|Posted on 18 June, 2021 at 0:20||comments (1)|
I used to like Tin-Tin, and still do. I think the latest animation is fantastic. Tin-Tin’s mate, Captain Haddock, had a fantastic array of sayings and curses, so let’s kick off this report with a “Blistering Barnacles!”
I would also add that this month’s report is a cracker. Take my advice, make a cup of tea, help yourself to a chocolate hob-nob and put your feet up for a good old yarn.
I think that Captain Haddock’s opening is completely appropriate for the course of my travels in May as I spent a week training on the coast at Worthing. Well, what can I say, except to be honest and brutal, What a dump.
In contrast to the town, the company I spent time with training was top notch and had obviously invested profits back into the business to create a vibrant and successful organisation along with buildings that were a joy to work in.
Worthing though remains a dump. And it’s not just the local council that’s at fault, you can see all around the result of lack of investment, lack of care and in general lack of brain cells. There is very little incentive for tourists to visit the town as the whole area looks like 1950’s bombed-out Britain. Even the big wheel on the front needs a coat of paint. And then to add insult to injury they can’t resist ripping you off wherever possible. Reminds me why we stopped having holidays in this country a long time ago – holiday in the UK? I’d rather put up a tent in the garden.
So let’s see where Ted has been in May; I had three days in Horsham, a week in sodding Worthing and four days in Essex. And those sort of hours suit me down to the ground. I am supposed to be semi-retired but I do enjoy my consultancy and training operations. I’m not quite ready to just spend my days gardening.
What I would like to do is spend more time in Spain, and not just drinking myself to death. We have already explored quite a lot of Espania and intend to explore a lot more yet.
For the month of June I am back in my own backyard running an Inspection and Testing course at Witney and a few other missions scattered throughout the month.
I always find it interesting how we find a “niche” in our working life. For instance one of my colleagues works with Theatre Electricians, another within the railway industry and so on.
Now, although I run courses for the electrical installation industry with Inspect & Test and 18th Edition etc, my particular niche these days seems to have fallen into industrial maintenance and fault-finding.
However, as my regular readers will know, a large part of my working life was in the intruder alarm business, until my wife became ill and I needed to take a job nearer to home and hospitals. So this is a subject that is still close to my heart. I’m not allowed to tell you the names of the groups that were trying to extract cash from UK plc in my time but for a large part of the 1970’s and 80’s I spent fighting the efforts of such groups and it really was a continual battle.
For example, we discovered certain people were injecting expanding foam into external alarm sounders to silence them so we designed a “Paddle” switch to operate if somebody tried this trick that would set off the alarm instantly. We filled alarm systems with all sorts of sensors; thermal, motion, magnetic microwave, sonic, capacitance and many more. And I’m pleased to say that we beat the bad guys, mostly. But the moral of the story is that every system will have a weakness. And if you are prepared to invest in time and resources to study a system you may well discover a weakness you can exploit.
So whilst we are on the subject of alarm systems, lets go to Antwerp in Belgium 2003 and explore what could possibly have been the biggest heist in European history.
Now here’s the thing, if you are going to knock over a bank, not that I would recommend it of course, go for the safe deposit boxes. Safe deposit boxes are where people keep their secrets - gold bars, jewellery of all sorts, bearer bonds, blackmail material, anything. Nobody checks.
Well it just so happens that there is a pretty big safe deposit box vault underneath the Diamond Centre in Antwerp. It also happens that the worlds biggest gateway for diamonds is in Antwerp. This is where deals are done and fortunes are made. So that vault must be pretty handy for popping a few diamonds into occasionally.
Next enter an Italian gang known as “The School of Turin” who had a reputation for ingenious robberies, they also had a principle that nobody should be seriously injured in the course of their activities (so a bit Robin Hood like). To cut to the chase I am going to have to summarise like this: what looks like the ringleader (a Mr Notarbartolo) moves into an office over the Diamond Centre and spends the best part of two years conducting a fake diamond business from there.
In the course of that time he purchased a deposit box in the vault and was subsequently allowed access to the vault where he was able to observe the security measures in place. He also befriended staff and fellow customers alike. This was definitely a long-play job.
Eventually the gang struck and like all good operations they chose diversion as their friend.
Friday the 14th of February 2003 (Valentines Day, is a big thing in Belgium) falling on a Friday followed by a boozy weekend.
By defeating numerous systems, procuring keys and somehow cracking the million-digit combination of the vault door along with what seems like a generous dollop of good luck they pull it off.
To this day nobody knows quite how much they got away with but it has been estimated a minimum of $M150, of which very little has been recovered. The gang managed to escape across several borders and made their getaway.
Now comes the odd bit. The following day a park ranger on the French/Belgium border discovers the remains of dumped litter and a small fire. Amongst this debris are a few diamonds and a receipt linking back to our guy who rented the office above the diamond centre. Furthermore, one of the few safe deposit boxes not broken into belonged to guess who? Mr Notarbartolo!
