Monday, 30 January 2017

A letter of complaint to Asda...

A week ago I sent this complaint to Asda after the bad customer service & bully tactics from 2 member of staff. I have removed names for privacy & added some more photos to illustrate my letter of complaint.

To whom it may concern at Asda,

For near on 4 years since I moved to Colchester I have been a regular customer of the Colchester branch of Asda despite being on the other side of the town & have a Sainsburys practically on my doorstep. I had preferred to go to Asda due to the good facilities, products & prices. I had very lil to complain about other than the occasional driver parking the Asda delivery HGVs with trailer on the shared path & never needed to write directly to head office with a complaint & I was quite happy to keep on visiting & shopping at Asda, right up until last week.

Last Tuesday 17th January 2017 I popped in to collect my new pair of glasses & pleasantly pleased they were ready a week early, they were done with a coating to darken the lenses in sunlight & known as transition coating. They looked OK & as it was dark when I collected the glasses I had to wait until daytime to truly try out the glasses. Unfortunately they proved to be ineffective to use in daylight when I used them on Wednesday as the transition tinting was slow to respond & did not go dark enough in sunlight to make them useful to use, especially when cycling & not like my existing pair I have been using for over 2yrs. So I called the opticians early Thursday Morning to let them know & spoke to a member of staff who was quite good & offered to see what they can do if I drop them in on Friday. I said I would as I have a train to catch at the nearby station & have to be quick about it so not miss the train. So I went to Asda to drop off the glasses for them to be looked at on Friday morning & this is when the issues I really have with this store occurred.

As I had just a few minutes to drop off the glasses before getting the train, I had lil time to mess around so I wheeled in my folding bike with pedals retracted to show I had no intention to cycle it & used it as nothing more than a method to carry my fully loaded panniers like a trolley. I didn't rush in & cause any issues with customers, I went straight to the opticians & asked to speak to the person I spoke to but he was busy so the young lady serving me went to deal with it & took my glasses with her to speak to him. Then I had a Security guard came up to me & requested I leave the premises as cycles are NOT allowed in the store. I asked where this is signposted as I saw no such policy, only one visible on the doors are for Dogs. The security guard refused to say & told me to leave. I said I would as soon as I have finished with the issue with my glasses & wouldn't go until it is sorted. 

The Security guard then exceeded his authority & went to the young lady, took my glasses off her & handed them to me & told me to leave! Again I asked where is this ruling posted as there is no such policy, again he didn't say & said it is company policy & I had to leave. So I requested to speak to the store manager & he escorted me to customer service till by the entrance to discuss this & delaying me. A bloke with no hair or visible name badge then showed up claiming to be the store manager as I asked him if he was the store manager & he said yes & he also told be to leave with the bike as it is private property & is company policy, I asked him where it displaying this policy & again no-one could tell me. 

In the end I had to leave as I had a train to get & been delayed enough by these 2, still have the faulty glasses & I am thoroughly pissed off with these 2 members of your staff for exceeding their authority & treating me like a petty criminal for a bogus policy that is not displayed & lied to by a bloke claiming to be a store manager when it is a female manager! At no time did I give any abuse & asked for evidence of this bogus policy & not once was I treated with respect or as a valued customer or shown any evidence. All they had to do was let me finish dealing with the young lady at the Opticians & then speak to me afterwards, but no they wanted to make an example of me in public by telling me to leave as if I had broken the Law.

So I took this up with the twitter team whilst on the train as @2_Wheeled_Wolf on Twitter & the nonsense I got from them was no better, claiming it was company policy due to Health & Safety & Hygiene. 

Again this is just more lies as there is no policy, has nothing to do with Health & Safety & utter nonsense trying to claim its hygiene issues. After all it is no more unhygienic to wheel in the lil folding bike with panniers on than it is to use a shopping trolley, a pushchair, a wheelchair or even one of your own trolleys. Even the use of Scooters & Heelies are frowned upon by customers but not stopped by your staff for these same claims.

