Category Archives: how ridiculous!

About posting information about the BBC petition – some reactions I got!

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whoops!As well as putting up information about the petition to “Save the BBC” – see my previous post – I also included the link to it in my latest newz from julz mailing to my customers.

I got some very odd reactions!  Whilst several of them replied to say they had either already added their names to the petition, and had done so as a result of seeing my post, I also got a long email from a customer, who was very upset that I had included mention of it in my mailing.

She wrote “Please remove me from your email list as you are using my personal data for a purpose other than in relation to our existing retail relationship i.e. to gather support for a non-retail related petition.

Whilst I appreciate your right to express your opinion, using my personal data to drum up support is, I think, in contravention of legislation designed to protect individuals’ privacy and to prevent unsolicited communication.  I agreed, by entering into our commercial relationship, to receive communication regarding your goods and services, not with regard to your personal or political views and beliefs.

With respect to our retail relationship you can, of course, choose not accept  my custom in the future.

I would be grateful if you could also ensure that you do not pass on my details to anyone else. If I have not explicitly stated this in the past, I am now updating my consent with regard to my personal information.”

I am obviously not naming her, I would never do that, but this is a genuine email, and I do feel that she deserves a reply.  I did write back, but have received no answer, and I expect that she has put my email address on  her junk list, so, in order to clear up a few misapprehensions that she and others may have, I am also publishing my reply.

“If you had looked at my blog, you would have seen that it is a general crafts blog AND my personal blog and as such I reserve the right to say what I like – smile.
 
Its very unusual for me to use it to promote something like this petition – I have used it once or twice for other specific issues that affect craftspeople, or myself personally – have a look at the ‘how ridiculous’ section if you can be bothered.
 
You obviously didn’t read the post – you might have seen the relevance, and anyone who lives in Britain must be aware of the fuss about the BBC at the moment.  There was no pressure to sign the petition, however, I have a lot of people from all over the world on my mailing list and they wouldn’t know about this, so I used the mailing list for that reason, and to update customers about the fact that I will not be closing my etsy shop/ebay listings over the summer and to inform them of my new email address too – smile.
 
The newz from julz mailings are normally about what new stock is in or special offers, and as such, it won’t matter if you don;t get them – its just a service for customers.
 
You obviously feel strongly about these issues – I missed a bit out on the bottom line this time – by accident – it is my solemn promise that I DO NOT SHARE MY MAILING LIST, NOR WILL I EVER USE ONE OF THE PAYING SERVICES, who then use the list for other purposes – because I feel exactly the way you do!”

I have no idea whether she is right about the ‘legal aspect’ that she mentions in the second  paragraph – does anyone know anything about this?  However, whilst she was the only one who wrote at such length, there was a spate of ‘REMOVES’ in my replies to this mailing!  So maybe others also object to my telling them about the petition?  I can’t help that, customers have a right to ask to be removed from the mailing list any time for any reason, and I always comply.  But I am surprised that I should get such a strong reaction.
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What do you think about my inclusion of other issues in this blog or my newz from julz emails?
It would be interesting to know!
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By the way, if you want to join the mailing list, you don’t have to buy anything, please see the form at the bottom of the SHOP TALK page.
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And a big thank you to Roni in the USA who has taken up my theme about independent broadcasting and related it to the only independent network in the USA, which has to rely on open donations (PBS), on her blog “long live the BBC!”
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(just to let you know that the spacing of this last section keeps moving, so I have had to add the “?” symbol just to separate the paragraphs!)

Help Save Our BBC – Please!

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I signed this petition today,

Lord Reith, founder of the BBC (c) BBC; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Lord Reith, founder of the BBC, must be turning in his grave!
(c) BBC; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

and received this email asking me to pass it on – so this is my way of sharing it, and asking ANYONE AROUND THE WORLD who reads this, to consider signing it!  (you just have to register and click!)

