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Monthly Archives: December 2011

Bicester Village

You may have heard dreadful traffic reports emanating from your radio for the area around Bicester Village? If you haven’t you might be interested in the reasons and if you heard you’ll have a reasonable handle on what was happening.

Bicester has a population of around 27,000 so it definitely isn’t a village but it does have Bicester Village on its outskirts. To get to Bicester Village you have to travel along the A41 and the traffic was so bad this week people had actually parked, yes you read that right, parked on the sides of the dual carriageway, hence the Police closing the road. Things got so bad that the Bicester Village management people suggested later on the 26th December that no one should attempt to visit until Wednesday 28th December after 5:00 PM.

Bicester Village is an out of town shopping centre, which is in effect outlet shops for the biggest, and most prestigious brands you might consider buying. Most days you’ll find real bargains there and at sale times there are even better savings.

There are large car parks all around it and you don’t have to walk very far at all to get into the mall. You can go by train and they have special buses, which run from central London on an hourly basis. Lot’s of coach trips go there because the tourists want to go there. More nationalities, than you could shake a very big stick indeed at, go there in droves and spend their holiday money on big brand named goods.

For example you could buy a Mulberry bag which originally cost £695 for £345 or a Paul Smith suit for £250, or two pairs of Levis for £70 or a Links of London friendship bracelet for £50 or less. It’s actually a nice experience just visiting as your fellow shoppers are interesting in themselves. It can get a bit hot in summer but of course there’s a Pret (can’t we have a lot more of these in Edinburgh please), and an ice-cream place and some other eateries. You could also pop into Smythsons for a handy wee notebook and say hello to Samcam. Okay it’s pretty unlikely she’ll be in since she provides marketing advice to them at their Head Office no doubt) but she doesn’t live that far away when she isn’t in Downing Street.

So, loads and loads of people plan to be there for the sales starting on 26th December. Those who know what to expect leave early and queue for less time and those who don’t plan get there and spend a lot of time looking at the inside of their cars. Once there are enough cars there’s gridlock. So people pull over and park where they happen to be, namely the A41.

If you are of the persuasion, which considers quality brands as being de rigueur, plan ahead and go visit. You can fly to London on an early flight, grab the bus out to Bicester buy your stuff and get back to the airport for an evening flight. Or make it a two day trip and do Chelsea, Covent Gardens, Libertys and lunch at either Bibendum or The Gallery Restaurant at Fortnum & Masons.

What you save at Bicester Village will go a long way to covering your costs in London. Maybe. Maybe not.

If you are not of the persuasion which considers quality brands as being de rigueur then give it a miss and save yourself a lot of money, stay home and do the stuff that is important to you.

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2011 in General

 

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It’s fraud, it’s fraud, it’s fraud!

FRAUD –

  1. Wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain.
  2. A person or thing intended to deceive others, typically by unjustifiably claiming or being credited with accomplishments or qualities.

Fraud is a pretty serious. We normally hear about fraud when people cheat the benefits system and the court case is featured in the local paper, mainly as a example to others who may do or consider doing the same type of thing. We also hear about fraud when a person embezzles money from their business or from their employers business. A convicted fraudster may find life after conviction difficult to say the least, not to mention the likelihood of a jail term to contend with. So Fraud is viewed seriously in the UK and other countries around the world.

Exhibit A.

If a fraud is obtaining financial or personal gain then consider just one (and there are a large n umber to choose from) of the emails from the Climategate 2 release. A certain Mr Wigley (perhaps this should be Wriggly) sends an email to Phil Jones and Ben Santer, both of whom are major contributors to the IPCC and to the warmist cause in particular. Mr Wigley suggests that by reducing the ocean temperatures by 0.15 of a degree C this will then reduce the land temperatures. This is important because it will reduce the temperatures in the 1940s making the higher temperatures in the 1990s look more extreme. (Drop by here for more info).

Is this a fraud? Look carefully at the wording. It’s data manipulation to meet a predetermined end result? Does this meet the definition of fraud? Yes.

Exhibit B.

What would be the situation if a newspaper was publishing articles which are not true. By not true I mean they have presented information, which is clearly incorrect and can be verified as such.

Our good friends at The Guardian (the newspaper that claimed NoTW reporters were deleting emails from Millie Dowlers mobile phone message box which subsequently turned out to be untrue according to the Police) have claimed that global warming of the warmist kind could dramatically increase severe weather events.

