Door to door

The other day I decided it was necessary to phone the police. This is what happened:

There was a knock on my door. I answered and a young man waved some paper in a plastic cover at me saying he was an ex-offender. I assumed the paper was some form of ID, his passport was also visible in the bag
I’d bought some stuff from people like these a few years ago and it was poor quality and expensive, almost as bad as Betterware stuff. So I said no thanks and this chap wandered further down the street. I shut the door.
I then heard my neighbour speaking to the other “salesman”. The “old boys” live next door. They are in their 80s and quite deaf and vulnerable. I do their shopping when it’s icy. I opened my door and:
“There’s a no-cold-calling sign in the window” I informed the second young man.
“Sorry I’m dyslexic” was the response.
“Well now you know so please leave the old man alone”, I requested.
“No cold calling signs are big with a red outline, he hasn’t got that so I’m talking to the old man. He’s asked to look at the gear so that’s what I’m doing”. The atmosphere was turning oppressive.
“Will you please leave him alone”, I continued.
Now the 1st ex-con started back towards my house.
“Sorry mate, did you want to buy something?”
“No”, I re-confirmed.
“Just being nosy then!”

At this my neighbour was left alone and both guys walked further down the road. The dyslexic one reading a text on his phone.
I never really thought that people could be rude or target old people even though I’ve seen it in tv. These two young men were pushy salesmen. I doubt they were doing this as part of a reform programme I think they were just out to con people. Real salesmen wouldn’t get aggressive with the public. They would maintain their professionalism. These two were just scumbags out to make money whatever way they can.
I phoned the police to let them know. Next time I’ll take a picture with a digital camera and post it.
Here are the google results for news items about ex-offenders and door to door sales.

BBC News
Barry District News
Whaleybridge Forum
South Kesteven

Tear Gas and gun shots

Following on from my blog post about bombs in London that I had heard I thought I would write about just 2 more incidents of “slightly scary stuff that has happened to me”.

I am pretty sure it was New Year’s Eve of 1995 going into 1996. We had an Eve Eve party the night before and I may have been feeling the worse for wear. I am sure I was not drinking alcohol and we had left our flat in Ealing and were in, I think, the Harrington Arms. Someone will correct me. I was drinking orange juice, because of the night before. We were in the basement area and I went to the gents. When I came back I was greeted by one of our party who I thought was really upset and crying. It turns out this was just the effects of the tear gas that was working its way through the pub. Someone had let off a canister for fun as far as I knew and it soon affected me. My eyes and nose hurt and I felt even worse than I had from the night before. Needless to say we left and went elsewhere before heading to Parliament Square for the midnight hour.

The next incident happened on FA Cup final day in 1996 or 1997. I was at a flat just off the North End Road in London and was happily not really paying attention to the game when there were three loud bands and shouting from the flat beneath. I called the police. A while later there were plenty of armed police outside the block and they were calling up to the flat below me. I just waited and eventually someone was led away from the flats and the police spoke to me about what happened. I think the guy below just fired blanks in a rage but it didn’t matter to me. I think it could have been worse if I was out in the open and heard gun shots when I knew there shouldn’t be any.

Oh well. Life is much less exciting out here in the countryside.


Following the bomb that went off in Oslo, I decided to write down my experiences of terror.
During my time as a student in London there were 15 bombs or left packages left either by the IRA or by middle east terrorists. I lived there from 1992 to 1996. There were some huge explosions and many people died, but 99.999% of the population were safe. I always checked in at home after an explosion, calling my mum from a phone that was attached to the wall via a cable! I never really understood the worry she would face but now I have my children I get it at last.
The first bomb I heard was during my first year at Imperial College. I was asleep in student halls in South Kensington (actually they were in Westminster but I’m being picky!). I woke to the sound of a blast of thunder and I turned sides. When I became a little more conscious I realised it was sunny outside and so the noise must have been a bomb. I mentally shrugged and then went back to sleep. I don’t know what time I then woke up but I remember not being really bothered by the bomb. Fortunately no one was injured or killed. Those sort of things happened. It was 10th January 1992.
The second bomb I heard was more of a shock. By this time I was working for the students’ union of Imperial College and we had offices in the Beit building. There had been a fire alarm and so we were gathered in the quadrangle waiting for the all clear when there was a very loud boom. I knew it was a big bomb and quite close. I was worried about people and hoped that help would arrive. I also knew there was nothing I could do. There would be many people gathering to help. Some other members of the student union staff were visibly shocked and moved by the bomb. This time it was a big car bomb planted by someone from the middle east as they had just blown up the Israeli embassy. 20 people were injured and there was a lot of damage. It was 26 July 1994.
These days it seems we are more worried about terrorism without having the terrorism. It bothers me that we have lots of hype from the press and the government. The rigmarole we go through to get on a plane or visit a tourist attraction bothers me. The data show that no threats have been beaten through these security measures, the plots that have been stopped were caught by old fashioned police and intelligence work.
Time to get real on terrorism I think. Yes, there is a threat, but there always has been. We are a global power and so will always face having to deal with disgruntled people.

Hawaii 5-O

This re-imagined TV show is brilliant.
A friend, Jase, really likes CSI Miami and I have tried to watch it but find it extremely clichéd. CSI Miami is poorly scripted, it is poorly shot and poorly acted (apart from Emily Procter). However, Jase finds something to enjoy and thoroughly raves about it.
I now understand what he means. Hawaii 5-O is poorly scripted, reasonably acted and extremely clichéd.  The scenery is brilliant. The technology used is rubbish. The actors are glamorous and the plot appalling. I love it.
I vaguely remember the original series, watching it with my dad when I was younger. I do not remember whether it was any good. I am worried that if I went and watched the original series it would be like seeing 1980s Dr Who or Blakes 7. In my mind these shows are brilliant but if I was to  see them I know I would be disappointed. I have recently seen some episodes of Space 1999 and it is amazingly dated!
5-O is shot in Hawaii and makes the islands look fantastic. It is a brilliant advert for a visit. I can’t help feeling that Hawaii is somewhat wasted on the Americans! The actors are very glamorous and include members of the cast of Lost (good early on) and Battlestar Galactica (all good). The premise of immunity of the 5-O crew is somewhat bothersome for a humanist, but a brilliant plot device. The relationship between the main two characters is well scripted with them arguing like a married couple. I love them driving between crime scenes for the discussions they have. The idea that a police group can hack into any bank account, any phone account, utilities, CCTV system or triangulate a mobile signal is rather far fetched but I guess some of the population believe it.
This show is a great find and well worth watching as it is brain dead TV. It takes no brain power to watch but entertains.