Blackberry 9300 — Impressed

30 March, 2011

Blackberry 9300

This is just a quick post to say how impressed I am with my new Blackberry.

It’s not all good: the querty keyboard is useful but the little keys are really awfully small: my fingers are pretty svelte, and I wonder how peeps with bigger digits manage to type. Also, it’s not in the same league as the lovely iPhone, in terms of general sexiness and loveliness of touch-screen internet manipulation and navigation. I’m sure the apps are better in iPhone land too. And the iPhone screen is much larger, of course.

However… for communications it’s absolutely wonderful! I got one because a v. good pal of mine has one, and loved it. She told me that all she had to do to set up her email was enter her email address and password–none of that stuff that’s normally necessary about identifying hosts/ISPs/whatever, and various bits of techno mumbo-jumbo. I was a little sceptical, but she was absolutely right! I turned it on and told it my email addy and password, and the next minute I was getting my emails on my phone. I have several email addies, and so a few minutes after that I was getting *all* of them as soon as they were delivered. Impressive.

Although the iPhone prolly has the best selection of apps in the world, the Blackberry has lots of good ones too. I just don’t buy them via B/berry App World’s weird Paypal setup *g* I’ve been very happy with them, anyway, and spent about two whole days just downloading stuff and trying it out. I love gadgets, so I was in clover 🙂

I’ve also been v. impressed by the WordPress app thingy for Blackberries. I’ve yet to work out how to make piccies appear in the correct sort of size, but everything other than that was seamless. If I take this little thing camping then I’ll have no problem at all blogging.

I just thought I’d mention this for the benefit of anyone who might be considering a Blackberry. There are lots of models, of course, and it may be that I should have got one of the higher-spec ones, but this one is ‘only’ £20pm from Vodafone with unlimited texts and lots of phone minutes and loads of internet access. (If you ring them, they’ll give you £5 off the website prices, as far as I can see, as a reward for doing it over the phone rather than in a shop. So I’m getting the £25pm deal for £20pm.)

Right! Off to eat dinner now.

Happy, happy day :-)

30 March, 2011

Oh, happy, happy day! After such a long succession of miserable-making events, it’s really lovely to have a few good things happen for a change!

First, it looks like things might be looking up on the house-selling front, in which case I might finally be free of this blasted albatross and be able to get on with the rest of my life in a place where I’d like to live it. Yorkshire Dales–here (I hope) we come! I’ve recently de-cluttered my house and painted it magnolia–just as the TV programmes advise–and it appears to be working. Last week’s viewers (the first since I put it back up on the market) are in active email correspondence with my Estate Agent, and today’s have arranged a second viewing for the day after tomorrow. Whoohooo!

Secondly, my sister viewed a flat today and loved it; so hopefully in a month from now she can be rid of the noisy b*stards who’ve been making her life a misery for the last 6 months, since they decided to live their lives back-to-front and spend the whole night partying in the kitchen.

Thirdly, I’ve had an apology from the solicitor representing the LA within whose confines my father is unfortunate enough to reside, explaining why he hadn’t bothered to respond to my correspondence and confirming that a copy of my Lasting Power of Attorney has now been placed on my father’s file. (It’s amazing what a complaint to the Solicitors’ Regulatory Authority can do…)

Also, Piglet is finally coming round from the traumas that she suffered at the groomer’s last week, and has consented to lick me and have her tummy rubbed.

And I’m enjoying my new job!

There’s no significance at all in the words of the accompanying song, BTW: I just really like the tune 🙂 Here’s where I first came across it *g*

I has not been stripped. Heh…

27 March, 2011

I has been stripped…

26 March, 2011


24 March, 2011

Piggle and I are now home; safely, thank goodness.

We had very sad news this afternoon. My very good friend Dee texted to say that she was awaiting the vet to put her darling Blink, a Cairn Terrier, to sleep. Blink was a friend of Piglet, and Piggle spent several happy weeks at Dee and John’s place with Blink and Buster, while I was away doing the Challenge; living the good life with other dogs to play with 24/7. Blink was always in charge, and kept both Piglet and Buster in their places at all times. She had a long and supremely happy life once Dee and John rescued her from the terrible place where she was born (and where she lost an eye–hence her name).

I wept to hear the news, and my heart goes out to Dee and John this evening. RIP little Blink.

There was bad news for me, too, after Piglet’s stripping, although not of the same magnitude. Piggly has put on quite a lot of weight since she was spayed about a year ago, and I’m going to have to establish her on a strict diet. She also hates having her claws clipped, and I was truly shocked to see how long they’ve become. I felt quite ashamed. She looked to me like a neglected dog, although she isn’t 😦

So! She and I are off now for a 45 minute trot around the pavements. I think a lot of the problem with Piglet’s claws is that she doesn’t get any road walking–it’s all on the beach and in the woods and sandhills, and that doesn’t wear her claws down. Starting this evening we’ll be doing 45 minutes on pavements every day, and I’ll be making sure she gets a good run on the beach in the afternoon.


24 March, 2011
Relaxing in Arnside

Relaxing in Arnside

At last! Piggle is now installed at Hilary Gilpin’s place, being stripped, and I’m attempting to recover from the traumas of the day with a welcome drink down the hill.

My problems didn’t end with the restoration of the Pigmobile to working condition, btw. I promptly got back onto the motorway in the wrong direction, and wasted at least 25 further minutes driving towards home in a desperate search for somewhere to turn round.

