Saturday, September 24, 2005

2005-09-21 Boat Show 018Well that was fun. A week of not being able to eat (one and half Weetabix is not breakfast); not being able to sleep (except in stupid places at stupid times); not being able to stand up straight, nor being able to look down; not being able to self regulate anything; and most worrying of all not being able to think. So a week of all that, and then, on the Friday, the nasal fluids start.

That's just taking the piss.

Ok, so it wasn't an entire week of it, as I managed to function enough to boat show on the Wednesday (and repay the debt on the Thursday), but still, being ill with symptoms which match flu, except for the complete lack of cold related items, then getting the drips, sneezing, coughs, and now sore throat, as I recover? That's just not on. What happened? Did the virus put the DNA in the wrong way round*?

* Please do not point out the numerous faults in that sentence.

So what have I been up to (ignoring Greece, as that is a BIG write up, and I don't have time, he said who shouldn't be writing this)? This week I have discovered that:

- Amazon do not have a log out button (presumably it's the "if you're not X", but that suggests you have to lie to stop your details sitting on the computer and the network).

- Amazon are amazing. Or not. Ordered book on Tuesday morning from marketplaceer who reputedly send things out the same/next day 1st class. Dispatch confirmation comes through at 17.30 on Wed. Hmm. Is that "in the post" or merely sitting in an out-tray with a label on it, waiting for tomorrow? Nothing on Thursday. Nothing on Friday; early morning inspection of garden in case the postal fairy has been (the local postman is, er, innovative when it comes to parcels. Protocol says stick through the letterbox if it fits, otherwise fill out a card to say the address has a parcel waiting at the sorting office (and stick that through the door; this important step has been known to be missed), and take the parcel back. The postman says "sod that" to lugging stuff back with him [it's better than saying "sod that" to carrying the stuff in the first place - I've come across postmen who carry nothing but the cards], and so leaves the parcel on the property, whether it's wedged in the letterbox, left on the doorstep, buried in the grapevine, left outside the back door, left on the kitchen windowsill, left on the table deep in the back garden (he had a good explore, didn't he?), left under a boat or left on a boat. However most marks must go to the postman who left a book inside the newspaper recycling bin. Obviously he realised a poorly wrapped book would not survive the back door step weather, and so he chose to put it in a waterproof plastic box, so thoughtfully padded with newspaper, and conveniently left outside the kitchen door. Perhaps his local borough council does provide branded boxes for exactly this purpose. This one doesn't. Which brings me to my next point.

- All recycling is not equal. Wondering why the neighbouring borough in one direction recycles plastics, but not cardboard, and the neighbouring BC in the other does cardboard but not plastics, while here does neither, I started investigating. It turns out borough councils get government goodies in return for recycling. Not much of a surprise there. Except BC A who accept plastics for recycling, and earn Gordon Brownie points for doing so, er, don't actually recycle it. It awaits recycling until such a time as there are facilities and the capacity to recycle it. No one seems to know facillitaries there currently are, and what the planned expansions and improvements are going to be, if any.

Now having taken the money for the recycling it they can't donate it to landfill. And being prevented by the EU from shipping to other member states who can recycle it (under laws designed to prevent the dumping of rubbish into foreign landfills, and so intended to create responsible refuse strategies), the BC rents a warehouse. They fill it up with unrecyclable recyclables. And when it fills they rent another one. Congratulations, we've progressed to buildingfill.

And is anyone else wondering when we will see the first houses built out of fridges? People already use tyres, and fridges must be fairly well insulated.

By the way, the other side BC, who take cardboard don't recycle it either. It gets incinerated, sorry, I mean thermically oxygenated.

Recycling's not what it used to be*. For a start, the home collection thing takes out the best bit: bottle banks. The smash and subsequent booming cascade was so much fun, but now we're not supposed to do that. We're supposed to let strange men recreate little versions of it repeatedly at some fiendishly early hour.

* It's what it is now - the tagline abandoned by the Izzard-headed campaign because they thought it sounded desperate.

- I forget to finish Amazon anecdotes. Friday: nothing. Just before they closed I went to enquire (You'd have got a card. You've not got a card. Yes, I know, but it was first class and it was posted two days ago*, and I have known the cards to go missing before, so could you possibly check for me, please?). No luck. I know the Amazon email, from Amazon, not the seller, said delivery was anytime between the beginning of October and Christmas, but I assumed that was Amazon being stupidly conservative, in a lawsuit-shirking way.

I worry, annoyed, as being me, I'd left it late ordering it anyway. The book arrives on Saturday, and it's a lot smaller than I expected. I'm used to science textbooks which weigh more than a sumo baby. This thing's practically sleek. It's got big printing and white space. Although it is printed on very thin paper (handy for reading four pages at once). So now all I need to do is read the thing, and understand every bit of it.

