Anorak Man - Roland Beaney

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Where does your car live? - Dec 2002

Why do people leave their cars out on the drive or on the road all night when they have a garage? Why do we take such pride in our cars yet leave them on the road rather than in the garage? We spend hours cleaning them and adding gadgets to them, and then wonder why thieves steal them when it is so easy to break into them overnight.

It is incredible that we leave cars worth thousands of pounds outside all night and then lock up our junk in the garage. Would you leave thousands of pounds on your desk in the office when you have a safe?  Have you ever looked into your neighbours garage to see what they keep in there in fact have you ever looked inside your own garage to see what rubbish you have been storing in there. Why do we need to keep so much rubbish just in case we may need it sometime. Most of it will never be used in a hundred years. We buy something in a car boot sale because we think we may need it and it is a bargain and then 5 years later we try to sell the same thing in another car boot sale ourselves.

If you have an older car it would probably start better in the cold weather if you kept it in the warm dry garage overnight and it must be safer driving off in the morning without that covering of frost or condensation on your window. Just think you could save all that scraping of ice in the morning.  

Your excuse could be that the garage is too small for your car but why didn't you think about that when you bought it.

So lets have a clear out of the garage day and get those cars put away where they belong then you could start the day with a nice warm frost free car. The local thief will have to search a lot harder to find a suitable vehicle to steal and you may find that your insurance company will give you an extra discount as well.  


BBQ or not !! - Oct 2002

It amazes me how much people spend on equipment for a garden BBQ. and only use it about twice a year.  I must admit to being anti BBQ and I would rather sit at a table indoors to eat my food but I suppose for some people it does make a change to cook and eat in the garden occasionally. I only wish that people would direct the evil smelling smoke away from my windows though. There is nothing worse in my mind than the smell of the smoke from a  BBQ and it always happens on a fine day when my windows are open to get some fresh air into my house.

 Most people also have a very restricted menu for their Barbie's usually sausages and burgers. If you can afford all that money on the equipment for a BBQ then surely more money could be spent on cooking something more exotic. Personally I would rather cook my food on the kitchen cooker and take the food into the garden on a tray but then if you are an avid BBQ fan then would probably say ,"The food tastes better cooked outdoors" and I suppose for some people the taste of food smoked on a BBQ is different.

I will stick to the traditional way on my indoor cooker at least I can leave my windows open and enjoy the sweet smell of a fine day.

 If you have something to moan about please send me an e-mail


Text Messaging - Oct 2002

If you received a message saying "CUL8R" on your mobile phone would you understand what it meant? If you are over 30 possibly not but if you are a teenager then you would know that it means "see you later". If you are over 30 then you will know what "ASAP" means because for years you have been using that term at work when someone asks you to do a job. These are all abbreviations used in Text Messaging. 

 Morse Code was consigned to history long before Text Messaging was thought of - or was it?  because the beeps that you hear when a message is received on your mobile phone is Morse Code for "SMS" or "short message service" which is the official term for Text messaging. These messages are limited to 160 characters and the abbreviations cut down the time it takes to type out the message on a mobile phone key pad which can be tedious.

There are times when sending a text message is better than phoning, your friend may have their phone turned off or they may be in the doctors, at school, asleep in bed or having their lunch so it can be more convenient and cheaper to send a short text message.

It is not difficult to send a text, most phones are different so you will have to read the instructions that came with the phone or check one of the companies or manufacturers web sites for your particular model. Predictive text can speed things up but it can be confusing at first. The phone has a built in directory that can guess the words that you require.

Sending texts can be quite cheap and there are a range of tariffs to suit your needs. Normally they cost about 12p per message but on some tariffs it can be as low as 5p per message.  Some tariffs give a number of free messages as part of a deal if you do a lot of texting. You can also send a text message from your computer at or and Lycos will give you five free text messages a day.

Text alerts are becoming more popular and you can get information sent to you by text. News, weather, TV programmes and football scores can be sent to your mobile this way.

So get texting and remember its not all for the teenagers. Its available for "NE1" (anyone) of any age and if you get a message saying "RUOK" then reply by saying "GR8" - got it?   


