scribbles tagged ‘service’

Forgetting to remember

Saturday, June 27th, 2015 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

City HallTo enrol for automatic payment of Wendy loft property taxes, I had to find the right website, print a form, find a pen to write on it, find an envelope to put it in, find a stamp to put on the envelope, then it get it to a snail mail address at the Gotham city style country treasury office

They send an annual invoice with a 2 date payment schedule. The first instalment is due 6 months after the invoice

I forgot to remember to pay my first instalment

The county has a reminder system, but you need to know that you have to sign-up for the reminders. I didn’t sign-up, I assumed I would be reminded

They’re not making it easy for me to give them money on their schedule

Forgetting to remember
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Offroad parking for 2 cars

Thursday, July 10th, 2014 | tags: , , ,  |

<rant warning>

The Estate agent responsible for selling the Wendy House offered me the opportunity to give feedback on the details they’d produced, before they were published.  I suggested a few changes that raised the profile of a few desirable features.

The agent didn’t confirm receiving my feedback or making any changes. After a couple of weeks I included the following (blue text) in an email to the Agent. The Agent replied in red..

helpful estate agent reply

With a good attitude the Agent would’ve recognised my point about size and suggested a phrase to conveys the double size parking space. On one occasion I’ve had 3 small cars parked there. I’ve suggested “Offload parking for 2 cars”, that saves the lazy estate agent the trouble of measuring my drive.

I’m annoyed by the Agent’s attitude.  Based on this, and other examples of their sloppy attitude and service, I will have no qualms about changing providers at the end of our contract.

<rant probably not finished, just temporarily paused>

Offroad parking for 2 cars
2 votes rating 5

4 bits of fabulous banter »

female. car owner. Dr.

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 | tags: , ,  |

ParkedWhen I bought Thomas I completed all the documentation with my actual title, Dr. Wendy.

Wendy: I’d like to book my car in for a service

Service Engineer: What’s the registration number?

Wendy: (cited registration)

Service Engineer: Mr. House…

Wendy: I’ve not had a sex reassignment, to my knowledge

Service Engineer: It says here the owner is Mr. House

Wendy: When I bought the car from your dealership 5 years ago I was a Female and I still am

Service Engineer: Can I check the registration again?

Wendy: (recites the registration which like my sex, hasn’t changed)

Service Engineer: I’m sorry, I’ll get that changed

I wonder whether he’ll do the mundanely common thing of deciding to marry me off to someone when he changes the gender without having first asked what title to use. Applying another common stereotype in a prejudicial way.

female. car owner. Dr.
3 votes rating 5

2 bits of fabulous banter »


Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Bus ticketwendy: I’m a stranger in your town, how do I use your bus

Bus driver: where do you want to go?

He explained that for $1.75 I could travel anywhere in the city for 2.5hrs. Brilliant. I can get on and off any bus I want to. Luxury. I wanted to spend a day travelling on the busses but instead focussed on the more socially acceptable activity of going to a local art gallery.

The bus driver reminded me when I got to the stop I needed to get off at. He was very helpful. We met again on my return trip and he remembered me, greeting me with a warm smile hello. The bus drivers that I met were all very helpful and friendly. Very impressive.


3 votes rating 5

1 wonderful musing »

at the gate

Saturday, March 15th, 2014 | tags: , , , , , , , , ,  |

iPads in airport by the gateInternational flights invariably mean a couple of hours at the airport. It doesn’t take long to tire of airports, expensive shopping, expensive food, controlled air, controlled people.

Minneapolis airport had a surprise for me at gate G4. Tables with IPads, even outside the bars, everywhere people using their own or the airport’s computers. I slid up to a nearby bar and found the menu.

iPad iPad in airport bar, swipe paymentKid’s under 12? I can eat them? Cool. I found myself a large glass of red wine and paid using the swipe-card slot on the bar. The bar staff talked to me about the system. She liked it, the customers liked it, I liked it. Sounds like an all around win.

iPad in airport bar - menuI’ll go straight to the gate next time I’m at Minneapolis airport. No need to unpack my surface, no need to find a power socket or go through connecting to the airport WiFi. Just use the local iPad which even supplies flight information for the anxious passenger. That wasn’t me, I’m not the anxious passenger. I’m the one who’s snoozing after a large glass of wine….

at the gate
3 votes rating 4.7

4 bits of fabulous banter »

getting the best computer buying experience

Thursday, February 6th, 2014 | tags: , , , ,  |

We want to buy a senior, computer-novice (Mumzie) something for emailing, sharing digital photographs, writing the Women Insitute meeting minutes and looking at her family on Facebook.

What’s our shopping experience going to be like?

Online buying?

