Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Aaaarrrrrggghhhh - Give us a break

Have I broken 13 mirrors without noticing whilst walking under a number of ladders indoors, an open umbrella in one hand and juggling a black cat on a Friday that fell between the 12th & 14th? If I haven't I might as well have. January is now officially a complete nightmare. I didn't give up anything for New Year but if I can table a late bid I would like to give up bad luck, or in some cases judgement......

If you read the last BlackLOG you will appreciate that we have had a truly awful start to this year. It currently shows no sign of improving. While most of the things are minor and easily resolved it does start to wear you down. I am still attempting to see the funny side of most of it, but my grin is working its way towards a grimace.

Starting with a non starter
I'm used to the cats not wanting to go to the vets for their annual check up. (Even Mrs B can occasionally be found hiding under the bed or at the back of the airing cupboard if I've made a doctors appointment for her.) But it's a new one when the car decides that it doesn't want to go for its annual medical. (Perhaps it's frightened of the car version of cough and drop. You probably have to be male to understand this reference). When I booked our ageing but reliable VW Golf in for a service, she was running fine. It was only when I tried to start her to take her for the appointment..... nothing, not even a flicker. The AA arrived, found out I didn't drink and sent for the other AA. A yellow van duly arrived and a very helpful man started to play around with the battery. (I was fairly envious as he had lots of electrical gadgets with loads of flashing lights which made all sorts of rather pleasing little beeping noises.) With all these super toys it took him five minutes to discover that the battery had entirely drained. I could have told him that within 10 seconds. No lights, no radio, nothing ..... He did however have enough toys with him to get the car started.
Alcoholics Anonymous decided to ditch the vans after members complained they were a bit of a giveaway

Just to make me feel better we are having some work done on the house at the moment and all the non-action with the car was inconveniencing the workers, as they needed access to the power socket in the garage. I went to apologise to them and explain the problem of the mystery flat battery.

Sugared tea-drinking workman - "Oh, that will be your radio."

Me - "What?"

Non-sugared, tea-drinking workman - "That will be your radio!"

Me - "Has it happened to you?

Non-sugared, tea-drinking workman - "No, we saw it was on when we were in the garage yesterday"

Me - "You didn't think to say anything?"

Sugared tea-drinking workman - "We thought it was strange!"

Non-sugared, tea-drinking workman - "No we felt it was not really our place to say anything, you might have left it on for a reason."

Me - speechless

They also kindly buggered up our electric garage door, in a misguided attempt to help. Unfortunately they attempted to pull it down manually while it was still attached to the motor mechanism. A big no no in the electronic garage door world. I have high hopes that it just needs to be readjusted but with this month's current trend......

Credit Fraud
One of our credit cards has been cloned and is being used to purchased cinema tickets in North Vancouver. I will have to get my friend Mitch on the case, I'm sure he will look very fetching in a red tunic and riding britches. Although I'm not convinced that Kadie will be a good stand-in for Diefenbaker.....
Mitch deep under cover, or is he the master criminal using my credit card to fund his insatiable film habit?

Even Mitch manages to look sexy when he changes into his Mountie uniform. He might need to get the next size up however

Kadie's costume could do with some work if she is going to pass herself off as half wolf....

Now that's a much better effort Kadie

It started off with my mother cat-sitting for us while we were away at New Year.(She is henceforth to be known as Shuffler, due to her irritating habit of shuffling around. While you might regard me as being unnecessarily cruel I would like to point out that when she thinks no one is watching she walks normally. It also helps me to stay detached and be able to cope with the situation.) ........ Now we can't get rid of her. She has always been high maintenance as a parent and for the last 27 years, since my father died, the roles have almost reversed. It has been like dealing with a petulant teenager. She went through a heavy-drinking stage (probably one of the reasons why I don't drink). I don't think she got into drugs although she has always been a keen pusher of vitamin tablets (particularly C). The problem now is that she appears to be suffering from severe depression which is leading to an inability to look after herself, not eating properly and not washing herself or her clothes etc. It is the failure to get her to wash which is extremely depressing and hard to deal with. We are currently trying to get assistance from Social Services and her doctor. This is turning out to be a real eye opener and deserves to be the subject of a future BlackLOG in its own right.

Gas meter safety inspection.
I discovered that for the last year the gas company have been attempting to inspect Shuffler's Gas Meter. I called them up and explained that I was willing to help them gain access to the meter in her house but because of geographical restrictions i.e I live over 30 miles away it would have to be for a specific time and not one of those 'might turn up in the morning or the afternoon if we can be bothered at all' type appointments.

Assumed spotty Herbert from Gas call centre :- "I'll just put you on hold while I talk to my supervisor."

20 minutes later

ASHfGCC - "That should be OK."

Me - "Excellent."

ASHfGCC - "Do you want morning or afternoon?"

Me - "Eh?"

ASHfGCC - "Do you want morning or afternoon?"

Me - hesitantly, "Mmmorrrning" but thinking perhaps they will give me a set time in the morning

ASHfGCC - "OK. So next Tuesday Morning between 8am and"

Me - "No, No, No!"

ASHfGCC - "Sorry?"

Me - "You went off to get agreement for a specific time"

ASHfGCC - "Yes morning or afternoon?"

Me - "So what was the 20 minute delay for while you talked to your supervisor?"

