Archive for March, 2013

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As everyone knows, yesterday was the day that the rich got richer and the poor got the impression they were better off. Although in reality, when is anyone actually better off. Although fuel duty didn’t rise, we can’t afford fuel. Although a pint went down 1p, we still can’t afford a pint. Although in 2015 you’ll be able to earn ¬£10,000 tax free, nice sentiment but in reality it means pennies.

All the above taken into account, the biggest annoyance on my part, was the well paid, elected members of our counties, acting like a bunch of yobs. They were jeering, pointing, laughing, abusing and basically disrespecting each other for the cameras. As in my previous blogs, no one actually answered one of the questions posed by either side. In reality it seemed like a bit of fun. The place was packed, which is a rarity. The ammunition had been prepared a day early thanks to leaked information. It was just an expensive episode of Jeremy Kyle.

Good TV but is anything in parliament actually truthful or representative of the people¬†any more. No matter what the party in power do, the opposition would have done it different. If the opposition make a fair point, the party in power do something different, just to prove they went there own way. It’s mob rule it seems. No one has any morals, no one has any clue and everything is done for cheap points and judging by yesterday, cheap laughs.

I have to be honest, I don’t even know my local MP, they have no interest in knowing me either it seems. They don’t come around my rural location to find out what my opinion on anything is. In fact they don’t ask anyone. They turn up when one of the other parties drops the ball, to emphasise the mistake. They have no better morals or ideas on fixing things, they just have the majority agreeing with them on one point and maybe winning the odd vote.

I’d like to see a parliament that is a genuine representation of the people. People from a diverse background of areas and employment. Normal people who know how it feels to live on nothing and struggle to find employment. The problem is that people are nurtured to vote for particular parties by events of the past. Labour will soon be forgiven for putting the country into the mess it is in today because the Conservatives are having to tighten the purse strings. But when they do eventually get the country back in the black, people will have become tired of them and voted Labour back in. Liberal Democrats will side with anyone to get into parliament. UKIP will preach that they will sort immigration but what are the other items on the mandate for them. Not a lot it seems.

Perhaps it’s time for a new party. A party that gets a chance because they earn it, not because the rest are terrible. A party that understands you can’t please everyone, but is open and honest about the reasons they are changing the mandate to match economic climates, immigration statutes and things that need to be amended to meet demand. It’s not the things of dreams, it just need belief from the people.

I’d support anyone that realises that we can’t allow any immigration currently because we don’t have jobs. Someone that realises that the current benefits system, tax system and credits system is poor and needs revamping completely to a standard format. A party that understands that council tax is extortionate when coupled with the other taxes we pay on everything from fuel, car tax, income tax, VAT and alike. And someone that realises we need to become more self sufficient in production, manufacturing and technological development to create jobs of the future. We can’t all work in retail, warehousing and transport. We need to build some things too.

Something needs to change to stop the boys club doing whatever they like for the rest of my lifetime. Perhaps people like Dave from the Bank of Dave, Richard Branson and others like them, should be encouraged into parliament. At least they have an opinion and they’re not afraid to share it in the right way, rightly or wrongly.

Would love to hear your thoughts and hope you enjoyed the read…

Whilst watching Crime Watch and similar shows, I couldn’t help wandering what it would actually be like, if we invested as a country in top quality CCTV on every street. The mere mention to some people is hell but this has to get you thinking into the whys?

I, for one do not feel it’s an invasion into my privacy having CCTV recording 24/7. In fact, as long as it’s not inside my own house, it really doesn’t bother me at all. Why do people worry so much with what may be recorded. Sure, people are doing things that may not be completely normal and wouldn’t want it to become public knowledge but if it’s legal, what’s the issue? The bonuses speak for themselves. I know the costs of having operators monitoring it would be¬†extortionate¬†but even if it only recorded and was played back, once a crime had been¬†committed the benefits would surely¬†outweigh¬†the feelings that the government wants to watch our every move.

If it was of a decent quality and on every street, the chances of a crime would be less likely surely. And if someone was idiotic enough to take advantage of an open window or a victim. The likelihood of them actually being caught and the police having visual data to back up the case would be immense.

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Russia has always been eager for surveillance in slightly different ways to what I am imagining. But after the recent meteor strike and all of the footage that was readily available, it served science well. Although a lot of this was recorded from cameras that were within cars, due to the large amounts of vehicle accidents that occur in Russia. Another thing that I don’t think would go down too badly in the UK with all of the claims that occur after fairly trivial vehicle bumps.

