Monday, 19 July 2021

The brickbats keep on coming,

for weeks now. I am so tired of them.  Wah-wah-wah. And I don't mean the sound of a trumpet. The only respite is getting out into the garden and working, when it's neither too wet, cold or hot. At the moment it's too hot. I know, I know, I am wailing about the changeable UK weather when other places are burning, sizzling or drowning. But then I freely admit that I am a whingeing Minnie, forever complaining. Luckily there's no one to hear me. On the other hand, if there were someone maybe I wouldn't complain so much. Part of the problem is that it's me who has to catch all the brickbats single-handedly and there's never anybody to share in finding solutions.

About those brickbats: they are draining me of every drop of pleasure in life. As if Covid alone wouldn't be enough to do that. You know about the leaking and rotting shower room. The third or fourth delegation has been to assess the damage, take endless pictures and do a bit of umming and ahing. Finally, the last chap from the actual people who do the work came and left me a lot of paperwork to fill in regarding the materials I want to be used, the colour of paint, which tiles, the whole palaver. When I threw myself on his mercy and asked him to just look at everything and replace it with similar or identical he made the job'sworth noises. "We can't do that", he said, "we need you to specify exactly what you want, within the cost limits, of course. We only get paid once for every job and if you change your mind when the job is finished we don't get paid again." Well, blow me down with a feather, there was I thinking I could go on and on demanding a change of paint or tiles as the fancy takes me. NOT.

I know nothing of such matters, those of you who do will ask yourselves why is this woman moaning, she should be glad she has got her Insurance Company to take over the repairs. Maybe so but I DON'T WANT THE HASSLE.

Next I had a letter from my energy provider. "We are ever so pleased to be able to tell you that we have gone all efficient and up-to-date and sold out to XXX, who will be happy to accept you as their customer. All you need to do is rearrange everything, get a new Direct Debit going, and make plans for your future energy consumption. The sensible thing for me to do is look carefully at the paperwork, compare prices and conditions with other providers and make a decision. DO I WANT THE HASSLE? Of course not.

Next thing I dropped and shattered my phone. Again, a minor problem you might say. My contract had run out and all I needed to do was spend a morning on the phone and get a new phone and contract. The sensible thing to do was to look carefully at the paperwork, investigate and compare prices. MORE HASSLE. I want things to STAY THE SAME!

I am all Apple computerised. Yes, I know they are expensive, but the gadgets last and there's rarely any trouble. And if there is trouble I have this lovely man in the next village who is a whizz at all things Apple and has always seen me right. In the past. My iPad was slowing down seriously - it is old in years, like its owner -, the new phone needed tweaking and my desktop, which is also very old, could really do with a sort-out too. Besides, I had the distinct impression that my backup disc had given up the ghost when I last updated the desktop. I rang the lovely man's office. HE HAS RETIRED! With some trepidation I asked was there a replacement Apple specialist? Don't forget I live in the depths of the countryside and specialists for anything are few and far between. "Well, not exactly a specialist but yes, someone would come and look at my gadgets". The phone lady also said that the replacement technician was rather slow in replying and I had better be patient. The man eventually came, a real computer nerd, who said little, smiled less, sat at my desktop with phone and iPad also in front of him and fiddled. And fiddled. And fiddled some more, for several hours. I foresaw a bill of several hundred Pounds but, contrary to my inclination and habit, said nothing. Nerds must be treated with kid gloves, their social skills are not instantly evident, and I needed the man, and practised patience. I am not at all sure how good he was, there have been a few glitches since he was here and I decided to buy a new iPad because the old one slowed down even more after his ministrations. Suffice to say that he walked off with my external hard-drive (Backup), found it to be dead, and returned with a new one a week or two later. His bill was very reasonable for all the hours he spent on my gadgets - do nerds not need food? The new iPad arrived; just to be on the safe side I set it up myself.

