How do I sound?

Testing, 1,2,3….
(Play button is far left, try reloading if you can’t see it, or click there anyway)

Hm, thanks Alan. I may give this a go from time to time. I confess, I don’t like the sound of my voice, but it’s well worth considering on occasion.

A lorra laughs with the birthday girl

Mum’s birthday was on a Monday this year and I had some holiday left to take so booked the Monday and Tuesday off and went to Mum’s for a long weekend 🙂

I drove down on Saturday morning and it felt absolutely wonderful to be on the road after such a long time. I love motorway driving and was quite happy singing caterwauling along to my CD’s and looking forward to a couple of days R&R. It was going to be nice to swap the mess and moods at home for calm, order and relaxation.

In our couple of days together we had lots of laughs and managed to go to B&Q to buy paint for the next little project, do the shopping and we thoroughly enjoyed going through some old letters and photographs of my Nan’s. There were letters between her and my grandad from the war when she was evacuated to Whitehaven and he was serving in Italy; it was very moving to read how much they loved and missed each other and promises never to be parted again. Grandad’s letters were full of assurances that “Jerry” was on the run and the war would soon be over now. Nanny’s letters to him and to her mum showed what a close family unit they were and there were others too from very early on in her married life. It was all so interesting and we felt privileged to share a glimpse in to my grandparents’ lives. There was also a little booklet, sponsored by Stork margarine which was a “Questionnaire for young folk which my Nan had been given at school in 1930. There was a sport, history and first aid section of questions and answers, with the rest being general knowledge – and some of them were really tough! Some were just tough for us as they pertained to matters only up to 1930! (so questions asking for the last prime minister to do something, or last sports person to hold a record etc. would not have the same answer now as then.) Some of the first aid answers were so out of date that they were wrong e.g. they had blood vessels down as organs. However the true purpose of this booklet was to brain wash “young folk” with the message that Stork margarine was every bit as healthy and nutritious as butter and mum and I now know that margarine was invented in 1870 by Mege-Mouries thanks to the Franco-Prussian war when there was a shortage of cows and therefore of butter! Stork bought the rights to make it in England and set up shop in Purfleet. (Hope you’re impressed as I have told you this from memory (brain washing, see!)) Mum and I got the giggles as every new section of questions began and ended with one on margarine and its history 🙂 At some point I will try and scan some of this stuff and share. Even the paper was interesting as both the booklet and the letters – and even greetings cards – were on good quality paper, some of which was so soft it was almost like fabric. The stamps were interesting too – mainly those of George VI and then one of the series of letters with Queen Elizabeth II. All so fascinating!

On the Sunday I abandoned mum for a bit and went to my match – my first for ages. I was so happy to be there despite City playing very poorly and being extremely lucky to have it finish City 2 – 2 Liverpool We had two fluky goals but Liverpool were by far the better team and should have won! I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon though, as I always do, and loved getting my fix of live football / City.

On mum’s birthday we had a birthday breakfast of “Nanny toast” and marmalade. (My Nan always used to cut great fat slabs of bread, toast them, add loads of butter (no, not Stork!) and marmalade and this was always a special treat for us when visiting her and grandad) Then mum opened all her cards and presents which was fun – I love sharing present openings and seeing what lovely things people have chosen. We then went in to town and had a nice coffee break (hard work these birthdays you know! 😉 ) and visited the Grosvenor Museum which neither of us had done before despite all the years in Chester. It was a bit of a disappointment in that many of the exhibits were being either assembled or dismantled and therefore had nothing for us to see. We were also dodging school parties and in fact it didn’t take us long to look at what there was at all. We enjoyed the Roman bits and we had to leave the art gallery when I got the giggles at mum’s face when a guided group entered the room, taking her by surprise 😀 We thought we’d revisit the Visitor Centre but this was closed, unfortunately. (When I’ve looked it up to link here, it seems to have changed hands and purpose.) We walked along the river and up through the park, with a nod to “Charlie” (actually, he’s Richard!) whose monument resides there, and finished with a little mooch round a couple of shops. This included popping in to a couple of the O2 shops to ask how to get my usual ringtone set up on my new phone. Unbeknown to me, as the phone was set to “silent”, the volume was on the highest setting and consequentially, in both shops, when staff accessed the song I wanted as my ringtone, “City, Manchester City” blared out full blast – in Chester, which is largely populated by Liverpool fans! The day after we jammily robbed them of a point! 😀 (Neither store could help much, but I’ve since figured out a way to do it myself.)In the evening I cooked the lamb shanks we’d chosen from mum’s freezer and we had them with a very nice bottle of wine 🙂 It wasn’t the most exciting of birthdays for mum but we both enjoyed it nevertheless and I certainly enjoyed being there to share the day.

