Tether, End of

A month or so ago I started feeling grotty and very quickly realised I probably had a fever. I saw a doctor immediately and he treated me.

The next two days were as expected but day three, when I normally expect to start feeling better, was the worst. Lethargy, fever, generally grotty. The following days were better.

However,  things have not really improved and yesterday I lost some hearing in my left ear. Today I got some more medicines since the ear infection follows on from my bronchitis and sore throat.

It really has been a bad month and a bad start to the year.



Michaela Finnegan

This is the tale of Michaela Finnegan who grew whiskers on her chin ne gan. Who would ever have thought that I would be writing yet another doggy obituary? After all, Stewart died after a car accident and all other dogs are either dead or just too lazy to get into any bother ... that's you Pongo and Slutty! Well, I was wrong. Here is a photo of the tiny Thai Ridgeback that Siri found for us as a replacement for Pongo: Pongo the lonely. So lonely she sent him back to be bone idle with Slutty. After a couple of weeks I noticed that the Ridgeback has some rather nitty whiskers on its chin so I started singing ... There was an old man Called Michael Finnegan He grew whiskers On his chin-ne-gan The wind came up and blew them in again Poor old Michael Finnegan, Begin Again He was meant to be an outside dog but she tried her hardest to get into the house at every possible opportunity. I stopped it. It made no difference,i t still tried. I was determined. It got in from time to time as if I weren't there! Then we all left home for a while: I came away to work and Siri took a trip to Bangkok to meet me as I was passing through. Finnegan went to stay for a while at the Lazy P idle dogs home. Things didn't work out: after a few days they found Finnegan with blood coming out of its ears and generally being in a bad way. They think one of the neighbouring dogs snapped at Finnegan and cracked its skull: chances are, that mutt was stealing Slutty and Pongo's food and Finnegan decided to join in. SNAP! Slutty and Pongo are both cowards and stealing their food is a breeze. Finnegan was far too young to sense any danger from anything so that was the end of that. Three months old maybe and now in a downward spiral that would leave her dead fairly quickly. I had plans for that dog to be an outdoor and family dog. Abi played with Finnegan and Finnegan teased Abi by biting her feet with its needle like teeth. We played together, I threw it out of the house. We fed it. It slept outside. the poor thing never even had the chance to wear a tee shirt or scarf in the middle of a Thai Winter. Sorry you had to go Finnegan but thanks for the entertainment while you were here! DW


Low Fares? Define Low

I don't like AA ... that's an airline! They try to convince us that everyone can fly now because they are so cheap.

Well, because their competitors do not fly to KL on Sunday from Bangkok I had to choose them. Kerching! Low fare? Not at all! I could actually pay less with the other airlines AND have a meal AND not scratch around worrying about the weight of my luggage AND choose any seat that's available: from previous experience,  they will give me a window seat, the worst possible option for me.

Then, due to misinformation from another carrier I found I had to change my flying time. SORRY,  it's less than 48 hours to take off so you can't change that flight. So, horror of horrors, I had to buy a new ticket. Low fare? Free meal? Guaranteed baggage allowance? No, no, no. I consider this second ticket outrageously expensive and feel sad that I have had to break my vow of refusing to fly with this airline. Until recently, I had not flown with them for 2 or 3 years. I hope this is my last trip with them for a very long time.


