Monday, October 23, 2006

A Sunday well spent

Yesterday I and Z made the best of weekend with us both off and without other commitments.

So we made the most of it, we went to the London dungeon and to the Tate modern and they are fairly close to each other as well. We wanted to do the slides at the Tate modern, which meant having to get up early and queue from around 10am; the queue when we got there was already 30 minutes long. Thankfully we did get tickets for the slides in the afternoon, as we felt we would be finished with the London dungeon by then.

So off we trekked to London dungeon, waiting for an hour outside, as it was already packed at that point. Sadly it started raining and me being me said we wouldn’t need umbrellas, and Z’s words came back to haunt, so we got suitably wet of course.

Once we were inside, we dried off fairly fast, and proceeded to enjoy the London dungeon. It costs £17 per person, was that good value, honestly, no. A little cheaper would have made it better value. You have about 1hr 30 minutes at most in there.

I got picked as a volunteer for the torture section, for some reason the lady running that part, thought I was hiding behind my girlfriend so got me up, had me in the chair, whilst demonstrating the torture items….

First the tongue remover, which I didn’t think would be that, thought something far worse. Apparently usually it was used red hot to pull the tongue out.

Next up was a hook, the lady asked me to stand up, and touch my toes, at which point she showed the manoeuvre used to hold the person up, the hook up the back passage and explained that was one way to make the prisoner talk, lovely!!! Got laughter when she got me to bend over, can’t imagine why.

The last item was the worst and aimed at us men solely. Lets just say you would lose you little friend down there. A john Bobbitt job with a blunt cutter, so they would need to do 3 or 4 times to remove it. I think at that point, no man alive would want to be alive, though they probably wouldn’t have been for much longer.

Thankfully none of the items was used in anger, but it makes you shudder at what was done then, in the 17th century

It wasn’t a bad place to visit, but a word of warning, those with children, don’t take them unless you are sure you little child can handle it. At least one member of the group we were going around with, as you go in groups, had a little girl and she basically spent the whole time crying. It is going to be a scary place for a small child, so why bring them, you will make them upset and frighten the poor child.

Afterwards we made our way back to the Tate Modern to do the slides (Carsten Höller), this time it was chucking it down with rain. Got completely wet, my smart idea of not needing an umbrella looked less and less smart as the day went on.

Carsten Holler at the Tate Modern

The slides didn’t look like they would be fast, but they were. You had to wear a special cap, with protective padding in it, though many were losing their caps on the way down.

It is a bumpy ride, and when they say it is physical, you better believe it. You do feel it, really feel, for a little while after.

Video of the slides

Here is a very good video showing what it can be like, and it really is a lot of fun.

If you can handle having to queue for a while just to get tickets and come back later to use the tickets, then do it. It is worth it and if you like slides, and ones that have a bit of speed and bump, go for it, you will thank yourself for it.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Madame Tussauds

Went today. Day off after the exam to relax and enjoy myself with Z and we went there.

It has changed a lot since I last went there, mind that was back in the early 1990s.....

Prices have as well. £50 for the two of us, that is a lot of money. Essentially 2 hours or so of time there for that, not what I would call good value for money.

The Planetarium has also gone, which is a shame, I personally liked it. They still have the dome with shows, but an 8 minute movie made by the makers of chicken run, etc, showing about celebrities. A tad corny, but hey ho.

Me and Z had a laugh though, some of the waxworks not looking as you would expect. Z picture with many waxworks, me with just one or two that I wanted.

We still had a good time out, so that is what mattered most, but £50 for two people is a bit steep.

Blog Britain

So how many of you did the blog Britain project?

For a project I think it has worthy aims.

Will the results match the aims, not so sure. I know they wanted mundane, run of the mill entries, but if anyone in the future reads them, they might think we Brits were a bit daft.

See the entries here - One Day in History

It is finally over

Done it, the exam for D317 has been done, and the relief is enormous.

Did I do well? Who knows. I am hoping I have done enough for a pass, but one can't be sure

I guess I have the option of a resit in April.

I do have to say being asked if my hearing aids were receivers and someone could feed me information was a surprise and it did knock my stride a bit, especially when asked in the middle of the exam. Never happened before and that certainly didn't help me to keep going in the frame of thought I was in.

Roll on December when I find out the score.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The countdown is on

Just 4 days left until the OU D317 exam and I am really worried. All the effort I am putting into the revision, just doesn't seem to be paying off.

I can't for the life of me, remember much of any substance, and it is frustrating me so much. It is like someone has blanked my entire memory and nothing is sticking to it. I guess part of the that is the complete lack of sleep I have had since my tonsil problem. Which on a side note, I am hoping the operation on the 15th November will go ahead, and maybe, a big maybe I can get a proper nights sleep for the first in what seems like an eternity. I will probably sleep for the two weeks after recovering knowing my luck!!!!

If anyone knows of a way to download the entire course books into my head so that I can recall it all for the 19th, then please leave a note, I will be more than willing to take a chance!!

I am so going to need months to recover before starting all over again in Feb 2007

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Local Council - Harrow

Who do you turn to when you have local residents whom don’t seem to understand the idea of a recycle bin and dump any old crap into it?

