Scrabulous

I’m presently taking a break between work contracts, which fits in nicely with the busy run up to Christmas. It’s good that, when I’m so busy on the evenings and weekends, that I can chill out a bit on week days. However, my new-found gentleman of leisure status does afford me the opportunity to indulge in some idle pastimes.

The latest one is playing Scrabulous – an online scrabble game on Facebook – against one of my friends. They’re certainly not the fastest games on the planet – mostly taking about 3 hours to complete – but it’s a nice distraction that fits around doing chores at home.

Catalogue of errors

You wouldn’t believe the amount of grief I’ve been experiencing from NTL (also known as UPC) over the last week or so.

I called them a couple of weeks ago, to get my digital TV subscription moved from to my new address. And as part of the deal, I wanted to also order Broadband internet and a DVR (hard disk recorder). Now originally I was told this could all happen on the same day, but a week later when I was informed of the dates, the single install had turned into three separate appointments on three separate mornings.

The digital TV would be installed on the Wednesday, the broadband would come on the Saturday, and the DVR would arrive on the Monday. It didn’t seem like the best use of resources to spread the work out over three different appointments, but I was happy for them to go ahead. Only that, so far it’s been a bit of a nightmare.

Wednesday 5th December
Appointment slot 9.00am – 1.00pm to install digital TV – installation engineer arrives at 10.30am, and everything goes smoothly.

Saturday 8th December
Appointment slot 9.00am – 1.00pm to install broadband – engineer fails to arrives, nobody calls to apologise or explain what’s going on, and getting through to customer care is impossible because they’re flooded with calls from people wanting to view some premium boxing match event.

Monday 10th December
Eventually get through to customer care about the broadband, and they tell me that the install was cancelled by the engineer that installed the digital TV on Wednesday, because he says I didn’t want broadband any more. This is a complete lie, as we never even discussed broadband. But I let it go and accept a new appointment on Thursday.
Appointment slot 9.00am – 1.00pm to swap digibox for DVR – wrong engineer arrives at 11.00am. He’s been sent to fix a fault rather than doing an install, and has no DVRs with him. He says he will get an installation engineer to call later in the day, but this doesn’t happen. And when I get through to customer care again, they rebook the install for the next day.

Tuesday 11th December
2nd appointment 9.00am – 1.00pm to install DVR – and the wrong engineer arrives again. Just like the day before, the guy who turned up was sent to fix a fault rather than install a DVR – so he goes away without doing any work. I call NTL again, and they apologise for the (three) messed-up appointments, and promise that my DVR will definitely arrive the next morning. I ask to confirm that the broadband install is still happening on Thursday, and am told that there’s no appointment noted on the system for Thursday, and am instead offered an install on Friday.

Wednesday 12th December
3rd appointment to install DVR – stay tuned to see if this actually happens.

Thursday 13th December
2nd appointment to install Broadband – glad that I asked about this, as I’d have waited in again, only for nobody to show up.

Friday 14th December
3rd appointment to install Broadband – stay tuned to see if this actually happens.
So, all in all, that’s a total of seven different appointments made, instead of the initially-stated one.

New Year

Gosh – look at that… it’s September tomorrow. Where did the summer go?

Those lazy Sunday mornings with nothing to do were certainly a welcome novelty for a while there, but I guess that – just like every other cathedral lay clerk out there – I’d better dust down my vocal chords and prepare myself for the start of a new term.

The holidays – such as they were with the dreadful weather we all had this year in the British Isles – are now over, and most of the cathedral choirs will be starting back over the next week.

Frightened-looking young boys and girls will be joining treble lines, equally frightened-looking choral and organ scholars will be finding their feet, seasoned lay clerks will be re-establishing their routine, and directors of music up and down the country will be bracing themselves for yet another year of blood, sweat, and tears in the year ahead.

And why do we all do it? Well I guess there’s any number of personal motivations, but at the heart of it we love all share a passion for church music.