Robbing Bournemouth Council axe Hengistbury Head ‘noddy train’ for their own

Bournemouth Council set to rob local residents of a heritage!

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Generally speaking I am proud to be a resident of Bournemouth. I love the area and speak fondly of it.

Like all councils, Bournemouth’s will never be perfect, there has certainly been their fair share of dodgy and questionable purchases and planning decisions.

However there have too been some very good things they have done, like the Bournemouth Air Show which attracts a lot of visitors which is great for the town and local businesses and residents too, even if it is a bit busy!

However their latest actions are quite frankly disgusting and can be described no other way than greedy and profiteering.

A land train, locally known as the ‘Noddy Train’ runs from Hengistbury Head to to Mudeford Spit, is to be axed as the council will not renew the license that has been granted to the family who started and have run the service for the last 45 years.

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The service which has been run all this time on council land, is to be ceased in favour of the councils own land train.

Cllr Lawrence Williams, portfolio holder for leisure, tourism and culture, said: “The existing land train service at Hengistbury Head has served the area well for a number of years and I would like to thank Mrs Farris for her dedicated work during this time. With the current licence set to expire and after much consideration we feel that the time is right for the Council to take ownership of the service.

“The Council already has a well run land train service along the seafront and with the opening of the new Hengistbury Head visitor centre we see this is an ideal opportunity for us to provide a joint service. The long term aim being to link the whole of the coast up from Hengistbury Head to Alum Chine on one single land train service.”

I do not quite understand how after 45 years the ‘time is now right’ for the council to take ownership of this service and put a family and their employees out of business. As far as I can see it, this is just another opportunity for them to take more money in themselves.

What a way to promote to your residents that you want to support the community, getting rid of what make Bournemouth so special to so many people! Any local will know, love and believe the noddy train is ‘iconic’.

So much of what goes on in Bournemouth along the seafront is council run, which is fine to a point, but the boosts they suggest that come to the economy through the Air Show and the new Wheels festival ultimately really only help themselves and not the wider economy.

Whether you are a local Bournemouth resident or not, please sign this (https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-the-current-hengistbury-head-land-train-service?source=facebook-share-button&time=1394824640 )petition and spread the word for what is an outrageous, self-centred and greedy approach by the council.

Source: Bournemouth Echo

Image Source: Facebook / Goolge Images

Roadworks–more notice please Bournemouth Council

A bit more notice would have been nice!

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Roadworks are inevitable, if we want to drive on the roads and have all the modern conveniences that we have then councils need to dig up the roads to maintain these things. 

Roadworks can be very frustrating…especially when no one seems to be doing anything but hey lets not get onto that subject.

I do not have a problem with them and to be fair most major roadworks on main arterial routes are published with big signs a few weeks before they happen.

Very close to me there was notification about 10 days prior that roadworks were to commence on a main road.  This main road is busy all the time, but rush hour is terrible because it is a main route with 2 schools, multiple bus stops etc.  You know what I am taking about.

With the notification of the work, I thought not a problem I thought. 1 or 2 weeks or even heavier traffic and congestion than already exists on this road. So I plan to leave a bit more time for travelling too and from work etc.

The roadworks commence and as expected heavy traffic.  There is even a new set of temporary lights as one side of the road is dug up.  Causing more delays and even heavier traffic.

However about 2 days in a new sign goes up, saying the roadworks will be there until mid-December. That is a bout 12 weeks to do some gas mains work.

Whilst we all accept the work must be done, it would be nice to get a bit of notice that the roadworks will be causing an inconvenience for quite such a long time.

Why Bournemouth Council do you not give more advance notice of this to local residents?!

Let people see you ‘High Definition’ teeth

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It can’t be all that easy coming up with new names for products and making them stand out on the shelf, especially in such an everyday product such as toothpaste.

However GlaxoSmithKline the company behind the toothpaste brand Aquafresh think they have come up with a good one. ‘Aquafresh High Definition’.

What?! High Definition!! This is not a TV.

Am I the only one who thinks this is complete rip off of the HD term to try and increase sales?!

The High Definition name comes from the fact that the formula of this toothpaste leaves your teeth up to 3 times whiter than that of regular toothpaste. So basically if you use normal run of the mill toothpaste you are only showing your teeth off in the old analogue standard definition, but use Aquafresh High Definition and people will be wowed by your new super white HD teeth.

It may make your teeth whiter, but what utter rubbish using the term HD.  What they are really saying here is lets charge you more for a product that offers what our normal toothpaste should offer, as lets face it we would all like white teeth.

I know it is only a name, but to me its just ridiculous! What’s next Aquafresh 3D where your white teeth will jump out at those who look at you?!

Milkshake disappointment–make it with real fruit

I make no qualms about this post it is a rant!

