Category Archives: sandbach

Saturday 11th June 2011 – HIS NIBS IS AT IT AGAIN!

caroline strawberry moose caliburn sandbach cheshire ukHere you can see him dipping into his Auntie Caroline’s cod and chips.

To pass the evening, I went to see Caroline again.

We ended up going out to the chippy (not half as good as a traditional Belgian fritkot), I have to admit, and that was where His Nibs joined in the (af)fray.

But Caroline’s cat Bigsy is very poorly and she might not pull through. I wanted to make sure that I saw her and gave her a stroke.

So after many vicissitudes, not the least of which was parking up for the night in a zone where there was no mobile phone signal (something that only I can do), I finally made contact with whatsername and, sure enough, my wallet was there.

That was just as well as I would shudder to have to think what I would have had to do had it not been there.

She was making breakfast for the family (it was quite early) I was also invited to eat there and that really put an end to my journey to Ilkeston and Vehicle Wiring Products, as they would have been closed by the time I would have arrived.

Instead I went to DK Motorcycles in Newcastle-under-Lyme.

As well as selling road-going machines the company also imports classic motorcycles from the USA. They arrive in all states of repair and I always like to go along if I can to see what’s arrived.

They had a few mint Hondas, including a couple of rare 1970s 350-fours as well as a pile of other stuff as well that was fit for renovation, including a 95%-complete Honda 160.

As an aside, I passed my motorcycle test on a Honda 160 belonging to my mate Ray Stigter.

Many of the machines that arrive there are only suitable to be broken up for spares and I always go to chat to the guys there because many of you might not know that I own probably one of the rarest of all Japanese motocycles – a CB92 “Benly” from 1961.

It’s basically complete and after we assembled it we even had it running after a fashion, but that was back in 1974 and that is a long time ago.

It desperately needs an overhaul but spares for it are impossible to find now – hence the regular visits to DK Motorcycles.

They might one day have one in that is only fit for dismantling but to date the guys in there freely admit that this is one motorcycle that they have never ever seen and don’t ever reckon that they will do either.

One regular feature of this blog in its previous incarnation was something to do with poorly-sited solar panels.

badly sited solar panels keele staffordshire ukBut we gave that up when we were overwhelmed with them. Some of these solar panel salesmen have no shame of course.

We’ve seen some dreadful ones on our travels in the past but this must be pretty near the bottom of the pile.

It’s all about the salesman’s income and nothing whatever to do with the reputation of the product that he’s selling

Lunch was at Waitrose in Sandbach and then I went to B&Q in Crewe to see if they had the doors that I need for my house. My house is dark and gloomy due to the small windows and if I’m putting partition walls in, this will cut the light down further.

What I need is some dirt-cheap glass-panelled doors and finding them in France is impossible. However B&Q does a nice cheap line in exactly what I want.

The door that I fitted into the attic came from there and you can see what a good job it does as well – hence a requirement for another half-dozen to match.

B&Q came up trumps in more ways than one.

  1. they had enough in stock.
  2. they had some that were only 650mm instead of 750mm and that’s what I need for the bathroom and the office.
  3. with my trade card I had almost £100 off the retail price – £240 for 6 instead of about £335 or so.

When you think about it … “you are always thinking about it” – ed … that’s just 20 weeks of rental on my mailbox paid off in one swell foop.

You can see why it’s important to have a UK address if I am buying stuff over here.

Now Caroline and I are having a coffee on Sandbach Services. In a short while I’ll be dropping her off at home and making my way in the general direction of Bacup.

I have to go to see a digger there tomorrow morning.

Friday 10th June 2011 – I FINALLY MADE …

… it down this afternoon to see this boss of The One That Got Away who had been hankering after seeing me.

And the reason for my visit was quickly unveiled.

It seems that his company has won a contract to supply and fit out a new village hall on the Staffordshire Moorlands, and it all has to be off-grid.

Off-grid is not something in which they have any expertise and so it seems that I’ve been drafted in on this project as well.

I’m not sure what the payment might be, but “panels at cost” is a good inducement for me to become involved in it, if nothing else.

We then spent until some ridiculous time this morning catching up on all the old times that we knew when she worked for me as a kid back in the 1980s, and discussed everything that has happened to us since we last met quite a long time ago.

It was lovely to see her again after all of this time and I was sorry to leave.

Terry rang me up as well during the day. He wants me to go to look at a digger in Accrington or Bacup or somewhere like that tomorrow, and then I need to be in Ilkeston as well to pick up some stuff from Vehicle Wiring Products.

But I’m not going anywhere until I’m reunited with my wallet, which I hope is still at whatsername’s. If it isn’t I am going to be having more than just a few problems.

Thursday 9th June 2011 – DESPITE THE EXCITEMENT …

… of the last few days, it became even more exciting that that today.

We started off the day with a phone call from The One That Got Away. It appeared that her boss was not in a position to see me and so could I come on Friday?

That led to a hectic change of plans and a jaunt down to Machynlleth in Wales to find out why Dulas had not replied to my request for a quotation. I’m certainly boxing the compass, and my stay is far from over.

And basically the answer to why I’ve had no reply is that the sales staff couldn’t be bothered to do so.

