Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Of genuine woes and fraudulent transactions

Today provides one of those unusual mornings, at only 11.45 I feel almost awake; a rare instance indeed! Just over a week ago I intended to write a posting, more a catharsis for me than a word for others, but an intolerable lethargy weighed far too heavily. My scribbling that day went as follows :

“And wimpishness knows no bounds, the tears flow freely, the sinuses discharge an uninfected load as earth’s rotation slows right down A flood of fear and selfishness combines

A flood of fear
And selfishness
Knows no bounds –

The tears flow freely
And sinuses discharge
An uninfected stream

Of hopelessness …”

My brain seemed blocked; no words would flow until, some twenty-four hours later, the above emotion transmogrified into the following doggerel:

                                            Dog Errol

                                          It never pours
but when
there’s more
to follow.

Rain never follows
an unending drought.

If once a mouse
should catch a cat
the fox would say
I smell a rat

Whereas earlier in the year, despite all too familiar aches, pains, and wooly confusion, I managed to remain quite upbeat, by early March my reserves of emotional and physical stamina had fallen from their quite low plateau. Even the most modest exertion seemed to wipe me out. It was as if I had to make an exhausting conscious effort to persuade my legs to move in the right direction, as I ventured out into the hallway; this would occasionally be followed by a strenuous mental effort to remember why I’d headed there in the first place.

Earlier today it seemed as if the sun would make an appearance but, as I turn back towards the window, hailstones are flailing down from the heavens, their rebound, as they leave the ground, makes mockery of my prevailing inertia.

No sooner had I jotted down the previous paragraph than the sun, in full glory, burst through the residual cloud cover as grey skies turned to blue. The swiftness of this transition would be hard to believe were it not experienced first hand by one’s own senses. So, you may add, “your senses are working, even if much else of your corporeal being seems to be giving up on you. Why don’t you stop moaning?” the latter question I’ve frequently asked myself but, it’s far too easy to succumb to more negative attitudes when your feeling several degrees below an iffy par.


A gum infection, and accompanying toothache, really set me back and, as is its wont, the worst flare-up occurred on a Friday night and the dentist doesn’t work at weekends. Strangely, the pain seemed to emanate from beneath a crown; intellectually this made little sense as I knew that tooth had been root-filled many moons ago. The worst of the pain then presented itself under a wisdom tooth; when I had an emergency appointment with my dentist she noted that I nearly went through the ceiling when she tapped the offending tooth. She duly prescribed a course of antibiotics to combat the infection, halfway through which the pain seemed to have magnified, and with my somewhat iffy immune system sundry familiar ME symptoms returned to bite me, affecting my balance, brain fog, aching muscles, chronic IBS and diverticular disease symptoms seemed to think it was carnival time; they rejoiced as I slid further downhill.

I was feeling so dreadful that when I realized my beloved was going to visit her brother, and would be away overnight, the floods of tears mentioned at the beginning came into play. My only utterance, through my wimpish blubbering, to ma belle was that I was afraid that I was going to die alone.

Matters weren’t helped when an early morning ‘phone call wakened me from my fitful slumbers on the morning of ma belle’s departure. The call was from a credit card company suspecting there may have been a “fraudulent use” of my credit card and, I must contact them on an 0845 premium number. I went immediately to where I found an alternative number to contact card services. Just as well that I used a free number as I was talking to (or being talked at) the bank for 40 minutes when palpitations and breathlessness took over. My beloved fortunately had not yet set off, as she had to take over the conversation from me.

The annoying oiks on the banks end of the phone line endlessly repeated the same questions re a gambling website that I’d never heard of and had I made a £500 payment to that site on that morning. Although they acted on the basis that a fraud had been committed, somehow this payment had been accepted and would appear on my next statement. They then explained that in a fortnight they would be sending me a legal letter which I would have to sign to say I had not made this payment. The attitude of the people I spoke to left much to be desired, especially when dealing with people who have a chronic debilitating health condition. I was definitely made to feel that I was a prisoner in the dock being grilled by a particularly abrasive prosecution counsel.

