About Me

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No Fixed Abode, Home Counties, United Kingdom
I’m a 58-year-old Aspergic gardening CAD-Monkey. Sardonic, cynical and with the political leanings of a social reformer, I’m also a toy and model figure collector, particularly interested in the history of plastics and plastic toys. Other interests are history, current affairs, modern art, and architecture, gardening and natural history. I love plain chocolate, fireworks and trees but I don’t hug them, I do hug kittens. I hate ignorance, when it can be avoided, so I hate the 'educational' establishment and pity the millions they’ve failed with teaching-to-test and rote 'learning' and I hate the short-sighted stupidity of the entire ruling/industrial elite, with their planet destroying fascism and added “buy-one-get-one-free”. I also have no time for fools and little time for the false crap we're all supposed to pretend we haven't noticed, or the games we're supposed to play. I will 'bite the hand that feeds' to remind it why it feeds.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

F is for Follow-up - G is for Giant . . . Not!

It's a funny old game, this toy soldier & model figure collecting, just when you think you've cracked something, something-else comes along to fuck you up! Exactly a year ago I posted the various Giant and copy astronauts/spacemen over on the Giant blog, I don't seem to have done an announcement here on the home blog though, but they went in here;
And I was pretty pleased with the result, it cleared-up a lot of the confusion over the various types and I tracked down examples of most types of packaging, compared and contrasted, and illustrated the various different marks. It wasn't definitive; these things never are, but the articles did the job! Until now . . . 

. . . when first, Gareth showed this at the last Sandown Park toy fair (where I shot the above), only to let me have the example today at the London Toy Solder Show. He's about 45mm and has some age, but is probably a scale-up of the Giant mini's rather than the other way round, and only points to more to be found!

So, large scale copies of Giant smallies - the search goes on!

Friday, March 24, 2023

F is for Follow-up - Elephants!

We like an elephant or two here, and further to the decorative china ones we saw the other day, Brian Berke remembered some sets he got from Sri Lanka, which I think is a new tag, and it's not often we add a new country to the tag-list, so a definite feather in the cap there Brain!
Small wooden elephants, carved by hand and painted in bright colours, you see them around, and they are obviously a touristy thing, but the little designs on them are scaled-down representations of the actual decorative elements painted on real elephants when they are to participate in a parade or wedding ceremony.

Both sets from both sides, one wonders how many colours you need to find to have a 'full' sample!

Scaled with a Crescent figure, we can see they are about 25/30mm, but they do come in various sizes, I have vague memories of very large 15"+ ones artfully arranged in old fireplaces (as mug coasters/small coffee-tables), or smaller 6"-10" ones on mantelpieces or bookshelves.

And it just so happened that I had three teeny-tiny ones come-in recently in a mixed lot from somewhere, which we may or may not have seen already, everything's gone - if not full pear-shaped - at lets a bit 'sixes & nines', and I've lost track of where everything was in the grand plan! Note; one has a red underside instead of the black on all the others?

Seen here, you can see they are little more than about 10mm, and I've shot them with another - more realistically painted - glazed china elephant and a bisque one in a similar, but matt, finish. The bisque being solid, the shiny one, hollow, like a mini-fairing, which he probably was, part of another family of minis!
This is the TBS box (to be sorted) of elephants which have come in over the last four or five months, it's almost endless! We should have seen the biggie ('soft play' is, I believe, the term for these huge rubberised animals or dinosaurs) before, a few years ago. But he turned-up again when I was clearing the attic, his plastic bag having slipped down the back of something. A bag which was reminding me he came from Tiger Stores (now Flying Tiger), the bag is beginning to crumble, so must be a biodegradable one!

Little & Large . . . "Hay-heh Syd, Climb-up!"

News, Views Etc . . . Events

Show News
As mentioned the other day, it's the London Toy Soldier Show tomorrow;
Haverstock School
24 Haverstock Hill
Chalk Farm
London NW3 2BQ

09:30-16:00hrs for buyers,

Auction News

Lot 4266

Thornaby Head Office
Vectis Ltd
Fleck Way
TS17 9JZ

01642 750 616

Thursday, March 23, 2023

T is for Tallon't

Hey, everyone's allowed a bad pun occasionally! Picked these up at a recent show (I haven't done show reports for the last couple - London's new 'combined' show this Saturday!), but I thought we could use a bit of novelty, rack-toy tat!

