Random Jottings Of Gildersleeve

My Photo
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.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Oh Bother!

What else can go wrong?

Some months ago one of my Sony Mini-disc recorders started playing up. You put a mini-disc into it...it plays, it records but when you try to eject the disc afterwards, the disc either refuses to eject and you have to poke something into the slot and move the implement in a certain way whilst pressing the eject button for the disc to eject or if you are lucky...if you stand the machine on it's end and press the button it does come out without any help.

My problem is...is it worth trying to get it repaired, what will it cost and can it be repaired.

Its not helped by the fact it appears that this recording system seems to be no longer being manufactured or its difficult to get hold of. Plus it also means spending money!

Now this computer that I am using is also playing up...I had it repaired a few weeks ago(more money)but it's starting to misbehave again. It sometimes refuses to boot up. It freezes, it crashes, it switches itself off and back on again...I may be trying to post an entry here and suddenly it decides to freeze or switch off and show me the blue screen of death so I'll have to call the repair man out again...

Oh, I put on the main tv in the lounge a few minutes ago and the tube has blown...no picture of any kind. I switched the tv off and put it back on again and we have a picture of sorts but its temporary and one colour is missing. The only thing is that we have had this tv around 25 years and it has never required any repairs over that time so it has done well. But more money to be spent. I cannot buy another immediately as I want to be sure I pick the right replacement as the design of tv's have changed and they have to be ready now for the digital switchover so should it fail again over the next day or two all we have is a really tiny black and white tv we'll have to struggle to watch and it really is tiny.

Finally for now...the video/DVD recorder is also playing up. It only records certain tv channels and the DVD player part refuses to play any DVD's. So that will need replacing and I am debating whether to ditch video tape altogether and go for a DVD recorder only or to get a combination machine again but again it's more money to spend.

Oh Dear.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Champagne Socialists...

They keep harping on about how cheap booze is. Poverty is relevant to the country you live in and your personal situation.

Supermarkets are criticised all the time for selling what is classed as cheap booze. But you know using my present income and even thinking ahead to the future where there would only be one source of income coming to pay for everything...booze for me is not cheap. It would have to come way down the list of priorities possibly even to the point where it would be a rare treat if I have at all. To me the only alcohol that is possibly inexpensive is beer, cider and/or larger.

In the last 6 months I have purchased my first bottles of champagne. It's not something I normally could or would consider. I have no idea if I have purchased good champagne or not. I cannot even tell you when I last drank any champagne.

However, I have been looking for those times when they have reduced the price by a significant amount(but even then I have had to)think before buying. And it will be bought out on a special occasion. What brings home the true cost of the champagne is that even at half price or with £10 off the retail price for those three bottles I could probably buy almost a week or week and half's worth of food. Or perhaps heat or light my home for 10 days or pay almost the rent on my property for one week.

And still we hear that pressure groups and Government reports are planned to try and restrict the consumption of alcohol and using the price as a way to do it.

The booze that they keep talking about raising the extra money on is wine and spirits. And most of the problems are probably centred around beer, cider and larger.

What is unfair is that most people are sensible with their drinking and they are the people who will be penalised.

And as prohibition in the USA proved when it was taken off general sale, the production and sale of alcohol was taken over by the criminal world and often it was more harmful to the health of those drinking it because of how it was made. And naturally, many people made their own illegally.

We are more liberated as a society compared to years ago and yet to some extent we are turning a corner where in some cases we are trying to restrict enjoyment and could be becoming puritanical. Pointing the finger too much.

The nightclubs and pubs complain about supermarkets undercutting their business and that could be right but then if it wasn't for supermarkets, the local liqueur store(off licence)doesn't offer the choice of product and I could not afford to go to a nightclub because of the cost of taxi's to and from the venue, the price of the booze when there and I don't want to be assualted by loud music and flashing lights and if you do not have many friends to go there with, I'm just as safe...safer staying at home.

Chances are there is just as much drinking, damage to health in the circles where Government officials, company bosses and or media types attend social events than amongst the so called plebs and the difference is that in those circles where I would have to think twice about whether I can afford to purchase alcohol...it is often given away for free or the paying of £30 for a bottle of champagne would be the same as someone paying maybe £2 for a bottle of larger or £4 for a bottle of wine except they won't miss it. So they don't think twice about spending that kind of money or miss it.

