Monday, August 22, 2016

McQueens Dairies ignoring No Cold Calling Zones

Last week I got a knock on my door from a representative of McQueens Dairies* trying to get me to sign up for milk deliveries. The problem is that my street recently became a "No Cold Calling Zone". This came about because a number of pensioners in the street had been conned out of money by bogus door-to-door salesmen or pressured to sign up to things they did not want. It has been pretty effective with only McQueens (this was their second visit to me), and a few bogus charity collectors ignoring it. To become a No Cold Calling Zone 70% of the residents had to vote in favour. Not 70% of voters but 70% of residents so the vote had to have a very good turn out. The vote was administered by the City of Edinburgh Council Trading Standards department and was pretty unequivocal. We even have signs on the lamp posts telling potential salesmen that they should not call. Nobody in the street is likely to buy anything at the door these days.

So enter McQueen's Diaries. On their last visit I had mentioned the new No Cold Calling Zone and given them the benefit of the doubt. This time I pointed out that we had voted that we did not want people knocking on our doors and that they should not be doing so. The salesman then became aggressive, saying that it was only advisory not the law (true), that they had it all "sewn up legally" and there was "nothing we could do about it". Clearly, he had come across this before and had a rehearsed speech. The next thing he came out with was "we are exempt because we already do business in this street" (not true, and he presented no evidence that they do have customers in my street - I have never seen a milk delivery) , and that they were also exempt "because we sell products under a certain price" (not true). When I corrected him he got more aggressive and I had to ask him to leave my property or I would call the police. Fortunately he left, but I was pretty unhappy about his behaviour and did wonder if he might come back and "have a go".

I am not convinced this was an isolated case because the salesman claimed the company had received legal advice and he used very precise wordings in response to me. It was also interesting that although he stated that No Cold Calling Zones were not "the law" he went on to give a list of reasons why McQueens were exempt from the law!

There ARE exemptions to the No Cold Calling Zone rules such as:
  • Everyday traders 
  • Enforcement agencies 
  • Charities 
  • Religious groups 
  • Political canvassers
McQueen's Dairies are not exempt as everyday traders because they are getting you to sign up to a contract, not a one-off sale or a regular casual agreement. Agencies acting for charities are probably also not exempt, especially if they are selling lottery subscriptions.

So, maybe there is nothing I can do to force McQueen's Dairies to respect our No Cold Calling Zone, but I CAN make other people aware of their practices. Have you had McQueens knock on your door?

* I believe this company is McQueens Dairies Ltd of 1 Keppochhill Place, Port Dundas, Glasgow, G21 1HS. The lack of apostrophe in the name is their choice.

Looks like I am not the only person having problems (from Facebook):


Saturday, July 30, 2016

Replacement Case for Selmer Balanced Trumpet

After buying my Selmer 19A balanced trumpet the zip on the case broke. It was not easy to find a replacement case because the old Selmer is longer than most modern trumpets. Most cases are too short so I have been keeping it in a double case with vertical slots.

Then I found a case for sale that seemed like it might fit. It is made by Carol Brass case, and supplied with their balanced model trumpet. I tried my Bach Strad in it and it fitted, but the valve cut out was long enough to take the Selmer and the case itself was a bit longer. I put the Selmer in and it fitted. The end around the bell bow was not a perfect fit so I took a small hammer and reshaped the padding of the case a bit at that point. It is now a perfect fit. It has a retro look too.

Friday, July 29, 2016

New Moody Blues Album for 2016, only on Spotify.

I bet that got your attention, if you are a Moody Blues fan. Well it’s not quite a new album, but it is as close as we are likely to get.

The Album that Never Was (2016) by The Moody Blues

Play Now on Spotify (Premium account required)


The Moody Blues have not recorded a new studio album since “December” which was released in 2003. However, the individual members (and ex members) have continued to write and record during that period, especially since 2010. Because that material is so current I have used it to compile “The Album That Never Was”, which is available as a playlist on Spotify, or you could assemble the tracks yourself if you have them in your library.

Tracks were taken from:

  • Spirits of the Western Sky - album by Justin Hayward (2014)
  • 10,0000 Light Years Ago - album by John Lodge (2016)
  • The Trouble with Memories - single by Ray Thomas (2010)

All of the songs mirror quite a similar theme - looking back on life and career and give a flavour of what the studio album recorded after Strange Times might have sounded like. As a bonus track you could add Simply Magic from 10,000 Light Years as this includes Ray Thomas on flute and Mike Pinder on Mellotron (it is not available on Spotify which is why I didn’t include it).

The rationale for choosing the songs started as:

  • 10 tracks because Strange Times had around 10 full songs, as did Sur La Mer. 10 tracks seems to work. It just seems to be the number that works.
  • Opening with an upbeat Hayward number because most recent Moody Blues albums have.
  • Include 5 Hayward, 4 lodge, 1 Thomas song if they are available
  • Ignoring the re-recordings on Spirits of the Western Sky which were done for the Moody Bluegrass album and the remixes of old recordings as they are not new material.
  • Working with what bits of 10,000 light years were available on Spotify, as the whole album isn’t.
  • Treat it as an LP with two sides needing suitable running orders.
  • End the album with something reflective, but hopeful.

In the end this didn’t quite work out and I opened with “In my Mind” by John Lodge which has a big rock introduction featuring Chris Spedding on guitar. I think this bookends quite well with the extended orchestral version of One Day Some Day which closes the album. The order of the other songs is partly based on key signature and time signature. It doesn't flow perfectly and the instrumentation is quite different between the source recordings, but it is as good as we are going to get I think.

Track Listing

Side 1

In My Mind(Lodge)
Lazy Afternoon (Hayward)
In Your Blue Eyes (Hayward)
The Eastern Sun (Hayward)
Love Passed Me By (Lodge)

Side 2

On The Road to Love (Hayward)
The Western Sky (Hayward)  
10,000 Light Years Ago (Lodge)  
The Trouble With memories (Thomas)
One Day, Someday - extended orchestral version (Hayward)

Play Now on Spotify (Premium account required)