Whilst I am no milkshake buff, from time to time I like a milkshake and one of my favourite flavours is banana, closely followed by Minstrels.

What I really despise is restaurants/bars that use flavouring for something as basic as a fruit milkshake, especially when they market themselves as a premium cafe or outlet. 

I do not expect to walk into a high street supermarket and pick up a fresh milkshake nor would I if I entered a greasy spoon cafe that sells all you can eat breakfasts for £5.

However when I visit a ‘premium’ restaurant or cafe outlet I would expect them to offer fresh fruit milkshakes.

This has bugged me for a while but a recent trip to a tea room that was attached to their own bakery and claimed everything was fresh and made on site etc. really got to me when I got a cheap tasting milkshake clearly made with flavouring.

More is expected and given to us by many high street outlets.  The quality of tea, coffee and associated items we now purchase has increased so why should a milkshake not be included in this too!

Some of the best milk shakes I have had have come from Shakeaway, a growing high street chain offering fresh milkshakes!! You can check them out on the following link: http://www.shakeaway.com.

It might be petty, but something as common as a banana, can not be that hard to hold in stock.  It would be different if I was asking for fresh lychee or something.

So, the message here is to buck up your ideas if you are a outlet offering fresh milkshakes and stop conning people with cheap flavouring.

Image Source: Mymegabite

Audi’s free health check–not quite what you think or expect

I wrote a few weeks ago about my experience with Audi HERE and in it I made a small mention of a point that I want to draw more peoples attention too.

When I took the A3 into Audi for some work to be completed, as part of their service they told me they had undertaken a free health check on the car.

This sounds great, and like me you would probably assume this means taking a look around the car, probably in the engine, testing indicators, bulbs etc. and nowadays plugging it into a computer and running a diagnostics check to check for no obvious faults.

This is not the case. The health check is ONLY visual.

Now I am no genius, but most people can do a health check of their car visually and see if tyres are damaged, flat or there are any stone chips etc. Second opinions are always great, but the apparent value and impetus they put on the health check makes it sound much more.

How did I find out it was only visual (because they didn’t mention this)?

I found out after having a flat battery immediately after having had work done on the car at Audi. On inspection they said I needed a new battery.

I asked why this had not been picked up only a few days before in their health check. They explained that parts were not tested it was only visual.

Flabbergasted I think  is the best way to describe my reaction, but there it is. Just thought I would let you know that Audi’s free health check isn’t quite what it seems.

O2’s unlimited data is a joke

When will unlimited actually be what it means?

I have been an O2 customer in excess of 5 years.  For the majority of which I have been on a SIM only deal. For £20 per month, I get 600 minutes, 1200 texts and unlimited data.

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For the last few months I have been using my data connection more intensively and using around 3-5GB per month.

However I keep getting these messages:

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Familiar to anyone else?

As a result my data speeds slow down and whilst technically I can continue to use my data services they become painfully slow.

Now I do know that my contract is subject to fair usage and they may impose these restrictions but it never states what deems fair usage!

However, how can O2 and other providers get away with this phrasing within their sales patter and terms and conditions?

According to Oxford Dictionaries the term unlimited is defined as:

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In an age where companies are pulled up for all matter of incidents and marketing faux pas, how can the use of unlimited still be used so much within the telecoms market?

I know other networks like 3 do offer truly unlimited data and rest assured I will be moving to them within the next month.

I am sure we could discuss this until we are blue in the face but it won’t get us anywhere will it?!

Do you face similar issues? I know people use more data than me but they are often on the 3 network. 

Let me know your scenario.

Audi A3 dashboard/dashpod failure

I have reserved blogging about this issue for about 6 months due the the sheer anger and frustration this caused for me at the time.  I didn’t want to overreact, but to this day, despite having just dealt with it I feel very annoyed and cheated by Audi in the way they dealt with and handled a dashboard issue on a 2006 Audi A3 that I own.

The following is an honest account of my experience.

DSC_0246During the latter part of last year the car had a battery draining issue immediately after having ignition coils replaced as part of a factory update at Poole Audi (trading as Ocean Automotive Ltd, 582-600 Ringwood Road, Poole, BH12 4LW). This subsequently lead to a cost of in excess of £700 for the replacement of parts that worked perfectly fine prior to the work being carried out.

The car was purchased second hand from a local garage several years ago and has not had a main dealer service history since hitting 3 years old, but has been regularly serviced and looked after.

So with a bit of background here are the course of events:

5/9/2012 – A3 booked into Poole Audi for replacement of rear springs due to wear and tear (no issue here).

12/9/2012 – Work paid for at a cost of £255.50. At the same time 4 new ignition coils were fitted as part of factory update 28E9at no cost to us.

The car was immediately off the road for 3-4 days due to a holiday we were on.

