Tag Archives: holidays

start of school holidays in uk

18 Jul

london 12.33pm saturday 2015

i was at victoria station this morning, hoping to see the buskers, as this weekend there is a busker’s competition and lots of them are playing at various places in london, but i was too early it starts at 12pm.

even so, victoria station was crowded with people, unusually so, why? i wondered… the taxis did not have to wait in a queue like they normally do, there was a long queue of people wanting to take the taxis, and the entrance to victoria tube station was jammed with people …

added. just an observation about that taxi queue. long line of customers waiting but instead of them going to the taxi behind the first one, they all wait patiently for the first one to negotiate loading up with passengers and moving off before they then take the next taxi. why dont they all go and negotiate and take the taxis that are lined up behind the first? so even if the ones in front take their time to load up, you can be on your way… is it taking queueing to insane levels? 

until i came back and remembered it is the start of the school holidays… i expected a motorway queue, but it seems as many are coming into london as going out of london.

actually i googled it and it says it starts on 11.7.15 -31.8 15. so why do they all say it started yesterday? which is 17.7.15. unless they all have the same idea, thinking to delay travel until a week later to avoid the rush;  and find lots of others had the same idea too and they all end up in traffic jams anyway. haha. how nice to have such a long break… 7weeks!!!

i am sure all of the kids would have forgotten their lessons when they return to school again. i strongly suspect this is the reason why the kids here are all falling behind kids in places like singapore where there are no long breaks.

i wonder where did this tradition of long summer holidays ever got started. i dont think that it happens anywhere else in the world. the british brought their system of education to malaysia, and singapore(when it was part of malaysia then) and i dont recall we had such long holidays… so they obviously did not bring in this long summer breaks into the malaysian education system when they set it up.  

added 5.55pm. i have been thinking about it, and i think it is a throwback from  the boarding school system that they send their children to. and i think that is a throwback to a time when there are many working in far flung areas of the british empire, and would want their children educated in the mother country.

long summer holidays will be a way for the school to shut down over the summer months and give everyone, staff as well as pupils a long break. the children could see their parents too ,i expect it may be  the only time in a year they can spend time with their parents. 

teh tarik time

5 Jan

london monday2015

I have been saying to garfieldblog that writing on my blog is like yakking away  with a teh tarik in a mamak stall in KL with friends and kakis. (legs in malay, dont know what the origin of this word is to refer to good friends but we just use it.)

 I have come back from the budget supermarkets aldi, asda, to buy loads of toilet paper. one lot is 6 rolls of double size rolls, 400sheets. this is for the wc. another pack is from asda who sell theirs of 12rolls of 200sheets. the latter is perfect for hand tissues. i first saw them being used by hawkers in malaysia. they take out the central cardboard and pull out the central bit and use it as hand tissues. then even that was getting expensive, so they resort to selling packs of tissues to customers.  but the lesson of the previous way of using toilet rolls for hand tissues stayed with me and so i bought one of those containers and am using it in my flat.

Digital StillCamera

from the label i see it costs Rm$2.10. i bought it years ago, maybe 7-8yrs ago. wish i bought another one haha. they are very useful.

simon had been telling me he found out he can transfer his credit card debt into a interest fee card that dont charge him interest for 12months so allowing him to pay off the debt without paying interest. it is basic economics.

it surprised me that he did not know of it. ah well, it is no wonder his finances are such a mess. haha. he had been paying about £75 a month in interest, he said, so the debt must be rather large. well better late than never i suppose. like i said, people are poor because of ignorance.

i laughed and told him knowing you westerners u will start buying some more stuff and defeat the whole purpose of the exercise. and he said ya, that happened to his friend, who cleared his debt on one card by transferring it to another interest free card, but the wife took the old card and bought more stuff. hahaha.

Ah well, it is only money. haha.

people are booking their air fares now as the urge to travel is on them. that is the thing about westerners, they so like to spend even when they cannot afford it. they want it now, and pay later. that is why businesses like to set up businesses here, so many people who will spend even though they cannot afford it.

thrifty people like the japanese just dont spend, and so the economy stays still. stagnant.

My friend john says he has booked his flight to goa, in february 2015. it is a long flight with a stopover in mumbai and a 4hr wait, going there, and a 8hr wait coming back. i would not have bothered but john wants to be bothered.

just this morning i see in the papers some british families with children were stranded in mumbai because their flight from goa was late and they missed the connection with BA. it must be really late, because they usually give 4hrs between the two flights. ( it seems there was long delay in the airport to get from the airindia goa flight into the other). BA was so fully booked for later flights , the only ones available was 8days away. it is just after the christmas new year holidays so they are all coming back that is why the flights are so chock a block full. those flights over the christmas are not cheap. john paid £678 rtn for his but it is in february. 

well, we hear of it because they all start to tweet about it. haha. nowadays these things get thrown out worldwide for the world to see… who cares really but because of tweeter, everyone knows and start re tweeting it. and it appears in a national newspaper. in fact more than one newspaper reported it. when i read it i thought sigh only john would bother going there. typical english person go half way round the world for what?? esp when india has just passed a law that makes gays illegal there where before it was legal. we should boycott india. 

 at least he is going there for a month, rather than these rich families going there whipping in and out for 2wks with kids too.

but it does make all of us here in uk rather pleased to see them having all this trouble haha. it must cheer those up who cannot go abroad. haha hee hee.

oh but we must not be uncharitable. haha. so banish the thought. 

added. i am seeing a old program of room 101, where they nominate their pet hates to be dumped in room 101. one of them nominates the barbeque, he is a tv chef, and the MC said maybe because u are a professional showbiz cook and want us to think cooking is difficult. whilst cooking is just making food hotter.i thought that is funny.

poor workers, holidays, bananas,

25 Feb


The following is rather trivial, so bear with me and take it as a light hearted read.

