Tuesday, 29 March 2011

An exhausting week, to say the least...

It's been one of those weeks from hell, this last week, but at least things get better :-) Pity the roads don't, though...

We were on diversion (yet again) last night, as we have been for a few days now (I managed to avoid the worst of it by being on four days rest from last Thursday *grin*), but it's still going on. Reason? Resurfacing in the Croydon town centre.

Now, while I knew that the resurfacing was on - there are bulletins posted in the 'output', where we log in for duty each shift at the depot - and CentreComm (the TfL Buses control centre in central London) also confirmed this with a radio call to all buses in the area when the diversions kicked in, I'd not seen what they were doing, as we were diverted away from it all; I did know that the diversion added ten to fifteen minutes to the journey, though, and was a right royal pain in the backside!

The following were snapped on the way home, at the Centrale tram stop...

As you can see, the car park underpass is half blocked by trucks and other machinery for the roadworks on the right of the road; in addition, the road to the right, after the 'tunnel', was closed, sending traffic the wrong way up the road to the left; truly a right pig's ear of a mess, and no mistake!

When I arrived on the tram (I have to change trams there, or wouldn't have had a chance to take these later snaps!), they were busy digging an out of service bus (from another company, thankfully!) backwards from where it shouldn't have been going - as I mentioned, we were all on diversion - to go up the hill towards West Croydon; I haven't a clue where the driver thought he was originally heading, as where he'd originally been going was the one way system that they're resurfacing!

Add to the general misery, this truck from Iceland (the store chain, not the country), who obviously hadn't been told that the road that his loading bay was on, was blocked off due to the road works! You can just make out the road works banksman walking away from the truck, having told the driver that he was going to have to break the rules and go up the bus lane, instead of going through the 'tunnel'! I haven't a clue how they restocked the Iceland shop last night, but I dare say they had to get really creative!

Like I said... pity the roads don't get better!

Saturday, 26 March 2011

OK, it's census day tomorow...

So, here's the problem. They say that visitors to any given home must be included if they're staying overnight.

Problem: They don't make it at all clear if they mean over night from Saturday night to Sunday morning, or overnight from Sunday night to Monday morning. I called their 0300 number (a so-called "local rate" call, so expect to be charged for the privilage of asking the government for help), but that was as useful and user-freindly as a hole in the head.

So I tried their website- it took about the same amount of time (five minutes of less than user-freindly searching), but I found the answer.

If you have guests overnight from Sunday night through to Monday morning, they should be included in the visitor section of the questionnaire.

Here's their answer (link to page here):

How many visitors did you include in question H5?

If you have no visitors staying overnight on census day, please submit your online questionnaire, or go to the declaration on the front page of the paper questionnaire.

If you have visitors staying overnight on census night, Sunday 27 March, answer questions V1 to V4 for each visitor.

If you are completing online you will only see the visitor questions if you entered a number in question H5. If you do not have any overnight visitors on 27 March please enter a "0" (zero).  You can change your online answers at any time until you click “Submit”.

The paper questionnaire has space for up to three visitors, but the online questionnaire has space for up to nine. If you have more visitors staying overnight on 27 March than your questionnaire has space for, please request a continuation questionnaire.

So that's all cleared up - hope this helped you too!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Just on the poster alone...

This movie should be well worth watching!

And yes, it had me chuckling for the entire first round of my duty this morning!

Friday, 18 March 2011

OK, and now I'm bleedin' furious.

Our armed forces are stretched to practically breaking point. The RAF can't field enough surveillance aircraft without halting the mothballing of two Nimrod aircraft, the Tornado is expensive and will apparently be obselete in less than a decade, the new Typhoon 2 fighter is already practically obsolete, and way way way to expensive, and the less said about the RNs loss of aircraft carriers the better; further, the Army is due to loose more troops through "redundancy" (as are the other forces, come to that), and now Cameron's sending fighters to Libya?!

We're in a recession. We cannot even afford to sort our own country out; we certainly cannot afford the war that he's currently engaged in in Afghanistan (Don't politicians ever learn? We, and the Russians as well, come to that, got our backsides handed to us before over there, and they're sending our people back to us in body bags for a questionable motive at best - enough already!), and he's sending our boys and girls into ANOTHER harms way?

For pities sake, will these bloody idiots in Parliament NEVER learn?!

I kid you not, next election, if there's a "none of the above" box, I'm ticking it on pure principle.

None of them are trustworthy enough to have a wooden spoon, let alone control of a nuclear-powered country.

I really have had a bellyful of this crap.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Oh, great. This always seems to happen when I'm on leave...

Well, here I am, halfway through my Spring Leave allocation, and I've apparently got Strep Throat. It hit me last Friday, and came on full force on Sunday.

