Monday, 14 December 2009

Laptop Issues

LIVING without a laptop for the past three weeks has been hell. Now, I know what some will be thinking, and no, I don't even watch that kind of stuff anyway, and if I did, I'd watch it via my PS3.
I've been forced into using my sister's laptop, and it's not so fun - she's stuck stickes all over, and always wants it because she has a sad obsession with Coronation Street, and Doctor Who.
Three whole weeks looking at a laptop, all because the guy who is looking at it decided it would be a good idea to go and get swine flu - how ignorant!
I can't take it anywhere else because last I heard it was in about twelve pieces, but as a serious (and I use the term lightly) journalist, and one with videos to put together of different things - the Cullompton Town Council will be getting edgy about not seeing their carnival - I need a laptop, and my sister's isn't doing it for me.
If anyone knows anything about computers, and HASN'T got swine flu, or any other mild or terminal illness, can I borrow your laptop?

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Awaiting His Maiden Voyage...

When I got aboard the first ship, I didn't expect to go to sea, the anchor rose but the ship never set sail. It was OK as the ship had never sailed before, but now I'm told for whatever reason the ship has been all out to sea and I received a postcard telling me how great the waves are - I remain more sceptical.

The second boat I strolled upon was similar to the first. I didn't think she'd ever sail the seas but now I'm told after I was asked to leave the deck that the boat did sail without me (yet again). For some reason boats must have habbit of not going out to sea with me, but when I leave they decide to raise the anchor and set sail. This boat had broken free and had sailed into choppy seas and was forced against the wishes of the crew to come back to dock. I've been invited on this ship to navigate it to a peaceful sea, but I don't know if I shall sail this ship despite being told the seas are nice. (A bit disgruntled how these ships sail off without me and then come back to tell me I'm missing out on a great time at sea)

The third ship I did sail upon did leave shore but then it sank to the bottom of the ocean. It was in need of repair anyway and I think it I should have expected the inevitable.

The last ship I was sailing in had done it's rounds all out to sea, had hit an iceberg on one occasion but had been repaired and still in good shape. It came into dock and I went on board but damage from a previous ice berg - another one the boat had clipped - which had not been seen until we set sail caused the boat to come into docks for repair. Not good for me - who thought that at last I was heading out to sea. I complained to the ship's captain that the boat had sailed the seas before, so why when I get on board it sails no more, - because of these protestations I was thrown off the ship and now I find myself ashore.

So I find myself not having the best of times with my sea traveling journeys. I would quite like a nice cruise one day but all the ships that come into dock soon fade away. Maybe it's me and I should find a new harbour or maybe it's just bad luck stopping me on my way.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Passers by just walk on.....

AN EXPERIMENT to find out if shoppers are good samaritans has shown a shock result - but matches trends.
George Layne 18, and Rikki Turner 19, from the Poole & Bournemouth College decided to film two social psychology experiments. In one Rikki dropped paper in front of people to see if they’d help pick it up, and in the other, George posed unconscious and remained still until somebody offered him assistance. George said: “I got help after seven minutes. I thought I’d be there for quite a while but it went quite quickly although at one point I did fall asleep.
“For the first two minutes I was conscious of what I was doing and started laughing at the thought of all these people walking by looking at me wondering what I was doing.”
Before starting the experiments people were stopped and asked whether or not they would help if somebody dropped papers in front of them or if they saw somebody motionless in the street. Layne added: “We dropped the papers twenty times and only two people helped. It was interesting as we interviewed about 15 people and 12 said they’d help in those situations, but our investigation shows something completely different.
Experts call this de-individualisation. This means that in a crowded place you are less likely to get help from others.
“I wasn’t surprised by the results as I’d seen these type of experiments done before and I have noticed similarities here” George added.
After seven minutes of lying on the floor of Bournemouth Arcade, one man did poke Layne to see if he was OK. He said: “I was going to phone the police, but I checked to see if the shop he was outside knew about this. There was a couple of women looking, but they just looked and got on with their business.”

Friday, 9 January 2009

Newspapers Struggle as Credit Crunch Continues to Bite

January 2009:
IT’S not been a happy Christmas for those working in the media industry as journalists working for local papers have been laid off in droves.
One such firm is Northcliffe Media who have been looking into ways of saving money with some losing their jobs and even having wages frozen.