Evidence is available which clearly and accurately show this to be complete nonsense. Steven Goddard debunks this succinctly here.

The main point is that these people have been doing things like these and worse in order to maintain the myth and scam that global warming is. They have also gained through this as they continue to be awarded grants, which pay their salaries. Some have also gained further as they have been recognised by there peers and won awards.

Now comes the interesting part. Warmist scientists have made claims that “deniers” should be prosecuted for daring to question the science behind the warmist claims. They feel this reduces the response which is required to mitigate the dangers the world faces due to climate warming/change.

A large section of the MSM have also been involved in reporting propaganda which has provided the lifeblood for this scam. The warmists methods have been exposed by good quality research which has been peer reviewed. The Climategate emails distribution and, the lowest blow of all, the climate not behaving as they predicted and not being able to model the past, really expose them as “having no clothes”. Not a pretty sight.

The fraud is wide spread and has been incredibly damaging to millions of people. Is it not time that some of these scientists and journalists are arrested and put on trial? It may be the case that their crimes are of a nature, which would require a trial in The Hague.

It’s easy for big government, who use the warmist cause for their own ends, to turn a blind eye on these huge deceptions whilst targeting small people (as they see it) and making sure they fell the full force of the law.

How long before someone is brought to trail somewhere in the world for global warming exaggeration crimes and bringing science into disrepute?

Let’s not hold our breath whilst we wait meantime.

 

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Just ordinary men.

They were just ordinary men with ordinary backgrounds. They stood and chatted with each other, comparing notes about family and friends, showing photographs of loved ones and sharing food, drink and cigarettes. Only a few hours earlier they had been shooting at each other on a battlefield and only a few hours later they would recommence on the ground they were standing on and kill those same men just like themselves with the same hopes and ambitions.

The 1914 Christmas truce is a well-known occurrence early in the First World War, the war to end all wars or the Great War. In Late December the soldiers and officers of the British Army were disappointed that they were still in France. The popular scenario bandied about was that it would all be over before Christmas. It wasn’t and they weren’t.

At that moment the British Army was made up of full-time professional soldiers whereas the German Army were mainly conscripts. The trench system was still in its infancy but still men were being killed at levels, which can only be described as criminal and would of course later become wholesale slaughter.

The accounts of the truce here, here and here tell it better and provide more detail than I can.

“We don’t want to fight on this day or any other” is a quote from a German soldier during the truce, it kind of sums up all wars past, present and future. Ordinary men and women who don’t want to fight and military and political leaders who don’t see themselves as ordinary and who want OTHERs to fight on their behalf for aims which are at best dubious and at best ill considered and meaningless.

At this time of year we’ve enjoyed Christmas and the Christmas spirit bringing cheer to all men. We have New Year to come when we regard the year we’ve survived and look forward with optimism to the year ahead. We take time out to remember those who are no longer with us and to hope that those less fortunate than ourselves find life easier in 2012.

We all should be actively pursuing good works, which give our lives more value and meaning. There are those who will do no such thing and will selfishly pursue their own agenda.

Next year we shall be a year closer to inevitable power cuts forced on us by warmist, meaningless dogma. We will also be paying more for energy; we will perhaps be coming to terms with the break up of the Euro Zone and perhaps even the EU itself. We will be a year nearer a Scottish Independence referendum. Most importantly we will be a year older and where will the value of that year have been demonstrated?

Answers on a a postcard to…

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2011 in Politics

 

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Dr Who at Christmas.

There are some TV programmes that end up with a sort of “National Treasure” status. Some even take on cult status. “The Good Life, Monty Python, Blue Peter, Coronation Street, The Office, The Royle Family, Morecambe and Wise, Only Fools and Horses, Dr Who etc. etc.

Why do they become so popular? They can be funny, serious, weird, educational or anything else for that matter. There is no recipe, if there was there would be loads and loads of popular programmes with millions of people watching them. Maybe they just appear at the right time? Maybe there are based on something which is happening in the background of the real world or maybe the talents of the people involved come together in a special way.

