NICE TO BE WANTED

Update on utility provider: https://menhir1.wordpress.com/2019/07/12/what-price-loyalty/#comment-16574 for anyone who has not following this, the link will tell all.

Today I have been contacted three times by the electricity supplier I am leaving. I was offered a super exclusive deal for a one year fix….but, it wasn’t. It was close, but not better and there were strings. I had to agree to consider having a smart meter.  Yes, they had a two year fixed deal, it was way off the scale!!  No competition there then. The last caller from the company said they’d love to have me back anytime, even tomorrow!

My angst with the smart meters is that they have not been universal, other than in their requirement to try to control how we use fuel.  We have been encouraged, nay, exhorted by government to shop around for ‘best deals’ and the companies have been prevailed upon to get everyone on smart meters.  Each supplier used their own preferred technology. So, how could you move seamlessly between suppliers. They would not necessarily accept the smart meter you had. This was a nonsensical situation. I could talk about the distraction from fuel poverty, structural failures in the supply chain, their causes and other costly politics, but I won’t.

Series two smart meters are meant to ease the way to seeking and obtaining the best deals by being a universal for suppliers and customers. I intend to wait for the evidence. It will be sometime coming because the advertised universal meters are only just now being rolled out, and then only because the majority of customers refused to install version one.

The two year fix I am taking is with a company called Green Network Energy (GNE).  The website was intuitive and I requested a quote, but only after I had looked at the comparison websites. The difference between my supplier and GNE for a two year fix was off the scale!!!  I can only say at this early point in the change process, that communication with GNE has been straightforward by phone and online. The account will be online. I started the switch through the Moneysavingexpert site.

 

 

You may make additional savings on your prices with suppliers if you have dual fuel supplies and you don’t live where I do. We have higher prices to contend with.

So, guys, there you have it.  I’ll let you know how it all flows at some future date.  Just a note here; I did go through an awful lot of reviews for GNE on Trust Pilot. On the whole,they were pretty good, just the odd one of dissatisfaction. Don’t just take my word for it, have a look at Trust Pilot. As I said, it is too soon for me to make a judgement of my own. My every digit is crossed though.  🙂

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WHAT PRICE LOYALTY?

 

The yearly hunt for new utility suppliers and insurers has been in full swing. Loyalty is costly, there is no value to the customer, you and me,  in being loyal to any utility and insurance company.  I noticed one company was lauding its plans for offering loyalty to its customers. Attractive though it sounded, on further investigation, the primary up front costs were not competitive in order to give it a try.  With terms and conditions always changing – the requirements of the underwriters, or because of taxes, are the stock reasons to date – there’s no confidence, nor is there any evidence on which to base this offering.  The annual research of the market is wearisome, but made totally necessary, if you want to keep budgets within personal means. Service companies, (including banks) rely on inertia. Many signals have indicated for some time that people are being priced out of the insurance market. There is already significant fuel and food poverty here in the U.K.

My suppliers’ fuel quote for a 1 year fixed price tariff has changed in four days and not to my advantage. A quick review of a number of companies I had considered demonstrated that the increase was across the board. What was not general, were the amounts by which prices had increased. My energy supplier wanted about £108 per annum more than their original quotation.

In general, increases with the other companies of interest ranged from about £13 – £24 per annum for a one year fixed price tariff.  Then, I tripped across an attractive two years fixed price deal at a very similar increase to one of the other competing providers.  It was described today as the cheapest two year fix on the market. Considering the volatility of the times we are living in on so many fronts, including international fuel supplies, it goes without saying, after hair-raising experiences with a previous supplier that I checked a lot of reviews on this company.

 

 

Two years peace of mind and one less concern next year is very tempting…….

 

EUREKA MOMENT IN THE MEADOW

For the last three years I have been attempting to cultivate a difficult corner in our ‘meadow’.  It is a very uncultivated  area of grassland, apart from mowing, which is a slalom that hubs undertakes, not me. I cannot handle the petrol mower. He’s glad of it I believe, as it’s a task that is uniquely his own. I don’t mind at all!