To prepare I did some online searches. Would I be able to sit with mum using my surface, look through and decide between different available computers. No. The choice was overwhelming, the marketing was invariably lists of product features and Spec’s which would mean nothing to mum. There was a lot of reading required, small fonts, technical reviews. It was tedious for me and I could follow what they were writing about.

There was no way mum could choose a computer on the internet, even with me navigating and advising here.


Specialist technical shop?

I wandered into PC World (Currys) to check out what the experience would be like for mum. I wandered around the laptop displays, looked at the labels for each laptop. It wasn’t easy to choose between them even when you know a little bit about processors. A customer service person approached me and directed me towards a Surface Pro telling me how good it was. I started asking him questions and he not only didn’t know the answers he gave me the wrong answers e.g. you can’t buy a Surface Pro without a keyboard attached (which I’d done, so you can!). He was rude and condescending, he started arguments with me and didn’t let me draw them to a close.  It was so frustrating that I ended up just walking off, there was no other way to get out of the conversation because he wouldn’t let it close and he wasn’t being helpful.

The company lost a potential sale because of his attitude. No way was I taking mumzie into this ignorant geeky tat-palace.


Shop specialising in service?

John Lewis’s have a department that includes computers, cameras and peripherals. The layout was similar to PC World, the staff were more stylishly dressed and so much more polite. They listened to me, they found out that I was looking for a computer for my mother. They answered my questions or said when they didn’t know and offered to find out for me. Thank you!

The store has a café with a decent menu, the store sells furniture and clothes, and kitchen stuff. Plenty of fun to be had here above and beyond the computer buying experience. A really good context. Hooray.

Mum’s coming to John Lewis with me for a friendly, well rounded, comfortable and possibly even fun computer shopping experience…


getting the best computer buying experience
3 votes rating 5

5 bits of fabulous banter »

put it in the slot on the door

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013 | tags: ,  |

hotelNone Native English Speaking Receptionist: (something unintelligible)

Wendy: (frowns while trying to find intelligible words, then) I’m sorry, could you say that more slowly please?

The NNESR speaks slowly and I realise that she’s explaining how to use the hotel room plastic key card. It’s the same as every other hotel plastic key card that I’ve used before, literally hundreds of times. She’s being helpful, but I wonder what it was about me that made her think I needed an explanation. She’s giving me the impression that she thinks I’m stupid. Not a good way to make a customer feel.

PS First blog post from my ‘Surface’. Not as easy as earlier versions of Windows PC’s because of the picture handling processes, but I may yet find easier ways. Posts dedicated to the Surface experience due soon….

put it in the slot on the door
3 votes rating 3.3

2 bits of fabulous banter »

formal black

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013 | tags: , ,  |

Bull rushesHearses stacked in a line on the glorious Bedminster down awaiting entry to the South Bristol Graveyard and Crematorium.

Mumsie pauses to worry that she wont be able to walk from the car, once parked, to the crematorium.

We’re all respectfully wearing black, long sleeves, long skirts, high necklines. In my Pierre Cardin black trouser-suit with a blue pinstripe I look more like Dad than usual. He looks elegant in black with a white pinstripe. Neither of us wear Lodge ties. I’m the only female wearing trousers.

The room is full of the deceased’s Masonic friends. Elderly males. Sporting their ‘Royal Clarence Masonic Lodge’ ties.  They chat amongst themselves. His extensive family from a previous marriage fill the first few pews. The widow’s sister, my mum, and myself are her only blood relatives present.  At 49, apart from the grand-children,  I look like the youngest attendee.  I keep trying to give my seat to the more frail looking individuals, but they wont take my family member’s seat.

The deceased arrives in the church to Louis Armstrong playing “When the saints go marching in” raising smiles all round as we remember his excellent good humour

formal black
1 vote rating 5

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Sunday, March 17th, 2013 | tags: ,  |

blue eyes and dark skin toneIn my phone service provider’s high street store, the helpful assistant explained they could swap my normal sized SIM (current phone) to a mini SIM (Nokia Lumia), just not in the store….

wendy: your eyes are really beautiful,  are they….um…

assistant: they’re real, they’re mine

The assistant probably hears clumsy comments like that a lot…..

1 vote rating 5

1 wonderful musing »

paper chase

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013 | tags: ,  |

Harry Tuttle wasn’t available, central services turned-up

My home insurance notifies a local heating engineering service. 5 hours later the service calls me to arrange and ’emergency’ appointment.  Emergency means within 24 hours, but no time specified.  We agree a visit time – 2 days out

The engineer quickly diagnoses the problem as a broken fan on a common boiler, tells me he’ll phone me when he’s sourced the part to arrange a fitting.  He can’t source the part there and then because he need clearance from my insurance company.

5 hours later, no call, I phone my insurance who know about the part and the cost but cannot approve it until the engineer tells them how long he was onsite. They can’t take my word for his time on site. The say they’ll follow up with the engineer.

