Monday, 30 April 2012

Burning Money

I've moved and I'm in!  Hooray!

I'm having stuff done, like you do when you move. 

Today I had to go to the bank to get a large dollop of cash to pay for it.  Having queued for ages at two different desks, I finally got to the teller (regular readers will remember that I am not keen on queuing in banks).  He had processed my account, and was just reaching for the notes, when the fire alarm went off.  We exchanged a look.  Mine was of acute panic,  his was of supreme empathy.  He tried, he really did.  His hands were on the notes, but a manager was ushering me out of the doors.  I looked round, arms straining for the desk, akin to a male passenger on the Titanic reaching out for a lifeboat.  I was unceremoniously left on the pavement as they locked the doors. 

Not knowing how long the fire was going to burn (although there was an absence of both smoke and fire engines),  I went to another bank to do other stuff I needed to do, then to another one for yet more stuff (I have power of attorney for an aging relative - I do not have money in this many banks).  At the third bank, they asked for identification.  I reached into my handbag for my passport.

It wasn't there.

It had been there earlier.

Now it wasn't.

'Is this really how my day is panning out?', I thought in despair.

Eventually I remembered the man in Barclays had probably left it on the photocopier, so I hurried back.  It was there, thank goodness.  I was also now back in the right place to regain entry to the bank that had my money on the counter.  The same teller was there, as I queued up again.  We exchanged another look, of smiling relief.

So apart from all that, rain running through into my newly decorated living room, the small matter of a live wire in the upstairs ceiling (how much had I paid for that electrical survey?), and British Gas making it as difficult as possible (unbelievably difficult actually) to register with a new meter reading, life is pretty good.

In fact, I have had a sudden, unexpected attack of happiness.  Probably due to getting my sound system up and running with an ancient party compilation CD.  Time for a dance around, swirling my arms in the air.

Lucky no one can see me.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

On Being Stubborn

I've been showing the 'sinister' weed letter around at work today.  I think I got off lightly.  One person knew someone who had had abuse graffitied over the whole of the front of their house.

When I got home, the contrary and stubborn parts of me (these friends make an appearance every so often) went to the garden shed, got out the fork and started WEEDING THE BACK GARDEN!

Take that you 'RESIDENTS'!

Monday, 23 April 2012

On Being Weedy

Yesterday evening, getting home from an eleven hour day, I picked up the letter lying on the doormat. It was addressed to, 'The Occupier', with my address, and had a franked stamp, having been sent through the post. Nothing unusual there, although somehow my antennae were wiggling. The lettering looked a bit angry. On opening, a sheet of A4 paper that had been roughly cut across the top came out, with' the following: 'Dear Neighbour' then, 'PLEASE COULD YOU DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE UNSIGHTLY WEEDS AT THE FRONT OF YOUR PROPERTY. Many thanks from the Residents.' I was aware that I am temporarily living in a road where parking in one of the (public use) bays outside anyone else's house is considered a crime deserving of public execution, and you get asked to 'move on' by rather sad, bored people, who all have garages anyway. I hadn't realised there was also a type of 'Weed Watch' going on as well. It was of some concern that the 'residents' must have walked past my house to get to the postbox, presumably too scared to walk up my front path in case they were identified, although they might have been alarmed that the triffids would turn on them. What is particularly galling about this is that, apart from the fact it is essentially an anonymous letter, in the last few months the front of the house has been considerably improved. I have had a huge ivy plant removed, sagging soffit boards replaced and have done a spot of painting. I've also planted pots with the exciting promise of 'growing my own bouquet'. In fact, I had admired the green shoots on my way in last night. I hadn't noticed the weeds at all. These weeds, I should point out, grow in a very small border, along the pavement side, and aren't really very tall either. I was a) perplexed that anyone should be disturbed by their presence and b) that they send a slightly intimidating anonymous letter about them. Being a bit stubborn, it made me absolutely determined not to pull them out. In fact I am going to get a sign made, to stick in the border next to them saying something along the lines of, 'I am weedy, and proud'. Fortunately I move out on Friday, not a day too soon.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Fitting for a Glove

I have been exploring the concept of gardening lately. This involves pulling up a lot of nettles. I was bold about this, wearing what looked like a robust pair of gardening gloves, in reassuring, sensible grey. I was somewhat annoyed to be stung quite aggressively by a nettle, and my fingers were throbbing inside the so called protective outer wear. The stings hurt like I had forgotten they could (been about thirty years since the last sting), then my fingers swelled up and went all itchy.

I was reminded of my oven gloves, hand crafted by an ancient relation who died about twenty years ago. The gloves were, and still are, too thin. Every time I get something out of the oven, I risk taking a layer of skin off my hands. Twenty years of this seems a bit daft. I have finally decided to treat myself to new oven gloves, packed full of some new lining that could fend off the sort of heat Red Adaire faces daily. I will also buy some gardening gloves that could roar with laughter at those cactii you see in the distance in Road Runner cartoons. The ones that keep repeating when he runs anywhere...... that was so disappointing in cartoons. I felt cheated.

Just like I feel cheated by my oven and gardening gloves.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Dangling by my dongle

I've got a brand spanking new laptop.

If only I had a broadband connection to go with it.....

I've been wrestling with a dongle.

Life was better before I discovered this device.

I don't claim to be clever with computers - oh no. But when I paid £10 of my hard earned cash, I had misread the advertising blurb that appeared to promise that my £10would give me internet access for a month.

'Bit pricey' I thought, but worth it to be able to fully connect to the world and so I made my first premium rate phone call on my mobile.

How naive am I?

I watched a TV programme about Sandhurst (fascinating why anyone would want to be shouted at and treated like dirt for nine months and then risk having their limbs blown off, and incredible to hear a General bemoaning the problems caused by trainees when their conscience about possibly having to kill people got in the way).

When I got up the next morning and tried to connect, my dongle wasn't playing. Another expensive premium rate phone call later, I was made to feel very dim indeed when it was explained I had bought a giga something, and that I had to use it up within a month.

I protested it had only lasted a day, and it was again explained that I had paid
for this giga thing, not a month's usage, but the employees's English wasn't great and my hearing isn't great, so it took a while to get to that point. A while on a premium rate phone call from a mobile remember (no landline either, life has been a bit frustrating lately).

It was quite a good TV programme, but not £10's worth. I grudgingly had to pay another £15 to be connected again, and this time will make sure to only use it for e-mail and blogging.

The strange thing is, that having got the computer going, it thinks we are in Austin, Texas, that it is six hours ago, and that we are basking in a balmy 76 degrees, rather than wet, cold April in England.

The dongle thing is way too complicated, but if I am indeed in 76 degrees in America that would be worth £10.