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4x4CB's BLOG !
.   |   About this BLOG   |   Archive (2004 - 2009)   |   

Apologies, this blog has not been updated in over 2 years! The best way to keep up to date with whats happening is to join Jim, the Proprietor on Facebook ... at some point i will bring over all my posts from there into this blog!

Welcome to the 4x4CB BLOG !

Read all my Blogs on this page or in three separate categories!
Every blog entry is posted on this page but for those who want to read just one category (i.e. the site development blog), you can do so by clicking these links :

Site Development Blog
Read about latest updates, changes, plans and general 4x4cb.com related stuff

General CB & Business Blog
Read about whats happening in the CB world in general - users and trade, and our little corner of the business

Jims Personal Blog
Read about whats happening in the life of Jim the webmaster and proprietor

This Blog was started on 9th December 2004 (see archives for older posts), and is designed to be a free-flow of information, thoughts, comments, and general blurb & blah from me to you!

This Blog breaks with the "professionalism" of the rest of the site, and is written from my perspective - me, Jim - the proprietor and webmaster, so expect a little of (my) humour, and (my) personal opinions....

Want to comment on my Blog? Want to answer a question? Click here to email me!

Thursday 11th October 2012

Apologies for the lack of blog postings ... what with 3 young kids, the business and more than my fair share of illness and upset lately, thesy've been very few and far between.

Are you on Google+ ? If so, read on...
Did you know that ANYONE can add you to their circles, you cannot stop them and you cannot remove yourself?

i'm already getting adds from people with nonsense names (like the ones spammers use in emails) presumably with the intention of spamming me. you can ignore that person so you dont see their posts but you remain in their circles and show in their lists to anyone who visits their profile.

I'm looking at some of these peoples profiles and theres a list of spam names and then mine, bold as brass, making me a target for more spammers to add me to their circles.

i can see this snowballing so that you could end up with hundreds if not thousands of adds, so what do you do - spend all day every day blocking these people while all the time the adds accelerate?

Google don't think its a problem but they made a big noise about google+ having the best privacy controls of all social media sites but the fact that you don't even have the ability to approve or deny these adds makes it worse than facebook (who at least ask if someone can be your friend!), and i don't think facebook are too worried about users privacy... but it seems google are even less worried!

If i end up with hundreds or thousands of people adding me to their circles i'll just pull the plug on G+ which will be a shame as i've been an early adopter of most google projects but it seems they just don't care.

If you think this is as crazy as i do, theres a thread going on the google+ product forum here :


speak up and lets try and get them to see sense.

The post was originally posted by someone who's been added by people that could put his business, his reputation and even his personal safety in danger.

Imagine if someone opened an account called "we-are-pedos-and-we-like-abusing-children" and added you to their circle... you can do nothing about it, you can block them but your name will be there (for ever) for the world to see that you're in their circles, and obviously anyone seeing that will think you're a child abuser. Now imagine you're a police officer, social worker or in fact anyone that someone might have a grudge against.... you can do NOTHING about it.

This is madness !!
Posted in Jims Personal Blog

Wednesday 11th May 2011

Back from a short holiday
Anyone who called over the weekend will know that we were closed from Friday until Monday - me and the family had a long weekend at the south coast - our first holiday in almost 4 years!

Nothing fancy, just one of those £9.50 holidays out of the sun newspaper (although they always manage to add on entertainment passes, electric, and linen charges to bump the cost up!) in Pontins at Camber Sands in Sussex.

Being a family with 3 kids under 5 the park management thought it would be a good idea to put us next to the entertainment centre and right on the main path down to one side of the rest of the site. To make matters worse there was some kind of dance competitiongoing on and most of the teams also seemed to be in the same block as us so by day we had scantily clad teenagers practicing their dance moves to ghetto blasters out on the green and by night thumping bass until midnight followed by hoards of even more scantily clad, drunk-out-of-their-minds screaming and shouting teenagers running about hitting on each other and being sick (not necessarily in that order) until about 2am! The kids got a bit frightened by all the screaming etc and we all ended up squeezed into the bedroom at the back to get away from it a bit! Anyway, it was good to have a break from working my normal crazy hours and to be with the family 24/7 for a few days, and the weather was kind to us so we can't moan too much!

We visited Drusillas on the way back on monday which was really good... i used to go there as a kid as i used to family down that way and it was a lot smaller than i remember (things always are though aren't they?) but the facilities were excellent and i'd very much recommend it to anyone with kids under 10 years old. Here's a pic of me Ella and JJ after riding the Thomas the Tank Engine train!
Posted in Jims Personal Blog

Thursday 13th January 2011

What a nightmare couple of days
It's turned out ok in the end but yesturday i got in to find that we'd had a power cut... well nearly... we were running on "reduced voltage" (this has happened before - one of the joys or being in the middle of the woods) as there had been a tree come down on one of the overhead power lines.

This meant that things like the lights would work, dimly... the kettle took about 20 minutes to boil one cups worth and the microwave was constantly bleeping and dimly flashing its display.

However, what wouldnt work were all the important things like our main phone (i have an old plug-in jobbie as a backup so i could at least answer the phone) the answerphone, router, computers, label printers and other electronics, so i could answer the phone but not check emails, process sales, book despatches for fedex etc.

It came back on late in the evening so i could finally get back online... only to find that the datacentre in reading that hosts this site had a server failure and my site was down!

