Monday, 31 December 2007

Too HIP...?

I went looking for info on HIPS and found hips instead....ok, loose link, but what I'm trying to snake my way to is a short para on the subject of Home Information Packs, or HIPS. They've just become mandatory in the UK when you sell your property and comprise of a set of documents you need to start preparing before you can market your property. The documents cover areas such as energy efficiency, leasehold info and local searches and is supposed to give buyers immediate access to the sort of information they'd usually need to get themselves after entering into discussions about an offer - sounds good, I mean this at least means that buyers can quickly check the basics before making a decision - but, and I mean BUT, would you trust the seller of a property to commission a document without doing your own checks? If you're spending a few £100'k on a place I certainly would want to make my own checks which means they're all been done twice.......and someone, somewhere, is getting paid to do the checks twice....nice little earner if you can get it!! Costs are around £350 - another area where some people's reactions have been a little extreme. If you're spending, say, £200k on a house, you've already got to cough up stamp duty, solicitor fees, moving costs etc.etc.... a few hundred quid extra on a HIP really isn't going to break the bank - and if it does you shouldn't be moving at all!!! This is where the whole HIP thing has been a bit of a mess; in principle it sounds good and you can actually compile it yourself so you don't need to pay an estate agent or solicitor to do it. By getting a HIP it also means you're serious about selling and not just probing to see what you could get (a problem in London...). I'm sure it'll all settle down but for fucks sake STOP MOANING ABOUT THE COST - if you can't afford £350 on top of your existing moving costs then you are not in a position to consider the risk of moving - you're very likely to come up against other unexpected costs which make the HIP pale into insignificance.

Saturday, 29 December 2007

Famous Putney inhabitants

It ain't just a great place to live, there's a good chance you'll spot a famous face or two as well if you wander the streets of SW15.

Firstly, on my favourite theme of mind-numbing reality shows, ex-X Factor mentor and '80's singer Sinitta lives on Colinette Road - apparently been in some bover with the Wandsworth Council planners over some kit in her garden. Oh well, guess it's not something to worry about if you're So Macho..... :)

Next up is Amanda Burton, famous for playing the lead in Silent Witness. Mind you don't get up to any mischief in these parts....

Moving on, Sue Lawley, a well-known "broadcaster" in the UK lives on Briar Walk, just off the Upper Richmond Road (the URR as opposed to the LRR, the get it). She's on Radio 4 at the moment so perhaps a picture isn't quite the right thing to put up. Still, maybe she's got something in the pipeline for the telly!

I'll scout around and find more Faces to put on here. If you are a Celebrity and wish to appear here, please let me know or comment yourself in - a bit like Wikipedia but without the CIA getting a chance to have their say about your career....bye!

Monday, 10 December 2007

For Sale - Barclays PINsentry

Ok, so I moan a fair bit, but I mean what's the point of a Blog if you can't moan? So here's a cracker on the subject of authenticating online banking transactions - Barclays PINsentry. Oh dear. There are two ways to do things - the Right Way and the Wrong Way; this is the Wrong Way....

Let me explain. Every time I log onto my account from a PC, any PC, including my home PC, I need to insert my card into this device, enter my PIN and submit the number it gives me to the website logon page. Every time. If I get my PIN wrong it tells me. So, I'm at work and I realise my electricity bill is due today. All I need to do is log on and make the payment - just what online banking is all about. Ah. That's right, I forgot to pick up my PINsentry when I left this morning, silly me! I access my account from dozens of places, airport lounges, foreign hotels, work, home, family when I visit - am I expected to carry this device, the size of a calculator, everywhere I go? Ok, so I manage with my phone but that's about it and even that slips into my pocket a damn sight easier that this shite. What a pain, what a fucking pain.

So, I asked for some more PINsentry devices so I could have one where I needed it. Ok they said, but they cost £6 each. F*ing hell, I got a bit upset and demanded to speak to the manager. A few minutes of haggling later and I am now the proud recipient of another 2 PINsentry devices, free, bringing my grand total to 3.

Now, however, I think I can make some money out of this given the inherent ability of the device to check a PIN number for a card. So - special offer - for only £5 I will sell one of my PINsentry devices to you, allowing you to quickly verify whether you have the correct PIN number for a, err, borrowed *cough* card - remember - the device tells you if the PIN is correct. I would suggest you could carry it with you whilst "obtaining" the cards, thus ensuring that the card donator has given you the correct PIN without needing to escort them to a cashpoint. How useful. Of course it only works with Barclays cards but hell, they probably hold about a third of all UK accounts so your chances are pretty good should you chance upon an opportunity...

The reason it gripes me (apart from the murkier uses of the device) is that there are other ways, more practical ways and devices to achieve the same thing - RSA tokens for example, a small key fob or credit card thing you can pop in your wallet which gives you a unique, changing number - or a variant on the credit card device that allows you to pop in a PIN number. Quite why the physical device has to be so cumbersome I have no idea.

