March 1, 2019
Seems about time for a journal after all my writing in Sri Lanka. Which reminds me, if you didn’t follow my tonyives.wordpress.com blog where I wrote the holiday up. I can confirm I will transfer it to this site soon. It was a completely splendid holiday with great weather, lots to see, kind and interesting people and the odd wild animal or two.
However, I have transferred my ‘Bike ride across the USA’ blog to this site. It was a giant job with in effect 53 posts to upload. I’ve added an epilogue as well. Revisiting the trip was wonderful and I can genuinely remember much of the detail as if it were yesterday.
The broadband mast complaint has predictably gone nowhere. I escalated my complaint to the PLC which owns Quickline (the bastards in Hull who put up this 15 metre stick). I also wrote separately to the principal shareholder and non-exec chairman (who has an OBE no less). Of course they were all going to do nothing but having sat on the odd Board with non execs then my flurry of correspondence, my Twitter posts and the letter below in the local press (York Press) is not welcomed and there will be questions asked as to how the whole project was managed. If I was ever going to be effective then I needed neighbour support. Four did write to the local MP and I can well imagine that for one of these correspondents that the mast was not an issue, one was engaged and enraged but too busy to campaign and the most affected just shrugged their shoulders and accepted it. On this basis you are up against it.
Saw a Political Party broadcast on TV the other night. It was the regular ‘weaponising’ of the NHS’ financial state to garner votes. I so loathe this. I worked in the NHS as a management consultant and there is much to go at with the inefficiencies and not least the quality of the administrative staff. However, I fail to see how it can keep pace with all the demands on it. An ageing population and the increase in cures or improvements are difficult to cope with or fund. My 87 year old father-in-law found himself in York District Hospital again last night. When I got there to collect him the staff could not be kinder or more professional. The Senior Occupational Therapist who helped me get him into the car signed off by saying to him “Eric, it was nice to meet you”. A society that is continually outraged, offended and whinging need to spend some time occasionally in the real world. There is a lot to be very happy about.
We looked at Anna’s car and the fact that the finance was shortly to end. We decided to trade the car in and get a nearly new Fiesta. This isn’t a difficult project given that the UK is full of Fiestas, even Active X’s. So we were schmoozed by one dealer who found a car in West Yorkshire on the internet at another dealership in the group. The part ex on our old car was good enough and so what was the finance to cost? We started at an interest rate of 12.3%, which was ludicrous and after some hand wringing it fell to 10.9%. We walked.
Applying for finance by using a money comparison website came up with a few bargains but we went for Marks & Spencers at 2.8%. With the dosh sorted we went to another dealership and they had a suitable car in Scotland. It was considerably cheaper than the other dealer and a lower mileage. All good? Well the catch came in the part ex. It was poor. Clearly one dealer sold at higher prices with higher part ex prices and then vice versa. Anyway we haggled the part ex price up and declined their special finance offer of 7.9%! We collected the car on Friday.
This whole negotiation requires sitting through a lot of tedious small offers – dent and scratch protection, ‘gap’ insurance, asset protection, car care packages etc etc. Next to us a couple with less credit (and will power) capitulated for all of these extra costs and probably are stuck with double digit percentage finance. I reckon a lot of folk don’t fully appreciate what the deal really is. They just see if they can cope with the monthly outlay. Somehow this all seems disreputable to me.
Anyway I’m glad we’ve waded through this treacle and can now enjoy the new car.
Lastly, I noted with bemusement that Andre Previn’s passing included cursory references to the London Symphony Orchestra, being an accomplished jazz pianist or writing Oscar nominated songs. However prominent reference was made to his appearance on the Morecambe & Wise Show. I suspect he’s laughing wherever he’s gone.