The saga of NOW:Pensions

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Is it me getting old that I am becoming grumpy and frustrated with “big” organisations? Or has the internet age made us expect too much? Or is too easy to ignore your customer as there are so many of us?

Almost 13 months ago I stopped working for a company where I was paying into a Pension Scheme run by NOW: Pensions.  And due to my circumstances I wrote to them and asked to close the scheme and take my funds in some form.

I am still waiting.

Numerous phone calls and letters later.

Each time they say they are resolving the issue.

But I feel no further forward.

I feel as they don’t really care.

Sometimes I feel sorry for the staff.

Apparently they have had system issues.

They can’t say when it they will be resolved.

They seem faceless.

Suprised they are still being allowed to trade.

Don’t recall getting an acknowledgment from the Internal Disputes.

We have a Pensions Ombussman and Regulator but they don’y get involed until….

 

 

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Time to sit down and create a plan

It feels as though I have used up all the quick wins on  the “timed” sections in Friston Forest and around Holmbury that I have been riding this summer. My times decreased as I leant the routes and got fitter as the year progressed. And I have been pushing harder and braking later. But now I feel as though I am at a plateau. To go quicker I must be more analytical and critical, thinking about where I loose speed and momentum and what I need to change. I  need a plan for each bend, drop, climb and awkward root if I am going to make further gains.  And I need to be fitter – when I was at school (over 40 years ago) I never managed anything further than 100yds sprint – now I need concerted effort over 2 to 10 mins and 100%  concentration, and a bit of faith. Why I ask myself? What drives me? Good questions…………

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Statisfaction

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STATISFACTION – a mistyped word? or does it mean “statistics that give comfort”?

My cycling has changed a lot this year – moving to singletrack and now singletrack that is knarly, twisty and downwards in forests and woods.  This has caused me to become quite  competitive with myself – enabled by switching to Strava and checking my times after my ride.  I know I am never going to be the fastest – a lot of the MTBr’s I see must be half my age and younger – but I can still push myself and try for PB’s – a concept so alien to me just 12 months ago.

So as well having good fun and strenous exercise I get Statsifaction (for the time being).

I hope I never get as far as SATISFICTION – statistics with no basis in reality🙂

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Heading to Wales

After years of thinking about it ……

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I made it to two of the MTB Trail centres of South Wales – first up was Bike Park Wales, and then

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it was Afan.

And then we were worn out🙂

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100% Concentration 100% FUN

 

 

 

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an English summer’s day

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Hello again!  While I have a backlog of blogs in my head it seems hard to write them down but for a starter here goes…

Inbetween decamping Lucy from Uni after 4 years study and attending her graduation last week (massively proud Dad now both “girls” have achieved great degrees and found work) we took a short hol in Cornwall. This allowed us to catch up with some old friends and take a break from the usual and try things we don’t normally do, like shopping at a  car boot fair and visiting a country show.

I must say I was impressed with the Stithians Show (near Truro). After a almost two hours watching several equine events, culminating in a Jumping competetion, I felt I could easily become a judge🙂 – only joking. After a half an hour admiring  many different chickens I realised how narrow my interests and knowlege are – some of the birds were absolutely stunning while some just plain weird. And then there was a Brass Band, goats, funny looking sheep, some massive bulls, local foods, expensive tractors and ………  All in all it was a very interesting day and yet another reminder that it is good to try things that you wouldn’t normally do because you might really enjoy the experience.

 

 

 

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Strange happenings in Friston Forest

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Er – shouldn’t the crank arms be at 180?

At just before 9 on Saturday morning I met up with Retro and Paul. The sun was burning the clouds away and for once I was following, being shown some of the delightful singletrack paths Friston Forest has to offer.

The start  was up the SDW to the top of the Downs (no gain without pain) before cutting back down to the edge of Lullington Nature reserve – so far so good – I knew where I was.  Then the fun started; into the woods for a varity of paths; trees spaced just far enough apart for my handlebars to squeeze through, ground perfect, bumps, roots, down, down, down, twisting and turning, then into the open and back up a fire road, then another dip into the woods and down again.  I had a vague idea where I was but that was all, and after the third path I was lost. Luckily Paul and Retro knew where they were.

Then suddenly Paul stopped – the brake pads on his front wheel had absconded – PING – gone. After  riding back uphill for a ¼ mile and much peering around Paul found them  – phew – they were reinserted with a zip-tie as the restraining bolt.

Not long after, I managed to knock a stump with my pedal and my crank arm rotated slightly. At first I didn’t realise what had happened and was looking at my gears while slowing down. I then cracked the arm again while being over-taken and then they were only 90 degrees apart. Nothing I could do would remove the plastic retaining plug to enable me to take the crank arm off.  So by a combination of single leg cycling and pushing I caught up with the others who were relaxing in the sun. In the end there was nothing we could do to repair the situation and I had to call it a day and make my way back to the cars some 4 miles away.

So I had more practice of single leg pedalling – and then the crank arm rotated a bit more and they were now opposite each other. This was somewhat easier to manage. It was a bit like being on a stand up rowing machine but with a rotational movement – boy it was tough on my abdominal muscles, looked hilarious and felt ridiculous as I got up to speeds of 15mph🙂

11 Jun 16

Just over 17miles and 2500ft of ascent

Continue reading

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Welcome home?

It seems it is the era of industrial unrest is messing the travel market at the moment.

Opening the Evening Standard on page 42 it read “EasyJet cancellations rise as French Controllers strike”. 173 flights cancelled in May – what a lot of disruption.

After a few days of Germanic train timetable precision I arrived at Luton to find the first direct Brighton train cancelled.

Checking the National Rail App all seemed good leaving London so I crossed London on the tube, instead of taking the Thameslink Route, and headed to Victoria. 

Sat on the 19:30 for 15 mins before being told the driver would not arrive for until about 19:50. The Southern GVT dispute still seems a long way off resolution.

Only about 22 hours later than planned – at least I have a good book to read🙂

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