Month: December 2010

The Loss of Today’s Discontent

I was pretty miserable this morning – I’d just missed out on a pretty reasonable job opportunity, and I’m generally a humbug about Christmas anyway – when I sat with my lunch and a larger than healthy (my size of choice) glass of red to watch “The Heroes of Biggin Hill” on Yesterday. Whilst hearing about stories of bravery in the face of almost certain death, I suddenly realised that I actually have a lot to be thankful for: a woman who loves me (still – despite what sometimes must seem to be my best efforts to wreck it), friends, family, my health, and the fact that I’m actually quite some way from the bread line.

One item in particular on the program I was watching made me chuckle – one of the WRAFs, who had just been bombed out in the control room, was propping herself up to take a break from the digging and clearing up when a Warrant Officer came up to her and told to stop leaning on the item it was she was leaning upon. It was an unexploded 500lb bomb!

And then I was reminded of the article I read on the BBC news site yesterday. A British soldier in Afghanistan decided to not return fire upon a talib as he (the talib) was sheltering behind a young girl. He knew that he could easily make the shot (some 300 yds!) but decided not to, “just in case”. He was then shot in the head by the sheltering talib. Luckily, his helmet stopped the round, and saved his life. Please read this article (tell me you don’t find his account of “disco legs” funny – I dare you!) and remember that we have a wealth of honourable people around us that suffer hardships and danger gladly on a daily basis.

At the risk of breaking my “humbug” duck, I wish all our men and women serving overseas a happy, and safe, Christmas. Bless you all.

I Want to Live in a Sound-Proof Bubble

Our neighbours are a constant source of stupefaction to me. One evening last week, I was sitting at my laptop, clinging to the last vestiges of the ability to work, when I decided I simply couldn’t ignore the distraction of the screaming and shouting any more, and wandered my way over to the wall to get a better listen (sometimes it’s like my very own personal Corrie Enderdale, only without the cheap accents and constant chip references. Oh, wait…).

Unfortunately, as my ear approached the wall in an attempt to make out the actual words buried inside the verbal melee, I discovered something rather more sinister than just the usual inane drivel: what sounded to me like a serious case of physical and/or sexual abuse. I quickly dusted off my cape, called the police, and explained what I could hear. It wasn’t quite the tactical insertion one comes to expect after a two-hour stint on Rainbow Six, but the police soon arrived in a matter of minutes (less than eight), and in some force. I retired to my usual evening’s diversions, after having returned my cape to its secret panel, satisfied that I had done what was required of me – Citizen Pinky to the rescue!

Skip forward a week, to the other evening, and the same thing’s happening again – more shouting and screaming, so I quickly have a listen to see if … yep, exactly the same thing seems to be going on, so I make a quick dive for the bat phone – grabbing my cape on the way – and do my Citizen Pinky bit again. “Job done!” I thought to myself, now we wait a few brief moments for the rozzers and watch the culprit get carted away, never to be heard of again.

This is where things took a turn for the weird. It had gone quiet by the time I’d finished on the phone, which I didn’t know whether it was good or bad, but either way Wiltshire’s very own League of Justice was about to pounce, weren’t they? I’d been told on the phone that it would be treated as a priority, which is certainly what one would expect given the gravity of the situation. I hadn’t actually used the word “rape” over the phone, but come on – it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to make what hardly amounts to a leap. Anyway, fifty-one minutes later, a single male police officer arrived at the scene. Yes, you read that correctly: fifty-one minutes. Did I disturb the chip run, do you think? Of course, whoever it was making all that din had long since left by the time PC McSaunter arrived – in fact, I saw the couple leaving together, with apparent amity. Given the confusion that must have descended over the brow of Constable McAmble upon finding no bloody corpse, and the fact that I had given my address and name when reporting the “incident”, I waited for the knock on the door in readiness to assuage his puzzlement. No such knock came. I’ve given my cape to the local charity shop. Perhaps it can do some good there.

I’ve since made enquiries with Wiltshire Police as to the reason for what can only be described as dallying when faced with the report of a possible rape/assault. Interestingly, the footer of all the email correspondence I’ve had from the police thus far reads: “… Putting People First….”
Given enough time, one would assume.

Swindon Royal Mail – You Suck at Delivering Mail

About ten minutes ago, I was sat at my desk, as I am now (though previously in a better mood), and heard the mail come through the letter box. Oh goody, I thought, I’ll get that when I’m finished here. What did I find amongst the junk mail – oh yes, THAT made it through alright? Yet another little red “I couldn’t be arsed to ring your doorbell” card. So, I went on-line to rant via their Customer Service form:

I am utterly fed up with the complete inability of the Royal Mail’s delivery people to use the bloody doorbell! Every time there’s something that’s too big for the letter box (or that can’t be CRAMMED through, despite the package being covered in “FRAGILE” stickers), I get a “could not deliver” card. Each time, the doorbell never rang! If you’re not even going to TRY to attract my attention, and the package is too big for a letter box, then might I suggest you don’t even bring it!!! Here’s an idea – have a slot at the sorting office that’s letter box size. Test it. If the package won’t fit, then put it in a big pile for someone to create a mailing list (or we could subscribe via email so we can come and COLLECT it), and then the postman can simply deliver a thousand cards – much easier than just ring a bloody doorbell (or just simply chuck it away – god forbid you should actually DELIVER anything).

And one more thing – stop littering! We all know it’s your red rubber bands all over the streets, so don’t try to deny it.

I know – what do I expect? This is Swindon, after all.

But is it any different in other places? Is it the same? I’d be interested to hear (not really – this is a rant, after all).