Monday, 20 July 2009

Who will buy my luvverly useless mobile?

I saw this on a noticeboard the other day and was immediately suspicious when I recalled the advice given to me by 3 (ie if your phone does not work, why not sell the rest of your contract to a friend or relation?). I can imagine this desperate 3 mobile owner will be rapidly disowned by all, in addition to evidently having been dis-phoned by 3! Distressingly I realised I do not possess one single friend or relation I hate enough to sell my contract to and the only selling points I can think of to tempt anyone else to invest in a phone that cuts out at every opportunity if it rings at all is 'reduces mobile bills - and brain tumours'
Amusingly the uselessness of 3 coverage even cropped up as a comedy topic on the Alan Carr show the other day! Talking of which do please sign my online petition No coverage? No contract! against mobile phone companies committing this superhighway robbery of making customers pay for their entire contract length despite getting no signal! And outrageously this practice is currently entirely legal. I've also been lobbying BBC's Watchdog into an anti mobile-phone company abuse campaign too. What other company is allowed to charge for a service they cannot provide, after all?

Other news: My local radio station is currently running a series of 'Happy Scrappy!' ads on how if your car is over 10 years old and you have owned it for over a year, you can trade it in for scrap against a £3k discount on a new car. How green, I thought, appalled, giving my little 11 year old racing red Felicia a reassuring tap. Googling the scheme, apparently it is all about boosting the flaccid car industry rather than the Government honouring its own hollow green rhetoric, but whose car industry, since the vast majority of cars are no longer British-made?

Oh, and I have a new job, hence have been away from the blogosphere for a while, learning the ropes. Things going ok so far and my new colleagues seem nice. It is certainly a relief to have got something to pay the bills in the middle of a recession anyway (albeit after a great deal of trying). It's still in the educational sector, but since this blog is not meant to be about work...

Creative things have kind of been on the back burner a bit lately anyway, not to mention blogging, although I did enjoy a most congenial evening with my fellow Oxford writers at Mostly Books where we led a round table discussion on how we achieved our short story book success and options for new authors generally, to a packed house. Furthermore we seemed to have inspired the birth of a new writer's group in Abingdon, which is nice! Mark was the sort of friendly, enthusiastic, switched-on independent bookshop owner who gladdens the heart and really ought to be cloned. He had thought of everything, not least choosing suitably shaped premises in which to host events in the first place. Anyone who despairs of the future of independent bookselling ought to go and see what he is trying to achieve at his fine establishment, not to mention all his 'outreach work' organising author and reader events at festivals and schools as well as in his shop.

On a visit to Peterborough at the weekend, I was surprised at how seriously they seem to be taking the swine flu outbreak

And how blatantly they celebrate their medieaval scandals...

En route to Peterborough we witnessed a smouldering burned out lorry and several burned out mangled lumps of metal which only hours before had presumably been cars on the closed opposite lane of the A14 attended by a plethora of emergency vehicles. Not a sausage on the news that night though, or to be found on the internet. Has anyone else noticed this disturbing trend of unreported major happenings? A couple of years ago my former line manager witnessed a young boy run out to be killed by a car on the ringroad from the bus he was travelling in, but it too never reached the news that night or the newspapers next day.

And on that cheerful note, I look forward to catching up with you all in the next few days. It seems a long time.


Steve said...

Have missed you, Laura - so nice to see you back. And do pleased to hear about the job - good for you! Big congratulations.

Nota Bene said...

Am going to have a big glass of wine to celebrate your new job, your new post and independent book sellers

The Sagittarian said...

Congrats on rejoining the rat race!
I reckon the media have a lot to answer for, it is actually THEM who decide what ther est of us get to find out, a type of media sensorship really and I am profundly irriated by that fact! However, love those signs on the buidlings.

Wisewebwoman said...

Congrats on the job, Laura, bully for you.
I agree on the media, where I lived in Toronto there was an old fashioned gun fight broke out (seriously) between 2 cars. All the bullets hit the edge of the sidewalks on either side. We all called the news.
It was never reported on the media.

Stephen said...

It's good to have you back, Laura, and I think you can and should post about your job, even if it's just enough to sate curiosity.

Donn said...

I have no qualms about being forced to use a Males Only entrance as long as the Ladies are compliant, nekkid, and burning their clothes at the other door.

I am so relieved that you are gainfully employed. Can you imagine how miserable we would all be if the media reported ALL of the bad news :(

word veri was sedness!

chris sivewright said...

How does one join the Oxford Writers Co-Operative?

teeni said...

Oh, congratulations on the job! I'm so glad it is still in the education industry and hope it will prove to be a good fit for you! Over here in the states we have had our share of the ridiculously long mobile phone contracts that are difficult to get out of. It really should be illegal for someone to keep you in a contract that long and I don't know of any other service or utility that does that (although I suspect cable television is next).
I don't know what is going on in the media but it seems the items must fit their idea of the circus before they will include the stories. It's really not "news" at all anymore. **sigh**

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Thank you so much Steve - it is lovely to be back, much though keeping up with my and other people's blogs is going to be a challenge for a few more weeks I fear.

Nota Bene - I thank you!

Cheers Sagittarian - yes there is a mixture of hysteria about swine flu and not taking it seriously enough. My new employer have upped their cleaning schedule to include daily disinfection of all door handles, washroom taps etc, which seems eminently sensible. And we have all been given an anti-bacterial handcream to keep at our desk. No one wearing masks yet though!

Thanks WWW - I have lost quite a bit re job transition, but it is a relief nevertheless.

Sorry Stephen, not divulging any further. Plus as I previously mentioned this was never intended to be a blog about day jobs.

Donn - Thank you. I think. Good luck with your nekkid swine flu party!

Chris - regrettably the Oxford Writer's Group itself is currently full, but is happy to give advice to writers on how to set up their own semi-professional writer's groups.

Teeni, thanks for the luck. I hope in due course it will work out too. Sorry to hear you have equally terrible mobile contracts in the US. I hope there are similar campaigns to outlaw in your neck of the woods.

chris sivewright said...

Oh, OK - thanks.

I'll form a group then...hmmm 'Summertown Scribblers'?

Anyone interested, please email me at

Thanks again