Random Jottings Of Gildersleeve

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Location: United Kingdom

Perhaps you'll learn more about me as you read my blog. For anyone who translates my blog using the translator facility, don't forget if you wish to read the comments in your own language to click on the title of the post down the left hand side otherwise they will remain in english. Also I assume that the translation is accurate but I don't know, so please allow for errors.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Shopping Centres

I have not really seen much of the world or the UK to that matter and through circumstances remained in the same area.

The only differences to my town are in that it has spread out and new houses seem to be being continually built.

The centre of the town has changed very little and like so many towns nationwide the choice of shops has dwindled and become a mixture of estate agents, solicitors, insurance sellers, charity shops, banks, building societies, takeaways.

We have in recent years managed to attract a few new additions but though competition can be good and should encouraged it has resulted in retailers selling the same products deciding not to(you can see why)seven outlets offering greetings cards at my last count. And the longest surviving card shop is closing. You do wonder why as it has the largest choice and many are produced by the same manufacturer as in the other shops.

And though we do have both men and women living here there are three shops that sell Women's clothing but only one of those offers a small corner with a small limited choice for men. And that is aimed at the teenager/young adult.

We no longer have a shoe repairer and unless you know that the Dry Cleaners offer a collection service for repairs...you may as well say that there isn't one. Our largest shoe shop closed a couple of years ago and now there is one that carries very little to choose from(I'm surprised that it stays in business whenever I pass it always seems empty)

My memories can go back to many shops that were locally run and some national retailers that have long since ceased trading or were taken over even if they later decided to close their branches in this town.

Anyone remember March The Tailors, Timothy Whites, Carricks The Bakers?
Another bakers closed last year and our branch of Greggs has reduced in size and also reduced the amount of staff that worked there.

After years and years of being promised that the shopping centre would be brought up to some kind of modern standard and that new retailers would tempted into the town, it has split into two.

Two schools were closed down a few streets from me perhaps 20 years ago, demolished and then it remained as a piece of unused land for all that time.

In the last three years or so that was turned over to a large Supermarket(I think you can guess who)I'm led to believe by the publicity that has been given in local publications, it was to be built in a style to be in keeping with the area but worried that the project may not happen it was put up in double quick time and seems to have been put together using a lot of corrugated metal.
And it stands out like a sore thumb. I have yet to hear anyone say that they like its design and when you come into the town from the main road, it commands your immediate attention.
It was also supposed to have access to a taxi rank and this was marked in the plans but once built that somehow disappeared. And though the taxi firms have campaigned and disabled/elderly people have asked that one be allowed so far its not looking likely.

Extra jobs were promised and retail outlets were built to bring in extra business.
And what happened? A small Argos store arrived and the rest of the new section was given over to office space which if it is being used I have no idea by whom(it could still be empty, it looks as though it is)

Who has occupied the remaining units?

An optician and solicitor originally based in the older part of the town believing that the extra trade was coming and that their building would be demolished all they did was relocate.
The final space was taken by another mover...who took the largest of all these units and has a really posh looking interior(I did hear what the rents/leases but have forgotten)but they are extremely expensive(that's why so few were occupied in the first place)

Who secured it? None other than "The Job Centre"

So now the new supermarket has affected the older part of the retail area, the businesses are struggling and people are either shopping in the newer part of town or the surrounding towns which is fine if you have access to a car.

And the only alternative supermarket that has been here for 46 years has now closed and that was helping to keep the older part of the town viable.

The only hope being that some of the other well known supermarkets may be showing an interest in moving in to the empty premises but compared to the new Supermarket, it will be smaller so more like a convenience store but for many shoppers that is large enough as it will keep the older part of the town alive and it means easier access and less confusion for elderly shoppers and less distance to travel.

The rejuvenation of the shopping area was to include the new area being joined up to the older part, the older part being cosmetically improved and hopefully some new shops being attracted.

But for now as often happens the project is a third completed and come to standstill though there could be lots of meetings taking place that the public are unaware of between local authorities, building contractors, businesses etc...

