Don’t call us

I’m heading in to work an hour late after BT Openreach engineer #3 turned up promptly for our 8am appointment. Which BT had failed to tell us about. After 90 minutes, however, said engineer concluded that we have a fault and they will have to dig up Mrs WeeKeef’s lovely front garden to trace it and fix the problem.

This would be shocking news if, in fact, it was news at all. It is, however, exactly what BT Openreach engineer #1 told us 22 days ago, not long after we first notified them of the problem. In fact, the only person surprised by any of this is the aforesaid engineer #3 as it would appear there is no paperwork from the earlier visit.

Quite what handsome but ultimately pointless BT Openreach engineer #2 achieved last week is a moot point.

Anyway, it seems that the fault lies somewhere between the junction box on the pavement and the junction box attached to the outside of our house. BT engineers #4, #5, …. #n will now have to arrange a time to come with a digger to find the exact location of the problem.  This would be easier if the (apparent) change of cables underground had been recorded. But there is no paperwork.

“So,” says I, “when might this be?”  “No idea” says #3. He’ll log the call but it is a different group that will come to find the fault. In the meantime, and I’m quoting here, the problem will only get worse as time goes on.  Gee, thanks.

And all of this on the day the telecoms watchdog Ofcom issues a report criticising BT Openreach for “woeful levels of service”.

Once again I am failing to be shocked.


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Not the realistic fruit

It’s almost May and yet the last few days have been plagued by hail showers, flurries of snow and a rather cutting north wind. Typical spring weather for Scotland you may think but it comes hard after a weekend which saw me hauling furniture around in a balmy 16 degrees. 

This, of course, adds extra irony to the recent radio adverts by one of our biggest “garden centres” who are touting their range of conservatories and orangeries. 

Orangeries, forsooth! Who on earth in east central Scotland grows oranges? Frankly, the closest many Scots get to an orange at all is when they turn up at a rugby match during half-time, by mistake. 

I suppose you have to admire the aspirational nature of the sales pitch, but perhaps they are just taking the pith. 

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Flat out 

Back in September I told you of our journey south to help the Ma-in-Law pack up and move north. At the time I was hoping all would go well. It did, and she is settling nicely into a lovely flat and preparing to vote in her first Scottish election. I think and hope she is happy with her decision to move. 

I also said that we thought the Mater should similarly downsize, though that looked less likely at the time. 

Well, to cut a long story short (as she would say), a nice place was spotted, purchased and the deed was done. On top of that, the house which has been home to the Mater for more than 30 years sold quickly and easily and everything looked good to go. 

Except, the two ladies are not the same by any means and this move is a much harder one in many ways – physically, emotionally, psychologically, organisationally. 

While she does accept the benefits of moving, my 80-something Mater does not really want to leave the last home she shared with the Pater. It is hard and she is not really prepared. 

And I am about as stressed as I can remember being for a long time (2010 actually). There is so much left to do in the old house, the new house and everything in between. 

We are three days from the move and I am sitting up at 3.30am blogging this because my brain will not stop spinning. There is too much for me to think about and I feel quite lost, so no wonder the Mater has regular tears. 

I guess things will work out fine, and I know it is the right thing to do, but I have asked so much of her and I wish I hadn’t had to. 

So, more and proper detail to come later but for now you can have this uncrafted, unhappy brain dump. 

There is no amusing sign off to this blog but I do hope it has a happy ending. 

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The unkindest cut

I don’t like my hair.

I never have really. It’s a bit rubbish. The problem is, it’s never decided what it wants to be. It’s not curly and it’s not straight. For most of my life it’s tended to be a bit wavy at best or, at worst, it has looked like something that small children want to blow on to tell what o’clock it is. One <blow> Two <blow> Three <blow> ….

Some of my earliest memories involve going to John the barber. John was a middle aged chap who would plonk me atop one of those booster seats you only find in such establishments, quietly pop a polo mint into my mouth in a way which would get him put on a register nowadays, and proceed to snip away at what were then golden, angelic locks.  He did his best but after a few minutes he would look at the Mater, shake his head and mumble about my “double-crown” or my “coo’s lick”.

Things only got worse as time went on. Living through the seventies was bad enough but my attempts at joining in by having long hair were ill-advised.  Most of the time I looked like Crystal Tipps.


Eventually the eighties came along and everyone’s hair was a bit rubbish, or at least big, and so I reconciled myself to the fact that my locks were never going to be my crowning glory.

And that’s been OK. Coming to accept it means that I am not too bothered that things have got a bit more wispy in recent years. I’m not too worried about going grey round the edges, or a bit bald on top. That’s just nature and things haven’t gone too far yet.

Or so I thought.

This past weekend I took myself off to the local barber – stylists having been abandoned long since.  I was feeling good and had timed things well, being shown straight to a chair where a cheery fellow, not unacquainted with the Bosphorus, did his best to tart up my unshapely head.

And he did well. I was quite pleased. Until we got to the cash desk. I reached into my pocket for money as he rang up the till. “That will be [x] pounds, please.” he said. “Unless…” and he looked at me meaningfully, “Unless …. you are a pensioner?”


I bloody well am not. Admittedly, I look increasingly like the Pater when I look in the mirror every morning. Admittedly, I made a sort of wheezy sound as I levered myself out of the barber’s chair. Admittedly, there are just 1099 days until I have served 40 years before the public service mast and can retire on the sort of old-fashioned final salary pension that most of you can only dream of.

But he didn’t mean retired. He meant a pensioner. A “super-adult”. A senior citizen.

An O.A.P.

I was so upset that I came straight home for a cup of tea, but then remembered that I don’t take fluids after four in the afternoon in case I’ll be up all night.

I hate my hair.


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Visiting rights

I seem to have this habit of deciding on the very last day of each year to do a bit of a blog, with apologies for being so crap in the past 12 months, and promises of better focus in the months to come. Well, everyone else is doing it over on Facebook, so why shouldn’t I?

Not that I have that much to say – what else is new? For reasons not entirely unconnected with Boy 3 (of 3)’s inability to plan more than three hours ahead we are spending yet another quiet Hogmanay evening at home, without said Boy but with both mothers and a sister-in-law. All the ladies are currently watching Local Hero, a splendid movie but one I know the dialogue of by heart.

So here I am with you.

And I’m thinking that 2015 has been an OK year all in all. Some issues and disappointments. Even the occasional actual failure, but nothing to get too worried about in the grand scheme of things. Much more importantly there has been lots of fun, lots of singing and quite a lot of house hunting.

Perhaps most importantly, and assuming we get through the next 90 minutes or so unscathed, this has been the first year since 2008 that I have not had to spend any time in hospital, visiting elderly relatives. Admittedly there are slightly fewer of them to worry about nowadays but it’s significant nonetheless.

And so I think I will just go into 2016 hoping for more of that. More fun. More music. More health.



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