2 hours later I phone again and find the repair has been approved.  The Heating engineering service won’t arrange a visit until they’ve actually picked up the part which will be within the 24 hour period, from approval, that their service contract with my insurer specifies as emergency cover.  That’s 24 hours to get the part, not to fit it.  They suggest that I call them back in 2 days time if I haven’t heard from them.

Effectively, 6 days after reporting the ’emergency’ problem to my ‘home emergency insurance’ provider – who subcontract out their service, I will be able to try and arrange a time to have the broken part replaced. UK emergency services are bogged down by organisational bureaucracy. More than 6 days to diagnose and get hold of a replacement broken fan seems rather poor to me. I’m anticipating they wont be able to get an engineer round to fix it within 24 hours of calling me ….   …and that I’ll have to chase them with phone calls.


paper chase
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6 bits of fabulous banter »

beware of breakfast bouncers

Thursday, January 31st, 2013 | tags: , , ,  |

breakfast bouncer: What room are you in?

wendy: 118

breakfast bouncer: I don’t know that room

wendy: maybe it’s floor 1 room 18? My check-in card says 118 (holds-up check-in card)

After checking my name a hefty line was drawn through the paper sheet that listed the breakfast sentences of hotel guests.

breakfast bouncer: just to let you know, the toaster’s not working, do you want white or brown toast?

wendy: (confused, pauses)

breakfast bouncer: DO you WANT white or BROWN toast?

Wendy: Brown, please?

The bouncer sent me to my seat with an instructive arm wave. Minutes later returning to tell me I could get myself tea and fruit juice. Timidly, I left my allotted cell and made myself a tea. Sometimes it can be a bit of a trial not pissing-off the British breakfast bouncers.

Today I failed.

beware of breakfast bouncers
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3 bits of fabulous banter »

bargain basement girliness

Monday, January 7th, 2013 | tags: , , , ,  |

Living Social local email offersI’ve signed-up to receive offers from Living Social.

At first the offers were on a broad range of topics. The advertising photographs showed a people of different genders and ages demonstrating the product or service use.  Great diversity. I enjoyed looking at the possibilities and even purchased a few mixed gender, mixed ages, activity breaks.

More recently the offers that they send me show bigger discounts, but are on a more restricted range of topics. A lot of offers that are tailored to a stereotypical young female paranoid about how she, and her home, looks – make-up, hair, diets, cooking, manicures, vacuum cleaners etc. The pictures of people using the services are females that are almost exclusively young, curvaceous, with long hair, fully made-up, smooth skinned.

I feel hassled and oppressed by the algorithm they are using to select the offers that they email to me.

I’m progressively uninspired by the offers that they send me.

I’ve stopped using the offers – they’ve lost my custom.

I’ve written to Living Social to ask them to change the algorithm they are using to send me offers – to regain my custom.  I don’t think Living Social will be able to update their algorithm just for me. Maybe I should re-register with a boys name and see if I can regain the diversity and activity oriented offers that I saw before Living Social decided to push the popular female stereotype at me.

bargain basement girliness
2 votes rating 4

2 bits of fabulous banter »

expanding mole hill

Saturday, January 5th, 2013 | tags: , , ,  |

Sunday Brunch.  Maximillianswaitstaff: would you like anything to drink?

wendy: a glass of merlot, please

waitstaff: what size?

wendy: oh, um, 125ml please

waitstaff: no, we don’t have that size

wendy: oh, um, what size can I choose?

waitstaff: 175 or 250ml

wendy: 175 please

waitstaff: is that red wine?

wendy: merlot

waitstaff: is that red wine?

wendy: yes it’s red wine

Do you think I passed that test?


expanding mole hill
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2 bits of fabulous banter »

listening at high speed

Sunday, July 8th, 2012 | tags: , , ,  |

Oxfam art nouveau shop frontHe spoke with floods of enthusiasm but without punctuation. Goodness knows how air made it’s way INTO his lungs:

Would you like a bag Ive got a bag Ive got a bag thats just for you its an em and ess bag see

His enthusiasm and personal approach drew me into a large smile then the mention of M & S almost prompted a LOL. Ah yes, I’m a woman of a certain age. The age where women are expected to start shopping at M & S. He continued his stream of thoughts, picking up my book of London pictures and flicking through the pages to look at them.

As he talked I realised that the ‘Lemmy’ look was completely misleading:

That’s a very nice book. Beautiful pictures. Have you been there? (points at Parliament). Its very good. It was done by Pull Gin.

Wendy: Pugin?

Yes. He died when he was forty. He fitted a whole life into 30 years. He did Gothic. He did all of Gothic. If it wasn’t for him we wouldn’t have Gothic. He went mad. Have you been to Windsor castle? That’s good too. Did you know they had a fire there? My dad helped rebuild it. He’s a carpenter. He saw Prince Harry and Prince William. They went to the school that’s there, near windsor.

