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Friday, 23 November 2012

I Fought the System and Won 8-)

Apologies for the length of this blog, but all will become clear as you read on.

I have recently heard good reports about the German Supermarket chain Aldi  in the media, from friends and understand that they have been awarded the accolade of “Best Supermarket 2012” by the consumer magazine Which? My interest was increased by their television advertising campaign.

Therefore on Sunday 14th October Mrs T-E and I decided to visit our nearest store in East Grinstead, West Sussex. In fact the visit to the store was the sole reason for making the trip to East Grinstead, which is approximately 9 miles from our home.

On our arrival at the store we spent a little time waiting for a parking space but it was nothing excessive, perhaps about 3 minutes. A cursory glance around the car park indicated that it was a private car park for the use of customers of the store only, which is quite fair and as there were no signs to indicate that it was anything other than free to customers, we entered the store.

The store itself seemed quite logically laid out and it being our first visit, we took our time to carefully evaluate the extensive product range. From our knowledge of rival supermarket chains we tried our best to make comparisons on price, quantity and quality of the various products that were on offer. We noted that with careful selection it was possible to plan entire meals for the following week and make considerable savings over similar products from other well known supermarkets that we would usually visit. After we spent quite a while browsing and carefully selecting what we wanted, we were very pleased with the overall cost of the products at the till.

Once we had tried the various food stuffs that we had purchased we were very impressed with the overall quality and enjoyed the significant savings we had made. Despite the 18 mile or so round trip to East Grinstead, we had decided that it would make financial sense to make regular return visits to the store. We had planned to return there in early November to make a more substantial purchase, which would keep us suitably stocked up for the month.

On 24th October 2012 I unexpectedly received a “Parking Charge Notice” from a company called Parking Eye, who appear to be employed by Aldi on a contract basis to manage their East Grinstead stores car park. They claim that our car was parked in their car park for 1 hour & 43 minutes on Sunday 14th October 2012, The letter went on to say that I was only entitle to use the car park for 1 hour & 30 minutes and Demanded that I pay a fee of £70 for the extra 13 minutes of parking. This equates to £5.38 per minute. Quite frankly I was absolutely livid about this outrageous charge. It is quite usual for supermarkets to apply a 2 hour limit for parking at their stores, some even charge for this at about £1. However, I feel that 1 hour & 30 minutes is just not long enough to properly shop for the items that we may require.

I kind of lost my cool at that point and vowed to complain in the strongest terms and this is exactly what I did. I wrote a long drawn out letter of complaint to Aldi’s head office in Warwickshire and the manager of the store concerned. In it I pointed out just how annoyed and disappointed I was with being treated like this. In addition to those letters I also wrote to Which? Magazine, BBC Watchdog, my MP and the MP for Mid-Sussex. I was going to write to the local press, but in the end I didn’t get time.

In the meantime I decided it would be wise to pay the reduced fee that they offered me. That way I could take as long as I liked to give them as much grief as possible.

Last Friday I had a response from Aldi’s Parking Eye Assist in Swindon. He apologised for my misfortune and told me that he had “Instructed” Parking Eye to give me a full refund. The following day I had a letter Direct from Parking Eye confirming that and yesterday my refund cheque arrived. What a result.

I was totally shocked by just how easily and quick this whole process was. However, I truly believe that if Parking Eye hadn’t been told to give me a refund by Aldi, I would probably still be fighting with them next June!

The morale of this story is that a reasoned, polite and targeted letter of complaint could well get a swift resolution to such problems. I am now very glad that I didn’t just take it on the chin and roll over. In fact it has spurred me on to be more forceful and stand up against injustice in the future.

Tomorrow I shall be writing to Shimon Peres of Israel and Ismail Haneya of Hamas to arrange a peace deal between the two.


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Thursday, 11 October 2012

When Savile became Vile

I am a 70’s child and grow up watching Jimmy Savile on the TV. He was a very popular and larger than life character who I saw as a successfully entertainer and charity worker. I respected him for his hard work and support of Stoke Mandeville hospital. Like millions of ours around the country, I was saddened when he passed away last year.

A few weeks ago we started to hear the rumours that he may not have been the man we thought he was. There were stories appearing in the press of the way he had a liking for underage Girls. I was of the opinion that it was probably some glory hunter trying to make some money by spreading unfounded rumours about a widely respected public figure, who could no longer defend himself. That sort of thing really annoys me and I refused to believe that any of these, quite frankly, sick rumours were true.

