Moist

I got in half an hour ago.

Almost didn’t need the key, wasn’t far off having to pour myself in through the letter box. Or trickled in through the gap beneath the door.

The tube from Victoria was packed, the temperature inside our speeding sardine tin was well in to the mid-30s.

Centigrade, natch.

The air outside, in Brixton, was not that much cooler; the total absence of wind movement emphasised how warm it was.

As soon as I was inside the front door I began peeling off my sodden shirt, trousers, socks, underwear; straight in to the shower.

A cold shower.

When I emerged I noticed that, unusually, I didn’t have the house to myself; picked up my discarded clothing and beat a hasty retreat to my room where I almost but not quite dried myself – preferring to let the residual moisture cool on my skin – sipped 7-Up and finished the crispy dregs of a tube of Pringles.

I should go downstairs, prepare, cook and eat but I think my motivation is still in the shower. Or perhaps that’s Teresa.

I’ve opened every window on the upper levels and the double doors in to the garden, but there’s still no breeze at all; sleep, this evening, might be uncomfortable – when it comes.

Even the aggressive beggars who usually congregate by The Roxy cinema couldn’t be arsed to bother me this evening.

When I’ve eaten it’ll be straight to bed with a good book – or failing that ‘Yes Man’ by Danny Wallace. And The Lovely Soph will take that as a slight because she enjoyed it but that’s what makes us individuals – I’m not. She did. But I shall finish it. In this world or the next. 🙂

I’d do a proper review of Mr Wallace’s oevre but I’m months behind in my ‘proper’ reviewing and if I don’t do Sam Manicom’s pretty bloody quickly he’s going to devise some fiendishly cunning punishment.

The funniest person I know – Daughter – says it’s even hotter where she lives; got up to 41 degrees today, apparently. But they don’t notice the heat as much because at that altitude they have a constant breeze (even if it is blowing in from The Sahara Desert).

The village is well in to its New Year celebrations; she was interviewed by TVE this morning. I hope they use the clip – the newsworthiness of an English girl who looks totally Spanish and speaks better (and faster!) Castillano than anyone else of her age in the village is undeniable – but if they don’t she’ll be devastated.

She hates me; told me so this evening. Said that every time we speak on the phone she laughs so much she gets the hiccups.

So that’s my fault? That she gets hiccups? Huh! 🙂

But she does laugh a lot and for that I’m grateful because it means she’s not turning in to a miserable hag like her mother.

Three and a half months is, it seems to me, a little excessive for a school holiday. No?

Ah well.

I’d rabbit on a bit more but the pangs of hunger have their teeth in to me (oh, what a punner!) and I can’t put off a visit to the kitchen any longer.

Laterz dudez.

B.

Google Maps ofrece a los fisgones un arsenal ilimitado de imágenes

Casi todos los hombres se hurgan la nariz, casi todas las mujeres llevan biquini y casi todas las parejas, hasta las peor avenidas, se han hecho arrumacos alguna vez en su vida, pero casi nadie quiere que su imagen hurgándose la nariz, llevando biquini o haciéndose arrumacos estén disponibles para todo aquel que tenga conexión a internet.

Y menos aún que esas fotografías, tomadas sin el consentimiento previo del que aparece en ellas, se muestren, se envíen y se comenten por miles de personas en decenas de páginas web.

Eso, sin embargo, es lo que está ocurriendo desde que Google Maps, el atlas virtual, estrenó en mayo del 2007 su nueva herramienta, Street View, en la que las imágenes ya no han sido tomadas por satélite, a vista de pájaro, sino a pie de calle.

¿Sabes lo que puede significar para Barçelona como destino turístico el que sus calles aparezcan en Street View?”, preguntaba ayer una portavoz de Google en España, lugar al que pronto llegará el artefacto, si bien con las caras de las humanos difuminadas.

Sí, claro.

Resulta casi imposible refutar las vastas posibilidades de una aplicación como esta, tanto para el turista como para el que busca vivienda o para el simple curioso.

