Society’s Outcasts?

Just watching the news and they were showing Labour leader Ed Miliband visiting the Birmingham suburb of Dudley today. He went to a local ASDA supermarket and spoke to staff.

One lady said “The ones 4 or 5 houses down, they don’t work. They’ve never worked. They just have children and more children but they’re the ones that all wear designer clothes and manage to go on the holidays and everything else. Whereas we [ASDA staff] have to work really hard.”

Nobody on benefits BUYS designer clothes! If her ‘work shy’ neighbours are wearing designer clothes it’s one of three things. 1) They’re cheap ‘knock offs’ and NOT designer clothes 2) They’ve perhaps shoplifted the clothes 3) They are involved in some other sort of criminal activity.

Anyone who is allegedly claiming benefits, work shy, yet ‘well off’ is most likely involved in criminal activity because I for one have personal experience of living on benefits and you CANNOT afford these things.

Don’t tar us all with the same brush and certainly do NOT delude yourself that our life is in ANY WAY palatial!

Who’d Have Thought Watching Cricket Could Be So Hard.


I really wanted to watch the cricket this summer. I’m not into it much these days, but when the Ashes is on (England v Australia test series) I like to be able to watch.

Last time it was on, four years ago, I got to watch all but one test in Australia, as I was over there while most of the the series was on. The Aussies don’t have to pay anything to watch it, as it’s on Free-To-Air TV (aired on SBS).

I can’t remember what happened with the last test, but my memory is that I was able to watch the days play on TV, not have to resort to waiting for highlights in the evening. So this time I was REALLY peed off when I realised the only way I was going to be able to watch it live was to have Sky.

I couldn’t afford to commit to a 12 month contract to have Sky in the home. The minimum outlay of £35 a month was enough of a put off, but most likely it would cost around £55 a month. Just INSANE! The only other option was to use the Sky Player online. At £34 a month it was a better option. No 12 month contract, so you could use it just for one month, as it would be charged on a month by month basis. From July 1st, Sky had a special where you could have Sky Player half price in July and August. At £17 a month, that sounded a good deal.

Sky Player requires you to run a Microsoft-based Adobe Flash alternative, Silverlight. Things like YouTube and BBC’s iPlayer are flash-based – they work on Linux run machines – Silverlight doesn’t. Silverlight only runs on Windows and Mac based machines.

So, I bit the bullet and singed up. As we had a Mac, threre was a good chance it would work well. And it did. On the Mac it was good. The picture quality was nice and fluid, and there was rarely any interferance or disruption.

I got to watch the first test with a minimum of problems. Come the second test, Friday morning, day two of the second test, we suffered a lightning strike which struck some of our equipment, including the Mac. No cricket watching then.

Before this test started (the third test), we ordered a replacement machine. It’s a killer spec. which has given us a 2.66gh Intel Core 2 Duo CPU and 4GB of DDR2 RAM. But because Sky Player uses Silverlight and there is no version of the that works for Linux (I’ve installed Moonlight – but it DOESN’T work!), we are ruduced to using a version of Windows XP (it would hardly matter if it were Vista OR Windows 7). Sky Player doesn’t work properly on its “native” platform (IE: a Windows machine with Silverlight installed). Sky Player just buffers ALL the time. By comparison, on the Mac it might have buffered maybe three or four times all day. On a Windozes [sic] machine, it can buffer as much as three times in 5 minutes!!

I might have a little leeway and it might not buffer for 10 minutes – but that’s the most it’ll play continusly without trouble. Most of the time I rectifying buffers that happen every 5 mins or so, rendering it almost unwatchable.

Today, in frustration, I’ve given up. I’m just listening to the radio now.

As we came up to August 1st, I said to Em it might be best if we just cancel the Sky Player subscription as I didn’t hold out much hope to be able to watch anything if we were moving away from a Mac. I wish I had now. We might not have been able to as I think the deal with the £17 a month special was to have it for a minimum of two months, but I would have liked to have tried to cancel the account and not waste another £17.

Can I just say, Rupert Murdoch is a count! (take off the “o”)

So thank you Sky, thank you Silverlight, thank you Microsoft, but most of all, thank you lightning strike for making my summer of watching cricket a living nightmare!


Ryanair – Taking The P*ss Out Of Themselves and YOU.