Have a look at this:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/protect-our-bbc

Our BBC – Blue Peter, Doctor Who, BBC News, Strictly Come Dancing – is under serious attack from our government. Today, politicians are saying they want to scrap some of our favourite programmes, cut its funding and do away with the independent body that keeps it a truly public broadcaster.

The BBC has been a trusted voice in British homes for over 92 years. It’s vital we move fast and show David Cameron that hundreds of thousands of us are ready to rally around to protect our BBC.

Will you add your name to the petition to protect our BBC now? Just click the link and it’ll take less than 10 seconds.

Thanks

A Little Background Information for you ….

click on image for "BBC programme on FairIsle knitting"

click on image for “BBC programme on FairIsle knitting”

Regular readers of this blog will know that I often pass on something that has been broadcast by our much loved BBC – especially from Radio 4 – which occasionally has ‘specials’ on some aspect of a craft.

Well, as I ‘predicted’ in my post “Has Britain Gone Mad?”  – which I wrote about the election results in May (on “the spare”) – David Cameron et al are now beginning to show their true colours.

One of their policies, just revealed, is to strip the BBC of all their popularity & influence, because apparently they have a bias that doesn’t favour the Conservative Party, who are now trying to drag the BBC down into the mire, on the pretext that they are costing the tax payer too much money!

We pay for the BBC by buying an annual licence fee – which is admittedly an odd system for present times.  It is currently £145 a year per household, and is mandatory, and historically, you could even go to prison if you refused to pay it!  This system was set up eons ago, when the BBC was about the only broadcaster around and adverts that paid for the services hadn’t even been conceived!  (The BBC does not carry adverts even now, except for their own programmes.)

Even more oddly, the BBC is regulated very closely by whoever is in Government, under the Department of Culture, Media & Sports, and yet has always been able to stick to their tradition of total independence from political interference, in the proud tradition of its Founder, Lord REITH.

These days, many people don’t pay the licence fee, as they claim they watch it all online, and there is nothing that can be done about it!  Which does leave the original funding arrangements in a mess!  So some changes are needed and some proper discussion is called for – BUT NOT – the bully boy tactics of this current government.

They have just crossed the line by forcing the BBC to agree to pay for the policy of “free licences for the over 75’s” – which has always been part of the welfare budget.  This amounts to £750 MILLION! 

Now, I have always wondered why the BBC is so strapped for cash.  It broadcasts AROUND THE WORLD and has millions of followers who rely on their independence to give them the REAL NEWS, that their governments often try to keep from them.  Surely a voluntary subscription, or WORLD MEMBERSHIP CLUB, would bring in enough money for the BBC never to have to worry again?  I have posed this question to various people in the BBC several times, but, apparently, the WORLD SERVICE is partially funded by the Foreign Office, and as such, it cannot be charged for!!

Now if you really want to make some changes John Whittingdale, why not start there!

Don’t take my word for all this – if you want to find out more:

See The Guardian, 6/7/15 – BBC to take on £750m cost of subsidy for over-75s in licence fee deal

 This is the latest BBC Trailer – entitled “FOR ALL OF US

and if you want to look into this issue in a bit more detail,

this is the section of their website that covers some of the governance of the BBC

wikipedia also has a very good precis of the history of the BBC HERE

An article in The Guardian:

BBC Trust chair calls for public debate over future funding changes

and today’s Independent:

BBC set for shake up with new oversight board appointed as

talk emerges of changes to the licence fee

Shame on you Germany for treating Greece so badly

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iuI am furious and so disappointed – “Grexit” (Greece’s exit from the EU) has been discussed in every detail in the news the last few weeks – and I have to say that the whole EU project has been shown in a very bad light – Germany has more or less forced Greece to kneel before it to be humiliated.

Sorry, but, apparently, when Germany was on its knees after the Second World War, Greece was one of the countries that forgave their debt, with the knowledge that a broken country would be dangerous, for those that live there and for those it owed money to.

I will say what everyone else has been thinking but is too careful to say – there is something in the German character that is dangerous, it was no aberration that they allowed the dictatorship of Hitler and went along with his mad and horrific policies.  We all thought that period was over, but its just re-surfaced.