Como dicen en la compañía, “este nuevo producto ha tenido mucho éxito en Estados Unidos no solo entre los usuarios a los cuales les ofrece información de su ciudad o de otro lugar que quieran visitar, sino también a empresas y negocios, como los relacionados con el turismo, pues pone a su disposición una excelente herramienta para promocionar una ciudad”.

Ha tenido tanto éxito que, junto a todas las virtudes que ensalza la empresa, ha creado un nuevo tipo de subespecie ciberespacial: los fisgones de Street View, internautas que se pasan horas buscando las imágenes más chocantes que ofrece el artilugio.

En lugar de asomarse a la ventana de casa para escrutar al vecino, se asoman al ordenador para escrutar a todo Estados Unidos, el único país, por el momento, en el que ha debutado la herramienta, aunque Google piensa lanzarla a finales de año en Australia y ya está tomando imágenes en Francia o Italia.

Y, sorprendentemente, todos los fisgones, estén donde estén, acaban observando más o menos lo mismo.

La fiebre por el cotilleo en Google Maps ha llegado a la prestigiosa revista tecnológica Wired –que el pasado año creó un blog para discutir sobre Street View y votar sus mejores imágenes–, y ha originado la creación de decenas de páginas web dedicadas al asunto en exclusiva, como www.streetviewr.com o www.streetviewfun.com.

Casi todas muestran las 12 fotografías que sirven para ilustrar estas páginas.

Allí está el hombre que explora el interior de su nariz sentado en un banco de San Jose, el ciclista de San Diego que se sabe cazado por la cámara de Google y muestra desafiante su dedo corazón, o, en un claro ejemplo de que hay personas encantadas de ser retratadas para el atlas virtual, la cuadrilla de motociclistas que sonríen y saludan al objetivo en la ciudad de Palo Alto.

Otras, en cambio, integran la lista de grandes éxitos de Street View por la historia que esconden.

La del vagabundo de la calle Santa Clara, en San José, por ejemplo.

Poco después de que se tomara su imagen, el hombre murió en una reyerta callejera.

Parece sacado de la película Smoke, en la que Harvey Keitel repite cada día, durante años, la misma foto de la calle de su tienda y, cuando se las enseña a William Hurt, este descubre en una de las imágenes a su mujer, fallecida hace tiempo.

Solo que en este caso la foto no está guardada en un cajón de la vivienda de Keitel.

En este caso, cada internauta puede verla con un solo golpe de ratón.

B.

Big (2nd hand) boast…

It’s been a period of extensive testing in many Spanish schools.

Daughter’s school (I can already see your mental light bulbs going on as if so many refrigerator doors had just been opened) has been no exception to the examination regime.

The results are out.

Last night she told me that she’s been graded top of her class in Mathematica and Lengua (I’m sure you can work out the English translations for these).

Whilst I’m chuffed with her Mathematica result I’m not that surprised; her mother holds degrees in Higher Mathematics and Computing Science, so it’s a given (in most realities) that she’d get some at-home encouragement and tuition.

But to be graded top in Lengua?

In a Spanish school?

Against a class of (apart from one Romanian boy) Spanish children?

The word – ecstatic’ doesn’t even come close to describing my emotions; not within several light-years of it.

When I rang her a couple of nights ago she told me off for making her laugh so much she developed hiccups (strangely enough, this happens almost every time I speak to her! Go figure that, my friends.)

But after she’d told me last night’s news was so excited I could hardly string words together to form a coherent sentence.

Proud Dad!

Needless to say Daughter has taken it in her stride.

She wanted to tell me all about her forthcoming camping trip in log cabins in Alcutar.

I wanted to hear how her classmates had taken the news that an Extranjera had done so well in their language.

She won that discussion too.

🙂

B.

If You Really Want To

Some photos taken over the last few days…

So… I was driving up the mountain when I found these two loons. OK, I’ll concede this is a slight fib. Here is The Lovely S and my very lovely Daughter.

And here’s the village that Daughter lives in, the top village just below the snow line.

This is Daughter and me. Despite her skinny build she weighs approximately half a ton and her weight is breaking my back.

This, as you can see from the sign behind, is the tallest girl in the world. Also, the best looking. Not that I’m in the least bit biased, oh no.

A random distance shot of the snow line.

And to finish the snaps for now… a close-up of the snow line.