HSE have already had to diss this myth of Health & Safety when Tesco tried it a while back with someone else, see following link: 

& it is clear then when Tesco did this they were in the wrong & admitted it. See link: 

& I also have taken my bikes into stores before elsewhere in Argos at Tollgate & Tesco in Highwoods, the staff at Argos even encourage it.

I don't normally bring my other bikes I use for shopping into the store when at Asda as they are large bikes so to carry the shopping.

But the folding bike is little & as I didn't have time to mess around to unload it, lock it up & carry the heavy bags with a walking stick which I wouldn't have needed to do in the first place if glasses were working correctly.

But this one time I had to wheel it in as I would if it was a trolley & there was no need for staff to lie & treat me as a petty criminal. If I did that myself to a customer, I would be sacked on the spot by my manager.

So on Tuesday 24th January I will be going back to the store again to return the glasses & be requesting a full refund as they do not meet the requirements of the prescription I have paid extra for the transition tinting, I will not give them the chance to correct it as I will not give any more time & money to a Store or company that treats customers like I have been treated. I'd far rather pay the far higher costs to a company that makes the glasses correct first time & give me the time & effort of a pleasant sale, so I be getting my glasses where I got my last pair.

And if this company want my further business or anyone else's that know me, I suggest the REAL store manager see me on Tuesday & speak to me with more respect than I had before & I will see if I am happy with what she says before I decide to continue my custom with Asda. I await your response by email which this complaint will be sent.

Sincerely yours.

And since sending this letter of complaint to head office via email a week ago on the 22nd, I have returned the reading glasses & got a full refund as I am not going to give my earnings to a company who treats their customers like this. As it is the staff in the Optician Dept & Customer Service till at the entrance are all appalled by how the 2 staff I am complaining about treated me & how badly they handled a non-issue; Store Manager is off sick when I went to the store on the 24th so never met up with her, so I have left a copy of the complaint with customer services to give to the real store manager & a copy to the Optician dept so they know the complaint has nothing to do with them. And so far Asda has not got back to me from head office or the store.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

IKEA Hack #1 Slim BESTA Entertainment Unit, remodelled 2015 (updated June 2016)

Note: Updates to the blog are at the bottom if you like to get up to date if you have read the original blog already.

So in 2011 I had built this entertainment system which I had submitted this on a site among other ones but only this one was published in December 2011. So I posted it on Blogger in 2012, since then I have moved & got new equipment.

This is the original blog reposted with the remodelling to follow at the end in which I have started in 2014 for a new flat & new equipment. So if you have read it before & don't want a refresher on previous blog then please scroll down...

BESTA, INREDA Pull-out frame, INREDA Shelf insert, SNUDDA, Hole borer drill bit

Main objective was to minimise space of all my entertainment equipment. In previous flat I had metal brackets with cut to size shelves to hold all equipment above TV which worked well on the solid wall.But in new smaller flat, its hollow plasterboard walls & doubtful it could hold all the equipment, so had to be free-standing & I decided to use a Besta Wood effect tall unit. 

I measures the levels where the shelves were to go to give breathing room to equipment, done w/o TV at 1st as was planning more units to hang on wall over TV. I then measure evenly the holes to drill out & big enough to feed a plug through. Then it was a case of fitting the equipment in & wire it all up & put in its place. 

Few months later I found out this wood effect style had been discontinued & couldn't get any more Besta's to match, I decided to put TV inside the unit on a pull out drawer & have it swivel so I can watch TV from the PC desk. I used a plank of wood to sit TV on, the bearing mechanism of a SNUDDA lazy susan to swivel the TV. All bolted/screwed onto the INREDA Shelf insert sitting in the INREDA Pull-out frame. 

The remaining space is for boxes of knick-knacks using PAPPIS cardboard boxes, which 2 fits lovely on each shelf & I was able to fit 4 with room for power supply at the bottom for all the equipment. 

Tho it took a few months to get all of it together, it actually was 2 days work & look great next to the other Besta I was able to get & use as a display cabinet. Next stage is to back light the units & then it will all be finished.


