I Fought The Law…

A long time ago, in a sixth form college far, far away (it’s not, it is actually visible from our bedroom window, but I wanted to shoehorn the Star Wars thing in) a young man briefly toyed with the idea of going to University to study law. A series of unexpected events, involving a week’s work experience in a bank, ending with a job offer and A levels then being abandoned for the lure of £70 a week to fund his ambitions to be a pop star saw that stellar legal career thwarted before it began.

If only I had known the very low bar (pun intended) that seems to be required to practice law, particularly conveyancing (apologies to my conveyancing solicitor reader) I surely could have breezed through life without stress or pressure.

Why am I tarring all such professionals with the same brush? Well, here we sit mere hours now from the day on which we should move house and we STILL don’t know for sure that it is happening. Our buyer’s buyer at the foot of our mercifully short chain is as yet not able to commit to that date. Why you ask? Well, yes I asked the same question. It would appear that when the 26th was suggested and accepted by all parties, the solicitor acting for our buyer’s buyer “forgot” to contact their lender to confirm the date on which their funds would be needed.

This only came to light when I proactively contacted all estate agents and solicitors in the chain that I had details for, checking that everyone was still OK for the 26th. A day or so later this brought forward an email from my solicitor, telling me the news that the start of our chain could not yet commit.

As they are a first-time buyer using a complicated mortgage where relatives donate their savings or some such thing, the release of funds is a complex affair that requires multiple days of complex cyphers and puzzles, a bit like the Da Vince Code but without Tom Hanks, and despite us discovering this cock-up on Tuesday of last week we have still not had confirmation that all will be well for this coming Friday.

We have been assured that Barclays, the lender in question, is expected to confirm the release of funds can be undertaken in time for the 26th on Monday, but still, this has left us with yet another weekend of uncertainty and stress, which makes a nice change.

So despite all the attempts to derail this move, all we can do is continue to pack and pack and pack endlessly, without it seems, any real progress to be seen.

Then, to top off my week, on Friday, our removal man rang me to ask if it was OK if he got to us around lunchtime on Friday as he has had another enquiry for a move on Thursday that he may need to finish off on Friday morning. I shall just let you know that he is turning up at our house at 8.30am on Friday as booked and planned. Sigh…..

I suppose it is months of nonsense like this that leads to me struggling to believe that we will ever live in this house. The thought of moving into the new place was once a source of a modicum of excitement and anticipation and day by day it just becomes a source of worry, stress and angst.

Oh, and….

Knowing that broadband is essential for us workers from home, I ordered it with plenty of time to have it work on the day we move in. A few days later, they contacted me via email with a query about the existing lines in the house. I contacted the seller and answered that on the same day. Having then seen four days go by and my order status not change, I called them. Indeed, nothing had been progressed and now, we won’t have broadband for about four days after we move in. I deliberately chose PlusNet as I spotted the previous owner used them and this should make the transition nice and easy, especially with the house being a bit out in the country. It seems I can do no right. I am raging about this, but apparently, nothing can be done and I sit impotently seething about that as well.

The ordering of new broadband and a TV package for the new place had allowed me last week to finally tell Virgin Media where to stick their temperamental broadband and TV package, uncompetitive prices and even worse customer service where you are not allowed to talk to a human.

Fittingly, it took me five, yes five hours to get to talk to a person and cancel the service. It isn’t actually available at our new house so it saved them the trouble of trying to persuade me to take them with us. I did point out that spending five hours on hold, getting cut off a couple of times and generally suffering this crap for the last few years was not the best way to encourage customer retention. I have to post their kit back to them when we’ve moved. I may do a huge dump in the box.

In an attempt to insert some crumb of house move positivity into this diatribe, Rebecca and Tom picked up their keys on Tuesday. They have already made great progress on the work that needs doing before they can move in but it is great to see them finally over the line. It has gone some way to dispelling the myth that house moves no longer happen and people just stay in a constant state of purgatory until everyone in the chain dies. Decorating has already happened, windows and doors are due to be fitted in the coming days and hopefully within a week or so they will be in and starting to get settled.