Mr Notarbartolo is pretty quickly picked up back in Italy along with a couple of other gang members. A few thousand dollars’ worth of goods are recovered, but yet again, not many depositors are willing to actually reveal their losses. Mr Notarbartolo eventually serves ten in jail and Antwerp begins to forget about this adventure.
But, there are a few riddles left to be solved. Firstly, is the combination to the vault door. Unlike the rest of the alarm system This could NOT be bypassed, somebody had to give this up, whoever this was has not been determined.
Secondly, and sticking out like a sore thumb, would you think an operation so carefully planned would leave the key player exposed to take the fall? This guy spent two years scoping the job out, I would have thought that in that time he would have also planned a perfect escape.
Although if you think about it he got ten years and probably got away with at least ten million dollars. I’ll declare right now, if anybody wants a patsy for a heist, I will take a few years in clink at that rate (although I would have to insist on cast-iron underpants for the showers).
I’m inclined to think somebody else was bankrolling the operation (its called “seed money”) and came out of it completely untainted, or Notarbartolo decided to sacrifice himself from the start to avoid being on the run forever. I also think whoever gave away the combination of the vault has a nice villa in Montenegro or somewhere similar tucked away for their retirement.
Now then, although this may all be very entertaining, there is also a principle in electrical engineering and a lesson to be learnt from all this: No system is perfect. The world and life is not perfect. Systems do have flaws and systems do break down, the right approach is not to be too cocky from the outset. Like saying “this ship is unsinkable”.
Rather start your design, no matter what system, saying “what if?”
So that brings us to the end of Edward’s report (sounds posh) for May, hopefully we may finally get to see those long summer days sitting in the garden with a few glasses of Vino Blanco and reflecting on life in general.
I’ll drink to that.
Happy trails folks, until we meet again.
Adios mi Amigos y Amigas.
|Posted on 15 May, 2021 at 6:05||comments (2)|
Many apologies to my avid readers for missing my posting for March. The company that hosts this website changed the way you update your blog and coupled with an influx of work I didn’t have a chance to do anything about it.
So within the past few weeks I have had my final Covid jab and been tested a few times, so all looking good so far.
I did a few days training in St Edmunds Hall College (known as “Teddy Hall”, Oxford in March and totalled up the other Oxford Colleges I have trained staff in: Christchurch, St Catherine’s and Jesus. At this rate I shall end up a suspect in “Lewis”, but as I am the soul of discretion I shall never reveal who dunnit.
So throughout the course of March and April I have been to Oxford, Barnstaple, Stratford on Avon (twice), Chelmsford, Bristol (twice) and Glastonbury.
The world, well at least the UK, seems to be taking off again let’s hope we don’t lurch off into another disaster.
And I know I may have mentioned it briefly before but when is this global warming going to start? I’m fed up with all this bloody rain and cold.
Now I’m not afraid to say where I went wrong or admit my failings (and I have made the odd error I will bashfully admit) but on an electrical issue I didn’t know that those new-fangled push-fit joint boxes appear to be more highly rated that the traditional screw terminal type. If you had an inspection by a very picky inspector he could pull you up on not having “readily available access” to a screw-type joint box under a floor. However, a push-fit type is fine as it is classed as “maintenance-free”. What I would add to this though, is just make sure you have the right current rating connector for the job and it does form a complete enclosure.
With regard to motorcycling, I will readily admit to being a fair-weather biker only. When it warms up a bit more I shall take my two-wheeled, petrol driven steed for a bit of a canter. I particularly like to cruise around the villages of Oxfordshire, on a sunny day there is nothing finer.
If you’ve been following my blog for some time now you’ll be aware that my alter-ego (otherwise known as Ted Voice 2) is a more adventurous version of myself and would probably find a motorbike ride around the villages of Oxfordshire rather tedious.
Ted Voice 2: “Tedious! My God, I’ve seen more action in a knitting circle.”
Ted Voice 1: “So you’re back then”.
Ted Voice 2: “Yeah, can’t stop though. Gotta pick up my gear and shoot down to Troyes in France where one of my mates has found a manuscript with a clue to the mystery of Rennes le Chateau”.
Ted Voice 1: “We stayed in Troyes a couple of years ago while driving down to Spain”.
Ted Voice 2: “Oh very interesting. Lend us twenty quid will yuh”.
Ted Voice 1: “Here’s thirty, now bugger off to Rennes le wotsit”.
Right, he’s gone now thank the lord. He’s a likable chap but he’s always bouncing from one adventure to another. He’ll never make anything of himself, I just wish he’d find a nice girl and settle down. On the other hand, that would probably cost me a bloody fortune.
I’m very pleased to see the fashion for saying “Be kind” has disappeared from Facebook. I think if you have to tell an adult to “be kind” it’s a bit late. I bet the majority of those who posted it would step over somebody collapsed in the street. “Be kind”, bullshit, they’re just saying it so they can appear to be kind.
All that remains now is to say goodbye from me and goodbye from him (Ted Voice 2 says “Ciao Baby”).
Happy trails until we meet again.
Adios mi amigos e amagas.
|Posted on 1 March, 2021 at 11:43||comments (2)|
Well howdy-doody folks, its that time again. Don’t the time go quick when you’re enjoying yourself.
