Friday, 17 February 2017

Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit

As time goes on, I notice things about myself are changing.
I can't work at the pace I used to, I get tired more, I have trouble driving in the dark, especially when it's wet and there's lots of oncoming traffic, and I get out of breath far sooner than I ever used to.
My short term memory is also suffering, and I'm increasingly reliant on little Post-It notes stuck around the place so I don't forget important things.

Another thing I've noticed recently is a reduced attention span, particularly when it's with something I have limited interest in. While a few years ago I might have sat through a mediocre two and a half hour film, now I'll give up and do something else instead. I'd rather watch a couple of half-hour episodes of something than a whole movie.
This attention span issue has also started to interfere with my interactions with other people.
If someone is talking to me (especially if they're just rabbiting on about inconsequential nonsense), after a while I just stop hearing them. I'm still aware that they're talking, but it's as though I've tuned them out to the point where their inane ramblings have been reduced to a background white noise.
Unfortunately there comes a point where some sort of response is appropriate. I sense this and snap back to the moment, but by then I have no idea what they were on about and I have to make some sort of generic non-committal comment and try to catch up when they carry on talking at me.
This happens with some people more than others. Typically, if someone talks in a straightforward manner, making their point clearly, then there's no problem. But if they go into some long-winded shaggy dog story, often darting off at wild tangents, then I just switch off.

Some people don't talk much, and when they do so it's usually short and sweet. No problem. I'm one of those.
Others seem to be incapable of sharing silence and try to fill it with a constant stream of banality that just makes me want to run away to find some peace. Depending on who it is and what the situation is, hiding may not be an appropriate solution, which is when I start to just tune it out.
It used to irritate the hell out of me and I'd end up stressed out and angry because someone just wouldn't shut up.
Now I'm far less likely to have that reaction because I'm more capable of just blocking it out, so in a way it's a sort of psychological defense mechanism.

With the combination of poor attention span, unexplained depression, times when I can't remember what happened in the past few minutes, memory problems and general anxiety, it's hardly surprising that I started to worry that I was showing signs of early onset dementia.
Browsing the NHS website is a very efficient way of convincing yourself that you have all sorts of conditions and diseases and should really be dead by now.
But now it has come to light that I'm not the only one who reacts to certain people who constantly talk about nonsense in this way, so I feel slightly less worried that I'm mentally circling the drain.
I don't much care when I die, but I hope I still have all my marbles when it happens.


Everything in moderation

'Human' by Rag 'n' Bone Man is an excellent song - one of those that grabs you by the ears and won't let go. Granted, someone who only ever listens to classical music or jazz would probably have a different opinion, but for the most part I can't imagine there would be much argument.
However, because it's so good it's suddenly turning up everywhere, like trailers for TV programmes on the BBC, or as backing music.
No doubt this is good publicity for Rory Graham and sales will continue to soar, but it also means that before long everyone will be sick of hearing it, which is a shame.
This always seems to happen when a song is popular. The radio stations play it every hour, it crops up in all sorts of unlikely places, you can't walk into a shop without it blaring from the overhead speakers and even if you initially enjoyed it, it's not long before it's driving you mad.
A classic example of this would be 'I will always love you' by Whitney Houston which you simply couldn't get away from in 1992. The only difference was I hated that awful wailing right from the start, which only made things worse.

Over-saturation is a surefire way of taking the enjoyment out of pretty much anything.
I love a nice piece of rump steak, medium-rare with oyster mushrooms, blue stilton sauce, roast potatoes and broccoli, but if I had it every day I'd soon get fed up.
I remember mum getting frustrated with dad always saying how he loved egg and chips and could eat it every day, so she decided to prove a point and gave him egg and chips every day. I think he lasted about a week before he gave in.


We once went to Alton Towers just before the season opened. The company the wife worked for arranged a day where employees and their families could go and enjoy the park without the crowds of people and the usual massive queues for the rides.
'Oblivion' had just opened the previous year and I was dying to go on it. There were no queues at all and we got straight on. The first ride was immensely exhilarating and the second still took my breath away, but by the fifth time I just felt numb and wanted to move on to something else.
Similarly, Buttertubs Pass in North Yorkshire is a fantastic stretch of road to drive, but I'm sure that after half a dozen runs you'd be ready to try something different.

