Life at the end of the road

January 7, 2014

Spitting feathers :-(

Filed under: Croft house for sale, daily doings, shed/house — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:24 pm

I’m really going to struggle writing this post without swearing, I know, I know, swearing is sign of a lack of vocabulary, ignorance, poor education and an ineptitude for proper expression. However there are times when a long string of expletives has no equal and the descriptions of dealing with call centres and banks is one of them. The banks that were in no small way partly responsible for the economic mess we’re in now and the banks that rip you off for every single thing you do with them.

I’m writing this now at 18:00 because if I leave it any longer I’m likely to open a bottle of wine and really start ‘effing and blinding’. As you know, we’ve been minus a usable phone since the 6th of December, though in all fairness to Talk Talk I didn’t report it until the 9th. Actually, that’s not strictly true, I did try and report it on the 7th but that was over a line that was so noisy that India couldn’t here me.

It’s not been all bad news, for we’ve had no, begging charities, PPI, car accident or solar panel calls, however I’ve not been able to pay any bills either or speak to the bank. I thought that Dido had fixed the phone yesterday but apparently not. After feeding everyone I settled down with a pile of invoices and paperwork to catch up on important stuff, picked up the phone and was greeted by a piercing screech in the lughole Sad smile

Yes, I do know about the marvel of internet banking but you can’t register over the phone, online or even at the local branch!!! you have to speak to your ‘relationship manager’ and what a friggin joke that is. There used to be a proper local one in Broadford with a real phone and number, he even knew me by name and would phone me up occasionally. Of course all that ‘went west’ a few years ago when he was ‘rationalized’ or whatever they call it, now it’s the (and I must stop swearing) flipping call centre in Edinburgh. Still, I suppose that’s an improvement on Bangalore, anyway the last ‘relationship manager’ I spoke too didn’t even have an outside line!!!! You couldn’t make it up could you, a billion pound bank and you can’t phone a so called manager directly.

You really couldn’t make up the conversation I had with this clown a couple of years ago. There was some ‘cock up’ with my account, my telephone banking had ‘vanished’ and I had to phone them, so after getting through the ‘firewall’ I speaks to Richard. Of course I then have to tell Richard everything I’ve just told the automated message and his sidekick Judy who transferred me. “I can’t seem to find your account” says he, “what’s your postcode”,then after a pause, “that post code isn’t registered to any account”. Well, as you can imagine ‘I lost the plot’, “I’ve four accounts registered with you at that postcode, you send me at least four statements a month to that postcode  and heaven knows how much unsolicited carp”. I then went onto explain that I’d had a business account with them for some twenty years and had been ‘telephone banking’ ever since it was introduced ten or fifteen years earlier. To which he told me that my details must have been lost when they migrated to another system and he’d send me the forms out to re register. They managed to lose those too and it took me three more attempts to get some kind of service but it’s still not automated and takes me ten minutes every time I have a question.

Well today’s question involved my overdraft or lack of it. Now I’ve been with Bank of Scotland since 1985 and had a business account with them since 1989, and I have to admit the first eighteen years were a pleasure. I dunno how long I’ve had an overdraft facility but we’re talking decades and despite rarely using it I renew it each year. Actually what happens is they send me a letter each year inviting me to renew it and charge over a hundred quid for the privilege. This year however I don’t remember getting the letter and after receiving my bank statement and seeing how little was in it I thought I’d better phone and check I still had it. What had got me thinking it had vanished was when I tried to pay a bill before Christmas and the card was turned down. At the time I thought nothing of it as I’d just done lots of transaction and sometimes they do that as a security measure.

