Category Archives: News from Abroad….

A Happy Man Indeed….

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A drive and a wander, the order of the day, on a glorious sunny Sunday afternoon….

Having driven past a couple of weeks back, we took a walk around Arlington Reservoir, about an hour,  (unless you’re in no hurry!)

And on the way home, we took some previously uncharted roads by us, through the countryside.

The Old Oak Inn....

A spur of the moment stop at this old English pub, and I became a very happy man. Blue Moon wheat larger…. and on tap! "Mine’s a pint!"

The Old Oak Inn at Arlington, has been there since 1788, when it was originally an armoury for 4 familes, before being turned into a pub at the turn of the 1900’s, says the landlady. If you’re out and about in the Sussex countryside, search it out.

What better way to end an afternoon, than with a peaceful hour in the beer garden, whilst the sun is out and there’s blue skies all around….

"Mine's a Pint!"...

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Happy Xmas, One And All….

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I didn’t want much for xmas, and then I got a tweet from Nerina Pallot….

…. and discovered she’s only gone and done my favourite xmas tune, ain’t she. Get your lugholes round this…..

I Believe In Father Christmas

 

So, that’ll do for me, thanks. I’ll be playing this long after the batteries run down and the iPads stop working, for years to come, in fact.

And on that note, hope everyone has a good xmas. See you in the New Year, I guess…..

Slow….

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Another track added to the music page….

Slow

“I’ve left the shore behind, I wasn’t watching as the waves came in”.

“Their hands around my throat,
How could we let them take so much from us?”

“Their eyes are everywhere, I tried to tell you all.
But nothing I could say would wake you from the sleep you’ve walked into.”

“Life Will Find A Way”….

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She’s sat, unused, under a tarp for 6 years…..

The Bike...

Both my uncle and brother have had a go at waking her from her slumber, but to no avail….

I’ve spent 2 weekends attempting the same, to no response, and as I was about to throw in the towel, and consign her to history and an ending at the scrap heap, as the rainclouds appeared above…. as I attempted one last option, all other reasons for no response seemingly more elusive than ever…. as I undertook the removal and final strip of the carbs, and a rush job to get them back in before I had to leave…..

…. the beast fired up and growled once more……

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Dylan Thomas

Testing Soundcloud…

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Time to start putting tunes up on the interwebs, and I’ve discovered Soundcloud….

So, first up, the demo which was recorded for the recent’ish James Bond audiobook, “Devil May Care”, by Sebastian Faulks. Pour yourself a martini, shaken, not stirred, click the big orange button on the left and then, turn the speakers up loud. That’s my advice.

And gradually, more tracks will appear, all on the music page, if you’re interested…..

Paragliding….

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At last, a sunny afternoon….

On our weekend wander over the South Downs, we came upon a sky full of paragliders as we reached Beachy Head.

One of the ladies undertaking an afternoon of this, happy to chat about it, told me after getting her licence (You need a licence to paraglide? Who knew…..) about a year ago, this is one of the first chances she’d had to get out. August apparently had been a wipe out, due to it being too windy.

As flier after flier zipped past, before gently drifting upwards, the obvious thought crossed my mind,…. I fancy a go….

Please Don’t Say I’m Moaning, But….

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Now, I don’t want to seem like I’m grumpy and that, being back a couple of weeks I’m bashing the UK already, but….

I’ve got 2 issues, both related, which are really starting to tick me off a little. I don’t want to think that having experienced North American customer service, that this is clouding my opinion….

Firstly, 2 weeks ago, we went to look at a house with a view to renting it, in the South East. We called, and set up an appointment, were there at the allotted time and things were looking good. A very nice place, well within budget and all the space we’ve ever wanted. I should have known things weren’t going to pan out, when it turned out to be the owner who was the one to show us around as opposed to the letting agent….

So, having shown an interest in renting the property, we called the agent the next day, with our offer.

And that was the last we heard from them. We called back a few days later, to be told our offer had apparently been accepted. Great, we thought, although someone might have let us know, and they were calling back later with a moving in date. But, no call ever came. So a day later I called back, a little irate as to the why I was having to keep chasing them. Apologies and excuses of training errors in the office didn’t exactly put my mind at ease.

No word was heard from them over the weekend, (and why would there be? I mean when you hear on the news that the country is in dire straits, you don’t expect people to actually be hustling for work do you……). Yesterday, as the letting agent was "with a client", we were told he’d call back later. Guess what? No call.

Which leads me to the second similar issue….

