Friday, 29 July 2016

Some recent pictures

Haven't posted any pics lately, so here's a few recent ones:-


Dartmouth, taken on our recent short break.


The Golden Hind, in Brixham harbour.  We didn't go on it.....it's not the real thing but a replica, and it just looked too commercialised, especially with a couple of employees dressed up to supposedly look like pirates manning the souvenir tourist tat stands in front.  I do love seeing ships and boats, real ones though.


The view from our holiday accommodation.  We did have some nice weather.


Blackpool Sands - not the northern one, the Devon one!  It's not actually sand either, it's shingle.  Beautiful place, very quiet when we were there, steep parking charge though.  Had a lovely lunch from the super cafĂ© there:-


Bruschetta topped with roasted tomatoes and delicious rare roast beef, with a nice mix of leaves and potato salad with horseradish dressing, scrumptious.


The left side of the back garden (taken from bedroom window, forgive the glass reflection), showing the fruit bed.  The raspberries, which OH thinned out quite dramatically last year, have taken over again and become a forest.


The right side.  OH is going to construct another couple of raised beds in the middle grassy area for next year.  We want more room to grow lots more peas, beans and squashes....I just love fresh peas especially.



On Wednesday we went to Portishead Marina for the afternoon, more lovely boats to look at.  The tug that husband is standing watching was being refuelled, husband got chatting to the skipper who told him it holds 4000 litres and takes about an hour to fill it up!









Monday, 25 July 2016

Getting back to basics

Margaret (Galant) made a comment on my blog yesterday, and it made me stop and think.  She said that perhaps I needed to get back to writing about the things I enjoy, the things that are mentioned in my sidebar.

Life does have a habit of smacking you round the face sometimes, and I do have a moan now and then to get it off my chest.....that's my way of coping with things, and it is my blog, my online diary, so I can write what I want. 

Things have been getting on top of me lately.  One relative has cancer with a couple of fairly major complications, another has severe problems with their eyes and is losing their sight.  OH had some health problems which impacted on both our lives, I've had some things wrong too, one thing after the other, both of us have had several doctor/hospital visits recently.  Spending an entire afternoon in a very crowded, hot and noisy A&E having tests which diagnosed my U.T.I. whilst we were on holiday recently wasn't exactly enjoyable.  Then there was the BT saga, which is still not fully resolved but is just about workable at the mo and I simply cannot be bothered to go any further with it.  We had car problems too, and cars are just money pits...hopefully that's resolved now.  There's also been some trouble in the family, ongoing and unable to be addressed for a while.  It's been put on the back burner, but is affecting current relationships and causing me a lot of stress and worry.

I don't write any of this for sympathy, I'm not looking for virtual hugs or loads of comments.  As I said, it's my diary, it's my way of releasing all my pent up tension and emotion without burdening family or friends.  I know there are millions of people who are far worse off - I love my life, I'm thankful every single morning to wake up relatively healthy and living in such a beautiful place, with such a nice life.  We are extremely fortunate to live in an area where terrorism and violence are very unlikely to happen (although there is a nuclear power station just a couple of miles away as the crow flies, and if that ever got targeted....well, I don't worry about that as we most likely wouldn't be alive long enough to worry!). 

But perhaps Margaret did have a point....I need to relax and start concentrating on all the good reasons why we love it here.  Sometimes I can't see the wood for the trees.  But if I want to have a moan on my blog I will, so sorry about that.

We did have a lovely time yesterday though, friends of ours, two couples who we haven't seen for ages, came for lunch and stayed into the evening.  We had a great time catching up, lots of laughter (the boys all rib each other - and us wives - mercilessly, but it is all good humoured).  We sat in the garden, crushed together under the gazebo at times during the showers....it was very warm despite the showers but much fresher than indoors.  Our visitors all commented on how lovely and peaceful it is here - no traffic or loud music, just birdsong, sheep and cows.  We are very lucky to live here.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

I haven't dropped dead!

