This week I’m using a Kuma lens which adds a vintage soft focus and warm color shift, and the Rasputin film which has a ragged black frame with warm tones.
Sunday 19th February Just a quiet day today, no family visitors, so a very chilled end to the week. There was a magnificent sunset though.
Monday 20th February Mondays are always the busiest days at work for me, and today was no exception. Not much time to think about the daily shot. I’m going on a flying visit down south for a couple of days on Wednesday so started the prep. I went to pump up the tyres on my car at one of the local garages in the evening after the rush hour, and thought to do a petrol station shot.
Tuesday 21st February Another busy day, and this evening sorting out the packing to go away, under the watchful eyes of Miss Winnie.
Wednesday 22nd February It’s my Grandson Lewis’s 13th Birthday today, and I travelled down south for a visit with him and his Dad, my son Ben. 241 miles, 4 hours driving and a 10 minute stop for the loo and to pick up a coffee to go. Glad I filled up with petrol at Morrisons, £1.40 per litre, the service station was at £1.74!! 😳 I mean, there’s ripping off customers and then there’s total greedy ba***rds. Anyway Ben and I picked up Lewis from school and then went home to watch him open his presents. In the evening we went out to Lewis’s favourite restaurant in Woburn, The Woburn Thai.
Thursday 23rd February Today Ben and I took a drive out to Cranfield, to take some flowers to my Mum’s grave. A few tears from both of us. Ben cleaned it up, and then we went to lunch in the pub she used to take him to for lunch when he stayed with her at weekends when he was a young lad, and we remenisced about her.
Friday 24th February We took Lewis to school and then went for breakfast together in Leighton Buzzard town. I got on the road home around 10.30am and did the reverse journey, stopping at the Woodhall Service station, which is more or less the half way point. It was nice to get home to Phil.
Saturday 25th February Today my legs and back ache all over. In my jurassic era I could do that drive without even a tiny problem, now I feel like I walked the whole way! I received my updated driving license today. When you have a picture I.D card you have to update it every 10 years, which is a pain, but easily done on line. The new license has had a Brexit make-over.
and that was the week that was. Not too awful a combination that worked better on some shots than others.
This week I’ve had mixed results using the Vicuña CL lens, which gives a hefty vignette and Vientiane film which adds a subtle desaturation and lower contrast to the image.
Sunday 12th February Nothing much happened here today, the weather was meh so I fannied on with the Hipstamatic and figured I’d try this combination out.
It quickly became apparent that the middley bit was in danger of over exposure if you got too close, so that was something to keep in mind, and also that the subject would have to be central more or less.
Monday 13th February Only 916 days until I retire 🤣. It wasn’t a bad day at work, and on my way back from taking some rubbish out to the bins I saw the sun reflecting off next door’s windows. It’s a cleaning company called Bright and Beautiful, which it looked.
Tuesday 14th February Valentine’s Day No hearts and flowers today here, both Phil and I were working and we really don’t bother with it anyway, every day is Valentine’s Day for us 😍. There was plenty of frost though so I had to scrape the car before I went to work. Then half way to work I realised I’d left the back door wide open 😳 and had to turn around and go home and then start all over again. Still got to work on time though.
Wednesday 15th February I quite like these wiggly tree thingies they’ve put up outside the marketing suite. Reminds me of pole dancing.
Thursday 16th February Phil is so chuffed with our new stair carpet that he decided it was time to change the lounge carpet too. The one we have has lasted 20 years so it’s done a good job, but the time has come. This will be our forever carpet as we won’t last another 20 years 🤣.
Friday 17th February This one isn’t too great but a rare truce happened when Winnie and Lord Vincent shared the Cat Tree so I had to grab a quick shot before it all went to ratpoop again.
Saturday 18th February Phil and I went to Tynemouth Market, mostly for Phil to browse the record stalls. He got a good haul today, he loves a bargain! The market is on both sides of the train station, and there’s a double bridge across the tracks. They always have some sort of display or artwork in the middle section between them, and today there were 10,000 cranes to support Ukraine. Which rhymes when you think about it. Anyway it was quite spectacular and I’m sure all the people hiding underground in Odesa and everywhere would love them but they’d probably prefer missiles or jets.
