Saturday, August 13, 2022

Comic Cuts — 13 August 2022

We had a bit of a holiday as Mel had the week off work. We hadn't much planned except to take it easy as the temperature soared once again. I still had some bits of work to get through, starting the week with about 20 pages to do, which I plodded through whenever I had a bit of spare time. At the time of writing (Friday morning), I have four pages to finish, and next week I'll do a second pass and get cracking with the introduction.

So... Monday. I spent half the morning battling with Talk Talk over extras that have mysteriously appeared on our bill since we signed up for a deal that would save us a bit of money (we're taking advantage of every saving, what with the coming energy apocalypse). I didn't notice much change last month, but this month's bill was quite a bit higher than expected. Sneaky Talk Talk had added a few extra services that we had turned down previously, e.g. Talk Talk TV, which we don't need.

I spent over an hour talking (via a "live" chat) first to a robot (so not so "live" after all) and, eventually, to a real-life human, who managed to sort things out, although we've had to pay for around six week's worth of services that we haven't used. Not a huge amount, but multiply that by the number of customers they have and being sneaky can really pay off. We've overpaid £12.50... and they have over four million customers, so potentially £50 million in six weeks if everyone catches it as quickly/slowly as I did.

We also had an electrician around fitting smoke alarms, a heat alarm, a carbon monoxide alarm and a new light switch. They're all linked, so if one goes off they all go off. Testing them was... fun? One would go off and a few seconds later the next and then the next. The light switch is not connected and much quieter.

Tuesday I baked some banana bread so we would have some for our planned trip out the next day. I also made a huge saucepan of stew which would last us a couple of days. By the time I finished, that was most of the morning done for, as we'd gone out for a longer walk along the river than we've been able to do lately now that Mel is back in the office.

Post siesta, I think I had time to tidy up a few bits 'n' bobs and write Wednesday's blog post, plus a bit of scan cleaning before giving in to the heat. I try to keep up with 2000AD and its various tie-in collections, plus (of course) the Treasury of British Comics titles. The 'Rebellion Releases' column is one of two regulars (this being the other), plus a fortnightly 'Commando Releases' column and whatever else I can squeeze in. I was amazed and pleased to find that Bear Alley has recently been mentioned in a list of 30 Best UK Comics Blogs and Websites published by Feedspot. It is in some very good company.

On Wednesday we took a trip to the beach at Clacton-on-Sea. Back in the day this was a hugely popular seaside resort, on a direct route from London by train which made coastal towns like Walton and Southend amongst the busiest destinations for day-trippers and holidaymakers during the summer. A lot of the trade has since been lost to cheap package holidays to Spain, but on this hot Wednesday during the summer school holidays it was thriving, vibrant, colourful and packed. We caught the train, meeting up with my Mum, who was already aboard... I should say "eventually meeting up" as we were hurried by a conductor onto the train two carriages early and then found that we couldn't get through via the corridor. Had to hop out at the next stop and run around the blocked doorway.

It was a very pleasant day out: we walked along the beach front, had a drink, wandered down to the end of the pier, meandered along the promenade, ate some of the best fish and chips I've ever had, then pottered around in town visiting some charity shops and picking up a couple of books. We came back mid-afternoon hoping to miss the worst of the heat. All in all a very pleasant day.

We trekked into Colchester on Thursday and again visited half a dozen charity shops. I'm looking for some sandles to replace the cheapie ones I have (£4 in Primark!), which are serviceable, but not made for long walks. Didn't find any, but I got a couple of short-sleeved shirts that will be nice to wear during the hotter days rather than my usual t-shirts. And some books, inevitably. Had a nice lunch and headed back for siesta.

I wanted to do something about Raymond Briggs and originally planned to put in a note in the regular Comic Cuts column. But I figured I couldn't do this (1,000 words or so), sort out my photos, and write a piece about Briggs. So I took the easy option and wrote up Briggs last night and left Comic Cuts for this morning. Which is nearly over, so I need to get lunch sorted. I'll sort out the illustrations this afternoon after siesta. And then I might get around to those last four pages that need to be cleaned up. Back to work next week!

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