Wednesday, March 31, 2004
Gay relationships are to get a legal standing. I have no real problem with this, it doesn't bother me either way, nor should it as my step-sister got married in San Francisco in the recent Gay Weddingathon that took place there.
I am however interested in the comment that "It's time we had the same legal rights as anyone else in a committed relationship and the same protection,"
But not everyone has rights in a committed relationship. That is only available to those who are married. My 23 years with Linda count for nothing legally. If I die tomorrow she inherits nothing of mine without a will, nor me from her. Our relationship has lasted longer than a great many others including my parents marriage.
I certainly don't think you should automatically get rights the moment that you start living with someone but I think there should be a time at which it does gain legal recognition. Those who stongly support marriage as the only viable relationship will state that we choose to remain unmarried and therefore the consequences are our choice but it just seems to me a particularly old-fashioned attitude by the state when they are loosening the controls on same sex relationships.
There is also a more dangerous situation being set up by that though. It makes the state look as though it values gay relationships more than heterosexual ones and that can only add fuel to the anti-gay lobby.
I think the solution should work on something along the lines of marriages getting legal rights from the beginning, although we then enter the murky waters of mariages of convenience, and co-habitees, of any sexual make-up, gaining the same rights after, say, 5 years. Many marriages will have been proceeded for a period before that actual ceremony which if you like offsets the 5 year time limit anyway.
Still, I don't suppose it'll happen. (And for those who listen to Dead Ringers, I very nearly said, "But they wont, will they").
On Monday work took me to one of the Priory Clinics that deal with drug and alcohol abuse and much loved by those in the entertainment field when it's time to straighten out.
We had to wait in reception for some time for the contact we'd come to meet and we got talking to a woman sat in reception. She was all very jolly and laughing and joking with us and over a quarter of an hour we learned quite a bit about her and that she was waiting to see a doctor there. It's hard to say why she looked as though she was an alcoholic but she did. It might have been the rheumy eyes or her colouring but that was what she was there for. All was going along fine until she got to giving information regarding her son when the tears started. It didn't particularly bother Kev or I but one of the receptionists shot off, not to get a doctor/therapist but to find our contact to rescue us.
Her descent into alcohol involved a dysfunctional relationship and severe money problems and the amount she probably spent on drink didn't help although I know it isn't necessarily a high cost addiction. There were a number of similarities between her situation and mine. I've joked a few times recently with Kev that I'd probably hit the bottle if only I could afford it but meeting her on Monday has made me wonder if it actually only is the lack of money which stops me going the same way.
I have an uneasy feeling that I've had a mirror held up to me and I'm not sure whether it's a warning of things to come or something to show me that things could be worse.
It also reminded me to find out whether my brother has cut back or if his drinking is getting worse.
Still cafeing. Hopefully sorted soon.
Saturday, March 27, 2004
One of my infrequent updates at present.
Not known for my abilities as an installer, probably because I have none, Kev and I went to fit a couple of screen doors for a client. The first one took us about 2 hours, somewhat longer than the 30 minute estimate, but we knew what we were doing with the second one and completed that in 32 mins. Rather pleasing after the previous day when I went to seal a letter box with clear silicone and carried out what can only be desribed as a complete dogs breakfast. Space and time prevent me from going into details but under no circumstances ever let me near your home wth a silicone gun!
Graybo's drawings for his planning permission are presently winging their way to him for onward transmission to the council. There is now a race between selling the property and obtaining planning permission. Anyone want to offer odds?
We are visiting Bromley Hospital on Monday to try and sell some of these screen doors we are acting as agents for. I would provide a link but I've forgotten what the web address is. Still, I'll have a dedicated page for them on our company website which should be launched shortly. Try not to get too excited! Actually, the act of selling shouldn't be too much in evidence as their actual comment was, "we need to buy some of your doors". That's a bit of a giveaway.
Oh well, back home now for an evening of clearing post off my desk.