On Tuesday, we planned to take Rocky to the vet for his annual injections as Mum hates trying to catch him to take him to the vet and has had to cancel taxis before when she couldn’t get him in time. I was happy to be helping with transport, but after the last time I caught him he was nervous of me for months and I really didn’t want him to be like that with me again. Mum and I were very deliberately acting casually and literally pussy-footing around – and in the end he was fairly simply captured and mum got him into his carrier without too much fuss. It added a bit of extra fun running with his carrier through the blizzard which was blowing at the time, but he got a clean bill of health, bar a minor bout of conjunctivitis for which he got some drops, and that was that! Whatever were we worried about? 😉 Mum rewarded us that evening with Dominos pizza – and we got a good deal since we had an e-mail offer of £10 off when ordering £25 or more. Er, bargain! How could we refuse? 😉

I had to leave straight after breakfast on Wednesday so that I could get to work for the afternoon, but I had had the sot wonderful break with one of my most favourite people in the world, which really perked us both up I think. Thank you Mummy, I love you, and Happy Birthday 🙂

Not doing; just being.

We spent a lovely, leisurely Boxing Day at home (mainly eating what we wanted, when we wanted it 😉 ) I watched the Sunderland 1 v 0 City match on a very hit-and-miss webstream whilst Billy watched ManUre 4 v 3 Newcastle and we were both wanting each other’s team to win; we were both disappointed! Ho hum! (MCFC’s 60-second highlights here and extended ones here)

On the 27th, Nel and I drove down to mum’s to spend the night and just have some girls’ time out. Nel went shopping with her friend who lives nearby and mum and I did……………. absolutely nothing! 🙂 We just sat and chatted and it was lovely. Nel returned in time for dinner (braised steak, mmmm.) She had asked if she could sleep in the living room on the camp bed and as soon as we’d made it up ready, Rocky decided it looked very cosy (which it did, as mum always makes it so) and promptly claimed it! 😀 Nel going to bed later didn’t bother him a bit – since he had his spot, right in the middle and wasn’t budging! At some point in the night though, he did decide to let Nel get some sleep and he went upstairs to sleep with mummy. The next morning we went for a mooch in the shops and though we enjoyed ourselves, we didn’t actually buy much (and even then what we bought was from the 99p shop!) so we clearly hadn’t missed much the day before. We had a lovely late lunch of mum’s home-made chips with Bockwurst before we set off for home again. What a wonderfully relaxing visit – not doing, just being 🙂

I couldn’t get a web stream for the Norwich 3 v 4 City match and had to content myself with the radio commentary instead. It sounded a fantastic match and of course, the result was very pleasing too. The effort was certainly better than the apparent lack of interest on Boxing Day and fans of both clubs got their moneys-worth. (MCFC’s 60-second highlights here.)

Other than this, I just enjoyed being at home for a few days – no work, no plans, just pottering around doing little things like catching up with some blogging, cleaning up my laptop (backing up files, doing a defrag etc.) and playing with my new phone, installing apps etc. 🙂 I was not missing work at all!

Recharging batteries, updating technology and blitzing mould.

Since being poorly (that man-flu bug must’ve mutated to cross the gender barrier I reckon 😉 ) I have slowly recovered with the light headedness and low energy persisting for another week. However I managed to work and to do my overtime – the thought of a fortnight off kept me going but I am really pleased to have a two-week break from work now and hope to recharge my batteries 🙂

I have a long list of jobs through which I’m working during my time off – things which have needed doing for ages but I haven’t had the time, and things which will make me feel good knowing they are finally done. These include cleaning, painting (walls/ceilings), and business accounting amongst other things. Already, on day 2, I have done quite a lot even though I’ve felt as though I’ve just been pottering at my own pace.

I’ve finally transferred all the files I want from my old desktop PC to my laptop and then cleaned up and updated the desktop so that it will serve as a family spare in case of dire, ‘cos it’s slower than a slug with a limp need. I’ve backed up my phones and updated the software on my personal mobile – I LOVE this about Nokias – and the update has fixed a bug I had (viewing details of my contacts) and given me lots of new smilies to play with, so look out if you’re someone with whom I exchange texts, ‘cos I have new toys and intend to use them! 😛

One of the jobs on my list is to deal with the mould starting to grow on the bathroom ceiling and then repaint it, and I happened to see a mould remover spray in Aldi at the weekend, which I didn’t think would do much but at £1.59 was worth a dabble. To my amazement, it worked a treat and I ended up hunting down any other mould I could find and zapping it! 😀 The back door had the worst infestation and one panel was solid black – not any longer. This stuff is brilliant and gets 10/10 – but sadly I’ve run out of black stuff to kill and remove 😉

None of my jobs are exciting, I know, but actually I am quite a little home-bird and love nothing more than nesting. I hate that I’ve been working so much and neglecting the home so although my holiday plans may seem like hard work, I’m actually enjoying myself. The beautiful spring weather helps too 🙂

Techy Gremlins again!

This house is a haven for Techy and Electrical Gremlins and we’ve just had a couple of casualties.

Our poor overworked Hoover died a couple of weeks ago (this happens regularly, though in fact this one lasted longer than most. We’ve found bagged ones do better than bagless which we think is due to the static from all the hairs) but at the time we really couldn’t afford to replace it. I’ll leave your imagination to picture how the carpets suffered given that we have two long haired females, 3 cats and 3 thick haired males all molting all over the place, along with three messy males who drop food crumbs everywhere!

This week we managed to get a replacement sorted and I carefully looked at potential models, retailers and prices before deciding on a manufacturer reconditioned Hoover on eBay which came with 8 bags and a one year warranty. This cost the same as a more basic model in Argos, is designed for pet hairs and cost 1/3 the RRP.

The new Hoover arrived very fast and on Tuesday was put through its paces and given a thorough work out. I’m pleased to say it passed with flying colours 🙂 Not only did it pick up all the accumulated crumbs/dust/hairs/etc but it also fluffed up the ancient carpets and the whole house looked fresher. The vacuum cleaner is dead, long live the Hoover 😉

The techy gremlins also attacked my phone which I only got in January. First I noticed that the clock reset itself to bizarre times on a couple of occasions, so I called O2 customer services. After checking my settings, it was discovered that my phone had the version of software released in June 2010 despite there having been an update in November 2010, so I needed to do an update. Luckily I have Novi Suite and had done a recent backup so it was easy enough to do the update myself. The really helpful young man at O2 called me back later to check all had gone well, which I thought was a nice touch. It seemed to sort the problem which was good, and the update had included an extra app or two so that was good.

However, since the update, I’d found that I couldn’t open individual contacts on my phone – which is a slight problem. So I called O2 again and we tried restoring factory settings but it didn’t help. Now my poor little phone has to go in for repair 🙁 It isn’t costing me anything of course, being a new phone, but it’s a just a bit of a pain – though they turn it around in 5 days apparently. Happily I’ve still got my old handset so I did another back up, wiped my phone, and swapped my SIM into the old phone. Get well soon little phone…

Secure silliness?

This week I’ve had three different silly “security” conversations with companies on the telephone.

The first (this happens a fair bit) was when a company called me and then asked to check my ID and confirm a couple of security details. I refused on the basis that they’d called ME and how would I know if they really were who they claimed to be? I told them that if the “information” they “wanted to share with me” was that important, they could write or e-mail – then I hung up!

The second was when I called a company I had not had cause to call before and they asked for my password. I said I don’t have one as I hadn’t called them before. So they asked for my place of birth. I’m never quite sure what I’ve put for this as (usually) I use the exact part of the city, sometimes I use the area of the city and (rarely) I use the city. So I guessed – and got was told: “Sorry, you have failed the security check as your place of birth is wrong.” I then had to explain the above (giving the 3 options) to get a chance with another security question. You couldn’t make it up!