B.

Getting Away With Murder

It’s 06.25 on 30th December 2007, we’re in our hotel in Spain’s Sierra Nevada mountains, Andalusia (Europe’s 2nd highest range – after The Alps).

The Lovely S has just got out of bed, thrown on some clothes and gone hunting/gathering for some water.

She’s taken two empty bottles to the mountain spring, half a dozen paces from the door to our wing of the hotel.

I’m unsure why we’re both awake, given the earliness of the hour and the blackness of the day outside.

But the thirstiness must be related to the very salty Pan de Ajo we had as our starter last night.

As I lie here and wait for The Lovely S to return I mull over how the visit to see Daughter is going.

My summary is ‘all in all, pretty well’.

However, there are small signs that my Ex is slowly poisoning my daughter’s mind.

Yesterday Daughter started to say to The Lovely S, ‘Mum and I feel sorry for…’ then changed it to ‘I feel sorry for you S, being married to Dad’.

This is typical of my Ex.

She is a selfish, self-obsessed, poisonous-minded bitch.

That she’s being so blatant about polluting Daughter’s mind with her own hateful, spiteful behaviours and attitudes saddens – but completely unsurprises – me.

There have been other instances, other half-started, repeated conversations that Daughter has quickly realised might be hurtful so has altered or aborted them in mid-flow.

I don’t know what to do about it – I strongly suspect there is nothing I can do; no real option but to let my Ex get away with murdering my character behind my back.

The night before last, instead of being in the house when we returned Daughter home, my Ex was in a bar with a group of her friends – all ex-pats.

The fact they were all ex-pats saddens me a little too.

I’m sure they’re a perfectly lovely little coven.

My Ex is showing the selfish, spiteful behaviours that are so typical of her normal demeanour that it makes me uncomfortable just being near her.

I left the bar with the feeling that I’d been viewed, adjudicated and judged wanting – all with no opportunity to bring a case for the defence.

I wonder what half-truths and blatant lies she’s telling them.

But yesterday my Ex went shopping in El Ejido to buy a new laptop.

It’s good to know that the £1,000 a month I’m giving her is being so well used.

I wonder if she tells her little coven how generously she’s being supported…

No I don’t. I know the answer to that one straight away.

It’s no wonder that for all of the years that my Ex and I lived together I was so dreadfully unwell.

B.

Rock ‘N’ Roll Mercenaries

The evening has an air of Sunday Night about it, don’t ask me why, it just does.

I’m not back to school tomorrow.

It just does.

So I’m sitting here doing my usual Sunday Night tasks:
Backing up the laptop on to Drive A – the half-terabyte external disk drive I keep for such purposes.

And then backing up the laptop on to Drive B – another half-terabyte external disk drive I keep, etc, etc.

And reading blogs – not in a haphazard way, just the ones that I regularly read.

Except everyone’s being a little quiet for some reason or other.

Random!

And dipping in to that other Sunday Night activity while all the backing up (beep, beep, beep… geddit? Oh, I’m so funny!) is going on – iPoding.

Or to be more correct – weeding out those tracks which have been relegated from my iPod playlist and adding a little of whatever tickles my fancy from the iStore or from the extensive CD collection that lives, Harry Potter-like, in the cupboard under the stairs.

That’s how I came across the reference in the earlier post to Adele – her name and the words ‘Home Town’ were on a Notepad file on a pen drive.

A little googling got me to where I wanted to be but…

Bit annoyed I can’t download Hometown Glory!

I make digital recordings or electronic notes – when I hear tracks – when I hear something I like; I tend to leave the notes all over the place, come upon them weeks later.

It’s such a pleasant surprise to sample a 30-second clip of a track and think… Yep, that’s really brilliant. I’ll get it!

It validates my original thinking.

Not hugely detailed notes though, just the name of the artist and track name (if the radio announcer bothers to back-announce such details – but you’d be amazed just how bloody shoddy some of the DJs on Radio 1 are when it comes to such a basic job function. Or maybe you wouldn’t – most Radio 1 DJs being employed these days for some deeply obscure quality that’s far too deep for the rest of mankind to fathom. Yes Fearne Cotton, I’m talking about you, you talentless, feckless, brainless, gob on a stick bimbo).

