Alvechurch Plague Pit

This came up on some ‘Spotted Alvechurch’ type Facebook group a while back.

I think someone had heard about a plague pit in Alvechurch where victims of The Black Death had been thrown into a mass grave, and they were doubting it.

Of course, a load of us old time locals then confirmed that it was true and through up a few memories of it!

It’s only after this that I realised how freakily weird that sort of thing really is.

Yeah, I grew up around a plague pit. Big whoop – wanna fight about it?

Basically, it was well known that just outside Alvechurch village, and a short walk down the aptly named “Pestilence Lane” was a large pit where they had buried people who died from bubonic plague.

If you weren’t aware of the pit before, you were certainly made aware of it when they were building the M42 motorway just South of Birmingham, as this runs straight through the middle of it. When doing the work they actually had to do loads of tests and studies to make sure the plague wasn’t still active and going to kill everyone when they dug the ground up.

Map of Pestilence Ln, Alvechurch, Birmingham B48 7TJ

As it was, the tests deemed it safe, and records will say that the Junction 2 ‘Hopwood Services’ are build on the site.

Pestilence lane was cut in half by the M42, with one end still in existence and the other sold to a private buyer who sealed it off.

Before this it was a regular walk with my Mum to go down Pestilence Lane past the pit. It was always a bit creepy around there, and many claimed to have seen ghosts.

I myself once saw what looked like the figure of a woman in that area in a headscarf and olde fashionede dress. But then we also once saw a totally naked (and shaved!!) man lay on his back in a field around there, and ran back home for my Mom to report it to the Police!

This was probably not plague related.

I can remember a few times standing in the field where the pit was believed to be. It was a sloped field and the large dip clearly visible in the grass.

The last time I went there was after the lane had been sold, and I may have accidentally and without knowing climbed over a barbed-wire bedecked fence, using the Keep Out sign to get over it. The land owners did catch me and gave me a rollocking, but, you know – ramblers rights and all that!

Before they caught me I did stand in the field overlooking the pit again, and if I am correct, the pit was still there and still visible. The motorway must have just clipped one edge of the pit, but it not where the services are built.

I did try to find some ariel views of the plans of the services as well as anything marking the location of the pit, but couldn’t find anything, so can’t confirm this for definite, other than what I’ve seen.

So, yeah – not only did I spend my formative years living and sleeping literally next to a graveyard, but there was a real life plague pit a short walk away.

All perfectly normal.

All perfectly weird.

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Cars Vs Cyclists – but who’s missing?

Cars Vs Cyclists – but who’s missing?

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It’s the age old argument of who has more rights and who should have more rights – a car or bicycle.

They hate each other, and if one ever posts criticizing the other, within the first few comments you will see things get personal or even violent.

A Facebook friend recently posted a satirical blog about things cyclists do that annoy car drivers, and literally got a death threat from a cyclist for it!

Some of my most viewed YouTube videos, with hundreds of thousands of views, are ones that feature a cyclist or even just that ‘c’ word in the title. To read the comments you’d think I hate cyclists myself – and very few will ever know or bother to watch the videos where I’ve stood up and even protected cyclists.

Hell, some of my best friends are cyclists. Personally, the thought of cycling on modern roads scares the shit out of me and it’s a disaster waiting to happen, but I digress…

There’s someone missing from these road wars.

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Motorcycles.

Whenever legislation is passed, new rules created or road markings laidd, they NEVER think about motorbikes.

Never.

How else do you explain Advanced Stop Lines (ASL’s)? These are the boxes you’ll find at traffic lights as a refuge for cyclists, so they can safely filter through and safely set off first when the lights turn green to keep cyclists safe from cars. No other vehicles are allowed to stop within the ASL.

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Wait – what?

So a motorbike, that has filtered to the front, is not offered the same safety? Even though the biker is just as vulnerable? Even though that motorbike will out-accelerate very easily any car or cyclist, so it makes even more sense for them to be at the front?

Clearly, when they set the ASL laws they’d forgotten about motorbikes, and it was all car vs cycle as usual.

