AN UNLOVED NECESSITY

Keeping ahead of the game.  I wrote about it here .  Fuel suppliers are an unloved necessity.  I thought I had eventually got my totally frustrating fuel provider trained and I was swithering about whether to stay with them at the end of the contract.

I re-contracted and billing horrors renewed apace.  The fuel provider went into seige mode.  Online notice boards and review sites were buzzing with irate and unhappy customers. A few got to speak to an unhelpful operator after an hour or more. I waited fifty-nine minutes and forty-five minutes respectively, during one day.  The company also switched off its auto-acknowledgment of emails.  Thus, there was no way of communicating.  This firm was in lock-down.

The Ombudsman Service (Energy) assured me the fuel provider was still trading, though one weary advisor said they were getting daily calls.  That prompted me to put in a formal complaint. (The Ombudsman Service,  provides a negotiation and remediation service).  I have now had two complaints against this company found in my favour within a year.

 

Where am I now?  The company have been able to complete two of the agreed remedies, the remainder, which would allow me to smoothly switch supplier without a contract exit penalty and within a specific period of time, are being frustrated.  Why?  

I started the switch process; it stopped because my gas meter was linked up to a different address on the industry’s main database for the gas supply !!!  My current supplier is obliged to ‘update’ the industry database.

I’ve emailed the company.  Their auto acknowledgment feature is switched on again.  It tells you there is a ten day response time.  Previously, it was five days.  The Ombudsman Investigator has now got the case back.

 

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GLASGOW’S UNDERGROUND WORLD

When in Glasgow:
Visit the underground world of Glasgow Central Station. The unique guide and major enthusiast, in his retirement, is otherwise employed as Network Rail’s Historian and Archivist.  He used to manage this station. During his career he also managed several other major stations in London, U.K, however, he always returned to his home (and station) Glasgow Central.

Lovely Victorian Supporting Pillars

Descending into Glasgow’s historic and present transport underworld made for a tremendously engaging and educational visit, the guide, bringing to life with his words this major, solid, surviving transport hub. He spoke of the hustle and bustle of transport, for and with all sorts of people, now and in previous times. Peering into the pitch black, eyes following the slim line of a torch beam, it felt like we were intruders into someone else’s world. We saw the outline of places on platforms that were still intact where men could not go, and neither could we. Women of the 19th century waiting for trains in that gloom had the ‘comfort’ of separated waiting areas.  Our way was barred for reasons of safety, which pertained to present day use.

A Disused Line

In a lower street level goods entry, (Glasgow is a city of hills) there were still signs of horse drawn transport. The resting places for the horses still exist.

Like many stations, the ‘streets’ under Glasgow Central station were put to stark use in the two major wars, (WW1 and WWII).  The guide did not mince his words about many elements of the nineteenth century social history associated with this station. He felt very strongly the roles of womenfolk in life and death in this station, was and had been, totally ignored… he was definitely intent on correcting with his words what he felt was a grave neglect and a major injustice.

Preserver Of  Industrial/Social Heritage

While we were in the depths exploring some unused tunnelling and were in our joint reveries sensing the spirits of the past, on a nearby spur an underground train whizzed through.

WALKING MY EDINBURGH SOCKS OFF

When I change my browser page to call up my blog when I am already on the correct page, it’s time to admit that I am not firing on all cylinders.

It’s Edinburgh Festivals time and I trudged miles up and down the hills of the city exploring venues yesterday.  Yesterday I walked my toes off and I have a blister on the pad of my right big toe to prove it!  Luckily, I found I had a lovely gel toe protector sleeve in my luggage – the right size too-  which has worked just great today.

IMG_E3618

A Refreshing Drink Of Scottish Bubbly Water

Edinburgh is like a huge flower bud opening at Festivals time.  Events managements have developed a range of venues in nooks and crannies all around the city.  Whereas in the past, ‘Assembly’, for example, meant wandering up to, at most, two large locations, now, you will find “Assembly” mini hubs all about the city.   The other major venues  also seem to have spread their wings like this.  I gave up on confusion,  it made me footsore and it took up too much valuable festive time!

HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW….

Allotments: they do seem to take a variation of shapes and sizes and growing practices, according, it seems, to the managing ethos of any particular place. The one common theme is that they exist for the soil to be worked and to produce. They offer a community gardening experience and a common social interest amongst the people who make the allotments thrive. With flat dwelling providing limited opportunity for gardening creativity, allotments gardening can provide an alternative.

The many ‘urban gardens’ pictured, in central Vienna, Austria, run quite some distance. They are set back from a main road.

