WHAT ATTRACTED YOUR ATTENTION TODAY?

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Re: WHAT ATTRACTED YOUR ATTENTION TODAY?

Post by Stanley » 28 Mar 2018, 03:12

The fact that one of the conclusions of the enquiry into the response of the fire and ambulance services at the Manchester Arena bombing is that senior staff prevented them doing their job because of the fear of follow-on explosions or a gunman. Is this being too cautious? Does the fire brigade have to wait until a fire is no longer dangerous before approaching it? Terrifying as it is, danger is part of the job and the personnel accept that.
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Re: WHAT ATTRACTED YOUR ATTENTION TODAY?

Post by Stanley » 29 Mar 2018, 04:09

The Oz contingent start to arrive today for the wedding on Thursday next week. Margaret and family are the first and land in Manchester in about three hours, the others are en route. Very exciting, first time ever that all the family have been together! So pleased I have survived long enough to see it!
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Re: WHAT ATTRACTED YOUR ATTENTION TODAY?

Post by Stanley » 30 Mar 2018, 04:06

Apart from the wedding..... My attention was grabbed by T May jumping the gun and telling us everything in the garden is rosy. In a pg's ear! I have a feeling this will come back to bite her.... It's more about reinforcing her position as PM than a cool assessment of the situation.
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Re: WHAT ATTRACTED YOUR ATTENTION TODAY?

Post by Stanley » 31 Mar 2018, 03:54

My bill for over £500 from British gas to square my accounts. Anyone with a fixed Direct Debit is in the same boat. I wonder if there is a reason why this state of affairs is allowed to arise? It must be an enormous amount across the country as almost all accounts are fixed DDs. If you want to alter it, change it to a variable Direct Debit.....
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Re: WHAT ATTRACTED YOUR ATTENTION TODAY?

Post by Big Kev » 31 Mar 2018, 07:35

Stanley wrote:
31 Mar 2018, 03:54
My bill for over £500 from British gas to square my accounts. Anyone with a fixed Direct Debit is in the same boat. I wonder if there is a reason why this state of affairs is allowed to arise? It must be an enormous amount across the country as almost all accounts are fixed DDs. If you want to alter it, change it to a variable Direct Debit.....
£500 seems a lot to 'square' the accounts. I pay the fixed DD and my account balance fluctuates throughout the year, credit in summer and debit in winter, when the quarterly bill is taken from the account. I've never seen a debit of that much, be interesting to know how they worked that one out.
Looking at what I've used for the last 3 months I will be about £60 in debit (for gas) when the quarterly bill gets taken at the end of April. Electric will be slightly in credit.

Just read your bit in Energy Matters, I can't believe their 'system' would allow the account to accumulate a £500 debit, sounds daft to me.
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Re: WHAT ATTRACTED YOUR ATTENTION TODAY?

Post by Stanley » 31 Mar 2018, 08:02

Quite, that was my reaction but the figures are correct. What bothers me is that I won't be the only one out there. What a lousy way to run a business. All I can imagine is that there was something wrong with the algorithm in the accounting programme. That could be borne out by what triggered this matter, the fact that an 'internal error' meant that my DD had been cancelled. What if the 'error' was the fact that they had allowed me to get so far in debit and needed to force a resolution? We'll never know, they will not own up to it. All I know for a fact is that after I pay that bill on or about 11th April I shall not owe them anything and after that I will be charged monthly for my actual usage.
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Re: WHAT ATTRACTED YOUR ATTENTION TODAY?

Post by chinatyke » 31 Mar 2018, 08:23

Stanley wrote:
31 Mar 2018, 08:02
Quite, that was my reaction but the figures are correct. What bothers me is that I won't be the only one out there.
The DD is based on an estimate of annual consumption so of course it is unlikely to be 100% accurate. When I used this system I was always in credit and that was my personal choice because every year they wanted to reduce my DD payment by the credit amount. Their DD system was deliberately fair to the consumer. I didn't like a debt hanging over me and always chose to continue the same DD payment and retain a credit balance. I liked it that way but it doesn't seem to be the way of the younger people who take advantage of whatever credit they can obtain. So maybe the customers with credit balances and those with debit balances go some way towards cancelling each other? When I sold my house, my credit balance was refunded without any difficulty.

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Re: WHAT ATTRACTED YOUR ATTENTION TODAY?

