Saturday, 28 May 2016


Here are a few scenarios.

1. You are driving along in your car and it drops out of fourth gear, then into third gear, then second gear and lastly putters along slowly in first gear.  A warning message flashes on the console "your engine is old and needs to be upgraded"

2. You put dishes in the dishwasher and start it up. It whirrs and groans for a couple of hours before stopping with the dishes only half clean. A message on the display panel says "your dish drive is out of date. Please upgrade"

3. Your television gets stuck on TV Three with endless loops of Paul Henry. A warning message strolls across the bottom of the screen saying "Your television is out of date, please upgrade"

Would we put up with this? Hell no. We buy electrical and electronic machines to do the sort of job we paid for at the time we bought them. Sure every year newer and smarter models come out that do things quicker and maybe better but our original machine still should be doing the same job as when we bought it. Shouldn't it?

So why does my Apple computer, bought in 2008 suddenly decide to run at about the tenth of the speed as when I first bought it. I haven't loaded up any fancy programmes and still use it for the same things as when I bought it. I get messages saying that my operating system is 'unrecognised' and when I check on-line to see what I can do a host of 'helpful' websites announce that all I have to do is buy expensive upgrade programmes or, in the case of my shamefully 'old' computer - buy a new one.

Bloody arseholes. The Apple Mac I have is big screen, was expensive when we bought it and has, up until now, done an excellent job.
Reading up on this I discover that smart phones, software providers, and other computer companies all play the same game. As the products they make are generally so good then the only planned obsolescence that they can get away with without actually arranging for the things to blow up (although I wouldn't put that past them) is this little rort.

Why isn't this illegal? Is it because everyone has been duped into having to have the latest, flashest, smartest model? Where does the Consumer Guarantees Act come into this?
I should check but know that it'll take an hour or so to download.


Tuesday, 24 May 2016


As it's a miserable day here I thought I'd sort out a few bills and work out my tax liability.
Well, what a gloomy exercise that was.
It's not until you put on a spreadsheet what's coming in versus what's going out that you realise that all those little things add up to be as big as the big things you sort of knew about.

I have a hefty tax bill to pay. I'm self employed so not on PAYE so the slippage is going to be a bit worse over the next few months.

So, like Mr McCawber I've got to find a way of getting expenditure to just come in below income.

Either that or we accelerate the plan to downsize.

Monday, 23 May 2016


A spin off from the temperature drop over the last couple of days is that shorts and a t-shirt are no longer appropriate when going out of doors.
I've got away with this for ages, even in York as I usually rode my bike when out and about but today it was a tad nippy here in 'the winterless north'.

I had to go into the shed and unpack some suitcases and boxes to find jeans and other long trou. The problem was though is that I've lost some weight over the last year or so and my favourite jeans, chinos, mole skins and underpants are all a bit loose. Not a good look.

I contacted the Old Girl and asked her to alert me to the next Smith and Caughey sale (like Ballantyne's in Christchurch and Kirkaldie and Staines's in Wellington (but hasn't 'kirk's' disappeared like DIC and James Smith's?).

Smith and Caughey in Auckland still have, I hope, a decent winter sale so I'm off to Auckland this week and will do a big shop for underpants, t shirts, a jumper or two and ..... some nice fitting jeans.