* Posts by mark4155

114 posts • joined 22 May 2019

Page:

Scoot on over for a wheely tricky mystery with an electrifying solution

mark4155

Had a Ford Fiesta, in bright yellow back in 1978. Same thing, drove it, jumped out and got zapped. Fitted this ant-static flexible rubber/metal thing on the back bumper that trailed on the road surface. That didn't work!

Roll forward to 2021. Got a Ford Puma, in Expensive Blue. Drove it, hobbled out of it and got zapped. Sent it back to the dealer for an exchange. That worked!

mark4155

@Korev

I see what you did there - Have an extra upvote from me. ^

Brit MPs blast Baroness Dido Harding's performance as head of NHS Test and Trace

mark4155

Re: How much????

The chances of a cost breakdown? Me winning the Euromillions in tonight's jackpot. Also, more chance of being struck by lightning. Toodle Pip!

Config cockup leaves Reg reader reaching for the phone

mark4155
Trollface

Come out, come out wherever you are! Make a clean breast of it, uncle Reg will be forgiving and understanding.... unlike the readers. :-)

Computer shuts down when foreman leaves the room: Ghost in the machine? Or an all-too-human bit of silliness?

mark4155

Re: And their plugs are crap

Indeed, as a victim to the upturned plug injury the UK plug has a lot to answer for.

But which is the safest in electrical terms? A debate on this issue is called for!

Toodle Pip!

Renrut Kram. (Courtesy of Regomiser) - Never knowingly undersold [TM]

If it's going to rain within the next 90 mins, this very British AI system can warn you

mark4155
Trollface

Ducking Stool Method.

1. Get a wizened Gran/Grandad.

2. Attach to ducking stool.

3. If they drown it's raining.

4. If they float/swim it's not raining and they are a witch.

5. If 4 above is true - hang by the neck until dead.

Problem solved.

'Extraordinary' pigs step in to protect Schiphol airport from marauding geese

mark4155
Coat

Pigs in blanket - Christmas shortage.

So that's why our little pigs in blankets will be scarce this Christmas. Come on Schiphol Airport think outside the pen! AKA Box.

Alpha adds to tally of exploding rockets, takes out space sail prototype with it

mark4155
Mushroom

Puss in boots...

I wondered where my young tabby cat was at the time.

If you look on the Youtube video at 2:41 [precisely] you will see an image of my Tzuki (pronounced Suki) wait till she gets back home! I live in the UK so it may take a while.

Saying this. nobody hurt, except their pride and will be better next time.

Toodle Pip!

Oh! A surprise tour of the data centre! You shouldn't have. No, you really shouldn't have

mark4155
Coat

Regomiser requires an update!

Firstly congratulations "Guy" on your 20 years of wedded bliss. Well done!

Now "Guy" I think that our beloved Regomiser is in need of updating. The article starts with:

"Today's story comes from "Guy" (not his name)"

You see the obvious security holes in this? We know this is a man. So we can quickly rule out 49.6% of the population. More pedantically, out of 1,000 people, 504 are men (50.4%) and 496 are women (49.6%). [Source some BS off Google]. You see where this is going, the thin end of the wedge if you ask me!

Getting to the point, whilst Regomiser has in the past been jolly helpful in disguising my identity, see my newly Regomised name below, I think we should get up with the kids and become PC (Not the ones with floppies and stuff) and program Regomiser to be gender neutral.

Think "Les" "Chris" "Jo" - this list is endless.

Do your best El Reg. Regomiser issued me with my new identity for which I am eternally grateful.

Toodle Pip!

Kram Renrut.

UK VoIP telco receives 'colossal ransom demand', reveals REvil cybercrooks suspected of 'organised' DDoS attacks on UK VoIP companies

mark4155
Thumb Down

Abandon Copper At Your Own Risk....

Be warned BT/Openreach et al.

"All that glitters is not gold" (Credit Mr. Wm. Shakespeare)

Glitter includes in this context fibre and VOIP - act in haste, repent at leisure.

Toodle Pip.

