Archive for 2017

No “L”, No “L”…

Posted by on December 19th 2017 in Celebrations, Just for fun

Merry Christmas, folks. Here's an inappropriate festive card:


I'm told that the £2 sticker conceals an "R", but having looked at the picture on the card I think it may well be an "L".

Identity Crisis

Posted by on December 19th 2017 in A bit of a rant

Why is it that, in this age of lightning-fast networked computers, apps for every conceivable eventuality, and allegedly-ever-improving standards of education, the health services of this country still can't match names to phone numbers and/or documents?

Fail 1

A few weeks back I had a toenail avulsion, courtesy of the NHS. It's a standard procedure with a standard recovery regime - nail off, chemicals applied, dressing on, first self-redressing 2 days later, first clinic-redressing the day after that, then self-redressing every 2 days for a month, then a second clinic-redressing, assessment and discharge. The appointment for that second clinic-redressing should have been arranged during the first clinic-redressing session, and I was handed a set of sheets with instructions which included a space for the podiatrist to write in the details of second clinic-redressing appointment.

When the month was about up I consulted the paperwork to plan for the appointment but found that they hadn't written down the details, so I had to phone the booking office to get that information and that's where it started to turn weird... the system was telling them that I'd been discharged 3 days after the procedure, which isn't standard practise. They asked me to check the paperwork... it definitely didn't have any appointment details on it. Worse still, it didn't even have my name on it, according to the paperwork I was "Lyni Sargent". After I'd had a pop at them, they wasted no time in making an appointment for me.

Just to compound the confusion, they had no record of ever having treated a "Lyni Sargent", so why she had a post-op instruction sheet printed for her is a complete mystery. Maybe the system's wrong, and Lyni is still waiting for a call or letter that will never come, while her neglected toe's gangrene goes untreated.

Fail 2

Last week the home-care bods who visit my M-i-L rang our land-line yet again. Now there's a back-story here, and I'll keep it brief... my M-i-L has 4 offspring, and each of them has a spouse, and all eight have submitted their contact details so that there's always someone available to handle carer-calls when it all goes to pot. In practice, however, most of the calls were aimed at my Chris via our land-line and we'd assumed that was because the carers knew that she lives closest to her Mum. The problem was that my Chris works a fair distance away and at later-than-usual hours, and calls became cascades as the panic propagated from here through siblings and spouses, so we insisted that the carers created and used a Priority Contact List. It has five entries, starting with the nearest son, then his wife, then my Chris (her mobile number for when she's at work), then the next-nearest son, and finally my Chris again (our land-line number). The other son lives so far away that he's not on the Priority Contact List because he can't be expected to attend within the hour.

Anyway, as I was saying, the bods rang our land-line and I picked up. They had dialled the fifth entry first, and for some bizarre reason they were expecting me to answer to the name "Geoff", supposedly the spouse of my Chris. Yes, you guessed it, Geoff is the one who lives far, far away and who is not on the list and who isn't married to or living with my wife.

When I said that I wasn't Geoff, they thought that I might be "Sue", who is the spouse of Geoff's brother, and who doesn't live either here or with Geoff. Eventually they decided that I must be "Chris", the person that they were actually trying to contact, and I had to nail into their numb-skulls yet again that Chris was at work and could have been reached on her mobile, but only after the previous priority numbers had been tried.

The following day I went to their office to bang a few heads together. Again.

After getting home with a printout of the Priority Contact List we found that when they created it they had transposed a couple of digits of Chris' mobile number, so they would never have got through to her that way. And they weren't using the bloody list anyway, they were using a database which has the same transposition error and has the contacts in alphabetical, not priority, order.

Oh, I nearly forgot to mention what dire emergency had prompted the carers to pick up the Bat-Phone to initiate this communication crisis... one of them had been into the pantry and had found some tinned fruit which was just past its "Best Before:" date. Whoopie-fucking-doo!

Fail 3

Today my mobile rang and I answered it to find that it was a call from the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening peeps, they wanted to discuss the twice-postponed impending internal photo-shoot which is their birthday present for all 55-year-olds (with all of the delays, it's taken so long that I'll be nearer to 56 than to 55 when they get a round tuit). For some dumb-fuck reason they had it in their heads that I was "Melvyn Hines". They've sent me an enema-pack, and they've told me where I can stick it. BOHICA, Melvyn!