Anyhow, I managed to struggle in to see the doctor on Tuesday (croaking with a really scratchy voice, like a man about ready to expire on the spot), who took one look, tried to look down my throat and failed due to my dry retching and coughing (trust me, he did his best, and then some), and who then prescribed me, on the basis of the "other exhibited symptoms", a massive course of Penicillin (seven days worth, eight tablets a day, that's two tablets four times a day, and they're not exactly small tablets either).

So all my plans to go see the better half have been royally burgered, to say the least. To say that I'm not at all pleased about this is putting it very mildly.

My question, however, is this: Why is it only on blocks of allocated leave that I get these damned bugs? Why can't I get them when I'm actually working?

Life ain't fair, sometimes

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Where have all the manners gone?

So, there I was, on a day off, and out and about. Feeling peckish, I nipped into the McDonalds in Church Street in Croydon, and got queue jumped by some muppit that didn't even look old enough to shave.

So, I pulled him up on it with a "'scuse mate, there's a queue here!" What did I get in reply? A glance over the shoulder in utter contempt, and "Yeah, and I'm in it." he then turned back around. Responding that he was only there because he'd pushed past me, he blathered something almost incomprehensible about going to the toilet.

Well excuse me! I was always brought up and educated to understand that if you left a queue, for whatever reason, you then forfeited your place in that queue, and had to rejoin it at the back.

Of course, trying to get this testosterone-poisoned little punk to accept that was a loosing proposition, at best. What did I get in reply? I got some verbal abuse, the mildest of which was to be told that I was a "fool", and he then turned towards me in an aggressive, slightly crouched pose, as if squaring up for a fight.

Did this adolescent git worry me? Yes, a little. He could have been carrying a knife - you see such reports in the news all the time these days, unfortunately. And a sensible man is always concerned where there's the potential for a sharp object in the hands of an unpredictable twat.

Could I have demolished him? Probably. Age and experience, plus training and technique, beat youth and agility every time, after all.

However, he's a kid (in his mid teens), so if I touched him - whatever the reason, be it self defence or whatever - I was automatically going to be in the wrong in the eyes of the legal system, and the bastard knew it, too. They ALL seem to know just how far they can push, before the system pushes back and bites them somewhere painful. That's GOT to be wrong. They should be in fear of the system, not in contempt of it.

So anyhow, angry, frustrated, and totally disgusted at a society that ALLOWS this chickencrap bastard the ability to show such utter disrespect to adults from mere children, I turned around and walked away. Let's not also forget that he wasn't worth the jail time, or the grief to my family if I had actually followed up his implied challenge demolished the cretinous twit.

But that's not the point though, is it?

Where, I want to know, did we breed this contempt for ones elders - and each other, come to that - in these ignorant bloody-minded idiot thugs we sickeningly call children?

It really sickens me that common DECENCY has apparently been flushed down the toilet.

Anyway, political solutions - and that's what it'll take, I think - aside, the immediate bottom line here is that McDonalds, who entice such candidates for the youth mortuary, have finally lost my business. These amateur thugs frequent places like McDonalds, so from now on, I'll be using Subway outlets instead.

Seems to me that there's a better class of human both working in AND patronising Subway outlets, after all.

Sad, but true.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

More questions than answers...

OK, so Vodafone's back up and running; blurb on the news sites suggets that this was sone by network engineers grabbing what they could from vodafones testing labs and using that kit to rectify what thieves had done overnight. But it still leaves some gaping and stupendously common-sense questions left unanswered...

Here's an excerpt from one of their staff on their customer forums...

Have you experienced anything like this in the past?
Nothing of this nature.

What security measures have you put in place for other similar sites?
All our sites are protected by high level security systems - we're reviewing these with the police in the light of last night's break in.

OK. I can accept that nothing of this nature has hit them before, but given that BT has been experiencing exchange attacks of late, and that there's a burgeoning black market for stolen comms infrastructure kit in eastern Europe, surely this sort of event was on the cards for a mobile network operator?

Further, bugger the high-level security. Unmanned means little or no deterrent. It's a proven fact: Thieves LOVE unmanned targets. So, why did Vodafone NOT have a comprehensive series of security layers in place, INCLUDING human guards?

Simple answer, folks. Look at their profit line. More humans on the payroll - even contractual security - means a lessening of that profit line.

However, here's a thought, folks: If having a human on premises acts as a deterrent to thieves, why did they NOT have them on-site?

Further, having a security guard on-premises during the quiet hours is noted as a handy way to reduce the premiums on insurance for fire coverage purposes (I've been a security guard in my time, so can attest to this too), so there's a double purpose for having human security on-site.

Lastly, and by no means least - there's the terrorist threat to consider. Terrorists will likely target vulnerable infrastructure, such as the mobile network facilities.

So, and again, WHY was there no Human Security present, Vodafone?

Frankly, I think we're looking at their bean counters and the bottom line again, folks, don't you agree?