I've had enough, so please let me know if you're interested in purchasing a Barclays PINsentry (£1 off the RRP) and we'll sort something out using PayPal, eBay or something. I'd be interested in hearing if any other people have had similar devices thrust upon them by other banks, or if they have experienced a more pragmatic way of doing this. Ta v much.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Rhumbling on Putney Bridge

Did you know that the two scallies from the Toon, formally known as PJ and Duncan, filmed the video for their "hit" song Let's Get Ready To Rhumble on Putney Bridge? About one minute through the video there's a clip of them and their pals on the bridge, cracking stuff!

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Heathrow expansion

It's finally arrived, the Heathrow Consultation. Basically it's about prolonging the biggest national disgrace in the UK, the loathed London Heathrow airport, and attempting to desperately hang onto the claim to be the "busiest airport in the world".....a bit like Clapham Junction, which claims to be the "busiest train station in Britain", I do wonder why this is something to be proud of...? We've got a wonderfully busy road around here that goes by the name of the M25 but I've yet to see a single sign boasting about the log jam that frequently occurs around it.

I'm not a big fan of Heathrow, and even less so when you consider the shambolic rise to fame it has enjoyed courtesy of successive governments (involving, no doubt, plenty of payoffs, er, expenses, sorry...). Noise and pollution concerns seem to play second fiddle to (apparent) benefits to the economy and national interest.

Heathrow cannot be allowed to expand

So: What can we do?
First, go to and fill in the response form. Be honest, if some of the plans don't impact you then don't pretend they do - but make sure you're clear what the plans mean. I've got some links on the side of my blog for more info.
Second, write to your MP and make it clear what your views are.
Third, tell people about the plans and make sure your neighbours and friends actually know what's in the pipeline.

More to follow......

Monday, 12 November 2007

I'm a celebrity.....?

Right, who the hell are these people:

Gemma Atkinson
Janice Dickinson
Jason 'J' Brown (Joker, Jackass, Jerk, etc....)
Lynne Franks
Rodney Marsh
Anna Ryder Richardson
Cerys Matthews
John Burton Race
Marc Bannerman

Apparently, they're "Celebrities", ie. a breed of shitesters desperately seeking adoration and for whom the very essence of being is to be "Known". There is a saying, those that can do, those that can't become Celebrities. Well this lot can't so I suppose it makes them perfect fodder for yet another reality show (X-Factor and Celebrity Come Dancing are still showing....zzzzzzzz). Right now I wouldn't like to bet who'll win, partly because I don't give a toss and also because it'll be down to the lazy sponging couch potatoes who form the ranks of the Gainfully Unemployed to decide. Sorry, is that a bit harsh? Of course, my mistake, they're all busy making their money by dealing drugs and flogging half price Sky cards down the local (where they also spend their dole money). This country's gone mad for supporting lazy goodfornothings who deserve nothing less than to lose their benefits and be told to get back on their feet and work for a fucking living. At least the Celebrities realise they need to do something, even if it does involve adverts for Iceland (oops, she was c.2004).
Well I'm sure I'll have plenty more to say about it as the series continues (not that I watch it, of course!), perhaps there'll be a surprise appearance (maybe, even, a Celebrity...?) and maybe, oh I hope so, maybe they'll be asked to eat some mucky stuff from the jungle....? Is this what TV has come to?

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Putney webcam, anyone?

I went looking for a webcam in Putney recently, thought there's be a veritable hoard of them. Well, there may be one or two but this one really caught my eye. There's a lot of things to take pictures of in Putney, but take a look and let me know what you think is the dominant theme here....

Monday, 22 October 2007

The McCann saga

It's quite something, isn't it? It's not that I don't sympathise but the media coverage here in the good old UK has been somewhat OTT for some months now. With the investigation now moving into the realms of DNA tests to rule out bodies in the boots of cars you wonder if a) the investigation is actually going anywhere and b) how much of what you read is actually generated from the tiniest snippett taken out of context and painted across the front of newspapers. Personally I'm sure there's plenty going on and it does seem to have been an extraordinary series of events but surely now it's time to put it somewhere towards the back of the papers until something concrete turns up. If I could quote from today's (22nd Oct 2007) Sun newspaper, "ANGRY Kate and Gerry McCann were “horrified” yesterday that cops’ CIGARETTE ASH could have contaminated evidence about daughter Maddie’s disappearance. ". Give me a fucking break. But why blame just the written press, Sky news says, "The chief of Portuguese police has said officers will travel to the UK "in days" to re-interview friends who dined with the McCanns on the night their daughter Madeleine disappeared.". This is the same website with a dedicated Madeleine section ( to provide exhausting coverage of this laborious story.

If you think this is all starting to look a bit like another "Diana" then you're not far wrong - Private Eye ( has already got there with this satirical viewpoint:

So on we go, quite frankly I've had enough of the whole thing and surely even the family themselves must be sick of the coverage - stuff the story, move on!

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Just warming up

So, is the WWW really a free-4-all? Can I say what I want, without censorship or fear of being shut up? I'm going to find out by clearly stating a few basic facts about the life we lead today, facts which usually go unsaid or are swept under the carpet. You'll probably recognise a lot of what I'm saying and may agree, or perhaps disagree, but either way it'll be here for you to respond to.

So, for starters, this whole Madeleine McCann thing, anyone care?