Our hosts (flinthosts) were planning to migrate this site to a new datacentre next week as the old one has been a bit "fragile" with bits of downtime and odd things happening but this failure forced them to do this early so from around 4pm today the site is now on new, faster servers... fingers crossed everything will work better now!
Posted in General CB & Business Blog

Thursday 23rd December 2010

At Last, baby is here!
I'm very proud to announce that the latest addition to my family is finally here, Connor James Aston Aitken, born 4.45pm yesturday 22nd December, 7lb 4oz 18.5 inches long!

It wasn't an easy one - usually Mrs 4x4cb gets 'em out pretty quick but delays at the hospital meant that what should've been "arrive at hospital 8am monday for induction, baby out by 2-3pm" turned into a mammoth 3 day waiting event with me sleeping on the hospital floor for 2 nights and latterly rushing backwards and forwards sorting out babysitters for our other kids and generally not an easy birth for mum and baby... still, he's here now and seems right as rain which is the main thing.

Because of Mrs4x4cb's complications that we knew about (gestational diabetes, blood disorders, polyhydramnios (too much amniotic fluid) and SPD - Symphysis pubic dysfunction) they both need to stay in hospital for 48 hours or so for monitoring so they are still there and i'm on babysitting duties for our other younger ones - 2 year old and 4 year old, so i'm STILL not able to work a normal working day.

Apologies to anyone who has been phoning us this week - as i've tried to stay with her as much as possible, the phone has been on answerphone prettymuch all week... all outstanding parcels despatched though which i'm pleased about!
Posted in Jims Personal Blog

Sunday 19th December 2010

Baby Tomorrow! (hopefully)
Well, we've made it through the weekend so tomorrow morning Mrs 4x4cb and I should be off to Epsom hospital for the birth of our 5th child - that's as long as the midwifes make it through the snow - we had another 4 inches or so over the weekend!

Fingers crossed!
Posted in Jims Personal Blog

Thursday 16th December 2010

Chistmas is coming... and so is something else...!
Well, Christmas is just around the corner but here at 4x4cb HQ we're awaiting something else rather important thats going to happen before Christmas does... the birth of our fifth child (yes, 5!)
Anyone who's read our page showing the opening times over Chistmas & New Year will already know that Mrs 4x4cb is due to be induced on Monday 20th December although with a few contractions earlier today and an appointment at the hospital for a "sweep" tomorrow, it might just happen before ... but then with luck being the way it is, we will get to the 20th and now it's started snowing again and more is expected over the weekend, theres the chance we'll get there on Monday to find all the midwives haven't made it into work and they'll postpone it! (god help us all if that happens as Mrs 4x4cb can be a pretty outspoken person at times, and she won't be happy at all if that happens!).
All i can say is - watch this space!
Posted in Jims Personal Blog

Staff Illness
In the last 2 weeks i've managed to get Gastroenteritis which basically consists of chucking up and feelin shite for 4 days, and now (i think cos i'd been laid low with the Gastro stuff) i've managed to get a chest infection which has turned to bronchitis and sinusitis. So now i'm croaking my way through phone calls, coughing like a 40-a-day smoker (i'm not) and giving myself a constant banging headache with all the coughing!
Got some antibiotics from the Doc which will hopefully take care of it, but obviously it's the last thing we need with baby imminent. Mrs 4x4cb has got a version of it, luckily it doesnt seem quite as bad as mine but she's managed to rip or tear a muscle in her abdomen with coughing - just what she needs! Day before yesturday she was screaming saying she'd rather give birth than have this pain, and roll on Monday so she could have some gas and air and could actually cough properly! Flippin winter ailments!
Posted in Jims Personal Blog

Wednesday 27th October 2010

Crikey, i've done it again, left it months between blog entries... ooops! Oh well, here goes...

New Products
I've been adding quite a few new products over the last couple of weeks, but loads more to add, again i seem to have got behind with this, but i've got a handle on it now and webdev stuff is progressing. Quite a few new CB's are out now - i had taken the decision to not add too many of them as too much choice can confuse people but i'm just going to have to update my "choosing the right cb for you" page to reflect this. Theres some really nice radios out now, check them out ; CB Radios
Posted in Website Development Blog

16 photos for every item!
I'm also starting to roll out my 16 image script that eventually i hope to add to most product descriptions - jeeeez thats a lot of photos to tweak, crop, resize, watermark, upload etc! For some items i don't have enough photos so i've done 8 and 12 image versions of it too. At the time of writing this, i've done about half of the CB's, so follow the link above and see what you think.
Posted in Website Development Blog

The cable thieves have been at it again
This is mad... yesturday i went to the post office as per my usual daily trip down there only to find it was closed... this was because their phones weren't working, and so their computers couldnt talk back to royal mail hq or wherever they communicate so they weren;'t able to do anything. This was because some toerags had broken into a bt box and dragged out miles of cable - so they could flog it for its scrap value! I know the scrap price of metal has been high (i've been trying to buy a £100 el-cheapo car to do the school runs and runs to the post office instead of our Shogun which seems to guzzle fuel on these shoprt journeys, especially in the winter) and had no luck - someone told me it's cos you can get over £100 for a scrapper nowadays... gone are the days where i had to pay to get my old scrappers towed away!
Posted in Jims Personal Blog

Fire station open day
Our local fire station had an open day at the weekend, great fun, the younger kids were chuffed to bits to sit in a fire engine, wear a firemans hat, shoot high pressure water at a target etc but eldest son (15 and fairly unimpressed with such sillyness) decided that after 10 minutes he'd prefer to sit in the car and listen to his ipod and then it all went to pot when a fireman mentioned to 4 year old daughter that the st johns ambulance van which normally turns up at house fires to look after the house owners while the firemen do their job, had chocolate biscuits on board and that was it, screaming ab dabs for chocolate! Still, a bloke from the local paper was there and took a couple of photos of me and the youngest 2 so you never know, we might make it into print!
Posted in Jims Personal Blog

Finally finished my bridge!
I've had a little diy project going (one of many to do) of improving our old bridge... added a couple of extra sleepers to make it wider, added some heavy duty side rails with stock fencing (thats the end of the kid's pooh sticks games, but at least they won't fall in now!) and hung a 5 bar gate... all looks pretty pukka now. Thats one off the list at least.
Posted in Jims Personal Blog

Anyway, thats it for now, best get on with more photo editing and product adding, it's only 3.45am, the night is young, yawn.

