DVLA Clamps Untaxed Vehicles in crackdown on law breakers

DVLA Clamps Untaxed Vehicles

DVLA Clamps Untaxed VehiclesDrivers are being warned as the DVLA Clamps Untaxed Vehicles at the roadside of the road if they fail to pay for Vehicle Excise Duty (road tax).

The DVLA and Local Authorities are carrying our sweeps of major towns and cities across the UK as they look for vehicles where drivers have failed to pay road tax. These photos were capture on Mersea Road, Colchester, Essex, on 17th February 2017.

Vehicles fitted with Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology are being utilised by the DVLA quickly identify vehicles which are untaxed. The vehicles are then clamped with bright yellow wheel clamps; both serving as embarrassment to the owner and a warning to other drivers.

The move comes as a result of millions of drivers failing to tax their vehicles since the tax disc was abolished for an online only system in October 2014. As a result, the number of untaxed vehicle rose to over 560,00 in the summer of 2015.

The DVLA Clamps Untaxed Vehicles where drivers have tried to dodge VED

Seemingly, some vehicle owners believe that the lack of a tax disc displayed in the vehicle means that they can get away without insuring it. However, the modern ANPR system can tell officials if a vehicle has tax or insurance within a matter of seconds by querying the DVLA and Motor Insurers databases.

The real cost of driving without road tax

The DVLA clamps untaxed vehicles and then charges to have the impounded vehicle released. There is a £100 release fee plus the price of the road tax. A vehicle not taxed within 24 hours may be removed and destroyed after 7 days.

The clamps can be fitted by the DVLA, the police, local councils and VOSA.

The message is clear: if you can’t afford to tax your vehicle, it shouldn’t be used on the road. Sooner or later you’ll be caught.

Another vehicle which was clamped by Colchester Borough Council or the DVLA on Mersea Road, Colchester


YouTube is a Trolls Paradise

YouTube is a Trolls Paradise

YouTube is a Trolls Paradise and something needs to be done. At a time when cyber bullying and Internet Trolls are in the headlines, it seems odd that YouTube still make it to easy for Trolls to sign up for new accounts to spread their hate, seemingly anonymously.

YouTube, which has been owned by Google since 2005, allows new users to sign up for an account by opening a Google Account. Opening a Google Account is a very straight forward process with almost no security checks made whatsoever. Once created, a Troll can easily open a YouTube account and start posting comments.

Anyone who uses YouTube regularly will have probably found themselves subject to abuse at some point or another. Last week, I made a simply comment on a video, only to be abused by numerous Trolls who didn’t agree with me. As well as various vulgarities, I was attacked personally about my appearance and even my family. For me it’s water off a ducks back, but for many it becomes very personal.

YouTube is a Trolls Paradise – but why?

If you’ve ever tried to report Trolling on YouTube, you’ll know it’s extremely difficult. First of all, the process of reporting it unnecessarily long and clunky. Half the time you’ll get a response from YouTube saying “We’re unable to identify a violation of our Community Guidelines within your recent report to our Safety and Abuse Tool”.

There are a number of methods that YouTube could adopt to prevent Trolling. Google use some of these already, so should alreadybe experts at implementing them on YouTube:

  • telephone verification – make a new user link their mobile or home phone to their account (people are much less likely to troll if they know they can be traced)
  • link the account to something personal – such as a bank account

Whatever the answer, more needs to be done to prevent trolling on Youtube. YouTube is a Trolls Paradise and in 2017, that’s just not acceptable.

Dealing with YouTube trolls effectively

According to tubularinsights.com, there are 4 main things to do when dealing with YouTube trolls:

  1. Never, ever say something hateful back
  2. Find a way to be funny without (obviously) cutting the other person down
  3. Agree with them in a humorous way
  4. Let your fans handle it

The main thing is not to allow yourself to get dragged into their hateful rhetoric. Remember that some of these people have real psychological problems.

FSCS dragging their heals over Gable Insurance

Gable Insurance

It’s now been well over two months since Gable Insurance AG went bust, but the FSCS are dragging their heals over dealing with the problem.

