At last, today we’ve had some rain for the first time in ages. It’s been lovely.
The heat’s supposed to be coming back next week, but for now it’s just nice to not be roasting away.
Maybe I’ll even get some sleep tonight…
Every so often, I decide to play the role of “responsible human being”. Today, it turned out, was one of those days.
When I got in to work, I could see that three cars in the vicinity had been broken into (or at least had their windows smashed) so opted to do the ‘responsible human’ thing, and called 101 – the UK Police’s non-emergency number. No point in doing an emergency 999, as no-one else was visible, and the damages could’ve happened any time overnight.
So 101 it was. And while I get that it’s for non-urgent stuff and so on, but man alive, what an absolute faff.
The call goes through, and starts off with “Which police force do you require?”. (Probably because I called on my mobile – calling from a landline would’ve localised things. I assume) That’s fine, if you know who you need to speak to. But if I hadn’t known that Milton Keynes is covered by Thames Valley Police, I’d have been knackered from stage one.
Then we go on to a recorded message from the chief of Thames Valley. Why? No idea. I assume it’s part of the script of 101 – I’ve heard similar on other calls to different forces – but it seems (to me) to be utterly pointless.
And then we get the voice-response asking what you want to do. If you know the name/number you want to speak to, type it now, or press [whatever] to report a crime.
And then we get some piece of crap recorded message about victim support.
And finally, finally, when all that’s done, I finally spoke to someone – who was helpful, and made sense. But what a horrific fucking faff in order to do something I didn’t even need to.
All told, it certainly makes it easy to see why people prefer to call 999, even for non-emergency stuff. At least the response to it is quicker, and gets rid of all that recorded bullshit.
Today, I chose to stay home rather than driving in what was supposed to be terrible weather. I made the choice when I was about to leave for the office, and there was a significant amount of snow coming down, at which “Sod that!” became the decision. (This is also related to the fact that all roads from my place to work are uphill, and last time it was like this, the roads were paralysed because dickheads couldn’t drive up them safely)
As it turned out, the warnings – for this area, at least – were unfounded. I could have got in OK, and got home. We’re an exception to the rule, admittedly – but I would’ve been OK.
All the same, I’m glad I stayed home. I’m happier to have been here, rather than the regular checking for weather changes, and wondering whether I’d get home or not (with the news having been suitably hysterical about the entire thing all day) so all told it’s been a lot easier on the mind than doing the travelling.
I’ll almost certainly go in as usual tomorrow and Friday, although we’ll see what happens on each overnight, and re-assess based on that.
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.
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.
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…
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?