Archive for July, 2012

Rights Of Man – Thomas Paine

Posted in Books on July 30, 2012 by thecognitivekey

Still in the 18th century…Daniel Defoe to Thomas Paine. This is a philosophical book. It has much relevance even today in its encouragement of people to challenge the political system. I do wonder what Paine would have thought of today’s USA, he had such hopes…


Maverick Sabre – Lonely Are The Brave

Posted in Music on July 30, 2012 by thecognitivekey

It’s about time I said something about the music I play. I do a radio show on QARadio, the hospital radio station for the Queen Alexandra Hospital Portsmouth, so I get to hear a few sounds now and again.

I’ve been playing tracks from Maverick Sabre’s debut album for a few months now. There are restrictions on what we can play on hospital radio, no bad language, or talk of death, dying and illness, so not every track on this album can be played on my show. But the whole album is worth a listen, some good radical talk here. Well worth a listen if you get the chance

The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy – 2012 Tour

Posted in General with tags , on July 24, 2012 by thecognitivekey

It’s about 10 days since I saw the show. It’s taken a while to sink in…

Back at the turn of the year the Mayflower theatre, in Southampton, sent out a flyer for The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy. A tour by the original radio cast, those who are left that is, doing the original radio show on stage. Wow! A pair of tickets £50 plus booking fee. It has to be worth it, when will they ever tour again and it’s the original cast.

It’s a long wait from January to 15 July. I’ve been looking forward to it.

The Mayflower is a nice theatre. The last time I was there it was for the first show of the Monty Python tour way back in 1973, it’s been a while, it’s held up well. The show is a sell-out.

The first half was OK. A few deviations from the script, inevitable omissions due to the time restriction, but a few embellishments added, not for the better. A quick drink in the interval, and the second half. This was a real disappointment, major changes to the timeline in the books, parts shuffled, new things added. It didn’t work.

The overall feeling on leaving the show was one of relief that it was all over. It wasn’t the show of my hopes. It was nice to hear the original voices and see the faces, albeit 34 years on, but the changes to the script did nothing for it. The souvenir programme at £10 was overpriced. I get the impression it was all a money making exercise. Isn’t everything a money making exercise you say, probably but I’d expect The Hitchhikers Guide to be above that. Depressing, isn’t it.


A New Shed at last

Posted in Customer Service, General on July 23, 2012 by thecognitivekey

After all the shenanigans with sheds in the garden centre I decided to get one on-line. There are lots of places selling sheds, a wide range of quality and price.

We have dealt with Tiger Sheds before and having checked them out, they appear to be the best. A good price and an excellent lead time. The garden centre had a T&G shiplap 6×4 at £310 with a 4 week lead. Tiger Sheds have the same on offer at £220 plus £15 for having a door hinged on the left. It’s an 8 working day lead time. It’s no real decision.

The order was placed with Tiger. The progress is recorded on their website. It actually takes 10 working days to get the shed, which is fine because the weather was bad after 8 days, and OK at 10. The sheds are delivered to a 2 hour timeslot. It’s pretty impressive too as the driver had left Leeds at 4am. I was the second delivery and he had 7 more before going back to Leeds. The chap delivering the sheds was alone, he told me to rest up while be carried the shed into the garden (they commit to roadside delivery). He was jolly cheery and gave me some tips on sheds. A very impressive service from these guys.

The shed has been erected on the concrete base the old shed sat on. I managed to drag the old shed onto the lawn. With some help from my father the new shed was built within a few hours. Then it rained. The next day I painted the remainder of the outside, I had already painted the walls which would be inaccessible once erected. Transferring the contents of the old shed complete, it looks very good inside and out.

The old shed posed a problem. Who wants an old shed. The delivery driver had said there’s a very good market for old sheds. I didn’t want money, just the shed gone. Freecycle is the answer. The shed was put on-line on Friday evening, 3 expressions of interest immediately, (8 by morning) one firmed up very quickly and said they’d be round next day at about 3. They were, along with trailer. Dismantled in about 10 minutes it was all gone within 20. Excellent.

Orange – Bright Stuff Part 2

Posted in Customer Service on July 18, 2012 by thecognitivekey

Haha – so much for Orange Customer Service. They have now told me on two separate occasions that they have updated my account to stop Bright Stuff texts. Twice now they have failed to keep their promise. I am still getting text messages from Bright Stuff.

Never mind, my contract comes to an end in September, as will my association with Orange.

Orange – Bright Stuff

Posted in Customer Service on July 9, 2012 by thecognitivekey

What is it about big corporations. They think they can just do what they like and treat their customers like shit.

A couple of months ago Orange started sending me texts. They were jolly enthusiastic texts, promising all sorts of fun and games under the heading Bright Stuff. I hadn’t asked for this and it was annoying to get texts at all hours which I just deleted. There was an option to opt out – text STOP to some number or other.

I am not good at being asked to jump through hoops to stop something I didn’t ask for. Replying would add a level of legitimacy to these unsolicited texts, so that wasn’t an option for me.

