Monthly Archives: November 2011

Stresses of Civvy Street

It’s hard work , not being at work.

Do you remember a song from the late 80`s  by a band called ‘Del Amitri – Nothing Ever Happens?’ – well, there is a line in that song that says ‘the traffic lights change to stop when there’s nothing to go’ – that line has stuck in my head for 20 years or so. Now, just last week while I was wandering through the delights of Rugby town centre, I noticed that when I pushed the button on the pedestrian crossing, nothing happened until there were no cars coming.  At that point, the traffic lights did indeed change to red – amazing.

I have also been recently miffed by so called ‘customer service’ of modern companies, namely Vodafone and Three.  Now Vodafone pissed me off by mis-selling me a product which in turn meant that they tried to bill me for more than 120 pounds for a month of mobile phone use instead of the 21 pounds it should have been.  So after a month of nonsense and 4 phone calls to different Vodafone Customer Service reps, I pulled the plug and asked for my ‘PAC’ code so that I could move to a competitor.  Now, as I remember it – it used to be a PUK code but then hey – fuck it, if it ‘aint broke – change it anyway!

So my friendship with Vodafone is no more – I doubt they care though, I am just 1 customer with a phone and internet dongle in the UK, a phone and internet dongle in Portugal and yep, you guessed it, a phone and internet dongle in Spain – but enough is enough.

So today I joined ‘Three’ but what a big bundle of cluster fuck that turned out to be.  I called the sales team who took my details and agreed a fee and then passed me over to the ‘customer service team’. Now, call me old fashioned but when I am talking to ‘Customer Service’ I expect them to speak the same language as me but alas no.  Of course, my temper was already frayed courtesy of Vodafone so I found it incredibly easy to tell the fool from ‘Three’ to fuck off within 2 minutes of trying to communicate with him.  If that wasn’t enough, I immediately called the sales team back and asked them to cancel the new SIM that would come to me – and surprise surprise – bugger all happened. My second call this afternoon also bore no fruit – the SIM is already on its way to me, I must not open or activate it but must call customer services as soon as i receive it to cancel it.  Imagine now, how joyful that will be – a non english speaking customer service rep dealing with me when I am in full flow – good luck to that poor fellow!

Now, telephone providers out of the way – lets talk about those wonderful roadside rescue companies out there.  As I travel a bit, I have special car insurance that lets me stay out of the UK all year round if I want to, so I need a recovery package that matches it.  I am not talking about the crap that LV insurance sell to unsuspecting fools, supported by Britania Rescue  who wriggled out of helping me when my car was stranded in Portugal – I talked to the RAC today. 145 pounds for european recovery – not bad I thought, about the same as the price quoted to me by my insurance broker, I never really expected my broker to be competitive but get this – the RAC cover, ‘Comprehensive Cover’ as they call it – excludes UK break downs!  Is that any use to you ??  I don’t think so.  Best bit – the girl in Euro Cover couldn’t help me with UK cover and ‘needed to transfer me’ – of course I told her not to bother. Tomorrow I will call my broker and put the rescue policy live.

So – grunt out of the way, it’s almost time to start travelling again.  Brussels on Friday with Steve and Nic, Portugal on Tuesday with Dean, then back to Brussels on Friday for Lana’s works Christmas party – for which, I promise to be on my best behaviour. After that, a few days peace before Costa Rica, and I have to say that I am looking forward to that.

Still waiting for my last two results – but I am sure they will be in soon






Stanley Richard Hambridge

Big Stan, the anchor man of Morris Engines is no more ! 

The man that could give me an ‘Octopus’ as a kid, so fast that I couldn’t breath in to get the words ‘stop’ to come out of my mouth – I never dare ask for an ‘Aeroplane’ for fear that a leg and an arm would have been snapped off.

When I was kid, Stan was one of my Chauffeurs from friday night youth club in Clifton, down to the Brownsover Social Club – pre Butlers Leap days mind you.  He would constantly honk the horn on his car from Clifton to Brownsover, non stop, all the way.  How he never got his collar felt by the old bill I do not know, and that was a good thing in the early 80’s because everybody was more relaxed about drinking and driving. As a kid of course – I loved it, as an adult – so did Stan.

I remember those nights out at the Bedworth Social Club – returning home in that old Morris Marina and walking back from the garages on Winfield Street – Ah the Morris Marina, everyone had one back in the day – normally with two cushions on the parcel shelf.  My Granma never wanted me to go to the garage to drop the car off but I always managed to blag it.  Stan would walk all the way back to East Street humming a tune with me in tow – struggling to keep up with his pace.

From a kids perspective – all adults are tall, strong and promote an air of resilience and immortality, it’s only as we grow older that we realise adults are in fact as fragile as everyone else.  Big Stan was no different.


The respectful silence is over


Choose life – every fucking time…




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