Tuesday, 11 December 2007

A Broadband Saga - Some of the answers

Hi folks,

As you may have gathered from part one of 'A Broadband Saga' beasts have been afoot chipping away at my sanity.

Suffice it to say that I have a new telephone number and all my troubles have stemmed from that little but not insignificant fact.

Linked here is a letter I have since penned to BT.

A response should be forthcoming and when it is I shall publish that too.

Update 1 - It's good to know I'm not alone :) http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/12/11/ofcom_reports_bt/comments/ in these comments about the original article here.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

A Broadband Saga

How open and reachable is BT Openreach?

Who took the service out of the telephone service?

Why does it take Pipex 5 days to provide a MAC code?

Why should you want to migrate your broadband if it hurts so much?

These and other questions will be answered soon.

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Rail Ticket Pricing

It's that time of year again, when the Government hands over more of our money to Train Operating Companies and the fares still go up.
I don't travel abroad; why would I, I haven't seen all I want to see of this country; and anyway flying is not the greenest way to travel. The result is I have never needed a passport.
Some time after Yuletide I will be traveling to Newcastle to celebrate my son Daniel's birthday.
To travel by train it will cost me about £130 return. By EazyJet it is £55 plus intermediate travel which I estimate at £20 including a baggage allowance and insurance. Add in the cost of a passport, and within a very few trips I will have saved the cost of my passport and be in pocket.
Of course the planet will be in pocket several hundred kilos of CO2 too.
How can it be sustained. In country air travel should be taxed out of existance. Train Operating Companies must be forced into non-profit making status and the revenue from all transport taxation should be ploughed into rail infrastructure. 2 penny worth done.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Wednesdays - Love 'em or Hate 'em

Wednesday is that dreadful day in the calendar of those lucky enough to work in a Monday to Friday job when you reach half way through the week. First thing you still have over half the week to go before a weekend and by 5 o'clock there's only 2 days left and one of those is wonderful out to the pub Friday. So between waking and sleeping your psyche can do the equivalent of an emotional switch back.

This Wednesday is a grey day and from my window on Claverton Down, through a feast of red berries on the tree outside I can see a watery sun struggling to gain access to the planetary surface.

The wind is getting up now and the promise of a days sea fishing off Weymouth this Saturday is receding. I for one do not want to go out in an open boat with a Force 7 Gail blowing. Ah well perhaps another day. It'll be off to Sainsbury's for Mondays fish dinner.

Thanks to all those who have found me here and are actually reading this stuff.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

How safe is the data on us? Prequel

I have a feeling The Register has the origin of this tale of CDs here.

How safe is the data on us?

Well there we go. Advertised and now removed from ebay are a pair of CDs which allegedly contain data from the Child Benefit agency. Although ebay or the seller have removed the item from sale I did manage to print a copy to a .PDF file here.

In this instance its hard to test the truth of the vendors claim. I expect someone in trench coat and trilby hat will be knocking on the vendor's door to do just that.

Be aware all the data about you could be turning up anywhere, anytime.

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Don't you just hate it......

Don't you just hate it when you indicate to a speeding driver that he should slow down and he shows you his middle finger.

Don't you just hate it when you tell someone that spitting on the pavement by the pub table is disgusting and he throws your pint across the road.

Don't you just hate it when the a tosser jumps a red light and ends up parked across the pedestrian crossing.

Don't you just hate it when drivers fail to indicate and then get in a piss because you stepped off the kerb.

Don't you just hate it when the only thing you went to the shop for has sold out.

Don't you just hate it when the baby gulls steal all your gold fish.