Birmingham is quite good, but a lot of other cities won’t let motorbikes use bus lanes, which makes no sense at all if cyclists can.

There’s never any talk of special motorcycle only roads or paths, despite everyone having a cry that motorbikes account for 99.4% of road fatalities or whatever. Why?

Oh the Government will give you money off a new cycle to save the environment and cut congestion, and celebrate you, and give you lots of free, secure parking – but not if you want a motorcycle! And you’re going to give thousands of cars cheap road tax (yeah I know it’s not road tax – I just wanted you to have THAT rant again!) but motorbikes still pay full, and quite often more than car fees.

WTF is all that about?

All we do get is signs put up by the side of the road saying esoteric things like “THINK BIKE!” that nobody really knows what it means or who it’s there for? I mean, are they to get cars to look out for bikers or are they to get bikers to stop riding like idiots?

How about you remember the other group out there cutting congestion on our over-crowded roads chock-full of single-occupancy steel boxes?

Remember traffic jams are a car problem – not a bike one. And that means BOTH lots of bikes.

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Kodi Add-Ons not working? Phoenix etc fixed for free films!

Kodi Add-Ons not working? Phoenix etc fixed for free films!

***Link updated 29/08/17***

OK. So Phoenix and UK Turks and probably loads of other Kodi add ons that we all know and love have now been shut down.

Have a weep and then get over it – they’re not coming back.

So let’s get something on Kodi again so we can watch free movies and TV!

The guide I tried was to install Skynet – this didn’t work directly, but using the same steps I did get Maverick to install, which seems to actually be Skynet once it’s all working. Confused? Yes, so was I, but now I’m just watching free shit again instead, because whatever it is, it works!

Here’s what to do to get it on your Amazon Firestick:

  1. This is assuming you already had Phoenix or something on your Firestick. If you didn’t, then there are some other steps first before this will work. If you did have other add-ons working, then this will work.

  2. From the Kodi menu click on “System”. 

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  3. Select “File Manager” 

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  4. Go down to “Add Source”  

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  5. In ‘Enter Path’ type in: http://mavericktv.net/mavrepo 

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  6. Go down to ‘Enter Name’ and call it Skynet.

  7. Click “OK”. This should now have a small popup flash at the bottom of the screen – if you get a box saying “Source could not be found” or another error, you’ve done it wrong or this method isn’t working. Go back to the start and try again, or get the Monopoly board out. Or take the dog for a walk. If it worked, you’re in business, so do this:

  8. Go back to the main Kodi menu and click “System”.

  9. Click “Add Ons” 

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  10. Click “Install from zip file” 

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  11. Select “Skynet” (here mine is called “Skynet (2)” as I’m doing this again to show you!  

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  12. Select repository.maverick (whatever it’s called) 

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  13. Go back and select “Install from repository” 

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  14. Select Maverick TV Repo 

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  15. Select “Video Add ons” 

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  16. Enable the ones you want! I don’t know what the rest do, so just do “Skynet” if in doubt. 

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  17. Go back to the main Kodi screen, go to ‘Video Add ons’, and Skynet is there with all it’s goodies! 

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Enjoy!

 

Biker Vs The World Part 24

If you’ve been following me on YouTube you’ll know all about my infamous ‘Biker Vs The World’ videos.

These are a compilation of ‘incidents’ from my helmet cam footage onboard my bikes.

Whilst the clips everyone wants to see are those where I almost get killed by idiot car drivers, or where I get involved in road rage, I do try to inject a bit of humour and even ‘feels’ into them – you’ll see the trucker at the end of this one!

The first clip in Part 24 is a recent one from a terrible rainy morning. A Mini had sped past me and I was loosely following. He went through a crossroads where a car was waiting, and as I approached I was in direct line of sight to the – let’s call him a Cunt, because he is – Cunt, he waited until I got even closer and then went directly across the road in front of me.

I had to slam on my brakes, and the ONLY reason I didn’t crash right there was because that piece of road is covered in Shell Grip. I was looking for a place to turn around to go and batter the absolute fuck of that Cunt (and I don’t actually know if it was a man or woman driving, because I couldn’t see – I just get the feeling this was a male), but there wasn’t a handy turning place.

There was no excuse.

Incidentally, I almost burst a blood vessel in my neck or something when I shouted. That hurt.

Enjoy:

 

Free & easy way to claim back your PPI

Free & easy way to claim back your PPI

Here’s another useful one for you – or you Brits, at least. All you ‘Merkins and other wild and wonderful nationalities will have to sit this one out.

If you haven’t been hassled yet by people claiming they can get you thousands in PPI (Payment Protection Insurance), then you’re probably an illegal immigrant and I’ve reported you.

The deal is, for years banks, credit cards, and loans were charging loads of people for insurance they couldn’t even use.  You probably never even knew you were paying it.

These companies hassling you will take your details and then do everything for you, and then present you with some money at the end of it.

Except they’ll be taking their big dirty great cut out of it (and there is no limit, so this can be 20% to literally whatever they want to take).  

That’s not too bad if you really can’t be arsed to claim yourself – but all they do is send a letter/email to the companies you had a product with and ask for any money owed.

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BUT – and that’s a big but and you love them – you can just send the -ing letters yourself and get ALL of the money back!

Even better than that, but the excellent www.moneysavingexpert.com posted a link to the Resolver website that will cut out all the hard work, meaning you can claim in just a few minutes, with minimal information.

The Resolver quick claim tool will ask you a few short questions about who you are (name, address etc) and who the loan/card etc was with, and then create a template, email it to the companies, and then the companies will contact you directly.

With some of mine, I was as vague as knowing a rough year that I had a credit card from a company, and that was still enough, as the bank will then check their records to find your account number etc.

All the banks I sent templates to through this service replied directly within a few days, and the claims were all sorted out within a week or two and a letter sent out to me. I didn’t expect to get anything back at all, but had a text this morning saying I was getting £200 – and by the time I’d logged into my banking account the money was already there!

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Seriously that easy.

So if you haven’t succummed to these blood-suckers yet, or even if you’re not sure if you’re even owed anything, take 2 mins of your time and do it this way.

Feel free to send me 5% of what you get back.

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Store Loyalty Card Rant

Store Loyalty Card Rant

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Loyalty reward cards.

I have had a Nectar card for about 20 years, now.

I have used it every single time I’ve gone to Sainsburys, every time I’ve filled up with fuel, and even have it linked to Ebay now.

I also have petrol cards for Shell and Texaco, that I’ve always used – and bear in mind I did 2 years as a motorcycle courier.

I’ve had store cards from places that have since closed, or stopped their card schemes.

Almost every time I pay for anything in a shop, I’m also swiping some kind of card.

Do you know how much I’ve got back from it?

ABSOLUTELY FUCK ALL!

Yep – not a single penny back!

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So why the fuck am I still wasting my time scanning some stupid shitty card that’s ALWAYS in my wallet, along with 68 other pointless fucking store cards??

OK so the Nectar card isn’t totally worthless, and apparently I do have a bit of money to claim on there – if I ever get around to it.

Tesco Clubcard at least send you out vouchers you can use to get 50p off a meal deal every two and a half years, but that’s the only one even vaguely worth anything.

Morrisons ‘Match and More’ card must be one of the best, as that little fucker has cheek to dangle the carrot for you!

Sure, occasionally you’ll be given a voucher for £5 after paying for your 75th £90 shop there – but then check out the expiry date!

Yes – you’ve got 2 mins 47 secs to cash the cunt in!  And you KNOW you’re not doing another Big Shop for at least 3 weeks, because you’ve just stocked up on tinned All Day Breakfasts and Pot Noodles!

And that’s if you’re lucky!  Normally the useless shower of bastards will issue you with 14 different vouchers for 3p off some product you’ve never bought before in your life. Not that they matter either, as you’re now down to only 2 mins 44 secs before if fucking expires!

So unless you’re the type of stringy beard, glasses wearing, tweed coat wanker who’ll cut 645 2p off vouchers out of Womans Own magazine (in which case why bother with a shit store ‘loyalty’ card anyway?), and spend 4 fucking hours in the ’10 Items or Less’ line with 14 irritated cunts staring at the back of your head hoping you’ll die, there’s every chance you’re getting fuck-all from these cards, too!

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So, am I going to throw the little plastic twat away and save around 10 days of my life swiping the bastard?

No, of course not!

I’m going to carry on scanning every fucking card every fucking time I buy any fucking thing.

That’s the kind of loyal cunt I am.

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Kodi & Amazon Fire Stick – Watch TV for free!

Kodi & Amazon Fire Stick – Watch TV for free!

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I don’t think anyone should have to pay for television – especially as we all have to pay the BBC for a license every year even if we never watch the BBC channels.

I have Freeview, but to be honest I don’t even watch very much TV. Give me Game Of Thrones, Judge Judy and as much motor racing as I can take, and I’m happy.

You can get pretty much any film you want on torrent sites or streaming them online. As there seems to be a bit of a crackdown on torrents, and streaming often comes with 3 million pop-ups and a filthy great virus, I noticed some people raving about Kodi.

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Kodi is basically a program that you download for free, install another program on that gives you loads of films/TV channels, and then you can watch everything for free and legally by streaming it.

I tried it out on my laptop for a while, simply connecting to the TV with a HDMI cable, and it was all excellent. It’s not very straightforward to set it all up, but once you’ve done this you never have to touch it again.

Visually it’s also not great, and not very intuitive – but again, once you’ve remembered what to click on (eg, Video > Video Add ons > Phoenix) then you’re fine. It just looks a bit crap and isn’t confidence-inspiring to “The Older Generation” like parents (who are happily using it, now).

The downside was that I couldn’t be all ADHD and play around on my laptop as I was watching all these brand new films…

But there is a way to make it all easier!

A few cow-orkers/work monkeys had been geeking on about Google Chromecast and Amazon Firesticks. These are small boxes that plug into your TV, and then you can stream stuff from your PC/phone or just use that to watch paid TV channels. But you can also buy them, install Kodi (for free), and then, as with my laptop, get all the Kodi stuff for free!

This meant I could use a remote control and still pish about on my laptop whilst watching beautiful free stuff!

I decided on the Firestick, as it seemed to be the best choice for me.

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Ebay sellers will give you a Firestick (normally around £40) with all this pre-installed on it for another £15-£20. Whilst this isn’t really a rip-off, there are plenty of step-by-step guides and even YouTube videos showing how you can do this yourself!

The best one I’ve found that is up to date is https://seo-michael.co.uk/tutorial-how-to-install-kodi-on-a-firestick/ – it will take between 10 and 30 mins to do, and you can do it all by plugging the Firestick into your TV and then using the remote control.

Personally, I would recommend installing the add-ons Phoenix, UK Turks and Exodus so you get loads of options for watching films, documentaries and TV shows – that way if one isn’t working you still have options. Here’s a step-by step link to install Phoenix once you’ve got Kodi: https://seo-michael.co.uk/how-to-install-phoenix-for-xbmc/

All of the above have some live TV and sport from around the world, but you might also want some more specialist channels if you’re after streaming live stuff. As I only car about motor racing live, these do the job for me!

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And that’s it! If you’re paying £70+ per month to Sky then you’re stupid. Even if you just buy the Firestick and then get Amazon Prime you’ll have access to loads of their channels and films (all of which you can also get for free through Kodi), so even that’s a better option for a one-off payment of about £70. Without Amazon Prime, the Firestick still lets you stream stuff like BBC iPlayer for free, so even that combined with Freeview gives you a lot more.

If you’re not watching live TV or any BBC channels, then technically you don’t even need to pay for a TV licence – so you could even go that extra step and get the lot for free!

And it’s all legal!

Enjoy it – let me know what you think or give me any add-on recommendations!

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