Why is grass-cutting a slalom? About the time of year when you have to decide to do a cut, our wild orchids burst forth and flower. They are prettily  multiplying. Last year we discovered amongst the ‘crop’ of Orchids one that was a bit different. To my surprise, research threw up that it is known as the Common Spotted Orchid.  The spots are on the leaves. These Orchids are becoming hard to find.  Anyway, hubs carefully mows around all of the Orchids. How he manages to control that heavy bit of machinery to such a fine art, I do not know.  It’s paying off though, as this year I saw that we had increased our Common Spotted Orchids by 100%: we now have two!  One is at the front of the house and the other one is near the whirly washing line at the back of the house.

Common spotted Orchid-a rarity

The difficult corner is a nice sunny corner where I have seen plants thriving then suddenly horribly wilt and die.  Hubs was creating a bund there between us, the chain link fence and our neighbouring farm. When the sheep are milling around behind the fence, there is likely to be all sorts of temporary run off courtesy of them. In addition, to keeping unwanted nettles and other grassy weeds under control there is the occasional farm spraying just in that location, usually broadened out by the prevailing winds.  My Lamium and other hardy plants couldn’t cope with it. Yesterday, with some difficulty, I pulled out the Lamium. Talk about networks of roots.  They would have been ideal to hold the soil in position, if the circumstances had been right.  Meantime, I put on my thinking cap. Question; what grows easily and well forward of that corner? Looking around me I had a eureka moment. Of course, grass grows no problem.  So, I have planted a small cluster of evergreen ornamental grasses and for good measure, I have put a fascinating evergreen Curry Plant in the mix.

This was the only plant that thrived in ‘the corner’ patch last year. It came from a seed dropped courtesy of birds I suppose.  At its peak, supported by a pair of my tights, which were tied to the fence,  it stood at approximately  5ft.7″ high. We let it seed, sadly, there is no sign of it this year.

CLASSIC EDITOR – AN OPEN LETTER – THANKS TO MR F.

Dear ALL and especially Mr F,

Your instructions. Mr F on how to find the straightforward to use classic editor led me on the pathway to retrieve it.  The classic editor did automatically open the second time I tried it;  but, now I know where to find it I will happily go through the process, if I have to, to open it up myself.

Once you’ve given the new block editor a try, it sticks to your site like a limpet, taking priority in opening up. If, therefore, you want to continue to avoid the block editor for as long as you can, and you also want to avoid the kerfuffle of finding your way back to it, DON’T TRY OUT THE NEW BLOCK EDITOR in the first place. Of course, I accept some people might wish to try it and also like it, so be it.

For those of us who liked what we had,Mr F’s instructions started as follows:

From your home page go to WP ‘My Sites’ left hand side

scroll down to to ‘WP Admin’. (it’s the last one listed)

Then click on the ‘posts icon’ (mine’s a board pin) which was the 3rd one down for Mr F. On my computer it was the second one down. It opens up a sub menu;

Then click on the ‘add new’.  This bit did not bring up the classic editor for me…remember limpets.  However- I saw;

On the top right hand side of the page there is access to settings. It’s the usual cog icon. You may have to click on the three vertical dots for a drop down menu.  In there (somewhere) you are given the option to ‘use the old classic editor’.

Happy hunting; have a delightful reunion!

 

 

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES?

Since WP introduced their block system and I decided to try it out, I haven’t found a way to return to the tried and trusted ‘get on yer page and just write’ editor. What are the advantages of the block design?

I am not asking the question to answer it, I am hoping other people will be able to give me answers. Any takers?

Off for a cup of tea!

DO NOT TOUCH

DO NOT TOUCH

Out on recent walks I came across some of nature’s curiosities. My DSLR camera has been busy. Me, well, I just edited in photos and edited out what I thought didn’t work. What was left seemed quite interesting. See what you think.

Frost And Wind Burnt Leaves May 2019
More Frost And Wind Burnt leaves May 2019

These trees were in a sheltered setting. In February this year we had an unexpected spell of very mild weather, plant life was confused. The trees leaved early, only to be caught out by a sudden dip in temperatures, frost, gales, and wintry weather. The trees will shed their leaves just like they should do in Autumn, and at a time when they should be bursting forth with the new spring growth.

Wild Life?

Sauntering down another path, we came across an interesting creature in the lee of a Gorse bush. If you peer into the bush you will see another.

Gorse Spikes

Do not touch! Nature has her own way of warning off marauders. Those Gorse spikes are nasty. You really would not want to be caught up in them. They flower all year round. At this time of year (spring/summer) Gorse puts on a good show, the flowers are abundantly at their best, as you will see in the photos above and below.

