Thursday, 23 June 2016


So we are going to blow the explosive bolts along the South Coast, East Anglia and Channel Tunnel and float off into the North Atlantic.

After one of the most bad blooded and frankly incomprehensible political fights we have allowed the lowest common denominator in British society (those who incidentally won't be paying tax anyway - pensioners and layabouts, the true little Englanders) to out vote the ones who took the time to look over the political and economic implications and decided that the status quo was slightly better than another 8 to 10 years of financial turmoil.

Good news is though that there are about to be a lot more jobs picking fruit, serving in pizza shops and the sex trade. Glad I had some positive information to pass out to my ten and sixteen year old son and daughter.

This vote is totally unbelievable and in effect nearly half of the population have been disenfranchised (after all we can't ever vote to go back in now) and it is our kids generation that will suffer not us.

The implications are completely unknown but it is very likely that we will have at least a year of tumbling financial markets which loath uncertainty.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

The saga of my kitchen never ends and the perils of eBay

It seems as if the saga that is my kitchen renovation will never end. As it stands a part of the kitchen 'fell off' (literally) a couple of weeks ago and the fitter still hasn't returned to fix it. In addition the electrical work is not finished insofar as we still need a safety certificate following the installation of a new circuit box but the gentleman was due to arrive on Saturday last week and didn't turn up so we're basically waiting for the final couple of things to be finished. Frustrating but not too much of an issue - still haven't paid the fitter 50% of his fee so the ball is in his court.

The story doesn't finish there though. At the end of May I finally sold my 2 year old Samsung Fridge Freezer on eBay - it took five or six auctions before it finally went and it was collected two days after the buyer won the auction.

This buyer had been a bit of a presence around all of the previous auctions. He'd never actually bid until the final auction and each time it failed to sell he contacted me via eBay messaging with questions about the item and offers below the starting price. On each of three occasions I told him that he should bid if he wanted the item. Eventually he did, reluctantly though I suspect.

On the day of collection (28/5/16) the buyer turned up unannounced at my home (he had arranged for a removals company to pick it up in the evening) in the afternoon. Fortunately I was in and as luck would have it in the garage emptying my own items from the fridge - I'd had cheese, milk, sauces etc in the thing as it had functioned as my main fridge in the garage all through the kitchen refit and that weekend (this was a Saturday) the fitters were in again doing some work so I couldn't get into the kitchen and I'd been in and out to the fridge all day including emptying the ice maker which I'd turned on accidentally dusting it the day before for the collection.

He insisted on inspecting the fridge and was quite surly but I didn't object - he'd already paid the fee on Paypal so I just wanted the thing away. He went off and later the removal company turned up and took the fridge freezer.

Fast forward to last Friday the 17th of June (21 days later) I receive a message from eBay telling me that the buyer is demanding to return the item as it was 'not as described'.

Basically he's saying that immediately on plugging it in it blew his circuit breaker every hour or two and that having spent over £ 240 putting in a separate circuit onto his board it still doesn't work.

My problem is this. I know the thing was working and had worked unbroken until the moment I unplugged it at my house for his movers to take it. So I replied and pointed this out. I suggested that given it had not worked from day one he should have contacted me earlier, before undertaking work for additional cost which I did not agree to and he also should have spoken to his removers because the scenario he outlined sounds very much like it was damaged in transit.

His subsequent replies have now veered into the realms of name calling. Thus far I am a liar, immature and he does not like my tone. It seems that defending your own corner is now something to be mocked. He is of course refusing to even speak to his removal company, won't say why he waited three weeks to contact me and has created a fantasy in which complex, unboxed electrical items are invulnerable to damage in transit.

In addition to turning up uninvited at my home (a breach of eBay seller etiquette if not their actual rules) he has begun name calling and also making threats to go out-with the eBay procedures. In fact I have now told him twice that I am happy to abide by the eBay resolution process. One assumes they have robust procedures in place for just this eventuality. One suspects, given his behaviour that the reason he is yet to raise a complaint via eBay is that he doesn't have much of a case and thinks intimidating me is a better tactic.

Little does he know the futility.

