Welcome to the developing, wonderful world of the vinceunlimited website, now in it's fifth iteration.
They say that if you provide enough monkeys with enough time sat behind enough typewriters then eventually one will produce the complete works of Shakespeare. However, before any of these monkeys arbitrarily produce such prose, in theory, one will have keyed in the link to this website. So welcome to you if you are that monkey. Award yourself a banana.
However, most of you will have arrived here in a more logical fashion, either by a deliberate action or from a useful link. In whatever way you arrived you are most welcome. So have that banana anyway.
If you are a new visitor I suggest you start here with my warm and heartfelt welcome. But don't dwell too long. Please be assured, this page doesn't get better on the second or third readings and it won't morph into something more interesting either. Move on and start to explore the nooks and crannies that punctuate the whole site.
Please feel free to meander throughout the site using the local hyperlinks and big blue buttons provided to take you on a tour of the passions of the author.
So browse the old mouse on some words and you'll get in-site jump links or rodger your rodent on a big blue button to fly off immediately to the named specialist page.
But please come back sometime if your explorations take you off somewhere.
On this homepage you will find various boxes containing the latest great articles which are also copied to various other sections for permanent retrieval.
The website content is gradually being updated and re-built, page by page, one article at a time, starting with the oldest versions first, on an almost daily basis so you can re-live the creation of this website from it's earliest form. With each article being lovingly re-mastered to include relevant photos, issue date, version information and relevant details.
Currently all articles from vinceunlimited.co.uk versions 1.00 to 1.04 are included and now further articles from vincepoynter.co.uk version 1.00 onwards are being replicated.
As a result the website now contains great features to allow you to discover content ideal to your needs in a variety of interesting ways.
- All the old favourite vSections as listed above such as Ideas, Opinions, Political and Writing
- You can find out more about the me, check out the website's version history or do a vSearch using the links at the top right
- In the left column there are new photo clickable vSectors including Bikes, Cars and Computers
- Choices in the right column include vChoices where you can either choose buttons to randomly select a page from the site or to see only the content relevant to your passion. There is a quick click access to send a vMail Or even links to discover pages in vQuote by choosing a quotable phrase. And also to check out my other vSocialMedia links at the bottom right
- And if you ever stray too far from the homepage and want to return quickly just click on my mini-photo icon at the top left and you will return back here.
Whilst the website is being re-built there are just a few links that are incomplete with fewer each version although these will be populated in due course.
Finally, remember more and more articles and pages are being added every week. Some on a daily basis so please re-visit vinceunlimited.co.uk regularly to keep up to date with the latest posts.
Thanks for visiting.
Author: Vince Poynter Version 5.083 16 Mar 2018
First Published: Version 5.000 29 Sep 2017
My Great, Great Grandmother, Kate Poynter [sat]
I have been researching some genealogy on my family history and can list my ascendants below.
According to The Poynter Family History Society the Poynter name can be traced back to a Vasse Poynter in 1273.
Another site listed a Vincent Poynter in London in 1544, another as a draper of London in 1574 who owned and sold part of the Kingsbury Estate in Middlesex.
I deny that they were all me.
Personally I have only seen evidence of my own family back to the early nineteen hundreds.
The direct line follows.
My Great Grandfather, Harry Poynter [far left]
My Great Great Great Grandparents - James Poynter married Emma Cariadise
My Great Great Grandparents - Henry Poynter (1856 - 1926) married Kate Noyce (1854 - 1939)
My Great Grandparents - Harry Poynter (1879 - ...) married Florence Sherman (1883 - 1912)
My Grandparents - William Poynter (1909 - 2003) married Rose Bowyer (1912 - 1990)
The above is just a list of direct male ascendants.
If you have any interest in finding out more about my family or think you may have some additional information that could assist my geneolgy, such as the birth and death dates of my Great Great Great Grandparents or their ancestors please email me with details.
I am always happy to hear from relations. Particulary those that are still alive from the early 1800s.
Author: Vince Poynter Version 5.083 16 Mar 2018
First Published: vincepoynter personal: Version 1.01 in Apr 2005
Text updated and images added in Version 5.083 16 Mar 2018
The data from the Poynter Family History Society was at poynterhistory.com but this site no longer exists
The first image is of the author's Great, Great Grandmother, Kate Poynter [nee. Noyce] sat besides two unidentified women and was provided by the author's grandparents. It was taken circa. 1925
The second image is of the author's Great Grandfather, Harry Poynter at work supervising his team of General Post Office drivers and was provided by the author's grandparents. It was taken circa. 1925
Vince Poynter Work [Updated]
A Brief History of My Employment
1978 to 2005
The busy office desk of a Heating Engineer in the late seventies
I received a formal office based apprenticeship with a medium sized heating company where I learnt all required skills from estimation to commissioning and final accounting of industrial and commercial mechanical services projects.
