Thursday 26 March 2015

Blowing bubbles

I have a reputation for being a bit of a rottweiler...and it's not always meant in a positive way..but just occasionally there's no other way to get something sorted.  BT decided to replace the telegraph pole outside our house last fact the work itself is done by Openreach...which BT maintains is a separate business, even though it is all part of BT Group.  They did the work quickly, but left us with no working telephone line.  When I rang I was told that it would take up to six days to repair...and they wouldn't accept that this was different to a normal fault...this was a case when they had done the breaking.  E-mails and phone calls made no difference.  Openreach wouldn't deal with me because BT is their customer, not me.  And BT was sticking to its six day rule.  Eventually at 3.30 on Monday I emailed BT's chairman.  I'd had a call back by 5.00 pm, and the line was fixed by two monkeys climbing up the pole at 10.30pm.  So two lessons - one an economic one: Openreach is the monopoly supplier and behaves as all monopolies do - badly; the second one is - always go to the top to lodge your complaint...

There's a bit of a scandal in the neighbourhood.  One of the wives has run off with another man, and instantly what was seen as one of the most secure marriages around has become the focus of discussion, debate and idle gossip.  I think it is such a shock, not because of the individuals involved, but because where we live could be described as one of the last outposts of traditional English society.  People have gone to school, then college, spent the next 30 years commuting to the office, waved off by their wives who then go about their charity duties, until hubby returns home, dinner is prepared.  And so on until everyone retires. And then dies.  Children have been born, brought up and educated before they too join the same conveyor belt.  On the surface all is well and good...happy marriages, nice houses, beautifully furnished, three holidays a year and shiny cars parked in the drive.  But beneath I have always suspected things are rather more torrid.  This recent split proves it, and it has been interesting to observe the reactions from both men and women.  No doubt the dust will settle, and life will continue.  My fascination is partly because I'm relatively new to this world...I joined the gang just six years ago, having come from a completely different environment where change was the only constant, so I'm more of a shrug my shoulders and move on sort of person...except that stability and tradition has enormous appeal.

We've been in a cultural desert recently - a school production of Les Mis in which elder Muffin was one of the street urchins was brilliantly done...but the musical itself is one that I don't care for.  At all.
And that's it.  I think we've become hermits.  The only TV programme we've watched is 'Home for Dinner' -  a documentary series about home life and the kitchen from the 1950s onwards.  It's great fun to see how our eating habits have changed, and indeed the role of men and women at home has been transformed.  The main point of interest for me though has been that the family featured is the Robshaws from Walthamstow.  I was at school with the head of the household Brandon Robshaw, so it's interesting to see him many years later; I'm told that his school friend Gary Lancet will appear in one of the episodes, so that's something to look forward to.

And apart from that, I've been just working away and cycling like I've never cycled before.  1200km this year so far.  Thank heavens I'm away skiing next week, so will be able to relax a bit....