Saturday, 22 November 2014

Foreign call centres

Yet another post on the subject of foreign (usually Indian) call centres.

Yesterday between 1.00pm and 6.10pm I received no less than three calls.

Today, one at 9.30am  and one at 4.15pm.

It is beginning to feel personal, yet I know it is not.  Look up numbers beginning with 003, 002 and 0009 on Google and you will discover battalions of persecuted victims.

As I have said before (many times), my calls begin "Can I speak with Mrs Bar nez" or "am I speaking with Ray Barnez".

Firstly, there is no such person, secondly it should be speaking to not with and thirdly I don't really care tuppence how they address me, I'd just prefer them not to.

Last evening's 6.15 call "Am I speaking to Ray Barnez" was answered, "Not any more you're not" phone put down.  Today's 2nd call simply was left unanswered - I hung up about 10 minutes later.

This sounds mildly amusing but it is slowly driving me nuts.

No-one seems able to deter them.

Perhaps if we all simply left the phone off the hook until they gave up the loss of revenue would finally get to them and they'd find another occupation.  Or am I being naive?

Has anyone a new idea?

Saturday, 15 November 2014


Switching on my computer this morning I saw that there was a fresh comment on my latest post.

Eager to read it I found it was not a comment, but a hate-filled, mysogonistic diatribe on the subject of American women.

Shocked by the aggressive bile and unable to find anything remotely resembling reason in it's content , I read it twice and deleted it.

Later, I wondered two things.  Firstly, why had he (I assume it was a he) chosen my blog to display his paranoia, and secondly, had I done the right thing in deleting it.?

Normally in favour of freedom of speech I can only assume that it was my desire not to be associated in any way with its contents which made me obliterate it.

Was I right to do so, or should I have allowed it to remain in all of its offensive glory?

Opinions please.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Last Last Post?

This morning after our normal Eucharist (this time half an hour early), we processed as usual to the 1st World War memorial in the churchyard for our usual laying of a wreath, and prayers

We then, instead of as most people would think, going home to put our feet up and rest our tired voices, made our way, a long blue and white crocodile, to the Market Square.

Since we were a quarter of an hour earlier there than normal, we had to stand (in silence, the microphones were right in front of us) until the town Remembrance Service began.

This year, the petrol fuelled generator from which all the cables operating the microphones was run, was right behind us.

Backs and legs aching from the previous hour and a half we then took part in the hour-long service - six hymns and an anthem - and additionally had to cope with the fumes from the generator.

Much as I respect and love the annual remembering of all those who fought in the two great wars and all the others since, I think the time has come for me to listen to my last Last Post in the Square.

Having to move off in procession at the end of the service with feet and legs of solid concrete is almost impossible, and the fact that the street we walk along back to St Mary's is cobbled is just the icing on the cake.

Time I think to call it a day.  Next year I will take part in the church service and the churchyard  one but not the Civic Service in the square.

Not one to play the 'age card' as a general rule, next year as an 80-year old I will do just that..

Friday, 31 October 2014

Halloween Celebration

Yup, it's that one again.

Anyone who has read my blog more than a time or two will be aware that on the (rare) occasions when I feel like a solitary celebration/restorer, whisky is my tincture of choice.

For the past two weeks, and for the next four or five my dearly loved next-door neighbours have been/ will be having an extension built on their too-small house.

This for me is a good thing, since the alternative would be their departure to a new, larger house.

They prefer to enlarge their existing home rather than start house-hunting, so I am (relatively) happy to endure the drilling, hammering, churning of cement, etc  in order to keep my lovely friends close.

They have a holiday home in Spain and are currently spending half-term there, so they are escaping the worst of the disruption.  I, on the other hand am not.

Raising my bedroom blind at 7.25 am and coming face-to-face with a young man on top of a skip emptying a barrow is not my idea of Heaven.  Worse by far, however, is the fact that every daylight hour sees me a prisoner in my own home.  Unable to work in the front garden in the last warm days of the year.  Unable to open my front door for any reason without a (friendly) greeting.