Pi calculated to '62.8 trillion digits' with a pair of 32-core AMD Epyc chips, 1TB RAM, 510TB disk space

mark4155
Trollface

Please show your work! ;)

Tired: What3Words. Wired: A clone location-tracking service based on FOUR words – and they are all extremely rude

mark4155

999... What is your location?

About 6 months ago there was a slight to do at the rear of my property. Nothing major in Manchester, knives flashing and young guy stabbed. Thankfully not fatal.

As a dutiful citizen I called 999 on my mobile. Was put in a queue by GM Police (as is their shitty service levels), 2 minutes later I explained we needed Police and Ambulance.

Control lady asked for postcode (I know the postcode) - she couldn't find it.

I went on to give the road and number of the house of the incident.... nope still no luck. Eventually said to Police one sec, "What 3 Words location is" and told her. "Fuck Andy Burnham" - or a similar phrase.

Her reply was "What is What 3 Words?" - I gave in and rang the non-emergency number, more efficient, better location tracing and music on hold.

Police, fire ambulance quickly despatched and young guy looked after.

No wonder GMP are under "Special Measures" AKA Naughty Corner.

Andy Burnham fuck off back down to London.

Rant over....

NASA blames the wrong kind of Martian rock for Perseverance sample failure

mark4155

Still a complete waste of money.

What a waste of money!

90 overpaid people to drill a bloody hole with nothing to show for it. Even our own council can't beat that record!

Used parachutes and other mechanical debris littering the planet. Again this is just pure folly.

I await the usual cascade of downvotes and clever (but misguided) comments.

Fix the Earth first!

Citizen Smith.

Elevating bork to a new level (if the touchscreen worked)

mark4155
Mushroom

Push the button!

Reminds me of a recent Prime Minister Question time (PMQ's). I think Boris was laid up in number 10 doing his self-isolation bit for the country.

Through the wizardry of science he magically appeared on screen in the House of Commons, after a few seconds of attempting to bluff his way out of giving a straight answer he managed to "Mute" himself.

The rather tenacious Sir Lindsay Hoyle, occupying the speakers seat appeared to be bemused by the gaff and barked a command to BoJo "Push the button - Push the button".

As you can see from the handy El Reg Icon Boris was playing with a full deck of cards that day and averted what could otherwise be a rather messy unplanned outage.

Without a trace: Baroness Dido Harding to step down as chair of NHS Improvement

mark4155
Pint

Good Riddance To Bad Rubbish...

You can pretend to do a good job, eventually the mask slips and your on your way out with the cardboard box and pot plant.

This is a classic case of overpayment and underperformance with a healthy dose of nepotism.

There is a god in heaven after all! Dido Harding should go back to the lords and repent for her sins against the people of this country.

I'm off down the pub for a celebratory pint, anyone care to join me.

!Ding-dong! The Witch is dead

Which old Witch? The Wicked Witch!

Ding-dong! The Wicked Witch is dead

Wake up you sleepy head, rub your eyes, get out of bed

Wake up, the Wicked Witch is dead

She's gone where the goblins go

Below, below, below

Yo-ho, let's open up and sing and ring the bells out

Ding-dong's the merry-oh, sing it high, sing it low

Let them know the Wicked Witch is dead!

NASA comes up empty on Perseverance rover's first Mars sample drilling attempt

mark4155
Holmes

I just don't get it.

Millions of $'s spent on a planet so far and unhabitable for a few tubes of rock. Here on earth the planet warms and a virus continues to wreak havoc, especially amongst poorer countries. It just doesn't make sense, fix the earth, then fly to Mars.

Malware and Trojans, but there's only one horse the boss man wants to hear about

mark4155
Trollface

Re: Horses? Ruud?

You just take that back this instance!

How dare you scurrilously attack "The Regomizer" without a shred of evidence backed facts.

Yours in disgust,

Kram Renrut.

International Space Station stabilizes after just-docked Russian module suddenly fires thrusters

mark4155

Re: Holy Jesus W T F???!!

Spot on! Heads will roll, especially in Russia. All this BS about crew not in any danger.... WTF!

Facebook gardening group triumphs over slapdash Zuck censorbots

mark4155
Holmes

Re: Just because a lot of people use Facebook

I find the best way to get local authorities and large customers (you know who you are) is to email their press department with a copy of your own "Media/Press release" and tell them that you intend to release to the media in say 24 hours, adding, would they care to comment or dispute the content?

