The Cookaway

So I mentioned that this mob had used The Email Bureau to send some spam to one of my work email addresses.

Having failed to find a contact email address for them, I went onto Trustpilot to leave them a review:

Spam on the Menu?

They must be struggling, because why else would they decide to employ the services of those spammers, The Email Bureau Limited, to send me spam today?

Edit: I’ve emailed them a screenshot as they denied spamming me…

Edit: they’re now whining that the spam didn’t come from them, but they still fail to mention that it was their campaign, paid for my them, presumably? If not, are they suing The Email Bureau Limited? No, I didn’t think so…

They responded:

Update – Thanks for the screenshot Richard. I’m afraid this is not directly from us and you should pick this up with The Email Bureau to get them to take your name off their mailing list. I see you’ve provided a similar review re spam email to 3 other businesses and I wonder whether you are on a mailing list that you need to get delisted from. We haven’t emailed you directly and you are not on our email database so we cannot even remove/unsubscribe you.

Best wishes
Team Cookaway

Hi Richard,

Thanks for getting in touch.

We have no record of you in our order or email systems and have not activated anything with The Email Bureau.

We have sent you a request via Trustpilot to provide further information so we can investigate your claim properly. Please do get in touch via Trustpilot or directly through our website so we can look into this matter.

For any such issues, we always appreciate if you can contact us first and allow us to respond before leaving a negative review especially when we have no record of any prior communication with you.

Many thanks
Team Cookaway

At no time do “Team Cookaway” deny that this was their marketing campaign. The closest they get is the “we haven’t emailed you directly” bollocks. No, you paid someone else to, you bunch of fuckwits!


October 2022 Stats

We flew out to our place in Fuerteventura again on Saturday 1st October and after the weekend I started back with the real-world cycling on the Monday, having decided to up the ante a tad with my distances and to make sure I was following my consultant’s orders to do at least 30 minutes a day.

I’m still pleased with the result: 331.33km this month (including walking).

October 2022 Stats

In other news, we’ve gone a bit keto with our diets and the results are promising: I weighed 93.3kg on the Garmin Index S2 scales we have here at the start of the month and today I weigh 91kg (up 0.5kg from yesterday morning, which was a new low since the crash and muscle-wasting in July 2019).

The Email Bureau

Well it looks like Damon Bennett’s little spammer has been busy recently, unlike his latest moribund company, The Consumer Leads Bureau, which is in the process of being stuck off.

Lots of shite from him and all – amazingly – from companies I will never use…


The data is GDPR compliant.”

Is it? Is it REALLY?

September 2022 Stats

With the Schwinn’s arrival came physiotherapy, pain consultations and then experiments with Apple Fitness+, the first year’s free subscription to Bowflex’s JRNY app, and a trial of FulGaz.  The latter two are different from Fitness+ in that Apple are offering different duration classes only whereas the other two offer virtual rides using video of the actual routes.

In FulGaz’s case, they are adaptive workouts: speeding up or slowing down the videos to suit your pace/power which the app reads from the Schwinn.  They’re also linked to my Garmin f?nix 7S for my heart rate.

The other benefit of using FulGaz is that after each ride, it emails you a FIT file which you can import into Garmin Connect giving you the full details of the ride.  JRNY does not do this, sadly.

So hitting the Schwinn every has been beneficial for me, but also for my weight which has been coming down slowly, thereby improving the load on my knee.

Here’s my stats for the 399km – mainly virtual/indoor – in September 2022:

September 2022 Statistics

August 2022 Stats

We were still out in Corralejo for the first half of August 2022.

Back in London, it was a case of hammering the cheapo indoor bike, thinking we’d buy a Peloton bike when we move to Surrey and have a bigger garage and separate gym.  The Amazon special was OK, but I couldn’t stand up on it despite the Apple Fitness+ trainers suggesting I could.

