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More thoughts, submitted on an occasional basis by our Guest Blogger:  Jack Diamond.

 

Spam, spam and more spam

Well, here’s a piece of spam – several pieces in fact. Not very nice, is it?

Sliced_Spam

 

But, obviously that’s not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about the other sort. The sort that ends up in your email inbox every day.

Did you know that approximately 150 billion emails are sent every day? The majority of these are apparently sent by businesses so, assuming most of us work 5 days a week then that’s around 750 billion emails getting sent out every week.

At the last estimate, in 2010, there was just short of 7 billion people in the world. By my calculations that would mean that, every week, each person in the World could be receiving over 100 emails.

Obviously, there’s quite a sizeable number of people around the World who do not have access to the internet or don’t have email accounts and these people are not getting the benefit of the 100 emails each week. Meaning that the rest of us are receiving their share too.

Now, that’s just simply not fair.

I don’t want to deprive these people in far flung corners of the World from getting their share of the email deluge. But, more importantly to me and my sanity, I really, really don’t want to be receiving all this spam in my inbox.

Admittedly I don’t actually get to see most of it, it gets filtered out automatically by spam filters but a proportion of it still gets through.

But it’s just staggering how many emails are flying around the World each day  – 150 billion of them. And how many of them actually get read or even glanced at? If my own personal experience is anything to go by, then only perhaps around 10% of emails get read by the recipient. The rest gets deleted automatically as spam or, if it gets through, is trashed because I’m not interested. Based on that assumption, around 135 billion sent emails each day are considered spam.

With that in mind, it’s hardly surprising that the average office worker spends 28% of their time at work reading or writing emails (these were figures from 2012 so it’s probably more than that now).

What a glorious waste of time! What were all these people doing before we had email? I’m pretty sure we weren’t all sitting around reading and writing letters to put in the post for 28% of every day.

I’d guess that the idea originally was that email would speed up communication but, in effect, it’s simply created more and more communication than we ever had previously. And, if the contents of the spam folder on my computer is anything to go by, the vast majority of this communication is not wanted and a waste of time.

I never liked spam in tins and I don’t like it in my inbox either.

 

(The views expressed in our Guest Blogs are personal opinions only and do not reflect the views of PCGraphics.)

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More thoughts, submitted on an occasional basis by our Guest Blogger:  Jack Diamond.

You couldn’t make it up 

Twelve thousand five hundred (yes, that’s 12,500) people travelled to Peru – with most of them flying – to talk about CO2 emissions.

Now, does any part of that statement sound incongruous? It would almost be funny if it weren’t true.

While the rest of the world is using text, email, conference calls and Skype, 12,500 people travel to Peru to have a chat. The UK alone sent 45 delegates.

But, don’t worry, there’s more too…

The 50,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide which were emitted during the conference is more than that produced by some countries. Yes, a conference in Peru debating how to cut CO2 emissions puts more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than several countries. You really couldn’t make it up.

The conference was supposed to be run on ‘green energy’ but that didn’t happen so diesel generators were used to provide the power. Perhaps there’s a lesson there somewhere. Who knows?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2873292/Global-climate-talks-involving-192-nations-saved-collapse-loophole-means-countries-continue-polluting-environment.html

 

And in other news…

“Police were called to a road on the Isle of Wight this afternoon after a vehicle collided with a fence. The incident happened at around 5pm in Bouldnor, near Yarmouth.

There were no injuries, but the fence was badly damaged.”

With all the doom and gloom in the news these days it’s great to have stories like this in the local press. It’s brilliant, but you have to feel sorry for the fence. Hopefully it will make a full recovery.

Thanks to the Isle of Wight County Press for this story. http://www.iwcp.co.uk/news/news/vehicle-collides-with-fence-70444.aspx

 

(The views expressed in our Guest Blogs are personal opinions only and do not reflect the views of PCGraphics.)

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Fancy something different to read? Try the new novel from Paul Webb – available now from Amazon.

A steamy concoction of passion, jealousy and greed from the writer of Bare Bones, also available on Amazon.

“…at less than £1.25 for the Kindle version, well worth a read.”

“…this one stands out from the crowd. Try not to miss it.”

“It doesn’t disappoint”

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Yet more ramblings, submitted on an occasional basis by our Guest Blogger:  Jack Diamond.

