Categories
Uncategorized

It hits differently here.

Its more personal.

When terror wrecks havoc here and I’m at home it hurts. It angers and it pains. But when 3 hours after I land in Israel, a gunman opens fire on civilians in the street killing another 5 just for being Jewish, it hits differently.

It hits differentl as I look down from my hotel room over Dizengoff Square, some the heart of Tel Aviv. It’s art deco buildings from the 1930s bustling with people, living life. it could have been them tonight.

It hits differently as I look out across the Tel Aviv Skyline. The sky scrapers and buildings that change and increase every time I visit. Just a year ago, under a barrage of rockets with the same intent, to kill.

It hits differently to the abuse I have received in the past. The threats, the casual racism, the school bus being stoned, being beaten up on the way home.

It hits differently yet the root is the same. Antisemitism is anti-Semitism, be it with words, with rockets or with a gun.

It hits differently when you’d had such a positive start to your trip. When you were astounded by the mix of folk working in the COVID testing centre. From the Kippah wearing man on the door, to the Black lady directing the traffic and to the Muslim lady in a hijab who took my test. My arrival was a reminder of the somewhat normal. Coexistence. The Peace we should have.

It hits differently when you’re given such a stark and harsh reminder that you’re an indiscriminate target.

It hits differently when you’re in your hotel room, sad, anxious, worried, and you know really close by, people are celebrating tonight. Celebrating murders. Celebrating death.

It hits differently when you’re here. A 74 year old ‘safe’ haven. A haven for the Jews, to ensure we can be safe.

It hits differently because this land is a reminder. A remember that Am Yisrael Chai.

The children of Israel Live.

Categories
Uncategorized

I’m still not sure if “growing up” sucks…

… damn, I’ve been considered an adult for a while now. But ask me what I thought of being “a grown up”, I’d have probably laughed a bit and shrugged it off with a sort of “mmn but I’m not really a grown up” sort of response… 

Except I guess, it all caught up with me tonight… as I packed the last of my essential things into the car and thought about leaving the house to go… home…

You see, as much as I tried to ignore the fact, I’ve been a grown up for a while; I have a scary job, a far too big car, I somehow now love olives and I’m starting to enjoy wine… and for a couple of weeks, as much as I’ve tried to ignore it… I’ve own a flat. (Well, I and my dear friends at Nationwide building society…!) 

I say I have tried to ignore it… it’s part in turn thanks to waiting for internet to be installed so that I can work from home… which in turn was a great excuse not to move all my things in and just commute the mile home to work. 

As I was packing up my things… the bits and pieces not already moved that I probably need to move, I started to feel myself getting anxious. It was clear I was anxious because on going downstairs to load up the car, Mum asked me if I was okay way above the threshold of her usual “are you ok?” SLA. 

I don’t do anxious often… I never used to do anxious at all. But a couple of years ago, thanks to some medication, I found myself having a minor panic attack as the DLR pulled into Westferry Station on the way to work. Strangely I remember the moment so clearly… everything was a “What if”… the world was spinning a little… I wasn’t really sure what was going on. 

Thankfully, getting off the train and walking onto the Wharf was enough to calm me down (and maybe perhaps the huge pastry bought from Paul on the way into the office!) … but three days later I found myself unable to get out of bed. 

I’m pretty sure that opened up some neural pathways that weren’t there before… Thanks to stopping that medication I’m pretty much okay. The occasional flutter here and there, lots of over thinking and generally liking order and process I seem to get by… even when the world around us seems to be crumbling… but it’s always there just lurking… ready to get me. 

The last nearly 2 years have been tough on us all. I’m sure when lockdowns started and we ended up at home 24×7 lots of us picked things we wanted to achieve. I wanted to play more music, finish my AWS SA training and take the exam… and for 7 weeks when I was locked in the house thanks to my immune system via my psoriasis treatment, I wanted to go outside!