Tried to use it upon return and car would not start without a jump start. Continued to use for a few days jump starting the car and trying to re-charge the battery with no success.

22/ 9/2012 – Called Audi about the problem and they agreed a free of charge inspection. Concerned the ignition coils had something to do with the battery problem.

1/10/2012 – A3 in with Poole Audi for inspection. Diagnosed as a faulty battery. Agreed to a replacement at £130. Happy to accept parts fail, the battery would be fitted the following day once they had it in stock.

2/10/2012 – Called by Poole Audi to say that the replacement battery had not solved the issue and that the dash panel was at fault. The dash panel/pod they refer to is as it the bit with your speedometer, rev counter etc.

Apparently the start up sequence the car completes was constantly happening even with engine off thus draining the battery. Cost to fix including the battery £800.

4/10/2012 – Refused to pay the Audi price because I felt the issue had been miss-diagnosed on the 1/10. The car had showed no signs of battery drain prior to the ignition coil replacement.

I and presumably you do to, expect that if they diagnose the fault they would get it right first time as they are the professionals. 

Paid for the battery (£130) they had replaced and took the A3 to an independent garage called Christchurch garage  who quoted £200 for a refurbishment of the dash panel. The independent garage would remove the part and send to a specialist. I informed Poole Audi that this is what I intended to do.

23/11/2012 – Independent garage confirmed after weeks of trying to re-condition it at the specialist, the specialist was unable to resolve the fault and a new part was the only option. Informed Poole Audi and booked car in for work to be done. In the meantime liaised with Audi head office to see if they could assist with the price as I felt the main dash panel draining the battery was an issue that shouldn’t really come up or be a fault in the life of a car. This was confirmed in the following footage:

 

10/12/2012 – Car back in with Poole Audi for the work to be done. Agreement had been made that Poole Audi  would make a contribution of £231.12 upon me agreeing to a £149 interim service at a later date. Essentially making the service free.

I went with this as at this point we simply wanted a working car back.

Audi HQ confirmed no further support could be given as car was out of warranty, no main dealer service had been had outside of the initial 3 years of ownership.

13/12/2012 – Work completed but informed that because another party had opened the dash (the specialist) there was a surcharge of £155 +VAT. This cost would not have been applied had the dash not been opened.

Poole Audi knew it had been to a specialist and that it had been opened.

I too at this stage find out that the dash part replaced by Audi is not new and is in fact an Audi re-conditioned part with a 2 year warranty. The £155 surcharge was because the faulty dash would normally be sent back to Audi but as they could not send it back due to being opened and they had to pass on this cost that would normally have been reimbursed by Audi HQ.

14/12/2012 – Car collected now working and a total sum of £605.27 paid.

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I fully appreciate that parts can go wrong on a car, but the dash panel going faulty is very rare as identified in the clip from Watchdog and advice from the independent garage.

Poole Audi were informed of the specialist dealing with the dash prior and after their involvement and at no point (other than the day before paying for the work to be completed) mentioned that there would be a surcharge if the dash panel was opened.

Apparently opening up the dash invalidates the warranty on it, but according to Audi HQ because the car was over 3 years old there was no warranty on the car and the parts in it.

Really what it comes down to is they wont repair an already faulty item when somebody else has tried to all ready which to a point is fair. However, Poole Audi did not reveal until this surcharge that the replacement part was a refurbished part and not new!

I really feel that the whole expense of the battery and the dash were unnecessary as no problem existed prior to the ignition coil work being done. I feel like I am £700+ out of pocket. This is worsened by the fact even if I could accept the dash needed replacing, the 3rd party specialist would charge just £200 in comparison to Audi’s £486. Even with a 2 year Audi warranty, that is a considerable price difference and that £486 does not even buy a new part.

The invoices and work were paid as the need for the car to be working was greater than the expense at the time.

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Poole Audi and Audi HQ have some interesting policies. Claiming breaking a seal on a dash invalidates a warranty that no longer exists on the car. I think this is disgusting.

On a side note after the ignition coils were checked a ‘Free Health Check’ was given on the car. Word of warning, the health check is visual and nothing more, essentially rendering it defunct.

My suspicion although I have no facts to support this is that when replacing the ignition coils is shorted or done something to the dash thus causing the issues. I would be more accommodating had it just been the battery needed replacing.

I think Audi cars are fantastic and I really desire some of their current models, but at this time I am not sure I could buy one because of the experience I have had. I like to be fair and appreciate things go wrong, but I can’t help but think had I not taken the car there in the first place I would never have had the issues.

Has anyone else experienced such issues with their Audi A3 or other model? Experienced similarly dire service from another garage?

And finally, Audi…if you read this (unlikely) I would be willing to accept some form of compensation. Just use the contact form above!