Appalling Behaviour on a Newspaper Forum

I have discussed many topics on newspaper forums over the years: The Independent had one then closed it; I subscribed to The Times for a few years and that was a good experience; now I am with The Guardian, new starter. I have paid membership dues to the Guardian because I feel I should but they say many people use their services but don’t pay. No judgement there, that’s how the Guardian manages things. I engaged in my first full blown discussion on the Guardian site last week when I told the assembled horde that Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth visuals and other parts of his message were wrong or inappropriate. I said that and I believe that: my argument is that his graphs were far too nice to warrant critical review and many of his other ramblings have been challenged: I said that knowing it to be true: youtube contains many videos in which Gore is caught out. Immediately, I was attacked rather forcefully and I have to say that I did call Gore a liar. I defended myself and as the debate wore on, I was called all sorts of names and accused of all sorts of calumny. Then someone said I was a climate change denier. They made that up because I didn’t even infer that let alone say it. Well, that was it: John Samuel claimed to be a weather expert of some kind and he really stuck to that line and in spite of proving no such words came out, he called me a liar many times. Good for him. I even came here to this blog and reminded myself of what I had said about Gore when I had seen his film. I told Samuel that I had blogged about Gore in 2007 and again in 2010 … three references altogether. Since he was being so unfriendy, I suggested he search for my blog to prove for himself the truth of my assertions. He couldn’t find it! Smart as he claimed to be, in spite of clues as to a particular phrase to put into google, it was beyond him. He found an Excel blog and pretended that was the blog I meant. I said no, so he called me a liar again. I then mentioned having read and reviewed State of Fear by Michael Crichton which I said contained many interesting ideas. Samuel replied to tell me how bad the book was and that no one liked or respected it. Climate change denier that I am. You’re getting the picture now: John Samuel who does not know the difference between you’re and your, tells the world that they should not read a book because he does not like it. The reality is that Crichton might have got some of the science wrong but he questioned things and I think that was a very healthy thing to do. As Samuel tried only assassinate my character, others joined in and of course, several of them pointed out their master’s degrees, how they have been peer reviewers for academic journals and what do I know? All the while, these people have assumed that Samuel has identified the truth: he said the same thing so often that the others believed he must be telling the truth. I have seen this before and it is impossible to challenge because everything is subject to gainsay. Samuel was obviously frustrated that I wouldn’t just give him the link to my blog posts so I was branded a liar again but I felt he’s so smart he can ruddy well find it. Moreover, he would clearly have merely said something innappropriate about what I had said so I let it ride. I am sharing this post with him now and even he will then find that I really did make those posts about Gore all of those years ago and that I am not a liar! As that discussion wound down Samuel revealed another two traits: he labelled many people as liars if he didn’t like what they said; and he was obsessed with having the last word. I played the last word game and he played along exactly true to type. If John Samuel is really a scientist I just wonder if his work is ever peer reviewed as he cannot take criticism. He must be very difficult to work with when someone like me turns up and refuses to bow down to him. A very immature bully in my opinion. I decided to write this post since it is a controlled way of sifting out that man’s own lies and exaggerations and at the same time sharing with others just how he behaves in debate. Samuel and others are free to comment here and I will post everything that's not just outright offensive! I made mistakes in my discussions and admitted them: I am not too proud to do that but I will not allow some tiny minded little man to bully me or anyone else into kow towing to him. DW


Put the Bloody Phone Down or it Will Kill you

On our way to replace the driving licence I lost and as we were crossing the road a woman on a motorbike came round the corner and was driving right at me and Abi. The stupid woman was reading something on her phone as she rounded the corner and had not seen us.

I was ready to fend her off but she looked up, saw us and avoided us. I said to her, Watch where you're going and put your phone down!

How stupid and how dangerous that woman is.


The Charge of the Light Brigade

As I was travelling across country by bus today I thought about Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem The Charge of the Light Brigade. I went and found it, read it and then created a voice file of a professional actor reading it out loud. The professional actor is me! Unfortunately I can't upload the voice file here ... I will find a way. The Charge of the Light Brigade Half a league half a league, Half a league onward, All in the valley of Death Rode the six hundred: 'Forward, the Light Brigade! Charge for the guns' he said: Into the valley of Death Rode the six hundred. 'Forward, the Light Brigade!' Was there a man dismay'd ? Not tho' the soldier knew Some one had blunder'd: Theirs not to make reply, Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do & die, Into the valley of Death Rode the six hundred. Cannon to right of them, Cannon to left of them, Cannon in front of them Volley'd and thunder'd; Storm'd at with shot and shell, Boldly they rode and well, Into the jaws of Death, Into the mouth of Hell Rode the six hundred. Flash'd all their sabres bare, Flash'd as they turn'd in air Sabring the gunners there, Charging an army while All the world wonder'd: Plunged in the battery-smoke Right thro' the line they broke; Cossack and Russian Reel'd from the sabre-stroke, Shatter'd and sunder'd. Then they rode back, but not Not the six hundred. Cannon to right of them, Cannon to left of them, Cannon behind them Volley'd and thunder'd; Storm'd at with shot and shell, While horse and hero fell, They that had fought so well Came thro' the jaws of Death, Back from the mouth of Hell, All that was left of them, Left of six hundred. When can their glory fade? O the wild charge they made! All the world wonder'd. Honour the charge they made! Honour the Light Brigade, Noble six hundred


This Week's Delegates

Here they are, the chosen few from my course in Ghana this week.

Good delegates, successful course: financial modelling.


Accra Ghana Spark Page

Just take a look at this very simple Spark Page I have just created.

<a class="asp-embed-link" href="https://spark.adobe.com/page/rdgNxpzgPBQ5R/"><img src="https://spark.adobe.com/page/rdgNxpzgPBQ5R/embed.jpg?buster=0" alt="Accra Ghana" style="width:100%" border="0" />Duncan's Accra Spark Page</a>

I hope you like it.