As a Mechanical Services Engineer my duties included specification interpretation, basic design, draughting, sub-contract negotiation, site meeting attendance, quantity surveying including budget control, commissioning and documentation preparation.
I single-handedly supervised contracts varying between ten thousand to three-and-a-half million pounds in value.
Within this period I sought further experience and set out to find additional challenge. I worked outside the industry in sales and marketing for a while but no clear opportunities developed so I took an offer to rejoin the construction industry again, then moving to a leading player in the market.
Shortly after this the Managing Director of a heating and plumbing company, who wanted to start a mechanical services division, approached me. My experience within the commercial building services market was called upon to create a department from inception.
I was given a free hand and within the three years of running the department as a General Manager I autonomously ran more than forty contracts won from valuing over two-hundred tenders, turning over half a million pounds and making a small profit after start up costs.
With the company I honed new skills including labour recruitment, supervision, training and termination, department budgeting, finding and developing client relationships and accountancy.
I initiated quarterly and yearly departmental financial and progress reports and was instrumental in helping the company grow from a small poorly administered outfit to a vibrant professional concern by encouraging staff meetings, standardising and tidying presentation techniques and developing CDM and Investors in People formats.
Despite my development of new contacts such as the local University and the national Gas Company it became clear that my hopes and expectations from the department exceeded the financial risk that one of the directors was prepared to take.
I chose to join a better-funded organisation to improve my personal reward and commenced work with another southern based, mechanical services company overseeing several contemporaneous projects as a Contracts Manager. This included sole commercial and engineering responsibility for projects.
The job had similarities but the technology had developed
In 1999 I decided to develop the professional side of my skills and seek new contacts in a more commercial environment within a more stimulating and progressive field.
I choose to work through a London based company and became self employed to maximise my potential. This enabled me to respond better to a modernising market.
Most of my work [in 2005] was carried out for a respected London based group of companies, as a Senior Contracts Consultant. They had provided continual work for me since March 1999.
My duties had been varied and I encouraged my client to offer me a wide range of assignments. The projects were within the contractual and commercial sector often with high profile clients, usually within a team.
I had been engaged in prestigious multi-million pound contracts, dealing with issues such as valuing multi-million pound variation accounts, researching contractual documentation, asset surveying, setting company bonus schemes and working with legal departments on claims and adjudication cases.
I continued to seek interesting opportunities to enhance my client base and personal development.
As an illustration of this, at the beginning of 2003 I was appointed as a specialist planner, working with Primavera P3, for an eminent E and M company within the rail industry.
I now had over a year’s specific experience working with specialist planning software both on new programming and time slice analysis as part of sub-contract claims.
Further, my latest assignment in 2005 was working as a Quantity Surveyor involved in track replacement on the London underground network for a major construction group.
A Summary of My Skills and Experience
20 years project planning, engineering and commercial management within the Mechanical and Electrical industry, including working as an independent Project Manager
Commercial skills include contractual correspondence, variations and claims - Disruption and Loss and Expense (Quantity Surveying), with knowledge of adjudication
Procurement, planning, resourcing and supervision (including using proprietary software – Primavera P3, Powerproject/TeamPlan and MS Project)
Design, calculations, co-ordination and drawing (manual and CAD)
Client liaison, arranging meetings
Public speaking and event organisation
Sub-contractor selection, negotiation and supervision
Ability to decipher and interpret legal and contractual documentation
Technical documentation writing (Operating and Maintenance, CDM, Health and Safety)
High competency of spreadsheet calculations, desktop publication, databases and word processors
Estimation and financial skills within the tendering environment
Recruitment, employment, setting and administering bonus schemes plus training
Computer literacy including internet understanding, webpage creation using source codes (this whole site is hand coded in HTML), basic networking and problem solving
Specialist Building Services, construction and rail industry experience
Management skills including budget control, staff relations and report writing
Selective Work Assignments
A selection of the major roles that I carried out and the projects that I worked on.
1982/1984 - Various temporary works, then Warehousing and Sales
1984/1993 - Mechanical Services Engineer
1993 – Part time Consultancy Engineering
1993/1994 - Project Engineer
1994/1997 - General Manager [Mechanical Services Department]
1997/1999 - [Mechanical and Electrical] Contracts Manager
Self Employed Contracting
List of the major contracts I worked on as a self-employed Contracts Consultant.