Post by Tizer » 31 Mar 2018, 10:06

I've just responded to the £500 debt in the Beware the Bankers thread so I'll put this link rather than repeat myself: LINK

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Re: WHAT ATTRACTED YOUR ATTENTION TODAY?

Post by Stanley » 01 Apr 2018, 03:59

Image

This is what grabbed me yesterday. Two of my grandchildren plus Maddie , Harry's partner, in the blue ganzy. All doing high end degrees, Holly and Maddie in medical subjects and Harry in Electrical Engineering and computer science. The other day at Earby, Mick my son in law said to Susan that sitting and listening to them talking , Mo and Jess were there as well, was like listening to University Challenge!
We gassed for about three hours and I tested them all and couldn't fault them. I set them off on several lines of enquiry into areas they were a bit hazy on and they are convinced I know everything and that the sun shines out of my bottom. Harry marked down the books he wants when I die....... I can't tell you what a happy open conversation it was. They will open up on anything including their Mum and Dad, both dead of course and the state of play in various family matters which are bones of contention. I think these kids are OK.
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Re: WHAT ATTRACTED YOUR ATTENTION TODAY?

Post by Tizer » 01 Apr 2018, 09:00

Donald Trump has gone to war! Not against the North Koreans or the Russians or the democrats...but against Amazon! He's accusing them of running the US postal service into the ground by not paying enough for deliveries. The back story is that Amazon boss Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post newspaper which is hammering away at Trump over his links with the Russians. The real reason for Trump's attack on Amazon is probably the one revealed in the last paragraph of the article: "Friends of Mr Trump in the commercial property sector have also been urging him to protect them from digital retail giants as they see shopping malls closing and rents falling, our correspondent adds." (Keep in mind that Trump makes his money out of property.) LINK

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Re: WHAT ATTRACTED YOUR ATTENTION TODAY?

Post by Stanley » 02 Apr 2018, 03:34

He'll lose that one Tiz!
How noisy people are when they're in bulk!
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Re: WHAT ATTRACTED YOUR ATTENTION TODAY?

Post by Stanley » 03 Apr 2018, 04:02

I'm re-reading 'Dresden' By Frederick Taylor and enjoying it even more than my first reading, probably because my background knowledge is better. What struck me yesterday was that Toylor's meticulous descriptions based on personal interviews with all sorts of people including many Jews, plus his general description of life under the Nazis, brings home very forcibly the argument that the closer we are to Europe, the less chance there is of something like this happening again. This leaves aside the cold-blooded preparations for the area bombing of a large city and all that entails. In my book it's a book which flags up some very good reasons why Brexit is such a bad idea.....
Heard on the BBC, a report that French railway workers are initiating a programme of 'rolling strikes'.......
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Re: WHAT ATTRACTED YOUR ATTENTION TODAY?

Post by Big Kev » 03 Apr 2018, 18:23

News reports say it might not have been the Russians. Are we inviting the diplomats back until they establish who it was? :laugh5:
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Re: WHAT ATTRACTED YOUR ATTENTION TODAY?

Post by Stanley » 04 Apr 2018, 03:13

It's WMD all over again Kev. They went well beyond the evidence to wrap themselves in the flag. I do believe I forecast it would backfire on them....
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Re: WHAT ATTRACTED YOUR ATTENTION TODAY?

Post by Stanley » 06 Apr 2018, 06:56

How nice it is to have no current social calendar!

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My Maasai warrior's blanket and drinking horn.
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Re: WHAT ATTRACTED YOUR ATTENTION TODAY?

Post by Tizer » 07 Apr 2018, 10:25

I was worn out but pleasantly surprised by a visit we made yesterday to a carriages and driving centre in Devon. It was organised by a local history group which Mrs Tiz joined recently and she'd twisted my arm to encourage me to attend - anything horsey usually turns me off completely. I had visions of watching horses trotting around in circles! But it turned out to be quite different. We had 3.5 hours of presentation `on the hoof' while touring the museum and workshop for carriage building and restoration. We were at Fenix Carriages & Driving Centre, Higher Hill Farm, Clayhidon, Devon, run by Mark Broadbent and his wife Joanna and our host was Mark, a man who probably knows more about carriages than anyone else in the UK and who also has a very entertaining way of presenting his knowledge and experience. The Fenix web site has photos and some information on the activities but it doesn't do justice to the wonderful work they are doing. To be fair, they hardly need a web site: people interested in carriages will already know about Fenix and anyone who wanted to get involved would soon hear about Mark Broadbent.