There was an ITV programme last week that purported to be an investigation into these horrible claims. I had no wish what so ever to watch this piece of alarmist television, as I believed it would be total fabrication. However, Mrs. T-E wanted me to record it and against my better judgement I ended watching it with her.

What I heard horrified and disgusted me. “Surely this can’t be true?” I told myself, but the realisty was that I was beginning to waver. As the week progressed, more people came forward to admit that they’d heard the rumours at the time and done nothing to stop it. It appears that they thought him “Untouchable” and such behaviour was common place at the BBC in the 1970’s.

Currently the Met Police are looking into these allegations, although I doubt there is now anything that can be done to put this right. The damage was been done long ago and Jimmy is no long here to confirm or deny anything. I suppose that if the truth is properly uncovered, his victims will finally have closure and be able to get on with their lives. There may even be others still alive who were guilty in aiding Jimmy in his sick activities and could still be brought to justice.

I would like to think that Jimmy Savile was not in fact a vile and disgusting child abuser, but somehow I fear that he mislead us all for a very long time.


Since I started writing this article, more victims have come forward and have made complaints to the Police. In the last few days, road signs, memorial plagues and even his grave stone have been removed. There is even rumours that his body may be removed from the cemetery in Scarborough that overlooks the sea.

Jimmy Savile’s memory has probably been soiled beyond repair and I feel extremely saddened that I and millions of others had been taken in by him for so many years. He wasn’t someone who deserved our respect and admiration. I doubt even Jim himself could fix this.


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Friday, 5 October 2012

Don’t Say the V Word in Front of the Cat!

Last week Bruno (Cat No.3) seemed a little under the weather, but by Sunday he had cheered up a bit. We just put it down to the sudden change in the weather. However, on Sunday evening Mrs. T-E noticed that his left ear seemed to be weeping and by Monday morning his left eye had joined in as well.

After work Monday we took him to the Vets to have him checked over. We had chosen a different vet as our usual one has become increasingly more expensive over the years and friends of ours recommended another local one. We called them and they told us that they have first come, first served sessions every evening between 6 and 7.

When we arrived the waiting room was packed to the rafters. There were 3 cats and 5 dogs in front of us and others kept arriving as we waited. Two of the dogs were fitted with lamp shades, in various states of disrepair and one of the others had a very nasty looking chest wound. In all it was pretty lively in there and Bruno purred the whole time, occasionally pawing Mrs. T-E through the bars of his box as if to gain some attention. Eventually it was Bruno’s turn to be seen and we were beckoned into one of the side rooms.

The Vet poked, prodded and generally examined the poorly lad. The whole time Bruno wriggled and struggled and flatly refused to let the Vet stick her fancy torch thing in his ear. He even had to be weighted in his box, which told us that he was a tiny bit heavier than he should be. She didn’t seem to worry about this as he’s a large cat anyway. Apparently the average weight for a cat is 4kilos and Bruno is 6Kilos, but he’s not fat. Smudge (Cat No.1) only weighs 2.5kilos, which we know is too low, but due to her age (19 years) is not uncommon.

He has his temperature taken (1 degree high) and received injections of anti-biotics and pain relief. The conclusion of the vet was that he had received an infection, possibly from a wound to his ear and was put on a weeks course of Penicillin tablets. See also recommended using cold Tea (no milk or sugar) to clean up his ears and eyes as required. I always knew that Tea could cure anything except drowning.

With Smudge, tablets have always been an issue. Hiding them in food has never fooled her, so we have got very good at holding her upside down and feeding them in manually, which is a 2 person manoeuvre. I didn’t relish the thought of doing this with Bruno, as 3 of us couldn’t hold him still at the Vets. Fortunately he has fallen for the “Small pieces of ham, wrapped around the tablet” trick and he seems to be making a slow recovery. The cold tea for cleaning his ears and eyes also seems to work. Although on the first attempt he had a sneezing fit and continues to wriggle quite a bit.

Currently we are keeping our fingers crossed that he will make a speedy recovery and can return to his favourite hobby of worrying the birds in the garden very soon.


