Three wheels on my wagon

Where should I start? Let’s start at the very end, a very good place to start.

I have spent over an hour this afternoon trying to log on to HSBC’s UK website. After talking to 4 people I eventually got there. All charming people but one was a complete waste of space. I have more secure keypads than fingers I think and I have so many PIN numbers I think I need a PIN number to remember my PIN numbers.

HSBC: You must be able to see the icon in the top right hand corner of the screen……

Me: Nope.

HSBC: It must be there. On the right.

Me: Nope.

HSBC: Left?

Me: Nope.

Well it passed the time of day. I need Panadol after that.

This morning I spent a couple of hours trying to sell my car. I had a buyer lined up. His first question after agreeing a price was whether I would mind leaving it at the Audi garage for TWO DAYS so he could get a report on it. I knocked that idea on the head so he then wanted to send his mechanic over to drive my car away (???) to do some tests. After all he said, he was paying a lot for the car. Well, actually he is paying about 10% less than it is worth but he seems to think I should trust him to take my car away without paying but he worries that I am selling him a pup. So now I am selling it to somebody else. I had even given the guy a test drive for 30 minutes, shown him a full service history etc. I despair.

Last night I discovered that my health insurer, Allianz, is saying the cost of my operation is not reasonable. So their current position is that although they gladly take my premium for private health cover each year they think I should either voluntarily downgrade my level of hospital accommodation or maybe they will expect me to cough up. Their definition of ‘reasonable’ seems to be an arithmetic one and has no qualitative criteria at all. It does not take into account the experience of surgeon, the success rates of his / her surgery etc. I pointed out I don’t want a newly qualified surgeon on a stretch assignment when I am having heart surgery. I don’t accept Poundstretcher Bargain Basement surgery, Three for a pound at Tesco General or BOGOF from Aldi. (Buy One Get One Free). I have a nasty feeling I may be getting the past its sell-by date freebie. Or maybe it is DIY surgery. Nurse, can you move the soldering iron a bit closer to the ventricle please? Could I be sent to St. Swithin’s and get Sir Lancelot Spratt and Hatty Jacques?

The best thing was the attitude of the Russian (?) schoolgirl on the end of the “help line”. Maybe I dialled the wrong sort of help line.

Have you read the small print in the Terms & Conditions, Sir? I can read them to you now….. And she did. Over and over again. She did a fine job of imitating a parrot or possibly the speaking clock. At the third stroke it will time to screw the customer……. precisely. She also fell into the waste of space category and she rubbed salt into the wound by finishing I hope you have a good day, Sir. Discretion and a family audience forbids me relaying what my parting words were.

I also discovered later that the surgeons are quoting an expected surgery time of up to 6 hours not the 2-3 I was told. I find that vaguely worrying. Perhaps I have 2 hearts to sort out.

And then potentially good news. My wife has found her ideal home. And, miracles of miracles it is ONLY 50% over the budget I gave her. I think we have been here before. That qualifies as bad news.  Of course it may be sold by the time we can buy but it does look good. Very smart location. Rural but not too rural. The stamp duty to HM Government on such a purchase is probably on a par with the current GDP of Russia since oil prices dropped and the rouble turned into a Rubble. How many Barneys to the Dollar now, I wonder. And because I am sure you want to know:

Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 17.35.39

Isn’t that pretty?

My only achievement of note was that I finally finished reading Middlemarch. I kept waiting for  J Alfred Prufrock-Coat to appear but he never showed up. Now I have a large selection of books to choose from including Nathaniel’s Nutmeg, The Gondola Maker and World Order. What should I read next. Perhaps Hergé’s Adventures of Fizz? 101 Beagle Tricks You Never Knew I Could Do by Murphy?

That’s it for today. I hope you have all been cheered up but if not, here’s a confession to make you smile. I sent my first Christmas card today. I hope Rudolph delivers.




35 thoughts on “Three wheels on my wagon

  1. Candia used to be espoused to Sir Lancelot Spratt, but now she doesn’t get any favours on the NHS. Not that she wants to, but she is becoming adept at the behaviour advocated by Our Lord Himself, to wit: importunity. If it works for a loaf of bread, it can do wonders for the flesh.
    The more you pester, the more you get, unfortunately. Nothing connects with nothing, so you have to jolly well make the connections.
    Hope all goes well with the heart problem. We’ve been down the aortic route and it is harrowing. Trust your issues are less exacting.
    It might have been Sir Lancelot Pratt- I forget!

    • I am hoping that the incision is nothing like Sir Lancelot’s but as I shall be asleep at the time I don’t suppose I have much control over the matter.

  2. What a lot you have on your plate, Andrew. I currently have issues with BUPA and, having had a consultant approved by them and several months worth of appointments later, I have just received a letter from his Admin requesting that I settle all oustanding invoices (a significant amount in anyone’s book). It appears that BUPA have not paid a single one and had neither informed me, nor given me an explanation. To avoid all frustrating phone calls, I shall ask my Consultant to discuss directly with them 😦 I really hope that you can get your medical needs seen to quickly and to your satisfaction – there really should never be any setbacks or surprises where health is concerned. Very best of luck with the House. I am most intrigued as to where you will end up :0)

    • James, Friday is almost over and still no approval from Allianz, which boasts a 48 hour response time. This is now week 3 I believe. We are looking at Hants at the moment.