You may think that I have come to the end of my brickbats, but no, there's more. You all know about Brexit, the most pointless, masochistic ambition this country has ever gone in for. You may also know that I am one of the EU nationals "who shouldn't be here anymore, having had the gall to come, take over "our jobs", live off social security, never pay taxes, and should all be sent back to where they come from". Etc. etc.  June 30th the period for applying for resident status came to an end and, as I had applied a long time ago and been accepted I thought that was that. BUT I HAVE NO PROOF! None of us "bloody foreigners" has proof. There is no mechanism for proof! What larks there'll be when we want to use the NHS or, God forbid, go travelling!

And, to cap it all, the Fatherland, which sends me a small amount of pension every month, has had second thoughts as to my actual existence. How do you prove that you are alive?




32 comments:

  1. You have my complete empathy. I think the word you may be looking for is social worker. As to your latter problem, many many are in the same boat. Surely efforts are underway to sort this all out. Wish I could wave a magic wand and solve all your problems, and my own. But sending affectionate regards nevertheless. My sister-in-law has a magic that always works. She reminds herself so what who cares!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've never heard the term 'brickbats' before and now I think its my new favorite word. Brickbats are a pain in the butt but I was glad to learn they aren't actual creatures that live in brick houses and visit your bedrooms at night.

    All the little stresses you wrote about add up. You'd think by a certain age we'd be better at handling them, but it doesn't seem to work that way does it.

    Love your blog!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Aaaargh.
    And why, oh why, do brickbats come in battalions. Heavily armed battalions.
    Despite its uselessness, oceans of sympathy/empathy are flowing your way.

    ReplyDelete
  4. It's when you no longer have to slam away or dodge life's brickbats that it is time to worry. "Nerds must be treated with kid gloves, their social skills are not instantly evident". You made me laugh, thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I've never heard the term brickbats before but now I now exactly what they are -- and all I can say is you deserve a large G&T and something to swing and hurl to vent out the tension. What an awful week -- or was that all in a day or two? No matter -- one of those is bad enough. You've had penance for years to come. Loved the nerd, though!

    ReplyDelete
  6. The word brickbats is apropos...Sending hugs!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Brickbats, huh? I've never heard that term. But hassles, yes! And they do seem to be more troubling as we age. I do sympathize, Friko. Little things do seem to add up, bigger things seem insurmountable, etc. Best to 'let go and let God' as the saying goes. Do what you can... (in small steps), and don't sweat the rest (in the big scheme of things - it's all small stuff). Sending virtual hugs too!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh dear, so much hassle! Like you, I don't want to shop around for a new energy provider, phone company, tiles and paint and what not. I just want my place to be clean and in order, and everything to work as it should, and I get absolutely cranky when anything here at home breaks down or is showing sings of giving up the ghost.

    My Dad has to prove that he is alive every now and then, too. For this purpose, a lady from ASB comes visiting every six months, to assess his Pflegestufe and indeed testify that he's still around and my Mum is not raking in all the money meant for him and spend it on cruises and jewellery.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Friko - oh the frustrating mental pain ... I can feel it from here ... it's such a worrying nuisance for you - so I understand your hassles and thoughts - wish I could be of some help - but am of no use.

    I have to update everything shortly ... not looking forward to it - and one of the Committee's I sit on - is all up to date ... I'm in the Ark with my computer stuff - so it's all a bit of a challenge - and takes a lot longer than it should.

