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.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Remember the changes to the town centre?

This was to be the great saviour of the town. Bringing new business and jobs. The chosen site had been abandoned for approx twenty years and originally was where my school originally stood.

Unfortunately, many of the shops in the older part of the town have closed and though jobs were created by this supermarket opening, only a few of those who have lost their jobs since have found work at this retailer. Many residents feel that it dominates the area and unless you have transport or are able to travel out of town to shop it is now the only place that you are able to buy food. There is little or no provision for taxis and you have to phone for one as you come out of the store or try and guess how long you will be shopping and it will take to get through the checkout. The lay-by that exists is always full of customers using the cash machines at the front of the store.

If you turn approx 90° degrees you will see the new park which has a new youth centre on the right of the entrance.

As the old one had seen better days and was demolished to make way for the new supermarket I suppose a replacement had to be built and in reality the town park is my old school's playing field which is now available to the public.

If you turn approx 45° degrees to the right and walk for 20 seconds this is the view that will greet you. The building contains the town library, school dentist and health centre. The paint is peeling, the wooden frames are rotting and the place leaks. You can see that various windows are boarded up. This is also to be demolished whenever the next phase of the development takes place.

This is a back view but it looks no better from the front, it is also very dirty. Its been much like this for the past twenty years. If you require a solicitor, a bank or charity shop, the older part of the town centre is for you. Due to high rents and rates and the town mainly being owned by a London company many local retails moved or closed. Only national retailers are managing to remain but even they are having hard times and some have been leaving.

I can remember the town centre as a child being quite spacious and better cared for and that was when traffic was allowed through the middle and it was not a traffic free zone.

If you want to find out more about a town, you just need to ask a taxi driver. I talked to two today on my shopping trip and between them and the little that I know, the latest rumour would suggest that ASDA may be taking over the retail outlet originally occupied by Sommerfield that closed some months ago after many, many years of trading here but for various reasons to do with employment laws and the fact that it is another food store, they are not allowed to trade until November at the earliest. But equally as was pointed out by one taxi driver, we have been promised a few possible retailers for the site which for various reasons having shown an interest appear to have decided otherwise. Another suggestion from my source of information was that as it is another food outlet showing the most interest such a competitor may find it difficult to get their application accepted.

There is absolutely no proof that this is the case. All you can say is that time will tell. But there is no guarantee that you will find out who all the retailers that showed interest were. Other suggested retailers over previous months have included Wilkinsons(a kind of store that sells anything from toothpaste to gardening stuff)and some kind of outlet that offers high quality branded sports goods.

However, I did get a bit of answer about why certain local retailers have disappeared over the years and the diversity of what is offered has been reduced.

My town was originally run by a different authority, it was taken over many years ago by a larger council, who no longer wanted to be responsible for the running and care of the retail area and as said earlier a London company purchased it. I have heard over the years of the possibility of some consortium or council plan that could result in the centre being brought back into local ownership but if you are not privy to what happens behind the scenes it is hard to know what is fact or fiction. So sometimes its best to stay quiet.

Having another food store would offer competition and revitalise the older part of town. And although smaller, it is big enough to give enough choice for most people because in general most people stick to the same products and have the same amount of money to spend each week, some days you only require bread and milk. Also, the previous trader offered home delivery which the new supermarket does not(unless you use the internet)so hopefully if someone decent takes over they'll offer this service again.

This blog entry is not quite right. It was almost perfect and I managed to lose everything and had to write the text and post all the pictures again and its taken over ten hours to get this far. I have started from scratch on numerous occasions to find that the pictures though they say that they are uploading, when I press the button to complete the task nothing happens and they refuse to appear.

And my last attempted picture refuses to upload no matter what I do, so for any future attempts to include pictures, any solutions are gratefully received.

I have also lost the comments of my very good friend Span who probably was the only person to see this entry before it went wrong. Curmy has also managed to see one version of this entry but I am unsure which one.

A very tired Gildy signing off and a very relieved Internet provider, I'm only allowed 200 hours per calendar month and at this rate I'll use up the time that I am allowed in the first week...

Footnote:Just maybe the problems with my photo's not getting onto the site were due to problems on the site affecting uploading timing out or taking a very long time to respond which I discovered when looking over the blogger status page. So perhaps I was doing all the right things and it was something out of my control.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

On A Lighter Note...

(I'm not finished with the previous blog entry)I'll regroup and say how I feel in the next few hours. And what I feel for the support that I have been given by true friends in worrying times.

