Thursday, 22 February 2018

Throw your money away if you must - but don't let yourself be robbed

This is not a joyful post despite the picture.

February is not my favourite month and i hadn't intended to blog again until I was in a better frame of mind.

This morning however, the latest attempt to part me from my bank balance made me so mad I thought I had better get it down on 'paper'as it were, before I imploded.

8.59 am phone rings and is answered warily (rather early, not bad news I hoped),

Mrs Barn-ez?

Oh no, I really can't bear it here they are again I really thought they were gone for good.

"Barnes" I barked.

"Yes hallo maam and how are you today?"

"Fine, whatdo you want?"

"You have recently asked the Telephone preference service for help with nuisance calls, and this is to confirm that from tomorrow morning you will only get calls from friends and relatives and people you want to hear from"

"Good, glad to hear  it"

Much more of the same then they  asked me to confirm that my address is ...... and then asked me to
confirm that my Visa card is in the name of Mrs Ray Barnes.

My antenna immediately snapped to attention "Yes" I replied.

"And it expires before 2021"

"Yes"  I rep;lied

Will you confirm on what date it expires?"

"No" I replied "If you want me to confirm the date you tell me what date you have"

"You must confirm the date" was the reply.

"Not on your life" I said, and put the phone down.

The prefernce service is a free service and no one will ask for any financial information at all but i thought I would just confirm what they had already said (they knew my name address and phone number, so  I wasn't giving them anything they didn't already have,

They still know as much as they did before and not a thing more.  Much good may it do them!!

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Grace is my middle name

Anyone who has read my blog for more than 2 or 3 years will be aware that I am more than averagely clumsy, accident prone, an injury magnet.

This morning, house tightly shuttered against last night's howling gales I looked out, saw that it was dry (then) and opened the back door.

Big mistake,  It flew out of my hand, crashed back against the tumble-dryer wall outlet and there was an ominous crash.

I looked at said piece of plastic - or what remains of it from previous crashes - and could see nothing.  Not really reassured, the noise had been considerable, I poked around the back door-step and found a large triangular object on the ground.

To cut it short, it was a lump of my cat-flap old and yellowed but still in place ten years after the demise of our last cat.  I now have a dilemma on my hands.

Since it is set into the door do I try to find someone who can locate and replace it with a similar one, though I have no plans to take on another cat, or do I have to replace the door (double glazing as well)?

As it stands the door is now vulnerable to access by any large strong animal or even, I suppose a small skinny burglar. To say nothing of possible weather damage.

Enough for  one day I thought, went to get my shower, stubbed my foot (yet again) and now have a nice navy-blue toe.

It hurts, is swollen and is about the tenth time I have performed this particular trick.

Is a suit of armour the answer, or should I  carry on regardless but take our personal injury insurance.

Answers and advice welcome.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Prayer versus Performance

It is possible I may have raised this issue before but last Sunday's  eucharist reminded me forcibley that it is a very real bone of contention.

If, as I am, you are a life-long performer, old habits die hard.

Used to singing either as a soloist or as part of a group, member of a chorus or of a choir it seems normal to expect and receive applause after a performance.

Singing in a church choir is a very different kettle of fish, where music is an integral part of the service and some would say, a type of prayer in itself.

Therefore in the Anglican church the music 'happens', and is seamlessly absorbed into the liturgy with no recognition (at the time), though on occasions when we have sung particularly well, with a few compliments after the service.

On just a very few occasions - for example on Christmas Day - we have sometimes put in an extra item (The Halleluja Chorus) or something similar and received a huge volume of applause.

This is very heart-warming and is usually very welcome since this is after all, the culmination of a hefty programme of music over a lengthy and very tiring period of time.

Last Sunday, about one third of the choir turned up and for the anthem sang unaccompanied the work by Lully arranged by Bizet, known for choral purposes as "Far Away".  This we sang, though I say it  as shouldn't, very well indeed.

We were astounded by the reception, loud cheers and rapturous applause.

Although it was a lovely tribute it felt (for me anyway) completely out of place.

Which raises for me yet again, the old question.  Where does performance end and prayer begin?


Sunday, 31 December 2017


Happy New Year to all who happen on this blog and "May the force be with you".

Spock.  He of the memorable ears meant well and so do I, even  if my new years greeting is perhaps not the conventional one.