 

Scotland 1 England 3

No, it’s not the actual game I want to comment on, but the absurdity of this…

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/30110633

The article on the BBC Sport website refers to the fact that the English F.A. have apologised to the Scottish F.A. because of anti IRA chanting by English fans at the game.

Now, I think we all know that the IRA are/were a terrorist organisation. Yet the English F.A. have taken it upon themselves to apologise for some of their supporters being opposed to terrorist organisations and chanting songs which the IRA might, apparently, find offensive.

It really does beggar belief.

Since when has it been wrong to be opposed to a terrorist organisation? Since when has anyone felt the need to apologise for disliking terrorists? Surely any right minded, normal human being would be anti terrorist?

Apologising in case terrorists have been offended by a football chant? I can only think that it’s another example of this crazy, politically correct world we live in.

 

Political Correctness Gone Mad

Talking about the stupidity of political correctness, take a look at the following article which is carried by a number of newspapers. It concerns a small Primary School in rural England which has been downgraded by Ofsted (Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills in the UK) because it is not ‘culturally diverse’ enough.

http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/537313/Primary-school-denied-outstanding-Ofsted-too-english

You may have thought this stupidity was a one-off but go back about 5 months and we have almost the exact same story, except it’s a school in Devon this time.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2651108/Rural-school-deemed-white-Ofsted-visits-London-mix-ethnic-pupils.html

The school in Devon are having to send their pupils to meet and stay over with children from a ‘culturally diverse’ school in Isleworth, near London, at a cost to the parents of £35 per child. Three quarters of the pupils at the Isleworth school are from an ethnic minority background. All this for the Devon school to get an ‘outstanding’ rating by Ofsted.

As I said, it’s a crazy, politically correct world we live in.

 

(The views expressed in our Guest Blogs are personal opinions only and do not reflect the views of PCGraphics.)

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Will British people ever think in metric?

The title of my blog this week is stolen (yes I make no bones about it, charge me with plagiarism, I’m guilty) from a BBC article from a few years ago – 21 December 2011 to be precise.

I may have stolen the title but it’s actually a very good question. Will British people ever think in metric?

First of all, how did we start on this road to switch, or attempt to switch, from imperial to metric?

The more recent advances towards switching us here in the UK to thinking in tens and hundreds instead of…well, instead of all the seemingly random units that the Imperial system embraces…started around 1971 when our currency went decimal. As far as I recall (and, it must be remembered I was very, very young at the time), that switch went without too much of a hitch. Given that we coped with that pretty well, what happened to everything else?

The following year the British Government advocated a gradual change to the metric system. In 1973 we joined the EEC (European Economic Community or Common Market) and, by the way, does anyone recall what happened to the Common Market? On joining, we, apparently, agreed to adopt the metric system. And yet, here we are, with 2015 on the very near horizon, and we still go to the supermarket for a pint of milk.

Let’s take the pint of milk scenario a little further…

On the way back from the supermarket we might very well stop and fill the car with petrol. It’s when you’re standing at the pump watching the Pound signs racing past on the pump that you wonder how many miles per gallon (MPG) your car is actually getting. You don’t stand there thinking about litres per kilometre, unless you’re French of course.

After handing over most of your weekly wage to fill the petrol tank on the car you decide to head off home, obviously keeping within the speed limits. Now, what are those limits here in the UK? Ah, yes, 30mph, 40mph, 50mph, 60mph and, on a motorway or dual carriageway, 70mph. Not kilometres per hour, you notice.

And, if you do venture onto the motorway, you’ll notice too that all the motorway signage is in yards and miles.

Now, perhaps because you did that detour onto the motorway just to check out the signs, you realise you’re heading away from home and are getting somewhat lost. Not to worry, leave the motorway at the next junction (with the signs counting down to your exit in yards) and pull up and ask directions. I can pretty much guarantee that the person you ask will tell you something along the lines of ‘Take a right at the roundabout, follow the road for a mile or so, then do another right and you’ll pass the White Horse pub after about a hundred yards.’ From there you can find your way home.

But, as you’re passing the White Horse pub you decide to pop in for a quick one (yes, I know you shouldn’t drink and drive but this is just fiction to make my point!). You go up to the bar and order a pint of Best. Not a litre, please note, or you’d get odd looks from the barman who might start talking in a loud voice to you, thinking you’re French.