Wendy: Eton?

Yes. They looked like penguins

Wendy: In their black and white school uniform?

Yes. It must be nice to be rich. I’d like to be rich. But I like being me it’s ok not being rich. I dont want to be them they have a lot of things to do.I like working here.

Will you come back again? Will I see you again?

A queue had started to form behind me, I was impressed by how quickly he reacted to a queue forming. He clearly understood that this shouldn’t happen and he clearly enjoyed talking to me. I was very glad that I hadn’t been in a hurry because taking the time to listen to his child like enthusiasm was very refreshing

Wendy: Yes. I’ll come back, it’s been nice to meet you, have a good day, bye bye

listening at high speed
1 vote rating 5

4 bits of fabulous banter »

Litter arty

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012 | tags: , , , ,  |

Local interest

Normally I’m not thrilled by large chain bookstores. I prefer to find second hand, or at least independent, book stores. The Reading town Waterstones is changing my impression. Recently it hosted a little soiree in the local interest section for the launch of AFH’s new book. AFH told stories about the mysteries of children and beards, showed us his book, signed copies of the book, and let us eat coloured cakes and ginger beer. All very civilised.

Reading Waterstone's guest authorsThe counter-staff in Reading’s Waterstones are all very personable.  They talk as if you are a friend and seem genuinely interested in doing a good job. One young lad spent nigh-on 15 minutes explaining why his computer system wasn’t working and how unreliable it is – not tolerating typing or spelling errors. As you can imagine, I found this type of conversation totally engaging.

He told me that Michael Palin was only doing one book signing in a Waterstones’ store and he’d chosen the Reading store. Evidently people had phoned the store with book orders from all over the country and would be travelling to get their copy signed by Michael.

We’re expecting more than 200 people! We don’t know where we’ll put them, how it will work

He sounded very excited and happy. I asked why he thought Michael had chosen the Reading store “Probably because of our events organiser, she’s very good, she can persuade anyone to do almost anything” . His proud words about his colleague were envigorating. I liked listening to this young chap chat, much better than a ‘shopping experience‘ more like a ‘shooting the breeze‘ experience.

Meanwhile I purchased a ticket to listen to Jasper Fford talk about his next thursday next book. Oh!

Litter arty
2 votes rating 4

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doing the merge thing

Saturday, April 28th, 2012 | tags: , , , ,  |

I received a long message puportedly from Google Blogger

It was difficult to understand. I think it was saying that I will loose my Blogger Blog if I don”t click on these links and do something. I dont have a Blogger blog.  I deleted my blogger trial blog in 2004. What are they on about? I wish they’d test thier mass-mailings on people who don’t speak Blogger techno-speak then write translations before sending them to me

Google Blogger email

Unsure if the email was legitimate or some form of scam, I decided to log into my Blogger account and report the email. An excellent reporting system took a screenshot of the page I was on when making the report. I asked what I should do.  I didn’t get any submission confirmation – not even an email….. and no guidance on what to do – at 24 hours later…

While logged-in to my Blogger account I looked for a way to solve the problem. I looked for evidence that the email was real – a big button saying

“You need to do this”

It looked like Google wanted me to “merge” my blogger and google accountsIs this merge the same as the ‘upgrade’ mentioned in the letter? For obvious viral infection risks I like keeping my services distinct. No merging. If Google is determined to merge my stuff – I don’t think I can hold out against it’s repeated requests, especially when I’m getting something for free.  The feel of bullying make me gradually dislike Google more and more…..

After much tutting I did the merge thing

Later I went to read my highly organised google reader feeds only to discover that Google had duplicated the blogger account feeds in a newly created Blogger folder. Now I have the originally created feeds and the merge created feeds.

Tush.  Bullying me to integration

Giving me tidy-up tasks – delete the duplicates

Tush Tush


doing the merge thing
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Haven’t you done it yet?

Monday, January 9th, 2012 | tags: , , ,  |

Southern Electric harassmentSouthern Electric sent 3 identical text messages

All sent within one hour. Despite my

  • overwhelming need to please others (ahem)
  • effort to dash back home and read my electricity metre (sspppppllllltrrrr)

I failed to comply with their instructions promptly enough to avert this repeated messaging eperience. Like McAfee, Southern Electric appear dedicated to using modern technology to harass me, uneccessarily

Tush and hurumph



Haven’t you done it yet?
1 vote rating 5

2 bits of fabulous banter »

the i-check in version

Thursday, October 27th, 2011 | tags: , , ,  |

wendy: Can I take this on as hand luggage, it feels a bit heavy?
airport check-in specialist (ACS): Can you lift it?

