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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.

 
7 Comments

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

 

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Death and his paperwork

Alright, so you’ve made your will, had the conversation about whether to be cremated, buried, frozen, shot into space or stuffed and mounted, you think you’re done, prepared, sorted – you are so very very wrong.

The bureaucracy following the death of BigSis highlighted how things have changed since the death of our parents. As things move more online, there are many changes and additional consequences to systems, procedures and ownerships. Back in the days of pen and paper, even slate and chalk, a bank would use common sense when trying to access or move funds and things could happen within a couple of days, nowadays accounts are frozen, details need to be verified, confirmed and copied for the deceased, as well as the recipient. Don’t expect it to happen in anything less than two to three weeks.

It’s time for me to get my affairs in order, make sure that access and answers are at hand. My brain is racing away, with detached sentimentality, desperate to go through cupboards, draws and boxes to get rid of all my accumulated bits and bobs, to get stuff sold via the relevant specialist, online sites or charity shops, there are even pangs of guilt about the items destined for the trash, those items that are unsellable, unrecyclable, just junk. But the body has neither the strength or mobility to do it.

The old noggin is even wondering whether it is possible to bequest my Amazon purchases, like you can physical purchases. If your partner is the named Amazon account, when they depart, so will the access to everything they have digitally bought/subscribe. Accessing their account is technically fraudulent, even if you know the details and have permission, after they’ve died. More and more our utility bills, credit cards and banking is done online, and unless details are written down and kept somewhere safe, your executor will have zero clue where to find your funds, the same with utility bills and income sources. So much was more straightforward when you had a statement or bill through the post to act as reference, with its account numbers and names all there.

Fortunately I don’t drive, again online access means that now once a driving license is cancelled, so is the road tax and ownership papers attached to that persons details, so if you share a car with your partner, that’ll be an urgent call to the DVLA needed.

As a super single there will be bills and the need for funds before probate and such is all sorted, so I am considering opening a separate account with another named party so access to urgent funds can be managed.

Maybe it is morbid but it is a necessary conversation. After all, your nearest and dearest deserve to have things run as smooth as possible, rather than add to the stress and distress.

 
14 Comments

Posted by on January 24, 2020 in Life, Uncategorized

 

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Brown Envelope Lost

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Well ….. *sigh* ….. it begins.  Remember I said that the dreaded envelope had thudded to my floor?  Well his follow up one hasn’t.

After a mere 17 minutes of listening to the repeated opening strings of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and uncountable “Please hold” thingy I  got an actual person answered.  After the relevant security questions which I think I zipped through too confidently a new form should be with me in a week – which makes me wonder why the first form was allowed three weeks to get here.  Hmmm…….

 
7 Comments

Posted by on August 6, 2019 in Grumble, Life

 

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The Ominous Brown Envelope

It’s arrived …. I’ve been waiting for it since 2013. This time it wasn’t Royal Mail’s infamous tardy service, more a case of good idea failing as soon as it was put into practice.

I’m talking about the DWP migrating Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to Personal Independence Payment (PIP). As DLA was a benefit claimable from birth to 65 years old there have been many changes in policy, administration, review process, awards criteria during its life time, as well as medical progress with many conditions. I fully supported the need for a major review and reassessment of claimants to make things more even across all spectrums, but it was obvious that the incentive behind it was to reduce the benefit bill and ‘move’ people into work. The DWP in its ‘wisdom’ out-sourced this mammoth task to a company called Capita (also ATOS) who tendered a two year time table, an assertion of numbers of claims rejected/stopped and the minimal number of staff needed. Many of us would have seen news reports and media articles about disabled people being forced to seek work when they obviously are not able to work, as well as reports about how slow and bogged down the switching process has become, reports of Capita/ATOS staff going off sick with stress and depression, the poorly trained or qualified staff making medical decisions, the number of award decisions being appealed and subsequently awarded at a higher rate. Generally the whole business has been something of a debacle.

