One of the places we’re thinking about settling is East Anglia, somewhere near Norwich (the county town of Norfolk). A story on the BBC about an ill-advised politician speculating that the unexpectedly high levels of diabetes among children there may be due to inbreeding.

This reminded me of a nurse friend who explained the medical notation ‘NFN’. If a baby is born that seems relatively unresponsive it might be noted as NFN, meaning that it’s response is about what you’d expect given environmental issues, though it may be below the expected norm. Similarly if an adult patient appears slow, NFN would imply that it’s just the way he is rather than part of a medical problem.

NFN stands for Normal for Norfolk (or Norwich).

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Look at my wad

We bought a new car yesterday, with the intention of paying by debit card. At the last minute I thought to phone the bank to make sure that such a large withdrawal would go through OK (cars have got much cheaper in the UK while I’ve been away, but aren’t exactly bargains even now). They told me that I could only withdraw 10 grand* using my debit card, leaving me around 2,300 short. So I hopped on the bike (because we don’t, obviously, have a freaking car yet) cycled to the bank, withdrew the equivalent of $4,500, and headed up to the dealership with the cash wedged in my cycling shirt pocket. This, I think, easily surpasses the time I hitched 15 miles to buy a car with 800 quid in my wallet.

* I’m still using a US keyboard, so please read an implied pound sign as appropriate

Minor Channels

One of the joys of British television is the existence of minor channels. These differ from specialist channels such as Discovery (though we have those too) because they don’t have a particular focus. They exist, instead, to show programs that are expected to be less popular than would be required for the major channels.

This has several benefits. It allows a series that couldn’t make it to ‘the big leagues’ to still be seen by an appreciative audience. Some of these develop into very popular programmes that make it onto the major channels, and conversely they provide a safety net that means a poorly viewed program on the major channel can be shifted over rather than just cancelled (I found the cancellation of a perfectly decent series a real irritant in the US).

The benefit I’m enjoying right now, however, is space. The European Athletic Championships are going on in Sweden at the moment, and we get to enjoy 5.5 hours a day of coverage across BBC 1 and 2. Now I know that I could subscribe to something and get sport coming out of my ears, but for a relative cheapskate like me being able to watch excellent coverage of an exciting event (and for those of you who’ve only seen US coverage of athletics, you’ll have to take my word that the actual competition itself is often thrilling, and doesn’t require you to know that the US athlete’s mum once had a harrowing knitting accident) is a real pleasure.

Oh, and thanks to the overbearing nanny state, there are no ads either.

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No Logic

I’ve posted before about the interesting time we’ve had with the person buying our house. You might think that two months after the sale we’d be free of such problems. You would, of course, be wrong.

One of the conditions of the sale was that we would re-grade around the house so that water would more efficiently move away from the basement. We did this to a level we thought sufficient (using about 20 cu ft of dirt), but the buyer’s inspector disagreed. Unfortunately this was just before the closing date, so we agreed to escrow some money pending a further re-grading so that the sale could go ahead. Within a week of closing we redid the grading with an additional 140 cu ft of dirt. The buyer was present at the time, and was given every opportunity to point out flaws in the work, and we even left some dirt behind in case a top-up was needed.

Unfortunately it turns out this wasn’t quite enough to satisfy our buyer. From the person following this up for us in the US:

She pulled out all your shrubs which left holes so feels it was not properly graded.

Words fail me.

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