Too large for a FB post, so it’s back to the blog… with a rant!


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So after nearly a year of paying extortionate mobile charges for ringing 0800 numbers I decided to contact Virgin media (again) to try and get the landline repaired… on the last attempt they asked me to try plugging in a different handset, but with only 1 handset this seemed to be an unnecessary expenditure so we left it!

After sending Virgin a warning shot when I advised them of the fault, how long we had had it, they’re previous response, my expectations for resolution (bitter disappointment) and suggested if they contact me about it they should be waving a white flag (I’m NOT paraphrasing for once… the email did say that!), the first signs were promising with the escalated complaints team contacting me and arranging an engineer to come out the next day between 8am and 12 midday, they also said they would call me afterwards to discuss reimbursement (very pro-active of them, I was impressed).

So my question now at 12.28 with no engineer or landline is this, what comes after bitter disappointment? I am at a loss to describe my feelings for Virgin media because I do not know what words to use to describe how let down and fed up I am… it is pretty impressive for them to exceed my expectations, when I was expecting bitter disappointment!

Since 12:28 I have also had no call from Virgin media’s escalated complaints team (again acting within expectations) but on the plus side the engineers who turned up nearly an hour late did manage to fix the fault in 10 minutes… an unplugged cable in the junction box!

The mind boggles at how such large companies that spend so much money attracting new customers can get away with such appalling standards of customer service… maybe if they worked a bit better at looking after existing customers they wouldn’t need to spend so much attracting new suckers!

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Batteries not included!


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If the previous post was the “before” pic of Christmas dinner, then I guess this would have to be the “after” pic. So here it is the real deal, Christmas dinner ala Ren’s mum, sausage, a mountain of potato salad… and yup the schnitzel type affair that is the Carp from the bath in the previous post… and it was delicious! Despite a number of threats I managed to dodge the honour that is slaughtering and gutting them, (the slaughter process consists of a steak mallet round the head followed by a swift beheading… for the fish… obviously!), although I avoided being the knife man I did end up having to peel and fillet one of them, which would have been slightly more pleasent had I not got horendously drunk the night before and woken up with a rather sensitive stomach… but unlike the fish’s mine stayed in! Unfortunately the pics are too big to upload to wordpress so I have uploaded them to picasa… my personal favourite is the one of the “peelings” that I managed to remove in one piece.

After dinner we all politely sat round the table and waited for santa to come in through the living room window, drop off the presents under the tree, and then leave, (obviously in Nottingham Santa would leave with more presents than he came in with… assuming he could get through all the window bars!). Strangely for yet another year as we waited to hear the jingling of sleigh bells leaving Ren’s dad was once again nowhere to be seen… I do feel sorry him he hasn’t experienced the feeling of Santa coming since he had kids, coincedence… I’ll let you decide?!

So after such a lovely, productive, and murderous day what could go wrong, Christmas dinner has gone from swimming around the bathtub to the plate, Santa has delivered presents for all, and sufficient sparkling wine has been drunk to get everyone merry… surely the perfect Christmas for all, I even received my dream present of a Wii (purely for fitness reasons, what other reason could a 32 year old want a games console for!), so all peachy then… right up to the point when I try and plug in my new Wii to the… shall we say not exactly state of the art TV… so anyway it’s the thought that counts, and I have every confidence that the Wii will work… once we get home on Monday and plug it in to our TV… at least that’s what I think, and it is after all the thought that counts!

Anyway Merry Christmas to one and all, and I hope you all have a great time with lots of glorious presents, (I know already one of my readers has!), and just hope you all remembered to buy plenty of batteries all the electrical goods you are bound to receive that come with “batteries not included!”

Carping on, not gobbling away at Christmas


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Christmas dinner, as fresh as ever in Czech!

Christmas dinner, as fresh as ever in Czech!

SO having been in Czech over Christmas before, their traditional dinner comes as no great surprise to me, but now having a blog, (the wonders of modern technology!), I thought it might be nice to share with everyone back in blightly!

Over here Christmas dinner is somewhat different to back home in that it is fish, (traditionally carp), with lashings of potato salad, Czech style with mustard frankfurters, gherkins, parsnip and celariac.

Although it is possible to buy Carp already filleted from any of the hundreds of stalls that suddenly appear almost overnight in pretty much every supermarket car park in the country, the traditionalists will purchase their fish as is, stick it in a carrier bag, take it home, and leave it in the bath to clean it out prior to service. For true comedy value you can give the carrier bag to a foreigner to carry, forget you did that, and then go and wander around a few shops while they follow you with a bag that keeps moving around as if by magic… highly amusing for all concerned!

