I, along with a fair few of my fellow Britains, am ashamed to be ignorant. Ignorant towards our fellow Europeans in a way that makes us feel small minded and, to a certain extent, xenophobic.
I am currently writing this in Lyon, France – a beautiful city full of incredibly friendly people however my shame comes from being completely ignorant of the french language. Apart from a ‘non’ here and a ‘merci’ there, I am currently relying on the locals having learnt a second language – something I never did at school.
Fortunately, I have managed to get by using the time honoured fashion of hand gestures and pointing but it has made me seriously regret not learning a second language in my youth! Last night we searched in vain for a restaurant with a menu that we could understand and eventually found somewhere that listed their menu in English. Again, feeling a little shamed we dined and found it to be a fabulous experience. The traditional Lyonnaise menu seems to consist of interesting foodstuffs such as breaded tripe and tripe sausage, but the taste is incredible.
… and no visit to France could be complete with a large glug of wine and a Creme Brulee to finish with. It is just a pity that the taxi drivers are all completely mad! Having just returned from a meal of duck soup and sea bass, our taxi driver seemed like he had just taken delivery of his new Toyota Prius and spent the journey trying to converse with us in french whilst saying ‘cool’. Now maybe he was swearing and laughing at us in his native tongue, but our lack of knowledge of his language made us non the wiser.
l’anglais ignorant as they may or may not say in Lyon taxi’s!!!
every so often, the wonders of the internet spring a surprise that leaves you speechless – this YouTube video is one of them (completely safe btw!)
damn hard week working leaves me ranting away at things as simple as a packet of crisps. But no ordinary packet of crisps, no Siree; these are Salt ‘n’ Shake. The simple ingenious idea of the little blue bag inspired memories of hot childhood summers and Olde English Spangles, so I got a box from Makro.
However like everything else from childhood, the memory is tainted. In the same way that Dundee Biscuits and Wagon Wheels have gradually got smaller, my memory of Salt ‘n Shake surely must be wrong unless the modernisation of packaging lines has been specifically created to piss me off! How can I possibly get annoyed at a packet of crisps you may ask, but here’s the thing (I hate that phrase but it works for me at the moment, don’t hold it against me!), the whole point of them is that you add your own salt and then shake – hence the name – salt ‘n’ shake (I’m not giving Walkers the gratification of capitals for their brand now).
So, we agree on the name, salt ‘n’ shake and not hide and bloody seek! Surely it would make sense for them to put the bags of salt in after the damn crisps and not before? What is the bloody point of me having to empty the bag in order to find the salt? And no, this isn’t a one off affair – after the first couple of bags played hide and seek with my salt, I decided to keep a count (yes, I’m sad – I already know that) and I can statistically state that out of the last 9 bags of salt and bloody shakeifyoucanfindit, 8 packets had the little bags of salt right at the damn bottom of the packet. WHY????
Which brings me to my secondary rant via a non existant segue to the issue of Farepak. Now don’t get me wrong, I do feel sorry for these folks but I can’t understand this whole “donate your life so that these people can have a Christmas” thing that is going on. From what I can see, there are many other people who are suffering financially due to issues outwith their control – vanishing pension funds are a pretty obvious one. I don’t see people rushing to the aid of the person who has worked for 40 years only to find an unscrupulous director has disappeared to the Bahamas with all his pension???
Yes, I feel for them but surely the whole concept of giving your money to someone who isn’t properly regulated seems a bit like smoking in bed with your savings under the mattress to me. Maybe I am in the minority, but I can see many other people who have lost much more than those who saved with Farepak to receive a hamper full of goods that suppliers couldn’t sell anywhere else such as crystallised lemons and dates. They have my sympathy, but there not going to get my money I’m afraid…
I’m all on my lonesome at the moment and therefore spending my time either watching TV, surfing or drinking. However this photo just appeared via Stumbleupon and I thought it was rather cool.
