Radio 4 – Home Truths – The Cattleman’s Story

I miss Home Truths, this was my favourite:

Jim Thompson got in touch with Home Truths with a tale of friendship which totally altered his perception of himself. Around forty years ago, in the 60s, Jim worked as a cattleman for British Rail…

“One day I got a load of cattle in, two year old bullocks. Depending on where they’re brought up they’re about ten or twelve hundredweight. If they’re small, you’ll get twelve in a wagon, if large, you get ten in a wagon. They must be packed in such a way that they’re fairly tight and can’t fall down and become injured and bruised. If they do that, the slaughterhouse won’t have them.

Anyway, one day, I got one in that was particularly badly bruised and looked very sorry for itself – it had fallen and been stepped on. I kept it for a week until it perked up a bit, but I couldn’t afford to let sentiment come get into the job. These cattle went to the slaughter house, and I had to divorce myself from any feelings that these live things were soon going to be dead. It took me a few months after I first took the job to get to this point.

This particular beast was a Hereford. He had long curly hair between it’s horns – and looked foolish ! He looked very sad, it’s head was down, it was steaming, there were damp patches all over it where it had been stepped on – cattle go damp when they’re bruised. I kept it in a pen on it’s own and gave it clover hay – a bit of a delicacy for cattle. Instead of coming in at eight and going off at six, I came in at six and went off at ten at night, getting my work done then spending a lot of time with this animal. I was on my own, and if everyone searched their heart, they would say they would do things on their own they wouldn’t do in front of a crowd.

It looked so sad that first evening, and I looked at it and I said, “Oh you poor devil!” It looked at me, and I walked up and I couldn’t help it I put my arms round its head and gave it a hug. And do you know what, it rested the full weight of it’s head on my shoulder and gave a sort of moan, and I thought, “I’ve struck a chord here!” I had the weight of this big huge bony head, with the big blubbery nostrils, and I thought, “Heck! these creatures don’t look in the mirror and preen themselves, they just say, ‘Hey, I’m big and hairy and smelly, here I am – do you like me?’ We were getting too close, me and this beast!

I didn’t realise how I was feeling until the following Monday when four of the drovers came up. Very hard men! They came up and said, “We’ve come for the spare one, boss!” One, called Fred, said, “You don’t look yourself, Jim.” I said, “I’m a bit down. I‘ve got a bit close to this animal over the last week.” And this big tough man looked at the ground, and said in a low voice so the others couldn’t hear him, “Aye, I’ve been through it myself.”

The animal went off with them to the slaughterhouse. I stood at the gate and watched them. I did feel sad. I was just about to turn back into my office when it gave a roar, a shout! It wasn’t a moo, it was sort of shout, and it reared up and turned round and hobbled back, it couldn’t run, but ran as best it could back to me. It stood behind me. I had goose pimples everywhere. This dumb beast had run back to me for protection; it was going off to be killed. It had put me in this invidious situation – I couldn’t buy it and keep it, the railway wouldn’t let me keep it on the premises. I couldn’t give it the exercise it want, all I could do was keep it in a pen – it had to go, it had to go.

The drovers ran back for it, and I stroked its head. The tears were running down my face. I went back to my office and just sat there, tears running silently down my face. I felt much less than a man. When I could speak again, I phoned head office and said “Sorry boss, I’ve got to pack it in.” He said, “Don’t let it get to you like this!” I had muscles, no-one bothered me, I could chase people off, but I had to leave the job – this creature had reduced me to a wreck!”

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WWW BRAINTREECHARGE COM

I saw WWW BRAINTREECHARGE COM on my credit card statement, so put the URL in – it seems to be a legitimate PayPal credit card processor.

What’s not great about them is the URL redirects to https://origin-www.braintreecharge.com/gb which doesn’t have a valid TLS certificate (wrong domain). Not great for a payment processor.

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Waitrose Quick Check Mobile App “Error 15”

This means your account is locked and you’ll need to contact Waitrose Customer Services by email to fix it.

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The Wizard and the Princess

I remember this Vic-20 game… a long time ago

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Convert retropie WHDLoad zip archives to lha for retropie

Getting that strange AROS screen from Retropie / Amiberry? That’s because you’re trying to run a zip file and Retropie interprets it incorrectly.

Convert it to lha: https://gist.github.com/jamespo/8507608997fd3cd13ba0d86dd8c054d2

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Age of Empires 2 “have you played”

The story at the end of this review made me laugh.

It was around new year, and I was in Edinburgh, staying with some friends in their student house. We were playing a big ‘ol LAN game of AoE2, and despite turtling up and hoarding a ton of resources, I sort of… forgot to build an army, and got totally thrashed before I could really get my war machine going. Nevertheless, I survived with one villager and a ton of gold, and went to hide in the very corner of the map, surrounded by jungle.

I went dead quiet on chat, hoping everyone would forget about me. And somehow, as I built up farms and farms and farms and farms, they did. God knows how they didn’t notice me, but as they walloped each other through endless, monstrously wasteful wars of attrition, I was packed away in the corner, with my tiny, compact powerhouse of a city dedicated to one thing only: the production of elephants.

As the last three players fell into a sort of exhausted stalemate, I finally reappeared on chat with three words: “ur all… elephucked”. And so they were. My two hundred elephants, every villager sacrificed to give me the population space to build them (I like to think they consumed the meat of the final humans), swept out from hiding, and battered every building on the map to atoms. Everyone was so fatigued by then, and their economies so tapped out by hours of war, they barely put up a resistance. It was one of the few times I’ve ever won a multiplayer game, and I treasure it to this day.

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Keep scrolling

https://neal.fun/deep-sea/

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Trouble with bluetooth headset & android phone

Able to hear but can’t be heard?

Try disabling the google assistant:

  • Open the Google app on your phone.
  • Tap on More at the bottom right.
  • Tap on Settings.
  • Tap on Google Assistant.
  • Scroll down to Assistant devices and tap on Phone or any other device you have listed where you want to turn Google Assistant off.
  • Tap the Google Assistant toggle to turn it off.
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USB power cable for Philips Hue Hub v1

You want a 3.5×1.35mm USB cable as these can be powered from a router.

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Using Center Parcs wifi with Amazon Fire Stick / TV

Trying to use the Center Parcs wifi with an Amazon Fire Stick doesn’t work out of the box, it prompts you for a login page that disappears.

I got this to work but it is not easy. The way these login pages work is they register your MAC address (your wifi card has a unique ID known as a MAC address). If you have a linux laptop (& maybe Mac / Windows but you would change your MAC address in a different way if possible) you can clone the MAC address, log in with your laptop and this opens up the connection for your Fire TV.

Here’s how I did it:

  1. Get your Fire Stick MAC address & turn off Fire Stick
  2. Install macchanger on your linux machine
  3. Stop networking on your linux machine
  4. As a precaution note Linux wifi MAC address
  5. Temporarily change your wifi interface MAC address to match the firestick
  6. Start networking & connect to Center Parcs wifi.
  7. Click through login screen & try browsing
  8. Reboot / Shutdown linux machine to reset MAC
  9. Power up Fire Stick & connect to Center Parcs wifi
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