D4D

There's something I should tell you. I'm not left-handed either.

Archive for the category “Milton Keynes”

Snowbound

Yesterday, the weather effectively enforced a day off for me, doing nothing outside.  Nothing major, but we had a fair amount (for the UK) of snow overnight, which led to lots of issues with accidents, blocked roads, etc. etc.  For my own village, the two main roads out were completely blocked – one by a jack-knifed lorry, and the other just by drivers failing to get up the hills.

So technically it wasn’t the weather itself, so much as the sheer number of people who can’t bloody drive in snow. But still, day off.

In honesty, it was much needed. As I’ve said before, I’ve been ridiculously busy for the last two years – I’ve just counted up, and I’ve had stuff booked in for 48 weeks of 2017 (I’ve counted up til the end of the month) and even on those four ‘free’ ones I was still doing stuff – and December hadn’t provided any real change in that.  That’s nothing short of barmy.

So anyway, I’d spent Saturday in London with a mix of food and theatre stuff, so it’s not like it’s been a write-off of a weekend, or anything like that. But a day of doing sod-all – barely going outside, catching up on recorded TV etc., doing some reading, etc. etc. – was definitely A Good Plan.

Whether I feel better for it is still to be determined, but regardless, it was a good day.

Relocation

Milton Keynes has quite a population of homeless people – a population that’s grown noticeably over the last couple of years – and now we have a number of homeless people who camp in the underpasses and subways around the town centre.

It’s interesting though – as Winter comes in, and the temperature has dropped over the last couple of weeks, the number of people sleeping on the streets has also dropped significantly.

I really noticed it today, seeing empty spaces on the pavements and so on where there’s usually been people sleeping.

I don’t know the reasons – although I kind of feel like I should, same as I feel like I should know where they’re getting all their gear, the tents and so on that now appear to be standard fare.  It seems like even the homeless are far better prepared/equipped for being homeless.  But I may be being cynical. I just don’t know.

But all the same, it’s odd, seeing how the streets have emptied out in the last couple of weeks.

Return As Found

Earlier this month, I wrote a bit about some of the electrical issues that’ve been niggling on my current car, and something about the hassles I’ve had with the garage along the way.

Today was (hopefully) the final stage of that – the car had a new battery last week, which has helped, but there was still an issue with the starter motor.  The garage spent a fair amount of time arguing with Kia (or at least saying they were arguing with Kia) but in the end I got it as a free replacement – so I’m quite happy on that score.

So today was the day for getting that fitted, and I’m vaguely optimistic that this will be the job done.  Time will tell, of course, but it’s got some good runs and conditions over the next few weeks, which should help me find out whether we’re finally sorted.

However, both of the most recent visits have obviously required a complete disconnection of the battery (obviously, in the case of the replacement battery!) which has resulted in the car computer being totally reset. I don’t mind that, in general – I try to be realistic about these things.  But at the same time, I would have thought that a basic level of customer service would be to at least set the clock and calendar back to the correct settings.

I’m obviously wrong though, and utterly unreasonable. 🙂

 

All told, the entire thing has left me less than happy with Kia as a whole – even taking into account that replacement starter motor. A lot of this could (indeed, should) have been sorted on the first return visit, and shouldn’t have taken another three visits and a bundle of arguments. My experience as a customer has been woeful, and has currently put me off having another car from Kia, as that would mean keeping on using the same garages.

Anyway, even with that replacement starter, next time the car needs anything doing to it, I’m going to try the other local Kia dealership – it’s the same distance from me, but in the opposite direction – and see if they’re any better.  It’ll be interesting to see if they can do better than the current ones…

Recharging and Vindication

A couple of weeks back now, I took my car to the local Kia dealership (as it’s a Kia) for its MoT.  It had been serviced there a couple of weeks prior, and at that point the dealership hadn’t impressed me for a couple of reasons I won’t go into for now.

It passed the MoT just fine – needed two bulbs replacing, and that was it.  But that evening, once I was home, the car wouldn’t start – the battery was completely flat.  The only thing different to its usual treatment was the MoT, and the recovery guy who came out to sort things agreed it was likely they’d done something to flatten the bloody thing.

I spoke to the dealership the next day, and they denied all possibility that the problem was down to them. Couldn’t happen, sir. You left here fine (forgetting that it was running when I got in, I hadn’t had to start it) so it can’t be us. Just one of those things.  If you really want to check, we’ve got a super-expensive tool for testing batteries properly, you can come in and we’ll do the check.

