19 Mo-Vember 2009 (Thursday) - Leccie Bills, Holiday, and a Prison Visit

I spent a bit of time going through my post this morning. I hadn’t done that for some time – among other goodies, I found vouchers for free visits to Howlett’s & Port Lympne which expire tomorrow. Following some not inconsiderable effort on my part over the last few weeks, I went to check my leccie and gas bills on-line this morning. I was prompted to do so by a letter from the leccie company who had written to tell me they had changed my login details. So neither what was originally set up, nor what they sent me worked. I’m rather unimpressed with this, but after the obligatory to-ing and fro-ing on the phone, I got into the account. I was still over three hundred pounds in credit with them, and after another bit of to-ing and fro-ing I got some of the money refunded. I’ve left a hundred quid in each account for the winter, but I’ve got some cash back to help cover the costs of the coming few weeks. Xmas doesn’t come cheap, you know.
I also have 9700 nectar points between my gas and leccie accounts. I naively thought this was a substantial amount of nectar points, but on further research I found out it’s enough to buy a new kettle, or a set of kitchen scales. Still, it’s better than nothing.

I found a rather worrying bit of news.... which I shall relate in the future...

Our long weekend camping sessions work best for me if I take from the Thursday to the Tuesday as leave. So there’s half of my year’s holiday alllowance gone straight away. I’m really looking forward to another week in Auntie’s caravan next year, and in a novel break with tradition, I’ve booked a week off work for Xmas 2010. Not forgetting Canterbury Beer Festival, or the week in February I always have (I’ve not worked on my birthday for twenty six years!). So, I’ve already booked twenty nine days leave. Which leaves four days, plus however much lieu time I accrue. Not much slack for visiting the prison next year. Just as well I’m not planning to go up there for much longer. Perhaps I won’t sell any leave next year as I’ve allowed nothing for kite festivals in Milwaukee or Dieppe, to say nothing of long weekends at Sumner’s Ponds. I would be *so* good at being retired.

And, talking of prison visits, off to the chokey. There was a minor delay whilst we woke up one of our party who has slept through his alarm call, but eventually three of us got on the train, and soon were scoffing McDinner. For once there were no photo opportunities for “CrackWatch” at McD’s, which was a disappointment, and following a rather relaxed bit of scoff, we found ourselves in the “Dinsdale Piranha” centre where we sat and waited with “the Great Unwashed”. (For the uninitiated, the “Dinsdale Piranha” centre is the foyer to the prison). Whilst we were quite happy to sit with “the Great Unwashed”, one of our fellow visitors wasn’t. She made a great fuss about having to go into the prison with everyone else. Surely there must be another entrance where she wouldn’t have to mingle with the hoi-polloi?
Eventually we were allowed in, but not without incident. I was fully expecting to get turned away because of my beard, but that wasn’t a problem at all. The trouble was that for no adequately explained reason one of our party wasn’t allowed to take in any money. The written instructions said that he could, but because I had some, he wasn’t allowed any. The third member of our party was allowed to take in as much as he liked, and no one else was challenged in any way. I asked the “helpful member of staff” why they had changed the rules. He grunted that it has always been this way. In the past everyone in our group has taken in fifteen quid each, despite what “Mr Mackay” says. I have written to the governor to complain. I’ll be interested to see if he replies.

Today we seemed to take an age to get into the chokey, but eventually we found “Norman Stanley” who was in good spirits, despite having lacerated his thumb with a plastic knife. Silly beggar! We fed him up as well as we could. The “do-gooding old biddies” who rather incompetently ran a tea shop have long since packed up and have been replaced by vending machines. Whilst the cake selection isn’t what it might have been, the machines are a bit cheaper to use. Because “the Great Unwashed” are clearly far too dumb to use vending machines; every machine I used was filled with unclaimed change from the person who’d last used it.
As always, two hours passed far too fast, and all too soon we were unceremoniously sent out of the prison. And so over the road to the Swan for a couple of beers before getting the train home.

I wonder how many more times I will be back to the chokey before he’s released?


  1. Did they put on the rubber gloves......that's what I want to know? Or was it just the time I went?

  2. No gloves..... what can I say....