Thursday, November 25, 2010

A rollercoaster week

Life News:

Lordy, what a week. Some of it has been really, really nasty and some of it really nice. First off, we have sacked our estate agents, Mann Countrywide in Godalming. They deceived us in terms of not honouring their marketing promises, ie they didn't give us the formal weekly report during the four weeks we've been with them, and they don't, contrary to the brochure, pick you up for any viewings you arrange through them, in case you're wondering what those promises might have been. In addition they lied twice about putting our property in the Surrey Advertiser. When we complained about this, they didn't respond adequately, and apparently there's been a huge staff change-round between offices, and they have a new manager, James. Frankly, however, that's not our problem and we don't much care. We sent an official complaint last Friday, asking for the name of their Ombudsman. They ignored it. James rang on Saturday, apparently about something else, and we complained again. He asked for the email which he allegedly hadn't received and we sent it again. We made an arrangement for him to visit us last night with an explanation and details of who to complain to.

Last night, James arrived late, but not dishonourably so. I didn't offer him any drink, as I didn't want to. Why waste good coffee? He started to give a lot of marketing spiel about how it wasn't his fault and there'd been staff changes, but I stopped him saying I didn't want to hear any gubbins and he needed to get straight to the point. He didn't much like that. Tough. Interestingly he'd brought the last week's formal report for us to view - ie the only one we've ever seen. It was incorrect - it said that our flat had been in last week's Surrey Advertiser (it hadn't) and it said it had also been in this week's. How he knows that is anyone's guess as the Surrey Advertiser doesn't come out till tomorrow. I pointed out the factual errors. He began to bluster, again saying it wasn't his fault. He then accused me of lying about it not being in the Surrey Advertiser last week and asked if I'd apologise to him when I found out I was wrong. Understandably, neither I nor K took kindly to that. I don't appreciate being called a liar in my own home, or indeed anywhere else. He repeated his view that he was new in the role and it wasn't his fault. K pointed out that our first complaint had been sent on Friday (and ignored) and Friday was the start of his managerial watch at the firm, and he should therefore learn how to take responsibility, without excuses.

We repeated (for the third time of asking) our request that he provide us with the details of the property ombudsman so we could make an official complaint about Mann's actions. He refused to do so. We pointed out that, for all intents and purposes, our contract with Mann was over forthwith, as they had lied to us on at least two occasions and had not fulfilled their side of the contract. He refused to accept that, saying that we had signed a 10-week contract and we were therefore breaking it. The argument went on until he finally agreed that today (Thursday) he would send us an email by 12noon bringing the contract to an end. All the time, he was continuing to bluster and make excuses (not great customer service then ...), but when we'd agreed the contract was over, I asked him to leave and said we had no wish to have any further dealings with him. He left, slamming the door. Good manager then, um not ... Luckily the door appears unharmed, as otherwise we would have been adding the cost of any repair to our complaint also.

This morning, at 11.15am, James sends us a very high-handed email saying that he has decided to bring our contract to an end. So, the sad man, he still hasn't realised he's already broken it, and it's our decision to end it, and not his. And he still hasn't given us the details of who to complain to, even though it must be at least for the 6th time of asking. He can't be very good at (a) reading or (b) listening then ... However, the good news is that my lovely FB friends (thank you!) have sent me the link to the Property Ombudsman so I suspect I may well be forwarding those to James, as he obviously hasn't a clue who they are ... I also suspect he's going to find out pretty soon.

Meanwhile, the difficulties I've been having with AXA PPP and the Guildford Clinic - who basically seem to be using me as a go-between for their own financial disputes (not a great place for a patient to be in) - has gone some way to being resolved. I tweeted earlier in the week about how bad they were, and some Twitter AXA person got hold of it and has been sorting it out. Which just goes to show that the Internet does work, on occasion. The upshot is that they are going to pay the Guildford Clinic in spite of telling the Clinic they weren't (which resulted in my consultant's office sending me a very upsetting letter that I did not appreciate in any way), partly because they have on the phone twice promised me that they would pay the claim. Now it transpires that they're doing it ex-gratia, and will not cover me for similar necessary consultations again, as they say I have no symptoms. Bollocks, say I. As the medical profession has already noted, my symptoms are depression, hormonal imbalances and endometriosis - I'm not sure how any of them aren't a symptom, so I am distinctly not happy about how AXA are interpreting the rules, and I don't accept it. Watch this space ... I must say K's previous medical insurers were a million times better and far more pleasant to deal with than this. I only wish his firm hadn't changed them.

Anyway, seeing as I'm in the middle of getting rid of the rubbish in my life, I have terminated my MySpace account, as MySpace is now so dull as to be virtually comatose. Yawn. It's a relief to be rid of it. But, really, no wonder I'm back on the gin ...

And, tonight, K and I are off to the theatre to see Richard III, so am hoping for dark drama and angst. Hell, it's what I'm used to here in the twilight zone. But I bet bloody Richard hasn't had the bloody week I've had - his life is a walk in the park compared to mine!...

Book News:

Ooh look, we've got to the 'something nice' section, hurrah! I was thrilled to hear that the reason that the edits for The Gifting have apparently been a little delayed (though to be honest I hadn't even noticed) was that the editor was enjoying the story too much. Gosh! Glorious words for a writer to hear, I can tell you. Also, the lovely people at Bluewood Publishing have accepted my lyrical short story, Dido's Tale, for publication so I have been busy signing the contract and thinking about blurbs and cover art today. What fun!

Other excitements are that there's a one-day Thanksgiving sale on FRIDAY 26th at Untreed Reads so don't forget to pick up a bargain or two there tomorrow. And for November only there's 20% off the first 2 orders at Dreamspinner Press with the code HolidayDreams, so go on - make this stressed-out and potentially homeless writer's weekend a happier one. You know you want to ...

Meanwhile, at Vulpes Libris, you can read my review of Barbara Pym's A Glass of Blessings, which is a beautifully understated novel of quietness and kindness. Which I really could have done with this week - note to self: must read more Pym ... Anyway, I can very much recommend the read.

This week's meditations are:

Meditation 466
Murder being once done,
you may as well
make a strange habit of it

ensuring that in all journeys
you’ll at least
get a seat in the carriage.

Meditation 467

Beneath apparent love,
instead of silence or prayer
the politics of destruction appear

so sword and fire,
blood and weeping
dwell here.

Meditation 468

It all boils down
to the politics of land:
who possesses it
and who doesn’t.

Nobody imagines
that the skies,
the earth, the air
might actually be God’s.

Anne Brooke

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