Friday, March 30, 2007

Living In A Bubble

On the daily grind to work, I reckon about 50% of commuters I see have something stuck in their ears. I'm no different. I've nearly always got the headphones of my radio/mp3 player/laptop in my ears.

I've often thought that this is sad, that we all live in our own little bubble, and are not sharing our audio experience with anyone. Wouldn't life be more pleasant if we listened to the natural noises of life? The birds singing, the conversations, even the noise of the train on the track can be quite pleasant.

I'd also quite like to talk to some of the people I regularly see on the train. I share 15 hours a week with some of these people and yet I know nothing about them. If you're a train commuter I expect, like me, you have little names for people. Guy who looks like Tiger Woods, Old dude with the comb-over, Girl with the thermal coffee mug, Man with worn paperback and dreadlocks, man with the ace 'tache.

Would it be nice to know a little more about these people. To know their names, say "hi, how's your day?", "How's that book?" or "How do I grow an ace 'tache like that?" We don't have to be best friends. Just a bit of chatter to make life more interesting and enjoyable.

On health grounds it would be good to stop putting headphones in too. My friend H, an audiologist, tells me that using my headphones everyday there is a very good chance I'll be tone deaf by 50.

So all this week I have left my headphones at home, and have made a point of greeting at least one person on each journey with a quick hello, or good morning.

Most people have been pretty welcoming to this new idea. Most have said hello back. It even went so far as a three-minute conversation about our commute with one person. This is good.

One person moved seat and plugged their headphones in. No problem, stay in your bubble. I've no gripe with that.

What I have realised though, is there is a reason that people live in their own bubble with their mp3 players. And that reason is mobile phones. Almost every journey has had some loud, obnoxious arse shouting into their mobile phone. Or worse, a bunch of yoofs playing the latest choons to their friends, except it sounds like the band is playing in an exceptionally large tin dustbin.

Mobile phones are a scourge on society. I've got one, but I use it sensibly. I hate talking on the train, I whisper and make the call as quick as possible, walking to the vestibule if I can. People ask me what ring tone I've got. i don't know. It's always on vibrate. Why does everyone else need to know when my phone's ringing?

So if you were the man sitting behind me last night on the 18:30 Cardiff Central to Portsmouth Harbour service, and you were wailing into your bluetooth headset all the way from Cardiff to Bristol (except the Severn Tunnel - Ha Ha!) about "raising your game", "meeting targets", "getting the whole team involved" etc. I'd just like to say, that thanks to you, I'm putting my headphones back in, and I'll hold you personally responsible when my hearing goes. Also, I'll now never know how to grow a really great moustache.

If you've not finished work for the day, don't leave work. We don't want to hear it. You've had your warning. If I catch you again, I'm going to wish bad things happen to your family pets.

photo courtesy of tuxcomputers on

Thursday, March 29, 2007

More Lies From FGW

Received a letter yesterday from FGW saying that I wasn't due any compensation for a half hour delay on the 9th of March

Our passenger's charter explains that the compensation you have requested is only available when you are delayed by more than 59 minutes

This however is not true, since on February 21st I received a letter from Alison Forster (FGW, Managing Director) which said

Compensation for ex Wessex train services should be paid for delays over 30 minutes.... The restriction of compensation for an hour's delay relates to previous First Great Western journeys only... you should have
received compensation and I am sorry you did not.... I have also asked for all operators to be reminded of the distinction in compensation arrangements and I apologise for the error.

But this error has happened twice since I received this letter. I don't believe customer services agents were told about this distinction in compensation payments. So I've written back telling them. See what happens next time.

Also of interest is the excuse for my delay on the 9th March

I regret that your journey was disrupted due to the Driver being taken ill.

Which is strange because I was standing at the front of this train, and was chatting to the driver as he explained to me that the train had failed. He seemed pretty well to me. Yet more lies.

Finally, an interesting point, I have received around 20 letters from FGW customer service agents since January. I've not had the same agent sign a letter twice. Are there that many people dealing with customer complaints? Possible, I'd imagine they're getting a lot. Is there a high staff turn over down there in Plymouth? Also likely, I'd imagine there were lots of temps in dealing with the major problems of Jan/Feb. Or is it that every letter is sent off has a randomly generated name of someone who doesn't exist, so that we can't pin down our complaint on any one person? Maybe I'm getting too cynical.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

R.I.P. My Mac

Panic! Panic!