The saleswoman who would ordinarily deal with me is away in Germany at a conference, and when that happens, the whole organisation grinds to a halt.

I was told that she has her phone switched off – such a gift of foresight by the warehouse manager being probably the most astonishing part of our discussion. If he can see as far as Germany from where he was sitting then he’s clearly in the wrong job.

And if he is possessed of the facilities of such long sight, it is clearly there to compensate him for his lack of near-sighted vision because he could not see anything within the warehouse that he manages, in order to identify the products that he has in stock.

Never mind painting by numbers – he does warehouse-managing by numbers, so it seems. What about that for stock control?

He also does a pretty good job at prevarication and obfuscation but of course I’ve been here before (and I have, too) and seen his type before. I’ve also dealt with his type before and I don’t think that he will forget my visit to his office in a hurry.

Nevertheless, the upshot of this is that I still don’t have my product.

And what stuck in my mind more than anything about this visit is that despite all of my effort to drive to Machynlleth on a fruitless expedition caused by the “couldn’t care less” attitude of Dulas towards potential customers whose pockets are bulging with the folding stuff ready to spend at the first opportunity – a round trip of 304 kilometres, don’t forget – the manager did not even have the common courtesy or decency to offer me a cup of coffee.

CAT – the Centre for Alternative Technology – up the road, is equally as useless when it comes to recommending another supplier. For an organisation whose job it is to promote the use and development of Renewable Energy, they came up with nothing at all.

It really is astonishing but what with the estate agents the other day not being bothered to sell product to a client and with Dulas today not being bothered to sell a product to a client either, is it really any wonder that the UK is going down the pan?

Here we have a client with a fair bit of cash in his pocket (houses aren’t cheap, and neither are solar panels) and it’s too much trouble for British companies to deal with them.

I spent the afternoon in Barmouth on the seafront and that was pleasant as well – it was a gorgeous day.

And then as my way back home took me past Nina’s, I called in for a long chat. After all, it is years since I saw her.

She and Marion are in the throes of modernisation and we all ended up having quite a discussion about solar energy. It seems that I’m now co-opted onto the modernisation panel and a solar water and solar photovoltaic project will follow in early course.

Always assuming that I can find an eager supplier willing to divest me of some money.

And the photos?

I took quite a few today but when I came to download them, the memory card was bare. What has happened there?

Wednesday 8th June 2011 – HAVING LEFT DAVE’S …

alston moor nenthead cumbria ul… last night at … errr … 05:30 this morning in broad daylight, I found a suitable place to park up.

We’re on top on a mountain on the Alston Moor somewhere not too far away from Nenthead.

And when I finally awoke … errr … this afternoon, I had some fun with some locals who were admiring Caliburn’s signwriting with consternation.
“Good place for a dozen wind turbines, isn’t it?”

The speed at which they climbed into their car and shot off, presumably to launch another NIMBY campaign against wind farms, was impressive to say the least.

Say what you like about these NIMBY environmentalists. They couldn’t care less about more nuclear powers stations being built, as long as they are in someone else’s back yard.

Having had a quick coffee, I drove for ages (and it was ages too) through all of the horse-drawn caravans littering the road between Middleton and Kirkby Lonsdale.

You have no idea – or maybe you can guess – how much I hate these after having to negotiate an endless stream of them on some of the narrowest and most winding A-roads in the country.

Horses out of control “driven” by drivers who don’t have a clue. They need tests and drivers’ licences – they need road tax and a minimum speed limit.

And – even more importantly – they need to keep a substantial distance between themselves and the one o front instead of bunching up in impassable lines of 10 and 12 outfits

Failing that, they can p155 off into a field and get out of everyone’s feet. There are plenty of bridlepaths and cartways where they can mill about at their leisure out of everyone else’s way.

I finally arrived in Middlewich just about in time to rescue Percy Penguin from work and give her my fullest attention. But it was touch and go, I’ll tell you.

Now I’m on Sandbach Services and I’m sodding off in a minute to find a place to sleep. Its [gulp] 02:31 and I have a lot to do tomorrow.

Saturday 4th June 2011 – HAVING ORGANISED …

… most things around here, I’m moving on tonight.

Last night I slept in comfort and tranquility on the fishermen’s car part at the back of Moston near Sandbach. If there’s no night-fishing going on, that can be a nice peaceful spot, as indeed it was last night.

There was tons of work to attend to today – all kinds of paperwork that I had been letting go which needed bringing up-to-date.

There was also some stuff that I needed to check up with on the internet and so that involved removing myself down to Sandbach Services, for whose assistance I have long been grateful.

For lunch I nipped into the supermarket in Sandbach – a Waitrose, would you believe – to pick up some stuff and then went and found a quiet corner in which to eat it.

Later that afternoon I went back into Crewe. It was probably 20 years or something like that since I’ve seen Cassie, Joanie and Malcolm. it was only meant to be a brief one-hour visit but we had so much to say that it was gone 20:00 by the time I left.

That took me round to Congleton and Caroline’s to rescue Strawberry Moose after all of his adventures in North America, and we all went out for a pizza, a coffee and a good chat too.

