Communication is a two way process.

I have long been of the opinion that we are loosing our ability to communicate except with short messages and abbreviated text.

Now it takes two or more to communicate, your local radio station does not normally communicate with you, instead it broadcasts to you. Communication only happens when they read out messages received from listeners or do a phone in show.

Youngsters these days seem to just assume that text messages in various forms are the normal and in some cases the only way of communicating.

But this post is aimed really at people or companies that ask for responses or feedback communications by email and then don’t reply.

You have all seen the advertisement that recommends you email for further details on whatever they are offering, so you fire off a question or questions and they wait, and you wait, and you wait for a reply that never arrives. From my experience this is becoming more and more common especially with businesses.

From this I can only draw one conclusion and that is they are collecting email addresses. This is based if nothing else but on the fact that guilty companies will some months later often send out a generic email pushing one or more of their products, and the only way they could have got the address they used was from the email you sent them that they never replied to.

I have proved this by creating a series of email addresses for one of the domains I have and then using them once and once only to email a company with a query. This has resulted in over 50% of those addresses receiving a generic email from the company some time later and the original email they never bothered to answer.

It always puzzles me why companies send out this generic stuff and I wonder how successful it is. I suppose the important this to remember is that it coasts nothing to send an email, perhaps if it cost say even 1p to send a email if this practice would stop.

Many people have said in various articles over the years that spam email would die if it cost money to send an email. I don’t know, I mean most of the stuff I send to friends is so basic that it would not be worth spending a penny on to send it.

Anyway back to communications, do you have examples of failure to communicate? If so please let me know either in the comments to this email or by direct email.

The early bird catches a cold.

Well it’s almost 4am and I am sitting at my computer writing a blog entry.

Of late I have become a bit nocturnal, sleeping through parts of the day and up during the night.

Of late I don’t seem to be able to have a steady sleep pattern, I am suffering with leg ulcers at the moment which is not helping either. But I must admit that I do find typing away through the night quite relaxing for some strange reason. But the noise from hitting the keyboard keys seems louder at night, then again perhaps it’s just my imagination?

Having said that most of what I produce is still a load of rubbish as far as I am concerned but at least I am more relaxed when I produce it.

I have communicated with a number of writers who write through the night, so perhaps for some it helps creativity, who knows?

Time for a coffee I think, to warm the inner man as they say, who they is I have no idea I must say, perhaps I should waste some time on Google and YouTube seeing what I can turn up. No doubt I will find piles of stuff, weather or not it’s of any use or interest is another matter, much like this blog I suppose.


The inside outside Toilet

Now I can see I have already got you confused. I mean how can you have an inside outside toilet? Well let me explain.

Are you sitting comfortably, and not necessarily on a toilet? You are then I will begin.

On our landing at home as well as the bedroom doors we have a door to a bathroom and one to a toilet. Now a force of habit we don’t shut the windows in the toilet or bathroom, and unless in use or recovering from an urgent visit we often leave the doors ajar.

However the toilet can get rather cold in the winter, but the wife has drawn the line at a centrally heated bog seat. Though it must be said that in really cold weather we have been known to smear vaseline on our rear ends so they don’t stick to the loo seat if we sit for any length of time.

For some strange reason the wind does like to blow through the toilet window, and it seems that the colder it is the more it blows. If a visit is needed in the middle of a winters night it can seem that we are trekking out the back door and down to the privy at the bottom of the yard. Quick calls are needed so we don’t have bits suffering from exposure.

So if any of you wise people know why the wind blows more in through the toilet window then we would love to know. Answers in pencil on the back of a used ten pound note please.

Two weeks in.

Well here we are two weeks into the new year, and to be honest it feels just like it did last year.

For the last two weeks most of the weather has been nothing to write home about, and at least on the mild days the rain has been warm.

I am still enjoying my break from the railway, nice to stay in the warm on cold days when we would normally have been at the station.

But good news, we may have a new project with the railway, they have put forward a few ideas which I am looking at and mulling over at the moment.

Watch this space as they say!


That’s all folks, until next year.

Well here we are trundling our way through the last day of the year.

I have sat here going back over what’s happened to me in the past twelve months, and when push comes to shove there is not a lot to go over really.

Currently on my break from the railway, and if I am honest I am not missing it one bit, I cast an occasional eye on the railcams but that’s about it. There is a steady flow of communications from a few across the railway, normally asking how I am. Now I can’t decide if they ask because they are genuinely concerned or if somebody has got a book going and taking bets on the date of my demise, I would like to think the former, but you never know. I hope to find something interesting to do when I return at the end of April, but we shall see. The cynical part of me wonders if they will just keep Orton Mere warm hoping I will take up the reins again, well that will not be happening so please don’t run a book on that.

One thing I have done in the last month or so is have a final clear out of unwanted and unneeded computer bits, I have accumulated a fair bit over the years but got it tamed now. I have even discovered that the table tops are brown now they are much clearer. What tempted me to get so many ethernet leads is beyond me!!

So there we have it the last blog post of 2019, hopefully we will post more in 2020 and maybe on more subjects that amuse, intrigue or downright irritate me.


The straw that broke the camels back.

Over the last couple of years a few people have asked me if there was one specific point where something happened that made me close my business and take early retirement.