The card was only renewed earlier this month and has never left the four walls wherein I live, breathe and have most of my being! It had only been used a couple of times online at companies with whom I have had regular secure transaction completed via a “verified by” security check so, one can only surmise that there is somebody either at the bank or one of these companies who has filched my card details.

Sorry for such a sustained moan but, it only serves to illustrate my roller-coaster ride.


Saturday, January 31, 2015

Revivified on Mal's Factory

I've just posted a NEW poem on Mal's Factory - 'The Yo-Yo Man' a rough draft of which had lain dormant on my hard-drive since 2006

Sunday, January 25, 2015

what's in a day

It seems, and logically must be, impossible to know what’s going to happen one day to the next. Whenever we arrange any kind of appointment it’s usually made in good faith but, circumstances can so often thwart the noblest intention. I’ve been feeling quite vulnerable, health-wise, with a recurrence of sudden onset sundry joint, muscle and lymph node pain.

It’s rather hard to describe how (what starts as) an acute breach of one’s pain threshold transforms itself into a prolonged groan and nausea inducing pulsating bruised sensation.  Occasionally the application of wrist, knee, elbow and shoulder supports provides temporary relief but at other times they have to be accompanied by taking a couple of tramadol. For a few days in the past week, with the aid of a little preventative pain-killer consumption, I seemed relatively free of the above aches and  discomfort; even my IBS symptoms were in temporary abeyance.

That should have seemed too good to last but, I so enjoyed the welcome break that, I was rather shocked when the above symptoms alongside others returned with a vengeance. A chest crushing response to sudden unexpected sounds, IBS, post-nasal drip, sore throat, loss of appetite and sudden pallor overwhelmed me yesterday, and I became quite frightened. My body imposed a regime of rest on me; I kept dozing off intermittently throughout the day even though I’d had my normal twelve plus hours of bed-rest, with intermittent but not necessarily refreshing sleep, as prelude to this ultra-discomforted day.

At present it seems as if my sundry prescribed medications are failing in their duty, reflux, post-nasal drip, IBS are all nagging me into acute awareness of their presence. I still am able to count my blessings, welcoming each new day to bask in the love of ma belle amoureuse, having a roof over my head, water on tap, essential heating,  and food in the larder. My heart goes out to all those less fortunate than myself.


This post also appears on Mal's Murmurings

Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Here’s Hoping that the NEW YEAR may become 

one in which
each Individual’s Need
is met 

(and Corporate Greed
is overcome!)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Not So Smart TV

Our move into Smart TV land has been nothing if not eventful. It has always been our practice to record one or other programme when confronted by a clash of timings, or simply an inconvenient programme timing, but more recently connecting tablet or laptop PC via HDMI to catch up on missed programmes. 

More recently we started to think of a smart TV, although not many of them had the major terrestrial channels [BBC iPlayer, ITV player, 4 on Demand, Demand 5] on Catch-Up. Eventually we decided to audition the Panasonic Viera 32" Smart HDTV, which each of these services but, unfortunately the local Panasonic store was finding that model difficult to obtain. Meantime having viewed several tech reviews online it seemed that contrast and blacks weren't a strong point of this range.

Having initially been disappointed by the lack of local availability, and seen these reviews determined me to look elsewhere for a Smart TV. Samsung offered access to all the aforementioned catch up services as standard so we ordered one to be collected from our local Waitrose store on Saturday. The only minor difficulty was the assembly of the TV stand but setup of all programmes and wireless internet connection went without a hitch. Picture quality was sharply excellent on HD channels, with rich deep dark colours where black was truly black, and we felt happy with our purchase.

On Monday a blue logo appeared on the right hand (as viewed) top corner reading "Book Me" next to a green dot. Once it had appeared it remained on screen no matter what channel I switched too. A search online disclosed that this was an all too familiar problem with Samsung Smart TV's, the sign appearing alongside any of the sundry BBC trailers. They first seemed became aware of it around the time of Wimbledon (a good five months ago) and I discovered that some users had the problem resolved via 'Remote Support'. I duly obtained a PIN for this service only to discover that the support office, which I had to phone, was only open between 9.00am and 6.00pm, so I was too late on that evening.

