Suddenly I have an urge to photograph churches………
I’m growing to support men’s health. Follow my progress, and maybe donate, on my Mo page
UPDATE: It’s 30 November and, to date, the moustached monks have raised £238. Thank you everyone.
After a very stressful couple of weeks, we finally moved into our new home on Wednesday 21 August.
There were occasions during the preceding 2 weeks when we thought the whole thing was going to go horribly wrong, which in itself is an indictment of the system of buying and selling we currently use in England.
To have got so far, and spent so much, and still not know that your purchase will go through until the last minute, is guaranteed to make even the most levelled-headed person begin to fret! I lost count of the number of removal firms I had approached, agreed a removal date in principle and then had to cancel because of last-minute hitches in the exchange of contracts.
Having been geared up to exchange contracts on the 9th and again on the 12th, we finally had a legal binding commitment on Thursday 15 August, and were then required to be packed up and out by midday on the following Wednesday.
Removal day itself went fairly smoothly. The removal company we finally used, Relocate Removals from Dagenham, had us loaded up and away by 10.45. We picked up the keys to our new house at 2.00pm from solicitors in Grantham, having spent over an hour in the town killing time. It seems to be a fact of legal life that ALL solicitors in the UK take lunch between 1.00pm and 2.00pm. Had we gone straight to the solicitors when we arrived in Grantham at 12.45, we could have had the keys then, but not between 1.00 and 2.00! By the time we got to the house, the removal guys had already begun to unload stuff for the garden, and were fully unloaded by 4.00pm.
We were a little bit concerned before the move, not least because Relocate Removals were able to fit us in at such short notice, a sign in our eyes of a not over-full schedule. However, our concerns were ill-founded. The guys were careful, moved us without any breakages or other damage, and were cheerful and friendly. We would recommend them.
One thing that the whole house-moving process highlighted was the vastly differing levels of customer services we in the UK are subjected to. There follows examples of the good, the bad, and the quite frankly atrocious:
Sky TV – Did a clean multi-room installation at short notice, kept us fully informed at all stages and turned up when they said they would. We were even given the technician’s mobile phone number to call if we had any subsequent problems, which we have not.
EON Energy – we used their web form to advise of our change of address. They were the existing supplier for our new property, so on the face of it, everything would be straight forward. They successfully closed our old account, even writing off a balance of £19 before we had the chance to pay it. Unfortunately, they totally ignored the part of the web form that related to the new address. 7 days after moving in, we received a letter, addressed to ‘The Occupier’ telling us we really ought to advise them about our move! After over an hour on the telephone, mostly listening to Snow Patrol and Muse, our account was finally set up, only for them to set an initial monthly direct debit of £139, for electric only, Economy 7. By the time I got back online, it was too late to change the initial payment, subsequent months have been reduced to £62!
British Telecom – I could take an entire post detailing the issues we had with BT. Suffice to say, having promised us activation of both our telephone and broadband service on 27 August, the telephone was activated on 29 August, after 2 whole days of persistently badgering them, and broadband was activated on 8 September, again after daily telephone calls to what BT jokingly call ‘Customer Services’. It was only when I threatened to cancel the broadband order that I finally got to speak to a guy in the Order Fulfilment team, who, as good as his word, had the broadband activated by the next day. Had we not spent untold hours on the mobile phone to BT, and despite being advised that activation would be carried out on 27 August, we would have waited until mid-October for either service if the BT online order tracker was to be believed.
Gripes about BT aside, we have settled in, are enjoying having sheep and chickens at the bottom of the garden, and Sara is especially enjoying the train journey into work each day. Compared to a daily commute around the M25, it is bliss.
We are both great fans of Mark Knopfler and having seen him live for the 3rd time at the Royal Albert Hall, London last month, decided to invest in this little keepsake.
The customised USB stick, in the shape of his signature red Fender Stratocaster, contains a live recording of the full concert. The USB stick is available for order from the Mark Knopfler Live website. I fully expect to see people flogging these on eBay anytime soon!
Plain again this month, a lovely wood texture from Neodesktop on DeviantArt
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