Monday 30 December 2013

Is Amazon taking over the world..

...of retailing? I find myself using Amazon more and more; partly because it's easy, and I don't have to brave the wind and the rain, and partly because the delivery is prompt, the service second to none, and sending things back (usually such a chore) so easy.

Ad yet....our high streets are emptying, the book shops are struggling, Amazon don't pay much tax (this is apparently complicated) and they are (again apparently) uncaring slave-drivers for those who work for them (I was shocked by the Panorama programme. Can it really be as bad as that?).

I admire those who stick to their principles and eschew the delights of all those next-day  brown paper parcels. I have at least one friend for whom the very name A***** is a dirty word (rivers being an exception). I have a dilemma.

I was discussing this possible monopoly with John, who said "ah. But you couldn't buy a leg of lamb from Amazon!"

Guess what? You can.

Saturday 28 December 2013

Shark diving in Reigate

We spent  Christmas night  in a hotel in Reigate, between visits to sons. Apropos which, I've just filled in a quite extraordinary questionnaire. It ended with the injunction to make comments about what we enjoyed, and "type in things like shark diving, stargazing and vegetarian cuisine". Hmm. Since there were no sharks, and no stars (it was p****ng with rain), and we are not vegetarians, I was unable to help.

I would advise anyone who's thinking of looking for sharks in Reigate to think again. Trust me. There aren't any.

How was your Christmas?

Saturday 21 December 2013

Fairfax speaks (doesn't happen often)..


Fairfax says Happy Christmas. So do I. And thank you to everyone who takes the trouble to trawl through my rambling posts (you know who you are).

Monday 16 December 2013

Some seasonal cheer (and a proud mum/granny)...

..because here s something that certainly cheered my up; my daughter and grandson having a sing. The track is a backing track; the voices, their own. Considering they were just messing about, and hadn't rehearsed at all,  I think  it's brilliant!

Thursday 12 December 2013

Bah humbug (part two)

I'm not cashing in on the quite astonishing popularity of my previous post (nearly 1000 hits so far, and growing) but   I do have something to add; a more serious example of seasonal bonhomie gone wrong.

My disabled sister lives in sheltered accommodation. She is intelligent and has her wits about her, but she's in a wheelchair. Okay so far. But - every Christmas, the mayor comes round to distribute little bags of goodies to the residents: sweets, chocolate, perhaps tea bags or biscuits. That kind of thing. And she dreads it. Why? Because it feels patronising and belittling, that's why. Because the powers that be haven't tried to imagine what it's like to be physically challenged, and therefore treated like a child. She is wondering whether to escape this year, or sit it out. She is too kind to tell the mayor that she doesn't want his sweets, and that she is capable of buying her own tea bags.

Ten years ago, I too was on the receiving end of something like this. Flat on my back in hsopital, with a spinal injury, I was (astonishingly) probably the youngest patient on theward. Christmas came, and with it, the well-meaning women from an age-related charity, with bags of sweets. They were probably older than I was. Worse was to come. A couple of days later, along came Father Christmas, complete with elf (yes, really), and more sweets. I hid under the covers, but the nurses gave me away.

What I want to  know is, why? Especially the Father christmas bit? Do people think that if you are old, you forget there's no such person as Father Christmas (and that it's really Mummy and Daddy who deliver the goods.  Never mind that Mumy and Daddy, in this case,  are inevitably long dead)?

No doubt the mayor (and Father Christmas) feel warm and fuzzy after doing this, but I do wish they woudldconsider the recipients of their good works, and think again before they do this kind of thing.

My poor sister is expecting the mayoral visitiation this afternoon. Please spare her a thought.

Monday 9 December 2013

A bah humbug Christmas post

I think Christmas would be much improved if:

1. It came once every five years...
2. ....and lasted just three or four hours.
3. All the turkeys were released into the wild, and we could have beef instead.
4. Christmas puddings were set on fire and then left to incinerate.
5. Ditto mince pies.
6. And mulled wine. Mulling good wine spoils it, and mulled bad wine remains...bad wine.
7. Everything came WITH batteries (even the things that don't need batteries; just to be sure).
8. Pretty calendars and smelly candles went straight to Oxfam, without taking the scenic tour via me.
9. Someone somewhere would tell me how/where to store all the cardboard packaging we have accumulated through my obsessive on-line shopping. Re-cycling day was today, and already we are snowed (cardboarded) under.
10. Someone would help me re-package all my shopping mistakes, and take my place in the queue at the post office to post them back.
11. Anyone asking the question "are you ready for Christmas yet?" was trussed up like the above-mentioned turkey, and publicly shamed.
12. Ditto anyone who says "it's all about the children, isn't it?" No, it's not. It's all about ME.

Sunday 1 December 2013

The essential colon

Sometimes, people wonder whether colons and semi-colons are really necessary. Well, take this headline from today's paper, about the difficulties the broadcaster Clare Balding experienced when she told her grandmother she was gay:

Balding: grandma said being gay was disgusting.

Now remove the colon.

See what I mean?