The reason for this post because I cannot do it anywhere else(and I have been thinking of doing so for a long time.Thank you to anyone who has linked my blog to theirs and surprisingly I discovered that Ivan G. Shreve, Jr who runs a blog full of information about great television of the past and also information as to what is being released has been kind enough to include me in his list of blogs worth looking at. The Thrilling Days Of Yesteryear(I suspect that's a reference to The Lone Ranger ;-)

A link can be found on the left of my blog to this site and will as far as I am able to say remain there but to make life little easier for you to pop over there and see some other great links that are on that blog worth looking at here's another...

Thrilling Days Of Yesteryear

The truth is there is just too much good stuff out there to read.

I probably had intentions to talk about something similar about radio/television and that seems only fair with my pseudonym and I will get around to doing so. Thank You.

Whether you are here by chance, it is only one visit or you regularly drop in...thank you.

I also understand that whilst reading my thoughts sometimes it is not necessary to leave any comments. Sometimes you just want to read. I cannot always leave comments at every place I visit, I'd need more than a 24 hour day and probably have less sleep than I do now, you being interested in something that I write is appreciated and since putting the map on the blog, I have discovered readers around the world that I probably would not have expected.

No one is more surprised than me.

I am even more than a little surprised that I decided to write a blog as I have never thought of writing a diary. Perhaps its a small way of leaving a mark that we existed and were once on this planet.

Who knows, if you have a blog or website I may have even visited you...

Gildy x

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours...

Certainly you do...

Well, many of you know how I like to feed the wildlife that visits my garden. Many of you do so yourself. We've lived in this property for around many, many years. Practically all the neighbours around us have been here as long or we're talking of 25-30 years plus.

Except for two sets of neighbours that moved in around 5 years ago, the most recent of these last year.

I have quite a few neighbours around here that feed the birds and keep their gardens tidy. We all talk to each other even if we don't actually mix with each other and help each other whenever we can.

I'm not one for opening the door to anyone I don't know but there was a knock this afternoon.

When I did get downstairs(too late to catch the caller before she drove away)it was someone from the council. She left a card. The environmental department...could I call them.

Can you guess what is coming?

Someone has complained about bird droppings affecting their property. Just complaints about...bird poo!

And as a complaint has been made the council has to come out and see for themselves what the situation is...the only glimmer of hope and what's in our favour is that I have been outside and can see no food lying around. And at night anything like that is cleared away as my neighbours do so no vermin is fed.

Its only in a couple of small feeders and I have looked all over to see where all the supposed droppings are in my garden or surrounding properties and I cannot see anything to speak of.

And the immediate properties just have grass and the new neighbour until all their alterations are done just looks like a tip so of you have seen pictures. As you have also seen how well I keep my garden as I have a gardener who visits and sees that all is well.

But of course I am now worried that the authority is going to tell me to stop.

Another simple pleasure possibly brought to an end.

And yet, I know of at least three or four other neighbours who are feeding and have no problems. I told the neighbour who faces onto the back of my garden(and has lived there for about the same length of time and he cannot believe it either) He says that he has no intention of stopping feeding the birds that visit and say that if they are complaining about me, he should be expecting a similar call as for years he has had a bird table and three feeders.

And looking around he cannot see any evidence of all these bird droppings. He has no intention of stopping and says if they have complained about us, then he's ready to expect a card too.

Rightly or wrongly we have to believe that it is the new neighbours complaining as we are hemmed in by trees and shrubs and the other neighbours put up a kind of bracken barrier attached to the fence so no bird can even land on the fence on that side. And being so private I don't know how anyone can see what is going on in my garden except from their side. Because they took away all the natural plants and trees.

But I could be totally wrong.

And of course in the next 4-6 weeks they plan to erect their new conservatory. So its just possible(and I admit that I could be wrong)maybe the idea is that if they sort this out before they build they've taken pre-emtive strike...but again as names of complainants are kept secret, we cannot be 100% certain on this. But obviously you try to guess who has complained.

All the neighbours here get on with each other and talk to each other if I had a problem I would go and talk directly first. But I have never ever had any neighbour fall out with us in all the time that we have been here.

But to go sneaking to the council is just plain nasty.

If I am told to stop feeding I do not feel like giving in. As if we do, I lose the pleasure I get from seeing my wildlife. And other neighbours are feeding them and not being told to stop.
5 minutes walking distance from here is the town centre where there are pigeons galore and people still feed them and they c*** all over the place. More like it if the council sorted that environmental health hazard, the only time it gets cleaned up is when the Prime Minister visits on official business and their c*rap is all over the ledges of the shops, on the ground and often on the railings you use to hold onto if you use the steps outside.

One thing I was told was that they council does not have an official policy on such matters and at best they sometimes just ask for feeders to be repositioned. And if they are happy, they will take no action(I hope)and they just take a middle stance.