On the Beach Holidays (who by the way I still like) owed me £320 for a covid cancelled flight they booked on my behalf with Ryanair. Despite several emails over a 4 month period I got nowhere.

I sent my press release to their press department entitled "Pensioner's dream holiday in ruins after On The Beach refused to refund" (Feel free to make up your own strap line) - also attach pic of poor pensioner all dressed up with battered suitcase and nowhere to go.

Hey presto, 2 days later full refund in bank along with an apology from on the beach.

Go on I dare you.

Toodle Pip!

Mr. V Meldrew Esq.

"Dunmoaning"

Tunbridge Wells.

Watchdog slaps down Three's claims to be building the UK's 'fastest 5G network' – again

mark4155
WTF?

Two's Company... Three Is Crap.

OK Let's all calm down dears. The first job is to fuck the ASA off. Advertising Standards Authority is not an "Authority"

Authority means "the moral or legal right or ability to control" Source: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/authority

The current ASA has no legal right or in fact any ability to control a piss up in a brewery. It's time we had a watchdog with bollocks and legal powers to fine advertisers and order the miscreants to stop bullshitting us.

Three, the fastest growing network promised me 5G speeds at around 150 Meg download for £20 a month sim only. I signed up, online thankfully (distance selling regulations).

I received the SIM and popped into my 5G Xiaomi 11 Lite. Hey presto 7 Megs down indoors and 22 outdoors. I fucked them off two days later. They are not worthy of being a mobile operator.

I wanted the 5G connection in order send SKY BB packing, I get 7 Meg down. No FFTC in my part of Manchester. After chatting to SKY they cancelled my BB (it was out of contract) - they asked if I'd be interested in SKY mobile for £20 a month and 60 GB data. They guaranteed 100 Meg download.

As I was running out of options, and the sales lady had a lovely Scottish accent and couldn't stand Ms. Nicola Sturgeon or her predecessor the colourful Mr. Salmon (answers on a postcard for the next leaders surname - I'm going for Trout) .... Anyway I signed up with Shona at SKY .

Two days later, shiny new SIM with the envelope emblazoned with "Welcome to the SKY family" sorry no fucking relations to me now, or ever.

SIM delivered Av. 120 Meg down and 12 up. Yes I know its works on O2 as a MVNO. Still better than the Three bollocks they are serving up.

Regards, and Toodle Pip, Mark.

NASA fixes Hubble Space Telescope using backup power supply unit, payload computer

mark4155
Pint

Great news....until.

Indeed great news.

These white coated boffins are amazing! Wonder what next bit of kit fails? Answers on a postcard to the usual address.

Icon= Glass half empty.

Toodle Pip!

The coming of Wi-Fi 6 does not mean it's time to ditch your cabled LAN. Here's why

mark4155

Re: Easy peezy, lemon squeezy

Lucky you! FTTP, and possibly FTTC before that.

Try my little abode 1.5 Miles from Manchester Shitty Centre. ADSL+ straight from Collyhurst (MNCOL). 1.4KM line length, quality pair of course. (I'm Ex Openreach for sins committed in a previous life).

Be thankful for what you receive and spare a thought for us trodden down forgotten peasants grubbing around every day for every morsel of bandwidth we can find. :-)

Have a great day.

Mark.

Suck on this: El Reg forces dog hair, biscuit crumbs, and disconcertingly sticky stains down two mini vacuums

mark4155
Thumb Down

Poor article, badly written.

I really hate to moan, especially at El Reg who on the whole produce informative and mainly fact based articles.....but.

I think The Register needs to review the reviewer.

As mentioned elsewhere in the comments the article lacks detail. Battery life, cleaning pattern, do the cleaners go back to the earth ship and self recharge, how good is it if it gets stuck in a hole (the reviewer may need to consider his own position on this subject).

I guess if I lived in a home without furniture or "shag" pile carpets (such a lovely term of phrase) and £££'s to throw around then OK I may be tempted to purchase, but based on the class of review the opposite of this scribble.

