First I have been trying to arrange a few escapes over the summer. One to celebrate fifty years of friendship with my two closest friends, having met them on university campus as nervous 18-year-olds leaving home for the first time. We plan to have a few days together back in the town where we studied and revisit old haunts, though fifty years on, it might be more sedate! Another break is to Spain with Kay. Having read The Return by Victoria Hislop, we are both keen to visit Granada and learn more of the history. I have booked flights, hotels and connections all by myself, so research has taken a while and made me go bog-eyed in the process.
I have, in the attempt to do something for the local community, also volunteered to help out at the local food bank. That takes up a whole afternoon once a week and has been a sad insight into the shortcomings of the government towards people with financial or mental difficulties. Nobody should be begging for food in this day and age.
The main reason for my preoccupations has been the demise of my television. In the last six years, it has failed on three occasions, each time being the backlight giving up the ghost. Twice I have paid for someone to replace a new backlight at the cost of £99 each, but when it went a third time a couple of weeks ago, I decided it was not cost-effective to buy yet another backlight, when I could get a new TV for three times that cost. Buying a TV should be a simple thing, I thought. Easy peasy. Hmmmm. Not so in reality.
Since I last bought a TV, things have moved on. There's 4k, Smart, HDMI, USB, HD, LED, QLED, sound bars, TVs as big as your house. Having established what size you want, the rest requires a sit down in a cold room with a beer. I decided I wanted a modest 43 inch (remember the days when you were told not to let a TV dominate a room - not these days - a 43 inch is apparently classified as small). The size was the easy part. I then decided on a Samsung Smart 4k all-singing, all-dancing model. I'd had a Samsung before and the reviews for the one I chose were fantastic. So far so good. Next step was to order one from Argos. I've set up TVs many times before for both me and my mother, so didn't need one delivered or set up for me. I lugged said TV home, only to discover, when I had switched it on and entered my wifi password and other details, that it wouldn't load up any channels other than the four in-built demo ones. I tried various things to load them up but to no avail. I rang Samsung and they talked me through back to factory settings and then forwards again to load channels with the same result - no channels found. "The TV", they said, "must be faulty, so you need to exchange it".
Back I went to Argos to exchange it and lugged the replacement home. When it got to loading the channels, the same thing happened. Yet again I rang Samsung. I could hear them scratching their heads. I ventured that maybe plugging the BT set-top box (which records programmes or pauses/rewinds live ones) into the TV might be the problem, so, having disconnected that, the channels loaded. Samsung was glad to get that tip off me! However the picture was so dark and grainy, it looked like all the action was down the bottom of a coal mine. I fiddled with the personal settings until the backlight and brightness settings were off the end of the scale, but still the picture was extremely dark. Samsung was speechless and didn't know what to advise. Needless to say, I put everything back to factory settings, lugged that back to Argos too and got a refund.
Since then I have been out and about grilling TV salesmen, researching Which? reports and other sites online and am more confused than ever which is the best one to get. I am slightly nervous that connecting an HD box set to a 4K TV is part of the problem although the experts tell me it should not be a problem at all. Meanwhile I am watching a tiny 18 inch TV (which I resurrected from the bedroom) from my armchair across the vast distance in my lounge and my eyes are going in separate directions, so much so that I got a terrible migraine one day last week and took to my bed! The search continues...........
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