Tag Archives: internet

An Hour Later

It all seems to have gone OK. We have three green lights on the box which is now attached to the wall and a green light on the new router. So far I haven’t gone as far as to disconnect the old router, so this is still brought to you by old-fashioned technology and copper wires. IF you are confused, you may need this to catch up.

We now also have a black wire trailing down the front of the house at a slight but irritating angle. There are technical reasons for this. Light, it seems, is not good at going round corners  (one way in which the new system is already inferior to the old one). The old one, where electricity WAS able to travel round corners in copper wires, could be tucked discreetly out of sight and fixed to the black beams of our mock-Tudor semi. The new one, where the cable has to avoid corners, has to run directly across a white portion of the frontage.

To be fair the annoying deviation from perpendicular is not due to technology. That is due to the engineer being unable to run a cable in a straight line.

Hobbit Stamp

In a moment I am going to try to link to the new router. IF you don’t hear from me for several days don’t worry, it will just be the mismatch of 21st Century tech and 1950s brains.

It seems that the change to fibre optics is driven by government rather than the phone companies. They want to get everyone connected, even people in the countryside, and they need a fibre optic system to do this. Clearly they have plans to roll out cyber doctors, work and tax collection by fibre optic, which will save a lot of money. And once we are all vulnerable to hackers in everything we do, we will look back on the days of the Great Postal Stoppage with nostalgia.

Oh yes, a brave new world awaits

Talking of which, Royal mail is now delivering overseas mail. However, the catch is that they are just delivering parcels they already have in hand. You still can’t post new parcels, and our backlog is building . . .

Mallard stamp


Ten Minutes

I about ten minutes (see what I did with the title?) I will be losing my internet connection as an engineer arrives to “improve” the service I will receive from BT. I have pointed out that I am perfectly satisfied with the service, but consider the price to be ridiculous. Their answer is to put me on fibre broadband and charge me less. This seems illogical when all they needed to do was to reduce the price to reflect the fact they have done very little to improve the service in the last 20 years. All they have done in that time is to provide an expensive new router to restore the service to the levels it used to be. This is not, as they claim, about progress, it is about built in obsolescence.

First we had internet, then we had broadband and now we have fibre optic broadband. That is, of course, the advantage of living in town. In the country I believe many people still struggle with speed and reliability.

We will soon see if it is an improvement or a nightmare.

Meanwhile, let us all think of Dyson’s contribution to modern life. Dyson’s main invention is not, as many think, a slickly advertised, powerful and heavy vacuum cleaner, but the concept of filters which need to be replaced (as in purchased) on a regular basis. In the old days when one Hoover bag could last a lifetime manufacturers of vacuum cleaners had to rely on selling new equipment to make money, and as they used to build them to last they didn’t sell much.

That’s the way to riches in 21st Century – design something a little worse, which needs a little more maintenance.  Then you can use your money to buy up farmland and talk about responsible farming whilst creating tons of plastic waste. Simple.

I’m off now. Wish me well.

Pictures are durable old-fashioned technology.

From Pottery to Canal to London to Manchester. 19th Century technology which still works.

Retail Reflections

Working today on what should be my day off as the boss is on holiday. Got up, left Julia sleeping, scrambled some eggs, ate them out of the pan (I soon revert to bachelor mode when my wife is out of sight) and set off.

She texted later and told me I appear to have trained her well as her first act on coming downstairs was to make two cups of tea and put mine down by the side of my chair. Trained? I seriously doubt it. After thirty years I have given up asking and just accept that despite my pleas she will never learn to leave my stuff where I put it, or replace the remote control in the same place each time so we know where it is when we need it.

We had several sets of visitors in the shop, several who had made appointments and several who hadn’t. I can forgive the latter, apart from the ones who know we like them to ring ahead. The one that really annoyed me was the one who knew he should have rung ahead, and complained it was a wasted journey, as he wanted to see the owner. If only he had rung for an appointment he would have saved the disappointment. That’s one of the reasons we run an appointments system.