Saturday 14th August 2010

New water main... what a pain
The water board have decided that the water main running down the side of the lane leading to 4x4cb towers needs replacing. We're a mile down a narrow unmade track that snakes over holmwood common - I've greenlaned on more substantial tracks, so during the work they have to shut it to all traffic for some hours every day. On Friday, Mrs 4x4cb had a couple of hospital appointments up in Epsom, so we bundled the kids in the car and headed out early before they could shut it, to reopen at 2pm - they said. We duly arrived back at about 1.45 to be told they'd hit a problem (in fact they'd hit a plastic services pipe that wasn't on their plans and had a major problem on their hands) ... luckily we found somewhere we could park up and hoofed it - unfortunately we'd been shopping and it was raining so me, the heavily pregnant Mrs 4x4cb, our two youngest kids and a couple of bags of frozen food trudged the mile back. Luckily they'd sorted it out before Fedex came to collect my outgoing parcels at about 3.30, or I'd have been making some apologetic phone calls! Next week is going to be worse as they're still on the first 100 yards of the lane and it'll be closed every day next week... something to look forward to!
Posted in Jims Personal Blog

Happy Birthday Ella!
Our beautiful daughter Ella was 4 in the week and we'd planned a party/gathering in the excellent playground and recreational area in Reigate Priory today... unfortunately it's been raining cats and dogs yesterday so in a rush we had to change venue to our house. One of the reasons we wanted to have it at the Priory was that the house and garden here aren't really set up for loads of kids... sure, we've got the room in the garden but due to the (still going on) renovations, theres piles of rubble, a good couple of skipfulls of rubbish in various piles, cement mixers, cars on trailers and god knows what else. Our kids are well used to it and keep away from the stuff we don't want them to go near but a bunch of excited kids who've maybe not experienced a work-in-progress garden which is essentially a clearing in the woods aren't so wise! It went ok, most of the parents stuck around (as we'd asked them to anyway in our original plans because of the public nature of the rec at the Priory) and it was on/off rain so wasn't too bad & highlights being one of the parents handing me an axe that one of the kids had found round the back of my office (I'd been digging out some foundations for a shed and had been using it to cut through roots) and one boy who was absolutely terrified of our german shepherd while a little girl who was fixated with her was begging me not to shut her away cos she just wanted to play with her! Anyway, all went well in the end and a good time was had by all, our good friend Sarah made a fantastic Minnie Mouse cake and all the kids seemed to enjoy themselves which was the main thing!
Posted in Jims Personal Blog

Fiday 30th July 2010

Oops, distinct lack of blog entries again lately - been very busy with other things and the day-to-day running of the business and site!

Downtime yesturday
As i'm typing this (1.30am Friday), the site has just come back online after around 19 hours of downtime! Thanks to the efforts of the staff at our hosts, things are back to normal but apologies to anyone who tried to visit this site between 5.30am and midnight yesturday - believe me it was worse for us than it was for you... Thursday tends to be a very busy day with people ordering stuff for delivery on Friday ready for fitting/use over the weekend!
Posted in Website Development Blog

Mrs 4x4cb is pregnant again!
Just realised i've posted about this on Facebook but not here! She's 18 weeks now and all seems to be going smoothly... we don;t know what we're having yet but will do in a few weeks. We've got an appointment later this morning at the diabetes clinic as she developed pregnancy diabetes with her last one and it's likely it'll happen again... just have to see. We'd better make the most of this one as we're agreed its probably our last - we're both 41 and already have an 18 month old, a 4 year old and 2 older ones - the eldest has long since flown the nest and given us 2 grandsons!
Posted in Jims Personal Blog

Update on the 16 image graphic thingy
A few blogs back i asked for feedback on a new script i'd written to show product photos... i've now started to get it on the site, it's taken some time and only one product has it so far - the Albrecht AE6890 remote head CB but i think it looks good and will eventually get put on all product descriptions (so keep those photos coming!)
Posted in Website Development Blog

Update on the ebay chainsaw boot situation
I'd bought some boots from ebay and the seller had mis-read the bottom of the boot and said they were size 11 when they weren't... i believe this was a genuine mistake and the lady refunded me in full and didn't want the boots back, so when i get a chance i'll be putting them back on ebay - whatever i get for them i'll send her, which'll be a nice surprise for her i think... only fair i feel.
Posted in Jims Personal Blog

The Sirio Mythos 9000 is back (and even better than before!)
I was gutted when i heard that Sirio had stopped making the 3/8" version of this aerial but i've just got a new shipment in and with the addition of a small extra bit it's still got a 3/8" thread and has a neat angle adjustability feature - good news! I've got to update the description of it now to show this.
Posted in General CB & Business Blog

Monday 17th May 2010

Feedback on my 16 photo product image thing...
Thanks to everyone who sent messages via facebook and the site's contact page about the proposed photo viewer for the products, as mentioned in my last blog post - the general consensus is that it works for everyone and fits MOST peoples browsers ok, so i'm going to start rolling it out for all products as soon as i get the chance.