The big problem was that for many, many years retailers refused to stay or start businesses because though at the time it was a small town in the North East of the UK the shopping area was owned or acquired by a London firm.

And they charged London rates. Which were far too expensive for this area and for the amount of business they managed to generate.

It has been said that some kind of deal was reached when the new plans were finalised after years of negotiations and now the ownership has changed or the rates have been reduced.

I have heard quite a few people say that they would like the older shopping area knocked down and rebuilt from scratch and looking at it and seeing how little bits have been added here and there I can understand why.

It was all single storey units perhaps thirty years ago and then someone decided to build on top of the existing retail units to bring extra business and choice into the town.

The buildings are crumbling, practically every upper floor unit is empty/boarded up and even if you could attract new business because some the older town will have to be pulled down so they can join both halves, who is going to come in for an unknown amount of time.

One local man who always wanted to own a pet shop opened up in one of the vacant to be demolished retail units to guage if there would be a demand with the idea of doing so more perminantly when things start to move again(being allowed to do suggests that its going to be some time otherwise it was not worth moving in)

He does not sell pets(animals or birds)but owns a Parrot. He decided to use it as a promotional gimmick I guess as all children like to see an animal. After some weeks he was even stopped from doing that because of some clause in the agreement between retailers and the owners of the shopping centre. Either it had to go or the shop ceases trading.

There is another pet shop on the town and the last time I did go there or went past I am sure that it still sells rabbits, hamsters, fish etc... So whether this is a new clause that affects new businesses only, I don't know.

I'm sure that many of you have similar tales to the above.

Sunday, May 14, 2006


We'll try again as the original post disappeared somewhere into the ether.

Maybe 4-5 days ago I discovered that there were ants indoors. As it happens, whether right or wrong I happened to have some Ant Powder so I sprinkled some that down where I suspected they were coming from but I now doubt that was correct. As its at ground level I cannot see it being much of a health problem.

Over the few nights after discovering this I have been there watching for them. I've seen 'em and killed plenty and in the end they really are few and far between but where are they coming from?

There are so few maybe the problem no longer exists but walking around the supermarket of all places yesterday I discovered something called Ant Stop - Bait Station. Its best described as what looks like a small plastic paperweight with tabs that you break off which exposes little holes in it.

The ants are attracted and eat whats inside and take back the contents back to their nest what is in the container and in turn that kills the rest of them. It is said to work within 3-6 days and the actual product can last up to 3 months.

And its safe.

Having got rid of so many only a few are visiting so either way I should be happy. They are fascinating creatures but not when indoors. It reminds me of those cartoons of Tom And Jerry where you see the Ants arrive when there is a picnic and they march off with all the food.

I have a friend that lives in California who feeds Hummingbirds that she is fortunate to have visiting the garden and there are special feeders you put out that contain some kind of sweet liquid that attracts the birds and yes, you've guessed it, unless you keep watching...ants too. The trouble is that the ants get caught up in the solution and cannot escape and when this happens the birds are no longer interested as its contaminated and so you have all the trouble of taking the feeding stations down, cleaning them, refilling them and putting them out again.

One of the best radio plays if you get the chance to hear it is Lennigan Vs The Ants from the 1950's Escape series in America starring William Conrad(Tv's Cannon The Private Eye)but many people will not realise he like many of the actors, producers and writers of the best television programmes from the late 40's through to the 80's brought their skills from radio and that's why it was so original and innovative. He also played Sheriff Matt Dillon for around ten years in the original radio version of Gunsmoke though again many will probably believe it was James Arness who played the part in the television series.

Many of these shows can be found around the net if you can access broadband by streaming or downloading.

American Radio was something special for around 40 years before it became mainly sports, phone-in/Talk and spinning records. Any country that manages to keep speech radio and in particular drama, documentaries, comedy and the like has something special and it deserves to be cherished and treasured.

But I digress...

Saturday, May 13, 2006

I could continue with my problems by adding comments...

to the posting below but I have to thank everyone who has shown an interest in my delay of gaining access to the messageboards of our BBC.

