31 December 2012

New Year neighbours from hell

What is it about New Year that makes some people think that it's OK to make their neighbours' lives a misery?  

The house over the road from me has been emitting loud bass music since 16:00 and the garden appears to be full of vacuous squealing women.  People have been turning up in cars and beeping their horns because they are too bloody lazy to get out and actually talk to someone and there's a gang of teenage lads in their front bedroom who appear to be headbutting each other.

The music is so loud that even when I put my headphones on to listen to some music, the neighbours' bass beat can be heard over it.   One of the other neighbours has already been round to ask them to turn it down, but there's been no noticable change.

I have, of course, whinged about this on Facebook and some of my friends have suggested that I call the Police.  However, despite the fact that I am bloody annoyed, I do accept that this is probably the busiest night of the year for the Police, and a noisy party is the least of their worries.  I'd rather not bother them, and let them get on with dealing with more serious matters.  In the meantime, I will just sit here, quietly fuming.

All I wanted was a quiet night in on my own, a little time to sit, think and be peaceful, but now all I have are angry throughts about how inconsiderate others can be.

26 December 2012

Taking laziness to the next level

This morning, around 10:30, I saw a girl wearing a onesie, walking her dog.  I might have accidentally said 'lazy cow!' in a voice rather louder than was necessary.  However, I stand by my comment.  What has the world come to when people are happily slobbing around town in their nightwear?  They look absolutely ridiculous!  This morning's specimen was resplendent in zebra stripes and looked like an oversized toddler.

The thought did strike me, though, that as it appears that the latest fashion is to wear one's pyjamas around town, do these people wear their day clothes in bed?  Do they sleep in a shirt and jeans?  It'd make as much sense.

24 October 2012

Bloody ambulance chasers

On my way into work this morning, I followed a car which was advertising one of those 'ambulance chasing' services.  It read something like "Had an accident?  Claim today and get a free iPad!"

I really hate these companies.  By pushing everyone into the compensation culture, they have also pushed up insurance costs for everyone, and caused more and more organisations to introduce stupid 'rules' and restrictions based upon spurious risk assessments carried out by idiots.  They are nothing but greed-mongers.

Sometimes, people have to accept that the reason they tripped is because they're a clumsy oaf who wasn't looking where they were going; the reason they got scalded is because they are too stupid to know that a hot cup of coffee is, erm, hot.  There's not always someone else to blame.

I'm sure that the promise of a free iPad will encourage a few more wastrels to claim, not because they have a case, but simply because they want an iPad.  Those who have genuine reasons to claim will, I hope, go to reputable companies who don't need to offer free gifts to get business.

23 October 2012

Affordable housng and the scandal of empty homes

Government Minister Mark Prisk believes that building new homes is the answer to the problem of rising rents and the lack of affordable homes.

I disagree.  

According to the 'Empty Homes' website, in November 2011 there were 720,000 empty homes in England, and 930,000 in the whole of the UK, of which approximately 350,000 are long-term empty.  

Why then, if there are so many empty homes, does the Government keep insisting that we need to build new homes, and is even considering relaxing the Green Belt laws in order to permit house building in our precious countryside?  Surely they should be trying to fill the existing empty homes before building new ones?

I accept that many of these homes are not currently fit for habitation, but there are plenty of builders, joiners, plumbers, electricians, etc. out there whom, I am sure, would welcome the opportunity to work at putting these places to rights.  Those homes which are beyond repair could be demolished and replaced with new homes on the same sites. 

Only when these empty homes have been tackled, and all of the brown field sites used up, should anyone even think of debating the destruction of our Green Belt.  Hopefully, it will never come to that.

It's disgusting...

The number of people who can't spell the word 'disgusting' is absolutely disgusting!

Since I joined Facebook, I have been both amazed and horrified at the number of people who don't seem to be able to spell even simple words correctly.  The latest such word which really raises my hackles is 'discusting'.  There is no such word.  Here is a simple reminder:

Discuss - to debate or consider
Disgust - to offend or sicken

03 October 2012

Stop flashing at me!

The latest 'design feature' of some modern cars appears to be headlamps which are activated by a light sensor because, as we all know, drivers are far too stupid to realise that it's going dark and you'll need to switch them on yourself.

Yesterday, such a vehicle followed me for a couple of miles through an area with trees at the side of the road.  Despite the fact it was daylight, each time the car went past one a slightly more dense clump of trees, the headlamps came on for a few seconds and then went off again.  This might not have been so bad if it was a little car, but it wasn't.  It was a Hummer; an unnecessarily huge behemoth of a vehicle which is totally out of place on our little country lanes and, as is common with very large vehicles, the headlamps are positioned higher up, so that the beam reflects in the rear-view mirror and then vapourises one's retinas.  Oh yes, and whilst I'm ranting about it, why on earth do people still find it fashionable to have bullbars on vehicles which are never ever likely to see a bull?  It's not bloody Pamplona, you know!