Northcliffe, who own various media titles across the country spent six months this year visiting their outlets and deciding what to do to slash the ongoing financial trouble it faces.
One of the reasons local media is struggling is due the property market falling. Estate agents are going bust and not investing in advertising properties in the newspapers.

It is thought subs – those who check what is written before it is submitted – are first in line for the chop with reporters already being told to be more careful with their writing.

In Exeter at the Express & Echo some staff have had their wages frozen and in Tiverton, despite promising sales figures, Crediton reporter Tim Hall was made redundant before Christmas. Lucy Gooding who helped at the Gazette said: “They're all so stressed out it's unreal. Now that Tim's gone, there's no one really covering Crediton.”

The effect this will have on the quality of newspapers across the country is yet to be seen, but if companies continue to keep struggling we may see further cuts and the possibility of some papers going out of business or merging to form much larger regions for what would be our not so local papers.

March 2009:
The BBC's article about Northcliffe got a mention on the Six O'Clock news today.(March 24).

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Day of the Flood!

9.30am – I woke up this morning on the day I’m heading back to Tiverton. It’s a dry day today, a few puddles about. I pack some bits and head off on the train with three bags of stuff to Bournemouth station where I’m meeting Luke Baker from Cullompton who is coming home with me.

10.10am – The internet wouldn’t let me book tickets on the same train as Baker, but I got some for a different train going to the same place. I’m sure it won’t matter. Baker is carrying a heavy computer box back with him for some reason.

10.24am – The train to Weymouth arrives. We’ll be home at 2.15pm, but first we’ve got to make a few stops on the way so we’re heading to Dorchester South.

11.00am – We get to Dorchester South – I hoped to go to Upwey but the train didn’t go there – and now we need to get to Dorchester West. After a little debate on where it was Baker goes and asks for directions.

11.15am – After waiting for some bloke who was causing problems to move, we’re told that the station at Dorchester West is flooded and that we’d have to go all the way back past Bournemouth and get a train to Southampton Central. Ironically, this is the train I actually bought the tickets for. We are also told there is an alternate bus service at 1pm which is a little bit shit. I also send a text saying: “I can see the funny side in this. I don’t normally moan or get annoyed, I’m quite relaxed” which changed later that day.

11.36am – Here comes the train to London Waterloo, and it’s back to where we’ve just come from.

12.00pm – I open up my advent calendar in what I say could be the weirdest place I’ve ever opened a Christmas calendar. There is also people playing music on the ‘quiet zone’ which is just annoying, and I have a good grumble about that. I also have chocolate and lots of it, Baker says: “How on Earth do you eat so much chocolate before 12 o’clock?”

12:21pm – We’re back in Bournemouth: “I thought I’d left this place behind.” I tell my mum: “I’m going to be a little bit late home because of a puddle on the platform in Dorchester.”

1.10pm- We arrive at Southampton Central, Baker struggles with his suitcase as we have to go up and down some steps. We get a train to Cardiff Station but have a choice of getting off at either Westbury or Bristol Temple Meads.

1.40pm – The bloke on the First Great Western Service asks for EVERYTHING. He wants to see two tickets – because one obviously isn’t enough these days and it’s also the first time ever I’m asked to show my under 25s rail card.

2.10pm – We decide to get off at Westbury. One man warns: “You’re not getting off here are you. It’s a special day!” .. special? “Yes, because of all the flooding...” It’s hardly special... although I could have been home by now.

2.20pm – I go to the opposite platform but realise I read the timetable wrong so have to go back again whilst Baker has decided he can get a lift with his bag. A train to Exeter comes but it’s not going through Tiverton which is where I want to go. We’re left standing too and end up going through all the piddly places in South West such as Yeovil and Axminster. We’re also delayed thanks to another train on the line.

3.40pm – There’s lots of lakes outside in places where there wasn’t lakes before. I haven’t even seen much rain so god knows where it’s all come from. Oh well, we’re in Exeter St David’s now and are being rushed onto another train which is apparently leaving.

4.00pm – We’re being delayed again and have to travel at 5mph over the river near the Culm Valley paper factory. This is slow and the outside is again very watery.

4.20pm – Finally at Tiverton parkway almost two hours after I should have been.....

