Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Will Showed Me His

I think it's only fair I reciprocate (been trying to upload to blogger video all evening and failing so going YouTube, and off to bed. Hopefully this will be live soon).

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Friday, July 25, 2008

Letter of Complaint to AOL Customer Service

Sent to AOL customer service after their completely incompetent handling of a technical problem.  If I get a response I'll post it.
Dear AOL,

I discovered on Wednesday evening that my AOL service was not working correctly, and was preventing me from connecting to the Internet.  Running through the self-diagnostics on the software this told me that there was a missing file and to reinstall the software.  This I did.  It did not resolve the situation.  When I phoned technical support on a number that charges at 5p/min. I was told by recorded announcement that there were extremely long delays, and I should connect to the Internet and seek help on-line. (Which I was not able to do because your software was "apparently" not working).  After 15 minutes of waiting I gave up.


The following day I checked the AOL homepage from work to see if there were any known issues.  None were listed.  That evening I tried again, and reinstalled the software again with the same result.  Again I phoned technical support.  Eventually I got through (after a 20 min wait).  Only to be told it was a known fault (with the type of modem that I was using that you supplied me with), would be fixed within 2 hours (impressive since it's already been out for at least two days, sorry I don't believe you) and that I should connect through Internet Explorer.


Please can you therefore provide me with answers to the following:


  1. Why you couldn't put an announcement on you technical support line to tell people this and save me running up a phone bill of at least £1.75 (cynically I suspect that this is so that you make yet more money from your customers)?


  1. You didn't list this supposed known issue on the website homepage?


  1. Why your support staff are extremely unhelpful and rude?


  1. Whether you are prepared to refund me the cost of my phone calls?


  1. Whether you are prepared to refund me the proportion of my monthly charge while I have been unable to use the Internet through the usual means and this problem continues?


  1. What my MAC code is so that I can move to another broadband supplier?


I look forward to hearing from you.





Thursday, July 17, 2008

Every Man Should Have One

Once you've got an allotment, there are several things that you acquire if you don't already own them. Some are obvious: digging fork, spade, measuring line, bucket, compost heap. Others are less obvious. Depending upon your allotment, it might for example come with a shed. Ours hasn't, so might be an addition in the future.

There was however something that I really felt I needed. I want our allotment to be as sustainable as possible. As it's close by this means that I can walk there and back. The downside of that is that it means I have to carry everything with me that I need. At the moment that's mainly fork, spade and bucket. Along with some water or juice to keep me hydrated as I dig. If we had a shed I could actually leave the digging utensils at the allotment, but the shed is a longer term investment. Not for the here and now. Instead. Today. I went and purchased the next best thing.

Dear Blog Reader, I give you:

The SUB (Sports Utility (wheel)Barrow)

Monday, July 14, 2008


New Kid on the Plot

So we have an allotment.  We also have a contract.  A contract that says we will do three things in the first three months of being given an allotment:
    1. Ensure that allotment is readily identifiable by clearly displaying our plot no. (3b)
    2. Rough dig entire plot (approx. 52' x 26', and covered in weeds, the previous "tenants" were kicked off)
    3. Ensure all the edges and paths are clearly defined
Well No. 1, is done, the plot was already marked when we got there.  No. 3 I'm doing as I go.  No. 2, is part way there, this weekend marked the completion of a little under half the plot being dug.  I'm really pleased with myself because I've only really been able to start digging this weekend because of trying to clear the weeds, which means we're on target to meet the contract deadline of three months.  So long as my body doesn't fail me in the meantime, because this morning I ache bad!
Now I spent Saturday morning digging, Saturday afternoon I spent hoovering (the house not the allotment), Sunday, all day I spent digging.  My day started at 9am on Saturday, and finished at 4 and at 10am on Sunday and finished at 4.  Add to that the leaving do I went to on Friday night where considerable alcohol was consumed, I was very surprised not to feel hungover on Saturday.  I think at the end of it all my body will get used to this new "exercise", truth told it could do with it.  It also seems to be good mental exercise, because it seems to clear my mind as I work, nothing much in there at the best of times, but it's definitely clear while I'm digging.  The digging is a fork at a time, turn it over, pull out the weeds, break up the soil and then carry on.  It's quite slow going, but I can see progress.  I stop at the end of every other row for a break and a swig from my water bottle, it's thirsty work 'coz I'm getting through about 4 litres just while I'm there.
Then there is my new neighbours.  Being the new kid on the plot, I have four "new" neighbours, plus other nearly neighbours.  There's Ron and Peter who are alongside me.  Both nice, and I already have some squash plants growing thanks to Peter.  Then there's Margaret, who is also my real next door neighbour at home (bit of a coincidence that).  Finally I have a mystery fourth neighbour.  We haven't met yet, but I want to, because he/she (I'm gonna go for she here until I know otherwise, I just have that feeling from looking at her plot) has bird boxes, and mason bee houses on her shed, and it really looks like a truly "organic" plot.  Other nearly neighbours include Steve, who I met by the gate on the first day, and haven't spoken to since, but we kinda wave and nod and then Dave, who is also the site manager and keeping an eye on me as a newbie to ensure I don't step out of line.  I am sure others will appear, there were plenty of people about on Saturday and Sunday, who I didn't get a chance to talk to.
We're bringing along some seedlings that we should be able to plant out soon, and I've also got some plug plants on mail order for the middle of August to give us some winter salad and spring vegetables.  It's soon going to be all go on the plot.

Monday, July 07, 2008

An Update

Yes a post!  Mainly because a few things have been happening, that individually would have warranted a post on their own but time was such that it just didn't happen.
Wimbledon  OK it's all over barr the shouting, but the "young gun" won.  Apparently if you are over the age of 32 you are officially an "old man" or at least that's according to the BBC.  I found this out while I was sitting in a hospital waiting room, where they had the semi-final coverage on.  So screw tennis and screw the BBC, 'coz I am not an "old man" just because I am over the age of 32.
Why I was in hospital  I wasn't there for me, we were there for the latest appt. for my GF, that is a whole other post, and not one for here, but let me just say the NHS is so completely screwed I am surprised that anyone who works for them bothers to come to work each day.
Iphone  Yeah OK you can pre-order from today, but despite getting all excited, watching Steve Jobs live, downloading the introductory video (all 30 minutes of it), ordering a PAC code from my current mobile provider, I can't be bothered.
Allotment  We've got one.  Despite there being quite a long waiting list we have allegedly risen to the top.  It's covered in weeds, and we have three months to get it up together, but it is ours and no one elses.
As I say should have been several posts but is only one, sorry.