It’s Not Me, It’s You!

Good morning everyone. It’s shaping up to be a very sunny day here in Suffolk which will end a week of gorgeous hot sunny days – well, all except Friday afternoon and evening, when the sky turned black, the temperature plummeted, and we had torrential rain. Hopefully, the weekend will stay fine as I have the whole two days off and lots of laundry to dry outside – don’t want to use any energy drying it, do I.

Thank you to everyone who contacted me about my energy supplier and the whole stressful scenario. During the week, I received two emails. One from Look After My Bills saying how sorry they were I’d had such a bad experience and that they promised to remove Green Suppliers from the list of energy providers they would switch me to. Umm, no. I emailed them back – as per my very extensive email, I said – not only did I want nothing more to do with Green Suppliers, but I wished to cancel my account with LAMB as well. To be honest, I wrote, I have been very disappointed with the service they had provided. I was promised big savings which simply didn’t happen, they put me with Green so are partially responsible, plus their customer services were a joke. Following advice from Martin Lewis, I was switching to Octopus and a fixed rate deal to avoid suffering from the severe anxiety and stress that this situation had caused me. Plus, I would be filing a complaint against Green with Ofgem.

Twenty minutes later, back came a hasty email. Your account with us has been cancelled, it said. Goodbye and good luck. Yeah, thought the mention of Ofgem and Martin Lewis might make them ditch me super quick!

The other email was from Green Suppliers, and it made me snort with disbelief. We’re so sorry you’re leaving us, it said, is it something we’ve done?

Something you’ve done?!

How long do you have?

I was furious. It felt like they were royally taking the pee out of me, but reading the email again, I realised from the generalised and robotic tone that it was merely a standard response generated because they’ve been contacted by Octopus and informed that I wish to leave them. It was clear no one had bothered to look at my account and what was going on. I would be wasting my breath going back all guns blazing yet. Save my strength for when I need it.

We will investigate your account, the email continued, to see if we can allow you to go.

Allow me to go?!

Try stopping me.

Look, I want to break up and FYI, it’s not me, it’s you.

So, now we wait. I have a note of my last meter reading given on the 17th of May, and of course, I will be giving them a final meter reading. It will be interesting to see what final bill they come up with. I have a direct debit due to go to them on that day of £88. As the heating is now off and most washing is being line dried, I am expecting my energy consumption to be very low, so assume that £88 will be ample to cover the final few weeks of use plus clear up the so-called “debt” of £19 I allegedly still owe them.

I hope they will see sense and not try to hit me with another trumped-up, falsified bill because then I will have no choice but to file a complaint about them with Ofgem, plus send an email to Martin Lewis and any other consumer rights body I can find. The way they have treated me is appalling. I mean, what about if I were elderly and less able to fight back? I wonder how many vulnerable people they are stealing money from. It’s not right. There should be more control over these companies.

I have also received an email from Octopus today stating that the switchover is all going ahead as planned, so fingers crossed, and I will keep you all posted.

The beginning of the week was busy. I worked Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and although the shop was busy, once again it was timewasters.

Thursday, I had my second jab first thing in the morning. The actual jabbing bit hurt more than it did the first time, and I bled, which surprised me. I was prepared for anything, but other than a funny taste in my mouth for a couple of days – like I’d been licking old pennies – I had no side effects at all. I spent the day clearing the decks and ticking yet more things off my to-do list. We chased up the Etsy seller about my watch again – did I tell you about that? Miss F bought me a lovely steampunk watch last Christmas to celebrate the launch of my fantasy steampunk retelling of Snow White, “Black Ice”. As we went straight into lockdown on Boxing Day, I didn’t get a chance to wear the watch and it wasn’t until I returned to work that I realised it didn’t work. I would set the time and it would tick for about ten minutes before stopping. Assuming the battery was possibly out of juice, I changed it for the spare battery it had come with. Nope, the same problem. So, we messaged the Etsy seller last Thursday and heard absolutely nothing. That’s about par for the course though, isn’t it?

So, this Thursday morning we messaged them again and this time they responded. So sorry, they said, a new batch of those watches are arriving in two weeks, and they would immediately despatch one to me as soon as they arrived, and they hoped that was okay. Yes, that’s fine, so long as one is sent. It’s annoying we had to chase them, but hopefully, that is sorted.