It's pretty labour intensive resizing and cropping all the photos etc and i have thousands to put up so its a bit of a mammoth task i've made myself!

I'd still be interested to hear any comments about it, especially if something doesn't work for you so if you've already viewed it please see the blog posting from 11th May and have a look.
Posted in Website Development Blog

When is a size 11 boot a size 8?
When it's bought on ebay, of course! I found a fairly cheap pair of used chainsaw boots last week and they arrived today and instead of being size 11, my size, they're size 8... i think its a genuine mistake as i do see a code number or something on the sole that says "11" but the big "42" with a circle around it means that it's a UK size 8 and wouldn't fit my hands let alone my feet. Just have to hope i'll get my money back, shouldn't be a problem as paypal have held it back as the sellers a newly regsieterd unverified seller anyway so hopefully it'll just be the inconveneince and cost of returning them that i'll be down by - we'll see.
Posted in Jims Personal Blog

Updated the winners on the monthly photo competition page...finally
I've been a bit remiss by not updating the £20 a month voucher giveaway, for photos page with information about the winners - it's probably been putting people off sending in photos! Anyway its done now and soon they'll be May's winner to annouce... sometimes it's pretty hard to decide the winner as some people do send in some cracking photos, but i just stick to my points system and see who comes out on top!
Posted in Website Development Blog

NEW weld-on rollcage bracket for Dome mounts
One of our new products is a weld-on bracket for all of our dome mounts - i've got to get it on the site soon as its a real nice bit of kit - nice steel construction and very good quality, fits the dome mounts millimeter perfect and as it's been commissioned by us, we're the only stockist for it! I'll update this blog when i've got it on the site.
Posted in General CB & Business Blog

Tuesday 11th May 2010

Please help me by testing my new product image gallery
I've just finished a new bit of coding which (if it works for everyone) i will be rolling out across the site... it's an image gallery showing 16 product photos, and it should preload the images (so theres no delay when you're switching between them) and change the images when you move your mouse over the thumbnail pics.

Please ignore the text that say "click on the small pictures to view them larger" - it should work without the need to click them!

Please take a look and if possible please send a message via our special contact form here : contact form

The page i'd like you to look at is here : http://www.4x4cb.com/public/item.cfm?itemID=1680

1/ does it all fit onto your screen (will depend on the settings on your computer - i want to try and make sure it fits for MOST people)
2/ do the images change as you move your mouse over them?
3/ do the photos change smoothly and quickly? (please give the page a second or so before trying, just to give it a chance to load the pics)
4/ any comments on this way of showing product photos... good... bad ?
5/ if you have any problems, please describe them so i check the problem out and make changes if necessary

Thank you for your help!!
Posted in Website Development Blog

I'm a Grandad...again
My eldest daughter gave birth to a second grandson yesturday...whay!!

He's pretty small but doing well by all accounts, so big congrats to her.

I ended up with the answerphone on all day yesturday as Mrs 4x4cb was at the hospital with her and i was left on babysitting duties for our youngest son who's 14 months old.

The plan was that he usually has a little kip for a couple of hours from around 11-11.30am, so i'd be able to take the baby listener with me into the office (my daily commute is about 20 yards) where i'd be able to work until he woke up - packing the days parcels etc. This didn't work out at all, as he was full of beans all day until about 4pm by which time our second youngest (nearly 4) had been dropped back from nursery school, and i had to babysit her anyway! I ended up not getting into the office until gone midnight as the Mrs didn't get back until 11pm anyway - apologies to everyone who was expecting their orders sent out yesturday. I've had a frantic day today (started off with a journey up to Epsom hospital to drop some bits off for the baby, and then an 11.30am physio appointment for my back) but managed to get everything packed and sent - still got a few people to phone back though!
Posted in Jims Personal Blog

Still not many blogs...oops
I seem to have fallen behind on updating this page with new blogs again... it's becoming one a month if i'm not careful! It's not that i don't have much to say it's just that i don't have much time to write it - in fact i don't have enough time to do loads of things - i usually have to make do with between 2-5 hours sleep a night doing what i do mange to do and theres a thousand jobs to do on this site and the office is a mess and i'm behind with paperwork etc etc etc! Oh well... keep plugging away i guess, but i must keep this blog up to date - especially as i link to it now with prettymuch every email i write to people!
Posted in Jims Personal Blog

New Products
I've now got dozens of new products to add to this site including quite a few "4x4cb exclusives" - products you won't find anywhere else but here... items we've imported or had made for us... watch this space over the coming weeks as i'm going to switch emphasis to getting this on here pretty soon.
Posted in Website Development Blog

Tramadol no more
Regular readers or new readers who can be bothered to read my previous posts will know that in the agonising run-up to my back operation last month i'd managed to get myself "addicted" to the heavy duty prescription pain killer Tramadol... i'm pleased to announce that i've kicked this now, weaned myself down to one a day then one every other day, and now none - result!
Posted in Jims Personal Blog

Tuesday 20th April 2010

Well, i've had my operation and so far its seems like its been a success, all the nerve pain down my leg has gone, my scar is healing nicely and i'm feeling stronger all the time!

I ended up staying in hospital for 2 days after the op, ouch it hurt the first day, despite loads of pain killers... i think i wanted to believe the people who told me i'd have an immediate loss of pain - i did, of the pain i'd had before the op, but the actual operation site hurt like hell - still thats all behind me now.