Did I do those things? For a bit. Did I finish the course… yup! Did I take the exam… nope. Did I play piano and clarinet for 10 mins alternate days? Nope! Do I think I failed in the last 2 years… not at all. 

In hindsight, and we all know hindsight is a wonderful thing, I’ve done far the opposite – It’s been incredibly stressful and full of both highs and lows, but I think it turned out okay;

I’ve changed jobs, Twice (you might even say thrice!)… Firstly, having to cancel all made plans due to the pandemic, I left my “have you tried turning it off and on again” comfort zone, and working out how on earth we could onboard new employees totally virtually, during the pandemic. I’d run some programs before, but nothing quite like that… I solidified that with an actual change of Job Title in May switching from Engineer to Technical Program Manager (TPM).

People fit is a huge thing for me – I was blessed to spend 3 years working for an amazing team and manager, and I “bought” the direction… but, sometimes things are not quite to be, and after a minor desk based breakdown and a chat with a friend, I realised perhaps, it wasn’t me that was the problem! 

To be passionate about something, I really have to believe it. I’m not good at faking it and I guess ultimately, I’d lost the belief in where I was and what I was doing. I’d always been intrigued by Cyber Security and am still in complete disbelief that I have managed to switch teams and am now TPM’ing for part of the Security Org. (AAAH). 

The pandemic also meant we didn’t get to spend so much time with Grandma. Sunday afternoons at Rosetrees were no longer a possibility and we didn’t see as much Grandma as we used to. When she passed away in December, we were incredibly lucky to be able to go and say our goodbyes and to hold her hand one last time… I really miss her stories, and toward the end, the strange snaps of lucidity which caught us by surprise – One afternoon having said very little all visit she saw Jeremy Corbyn on the TV and exclaimed “Well… he’s not a very nice man is he!” She would most certainly had an opinion on the new James Bond film, and without giving any spoilers away, I don’t think she’d have approved of that ending! 

It’s hard to be sad about someone you love passing away, when you’ve watched them deteriorate for 3 years and they’re no longer the person you knew. In some ways, I guess the pandemic saved us from more visits when grandma didn’t know who we were. She did however, maintain her famous stock answer to the question “How are you feeling?” Right up to the very end… “With my hands!”

Poorly made hot chocolate with chocolate square fallen into the foam of the milk
Even the square of chocolate I’d balanced for decoration decided it was better used in the drink!

So how am I feeling? Anxious. (And, naturally with my hands… is that Handxious?!) but, thanks to past Steven buying chocolate, milk and a fancy coffee machine with a steam wand, present Steven has  cobbled together a sort of “hot chocolate” (aka hot milk and chocolate sludge)… and I think we’ll be ok. 

I’m blagging it with hot chocolate, like most folk are actually blagging it with life… I’ve come to realise none of us really know what we’re doing. One moment we’re finishing school and before you know it, we’re signing mortgage documents and trying to work out what to do with the pile of BSP (Big, Scary, Paperwork!!! – I’m led to believe stuffing bills and things into a drawer is not a good plan on life.) 

No one makes it out alive, and no one really knows how things work… I guess we just have to try our best and hope no one notices we’re all just making it up! 

And if you’re passing through the Barnet area – let me know, pop by and I’ll make you a chocolate sludge… but you’ll know I’m blagging it. (Ask me nicely and I’ll make tea or coffee!) 

Categories
Israel Jewish Religion

What the hell is going on?

I shouldn’t have to, but I wanted to explain myself. For my sake and for no one else.

If you follow me on Twitter normally you’d find a very random mix of Tech, Jewishness, Music, Football, and general crap that somehow falls out my mind, into my fingers and onto twitter. Yet, for the last two days, I’ve barely tweeted anything apart from retweeting reports of things going on in Israel.

I’m anxious. Last night I barely slept. Today I couldn’t concentrate. This afternoon, as rockets rained down on Israel, I scrambled to text friends, telling them I was thinking of them, checking they were safe. Some friends in shelters, some without shelters. One friend told me how her grandfather of over 90, a holocaust survivor, wasn’t fast enough to move the the shelter and she had to help him.

