The fun of horse trading

January is almost over and I will be glad to see the back of it. As one journalist from the Daily Mail said, “any month that starts with a hangover and the need for a diet coupled with a huge credit card bill has not got a lot going for it”. In my case only the credit card bill was missing. I have still not lost the weight I put on over Xmas but I have become virtually teetotal and I am giving up the demon drink completely for Lent.

As the weather is warming up a touch and the days are becoming a little longer I thought it would be a good idea to start some maintenance work on Rhonda. After an hour my fingers were dropping off with the cold and I discovered the water pipes in the shed had burst. This meant not being able to use the jet washer and most of my time was taken up with spanners replacing copper pipes and repairing leaking joints instead of tending to my trusted steed. Rhonda will now have to wait until the coming weekend when I can wheel her into the warmth of Ogri’s garage to finish her off.

The snow and the ice may have temporarily receded but it is still damn cold. Not too cold though to stop me going away camping on the Bodmin moors in a little over a week’s time. Hence the need to have Rhonda in peak condition if she is to carry me for over 700 miles there and back again with all the equipment I think I shall require.

My broadband provider, the dreaded silicat , has been taken over by Yak Yak and frankly the service has gone from bad to worse. I have had varying degrees of access since last Friday and calls to the helpdesk have not been helpful. There is the possibility that if I actually understood what they were saying I may get somewhere. So why am I still with them? Well no other provider will take me on without a fixed term contract and as I live in the perpetual hope of selling the house it would mean being contractually obliged to pay for something I would not require.

There is of course some good news. My renewal quote from the AA for breakdown cover had gone up by over 100%, yes a staggering 100%. I looked at other providers and obtained rival quotes and rang the AA. The man on the end tried to explain that the previous year was a heavily discounted offer to welcome me back to the fold. I asked him about loyalty to customers who stay with the companies that provide services and he merely sighed. I then informed him I was off to join the RAC and I would be back next year as a new customer and would be expecting the discount again. There followed more heavy sighing coupled with the almost pleading “well let me see what we can do” and he came back to match the offer of the rival companies.

If only they could have done this in the first place we could have both saved some time. So many companies are offering discounts to new customers and it is the same with banks. One of my banks was paying virtually no interest on an old account I had so I rang them up to vent some spleen and they told me to open up a new account for which they would give a preferable rate of interest. Naturally I did but it begs the question why didn’t they just up the interest rate on my old account? Of course I expect to go through this horse trading some time next year when even newer bank accounts are available and more discounts for new customers, but not existing ones, are offered to tempt us to switch service providers of one sort or another. But here is a novel idea why don’t they reward loyal customers who stay with them. Maybe it is because it would take away the fun of horse trading? 

Happy New year

Hello 2011 and all of that. A professional blogger from the BBC once asked why so many amateur bloggers gave up and came to the conclusion that they run out of things to say. In my case it is that I run out of time to say them. It seems that as soon as I get in and have fed the cat, got changed, had something to eat then it is time to go to bed. I seem to be so busy earning a living I have no life! It is most definitely not the case that I have run out of things to say.

So with nothing more than a brief run down of what has been happening since my last entry, I am giving up trying to write about what happened yesterday because something always happens today. Bean counters youngest, Johan the Destroyer and his babe, took delivery of a healthy new baby girl called Holly in mid December. For the technical she weighed in at around 7 pounds ish and is now no longer pink and wrinkly.

Xmas came and went with all of the usual hustle and bustle and so did New Years Eve. I did manage to barbecue at midnight on New Years Eve and cooked several cuts of meat aided by Roger Moor while the rest of the guests sat in the warmth deciding that we were mad. Indeed the New Year was let in by the waft of grilled meat and spices, surely an auspicious start to 2011?

The Traveller has been to Gibraltar, back to Greece and then headed off to America where he is currently in Manhattan checking out suitable land. The search is not going well and Greece and Gibraltar have been written off as too primitive or too expensive and the good ole US of A is not looking much better.

Ted Magnum is more than ¾ of the way through a trip down Africa and was last heard of in Malawi and about to enter South Africa over 2.500 miles from the end of his journey to table top mountain. Yes everyone is travelling except me!

This brings me to the state of the country; petrol has gone through the roof and is now £1.28 a litre or almost 6 quid a gallon and it is set to rise. Conservative economists reckon it will be £1.50 a litre or £6.78 a gallon, for my American chums that is $10.50. Banker’s bonuses are still sky high and Dave Cameron has said it is time to stop bashing the bankers. Sorry Dave but it wont be time to stop bashing the bankers until they have pulled us out the shit they have dragged us all in to and then paid some compensation.

So what have we got to look forward to in 2011? Globally it is very uncertain but the feel good factor will certainly be enhanced when the Royal wedding takes place in April. Indeed if you look at the last few royal weddings they all seem to have taken place under a Conservative government, you might say they have bought the franchising rights. As for me well I intend to lose some of the weight I gained during the festive excesses and do some travelling or holidaying at the very least. Right up there on the list is to finish the house when the clocks go forward and the mercury starts to rise. There is not a lot to do and hopefully it will all be finished by the end of June. Oh and I definitely intend to take Rhonda out more often good health willing. Happy new year.