Fair Trade - Aug 2002

Do you ever get a guilty feeling when you buy goods produced in third world countries and wonder how much these people get for all their hard work producing these goods. Many items on our shopping lists are produced in developing countries by millions of families who do not get a fair share of the wealth created by their own skills and effort.

So what should you do?

When you do your shopping look out for the fair trade mark. Supermarkets and health food shops are selling an increasing range of these foods and beverages. Look out for products from fair trade organisations such as Tradecraft, Oxfam and Equal exchange. At present the fair trading mark is applied to a limited range of commodities ie coffee, tea, cocoa, sugar, honey, bananas and orange juice. Unfortunately non food products are more difficult and clothing is a major area where reform is badly needed.  Encourage businesses to better practice by asking them if their company have a code of conduct for purchases from the third world and is it independently monitored? I have a list of contacts if you want to get more involved contact me at

If everyone practices fair trade then millions of people in third world countries can look forward to receiving a fair price for their skills and effort in producing our food. They will then be able to do the things we take for granted like sending their kids to school or going to see a doctor when they are ill

What makes you cringe - Aug 2002

I decided to take a bath recently and there was the biggest spider you've ever seen in there. Now I don't mind mice and I  held a snake once but spiders make me cringe. To make things worse there was no one in the house to remove it for me. Luckily the girl next door came round and caught it in a large plastic container and her dad took it across the road and released it into the bushes. Now that was a very lucky spider because her sisters dog loves to eat them. Now does that make you cringe? If you have a story to make us cringe please send it to me at the following address


Mobile Phones - July 2002

Have you ever tried to work out how many times you break the law driving to work in the mornings. Is your tyre slightly underflated, did you break a speed limit, has one of your lights become defective, did you ignore a stop sign or did you use your mobile phone whilst driving? With so many laws aimed at the motorist it would be almost impossible for the most law abiding citizen to get to work without breaking some of them. The motorist must have more laws to obey than anyone else in society. We must accept though that the motorist has a very dangerous machine in his hands and it is understandable that safety is paramount. Too many people are injured or killed by a moments lapse in concentration.

Now should the use of a mobile phone be banned? There are many other things in a car that can distract our attention, have you ever tried to load a cassette or CD while you are driving or even tried to tune to another station? Do you have a screaming child in the back seat? have you ever tried to read a map while you are doing 60mph on the motorway? I once saw a driver reading a newspaper, and the site of a couple kissing while they were overtaking me sent shivers through my body. How  could he concentrate with her alongside him. Smoking can be dangerous while you are driving, can you concentrate on the road ahead when you are searching for the lighter, opening the packet of cigarettes and then light the cigarette. What do you do when a red hot piece of ash drops on your trousers or skirt? You would be amazed at the distance you have covered while you are lighting up.

Now we come to the mobile phone user, we've all seen them coming round the corner holding a phone up to their ear.  What do they find to talk about all the time? But its not only the motorist, I once narrowly missed a pedestrian straying onto the road with a can of beer and a cigarette in one hand and a mobile phone in the other writing a text message.

We must remember that there are many things that distract our attention while we drive and before we complain about the mobile phone user in the next car lets look at ourselves first and consider all the things we do that distract our attention from our driving.  


Exercise !! - July  2002

When I am sitting in my nice comfortable armchair munching a bar of chocolate I look out of the window and watch the joggers going past my house and I think to myself perhaps I should be doing some exercise. Then I see the haggard look on the joggers faces and I wonder if thats what exercise does for you then I would rather stay in my chair with my chocolate bar.

Unfortunately  I have been putting on a few inches round my waist so I feel that I need some exercise. I thought I was reasonably fit but recently I have had a few days off work to do some decorating and gardening and the poor old body was feeling the strain. You should have seen me after a few minutes raking the lawn!!! if only one of those joggers would stop and rake the lawn for me I am sure it would do them more good than pounding the streets.

A few years ago I joined a circuit training group and I really enjoyed it, after a few sessions I felt really good and quite fit. Unfortunately it closed down because few people turned up and I am still looking for a suitable group. Bums and Tums and aerobics are ideal for some people and those gyms with rowing, running, and cycling machines are very popular for people that want to improve their physique. There are many swimming pools, tennis clubs and bowling clubs so there is something to suit everybody.