Political skit note (obverse)

The truth is that these days we are internet based. We took the decision because that’s how most customers are these days. We actually have people in Nottingham, including some within a mile of the shop, who would rather browse or eBay site (and pay postage) rather than come in the shop.

We had someone come in yesterday to sell us some coins. He had made an appointment but he didn’t really need one because he knew more about coins than we did. He had learnt it off the internet over the previous week. All his coins were worth more than we offered, which is true, because we have to pay rent, rates, electricity and , most importantly, staff to deal with idiots. At the end of a traumatic hour my workmate was worn out and completely depleted in tact. At the end, the customer told him that we should alter our website as the directions provided were very poor and one of the roads was closed.

Now, those directions were not provided by us, ours are accurate. He’d used Google and the postcode and when we’d discussed it the day before I had told him the Google route was wrong and provided him with simple and correct directions. He had clearly decided to ignore me.

A lesser man may well have put their head round the door (I was hiding in the back) and reminded him that I had told him to ignore Google and follow my directions, but I decided merely to grind my teeth in case he decided to discuss it and stay even longer. Some people are beyond help.

Political skit note (reverse)


Day 52

Still plenty of wind and rain. It was still breezy this evening, though it all seems to have gone quiet now. This evening I returned home in daylight rather than the normal winter murk and felt, at last, that we were leaving winter and coming into spring. In a few weeks we will be putting the clocks forward and  drop back into winter. It always happens – just as I am getting used to the time again, they alter it and I will spend another three months unable to judge the time by the sun.

I did well at Mastermind tonight and beat all the contestants in the general knowledge round. This, of course, is easy to do when you are sitting at home relaxed. In font of a TV camera I would probably freeze and make myself look like an idiot in front of millions of people. I then fell asleep and made up for lat night’s poor sleep. It’s becoming a cycle. Sleep badly, sleep in the evening, fail to sleep at night, sleep in front of TV. It’s not  good for me and it does little for either my conversation or my writing.

eBay was playing up today. We were unable to send an invoice to someone who was buying multiple lots and then it refused to0 upload photographs. It’s at times like these when you realise how much you rely on the internet. I tried all the normal fixes (variations on switching off then switching on again) but nothing helped. I’m hoping that the situation has improved by the time we start again tomorrow.

And that sums the day up – covid news, WW3 and the storm damage all passed me by, and I wrote about my poor internet connection. Life in the 21st Century.

I slept until close to midnight, posted this about 20 minutes after midnight and re-used a photo from last week. This is not how I saw blogging when I started off all those years ago.

Day 49

If I finish this in the next 15 minutes I will get a note from WP congratulating me on 13  successive days of posting. I’m not sure what business it is of theirs, or why they think a condescending pat on the head contributes anything good to my WP experience.

What would contribute to the experience is an editing system that worked as well as the old, non-improved version, an an absence of improvements that cause more problems than they are worth.

It was a quiet day at work, apart from the wind. Storm Eunice, having arrived in the night and blown a few things about, blew a bit more about in the afternoon, then made a comeback in the evening but as far as we are concerned has not been a great nuisance.

The fastest gust recorded was 122 mph,  the fastest round here was 68, so you can see how much of it we escaped. When I lived out in the Fens we often had winter gusts stronger than that – you could actually see telegraph poles bending in the wind when it got going. Of course, that was in the days when we didn’t have “amber weather warnings” and the internet.

This film is quite impressive, but apart from that I’m not sure that the internet is a great benefit in times like this. I just need to know the weather is bad – I don’t need up to the minute coverage.

Looks like I’m going to sneak in and post before midnight, though it always surprises me how long it takes to finish up. At least I don’t need a title!

I hope that everyone reading this has escaped too much disruption from the storm, I’m always grateful when the wind drops as I tend to worry more as I get older.

Friday Part 2

The day moves on. A man rings with four George IV pennies. That’s better than the usual junk people ring us with. He reigned 1820-1830 and there are only three dates. The 1827 is quite desirable. (That’s dealer talk for expensive).

He rather spoils the effect when he adds.

“They’re all dated 1919.”

Yes, I have yet another typical example of the British education system on the phone.

