Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Summer or lack of it.

What the British are good at is discussing the weather. its either "Too hot" "Too Cold" or "Too wet".  Well Summer is what many people are discussing at the moment or lack of it. Definition of Summer is the warmer months between Spring and Autumn defined as June, July and August. This being when the sun (you know that orange glowing thing we should see in the sky) is at its highest in the Northern Hemisphere.

Earlier this year many part of the UK were declared a drought area and no soon after that the rains came, and came and contnued to fall with moderate spells of dryness

There were floods and for a while it was said that it was the wrong type of rain so the drought orders remained  in force.

Summer Fetes and other events were cancelled. Both the East and West Coast Railway lines between England and Scotland were cut of by deep water on the tracks. The image below is the tracks North of Carlisle on 23rd June

But us British werent going to be detered by bad weather and even the Royal Family gave us something to smile and be patriotic about over the first weekend in June. This was when we had the Flotilla of various waterborne Craft on the River Thames.

And not forgetting the Diamond Jubilee Concert outside Buckingham Palace organised in chief by Gary Barlow. That was a sight indeed to behold especially when the darkness came and images were projected across the Palace.

And in less than two weeks time we shall have the start of the Modern Olympics followed by the para-olympics. The Olympic Torch Carriers have shown their own pride and courage as they have carried this light of the world around the UK. Even the British weather hasnt been able to put a damper on that

Despite the worse than normal changeable British weather so much has happened to lift the spirits during these hard times I think. Personally speaking in this Diamond Jubilee year its cetainly one thats going to be remembered by such a lot of people. Whether for the good times as mentioned above or for the other not so good incidences, mentioning a few names that have appeared on our front pages and made the top stories on the TV news, Barclays, HSBC, Natwest (RBS) G4S, HS2  and many others.

Summer aint over yet so as a Monty Python Song once said, "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" ..... Summer Sun is only round the corner we are told.

Have a good one wherever youa re and whatever your up to.

Friday, 17 February 2012

To Tweet or not to Tweet - Is that the question?

To Tweet or not to Tweet - Is that the question? Depends on the context of the question.

I like many people use twitter both for obtaining information and fun. Whether it is a quick quip about where we are heading, getting local transport updates or just generally chatting openly with friends. You could liken it to chatting in the corner shop and yes there are still some left in this country of ours luckily.

The key think is that anyone and everyone no matter age, creed, organisation etc can use the power of twitter to spread news and information and in real time without censorship and just say what we think. Ok sometimes we may say something which can be mis-construed or understood in a different way to what we meant. However we can be on the peripheral of a conversation and not pick all the points up when we ask or respond to something that was said.

Most of you know that many of the public transport companies now use twitter to impart information fast to their customers and anyone who is interested. I like many thousands follow our local rail company twitter http:\\\londonmidland and am a regular traveller on their services.

Last Saturday night I was following their twitter feed as their had been a fatality with someone jumping in front of a Cross Country train to Plymouth which inevitably led to delays and suspension of services on the line. And the Plymouth train passengers being disembarked at Selly Oak to allow the train and driver to be dealt with.

Its a times like this that information is vital to passengers and as ever  London Midland gave relevant info out and answered questions personally aimed at them. The feed was going so fast like Hilda Ogden talked in Coronation street. One passenger asked about the delays and whether they should go to the pub and wait for the line to be re-opened. Sensible question and sensible answer given since it would be an hour or so until line re-opened. At the same time there were a few people who were basically horrible and crude and blaming London Midland for the problem even though it was clear it wasn't if they had bothered to read the other tweets coming through.  But as they were, should I say just ordinary people being a pain in the rear they did have a polite answer and not ignored. One of the twitters said they thought that London Midland and Network Rail should be in a position to stop people jumping in front of trains.

I was somewhat surprised to see the Headlines from the Birmingham Evening Mail (and reproduced by the Telegraph - para by para) later in week criticizing London  Midland about the "go to a pub" message which was taken totally out of context and that Charities such as the excellent "Samaritans" were effectively up in arms over the comments made on the London Midland Twitter feed. 