Dr Who is just such a programme.  It’s not every ones cup of tea which is just fine really. Dr Who is higher on the scale because it was brought back after having reached a point where it had become a parody of it’s self. Back it came though, pushed through by people who had watched it in its hay day and liked Dr Who at it’s best, they were Dr Who enthusiasts.  It’s worked out pretty well although it’s changed again recently with plots becoming very convoluted, very convoluted indeed.

Not to worry though because this years Christmas episode was billed as being the best Christmas Dr Who “eva”! All I can say if that was the best, the rest much have been woeful, although this isn’t the case since I’ve seen the others and they were so much better than this one that you couldn’t compare them.

Let me explain. This years Christmas special was set during the Second World War. Dr Who ends up helping a Mother of two children go off on a break after which the said Mother has then to tell the two children that their father has been killed in action whilst flying a Lancaster bomber.

Since the Mother helped Dr Who previously, he has augmented the place they are staying so it’s pretty whoosh, bang, oooh etc. A big Christmas present is sitting in the lounge and no one has to open it. Young child, a boy does just that and ends up wandering about a parallel world, which looks like a snowy pine forest.

Anyway the trees are alive or they have a life source within them. Nasty people come in a big walking robot ship thing. They are very bad because the forest is going to be reduced to a pulp by an acid rain storm created by the bosses of bad people in robot. The Mother of the boy ends up inside robot with the crew. She overcomes the crew because the female crewmember won’t treat her as a prisoner and uses a space version of political rhetoric to talk the other two male members of the crew into to giving up their weapons. She also  has a revolver in her pocket just to make sure that the rhetoric is backed up.

The Mother eventually gets to a sort of giant lighthouse with a gianter golf ball at the top. A tree king and queen have captured the boy and the life forms within the trees, which look like sparkling stars, have made their way to the lighthouse too. Dr Who is there also. The King and Queen turn the boy into a storage receptacle for the “stars” but he is too weak. No problem Dr Who will do it but he can’t because he too is weak. The Mother can do it then because she is strong. She is strong because she is a “mother” She does. The stars go into space and hubby makes it out alive by following giant lighthouse to holiday spot, landing it on a lawn that you’d struggle to land a decent sized remote control plane.

Dr Who goes back to London to visit with tall Scottish girl assistant although they have fallen out. She has s et a place at the table for him just is case he visits. Dr Who cries.

Roll credits.

What a complete load of left wing, feminist, environmentalist guff. Of course it wasn’t a rip of avatar either. Dr Who crying? Just don’t go there.

If this is what the best that the Dr Who team can do then it’s all over including the shouting for the programme again. The scenery might not be wobbly now but the plots certainly are.

If every programme made buy the BBC is becoming a vehicle for activism of some sort then it re-enforces the need for the license to be scrapped and/or something more drastic to reel in the BBC.

Later tonight they will bask in their glory, which will be a costume drama of Great Expectations. They’ve done it before, more than once. I wonder how they’ll build in activism?

I’ll let you know.

 

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Merry Christmas

I’d like to thank Subrosa, Autonomous Mind and Mrs TT for the help, support and encouragement over the past six months.

I should also thank the politicians and warmists who have also contributed by providing amazing and incredible nonsense on which I have commented on.

Thanks to all the constant readers who have grown in number.

I hope you have a lovely Christmas day and that Santa is good to you.

TT

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2011 in General, Uncategorized

 

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Dear Santa…

This post was originally published on the Subrosa blog and is republished here with permission.

Dear Santa,

Hello Santa. It’s been a few years since I last corresponded with you. I say corresponded although in reality it was all one-way traffic. I wrote and asked and you delivered, up to a point anyway.

I enjoyed the red and yellow fixed wheel Triang tricycle with the solid tyres you brought for my 4th Xmas. I was also particularly keen on the huge crane for my 7th, the gun that shot round corners for my 8th and Tommy Gun (down market version of Action Man) although his orange facial colouring may well have been ahead of it’s time.

There were many other presents, which I also enjoyed. The pretend shop with it’s own wee till and the pretend post office with it’s stamper could be enjoyed for hours at a time. Meccano and Lego were equally splendid as was plasticine. Spirograph had it’s moments along colouring in books, sticker book rub on transfer book thingies, painting by numbers and plastic moulds for making plaster of paris figures could also be entertaining but probably only the once. Other oddities, included bagatelle, home knitted jumpers or socks or gloves, pyjamas, slippers etc. didn’t quite hit the spot.

