Friday, 21 September 2018

I am at that time of year when contracts with insurers and utility companies become due . Now however at the end of the conversation the call handler adds "Before you go Martin I note you are over 60 ? I have to admit I am , way over . In view of your age would you like me to add you to our priority register for people at risk ? The SSE even asked if I had any medical equipment that would be affected by a power cut . Why not I say , there's not many benefits to getting old so I accept. So when you phone up and cant get service remember its because I am at the head of the queue !!



Today I am soixante neuf - I have waited 68 years to do that joke.

Normally only Facebook and the spanish solicitors remember my birthday . It seems even they have forgot


Tuesday, 4 September 2018

More and more every company I deal with wants me to have an account , a login , and a password . I have so many I cant keep up . sometimes I don't even remember I have an account and get a notice saying you already have an account. Theres no way I will remember my email account password or login details.

Microsoft are the very worse they block you for the slightest pause . I once tried to change my phone number . I couldn't remember my password so went through the reset procedure only to find they sent the next bit of the process to my old phone whose number I was trying to update in the site I had forgotten the password for .

Also these websites are very poorly designed , they are made by people wanting to prove how clever they are and not by people trying to make a usable platform. I think also the sales pressure is there so that you may go to book a flight , give a meter reading or take out insurance and you are endlessly fighting off pop ups and mandatory areas (which are often just data gathering and not relevant) Many time the system insists my password is wrong , even when I have been logged in , have logged out and am now trying to log back in.

 I used to work in IT, as a user not a techy and I know the first thing techies say is user error , its not its system error , programme error , interface error . The sadness is that the people who build these sites are really clever and if they built them for Joe average or even Joe below average we would all benefit .  I worry about the future because more and more you can only do things via your computer , and if you get stuck and want help , there is none its automated , and as you get older it is harder to remember or to be honest to care so much , often unless I really have to do it I give up if its too convoluted and the company loses a sale and I feel less stress, even the railways seem to be people less and I am doing all the work to get a plane ticket and boarding pass , I will be loading my luggage shortly.

It is incredibly hard to find a phone number for a company , contact us which is often at the bottom of the page under a huge list of who built the website and reasons you cant sue them , then takes you to a FAQs page and even when you plough through this and fill in the mail bit it defaults back saying are you sure you haven't missed the answer in our FAQ pages. I battle through this and phone the company , even this is unnecessarily complex , first is 5 minutes of warnings about what will happen when you phone them , being recorded is the least of it , then you get to the top menu .. If you are phoning for this press this , if you are phoning ..etc..etc.and there are often 2 or 3 layers of these menus  Finally when you get through that you have to give them more info so they can ensure you get to the right operator ? WHY, after 3 levels of menu do you have to give more information ? I know they say its so when you get to an operator its quicker but everytime I do it the operator asks me the same questions disguised as security and  even though you  have spent 15 minutes filling it in to get to the right person.
Also they ask what was the last debit on your account? whats you credit limit ? and about isnt a satisfactory answer it has to be exact becuase its not a person verifying the answer its the system

 Now at the end of my conversations they say I see you are over 60 ? Yes ? well would you like to put you on as a priority customer so if there is an outage , a failure , the world stops turning we will see to you first . Yes I say . I don't want to miss the few benefits of old age . Also can I ask do you have any special needs ? I am not sure of the correct answer and a fascise one would probably get me in trouble with the PC brigade so I say no . The electricity company asked if I had any medical equipment that would be affected by an outage , are well somebody cares.
Time passes more quickly as you get older, seems illogical , time is time , but it does seem to be the case . I have noticed how when I was young nothing seemed to change , Birthdays ,Christmas and school holidays seemed to take forever to arrive , now I see a film I think was made recently and find its 10 or 20 years old . I meet people I know and they say its been 4 years and I think it was last week . Actors are a marker to the passing years I find myself watching a programme  and seeing an actor I vaguely recognise only to find he was playing the handsome virile hero in what I thought was only a little while ago and now he is a geriatric being wheeled about . The point of all of this is now is the time to do the things I always thought I would do when I retirde becuase to mt amazement I am retired and far far older than I can believe , even now I think I will wake up and find I am far younger and it was all a mistake. I wanted to get back on a bike . I have been looking