So there is no reason why you cannot keep fit, enjoy yourself and make friends at the same time and if you run a club or a keep fit session please advertise so that we can all join and I may lose those extra inches around my waist so that I can wear my best suit again.


Unwanted Gifts - July 2002

Sometimes you receive a present from someone that is so sad and you feel too embarrased to wear it.I was given a chunky jumper once and it stayed in the drawer for years until a moth found it and started eating it. I wore that jumper once when I visited the person that gave it to me, she was so thrilled to see me wearing it and promptly bought me another one.

On another occasion I was given a box of Turkish Delight. I hate them but I had to thank the person for buying them for me even though I could not eat them and they bought me a box every Christmas for the next ten years.

Can you imagine the millions of pounds spent on unwanted presents every year. No wonder jumble sales and car boot sales always produce a vast amount of good quality items for sale.

Recently I was given a pair of socks. These socks played a well known football tune every time you pressed the football stuck to the side of one of the sock. These socks were soon placed right at the back of my drawer. One day these socks found their way to the front of the drawer. One dark morning when I got up I groped for a pair of socks and unfortunately put these socks on and went to work. That morning I had a meeting at work and the chairman hated those mobile phone ring tones that play anything from Bach to Britney Spears. When the meeting started the sound of "Match of the Day could be heard. The chairman looked around and said," Who is the person with the mobile phone" Everyone looked around the table at each other but no one owned up. Then the tune played again and I suddenly realised it was my socks. Every time I crossed my legs the back of my foot pressed the football and the tone started playing . I owned with a red face and when I showed them my socks everyone fell about laughing.

If you have an amusing story about an unfortunate present please send it to me at and donate your gifts to your local charity but don't tell the person that gave it to you.


Support your local charity - May 2002

I was once asked if I would help organise duck races to raise money for a charity. My first thought was that they must be quackers but then I felt that it was unfair to make those poor birds race each other. Then it was explained to me that the ducks were plastic ones.


Its amazing how many different things people do to   raise money for charities. Swimming, walking, skating, cycling, bungee jumping, parachuting and much more. I was asked to do a sponsored knit in, they taught me to do a plain and pearl and all was well until the press rang me, it seemed that I was the first male to do a knit in. They got their pictures.


The Romsey Support Group of NCH organise a door to door collection every year and I was asked to help.I knocked on a door and all I could hear was screaming kids. Eventually a very harassed person came to the door and I said," Good evening, I am collecting for the National Children's Home" The person said, "There are 6 of them here, take the lot"


On another occasion I was collecting in the town centre dressed in a dragons outfit. I tried to move but I seemed to be stuck, when I turned round I found a kid sitting on my tail.


Having collected lots of money I went into the bank to pay it in. The bag of money was very heavy and when I swung round the bag demolished all the barriers. The bank staff were not amused.


I dressed up as a bear at the local garden fete. Thankfully no one recognised me inside the very hot outfit but my biggest embarrassment was when I went outside the garden and bumped into a group of Japanese tourists. They had very puzzled expressions on their faces wondering what English people did in their spare time.


Its not usually that bad though in fact it can be good fun, so help your local charity by giving up some of your spare time and help them to raise money for some worthy cause, you will feel better for it. The NCH Romsey Support group urgently need volunteers to help them with their many events in the Romsey and Wellow area.


If you can help then please email me at or visit my website at and use the link. You could also phone 01794524380


Names - May 2002

Fred Flintstone was a very apt name for a man that lived in stone age times and with Barney Rubble must have found their names very embarrassing in those tough times. In Canada recently when a member of a church congregation was sent to see Father Christmas she was expecting to see that white bearded gentleman with a red coat and was surprised when she was introduced to a real life Father Christmas because that was the Fathers real name. When a letter arrived for a private Car everyone thought it was someone's car tax but it was a private Car in the army and a few years later he got promotion and become a staff Car. There are hundreds of women in the United Kingdom called Carol Singer and hundreds of men called Albert Hall. It must be fun when your dentists name is Phil McCavity and a bit embarrassing if your name was Bob Down and you had a brother called Ben and a sister called Eileen. Now come on say them out aloud. Other names that might amuse you. Jack Daw, Helen Back, Ewe Bend, Rick o Shay, Hugh Rinal, Teressa Brown and her friend Terresa Green, Lou Rolls - a musician, Sandy Shore and Polly Styrene - singers, Sandy Beach, Jerry Can, Max Headroom - a comedian, Cherie Cake, Cliff Walker and Gail Warning another singer. Annette Curtain had a few problems convincing people that she was not a net curtain and Mr and Mrs Sprout called their son Russell. Mr Ball had a few problems when he became a real Cannon Ball in Rochester Cathedral a few years ago.


