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……
HSBC: It must be there. On the right.
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:
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.