Chester City Council try to extort money from me

I wrote a while back at how I received a £50 parking ticket when I visited Chester, and the two pay machines didn’t work when I tried to pay. I wasn’t the only one, another woman at the time couldn’t pay and there were several cars without tickets.

I sent an email to protest about the fine, as there really was no way I could have bought a ticket, and I’ve just had a reply. They’ve said they’ve investigated, and found that the machines were working and that I have to pay the fine within seven days.

Here’s the reply:

Thank you for your letter

I have considered your appeal but I am satisfied the parking ticket should not be cancelled.

I have checked my records and there were no machine faults reported by the Patrol Officers or by other motorists for this car park. Our Patrol Officers issued no other parking tickets for this offence to support your appeal.

Please pay the £50 parking ticket within 7 days from the above date. Send your payment to Parking Services in the pre-paid envelope. Cheques should be made payable to Chester City Council.

So they’re calling me a liar? Tell you what, if they can produce CCTV footage of me turning up and walking off without trying to pay, not only will I pay the fine, but they can have my car.

I will phone them up on Monday morning and rip them apart. I am not paying this fine because the machines didn’t work.

They are lying, thieving bastards and their attempt to extort money from me won’t work. It’s the last time I ever go to Chester to spend money, their parking services try to steal money from you in a sting.

WhatDVD.Net is a PageRank 6

I have to admit, I used to be quite hung up on Google PageRank. Every time an update was due I’d get quite excited, and start checking different data centres in anticipation of any gains or losses to see how my sites were doing.

Of late however I haven’t given it any thought, cos let’s face it; Google PageRank is pretty damn pointless in the grand scheme of it. It’s only people who sell links and idiots who think PR is a measure of their site’s success who actually bother with PageRank.

Having said that, I’ve just noticed that in the last PR update (which I completely missed) my DVD reviews website WhatDVD.Net jumped from a PR 4 to a PR 6.

… ahem, Google’s PageRank is vital for the success of your website, it’s the most important thing ever and should be lauded!

Nah, seriously, it’s pointless. Still nice though 🙂

I’m counting the days until I can tell BT to fuck off

I’m moving house very soon, and in the new home I’ll be getting Virgin Media for the TV, phone and broadband. This means that, finally, I can rid my life of the incompetent bunch of lying bastards that call themselves BT.

As this blog has chronicled over the years, BT have consistently managed to fall short of acceptable service, lying to me in emails and on the phone, being deceptive over prices and even stealing money from my account.

All of this I could have overlooked, if their broadband had actually been any good. However, it’s not. Their broadband is atrociously bad. It’s slow, intermittent and overpriced. I’m currently paying over £120 per quarter for Internet and phone, and I don’t ever use the phone.

BT are a joke, and as soon as I get a completion date on my move I can finally call BT (obviously waiting several hours on hold before I get through) to tell them where they can stick their pathetic excuse for a service.

I will of course record the call for everyone’s pleasure, and upload it here if it’s humorous enough.

Bye bye BT, bye bye.

Onyx wine glasses

I recently bought some Onyx wine glasses on eBay to drink my wine out of, and look down in a superior fashion on the rest of the world. However, despite the abuse from my flat mate that I’m trying to seem all knowledgeable about wine like one of our friends, who we’ll call Eddie (his name actually is Eddie, I couldn’t be arsed changing it for the sake of the story) I have to protest that I just like the look of the stone glasses.

Now Eddie (our wine loving friend) is from North Manchester and constantly berates us for our lack of taste in wine whenever he’s over for a drink, but I feel I have to share this tale of the man’s class.

One night, while Eddie was drinking his £16 bottle of sweet wine (and getting very pissed, because he doesn’t drink much) he took a distaste to the fact that my flatmate had managed to find 3 bottles for £6 in the local shop. How did Eddie show his distaste for the cheap plonk? Did he spit it out? Did he throw an eloquent torrent of abuse directed at the poor excuse for a wine?

No, Eddie (in his best Bury manner) whipped out his knob and dunked it into the glass.

You can’t buy class.

I had a CT and MR scan, can I buy a vowel please?

I went for my CT scan today, and it was over in a matter of minutes. Result, I thought. I can go back to work. No, seems the surgeon had left a note for me to have an MR scan as well, which they’d booked in for me at 10:15… only they were running late, and I didn’t get to have it until almost 12:00.

I knew what to expect with the CT scan as I’d been prepared, but the MR scan was a whole new ball game. It was claustrophobic, noisy (and the ABBA on the headphones doesn’t help, only makes things worse) and it was of course magnetic – which as I have a steel rod in my spine made for an interesting experience.