Beef Burgers - May 2002

I can never understand why vegetarians prefer to eat their vegetables shaped like meat in the form of sausages and burgers. Instead of mashing, mincing and shaping the vegetables into brown sausages or burgers would it not be better to have a nice red carrot, green beans or peas on your plate in their natural state.

Most meat eaters are just as bad because they prefer their meat in the form of a brown sausage or burger. Would it not look and taste better to have a nice red steak in your plate. Why do we have such a preference for these flat brown things that go in a bun.

I have been a vegetarian for about 12 years now and I must admit that many of my vegetables are shaped and made to taste like meat even if they are made of vegetables. I pay more attention to making sure that there is no gelatine or animal products in my food than to what the food looks like in the plate. Most foods are marked clearly now and it is much easier to select your diet choices but you still have to be careful of those snacks and goodies that you are offered at parties. because they can still contain animal products.

Lets try to leave our food in its natural state instead of shaping it into convenience food like burgers then we can be sure of what we are eating. Lets make natural food more interesting for the youngsters and try to prove to them that food in its natural state can be just as tasty.


What makes you sick? - April 2002

The things that make me sick

Road Humps

 The road outside our house was very bumpy. Then one day the workmen came along and repaired it. They did an excellent job, the ruts and bumps were all gone and it was a joy to drive along. I congratulated the council on spending my tax money wisely.

Then a few days later the workmen came back and put bumps back onto the road. They called them speed bumps or sleeping policemen. As I drove home that night I was confronted by a series of mounds in the road that jarred my bad back. I tried hard to avoid them without success. Other cars were slowing down and then speeding up pumping out more pollution and swerving to avoid them. Strangely they didn't seem to effect the larger white vans and heavy goods vehicles that charged along at their usual speed.

I wrote to the council to ask them for figures as to how many accidents these bumps have prevented in other areas but they did not give me any figures They told me that these bumps do reduce speed which can reduce accidents. Why they had spent thousands of pounds on making the road smooth and then spent thousands to make it bumpy again. Surely it would have been cheaper to have left the original bumps and saved my tax money.

I am in favour of any ideas to reduce accidents but not with these bumps and humps please.


Fence Painting - April 2002

I remember when I was a young lad my father handed me a large pot of Creosote and said," Get out there lad and creosote the fence". I hated the stuff, it stank and because it was very runny most of it ended up on me in the form of spots that looked like black measles or on the garden killing off many of his plants. These days thankfully there are many types of wood treatments at your local garden centre or shops  that don't smell as bad and are much kinder to our plants. They come in a variety of pleasant colours and shades to add a bit of colour to your garden. Unfortunately some people still insist on using the old creosote and if you are one of these people make sure your neighbour does not have any climbers growing up his side of the panel because he will  lose them all.  Creosote still has its uses but not on my fence panels please. 