Monday, 6 August 2007

A Birthday Treat

It was my birthday on the 15th of last month. I can no longer deny that I am in my mid 50's. 54 to be really honest.
I had a wonderful day. Zena and I and Rhiannon got up at the crash of dawn (0630) ready to catch the first bus to Bristol Temple Meads station. You have to get the bus because there isn't a train to BTM from Bath Spa that early.
So why did we need to be at BTM so early? At 0917 The Torbay Express hauled by King Edward I left with 300+ railway enthusiasts for the run down to Kingswear on the Dart estuary.
A couple of months earlier I had commented that The Torbay Express was running on my birthday and Zena asked if I'd like the trip as a present. I did and there we were.
The weather was grey and damp, but it didn't seem to dampen anyone's spirits as the sheer joy of being steam hauled gave all a wonderful grin.
After a water stop at Taunton the train stormed up Wellington Bank to Whiteball Tunnel and down to Exeter.
A word of advise to anyone who wants to hang out of the carriage window, taking photos of steam hauled trains as the take the curves; get some safety glasses. I ended up with very sore eyes at times. Each time the driver opens the engine up the bed of the fire lifts and shoots tiny pieces of clinker out of the chimney which then fall out of the sky hitting rail enthusiasts in the face at 70 mph.
By the time we got to Kingswear it was very grey and damp but after hanging about for trains to do what the do at the end of the line (running round and shunting) we boarded the ferry for Dartmouth.
Dartmouth is a delightful little place hanging on the edge of the valley leading the Dart out to the sea. We did a circuit of the centre before choosing the Fish and Chip restaurant for lunch. They had Skate on the specials board which I chose and it proved to be perfect. The batter was light and crisp and the flesh just melted. Washed down with a bottled Speckled Hen it was lovely.
All too soon it was time to cross back over the river and board our train home. It was an exiting run back and after taking on water at Exeter we managed to get on to the main line right after a Virgin Voyager which we managed to chase through to Tiverton Junction (Parkway - yuk). Stormed up to Whiteball and were ahead of schedule by the time we reached Taunton. The crew wanted to get back to BTM early so after a few phone calls, Notwork Rail let us out of Taunton early so that we could get to Weston super Mare before the stopping train was due out. The King was wonderful, she must have maxed out across the levels and was in to WsM for 2045 well ahead of the departure time for the stopper. Dropped passenger and left smartish for BTM which we reached in plenty of time to get back to Bath for a last birthday pint in The Trinty.
A wonderful day. Thank you.

This Blogging Thing!!

This extended lapse in concentration has brought one obvious fact into plain sight. The older and more abused ones brain becomes the less effective it proves to be in remembering - anything!!

I should either get into the habit of putting something up every day, however trivial or knock it on the head.

I shall try the former but fear the latter may be the end result.

I guess we'll all just have to watch this space.

Thursday, 31 May 2007

Easter Weekend (Part Tres)

Sunday began gently.

I just made it down in time for breakfast and Zena asked that she might have some tea and toast on a tray that I could take up to her.

Before the person I believe to be Mrs Wrench the proprietress had finished assembling the tray Zena arrived having decided that she would join me for breafast.

After breakfast we returned to our room and packed ready for the next part of our weekend.

The plan was that we should walk down to The Admirals Hard and get the passenger ferry over to Cremyll where my and now our dear friends Josh and Nicky would meet us.

I hadn't got more than 100 yards before I realised that I was no way fit to pull the wayward case all the way to Admirals Hard.

We sat down on a wall, called a taxi and waited for it to arrive.

It was a lovely morning and the views across Plymouth and westward were lovely from outside the back of a large hotel.

The taxi arrived and we were whisked to the Cremyll Ferry in a very short time.

Amasing - there was a ferry waiting - we quickly paid the driver and boarded.

A few minutes later we were sailing across the Cornish Tamar to Cremyll and Mount Edgcumbe House.

Being an hour earlier than we were expected I thought we'd take a detour and have a look at the Orangery Restaurant in the Italian Garden.

It was beautiful and as Zena settled into her chair with a book I made off, camera in hand to gets some snaps of the place.

The amusement was seeing an obsolete Wet Paint sign that had run in the rain.

We had planned to be there for midday and the original idea was to eat at the Edgcumbe Arms but of course being Easter Sunday it was fully booked.

Nicky however had got us a table at the D&C in Millbrook.

