Archive for November, 2004

0870 numbers, are you silly enough to ring them?

I will not use 0870 numbers which are claimed to be charged at the national rate. My national rate is 1p a call for as long as I want to stay on the line.

0870 numbers are charged to you at the rate of 8p (yes, that is eight pence) a minute. If you ring an 0871 number, then that is 10p a minute.

Where does the excess money go? Simply to the person who offers you the telephone number to ring!

This means if you ring the sales office of a company, wanting to buy their goods, you are already paying them for answering the phone!

I suppose the best way to describe this is, imagine going into Marks and Spensers to buy a shirt, or a blouse. Before you can get through the front door, you find there is a turnstyle and you have to put 50p in the slot to get in.

I am not sure what your reaction would be, but in all fairness, it should be the same reaction to having to phone an 0870 number.

There is a growing number of people around the country who are up in arms over this. A website “” will help you find a geographical number (01xxx or 02xxx) which matches the 0870 number you enter. It also allos you to enter a new set of numbers if you have been clever enough to wheedle out an alternative number.

Our American readers will be astounded that the Brits would be stupid enough to pay this premium. They won’t shop anywhere unless there is a freephone number!

Follow the link below to save money…

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Jeremy Clarkson

Now, on the whole, I like Jeremy Clarkson. He has a good sense of humour and although he talks a load of crap sometimes, he is a real entertainer.

The recent bit of comedy he enacts on television is the BT advert where he shows some pennies in his hand and says you can talk for an hour any evening or weekend for five pennies. or is it five and a half pennies. No matter, whatever it is there are those wiser amongst us who can talk for as long as we like, not only during the weekends and evenings, but during the working day as well, for a penny a call!! Register your number with them and all calls within the UK are charged as follows (providing you have a BT line) —

A single connection fee of one penny and then for each minute or part of a minute, 0p. In modern parlance, that is ZILCH!

Overseas calls are low, throughout the world. But these are priced by the minute.

I actually have a friend who won’t go on it because he says there is a catch. And he makes lots of National calls each day! So, what if there is a catch? I’d just stop using them. So far, over the last three months, my bill have been around £3 odd a month. And I am a journalist who works and uses his phone, from home! I do make a lot of calls.

Follow the link below to save money…

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Keith from Snotsville

A very good friend of mine, Keith – born and bred in Nottingham – tells me they call Nottingham Snotsville amongst friends. This reminds me of a place where I was brought up in South Africa called Stellingbosch. We, as children, used to affectionally refer to it as Smellingbosch or Smelliebosch. 🙂

Anyway, I digress. Keith told me recently that he couldn’t find any attribute to the photographer of the photograph in my profile. This was simply because there was no field for such information.

So this good likeness, and very good photograph, was taken by Keith of Nottingham. I have refrained from giving his full name in case his next door neighbour or office staff take umbrage over the first part of the first paragraph above 🙂

But Keith, if you really want your surname here, ring me and I will add it!!!


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My new camera

I have always been interested in photography and have, for many years, been a Minolta fan, previously owning a couple of different Dynax* 7 series and even the Dynax* 9. But alas they lost ground when they constantly refused to develop a digital single lens reflex.

However I have just had a 16 page glossy booklet on the new Konica Minolta Dynax 7D-AS. At last they have rejoined the great digital SLR arena.

You may well ask what the AS stands for. Well, I will tell you but, before I do, I must tell you why it is really made for someone like me. I am 65, love good wine and Jack Daniels (I do like Scotch as well but…). People do shake a little more as they get older. This is well enhanced if they partake generously in alcohol.

By now, it may have began to dawn on the more alert amongst you that AS could possibly stand for Anti-Shake. Minolta pionered this, although I believe Canon do have it in some of their more expensive lenses.

Minolta have taken another route. You only have to buy it once. It is built into the camera rather than in the lenses. The Dynax D7 version is good for three stops.

This means that, if I have a 400 mm telephoto lens on the camera, and want to hand hold the shot, I would need the speed to be 1/500th of a second, With Anti-Shake up to three stops available, that would be 1/500th – 1/250th – 1/125th – 1/60th. This would enable me to use it more easily in the darker winter days.

Well, their 16-page glossy A4 brochure arrived this morning and it looks superb. I have ordered the camera body and hope to have it within a week. The only problem is that, as it is digital, my 28mm-200mm good all round zoom lens will have to be multiplied by 1.5. This means it will become 42mm – 300mm. Not so good with wide angle unfortunately. But it is not all bad news as I do like to take telephone shots much more than I like wide-angle.

I will write more on Anti-Shake after I have put the camera through a thorough testing.


* Note, In the US, Dynax is called Maxim

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Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Has anyone read Anthony Robbins huge paperback called “Awaken the Giant Within”?

