Monday 22 February 2016

Apologies, Broadband Supply Again - Dear Mr Emerson

Dear Mr Emerson,

Thank you for your reply dated 17th February 2016 to my letter concerning the broadband service provided by BT to our particular area, or lack thereof.

In your reply you seem to be under the impression that my main gripe with BT is over broadband speed, and suggest that I take up my case with an ombudsman as this isn't your department's business.

The lyrical tone of my correspondence may have concealed the true nature of our travails over broadband, for which I apologise, so I shall attempt to make our case in bullet points and sharp and edgy language which may be more suited to the faster pace of urban life.

1: We have no Broadband speed from BT, we have no Broadband service from BT, as a company they have washed their hands of this small group of houses.

2: BT don't care about customers.

3: We are forced to rely on a mobile Broadband supply with a limited amount of data download permitted per month. Once this limit is passed charges for extra data are punitive, there is no unlimited data package offered for domestic supply.

4: Mobile broadband suppliers are cashing in on BT's indifference to areas they are unable or unwilling to supply

5: Monthly cost for broadband supply to household of four, who can but dream of watching moving pictures on their broadband supply is well over three figures.

6: We would happily pay for a BT broadband supply that provided a 1mb service to our home.

7: The requirement to provide a 10mb supply to ninety five percent of homes in Britain is not an idea that broadband providers are currently buying into. A government department (I suggest yours) should start getting on the broadband provider's case regarding this matter.

8: My own MP, Caroline Nokes has been brilliant, has taken our case to the ombudsman and has requested time for a debate regarding this matter in Westminster Hall.

9: It still seems unlikely but somehow I receive small cheques through the post for poorly written rubbish (hence the flowery tone) and have been encouraged to write about my experiences regarding this matter in due course.

10: Thank you for bothering to reply. It took three letters to Jeremy Corbyn to invoke a response, confirming my belief that you would be a far better government with an effective opposition to keep you on your toes.

I hope that is a little clearer and I look forward to hearing from you in the near future,

European or non European

yours sincerely

Chris de Cani

Correspondence from our Man at the Ministry- Mr Emerson

This just in from the man at the ministry,

Well that's that then, a busy bunch who currently have their hands full with a match fixing scandal at the heart of Tennis, who don't seem to have grasped the root of our travails.

Broadband speed?

We'd take any speed,

Ok not "any" speed

But we'd take a 1mb supply for twenty pound a month.

I don't know why Broadband and the nation's leading supplier of mb and gb to the homes of these Isles falls within this ministerial remit.

Oh yes, I forgot BT are a television company now with a waning commitment and interest in telecommunications.

Bring back the GPO

Thursday 18 February 2016

This Just in from Jez

I have received an email from a Jeremy in Islington

Mention was made at the foot of the piece concerning unauthorised use, copying or disclosure not being permitted,

But I stopped reading before that bit

Doublespeak or the caring face of socialism?

I don't know, but from the depths of the countryside, thank you Jeremy

If we can reciprocate in any way to you and your comrades in Islington, please don't be a stranger.

Wednesday 17 February 2016

Midnight Conniptions and Peculiar Barbel in the Guadalquivir

Completely Broadband free this one, cos that's how we roll around here.

It's been a busy period in the wood and much timber has been laid waste. I've a dent in my chain bar and a few millimetres left on the teeth of the chain. We are on the cusp of resurrecting the release pen and restoring paths through the wood that have not been trod for two years, finally catching up with the arboreal devastation caused during the flooding a few winters ago.

I'll be honest and say that some bits look a bit bare and it has been necessary to replant with a few hardwoods, principally walnut from a kind couple in the village who pot up the seedlings that appear in their lawn and some oaks from acorns lifted from Deauville wood by Lord Ludgershall on one of his many raids. I've also a store of self set ash to be thinned out and spread through the wood that will also help plug a few gaps.

Deer around here have been hit pretty hard of late, including the fallow down on the common, one of which has since been proven to be a mighty beast with a golden head (I think that's right) although we currently play host to a particularly bold muntjac, who stood less than twenty yards from me while I spent fifteen minutes splitting logs. The usually timid animal may have thought that he could not be seen, hidden as he was behind a couple of twigs, a ploy employed by our bittern who will stand perfectly still behind a reed with his beak pointing straight up in the belief that this renders him invisible.