We finally managed the manoeuvre at the junction of the M6 with the M55, and within minutes of resuming our journey North I had to take speedy avoiding action to steer round a huge shredded lorry tyre lying in the centre of the middle lane!

Then when I finally arrived at Hilary’ and dropped Piggle off I bent forwards to give P a wee kiss, and the little bugger reached up with her paw and almost scraped my eye out! I think it’ll be bruised tomorrow.

Heaven only knows what the journey home will bring… It’s certain to involve traffic jams, though, given the time. Sigh…

Rescue underway

24 March, 2011

Looks like Piglet will be missing her strip again 😦




24 March, 2011

Just filled diesel car with unleaded petrol. Knew it was just a matter of time. Now awaiting recovery and £200 fix 😦

Paypal Pre-Approved Payment Agreements

19 March, 2011

I don’t know whether anybody else has come across this, but it’s new to me.

I’ve been happily using Paypal for years now, and yesterday I used it to buy 3 apps for my new Blackberry 9300 from Blackberry App World. Today I wanted to buy another app from the same place. This time I was asked to register with the site, though, and when I attempted to pay it was no longer possible for me to do so via Paypal without entering into what was later explained to me by Paypal as a pre-approved payment agreement. Blackberry App World wanted me to authorise them to withdraw up to $1,500 per transaction (!) automatically from my Paypal account, rather than directing me to the Paypal site in the usual way so that I could authorise the transactions.

I wasn’t willing to do that, so I cancelled the purchase and rang Paypal to ask what it was all about. Apparently this is something Paypal has introduced, initially for the convenience of Ebay (so that they could simply withdraw from Sellers’ Paypal accounts the sums due to them in fees, rather than having to ask the sellers to authorise them), and it seems it’s now being extended to other online vendors. When I pointed out that I’d bought 3 things from the same site y/day without any problem at all, the woman I spoke to at Paypal explained that that’s why Blackberry App World had attempted to introduce the new arrangement today i.e. it was more convenient to them to do it this way.

Um… doh?! Can directing people to the Paypal site so that they can authorise their own payments really be so very inconvenient? Will it be less inconvenient when people decide to buy their products elsewhere, I wonder? Because surely it can’t just be me who isn’t willing to hand over the key to my bank account in that way…?

Maybe I’m unduly cautious, but it sounds like madness to me. Entering into that sort of agreement is like handing over one’s Paypal password to strangers… isn’t it? To me, the whole point of having a password is to be sure that only *I* can authorise payments from my bank account, via Paypal, to vendors or others. To me this sounds like signing up for an online account with Tesco and handing over my bank card and pin number at the same time.

Perhaps it’s an age thing. I brought this issue up on a Blackberry forum to see whether anybody else has come across it, and it seems that people there (the ones who replied, anyway) feel it’s all perfectly okay, and that at some stage one has to simply be willing to trust the system. Well I feel that there’s already an element of trust involved in sharing my account details with Paypal and relying upon them not to misuse them. Handing them over to any old vendor who’d quite like to have free access to my bank account feels like a step too far. The older I get, the weirder the world appears to become… *g*

Southern Cross Healthcare charge daughter £50 for copy of dementia parent’s Care Plan

11 March, 2011

As I’ve mentioned on here before, my elderly father suffers from vascular dementia and is currently a resident in an EMI (i.e. Elderly Mental Infirm) Care/Nursing Home.

The Home is one of many in this country owned by Southern Cross Healthcare. The provision of residential care for elderly people has become big, lucrative business these days, especially with the rise in the number of elderly people suffering from dementia.

My father and I are fortunate in that he has granted to me a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health & Welfare, the effect of which is that I am entitled to make decisions on behalf of my father that he no longer has the capacity to make for himself, in respect of matters that relate to his health and welfare. Elderly people who haven’t granted such an LPA to their relatives or friends can be at a major disadvantage in being dealt with by social services and healthcare officials, some of whom have become used to being able to make important decisions without involving relatives. See here for a post I wrote some time ago in relation to LPAs.

Anyway, I had cause to write to my father’s Home some 6 weeks ago in respect of a number of issues impacting upon the quality of my father’s care. At the conclusion of the letter I asked for a copy of all the nursing and other notes that have been made by the Home in respect of my father since he moved in late last year. Today I finally received a reply, and in relation to my request for copies of relevant documentation I was told that Southern Cross Healthcare would be willing to provide me with a copy of my father’s Care Plan (as opposed to the notes I asked for). Specifically, they stated:

“We can provide you with photocopies of your father’s care plan, a fee of £50 under the Data Protection Act will be levied, alternately you may wish to visit [name of Care Home] and read the notes, the Home Manager could arrange for a senior member of staff to explain the terminology if you should wish.”

The Care Plan, BTW, is a basic document which actually forms part of the contract betweeen the resident and the Home. I already have a copy, and it’s not a large document.

£50 for a copy of a short document that forms part of the contract between my father and the organisation he pays a significant monthly sum to in respect of his care? Well, as I mentioned above: the provision of residential care for elderly people has become big, lucrative business these days, especially with the rise in the number of elderly people suffering from dementia.

Southern Cross Healthcare is the name of the organisation in question. If at some stage you find yourself choosing a Care Home for your own elderly and vulnerable relative then it might be worth bearing that in mind.