Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Paralympic Athletes are second class citizens according to Royal Mail

August 18, 2012

After all the success of the Gold Medal stamps which Royal Mail issued for our Gold Medal winning athletes at this year’s Olympic Games, they have decided to to the same thing for our athletes in the Paralmpic Games! Well done I hear you all shout. But there’s a catch..

For the Olympic athletes, Royal Mail made a commitment before the games to print the stamps and have them on sale (albeit in selected Post Offices) within 24 hours of the medal being won. But that’s not the case for the Paralympic athletes.

Most of the media don’t appear to be reporting this, but the stamps will be on sale within FIVE days. I’ve seen one report that says the stamps will be issued “as quickly as possible”, but most don’t mention a time frame.

The reason for the delay? Apparently it’s because of the number of medals we’re expected to win. This year, our athletes have been given a target of 95-145 medals. Four years ago in Beijing we got 102 medals of which 42 were gold. So I reckon we’re looking at about 39-60 gold medals or about twice as many as we got in the Olympics. 

So because they will have to double the number of stamps designed (actually just pick a picture as the most of the stamps will be already prepared) and printed, it will take an extra FOUR days? Really? I know we’re not the most efficient/organised business in the world, but come on. I would have thought that it would only have taken an extra 24 hours at the most to get them printed and distributed.

Come on Royal Mail, is this really the best you can do?

http://www.royalmailgroup.com/gold-medal-stamp-each-paralympicsgb-individual-or-team-win

The light at the end of the tunnel…

October 25, 2009

Today, for the first time in ages, I woke up feeling really depressed. And it was all my own fault (isn’t it always?)

Over the past few weeks/months I had come to believe that the was a path open to me which would take me in a new direction. To make my life better and happier. But instead, when I woke up today I realised that I was actually deluding myself. The option wasn’t there at all. It was like being hit in the face by a frying pan.

Sometimes we are presented with a fork in the road, and we have a real opportunity to change the course of our lives. Other times, we think we can see a fork, but in reality, it’s just a animal-run through the undergrowth and leads us no-where.

This morning I realised that I had left the path and was heading in to the undergrowth and was facing the prospect of getting hurt or injured. And so I had to stop and back track.

I talked the situation through with a close friend who basically said that God would make the fork in the road appear when the time was right. And so I have spent a fair bit of today in prayer and conversation with God. And I know that one day, that new path will open up for me.

In the meantime, I will remember that the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t necessarily the exit, it could be a train coming the other way!

Who’s telling the truth?

December 4, 2008

So the Damien Green MP situation continues. I’m not going to go into why he was arrested here, but I would like to look at what happened at the Palace of Westminster when the Met Police came knocking on the door.

1. The police point of view.

According to a letter sent by AC Quick to the Home Secretary, the senior investigating officer informed the Serjeant at Arms (SAA) on Wednesday that they wished to search the offices of an MP. The SAA was informed that they didn’t need a warrant if she was prepared to give consent to the search. She said she would take legal advice and inform the Speaker. The next day the police informed the SAA who the MP was and she gave consent for the search to go ahead (in writing).

Then on Monday December 1st, AC Quick wrote to the Speaker confirming the arrest of Damien Green MP, as required by current protocol

2. The Speaker’s point of view

He says he was informed on Wednesday that the police might be an arrest of an unnamed MP. The next day the SAA informed him who was involved and said that a search of his office might take place. The SAA didn’t tell him that the police had not obtained a warrant for the search. On Thursday evening he was informed that the MP in question was Damien Green, and then on Tuesday he received a letter from the police confirming the arrest.

 

So the police say they told the SAA that they didn’t have a warrant, but she claims she wasn’t told. One of them is not telling the truth

If they didn’t specifically tell her they had a warrant, why didn’t she ask? And if she did take legal advice, why wasn’t she should told then to ask for a warrant?

When the SAA informed the Speaker about the search, why didn’t he ask her about a warrant?

The police say they informed the SAA on the Wednesday that they wanted to conduct a search, but the Speaker says he was informed on Thursday that there might be a search. Big difference there.

 

The police seem to have a paper trail to confirm that they followed procedures. And this appears to differ greatly from what the Speaker says happened.

The Speaker’s statement seems to imply that he did nothing wrong, and that the fault is with the police. In fact what he says leaves serious questions about the Serjeant At Arms. Even if the police did fail to do their job properly, she appears to have not asked the right questions either of them or the person giving her legal advice.

So from where I’m sitting, it looks like this:

The police say they did their job, but could be lying

The Speaker says it had nothing to do with him.

The Serjeant At Arms appears to be either a liar or incompetent (or both)

And at the moment, I’m putting my money on the police to have the right thing, the Speaker to be trying to distance himself from an almighty cock-up, and the Serjeant at Arms being turned into the sacrificial lamb

Stop this cruelty

December 2, 2008

Today at work, my colleagues and I came across several small boxes wrapped in plastic. The plastic made them air tight.

