Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Feeling Grumpy

I'm feeling grumpy today. That's not a cue for a lame Seven Dwarves joke, -no, I'm feeling grumpy because First Utility have, yet again , messed up our gas and electric accounts. I can't remember if I've written about it before. This blog is scintillating enough without having to excite the readership with accounts of our utilities bills. 

All was fine with our gas and electricity until last summer when the gas meter went faulty. First Utility were very efficient and changed the meter quickly but since then we have not had a single bill for either electricity or gas. I've filled in the readings online religiously every month and when several months had passed without a bill I started to contact them. I phoned (kept hanging on for thirty minutes and then got cut off). I emailed (replies followed promising rectification). I sent Tweets and got apologies and more promises but it's now seven months since we were billed and we've no idea where we stand with our fuel.

To compound things we changed banks in October. The first direct debit went out correctly from the new bank (Santander) but in December it was claimed from our old Barclays account which is still open. I cancelled the Barclays debit and told First Utility to claim from Santander (which is the only account on my online details). I got stroppy emails telling me my bank had advised them we had cancelled our direct debit (duh) and no debits were taken at all in January and February despite everything being correct online. As a last resort I wrote an old fashioned letter a few weeks ago. I haven't had a reply but I checked my Barclays statement today and lo and behold First Utility have now taken a payment - from the wrong bank again. In the words of another famous curmudgeon "I don't believe it." First Utility's tariffs may be competitive but their customer service appears to be run by a bunch of idiots without a brain cell between them.

Rant over. It's Marion's birthday today - I don't want to spoil her day by continuing to fume about First Utility. This lovely outfit arrived in the post from Paul and Josephine in Rochester together with the beads painted by our granddaughter Catherine. I think you'll agree Marion's looking great - the outfit fits perfectly and suits her very well. We're going into St Andrews this evening for a bite to eat to celebrate with the Scottish branch of the family.

We drove up to Scotland early on Sunday. Wouldn't it be nice if motorways always looked like this?

St Andrews has a decent little cinema so we headed down to see The Grand Budapest Hotel last night. I don't know what to say about this. It's a very old fashioned farce starring Ralph Fiennes as Gustaf the concierge at a grand old hotel in a mountainous Eastern European state just before World War II. Gustaf offers more than room service to the wealthy women who stay at the hotel and consequently receives a bequest that is not exactly welcomed by the bereaved dowager's family. 

What follows is pure farce and cartoon capers as Gustaf and his sidekick Zero the lobby boy flee the family and its fierce henchman and try to evade the law and the military. The whole film is full of cartoon colours and Tom and Jerry antics and is filmed in a very stylised way with a square screen in which the characters' heads and shoulders are often fully framed. There are plenty of laughs. It's very entertaining and also very weird.