Anyway.

The Lovely S sits beside me, similarly engaged in the iPod world – but for the first time.

She is listening to a Russell Brand podcast – giggling away at it in a very slightly demented manner.

Currently being imported in to my installation of iTunes, as I prattle away, is the album Ágætis Byrjun by Sigur Rós.

I’ve got their second album – Takk – but this one’s a new discovery and I look forward to learning much about it.

Speaking of music – have you got the blog-post naming convention yet? I started this run ages ago! 🙂 Apart from the OU posts which are named far more prosaically.

Woo!

Prosaically and in context! 🙂

And Oh My God!

I’ve just realised I’m writing two blog posts at the same time – one in Word for a later time and this one in WordPress for now.

How complicated!

Wail!

It’s OK now though. I’ve saved and closed the other one, back here with you now, totally focussed once more.

Listening to Hometown Glory again. Loud.

That’s the same piano sample that Timbaland used on Apologise, right?

Just realised, this is a bit ‘stream of consciousness’ but that wasn’t intentional, just turned out this way.

Like life.

Just turned out this way – no Great Master Plan.

Hang on, Hometown Glory needs resetting.

Back wiv ya.

How’s yours been – Christmas, I mean?

Why do I feel so worn out when the most energetic thing I’ve done was Vin-related duties on Christmas Day?

Apart from that I’ve been waited on, hand and foot.

Except my feet weren’t actually waited on.

Stupid expression.

Anyway, I have been waited on (but not in a partial-body kind of way).

I’m the vegetarian – the sole vegetarian (the soul vegetarian too) – of the gathering.

And yet I was spoilt for choice when it came to eating.

The Lovely S’s mother always makes such a determined effort to see me trundle out of the house on wheels because my fat little legs no longer work properly.

It’s flattering really, that she goes to such an effort to ensure that I’m so well catered for (pun!).

But Oh My Lord did we do some eating over Christmas.

I might have a few days on light food while I’m in Spain, otherwise Vin’s going to complain his arse off on New Year’s Day when I climb aboard.

Though, frankly, light food is what I’m going to be on anyway – La Alpujarra and La Sierra Nevada not exactly being vegetarian enclaves, oh no.

Ah, I see that I’ve eased out of prattling and in to rambling mode.

A sure sign that I should close down and head for bed.

Night!

B.

For Crying Out Loud

**updated – 19/12/2007 @ 19.22**
**updated – 20/12/2007 @ 05.27**
**updated – 20/12/2007 @ 09.29**
**updated – 20/12/2007 @ 19.20**
**updated – 21/12/2007 @ 23.35**
**updated – 22/12/2007 @ 08.00**
**updated – 23/12/2007 @ 08.35**

Easyjet!

I have booked return flights for 2 people from Bristol Airport to Malaga; outward on 27th December, returning on 31st December.

Total cost: £517.03p

I’ve just checked my bank statement and it shows that yesterday Easjet took two amounts of £517.03p. That’s two amounts, folks.

This means that my current account is over £1,000 lower than it was two days ago.

Action 1:
I rang my bank – bear in mind it’s not their fault, but I know I can speak to my bank, whereas trying to get past Easyjet’s website to speak to a human is next to impossible – and discussed it with them.

The nice man on the other end said they’d categorise it as a Visa dispute. What I need to do is pop in to a local branch, fill in a form and they’ll try to get the money back in 5-7 working days.

Today’s date is?

Yep, 19th December.

Number of working days (i.e. spending days) left between now and Christmas?

Three.

So no chance of getting my money back before Christmas then.

Action 2:
I found a telephone number for Easyjet – oh yes, they do exist!

I dialled and listened to a long, long menu (being charged 10p per minute while I listned) and eventually got through to a person.

She (Paulina) checked her systems and told me that the money had been taken just once.

I told her that her systems were wrong.

I told her that I was looking at an on-line bank statement and it clearly showed two payments of £517.03p were removed by Easyjet from my account yesterday.

Paulina went away, spoke with someone and came back to me.