I had my first physiotherapy session today, i think the idea was to ease me back into work but being self employed my 6 week sick note didn't really mean anything and i was actually in the office packing parcels the day i was discharged from hospital, albeit only for an hour or so.

I've got loads of exercises to do, mainly to do with strengthening the muscles that had been wasted in the 14 months i've had the problem and not been very physical, but also to strengthen my core muscles to make sure nothing like it happens again... the wife's hopeful i'm going to get my 6 pack back i think!

The only major problem i've got now is that after a good 10 months or so of strong painkillers (Tramadol) i now have a habit for the stuff - at one point i was on 8 a day, i'm now down to 1 every day or other day, not to relieve pain but to get rid of the horribly restless feelings and twitchyness in my legs and arms that i get at night... speaking to a mate who managed to get himself off hard drugs some years ago, it seems i'm going through a bit of cold turkey, if its like this with prescription drugs i can understand what he went through when he kicked a 10 year smack habit!

Anyway, onwards and upwards now, and although i'm nowhere near my fitness level i was at a year and a half ago, i'm deffinately getting there. Can't come soon enough as theres still so much to do at home (the renovations of my little cottage in the woods stopped pretty abruptly some months ago when i ran outa money to pay my builder mate and ran outa strength to do it all myself) ... 3 shed bases to dig out, hardcore and concrete, an old cow shed to pull down, more bases to make for whatever is going in it's place, plus a 60 foot x 20 foot patio to lay, and half an acre of garden to tame - not to mention a whole house to final fix and decorate!
Posted in Jims Personal Blog

We got a walker!
JJ, my 13 month old son is walking! he still prefers to crawl around at breakneck speed but he's very pleased with himself when he does walk - he can get from one end of the living room to the other unaided now, to much applause and encouragement from me and mrs 4x4cb.

He's still getting apnia attacks at night sometimes (stops breathing) but we've got a monitor now - we had to buy one, got fed up with the hospital/health visitors not providing one, and he's still getting chest infections after his last bout of pneumonia and still stops breathing if he falls over or hurts himself so all things considered my lil soldier is doing pretty well.
Posted in Jims Personal Blog

Please be my friend...!
I'm still mentioning my facebook page in the signature of most of my emails to people www.facebook.com/4x4cb ... apart from a few comments and bits i haven't done much on there yet, but plan to have a few special offers etc for my facebook contacts in the near future, so if you're on facebook, give it a click and send me a message and friend request - it may well be worth your while!
Posted in General CB & Business Blog

Friday 19th March 2010

Midland Alan 78
At last, this radio is now back in stock... we've been waiting months for it to come back in - i was starting to think the newly introduced Midland 278 was going to be it's replacement!
Posted in Website Development Blog

Letter from the hospital
Ooops, i said in my blog post of 16th march that i hadn't received an important letter from Ashtead hospital... well, i've now found this - it was my filing system at fault, not the hospital or royal mail!
Posted in Jims Personal Blog

Tuesday 16th March 2010

Had a pre-op assessment at Ashtead hospital today, in preparation for my back operation at the end of the month.

I didn't receive any letter confirming my op but luckily Mrs 4x4cb phoned them yesturday, to hear about the appointment booked for today - nearly missed it which wouldve really screwed things up!

Apparently they'd also sent some forms for me to fill in some weeks ago, and i hadnt received them either... now, royal mail gets a kicking in the press etc for post going missing but i'm a pretty big first class mail user, sending between 5 and 20 packets and parcels a day from my local post office and sometimes things are delayed but i can honestly say i havent had anything go permanently missing in over a year, so WTF is happening with these letters from the hospital???
Posted in Jims Personal Blog

Tuesday 9th March 2010

Regular readers of my blog will know about my back problem - a herniated disc, and the fact that i'm in line for surgery at the end of this month.... well, it really kicked in again last Friday, and frightened the brown stuff outa me later in the weekend!

Not sure if i actually did anything to agravate it, but friday was a nightmare, my painkillers didnt seem to do anything and it was so bad i had to stick the answerphone on and do nothing. During the evening i developed a dull aching in my arms and legs which got worse into the night. A good friends' daughter was having her 5th birthday party on saturday, so i painkillered myself up and me, Mrs 4x4cb and our 2 kids went off to this - held at the new soft play area "Crazy Tots" (although we cant call it that anymore apparently... some legal stuff or something) at Leatherhead Leisure Centre (more about this later).

By the end of the day my arms were agony and had such a lack of strength that i could hardly hold my 1 year old boy or turn the steering wheel of the wifes' Shogun and i was getting a bit worried! It got worse during the evening, ending up with me convinced this was stage one of paralysis and i was going to wake up dead from the neck down!

Sunday morning came and while i wasn't paralysed, i flippin hurt and i couldnt open a packet of crisps or hold a cup - i've never experienced such a weird lack of strength yet it hurt so much trying... so we went off to A&E at Epsom hospital. Waited for nearly 4 hours to be told that other than do my operation immediately (which they werent prepared to do) there was nothing they could do for me, and they told me to wait it out.

Thankfully i was a little better yesturday (monday) - not good enough to work, but i could hold a cup (albeit in both hands), dress myself and type... slowly.

Today i've been able to move about more normally but still hurting arms and neck and prettymuch no strength at all, but it looks like i havent done any permanent nerve damage and should recover - thank God!! Still flippin hurts though! Hopefully tomorrow i'll be back to work in some kind of normality!
Posted in Jims Personal Blog

Leatherhead Leisure Centre, Crazy Tots / soft play area / Birthday party
If you've read the above post, you'd have seen that we all went to a mate of mines 5 year old daughters birthday party held at Leatherhead Leisure Centre.