I called the Financial Services Compensation Scheme FSCS today and explained that we are a small business which has been left with the debt of paying for an insurance policy which was could not use, and also an unpaid claim which is detrimental to our cash flow. I asked what the update was, bearing in mind that the information on the FSCS website was now almost 2 months out of date.

I was told that they have “no update at the moment” and can’t help further. The advice is to send an email to gable@bwb.li “with your query” and you “should” get a response. That email address is for Batliner Wanger Batliner Attorneys at Law Limited, Liechtenstein, who are the Liquidators.

It seems that the FSCS are being less than helpful, bearing in mind the thousands of small businesses and individuals left severely out of pocket due to no fault of their own. To simply say “contact the liquidators” is offering virtually no support to those affected by this issue. It’s a disappointing response considering that compulsory insurance is supposed to be protected in full by the scheme with a 90% upper claim limit.

Surely the FSCS should be doing more to advice people on the process and what’s involved, considering that many people won’t understand the complex process of liquidation.

Email response from the liquidator

I did receive a response from Batliner Wanger Batliner Attorneys at Law Limited. It read:

Policyholder or other creditor
Please register for our newsletter (http://gableinsurance.li/register-for-newsletter/). This will enable us to keep you updated about the next steps in the bankruptcy proceedings.
Please see our memorandums (http://gableinsurance.li/category/news/) as well as the FAQ under (http://gableinsurance.li/faq/). All important information is set out here.

I was then sent another email which read:

Dear Sir

Thank you for your email request concerning claimshandling.

Please be informed that we have appointed Enstar (EU) Limited („Enstar“) as Gable AG’s overall run-off manager. You will get assistance in all matters in connection with claimshandling by addressing your issue to Gable.Claims@enstargroup.com

Many thanks in advance for your most appreciated cooperation.

Kind  regards

Rechtsanwälte AG   ·   Attorneys at law LTD.

Am Schrägen Weg 2
FL-9490 Vaduz
T  +423 239.78.78
F  +423 239.78.79


Why couldn’t the FSCS tell me to email Enstar in the first place?

It seems ludicrous that I had to email the liquidation to get an email address to the EU claims handlers when the FSCS could have given it to me. I’ve sent Enstar an email and await a response.

Fingringhoe Wick Nature Reserve gets 10 out of 10 from Len

Fingringhoe Wick Nature Reserve

I’m very lucky to live in such a beautiful area, and so close to Fingringhoe Wick Nature Reserve. Colchester gets a tough rap in the press at times, but step outside of the town and you’ll quickly be immersed into some of the most beautiful marshland the UK has to offer.

It had been a year or so since we’d last visited, and decided it was time we got out of the house a bit more. So, we signed up for a family membership with Essex Wildlife Trust and made out way down to Fingringhoe Wick Nature Reserve.

A lot has changed since we last visited. First of all, the main building now has a lovely cafe area where fresh coffee and cakes can be purchased. There was a warm log burner heating the room and plenty of tables and chairs.

Going outdoors, we noticed some new areas to visit, in particular the beautiful Margaret Hide on a new area of the Wick.

It seems that a lot has been done to improve the facilities at Fingringhoe Wick Nature Reserve and I’m glad to see it. There are some beautiful parts of it and the kids love exploring around the Wick.

Fingringhoe Wick Nature Reserve

Margaret Hide, Fingringhoe Wick Nature Reserve

My daughter and I were out for a wintry walk this weekend, and decided to follow the path to the intertidal area of Fingringhoe Wick Nature Reserve. We would eventually discover the Margaret Hide

This was an area that we hadn’t previously realised existed and we were pleasantly surprised when we discovered the new Margaret Hide, which I can only assume was funded by the late Margaret Ross, for which a chair dedicates her as being the 3rd generation of a family which has farmed in the surrounding area. A fitting tribute for someone who has worked the land for so long.

