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27th April 2007 • Dave

Beer festival and house warming in the same weekend? surely not.

“A taste of Germany arrives at Pitchcroft

GERMAN beer will flow and Bavarian music will play when a new festival arrives in Worcester this weekend. Folks Fest – German Beer Festival and market, will be at Worcester Racecourse, Worcester from Friday (April 27) between 3pm and 8.30pm as well as Saturday and Sunday (April 28 and 29) from 11am to 8.30pm.

Folks Fest – a celebration of German lifestyle – takes place on Pitchcroft from Friday to Sunday. There will be array of market stalls, crafts, foods and music to entertain the crowds and bring a taste of German culture to the city.

“One thing that hasn’t materialised in the UK is a way to get the German festival experience,” said organiser Ingo Aicher.

“Over the water we’re lucky enough to have events like this regularly and they are a part of our popular culture.”

With a firm focus on having fun, enjoying local produce and being entertained, the festival is suitable for all ages.

A spokesman for Pitchcroft said they were delighted to have the beer festival at the race course.

The festival runs from 3pm to 8.30pm on Friday, and 11am to 8.30pm on Saturday and Sunday.”

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Blind young Things – Channel 4

27th April 2007 • Dave

Note to self, must not prejudge Channel 4 documentary on young people who are blind. Probably safer to avoid it like the plague!

I am really trying extremely hard to remain optimistic about this documentary. I can’t help dreading it though and that is not because like one of the featured students in the Channel 4 show I too was suspended from the RNCB. Prob not best to go into the reasons why at this stage. Safe to say it was not big and was not clever. Although pretty funny depending on your perspective.

The programme to go out at 9PM on Monday may actually leave viewers with the cutting edge impression that blind people may actually be having sex? My goodness Ray Charles would turn in his grave! What’s the world coming to!

Seriously though, are people with disabilities just overly sensitive about tv documentaries like this? What sort of documentary would we really be happy with? Do blind people need/want a documentary at all? What actually was the original purpose of the programme? Is it to educate the public about disability? Is it meant to be car-crash TV to entertain the curious? Is it to promote a positive image of disability? In which case why not have some positive role models who are disabled as characters on Hollyoaks or presenting on T4?

Oh so many questions and too few answers. However “heart-warming” and Animal Hospital-like the documentary turns out to be, I am sure that plenty of blind people will be tuning in to find out which stereotype is being portrayed this time. Yes, against my better judgement, I will probably end up being one of them.

I sincerely hope I am proved completely wrong!!!

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Cancer Research UK – Racing for Nathalie

27th April 2007 • Dave

Please support my friend and colleague Cate Knight as she races for life to support Cancer Research UK.

“Everyone has a story in their lives about someone who has been touched by cancer.
Mine is nothing different or anymore special but someone very important and vital
and lovely died from this horrible disease and she will be missed dreadfully.
This is a tribute and a positive way of fighting for her. Nathalie fought the hardest
battle of all and lost but her friends will continue to fight for her to ensure that
her life and death was not wasted.
Please sponser. Even if it is just a pound.
a pound is…… a fifth of a packet of fags
a pound is…… half a pint
a pound is…… less that two hours parking
a pound is…… three chocolate bars
a pound is…… money down the back of your sofa
a pound is…… worth more than you will ever know unless you give it generously
for a very real and worthy cause.”

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Lights on no one home

23rd April 2007 • Dave

Q. How many blind people does it take to change a light bulb?

A. Just one. Providing a sighted person mentions that the old bulb is no longer working!

One of the big misconceptions about blindness is that one hundred percent of people who one may think of as blind have absolutely no vision at all. This is categorically not the case. Although as I write this I can feel the campaign for real blindness awakening somewhere out on the internet!

The truth is that most jurisdictions consider you to be blind if you have less than 5 percent usable vision in the best eye with correction. So the vast majority of legally blind people have some form of light perception. In many cases card carrying, Braille reading, Cain or guide dog using blind people can tell if a bright light is shon into the eyes, Some can tell if it is daylight outside, and some of us can tell if the house lights are on or off. The other way blind people can tell if a light bulb has gone is that the bulb no longer burns your bloody hand off!

Maybe I need to get out more but I have always been interested by the light bulb replacement policy of my friends who are blind. Some do not give a monkeys and rarely turn on the lights unless bullied into doing so. I know one bloke who only had about two working bulbs in his entire flat. When asked why he did not have any working light bulbs? He mumbled something into his beer along the lines of light bulbs being a waist of time and money and if people really wanted them they could bring their own pissing light bulbs. I know other blind people who are paranoid about the cliché and security implications of sitting around in the dark. These people tend to take a very proactive stance when it comes to light bulb replacement.

The amount of light perception one has may dictate where on this scale one lies when it comes to keeping the home illuminated. I have some light perception and in spite of the cost and energy implications, I tend to be pro having the lights on. With this in mind I noticed that two of my lounge up-lighters had gone to light bulb heaven over the past couple of weeks. Other than the significant reduction in ambient light, the bulbs being cold to the touch, the other little telltale sign was the fuse for the whole ring tripping out each time a bulb went west. Very annoying with computers rebooting all over the place. I must buy me a UPS. Anyway, I digress.

I gave one of the dead bulbs to a friend who said he may be able to get me some replacements. This was taking a little longer than I anticipated and what with the housewarming party looming on Saturday I tried to purchase replacement light bulbs for the two which had mysteriously died. I took the other fatality into a well-known high street store, which learned from BBC Four first opened in the UK in 1909 up in Liverpool. I showed the bulb to the less than enthusiastic man behind the counter. What is the matter with these people, they are about to shine a bit of light into someone’s dark and miserable world. Instead this fella that demeanour of someone who had just been told he had incorrectly answered the £100 question on Who Wants to be a Millionaire and would be going home with nothing. Anyway, after a bit of hmm ing and ah ing trotted of to find some replacements. He returned triumphantly through my old bulb in the bin and presented me with some replacements.