Finally, I called my PAYG mobile provider to get my PAC number so I could keep my number for my new phone. The security question was how much credit I have left. “Erm… just under £3 I think, I’ve been running it down before calling and last I saw it was £3” But they wanted the EXACT amount. I didn’t know and explained that I couldn’t check as I was calling from that phone (at a cost of 20p per minute and umpteen automated menus through which to navigate before even speaking to a person!) So we wasted time and money) for a bit going in circles before I just started guessing and finally hit upon the right amount! Not at all secure and a really stupid security question to ask!

The world’s gone mad! 😛

Ain’t Technology Grand?

Just after New Year, Billy and I finally managed to finish clearing everything out of my clinic and I then spent a few days playing put-and-take trying to find homes for it all.

One of the things I brought home was the computer which Billy had given me for the business when I opened it 4 years ago. Although I had occasionally used my mobile to connect it to the internet if I needed something specific, it was mainly used offline and therefore had not been updated for 4 years. Nel has been wanting a PC to use for playing games without using all the memory on her laptop, so the plan as for her to have the old one I was using at home, which was a bit sluggish but had a good graphics card, and for me to update the old clinic one for my own use. Nel was also gaining the all-in-one scanner-printer from me and I was having the clinic printer.

And so began a day of backing up my files and favourites before wiping them all from the old PC and then setting up the clinic one ready to use. First I had to install the wireless receiver and then of course, downloading and installing all the updates. 72 of them in the first wave, but then, annoyingly, many more, a few at a time as they appeared. Why it couldn’t do them all at once and be done with it, I don’t know! I also had to get an updated Kaspersky key which was free of charge courtesy of online banking, but I’d already used my 3 keys for Billy’s laptop, Nel’s PC and Nel’s laptop, so I had to ask Stephen to get me one of his. Eventually, everything was installed and then, just as I could play, Windows did a check and decided that the copy of Windows on the PC was not legitimate! Flamin’ cheek! It IS! Billy bought this PC 5+ years ago, with Windows already installed and with a sticker stating the key on the side. The only advice offered with the notification was to contact the retailer – fat lot of help all this time later when I haven’t a clue where it came from! Now I am stuck with a stupid message on my desktop and am unable to set a wallpaper or theme. Grrrr! Other than this, and the fact that the very old version of Office is installed, all is well and I have set up the computer to run a personal account for me and a herbal one for the business.

My business mobile is synchronised with and backed up to, this computer and I’d had a text a few weeks ago from Orange, advising me that there was new software available for my phone and that I should download and install it.(I love Nokia and Ovi Suite for letting me update my own software 🙂 ) I couldn’t do this before as I couldn’t get online to do so, but after bringing the PC home, and getting it online, I could now do this. So another couple of hours were spent backing up my phone and then installing the new software and at last, I have a nice up to date business phone.

Sadly, this just highlighted the fact that my personal phone was getting on a bit now that I’d had it for 3 years, and I badly needed a new one. I had a good look around at what Nokias there were available, researched them, looked at them in the shops and eventually decided I’d like a Nokia C5 – a classic Nokia phone but with a lot of smart phone abilities. I don’t need a lot of gismos and gadgets though I did like the idea of the free sat-nav as this is something I’ve been needing for a while, and the camera and other features were a bit better than my old one. I usually pay around £15 every other month on PAYG with Tesco (which is actually serviced by O2) and found a good deal on the O2 website which offered the C5 free with a £10pcm contract – so £2.50 a month more than I am already used to paying. This sounded a great deal so I went for it.

When my new phone came, I spent more time backing up my old one to the PC/Ovi Suite and setting up my preferences. However, as I still have a fair bit of credit to use on my Tesco SIM, I have put that into the new phone until I’ve used it up and will then use the new O2 SIM (if you call/text me, panic not, I shall be retaining my old number!) Until then, there’s no point getting O2 to send me the correct phone settings so I’m not yet using all the phone’s features. Once I do switch, I plan to use the old handset and a free PAYG SIM to keep in the car for an emergency. I must remember to make a call from it every 3 or 4 months though, to keep the SIM active.

