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Toilet app – flushed with success

Fancy an investment? A toilet-related problem at work has given me a brilliant idea for an app... The current lack of conveniences available for use in our offices is, well – inconvenient. Due to some underground pump-relating thingies failing (I’m very technically-minded, as you can see) we currently have to walk to different buildings several minutes away to spend pennies. Or other amounts of coinage.

We have options, which means I’ve visited a fair few lavatories I’ve never been to before. Some were good, some were bad. Some had very good things, but were let down in other ways. Sharing my in-depth report on my visits with strangely underwhelmed colleagues, I realised there was a money-making opportunity here – a loo rating app for you phone.

Why go through the misery of not knowing if a toilet is going to be nice, when you can open your phone and let the app show you ratings for your nearest available bogs? I had come up with a name, based on the popular “TripAdvisor”, but that’s …
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Let’s get ready to royal!

So, you’ve successfully set up home beneath a rock. Congratulations. You therefore haven’t heard anything at all about the forthcoming royal wedding. For the rest of us, it’s been a pretty relentless week of news about Harry getting hitched. Mis-hearing it, I initially thought the 5th in line to the throne was preparing to marry Angela Merkel, which was somewhat surprising, as she’s already married (for starters).

But no, the bearded Prince is preparing to say “I jolly well do” to American actress, Meghan Markle. Just to put the icing on the wedding-cake of news overload that ensued following the announcement, the BBC website even has a running stream of updates featuring both actual news and fascinating insights and opinions on the hottest topic of the week.

In hindsight, I should have used some inverted commas around two of those items: ‘News’ is somewhat pushing it, when it’s basically the same bits of information endlessly re-played in slightly different ways. ‘Fascinating insight…

Kadjar goo goo

A while ago, one of those letters dropped through my letterbox that really helps to instil a sense of trust between you and your car manufacturer. In this instance the letter was from Renault, maker of my humble Twingo. The missive was a safety recall. Apparently, the bonnet and rear wing (if you’re thinking Formula 1 technology, you’re sorely mistaken) had potentially not been bonded correctly.

Right – that’s probably not good is it? And they may fall apart whilst you’re driving, putting yourself and other road users at risk. Seriously not good, then.

So a few weeks later, during which nothing detached itself in a dangerous fashion from my car, I rolled up at the garage to have my tiny chariot glued back together. Properly. Not with a Pritt Stick or whatever they used first time around.

On presenting myself to the service receptionist, she cheerfully told me my courtesy car was just outside - “The black one”. I could see a small tank... maybe it was behind that. It turned out that th…

Shouting in the social media mirror

It was always tricky to fit everything you wanted into the intentionally short character count of Twitter, especially when, like me, you tend to write ridiculously long sentences that keep going on and on, with no discernible end in sight, until you start wondering what the point was in the first place.
The maximum length of a text message originally limited a tweet to 140 characters, due to it being a common way to post your ramblings in Twitter’s early days.

Ten years later, we’ve largely consigned texting to the tech dustbin, and after a lot of angst, the social media platform’s bigwigs have finally opted to double your ranting capacity to 280. Responses ranged from “You’ve ruined it! Closing my account!” to the far more common “Meh” of modern disinterest. As someone rightly pointed out, just because you have twice as much capacity doesn’t mean you actually have to use it.

It is, of course, and excellent opportunity to use the English language correctly and include punctuation, fu…

Paradise lost

Mired in an unpleasant and seedy world of harassment accusations and casting couch impropriety, some of the rich and famous elite needed something to take them off the front pages. Lo and behold it happened this week, but only by turning a spotlight on some of the rich and famous elite’s financial sleight-of-hand and unscrupulous practices.

The leaking this week of a veritable mother-load of financial document relating to everyone from senior royals to the stars of Mrs Brown’s Boys (as if they hadn’t already done enough bad things) provided some entertainment, for me at least.

People with oodles of money being made to feel bad about their dodgy tax-avoidance shenanigans? Grand. Unfortunately, they’ve still got lots of dosh in the bank (wherever it may be), so I doubt they’re too traumatised.

We have a notoriously short attention span nowadays, so we will probably have forgotten all about... the thing... sorry, what were we talking about again?

Obtained by a German newspaper, the stagg…

Blurring the positive and negative

It’s been an interesting week of experiences, good and bad... but some of them less obviously one or the other. Allow me to explain. First of all, there’s an obvious one which was not only good, but simply joyous. Whilst dropping Mrs G off at the station early one morning, a tiny wren landed on the wing mirror of our car, sat motionless for a few moments, then flitted away. Wonderful.

By the same logic, seeing someone damage their car five minutes later at the petrol station should be categorised as bad. However, this was a souped-up VW, with tinted windows, ridiculous spoiler, massive shiny chrome exhaust tailpipe and a spiky haired surly lad behind the wheel, who pulled into a parking space as I was leaving the shop.

Unfortunately for the young driver (and presumably his ego), he apparently forgot the ground-skimmingly low front spoiler as he pulled up to the kerb. A kerb that was several inches higher. The loud bang/crunch noise was a delight. I believe the Germans have a word for…

Getting the House in order

I had a plasterer and electrician round this week. The work they did cost me getting on for £570. Add another seven zeroes to that, and you’ll reach 5.7billion quid – the possible cost of repairing the crumbling Houses of Parliament.

The nursery rhyme got it wrong – it’s not London Bridge that’s falling down, it’s London’s parliamentary home. After 150 years of literally plastering over the cracks and carrying out running repairs, the Grade 1 listed building is at risk of sinking, falling to bits, catching fire or an exciting combination of all three at the same time, thanks to outdated cabling, a sewage system straight out of an engineering museum, and an extra large helping of chronic indecision.

Despite a report five years ago warning that damage may be major and irreversible, MPs are still having a good old think about it, and unlikely to come up with an answer for another year and a half.

Politicians putting off a decision that might prove unpopular with the people who elect th…