I demonstrate that I can lift it

ACS: Yep, there’s no weight restriction on  hand luggage, just size and I can see that’s the right size

Result! A 7 day vacation and all I’m carrying is hand-luggage!

Later I checked the information provided by the airline, there is a weight restriction. I preferred this ACS’s flexible, cheerful attitude towards his role.

the i-check in version
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2 bits of fabulous banter »

the i-pack lite version

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011 | tags: , ,  |

wendy: I’d like a return rail-airbus ticket to Heathrow Terminal 3
Rail ticketing agent (RTA): Returning today?

Maybe he hasn’t noticed the suitcase I wheeled to the desk!

Wendy: No….
RTA: Tomorrow?

Does he think this case and shoulder bag add up to an overnight bag? If so, I have achieved my goal of travelling light!

Wendy: Returning 7 days from now. Can I use my network rail card for discount on that?
RTA: No, we don’t accept Network Rail cards….

I’m sold an off-peak ticket that looks exactly like a train ticket and wonder why the service provider who supplies the network rail card doesn’t allow it’s use on a Network rail service….

the i-pack lite version
1 vote rating 3

3 bits of fabulous banter »

Peak travel times are not defined by times

Saturday, October 15th, 2011 | tags: , , , , ,  |

The Italian tourist on Paddington station asked me

“what times are off-peak travel times?”

Gradually realising the sysem craziness I reply

“That depends which direction you are travelling, peak time applies to trains into London in the morning and out of London in the evening, so if you are travelling into London in the evening – there is no peak time

but I’m not sure”

Then I asked my Londoner friend for clarification

“Are there peak time restrictions on the tube?”

My friend didn’t know about ‘peak times’ so we assumed that tube trains within London didn’t have travel restrictions based on time of travel. How could this Italian distinguish between tube trains and other trains when they use the same stations?  Should we say ‘you can travel on the grubby looking trains  that are travelling around London, sort of, at any time”?  I felt daunted. Such a simple question, such a complex answer.

Then, to make matters worse, I remembered that at peak times you can catch some trains which are not covered by the peak time travel restrictions, so added

“You can travel at peak time with a non-peak time ticket on some trains, normally the slower trains, but some of the fast trains”

The Italian looked suitably baffled. We hadn’t really helped her. I had a passing thought of Franz Kafka, imagining him stuck on a train station trying to get out of London at 5pm.  No matter how good your grasp of the English language, this explanation, this system is

  • fundamentally confusing
  • really difficult to remember even if you can work it out in the first place.

it’s not designed to make ticket purchase and use easy, its evolved to satisfy diverse organisations that lack customer perspective. The best pracitcal suggestion that we could give the Italian was

“Find the train you want to travel on and ask one of the rail staff if it works, and what’s their best suggestion,  it’s the only way to be sure”

When I asked a train station employee at Reading main station he whipped out a PAPER leaflet that listed trains that travel at peak times but accept off-peak time tickets. This work-around suggest that the service providers recognise the problem. The cute, archaic, work-around made me smile. But why not make it easier for the traveller in the first place (or time)!

Currently peak travel times are defined by a mixture of train

  • time
  • service provider (not applied on the tube)
  • direction (relative to London, and maybe other citiies?)
  • train speed (sometimes)

I know what name I’d like to give the ticket pricing and travel system, but that’s unpublishable …..

Your’s huiffily, wendy x

PS here are the peak travel time trains from Paddington that accept off-peak time tickets:

peak time travel allowed with off-peak tickets

Peak travel times are not defined by times
1 vote rating 5

1 wonderful musing »

land lines

Friday, October 7th, 2011 | tags: , , , ,  |

The telephone pole’s spider silk lightly clings to the nearby houses

Burder street telephone lines

I wonder how long this will last when a substantial swathe of people find it easier to get connected and  manage thier bills using a “Pay as you go” mobile phone – no connection charge, no deposit if you have no credit history….

land lines
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3 bits of fabulous banter »

Loughborough is full

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011 | tags: , , , , ,  |

I called 6  hotels, all fully booked, none knew of other local hotels with spaces…

In desperation I discovered that Loughborough had a tourist information centre with a telephone number!  The automated answer machine message told me that the answer machine was ‘full’ – unable to take any more messages

Apparantly, the local University’s “Freshers Week” has filled the town to bursting

A lucky call connected me to a working-mens club, converted into the sort of hotel that has permanent residents. Bargain price. Such a bargain I knew it was seedy before even seeing the place

Which of these hotel services do you think I tried out?Sunshine hotel room charges

I didn’t add any holes in the doors, judging by the holes already there – they come at a discout rate if you bulk-buy:

Sunshine hotel room

Loughborough is full
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4 bits of fabulous banter »

bring the broken arm in now

Monday, June 27th, 2011 | tags: , , , , ,  |

falling over

When I lived in the US my job provided comprehensive healthcare insurance. I fell over on a green slope while learning to ski. It felt like I’d broken my left, writing, arm. A friend drove me to the local hospital accident and trauma centre