So, in the space of a few weeks I've been Lyni, Geoff, Sue, Chris and Melvyn. On Friday I'll be having an MRI scan to see if I need a replacement knee, and God only knows what gratuitous identity will be assigned to me for that. If it turns out to be "Neil", they can fuck off.

Observing Report 13th-14th December 2017 (Geminid meteors)

Posted by on December 17th 2017 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports, Pics
Tags: ,

Typically there was much cloud on the two best Geminid meteor observing nights. Just to rub it in, it had been clear for both of the two preceding nights and it was clear again for both of the two following nights. I managed a stop/start session on the night of the 13th, the skies changing from short clear periods to longer periods of snow or sleet far too often for my liking. I seemed to spend most of the time stopping/starting the capture software and covering/uncovering the camera. About 25 bright trails were observed while only 118 camera shots were taken, but only two Geminids were recorded.

Here's a composite pic, click it to see a bigger version:

A pair of Geminid meteors.


Posted by on December 10th 2017 in In the garden

He OD'd on the white stuff and couldn't hold himself together. He lost his fight this afternoon:


Boxer Rebellion

Posted by on December 9th 2017 in Lost in translation

I can just imagine the kicking and screaming of the chefs as they are shoe-horned into the containers at the start of their shift:


They'll escape soon enough though - the sodding lids never stay on for long.

Kudos for effort

It's an improvement of sorts:

At least she fully-blocked only my neighbour's ingress/egress, I had only her driver's side impeding mine.

To be fair, she put in way more effort than the two who visited here earlier...

I'd answered the front door to a bloke who, while looking straight at the adjacent number-plaque which bears a number that's clearly not 20, proceeded to ask me if this was number 20. If that wasn't enough lunacy, about a minute later he (I think it was the same bloke) had made his way up our side-garden path and was trying to get through our garden gate (the one that's marked "Private"), and when I went out of the back door to accost him for trespassing he proceeded to asked me the same question again! He was an estate agent. I was unamused.

And not five minutes later the postwoman dumped a pile of junk-mail through our door. She was unimpressed at being called back from the other end of the close for me to hand it all back to her. She claimed that she had not noticed our opt-out notice or the sign on our letter-box flap:

One of the junk-mails was from Specsavers, I recommended that she should keep it for herself but I think that she was so unobservant that she couldn't see the irony of it.

So, we've had a fair crop of eejuts already, and it's not even lunchtime. It doesn't bode well for the rest of the week.

Three strikes and he’ll be out

Posted by on November 24th 2017 in Driveway-blocking feckwits and piss-poor parkers

I must admit that I wasn't going to post the first of these pics back on 23rd October because the guy said that he was sorry and that he wouldn't obstruct my driveway again.

But he wasn't true to his word and his apology has been proven to have been empty - today he was back doing it again just as I was about to get in my car to back it out, so in addition to the withheld pic there's another one to accompany it.

Strike One:


Strike Two:

Observing Report 17th-18th November 2017 (Leonid meteors session 2)

Posted by on November 20th 2017 in My vids, Observing Reports, Video (YouTube, Vimeo etc.)
Tags: ,

Over 650 pics... plenty of clouds and more than a few planes, but only two Leonid meteors.
I'll post separate pics of them later, but for now here's a time-lapse of 45-second frames compiled to play at 2fps.
Leonid meteors at UTC 03:05:12 and at UTC 05:00:15
It's best viewed in full-screen after it has finished buffering.

Canon 1000D, 10-18mm zoom @ 10mm, F5.6, ISO 800, captured with APT v 3.33 (
Post-processing with PS CS3, Irfanview, K3CCDTools3 and VDub.


Observing Report 16th-17th November 2017 (Leonid meteors session 1)

Posted by on November 19th 2017 in My vids, Observing Reports, Video (YouTube, Vimeo etc.)
Tags: ,

Over 650 pics... more than a few planes, but few meteors.
I'll post separate pics of them later, but for now here's a time-lapse of 60-second frames compiled to play at 2fps.
One Leonid at 02:33:24 and one sporadic at 06:26:04
It's best viewed in full-screen after it has finished buffering.

Canon 1000D, 10-18mm zoom @ 10mm, F5.6, ISO 800, captured with APT v 3.33 (
Post-processing with PS CS3, Irfanview, K3CCDTools3 and VDub.


Where once there was a big tree…

Posted by on November 6th 2017 in In the garden
Tags: , ,

... there are now small forests:



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