* Not that first class means tomorrow anymore, thanks to "higher priority" which just means they don't shove back down the sofa they pulled it out of. All this because a slight wobble led them to sack the people and drop the contracts which would have matched all their systems up and made it all work. The joy of cost-cutting to save the now-slumped share price from a marginal blip. Remember kids, innovation is a dangerous thing and no good can come from it. Just say no to "new".

- Science written about by non scientists is certainly enlightening. Now, that's not technically true. I can see what you've done, but you can't say that because you've missed out this. It's also very odd to have a book state something and not even consider that it might need to explain why. I know why, but it's nice to have the mantra (and it doesn't bode well for inevitable bits I won't get).

- I'm out of practice at reading for information gain. Hence I'm blogging instead of being a hundred and fifty nice pages into the thing.

- Boat shows never change. Except when they do. Nearly bought a couple of Fatface tops but didn't, despite generous reductions (FF at least do proper 50% or more reductions at the boat show. It used to be full of end of season stuff, but now lots of places think 10% is being generous, and that's if they're not showing off their new three-years-hence stock).

- Pontoons aren't the best places for people with illness induced balance issues. Nothing happened, other than some heavy leaning.

- The entire sales staff of Etap yachts couldn't find the right halyard to pull to stop one clanging on a mast. It was the only one in the place making noise. Hands up if you'll be buying anything from them.

- Considering it was a boat show, there were some very unboaty people around. I mean that in both senses. Sense one doesn't really matter, because judging on looks is wrong and dangerous (although good choice in the strappy stilettos. My grandmother once wore heels on a boat. Returning from some drinks do on my grandfather's ship, she clambered down towards the boat. Drink having been taken she forgot which shoes she had on, and being her, she jumped down into the middle of the company launch. Both heels went straight through the bottom boards. Family mythology neglects to include any further detail. So heels plus boats is not a good combination). But sense two does. One of the Show Patrol boats was being manned by someone who acted as if he had never been near any boat. I first saw him kneeling on the external sides of two RIBs, both with space either side and one completely untied and only held by the guy sitting at the controls (who was leaning across, apparently without killcord with an engaged engine). He wasn't apparently doing anything. I think he was trying to work out what he'd forgotten and choosing a growing chasm to do it over.

- There were some very unboaty things. Like the section of pontoon where the traditional lumps of plastic or wood had been replaced by imported extra pontoon, upon which sat a collection of Jacuzzis, with at least one filled. Does anyone else think bringing your own floatation so you can float a large tank of water is a little odd? Especially as solid ground is only a few hundred yards away, and I'm sure they could fit in another stand of Jacuzzis.

- There were some very unboaty boats. The usual Sunseekers, now grown big enough to keep the entire staff of Gordon's and Plymouth distilleries employed.

- The muppets selling insurance never learn. Is your boat insured sir? Yes. Are you aware that we offer... [not giving a damn] No. What boat do you own sir? A Wayfarer (well /I/ don't own it). Excellent choice sir. May I ask you a few questions about your boat sir? [shrug] What is your annual mileage? Um, I'm not sure I see. Could you hazard a guess? Not sure? In which continents do you use your boat? Er... Europe. Nowhere else? I can't think of anywhere else. Do you have gas fitted in your boat sir? No. That's good. What navigation systems do you have fitted? None really. Bu...? [seeing higher commission on higher premiums] Reliant on the traditional methods are we? What size engine do you have? [thinking of the never used Seagull] I can't remember, it's quite small. And how many does your boat sleep? I've never slept on her. How many cabins does she have? She doesn't. Just the main? She doesn't. No cabins? Rooms then. How many rooms? None. A distinctive choice sir. What is the waterline length of your boat? 16 ft I think, but I'm not sure that's at the waterline. Sixty? A racer then? No, six-teen. You do know a Wayfarer's a dinghy, don't you? [about three seconds of blank grey face, then a slightly out of control turn and he walks away without saying another thing]

- The Guinness stand had moved although tracking the Guinness hats (complete with model pints on strings a la Aussie corks) would probably find it again. But one of the magazines which line one side of the front lane had hit upon the idea of giving out free Gin and Tonics. Obviously the plastic bag wars had got too much for them. But the free G&Ts had rather obviously been enjoyed by many of the staff on nearby stalls.

Hmm, I stopped writing this late last night, and I now I don't remember what else there was.

So photos on Flickr. Those of Greece aren't the complete set, and might not all be by me (don't ask).

Chaos looms over car, tax, fees, loans, houses and god knows how much else. Yeah, don't go on holiday for the first half of an MOT month, especially not when one's live is about to shift radically anyway. I'm going to forget something.

Which reminds me: how come despite gaining an extra year of no claims bonus, an extra year away from being an irresponsible age, Norwich Union think I ought to be paying more than I did last year for exactly the same car? Does this mean I have to go and pretend to be someone knew to get the welcome-discounts? Or do I spend the rest of my life alternating annually between two insurance companies?

I'm tired, worried, and running out of time.


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