To the reviewer, return your samples at once and report to the HR department! And don't blame COVID on your woes, it simply doesn't wash anymore and shortly neither will your Robo Cleaners.

Toodle Pip!

Mark.

Anyone still using cash? British £50 banknote honouring Alan Turing arrives

mark4155

Re: Cash

Paying cash to local trades people, and them sending the VAT element to HMRC. Your so trusting in us trades people. Thank you guvnor. (false cockney accent to keep the tax of my back). :-)

mark4155
Coat

You tell him lad!

Bacon sandwiches? Whatever next? It's a butty were I come from. Got to go our kid, the whippets and ferrets need their exercise. "Mavis open the pigeon loft!"

FYI: There's a human-less, AI robot Mayflower ship sailing from the UK to US right now

mark4155

Off Air!

Must try harder! 0/10

How many remote controls do you really need? Answer: about a bowl-ful

mark4155
Facepalm

"Every TV manufacturer knows that you switch the TV on by pressing channel button up or down. Or volume up or down."

Yes indeedy every TV manufacturer knows.... why didn't they pass this on to me? Just tried it on my Samsung remote, technology, ain't it great?

mark4155

Re: My television wants me dead, or just gibbering in a 'special' ward.

I'm truly sorry I downvoted you. The only reason is I was reading your comment whilst wolfing down a bacon bap for my Saturday morning breakfast.

I have put the uneaten bap in the fridge, hopefully the sickly feeling in my stomach will pass as the day progresses.

Talking of remotes. Mum used to work for "Radio Rentals" in the 60's/70's. As such we used to get to rent the new models and swap every 6 months. A nice man called "Barry" from the firm used to come round on a very regular basis to check on mum's valves. For some reason dad wasn't keen on him.

One of the latest models housed in a mock mahogany cabinet installed by "Barry" had a remote control. Remote as in we still had to get out of the armchair open the cabinet doors and hit the power button. Wait for "Barry's" valves to get excited and adjust the volume.

The remote was simple, very simple. No batteries needed or compartments to go astray. Just a big "click" button that emitted a ... well clicking metal sound. Click once for BBC1 click again BBC2 thrice Granada TV.

So simple, so easy. Mum left Radio Rentals shortly after and "Barry" stopped coming round to check her valves...

Toodle Pip.

UK's BT starts trials of new hollow-core optical fibre networks

mark4155

Hollow as Openrech [sic] does best...

Yes it's me again, Mark from Manchester on behalf of those who live in close proximity to city centres who don't have even fibre to the cabinet let alone to the premises.

Soke to an OR engineer yesterday who confirmed my cab (street cabinet) did not have fibre connected. He reckoned OR had "missed it out", not his fault.

So before you stuck up incompetent fuckers at Openreach start banging on about "Hollow" fibre try stop making hollow promises giving 2nd class excuses and third rate service.

Here's my postcode M40 7AZ. Come round and sort your shoddy inept network out. I won't hold my breath.

Give me a (tax) break: UK broadband plumber Openreach to almost double the number of rural premises to receive FTTP

mark4155

Fuck that!

I'm on Collyhurst Exchange (Manchester) line length approx. 1400 Metres.

The cabinet we are served from has NO fibre (FTTC) we get 7mb down and 1mb up.

So go fuck yourself Openreach. Just cos we live in a poor area of Manchester should not exclude us from better connectivity, if you live in a rural setting then good for you.

Yours, fumingly, Mark.

PS I'm Ex Openreach (CALOMI) so I know what divisive and opportunist bastards OR (Openreach) can be.

Rant over.

Toodle Pip.

Brit watchdog shows some teeth over McAfee antivirus auto-renewals

mark4155

McAfee?

McAfee who? You seriously telling me punters still use this bloatware! God help us (or whoever or not you choose to be your deity).

Yours, Linux.

Hard cheese: Stilton snap shared via EncroChat leads to drug dealer's downfall

mark4155
Holmes

Plain stupid!

Silly boys and girls in blue. Why did they raid the encrypted site if they knew how to "spy" on the chat in the first place?

Surely it would make sense, well to me, to let the site continue and then drip feed the intelligence of other crimes over a number of years.

Maybe I'm wrong, sometimes I am.

