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Blog for July 22

Posted on 9 August, 2022 at 0:00 Comments comments (54)

Well, once more into the breech dear friends.


Time to put the kettle on and sit down with a chocolate hob-nob for a monthly read.


July was a busy time for me work-wise as I have previously mentioned, a post-covid world has a lot of catching up to do.


It was also a certain person’s birthday so a few celebrations were necessary.


On one of my training gigs in July I was at a holiday camp in the New Forest training their maintenance guys. When I received the contract for the job, I couldn’t believe I was going to, wait for it, “Sandy Balls Holiday Camp”.


I have trained at all sorts of establishments, I even have a parking spot reserved for me at New Scotland Yard. But I still retain an enthusiasm for the scope of clients that I deal with, for this really is the “rich tapestry of life” that I enjoy.


“Sandy Balls” eh? I half suspected Eamon Andrews to jump out of the bushes with that big red book on my arrival “Ted Barrett, this is your life!


It was either that or Sid James and Joan Simms greeting me on Reception.


Now, I wouldn’t normally name a client in my blog but for this organisation I will make an exception. Take the title aside (Frankie Howard; no tittering missus!) I was really impressed by this place. It was clean, well-organised and all the staff had a great attitude. There were restaurants, kids clubs and activities galore. On my way out of the camp through the New Forest there were absolutely delightful pubs along with donkeys, horses, pigs and even goats just meandering around. I hope to return for a stay even if just for a few days before too long. I’m very pleased to say that I can really recommend Sandy Balls!


So, my travels for July were as follows: Salisbury, Clacton-On-Sea (twice), Southampton, Isle of Wight, New Forest, Winchester, Eastleigh, Gravesend and Croydon.


I took advantage of the recent fair weather and took the motorbike for a spin, I don’t like hammering flat out or finding a twisty road so I can lay it down over as many bends as possible. I just enjoy a ride on a summer’s day exploring the Cotswolds or just pottering around locally.


I revealed in one of my earlier reports that I can ride a horse. I haven’t done so for a few years now but hope to again before too long. If you are a biker, you will recognise the similarity between riding a motorbike and a horse. For one thing, its mostly a simple experience – you and your mount.


You need to look after your horse/bike, feed and water it, groom it etc and understand its eccentricities. When you’re on your motorbike you’ll know that it may pull to the left on braking. A horse rider will be aware that a particular horse will not canter until it has passed its favourite gate. In short, they both require a little consideration to be properly ridden.


Hmm, now I could say something else at this point but will refrain for the moment.


Anyway, moving deftly aside, most of us like a bit of crime history; and nothing finer than a bit of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. These two, like most criminals started off small and progressed to the big time by using both brains and daring. They were also operating in a time when transport and communication were been stretched to about the limit. Lightning fast bandit raids on horse-drawn carriages and trains were almost guaranteed to succeed.


Also having the guile to shoot another man dead in cold blood is a key skill requirement in in the stagecoach robber’s CV.


So, our daring duo climb up the charts in ill-gotten gains and legend. They also tacked on skills such as stopping trains and blowing safes. In the Hollywood version of their exploits they eventually run away to Bolivia where according to legend, they are killed in a shoot-out with the Bolivian army. But like all good stories, did it actually end there?


Probably not.


Ever heard of the Pinkerton Detective Agency? No? Well you bloody well should have. Pinkertons was established in the mid 1850’s USA and was responding to a need for a more intelligent approach to crime-fighting rather than rounding up a posse and stringing anybody that walked with a limp up from a tree.

 

 

Pinkertons worked with fingerprints, psychological profiling and statistical analysis of theft/robbery (an area the UK Post Office Investigation Branch happen to excel in). You must realise that in the US at this time there was no police force, just a simple Sheriff/Constable system per county that did not have any crime detection skills (I hate to say it but many parts of the US are still like this).


The impact of Pinkertons is impressive to say the least. The organisation grew to become a major force in crime fighting. At one point they employed thousands of agents and had offices across the USA. They were of course also bounty hunters and ran an intelligence service. They even prevented an assassination on Lincoln at one point.


Their downfall was of course, like anyone successful in the workplace will recognise was most probably – jealousy and fear.


Pinkertons were employed as strike-breakers in Chicago when things were getting very nasty. There were shoot-outs and what amounted to civil unrest/insurrection, in which Pinkerton men actually fought gun battles with protagonists. Unfortunately this is what gave leverage to their opposition in Congress.


I like to throw this sort of info in in case anybody researches my findings.


If you study the official version of the downfall of Pinkertons it hinges upon the violence that occurred during strike breaking operations, but I think if you read in between the lines you will see that Congress was getting a bit windy about an organisation with a well-established private intelligence network over which they had no control.


There is much more to tell about Pinkertons, and it is a very complex story. They were the model for the FBI and detective agencies around the world, so you should by now have an appreciation of what an extremely professional outfit this was (they are still in existence by the way, wouldn’t you just love to have a look in their archives?).


So with that in mind, lets get back to Butch & Sundance, its pretty clear they escaped to South America in the late 1890’s/early 1900’s and went as far down to Argentina pulling off the occasional robbery on the way. However, Pinkertons were on their trail.


Now, as we know, the Bolivian army claimed to have killed both Butch & Sundance in 1905. Well who wouldn’t want to claim that title?


As an aside, DNA testing of two corpses in the 1990’s that were believed to be Butch and Sundance proved not to be the case.


However, its on record that Pinkertons agents were still chasing the dynamic duo across South America well after 1908. There have been various claims about Butch Cassidy surviving and even returning to the USA, I’m not so sure about that.


But (and it’s a big butt, as they say) if Pinkertons were not convinced of their demise, that’s got to raise a flag. Obviously whatever Pinkertons discovered, if anything, never came into the public domain. I would just love to see their case notes.


We often hear that the CIA was born out of the OSS. Those of us old enough, will remember the Office of Strategic Services was a WW2, US-based intelligence service utilising the skills of British Intelligence and the FBI against Nazi-occupied Europe.


Now considering that the FBI was born out of Pinkertons, it is possible to trace a direct link from Pinkertons into the CIA through the OSS. If I was a better writer I would be using that as the lead-in to my next adventure novel.


In closing, and as this is blog linked to electrical engineering, part of the standard kit for a US telegraph lineman around the time of Butch and Sundance was a 12 gauge shotgun.


This should serve as a reminder how we can almost reach out and touch history within our lifetimes.


Now then, telegraph lines used to (and comms still do) follow alongside railway tracks and would frequently break down (due to heat, vibration or sabotage) there are many accounts of a lineman up a telegraph pole, attempting repairs while fending off Indian attack with his 12 gauge. So now you know why it was standard issue.


But what a working day! Imagine the conversation at Dinner that evening:


“Well sweetie, did my man have a good day at work today?”

“Yeah, not bad. I managed to repair the main telegraph line from Tucson through to Phoenix”

“Well, that’s nice dear, did you see anybody we know, or do anything else exciting?”

“Well no, not much ’cept I shot a bunch of Injuns that was a tryin’ to kill me”

“My, oh my, I think somebody deserves another slice of cherry pie”


This must be the kind of guy who eats his peas off a knife.