With just 9 days before I have to submit my thesis, my pride and joy, my Powerbook, dies. Ahhhh! Panic! Panic!

She did not suffer, she just went to sleep and wouldn't wake back up again, instead making a spine chilling beeping noise every time I tried to start her. Panic.

Took the morning off work to take her to the Apple shop. Man in shop says, without looking at it, "it's a memory card slot problem".

He checks the serial number and says that the slots on a batch made around 2 years ago, are prone to this kind've meltdown at around this point in their life, and it will be fixed free of charge, even though the warranty has expired. Result! It'll take 3 weeks though - Boo!

I explain that although I (of course) have 10,000 back-up copies of my thesis, (OK, a slight exaggeration) it is a major inconvenience not to have a computer for the next 9 days.

He inspects my 'puter and says I have 2 memory card slots and that moving the memory to the other slot, should be a temporary fix for a month or so.

So, my computer is working again, and in a couple of weeks I can take it in and have a new board fitted for free. Gratis. Nowt.

Can you imagine a PC supplier replacing a part that had worn out after 2 years, for free! Not a chance.

My Mac is Dead! Long Live the Mac!

Monday, March 26, 2007

More FGW Incompetence

I was an hour late for work this morning. And no, it wasn't because I forgot to put my clocks forward.

This morning someone decided to throw a brick at my train sometime on it's journey between London and Bath.

At this point I'd like to point out that I in no way condone random acts of vandalism, but this was no random act. I feel it's unlikely that this attack was carried out for kicks by hooded "yoofs", since it occurred before 6.30 am, and I'd imagine they're all asleep. No, this attack was deliberately targeted. Some commuter venting their anger? Maybe, and if so, understandable, but not excusable.

Upon pulling into Bristol, the train manager announced that we would be delayed briefly while fitters would be attempting to patch up the broken window before we continued our journey to South Wales. 20 minutes later and an announcement is made that since both panes of glass had been broken it was a health and safety risk to continue, in case it "imploded"! So we have to all get off the 8-car high speed train, and wait 25 minutes for the next 2-car "trolley-bus"-style train to Cardiff.

It's not directly FGW's fault that someone had vandalised the train, so FGW have done nothing wrong so far, right? Wrong. Here's where the brain cells should have kicked in:

1. Why weren't the fitters told before we got to Bristol that both panes were broken. Someone could have just looked. It's not rocket science. Though, upon gettinig to Bristol, it still took 20 minutes to work out that both panes were broken... maybe it is rocket science.

2. If the train was unsafe, why was it allowed to continue from the attack site to Bristol, surely everyone should have been off-loaded at the next safe place? If it was safe to get to Bristol - why couldn't it continue to it's destination?

3. And this was the thing that really got me angry. Why did it take 20 minutes to tell us? Was it deliberate that we were told to get off just one minute after another train to Cardiff left Bristol? Was it to avoid overcrowding on that train? If so, it didn't work. It just delayed the overcrowding to the next train.

Was it done to antagonise as many passengers as possible? Because if so, it worked.

My guess is that it was plain stupidity on the part of the train manager who, as usual, wasn't thinking about the needs of the passengers. And I told him what I thought.

I tell you, if I'd have had something to throw....

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Things I Have Noticed This Week

Over a week since I last posted. This may be because I was busy at work.

Since my last post I have noticed some things about the world, I shall share them with you.

1. I am getting old and sensible. I suppose it happens to us all eventually. I switched to soft drinks in the early evening during last saturday's rugby marathon, as a result I had a very managable hangover last Sunday.

2. It may be March, but Spring is NOT here yet.

3. The best things to put in round holes are round pegs.

4. Sychronised Swimmers can compete alone. So what then, are they sychronised with?

5. I've been introducted to the singing comedian Stephen Lynch. He's very funny. Why did none of you tell me about him before? There are lots of his videos on you tube. Including this one below.

Friday, March 16, 2007

I HEART the Weekend

In case it's escaped your attention, today is Friday!!

Woo Hoo! Advanced Warning: This is a cheerful post.

This is my first weekend for 8 months with no thesis writing hanging over me. I can't wait.

I've got little to do at work today, so I'll probably sneek off early. Hopefully the sunshine will last and I can go out have a pint in beer garden, thus replenishing my Vitamin D levels. This will make me feel very good.

I'll then have a relaxing evening in with my fiance, we'll probably watch that Red Nose malarky.