19 September 2012

Setting a President?

Over the past few days, I've heard at least three people on the radio and television referring to 'setting a president'.  I'm pretty sure that they really mean to say 'setting a precedent'.

14 August 2012

Geographically challenged

Whilst I'm ranting about people in the media getting it wrong, here's another one:

I heard a BBC Radio 4 presenter refer to the BBC's new base at MediaCityUK as being in "Salford, in Manchester".  Wrong!.  The city of Salford is located next to the city of Manchester.  Salford is not a city within a city.

Honestly, BBC, I thought Radio 4 was supposed to be the best you have to offer.  You might at least learn where your studios are located.

The non-existent car

Whilst listening to the radio yesterday morning, I heard the presenter refer to an episode of Only Fools and Horses, and said that Del and Rodney, dressed as Batman and Robin, got out of a Robin Reliant.

This simple sentence annoyed me for two reasons.  

Firstly, what really irritates me, is when people refer to the vehicle as a 'Robin Reliant'.  No it's not!  It's a 'Reliant Robin'.  'Reliant' is the name of the manufacturer.  You don't hear people talking about a Fiesta Ford, or an Astra Vauxhall, or a Corolla Toyota, so why do so many people refer to Robin Reliants?

Secondly, the vehicle in Only Fools and Horses wasn't even a Robin, it was a Regal.  Get it right, please, folks.

18 July 2012

Pablo's Olympic Rant

Today, I present a guest rant from Pablo:

Is it just me, or has the Olympic spirit been hijacked by consumerism and global commercialism? Or is it just the Government which has rolled over and allowed foreign-owned global companies to take ownership of all that should provide guidance and good rĂ´le models for future generations?

The Olympic Games should promote the twin ideals of competition and fitness.  Ok, three ideals, competition, fitness and health.   And  a spirit of international friendship.  OK, four, then.  Interesting to see the major sponsors of the Olympics entering into that spirit, isn’t it?

McDonalds?  A major sponsor of a major sporting event promoting health and competition?  Yeah, right.   A global company which has expanded by shamelessly marketing junk food to one of the most vulnerable groups in society, our children, then relies on the witter factor, and that wonderful bit of human psychology, peer pressure, the need to follow like sheep, to ensure that if you don’t take your kids to McDonalds, they will feel excluded by their friends. So they grow up on a diet of McNuggets (mechanically processed chicken, mixed with a number of chemicals) and each helping providing over 60% of your daily sodium intake (the main cause of high blood pressure) and over 40% of your recommended maximum fat intake.   Vitamins?   You have to be joking!

And that is before you add the fries (mechanically processed potatoes, NOT even proper chips, note) and their own load of coated sugar and salt to make you crave for more.  So much for the healthy.  If you want to read their ingredient lists, click here.

But what of the competition?   McDonalds apparently have enough financial clout to create their own chip monopoly without actually selling chips themselves.  They have banned their smaller competitors from selling chips unless they are as an integral part of fish and chips.  Want chips with your burger?  Sorry, mate, you will have to go to McDonalds. And have fries.

I could say more about McDonalds, but I won’t.   So what of the other major sponsors?  On the news this morning was a piece about that purveyor of sporting goods, Adidas.  They promote health, fitness and competition, don’t they?  Well, not exactly.  So far as I know, there are two mainstream sporting brands who market to the brand conscious.  The other is Nike.  Go in any McDonalds and the place is full of sporting wannabees.  If they aren’t wearing England football shirts, they will almost certainly be wearing Adidas or Nike kit and, given, that the lifetime diet of supersized 'happy meals' has ensured that anything other than the most gentle exercise will probably kill them, you have got to wonder at the power of advertising and the need to follow the crowd.  I would guess that the majority of branded sports kit has never been worn on the track, sportsfield or in the gym.

But this is not my point.  My point is that the major sponsor of the Olympics, Adidas was reported on this morning’s news as having banned all children taking part in the opening ceremony from wearing any branded trainers other than Adidas.  

Competition, fitness and health?  My arse! Will I be watching the Olympic Games? No, you will find me headed in the opposite direction on two wheels. At least there will be less traffic on the roads.

04 July 2012

Cold callers

I have a sticker on my front door.  It's right at eye-level, so you have no excuse for missing it.  It says "No Cold Callers.  Please do not knock."  There's a second, less polite sign, in the window to the left of the door, specifying that I don't want to be disturbed by salesmen, canvassers, hawkers, charity representatives or god botherers.