Which I did.  Went in, and this super-tool said “Battery 100% OK”. Fair enough, it might be one of those things, I suppose.  They were quite patronising about it all, and again insisted it couldn’t be anything to do with them.  The only other way to find anything (“sir”) would be to drop it in for a couple of days, let it wait around and we’ll see if it drains, or what might be wrong.

However, the problems went on. It’s never completely flattened on me again, but I’ve been more aware of the delays on starting, and I’ve given it some bigger runs just to ensure the battery is as topped as possible.

So last week, knowing I’d got a hire car for a day-trip to Leeds (of which more in another post) I also booked it in to the dealership again for today, so they could have it a couple of days and find out what the problem is.  It led to a bundle of fucking about, but it all came together in the end.

Lo and behold, this evening I got a call.  Apparently, the battery *is* fucked, despite what their super-tool said a week ago. So they’re replacing it, and will then see tomorrow how everything goes, and hopefully I’ll collect it on Wednesday.

It’s fair to say, we’re going to have words when I do collect it.  This has been a shitload of hassle, and it’s taken me a bundle of time away from work in order to keep on getting things sorted. My sense of humour has, as they say, somewhat failed about the whole thing.  It’ll be interesting to see what happens – but I do feel somewhat vindicated about the whole thing.

What the dealership doesn’t seem to realise is that the servicing department is as much of a sales tool as the showroom is. I’ve got a Kia, and so far I’ve been quite pleased with it. I would have considered getting another one – and it would likely have been from that dealership.  But if they can’t sort me out with a cheaper car and be competent, why the *fuck* would I stick with the same company once the current issues are sorted, let alone buy a new (to me) Kia?

Offering A Service

Every few days, I go past this office, and re-notice the window…

It’s a solicitor’s office, and I still can’t figure out whether they’re offering Abduction as a service to their clients (along with Domestic Violence!) or whether they actually mean they offer services based around Abduction and recovery of Abductees.

Either way, it always strikes me as an odd one to advertise – and even more so when it’s not clear what they’re actually doing.

Murdered And Left To Die

Every so often, it’s my misfortune to go onto a local news site – in this case the MK Citizen – to find out about something that’s going on.

However, sometimes the ‘other news’ section produces gems of the lost art of sub-editing, like this…

Now OK, it’s a terrible story and so on. But really, “murdered and left to die”?!? Fuck sake. That one’s not even difficult to parse and go “Hang on, if he was murdered, he was already dead, and couldn’t have been left to die.“. Or is that just me?

Paying for Parking

During the working week, I regularly park in an area controlled by parking meters – not one per slot, but in big blocks, so you pay for your ticket/parking at a machine, and return the ticket to the car.

It’s an area/business that in many ways doesn’t seem to have kept up with progress at all, but in others is quite a way ahead of most other places. It’s very odd – and it seems like a lot of people are caught in that middle space between the two extremes.

You see, the meters themselves take cash, and only cash. There’s no facility to take card payments, let alone contactless. I assume that some of this is down to maintenance costs – the more things it can do, the more things there are that can fuck up.

Then at the other end of the scale, we can use online/mobile payment setups like RingGo to pay for parking, which is super-easy to do, and works really nicely.  (There are other parking payment providers, most of which are worse than RingGo, but they’re still getting used by various councils etc. around the country)  There’s no need for cash, it’s all smooth and simple to do, with the parking wardens having smartphone equivalents where they can check each vehicle’s registration and see if it’s paid for parking online.

Both solutions seem to work, either with the super-basic “put coins in the machine” or the semi-techie (but still really pretty simple once it’s set up) paying via mobile/online.  There’s also the ability to pay by phone using RingGo, but that appears to be overly complex.

However, both options seem destined to confuse the majority of people.  I regularly see people dredging pockets for change – which is becoming less common, with the prevalence of debit cards and contactless payments, so they’re surprised and unprepared for needing coins to park – or completely stumped by smartphone apps, or having problems with the paying by phone.

In some ways that harks back to people not being prepared, but at the same time I do understand that these meters are a bit of a surprise. They’re so low-tech in many ways, and people just don’t seem to expect that.  But they’re also unprepared for using their smartphones – despite this whole pay online/app thing becoming more and more common for parking – and don’t have the relevant app, or have it set up. And even with 4G coverage etc., it seems that a lot of them are utterly unable (or just unwilling) to sort out installing the app and just doing things the easy way.

I don’t know what the answer is. I think we’re in this weird hinterland at the moment, where we’ve still got simultaneous low-tech and hi-tech solutions, and people are just caught in the middle, too advanced to be happy with the low-tech, but a large number also still unhappy or uncomfortable with the hi-tech alternative, so they’re stuck in some kind of mid-tech wilderness.

It’s very odd, but interesting to watch and see how things go.

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