Another week over, I think this combination works when you factor in it’s exposure tendencies, with the cats it was impossible to get Vinnie exposed OK without Winnie being unsee-able, so I had to blow him out a bit, he didn’t mind. I think the rest are OK. Not one I’d use again though unless in specific circumstances where I wanted to really hone in on a subject.
This week I chose the Monti Hipstapak which consists of the Sergio lens, which enhances cool tones, and the Maximus LXIX film, which adds a warm grain.
Sunday 22nd January I know, I know, another cat picture, but I can’t help it. You should see how many I don’t post! Phil was at work until 9pm so a quiet day for me. Winnie always likes to supervise my blogging, or prevent it from happening entirely. Here she was just sitting quietly with me so I got a bit done.
Monday, 23rd January Back to work day! 🥴 I finish work on Mondays and Tuesdays at 4pm, and at this time of the year the sun is just going down. Today when I got in the car I noticed 3 crows in a tree silhouetted agains the sunset sky, so drove to the back of the car park and got out to take the photo.
Tuesday, 24th January Another day another dollar! This is part of the converted farm building I work in. I like the curvy land, and how the low sun casts light on these two units.
Wednesday 25th January. As well as leaving work just as the sun is going down. I’m getting up in the morning just before it rises. Yesterday and today I noticed the colours out of the window whilst I was putting my face on and had to stop, mascara half complete, to run downstairs and out into the garden to see it better.
Thursday 26th January My favourite view in the house, from our bedroom window. I love it when the sun illuminates the trees at the back, especially when there’s doom clouds behind them.
Friday 27th January Phil went to the eye hospital today to do the health checks prior to cataract surgery in a couple of months. He’ll have to wear an eyepatch after I guess, so I might buy him a Pirate hat to cheer him up. When he got back we took a walk over to the little shopping bit of Pelaw, and I took some photos along the way, of course. This is Kirkwood Gardens, not sure why it’s called Gardens, it’s not very gardeny really. It’s the main road through the estate and we walk it to get to the metro station, which is behind me here. I’ll get another shot of it in spring when the trees are all glorious.
Saturday, 28th January Sophie is back from Spain for a couple of weekends and today we went out with our cameras and did another Art Trail, which will appear on either the Fragglefilm blog or the Universe Blog or both at some point as I’ve used both digital and analogue cameras. And also took this..
And so, that’s another week over. I really like the dreamy, soft feel of this Monti combination, my favourite so far. But onwards!…
This week I chose a Jane lens, which boosts contrast and saturation, with Robusta film, a textured discoloured matte film.
Sunday January 15th Shelley and Liddy came over in the afternoon, and of course I had to take a picture of Liddy eating her way through a huge piece of rainbow cake whilst wearing pink headphones, as you do.
Monday January 16th Nothing out of the ordinary when I got up for work, still in the dark here. I washed and had breakfast, looked out of my window and ka-boom, severe snowing going on. It lasted for about 20 minutes, stopped, and was all gone by the time I got home from work. Poor show really, sigh. I know other parts of the country got a lot more for a few days, but we missed out.
Tuesday January 17th I tried to get a decent picture of Teddy, my boss’s dawg, but everytime I bent to take a shot he came trotting forward for a fuss, so he’s blurry. Serves him right!
Wednesday January 18th I don’t have a sweet tooth, and me having a cake or dessert is rare as rocking horse poo, so when Shelley brought cakes on Sunday I left mine sitting in the fridge. On Wednesday I didn’t have time for lunch at work and it was way past lunchtime when I got home, so I bit the bullet so to speak and had this. It is white chocolate (which I don’t really like) cream, (which is OK in soup, curry & chilli etc) and packed tight biscuit crumbs, making this a cheesecake apparently. Being that cheese is the only part of this I would like, I couldn’t taste any at all, but I have to say this was bloody lush! I’m a convert!
Thursday January 19th On Thursday Phil and I did chores. The biggest one clearing out one of the kitchen cupboards which had got to a point where you couldn’t get one thing out without another falling out with it. It’s all very neat and dejunked now, and to celebrate we took ourselves out to lunch at the Red Lion in Boldon. Had the awesummyummiest scampi and chips with mushy peas 🤣, you can’t beat 70’s pub grub! They do it really well at the Red Lion.