Standing at the bar with your pint mug in your hand, your phone beeps. You look at the message. How wonderful, while you’ve been to the supermarket for your pint of milk, bought your 20 gallons of petrol, gone a mile or two down the motorway and stopped for a pint at the pub, your wife has given birth to a baby boy. She’s pleased to tell you it’s a very healthy 9lbs 8oz. You buy another pint, and one for the barman as well, to celebrate.

Wisely leaving your car at the pub as you’ve had a few more pints, you order a taxi and it turns up several minutes later. Jumping into the passenger seat you manage to hit your head. The driver laughs with you and you agree it’s one of the problems of being such a big lad. How tall are you? he asks. Just over 6 foot, you reply and he leaves the car park with a splatter of gravel and a crunch of gears.

Of course, if you’d have been French instead of British you might have told the taxi driver you were about 182.88 centimetres but that would have ended the conversation for the entire journey and he’d have probably overcharged you more than he’s already going to, on the basis that you were a foreigner.

Stepping out of the taxi and fishing in your pocket for the key to the front door, which you hope you haven’t left in the White Horse, you smile to yourself knowing that your weight, about thirteen stone, is in proportion to your 6 foot frame. Hopefully your newly born son will inherit your size. 9lbs 8oz is a good weight for a baby – not that your wife probably thinks that way at the moment, but she’ll get over it.

Walking through to the kitchen, you switch the kettle on to make a cup of tea (which is why you went out to get the milk initially, wasn’t it?) After all, we British love a nice cup of tea. It’s traditional and we don’t give up tradition very easily, do we?

 

You can obviously see where I’ve been going, rather laboriously, with the above story. After some 43 years we still haven’t embraced the metric system. That’s nearly half a century. Yes, we changed the currency but most other things remain the same – or, at best, we use a combination of both systems.

Personally, I find millimetres and centimetres very useful. I mean, come on, how many of us really want to work with fractions of an inch. Millimetres are so much better than dealing with sixteenths of an inch. No problems there.

But when we get onto the bigger distances, miles are still most people’s default measurement. Just look at all the examples in the story above.

You can buy milk in litres, but you can more readily buy pints of the stuff (or 5 pint bottles if you have a thirst on). And, of course, everyone calls it a pint of milk – except the French, but then they do eat frogs and snails. Enough said.

The only fly in the ointment are our schools where, probably on the orders of Government going back to 1973, they teach our school kids in kilometres and litres. All well and good, but it does leave us to teach the kids at home what miles and pints are. After all, these kids will have to grow up in the real world where we still use Imperial for half or more of our measurements.

Now, you’d think it would be pretty difficult for any nation to run two measurement systems side by side but I think we actually manage it pretty well. We use metric for some things and Imperial for others. Horses for courses.

Except, aren’t horses measured in hands and racecourses in furlongs? Oh, no, that’s just going to confuse things further.

Will British people ever think in metric?  No, probably not. Some things are just too ingrained into us.

But one question does still remain unanswered. What happened to the Common Market that we joined way back in 1973? It seemed like such a good idea at the time.

 

(The views expressed in our Guest Blogs are personal opinions only and do not reflect the views of PCGraphics.)

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Well, this week I’ve put my thinking cap on and, amazingly, come up with a solution to some of our problems here in the UK.

The problems I’ve solved are to do with defence, border controls and financial budgets.

 

It was simple, really. No, it was. Listen…

The first step in my mind-blowingly simple plan is for us, and here I mean our leaders in Government and our military chiefs, to stop bombing and invading other countries. I know, it’s radical, isn’t it?

And, here’s how it works.

We pull all our overseas troops home to the UK. The UK currently has troops in a number of foreign countries (source) – Kenya, Sierra Leone, Brunei, Canada, Cyprus, Germany, Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands. There’s possibly more. And this list doesn’t include those we’ve invaded or bombed recently e.g. Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and, going back a few more years, places like Kosovo.

So, now that we’re not bombing or invading other countries, what do we do with all these troops that we’ve brought home?

Easy.

We use them at ports and airports around the UK to bolster the struggling UK Border Control staff. After all, these military people are all part of our Ministry of Defence, so what better job for them to do than to actually, physically defend the UK’s borders?

The clue to this thinking is really in the name, the Ministry of Defence. It’s not called the Ministry of Attack, or the Ministry of Invade or Bomb Other Countries. Their job is to defend the UK and what better place to start than at our borders?