But that’s all thousands of miles away. Why am I REALLY anxious?

Because every time there is an escalation in Israel, Anti-Semitism outside of Israel increases.
Living my life as a Jew thousands of miles from Israel gets more complex and scarier.

Complex because I feel I want to hide my identity. I’m proudly Jewish (and it just so happens, also proudly a Zionist.) Yet the moment there’s an escalation in Israel, I usually shut down that part of my personality among people I don’t know well. Why? Because the moment I declare my religious affinity, I get barraged with questions and queries, and accusations that I have done X Y or Z.

Scarier because you just don’t know how folk will react. Anti-semitism has already been on the increase in the last few years, and with tensions high in the Middle East, tensions get high elsewhere too. I know, and I am ever thankful to know, that quietly in the background while all this is going on, organisations like the CST are on high alert making plans to protect the UK Jewish community from whatever fall-out might occur here in the UK.

The media coverage of the events in Israel, and Gaza right now is poor. The bias is skewed, and the reasoning provided for actions often incorrect. A number of tweets yesterday showed Jews dancing at the Kotel (The holiest site in the Jewish world) while on top of temple mount, there was a fire. The tweets suggested the Jewish people were dancing with joy at the fire. Yesterday was Yom Yerushalayim – the day of the Unification of Jerusalem. The Jews were dancing because they could dance and pray there, as could their Christian, Armenian and Arab brothers, thanks to unification. (Before the 1967 war Jews were not allowed to visit the holiest site in the Jewish faith)… oh and the fire? The fire was a tree that caught light when struck by a firework fired from atop Temple Mount in the Al-Aqsa complex.

This is just one example of many, but equally is nothing new. Truth does not make for good news. The media doesn’t enjoy spreading balanced views and thrives on pitting one group against the other, fuelling the hate and enflaming the situation.

But really?… What do I think to what’s going on? I think THE WORLD can and should do better.
How?
ACTUALLY. DO. YOUR. RESEARCH.

Does Israel have an upper hand? It’s hard to argue against it… but why do they have the upper hand?
Because the Palestinian people are failed time and time again by their terrorist dictatorship governments who have absolutely no intentions around the sanctity of the life of their people and focuses ONLY on the killing of Jews.

Did I say Jews and not Israelis? Yes. Why? Take a read of the Hamas Charter: https://fas.org/irp/world/para/docs/880818.htm (Wiki on the “Hamas Charter”) Press Ctrl + F and type “Jews”….
Hamas is the organisation that governs Gaza.

Imagine if this was the UK government cabinet, and the word “Jew” was replaced with “French”! The UN wouldn’t stand for it. Peace and human rights activists worldwide would be up in arms. Other countries would send troops in to overthrow militant power and ensure order was ensued.

The world can do better because the Palestinian people in Gaza deserve better than a government that doesn’t care about them. A government that doesn’t believe in peace, doesn’t want peace yet only wants and thrives on war.

The Palestinian people both in Gaza and the West Bank deserve a government that spends money on infrastructure, on healthcare, on development, on education and on growth. On a government that promotes co-existence, peace and love. A government that doesn’t waste money on rockets and terror tunnels. Doesn’t fire rockets from schools and hospitals, and doesn’t brainwash it’s people into extremist ideologies.

I strongly believe in rights for our Palestinian brothers and sisters. (an Arab friend and I often joke we are far more similar than we like to admit). BUT, I believe the best and most sustainable path to rights and peace, is to ensure those leading way and leading the people are doing it with the correct intent.

To ‘Free Palestine’ is not “from the river to the sea” (a call for the destruction of Israel), is to free the Palestinians from their maligned government, and it will take the world to speak out, in order to do so.