Friday January 20th Friday was a busy day, Phil at work in the morning and I got more housework done, then spent the afternoon doing a post for the Universe blog. I got a cyclamen not so long ago, and it’s a bit quirky compared to normal houseplants in that it likes to be cool, doesn’t like the sunshine, needs moist soil all the time, and goes dormant in summer so you have to hide it away in the shade. I mean, what’s that about? Anyhoo I’m renowned for causing death to houseplants so getting a complicated one probably wasn’t my greatest idea, but encouraged by my continuing success with a spider plant I took the plunge. So far, so good.
Saturday January 21st Friday night is always music night here and we play youtube videos of bands/singers we like, CD’s and vinyl until the wee hours and imbibe a few sherbets along the way. So Saturday morning is the one after the night before and a gentle day is required. It is a cold but blue sky day today and I took another shot for my ongoing House Across the Road series.
So week 3 is over, and I really like this lens and film combo. The lens is sharp and clear and the film has warm tones and a nice bit of texture, but not too much. Onwards though….
This week I’m trying a combination of Lumière Lens with Delauney 1941 film. The film is named after Sonia Delauney, a French artist who co-founded the Orphic Cubist art movement, and the film adds a cubist filter to pictures and does funny things with colour.
Sunday January 9th Phil and I went over to the coast and had coffee in Marsden Grotto, a gastro pub now, it started out as a home for a chap known as Jack The Blaster back in 1782.
A lead miner from Allendale, Jack Bates and his wife Jessie moved to the area in 1782. It is alleged he moved into a small cave at Marsden Rock either after refusing to pay rent on his house in Allendale or simply having nowhere to live. Using explosives from a local quarry, he blasted the small cave into a much larger one, earning his nickname “Jack the Blaster” in the process and creating a rent-free and landlord-free home. The dwelling was accessed by zig-zagging stairs down the cliff, thought to be built by Jack. The unusual and eccentric choice of dwelling attracted visitors, which the couple supplied with refreshments at a cost. It is suggested that he became involved in smuggling activities – offering refreshment to smugglers using caves of the coastline to hide contraband cargo.
Monday January 10th Back to work. The converted farm building in which I work, the land it sits on and surrounding fields are owned by the Duke of Northumberland. He is building 310 houses on the land next to us and last week put up a prefab sales office in our car park. This chap was laying slabs for a path to the office door.
Tuesday January 11th The rains came, and didn’t stop.
Wednesday January 12th I finish work at 2pm on Wednesdays and go straight to Asda to do the weekly shop. The car park in our Asda is down a slight gradient, and it was still raining.
Thursday, January 13th Once a month I go to my pal Kendal’s place to have my nails done. I’m not really bothered about them any more but I’ve been going for over 10 years and I’d miss her if I didn’t go, plus she needs the money! This is her 18 month old son William, and a bowl of spaghetti in tomato sauce. He scoops some spaghetti into his spoon nicely, then picks it out of the spoon with his fingers and shoves them in his gob. 🤣 He is quite adorable.
Friday, January 14th I was hoping to do my blogpost for yesterday at this point on Friday. Sigh.
Saturday, January 15th Went to the local shop for a few bits and bobs, a blue sky morning but cold!
And that’s week 2 finished. I quite like this combo of lens and film, but next week I’ll be moving on.
Yet again I’m embarking on a one photo a day for a year project. This will be my fourth, the last one being in 2021. This will be the first time though that I’ve used the iPhone for it, and specifically the Hipstamatic app. If you don’t know what that does, and do want to know, there’s a short explanation HERE.
Doing a 365 project is not easy, especially as time goes on and you are struggling for ideas, but it’s good discipline and keeps photography at the front of your mind. My photography of late has been in the back of my mind, especially when Sophie my shooting pal is away for a few weeks and the weather is not so good ( which is a LOT of the time!). Last year I started shooting with film a lot more and going forward will still be doing that, but that’s not cheap so a 365 with the Contax is not an option, and I’ve done all my other 365’s with my digital DLSRs.