In our last exchange he threatened to report me to eBay (which of course I have been encouraging him to do since last Friday) but he gave me a deadline that is actually some time before the deadline given by eBay to resolve the matter between us before they can intervene. Given the level of discourse from him has dropped to threats and name calling I've had to report his conduct to eBay myself. Whether I ultimately end up 'winning' this dispute is to an extent irrelevant. I'm not prepared to be intimidated by an irrational and unprofessional bully in anyway shape or form.

Unfortunately the 'not as described' claim is a well know fiddle on eBay to get out of paying for an item and of course this guy is now also trying to get me to pay for additional repairs and his other costs - all incurred (based on his version of events) without any go ahead from myself. At the moment my Pay Pal account sits in debit (they take the money straight out of the amount pending resolution of the initial return request) so I cannot use eBay or Pay Pal and of course I no longer have my item or any hope of getting it back without incurring enormous cost especially as his movers managed to break it.

Frankly though I am quite enjoying winding him up. In my experience he's the classic bully and he hates me standing up to him.

Will update as we progress. His deadline for reply was the 23rd of June but I will be waiting until one minute to midnight on the actual deadline eBay cited, why ? Because I can.

Update - 24th of June.

I've now replied to my buyer and so far he hasn't, as I've requested three times in writing, set up an eBay resolution claim.

Earlier in the week I was forced to report him to eBay for asking me to circumvent their rules and turning up uninvited at my home.

As he hasn't bothered, for some reason, to start a resolution claim I've actually had to do it myself to ask eBay to step in. It's really quite bizarre that he's raised an issue, refused to try and sort things out with either me (in a realistic fashion) or with his removals company and now I've been forced to set up the claim with eBay myself. I'm pretty sure from reading about 'not as described' claims on line that the process is stacked against the seller but hopefully his silly position and name calling will go against him.

Monday, 13 June 2016

A post about my friend

I wrote this blog post some weeks ago, in happier times before Jasper passed. This is a sad blog post to write and upload but I wrote it in advance of his passing as a kind of eulogy and knew that following his death I just would not be able to put into words my thoughts. I hope it will serve to celebrate him and the times we shared and in the future be a reminder if his fun and vivacity.

"Unable are the loved to die. For love is immortality"
Emily Dickinson

My dog died today.

He was 11 years old, the second Cavalier King Charles spaniel we've had. He was born in March 2005 when my wife was pregnant with our son, now nearly 11 and we can still clearly remember bringing him home in a card board box with a towel in the bottom and then sitting with him for hours on our kitchen floor whilst he settled in.

He'd just woken up, was not deformed !

Although all the animals are my wife's, Jasper always seemed to be 'my dog'. He always wanted to know where I was at any point, even towards the end when he got a bit unstable on his paws and he usually waited on the door mat in the hall way waiting for me when I went out shopping at the weekend regardless of whatever anyone else in the house was doing.

He loved food, we always knew when he was poorly because he stopped eating. That was rare though because, with one or two exceptions although he had lots 'wrong' with him he was overall a healthy and vivacious dog.
He did love food !

We used to joke, especially when he was young that he was at least as intelligent as a person and sometimes looking at how he watched you and reacted to conversation I wouldn't be surprised if behind that handsome face he was, in a nice way, plotting doggy world domination.

Poised for action ...

As I mentioned above, Jasper was a healthy and happy dog. Not sure why but when he was a puppy we used to call him the Rangy Baby Jesus - that kind of stuck as he was never a fat Cavalier but always rangy and kind of athletic. He had a heart murmur from a relatively young age but this is common in Cavaliers and in no way caused problems, he also had syringomyelia a brain condition again common the breed which caused him every now and then to freak out and scratch but had no major health impacts.
 Last year he began coughing a little on an evening and this was a deterioration of the heart condition but was treated with meds and he came right back to normal. Over Winter 2014 and then Summer 2015, as a family we had some of our best, longest dog walks with Jasper and our other dog : Muffin in the local woods and really explored our local area through having our dogs. It could be seen as a bit of a cliche but they were great times and I am going to miss sharing them with him and of course the rest of my family.
Post eye problems

When we returned home from holiday in August last year Jasp developed an eye problem which deteriorated very quickly and one evening in late August his left eye literally burst and he had to have emergency surgery to remove the damaged eye and was left after several weeks of convalescence with a cuter face but only one eye. We quickly discovered though that his remaining eye had very limited sight. As a clever creature though he has been able to adapt to limited sight and has total recall of where everything is in the house, garden and on our regular walks.