A combination of going away for a few days, suffering from a U.T.I., hot weather sapping my strength and making it impossible to sleep, and having a lot going on has meant blogging has taken a back seat.

Plus I don't feel like I have much to say at the mo.....nothing particularly interesting happening (there's only so much you can say about being overrun with courgettes!).

Back soon, hopefully.

Friday, 8 July 2016

From bad to worse.....then better!

Thanks for all the supportive comments again.  It's been such a roller coaster this week I'm feeling like a wet dishrag.

Wednesday late morning I noticed our internet had gone off.....not unusual, it goes off every day.  Usually though it's just for a minute or 2 at a time, but on this occasion it stayed off.  Around midday a Lesser Spotted Rarer than Hens Teeth BT Engineer turned up, completely out of the blue!  He said he'd been working on our fault for the past hour or so and had discovered where it was - it wasn't the cable from the pole to our house (he said) despite it being so old, the fault was 'further back'.  He'd come to do some sort of work up the pole, then was going back to the 'further back' (wherever/whatever that was) and said our phone should be fixed and the internet back on within half an hour.  He was up the pole for a few minutes, then left.

We went out shortly after that (went and had a bag of chips on the beach - well, sitting in the car on the beach actually as the gulls were out in force).  When we got home 3 or 4 hours later and checked the phone/internet, we both felt like screaming - the phone line was deafeningly crackly, far FAR worse than it was before, and the internet was dead. 

Husband phoned BT (India) again, neither he nor the customer services person could hear each other properly as the crackling was so bad.  After several extremely frustrating minutes and being put on hold 2 or 3 times, he was finally told someone would ring back in 5 minutes. 

One hour later! - nobody had phoned so husband rang yet again.  This time he got a very helpful (Indian) lady, who kept apologising profusely and said she would escalate our fault report....she said she would make some more checks and ring back with an engineer appointment time.  She assured OH she would indeed ring back, and she did - engineer booked to come Friday (today) between 08.00 and 1.00.  So meanwhile, we had an almost unusable landline phone and no internet for 2 days.....it wouldn't be so bad if we had a good mobile signal but we haven't!  (the perils of living in the country).

Didn't hear from BT at all yesterday (probably just as well).  This morning I had FOUR phone calls from them within the space of about 30 mins - 3 automated voice mail messages saying the engineer would be coming, had arrived (he hadn't actually at that point), and then would be doing some work outside before coming to us.  The engineer himself also rang - it was the same engineer from Wednesday, he couldn't have been more apologetic if he tried. 

When he did finally arrive, having spent some time working on the 'further back' thing, he looked very sheepish, admitted it was his fault as he had just assumed everything was ok without actually checking, and promised he would stay until it was all done to our satisfaction.  He was here for about an hour, mainly up the pole and then indoors doing various things.  So....we now have a perfectly clear phone line (hooray!  for the first time since we've lived here - 3 years - I think!) and the internet is back on....no improvement in the speed though....and the signal has done the usual thing of dropping out several times this afternoon, sigh.  It actually dropped out twice whilst he was here, much to his surprise.  He said there was nothing he himself could do about that, as he was a phone engineer not a broadband one. 

He did suggest something though that he said may help, although admitted we probably wouldn't like his suggestion!  I had to laugh, as I guessed what he was going to say....yes, ring BT again and tell them that the broadband signal keeps dropping out, and say that the engineer says it needs resetting at their end, and that also we need a new Hub, as ours is obsolete (it's a No. 2, apparently, and they're up to 5 now).

He also said we should email the BT Chairman's office and tell him the whole sorry saga....he assured us they do read and act on all such emails.  I thought that was a brave thing to say seeing as he was part of the reason it had all gone so horribly wrong!

Anyway, it's all working again now and to be quite honest, I've had a bellyful of BT problems and just want to leave it all alone for a while.  And husband says if he sees that bloody BT advert with Ryan Reynolds on TV just once more, he's going to throw the phone at it!  Instead of spending thousands on these actors and big glossy ads, why don't they use the money on providing a better customer service?!