Happy trails folks and remember, never bring a knife to a gunfight (I would rather bring an Uzi anyway).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog for June 22

Posted on 8 July, 2022 at 11:25 Comments comments (221)


Well OK folks, how’s about that for a rip-snorting month?


Where has TB been this month? Well how about Madeira, Palma, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzerote, Cadiz and Lisbon on a cruise with my CO. After that, back to work at Hatfield, Newbury and Salisbury (not quite the same as the the Canaries).


Workwise, we have a lot to catch up with across the installation and maintenance sectors due to Covid delaying work and training programmes but we are doing the best we can to catch up. And it may seem that I’m having a lot of holidays but I am actually catching up with booked holidays from 2020 and 2021.


Now then, it goes without saying that we meet “Good Guys” and “Bad Guys” during our working life. The good guys are much rarer to find whereas prats are ten a penny. What gets me is the prats that think there wont be any come back from trying to cause trouble for somebody else in the workplace.


Perhaps for every ten victims of bullying in the workplace nine will just take it on the chin and fade away into blandness and obscurity.


I though am the 1 out of 10 who will not forget. That Is why I am so good to deal with in business, I will never let a customer down, I will go above and beyond the call of duty to deliver what I promise. And I will pursue you to the ends of the earth if you cross me.


Talk about that dish best served cold…


Here’s an example of a prick who thought he could get away with bullying instead of a spot of diplomacy, and chose the wrong guy to try it on…


Inalchuq was the governor of Otrar, located in the Khwarezmian Empire in the Middle East, during the early 13th century. As Genghis Khan extended his influence across Central Asia, he sent a group of merchants to Otrar in 1218 to set up a trading agreement. Inalchuq, suspicious of the group, executed them and took all of their goods.


After he heard about what happened, Genghis Khan sent envoys to demand reparations, but Inalchuq refused; he had the ambassadors executed as well, prompting the Mongolian ruler to send a military response.


Genghis Khan and his Mongols then unleashed an onslaught on Otrar, one that led to an extended siege. After several months, the Mongols breached the city walls, plundered Otrar, and took many of its inhabitants captive.


Inalchuq suffered a different fate, however. He reportedly had molten silver poured into his eyes, ears, and down his throat.


The moral of that story is don’t be a twat. One day you will piss off the wrong person.


So who works for a boss that wont let you use a Voltstick?


What are their reasons? Probably something like “Well they’re not calibrated” and/or “They’re a bit hit and miss”.


Well I’m going to say right now that I am a big fan of a Voltstick. I would never promote their use over our established Safe Isolation procedure but there are circumstances where a Voltstick has an advantage. So you can take this to you boss who has blinkers on:


Lets imagine a single-phase supply. How do we establish if it is “Live” or “Dead”?


Here’s the test with a traditional 2-point tester: Check Live to Neutral, Live to Earth and finally check Earth to Neutral just for the hell of it. In this way you will have checked every combination of wires, Capiche?


But what if you have a supply with a broken neutral and earth but the live is intact?


I know we can usually use a conduit or trunking earth as a return, but what if you are on a pvc trunking or conduit system where this is not possible.?


So lets see, if you had a live supply connected with a broken Neutral AND Earth, using a 2–point tester what results will you get?


Lets give it a go:


Test 1) Live to Neutral – No response


Test 2) Live to Earth – No response


Test 3) Earth to Neutral – No response.


Conclusion – Supply is dead!


A quick swipe round with Voltstick would show that the Live feed is still connected and very much a hazard to your health.


So who’s a clever dicky boss now then?


Stay safe mi amigas and amigos.

 

 

Blog for May 22

Posted on 3 June, 2022 at 10:45 Comments comments (238)

I have come to realise that sometimes life is strange* and often not always as clear cut as we might imagine.


In Shakespeare’s Hamlet the phrase “There are more things between Heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy Horatio” more than covers my view of life. In everyday language, we might not know all the answers, because certain events might be outside our ability to understand.


So without any further ado, lets crack on with the show and see where Teddy has been this month after swanning round the Med for most of April. I started off in Holsworthy (Near Bude in Devon), then on to Teignmouth followed by Hitchin, Bristol, Oxford (Christchurch College) and Abingdon.


Although I could/should be retired by now, I like to keep my hand in and keep on working semi-retired - this absolutely suits me down to the ground. I particularly enjoy my training and consultancy work as it enables me to tackle new engineering challenges and also meet some really interesting people.


Back in February I was working on industrial robots, this month I’ve been training students how to fault-find on milking machines (did you know a cow’s teats need a little tickle before milking commences? and sometimes this is done electrically!) then on to a Brewery in Bristol before moving on to industrial tumble driers. The technology for all equipment is about the same, its how that technology is put together that I find interesting.


I also subscribe to the idea that “every day is a school day”, in other words, I like to keep my mind open to new ideas, even though I might not initially like them, I will at least attempt to engage and examine new concepts. And, I must say I do generally learn something new every day. Socrates is said to have stated something like “you know nothing until you have taught it”.


If you have ever undertaken a teaching role (seriously) you will know what the old bubble was on about and it amounts to this: In order to teach (properly) you need to know your subject inside and out. You need to research and prepare, and sometimes, bang in the middle of teaching, an idea or concept will crystalize in a moment of clarity and you finally understand something at a deeper level than ever before - because you have talked it through. That is your Socrates moment. As Bill & Ted might say, “Most Excellent”.


Owing to my involvement in security systems I often report or pass on stories relating to heists. If you’ve ever worked in this industry you’ll know how this gets under your skin because you are engaged in a competition between yourself and the bad guys.


My initial engagement in this business was with Her Majesty’s Royal Mail, from there I was eventually headhunted by Securicor where I remained until my wife became ill and I needed a job closer to home.


By the way, in Post Office terminology we do not have “Intruders” or “Burglars” they are known as “Bandits”. Even blaggers attacking cash in transit are Bandits.


Speaking from experience, you will find those that design, install and maintain security systems generally have a kind of sneaking respect for those that attempt to defeat those systems.


I think that at heart, we all have a little respect for those that can that imitate Robin of Sherwood. If it can be done without harming anyone I will certainly, quietly, nod in recognition of a worthy opponent.


From characters that I have met along the way I can also state that sometimes the line between poacher and gamekeeper can be very thin. So thin as to be flexible with some.


However, as I mentioned in last month’s blog, I was always an honest schmuck. Not everyone around me was.


Anyway, a simple blag is often the best, how about this one – it didn’t involve hacking into security cameras, running through a 10 million code combination or defeating heat detectors.


On March 18, 1990, two men disguised as police officers walked into the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and told the security guard they were responding to a call.


The guard let them enter, but once inside, they handcuffed that guard and a second one, and locked them in the basement.


They got away with: 13 extremely valuable pieces of art worth $500 million, including Rembrandt’s "Storm on the Sea of Galilee" (1633), "A Lady and Gentleman in Black" (1633) and a self portrait from 1634; Vermeer’s "The Concert" (1658–1660); Govaert Flinck’s "Landscape with an Obelisk" (1638); five Edgar Degas’ impressionist works; and Edouard Manet’s "Chez Tortoni" (1878–1880).


To this day, no one knows who the robbers were or where they hid the goods from the largest theft of private property in history. Empty frames hang in the museum as placeholders for when the stolen works are returned. The Gardner Museum is offering a $5 million reward for information leading to the recovery of these works in good condition.