It took 90 minutes to drive there, it felt like 90 minutes

checking in

 The centre’s foyer was like an empty hotel foyer, large tropical fish tank, carpetted floor, quiet with easy listening music playing. A lady in a blue suit sat at the large oak reception desk opposite the double, automatic doors. The lady asked me what was wrong, to see my insurance card, then gave me two paper forms to complete and explained that the financial adviser would see me in a minute. There was no sense of emergency about the situation. When you’ve just broken your arm, it hurts and your sensible thinking can go to pot. Maybe she didn’t hear me the first time so I repeat:

wendy: I think I’ve broken my arm, its the one I use to write with, the form probably wont be legible

receptionist: do your best

She didn’t look busy, she could have offered to complete the form on my behalf.  It fet impersonal, like my NHS experiences. Unlike the NHS, the environment screamed of wealth. I slowly filled out the form with my other hand, then waited

It was probably only five minutes later, but it felt like an hour…

Can we get money for this?

Please ring for attention Another lady in a business suit introduced herself and walked me into a side room where she photocopied my card and forms. She then filled in more paper forms on my behalf. I wanted to scream:

Where’s a doctor? I want to see a doctor! it feels like an elephants trampled on my arm

Clearly they needed these forms filling in and copying, my crying and screaming would just delay everything by making me incoherent and her difficult to hear. She took me back to the waiting room and reassured me that the doctor would be along soon. Pressumably they were flying in a doctor from another State

It was probably only five minutes later, but it felt like an hour…

Should we X-Ray the patient?

A lady in pristine blue lab coat introduced herself. Hooray! This must be the Doctor. She took me to a large room of empty trolley-beds and asked me to sit on one. She drew curtains around the bed, which felt weird because I wouldn’t need to take any clothes of and there was noone else in the room. Getting onto a trolley bed that is higher than your natural bum-height, with one arm, when you’re in shock and pain is not easy. She watched me struggle without offering help. It made me want to cry, but I wouldn’t be able to hear or answer her questions if I cried so I fought off the tears

The lady used a checksheet to ask me monotone questions… “no, I’m not likely to be pregnant …I giggled, a little light relief.  The X-ray nurse would be along to pick me up in a couple of minutes, when the x-rays had been developed I would see the Doctor

wendy: You’re not a doctor?

nurse: No, I’m a registered nurse

It was probably only five minutes later, but it felt like an hour…

Get the patient to the X-Ray machine

X-Ray DeptThe x-ray nurse turned-up with a wheelchair, repeated the questions the registered nurse had asked then offered me the wheelchair

Wendy: I’ve broken my arm not my leg

nurse: enjoy the ride

I felt bullied to conform to her expectation that I use the wheelchair. Asserting my preference to walk might lead to confrontation and cause tears, I wasn’t up to confrontation. She watched as I carefully slid from my trolley and moved into what looked like a racing wheelchair. 6 or 7 xrays later she unceremoniously dumped me back at the trolley. This time I stood instead of wriggling dangerously back onto the trolley. I suspect the hospital charged my insurance company for wheelchair and trolley rental – both unnecessary. As the nurse left I noticed the signs forbidding mobile phone use. My only entertainment device, forbidden

It was probably only five minutes later, but it felt like an hour…

Instruct the patient on proper behaviour

Freeway ExitA Doctor appeared! He glumly showed the x-rays while announcing that I’d broken an arm. I think he was disappointed by my lack of of surprise at the diagnosis because he went on to chide me for not having made it more obvious that my arm was broken.

Apprantly, saying “I think I’ve broken my arm” to the 4 people I was required to meet before him didn’t count as making it obvious that I had broken my arm.  He was quite clear about my poor performance as a patient, more crying was required.

I started crying about being reprimanded for failing to follow a hospital behavioural code that I didnt know existed.  The Doctor demonstrated his skill of ignoring tears while he prescribed earth-movingly strong pain killers and talked me through the treatment regime. I never took the pain killers. If he’d waited until I had stopped crying I could have asked him not to prescribe pain killers, not to charge my insurance company for them. But he wasn’t there to listen or understand. The Doctor was all about delivering instructions.

The lecture probably only took five minutes, it felt like 5 minutes of detention in the headteachers office…

Get reciepts and discharge the patient

mobile of deconstructed dictionaryChecking-out of the emergency room involved more form-signing,  another visit to the financial lady, and another visit to the receptionist

I’d collected an armful of paper forms at different stages in my visit. The discharge added yet more to the pile.  Each form decorated with my, new, right-handed signature

A spider dance


It felt like being gagged, prodded, and pushed along a clean and good-looking production line.  I was ‘the patient with insurance’ not wendy who believes that being aware of internal pain is mainly a good thing and  conversations will include critical misunderstandings if one party is crying and ignored 

If a miner incident like this is made distressing merely because the services are set-up to remove illness, not treat people – the prospect of a long term relationship with medical services becomes frightening.