    It's hot down here - but not as warm as you,I suspect. Take care, relax, do one thing at a time ... and with thoughts and hugs xoxo Hilary

    ReplyDelete
  10. Frustration and administrators and hot days do not go well together. I know - aghhhh... sometimes I could scream too.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Never heard of brickbats, either. Bad luck here, too...but all health stuff. Painful arthritic flare in various joints in hands and feet (which you need to use both every day), found I now have macular puckers in both eyes that compete and make it more difficult to focus, and then found out I have bladder cancer and possibly it has spread to my liver...so am looking at surgery and more testing and god knows what else. Nothing else to do but keep plugging away. *hugs*

    ReplyDelete
  12. I'm surprised by the number of people here who say they've never heard of 'brickbats.' That's a word I grew up hearing and using occasionally. It must be that England-Iowa connection! The other word that caught my attention was 'palaver.' That's a word I heard daily in Liberia. The activity it represented -- everything from resolving a village-dividing issue to greeting guests -- was so common that every village had a palaver hut where the elders would meet to settle things or carry on discussions. It's not a Liberian English word; it's rooted in “Palavra”, which means 'word' in modern Portuguese. In early 18th century Portuguese it also meant talk or discussion. There's a bit more info and a photo of a palaver hut here. Have a glance at the pair of comments, too.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Is it OK to come out from under the covers yet? Yikes lady, I added a bunch of grey hairs just reading this. Sure hope the brickbats (I grew up with that term) are finished for now. You deserve some ease for a while.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Never heard of brickbats but I feel for you. Life can be so frustrating.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I sympathise with you over having to choose paint, tile, etc. for the shower having had to do the same plus light fixtures and faucets and towel bars when both our bathrooms had to be remodeled, one because of the flood and everything had to be torn out and the other because all the ancient plumbing had to be replaced.

    ReplyDelete
  16. As a widow living alone, I can become quite anxious when the brickbats come, and I'm becoming worse at handling them as the years trickle by. I don't want stress, or hassles so sometimes I put off sorting things out...when I shouldn't. Burying my head in the sand is time out whilst I gather the strength to sort out whatever issue may need seeing to. It's no fun and I find it exhausting. And I have little patience for (in my mind) unnecessary bureaucracy. Feeling your frustrations Friko.

    ReplyDelete
  17. If it's not one thing it's another, and then another. I hate all those hassles. Pulling weeds sometimes helps my frustrations!

    ReplyDelete
  18. We are all Apple too but learning to use voice as my eyes weaken remain a new learning curve hence very few posts. I miss that connection.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Between all these kinds of hassles and the insane world we now live in, thanks to politics, it can be so exhausting and to have to handle a lot on your own can be overwhelming, for sure. I get it and I do think many of us are in the same boat.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hope this helps re Brexshite: As you have settled status, if you supply details of the identity document you used when you applied and your date of birth, you will then be sent a login code to the mobile number or email address you used in the original application. This will give you access so you can view and PROVE your status...

    https://www.gov.uk/view-prove-immigration-status

    Prove your status, pull the other one. As far as I can tell it'll give you the "right" to use the NHS as before, prove to a potential landlord that you aren't a hapless refugee from an unmentionable country; the same goes for potential employers. Not that you need to worry about the latter.

    Would I currently (I too have settled status - thank the Home Office for small mercies) leave the country? Nah. As you say, where is the beeping proof in writing? Not least, as I was informed, that the email they sent me is NOT proof of my settled status. I can see it now, Friko, on return from one my parents' imminent funeral, point of entry, burgundy passport in hand: "Please step this way, Madam. No, not the Docks. Deportation". You can't make it up, Friko. England is something else. Still, take heart. On one hand they refuse to give paper proof, ID cards - on the other? Well, unless backbenchers and a few other influencers take their careers into their hands, from September no one will be allowed into certain venues without proof of double vax. That's England for you. Coercion by stealth.

    And before you or any of your readers think I am given to hysteria: Not that long ago, the Home Office deemed me Turkish. With no right to live here. They had my passport in front of them. What a mindfuck that was. Unfortunately, not the first. Took forever to sort out.

    As to your other worries: You don't know how good you have it.