How they managed to fence that lot I can’t begin to imagine. Nevertheless, they haven’t reappeared yet, so somebody must be taking care of them.


I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand it when people get too cocky. Personally, my motto is usually “Proceed with Caution”. It what any electrician should do when dealing with equipment unknown to them. Its also a philosophy for life in general.


If more young women had applied this principle, it may have stopped their children been abused, tortured and murdered because they had shacked up with some savage they didn’t really know. With these sort of women in mind, this is why we have something called “Courtship” Its like a longer term interview where you get to know if your dealing with a decent person or a fecking nutcase.


You don’t invite somebody into your bed and house because you’re desperate for a partner and subject your children to hell.


I’m sorry about that rant, but children don’t ask to be born and shouldn’t be betrayed by selfish mothers. Having said that, there are plenty of children that have been traumatised by nasty bitches brought into the family home by gormless fathers.


No matter how lonely you are please don’t betray your kids.


Anyway, talking about being cocky, how about Garry Hoy who worked for a law firm in Toronto, Ontario? The 38-year-old corporate and securities lawyer had a bizarre party trick that he enjoyed showing to visitors to his office on the 24th floor. To demonstrate the impressive strength of the unbreakable office windows, Hoy would launch his body at them and bounce off.


On July 9, 1993, he was giving a tour of the firm to young law students when he decided to show his trick. Unfortunately, while the glass did not break, the entire window popped out of its frame, and Hoy fell to his death.


Tough tits, eh!


Well that’s about it from me for this month folks, I hope you have happy trails, but before you saddle up and ride off into the sunset make sure you aint got any burrs under that saddle.

 


• Look up and play “Love is Strange” on Youtube by Mickey & Sylvia and you will find the inspiration for the theme music to MIB III. Incidentally, I am a great fan of Pitbull (play that version for comparison), you probably wouldn’t expect that from an old fart like me, but there you go. You might also be surprised that I can ride a horse.

 

 

Blog for April

Posted on 11 May, 2022 at 8:20 Comments comments (67)

Ok pop-pickers, so where has Ted been this month?

 

How about Alicante, Messina (Sicily), Athens, Santorini, Katakolo, Corfu and Gibraltar?

 

Yes, it was time for a little R&R with my commanding officer (otherwise known as my good lady wife and best friend Joanne). On this adventure we went cruising round the Med and Greek islands

 

We really like this type of holiday as it requires minimum effort and we get to visit places we never had the opportunity to while our kids were younger and our parents were in their declining years.

 

We also like the idea that all you need do is bring your suitcase to the ship (car parking is taken care of) and then you are in a floating hotel. Very often long restful days at sea and different ports in different countries. As Pa Larkin would say “Perfick”.

 

Sometimes we sign up for a tour at the places we visit, and I strongly recommend doing this through the cruise line and not getting a “good deal” locally, because if you are late back to the ship with an independent operator, the ship can leave without you. Whereas if its organised by the cruise line you are their responsibility.

 

As I meander through life, very often humorous memories or asides will often pop into my mind. I have never done drugs and I don’t even smoke cigarettes any more. A pint of lager is usually more than enough to calm me down and make me relaxed.

 

If you need to drink beer and shorts and smoke shit and pop pills all at the same time to get that “High” you are nothing less than a selfish, greedy, worthless, tosser in my humble opinion and I hope you OD sooner rather than later.

 

But I understand that people who popped LSD are liable to have flashbacks of twenty years or more. Shit, just imagine that! You’re climbing up a 200 metre high ladder to a wind turbine and suddenly you’re walking into a disco in 1979 to the sounds of “Boogie Wonderland” Holy moley, where’s my flares?

You’re humming it now aren’t you?

 

I’ve mentioned dreams before in my blog, a few years ago I woke up on a summer’s morning with sun streaming through the blinds of our bedroom window and for some reason or other I was convinced it was 1973, and everything that had happened after that was just a dream.

 

Can you imagine how I felt? I was like Scrooge “Jesus H Christ, thank God for that. I’ve now got the chance to do it all again.”

 

Funny thing was, even in my befuddled state, I still started to think “well hold on, perhaps I had to go through some of those really painful things for a reason. So do I really want to change those parts? It wasn’t long before my mind started to clear and I realised I was back in good old 2019.

 

But for a while, I had the chance to change my story and chose not to, what a schmuck! But an honest Schmuck.

 

And I was a prize shmuck as well. I would do silly things like finish with a great girl cos I was going out with my mates and didn’t want to two-time her if I had a teenage encounter. Most of my mates did, and still retained their “Best Girl”, as quoted by the Beach Boys.

 

Been naive, and also never able to take a hint has meant Ted missing out a quite few opportunities of all sorts in the past but hi ho, my conscience is mostly clear.

 

But to be quite honest, I think that too many expectations are placed on young people to leave school, get a job, get married, have kids etc. It’s a confusing time when hormones are boiling and is fraught with danger if too much, too soon, is taken on. Marriage is a very serious obligation and people should think about the effect on children before doing what they think society or their peers demand of them.

 

I have mentioned before in my blog about my friend Gerry, a fellow lecturer at Oxford College. Gerry was an Afrikaner (Dutch South African) and a great bloke who certainly believed in calling a spade a spade. Gerry served in the South African army and can tell you what that country is really like. You may notice the media is very quiet on this part of the world despite at least 20 whites a day been butchered by blacks, as this does not fit their narrative. Remember Wynnie Mandaella soaking opponents in petrol and setting fire to them? “I believe in a Rainbow Nation” says Nelson. Yeah right, a rainbow singed around the edges.

 

However, Gerry was let down badly by his wife and had to sell his house and move to another part of the world to avoid bankruptcy. I was so sad to see him leave but Gerry had a good heart and always maintained that everything we did throughout life and everyone we met was for a reason, and I wholeheartedly agree with him. Even the lowest crap times are for some reason, don’t ask me why cos I sometimes think that even God needs a kick in the bollocks to learn a lesson.

 

I had another humorous aside pop into my mind the other day: Did they ever make an version of “The Italian Job” dubbed into Italian? I’m sure they did, but I bet all the British parts had really weedy voices, where the Italian guys were very macho. If anyone can corroborate or knows any different please drop me a line.

 

Talking of humorous, a woman we know will very nearly always send a steak back to the kitchen in a restaurant for some reason or other. I think she does this to appear to be “one up” or sophisticated. Well, she may think she is sophisticated, but…

 

I can also tell you NOT to do this. EVER.

 

If the steak, or anything, is not to your liking just take it on the chin. DO NOT SEND IT BACK TO THE KITCHEN. If it is inedible, just settle up your bill (the restaurant will not want to make a scene) and move on.

 

If you do send it back, it is highly likely to be spat on and kicked around the kitchen floor. If you send anything back to the kitchen you are not sophisticated, but a gormless fool who is unaware of the ways of the world and people that are paid very little for restaurant work. Now I know it shouldn’t be like that but it is. You don’t have to take my advice.

 

Now as my blog is supposed to have an electrical theme, here is where we plunge in to a little bit of science.

 

For the electrically minded , resistance a funny thing. The very word resistance indicates that we are talking about how poor a conductor is: how much “Resistance” a material presents to the flow of current.

