All About Me

I have lots to say and many people have asked - who is behind China's Secret Teas? So this seems like a good way of marrying the two. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

House Woes III

Internet connection on PC died a slow sad lingering death.

So had to go contact internet site we purchased it from, to be told that warranty had run out. DH furious that they sell such inferior products with known defects (known as in forums are full of pple whinging about the lousy product from a fairly reputable brand).

We then had to pursue the manufacturers themselves. Luckily it was under warranty but we were put through quite a few hoops first (run a series of tests to see if it works on another PC or laptop, which anyone with common sense would have done prior to calling them) mostly to expensive telephone numbers.

Anyhow, we finally convinced them that it was indeed faulty (the wireless card) simply stopped one day after cutting out with increasing frequency. We were given a code/reference number that enabled us to return the product. Yay!

Sent out the entire boxed product only to receive a padded envelop with only the wireless card
and CD back. What happened to my nice box??

Monday, November 27, 2006

House Woes II

Our boiler started making rather stuttering metallic noises. We panic, turn it off, freeze and turn it back on about 12 hours later. Peace and quiet. Warmth begins to permeate the house again and we begin to shed our layers of clothing. Of course, this lasts only 8 hours before the racket begins again. We begin to sleep in shifts so that we don't miss the rattling and risk damaging our boiler further.

Calls to British Homecare follow - they are responsive and the first engineer is at our place within 48 hours. Needless to say, Sods Law was at work and it was working perfectly when he turned up. He was kind enough to give us his mobile number in the event it acted up again and he was in the area he would pop round again. Now that is service.

A few hours later, we rung but he was out of our area. So we made an appointment for another engineer to visit.

To cut a long story short, it finally took 6 visits (and 4 weeks later) by 3 different engineers before the faulty circuit board was diagnosed, part ordered and replaced.

Oh, it wasn't just the heating but affected the hot water as well. Cold showers in Winter - not recommended.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

House woes I

You may have noticed a marked lack of activity on this blog for the past few months....let me tell you the tale of my household woes.

First our flat top 3*3 m roof in the extension started leaking water, then major chunks of the plasterboard fell away and DH started moaning about how much work it would take to replace/repair it. However, he did take the project of finding reputable builders/roofers onboard. Note, the project involved calling around, getting them in to give a quote and get a shortlist done, references, etc.

Did not require DH to physically replace said rood himself ;-)

Basically I would have to eat all the food I had stockpiled (noodles, rice, etc.) there as well as empty the freezer of similarly stockpiled meat.

Now if you know me even in the slightest, you will know that I like having a surplus of foodstuff in my (non-existent) larder. Will post next about my thoughts post-Katrina.

Anyway, back to the leaking roof. 6 weeks action had been taken other than a big bucket placed under the offending leak.

Granted we had a whole heap of other problems occuring around the same time, but 6 weeks is a long time to have to empty the bucket of water each time it rained heavily (whilst sloshing through the overflow to do so).

Took action into one's own hands. Who would have known the number of different types of roofs there are and the no. of charlatans out there! Even those listed on a trade association website... I think that I must have called/emailed 20 roofers. We have about 8 different quotes. Well, the husband insisted on 3 quotes and since 2 of those were for some fibre-glass material (£1300 + VAT) which were summarily dismissed due to the disparity in price.

Of course at the time that it was a rather ludicrous price to pay for replacing a felt-top roof. I mean what in the world is a felt-top anyway??!!!

Knowing next to nothing about DIY (hey, I've always been a city gal) or roof replacements, I sought out online forums to ask if £1300 was a reasonable amount to pay for a roof replacement. Some of the comments/feedback were less than complimentary about my lack of commonsense....

Well, you will be glad to know that the roof is no longer leaking but has not been repaired or replaced. So how did I do it? Read on.....

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Suicide by public transport

I am in full rant mode today...

Have you ever wondered why people choose to kill themselves by throwing themselves under a train? Actually, have you wondered why they choose to do so during peak hour??!!
It is almost as if they want to drive the rest of us to do the same....

There were 3 such peak hour incidents in London week ending 15th Sept. 2 tube, 1 rail.
Thousands stuck on tube trains, Paddington station closed - thousands having hours added to their journey home after a hard days work.

I mean if they did it at 3pm or 2am even, they would accomplish their goal but without the resulting travel chaos and inconvenience to the rest of us.

Perhaps it is time we studied this phenomenon further. It appears to be happening with increasing frequency - why why why is my question. If we study it, perhaps we can put measures in place to prevent it and the resulting impact on those left behind.

I don't mean study depression and suicides in general. I think we should study specifically why people choose peak hour to kill themselves in such a public manner. Of course collecting accurate data from the source could be a bit difficult...

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

September breakup blues

Sept is a bad month for relationships, if anecdotes from friends is anything to go by.

Here is the list:
2 girlfriends have found new boyfriends only to be told that the guys had to go on pre-booked holidays shortly after. Then no word from them and no word from them.

Another 2 breakups reported in the past week and that is just those I know of personally.

Hearsay - 4 more breakups reported.

How about you? How many relationship breakups have you heard of in the past fortnight?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Union Recruitment Failure II

One other thing - perhaps they should train up their switchboard operators to actually deliver customer service instead of just spoutting policy at you. It has been rather difficult to get anyone that actually represents IT professionals...unless you work in a callcentre or financial institution.

Is it the nature of the IT industry that the practices of software companies has gone undetected for so long?

No wonder there have been no public protests about software outsourcing overseas.

Which leads one to question: do white collar workers deserve less protection than blue collar workers?

Bullying happens everywhere at all levels and society/unions, etc. need to be aware of this.
Workers' needs appear to have moved from better/equal pay, sexual/racial discrimination to bullying and workplace abuse. As evidenced by recent awards for bullying by the courts.

I urge unions to adapt and survive.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Union Recruitment Failure

Now I understand why unions in this country are failing both in recruitment of new members and their political standing....

This is a classic example of not meeting customer/potential customer's needs. Bad marketing and bad business.

Here is the story of me trying to find a union for DH to join....more on that later - but if you have ever been bullied/discriminated against at work, we are now 'experts' at this. Hence the long silence from the blog, we have been too bogged down to blog!

OK here goes my rant:

Hmmm....if I were in trouble, I would think about seeking help from a body that has experience dealing with these matters - ie. a union. Now never having been in trouble, it would not occur to me to join a union. What with their public image of militancy and association with train strikes.

So when the situation arises that one needs the help of the union - the response one gets is rather incredulous.

''We are unable to assist with any matters pre-dating the membership application''.

From a purely marketing point of view - isn't that why people join a union?

From a business point of view - their rationale is that legal representation costs money so you have a be a member for more than 6 months before you can benefit. Now, since in the course of one's career, one does not expect to be bullied, harrased or discriminated, thus joining a union would not even cross one's mind...doesn't this mean that those who do join unions are more likely to seek legal representation thus use union resources? Self-selection policy it seems to me.

Now, if they introduced a higher joining/membership fee for people with existing issues who would now like to be part of a union, wouldn't that solve that particular problem and increase their members, thus their clout and coffers?

Furthermore, that new member who had been helped would feel compelled to spread the word about benefits of union membership. Thus increasing membership coffers even further. In fact, it could lead to a class action as it is rare for a company management to mistreat just one staff member.