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Archive for November, 2008

Newcastle Airport – the Epitome of International

Funny old thing – I’ve never been to Newcastle Airport at night to pick someone up – despite having been there so many times it feels like my second home, I’ve always been the one travelling!

Tonight we went to pick up my nephew from the USA. He’s 20 and  he’s actually in Northern Ireland at the moment and decided to pay us a visit for a fiew days. Anyway, his flight from NI was supposed to be in at around 10pm and as is often the case, when we got to the airport it was delayed by 30 minutes. No problem, we thought, it’s a Saturday night, lots to do at the airport.

Except there wasn’t a SINGLE THING TO DO. 10pm on a Saturday night and the "International" airport was a like a GHOST TOWN. WH Smiths – closed. Greggs – closed. Shops – non-existant. Some of the car rental places were closed, the rest had cameras in place of people. If I were coming in from another country to the airport at that time of night I’d be thinking I’d landed somewhere in the THIRD WORLD.  Over at the "International arrivals" section the chairs are ripped, making it very clear to visitors that we’re in a recession and can’t afford to repair things.

When the flight came in Maureen was of course ready to finish off her coffee when I reminded her that it can take at least 10 minutes for the bags to come in… and for the first time I realised there is no indication externally of when the bags are on the treadmill – for what effort it would take to make that information available to visitors so we at least know when to expect travellers to emerge.

Interesting experience – marks out of ten? two!!! A FAR CRY from a truly international airport which would acknowledge passengers from different time zones and not look like a CEMETARY at the early time of 10pm on a Saturday night!!!!

Religious Fighting – what a Farce

As if the religions of this world are not farcical enough with their miriad of incompatible beliefs – all of which are fundamental to each religion and NONE of which has the slighest shred of evidence or credibility unless you believe that just because something is printed in a book it has to be true – and as if there are not enough wars and conflicts already in the name of religion – this news item on the BBC pretty much sums it up…


TV – the vast intellectual wasteland

That title isn’t unique, I remember it from a cartoon back in the ’80s – a magazine called “Creative Computing” by David H Ahl. Sadly this was before the age of the Internet so you won’t find much about it.

I’m sitting here in our holiday home in Spain, we bought a little place in Galera in Andalucia and of course we have the Internet so I bought a little Internet radio to sit in the kitchen – from Aldi would you believe – I think it was under £30 and it works a treat. We’ve friends who live in the South of France and so we tend to tune to one of the English-speaking Internet radio stations from down there – “Riviera Radio”. Check it out – quality isn’t special but it’s nice, easy going stuff.

One of the fun things about the above radio station is the advertising – you get ads like “do you need quality staff for your luxury yacht?”. Well, we don’t have a luxury yacht but it’s kind of uplifting to listen to. Most of their ads are aimed at independent successful people.

Which brings me to daytime TV which I rarely watch but as we’re on holiday and it’s not that sunny – and we left our Sky card back in the UK, I’m seeing more BBC and ITV than usual by a mile – and it is terminally depressing.

“I was given the wrong ladder and I fell off and broke my…”

“Have you had an accident recently that wasn’t your fault…”

If you’ve ever watched terrestrial TV in the past couple of years you’ll be well familiar with these depressing phrases. That’s all you seem to hear on daytime UK terrestrial TV. One could be forgiven for thinking the entire nation is in debt and are suing each other.. maybe we are?

The first thing that would occur to me if a ladder failed would be “why didn’t I check the ladder?”

Personally – I’d take every solicitor offering no-win, no-fee accident cases and send them off to the salt mines. I can’t quite think what the charge would be but it seems to me that these messages if repeated often enough will make the entire nation think that there are no such things as accidents any more and that the first course of action is to sue someone if you get hurt – which of course is one reason that medical care in the USA is so frightfully expensive.

If I put myself in a dangerous situation I make damned sure the equipment I’m using is up to the mark and if someone handed me a dodgy ladder I wouldn’t wait until I’d broken my leg to do something about it.

One could get quite worked up about this – but it’s probably easier just to stop watching daytime TV! Between that and sport, I’m dreading the old folk’s home! Thankfully that’s quite a way off.