Thursday, 11th November, 2021

[Day 605]

Today was one of those days when, as you wake up, you basically contemplate the day ahead and wonder how everything is going to work out. Having said that,Thursday is always an early-to-get- going day because I jump into my clothes and off in the car to get to the Waitrose store in Droitwich as near to opening time as possible. To be truthful, I was about about five minutes late this morning but there were only about four or five us in the store so basically, a peaceful saunter around the shop lay ahead of me. I used to take a list with me but now I wander around every aisle very slowly but trying to keep myself disciplined to only buy the things I absolutely need. At the end of the day, I think I only missed out on one item which I can always get from the Waitrose down the road from us. The major project that I had lined up for myself was to go and argue with the bank with whom our residents’ association has a community bank account but which has been unilaterally discontinued – much to our discomfiture. So I took some time getting ready this morning and was getting some of my accounts in order before I set off for town. Because I knew I could be stuck in the bank for hours (and this proved to be correct) I decided that I would walk into town avoiding the car park, as otherwise I wouldn’t know for how long I needed to pay a carparking charge. Having picked up my newspaper, I made my way to the bank and explained my dilemma to the counter staff (they only have two on duty in the whole of the branch) I was directed towards a workstation where I could phone the bank’s HQ using the branch’s own phone (and telephone bill for that matter) I was kept on hold for 48 minutes altogether with the speaker phone blasting forth’Your call is important to us but all of our agents are busy at the moment…’ which could be heard all over the store. In fact one well-meaning lady popped over to offer her commiserations at having to wait for so long. Eventually, when I got through to the Safeguarding centre, I received some sort of good news. Our community account was going to be reinstated for a period of 30 days in which the direct debits would be honoured. In the meanwhile, I would be sent an email with specialised instructions how to complete the whole of the rest of the safeguarding procedures online after which normality should be restored. It was explained to me by the branch staff before I embarked upon my marathon telephone call that the safeguarding Unit’s word was law but basically, they were under the strictest of supervision by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) to investigate thoroughly every account that was held on behalf of a group (such as a church, voluntary organisaion or residents’ association like ourselves) The argument is, apparently, that fraud is potentially much more likely when more than one signature is involved. (You could argue that as every signiicant cheque reuired two or more signatures then the accounts should be more rather than less secure but I was not in the mood to second guess the FCA). So eventually I got home having spent 1½ hours in the bank, feeling quite pleased with myself. The pleasure was reinforced by the fact that our Treasurer had gone to the branch in the High Street the day before and had ‘argued his case vociferously’ i.e. got angry with the staff member which got himself nowhere. However a more patient approach on my part weilded dividends so when I got home I emailed our Treasurer to give him the good news that we would not have to tramp the High Street in search of a new home for our little bit of money. This afternoon was deliberately kept lazy – not least beacuse I had to whizz around to make a lightning quick lunch.

For tea this evening, as I had been shopping and had got all of the ingredients I decided to make another batch of what I think I should call a spicy winter root veg soup. Basically I dice and then parboil some celery, swede, carrot, parsnip and potato to which I then add some softened (i.e. translucent onions) I then add some vegetable stock (made with zero-salt stock cube), a third of a can of coconut milk and half a jar of Sharwood’s Korma cooking sauce. Once cooked, this is served with a good dollop of yogurt, some freshly prepared croutons and a sprig of mint. Voilá – total success again.

We have a dripping kitchen tap which has been driving us mad but today, to round off a good day, we got a definite appointment for our local plumber to call round – but we have to be patient until next Tuesday.