Oseh shalom bimromav
Hu ya’aseh shalom aleynu
Ve’al kol yisrael
Ve’imru Amen

He who makes peace in his high places
He shall make peace upon us
And upon all of Israel
And say Amen

Categories
Personal Tech

I got a bit nostalgic about a desk…

This week has been strange for me. Uncharacteristically for “Pandemic Steven”, I’ve taken the week off work. I like my holidays and going away, and the idea of a week where I had to stay home felt a bit odd, however the time was right to take a lil break.

Among the many tasks and outdoor social events of the week, I found myself finishing off some of the last bits of clearing up Grandma’s old flat ahead of the next chapter of it’s life… (More on that soon!). The big job that needed doing, was the removal of “the desk”.

I started the dismantling without thought as to what the desk meant, yet as I undid the many screws, bolts, brackets, braces and beams that held it together, I started to get a little nostalgic.

It might not be the exact desk, but this amazing portrait is a pretty accurate representation of the original proprietor of the desk!
(Portrait by Louise Soloway Chan)

The desk in question was huge. About 1.5 meters in length and easily over 50cm deep. A set of drawers was attached underneath at each end. All finished in a sort of Oak Veneer. (Naturally, I would hope that “Oak” was ‘Veneer of the week’ this week, however I suspect “oak” to be far too simple!) Sadly, having asked around and even taking it to one, the charity shops didn’t want it. It was a product of its time – 1988 said the label underneath – built for a large CRT monitor and large PC, it was a nightmare to transport and alas, its time to meet its maker had come.

30 years is a good innings for a desk!

Amid the grass, screws, pieces of wood and metal in the garden behind the flat, where dismantling was taking place, I started to think a bit about the desk. For years (13 to be precise), that desk had been the place that my grandfather z’l wrote his articles for the various publications he wrote in, surfed the internet (I’m led to believe the internet was still only in black and white when he was online!) and wrote silly stories to keep Adam and myself amused as kids. (If you haven’t heard of the tales of “Dashy Docklands and Uriah Underground”… you probably aren’t missing much!).

As a child, I remember most visits to 54 Redbridge Lane started with a visit to that desk. Zaida was always in his office. He’d be writing an article, or playing a game at the sanctuary of his desk. I’d go up and find out what he was doing. Often, work would be stopped, one of the many floppy disks would be placed in the disk drive and he’d show me how to play what are now classic DOS games such as Micemen or JezzBall. (I got sidetracked writing this, just played Micemen, and I’m still useless!) I’m pretty sure that it was some of those early encounters with the computer that lead me to the love of technology I have today and to a job in the industry I’ve been lucky to work in for the last 10 years.

When Zaida passed away, and subsequently Grandma moved to Barnet, the desk came with. It fitted perfectly into the alcove in the dining room, and while Grandma’s enthusiasm for computing was not the same as Zaida’s the desk still saw use through the occasional email, game of Free Cell or Solitaire, attempts to download and print various articles and/or recipies and the short lived…. foray…. Grandma once undertook into the world of Facebook.

As time went on, I’d find myself spending more and more time at the desk again. Now, however undoing whatever mess grandma had managed to unwittingly get herself into in her internet crusades, or attempting to fix the printer. (which usually meant just putting new cartridges in, as they had been that seldom used they had dried up!).

Taking the desk apart piece by piece was strangely therapeutic. It gave me a good chance to think of all the great memories over the years;

My first memory of printing something happened at that desk – a sign that read “Tea, Coffee or Brandy?” and contained a perfectly 90s clip art image of a cup which was affixed to the dining room door at 54 Redbridge Lane in homage to the game Adam and I used to play where we’d offer you “Tea, Coffee or Brandy” from an old Tea Set Grandma saved for us…

I also thought back to awe I felt the first time we saw a digital camera – Uncle Leslie had returned from one of his many trips to China, asked for a floppy disk and took some photos of us. We all went up to the office and watched as the floppy disk was popped into the drive and we appeared on the screen! Copies were emailed to us at home, and a few moments later, by the magic of “BubbleJet” the photo was also printed out!

