I got up earlier than usual this morning. It had the desired effect of letting me take things at a more relaxed pace and thus not start the day in a terrible panicky rush which would leave me on edge for the rest of the day. Oh no, that’s right – it’ll just leave me tired and sleepy all day instead. Oh no, that’s just how I normally am anyway, so on the whole, this getting up early lark has a lot to recommend it.
Anyway, that isn’t the reason I’m writing this entry, merely to set up the idea that I was up and about earlier than usual this morning. I left the house and looked up along the street and immediately wished I had my camera with me – a pale blue sky was fading into a beautiful pink and the moon, full a couple of days past, hung there right in the centre of my field of vision. Far below, the terrace roof tops disappeared into a slightly cloudy horizon. It was one of those views that helps make you feel glad to be alive.
That’s why I worte this entry.
(Of course the being up early gave me time to write it.)

Barclays


On October 27th I made a payment of £20 onto my Barclaycard at the City Centre (or Byker, I’m not entirely sure) branch of Barclays. The credit slip said to allow three days for payment to clear. A week later I made a purchase which would have brought the card almost to its limit. I have a tiny credit limit so repayments are generally less than £10/month.

Today, almost a month later, I received a bill demanding immediate payment of £64. It went to explain that I had made no payment the previous month, thus incurring a charge of £20. Because, at this stage, I was now over my limit, there was a further charge of £20 for exceeding the limit. Then interest on top of that.
So, to recap:
£20 for the twenty I’d already paid,
£20 for not paying the twenty I’d already payed,
£20 because not paying the twenty I’d payed left me over my credit limit (not to mention the further twenty they charged me for it).
Oh and a threat to suspend my card if payment wasn’t made within the usual number of days.

I rang them up, greatly disturbed – I could remember making the payment, but – my mental faculties not being exactly at their usual stirling best – wrongly assumed that I must have been mistaken and confused the previous month’s payment. They assured me that the last payment they had received from me was on September 30th. I made a huge payment from my bank account.

Just to set my mind at ease I then dug through my hastily thrown together box of papers which acts as a makeshift filing cabinet. There, nestled in the centre of the box was a receipt from the bank dated 27th October 2004 for a payment of £20 onto my card. Another phone call was in order. Without so much as an apology the operator grudgingly agreed to credit my account with a refund for both charges and a credit of £20 until they could trace my payment. She maintained that no further refunds would be forthcoming – it was clearly my fault for using one of the advertised payment methods and they could accept no liability because they advertised other ways to pay.

Hang on a minute!

It’s my fault that staff employed by the bank that runs the fucking credit card lost the details of my payment?
I’m liable because I should have used another of the payment methods as well, presumably?
Despite there being nothing in the “how to pay” details that if their staff fucked up I was still liable?

Eminently sensible.

Fuckers.

This entry has been brought to you by somebody with very little chance of switching service providers due to an embarassed financial situation.

An (almost) entirely true story

I dough-nutted out last night.

Saw a box of mini chocolate dough-nuts just sitting on that supermarket shelf.
They looked at me pleadingly:
“Rescue us from this dread place!”
I carried them away, away in a bag
– Past the checkout
(there was a worrying moment when the assistant pointed an infra-red gun at the box, but it passed).
Past the security guy
(security guys are just one step away from police-men and you know how they treat dough-nuts).
And past the giant double doors.
“Freedom!” I could hear them cheering,

To their horror,
I didn’t release them into the vast wild plains where other doughnuts dwell,
But ate them all up!
Gobble, gobble, gobble!

Good News…

New job.
New training.
New (potential) church small group.
New leaps of progress in my fight against depression.
New (fairly new, anyway) singleness.*

I’ve come so far.
I’ve fought hard nearly every step of the way.
I’ve made so much progress.

Bad News

Bonfire Night

Two young people walked down the street, each becoming aware of the other at about the same time. Initial impressions were good. Each noticed the other correct their posture and hold themselves properly as they approached. They both walked past, seeing that the other was checking them out whilst doing their best “head straight forward” routine. And two young people went home feeling a little better about their lives.

*Taken from what would have been my column for CIO.com if it hadn’t closed. I was going to continue writing the blog, and publish it myself, but blogger seems to be playing up and just swallowed the second half of what I was writing.

On a happy note:

The valve of the radiator in my bedroom burst this evening.
We got a knock on the door, right in the middle of the festivities – it was the folks from downstrairs complaining about moisture running down their walls. They didn’t think to consider the erffect on my carpet. Oh no. Selfish through and through. :P
So, the valve’s now bound up tight with sodden handkerchief and hopefully shut down tight, ready to be seen tomorrow.
Hurray!
Just what was needed to liven up the party.

Arrrg! I’m so slow……

Yet another bunch of apologies to the competition winners of the phantasmogoric pheelter phextravaganza.
I was merrily grinding the consumable parts of your prizes early this afternoon, when smoke started billowing out of the back of the grinder.
Not a good sign.
It took me an age and a half to grind (by hand – using my huge mortar and pestal) two thirds of what remained. By that time I had guests arriving for birthday things.
So, for yet another delay in the posting of prizes I apologise from the heart of my bottom.
But the rest of what you get will be a mystery worth having waited so patiently for.
I’m sorry. :(