I'm apologising in case I miss out anyone but the list of people to thank includes North East Girl, Rupe, Curmy, Mango, Raisins, JA, Supersearcher, DQ, Span Ows, Mags, Gavin, Augustus and Six Years.

It is something to find that you are missed but it also brings home something that I have said to those that I can speak to off the boards. If we take ill, a computer crashes or whatever else could happen, it is very hard to let people know why you are missing. And we become lost souls.

Thank you for anyone who has popped over to read my blog. Especially, if you found it interesting ;-)

I have missed out on some very good threads about the Sony Awards and the latest Rajaar figures but maybe I'll post something here...later.

Some Radio 5 messageboarders who have blogs have kindly linked my blog to their own and since this entry was originally with help, I have been able to link their blogs to mine.

I can tell you that they also have some thought provoking and humourous blogs worth reading so I do hope that you can manage to have a look at them by following the links.

Thanks Again

Friday, May 12, 2006

The Frustrations Of Computing...

I am unable to guarantee that this will be the most enlightening or interesting blog entry you will have read, its a bit of a rant and a way of getting some frustrations off my chest.

I'm sure that many of you have experiences of computer problems both serious and funny. We are continually learning and I suspect that we always will how to make our use of computers better and more interesting and some of us will always be a few steps behind and need help. I know that I often do.

Unfortunately, something can come along for no reason that you can actually see yourself.

The other night my reasonably new and hardly used printer decided that even though the cartridges were hardly used, it did not wish to print in colour as we know it. Instead it only wanted to combine two of the colours available and no matter what I did with various tests, cleaning functions etc...built into the printer would the problem right itself. Then because of the very expensive cost of buying new cartridges so expensive, I may as well use the printer very rarely or not at all(defeating why I have one)I decided to go back to an earlier cartridge and attempt a practise that I used to do many years ago...refilling a cartridge so you get a longer life out of them and bring the cost down some what.

Having done so...when I put it in the machine, it would not even entertain the cartridge at all. It just did not want to know. I put the newer cartridge back into the printer and it still refused to give me proper colour.

I gave up.

I return later and do something else by attempting to print a picture which needed more of the colour I guessed was missing and it works. Why?

Now the original cartridge(now refilled)originally had stopped working one day so I assumed that it was empty but as it no longer works when refilled with ink, I am baffled why it cannot be reused.

Does this mean that all cartridges that I attempt to refill will refuse to work? I know that after 6 - 8 attempts of refilling quality can go down so a new one will and should be replaced every so often but according to the information that I have these cartridges are suitable for refilling so can anyone think why this has failed?

Do cartridges have some kind of self destruct mechanism within them?

Now the most annoying thing of all...suddenly and without warning a few days later I found that I could no longer access a number of sites that I use for posting my views on various aspects of the radio and television and a site that I subscribe to that gives me quite a lot of news about media in the UK and wildlife.

I still cannot tell why. And one site in helping me remedy the problem suggested a cookie clean out which may/may not be why I can no longer get onto the messageboards of the BBC. Then again, I have put in my details as I know them to be and from information supplied by the BBC when I joined and guess what, none of it works...not even when you manage to get the extra secret security question that "Only you should know the answer to" and I put the right answer in and it refuses to accept it.

I have been locked out of my account as I write this for 64 hours and have written three e-mails explaining the problem, asking for help and so far have received no answer. I have seen many subjects I would love to comment on and many of my friends posting away and all I can do is read their comments and make no contribution.

So where do I go from here? And though I dislike complaining as I hate ill feeling(there may be a good reason for not hearing anything as yet)but I have not even received any reply acknowledging my e-mail. If there is a really good reason I'll happily say so on here(especially if I have made some kind of error in attmpting to contact)but for now what else can I think the reason to be?

I guess all I can do is write yet another e-mail and then perhaps resort to writing a letter and using the good old postal service? Which seems very strange in this highly technical age.

Thanks to Mango, Curmy and others willing to try and get my views out there and help correct a situation that I am unable to myself.

So if you wondered why I have been so quiet for a few days, now you know why.

I'll be back.