Barclays – result!


… sincere apologies for the standard of customer service … clearly fallen short of the standards … very disappointed with the service you have received from Barclays … sorry we did not action your requests …

I have closed your current account … enclosed a cheque for £50

The rest’s all more apologies and instructions on how to complain to the banking ombudsman. Not that I’m that fussed. They were shit, they’re not getting my custom ever again and I’d not recommend them (the opposite in fact) to anyone I know.

However, I got fifty smackers out of it, which kind of alleviates the theft of £100 along with the rest of the contents of my wallet the other day (see Travel Blog). So, kids – it pays to scream your head off at these bastards. Sometimes they listen and try to buy you off. And I for one am a cheap whore.

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Got the fuckers

Two “men” jailed for raping children have been recaptured in Usk, Wales, after walking out of an open prison.

Great that they caught the bastards. But would someone kindly explain to my what the fuck these cunts were doing in an open prison in the first place? Surely they should be in a secure one with daily beatings and sodomy being inflicted such as they deserve?

Sorry, but I have family with kids who live near to Usk.

More about Lordi

I was having a discussion over a bowl of noodle soup last night about Lordi and about how they were the best thing ever to happen to the Eurovision song contest. The other person disagreed, but she was wrong.

Anyway, I still hadn’t seen their actual live performance in the final so I did a search on Google video this afternoon and found it. Wow. Now, I’m not a Eurovision fan so I’ve only seen bits and pieces over the years, but I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen so many people from so many countries enjoying an act as much as Lordi’s set. The clip is from their qualifying performance and not the encore after they’d won. Regardless, there are Finnish flags flying… not surprising. And Greek – they hosted it so fair enough. And Norwegian. And Turkish. Those are the only ones you can make out from the camera angles round the front of the stage.

Lordi made a statement. Simply – Finland Rocks. And this is how well it rocks. By simply putting in a great performance with a superb catchy rock anthem instead of some banal pop effort or a tear-jerking (snore-inducing) ballad, Lordi actually caught the imaginations of the people watching. Hell, they were on their feet. Frankly, if they’d not won after that then there’d have been riots.

Anyway, while searching for the video, I found this one. I was trying to use the funky “post this video on my blog” facility, but it failed with a stupid error and dumped all my text. Technology at its usualest.

Shortly after winning, Finland decided to make headlines again… with the largest karaoke performance of all time. Using Hard Rock Hallelujah, they entered the Guinness Book with an 80,000 strong crowd, blasting the previous record of 50,000.

Seriously – about 3/4 of the way through with 80,000 mad Fins screaming “Hard! Rock! Hallelujah!” the hairs on my neck were all a-tingle.


Skype? Useless bunch of cunts, more like

Long story short:

Set up Skype account. Added credit using credit/debit card. Worked just fine and dandt. Great service.

Credit ran low. Went to top it up. Two attempts ended in seeming success… using Bank Transfer (credit card no longer allowed for some reason never adequately explained) but no conformation. Third attempt, payment is “pending” and a 30-minute dig through the FAQ tells me that I have to initiate payment from my bank – they will not take the payment themselves. This is not apparent from the web pages provided.

Next option: set up a PayPal link. Duly done. Then option not provided, so despite all the work done to get that up and going I still can’t use it.

Net result – it takes up to 2 weeks to add credit to my account every time it runs out. Which, frankly, is fucking useless. Especially when the credit’s run out as I’ve had to make several very urgent and very long calls and now need to make more. Waiting 2 weeks to make those called (up to 10 working day) is simply fucking useless.

Letter sent to Skype:


I appreciate that Skype has limits as regards overuse of credit cards and so forth, but I find it hard to believe that the card I used to initially put credit on the account cannot be used to top it up after more than a month.

Also, why offer me the facility of PayPal payment if it is not available in the UK? As it stands, setting the account up is very easy leading me to think this will be the case from then on. I have discovered that getting credit onto my Skype account after I have created it is an absolute nightmate and could take up to two weeks. This simply is not good enough.

While I understand you are attempting to prevent fraud, you’re making it utterly useless for people who have a genuine use for the system and I think I’ll find myself ditching Skype as an option and using the Post Office to make long distance calls unless your company can actually figure out what it is trying to do. The whole “top up” system is a complicated mess, lacking instructions and information.

I attempted to set up a bank transfer option and the first *TWO* times I did this, I recieved no email notification of the details. On the third attempt, an email was received, but your bank details were not included, thus making it impossible to start a transfer from my end. In *all* cases, no indication was made that *I* had to initiate the transfer – that was buried in an FAQ somewhere. Completely and wholly inadequate. I waited two days before realising there was absolutely *nothing* happening.

I am in a situation in a foreing country where I *NEED* to get in contact with the UK. I have very quickly realised that I cannot rely on Skype to offer a useful and reliable service for my needs. When I have credit, it’s great. But you seem to be hell bent on making it as hard and tedious as possible to add credit to my account.

I am in a foreign country with no money. I need to phone home. I cannot as I am out of credit. The only option you will give me to add credit is Bank Transfer which takes up to 2 weeks. I don’t understand this as I loaded the account using a credit card within *minutes*. You tell me to set up a PayPal account, which I’ve done, and then don’t let me use it.

Seriously. Do you have *any* idea how utterly, mindbogglingly inept you look as an organisation at a result of this conflicting information and continual supply of dead ends?

Next time I go abroad, I’m investing in two tin cans and a very long length of string. I feel it would be of more use and certainly more reliable than your red-tape enshrouded organisation.

Thanks (ha ha ha – as if)


(P.S. This message posted to my blog and several discussion groups to highlight exactly how useless your organisation is. Buck your ideas up and study the term “customer satisfaction” and I may repeal it)

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Save The Gorilla

As part of my World Trip thingy, I’m trying to raise a bit of awareness about other cultures and also about animals – in particular those that are endangered. In NZ, I’ve seen kiwi. In Thailand, I worked with tigers. I hope to get to Indonesia and see the Komodo Dragon. And when I return to NZ I should have a chance to see the very rare Kakapo parrot.

A friend of mine is taking part in a race in London soon, to raise money for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. These mountain gorillas are dying out. Quickly. They need all the help they can get and this charity has been running for many years and does fantastic work.

As such, I’m putting on my begging hat on behalf of Jess. Please, please check out the links below and if you can afford to then throw a few pennies her way via the sponsorship links.

In her own words:

“Mountain gorillas are almost the closest relatives we have, and they will die if we don’t help them.” – Douglas Adams

Click here and scroll down to “Douglas Adams for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund” to watch Douglas Adams talking about why we should act to save the gorillas.

I can’t pretend to be able to save them all on my own, but that’s no excuse for not doing what little I can.

To that end, on 24th September this year I will be taking part in The Great Gorilla Run –

Yes, I will be heading to London to run 7km dressed as a gorilla. If anyone would like to join me on the day, either to run as well or to stand and cheer me on, that would be fantastic. It would be even more fantastic if you could also sponsor me. I’ve got a sponsorship web page: and will also happily take sponsorship by post or in person (feel free to email me for my address).

I should be getting my gorilla suit any day now, at which point I will of course be taking silly photos. I even plan to do some of my training wearing the suit, which may well come as a shock to the gym where I work. I’ll keep everyone updated as to how it’s going!

Thanks to anyone who can help Jess… and the gorillas.