scribbles tagged ‘in my day’

Leicester Forest East

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013 | tags: , ,  |

Leicester Forrest EastI remember being taken to Leicester Forest East service station as a child. It was a big event, my parents paid for the silver service restaurant meal for the whole family. We sat over the M1 watching the traffic roar passed underneath while being treated to a quality meal.

The M1 was the first British motorway, my parents remember before the UK Motorway system was built. I can’t find a reference to it, but I think this was the first of the modern motorway service stations.

It’s gradually become like all the other service stations, lacking the stunning uniqueness that it had when I was a kiddy.

As a post-graduate student at Loughborough University in the late 80’s we would drive out to Leicester Forest East after a night clubbing. When Loughborough closed, Leicester Forest East was open 24 hours serving burgers and coffee. A place to hang-out and watch the waifs and strays taking a break on their journeys. Fond memories. It’s scheduled to close in 2017 to make space for a wider motorway. The end of an era.

 

Leicester Forest East
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the blue flash of colonel panic

Sunday, January 13th, 2013 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

Blue Screen of DeathThe Blue flash of colonel panic is not a military award, one of the X-men,  X-women, a Transformer, or other superhero.

Windows 7 scary classic!

The file dump from Windows 7 “Blue Screen Of Death (BSOD)” happens so quickly that we  rush to capture an digital image for posterity because maybe there will be a generation of computer users that have never see a blue screen. I hope so.

You can see the blue screen paparazzi in the reflection on an old Lenovo laptop.  The windows 7 message is already teasing the user with more text than they can possibly read in the time it’s displayed! Squinting at the photograph I saw the phrase “BIOS updates” – a phrase that produces a mild form of the gagging reflex.

Windows 8 is succinct, readable, understandable and less SCARY!

The message has changed for Windows 8, it looks like a more graceful failure message because it has larger, more readable, and understandable text. It looks like they’ve actually written it for the normal people that will see it rather than for the developers. They no longer mention “Caching and shadowing”, “removing or disabling components” or the gaggable “Bios updates”.  I wonder whether it’s still a ‘Blue Flash’. Excellent user experience enhancements.

 

the blue flash of colonel panic
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swee’ tea

Friday, November 23rd, 2012 | tags: , ,  |

Teapots, glitterball, white sheets & thatchwendy: in the 70’s I used to take 2 teaspoons of sugar in my tea

4 people under 40: *WINCE and scowl*

wendy: actually my whole family used to drink tea with at least one teaspoon of sugar in it

4 people under 40: *chorus of: YUCK with liberal nosewrinkles*

wendy: come to think of it, everyone I knew drank tea with at least one suger in it

4 people under 40: *leave the room shaking their heads and tutting*

Times have changed…

swee’ tea
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loosing the heart

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012 | tags: , , ,  |

Dad was 15yrs when he went to the 1948 London Olympics. A train to blitz damaged london, walk up to Wembley stadium and buy a ticket on the door. The Games were a sign of hope of recovery. We didn’t think London would be able to host them. We had humility and hope.

Dad’s a spritely 80yr old. He walks the 4 miles to the local Post Office to pick up his pension. He’s webmaster for 3 websites, one for:

  • his village.
  • a group of retired engineering professionals.
  • an engineering historical society.

Dad’s built computers and can program in many languages.  He’s no technical pansey, he likes to try things out. Dad’s always insisted that all his children have to be Engineers.  Engineering skills are fundamental survival skills and they bring joy – solving problems elegantly, beautifully. Obviously I’m biased, but I agree with dad.

Olympics celebration of capitalismDad wont be going to the London 2012 Olympics. Not because

  • he’s old
  • London is difficult to get to
  • he’s lost interest in sport

Dad’s not going because of the ‘Hoohah’ around the sale of the tickets and the whole organisation of the affair.  In their current form the Olympic games have  lost their beauty of celebrating athletic prowism. This beauty may still be there but sight of it is lost amongst all the other dross it’s dressed in.

Dad did start to try and buy tickets but was too annoyed by the lack of common sense in the process the ticket sales people had put in place. It lacked the wisdom of simple engineering. I too gave up in the process. One thing shines through for me

I love my dad

And like him I’m disappointed in how the London version of the Olympics have evolved since 1948

loosing the heart
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S is for Scutage

Friday, August 19th, 2011 | tags: , , , ,  |

Berkshire Records Office Receptionist (BROR):What are you looking for?

