Monday, 12 January 2009

More things to moan about

One of my nicknames in the family is Victor – after Richard Wilson’s legendary character Victor Meldrew from the BBC series “One Foot In The Grave”.

I don’t intentionally set off to moan about stuff, honestly I don’t, but I seem to be presented with situations that would make the pope moan. Here are three examples from this weekend.

We were on the way to Wales to drop my son back at university. It was flipping cold, another minus 7 morning. The washers for the windscreen on the car were not surprisingly frozen up. So when we pulled into one of the service stations on the M1 I saw “Free water” and headed over thinking I’ll at least give the screen a quick wash over. Well you needed a token – “available from the counter when you buy fuel”. How’s that free? The sign should say “water free with any fuel purchase”.

On the way back on Sunday we got to the very end of the M1 and one of those huge info signs said “M25 J30-31 closed”. Hell I thought that is a total bugger. So we pulled into South Mimms services and checked the Highways Agency info screen and my daughter also checked on the internet on the home and spoke to us on the phone. Delays of 15 mins. Not too bad we thought. Another big sign told us that there were delays at Felixstowe port but most were blank. We thought, if this motorway is shut they’ll have the signs up, surely? No. It was shut, we had to pull off at junction 29 and double back on the A12 to the Blackwall tunnel. Now if they’d have told me the truth at South Mimms we’d have gone straight down the M11 and saved ourselves 30 mins at least. It really annoyed me the misinformation, the Highways Agency have a campaign about planning your route ahead of time etc. at the moment so you aren’t caught out. Fat chance if they don’t give you the relevant information.

Finally I was expecting to watch the concluding part of a Lynda La Plante thriller (Above Suspicion) only to find it wasn’t a week between episodes but that I’d missed it when out at AA on Monday. (That by the way was totally my fault and I’m not moaning about that.) Mrs F then said – “try that ITVPlayer thing they go on about”. Well my advice to anyone who thinks that is…. Don’t bother. It was like watching a narrated slide show as the streaming couldn’t keep up and in the end I never saw the last section as it insists on the ad breaks still being there but after the last one it never “transitioned” back to the show. The BBC iPlayer is brilliant, the kids use it extensively but ITV has a long way to go with their offering based on my experience last night. Anyway as I finally gave up on that my wife was chuckling at a text message – “What’s that?” I asked. “Oh it’s from your son asking if Victor is his usual self”…

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