Talking of getting things sorted, we at last set up our new Sky router box and what a palaver that was! I had to take everything off the storage box in the corner and heave it out so we could get to the sockets and phone socket in the corner, and then it was a struggle getting it to work – because nothing is EVER straightforward and easy – but we managed it at last. Haven’t noticed any difference to Sky TV or the internet in general though.

Miss F has been given an old guitar as a present. It belonged to my dad, and I remember him being given the guitar as a birthday gift from my mother when I was ten or eleven, so about forty years ago – and it was second-hand then. Did he ever learn to play the guitar? Nope. So, the poor thing has been sitting in their loft ever since. Anyway, a couple of months ago I happened to mention to my parents that Miss F would love to learn to play the guitar, so when my parents came for lunch last week, they brought the guitar with them. Miss F was delighted with it.

One of my colleagues at work plays guitar in a group, so I took it to work and showed it to him. The strings are rusty, he advised, and need replacing, but other than that it’s in good condition. Nice guitar, certainly suitable for her to learn on. Heartened by this, we took it to our local music shop on Thursday. To replace the strings and the bridge, plus tune it will cost £25 they told us, so we left it with them. Miss F has also bought a case and a strap for it, a stand plus some picks. I hope she has more luck learning how to play it than my dad ever did.

Friday, I had to do a bit of judicious pruning of my silver birch tree as the branches were drooping so low, they were bashing me on the head plus blocking out a lot of light from the garden. It was a gorgeous morning, and it was nice being outside for a change. After that, we walked uptown as Miss F needed to get a passport photo taken. She needs two forms of photo ID before going to university and her old passport has expired so she decided to be proactive and get it renewed sooner rather than later. After all, as the world opens up a bit more for holidays, I guess there might be a delay in getting it through. Once her passport has been received, she can use the information on it to apply for her provisional driving licence and she’ll be sorted.

She made sure her hair was nice, and she was happy with her appearance, then we went to Sneezums – a shop in town that takes professional photos for passports and ID. But why is it, that no matter how great you look in real life, on any photo like this you end up looking like stunned livestock?

Miss F looked like a little ghost in the picture. A pale waif who hadn’t had a hot dinner in months.

But it’s done, and when we got back, she filed for her passport online.

Whilst we were uptown, we got a birthday present for my mum. She’s going to be away on holiday for her birthday, so we plan to see her next Wednesday and give it to her then. I also called into Next to enquire if I could bring back a top I’d bought the week before. When I first tried it on, I thought it fitted just fine, so I ripped the labels off, but then when I put it on to wear it, I realised that the buttons started halfway down my chest, so I was rather exposed. Yes, I was assured, so long as you have the tags and the receipt, we can exchange or refund.

Back home, I just had time to make a quick coffee before my fortnightly virtual chat with my local author group. And that, together with catching up with housework, was Friday done.

And now it’s Saturday again and I’m sitting here writing this to you. Miss F popped up to the music shop this morning and collected her newly strung guitar which certainly sounds a lot better than it did, and I finally transferred all my phone numbers off my old SIM onto my new one and completed a survey from my local council about residential parking.

I almost missed the survey, but the Chairman of the Residents Association sent around an email reminding everyone to fill it in because we all must have our say. Survey, I thought, what survey? Then I remembered a whole wedge of junk mail that had been pushed through the door Friday morning and went to look in the bin. Sure enough, stuck to fliers for skip hire, a local estate agent who apparently wants to buy my house, and a menu from a Chinese takeaway, there was the leaflet with a link to complete the survey online.

Parking is a bit of a joke in my hometown. We’re an old town – there’s been a settlement of some kind here since Anglo Saxon times – so it wasn’t designed with car parking in mind. There are a lot of historic homes crammed into a small area and there aren’t enough places for residents to park. The situation isn’t helped by the fact they keep building new blocks of flats and don’t provide enough parking spaces for the people who live in them – if they provide any – so we have people illegally parking in the spaces reserved for residents who have paid a lot of money for a permit to park there. And it can be very frustrating when someone has illegally parked in your paid-for bay, so you must park on double yellow lines and then you get a ticket but the person who stole your space doesn’t. Something must be done about it, but I’m not sure what.

I do have a general feeling of things coming to completion this week. It’s quite satisfying as all the outstanding jobs are ticked off one by one and I’m beginning to think I may be able to start writing again next week. Because I do need to begin book thirteen soon. It’s going to be a big book I know that already. Being the third book in The Perennials Trilogy I have a rough idea of how much story there is still left to tell – and all those loose ends must be tied up as it’s the last book. It’s not only going to take a lot longer to write than say, one of the Blackwood books, but it will take longer to edit, beta read, and format. I have already booked my slot with Platform House Publishing in November to get the cover and video made, plus the final formatting. I know November sounds like a long way away, but, considering we’re into June already and other than the title I have nothing down, it’s really not.

Oh well, I wrote and published Black Ice which is 150,000 words in three and a half months and that was a lot more complex with over forty pages of illustrations, so let’s hope this one is as cooperative.

Another thing I need to do is try and get another lodger, and I have one last job to do before I can put the room back up for let. That is to make the little desk more in keeping with the decor. I’ve decided to decoupage it as I already have everything I need to do that – and painting furniture white can be very hit and miss. At the same time, I promised Miss F I would decoupage her a wooden tray to take away to university with her, plus I have a small, outdoor table to make weatherproof.

I bought this table off Amazon as it was advertised as an outdoor table, but when it came it was more like those little fold-up tables people use to eat their dinner off in front of the TV. I stood it outside and, sure enough, we had a week of monsoonal rain at the end of which the whole veneer top had peeled away. So, I bought it back in and have dried it out thoroughly. Then I went to a local DIY store and tore off lots of wallpaper samples in the colours of my garden ready to decoupage it. Dozens of coats of clear yacht varnish will make it waterproof and at least it will be something unique.

So, I have three items to decoupage and figure I might as well do them all at the same time whilst I have the room in the empty basement to work on them without them being in the way. Of course, I will take pictures to share with you.

It’s now three o’clock and if I want to at least get them sanded down today, I had better go and do it now as I only have an hour and a half before I must fetch Miss F from work. On the way back, we’ll swing around and collect our shopping and then this evening, after dinner, we’ll sit down in front of Netflix and cut up all the images we need from the wallpaper samples I have collected ready for me to paste them on tomorrow. We’re also going to visit Miss F’s other grandparent’s tomorrow afternoon as well. We haven’t seen them since February 2020 so it will be wonderful to finally be able to visit with them.

And that will be my week over and done with. It’s been less stressful – a lot less stressful – than normal, for which I’m thankful. Who knows, maybe life is done being horrible to me for a while. I can only hope so.

Take care of yourselves and wherever you are in the world stay safe and stay happy.

Julie Blake

2 thoughts on “It’s Not Me, It’s You!

  1. Glad this week was less stressful! You’ve had your share recently, and hopefully everything is falling into place now and life will be at least calmer, if still busy. And I hope you get your wristwatch with no more chasing!

    Your parking situation sounds terrible. But your town sounds amazing. But getting tickets when you can’t even park in your own spot is so unfair. Maybe that will be something they address.

    The decoupage projects sound lovely and can be very therapeutic and satisfying when completed. I look forward to seeing the results.

    You’ve a big project for your next book and yes, November will be here fast enough. But you will do it. You have the skills and determination as well as the great writing itself.

    Have a good and calm week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Parking has got a lot better up our road. A couple of families that had 3 or four cars each have moved out and the replacement families only have one car per household. Plus there used to be a bed and breakfast opposite me so there was a continuous stream of customers trying to park in our road, they closed last year and the family who bought the property only have one car. Then earlier in the year they finally gave us the extra three spaces they have been promising for years, which has helped.

      There is a sense of catching up and clearing the decks. The only two projects I have left before I can dive into the book with a clear conscience is an arc read I promised I would do. I am about halfway through but, to be honest, I’m struggling a bit with it. It’s a slow plod of a read and it’s not been edited particularly well. How many commas can you get in one sentence? Apparently lots!


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