ASUS baffles customer by telling them thermal pad thickness is proprietary

mark4155
Coat

Get in there boy!

You tell him lad! Bogroll indeed, the cheek of this boy. Either way, long as it works we are all friends. Toodle Pip!

Déjà bork: BSOD fairy pays key-cutting kiosk another visit

mark4155

"and saves customers from the hassle of having to deal with actual humans..."

Me: Can you cut 2 spares of this key?

Him: Sure that will be £6 for both, or £10 for three.

Me: Oh OK I'll have three please.

Him: Grins.

Me: Thank you ex-offender key cutting man.

Go figure kids!!

You can listen right here to the whir of a robot helicopter flying on an alien world

mark4155
Coat

I went to a party.....

I went to party on Mars once. Couldn't hear a bloody thing and the atmosphere was shit too.

Terminal trickery, or how to improve a novel immeasurably

mark4155
Facepalm

Re: Novel interference

Try this for size

"Our tale comes from a reader we shall call "Anne", because that is not her name but she understably wants to remain anonymous."

Even our esteemed El Reg UNDERSTANDABLY gets it wrong occasionally

Keep up the grate work! Mark.

Nigerian email scammer sent down for 40 months in the US, ordered to pay back $2.7m to victims

mark4155
WTF?

I'm in the wrong job......

Wow! I'm moving to America. The financial transaction side of banking must be stuck in the 70's.

Your not telling me that Cashiers Cheques (Checks) can be cashed in for thousand of dollars on presentation of a fake passport and ID? I once had trouble cashing a HMRC cheque for £240. No ID, no cash.

The worst bit in all this is that a fairly respectable small company called the "United Nations" fell for the scam also. Some more soul searching for them I guess.

But still eay money if you have no scruples, talking of which..... David (Dodgy) Cameron pops to mind.

Toodle Pip!

Satellite collision anticipated by EU space agency fails to materialize... for now at least

mark4155
Megaphone

The Polluter Should Pay!!!

Here on earth, and in Manchester UK, we have "litter wardens" on the High Street that will issue fixed penalty notices to those who drop and then refuse at the 1st time of asking to pick up their litter (cans, bottles, sweet wrappers and fag ends etc.).

In space, the rule should also apply and retrospectively too. Whilst it may be difficult to send up some space "Wombles" we now have a clear picture of recent polluters.

We also have the sensitive but increasingly important subject of the Moon and Mars more recently being treated as a dumping ground for unused parachutes (recent Mars landing) and other equipment.

I'm not one of the "Rafia Mafia" types, I just think that we have enough shit on our own doorsteps to deal with without polluting space.

A big electromagnetic space machine is called for and the cost equally borne by the polluters.

Toodle Pip!

Imagine your data center backup generator kicks in during power outage ... and catches fire. Well, it happened

mark4155

Re: Seems that generators are a bit of danger

For generators in the same building try British Telecom exchange buildings! The noise on testing is unbeleivable.

mark4155
WTF?

Guarantee not worth the paper.....

Well. well. well so WebNX's offer the following:

"WebNX's SLA guarantees 100 per cent uptime and uninterrupted power every month, with account credits of one day per 15 minutes of downtime in each case."

If you are offering 100% uptime (a rather naive and ambitious move) plus UPS power every month (I assume 24/7 as opposed to one day a month) why would you then go to the bother of negating the offer by offering account credits of one day per 15 mins of outage?

Simply doesnt't make sense - unless you know differently....

Toodle Pip!

Openreach out and hike prices on legacy fixed-line products: Broadband plumber pulls trigger after Ofcom gives the nod

mark4155

Are you a neighbour of mine. I live in Manchester (Miles Platting) about 1.5 Miles from the city centre. No FTTP, but like you can see the pole across the other side of the street, no FTTC, poor 4G and no 5G. I've emailed Openreach, Ofcom, local MP and every man or woman with a dog.

To no avail. No dates or anything useful apart from a helpful message asking me to go round the neighbours with a begging bowl to cough a few thousand to have FTTP provisioned.

I'm currently on Mr. Musks waiting list for a Skylink dish.

I suppose I should be grateful for 7mb/0.70mb.