We made our way back to the road by the ferry and I called Josh and Nicky who shortly jumped in the car to fetch us.

It was wonderful when it became plain that Zena and Josh knew each other from when they were either side of the bar in the Kings Arms.

The Millbrokers house was as lovely as ever, something quite cosy.

Lunch at the Devon and Cornwall was delicious and such great fun.

The ale was fine the company great.

I'm not sure the waitress knew what to make of us but I don't think we frightened her!!

After lunch we went for a lovely walk to Kingsand and along the beach toward Fort Picklecombe, and returning via the meadow whose name I am unable to recall. We returned up and over the hill back to Millbrook seeing deer and buzzards and other delights of fauna.

I'm sure we went to the Mark for beer later and we may even have eaten but I am struggling to remember after so long.

6/8/07.......all this seems so long ago - I'm not completely sure what happened but I do know that we had a wonderful time with the Mr and Mrs Millbrooker and their friends.

The following day was Monday. Zena and I took ourselves off map in hand up Donkey Lane to Whitsand Bay. We lunched on Burger and Chips down at the foot of the cliff and walked a short way along the beach before tackling the climb back up the cliff. We took the long way back to Milbrook via Cliff Lane and Withnoe Farm.

Again my memory is failing me but I'm certain that a quality pint was consumed at The D&C later.

Tuesday we returned to Bath.

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Easter Weekend (Part Deux)

Saturday was the reason we were in Plymouth.
We were invited to the wedding of friends James and Donna. James and his colleagues at the University of Bath some 8 or ten years ago worked at The Forum and Firkin (now O'Neill's) in Bath. During that time Zena was the cook (and still is) preparing all those meals that so many enjoy with a pint. As well as making sure that 'her children' were fed properly she ended up doing their washing and on at least one occasion even washing a rugby team's kit. Joe the best man may even have managed to illicit a small tear from Zena on mention of the above tale in his speech.
The wedding was held at St. Mary's Church in Plympton in the afternoon and it was wonderful. After the service everyone left for Langdon Court a marvellous establishment nestling in the south Devon hills close to Wembury Head. Sparkling wine flowed and everyone relaxed a little in the afternoon sun. The meal that followed was delicious. I started with a Goats Cheese and Red Onion Tart and Zena had soup, this was followed by Boeuf en Croute with vegetables which were perfect and the dessert was a Cheese Cake with Raspberry Meringue. After the speeches and toasts we all left the dining rooms for coffee and cake. The bar was open and the local ale Dartmoor Best Bitter was great. By 10 o'clock I was weakening so we called a cab and made our way the six miles back to Plymouth. We both went out like a light as soon as our heads hit the pillow.

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Easter Weekend (I)

Wow. What a wonderful weekend we've had.
On Friday we travelled down to Plymouth by train (neither I nor Zena drive). We taxied to The Riviera Guest House (AA ***) in Elliot Street and were met at the door by Lester who kindly carried our monster case all the way to the top of the house where we were to stay for two nights. After a cup of tea and little relaxation we left the Riviera and walked up to The Hoe where Sir Francis Drake allegedly played bowls as the Spanish Armada sailed by. The day was sunny and we walked around the Citadel to The Barbican where we bought Fish and Chips which we ate on the steps leading down to the water at the end of the harbour. After lunch it was off to Bretonside to pick up bus timetables for the evening's expedition over to Keyham to see Lizzie and family; before wandering around the shops in and around Armada Way. There was a 'Continental Market' there selling all sorts of exotic stuff. We settled on a giant frankfurter in a short roll and some delicious potatoes cooked in cream and cheese and onions and garlic. After eating we decided to wait until Lizzie rang rather than going up to Keyham so went back to the Riviera. Later that evening Lizzie called and she came and took us to her house where we had a lovely evening with her family.

Thursday, 5 April 2007

UK Railways? (I)

I have just begun reading Christian Wolmar's book 'On the Wrong Line: How Ideology and Incompetence Wrecked Britain's Railways (Christian Wolmar :: Books) and within just the Introduction a chuckle broke from me - I quote "...providing the world with an object lesson in how not to privatise an industry.".