The Margaret hide is beautifully placed in a tidal area of the reserve, at the end of a small pier. It provides almost 360 degree views of the area, in a place we had never previously been able to access. I would happily move in and live there (it would need a log burner though as it was pretty cold).

We were told by some locals that the best time to visit is low tide, where there will be more birds feeding. This is particularly useful for seeing avocets.

Here are some photos:

Inside margaret hide fingringhoe
The hide offers unrivalled views of the intertidal areas of Fingringhoe Wick
margaret hide
The Margaret hide can be seen on the left of this photo
Margaret Hide
One of the views from the Margaret Hide at Fingringhoe Wick Nature Reserve

Laura Perrins: private inappropriate sexual advances are NOT OK

Laura Perrins

Laura Perrins (no, we didn’t know who she was either until this morning) has supported David Davis MP over an alledged incident where he is understood to have attempted to kiss a female MP.

The alleged incident is supposed to have involved David Davis MP attempted to kiss Diane Abbott in the MPs’ bar at Westminster but was told to “fuck off” by the shadow Home Secretary. Mr Davis is said to have been seen walking away laughing and later to have said he was whipering in Diane Abbott’s ear.

It is also understood that David Davis sent a number of sexist texts about Ms Abbott to a friend, one in which he said that if he was to hug her, it would make a “good Specsavers-style advert” (suggesting that he would need to have poor eyesight to want to hug Ms Abbott).

Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show on 12th February 2017, guest reviewer Rachel Shabi pointed out that the attempt to kiss Diane Abbott was “totally inappropriate” and that Mr Davis had a responsibility to “set a tone” which he had “completely failed to do”.

However, Laura Perrins who was also a guest on the show, said that the alleged incident was “private” and therefore David Davis should “not be hung out to dry” because of it.

Apparently, Laura Perrins believes that inappropriate or uninvited sexual advances are OK as long as they are carried out behind closed doors. Of course she couldn’t be more wrong: it is never OK to make sexual advances to anyone regardless of who you are or where you are.

In the same program, Perrins went on to offer her support for President Trump visiting the UK. Presumably, Perrins feels that pussy-grabbing is also another acceptable behavior for men to project on women?

So much for female empowerment, independence, and self-sureness.

Conservative mouth piece Laura Perrins is known for her outspoken behavior and has wrtten for the Daily Mail in the past (say no more). She has previously accused the British Medical Association (BMA) as “barmy” and accused those people who believe the West still has racist tendancies as being “myth-making and leftist bullying of the worst kind” (apparently happy to ignore official United Nations statistics which say that if you are a black person in the West you are less empowered than white people).

In another vitriolic article, the Katie Hopkins wannabe accused Ewan McGregor of wanting to “devour” people’s souls for having strong morals; and standing by them.

It’s a sad situation when having morals and caring about other humans can leave you attacked by spiteful, hate-filled person. It’s even more sad when a woman thinks it’s OK for men to touch women without permission.


A12 closed after lorry falls off BRIDGE

Motorists faced another evening of misery as the A12 was CLOSED in BOTH DIRECTIONS due to a lorry falling from a bridge and landing on the southbound carriageway at Coleman’s Bridge, Witham. The northbound carriageway reopened at 17:40hrs.

Police closed the road from Marks Tey to Boreham, and witnesses described hearing a large explosion and seeing smoke. Police advised drivers to avoid the area completely and the Air Ambulance attended.

Witnesses described the scene as ‘unbelievable’ and ‘chaotic’. Delays were reported in the area and Witham is described as ‘gridlocked’.

The lorry on fire – Picture: Joanne Taylor

Utility Alliance – another Cold Call possible scam? (01429802623)

I  received a call from a company calling themselves ‘Utility Alliance’, asking to speak to the “person responsible” for the utilities at my company. When I explained that we don’t take cold calls, I was informed that the call was related to “important change in government legislation” and that she wouldn’t tell me what it was due to DPA. She also claimed that Utility Alliance was appointed by the UK Government (a claim which I can find no evidence of online). They called from the number 01429802623.