 

You may recall that the unit of resistance is called the “Ohm” after George Simon Ohm, a German physicist. You might also recall we use the Greek Omega symbol “Ω” to denote resistance. For Electricians of course this is an everyday unit that we use and are concerned with. Especially Earth Loop Impedance, which is the earth fault path back to the nearest sub-station.

 

However, most sparkies may not be aware of it but there is an alternative to resistance.

 

It is not used very often as it is counter to what we are accustomed to but we could use “Conductance” as an alternative, only this time taking how good a conductor is as a baseline.

 

And some industries do just that, but to be honest, not many. One that immediately comes to mind is the water purification guys. They measure purity of water by how good a conductor it is. The base units of conductance they use are “Siemens” (not Semens, please pull yourself together) and interestingly, they also use “Mhos” (an anagram of Ohms). Wow, this is getting like the Dan Brown of Electrical Engineering!

 

In April we had my son’s birthday and my daughter’s is in May, they are both born under the sign of Taurus the bull and funnily enough, very strong-willed to say the least.

 

Dunno if I believe in that Zodiac mumbo-jumbo too much but as a sign of the crab I can certainly identify with the idea of scuttling under a rock when it all gets a bit too much.

 

My favourite cousin Deborah was born in May and somebody else who I much admired but has not replied to me was also born in May.

 

Oh well, time to saddle up.

 

Happy trails folks, and remember to keep your six-shooter clean, well-oiled and ready for action.

 

Blog for March

Posted on 4 April, 2022 at 5:00 Comments comments (67)


Well shiver me timbers, we are now one-quarter of the way through 2022.


And by now, my regular readers will have recognised this isn’t just a record of my events of the month but a reflection of my views on Life the Universe and Everything. So put the kettle on, make a cup of tea and put your feet up. Enter my world for just a short while and relax, I hope I might even make you smile for a while…


So where has Ted been this month? let’s see: Hitchin, Heathrow, Isle of Sheppey, Witham (in Essex), Sittingbourne, Andover (x2), Southampton and Poole.


For want of something better to do whilst on the road, I have been reading about Dorothy Kilgallen. Yes I know, its not a name most of us are familiar with, and I came across this story purely by chance. But Dorothy was one of the last special breed of journalists - she was not politically aligned with any one side.


How refreshing, there don’t seem to be any non-aligned investigative journalists in the UK (well I can’t see any, so prove me wrong).


The secret of her success was that she was certainly talented and smart, but she dropped out of Uni to pursue the role of reporter, and this probably saved her from indoctrination from loony college lecturers.


As a note, I was quite unsettled when I first read about the McCarthy drive in 1940’s America to rid communism from within colleges and the media. But with the riots we are now seeing on American streets caused by so many poisoned minds that are filled with so much hate for any establishment figure, I can now only agree with the reasoning behind this.


I wish we could have a commission in the UK to ensure that young minds in schools, colleges and at university are not politically indoctrinated into any side of the political spectrum. I want our educational establishments to create free-thinking individuals who can make judgements and decisions according to evidence, not the word of bitter old hippies.


So getting back to Dorothy, she lived through an extremely interesting time, this was 1960’s America. She was on speaking terms with the Kennedys and reported on the assassination of JFK and Bobby. She reported on the trial of Lee Harvey Oswald and his subsequent shooting by Jack Ruby.


She held a spot on US radio show “What’s my line” for fifteen years, which was networked across the US. Now, when a radio show is “networked” across the states, it means that nearly all the independent broadcasting stations that serve North America subscribe to that feed that will then be re-broadcast. This means a massive audience, even in the 1960s you are looking at around 100,000,000 listeners which is some indication of the popularity she so rightly deserved.


She also reported on and pursued the case of Dr Sam Sheppard for over ten years (and ultimately played a major part in securing his release from jail). This was the neuro-surgeon falsely accused of murdering his wife. Incidentally, this story was the foundation of the TV series “The Fugitive” (although the studio denied this, the storyline is plainly there).


However, she was intrigued by the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby. As any investigator worth their salt would also conclude; it was just too darned convenient. Ruby was well known to have connections to organised crime and Dorothy was like a Jack Russell on a trouser leg, she wasn’t going to give up on this easily. Kennedy was known to have angered the mob by promising them protection from prosecution in return for votes. And of course when he was elected he arranged for his brother Bobby to clamp down on the mob. They were not happy, it must also be said that there were many in the American establishment that did not like him. I don’t want to go too deeply into this at the moment but in my own opinion he was not the man that his public image projected, he certainly wouldn’t have had my vote.


Unfortunately before Dorothy could dig more deeper she met a tragic end. The headline from the “New York Post” November 15th, 1965 reads; “Kilgallen died of Moderate doses of Pills, Alcohol”.


If you like a good conspiracy theory, you may be salivating already…


So following on from this, Mark Shaw, a former criminal defence attorney and legal analyst, notes the following in his book “The reporter who knew too much” (and do remember you are reading “American English”;).


She was found in her townhouse in a bedroom she never slept in," Shaw says. "The columnist also was wearing makeup, false eyelashes and a hairpiece, and a robe instead of the pajamas that she normally wore to bed. There was a book upside down in her lap that she'd already read, and her reading glasses weren't around."


"Obviously, to anybody with a brain, that's a staged death scene," Shaw continues. "But the police came, they found an empty bottle of Seconal sleeping pills and right away, okay, this is another celebrity who overdosed on drugs."


Other troubling details are evident in the medical examiner's report on Kilgallen's death, including the presence of Tuinal, a powerful sedative-hypnotic medication that she hadn't been prescribed by her doctor.


And then there were the missing files and notes from her investigation into Jack Ruby, the mob and the Kennedy assassination. Hairdresser Marc Sinclaire later recalled that he saw Kilgallen carrying around "a big packet of papers with her that she said pertained to the assassination." The file mysteriously went missing after Kilgallen's death and has never been found, according to Shaw's biography.


You can’t beat a good conspiracy can you. Just imagine the conspiracies we are living through right now? Say no more Ted. Lets leave it there (for the moment).


I really enjoy my working life right now, I work to my own schedule and have holidays when I please. I also get to work with some fascinating companies and organisations. A couple of months ago I made a list of the Oxford Colleges I had trained staff for (and I’m back at a very famous one again shortly) but I’ve just put together the following list of household names I have worked with over the past few years alone:


London Underground, Occado, Lloyds (Shipping) Register, Kenwood/De Longhi, Jasper Conran, Ministry of Defence, Lavazza, Eurotunnel, British Telecom, NHS and many more I’ve left my mark in.


Probably goes without saying the ones I haven’t mentioned may be even more interesting…


Had any good dreams lately? I’ve been having strange ones for the past few years and getting fed up with it now.


Dreams and dreaming are a very interesting part of the human condition, the process of sleep and dreaming are still not fully understood. Sleep deprivation is often used in conjunction with interrogation; after several days of been kept awake the subject begins to hallucinate and cease to function as normal. But why should this be? If the subject is not tired from physical exertion why should just been awake cause such havoc with our behaviour? Its not as if we have an internal battery that needs recharging – or is it?


People that work night-shifts seem to manage well enough if they still engage in a regular Sleep/Work cycle. Working nights never sat very well with me though, I would be ok until about one o’clock in the morning when I needed to find a cupboard to fall asleep in.