By the way I did not pay £30 for any of my champagne.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

What Do I Know?

You cannot know all the performers and music that is out there and apart from a few that you perhaps make a point of following others get away from you.

So I purchased a CD(It's been promoted on tv)and it also has a DVD with a full length concert from The Royal Albert Hall in London and with a selection of popular classical music and a few surprises too. I thoroughly enjoyed it...well both myself and Mum did.

But here's the thing, this performer is obviously well known around the world and this venue is packed to the rafters by an appreciative audience of all ages who obviously know him. He has style, personality and is engaging.

Who? André Rieu. Mum reckoned he could be around 45-50 years of age, we could not guess where he was from.

Thanks to the internet I now know that he is 62 later in the year and is from the Netherlands and he has been performing for many years.

And we just discover him. If classical music seems staid and possible of losing it's appeal someone like Rieu is exactly the kind of person to re-introduce such music again.

It's said that various countries have broadcast performances and concerts by him including here but I have to say that somehow I have missed any programme on TV or Radio but from past experience many tv statons will play pop or chart music at the drop of a hat but a lot of music is neglected and ignored even though some performers have a very big following across the globe. So thank heavens for DVD's and CD's...

Update Susan Ham has informed me that André is a year younger than I have him...I've aged him prematurely. Thanks Susan.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Forty Eight Years Later...

I always had a holiday in Bournemouth at least twice a year.

Some 48 years ago I'd guess, Boscombe pier used to have roller skating on the pier an(I don't remember actually doing any skating myself)

Later the skating was later replaced by gambling machines but mainly of a bygone age and the amount you could win meant they were more just for the fun of it...

I do remember one piece of music being played when everyone skated and we asked what it was.

We never ever heard it again.

I suspect that we tried to order it but again it seemed to be unavailable.

Many years later I did find a 78 of it in a jumble sale but with no record player etc...it has sat in a drawer doing nothing.

A few years ago I found it on a foreign mp3 site but it was not available for download here. Also, you could only hear perhaps a small excerpt of it to preview it before buying.

But for some reason tonight I put the title into Amazon's site in the UK and...I have it at last. It is called Rainbow's End by Lou Busch and his orchestra. And was the "B" side of one his biggest hits Zambesi.

It may be a bit cheesy but it brings back quite a few memories and connects me to a happy time and to my Dad in particular so again I have downloaded another rarity.

What's That?

Earlier today on BBC Radio 5's Breakfast programme a Dr was talking about a medical condition where the blood becomes thick and sticky and that can damage many organs in the Human Body but mainly the Heart and Brain. Pregnant women can have a miscarriage through this without realising.

It is an Auto - Immune system problem and it has been known about since at least 1984. Here in England there are no tests being carried out or any screening programme but it seems that it is an easy test and very inexpensive both in money terms and trying to stop problems further down the line.

In some cases a baby aspirin is enough to correct the problem.

It also appears that just over the English Channel in France they do test for this condition which thanks to this Dr today I now have a name for it...Hughes Syndrome.

The first I knew about my blood being thick and sticky was around ten years ago when I first took ill and was diagnosed with kidney problems which it seems resulted in the filtering system being damaged because of the blood. And yes, I was given aspirin.

I blame the blood for causing problems with my eyesight too.

So just as I mentioned many years ago to keep a check on how much protein in your urine and to have a test once in a while. Here's another to consider.

I now have a name for the condition which I have never had before so whenever I have to fill in any official forms in the future instead of just saying my blood was thick and sticky I can say that I had Hughes Syndrome.

Friday, February 19, 2010

We're All Doomed...

Something will get the Human Race, in many cases we have been fortunate to adapt and the survival of the fittest means that we survive as a species...allowing for environmental or natural disasters but in recent years there have been scares with the threat of swine flu, bird flu, Sars and whatever else.

Towards the end of last year our Government like many around the world ordered extra drugs to try and stop or delay the population getting swine flu(and drug companies tried to make a vaccine to kill swine flu specifically designed for the purpose)

The epidemic didn't happen(though some sadly did die of it)or complications because of other medical problems these individuals already had but overall the conclusion was that ordinary flu is as dangerous or more so.