I hope this is going to be the last blog I do on BT!!!  (And I'm sure you do too!!).



Tuesday, 5 July 2016

And the lies/saga continues....

Guess what - a customer services man, who had such a strong Indian accent I could barely understand him and had to keep saying 'Pardon?', 'What?', 'Could you repeat that please?', actually rang us yesterday evening.  For all the good it did - he merely rang to say that 'someone' would be ringing us between 10.00 and 12.00 today - he did apologise though, not that that appeased me at all.

The phone rang about 09.45 this morning - it gave precisely 2 rings then stopped, so neither of us managed to get to it in time.  OH dialled 1471, it was a Freephone number, he rang it back.  It was a recorded BT message saying they'd tried to call us but were unable to reach us!  FFS!!!

Then the phone rang again about 10 mins later.....the by now familiar BT automated voice mail message saying we would receive a call between 10.00 and 12.00 today.

Have they rung?  NO! - yet again. 

I give up.  I am just sick and tired of the whole thing, it's causing me too much stress and I wash my hands of it.  IF (and it's a great chuffing huge 'I don't believe a word you say' IF) they do ring again, husband can deal with it, because i'm in danger of giving them such an ear bashing their ear will be sore for a month. 

Meanwhile, on their Fault Tracker website page, it says our fault is 'in progress' and they aim to repair it by 23.59 tonight.  Yesterday it said they would aim for repair by 17.00 YESTERDAY.  Seeing as they have to send out an engineer to replace the obsolete 40+ year old cable from the pole to our house, I don't think it will now be done today, do you?!  ;-)




Monday, 4 July 2016

Further to....

....my earlier post - I've had an emailed reply from a representative from BT Customer Services stating that he tried to call us but was unable to reach us. 

Bollocks!  That's an outright lie - our answerphone was on for the short time we were out.....no message left, and no phone calls since we've been home.  I dialled 1471 just to check, and there's been no phone call since the automated voice mail message we had from BT early this morning.

Absolutely disgraceful behaviour.  I've emailed a suitably outraged reply back.

Bloody Trouble (BT) update

We had another automated voice mail message from BT around 9 o'clock this morning.....it was a repeat of yesterday's message saying 'Reminder, we will call you between 11.00 and 13.00 Monday 4 July' - reminder indeed, what a bloody cheek!  It's them who need reminding!

So.....did they call?  What do you think?!  NO!  We waited until 2 pm, by which time we had to go out.....before we left I fired off a snotty message to them on their online contact form.

To answer a question on my last post:-

Toni and Trish - we are in the process of finding out about satellite, we've been granted a £500 voucher under some scheme to provide broadband to rural areas whose speeds are less than 2mbps.....we were given names of several local satellite providers, it's up to us to investigate their details and choose one, if any.  So far, we're not particularly impressed....a few of them (there's about 6 or 7) don't even cover our area, others can't promise a much better speed, or they say we will have to see if we can get some other neighbours interested before it will be worth their while coming out to do anything!

So I'm not holding my breath - and yes Rachel, 2 bean tins connected by a bit of string is just about what we have already!

Welcome to Kay G and Deb Brewer, who I think are new readers.....I don't moan ALL the time, I promise ;-)




Sunday, 3 July 2016

BT = (nothing but) Bloody Trouble!!

Well, Julia yesterday commented that she'd be interested to hear if the BT engineer actually turns up.....guess what, he hasn't.

When he rang Thursday to confirm he would be coming 08.30-9.00 Sunday morning, we were both surprised - I mean, for a start we were initially told on the phone when we reported the fault on Tuesday I think it was, that an engineer probably wouldn't be able to attend until the end of the month.  And then for the engineer to ring us a mere 2 days later and arrange a visit in 3 days....and on a Sunday(!!) - well, we were both surprised and very sceptical that it would actually happen.....BT haven't exactly got a glowing reputation have they?  And we've had so much trouble with them in the past, which I'm not even going to go into.

