A series of unfortunate events

Having left for Holborn  underground station at 7pm, like every other evening, I headed happily for the Piccadilly line feeling pretty chuffed with myself that I had avoided the disruption on the overground line I would normally take. Got to Finsbury Park and switched to the Victoria Line only to discover that there was a power failure on the line that meant all trains were suspended. The earlier smugness was starting to wane. Heading back to the Piccadilly Line, I journeyed on to Turnpike Lane in the hope of getting a bus instead.

Exiting Turnpike Lane into an unpleasant squall of rain. Bent double against the wind and precipitation I resolutely strode to the nearest bus stop. Jumping on a 123 that had arrived in short order, I felt like things were back on track. That was short lived, as we arrived a stop short of Tottenham Hale, the 123 broke down. Off the bus and into the wet again. Another brief wait an I am on a 230 to Blackhorse Road for a bus closer to home. Outside Blackhorse Road and a 15 minute minute drenching later, my bus finally arrives.

I know what this must sound like, the ramblings of a disgruntled commuter, that isn’t the point of this post. The point is what happened next. I head for the back of the bus as it has the most leg room and a fellow passenger, also at the back, leaned over and made an offhand remark about the weather. It is at this point that related the tale of my journey woes. He kindly sympathises suggesting that the best solution is a drink when I get home. As proper courtesy dictates, I ask him where he has come from.

He told me that he was returning from an outpatients visit to the hospital where he was being monitored after having been in a coma for nine and half months. He had been on a night out only to have his drink spiked by a friend.

We spoke for another ten minutes or so about how his next real drink would probably kill him and because of this he wouldn’t be able to go to his sisters wedding. The bus reached his stop, shaking hands we parted with the standard ‘look after yourself’.

Honestly, I hope he does, I genuinely do because this was an imperfect man who had been treated badly by someone he should have been able to trust. This also made me understand better than ever before how lucky I am. In general how luck we all are and that the old adage is a unerring truth. There are people in the world worse off than you.

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Is Christmas everything it cracks up to be

It has happened, the lights are off, the tinsel will be coming down and the cards will be stacked to go for recycling. The tree will be put out in the front garden for collection and all that will be left are the pine needles on our wooden floor, until they are swept up. In a nutshell, that’s Christmas over and done with for another year. I  love Christmas, as there always seems to be a different mood at home and at work, compared to the rest of the year. People are just more apt to show a little more courtesy. If only it could be Christmas everyday, that’s sounds like it would be a good theme for a song!

However, there is always what I consider the darker side of Christmas and in particular how it relates to gift giving. My wife and I have always kept, within reason, to the four gift rule with our daughter. For those that are unfamiliar with the four gift rule, it is fairly simple:

1. Something they want
2. Something they need
3. Something to wear
4. Something to read

It has worked for us, we have a happy well rounded child that understands the value of money and an appreciation for the little things in life. In contrast, a work colleague lavished his two and a half year old son with the following:

  • A Playstation 4
  • An XBox One
  • A Samsung Gear VR

When asked why, it was simply because his son wanted these things, how does a not quite three year old know what they want apart from what they are exposed to through the barrage of adverts during the festive period. This facile and somewhat shallow view of Christmas was compounded when I came across the following article:

http://www.businessinsider.com/hatchimals-will-not-hatch-parents-not-pleased-holiday-toy-2016-12

I think there is an important lesson to be learned here, remember what matters in life and in my opinion it’s not buying your child the next fad. Oh, and if any reader is wondering about this, I have no religious interest in Christmas.

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Cashback or Cashdonate?

Double dip what double dip, no it’s not what you do with a nacho when you want extra salsa, instead it’s a phrase that we are continually hearing in the news about the state of the current economy. So the question is this, when faced with the opportunity of free cash,  what should we do with it?

We have all heard of Quidco and Greasypalm, sites that offer consumers the ability to make a bit of extra cash just by shopping online. There is no difference in the shopping experience, the quality of the product or the final price. The only deviation is a brief detour via these sites links to track the purchase.

We now have a moral dilemma, do we go to Quidco and line our own pockets or do we seek a more socially beneficial alternative. QuickDonate is a site that has been in development for two years and started as an accidental idea as part of internal fundraising at a firm in Holborn. The purpose of the site is simple, shop and raise money for Charity. The site is plain and simple, and doesn’t have that many Charities or shops at the moment. However, more and more are being added every day.

Charities can get themselves added just by dropping an email to social@quickdonate.co.uk or by following them on Twitter. Offers, vouchers and other related information can be found at the QuickDonate Blog.

Either way, there is a recession and Charities have never public support more than they do now as donations are diminishing daily. So look down the back of sofas, in little piggies and in the pockets of old winter coats for any forgotten change that can be spared.

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3D Cinema, Why?

I ventured out to the cinema today to see Dredd 3D, my very first viewing of a 3D film. I won’t waste time on the palpating blood vessel in my forehead when I was told the price of a 3D ticket, that has been written about extensively by cinema goers far more articulate and well versed in the subject than myself.

In case any reader is wondering why I have taken so long to dip my toe in the lukewarm bathwater of 3D, it’s quite simple, I have an astigmatism in my left eye that has always led me to believe the lack of binocular vision would reduce my enjoyment and appreciation of the format.

Sadly, it was neither the price nor the reduction of visual capability that spoiled my enjoyment of the film. In fact it was something far simpler. After we had been handed the glasses and sat to watch the film, I was unable to put them on properly. Why? Simple, I wear spectacles and the current 3D glasses do not fit over them. Thankfully, my daughter had the foresight to bring with her a couple of pairs that she had used months ago. They were larger and fit comfortably over my own.

This irritating obstacle overcome, I was able to sit and enjoy the film. Constantly flicking back and forth between 3D glasses and normal vision for the first 5 minutes to confirm that I wasn’t impeded.

Whilst Dredd 3D was a real thrill ride with Karl Urban a great choice for the 2000AD legendary lawman, I was left a little underwhelmed by the format. There didn’t seem to me to offer anything that a HD screen would not. I could not see anything that made me duck out of the way as though it were jumping from the screen.

In summary, I will stick to the 2D format, thanks all the same.

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