It's hard to think of anything that wouldn't have the pleasure taken away by overindulgence, with the possible exception of sex, but even then I think I'd occasionally want to read a book instead.
I must be getting old.



Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Note to self

It's very hard to avoid having an opinion on things. Maybe even impossible.
Beliefs such as those to do with religion are usually pretty much set in stone and any attempt to convince someone with a strong belief that they're wrong, even in the face of overwhelming evidence, will only be met by blunt refusal to acknowledge the argument followed by fingers in ears and some out-of-tune singing.

An opinion is rather more flexible, and as time passes I notice this more and more in myself.
Often an opinion is formed on the basis of limited information. You pick up on other people's viewpoints, hear snippets of news articles, get swayed by stereotyping, read a newspaper article, and compile these things into an opinion that makes sense to you.
If subjected to closer scrutiny however, these opinions are often found to be flawed, and sometimes more full of holes than a teabag.

The trouble is we can form opinions on subjects that we don't even have experience of, taking hearsay as truth, and this is where the old "Walk a mile in my shoes" thing emerges.
We can easily make assumptions about people based on what they look like, how they dress, what car they drive, or what job they do. We might see someone in the street in shabby clothes, dragging their heels with their eyes downcast, and immediately assume that they're some n'er-do-well who never made an effort in life, but for all we know they could have just gone through a traumatic experience that has left them emotionally battered.
We don't have all the information, and until we do we don't have any right to judge. But we do anyway.
You see a six and a half foot neanderthal with a shaved head and acres of tattoos, and you immediately cross the road because you feel threatened. This might be justified or it might not, but first impressions generate an opinion, and you make a decision based on the opinion that someone who looks like that is a potential threat and act accordingly.
The thing is, he might be a great guy who by accident of genetics turned out big, shaves his head because he can't be arsed to deal with bed hair in the morning, and happens to like body art.

I've shared a great many opinions on this blog. Some I still hold on to and others have changed.
For example, I've spent plenty of time criticizing tattoos on women.
I still don't like things like this:


To me it's like slapping one of those 'No Fear' stickers on a Ferrari - just wrong.
But I have no problem with subtle things like this:


I've even said that tats on men make them look moronic, and yet last year I got a large rose tattooed on my right upper arm in memory of my mum who died ten years earlier (her name was Rose), and in two weeks I'm getting another tat done.
That opinion got turned around, although there are still plenty of aspects of this whole area that don't appeal, but I no longer make a negative judgement of someone on the basis of them having tattoos.

I still hold on to my belief that we're all entitled to our own opinions, but what I've come to learn is that opinions are subject to change, or at least some flexibility as experience and the information on which they are based alters.
Although I do try to avoid making sweeping generalisations, I also need to exercise caution in expressing strong opinions because when they change you can make yourself look a bit of a fool.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

AA - Agriculture Anonymous

They say the first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem, so it's only right that I start this post by saying "Hello, my name's Dave and I'm a tractorholic".
I wouldn't say I have a particularly addictive personality, although I do fight an ongoing battle to keep my alcohol consumption to sensible levels, and least said about JaffaCakes the better.
Apart from music, I've also never been a collector since a brief pre-teen period of stamp collecting.
The trouble with collecting things is the room they take up, but I'm working on a degree in space utililisation and hold a black belt in origami, so the single shelf that I've been assigned to house my agricultural machinery model collection will soon be subjected to some serious folding of space and time.
And not a moment too soon, because it is now as crowded as the M25 on a bank holiday.

