Archive for the travel Category

Seating (Journalists Guide to Aviation Part 2)

Posted in aviation, baa, bbc, disruption, easyjet, Humour, journalist, life, media, simon calder, travel, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 5, 2012 by norvenmunky

My old muckers at easyJet have worked out a new way to get money out of you. You can pay to have allocated seats, hoorah! What this means of course is that unlike the good old days, (before easyJet bought ‘Go’), when you bought an easyJet ticket and it had the seat number on it in a sort of ‘allocated’ styley, you can now pay for the privelidge of having that allocation. No big deal really just a cute way to make money on a LoCost airline.

This fact is needless to say lost on certain journalists whom are unable to string any coherent thought together. Ginny Weeks, whom unfortunately nails the ‘female blonde’ stereotype colors firmly to the mast with the following ‘thick as two short planks’ defining logic. Aided of course by the ability to put up for all to see a reversed image of an easyJet heavier than air machine, see below.


After a 19-hour flight from Bali trapped in seat 34E- an aisle seat three rows behind the ‘baby row’ where six (!) screaming children sat, I know all too well how a bad seat can make your journey hell… So it’s great news that easyJet is starting to make passenger comfort a priority. From November, each passenger will have a seat reserved for them, signalling a welcome end to the elbows-at-dawn, first-come first-served set up of old, which saw people scrambling for the best seats and creating stress for everyone.

Ginny darling, how the feck does booking seat 4a when you buy your ticket prevent you from sitting next to the screaming kid? All you’ve done is chosen where you are going to sit, not where anyone else is. I can imagine a few No1’s when being told ‘I didn’t buy this seat to sit near that bunch of screaming babies!’, to say, ‘I’m terribly sorry madam, but thats exactly what you did, you chose seat 4a’.

An easyJet aeroplane the right way round … (yesterday)

Mrs Smith complained about the rising fees, and said many families feel it is a “hidden charge” if they want to sit together. Mr Smith however, having closely read the terms and conditions at the time of booking, seemed satisfied with his seat allocation.

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Air Traffic Slots (Journalists Guide to Aviation Part 1)

Posted in 911, air traffic control, air traffic slot, atc, aviation, ba038, baa, bbc, computer, disruption, Humour, internet shopping, journalist, life, media, September 11, simon calder, travel, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 22, 2012 by norvenmunky

A journalist collects and distributes news and other information

Unfortunately in NM’s experience far too many of them fall into the following genre

writing that reflects superficial thought and research, a popular slant, and hurried composition, conceived of as exemplifying topical newspaper or popular magazine writing

So not so long ago a piece appeared in a local rag bemoaning the fact that a reader posted a message on a local airport story, saying an airline could not get the ATC slots for summer flights because it does not have enough staff available to man the planes having made lots of cuts over the winter.

An ATC slot is produced via the CFMU, (thats a big building in Belgium, but thats not important at the moment,) as a function of airspace capacity. Naff all to do with airline staffing. So heres how it works …

Idiots guide to ATC slots.
Its very simple, if you have a room that holds ten idiots, you can’t put eleven idiots in the room. (much as you might like to)
Idiot number eleven has to wait until one or more idiots come out, or the room is made bigger, so the idiot (No11), gets a slot time. This is the time the idiot has to present itself to commence their journey to the room. If there’s only seven idiots in the room, then you can get three further idiots in there without restricting their progress at all, but the fourth idiot and any subsequent idiots will have to wait their turn. If that room is in fact a corridor joining two rooms, then you can only get so many idiots down that corridor at any one time, even if the room at either end has a limitless supply of idiot capacity. Therefore any idiot wishing to pass through the corridor may get a slot time for the corridor, depending on how many idiots wish to use the corridor at any given time. If there is another different corridor, joining the rooms you can send the idiots down those corridors, which may mean that the idiots will not be restricted at all.

So you can see using the above idiots guide, you should be able to see that ATC SLOTS, do not get secured by an airlines schedule, or their staffing levels, they are a tactical daily/hourly response to airspace capacity. But please don’t let inconvenient substance like facts get in the way

Patience

Posted in canon, canon g10, Canon G12, Darwin Awards, disruption, entertainment, Humour, internet shopping, life, media, photography, travel, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on February 28, 2011 by norvenmunky

Well every now and then we all have to say ‘stop the world I want to get off’. Well the ‘Berg’ has decided to do just that. He’s taken a leaf from the book of life and headed out on his ‘road trip’. Nowadays its fashionable for yoof to have a ‘Gap’ year after leaving skool, when they run around in grey clothing to the sounds of popular beat combo’s. Berg being an experienced member of the school of life has departed these shores and like NM a good few years before, slung the backpack on, (a double berger then) to circumnavigate the world. Whether he takes the full NM life experience trip and returns with tales of derring do, being woken by cops with guns, smiling sweetly to avoid subsequent arrest, tearing up parking lots in Z28’s, winding up border guards, getting on local radio stations for having a ‘cute accent’, and laying out in the fields drinking beer and shouting ‘shooting star’ remains to be seen, but I hope he does, he deserves it. The good stuff that is, not the cops, guns, arrest, thing, though to be fair that has a certain ‘cred’ factor so long as you don’t tell the wife/kids. Before he left, he sampled the true delights of camera shop customer service, so he’d remember what he was missing.

