Sunday, 17 July 2011

You'll be finished by lunchtime...

I fall for it every time, the phone goes off on a Friday night and there's a lovely easy little number waiting for me on Saturday, nice bit of overtime and you'll be finished by lunchtime.
Of course it involved a 4am start and i had to be at the shop in Portsmouth for 07.15, but at least the lorry was loaded and the only other drop was at 08.30 in Chichester. Easy peasy, go back the pretty way up the A286 and i should be back at the yard in Enfield by - yes! - about lunchtime. What could possibly go wrong?
By the time i got up to Guildford on the A3 my 4 1/2 hours driving time were about up and i pulled into the BP services to take a break. So, there i am with 45 minutes to kill, may as well put the paperwork in order. And this is where the inexorable downhill slide begins. Lurking at the bottom of the manifest sheet is a little note i'd not previously noticed - 'Wembly DC, collect load for Chelmsford store, leave on van'. Ok, not a total disaster, Wembly's not that far from Enfield, with a bit of luck i should still be done just after lunch and the rest of the day is mine. Nice!
I should have remembered, there are two kinds of luck...
There was a fair bit of Saturday shopping traffic to carve my way through but i still managed to get up to the DC by about 12.30. The place was deserted. After about half an hour's worth of ringing the bell and shouting i managed to attract the attention of a passing warehouse chimp. The last tattered remnants of my early finish were about to disappear down the toilet.
'Oh yes, just pull on to bay eight. Your lot usually collect at 6pm during the week but it's ok, on saturdays we have it ready early'
'oh good, i'll open the back up then'
'Oh i wouldn't bother doing that yet, it's raining and the floor will get wet. Go and wait in the canteen and i'll give you a shout when we're ready to load'
In my head, little alarm bells were starting to ring.
'Ok, when are you likely to be ready?'
'Oh it's all picked early on a Saturday, if you're lucky and nothing else comes in we should get started by about...'
'Yes, yes?'
'Oh, three o'clock if all goes well'

(Insert expletives and the faint sounds of a grown man sobbing quietly to himself)

To add insult to injury, when i did eventually get back to Enfield the light was absolutely stunning, the power station at Brimsdown was lit up in a beam of brilliant sunlight against a brooding slate grey backdrop of cloud and rain. It was just begging for a picture. The week before i took my camera with me and it pissed down, all i got was rain on the windscreen, so this week i didn't bother and left it at home.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Well i wasn't expecting that!

The homehub thing was being a pig and, as you may have noticed, i was beginning to get a bit irritated. By about 10pm i'd given up any hope of fixing the problem myself - fixing? I wasn't even sure what the problem was. I felt like a monkey messing about with a - well, messing about with a computer, a slightly inaccurate assessment insofar as i don't have a tail - ape then. There was only one thing left to try, the option of last resort, the world of endless frustration and mind boggling 'please unplug the equipment then plug it back in, i'm reading this from a card and only have slightly less idea what's going on than you do' stupidity that is BT technical support. Everything i'd ever heard about them was bad, from mates who work in IT to Radio 4 comedians, i'd not heard a good word said about them, this was the last step before phoning the glazier to fix the router shaped hole in the front room window 'oh look, there's a telephone out here too... hang on, he's asking if you've tried unplugging it and...' After a smallish bit of automated switchboard 'press 1 for...' i got through to a very Indian technical support bod. Much to my surprise he didn't ask me to unplug or switch off anything and listened patiently while i told him my woes and read out the string of error messages and what i'd tried to fix them. He then proceeded, over the course of the next couple of hours, to thoroughly and completely sort things out with absolutely no frustration or stupidity and the bare minimum of 'reading things off a card' - a bit about re-siting my router to minimize RF interference. In one fell swoop, Mr BT technical support bod turned my world upside down, everything i'd ever heard about BT support went out the window, this bloke didn't just know what he was doing, he was good at it, bloody good. He went through my old Dell desktop and my Homehub like a dose of salts and then, from what little i could tell from my end, appeared to give the local exchange servers a bit of a poke as well. At the end of it all everything was working properly and my broadband speed was better than its ever been. I have to say, i was impressed, and in a good way. Mr BT technical support, out there in India, thank you sir, you did a damn fine job!

Tuesday, 5 July 2011


The new laptop's arrived, closely followed by the new camera. A time for rejoicing and much fun with shiny new toys, yes? Or possibly a time to sit in front of the computer alternately bashing my head on the desk and calling down curses on BT and their sodding Homehub while desperately struggling to work out what's not behaving its self this time. I haven't even unpacked the camera yet.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Underneath the lamp light...

Underneath the lamp light... by roadscum
Underneath the lamp light..., a photo by roadscum on Flickr.

I had an interesting and fun filled evening down in Brighton on Friday in the company of young Spot and his chums. I spotted this couple canoodling under a street lamp as i hung on to the wall outside a Finnish vodka bar, waiting for a table in the Indian nextdoor.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Romford all lit up

Romford all lit up by roadscum
Romford all lit up, a photo by roadscum on Flickr.

I left it a little late but i did eventually manage to get out for a bit of a walk; this is what i saw.

Now, i've got to get a move on, i'm due to meet young Spot down in Brighton for a trip to Fishbourne and a Roman villa.