The answer is yes and no! I had been vaguely thinking about taking early retirement for some time, and had even set a few possible dates, but it all came to a head one morning.

I was talking to a prospective client on the phone, this in itself was rare as 99% of my business was via email or online live chat.

We had been chatting about his requirements, which from what I remember were quite specific. Anyway we got to that part of the conversation where costs rear their head. Having given him some rough figures, with the accent being on rough he uttered the immortal words…. Do you know anybody as good as you but cheaper?

That was the straw that broke the camels back, I just put down the phone and set in motion what was needed to  close everything down and take early retirement.

For all I know he is still hanging on the other end of that phone line.

Skills cost money, and as I once said to a client the reason I charged what I did was because I knew how to do it and he didn’t.

Experience showed me time after time that those who commented the most about the cost were always the slowest to pay.

Changing our minds

Now it as often been said that us British often don’t see a joke, now this may well be true I know people who would not get a joke if it slapped them round the face.

But anyway, there are certain people who’s idea of humour changes on a regular basis. Now I have been known to pass on little ditties of humour via email, generally bits that have made me chuckle.

Which finally leads me to the point of this post.

About a month ago I sent out to a friend a small bit of humour that had tickled my funny bone when I had first read it some ten minutes earlier. Some twenty minutes later I received a reply along the lines that they did not get the joke and therefore did not find it at all funny. Now this is fair enough we can’t always find everything funny just because somebody else does.

So we wind fast forward to this morning and the said person to whom I had sent the failed joke to sent me an email, and guess what they had sent back the same joke with the comment “Just received this, thought you would find it amusing, I certainly did.”

I mean has their humour changed in the space of a few weeks? having no desire to pursue that question with them I may never know.

A two year anniversary.

The 27th of November marked the two year anniversary of me closing my business and taking early retirement.

A number of people have asked me recently I have any regrets, and to be honest the answer is no I don’t have a single one.

It was normally hard work, as it often is dealing with the public, who quite often had no real idea what they wanted. Some only wanted a web site because their friends had one.

Over the years I set up numerous blog sites using WordPress, which is what this blog site runs on. Most of them died a death, some quicker than others as the owners went onto new fads and trends.

Now I just go with the flow and take things as they come, I still get the odd person, often odder in more ways than one ask if I will do them a site, and I always decline.

I am a great believer in once I have made a decision to stick by it. It’s rare I regret that stance.

So we slowly meander towards the general election a week on Thursday and cruise towards Christmas. The excitement is building.



Honest and true with a few lies and false promises thrown in for good measure.

Well here we are with less than a month to the General Election.

The great and the good are going round the country, promising this, that and the other but only having enough money for a couple of bags of crisps.

I look at the party leaders and think that I would honestly never buy a second hand car from any of them. All these promises are being thrown about with not a mention of how they will be paid for.

The majority of the electorate are aware of the fact that nothing is free in this world especially from politicians. Promises are made for money from the national money tree, also known as the tax payers. They stand or sit on TV with a straight face with promises of money for all sorts of things, speaking as though it’s their money. The must be nuts not to realise that what they are promising to do is to take money from the taxpayer with the left hand and give it back to them with the right, with of course a bit of commission taken out in the process.

They bang on about helping the less well off, making believe they have empathy with the poor, whilst living in expensive houses and often driving big cars. I can’t think of one politician who will be sitting tonight wondering wether they will exceed their overdraft or wonder if the last tin of beans in the cupboard should be for tea tonight or breakfast tomorrow.

I can’t remember who first used the phrase “Often we vote for the least worse rather than the best.” But it is so true Perhaps the time has come for a new box on the ballot paper that we can tick that simply says “None of the above.”

The wife and I both have postal votes, we fill these in and send them off every time, I do wonder if I had to vote in person that looking at the candidates locally I would bother to vote on polling day if there is heavy rain.”

Ah well back to the excitement of YouTube!!!


The art of communication.

Communication is very important, though at times perhaps a little overdone.

We see people with smartphones welded to their hands as they walk along looking at the screen and tapping on the keyboard, totally unaware of what’s going on around them. Lost in their own little world.

Now I think it’s fair to say that at times the communications on the railway in common with many other similar organisations can shall we say, be a little lacking.

But for me this has changed since starting my six month break from the railway, I have never received so many emails from other members, some are caring, some are enquiring and a few are down right nosey.

But people are communicating with me who, in some cases have rarely answered any emails I have sent them in the past. But now they have the desire to communicate electronically with me.

Heaven knows why they have the urge, perhaps the ones asking when I will be returning are asking so they know how long to be in hiding if the office want somebody to run Orton Mere, who knows?

However, having said that it’s nice that they are bothering, for whatever reason I am happy to reply. I have no desire to put an auto reply out of office notice on my email address for the next five months or so.

But what are especially nice are the emails from station regulars, some of whom have been visiting for almost as long as I have been there. These I really appreciate.

So back to my internal musings about the state of life and all that.

My amusement for the next few weeks will be the general election, I am amazed at how some of them keep a straight face whilst spouting promises they can’t afford to keep. But I can just think my thoughts safe in the knowledge that yet again most will end up voting for the least worst rather than the best. Much like most votes I suppose!!