I enjoy living in london very much but there is not much to say about it. now and then, i read of things that the newspapers talk about, like the bananas prices and how they are so cheap. frankly i dont think they are cheap, even though they say u can buy a banana for 11p. it is only if the banana is very small, which fairtrade bananas are. i bought 2 of these fairtrade bananas as i wanted to know if they are really 11p each. i chose the two largest size i could see, and they are 14p each. even then it took 2 to satisfy me. they cost .68p a kg. granted this price has remain so for years, so i suppose u could say prices of bananas have decreased if u take inflation into account. the supermarkets used it as a loss leader, they said they continue to pay properly to the plantations in the caribbean as a fair trade agreement, but i bet the owners keep the profit and dont pass that down to the workers in the fields. they say those workers should be grateful to have a job in the first place.

added. i realise sainsburys have a basic pack of 8 for £1.15. they are smaller bananas than the ones i bought loose, yet cost as much as the ones i bought, and the ones i bought were larger. usually u expect basic packs like these to be better value, but this reminds us it is not always so and dont assume it. 

Bananas are not something u have to have. if they are too costly people just wont buy them and then everyone will lose out. we for not having them so readily available and cheap, the farmers get no money because not many are buying them, if their prices go up, and the workers in caribbean will be laid off. so now they may complain they are too poorly paid but it is the owners and middle men taking the profit for themselves so that it makes it worthwhile to keep the plantations going. Even at the same 69p a kg, they are making money. It is just that the profit does not filter down to the poor workers in the fields. the capitalist system would like to make us believe that there is a trickle down effect, and that the workers in the lowest chain will benefit. but it is not so. the boss and middle men take all the profits and squeeze the workers as much as they can, and because the workers are too many… and they all fight each other to work , the pay gets smaller and smaller and still these poor people continue to want to work. the bananas have make the whole area a monopoly employer and there is no competition for workers from other businesses. I have often wondered why people continue to want to work in these poorly paid jobs, like pakistanis, filipinos, indians going in droves to dubai , abu dhabi, qatar…for shitty jobs low paid , not being paid, and terrible working and living conditions and get abused as well, why??? are their home places so bad that they prefer to go and work for slave wages there??? 

added.27.2.14 this article about the filipino maids being shafted in doha, is one of many we read in the press. i have a feeling none of these press articles ever get published in the filipines, that is why the poor saps never know what they are getting into when they come to the middle east to work. and the filipino embassy do not stop these bad firms from recruiting in phillipines. i suppose there is no money to be made by vetting these firms and a lot of money to be made getting bribes from them to let them carry on.

Someone commented there that part of the problem in qatar is because the indian run firms in gatar are the ones exploiting their fellow men, so it is not only qatar owned businesses. it was in response to another comment stating that india is turning a blind eye to the safety of construction workers in India itself, and is earning so much money from money sent back by its migrant workers, it does not care to stop that cash cow. 

 But lets get back to holidays, i like staying in london all year round, so much so that i dont fancy travelling abroad anymore. john, my friend who lives in poole is starving for winter sun, and usually he would be in thailand now, staying for about 1or 2mnths. this year he has decided not to go. and is now feeling the effects. he had been to gran canaria. maybe he got robbed that put him off going there again. after thailand, any place will find it difficult to live up to expectations for him , i think. anyway he is thinking of his summer holidays and he knows a guy who has a house near capdagde, and I got a email from him today when he asked me if i would like to go as his friend has invited me too. I had a look at the flight prices and boy, they are expensive. £200 by ryanair to beziers. too much but it is august so i guess some might say it is the norm.

I told john i wont be joining him, but encourage him to go alone and suss out capadage; and  tell me if capdagde is as good as it used to be when we visited it in the late 90s. i have not been back since then. I hear from forums that it has become very textile, in that people dont get naked anymore in the town, only at the beach. the whole ethos is that it is a place to live a naked lifestyle, but i think the straights have decided it is a place for the hedonist lifestyle and that does not include full nudity. so capdagde for me has lost it. i confess, i myself have gone off the naked lifestyle. it is nice to have, but not practical, living in northern climes like uk, where we have winter and summers are not that hot. i find i prefer such a climate, rather than the really hot weather u get in the tropics or desert areas. so i dont mind letting the naked lifestyle go. Many areas of the world are turning its back on nudity, or becoming less tolerant of allowing it. San francisco has made it illegal to be naked in the city, so also barcelona. and many nude beaches are reverting to textile. quite a worrying prospect for those who want to live the naked lifestyle. 

Added. EVen France, the home of naturism, has convicted a guy who goes about naked, of exhibitionism and put him under house arrest for 1month. shame on france. this video shows how conflicted nakedness is even amongst nudists/naturists.