I knew today was going to be ‘one of those days’ when I put the bird feeders out this morning and found a pile of sparrow feathers on the grass. The local sparrowhawk had obviously had its breakfast in our garden….. I know it has to survive but the newly fledged sparrows were very cute! The rest of the sparrows were conspicuous by their absence, they’ve usually taken up all the perches on the feeder as soon as my back is turned, but today they stayed hidden in the nearby holly bush. FYI we take the feeders in at night because we have a marauding flock of rooks who have learned that if one of them sits on top of the feeder and bashes it with its beak the seed falls down and the rest of the wretched flock clean up. They take it in turns and can empty 2 feeders in less than 30 minutes!
So away we go! I had to do an electronic bank transaction yesterday on behalf of my Mum (more of her later). It was quite a sizeable amount and the bank screen told me that it might take up to 24 hours for them to do all the necessary checks. Fair enough, we expect them to get it right and keep our money safe don’t we? I signed in this morning and expected to see the authorisation accepted…. oh no no no! Nothing as simple as that. I continued to check and as it was obvious that nothing was changing I tootled off to the branch, thankfully only 5 miles down the road.
Next problem – I couldn’t get through the door! Not, I hasten to explain because of my ever expanding bum, but because the place was packed full of grumpy people wanting to be served. One brave soul had a go at the automated pay in and was soundly cheered when he managed to complete his transaction at the third attempt and with the assistance of another customer! Behind the counters where two assistants were doing sterling (sorry dreadful pun) service there was a young male member of staff who offered to make them both a cuppa – very commendable – until one girl asked for a glass of juice as well. “As well as tea” he said loudly and then even more loudly “you won’t wet the bed will you?” The onslaught from the now diminished but all female queue was awesome. He disappeared quickly, very red faced, to lick his wounds and contemplate his future career in banking!
My turn at last but I was told that they were sorry but because I’d already started the wretched transaction via internet banking I had to finish it the same way. So back home once more I bit the bullet and phoned the helpline. An automaton asked me for some details – all going well until we came to ‘date of birth’ the automaton didn’t like mine…. oh yes this is my mum’s account and the automaton seemed happy with her date of birth and decided I could be connected to ‘an advisor’. At last, a human being who assured me all could be sorted if I just gave her the 4th and 5th letters of my password, which of course I couldn’t because I couldn’t remember the flipping thing and it was written down in a file stored at Mum’s house 8 miles away. AAArgh!
Just to make the day worse I had to do a ‘big trolley shop’ at the supermarket – not the one where you dash in, buy a couple of bottles of wine and a pack of fish fingers, no it’s the one where you have a list and spend a fortune on things you can’t eat but that are essential – like washing up liquid, toilet rolls and soap.
I was already frayed at the edges but set off once again into battle, found the file at Mum’s and was gratified to see that had I dared to use the 4th and 5th letters of my password I would have been correct. On to stage 2 – The Big Shop. My spirits rose when I drove into the car park, there were spaces, plenty of spaces and not too far from the trolley park or the shop door, I had my list in my hand and I’d ‘remembered my bags’. Feeling just a bit pleased with myself I marched in with my ‘big trolley’ to be met an onslaught of children running amok. I swear that for every car that was in the car park there were 4 children in the store, cheap half term entertainment – ‘see how many flustered 60 something year old women you can annoy in 15 minutes’ being the game of choice!
Whilst pondering the best value but maximum comfort in toilet rolls, I heard a phone ring, the same ring tone as mine but by the time I’d got the damn thing out of my bag it had stopped! I put it in my pocket at which point it pinged at me – a message – from the Bank – would I please phone them…..?? Well no, not just now, I’m in Asda contemplating toilet rolls and it needs my full attention so I’ll ring you when I get home. Onto the most important items – down the wine aisle! Ah good, that nice red in the box is still on special offer, and the white, good…. ooh and the Grenache as well, lovely for a summer evening drink in the garden. So with three wine boxes, 24 rolls of lavatory paper, four bars of soap, healthy vegetables and the rest I arrive home.
Leaving the shopping in the car I go in to the house braced for another round of sparring with the bank automaton. Mr G took one look at me and made coffee. He also brought the emergency packet of M&S Belgian chocolate cookies – what a hero! With the experience of the previous call to the bank I managed to get past the automaton in double quick time and was connected with ‘an advisor’ almost immediately. Nice girl, listened to my query, said she could sort it out but ‘just give me a couple of minutes’ and then cut me off …….. I kid you not! B******s, B******s and thrice B******s! SO SORRY – I was getting a bit fraught but nevertheless this had to be done. I had to get it sorted out. I am Mum’s Trustee and if necessary I’ll jump through flaming hoops to get a result!
I decided to logon to internet banking to see if anything had changed. Oh Yes It Had. My login had been suspended and I must call the number on the screen immediately. Brrrr Brrrr Brrrr Brrrr ‘******Bank Fraud Line, how can I help?’ Gulp! Biscuit crumbs everywhere! I told my story – well not a story, it was the truth and the lovely lady had it sorted in a trice. Transfer done. Login reinstated. No handcuffs. No Fraud Office. Time for another biscuit. I have to do it again on Monday!!
As to the Mother – she’s been busy!
She decided that it would be good to go and say hello to the nice Longhorn cows, calves and bull in the field next to her residential home and the easiest way to do that was to climb over a three bar fence while no-one was looking. She’s fine – a grazed knee and elbow but completely unaware of the scare she gave everyone. They’ve put an electric wire round the top of the fence now to keep the cattle in and her out. The Mother will be shackled to her chair if she does anything like that again. That’s the third residential home she’s managed to escape from and she’ll be 85 in a few days!
I have put the shopping away, I have scrubbed the washing machine powder drawer until it sparkles, I have brought washing in from the line and put it to air and I have put the towels in for the next wash. I have poured and consumed wine, Mr G has replenished my glass, which is now empty. We need to eat.