Well, i have to say that it seems they have a solid stream of parents booking this place for birthdays - the idea is that you get an hour in the soft play area and another hour o so in one of their rooms, for the birthday party itself.

My mate only got 45 minutes before being told to vacate the soft play area, and the leisure centre refused to give him a 25% discount which i thought was a bit much but what i really thought was bad was the room we got to hold the party in.

I've never been to visit anyone in prison but this room is exactly what i would expect to find as a vistors room in a old nasty jail (not one of these light and airy new fangled jalis, either)... brick walls painted a nasty dark colour until halfway up and a kindof dirty magnolia above, not a single window and very very oppressive.

Thing is, it seems that they have a constant stream of kids parties being held in there (judging by the speed the cleaners came in to clear the tables in readyness for the next party, before outr party had actually finished), so how come theres NOT ONE kid friendly poster or indeed any poster or party thing in there at all, the walls were totally bare - not what i wouldve expected from a room thats used constantly as a kids party room. It was nasty. Luckily the kids didnt seem to mind too much... i think its what you make it, but the atmos and look of the room really did no favours at all.

If you've found this blog because you searched google for childrens parties at Leatherhead Leisure Centre i would seriously make sure you know what room you're getting before you part with any money!! It aint cheap either!
Posted in Jims Personal Blog

Tuesday 16th February 2010

The other day i had an email from GoCompare.com regarding a campaign they've got going to get links to their site on other sites.

Their email read "We are looking for good quality websites to partner with and having looked at your website, blah blah" ... thing is that the site they're wanting to go onto is not a site at all... the domain name was a dropped one (not required by the previous registrant, left to lapse and eventaully made available again by Nominet) that i had picked up for it's 4x4 related traffic. It's just a redirect/advert page for 4x4cb.

It's amazing to me (maybe i'm silly here?) that a company with as big a profile as GoCompare would send out an email to prospective business partners that had a blatant lie in it - crikey, you'd think they'd at least take a quick look before sending out the email??????
Posted in Jims Personal Blog

Sunday 14th February 2010

Updated "photos wanted" page
I've finally updated this page, i hadn't updated it with the winners of the vouchers for months!
Posted in Website Development Blog

New products
Some new products are starting to make their way onto the site, although there will be many many more cool and useful accessories and some really nice new radios being put on very soon.
Posted in Website Development Blog

UPS - uninteruptable power supplies
Do you use of these for your computer? You should do, but guess what, you should also use it if you have a Samsung LCD tv... they are very susceptable to voltage spikes and sudden powerouts - these spike protectors are ok, but for a really clean, stable voltage supply, you should try a UPS.

I got a pair off Ebay, very cheap, it was given that the batteries had given out an would need replacing... a quick google for sites selling them they came in around £60-£70 each - and i was needing 2 !!

In the end, i returned to Ebay and got 2 brand new, delivered for £41!

Good news for all the family as the household wireless router that gets assulted by laptops, x-box, iphone etc will have one too, as due to our location in the midle of the woods, we sometimes get power cuts and weird things happening to the supply.
Posted in Jims Personal Blog

Monday 8th February 2010

My little man, the Birthday Boy
JJ, my baby boy was one year old this weekend... we ended up having 2 parties, one on saturday for Mrs 4x4cb's mates and their youngsters - JJ's one of the oldest of the group and he loved every minute of it!

We had another party on sunday with a couple of other families who couldn't make saturday, our eldest daughter and our grandson (8 months old i think), and my mum. Good times. I'll try and stick some photos on here soon.
Posted in Jims Personal Blog

An un-named courier company to the rescue!
We moved our courier delivery services over to Fedex for uk deliveries and DHL for european despatches about 8 months ago, before then i'd been with another company for over 10 years (doing trials with all the others in the meantime but always sticking with them.)

I moved because the area rep who looked after me left them and poached me for the place she moved to, Global Freight Solutions - hopefully she won't mind me spiling the beans now as she's since left GFS anyway.

Anyway, a customer in Malta wanted quite a few radios and aerials, and i quoted a shipping cost based on the road service prices i had from DHL, it would cost around £26-£28 to ship to him... i try not to make anything on carriage other than cover the cost of packing materials and wage/time taken to pack, so thats what i charged him.

It was only when i came to book the consignment when it came up with an error basically saying i couldnt book it. I got in touch with them and was reminded that malta was an island and the road service couldnt be used to get the parcel there.

I hadn't thought that of course, it's an island, there's no road to it, so it has to go by air!

OK... whats the cost by air.... £196 - OH NO! ... thats DHL, lets try Fedex... £150 ... anyone else... no.

I still keep in contact with one of my contacts from the other company (and this is the reason they're here an "un-named", so as to protect her identity) so dropped her an email explaining the situation i'd got myself in and asking if they could help... yes they could and she pulled a few strings and gave me a price for the job that was only £25 more than what i'd charged the customer - this is was very happy with given the other prices and booked the job... the driver was here less than an hour later (this was on friday) and the goods were delivered this morning, so we at least got a good service for the money!

I explained this to the customer and we agreed to go halves on the extra cost, so everyone was happy at the end of the day.... a good result from what couldve been a £120 loss!
Posted in General CB & Business Blog

CB with TFT screen, mp3 player, jpeg picture viewer and stereo speakers... what next!?
I've been having an email conversation with the bloke from cobraworxshopz.com and i noticed they have a youtube channel... one of their most recent videos is one showing the new Superstar Force One cb, this thing has a 2 inch TFT screen, a usb, a media card slot and has all the rest of the export radio type faciilities you'd expect.... madness!