But what about those dreams? I quite like the theory that dreams or dreaming is the brain’s way of processing, evaluating and storing information. Like somebody grabbing all the paperwork on your desk, throwing it up in the air and each document sliding into a folder.


Now, considering that the human brain is a quite mysterious organ but what we do know is that it appears to consist of millions bio-electrical junctions. And eerie to think that this is what we call “Life”. Perhaps Gary Numan was right when he asked “Are friends electric”.


At this point I must say that I subscribe to the idea that in some areas we are not advanced enough to understand beyond a certain level. However, I don’t mind having a crack and I think that is what we should do, at least try to understand.


But with regard to dreaming, I do think we are processing information, that is why dreams often reflect recent experiences or things that are on our minds.


By the way, do you dream in colour? I’ve heard “experts” say we only dream in B&W or sepia tone. I can tell you right now, my dreams are in full glorious technicolour.


They say that if you dream of someone, they are dreaming of you. If that’s the case and you’ve been dreaming of me please get in touch cos I’ve obviously got something on my mind as well as you.


I’m sure you will find my report for the end of April a little different so standby for that.


In betwixt and between my next report, keep your friends close and your enemies.. nah, scratch that bullshit, only keep the people you like in your life, tell the rest to vaffanculo (that’s Italian, look it up).


 

Blog for February

Posted on 2 March, 2022 at 11:55 Comments comments (17)

Blog for February


Well here we are again folks, it must be the end of February so here is my report for the month named after the roman god of purification, Februa.


See, you get entertainment, engineering and culture when you visit my page!


So where has Ted been this month? As it happens, I can’t always reveal locations if I check in on social media due to commercial confidentiality. As I state elsewhere on my website I respect discretion and client confidentiality.


But, I can say that this month I have been to Braintree, Chalfont St Peter, Hitchin and Witney.


I wish that global warming we’ve been promised would hurry up and get here, my motorbike is staying firmly in the garage until we get back to decent temperatures and lose the rain. However, I still go out to the garage and start her up every so often and tell her what a beautiful girl she is.


Sometimes relationships need a little work.


Talking of which, I am constantly amazed at the amount of engineers that can’t use their multi-meter properly. When I do Maintenance or Fault-finding courses I ask the guys to bring in their meters and run through a simple set of exercises that involve taking readings.


And well, my oh my, what a useful exercise that is. Here is what I commonly find.

• Meter is dead – flat battery or just broken.

• Meter case/leads/probes broken – all in contravention of GS38.

• Owner does not have a clue how to use the probes safely.

• Owner does not know how to set up the meter.

• Owner does not know how to interpret readings.


Now, these are often service or maintenance engineers that are in-house or out on the road, so how they manage to effectively fault-find I can’t imagine, their days must be very long.


In my opinion, that instrument is your best friend. If it was a woman, how would you treat it? (remember “Swiss Tony”?) Well, you would get to know it, take it out for a meal, walk along the beach together holding hands. If you don’t show her any care and attention, when you expect her to give her all, you’re going to be disappointed.


And in my experience the truth isn’t that far behind. That instrument is your workmate, it’s your best buddy, it can get you out of all sorts of situations. It can help you solve problems nobody else could (because they couldn’t use their meter). It can be reason you weren’t made redundant or why you were promoted. It could even be the reason you get home to see the kids before their bedtime. As a service engineer or technician it really is your best friend. If you are not that familiar with your multimeter here’s what I suggest:

• Give your meter a clean-up and all-over check.

• Put new batteries in it.

• Check for damage to meter/leads/probes – if any are damaged, replace.

• Buy a “Cal-Card” or nail a few fixed resistors to a board to practice taking resistance readings with.

• Arrange a few fixed voltages to take readings of, for example, 110V transformer a 12V power supply.

• Also arrange AC and DC supplies so you master switching between supplies.


There are many more things you could do, but that will do for starters. Remember how animals learn to fight in the wild – they play. You need to do the same with your meter, play with it and learn by your mistakes. I would stress two things though:

• When measuring 230V, make sure you have moved the selector to AC Volts otherwise the meter might go bang (show me a sparky who hasn’t done it).

• Put the first probe on the Neutral or Earth to avoid 230V coming straight through the instrument and out the other side.


Without being too crude, the next time you whip it out, you need to know what to do with it.


I bought a new laptop a few months ago and I am horrified how Microsoft are peddling climate change. I don’t know why they have climbed on this nonsense, perhaps they feel they have to follow the latest trend. But they keep re-broadcasting weather stories from around the world that make it appear that the end is nigh.


This is exactly how to “Spin” a story.


What happens is in their news feed that keeps popping up, it shows headlines like “Flooding along coast line” When you read the story its in the Philippines. “Mud slides kill dozens” its in South America. And so on and so on, none of this is any different to our normal weather around the world. You must also remember that seasons vary between hemispheres. So if you go shopping for dramatic weather stories you’ll find plenty around the globe. Perhaps that is why news agencies perpetuate climate change stories – they haven’t got anything else in their tiny heads to report on.


Weather records only go back to the late 1700’s so we haven’t really got that much to go on apart from examining tree rings and ice deposits and drawing “opinions” from that “evidence”. I would also add that unless you are using the same instruments from the 1700s then you are bound to have a calibration issue. Us common or garden electricians have to have our instruments calibrated annually to avoid reading errors!


At the moment its all about selling anything with an ”Eco” label on it and bidding for funding research, and if you want funding, you know how to slant that evidence.


But just stop for a moment and think about this, the famous diarist Samuel Pepys noted on a visit to Deptford, London “the gardens are excellent; and here I first saw oranges grow: some green, some half, some a quarter, and some full ripe, on the same tree, and one fruit of the same tree do come a year or two after the other”


The above extract was from Pepys diary dated Monday 25th June 1666.


Can you grow oranges outdoors in Deptford today?


World temperatures do fluctuate, its normal, it doesn’t mean we have to run and hide under the bed.


Remember 1999, when the “Experts” predicted planes crashing out of the sky when the digits rolled over to 2000? And the end of the Mayan calendar in 2012 surely predicted the end of the world. Hippies were touring round schools in the 1970’s explaining how an ice-age was due within a decade. Need I go on…


So that’s my report for February done.


Happy trails folks and remember, never bring a knife to a gunfight.

 

Blog for January 22

Posted on 5 February, 2022 at 0:20 Comments comments (74)

Blog for January

 

Ok folks, eyes down and look in, time to sit back with a cup of something and take five minutes out with my blog.

 

I don’t know about you but most normal, working class people are sick to the teeth of hearing about parties at Downing Street. The only people that are interested is an anti-establishment media class (indoctrinated at Uni) trying to bring down a government. And that’s the best they can throw at it? Office parties in different departments through a time that was confusing to everyone – big fecking deal.

 

Boris Johnson has had Covid himself, steered us through Brexit and had to deal with a pandemic that nobody has had to face before, and look how the media support him? I think we ought to go out on our doorsteps at 7 o’clock every Tuesday evening and blow a raspberry to show what normal people think of a warped media.

 

Better still, lets have a referendum to see if we support continuing or scrapping the licence fee? Wake up media, get on the side of normal people (EG the majority of the voting population) or your days are numbered. I have now deleted BBC and Sky news from my favourite lists and have switched to GB News for more unbiased reporting.