Prior to this I had registered the purchase with Samsung, online, full rigmarole of name, age, full postal address, date of purchase, specific TV model etc; even though the set was covered by an extended guarantee+accidental damage cover from the retailer.

The following day, after listening to what seemed endless adverts for sundry domestic products, I managed to get through to the appropriate support person. On getting through, I was asked to repeat all the information re. purchase, home address and more as Samsung Support evidently have no access to Samsung Registrations - a promising start! When I quoted the current personal PIN, displayed on the set, I was informed that their remote server was down so, they'd have to talk me through a procedure for 'Factory Reset' which would sort out the problem. 

With the set in standby mode I had to press three buttons (Info, Menu, Mute or something like that) and then switch on the TV. Twice this exercise failed in bringing up a panel on the left side of the screen and just displayed the normal picture. Third attempt was successful and the panel, from which I had to select 'Options', appeared. Next I entered 'Factory Reset' and had to repeat the whole set-up procedure.

By this time my beloved took over the 'phone as I was getting really stressed (verging on a full-blown panic attack), and she was given a personal support reference number which would speed up the process in the event of further problems. 

Next day it seemed, at first, as if the problem was well and truly solved but the message did briefly flash up on two or three occasions but quickly disappeared. At lunchtime today the infamous "Book Me" logo re-appeared and stubbornly remained in situ, even when we changed channels. My darling OH decided to 'phone the support line again and quoted the personal reference number given, to speed up the process but, she was also asked name, full postal address, model of TV, when purchased etc. The person then suggested to input the same keys as we'd already applied two days earlier, which I'd fortunately written down in sequence, and ma belle quoted back at him. At this point he decided that it was a faulty set and we should return it to the retailer for refund or exchange.

Judging by the (apparently) common occurrence of this problem a refund seemed the obvious option as this rigmarole had exhausted both of us; at tea-time I disassembled the stand and repackaged the TV ready for return.Two further trips were made to the store as I realized, when setting up (once again) our old UnSmart HD ready Sony Bravia, that I'd still got the power cord for the Samsung. No sooner had my beloved set off with the power cord than I also discovered a smart card adapter and extended IR cable belonging to the offending not too smart Samsung product.

This evening, as I told a friend of these problems, the friend asked if it was a Samsung as their inlaws had a more expensive model pack up twice within about twelve months of purchase - a capacitor having blown on each occasion. At least I've forestalled such future problems.

Sunday, October 26, 2014


Strange how putting the clock back an hour can make one feel capable of regaining time; if only! To be honest though, it’s the very fleetingness of time that I’m still struggling to come to terms with.

As a child it feels as if the next summer holiday, Christmas Day, or even the weekend, can’t ever come soon enough. Confined to the schoolroom, the hours of each day hang leadenly as you watch real life going on at the other side of the window. Mind you this slower passage of time also provided greatly extended hours of play, leaving one exhausted long before the day was done.

These days, after a long night’s unrefreshing sleep and restlessness, that state of exhaustion seems to accompany almost any small task; perhaps it’s not really exhaustion but rather an aching void replacing that illusive space where stamina reserves should be accumulated.

When one’s sundry aches and pains are playing neurological havoc it’s easier to understand the lack of stamina but, this physically aching void doesn’t even seem to require these more tangible ailments. Mind you the IBS, diverticular disease, rhinitis etc; are always lurking just below the surface.

The lower my stamina reserves, the tetchier I become and, whatever reserves are there explode in bursts of angry expletives. I don’t deny that I’ve always had a bit of a temper, the outbursts often justifiable on socio-political grounds, but the frequency of expletives in my occasional outbursts seems to have grown exponentially. Anger stems from frustration, frustration from limitations on both physical and emotional stamina.The truly ridiculous thing is that these outbursts leave me feeling more drained.

Although these aching voids can sometimes feel like an eternal punishment, days (and even years) have passed by so swiftly, as if to emphasize the weight of spiritually / emotionally good days I must be having. Any day spent with my beloved is wonderfully worthwhile, even if I’m not always the best of company.

So little time, and so much I want or intend to do. I’ve put the clocks back but, sadly, I cannot put back time.