Space Toys! Technically Manurba I think, but seen here in their UK iteration of Tallon, they were also copied in Hong Kong at some point, or maybe the moulds ended-up there? I've never compared side-by-side to know definitively, but they are a perfect scale for the Airfix astronauts or Giant and copy spacemen and googlie-eyed aliens.
Image seen elsewhere the other day; I have a similar trio of loose ones which I thought I'd put on the Blog years ago, but I can't find them, so . . . well, these'll stay in the pack as I know the loose ones are there . . . and they weren't that cheap! I'm not sure if there were the three sculpts or maybe a selection of 5 or six, but when the loose ones turn-up we'll have another look.
I think the HK ones have blue canopies, but they may be clear, whereas all my W. Germany marked ones are yellow, equally the clones are pastel colours, while these are always primaries/secondaries. Bodies are soft polyethylene, canopies, hard polystyrene. Going back to the future as we'll never have cars like these, which ooze 1950's Pulp-styling!

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

News, Views Etc . . . Herald Toys & Models

Apologies to Barney, this actually came through on Friday, but my Internet has been a bit intermittent and I'd neglected Hotmail!

"....this week we have an eclectic collection of British plastics from the 1950's, including Cherilea, Crescent, Herald, Lone Star, Trojan, Timpo and VP. Themes include Wild West, Khaki Infantry, Knights in armour, Arabs & Foreign Legion. In all there are three pages of New Products for you to review...."

And Barney's landing page is here Herald Toys & Models, click on 'Items for sale' then click on 'What's New' to get the full results.

I also found some lovely stuff for Easter in Hotmail!

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

H is for How They Come In - Charity Shops

Just a quickie, there is a ton of Charity Shop posts going back to Lockdown somewhere in the heap of half-lost stuff in the 'User' folder, which isn't a user folder! But these are some of this year's more recent purchases!

The fourth of January, I ventured out to get essentials between Christmas and the New Year, only to find M&S were selling-off their mini Christmas puddings for 50p, so I filled my boots (I still have one, which is pencilled-in for my birthday treat!). At the same time I picked-up the three figures on the left, I think they are all from the current Fortnight craze, two key-rings and a stamper, all about 54mm.

To their right are the following Wednesday's ( the best day for toys in one of the charity shops) finds.

Which consisted of four apes in three sculpts, one is branded I think, but in the chaos of the moment I didn't note it at the time and they are away for now, but one day we'll look at them all again!
Not sure if these are more Fortnight, Laura Croft or some Barbie thing, but three TV/Movie (or gaming!) type babes in a vinyl-like soft polymer, looks like they should have separate weapons/accessories? Anyone recognise them?
Normally with these ceramics/fairings, I'll buy cats or the odd dog, elephants (see below!), and some branded stuff like Wade, but this caught my eye as it looks like Peter Rabbit. However, there was no branding and the colours are a bit off, so I suspect an unlicensed knock-off.
Nice PVC or similar bear, keyring, some age maybe, 1970's? Not much else I can add, if it was marked the above note about a lack of note-taking applies!
Small china elephants, probably from China! Consisting of a family group with matching graphics, in incrementally smaller size. They can be arranged to touch the tail of the one in front, with the tip of their trunks, along with one outlier who has different graphics and may have lost a similarly incrementally-sized family? He looks sad with his trunk down . . .

Sunday, March 12, 2023

F is for Follow-up to the Follow-up and Interim Non Follow-up! Kain Etc . . .

It's funny, when I posted the Greek carded rack toy set recently (no link, I've re-tagged them all and will put is at the end) I managed to find the original trio, but not the identifier, likewise when I posted the single red one with the Kain mark, I also linked it to the unmarked trio, but forgot it when I posted the carded set.
So, this additional group really is as described in the title! So, if you scroll to the bottom of this article and click on the link, you'll get what was a single Kain tag and is now four articles including this one, the other three below this.