So how did this strange and slightly sad state of affairs come to be? It's not as if I grew up on a farm or anything, but on the other hand, living in the Fens does mean farming machinery is as common a sight to me as a cameltoe is to a swimming pool lifeguard.
Let's not forget that most small boys have a fascination with tractors and suchlike, and when you have an engineer's brain there will always be an attraction to pretty much anything mechanical.
Indeed, I remember being awestruck by the vehicles on display when my mum took me to the 'East of England Show' in Peterborough when I was a kid; agog at the monstrous tractors and combine harvesters that would dwarf me now, let alone as a wee ten year-old.
The real culprit behind all this however is the 'Farming Simulator' video games.
I've been a lifelong gamer, but while the 'Call of Duty' and 'Far Cry' franchises may have reasonable longevity, eventually I always got bored and wanted something new to get frustrated with and swear at.
The recent 'Farming Simulator' offerings from Giants Software have been different.
There's no raised blood pressure, no frustration, and to the wife's relief no swearing or gunfire either.
If anything it has become my own sort of meditation, and I can happily lose several hours at a time immersed in a world of crops, animals and forestry. There's also still no sign of getting tired of it.

Since getting into this I've found myself on the road to becoming a fully fledged farming anorak - more excited by the sight of a Case International Quadtrac than a Lamborghini Murcielago.
The collecting of 1:32 scale diecast models is simply the latest symptom of my affliction, and although the shelf is now unable to accomodate additional similar models, I suspect it may be possible to fit a few smaller scale ones in the gaps.
In the meantime, I'm going to investigate whether the companies that sell experience days like driving a Ferrari have anything that involves dragging a cultivator up and down a field with a 300hp New Holland.
Or is that just feeding the addiction?


Friday, 3 February 2017

The big grey

During the summer when it's so hot that all I want to do is sit in the fridge with the beer, I dream of the cool temperatures of winter. It's easy enough to get warmer by putting a jumper on, but there's only so much clothing you can remove in an effort to cool down before it becomes socially unacceptable.
The trouble is there's so much more to winter than being able to stay at a sensible temperature, and just about every other aspect of it sucks.

While various members of the animal kingdom are hibernating or generally keeping their head down, we carry on regardless. We have jobs to do and bills to pay, so life carries on as normal.
Or does it?
There's no doubt that winter has a negative effect on us, and I'm sure I can't be the only one that feels like I'm just going through the motions on autopilot until the trees start turning green again.
Commuting in the dark at both ends of the day with barely a glimmer of sunlight between is soul destroying, and as soon as the weekend comes and you wash the thick layer of grime off the car it just gets replaced with a fresh coat the next time you go out.
Everywhere is muddy, wet, and washed-out looking, as if someone has turned down the colour with the TV remote.
You look out the window and all you can see is a vast expanse of greyness, so it's hardly surprising that so many of us find just making it through the week a bit like wading through treacle, as the oppressiveness does its best to crush you.

John Gray mentioned in his blog 'Going Gently' yesterday about the low volume of blog posts around at the moment, so perhaps one of the effects of winter is that it saps creative thinking.
I know I've had a distinct lack of inspiration of late, which is reflected in my recent lack of posts.
Trying to garner any level of enthusiasm at this time of year is an uphill struggle, which is possibly the only valid reason for things like Christmas, because without that one thing to look forward to, people might go a little bit insane.
Perhaps I should make something more of the winter solstice - an un-christmas celebration of the impending return of spring and longer brighter days. Now that's something to celebrate.

So in summary, winter is gloomy, depressing, suffocates creativity, makes the car dirty, costs a small fortune in screen wash for the car and electricity for the tumble dryer, and makes your boots get all muddy.
So I'm just going to wait it out as best I can, secure in the knowledge that eventually I'll be commuting in daylight once again, the snowdrops and daffodils will be in bloom, and the pigeons will start shagging each other senseless in the neighbour's trees.
Spring will arrive, bringing with it a welcome burst of colour and the need to push the lawnmower around at weekly intervals, then before we know it summer will arrive when I can start my yearly grumble about the heat.


Wednesday, 18 January 2017

More wheat, less chaff

It's been said that TV series boxsets are now more popular than movies.
This comes as no surprise, because as popularity has increased, so has both quality and quantity in general.
That's not to say it's all good news (there's plenty of garbage out there) but chances are anyone will be able to find several series that appeal to them, providing ample opportunities for sitting on the sofa with a bottle of wine and a tube of Pringles for a good old binge watching session.
Game Of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Orange Is The New Black, Luke Cage, House MD..... hour after hour of quality entertainment that makes you wonder what the hell the movie industry is up to as it continues to churn out an endless stream of mediocrity.

