Taxi

On Saturday night I went to pick my daughter up after her works do.

I arrived at the hotel venue just before pumpkin time, parking discreetly slightly back from the reception entrance/exit where a few revellers were mincing about. Then, shortly after midnight, the noise from the disco ceased abruptly. Chucking out time! Small groups of partygoers started leaving and cabs started arriving.

So there I was, sitting there contentedly waiting for my daughter to appear, when a slightly inebreated chap, accompanied by his girlfriend tottering on very high heels, approached my vehicle. He tapped on the front passenger window. I thought, he’ll realise his error shortly, I’ll ignore him.  He rapped on the window again so I gave him what I call my dismissive wave. By this time his girlfriend had made it to the rear door and they both started trying the door handles but were unable to open the doors (my doors lock automatically when I drive off so they were still locked). They both seemed perplexed by this development and tried the doors again. They’d obviously not read the memo about not getting into unknown cars. So I opened the passenger window an inch and engaged them in conversation.

 

taxi

This is a taxi

Me: “I’m not a cab.”

Bloke: “Uh?”

Me: “I’m not a cab. Or a taxi.”

Bloke: “You’re not a cab then?”

(Bear in mind he’s trying to get into a muddy Freelander)

 

lr

This is not a taxi. You can see how they’d get confused.

Me: “No. I’m waiting for someone.”

Bloke: “Who you waiting for then?”

Me (still trying to be polite): “That’s none of your business.”

Bloke: “Uh, ok.”

Girl: “He not a cab then?”

Bloke: “No, he’s not a cab.”

After a minute or so of just standing there looking bemused, they wandered off. Luckily, at that moment my daughter arrived so I unlocked the doors, she hopped in and I drove off before any more drunks tried to join us. You can’t make this stuff up!

 


F1’s target market

Bernie Ecclestone doesn’t see the need to attract youngsters to watch F1 because they don’t have the disposable income to buy the expensive products F1’s sponsors sell. He’s only interested in the “70 year-old guy with lots of cash“. Well judging by the price of a race day ticket his plan is well on the way to fruition. :P

When I was much younger than I am now, F1 used to be a sport (is there a motor racing equivalent of jumpers for goalposts?). Now F1 is just another multi-billion dollar international business and I’m a bit older. Funnily enough, I have yet to buy my first Rolex.

Looks like I’m not Mr. Ecclestone’s target market just yet.

 


Caching Etiquette

Whilst working my way round the Chiltern Hundreds I DNFd a few caches. I bookmarked those caches to a “DNF” list which has a watch on it. That way I can keep tabs on future visits, I get notified when (or if) subsequent cachers find them. There are a few which have lots of DNF logs on them so imagine my surprise when someone logged a “found”. In a couple of cases this cacher found the cache the same day I failed to find it.

Or did they?

When I looked at the logs I found that although they were marked as “Found”, the cacher had left notes on their logs such as “No luck here” and “This one has gone“.

So, either

(a) they are inexperienced at logging DNFs, i.e. an honest mistake but look, it’s not really that difficult:

not difficult is it

or

(b) they are claiming the find anyway, perhaps reasoning that they looked hard enough in the correct place and they would have found it if it had been there.

Oh well, rant over. ;) If they want to cheat they are, to coin a phrase, only cheating themselves.

Personally, I have always thought that the correct etiquette was “No findy, no signy”.

 


Microsoft Certification

I expect you’ve seen the news item about the five year old passing his Microsoft Certified Professional exam. Seems to me that’s similar to those “gifted” children who pass their A-Levels before they can walk.

Back in the day I worked in IT support and have been subjected to years of working with Microsoft products. I think this qualifies me to observe that:

  1. There is no substitute for experience
  2. I wouldn’t let anyone with only a Microsoft qualification anywhere near my server room.

 

 

 

 


Chiltern Hundred – Bonus

When the good Doctor first published the series there was a bit of competition to see who could do the lot in the shortest time. I believe 12 hours is the record. I made my first Chiltern Hundred find on 13 November 2012, so it has taken me just over two years to make my way round the three rings, in a somewhat sporadic fashion.