As I took the drawers apart, I removed the “magic” trays in the tops of the drawers. They would contain many dried up pens, blunt and broken pencils, and bits and pieces. I remember being mystified at the drawer within the drawer as a kid!

Suddenly, I realised that the dismantling was complete and all I was left with was a pile of pieces that I’d have to work out disposing of.
An era was over. I was sad, but also felt a strange sort of closure and completeness.

As I sat looking at the pile of pieces, I realised that this wasn’t the only era to end this week… Today (Friday) is the last working day I’ll officially have the job title “IT Support Engineer”. For the last (very almost) 10 years, I’ve held a variety of similar titles and been blessed to work for 3 very different companies, supporting internal staff and infrastructure, being “The IT Guy”.

From next week, I’m trying something new – I’ll be a Technical Program Manager. I’ll have new responsibilities, new things to do, different people to meet and different goals to achieve. I’m excited as I am scared but am looking forward to the challenge.

It’s going to be seriously strange after 10 years not to be “the IT Guy” and I’m not sure quite how I’m going to get my head round that… but like the desk, sometimes good things come to the end of their era, to make space for even better things in the future.

Categories
Personal

Hesped for Grandma

Eulogy read at the Shiva of Grandma Jackie (Jacqueline Phillips) on 17th December 2020.

It’s been far more of a challenge than I could ever have imagined, to pick a few stories and memories to share. Listening to Aunty Carol, Dad and Rabbi Livingstone this afternoon, as well as looking at how many people are here in Zoom this evening, really made me realise just how many people Grandma had an impact upon. 

As a child, I always looked forward to spending time with Grandma, and Zaida before he passed. Every Sunday night, Grandma and Zaida would come and babysit for us. Zaida would be in charge, as ever of the TV Controls and Fish and Chips, while Grandma focussed on looking after Adam and myself. 

We particularly loved bath time, which always concluded with grandma wrapping us up in towels “like a parcel” and calling for “Postman Pat” to post us to bed. 

No Yom Tov went by without the afternoon walk to Clay Hall park or the rec behind Grandma’s house, where we would spend what felt like hours on the swings, or trying to find grandma as she wandered off to admire at the roses. 

Redbridge Lane held a lot of happy memories for me growing up. In the front room, was a small tea trolley which contained a collection of coloured coasters and strange metal tea pots. These tea pots became legendary when grandma taught us to go around the house asking anyone if they wanted “Tea or Coffee”. Zaida was not content was just two options available and much to grandma’s dislike added brandy to the menu. Adam and I can promise that tea and coffee were never the popular options. 

During the school holidays I always looked forward to sleepovers at Grandmas. Grandma would go all out in what she would openly admit was “spoiling us rotten”. From steak and home made chips for dinner to sweets and popcorn – Adam an I were always well fed! 

On one of my earlier sleepovers, I was promptly promoted to the kitchen stool while grandma cooked dinner, after grandma came into the living room to find that Zaida had me mixing his pipe tobacco. She was not impressed. 

The highlight of a sleepover at grandma’s. Was ALWAYS the day trip. We’d set out early and visited all sorts of different places. We drove out to Maldon to the beach and spent many a day out in London. We’d walk down to Redbridge tube, I would point to a place on the tube map, and off we went. I quickly learnt that pointing to somewhere on the DLR meant we could ride round  all day driving the train, and was lucky enough on one of the trips that she convinced the guard to let me press the buttons!

On a trip to Duxford War Museum, Zaida gave grandma strict instructions to take me on a flight. When we arrived at Duxford, in keeping with family traditions, we were too late and all flights had sold out that day. Not wanting to upset Zaida or let me down, Grandma thought she had found a solution. We shuffled into the simulator, and had just got comfortable when the safety barrier was secured tightly. Grandma thought she’d arranged a leisure flight simulator, however on the contrary. We took part in a 15 minute airshow with the red arrows. We both stumbled off the simulator with grandma making it clear this would… never…. happen…. again. 