Today they departed at four twenty five, and by four twenty six I was out in the garden, loppers in hand cutting frantically at the white buddliea and a couple of the Hibiscus in the rapidly fading light.

Yes, I know I could go out there while 'they' are there, but I'd much rather not.

Breathing a sigh of re;lief at having achieved at least something, I came back in and watched "The Chase" on TV and as the fireworks began to crash and whizz outside (Halloween), I poured myself a very large whisky and ginger and headed upstairs to the computer.

Happy Halloween.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

The one that got away

Just a very brief word from my extensive stock of whimsical trivial musings.

On my favourite soap-box, criticising the wording of TV ad's.

Have just seen the umpteenth version of one of my pet rants.

Presenter proudly holds aloft bottle, spray, canister of product with the reassuring words " XXXXX kills 99% of bacteria.

Which means that the product does everything but what you want it for.

It is not the weak, feeble mostly harmless bugs we want to be rid of, it's the 1% powerful malign monster which the spray cannot touch.

When oh when will advertisers actually read their own ad's.

Phew.   That feels better.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

I feel pretty...

It's that time of year again.

Friday's choir rehearsal was extra tiring because I had a persistent cough.

Thought it was just my usual reaction to a huge draughty and dusty church.

Saturday morning taught me the error of my ways, sore throat, runny nose, sore eyes and such a pretty pink nose.

This morning I phoned the choir mistress to tell her I was hor's de combat and likely to be so for a while.  All this in a gravelly voice which would have done justice to Louis Armstrong.

Glad to go back to bed I nevertheless felt somewhat aggrieved to be missing the Harvest Festival.

There is a particularly pleasing arrangement of all the donated 'goodies', and I have missed it.  Not fair!

It happens around this time most years so I shouldn't be too surprised but it is very disappointing to attend  all the run-up to the day and miss the main event.

From here on the musical part of the church escalates week by week, as extra services pile up and more and more demands are made on our time and vocal resources.

Luckily we have a lot of new members, and while we all go down with the lurgy at some stage, there are now enough people to cover all the gaps

I shall not attempt to return until all signs of infection have departed, it wouldn't be fair to the others, to say nothing of the affect it would have on my aged vocal chords.

From the good but quite small choir I joined in May 2010, we have grown to a huge 30 strong one with a very good sound when we are all present.  This includes 10 mice (my name for the 8 to 12 year olds)

The bats have started to make the occasional sortie during rehearsals once more, so we must be doing something right.

Unfortunately the resident arachnids are also 'dropping' by to pay their respects.  Uggh.

I'm rambling so will return to bed, there to sneeze in comfort..

Thursday, 25 September 2014


One more the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness is upon us, together with its less welcome components.

On Tuesday morning a warm and sunny Autumn day, I was going about my duties at St M's when a trip to the loo became necessary.

Innocently approaching the hand basin I saw it had an occupant.  Roughly about 3 inches in diameter and sitting black and squat and evil in the centre.

Hastily turning to the other hand basin I completed the fastest hand wash in history and made my shaky way to the refectory where my obvious agitation caused mild concern until I had explained the reason.  The resulting "Oohs,  Ohs and Yuks", caused a young male volunteer to offer assistance.

I yelled a completely unreasonable "Don't kill it" after his retreating back and he vanished.  It seemed about 10 minutes - probably more like 30 seconds - before he returned holding something very carefully wrapped in a paper napkin headed for the door and proceeded to release his captive in the churchyard.

About an hour later, as we went into the Lady Chapel for the lunchtime eucharist, the caretaker told us the spider had tried to come back in (The main doors are kept wide open all day) and someone else had taken it back to the far side of the churchyard.

It obviously knew where its home was and resented being evicted.

They don't call them house spider for nothing.