Obviously this sort of radio is not legal - becuase of all the illegal modes and channels, but maybe the screen etc are things that'll filter down to legal cb's in the future. I particularly like the signal meter on this Force One radios, it's on the screen and theres 12 different styles of meter - very trick!

Talking of features, why not built in gps so you can send and receive peoples gps locations as you chat to them, that would be cool.
Posted in General CB & Business Blog

How many CB's do we need? Currently, there are around 40 different legal cb's on sale in the UK - i don't have them all on the site, i think the numbers we have on here now are confusing enough, so i have to ask, how many do we need??

When the first multi standard radios came out in 2000 i think it was, i was telling everyone then that it would lead to a lot of different radios coming in as one radio for the whole of europe could be producde instead of one for the uk, one for france, etc etc - but i didn't expect 40!
Posted in General CB & Business Blog

New CB's on the site
I've just added the new Midland, the 278 to the site here and will shortly be adding the Intek M-760, Midland 220, Cobra 19DX IV EU and the Maxon CM70 - theres also a removable front radio made by Albrecht which we have in stock but not on the site yet.
Posted in Website Development Blog

25th January 2010

24 hour bug
Apologies to anyone who phoned today, we were closed due to the worst chucking up session i ever remember having.

Started on my nightly dogwalk sunday night... was staggering along thinking "why do i feel so rough" until i just had to let go at the side of the lane, a couple of times.... managed to get back home to continue until the early hours... both ends... i wont go into great detail but it wasn't nice!

Set my back off again, and i wasnt able to keep any of my painkillers down so even now i'm aching.

I was going to be working, answering emails sunday night and tonight (writing this 1.20am tuesday) but i've just got out of bed, and cant see me spending much time doing it now, so i'm 2 evenings late with work - anyone who works evenings will know how much work i've missed!!!
Posted in Jims Personal Blog

Monday 11th January 2010

Sheet Ice
Well, we've still not had any post or deliveries or collections - we did have one van down here today which resulted in much fun on the ice!

He was pulling away when he just stayed still, wheels spinning on what is basically sheet ice out there.

He'd blocked us in, so Mrs 4x4cb pushed him out of the way so she could get past and hooked him up to tow. The driver had never been towed before so i jumped in and we set off - for about 20 feet, then the Mrs' Shogun's spinning all 4 - unfortnuately just allterrains... they dont cut it!

We've got some ballast left over from some building work so i'm loading this up in my cart and shovelling it under the wheels and on the ice and we're off again.

We've got about 300 yards of very tight track before we get onto the main track (still just a dirt road) - we get up that ok, snaking around on the ice but where we turn onto the main track theres a big incline and left turn and very unfavourable camber and whoops, she's off and into the side - luckily not the side with the big ditch!

Stuck fast, cant go back and the more she tries, the more it's sliding off the track into the woods.

Back i go to get more ballast, by the time i'd get there a couple of neighbours had arrived, one in a rangie, offering a tug - luckily the ballast under the wheels did the trick and she just reversed out with a bit of persuasion from me, the van driver, the neighbours, my eldest son and the rangie guy - best suit on and up to his knees in dirt and snow!

We all get out of the way and stick some ballast under the vans wheels and he's able to get traction and he's off - without a sideways glance or a thank you!! Me and the Mrs just laughed - what else can you do!?

On it's side, and wobbling a good 'un
We'd had some ice related fun earlier in the day, on the way to take my youngest daughter to nursery school.... someone had turned an mpv on it's side by slipping on the ice and running up a bank... it had just happened, maybe 4-5 cars in front of us.

The ever intrepid Mrs 4x4cb jumped out and left me with the kids, and went to help. They'd just got the womans' daughter out of the side window (facing sky) and was being helped into an elderly couples volvo estate, meanwhile Mrs 4x4cb's holding the womans hand as she's having one - understandably, screaming for her daughter but also as her every movement rocked the motor on it's side threatening to turn over!

The Mrs was able to calm her down and she was helped out and which point two fire engines an ambulance and two police cars arrived. We milled around for a bit longer, the Mrs gave her details to the cops, although we didnt actually see it happen and then we were off - only half an hour late!
Posted in Jims Personal Blog


Thursday 7th January 2010

Well, the snow hasnt gone away in fact more has fallen and Fedex havent come to us again today - apparently they are going to try tomorrow as they are clearing the backlog today and not wanting to take more parcels into the system.

Can't even send anything by post either as i've been trying to phone the post office for most of the day and never any answer - i went there yesturday only to find the counter shut... a bit of a pain as we frank mail here so it has to be put in the system on the day it's franked, so i'd already done it before i realised they were closed. Oh well, i'll have to pay for that postage twice!

A delivery of radios and other bits that did actually get collected from my supplier yesturday was supposed to turn up today but hasn't, thats UPS and citylink who another supplier uses has been trying for 2 days to send something to me, but again that hasnt been collected from them yet, so it's not just us!
Posted in General CB & Business Blog


Wednesday 6th January 2010

We've had 9 inches of snow fall last night and it's still falling, obviously its playing havoc with transport and Fedex aren't collecting from us today and i can't see it being much better tomorrow. It seems the problems start when only 20% of drivers make it to the depot in the morning, and thats before they've driven through the snow all day!

For the most part i'm still able to work, answer the phone and process sales etc but as far as actually getting them on their way to customers, we'll have to see what next next day or two holds.
Posted in General CB & Business Blog

020110 Blog

Saturday 2nd January 2010

Sorry for the lack of blog postings in 2008 & 2009, i promise to do better this year!