I went on their website and eventually managed to find an email address I could write to. There were no numbers to call, apart from 150 from my mobile, but that’s pretty useless as there’s no Orange signal in this village. I sent a note saying I didn’t want their texts and they should stop immediately or I wouldn’t be renewing my contract when it runs out in October.

I got a phone call in response at work. A chap chasing down the problem, he sounds very keen. He asks me some characters from my password. Odd this – I didn’t think they ever did that. I give him a couple of letters which are apparently the wrong ones. But that doesn’t matter as I get the other questions right. He asks what sorts of communications I want stopped, I opt for everything but it takes a while as I have to be asked about each individually. We got there in the end and he promises that the texts will cease, it may take a couple of days but they will stop.

Hurrah. Sounds like a win. I login to the Orange site and change my login password. It seems that there is another password for use on the telephone, to identify me easily. I might have set it, but if I did I have no idea what to.

The texts slowed down, they never really stopped completely. Now, several months down the line I am getting them again, one or two a day. Today I shall complain.

I phoned the Orange shop in Fareham to try to get a number to complain to. The guy there tells me I can text STOP, but he interrupts me while I am talking so we are never going to be exchanging Christmas cards. Eventually I get the answer – I can call 150 from my Orange phone. I ask for a landline number and he gives me a mobile number. Useless.

No point ringing a mobile number from my landline, it’ll cost a fortune as I know it’ll be a long call. So nothing for it but to ring from my mobile. This means ringing from the garden. Luckily it’s not raining.

It’s the normal modern menu type machine…but no option for complaints. I try the Technical problems route but eventually it leads nowhere, no option for Other at all. So I try again, this time going down the Account line, eventually there’s an option for Adding or Removing extras. The phone is answered pretty quickly. Maybe I haven’t got through to Orange after all, some other call centre. No – it’s Orange.

I explain I am getting unsolicited texts from Orange which I want them to stop. He puts me on hold for a couple of minutes while he confers. Rock music for hold music, it’s OK, loud enough for me not to have to keep the phone to my ear. He’s back. The can’t do anything and they recommend I change my number. What! You can’t stop your own marketing texts? I can, I shall change provider! I reiterate that these are Bright Stuff texts. He disappears again, no hold music this time. Back again, then off again. Finally he’s back, he will set everything off on my account and ring me in an hour to confirm. Sounds good to me.

Haha – Orange Customer Service, as good as ever. My call with them finished at 1010 this morning and they have yet to get back to me. I shall have to look at O2 I think.

Note to Orange: while navigating through your telephone menu, in the Technical issues section, it said that I could find out all about coverage from your website. You jest. Your website says that coverage here is excellent. It isn’t. I can receive texts indoors, but have to go outside to send them. I have to go outdoors to send or receive phone calls, but even then the connection breaks up very easily. Call that excellent coverage, because I don’t. Your website is pretty crap too, whole areas often unavailable. I shall be changing operator when my contract is up. Can I pay it up now? I can’t wait to leave you.

An Accident at the Garden Centre – Part 3

Posted in General on July 7, 2012 by thecognitivekey

I went back to work Thursday. Driving is a challenge. I need to concentrate and that tires my eyes. Work on the computer is also a drain on my eyes. Sleep is a problem too. Everything is not yet back to normal. My handwriting is atrocious now. It might call for a visit to the doctor.

On Wednesday I called Hampshire Council to complain that the shed company didn’t have an accident book. Hampshire say it’s not them it’s the Health and Safety Executive who deal with this, they have an office in Basingstoke and she gives me their number. Now I didn’t realise people still used fax machines but I guess they do as I have been given the number of the HSE fax machine in Basingstoke. Madness. A quick check on the HSE website shows that it’s the only number they have, but for my complaint I should go to the local authority, Environmental Health.

I called Fareham Council, and whoever answers the phone agrees it’s Environmental Health I need. They need to know the problem before they will connect you. I guess it saves time in the long term. So through to Environmental Health – I run through my tale of woe. We are now pretty certain I was knocked out as I can remember hitting the roof but don’t remember falling or hitting the ground. I remember trying to get up, I don’t remember landing on my elbow, which was grazed. All the details are taken and they will investigate.

A few minutes later they call. The Garden Centre falls in the Winchester area not Fareham, but she will pass all the details onto Winchester so I don’t have to. Excellent.

I got a call from Winchester, they need my address which wasn’t passed on by Fareham, they hadn’t asked for it. I also told them I will be back at work on Thursday and give my work number.

Home from work on Thursday I found a message on the phone, call Winchester.

Friday, I call Winchester and leave a message. They call back and I relate the tale again. It seems that although the shed company had a duty of care and had to have a first aid kit for their employees they don’t have to provide me with any aid. I guess they are expected to call an ambulance but don’t have to treat me or clean up my wounds. They do need an accident book and the staff should know where it is.

She says they will get a visit next week. Cuts in spending mean that they no longer make proactive visits and are purely reactive. Shame really as it’ll cost more in the long term. She’ll let me know what happens.