There do seem to be a lot of barn owls in the area at the moment and I continue to see at least one each day, there are also rumours of the Shrike returning to the valley, although the dearth of cars lining the lane suggest that it has already moved on. Our birdfeeders are currently very busy and are regularly emptied within forty eight hours. Tits, finches and siskin are a given but nuthatch and woodpecker arrive most days and this week we have been inundated with redpoll, all bow down before what must be the bossiest bird in Bransbury, a Robin and self appointed Lord Protector of the nuts and seeds.

A couple of anglers have bothered the grayling since Christmas, the river is quick to colour up following rain but fines down within forty eight hours while retaining a reasonable level, an indicator of increasing groundwater flow. A few fish have been feeding on the surface mostly grayling in the afternoon but trout too, who seem to be over wintering well with little sign of thin fish or fungus. I'll whisper it quietly, but the river is in fairly good order and looking in good knick for the coming season. A venerable keeper further down the valley, who happened to recommend me for my current position of twenty four years and counting, insists that we have had a reasonable winter's rain if he can't get about the meadows in his 4x4 in early April. This could be the state of play around here in a couple of months time. A couple of rods have been targeting the roach, there are a few lumps missing after a herd of otters occupied the valley this summer, but a few decent fish remain although they are understandably windy and prone to feed in fading light.
We have the wood for the bridge replacement and the logistics of how to the build the thing over deep water have been worked out. The old bridge has been cut off its supports and floated upriver where it has been temporarily re-sited and used to build the new bridge alongside. Once complete the old bridge will then be re-floated and pushed upstream to the flight pond where it will be hauled from the river by the tractor and winched into place as the replacement bridge to the island on the pond. Well that's the plan anyway.

Done some miles this week.

Chester last week to visit my parents after my Dad fell over and bumped his head running for a bus in the middle of Chester. Running may be an exaggeration it's certainly not what Mo Farrah would recognise as movement, but he (my dad, not Mo Farrah) lay outside Marks and Spencers for nearly an hour, blood pouring from a cut on his forehead ( that was later staunched by seven stitches) and a fractured leg, propped up with an oversized teddy bear for a pillow and swaddled in a father christmas cape, both sourced from a nearby charity shop. The ambulance never came, and a kind policeman ran him to the hospital in his squad car after an hour passed.
The NHS is a tremendous thing, but come on Flash can Cheshire have the funds to buy one more ambulance to avoid this kind of thing happening again. Take it out of the pot from fracking, much of which will no doubt end up funding expensive dacha in the hills for an elite minority rather than benefit a populace plied with a ten percent reduction in the price for heating their homes, shiny new swings in the playground with a potential threat to water supply and the aquatic environment.

A few days later it was up to Yorkshire and the funeral of Aunty Joyce.

A tremendous human being who will be missed by many.

She'd had cancer of the bones for much of 2015, yet retained her marbles, keen sense of humour and had developed a late life fondness for a carefully delivered swear word. We last visited her in mid December with the dog, because Labradors were her thing, and the dog, who seems to rise to the occasion at a funeral, laid down at the front throughout the service.

It was always about the fun and having a laugh with Aunty Joyce, and oh yes she introduced me and my brother to the game of cricket. Everybody should have an Aunty Joyce, and I have since found out many other people did.

And at this point can I take the opportunity to thank all those at the Whitby Rd Care home and the local community who were so kind to them both as they approached the end of their years. You hear some worrying stories about some care homes, but Whitby Rd Pickering has some terrific people,

as does Kirkbymoorside
(along with a chemist plying an extensive selection of red wines, a first for me and there may be a link) some of whom I have since found out had this guff forced upon them over the years. Thanks for reading the rubbish that I write and thank you for your kindness regarding Joyce & Dennis.

Anyway, moving away from emotion, we were once again billeted at The Moors Inn in Appleton, a brilliant pub where the dog is piped through the door.
We pitched up on Rydale after breakfast and enjoyed an hour on the moors where Otis discovered a penchant for flushing grouse,

a new bird for him and while the requirement to flush birds from many thousand acres may be beyond his portly frame (and mine) he gave of his best but the conclusion was drawn that picking ducks in the dark in and around a small pond are his bag, these moors and their grouse are best left for stupid spaniels and potty pointers.