No matter the circumstances, Grandma was always able to find the something funny in the situation. A trait I have discovered that I also have. While in Stanmore Orthopaedic hospital following an operation to remove cancer from her leg, she gathered us all and insisted we got chairs. We all sat round her in the large open ward where she’d held court for the last few days and with a very serious face she told us “Ive spoken with the Drs and nurses. It’s been a very hard decision for me… it’s not good news… but we’ve decided… it’s probably best… that I give up pole dancing!” The whole ward erupted laughing. 

This sense of humour stayed with her throughout her illness. When visiting grandma at the care home, we’d ask her “Grandma, how are you feeling?” She’d stop for a second, think, look back at you and say “still mainly with my hands”. 

We’re so grateful for the care Jewish Care provided to grandma while she was a resident and to Grandma’s friend Sheila Lawrence who volunteered at the home every week. She visited grandma and took her down to shul every Saturday for the shobbos services which I know she would have appreciated. 

I’m glad that we got to say goodbye to grandma and that she’s no longer suffering – I’m sure she’s already put on her dancing shoes and has already been appointed as secretary on a large number of committees organising everyone in her own inimitable way.

Baruch Dayan HaEmet – May her memory be a blessing.

Categories
Uncategorized

A drive through London

Categories
Travel

Montserrat & It’s Cog/Funicular Railways

Following conversation in a work IM group… Here’s some photos form my trip to Montserrat, Spain in 2019…

I hope to add some more photos from trips soon!

Montserrat Rack Railway https://www.cremallerademontserrat.cat/en/rack-railway/the-rack-railway/
CabView
View of the Valley
Funicular machinery
Funicular car
The Furnicular
Bottom to top….
Top to bottom!

A bonus…

“Funicular Aeri De Montserrat
Categories
Jewish

Holocaust Memorial Day 2019

Today is Holocaust Memorial day, a day worldwide where we think of the atrocities of the holocaust and say “Never again”… Thinking back over the events of the last two weeks, and to the funeral of the 6 victims of the holocaust I was honoured to volunteer at, I realise how lucky I am. The majority of my family that I know of, have no direct links to the holocaust. I know of some cousins who perished in Majdanek (Thanks to the power of facebook!) but unlike many of my friends, I have no real direct link.

While we say “never again” we also note that anti-Semitism is on the rise. Where I don’t have a direct link to holocaust, I do carry with me a reminder of anti-semitism everywhere I go. You see, my grandfather, was “Philip Phillips”, an odd name if you ask me.  We knew the family name was Smolleransky, (I think that’s how it’s spelt) but I’d always assumed the family name had been changed when the family had come to England and my Great Grandparents were somehow clinging on.

It wasn’t until I made a flippant comment about this to grandma about a year ago, that she explained;

My Grandfather was born Philip Smolleransky. During the war, his Dad (My great grandfather) decided to fight for the British army… but was scared to use the name Smolleransky – Grandma’s words were “It wasn’t a good idea to go to the British army with a name like Smolleransky… you wouldn’t be accepted”…. People in England struggled to pronounce Smolleransky and used to refer to my Great Great Grandparents (are you keeping up?) as “Mr & Mrs Phillip” as my Great Great Granddad’s name was Philip….

… so through fear of anti-Semitism, the family name was changed to Phillips… My grandfather’s birth and wedding certificates say “Changed by deed poll”, and the course of our family history changed forever.

It scares me, that in 2019, with the world more advanced that it ever has been… where each race knows more about each other than ever before we’ve not learnt the lessons of our recent history of 1941-1945 and anti-Semitism is back up on the rise.

I don’t for one moment plan to change my name back… mainly because as a child I struggled to spell Phillips and wouldn’t want to pain my children with Smolleranksy… but I do often wonder what the world would have been like, if my Great Grandparents weren’t fearful all those years ago, and I’d been Steven Smolleransky.

Categories
TalkTalk

Dear Tristia & Clive (pt.4)

To quote the words of Pop Sensation Alanis Morrisette – I’m here to remind you of the mess you left when you went away. This should be the words sent to the Openreach “engineer” whom was working on our phone-lines yet again today.