ASHfGCC - No answer just a frantic rustling sound......

Me - "Look, if you want to gain access to the property I suggest you talk to who you need to talk to and call me back with a specific time."

ASHfGCC - More frantic rustling and a bit of whimpering. I swear I could almost read his thoughts "It's not fair it's not in the script."

Ongoing saga of my never ending cold
My cold is at last showing signs (unlike the economy) of recovery. This is actually proving to be a mixed blessing in that while it is nice to feel better, along with everything else my sense of smell is returning. With Shuffler's inability to interact with soap and water, it does not appear the best of times for my sniff mechanism's triumphant return.

I believe all that coughing has actually been useful. Like one of those Slendertone machines it has provided a concentrated workout to my midriff, showing (in my mind at least) small signs of abs emerging after years of neglect. Mrs B has counter-claimed that the fat has not gone but migrated to other parts of my body. Trying to put a positive spin on it I like to see it as a sort of redistribution of the wealth (A.K.A Fat deposits......)

Returned to yoga after the Yuletide break. The latest session was so hard core that even the outer extremities of my body, those parts currently residing in Scotland, texted me to complain that they were suffering from the after effects of over- stretching.

Mrs B's phone contract came to an end (a bit more complicated than a normal phone contract as it was through a work scheme). Vodafone sent through a message with a PAC code to transfer her number to a different tariff. I filled in the details and sent it back to them.

1st message from Vodafone - You have provided us with an invalid Pac code

I called them to point out that it was the one they had supplied - they apologised and agreed to sort it out

2nd message - You will need a new SIM and one has been sent and will arrive the next day

Nothing arrived, so I called them again

"Sorry sir you are not allowed to transfer your number between Vodaphone schemes." I pointed out that they had instructed me to do so. "OK Sir, I'll have the new sim sent out at once."

The new SIM arrived the next day and I phoned them back to get the number activated

Surprise surprise after an hour of phone conversaions with Vodaphone I was told the number would be available at 3pm. I waited till 4pm and reported the number was not active.

4 phonecalls later and I am told that it will be at least 2 weeks before the number is migrated. When I asked to speak to someone who could resolve this I was informed there was no one who could help. The migration department supervisor won't talk to anyone outside of Vodaphone - that must make for an interesting home life for them....

So the upshot is that Mrs B's mobile phone is currently out of commission. I'm looking forward to the next message claiming that as the number has now been out of contract for 2 weeks they can't port it.

Oh the joy of dealing with mobile phone companies....

and I thought our Neighbours were bad!!!! (Shed Wars)
My sister received a note of condolence from her neighbour John (about the loss of her husband Richard) on Sunday night. How thoughtful. Unfortunately he did not follow this up the next day with a big bunch of flowers but a stroppy note complaining that my sister had knocked down her old decrepit garage and was in the process of replacing it without his permission.

He followed it up with a personal visit

John - "You could have talked to me and set my mind at rest"

Sister - "I've had other things on my mind. Besides I thought Richard had talked to you about it before Christmas"

John - "Why do you need a new garage anyway?"

Sister - "The old one was falling apart and the door was to heavy for me to manage, especially now Richard is no longer here."

Sister - "You leave me no option but to report you to the Planning Department!"

Sister - "Fine John. Do what you have to do."

John - "I am just so distraught that you have not asked for my permission."

Sister - "John, you don't know the meaning of distraught....."

My sister subsequently spoke to the Planning Department and was told there should not be a problem with replacing the garage but because they have received a complaint from her neighbour they will have to investigate, which will hold up the process for at least six weeks. This leaves my Sister with a half- built garage and with its contents filling up nice neighbour Lisa's garage. Personally I would like to stuff John's condolence note where the sun don't shine but the anally-retentive pratt would probably only enjoy it......

To end on an upbeat note we finally managed to get Shuffler into the bath. I couldn't convince her to stay under the water but one step at a time....

I would like to give a huge thanks to Mrs B for being such a support with my Sister and Shuffler. I would also like to thank our friends Craig & Mala for insisting we come over on Sunday Night so that they could look after us and take our minds off things.


  1. Some people are put on this earth simply to make others lives a sodding misery, I'm fully convinced of that, I've met my share.


  2. Dear Mr B,

    Concerning the credit card fraud. If there is anything I can do to help please feel free to call. Make sure you call Sunday at ten our time as I will be at the movies the rest of the week.


  3. AV I trust you are not referring to the BlackLOG…... I actually do feel for the people working in the call centers it can’ be easy and I suspect they don’t get paid well for taking other peoples abuse. On the other hand my sisters Neighbor deserves to be run out of town, he should not be allowed to communicate with decent people, unless he is apologising while they throw rotten fruit and veg at him…

    MitchYes you can get a uniform that fits….While you are at the cinema please look out for a 50+ British male with his Canadian wife and small black dog reported to be enjoying the silver screen at my expense… I can only assume our card was cloned while we were over with you in June. I'm just glad we were ready for it thanks to that demonstration you set up for us, showing how easy it was to clone our credit card using the cloning device you had just purchased from "Crims are us"

  4. You obviously have some very enterprising friends! Whereas your sister wins the prize for having The Most Insensitive Neighbour 2009 - prize is having the ability to turn the other check and ignore him henceforth.


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