So much for all the programmes on television telling you take care of the environment.

So we now await the official visit tomorrow at 2pm...

Wish me luck...
(An angry and unhappy)

A refuge from the hot weather...

I sat at the computer and something flew past me. It turned out to be...either a Peacock or Red Admiral Butterfly. So it had come in through the open door and flown up the stairs and into my bedroom. It fluttered a bit at the light coming through the window...tried to land on the window frame but I guess the design and plastic made that difficult. I attempted to gently herd it out of the open window but it decided to land on one of the walls near the ceiling, closed its wings and remained there for almost 17 hours. I assume exhausted due to the recent hot weather and here it found a cool and shady spot.

And then just as quickly it burst into life this morning at around 9.40am, flew to the window and I gently managed to direct it to the open window where it flew away, no worse for its stay. Its cooler and has been raining so I guess it will survive more comfortably today and have access to some moisture.

So not only am I a carer of the birds and squirrels that visit and partake of the food and water available but I am now on the map for winged visitors.

I have not seen many butterflies this year or perhaps I have not been looking enough.
Something similar happened last year but it just came into the room and went straight outside.


Perhaps one of these days I'll get to visit one of those butterfly farms where you are surrounded by them or ideally see one of those locations they show on some of those nature programmes in some wood or forrest glade somewhere...no, I think it will have to be the first suggestion.

I'd say the simplicity of nature but its all clever and anything but simple.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

More pleasure than you can measure...

I'm asking for trouble posting this on my blog. I can't believe I am writing this("Close your eyes Mother")Its so tempting not to mention it and let it pass by but I am amazed that it has not been picked up by the media at large. No pun was intended but you'll see it is quite appropriate. And I am choosing my words very carefully.

I'll whisper...

Channel 4 television in the UK during its time has been accused of many, many things and it has always courted controversy and though it has brought some great programmes to these shores that other terrestrial stations avoided or let slip, it has also dumbed down television with programmes such as Wife Swap and Big Brother. And we've had the dissections of dead bodies, how to have surgery to increase the size of (well, you can guess)

Ok its personal and what is rubbish to one person will always be great entertainment or informative to someone else.

Just as happens in music and literature. Then we have the old adage that something can be so bad...its good.

The Guardian newspaper reports that(I'm going to shorten the story and not quote directly)

Hundreds of people are expected to gather in a hall in central London on August 5 to pleasure themselves in aid of charity.

There is, I kid you not, an organisation in America...that has run mass events in the US for the past five years to raise money for safe sex groups and plans to replicate the formula in the UK.

The event takes place during the first week in August.

If true, an independent production company is to follow the organisers and participants for a 60-minute film which will air on Channel 4 later this year. I wonder how graphic the programme will be...I suspect a lot of above the waist camera shots or close ups on faces unless those taking part require to remain anonymous.

Prizes will be on offer and there is the hope that the current record, according to the organisers will be broken, which is at present is eight-and-a-half hours.

And people attending will be sponsored.

I am not sure that I can add much more.

Had it been April Fool's Day...in the back of my mind I still wonder if it is some big wind up...

I've shocked myself and probably some of my readers ;-)

But hey, being male how long did you think it would be before S-e-x was mentioned?

BTW Just to show how Channel 4 can serve up some luke warm fare...

Whatever you think of the game show 'Deal Or No Deal' that has become popular across the world...its taking a Summer break so in place of it we get...

'Come Dine With Me' The Radio Times listings blurb says a Cullinary challenge starting with a week long celebrity contest in which five people take turns to cook for each other.

Ok, who wants to decide who is actually a celebrity amongst this selection? Roland Rivron, Linda Robson, Anneka Rice, Toby Young and Aggie Mackenzie.

Friday, July 14, 2006

The calls that you hate to receive

To be honest my phone line is used mainly for making calls. Either to access the internet or to call a few relatives(and it is few)that are still living. So the likelihood of anyone phoning here is rare.

Occasionally, as many people do, we have a series of signals so we can tell if it is someone phoning that we would wish to speak to.

We went through a period like many have and continue to of having calls from companies selling double glazing, home improvements, kitchens etc...even the silent calls. Many dialed out by computer and its luck whether you are the unfortunate s** to pick up the phone.

Well, in the last two or three days(I lose track)we have been phoned a minimum of 10 times each day by a company. We did not know it was at the time. But unlike those that say "You were called today we do not have the callers name!" or "The caller with held their number!" when you check. This actually gave a number to call back on.

Sometimes, we could not get any response if we redialed the number. One time, the phone was picked up and heard a grunt and the receiver was put back down. The actual calls to my home have ranged from ringing tone lasting minutes to as little as two rings.

