Thursday, 20 August 2009

Yesterday's Todays (or "Why I hate Vodafone Mail")

Being a little bit of a gadgeteer I have a Nokia phone on a Vodafone that gives me 'unlimited' (whatever that means nowadays) mobile internet, amongst other things. One of my main uses for it is uploading pictures to various locations so I can email photos home or to Twitpic for example.

There's been a problem with this tho'. A few times I've emailed things and they've gone from the Outbox on my phone but then disappeared faster than you can say "dodgy canoeist" but, like a dodgy canoeist you know they must be somewhere... just not in my Inbox at home. I'd given up any hope of ever seeing them again until last Monday, 17th of August, when an email dropped into my Inbox that I'd sent on Monday 20th July, yes.... nearly a month ago. How bad does their email system have to be for it to take a month to get an email to me!?!?!?

I'll tell you how bad.

This morning, 20th August for those keeping track, I received an email that I'd sent myself on Friday 17th of July, OVER a month ago. In the generation of instant communication that's several lifetimes... even my fingernails grow at a rate faster than that email must have moved!!! I weep at the thought of insightful and fascinating photos and posts that you've been denied because of their tinpot mail system (OK, so maybe I'm exaggerating there but I'm still cross). In my attempt to work out where my missing email had been I checked the message headers of the emails and they had just been sat on one of their email servers for some reason, probably related to inefficiency and incompetence I'm guessing.

To be fair I still think they're better than O2 for a variety of reasons I won't delve too deeply into other than to say that when I went for a job interview down at the 02 office in Slough opposite the station many years ago they admitted somewhat shame-facedly that the strongest mobile signal you could get in the building was Vodafone.

I've changed my settings now and don't use Vodafone Mail. May it rot in peace.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Kingfishing for compliments?

On the way home from work last night I saw that Kingfish was having a bit of a makeover with a new paint job in progress. It was closed at the time I went past and in my hurry to get home I didn't notice anything to say how long it's going to be closed for but if it's just a paint job I'm guessing it won't be long.

Were any of you at Chessington yesterday? Mrs Brinkster had toyed with the idea of taking the Clan to our friendly, neighbourhood theme park but then went to Guildford Spectrum instead, which turned out to be a good move as the theme park was forced to close for the second time in three days because of a power cut affecting the area. Initially the headlines were about people stuck on the thrill rides but actually the worst affected were those on the placid Skytrain ride who were there for several hours as there's no easy way to get them down, unlike most of the thrill rides. The ever-predictable Daily Mail comes up with the stirring headline, "Terrified children left dangling near lion enclosure for two hours after power is cut to rides at Chessington World of Adventures" but it actually precedes a fairly unexciting description of the day's events. It does note that Police were called to calm angry park-goers and I read somewhere else that a Chessington spokesperson had said that everyone present would receive a free ticket for a return visit, which is the least they could do, literally. It doesn't compensate people who took a day off work to go or paid to stay in the hotel but then I wasn't there so I don't know what really happened so I'll leave the final word to a comment on the Daily Mail's article which seems to give a realistic view:

"Seven of us travelled to Chessington today [from Kent] only to be faced with the power cut 45mins into our time there. The above report makes you think there was uncontolable panic at the park - this was simply not the case. We carried on going around the park for two hours and whilst, yes we saw people stuck on the rides, there was no screaming or hesterics. The staff, whilst maybe not on the ball as much as they should be, where doing the best they could. People stuck on rides were given drinks and crisps. They should have however used the tanoy system to tell people what was happening. Upon leaving, we were given different info from different staff regarding complimentary tickets or refunds. We plan to return over the next few weeks and hope for good weather and more importantly, power!"

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Perseid meteor shower tonight - UPDATED

Tonight should be the peak of the Perseid meteor showers so if you, or any children you may or may not have spawned, have never seen a shooting star then tonight's your night.

Those members of the Brinkster clan who can stay awake will be camped out in hope of clear skies although the unpromising London light pollution is invariably a drawback on occasions such as this. Last year we spent a long weekend in Cornwall and late one night after others were in bed I lay out on the picnic table gazing at the multitude of stars that the clear Cornish skies were happy to reveal and although it took a while I was determined to stay out until I saw a shooting star and was rewarded by seeing a few of these distant travellers.

I'm no astronomy geek so I'll have to use the BBC article to remind myself where Perseus is but by my calculations the view from Brinkley Road might make it look like that meteors will be raining down upon the Hamptons, which might appear like some form of cosmic retribution...

BBC News - Perseid Meteor Advice

UPDATED: Twitter user BillPinnell has posted an amazing picture of last night's Perseids taken at 4.33am from his garden in Worcester Park. Looks like the show's worth staying up for!

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

"The past is a different country...."

"...They do things differently there" is a quote I've heard many times and with many attributed sources but it was brought to mind today when I stumbled across a gem in the film archives. No, not Youtube but British Pathe, the home of the newsreel.

If you don't know what a newsreel is then this might completely go over your head but I was excited to find that British Pathe have a newsreel online of the excavation of Nonsuch Palace back in 1959 and it seems a million miles away from Channel 4's Time Team with the 1950's version having well-scrubbed students assisting the fatherly archaeologists excavating the site.
If you were to go there today you'd find just an area of grass and weeds but the newsreel shows just how big the original site was and what an excellent building would still be standing if one of Charles II's mistresses hadn't had it demolished and sold off to pay her gambling debts.

Ah well.

British Pathe - Nonsuch Palace 1959

Monday, 10 August 2009

From the Embers

When Ember Travel shut up shop on Central Road and took its wares onto an unsuspecting internet there was a collective groan from all those who saw another empty property on Central Road but the good news is that More Than Lofts are opening up there, so whether you're after a loft room or one of their other assorted building services then you'll soon be able to discuss your requirements without having to go any further than Central Road.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Jam tomorrow?

If, like me, you commute into London by train then there's some good news and some bad news. The good news is that by the end of 2013 the platforms at Worcester Park will have been lengthened to accomodate 10-carriage trains, rather than the 8 we now get. I know this because Network Rail have published a fairly inpenetrable 192 page document (PDF) that tells me so, together with 191.5 pages of other things that I don't care about. For the nerds amongst you the trains will most likely be the Class 455 stock that are already in use rather than anything newer and flashier though I did get one of those nice news trains from Worcester Park recently when the guard apologised that they'd run out of the old ones that particular day. Fine by me.

Now for the bad news. Well actually there isn't any. Not in the document at least, but I can't imagine that building work on that scale will pass without any kind of disruption at all to the army of hardy commuting-folk. So what do we reckon? Do the work off-peak? In the evenings? Close the station for a month and give us buses instead?

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Changes afoot on Central Road?

The answer to that question is a simple "Yes" as the Opticians just above Brinkley Road gets a makeover and in the photo below the former shop of Model Road & Rail is having some work done with insulation being put on the walls. Whether this is by the landlord or by an incoming tenant I'm sure we'll find out shortly.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Sunset over Worcester Park

If the sun ever does set on Worcester Park then it can't look any better than it did last night. You can even see the mobile mast on top of the Green Lane Exchange to the right and for the pedantic the photo's entirely unretouched. Click on the pic for the full size.