Wendy: Um….history… …nothing in particular… …just browsing….  …um…….what have you got that’s good?

BROR: We’ve got lots of maps, even before the Ordnance Survey started

Wendy: Oh! that sounds good, I like maps, I’ll look at the maps

Large filing cabinates skirt the windows of the records office. Microfiche’s mount rows of dustless, grey, formica tables against the windowless walls. A large table holds the map-drawers down in the middle of the room. Can you tell I was getting a bit excited by it all?

At University in 1983 we had to book time using one of the 3 Microfiche machines – grubbied from thousands of sparingly washed students fingers.  Here there are sparkling rows of them, unused! My gleeful gawping was quickly interrupted

BRO librarian: what are you looking for?

Wendy: I’d like to just browse, your colleague suggested maps…   ….Reading’s Quaker history is interesting too…

The librarian looked disconcerted, I was getting disconcerted. He latched onto my Quaker suggestion and pointed me to the local records subject index filing cabinates. The drawer made a pleasing, heavy, swish sound as he opened it. He suggested looking under “Q” for Quakers or “S” for Society of friends. No hint of my ancient PhD on finding files in electronic filing systems had seeped into this librarians awareness. I smiled and resisted the urge to raise his awareness.

PAPER INDEX CARDS!

!!!!SQUWALLUP!!!!!

(The sound of my brain spasming within my cranium confines)

Index cards. Hand-typed in courier-font. Lined cards where the typing didn’t sit on the lines. Cards where one card is the index for multiple items – so it’s expensive to add new stuff in the right order. Thrilling!  The colour returned to my face with a big smile.   I didn’t need to find anything, this card system was enough to keep me happy for hours, days, possibly years if they don’t upgrade it. I wonder if they have any part time or volunteer jobs…..

The librarian noticed my smile and politely took his leave to help another lady, who was clutching a handful of cards.  I tucked into the “S“s – Settlement, Scutage, Sheriffs, Slavery, Suffragettes…

The Librarian returned about an hour later.  My hands still deep in the yellowing index cards

BRO librarian: are you doing ok?

Wendy: Oh yes! YES! I’ve found out lots of lovely stuff. I’d never heard of Scutage, Quietus or Lugg before now!

He beamed a lovely smile and grew quietly animated as he showed me how to use the index card reference numbers to track down the physical location of an item in a herd of big folders. To practice I picked a card titled “Services, Personal” where in 1396 a married couple had sold themselves in return for the things they needed to live – a home and a place to keep their sheep

The afternoon slip-slided away on paper cards labelled with “S”

An adult version of Sesame Street “S”exploration

S is for Suffragettes

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snow melt

Monday, January 4th, 2010 | tags: , , , ,  |

The snow is disappearing to the sound of modern English’s optimistic little ditty.   This  song came to my attention on a compilation  audio tape cassette that Bambi used as part of his courting ritual.  

Modern English sang I melt with you

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cumulative evidence

Saturday, November 14th, 2009 | tags: , , , ,  |

I have old lady

I wonder what comes  next…

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sizism of the shoulder sort

Thursday, November 12th, 2009 | tags: , , ,  |

In  the 80’s  I used to  cut the shoulderpads out from new clothes.   This fashion-subversive act enabled  me  to avoid looking like a cast extra from  Dynasty, Falconcrest, Dallas, or an aspiring  USA football team member.    

Apparantly the shoulder-pad  look is returning.   There are rumours that The John Lewis Partnership (JLP) haberdashery department has recently sold-out of shoulder pads.    

I didn’t purchase them.

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phone sanitizers

Monday, October 26th, 2009 | tags: , , ,  |

In my day,   before personal cell phones,   there would be one phone in any household, if you were Lucky.   All incoming calls came through this one, shared, phone.    In our house the parents answered the phone until, as teenagers, our friends  started to call us (rather than their parents calling our parents).  

Shared phone

Skillfullly avoiding parental or sibling interview of people calling-in  was tricky.   It is a skill today’s youngsters have not had to learn.       The role of  phone sanitizers has also been reduced by the relative lack of phone sharing.   I can’t remember the last time I called a number then asked ‘Is [name] there?

Department S sang Is Vic there?

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the BBC are sorry

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009 | tags: , , ,  |

BBC are sorryDue to temporary failure of satelite connections the BBC announced that they were sorry for the interuption in our reception of thier programming.

