Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Intermittent fault – first time for everything

Been home since Sunday, phone hasn’t worked properly since we got home and not sure how long it hadn’t been working prior to that.

The fault is intermittent, it’s like chasing ghosts, you unplug handset A, unplug handset B. Then plug in A. It doesn’t work. You plug in B, then it works, you take handset A to socket B and plug in, It works, then you check 2 seconds later and it’s not working.

You can’t report a fault like that. For two days I’ve waited. I’ve waited until I can prove there is a fault. Sure enough incoming call today and it disappears in static.

Enough is enough. I call Telstra from the same phone line and it too disappears in static.

I pick up my secondary line (which I pay for) and is far more stable than my main incoming line and call.

Today Telstra were extremely helpful. Or should I say that Bien was extremely helpful. Today she offered to divert my phone to my mobile (this has been refused before)

My secondary line is in the back of the house and is hard to hear if ringing, that’s why I wanted diverted to my mobile.

Previously I’ve been forced to go to work with a broken leg, because I can’t stay home because the phones weren’t working. It was February, a couple of years before the Black Saturday Fires. My sense of danger wasn’t wrong, just the wrong year.

Today’s resolution date is 5th February, it’s currently the 3rd February. Fingers crossed this time

Prior history can been seen at Telstra - History

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Micro SIM adaptors, stuck, breaking phones and dual SIM phones (broken)

Yup, dual SIM phone, upcoming holiday, 1 x micro SIM adaptor, thankfully sourced from an Australian Company, thanks Allphones, thanks for supporting Aussie Suppliers!

 WHAM, BAM, after testing and setting up 'new' phone, I innocently placed Micro SIM adaptor back into SIM card slot, I mean where else do you store a SIM adaptor?

Guess what? $329AU down the drain, I now possessed a single SIM phone. BOO.

 After emailing said Australian Company many times and getting fobbed off, the same amount of times, I did some research.

Did you know that the ACCC actually has a section in their guidelines referred to as

"reasonably foreseeable use"? Yup, It means that unless packaging specifically warns against a certain action, and it's foreseeable that someone might use that product in that manner, the product is deemed defective.

 The packaging did not warn such behaviour might destroy a perfectly working 2nd product, which was 'now not fit for intended purpose' in fact the packaging did not have any warnings at all.

I provided the micro-SIM adaptor importer with this information, they once again fobbed me off.

I then approached Fair Trading in the relevant Australian state, I supported my case with all emails backwards and forwards, including my reference to the ACCC clause, 6 months of arguments dissipated in 6 days and a full refund of the cost of the phone was in my bank account.

It's a matter of knowing you are right, knowing your rights and remembering, ladders are covered in warning stickers for a reason!

Oh, and Apple? Thanks for creating the micro-SIM, it's caused many the same grief!
PS - I didn't chase AllPhones, wasn't their problem, it was the importer/manufacturer. I shall not name names, but remember Australian Suppliers are the key.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Fjordes of Norway c1970 - Kirkenes

These photos were salvaged from another skip about 2 years ago. I have identified the photos as being Norway, The seven Sisters and Kirkenes, taken c1970 when the previous owner was on a cruise through the area.

This is the Shell refinery which I believe is on the coastline at Kirkenes. happy to be corrected if that is not the case.

This ship is the Kong Olav, built in 1968, there was rescue mission in 2012 to get the ship back to Norwegian shores. I'm not sure how it all went.

This is a postcard, which reads "Norway Lapps on the River"

This is a postcard which reads "Norway, View of the town"

This is a postcard, which reads "Norway, Part of the town with the church"

This is a postcard which reads "Norway, Vaso church from the year 1958"

"The Seven Sisters" (as advised by writing on the back of the photo)

"The Seven Sisters" (as advised by writing on the back of the photo)

"Through the Fjords" (as advised by writing on the back of the photo)

"Through the Fjords" (as advised by writing on the back of the photo)

"The Seven Sisters" (as advised by writing on the back of the photo)

"Through the Fjords" (as advised by writing on the back of the photo)

This is a postcard which reads "Nord-Halogaland stiftsgard til hoyre for Kirken"

It's amazing (and disappointing) to see what gets thrown out.