Who do you turn to when you see rodents coming from that same crap which has been left by the council refuse men, because they are told not to take it, as it would contaminate the recycle lot?

You would think the council, wouldn’t you?

Well, sadly not.

I tried that little thought and got both the refuse department saying that they would investigate within 2 weeks and send someone round to the residents who seem to not understand the concept of recycling. I also told environmental health as well about the rodents that had turned up because of the problem with the rubbish and they also informed me that within 2 weeks they would send someone round.

Funnily enough, nothing has happened, the rubbish is still pilling up, nothing has been actioned at all, and this is from a council that supposedly takes these issues seriously – Harrow

So if you live in the borough of Harrow, don’t expect your council to do anything for all the council tax money it takes off you. It seems that with the change in colour of the council from Red to Blue – Labour to Conservatives, we have on our hands a bunch of people more incompetent than the last bunch. Something I thought highly impossible, but happening way too much.

Do I hope anything will get done, fat chance!! Do I think complaining to the local councillors will fix it – again fat chance.

As long as it doesn’t happen on their doorstep, they are not bothered. Harrow has a big issue of litter and local policy regarding refuse is making it all the worse. If you want to see Harrow at it worse, visit the main centre in the evening and see the amount of litter on the street. Tell me that isn’t encouraging the rodents out……

OU D317

Well the last TMA came back, and I got a score of 72. Whilst that might sound fantastic, it is a little lower than I had hoped for, though it won’t affect my overall score too much, as my TMAs have been in the 70s and 80s all year long.

Now is the exam on the 19th, and I am dreading it. I have always hated exams, they are not something to enjoy, and I find them the most difficult part of any course, especially when you have four books to remember, and need to remember a massive amount of names and dates as well, otherwise they won’t credit you with knowing the course. This is of course frustrating for me, especially with the memory like a fish.

Try as I might, I am getting no further in managing to keep the information in my head. If there was a way to allow me to access it easily and recall it easily as well, I would be fine, more than fine, because I can take the information, work with it easy enough, just recall when I don’t have the books to hand…

Oh well, roll on the 19th and I will be so glad to have a break, before doing it all again in 2007 for what is hopefully the last year of my BSc Psychology degree with the OU, and will earn a well earned break for a little bit, before deciding what to do next.

Anyone who is about to sit the exam for D317, all the best for the 19th.

Local councillors’ weblog.

I found in the past week a weblog done by the local councillors where I live.


At first I thought good, they are trying to be up to date, have easy access and allow people to have their say.

Well, lo and behold that I think is the opposite of what is happening, it is more just for them to make announcements and if people want to comment, well they can take a run and jump.

I made comments particularly to do with the state of the bins in our streets, which to cut a long story short, there are some residents in our street who simply aren’t recycling as they should and the council is then refusing to collect their bins. The council in their wisdom, expect these people to call up and ask why the rubbish hasn’t been collected. Yep, like that is going to happen, not with this lot, which is why we now have an environmental health issue, with rodents running around, all because of refuse which isn’t collected and never will be, because these residents simply aren’t bothered and happy to litter.

Surprisingly the comment never made it to the site, and I can’t imagine why. Something tells me that if anyone makes a comment it never makes it to their blog, which does kind of go against the idea of a blog which allows people to make comments.

Whilst I am on the subject of local councillors in my borough. I had reason to send an email to them to complain with regards to an advert in the local magazine.

Subject: re Harrow Greener Scheme in Harrow Magazine

Hi there,

I live in your local ward and like so many in the whole of Harrow get the Harrow magazine. I am wondering if you would be able to assist me. In the latest Harrow magazine, there is an advert for the greener scheme and on page 11 it says that we can have installed in our residential property solar hot water systems and mini wind turbine for a total cost of £500.

With that being such a good idea, I rang the number on the ad – 0800 838 650 and got my pack. In the pack, the information is very different. It says that it is £500 for each type of technology. So that means it is £1000, not the £500 stated. This means that the advert is wrong and is misleading many many residents. I am in no position to consider £1000 and I think many will be in the same position, especially after reading it was £500 for all the technology. It is also not clear whether it is £400 per tech from the low carbon buildings programme, or just £400 overall. This is simply very poorly written and without clarity.

Clearly this is misleading and basically the advert is a lie, which is quite bad for Harrow council to be putting out.

I hope you will be able to resolve this situation and inform me that the advert was correct and that what was received by the energy saving trust is wrong.

I look forward to hearing from you soon

I thought I made good points and was fair and honest about the situation. The response I got back was a little bit of a let down.

We’ve followed up and it was indeed a slightly misleading advertisement. We have updated the wording before publishing it elsewhere and also made sure that people calling up apologise for the lack of clarity in the advertisement.

You may be pleased to know that we have had a very high take-up rate from people calling the number despite the misleading advertisement.

Thanks again for pointing it out.

How they consider a little misleading being double the price quoted and being £500 for each type as opposed to all techs as in the advert I am not sure. Something tells me that our lovely local council which was Labour, who screwed up royally, have been followed by a bunch of people, who are going to screw even more. I wonder why people get turned off by politicians whatever their party background