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Monday, 25 June 2007

Fire Fighters Pelted with Missiles

On the BBC News Website today, I read about a fire crew in Coventry who were attached by around 20 yoofs while attending a car fire. I wonder what the odds are on these yoofs having torched the car in the first place!

It’s a sad reflection on our society when the people who put their lives on the line to protect us are treated in this way. What sort of mentality does it require to take this sort of mindless action? It makes no sense to me. Perhaps it’s just my middle class upbringing.

Full Story - Fire Fighters Pelted with Missiles


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Sunday, 17 June 2007

The Sky is the Limit

Two Sundays ago (3rd May) my Son was watching a program on our Sky Digital satellite system when it suddenly lost its signal. After much fiddling about we managed to get the signal back, but it didn’t last for more than about 20 minutes. Sometime ago I was given a spare Digital Box, but when I connected it up I had exactly the same fault. I therefore assumed that the problem was most likely to be either the cable to the dish or the LNB (receiving head on the dish).

I searched out a new LNB on the internet and found a company in Dorset that would sell me one for £12 including P&P. However, a colleague of mine said that he had a spare one that I could borrow.

The following day (Monday 4th) the fault seemed to have gone away, so I thought it must have been some kind of atmosphere problem and decided to leave the existing LNB where it was. It continued to work without any interruption until the following Friday, when it started playing up once more. On the Saturday morning I rushed round my colleagues house to take him up on his offer of borrow his spare LNB. I felt a bit guilty when I realised that I had got him out of bed, but I got what I wanted.

I rushed home to replace the LNB on the dish and all seemed good once more. However, within and hour the problem had returned. I spent the rest of the morning moving our terrestrial Digi-Box from the bedroom to the lounge. It was quite a fun operation as we managed to damage the aerial lead when we laid the new carpet earlier this year. Yet another job that I hadn’t got round too. It was quite urgent as we wanted to watch the F1 Grand Prix qualifying, which for some reason has been moved to ITV4.

By last Sunday I was missing all those hundreds of TV channels that I have become used to over the years. To be honest terrestrial digital TV is quite limited in its choice and all the channels I wanted to watch. It’s fine if you want to watch Big Brother or similar low intellect programmes, but not if you want to watch motorcycle racing. I was not a happy bunny. I phoned Sky to inquire about having the system checked and repaired. It was going to cost me £65 just to get an engineer out and on top of that I would have to pay for any repairs required. So I decided to take the plunge and get upgraded to Sky+ instead.

I’ve been interested in the Sky+ technology for quite a few years now, but I was always put off by the £10 monthly fee to use the service. However, as of the 1st of July this year Sky are dropping this charge. The timing couldn’t be better.

Last Thursday the engineer turned up and replaced the dish, all the cabling and installed my shiny new Sky+ Digi-box. While he was here, he told me that the fault with the old system was infact the digi-box and not the cable or LNB as I had thought. LNB faults usually present themselves as missing channels and not total loss of signal. It’s most likely that the decoder in the digi-box has failed. The whole installation process took less than an hour and very impressive it is to.

I now have the ability to record two different channels at the same time, while watching a previously recorded programme. I can also pause live TV when my Mum phones up at the most inopportune moment, which she regularly does. No more will I miss the last 10 minutes of an hour long drama series. I can now go to bed instead of stay up to the wee small hours watching a film I’ve got into. No longer will I have to wrestle my son for the remote control when I want to watch the local news while he’s watching the Simpsons.

The only problem I have now is finding the time to watch all those recorded programmes.


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Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Proof That Smoking is Bad For Your Health

I’m a smoker, a fact that I’m not particularly proud of. I have tried on mainly occasions to give up, but have always failed. The main reason I have failed is due to lack of willpower. With the up coming smoking ban almost upon us here in England it really is about time I tried again. Perhaps if I referred to it more positively it might help. Maybe trying isn’t good enough. Giving up would be a better phase to use.

This morning a couple of colleagues of mine joined me for a smoke, which takes place in a small bus shelter in the office car park. The three of us entered the shelter while chatting, when suddenly a Chav stuck his head round the corner and said to me “Got a spare fag mate?”

I replied, very politely “No. Sorry I haven’t” and proceeded to continue my conversion. I had expected our guest to accept my reply and shuffle on his way, but he had other ideas and retorted with “But you’ve just put a pack of 20 in your pocket”. I responded by repeating my previous statement, but he was still insisting that he deserved it more than I.

Annoyed by his constant pestering, I told him that there was a shop around the corner that which would be more than happy to sell him some. Unfortunately I may have sounded a bit sarcastic in my reply and he came back at me with some very offensive abuse. It was at this point that I realised that the situation have suddenly become dangerous and I was aware that all other conversation in the shelter had ceased. I could see out of the corner of my eye that my colleagues were slowly, but surely moving toward the other end of the shelter.

When he shouted “Do you think that I’d be scrounging if I had money?”, I really wanted to reply that if he got a job he would have the money he needed for his purchase. However, it occurred to me that comments like that wouldn’t help in diffusing the situation and a tight lipped approach would be better. At this point I decided to say no more. After he had ranted for a while I think he realised that I was not going to respond further, got bored and walked off with a Chav type swagger in his step.

I was very glad that I still retained all my teeth and limbs after our little chat. But I was visibly shaken by the whole experience. It took me quite a while to calm down and I kept thinking of people who lose their lives in similar circumstances. I was also reminded of the joke,

Q – Why did the Chav cross the road?

A – To pick a fight with a complete stranger.


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Monday, 4 June 2007

One Swallow A Summer Does Not Make

In recent years I’ve enjoyed sitting in the garden on a summer evening just taking in the air. A couple of years ago I noticed that there are quite a few Swallows flying high catching insects. They have quiet a distinctive call, which has always reminded of the low hot summers of my childhood.

Yesterday evening I spotted the first visiting pair swooping high in the sky and it really lifted my spirits, bring back all those happy memories once more.

It gave me the opportunity to use the phase “One Swallow a summer does not make”. Despite extensive research I have been unable to trace the origins of the phrase. My interpretation would be that although Swallows are associated with good weather, their appearance in England doesn’t guarantee it won’t rain. Perhaps we’ll have to wait a few weeks for several more pairs to arrive.

Whatever the reasoning behind it, as always, I’m glad to see their return.


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