Try running a business on these speeds!

Toodle Pip.

Semi-autonomous cars sales move up a gear with 3.5 million units leaving forecourts

mark4155
Meh

The plus side.

A good friend of mine suffered a heart attack whilst driving. He fell into an unconscious state. His car left the road and crashed against the sea protection wall (Morecambe). He died from the impact, not the heart attack.

I guess now that car makers could look at how we could save life in this situation? Seroiusly. Maybe people driving who have had pacemakers fitted could connect to it and the car would warn/slow/stop if there was a problem...just an idea (10% license fee is required)

My good friend, a gentleman also inadvertently ran his wife over whilst reversing from their drive.... nice lady from all accounts. The inquest recoded a verdict of misadventure.

Bless them both.

Toodle Pip.

Ofcom says no price controls on full-fibre broadband until 2031, giving BT's Openreach the kick to 'build like fury'

mark4155

Oh dear which side of the Broadband bed did you get out of this morning?

Fast, fibre broadband is no longer a luxury and the sooner Openreach get the message the better for all of us.

mark4155
FAIL

Oh I wish....

I live (for my sins commited in a previous life) in Miles Platting. About 1.5 Miles from Manchester city centre. It's not in the sticks or at the end of some god forbidden farm track.

My Internet offering (all ISP's) is ADSL+2 with around 7mb down and a sprightly 1mb up around 36ms latency. The exchange (Collyhurst) is situated 1.5 Miles away (cable length). I'm an Ex Openreach engineer just for the record.

We don't have FTTP nor FTTC at the cabinet, just ADSL direct to Collyhurst (via the cab).

Across the way, about 200m away, I can see the pole garnished with fibre access at the top serving a host of SME's.

I wrote to the shadow minister for business, my local MP Lucy Powell, and put the matter to her. She wrote back to say 80% of Manchester of residents have fibre access, but if I want to have FTTP I could bung Openreach (OR) a few thousand and they'd provide me and my neighbours with the goods. I only asked for FTTC.

I contacted OR and they said that they are now concentrating on FTTP rather than FTTC. So FTTC has left the building.

Someone said that OR were obliged to provide FTTP to all new builds. A thought quickly flashed through the old grey matter, knock the house down, rebuild, and hey presto FTTP. Surely must be an easier way......

Maybe that nice man Mr. Musk from the computer shop who has a sale on for Starlink is an alternative route?

No 5G mobile here and 4G gives me about the same speed as ADSL.

Apart from moving, what do other readers suggest? (Answer on a postcard and no smutty suggestions).

Toodle Pip.

While Reg readers know the difference between a true hacker and cyber-crook, for everyone else, hacking means illegal activity

mark4155
Coat

Having a "Happy" time.

I used to have a "Happy" old time. Then it was changed to a "Gay" old time. Or was it the other way round... either way both expressions are acceptable in my life. Toodle Pip. Mark.

Vote machine biz Smartmatic sues Fox News and Trump chums for $2.7bn over bogus claims of rigged 2020 election

mark4155
Holmes

Jeeves saves the vote!

Wooster Towers,

Brambly Bottom

London. SE1.

Telephone: CENtral 2278

6th May 2021.

Good afternoon El Reg readers,

Jeeves awoke me at some god earthly hour with the cup that cheers and a silver platter containing letters from various people I've been trying to avoid like the plague and also during this plague.

I asked Jeeves to deal with these coves in his usual expeditious style.

However, Jeeves held out a communication marked "Polling Card". Strange I thought, how did the bally blighters got my info?

Jeeves informed me that he'd held the card back for a few weeks as it was not needed until today. I gave him a short stare.

The penny dropped after breakfast... Aunt Dido is currently stepping out with this bounder "Bingo Johnson", and the word on the old bush telegraph is that he's currently flying in rather high circles in the Civil Service or Government, not much difference I guess.

The old grey matter stewed a bit more and I concluded that Aunt Dido had slipped Bingo Johnson my address to sign me up for a vote!

The card gave the date of the poll, today. Opening times and location being Brambly Bottom Village Hall, it contained an instruction to "BYOB" - Jeeves interjected and solemnly informed me that this stood for "Bring Your Own Biro".

