Now that’s annoying …


I’ll give you a little background first. A few years ago, I got a call on my mobile. I didn’t know the number, but as I was expecting to hear from prospective employer, I answered. It turned out to be an automated call from someone wHTC 620ho was ‘… sorry to hear about my accident, and would like to help with my compensation claim …’ There was no accident and therefore no claim. I naively complained to my provider who told me that it was probably a number harvester ie scammers who dial random numbers. If the number answer then they know it’s a live number they can sell. The advice was not answer calls where I did not know the number and that they would eventually stop. The reasoning behind this is that if the call is important, the caller would either leave a voice mail or call again. K*** doesn’t understand this. Her opinion is ‘ …why do you have a phone if you are not going to answer it …?’ I usually say that you don’t open the door if you cannot see who is knocking, to which she hesitantly agrees.

But back to the point of this moan. Last week, I had been in the supermarket, and as I was coming out, my phone rang. As per the norm, I did not know the number so did not answer. A few seconds later I got a ‘New Voice Mail’ message. Now here is where the fun starts. The message explained that they were West Yorkshire Police, and that they had ‘… received an emergency 999 call from my phone and did I still need attention …?’ I had not called the emergency number, and what had happened was that I must have touched tapped 112 (the alternative number) when I put my phone in my pocket at the start of my shopping. I was given a number to ring (101) if the call was not an emergency. This I tried and after about 15 minutes, I managed to get through. I apologised for accidentally calling 112 and the officer said that it happens sometimes, they even have a name for it, calling it ‘Pocket Dialling’ . She thanked me for letting them know.

So why the annoyance. Well that call to the 101 number does not come within the allowed number on my phone contract, because it is what is called a ‘short number’. So basically it cost me £0.51 in call charges to say sorry. However, if I had ignored the original message, I would not have had to pay. I did ask the officer what would have happened if I had not called to explain and she told me nothing … nothing at all. The call would close after a period of time, but nothing would happen.

Goodbye to a long year


     By the time you read this, 2012 will nearly be over. It’s a year that has had it’s ups and downs and I’m probably glad to see the back of it. Some the downsides have been quite traumatic: finding out that the job you’ve been doing for the past seven years, will no longer exist; Mrs H finding out she had a Melanoma on her arm; coming home to find the Police in the house after R*** had had a melt down; discovering that there was a plan in place to section R*** if needed and that the ‘plan’ had nearly been invoked twice, must all rank at the top of the downers. Then of course there was the uppers: getting a new job; R*** settling in at his new place; R*** taking to his respite without a problem; S**** getting a great review for his part in the local panto; surviving Christmas (still have New Years Eve) are all up there with good times. I also got a new laptop, and I was not sure if it was an upper or a downer. It was struggle to get it to how i wanted it, but when it was all done, it was brilliant!
     My writing is coming along. It is a slow progress, because I think in my own mind, that I’m not good enough to do it. I will have days when I will just sit at the keyboard, and do not know what to write. Then on other days, I will hammer out a couple of hundred words. But then i read back what I’ve written, and realise that it is nonsense, and I have to start again. I’m currently writing a story that has a troll involved. I’ve got up to 4000 words, but I don’t know where I am going from here, or even if going to take it any further. I may just use this a practice piece whilst I figure out what I really want to write about. I did start writing a blog for a national magazine and wrote a few  posts, about the local area and what was happening, but the stats were very disappointing, with no comments neither good or bad. You do need people to comment. Even if they just tell how bad the piece is, it shows that they have interested enough to read it and offer advice. I gave up after four posts and have not written anything for it since December 2011.
     I have recently taken one of the pieces I have written and turned it into a sketch/play. It still needs some work, but with that one, I know what I need to do. I’ve been reading and bought a couple of books about Creative Writing, and am now beginning to understand where I have to start from, and how to develop ideas. It is going to a long process, but as I have indicated to HR at work, I am interested in taking voluntary early retirement in March 2015, I need to get my skates on, so to speak.
     I suppose, that the last sentence needs a little more explaining. I work for local government, and without going in to the politics of it (especially my views) a number of staff in the 55 – 65 age bracket, have been asked to consider either early retirement (VER) or voluntary severance (VS). As I fall in to that age category, I decided to apply for VER. I have sufficient service to give me that maximum payout, and although the pension will not be full amount, I would only be eligible for a further £2000.00 a year if a I stayed on until I was 66. It has yet to be passed by management, but at my level, I do not think there will be a problem. It will mean a massive change, and I will need to get some kind of part-time job, to help with the finance situation, but I think it will be okay. So you see, if I can get my head around writing and develop the skills I need to write creatively, the boredom factor that people get when they retire should not creep in. Who knows, I may even make a few pounds from the experience.

 

     Well, I think I have blathered on for long enough. All that is left now is to wish you all a  very prosperous and successful new year, and hope that 2013 brings you everything you wish for.

Is a lie, a deterrent ?


     A strange question you may ask, but bear with me. At the end of the village, there are two bottle banks. The City Council is responsible for emptying them and I would say they do a satisfactory job for most of the time. The problem arises when the banks get full. People want to ‘do their bit’ but are not prepared to come back another day, if the banks are full. They just leave them at the side of the banks, in the vain hope that when they get emptied, the contractor will put their bottles in for them. At best, they just get smashed by kids, as behind the bottle bank, is an area that some kids tend to use as a den. It is about three metre square and has a hedge, backing onto a field, which is how the kids get in. It is an ideal place for them to drink their cheap cider and smoke whatever they are smoking these days. Basically get involved in anti-social behaviour.