When I reached 93 finds I was missing bonus codes for 20 of them and the web form apparently required 90 to generate the coordinates for the Bonus. By chance I read the Bonus cache page again and spotted that Dr Solly had altered his algorithm. This meant that some numbers could be missing and it would still be possible to get the coords. So I plugged my numbers into the form and hey presto!

So I decided to look for the bonus cache today and go back to my DNFs at a later date to see if I can get the total numbers up.

skye

Skye belted up and ready to go caching

 

I parked in a now-familiar location (not telling where) and made my way with Skye towards the cache. Given that it wasn’t raining I was very surprised that during the entire sortie I didn’t see another human. Skye and I enjoyed the walk in and we soon found ourselves in a very pretty, secluded wood. Then the serious business began. We searched for quite a long time without success but hey, this was “The Bonus” after all so I wasn’t expecting it to be easy. The hint on the cache page was pretty specific but (without giving too much away) it was also misleading and a couple of recent cachers had logged a DNF. After searching for a while, Skye and I decided to stop for a drink and some biscuits. Then I thought, I’ve looked in all the obvious places so let’s look in the places that are not. So I did. Eventually I spotted something which looked a bit more promising. Getting up close, I carefully parted a couple of prickly bramble stems and I could see the cache nestling in its hiding place! Fantastic!

Then it was a question of getting to it with a Westie who had suddenly lost interest in the search. Once I had the container out in the open she realised what was happening and sat down patiently while I examined the cache.

The bonus cache

Then it was time to replace the cache, restore the camouflage and set off back to the Freelander; me with a silly grin on my face and Skye just happy to be snuffling in the fallen leaves.

A very big “thank you” to Dr Solly for an excellent and entertaining series. All that remains is to go back to find as many of those 16 DNFs as I can; I’d like to get my Chiltern Hundred tally up to 100.

Sorry, 101.

If you haven’t yet attempted this series then my recommendation is have a go. The variety of terrain, contour changes, lovely countryside views and Dr Solly’s penchant for tree climbing and cheeky hides make it well worth a go. Maybe you’ll do it quicker than me. :)


Something for nothing

I received an email from Waitrose inviting me to take part in their survey. Now I don’t mind helping out from time to time, giving up a couple of minutes to help improve the service a company provides me with, or (more likely) telling them where they need to improve when I’ve been on the receiving end of poor customer service.

As I read their email further I found this:

The full study consists of this initial questionnaire which will last about 45 minutes in total and a diary we would like you to complete over a 7 day diary period.

Hang on! 45 minutes?

The diary will last about 9-10 minutes each time you complete it, and we would like you to fill in the diary a minimum of 3 times

Plus at least 30 – 70 minutes for the diary?

OK, consider this. Waitrose would like to use something like an hour and a half of my time for free. True, they will enter me into a prize draw to win some vouchers but we all know that’s a carrot which is very unlikely to translate into any tangible remuneration. Let’s suppose for a moment that I normally charge my time at £50 per hour, that’d be worth £62 minimum. Now if they had to pay 1,000 people to undertake their survey that would cost them something like £62,000. So they would be getting a lot of time for free, in accountant-speak that would be a saving of £62,000. Pretty neat, huh?

And then I read the bit about privacy again.

Waitrose may wish to match your individual answers against other information they hold about you on their database, and may use the information to improve their products and services and how they tell you about these. 

Provided they nailed down the privacy element then perhaps I might have been more interested if they had offered some real remuneration rather than the fiction of a competition entry. I don’t necessarily mean paying me £60 (!) but they could have offered everyone a £5 voucher or, better still, promised to donate a decent amount to a charity for each completed survey.

Ho hum.

 

 


Swan Lake

Today we saw the English National Ballet perform Swan Lake at the Milton Keynes Theatre. It was a marvellous performance by dancers and orchestra alike and we enjoyed it immensely.

Even better, the Theatre car park cost me 60p.


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