Tuesday, 19 April 2022

The heroes of the East Anglian Air Ambulance service

Driving in to town to see Sidney my usual route was blocked by what appeared to be a serious accident.
As I did a u-turn, in my car I should add, I couldn’t help but notice an air ambulance landing in the field near the scene of the crash. My heart skipped a beat as there was clearly someone in real trouble.
It costs some £15million a year to run the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA). And did you know that so far this year (at the date of writing this) the charity has completed more than 700 missions?
We had an incident in our village a few years back. I realised there was an issue was when I heard the sound of a helicopter getting louder and louder. I went into our front garden and saw this yellow beast trying to land on our grass!
The pilot, however, reviewed the situation and decided the one acre plot at our neighbours was a safer option!
The medics rushed through our gardens to the scene of the incident a few hundred metres away. Sadly it turned out to be a fatality.
But it brought home the service that the EAAA provides every single day

Tuesday, 5 April 2022

I'm waiting before entering the brave new world of EVs
We have been contemplating getting an electric car for more than two years.
Our first foray into the Brave New World of EVs was with a test drive of a hybrid vehicle.
It handled and drove just like a “normal” car but with a snazzier screen visible through the steering wheel.
This showed us we were driving on diesel but that the electric bit had a range of just 58 miles.
We did not feel this was radical enough – going on a fairly long journey would still require aq great deal of earth-destroying fossil fuel.
Our interest in doing our bit waned somewhat. The whole EV thing was still quite new and maybe we should wait a little bit longer.
Then a member of the family announced the arrival of a new addition – a fully electric car.
Wow, I thought. Someone has finally taken the plunge. I immediately went online to check out the model. Nice, I thought.
This rekindled our interest and I started investigating again. Then towards the end of last year, our niece (for it was she) called us to ask if we could provide b&b for a night as she had to come to sunny East Anglia on business from her home in the woolly wilds of Devon.
We negotiated a room rate (a bottle of wine) and awaited her arrival. And waited. And waited.
It didn’t help that her husband had taken their EV that morning on a little jaunt and not recharged the battery, meaning she had to stop about 40 miles from home to do a recharge.
A wait for a charging point, a coffee and then on the road again. Next stop was at 90 miles later (which involved a longer wait for a charging point) and then again after another 140 miles (involving yet another wait for a free point). Time for another coffee.
The last 52 miles to our house was uneventful but the whole journey had taken her around three hours longer than usual.
When she finally arrived, somewhat frazzled, she asked if she could charge her car overnight from a power point in our garage. Of course, we said.
And then came the final twist of the knife – the charging cable that would have enabled this was missing from the boot of the car.
The situation was calmed when I mentioned there was a charging area a couple of miles down the road where she could stop at on her way to her meeting. Phew!
Her experience made me ask what is a fairly pertinent questrion. Why don’t car makers tell you that the 300 miles quoted on a full charge does not include using the radio, the a/c, lights etc?
Somewhat surprisingly all this hasn’t put me off buying an EV. However, we will wait just a little longer. Certainly until local garages have enough mechanics qualified to work on EVs, there are more charging stations and until manufacturers can show that the car batteries will last a reasonable time.
At my age I can do without more stress on a drive of more than 100 miles.

Monday, 21 March 2022

Are you, too, totally hooked on Wordle?

Hands up if you are hooked on the new (ish) word game Wordle? For those of you who have been truly isolated from civilisation for the last few months (that means no television, no internet, no newspapers) Wordle was created by Josh Wardle, an American programmer for his word game crazy partner.
It is a simple concept - you have six attempts to guess the day’s five letter word. You enter your guess at what the word could be.
Get a letter correct and in the right position and it goes green. Get a correct letter but in the wrong position and it goes a sort of mucky yellow. If a letter is wrong it turns grey. Simples.
I stumbled across Wordle in January after spotting a post from a family friend on Facebook. Old Josh certainly knew how to build an audience – you can share your success, or lack of it, on social media.
This friend had shared his first attempt with his Facebook “friends” but it only showed a coloured-in grid and the number of attempts it had taken him. In this case it was four.
Needless to say, being a person of addictive persuasion I tried my first puzzle – and was immediately hooked. Every day now starts with a Wordle.
The game was made public, free of charge, in October last year and quickly became an internet phenomenon across the world.
Its playing audience skyrocketed from only 90 on November 1, 2021 to two million by mid-January.
It was only a matter of time before such success attracted big business and at the end of January Wordle was bought by the New York Times (NYT) for “an undisclosed price in the low seven figures”.
Josh Wardle said that running the hugely popular game has “been a little overwhelming,” especially considering that he was the only person who actually handled running the entire game.
The NYT said it will “initially remain free to new and existing players” on the newspaper’s site.
This is the same New York Times that has a well-established paywall on its site.
I’ll give it three months before Wordle is monetarised.