Monthly Archives: October 2007

Letting the services know

Being a couple of lazy arsed (assed), procrastinators, we’ve left it until the 11th hour to organise cancelling phone lines and altering bank details for the move. Here is a break down of how easy each task was. Can you spot the odd one out ?

Task Time taken Description
Notifying [credit card company] of our new address. 2 minutes Called their number, negotiated their irritating but functional AVR system, changed our address.
Notifying [credit card company] of our new address. 2 minutes Call their free number, tell the guy, all sorted.
Notifying our banks of our new address. 3 minutes Call “Smile”, ask them, they advise sending a secure message via the website and will happily change the details on both the smile and co-op accounts. I login and send a message.
Notify our TV rental company that we’re moving and arrange for them to collect the gear. 2 minutes Call them, answer the security questions, get it all sorted for Friday.
Arrange for our BT phone line to be cut off. Around an hour
  • Call 150.
  • Negotiate their menu system.
  • Get put in a queue for around 5 minutes.
  • Get put through to someone who asks if we have BT broadband and receive an incomprehensible monologue from him.
  • Get put on hold while I’m transferred to god knows where.
  • Wait 25 minutes and 6 seconds.
  • Start losing the will to live and decide to hang up.
  • Hang up and redial 150.
  • Negotiate their menu system.
  • Get put through to a friendly chap who asks for my account number, which I don’t have.
  • Fail to reason with him about authenticating me via other means and he hangs up mid sentence.
  • Shout random obscenities which scares the parrot.
  • Call a human at BT and offload all of my stresses to the poor sod before realising he’s just the switchboard guy.
  • Arrange for a callback.
  • Go upstairs to try and find an old BT phone bill that may contain an account number.
  • Fail because we’re using direct debit.
  • Get back downstairs as Michele is talking to the callback girl.
  • Get really uptight and offload to the girl.
  • Get told to stop shouting.
  • Get so angry I can’t talk, which calms us both down.
  • Get authenticated by other means, which the guy before said couldn’t be done.
  • Arrange for the line to be turned off.


Why is the “silly season” so called when it’s the only time when you get some real news on the telly ? Now parliament has been reopened we just have a series of stories based on Gordon Brown’s and David Cameron’s lame press releases and hollow, cliché-ridden speeches. Oh yes, we still get the outrage-du-jour which is currently about children in London getting stabbed and shot. London kids have been shooting and stabbing each other since London was built but only during periods of media hype do we get each one spelled out. Unlike ten years ago, if you get mauled to death by a pit-bull, don’t imagine you’ll get any column inches; only stabbed kids are newsworthy these days.

So, when some real news turns up it’s quite refreshing.

Today in London there was massive piece of civil disobedience as part of the latest anti-war demo. Readers in properly democratic countries (if there are any) may be surprised to know that it’s now illegal to hold a demonstration outside parliament. As shocking as that should be to you, it’s worse than it sounds; that law was brought in because of one, slightly mental, but totally peaceful man. It’s hard to imagine Saddam, Stalin or even Hitler daring to introduce a similar law but here in the “free” UK we let it happen.

So, during today’s anti-war protest, loads of people broke through the barricades and protested in parliament square! Why would so many people break the law like this ? Because they’re just evil ? Because they don’t care ?
Or perhaps it was because they believe in real democracy where you should be able to remind the people that think they run the country that in fact they are simply supposed to be our representatives and that they work for us.

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police are still adamant that they never put the public at risk while they were repeatedly shooting an innocent member of the public in the head. Nor did they break any health and safety laws….while they were repeatedly shooting an innocent member of the public in the head. Doesn’t sound very healthy or safe to me.

Last orders

Every day there are reminders that we’re moving away. Thoughts like “oh no, this maybe the last lamb shish I have” or “will I ever see a Routemaster again ?” But personally it’s a very odd feeling because I really don’t see it like that normally; I see it as moving house. Why should things be any different ? Most of the communications with my friends, family, and workmates occur over digital media already. Occasionally we’ll get some “face time” together but it really doesn’t affect how I feel about the people I love. In fact there will be some people I’ll be in contact with more frequently, purely because we will need to force it as we don’t have the convenient excuse of waiting for the inevitable, albeit unlikely, meeting.
Nonetheless, when I’d finished doing some work today and got a hug and a handshake off of some old friends/workmates it made me think a bit.

But it’s only 3000 miles! At light speed that’s about the same time as being at the other end of the room! And we’ll be back regularly; it’s cheaper to do a return flight from the U.S. than from London.

Big jobs

Well, despite my abysmal performance in the test, it seems that the company with whom I had the recent telephone interview have shortlisted me for the job! The only thing I do know is that the other candidates are extremely good, so I’m not holding out too much hope.
But I have to say that just the idea of going for a job interview in Wall Street is enough to keep me happy for a while.

[ No it’s not a Gordon Gekko type job – the head office just happens to be there. Cool on both counts. ]

Parrot worry

Michele is currently at the vets with Humphrey for her pre-flight inspection. It’s been a long while since we took the poor little bird there and last time she was in shock for days afterwards. Consequently the whole experience is causing me a similar reaction; my heart is racing and I’m really worried about her. Not just because of this vet visit but because in about a week we’ve got to get her into the scary travel cage and then take her to the airport…
When she gets scared, she flaps and tries to fly…even if she’s in a little tiny cage. It’s awful. I wish we could give her a birdy sedative.

Scary things…

Time has been shooting past so fast recently that I’m prepared to believe the earth has sped-up to near light-speed. Further evidence for this is that my mass has been increasing although that is more likely to be related to my sedentary lifestyle and red wine consumption. But now we find ourselves two weeks away from the move and not much more prepared than we were a month ago. OK, in fairness, plans for Humphrey’s forced emigration are pretty much settled and we have booked Pickfords to move our impedimenta…but we’re still sitting here, watching the telly, waiting for our Monday night Pizza to arrive and generally not thinking about the impending change. The problem is, whenever we do think about the move, we panic uncontrollably.

Anyway, in one week I had a leaving do for my current workplace and a job interview for a potential new place. The leaving do was surprisingly good but surprisingly emotional. There were presents and speeches and posh food and everything.

The interview seemed to be OK too. It was over the phone from the west coast of the U.S. but I’m quite used to that that arrangement after my Citi experience. The problem came in the test which was administered directly afterwards by email. Maybe I was just very tired, very nervous or perhaps I just didn’t get it. Regardless I made a complete dogs breakfast of the whole rigmarole. Oh well – another one bites the dust. At least I might get some UK paid work for the first few weeks over there…

BTW – I have set up a new url for these “moving to America” type posts: