Here’s an example of the kind of real-world frelling frelling doodah that happens endlessly. Had a street-mail envelope from one of my utility providers. I opened it in an idle, not-paying-attention way, because I have all my utilities on direct debit so the whole diabolical payment machinery can happen without my interference. I can be asleep or knitting or making soup or fighting ground elder in the garden arrrrrrrgh or anything else and there will be a faint clank of electrons* and the monthly or quarterly or biannually or every Tuesday when the moon is full-ly payment will be made** KA-CHUNG.***
The letter inside this anodyne-appearing envelope said WE ARE ABOUT TO CUT OFF YOUR ELECTRICITY****, SEND IN THE BAILIFFS FOR YOUR AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF THE LORD OF THE RINGS, AND SUE YOU FOR SABOTAGE, SEDITION AND NONPAYMENT OF OUR HOLY BILL.
So, weeping with terror, I phoned this week’s Evil Corporation from the Eleventh Circle&& and to my amazement, was put through immediately to a real human being!!!!! We will attempt to pass lightly over his nearly impenetrable accent. He said (I think) that yes, he could see on the system that I had set up direct debits . . . however, he added, sounding faintly puzzled&&&, for some reason they are just sitting there without making any attempt to draw the money. ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRGH. Hence I was more than a month overdue and certainly some elderly hag living alone&&&& in a remote Hampshire village and whose idea of a hot evening is to curl up in a corner of the sofa $ and read hard copy$$ is totally worth prosecuting to the limit of the average evil corporation from the eleventh circle’s remit.
So I paid the blasted bill$$$. And my electricity is still working. And so is the blog. I think.$$$$ Quick. I’ll post this . . .
PS: I have my new blender on order. I think.@
* * *
* Here I am demonstrating my dazzling, visceral grasp of the way computers and on-line work
** And then at the end of the year I can find out that their electrons are bigger and nastier than my electrons and mine were bullied out of a 500% mark-up which are paying for the corporate electrons to have extended holidays on Manly Beach^, get a nice tan on their components and suck down the frosty pitchers of slow customers and gin.
^ Apologies, I’m sure the derivation is kosher+, but the name just cracks me up
+ My middle-aged British thesaurus suggests the Australian ‘ridgy-didge’ which would be pleasing in this context, but I don’t know from Australian slang and I’ve been saying ‘kosher’ for about sixty years.
*** A very electron-ic noise.
**** Which I thought was illegal, just by the way. They can’t cut off basic necessities which, in the modern first world, includes the electricity you use to cook your food, heat your house and pump your water. Mind you, my Aga is gas.^ But my water pump is clearly possessed by demons, possibly electric ones. Since the plumber was here last time, when I turn the hot tap on upstairs it goes BANG BANG SQUEEEEEEEEAK BANG BANG THUD THUMP BANG, and the water comes out in little grunting, go-everywhere spurts, with each bang or other interesting sound effect.^^ I’m going to need a second guest bedroom for the plumber soon, since Raphael already has dibs on the one that exists.
^ I do have an electric kettle.+
+ Also matches. And, after a letter like the above, fiery language.
^^ Sometimes for added enrichment, it’s even hot.
& Which, just by the way, is really bad for you when you have ME. I wonder if I could find someone to sue? I could try the poor bereaved widow thing too—yes it’s been two and a half years but I still talk to him in the churchyard every day—and I’m not only a feeble ME-burdened old hag I’m a feeble old ME-burdened American hag and the arcana of British business is still totally obscure to me. Never mind I’ve been here nearly thirty years. Enculturation sticks very very slowly. Very. Black widow spiders and poisonous toadstools I can do. British corporate shtick, not so much.
&& Yes I know there are only nine official circles. That’s the point, innit?
&&& I’m guessing here. Let’s say more accurately that the timbre of his indecipherable accent changed.
&&&& Plus hellbeasts, but they aren’t big electricity users. Raw chicken is just fine with them.^
^ No, I don’t feed raw. I started to, with the hellhounds, but their digestion started going doolally almost immediately+, and raw was just one thing too many—and my homeopathic vet even said it wasn’t worth it with these guys. Thus Pav came into an established household of cooked. But raw is so much easier now the next time I have puppies++ I’ll probably try it again.+++
+ Also, readers of the old blog may remember the story of the hellpuppies’ first raw chicken wing—which is what the experts said to start your puppy on—when Chaos swallowed his whole and started choking to death and Darkness, having dispatched his just as quickly but I believe there was a modicum of faster-than-light biting into swallowable-sized pieces first—started trying to get Chaos’ off him, and no I don’t think he was trying to save his brother’s life, I think he thought, Hey! He doesn’t know what to do with it! I do!