     Now, how does the Council overcome this. Do they make sure the kids cannot get to the back of the bottle banks? Do they ask the Police to patrol more in that area? Do they write to the parents, telling them what some kids are getting up to. None of those, and this is where my post title comes in. The Council has put a sign up advising everyone that CCTV is in operation !! Well, you might say, that would be a deterrent. It would, if there was a CCTV camera in place. As it is, there is nowhere to put a camera. What would it show? All it would show, is people putting bottles into a bottle bank. As the kids get into their ‘den’ from the field behind, it would not pick them up. So, is a lie a deterrent ? Not in my book is isn’t.

Awful afternoon


I was about a hundred metres down the road, when I spotted the Police car behind me. A quick look at the speedo’ showed me I was under the limit. Just! So I drove the whole road at 58 miles per hour, with the police car 20 foot behind me. Now, will he turn into the village, or is he going straight on? Nope, he’s sticking with me. Should I go along the main road, or up the hill? Main road, I think? Bloody cop is still with me. He’ll be on to Clifford, I thought as I turned into my street. Oh dear, an ambulance. I wonder who has died now. Just a minute….. it’s just moved, then stopped outside our house. There’s a police car there too. What the fuck is going on? I parked and got out of the car. The police that had been behind me was now parked outside our house too!!!! What in God’s name…..

“Alright mate?” asked the police officer that had been behind me.

“Er…..yeah. Thanks. What er……”

I went inside, and the scene that greeted me was bizarre to say the least. S**** was sat on the floor, holding onto R***. K*** was trying to explain to the two paramedics, what R*** and his Autism was about. R*** was looking very pale and shaken, and sobbing a little. The two paramedics were trying to talk to R*** to see if he was okay, but getting no response as usual. The two police officers were stood around, looking genuinely concerned but clueless (not their fault, probably never dealt with someone like R*** before).

Apparently R*** had had an ‘episode’. Not the usual, type of ‘episode’. This time the medication did not work and he had completely lost it. Both K*** and S**** were concerned for theirs and R***’s safety, and that’s why the emergency services had been called. It must be standard if there is any kind of violence that the police attend, which is why the ambulance had parked up before our house first.

The paramedics were great. They asked what we wanted to do with R***. Did we want him to go to hospital or what. Well, I thought that if he went to hospital, the first thing they would do would be to get a psych doctor, and sedate him. That would not solve anything. The paramedics stuck with us, and were there a good hour, testing his blood pressure, SATS and everything. The police were being looked after by S****, doing his ‘coffee shop’ thing.

He calmed down, enough for them to leave, but he was still very hyperactive after they had gone. It is now 23:45, and he is still up. Quite calm, but it is like living on an knife edge. We just don’t know if he is settled or if we are going to have some more.

I have to say though, I felt that the paramedics did a brilliant job. What did get me though was the paperwork they had to fill in. That took over 20 minutes to do. C’mon, give them some technology!!! I mean, in this day and age, they still have to fill in paper forms. Dear Health Secretary, if those forms were electronic, and on a Tablet PC or an iPad, then maybe less time would be spent filling in  paper!!!!

Just like starting over ….


   Eldest moves into his new flat tomorrow !! They went and had a look today, and signed on the dotted line there and then. So now Dad’s Removal service comes into play. Saturday is going to be a long long day. From all accounts, the new flat is better than the old one. But it’s going to take a bit of time to get everything moved. R**’s dad, is coming across with a van for the big stuff, but it’s not too clear at what time. Mrs H appears to be a bit happier about it all now. Looks like it could work out for the better. I’ll have a look at the security at the new flat, though, and we may get the police crime prevention lot to take a look. The letting agents are going to love us.

   So what else has happened. Not a lot really. Work grinds on the same. Nothing much changes there. The same people, playing their silly games. I have a few days off next week. We (that is the ‘Royal We’ aka Mrs H) were going to make a start on the decorating. We both feel, that the walls would benefit from an undercoat of white paint, before the top coat. The walls are quite bright colours, and the new colour is a lot lighter. But cleaning down is going to be the biggest job, that and painting the ceiling. It’s not a big room, until you have to start painting, and it is impossible to move everything out, so it’s a case of climbing and clambering.

Not a good start .. then gets worse


   This week has started so bad. Work was the usual mix of coping with half-wits, and then it got worse !!

   I got home to find that the eldest lad had had his flat robbed. Bad part about it was that they were in at the time !!!! Even worse, one of the bast*rds had a gun !! S**** thinks it was a BB gun, but that is not the point, it may not have been. Apparently, what happened was that someone knocked on their flat door. His flatmate went to answer it, and was confronted by two people, and one was carrying a gun, covered with a cloth of some sorts. The robbers then started putting S**** and R**’s stuff into bags. Got away with a couple of laptops, mobiles and some other computer stuff.

   I trolled off down to his flat as soon as I got in, to find that they had gone off to the local Police station to make statements. This was about 6:15pm. After a lot of waiting about, they finally got back into their flat at around 11:15pm. I got home around 11:50pm. Both lads seemed to be okay. Very shook up and very tired.

   Mrs H was a complete wreck !!!! She has only just got used to him being so independent, and then this happens, and sets her back 6 months. no sleep for her last night, and I can’t see her getting much tonight either.

   Things seem to be moving fast though. S**** has got some of his stuff back, and some people have been arrested. They are both going to an ‘ID parade’ tomorrow, so we will see what happens then. 

   To be continued ……