Thursday, March 25, 2004
This would be a great job if it wasn't for the bloody customers! Except Graybo, who is a nice customer and who wll be getting a phone call from me tomorrow.
Still no home connection for the internet. Bugger!
Saturday, March 20, 2004
Sorry to be so quiet but I've lost my home internet connection again. I really must get a proper job one day where I can spend my days surfing the net on the companys time.
Tuesday, March 16, 2004
Well, Glassex was a bit of a disappointment. Plenty of stuff to see but nothing that made me go weak at the knees, well, other than some of the girls on the stands. Particularly Tracy Tradestyle! but you'd need to be in the industry to know about her and we don't want to share her!
Another 5 weeks and it will be Interbuild. This is a massive exhibition and took us nearly 3 full days to get round last time, and that was just the half we wanted to see.
Monday, March 15, 2004
Did quite a bit of geocaching today which mainly entailed being blown all over the place and getting soaking wet feet. Finished the day with a swift visit to The Victoria and Albert Museum. I must go back and do a proper day there at some point.
In the end I'm not certain walking the best part of 5 miles was a good idea as Monday is set aside for a visit to Glassex 2004. So it's an early start and 7 hours of tramping the halls and trying to blag as much food and drink as we can.
Saturday, March 13, 2004
Hello!? Blogback have changed the layout of the comments. It's certainly fresh and bright and on the whole I think I like it.
Friday, March 12, 2004
When I bought the car the other week, I knew that one of the problems was that the heater motor didn't work correctly. It was either off or gale force 8 with no in-between. Kev had had a look in the relevant Haynes Manual and we discovered that to get to the heating system required the removal of the dashboard, central console and from the sound of it, pretty much the whole engine.
We'd checked how much the repair would cost prior to buying the car and it would have been about £200+. What with me being a Yorkshireman and Kev fancying himself as a bit of a mechanic we thought we'd throw caution to the wind and at least see if they had another 405 down at the breakers yard.
They indeed had exactly the right model, even down to the colour, and although it had been there for a time t was still pretty much complete. Kev went to ask how much the heater motor would be and the guy said £35. Kev was talking to him about taking out the dashboard and the yard owner said he thought the motor was accesible via the passenger footwell by removing 3 screws. He was right!
No more than 10 minutes later we had the motor off the old car and onto mine. It works perfectly and must be one of the quickest repairs Kevs ever undertaken.
Hurrah for breakers yards!
Damn, I've lost a filling! And for smoeone who has more fillings than teeth it's a problem.
Thursday, March 11, 2004
I am both angry and sad over this story. Sad that he should have felt so suicidal and angry because of the way the banks deal with these matters. I particularly hate the "caring face" they try to apply. Yes they care, care that they've lost out on their money!
When it comes down to the chase, the only thing the credit card companies can effectively do is to harass you into coughing up. Credit Card debts are unsecured and no court will uphold their position despite their threat to sue you. Some of you reading this may possibly be thinking that people shouldn't get themselves into that position. Maybe, but often it is due to circumstances beyond the cardholders control, illness, redundancy and the credit card companies desire to push debt onto you.
Having been through this I can precis exactly how the court case goes, that's assuming the credit card company even bother turning up, in many cases they don't because they know what's coming. (Allow for debt figure being plucked out of air for the purposes of this).
Judge - What is the outstanding debt this debtor owes you?
CC Company - £8500.00.
Judge - That's quite a lot. What was the credit limit when the card was issued?
CC Company - £1500.00.
Judge - O.K. So I take it that you raised the credit limit once or a number of times during the time Mr **** has held the card.
CC Company - Yes
Judge - And did Mr **** himself ever ask you to increase the limit?
CC Company - No.
Judge - Right, so let me understand this corretly. You have leant money to this person who, whenever he gets near to his credit limit, is given more credit by yourselves at your discretion, and you have continued to repeat this process over a number of years?
CC Company - Yes
Judge - And I'm right in thinking this is an unsecured debt?
