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Archive for February, 2008

Have you had an accident recently? It’s always SOMEONE’s fault…. isn’t it?

Have you had an accident recently that wasn’t your fault? Well, why not contact the national accident helpline – and they’ll help you sue the pants off some company even though it probably wasn’t their fault either.

Am I alone in being incensed by the ad showing the guy falling off the ladder?

“I was given the wrong ladder” says our witless chap. I wonder if someone had given him a knife and told him to go cut his wrists if he’d have just gone and done it.

Here’s my solution to the problem – take all the firms of solicitors who offer these services – put them up against a wall – and shoot them. Then we can all get on with our lives in harmony instead of being told every day that we should be grabbing whatever we can whenever we hurt ourselves.

Between endless daytime cartoons which teach that the solution to problems is to kill someone or something – and these guys – the next generation doesn’t stand a hope.

Seville – home of the Orange

Saturday: Today we travelled to Seville – which on any other day would have been a wondrous event as the place is lovely – however it rained all day which put the dampers on things a little. Having said that, it was 15-20 degrees for most of the day so still short-sleeve shirt weather.

We visited the Real Al Cazar and then, after an also-ran lunch the Cathedral. Well, it’s big, it has lots of paintings and stuff that should impress, but it’s SO big that after a while it all just goes in one eye and out of the other.

The city itself however is most impressive and definitely warrants another trip when the sun is out!

In common with everywhere else we’ve seen to up to how, the roads in and out are embarrassingly modern (I’m assuming the EU paid for this) – even once you get out into rural areas.

Complete with endless narrow streets full of touristy shops and restaurants, there is, I would imagine, something for everyone in Seville.

Interestingly as we parked in town, what looked like a policeman herded us into an available parking space. As we got out of the car he asked us how long we’d be staying – I said I was not sure – perhaps 4-5 hours. He thought about this and uttered “5 euros” in a friendly manner. Well, I paid him the 5 euros – and off he went to the next person to help them park!!

No receipt, no ticket… clearly there is a learning excercise to be had here. The guide says little on the subject other than to say that the parking wardens are mainly “unofficial” whatever that means and that for a small sum are usually most helpful!!!

On the right you’ll see Maureen at her favourite hobby – shopping!!

First thing in the morning we head off back no doubt to miserable cold weather back in the UK and for me, a repair job no doubt on the email which packed in yesterday. My job for next week – figure out how to make it completely reliable for our next trip to Spain – which will be in the very near future to sign papers and get the ball rolling on our new house.

The Hole in the Wall

Friday: A trip to the Mezquita in Cordoba (a temple first built in the Visigoth era) via a wonderful castle called Castillo de Almondovar del Rio.

Thursday: We’re currently staying in Cordoba, near Seville which is 300km away from Galera – Maureen’s after some culture. On the way we’re planning furniture moving, bank acounts and a thousand other things we’ve probably not even thought of yet. Summer home in Spain? Well, sounds better than summer home in Bellingham!

Wednesday: Sunny Galera, a mere 100 miles northeast of Granada, at the top of a mountain, and overlooking the valley etc…. is our new summer home.. and although it looks like a small house, of course most of it is buried in the hill itself, so this small house actually contains 2 bedrooms, large study, laundry room and is spread over 3 floors in total – and more importantly – it’s ours!

Sun’s out, weather is cool but one hell of a lot better than the uk.

Here is the the YouTube video for the new cueva in Galera. http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=-6386083093557120185&hl=en-GB



Pictures are rubbish here due to limitations of the blog, I’ve put some better ones on Flickr

http://www.flickr.com/photos/scargill/sets/72157603964755100/

The hole in the wall – Spain

Cave homes just outside of Galera in Spain

We set off from the rainy UK in the early hours of Monday morning for Spain and what a ride it’s been since then. We arrived in Spain lunchtime to less than exciting weather. Granted it was MUCH warmer than the UK but there was a light rain. Non-the-less we set off from Malaga airport for the long trip to the small inland town of GALERA in a rented SEAT.

A cave homeWhat could have been an otherwise quite boring ride turned into a major affair when, half an hour into the trip, as we were minding our own business on the motorway, I noticed out of the corner of my eye, a truck coming up on my left. It wasn’t so much the fact that it was a truck, it was the fact that he was jack-knifing at the time – and before I could as much as turn around, the truck slammed into the side of our car HARD. Within what seemed like a second or less, we found ourselves driving up the motorway BACKWARDS.

Having taken out the rear left side of the car, our new friend proceeded to slam again onto the driver’s side – and at some point I’ve yet to determine, a Merc was involved and that hit the front. Happy to say no-one was seriously hurt but the vehicle was a write-off.

Several hours later we set of AGAIN from the Airport armed with a brand new Peugeot and we’re currently looking at cave-houses with a view to buying one as a second home! No, seriously, take a cave, dig a deep hole, line it with concrete, put a front on it and you have handy home – it’s a big thing out here and they’re really neat.