1999 - London Underground Jubilee Line Extension Claim Calculations
2000/1 - Asset Registration in Retail and Banking
2001 - Administration of Bonus Scheme on two major Tower Construction Contracts in Canary Wharf
2002 - Setting Up Bonus Scheme for a main Mechanical Services Company
2002 - Adjudication Research for a Sub-Contractor Claim within a large London Property Development Site
2003 - Planner as part of the London Kings Cross Underground Re-development
2003 - Extension of Time Analysis following Building Services Construction at St George's Hospital
2004/5 - Quantity Surveyor for Metronet Rail Infrastructure
2005 - Claim Preparation following Building Services Construction at St. Charles Hospital, Kensington
Author: Vince Poynter Version 5.082 15 Mar 2018
First Published: vincepoynter.co.uk Version 1.00 in Mar 2005
Selective Work Assignments added: vincepoynter.co.uk Version 1.01 in Apr 2005
Selective Work Assignments added: Version 5.082 15 Mar 2018
The first image is of the author's working desk taken around 1979 and was added in Version 5.080 on 9 Mar 2010
The other image is of the author working during the early noughties and was added in Version 5.080 on 9 Mar 2010
History Of The vinceunlimited Website [Updated]
Cast your minds back to 2003. Cars were drawn along by horses, someone was working on the wheel design and nothing was ever any good because nobody had come up with the idea of sliced bread. Probably. However some steam powered computers were starting to be on the desks of ordinary decent folks. And this intrigued me. The content on this magical non-TV was relatively sparse and what was there seemed within my creative abilities and often well below. So, like an early pioneer I decided I wanted to stake my claim in the ever burgeoning wibbly, wobbly web. I was always writing stuff down, coming up with ideas, sketching down jokes and such but wanted an outlet for my creativity. I always fear that my body of work may never get out and would remain forever stagnant, in my drawers. The web seemed the latest place to publish stuff so I undertook to learn how to secure my bit of web-land.
I soon understood that it's not just a case of clicking on a blank bit of the internet and typing away. Plus this was way before a modern world of helpful Apps and YouTube guides. In those days everything was hand coded to order in a strange new programming language called HTML. I had to buy a book [ask your great-grandfather] to learn about this new fangled HTML gobbledygook. I had tried a bit of code writing in the earliest days of computing, a touch of CP/M in the 1980s and a fragment of MS DOS Basic following this so I was already used to seeing such weird combinations of alphabet characters and rarely used symbols lurking on a screen display.
I undertook to code. And code. And code. I was relentless. It was relentlessly boring. But I was on a roll. Then a wrap and finally a Burrito just to sustain myself. I had a vision of what my site would be like. In those days the internet was usually accessed by a dial up modem through your local telephone land-line and it was miserably slow. If you started to download a sexy picture of a woman one morning it would slowly build one line at a time from the top of the picture and by midday you may be able to tell what colour eyes she had. No idea if she was naked. The dial-tone, in the style of Murray Walker, would interrupt itself long before that. So I determined that my site had to rely on written content and not be peppered by irritating images failing to render.
vinceunlimited Version 1
Home page of vinceunlimited.co.uk version 1
Coding began in earnest around August 2003 and by October of that year the site was ready to be published. I had hand-coded 166 pages of wordy musings all interlinked and spattered with hyper-links to other relevant sites.
As can be seen from the accompanying screenshot the site was based on a theme of black text on a silver-grey background with the eponymous title in green. I used underlining for links. It had no graphics.
The four basic navigation sectors remain to this day being the major sub-sections of Ideas, Opinions, Personal and Writing.
During the course of the next two years various version 1 versions and updates were released adding new content, correcting spelling errors and de-bugging any failing links.
Version 1.01 [Yes, I anticipated up to 99 version variants, or at least possibly more than 9] was published in January 2004 and indeed one of the first changes was a versions page, which was helpful for all my stalkers. I modified the Home Page to work on more machines, changed all the poor quality links, an unfortunate side effect of hand coding all the HTML script which ran the pages and surmised that now that I could test the links in a real world situation the number of mis-links would minimise. I invited readers to be my eyes and ears out there (or should I say eyes and thumbs).
Version 1.01 also included new page additions. The major change undoubtably being the publication of the sitcom episode Site for Sore Eyes. A major publication from me taking ages to convert to HTML from the original Sanskrit.
The second version of the first version followed almost as if fate had determined it, in March 2004. Version 1.02 added some sketches plus I released a tantalising start to a full stage-play, along with some extra ideas. After all, I didn't want to loose my reputation as an ideas man. Unless the change was to a ladies man, naturally. No, no. Not a ladyboy. That is entirely different.
You can see, even in these earliest incarnations one thing I wanted to do was get my pre-written content out there. Somewhere. Anywhere.
