thick, hmm, so more than two sheets of paper, is that a good sign.

Okay, so maybe this is the letter about the face to face interview, I’ve been expecting the need for one. Is it an instruction to attend an interview somewhere miles away or maybe a face to face at my home at before-carers-arrive o’clock. Which ever it’s likely to be something that needs my input and wrangling with a call centre.

Tentatively I slit open the envelope and with a degree of trepidation I took out the sheets of folder paper and began reading. Initially I couldn’t comprehend the content, I finished my coffee and tried again. Well… well… well…….

This was not a request for extra info, nor details of a face to face interview, nor details of not meeting the criteria. It was in fact an award letter. Not just an award letter but an increased level of award letter. Not just that but an indefinite award letter. Not just that but details of back dating award to September.

😳

All that attention to detail and chasing for assessment reports and so forth was worth it. Okay so the care component only covers a quarter of the bill, but with the mobility component that bumps it to half. That should help the saving last a little longer.

Let me just go and read that again …. Incase I was projecting, nope it definitely says enhanced award.

 
8 Comments

Posted by on November 13, 2019 in General, Life

 

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Bactrian Conspires

Wednesday, often referred to as hump day, and I have the right ‘ump with this particular Wednesday, it’s not so much a Dromedary and much more a Bactrian of humps.

I mused this morning that today I would upgrade the OS on the iMac to the new Catalina. The timing was right, I’d time-machine backed up after the photo job was done, as well as external drive saved the valuable folders. I clicked the magic button and set it going, just one hour to download, followed by one and half hours to install and a further thirty minutes to set-up. Now that doesn’t sound so bad does it?

Just before Noon a four note trill sounded from the bedroom. Hmm, odd, that’s the sound the phone makes when you place it in the charger. Trill, weird was there a brief power cut, but everything else is working. TrillTrillTrill. Okay that’s more than a power out, it’s going crazy. TrillTrillTrillTrillTrillTrillTrillTrillTrillTrillTrillTrill non-stop and my next care visit would not be until 2:50, three hours of this four note TrillTrillTrillTrill that cannot be drowned out by music because the iMac is updating……… it’s like when the smoke alarm battery fades and you have to wait for a bod with step ladder.

After the install and set-up my computer ever so kindly informed me that some of the apps may not be supported by the upgrade. Hmm, well that all depends which ones. I perused the list and most seemed to be to do with the printer survey and compare list, all good. But oh hang on …. bummage ….. those two apps I use a lot, the one I use to write the HTML for the website and the one I use to organise and upload the photo albums to the web site. Whilst finding another HTML editor is not exactly difficult the photo albums one is, because it is essentially discarding all the work done over the past sixteen years and starting from scratch, again. Put that on the “projects” list. *sigh*

Carer came to the rescue taking the phone out of the cradle, whoohoo, bliss. We scuttle through to the kitchen to fire up the slow cooker, she went to open a draw and it wouldn’t budge ‘something’ was stopping it, I could barely get my fingers between the draw front and the work top. I teased out a plastic bag but there was something solidly jamming it, most likely the foil or cling film boxes. Grrr, between the two of us and the handle of the wooden spoon we managed to get it open, another to-do job, reorder that draw (there’s not a lot in it).

Not sure if today is the wisest day to try a new slow cooker recipe.

Is it bed time yet?

 
13 Comments

Posted by on October 16, 2019 in General, Grumble, Life, Tech

 

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Been doing the do

It’s been a while, so much has happened since I last listed jobs and progress, I had been dreading reappraising my jobs and projects lists. So let’s see if I’m nearer a B- Good Effort than the C- could do better…..

  • Update Management Company spreadsheets ✅
  • Email Agents for update on works pending ✅
  • Liaise with Director over estate business ✅
  • Order Great-Niece’s birthday present (4 already!) ✅
  • Collate care professionals names, addresses, phone numbers ❌
  • Begin DLA to PIP migration (scary) ✅ and blogged
  • Amass medical evidence ✅
  • Do own financial evaluation ✅
  • Source home demo powerchairs – ⚠️ shelved temporarily
  • Update website (1st Aug) – ❌
  • Cogitate Mac ‘big projects’ list ✅
  • Go through and weed 300+ saved read emails ✅
  • Finish cat blanket crochet ✅ and a couple more ✅✅

Blimey it looks like I’ve been super busy, and I am really surprised considering all the extra stress and business I’ve had cross my world these last three months. Now then, what shall we aim for over the next couple of months ……

  • Complete three cat blankets
  • Complete photo organising project
  • Mac back up
  • Add sailing blog to my website
  • Add photo album to website
  • Send letter and photos to Aunt
  • Finish current book and review
  • Sort, weed, tidy desk and draws

That should do for now.

 
7 Comments

Posted by on October 12, 2019 in General, Life, Projects, Website

 

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It’s been quiet ….. too quiet?

It’s been very quiet these past days since BFF jetted back home after our wonderfully restful, fun and encouraging two week pj-party. My days have been filled with pleasing myself between carer visits, maybe fiddling about on the iPad, twiddling some yarn, easing into a computer task, or just feet up watching tv (currently watching I’m Alright Jack, the black and white Peter Sellers movie).

After the past months of worry, anxiety, stress, mammoth personal physical changes, Big Sis’s serious illness, sudden bereavement, Government bureaucracy, so called social services etc the change has indeed a rest. I might even pick up a book!

No news about the yet to arrive Social Worker report, no news from the PIP review form, no new mind bending professional service cock up for me to sort out.

It’ll never last ………. but until then, pass the chocolate biscuits.

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2019 in General, Life

 

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