It was coincidence that I did all this computer and phone updating at the same time, but it is a good job jobbed and I’m pleased with the results. Hopefully this little lot will keep me going for another 3 years or so before it needs doing again. 🙂

Store Card games.

Earlier this year, I bought something in Wallis and when I got to the till, was asked if I’d like a store card as I’d receive another £5 off my purchase. That seemed good, so I went ahead and got one – though I intended paying off the amount in full straight away.

A couple of weeks later, I received all the original forms with a compliment slip asking me to sign again s the signature had not gone through all copies. A few days after that, I received my card.

Then I forgot all about it.

Last week when I was in the Metrocentre, I passed Wallis and remembered the card – and realised I’d never had a statement. Surely my payment must be due by now? So I went in and asked if it was possible to just pay them using the card for the account details. It was, and I knew exactly how much I owed, so I paid it in full.

This week, I received my first statement from them – charging me an extra £12 for a “late payment” ! What a nerve! I was straight on the phone…

First of all, as with nearly everything these days, it was a blasted 08 number – which would cost us an arm and a leg (especially as we are not with BT! Why can’t companies give proper numbers anymore?!)

Then I had to go through several automated menus before I finally got to speak to someone ……. who sounded like he was in an Indian call centre. Oh great!

Next he wanted to take me through security and asked my password. What password? I haven’t got one since it’s a new account! No problem – we just went through a series of other questions, all of which most of my family would be able to answer easily. Then I was asked if I’d like to set up a password. I declined and said I intended cutting up the card after this call.

Finally, we got to the problem itself. I explained that I’d never had any statements from them and that I had, in fact, been in to the shop of my accord and paid the balance. So he kindly offered to refund the “late charge”I should think so too!

Then he said that there was still 56p owing – interest charged!!!! I managed to keep my temper – just – and said that in that case, why didn’t I charge them 56p for the phone call and we’d call it quits? There was a pause, and then he agreed to cancel the interest charge too. Finally, we agreed that my balance was now £0.00

“Would you like to set up a password now, Mrs K?”
No I flamin’ well wouldn’t! Why would I want to continue to do business with such a cowboy outfit?!

The first thing I did when I put the phone down was to cut up the card – which was rather satisfying.

Why is everything such hard work?

Frustrating week.

This week has very much been one of “one step forwards, two back” in just about everything I’ve done – or tried to do.🙁

On Monday at work, I didn’t get much work done at all – partly through the usual Monday chaos, but also as I had a pre-appraisal meeting. I have my actual appraisal in a few weeks time and before that need to have completed a fair bit of e-learning (mandatory training which can be done on the Trust’s intranet) and print off the certificates to prove it. I also have to fill in my appraisal documents and produce evidence for my fulfilment of the various key attributes required for my job. In short, I have to find time to write about and prove my worth doing the job for which I don’t have enough time as it is! What a crazy world we live in!

All of this meant that on Tuesday I had to catch up with Monday’s work as well as Tuesday’s workload and all our patients seemed to be in cantankerous moods – but I stayed calm and very polite – somehow! I was absolutely wiped out by the end of the day (as I am most Tuesdays these days) and said to Billy that I’d need to sit down for 5 minutes before cooking. When I went in the kitchen a little later, he was already in there and cooking a gorgeous homemade curry. Yummy!

Wednesday and Friday were spent in my own clinic – I did get my accounts up to date, but need to dig out a couple of missing receipts which is annoying. I was pleased with the progress of the patients I saw this week, but one needed me to write a letter summarising their treatment – which took extra time to do. On Wednesday I had to phone a supplier to chase some herbs which I’d had on backorder for a while, awaiting their incoming shipment being cleared through customs. When I spoke to them, it was discovered that they hadn’t actually done my backorder and so we had to start the order from scratch! The package arrived on Friday which as good as one patient was in desperate need of one of the herbs and I planned to drive over and deliver it myself in the afternoon. When I opened the package though, they’d sent me the wrong products! Five of them! That took more time to sort and by Friday afternoon I felt like I’d had a week of chasing my tail.