It was February 2005 before Version 1.03 sprouted legs and got going, boasting over 80 pages. However, the big news for me, as the website author, was the fact that I had my first feedback, despite the fact that, at that time, I hadn't yet launched the site on the unsuspecting general public. Up to then most readers probably knew me, or knew someone who did. This prompted me to formally notify Google of my presence. No posters, email shots or TV advertising had yet occurred [as if].
I found it interesting to watch people browse the site. It was designed to be read so a user could logically pass from page to page. Readers, however I discovered, have their own agenda along with their own twisted minds so the hyperlinks were abused and ignored with the inevitable disarray that follows. What was wrong with the homepage? One wouldn't read a book by grabbing at random chapters but internet browsing had made us work in this fashion which was a nightmare for me as a web designer. And it is this disordered chaos that resulted in the first memorable quote about my site. A work colleague, upon being asked what he thought of my site said "...it is rather opinionated..." Admittedly, not the most complimentary of comments but a positive reaction at least. So I enquired further and asked which part of the site he had read. He replied "The opinions section." Ahem.
Pages that were new in v1.03 included My favourite TV and films, Road tests and Quotes.
The final iteration of version 1, Version 1.04, was never formally acknowledged as a separate version as it only re-published current pages. They were all crafted around March 2005.
vincepoynter Version 1
Home page of vincepoynter.co.uk version 1
In March 2005 vincepoynter.co.uk was launched to provide a formal personal website and offer an on-line comprehensive curriculum vitae.
The first pages included the homepage, a CV, email, personal, version and webcredit. The personal page had no details and was published ‘under construction’.
The site was hand-coded in HTML with an improved layout incorporating a sidebar, multiple colours and a nifty 3D surround effect.
The colours were toned down for the Apr 2005 Version 1.01 which also added some detail to the personal page incorporating some background about the Poynter name and listed paternal relatives from grandparents to great, great, great grandparents. Plus a link to a page list of self-employment contracts carried out between 1999 and 2005.
Version 1.02 was issued in Jun 2006 and updated the CV and self-employment details and added some facts about Poynters across the world.
Version 1.03 dated Sep 2006 added a link to the vinceunlimited website.
Version 1.04 was published in Apr 2009 and updated the CV and self-employment details and included a link to IMPRECE, a self-employment limited company that I set up for formal tax purposes.
Nearly year later in Mar 2010 Version 1.05 was published simplifying the URL of each page, also updating the CV and self-employment details and the FTP credit.
Then more than two years after that in Jul 2012 Version 1.06 was released as the final iteration of the vincepoynter website. It again updated the CV and self-employment details, plus removed reference to IMPRECE and updated the hosting credit.
vinceunlimited Version 2
Home page of vinceunlimited.co.uk version 2
It took a couple of months after Version 1 before Version 2 of the vinceunlimited website appeared on the internet in May 2005 with coding that took my site to the next level with a better layout to match the vincepoynter website with a sidebar, dual colours and a nifty 3D surround effect as shown in the screen capture to the right. It also featured an animated, scrolling copyright notice relentlessly passing across the top of every screen. All this across nearly one hundred pages of wit, intellect and entertainment.
Because of the time taken to recode all the eighty plus pages of the site to the new layout I had not been as productive as I would have liked but did find time to add a major Political Section which could have resided under my Opinions section as it was a major opinion on the political system in Britain. Disillusioned with the incumbent political parties I decided that instead of claiming I could do better I'd offer my own alternative version.
I also added to my Ideas and Opinions sections. Plus more Road Tests including a test on a Bentley Arnage, no less. And Alphacar, an epic vehicle related poem that takes the reader on a journey through many car types.
Finally I gave a small obituary note for the loss of my previous obtuse links at the foot of each page. They had to go. The concept was just too ahead of it's time [read as: ...no one got it].
Version 2.01 was another tranche of uploads hoiked up to my web host in one go (Why are they always web hosts? I'd personally like a web hostess). This July 2005 subset was a mere updating and increasing of pages including a major new addition for this version, the publication of my stage play Perpetually. A long page in website land translated to the screen from a 67-page printed version. Yes the whole lot on-line.
Plus a road test on my Honda CX500 and two chapters to my growing autobiography. I let loose on my earliest schooldays and a paragraph or two on my family. It was a big step and I couldn't tread those paths without mentioning people that are alive. I did note that if that might be you note that the blind never read ill of themselves. And wondered, is that a proverb? Which is where my next new feature came in.
I added a brand new page that I called webquotes. So named to distinguish it from my other quotations page.
Finally, I had so many ideas floating around that I posted not one, not two, not even indeed any number totalling four or above, but instead three new ideas, with an assurance that there was many more to come. Some just languishing around lazily on my hard drive just waiting to get electronically heart massaged into life.
