31 March 2010 (Wednesday) - Not So Dull

I was woken at silly o’clock this morning by a strange sound. I pulled the duvet over my head and went back to kip. It transpired that the strange sound was the rain coming through the hole in the roof: we would seem to have acquired such a hole. That’s a nuisance. I phoned the house insurance people and they have arranged for someone to get in touch with me about said hole. Let’s hope he does it soon – it’s doesn’t look like the rain will stop any time soon.

I then phoned the bank for the sixth time since last Friday and was rude to them. I demanded to speak to someone in my branch, and firmly explained to the chap at the call centre that he could not help me for two reasons. Firstly if he couldn’t pronounce my name he clearly couldn’t speak English. And secondly because he had a script to follow; and the answers to my questions didn’t appear on his script. He eventually admitted that his hesitant and incoherent gibbering as a response to my points completely proved both of them to be valid. And so, conceding defeat, he put me through to someone at my local branch.

I explained the episode which happened to me last Friday – namely that they had refused a payment made on my credit card, and that they had deactivated the account until I told them that I changed the PIN. Having done all that they asked of me, it later turned out that they had actually accepted the payment they told me that they had refused and furthermore denied having had any conversations with me. I wanted to know what was going on. A reasonable enough request?

After a lot of to-ing and fro-ing the lady at my local branch admitted that they had no record of any problem with my card, and no record of having put a stop on it on Friday. They had absolutely no explanation whatsoever of what had gone wrong. I’m not impressed…

We had a buffet lunch at work today. One of the secretarial types is retiring. Apropos of nothing I then phoned the finance department to see when I can retire. The calculation of my pension is complicated. I get 1/80 of my final year’s wages as a pension for each year I’ve worked, up to a maximum of 40/80 after forty years. I’ll hit that point on 10 September 2021 (not that I’m counting). However on that date I shall only be 57 (and a bit). I’m not entitled to the full whack unless I retire at or after sixty years of age. But there is a calculation whereby I can get a reduced pension if I choose to retire any time after my fiftieth birthday. I’ve always said that I plan to retire when I’m in my late fifties. I need to do some sums.

And then to arky-ologee club. Due to the vagaries of Operation Stack, ‘er indoors TM found herself stuck on a motorway, and so I was drafted to be her stunt double for the evening. It was my job to take notes on the interesting and informative talk we’d been promised, and it’s no secret that I went along fully expecting to fall asleep. Tonight’s talk on the Historical Environment Record looked to be amongst the dullest talks the club had ever presented; and that was up against some pretty stiff competition.

I was wrong – the chap from Kent County Council was actually very good. He told us about the project to form an index of all sites of historical interest in Kent. With 42,000 current entries, and a backlog of data waiting to be added that will take an estimated two years to clear (that’s without anything new being found), the website is quite impressive. The chap mentioned inaccuracies in the records of various historical sources, and told us of some of the thousands of shipwrecks around the Kent coast. He showed us aerial photographs dating back over fifty years showing land forms that showed things of archaeological importance.

He then asked for help with the project. Firstly to check that what they have got is actually correct. Secondly to come up with new objects for their listings – either stuff that’s not listed but known to people, or stuff that we dig out of the ground ourselves. And thirdly to actually go up to the office at County Hall and help them enter the data onto the web site. A shame it’ss not possible to do this from home….

Yesterday was dull – today, not so….

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