      • I was born and bred in Hants and it is a great County
        I grew up in Hook, near Basingstoke and lived there (excluding my University years) until I was 24. Would love to hear of any developments

      • I know it reasonably well. I spent many years in Havant, then Winchester and finally Alresford. I only live in counties beginning with H – Herts, Hereford and Hants.

  3. Can you not get a step up of phone person, Andrew? Usually the first to answer is the lowest of the low and really have no idea what is available in accommodation to special situations.
    Like you, I would want to have utter confidence in my surgeons for any cutting, but especially the ticker. I understand that the actual cut is pretty insignificant but the trawling around could be dicey. Only the best need apply. I understand that Major Frank Burns is still taking patients.
    I hope that your next inquiry gets a more positive result.

  4. Andrew, I am really hurting for you, as I can feel the steam rising through your post and know how bad that is for your health. This has certainly put my ongoing communication battle with Amazon/local newspapers/etc into perspective. Thanks for the clip… keep sane.

  5. Selling cars is a moot subject here in Casa Nevino – I sold my Citreon for a fraction of what it was worth and the Prof was not amused – as for Internet banking …’s a nightmare and I happily hand over the HSBC reins to his lordship as patience is not a virtue that I possess. You’ve just reminded me that I’m leaving it very late to get overseas cards/presents etc sent off. And as for your medical insurers, BIFF! BHAM! THUMP! The rotters.

    • Lottie, I was not aware that a Citroen had a second hand value so I think Pete should congratulate you. Presumably the main selling point was a tank of petrol?

  6. I hope it all bed-pans out alright Andrew. Make sure the tag on your wrist has your name on it. Don’t worry about the ruble. The borsch still tastes the same.
    How is Lulu or where is she?
    All the best.

    • I sincerely hope they go for the right chap’s heart, Gerard and I don’t end up with someone else’s lobotomy. Lulu is in her basket, safe and well.

  7. You won’t get any repartee from JR-J and Hattie Jaques if Kenneth More and Dirk Bogarde don’t stop butting in.

    Banks, “Helplines”, insurers – good luck with all those.

  8. Good grief, you have had a bad day. No wonder your poor old heart needs a bit of attention. Hope you feel a trifle better having got that lot off your chest – I always find a good rant helps – or even a bad one, actually.
    Let’s hope tomorrow pans out better for you. Good luck with the move … and everything else … 🙂

  9. Mercy. Look for more communication. This is not good. It is a must to have a cardio man that has many procedures under his belt. Do not give in to the insurance company. I don’t have to haggle here in the states. I did not have to pay a dime for my pacemaker. But I have Medicare and National Association of Letter Carriers. Together those two paid it all.

  10. My _Middlemarch_ favorite, Caleb Garth, wouldn’t have been overly concerned with such matters of high finance and daily business affairs. Frankly, I wish I could be more like him. Mr. Garth, though a secondary character, is one of Eliot’s grandest literary achievements.

    It’s compellingly appropriate, dear Andrew, that you’ve chosen to read _Middlemarch_ at this pivotal stage of your life.

    The author writes at the end of Chapter 24:
    “His classifications of human employments was rather crude, and, like the categories of more celebrated men, would not be acceptable in these advanced times. He divided them into ‘business, politics, preaching, learning, and amusement.’ He had nothing to say against the last four; but he regarded them as a reverential pagan regarded other gods than his own. In the same way, he thought very well of all ranks, but he would not himself have liked to be of any rank in which he had not such close contact with ‘business’ as to get often honorably decorated with marks of dust and mortar, the damp of the engine, or the sweet soil of the woods and fields. Though he had never regarded himself as other than an orthodox Christian, and would argue on prevenient grace if the subject were proposed to him, I think his virtual divinities were good practical schemes, accurate work, and the faithful completion of undertakings; his prince of darkness was a slack workman…. In fact, he had a reverential soul with a strong practical intelligence. But he could not manage finance; he knew values well, but he had no keenness of imagination for monetary results in the shape of profit and loss: and having ascertained this to his cost, he determined to give up all forms of his beloved ‘business’ which required that talent. He gave himself up entirely to the many kinds of work which he could do without handling capital, and was one of those precious men within his own district whom everybody would choose to work for them, because he did his work well, charged very little, and often declined to charge at all. It is no wonder, then, that the Garths were poor, and ‘lived in a small way.’ However, they did not mind it.”

    Taking the time to type those words brings back some fine memories and seasons some present reflections. I doubt few of us shall take the time to read them all, but that’s not the point nor the purpose. We do what we do to satisfy our own devices.

    One of my all-time favorite passages from literature, I first encountered it at university in the mid-1970s and again as a casual reader in the early 1990s. Caleb Garth has long served as a role model for my slow march toward simplicity — a relative term in this electric age. He was the happiest and most secure of all the players in that magnificent tale — though I shan’t slight the courage and strength of character of the proto-feminist Dorothea Brooke.

    Andrew, you’ll be fine. The surgeon will heal your heart. Your accounts will survive the hit from our medical establishment. Your return to your native land shall help heal your soul. “But only say the word and my soul shall be healed,” we recite at daily Mass. I always whisper that line a second time.

    Your friend from the Ozark Highlands, lifting you up in prayer,
    I remain, your most humble and obedient servant,

  11. I send all my best karma.. It’s hard to believe we judge life on $. So sad.
    Screw the car guy. 2 days my a$$.
    I always try to jump to ‘tier II IT’ asap.
    On another note, if you’ve not read Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, I’d highly recommend it.

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