At work, they (yes, those mysterious “they”) are trialling a new set of group email addresses so for a couple of days there have been these emails arriving telling us that they are trialling a new set of group email addresses. They are dynamic apparently, these email addresses, so when new members of staff join the company, as soon as they are allocated an email address, they are automatically added to the appropriate geographical email distribution group. Will wonders never cease?
Then yesterday there was an email informing me that it was Jesus’ birthday and there were treats available in the canteen. This caused consternation on two fronts. Firstly, I work remotely so it would be a good, I reckon, two-hour jaunt to get to the works canteen and secondly, I always thought that Jesus’ birthday was in December, although apparently when you look into these things it was in April but hey, that’s history and religion for you.
Yes, alright, it wasn’t THAT Jesus, Jesus works in the drawing office and just to rub it in, he emailed a photo of the goodies waiting in the canteen.
And now, just reading that bit back I’m wracked over that thorny old problem of words ending in the letter “s” and possessive apostrophes. Jesus’ birthday or Jesus’s birthday? I plumped for Jesus’, but it seems that in these days of linguistic liberalism, either version is alright, it’s all down to the style sheet you are cribbing from.
How was the recent hot weather for you? Perhaps I ought to explain, that here in the English bit of the Untied Kingdom (no, that wasn’t a spelling mistake) we just had a mini heatwave. The thermometer on the garden shed (in the shade) read 41 °C but the local weather station about a mile away (1.6 km give or take a few bob) peaked at 38 °C. All in all, I’m more inclined to believe the weather station, they are the professionals in these matters but at any rate, it was fecking hot for a couple of days.
I had to take the BBC to task about the style sheet they were cribbing from for their news website, I kept reading that temperatures could reach 40C. I wrote to them and told them that 40C was a bra size, not a temperature but I don’t think they took any notice, I just bet the copywriter is an ex-Sun journalist.
A friend who I used to work with messaged me on Thursday to tell me that the Queen’s Head, possibly my favourite local pub, was on BBC News. I caught it on the BBC’s catch-up service, iPlayer. A group of Conservative Party members were sitting around a laptop on one of the little copper topped tables in the saloon bar and pontificating about the Conservative Party leadership race, I didn’t recognise any of them! The company I keep in the public bar may be conservative in outlook, but I don’t think many of them are Conservative, they certainly gave Boris short shrift.
I’ve taken to having a little Friday trip to the HSBC branch in Amersham. HSBC closed their branch in Chesham and now Lloyds is the only Bank left in the town and soon it seems HSBC are closing their branch in Amersham too. Isn’t it enough that we trust them with our money? Isn’t enough that we willingly let them play the financial markets with our hard-won moolah? Apparently not, they aren’t making enough profit, so branches and jobs have to go.
A couple of weeks ago I sold some shares that I had in abrdn, formerly Standard Life Aberdeen plc. I wanted to tell them that I had no faith whatsoever in any company that could be persuaded to change its name to something unpronounceable. I’d had letters and emails telling me that it was pronounced ‘aberdeen’, but I begged to differ. Anyway, I sold the shares and a couple of days later the share dealing company sent me two letters, one thanking me for using their services and advising that they would either send me a cheque or make a BACS payment direct to my bank account, details of which they had because they’d been paying share dividends into it until I decided to have those monies re-invested some years ago, but they certainly had my bank details.
The other letter, which arrived on the same day, was the cheque. Bastards!
I looked high and low for my paying-in book. Yes, yes, I know I could have paid it in at the Post Office, but that’s not the point… I’d been on the HSBC website trying to find out where and how to order another paying in book but to no avail. All I could find at home was the arse end of a Midland Bank cheque book that still had some paying-in slips left in the back of it, so I filled one out and trotted it up to Amersham.
Amersham isn’t far from Chesham, about 4.4 km if I were to walk it and I have on occasion, but I decided to go by train, I am after all, a self-confessed railway nerd. The train journey is about 9.6 km, just over 6 km from Chesham to Chalfont & Latimer (alight southbound/eastbound service, go to platform 1 and catch northbound/westbound service) and then just over 3 km from Chalfont to Amersham. A nice little train ride.
I arrived in Amersham and made the five-minute walk (I was in no hurry) to the HSBC branch, got to the counter and handed over the cheque with my Midland Bank paying-in slip.
“Oh, that’s an old one.” Said the girl behind the glass.
“Yes,” I said jovially, “you can’t get them nowadays.”
“No…” she laughed, seeming to confirm my suspicion that maybe the printing of bespoke paying-in books had been too civilised and helpful and so it had been discontinued.
Two days later a brand-new paying-in book plopped through the letterbox. Well, that’s a result!
It was then that I discovered that you have to telephone them to order a new paying-in book, someone in India probably. I’ve made those calls before, far easier and less stressful to go to Amersham with very old paperwork and wait a few days.
The next Friday I returned, by train, to HSBC in Amersham, I took my shiny new paying-in book and £40.00 in loose change (all counted out and bagged-up) from out of our loose change jar – it was getting a bit full anyway. I paid in the £40.00 and when I got home, I gave Kath a £20 note, share and share alike.
Today is a Friday and there is still loose change in the loose change jar, mostly 5p and 20p coins now but I think I’ll count out and bag up some more and have a short train ride to Amersham, while the HSBC is still there…
When HSBC closes in Amersham, I shall have to make the journey to Berkhamsted where the HSBC branch doesn’t seem to be in danger of closing, just yet. Berkhamsted is about 7 km away so that’ll be a bus ride, although I have walked that too.
Chesham to Berkhamsted can be done by train; take the Metropolitan Line to Moor Park, change for the Watford train and alight at Watford Station then walk through Cassiobury Park and Watford town centre to Watford Junction and then get the train to Berkhamsted. The journey is just over 40 km.
A more interesting journey is to take the Met Line to Northwick Park, walk across to Kenton on the Overground and go up to Watford Junction then change to the big railway for the train up to Berkhamsted. That’s about 57 km but an interesting ride, for railway nerds that is.