They are however out of my price range the triumphs in particular would buy a new small saloon car and the enfields a small secondhand saloon.I did toy with the idea of an Enfield they are after all brand new and I think these bike look like bikes where the Japanes ones tend to look like some insect .
In have been to Motts the local dealer many times and never found anything so stopped going ,when, having nothing to do one day I stopped off there and found this

14 years old but only 7000 miles on the clock and it , the insurance , the helmet and the jacket , were a third of the price of just the bikes I had been looking at , so I grabbed it. Motts were amazing they serviced it ,MOT'd it , put a new tyre on the front and delivered it (early) at no extra cost.
However if you have read any of this blog you know I rode my brother in laws bike in Aus but before that it was 40 years ago I bestrode a bike. If I could have afforded the bikes I like they are more the type I am used to , this is more 'modern' so its quite a lift to get your leg over and its a heavy beast . Its taking a while to get back to man and machine as one but I am getting there. It is fun and holding back the years..

Sunday, 10 June 2018


There was an area in the back garden that was just gravel . Unfortunately the cats used it as a toilet and it stank no matter how much I cleaned and bleached it. I decided to  pave it . Getting older I find things happening I thought I was immune to , not as strong as I was , thinner skin that damages more easily , getting tired quicker so I decided to keep it simple and put the tiles onto the gravel..

 I didn't think to keep a blow by blow account of this work . so I don't have a picture off how it looked originally and as is always the case the work involved escalated so removing all the gravel (several cwt) and renovating the fence and redoing the guttering . I planned to lay the paving on earth get it flat and even then use a thin layer of sand to bed it . Every time I flattened the earth I ended up with a wheelbarrow full of earth and I seemed to be endlessly lifting and replacing paving blocks .
The picture below gives some idea as I worked in squares doing one side then the other and here I had to remove the jasmine plant which I founf had smashed out of its pot and grown down into the ground.

I have hoarded stuff ready for when I needed it . My plan now is that all these items will be used or binned so the fence , the guttering and the soffit all came from the garage .








 
HOWEVER
In the middle of doing the garden my wife decided to start to rub down the walls indoors ready for painting and ended up removing the paint so that I had to stop the outside work and sort out and finish indoors . Fortunately it rained so I probably didn't lose anytime and I have during my working life had plenty of practise at prioritisation , organisation and project management to cope . I also always plan for the worst so I managed ok. the picture below isn't  blurred its dust from sanding.


 


 
I decided to try my hand at bone carving I got a piece of bone from a pet shop intended as a dog chew and did this . The picture is ink , indian ink but not stable and I am not sure what to do , it washes off but not completely and soak into the bone blurring and discolouring it. At first the bone seemed unworkable and I thought this cant be the way to do it but I find as with all things the more I tried the easier it got and basic tools such as saws, drills  and sanders are all it needs. I haven't had time to do more and the smell of burning anyone who has had a tooth filled will know the smell ) leads to protests from my wife , even though I use the garage , so I have to wait for her to be out.
 
 

 
 
 
A couple of times I have found myself with nothing to do or at least with nothing I want to do . The day drags when this happens , you cannot be idle once you retire , it is I think the way to decline . You need to keep active both in body and mind. I went back to doing painting and decided I wanted something bigger than I had done before. I took pictures of each step though the first one , the drawing maybe harder to see...
 

I used oil paints . Some off these paints are nearly as old as me. I bought them 50 years ago . Now I want to use them up . Not perhaps a great reason to paint but as I hate waste I want t use them rather than bin them . Also oil has never been a successful medium for me which is why I have had them so long. Here is my first attempt.