Then tomorrow is Super-Dooper Saturday. Three games of rugby and St. Patricks day all rolled in to one. Lots of friends are coming to Bath to watch the rugby, drink fermented vegtable drinks, and have lots of fun.

Elsewhere, other things that have made me laugh are Pikey Mikey "the sexist" Newell being relieved of his duties by L*t*n; that should see them down. Shouldn't laugh. Snigger

Oh and then there's the news that Nicolas Burdisso has been given a six match european ban for getting in the way of David Navarro's fist. Seems a bit harsh. If you havn't seen the amazing footage of the fight after last week's Champions league game, you can see it below, with the soundtrack it deserves.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

I Hate First Great Western.... just one of many blogs I've recently found written by angry commuters. It's the name that best sums up my feelings. Though i might have slipped in a stronger word or two.

I've created a new separate link list of angry commuters. We need to share information, as, reading the various posts, people get given lots of different information. Our voice will become much louder if we co-ordinate our efforts and shout louder.

Cardiff Central to...? tells the story of John Shipston's efforts to get to places from South Wales (where I have to get to everyday). There are two (three if you count the occasional Virgin train) operators out of Cardiff, yet John only seems to have problems with one of them. Can you guess who it is?

Commuter blog is Max's story of trying to get from Bath to Oxford, made more difficult by having to change trains at different stops in the evening and morning! My favourite story of Max's is the driver not knowing the way to Chippenham from Swindon.

The now infamous, I Hate FGW blog is the tale of a government-friendly London commuter. Not that this means FGW run her train any better mind. She tells us there'll soon be badges for us all to wear, not the loudest of protests, but a very visual one none-the-less. I look forward to wearing mine.

More Train, Less Strain is not so much of a blog as a collective. It has a good forum to post your horror stories. They also seem to be our official spokespeople, and have such been granted an audience with Alison Forster (FGW managing director).

Oldfield Park
is where I used to catch my train to work. But since all FGW timetables should be taken with a ±1 hour warning, I now need to catch an earlier train, so I cycle to Bath Spa. Our blogger here updates delays (and overcrowding) at this commuter station, which now has the most bizarre of timetables. (Though not as bizarre as the poor guys down at Melksham who have a gap in the timetable of nearly 12 hours without any trains)

Tehmina is a frustrated commuter between Salisbury and Southampton, proving that FGW are crap everywhere. I've pinched the nice picture on this site for this blog entry. It's also now my screen saver. Thanks Tehmina.

The Truth About First Great Western is a very professional looking blog. Carter Harrison's main argument is that the government are mostly to blame for the problems we have. Although I agree with a lot of what he says (see elsewhere) I believe he's trying to shift a bit too much blame away from FGW. Maybe he has another agenda? I dunno, read it (and the two associated mini-sites) and make up your own mind. I believe that FGW could, after all, run more, cleaner carriages, on time, and at cheaper fares to try and boost their profits by attracting more custom. There is another way.

Finally I've stuck Train Delays on the list. It's not a blog, but it is a good site for listing your delays, finding out if compensation is due, reading the crap excuses that are given and seeing where FGW falls in the league table of incompetence.

Let me know if you know of any others. Maybe the guys at MTLS should put up a more up-to-date list.

Don't forget to keep writing to your MP, keep writing to the DfT and keep claiming back the money your entitled to. I'll keep you updated. Maybe we all need to get together for a gathering outside the DfT at some point. Actions, after all, speak louder than words.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I Know Who I Am, But Who Are You?

I received a strange phone call yesterday. It’s one I’d imagine many of us will have, or at least, should be having over the next few years.

I was called by someone from a company who said they were acting on behalf of Orange, and that due to my customer loyalty I was entitled to a 10% reduction in my line rental. Sounds good, no?

There is a saying that you should never look a gift horse in the mouth. Sorry to be cynical, but that’s balls. A much better saying, is that there is no such thing as a free lunch.

“What do I have to do to get this discount,” I asked, “sign up to a new contract presumably?”

“No, Mr Billyo that’s not necessary, I just need you to confirm a few of your personal details, and I’ll set up this discount to start on next months bill.”


“Firstly Mr Billyo could you confirm your Address?”

“Hang on,” I said, “before I give you all my personal details, can you confirm who you are for me. If you’re working on behalf of Orange you’ll be able to tell me my date of birth, for example.”

“I’m sorry sir, we are not at liberty to divulge customers personal details.”

“But I am the customer.” I said.

“How do I know you’re not someone who’s just picked up Mr Billyo’s phone, unless you confirm your personal details?” replied the faceless voice.