The Broons, Oor Wullie, The Beano, The Dandy, The Victor and The Rothmans Football Year Book were all very acceptable for reading material. And the copious amounts of chocolate from selection boxes

All in all Xmas presents where pretty damn fine. Well done you Santa.

In later years things became a tad more sophisticated. My Timex watch, which showed numbers rather than having hands and a face, was a wow moment. I didn’t realise that buses didn’t run exactly to the timetable until I had that watch. There was also a pen, which could produce about ten colours of ink although it was fairly bulky. A full size drawing board complete with set square, those clear plastic triangles and a proper compass and dividers was used for years.

Music albums, cassettes CDs, music players of varying sizes and sound quality, cameras of varying size and quality although it was rare that the films were ever developed because it wasn’t cheap.

Yes Santa you did me proud.

I’m offering a deal here. I’ll not write to you again, ever, if you deliver the following requests? I’m sure this would save you and the elves time since it would reduce the metal bashing, wood turning and electronic soldering which modern day elves have to be experts on.

My list this year is –

  1. Reduce the size of the BBC as suggested by Peter Jay.
  2. Make the Guardian cease to exist or have it move right by a few degrees.
  3. Shut the IPCC down.
  4. Begin criminal prosecutions against all those scientists, journalists, politicians and general gobby warmists who have been responsible for presenting information in a misleading and biased form, which have resulted in policy development detrimental to the wider population.
  5. Disband the EU instantly.

I have many other similar requests Santa but I think these five should “hit the spot as it were”.

I shall ensure that a drink, a cake and a carrot or two are left out for you and the reindeers when you make good the delivery of the aforementioned items.

All that is left to say is “have a restful time following your busy evening on the 25th. I hope your New Year is jolly good and all the better for knowing you will have one less delivery to make from now on.

Bah humbug!

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2011 in General, Politics

 

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Christmas decorations

In the loft, usually, lurks at least one box, which holds the Christmas decorations. The likelihood is that people have them for years and add and subtract from the “core” as fashions, décor or personal taste changes.

Question, is your tree real or artificial? Real can be pretty splendid but there is the question of dropped needles. Yes, I know things have improved and it’s less of an issue now than it used to be. I am still psychologically scarred from an experience I had a few years ago with a very large real tree.

I may have slightly under-estimated the size of the purchased tree. Si I had to cut a few inches off the bottom and another 18“ of the top bit which was spindly anyway. This allowed the tree to stand in the hall. It was duly decorated and looked pretty much okay although there was a growing odour, which wasn’t entirely pleasant emanating from the tree, which got worse as the days passed.

The day of the tree being “taken down” arrived and the decorations and lights were removed from the tree. I’d been giving the final tree removing some thought and had acquired a large sheet of polythene on which the tree would be placed gently, before being wrapped up and then dragged through the nearby outside door. And yes I was naïve enough to actual think I could achieve this.

Getting the tree down went pretty well. Huge amounts of needles fell off but were contained by the polythene. One nil to me. I wrapped the polythene around the tree as best as I could and used that vey sticky packing tape to secure it. Two nil to me. I then gripped the trunk tightly and started to drag it toward and out of the door. Three nil to me.

Of course the tree had a diameter wider than the door aperture so it was a squeeze, which meant I had to pull a bit harder. I was now in full “Dad has this under control” mode. And then… well the polythene got snagged and a tug was required. Cue major unravelling of polythene and enormous explosion of needles. Three one to me. Much hoovering. Three two to me. Much sweeping up outside. Three all. I hoped it would end there but no. Much, much, much additional hoovering over the next few days including most rooms in the house. Five three to tree. As you will know it takes months to get rid of the last of the needles.

It looked damn fine when it was dressed, possibly less so after denuding had taken place.

It’ll be an artificial tree then.

I’ve actually arrived at a simpler way to deal with Christmas decorations. Put a small amount up late and take them down early.

My parents house had those paper garland things in primary colours. They went from the room corners at ceiling level into the ceiling centre light. A ball made of paper hung from the light. Christmas cards hanging from strings on every wall. Every picture had a bit of tinsel on it. The lights, on the very bare looking artificial tree, were huge. Again primary colours. If one bulb blew the rest went off.  It was a question of trying every single bulb until you found the one that was blown, replacing it and things were good to go again. The tree also had chocolate fondant shapes hanging on some branches. The same ones were wheeled out year after year. I coveted them. They had that white sugary filling which was confirmed when they sometime broke. And of course the base of the tree was covered in cotton wool. So that covers electrocution, food poisoning and fire hazards.