In my day the BBC used a collection of strangely engaging short media clips to entertain viewers during program interruption,   called ‘interludes’, accompanied by classical music.   These media clips included watching a potter potting,   a spinner spinning (wool,   not exercise) and the slightly more cute kitten-playing:

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‘in my day’ threshold

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009 | tags: , ,  |

This week I passed a threshold.   The ‘in my day’ threshold.   In my day…

  • Phones were connected by cables to walls in the hallways of homes or in red-boxes on the street.
  • Televisions had a dial with 4 positions on it,   one for each of the known channels and one spare channel

And much much more or less

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snow stopped school

Thursday, February 5th, 2009 | tags: , , , , ,  |

In December 1981 most of the 1000 or so pupils turned up at my school during the snowy week,   only a few teachers managed to get to school.  

Dec1981 school closed due to snow

SLACKERS!      

The story was very similar to the current snow-stopped-school.     Except that the current snow brings the country to a standstill crisis because parents are having to stay at home to look after their kids,   in 1981 the kids stayed at the closed school and thrashed the proverbial ski-pants of each other.

In 1981 the few, local,  teachers who turned-up organised mass snowball fights between academic years.   In this photo the 3rd year students on the right hand side are advancing on the 2nd year students who are bravely running away to the left.  

RUNAWAY!  

The third year won thier foray.   I was in the 6th form.   The 5th year thoroughly squished snow down our necks, up our not insubstantial noses  and in our pants,   jolly good fun it was too.   Hot scrumpy all round,   Hoorah!

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Jiggling and Jilted

Monday, February 2nd, 2009 | tags: , , , ,  |

In 1978 I was witnessing the dramatic emotional rollercoasters and soap operas stories of my friends while they discovered ‘going out’ with each other. Fascinating. Tearful toilet consultations, betrayals in the school playground, ambushing at the school gates, but worst of all for me – underwear became important. One girlfriend took me aside to provide worldly advice on behalf of my concerned girlfriends. The advice was:

Wendy, you really should wear a bra, they look a disaster

At home I asked mum ˜can I have a bra?, ˜yes dear, if you want. Gosh that was easy. We went to the local M&S   where they measured the relevant pasts of my body and I tried on several   ˜training” bras. Training because evidently I needed to practice bra wearing skills. Even the smallest training bra was less that half empty on me. It seemed silly, mum and I persisted in this pubescently significant purchase, neither of us overtly questioning the need. I wore the elasticated mini-monstrosity to school. At school the straps were twanged by all sundry as we moved between classes. I didn’t wear it again. Disaster was a less painful experience than strap-twang-burns Ever since then I have regularly failed carefully provided training-to-be-female exercises.

Jilted John sang Jilted John the side was going steady (with Susan)

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playing and LP

Thursday, January 29th, 2009 | tags: , ,  |

The small ceremony of playing a vinyl Long Playing (LP) record has been temporarily lost from the Wendy House. Below are the Dr. Wendy recommended steps taken to play a vinyl LP*:

  1. select the record, review the cover-art and song listing for each side.  
  2. select a side to play based on personal taste or consultation with people in the room
  3. Tip the album cover slightly with one hand to slide the LP from the cover into the other hand
  4. Place the cover on a surface near the record deck
  5. Slide the record from its protective sleeve taking particular care not to touch the grooves
  6. Place the sleeve on top of the record cover
  7. hold the LP up to the light and check there are no large visible scratches that might interfere with the quality of your listening experience
  8. Place the LP on the turn-table with the side to be played facing the ceiling, the hole in the centre of the vinyl over the peg in the centre of the turntable
  9. select the turntable speed by turning the switch to the slowest speed, 3rd position, 33rpm, the switch should make a pleasing clunking noise with any position change
  10. Postion your body so that you have a good view of the position of the expensive diamond needle above the outside grooves of the record
  11. Lift the record-player arm and move it towards the record edge it where it can gently drop onto the outside rim or the record, or between tracks if not playing the whole side
  12. Pick-up the LP, album, cover and sleeve to review and admire their art work and content
  13. Start bouncing around, waving your arms and singing
  14. Laugh as any nearby cats run for cover

There is a risk that I may purchase a turntable this year in order to recapture this meditatively pleasurable ceremony wth my small collection of 200 or so pre-1986, rarely played, vinyls.

* Singles and 78’s both have subtle yet significant variations on the above ceremony.

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