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Seeing as I spend a lot of time in my car commuting (if you didn’t know already – click here for the post), I get to hear a lot of radio adverts. One that has been on air for a few weeks now is something about a Hive Smart Home, a product that, from what I can tell, allows you to change your heating and monitor your home when you’re not in it. Vodafone have also thrown their hat in the ring with a V-Home invention.

The adverts are targeted at the kind of people who stop in the middle of the aisle in a supermarket and wonder whether they locked the back door or not. This sounds like a good piece of kit, a fantastic bit of extra security to bring peace of mind, a product that you’ve managed so long without and never knew you needed. One of the adverts goes on about being able to check if your dog is raiding the bins or leaving any accidents about the place. Much to the user’s relief, he’s being a ‘good boy.’

But what happens if he’s not? What if he has decided to raid the bin and last night’s chicken tikka leftovers didn’t agree with him – what then? Are you going to leave your shopping in the middle of the store and run home to clean it up? Of course you’re not. Imagine you’re having a romantic meal in that top-notch place recommended by your hairdresser. Whilst waiting for your dessert to arrive, you check your phone and see the dog’s masterpiece all over your carpet; you’re still going to have your dessert but now the shine has been taken off it and all you can think of is where you keep the marigolds.

“If someone gave me one, I’d give it back”

Or even worse, you fly out to some far-off place for a two-week holiday only to find out on day two that someone’s broken into your house and stolen everything (apart from your smart-home product). There’s nothing you can do about it and now you’ve ruined your holiday so why do you need to know?

You can probably tell that I’m not being endorsed by any of these products and chances are, I will never buy one. If someone gave me one, I’d give it back.

It seems everything these days is being branded as ‘smart’, probably so the people who buy them don’t have to be. I’m sure there are some advantages to owning this technology, but sometimes maybe ignorance is bliss.

So, what happens if you do end up with one of these products? Well, you can still stop in the middle of the aisle in the supermarket wondering if you fed the cat his meaty brand or a dry kibble alternative, but now you can stand in the middle of aisle for even longer whilst you check it on your phone, only to discover that you didn’t feed the cat and in mutiny he has used your bed as litter tray. Guess you won’t be stopping for petrol as you rush home.

Having a Charity Ball

calvert-trust-kielder-logoLast weekend, the wife and I (and the bump) went to a charity ball at The Hilton in Gateshead in aid of The Calvert Trust Kielder. The trust offers outdoor activities for people with disabilities whilst also providing respite for their carers. It’s a good cause and there should be more facilities to help disabled adults, but that’s a bee-in-my-bonnet for another time.

Whilst there we took part in the usual charity raffles and stuff and as a table we did alright for ourselves! However, the event started with an icebreaker where everyone had to stand up and decide whether to sink or swim. If you made the wrong choice, you had to sit down. As the rounds went on and I realised that I was doing quite well, it dawned on me that if I kept up this good performance I’d end up on stage. Unfortunately, I was right.

Out of two-hundred people, I’d made it to the last ten with a chance to win free alcohol. The host asked us all some questions and then we went off again. After a few more rounds I was still at the front; and then there were three. To the left of me was a woman who was so drunk that if she was chucked into a large body of water she would have naturally drowned. The lady to my right was showing off so much cleavage and under-boob (is that a term?) that I thought she’d put her dress on back-to-front.

We started the last round and I decided that drowning was the way to go. I was wrong and sunk out of the competition. If you ever wanted the opportunity to see me in a tuxedo pretending to drown to ‘Baby Shark’, then I’m afraid you missed it. However, if you pop on over to their website, there might be some photos…