As I read I'll continue to post the bits that amuse or shock as I go.

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

American Political Satire??

For those readers who didn't believe that Americans could do satire this will amuse.

The Apple iRack

Nice one!!

Boy am I busy this morning :)

Returning the complement

My thanks to The Millbrooker http://themillbrooker.blogspot.com/ for refering to my meagre blog in his substantial journal.

As you can tell from the infrequency of the entries, I am not as verbose as some but then this is early days. Either way there is quite a lot of me and mine on (Obsolete but still redirects http://www.coopers.dsl.pipex.com) Try http://www.coopersnet.co.uk. Edited 200807161245BST

Oh! And trains!!!

For those who are longing to meet the lovely Zena, here she is.

Casablanca - My favourite scene

Saw the film again the other night - annoyed the heck out of Zena by pausing it at the point where Rick (Humphrey Bogart) opens and reads the message delivered by Sam at the station in the rain in Paris.

I just had to copy it down.

I cannot go with you, or ever see you again.
You must not ask why.
Just believe I love you. Go, my darling and God bless you.

Probably the most moving moment in the entire film.

There are some great moments and bits of script on http://crowemovies.tripod.com/casablanca/ which pick up the other 'best bits'.

Monday, 26 February 2007

Southgate and the Demise of Churchill House

Well, well, well!!!

At last the editor of The Bath Chronicle has woken up and seen what is replacing Churchill House. Well done Sam.

I have been aware for a year or more that BANES managed to sneak a nasty amendment to the planning consent for 'The Southgate Project' as a replacement for Churchill House past the electorate in Bath. On the early graphics displayed for many months in the current Southgate Precinct there has been a small but not insignificant round object where Churchill House presently stands.

It has now come to light and public knowledge (not always the same thing) that the planned building to house the offices of First Bus in Bath is an abomination in aluminium, glass and steel.

In concert with First Group, the developers and BANES, a monster is to be perpetrated on the people of and visitors to Bath. First insisted on a size of bus station that has forced the developers to destroy a piece of beautiful example of Art Deco Georgian pastiche complete with interiors. Yet again First are screwing with us and our money for the benefit of their shareholders. This is our city and First are only meant to run bus and train services. They must not be allowed to get away with this arrogance.

This is a World Heritage city next to the site is a proposed World Heritage Site in Brunel's Great Western Railway and our elected representatives want to destroy the context and endanger the proposed status of the GWR.

Well done Sam for coming out.

Thursday, 22 February 2007

A Thought for The Last Day

Fact: The planet Earth, our home, is about 8000 miles wide.
Fact: The useful part of our atmosphere, which we can breathe, fly through and provides our weather and climate is about 8 miles thick.

Take a beach ball of diameter 1 metre and the useful atmosphere is a mere 1 millimetre thick.

Have a look at pictures of the earth from space. http://images.jsc.nasa.gov/search/search.cgi?searchpage=true&selections=AS17&browsepage=Go&hitsperpage=5&pageno=11 or from the moon http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/image_feature_102.html.

Now you know how precarious life on this rock is.


Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Policing the Smoking Ban in public places? Why?

Well here we go. Our dear government has announced that it will provide £30m for local authorities to 'police' the smoking ban in our public places.
My feeling is that following the scottish experience that £30m would be better spent funding the support service for those that are giving up smoking prior to the ban.
After all, the citizens of this country who don't smoke will happily 'police' the ban themselves once the legislation becomes active in July.
Already our local service in Bath is stretched and as was seen in Scotland the number of people giving up smoking will increase toward the dead line.

Wednesday, 24 January 2007

Post Past the First

There is no way that I could be described as quick and as ever I come late to this blogging thing. As a middle aged male I have reached that time when everyone I know knows when I'm 'off on one' and their eyes glaze over. I suspect that the intention is that I should go 'off on one' on the pages with whatever rant I care to chose and do it with inpunity. Watch this space.