This new sample actually came from Cyprus, but the free part which only underlines the Greek connection to these, and among some duplicates are both new poses and new colours against that which has gone before. Here we see the shooters, with a Marx pose, several Crescent poses and what I think might be a French chap, standing firing.
Abe' Lincoln and his long-lost identical twin, horsewippin' a bank-robber, all courtesy of Crescent, the green one has the Kain mark, semi-removed; see note below. Numbering has also changed relative to my earlier guesswork, but I've adjusted the original list, another reason to read all four in sequence!
Two foot Indians, where the numbering guesswork fell-down as they have high numbers, both are marked, one clearly, the other with the sign of attempted removal. Of course, they are the second and third found, as I had found one previously! One ex-Crescent, the other also French-looking in origin?
And the numbers reveal that actually the foot cowboys occupy the low spot where I'd pencilled-in the foot Indians (with a question mark, I always try to cover my arse), while some of the new numbers go way-up, hinting at 30+ figures, but mostly cowboys, so far?
And so to the Kain/non-Kain thing. Obviously the 'finger mark' I mentioned on the previous find was actually a strike-through, seen here on the blue one, while the tan/fawn one has a full mark; unfortunately hard to make out, as it was a short shot already, before the last owner clipped two ears off the base!
So unpainted Kain premiums, and [then?] a generic rack-toy issue/s, sometimes painted. The Kain mark not always removed properly, but what Kain was or is, I don't know; there is apparently a chain of Kain cafés (in the Athens area?); might they have issued premiums in the past, maybe as kids treats/shut-me-ups?
While the numbering may break-down with further finds, as it may be that a few foot Indians and maybe one or two mounted figures were on each tool, with up to four or five tools? Plus the wagon set. In which case, I'll re-do the list with 'known' individuals in numerical order!

Friday, March 10, 2023

F is for Follow-up - C is for Carrier Convoy!

Well, computer problems seem ongoing; “Unexpected black-screen in the new laptop area”! Hotmail is kicking-off with a data limit they made no previous mention of and which seems connected to my rejecting and uninstalling of 'Teams', '365' and other online/cloud stuff, which will be another battle. A quick notification of a change in the terms and conditions actual or implied with some penalty charges usually results in a change of corporate mind!

But, suffice to say the mojo is well off-track and the Blog is probably the last/least of my worries. However I have cobbled this together, although it's mostly appeared briefly elsewhere in the last month or two - easier to post minimal text stuff on a Faceplant group!

I had the luck to receive 'first dibs' on this from a mate the other week, we have seen the TAT Bren-gun carrier before, but now I have one with box, which is nice! And it's a clean one with the RAF-roundel sticker still in place.

Just a quick reminder of the light-tank version which turned-up under EM branding and which we also looked at last time;


In the meantime I had grabbed this in passing, larger and the later 'Universal Carrier' mark with full amour-plate down both sides, it is a Marx battery-operated toy with more similarities to the Timpo or Dinky 'boxes', both in size and - with the former - unrealistic wheel arrangement!
The Marx Hong Kong mark, I haven't seen the packaging, but presumably it was a late addition to the B/O Patton Tank which ran for years under Marx and other brand-marks, and as various copies.
Various views; the battery has actually been disabled and the gear-box removed, allowing full carpet-wheel, hand-action! It doesn't seem to have had a Bren-gun, but I'm pretty sure I have a spare of the Bren which clips to the frame of the old Britains long-wheel-base Land Rover, which will fit nicely on the lip of this carrier's firing -hole?
And then, my life was forced to accept an on-going theme situation, when this came in last week, a French composition Renault UE Chenilette carrier, although when I say 'composition' it seems to be a bisque like china/porcelain.
Above are before and after cleaning . . .
. . . which from the yellowish shade of brown was a few decades of Gitanes or Gauloises!
I use clean, cold water and wipes, with a gentle action on something like this, no rubbing or scrubbing. And no, I haven't been buying plastic-shafted Q-tips for several years, but there are a few kicking about and I happened upon some the other day; so thought I'd better get them off to landfill before someone else flushed them illegally - well; you never know!

Maker is unknown, but could be Domage et Cie (who became Aludo (aluminium) or Acedo (plastic)), or SFJB who are known for Bisque items includeing dolls heads? But Elie Tarroux is also known as an issuer of 'general figures and novelties' in composition, from around 1900 to the 1930's (A connection with Starlux is fleshed out in the Thomas/Guillot books); could he/they have survived the war and knocked this out with its Free French flag?
Boysie-Boy has no interest in this junk, unlike his late mother, but is looking very pleased with himself for having baggsied my fleece-jacket in the seconds it took to fetch the camera! While I'm very pleased to have picked this up.
All three recent additions, off to search for fanatical Hitler-Youth stragglers in the Tory Front Bench! First you demonize them as migrants, when most are subsequently found to be genuine asylum seekers, or refugees, then you call them names (“illegalls”, when they aren't, until they've been found to be, which over 70% aren't), then you switch to calling them “Boats” rather than people, then you deport them (or those who haven't drowned) without judicial process . . . sounds like fascism to me? Go Gary Liniker!