Castillo de Almondovar del RioNext…  a trip to the Mezquita in Cordoba (a temple first built in the Visigoth era) via a wonderful castle called Castillo de Almondovar del Rio and then on to Sunny Galera, a mere 100 miles northeast of Granada, at the top of a mountain, and overlooking the valley etc…. our new summer home.. and although it looks like a small house, of course most of it is buried in the hill itself, so this small house actually contains 2 bedrooms, large study, laundry room and is spread over 3 floors in total – and more importantly – it’s ours!

A Holiday and a Half

We set off from the rainy UK in the early hours of Monday morning for Spain and what a ride it’s been since then. We arrived in Spain lunchtime to less than exciting weather. Granted it was MUCH warmer than the UK but there was a light rain. Non-the-less we set off from Malaga airport for the long trip to the small inland town of GALERA in a rented SEAT.

What could have been an otherwise quite boring ride turned into a major affair when, half an hour into the trip, as we were minding our own business on the motorway, I noticed out of the corner of my eye, a truck coming up on my left. It wasn’t so much the fact that it was a truck, it was the fact that he was jack-knifing at the time – and before I could as much as turn around, the truck slammed into the side of our car HARD. Within what seemed like a second or less, we found ourselves driving up the motorway BACKWARDS. Having taken out the rear left side of the car, our new friend proceeded to slam again onto the driver’s side – and at some point I’ve yet to determine, a Merc was involved and that hit the front. Happy to say no-one was seriously hurt but the vehicle was a write-off.

Several hours later we set of AGAIN from the Airport armed with a brand new Puegot and we’re currently looking at cave-houses with a view to buying one as a second home! No, seriously, take a cave, dig a deep hole, line it with concrete, put a front on it and you have handy home – it’s a big thing out here and they’re really neat. If I can get somewhere with a decent connection I’ll put some photos up here – here’s one above for a taster!

Pipex and Customer Care

“Thank you for continuing to hold, we value your call…”

Does that sound familiar? Does it make you want to pick up a shotgun and blow the phone to pieces?

I have a broadband account with Pipex – one of their £14.99 accounts. I took this up a year ago and a couple of weeks ago I got a letter from Pipex so say we owed them some money. It turns out the credit card I used had timed out. I went to their website to change the card details last week and while I was there I noticed that they now offer what I’m paying £14.99 for – for £9.99 – I queried this and was told “it’s just a newer offer”. So I suggested that as the account was a year old I’d like to move to the new tariff – NO PROBLEM was the reply (how many times have you heard that?)

Today I received an email to say that they had the new credit card details – thank you very much – and just to confirm I’d be charged £14.99 a month from now on.

Erm, no.

Rather than start another email trail I rang them up today (Saturday morning 2nd Feb) and after a considerable period I finally got through to someone .

I spoke to a lady to explain that the £14.99 charge was NOT what we’d agreed – that I’d asked to be moved to the £9.99 account. She explained that she could change this now no problem – then came back to say the system would not allow her to do this – and gave me a telephone number – 08045 0772537.

I rang that number and once again listened to “we value your call….” this time with a warning that it would take at least 6 minutes to answer the call.

I’m sorry, there IS only one reason for these messages – and it’s not too many customers – it’s TOO FEW STAFF! Like many big companies – they can’t care THAT much!! The call cost I could care less about – I value my TIME!!

When I finally got through, I explained I wanted to transfer to the £9.99 account – no problem, but THEN I was then told that due to technical difficulties they could NOT transfer me to the cheaper number!! I suggested that if they could not do this, I’d like to CANCEL the account, get my MAC number and go somewhere else – there are plenty of options out there.

I was polite through all of this… yet the operator made NO attempt to keep my business.

“No problem – ring 0871 2225550 and press option 4” said he..

Well, actually there was no option 4, it was option 1 THEN option 4…

The automated voice on THAT number told me that in fact if I wanted to cancel the account, I should ring 0845 072 2865.

This I did and I was then told by ANOTHER automated voice that this number was no longer valid and I should ring 0871 222 6366.

The automated voice on THAT number told me that the office is closed and I should ring back on Monday.

Is it possible for a company to get any nearer to gross incompetence than this? At times, Orange come a close second but I think this beats the lot – 6 telephone calls over 3 days only to get NO-WHERE.

I rang them back on Monday and I spoke to a gentleman – sounded mexican – who was very difficult to understand. I explained I wanted a MAC code and to cancel the account. He said I could not do both at once. After a long conversation he told me I’d receive the MAC code via email WITHIN 5 WORKING DAYS (I can’t help thinking it takes seconds to organise). I then have to go to another provider within 30 days and THEN let Pipex know that I no longer need the account.

As he was thanking me and putting the phone down – I asked him if he had space on the record for NOTES. I asked him to make a note to state that at NO time had anyone asked me WHY I was cancelling the account. He said he would make a note (had it been me I’d have asked there and THEN why the customer was leaving – but I guess that’s why I dont’ work in a call centre).

I await my MAC number…. such a shame, they could have sorted this out if they could have been bothered.

Pipex. Just say NO!