When I asked the caller to explain what the call is regarding, and the “important change in government legislation” I was told this wasn’t possible due to the Data Protection Act.

My company receives daily calls from companies selling gas and electricity services, some of whom are evasive and aggressive in their tactics, so I am reluctant to speak to anyone over the telephone who I have never heard of and who is unprepared to explain the full reason for their call. So I contacted Utility Alliance to ask what they legislation was and why the caller wasn’t prepared to give me at least some basic information. I was told to contact ian.willis@utility-alliance.com, which I did.

Utility Alliance is NOT associated with the UK Government

I later received a call from Ian Willis who said that the reason for the call was regarding either Business to Business energy supply, or because of new water tariffs coming into force in the future (which I was already aware of). He confirmed that Utility Alliance is NOT associated with the UK Government and that he would be looking into why the staff member lied.

Turns out my hunch was correct and the employee at UA hadn’t been entirely truthful. Mr Willis may not have known about this tactic of lying about being associated with the Government, and he may not have known about staff hiding behind the Data Protection Act…but I’m pretty confident that culture has come from someone within the company.

Update: 06/02/2016

On 6th Feb 2017 I received an email from Ian Willis, defending his employee and threatening further action – presumably legal – if I didn’t remove this post. Naturally I won’t be removing it; the facts are as I have said them. Presumably Mr Willis’ company record their calls so I’d be happy to revise this information if he can provide me with the evidence to support his claim that I am be untruthful.

I don’t take threats lightly, and I will not be hushed just because the manager of a business doesn’t like being called out on the behaviour of one of his employees. If course, if Utility Alliance can supply evidence to prove I’m being untruthful I’d happily apologise, but of course they won’t be able to as a call recording will clearly support all of my points made in this post.

Cranking Time Exceeded | Ford problems

Cranking time exceeded is a code which will occur on certain models of Fords (such as the Ford Fiesta, Focus, Mode, Taurus and F150). It happens when an attempt to start the vehicle has occurred for more than 60 seconds in total, without the vehicle starting.

The cranking time exceeded system is designed to stop a fuel pump running ‘dry’ i.e. without any fuel to lubricate it and is most common either after a vehicle has run out of fuel, or as a result of replacing the fuel filter.

What to do if you receive a ‘cranking time exceeded’ warning

Even if you have a code reader, you’re not going to be able to reset or clear the code. The only way to get rid of the error is to wait 15 to 30 minutes (depending on the model) and then try again.

Ensure you have fuel

It sounds obvious, but without fuel, this fault with continue to occur.

Ensure you have primed the fuel system

If you’ve run out of diesel fuel, or changed the fuel filter, you need to ensure that you have purged the system of air or the engine isn’t going to start and you’ll continue to get  ‘Cranking time exceeded’ message. You’ll just be suck air and the system won’t push fuel through. This should only be done by someone who knows what they’re doing. If you don’t know how to do this, don’t do it!

  1. If you’ve replaced the fuel filter, make sure you fill it with fuel before you attempt to start the vehicle
  2. Use a diesel priming kit, or a tube with a non-return valve and attach it to the output of the filter. Pump until all air is removed
  3. If necessary, repeat step 2 on the pipe before the fuel rail

An NHS Hospital in crises – Colchester Hospital problems

Colchester Hospital

The NHS is failing. It’s a fact that I’d been warned about but didn’t quite believe until a close family member was admitted to Colchester Hospital in December 2016.

I should be clear before I commence: the NHS appears to have saved my dad’s life, and for that I am truly grateful. The Radiotherapy department and the cancer care he received prior to being admitted to a ward in Colchester Hospital was excellent. Sadly, however, it was an expected admittance to West Bergholt Ward which almost killed him.

A seemingly never-ending list of mistakes started almost as soon as he was admitted to Colchester hospital. Recovering from weeks of radiotherapy, he was unable to swallow and had managed no liquids for over 24 hours. After he was seen, he was promised an IV drip. 2 hours later there was no news…then 3….then 4. After chasing the staff we discovered his notes had already been lost in the chaotic A&E department. Not a good start.