Returning to the TAT's as a final point, I remembered this post, which has a whole TAT gunner who can replace the broken one which I seem to recall one of my (three now I think?) Bren-gun carriers has.

Saturday, February 25, 2023

G is for God!

I forgot to mention . . . It's BP Fairs' Sandown Park Toy Pair today, so if you're at a loose-end, mosey-on down to Esher and see if you can grab yourself a bargain, he says; still half-asleep!

Friday, February 24, 2023

S is for Seen Elsewhere - Ephemera

As I posted some of this back in lockdown and as the lockdowns are all a couple of years ago, they might as well go here too! A rather eclectic collection, but the 'Seen Elsewhere' folder is one I have managed to migrate, find and get to grips with.
From the Hong Kong firm Star Toys' catalogue, their range of Timpo/Britains (and other makes?) wagon/coach clones. Amusing to see both Stage Coaches ripped-off, and Britains horses on Timpo bases.

This is from the retailer Josef Kober of Vienna's catalogue, from the mid 1970's. We see Timpo Indians attacking a Timpo cavalry/union-manned fort, while Elastolin cowboys get up to all sorts down in the town, including laying in wait for a Timpo stage! Wooden buildings exclusive to Kober.

I believe the shop only closed in the last few years, and when I posted it previously Gubányi István of Hungary recalled the shop was popular with Eastern European visitors during the Cold War, presumably due to Austria's NATO/Warpac neutrality.

This went on Brain Heiler's facebook group, where they like a bit of early evening, older kids, TV serial-related stuff, preferably Canadian, but this is British and another retailer (or actually; wholeseller)'s catalogue, Dekkertoys. I might even have a couple of those fake medal/badge 'Bling' items somewhere! Childhood Fun!

Not intending to park my tanks on Moonbase's lawn, it just happens there's a few white-button/wind-up, giant insects down the bottom of this collection of plastic kits from Bandai's 1975 catalogue, all of which have the clockwork 'walking action', I previously posted this on the STS Animal Forum over a year ago.

At the same time as I posted this image of the Marx prehistoric playset by Burbank Toys, presumably - by then - a Dunby-Combex sales vehicle (also marketing some Mattel), although originally formed in 1957. They also sold the last version of the Guns of Navarone playset, both in contents-photo' box-art, along with a third which I think was a Wild West set, with fort? It'll go on the A-Z listing in the end, with lots of other stuff!

Thursday, February 23, 2023

N is for Not Phidal, Oh, No, no, no, no, no, or Not?

By which I mean I would happily put a small wager on these having come from the same factory and/or design team who work with or supply Phidal, but they are not sold as Phidal, but rather as total generics in blank packaging - some warehouse somewhere is shifting them to anyone who wants them, and there are several sellers on evilBay, and Amazon I think.

Alice In Wonderland; Alice Through The Looking Glass; Bagpuss; Cheshire Cat; Disney; Disney Figures; Disney Stores; Hair; Hugh Walter; Hugh Walter's Blog; Mad hatter; Phidal; Plastic Toy Figures; PVC Figurines; Red Queen; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Tea Party; Tweedle Dee; Tweedle Dum;

This is not to say they mightn't be clearance from Phidal, there were a lot of early sets about which I know little, as the style, painting and bases are all very reminiscent of some of the Phidal output we've seen here before, but they are unmarked and direct copies (pose wise) of a Disney Stores 'exclusive' set (which are marked), which suggests unlicensed knock-offs? A third near-identical set exists, with metallic painted figures.

Alice In Wonderland; Alice Through The Looking Glass; Bagpuss; Cheshire Cat; Disney; Disney Figures; Disney Stores; Hair; Hugh Walter; Hugh Walter's Blog; Mad hatter; Phidal; Plastic Toy Figures; PVC Figurines; Red Queen; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Tea Party; Tweedle Dee; Tweedle Dum;
How they arrive, six heat-sealed pockets in a rolling double-sheet which is then cut and stuffed in another vacuum-packed bag, causing the warped bases on what are otherwise quite substantial figurines; and a hideous carbon footprint, and they are a little larger than typical Phidals at around 65/75 mil.