I had my first Covid jab a few weeks back and can’t say I suffered any adverse reaction to it.
Don't know what all the fuss is about.
Anyway, that’s us into March now then. They’ve had Easter eggs in the shops since Halloween so they must be pretty dried out by now.
I hope to get back out on the garden before too long, if it ever dries out.
I was thinking about when I was an apprentice the other day and what an absolute shitbag of a bloke I had to work with. When we were working in Oxford he liked to go home for his lunch, so what he would do was drop me off in an empty garage/lockup the company owned about half a mile from his house for me to eat my sandwiches in. No heat, no light, nothing to sit on, no toilet or handwashing facilities, Nada. He would come back and pick me up about an hour and a half later. Sometimes I was so cold I could hardly speak. I was 15 years old. I wouldn’t treat an animal like that, how could he sit in his warm house at his dining table knowing I was sat on the floor in that freezing cold garage? Funny thing was I never queried it, I didn’t like it but just accepted it as I thought it was normal, I didn’t even complain to my mum and dad about it.
If you know me, you will know I have an intense hatred for liars and bullshitters. You will also know that I have no time for selfish people. I am also a big believer in karma, I just hope this guy had some sort of payback.
Thank God apprentices aren’t treated like that anymore. If you are, or know somebody who is, let me know, I will sort it out.
Talking of apprenticeships, we were on the 14th Edition regulations when I started out. Green sleeving was a new thing and we were just changing over from imperial wire sizes like 3/029 (which means 3 strands of wire with a diameter of 0.029 of an inch) to metric 1.5² and 7/029 became 2.5 mm².
The funny thing is, this was a change in metrication that led to wire sizes being rounded down so the customer got slightly less copper. I bet the price of wire never went down to reflect that.
We are now on the 18th Edition and the constitution for the regulations states that there can only be three amendments per edition. We have already had one amendment and Amendment 2 is now open for consultation! I reckon we will change over to the 19th in around 2029.
I think it was Shakespeare who said “The future is an undiscovered country” or something like that. He wasn’t wrong there.
I see that ELECSA is withdrawing from the field of certification and passing contractors over to the NICEIC. I’m not really sure what the driver behind this is but I’m sure there will be a few disenchanted contractors out there who are not keen on NICEIC. I know that cost is a major factor in guys taking this point of view, so I hope NICEIC will be sensible about pricing and not cause a stampede to NAPIT.
For the uninitiated, the above organisations are responsible for maintaining standards in the electrical installation industry. If as a customer you are thinking about any electrical work (Domestic, Commercial or Industrial) you need to make sure your contractor is registered with one of those bodies. If your contractor is NICEIC approved and they became ill or bankrupt during the course of any job, NICEIC will appoint another contractor to finish the job for you at minimal cost or none at all if you have paid upfront. You can easily check on the NICEIC website to see if your contractor is registered with them.
Having NICEIC approval is so important to contractors they will often claim to be a member even if they have been suspended so please check on the website before you get caught out.
The world of training and consultancy is starting to warm up again, enquiries are starting to ramp up and I’m back on the road again this month. Bloody good job I got all that decorating and DIY done.
I made contact with one of my old biker chums from years ago through Facebook last year only to find that he passed away this month due to Covid. Rest in peace Jammy, I’m still struggling to take it in.
Sometimes we can’t always have happy trails.
Adios por ahora.
|Posted on 1 February, 2021 at 10:23||comments (4)|
Greetings pop-pickers. My last report was to mark the sunset of 2020, as we are now at the sunrise of 2021 let’s see what Ted currently has on his mind.
Now, as you know, I’m not one to gossip. But you might remember me telling you about a relation of my wife’s that was carrying on with “tatty old bit”.
Well I am now going to reveal his name – on Botley Notice Board and several others in the area. I do like a bit of drama and a chase, so I was tempted to put a clue under the shelf in a phone box, but then remembered that we don’t have phone boxes anymore. Never mind, just have a look on the notice board in our local library, co-op, church, chemists etc etc. You’ll soon find his name revealed in full.
Can’t seem to see any effects of that “Climate Emergency” that we’re been told about. It looks like it was still cold over December and January with frost and snow. I actually think we could do with raising the temperature in the UK a bit. God knows what the Romans wanted to conquer this bloody cold wet hole for. I can just imagine them coming ashore at the Isle of Dogs:
Claudius > “Ere’ Tonius”
Tonius > “Yes Claudius”
Claudius > “Have you noticed what a bleeding cold and wet hole this is!”
Tonius > “Yesius. And have you seen the women? Bloody scary great big things with tits down to their bellies and covered in blue gunge”
Claudius > “And my bleeding feetius are freezing in these sandals that I had made in Milan. Not only that but some weaselly looking prat just tried to sell me a barbecued rat for 2500 Dinarios! ”
Tonius > “Twisting git! Talk about a nation of shop-keepers. At times like this do you ever miss your villa on the Italian coast. Laying back in the old current bun, knocking back a glass of vino and your hot-blooded beautiful wife peeling olives for you?”
