strange_complex: (Bettie Page shoes)
To celebrate having a free day on Saturday, I first enjoyed a big fat lie-in, then took a leisurely breakfast, watched some TV, noodled on the 'net, and finally headed into town to complete a few shopping missions I hadn't had time to attend to for the past week or so. I needed to stock up on things like shampoo and so on from Boots, but it had also become urgent that I buy a new pair of actual boots. So urgent, in fact, that I'd got to the point of being faced each morning with the choice of wearing either a) a pair of boots with one missing sole, a broken shank1 and a rapidly disintegrating interior or b) a pair of boots with the bottom of one heel missing. Usually, pair b) won out - but it was clear that this state of affairs could not go on.

I wasn't really looking forward to the boot shopping very much, as I have terrible trouble finding boots I like which are appropriate for work. I've railed in this journal before about those stupid heels which are placed right at the back of the boots, I don't like wedges, and I don't want to wear anything more than about 2.5 inches high for the sake of comfort. So there's not much on the contemporary high street which I really want to wear.

However, yesterday the Shoe Gods were clearly with me, as I walked into Clarks, saw a pair of boots I liked straight away, tried them on and found that they fitted beautifully. I can't find a picture of them online that I can link to, but they're Victorian-looking black leather ankle-boots, with cosmetic laces up the front, a practical zip up the side and a nice-looking heel about 2" high. Plus, they were in the sale. Yay!

Thanks to Clarks, I'd got everything done I needed to do within an hour of leaving the house, so I used the time I'd expected to spend trudging gloomily around boot-shops checking out mobile phone deals instead, with an eye to the upcoming end of my current contract with Vodafone on 27th February. This is what I found, in the sort of price-range I'm willing to pay and with the sort of features I want:

NetworkVodafoneO23T-mobileOrange
Plan150 AnytimeOnline 25X-Series SilverFlextDolphin
Monthly charge£25£25£22.50 for 8 months, then £40£27.50£35
Insurance£6.95£7.50£5.99£5.99£6
Minutes150200300c. 85250
Texts5005001000c. 170250
Internet allowanceReally unclear1Mb then £3 per Mb1Gb1Gb£1 per Mb
HandsetSony V630iAnyNokia N73Nokia 6253Most
Contract18 months18 months18 months18 months12 months


Given that I'm currently paying £30 per month for a mere 25 minutes, 250 texts and no internet allowance, those all look pretty tempting. In fact, I think I'm most tempted by the T-mobile Flext deal. Although the numbers of minutes and texts are a bit lower on that deal than some of the others, you can actually use up an overall 'allowance' on whichever you like, which is rather nice, and I very much doubt on current usage levels that I'd feel restricted by it. And that lovely, ripe 1Gb of internet usage is very tempting! Although my current phone can theoretically access the internet, I never use it, because I have no idea how much it will cost me, and suspect it might be rather a lot. A 1Gb allowance basically means being free to surf as much as I like, in practical terms, and the web browser the guy in the shop showed me looked pretty decent, too. Although I probably won't make as much use of it now as I might have done a year ago (when I was spending at least nine hours on trains a week), I can still see how it could be really handy for things like house moves (which I know needs to happen again fairly soon), trips away and so on.

If anyone has any thoughts on that deal, or any of the others, or any general experiences with any companies other than Vodafone (the only company I've ever used so far) which you think I should know about, speak up!
-----------------
1. The steel 'backbone' of most heeled boots. You know it's broken when the heel no longer stays solid in relation to the boot, will move about if pushed by a hand and feels like it's slipping out behind you when you walk.

Bargain!

Thursday, 4 August 2005 21:22
strange_complex: (Penny Bazaar)
My regular-stylee film-based camera is busticated. I have accepted this. It's a fair cop - I think the thing must be about ten years old now. In the long term, I plan to replace it with a digital camera, but I have too much other stuff on at the moment to put proper thought into this, and besides, I'd like to be clearer about my employment prospects for the immediate future before I start shelling out that kind of cash.

So, in order to avoid leaving Belfast without ever having taken a single picture of anybody or anything in all the time I've been here, I decided that in the meantime, I'd buy one of those single-use cameras, just to take a few basic snaps with. In Tesco's this evening, I looked at what they had on offer. Single-use cameras with flash - £6.92. Great.

But wait! What's this? Reusable camera, also with flash, £7.97. What? Surely not? Surely you've missed the bit on the packet where it says 'single use'? *checks about ten times* Nope, I haven't, and the way they've packaged it with a separate film (yes, folks, also included in that bargain price!) next to the camera itself is kind of a hint that it can be loaded up with new films in the future, too.

So now I have come home not with a single-use camera, but with an actual new film-based camera, and it cost me less than I've seen some single-use ones going for elsewhere. OK, so it's manual wind-on, has no zoom function, and is 'focus free' (an abbreviated euphemism which actually means "Your pictures will be completely free of anything which is in any way in focus"). But so would a single-use camera have been.

Hoorah for technical obsolescence and cheap Chinese manufacturing! Anyone in my immediate vicinity for the next month had better prepare to strike a pose.

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