So this will be a deep delve in to what the Hipstamatic can do. I’ll post my week’s shots up, probably every Monday, I’ll also be putting the details of what lens/film combo’s I used. I’ll be using one combination a week to keep each week in a uniform set. There will be pictures of cats, grandkids, Phil, trees, places I go and (hopefully) people I meet, and a few words to go with them.
So without further ado…Welcome to my life ~ 365 days in photographs.
Week One ~ Kantō HP lens, Ina’s 1935 film
January 1st, Sunday. New Years Day Phil’s daughter Shelley and her daughter Liddy came for a sleepover, as her hubby and son had gone off for a football match and were staying away overnight. I cooked a Sunday roast dinner and then we did music videos, watched a DVD of Liddy in her Drama group end of year all singing/dancing review and had a lovely family evening together.
January 2nd, Monday I never tire of being amazed how Winnie navigates Phil’s model desk and the blinds to get on the window sill.
January 3rd, Tuesday Is it too soon for another Winnie shot? I don’t think so, snuggled in her radiator bed.
I’d meant to keep going with the same settings but accidentally changed to Odakayu film instead of the Ina’s 🙄. Same lens though.
January 4th, Wednesday Today was my first day back to work after the festive break, though I’m then off until the following Monday so it wasn’t really a hardship. It was nice to arrive home in proper daylight and with a blue sky for a change!
January 5th, Thursday Phil was on a late shift today and I had my Grandson Callum to look after whilst Shelley was at University. It was a great day, we did shopping, went to lunch and then down to Marsden Rocks for a coffee, coke and some photography! I love spending time with Cal, we talked about lots of stuff and had a few laughs, can’t wait to do it again.
January 6th, Friday A day for housework, blogwork and a bit of shopping at Lidl in Pelaw. Pelaw is the residential area over the tracks from Wardley. If you’ve ever seen the movie Get Carter you might remember the Post Office scene
As you can see, the Post Office is now a Greggs Bakery 🙂
Saturday 7th, Saturday A quiet day today, cold and showery weather. I’ve been mapping out photography outings for when Sophie returns at the end of the month. I couldn’t finish the first week without a shot of Lord Vincent though.
It’s that time of year, where some of us look back on the year that’s been, before jumping in to the year ahead. It seems to me this year in particular the World has become a more turbulent, more unkind and more expensive place to live, but here we must stay, and at least there is music, books, movies, art and some good people still left in it.
At Fraggle Towers we have had some ups and downs, some health issues both for Phil and I, and also for some of our younger family members, and they are still all ongoing, but we’re not dead yet so there’s that!
Work has been much the same, clearing the North East of earwax, and I’m an angel/darlin’/miracle worker or star, depending on the vocabulary of the client, and that’s a nice thing to be at work.
The cats have continued to be their annoying selves. We have always had ‘easy’ cats in the past, and though Lord Vincent is quite sedate and cool, Winnie is a veritable monster at times. She’s mean to Vinnie whenever she comes across him and he doesn’t bat an eyelid. He’s had his quiet revenge though, Winnie used to sleep on our bed, and one day Vincent usurped her position and has kept it ever since.
Winnie then took to sleeping on the radiator downstairs, so I purchased a little bed for her, not really expecting her to be interested in it as she’s so ornery, but two minutes after I put it up…
Christmas was quiet and lovely, just the two of us and we had a chilled out day. I cooked dinner which was yummy and we watched a daft Christmas movie. We did the present thing, a photography book, perfume, earings, a 12″ single and socks for me, books, whisky, a decanter and favourite chocolates for Phil. We’ve both been off work in the week between Chrismas and New Year which is cool. A mini staycation, reading, watching movies, cooking, playing records, nothing new, just lots more of it!
I’ve been thinking about next year, photographically of course. In the past few years, 2016, 2019 and 2021 were all years where I completed a 365, or one-picture-a-day project it’s also called. Well it’s going to be 2023 in 4 days time (as I write) or tomorrow (as you read) and I seem to be mentally gearing up to do another one. Not with the Fuji’s or the film cameras, but using just the Hipstamatic app on the iPhone. There’s some parameters to work out over the next couple of days, and the final decision on whether I do or don’t is yet to be made. If I do I’ll be posting them weekly here and if I don’t, well who knows?