Clive, Tristia, Your Respective Press Teams, Esteemed Friends, Frenemies and Enemies watching on Facebook & Twitter. I’m writing to you again. Not for my love of poorly crafting random song lyrics into letters but simply because, as The Average White Band perfectly sang – “Let’s go round again”. You have succeeded in turning back the hands of time as the next line suggests – back to the middle of January WHEN WE HAD NO PHONE LINE OR INTERNET WITH NO WARNING.

Tristia, we’ve been in vague contact with your whimsy barely effective apologiser, Alick, with regards to our internet. He told us it had been returned to full service… yet in the same letter admitted there was still a fault on our line…. Back to Alanis again; Isn’t it Ironic, don’t you think?

He’s (apparently) been on holiday, or so he told us today during one of his brief calls of no substance. He hasn’t responded to the questions on our emails, or the phone calls/messages which we’ve left him asking what is going on.

This would all be well and good if our internet was working – It’s been about 80% working… Strangely similar to the internet we had when we first reported this issue back on the 6th of January……

Anyway, I digress. Even though Talktalk believe there was no fault on our line (but also a fault on our line?!) it would appear someone from our beloved friends at OpenReach have been performing some works on our line this morning…

How do we know I hear you cry? In what can only be described as engineering excellence from an engineer who believes 50 volts should be plugged straight into a bath full of water, our phone line now is dead again. Our internet, is dead again… although, that might not be quite all it seems.

While, unlike last time you haven’t gone full out Blondie and left us “hanging on the telephone”….. should you “Call Me, (call me) on the line, you can call me, call me anytime” You’ll actually ring our lovely neighbours across the road… (perhaps this is when they become, good friends?)

Our dear neighbour across Ramsey Street… I mean Stanhope Road, is actually a Doctor whom is often on call. I would hate to think you’d have to send some “Supermarket Flowers” (as sung by Ed Sheeran) when he misses a call and a patient doesn’t quite make it.

Back to Alanis, but Ironically their internet isn’t working, and phoning their number doesn’t ring our house… Lord knows where it goes…. A little too ironic, now I really do think.

I don’t want to Raaaaaaain on your wedding day… because I assume that you two, Tristia and Clive, are in some sort of messed up matrimony over this… but I think the good advice that you just should take, would be to sort out this telephony roulette once and for all.

We know what’s going to happen. Clive, you will send lovely Mark down. Lovely Mark will find us “Hanging on the telephone” (Thanks again, Debbie!), will plug us back into the right socket and then… It’s just a jump to the left, a step to the right and the TimeWarp has gone back to the 6th of January YET AGAIN…. Except we can’t play our “Late night double feature picture show” as the YouView box has no internet to connect to.

Clive – Get the networking side of this shocker sorted please. Tristia, we’ve heard from Clive himself… When I see your face, well…I’ll be a believer – I’ve offered to come and meet you a number of times, but I’m not sure you actually even exist.

As it happens, I enjoy writing these emails, my friends enjoy reading them and sharing them, however I’d really rather that we had our internet back up and working properly without all this additional aggravation. To quote my dear friend Shania Twain on your response to this whole debacle, Tristia… “That don’t impress me much”.

I’m no longer sure if I look forward to hearing from you, or if I will ever hear from you? (Tristia, do you even exist?!)

Please contact me either via email, or via my mobile… Alternatively call our neighbours on our landline number… I’m off to eat a couple of yogurts and tie the pots together with string.

Kind regards,

A rather “hung up” (Thanks Madge),

Steven

Categories
TalkTalk

Dear Tristia & Clive (Pt.3)

Hello,

It’s me, I was wondering if after all these weeks you’d like to meet…. Okay, it’s not quite how Adele wrote it, but as my internet still isn’t fixed, I’m cordially inviting you both round to my house to come and witness it first-hand. I’ll provide the Cakes and the Coffee, you guys provide the poor connection and we can struggle to stream cat videos from Youtube together.