“That’s George V,” I say. “They are quite common. If they are in the normal condition they turn up in, it wouldn’t be worth your while bringing them down.

“No,” he says, “1919 is rare, I’ve seen them on the internet.”

“What does it say on the internet?” I ask, though I can guess.

“They’re worth between £60 and £900…” I know what’s coming next, “because they have mint marks on them.”

He’s right, they do. In 1918 and 1919 we needed extra minting capacity for pennies so the Heaton Mint and the King’s Norton Metal Company were given a contract to mint over 5,000,000 pennies.  The Royal Mint did over 110,000,000 that year, so the pennies with the H and KN mintmarks are quite scarce, but not exactly rare.  As a boy, in the days before decimalisation, I used to look for H and KN pennies in my change, and always managed to find a few before a new craze took over.

The truth is that if they are in good condition, and I mean the condition referred to as VF (Very Fine) or better, they are worth £30 fo the H and £90 for the KN.

The definition of VF, despite some of the coins you see claimed as VF is “A coin where all the fine detail is present, but not the ‘minute’ detail and signs of wear and tear to its higher points make it obvious that it has been in circulation but only minimally.”

That’s the point – wear from minimal circulation. Most of the pennies we see were taken out of change  and kept in 1971 when we went decimal. They had been circulating for over 50 years. They are almost flat but people say they are in good condition because “you can read all the lettering”. Well, if you mistake Georgius IV for Georgius V, I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that the lettering is not all it could be.  As you descend from VF you come to Fine, then to Very Good (which is dealer-speak for awful). And then you come to the area which most pre-decimal copper falls into – in the trade it’s called “clear date” which means, as you might guess, that you can read the date and mostly everything else is well worn.

He wouldn’t listen, so I passed him over to The Owner. He’s allowed to be rude to customers. He told the bloke that he shouldn’t believe everything he sees on the internet and that we can supply him with mint marked 1918 and 1919 pennies for 25 pence each if he orders them by the hundred.

I don’t blame the man with the pennies, I blame the internet. There is a lot of misinformation out there. And I blame the education system which is afraid to teach people how to thinkl.

Eventually, the day draws to a close and I queue in traffic to get home. Lockdown really has finished and the nation is back at work.

1921 Pennies Look how worn they are – these are a selected lot in about Fine condition. THey are good enough as an example but a collector would prefer something a bit better. 


The Second Post and Working Hard

Here is the list and the results so far.


Wash up breakfast pots

Make Cheese on Toast mixed with eggs and onions (OK, not quite soup)

Work on partially completed poems (completed two, edited four, found one I thought I’d lost)


Research on bird names (needed for a haibun)

Research on free range pigs  (needed for a haibun)

Reorganised haibun files (not on list)

Wrote 200 words for a blog post (not on list)

Browse internet (research for the above post – not on list)


Part Done

Sort out two submissions


Not Done Yet

Start two poems I have notes for

Write haiku/senryu

Research for article – Bomb Disposal

Research for article – RNLI

Pick Julia up

Cup of tea, TV, nap

Cook stir fry

Write more

Write post (500 words) about how hard I’ve been working today.

I have about 45 minutes before I am leaving to collect Julia – wish me luck.

Christmas Stamps

A New Word, a New Year and a (Possible) New Project

Today I have what is generally referred to in medical circles as “a bad ankle”. Julia refers to it disparagingly and suggests that a reduction in calorie intake may cure the problem. Sympathy, I have noticed, is in short supply, these days. In some ways it’s good that it had happened on my day off, so I can rest in front of the fire, but in others it’s a bit of a nuisance as I had plans for today.

Still, sitting in front of a fire with my leg up isn’t the worst use of a day I can think of.

Sitting in front of the computer waiting for a message so I can reset my OU password, on the other hand, is not a good way to pass the day. I haven’t forgotten the password, it’s just that they have decided we should all reset our passwords on 16th December. I don’t know why and mine, when it is eventually reset, will doubtless be a bit sweary in content. It’s already been ten minutes. These days it’s normally instant. I know this because I forget a lot of passwords.