Now it is my turn. The brown envelope dropping on my door mat on Friday 12th was the letter informing me that my DLA award would be ceasing unless I began a PIP application within the next three weeks and that I should telephone the claim line with a list of information required.

Taking a couple of days to calm down and amass all the health professionals business addresses and telephone numbers I waited to call on Tuesday 16th. It’s never good to telephone bureaucracy on a Monday in my opinion. A twenty minute phone call where the lady zipped through her well worn script began the process. Now to wait for the heavier brown envelope containing the forms to arrive sometime within the next two weeks, or I telephone them.

The nail biting aspect is how to get across to the claim processor exactly what my limitations are with the evidence I can provide. DLA/PIP is a ‘gateway’ benefit, it is a primary indicator of a persons circumstances which means additional premiums are added to other means tested benefits (like Council Tax Benefit, Housing Benefit), for me that has no bearing because I’m not receiving such benefits, but for many it is their everything. Copious notes, copies of documents and records will need to be kept of the whole process just in case I need to question things or appeal a decision at a later date.

I’m off to the Gov.uk site to download a copy of the form coming and the assessors information, to educate myself.

So it begins…..

 
6 Comments

Posted by on July 20, 2019 in Life

 

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The Other PostCode Lottery

With having different people visit my hovel recently I’ve found myself having very similar conversations. Firstly it’s “I didn’t know these flats were here, how long have you lived here?” (27 years) and after a brief surprised silence I add “it’s okay the Royal Mail don’t know These flats are here either”.

You see a frequent occurrence happened again and this time (again) I began an official complaint about it with Royal Mail. I had ordered some clothing from a High Street store via their online site, carefully added my postcode and ding up popped the correct address in full. On Friday last week the PostPerson ‘tried’ to deliver it, my usual Postie knows to try the door when there’s a packet and leave it on my desk, but Friday must be his day off. What made it increasingly annoying was the red card shoved through the door was discovered as my primary care person was leaving, she looked at the time and remarked “I was here at 10:40 I never heard a knock” nor had I and to add salt she added “I was in here (the lounge, window beside front door) I would have seen him”.

Hmph …. blessed redelivery needed.

I went to the redelivery web page and tapped in my postcode and hit the ‘find address’ button, annddd my address does not appear, my street does not appear, my town does not appear! According to the proper official Royal Mail my street name is really my building name, the street is the street my road joins, and my town doesn’t warrant a mention. I took screen grabs of the errors and then manually added my address. Thankfully when Postie delivered on Monday it was my usual Postie and he brought the parcel in.

Twenty Seven years and ‘still’ the Royal Mail cannot get it right with the postcode they issued to my street.

 
8 Comments

Posted by on July 11, 2019 in Grumble, Life

 

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This Change Is No Rest

It is mumbled in intelligent circles that change is as good as a rest, and usually when my BFF comes to stay or I am at my sisters for Christmas this can ring true. My muscles and logistical brain cells can take a break from having to struggle with movement.

However when my BFF came to stay for a couple of weeks at the beginning of April my brain and muscles decided they had had enough of the continual physical and mental struggle with just getting stood up. Usually I am lifted to my feet, with my dead body weight supported by BFF until I am balanced, then I can totter off to where I need to go. Being lifted takes all the physical strain and stresses off my joints, it only takes seconds to do, requires minimal concentration, which all equates to a rest.

Instead of it being restful, it highlighted in fluorescent neon with flashing lights and klaxons just how utterly exhausted I am when doing it by myself alone. Whether it was the eight, nine, ten attempts it takes every morning just to get up from sitting on the bed to standing, whether it was the physical exertion of standing from the toilet and the number of times it just doesn’t happen, whether it was constantly wondering and planning when I would next get up in order to get to the bathroom and/or then get to the kitchen to prepare food et cetera – it was all too much, I broke.

But I am completely out of my depth, I did not know who to contact, I did not know what the answer would be, I did not know how long it would take to be rectified, or even if my situation was rectifiable. Everything was completely overwhelming.