If you have any deceased estate photos and would like them to be forever memorialised, I'll do it here for you, or better still what don't you?

Just drop me a line in the comments section

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

My experience with the Northern Hospital, Epping Melbourne in 2004

My letter to the Northern Hospital  dated the 16th July 2004
                                                           To Whom It may Concern.
                                                               ‘Without Prejudice’

 I am writing this letter because on the 30th January 2004, I was unlucky enough to require your services.  I presented at the Emergency Room after having a 600kg horse collapse whilst I was standing beside her, My husband drove me to the ER at approx 8.30pm, I was triaged quickly and placed in a consulting room to wait for the doctor.

 I was kept waiting for several hours and when finally seen by a doctor the doctor was going to discharge me, because it appeared that I was not in pain, as long as I was immobile.  But as soon as any pressure was applied to my leg, I went through the roof.  The doctor still said (with out X-rays) that the leg was severely bruised and rest should take care of. 

As I am a fairly docile person and have a high tolerance to pain, I thought okay, he is the professional, and he has studied and should know best.  But my husband being a little fierier than me requested X-rays.  The doctor thought these were unnecessary, but decided to shut him up anyway.  X-rays were taken and low and behold I had a broken fibula!

 The doctor was amazed that I was in so little pain, but like I had said from the time that I presented to the triage nurse I have a HIGH pain threshold due to previous injuries that have been on going.

So after a while the leg was placed in plaster and I was told to present tomorrow for a ‘plaster check’. No X-rays were taken after the plaster had been set. 

I presented for the plaster check mid afternoon the following day and was told that the plaster needed to be reapplied as the ankle had been set in the incorrect position.

I endured this with some pain, but kept my mouth shut. At this stage I was feeling useless and depressed at the fact that I was unable to earn an income and that I would be relying on people for everything from getting around to even cooking and cleaning (by the way those people that I refer to were my husband and children, 7 and 12) because I have no family within a reasonable distance who are able to assist me.

I was told that within the week I would receive an appointment card in the mail to attend the plaster clinic with the time and day on it. By the following Wednesday the swelling on my leg had reduced and I was able to get my fingertips to my ankle inside the plaster cast. The cast was offering NO support what so ever.

I presented back to the Northern to get someone to look at the plaster and replace it. I would have thought that this would have been a given, considering that I had a broken bone and the leg had not been in plaster for the 6 weeks that I thought was the norm for a broken bone. I presented at the Triage window again and requested that someone needs to look at the plaster as I believe that it is wrong and needs to be replaced. Considering I was in considerable pain and had been for a period of a week by this time, I was feeling useless, depressed and close to tears most of the time. When the triage nurse saw the plaster I believe that she agreed with me and sent me next door to the clinic within the ER.

I waited there for hours, and by this time I was crying because my leg was sore and I felt as though no one believed me.  Finally a person (a nurse)  I believe came to me, looked at the plaster and said I don’t think we need to replace this, when is your appointment with the plaster clinic? I said what appointment, I have not received any notification and I have not even had the plaster on for 1 week. In the end I had to demand that the plaster be replaced through the Doctor. Who also asked me how I was coping. I was not coping. I was unable to feed my children I was unable to wash their clothes I was even unable to have a shower by myself. When I mentioned this to the doctor he found a social worker, who after asking if I lived with anyone, I said yes, my husband. Oh well he has to help you, we can’t

This was news to me, as he was trying to supervise apprentices and stop them from presenting to the Northern Hospital minus a finger or two. Sounds funny? Well stand in his shoes and see how funny Workcover think it is when you are charged with lack of supervision of an apprentice.

 At this same appointment I was presented with a card to see the Plaster clinic doctors the following week.

 Therefore I was sent home to fend for myself,  and try and feed two children and not kill myself getting up and down the front door step to tend the animals and the children. During this time, I was still in considerable pain, and my GP thinks I may have re-broken the leg at some stage when my left leg gave out, as it is prone to do, due to previous injuries, (Which I notified the Hospital about!)

