Thursday, October 20, 2011

Deer, dreams and devious goings-on

Book News:

Today at Vulpes Libris, you can read all about dreams, dementia and devious goings-on in my review of Richard Mason's marvellous The Lighted Rooms. Definitely an author to get acquainted with, and I'm a long-term fan indeed.

Speaking of books, if you want to read about "a fantastical place where almost anything is possible" (as one reviewer puts it), then this book is the one to go for. It also has its own webpage too, which may well prove of interest to you. Live dangerously!...

Meanwhile at Untreed Reads, their literary romance line has big discounts until the end of October, and includes some of my own books, so buy early buy often. And I hope you enjoy the reads.

Recent meditation poems are:

Meditation 577

Better than wealth
or treasure or fame
or victory or life
is the quiet clarity
of wisdom.

The trick
in these shallow
delirious days
is to know
the difference.

Meditation 578
The richness of horses
is more valuable
than silver or gold.

They are as firm
as stone,
and as joyful as cedars

when they gallop
through the Egyptian fields,
encompassing the sun.

Life News:

It's been a very difficult two weeks at work, I have to say, due to an unfortunate accident involving two of our students, some of which, sadly, came to a head earlier this week. Our Director and a lot of the support team have been working all the hours God sends and more to offer the support and guidance needed, but it's not been easy. Most especially for the students and people concerned. As part of my job, I've been fighting a rearguard action behind the scenes to try to preserve the boss's time and put him where he's most needed when it's needed, and I think on the whole we've struggled through it all, but it's certainly taken its toll. Stupidly, I came off a difficult phone call yesterday when I was alone in the office as everyone else was out at an assortment of necessary meetings, and then started crying myself. Not a great position to be in. At that point, the new chaplain walked in - poor chap, he probably thinks he's come to a mad-house as he's only been here a month and has had to be part of the team dealing with more bad stuff than we've faced in the seven or so years since I've been here. He was very sweet though, and proved to be a great listener, so thank goodness he did come in, really. When I was back into my normal kick-ass-and-let's-get-this-done-now persona, I did try to convince him that things weren't usually this tricky and our biggest problem was usually students not exiting the building during fire drills, but I'm not sure he believed me. Hey ho. Anyway, huge respect for all the teams that have been working flat out recently, and I hope next week things start, slowly, to arrive at a more even keel ...

Back in the non-University world, my Tesco shopping has been delivered today (hurrah!) but I appear to have misunderstood the amount of kitchen rolls I've ordered. We now have enough to clear up the whole of the Lake District if it flows this way, but hey, as the lovely delivery man said, at least they don't go off. And I do appear to have moved on from over-ordering on the cheese, so I suppose it's progress.

I've also been fighting womanfully with the complexities of the British Gas customer service system. Yesterday they sent me an email asking me to read our meter and send them the numbers online. I jotted them down and then tried to log on, but their system refuses to accept either my Home Care number or my Customer number as valid, so I couldn't complete the task. I then tried to contact them using the Contact Us If You're Having Trouble button - but (grrrrr!) that won't work either if it won't accept your Home Care or Customer numbers. Deeeep sigh ... So I then tried to ring them but their message said they were too busy to answer my call and could I ring back tomorrow. Ho hum.

Today, I tried to ring again, but got the same message saying they were too busy to take my call. This time, I refused to be put off and hung on in the hope of some kind of resolution. Eventually the automated system suggested I key in my telephone number and they'd ring me back. I tried to do this but got the number wrong by mistake and it took me back to the position I'd just been in, saying it "wasn't a valid number." Hell, I know all about those - none of my numbers in relation to British Gas appear to be valid. After a while, I got through to a chappie and tried to give him my meter reading but he said he wasn't the right department and he'd have to send me elsewhere. So once again I was at the bottom of the pile and in a call waiting queue. Sigh. This time however, the automated system said I'd have to wait for ten minutes until I could speak to someone. As I'd already been struggling to contact British Gas for an evening and a morning, this seemed like a mere drop in the ocean of eternity, so I held on. Finally I reached someone in the meter reading department and he took my reading down. He then (bless his courage!) had the audacity to ask me why I didn't get our electricity through British Gas as well (which we don't). I told him that we used a separate provider for electricity as they were far easier to contact than British Gas and appeared to have a computer and phone system that worked, so why should I struggle with having to contact British Gas for two readings and bills when I could minimise my existential pain and only have to contact them about one. Well, he did ask ... He ended the call shortly afterwards - funny, that ...

I have then spent a lovely afternoon chatting to the neighbours, S & K, and taking tea and biscuits - as one does in Elstead, you know - so that definitely made me feel more human, hurrah.

And this week's nature highlight has been the wonderful sight of a roe deer running and bounding (literally) across the frosted field at the bottom of the garden while K and I were having breakfast. Total bliss. That really made my day.

Anne Brooke
The Thoughtful Corner

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