CC Company - Yes
Judge - Why are you wasting the courts time bringing before it a matter which has been caused entirely by your own actions? Mr **** you are unfortunately liable for this debt, you will repay them the sum of £1 per month, will you be able to pay this? etc.
And that is very much the outline it takes and also why the credit card companies don't bother turning up, nobody likes to be humiliated.
My top tips for dealing with credit card debts if you find yourself in this position are these;
- Don't panic. Regardless of how big the debt is there is really little that they can do. The very worst scenario is that you will have a county court judgement against you. Yes, it will affect your credit rating if you have too many of them, but they drop off after 3 years even if the debt is stil outstanding.
- The credit card companies only have one weapon. Harrassment. They will play upon how they can destroy your reputation. They can only do this if you let them.
- If they threaten to take you to court, tell them you agree to it, then sit back and listen to them try and wriggle out of it. Another reason they don't want to go to court is it freezes the interest. It is in your interest to go to court.
- If you end up in court, the magistrate, and we aren't talking wigs and robes here, will do everything in his power to protect you providing he doesn't think you are taking the P.
- If a credit card company rings you and they become abusive, put the phone down on them. Get a friend to speak to them on your behalf, they don't have the same emotional stranglehold on a third party. If you have Call Minder and recognise their number, dont bother answering them. When banks say everything would be o.k. if people just talked to them in the vast majority of cases they want to talk to you for their good, not yours. If you owe money to 6 different cards they want to be at the front of the queue!
- Remember, the only customers that credit card companies like are those who are maxed out on their card and paying regularly. That is how they make their money. That is why they keep pushing your limit up. It is enticement and will be dealt with most courts as just that.
- Finally, if you are in this situation you are not a bad person. Do not be ashamed. Very few people wilfully run up debts and I doubt you were one of them.
If anyone is having problems then feel free to e-mail me.
Tuesday, March 09, 2004
After 6 months, our glorious bankers have finally agreed to our overdraft. Hurrah!
I was on the verge of moving the account but I spent nearly two hours on the phone with our "newish" business manager today discussing how things are. Now, selfish this may seem, but one of the most satisfying things for me was that having heard how I've been building the business without Kev for most of the year, plus the lack of Karen for a few months last Autumn, he said how well I'd done and how difficult it must have been.
Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou. Someone at last out in the real world has acknowledged the effort I've put in, instead of criticising the way in which I've done some of the stuff.
He's gone from being my bete-noir to being on my christmas card list.
Well, we all need acknowledgement some times.
Whats happened to the world of spam? Earlier today I received 6 e-mails only one of which was spam! After 3 hours I logged on again and tre was nothing at all.
Has one of you lot broken the internet?
Monday, March 08, 2004
This weeks "I Confess"
O.K. It was me. I confess.
I can't take the lies and deceit anymore, the truth had to come out sometime and here it is.
Let us go back in time to the 60s. To around the time when I was probably nine, and my brother five. We were playing some sort of military game in the front room which required me to lead him round single file as I proudly displayed our regimental flag in front of me as we marched off to war. On this occasion our standard took the form of my mothers broom held aloft for all to see. We marched up, we marched down, we marched there, we marched back. We marched with a precision that would bring a tear to the eye of the most hardened Grenadier.
Unfortunatley, our chosen route took us straight across the middle of the room. Between the settee and the coffee table, over towards the radiogram, away from the bookcase, right under the light fitting.
Now, when I say right under the light fitting, it was true that I was, but unfortunatley the broom was of a very similar altitude and it careered through the triple light arrangement showering glass everywhere.
From the kitchen came a bellowed, "What are you two up to!" from mum and I did the only thing that a self respecting brother would do on such an occasion. I thrust the broom into Grahams hands and said "Here, hold this".
Mum stormed into the room to see the trail of devastation, bits of lightbulbs, lightshades and my brother standing in the middle of it all holding the evidence.
"Mum, he hit the light" said I, just so she couldn't be confused by the situation. "I didn't" he cried, but it was no good. Had he stood on a grassy knoll with a smoking gun in his hand he could not have looked more like the perpetrator of a crime committed.