Gadgets - April 2002

I have been looking at some gadgets on sale in the shops and by mail order.
You can take a bath or shower to your favourite CDs or Radio Station with a shower music centre for under 80. It has a clock and a clip to hang on the shower rail. It is completely waterproof for the person that floods the bathroom.
For your wife doing the cooking there is a Kitchen Audio Centre. Complete with CD and FM radio she can cook to the sounds of her favourite music for 99.90.
If you just want to relax in bed to your favourite TV channel there is a Philips wireless TV link that will send the Satellite and Video signals around the house with a range of up to 30 meters and no holes to drill. It also transmits the remote control commands so that you can change channels without getting up. The TV link costs 129.
If your wife complains about the noise from the TV in bed there is a pair of FM cordless headphones for 49.99.
To save you lifting a finger to change channels I found a remote control that recognises your voice and accent so that you can speak commands to your TV. It will operate up to 8 devices and is completely voice activated so that when you say "switch on TV" it will do it for you and do don't have to move an inch.
If your wife is in the garden while you are watching TV in bed you can call her to bring you up a cup of tea with a pair of two way Walkie Talkies for 79.99. They have a range of 3 KM if you have a large garden.
For the ultimate TV addict you can buy a pair of bed specs for 29.99. You can lie flat on your back in bed and the prisms in the specs will deflect your vision by 90 deg. So that you can watch your TV without lifting your head.
If you ever get out of bed to drive your car you can have a cigarette lighter adapter that gives you three sockets so that you can plug in your cassette player, car vacuum cleaner and charge your mobile phone all at the same time.
Perhaps someone will soon vent a voice activated device to operate your mobile phone in your car.

Patio or Lawn? - April 2002

My Mother in Law is a very active person but she is getting on in years now so she decided to replace much of her lawn with a patio and stone features She thought this would mean less work because she found the weekly mowing of the grass was getting beyond her. When the patio was laid she decided it was a bit bare and needed brightening up so she bought pots and planted them up  to add a splash of colour. It looked great but this was where the trouble started because instead of a weekly cut for the grass she had a daily chore of watering and tending to all these pots and the patio needed a regular clean. She found herself spending more time looking after the patio than when it was a lawn. Personally I think a good lawn is an asset to any garden and need not take up too much of your time to keep it in good order. The shops and garden centres have a large range of cutting and edging equipment to keep your lawn in trim and they sell many types of lawn treatments to keep your lawn weed free and green. Small beds can be set aside for your plants to add colour. Consider carefully the consequences before digging up your lawn.

Spring garden clear up - March 2002

During the winter months we rarely venture out into the garden because it either resembles a swamp or an artic wasteland. The wind has blown your fence panels into the neighbours garden damaging his shrubs and you try to avoid him at all costs. The slugs are the size of snakes and they are busy munching anything left. Dead leaves are piling up against the shed and cats from miles around are using the garden as a convenience. The grass has grown so much that it covers your boots - does it ever stop growing these days? and the bushes you forgot to prune last week have collapsed in a heap.

Now is the time to start the clean up because the nights are getting shorter and you cant keep avoiding your neighbour.

Despite all this, gardening can be fun and you can create a beautiful garden from all these shambles so that when summer comes you can sit back with a glass of wine and admire the results of all your efforts without a backache

Firstly write down a list of the jobs to be done. This can be considerable so don't worry. Write alongside the priority in order of importance. It is important to plan your tasks taking into account the weather conditions.

You may decide to make grass cutting a high priority if the weather is dry because the grass can get flattened if you walk on it a lot when wet. Grass can be cut at any time of the year with a higher blade in wet weather. Secondly cleaning up the debris can have an instant effect and make the garden look much better. You may need a skip if you have lots of rubbish because cutting it all up and bagging it can take up much of your precious time. If you have tall trees and shrubs then consider calling in a tree surgeon because it can be dangerous climbing up ladders on soft ground. He will then remove all the large branches from your property.

Fence panels are easily replaced these days check all the panels and posts because when one panel falls the others usually follow soon. Metal spikes are the easiest way to replace the posts and these can be bought in most garden centres. Remember when you use spikes you do not need such long posts. Try to keep the soil away from the base of the post because they can easily rot. Transporting the panels from the garden centre can be a problem but they will deliver or if you do not have a friend with a van some centres will loan you one.

Now consider attracting the birds with a bird table. I do love watching the antics of our feathered friends at meal times.

Now your garden is beginning to look better you can start to plan what you are going to buy to replace the shrubs and fill the gaps. This part is more enjoyable and again planning is important because you don't want to a shrub or tree in a place not suitable for it. It amazes me how often I see a neighbour spend a lot of time and money buying and planting shrubs only to dig them up again next year.

Gardening need not be an expensive and time consuming task if you plan your work properly. Avoid back problems and take it easy, work in short spells and you can have a beautiful garden in the summer to relax in and enjoy your glass of wine.

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