He guided us through the museum first, carriage by carriage, describing the history and provenance and the explaining the technical details and differences. Fenix restores old carriages to their original condition, using wherever possible the exact same materials so, not surprisingly, they are very expensive projects. It was impressive to see how little effort it took to push a carriage away from the wall and into the centre of the museum building for closer study - well-oiled wheels! He had us inspect each carriage and compare the differences and pointed out aspects that we wouldn't have realised without being told. Mark enlivened his presentation by telling stories of the people who originally owned these carriages. For example, one carriage had been built for George IV to be used in Ireland to visit his mistress there - it was built for speed and ran on a road that the king had specially constructed in as straight a line as possible from the harbour to the home of the mistress. Mark explained the three main types of carriage: mail coach, road coach and private coach. The mail coaches were driven so hard that all the wood in a coach would have had to be replaced after about 8 years use. It could carry passengers but precedence was always give to the mail - if the coach was late the driver was fined (or worse) regardless of whether or not it was his fault. Horses sometimes died while in use and the driver would commandeer the nearest suitable horse to continue the journey, so mail coaches carried a special harness made from straw that would fit any horse. We also learnt that extra horses were kept at the foot of steep hills to be added in front of the main horses then taken off again at the top. These were known as cock horses and that's the origin of the line `Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross'.

We spent most of our time in the museum but then moved to the workshop to see leaf springs being made, and carriages under construction and being painted. Mark had started restoration on his own and learnt all the necessary trades first rather than buying in items or employing tradesmen. Now he has two men working with him, one metalworking and the other painting. The carriage we saw in the paint shop which was just being finished was fabulous, with gold leaf lining on a deep green enamel (`Fenix Green', specially produced for this carriage to match the original). All the painting is done with brushes and many coats of enamel paint. In another part of the workshop they construct modern carriages for sports use and these are steel and aluminium with coil springs and shock absorbers. A sad note is that Mark finds it very difficult to find young people to continue the work - they are put off by the `dirty' work, don't have the patience needed for fine working and can't cope with being told to do something over again if it's not good enough. But a brighter note is that when the 2007 recession kicked in they didn't lose any trade and demand for their services continues to be strong. Mark and Joanna also do a lot for the disabled and make special carriages that can take wheelchairs; one type is shown on the web site.

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Re: WHAT ATTRACTED YOUR ATTENTION TODAY?

Post by Wendyf » 07 Apr 2018, 10:41

Interesting stuff Tizer. When I lived in Scotland there were a couple of carriage driving trials on our yearly calender of events, one at Drumlanrig Castle and the other at Lowther near Penrith. It is an amazing sport to watch, especially the teams of ponies. We used to see the Duke of Edinburgh regularly with his team of four black Fell ponies. There is so much skill involved, and danger too!

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Re: WHAT ATTRACTED YOUR ATTENTION TODAY?

Post by Stanley » 08 Apr 2018, 02:49

My son in law Mick's brother, Wilf, is into carriage driving and from all accounts is pretty good at it.... (LINK)
When I was researching packhorses and early transport I found that the mail coach horses were not the thoroughbreds I had imagined but were mostly defective in some way, many of them were blind in at least one eye. They bought the cheapest horses possible and worked them to death.
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Re: WHAT ATTRACTED YOUR ATTENTION TODAY?

Post by Tizer » 08 Apr 2018, 08:32

We were stunned by the value of the restored carriages but I suppose it's equivalent to vintage motor cars and the carriages are much older. Mark has people regularly come to him with a photo of an old carriage in bad state of repair and say something like "How much do you think I should bid at auction and what would it cost to restore it". Of course, he can't judge the carriage from a photo and can't tell how much restoration would cost because he doesn't know what bits might be missing. Also, he can't judge what it's worth to the person posing the question. It usually ends up with him saying "If you want me to do the restoration then I'll have a look and give you my view". One man phoned him and said he'd found a rare carriage up for sale in Ireland and wanted Mark to go and look at it. Mark said he couldn't, he was on a job in Scotland. The man said he'd send his helicopter; Mark still said no. In the end the man bought the carriage (all in bits) and asked Mark to restore, who went over and brought the lot back. The man paid £35,000 for it and Mark reckoned he did well, it would have cost him more like £50,000 if it had been for sale in England. Of, course now it's restored it's worth a lot more than 50 grand! The carriages in the museum are mostly owned by customers who allow Mark to maintain and drive them. They're a good investment. Another one in his museum was built for Prince Albert and is very luxurious inside.