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Wednesday, 26 September 2012

A Funny Thing Happened at Football

Last night saw Crawley Town playing Swansea City in the Capital One Cup, which is the new name for what was the Carling Cup. Swansea have recently been promoted to the Premiership, which meant that it was a big game for Crawley. The ground was fairly full with 3500 football fans in attendance, 900 of whom were from Swansea. In all it was a very good turnout for a Tuesday evening, despite the rain. The record at the Broadfield Stadium is about 4500, which was achieved at our recent League 1 game against Portsmouth. Unfortunately we lost that game 0-3 and we had 2 player sent off. Not our finest 90 minutes by a long way.

The game itself was very close, with Crawley giving Swansea a real game. Our performance overall was surprisingly good compared with our recent performances and bearing in mind that Swansea are now a top flight team. The banter between our fans and theirs really made for a great atmosphere and we even managed to get the others in the West Stand singing, which is virtually unheard of. Chants of “Are We In A Library?” from away fans are not uncommon. Ultimately, the visitors beat us by 3 Goals to 2, their 3rd goal coming in the 90th minute, just as the 4th official held up the board to let us know there was 4 minute of injury time to play. Such is life.

At halftime, Chunky, Steve, Ray and a few others always gather around to discuss the first half game play and drink tea, eat biscuits, etc. This time however there was a new face in the group and it was someone I instantly recognised as my Supervisor when I was an Apprentice over 20 years ago. I couldn’t for the life of me remember his name, so I didn’t mention it. I later found out from Ray that his name was Brian and they worked together. After the game Ray re-introduced us and when I told him my name he instantly remembered me. It then became clear that I had also worked with one of the other guys in the group. I’ve been chatting with him for the last 3 or so years without realising. It just goes to prove that it’s a small world.


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Woosh goes time

The weather here in England has taken a turn for the worse and not for the first time this year. Last Autumn and Winter saw very little rain fall. The Spring was showing no sign of easing the problem either. Many areas of the country, including my corner of Sussex, had hosepipe bans applied. Water levels in our local resovouir (spell checker can't cope) were significantly lower than they should have been for the time of year.

Then the heavens opened and it seemed to rain endlessly for months. It wasn't until August that the Summer arrived. However, it only really lasted for 3 maybe 4 weeks.

Now September has arrived and the Autumn is back with a vengeance. The temperatures regularly fall below 10c and it won't stop raining. We've had it easy here in the South. Most of Northern England has been washed away. I can't even begin to imagine how it must feel to have your home full of muddy water. My heart goes out to those people affected and I pray it never happens to me.

All we have to look forward to now is the chill of Winter. It seems only yesterday that I felt the joy of seeing the first Daffodil of Spring.

posted from Bloggeroid

Friday, 13 April 2012

Twitter Phishing Scam

Last night I received a text message that appeared to be a direct message from a Twitter user I'd never hesrd of. The message claimed that someone on Twitter was "saying bad things about me" and I should follow the supplied link. I perhaps unwisely, decided to click on the link. It took me a Web page that looked like the Twitter login page, but for some reason the URL looked wrong. I decided to go no further and check my Twitter account via the phones app.

Basically someone was trying to steal my Twitter account. Goodness knows why, it's not like I'm someone of any great importance to the World. Lol.

Just watch out for this and other similar scams. They are very common and often very plausible. NEVER give out your bank details or PIN numbers in response to emails or phone callers who are supposedly from your bank. If in doubt call them back using a phone number from your card or bank statement, not a number you received by email or phone call. Always be suspicious



posted from Bloggeroid

Monday, 2 April 2012

The Effects of Commuting

As a daily commuter, I have been a  approached by someone who has done some research into the mental and health effects of commuting to/from work. As you may have guessed, these effects are not positive ones. I therefore went off to check it out.

It was quite long and quite interesting, but sadly it's largely based on American figures and commuting by car, which of course I do not do. The art work is well thought through, clear, colourful and kept me amused for quite some time. Over all I think it's a very good and informative effort.

Here is the original graphic, which I have provided here with the authors permission.

Killer Commute
Created by: College At Home

The link above will take you to the authors website. If you find it interesting and wish to extol its virtues, I'm sure they would love to hear from you.


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Friday, 30 March 2012

Joined Up Thinking....NOT!