During September 2005 version 2.02 added a new page within the Opinions section, plus a road test article on my Kwaker 750. I also added to my autobiography with an anecdote or two about water-skiing, within a section I entitled Action Vince.
As usual more of my zany ideas were included. Four newbies this time, taking the total to fifteen.
Finally, conscious of the changing nature of personal website activity, I embarked on a new web blog. Which, by it's sporadic nature started to affect my neat version numbering system. The purpose of the blog was to float little ideas and opinions that may not justify a whole new page. But one entry did became so absorbing that I decided to transmutate it into a whole page.
It wasn't until June 2006 that Version 2.03 arrived including a ten most hated list along with another list for my top ten artists and a couple more ideas.
Plus a new invention of mine providing neat little thought provoking rhymes and a pitch. Not to mention some quote and blog updates. Which I have now done.
It was another six months before I updated again. Version 2.04 was released in December 2006 and notably included some radio scripts I had previously submitted to the BBC. Plus I fingered my keyboard to spill the beans on a few future concepts within my fiction and TV Shows pages. Along with a few more jokes and quotes.
Finally, I was as proud as pudding to announce that my site had now received actual feedback so my points of view page was born.
vinceunlimited Version 3
The original sketch laying out version 3 of the vinceunlimited website
In HTML coding I always struggled with word wrapping, getting the text to set and hug neatly around images. I also struggled with graphic based links and couldn't find the time and way to code version three which was planned to look like the image on the right.
Also, although the concept of HTML coupled with CSS was initially released in 1996 it didn't really appear on my radar and be understood by me until much later. Despite much standard HTML testing it never quite looked like I wanted it to look on a Mac and PC but a potential saviour was waiting on my desktop.
In January 2006 Apple had launched a seemingly perfect tool for me. The introduction of their colourful and simple to use Mac OS iWeb Application appeared to offer a solution. It was generally six or so months between major updates of my website due to work and mortgage paying requirements. I enjoyed the writing but the coding was a bit arduous. Every page seemed to need an HTML update at each major iteration. But iWeb promised drag and drop images and simple WYSIWYG text updating.
I decided to go with it and embarked on a long process of selecting a layout, then transferring my 120 pages or so of HTML coding back into standard text and then into iWeb, along with adding some carefully selected pictures with graphic touches to suit the site look.
Home page of vinceunlimited.co.uk version 3
iWeb became the basis for version 3 of my website but it took until March 2010 until it was ready for publication. Are you paying attention to these dates? A quiz will follow.
One issue was the abandonment of my version variants. iWeb was designed to be a living, breathing application. I could have opted for formal version updates or theme changes but the concept seemed to suit a live update process, leaving the home-page to be a set look and updates added as required to various sections. This would assist in me maintaining a consistent website look, which is important to regular readers. However, the downside is that each time a visitor came to the site it would look unaltered, unless they delved deeper into the sub-sections.
Most article updates started in my blog section. It was becoming a trend of personal websites. FaceBook, Twitter and WordPress was encouraging the process of regular, daily, even hourly updates. And everyone was moving away from the concept of personal websites. Ease of use for the masses meant that peoples' personal webspace was being absorbed into the major players.
I too had embraced these new concepts. Around October 2007 I had joined FaceBook and in January 2009 Twitter. Although I tended to keep my various on-line identities as separate entities.
Various blog entries were added to my iWeb site between the launch date and March 2011, including transcripts from the best of my own Twitter feeds.
In the end Apple had other ideas about keeping this iWeb pet project alive and it's last iteration was in July 2011. It became clear that I had to find another way to maintain my web presence.
vinceunlimited Version 4
Home page of vinceunlimited.co.uk version 4
With the continued growth of FaceBook, Twitter and WordPress personal websites appeared to have become a bit passé. The era of the common blog had really taken root. For one thing this solved the issue of static front home pages as the blog style content kept the front page looking fresh. So this bandwagon was truly seized upon when I clambered aboard a WordPress site, in July 2012, effectively making this the fourth version of vinceunlimited.co.uk
Over the next couple of years I persisted with my WordPress site, trying one or two pre-determined layouts as I went. WordPress is mostly about piggy-backing on other people's hard worked designs and I always felt that trying to disguise this plagiarism with a bit of personal customisation awkward and unsatisfactory.
Another nail in this coffin was the increasing charges made for using this service. Admittedly someone has to host a website and it is right and correct that this service should be paid for. The provider has to hold your site contents and feed it out to those that request it. I was always a tiny, minor player, considering the traffic that went to some sites so I always opted for the most basic of services and WordPress provided this sort of service free. However, when I wanted to add audio files in August 2014 a use charge was levied. Not based on actual number of downloads but on an assumption I was the BBC. This affected my view of the service.