I had intended to let the new year make its entrance without my company but so noisy are the fireworks in this area there is no point in going to bed.

The first bangs and crashes began about 9.45pm and the volume is increasing by the minute.

It is now 10.25pm my eyes are heavy but at least I have the luxury of not having to get up in the morning until I choose, so loss of sleep now is of little consequence.

It has been for me as for many others a year of mixed fortunes, emotions and moods and I live in hope that 2018 will be better.

Normally I don't make resolutions but this year I have decided to seek out another social group besides the church ones to try to make some new friends before it is too late.

How that is to be accomplished I don't yet know, but it will happen, and when it does I will blog about it.

A Happy Healthy Good New Year to you all.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

!!!!!!!!!!! And a Merry Christmas to you too !!!!!!

 After a very heavy schedule of Christmas music resulting in a mere 3 hours sleep in 48 hours, I felt entitled to slump and do nothing for a day or two in comfort and warmth and without interruption.  The scammers had other ideas.

Yesterday (Boxing Day) I had a call purporting to be from the telephone preference company.  They began by asking if I had received many cold calls recently, I answered that I had, far too many.  They then said they would re-register me and could ensure that both local and overseas calls could be prevented.

Slightly bemused and still very tired I confirmed my name and address (which they had already quoted) but they then asked me to confirm when my bank debit card (name of bank correct) was due to expire.

At last my exhausted brain clicked into gear and I refused to confirm the date, which appeared to confuse them.

They then asked me for the 3 number figure on the back of my card.

Finally, brain at last firing on all cylinders, I said "There is no way i am giving you that information" and put the phone down.

This morning they rang me again at 10. am and again at 12 . 15.  This time I made no reply at all and having put the receiver down checked with 1471 that it was the same number who had called me previously.  It was.

Having checked on line i found that nearly 800 people had tried to find out who this caller is.

Just for the record, and in case you are the next one to be called the number is 01613540623.

Stay alert.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

The Joy of Singing

Last Sunday was our service of nine lessons and carols and I managed to sing almost all of it without too many croaks.

Anyone who sings or has sung will know very well the misery of losing the ability to sing due to a virus, be it cold, flu, throat infection, chest infection, and the huge relief of regaining control over wayward vocal chords.

It was the first time I've been able to sing since Remembrance Sunday, a lifetime!

One of the many lovely things we sang was "Oh little one sweet, oh little one mild, sung on this recording (courtesy of UTube) by The King's Singers.  Lovely, I think you'll agree.

We had a good turnout for the choir which makes ahuge difference in the quality of the sound, and have had an avalanche of compliments since.  Rather a nice feeling.

After this coming Friday's choir practice we have Sunday morning Eucharist, then Midnight Mass and finally Christmas morning's services to look forward to.

It is wonderful to have so much to look forward to which, without my membership of the choir would be a very different sort of Christmas.

Deo Gracias.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Not dreaming of a white Christmas

Feeling guilty about still being unable to sing I had half made up my mind yesterday to go to St. M's this morning and at least be at the service.

Waking at my usual time of 6.15am I was surprised by how very dark the bedroom was.

Letting up the blind I was staggered to find a thick heavy white blanket of snow on everything and a very dark sky.

Putting food out for the birds while I waited for the kettle to boil my feet (in slippers) were covered in snow about 2 inches thick  and it was snowing hard.

Every time I looked out over the next couple of hours the snow was heavier and thicker than before so with some relief I decided to stay put.

A neighbour from the top of the close cleared my drive mid-morning and I didn't even discover it until mid-day.  Just sheer hard labour and a silent departure.  It took me some time to track down by phone who the on-duty angel had been.

By 3.00pm it had stopped snowing but had managed to break off two huge branches of my yellow Buddliea .  I had to keep throwing stuff out for the birds (anything I could think of) as I couldn't get to the shed for bird-seed.

My computer was out of action all day and the TV kept going blank.  This is only early December,,
it doesn't bode well for the coming Winter.

I'm aware that many parts of the country habitually have far worse weather than we do but when we do get heavy snowfall it tends to cause serious problems in this over-populated neck of the woods.

Let's hope this was just a rem inder of what we once used to see every Winter and not a warning of what to expect.

Not looking forward to trying to get to St M's tomorrow but we'll see.