Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I made the Hobbits watch the inauguration of the new president tonight. Well, when I say made, I didn't tie them down or anything, just asked them to sit with me while we watched history happening.

They were interested in the amount of people there, once they realised the size of the place. I doubt they would have heard much of Obama's speech but at least, when asked in the future, they can say where they were when Obama became President Obama.

Friday, January 16, 2009

It Is A Loooonnngggg Month

God is January not over yet? Maybe it is the rush and bustle of December that makes January feel as though it just keeps going. Maybe it is the latest bundle of challenges, this time my dad being in hospital - he has dementia, now it turns out, after 15 days in hospital, he has a jaw infection.

How do you get a jaw infection? I feel a Google moment coming on soon.

Our familiarity with hospitals is somewhat depressing. I was a nurse in the late 80s/early 90s and sadly things have not improved. I left because although I loved the work I utterly hated the ward politics. Like my inability to lie properly I also have an aversion to gossip. Unless I have first hand knowledge of something and feel it right that I speak with another person about it then it is none of my business. That doesn't go down well in some workplaces.

Strangely, in all the time I've been away, from what I've witnessed, the characters are still the same. And although pumps of green glop are thoughtfully provided so nasty visitors don't bring their germs into the wards it might help to actually clean under the beds once in a while.

On another note, the Hobbits went to Deep Sea World for their birthday way back at the end of December. After recovering from the price of admission it was actually well worth it. Plus the Hobbits loved it, especially getting to touch the rays and fish and seeing the sharks

Friday, January 09, 2009

Cloned Wars

Not in a galaxy far away unfortunately but in Indonesia where someone used my stolen bank card details to try and withdraw over 1 million whatever-the-currency-is-there from an ATM. When I heard this my heart nearly leapt out of my mouth in horror but it turns out that with the exchange rate that would be a less terrifying £80-something.

Ah, so that is why I couldn't use my card to pay bills online. That is why I spent the next day puzzling with the bank call centre staff who couldn't see there being any problem as I had the funds. That is why, on a bright, sunny and freezing Wednesday morning I got the letter that told me the fraud department of the bank wanted to speak to me urgently.

Oh hell.

Don't worry, they said, it wasn't personal - this concerned thousands of people who used their card at the Lizzie Bryce petrol station in Livingston. One of the attendants was part of a criminal gang, someone who I would have smiled at and thanked as I always do because I think they have a thankless task dealing with grumpy people all day. So this guy I thanked and was pleasant to, tried to rip me off. Regardless of how many people this touched (over 10,000 so far in my bank alone) it still left an icky feeling inside.

I had done everything right. The card was never even touched by him, he had some special thing inserted into the chip and pin device so no one would have realised what was going on. There are trust issues of course, but as I rarely use that place, and never will now, I feel...annoyed. I know I will take care over who serves me in future and that is a shame but even though it was a few days of problems I really don't want to experience that feeling again.

It does sometimes feel as though these criminal gangs can work without the stress of ever being caught. Oh certainly, this chump from the petrol station has been charged but he is just the mug who did the crime. How many people were behind him? What about the people who they sold all those details to for a more-than-likely hefty price?

And they see everyone in the West as a target, oh if only they knew.