This policy of not bombing or invading other countries will also have a few other knock-on effects which will be positive. It will save us billions, yes billions of Pounds annually. In one conflict alone, Afghanistan, it’s cost the UK around £37 billion (source). That’s one hell of a price for a war which really has very little to do with us and which has probably contributed, along with our incursion into Iraq, to many of the terror atrocities here at home.

Our bombing of Libya is estimated to have cost around £950 million (source). And that was without any troops on the ground – allegedly. The outcome of this bombing? Libya is fast becoming classified as a ‘failed state’ (source).

So, there’s plenty of money to be saved by not invading or bombing people. Plus we get a big increase of personnel at our ports and airports, which can only be a good thing.

I could also get started on our stock of nuclear weapons (who are we planning to use these against? Our major enemy these days are terrorists at home and we certainly wont be nuking them, or at least I trust not). So, why do we need them?

But, that’s for another day. For now, bring our troops home and make the UK a safer place. Oh, and save a bucket load of money too.

 

 

(The views expressed in our Guest Blogs are personal opinions only and do not reflect the views of PCGraphics.)

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This week I’m taking a look back in time with ‘Whatever Happened to…

 

First, whatever happened to – Repetitive Strain Injury?

Does anyone remember when repetitive strain injury was about as common as the adverts on Downton Abbey (for the uninitiated, Downton Abbey is a period drama on UK TV interrupted every few minutes, it seems, by adverts)? It was caused by doing the same actions, usually involving the upper arms or fingers, repeatedly and intensely over a period of time.

According to the NHS website repetitive strain was ‘a general term used to describe the pain felt in muscles, nerves and tendons caused by repetitive movement and overuse.’

So, basically, it was caused by using muscles a lot that hadn’t been used in a while previously.

And people were taking time off work for this and getting moved to do different jobs because of the ‘repetitive strain’ of doing that one task over and over again. There were even probably a few individuals who sought financial compensation from their employers for the effects of repetitive strain injury.

I wonder what today’s teenagers would make of repetitive strain? My guess is they’d probably ignore it. I mean, have you seen the speed teenager’s move their thumbs when texting or updating their Facebook statuses? And they do this for hours at a time – walking in the street, sitting on buses and trains, on the way to school, on the way home from school and, probably but who knows, during lessons at school as well.

Repetitive strain is a thing of the past. I can’t imagine any kid these days running to their mother, complaining about the pain in their thumbs from constantly texting.

Did it ever exist? Undoubtably, some people got sore muscles from doing one task too frequently over a period of time. I have the same problem when I kick a football around for 90 minutes non stop. My muscles ache.

Today’s kids, with their constant texting, have put paid to repetitive strain injury.

Whatever happened to – Acid Rain?

If you were around, and read the newspapers or listened to the news, in the 1970s or 1980s, you will undoubtably have heard of acid rain. It was, we were told, going to destroy all our forests and woodlands and, following that, probably civilisation as we know it. Well, what happened to it? Everything went quiet on the acid rain front.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have no doubt that acid rain actually existed. In fact, if I remember my geography and physics lessons correctly, all rain is acidic. But this version of acid rain was apparently caused by coal fired power stations.

Obviously, we in the UK took steps to shut down our coal fired power stations. Problem solved.

Or not. From news reports of only a couple of years ago, China was building 363 new coal burning power stations. On top of that, India was building 455. There were 1,200 coal plants in the various stages of planning across 59 countries.

So, what happened to acid rain?

I’m not for one minute suggesting it never existed and that we were misled by governments, environmentalists and the sensationalist section of the tabloid press, but we have far, far more coal fired power plants than in the 1970s and 1980s and yet no-one speaks of acid rain these days.

Perhaps it’s simply because we’ve got bigger and better things to worry about these days?

Whatever happened to – Swine Flu?

You must remember the swine flu epidemic? It was only a few years ago and our government here in the UK was forecasting 65,000 deaths in this country alone.

So, what happened to it?

Well, there was swine flu and it did kill some people – mostly those with pre-existing conditions. How many people did it kill in the UK? Certainly not the 65,000 that the experts were expecting.

The actual number of deaths from swine flu in the UK was 457.

So, we had a massive over estimate of the number of deaths. What else? Oh, yes, the government, in their wisdom, made plans to buy 132 million doses of the swine flu vaccine. The population of the UK is about 64 million. So, that would have been more than two doses of the vaccine for each and every person in the UK, assuming that every person wanted the vaccine (or, indeed, wanted two doses of it).

Why, you have to ask? Why would any Civil Servant or Minister in the Government sign a contact for that number of vaccines?