Claudius > “Quick, back in the boat”
I think I would have filed a report saying “We looked but didn’t find anything useful”.
With this latest lockdown we have taken to having a daily stroll around our local area, I hope we will continue to keep this up even after the world returns to some sort of reality (just so long as it doesn’t rain).
And it goes without saying that I hope we can get back to Spain asap. Although this bloody Covid business is going on so long now it could still bugger us up this year. I’m beginning to think that we might have to have the entire year of 2022 on holiday to make up for it.
If you would have asked me, when I were a lad (go on, say it in a northern accent), what we would be doing in 2021, I would have replied “wearing silver suits and whizzing around in flying cars”. Whoever thought we would be fighting a plague.
Talking of cars, I bought a new one a few months back. It is very nice but I have had to turn off a few features. I don’t use cruise control very much anyway as I don’t like that feeling that I’m not in control. But I have now turned off the feature that corrects your steering and wants to fight you for control of the steering wheel. I have also turned off that bloody annoying auto-stop doo-dah. And just for fun, I’m still trying to work out the communications centre and voice control to play Herb Alpert instead of phoning Halfords.
I shall have to get some new headlight deflectors for European driving and I suppose I’ll have to get a “GB” sticker for the ferry as the new number plates no longer have the EU flag and marked “GB EU”.
I am glad we are out of the EU, I voted to go into the EU in 1975 when it was presented to us as simply a trade agreement, in no way were we told it would completely control our country.
The BBC tried to manipulate us to vote against Brexit and squealed with horror when we didn’t. If they loved the EU so much, in all the years we were in the Common Market why didn’t they transmit language classes and in-depth studies of France, Italy and Spain etc? I suppose that reveals how much they think of their audience, we are obviously too stupid to take any of that in. Even if they had have done, they would have put their usual multi-ethnic, multi–multi babble, upper class guilt trip spin on it.
As I understand it the brief of the BBC is to “Educate and Entertain”. I do not see imposing a political viewpoint on the masses as part of that brief.
Now following on from that, and as far as I am aware, our separation from the EU will not affect wiring colours or our electrical regulations. You must remember that our regulations became a full British Standard (BS7671) in 1992 and even though we changed over to continental colours in 2006 (due to pressure from the EU), we will not be changing back for the foreseeable future.
So we are now 1/12 into 2021, I’d like to say we’ll all be vaccinated before too long and we can get back to normal fairly soon,but I don’t think its going to be quite that easy. However, I’m not going to let that get me down, I’ve nearly always been able to turn a situation round so here’s a few keywords to think about if you are furloughed or laid off: Retrain, Refurbish, Repair and Relax. You might want to add get Ready, for the Rush when the world comes back (talk about rolling your Rs).
There are a handful of people I wish I had never met or had to deal with. On the other hand, there are more people who I have good memories of and would really love to hear from, so if you are among that number, don’t be shy, please drop me a line or friend me on Facebook.
In closing, here is a question that I have been pondering for some time now; If Antipasti and a Cornish Pasty make contact would it create a bigger bang than the one at the beginning of time, a small black hole, or could it be safely contained in a Schrodinger Containment Field?
While your considering that, I’m going to send another Bacardi and coke down the hatch to see what the last one I sent down there is buggering about at.
Anyway, adios until next month mi Amigos y Amigas.
Happy Trails until we meet again.
|Posted on 31 December, 2020 at 9:15||comments (4)|
Hello to all my multi-wotsit, multi-doodah chums.
First off, let’s have a rant, so put the kettle on and have a cuppa and chocolate hob-nob while you let me splutter away like colonel blimp.
I don’t know when the TV advertisers became the guardians of our morals and how we should fit into society or if its just a sign of them doing too much acid back in the 70’s coupled with upper-class guilt.
Lets face it’ these TV land advert families look nothing like the majority of families in the UK and that is all of the same type, whether they be Asian, Caucasian or what. It seems that most adverts nowadays look like the cast of the Disney channel, we’ve even had adverts with blokes kissing each other.
I would also say change over the term “Virtue-Signalling” to “Arse-Creeping” for a better description. I also think its demeaning for the actors who are parachuted in for these “token” roles.
And talking about TV, what a pile of crap. Lack of imagination or what? “Let’s make another remake of the Three Musketeers” or “Whisky Galore”. It seems suspiciously like we get programmes that would appeal to the old queens – Cooking, Dancing, Gardening and Antiques. Alternatively, “let’s do another Dickensian period piece and put a Venusian in it” that should make all the art teachers and social workers squeal with delight.
And another thing, there must be hundreds if not thousands of people go into the acting profession each year. Are they all so piss-poor that we only ever see the same old faces on TV? You would have thought that production companies would have realised that overexposure makes an audience lose interest.
Another thing that niggles me is TV advertising on a paid-for platform! Why should I pay for a channel and then have to watch adverts that are supposed to pay for the channel? That means you are paying to watch adverts! What a con that is.
And then we have the begging adverts; “Can you give £20 a month to support a cuckoo/whale/aardvark” talk about charity-fatigue. My fear is that if they keep it up we will all become hardened to good causes and not give anything at all.
