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This is the UK website for Peter and Maureen Scargill. We live in the Northeast of England and also Andalusia in Spain.

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A Sunny Weekend in Wark

Here are the results of my hard graft over the weekend – shiny wheels. I can’t believe the effort it takes just to get that black crud off the wheels – it’s as if the brake manufacturers were in league with detergent suppliers!!

Anyway, there it is on our newly gravelled driveway, several tons of stone just to give us enough room to turn the car around!  Why am I parking inside instead of outside? Well, despite living in the countryside we still have a few brain-dead kids in the area and one of my mirrors recently went to meet it’s maker thanks to the kids – with a resulting £250 insurance excess!! It seems that the policy of the insurance companies is that if you can’t prove that someone else did it – you did!  Good job our laws don’t operate that way. So from now on I’m playing it safe and the kids can screw up someone else’s cars – preferably the ones that keep taking my parking space!

Willow Cottage

After a wedding on Friday which culminated in a trip to Costco, we spent the weekend enjoying the good weather. I borrowed a petrol strimmer from our good neighbours Sonia and Chris and went to work demolishing the back garden which, due to pressure on our time had recently grown into a fully-formed jungle. It now once again resembles a garden, however my solar lamps were not so lucky as the strimmer neatly chopped their heads off one by one. Still, it was time for an upgrade anyway, the cheap ones don’t last more than a couple of years as the plastic on the top goes foggy 🙂

New pics of grandkids

See the grandchildren section in the menu above!

Happy time for Politics

It may not seem that way but this must surely be a happy time for politics – the time when labour are well and truly STUFFED. From the moment they achieved power partly because the Conservatives at the time had lost the will to live and partly because “it’s a Blair-face lie” managed to convince the middle classes that he was their friend – that’s just before he got in and taxed them to death.

FINALLY the British public have had enough and hopefully in a matter of days or weeks the current excuse for a prime minister will be OUT.  The only depressing thing about this whole affair is that a notable percentage of the British public have shown their true racist nature by voting for BNP. 

Still – there’s no doubt who’s going to get in power… so that’s a plus!

Blogs

I’m putting my blog entries in my main scargill blog/website now so please visit the site now

Windows 7 on the EEE

Just a little update for those considering putting the Windows 7 release candidate onto their computers – and in particular for those using the EEE computers by Asus.

My 904HD is the one that comes with Windows XP and a hard disk, while remaining almost a pocket-sized computer (if you have very large, slack pockets.

First of all, why would you want to install Microsoft Windows 7? After all there’s nothing wrong with Windows XP, right? Well, yes, but eventually we’ll have to move on – Vista has been out for a long time now and Windows 7 is just around the corner – and we all like something new!

Some time ago I tried putting the Windows 7 beta on it and it worked, kind of – except for the video camera, which was a non-starter. A couple of programs crashed and I thought – you know what – XP works just fine.

And so it was that a couple of weeks ago just before heading off on holiday and with the release of Windows 7 RC1 having had some good reviews, I thought I’d give it another try.

Simple enough – download the ISO file – bang it onto a DVD and if you happen to have an external drive for your EEE – install off that – if not, look at solutions involving memory sticks!

So did it work – yes. The installation went through without a hitch – the only issue I had was the screen coming up in the wrong resolution and that was rapidly resolved by looking up windows 7 EEE screen issues on Google – and a few minutes later I was installing the Intel video driver.

Camera works, mic works, screen, sound – all work.  I am sitting here typing this on an external monitor at higher res, with an external keyboard and mouse (because the EEE keyboard is frankly rubbish) and I have already installed Spotify, Windows Live Writer, Audacity, Skype, my Vodafone 3G dongle, MWSnap (a freeware screen-grabber), Firefox and a host of other programs without a single hitch.  I am CONVINCED this is running faster than XP was and am up to now quite happy to leave it running until for licensing reasons it needs replacing with the genuine article.

Helicopter Flying Day for Maureen Scargill

tmpE7On Friday gone, Maureen had her first helicopter flying lesson. After several stalls due to bad weather we finally managed to get up to the Newcastle flying club along with grandson Rory yesterday afternoon and after some delay due to the helicopter being late coming in… off she went. The session lasted half an hour during which she learned all about the controls and even had a go at controlling the flight itself.

tmpE6The helicopter was TINY but Maureen and the instructor had no problem fitting in and taking off. It’s really neat seeing these things take off at close quarters.  Her trip took her from the flying club (a stone’s throw from Newcastle Airport) down to Tynemouth and back – meanwhile in that time Rory and I in the car hardly managed to get past Dinnington and back!!! Amazing what you can do if you travel in a straight line without hindrance!

