I need more money

I think we’ve all thought that at one time or another, haven’t we?

Laura Ripley is thinking it right now:

A 25-year-old unemployed woman who was given an £8,000 operation to help her lose 16 stone is complaining because, as well as her weight loss, her benefits have been reduced.
Laura Ripley, who has never worked, was given the operation on the NHS to help her slim down from 38 to 22 stone.

But the 25-year-old, who receives £600 a month in benefits, is unhappy because as a result of losing weight she can no longer claim disability allowance amounting to an extra £340 a month.
This, she says, means she cannot afford to eat healthily – causing her to pile the weight back on.

It’s not the first time that we’ve heard how difficult it is to eat healthily. Who could forget Coventry lard-arse Leanne Salt and her admission that she fed her 8-month old triplets on McDonalds because she was “too busy” to feed them decent food?

But we dealt with Leanne’s case back in April. Let’s return to Laura’s plight:

Without my disability allowance I’m left with just £210 incapacity benefit which I get because of my depression, and £100 income support I receive every two weeks and out of that I have to give them back £70 towards the cost of the £500-a-month flat I’m living in.

Heartbreaking, isn’t it? Depressingly, I find myself having to pay the total cost of my house myself, and in a bewildering step, the Government seem to take money from me each month, rather than giving it to me. Surely some mistake. And yet I still manage to eat an apple a day. So why can’t Laura?

‘I eat Tesco’s chocolate bars and packets of Space Invaders crisps, sometimes four of each a day’, says Laura, who spends seven hours a day watching TV.
People ask why I don’t snack on an apple – they’re cheap, but emotionally I don’t always feel like an apple.

Ah. Emotionally, I think if you shoved a whole apple in your fat mouth, you might find that you couldn’t eat as many of those Tesco’s chocolate bars and packets of Space Invaders crisps. And, as an added benefit, you wouldn’t be able to make utterly stupid statements like “emotionally not always feeling like an apple” and that would probably piss a lot fewer people off.

You might actually get some sympathy. But then again…

Since the extra allowance stopped Laura has put on a stone in just three weeks and claims she is being treated unfairly.
‘It’s heartbreaking that after all my hard work losing this weight someone’s come along and ruined it..I only want an extra £100 a month, that’s all’

Just an extra £100 a month? Why didn’t you say so earlier?
Here’s a quick thought – why don’t you go and get a job instead of sitting on your arse all day and stuffing your face with junk food, you lazy, sponging, fat cow.

Sorry, emotionally I just had to say that.

Thanks Gareth

Each and every weekday morning, just before the 8:30 news, 5fm’s breakfast DJ Gareth Cliff plays the “Old School” (should that be “Skool”?) track of the day.
This is the part of the show which is designed to make people of my age feel much older than we actually are, by playing tracks from the mid-00’s, which people of my age consider to be “recent”, and calling them “old”.

Still, some of the stuff he plays is much better than that modern R&B rubbish that’s being released at the moment. Or at least it was, until today when he gave us the 1988 Billy Ocean “classic” Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car.
I was stuck in traffic in Rondebosch at the time (the time he played the song, not 1988) and suddenly became aware of several questioning glances coming my way. Contrary to popular belief, there are not a huge number of places to hide in a car (Mexican immigrants know this) as you are mainly surrounded by glass.
Schoolchildren were laughing and pointing. Elderly pedestrians frowned disapprovingly at the noise.

Fortunately, no-one actually tried to “get into my car” (and who can blame them with that racket going on?). But now, everyone on Campground Road thinks I am a Billy Ocean fan.
Suddenly, life has new meaning to me.

The Dangers of Wind Power

I’m not sure how much I believe in the global warming/climate change argument.
However, I do recognise that pollution is a bad thing and therefore that reducing pollution would be a good thing. Thus, I find myself in cautious favour of any steps being taken towards the reduction of pollution.

Wind power is one of those steps. Good old renewable energy.
Less dirty than coal, less challenging than solar, less dangerous than nuclear – or is it?

