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Novacon, and combusion, and banking

♥Nov. 9th, 2015 // 08:05 pm
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Ladies, are we frock swapping next weekend? I have a bag o'stuff, as does [livejournal.com profile] helenx. Anyone else up for it?

In other news, today we finished the first half of the leylandii: hurrah! It now no longer looks as though we randomly started in the middle of the row and worked outwards!

(It wasn't actually random, it was the place with the fewest plants between the lawn and the hedge.)

Then, the wind being right, we burnt them.

I also decided that it was nearly as easy to move the contents of the other bonfire pile over to the existing fire as it was to pull it apart and make a new fire, so that's all done now as well.

In Adventures In Bureaucracy, the Charity bank account is with Barclays, and on Friday I received a Very Large cheque for the charity, from a company that apparently still operates in the stone ages* and does things like posting cheques to people, done on their special cheque printing machine (seriously, wtf? Is it just that they foolishly bought a few pallets of the custom paper and now feel they must use it? I can't decide if it's more or less bizarre than the people who do a BACS transfer and then print and post a remittance advice, thus telling you that they've sent you some money a week or so after you saw it appear in your online banking).

* Although not as antiquated as the people behind direct debits. Why on earth do I need to write the address of 'my' branch on the form? More to the point, what is it? It's not on my bank statements. My cheque book contains the address but -- wtf -- not the post code. Googling for "'bank name' + 'street name'" gives two results at opposite end of the country, and only the one that's obviously wrong includes a postcode in the excerpt on the search results page....

I was going to spend an hour and a bit driving into town, walking from the carpark to the bank, paying it in, and then reversing the process, but it was pissing down and I couldn't be arsed. On Saturday, I needed to go to the Post Office anyway. "Hmmm," I said to Mike, "Is Barclays one of the banks that I can do transactions at the Post Office?" He looked it up and reported that the Post Office website said I could indeed pay in cheques at a Post Office but needed a Special Envelope, which I could order from Barclays (unlike, say, the bank that we use personally: there you also need a Special Envelope, but you can get them from the Post Office. Natch.).

Although I didn't have a Special Envelope, and being a cynical sort, while I was there I asked at the Post Office. "You can pay in cheques to Barclays accounts here," I was told, "as long as your paying in slip has a barcode on it." Hmm. (Mine does not.)

Today, I decided that I really had better get it paid in, and anyway Mike needed a chainsaw chain sharpening, so I went into town and visited Barclays. While I was there, I casually said to the Nice Young Man "So, is there any way I can pay cheques into this account without coming into the branch?" Well, he explained, there was a pilot scheme, but it had been a pilot scheme for quite a long time now.... "So I couldn't pay it in, say, at the Post Office?" Oh, there was something about the Post Office, he'd just check with his colleague. Apparently, I can pay cheques in at the Post Office as long as I had a special Paying In slip, which I could get from the Post Office.

Sigh. To give up or to face the torment that is offshored customer service helplines...? Ok, that's not actually a question, is it?
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Easier than expected

♥Oct. 16th, 2015 // 04:08 pm
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Web guy just made me an admin, no arguments just a warning not to break/install anything. Phew. I've done two "half day of works" since I got back from taking Jo to the vet an hour ago, even allowing for time spent looking in the help files (fortunately good) for the theme he's used....

We were at the vet for an update on her arthritis, and pleased with her progress all around: the vet even thinks that she can feel a reduction in the thickening on her knee, although the hips are still stiff. I've got more metacam (although after this one I'm going to be getting a prescription and buying it online) and some joint supplement pills. I'm going to wait another week or so before I try the pills, to get a good baseline on how she is with just the metacam, and then give them a go and see if they make any difference.

Brr. Chilly in here. That's what I get for letting Mike build the fire.
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Mighty hunter!

♥Oct. 7th, 2015 // 04:56 pm
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Today, Jo got a nice plump hen pheasant. Sadly, she did so on Mrs Top Of The Hill's land, and I decided to do the decent thing and hand it over. Good job I did, as from where she was when I got to the front of the house Mrs TOTH must have been just on the other side of the hedge and heard it happen!

This afternoon, I have been busy with Brewery (see also: Piss Up) stuff. Last week, I sent (as requested) a list of unpaid invoices to the professional events organiser. Today, I got confused emails from her saying that the people she's been chasing said they'd already paid. "Were they on the list?" Well, no, but a list in a file named "Receivables" was a list of the money we'd already received, and the invoices not on it were the unpaid ones, right? Right...?

This year, after last year's Mysterious Case Of The Vanishing Chocolate Coins, I've decided to assemble the hampers upstairs in the library. And keep the door shut, just in case. Boxes have been assembled, and contents are beginning to be gathered.

Last night the ballet was lovely. Even Mike didn't hate it. TWWOTV was there, so it's probably a good job that Mike was with me rather than one of the neighbours!
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Busy busy

♥Sep. 27th, 2015 // 03:14 pm
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We've had a lovely weekend of visitors, but I'm knackered now and have sneaking suspicions about Plague acquisition (this is what happens when you go to That There London, I'm convinced).

On Friday, we went out for lunch and then I headed into town: had a couple of hours of nice chat with my dentist, and then a couple of hours of deeply tedious charity meeting. After a little while, the Chair and I started playing 'we had this exact same conversation and action point at the previous meeting' bingo.... Too many very busy chiefs, no one actually doing the work. Managed to resist the urges to offer to do it myself so that it would be done and done properly.