tmpE8Anyway, here are the photos and a Video of Maureen’s first helicopter flight. An exciting weekend all in – we dropped Rory off and then set back home to get packed to go to Spain… 3am start, friend Louise came over at 3.30am Sunday and we set off for Spain – all in all a pretty effortless flight sadly dented a little by the complete incompetence of GoldCar who managed to blow an hour or more of good sun tanning weather for us! We arrived in Malaga airport around lunchtime and around teatime arrived in Galera, Andalucia to finish off a cracking weekend. More about our trip at the bedrock site

A welcome break

tmp5FI have to say I’m quite looking forward to a week in Spain. The weather here in Wark has improved but it’s still only 60F in May for heaven’s sake! As long as you only go out at lunchtime it’s fine but the evenings are COLD. I’m looking forward to sitting outside in the dark with a glass of wine staring at the heavens. Hopefully this afternoon Maureen’s helicopter flight is still on – though the clouds might put the kybosh on that… then in the early hours we’re off. If it goes ahead I’ll put a video in here.

For the first time I’m turning everything off, having just about mastered getting GMAIL to work with MS Outlook properly and as a trial before we go off in the summer for several weeks. Currently downloading the Windows 7 beta to try out on the little EEE laptop (I know – BRAVE).  Updates on our travels at the Spanish blog

Massive Wind Farm

It was quite elated this morning as they announced that Britain’s biggest wind-farm with 140 windmills was to be expanded by 30 more… well that was until I discovered a video sitting next to it that said that America’s biggest wind-farm had… wait for it, up to FIFTEEN HUNDRED windmills.  It’s not as if Scotland is short of hills.

MPs Expenses – the rot sets in

HappinessI’m sorry but I just don’t buy this apology thing… now we have Gordon Brown saying that a “gentleman’s club” is just not good enough. AND HOW LONG HAS HE KNOWN ABOUT THIS?

Gordon Brown and his predecessor have been part of that old boy’s club since they came into power and knew DAMNED WELL what was going on – does anyone REALLY buy this apologetic stance?

They’re all a BUNCH OF COWBOYS and we’ve found them out. THEN we have David Cameron the opportunist – “we need an election” – well – what ELSE would you expect him to say – something ORIGINAL perhaps? What he means is “we need the Conservatives in” – as if THEY AREN’T ON THE TAKE as well!! Is this kind of blatant opportunism REALLY what we want in the only credible alternative to the corrupt labour party? When I say credible – I don’t REALLY mean credible of course as they’re JUST AS BAD.

If you caught someone stealing from your shop and they promised to pay back after they were caught, would that REALLY MAKE IT OK? Or would you still demand punishment. I WOULD!!!

And this old chestnut about them BREAKING THE RULES… for heaven’s sake THEY MADE THE RULES… rules which are that CORRUPT they are now being changed IN THE EXTREME in the hope we don’t notice that this self-serving bunch we call politicians actually used our money to set up an expenses system so corrupt that there is no commercial organisation in the world that would tolerate anything LIKE IT! Our politicians unless they REALLY ARE living in a total dream-world MUST surely have some idea what expenses are like in OTHER organisations… they surely had to be WELL AWARE that they’d set themselves up a nice LITTLE EARNER!

Of course, it’s all an awfully good wheeze to keep our minds off the fact that between them and the banks they’ve brought this country to the brink of disaster!

No More Vodafone Roaming Charges?

The Times and other newspapers, eager to report Vodafone’s current elimination of overseas roaming charges for mobile phone calls and text messages – seems to have missed the plot a little here. Yes, you can now phone for normal UK charges overseas (conditions apply), hurray… though I could not get my head around whether that came in under “inclusive minutes” or not – and IF NOT then that is still REALLY a roaming charge… but what the papers DIDN’T report is that the excessive DATA charges for overseas use are NOT being reduced.

Vodafone along with others have been merrily pushing 3G dongles for data transfer, with “unlimited access” which really means a 3gigabytes or thereabouts monthly limit – which for many uses is adequate – most modern phones will allow data use or at least allow your laptop to use the data.  It has been the case now for some time that overseas use of Vodafone data incurs a £9.99 additional daily charge for a mere 50 Meg of overseas use + £9.99 for each additional 50 Meg thereafter (indeed until recently I was paying this for a daily overseas cap of 3Gig – but that has now disappeared). This is NOT being reduced – indeed in some cases depending on the country such charges can be as high as £4.99 for each megabyte!!! 

Worse, Orange when last asked had NO intention of even matching the ridiculously high Vodafone charges. A single video or fancy Powerpoint transfer could easily eat up more than 50 meg.

A short number of years ago it was a novelty to see a laptop on a train, today they are commonplace and mobile phones with data access are MUCH more common. Millions of us make daily use of Facebook, Twitter, BBC news and a million other data services – BEWARE that these charges are NOT going away and excessive overseas use of data will empty your wallet! Until we get some real competition in this area, they can charge what they like.