24 April 2010 (Saturday) - Buying Blue Things

For once I slept well, and wasn’t up with the lark. So I was understandably miffed to be woken by a furious hammering on the front door. I get annoyed when people bang on the door – after all, there’s a perfectly serviceable doorbell there. So I got up and trotted downstairs to find some normal people thundering on the door of the house next to us. “Did we wake you?” they asked. I gave them a sickly smile, and then made my brekky.

Then another noise from the front door. I thought the thing was being kicked down. But no – the postman was putting letters through. How can you make so much noise posting letters through a letter box?

My postal vote has arrived. And with it was a separate letter telling me that I’d been allowed a postal vote. Which was rather obvious, and a waste of a letter. And then I did a little research. There are 45.2 million people registered to vote, according to Yahoo Answers. Of these, the Electoral Reform Society claims that 12.1% will use a postal vote. So I am one of five and a half million people who will use a postal vote. That’s far more than I thought. And every one of us has had a totally redundant letter telling us we’ve been allowed a postal vote.

Admittedly councils using franking machines get their postage cheaper than usual. A second class stamp costs me 32p. Let’s be generous and assume the council gets it for 20p. That will still cost the country just over a million pounds on sending out these unnecessary letters, to say nothing of the cost of the paper, envelopes and people’s time in producing them. I might just write to my MP, pointing out the saving the government might make, and asking if I get a reward for spotting this.

(And they claim there is a recession on!).

Then I got really angry with the PC – I couldn’t access anything in Facebook. Nothing at all. After half an hour I decided my browser was at fault, and tried using FireFox. That wouldn’t work either. Facebook itself was not working properly.

Facebook’s not what it once was. It’s a typical example of today’s IT philosophy: something is working well, so let’s fiddle about with it. As opposed to the typical engineering maxim “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” I wasted a lot of time trying to use Facebook to send a message, which in the end I sent by email anyway.

To town for shopping. First of all to buy breakfast. Having been to The Gorge with Martin a few weeks ago, we went back. A good old fry-up is always appreciated. With grilled tomatoes and black pudding too. We then wandered through the market stalls where I got a bandanna. In years gone by I had loads of bandannas. These days I can’t find that many. I have my suspicions where they might have gone….

I had been told that I could buy pink crocs for a fiver in the shop which once housed the Co-op. I was misinformed. Whilst they had pink crocs in my size, they were thirty five quid. A tad expensive. I found a pair of black crocs in Peacocks for a fiver, and went with those.

Over the last few weeks, everyone has been buying new cameras. Whilst I am very pleased with the camera on my phone, the battery doesn’t last more than a day, and my old camera is nearly ten years old, and is starting to creak a bit. I had a look in Colourscope Cameras. The one I’d had my eye on was rather expensive, so I looked at what else was on offer. I decided that since I didn’t use the video camera I’ve got much, I didn’t need one that did HD videos. All I wanted was something that took photos. The Fujifilm A170 took 10.2 megawotsits photos, and was on a bargain offer. And it also took AA batteries. I like a camera that takes standard batteries I can buy anywhere, so I bought the camera. The chap in the shop tried to sell me a case and a memory card, but I was talked out of buying those. They sounded expensive.

We had a look in Cheesy Computers (GZ to the normal people) where the assistant was very helpful. Not only were his memory cards half the price of the ones in the camera shop, he refused to sell us the biggest ones until he’d checked on the internet that our camera would take a 16Gb card. And he was right – it would only accept up to an 8Gb card. So we bought one of those. As we paid, the chap in the shop was saying how in the past they would sell the bigger memory cards, and then have people coming back complaining because the bigger cards didn’t work in most digital cameras.

On reflection, with each photo being about 2.5Mb, an 8Gb card can hold just over three thousand photos. How big a memory card do I need?

I came home via the tattoo shop. Dan the Tattoo Man had asked me to pop in so’s he could photograph my new tattoo once it had calmed down a bit. He was very pleased with it (as am I!).

Once we were home I spent a few minutes playing with my new camera. It can take videos after all. Having mucked about with it for a bit, I’m quite impressed with what I’ve got. I had a look on eBay, and I think I’ve got a bargain, as the eBay price for my camera is thirty quid more than I paid for it. I’ve ordered a sexy case for it which hopefully should be here mid-week. Let’s hope so.

And so the the Renault garage to check out their deal which sounded too good to be true. It was – partly.

We had a good chat with the salesman, who gave my car the once over. And it soon became apparent that my getting a brand new car wasn’t going to happen. He asked what sort of car I was after. I was very clear on that – the same as I’ve currently got, only newer and with comparable mileage. They had two cars which would suit my (and their) requirements. I ended up going for another Grand Scenic (same as I have now) which has done just over twenty thousand miles, and is two years newer than my current car. I pick it up on Friday, and having given them my car in part exchange I will be paying a quid less each month on my car loan. Admittedly I’m starting with a new car loan, but I was planning to do that when the loan was paid up anyway.

The only drawback is that grey roof bars and top-box will look a bit spazzy on a blue car, but I only have the box on for two months of the year anyway.

We then settled down to watch Doctor Who – another excellent episode. Having watched the last two years of David Tennant’s tenure out of a sense of feeling I had to, I’m really liking this year’s season. I then wasted what remained of the evening in NeverWinter.

All things considered it was quite a constructive day, but I had planned to do loads of laundry, mow the lawn and paint the fascia boards today as well. Maybe tomorrow…

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