As I have now moved, the layout of the livingroom is very different & the Besta Unit now sits in the corner, TV has also been replaced as previous one died. So I got a bigger Widescreen TV unit & this meant it couldn't fit it inside the unit. So I went back to Ikea & found a matching new design Besta Cabinet Door & reconfigured the whole unit.

Most of the equipment is still above the TV, only the Game consoles aren't as they don't need line of sight for the remote controllers & thus have been moved & sit behind the cupboard door. Also I used the extra space for document storage too thus free up space on other Besta shelves.

You can see I drilled holes in the cupboard door big enough to fit leads through to TV & big enough for scart leads to fit through, then fixed the cables to the door & unit so not to get snagged when opening & closing the cabinet door..

The space below has now been turned into cabinet space & eventually I will light up the shelving system & cabinet with LED lighting. Also there's room for any future equipment now that I have moved them around to house the game consoles behind the cupboard doors.

With its new position & layout, it sits nicely in the new flat & continues with my original idea that has evolved as circumstances changes & no doubt will for many years to come. I'll update as & when this happens..

Update 20th June 2016

As the room evolves when decorating, so does the layout.

And thus so does the design of the BESTA Entertainment Unit, with new tech coming onto the market for watching media I have had to find new ways to incorporate it into the unit & be available to access directly or by remote.

Most what is in the cabinet part is the same, just had a lil move around to get more room to let the devices breathe. What I have added is the Chromecast & Amazon Fire Stick, as they both work on out of sight remote control it was easier to attach them to the cabinet door & have the Chromecast, Fire Stick & PS3 connecting to the HDMI connection of the TV by an auto select HDMI switchover box so whatever I turn on it switches to it & I can then enjoy using it.

All of these are stuck to the cabinet door with Commando Velcro tabs for easy removal if I need to move them, all tidy & hidden when cabinet door is closed. That's about it for now...

Friday, 22 May 2015

As one chapter closes, the next one starts

This morning I awoke for the 1st time in weeks feeling.. well the best I can describe it is feeling less dark, refreshed, a spring in my step & generally feeling less old. All I can say is that the past few months have made life feeling a tad dark inside & tiring mentally as well as physically & a lot older than I am & have felt in a long time. There's been a few changes in my life I can't undo & after the 1st decent night sleep last night in quite a while, I feel now it's time to close this chapter of my life for the past 10yrs & accept these changes are here to stay & time to open the next chapter of my life.

I know I won't be the person I worked so hard to be for the past decade, sure ain't gone how I want it & definitely not completely stick free. It hasn't been a complete failure, I have gained a lot from the past 10yrs & gained new experiences that will stay with me for life, etc... The next chapter has already gone off to a good start with having a job that I love, enjoy to be in & slowly expanding my knowledge & hours working there.

Cycling will still is part of my life, maybe not quite how I wanted it to go as have to watch my knee & make sure it don't flare up but not letting it disappear from my life like it did 20yrs ago. Cycling does help keep knee going & with me now working too it'll help the knee a lot. Also new bikes are on the cards as well as the continuing rebuild of my Roadrunner project to help with my knee as looking for more suitable lighter bikes.


The flat has been on hold with decorating for far too long, combination of knee issues & work/life balance needed it's fell to the back of the list & it's time to re-address that. So working on starting to get flat back in order.

So here's to more good mornings like I had today to make my day a great day & look forward to better things in life for this next chapter of my life...

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Stumbling blocks to my plans...

As those who have been following me over the years now, I have been working on getting to be stick free after a major op on my left leg. Well its like 10yrs now & again my knee has locked up on me in February & I am back on my stick atm & relying on painkillers for a bit. But this time its a game changer as after been referred to do some Hydrotherapy treatment it was bought to my attention in my medical records the results from latest scans shows I have early stages of Osteoarthritis in my knee & it is this that's causing my knee to fail on me & flare up & lock it.

So today I have visited my specialist about my knee & he didn't beat around the bush about the condition to my knee, simply put I will never be stick free. Instead I will be mostly stick free, my knee will never be healed as its a degenerative condition & the best I can do is manage it to slow the process. So it's not all doom & gloom, as explained by the specialist & also what I have read up on the condition is keeping active is the best method to manage it. Specialist is pleased I am working where I am on my feet all the time, walking & standing. Its the best way to build up my muscles & even with knee flaring up & back on the stick I haven't stopped working & it sure helps.