 

So, where has Teddy Barrett been this month? well let’s have a look back and see: Nutfield, Braintree (x2), Sudbury, Bournemouth and Camberley.

 

We also had Burns Night at my club in Woodstock in January and that is at least one highlight in this otherwise grotty time of year (I am rather fond of “Haggis, Neeps and Tatties”;).

 

I remember there was a group called “Pilot” that had a hit record during the Seventies called “January”. Here is an extract from the lyrics:

 

“January, Sick and tired you've been hanging on me

You make me sad with your eyes

You're telling me lies

Don't go

Don't go…”

 

This record always had a certain resonance with me as that is exactly how I always felt about bloody January… and February… and sodding March now I come to think of it. Cold, Wet and pissing miserable. By the time we get to April I shall be busting a gut for a ray of sunshine.


I might actually buck up courage to read “Don Quixote” to pass the doldrums away.

 

Have all you sparkies remembered to change the batteries in your test equipment? I was tempted to give it a miss but common sense prevailed, and good job too as a few were starting to leak. So a quick clean up and a squirt of WD40 probably saved me a couple of hundred quid, let alone equipment failure just when it’s needed.

 

Disappointed to say that my experiments with time-travel have failed again. It would appear that the energy created by a Chinese washing machine motor rigged up to an old Raleigh runabout moped was not quite enough to give the jolt necessary to traverse the space-time continuum.

 

Nuclear physicists reckon that time travel, or spatial displacement (like a Stargate) might just be possible using a “Singularity”. Ok, so what is a Singularity? Well it’s the release of a large amount of energy. Such as a “Black Hole” or when a sun collapses. Alternatively, and on a much smaller scale, being at Ground Zero during an atomic bomb detonation might, just might, provide a gap to travel through the fabric of space-time.

 

So until I get hold of an atomic device small enough to strap to our lawn-mower, oh and find a willing test pilot, my adventures in time travel are somewhat limited.

 

Talking of lawn mowers, I made a big push to clear up all those oak leaves in our garden. Have you ever tried burning oak leaves? They will not burn, they will not mulch down. Try burying them? Fine, dig them up next year exactly as you buried them.

 

The only option we have is to take them to the council tip. So I then had to transport 13 large sacks of oak leaves to the dump…and face interrogation at the gate by the camp commandant in High-Vis.

 

If the councils want to be seen to be “Green” why is it so difficult to dump stuff? If you take a porcelain sink or loo to the dump they charge you something like £5 a go! And as for taking plasterboard! I would advise you to seek an audience with the pope first to ensure all the correct documentation and blessings are in place.

 

A few years ago our local authority set up cameras at the gates to the dump to catch all the naughty people who left their Christmas wrappings etc when the dump was closed over the holiday! Seriously? So you’re going to fine all those people who took time out to try to do the right thing but you’re not open cos you didn’t want to pay overtime or couldn’t plan your way out of a paper bag?

 

Words fail me as to how these people think, they obviously come from a privileged background as they have not one iota of common sense.

 

I would never promote it, but you can understand why people do fly-tip.

 

I’m very sorry to report that my cousin Ken passed away this month. Ken was a lovable rogue, cracking jokes to the end. He certainly had a chequered life and although I might not always have agreed with him I couldn’t help but like him. RIP Ken Barrett, it can’t be denied that your loss has left a gap that will not be filled.

 

My other gripe of the month is that excuse for a pie that they give you in restaurants. Really, the contents of the pie in a ramakin with a pastry lid on top! Come on, that’s crap. Its just an excuse to pre-manufacture the meal. I’d also like to know how the hell you are meant to eat it? You can’t empty it out onto your plate cos the ramakin is red hot, are you supposed to convey your vegetables into the ramakin after you have removed the crust? Should you take a bite of vegetables followed by a quick scoop of pie-filling to the mouth? My gast is flabbered. I’ll be quite honest, I would rather have a Fray-Bentos pie in a tin.

 

I know how Rick Stein would deal with eating that in a restaurant – he’d have a quick sniff of the pie followed by three large glasses of wine.

 

Writing my blog is a bit like keeping a diary, which I’ve never been able to do, I don’t know how long I shall keep it going but perhaps it might be interesting to look back on in the future.

 

Happy trails folks.

 

Blog for December

Posted on 3 January, 2022 at 0:15 Comments comments (81)

Blog for December


Well what do you know folks, if its my report for December it must 2022!


Where did I go in December: Taunton, Clevedon, Cheltenham, Coventry, Witney, Chesham and Ilkeston, the remainder of that time spent with family and friends.


My resolutions for this year are pretty much the same as last year and all things considered, I didn’t do too bad.


As much as I enjoy the run-up to Christmas, I hate this part of the year we now move into. When I do eventually retire this is when I will go to Spain as we now enter three months of miserable weather.


Those of you who grew up in the 1960’s or 70’s will remember how in the UK the whole world died a little on a Sunday afternoon. The pubs closed at 2 o’clock, children weren’t allowed to make a noise, all the shops were closed. People who were wealthy enough to have a car went for a Sunday drive. But the streets were deserted. All we had to look forward to was “Pick of the Pops” on the radio that was a run down to the music charts ending with number 1 at seven o’clock.


The world really was a different place then. In one of his stories Douglas Adams referred to Sunday afternoons as the “long dark teatime of the soul” if you were a teenager of the 60’s or 70’s you know what he meant.


For me, the months immediately after Christmas now represent my current “long dark teatime of the soul” I absolutely hate this time in the UK, if I was to top myself, well, let’s not go there.


But talking of people topping themselves I can’t understand why the Eco’s don’t do themselves in? You know, Peter Kaye style “C’mon you’re scaring the kids, let’s get you off to the care home”.


I think it would be a noble move, if you’re so concerned about “Sustainable” and shit like that. If all Eco’s were to commit “Ecocide” think of the gains, no more “food crisis” more energy and water for all. No more of them causing pollution by eating lentils and passing wind or holding up traffic on the M25. It’s the Perfect Solution. If you’re prepared to risk your kids lives in a plastic bubble attached to the back of your wobbly bike cos you’re a saving the world, this is the next logical step.


Anyway, went a bit off track there. I do hope that all you normal, hard working or retired folk have a great new year and remember it’s not too late to turn things around. A mate of mine was married to a nasty little bitch 25 years ago and stuck with her cos he thought it was too late to start again.


Well, he’s still alive and he’s still married to a nasty little bitch, when perhaps he could have had 25 years with a nice lady.


My current plan for 2022 is to keep my head down, put a few shekels in the bank and enjoy a few holidays with my partner in crime. I also look forward to spending time with my grandchildren and the garden watching them all grow. It goes without saying that the oak tree is watching me but I think by now we have come to an understanding and both respect each other.


I sincerely hope that all of my readers and those unfortunate enough not to be, had a cracking Christmas and an enjoyable Hogmanay. I must say I prefer a quiet New Year’s eve at home, I have had enough of having to attend other people’s houses for the event.


I’ll have to admit that getting back to work after having Covid last year was not exactly a piece of cake, I still have a chesty cough and my sense of taste changed so I don’t like the same things I used to and my sense of smell took a long time to come back but isn’t quite the same. As an aside, I’m still deaf and have a strong desire to fall asleep at 3 o’clock in the afternoon so no change there then.