For many a year I have persuaded friends to buy it, saying if you just read the first three chapters and decide you don’t like it, I will buy it back at the full price. Needless to say I knew that once they read the first three chapters they would read the whole book, and not one out of at least a dozen asked for their money back.

Anthong Robbins also holds different seminars to “help the giant within” awaken within ourselves. I went to a weekend seminar when he came over to the UK, at the Alexandre Palace. And yes, I did walk fifteen yards over burning coals in my bare feet.

One of his seminars he holds in the USA is about how we can force ourselves to win or obtain money by unleashing unknown powers in the cosmos. I know it sounds stupid but one couple were so certain in the States that the first year they attended the course they won $150,000 and the second year they one a quarter of a million.

Everyone thought he was wonderful but this idea was mooted as far back as the eighteenth century when Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote:

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.”

For thos who don’t know, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Goo-er-ter) was a German playwright, poet, novelist and dramatist. who was born in 1749 and who died in 1832.

I have emphasised the most important word above commits.

Until recently I have never won more than one and a half raffles (that’s another story) until last year when I thought I would put this into practice at press events. I have one numerous gadgets, worth between £50 and £500. I have wone a £1,000 specialist German mountain bike from Compaq. I even won a five day trip to San Jose,

The thing was, with only between 50 and 500 people in the raffles, it was easy for me to commit myself to winning. I told everyone and when the lady drew the card out of a box for the five day trip, I shouted, “Don’t bother to look at the card, just say Andrew Taylor”. She looked angrily at me and then proceeded to draw the business card. She shuddered in shock when she saw the name on the card she had drawn and that was the moment when I knew! I had won!

People suggested I could win the lottery but this is where the whole procedure falls down. In two areas. First it is almost impossible for you to give that total commitment when you sub-consciously know that the odds are 12,000,000 to 14,000,000 to one! Secondly, it doesn’t work unless you have specific objects in mind. A lot of money is not a specific objective!

So my wife and I have planned a retirement in the Algarve. We checked property prices in Almancile, priced out a Land Rover Defender (for me) and a Jguar XKS (for her) and also a ten berth Princess motor yacht (for us). Regular trips home by first class air, one trip by road at the beginning of the summer, keeping our house in the UK for these three months when the weather is not so hot.

We have planned our cost of living and how much we would have to invest at 5% return. The total has come to £3.29M and this is what we have in mind when we now do the lottery.

And yes, we know we will soon win.

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Look after one’s spouse

Here is some advice on how to ensure that your spouse is happy. As with all jokes, I show them to Pam, my wife first as I never post anything like this without her approval. If she laughs, then I take it she approves!

We will show a ladies first, and then us poor gents at the end:

It’s not difficult. To make a woman happy a man only needs to be :

1. a friend

2. a companion

3. a lover

4. a brother

5. a father

6. a master

7. a chef

8. an electrician

9. a carpenter

10. a plumber

11. a mechanic

12. a decorator

13. a stylist

14. a sexologist

15. a gynaecologist

16. a psychologist

17. a pest exterminator

18. a psychiatrist

19. a healer

20. a good listener

21. an organiser

22. a good father

23. very clean

24. sympathetic

25. athletic

26. warm

27. attentive

28. gallant

29. intelligent

30. funny

31. creative

32. tender

33. strong

34. understanding

35. tolerant

36. prudent

37. ambitious

38. capable

39. courageous

40. determined

41. true

42. dependable

43. passionate

without forgetting to:

44. give her compliments regularly

45. love shopping

46. be honest

47. be very rich

48. not stress her out

49. not look at other girls

And at the same time you must also:

50. give her lots of attention, but expect little yourself

51. give her lots of time, especially time for herself

52. give her lots of space, never worrying about where she goes

It is very important:

53. Never to forget:

* birthdays

* anniversaries

* arrangements she makes

How to make your man happy :

1. Make love to him regularly

2. Leave him in peace


Our Salvation …

… is not yet at hand, well not right now anyway!

I have only been involved in politics since the early nineties. I do not like politicians at the best of times so belonging to a political party wasn’t honey and roses for me. In fact, I have resigned from the party I chose to rescue our country from the corrupt European Union three times to date. I rejoined each time after a short spell because there was no other choice I could make, other than the bigoted and, in my opinion, not very pleasant National Front – although I believe they keep changing their name trying to avoid the bad taste their name leaves in peoples mouths.

The UK Independence Party are at a critical course in their young life. The corrupt leadership have done nothing for us and, in fact, only started fighting our corner because an outsider who has done much more for the party in his short visit than they have since they have been in office. The outsider, Robert Kilroy-Silk was responsibe for three quarters of the latest batch of fat cats in the European Parliament.

However I will not dwell on this as I want this blog to be a fun blog, suffice to say that a British author and journalist, Martin Coles, who lives safely in Switzerland has written a blog about the seedy life of UKIP in the link below.

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