2 February 2011 (Wednesday) - Letters and emails

I suppose it’s time for a parrot update. In years to come the parrot will be but a distant memory, and if nothing else I can use this diary to remind myself of the fun I had.
All the books about parrot husbandry say that parrots like fresh fruit and vegetables and nuts, and that they should always have fresh water. This is eminently good advice; however I feel I should point out that parrots rarely read the books. Parrots only like fresh fruit and vegetables and nuts because they make for good projectiles to throw across the room. And parrots should always have fresh water because it gives them something in which to poop. For nutrition, parrots like chips, pizza crust and cheese & onion hula-hoops, all washed down with a cup of tea. A full cup of tea which must be guzzled until the parrot is physically sick because no more tea will go in.
The parrot has also become incredibly tame – so tame that she regularly climbs onto my hand and allows me to hold her whilst I fuss her. She tries to bite anyone else who attempts to go near her, but I can do no wrong (so far!) But she is so noisy! I don’t mind the chattering and the jabbering, but it’s the sounds of phones and machine guns and fire alarms and the screaming that are driving me mad.

Being on a late start this morning I went through the post that had piled up over the last few days. Our English Heritage membership cards have arrived, together with a letter asking for me to give English Heritage a cash donation for no adequately explored reason.
Yet another statement for the snake club’s moribund bank account. Surely the bank must realise that with no transactions having taken place on this account for some ten years, the account isn’t being used.
I’ve received my Buildings Regulation Compliance Gas Safety Certificate, which confirms that the boiler which we had fitted complies with the relevant regulations. That’s nice. The thing was installed five months ago, and it’s taken officialdom that long to realise. I suspect this is deliberate on their part. After all I would imagine that unsafe gas boilers would explode fairly promptly after installation, so by leaving it for a few months they will be left with only those worth certifying.
I had a letter from those with whom I insured my motor bike (all those years ago). They were trying to sell me life insurance. For fifteen quid a month they will pay me one hundred thousand pounds should I croak sometime in the next fifteen years. That would be nice – existing life assurance policies could pay my funeral costs, and this policy could pay for my corpse to go on a really good pub crawl. I’m sure ‘er indoors TM would like the bung should I croak, but I don’t intend to pop my clogs just yet. After all, there is a limit to just how much life insurance one needs. And bearing in mind that these policies only pay up if you croak, you lose either way with them.
I had a letter from BT offering me a super-wonderful deal if I were to pack up with my internet provider and to use their broadband internet connection instead. Which was ironic because my internet provider was asking me to pack up using my BT phone line and to use their phone package instead.

And then I had a backlog of emails to go through. I had a rather snotty email from Ashford Freecycle. In theory Ashford Freecycle is a good way to get rid of your unwanted stuff to people who might actually want it, or a good way to pick up a bargain from someone else’s unwanted tat. In practice it’s run by some rather arrogant and pedantic people. Every time I’ve ever tried to offer anything to them for free, I’ve had my emails returned with a very rude reply about why my email doesn’t conform to their tedious regulations. And I’ve been getting very pompous emails from them with annoying regularity. They seem to feel that we should be grateful to them for taking the time to make getting rid of your unwanted stuff so difficult. I’ve had enough of them – there are plenty of other free websites on which one can give away and get stuff. So I packed up with Ashford Freecycle last night. They promptly sent an automated email asking why I’d unsubscribed, and so I told them. Rather politely, I thought: “Since you ask, the reason I’ve unsubscribed is that I don’t like the tone of the emails that come through from your list.” One of their moderators replied at silly o’clock this morning. He had a go at me that it was too late for him to give my email serious consideration, and he went on to say that what I’d said to them would be considered after they’d had “a sad family commitment”.
The power company wanted my leccie and gas meter readings. So I read them and typed them into their website. According to their on-line estimates I was well in credit, so I phoned to ask for a refund. The nice lady at the other end of the phone wondered why I’d given them a meter reading. I told her that I’d been prompted to do so by email. She laughed - her reaction led me to believe that emails were done for a bit of a joke, and that no one ever took them seriously. But apparently my giving them a meter reading will prompt a bill, and if I phone on Monday I’ll get a true figure of how much in credit (or debt) I really am. I expect I will have forgotten all about this by Monday…

I’ve heard nothing back about the endowment which matures in twelve days. No news is good news…?

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