My Contax will be employed for photographic outings with Sophie, and I have a stock of film now which I need to crack on with. The weather is pants, grey rainy cloudy windy and forecast more of the same all week, but I’ve been seeing the weather reports for the USA over the past few days and so my complaining is very quiet and small. I do keep thinking I should make a resolution to go out in the rain with my camera, but I’d break it straight away, I do not like being cold and wet, not even for photography. #wimp
And that’s a wrap for December and 2022, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose and all that, but let’s hope 2023 isn’t as bad as we think it’s going to be! Pink thoughts people, pink thoughts! 🦩
Happy New Year to all, wherever and however you are 😘
The end of November is nigh, and I’m noticing more and more Christmas lights up in towns and on peoples houses. Asda are already awash with Christmas tat.
Far too early IMHO, 2 weeks is enough for me! Oh well, to each an apple. November didn’t start too well as I’d really hurt myself at the end of October. I got up from the sofa and twisted so as to trap a nerve in my back, and ended up incapacitated for a week. Couldn’t drive so couldn’t go to work, and sitting down or standing up was quite horrendous. I had planned to visit my lad Ben and Grandson Lewis on the following weekend and really didn’t want to cancel, but by the time it came around I was all better. Big relief. Nurofen and paracetamol combo to the rescue!
Off I went down south and as it was Guy Fawkes night, we went out to Milton Keynes to a Firework display, but first went for dinner at one of the Wagamama restaurants which has Asian fusion food based on Japanese cuisine. I think it’s supposed to be hip and groovy to eat there, but neither Ben or Lewis enjoyed what they ordered though they did their best, and it’s good to try stuff out of your comfort zone. I ordered Pad Thai, which is slap bang in my comfort zone so I was fine 😃.
Of course it was raining on and off so traipsing over to the firework display wasn’t that great as it was in a park and things got a bit muddy. There was a big fairground which was heaving with people and long, long queues for the rides, which none of us fancied doing, but Ben and Lewis wasted some coins in a mini amusement arcade.
We waited in the field for 45 minutes before the fireworks started, and they lasted 20 minutes. They were not all that spectacular but the end bit (you can see below) was pretty. Anyway, getting rain sodden didn’t stop me enjoying being with my boys.
Back home we’ve had nearly 2 months with silly internet. We decided to swap over from Virgin to BT, for various reasons I won’t bore you with but not least because it’s faster and cheaper per month. It has taken 7 visits over 10 weeks, by several teams of internet fixerupperers to get us connected. They’ve had to dig up the path that runs past the front garden, dug holes in our front garden, spent hours on the phone back to base and finally yesterday got us connected and we are back online.
BT were very good whilst this was all going on and gave us a mini hub that was basically a sim card in a case. It was enough to use the computers but no good for streaming, and it dropped out every now and then and on rebooting had to have a megalong password put in. So annoying (I know, 1st world problems) but they didn’t charge us for it, so I can’t complain really, even though I just did.
Achievement of the month… I made dumplings for the first time ever and they were OK at least. Phil tries to make them quite often and fails dismally everytime, so I volunteered to have a go and ta-daaah!
Work has been as usual, mostly busy though this week it’s dropped off a bit, that happens around this time of year, and this year paying for wax removal might not be a priority. I pulled the longest pair of skin ribbons I’ve done so far out of one ladies ears, one out of each, amazing! They remind me of shedded snake skin.
Phil has been busy repainting the woodwork of the landing doors and skirting boards, as well as upscaling the banister. Looks nice. To celerate we went off to Jarrow and chose a new stair/landing carpet, which will be fitted in a couple of weeks. It’s from the same people who carpeted the house 20 years ago when it was new. Nice to see a local family run firm make it through all the mad stuff.
After all that hard work the past 10 days have been a pain literally for Phil as, not to be left out, he trapped a nerve under his shoulder blade. He’s been fannying on with a tens machine, which did do some good when it worked, but couldn’t sleep too well and finally went to the Docs yesterday and got himself some strong painkillers, which gave him a good nights sleep. He’s doing better today, at least I’m not getting hourly reports of the pain level, and he’s unplugged himself from the tens, so fingers crossed!