Pussy Willow Buds

We passed on by the Willow, the only one we saw.

Elegant Nettles

Nettles vigorously grew, as they do; these were in the early stages of growing and filling out, elegant and beautifully formed. Another one of Nature’s stings, best avoided. There were no Dock Leaves in sight with which to offer temporary nettle sting relief (first aid).

Silvery

These twigs were glittering like rods of shiny silver in the sunlight. The stunning effect, I knew, would be hard to capture. I guess the camera did its best.

We ambled on and near the end of our walk this tranquil scene came into view.

UNITED OR BRITAIN UNTIED?

A furore, an uproar, or, a diaphanous truth? Judy Murray, yes, that one, mum of Scottish tennis players Andy and Jamie Murray, was out shopping on the other side of the Scottish border. I don’t know exactly where, but it was certainly well south somewhere in the shire of England

Judy Murray tendered a Scottish £10 note in payment for her purchase. The note was refused with the explanation that only British notes were accepted! Nice one……So much for the political crie de coeur about this sceptered isle being united.

Scottish bank notes do have a national developmental history. In addition, their ‘differences’ are indicated by the name of the bank that has issued them and designs they depict. However, they are legal tender. The English notes are similarly individualised. At the risk of being seen as partial here, and I assure you, I am not, I have never had a English bank note refused anywhere in Scotland for payment of services or goods. Even the banks in Scotland will disburse English bank notes as well as Scottish ones. I have though, had Scottish bank notes refused in England.

There is a parliamentarian trying to smooth out the ‘ethnic’ spending differences that have now been well publicised, which, arise when the Scots grace the shire of England with their presence and their money.


AND SO WITH A SMILEY….

I felt guilty about posting my bits of relative trivia when there are so many seriously, serious life events unfolding all around me. I don’t mean navel-gazing, though if you think about it, with the various muddles and crises going on in our own back yard here in the UK, it would be very easy to navel-gaze and shut out the rest of the world.  The ‘life must go on’ adage keeps popping into my head, paradoxically, adding to my hesitation to write. I do not really have any idea what writer’s block is. I assume that it would be different for every writer and maybe, this is mine.  Ho hum.

 

Am I okay to say I wrapped up the first Christmas parcel for 2019 a couple weeks ago; or, a visit to my dentist left me with neck-ache! I’m seeing him again tomorrow.  Also, I have been following Deacon Gilly’s Lenten determination to place negativity on the shelf in ‘my daily doings’. That’s proving to be a hard one, much more than I expected it to be. The corollary is working through it and to see and hear things that lift my spirits through the more positive spirits of others. What about, “I whistle a happy tune so no-one will suspect…’, except, people would run a mile hearing me try to whistle.  Better still, where I live, people make eye contact and smile at one another in greeting; you don’t have to know them. (There are the exceptions). However, just wandering around and sharing smiles I find can be uplifting.

So, with a smiley….TTFN    🙂

 

JUST ANOTHER WAIT

We are sorry, we are ever so busy with a high volume of calls. Your wait could be up to twenty-five minutes“.  Sub text: it is a late evening call- they do say they are contactable up till 10pm -and what the recorded message probably means, is, that there is a skeleton staff working. I half wish this was entirely true, but, I have to admit, I have waited on occasion equally as long and much longer during usual daytime business hours, whichever department I tapped through the menus to contact.

The digital  auto message voice is quite nice; the heavy metal noise has been replaced by something with two or three repetitive music phrases that it is possible to switch your ears off from while you think about things. Tonight, I promised myself I will not wait twenty-five minutes. I bet though, if I phone tomorrow morning, there will be a repeat performance. (Sigh).

Just For Me

Nearly fifteen minutes in, I have disconnected the phone. Just as well I am able to call with a freephone (toll free) number.

HOT SPOONING AND HAGGIS

It was so cold this morning, I knew we were going to have a bright day. In January, any year, brightness for the shorter daylight hours we have, is very welcome.

But…..

With a number of warm layers on, yet not really feeling cosy at my core, Madame M felt the desire for comfort food for breakfast. Not so good. I treated myself to a complete half pint pack of a hot spooning ‘drink’ in a glass called Salep.

Tonight we are digging into a haggis with clapshot. (More comfort food, if it grabs your fancy).  It will be accompanied  by some carrots from the garden.

Tomorrow is another day…one where M must gain the upper hand on foodie temptations and offset what will have been digested today!