Driving south, there was flooding, far too much traffic and the obligatory average speed limit for many miles. Thirty years ago it used to take us between five and six hours to drive from the Test Valley to Tarvin in Cheshire. There was no Newbury bypass, the M40 was a stump that didn't extend beyond High Wycombe and large lengths of the A34 were single carriageway. Over the years the journey speeded up as the Newbury bypass was completed, the A34 made dual carriageway and the M40 extended to Birmingham. Five years ago we could do the journey in just over three hours. That was the peak, and if we invoke the spirit of Johnny Ball and a graph or two we can now prove that the journey time is starting to increase, yes there are the road works, but the sheer volume of traffic has increased to such an extent that at certain times large stretches of our road network cease to function as they were intended.

And then it was up to the smoke to pick up my boss whose hip had gone back to the menders, and collect a parking ticket to boot. The hospital was at the hub of the nation's capital directly opposite an embassy that provided no end of entertainment for a patient peering from the window at shady characters who passed through its doors. Not sure why we got a ticket, we were in a hospital parking spot, and I was picking up a patient who could not walk very far. Ok the goodbyes were prolonged, but that's just her way. Letters will be written and I hope the metropolitan parking gods look favourably on her case as a hundred and thirty zobs seems a little toppy for five minutes over the limit when picking up someone on crutches with a dicky hip.

And now we are back to the business of work in the wood and preparations for the coming fishing season. I'll put the chainsaw down at the end of the month, and jump in and out of the river for much of March. We have some travels booked for the end of the month, mostly in Seville where I am trying to sort out some fishing on the Guadalquivir for peculiar barbel, but also brief stays in Madrid and Cordoba. Child B is currently away and has just left Thailand for Cambodia sending regular emails and photos which whets our appetite for our own trip. Not sure about Child A, he seems to be putting the hours in during his year working in industry, and must be amassing quite a war chest, although golf clubs do keep turning up in the post.

Reading this back there does seem to be a lot of medical content with the odd fatality. I don't mean to be grim so I'll defer from mentioning that Madam and myself have just pulled through what was recently described as one of the most debilitating conditions known to mankind. We are both on the other side now and in full recovery but still taking it day by day. It even kept Madam from work, which is unheard of, so keen is she normally to escape the house/me during the day. I shan't go on and yes the Zika virus, but we have had our own travails with conniptions in the small hours, vomiting, fever, coughing, low energy, lack of appetite and blotchiness, I don't recall a malady like it for many a year.

Oh yes, I said I wouldn't go on,

So I won't, although I fear it may be too late.

Not for us, we're fine now, it may be too late for us not to go on (about our illness in this written piece, not living full stop)

I'll stop there before it gets any more confusing.

Friday 12 February 2016

Call me Dick (slaps thigh suggestively)

Well, this is where we are today.

Looks like me and the cat are off to London and its teeming thoroughfares formed from gold,

and super fast broadband supply.

River news and much more besides to follow in the next few days

Monday 8 February 2016

Apologies, more Internet Updates

Apologies for more internet updates, but it's good to talk and anything that helps highlight the faceless, uncaring bunch who seem to have had their head turned by the glamour of Television land provides some form of succour.

I received a call last week from the Managing Director of the Customer Care department, who, in a well versed pitch, apologised for our travails admitted what a hopeless bunch her company had been and would £80 back be OK as some form of recompense, which served as tinder for the five minutes of verbal flames that consequently flowed from this end of the line.

Twenty minutes later I received this heartfelt email from the Customer Care Department.

Caroline Nokes and her team have been brilliant, and come on Flash, give her a good job, she is far more suited to office than some of the oily ambitious coves that currently lurk in the shadows of the cabinet.

Can't praise her highly enough, she has offered to take the case up with OFCOM on our behalf and Ryan in Miss Nokes' office has pitched our case to the radio, and so a challenge for the Radio 2 Breakfast show gains pace.

While we're on all things audio, it was a sad day when himself packed in the Radio 2 Breakfast show and a travesty that upon his demise his Sunday morning show is now the domain of one Richard Madeley

Poor Judy

There remains one stand out broadcaster on the BBC. He's only on once a week, he's getting on in years and when he finally leaves the airwaves his absence will also be mourned by many.