So today we went through the procedure of contacting British Telecom who after checking the number suggested it was a business number and that we may like to sign up to the Telephone Preference Register that cuts out as many of these calls as possible.

We have but that does not come into force for perhaps a month.

Anyhow, I got through to someone from the company and was promised that they would not contact us again and an apology was given.

That has now happened four times today and twice in the last ten minutes!
And these are only the times that I know of(naturally as each call comes in the previous details are cancelled)

Having thought about it I realise that on three of these occasions where we have been apologised to and promised to have our number removed and I was talking to the same woman.

The last but one call, I was told by the saleswoman that she could not remove our number from her list. So I asked to speak to someone higher up the chain of command and found myself talking to the same lady who had promised to deal with this all day.

And now finally(I suspect)because I threatened to name them on here and possibly get the newspapers involved regarding their company's poor customer relations I have received an apology from someone(don't you wish that you would take more notice of who phones)who says that the number has been removed from their computer and if it happens again they will get a severe reprimand and yes, we have been phoned more often than they would think is reasonable. This person also said anyone calling would receive a severe reprimand. Yeah...right!

If that is the end of it, I can accept matters but one more call and I planned to definitely name and shame...

I have worked in retail and know how funny the public can be so I appreciate that businesses have to look for new contacts but this is just crazy.

I did say but what if you decide to use a different number or one that withholds a number that we can phone back on? How would we ever know that its you phoning and the reply was that we will not hide behind a number that cannot be contacted.

Oh no...surprise, surprise...another call and its them again and some salesman trying to interest us in their products and when I started to tell him, he is tried to make excuses, and that he could remove us from their lists but they've been saying this all day. He would not listen and tried to get out of having me talking to the person in charge again. He also tried to talk over me.

But I demanded to talk to the person in charge...again.

Which I have now done and this time they are telling me that the number will not come off the computer(remember minutes ago I was told that it had been removed by this person)and now they have their "IT" team looking into it.

Tosh...its damage limitation time.

I really think though that at last we may actually be left alone.

That telephone preference service thing will kick in soon anyhow. And as forceful as I made my point, I have a feeling that if they treat customers or prospective clients like this they will get a bollicking much worse than they received from me. And if I might've considered buying from them I certainly would not consider doing so now and if word of mouth business is important they will not be getting any promotion on that score.

Their products may be good but their sale technique stinks...there may be some firms with similar names so I have to be careful to be sure that I say the correct name but it does sell conservatories and windows and I'm not sure where the company is based but it takes its name from the Anglian region though they were using a national code prefix number based in the North East of England.

So its been a day of hassle which has stopped me getting on with e-mails and other matters, which I could quite happily have done without.

I said that I think we deserve a written apology but we'll see if one is forthcoming, I suspect that they will not like to have it down in writing as then you have some proof. And as I close so much for the staff being told not to phone and the threat of a reprimand. Its all spin...

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Big Brother

I don't know why but as I have spare time on my hands(not really)I have clutter to remove from the pc, files to burn, e-mails to write(There is not enough time in the day to do it all)and I have just wasted time trying to get back onto some websites that I visit because I hit a wrong button(still do not know which one)on the keyboard which thanks to a security program I have on here managed to clear all of my cookies and as I write this I think this could also mean access to my blog has been messed up.

It was but I fixed it as you can see because you are reading this...so the panic is over for now!

They say don't write passwords or user names down...that may be true if you live or work with many people but if you live alone write them down somewhere, you are bound to forget or have an unforeseen problem and find yourself up a creek without a paddle...

Now, I am unsure how many countries take reality programmes on their television networks. I suspect best part do as many programmes have their format copied or adapted to suit another audience. Its always been especially true of quiz shows...Deal Or No Deal, The Weakest Link and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire come to mind. But if you go back into television history the most popular of this genre have come across from the States, one in particular being the Price Is Right. Mentioning that one I am probably not helping myself in my criticism of Big Brother as it proves that the public will often fall for the lowest common denominator as a participant or watcher.

Television for all its value in bringing news, drama, comedy, education and culture to the masses has to also be a diversion, to offer escapism and therefore I guess we will have conflict especially if it is being provided by the public broadcaster. You may see the worth of a nature series fronted by Sir David Attenborough or an Opera which many of the population cannot afford or would be able to attend so to offer it to the masses is a great gesture and a rightful thing to do but you ignore what the public want at your peril(I'm not helping my own argument here)
If no one is watching and in a multi channel environment it is more of a problem, who can blame the BBC as an example(living in the British Isles)having to sometimes be populist.