Smack went Mum, "Bwwaaaaahhh!!!!! went Graham, and somewhere towards the back of the scene the real miscreant slunk silently away.
And so here I sit, the best part of 40 years later, finally confessing to the wrong I did my brother.
Then again, he probably deserved it.
Sunday, March 07, 2004
I promised the result, and even as they read, Vicky, Masher and Kacroon must be biting their fingernails waiting for the result. Well, perhaps not, but here we go.
I have been playing chicken with the fuel tank all day today. The low warning light has been on since first thing this morning but I'm going to admit defeat and give it a drink tomorrow. By the time I hit the garage it will have done 650 miles. I doubt it would have hit 700 before empty but it might, plus it would no doubt do even more per tank if it was all done at 56mph. I reckon that I got 45 mpg for driving around town and I'll certainly accept that!
Oh, so well done Kacroon, a pair of boot shaped chocolates are yours as soon as I find some!
This weeks Friday Five with minor translation of the American vocabulary.
1. ...your first grade teacher's name?
That was Mrs Jeffries. I remember hating her with a vengence and really liking Mrs Stone who I had 2nd and 4th year. My Mum tells me that is the exact opposite of what really happened.
2. ...your favorite Saturday morning cartoon?
I don't remember any of the cartoons particularly, but I loved Flash Gordon at the Saturday Morning Pictures. And The Lone Ranger.
3. ...the name of your very first best friend?
Hmmm? Before I started school I only remember having one friend and he grew up to be Nigel in Eastenders. I can't really describe him as a best friend, more an only friend at the time as we didn't have playgroups and nurserys back then. When I started school my best friend was Mark, a friend still, and come the start of the next academic term I will have known him 43 years!
4. ...your favorite breakfast cereal?
When I was a kid it was porridge. Now it's caramel cornflakes.
5. ...your favorite thing to do after school?
Funnily enough I was telling Kev about this earlier today. On the last day of every term
me and a friend would go to The Egg Nest cafe in Ealing and have a Banana Milkshake. This became a ceremony for us and something that was sacrosanct. Nothing ever got in the way of our Egg Nest Time!
Wednesday, March 03, 2004
Hmmm? My plans to move the old car on as a competition prize appear to be faltering. My next best chance may be to cover it in chocolate and give it to someone as a vehicular shaped Easter Egg in a few weeks time.
Tuesday, March 02, 2004
So, I appear to have started a competition. Guess the Mileage.
I may even put up a prize for the winner. How about a car!
The prize will be a Ford Granada Scorpio. It has a
knackered modified driveshaft and gearbox, rust spots vehicle tattoos near it's wheel arches, it will be towed delivered to you and dumped parked on your driveway.
Visit Kennamatic and win all the best prizes.
Monday, March 01, 2004
I can't get used to the fuel consumption of the new car. I filled it up the other day and have done 170 miles over the first quarter of the tank. Admittedly the first quarter tends to hold slightly more than 25% of the total capacity but even so!!!
I'll try not to bore you all to death with it anymore, except I'll prbably mention the stats for the first full tank used, that's assuming it ever runs out!
Oh dear. My brothers hitting the bottle.
He's between jobs at the moment, through choice admittedly, but he seems to be getting more depressed, (he was on anti-depressants before I was), and the drinking won't be helping. He's putting away about 2 bottles of wine and a couple of large whiskies a day.
This isn't helpping his marriage which went a bit rocky last year when he was drinking a bit too much, and my niece is picking up on it as well.
I'm going to have to do something I think as it's worrying my mum but it isn't something I've ever come up against. I know he must be bored and that will be one trigger, and I also know he's still depressed.
One of my problems is I'm not exactly in a great place to be giving advice being on anti-depressants myself and not being in a great financial position. He can be stubborn at the best of times and doesn't like to be told what to do and suspect that whoever tackles him is going to get it in the neck.
I'm worried, but I've not yet decided what to do. Any suggestions would be appreciated.