Alice In Wonderland; Alice Through The Looking Glass; Bagpuss; Cheshire Cat; Disney; Disney Figures; Disney Stores; Hair; Hugh Walter; Hugh Walter's Blog; Mad hatter; Phidal; Plastic Toy Figures; PVC Figurines; Red Queen; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Tea Party; Tweedle Dee; Tweedle Dum;
When I say "unmarked" I mean they don't even have a '©Disney', which is a pretty good sign of some Chinese (they don't have 'China' either!) ner'do'wellness! But they are nice for what they are and will go OK (not necessarily perfectly, but 'OK') with the larger Marx and other more modern figures by Bully, Kaiodo, Schleich etc.

Alice In Wonderland; Alice Through The Looking Glass; Bagpuss; Cheshire Cat; Disney; Disney Figures; Disney Stores; Hair; Hugh Walter; Hugh Walter's Blog; Mad hatter; Phidal; Plastic Toy Figures; PVC Figurines; Red Queen; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Tea Party; Tweedle Dee; Tweedle Dum;
Those unmarked bases, just for completeness! As hinted at above, the packaging will likely leave one or two requiring some hot-water reshaping. And you may have noticed; the Cheshire Cat's a peculiar colour . . . that's never going to make a Bagpuss!

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

News, Views Etc . . . Herald Toys & Models

Barney's been busy this winter, another release from him reads . . .

"...this week we have an exciting collection of 'Swoppets' from Poole in Dorset, including some superb C15th Knights, some of which have come straight out of a boxed set and are in pristine condition. We also have some nice early Herald ceremonial figures from the Manhattan Collection, including a group of four very early Guardsmen, marching at the slope, all with the "British Made" Zang trademark to their bases..."

As always Barney's stuff is to be found here Herald Toys & Models


Monday, February 20, 2023

F is for Follow-up - AWI and Cake Dec's

When I originally posted these, in a rather irreverent article, I mused on the origins of the red versus blue versions of the Airfix Washington's Army figures, a while later I actually saw some blue ones, on a US sale page, so that part of the mystery was solved and my improbable tale of how the UK came to have a bunch of redcoats seems more plausible now!

But, anyhoos, the other two sets in the recent charity shop purchase were this pair . . .
1 SSCO 4546 4547 Washinton's Army Airfix Lik Be LB Cake Decorations AWI Plastic Toy Soldiers DSCN0143
. . . both in SSCO packing (I've seen them in others now), and showing one way the Americans got them, six infantry in one pack and the mounted officer (glued to his horse in this case) in the other, so while still outnumbered by my redcoat sample, they have a fighting chance now, and the three musicians of the previous post to chivvy them along!
2 FSSCO 4546 4547 Washinton's Army Airfix Lik Be LB Cake Decorations AWI Plastic Toy Soldiers
Alternate angle/close-ups, they are the same figures, almost certainly from Lik Be (formerly 'LP' . . . or IDL!), they share the same base style and marks as both the redcoats available over here and the pair of astronauts which joined LB's diminutive chrome-painted robot/aliens - of which I picked up a few, mint, the other day in a charity shop!
3 SSCO 4546 4547 Washinton's Army Airfix Lik Be LB Cake Decorations AWI Plastic Toy Soldiers DSCN0154
I haven't got their matching-set here at the moment, so it's a comparison with the slightly larger, baseless set, but you'll get the idea from the previous posts on these, and we will do a round-up of all of them when I track-down the two missing figures for that chap the other day . . . other week . . . month! Another box ticked, more confirmation of previous thoughts!

And [written after editing the article] this isn't a return to business as normal here, despite the fact this was one of the next few in the queue. The MacBook Air went back for a full refund, it was a dated technicolour yawn of multiscreen busyness, and for the price, a complete disappointment - and I've always hankered after one; looked into it about 15 years ago and gave it more thought when first doing CAD back in 2012/13!
So with the HPieceofshit17 already on its way back to Amazon, I went back to a Lenovo, if my government is happy for me to buy Chinese shit full of spyware, who am I to argue? But Windows11 is also shit, and I still don't know where half the stuff I have got across is! It's a depressing nightmare, and with everything else going on, I don't know when normal service will resume, but I will try to get out a few easy or new-stuff posts going forward - a lot has come in!