“But how do I know you’re not someone phoning random telephone numbers with your number withheld attempting to get their personal details?

“Well you have a mobile phone contract with Orange.”

“A one-in-five chance,” I said “You could have guessed.”

And so a stand-off ensued, where I attempted to swap my postcode for my date of birth. But they would not give me a single detail to prove who they were. Why should I give out any details to prove who I am, if they will not prove who they are? In these days, where we are told it’s vitally important we protect our identity from fraudsters, surely we should expect the voice on the other end of the line to prove who they are, in the same way as we must prove who we are. Moreover, in most situations, it’s surely the responsibility of the caller, not the answerer to prove their identity.

Through my cynicism I’ve probably missed out on a 10% discount, but presumably I can phone Orange and get the same deal from them. If it exists.

In other news, I’ve finished the final draft of my thesis. Hate to go all Bridget Jones on you, but this is v.v.v. good news. Hopefully my supervisor will only be able find a half-full red pen with which to destroy it.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Hard Cheese

Sometimes in life, we don't get what we deserve. When defeat is undeserved, you feel like the whole world has conspired to rob you of what was rightfully yours.

When you are on the other side of that equation, and life has dealt you the nuts on the river, it takes a big man to take a moment to think about how the other side must be feeling.

The right thing to do, is apologise for your good fortune, before opening your arms to pull your winnings across the table.

On the other hand, when you've been shafted so many times by Lady Luck it's probably best to just enjoy it, go mental, have a party and grin like you're the smuggest git in the world.

Get In! Hammer Time! Pick that out of the net!

You gotta love Brighty's final "unbiased" comments. Get in There!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

A Better Blog

I've had some feedback from a few people regarding my blog and ways to improve it.

Firstly, apparently I should have more links and things to click on. This makes sense. It is the internet after all. As the name suggests, everything should be interconnected. Like the six degrees of Kevin Bacon. Except I'd imagine you can get to any other page on the tintinet with a lot less than six clicks. Expecially if you try here. You may also have noticed that I have added some links to some blogs I read. Go and read these by all means, but please come back.

Secondly, I have been told that even in a whinging blog, I should try to be happy and cheerful, at least occasionally. I am, after all, not yet a grumpy old bastard.

And finally, a good blog, I am assured, has lots of pictures and videos to look at.

So, in order to fulfil these last two criteria I give you my favourite place. A little corner of the internet that always makes me happy. Hope it has the same effect on you. Enjoy.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

To Fight or Not To Fight?

I've always cared a bit too much about public transport. I think this has come about for a number of reasons.
  • I don't drive, so it's the only way I can get around.
  • I like to get around; my mates live all over the country and I work 60 miles from where I live.
  • My father worked in the Rail Industry, and as young kids we used to go on holiday by train.
  • There is no way we'll tackle climate-change in the UK until people get out of their cars, and they wont get out of their cars until there is decent alternative.
  • And finally, I think I have some deep-rooted socialist principles that are fighting to show themselves above my very white-middle-class background.
It distresses me that the railways are being run into the ground, and it pissed me off when my train fare rose by 13 % in January (despite my government-dictated salary rising by 1%). So for the last 4 months I have been waging a war of words with First Great Western and the Department for Transport.

First Great Western, to their credit have usually responded quickly to my letters, often with rail vouchers (or bribes, as I call them) and I've even had a reply letter from the Managing Director (with more bribes). I suppose FGW are good at dealing with complaints because they get so bloody many.

The Department for Transport are a different breed though. Here you are dealing with bureaucracy, secrecy, people who wont answer the bloody questions I ask them. Here you are dealing with Civil Bloody Servants. How can it possibly take 3 weeks to reply to my letters? Especially given that I seem to get the latest automated "somone's complaining about FGW" letter. I think they are hoping I will have calmed down and gone away by the time they reply.

This democratically elected government is supposed to regulate certain fares for commuters, such as weekly season tickets. They are also supposed to protect fares in areas where one company has a monopoly on public transportation. In Bath, First group run every train and every bus. If that's not a monopoly on public transport, then I don't know what is. And yet in my last letter from the DfT;
I should like to confirm that the fares regime is consistent with government policy. The majority of passengers continue to travel with tickets where increases are limited by government regulation.
So that's alright then. The majority of commuters get their regulated, inflation +1% rise, and in the South West we are shafted. And just to rub our noses in it, we are shafted by the worst performing franchise in Britain. For January-February, FGW missed all their performance targets for reliability and punctuality. The have also fallen below all their rolling annual averages for reliability and punctuality for all five service areas they run. They are, in short, fucking crap, and fucking expensive.