The pictures show only half their length.  The fencing is made from responsibly sourced wood, (I always wonder what that means)  from state forests. The urban gardeners were taking their responsibility seriously and were investing a great deal of thought, time and money into their allotted plots. The ethos here was evidently, grow-your-own food.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Out of sight there is a major park and within it, in a more unkempt spot, was a different kind of garden with allotted spaces grown with flowers and looking like cottage gardens. Moving on, an opening in a high hedge presented you with a wide rectangular space surrounded by trees.  Around the edges were generously wide and deep boxes filled with soil, essentially raised gardening beds.  Each of these boxes were ‘rented’ to people with a specific interest; many were experimenting, they were interested in the process rather than harvesting the finished product. This, I was told, was this urban garden group ethos.

FLUFF BALLS AND JUMPERS

It’s the time of year for a bit of exploring and it’s a great excuse to put oneself in the direction of pleasant temperatures and every likelihood of a breeze. Scotland has been benefitting from having a summer, so far, this year. So, what better than to  waft away from the sticky towns and cities and head to the countryside.

At a local agricultural show, I got chatting to Irene from Canberra, who like me, was admiring this super youngster.  “E’s not fully growed…it take ’em aboot five year to be growed”, we were told, by an equally admiring farmer.

A Prize Youngster

A brazen surprise was in store in the sheep pens.

Oops, we’ve got the same jumpers on!

These two Suffolk sheep got first prizes.

….and what about this one

A big fluff ball

Certainly not your usual style of sheep. She got a  second prize. I wonder which local hairdresser she went to, the back-combing is a little passée.  Fluff Ball has potential for a first prize, if her hairdresser develops her styling technique.

 

 

WHEN YOU GO DOWN TO THE WOODS…

…Surprising what you find:

Pretty Frilly Blue

 

Grounded in nature

 

Placed by nature -irresistible

If you peer in you may see the blue frilly butterfly on the right.

 

Crafted from  nature.

Nature blooming

 

 

Carved out woodland life

 

Dumbledore, or, could it be Gandulf…

The woods are different every visit, be it nature’s own changes with the seasons, or, things we have not yet found, all waiting for the next time we go exploring the woods.

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This post, I uploaded for the first time, pictures taken with my phone camera. I don’t think I have mastered the art of uploading phone photos. All tips gratefully received.  🙂

WARNING -TRAFFIC LIGHTS

I was nearly at the end of a  plod through an academic course, one which I really enjoyed, when I got an unexpected delivery of  mail containing three coloured sheets, yellow, orange and green, (traffic lights) on which were printed:

Coping With Exams -Examination Technique; it was helpful. 

 Preparing For the Exam – Revision Technique; it was useful.

HOW TO FAIL YOUR EXAMS.   R e a l l y!!

“BEWARE before you read this guide. Failing may sound easy, but in reality may take far more time and effort than passing with honours”.

“To fail properly you will need to know that you are writing things that are incorrect.” The candidate is advised that it’s no good to find out afterwards that you’ve ‘accidentally’, written down “due to complete lack of knowledge, Grade A stuff”.  Appealing afterwards to the exam board stating your true intentions, is not going to work.

The guide also says you should not answer all the questions, you should spend more time on bits of the question than the time allocated for it.  It’s a sure way to fail.  Altogether, there are eighteen ‘fail’ suggestions, including, “Don’t be succinct“.   There is a money back guarantee on the price of the guide if you pass your exams, even after meticulously following all the guidance on how to fail.

2009-8-14th-P1010591 copy 3

 

P.S. I haven’t the heart to bin it.

 

 

 

SCRAMBLING

The ‘Scrambled egg’, of Royal Navy chiefs, (those that sport gold braid for those of you not in the know) is currently made up of admirals, vice-admirals and rear-admirals, in total,  forty-one top banded naval chiefs. 

P1030154 2010 July 27th An Elegant Ship

With constant cuts ‘efficiency savings’ the number of naval fighting ships stands at …..FORTYYou would, and rightly so, consider there is one admiral spare .

 Kayaks On The Thames

 

Well, I’ve got news for you. In the last week, I have received several letters which clearly show my elevated status, I am now addressed as Admiral M.  So, here I am chummy,  we can join forces!

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£££’s – KEEPING AHEAD OF THE GAME.

The domestic fuel provider hunt is on here in M’s household. I hate it!  There is no reward for loyalty. You have try to keep ahead of the game.  In commerce loyalty is seen as valuable commercial inertia.

A drain

The research into domestic fuel suppliers does demand focus.  The offers in the competitive market place require analysing, understanding and then an applied arithmetical brain work out.

number cruncher

The various and numerous  consumer comparison sites quite often do not agree with each other as to what’s truly best for you or me.  They too, are running a business.  One consumer web site is very transparent about its commissions from recommendations.  They also ensure their site shows other market provider options, from which they do not gain pecuniary advantage .

The best offers with all the suppliers are usually  available on the web. There are domestic fuel supplier names I have never heard of,  young businesses that are building up their customer base, trying to grow quickly with very competitive offers but without appropriate customer infrastructure in place. Caveat emptor.

My experience last year with a new kid on the block that metamorphosed into a total unknown during the transfer process, got to tear your hair out proportions:  My current contract with them is ending,  just as I have got them trained.