Additionally, I missed the days where I could feel pride in the fact that I hand-coded my own website. Anybody could put out a blog, not many knew how to write the background stuff. Plus converting standard WordPress pages to include additional sections and getting the articles in them to be searchable is really difficult. At least, I never discovered a way.
Furthermore the promise of riding with a pack like WordPress is that one can expect a bit of cross fertilisation to help with getting my thoughts and words out there. Go to the .com page and there are countless adverts showing off the sites' wonderful users' content. But I saw very little evidence of such subtle advertisement and what interest I did received could have just as easily arrived randomly.
vinceunlimited Version 5
First Home page of vinceunlimited.co.uk version 5
Innovations in version 5 include a three column layout with blog style front page featuring text wrapped images with each article to have a release date as well as first published information. Also one click access to a mobile view version with every page replicated in a mobile format, clickable photo icons, vSearch, opportunities to advertise with vAdvert plus a vType drop down menu and 'Random Page Generator' links, along with a mini live Twitter feed. Other than all that just the same as always.
So what will the future bring? Well firstly I need to re-establish my website presence, flying solo again as vinceunlimited and not via a third party. I need to rebuild the approximately 200 plus pages of site content once more so there is a great library of my stuff and re-establish links where possible. And I need to find space for all the previously written blog articles to nestle, fully searchable by date, title and theme. And I need to get all those brand new blog ideas which are currently festering on my hard drive out into the big old webosphere.
And when all this is done I will no doubt settle back, have a quick ponder then immediately look to version 6, which will be much more Web 2.0 with live floating graphics, interactivity, 4D content and maybe even touch and smell sensitive. All as an implantosite in your brain. Probably.
Author: Vince Poynter Version 5.081 13 Mar 2018
First Published: Version 5.001 30 Sep 2017
Outdated links removed: Version 5.070 13 Feb 2018
vincepoynter Version 1.00 details added: Version 5.081 13 Mar 2018
The vinceunlimited Water Opinion
Difficult to Swallow
When I was young water went on for ages
I don't want to appear to be a bit of a wet fortnight but don't you just hate the privatisation of essential services such as power, gas, telecommunications, water and hamburger joints.
Well perhaps the last one would be a good idea but that is an entirely new subject for a rant. Here I want to bemoan the hypocrisy of privatised water companies.
Since privatisation the water companies have been taking the p1ss in more ways than they were obliged to do.
Why have we been subject to increasing restrictions, poorer supply and inflated bills?
Why, for instance, in our green and pleasant land [read wet] do we suffer hosepipe bans as soon as there are three sunny days in a row?
And why is the water mains pressure so weak you can no longer take a shower standing up?
The answer is 'fat-cat' profits.
Consider for a moment that you are that fat-cat executive on the board of one of the water companies.
What do you think the biggest priority is? - Fuelling your customers.
Nah, bleeding them dry is a much better business proposition and doing it is easy.
Firstly, you create an image that water is more precious than gold. Just wash over the fact that the product you sell for profit actually falls free from the sky.
Feed stories about drought and waste then try adding a bit of guilt about the environment for good measure and soon everyone will start to use less.
It would also be wise to shift blame firmly onto your customers claiming that their desire to live in cities makes it difficult to serve them. Gloss over the fact that when packed together it is cheaper to serve their collective needs, or the fact that most cities are built on rivers.
This all saves the cost of new reservoirs you see. In fact you may be able to sell off some existing ones for prime building plot charges.
And whatever you do don't invest too much in desalination plant technology, that will just remind your customers that the damn stuff floats all around their country in huge quantities.
Of course a few will try to persuade you that it is your leaky old network that wastes the most and you may consider doing something about that. Or you could reduce pressure to the absolute minimum - as set by your colleagues in the watchdog that your own industry set up. That should delay expenditure for a few more years whilst your valuable stocks and shares mature.
You might even suggest 'fun' items like sharing a bath, or play on your customer's basic laziness by suggesting it is good not washing the car or tending to the five-hundred pounds worth of shrubs in their garden.
You could even encourage the manufacturing industry that sells loos that only partly flushing is a good idea and that to add a brick in the cistern is a sensible measure. That should make the customers use less of your liquid gold.
Finally up the ante so much that government, or as you see it your old mates who got you the job in the first place, raise legislation to put a water meter in every property.
Obviously, the metered supply will have to reflect, on average, the non-metered rates, but as no one but you know how much the average is you can easily charge more than the average for everyone, no matter how frugal they are.