I didn’t leap up and stick to the ceiling, nor did I experience any tingling, but the rod in my spine did heat up with the magnetic field, which made for an extremely strange sensation. I felt like Wolverine, but not in a good way.

Thirty minutes of loud noises, a burning sensation from within my spine and ABBA… what a way to spend the day.

I now have to wait a few weeks to see the surgeon again, before the inevitable decision to cut me open and whip this steel out is made.

Michael Jackson coffee scale

In a busy office environment it’s often better if one person makes a round of drinks for everyone, that way you don’t all leave your desk at the same time and the work flow isn’t interrupted too much. However, it’s difficult when making tea and coffee for five or more people when you have to do them all differently, sugar/no sugar, white/black, various degrees of milk. This is why I’ve come up with the Michael Jackson coffee scale. It’s simple and easy to understand, as everyone knows who Michael Jackson is, and what colour he was at different stages in his career.

For example, if you want a black coffee you ask for a 1968 Jacko, if you want it really milky you ask for a 2002 Jacko. If you like a splash of milk, you ask for a 1984 Jacko.

It’s very straightforward and everyone understands the scaling system. Plus, if you need one for your office wall, here’ a handy printout that you can paste up in your office. You can even use it to pantone match the colour of your coffee.

How do you take your Michael Jackson?

Download the Michael Jackson Coffee Scale PDF here.

CSA DEO is wrong, admit CSA

I’ve had a staggering £160+ deducted from my earnings each WEEK for the last 6 months or so, and slightly less than that since December 2007. They claim I’m in arrears, which I have disputed, but as the CSA is regulated by itself and governed by itself, any complaints get dealt with internally, all with the same conclusion.

Nothing doing.

Anyhow, the last notice I had from the CSA said that my DEO would change in November 2008 to something like £90 per month… which I knew was also way off the mark. It’s more like £105 per week. But hey, at least the CSA are consistent with their incompetence.

So as it’s now late January 2009, and I’m still having £160+ per week deducted from my pay, I thought it prudent to phone them and find out just how much they think my arrears are, and what they think I still owe them, and have paid so far.

What they told me was unbelievable.

They said I had been paying off arrears for the last 23 weeks (it has been more than that) at £58.75 arrears per week, totalling £900.

Um… 23 x £58.75 isn’t £900, it’s £1,351.25.

So what’s happened to the extra cash I’ve had taken from me? Even their own records don’t tally, and that’s what they admit to taking, they’ve actually taken a lot more than that!

Apparently I now have to wait a few weeks to find out what they’ve done while they ‘recalculate’ the arrears. I can’t wait to see what they come up with.

If you think this all sounds too unreal to be true (then you’ve obviously never dealt with the CSA) you can listen to the phone call here.

The Student Property Shop, Leeds

You may remember the posts last year about the letting agent in Leeds who was featured on BBC’s Watchdog twice accused of withholding deposits from students. The posts received a lot of comments from students who were claiming their money had been withheld, and some of them got quite upset about the whole thing.

The letting agent in question is no longer located at the premises in Leeds, and a new letting agent by the name of The Student Property Shop is now in their place. Some students are sceptical about whether the companies are related, judging by the emails I have received on the subject.

Anyhow, I decided to have a look at the website for The Student Property Shop, which is The website is hosted with our old friends 1and1 Internet, on the IP address: If that IP address seems familiar to you, it should. It’s the IP address of the website for My Homez, which can be seen at

So the two websites are hosted on the same server, with the same IP address. This doesn’t mean anything, except that the same person runs the account with 1and1 Internet.

However, when you dig deeper you find something a little more interesting. Have a look at this code for example.

<img id=”mainimage_back” src=”{DA84A2EE-9A01-4FDA-961A-151ABC9A6168}.jpg” alt=”Student property in Leeds” width=”275″  />

You can see that the code for the image is from the website for My Homez… except this code isn’t from the My Homez website at all… it’s from the website for The Student Property Shop.

Here’s a screenshot from the code itself.

I wonder why they’ve done that?

Again, this doesn’t necessarily mean that My Homez and The Student Property Shop are in any way related, but if they’re not, The Student Property Shop are stealing images from My Homez.

So, to find out more about The Student Property Shop I clicked on their contact us, and found that the map the website uses (from Google Maps) didn’t work. The reason for this? Well, just read the alert from Google in the below screenshot.

Seems the API key for Google maps was registered for a different website. Anyone care to hazard a guess at what website that is?