The décor would also be supplemented by the stuff my sister and me made at school. Plaster of paris filled Dairy Lee triangles box lid with a candle stuck in the middle and glittery stuff sprinkled liberally all over it.

I don’t do that sort of stuff now you’ll be surprised to know.

Bah humbug.

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2011 in General

 

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The spirit of Christmas.

Previously this week I’ve written about Christmas parties, Christmas shopping and a Christmas film. The spirit of Christmas is, of course, supposed to be the moral and ethical side of things, the side that deals in generosity, selflessness and respect for others.

The case of the young chap who had too many shandies and boarded a train without the correct ticket or no ticket at all probably falls into this area of Christmas cheer.

The famous phone video shows what happened although there is also a CCTV version, which allegedly shows the young chap being a bit more “boisterous” shall we say? The current bottom line of this saga is that the “big guy” who tackled him has been charged with assault, the train guard has been suspended and the “big guy is also in danger of facing disciplinary action for bringing his employer into disrepute. Nice.

How very 2011. The moral minority (MM) are up in arms because a young chap was manhandled and abused by the “big guy”. Something must be done. Outraged and, the favourite, favourite word of the MM, “offended”. Off with his head! Throw away the key. Not for the young drunk guy of course. No, no, no, no, no. This is for the “big guy”.

The young guy was in the wrong. Okay most people get it wrong once in a while but aren’t we all tired of people doing something idiotic and then wasting our time or costing us money? “Big guy” may have been over zealous. The guard didn’t use the training he had, had to deal with such incidents. And?

Enter Christmas spirit. Young guy apologises for being an idiot and asks the police to drop all charges. He asks Scotrail to immediately reinstate the guard and he also asks “Big Guys” employers to drop the disrepute nonsense.

The Police could have a quiet chat with “Big Guy” without recourse to the courts. They could hold a discussion with the young chap and point out the error of his ways.

Scotrail could shoot another video covering the number of these fare infringements and the loss this represents to them and subsequently their customers who end up paying more because of it. They could also provide examples of how that lost revenue could be spent on improving services to their customers.

Let’s hope common sense prevails.

Now here is another example of the further need to see a valuable demonstration of the “Christmas Spirit”.

Edinburgh Council. You remember them? Well they’ve really played a blinder this time. Cuts are to be made to save £5.5 million. Now I ask you to remember that specific amount. 35.5 Million.

The £5.5 million (as reported by Michael Blackley the City Council Reporter for the Evening News in the December 22 2011 edition) will be saved by –

Introducing a £10 charge for people who need permits so they can have delivery or removal vehicles parked at their property.

That’s not a saving that’s an increased charge on residents.

£10.000 reduction in rate charge for Gracemount Youth and Community Centre.

That’s not a cut to services that’s a cut in rates!

3% cut to Children and  families department supplies and services budget.

That’s a cut. But is it a cut which will reduce costs by a few thousand, tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands or even more? Unlikely to be really significant although worthwhile perhaps?

3% rise in fees and charges within the services of the Communities Department.

That’s not a saving that’s another increase in cost to the residents.

Saving £112,000 by not producing the A-Z of council services booklet for resident.

That is a saving, but why spend that amount of money on a booklet in the first place?

£35,000 funding cut to Sestran.

That’s a cut but very small.

£100,000 cut in payments made to NHS Lothian for them providing beds to vulnerable people who will be kept at home instead.

That’s a cut, on the handling of vulnerable people. It is to be hoped that this does not result in a negative outcome.

So it’s cut here and there but mainly increase costs for the residents.

But there is a further twist. Another adjoining article states the following. The refuse collection industrial action, which dragged on for almost three years and only ended because of the threat of privatisation cost the council £5.5 Million.

Enter Christmas spirit.

No additional charges for residents will be levied.

The privatisation of the refuse services will proceed as per the report by the Council Officers and audited and assured by the accountancy firm brought in.