However after being incommunicado for a month I thought I’d better find out for sure and clear my debts, so it was off up the hill with the mobile. I’m in my oilskins, the wind is howling and the showers frequent, I’m not best pleased with Talk Talk or the bank before I start. Eventually I get through and put on hold, only for the connection to drop out after about five minutes just as the ‘real person’ takes the call. Second time a little less luck, I get put on hold with a ringing tone and the connection drops again, third time lucky? Well it was after I’d moved to a wetter and windier spot, I got the first person who asked me all the security questions before passing me to Leanne ( a relationship manager Smile ) who asks me the same ‘security questions’ again before telling me “I cannot take this call any further as you’ve got one of the security questions wrong”. Now, I’m trying to stay calm here because one of the security questions is ‘do you have an overdraft facility and if so for how much’ !!!! The thing is Leanne, that’s why I’m phoning, I did have an overdraft facility, I’ve had it for twenty years and you charge me annually for it, I rarely use the thing and I think it’s vanished. I’m sorry I can’t take this call any further, you’ll have to go into your local branch.  I’m on an island up a hill in the pouring rain, I’ve to drive ten miles and catch a ferry to another island, you’ve removed this overdraft without telling me and I’m going to go in the red, you will then charge me extra, send me a letter and then charge me for that too. The reason I got the security question wrong is because I thought I had an overdraft, I’ve had it for twenty years, been with you for twenty five years, have four accounts with you can answer any question you care about my account. I’m sorry I cannot take this call any further. “Could I please speak to your supervisor”  says I, to which I’m put on hold again, tell the same story, get put on hold again, then after a couple of minutes lose the connection.

Life is far too short for all this carp, I’m pish wet through, raging and Molly is shivering, time for a cup of tea methinks Smile 

So, I’m still no wiser as to whether I have or have not got an overdraft facility anymore but have vowed not to renew it anyway and make another attempt at setting up an online banking facility. That way at least I won’t have to speak to the bunch of clowns in Edinburgh, which is probably a little unfair because it’s a job I couldn’t do and they probably get paid buttons.

Flush and fire


Prior to the raising of my blood pressure I’d got some bedding out of the ‘cat nest’ to go and clean out the ‘lurve shack’ at the bottom of the hill. That’ll be the ark that Rocky and Ellie are sleeping in,


I say ‘cat nest’ because Splodge must have been sleeping in that little nest amongst the rushes and bracken.



Mummy cat was sleeping in another shed



and the ‘mad cat’ in the garden. I’ve no idea where this one came from, though I have seen one very similar at Brochel, wifey calls it the ‘mad cat’ because of the strange noises it makes.

The serious work of the day was up at the new house, Lachie and Donald were busy doing the plastic fascia  boards prior to slating and I was prepping the caravan for their use. I know uPVC isn’t the greenest of materials but I’m building this house for an easy retirement and don’t want to be painting them or replacing them in a few years time.



Plumbing the soil pipe into the septic tank was the first task


and I managed all but 6m using various bits around the croft, albeit all different colours, black, orange and grey. The black and grey are UV stabilized but the orange should be buried, however it’s only temporary so should be fine. I also managed to get water connected to the toilet and the gas piped in and working. I never piped the water o the shower and taps as the blue MDPE was used in a previous life for diesel, and whilst it was years ago and has had fresh water running through it for yonks it’s still only fit for flushing the loo or mixing concrete.


After lunch, and with the wind moderating I clambered up the mast behind the house to put a rubber band on the tail of my Rutland wind turbine. Without this piece of cut inner tube around the tail the turbine turns out of the wind far too quickly and its performance is very poor. The inner tube is cut about 2” wide and stretched over the tail and its stop, it still turns out of the wind but the inner tube holds the tail straight for longer before it stretches and yaws out of the wind. It was something I discovered quite by accident many years ago, I did try bolting the tail solid first but that was a little too severe and one or two of the turbines shed blades and self destructed.


A couple of years ago I would scamper up and down this mast without a second thought, nowadays it fills me with dread, and I really must remove that satellite dish now we have proper wireless broadband Smile


It’s a fine view from up there right enough but I’m thinking I should be moving that weather station up to the new house.



You can see the mast there on the right and the solar powered hen shed on the left, which I’ll get back on with as soon as the weather improves.



Lachie and Donald worked by head torch until it was time to set off for the last ferry, me, I managed to get the cooker working, the gas fire heating and the toilet flushing, I was well chuffed Smile


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