For Wargamers – forming square

For any wargamers who think that you can form a nice, neat square in one turn, this sequence of photographs show what actually happens when something like a half-battalion is approached by a troop of cuirassiers.

http://thomason-photography.net/Waterloo/CavalryAttack2015/

Note how the light company  and the Rifles decided to form their own defensive clumps because there simply was no time to safely reach home.

This then gave the rest of us a problem because there was a light company sized hole in the rear of our square!

Incidentally, talking to one of the spectators the next day, he told me that he watched this incident and said to his wife “Look at those chaps – they’re not going to make it.”, which was very much my own feeling (in the square) at the time.

Old Technology

Found in the attic

While digging out our advent tree from the attic I came across my old portable typewriter.

I bought this machine from Argos en route to a re-enactment event in the late 1980s or early 1990s, simply because I was the “Adjutant” for Sir Thomas Blackwell’s Regiment of the English Civil War Society at the time and the monthly newsletter was due the next week.

Photographs exist of me, dressed as a 17th century peasant, furiously typing away at the front of my tent on a Saturday evening in order to meet the copy deadline.

The following Monday evening would see me at our office photocopier running off 100 copies, followed by a late session folding, stapling and enveloping the results.

On Tuesday I would print the address labels and get stuff posted.

Aah, those were the days…

Cyber-Spying? There are easier ways.

Forget cyber-spying….

What does your postman know about you?

Today I delivered my car for a post-accident financial check-up.
The body-shop manager greeted me in a friendly way. We actually occasionally meet as dog-walkers locally.

His first question was: “Have you walked the dog, and is he in the car?”.
His idea was that I could walk Sparky while his chaps examined the damage.
I replied that I had come prepared to walk Sparky home if they needed to hold the car.
He said: “Not all the way to xxxxxxx”
I looked surprised.
He said.: “No. 7 isn’t it. Mr Wisken? I used to be your postman.”

Unexpectedly I got a small courtesy car, with permission for Sparky to use the back seats (“He’ll be OK”).
In fact I made Sparky scramble into the boot area after folding the seats forwards.

But it was a lesson that not only computers know all about you, but also much friendlier local folks, and what can tell more about you than your postal deliveries??

Cold callers

Don’t we all love those telephone calls that come right in the middle of something we are deeply engaged in, be it painting, modelling, reading or simply watching TV?

No, we don’t.

I have devised a quick question list for those annoying people, based on their own methods.

What is your reference number?

 I see.  Before we proceed I have to ask you a few security questions:

          Your full name

          The first line of your address

          Your postcode

          Your date of birth

          Your mother’s maiden name

 Thank you.  How may I help with your enquiry?

In practice, I rarely get beyond line 2.  Most hang up on line 1.

I have other methods.  If it sounds entertaining I will keep them on the line for no tangible result.  My best ever was someone offering me a better mobile telephone package than the one I had: handset provided by my employer and calls (within reason) paid for by my employer.  He elaborated on the potential savings, etc., etc.  Naturally I did not reveal my actual package for about 15 minutes.  Then I was called “a naughty man who has wasted my time.”  I replied that he had called me to waste my time and I thought we should compete on equal terms…. [click, silence].

My shorter response is: “If I did not call you, then clearly I do not need your services.  Goodbye.”

From a pedant

I freely admit that I am a pedant.  I also acknowledge that language evolves. But I am becoming increasingly annoyed about the wrongful use of the word “multiple”.

I hear it all the time nowadays.  The latest was on the BBC news “multiple people have been shot…”

I believe they mean “many”, or “several”, or “some” or “a number of” or even “lots of”.  Multiple people by definition means people composed of several components, which I guess means all of us.  It is not any form of quantitative evaluation.

If we could please revert to the real meaning of “multiple”, as in “six is a multiple of two and three”, maybe we could also dispense with the horrid dumbing down phrase of “timesed by” rather than the correct “multiplied by”.

Of course, three times two equals six, and three multiplied by two equals six, but “timesed by” makes no sense whatsoever.  I cannot find any definition of the word “timesed” except in the plebian “Wiktionary”, compiled by contributors of no officially recognised knowledge of the subject matter.

 

 

Things ain’t like they used to was.

I am very disappointed with the quality of products nowadays. The latest to land on my disapproval list is Swan Vestas matches.

Apart from reducing the sandpaper from both sides of the box to one only, the company has also developed a detachable match head that flies off in preference to actually catching fire.

After trying to light my pipe this evening, here are the remnants of the vestas.

The pipe is still not lit.  I will try again with cooks’ matches.

Meanwhile I have five new pieces of 1/300 scale timber. 🙂

And, by the way, nostalgia isn’t as much fun as it used to be.

Banks!!

Today I was notified that a mobile telephone company had previously taken, and is planning to take, payments from my account for a telephone that has been destroyed, the account closed, and for which all direct debit authorities have been cancelled.  I have today again cancelled the direct debit authority using my bank’s online facility, just as I did before.

My bank informs me that I can cancel the direct debit authority, but the payee may revoke the cancellation and take the money in any case.  That is not how I understood the agreement with my bank and I am disputing it.

The agreement was for a flat fee of £5.00 per month, including a set level of calls.  The telephone was destroyed some months ago, so why did they take without authority £9.88 last month and intend to take £5.19 next month?

Quotes

“Direct Debit is the safest way to make payments in the UK. The Direct Debit Guarantee gives you a right to immediate refunds for any payments which shouldn’t have been taken.” (Gocardless.co.uk)

“Money shouldn’t be collected from your account after you have cancelled and under the Scheme rules, an organisation would have to obtain your authority to reinstate a cancelled Instruction.” (www.directdebit.co.uk/DirectDebitExplained)

“Yes you cancel it anytime , we never will stop you for that, but the signed agreement is with virgin , you can control standing orders but direct debits are all governed by the companies with whom you have the set up.” (HSBC chatline 30/10/2018)

So, I assume that Virgin Media is simply ignoring the agreement and making up its own numbers each month, and that HSBC cannot be bothered to dispute the fact that I said “No more.”

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Since posting I have spent over an hour failing to create a user account on the Virgin Mobile website so that I can register a formal complaint.

 

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