Posts Tagged ‘to be avoided’

Challenging times at the Premier Inn (Cumberland Lodge) Southampton

November 23, 2018


My visit to Southampton was marked by the normal provincial routine of inflated prices, offhand service and disappearing change.  I say nothing of dirt, grease and cracked crockery.

The Premier Inn (Cumberland Lodge) proved to be a remarkable experience, even ignoring the automatic door that opened with deathly slowness as you tried to gain admittance.  Upon arriving, I signed up for a £ 9-50 breakfast and paid with a £ 20 note, for which I got £1-00 back, until I protested.

Then check-out was at midday on the following day.  At ten o’clock I went out to the shops and when I got back…they had taken my stuff away.  Eventually after protestations I was admitted to the linen room and got some of it back.

Surely taking people’s things away without asking is theft?

So when I finally decided to depart shortly before midday I had a sudden urge to go back and check that I hadn’t left anything behind, but the keycard had been deactivated.

When I checked out I was asked how things had been and I said they had been difficult for the reasons above.  The reception staff searched briefly for an Internet address and then said I could find it myself so as to complain, there was nothing they could do for me.

Following our previous experiences, we can only say:  don’t go to Southampton and if you do, don’t stay in a hotel.

A Challenging Experience at the Blue Keys Hotel, Southampton

October 20, 2017


So I arrived at this place and tried to check in, but occupying a room I had already paid for turned out not to be so easy. I was met with a demand for identification–either passport or driving licence-and told this requirement was in the confirmation email. It wasn’t. A work pass was kind-of accepted with ill grace. Then there was a question about whether I had driven–somehow, without a licence-that was just a question the computer asked.  Silly me.  It was my job to answer questions, not think.

I went to the room and was informed I had to go downstairs again to get the code to use the WiFi. Which didn’t work. There was a lot of stuff in the room in a refrigerated drinks cabinet that gurgled loudly. To prevent you sleeping. But no sign of what any of it cost. Like the passport and the code for the non-working WiFi, you were supposed to know in advance.



The keys were not blue

When I returned at 11 o’clock that evening the front door was locked.  I had two keys.  Neither of them would go in the lock.  A search revealed no sign of any other door or of for instance an emergency phone number.

All seemed lost, but then a kind person came and shone her phone light on the lock and I managed to operate the lock.

Apart from being told off for pouring coffee from the full jug I got off fairly lightly in the morning.

One of those places which is probably perfectly OK if you have the telepathic power to accommodate yourself to the proprietors’ mindset (and in advance).

I am unworthy of a Miele washing machine

June 14, 2017


I wanted a washing machine delivered on a Wednesday, when I am at home.

I rang up Miele on Saturday 3 June an arranged for one to be delivered on 14 June.

They sent me many texts saying it would be delivered between 1130 and 1330 on 14 June.

They sent me an email saying it would be delivered between 1130 and 1330 on 14 June.

On 14 June they rang me to arrange delivery. I said they were due to deliver between 1130 and 1330. They said they had not been able to find one or had entered two orders or something. Maybe I could have one by special courier if I waited in a couple of days.

I said it would have been better to let me know beforehand.  I cancelled the order.

Their washing machines may be perfectly adequate. It looks like I will never know now!

We Love!

October 10, 2011

Note the uncertain gap after Love.

We have received the following email.  A quick Google shows that there’s a lot of it about, for instance here, here and here.

From: Sarah Miller <>
Sent: Thursday, 6 October 2011, 19:35
Subject: We Love!


My name is Sarah from Article Writing Services. We have a client who would like to pay you for the opportunity to sponsor a blog post that you have recently written. We know that blogs can be expensive to run and our client would like the opportunity to support you in that endeavor.

In return our client is asking for one link that they specify placed into the body of the blog post (no porn or gambling). Feel free to contact me with any concerns or clarifications you may have.

If you would have any questions or would like to start the process, please email me at so we can begin.


Sarah Miller
Outreach Manager – Article Writing Services

Orange broadband: I try to escape

September 24, 2011

The Wednesday before last (14 September) I rang up Orange broadband to get a MAC code so that I could move to another provider in the hope of getting a reliable service.  After hanging on the phone for 40 minutes or so I got through to an agent who demanded to know why I wanted to leave.  I pointed out that the service was unreliable–the connection tended to drop, or at other times I couldn’t get a connection at all.  She said that was my fault because I didn’t understand the package or in the alternative I hadn’t got technical support to fix it.  And anyway she could put me on a cheaper package.  I said that the only thing I’d ever been able to get through was a recorded message saying the service was working perfectly, and could I have a MAC code please.  She said that they would send one out in the mail.