And then a couple of things happened: a news article about Peloton’s losses being “an existential threat” made us think about whether a Peloton would be a good idea after all. They’re very expensive and rely on a paid subscription to Peloton if you want to do the guided rides (which I had really enjoyed in Big Sur).  If they went bust, the screen would effectively be useless and the purpose of the really expensive bike would go with them.

I looked at what Apple recommended/were using for their Fitness+ workouts and they were Schwinn bikes.  In the UK they’re supplied by – amongst others, I’m sure – Fitness Superstore and they had an offer on the Schwinn 800IC (formerly the IC8): already listed at half list price, they had an additional 10% off for the Bank Holiday weekend, so I pressed the button on one for delivery in early September.

Here are the stats for my 266km in August 2022:

August 2022 Stats

HMRC Making Tax Digital

There’s a lot of hoo-har over that utter shitshow that is Brexit and some of it is due to the many levels of bureaucracy forced upon British exporters now we’re no longer in the EU.  This, of course, despite the promises by the Brexshitters that leaving would get rid of all that red tape and make us more prosperous.

Well that same degree of fuckwitted belligerence applies to HMRC.  A few years back, they decided that it would be a good idea to roll out a new policy called “Making Tax Digital”:

“Making Tax Digital is a key part of the government’s plans to make it easier for individuals and businesses to get their tax right and keep on top of their affairs.”

Utter bollocks!

Originally, there was a threshold for turnover before you’d be forced to submit VAT returns in the way the HMRC demanded, but that threshold was shelved, so now, if you’re VAT-registered than you have to submit them their way.  The roll-out was delayed by COVID-19 – who knows why – but it’s up and running now.

I was self-employed for many years and was VAT-registered as 95% of the work I was doing was B2B (business to business).  For the last 14 years I’ve been employed but still do a minimal amount of work freelance, so I charge VAT and claim it back on the expenses I incur.

Copies of all invoices in and out are stored in folders on my computer (and backed up) and the calculations for my VAT returns (and indeed Self-Assessment) are entered manually on a spreadsheet.  I used to then enter the numbers on the VAT return online and voila! Straight after the end of the VAT period, in they went and I either paid out the VAT or reclaimed it.

But not any more.  I’m not allowed to do this myself. I have to keep records (like I already do) with an ‘audit trail’ (like I already do) but now I have to link my numbers through to a new spreadsheet or solution offered by one of the 196 providers of this so-called “bridging software”. By “offered” I mean “sold” either on a one-off basis or more often on an ongoing basis, costing hundreds of pounds a year … off my profit. That’s if the software works on your system: PWC’s, for instance, only works on a Windows computer and not a Mac, and costs £144 a year.  At least PWC say how much it is; some of their competitors don’t.

I’m away for a few weeks overseas every few weeks (in the EU and back four of five times a year) and as I’m writing this, I’m ready to submit a VAT return but cannot because the HMRC will only send my new username and password to me by post and I need to enter that in the bridging software so that my figures from my spreadsheet go via another spreadsheet to HMRC’s VAT portal.

You know, the one I used to copy the numbers into before and for zero extra cost…

July 2022 Stats

July 2022 was spent out at our home in Corralejo, Fuerteventura.

This meant I could use the mountain bike I have out there for lots of bike rides and the occasional walk – rather than vice versa – and I racked up around 250km that month:

July 2022 Statistics


June 2022 Stats

Back in June 2022, I was walking for fitness but was having a lot of pain in my bad knee, the one that I’d seen a consultant about back in 2012 who said I should stop running … before I ran the Berlin Marathon and a couple of half-marathons.

I had been recommended cycling, so was trying to introduce more of this into my training and then went to the USA in early June to do the Pacific Coast Highway. While we were there, I tried a Peloton fitness bike in a really expensive hotel we stayed at in Big Sur and started looking into buying one, just before seeing my consultant again.

He again recommended some weight loss and half an hour every day on a bicycle, with a recommendation for a cheap static bike.  That got me into finally using Apple Fitness+ and 30 minute rides.

So, here are my stats for June 2022.

June 2022 Stats