Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

He leads a lonely life

I haven’t really said much about how I’ve been doing lately, so now seems as good a time as any to catch up.

I’ve been back in home all week after leaving university last weekend (and only just managing to fit everything in the car). The Beach Party at the end of term was a great success – I did promise photos but I’m still sorting them (I have around 150 to sort through).
Other than going out with my old friends from college/secondary school/primary school on Monday night I can’t say I’ve done that much this week. And on Thursday, my parents left to go on holiday. I can’t quite remember exactly where they chose to go but it’s near Nice on the south coast of France. They’re gone for the best part of three weeks, so I’m effectively house sitting for them. Which on the plus side means I get to use the internet and cable TV as much as I like, but also means I have to keep the place clean and tidy too. Cleaning a bathroom is a very daunting task for someone who has never really cleaned anything in their life, although actually it wasn’t too difficult. I won’t say I enjoyed it though on the off-chance that my mum is reading this – I wouldn’t want her to get any ideas.
It was also fun trying to work out what cycle I needed on the washing machine – my mum has one of these fancy ones with a different cycle for every different type of fabric, whereas I’m just used to university laundrette mahcines where you put some money in and press a button. There’s probably an instruction manual somewhere… In any case, I’ve now learned the hard way that a 29 minute cycle at 40 degrees isn’t long enough, after pulling my clothes out to find large dry patches where they hadn’t washed properly.
Then there’s the cooker, which is a viscous thing compared to the rather naff electric cookers I’m used to. You expect something to take 5 minutes and you come back after a minute and it’s already burnt. Suffice to say that the smell of burnt fish from Thursday has now thankfully subsided.
Getting used to cable TV again has been interesting. We were ‘early adopters’ of multi-channel television (by UK standards), getting an analogue cable box in the summer of ’96 and then upgrading to digital in 1999. Looking through the 150 or so channels we have now, I realise just how much naff stuff we have. While I’m pleased to have BBC News 24 for news and E4 to catch up on stuff I missed on Channel 4, I really don’t know we need 15 (count ’em) shopping channels, or four flavours of Nickelodeon. Indeed, I remember when there was a channel called Sky Movies – there’s now Sky Movies 1-9. And the Discovery channel now comes in several varieties – I remember when Home and Leisure, its first sibling, launched here. And where did all those music channels come from?
Having spent the best part of two years with just 5 channels (and with pretty poor reception for all of them), I’ve started to wonder whether all of these extras are really necessary. I like the idea of Freeview, which offers just a few more (with Top-Up TV available if you some extras). Multi-channel television would be great if the vast majority of channels were ones that I actually wanted to watch – as it is, why should I be paying for a lot of chaff with only a bit of wheat?
incidentally, today is Father’s Day. As my father is likely to be sunning himself on the Mediterranean coast, I can only hope he enjoys his premium marmelade that I bought him. Unless he’s boycotting it. In any case, if you’re a father, I hope you have a happy day too.


  1. Just responding to the TV thing – I’ve currently got NTL Digital cable TV and I find it actually fairly useful as a tool to measure boredom. To whit:
    1) In a good mood – watching E4, UK Gold, Sky News or some of the music video channels.
    2) Slightly bored – flicking through the documentary channels.
    3) Averagely bored – flicking through the news channels.
    4) Quite bored – flicking through the shopping channels.
    5) Overwhelmingly bored – Watching BBC4 or BBC Parliament.
    So there you go! LOL

  2. you know the boycotting is a good move when you can get a text poem/message sent to YOUR phone to then forward to your dad’s phone because you forgot to get him a card.