Driven to distraction…

aerial photography of road with cars

When I was a child it was necessary for me to do things accompanied by an adult – learning to swim, riding a bicycle, reading, writing and so on. Now I am a (pretty senior) adult I find myself begging to be accompanied by a child, my grandchild to be precise. Things of a technological nature are becoming increasingly mysterious and confusing. Just when I think I have a thing cracked, it changes and my confidence and capability are crushed. …

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Be Careful Where You Tread – A Cautionary Tale for Halloween…

birds on sky

Not quite as large as a used tea bag but much the same shape and colour, the tiny thing lay, helpless, on the concrete just below my front doorstep, ideally positioned for an approaching foot to unknowingly flatten it. If it hadn’t been for the ever-questing eye of a visiting artist friend it would never have been spotted in the midst of our morning’s comings and goings. Bats have been visiting our house since the first night we came to …

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Dealing with the fat cats…

follow @mr.toobs for more pics

The vet thrust her hand into the cat basket to extract the angry, growling, spitting, claws-out-creature I had painfully put in, pulled out a docile lump of black fur and, after a brief assessment, plonked it on a set of scales placed handy to the examination table. “Felicity, this cat is not overweight, no, she is grossly OBESE!” This shocked me to my core. The vet’s normally pretty mouth was set in a grim line of disapproval. My cat, frozen …

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Have You Heard? My experience of hearing aids…

euro, hand, hearing aid

One of the GOOD things in the National Health Service in Northern Ireland is the Audiology Department. It probably takes some time to get an initial appointment these days but, let’s face it, being hard of hearing is not life- threatening; irritating, yes, especially for people around you, but it isn’t going to kill you unless, of course, you are standing with your back to an oncoming electric car. Becoming aware of the affliction begins with complaining that the actors …

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Making a list. Checking it twice…

list, icon, symbol

Phone, keys, torch, money, shopping list, lights, hearing aids. This ‘aide memoire’, attached to the mirror in my kitchen, is faded now, a bit like me in my 80th year. Forgetful more and more and not a little scared as closer and closer contemporaries are being told they have early onset – you know what… When I was invited out for lunch by two grandsons the thought of having them both entirely to myself for a couple of hours filled …

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My battle with BT. The conversation continues…

sadness, phone, sad bear

Hello, BT here. Chapter Two Having asked for help at the end of October Felicity is still unable to access her account with BT. They can take money out of her account each month but she cannot see her bill and what she is paying for. Friday, 12 November 2021. Text: Hello, BT here. Just a quick update on the BT ID fault. We are really sorry about the delay in this repair. The team are currently working on the …

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Dear BT. I would like a little less conversation and a little more action…

home office, coffee, computer

It all began in the dim distant past a few months ago when I was struck by lightning. Well, I wasn’t but my landline telephone was and it and its extensions were rendered useless. I phoned BT to see if they could check the line for me just to confirm I was correct in my assumption. When an engineer arrived he did just that and advised I should purchase a whole new system. A few weeks later I saw on …

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My personal experience of our ever increasing health waiting lists….

A few months from now I will be able to call myself an octogenarian! I am lucky to have reached this moniker in comparatively good health as I take only vitamin pills and, if I bend my knees, can still touch my toes. My experience of the National Health Service in N.I. had been, until a few years ago, extremely good. Before, during and after the Troubles the service here was remarkable and, along with our doctors and nurses, deservedly …

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The scam that resulted in a £57.32 phonecall…

Once again, my mundane routine of daily atrocities (housework) was interrupted by the landline telephone. A pleasant female voice began to speak. “BT here, Mrs Graham. I am phoning you to say we have noticed you made two telephone calls last Wednesday to HMRC.” (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) “Yes, I was trying to complete my self-assessment tax form and couldn’t get the answer from their web site.” “Did you realise you were calling an ‘09’ number?” “What is wrong …

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The trials of lockdown Laundry…

Seven days into lockdown my washing machine, which had served me well, decided to become a space rocket. It had never been the quietest of machines but excelled itself when it began dancing up and down under the work surface while emitting an ear-splitting, clanking cacophony. This lasted for about half an hour, during which I was sure it was going to burst out and upwards at any moment. The cat and I fled the house until all was silent …

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The annoyance of sales calls…

After eleven weeks of singleton lockdown I don’t feel it is inaccurate to say that the one thing that has kept me sane has been the telephone. For all the kind friends and relatives who have stayed in touch by either my landline or mobile I will be eternally grateful. There is nothing more capable of lifting a sagging spirit than the sound of a human voice. Of course, it does depend on what it has to say… Last Tuesday …

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The Question of Taste, or lack thereof…

I remember the taste of that iced coffee as if it were only a few minutes ago yet it must be at least twenty years. We were in Africa with friends who had invited us to join them on their time share, a compound with wild animals and a swimming pool. On the way we stopped at a strange place that wasn’t a bar or a garage or a shop or anything really but it had seats and tables outside. …

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