Boeing 787 ... 3 out of 10

I don't normally talk about aeroplanes and flying but sometimes ... You have probably heard of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and how marvellous it is. I have just flown on it for the umpteenth time and again I come away wracked! The seats are bone hard and the economy cabin is cramped: they cram us in. For anyone in the first row in any cabin in economy, they have put the TV remote at hip level within the seat AND it's non removable. That means you need to be a contortionist to use it and if you are even slightly on the large side you will not be able to see it let alone use it. I firmly believe that this aeroplane was designed and built by people who never fly in it or never fly economy in it. In my opinion, it's an insult although I know the airlines love it because it runs cheaply compared to other planes. Well, here you are Boeing: 3 out of 10. DW


In the Current Climate

As I was about to get to the passport control desk at DXB, a man in the queue behind me pointed out to one of the staff that there was an unattended bag in the middle of the floor. There was!

The staff member suggested that someone had probably left the bag there as he went round and round the queue system to save having to carry it.

The man responded with. I realise that but no one should leave their bag like that in the current climate.

The man was absolutely right but I loved his use of the phrase, in the current climate!




Fascinating Story

Read this story if you can. Very interesting in every way!

The Iraqi who saved Norway from oil - http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/99680a04-92a0-11de-b63b-00144feabdc0.html


Champion Burnley FC

Well done Burnley FC,  promoted to the Premier League for next season. A 23 game unbeaten game run in too.

Let's hear it for the team and for the manager Sean Dyche.

Of course, Burnley has never been a fashionable team so the response of the media to their achievement has been grossly understated.


How to Erect a Pillar Perfectly

They have erected the support pillars for our new venture and they are perfectly vertical.  To get them vertical they used two pieces of string, a plumb line and two bits of wood to adjust them if necessary.

Fantastic skills.


The Start of a new Project

Here is the ceremony to celebrate the start of a new building and a new venture.  The ceremony went well and I hope the project does too.


And She's Off!

Daughter Abi will be 10 months old tomorrow and already she is standing for a short time without holding on. She's also taking steps or trying to.

Good progress



When the TV Doesn't Work

I flew from Bangkok to Dubai last night and even though I have lost my gold status with them, I chose to fly with Emirates. As long as I can I suppose I would always choose to fly with Emirates. I can't use their lounges across the world now and I don't get welcomed onto the plane with a special greeting any more. When something goes wrong on an Emirates flight, I take it personally: I always have and I don't know why. With some service providers, if something goes wrong, I think how typical it is or that I am glad I don't use THEM all of the time. Yesterday, I settled into my seat, said hello to the couple next to me as their 13 month old daughter made herself known to everyone! I started to see what ICE had to offer. I made a few mental notes of what I might watch. Then it turned from ICE to ICE Lite ... the service you get on ICE on a rickety old crate flying to somewhere not so glamorous. Half a dozen films, almost no music, four or five TV programmes and virtually no radio programmes. That is a far cry from the thousands of normal choices. Instead of the ICE home screen I had ICE Lite with Alvin and the Chipmunks as my home screen. I looked around and it seemed to be just my TV that had gone wrong. I asked one of the cabin crew to help me to sort it out. She seemed to understand the problem, took a note of my seat number and went away. The TV stayed with Alvin. I had some things to watch on my iPad so I watched them. Then I saw another cabin crew member and asked him for his help: 2.5 hours to go to Dubai. He looked at the screen and made a call for them to do a full reset of my screen. 10 minutes, he said, is what it would take. I waited 10 minutes as I was wondering if I had time to watch my film of choice. 10 minutes came and went and the screen went black as the handset stayed ICE Lite. I decided to do some work, reading my papers for the coming week then I watched something on my phone this time and with 90 minutes to go I saw on the handset that ICE had come back. I thought at least I could listen to some of my favourite UK Number One Hits. So I opened the screen and started browsing. I found the first of the songs I wanted. Click! Waiting ... waiting ... waiting ... I chose a different song. Click! Waiting ... waiting ... waiting. I left that idea and tried to start a film and as I found the new James Bond, Spectre, Alvin and the Chipmunks came back with their ICE Lite. As far as I could tell this was only my problem. That's why I take these things personally: only me me me! So, a relatively long flight without the possibility of entertainment of any kind is a very old concept isn't it? On other airlines I have been given a DVD player to offset the loss of the TV. In this case, one cabin crew member did something and the other one MIGHT not have: what neither of them did was follow up on my problem. They both left me and didn't return. So, I felt let down by my number one choice of airline. DW