I bought an indoor cyclamen back in October, it’s doing well but I can’t get over it liking cold weather and no sunshine. It’s pretty.
Lord Vincent and Winnie have been stuffing their faces since the weather has turned cold, and don’t go out so much when it’s raining, but both are doing OK.
I found this and it made me laugh, so true!
I didn’t do much photography at the beginning of the month, but had a play around trying ICM (intentional camera movement) shots
I love how ICM photographers make artistic work with it, but somehow it just isn’t for me.
Sophie is back for a couple of weeks, and we went out this weekend, so there will be a post on the Universe blog in the near future, though I will wait until the film shots come back as there are not many digitals. Not sure how long that will be as the post office are on strike until Friday. Along with half the country. Good to see people fired up and taking action at last.
So that’s about it for November 2022, the year is nearly over just Christmas to get through and then we can all start again!
It’s been a funny old month here at Fraggle Towers with health issues to the fore. Phil had his Corona booster and Flu jab at the beginning of the month and was not well for 3 days, I had mine later on in the month and apart from one day being wierd got through that Ok. But I’ve had a couple of visits to the Doc’s for blood tests and other stuff. Then just this week I twisted somehow getting up from my sofa and did something to my back, with the result that I’m having time off from work. Can’t remember the last time that happened, and if I was able to drive I’d have still gone in. Sigh. Getting old and decrepit is just no fun. I seem to be improving anyway, fingers xt.
Winnie has been to the Vets as she has chronic cystitis they’re trying to get to the bottom of and she’s now on a daily dose of Loxacam which seems to be helping. None of this stops her being as mad as a box of frogs! Out in all weathers and doing a cracking job of rodent disposal.
Lord Vincent is hale and hearty, and in between patrolling the perimeter of our bit of the estate and eating for England, he spends most of his time on the bed ~ not one for rain and cold weather. He can’t even be bothered catching a mouse.
It’s been great having Sophie back in the country and we’ve had a couple of outings which has given me a good bit of fodder for the Universe Blog and for Fraggle film, though I’m still waiting to receive the scans back for that.
Work has been so busy, I’m getting through 40 people a week on average and I only work 2 & 1/2 days, so it’s full on, but I still get 10 minutes here and there to have a bit of lunch or take Teddy for a quick trot around the carpark. He is such a happy little soul and makes me smile.
Tonight is Halloween, and all the Grandkids turned up to go out trick or treating, which really is ‘begging for sweets’ apparently, but most of our estate get involved so I have sweets at the door ready and I get to take pictures, though use my iPhone now as the Fuji freaks people out 🤣. Phil and Shelly went with the kids to do the rounds and I stayed home to answer the door. Liddy and Livvy made a good effort at dressing up! Phil tells me that one house had made a fake cemetary on their front lawn, and another had a spooky figure that spoke to the kids as they got near to it and made them jump. Another had a giant spider across the front of their house. ALl good fun and the kids loved it.
The boys are ‘too old’ to dress up being 11 and 12 (pfft!) but are happy to have the sweets of course! To anyone moaning about copying the USA, or commercialising Halloween, or begging for sweets etc I agree, it’s true and I don’t bliddy care, as having the grandkids round laughing and being happy for a daft evening is fine by me. One day they’ll be in their teens and this will just be a memory.
Some neighbourhood kids
So that’s the end of the 10th month and we’re going into Outer~Christmas Land now, as people are mad for it up here. I’m off down South at the weekend to visit with Ben and Lewis, fingers crossed my back has recovered as it’s a long old drive, and I’m dreading sitting still in the car for 5 hours doing it in case it sets it off again, but am thinking pink thoughts, like that’ll help.
Back next time with a November round up so stay tooned!
“It began as a 1980s government- sponsored pensions revolution: contract out of your company pension to potentially boost returns on your state second pension – a basic pension top-up – by investing in a personal pension. Armies of commission-driven salesmen then went on the rampage to convince the public their valuable final-salary occupational schemes – guaranteeing set sums at retirement – should be ditched in favour of riskier personal pensions based on stockmarket returns. Disaster ensued as vast numbers of people traded generous and safe pensions for riskier alternatives“. From The Guardian June 2009.
