NOT SO MAGIC BUS
Tuesday 8 January 2008
WMESB™: Three, including me, and the other two got off at Rosyth. At least today the bus went the right way. I avoided the problems of yesterday’s X57 because, thankfully, it was late today and I got a 55 instead - an altogether more “enjoyable” journey into work.
After the traumas of yesterday morning, I scrounged an evening lift home from a colleague (thanks Louise), who, rather ironically, informed me that her dad is a Stagecoach bus driver! Still not had a reply from Steve Walker yet. I would suggest that he’s probably stuck on a bus somewhere but he told me once that he doesn’t use the bus because, and this always kills me, he gets “motion sickness”!
Monday night, as usual, means University Challenge and last night’s was a high scoring contest, even for the GLW and I. No other TV of note.
I’ve not been one for resolutions but I have resolved to use my time more constructively. I start off with good intentions and then usually end up playing iPool. Although I did some work last night and wrote a Top 5 Girl Groups for Claire at The Scotsman. (For information, I plumped for The Shangri-las, The Crystals, The Go Gos, Fanny and The Runaways). I’ve also made a promise to read more. I have so many books to read that I won’t get to if I don’t pull my finger out. I’m nearly finished “Guitar Man” by Will Hodgkinson and I think I’ll move on to Sid Waddell’s book about darts (insert name here) next.
THE TRICK IS TO KEEP BREATHING
Thursday 10 January 2008
I took the day off yesterday. I woke up to the news on Radio Scotland, only to hear that only cars, at the time, were being allowed over the Forth Road Bridge due to the horrendous weather. Our double-glazing was rattling and I took that as a sign to stay at home. As it turned out, it was the correct decision as the Bridge was closed to all vehicles later in the day and didn’t open until about 10pm.
Wednesday on the telly was very much Consumer Awareness Night. Martyn Lewis, of the excellent Money Saving Expert website, now has a show on Five called “It Pays To Watch”, then at 8 I switched over to "Watchdog" on BBC1, which was immediately followed by "Scotland’s Property Nightmare", which was all about the licence-to-print-money industry of the property management companies.
The latter programme, in particular, was of special interest as we are having problems with our property management company. Our factors, Life Property Management, didn’t bill us for three years and now they appear to making up for lost time. They told us at a meeting in (insert month) that we would only receive two bills a year (we had three in 2007) and that if payment weren’t made we would receive a 14-day letter and then a 7-day letter. We delayed our last payment because we had a number of queries about our bill (the call has been returned) and we received a letter demanding payment within 5 days! What made it worse was that it was sent 2nd class and during a postal strike!!
At the aforementioned meeting, they never gave a straight answer to some of the deeper questions and just came across as a couple of dodgy used-car salesmen. It seems that we have to pay for absolutely everything and they have no financial responsibility of their own. The current bill includes a charge for a “No Ball Games” sign. We received no notification of this and we weren’t even asked if we wanted it.
Another problem is that The Paddock area has been lumped together with the neighbouring Atholl Brae area, even though there is a clear delineation between the two, namely three ponds. (We’re also paying for the maintenance of the ponds even though there is an ongoing court case as to who actually owns them). So if a hedge at the far end of Atholl Brae needs trimming then everyone in Atholl Brae AND The Paddock (and a couple of smaller areas) has to pay for it!! I don’t mind paying for maintenance in my own local area, even if I don’t utilise it, but why should I pay for work carried out in another area a mile away?
I suspect this will be my campaign of the year, to try and unite the areas and have LPM binned. I’ll set up a website forum first, publicise it and take it from there. I just hope it doesn’t descend into farce like the last forum in the area, which resulted in name-calling, legal threats and general small-mindedness.
On a BBC “Have Your Say” forum, relating to last night’s programme, Patricia Ferguson, MSP for Glasgow Maryhill, has asked for people to take part in a consultation in relation a Bill she wants to put through Parliament relating to a Register of Factors and the introduction of a mediation service. If interested, you can e-mail her at: Patricia.Ferguson.MSP@Scottish.Parliament.UK
I’ve thought about setting up my own property management company. I’d call it the DEX Factors. They’re certainly a licence to print money, even more so than the Royal Mint.