So next week I have three days off work because we might be moving house and there are things to do. Then again, we might not, but clearly, I just have to accept this as part of the game. If we are lucky and people fancy doing something to make it happen, the next blog you read will be from our new house. I won’t have broadband of course, so it’ll be some brief badly formatted thing done on my phone. I think I have said this most weeks since the summer (yes, this all started in the summer) but moving house should not be this difficult. The results are in….

Moving House 1 – Overweight Northern Blogger 0

Till the next time…..

Murdoch vs Branson. Call me!!

I have had a Sky induced strop this week.

Being a sensible, mature adult, even mid strop I knew that it was an over reaction, and not really that important, but it did not reduce the venom by which I did what everyone does now when they are angry….updated my Facebook status about it.

Friday saw some snow.  In fact it saw a lot of snow in these parts.  Thankfully, due to some work appointmentage in the bustling metropolis of Manchester earlier in the day, I was at home when it started rather than trying to battle my way home through it from the office.

Said appointmentage by the way was in a section of Manchester called the Northern Quarter.  This is the mecca for all things artsy and cool in Manchester, and indeed if you try to get in without a pair of converse and a pair of thick rimmed glasses there is a toll to pay.

I met with a design agency (get her!), and the office was pretty much the stereotypical version of what you might imagine it to be.  It was an old mill style building, with one of those old style pull the door shut industrial type lifts.  As I emerged into the office itself, I was immediately surrounded by retro cool jumpers and sarcastic T-shirts.

In no way stereotypical

If you weren’t an Apple Mac computer or stripped wooden floorboard you were no use to them.

Anyway, the meeting was productive, the people were actually lovely, talented and very useful so all was well.  I took my uncool M&S bedecked torso back into the real world, where I didn’t need to try so hard to be cool.

So there I was back at home mid afternoon, cracking on with some work, watching the first flakes of snow hit the ground.  It soon turned into a fair deluge, and traffic thinned as the roads got worse and worse.

Anywho, such a sad sham is my life that one of the highlights of my week is the repeat of the series on TCM of Band of Brothers.  I mentioned it last week, but that shall not stop me repeating my high regard for this programme.  It starts at 9pm.

At 8.43pm I was told without any softening of the blow that no satellite signal was being received.  I took this as a personal attack, and uttered a phrase I often quote when bad luck befalls me.  “You couldn’t write this!”.

Our Sky dish is in a very lofty position, nowhere near any window, so I resorted to throwing snowballs at it in an attempt to dislodge the seven flakes of snow that were stopping me from watching my favourite programme.  Of course, nothing worked, and with no signal I couldn’t even record them for later.

Naturally, Band of Brothers appears to be the only series currently on TV that isn’t repeated at least four times throughout the week.  I even searched You Tube for the two episodes I was currently missing, but no joy.

My bottom lip knew no bounds as it protruded proudly to display my dissatisfaction with the world.

I constructed and dispatched a very strongly worded email to Mr Murdoch (or one of his underlings) outlining my outrage, and telling him that I wanted to cancel my contract forthwith, immediately and without delay.  No bugger has replied.

So I have spent the weekend on the Virgin web site, pricing things up.  It is pretty much like for like, but each have their pros and cons.  Virgin have faster broadband, cheaper phone (for us) and very similar TV.  Alas, one channel has stopped me from pressing the button on this change.

Virgin do not have Sky Atlantic.  We do not watch it a lot, but I know that sometime soon the new series of Game of Thrones is going to appear and if I can’t watch that there will be a similar meltdown.  Nothing comes between me and my dwarf sex and unlimited sword related bloodshed.

So that right there is a dilemma.  I am leaning towards Virgin on principle really.  It all depends now on who contacts me first, Murdoch or Branson.  Let battle commence!

Oh and to add insult to injury, Tesco phoned us on Saturday to cancel our delivery due to the snow.  Seriously, taking away food and Sky in the space of 24 hours is a risky business.  This has Falling Down written all over it.

Falling Down
Where is my delivery Mr Tesco?

To save the day my brother and sister in law invited us for tea on Saturday night to prevent us having to eat toothpaste sandwiches.  We had a delicious meal, and watched Dredd….in 3D on their clever new telly.

Emily in 3D
Emily in 3D

So Mr Murdoch I’ll have one of those fandangled 3D TVs as compensation for missing my programme, plus of course the box set of Band of Brothers!

Till the next time…..