I'm all for journalists following up stories they see on twitter but in so many cases they don't get all the facts and then they print stories out of context. Or a local person breaks a story on twitter then a few days later it appears in the local paper as their own scoop as if they have actually visited the scene etc. Isn't it time journalists went back to their roots and checked out the full facts first. Then maybe not as they wouldn't have as many stories with sensational headlines

AS to London Midland and the rest of the Train Operating companies using twitter to impart information, carry on being human and personal. Its what the majority of the customers want and look for and it would be a sad world now if it stopped.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Balance the Books

We are constantly being told we have to "Balance the books" I've not managed to do that for years but do my best to spread my money out over the month. I don't get any bail-out if i don't get in right and neither do you dear reader.

Tonight I was watching Central News and the top story was about the Ministry of Defence cutting a further 4,000 jobs and 10% of those was most likely going to be the Gurkha's. Is this a back door way I thought of cutting the costs after the victory by Joanna Lumley and other supporters giving them equal rights. We are told by the current government its to "Balance the books" after the mess left by the previous administration.

Forgive me for being a financial ignoramus if we are to be balancing our books, why is it that we have to have 10 Billion I think it is in reserve in case there are more financial problems with our European partners. This after 20 Billion has already been paid to shore up the European economy if I have read the facts correctly. As I say I'm not a financial whizz-kid, far from it but logic says if you can barely balance your budget and books you don't give a large chunk of your money away, and  not likely to see it again for  a long time when you need that money to safeguard the nation with our existing troops and other important things like Education and health to mention but a few.

Then there is the very slow way we do some things in this country and in this case I mean the controversial HS2 Rail Project and more locally the extension of the Midland Metro. The Victorians with far less technology but far more brawn built Britain's Railways in far less time and for less cost than the equivalent expenditure today. Investment in Britain's Transport infrastructure which is essential in my opinion seems second rate compared with the rest of the world and we have to do it at a larger cost and prolonged time-scale.

The argument always comes back to money and it is an important factor in the equation but until we stop giving money away to help other countries we are never going to help ourselves do what Britain did best in the past,  invent, innovate, motivate and get things moving.

You cant "Balance the Books" unless common sense prevails and will it? I doubt it as long as it seems that the powers that be see us as mugs just like the people who send regular emails telling me I've won a lottery i haven't entered or to help out some sick and helpless person who has money stuck in a foreign bank account they wish to share. Oh ye as long as I given them my bank details and so they can deposit it and if you are daft enough to given them the info anything you do have will be taken before you know it? Oh isnt that what our government are doing, helping themselves to our moneys we pay in taxes etc to Balance the books but never see the benefit?

I'm not for or against any government as whichever one is in we always seem to suffer because of what others have done and don't get me started on the bankers and the energy companies.....

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

2012 already

Well we are now into the year of the Olympics as its 2012 so first of all Happy New Year to you all.

Apologies for the December gap as i had an accident and fractured my Humerus bone in right arm. Now managing with experience to use my left hand more as well as adapt to not being able to use right hand and arm until plaster removed and physio at some pointy soon I hope. The worst thing about the accident is having to sleep upright so that the fracture can use gravity to aide healing. Still I'm a lucky one when i think about all those people in the British Forces out across the world who may not be as lucky when it comes to healing

So whats in store for us this year? Well who knows but its not started off all that well. High winds with gusts up to 100mph in Scotland and 70mph in the Midlands. The inevitable public transport fare rises on buses and trains. Fuel and energy prices still creeping up and supermarkets making we think we are having bargains but the way the manufacturers price and package items mean we don't always see the subtle changes eg same price - less content - same size container.

As i said at the beginning the Olympics will soon be upon us and they say that the UK economy is going to benefit from the millions pounds that will be spent whilst here. Maybe the UK economy will gain in that the government will have not as much debt to cover but if there independent financial advisers say  that this is going to be a tougher year than last year. One thing is for certain there will be less jobs about in the public sector and the private sector will also be feeling the pinch.

I hope the Olympics will at least bring a sort of good feeling boost to all whether you like sport or not and judging by the 2 million people who applied for the opening ceremony its going to bring some enjoyment.

At the beginning of the year many people decide to make a new years resolution - did you? Well if you did, I hope things work out for you. Whatever you wished for yourself for 2012, I wish you all the best for whatever you want in and out of life this year and may all or most of your dreams become reality and that by December 2012 you can say "it was a good year"

I will leave this thought with you "Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent."