Broken 5D update to date…

I’d heard nothing from Johnstones by Friday afternoon, and I had a very bad feeling, as Thursday night UPS tried to call me but the line was bad and we didn’t get to talk. So it was with only little surprise when I rang Johnstones that I found out they’d sent my camera to Coventry on Tuesday, without a word to me.

Now, idiocy springs to mind, as does incompetent. When I dropped the camera off, I told them I’d driven up here to do that, and would pick  it up again when it was ready. The two times I phoned them asking for updates as to how things were going, I said ring me when it’s ready so I can collect. Did they? Did they fuck. Idiots. Incompetents.

The funny thing was when I told them how angry I was, the young man on the phone said “look I’ve said I’m sorry. What more do you want? Do you want someone sacked?” Cheeky little bastard. “No,” I said, “I’d never want someone to lose their job for a mistake no matter how incompetent that mistake was.” Unless of course they’re a brain surgeon….
“I want,” I said, “my camera back here so I can pick it up, so that I haven’t wasted 4 full weeks of waiting around for it, and so I don’t have to pay diesel to drive 5 hours and 300 miles to pick it up!!”

“That’s not up to me.” Mr Surly said, and I wondered in this day and age, how in fact he does keep his job when he speaks to people like that.
Anyway, I rang UPS who said I could not do anything with the parcel unless I came to their Staffordshire depot and showed them ID. I asked if Johnstones could redirect over the phone and they said yes.
So I then rang HDEWcameras and they said I was definitely getting a brand new replacement but they wanted the old camera back. I explained everything to them, and suggested Johnstones phone UPS and have them send the camera straight to HDEW, and HDEW send me my new one out, and HDEW speak to Johnstones.

So, roll on next week and see if I finally get my camera, 5 weeks after dropping the broken one off.

Insurance renewal

Insurance renewal time again. Always stressful time, but I rang Safeguard who I hvae insured with for the last 3 years, and the premium was exactly the same yet again. £445 with 365 days European cover included and full breakdown both UK and Europe.

I have claimed with them once before, and it was quick and easy. I also saved about £88 b paying it all up front instead of monthly. Excellent service for the fourth year running: it’s becoming a wasted exercise in checking elsewhere!

Broken 5D update.

Today is the end of the third week isnce I dropped my 5D Mk III off at Johnstones of Glasgow. So when I rang this morning I was hoping for good news. Sadly I got none. Apparently the camera is back from Canon, but Johnstones do not yet have all the parts they need to repair it, and it will take at least anther week. “All the parts” I asked them! There was even more wrong with it than I thought.

This is of course not Johnstones fault at all, they’re simply repairing it. Rather than rehash, I’ll simply paste here a copy of the email I sent to HDEWcameras after I’d spoken to Johnstones.


HI Fraser

RE:  our telephone conversation on Friday 20th September regarding the broken Canon 5D Mark III.

As you recall I contacted you just after receiving this camera to voice concerns that it had a 1021 shutter count even though it was brand new. Subsequently I noticed the following problems:

*Camera was underexposing in all modes by up to 2 stops.
*Original battery and other OEM batteries were drastically short in life span. One gave me only 4 shots and 20 minutes in the settings menu before being 52% drained.
* Micro adjust did not work. I tried it with 3 lenses, one of them being the 70-200 Mk II that I had just bought from you, and it would not work with any of them.
*Factory reset didn’t fully work as my Custom settings were retained.
*Shutter count of 1021 right out of the box.

I delivered this to Johnstones of Glasgow who said after 2 weeks that they had sent it to Canon, as it had so many faults, and it would be another week before it was repaired. 1 week later, I rang them again to be told that “…some of the replacement parts had been received, but we’re still waiting for some parts from Canon”. He added “It will be at least another week.”

That concerns me, both due to the length of time to repair this camera, and the long list of things that are wrong with it. Everything stated above suggests it is a camera that has already been sold, tried, and returned as faulty, and has somehow managed to be mistakenly resold as new, and you’re going to look into that to see if you can find any details.
Given the situation I’m sure now that I would prefer not to have the camera returned to me, and you’ve suggested that it would be appropriate to replace it, and you’ll check with your manager regarding this and contact me on Monday 23rd September.

I appreciate your time and understanding and the help so far and look forward to your call next week.


Gary Finnigan

Camera update

It’s 2 weeks since I dropped my camera off and I’d not heard form Johnstones, so I rang them and they said my cameras was “so” faulty, Canon themselves wanted a look at it. So it only got sent down to them 2 days ago Grrr!

Another week so I’ve come across to Helensburgh, a place I’ve never been before to explore a little 🙂

What to do on a Sunday…Pimp Your Camper!

You might remember some time ago I fitted a fan unit and ducting to give me blown air heating in the van. It made a massive impact, providing heat quicker than the conventional fire, and spreading that heat around the van instead of it all gathering together on the ceiling.