I was late back home, but found the house full of people and a glass of wine waiting for me, so all was well.

Yesterday, we went to the Canterbury Food and Drink Festival, which was absolutely packed (and, in consequence, the car parks were all full -- I think we got the last spot in the biggest one -- and the traffic was snarled all around the ring road and beyond so that it took over twice as long as it should have done to get there/home). I can only assume that we went on the Friday last year, and possibly also that it's a lot more popular this year. They're going to have to do something differently next year, although I'm not sure what.

There were lots of interesting stalls but by the time it was lunch time they all also had enormous queues so that we decided to just give up and go into town for food where we could sit down. It wasn't a total loss, though: pork scratching, pork pies, ice cream and blue cheese were variously bought, and we got a free bag of incredibly cute little peppers from our veg box people (because I did a sad face about never getting them in our box -- they don't get enough, and I suspect they're expensive).

Lunch was at Salt, which we'd been meaning to try for a while, which is a tapas-style place. There were five of us, so we just ordered one of everything, and it was almost entirely really really good, with one of the dishes being a little dry. Mike and I came home to Release The Hound while the others stayed for puddings. (The festival website said service dogs only. In fact, there were lots of dogs there but it would have been much too crowded for Jo so it's probably a good thing we didn't take her.)

In the evening, we played Concept after dinner, which I'd got Mike for his birthday for just this sort of occasion. Very fun as long as you don't try to follow the rules too much.

Today, we've been to the Devil's Kneeding Trough and the King's Head, where we had their Sunday menu for the first time (although, pleasingly, they still offer most of their regular menu as well: I hate it when it's obligatory to have an enormous roast if you're not in the mood). V excited to learn that the new menu starts tomorrow, and the new scotch egg is pork and chorizo: I dare say we'll be back soon so that I can try it!

I am possessed of a laundry mountain and a small stack of washing up, but I think I'm just going to leave it until tomorrow and have an early night instead.
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Piss up.

♥Sep. 21st, 2015 // 05:42 pm
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Brewery House Of Lords.

This afternoon, the envelopes arrived! Hurrah! I settled down to start addressing them.

And realised that they were smaller than the invites.

Sigh. It's a good job that Staples is so convenient for the house....

(Wrists seem to be coping remarkably well, they're pretty much all done now.)
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Better than expected

♥Sep. 19th, 2015 // 07:34 pm
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This afternoon, I've addressed about a hundred invitations to the House of Lords. My wrist has borne up better than I expected (probably partially because I dug out my fountain pen. I'd forgotten how much nicer they are to write with, it's just a shame I don't hand write enough to be able to use it all the time), although I am getting an occasional twinge. Unfortunately, what I haven't done is any of the envelopes: they were supposed to be sent next-day on Thursday, but they've still not arrived here. I'm trying to decide whether I should do them all on Monday or just say "sorry, we're going to have to have printed labels for the envelopes".

(On Tuesday and Wednesday, Mike's going up to see his mother so I'll be busy. I might be able to get some done on Tuesday, but I'm not going to rely on it. And they really should have gone out a week or so ago, but Person A is Young and just assumed that the invites would be done by email, while Person B knows full well that no one would dream of not doing proper invitations to a do at the HoL.)

(I'd be a lot happier if Person B had looked in detail at the list of people to be invited that Person A compiled: about half the people have titles and half don't, so I've had to guess some and just use first names on others, and in some of them the woman's name is listed first, which I assume means she's the main contact, but, but!)

GB was a bit stiff again this morning when we rode. I fear that it's winter-related, and he'll be this way until late next spring (at best), but we'll see how it goes.

We also managed to get out into the garden. I didn't do what I'd planned (move the rest of the yellow flags) but I did something of about equal priority (split and move a big clump of lilies). I have a huge heap of bulbs that need to go in, as well, although some can wait a while yet. (The first of the bulbs are just starting to poke leaves up, but not any of the kinds that I'm due to put in.)
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♥Sep. 18th, 2015 // 08:51 pm
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We had a weather-induced power cut last night, which kept me awake rather: I'm not sure if the battery is dead in my clock and I woke up when the power went out (which seems more likely) or if I just happened to wake and look at my clock the second the battery did die, but either way it was 2:30am and I spent the rest of the night being woken up by the weather and vaguely worried about freezers and suchlike.

Today, though, I have made apple butter: no idea if it's going to have worked, but the spoon tasted pretty good. Something of a faff peeling and coring any quantity of wild apples, even if I did pick the biggest of the batch, so if it is good I might use shop apples in future. Of course, then it probably won't taste the same.

I'm starting to think that the boys have got it in for me. Given that they've stopped coming up to the gate at coming in time, Mike and I have been taking it in turns to go and get one of them (usually Bugs, as he's more likely to wander over in search of treats), after which the other will follow up the hill to the gate and stand to be caught by the other of us. For about the last ten days (not that I'm counting), they've been within about twenty yards of the gate on Mike's days and right at the other side of the field on mine....

Currently on the dining room table: a box of invitations for the House of Lords thing, which need to be in the post on Monday. The curses of having Nice Handwriting. I just hope my wrists are up to it. I've even got my fountain pen out!
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