I know with a lot of new initiatives the first issue a lot of people have is, what can and can’t be recorded. I’d imagine people would be concerned by what could be recorded. But I honestly believe that the pros will always outweigh the cons. As long as of course, the CCTV was of a quality that made a difference. Why people still install the old kind of cameras, that have a black and white¬†silhouette¬†that bounces across the screen like a ghost, still amuses me. Do you recognise this figure, he is a man and has black hair? What chance do people have? But the new kind can read a newspaper. It can show clearly who people are and if it was readily available across the country, would follow the criminal from point of crime to point of rest. How much easier would this make life for the police, insurance companies and us in general.

Imagine the money you could recoup once the cameras had been installed. You could charge for clips as long as the case had gone either to the police, insurance or an¬†independent¬†governing party. You could find a lost pet by following it’s path, children, criminals or even determine whose fault accidents actually were, not just blame the poor person who had no chance but to hit the back of a car that braked for no reason.

I’m sure there are negatives to the concept and feel free to comment on them below. But for me, apart from the initial outlay, it would create jobs, create security and help society in general to improve.

Hopefully you found the post interesting, thanks for reading it…

Have you ever noticed the amount of races that naturally occur at a supermarket?

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The first race is on the way into the car park, you see the space open up and you make your move. Only to finish a close second to someone else. But it’s okay, you just calmly move onto the next available spot. Well, most of the time…

Then you go to the trolley area. The last speedy shopper is parked, all shiny, waiting for you to insert the pound that you’ve probably left at home. When suddenly the elderly folks in front remember their youth and sprint the ten metres to the remaining trolley and take it first. But again, that’s all part of the fun of shopping.

You then enter the shop and it becomes more of a destruction derby then a race. You try to avoid anyone and anything that moves. But it’s carnage. People are everywhere. Trolleys appear out of nowhere and hit you in the sweet spot on your ankle, the spot you only find out causes a great deal of pain, when you become a supermarket shopper. But it’s fine, you get a meaningful sorry from the mother of the toddler ramming the trolley into your heel and off you go.

Oh look, there’s a sale on. The last few items are left and you really want one. But suddenly like a 100 metre sprint, people are coming from all sides of you. You even leave the trolley, alone, vulnerable, to get your hands on the last cream cake reduced to 10 pence by the student who is counting down the seconds to get drunk and post pictures on his Facebook, that in the morning, he’ll be trying to stop people tagging before his mom sees them.

Then it’s off to the checkout and this is a fairly new race but one that makes me smile. If you have an OCD like me and feel the need to put the frozen with the frozen, chilled with the chilled and fresh with the fresh, you’ll be politely declining the offer of help with your packing and possibly already aware of this race. When you answer no, you fire an imaginary starting pistol in the checkout attendants head. They suddenly feel the need work through your groceries like the world is due to end in about 5 seconds. Ten thousand items in the blink of an eye. You suddenly realise you did need help after all. Although when you accept help you have to discuss every item you’ve purchased with a complete stranger. That’s a bargain, those are nice, that toilet roll doesn’t rip your bum hole to shreds and all of the other polite chit-chat you get when receiving the help.

After all of this the fun part comes, when the kids want to race to take the trolley back. You think of how well you’ve raised them and how polite and helpful they are. And then you remember the pound in the trolley, the one that you couldn’t find and the one you have definitely now lost for ever…

Posted: 08/03/2013 in Reblogs and Pages I Love
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For people around Bude, I’m sure this would be amusing. Perhaps we need a Bude Animal Surfing tournament. Follow the other posts on the above link, as they are creative and original and never fail to bring you out in a smile.

In¬†today’s¬†climate, it’s getting easier for employers to pick and choose who they hire. Some even take this to the extreme and treat job seekers like cattle at a cattle market. They bring them in, hundreds at a time, spend no real time with them and don’t have the means or the method in place to turn them down gracefully. Forgetting how much effort and cost the actual candidate has spent getting to the interview, maybe buying suitable attire for the interview and even hours spent stressing about it.

Fortunately I have a positive example of how the process can be done. The company in question is called Mystery Shoppers, whose website is http://www.mystery-shoppers.co.uk.

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Now I wouldn’t normally mentioned the details as it can seem a little biased but when I have finished stating the lengths this company have gone to, to make me feel like an important candidate, person and potential future employee, I think you’ll agree, they deserve a special mention.

The job was advertised in the local Bude & Stratton Post, it was for a Client Services Manager. Something I felt was suitable, as I have relevant management experience, albeit in other industries and sectors. A nice easy application process, which in the current climate I am always grateful for. Send an CV to either an email address or postal address and the company will be in touch.

The very next day I had a reply, thanking me for my application and informing me that following the closing date for applications, someone would be in touch with me.

