Cretan Blog-November 2015

Greetings once again from a pleasantly warm corner of the Med even if a little damp from time to time . . .

So, how are you today?
Are you well? Still breathing?
Good, now all you have to do is prove it to your pension provider(s).
Recently the UK Government sent me a form that I had to get signed by someone who has an ‘Official’ stamp and could confirm that (a) I was the same person as shown on my passport and (b) I was, in fact, still breathing.
A week later, the XYL received a similar form.
We went back to the same Doctor who copied the first form, stamped it and we sent ‘em off.

This month the XYLs private pension (Local Government) people jumped on the bandwagon. However, they want to make things ‘easier’ and so you have to do things on-line and just to help you through the process, they talk complete computer bollocks to you. We sat, read the screen, clicked buttons, tried to answer a question and got nowhere. When we were told to put in her email address for checking and verification we were told that this was incorrect. Seeing as they sent the stuff to the same email address in the first place, you would think they would see that it was correct. But no.
The ‘system’ wanted to know if she used a ‘cloud’ (Eh?) or a POP (Eh?) and they wanted the password given to her by her email provider. Yahoo do not give email passwords as far as we know and as we have no idea what a ‘cloud’ or a POP is, we were stuck.
A day or so later the XYL sent an email to a friend at her old works QTH who sent her, by post, the required form for filling in and ‘stamping’ by someone ‘official’.
So it was back to the Doctor again!
Whoever said that using t’internet would save time and money was lying big time . . .

Judge, (Dick) ‘4KAR and Pat, ‘8TNH have recently left us after a very pleasant couple of weeks.
It has been really nice to be able to spend time ‘talking radio’ with someone who understands my odd way of looking at things. It was also good to get a sort of answer as to why we could not use the camera we bought some months ago. Judge solved part of the problem by ‘formatting’ the card inside the little beast (I have never heard of stuff like this before) and setting things so I just point the thing and press a button.
However, only two problems remain: (a) I have yet to take a photo that is vaguely in focus and (b) found that, when, by some form of magic I got these out of focus pictures onto the laptop, the old photos are still on the camera.We do not know how to remove them and the destructions on this are vague to say the least, so I guess we just buy a new camera when it is full . . .
yway, Judge is getting back into HF and is currently using Digipan for PSK31 so while he was here we looked at different PSK and JT65 programmes as well as a couple of computer logging programmes that I find quite useful. Of course he was steered well away from that bloatware commonly known as HRD. He played with the TS-590 a great deal and upon returning home ordered the new SG version as well as some nice long fishing poles.

Their trip coincided with some excellent WX where we had wall to wall sunshine every day with only one morning of precipitation. The weather was so pleasant that despite our hectic schedule of talking radio and eating out, we even managed to go swimming. [I think that it’s the sun that makes him do these daft things – Ed]

Greek Life:
Some people in the new Government are not taking this austerity thing seriously.
The Minister for Defence and other related stuff has a Greek Navy helicopter pick him up from his house at 7.00AM every morning and delivers him home at 5.00PM every evening.
So much for saving tax payers money!

However, the Government has a new ploy to collect taxes.
From January next year, every new business or company that is started up, must only accept payment by credit or debit card. If they pay their bills by a single business card, they will be exempt from filling in a tax return as every transaction will be recorded by their bank.
This is really good if the start-up business in question is a corner shop where people may only pop in for a packet of fags (roughly 4 Euros) or a bar of chocolate (abt 2 Euros) . . .
Also in the firing line for card use are electricians, plumbers, doctors and lawyers where the Government says that tax evasion is rife.
Seeing as the plumbers and electricians, including TV aerial erectors, that I know only work for cash, I can see them changing over to card payments in an instant – not.

There is a big push on over here for people to pay by card and the issuing of cards has shot up since the capital controls were introduced as people suddenly realised that they could pay for their groceries for example without touching their 420 Euro a week cash withdrawal allowance. However, the slight drawback to this is that in most supermarkets (a) they only have one card reader thing and so you have to leave your groceries to go to a different check-out to pay with your card, and (b) the system is so slow that you can wait for over 4 minutes for confirmation of payment.
The garage we use for petrol and heating oil does not accept cards anyway. Their price for petrol is the cheapest for miles and miles around (OK, kilometres and kilometres) as they do not have to pay the banks around 6% of the amount transacted for the ‘privilege’ of using their card systems.

When Greece applied for its first international bailout in 2010, there were only two countries in Europe that did not have a computerised register of land ownership and usage.
Albania was the other.
Needless to say, after five years and several hundreds of millions of Euros thrown at the task, it is nowhere to being even a third completed.
Meanwhile, Albania, about the poorest country in Europe, is 98% complete.

While on the subject of tax, out here you have to pay a ‘property tax’, a bit like the Council (Poll) Tax. Our total amount last year was a couple of hundred Euros.
With the new Government in power they have just got round to sorting it out for this year, so it’s a bit late. However, the amount you have to pay will be issued next Wednesday 28th and you have to pay it by 30th! Seeing as the 28th is ‘Oki Day’ and a Bank Holiday, you will not be able to find out how much to pay until Thursday.
Oh, and if you are late paying, you are fined!
Only in Greece!

The Magazines:
I see the news in RadComic that Dodd’s is finally calling it quits next month. For an ‘expert’ who has never tried traps in an aerial, I think it’s about time he went and handed over to someone who is more practical and not reliant on ruddy software to check an aerial.  However, as the RSGB always likes to plan ahead, I see they have no-one to take on the roll of aerial expert and so are advertising for someone to take over the column at only 4 weeks’ notice, so not long then.
No mention in RadComic about the RSGB Survey either. Maybe they don’t want too many people saying what they think . . .

Reviews: The Icom IC-7851 review in the comic was first class. Compare this with the semi-brochure review of the Icon IC-7100 by Chris Lorek in PW that is at least two years late and still does not tell you anything about the rig. Nothing about using CW or Data or how to use the touch-screen thing, only this digital stuff using the internet which is not proper radio at all.

Next Trip:
The next trip over is planned to coincide with the Xmas Lunch thing in January and to this end flights and hotels have been booked. Hope to be able to compare Lynchie’s new place and the new ‘super showroom’ at W&S. We will see . . .


Dick. SV9RPE.

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