Over a 2 day wait for a bed

Next he would face a 2 day wait for a bed, so in the meantime was left on a gurney in the Emergency Assessment Unit (EAU). Over 48 hours there, with a nurse who was so anxious about every move she made and even struggled to work out how to switch the overhead light on.

An hour later this nurse would break the feeding tube which had been inserted into his stomach via this nose. Lucky for him it wasn’t an airline keeping him alive.

Thankfully, a senior nurse would come on duty later and ensure he had enough morphine to at least get a few hours sleep.

Colchester Hospital is understaffed and badly managed

We were told that the cause of all the delays was a lack of staff, both nurses and doctors. There were many on holiday. Now of course I totally understand that people want to spend Christmas with their families, but how can any decent management team allow the hospital to be understaffed at one of the busiest times of the year?

Lack of doctors

Within a couple of days my dad’s prescription for IV had run out. It would take another 24 hours for a doctor to make it to him to prescribe more. That was another 24 hours with no liquids for someone who was unable to swallow even his own saliva. The reason we were told, once again, was due to a lack of staff. Water is a basic human right, which is seemingly overlooked in Colchester Hospital.

This brings me neatly on to the next point.

Nurses are unable to use their initiative

Not because they can’t, but because they’re not allowed to.

For example, the issue of no IV fluid. You don’t need to be medically trained to know that a basic requirement for the human body is water, so it would seem to make perfect sense to allow a nurse to take the initiative to replace an IV of saline and water to someone who had run out.

Not in the NHS.

In the NHS, you have to have a procedure for every single thing. Of course, you need these procedures to prevent mistakes from occurring because hospitals are being sued for millions every year due to negligence. As a result, nurses have the ability to make even basic decisions removed from them. Perhaps this is a bigger issue of a lack of qualified staff, I’ve no idea, but I do know that this wastes a lot of time and is bound to decrease recovery times for patients. It must be hugely frustrating for nurses and is yet another reason why the NHS is failing to take proper care of patients.

Lack of communication

One of the biggest problems in the hospital wards is a serious lack of communication, which may of the senior staff agreed with when we spoke to them.

For example, on one occasion my dad was due to have a procedure at midday for a tube to be inserted into his nose. This has been agreed by a team of specialists. Half an hour before, we inquired as to why he hadn’t yet had his pre-med. We were then told by a very abrupt Staff Nurse that the procedure wouldn’t be going ahead, because “we don’t do that procedure on the weekend and you’ve been misinformed”. I asked her if she has checked. “Yes, I’ve been down their and there is no one there”. This caused panic for my dad who was already very nervous. After 20 minutes of worry, two porters arrived to take him downstairs for the procedure.

It turns out that not only had the nurse not been told, but she admitted to lying about checking with the department. I never did get to the bottom of why.

‘Keep fighting’

One nurse could see that things were bad for my dad. She leaned across the bed and said to my mother to “keep fighting” for him. This was a sad recognition from a member of staff just how bad things were. She was tired, over-worked and frustrated. She could see that Colchester Hospital was falling apart and there was no one to help and support her.

Writing the wrong information in notes

Whilst on the ward, a man in the bed opposite had been taken down for an x-ray and left in the hallway for 2 hours before a porter returned to take him back to the ward. In the meantime, he missed his slot for his Parkinson’s medication. Beginning to shake, he told a nurse that he needed to get back on track for his mediation as his symptoms were returning. She said he would have to wait until the next dose (in one hour) and wrote “medication refused” in his notes.

Bed sores

This same patient was unable to walk and had been complaining for bed sores. He was told that a special mattress would be provided to help move him and prevent them.

Three days later there was still no sign of the mattress. He was in agony and unable to move from the bed as he was catheterised.

Bed blocking

One of the reasons were were told for the delay in finding dad a bed on a ward was because there were too many patients waiting to be sent home, an issue known as bed blocking. This is due to a wider issue of there not being enough Social Care outside of hospitals to cope with people returning home and it’s a problem faced by hundreds of hospitals country-wide.