So quietly over a number of years(I had never heard of it)and seeming since the 1930's there has been a disease that can be passed between Humans and animals and it can jump from Human to Human. Again most people survive but an outbreak in the Netherlands in the last few months has seen over two thousand cases and thousands of these animals slaughtered.

There have been cases in America and Australia.

It is known as Q Fever and the animal causing concern is the Goat.

Some years ago another highly contagious disease, Ebola was being mentioned and that has been a worry for years often killing those that try to treat victims of it and though not reported in the media for a long time, I assume it is still a cause for concern.

So there is always something coming along as the next threat.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I Found Some More...

energy saving light bulbs today and they are classed as being as near to being the same as the traditional 120 Wattage bulbs which are no longer available.

As they insist on making them in soft white I have already found that those they say are similar to 100 watts are dimmer so I have purchased some of these more powerful ones thinking rightly or wrongly that the extra power may make them as near to the the old 100 watt bulbs(I'm trying to compensate for the loss of light)because they insist on using that softer colour. We'll see if my idea works later on...

I really cannot believe that using these new bulbs will save me any money when the bill comes in because the price of electric keeps increasing so any saving will not be noticeable, the latest bill arrived today and it was sky high.

If you listen to all the information coming out of Government campaigns the amount you can save from using these bulbs and having your home insulated(The Roof)and cavity wall insulation...you really should be getting your electric for free because the amount saved would cancel the cost out. It doesn't!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

As EMI Are Strapped For Cash...

and looking for ways of raising finances by possibly selling off the famous Abbey Road Studios where many performers, musicians, engineers and producers have for something like 100 years have produced and recorded some of the most iconic albums known.

I assume it has managed to adapt to modern digital recording techniques(We all by now know)the history and stories of how a group like The Beatles pushed the boundaries and embraced the changes in equipment often to the annoyance of the engineers who said certain things had to be done a certain way or certain things could not be done. That like so many professions it was very much a case of "You" are the artist/performer so "You" stay behind the microphone and "We" in the Control Room do the rest.

So we move on and decades later thanks to computers, software and the internet many performers can produce the complete package in their own bedrooms. Do they need a recording studio? I would still say yes but virtually every large city or town could have one. You don't have to travel to London. Many other studios have already closed. I suspect in time if it is saved it may actually become a kind of museum.

We must not forget that even the way that we buy our music has changed greatly...We have kept adapting from wax cylinders to flat records of various widths and speeds to CD's to digitally stored files on a computer or mp3 player. In reality something that you cannot actually hold in your hand.

And we haven't got around to what it meant often buying the complete package which might include a book with photographs, artwork and/or lyrics of all the songs you were listening to.

I am happy to have my music in any form but I still do and always will like to have it burned onto a physical disc so that if the hard drive crashes you do not lose all your files.

And what of those who are unable to afford an internet connection or do not have access to a computer? Before you buy your music you have to pay for a company to connect you to the net, usually a phone rental charge so you already have to find £300-£500 a year before you do anything(though there will always be deals that keep costs down)

I also would welcome the digital way of collecting music if it means that many songs and tunes that have long since been deleted and have not been released become available and they make the music available at a price that is good value for money.

But of course we must also remember though it is still called EMI it is run by some kind of private consortium run for and by shareholders so it is probably not run with the music being first and foremost in it's mind. Then again was it ever so? We know in general music has to be good otherwise it doesn't sell so you hope that loving care will be lavished on the completed works but we could probably all(depending on our personal taste in music)argue what is great music.

On the night this story has come to light where British Music has celebrated 30 years of the Brit awards and supposedly the great state it finds itself, I downloaded my first piece of digital music and what was it? How old is it? It was recorded by Sol K Bright And His Hollywaiians. It is called Hawaiian Cowboy. It is 74years old!

Update:I hear talk of the Abbey Road Studios becoming classed as a National Treasure run by the National Trust so my idea of it being run as a kind of a museum isn't too far out.

Now there is a story breaking that Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber may be stepping in to save the studios...but not sure if that is as a going concern or again as a kind of shrine.

More news it has been awarded special status which protects it from developement and probably means that it will not be sold off. Now it is said that EMI consider it special and so they have no plans to let it go either.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Energy Saving Lightbulbs...