For a while I thought my attention span was suffering from a catastrophic death spiral, but I've come to realise it's a combination of the generally lamentable quality of today's films and me being increasingly fussy.
If a movie doesn't grab my attention in some way within the first fifteen minutes, it doesn't look good. If I'm still not interested after the first half hour, I'll go and do something else rather than waste a further ninety minutes being bored on the off-chance it might get better. If it fails the 'half-hour-rule' then that's that.
Last night I picked a film on Netflix called 'Clinical', which sounded like it was worth a shot.
It survived the half-hour rule, but although it was mostly OK, it took a nose-dive about three quarters of the way through and by the end I wished I hadn't bothered after all.
This sort of experience has become so common that it's almost surprising when I watch a film that actually turns out to be good.

At the weekend we watched 'Hunt For The Wilderpeople' starring Sam Neill.
I admit I was sceptical beforehand, suspicious it was going to be one of those films that sort of wanders along aimlessly and ends up leaving you wondering what it was supposed to be about, but the wife was keen to see it and there wasn't much else to do so I gave it a go.
As it turned out, it was well worth it. I won't do any spoilers here, but if you want a well-acted film that's all about the story and the characters rather than big explosions and millions of pounds worth of green-screen computer graphics, then I'd highly recommend it.
As modern films go, it sits like a diamond in the rough, and I wonder if there are more films out there of this quality that I'm missing out on just because all the publicity gets focused on all the CGI blockbuster nonsense.
We only heard of 'Hunt For The Wilderpeople' because Sam Neill was talking about it as a guest on the Graham Norton show a while ago.

It's for the same reason that I'll often pick a classic film rather than a new release.
I'm bored of over-the-top movies that are just an endless barrage of special effects - I want something with a decent story and proper acting; not just gunfights, car chases, steroid-enhanced heroes and pathetic screaming women.
'Rear Window', 'White Heat', 'Roman Holiday', 'Some Like It Hot', 'To Kill a Mockingbird' - great films.
'Guardians of the Galaxy', 'Fast and Furious 6' - utter crap.
It's not as though I'm an old fart who grew up in the days when Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn were the current film stars and constantly wander around saying "It was much better back in my day!".
I'm 45 and grew up on a diet of 'Knight Rider', 'Airwolf', and an endless list of cheesy 80's action movies, so each of these classic black and white films is a whole new discovery. OK, so they're not all great, but at least they're an entertaining alternative; rather like only ever having listened to bands like Metallica and Judas Priest, then suddenly discovering Supertramp.

'Hunt For The Wilderpeople' can therefore be archived on the same shelf as films like 'Amelie', and 'Breakfast At Tiffany's' while I go on a quest to find some more modern films that feel like uplifting entertainment rather than physical assault.


Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Let's go retro! Or not....

There's a big interest in all things 'retro' these days, and despite being seen as a wonderful opportunity for ripping off the more gullible members of society by advertising any old shit on Ebay as being 'retro' or 'vintage' and doubling the price, there seems to be a genuine interest in stuff from our past.
Now rose-tinted spectacles can be a dangerous thing (try driving that car you loved twenty years ago now, and see how terrible it is compared to the one you currently own), but that isn't stopping people from wanting to turn back the clock to bygone days.

You need look no further than the revival of interest in vinyl records for evidence of this.
Sales of vinyl shot up last year (possibly fuelled by the appearance of a range of LPs in Sainsburys) as people suddenly became all misty-eyed about how we listened to music in the past.