I think that providers are obliged to offer you a choice of two ways to receive the code, but never mind…

Of course, it never arrived.  I rang today, pointing out that as well as being unable to provide a service Orange were unwilling to meet their statutory obligations.  The bloke answering the phone tried It’s your fault the service doesn’t work, just keep on giving us the money again, but finally texted me the code.

The really irritating thing is the message as you’re waiting on the phone to say that Orange is committed to excellent customer service.

Four Quartets/Edward Fox Riverside Studios 6 March

March 6, 2011


Edward Fox doing Trollope (not Eliot)

The fault here his entirely mine.  I’d forgotten how deadly dull the Four Quartets were.  Edward Fox sat in a leather armchair in front of some bookcases as in a gentleman’s club.  He recited rather as Eliot himself used to read, with the addition of some actorly affectations.  But the material was just so boring (the crosstalk apparently from the lighting box threatened to be more lively).

Thou hast nor poetry nor philosophy,
But, as it were, an after-dinner’s sleep,
Dreaming on both;

If you read the text you might be able to make some argument out of it, but that’s not really possible receiving it aurally.  If High Church sermonising is your thing on a Sunday, there must still be plenty of places in London where you can get it for free, and with music to listen to and nice gilded idols to gaze upon.

T S Eliot (so serious he caused the Queen Mother to laugh uncontrollably)

As I escaped gratefully at half-time, I was accompanied by some American girls laughing madly from relief…

BikeHut track pump @ Halfords

October 1, 2009

I decided I’d get a track pump for my bicycle.  I went down to Halfords and they had 3 types, with no indication of the prices.  I thought the BikeHut one was the cheapest, so I took it to the checkout and it turned out to be £38.  Then when I was out of the shop I found the head was missing!  So I took it back and changed it.

pumpSo then I found it wouldn’t work with my Presta valves (there were no useful instructions with it).  Eventually I found some discussion here with the final answer

Thanks for all the replies guys,

I think I have figured it out now. I simply wasn’t pushing the valve
into the connector hard enough. The ‘schrader push pin’ is spring
loaded and pushes back quite a way. Initially, when you push the
connector on, there is quite a rush of air from the tire (this is
point to which I was getting before). However, if you push harder
then the valve enters the connector further (by pushing against the
spring loaded pin) and reaches an area where the rubber grip smothers
the airflow enough that you can tighten the lever. So the trick is to
push it on firmly and quickly.

I find this works well now on my back tire and makes an airtight seal.
On my front tire (which has a different make of inner tube) I find
that even with the lever tightened fully, I still get a bit of air
leakage, but it’s not enough to bother me.

Brian, do you fully unscrew the presta nut at 1?

Thanks again.


So I tried that, and it worked on the front tyre and well enough on the rear one, though the join was rather leaky.

My New Furniture

September 1, 2009

So I got my furniture today, 5 or 7 weeks late depending on how you look at it.  Doleful history may be found here.

Mmm yes...horrible

Mmm yes...horrible

...quite disgusting...

...quite disgusting...

...reupholstering won't help the cocoa-effect woodstain.

...reupholstering won't help the cocoa-effect woodstain.

Well, I can only blame myself for going by what things look like on the Internet. It would probably have been survivable if I’d gone for some neutral-coloured fabric and light wood.

As it is, the options are:

i) hide it upstairs

ii) emigrate to Bromley (where egregious offences against taste are a way of life);

iii) get some material and improvise covers.

Furniture Warehouse

August 25, 2009

I ordered a 3-piece suite from these people on the grounds that I couldn’t find the kind of thing I was looking for anywhere else. (This line of reasoning has an unfortunate history–it once led me to buying a flat that was a complete disaster.)

Anyway, the order was made and paid for in full on 18 June 2009, with a delivery time of 4 to 6 weeks (so, by 30 July). And I didn’t receive the furniture, nor did I get explanation or notification.

So I tried ringing them:

03 August–I was told they would ring back (and I heard nothing)

07 August–I was told they had told me on 3 August that the factory was closed (they had told me nothing) and they would ring back on Monday 10 August

10 August–nothing!

11 August–I rang and was again told that they would ring back (and I again heard nothing), after I had stayed in all afternoon since they wanted to use the landline.

12 August–I sent them an email asking when I could expect to get the furniture I had paid for.  And received no reply or acknowledgment.

So from my experience you just pay over your money and you might get something sometime if they can be bothered. The reviews here tell the same story.

It certainly looks like one to be avoided!

Update 27 August–I rang them and someone identifying himself as Paul said they’d got the furniture in and he would be in touch to tomorrow to arrange delivery probably next week.  We will see!

More on this here.