Inside were little teddy bears.157

We feel this is cruel. Teddy bears shouldn’t be sealed inside boxes and wrapped in plastic. It’s inhumane. How can they breathe?

Teddy bears are friendly, comforting creatures that would never hurt us unless provoked. Yes, I admit they can be mischievous, but they are not violent or malicious.

Please, if you’re going to send teddy bears in the post, please please please don’t wrap them in plastic.

As we approach Christmas, remember, that if looked after properly, a teddy bear can be for life, not just childhood.

Holiday Dad

October 28, 2008

I recently read an blog post by dungeekin on “Weekend Dad’s” and this is a kind of reply to that.

For reasons I don’t want to go into at the moment, my daughter lives with her mother 160 miles away. She spends most of her school holidays with me, and the occasional weekend in between, and I visit for special occasions. This means the time I do spend with her is very precious, and I want it to be “quality time”. For this reason, and this reason alone, I try to make our time together exciting and fun. If I can put of the mundane ordinary tasks for a day or two, I will. I would rather go out for the day and do something she wants, than spend it at home or in town doing normal everyday stuff.

When she’s here with me in the summer, we spend four weeks together. Obviously it’s not possible to postpone everything during this period, and yes, the normal stuff does happen. But then, if we’re spending that amount of time together, it’s as if we are a “normal” family anyway. But during our weekends, and to some extent half term, things are different.

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I feel envious of those separated parents who manage to see their children most weeks. For them, having a normal routine is a good thing. But in my case, and I suspect plenty of others, I don’t have that luxury. Our time together is precious. If we go to a theme park or the cinema, it’s because we want to, not because we have nothing else to do nor because I feel guilty. If I have to to do something which doesn’t involve her, then I feel guilty. Take this week for example. I’m involved in a amateur dramatic group and we’re putting on a show next week. That means this week we’re putting the stage up and rigging the lighting. This will require spending a large amount of time in the hall working. Time which I would rather spend with her. But it’s stuff that needs doing, so I have no choice.

 

In fact, if my daughter had her way, we’d probably spend all day every day at home just so she can surf the ‘web and play Sims2. I think she’s turning into a geek already!

Holidays

August 19, 2008

I’m sitting in my hotel room trying to do some work. I’m on holiday and yes, I’m working. However this is “fun” work. Trying to do my bit for the on-line community.

I’ve recently discovered an online service called Qype where ordinary people can put reviews of places they’ve been, such as museums, restaurants and even shops. So I’m trying to add some reviews of the places we’ve been to on holiday.

The problem is I’ve got my daughter with me. Now I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else at the moment, but she can be slightly annoying. It’s not er fault, but with just the two of us together for 24 hours a day whilst we’re away, it’s only natural that at times we get on each others nerves.

I try not to tell her off because we want to have an enjoyable time. But just sometimes it’s all too much, I snap and have a go at her. Usually I regret it straight away. Like tonight. I turned the laptop on and she was on-line for the first hour and a half “chatting” to her friends. Then when it was my turn to use it, she just kept on badgering me for different things. In the end I told her off for something (I can’t even remember what) and immediately wished I hadn’t.

But now, everything’s back to normal and we’re friends again, looking forward to tomorrow’s adventure.

Oh happy days 🙂

iPhone hysteria

July 10, 2008

So tomorrow is the big day. The day the iPhone 3G goes on sale. Oh yippee do.

No, I won’t be getting one.

I cannot see what all the fuss and hysteria is about. I just don’t get it. Why do people, who are otherwise sane, feel the need to queue for hours outside a shop just to get a new phone?  Yes it looks nice, but… it’s only a phone! Will the world stop spinning if they don’t get one on the first day? I doubt it. I think it’s because they are sheep. They just follow the flock and do what they think everyone else is going to do. They don’t want to be an individual, they have to belong to the crowd.

Now I admit that a couple of weeks ago I was considering getting one. This was because I was due to upgrade my old WM5 phone and I was looking at all possible replacements.  However I soon discounted it in favour of either an Orbit II or the Nokia N95 which I chose.

So what are the alleged selling points of the iPhone?

  • 3G network
  • Touch screen
  • MS Exchange synchronization
  • Built in iPod
  • GPS

Well my N95 has all of those except the touch screen. It even has a proper physical 12-key keyboard. And a 5M pixel camera. And streams audio through stereo bluetooth. And the GPS stays on, whereas I’m lead to believe that in interest of battery power the iPhone keeps switching its GPS off. And most importamt of all – its not an iPhone! And I can get turn-by-turn satnav on mine. Apple have stated that you are not allowed that on the iPhone. It’s one of the conditions in the licence agreement for the SDK!

So if you one of those who are going to queue for an iPhone, and sulk if you don’t get one on the first day, don’t worry: the world will still be here the day after tomorrow. And if you really do need one, try here: knitted iPhone

The picture below is of a field which is normally full of sheep. When I got there today there was not a single one in the field. I think they’ve all headed off looking for an iPhone.