The total cost of the swine flu pandemic was put at over £1.2 billion. That’s 1.2 billion Pounds of our tax payer’s money here in the UK.

So, what happened to swine flu?

Again, yes, it did obviously exist – 457 people died from it. But it wasn’t the massive, looming disaster that we were, again, led to believe.

 

So, I have to ask, do you believe it these days when governments, environmentalists or anyone else give us warnings of doom and gloom about how the world is going to end, imminently, if we don’t do something quickly (which, it seems, usually means paying money to someone or raising taxes)?

I, for one, have become slightly, just slightly, cynical over the years.

 

 

(The views expressed in our Guest Blogs are personal opinions only and do not reflect the views of PCGraphics.)

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After the vote

Now that we’ve got the independence of Scotland out of the way we can move on to other matters. How about independence for England? Or, independence for the south east of England? Failing that, may I suggest that the Isle of Wight reforms it’s independence party – I say reformed because there was a movement by the Vectis National Party to change the Island to a Crown Dependency in the 1970s.

An independent Isle of Wight? Is that a daft suggestion? Maybe, maybe not. The Isle of Man is a Crown Dependency and seems to do ok. And the way solar energy farms are springing up across the Island, plus, more recently, the requests for permission to build wind farms off the south coast, it’s not inconceivable that the Isle of Wight will be energy self sufficient in a decade or two. So, maybe independence is not so far fetched after all.

Of course, an independent country will need a leader. We all know that our current political leaders are inept, both locally and in Westminster, so we’d need someone new. Someone untainted by the past fiascos of those in power. Someone intelligent, strong, knowledgable, affable and, most of all, modest.

Now, even though I’m a shy, retiring type of person and not one to push myself forward, I could possibly be persuaded to offer my services as leader of the new Island State. But, and I can almost hear you all saying this already, why stop at simply calling myself ‘Leader’ – why not make me Emperor or King?

King Jack of Wight does has a certain pleasant ring about it, even if I say so myself. I’m also very good at waving and looking haughty, which are, indisputably, requirements for the job of monarch.

And once crowned as King, what would my first decree be? Well, the first one is fairly simple. Reduce the stupidly high ferry fares to and from the Island. Ok, we wouldn’t be reducing them so much that it encourages the riffraff to travel across the Solent – we’re trying to encourage the discerning visitor after all – but just enough so that it doesn’t put off the more desirable elements of society. I mean, we do have some standards. Of course, though, anyone from Basingstoke or Germany would be banned outright, which I’d assume, would be a universally popular decision?

Someplace to live would be next on the list. There’s nothing wrong with where I live at present, but would it really be suitable for a Head of State? Probably not, in my opinion. So, I’d need somewhere more in keeping with my new-found prominent position in society. My tastes are fairly modest as far as this requirement goes, so a small residence such as that once so loved by another monarch, Queen Victoria, would perhaps be suitable.

Osborne_House

(Osborne House, once the summer home of Queen Victoria on the Isle of Wight)

Osborne House fits the bill admirably – not too ostentatious, an extra bedroom or two for guests and room in the grounds for a vegetable patch – and I could possibly be persuaded to relocate there. There is the slight problem that Osborne House is run by English Heritage at present but that can be sorted fairly easily. After all, once we become independent, English Heritage wont be on the Island and the property will be looking for a suitable resident. I am willing to be that tenant – though, obviously, I wouldn’t want to be saddled with the running costs of the monstrosity so that would have to be paid from local taxes. But I’ll leave the subject of taxes to another time. Some people get upset at the thought of paying taxes to keep monarchs, Prime Ministers and even Members of Parliament in the style to which they think they deserve to be kept, so I’ll wait until I’m King and settled in to my new abode before levying the taxes upon my subjects.

Next, there’s an awful lot of elderly folk on the Isle of Wight and that’s all very nice and proper but I do think it would be best for them, and for everyone else, if they were moved  to a remote, unvisited corner of the Island. Or Chale, as it’s known locally. Better for them and better for the visitors who come across. I mean, no-one who goes on holiday wants to have to fight their way through hordes of dribbling grannies to get to the beach or be run over by mobility scooters being driven by demented OAPs. So, better for everyone if they are moved to Chale, out of harm’s way.

And that’s just for starters. I’ll keep all my other plans up my sleeve until after independence and until I’m crowned King of the Island. I think that’s the way it’s done, judging by what I’ve seen elsewhere. It’s never best, apparently, to tell the general public too much or, as in the case of our current politicians, anything truthful at all.

