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Dark clouds and silver linings

Dark clouds (the likes of the healthcare debate and BA’s strike) have hovered throughout the month of March.

Hard to be in London and turn a blind eye to these things, probably hard to be anywhere, even Leary, Ga. Fortunately, however, I didn’t get caught in either storm. I wasn’t flying BA during the strike periods but had friends from the US who were: no complaints there. BA got them to London as promised and back home, and as far as I know without a hitch. If I am wrong, I am sure they will tell me.

As for healthcare, I did everything I could think to stay out of the debate, everything: ignored baiting emails and blogs, turned off the television, cast the newspaper aside, even went silent when people tried to talk about it and thanked my lucky stars that I was one, two, some three thousand miles away from home.

But the death threats to Democratic representatives who supported the healthcare bill and the name calling and political posturing to cloud the legislation can’t be dismissed. It sounds like thunder and looks like lightening to me.

After reading about this, I shut down my computer and joined a girlfriend for dinner.

So glad I did, I discovered a silver lining – they say there’s one in every dark cloud. I’m referring to Voucher Cloud.  Ever heard of it?

If you use an Iphone you are likely with the programme, the app that is as my girlfriend explained with excitement and scrolled down to display several fantastic discounts at cool restaurants like the one at which we were dinning. We tucked into a meal with the promise of a £6 discount. That’s $9, not to be sneezed at.

In the meantime she whizzed through a demonstration of the app, which calculates and stores savings.

Momentarily, I thought my BlackBerry (BB) a dinosaur and wanted to trade it in. I know BB users, forgive me; I soon got a grip and bragged about our instant messenger app, which allows us to text free to each other wherever we are in the world – there! And I live in a location where Orange operates, so I have Orange Wednesdays: two for one cinema tickets every Wednesday.  Oh and Orange does not do Iphones.

After putting jealousy aside, I checked out Voucher Cloud for myself and reviewed the three categories: Mobile Vouchers, Printable Vouchers and Voucher Codes.  The good news is that Mobile Vouchers are not only for Iphones, they can be downloaded to other handsets too including the BB. But when I tried it, things got a little fiddly, not as straight forward as having an app to manage the vouchers.

But Printable Vouchers are easy. You just type in your post code for the participants nearest you and presto you have access to an array of discounts, including restaurants from high street chains to local bars and grills. Print straight from your machine and take them in to claim your discount.

And to use Voucher Codes, you never have to leave your desk; these are discounts on websites the likes of Marks and Spencer and The Body Shop.

Voucher Cloud’s slogan is live more…spend less. Very fitting for the current dark clouds hanging over us, don’t you think? Wait a minute; is that the sound of thunder? National Rail is threatening its first industrial action in 16 years.

Four days after Easter, are they serious? So much for my silver lining. This is exactly when I plan to travel by train to a writing festival. Looks like this time, I’m likely to get wet. Good thing, I have a decent rain hat. Otherwise, I’d get soaked.

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