This time she said that it wasn’t a double payment. Apparently now it’s a shadow payment which was caused by the difficulty I had with the on-line booking/payments system on the Easyjet website.

I told her that was not the case. I had no difficulty, everything processed smoothly. I reiterated that there was nothing “shadow” about this transaction – £517.03p too much had been taken from my account.

She went away, conversed with someone then returned.

What I have to do, she said, is wait five working days during which time Easyjet would look in to the problem, see if they could resolve it and action a refund back to my account.

I said something like: Five working days? Are you mad?

Paulina went away, spoke to someone else then came back again.

She was going to escalate my problem to her manager who would try to get things resolved today.

Easyjet would contact me this afternoon by phone or email to tell me how things were going.

So why is it that I feel so unconvinced?

Could my feeling that Easyjet are far less interested in giving money back than they are in taking it be related to the way Paulina tried to fob me off with a couple of completely made up excuses right at the start?

Yep, I guess so.

So here I sit, £517.03p taken – in an unauthorised manner – by Easyjet, waiting for a phone call and/or email to tell me the money is back in my account as of right now.

Except I don’t believe that phone call or email is going to happen.

___________________________________________

**updated – 19/12/2007 @ 19.22**
Well it’s almost half past seven and do you know how many emails and/or phone calls I’ve received from Easyjet – as per Paulina’s promise that someone would get back to me today?

Yep, that’s right.

None.

But I’m not counting chickens before they’re hatchlings.

There’s still just over four and a half hours to go, right?

___________________________________________

**updated – 20/12/2007 @ 05.27**
Well, the day that Paulina from Easyjet promised someone would contact me in, to let me know how their unauthorised extraction of money from my account (isn’t that theft?) is going to be reimbursed has passed.

And the tally is:

Emails from Easyjet: Nil
Phone calls from Easyjet: Nil

So that’s great customer service then, isn’t it?

I’ve had to transfer money from our joint savings account to cover the unauthorised transaction. If I hadn’t already moved money from my individual savings account to pay for Beech’s cremation, Easyjet’s unauthorised transaction would have bounced – and I would probably have had to pay bank charges!

Great.

We shall see what the day brings (but why do I suspect it will bring very little satisfaction and no money from Easyjet?).

Oh… And a huge amount of thanks to the good wishes from all my friends on this issue. I appreciate it.

___________________________________________

**updated – 20/12/2007 @ 09.29**
Still no response from Easyjet – and no reimbursement to my bank account.

So I’ve emailed the Easyjet press office with this message:

Good Morning,

Please see this link (http://brennigjones.com/blog/?p=330) for important information about Easyjet.

Please note that this press release is being circulated – with an appropriate Christmas theme – to the major broad coverage news outlets.

Easyjet have the usual right of reply.

___________________________________________

***updated – 20/12/2007 @ 19.20**
Development 1:
I sent an email to the Daily Mirror. It said:

My Christmas savings have been taken by Easyjet.

Last week I booked and paid for a return flight to Spain so I could go and visit my daughter for the holiday.

The total cost was £517.

Yesterday I checked my bank account and noticed that Easyjet have taken two lots of £517 – £1,034 from my bank account!!

If I hadn’t moved my savings to my current account I would have gone deep in to the red and would have ended up having to pay bank charges.

I spoke to Easyjet yesterday and they lied to me a couple of times.

First of all they said they’d only taken one payment. Then they said that there were two transactions but one was ‘a shadow payment’ because my bank hadn’t been sure how much it should pay. Then they said that the money did seem to have been taken twice but that was because I had experienced a problem while I was paying. Except I had no problem paying!

Then they said they’d process a refund but that would taken five working days. Obviously this gives me my money back – but allowing for hitches, probably not until January 2008!

I told them this was not good enough.

Then they said they’d sort it out immediately and someone would ring or email me back by the end of the day – yesterday.

I’m still waiting.

So now I’m down £517 in my current account and I don’t know when I’m going to get the money back. I also don’t know if I can afford to make the trip to Spain because effectively over £500 of my savings has vanished!

Can you help please?

Soon after that this blog was read by Easyjet.