An enquiry will be carried out immediately, by an external body, to discover how £5.5 million could have been lost during the industrial action, how no action was taken to reduce the on going costs and the dispute was not ended quickly in the residents favour. Heads should roll where incompetence, and the sum of money involved suggests significant incompetence, is evident.

Real cost reductions across all council activities and services should be pursued regardless of outcome and should not be manipulated for political reasons.

A strange way to define the Christmas spirit?

The council and councillors have suffered reputational damage, which has been serious enough to reduce the confidence of residents to a point where it is becoming impossible to believe anything, which the council now says.

Drastic action to address this is required very much sooner than later.

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2011 in General, Politics

 

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Christmas present(s).

Carrying on with the Christmas theme then…

What Christmas present do you buy for the person who has everything? What do you buy for your parents? What do you buy for anyone?

Is it the case that we buy the presents we’d like for ourselves and give them to others?

I don’t know.

In another Christmas blog post I did a few days ago, one of the comments suggested that I was focusing on the commercial side of Christmas since I was talking about Santa delivered presents over the years. Christmas never used to be commercial but it is now. Okay, we can choose how commercial we want it to be and the costs which have, especially at the moment, got out of hand.

You’ll be familiar with Martin Lewis of Moneysavingexpert.com fame? I heard him on the radio a couple of years ago talking about how much money is spent at Christmas. He was pushing the idea that it’s out of control, it encourages people to spend money they haven’t got and there’s too much pressure to conform.

All of that is of course true and my Scrooge side is well onside with that.

But there’s pester power and social pressures to overcome. You end up in a complicated negotiation during which very few words are spoken and which is rarely carried out face to face. It’s like Christmas cards. You send them to people and they send you one back and vice versa. If someone doesn’t send you a card you don’t send him or her one the next year. Then they do and it comes in too late for you to send one to them. Next year you send them a card and they don’t send one to you so you don’t send on next year and they do and so it goes on.

The reality is you may want to show how fond, or grateful you are or acknowledge someone by buying them a gift which you hope will “wow” them. On occasions you do but for the most part you fall short of the mark for them. Try harder next year? If only.

You also end up in the value game. I’ll spend £20 on them. What can I get them? They have everything. I’ll get them a £20.00 Amazon voucher then. You give them a card with the voucher details inside. Done deal. They give you a card too. You open it and it’s a voucher for £20 from Amazon. Doh!

Some people say “don’t give me anything”. Then you don’t and they’re maybe a wee bit miffed. It’s a minefield I tell you.

What’s the best gift you have ever given? The one that lights up someone’s face when they open it. How often does that happen?

There’s also the bonanza on EBay and Gum tree post Christmas. There are a lot of items up for sale in early January, which are “unwanted gifts”. They may be unwanted by someone but to someone else they are just what they wanted and a lot cheaper than it would have been to buy in a shop. Good deal really for everyone part from the person that bought it originally.

Maybe there should be some sort of giant gift exchange sort of like Swap Shop but without the loud sweaters and beards? Maybe there are gifts out there, which have been circulating like years. There’s probably a complicated mathematical equation, which dictates how long it would take for your unwanted gift, which you sold on eBay to come back to you and the number of steps required also.

Christmas is just one day. The vast majority of people are giving all year round. They give of their time, financially, supportively and in an encouraging manner. Christmas cheapens this somehow. It’s a pity but there it is.

Perhaps we should go back to the 50s early 60s. New Year was the thing in Scotland. It was the only time of the year you’d see men carrying message bags. They only did this because it had their bottle of whisky, cans of export, something for the ladies and fizzy pop for the weans/bairns inside.

They say that Ibiza is the party capital of the world. Strike that. Scotland was the real party capital of the world. Non of that fakey Princes Street stuff either, oh no! New Year lasted from Hogmanay until the day before you went back to work/school etc. although at times it might also continue the following weekend. Once you are in party mode you need to make the most of it apparently.

Home made soup, steak pie, tatties and veg followed by cloutie dumpling. Wholesome food designed to sustain you through the partying season. Rooms full to bursting point with people you almost all knew. You know the scenario: a roaring coal fire, water running down the inside of the windows, weans/bairns playing games, people singing, dancing, chatting, laughing and generally being jolly, music blaring.

Those days are past now and in the past they shall remain.

Onwards and upwards.

 

Bah humbug!

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2011 in General

 

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Christmas shopping.