Tristia, Clive, you might have noticed I’ve been quiet the last few weeks. The reason is, quite frankly I’ve had other priorities in my life than doing the unpaid work of your combined teams. I’ve been running diagnostics, chasing engineers, trying to find a solution… I shouldn’t be doing any of it. Tristia, your Fault management team & CEOs team have been as useful as filling up a Fire Engine with Petrol instead of water.

Clive, you’re on a slightly better footing – you’ve sent us the lovely Mark. Mark has gone above and beyond to try and make sure our copper cabling isn’t at fault. But we knew it wasn’t. We were told that in January.  I can’t help but feel you’re just fobbing us off until June when the new cabinet goes live? Do me a favour, send me the fibre equivalent of Mark… Maybe as the fibre side is owned by Talktalk, it’s you Tristia that needs to be doing the sending.

The thing is, the facts here are fairly simple; I’ve run a series of tests where I ping a server on the internet. All over night, with no real load on our line. While most of the time I got a reply within 8-10 milliseconds, a number of times it took up to 3 seconds to get a reply. Something is STILL not right. Those three second (and on some tests I ran nearly 5 second) responses are the reason our internet just “Stops” randomly while we use it. We could be streaming Youtube, FireStick, checking Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and things just stop. Not ‘in the name of love’, but more ‘Right now, thank you very much’…. Except I’m not thanking anyone as there is no reason it should stop.

Getting technical, I imagine it’s because the sites we are using are using the TCP protocol. It’s like handshake –

*Connection open*

> “Hello are you there?”

< “Yes, I’m here”

>”Data Please”

<”Okay! DATA….”

>”Thanks, bye!”

*Connection Closed*

When our internet drops out, I imagine it goes a bit more like this:

*Connection Open*

> ”Hello, are you there?”

< ”Yes, I’m here”

> “Data Please”

> “Data Please

> “HELLO?! ARE YOU STILL THERE

< *Mumbles to himself* Oh, they’ve gone, shut down the connection.

*Connection closed*

> “Data Please!!!!!”

< The person you are calling is currently unavailable, and their mailbox is full. Please try again.

 

Seriously now, slightly dumbed down technicalities over, Please, come and visit… see for yourselves, it’s infuriating and makes using the internet often impossible – Things stop downloading or streaming, messages don’t send and photos in webpages download like its 1998 dialup again! (Line by line!)

Strangely, this all sounds very similar to the fault I reported to TalkTalk back in January.  Temperamental internet. Great work all teams, over 4 months and you’ve made no difference.

Now, Tristia, one of your well trained apologisers was supposed to be refunding some of our Direct Debits while circus show was ongoing. That never happened. So, hear it here first…. You broke your SLA, I’m going to break ours – I’ll be instructing Dad to cancel the Direct Debit he pays you. Simple as that. We’ll also be compiling a bill over the next few days. Not only of the mobile data have we had to buy and the 4G WiFi equipment for home, but also, of the time we’ve spent doing the job of your teams. Chasing OpenReach, Pretending to be TalkTalk, running tests, and writing these letters in order to get stuff done.

I’ll end with some good news – while this charade has been going on, Vodafone have been digging closer and closer to my house. Yes, Clive that’s right, in the time you’ve been fobbing us off, Vodafone and Cityfibre have been busy at work, laying fibre to the premises.  Looks like they’ve nearly met your 70 day lead time for our whole area! Following the sensational service you two have provided, I think I’d be a damn fool not to already be in contact with Vodafone about getting their service fitted. (For the record, it’s been all the WRONG sensations.)

Anyway, enough of this tomfoolery – I must get back to work… (I’m sure you’ll love my newly self-appointed title in my signature!)

I look forward to hearing from you – Let me know when to put the kettle on.

Kind regards,

Steven

Newly appointed Senior Case Manager, Barnet Area, TalkTalk PLC & BT OpenReach PLC.