 I presented at the Northern Hospital at the Plaster Clinic had an X-ray and was told it is okay to walk on!  Haha I could not weight bear let alone stand on it and walk.  I went to my GP, a person I am sure you are familiar with.  He took one look at X-ray and put me straight back in plaster.  This time the plaster was neat and reasonably comfortable.  I waited for a further 5 weeks and then the doctor took the plaster off and was happier with the result, but due to the two weeks, without adequate support, the healing process was very slow to start.

Because of this and the fact that the leg was still very painful, I requested a referral to a Specialist, I go to see the specialist In March, 3 months after the initial accident. He was surprised, but non-committal to the treatment that I had received from the Northern Hospital.

I am writing this letter for many reasons; one is to complain about the service and the additional cost that I now have to incur because of the inadequate care that I received under the umbrella of the Northern Hospital. I am sure that when I initially presented I was seen as a hypochondriac because I was not absolute agony, once I was immobile. I am sure that when I presented to the Northern Hospital on the third occasion I was just looking for attention and I am sure that when I tried to talk to the Doctor at the Plaster clinic he saw me as a malingerer.

I am none of the above and have never been. After being involved in a car accident whereby my vehicle was rear ended by a 12 tonne truck, and not having ONE day off. I know I am not. I am by no means rich in fact; some days my husband and children get a meal of potatoes only, because there is no other food in the house.  I am no entitled to any government assistance because my husband owns his own business and because I work a taxable income. I receive NO children support, No family and no income assistance and of course no rental assistance because we are struggling to pay off our own house.

Because of your treatment or lack of it. I am now faced with huge private medical bills and also the uncertainty that had I received appropriate timely treatment, I might already be walking normally on my leg, within the ‘normal’ six week period. I would not have lost as much income, because I would have been back at work already AND not spending time at Specialists along with the money for no reason. Because I am a contractor, I am not entitled to sick leave and was lucky that I did not lose my job. AT no point in time was ANY assistance offered to me. I get the feeling that because I was not ‘on the dole’ and I was not ‘single’ I was discriminated against.

I would like your comment on this letter as a matter of course, because I would like to see what your thoughts are.

A follow up letter from me to the Northern Hospital dated the 24th September 2004

‘Without Prejudice’

Mr xxxxxx
I have previously written to you on the 16th July 2004, regarding a problem that I have concerning the Northern Hospital, I have yet to receive a response other than ‘we have received your letter and are looking into the matter’ which was dated the 21st July 2004.
It is now 2 months since the original letter was received and I was wondering when I might receive a reply?
I have enclosed both letters for your perusal and thought you might like to comment on them.
Since that time, I am still under the care of a specialist, the swelling in my leg is still quite evident and the specialist says that it is not normal.  Tuesday the 21st September 2004 I tripped and managed to jar my leg again. This means that I missed another day of work due to the pain and I am now back on crutches.
Again I believe that had I received appropriate and correct treatment in the first place I would not be in this position.
I am still incurring specialist fees, I am still losing money due to the fact that I am sometimes unable to drive and consequently unable to attend work and this doesn’t take into account the fact that the house is a mess. Whilst we are on the topic of care or lack of, how many 7 year olds do you know that can make their own breakfast and clean up the mess afterwards? Because I have a little boy that has been forced to do this and that makes me very sad.
Should you require any further information please feel free to contact me 

I received a one paged letter, that said, sorry, we have implemented changes in the emergency department and something like this shouldn't happen again. Forget the fact I've paid $1000's if not $10,000's now in 2014, or forget the fact no-one wants to employ a 'cripple'........... Yup, forget about ALL that. As long as the hospital didn't receive any adverse media coverage.

Forget the fact I sat on an esky in the shower, for the time my leg was in plaster, forget the fact.............. Yeah, well, you know the story. You've read it.

Have any hospital horror stories? Let me know


Friday, January 10, 2014

Sri Lanka, Dilmah and a *Lucky* Winner

(Check out the photos at the bottom)
You know how you enter competitions and you never win?