Until smaller groups start to produce TV over the internet it will remain crap for some time now. I would love to see amateur dramatic groups switch over to delivering content on Youtube. We might also get advertising that simply sells a product and not tells us what our family should look like.
Ah, that’s better, does you good to vent your spleen. If you don’t you’ll get spots.
Anyway, I did have rather a nice Christmas with all the traditional stuff apart from not being able to get to church and bloody annoyed that we couldn’t have the usual family gathering.
I do think though that Christmas is a time of mixed emotions and can be quite poignant anyway when we think of all those we have lost along the way and think of empty chairs around our tables, but we gain hope from seeing our children and grandchildren growing and making us proud.
With regard to electrical engineering I am about to get into electric vehicle charging points as a qualification. I have been involved in this field for some time now and have worked with companies developing smart charging points so this is something I have been involved with for a few years and can see a considerable demand for training, so watch this space.
Getting back to Christmas Day, I must confess I am not a Royalist. I support our Queen and think she has done a fantastic job but I never watch “The Queens Speech”. However, when they make me a knight of the realm, I will probably adjust my view a little.
If I was doing “The Ted’s Speech” it might go something like this:
“This year was one that was particularly unpleasant, I hope we can get this blasted virus behind us and get back to normality as soon as possible. Spare a thought for all the Sparkies on site in the freezing bleeding cold or those scrabbling about trying to line up the sprockets on a ten-ton motor. Bacon sandwiches and mugs of tea don’t come cheap so try to slide a few tenners into the pocket of the next electrician you see. Failing that, don’t send your family fortune to that nice man in Nigeria, but send a donation to Tedsvillainspain.com and I will send you a model of my villa (chalk model house from St Giles Fair rifle range) along with a T Shirt bearing an image of me in a deckchair and a monthly report bound to get lost in the post.”
Remember, this is my blog and I can be as nutty as I want.
Speaking of which I received another text from Ted voice 2 on his wind-up Motorola just a few days ago where he has informed me that unfortunately, he didn’t find that lost city of gold in the Amazon but has undergone some form of marriage ceremony with a member of a tribe of head-hunters. This was apparently under some duress after been caught in-flagrante with the chief’s daughter. I’m hoping I won’t see him for some time now, but he usually manages to reappear smelling of roses.
Oh well, time to ride off into the sunset of 2020 now.
Happy trails folks.
|Posted on 2 December, 2020 at 9:39||comments (2)|
Ok Folks, so here we are at the end of November.
Well I didn’t go very far this month apart from more gardening, which mostly consisted of picking up leaves and fence fixing.
Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth though, I have now completely updated my training material for PAT 5 (COPISITEE) and am completely ready to go with this. I have already published a brief summary of the changes on my Ted Barrett Services Facebook page.
I must say I was surprised how quickly the examining body updated their exams so I couldn’t afford to hang about anyway. The upshot of this of course means that if you train for COPISITEE with me, you will get the very latest training.
Talking of training, I remember reading somewhere that there is a basic human body type and appearance that falls within about 187 sub-sets. Now you might think that sounds a bit of a rash statement but after a lifetime of meeting people both professionally and socially I am beginning to warm to this idea.
If you are in the teaching/training profession this goes some way to explain why we often see the same bloke in classes across the country. Unless he’s the bleeding Count St Germain who never ages, he keeps popping up in my class.
One particular type I’m thinking of is the weasel-like bod with a scrawny moustache, lank hair and incessantly smokes roll-ups – Ah, I see you recognise him now.
Now then, this guy is usually one of life’s great tragedies. He is actually quite smart but (for various reasons) was never really able to apply himself to study and develop that brain to a higher level. Couple this with the fact that he married far too early to somebody who was just looking for a husband and turned him into factory fodder. His function in life is therefore simply to be a means of bringing money in to provide for a housewife and children.
There are of course, other characters that keep popping up, and I often find myself asking “weren’t you in Somerset last week?” On the other hand, perhaps it’s just me going loopy.
When I was doing my teacher training we studied quite a few aspects of how the brain functions such as cognitive development along with Freud and Jung etc which I found absolutely fascinating in as much as it explained many things that I had often wondered about.
Thank god that bloody election is over, one day the media will realise that the everyday people of one country are not really interested in the politics of another country. But there again, that would strip away another cheap TV trick wouldn’t it. The next one they’ll try is to tell us we are all fascinated by Baseball and try to get us hooked on the “World Series” (it’s a funny “World” though cos its only in the states!).
I belong to a club that meets at Woodstock and I am most upset that for the first time in what must be at least twenty-five years we will not be having a Christmas get-together. What a bloody swine that is. The heart-breaking part is that many members are of senior years and will not be able to have that last Christmas with friends. My old friend Harold Taylor was a member of this same club, Joanne and I miss him daily.
Even more heart-breaking is that we won’t be able to have a family Christmas dinner at our house as the numbers will probably be too great, so we need to break up the festivities between households over a couple of days instead. All things considered though, I’ll just be grateful if we are all still alive by then. To be quite honest, I’m grateful to be alive every day.
