12 August 2009 (Wednesday) - Correspondence

This morning I had a letter from Accent market research. I had one a week or so ago – a questionnaire asking my opinions on the recent gas works up our street. I’d ignored it, thinking it was a joke, but they sent another one, so I replied:

Please find enclosed questionnaire. I did not complete the first one because in all honesty I thought it was some sort of a joke. Perhaps I might take a minute or two of your time to tell you of my complete and utter dissatisfaction with the incompetence demonstrated by the people charged with the gas repairs in Beaver Road.

The work outside my house started on Wednesday 28th January, and finally finished on Tuesday 16th June. During that time the gas supply to my house was interrupted for maybe an hour at most. The actual problem was the loss of some twenty or more car parking spaces in an area where parking is tight.

For some five months I and my neighbors have been forced to park where we could, often several streets away. One doesn’t mind this happening occasionally, but five months is a tad excessive. Especially when similar work in an adjoining street (Whitfeld Road) was completed in a fortnight.

One also wouldn’t mind if this work was necessary. However it was clear this work was not necessary. Having dug the holes, they were left open with no one working in them for weeks. Every so often someone in a high vis jacket would sit by the hole, shout a conversation to a girlfriend into a mobile phone and then vanish.

Telephoning Southern Gas Networks (something I did several times) was a waste of time. The people there denied all responsibility, and clearly weren’t interested. I telephoned Kent Highways who apparently had several meetings with the contractors to no avail.

The most helpful person I found was the chap who was charged with sweeping up after the holes had been filled in. He claimed that during the course of the work three different gangs had started work, made serious mistakes, been sacked for incompetence and replaced with people equally incompetent. He also went on to say that the contractors are paid for how much work they take on, not how much work they complete, so it is in their best interests to dig holes, but not fill them in.

Please feel free to pass my comments on to Southern Gas Networks.

I wonder what will come of it. Not much, I expect. Much the same as will come from the email I sent to the astro club. Having emailed the club membership yesterday, over twenty people’s email provider has sent the message back to me. All for the same reason - too many recipients.

I can see that might be a useful anti-spamming tool, but there are over twenty people who’ve obviously never received an email from the astro club. Let’s hope no one has missed anything important. To be on the safe side, I sent the same message via Facebook:

Apologies if you’ve already received this via email. However when I sent it, over twenty people’s email server bounced it back to me. If this is the first time you’ve had this message, I suspect you may have missed other emails from the club…

Jason emailed everyone to say:

May I draw your attention to the main page of the Ashford Astronomical Society website www.ashfordastro.org.uk.

The August meeting will be an AGM/Social occasion. Drew has put together some details of the night’s proceedings for your perusal on the main webpage, so that everyone can make plans, and / or have questions for the experienced members of the society on the night in advance.

Hope to see you all there, and please don't forget to bring your friends along too.”

I felt I might add to this:

Whilst we’re on the subject of the AGM, whilst I’m happy to continue as treasurer, if anyone else would like to take on the role, please don’t think I’d be offended if you’d like to stand instead of me :o)

I doubt I’ll get much interest – once you take on a voluntary role, you are usually stuck with it. But you never know – there might be someone who wants to have a go.

Talking of things astronomical, I was hoping to have a look at the Perseid meteor shower tonight. But there is solid cloud cover and pouring rain. Maybe next year…

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