When I got out into the street I had the nagging suspicion that all was not well in lightbulb land. Over lunch I fondled my new light bulbs with increasing disquiet and could not shake off the nagging feeling that perhaps I had been sold the wrong bulbs. Well the only way to find out would be to go home and try the buggers myself! And what would you know in the event my suspicions were not unfounded and it became clear that my cheery shop assistant did not know his light bulbs and these babies were far too small for my requirements and would have to be returned to the light bulb nursery until they were a little bigger. As I no longer had any of the dead bulbs left I took one of the working bulbs to show chuckles once again the actual thing that I wanted to buy. After a pointless five minutes of him telling me that he could not leave his counter under any circumstances to find the right light bulbs and could I jus tnot accept a refund? No I could not just accept a refund I had been mis-sold a product which I had purchased in good faith on the understanding that it was equivalent to the bulb I had shown him. Well he left his counter and found the right light bulbs. However, amongst the gormlessness of it all, he through away my working bulb which I had brought from home and then could not find it when I asked for it back.

Where do they find these people? I despair!

Anyway, for what it is worth I now have shiny new light bulbs for all the good it will do me.

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News from the Williams homestead

22nd April 2007 • Dave

Well it has taken long enough but I have finally received a letter from my solicitor indicating that this coming Friday, contracts will be exchange and the purchase of my little piece of Worcester will be complete! Yay!

what with the possibility of Chancel Check liability, the suspicion that I am situated within 250M of a flood plain, and the company acting on behalf of the lease holder taking ages to respond to my solicitor’s enquiries, everything has ended up taking much longer and costing much more than I anticipated. Maybe I should have just moved into another rented property after all. Would have been much simpler. Although people keep telling me that in five years I will be glad I did it! Mortgage repayments here I come!

Next weekend I will be doing the obligatory housewarming thing with a few friends. Historically my parties have had a tendency to get a little out of hand. But I am determined that the all new mortgage repaying responsible me will keep this one under control. He says keeping everything crossed. Anyway, if there is a demand I could be tempted to stream the ambiance of my housewarming online for your amusement and for those who cannot make it for whatever reason. Places at the virtual online house warming would be limited as I have no intention of buying in server space. So you’ll have to live with whatever my DSL will stand. Think I get something like 440Kbs upstream. So that’s about 8 concurrent listeners at a decent bit rate. But it is just a thought at this stage and I may not bother. Let me know if this is something which may appeal to you.

This weekend has been pretty sensible. Yesterday I had a meeting with my bank to find out why they pay more interest in my current account than on my savings account. The fact that I have not much in either has nothing to do with anything. Anyway after reading his site for two years, I finally decided to take Martin Louis Money Saving Expert advice an become a credit card tart and take out one of these 0 percent deals. It feels good to no that Egg will not be getting a further penny in interest and every penny I pay toward my credit card will actually be paying off the balance.

I had a homemade Berger in one of my favourite Worcester pubs, followed by an overdue haircut from a man who I am sure thought I was deaf and stupid as well as blind. Maybe he had a point? Do not answer that.

Anyway, I walked over to my sister’s place and we went for a walk on the racecourse and along the river. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon and the exercise did me good. I probably walked a total of 7 miles on Saturday which was a bit of a novelty considering I will usually do anything to avoid exercise.

This morning I watched the London Marathon which made me feel exhausted. And this afternoon is the usual Sunday catch up with the news, washing, grocery shopping online and contemplating the week ahead.

The following stories got my attention in the BBC Hereford and Worcester news. After walking along side the river and crossing the Canal every time I go into town I was pleased to read about the plans for £500,000 improvements for canal. With local elections coming up in a couple of weeks it seems like a good idea to keep An eye on the parties. Regular readers will know I have been following the story of Two cautioned over WiFi theft about which I was asked to comment on local radio. Finally, it comes to us all in the end, Obesity affects funeral services so maybe a little exercise is probably a good idea.

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Blind Me – BBC Ouch

19th April 2007 • Dave

Not sure why the permalink did not work when I tried it, you may have more joy. anyway, As always Crippled Monkey’s comments made me smile:
“”Monkey would like to add: You don’t know if there’s any dog poo on the pavement in
front of you. You don’t know if there is any street furniture that might further
disable you. You don’t know that people are staring at your every move and nudging
their mates as you walk. And you don’t know that HMV has a half price sale this week
god damn it … nor (sob) that you’ll ever get a job … or a partner … or get
taken seriously … EVER. I hate this world and everyone in it!!
Um, we loved Tinker Tailor’s deep thoughts on this. Send us any blog entries you’ve
enjoyed and we, the Ouch team, will laugh privately at them and/or post them for
everyone to see. God we love you guys.”

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Two people arrested for using unsecured WiFi! –

18th April 2007 • Dave

This is outrageous. I partially support the comment:

“… if you configure your network for “open Access” you ask for everything you get. Your effectivly making your network public and calling people who log into it criminal is no different than the police going after listners of pirate radio stations. The one at fault is the person running the open network its their broadcast …”

Although the difference is that listeners to pirate radio do not have direct access to the transmitor.

another comment which caught my attention:

“… using unsecured wifi is perfectly normal practice
nowadays for city flat dwellers.”

Whether or not any of this is legal is a question for the ass … I mean law. But the can is open.

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