    All the best,
    U

    ReplyDelete
  21. Oh jeez. That's a lot. No wonder you're frustrated and overwhelmed.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Good grief Friko. How are you not so totally overwhelmed that you can no longer function? You are dealing with more all at the same time than it is reasonable to expect an older woman alone to be able to deal with.
    I so admire your emotional and intellectual strength, evident from your post. I am not sure I would still be capable of writing so coherently in the face of all you are looking at right now.
    You might take heart whenever you can from the nature around you that you love. And just keeping going. My best wishes are for you. I don't believe sharing our troubles is "whinging". Whinging is a cruel word. Be kind to yourself Friko. Anger helps sometimes. You have much to be proud of.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Difficult times. I am sorry you are going through all this. Life doesn't seem to get any easier. Your determination will get you through. Take care of yourself.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I understand about not wanting the hassle! I'm sick and tired of hassles, too, but they just keep coming. Just when I think life will move along smoothly, some new hassle comes up. So, we have to hang in there as best we can.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Friko, I'm glad you have a new IPAD and the price was reasonable. About paint and tiles...I would see any sites of the new shower room design and sure you will like some of them. So you will be able to say insurance company what you have chosen. (I'd love white paint and light blue tiles :-)
    I wish you much patience and proud.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I'm sorry you are going through all this, Friko.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Wir leben in Belgien (ich deutsch, er Italiener) inzwischen muss er jedes Jahr einmal zur Gemeinde gehen und die geben ihm einen Zettel dass er noch lebt !I never worked in Germany so for me it's no problem. The whole Brexit is a joke, just that dear Johnson doesn't loose face. There are so many exceptions that finally it is as if there had never been a Brexit. The only once who suffer are the farmers because the Eastern people who picked fruits or collected potatoes don't find anybody because now they work in countries where no visa is needed, and the British farmer remains with his rotten harvest.Restaurants are in lack of personal and all the dirty work which these people did, no British wants to do ! I too live alone now my husband is in a nursing home he has Parkinson. Now it's better at least he can speak a bit again and walk. Just before we sold our house and moved into a nice apartment, so I am a widow with husband and don't talk about paper work makes me crazy !

    ReplyDelete
  28. When I first read this post, the day you posted it, my overwhelming feeling was that I wanted to give you a big hug, Bless your heart. All that at once. And, yes, MANY, if not all of us seniors are facing similar dilemmas. I learned years ago that knowing others were having the same problems didn't help me handle my own. Now, if those "others" could just help me solve my problems,instead of telling me they had their own! Sometimes it helps me to think, "Oh, well, this seems like a mountain right now, but a few years from now, it probably won't matter at all. So I might as well breathe and hang loose."
    I do hope you let us know how it's going. If there were some way we here could help you, there would be a queue.
    Just "talking" about troubles does help lighten the load just a little. Every day I check to see if you have posted.
    Maybe some of the brickbats have dissolved. Hugs from Texas.

    ReplyDelete
  29. You do have a bunch of stuff to deal with. I totally understand not wanting to hassle with stuff. Just keep on doing what it does, etc. I have had that with our long-term care insurance that is being sued for some mysterious reason and requiring me to select A or B or C that are explained in tons of paperwork written by some fancy lawyer. I also find fixing a frozen cable TV a mess. Hubby is getting early senility and I have to help him with all his technology problems. Hassle upon more hassle.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I think you are coping extremely well, having to cope with all that crap - I admit brickbats may be a better term - and still be able to write about it with humour. I'm sure it would take a lot more to bring you down!

    ReplyDelete
  31. I've come late to this post, and can only hope that at least one of your nations is acknowledging you at this point...? I feel along with you about all these devices. Patience is required in any case - with the slow and tedious tablet or whatever, or with the technician who likely as not does not fix it.

    Patience, patience. As we lose one old thing after another from our lives, we pile up stacks of patience. Maybe.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Rude of Germany to doubt you exist. What sort of Unterlagen would be deemed acceptable to the pencil pushers over yonder? Hmmm...

    ReplyDelete

Comments are good, I like to know what you think of my posts. I know you'll keep it civil.