I have put my very first such bulb inside the house today, so far I have only used another in the passage that runs alongside the house. Mainly to make the traditional bulbs I have stored last longer and to be used in the areas of the home where we spend the most time.

So it's been put into the light fitting on the landing of the house especially as I leave that light on overnight for safety especially for Mum when she gets up through the night. It is better than I thought it would be and Mum seems happy with it too.

It's her first experience of such bulbs. I have found that it switches on immediately and seems to require no time to reach the maximum amount of light it is supposed to give.

It's one of the long tubular type and I thought it might be visible below the lampshade but again that hasn't happened.

There's a quote of it lasting ten years(I assume if you only use it for approx 2 hours per 24 hours)but most people use light bulbs as long as they awake(In a lounge during the Winter season I would say that you usually have one switched on approx 7-8 hours daily)and this one on the landing will be on approx 7-8 hours so we'll see.

Monday, February 08, 2010


We are always being told that many people who leave school are not able to read and write to an acceptable standard but sometimes you wonder if that should include being able to speak.

The richness of the English language is the joy of how it adapts and grows and the same is true of the spoken word from the various dialects and accents. If you listen to broadcasts from old radio programmes and films of the early part of the 20Th century most of what we hear suggests that we all talked with what is sometimes called a posh or cutting glass accent. That wasn't true of the population as a whole and sometimes it was too pronounced.

The one thing though that cannot be denied. It was very clear and easy to understand and often easy on the ear. I have always believed that out of all broadcasting the one aspect of broadcasting that should be the clearest and easiest to understand to avoid any misunderstanding is when someone reads the news or is dealing with information.

In today's world of media it would be seen as right to stop someone because of how they talk and if you did that person may try to take legal action against a broadcaster but we all know that not all of us are capable of doing every profession that exists though many of us might be able to do many of them if trained or given some coaching.

If someone with an accent is employed to read the news etc...they should make a concession and if they insist on keeping an accent or dialect the trick is to make it softer so the national audience can understand. If I live in an area where a particular accent is heard often my ears will become tuned to it but on a National network that is probably impractical.

Unfortunately, on a few occasions I have heard someone being asked to tone down their accent they often see it as a personal attack on them or the part of the UK they come from and they dig their heels in.

Recently, I have heard a number broadcasters who have such a strong accent it is so harsh it really hurts the ears.Strangely enough all of them have been female and so far none of them male. One reads the news on BBC Radio 5 overnight, another on a local BBC radio station and the other week I heard another presenting a music programme on a local commercial station.

I would love to illustrate what I am on about but they say words incorrectly so I don't come across as being snobbish. The nearest I can explain would be to use the word "Coal" but some of this would pronounce it as "Kerl!" Which is nothing like the original pronunciation but it might be acceptable if it was not said so harshly. Some actually miss off the endings of words or say words so they are very flat.

How different some of our most popular singers and songs would sound if they were sung in a broad accent. Some songs especially folk songs and songs perhaps written in the style of Robert Burns it's expected and acceptable. But when someone sings with a beautiful voice such as Nat King Cole or Matt Monroe, where you can hear and understand every word.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Twenty Six Years Ago...

My Father passed away. Is it really that long ago?

I remember his frail body being put in the ambulance and us travelling with him.

I remember hearing the news we knew we were going to hear but did not want to.

Walking with Mum into the town centre whilst they did what they had to we tried to eat a light snack in a little French style café in a big departmental store to fill the time and stay warm. The enormity of the situation hitting home and us both crying.

That café no longer exists by the way.

The weather today was too bad to visit the crematorium and see the book of remembrance with his name on show and the inscription we wrote. Also both Mum and me are not feeling well today either but we'll never forget him and remember what is in the book. We'll say a few words tonight and light a candle.

God Bless Dad...you are always in our thoughts...

Monday, February 01, 2010

What's That All About?

I don't remember dreams much but I had this as the last image of a recent dream. Something that looked like a pastie(a food item eaten in the UK for anyone reading tis in another country)very popular...it originated in Cornwall, the story rightly or wrongly says that miners used to take them into the mine with them to eat when it was time to have something to eat. It is suggested that the original pastie had a savoury filling in one half and a sweet filling in the other half.

Anyhow...the image in my dream had a pastie being cut into but on the pastie was a pair of headphones like you would wear when listening to music. Why would a pastie have a pair of headphones around it?