Unlike people in the USA, at least I know that I will get some form of healthcare from the NHS whether I have an income or not

Scribble inspired by Nick’s post on how a desperate uninsured US man commited a crime to get healthcare provided by the prison service
bring the broken arm in now
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computerisation increases paperwork

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011 | tags: , , ,  |

car on life supportAs I wait to pay for Thomas’s annual MOT I watch the Halford‘s service man sort through at least 10 pages of A4 documents, sorting them into piles, stapling them together. The queue of 6 people behind me is getting ancy. They’re leaning against the counter, the wall, adjusting their positions and loudly sighing.

Wendy: Wow! Thats a lot of paperwork

Halford’s Engineer: Tell me about it! You wouldn’t believe this company. All you need is a Tablet and one document, but not here. When they computerised the process it quadrupled the paperwork!

computerisation increases paperwork
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cistern valve spigots

Thursday, April 7th, 2011 | tags: , , , , , , , ,  |

The Wendy House toilet has a high wall-mounted cistern. Fabulous water pressure flushes the toilet with a gravity induced whoooooosh.

Piping to toilet cisternBut the cistern has always filled slowly with a noisy trickle of water. The whole arrangement is reminiscent of Victorian school washrooms. While waiting 15 minutes for the cistern to fill is not a problem when I am alone, for guests  it introduces a timing problem at peak use times.

With an imminent Wendy House party, home improvements are on the menu. Replacing the limescale clogged cistern valve. Yay. No problem. Or so I thought. A quick trip to the DIY shop where the sales assistant didn’t even know what a valve that controls the waterflow into the tank above the toilet was. Sigh. I picked the valve that looked most like the one already installed and toddled off home. So far so good. I switched off the water supply to the house then climbed on a tall bar stool to reach the cistern, remove the lid and start trying to unscrew the current valve.

Things started going wrong. A bit of the old valve broke off in my hand. A close inspection of the instructions for the new valve revealed that despite diagrams I could now work out what this meant

fit ballvalve using backnut(s) provided and ensure that the spigot(s) are used to centralise the tail of the hose

The backnut, spigots, tail nor hose were labelled in any of the 4 diagrams. Quickly I resoted to visual matching, make the new one look like the old one currently looks (without the limescale or broken bit). Then I realised that I would probably have to take part of the wall away to access the pipes.

The doorbell rang

Hello I’m Rob White and I’m canvassing for the Green party in May’s election. Can I ask you if you know whether you are going to vote in the election


I can ask you, you know if you’re going to vote, or you are going to vote?

errr…, I am going to vote

Are you going to vote for the Green party?

Valve in hand, I look at the two young perky faced boys on my doorstep

Have either of you ever changed a cistern valve?

Oh no, that’s very complicated, I’d call a plumber, you’re a brave person

They start backing away slowly as if I’m holding a loaded weapon. I’ve replaced cistern valves before. Normally its a couple of minutes, an easy job. Their lack of willingness and skill is a tad disappointing. I reassure them about my vote and non-violent intentions then call Kevin.

Wonderful Kevin sorts out my cistern with Canadian calm

Cistern refill time has sucessfully been upgraded from a 15 minute trickle to a 30 second flow. Result! Almost grounds for a proposal.

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Finnish flag

Saturday, February 26th, 2011 | tags: , , , ,  |

Wendy: I’d like a Finnish Flag decal for the roof of my Mini

Mini Salesboy: Sure, a checkered flag

Wendy: No, the country Finland, the country’s flag, a blue cross on a white background

We laughed and he gave me the name and phone number of the company the local Mini outlet uses for all their custom work. The staff at the local Mini outlet in Reading town always manage to make me feel good, even on the rare occassions they actually take some of my cash

Finnish flag
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Read dating in Reading

Friday, February 18th, 2011 | tags: , , ,  |

It’s not dating, I’m sorry

Laura seemed concerned that I might have misunderstood the Central Library’s Read Dating event

That’s ok, I like how inclusive it is – you don’t have to be single to take part, anyone who has a book they love can join in, that’s great!

Unfortunately they hadn’t received my online sign-up and now the popular event was fully booked. I’d been excluded. Laura was very apologetic.

Can you put me on a waiting list incase someone drops out?

Laura explained that people just fail to turn up on the night, they never let her know first. Sadly, I thanked Laura for taking the time to be so helpful then checked that she had my phone number just incase. Disappointed at missing what sounded like a good evening out:

Read dating, like speed dating but with literary attitude!  Reading Library presents a fun and friendly evening where you can share you reading passions with like-minded people.
Come ready to enthuse about your favourite read 1:1. You will have just a couple of minutes to woo readers to your book. Prize for the reader whose book scores the most “dates”.