But what it does mean is I have to re-adjust my lifestyle some more, first is seating. Had to replace sofa with a recliner one so to minimise the knee being bent. Also helps when using hot & cold packs around the knee too.

Next I had to stop cycling, after pain had eased I purchased a basic turbo trainer so I can use the bicycle indoor where I can gently pedal my legs where it has no effort to aggravate knee on the lowest settings. Also limits the chance of aggravating the knee on the roads with twisting & turning the bike, jarring, drivers etc. This way helps control the environment & can limit my time & effort in using it. But after 6 weeks I am back cycling outside, going slow & gentle but am getting the miles in. But the planned sponsored rides are likely to be cancelled.

Other things I have to now avoid is kneeling & crouching, not the easiest of things to avoid so will learn eventually. I have to also to do regular exercises to build muscles up more in my legs from my gluts to my ankles.

Another thing is to get lighter bikes to help ease the effort of cycling, now I know Roadrunner is a light bike & in the middle of being repainted right now. But its not a good bike to do my shopping on, shape isnt right for it & so I need to find a lighter version to lil Trekr.

But I also need to think ahead, it clearly documented that a recumbent bike is the best bike to cycle with Osteoarthritis & as I know full well it's not going to fully improve, eventually a standard bike will not be helpful & have to go for a recumbent bike. So going to have to work out a saving plan on this as these bikes cost over £2k & more for the folding version as I can then store it indoors.

Other things I need to do will be to loose some weight, I was doing well on that but each flare up of the knee means I become less active & weight goes back on quicker than I had lost it. This sure wont help for the knee weight load. That's about it for now, its late & a lot to try get straight in my head after today's revelations so probably a few things I've forgotten atm.

I may not be stick free ever again, but I am sure hell gonna make the use of sticks as lil as possible & have my folding stick gathering dust where ever I go. The battle is not lost, just need to change the game plan... :)

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Minor blip in my plans....

Around 9 month ago after years of physio & determination, I thought I had finally conquered my disability, getting to full health & be stick free once & for all. Even getting on well with cycling & long rides with no issues after.

Well 3 weeks ago that all went to pot when my knee decided to go on me again after nearly 2 yrs of physio to sort it. It went so much so I was in agony & had to make a visit to the A&E where I eventually came back out on crutches & strong painkillers.

So for the first time in a long time I felt somethings I haven't felt in nearly 2 decades when my leg first went bad, disappointment & despair. It didn't help that the painkillers were making the mind all fuzzy & for the first time since I moved to Essex I wished I was back at Farnham, but not for what you might think. It was the flat I am thinking of, being on ground floor & having a garden is what I am missing at the moment. So I can relax & feel OK with it all as the cats would've had freedom to go in the garden & some where I can recuperate. Now there's nothing wrong with my current flat or it's location. Its the fact its in need of decorating & no garden I can easily get to as I'm on the 1st floor.

After 2 weeks, I finally came off the painkillers & crutches but still using the stick. Seen the GP to get a referral to a specialist as obviously the physio isn't working. And my brain is trying to adjust back to how I was years ago & I'm having issues with this, basically I am getting sick & tired with all this. I just want to get on with how I was doing before the knee went again, I aint as young to re-adjust again like I was 20yrs ago & really need to get this knee sorted.

At the moment I am feeling I wish I never had the damn operation to get me stick free as now going back on them is doing my head in & feel like I've been cruelly teased with a stick free life right now as I am back to how I was almost a decade ago & not know just yet when I be stick free again if at all.

So out of this I do feel I need to focus more on certain things, like everyone else we all have this where we have so many things going around in our heads & sometimes it's too much & need to re-evaluate & decide what is important right now. For me I need to sort my leg, a job & generally get my life back on track. The rest will have to wait or give way to what is more important.