Muscular Dystrophy have regional care advisors however contacting one was not that straightforward as HQ did not have the details of the new incumbent who covers my area, fortunately friends in the right places knew the right person to ask and the RCA visited the next day. After a great deal of discussion, and tears on my part, she left intending to initiate an armful of referrals. That meant that I had to confess to family the severity of my struggles.

Professional peeps have been responding to these “urgent” referrals, but as is often the case they’re asking what help I want when I don’t know what I want, what is available or what will work. Social Services sent their directory, a glorified phone book, which isn’t offering straightforward answers, Wheelchair Services have lost me (I’ve had a manual chair for 18 years, but I only deal with their contracted maintenance people and never the office). Physio cannot offer any practical help because the nature of MD is debilitating rather than rehabilitation. Occupational Health was more positive but nothing can be set in place yet as it depends on actions by others.

So, a month later the result is ……. carry on struggling, failing, waiting.

What I need (am hoping for) is a small compact electric wheelchair that can rise to enable me to cook or simply reach the light switch, and can manage the tight turns and dimensions of my little hovel. If there isn’t one, then I will have to move, but to where I know not, nor how long it will take. I fear I am hanging too much hope on one thing.

I am grieving, grieving for the life I had, the struggle to keep the life I have, the hopes for a future life. All my hopes, skills, dreams have been quashed. The talking, admitting, confessing to the numerous professionals has not been a positive experience, trying to imagine working solutions and all these imposed changes will bring, it has rendered me deflated, defeated, despondent, ashamed and humiliated.

The NHS Wheelchair Services chap has visited with mixed results. The NHS is charged with providing a mobility solution, an indoor powered chair that might be used outdoors too. Many people need chairs with other actions, say to rise up to enable someone to reach a work surface to make a drink or meal, or to rise up to turn on/off a light switch, but these are not classed as ‘mobile’ but ‘social’ actions so they cannot provide any chair to me. But they still need me to take an indoor and an outdoor driving test (stop laughing). I can apply for a ‘personal wheelchair budget’ known as a voucher, where the NHS pay for part of a private purchase chair up to what they would have been charged (aka what a suit has decided is a reasonable minimal contribution). So I’ve to find my own solution, if it exists, if anything can be sourced closer than a county away.

The second problem is my small hovel. No one can tell me whether a chair can manage the tight turn into my bathroom through its narrow door, and no one can tell me what happens, how I am supposed to live, if I cannot get into the bathroom at all. No one can tell me a housing solution.

Now six weeks on, I just have to struggle on taking upwards of 45-minutes to have a wee. Speaking of which…..

 
12 Comments

Posted by on May 31, 2019 in Life

 

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I Hate Halloween (still)

 

Time for a repost…

It all stems back to a incident in 1973/1974 and some decades later the fear within still resides and affects my behaviour.

Way back then I was a small child, only child of the house. We lived in a new house in the village, there were no street lights and few neighbours. The room beside the main lounge/dinner, always named the little lounge, was where I would play most evenings, not disturbing my parents. The window, at right angles from the main lounge windows, looked out across the lawn and across the neighbours drive. It was a very quiet village and as my street was a cul de sac of only a dozen properties not much traffic either. It was never unusual for the curtains to be left open after all there was no one to look-in.

One of the main streets [the village centered around a t-junction beside an ancient Priory and river crossing] had the affluent estates, mansions of six or seven bedrooms in acres of land, some only years old some dating pre-victorian, and as the oil industry was beginning to boom on the coast these executive dwellings were rented to upper managements families, thus why we had American families in the village.

The ‘festival’ of trick or treating was unknown to my neck of the woods, yes we were aware of All Hallow’s Eve, the night of witches and gouls, stories of fright but other than that is was a non-event.

