Category Archives: Ramblings

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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Water, water, everywhere….

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For the car wash and golf courses, but not a drop from a hose, for the veggie garden….

How the hell is it not OK for me to water my veggie garden using the hose, which would be a fraction of the amount used by this car wash alone, not to mention the golf courses, which are apparently exempt from the hose pipe ban?

Better to keep the car clean, and whacking tiny balls, than to let me grow my own food. Right. I forgot, got to save the planet and all that….

Huh? When?….

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Just taken a peek and seen the last post was Dec 23rd. And it’s now Feb! Crikey….

Very slack.

We’re still in the UK for now, having set up our HQ Command Centre for a few months, whilst we wait for the next pathway of our fate to present itelf.

Other than that, all quiet, as far as I can tell. Nothing too exciting to report.

Snow has arrived in the UK. And the boiler, should you have been following the Boomerverse Twitter Feed, has decided to go AWOL. So, that’s handy. Tea, cheese on toast and mutliple layers of clothing, whilst we entomb ourselves in duvets help us stick 2 fingers up to the bloody thing. We foolishly left our snow and winter gear in Canada, so are ill prepared to deal with too much outdoor activity, settling for  board games, the radio, reading and Netflix instead.

So, on that note, I leave you with Kill It Kid and “Heart Rested With You”. I can’t remember if I’ve alerted readers to this lot, but we’ve got it blaring at the moment….


What next on the classic movie afternoon? “Psycho“?

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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

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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Initial Musings….

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I’ve put off writing something regarding our "visit" to the UK after 6 years, but I’ll try to get it down here….

First impressions;

1. Where are all the bangers? All I see, everywhere I go are newish, sparkling motors. When I was starting out, I had a banger, most of the first time drivers I knew had one. We were students, it was all we could afford, or all our parents would stump up the cash for. What happened? If you’re telling me you can’t afford to live here, to buy your food, I can see why…..

2. The food…. it doesn’t seem all that pricey, to be honest. Everything we bought in Canada was twice if not 3 times as much, and not as good quality either. So, maybe if you hadn’t splashed out on state of the art mobile phones, the shops of which are always busy, you might be able to eat properly. Just a thought….

3. The big stores, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Boots, WHSmiths, all look tacky, or tatty inside. What happened? There are sale, or deal signs everywhere, bombarding you when you get in. Luckily, I’m immune to ’em…. On a positive note, the smaller independent stores look to be a lot more inviting.

4. Most places seem a lot cleaner than I rememeber. Parts of London we visited weren’t as bad as they used to be and even railway platforms we stopped off at were not bad.

5. Speaking of railways, we took one from Eastbourne to Richmond, buying a One Day Travelcard. Cost? GBP 9.50 each. Now I know it was after 9am, and we had to return after 7pm, but I didn’t think that was too bad for a day trip to London, allowing us to use the bus, train and underground all day unlimited. The odd thing was, the website I was looking at the night before said it was going to be GBP 19 each…..

So, some things change, some things stay the same.

Oh, but the telly programmes, are utterly, utterly crap. Sorry, but they are. In fact, words fail me as to how bad that really is. Please, stop trying to tell me how wonderful the BBC is. The nature stuff is OK, but the rest, is mind numbingly awful. And ITV….. please….

Should I return full time, the TV licence won’t be on the list of things to get, I assure you. Give me my Netflix account and the library anyday.

A highlight though, one thing we have enjoyed so far, was spending a Saturday afternoon in the pub, with the kids, watching Arsenal play Chelsea. Being an Arsenal fan, the boy was in his element, cheering with the crowd when they scored, groaning when they conceded a goal. There were fans of both sides, there was no animosity, no violence nothing, only good humoured banter back and forth. Bugger getting Sky to watch it, I’d take a pint with a group of like minded fans anyday.

Pictures to come….. and more insightful commentary…..

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A Change Was Needed….

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Having been in a bit of a rut, unsure of what to do next, decisions have been made and we’re off on a bit of an adventure….

”It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.” Alan Cohen

Faced with 2 options, neither of which we were keen to go ahead with, the 3rd “definitely right” plan, failed to present itself. So until it does, what better than an “extended holiday”….

Breaking the cardinal rule of “never go back”, we’re heading to the UK for a bit, visit family and friends not seen for too many years whilst we have a bit of a rethink as to our next destination. It should be interesting, as those same family members not seen for 6 years, are being descended upon, unaware of our plans, which we kept “shtoom” until now.

So, for now, we bid farewell to the Okanagan as the snow on the tops of the mountains, seen from the windows, hint at the return of winter. Although warnings of imminent –20Deg in the UK mean we ought to pack the big coats and snowboot cleats.

All changes are more or less tinged with melancholy, for what we are leaving behind is part of ourselves.” Amelia Barr

Whilst there, in the pipeline are football camps, stage schools, recording sessions and live gigs. So, for now, stay tuned. There’s a change a’coming…..