I told Jeeves I would happily take a bottle of Port to the hall, but a Biro, certainly not. Bingo Johnson has the old finance to stump up a few shillings for a writing instrument.

As the card was posted from Her Majesty I could hardly refuse the invite, Jeeves agreed, he had apparently had an invite for these "polls" for a number of years.

The invite specified our polling station and opening times, so no need to rush, I suggested to Jeeves we scoot round after luncheon.

Well I tried to telephone Aunt Dido without any luck about the poling situ in the afternoon, was even tempted to send her a Telegram.

Though Aunt Dido is careful with money and would disapprove of not getting a "bang for your buck" in the strongest possible terms.

So at 6.00 on the dot Jeeves got the old two seater and we trundled from the nest to the Village Hall.

We turned into the village square and parked outside the hall. Bob Merryweather was on the gate outside the hall and helpfully told us to put the plague masks on, unless we had TB or smoked 40 Captain full strength a day. We donned the masks that Jeeves had managed to purchase a job lot from Debenhams.

Above the entry to the hall I spotted Bill Baxter* from nearby Middleton. He was aloft his ladder and was putting the finishing touches to the new sign "Nightingale Bottom Village Hall" a whiff of fresh oil paint and stale pipe tobacco emanated from his direction.

On the door to the inner sanctum stood a rather rotund bald chappy wearing a black full length jacket, tie and trousers coupled with a white shirt.

He was a rather menacing type, an armband strapped to his arm with a plastic badge he polished at regular intervals. A walkie talkie was squawking from his large waist the muffled voice repeating "make sure the punters have got a biro, no biro they ain't fucking coming in...over and out" He replied "Roger" though I'm bally sure the voice sounded very much like Aunt Dido....

He grimaced at Jeeves and I. More me for some reason. He questioned us about our supply of Biro's and cautioned us that we must have them in our possession.

I took the lead (as usual) and told him we had suitable writing instruments that met his criteria. I think the words "writing instruments" had too many syllables for his grey matter to process.

He snarled at us and let us pass. Jeeves at this point buttonholed me and pointed out we had no "Biro" instruments on our persons. I told the fellow to get a grip and we proceeded to the tellers desk. "Name?" she asked I said we had our cards. "No" we want your name "Bertram Wilberforce Wooster" I replied. "Address?" I furnished it to her with the greatest respect I could muster. Jeeves got the same interrogation. The polling cards were just a ploy, redundant, forlorn and placed in a dustbin.

We were handed on to a more happy chappy, "Hi my names is Sandy how can I help you today, thanks for visiting the Nightingale" the previous minion whispered loudly that we had passed the identity check i.e Name, Address.

Sandy flung open his ballot sheet papers and proceeded to give them a good banging with his stamping machine. He appeared to gain great satisfaction from a small machine. Finally having being presented with the ballots Sandy enquired as to whether we were in possession of our own Biro's individual Biro's.

This was the time to come clean and spill the old beans. I informed Sandy that we didn't have the requisite items and could he lend us a bookies or Argos pen for the duration.

In a blink of a second Sandy rose to his feet and in a high, very high pitch tone shouted "Security Security Code Biro". In a flash the grimacing door chap rumbled over and restrained and sat upon ... Jeeves.

Jeeves had been spotted pulling something out of his waistcoat pocket.

A short while later Jeeves and I retired to the Portobello Club (Est. 1867) (No Riff Raff allowed) We sat there in a numb fashion and happened upon a couple of American guys from the Dominion Voting Company Of America Inc.

We had a few drinks together, they preferring this ghastly Southern Comfort concoction. We played safe with the newly invented "High Commissioner" blended whisky.

We chatted about things that are different over the pond. Jeeves explained he has secreted two Biros on his person and was about to flash them at Sandy. Well in the end no harm done. Jeeves voted Socialist, I for Bing Johnson.

As for the American voting machines Johnnie's. I told them straight. Nothing more than a pen (or pencil) is need in this Great British Democracy.

Toodle Pip.

Bertie.

* Bill Baxter, a gentleman and superb signwriter from Middleton, Morecambe. Lancashire. Bless you Bill RIP.

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