The closing date passed and as promised, I received an email inviting me to interview for the position. But would you believe my poor luck, I had got my first passport interview on exactly the same day. So fearing this would be my application over and done with, I emailed Valerie at http://www.Mystery-Shoppers.co.uk and explained my predicament. Valerie replied that she should be able to sort something for me and true to her word, she phoned me a few days later to ask if I would like to attend the interview earlier in the day to complete the paper based assessment, meaning I would have an extra half an hour on the back end of the interview to make my way into Plymouth for my passport interview. Not only this but she had booked me the first slot for my oral interview with Paul Grafton, the Managing Director.

How many companies, go to this length to¬†accommodate¬†a candidate. Rightly or wrongly I have known people be turned down flatly due to having an interview at exactly the same time as another, as the candidate should make themselves available. I agree you need to show commitment but these things happen. And when you do eventually get a job, wouldn’t you rather work with an employer who will make exceptions for¬†extenuating¬†circumstances.

So anyway, I attended the interview. Got offered a nice cup of coffee and completed a nice paper based activity involving a geography exercise. Something I hopefully didn’t do to badly on, after all, I have worked in transport for years.

Secondly we did an interesting group activity,involving a scenario, this was assessed by Paul and Valerie, who made notes on our performance and interactions I’d imagine. Mentioning I’d probably use the gun in the scenario to shoot the tribesmen in order to keep all the survival goods, maybe didn’t help my case for being a fair manager. Although it was taken in the humour it was meant.

Next up, I got a one on one interview with Paul Grafton, who is the Managing Director and a very friendly, experienced and well travelled man. He made me feel comfortable and opted to have a friendly chat style interview, taking notes and letting me express myself in a more relaxed atmosphere. Rather then the usual name forty negative things about yourself scenario, that make you feel very positive about yourself in the middle of a very pressurised environment. I think it went quite well as we over ran our chat a little. Discussing my learning Mandarin Chinese and Paul’s experiences of countries such as China and Saudi Arabia, which I personally found fascinating.

Lastly, I got to actually do part of the job, which would give me and the company an insight into my capabilities. Although at this stage, I was clock watching a little but did do the task to the best of my ability. On an even better plus side, I did in fact make it to Plymouth to prove I was both English and me but that’s a whole different post.

A week after the interview, I got a very nice email explaining that a couple of positions had been filled and apologising for the length of time that had gone. And offering me some positive feedback, which is always what candidates enjoy and saviour the most. Valerie also informed me that I’d hear more in a couple of days regarding the final outcome.

Unfortunately a few days later, I was in fact unsuccessful for the position. But informed I would be considered for future positions, something that I had no doubt was a genuine email, as opposed to the automated ones you receive from other companies, stating you’ve been unsuccessful.

But after all that had happened and the process being so positive all the way through, I didn’t come away from the process feeling negative and destined for the dole for the rest of my life. I actually came away feeling that I’d made an impression and that I could in fact hold my own with other people with similar experience. Now the only people who will truly know the impression I made will be the company. But for my part, I think that they did an amazing job in making a good impression and would happily recommend them as a company going forward and who knows, one day I might need to use a service similar to the one they offer and wouldn’t hesitate in calling Valerie or Paul and make that happen.

Hopefully this will encourage businesses and interviewers to think about the candidate that little bit more in the process. I know with having a thousand applications for a position you can’t address each one individually but try to remember the effort it takes to apply, the impression you leave for the future and the fact that one of these candidates may need to use your service in the future. Mystery Shoppers did and look at the free publicity they’ve received because of it.

Hope you enjoyed the post and feel free to comment as always…..

Lots has been said about the Champions League game last night between Manchester United and Real Madrid. A game, which in most parts, produced an excellent quality of football. But unfortunately will be remembered for one incident, which seems to be the norm these days in elite football.

The incident involved Nani, a Portuguese winger for Manchester United. As the clip above shows, contact was made between the two players and this created controversy, as Nani was then sent off due to the contact being deemed as dangerous play. Included in the clip are the opinions of Roy Keane, former Man Utd Captain, Lee Dixon, former Arsenal right back and Gareth Southgate, former England International.

Now lots of people will have different opinions on the incident. Some of the ones I’ve heard today have included Nani’s intended controlling of the ball mid air, something he does on a regular basis. Others, mainly fans of rival teams have said he didn’t pull his foot out, which implies intent. I have even read people say, I agree it was dangerous but given the implications and magnitude of the game, the referee should have given him a yellow card. Roy Keane has been labelled a Judas for simply saying what he saw of the situation and giving the honest opinion that is asked of him.