Thursday was to be my one day of getting things done and I particularly wanted to sort out a new mobile phone contract as mine is coming to an end. I decided to go to the Metrocentre to do it in person, and set out so I’d arrive as it opened. As I got near the A1, the traffic was queueing right back along the A69 and I crawled along the A1 at a snail’s pace. As I approached the Metrocentre turnoff I was pleased to think I’d soon be out of it – but once I got there, I found it blocked off by fire engines, police and ambulances and the evidence suggested a very nasty car accident with one burned out husk visible. Nasty! Whilst my thoughts went out to those involved, I was presented with a new quandary. How to get to the shops, or back home? I took the next exit and hoped that at the worst, I could get back on the A1 and return home – though as it turned out, I managed to find my way to my original destination, albeit to a different car park and the uncertainty of the way back – still I’d cross that bridge later.

I tried to relax and first went to the Orange shop to discuss my contract. The girl in there was not very enthusiastic and it was like plucking teeth getting the information I wanted out of her. Eventually I decided on a new tariff and handset – the handset was actually the one I thought I would want – four models up from my existing one and with a much better camera. However – that shop was out of stock! Agh! She suggested I try their shop in another part of the centre, so I did, and happily they did have the handset I wanted, and the girl there was much more switched on. She said I’d get a new SIM card for the handset it he post – and when I asked why I couldn’t just put the existing one in it, she explained that it was important to swap it over. I said I didn’t want to be without my phone at all as it was my business one and she promised me I would not and that I’d get texts telling me when the switch was to be made etc. She did offer to do it right away for me but I declined as the new handset needed to be charged up first anyway. In actual fact my plan was to do as I am now – use that handset for my personal use (which is on Tesco mobile PAYG) and continue using my current business phone handset as it does everything I want it to do. I intended to get the new handset unlocked to enable me to do this, so I left the store quite happy.

Next up was a visit to a Clarins counter for a set of 3 samples and some advice on skincare. The samples would hopefully be worth having anyway, but since my skin has realised that it’s over 40 now, it’s feeling a bit dry so it was worth finding out what I should be doing differently to help it age gracefully. I had to wait a couple of minutes for the girl there to be free (she was in demand) but she was worth the wait. She was very friendly and knowledgeable, grasped what I wanted quickly – and didn’t tell me off too much for not having a proper skincare routine 😉 I can’t be doing with spending hours cleansing-toning-moisturising twice a day, nor with trowling on make-up, though again, I’m starting to need a little makeup just to even out my skin these days. She showed me the products she thought would suit me and I got a free sample of each after she tried them out on my hand. She even showed me quickly, their new foundation make-up and how it’s best applied with a brush. I’d never have thought of applying a liquid with a brush, I confess! She then gave me a leaflet with the relevant products marked and wrote down the prices. £32 for a pot of moisturiser?!!!!! Never! The stuff was lovely, but my skin better not get addicted to the stuff ‘cos once the samples are used up, that’s it! (However, I have managed to work the basics of the products and think I can make my own from herbal supplies I have in my clinic so maybe I can use those instead.)

After this, I went and got Billy a pen from WHSmith with his Christmas voucher – and even that wasn’t straight forward as there were umpteen Parker pens from which to choose and no explanation of the differences between them. However, eventually I made a decision and Billy was pleased with it.

Finally, I wanted to pick up another free sample, along the reasons already mentioned, but when I got to the counter, I was told that this wasn’t starting until Friday. Nowhere on the promotion did it mention this! Grrr!

When I got back to the car and checked my phone for any missed calls or messages, I found that the SIM card had already been deactivated and I was furious! Since I didn’t want to have to go back inside again, I had no choice but to wait until I got home to try and sort it out.

When I contacted Orange, I was advised that it was automatic for the SIM to be deactivated so I voiced my dissatisfaction and reiterated that this was my BUSINESS phone! I did find a new SIM enclosed with the new handset, fortunately, and was able to put this in to my own handset so actually, I was only unavailable for a couple of hours or so – I just have to hope no-one wanted me in that time.