On a different note but still concerning Christmas, I love a good ghost story on Christmas Eve. I’m not really that keen on “Scrooge” but to my mind “The Dead Sexton” by J. Sheridan Le Fanu is the ultimate Christmas ghost story.
Talking about stories, they generally tend to follow previously defined plots, such as boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy meets girl again. The books my wife read all seem to start off with a divorcee or widow starting life again in a seaside town and often involves a cake shop.
However, lets consider Scrooge again. See if you can identify where this plot has been used so many times since. Lets kick off with “Back to the Future” (this remains one of my favourite films). So what’s happening? Well, George McFly cocked up his life because he didn’t like “confrontation” and ended up living on a trailer park. When Marty goes back to good old 1955 (what a great year) he has the chance to change George’s future, and does. So again, like Scrooge, it is a morality tale and shows we have different paths available to us if we so choose or push ourselves. Interestingly, in BtF II, we again see the results of disastrous life choices and a rare chance to change those events.
So, if we had the chance to change those events in life would we? (beginning to sound like Barbara Streisand now) I know some things I would certainly like to change in my history, but I can’t help but feel there was a reason for all the stupid as well as the occasional smart things I did. I also agree with my old mate and fellow college lecturer Gerry, (an Afrikaner who’s surname name I could never pronounce) Gerry believed that everything we do and everyone we meet is for a reason. I couldn’t agree more.
Now because I publish my blog at the end of each month, that means this will be the last you’ll hear from me until 2021. So I’m going to take this opportunity to wish all my readers (even the secret ones) a Merry Christmas and a very Cool Yule.
Ted voice 2 reckons he found the diary of a Spanish priest from 1536 in the Biblioteca Maria Zambrano in Madrid, which had a hidden message revealing the location of a lost Inca city of gold (yeah, right) so he’s currently hacking through the Amazon with an hyper excited gold gland. However, he has texted in to wish all our readers a “Fair dinkum Crimbo”. I wouldn’t quite put it like that, but he means well.
|Posted on 2 November, 2020 at 9:05||comments (30)|
Ok Folks, so here we are at the end of October.
Halloween has been and gone, thank God. I hate to be a spoilsport, hold on a minute, no I don’t.
Anyway, I don’t really like this American import, but I wouldn’t want to take the fun away from the kids. I suppose its safer than Bonfire Night but a part of me will always miss the bonfire, fireworks, sparklers and potatoes in their jackets.
So where has Ted been this month? Well, I started off at Witney (Oxfordshire) and then went on to Lymington, Camberley, Exeter and Truro (and just in case you're wondering, I do go home between assignments as well!)
For my electrically-centred chums PAT Edition 5 is being rolled out and yes, I know we let out a yawn at the mention of PAT, and I know I’ve mentioned it before but it is an area that contractors and even trainers can underestimate if we are not careful. If a job’s worth doing etc.
Nevertheless, it can be a thankless task. Professional testing companies are looking to test around 350 items per day. Well, Mr Slow here could help you out with about 35 a day. But can you imagine doing that every day of your working life? If you are, and you are doing it properly, I salute you.
With further regard to PAT Edition 5, I can give you a brief update: the changes are significant and not to be taken lightly. I will publish a summary before the year end but I am having to completely revise my training material. For example; The term “PAT” itself has gone, it should now be referred to as COPISITEE. It clearly defines ALL equipment, not just portable appliances and that’s just for starters.
I hope you enjoyed my investigation of the Ashmoleum art theft last month. I have plenty more. I could mention the extremely well-planned job in Antwerp that went off the rails due to a very simple mistake. Or did it? I might investigate it for your entertainment in a future blog.
In case you’re wondering, my interest in a well-executed heist is entirely professional and stems from my working background, that for many years of my life I was involved in security systems. If ever I publish my memoirs - I would probably get locked up in the tower.
Now then, thinking of being locked up, I didn’t think I would miss not going to Spain this year but we all have to make sacrifices…
Ted Voice Number 2: You greedy bleeding git. You went round the Caribbean for 5 weeks at the beginning of the year!
Ted Voice 1: Well, yes I know but that was educational.
Ted Voice 2: What, to see how many rums it took to render you insensible?
Ted Voice 1: No. Look, I’ll have you know I was undertaking a review of socio-economic development in relation to a result-oriented electrical engineering infrastructure approach
Ted Voice 2: So what was your conclusion?
Ted Voice 1: Umm, well, probably that most electrical contractors have extremely long liquid lunches and leave lots of wires on poles. Oh look, just bugger off and get on with your latest get rich quick scheme whatever that is.
Ted Voice 2: Huh, well I’m not staying where I’m not welcome. I was prepared to cut you in seeing as I’ve just come into possession of a map of a lost gold mine in Montana.
Ted Voice 1: Thank heavens for that. Bloody map! That bloke has had more maps of lost treasure than I don’t know what. Still, I suppose one day he might get lucky.
Anyway, now he’s gone we can crack on.
While teaching at Oxford, I once said that to a class whilst having a lesson observation. The “dyke on a bike” who was the observer said that was not an appropriate comment for a class. She obviously had cracks on her mind.