So, having had my rant, should I continue to send fruitless letters in the hope that someone somewhere will listen? Or should I calm down, let my blood pressure normalise, and realise that the world is a shit place where the man will continue to fuck us over.

To fight or not to fight - that is the question.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Mellow Magic?

Last night, the glowing box in the corner of our living room made a statement that made me gasp with Horror. During the new CSI on Channel 5, there was an advert for a compilation CD called "Mellow Magic". I've nothing in particular against this type of wishy-washy music. You'll not catch me dead listening to Westlife, Micheal Bolton or Simply Red, but each to their own.

No the statement that horrified me was "this album will wash away the winter blues". Or something to that effect.

Holy Shit! This album is more likely to push you over the edge and have you reaching for the medicine cabinet for an O.D. than to clear your S.A.D.. This album will not cheer you up. It's got Phil Collins on it, for christ sake, how could it possibly cheer you up?

If you want to wallow in your own self pity then listen to this album. If you wanna cheer up, then go outside, get some sunshine on your skin, eat some fruit and go for a run. Believe me it'll work better than Luther Vandross.

P.S. The new CSI series is excellent - back to their best, now they have re-introduced some continuous storylines (i.e. a sick model-making serial killer) I highly recommend.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Mindless Stupidity

If you stick with me on this blog you’ll soon realise that one of the things I hate more than anything else is stupidity.

Stupid people exist. They are everywhere. And worse… they are allowed to breed – thus populating our planet with even more stupid people.

Two incredibly stupid people made me late for work this morning and I am bloody furious about it. People make mistakes of course, they are, after all, only human. But when people are so bloody stupid that the right answer is staring them in the face and they just don’t get it, then I propose – sterilization. Or at the very least, moving them to a job in which their mindless stupidity wont make me late for work.

First is the case of the bus driver. He works for the company “First” (Slogan: Transforming Travel – they are not wrong!). The buses in Bath are bloody expensive, so generally I cycle around, but it was raining this morning so I decided to get the bus to the station.

“£1.60 to the station please” I said and dropped two pound coins onto his tray.

He took my coins, printed my ticket, and then scratched his head for what seems like an eternity. He then proceeded to fumble around in his change tray for about a minute before finally dropping two 10p coins on to the tray for me.

“I gave you two pounds” I say.


“I gave you two pounds, that should be 40p change, not 20p”


“£2 minus £1.60 is 40p. – You owe me another 20p” I say, thinking this must be some kind of joke.

“Ug” came the standard reply again, only this time more scratching around in the change before producing four 5p coins.

“Thank you” I say


So there you have it. I’m bloody glad there was little traffic on the road. Frankly I doubt he’d have stopped in time if anything had pulled out in front of him.

A bit of luck though, arriving at the station, my normal train was late – Excellent the thicko hasn’t made me late….. oh no, another thicko is gonna do that….

A rushed turn-around at Bristol Temple Meads and the late running 7:15 fast service to Cardiff pulls out of the station two minutes ahead of the slow all-stopping 7:33 to the same destination.

Then thicko number two ruins my morning. The face-less signalman. How I’d love to smash his face in. Mr (or Mrs – to be fair) signalman decides to hold our train outside Bristol while we wait for the slow service to overtake us.

What? This is madness! We could build up some speed, catch up a little time, and make Cardiff maybe just 10 min late. But no. Some moron has decided that we should follow the slow service, extending our delay from 15 to 35 minutes.

Having left the station ahead of the slow service, surely it was a more complicated signalling manoeuvre to put us on the “wrong track” for 5 min while the other train passed? Mindless Stupidity.

And who are the train company that run the railways in this corner of Britain? Yep – you guessed it.

First – No qualifications required!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Eyes Wide Open

I feel like my eyes have been opened to a couple of home truths today. I’m not sure if either of these truths really are the truth, or if the truth has been skewed somewhat by my emotional involvement.

Firstly, I had a panic attack today that my thesis is shit. I have been writing my thesis for 8 months now. The first two months, following leaving the lab, last summer, were highly productive. Lots was written as everything was fresh in the mind and I was happy that, at the end of three years work, I only had to write it all up and people would call me Dr billyo forever. Then I started my new job in September, and writing slowed as, new job + long commute does not equal lots of productive time for writing.

