Wednesday, February 05, 2014

RIP Brolly No 2

I did something I shouldn't have this morning ... I attempted to use the brolly.

It isn't too broken ... It may even be retrievable with enough superglue (just one spar is broken). The wind was very fierce today and coupled with rain. Yep. More rain. I wonder if this is what Kim Stanley Robinson had in mind with "40 Signs Of Rain". I haven't read that, although I have read some of his others.

Random tangent time - his Red Mars was excellent, Green Mars was a decent sequel but the vision, the arc, the purpose that holds a trilogy together had gone by the time Blue Mars came along. The Years of Rice And Salt was similar, great beginning but kinda lost its way. A shame, as KSR writes decent books.

Back to reality - I'm giving up on brollys. I'm going to get a coat. Or rather I would, if my "I'm getting ripped off" detector wasn't going berzerk.

Had to head off to the Post Office today, I've had two parcels in which needed signatures and tonight is the only night they stay open late. What were they ?

One was a tax disc. UK cars have to display these to show we have valid insurance and that the vehicle is road worthy. It's actually a tax on drivers called Road Fund Licence which should really go towards road upkeep but really just gets lumped in with the rest of the Treasury taxes to fund benefit scroungers (and everything else). Nowadays, the amount we pay depends on how nasty the car is to the environment. Because my last two have been hybrids, they have low carbon dioxide emissions and I pay little or no tax. I found something for my Focus, it would have been about £250 for a year's tax and there's some crippling extras that go on the prices of new high CO2 cars.

The other was new anti-theft dust caps for the tyres to let me keep the shiny metal ones somewhere that tea-lieves won't find them. The alarm went off on the CT twice, the first time the sensors didn't like going through the car wash while I think the second was due to Mr Thief Person nicking the metal valve caps.

Ok. Job done, parcels picked up. Time to come home. Right ?

Nah. Mall run to see about picking up a coat.

I traditionally avoid these as I make a lot of heat when I'm moving around. Part of my treatment discipline has included trying to avoid getting too hot. So wearing coats was Not A Good Thing. But after breaking a second brolly, I think I'll need to bite the bullet and get a coat.

I saw one that would have fit the bill in one of the big Tescos. It was light, had a hood and was made out of breathable fabric that should let the heat out. Also cheap at about £16. But. Large didn't fit over a jacket and XXXXL was too big. Nothing in between in the shop. (I'll peek in Asda/Matalan on Friday - I don't really care about labels)

I had a peek around the main Mall as well. Something appeared on Facebook : "I should be banned from certain shops. I ignore the fashion, look for utility and find very little of it". I saw a lot of fashion, a lot of high prices, a lot of things that I'd have cooked in and nothing that I saw that was worth buying. Fashion tends to come with a high price tag, which sets off that "I'm being ripped off" detector.

Haha - perhaps I need someone towing me around who will point me at things and say : "Buy that. You need that and you will like it (or else)."

I've discovered I have a higher opinion of humanity than humanity apparently deserved. Part of the mission tonight was to acquire a new tax disc holder for the car. Halfords have loads. Some are only a couple of £, others set that Rip Off Alarm going again. One had a massive No Smoking sign on the back, so I said on Facebook that I found that offensive.

To be honest, I don't see how the sign is necessary. The very idea of lighting up in a car seems barking to me (see later). The thing to always remember with cars is keeping them in good condition for when you pass them on. It takes hundreds of pounds off the price if there's anything wrong with them. Smoking in a car ? That stench is never going to come out. It won't just drop the price, it will send buyers running away screaming.

So to me, the sign is just telling people what they already know. Or should know. If someone lit up in one of my cars, I would wind down their window and tell them to get rid of it. I would be that shocked. If they want to do it in their own environment, that's fine. But in mine ? That's a serious breach of anything approaching civility.

I'd better say - I'm anti-smoking. I've never smoked, because I've believed the things I've seen about the confirmed health damage that it causes. I've never had great lungs, so inflicting smoke on them seemed very silly when I was at the vulnerable age.

However ... I can also recognise and sympathise with the addictive power that it has. I've had my own addictions over the years (mostly games, which is psychological). Smoking is worse than any addiction I've had, it's a chemical dependence as well as a psychological habit.

A few years ago I was at a dinner with colleagues and one of our people heads off to have a ciggy outside. And most of the table starts doing the clucking thing when she's out of sight "She shouldn't be smoking, it does so much damage." Until I (as a confirmed anti-smoker) pipe up with "She's going through a really hard situation at the moment, if the smoking helps her through it, we shouldn't argue". That shut the table up, they couldn't argue with that. Sometimes we need a crutch to help us through, even if the crutch does different damage.

Note - they didn't say the "You shouldn't be smoking" to her face, although I've never told her that I backed her up in front of them and took the opposite view.

Yes it's nasty. But you should never argue with how someone else chooses to run their life. That's inflicting your world view on someone who probably doesn't want to know. Besides, I know the person I mentioned above has quit smoking once and is more than strong enough to do so again when things improve enough in her life to support quitting. And I'll be around to hand her the anti-craving mints if she wants them again (I better buy some more !)

Haha - I'd better start running before I dig myself into even more trouble.

Done stuff :
Picked up the parcels
Had another excuse to play with the new toy
Got myself in trouble for that smoking sign pic
Totally failed to find a coat
Broke yet another brolly (it's only 2 so far)
Almost got blown away by the wind (Brolly 2 = sail)
Did a drowned rat impression this morning

PS DAB radio. Have it in the car now as something that came as standard. Can't see the point. Yep, sound quality is better but if you can't tune in to stations that are supposed to be national, what's the point ? And they want to turn off the old AM/FM system in favour of this rubbish system ...

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