So, you see, what could possibly go wrong with independence? I’m all for it.

 

(The views expressed in our Guest Blogs are personal opinions only and do not reflect the views of PCGraphics. We would also like to point out that we have no grievances against grannies, OAPs, people from Basingstoke, Germany or even those from Chale.)

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Some vaguely articulate ramblings, submitted on an occasional basis by our Guest Blogger:  Jack Diamond

 

Back to school

Yes, it’s that time again. Now that the long summer holidays are drawing to a close, all our little angels are marching proudly back to school this week.

New uniforms have been bought. New shoes purchased or old ones polished to make them look respectable for the start of the new school year. But one piece of uniform you can’t have at our local Primary School is a scarf.

No, not even when it’s the middle of winter and there’s three inches of snow on the ground are the children allowed to wear scarves inside the school grounds. Why? Yes, you’ve guessed it, it’s Health and Safety. Children can get strangled by scarves. I’m not sure how many children lose their lives each year because of scarves, but the school isn’t taking any chances.

And there’s other crazy rules too.

Come Christmas time, little Wayne or Chardonnay (or whatever the latest chavvy names are) will possibly come home one day from school and be delighted to tell you that they are appearing in the school play at the end of December. They might be one of the shepherds, or an angel or, if they’ve been really good all year at school and not been excluded from too many classes, Mary or Joseph.

And how brilliant, with modern technology and communications, that you could catch the little darlings on video and send copies to your friends and relatives to watch them too. And, of course, in years to come, you’ll be able to look back at them and see how little Harry or Britney started their careers on the stage.

Except you can’t, at least not in our local Primary School. Why? No photography or video is allowed on the school premises – and this includes school plays, sports days etc. No, seriously, it’s not. Or, to be accurate, no photos or videos are allowed to be taken by parents.

School staff take some photos and will sell those pictures to the parents should you wish to buy them, but you can’t take photos or videos of your own children yourself.

And why is that? The reason is that if any parents, at the start of the school year, state that they don’t want photos of their children taken, then a blanket ban is imposed on every child in the school. Yes, the wishes of the minority outweighs those of the majority – hardly democracy in action.

But, perhaps best of all, was one Christmas time the class teacher was asked by a parent if she could write down the first names of the boys and girls in the class so that their child could send everyone a Christmas card. You would have thought that would be straightforward, but no, you would have been wrong. The Head Teacher had to be consulted in case it broke the Data Protection Act or, God forbid, infringed someone’s Human Rights (Ok, the Human Rights bit was an exaggeration, but you get the drift). In the end, common sense did prevail and the child was able to send cards to all her friends and get the names spelt right, but what madness that the teacher actually had to ask if it was alright to give out the children’s names to another parent.

When exactly did all this nonsense start? I know we have to protect children, but sometimes it just seems to go a bit crazy.

 

There’s something wrong…

Isn’t there something wrong when a footballer, and one unknown to many of us in the UK, can be paid £280,000 per week – yes, that’s £280,000 every week –  (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2740187/280-000-week-Britain-s-best-paid-footballer-Colombian-star-Falcao-signs-Manchester-United-loan.html) when we as a country can’t, it seems, even afford to offer a little five year old boy cancer treatment costing around £65,000 (http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/sep/01/ashya-kings-parents-remanded-custody-judge-considers-extradition).

Words, for once, fail me.

 

(The views expressed in our Guest Blogs are personal opinions only and do not necessarily reflect the views of PCGraphics

 

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Don’t get me started…

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Some vaguely articulate ramblings, submitted on an occasional basis by our Guest Blogger:  Jack Diamond

 

Military jet escorts Qatar Airways plane to Manchester Airport

This was a news story recently in the UK and I’m sure it happens in some other countries too. A Royal Air Force fighter jet was scrambled and escorted a commercial airliner into Manchester airport after a note was passed to the aircraft captain saying there was an explosive device onboard.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-28662561

There’s also amateur footage of the Typhoon jet circling around the Airbus 330.

Now, my question is – what is the purpose of the fighter jet ‘escorting’ the commercial airliner to the airport?

It can’t be to reassure the passengers, many were quoted as saying they were terrified and thought they were going to die when they saw the Typhoon jet alongside their aircraft.

