A short snippet of woe and joy first. Remember the saga with Cyfrowy Polsat a while back? Well, in the new home we have some TV sockets that receive signals from Astra and HotBird satellites via a dish on the roof and a system of switches, routers, boosters and whatnot. When we moved in I just plugged the decoder into the socket and everything worked! Flabbergasted, I was. Well, the Gods of technical things noticed how easy this was for me and a short while later sent another pretty big electrical storm over Warsaw to destroy our home’s sat system and leave us with just Travel channel, TVP1 and TVP2. This must have been early August, I guess.
The sat-man who looks after the systems here was on holiday and not due back for a month, early September! I tried to find another company who could fix it sooner but they were all either on holiday, not interested or very not interested. I gave up and we waited for the sat-man to return. On our return from holiday we renewed our quest and I was told to be home early on Monday as the sat-man was coming. I got home, I waited, he didn’t turn up. I was told he’d definitely turn up the next day, same time. I got home and he was already here and working. He replaced the dish and some other gizmos and we had a signal. Trouble is that half the channels were missing, the half that we watch of course! Being in a hurry to get to his next job he blamed the whole thing on Polsat. Given Polsat’s past performance this seemed reasonable to someone who knows diddley squat about satellites. We then spent the next 5 hours calling Polsat and going through assorted ‘factory resets’ before they finally told us it was not their fault but the dish was not properly aligned.
Tried to contact the sat-man again but everyone involved had gone off the air. Unable to contact anybody for a few more days of Travel channel I eventually called in a favour from a company we’ve used before. They sent a man round, one who knew what he was doing (always helpful) and after 5 minutes checking he connected the correct cable in the garage to one of the switches and everything has worked perfectly ever since! So, the answer to the question “how long does it take to fix a domestic TV satellite installation in Warsaw?” is “About six weeks, two different companies and at least ten hours of phone calls!”.
The upshot of this story is that the guy who fixed it was also able to connect us to the uncoded channels on Astra satellite, the only one being of any interest is Sky News.
Sky News is useful to have around because it gives me a perspective on the news with a very strong UK focus. Something I can’t get from any other news channel over here. Since having Sky News I’ve been having lots of fun watching the weather forecasts. “Francis the weatherman” and his colleagues have the daunting task of trying to make the UK weather sound both interesting and not depressing. They need to make people forget about cloud, rain, wind and crap temperatures and find that feel-good spin. This is a challenge they approach with extreme professionalism.
I’ve noticed that their most used tactic is to sort of reverse into the problem. Find some good news, then creep slowly from that good news to the reality of the weather situation over the UK. Something like;
“Well, it’s holiday season so many of you will have been enjoying some sunshine in foreign parts and southern Spain is certainly experiencing some great weather recently with temperatures in the high thirties. Closer to home though, you can see the mass of cloud hanging over the UK bringing rain, and misery to everyone for the next week or so.”
With so many people stranded by cheap & bust airlines though they might prefer avoiding the holiday theme and go for something like:
“The recent period of settled weather (referring to maximum of two days of the same, not necessarily good, weather) has been a great relief and with the sun breaking through in parts today (referring to a small area just outside Bristol covering less than 1% of the population) things are really looking up but it’s probably going take us well into next week before we see the cloud and rain clearing from the rest of the country.”
The funniest part is that from the moment they appear on screen they are standing in front of a huge satellite picture of the UK which best resembles the Andromeda galaxy in that it’s just a huge blob of cloudy stuff with not a single decipherable mile of coastline to be seen.
What’s the point of these weather forecasts anyway? I reckon I, most people in fact, can predict tomorrow’s weather just as well as they can. Nobody and no computer on earth seems capable of predicting anything much beyond tomorrow, so why bother trying. Just cancel the whole weather forecasting circus and replace it with a game of guess which bank goes bust next, or something equally pointless and depressing.
I’ve never really paid attention to the way the weather forecast is presented in Poland. I think generally the weather here is more predictable than the UK but do they also beat around the bush or do they get straight to the point?
“Tomorrow, the weather is going to be bloody awful. After that, your guess is as good as mine!”