Saturday, June 05, 2010

Dish Dilemma and Cracking Concert

Ann left at the crack-of-dawn to scoop up Lee from Avondale Mews and then onwards to Mum’s in Biggin Hill. We’re all off to an outdoor concert tonight with David and Val and Mum is staying for the week.

Skyforce. a TV installation company I found in Yellow Pages arrived just before lunch to give the existing TV circuitry the once-over. I seem to have lost Freeview completely (but I think that one was down to me as I snapped the cable) and to wire-in Freesat to the existing network.

When I called them on Thursday to make the booking, first impressions of the company were pretty good – instant answering of the phone and a very friendly voice at the other end. 

From then on, the service got really lousy. They promised a visit on Thursday and a text-message confirmation – neither! They then said they’d call on Friday...but they didn’t do that either. I rang first thing this morning and was told I’m ‘second on their list today’. I’ve reminded them I need to be out by 4.30, so let’s see what happens!

Amazingly, I then had two phone-calls within the space of 15 minutes to confirm that the engineer was on his way.

The engineer arrived around 10.15 and quickly put the right the problem with Freeview (yes, I had ruined the cable!), but the signal amplifier had also had a nervous breakdown. 

11.00 Next job was the Freesat installation. A challenge because we’ve got Sky multi-room (that uses – all - four ‘feeds’ from the dish), so that meant that there was no ‘space’ left on the existing dish to wire in any additional feeds. The solution was to add a new LNB that catered for up to EIGHT (that should be enough, even for me!) and hey, let’s replace the dish too...it is 10 years old!

The need for a Cable Guy It’s looking like a complicated and long job - Rory, the installer looks a bit stressed out – remember when TVs just had a mains lead and an aerial socket!!!! – so much easier.

Eeeeek
12.30 The dish has been re-sited to make future access easier (not sure how the original installer managed to position it where he did!). The holes have been drilled into the house to accept the two Freesat feeds (I went for an extra feed to save all this hassle in the future if I ever connected another Freesat device). 

iPlayer Beta - not for here just yet 2.15 Job done. Everything is working as it should – Freeview, Freesat, Freesat HD, Sky...ooo and ‘iPlayer Beta’ (almost). Yippee!

Hundreds decend on Wistow Hall 
The job took most of the day, so I felt a bit rushed, but at least the Concert tonight was localish (off the A6 towards Leicester) – Wistow Hall. The event was organised by Wigston Rotary Club for LOROS, a local hospice. David had gone on ahead whilst we prepared the picnic – During the day, the weather had been another gorgeous one, but rain was forecast for the evening – Bah!!

Ann, Mum, Lee and Val squeezed into the car and we left just before 5, heading off towards the A6. It was a pretty straightforward journey there, and thirty minutes later and with the help of Lee’s disabled badge, we were a few metres away from where we ‘pitched-our-squat’.

It was a good job we got there early (the music didn’t start until 7.30), as the place just got busier and busier...and busier! By the time the music was due to start, the place was heaving!! and now, armed with our miniature union-flags we were ready to rock!! We felt a few spots of rain in the air, but nothing to worry about.

Val and Ann had collated a great picnic menu and we did it justice throughout the evening! 

The Hall The evening got off to to a noisy-but-nice start with the swing band Junction 21 who performed a variety of numbers from the swing-era..but surprisingly finished off about an hour later doing a Madness number: One Step Beyond – talented indeed!

Next-up, was the highlight of the evening – The Kettering Citadel Brass Band, made up from the members of the local Salvation Army – they were absolutely brilliant – good sound, good musicians and a repertoire that included music you don’t necessary associate with brass bands!

As the evening drew to a close (with the staple hymn: Land of Hope and Glory), Mum was feeling the cold and retired to the car. Sixth sense or what, as a few minutes later, we had lightning and the threat of a downpour. Time for the rest of us to pack-up and make a swift exit.

Leaving Wistow Hall was a real challenge – no lighting (we’d parked in a field), no Marshalls, and no signage (well, not much anyway). After a bit of a tour round the car-park, we spotted the exit and and left. Our guess was that with the deteriorating weather and the hundreds of cars leaving after us, it would be a nightmare to get back onto the main road. Phew! In a way, I’m glad we left we left when we did.

We had a good journey home. Mum was tired, so was Lee...so were we! I just remember looking at the clock in the bedroom at 11.29 and then I must have dropped off to sleep almost immediately.

A rushed day, but a great evening!

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