Wednesday, 27 June 2012

You have to read this

I do recommend you read this blog - even if cancer has never touched you or your family or friends - because the odds are that at some time or other you're going to have to put your confidence and maybe your life in the hands of the pharmaceutical industry. 

I won't say any more - just take ten minutes to read this - and yes, right down to the bottom of the blog because that's where there's a particularly interesting piece of information which is going to surprise you greatly.  Junk Science Number 17: The randomised, double blind, placebo-controlled Clinical Trial

Monday, 18 June 2012

The unrelating passage of time

Time is definitely speeding up. Blink at 9.30 am and it's time for lunch. Do the same early afternoon and before you know it, you're washing up supper. I'm beginning to think that I've been caught up in some sort of time vortex where I'm spinning at a much faster rate than anyone else. Am I really doing a great deal in all those hours that flash by? I'm not at all sure.

We've just returned from another weekend away in Franc the Van. I love canvas, I love lying in bed at night hearing the rain thundering down on a tent. I love the smell of canvas (always canvas, it lasts 30 years - whereas polyester and all the other new fabrics perish after around 100 days in the sun). I love the smell of crushed grass too.  Despite all that I think now that I love Franc just as much. Although there's definitely a knack to moving stuff around when you want to the put the bed up and even though all his controls are very complex and not well explained in the manual, he's quite wonderful. I'm really looking forward to taking him to the Orkneys early next month.

And now the answer to the big question which I'm sure you'll all asking. How am I getting on singing through the hymn book? Well I have to admit that I've haven't been doing it for the past month - but today I set off again and have nearly finished the evening hymns. Just another 600 to go!

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Raised blood pressure

I attended an antenatal scan for the second time today. I accompanied our youngest daughter again on a visit to hospital for her checkup. Although I was there just to support her, I was acutely aware that as we sat in one of the waiting areas my heart was beating faster than normal. Just being in that same hospital environment, which became so familiar a year or so ago, had a noticeable effect on me. Luckily no-one on this occasion was interested in my blood pressure!

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Monday, 11 June 2012

What a lovely surprise

About four or maybe five years ago my Psion 3C died.  I actually had a second one and was able to download the backup onto that and carry on as before but the incident made me realise that I needed to move on. But of course nothing similar to a Psion now exists; the only solution was a smartphone. So I bought one, an android Motorola Dext on Pay As You Go.

I spent about three months trying to come to terms with the new technology. The thing was, I hadn't bought it to use as a phone but as a data repository. In fact, to this day I haven't made a call on it other than to top up. My early attempts to convert all my data files from the Psion set up were fruitless so in the end I had to key in all the info entry by entry. That alone took about three weeks. 

Now we have a wireless network in the house the Dext is always on, but set to "airplane" - in other words the G3, or G anything, is turned off. When we're away I turn on the 3G and usually consume a fair amount of money over a couple of days. The connection charge never goes over £2 in any 24 hours but the continual connection and disconnection with various networks deducts a sum - I think it's 35p - and it's surprising how quickly the pounds can drain away.

Last weekend I topped up with a customary £20 so that I could access traffic data on the journey and keep up to date with emails. Imagine my surprise when we returned and I checked the balance. £20.20! How did that happen?  To find out I actually read the latest of the texts from Orange. It turns out that they're giving me a free 500Mb of data every time I top up with £15.  And what's more it would appear that the charge for connections seems to have been waived.  This is one happy bunny!

P.S. This welcome news come hot on the heels of the trojan-ridden PC saga. The damage turned out to be so severe that a complete reformat was the only answer.  I didn't lose any data but I lost hours and hours having to redo all the settings and reinstalling software. That alone is a very good reason for being extremely careful not to contract anything nasty.