I wish Greece had been able to leave and reinstate the Drachma, but I understand the tangle of issues that has made them try to stay.  I hope we can all support them in some way or another, but I see trouble ahead.

If this isn’t a warning to every other country in the Eurozone, I don’t know what is – Greece no longer even have independent access to the printers that could produce a new currency!

The best comment I heard about all this was on Radio 4’s “Now Show” – to paraphrase it – how can you expect those countries that don’t need to wear a jumper in winter to behave in the same way as those countries that need to wear several jumpers all year round!

Greece is not Germany – and they shouldn’t be forced into German mind sets and German economic strategies – they won’t work in a Mediterranean country!

We are expecting to be allowed to vote in a referendum here in the UK – sometime or another – whether we want to stay in the EU.  I for one have had enough of the petty standardisation and killing of individuality with thousands of mini laws!

So I will be voting to get out of the EU as soon as we can!

beware - tilting at windmills is not allowed in the EU - smile

beware – tilting at windmills is not allowed in the EU – smile

If any of you read my post on VAT MOSS in January, you might be interested to know that I have been writing to various MEP’s about this VAT MESS, which affects small craft businesses NOT EVEN IN THE EU – you might be interested to know that the whole issue is mired in so much petty procedure that nothing has been done!  

I am waiting for a bit more information before I publish an updated post about it – don’t hold your breath!

And yes, I do sometimes fight impossible fights, and tilt at windmills!  Feel free to skip this post if you are not political!

PS:  I wrote this in the early hours, and when I woke this morning, I find that the IMF (International Monetary Fund) has poured scorn on the deal, saying rightly, but far too late, that they do not believe that anything but a write off of the majority of the Greek debt would work, as this deal would NEVER enable them to get back into credit.

This announcement has been made on the day that the Greek Prime Minister is supposed to persuade his government to vote through the changes that the Germans demand IMMEDIATELY !  AND – the German government and other EU governments are meeting to ratify the ‘so called’ agreement!

If you’d like to read something completely different – I have put some more pictures of Tilly’s Miraculous Kittens up on “the spare” – you can see the new pictures here – smile.

A-Z Challenge – Reflections on the Experience

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A-to-Z+Reflection+[2015]+-+Lg Well it seems I haven’t quite finished this challenge – they also want my thoughts on the experience – smile

I had an interesting conversation with Arlee – of Tossing it Out – one of the originators of this challenge, on my post Xtra, Xtra, read all about it! – see the comment section!

survivor-atoz 2015 - sm_zpsmfnq4uov So this is how I feel about the Challenge – I just about survived it!

That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy parts of it, or find it stimulated me to write stuff I’d never had written if I hadn’t been challenged to write a post a day, following the alphabet – and some of those posts will soon be added to the i/sheet archive page …..but….

I do think that it is a very hard slog to post something every day, unless you just put up a joke a day, or something inconsequential – which wouldn’t suit either this crafts site or “the spare”, which is my other blog site – I split the posts between both sites, so that I wouldn’t have irrelevant subjects on this one – smile.

However, the admin for this challenge required that I show I was following the challenge on this site – so I had to clutter it up with a reference and the alphabet image for the posts I wrote on the spare!  I think I will delete those posts in a week or two, as they really do make this blog look messy – smile!

I did link up with a few new people I would never have come across otherwise, but I was quite surprised to find that my friendly comments to fellow A-Z ers were often not answered, and very few people came to my site if I hadn’t left them a comment.  I thought this challenge was about networking?

So my conclusion is, as I said in the Z post – that I will never, no never, do this again!

Arlee seems to think its a proof of stamina to get thro’ the challenge, but I view it differently – there is a great incentive to complete it because you look pretty silly if those alphabet images stop midway!   I was going thro’ the list of those who signed up for it the other day, and found quite a few who had stopped along the way, for whatever reason.  What I found heartbreaking was that in every one I found that had not finished the challenge – they had also stopped blogging!

