Haunted Radiator

Made it to the pub for the first time in 6 months. 🍻

Swiss Chard came in our veg box this week, so had a hunt around online for ways to cook it. I’ve been meaning to cook a stir-fry for a while, and I found this excellent recipe. I used Soy, egg noodles, and half the listed sriracha. Still packed a punch.

My new address isn’t recognised by Google Maps. I should be pleased that there’s something about me that Google doesn’t know. Unfortunately I’m not, because it means getting called by every delivery driver asking for directions.

DIY of the day: a chunk of door removed in order to make a hole for a cat flap. Had to cut down some screws too, which is also a first for me.

Garden Developments 🌱

We’re planning to revamp the garden of our new house next winter, after we’ve got a feel for the space and light. However COVID restrictions mean we’re likely to spend a lot of time in it over the next few months, so some annual bedding has gone in to bring some colour.

First some Aubrietas and Violas.

Also a tree heather to give some structure at the back.

We also sowed some seeds, Cosmos, Verbena, and Achillea, so those are now in the propagator.

Excellent day for a barbecue here: hot in the sun, but early enough in the year that there aren’t too many wasps…

The Pest Control Force™️ is out in numbers today.

Weeding in progress… 🌱

Currently reading: Planting: A New Perspective by Oudolf, Piet 📚

I’m not usually one to nerd out over drums, but these Sabian AAX cymbals, just bought by a school I teach in, sound incredible. The word that springs to mind is “buttery” 🤷🏻‍♂️🥁

The Joys of Dealing with Utility Providers

For me, it’s a point of principle that I never let utility providers walk all over me, or take advantage. Worryingly often, they fail to issue refunds, forget issue proper bills, or even charge you for a service you don’t even have.

They might argue that, with so many customers, it’s impossible to administer everything perfectly. A cynic would suggest that, more often than not, they benefit from these errors, so where’s the incentive to address them?

Previously, I’ve had to battle with an electricity company who came to install a new meter, except the installation failed and I was left with the old meter. This didn’t stop them generating bills on the ghost meter however, which led to a nasty surprise and a drawn-out arguement over how much was owed.

Then there was the time I discovered our TV company had been charging us for months for a catchup/recording package that our hardware (the hardware they provided) couldn’t even deliver.

Don’t even get me started on insurance companies…

This morning’s fun was with the water company for our old house. Despite having left the property over a month ago, they’re still holding onto some credit that was on our account. So I call them (at 8am on a Saturday, otherwise I’ll be on hold for hours), and politely ask for it back. At first they tell me I should have requested the refund - and now I’ve done so they could send me a cheque.

No deal. I explain that I’m owed compensation as the refund is due within 10 working days of the final bill. I’m transferred to a supervisor, who says I didn’t get the refund because I cancelled my direct debit. I didn’t. “Oh” she says, “maybe we cancelled it on our end…”

After 10 minutes of back and forth, we come to the arrangement of a full refund, plus compensation for the delay. Another small victory for the consumer. The sad thing is, ‘victories’ like this are usually just a case of the consumer getting fair treatment. The company continues doing the same things, and in many cases people don’t notice and are worse off for it.

Still, I’ll continue to fight my corner, if only for the warm, fuzzy feeling I get inside after putting a big corporation to rights.

Just hearing that a gig in Europe next month might still go ahead, and I’m over the moon. The goalposts have been moved before, and gigs cancelled last-minute, so I’m trying to be realistic. The anticipation is significant, however.

Finally got round to finishing downloading all 50 zip files of my Google data, each one 2+gb. Then I started deleting things from the account. For the first time in over 12 years there are no emails in my Gmail archive.

My 2011 MacBook Pro still functions fairly smoothly, thanks to a new SSD and upgrading from 4 to 16gb RAM a few years ago. The battery, however, is useless. It sometimes hits 0%, and then repeatedly freezes doing the simplest of tasks.

1Password comes out on top in the battle of the trackers, by not having any.

People seem to think that Harry and Meghan’s decision to do an interview with Oprah is at odds with their pleas for more privacy. The definitition of privacy, however is:

“someone’s right to keep their personal matters and relationships secret”.

Privacy is about a right, a choice. By this definition, you could share everything about you and still have privacy, as long as you do it of your own free will.

Enjoyed listening to my first episode of Hemispheric Views. Regarding handedness and phones, @Burk, I’m left handed and my phone always goes in my right pocket. I use it with my right hand. On the other hand (sorry), my wallet goes in left pocket and feels bizarre in right hand.

Is anyone using 1Password or similar for a ‘Break-Glass-in-Case-Of-Emergency-Kit’? By which I mean, a note to be accessed by a spouse or family member if the worst happened to you, containing all the information they might need to sort out your affairs. Seems like a prudent idea.

Schools are back, meaning my first drive to work from the new house. It may be quite a lot longer than my old commute, but the scenery is very pretty, and it’s going to be a pleasure to watch the changing seasons over the year.

Downloading my Google data in the first step towards getting rid of some services. 100GB. This might take some time...

First home COVID test done. Now to wait 30 mins for the result. 2 of these to do a week from now on. 🤧

Lovely weather outside today, Spring really is here. Great to spend some time this morning in the garden, getting things straightened out. Whilst taking down some ivy (which is poisonous to our cat), I found the trellis underneath is breaking, having been driven apart by the plant over the years. Eventually it will go anyway, as I think we'll put a small tree in that spot. 🌱

Is it Bandcamp Friday?

Does anyone else get this issue with Screen Time on iOS? It seems after visiting a website through @Gluon or Micro.blog (not sure which yet…) Screen Time thinks that page is always open, even when all apps closed. @Vincent @help

Photoblog Challenge Day 31: defiance. Our stage set up for a gig in Rouen that took place on the eve of Brexit last year. We’ll always be European, and one day we’ll be back.