14 March 2017

Making savings

Image result for when do £1 coins come out 

At the end of this month the new 12-sided bimetallic £1 coin makes its premiere appearance. The current pound coin was too easy to counterfeit apparently. Apart from being made of two metals and having many sides, the new one will have, among other things, milled or smooth edges on alternate sides and an image like a hologram that changes from a "£" symbol to the number "1" when the coin is seen from different angles.

You are advised to search deep into your sofa cushions, piggy banks, coat pockets, tooth fairy stashes, car compartments and anywhere else where you might horde coins, as the old pound coin will cease to be legal tender after 15 October.  You might be surprised just how much money you could be throwing away, if you don't.  Foreign tourists might also take note and trade them in at their local banks, as they probably still have the odd pound coins lurking in the midst of their travel paraphernalia in the hopes of returning to Britain one day.  I know I still have a motley collection of ancient US dollars, Italian Lira,  East German Marks, Yugoslavian Dinar and goodness knows what else which are now probably worthless. I doubt even as a collector they would be worth that much

Talking of throwing away money, I have just (sickeningly) discovered how much money I could have been throwing away over the last ten years .... enough to buy a new car or an extremely luxurious round-the-world  holiday. Yes, sickening. It would seem I have been paying something like £500 over the odds each year by not having a water meter. I have just been signing over £750 per year to the local Water Board without questioning it. Last week, a newspaper article highlighted the savings to be made by having a water meter and gave a link to check whether a meter could save you money. Living as I do now on my own, I did wonder, so I went online and even with gross exaggeration* of how many showers (14) I could possible take in a week and how many times I used the washing machine (10), flushed the toilet per day (20) or hosed the garden, I still could make savings of about £500 per year. 

*I stress these are gross exaggerations - whoever has 14 showers in a week and flushes the toilet 20 times a day should surely have some serious hygiene and bladder problems!

Image result for water meter thames water I do recall at some murky point in the distant past that the water companies were offering water meters to their customers, but at the time, there were three of us living in the house, hubby was in the throes of his alcoholic meltdown, daughter was a teenager showering a lot and the dog was getting senile and weeing in his bedding every night which meant the washing machine was on at least once if not twice a day. My eye was taken off the ball. I suppose in my cynical frame of mind, I also discounted it as an advertising hype that would no doubt benefit the water companies more than the customers so I ignored it. More fool me. My total idiocy has been rectified: a surveyor came last week to decide where the meter should be located and it will be installed in the next few weeks. 

I feel a luxury holiday coming on......

06 March 2017

Seven years and still counting

It's seven years to the day  and to the hour since Greg died. Or to be even more precise 2,557 days (and nights) without him. Why do I still mark the anniversaries? Does a time ever come when the date arrives and I forget?  Immersed in something else? Or I don't even try to remember the date in the first place?  Someone once commented on this blog saying I'll know you are on the road to coping with Greg's death when you start a new blog, all about you, leaving the old one with its running ticker of days since Greg died to count on quietly by itself.  I've long since removed the ticker counter from the blog, but I still cannot yet remove the anniversaries. Will that ever happen, I wonder?

I  don't particularly want to remember his last five years on this earth, as they were truly horrible, so why do I need to savour that last day and make it stick in my brain in case I should ever forget? Is to punish myself for things not said or not done to stop it? I suspect it is because we had 35 years previously to that which were wonderful and it is THAT which I don't want to dust under the carpet.  He was a good man. Kind and understanding to all he met. He would give the shirt off his back to help someone or defend them if unfairly wronged. A good father. A good husband.  He was not bad, only the alcoholism. I try to remember him as I first met him and not as he was when I said my last goodbye.

For the first time in seven years, Kay is with me (on a week's leave) to mark the occasion. We shall go to the chapel of rest together and lay flowers and look at the book of remembrance. She too still feels the pain of those last years, although our anger has mellowed. Ironically she is now working for two months on the liver ward of a large teaching hospital in London and seeing many cases of, you've guessed it, alcoholic liver damage. She's got past the stage of being upset about it. If anything, she is more understanding than any of the other doctors, because she grew up knowing how hard it is for an alcoholic to give up the alcohol. Alcohol becomes the master and the alcoholic is the slave. If anything, in Greg's case, alcohol was the one who gave him up.  It had no further need of him. He was wasted, done with, of no further use. It took what it wanted from him and then spat him out on an intensive care bed with a flat-line on the monitors. It's knowing he didn't deserve that which drives me on to remember him as he was and to keep on remembering.