powered by performancing firefox
no, not a rant about TV at the moment, but more a plea as I stuggle to determine when new series of shows that I watch are coming back on. There just doesn’t appear to be anywhere that had all this info in one place so I’ll keep trawling and post results back here. If you have any updates, please let me know!!!
|Into The West||BBC2||04/11/2006|
|Bones S2||Sky One HD||15/11/2006|
|Lost S3||Sky One HD||18/11/2006|
|Life on Mars S2||BBC1||January|
|Prison Break S2||Five||15/01/2006|
|Desperate Housewives S3||C4||January|
|Criminal Minds||Five / Living||January|
|Boston Legal S3||LivingTV|
|My Name Is Earl||C4|
|Law and Order||Sky One|
|Cold Case S3?||Sky One|
so I am just back from my holidays, hence the lack of any ranting and raving. Before I do let loose on the state of the UK’s roads and drivers, I can highly recommend any families looking for somewhere to stay for a short break, take a look at Grannie’s Heilan Hame which is a beautiful holiday park not far from Dornoch in the North East of Scotland. Unlike other parks, Grannies only has static caravans and is quite small but has a beautifully clean beach within 5 yards of some of the vans. It also doesn’t suffer from the ASBO collectors that can be found at many of these places (Haven Ayrshire? Just don’t do it!) and is very family friendly — highly recommended!!!
So now the plug is out of the way, the major problem with the place is its remoteness. It is a bit of a bugger to get to, even though it is situated around 4 miles off the main road through the north of Scotland, the A9. Unfortunately, with this being the UK, our
car tax (or rather, Road Fund License as it is now supposedly called) that we UK motorists pay Â£150+ per year for, tends to get spend on subsidising televisions and internet access for hardened criminals (bless their human rights after all!) rather than on roads which means that even though the A9 is the main route to the North of Scotland, it is a single carriageway for a lot of its route north of Perth.
Now, bear in mind that this road traverses some of the most beautiful scenery that the UK has to offer and you will appreciated the gradient changes that can be found. Therefore, when you get stuck behind an old dear* in a 15 year old diesel Fiesta struggling to do 35mph up a hill, you tend to get frustrated especially when there is constant traffic coming the other way which leads to no overtaking.
That is not to say that the A9 doesn’t have a few dual carriageway sections to allow overtaking, or that it doesn’t have signs requesting slower drivers to pull over and allow queues to pass; it is just that the little old dear* seems unable to read the latter due to her deteriorating eyesight and the former just act as a road rage prompt.
So I am stuck in a queue behind the spluttering Fiesta* wondering if I will get the chance to just drive over it in my Discovery (don’t get me started on the anti-4×4 brigade!), when a dual carriageway appears over the next brae. Fantastic I think to myself – soon I will be able to travel at a speed greater than the horse and carts that initially ploughed out the route up north … but, and there is always a but, as soon as the dual carriageway opens up, the Tesco truck behind the old dear* decides that he wants to overtake first leaving the queue switched into the outside lane waiting for a Tesco truck struggling to do 36mph, overtake the old dear sticking to 35mph. In typical fashion, the truck eventually manages to get past just as the dual carriageway section comes to an end leaving us all banging our collective heads against our airbags in frustration.
* replace with any of caravan being towed by a Fiat Ceicento, tractor towing a plough, combine harvester … you get the idea.
I am the sort of person that whilst nostalgic for things of the past, can remove the rose tinted spectacles to remember that they were pretty crap … and that goes for TV!
Firstly I read that Logan’s Run is being re-run in the UK (that is the TV series rather than the movie). Initially my thoughts were “great”, but a quick wipe of those specs and I remembered it for the awful show that it was. Not that that will stop me Sky+ing it on Sci-Fi at 9:00pm on 6th October mind. I’ll use it as a tool to show my daughter how lucky she is with Doctor Who thesedays!