But I’ve plodded along, mostly working on the train on my way to work, and finally the end is in sight. I’ve pretty much written it all, I’ve handed in my notice of submission. I’ve just got to edit it all together and then the weight is lifted. And that will feel so good.

So this morning I started the editing process. By editing, what I actually mean is, correcting all the places where my supervisor has spilt his red pen on the first draft. And this morning I had a panic attack – there was an awful lot of red pen. And worse, it was crap. The work is second rate, and the writing and analysis third rate at best.

Oh fuck.

Is this the truth or have I become snow-blind to my thesis after staring at it for 8 months?

My mood was cheered later this afternoon by a chat with my fiance who put everything into perspective and news filtering through on the wireless that my beloved football team were not one, but two goals up against Charlton. Being a Watford fan for the last 9 months hasn’t been much fun, goals have been few and far between, let alone wins. So this news was good, and with spirits lifted I ploughed on with the thesis.

Watford though blew it. The game finished two-two. Sounds like Charlton played a bit better in the second half, and upon getting a goal back, Watford panicked a bit and with three minutes to go Charlton equalised. Bollocks. I am now finally seeing what all those without Elton’s glasses on have seen since October. We’re down. Oh well. It’s easier to get tickets in Division 2. Still bloody annoying though.

So the truth dawns, my thesis has taken too long to write, and my football team is crap. But I have dedicated a lot of my life to both so I’ll continue to care passionately about them.

So what’s left to raise my mood now? Well Comic Relief does Fame Academy is on. It’s about the only good celebrity tv programme, and they don’t get paid, it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and as an added treat it is this year co-presented by Claudia “the loon” Winkleman. In my humble opinion Claudia should be given a great deal more vehicles to showcase her unique nutty presenting style. I just hope the producers don’t reign her in too much. Should be worth watching.

But then again, the singing will be total shite.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Just When You Thought The World Was A Better Place

I’ve had quite a good day. Nothing has really got my goat today.

Ok, so it started badly when I overslept and was late for work. But lets face it, that’s not really that bad, and I went into work feeling much more refreshed than I might otherwise have done.

It also finished badly when I got soaked in the rain walking to the station from work. But I can’t really blame anyone for the bad weather.

Apart from that, the trains were on-time, the bar-staff served me in turn and the checkout girl at Sainsbury’s even said “Good Evening” before she started waving my goods through the beeping machine. Life has been pretty good. I’m sure it wont last.

Thankfully though, upon getting home I got an e-mail from my friend Barry, this in itself is not unusual – he sends hundreds of e-mails – but this contained an example of pissy customer service which I will now share with you. So thanks to Barry, for confirming the world is still crap and filled with annoying people;

Christ, the mare in the Post Office loves her work. 

Firstly, I asked for a passport renewal form (as I was in there). I was told quite apparently 


I then asked for a Jiffy bag. 


Bag stuffed, address written on I tried to shove it under the glass. 
I obeyed. 

"YOU OKAY?" she surprisingly asked. 

"Fine thanks!!" 


No wonder they are going out of business.

An Introduction

Hi, I'm billyo - have we met? I doubt it. The interweb is a large place.

I've been posting on other people's blogs for a while now, and finally, having worked out what’s going on, have been feeling the urge to post some of my own thoughts on my own blog. So here it is.

The general theme here will be me ranting about things which wind me up. I'll try to be witty; though as my fiancé keeps pointing out there comes a time during my rants when I stop making good points in a witty style, and start becoming a whinging, moaning bastard. I'll try not to cross that line too often and my apologies if I do. You can always stop reading. Oh, you already have.

Things that piss me off, include; modern customer service (or rather a lack thereof), lowest denominator tv, crap pop music, our national sports teams, so called public services and well.... everything. I am writing this to... well... relieve stress. Hopefully sharing my thoughts and finding the odd like-minded soul might help make me a saner man, and I might hope to live a long and happy life without my head exploding.

So, if you're still with me.... (thank you).... I shall begin....

There is a bloke who sells the Big Issue on Cardiff's Queen Street who wears whiter trainers than you can buy in any shop on the same street. I ask you, how can a man who is homeless have whiter-than-white trainers? Either he is not homeless, in which case I feel I should report him (as he has the bib and ID card and everything). Or, he is fair weather big issue seller who cares more for keeping his trendy trainers white than for feeding himself, and I might actually feel sorry for him.

Nope actually I don't. What a wanker.