I'm not immune to this. Only recently I did a post about how I love sitting and listening to an album from start to finish, unlike most youths who can't see music as anything more than a constant background noise accompanying their lives, and as a result I've been casually looking at various turntables from Rega, Pro-ject and Audio Technica with the idea that it might be a cool thing to have again.
But against such romantic notions I have to balance the downsides of vinyl such as the background hiss and how carefully they need to be handled if they're to be kept in good condition.
I have to remember why I replaced all my old records with CDs in the first place, even if it did take me a while to get used to 'A trick of the tail' by Genesis not jumping at one particular point.
The wife had a huge record collection (mostly 70's funk including many rarities), but they were all disposed of along with all of mine excluding three that I didn't want to part with for various reasons.
Somewhere in the darkest depths of the loft lurks 'Three sides live' by Genesis which I kept because the original CD release had a different track list. This has since been re-released in original form, so no need to keep that.
Then there's a synth album called 'Space Art' which I've recently found on Spotify, and a limited edition numbered 10" single of 'So in love with you' by Spear of Destiny which I thought might be worth something, but when I checked the other week I found it's only worth about eight quid.
So if you consider the down sides, which include the fact that records now cost twice as much as CDs, why on earth would I want to buy another turntable? No idea, but I still have a hankering.

Video games are another area where 'retro-cool' pokes its nose into our business. It's perhaps unsurprising as for the most part games haven't really changed for many years beyond prettier graphics, so it's no wonder people start to revive an interest in games from way back when the graphics may have been awful, but the gameplay experience was so much more rewarding.
My first 'proper' gaming took place on a Sinclair Spectrum, and a while ago I found that the entire back catalogue is out there to be downloaded from various websites and can be played on a PC via an emulator program.
Naturally I threw myself into this, downloading all the old favourites like Chuckie Egg, Elite, Paperboy and Pyjamrama and settled down for a session of reliving old memories.
It didn't last long. It wasn't the poor visuals or the dodgy beeping sounds that ruined it, but the realisation that those games were suddenly so frustratingly difficult.
Needless to say I went back to the PS4, resigned to the fact that the reality of old-school games doesn't live up to the fond memories.

Things move on, and for the most part they improve - certainly where technology is concerned - but that doesn't stop us from wanting things to be like they used to be.
I can only assume that we feel happier and more comfortable when things are just a little bit crap.


Sunday, 25 December 2016

Humbug

FFS, it's taken over an hour of fannying about with an inexplicably slow laptop to get to the point where I can actually get on with writing this blog post. I forsee Windows 10 being replaced with Linux in the very near future.
The only trouble is that I've completely forgotten what I was going to say, so I'll just wing it and see what happens.

We took ourselves off into Ely today for a walk, expecting it to be pretty well deserted, and apart from a few people who had booked their christmas lunch at assorted pubs and restaurants, those determined to get a bit of fresh air and the occasional dog walker, it was.
It was almost spooky how quiet it was, and I was taken back to those days before the country became a 24/7 culture, when it was like this EVERY Sunday.
How nice it was back then to have just one day a week when the world didn't run around like a toddler who's eaten all the blue Smarties.
Why do people have to wait for the annual commercial festival of greed and gluttony to be able to chill out for 24 hours. Is it too much to ask for just one day off a week from all the bullshit?
Of course it is, because almost everyone insists on continuing to go along with the whole christmas bollocks even though they're not christians and don't go to church, but the idea of having a day of rest more than once a year has become alien to the masses.

In a world where we now expect everything to be available at any time of day, and you can order something from Amazon on Saturday afternoon and it be delivered to your door by a man in a van on Sunday, any notion of actually stopping and just spending a day doing nothing fills the average person with dread - hence people reacting to the supermarkets being closed for one day by panic-buying enough food to feed a small country for a month.

As I've said before, I don't do christmas. Nothing, zip, zilch, nada.
In fact I find the whole thing tasteless, with my biggest bugbear being the rampant commercialism involved.
It usually starts around September with all the adverts for restaurants wanting you to "book now for xmas dinner" and gradually increases in intensity until about mid November by which time the shops are stacked to the gills with all sorts of shit nobody needs.
From then on it's full-throttle in-your-face "BUY! BUY! BUY!" until the big day finally arrives and everyone's faced with the fact that it's not like it's portrayed on the telly and all that's really happened is everyone has eaten so much they feel ill and is vowing to go to the gym in the new year, even though they won't be able to because their massive credit card bill won't allow it.