At 11.15 I received an email from them that said:

Dear Mr Jones,

I am sorry to read that you had problems to make a booking on our website and that you have not heard from our customer service.

Can you send me your booking reference, so I can have a look for you?

Thanks,

A result!

I responded with the information required.

At 11.35 they came back to me with:

I have received your email, I will investigate it and I get back to you as soon as I can.

Thanks,

At 11.45 Easyjet very kindly came back again with:

Basically, as my colleague explained to you over the phone, there is shadow payment in this case.

In order to resolve the problem, I will need to send a fax to your bank to confirm that only one payment has been through.

Can you confirm your bank contact details with its fax number, the name to the person I can address it to, and your credit card details used for the booking and the amount debited twice?

Regards,

Hmmm… Have you noticed a couple of things missing? Still no admission of guilt or culpability, still no apology? I replied with the details they asked for and added a couple of thoughts:

“I’ll pass over the distinction that what you choose to call a shadow payment is still £517 out of my current account at an expensive time of the year.

I’ll also resist the temptation to ask the valid question whether you carry sufficient funds in your current account to cover every payment you make twice.”

Easyjet’s response at 12.50 was:

Thanks for your reply.

easyJet has charged you only once £517.03 pounds. There is only one record for one payment. Your bank has put your money on hold.

We could send a fax to your bank to confirm that only one payment has been taken from easyJet.

I thought you mentioned that you contact your bank before contacting customer service.

Regards,

OK, now I’m starting to get really annoyed.

* Why would my bank deduct one amount and put my money on hold?
* Why would my bank describe – on my bank statement – the ‘on hold’ (i.e. deducted) amount as a payment to Easyjet?
* Why would Easyjet think that my bank might put ‘on hold’ (i.e. deduct) the same amount as their payment?

At 13.15 Easyjet came back to me:

Hello,

Our revenue accountancy just had a look at your booking and confirmed that they have contacted your bank and they cannot see that any payment has been taken from this card i.e. £517.03 as per booking reference. Can you please send us a copy of your bank statement?

Regards,

At 13.30 different things happened…

The Daily Mirror emailed me and asked for a phone number so they could chat about my situation with Easyjet.

I obliged.

Meanwhile, at 13.49 Easyjet asked to see a copy of my bank statement – the one that contained the lines describing Easyjet taking the same payment twice.

Again, I obliged. I added a little more information that I’d gleaned from a subsequent phone call with my bank:

As requested – file attached as a spreadsheet.

I have just spoken to my bank again and they are saying what the statement says – that the money has been taken twice.

I told them that you said that Nationwide have put the money on hold and they almost laughed down the phone at me, then said that wasn’t possible.

At 14.45 Easyjet confirmed:

Hi, I have passed on your email to our revenue accountancy department. I will get back to you when I get a reply. Regards,

So here I am.

Still out of pocket.

And as you can see by the bank statement – still owed £517 of my own money by Easyjet.

And no closer to a resolution.

Except there’s a glimmer of light on the horizon in the shape of the Financial Services Authority.

Included in my Easyjet purchase is an insurance product – travel insurance – and the law regulating the sale and fraudulent sale of financial products is governed by the Financial Services Authority.

And guess what…?

Easyjet have committed a Financial Services fraud and are now open to prosecution under the Financial Services Act.

I wonder if Easyjet will be able to resolve this tomorrow and have the missing money back in my account before the close of business (which is when the Financial watchdogs get involved) and have the good graced to apologise for stealing my money, attempting to perpetrate a fraud under the Financial Services Act and for using up too much of my precious work-time – time that I’m going to have to make up tomorrow by getting in ridiculously early?

Stay tuned…

___________________________________________

**updated – 21/12/2007 @ 23.35**
Now here’s a peculiar thing.

The number of people who have googled ‘shadow payment’ in the last 24 hours = 9.

The number of people who have googled ‘shadow payment easyjet’ in the last 24 hours = 48.

These instances are surely beyond mere coincidence?

There must be something going on here.

My bank – once again – say that there’s no such thing as a shadow payment where the bank isolates the money from the current account but shows the money as being transacted to any other party.

I believe my bank – but I have written to the banking ombudsman for confirmation.

