Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of a black cloud

27th August 2012

Not only the Last Weekend of the Month, but the whole week leading up to it seems to have been excelling itself. At this moment, the move from Briddon Towers to Briddon Country Pile has gone into a sort of limbo. Yet it all seemed to be going so well. Then Tuesday came along. Tuesday was the day on which the landline at Briddon Country Pile was due to be connected. Not a major undertaking, since the copper and line box exist, and we even know what number it used to be, but BT took it out of commission when the old owner died.

Now, with hindsight, I should have booked its re-installation as soon as the purchase was agreed, but nervous less something unforeseen might emerge, I held off until a completion date was in sight and then swung in action. After all, this is not a 3rd World country, it won't take long to get the line reconnected. Why is this so important to me? Well I am self-employed, and I do need internet to carry on much of my business. No landline, no internet - well, OK, yes I can do internet over mobile phone connection but where we are is still reliable only to 2G and that means 10 minutes just to log on to Yahoo.

So having had the keys since July 24th, why was August 21st the day of re-connection? Well, it seems that all BT Openreach engineers are occupied with flood damage repairs and bookings to install "new lines" for "competitors" (I have been with BT in the past and really don't want to go back to them, so had placed my business, and paid on advance, with Plusnet) were roughly 4 weeks off. We felt we could live with that, it gave us time to redecorate, do minor alterations, etc., so accepted the delay.

And on the 21st, I waited all day to cover the appointed hours and absolutely nothing happened.

So that evening, on returning to Briddon Towers, I checked that I had had the right date and sent off a pertinent e-mail, attaching my mobile number to get a speedy reply. The following day, as I was driving off to a job in the south east, my mobile received a text from Plusnet (slogans: "Good honest broadband from Yorkshire" and "We'll do you proud") inviting me to log feedback on the conversation I had had with their support team. Since they hadn't rung I deduced they had e-mailed and sure enough, Andrew read me out the e-mail later in the afternoon asking me to ring them to "discuss my order". The alarm bells rang and as I wasn't going to get back to Briddon Towers before they went home, I called in on my mobile (at 14p/minute) to be told that owing to a "breakdown on their systems" in July their order to BT Openreach to reconnect my line had never been placed. They were most sorry.

You might assume that given it was their systems that had failed and that they had my money for (not) having done it, they would move heaven and earth to remedy the situation. (Slogan: "We'll do you proud"). But presumably the flood damage repairs that accounted for 4 weeks delay before have been washed away again, because now the earliest date they can offer is October 6th. I told them (politely but firmly) that this was unacceptable and they should go away and think about it. They have, and their date is unchanged. In the meantime, I have dutifully provided feedback on my conversation with their support department.

Oh, and on Thursday, having bemoaned to myself that hardly anybody uses the comments on Weekend Rails, I found that some b****y robot had managed to log over 14000 spam advertising comments on one entry and it took ages deleting them all. So with a black cloud hanging over my head I went in to the weekend with a low expectation of success, and was not especially surprised. Saturday was spent at Rowsley, mostly on minor tasks, such as removing bits on D9500 which we will not require for supply to other Teddy Bear owners, to admiring the paint-finish Andrew had applied to Libby.

Sunday, Andrew decided, should be spent at Scunthorpe. While he started painting the front casings and buffer beam of Beverley, my job was to change the driver's brake valve for one recently returned from rework. The valve concerned is a Westinghouse Type W, a common enough beast fitted, inter alia, to 08s, 04s, 03s, and 02s. It should, I thought, only take an hour or so, since the cross-linkage to the dummy handle should disconnect from the top of the valve with a bayonet type mount. But it wouldn't and in the end I had to take the valve off the bracket, the bracket off the desk and then realised that the two dummy lever shafts were different and could only be fitted off the loco. Getting the old crank lever out meant drilling out a split pin and all in the uncomfortable environs under the desk where gear and throttle levers were in close proximity to head and ear. As I started to re-assemble, the bolt between valve and bracket would not line up and I realised that my "new" valve had an additional port to the old one, and that this was plugged off with a large square headed plug that was fouling the bracket. I removed the plug but could not find a hex-recessed version to substitute, so settled on checking that everything else fitted and reassembling the cross linkage to the dummy handle on the other side of the cab. The hole for the split pin simply would not line up so I tried to open up the hole a nadge with the drill that had drilled it out and said drill broke off in the hole. Ah well, the pivot won't come out as the broken bit fulfils the role of the split pin.

Still, Pluto's fuel pump did go up to our pump specialist for investigation and repair (he says ring him the week after next for a report) but there was no news on the transmission for D2128, which has presumably got our transmission experts in complete frustration. Perhaps they've decided on better luck next month, too.

More in this category: « Of a petulant Planet

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