February 21, 2010

'Ello, 'ello, 'ello...

We had a bit of excitement this morning. Early this morning.

Around 5am I was woken up by an altercation next door. I was aware of it going on for maybe 5-10 minutes, but then I drifted off again.

At 6am we had Greater Manchester police knocking on the door gathering information because there had been what the officer called a “serious incident” next door. Roy went down and said that he'd not heard anything, which is to be expected if he's sleeping on his left side because he only has 40% hearing in his right ear. When he told me what the fuss was about I told him that, unlike him, I had heard noises an hour or so earlier.

I then phoned Greater Manchester police to volunteer this information and before long, the plod was knocking on the door again to take my statement.

The fact that the officer seemed very interested in knowing if I'd heard any bumps or smashes and that he referred to the events as a "serious incident" lead me to believe that someone may have been hurt. The occupant next door is, I believe, a single mother with two children aged 5 and 7. Did she break down and hurt one of her children? Did the father pay a surprise visit and get more than he bargained for, or dish out some tough love? I don't know. The police wouldn't say what had happened.

I'll have to keep an eye on the Bolton News.

Update: at around 3pm, forensics officers took away what looked like a bag of clothes. We know what they're usually looking for when they do that...

Update 21/03/2010: about 10.30 this morning I received a call from Bolton CID. DC Debbie Dixon wanted to come round and take an official statement from me that would be entered into the case for the forthcoming trial. We agreed that she'd come at 1pm that day.

While she was writing up the statement from the answers I'd provided, I quizzed her about what actually happened. She didn't want to give anything away that might interfere with the case, but I did find out that our neighbour had sent her two children away for the night and that it was her estranged partner (and father of the children) who assaulted her that morning at 5am.

Given that the man was already there at 5am and that the children had been sent away for the night, it is reasonable to assume that this was an attempt at reconciliation, which went very wrong.

The man is currently in custody awaiting the trial, which is slated to begin on August 16th at Manchester Crown Court and go on for 5 days. If the defendant pleads not guilty or if his account doesn't tally with details of my statement, then I might be called to give evidence in the witness box.

February 17, 2010

Why do people not think?

Have these people never heard of budget planning?

Imagine the following scenario. I'm sat at a table in a bar somewhere, and the bartender knows that he should pull a fresh pint and bring it to my table when I've finished the one I'm drinking. That is, unless he's been told that I didn't want any more. Now suppose that this system has been working for several years already without a hitch, but one day I go into the bar, drink as much as I want, but when the bartender brings me a fresh pint, I say “Thanks, but I've had all I want.”

What does the bartender do with the pint he just pulled for me while working under the assumption that I wanted another one? All he can do is pour it down the sink, which is a huge waste.

Webhosting is a similar situation. When I host a site and manage mail for a client, I have to pay the registrar for the year's domain registration in advance and I have to pay my own provider for webhosting in advance.

In order to avoid nasty surprises, I notify clients that their webhosting will soon be up for renewal 8 weeks and then again 4 weeks before the renewal date. I then send the bill 2 weeks before the renewal date. In both the reminders that are sent out before the bill, I ask the client to let me know if they don't intend to renew before the day I send out the bill.

Imagine my frustration, then, when a client who knows that he or she is no longer going to need my services sees the first notification, 8 weeks before the renewal date, and says nothing. The second notification, 4 weeks before the renewal date, goes by and they still say nothing. By this time I've already paid for the domain registration and and I've paid my own hosting bill. Only after I've sent the bill do they wake up and tell me that they've gone out of business and that they no longer need hosting.

Not one, but three clients have pulled this stunt on me in the space of a week. On top of that, there's another one I'm keeping an eye on, who I'm almost certain is going to stiff me the same way.

How am I supposed to do any form of budget planning in these conditions? Some of my equipment here is getting old and beginning to show it. I need to replace some of it and I was banking on some of this income to be able to do so. Obviously, there's no way I can spend the money before I have it and I don't have any credit facilities, so this means putting off the purchases. It also means that I'm out of my own pocket with the expenses I've already had. All I can do is pour the beer down the sink having pulled it for these clients. It's extremely annoying.

There's not a lot I can do about this so, really, I'm just ranting at how inconsiderate people can be. I'll just have to redouble my efforts and find new customers to replace those that I've already lost and probably will lose in the near future.