I vividly recall that night without much prompting, I was playing gymnastics in the little lounge. forward rolls, backward rolls and so forth, balancing, pretending to tight-rope walk when there was a knock at the window. I looked up expecting to see a familiar face who had tried to gain our attention by knocking at the front door but had not been heard, but I was much mistaken. I saw a light shining upon a glowing disfigured face with a blood curdling moan eminating and nothing but pure blackness around. I was petrified, scared witless at this utter terror before me. I know I screamed with all the effort I could muster. I ran into the main lounge and leapt to my Mother startled by my activity, the leap was close to record breaking for a 5/6year old. I was shaking, howling, in such utter distress and hysteria.

My Father hurried from the house. It was not until many years later that someone else told me he caught one of the teens who had taken part in this deed, had grabbed him by the scruff of his jacket, pulling him to within an inch of his face and shouted most violently at him.

The next day as I boarded the bus for school, I knew instantly who had been involved, the two american teenage boys from the large house and one local boy, they were a gang of three, their snickers and glares displayed their guilt. I was so angry, yet utterly intimidated.

It is now approaching dusk and my nerves are already twitching to close the curtains and lock the door. When I first moved into my home the first couple of All Hallow’s Eve’s I could not bring myself to be in my kitchen and cook because there was nothing to cover the window and door, eventhough there was no way for anyone to get to them, the fear was there. When I worked flexi-time at the Agency I always left the moment core time was over and drove home to get hidden in my home.

I don’t for a moment imagine those three fellows even remember frightening me that night, but I do. I hate halloween.

EDIT :: I still close the curtains early, I am still on edge should there be a knock at my door (which would be ignored), but I know I’ll be fine.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on October 31, 2017 in General, Life, people

 

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Frustrated Technically

 

The question seemed simple “Can I send a PDF file to my Kindle?” Of course my first course of action was to ask the great oracle that is Google. The first page of potential answers contained those comforting words “easy” and “simple”, that should have sent the klaxons of doom going off at ear splitting decibels.

Apparently it’s just three manageable steps. 1 make sure your email is added to the accepted list  in ‘manage devices & settings’ [done]   2 find your kindle’s email [done].  3 send email with attachment from your accepted email to your kindle email [done] …… Aaaaand ta-da, all done.

But it didn’t.

Of course, it didn’t, any “easy and simple” instructions aren’t.

Back to Google, read through another dozen articles all giving the same three instructions. Try them again, still no document appearing on kindle screen.  Scroll through the archive list on Amazon (all two hundred and twenty titles) incase it gets put there [nope].  Read through another few articles, consider an online chat to find out the all important vital fourth step that’s missing.  Turn over and sleep on it.

Next day, look for answers on Google again, find a little added extra some add to step 3 put ‘convert’ into email subject line.  Step 4 Check ‘Doc’s’ on archive lists on Amazon ‘Manage devices & settings”. Step 5 send from archive to required device.

Guess what………………………..It worked!!!

It’s not just me, Is its? Not because I’m getting older and technology is getting younger? 

 
5 Comments

Posted by on October 12, 2017 in General, Grumble, Tech

 

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Number me blind

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HHHHEEEEEELLLLLLLLPPPPPPPPPP

I know, not a word often heard from my lips, but you see Google has confused me and Bing has let me down .. so I turn to you wise worldly fellows for some intelligent assistance [is that enough sugar soaping grovelling coz my knees are hurting and this sweetness is making me nauseaous].

Trawling through a mountain of World War 2 papers and so forth trying to find what might be deemed as a ‘personnel number’ or ‘Civilian Contractor Number’ or a “US Army Number’ ….. numbers everywhere.  Why this fixation with numbers there are 26 letters and only 10 numbers, you’re gonna run out quickly!!  I digress, I am wondering whether you know, or you know a group or organisation who might know, what a particular numerical format might relate to.

I have things like CWS-[a number to do with grade] and I have an enticing #NNNNN [symbol and five digits, sometimes prefixed with AGO], and also a AG-NNN[again N being a number].  All very mind boggling, I am almost sure the first set it to do with rank and grade or a work acronym but the other two are more intriguing.

Any thoughts be much appreciated.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on February 16, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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