Monthly Archives: January 2013

Head in the clouds, Feet in the mud

Now unless you have your head stuck up somewhere you can’t have failed to notice that Microsoft released Office 2013 yesterday.

Well last week I upgraded the computers here to Office 2010, and with it came the offer of a free upgrade to the next version when it came out and as I said yesterday Office 2013 became available.

So having a bit of free time last night I upgraded one of the machines to the new version, after half an hour of playing the computer was put back to Office 2010.

I was not impressed to be perfectly honest, I could best describe it by saying if it had been a pie the filling would have been described as too much gravy and not enough meat.

The big thing these days is cloud computing, or to put it in simple terms your hard drive storage elsewhere. I will say outright I am not a fan of cloud storage, I like to know where my data is and who has access to it, call me cynical but I always ask myself when I see free cloud storage advertised the question “Who is paying for it and how is it making them a profit?” In this world there is no such thing as free. Somebody somewhere is paying and somebody is trying to make a profit. Client data, browsing habits, and email content is a gold mine for money making. With that information people can target advertising.

I will give you an example. Recently our bread maker went to that great electrical scrapyard in the sky, and I had a look on Amazon for a replacement. Since then I have been bombarded with emails and on screen suggestions from the about bread makers. So you see data is valuable.

Hence me liking to know where my data is especially that connected with my business.

Anyway looking on the bright side at least the weather has improved, the garden is still a mud bath but it at least it’s drying slowly.

Start services for the year this Sunday, unless I get some volunteers come forward I now wont have a free Sunday until November 11th, still I enjoy the railway as much now as when I took over the station eight years ago.

I just hope this year I don’t spend as much time struggling to find cover for the station.

Now to get some work done before the wife gets back from shopping.

Turned out a tad cold again

Now today was one of those days that you just knew was not going to be shall we say exactly a rush!

It lived up to expectations exactly, it’s the only day this month that we are running public services, it was cold and for the most part dismal as well. The ideal ingredients for a totally unforgettable day.

Jason was with me and after between us picking up the accumulated bottles and cans we awaited the onslaught of customers before the first train at 10.40am, I am sorry to say that at the time of writing this at 8.10pm we are still waiting!

Although the day was dismal there were some highlights, I mean we started with a spattering of snow as you can see from this picture.


I know that it’s not much of a spattering, actually it’s more like a bad dose of dandruff but it was the best we could do with what we had.

We did at one time contemplate hiring out ice skates so those passing could take advantage of the lake filling half the car park that was a sheet of ice, but being a winter Sunday we could not get hold of any so shelved the idea. Never believe that you can buy anything on the internet, the inability to get the ice skates proved this theory to be incorrect.

We had more staff visit than we had normal visitors, mind you come to think of it so few of our visitors are normal that it’s not really a fair comparison.

Peter and his daughter Susan turned up and Peter proudly announced that his 4 wheel electric scooter was covered in mud, from doing what I am not sure but it certainly was not hill climbing.

Rosemary turned up as well and I sold her a ticket as she had not been asked to purchase one on the train. She was chipper as always and between getting off one train and getting on the next she tidied out the gardening cupboard with it’s array of tools and assorted junk.

David from the Big House also called Wansford turned up with details of the new prices for 2013. He had a tea and Jason did not poison him so despite us being shut for the past couple of months Jason showed he still could make tea. I hope that Jason remembered to put the tea bag up to dry as we have only used this batch a couple of times and there is lots of life left in them.

That really was it except for Nathan and Tara his better half appearing off the last train and offering me a lift home.

Business wise even an idiot could deduce we did not make a profit, still it was nice to get back in the swing and see the normal array of my non-paying visitors appear still showing the ability to walk slowly and get in the way unless there is a chance they will need to part with money in which case they are like demented monkeys with a lit fuse up their rear ends displaying the ability to move fast when they need to.

Now to continue to get warm, I think I am getting too old for this cold day opening lark, I am after all a bit on the delicate side as any crack pot will tell you.

Are they really like that?

Regular readers of my blog will notice that not many people comment, that’s true for some strange reason they prefer to contact me with comments by email. I must admit I would prefer comments on the blog itself rather than via email.

One recent email asked the question “Are all your visitors like you describe, you know irritating?

Well the answer to that question is that the vast majority of visitors are enjoyable to talk to and generally really nice people. Shop wise we have a steady flow of regulars who come in for a natter, a coffee and occasionally they will travel. But normally they just want a chat and refreshments whilst out and about. we look forward to them coming in and wonder where they are when they don’t.

That being said we do have others that range from slightly irritating to a pain in the rear. But having said that they spend money, provide amusement and are welcome. Then we have the what I call specials, to quote our American friends they are “As dumb as rocks” choosing between coffee and tea is a major task and if we have more than two varieties of crisps they will have none because they can’t make their minds up. You know the type where a Mars bar makes them feel at home as they are not of this planet. I remember one gem from a few years ago a woman who was confused by the simple fact we had white or brown sugar and sweeteners, seeing her dilemma I walked over and removed all but the white sugar, she smiled, said thanks and helped herself to white. When she had finished I just put the other two choices back and all was well with the world.

But they all make the days go by and provide endless days of amusement. I always take people at face value and if they are a real pain then I just think that we are going to shortly be rid of them and in most cases some poor soul is looking forward to them getting home. As somebody once said to me, if we did not get the irritating ones we could not appreciate the good ones.

Take yesterday, we were not open but I was there doing the glamorous jobs prior to opening next Sunday, wielding a wet mop is good for the soul so I am told. Anyway I was out on the platform admiring the dismal view towards the signal box when a woman with a dog stopped and asked this gem “Excuse me is this the railway?”  Now never being one to let the chance pass I replied “ Well it’s not the canoe club that’s for sure!” She looked at me and redeemed herself by saying “That was a really stupid question I asked wasn’t it” We agreed on that statement and she went on her way, after the dog left a liquid deposit up my gate.

So there you have it customer wise we have more variety than you get at sweet pic ‘n mix counter.

Next Sunday we start harvesting the new 2013 crop, I am looking forward to it.