The "Westminster Muppet Show" have surpassed themselves this week by causing the public to panic buy fuel. The media keep bombarding us with imagines of massive ques at petrol station up and down county.

Do the Government live in the same reality as the rest of us? Somehow I very much doubt it. They should have called for calm as there is not treat of fuel tanker drivers going on strike in the foreseeable future. Instead they advised people to keep their tanks full and even suggested that hoarding fuel at home is a good idea! The result has been wide spread panic which in it self will cause fuel shortages. Worse still a woman in York has managed to blow herself up trying to pour petrol from one container to another in her kitchen while cooking on a gas stove. She received 40% burns and has been admitted to a specialist burns unit, while her family home lays in charred ruins.

The only possible reason I can think of for the Governments ridiculous behaviour is to raise even more revenue from the much punished British car owners. Apparently the public purse has benefited from an extra £32m in fuel duty over the last 48 hours, due to all the extra fuel sold at the pumps.


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Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Come Play With Me

I have for a number of years been the proud owner of an XBox 360 and I often play on-line games via the XBox Live! service. Regularly I am sent emails informing me of new game releases and on the bottom of the latest one I noticed that they've attached an imagine of my Avatar.

It is actually quite a good likeness of me.

If any of you fancy a game of Gears of War (1,2 or 3) one evening, please look me up. My user name is "TRANCE-ELBOW".

See you soon 8-)

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Saturday, 10 March 2012

Have Kindle, Will Read

This last Christmas my Wife and I bought each other eBook readers. We went for the new Kindle 4, which has no keyboard or touch screen. Although very basic, it is excellent value for money at only £89, it works very well and I am very impressed with the whole ebook reading experience. The screen is quite simple, but very clear in good light and unlike most tablets, is easy to read in bright sunlight.

Kindle e-reader: device frontal view
I wasn't sure what I should read first and was disappointed to find out that not all of Robert Rankin's books are available for Kindle. I am reading his books in order of publication dates so as not be out of sequence, but so far I am about 10 years behind. This means that the next two books in the series have yet to be Kindled. In the hope that this situation is resolved soon. I decided to try Terry Pratchett's Disc World Series, which is about 40 books long and all of them available in Kindle format. The first is "The Colour of Magic". It's ok, but I'm having trouble getting into it and I can't really explain why. As a consequence I have read two other books since buying that one, both of which I have since finished without completing "The Colour of Magic". These books are,
Inspector Gadget is the synonym of a serving Police Inspector in the British Police force. This book was written on the back of his quite famous Blog  , where he expresses his displeasure and exposes the lunatic why our Police Force is now run in the 21st century. A great read, but quite worrying at times. Read it, you WILL be shocked!
Stealth is Gail's first book and I was quite surprised just how good it is. I enjoyed the whole thing from cover to cover. If you like Fantasy/Supernatural stories, then Stealth is for you. I myself can't wait for her second book.


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You may be surprised to learn that I can actualy read!

When I started commuting to work by train, just over 20 years ago, I soon got bored with watching the world go past the window. I notice that other commuters were reading books, so I decided to give it a go.

I started off with Douglas Adams Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy and was immediately hooked. I initially read the four books in the Trilogy, but then moved on to his other works from the Dirk Gently series. Again, I was enthralled with these two excellent works. Unfortunately, Douglas was far from a prolific writer and having read all his works to date, I needed to find someone else's books to read.

When I was at school I remember reading Tolkens The Hobbit, so I decided to give that a go and I'm glad I did. I thoroughly enjoyed being transported to another universe of Hobbits, Wizards, Goblins and the like. I followed this we the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. In comparison to The  Hobbit, I was very disappointed. Midway through the second book I could stand no more and threw in the towel. Nearly 18 years on I still haven't felt the need to pick it up again, not even after seeing the films. Perhaps one day I may try again. Only time will tell.

I was in Glasgow in 1994 and while browsing in a cheap book shop I happened across a book by Robert Rankin, which caught my eye. It was just what I was looking for and his writing style very much reminded of the late Douglas Adams. I have been a fan ever since and have been reading his books in order for a number of years. I am about halfway through his works currently.

You may be thinking to yourself that I haven't read a great deal considering I've been at it for 20 years. The fact is that I am dyslexic and read very slowly. Maybe in another 20 years I may have caught up to date with Robert Rankin's books 8-)


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