Take for example, this NY Times article in which it is stated that Britain could become a global leader in electricity production from offshore wind farms by 2020:

Britain could become the largest producer of electricity from offshore wind by the end of the next decade, according to the Carbon Trust, a group funded by the British government.
With carefully targeted subsidies and regulations, Britain could build 29 gigawatts of capacity compared to a global total of 66 gigawatts by 2020, giving it 45 percent of the offshore power market, said the Carbon Trust. By comparison, Germany would have 12 gigawatts by 2020, the group said.

All sounds very promising – even if Vestas is about to go under. But have these sort of plans really been thought through thoroughly? Not according to concerned, angry and apparently terminally stupid commenter Lyle Vos:

I am very concerned that these wind farms will affect the natural wind patterns thereby affecting weather patterns. A consensus of my friends who are scientists believe that a wind farm of this scale will shift the earth off its rotational axis and send it hurtling toward the sun in a matter of decades. Who stupid are these Brits? Don’t they realize that human actions on such a scale have worldwide consequences? Such an attempt to destroy the planet should be considered an act against humanity and declaration of war. Where is the condemnation from the UN?

Where indeed? What are the UN doing ignoring this blatant act against humanity and declaration of war against the entire planet?

As a scientist, I’d like to meet with Lyle’s “friends who are scientists”, partly to discuss with them their hypotheses regarding the shifting of the planet from its rotational axis due to the suddenshift of meteorological patterns, but mainly just to see if they exist.
And of course, hurtling towards the sun will also probably make the world hotter, thereby negating any of the positive effects of reducing the use of fossil fuels to generate electricity. Which won’t help either.

Having given the matter a lot of thought, I think that the only way to combat these terrible implications is to build an equally big wind farm on the other side of the world and have it running the other way.

Amazon.co.uk #fail

I got my Dad two brilliant books for Father’s Day. He’ll love them, if amazon.co.uk and their “premium” courier company, ShittyLink, ever actually get around to delivering them.

The story so far = two failed delivery attempts + a wasted day + a stinking email complaint + a grovelling reply.

But still no books.

Bring forth the sarcasm and the crying child: 

Thanks for your last email. I was consoled. 

Briefly. 

However, my father has had to continually ring Citylink and (having stayed in all day as he said he would) has now found out that the parcel has been in Rotherham all day. Poor parcel. But that’s beside the point. 

So – you (or rather your courier) didn’t manage to leave a note when they allegedly came to deliver the parcel on Saturday, didn’t fulfill their obligation to deliver after 10:30am on Monday and have failed to show up at all today despite my Dad wasting his entire day at home. 

In summary, it’s not great, is it? 

You know, I actually have no problem when things sometimes go awry. It happens to all of us from time to time. I used to work in a hospital lab and once almost killed a patient by mistake. (She got better). But when a company has one task – namely to courier goods from one place to another, not anything as taxing as therapeutic drug monitoring (which is really difficult and can easily go wrong) – and they mess it up time and time and time again, it annoys me. When they repeatedly waste the time and effort of their customers, that annoys me more. And when they claim to be offering this as a “premium service” – well, it’s just like some sort of sick joke, isn’t it?
I want to laugh, but I can’t. I hurt too much.

Truly, it probably doesn’t even matter when this order turns up now. You’ve ruined Father’s Day for my Dad; you’ve wasted an entire day of his life today and you’ve wasted his money in having to chase your “premium” courier company all over South Yorkshire on the phone. 

My 3 year old son keeps asking why Granddad hasn’t said thank you for his books. I told him that the useless company I ordered them from couldn’t get their arses into gear to organise a simple delivery. He cried. Copiously.
I reckon that’s basically a whole lifetime of potential orders you’ve lost – and who can blame him? 

I look forward to hearing how you plan to sort this out.

It’s raining here in Cape Town, I’m off to the rugby this evening and have plans for tomorrow as well, so I’d appreciate some sort of solution preferably within 48 minutes and not the 48 hours you promised in your last email. 

Yours, in foolishly optimistic anticipation,

6k.

I’m actually really disappointed. I’ve only used amazon.co.uk three times over the past year or so and this is the second time that they’ve let me down. Suffice to say, it’s going to take a lot to get me to use them again.

Tomorrow: my next letter to them, because the books blatantly aren’t going to arrive plus a report on what could be the muddiest game of rugby ever. It’s been raining HEAVILY for 24 hours all over Newlands. Handling errors deluxe.