I've actually managed to add some shots to the 'civilian' post of the canoe 'season', but apart from that and the Airfix post (additions to the Commandos) which was to go early too, the rest are still on one of the hard drives and after trying to 'migrate' the back-up, I'm in no hurry to load anything else on here until I know what the fuck I'm doing!

And I've just had problems loading these images, they wouldn't go where I was trying to place them, I tried formatting the page to normal, but they kept going in down the bottom, so in the end I gave up and moved all the text in sections . . . Pain! Still, it's not all negative, I'm back with Firefox; if everything else has changed you might as well bite the bullet and get used to new everything, and the current spellchecker for it is much better even than the Windows Office one!

Sunday, February 12, 2023

News, Views Etc . . . Herald Toys & Models Updates

As I mentioned the other day, there were two releases from Barney in the queue, to which another has been added and as I've now taken everything off this piece of shit HP-17 in order to send it back for a refund (it's not right!), an image-free post is a useful one right now! Good news, I talked myself into a Mac' replying to EY the other day, so went and got one yesterday, so  . . . another weeks setting-up and getting used to a new system and I should be firing on all cylinders!

" . . . this week we have for sale a good group of Speedwell figures from the Robin Hood set, together with a smaller scale Speedwell mounted cowboy, moulded in two-pieces. Happy collecting as always, Barney - PS: Royal Mail have now resumed International services, so hopefully the cyber incident from 11 January has now been resolved and normal service resumed!"

" . . . from the Manhattan Collection we are very pleased to be able to offer two rare original Herald catalogues for 1957 and 1958, together with an original Herald New Lines leaflet for February 1956."

" . . . this weekend we have an interesting collection of Barrett & Sons Zoo Series models, mostly from the old Taylor & Barrett hollow-cast moulds, including a Polar Bear Family, Seated Lioness and Cub, together with a very rare Red Deer Stag and Hind matching pair. Some models we have never seen in plastic and are not depicted in the Plastic Warrior Taylor & Barrett Special. We also have a few B&S Farm animals, including a scarce tree, moulded in two parts."

As always Barney's stuff is to be found here Herald Toys & Models

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

H is for Heeeeerererereerssss Hughy!

I'm back, typing letters about three points fucking tall! You get the biggest screen you can and they reduce the graphics by 50%. I fucking hate Hewlett Packard and I fucking hate Microsoft and I fucking hate technology! Three fucking codes to my 'phone in the last half hour, just to get to stuff which has been mine for years!

Couldn't comment on anyone's Blog because the despicable duo wouldn't let me open the Excel spreadsheet I put all my passwords in, as the Lenovo was dying (China be fucked - I wish I'd bought another Lenovo! The price of principle is some Western piece of shit - which was probably made in China anyway - no spyware but no usefulware either!), or at least; not without paying for Windows365 and some other shit I don't need because A) I don't want my life 'on the cloud' and B) I have a perfectly good Office disc somewhere, which I've already paid for - Bastard Microsoft bastards!

And everything's still on the Backup hard-drive, so I won't post much beyond rants about fucking Hewlett Packard and fucking Microsoft for a while longer, but I'm about to try loading the later version of Picasa (3.9) than I've been using for the last fourteen years, so we'll see how that goes!

Hoping to go to the Spring gift fair at NEC Birmingham tomorrow, still got all the Kensington Olympia stuff from Toy Fair on an SD card, along with a bunch of other stuff so I'll have 'some' output in a day or so, and there are three press releases from Barny and a new PW out there!

Most bookmarks restored and I managed to make a payment with Paypal (which hasn't been working for a year or two), so some benefits to a new machine . . . new anonymity!

Had a chat with matey in Rymans and he had the same thing, the first thing you have to do with these new laptops is delete and/or uninstall three-quarters of the shit that comes with it (MacAfee is shit, get Avira free and bin MacAfee!), and then you find there's nothing useful there, I can't even open zip-files with the software I DO need until I've downloaded WinZip or similar, if I had a machinegun there would have been a bloodbath somewhere in the last two weeks, not Macky-D's, somewhere full of authority figures is where!