I woke up this afternoon to find a flyer stuck under the windscreen wiper of my car to tell me that it had been “invold in a colusion” with an ambulance in the early hours of the morning. “Involved” presumably in the sense that it just sat there, parked on the road, and the ambulance ran into it on the way past.

A cursory inspection revealed that the ambulance doesn’t seem to have done it much harm.

It certainly isn’t the first vehicle to run into the long-suffering Skoda. The first day we moved here, a taxi pulled in behind it and knocked off the side parts of my rear lights on one side.

In Bordeaux (already not my favourite place in the world, see here for why), I parked behind a rental van which reversed delicately up to my bumper, paused, then slammed itself into the front of my car as hard and as fast as it possibly could. The driver got out, and I could plainly read two things on his face “OMG, this is going to cost me” and “Aha! A chance to practice my English!” He couldn’t quite phrase “I forgot to change gear before trying to pull out,” but I knew what he meant.

In both cases the car wasn’t seriously damaged, and I let the other guys get on with their journeys.

It’s going to be the same with the ambulance. He’s lightly scratched my front bumper. No big deal.

I hope stopping to write the note didn’t have consequences for whoever was in the ambulance. The flyer was half handwritten note and half photocopied details of insurance company. For them to carry that about presumably means they hit things quite often.


A new TV

We have just spent a modest sum on replacing our TV.  Been thinking of doing it for ages, so met P at Argos at lunchtime with the idea of taking a new one home, but they only deliver.  Store says you can have it Friday, but after 3 abortive attempts at phoning me (very odd — phone kept ringing, and when I answered, I ended up listening to their hold music) they finally got through and told me it would be more like 10 days before they could deliver.

I was in the mood for a new telly NOW, so we went to a local store this evening to see what was in stock then and there that we could have straight away, and found something ideal in a knock down, ex-display section.  No remote, no manual.  But about half the price of what it would have cost new.  And less than what we paid to Argos at lunchtime.
Struggled to get it into the car — the ex-display model wrapped up in parcel tape and bubble-wrap.  No box.

Plugged it in and turned it on, fingers crossed.  Would it even work?  (It wasn’t on in the shop.)  Would we be able to do anything without its remote?

“Locating channels” it said.  Long pause.  We’ve never tried to get freeview in this house before.

Then it started to list the channels it had found, starting with More4.  That’s got to be a good sign.  It was finding them in a bit of a funny order.

Finally it sorted them into a sensible order for us.  Tuning a telly was never this easy last time I tried.  It used to be a question of flicking through the Radio Times to check you were allocating the right tuning to the right channel — “This looks like BBC1, no wait, adverts, that can’t be right.”

But no.  Now the TV does it for you.  It started off with BBC1,2 ITV, Channel 4, Five, then diversified. Four BBC TVs.  ITV 1 – 4.  Channel 4.  More4.  E4.  Even E4+1.  Shopping channels, auction channels, travel channels.  News24 and Sky News.  BBC Parliament, oh joy!  More channels than you could ever watch, even if you did nothing else.  And then further through the radio stations too.  We spent a happy hour channel hopping from BBC1 all the way through to a boggling minute spent on Christian Public Radio.

Then we finally watched a rented DVD I’ve been hanging on to for about four months waiting for just this day.  It didn’t seem right to watch Sleepy Hollow on a 14″ fuzzy portable, with the picture taking a circuitous route to the telly through the scart lead on the VCR and finally in through the tuner.

*Sigh*.  TV heaven.   Post Sleepy Hollow, we watched a bit of real telly.  The Thick of ItTitty Bang Bang on BBC3 (what a disappointment.  It’s no Monkeydust, is it?).  A very sparsely populated House of Commons considering the Government of Wales Bill.

I probably won’t watch any more TV for months now.

Must remember to phone Argos tomorrow and cancel the delivery.

A few words on Simon


Originally uploaded by nilexuk.

Firstly anyone who has sex with men AND women ISN’T, strictly speaking, gay. But there’s no way he should have said what he said when he says he wasn’t gay. It’s just obvious he was setting himself up for this.

And secondly, the Tatchell thing. You can see the by-election literature youself here — and it does include the phrase ‘A straight choice’. BUT — was straight, meaning not gay, common parlance in 1983? I don’t know, I was 5! (And at 5, I thought it was great to be gay — after all, the Famous Five were. And the Famous Five taught me to read, because my parents couldn’t read it aloud with a, erm, straight face). AND we also used the phrase two years later in Brecon — it’s part of the technique we call ‘third party squeeze’. These days, it manifests itself as barcharts and ‘two horse race’ metaphors.