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Tiverton Jive @ Moorhayes Community Centre

DANCING has never been my strong point, so when asked to go jiving I thought I’d be letting myself in for another article that makes me look like a fool.
Before the session a colleague told me I’d ‘be a hero a university’ because his friend learnt jive and was a hit with the ladies. Since I couldn’t even pull a cracker, I’d be able to put his theory to the test.
Moorhayes Community Centre was the location for my first lesson, with my only dancing experience being on stage with the Tiverton Junior Operatic Club, and bobbing up and down nervously in the nightclubs not knowing quite what to do.
Thinking it started at 7.15pm instead of 7.45pm I had the chance to talk with the organiser and jive instructor Phil Payne before the jivers got jiggy: “I’ve been teaching jive here in Moorhayes since February. To anyone who hasn’t done anything like this but wants a go, just come and try it. Like most things, if you want to do it, you’ll be able to with a bit of practice. I’ve learnt there’s no such thing as two left feet.
You know you’re in good hands when the teacher has won several being the National Aerials Champion, Southwest Best of the West and Leroc 2000 National double trouble awards.
When asked how many members the club has, Phil quickly pointed out that they don’t have membership as anyone can go and join in. There were a good number of people at the evening with about 20 all dancing together and learning new steps.
Jive demonstrator Elle Williams also helped get my feet moving in the right direction: “I like to think of myself as an all singingall and dancing person” she said
“It’s really fun to be able to help people here learn to dance and I do as much as possible.”
In the lesson we were taught The First Move and the Windmill which didn’t take too long to grasp, but putting dance moves together and getting the body going instead of looking like a broken down robot took more practice.
Everyone at the evening had a smile on their face despite some getting completely tied up in knots with each other. If you’re a newcomer and don’t know anyone there, it’s easy to settle and not be afraid to make mistakes as making errors is part of learning.
A combination of bravery, having a good time and being told I wasn’t that bad made me stay for the intermediate jiving.
After freestyle dancing and trying to get into an unusual position with Elle for a photo, the intermediate dancing began and it wasn’t long before my feet and hands were tangled up.
Anyone with an eye for performing should give this a go as there’s nothing to lose from doing it – apart from some excess bodyweight of course. There was a range of people from all ages there so you definitely won’t feel out of place. It’s surprising how much I enjoyed myself and I’d definitely go again – who knows, I may master the art of jiving and be that ‘hero’ at university!
Come along to Moorhayes Community Centre, on Lea Road at 7.45pm to get jiving. It’s £5 for over two hours of jiving and its well worth it.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

A very weird Mornin - 24/05/08

A HOUSE of students was disrupted in the early hours of the morning when a resident's friend turned up drunk at 3am.
Gemma Mornin 21, turned up at the house in Beswick Avenue, Bournemouth because she wanted to talk with her friend who lived there. Lewis Clarke 19, who opened the door to let her in said: "Well, I didn't know whether or not to open it. I was about to go to bed and at 3am you don't know who it's going to be, or what they're going to want.
"When she entered the house it was clear she was pissed, and she wanted to talk to Jonny and use the toilet."
Jonny Blair 28, who had come back from a party half an hour before was in bed asleep when he was awoken by the banging on the door, but he wasn't prepared to get out of his bed and lumbered Lewis with the responsibility of his friend.
Gemma, who had driven from Poole to the house in Bournemouth whilst clearly being drunk was then offered the sofa for the night but instead went to lie on Lewis' bed. Lewis added: "I wasn't expecting it, I was hoping Jonny would have done something to help but I didn't want her driving home being pissed so I didn't argue and I got in bed beside her. At one point she started stroking my shoulder which was a bit weird."
At 7am, she got up to use the toilet and went to get back in the bed telling Clarke to roll over: "When I did roll over the bed sheets were completely soaked, it's like she was sweating all night or had pissed the bed or something. I couldn't sleep in there so I got up at watched Sunday morning shows such as Andrew Marr until Jonny got up."
When Jonny eventually woke up in the afternoon, Gemma was still in Lewis' bed which annoyed Jonny. He then told her to leave his house and how weird it was to go calling at friend's house at 3am. Jonny told us: "Me and Lewis were in the front room and I thought I should take a photo of it, but when I went into his room she was nowhere to be seen."
The two housemates decided it would be a good idea to take their mind off the fiasco from the previous night by driving to Durdle Door. Speaking at Durdle Door Jonny added: "I had to get away from it because I don't want to be in the house and have Gemma call again like she's stalking me or something. I know she's my mate, but there's no need to call at my house at 3am."
Since she left on Sunday afternoon, nothing has been heard from Gemma since but the bed sheets in Lewis' bed were changed later on that day