Big Brother B.B.C.



I’m beginning to think the first two initals of BBC stand for Big Brother.

Today I wanted to catch up on an episode of “The Archers” that I’d missed. Previously you could simply click on the schedule for a  programme and listen again. Not any more. You now have to be registered and and each time you want to use the catch up facility you have to sign in with an email address and password.

How long I wonder before this extra piece of unnecessary bureaucracy is spread to all BBC radio and TV services? I bet it won’t be long before we will sign in with username and password to watch BBC News or Eastenders. We’ll probably have to identify ourselves just to check the weather forecast or the traffic reports on local radio.

What will happen to people who don’t use a computer? (There are such folk, though they are rapidly dwindling minority!)

The BBC seems to be following in the wake of Google – they say they are going to “personalise” my “account”. In other words they will look at my record of listening and viewing (incidentally as I don’t have television my viewing figures should be zero – but I bet it won’t be!) They will then decide what I am interested in and push these programmes at me. No thank you, Big Brother, I prefer to make my own choices.

I’ve has enough of clever computer algorithms deciding what I want to see – Facebook gets some very odd ideas about what sort of articles are suitable for an elderly pensioner.

When I was asked for personal data for my account, date of birth, gender etc., I admit I was very tempted to put in false info just to be awkward. What would the computer make of an obviously fictitious date of birth? January 1st 1066 for example? Probably just send me a patronising “Oops, you’ve got it wrong again!”




Blogging 101 Task 17 Worst Fear


In case this isn’t obvious I am trying to write this in the style of Jane Austen.

Esmeralda the eldest daughter of Mr Fitzpatrick Polkington of Hesmondwaite Manor in ****shire was by nature and upbringing a somewhat fearful girl. The absence of any brothers or sisters or male cousins no doubt contributed to this state of affairs. One of Esmeralda’s greatest fears was that of being alone and lost in some strange city where she had no friends to turn to for assistance.

Up to the age of eighteen her life had been passed in the quiet country around Hesmondwaite Manor and even an excursion to the nearest town let alone the bustling metropolis of Bath was viewed with trepidation. When an invitation arrived from her godmother, Lady Miranda, to spend a fortnight’s holiday at her London residence, Esmeralda turned pale.

“Papa, I can’t possibly go,” she quavered, “Pray make some polite excuse on my behalf. Say I have a bad attack of migraine or there is an outbreak of bubonic plague in the village.”

“Rubbish!” said her parent, “Of course you must go. How else can I expect to find an eligible man for you to marry? Besides, Lady Miranda is extremely wealthy and she had intimated to me – in strictest confidence – that you are the sole heir to her considerable fortune.”


Blogging 101 – Task 13 Serially Found


I ‘ve been writing ever since I was little. In fact since before I could write in the sense of holding a pen or pencil and making intelligible marks on paper. I used to make up stories and if I were lucky I’d get my kind auntie to write them out for me. I don’t know if she edited them at all. Probably not. It was only the two of us who ever read my works so a few errors or spelling or punctuation would hardly be important.

I scribbled stories and diaries throughout my childhood and adolescence and into adult life. Prompted by this set piece of work , I looked out one of my journals from 20+ years ago. Surprised at how much I was doing at that period. A part time job -one I really enjoyed with interesting and pleasant colleagues, a fair amount of writing for our local WI and the Arts Centre Newsletter, quite a bit of cycling too. I’ve got one journal entry where I am complaining that I want to ride in preference to walking to the end of the road and waiting for a bus. How different things were then!

As always I kept telling myself to write and keep on writing , at least a page a day etc…etc. and sent items off to competitions. What has changed? Very little!