Well... the start of a new year, goodbye to the old one... quite a hectic one for me - in 2009 these have been my main "happenings" :

A new Building!
Back in January, i moved the business into a brand new, purpose built building which has been years in the planning - it was erected without any wiring at all, so me and my mate George spent 2-3 weeks of almost allnighters putting in flippin miles of cables... ring main, lighting rings internal and external, further power out points, 3 phone lines, 2 network connections, various security services, networking between all the rooms and of course, with my liking of late night working, all rooms have been wired for sound with a pumping system in my office - it had to be done!
Posted in General CB & Business Blog

Bad back, sir?
Sometime around early February i developed my now infamous herniated disc back problem. I was at home, working late on the 'puter, stood up and BANG, the worst pain i remember having (and yes, i've had broken bones, fights, work & diy accidents etc so i'm not a wuss!).

Mate, that was the start of a world of pain, certainly for the first few months - i continued to work (as i have done all the way through apart from about a week sometime mid year) but was having no pain relief, no medical intervention at all - i just expected it to go away as all my previous back pains have, although it was immediately obvious within days that this was something else.

I went to the quack who refered me to Leatherhead hospital physio who warned me that if i missed a single appointment i'd be struck off and i'd have to go back to the doctor and get refered again. Well, me being me and a pretty hectic family and work life to juggle plus this back pain slowing me down, i didnt make the first treatment appointment, and yup, they struck me off - i was a bit fed up to say the least - i think we had something going on with one of the kids and it made me late for work, which made me late for the middayish appointment - i cant remember now.

I went for about 2 months taking light meds and over the counter painkillers with little relief quite honestly - every day was a nightmare, i'd have pain standing up, walking, sitting, in fact everything, but it was all down my left leg and buttock, varying pain, stabbing, moving, aching, all sorts, so very difficult to block with 'mindpower'. I wont go into the details of all the pain i was in, but some days were like hell for most of 'em.

The wife's ex hubby (we get on ok) had a good experience with a chiropractor in Worcester Park surreychiropractor.co.uk so i undertook a course of treatments there which i have to say did make life more bearable, but it was 3 times a week, and a real drain on my pocket and time. In the end, i had to give up going, even though i was eventually down to once a week (by july or thereabouts) although i still wasn't right by any means and still in daily pain.

My mate George has a few back problems (which is inconveninent as he's my builder in all the work thats going on here!) [more about the work later] and he went to see an osteopath who helped him recover from his, so i gave her a go - she did warn me that it would hurt but for part of the time she was pressing on my back and leg it was almost as bad as one of my worst days when it first happened! Weirdly, the pain would dissapear immediately she stopped manipulating whatever she was manipulating - in my BACK, remember :-) I deffinately felt better after our sessions but she suggested i go back to the doc and ask for an MRI scan - so i did.

This time my GP refered me to the specialist back pain clinic at the Medwyn Centre in Dorking, where i asked for an MRI, they agreed and put in a request for one.

Funny old thing, the MRI scanner - you lie on a trolley and get pushed into the hole of a huge polo, about 7 feet long - 10 foot diameter on the outside but the inside of the hole where you lie is barely 2 foot, feels like it anyway. They give you earplugs and further padding around your ears which bring the banging and buzzing noises down to a moderately loud level, but i wouldnt like to suffer from claustrophobia and go in one - not for the 25 minutes or so i was in for! You have to lie dead still, i moved during one of the 7 or so scans they do, so they had to redo - it was the second scan and i was sure i was absolutely still during it ;-O

Anyway, the Medwyn Centre restored my faith in the NHS although i get the feeling i might not see the same person twice but if they make things happen which they seem to so far, its good enough for me.

I went back to them a week after the mri and saw the consultant who would be doing the operation (although she has a longer waiting list than her dutch colleague, but she seemed to know what she was doing so i elected for her to do it). Aparently she's been doing the operation to sort the herniated disc for 13 years and mine isnt the biggest she's seen, but one of them (again, we're talking about my back, right?)

So thats basically where i am at now, i went to the gp's for bloods and urine pre-op, i presume to make sure i've got no nasty things that might surprise them in hospital, and just waiting for a date for surgery.

I've got the pain under control now as i'm on 2 painkillers which seem to make me almost pain free, as long as i take them when i should do, which i seem to have a bit of a problem with, as i've never been a big one for shoving pharma chemicals in my body unnecessarily and a bit of pain is ok, but then i dont take them, and have to cos pain comes on bad and then have to wait half hour for them to work!
Posted in Jims Personal Blog

My Little Man!
My beautiful little boy is born! He's such a treasure, i love the little chap so much, this week he's standing up using the sofa to help him, and crawling prettymuch anywhere he wants and we allow. I'll post a few pics of him on here sometime, but see below where you can see a few pics on facebook.
Posted in Jims Personal Blog

4x4cb is on facebook! well, i am, in my professional capacity and welcome any customers or contacts to get in touch with me there : facebook.com/4x4cb
Posted in General CB & Business Blog

House renovation & moving in!
We've been renovating our old cottage in the woods since April and a couple of months ago we moved in... the renovation isn't quite finished although most big jobs inside have been done but even now, we're halfway through the kitchen being fitted. My good friend George (who has prettymuch singlehandedly renovated the place for us - i cant do much more than make good and decorate because of my back, my lack of time and my lack of knowledge to do the job - in pretty even measures) is off until next week.
Posted in Jims Personal Blog

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