The downside may be disease and pestilence but it won't affect you, unless the proletariat happen to brush up against you in Harrods.
Another small problem will be that occasionally you will have to flush some water down the drains just to free them up as the network was designed with actual use in mind.
Then, as a piece-de-resistance, you could drop the quality of processing - just enough to not kill or poison too many but persuade the rest to buy bottled water instead of the 'free' stuff from the tap. If you are really good you could even bottle the stuff yourself and make even more cash. After all the idiot in the street is happy to pay more for water than petrol and water doesn't even have the excuse of 85% tax.
Mind you the most surprising thing about all this is why you 'fat-cats' are involved at all. I always thought cats hated water.
Author: Vince Poynter Version 5.079 6 Mar 2018
First Published: Version 1.04 in Mar 2005
The image is of the author swimming into the distance off The Isle Of Wight and was originally added in Version 3 in Mar 2010
A True Fifeteen Minutes Story
I'm a big fan of internet auction sites, or rather one in particular, namely eBay. I use it to sell on all my unwanted items and am rewarded with an above average financial return.
So I always read with interest any stories of unusual sales. The sort where someone offers two pounds for a pound coin or when a wife tries to sell her husband.
To this end I always wanted to do a spoof of my own. I figured that I'd try to get a definitive answer to the perennial question - What's the price of fame?
I set up an auction offering, to the highest bidder, a news story submission to their local and national media about the bid.
I envisaged the story tagged with 'At last, we know the price of fame. Mr. Winningbidder bid £x to have his name in the papers and get his 15 minutes of fame'.
So I set it up on the ubiquitous site and waited for a reply.
The auction would last ten days so that there was plenty of time for the world's media to find it. Unfortunately, not one picked up on the story.
I tried to excite interest by emailing eBay and notifying them of the opportunity of free advertising but the chap in a garage that runs the whole site was having a burger at the time, or counting his profits (I presume).
A few souls found the site and in the end I think about 150 people actually visited to see what it was all about. Probably mostly geeks not actually getting a life.
And one of these actually started the bidding. I was in business.
Now anyone who has used these auction sites knows that the bids come fast and thick toward the end of the auction particularly if one person has taken the plunge. I prepared for an auction battle.
I said prepared but this was more in the mental rather than physical way. There is little one can do whilst the auction is live, other than answer the dumb questions that the viewers think of, such as; "Can you tell me how many of these single items you have please?" Or, "What colour is the red post box?" Or "You say the postage to the USA is £6.00 so how much is it to Texas?"
None of these questions were asked during this auction though, unsurprisingly.
Finally the auction ended and I was left with a winner.
I emailed him straight away congratulating him on his impressive auctioneering skills and requesting the winning pound. I explained that all I needed was his name and location so that I could honour the auction promise and contact his local rag as well as the nationals.
I had a reply.
Only it wasn't of the nature you expect from someone who just won an auction whose prize was fame.
He asked how I was to maintain confidentiality, refusing to tell me his real name, even after assurances that I wasn't out to belittle his achievement or pass on his details. He was adamant and asked; "Can I do it anonymously?"
So there you have it.
The price of fame is one pound. And the winner is anonymous.
Not that I ever received the pound, he still had reservations about his fame being made public. But I didn't give him a negative comment on the auction site. After all, why mock the afflicted?
Of course, all this got me thinking about other auctions I could devise. Some might say that they are nothing more than a scam on the gullible but my motives would be purer - Entertainment. After all we all enjoy the newspaper snippets and forwarded emails about these silly auctions.
So my next idea would be to advertise 'Absolutely Nothing'. Yes, this ten-day auction would lead to the biggest anti-climax in the history of auctions with the winner getting Sod All.
Or if that idea proves unpopular I could run an auction advertising 'A Little Piece of History'. This time the winner would get something but the reward may not meet the hype I would imply. The winner will be sent a copy of yesterday's newspaper.
Finally, I could offer 'The Chance to be Completely Ignored'. I would send a message to all those who placed a bid but will completely and utterly ignore the winner. No acknowledgement, no invoice and no replies to any correspondance whatsoever. Certainly not any comments. I figured this may be of interest to Captains of Industry or Prima-Donna rock and movie stars who are fed up to their back teeth with sycophants.
As far as I know the above suggested auctions have never been tried.
I will not try them myself but anyone is welcome to use the ideas providing that it is done at your own risk and under an understanding that no responsibility is accepted by me. It would be courteous for you to acknowledge source with a phrase such as 'From a suggestion by the inventive wit of the vinceunlimited website' and to send me at least ten percent of anything significant made.
Incidently I define significant as anything over three quid!
