Friday, 11 March 2011

No, you really cannot be that old

THIS column has criticised the behaviour of major international company Sky before and – what a surprise – they don’t appear to be listening.

The latest illustration of their caring, courteous attitude came with yet another of those irritating calls which seem to come from India.

I’m currently averaging one call from Sky per fortnight, always involving a poor line and a man with an Indian accent, because they can’t get it through their heads that I don’t have a contract with them.

This latest call saw me once again explain I didn’t have a contract with Sky only for their employee to put the phone down while I was still speaking.

People being constantly badgered by Sky need to keep a sense of humour about them but what they don’t expect or deserve is for Sky to laugh at them.

A Weymouth pensioner, who has also had to cope with numerous calls from Sky, got his latest less than courteous call from a man with an Indian accent who said he needed to check a few details with the pensioner.

The first detail he asked for was his age and, when the pensioner said he was 91, the Sky member of staff was suitably light-hearted and said the pensioner didn’t sound that old.

The pensioner relaxed enough to say he was that old and had two sons who were well into their 50s.

This seemed to tax the Sky man who told the pensioner that he was “never 91” to which the pensioner replied, this time a little more forcefully, that yes he really was 91.

The Sky man then repeated that he didn’t believe the pensioner and put the phone down on him, underlining what an increasing number of people know that the Sky’s the limit when it comes to bad customer relations.

So now you can read it tell us what it means!

HERE is a little gem of a Government idea which I am sure will delight every teacher and pupil under six in the Weymouth and Portland area.

Apparently Ministers are planning a new reading test for six-year-olds and are going to include in it non-words such as “koob” and “zort” to check on pupils’ ability to decode words using phonetics.

The economy is on the brink, unemployment is soaring and every council in the country is facing massive cuts yet the Government still has spare money to dream up drivel like this!

Is it any wonder that the UK Literary Association came up with a word of its own to describe the proposal. They said it was “Bonkers”! And they were right.

The confusion it is likely to create among children is matched only by the confusion which clearly exists in Government ranks over what is good use of their time.

Teachers have a hard enough job teaching children words which do exist without being further stressed having to explain about words which don’t.

Only a Government which dreamed up selling off our forests could follow that up with a ludicrous new reading test which shows that maybe it is they who need to go back to school.

Pity the poor moggies

STRANGE but true is the yarn I recently picked up about life long ago on Portland.

Times were much more superstitious then and there was no telling what God, devil or creature you might offend with the wrong behaviour.

Accordingly, whereas in modern times we celebrate our new home with a house warming party, things were very different a few centuries ago on the island.

If you were lucky enough to have a new home then you didn’t want to risk umpteen different sorts of bad luck or worse, so you took measures to guard against that.

Apparently top of the list was a charming custom to take a cat and wall it up alive inside your new home as protection against heaven knew what.

For those of you who disbelieve this, it seems that one of the unlucky mummified moggies is on display in Portland Museum.

Plentiful meals for gulls

WEYMOUTH residents will be all too familiar with the sight of thousands of holidaymakers happily demolishing a whole variety of ice-creams and lollies on a stick.

What they will be less familiar with is the sight of a seagull clearing up the debris.

Shoppers in St Thomas Street were treated to a bizarre scene involving a gull and a large wooden lolly stick.

The bird was clearly convinced that here was a prize meal well worth tucking in to.

So it proceeded to try and deal with this tasty morsel without much success owing to the length of the stick.

Finally as people began to walk a bit too close to it for comfort the gull solved the problem by half swallowing the stick before taking off, the remainder of its wooden meal sticking out of the front of its bill like a mini battering ram.

A number of people spotted the bird’s efforts and pointed it out.

Come the summer I’m sure the gull will have plenty more opportunities to snap up discarded sticks.

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