We were staggered at how well he overcame the eye problem given his age and heart condition but then we hit another setback, no sooner was he over the eye and back to his normal self when he became very poorly with pancreatitis, a nasty gastric problem and came close to dying. With intensive treatment and a continuous vet food low fat diet he overcame not one but two serious bouts of this condition.

That was over Christmas 2015 and then again January of 2016.

Unfortunately the heart condition, eye and then pancreatitis have just taken their toll and his heart condition ramped up in mid March. We literally battled to save him, increasing medication to the absolute maximum and even a bit beyond to eke out a few more weeks for him because right til the end he was happy, eager to eat and walk and spend time with us. Over the last few weeks he couldn't be left alone because any noise outside would set him off barking and that stressed his heart and his breathing became harder.
With us on one of his favourite walks

In the end, we had to make the determination that all pet owners dread from the day they bring home their new family friend to the very second it happens and decided that it was us being selfish to make him suffer the difficult breathing problems that would only get worse and more uncomfortable for him any longer.

We all know what happened next. I will not suffer those last few moments again but suffice to say that I was with my friend for his last moments and am glad to have been able to see our friendship through to its bittersweet end.

I am an atheist so think there is no infinite green field for him to run through but perhaps there should be. Whatever happens afterwards, my friend will run through my happy dreams with me forever. 

"The song is ended but the melody lingers on ...."
Irving Berlin 


Jasper Nathaniel Knight - Catamaran Sweet Fudge - March 2005 to May 2016

Woof !

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Brand new iMac, sort of ....

In April 2014 I got so sick of the slow down on my 2009 iMac that I finally snapped and spent £ 1600 buying a replacement. I'm typing on my current Mac and even after over two year it is still blisteringly fast has almost no issues and I see the spinning beach ball perhaps once or twice a week.

I do still use the iMac which sits on my desk behind the MacBook but mainly for light browsing and Netflix plus I won't install MS Word or Excel on my MacBook so I occasionally have to fire up a spreadsheet every now and then.

Last week though I was sat messing about with the iMac's settings and found a screen in 'About this Mac' that showed the iMac had four slots for RAM and two of the four were empty - at the moment it had 2 x 2GB of RAM on-board. Some basic research later and I discovered that I'd probably wasted my £ 1600 and new RAM could just be inserted into the old machine to improve it's performance.

Long story short I wanted to see what effect boosting the RAM might have. I bought 2 x 4GB of RAM from Crucial (for £ 36 !) and installed at the end of last week. Having gone from 4GB to 12GB very cheaply and with a very easy install it literally is like a new machine. Whilst not as quick as the MacBook it's still far faster than anything else we have in the house and i've been rocking it all week. Problem is though that my MacBook is still faster and cooler. I was thinking about upgrading to a new iMac though and to be honest I just don't need to bother at the moment - both machines are much faster than current entry level models anyway.

Game of Thrones - Ser DeadCharacter is Back !

Am I the only person in the world who doesn't watch Game of Thrones the second it airs in the US/UK ?

I mean I thought we were in the age of watching TV when we wanted, downloading, DVR'ing and watching at leisure. The days of using someone else's schedule long since past.

Not so much apparently.

 I always record GoT and then watch a day or two later. So every week when flicking through my news feed on Flipboard some muppet always manages to try and spoil the episode that I haven't yet watched for me.
So I always skip these articles bur now the spoilers have a new tactic. Put the spoil in the article title.

This is just mean spirited - no matter how fast one is in closing down Flipboard I've now read the title of the post and know what happened - now I'm not going to spoil it for you but now I know who came back in this weeks episode, didn't want to, have waited for seasons for that and now it's ruined - words fail me.

There may be a special place in hell reserved for spoilers, either that or in the dungeon of the High Sparrow.