The challenge seemed to have taken the fun out of it for them, and how were they going to continue, if they had to ‘write a note to teacher’ to say why they hadn’t done the rest of the challenge, and then go back to their original aims for their blog? And those Why’s could have been – a death in the family – a sudden overload of work (which I found I had, and sat up in the middle of the night to finish some of the blogs) – or just pure boredom with the medium of blogging!

There must be a more compassionate way to run this challenge?  What do you think?

PS: I just tried to leave a comment on Arlee’s site to let him know I had mentioned our earlier conversation, but he blogs on blogspot, and there is a convoluted method for non-blogspot bloggers to leave comments – this time it just wouldn’t let me publish the comment!  This is not the first time its happened!

 

X is for Xtra, Xtra – read all about it!

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XThis is the newz according to Julz!

Readers of this blog may have noticed I have a campaigning streak – I’m not sure what you think about it, but its in my genes!  When I was doing blogging101 in January, we were asked to pick a prompt, and write a post around it.

I chose “Never Surrender, and I wrote about my Dad.  You are welcome to click on the link and read it.  At the time I was feeling a little awkward about publishing a series of posts about the “cock ups” the Royal Mail were, and still are, making – and wasn’t sure whether I should keep them up.  Writing that post convinced me I should, however silly it made me look – smile.

I thought I would use this last week of the A-Z Challenge to write an update of the results – or not – of my little personal campaigns.

me messing around with a picture of postboxes

messing around with a picture of modern postboxes

I am vehemently against the privatisation of Royal Mail – as are may other people who rely on it.  Shares were offered at the end of 2013 and the price was far too low, which resulted in the ‘company’ ending up in the hand of the money men, who are simply interested in reselling them for a quick profit,  and not interested in providing a good service for their customers!

The public service had served us well since 1840, when the first postage stamps were issued – costing just one penny.  They are worth a lot more now!

Privatisation and the need to make a profit, has resulted in the loss of previously stable jobs, and a very unhappy staff.  Worse, the people now running it, have never worked within the system, but have been drafted in from other industries, so they know nothing about its traditions and how to make workable changes.  They have messed around with the pricing structure for the last couple of years, and made major mistakes.

close up of notice - last collection on saturday - 7 am, weekdays - 9 am!

close up of notice – last collection on saturday – 7 am, weekdays – 9 am!

It was a silly thing that got me started on this complaint!

I went to my nearest post box, to post some small orders, one Saturday morning at around 8 am, only to find that, without prior warning, there was a notice saying that the only collection on Saturdays would be at 7 am – ie I’d missed it!  Saturday collections have been at noon for EVER!

Worse, as I was on my way to Asda, and passed another post box, I stopped to look at the notice there, and it still said 12 noon, and the post box at Asda said 9.15am!  Even the guy who runs the local Post Office knew nothing about the change when I asked him!

There followed a series of encounters with Head Office, who were as obfuscating as they could be, and with the local Sorting Office, where I got laughed at.

Even sillier, I finally found out that the notices had been put up but the changes hadn’t happened yet!  

You can follow the series of posts I wrote HERE if you can be bothered to – its a long read – smile. (You will have to scroll down to the bottom to see the first one, and then scroll upwards for the next instalment!

Although nothing specific came out of the fuss I made, a new sticker is to be seen on all the local post boxes, giving the phone number for any queries the public would like to make about collections etc.  I was very heartened to hear a whole section on complaints from all around the country about the change in collection times from rural postboxes,   on Radio 4’s programme, You & Yours, this week.  Whether much will happen after that exposure remains to be seen.

I still don’t know for sure when the collections are, and whether the changes have yet been put into effect- I wonder if they’d tell me if I phoned up the number on the sticker!

cropped-3vert-dry-stone-wall-version-2.jpg In January, I also wrote a post about the new VAT MOSS scheme, which seems to have been introduced to force large companies, like Amazon, to pay their fair share of tax, but is instead making it more difficult for small businesses, and especially craftspeople, to trade.  There have been various petitions, to the European Union, whose legislation this is, and to member country parliaments, but as far as I can tell, no one has done anything to change the scheme.  My plan to open a separate shop on etsy selling digital downloads of my old photographs is still on hold.

the large bin was replaced by the small bin

the large bin was replaced by the small bin

In February, the local council came and changed our large wheelie bins for small ones, apparently in an effort to get us to recycle more.