If – stress the word – the banking ombudsman confirms this then logic means one of two things have occurred:

1. Easyjet press office have lied to me (and perhaps other departments in Easyjet may have lied to other members of the public) about this (potentially) mythical ‘shadow payment’, or

2. Easyjet’s press office (and perhaps other departments in Easyjet) were passing on the ‘shadow payment’ story in good faith but only because Easyjet’s finance department have cocked things up, and have concocted the whole ‘shadow payment’ story to cover up their mistake.

Hmmm…

What I would like to happen is for every person who has been a victim of ‘shadow payments’ to Easyjet (or any other organisation for that matter) to get in touch with me.

You can do that either by leaving a comment here – as one other person already has done – or if you follow the ‘Contact’ link at the top of the page you’ll find my email address.

Please, if you area a ‘shadow payment’ victim, drop me a line.

Thanks.

___________________________________________

**updated – 22/12/2007 @ 08.00**
Yesterday – Friday 21/12/2007 at 15.27 – I was sent an email by Easjet (who I am only just resisting the temptation to call Sleasyjet):

Dear Brenning (sic),

I have received an email from our revenue accountancy confirming that they have spoken to your bank and they will be refunding you for the duplicated charge.

We would like to apologise for inconvenience caused and please allow 5 working days for this transaction to be processed.

Thrilled to bits that money was coming back but annoyed it would take so long I responded:

Hi (name),

Thank you for your efforts.

I’m grateful that my money will eventually be coming back – but as I’m sure you’ve calculated, five working days puts my money back in to my account next year.

I know for a fact that – if Easyjet really wanted to, they could credit the money back to my account on a same day payment.

Admittedly, this would cost Easyjet a relatively small fee – but I feel sure that any compassionate organisation would not begrudge such a small outlay to put right a problem that removed money from my account three days ago!

My contact at Easyjet swiftly replied:

Hi Brennig,

I am very sorry for the inconvenience caused – as explained before easyJet does not hold your money. Your money is on hold.

I had asked you before a fax number in order to send a fax to your bank to confirm that we have charged you only once.

Your bank will refund you.

Regards,

So that’s a fairly consistent set of responses from Easyjet – they didn’t take the money twice, my bank had taken it.

Except my bank says they didn’t take the money – and that Easyjet had.

___________________________________________

**updated – 23/12/2007 @ 08.35**
I checked my bank account this morning and was overjoyed to see the following entry:

Date

Transaction

Credit

21 December

WWW.Easyjet.89789366 EASYJET.COM.

£517.03

So there we are!

I have my money back.

Yay!

But what’s that description against the credit – and how does that description tie up to my bank supposedly having my money?

Hmmm…

We shall see what the Banking Ombudsman says about Easyjet’s story.

B.

Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad

The internet is why credit cards were invented

I’ve blown some serious cash today:
insured my car, twice (repeat after me; you are a twat)
two return tickets to Spain
car rental for above

So it’s finalised then; Christmas.

I finish work on Friday 21st December which offers the prospect of having a few quiet days at home until The Big One, with hopefully a few opportunities to get 16 hands between my legs. 🙂

We’ll be having a sloooow Christmas Day which, as usual, will be dictated by things equine because Christmas Day is the day that Sue the yard manager has off.

We livery owners turn up early on Christmas morning, we do our own horses, perform the usual stable duties and then have a fried breakfast, glasses of Buck’s Fizz and then go home, shower to get warm and clean (in that order) and probably (if I have my way) climb in to bed and have a snooze!

In the late afternoon we owners return to the yard, do our pones again then disappear homewards.

Except we shall be going to the Outlaws where we shall spend Christmas night and Boxing Day.

Boxing Day night (I’d call it ‘Boxing Night’ except that makes it sound like an evening dahn the booza watchin’ a coupla ‘eavyweights slap each uvva while pouring brahn ale dahn me neck) we’re back at home.

The day after Boxing Day we’ll trog off to the airport, catch a flight to Spain, pick up the hired car and take the almost four hour-long drive up in to the Sierras where we’ll spend four nights (if my accommodation enquiry bears fruit!). The days will be spent with Daughter doing, erm, stuff.