Nuff said, over to the ”Berg” …

I have a copy of the G12. However therein lies the usual tale of gash service etc. You may recall a few years ago the lens purchasing saga. I knew the risk of engaging Bristol Cameras to supply the said device. Any way a week previously I had phoned and they said the camera would be there but the housing might be a day or two later. I went ahead with it.

Then last Wednesday, as per the verbal agreement, Berg shuffled into their city centre premises next door to the site of the previous debacle. Armed with a copy of the order number hastily scribed on a small piece of paper I quoted the digits to the staff: or at least I tried. I had entered a shop some ten feet square; not the largest retail space on the planet. Three staff members were distributed about the shop and not one acknowledged my existence for at least a minute. It eventually dawned on one of these creatures that the idiot stood there expectantly was that rarest of beasts; a fecking analogue customer!!
The code was quoted, not exactly Davinci, just a few integers and characters, the sort of things commonly found on digital devices. The expression became pained, and that was just the ‘assistant’.
“Oh! But we call or e-mail to say the stock is in.” The Berg doesn’t remember this and is sure he would not have graced their doorstep before checking had he known this was required. He remained calm; recalling the saga of the 50mm lens.
A scintilla of service crept into the proceedings.
“Let me check if we have any stock”. The staffer began his search at one end of a shelf affixed near the ceiling. Berg glanced up and spotted the distinctive group of Canon boxes at the opposite end of the shelf to the staffer’s search. The products were distressingly arranged by manufacturer; Canon, Sigma, Nikon etc. Now; call me a bluff old traditionalist, but if I had a ten foot square shop and I worked in it all the time and a customer walked in asking for a Canon camera I’m not too sure I would begin my search at the other end of the shelf. Indeed I’d like to think I would derive some professional satisfaction from knowing what the feck I was doing and having a reasonable grip on what was stored where. We are not talking about some Amazonian warehouse of football pitch dimensions.
“Let me just check again” this time he disappeared to the back room. Berg had already decided he was going to bin this pantomime but remained waiting patiently. The assistant returned and continued to fidget with his ear; a near constant companion of proceedings so far. No joy.
He then picked up the phone and displayed yet more incompetence as he checked the whereabouts of the accessory Berg had also ordered. Remember Berg was told it would be available maybe a day or so later.
“No; we won’t have that until mid March at the earliest”
As a result of residing at her majesty’s pleasure some years ago Berg has been left with, shall we say, an arcane skill set. He repressed all of them and departed the fix; leaving the staff with the ability to walk and talk; and their premises intact.
Time was of the essence so being in a city centre shopping area, Berg trudged off in search of other camera emporia. He found one and walked in. A brief recce revealed a copy of the desired model on the shelf. The tried and tested point and grunt mode of communication succeeded. Moments later he emerged onto the high street with a brand new G12, twenty beer tokens cheaper, so the resultant saving could be spent on beer, wimin and guns, (this is Bristol after all).

The left over cash he’d waste.

Another 20 tons of rubber dog shit leaves Nam,
One day Berg, all this will be yours, with your luck that is ...

Paradise City

Posted in canon, canon g10, entertainment, environment, exhibition, Humour, internet shopping, life, London, london underground, media, model railroad, model railway, modelling, photography, rail, travel, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2011 by norvenmunky

Albert Square 2010

Albert Square

We’ve all got our idea of a Paradise City, places we’ve been, lived, worked, read about, well this is mine, unashamedly, London. Where it all started was Lambeff, Albert Square to be precise, not that crappy beeb London one, but the real, sahf of the riva, see above. I never really thought about why I felt such an affinity with the Kings Cross area when I worked there, but re-visiting pictures it seems that the similar architecture of Georgian three storey architecture with basements and Portland stone probably made an impact on the two year old NM prior to heading out of town, a relief then to realise it wasn’t just the drink, prostitutes and drugs that captivated me on my return. Sometimes I wasted my money on toy trains.

MRM Kings Cross London

That led me to working at the Model Railway Manufacturing Co. Ltd. of York Way. The building has survived the recent development of the area and is now a restaurant. That will be somewhat ironic for the previous staff members who worked there, in that you can now order food to be eaten in the building, rather than using our shop intercom from three buildings away. That could be used, (allegedly), to order food in a cafe, Renzo’s, (three doors away), much to the dissapointment of the proprietor whom on opening an unsummoned dumb waiter, was to see ‘Dooamaneg’ glaring balefully at him on a grease laden sloppy plate…

The friendships built up there still last to this day, some of the antics still bring a wry smile to the face. As youngsters into ‘London’ it was important to find out the area, so we had a street map on the wall, theoretically, for customers who pre googlespace/mytube/facetwatter, wanted to know how to get from place to place. Well there was only one way to find out. Research.

St Pauls

There wasn’t a reseach budget as such, just an unerring faith in our ability to leave the shop at 13:01pm (without a map), ‘RLF’ for twenty to twenty five minutes, and then deliberately find a different route back to be through the door at 13:59pm. The result then being plotted on the map using the shop as the centre and a radius/range being drawn in with a compass. Therefore if a customer asked how long it took to walk to X, you could theoretically give an answer …

Thames from the 'right' side of the river ...