However some weeks go I went to get the plastic case that holds my spare bulbs and found it was melted on top. It had been lying under the ducting that I’d fitted. The ducting is a light foil coated with paper. Clearly, it’s not enough to carry the heat that comes through from the fire, so I decided to fit pipe the same as the exhaust flue has. This is a quite robust, flexible metal pipe, with the other ducting acting as a sheath around it. However it’s not easy to come by so it’s only now that I managed to find some, at Perthshire caravans. Great place, got all that you could and at the right price too.

So, I started the job at 9:30 this morning, and finished around 3:30 this afternoon! To be fair, It took me almost 3 hours to drive back to Perthshire caravans as I didn’t realise I needed a new O ring, and I accidentally crushed the circular flange that pushes the O ring into place anyway. I find out later, Truma say you must replace all of these when you replace the exhaust ducting so, just as well really.

It was the devils own job to get the pipe into place. It’s thin metal and flexible, but if you want a proper bend on it you’ve got to give it some to get it to bend how you want. Working in the confined space with loads of jagged edges wasn’t at all easy. I had to take the fan out to access the space, and when I did I also saw that the sheath on the power lead that feeds the fan was cracked, and the dump valve pipe wasn’t in it’s hole. *sigh* So I rewired the fan back to the distribution box, disconnected the inline water filter, and set about forcing the dump valve pipe through the hole with the overflow pipe in. A squirt of Wd 40 helped it along as did several choice swear words 🙂

When all was done, I put it back together and put the fan on and…nothing! Not even a puff of air tut. The fan was going at a rate of knots, but was blowing nothing, and not even sweet nothings either. Luckily the pipe to the blown air outlet had come off. I hadn’t secured it properly into the flange so I got a good grip and rammed it home baby. That’s not coming back out in a hurry!

Fan on, beautiful! Copious breezes of cool air. Pressure is really good from that fan so when I need the fire on, I only leave the heat on low and the fan on medium. I find this warms the van really quickly and the thermostat keeps it lovely and comfy.
Of all the things I’ve fitted over the years this is one of the best, especially so as I sit at the computer for 8 hours a day working, so sometimes I really feel the cold.

Total price for the new pipes etc: £65 Ease of job: Medium Stress level: friggin high!

All done now though so, bring on the winter! 🙂

Quack quack

View of Loch Lomond with distant mountains You’ll tak the high road and I’ll tak the low road and I’ll be in Scotland aforrrrrreeee yeeee….

OK so I can’t sing, but I’m happy to be spending time in Scotland again. Especially around here, Dunbartonshire, by the shores of loch Lomond which is beautiful. Scotland is generally very good to the tourist: routes are well signposted, there’s plenty of places to stop and enjoy the view, and you’re never far away from somewhere that will sell you food and drink.

I wasn’t sure where to go when I dropped off the camera in Glasgow, but Loch Lomond is less than an hour away so I’m pleased I came here now. Jack is loving it too and I’ve never seen him swim so much! I’ve no idea what’s got into him but he’s going into the water just for the fun of it, which is unlike him.

Chatting to someone at work who was talking about Duck Bay. I’d never heard of it so after I’d been to Asda in Dumbarton, I came to find it and it’s right there, almost on the end of the Loch, in plain view. I’ve already passed it twice without realising lol

A view of a beach with trees in the foeground and 6 men frollicking in the water,One of the great things about Scotland is that you can actually access the beautiful areas. Often in England they’re restricted, sometimes for no good reason, and it’s infuriating. But here you can park by the road, go down to the little sandy beach, and play in the water if you wish. Not that I did, I leave that to my brave dog, who doesn’t seem to care if it’s cold. On the second picture you can see 6 guys all playing in the water too. They were there for about a half hour messing around, stripped down to their boxers. God knows how they stood it, it was absolutely freezing despite the sun.

A tour boat cruising Loch Lomond with mountains in the distance There’s lots of cruise boats around this end of the loch too. I’ve never been on one, I usually find the value for money is just not there. Saying that you never know, I may check it out for the weekend. I like it here enough to stay til then, and  maybe next week too!

The photos by the way were taken on my trusty old Canon S70 compact camera. I’ve had it for years and it’s my backup for when things go wrong with the expensive ones, which they do 🙂


My latest ‘thing’, chicken and vegetable soup.

My latest thing is home made soup. (Sort of) Check it out… IMAG0260

This is the most delicious soup I’ve made so far. Here’s how.


  • 1 fresh carrot
  • 5 fresh salad potatoes
  • 1 fresh red onion
  • 1 fresh leek
  • 3 table spoons of barley (soaked overnight in cold water)
  • 1 packet of chicken soup (I use Knorr)
  • pepper and oregano (or herbs to taste)

Add a pinch of pepper and a good pinch of oregano to 1 litre of water and set to boil.

Dice the leek, potatoes, carrot and onion, and add them to the pan, add the barley. Bring to the boil then simmer for 15 mins.

Add the packet soup, make sure it’s stirred in well and leave to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring now and then.

Bloody delicious stuff!!!