OH works nights, he got home at 03.30 this morning and came straight to bed, getting up at 07.45 (he doesn't normally get up before 10) to be ready for the engineer.  At 08.10 we had a phone call - an automated voice mail message from BT saying they would "call you" between 11.00 and 13.00 on Monday!  Erm, what does that mean, exactly?  'Call' as in phone us, or come round?  And not even a "We are very sorry but our engineer cannot come today, may we please arrange another appointment with you at your convenience?"

Our phone line is very crackly, sometimes we can hardly hear whomever we are talking to, nor can they hear us properly.  Our broadband is total rubbish.....our 'speed' (it's an insult to even call it that) is just 1.2 mbps - and it drops out altogether EVERY day, sometimes several times a day.  Our TV (we have a combined phone/broadband/TV package with BT) is also rubbish....the signal is so weak we cannot get iPlayer, box sets, films or sport channels.

To be fair, we do live in a tiny hamlet in a very rural area, although the nearest main road is only a mile or so away, and I am grateful that we do actually get these services at all.

But.....to have such a terrible service in this day and age is crap!!  OH was talking to a BT engineer the other day (he'd called round to deal with a complaint about rubbish broadband from a neighbour....incidentally, he was supposed to come before 10 am, as emphatically requested by the neighbour, as she had to leave for work then, and he turned up more than 3 hours late, by which time she'd gone to work and was so mad she immediately cancelled her BT services).  The engineer told OH that our phone cable (the cable from the pole to our house) is well over 40 years old, so it's no wonder we have such a crap signal!  He also said that, contrary to what the Government are spouting about everyone, including those in rural areas, getting access to Superfast fibre optic broadband eventually, BT will NEVER supply it to our area, and we may as well go with satellite!  And if they KNOW the cables are so old, probably faulty, and not of sufficient calibre (or whatever it is) to cope with modern technology such as broadband which didn't exist at the time the cable was fitted, why don't they at least replace them automatically, on a planned update system?!  Why didn't they tell us at the time we moved in and ordered their services that the cable wasn't really up to the job?!?!

We have tried a few times since moving in here to explain the problems to BT - as everyone knows, trying to get through to BT, and to explain anything to a person (several persons actually, since they continually pass you on to someone else) in India who is working from a script and doesn't understand what you're saying, anymore than you understand them) is such a complete nightmare that we've just given up in the past and put up with the rubbish service.

WHY are they SO RUBBISH????

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Not much happening

I haven't blogged lately because there's been nothing much to write about....life just plods on with not a lot happening at the moment.

My back is much better now, the pain has virtually gone, stomach muscles no longer in spasm and I can stand upright.  Still quite stiff when I get up in the morning, or when I've been sitting for a while, but it all loosens up once I get going, the chiropractor has worked wonders.  Thanks for all the comments - Rachel, yes he is easy on the eye! but frankly, he could look like the back end of a bus for all I care - he's done my back a power of good.  Besides, I don't actually see that much of him, seeing as I lie on my front with my face in the dip in the couch, with him working on my back ;-)

We haven't had much of the rain that other parts of the country seem to be having plenty of....it's been forecast but clearly the rainclouds don't read the forecast, as they keep skipping past us!  We've had the odd very brief light shower, but not enough to fill the water butt or give the garden a good soaking.  We've not had any prolonged hot sun either - yes we have sun, interspersed with cloudy periods, and it's certainly not cold.....the weather's just a bit boring recently though!

We're having plenty of courgettes and strawberries now, some onions, the carrots are just about ready - oh, and masses of rhubarb.  Most other things are very slow to get going this year though, the lack of any sustained hot sun or heavy rain showers seems to be slowing everything down.  Oh - the blackcurrants are about ready for harvesting, must get out there and pick them before the birds eat them all.

That's about it really, having a quiet pottering weekend.  Oh, got a BT engineer coming between 8.30 and 9.00 am tomorrow - yes, a Sunday!  Amazing!  What's even more amazing is that OH only spoke to BT on Wednesday, when they agreed yes there is a fault on our line and an engineer would come probably at the end of the month!  I just hope he turns up......