Tuesday, 28th December, 2021

[Day 652]

Today has turned out to be one of those frustrating days when nothing seems to go quiteright. As it seemed a tad cooler than of late, we decided to treat ourselves to steaming bowl of porridge and this bit of the day turned out OK. We knew that we needed to get back into the house by 12.00pm as we had an arrangement to Zoom with some of Meg’s cousins so we had to ‘cut our coat according to our cloth' I texted our University of Birmingham friend to indicate that we would go down to the park by car and then have our coffee and biscuits in the bandstand where at least we would be sheilded from the worst of the showers. Then we phoned or friend to tell him where we were and the rest of the park was deserted. He was busy visiting a relative so we made a rendez-vous for next Friday and then shot back home in the car ready for our ‘Zoom’ meeting. This was when our frustrations really started. Meg’s cousin generally sets up the Zoom and we link into it just by clicking a link on an email which has been sent to us – but no email was forthcoming. So I tried setting up a call myself which only had one participant (myself) and although I emailed Meg’s cousin several times nothing seems to have happened. When playing about with the settings, though, I did manage to get a view of myself (courtesy of Zoom) as though I was a larger-than-life spaceman floating over the earth which looked rather grand. After getting nowhere, I emailed my son who was busy at work to see if he could link into my conference call but this drew a blank as well, despite my sending him (and our daughter-in-law) a link to click. Having drawn a blank and been on the internet for the best part of an hour, we abandoned it and cooked myself some lunch. After lunch, I checked my email and Meg’s cousin who should have been at the other end of the Zoom call who was full of apologies. Her mother had taken a tumble and although no bones were broken she was somewhat bruised and certainly shaken up. So evidently, this had absorbed all of the cousin’s attention and energies and she had completely forgotten about the Zoom call.

After lunch, I knew I wanted to dash into town to get some things from AsdaA which are unobtainable elsewhere. But first I needed to get some money out of an ATM but the ATM I chose (and a few others) all refused to accept my card saying it was ‘invalid’. So then I popped into the store (not my favourite) and spent several fruitless minutes searching for some thin-style calendars of which they had a good display this last year. I cannot find what I was looking for but an assistant pointed to me to a temporary display (not on the normal shelves) so it was no wonder I could not find what I was looking forward. But eventually, I found a calendar more or less to our taste and then proceeded to try and find some packet potato which I use constantly as a gravy thickener. Needless to say, I couldn’t find what I was looking for but eventually I found some where the contents had increased by 50% but the price had gone up from 30p to £1.00. At least the card worked at the paypoint so I could pay for my purchases.

Finally at home, frustration number 3 of the day. The treasurer and myself are still struggling through the safeguarding procedures of the bank which supplies banking services to our Resident’s Association. Their ‘safeguarding procedures’ means that we have to jump through multiple hoops to carry on what we have been doing for the last ten tears or so. After a great deal of searching and an abortive telephone call to the bank, I managed to locate our user name but not the password set up ten years ago. So I went through the password reset routine but this required a form to be downloaded, then signed by all of the relevant people (i.e. the Treasurer and mysellf) and then had to be submitted to be ‘considered’ by the relevent part of the bank before they would allow me to change my password for one I can remember. I also submitted even more details to the ‘SafeGuarding’ unit of the bank who again are ‘considering’ the information so in some ways, I have got nowhere. On the other hand, I have done as much as I can do and then I shall wait for my email inbox to fill up wih even more requests for information. The whole of this ‘safeguarding’ is being enjoined on the banks by the Financial Conduct Authority – I am sure that thousands of us are being put through the mill but the genuine money launderers (much of the London property market in big houses) will no doubt have found a way round all this.