So for now, just watch this space as I dunno how the next few weeks, months or years will pan out. I am hoping to try a short gentle cycle ride in a week or so time to test the waters to see if knee can cope. Then go from there, but most of all try not get stressed as I know that never helps the recovery.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Still on 2 legs...

Its been over 6 months now since I've been walking stick free (excluding the few times I need to when carrying heavy items) & wrote my blog On 2 Legs... Well what can I say since then? Actually a fair bit! lol

To start with I gone & got myself a part time job as a cleaner as part of a return to work scheme & even thos it didnt last 6 months, it was a good building block back into work. The work was light but on my feet & lots of stairs & I mean a Lot! 2 days work a week & on my feet for nearly 8hrs a day. hard work at first but as the weeks went on it did improve.

Then there's the cycling, if you've been following me on Twitter you would know I help at Re-Cycle from time to time. Well they helped me build my own roadie style bike that I built to suit me, as I needed something to keep pushing my boundaries. More on that later...

I did the 30 days of Biking again & again I did the Pedal for the Js sponsored cycle, but this time I went for the 50 miles route. So me & my lil Trekr went & conquered the ride.


This was great for me as it showed I'm still improving the leg strength & my own fitness, but it also was getting me ready for something that was going to push my boundaries more than I was expecting...

For you see I gone & won some tickets to a charity ride Nightrider London to raise money for your own chosen charity; it was over night, around London & 100km (62 miles). Definitely pushing my limits more than ever, I don't like London as a pedestrian let alone a cyclist, never cycled over night & going further than ever...

It was touch & go as if I would do it with train issues, weather & own personal stress relating to no job. But overcame that with a bit of help from friends & family & had the bike I built ready for action & I have named from the start as Roadrunner.

So on that day I did Nightrider London, I had actually cycled over 74 miles in a 24hr period. Sure was an emotional & physical moment for me, I'm actually achieving things now that I didn't even do before my leg went bad. Thinking about it does give me a lump in my throat as 2014 is proving to be a year I wasn't expecting it to be...

So I can safely say my leg & the rest of me are improving more & more & the leg is getting stronger as the months go by. ATM I am looking for work & looking for something that will allow me to push my boundaries a bit more than the last job. Of course I don't want to over do it & mess up years of physio, but I do see either the end of this year of sometime next year to be fully able bodied & clear the last hurdle of carrying heave loads across a room without the need of my stick...

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Irrational fears...

What is Irrational fears?
Here's one description of it, Some anxiety isn't generalized at all; on the contrary, it's attached to a specific situation or thing—like flying, animals, or crowds. If the fear becomes overwhelming, disruptive, and way out of proportion to the actual risk involved, it's a tell-tale sign of phobia, a type of anxiety disorder.
Although phobias can be crippling, they're not obvious at all times. In fact, they may not surface until you confront a specific situation and discover you're incapable of overcoming your fear. "A person who's afraid of snakes can go for years without having a problem," Winston says. "But then suddenly their kid wants to go camping, and they realize they need treatment."

Well yesterday I had an experience I just couldn't explain. Due to my leg & various other conditions & injures over the decades I have had many tests done. And for the past 25 or so years I have have countless no. of MRI scans. You know, the one you're slid into a tube & have loud clicking noises all around you. Well in the past I have had moans from the technicians for snoring as I find I just doze off.

So yesterday, I went for a routine blood test & MRI scan. Everything was fine, done all of this before tho coz they were running late & I had waited hours I was getting hungry. I got called into the changing area to remove all metallic items possible & lock them away, then went into the MRI room & still everything was fine. Technician asked the usual questions & I joked about how often I have been in one of these etc...

So up I climbed onto the scanning bed, techs got me into position on my back & strapped my arm down then strapped me down & I was feeling a bit uneasy. Slid me into the machine & BAM! I was shouting out to get me out! I really was not comfortable being in the machine, I just wanted to get out & not get back in! Daft as it was, for some unknown reason I just couldn't face being in that machine.

So as a result, techs had to reposition me face down in what they called the Superman position. Arm being scanned held above me & other by my side & this was uncomfortable. So in I went to be scanned & still I did not feel happy being in there, on top of that I had to endure 30 - 40 mins of scans & every bit of it was putting my arm in pain. And the pain increased as time went on, I had to hold the arm still & this just increased the pain.