Dropping Caroline off, I hit the road for the North.

Friday 3rd June 2011 – TODAY WAS SOMETHING …

… like a bad start

A blasted tractor wanted to get into the field across the entrance to which I was parked. First time for 50 years I reckoned, judging by the looks of the gate and the track down there, and it had to be today of course

And so I removed myself to another spec and set about tidying up Caliburn.

However I was interrupted by a phone call, and what a pleasant surprise this was.

Back 100 years ago when I had my taxis there was a girl who used to work for me on Saturdays answering the phone and so on to earn some pocket money. She used to draw the images for me for the humorous remarks that I made.

After I sold up, we kept in touch for a short while but then we lost touch with each other. Anyway, to cut a long story short … "hooray" – ed … these Social Networks have a lot to answer for and she has tracked me down.

She’s now working as the Financial Controller for a Renewable Energy Company in Newcastle-under-Lyme and she reckons that it might be a profitable encounter for all of us if we (me, she and her boss) were to meet up sometime for a chat.

Apart from that, it would be so nice to meet her again after all these years, and I am really looking forward to that of course.

I could do with a few profitable encounters, the way things are right now. It’s been a long time since I had any … "last night?" – ed … and so we are all going for coffee next Thursday afternoon

I’ve also been house-hunting for Percy Penguin this afternoon and it’s just like Belgium here
“Didn’t you see anything suitable in our window?”
“Well, if I saw anything interesting in your window there wouldn’t be any point at all in you working here, would there?

And with an attitude like that you may as well p155 off home because you won’t be in business for long”.

It seems that even with a substantial amount of cash at stake, there are still far too many people who cant be asked to stop talking and stop drinking coffee to deal with any customers.

No wonder the UK is going broke.

Thursday 2nd June 2011 – I FOUND A …

caliburn overnight parking poplar motors lymm cheshire uk… lovely place to kip last night. A bit of old abandoned road near the Poplar Motors Cafe near Lymm on the edge of the M6.

Another one of those places that is totally deserted at night but when you wake up in the morning it’s swamped out with car-sharers.

And I had quite an early start this morning. Thanks for the text, Percy Penguin

With my early start it wasn’t long before I ended up on Trafford Park at Screwfix and Toolstation – my catalogues are out of date and need replacing.

And then round to Maccess – the auto-spars wholesalers – for some car bits (I still have my trade card for there from when I had my taxis).

Maccess has gone right downhill but I managed to spend £220 there all the same, including the new brake pads that I need for Caliburn (the guy at the MoT station said that they were down).

From there I sped along the M62 to St Helens to my storage unit. I’ve emptied that out and closed it down now.

A quick nip across the yard to Elite Workwear to order some more shirts with logos as the ones I have are getting a little shabby and I need some new stuff. It’s a reasonable quality, reasonable price and stops me worrying about what I’m going to be wearing.

Next stop was IKEA at Burtonwood but there was nothing really of interest there and so I went to the B&Q Superstore at Ashton-in-Makerfield for Caliburn’s suspended floor.

Here I really struck it lucky.

It seems that there was a salesman there from the B&Q Trade Counter working on a commission basis and short of his targets for trade customers. And the advantage of having corporate clothing and the like is that I actually look like a tradesman (which is, after all, the aim of it).

He asked for two proofs of identity which of course I don’t have, but one of the advantages of having a fully-signwritten van like Caliburn is that it looks kosher, no matter what the reality might or might not be, and that was the aim of that as well.

For the second piece of identity, which needed to be proof of a business address, did I not have in Caliburn the lease of my 1 cubic metre of mailbox in Stoke on Trent that I signed yesterday?

And so with a salesman desperately seeking a target figure and willing to turn something of a blind eye to the finer points of the paperwork, I now have a B&Q Trade Card, and you can’t knock that.

Especially as one of the reasons that I am here is to buy 5 glazed interior doors like the one into my little attic (that came from B&Q a few years ago).

I really can’t emphasise this enough – a van isn’t simply a means of transporting goods and possessions around – it’s 15 square metres of mobile advertising space and if you are in any kind of business you should make the most if it.

I reckon that over half of whatever it is that I have done has come due to the £250 I spent in having Caliburn signwritten.

And so to Crewe – and it seems that my house in Gainsborough Road needs a total rewire as the cabling is falling to bits. No surprise there – I bought the house in 1981 and the only attention that the wiring has had since then has been the couple of extra sockets that I added.

Actually, it’s probably them that need replacement – I didn’t have a clue what I was doing in those days … “and today?” – ed.

The estate agents also tell me that they had to replace the carpets on the ground floor as they were all threadbare. “Not to worry” I replied. “They were there when I bought the place in 1981” – which brought the house down.

“Well, you’ve had your money’s worth there then” said the agent.

After shopping at the new Morrison’s at Crewe, next stop was to rescue Percy Penguin, who couldn’t get home after work, and give her some personal attention.

And that was that. Here I am on Sandbach Services with a new mega-fast high-speed interent connection, and free too, thanks to Roadchef Services and BT Openlink.

I’m off to bed in a minute, if I can think of somewhere handy to sleep.