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It’s not a mid life crisis if it’s planned!

June 16, 2008

I‘ve recently been spending a lot of time (and energy) trying to decide if I’m happy with my life and what I want to do in the future. This situation has been brought on by numerous unrelated invents all coming together and general making me think. There have been changes at work which I’m unhappy about and now there are rumours of further changes along the same lines. I’m getting involved in more and more things in outside work and finding the time to devout to the is getting harder.

I recently went on a “quiet day” with my Church and others within the Circuit. I had no idea what I was going to but I knew it would be a time of reflection an prayer. The venue was at a farm just outside Lewes, Sussex and consisted of an old Great Hall and some very large grounds surrounding the farmhouse.

Apart from two or three short sessions led by the Minister, the entire day was conducted in silence and we were left to do as we pleased. The idea was that being away from the distractions of everyday life, we would be able to pray and “reconnect” with God.

Well I spent the almost the entire time away from the main building and the rest of the group, only going back for lunch and the Eucharist at the end. I spent the time thinking about my relationship with God and about my life at the moment and in the future.

During this time it became clear to me that I am not happy with my life at the moment, and that I need to do something about it. I’m not too happy about work, my finances and the amount of time that I get to spend with my daughter (or the quality of that time). I think that I’m still suffering from the depression that I found myself in after my divorce. So it’s time to do something about it.

I need to get a grip of the work situation. Either find a new job or committee to going self employed. I’ve been self employed for about 8 years doing the odd bit of IT work and selling computer supplies, but I’ve never really committed myself to it. Which is why I’m still employed full time.

Hopefully once I’ve sorted that out, the finances will begin to look better and I’ll be able to spend more/better time with my daughter.

I also need to have good clear out at home. I think I’ve still got stuff here that hasn’t been touched since we moved in! So before I do anything else, I’m going to do some serious work on the flat. Hopefully that will then give me inspiration to do the rest of things that need doing.

The strange thing is that I have recently been reading several blogs (including Lisa’s and Mousewords’) which have made me come to the same conclusion and given me inspiration. Is it coincidence or  divine intervention?

One other thing that  need to do is allow myself some “me” time everyday. So, enough writing, I’m off to curl up with a good book.

Big Brother

June 7, 2008

I can honestly say I have never intentionally watch Big Brother. I have caught it when changing channels or when visiting other people (and I think my ex used to watch it). This blog is in response to Lisa’s blog about the show

I don’t watch it because it doesn’t appeal to me, I have far too many other things to waste my time on and I disagree with what they do. I could vaguely see the point of the first series – it was an experiment to watch human behaviour. But now, everyone who goes in to it does so with their eyes open, knowing they have a good chance of being ridiculed or bullied in to doing things they wouldn’t normally do.

I have no problem with being able to relate to the ‘yoof’ of today. Apart from not knowing many, I feel we should try to raise the level of their intellect, not dumb everything down for them. Society, like a chain, is only as strong as its weakest link. We should try to strengthen that link, not make the rest just as weak. If we constantly low the standards, then eventually we will all be living in the gutter.

And yes, I do feel that Lisa’s selected bible passage should apply to what we watch. And I would like to add that whilst Exodus 10:14 states “Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbour” does it not actually mean “do not lie”? What are these people being asked to do, if it is not live a lie for the sake of entertainment?

Conscience

April 28, 2008

It’s been a while since I last blogged for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I’ve been heavy involved in an amateur production of Fiddler on the Roof with Patcham Barnstormers. Normally I’m responsible for the lighting of shows along with my colleague Clive. In this show however, I also took on the role of the Bottle Dancer. As a person who does not like going on stage in front of a audience, this has been a real trial. We have now finished our run of four shows at our home venue at Patcham Methodist Church, and next week we will be doing two further shows at Dorset Gardens Methodist Church.

The second reason for the delay in writing is more to do with what to write. I’ve known for several days what I wanted to write about, but not the words to use. I think I can now, so here goes…

As a Christian, I have a set of values and principles which I live by. Sometimes though Christians are faced with the temptation to break these. In the vast majority of these situations it is quite easy to resist. However, very occasionally we are placed in a position were we really struggle to do the right thing. Over the past few months I have found myself in one of these positions – in fact I still am. I cannot go into too many details for fear of breaking friend’s trust. A friend has told me that they are unhappy and plan to do something about it. What they plan to do is against the teachings of Christ, and therefore I should try to talk them out of it. However, I know that they would be deeply unhappy if they were not go through it. There are several other factors involved which I cannot divulge unfortunately, all of which means I am struggling with my conscience. So my question to you, dear reader, is: would Christ expect us to follow his teachings if it means sticking to a badly made decision and unhappiness? I’m sorry if this post makes little sense – I feel that trust is important and so I have been unable to explain the situation completely.