Mark encounters many rich and/or well-known folk through his business. In one case, I think it was the Spencer family, he was invited to come and assess the carriages on the estate. He found them bundled off into a shed and in a poor state of repair. He talked to the man in charge of them and pointed out that they were in a poor state and also some of the bits were on the wrong carriages. The man said "I suppose you think you know something about carriages?" to which Mark replied "It's obvious I know a lot more than you do"! He got it all sorted for them. One of the carriages is in his museum and he gets offers for it, especially from Americans who say "Gee, Diana probably rode in that carriage". Mark confided that Diana probably didn't, but she might have played in them as a child. :smile:

Interesting links with language kept occurring. Some of the carriages were known as breaks because they were built specifically for breaking in horses for use with carriages. They were also used for general work about the estate. It makes me wonder if the American `shooting brake' comes originally from this kind of break. Another link is with the phrase `dropping off (to sleep)'. The guard on the back of the mail coach sat out on the top corner with his outside foot in a stirrup. If he went to sleep he'd `drop off' and fall under the wheel.

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Re: WHAT ATTRACTED YOUR ATTENTION TODAY?

Post by Stanley » 09 Apr 2018, 06:35

Lovely stuff Tiz.
You've reminded me of the day when I nearly died of exposure in a snowstorm and was found unconscious in a snowdrift by a lass going for the evening paper for her father, she tripped over me. She went to Black Dyke mill and they sent a rescue party down to recover me and they revived me in the mill ambulance room. (I know, such an interesting life!)
Prior to this happening I had been to the neighbouring farm for help digging the tanker out and I remember that he was a carriage restorer. His buildings were full of old carriages in a state of disrepair.
THIS caught my attention. Apart from the horror of chemical warfare it highlights the chaos of the situation in Syria and the knife edge the world is on at the moment.
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Re: WHAT ATTRACTED YOUR ATTENTION TODAY?

Post by Stanley » 10 Apr 2018, 05:35

The escalation of the chemical attack on Duma. This is getting serious, Trump is waving the big stick. All we can hope for is that whatever is done is limited. Anything broader will involve Iran and Russia..... I think I am justified in being worried.
On a lighter matter.... I got mail from a direct descendant of John Petrie the engine maker in Rochdale asking for information about another of their engines. He'd found my stuff about Whitelees on the site which of course is a Petrie engine...... I have sent him enough to keep him busy for a while!
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Re: WHAT ATTRACTED YOUR ATTENTION TODAY?

Post by Stanley » 10 Apr 2018, 10:34

Later, I remembered something else I wanted to share with you. I'm sure many of you will remember my interest in the way soporifics and opiates were on general sale until the modern legislation came in and the way they were used for 'pacifying' children especially by child-minders.
I've found two more, Batley's Sedative Solution, a mixture of ethyl alcohol and opium powder and Mother Bailey's Quieting Solution which was similar.
Let's not forget our old favourite, Godfrey's Cordial which was a mixture of opium, treacle, water and spices.
If you want more look up my 'Drugged to Death' articles in Stanley's View.....
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Re: WHAT ATTRACTED YOUR ATTENTION TODAY?

Post by Stanley » 11 Apr 2018, 03:00

The fact that my vertical mill in the shed passed all the tests I gave it with flying colours considering it is an El Cheapo Taiwan mill 40 years old and having had a hard life!
The lousy world news we are getting. I am shoving my head in a bucket of sand!
As if things aren't bad enough, I have just turned World Service on and they are talking about the world shortage of water........
Charles Mee started a 'good news paper' in the 1930s, it failed miserably. Perhaps that's part of the problem.
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Re: WHAT ATTRACTED YOUR ATTENTION TODAY?

Post by Stanley » 11 Apr 2018, 08:52

I've just seen a Range Rover in the Pioneer car park with the old black number plates and the number ended in K. How old is that? Whatever, it was the worst rust bucket I have ever seen. I assume it has a test certificate and if so, it's a miracle!
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Re: WHAT ATTRACTED YOUR ATTENTION TODAY?

Post by Big Kev » 11 Apr 2018, 09:12

Stanley wrote:
11 Apr 2018, 08:52
I assume it has a test certificate and if so, it's a miracle!
You can check this online if you have the full reg number check-mot-status
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