A few weeks back there was news that Ryanair were seriously considering charging passengers for the use of toilet facilities on board their flights. The depth at which Michael O’ Leary (chief executive of Ryanair) trawls to earn his money knows no bounds.

I discussed it with a fellow tweeter and said the headline to the story should be “Michael O’ Leary’s taking the p*ss, and YOU’RE paying for it!”

There was apparently a steady backlash to the idea, with many customers getting in touch with Ryanair to let them know how they felt about it. And as a result, Ryanair have come up with a competition. The best idea submitted for the next “discretionary charge” – as they call it (not flagrant ripping-off of passengers) will win 1000 Euros.

To see the submissions so far, click here. You almost have to admire Ryanairs ability to take the Mickey out of itself if it wasn’t so farcical a notion to have these “discretionary” charges. I like the first one on the list, charging for toilet roll, that has Mr O’ Leary’s face printed on it! Genius! I’d definitely pay to use that. Better still, let’s have the opportunity to actually urinate and defecate directly ON Michael O’ Leary’s face!!!

Ryanair – going that extra mile to make the passengers happy.

What Economic Downturn?

We went shopping yesterday. I was wanting to go to see Australia at the cinema, but the film is SO long, it would’ve depleted any chance to shop. So we just shopped.

I’ve been wanting to get slippers, so went into the cheapy shoe shop and they had some marked down to £2.49. That’ll do me! So I got myself a pair. Em’s been wanting Wellington’s so she could work on the allotment site. The store had wellies, but not in her size. I asked at the counter did they have any in the Em’s size (size 9) and the girl says to me “they start at size 11”. WTF? She went on “unless you want the designer ones like Disney or Spongebob” then I was like – in my head going “Oh, she must have thought I meant kiddies sizes” I said “No, I mean mens sizes” – and she just looked at me and said “Yeah”, then said “Oh, you’ve got two left slippers, hold on” and walked off to get my right slipper. When she came back, she didn’t pick up where she left off, so I’m STILL none the wiser if they were any size 9 mens wellies. I can’t imagine they’d have 8’s and 10’s but no 9’s! It left my rather perplexed. I’m sure she never had a second thought about it. How DO people like that get jobs?

Anyway, on to Debenhams. Where I had two missions. One – to find some nice new towels – hopefully marked down in the sales. Success, yay!! Two lovely Christy towels marked down to half price. I was happy with those. The other was to find a Radley purse. Unlike when we got to the homewears bit and there were towels aplenty to chose from, the Radley purse section had been WIPED OUT! There were like 3 purses left and none of them took my fancy. There were more Foirelli bags than you could shake a stick at by comparison though. All these years being a Foirelli girl, but none of them really took my fancy, and most weren’t even discounted anyway.

So, that’s why I ask, what economic downturn? Certain swathes of Debenhams had been completely wiped out! It was insane!

After that we went to HMV, but no DVD’s took my fancy and not many things were marked down.

Then on to Wilkinsons. Just bit and bobs from there. Restocking of food for the birds and little things like that.

Into WH Smith to find a Playboy alarm clock, but it wasn’t there. Playboy I hear you say? Yes, but not from some weird kinkiness, but because the clock face is meant to have hands that glow in the dark. It’s a long story which I might write about in a future post. Suffice it to say, we lucked out.

Lastly to Maplin’s to get some DVD+R’s. That was it, shopping done. Me with a broken back and aching feet. I SO need to lose weight. Here comes a resolution!

Generalised Update.

No real news to speak of going on. Just spending my mornings and early afternoons on the Internet and my late afternoons and evenings watching TV/DVDs.

Going to go into town tomorrow. Need to deposit a postal order into the bank account. OMG, what a drawn out affair this has been. Right, we sold something on eBay and the man who bought said item wanted to pay for it by postal order. He checked with us that we were okay with that before purchase. We said “fine, no probs”. When purchase went through, we initially requested the postal order be made out in Em’s name as she was the only one with a bank account.

It got a bit lost in translation and the man asked again for payment information (who to make postal order out to, etc). To save confusion, second time round we said my name (the eBay account is in MY name after all). When the postal order arrived we went into to town to cash it at the post office. The lady at the counter said “I can’t cash this for you, it’s been crossed” – which means the postal order has to be deposited into a bank account. FLIP! I don’t have a bank account in my name! And I forgotten all about postal orders being crossed so they can only be deposited in a bank account. I just assumed I’d be able to cash it at a post office.

So we think, quickest solution, we go to the bank and have me signed up as a joint bank account holder. That was September 4th. I got my debit card on Saturday (SEPTEMBER 27TH)!!

In the meantime we’re keeping the buyer informed of what was happening. We keep apologizing profusely, he’s very understanding and feeling sorry for us being without the cash. Finally, after waiting over 2 weeks for the account to be set-up and trying to contact the bank with no luck, we decide to send him back his postal order. We sent it back on Wednesday (Sept. 24th), only for then to have my debit card arrive 3 days later!!! Honestly!

The poor guy has now sent the postal order back to us, so we’re going back into town tomorrow to deposit it. Phew! What a kerfuffle!

Anyway, back to the other stuff occupying my mind. I just finished watching State of Play. A BBC drama that was on about 5 years ago. It was available to watch on DVD. It was VERY good. Really liked it. I’m not normally into political lead dramas but that was good.

I also watched Curse of The Golden Flower, a Zhang Yimou film. I love his stuff. He makes such visually stunning films. This one was a bit of a slow-burner plotwise, but it had a thrilling and brutal end. And OMG the manpower involved in some of the closing scenes. Talk about a crew of extras!!!

DVDs coming up next are Disc 1 of the second series of Doctor Who (DT’s first Who episodes – minus The Christmas Invasion). The first series of Peep Show with David Mitchell and Robert Webb. I never really watched it, so looking forward to catching up with it. The last disc is another Zhang Yimou film.

And I’ve also finally bitten the bullet and getting Medium season 2 on DVD ‘cos it was such a good price and it appears I’ll be waiting a while to get season 2 from the DVD rental store ‘cos they’ve only just made it available and it’s popular.

Anyway, that’s me done for now…all that’s turned out a bit long-winded for a “nothing” post!!

Alien Autopsy and Sci-Fi.

I just watch the DVD of Alien Autopsy, the film with Ant and Dec in it. It wasn’t too bad. Not absolutely “laugh out loud” funny, but good to watch. Liked seeing the story behind it.


There was a repeat of the Quatermass Experiment on BBC Four last night. They seem to be repeating a lot of Mr. T’s acting back catalogue on BBC Four at the moment. I watched it when it was repeated in 2005 (it originally went out live while I was away in Oz in 2005) and it was one of the first things to be on TV when it broke DT would be the next Doctor. I think with it being sci-fi based as well, it generated interest to see how he’d be.


I’ve got other DVD’s to watch. The final parts of the first series of Medium, the first 3 episodes of series 3 of Doctor Who and Blades of Glory, which I’ve been wanting to see for ages.


Coincidentally, the new, 4th series of Medium starts tonight on BBC One. I’ve recorded it as I’d like to try and watch the rest of the other series’ first.


Another thing I’m really anticipating is the (long, long, LONG overdue) return of Ugly Betty!! Yay! I have missed Ugly Betty SSSOOO much! God damn friggin writer’s strike!!!


Had a bit of a financial crisis today. Don’t really want to go into detail, but things will be REALLY tight until the rent is paid this month. Bread and jam for the next 10 days, me thinks! We’ll be okay. Just wasn’t something we really needed to happen right now, but you know how things are.


Don’t You Just LOVE Banks?

I use on-line banking to check my balance, pay bills, etc. We opened a new account recently, and instead of being able to create in account online, we had to call the bank to have the online banking set-up. To sign-in the account requires sort-code, account number, two numbers of a four digit numbered code and then one final question answered. Five questions were asked, and any one of these five could be the one to fill in. ANYWAY, one of the five has never come up until today, and I CANNOT remember what this word is. I could only try to access the account three times until on the third occasion when I got the word wrong AGAIN and was blocked out of the account. We will now have to ring the bank to have the online banking account set back up!!! Friggin’ Mary!!! Momma said there would be days like this…

Vet Dash

OMFG! What a nightmare we ended up having! We were hiring a van today. We had an appointment at 2.30pm to take Chris for a health check at the vets. Em was picking the van up at 1.30pm giving her time to come back and get me and Chris for the vet check. Because of the whole bankruptcy thing we had to change bank accounts. The debit card we have now, the car hire place doesn’t except!
So no van. Em had to get to a phone box – her phone had run out of credit. She called her dad to see if she could borrow his car. YES! But she had to get there on the bus first. The bus left town at 2pm and would get her to her dads about 10 past. Then she’d have to come and get me and Chris. It was tight and I called the vets to let them know that we’d be 10 mins late, praying we’d only actually BE 10 mins late. Phew!
She was given the all clear and the go ahead for pet aid – free vet cover for low income earners.
The second reason for the van was for a visit to ikea for a new sofa. I was SO anticipating going there to get it. We’d planned it for like 4 weeks! And had been needing a new sofa for MONTHS! I was SO disappointed we couldn’t hire the van. What a day!