I'm sure back in Charles Dickens' time when workers earned barely enough to pay the rent and eat one meagre meal a day, went to church every Sunday and christmas was the only day they got off in a year, things would have been very different. It would have meant something and the run-up to it would maybe last a couple of days.
But today, when we can have a big fuck-off roast dinner pretty much whenever we like, don't have to save for a whole year to afford a kid's bicycle, and hardly anyone goes to church - what place does christmas really have?
Tradition? Yeah, right. We used to have Sundays where all the shops were shut, but that got in the way of businesses making more money, so there's one tradition that went out the window easy enough.
Saying something is tradition is no different from saying "we've always done it this way" and ploughing on regardless of the alternatives.
Sure, it's nice to have a few days break in the depths of winter when you don't have to go to work in the dark and come home in the dark, but we can take a week off without the excuse of some outdated religious festival that was supposed to celebrate the birth of the 'son of god' despite the belief that Jesus wasn't even born in December (if at all), and it only happens then because the church wanted to lure people away from the feast of Saturnalia etc to join their cult instead.

As it will have become clear by now, I am not religious, but I do respect other people's right to believe in whatever they like as long as they don't inflict it on others.
I'm not a christian so I consider it wrong for me to celebrate a christian festival.
I despise the way christmas has been turned into a shameless money-making machine, backed up by such a tidal wave of commercial propaganda that nearly everyone gets swept along without questioning why they're doing it.
It stinks.
You don't show your family you love them by giving them a pair of slippers once a year, but by your words and actions every time you see them.
If you see something you know a close friend would really like, just buy it for them as a surprise gift - it will be far more satisfying than running around Debenhams on christmas eve desperately looking for inspiration.
Want a family get-together? Why not arrange a barbecue during the summer?
Like twinkly fairy lights around your windows and a selection of glittery tat on a plastic fir tree? Fine - have it all year round if you like; why sit there clucking like a junkie waiting for his next fix until December 1st rolls around again so you can drag it all out of the loft?

In these supposedly enlightened times, it surprises me that people continue to employ the sheep mentality over christmas, seemingly unable or unwilling to get over the "we've always done it this way" attitude and make their own choices based on reason, but there're little sign of rebellion except for a few individuals who're generally shouted down and accused of being a Grinch or Scrooge.
So although I wouldn't stand up and shout that christmas should be abolished (though it would be nice) I would love to see more people take a step back from it all and think carefully about what christmas really means. How much comes from the bible, and how much comes from big business?
We've been given brains and the ability to use them, so why not do so?

See? Forget the plan and it turns into a rant. Oh well, whatever....




Sunday, 18 December 2016

Oscar

On Thursday eight small satellites were put into orbit by NASA to study hurricanes.
They were delivered by a Pegasus rocket which was launched at around 40,000ft from a modified Lockheed TriStar.
A colleague walked up to me with his iPhone saying "Look, this is really cool" and I was surprised by the familiar sight of N140SC.
I had my reasons for being surprised. Firstly that it was still in operation after all these years, and also that there should still be media interest in it. After all, these launches have been going on since the late nineties.



More than surprised, however, I felt a sense of pride.
That's because I was part of the team of fitters and electricians who carried out the modifications to that aircraft.
All media coverage surrounding these launches focuses on the Pegasus delivery vehicle itself and its payload, with at best only passing mention of the converted TriStar.
Hardly surprising I suppose because big American companies like NASA and Orbital Sciences are unlikely to say "Special mention should go to the men at Marshall Aerospace in England, who made it possible for these high altitude launches to take place", are they?

While my own input was pretty minor in the scheme of things, it was still very necessary.
The Pegasus weighs 18,500kg plus payload (over 23,000kg for the Pegasus XL), so one thing that had to happen was that the TriStar needed to go on a serious diet to be able to lift it safely.
Myself and others were tasked with making this happen, so we set to stripping out the whole interior of the cabin. Everything had to come out, back to a bare airframe with just ducting and wiring looms left in the ceiling. Even the mid to rear passenger door mechanisms had to be stripped away to save weight - now they're just bolted in place permanently.
Apart from the two front cabin doors and the first twenty feet or so of cabin which houses crew seating and monitoring equipment, everything else is an empty shell. There's a lightweight partition separating the two areas, which me and my mate built.
I remember we ended up getting to know the design engineer pretty well during that part. We kept calling him over because his drawings didn't match up with the aircraft, and in the end he just said "Look, you build it, and when you've finished I'll come over and draw it", so that's what we did.
It may only have been tertiary structure, but we did our bit.