On Friday I popped out from my clinic to take my new phone to the shop to be unlocked – only to be told that it couldn’t be done! It was apparently very difficult to unlock this particular model, and though there was one specialist place that might be able to do it, it would cost me £22+ How bloody frustrating! Instead, I am going to have to switch to Orange for my personal phone as well, which I have never wanted to do, being very pleased with the service and price plan I have from Tesco (I don’t use my phone much so £15 usually lasts me about 3 months.) I also like having two different networks so that if one isn’t working, the other is. I have now ordered a Tesco SIM to put in my old phone so I can keep it in the car for emergencies, and an Orange one for my new phone – and I’ll have to then organise switching so that I keep my number. More work! Even getting the Orange SIM wasn’t smooth as I did it online, clicked the final button and had a message telling me I needed to phone to complete it! Grrr!

THEN, there were two automated phone calls for Billy claiming to be from his bank’s fraud department – which seemed odd. Surely that would not be automated? So I looked up the fraud number on their website which did not match anything like the number given in the message. Hmmm. So I called the website number – all automated of course and was on hold for 20 minutes before being cut off! We don’t use BT and it was an 0845 number so it will have cost a fortune. Feeling this was important, I tried again – with the same result. So I tried calling our branch – no answer, just an open line! Finally, I e-mailed them via the “contact us” link and explained that all we wanted to do was find out if this was genuine and safe to call the number given. No response yet – someone could be gaily spending Billy’s money if this is genuine! I did try calling the phone number given in the message but that made me even more suspicious as it was again automated and gave Billy’s name as the person required as soon s it was answered. So, I spent the best part of 2 hours on his, without ever speaking to a real live person.

I was in a very annoyed mood indeed by Friday evening and hoped for a good evening playing darts to put me right.

The days between and Wolves 0 – 3 City

The week between Christmas and New Year is a weird one I think. You are still mentally on holiday and want to carry on with the festivities, and yet there are working days lurking in there and certain mundane chores that still need to be done. I was determined to retain as much of a holiday feel as I could before having to return to normality, so on the Monday, which was a bank holiday, I took time out to update my phone software, making sure I backed up all the settings and files first. It was rather time consuming and I have to confess I don’t like this new Ovi software as much as I liked PC Suite, but I got the job done.

In the evening, Billy went to his match against Derby, which I watched on TV with Raji. It was a very poor game and Newcastle never looked like waking up and upping a gear – they were lucky Derby were so poor so that they at least got a point! That league is a hard fought one, with lots resting on the post Christmas part of the season, so Billy’s boys need to find some energy from somewhere and get themselves going again.

Straight after this, was Wolves v City and I thoroughly enjoyed watching another good performance from my boys. Again, I liked what Mancini did with the players he had available and again, concentration remained for the full 90. There was debate about whether our second goal should have occurred when Garrido (remember him? Had we realised we still had him at City? 😉 ) scored from a fantastic free kick. In the build up, the ball was passed forward to Bellamy who was off-side. However, the ball never reached him as a Wolves player intercepted it. THEREFORE THERE WAS NO OFF-SIDE since the rules state it is given when the ball is received! No controversy at all then! There was a subsequent foul giving us a free kick which Garrido took and curled around the ball to land in the net. It was so neat that no-one moved – not from either team, not fans, not keeper. It took a moment for anyone to realise the ball was in the back of the net 🙂

Wolves didn’t really deserve to lose by this margin as they had looked very bright at times, but the luck was with us, and I think Mancini’s swapping players around was also responsible for bearing fruit. A really great performance and a good win, sending me to bed with a smile on my face.

I popped in to work for a few hours on Tuesday and Wednesday, mainly to check there was nothing urgent such as ward patients, though with all our suppliers closed for a fortnight, there was little we could do even if there had been, really. As expected, there was nothing, so I cleared out the office a bit, triaged the referrals, and caught up on a couple of months finance work. I expect the first day back in the New Year to be absolutely crazy, so at least I’d got slightly ahead and everything was ready to go. Just as I was leaving, some post was delivered and I decided to open it before going – and I got a nice surprise. One of our patients had written to Trust Managent to commend my care of him and sorting out his needs during a particularly busy clinic so I had been forwarded a copy. That was really nice – thank you Patient X 🙂 After leaving the hospital, I opened my clinic for the usual drop in session but it was, as expected, very quiet so I was able to catch up with my accounts and so on which was great.

All in all, a very good few days. 🙂