Hmmm… thoughts leaping in to my head… perhaps we could go ski-ing if the snow’s not too dangerous?

We’re coming back to the UK on New Year’s Eve where, in typical rock’n’roll style we’ll probably be flaked out in bed by 22.00.

That’s Christmas from here.

How’s it going to be for you?

B.
p.s. re the car insurance thing? I bought it lunch-time. I don’t do the pay-by-instalments option, insurance companies make enough out of us hapless motorists without being given extra money for providing the same insurance product. But when I got home and checked the details I found I’d booked the policy to start on 27th December instead of 17th December. So I rang Hastings Direct (who were the cheapest quote by several zillion miles) and they told me that they couldn’t change the start date.

Instead I had to cancel the policy I’d stupidly bought at lunch-time which I’ll get a refund for (eventually) and then I’d have to buy a new one. So I did. And guess what? The new policy was more expensive! Hastings Direct and I talked about it for a while then I ate the meal that The Lovely S had meanwhile cooked. During the meal Hastings Direct (I swear she said her name was Tuba) rang back and after a bit of financial jiggery-pokery offered me the same premium that I’d taken advantage of at lunch-time. So well done to Hastings Direct and what a twat I am for getting it wrong in the first place.

Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through

That TV advertisement is right, dammit! I do need to remove stubborn stains and I am worried about damaging the colour. But lo my friends! There is a product that I simply need to dip my stubbornly-stained clothing into and behold… the stain is gone! This must be magic. Or sorcery. Anyway, back in the real world…

Earlier I managed to spill my craftsman-like constructed cup of tea all over the kitchen worksurface.

No significant damage was done, but so great was the crisis that once the damage was repaired Die Hard 4.0 and a significant quantity of ice cream followed.

Elsewhere…

I haven’t ridden this weekend – the weather’s been awful – but I have finished the very last task at the yard of clearing up Beech’s things. Much poignancy.

I’ve also emailed Jo (new trainer) to postpone our next session – I haven’t had time to put her ideas in to practice from the last time yet.

Vinnie looks good, I wish I was giving him the quality of work that he deserves.

Gary’s repaired the power steering feed pipe on the lorry (yay!), but we don’t have anything booked in the competition schedule – though I’ve just noticed there’s some dressage on Sunday 16th December down at Huntley in Gloucestershire.

And here’s a thing… those Southern Comfort television commercials. Haven’t the advertising agency realised the awful truth yet, that they’re being handicapped by the fact that the product tastes like sickly cat wee?

We had breakfast at Little Chef this morning (yeah, rock’n’roll!), a token of apology from me to The Lovely S for behaving like a complete and utter twot yesterday.

After breakfast a trip to the yard where I cleared stuff up, as previously mentioned.

Then shopping in Kidderminster (woo!) where I scored a rather nice two-piece pinstripe from Next. It’s a smart suit and the cut on the trousers emphasises things very well.

Then home via Blockbusters where Die Hard 4.0, a tub of ice cream and a large packet of chocolatey things invited themselves in to my possession.

And now it’s the hysterically delicious Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality. Interspersed with fcuking irritating fcuking adverts.

We were going to the cinema today but the reviews that The Golden Compass has been getting are absolutely awful, so we passed.

Christmas looms.

The place I’m working closes down for the Christmas/New Year period.

Christmas Day sees the annual fried breakfast and Buck’s Fizz at the yard – even those on full livery have to do their horses AM and PM to give Sue at least one day in the year off.

Christmas Day evening and Boxing Day will see a visit to the outlaws; time will be spent in the company of Damien, the child who bears the number of The Beast.

A post-Christmas trip to Spain to visit Daughter is becoming a possibility, there’s lots of arranging to be done to make it so, but the chance of a few days in her company exists.

I have two books that shall be reviewed over Christmas and have made the conscious decision that OU submissions may well be late while I settle many tasks down at work.

And The Lovely S has decided that when the last episode of Buffy has been viewed we should perhaps move on to 24. Whilst I see merit in the suggestion I can’t help wondering where Angel fits in to the plan.

There doesn’t seem to be any less going on in my life but it does look as though I’m managing things more efficiently.

B.