Anyway the original idea is now passing to you readers. I'm offering to extend the auction for fame indefinitely. Do you want your 15 minutes? Email me an offer, over £1.00 please. Every time the bid increases I'll carry out my first promise, updating details on this site as well, just as long as you pay up.
Just please don't do it anonymously!
And as they say - Send no money now!
Author: Vince Poynter Version 5.078 5 Mar 2018
First Published: Version 1.03 in Feb 2005
Initial update: Version 1.04 in Mar 2005
Listen - Top Ten Musical Acts
Everyone, it seems, has an opinion on music and much can be discerned from the aural choices of an individual.
No doubt that many will view my list with distain and never speak to me again as I didn't highlight a Goth artist or because a particular band are in the list. But it is my list and at least you don't have to listen to them here.
And thank your lucky stars that you are not subjected to the song that my partner and I share as 'our song'. Sadly, it is Leo Sayer's 'Have You Ever Been In Love?' Well, it was in the charts at the time.
Below I have listed out my favourite artists, rather than favourite songs.
I know that as soon as I finish a list of songs a radio or CD play reminds me of one that I had 'forgotten', such is the quality of good music available. Because of this bands and groups are easier to list.
Plus the list cannot be dominated by one or two artists which would have the effect of making me look like a fan. Or stalker.
The less drunk and more observant will notice a complete lack of Folk, Jazz or Country artists and suggest this list is from the mind of a philistine.
Others may cite the lack of Hard Rock, Rap or Grunge and suggest this is the list of an impassionate bore.
Some may even ask why Christian music isn't featured. At least that group should forgive me.
Often dismissed as simple pop this band's work is starting to become recognised for its true genius.
If producing sounds that seem so simple is so easy then why were they not copied and re-invented by countless others?
The reason is that these melodic songs are actually crafted by really talented musicians and performed by artists that knew the extra delight that can be had when the lyrics are actually comprehensible.
Simplicity has never been so complex.
And, because you just need to know - the blonde in the seventies, now the redhead (no, I'm not talking Bjorn and Benny).
The Beautiful South
Although there are at least three principle voices that take turns in leading the vocals it is still possible to discern a Beautiful South song from others because of their unique style.
Crystal clear, smooth, well matched vocals bringing life to interestingly written lyrics make the middle of the road a great place to listen.
Elsewhere in this website I am extolling the angelic voice of Melanie Chisholm but if she didn't exist Dido would be there instead.
But although Mel C made it onto my list of dinner guests Dido has the professional compliment of being here on this list for her songs as well as her voice.
I pity the younger generation.
They have Busted and McFly, who although make excellent guitar-based music, can hardly compare to the greats of the seventies and Dire Straits are one band whose work immediately came to mind.
Elton John has been writing and performing excellent songs with his lyricist Bernie Taupin for as long as I have been listening and he continues to provide top class albums, both singly and branching out into collabrations with new bands plus different genres such as film and theatre scores.
Importantly, unlike other seventies superstars his greatest hits do not all come from one era.
Yes, that includes you Cliff.
As a prediction I think his best work is yet to come and it will be stunning.
In case there is any doubt I mean Elton - not Cliff.
With the exception of Status Quo Meatloaf would probably be the most embarassing artist to admit to liking in my list.
Many would baulk at the idea and see him as an overweight has-been rocker but I think he would enjoy that thought.
After decades of collecting enough LPs, CDs, DVDs, attending concerts and taking an interest in his other work I might be accused of actually being a fan.
So why? - The answer probably lies in a fairly unknown man called Jim Steinman who writes all of his hits with an expressive passion I can only admire.
All coupled with Meat's humourous, tongue in cheek, theatrical delivery.
And 'cause I'm a biker all revved up with no place to go.
Again, showing my age as well as appreciation for the era Queen is selected for their classic tracks.
Like so many it has taken me some time to really appreciate their work, so long that their main man, Freddie Mercury, has now departed.
I don't harbour regrets but if I did the most prominent would be that I didn't go to one of their live shows in the seventies 'because it was a bit expensive.'
What price now?
Most true superstars come from the sixties, seventies and eighties.
These were eras before the modern concept of manufactured fame (before you bore me with that story about The Monkees, name another).
Robbie Williams however has broken the mould.
The fat kid from the most famous manufactured band has risen like an erupting super-volcano and shown the world how it used to be done.
As I can hardly name more than three Robbie tracks his inclusion in this list is down to superstardom alone and I bow to it.
To be completed...
To be completed...
Best of the Best
And the winner is xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Favourite artist of all time. To be completed...
Author: Vince Poynter Version 5.077 2 Mar 2018
First Published: Version 1.04 Mar 2005
The incomplete data will be added when the website is updated to match version 2.03