++ AHEM. I remember wondering if the hellhounds were my last puppies. This is probably one of those old-age-keeps-retreating-as-you-get-older things, but at the moment I don’t think Pav was my last puppy either. Of course this may be the forgetfulness of increasing age too. PUPPIES. ARRRRRGH.~ Remember the adage, little warm doe-eyed baby things are adorable so you don’t kill them.
~ I am having a luxuriously arm’s-length reminder of the toothy, hectic whirlwind of puppyness because Raphael/Blogdad has a puppy. And is quite willing to send photos in response to shameless begging. Whom he BROUGHT WITH HIM IN THE FOUR-LEGGED HAIRY FLESH yesterday.# I’m almost disappointed to report that Dr Strange behaved impeccably for a four-month-old puppy, although Chaos had one or two things to say about it of the RAWR RAWR OWR, I am old enough to be your grandfather, now settle the doodah down variety. I’m afraid I had to lock Madam up.
# I will have to add a crate to the guest bedroom.
+++ Maybe. Once you’ve damaged my morale it stays damaged. Meanwhile the hellpair get raw treats.
$ with hellbeasts. Pav will first check all the corners for nonexistent crumbs, because you just have to, which is not as hard on the sofa as it would be if I didn’t have a heavy canvas-y outdoor tablecloth thrown over it^, and Chaos will hurl himself down with a sigh of perfect rapture and relaxation, knowing that I will never torture him with food there.
^ The current one is bright yellow and has big pink flowers on it. So it’s all good.
$$ The global electricity monopoly megamegacorp has entered into a lucrative conspiracy with amazon so that using your Kindle drains your battery as fast as playing Super Spiffy Whizzbang Ultra Galactic Regiment Against Cthulhu Who Is No Longer Waiting Dreaming in R’lyeh and Wants Fresh Acolytes^ does
^ SSWUGR doesn’t have a chance
$$$ Fortunately^ I have my credit card’s number memorised, because both my hands and my eyes were shaking badly enough that I probably couldn’t have read it off the card, especially since in the greater wisdom of most credit card companies including mine, they print the numbers in teeny weeny type^^ on a purple or black background and furthermore since the numbers are punched in relief, over time and use the tops of the numbers get kind of frayed.
^ ‘Fortunately’ is a mutable concept
^^ Not as teeny weeny as the expiration date numbers, however, which are usually also gracefully arrayed over some kind of further-distorting logo exactingly designed by the marketing department in hitherto unknown shades of forest-at-midnight-with-a-touch-of-nausea green and bottom-of-Marianas-Trench-impenetrable-blue. Retrieving your expiry date is an exercise in good guessing. Let me see, how long have I had this card? Check the frayedness of top surfaces of the proud, that is to say lumpy, numbers. Okay, fuzzy like cardboard. So it’s probably due for replacement soon. Now, when did I last receive a WE’RE GOING TO SEND YOU YOUR NEW CARD IN [indecipherable] WITH [indecipherable] FOR [indecipherable]. PLEASE USE IT OFTEN AND JOYFULLY. MWA HAHAHAHAHAHA. So . . . guess. They want your money. Janfebnov 2040 will probably do.
$$$$ Not that it does not continue to have its little ways. Its current little way is that (a) it does not want to approve comments (b) having approved them it will de approve them when I’m not looking and (c) it certainly isn’t going to let me answer any. So if any of you happen to be reading comments and/or replies when they start flickering in and out of existence . . . ARRRRRRRGH.
@ While I was waiting for someone or other at, let’s call it Jabberwocky Ltd, to get their finger out, I read up on the machine I’m failing to have replaced. According to reviews by other unsatisfied customers, a number of these blighted machines have had what sounds like the same fatal electrical fault^ so I decided I didn’t want a replacement, I wanted a new machine with better wiring^^ and, while I was at it, a more powerful motor, so that producing raw applesauce doesn’t make it moan in a poor-little-me-at-the-end-of-my-strength way.^^^ As well as trying to jump off the counter. When Jabberwocky Ltd’s latest customer service prat, I mean representative, finally made contact, and I explained this . . . oh but there was a weeping and a railing and a tearing of garments and an offer of seventeen pence toward the new machine. ARRRRRRRRRRGH. One of the things they teach in customer relations school is that if you act stupid enough most customers will say oh WTF, and fold.
^ I wonder if any of the other customers are having bailiff-and-nonfunctioning-direct-debit problems? Even paranoids can be caught up in megacorp iniquity.
^^ And/or a higher resistance to megacorp iniquity
^^^ Which is why, in answer to a couple of comments and emails, a hand/stick/immersion blender won’t do. I have one—indeed, I have two, since that’s what Jabberwocky decided to replace—and I certainly use it, but it’s not up to anything that fights back. If there is an immersion wand out there that will do the job I still don’t want it, since I’d have applesauce all over the kitchen. Do not tell me this will not happen. My gremlins are multi-adaptable.