I have tried to register with a tutoring agency, to rustle up some work and bolster the coffers whilst we’re here. However, the woman in charge seems in no hurry to reply to emails at all, when a couple of days after sending her a couple of questions, I’m still waiting for a reply. When I worked for a similar agency in Richmond, the lady running the business, would return my calls, not emails, within the hour, even if it was to say, she was a little busy and would be calling that evening, which, I might point out, keeping her wotd, she did. No emails, no text messages, no Facebook or Twitter update, a call, on the phone….. So, if this is the case, is it really feasible that this new lady is going to be able to find me enough work? I’m doubtful, I’m afraid to say.

This is the 21st century for crying out loud. How hard is it to keep clients or customers informed? A 2 min call to say we’re still working on a date for moving in, or a quick email reply to a question? That’s too much to ask is it? In this day and age, when everyone has iPads, "sweet" iPhones ("sweet" iPhone? Another grumble, for another day…..), smartphones and laptops to keep organised and improve their productivity and make their work life so much easier, everyone seems to have forgotten that at some point, you’ve got to stop fart arsing about on your gadgets and do some bloody work, which entails speaking to your clients and prospective customers.

And before I get, "if it was so much better in Canada, bugger off back there", I would point out, that when we went to view properties in Richmond Upon Thames, the agents were only to please to fit me in that day and were, and have since, been keeping me informed on a daily basis.

If my experience is anything to go on, it’s not hard to see why London get’s all the jobs…..

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I Think I See The Problem….

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Should you already know this, do bear with me, I’ve only recently returned to the UK for a visit…..

Libraries, as regular readers may be aware, are a favourite haunt for me, so on arriving, it was one of the first places I thought I’d investigate and see how it compares to the Canadian counterpart.

One thing different, is the charging for rental of CD’s and DVD’s. I can accept the 90p charge per CD, it seems fair, but the 60p/80p reservation fee seems steep and to be blunt, a little stupid. Make the rental a round quid, for goodness sake. If I want to support my local library and make use of it, by renting a lot of items, it isn’t long before the cost outweighs the benefit of using the place.

The DVD’s make this point, even more clearly. As a case in point, I thought I’d compare something I saw on Amazon, the entire box set of all 8 series, including the made for TV movie, of "24"…..

Let’s assume, on the positive side, that in each "sleeve" at the Eastbourne library, it contains 2 discs, each containing 4 episodes.

That means 3 "sleeves" per series, 8 series, means 24 sleeves.

Renting, from the library, 24 sleeves @ 3 quid a sleeve, is 72 quid…..

Now…. check this out…..

http://www.amazon.co.uk/24-Complete-Season-Redemption-Packaging/dp/B005MX5MQW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1321209754&sr=1-1

…. if it’s 1 disc per sleeve, which is likely, and the library service in the UK is an utter rip off. And this doesn’t even include the "fees" you get charged of a quid, per item, to make a reservation….. so, you can add another 24 quid to that 72. So, a hundred pounds. To rent a TV show series, that I can buy brand new for 40, from Amazon. I think I see the problem here…..

Which probably explains why the DVD rack was full, and the majority of people where in there using the computers.

In Canada, both the rental of every disc, along with the reservation of each disc, CD or book, is free.

Anyone use the library for DVD’s and CD’s? Or know of anyone who does? How popular is the rental of DVD’s and CD’s from UK libraries? I’d love to know, as right now, I see no point them at all.

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It Was This Big!….

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Honest….

It Was This Big!....

“Caught” in the Enterprise Shopping Centre in Eastbourne, which has a number of nice little, independent shops, from crafts and health, to a fishmongers and a butchers. If you’re in the town, take the trouble to wander along and discover it yourself. You’ll find it up behind the railway station.

The Thames @ Twickers….

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Spent a grey day in Twickenham, on out current vagabonding experience in the UK….

A bit of a grey day, but thought I’d try the effects on the camera. Swans and pigeons and, of course, Canadian geese!

Thames @ Twickers(2)

Thames @ Twickers(1)
Just to the right of the shots, is a pub, where many a summer evening was whiled away, as the sun went down, with a pint in hand.

In fact, along the Richmond/Twickenham stretch of the River Thames, many a pub was frequented as we strolled along, or cycled. Not that it’s all ab out the pubs, but after a days fishing on the water, or a walk on a sunny afternoon, some pub grub and a pint can’t easily be beaten.

I’m on the lookout for a decent Ploughman’s now. Any suggestions?

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