What we like in entertainment is personal and I suppose in the end I have to accept that some things that I enjoy others will dislike and vice versa.

Was television of a higher quality and more creative in its early days? Were we happier with less choice? Was there as much rubbish back then but we noticed it less and we were enthralled by this new medium?

If society had been different back then and someone had suggested Big Brother, would it have been produced then?

I suspect the closest programme from memory that I could suggest to being similar to Big Brother was the documentary series on BBC television called The Family where camera's followed an extended family through its daily life and how they reacted with each other through weddings, births, birthdays, deaths and all the things that make up our lives. But that was as near as possible to showing a family in a genuine environment and not manipulating the situations and it was only approx 1 hour per week.

So we have Channel 4 who are talked of in similar tones as BBC2 or the new digital BBC television channels BBC3 and BBC4 and somehow(because of its original remit and the way commercial revenue was raised)is often called a public broadcaster.

Now we have Big Brother and I believe that we are into series 7 in the UK. Now I am torn in that if I do not watch, those that do could say that I do not know what I am talking about and if I do watch then I am guilty of becoming one of the audience.

I know enough to comment but what I hear and having flicked across channels and seeing perhaps a few minutes here and a few minutes there I d know that I could not sit and watch it for hours, days and weeks. Perhaps it does bring out my prejudices and preconceived ideas, maybe I am a snob...I don't know(at least I question my motives)but the trouble is...

There is not one person I can say that I like, that I would like to know, that I would want to spend time with, they all seem to be the extreme examples of society.

Though, I suspect as the series keeps coming back the makers have looked for characters that are more outrageous.

No one seems to be able to express themselves without an expletive and whether for or against the use of bad language every other word that is uttered seems to be an expletive of the most extreme. What I find amusing or strange is that as an example(and this is probably what prompted me to write this piece)I could not find anything to watch on terrestrial television and for various reasons had to wait before I could go onto satellite television because I was using it for the radio...so I caught BB for about 5 minutes.

I could not take any more.

Regardless of the behaviour, just using the language as an example...the person being evicted every other word was f*** or a combination of and as this person left the house she even used a word rarely heard on any broadcaster the "C" word but because this all they know it falls out of mouths without any realisation that they are doing it. And the craziest situation is that Channel 4 will broadcast all this language. Much of it is recorded perhaps but we've heard the words(unbleeped)and then suddenly they'll say "We're live please do not swear" but the contestants continue to do it anyway. And as we have just heard dozens of such words seconds before going live, I cannot see the difference?

Wish I could remember where I heard or read it but something was said about this in the last few days. BB is recorded or on delay so the channel has control over how much we see and hear and is edited so it falls within guidelines but that is a weak excuse IMHO.

What I do not understand therefore is the double standards. A live event where someone unexpectedly swears and is warned against doing so again and may apologise, the broadcaster will be fined or get a warning and being caught in such circumstances may come off far worse which seems unfair and a case of double standard.

In a wider context, sometimes words that are considered "Bad" can add something when making a point but using it less means it has more of an affect.

Is it a phase or a trend that will burn itself out or continue to become more outrageous in the future?

Jan Ravens(impersonator/actress)best known in the UK for her work on *Dead Ringers, recently explained how easy it once was to make television look outrageous by coming up with ideas or situations where you could put a character and it was fun because it was unlikely to happen but now television is often doing things it would seem unlikely to have ever considered and is becoming a parody of itself.

*Dead Ringers now a television series but originally heard for years on BBC Radio 4 where popular personalities and people in the news are impersonated.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

There is superstition...The writings on the wall...

Just a thought, nothing major. Who is superstitious out there? You might be if you follow the black arts and I am sure that there are more things in heaven and hell than we can comprehend. Things do happen that are unexplainable to the Human mind. We ask, we probe whereas an animal of a lower level order(as far as we know)just accepts its world. Maybe everything can be explained but we are not intelligent enough.

Are there any new superstitions?

Do they all come from out of our dark and distant past? Due to those in charge keeping the masses in order by the use of fear? Although some superstitions are plain crazy, many are just based on common sense and fact. The likelihood that if you do that...this will happen.

I've walked under ladders, I've spilt salt etc etc...All it comes down to is weighing up the situation whether the painter or window cleaner is actually up the ladder and you'll get a bucket of something dropped on you from a great height. And I do not ever remember throwing salt over my shoulder.

Some superstitions are possibly more like proverbs, just telling you to be careful.

And they can be different depending on which country you live...I have always thought from what I know of the following example that it is lucky if a black cat crosses your path but in America when this is referred to, they say the opposite is true. So how does that work? ;-) And which is correct?