As it’s at their instigation and I really want access to my account now, I’m not happy. I rarely am when it comes to technology. The trick is to concentrate on the positives rather than the negatives. The internet is a miracle, and not the last refuge of idiots, nerds and password resetting jobsworths.

I seem to have invented the word “engative” whilst typing badly. It seems to have no meaning and the internet wants to correct it to “negative”. I think it has a future – maybe a word used to describe the process of being negative about England. The English are quite engative, as are the Scots, Welsh and Irish. That is to be expected as we’ve been neighbours for many years. I’ve noticed that the Americans on Quora (the last refuge of the Mental Pygmy) seem to be quite negative about England too (though they often mean the UK). This often takes the form of criticism about the British Empire. This is ironic, as our last major imperial misdemeanour took the form of expelling the Chagos Islanders from their homes in 1969-73 so that the Americans could have an air base there.

I feel another blog post coming on – The History of the World in 100 Blog Posts.  I will have to look into that…

A Lost Day

I seem to have lost a day. I’m not quite sure how I managed it, because I’m convinced I wrote something, but there’s nothing there. I’ll just have to put it down to having a senior moment. I’d feel better about it, to be honest, if it were associated more with drinking than old age. Poets drink – Larkin and Thomas were famous for bending an elbow. That’s Dylan Thomas. I’m not sure if Edward Thomas drank. Probably not. There’s something a lot more appealing about being a hellraiser than there is about being a respectable old man. If there was only me to think about I’d much rather go out with a bottle in my hand than a rug tucked neatly round my knees.

Unfortunately, drunks don’t make particularly good husbands, and I imagine the kids would hate it if they had to come and bail me out after  a night of revelry, so it looks like respectability will be my fate. I wonder how many men out there, like me, still think fondly of their drinking days when they were much funnier and had more fun. Well, we thought we were much funnier, Once I actually gave up drinking I realised that this wasn’t actually the case.

Today is the first day of meteorological winter, and almost the end of lockdown. cases of Covid are going down, so it seems to work. I’d like to book another month of lockdown for next April, when the weather is likely to be better. I’m getting quite used to the time off.

According to government figures only about 54% of people intend getting vaccinated, and when you show them various bits of misinformation, easily found on the internet these days, this goes down to 48%. All that work so that 52% of the population can decide not to bother.

It calls the whole nature of education into question. Why bother studying for years to become a doctor when you could know more than a doctor by pressing a few buttons and reading something off the internet?


A Little Learning

After a day of dragging a collection of aching joints around I finally surrendered at 5pm last night and went to bed. Julia returned home from work, administered tea and hot cross buns (yes, it’s that time of year again) and left me to recover in my own time.

She applied fish and chips later in the evening with tea and sympathy and the threatened flu never materialised. That might have been because I averted illness with a well-timed nap and application of carbohydrates. Or it may have I was merely cold, short of sleep and getting old.

Today, I find myself quite perky and have returned to blogging.

We had no internet at work today. When we rang the company they said they knew about it and were working on fixing the problem. They carried on working to fix the problem for another five hours. WE couldn’t put anything on eBay, we couldn’t answer emails, we couldn’t even Google things that cropped up in conversation. We did manage to send some parcels after accessing the internet via the boss’s phone but it is not the same as sitting at a screen.

In 1973 we celebrated EU membership

In 1973 we celebrated EU membership

We had to send two people across the road to use the cash machine because we couldn’t take card payments without access to the internet. They both came back, which was good, because sometimes they just drift off and don’t come back. Fortunately our only telephone buyer of the day rang five minutes after the connection was restored.

At least all this gave me time to polish the counters and clean the work surfaces in the kitchen. I also cleaned about 1,200 photos off my memory card. I tend to leave them there, even though I won’t need them again. I really should start behaving in a more responsible manner with my stored photos.

So, there we go.

Today’s learning outcomes are that I now realise how much we rely on the internet and that I must spend more time organising my photographs and sleeping. But mainly I learnt how much more I have to learn. After a day with plenty of time to think, I realised there’s a lot of stuff out there that I still don’t know.