Towards the end of the job, there were countless drop tests carried out. With the aircraft on jacks, a huge steel cage full of concrete blocks to mimic the Pegasus was attached to the new release mechanism in the aircraft belly. With wooden blocks under the cage to absorb the impact and reduce the drop to a minimum, it was quite a sight to watch, with the whole aircraft shaking as over eighteen tonnes was released in a split second, accompanied by the deafening bang as the cage landed.
When Oscar (as it became affectionately know by the team, as it belonged to Orbital Sciences Corporation) went for its first test flight with a Pegasus attached, we went out to watch it take off with a distinct sense of collective pride.
As a team-building exercise, going to the woods to shoot your colleagues with paintballs had nothing on this.
We even had t-shirts made thanks to one of the guys who had a bit of artistic talent who drew a neat caricature of the plane with 'Oscar' under it.
So, as impressive as the Pegasus may be, this post is a shout out to everyone at Marshall Aerospace who made it all possible.
Cheers, guys!


Monday, 12 December 2016

Some people.....

This weekend I decided it was time to start making a bit of room in the shed by getting rid of some stuff I didn't want any more, so I logged in to Gumtree.
First was the original alloy wheels from the Beemer, which I recently replaced because they had rather a lot of corrosion on, including on the bead which meant one tyre wouldn't seal and kept losing pressure.
There was also my model railway layout. I started this about 18 months ago with great enthusiasm and the usual sort of expense that seems to go hand in hand with any new hobby, but the initial desire to produce a realistic railway quickly waned and it hadn't been touch for about six months.
So with photos taken and adverts posted, I got on with the day, checking periodically for any messages.

A bloke called Mike emailed about the model railway, and the conversation started as follows:

M: I'm really interested in your N Gauge layout and would like to buy it.
Please could you email me or phone

D: Thanks for the interest.
When would suit you to have a look?
Any evening between 6 and 9 is fine with me.

Later on I got a call from someone else who wanted the railway and would come out right away to buy it. Naturally I said OK and went to gather everything together and await the arrival of the buyer, who turned up, had a look and went away a happy man with his new acquisition, leaving me with the asking price in my pocket.
Got back in the house to find another message from the first guy:

M: Thanks for the quick reply.  How does Tuesday evening at about 6.30 suit?

D: Sorry Mike, it's just gone.

M: Ok. No problem.

You'd think that would be the end of it, but a few minutes later he came back at me and this is how the remainder of the exchange went:

M: Just looking at the messages between us, I said that Id like to buy your layout.   You then said when would I like to come and see it.
I said Tuesday at 6.30. You then said that it's now gone!!
How can that be, when I said that I wanted to buy it right from the onset?  All I was going to do on Tuesday was pay for it and pick it up.

D: Nothing had been set in stone, no promises made. Another guy has bought it and taken it away.
I realise you're disappointed, but that's that.

M: So when I said in my first email that I'd like to buy your layout, surely that meant that I'd like to buy your layout for the asking price.  How much more setting in stone would you have liked?  Very disappointed in you.

D: Seriously?
Look - between my saying it was still available and me getting your email saying you would come and buy it, I had a call from someone else who came straight out and bought it for the asking price.
It's quite simple.
Now, I suggest you stop getting yourself worked up over nothing and move on.
This is the last time I shall reply, and any further communication from you will automatically be deleted.
So much for 'No problem', because suddenly it had all become a very big problem for him.
It's a bloody model railway layout, not a perfect tissue match for a kidney transplant.
Why on earth would someone get so pissy about such a trivial thing?
It's unbelievable sometimes, the way people can get so obsessed about trivial little things and blow them so far out of proportion that they lose all sense of reason.
This bloke had lost nothing more than the time it took to write a couple of short messages, but he felt it necessary to get all uppity and self-righteous. Well, tough shit.
The worst bit about it all is that him getting on at me has pissed me off enough to spend half an hour writing a blog post about him. Twat.