Dilmah Tea Fields, adjacent to "Tea Trails"
 Well, I did!

It felt unreal, it was unbelievable, I mean who wins overseas trips? Not me, not you (it seems) but I won! It was via 3AW radio in Melbourne, a competition, not your regular ring in and win, but a
competition that actually required some thought, in 25 words or less, why I deserve to travel to Sri Lanka and see Dilmah's Operations. I thought about the entry for all of 2 minutes (I mean who honestly wins?)
My entry read:- I would love to win this for my darling husband of 25 years, every night I make him a tea and he loves it. He's never flown before and we have always talked about travelling, this would combine his love with a desire.
That was the winning entry. It's all true, and he loves tea.
As the dates approach I'm starting to get nervous, hubby is too. We don't even have passports, we've never flown anywhere before, let alone overseas! It's scary!
We organised the local chauffeured vehicle to the airport (and the return trip) and then really started to panic! It's REAL!
 We arrive at the airport early, and with Anne's (chauffeur) help find the right gate and we are away (well sort of!) Suddenly we are on the plane and the plane is taking off. It's real, we are seriously flying to Sri Lanka and going to see The Home of Tea.
 We change planes in Singapore, we almost missed the plane, Singapore's Changi Airport IS HUGE and 7hrs on a plane, I've stiffened up a bit and that slowed us down.
Water Monitor, Seen on the way to "Tea Trails"
Suddenly we are in Sri Lanka, people everywhere, but everyone is so friendly. We get through customs and are met by the Dilmah tour guide. Did I mention that telephone (or SIM card) salespeople are the same world-over? Yup they are!
One of the buildings in Colombo. Built in the 1800's
Several other Dilmah guests arrived on the same flight, we just didn't realise it at the time, we all piled on the bus and the fun began. The first stop was The Hilton in Colombo, we got there about 1am……. By 6am hubby and I were exploring the streets of Colombo. It was amazing, so much old world architecture, intermingled with lots of glass and cement. A city changing its skin like a chameleon. Tuk Tuks sharing the roads with 2013 Land Rovers! Beautiful and certainly a change from lil' ol' Melbourne.
Snake Charmer in Colombo.
We stayed in Colombo for 2 days, it felt like forever. We toured the Dilmah factory, it's a beautiful place, a place for the person, it's a family. Machines are present, but unlike Australia, people are the preferred method of getting things done. The love that is put into company of Dilmah, by the owners (Fernando Family) and the employees is a sight to behold.
Water Buffalo, as seen on the way to 'Tea Trails'

 The next stop was 'Tea Trails' a magical place, right in the middle of the tea fields, up in the hills. The mist in the morning and 4 poster beds of a night. An experience that should be on your bucket list!
Bridge over a river, notice the baggage being carried? Likely tea leaves
Tea Drying House
Steps at "Tea Trails"
 The rest of the tour were scheduled to visit the tea fields and drying houses, I opted out, as I know that yesterday I held up the tour group and knowing that the group would be going into the tea fields, it wouldn’t be fair to have me dragging them down. We had a wonderful day, being spoilt by the staff at Tea Trails and later in the afternoon we went for a walk in the village. I felt like the pied piper, with kids calling out in English and wanting to talk and then following us down the road. We caught a tuk tuk back (it was all uphill.) We stayed two nights here and it was a peaceful, quiet retreat.
Tea Fields, near 'Tea Trails"
Sunset over the Dam at 'Tea Trails'
 On the way to the next port of call, we stopped at the Temple of the Tooth. The Temple is a very special place, the age of and reverence within the Temple of the Tooth is sacred. It's so hard to explain. I was awe-struck. After our visit we proceeded to "Blue Water" (I think this was our favourite!) another 2 wonderful nights, another 2 wonderful days in heaven, smiling people both within and outside the resort. The weather was glorious, the views amazing.  The pool was the centre-piece of the resort (as it is with many). Early in the morning an elephant would be bought to the grounds and you could pay for a ride if you wanted (I wasn't game enough!) On the beach, the local fishermen would spend hours laying their nets and hauling them in. It was a sight to see. The food was amazing. You had spas at your fingertips, drinks from the poolside bar. You name it, I think everything was available, all you had to do was ask. We had a wonderful time outside the resort too. Took a tuk tuk and went shopping. We ended up in the Russian quarter. No longer were the signs in English, all Russian, felt very strange! Bought a beautiful dress 
Elephant rides at Blue Water
Fishermen at Blue Water
From Blue Water, we travelled to Uda Walawa and had lunch at Manduka. Manduka is a very special place, set up as an initiative of the Merrill J Fernando Centre, where women of the area can earn a wage, by throwing, baking and glazing pottery. It's amazing what can be done with so little. The next stop (again two nights) was Uda Walawe Grand Safari Lodge