So for all those who didn’t believe me here’s a picture of dinner in the bathtub! I just can’t help but wonder how Christmas dinner would change in the UK if the same values were upheld? how many people would keep a turkey in the garden ready to slaughter as part of the ritual on Christmas day morning?! I can certainly see why the Czechs have fish for Christmas dinner instead of beef!

Cultural difference, difference of opinion or just question of perspective?


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After a few visits to a Czech hospital you start to notice cultural differences between Czech and British attitudes, the main and most obvious difference has to be the attitude towards smokers… at a time when in the UK smoking has been outlawed from all NHS owned property and doctors are refusing to treat cancer patients who smoke, I was almost stopped dead in my tracks when I saw this kiosk in a Czech hospital. Now the more observant of you will notice the amazing array of ciggarettes available, and although this was partly what stunned me, (as the practice of selling ciggies in hospital ended longer ago than even I can remember!), what took me aback the most is the location of this kiosk, not only is it in the hospital, but more shocking is the fact that this is the kiosk in the Oncology department… yup in Czech you can buy ciggerettes in the building where doctors treat cancer… Irony? you judge for yourself!

So if you can buy Ciggies in hospital then obviously it is only fair you let people smoke them there as well… that goes without saying but to be fair you do have to go outside to the garden, (and with temperatures currently around -8 this is more than a little off-putting), but if you should go out to the smoking area what immediately becomes apparent is the sheer number of staff that are out there smoking too… so when being treated for cancer you can go to hospital, buy ciggerettes, and then smoke them, with the staff who are treating you! Now maybe having lived in the UK for maybe way too long now this comes as something of a shock to me, yet out here nobody bats an eyelid or gives it a second glance, so is it as shocking as I make it out to be or is it just shocking because of the attitudes I have become used to from living in the UK? I can certainly imagine that any Czechs who end up in UK hospitals would be mortified at the prospect of having to quit the fags during their stay.

I guess the question needing to be answered is, is this a cultural difference, difference of opinion or just question of perspective?Hospital kiosk

SCITT and Skidaddle


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Sorry to all my avid blogging fans, (all 3 of them!), for not posting anything else sooner but it has been a busy couple of weeks, what with filling out gtp and SCITT applications, working in COOP at the weekends and shouting at kids during the week!

Having finally completed my SCITT application, (for those of you not in the know, thats school centred initial teacher training!), my final job before heading off to Czech Republic for Christmas was just to simply deliver the application to the Nottingham Wildcats arena, and as they are based just round the corner this appeared to be such a quick and meanial task that I thought why rush it… I can just do that in the morning before we head to the airport.

Now obviously if this was such a trivial task I would not be posting about it here, as that would potentially jepardise the 3 readers I have! So if anyone has been to the Nottingham Wildcats arena they may have noticed that one thing that they forgot to build into the stadium is a… no prizes for guessing… letterbox!

So how do you deliver a letter to an address at ten to eight in the morning when there’s no-one inside and no letterbox, and you have to get home, to get to the airport, to catch a flight, to get to your girlfriend home for Christmas? (so obviously absolutely no pressure on me at this point in time!).

Anway to cut a long story short, (or abbreviate a REALLY long story into a long story!) after hanging around in the car park having several phone conversations with Ren… in which her displeasure was made painfully clear, some bloke turned up in a Merc, after ambushing him as he went to enter the stadium he seemed happy enough to accept my envelope so back home and off to Czech it was!

So anyway in Czech now with a blanket of snow and temperatures struggeling to get above zero, using a PC that uses a Czech keyboard and Czech spelling… luckily there is an abundance of Slivovice and cheap vodka to help keep me warm and boost morale!

Was going to mention various other events of yesterday and of the week, including school plays, and pantomimes, but post seems to be getting a bit long winded now, so after boring you all half to death, time to wrap it up.

Dawn of the blogging age… eventually!


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Having finally been given a blog, (as anyone who knows me knows I would never voluntarily set up my own blog), I decided to set the tone of what will eventually follow by changing the aesthetics of my site. After much deliberation looking at various different themes I decided that the appearance of the site was probably going to be less of an issue than the content, and maybe it would make more sense to actually post something so there is some substance to worry about the appearance of!

So here it is… a post, what next? well lets wait and see… but I can’t see myself taking to this with much vigour unless wordpress have an android app so I can do this from my phone! Talking of which for all those disillusioned Iphone lovers out there, (there may be at least two who will read this!), I couldn’t help but notice that your beloved exclusive idolised 3GS will soon be available on tesco mobile, taking the list of carriers up to 4… and making this handset as common as muck!

Steve Jones


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Welcome to my first WordPress blog 🙂

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