I was curious as to how much the new bins had cost and whether the old bins had been usefully recycled, so I asked them.

I did eventually get some answers, but did not pursue the issue to the bitter end – it was enough to be able to show that people all over the world had read my blogs about this.

The Council Officials were prepared for some criticism on this policy, but they do not yet have a culture of recognising that freedom of information means transparency and accountability.  It would be nice if they got into the habit or publishing information like this without having to be cajoled into doing so!

Still they have come a long way from the petty officialdom that WAS once the prevailing culture – and unfortunately still is in many parts  of the world.  If I lived in India, China or Russia, to name but a few of the countries that abound with petty corruption – I might have found myself in prison just for asking those questions, or at the very least, would think nothing of having to pay a bribe to a local official to get my rubbish collected at all!

You can read the sequence of posts here.

photo of Matt Mullenweg, taken in 2014 (found on his website)

photo of Matt Mullenweg, taken in 2014 (found on his website)

My most recent campaign has stalled.

Ironically, its about WordPress and the changes they have made, and they seem to be the least open to discussion – or, if you like, on a par with the Royal Mail!

It would seem that Matt, who is a co-founder of WordPress thought it would be nice to be able to post short blogs from his mobile, so he wrote a program for it.

He thinks we all should use it – whether we are posting from our computers, i-pads or phones – but it doesn’t work!  I call it Edit Lite. See my postTest on Chrome“.

I spend a great deal of time formatting my posts, so that they are readable, and was finding that when I went back to edit them, the formatting got screwed up.

I was most upset to find this had happened to the last post of the Big Bin Swap series – see above – just at the time I had sent out invitations to the ‘Big Wigs’ from all the Local Councils to read it!

I have fixed it now, so the only thing wrong with it is that a paragraph in the middle has been squashed up.  I purposely haven’t been back to do that on the ‘Test on Chrome’.

I have tried contacting Matt – but he’s unreachable.  I put up a couple of posts, trying to get his attention – see “Message to Matt – 1 & 2“, but answer was there none, not even thro’ the very helpful Happiness Engineer – still makes me laugh, that title!

What she has told me is that they haven’t been able to fix it yet!  Edit Lite is the culprit, and we are being steered towards using it, whether we have up-to-date mobile phones or not!  I’m one of those who doesn’t!

The Classic Editor is now almost impossible to find.  However, I have followed the advice the ‘HE’ gave me, and returned to the Blog Post Page every time, religiously, where Classic Editor can be found by clicking “Add New” at the top of the page, and if I want to edit a post, I do it in that page – and have not had any real problems since!

I am steering well clear of any contact with Edit Lite – it has caused me too much grief!

I am not the only one who has had problems with this, and there are various forums and groups out there that I found when I was trying to get answers, who are extremely angry about the changes that are being made.

AND – it occurs to me that WordPress, of all organisations, should be listening to their customers, and be concerned about how the platform they provide performs.

The internets’ greatest strength is that it allows FREE SPEECH, and has been an important tool for the implementation of those ideals – its a shame to find WordPress, inadvertently perhaps,  acting in a similar fashion to those old fashioned, all powerful dictators!

 

 

Daylight Robbery

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building in Stamford, England that I think he referred to!

Watching an antique show (Flog It) on tele just now, and blow me, the man just told “me” that the term “daylight robbery” was originally a literal complaint.

From what I caught of his explanation, during the Georgian Period in English history they introduced a tax on windows – think I remember learning about this at school – which led to many windows being blocked up, with brick & stone, to avoid the tax – and that is the origin of the expression “Daylight Robbery”.  Fascinating!