Give Prodnose the Radio 2 Breakfast Show and get him on the air every day before it's too late, he is the best broadcaster of his generation.

The plug has also been pulled on what we were sold as an unlimited data mobile broadband account. Apparently "unlimited" is somewhere between 15GB and 20 GB and once reached (which we did in just over two weeks of light internet use) a message pops up saying "stop what you're doing now!" so to maintain our connection for the second half of the month we must furnish them with lots of money in exchange for golden chunks of gigabyte in order to preserve our internet's a right old scam this mobile broadband business.

It is a month now since I first wrote to Dave, Jez and Caroline so I gave Dave and Jez another poke today and dispatched the following two letters as their trails seems to have cooled a tad.

Stable Cottage
Barton Stacey
SO21 3QJ

8th February 2016

Ave Dave!

Apologies for bothering you again. What with Europe and all, you must have a lot on, so I'll keep it brief.

Attached is a letter I sent to you, Citizen Jez and my own MP at the beginning of the year concerning broadband supply to an area forty minutes from what some would have as the greatest city on earth. You very kindly replied with the assurance that The Ministry of Culture, Media and Sport would get right on to the case, although one month on I have yet to hear anything from our man at the ministry.

Citizen Jez was busy formulating a plan for submissive submarines at the time, so his radio silence is understandable, and he does seem to get a lot of letters so it could quite easily have gone astray.

My own MP, Caroline Nokes has been tremendous and along with her team in the office currently give battle with the nation's leading supplier of internet via poles and lines - give her a top job, she's really good, and promises to roust up the local media regarding this issue.

With regard to household internet supply, we must now rely on a 3G supply with a monthly limit of 20GB delivered to a dongle.

In a house of two adults with two grown up children this barely lasts half a month even without You tube, Live streaming, NetFlix et al (the connection isn't fast enough) The charges implemented by mobile internet providers to customers who reach their monthly limit and must buy extra data for the remainder of the month is punitive. Mobile broadband providers are "cashing in" on those unfortunate enough to be unable to receive broadband supply via poles and lines. There are unlimited data packages available for mobile phones, but these are not made available to those who cannot receive a BT Broadband household supply, and must rely on the mobile network via a dongle. The cost of supplying an internet supply to a house only occupied during the evening as my wife and I both work, my son is undertaking 3rd year work experience for his degree and my daughter is rarely in, regularly comes in at over three figures.

My wife and I bring in an average income and this is a significant cost to this household.

The dream of an internet speed of 10mb for all or most, is pie in the sky, particularly in this corner of the UK where we struggle to receive any meaningful broadband supply at all, and it is not being talked about enough at the required level.

Yours in telecommunications frustration

Chris de Cani

Stable Cottage
Barton Stacey
SO21 3QJ

8th February 2016

Greetings from the countryside Comrade, Freedom for Tooting! and all that.

Apologies for another letter, but just a heads up as to the state of play with regard to broadband supply in this area, forty minutes from what some would have as the greatest city on earth.

I have re-attached my previous letter, which I also sent to Dave and my own MP. I understand the lack of a reply as you do seem to get a lot of letters and it would be easy for it to go astray, and anyway you're obviously a very busy man

I won't bore you with our situation again, it's all in the previous letter, but suffice to say, our home is unable to receive a broadband supply via the medium of poles and lines. As a result we must now rely on a Mobile Broadband supply of 20GB per month. I would like to draw your attention to the punitive charges applied by the Mobile broadband suppliers once a monthly limit is reached. In this household where my wife and I both work full time, my son is undertaking his third year work experience as part of his degree, and my daughter who has just completed her Masters Degree and is now understandably rarely in, our limit is reached mid month and we are forced to purchase extra data. This regularly puts the cost of our monthly internet use ( which does not include live streaming, TV, You tube or any moving pictures - the 3G supply is to slow to allow this) well into three figures.

The stated aim of internet speeds of 10mb or more for all is a pipe dream in many areas even here, forty minutes from the Nation's Capital.

Yours in telecommunications frustration

Chris de Cani

And there we are. River news to follow on soon, but in brief trees are down, water levels are up and all is pretty much as it should be for this time of the year.

Oh Yes, with Liverpool declining towards mid table mediocrity, come on Leicester.........Do it for Moley.