Later that evening Laura called

Cinderalla you shall go to the ball (Library)!

Actually she said

I’ve phoned round everyone that signed up and found a person that can’t come, so there is a place for you. Can I take your library card number?

Wonderful personal service! Laura asked if I had any idea what book I would be bringing. With no hesitation I blurted out

Mervyn Peake’s – letters from a lost uncle

Reading Library staff’s humanity  humility and imagination – you can get some without a prescription, it’s FREE!

Read dating in Reading
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golightly glasses

Sunday, February 6th, 2011 | tags: , , , ,  |

Optical Express said they could replace the lenses in my ski-chic wrap-around graduated-grey tint,  reflective Ray Bans for a reasonable price. Hooray. Phew! I was thrilled at being able to get the lenses replaced in my favourite glasses.

That’s the highlight of the story over. It’s downhill from here on in, though luckily no broken bones.

3 frowns: Ratings explained

The following summary actually omits many of the details that added to the paucity of my experience. I made 4 trips to pick up my glasses, each time and transport:

  1. Optical Express explained that their ‘labs’ no longer had the specialist equipment so the glasses had been sent to another lab and I’d have to come back next week
  2. On this visit they made me wait in line, did not know what had happened even after checking their computers to find that my glasses work had been put ‘on hold’. The labs were not answering the phone so they suggested that I come back next week,  when they knew more, Sigh
  3. This visit they explained that actually they could not fit new lenses in my current frames, but they could give me 5%  (about £6.00) on a different, new, set of Ray Ban frames. This discount amounted to less than my cumulative busfares for the previous trips to pick up the glasses. I turned down the measley offer, explaining why, and asked for my glasses back saying I would go elsewhere. This prompted them to offer 50% off a new frame (£60) which I rashly accepted, and selected a Holly Golightly pair of Ray Bans
  4. Finally picked up my old glasses, without new lenses, and new glasses with new lenses. New lenses were scratched. How poor is that? I gave-up and walked out

It seems that British optical laboratories provide customers with substantially fewer lens treatment and fitting services than those in the USA (tint colours, coatings). Opticians prefer to sell you a whole new pair of glasses than try and replace lenses in existing frames. Even more sadly, Optical Express lead me to believe they could supply a service that they could not, then compounded this by substandard service. I’ll be going elsewhere to replace the lenses in my other glasses.

Generally rather disappointing

golightly glasses
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buying manufacturers ethos

Sunday, January 30th, 2011 | tags: , , , ,  |

Two men from John Lewis’ electricals (JLE) arrived to take away my defuncted Indesit and replace it with a magnificent miele. Miele’s company slogan is ‘Forever Better’ they build products to last and provide better user experiences. They pass-on the cost of achieving this goal to their customers.  I’d rather not have to replace a washing machine several times in a decade. This machine should last me several decades. Awesome!

The men from JLE  looked at the old Indesit which came with the house 3 years ago. Audible tutting noises….

JLE: its not disconnected. We can’t do anything until its disconnected. I’ll go away and come back in 10 minutes, that should give you time to disconnect it

wendy: Oh, I thought you guys would do that as part of the removal and deliver

JLE: Oh no, that’s a whole different service, that’s installation, we haven’t been instructed to install your machine, you’ll have to do that

wendy: ashame, if the sales-process had offered me disconnection and installation I would probably have bought it

I pull the washing machine out from under the kitchen counter, turn the valves on the hot and cold water supplied to the off position, disconnect the supplies, remove the water-outlet pipe and unplug the machine from the power source. Easy. Didn’t need to pay someone to do that, I’m glad John Lewis’s didn’t sell me that service.

JLE: remember to remove the transport bars before you use it.  If you don’t remove the bars it will break the machine

wendy: transport bars? what are they, where are they? are there any instructions?

JLE: just read the manual miss, its all in the manual, do what it says in the manual

After loading the Indesit onto their trolley, both removal men washed thier hands it my fabulous butler sink. The transport bars hold the drum in place while the machine is being moved. The instructions were clear and easy to follow, within 5 minutes my Miele was connected to power, water supply, water removal pipe and ready to go.  Awesome.

The handbook had lots of user instructions

Did I read them? Did I?

Not yet

buying manufacturers ethos
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usn journal verification

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011 | tags: , ,  |

another file checkAfter another reboot and windows update

I was priviliged to again see the black screen of file verification. Apparantly my usn journal has been verified. Phew. Not that I needed to know about this. I’d rather they showed me a video of kitties playing, or potters potting, or even mentioned they are sorry for interrupting my usage.

usn journal verification
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