Dear reader I was one of those naive people who in 1991 ditched the best pension in the UK, the NHS pension, and signed up with the nice Scottish chap from the Scottish Widows Financial company, who came to visit one day. Eventually it came to light that I was mis-sold the SW pension, and I gave it up and went straight back into the NHS scheme. Apparently you were supposed to get compensation for the mis-selling, but I don’t remember getting any, and it’s a bit late now anyway.
Imagine my surprise, if you can, when earlier this year Scottish Widows tracked me down and asked me to get in touch with them. I did. I had to send my marriage certificate to them to change my last name as I was not with Phil back then, so I did that too.
Imagine my even greater surprise when they sent me a statement telling me what my pension with them is now.
Oh my goodness, some of what I paid in was left behind and hey presto 25 years later I have 38K!! I was a little bit happy as a pig in poo I can tell you! They asked me to think about what to do, take some, take it all, leave it in etc, and Phil and I had some discussions and I decided to take it all out and pay the tax, which would leave me with about 25K and keep it in with our savings, but use half of it to retire at 65 instead of 66. Yipee!!
So I got in touch with them and they organised a phone call with one of their chaps, which duly happened. For 90 minutes! Lots and lots of questions and making sure I knew what I was doing but also information that actually my pension pot was not 38K, but was going to be a wee a bit less,
Oh well, that would still be about 22K in my hand after all the t’s and i’s were crossed and dotted. OK said the guy on the phone, the money will go into your bank in 8 days time.
8 days came, and 8 days went, then the Queen died and the country came to a standstill for 10 days, so I hung on until that went by and phoned to find out what was going on. “I’m sorry all our operators are very busy at this time, you can call back later or stay on hold. The current waiting time for on hold is 40 minutes.’
I held dear reader. Sure enough 47 minutes later I spoke to a nice Scottish lady, explained what was going on and she put me on hold for another 10 minutes while she went to speak to someone else about it. When she came back she told me there’d been some error or somesuch on the amount and someone would give me a call on Monday in office hours between 9 & 5. I told her I’d be at work and not able to answer so leave a message with a number I coud ring back directly on.
Someone rang me on Monday, Tuesday and left a message with the number on. I got round to ringing it today on my day off. “I’m sorry all our operators are very busy at this time, you can call back later or stay on hold. The current waiting time for on hold is 40 minutes.” SIgh.
I held. 47 minutes. Eventually spoke to I think a nice Asian lady, (not Scottish as I’ve got the hang of understanding the Scottish accent now,) who then went off to find me a nice Scottish lady. She then put me on hold for another 5 minutes whilst she went to speak to someone else. It had already struck me after reading an article in The I that maybe something was afoot.
So I’m thinking, hang on, the figures I got, the chat I got with the guy, the 8 days up when the money should be paid in, all happened before the mini-budget when everything changed, they must have known what would happen in the budget so they’ve hung on to mine (and probably others) waiting for this so the payouts could be even less! Greedy corrupt Fat Cats at the top making decisions that stuff the little people.
The nice Scottish lady came back. Yes I’ve got your revise pension pot figures she said, £7,603. Wait what?? I replied. Where’s the rest of it?? Are you telling me this mini budget has wiped £23,000 off my pension?? I didn’t swear dear reader, as it isn’t the nice Scottish ladies fault. But I was quite staggered and informed her of my staggering. Oh no, she said, this is nothing to do with the budget, the initial forecast was a mistake. Someone made a mistake at the outset and I’m very sorry, would you like me to pass it on the complaints department and they’ll get in touch with you? Please just put me through to them I asked, I don’t want to go through the rigmarole of them phoning me to no avail, and me being on hold for another 47 minutes 3 days later getting nowhere. Oh sorry again, the Scottish lady apologised, the complaints department doesn’t have a phone number, we do it all by email. I kid you not dear reader, my staggeredness was off the charts at this point.
I gave up. And now a few hours have passed and I can’t help laughing. This wasn’t down to FatCat sneakybeaks, but to a monumental cock-up by some pesky twit who needs a bloody calculator for Christmas in the add-up-the-numbers-department of Scottish Widows.
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