For the Spark’s point of view we have Amendment 2 of BS7671 in March/April to look forward to, where it looks extremely likely that AFDDs will be made mandatory where there is sleeping accommodation. We won’t know for sure what all the changes will be but as a member of the IET I have seen the proposal document. It is now with the Select Committee who will have the final say. I have noted with interest, that the overlap period between Amendment 1 and 2 is going to be twelve months rather than the usual six.


Myself and CO are rather saddened at the end of the “Inspector Montalbano” series on Rai Uno (or on BBC 4). We have watched the Commissario since the first episode back in 2000. I have read all the books of which there shall be no more as the author Andrea Camilleri passed away in 2019. The series became so popular they even released a “Young Montalbano” which was very good. I used to enjoy the exchanges between Salvo and Mimi without of course forgetting Catarella. If you are an aficionado you will know what I mean.


This is the year that hopefully, we will be able to take a few holidays that were postponed and rescheduled due to Covid. On one of them we will pay a visit to Sicily and hopefully catch a glimpse of where they filmed Montalbano (the fictional Vigata).


I know we can’t say what we wished for in the new year, but what do you fancy? I’m not even thinking about retiring yet but I can still have pipedreams about when I do. Although these do seem to change on a monthly basis. For the moment, I’ve gone off buying a villa as I can see myself ending up embarking on a constant mission of painting and decorating two homes if I do. So my latest wheeze is “Why don’t we just book into a hotel in Spain for a couple of months at a time?”


And when you look into it, it’s not such a bad option. The cost for hotels in Spain is very reasonable throughout the year apart from July and August (when I would want to be back in the UK anyway cos its too hot even for the Spanish). So you could go half-board, that is breakfast and 3-course evening meal (with drinks) taken care of for less than a grand a month for two. So no food shopping, no rates, no utility charges or “Urbanization” charges, no painting and decorating costs. You don’t even have to make the bed and housekeeping is free! If you take the car or hire one you can base yourself there and explore as we often do. According to my latest plan then, in my dotage my address will be somewhere between Botley and the Royal Sun, Santa Susanna.


I have also come round to the idea that if you buy a villa in Spain you can be just as lonely as living on an estate anywhere else because you end up just coming and going without any social interaction. I have started to consider that a mobile home in Saydo Park surrounded by fellow Brits would be better than a villa in Puerto Banus where the neighbours hardly know each other.


What if you won the Lottery though? Well unless I had my family around me I would still avoid the lonely villa syndrome.


Ok so that’s my blog for the end of December done and dusted.


We are now into a new year so who knows what joy or heartbreak we will find, what mistakes we will make. I’ve certainly made my share along the way so bound to make a few more.


In “Back to the Future” when Marty asked about his future, Doc Brown said “Marty, the future hasn’t yet been written” and that is completely true, its never too late to change your future.


And when Marty challenged him about reading that letter by asking “what about interfering with the space-time continuum?” Doc winked and said “I just figured, what the hell”.


Happy trails folks, your future has not yet been written.

 



Blog for November

Posted on 5 December, 2021 at 0:05 Comments comments (35)

Well Hi de hi and here we are again.


So where has Ted been this month? Lets see; Waterlooville, Wadhurst, Oxted, Carmarthen, Taunton (twice), Coventry (twice), Ross on Wye, Gloucester, Bath, Cleveden and Cheltenham.


I hope all you sparkies have been good all year as we are now just days away from what Chevvy Chase describes as when Santa “squeezes his fat white ass down the chimney”.


Now I know I’ve said it before but it’s my blog so I can repeat myself as often as my frazzled brain fancies; I love Christmas, always have. I used to work with an Algerian guy who hated Christmas and used to run back to Algeria for the best part of December. He just couldn’t get his head around the fact that Christmas does not necessarily have to be a Christian celebration but a time for peace and goodwill to all irrespective of religion. Jesus was mentioned as a prophet in the Quran anyway, I just think this guy was anti-Christian (he was definitely anti-Semitic). I always felt sorry for his kids, who had to stay in the UK with their British mum, says it all really…


Nonetheless, I enjoy Christmas along with meeting up with chums if possible over the festive season and special times with my family. I do consider myself a Christian and go to church when I can and the child in me particularly enjoys the church at Christmas.


I sometimes think that in Ted Barrett Land I wake up on Christmas morning to a Dickensian world covered in snow, where I put on my scarf and top hat wishing “Merry Christmas” to all I meet, while red-breasted robins watch me from the top of Victorian postboxes dusted with snow…


Anyway, pull yourself together man, for sparkies this is the time of year when cooker circuits overload on Christmas day as this might be the only time when everything on the cooker is in use. This is also the time of year when all those sodding Christmas tree lights come out, nuff said.


And for all contractors, this is when everybody wants all work “finished for Christmas”.


The leaves have all turned golden brown and that oak tree at the bottom of our garden has already dropped a million leaves that need to be disposed of.


That tree is watching me all year, even on a summer’s day it will discretely drop the odd leaf just to see if I notice.


As briefly mentioned above, I do think that Chevvy Chase’s “Christmas Vacation” is one of the very best Christmas films. It is an annual tradition for us and our family to watch. You can take the hammy Dickie Attenborough offering and stuff it. However, Jimmy Stewart in “It’s a wonderful Life” is still very high up on my agenda.


And, ooh getting into it now, you’ve got to have a ghost story on Christmas Eve. Don’t get me started on “The Green Man” or “The Dead Sexton”.


Christmas dinner I love. The scaremongering media made me roar with laughter “Turkey Shortage for Xmas”. Well, big fecking deal. When I was a kid it was a rarity to have chicken (at any time of year). I had no idea what a turkey was! To me, the culinary side of Christmas dinner is more about the vegetables, so long as we have chestnut stuffing what goes with that I really don’t mind, Turkey, Chicken, Duck, Beef, Pork, anything. What is more important is your family, we can’t always get together every Christmas but when we do, I don’t care what we eat.


And if you know me, you’ll know I don’t subscribe to all these scrounging charities that are little more than fronts for fiddlers. “£5 buys a tree in Ram a lama ding dong” or “£3 a week to adopt a Parakeet” I very carefully check who I give to and only give to a select few UK organisations.


I certainly don’t believe in this business of not sending cards to friends but sending to charity instead. I give a monthly subscription to my charities anyway. And a card means a certain amount of effort has taken place, it’s a small sign of reinforcing your friendship.


But I do feel very much that this is a time of the year to look back and reflect upon those we have lost along the way. There are too many empty seats at dinner tables that should still be filled. My heart goes out to all of you who have lost family and friends, I don’t have words enough to take that hurt away for you, I really wish I did.


I have lost a very good friend this month who I will miss forever, he was my friend and mentor, it feels like another part of my world has slipped away. RIP Mike, you will be sorely missed but fondly remembered old friend.


I often have a section in my blog where I mention somebody I admire. I have also often referred to shitbags who have crossed me. And as Christmas is a time for reflection, I will easily admit that sometimes, I have crossed myself.


I am ashamed to say that when I was younger, I didn’t have the brains or experience to deal with many situations and did not deal with certain things very well. Very often I felt that I could not live up to expectations of myself, but along with a habit of keeping things to myself and not wanting to hurt anyone I probably caused more hurt in that process.