My own opinion is simple and unbiased. If the contact deserved a card, a red card was the only fair card to give, baring in mind the laws of the game regarding dangerous play. The play was dangerous and could have resulted in a serious injury. If Arbeloa hadn’t jumped to head the ball, Nani’s foot would have been level with his face and could have broken his nose or worse. This can’t be disputed as anything other then dangerous. I completely take on board the fact that Nani was in fact watching the ball the entire time, toes were up, ready to cushion the ball and he couldn’t pull out due to the speed of play. But should any players foot be level with another players head, albeit on this occasion the player jumped and fortunately took the impact in the chest.

Intent isn’t always mentioned in the rules. That’s why so many good tackles are being deemed dangerous and so many dangerous tackles are being unnoticed. I also have to mention the conduct of the players and Sir Alex Ferguson. If anyone has displayed as much pride and passion to win a game, the emotions they display will sometimes be out of character when a decision of this type gets made. Which is why I think it is wrong to question the managers post game, when a¬†debatable¬†decision has been made, it’s obvious it will be mentioned at the height of adrenaline and shouldn’t really be judged fairly for¬†disciplinary¬†action.

I’m sure if people read this, they will no doubt have their own views on the incident. But that’s the beauty of football, we all have different views, we all sit in different seats and see play from different angles. The referee had one shot and in my opinion got it completely right.

Hope you enjoyed the read and feel free to comment…

 

I have decided to start reviewing my experiences, in and around Bude and will be sharing them with my followers and readers, to hopefully encourage you to visit the places to be and the places best to avoid.

First on my list was the Rebel Cinema, which if you didn’t know is in Poundstock. It’s normally visible from the A39 thanks to the huge red “cinema” on the side but the brown sites guide you to the car park, just in case the trees have grown.

If I’m being really honest, the outside of the building doesn’t do the inside justice. The car park is pretty basic concrete, pebble and uneven and the building could be revamped a little to bring it up to date. But this is all about taste and maybe I’m being picky, after all, this is a cinema and it’s never going to show the film outside.

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As the cinema is a fairly small one, it operates on a small amount of views per day. This doesn’t mean it acts like a small cinema though. In fact the process of ordering the tickets more than keeps up with much bigger cinemas. You can order your ticket online, over the telephone or in the cinema. We particularly like booking beforehand and as we had a party of 3 adults and 4 children, we booked in advance. Down to the actual seats we wanted to sit in.

One of the drawbacks with a smaller cinema can be arriving early. Although the staff were friendly and made you feel welcome, it is a fairly small foyer and you haven’t got a lot of room to sit and wait for your viewing. Although this could be something that is improved in the future, it’s also more likely to result in people buying the large selection of drinks, popcorn and confectionery that the rebel sells.

The ticket prices were particularly good. You often find with community businesses that you pay a premium due to smaller consumer numbers. But the Rebel Cinema charges a reasonable £6 per ticket for adults and £5 per kids. With an extra £1 being charged for 3D viewing, which is for use of the 3D glass presumably. You do get a booking fee of £0.50 per seat, which can be annoying but is cheap when compared to other establishments.

The cinema itself is very clean, comfortable and spacious. You aren’t crammed cattle style. You can convince yourself its your armchair at home and truly relax, although do try to avoid putting your feet up, people behind tend to get a little angry. The sound quality and picture quality are good. The film we chose was Wreck-It Ralph, which was a good film and the kids were quiet the whole way through, bonus.

Another bonus with the Rebel, was the fact the staff actually smile on the way out too. Often staff are wonderful on the way in, collecting your money and then letting you have whatever experience you get. At the Rebel, we got a nice friendly welcome on the way in and a friendly come again goodbye on the way out. If I’ve remembered enough to put it in this post, it should serve other businesses to try the same courteous style.

So here comes the review:

Marks out of 10 and (Improvements)

Staff 10/10

Experience 9/10 (We arrived early and the waiting area needs a few seats, especially with kids)

Venue 8/10 (Inside it would have been a 10. But outside it needs a little work on the car park and the building)

Cost 9/10 (I hate that pesky booking fee per seat £0.50)

Food and Drink 7/10 (Love the BBQ crisps and the popcorn but it’s always a good profit maker, so could be a little cheaper)

Other improvements. I think the area needs a few more options to accompany the cinema. It’s always nice to go the cinema and then get a pizza or some other food. Perhaps someone should open up a little restaurant next door and make the experience complete.

Would I visit again?

I’d definitely visit again and would encourage anyone reading this to do the same and let me know your views on the cinema.

You can book tickets online at http://www.rebelcinema.co.uk or in person.

Contact number and address are: 01288 361442

Rebel Cinema, Treskinnick Cross, Poundstock, Bude, EX23 0DT.

Feel free to comment and let me know if you had a similar experience or maybe you have a nightmare, it’s all useful for improving our local community businesses.

Thanks……