Writing 101 – Task 8 – Kill the Adverb


He stormed into the room.
What do you think you’re doing?” he demanded.
“N, nothing,” she muttered, “I only….”
He paced the room, examining the papers, the books, the pictures on the wall.
“What are you hiding?” he yelled.
“I’m not…” she began.
“Where is he? I’m not stupid. Where is your lover? Where are you hiding him?”
She shuddered.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” she whimpered.
He seized her arm and twisted it till she screamed with pain.
“He’s been here. I can smell tobacco and look -” he picked up a cigarette butt from the carpet.
“My father…” she said.
“Rubbish! Your father smokes a pipe.”
Before he had time to realise what she was doing Amelia spun round, raced across the room and slammed the door behind her. He heard her cackle of triumph as she turned the key and shut him in.

Extract from a gothic-type story. Unfinished.

Writing 101 Task 4 Serially Lost


Writing 101. Task 4 – Serially Lost   

What is the thing I would most miss if/when I lost it? That’s easy – the ability to read and write. If my sight deteriorated to the extent that I couldn’t read words on a page or letters on a screen I would be devastated. Thanks to modern technology there are ways to lessen the impact; large print, moon and braille of course and various ways you can have books and other material read to you, talking books and magazines which must be a godsend to people without sight.

The ability I have lost almost completely is not sight – I am glad to say, but writing. Not the power to generate words, sentences and ideas and string them together. I am glad to say I can still manage to do that. It is actually writing by hand on a piece of paper that I can’t do any longer. My handwriting is so atrocious that even I find it difficult to read and the only pieces of writing I now do by hand are signatures on cheques and when I have to sign for a parcel delivered to our house. When faced with a portable computer screen to sign I can almost never produce a signature that is readable. I’m thankful the delivery men seem to accept any kind of scrawl and sometimes even write the name for me – poor old lady she obviously can’t cope with modern technology, better fill in the form for her.

I know people of my age and even some older folks who can produce lovely copperplate script. Some people are so fond of pen and paper that a letter doesn’t really count if it is typed or word-processed. I am just profoundly grateful that I live in the age of computers and I can write on a screen, alter and edit as I go along and then print the whole thing either on paper or to a file for future use.

Yes the failure of handwriting is a real loss. It’s one I can cope with,  but a loss all the same. If I want to make notes at a meeting I can’t manage with a reporter’s notebook like I used to use, I need my i-pad. Fine, but I also need to charge my device and have access to Wi-Fi or the Internet.

So it’s farewell to the quill pen and beautiful calligraphy in italic script but at least I am living in the twenty-first century and I have aids to writing in the form of computers and PCs, I-pads and smart phones. I have much to be thankful for.

Free Writing


15 minutes free writing – not sure what is meant by this term just keeping on stream of consciousness for 15 minutes. I should be able to do that, the prompt about “three songs that mean the most to you” has to be ignored I can’t think of ONE song let along THREE that mean anything at all to me. Songs and all kinds of mucic are just a form of noise, sound without any form or meaning, a pleasant or unpleasant background to whatever is going on in the rest of the world, the rest of my life.

Sound, noise, words, letters, speech, writing – all ways of conveying meaning, all more or less useful.

Empty your mind – an empty mind a blank sheet of paper, tabla rasa or whatever. I do try to do this consciously in the mornign when I wake up and do a sort of first thing mediation to start off the day. I lie down, relax as much as possible, then envisage my head as a sort of room, a big square space and take a broom to clear it out, sweeping the dust and debris away, leavng a clear space. Sometimes it works. Then I think of my feet as having a sort of tap to drain out all the miseries and bad things, all the tempers and sadnesses, all the frustration and angers I feel and I imgaine then pouring out of my feet and draining away so I have a clear feeling and a nice blank place to start on next day. Then I imagine a funnel with a pipe leading into it and the end of the pipe going into my head. I see all sorts of good things pouring down the funnel into my brain. things like love and peace and joy and caring and happiness and if it is a good day and my imaginative visualisation is workign well I am ready to get up, have a shower, clean my teeth and face the world as it comes at me. Try it, it works, really – or at least it works for me.


Not sure if this exercise/task is supposed to be entered on my blog. Seems to vague and unplanned and also too personal. Will leave it for now and look at The commoms to see what other people have felt about this.