Water Lily at Uda Walawa Grand safari Lodge
The Afternoon Rains at Uda Walawa Grand Safari Lodge
Rain Band coming in over the hills at Uda Walawa Many a cricket team has stayed here! A gorgeous place, squirrels literally on your doorstep and the  opportunity to go on safari just around the corner. While we were there - we visited the Elephant Transit Home, a very special place for young orphaned, mistreated and injured elephants. Perhaps have a look and make a donation. I know we did.
Orphaned elephant getting his daily feed of milk at the Elephant Transit Home
Elephant playing with water. Seen whilst on Safari
The next stop was Galle and a place called The Fortress. A truly beautiful place. Ravaged by the  2004 Tsunami, a full recovery has been made. The opulence of the surroundings is jaw dropping to say the least. Just around the corner (100m walk) you can see traditional pole fishermen, and a 20min drive in the other direction, you can see the Galle Fort, built in 1588 by the Portuguese followed by the Dutch with many different architectural styles clearly still visible today. Check out Wikipedia I was taken aback by the sheer thickness of the walls!
Night at 'The Fortress'
The Fortress was our last overnight stay in Sri Lanka, from Galle we proceeded to Colombo and checked into the Hilton again for a meal, to freshen up and then fly out at 1am.
Stall Holder
Our trip to Sri Lanka was a wonderful eye-opening visit. We saw very little of the civil war that ended in 2009, nor did we see much damage from the 2004 Tsunami. The people were so friendly and smiles everywhere. So polite and helpful. We were wandering around the local market at 6am the first morning we arrived and it was an amazing experience.
Temple in Colombo
Dilmah tea is not the traditional stodgy English hot tea you are used to, Dilmah tea can be served in many styles, from hot to cold and even infused in your food! Check out some of the Dilmah recipes here or create your own, perhaps you are a closet mixologist (bartender) or a secret chef! Why not tempt your tastebuds and find out!
We learnt so much about tea, about the Dilmah manufacturing processes and MORE importantly the Dilmah 'family'. Each and every employee is part of that family and it is they that brings to tea to you, for you to enjoy.

 Celebrating 25 years of Dilmah.
Tea made with Love, Care and a Commitment to Human Service
Thank-you to the Fernando Family and Dilmah staff, my husband and I had a once in a lifetime experience.

Squirrel, enjoying a nut. (Remember the Movie 'Up'?) Hubby and I couldn't get it out of our minds!

The tusked elephant (4%er) is approx. 45yo. We saw him on our early morning safari - and he wasn't moving for ANYONE!

Baby Elephant and sibling (cue the ooohhs!) - as seen on safari (another 4%er - Tusk)

Peacock in full show - as seen on safari

Boats in the Galle Harbour

Squirrel in silhouette

Pole Fisherman at Galle

Galle Market

Popular Form of Transport ;) (and good photo op!)

Railway crossing near 'The Fortress'

Railway Crossing Shed at same crossing

Temple of the Tooth. A wonderous place of beauty, age and reverence

'The Fortress' at night

Fisher monger on his motorbike weighing out fish in Galle

View from the Pool at 'The Fortress'
Bed made up at 'The Fortress'

Merril and Dilhan Fernando with Hubby and myself

Tea Lounge - coming to a location near you - look out for them.
Galle Fortress - A structure from the Spanish Period