The second piece of televisual madness I have heard about, is the releasing of the whole of Prisoner Cell Block H on DVD!!! EzyDVD in Oz are currently taking pre-orders for it with each box set containing 16 episodes. Considering they produced over 600 episodes, that is going to cost some money to get hold of. Sure, it was damn awful across the board, but somehow it was compulsive viewing and seeing as it never gets a re-run anymore even with a million channels on Sky, it may be worth a punt.
Talking of TV, I have no idea what I am going to watch shortly, as all my Series Link programmes on Sky+ are ending – Lost, Deadwood et al. Fortunately Spooks has started a new series and Respectable is looking good, but there seems to be little else starting in the immediate future – feel free to recommend something!
nothing interesting I’m afraid but I managed to work out how to import archived posts from a previous blog into here. I’m actually quite pleased, not because I am a technoidiot, but more because things tend to go disasterously wrong for me … Anyway, some posts added going back to 2003 (albeit with a large gap!).
for some strange reason, I have been feeling pretty mellow these past few days with little ranting going in. This obviously has put me in a bit of a situation as I have nothing to really grate on about on here, but a recent decision to get rid of our old Mondeo car which had sat unused on our drive for some time, and invest in a second cheap car to do all the miles to the office, got me thinking about car salesman.
Now, firstly I completely understand that these guys need to earn a living, but do they have to be so downright untrustworthy? You would expect that the ones earning a living from the large franchises would be easier to deal with, but no they are quite happy to quote you a price 20% above book for the car you are interested in whilst offering you 20% below book for your trade in.
Negotiation with these guys is a fine art and I have now determined that the best way forward is to send the family back to the car. As soon as the salesvulture sees that the wife really likes the car, they know that they can keep the price up as pester-power will win out (which I why I ended up paying way over the odds for the aforementioned Mondeo).
So now I am back trawling Autotrader for a cheap (sub Â£2k) motor to do 50 miles a day in — and are there any? Well, there are plenty but the prices are so hiked up that even going in with an offer of 25% below screen price would leave little bargains. I always thought that the influx of all these balloon payment schemes giving everyone the potential to own a new car, would force the price of used cars down simply due to supply and demand – but not in my damn world!
Even more annoying is when you travel to the US and see the adverts over there for cars. The prices are sooooo much cheaper, and they all seem to offer 0% finance over something stupid like 5 years – compared to our 9.9% over two or whatever deals they come out with. For a laugh, I looked at Dodge Caliber’s (principally because it looks silly and I drove a Dodge Durango when I was in the US a few years back). Now I have little intention of buying one but the cost in the US is $14,000 whilst here in the UK it is Â£11,500 – considering the current exchange rate it makes you think!
So back to Autotrader to look for the pearl amongst the shopping trolleys – I swear that some of the cars there with prices of Â£1,000 are the same quality as the Mondeo I just sold for Â£80! If anyone has a Ford Capri they are looking to get rid of, just let me know.
probably one of my main pet hates is hypocrisy. I am grumpy by nature, but throw a large hypocritical pie in my face and I get mad to the point of uncontrollable rage!
A story that brought home the levels of hypocrisy was regarding the boss of Ryanair, Michael O’Leary apparently going to sue the UK government for Â£3m due to the losses it incurred during the recent security restrictions [BBC]. Now, I can understand the frustration of the airlines as it would appear that BAA controlled airports just couldn’t react quickly enough to the changes as they happened (whereas others seemed to cope just fine and dandy, but that is another story), and money was indeed lost but when it was Ryanair that were complaining about losses, that hypocritical pie came rushing towards me at an alarming pace.
Now, this is the same Ryanair that, should your plane be delayed or cancelled leaving you missing an important meeting, refuse point-blank to compensate their passengers. This is the same Ryanair that, should they misplace your luggage, again meaning that you may miss an important meeting, refuse to compensate you.
So, Ryanair losing money due to others problems = compensation action whereas passengers losing money due to Ryanair problems = no compensation action – hey, that fair!
Hypocrisy of the highest order however I must add a caveat that I haven’t seen any follow up on the story recently so maybe the idea has been dropped but it is still worth a rant.