If there was a bomb and it went off, what would the Air Force jet do? At best nothing, at worst it could get caught up in the explosion.

Or is the policy to shoot the commercial jet out of the sky if the situation worsens? I can’t think of any other reason for it being there apart from this. And would a RAF jet really shoot down a commercial airliner over the UK? Would this be sanctioned by the government?

There’s a huge outcry from some quarters in the UK when the police open fire on armed criminals etc. Can you imagine the reaction if a commercial airline was shot down by the RAF?

So, given all this, why is a military jet sent up to ‘escort’ an airliner?

 

A Monster in the Vegetable Patch

There’s probably a number of plants which could make a claim for being the most vigorous in the growing department but I’m going to make a nomination here for a plant, a vegetable in fact, which we grow here in the UK, and it’s a pretty common one too. My vote goes to the humble courgette.

Surprised? You probably wont be if you’re a gardener and grow vegetables. Anyone who has grown them knows how rampant they are. They start off as innocuous little seedlings but, given a month or so in the ground, they turn into rampaging monsters.

And never, ever turn your back on them and go away for a week’s holiday (God forbid you go away and leave them for two whole weeks) because in that short time you’ll come back to huge monstrosities lurking in your vegetable patch.

It’s not only the size of the plant, it’s the fruit (yes, the part of the courgette plant you eat is actually a fruit) which grows to massive dimensions if left unattended on the plant. And, unless you have a family of twelve to feed, then don’t ever be tempted to grow more than one courgette plant. These things throw out new fruits each and every day, sometimes several appear on each plant overnight. So, unless you and your family are on a serious courgette only diet, then just plant the one. And don’t be tempted to go away on holiday and leave it to its own devices. You’ll need a machete to deal with it if you do.

 

Eating Out

Ok, I’ll own up straight away, it’s mostly McDonalds, Burger King, Wimpy and the like I’m talking about here. It’s fair to say that these are fairly relaxed establishments – the food is cheap as is the decor. But, is it reasonable, even in these restaurants, to allow your children to run around screaming and annoying everyone else or, as we saw recently in a Wimpy restaurant, two kids around 7 or 8 years old lying on the tables?  Yes, I did say lying and not leaning. I’m talking about getting up on the table and lying flat out. This was with the mothers of the little brats sitting at an adjacent table and taking absolutely no notice. Or, probably more accurately, not a case of not noticing but either not bothering to tell the kids to get off the table or finding nothing wrong with what they were doing.

Now, obviously, every child plays up from time to time and tries to push the boundaries, but what is the mentality of the parents who simply let their children do whatever they like? Or is it something in the set up of these places which makes parents feel it’s ok for the kids to act like this? I don’t know. But what I do know is that none of the 6 or 7 staff actively on duty, and not particularly busy, felt compelled to go over and speak to the little angels or their parents.

So, is this sort of behaviour simply accepted these days? Or, should we as the other customers, the general public, intervene and tell them to get down off the table or to stop running around screaming or throwing their food around? Would you?

If you did speak to them I’m fairly sure you’d get a mouthful of abuse – and not just from the parents either.

 

And, while we’re on the subject of eating out

What is it with computerised ordering systems in restaurants that make them so inflexible, or is it simply the waiters?

And why am I even bringing the subject up?

Whilst travelling a little while ago, it was convenient for us to stay, and eat an evening meal, at a Travelodge hotel. No problem and everything started ok with the soup course. Unfortunately, the roll provided with the soup was of the miniature variety. Again, no problem, just ask for another one. Or so we thought.

But, it seems, with the computer system they use, you can’t simply order a roll. It can only be served with soup.

So, what would most waiters do in this situation? Easiest thing, you’d think, would be to go to the kitchen and bring a roll to the customer. But no, apparently they can’t do that. It has to go through the computer and the computer says you can’t order a roll on it’s own.

Yes, I know, it’s only a bread roll and nothing to make a fuss about. And we didn’t. We were just a little perplexed by it.

The worst thing really is that this Travelodge was at one of Britain’s main airports. Somewhere that many hundreds or, more probably, thousands of foreign visitors pass through each year. What, we wondered, would someone from Italy or France or anywhere else make of this? It’s not the best introduction to a new country when you request some extra bread with your dinner and the answer is a straight ‘No’.

Either the computer system needs a kick up the backside or the waiter does.

 

 

(The views expressed in our Guest Blogs are personal opinions only and do not necessarily reflect the views of PCGraphics)

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