She then went on to downgrade me because I did not get any aspect of “multiculturalism” into the lesson. For background, this was a lesson on electro-magnetism. When I queried this, she said I could have mentioned the effects of pumping water into African villages. You might be surprised at this, but I really would have liked to have double-tapped her with the Glock but realised at that point all was lost. The hippies had won. I handed in my notice a few weeks later.
It was then I decided to go freelance, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made.
Now, I need to confess that I was always moderately good at Science and Technology so it was never that difficult for me to keep up with latest developments, but sometimes, and more out of cussedness, I have buried my head in the sand. For instance “Twitter”. I think David Cameron actually had it right when he was overheard talking about “Twittering Twats”.
Facebook has proved really useful to me in linking up with old friends, and in one very sad case I found an old friend from college only to lose him again. I still mourn his loss. Nonetheless, I was privileged to have made contact in that space of time rather than never having made contact again.
However I digress, with regard to all this new-fangled technical stuff I was determined not to cough up for I Tunes. No way. Not me.
But when they start making cars without CD players in them how am I supposed to play my Herb Alpert stuff? As it happens, I have found the whole I Tunes process quite straightforward and very easy to put a playlist of your favourites together. The only thing I would say is do it on your phone not your PC so you can play your stuff anywhere.
So without further ado here is a small sample of my varied Playlist: Rise (Herb Alpert!), Islands in the Stream, Agolo, Walking in Rhythm (just love the Brazilian flute sequence in this), Sweet home Alabama, Orinoco Flow Etc Etc.
Well, that’s my report for October just about complete, if we ignore the eco-nerks and the world doesn’t come to an end next Friday, I hope that November will be about the same as usual with lovely crisp, dry, freezing cold days.
From previous posts you may have guessed by now that I don’t like the rain very much. Here are the first few lines of “You make me feel” (and I like Aretha Franklin’s 1967 version best):
Looking out on the morning rain
I used to feel so uninspired
And when I knew I had to face another day
Lord, it made me feel so tired
Now perhaps you’ll get my drift. Come to think of it, add a pinch of Harry Nilsson’s “Everybody’s talking at me” and a twist of “Midnight Cowboy” and you’ve just about got me in a nutshell.
So until next month, happy trails folks.
|Posted on 5 October, 2020 at 5:12||comments (31)|
|Posted on 4 September, 2020 at 12:14||comments (26)|
Well spank my rear and call me Charlie, that’s August done and dusted. Now only 15 Saturdays to Christmas!
And at the risk of repeating myself, wasn’t it bloody hot for a week or so! I am so glad we have an AC unit in the bedroom. And related to that is an important tip if you are booking your holidays online (we got such a good deal on the internet blah blah blah). Make sure that bargain room you booked in Italy has got air con otherwise you will melt.
Training jobs are coming in slowly with some being cancelled, I reckon this area will be very touch and go for a while until confidence is restored. I must say I’m not too worried as I’m semi-retired anyway and I’ve enjoyed been at home and catching up on projects generally.
Talking of confidence been restored, if you travel regularly to Spain, Brittany Ferries have just opened up bookings for next year and some cabins are already sold out, so don’t leave it too late.
If you are a regular reader of my blog you will know that I have been threatening to get a new motorbike for some time now. I’m not going to mention any names but salesmen at three different dealerships in Oxfordshire and Wiltshire have so far proved to be next to useless. If they get commission on sales, I’d be surprised if they got a pair of socks at Christmas. A typical exchange would go like this:
Ted: I like this one, can I have test ride?
Salesman: No. We haven’t got a demonstrator for that one.
Ted: Look, I’m a cash buyer and I’m pretty sure I’m going to buy this bike but I’m not going to do that unless I can have a test drive.
Salesman: No, people don’t usually buy that bike so we don’t have a demonstrator.
Ted (No dialogue) Pulls out Glock and double-taps salesman in chest.
Ted (To CO): Come on sweetie, lets go to Wickes and get some white spirit.
I’m afraid I don’t suffer fools gladly.
Anyway, I’ve been watching these riots in America with a mixture of revulsion and fascination. I hate bullies and that what we are seeing there in spades. This “Antifa” business, which I assume is Anti-Fascist is a great laugh because these people are the closest thing to Nazis I can imagine. Their ignorant rendering of history is abysmal. And I think that people of all colours should simply comply with any reasonable request from a police officer such as “can I see your licence please”. If you are placed under arrest, behave like a civilised person and do not thrash around as if a possessed savage. If you do that the conclusion is that you are jacked up on PCBs or other shit and need serious restraint. You are also in danger of injuring yourself in the process. Not only that, what could have been a simple warning back at the station will turn into at least 6 months wearing a stupid orange suit and sharing a cell with Gorgeous George. Nobody wants to be arrested, so remember, if you can’t do the time…
I’m also amazed how many cars stopped for these zombies, there’s no way I would have stopped for a blood thirsty mob. What’s more the script was nearly always the same – Woman or woman-looking thing stops car by standing in road. Woman-thing then jumps up and down while screeching abuse at occupants (I think this is some kind of tribal thing like a Haka). As occupants have by now locked the doors, savages can not get into vehicle. Woman-thing then jumps up and down on bonnet, windscreen and/or sunroof trying to get at evil occupants of car. Mostly, occupants come to senses at this point and drive off. Car is then hotly pursued by morons with their little back-packs on.