Now, Nm’s regular readers will already be seeing ‘potential’ for interesting and frank, free flowing discussion with ‘management’ on return to the shop, and to be fair there were a few occasisions when such discussion took place. I can recall one particular return trip that went ‘a bit wrong’. We’d headed south to Holborn, via Bloomsbury on a beautiful spring day, but had headed back to route up Grays Inn road. We’d been a bit too long and it wasn’t the first time we’d been bollocked for being late, so the pressure was on. The lack of map bit us here and we were actually lost but continued ducking and diving up side streets to head north. We came across a small playing field and thought we could see a way out at the far end, so we were ‘safe’ and stated to walk. At the end of the field we came to a brick wall, literally, about 8ft high, too high to see over. Doing the old schoolboy run at it and jump, scrabble up and sit on the top worked. The only problem there was, was a concrete yard the other side but with a bigger drop, and expensive cars, probably a law firms parking area. A shout and we simultaneously took our chance and dropped into the yard, splitting in opposite directions, just like the filums. We exited through two different gates running, followed by shouts of very rude words, from an old boy presumably in charge of ‘security’ having served on the Russian Convoys, and used to chasing cabin boys all over the decks. We got back to the shop in time for a summary bollocking, and every siren that sounded that afternoon had us on tenterhooks.

What it did do was to provide a better than ‘the knowledge’ knowledge of the part of North London around the Kings Cross area, including all the street life that entailed.

Trafalgar Square

Street life occaisionally came into the shop, where it was the job of whoever wasn’t ‘busy’ to remove them. Nm had a absolute pearler of a case where he very quickly learnt one of lifes lessons, this was re-inforced by ones colleagues ‘QFO’ing as soon as they realised the Quatermass pit sized whole Nm had dug himself. A lady came into the shop, looking a little distressed, but nothing un-usual to raise alarm bells. (Even at that time Nm was pretty streetwise, being able to identify a pimp/pro/ned/alchy/smackhead at twenty paces). It was a lunchtime, ‘may I use your toilet she asked?’, seemed reasonable, didn’t smell odd, she looked alright, ‘clean’, if you know what I mean, if you don’t … Well, yep Nm says and showed her the way (to the bog).

After about five mins she hadn’t re-appeared. Helpfull comments and queries such as ‘is she still in there?’ from my colleagues rapidly followed, countered with ‘Yeh, she’s probably reading a paper or summat’ from an increasingly intrigued worried Nm. Well a good half an hour passed, questioned through the door, ‘are you alright luv?’ from Nm, his colleagues helpfully asking ‘how are you going to get her out then?’ When on Top Gear one of the guys gets left by the others whilst taking the piss as they leave is just so true, it’s almost a right of passage, and when it happens to you with the right bunch of mates it almost makes it alright. Now the crapper was on the stairs and Nm had to hovver near it to appear like he was just going for one whenever the bosses appreared, to prevent them asking any awkward questions, like ‘WTF is the smackhead doing in the crapper?’

After a good hour or so Nm was thinking I’m going to
a/ have to go in, but the door is locked from the inside …
b/ tell the boss the smell isn’t in fact one of Bri’s unholy ones
c/ just run away

There was a dreadful groaning from the crapper, which was peculiar for Nm. It at least meant that the tart wasn’t dead, but filled him with the dread of getting the aforementioned ‘trollied’ bint out of the shop, negotiating her past a counter full of customers, ‘interested’ colleagues and a security camera attached to a CCTV. The thought of dragging or firemans lifting an unconscious bird through the shop and being caught on camera (again) just filled him with ‘bowell water’ making fear. It is at these times that you realise why adrenaline is brown and leads to real moments of fear inspired brilliance. There were two front doors to the shop, No14 and No12, No12 rarely used. If the bint could be steered through the rear stock room, past the phone and map to No12, there was a real chance she could be released into the wild relatively discretely. So Nm managed to lift the latch of the door at No12, easing it shut so the boss couldn’t see it was open, and as soon as the bint opened the door to the karzi, at about the hour + fifteen mark, he very quickly shoved, escorted her to the other door where on leaving she belched a projectile stream of the foulest smelling puke Nm’s ever had the displeasure to encounter. Well you’ve read the blog, you can easily imagine…
Nm slammed the door behind her and turned to see the boss who had come down the other stairs looking at him very oddly. ‘Whats up’ he said?, ‘Oh just some drunken tart who’s puked in 12’s doorway’ Nm straightface replied. Seemed to work. There were a few comments re the whiff from No14’s crapper though, it stank as though someone had emptied the entire waste contents of Smithfield, Covent Garden and Billingsgate and a bit of soggy cardboard into the smallest room. Nm gave it a quick clean, and declared it clear of sharps and fit for use, (the tart that is, not the bog).

In true team spirit the smell was blamed on Bri.
It’s what mates are for.

Millenium Bridge

Albert Sq piccies from http://www.flickr.com/photos/sczscz/