Despite that, on Monday, someone from SafeStyle UK knocked, and then apologised when I pointed out the sticker, and then said "but seeing as you're here now, can I just ask you...".  He was really surprised when every question he asked was met with 'No'.  His parting shot was "If you just let me do a quotation, you don't have to buy anything, but I'll get a commission."  Strangely enough, my answer to that was also "No", as I shut the door in his face.

I know times are hard, but I really really object to doorstep sales.  I will never ever buy anything on the doorstep and it really annoys me when chancers ignore the sign, in the hope that I'll be nice to them.

It is now a criminal offence in the UK to ignore such signs.  I WILL report you.

Take a hint.  Get lost.

20 June 2012

Wheat-free and breathing easy

Earlier this year, having suffered breathing problems for all of my life, I finally saw a consultant who told me that I was displaying the classic symptoms of wheat allergy.  I was confused.  People who suffer from wheat allergy just have bad guts, don't they?  My friend Brynjar has coeliac disease and I remember how dreadfully ill he was before he was diagnosed.

Apparently, I was wrong.  Wheat allergy can also cause breathing problems including a tight chest and throat, nasal congestion, itching and swelling in the mouth and throat, itchy rashes on the skin, itchy and watery eyes.  In fact, all the symptoms that my doctors and I had, for many years, put down to my hayfever and perennial rhinitis.

So, I have done my best to stop eating wheat.  It's not actually been that difficult, although there have been odd times where I have fallen off the waggon, only to regret it when I can't breathe about twenty minutes later.  I have also discovered that eating wheat gives me bellyache.  I've always had regular gutache but put it down to poor diet.  However, since stopping eating wheat, I find that my guts are much happier and I feel much less lethargic and headachy too.

I have discovered that most supermarket-bought gluten-free bread is rubbish.  It's very expensive, falls apart easily and is useless for sandwiches - most of it ends up in your lap as the slice collapses.

Last weekend, I went to Beverley Folk Festival, where a lovely lady called Catherine was selling gluten-free galettes.  Inspired by how nice they were (I ate rather a lot of them), I decided to look up the recipe and came across a cracking website called 'Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef'.  Like Brynjar, the author has coeliac disease, and she has written a book about food.  Not just any old book, mind, a book about the foods you CAN eat, rather than the ones you can't, as well as stories and tips on a gluten-free life.  She and her husband have also written a cookery book.  

Anyway, go and read her blog, it's brilliant.

15 March 2012

Damning with faint praise

The Manchester Evening News congratulates the 'Winners' of Duke of Edinburgh Awards.

Yes, congratulations to them, but I take issue with the description 'winners'.  You do not 'win' a Duke of Edinburgh Award.  It's not a competition or a prize draw and to describe the recipients as 'winners' is extremely insulting.  The writer of the piece clearly has no idea what the award scheme is about.  You have to work damned hard to achieve the award and I have great respect for anyone who makes the grade.  It shows commitment, dedication, determination and hard graft as well as a desire to serve others and be a good citizen. 

Well done to all of you.

05 February 2012

All stuck up

The warning on the packet of superglue states "Take care when piercing the top, as the glue flows freely"

This should be changed to "Pierce top at arms length, as the glue will spurt out and cover your hands in it.  Take care to keep fingers spread before it sticks them together, and to everything else, leaving very little glue left to do the job you actually wanted it for."

31 January 2012

Thought for the Day

"Just because you're breathing, doesn't mean you're alive."
Guy Martin

24 January 2012

Spitting feathers

Why don't coffee/tea shops open in the evenings?  All the 'chain' coffee shops seem to be closed by 8pm.  Does nowhere stay open until 10pm (other than in London?).

Not everyone wants to sit in a pub :o( 

05 January 2012

Happy New Year

OK, I'm a few days late, but what the hell.  I posted on Facefaff a few days ago that I really don't get this whole 'happy new year' thing.  It's just another day, not much different from the day before.   People told me off for being grumpy, but they should know by now that I'm grumpy most of the time.

The choice of programmes on TV over the Christmas break was, frankly, rubbish and, in the main, not worth watching.  However, Christmas dinner with the folks was lovely, and New Year's Eve in the company of good friends was nice too.  I was visited by a couple of friends I've not seen for ages, ate far too much but only got drunk once.  I had a great time with Stone the Crows, watching the Mummers Play and doing the fiddling thing whilst they danced.

So, if it's a new year, what else is new?  Well my house is still a tip, I still haven't cleaned my bike. the weather is crap and my campervan roof leaks.  Ho hum.  Happy New Year everyone.  Here's to more fiddling, more dancing and more drinking :o)