Ah, the horror, connected to the internets by a thin reed.
Archive for December, 2005
- A ScotRail franchise that doesn’t charge you £13.20 to travel for nearly two hours on a two car DMU with a engine so noisy that it sets off my tinnitus and leaves me unable to speak clearly for an hour or two. (And is very slow.) And for that matter, a way to Dumfries by public transport that doesn’t pass through Kilmarnock.
- Mac OS X apps that gracefully handle being off-line. So the “mail” app queues messages waiting to be sent like Eudora did, ten years ago, ahem. And the “web” app opens new tabs for pages you want to open quickly when you do connect. And doesn’t bleat about not being able to find a server when the real problem is that there’s no network connection. Doh!
- A version of 10.4 that, you know, works properly. So I can upgrade to it.
- That when emptying the Trash one is rewarded with an increase in free disk space, not a decrease.
- A mobile phone that is honest about the strength of the signal it is getting, and (this is the important bit) is also honest about how it rates its chances of actually contacting the base station across 15 kilometres of bleak, wind-swept Solway Firth. Going “bing” and complaining about a “network error” when it’s really a “I can’t contact the network” error will result in a short career.
- Peace and goodwill between, well, everybody. Obviously.
On first sight, it appears to be exactly the same as Marsedit 1, but faster. That can’t be it, can it?
I of course forgot to take a picture, but in Bulgaria, Jif is indeed referred to as Cif. Which I guess is fair enough, as Bulgarian has no letter exactly corresponding to “J”. English, however, does, and I still remain mystified why they felt the need to change it. I am also mystified at my obsession with this subject.
- Skodas and Ladas. Many, many old Skodas running around. Many with funky new paint jobs. Many with interesting legends in the windscreen. Clearly there is a fraternity who hot-rod Skodas and Ladas in the way that folks in the UK hot-rod old Fords and Vauxhalls. I have two thoughts. (1) “Cool!” (2) I think the West must have got the dodgy Skodas and Ladas in the old days… the ones in Bulgaria are FAST.
- Horses and Carts which are ordinary working vehicles, not some twee tourist money-making device. I always think of plural horses as horsen, but that’s a personal problem. Yes, there are many horsen and carta in Bulgaria, still earning a living. I like that, cos they are not chucking out carbon dioxide in the manner of an old Transit van.
- Horsen and Carta proceeding down urban dual-carriageways. Seen just once, but a pleasant sight.
- Large pigs in small trailers attached to Ladas driving though large housing estates. My guides informed me the pig was for the chop. My question; where had they been keeping it?
- Large housing estates where at the foot of every tower-block, there is some kind of useful shop. In Scotland, but not precisely where I come from, there are many tower-blocks, modeled, allegedly, on examples from Yugoslavia, but built, many miles from the town centres, with no amenities at all. The trouble this caused is still with us, 40 years later.
- GSM Shops. Every second shop in Bulgaria is a mobile phone shop. Get used to it.
- The Cyrillic Alphabet. Pure naivety on my part, but a pleasure to see. I hope it doesn’t go extinct in the name of progress.
- The Black Sea. I’m sure many Bulgarians regard seeing the Black Sea every day as being ENTIRELY NORMAL, but I am used to Atlantic Oceans and North Seas, so it was a thrill for me. Quite warm, even in November, and a slightly different colour.
- Goats. Great herds of them, being driven home through the towns at sunset.
- Half finished buildings. Many concrete skelingtons litter the land of Bulgaria. Many have been abandoned for years. I contend that this is not a good thing.
I’m back again. Turns out there was a web cafe just round the corner from me in Sliven, but I didn’t know about it until the day before I left. What an extraordinary country Bulgaria is. I’ll write more about it some time, but for now I’ll leave you with this thought; which is that the country seemed to have developed considerably, just in the three weeks I was there. Which is probably an illusion, but an instructional one.