YouTube etc

I do sometimes watch YouTube and similar sites. I look for videos that are instructional or informational mostly, or mathematical puzzles.

I immediately switch off (actually I ‘dislike’) if there are glaring spelling errors. You may think that’s harsh as I know people can have problems with spellings, but it seems to me that if you are setting yourself up as an ‘expert’ in some field, and know that you have word issues, it wouldn’t be that hard to spend an extra five minutes checking, or getting someone else to check, that the captions you include make sense.

I also hate when you pick a video that sounds helpful, like “How to do X”. You get through lots of crappy adverts and the person telling you to click subscribe and hit the bell, and lots of waffle about ‘sorry I haven’t done a video in a while because the cat had fleas’ and then you get to the substance. The first thing the presenter then says is “well, I’m not really an expert in this field…” by which time I am gone.

Even worse is when they contradict themselves.

There is a woman who does videos about Americans in London. I am not going to put a link, but you can find her easily enough if you really care.

One is about things not to do if you are having a short trip to London. It includes going up The Shard, and going on the London Eye (The Shard is the tallest building and the Eye is the big wheel, both giving you lovely views over the city and beyond).

Two reasons given are: expensive, but cheaper if you book in advance, and, weather may not be great and you may not see much.

Well, I could argue about those straight off. They are lots of money, but not as much as, say, the Empire State Building, which makes them look good value.

But there’s another video by the same person, about essential things to do while on holiday in London. The London skyline is “iconic” she says, so why not try the London Eye or The Shard.

Really…?

Sightseeing

London is not a big place, in the sense that it is not an urban sprawl, especially for the places you may want to sightsee on your first visit, but it’s also not walking distance between all the major attractions. Well no, that’s not really true, you could do it, but if you are here for a limited time, you want to make the best of the time you have and interminable walking is not the thing to be doing.

It’s best to have a plan, and to be realistic in that, you’re not going to see everything. Listen, on and off I have lived here for 40 years and I haven’t seen everything (whatever that means). There are always hidden gems, and things changing (and also stuff to avoid like the plague).

So, do your research and have a plan. Make a list of must see places, and then see what other things there are in the same area.

For example, if Tower of London is on your list, see also Tower Bridge, the river, the Bank of England, St Paul’s, the Monument… thie list is endless. Be prepared to queue, and allow time to just amble around to look at the world and soak up the atmosphere. A holiday where you dash from one place to another, tiring yourself out and barely remembering what you saw, is not, in my opinion at least, a holiday, certainly not restful.

I know people who visited London a few years ago and top of their list was the Natural History Museum. They spent their first day there. The next day they went back. The next day, the Science Museum, and so on. And they absolutely loved it. It was something they did not have at home, it was free (actually) and they had a great time.

It’s a great dane

In the 1960s and 70s I became a little interested in politics. I thought Edward Heath and George Brown were the old fuddy duddy type of politician, but liked Harold Wilson (he gave the Beatles MBEs after all). I also liked Jeremy Thorpe, of the Liberals. He seemed young and trendy. Looking at newsreel clips of him now, I have no idea why I thought that.

There’s a complicated story surrounding Thorpe. Here is a brief summary:

It appears that Thorpe had a homosexual affair with a man named Norman Scott in the early 1960s at a time when homosexuality was illegal. Scott continued to pester Thorpe for money over a period of time. He wouldn’t go away, and then one day someone tried to ill him. Scott’s dog was shot and killed, but the gun failed and Scott was not killed.

He was tried for conspiracy, and acquitted, but it ended Thorpe’s career.

A new tv series (only 3 episodes) with, for once, a rather excellent Hugh Grant has stirred interest in the whole thing again. I suppose it was rather brushed under the carpet at the time.

This is from the BBC only a few days ago: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-44336859