And I bet most of these have got the nerve to put “Be kind” on Facebook.
Talking of idiots, the most polished I saw recently was a white dickhead screaming at a coloured lady “I’m more black than you are”.
I feel that the problem in the states is very similar to that in the UK, in that too many anarchist and left-wing teachers/tutors/lecturers are allowed to contaminate young minds. In the UK many people get taken in by the ideology of the Junior Common Room at college and never get out of it. These are mostly the types we refer to as “Champagne Socialists”.
Unfortunately, most media people have come through this route and this is why the media is always interested in issues that working people couldn’t give a fig about.
I firmly believe that places of education and communication (particularly TV stations) should be completely neutral. I think an Ombudsman should be appointed to regularly sample these areas and ensure that tutors views are not imposed on students.
Well, that was a good old rant wasn’t it?
My electrical tip for this month is in a not dissimilar vein, in that if you are doing electrical inspections (EICRs) your job is to simply report on the condition of the installation. I have seen some sparkies taking on the mantle of electrician/safety officer/small god etc etc. It is not our job to say “a child might get a knitting needle up the back of the service cut-out” or “you could get an extension lead up to those first floor sockets”. You Observe, Test and Record from an unbiased stance, you use your training and skill to identify dangers if they exist, you also need to apply good old common sense.
With regard to motorbikes, in the end I bought this one.
Well, I’m just about to saddle up and ride off into the sunset, so until next month, Adiós, amigos y amigas.
|Posted on 1 August, 2020 at 9:52||comments (39)|
Greetings pop-pickers, well that was another super-charged month wasn’t it! Had my big fat birthday and numerous friends’ as well. No weddings but a funeral on the last day of the month.
I think by now a lot of us have recognised that 2020 was the year to write off. Whoever would have thought that as we dreamt about the future where we were all wearing silver suits and in flying cars that the frigging Chinese would bring the world to its knees with an escaped bio-weapon?
However, it is in my character not to look on the bleak side but try to find the silk purse out of the wotsit…
Ted voice No 2: “Not to look on the bleak side” You’re kidding right?
Ted voice No 1: Sorry about that folks but voice number 2 is my alter-ego who has an annoying habit of popping up when I don’t want him.
Ted voice 2: You only want to supress my point of view, you’ve never liked me.
Ted voice 1: For those of you that are not regular readers of my blog Ted voice 1 is my normal, practical, good-natured self. Ted voice 2 is my, lets say, more adventurous side. He is the version of me that is the genie in the bottle. He is the free-spirited romantic who wants to go searching for lost gold in the Yukon and find the fabled lost city of Eldorado.
Ted voice 2: Ha, did you say “good-natured”! Every time I have bright idea you shoot me down.
Ted voice 1: I suppose that’s true to some extent. Lets see what your last bright idea was, Oh yes I remember, was that when you wanted to salvage propellers from the Nazi fleet that was sunken in Scapa Flow? Or was it that time you were going to drag a metal detector through every Cornish lake in search of Excalibur?
Ted voice 2: There’s good money in brass propellers.
Ted voice 1: Look just bugger off for a while and let me get on with this blog, some of us have work to do.
Ted voice 2: Bossy. I’m not staying where I’m not wanted. Anyway, I’ve got an old parchment with a secret message that I need to decode.
Ted voice 1: Thank God for that. We might get a bit of peace and quiet for a while now. To be fair, I secretly admire the guy cos he’s never boring. Last year he persuaded me and my CO to visit the Three-Sided Lodge in Northamptonshire, where there are many messages in the stonework that have never been deciphered. Well it really was fascinating, the whole building is about the number three and linked into the Holy Trinity when Catholicism was forbidden in this country.
But guess what? We couldn’t decipher any messages either.
Check it out for yourself here:
Anyway, onward and upward.
For those of you in the electrical trade, you might not be aware of it but a new Code of Practice for PAT will be issued in September (launch date variable due to Covid). From what I can make of it so far the emphasis seems to be removal of terms such as “Portable” and “Stationary” etc and the recognition of ALL appliances for testing, including those items of “Fixed” equipment that can be a grey area between PAT and EICR. Anyway, I’ll have my two penn'orth when my copy of the code arrives.
On another note, I took a test ride on a new motorbike the other day. I think the time has come to trade in the old bike and move on. Now my current bike has got front disc brakes but the one I took out for a test ride has 2 discs. My current bike has brake shoes on the rear and the test bike has a disc brake to the rear so all in all I was pretty impressed, a lot of power (650cc) but a lot of stopping power as well. I will keep you posted if I buy it.
On the work front I am starting to get bookings coming back in. My only fear is that we may face a surge in training due to the backlog now in place. I don’t like to disappoint clients and will try to help wherever possible.
So farewell until next month and to quote Bill & Ted – “be excellent to each other”.