Isn’t Christmas shopping a joy? Of course it is. You’ve already spent lots of time researching the best place to buy the things your friends families and sundry associates have either indicated they’d like or have provided a written document detailing their exact requirements. Oh the joy which is the spirit of Christmas.

Soon it’s time for you to sally forth and purchase said items within a time period which is acceptable to you and your shopping partner/Santa’s little helper/donkey – delete as applicable.

Let us take a small step back however and consider some of the other options available.

Option 1.

Have all your Christmas presents bought before the end of October.

People who do this tend to be no strangers to OCD, they do not step on cracks and if you share the same living space with one of them your main course plate will be washed, dried and put back in the cupboard before you’ve wiped your mouth with your napkin which will also illicit a slight scream, sine the napkin will now need washed, from the person previously mentioned in the same sentence as OCD.

This Christmas present buying strategy is not an option unless you also are leaning towards OCD.

Option 2.

This can be carried out in the comfort of your favourite armchair. The Internet has become a useful tool in sourcing and procuring goods and services at a price point, which suits your particular wallet. Whilst this is possibly a good solution you may remember last Christmas (not the version by our good friend and jaunty chum George Michael, however).

Last Christmas was subject to copious amounts of snow for some weeks prior to present opening. Vis-à-vis Internet purchases requires a wee man in a very large van bringing them to your door and you signing digitally in acceptance of said goods.

Copious amounts of snow reduce the integrity, of wee man in a very large van, delivery possibilities. Not only will said parcel not appear, it will be stored safely and securely at a central location until such times as snow has gone down the drain. The resulting backlog pays no heed to Christmas deadlines resulting in Christmas going down the drain for those who were relying on next day deliveries.

Other issues include being broken, disappearing or the goods being not as were intended i.e. guff which has no resemblance to the photie on the website.

Option 3.

Make the presents for people yourself. This is a one-way ticket to social exclusion. To most people this is enough to reduce the probability of making presents to a very high odds point. However, if you are of the persuasion that penny pinching is an exiting and rewarding activity you will risk all on the basis that social exclusion will reduce your out goings regardless. Result!

Okay, so it’s December and you’re off to the shops to buy the stuff you want.  Unless you live close enough to walk to the shops you will have to bus it, taxi it or drive it

The trip back on the bus will convince you that public transport has become a social experiment. All extremes of humanity and some gems from the animal kingdom will be aboard the bus best routed to get you home. You will neither have the patience nor the psychological profile required to deal with such a journey. Cease and desist should be your watchwords when contemplating bus travel in December and certain other times of the year.

A taxi then, your private means of door-to-door transportation. Sit back and enjoy a comfortable personal experience in silence. Your driver may well have other ideas. He will regale you with tales of traffic mayhem, tram-building flaws, and weather reports whilst driving down the bus lane at a speed that is not conducive to stately progress.

Your driver will also interrogate you on your purchases: what they are, where you bought them and how much they cost. He will offer advice on where you may have gone wrong, why you have paid well over the odds and how he could introduce you to one of his “mates” who can get you this sort of “gear” at a fraction of the cost. Following this advice may provide you with a further experience, that of eating porridge on Christmas morning in the “pokey”.

So you’re left with driving and parking. This is really a two-person job. One to drive and drop you off and keep circling the one-way system until you have secured your purchases You, as lead participant, will be running from shop to shop and meeting up with car and driver at the pavement occasionally so you can load the purchases made so far, into the boot or the back of said vehicle or roof box if the number of presents you need are huge.

The alternative is to park. To achieve this you need a space to actually park in and a significant loan from the IMF with security from the World Bank to pay for this rarest of species the empty parking space. It is a well know scientific fact that an empty parking space in December is easier to spot than one of those Higgs boson particles in the Hadron Collider.

Your bank account has been assaulted by a number of vendors of the finest goods suitable for being Christmas presents. It is then further assaulted by parking charges and the costs of coffees and a slice or three of expensive cakes.

Your carefully prepared list will begin to take on a similarity to a fantasy fiction novel as the goods you had intended buying are either no longer available, have rocketed up in price or are only available as tawdry returned items.

Take my advice. Cease and desist. Give cash instead. Save the travel money for buying Gin and such like. Relax on your bottom in your own home.

Bah humbug!

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2011 in General

 

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