So after the first scan, they pulled me out & told me to hold still as going to inject me with image enhancement fluid for next set of scans which was going to be another 20 mins. I just pulled myself upright with my good arm & said not a chance! I was not going to be able to go back in with how I was feeling or the level of pain I was in & was a level I haven't had in a very long time. So we left it at that & hopefully that will do, I sure hope it will. 

I went into the changing room to get my stuff & I just burst into tears. Now I aint one to be rattled easily, sure aint one to suffer irrational fears but for some reason but at that moment on that day in that place I suffered 'Irrational fear' & I have never felt anything like that ever & hopefully never will again! I didn't know what triggered it that day, the only thing I can think of is that I was hungry & that upset chemical balance in me. Well I sure hope it was! But I know this wont be my last scan & hopefully I can put this behind me & have the scans like I had before, I might suggest a different machine to help me on that.

I must say tho, the staff were great. I was so embarrassed, felt guilty of the NHS money I've wasted if this all has been for nothing. But I just couldn't control whatever had caused it, sure don't want to dwell on it & just want to put it down as a one off.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

A reflection on the past year of 2013

Well its almost Christmas day & already people, TV & radio are going on about New Years resolutions. I myself don't really do them, but I do try set goals to try achieve if possible & not an issue if I don't. Well 2013 has been one hell of a year where I have achieved so much more than I could ever thought I would do in a year.

All I wanted to achieve for the year was to improve my cycling, leg & hopefully get off my sticks. Must say the year had a bumpy start, all that snow for weeks/months. I was out in that snowy weather on my bike, enjoying the fact I could easily get about now on 2 wheels no matter the weather.

Got myself in the papers for a blog I did about the farcical works on potholes on just one road.

Then do another 30 days of Biking where I finally broke the 25 mile barrier in cycling. If anything I more than broke it, I thrashed it by cycling to Kelvedon & back & cycled the 35 miles sponsored cycle ride for Pedal of the J's which meant I did near on 40 miles that day.

Then in may I finally manage to move to Colchester to be closer to my beloved, it proved to be a blessing in so many ways as it opened up opportunities I didn't have before.

For starters, I got myself into volunteer work with Re-Cycle to help improve my legs though the cycling in Colchester was doing that already coz of its hills.

That gave me the opportunity to buy another bike, a lighter more suitable one to continue my improvements as I was reaching the peak on The Beast. But not to worry, my loyal Beast is still with me as my back up & winter bike. This is proving to live up to its name as the Trekker.

And another which I am building to be even lighter & for longer rides, hence the project name: Roadrunner.

So now 2/3 through the year & achieving quite a bit, but it was only just warming me up for October/November. For starters in October, I finally got off my sticks after 20yrs of dependency of them. As announced on YouTube 'A special announcement to all those who have been following me for the past few yrs & more...'

Then I decided to put pressure on Job Center to get help to return to work, so put on a course & the company staff running it was so impressed with my achievements, determination & willing to work. They only gone & offered me a p/t job which I started in the end of November. Its hard work but so loving it & slowly getting back into a work routine again & my leg is still continuing to improve.

So with only 1 week to go until end of the new year, I can safely say I have achieved far more this year than I ever expected. Its not been plain sailing, easy or straightforward but I got there in the end.

So what's next for 2014, TBH I really don't know as I'm still catching up mentally with what I achieved this year. I'll continue to improve my cycling, aim is to beat the 50 mile mark but I can see that I could go well past that but I wont fret if I don't. I am planning to do Pedal for the J's again too, get Roadrunner built might help with that so need to focus on that. Of course increase the hours I can do in work would be good, be great if I can be full time by end of the year but again I will take it easy to not make things worse for my leg. I don't want to undo this years good work.

So with a week to go, here's a farewell to 2013 & what a year its been & hello to 2014 & let see if you can blow my mind more than 2013 did!!

And this picture best sums up how I feel about all of this! :D