Wrong medication

On one occasion, a Staff Nurse attempted to give my dad oramorph (an oral form of morphine). This despite it being noted that my dad was allergic to it, and despite the doctor prescribing intravenous morphine. Had I not been there, she would have given him something which would have made a man unable to swallow violently sick. When I pointed out the mistake the nurse says “I suppose I ought to read his notes”. I kid you not. This actually happened.

A lack of empathy

The problem with some NHS staff is a lack of empathy.  Whether this is because they are so busy, or because they’ve hardened in their work, some nurses were plain nasty. One of them snapped at my dad for asking for morphine because it was two hours overdue and he was in a lot of pain.

Another nurse was overheard saying that one of the patients on the ward was “worse than a child”. Whilst she may have thought this, saying it to an elderly man who is bed ridden is rude and unprofessional.

Scared to be in hospital

On a few occasions my dad said he was scared to be in hospital. He said that he had seen so many things going wrong all around him that he genuine feared he might end up being the victim of some sort of negligence.

Complain, complain, complain!

The only way to get anything done in the hospital was by complaining. Initially, we complained to the ward Matron, who was very apologetic and did put a plan or care in place. Sadly, however, it quickly lapsed.

Eventually, after 5 days of my dad having no nutition (they couldn’t get an NG feeding tube in) I had to complain to Tammy Diles in the Head of Patient Experience. With her help (was excellent) we managed to get a meeting with my dad’s consultant and the Head of Cancer nursing. Had she not got involved, I hate to think how much longer he would have gone without proper care and nourishment.

The NHS is failing

13 years ago, my grandfather died at Colchester hospital after a GP failed to noticed a collapsed lung with lead to him contracting pneumonia. At that time, the hospital showed signs of already being under stress.

The recent experience in 2017 of my dad being treated has only shown me how much worse the care at Colchester Hospital has become and how Colchester Hospital is falling apart.

I’m not surprised doctors and nurses don’t want to work here. It’s chaotic and it’s thankless. The nurses are run into the ground. You have decent nurses who really care and really want to do a good job, fighting against a system of inadequate staffing, a percentage of unqualified and bumbling staff, a lack of doctors able to give even basic medication, and increasing number of admissions. The NHS is failing and faces a £30 billion predicted budget shortfall by 2020.

In the same week as all that I have written about was going on, the Red Cross was called in to help Accident & Emergency departments in some hospitals across the UK. Referring to it as a ‘humanitarian crises‘, the Red Cross called on Theresa May’s government to provide more funds for health and social care. The Government quickly rebuffed this and told their NHS bosses to deny their was a problem.

I can assure you that there is a problem. I have seen it first hand for a number of weeks. As a country, we have to accept that the NHS is failing and listen to the people who are telling us there are problems. We can’t keep burying our head in the sand.

On a positive note

I should be fair. The NHS spotted and removed a cancerous tumour from my dad’s neck within a matter of weeks. In that respect the NHS may have saved his life and that absolutely must be noted. The new radiotherapy department at the hospital is excellent and is a shining example of how the NHS could and should be.

Sadly, the contrast between that department at the actual hospital wards couldn’t be any further apart. You go into hospital for help and care, but I would be scared to be admitted today. The NHS is failing. There is a serious lack of investment in the NHS, not just by the Conservative Government by by the Labour Government before it. Austerity isn’t going to help save lives – it’s going to kill them. You simply can’t run a hospital like a business.

It’s sad to think that my dad was saved from cancer in one section of Colchester Hospital, and then could have died from dehydration on a ward just a few metres away. The contrast between these two areas of the hospital couldn’t be any further apart.

There are some people in the hospital who have no one. No one who visits, no one who can keep an eye on their care and no one who can fight their corner. My family and myself have absolutely no doubt that people are dying in the hospital who could have recovered and it’s a very sad situation which I am sure it not just representative of Colchester Hospital.