All of that, I regret very much.


When I finally succeed in building a time machine I’m going to go back and:

a) Give myself a swift kick in the knackers.

b) Put a couple of bob on Red Rum.

c) Apologise to all the people I hurt, I’m so sorry for being a prat.


However, as it’s Christmas, I’m going to copy a few words from my favourite Christmas Carol to convey something I always felt:


If I were a shepherd

I would give a lamb

If I were a wise man

I would do my part

But what I can I give him

Give him my heart


Can you identify the Carol?


Merry Christmas folks, may you live long and prosper. And once again quoting Chevvy Chase as Clark Griswold, “remember that when Santa squeezes himself down that chimney, he’s gonna find the happiest bunch of assholes”.


My alter-ego, you know, that brave, swashbuckling adventurer version of me is currently languishing in a South American jail courtesy of the Panamanian government. “It’s just a silly misunderstanding over an old manuscript” he says “I’m just waiting for a letter from Boris to sort things out” but he did go on to say “Please wish all OUR readers a gut-busting Christmas and an extremely profitable new year””.


Knowing him, he’ll probably manage to have all charges dropped and turn up on my doorstep Christmas Day with some gorgeous Russian countess he’s met on Carib-Air (with the deeds to a Siberian gold mine in his back pocket). Sometimes I could bleeding kill him, but he’s a nice chap really and he means well.


However it falls, have a fantastic Christmas folks, even have a “Happy Holiday” if you are that way inclined, whatever, enjoy the moment and take some time out to contact old friends. I for one, would be really pleased to hear from you. I have asked many times before and that remains, I would love to hear from you.


Happy festive trails, and never stop believing in the magic of Christmas.

 

Blog for October

Posted on 1 November, 2021 at 5:55 Comments comments (94)

Blog for October

 

Greetings party people, it’s the end of October so time to see where Ted has been and what he’s got to gripe about this month.

 

So after recovering from Covid, I have had pretty slow start to the month with a week at Witney running an Inspect and Test course followed up by short courses at Bristol, Cardiff and Waltham Abbey before returning to Witney for an 18th Edition course.

 

Kids are funny aren’t they! They love scary things like dinosaurs and of course Halloween. I remember Halloween dinners when our kids were young with sausages in tomato sauce (fingers in blood) and suchlike.

 

Child psychologists would probably say we damaged our kids mentally. But they seemed to enjoy it and have grown into fairly well-balanced adults. These are probably the same psychologists who say we should let the trouble-making kids in class run around bullying and smashing other students work up.

 

I remember a kid from my class in secondary school who was always causing trouble and fights. I can’t remember him actually doing anything to me but the atmosphere created by this kid was awful. Apart from teaching us a whole new vocabulary in foul language, he put the whole class on edge as we never knew when he would kick off. He has since appeared on Facebook asking for friends but I just can’t forgive him for making our schooldays so bloody miserable.

 

Talking about been miserable, you can’t help but notice how many crises we are living through right now:

“The Climate Emergency”

“Waste Food Crisis”

“Fuel Crisis”

“Supply Crisis”

“Energy Crisis”

And many more.

 

 

If you believed everything you saw on the news you’d be a nervous wreck, the thing all these have in common is they are all blown out of proportion and exaggerated by a manipulative and anti-establishment media that have not escaped the politics of the JCR at uni. They are also aided and abetted organisations who climb onto bandwagons for profit or to cover ineptitude.

 

No wonder so many young people are committing suicide, the heartless bastards who peddle their stupid theories should let children have a childhood.

 

If you want a conspiracy theory there are multiple possibilities at the moment and if you want to sell something just get “Eco” in the title or drop in “Sustainable” and “Green”.

 

As my regular readers will know I do enjoy a little scenario, so lets try eavesdropping on a very short meeting between the EV car producing manufacturers and their Publicists/Advertisers:

 

Manufacturers – We have called this meeting today as EV sales are not ramping up anywhere near our expected targets. We want to know what you can do to boost sales?

 

Publicists – Leave it to us…

 

Sky News/BBC the next day – “Petrol Shortage at the Pumps”

 

I reckon in the UK we are about the same as the States, in what I call a 50/50 population. And by that I reckon that 50% of the population are quite smart and the remainder are, well, not so smart (and remember, a high IQ doesn’t necessarily mean smart).

 

And I like the TV ads for “Give £5 a week to save a tree/animal” where the CEO is on £200K a year. Do you remember the woman who committed suicide because she had been targeted by “Charity” telesales people (all on bonus) as a “soft touch” and couldn’t keep up with the payments?

 

I saw a product in the supermarket the other day that claimed to save the world’s oceans by having the consumer add water to it at home! I don’t think I have ever seen so many lemmings.

 

What worries me is how a large proportion of a population can be so easily taken in. People like this scare me, they are won over by unproven theories backed up with false data (a common line spouted is “Research indicates”. The same thing happened in 1930’s Germany.

 

Changing tack slightly, hands up if you’re fed up with protesters. Blocking motorways and airports – who do they hurt? The common working person who is trying to get to work or have a break from being at work that’s who.

 

No matter what they are campaigning for, we are not interested, and they will not have our support. It just goes to show that they are mostly upper-class types who have no respect for working class people. I can’t understand why motorists actually stop for these loonies, one of them will get seriously hurt one day.

 

And if “Extinction Rebellion” are true to their aims, why don’t they go to Wuhan and see how far they get there by blocking the road?

 

Anyway, I suppose I’d better do some electrical stuff to show willing. So getting back to more technical details, and if you’re an installation Sparky, here’s a little bit of advice to simplify the basics of Earth Loop Impedance testing and Zs readings:

• The values we LIVE TEST to are in Tables A1 to A4 of GN3 NOT BS7671.

• Appendix “A” in GN3 Table A6 gives factors to correct LIVE EL Readings NOT DEAD circuits.

• Appendix “B” of GN3 gives figures for RESISTANCE of DEAD conductors only and along with Tables B2 and B3 to correct for ambient and conductor temperatures and may be used to check resistance of dead circuits or (if used in conjunction with a known Ze) be used to calculate an ANTICPATED Zs.

 

Now, that wasn’t too difficult was it? There are some strange “examples” of calculations shown just after Appendix “A” in GN3 but please don’t get caught up in these. They are very poorly explained and I think they were constructed by people who have nothing better to do than mangle equations, so don’t let yourself get confused by them. Sometimes in this job you have to be able to cut through the crap.

 

 

My “Person of Merit” this month is an old chum of mine Doug Whiting, I met Doug many years ago when I was wiring cryogenic control systems and he was constructing, wiring and testing a range of High-Tech equipment, working at the leading edge of technology. I never told him this at the time, so I’m making it known now: Dougie’s work was second to none. His skill and professionalism was, and remains, above First Class. I don’t think I’m allowed to say where he’s working now so I won’t. Suffice to say, they have the cream of the cream working for them.

 

Well that’s my blog for October done and dusted, so in the words of the great Billy Ocean “When the going gets tough – The stuffed get going” or something like that!

 

My next blog (for November) will actually be my Christmas blog, so be sure to tune in for some Christmas Cheer (and none of that “Happy Holidays” BS either).

 

Until we meet again, Happy Trails, Folks.

 

 

 

 

 


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