No DT’s over DT.

I think I’ve already come out of the worst of it. The DT’s for DT have subsided. I still think the man is WELL hot, but just the total irrationally obsessive behaviour has subsided a lot.

Still totally hooked into the theories of how this series of Doctor Who is going to end though. There are so many theories going around. Like (regarding the regeneration) the Doctor will split in two (two Tennant Doctors), a second Doctor played by either Christopher Eccelston (back to 9th Doc) or David Morrissey will happen. Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) is a Time Lord…I could go on and on. It’s a LONG wait til Saturday. Some people are convinced that David Tennant continues to play the Doctor as they’ve seen filming in Cardiff in which he’s involved in. But Em made a very valid point that if you (the BBC production crew) didn’t want leaks, you’d still have DT on set, even if he was no longer involved in the process?

Anyway. there are more pressing things to get on with…like actually becoming bankrupt.

Today is the day, says Em. The procrastinating is over. It’s bankruptcy time!

We’ve got an online grocery shop arriving soon.

And yesterday we actually went out – I mean outside – in the sun! We went into town to pay some bills, get some things, etc. I had to pay our broadband and TV license. I nearly had a heart attack! I had £25 to pay on the broadband and £11.80 to pay on the TV license. I paid the broadband first then handed the assistant the TV license card and said “And can I pay £11.80 on this please”, she said “80 or 18” I said “80” (I thought she was confirming the final figure). Anyway, she swipes the card, puts in the figure then says “That’ll be £118” (which isn’t even 80 and 25 quid together anyway, WTF?). I just stood there dumbfounded. Then she said to be “What did you want to pay on it again, 80 or 18?” I said “£11.80” and she was like “Oh!” and I was thinking “Yeah, give me a friggin heart attack, woman!” Worst of all was when she finally got the figure right and it was time to pay, she had to use a calculator to add 25 and 11.80 together!!!! Lord have mercy!

You have NEVER seen queues as long as we get at the town’s post office. You lose the will to live just LOOKING at it sometimes! Poor Em had to line up so we could put money on our pre-paid credit card and get proof of posting on some DVD’s. It took her 20 minutes to get served.

We bought a pair of shoes each. We have matching shoes! How autistic are we going to look going out together in matching shoes? There were some cheap T’s too, so Em got two of them. We went wild spending a whole £14 on ourselves!

Our mall is SO damn overcrowded. I get agoraphobia just walking around it, it’s so bloody full of people. And there’s never really a time of day when it ISN’T swarming with people.

But, it was nice to get out and actually mingle for a while.

Today is going to be WELL hot. TWENTY SEVEN degrees man!! Woah, has summer returned? And it’s Wimbledom time as well. Unprecedented!

Anyway, I’m off.

Bankruptcy, Hospitals and Christmas.

Where do I start? For starters, Em goes to hospital on Tuesday for surgery. She’ll be there for about 5 days and will need 4-6 weeks recuperation time.

Next. Money woes. We are BEYOND broke. But these days, who isn’t? We’ve seen Citizen’s Advice and they will be helping us negotiate with creditors. We need to change bank accounts and may eventually have someone else operating an account on our behalf. In the New Year we’ll no doubt be officially bankrupt, but bizarrely it’ll probably mean we’ll cope better than we have done in recent years.

The down side is that this year will be an extra lean Xmas. I mean we’ve not been extravagant by any means in recent years. We would just indulge a little on having nicer food (IE: buying from M&S rather than ASDA). But it’s going to be really tight this year so not even nicer food will happen. Keeping a roof over our heads is just a TAD more important!

Despite all this, I feel upbeat. We’re doing stuff to sort out our debt. Em’s surgery will hopefully result in her improved well being. And Xmas is all about being thankful for your lot and (not forgetting) celebrating Christ’s birth.

I know there are people out there still FAR worse off than us. How can I be anything but upbeat about our future?