What it’s like living in England: bank support chat line

Online chat at bank – problems with PIN since at least November 2013
– names changed. This is really what it’s like living here:

An advisor will be with you shortly.
While waiting to be connected, don’t forget you might still be able to find the answer to your question and many more by using our ‘Help 24×7’.
During this chat you will not be asked for any details from your Card-Reader.
Please note if any personal information is given, it will only be used with regards to this specific enquiry and will not be used for any other purpose.
You are currently number 1 in the queue.
You are now connected with an adviser.

Jane: Hi, you’re chatting with Jane. How may I help you?
MM: How can I phone you please? I have been trying for weeks to get a pin unlocked, long story, and today yet again I was given advice which didn’t work (unlock pin only at the XBank, not at Tesco – Tesco machines don’t always work). Yet again, Pin is locked!
MM: Before Christmas they promised me a new pin in the post, but it never came.
MM: It turned out they had two different addresses, in Germany and UK, for me (but both should work)
Jane: Hi M
MM: Went to XBank this week and they cleared up the address problem and said PIN OK
MM: Hi Jane!
Jane: A couple of moments please while I read the above
Jane: Are you still getting the message pin locked when inserting the card in the reader?
MM: Yes, exactly, just now. After ‘unlocking’ it at XBank machine outside XBank in Upminster this afternoon
Jane: Okay as you are still experiencing issues I can order a new card on the account
MM: This will take weeks again, won’t it? I’ll have to wait for the new PIN etc.
Jane: Your replacement debit card will be with you in 5-7 working days.
MM: It took weeks when I first got it because no one told me I need an e-card-reader.
Jane: I am very sorry you have experienced this issue
I will do as much as I can rectify this today
MM: That sounds like the best way to go. Can I arrange a payment online, or shall I just wait?
MM: While I’m moaning, sorry about this, not your fault, I must add
MM: that in December I went to the branch and they told me the e-card-reader needs the online pin, not the card pin. This was wrong!
Jane: In the meantime you can call us so we can arrange payments out from the account for you M
MM: And today I phoned XBank, can’t find the phone number any longer, and they told me my mistake had been to unlock the pin at Tesco.
MM: I just want to make one payment, it isn
MM: isn’t urgent, but it would calm me down and I could forget about XBank for a week
Jane: So I can have the issue resolved asap
Jane: Can you please confirm your full name?
MM: MM, attorney for GRM
Jane: Would you like me to leave the current card on the account active?
MM: It’s not necessary if I can just make that one payment by phone, perhaps, or via you
MM: It isn’t my bank, just PoA for my aged brother, don’t use card much (obviously, the PIN doesn’t work!)
Jane: Okay of course you will be able to make the payment over the phone and I have left the card active so you can still use to make purchases etc
MM: Thanks, Jane – can you tell me the phone number please
Jane: Of course
Please find the contact details for our Personal Telephone Banking team below:

Open 24 Hours a day. Calls may be recorded.
Jane: The card has been ordered to the address above
MM: Thanks very much
Jane: A pleasure to help
Jane: Are you happy that I have fully and correctly answered all of your questions today?
MM: Yes, absolutely.
Jane: Great
Jane: Thanks for chatting with me and have a fantastic day.
Please click here to end our chat and let me know your thoughts on the service you have received.
Jane: I would be grateful if you could take a moment of your time to complete the attached survey in connection with the service I have provided today.
MM: OK, I suppose it will appear

Buried in their own garden

I have a feeling this wouldn’t work in Germany, although you can apparently bury your cat in the garden there, if the garden belongs to you.

The Natural Death Centre, a charity for natural burials, provides useful advice on the practicalities of grave digging on its website: “If you are digging a grave yourself, you need to be careful and have help. If you are fit and enthusiastic, it should take about three hours work to dig a four foot deep grave.

“Try and shore up the first two feet of the grave so that it is supported when the mourners stand around it, and work steadily so that you don’t strain yourself. You might want to take a bucket to stand on so that you can get out of the grave at the end of a tiring day!”

What cooking pot is this? (photos)

Apologies for lack of posting, especially on legal topics.

In the course of clearing out part of a house, I came across a pot which looks as if it should be fitted on top of some other device. It has liquid in the bottom, like a bain marie pot, but in the top too. Can anyone tell me what it is? Google image search has not yet solved it.

Exciting crime in Fürth/Baumfrevel

In case anyone’s missed it, a tree attacker has been at work in this area – in four areas in fact – partially sawing through about sixty young trees in December – which has now come to light. The tool used was apparently a Japanese hand saw, which makes slender cuts. In Germany you can see the contribution on the quer TV programme, where a number of people were interviewed in the Stadtpark, and one town worker speculated that anyone who killed all these trees probably hates trees because his or her family members were killed by trees falling on them. More convincing was the forensic psychologist’s idea that it was possibly someone who worked for the town(s), possibly with responsibility for the trees, was then sacked and feels powerless, compensating by damaging trees.
Picture and commentaries on the quer blog (one of the commenters even remembers someone who was moved from a position in Nuremberg after a public outcry following a removal of trees on the Wörder See).

Winter bird count/Die Stunde der Wintervögel

Stunde der Wintervögel. Birds spotted by me in the Stadtpark (lower level) on Sunday from 13.10 to 14.10 (largest number at one time) in a break from the rain, river running high, no sun:

Blackbird Amsel 7
Fieldfare Wacholderdrossel 1
Magpie Elster 3
Blackheaded gull Lachmöwe 4
Mallard Stockente 7
Coot Bläßhuhn 2
Moorhen Teichhuhn 2
Greylag geese Graugans 39
Great tit Kohlmeise 2
Bluetit Blaumeise 150
Tree sparrow Feldsperling 2
Carrion crow Rabenkrähe 7

The online list to register these birds is heavily garden-biased. Thank goodness I didn’t see any peacocks. Here are the most common birds in (a mere) 182 Fürth gardens a year ago (but the results for this year do show the greylag geese – don’t know where the Canada geese had gone):

House sparrow Haussperling
Great tit Kohlmeise
Blackbird Amsel
Bluetit Blaumeise
Greenfinch Grünfink
Tree sparrow Feldsperling
Magpie Elster
Jay Eichelhöher
Robin Rotkehlchen
Chaffinch Buchfink
Nuthatch Kleiber
Carrion crow Rabenkrähe
Collared dove Türkentaube
Great spotted woodpecker Buntspecht
Wood pigeon Ringeltaube
Goldfinch Stieglitz
Rook Saatkrähe
Long-tailed tit Schwanzmeise
Siskin Erlenzeisig
Crested tit Haubenmeise

The British equivalent is called the Big Garden Birdwatch

What they say about Transblawg/Spamkommentare bereinigt

People who want a link must know a lot:

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Now if I were spending New Year’s Eve in Fürth, which I haven’t for the last twelve years or more, I could see if they still shoot rockets horizontally from first-floor balconies and I could possibly upload a video, but failing that, I will have to think about adding great photos (as opposed to just photos).

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While I am getting on with the work of which I may have taken on too much, here are some notes and links.

1. The Kirchweih has started

This is appropriate, as today is October 3, a German public holiday – or rather, yesterday was – and apparently that is being merged with the Oktoberfest outside Germany – or so says Wortistik, reporting from Marbella.

Jetzt hätte man den armen Leutchen von der Tourismusbehörde natürlich erklären können, dass in Deutschland der 3. Oktober überhaupt nicht gefeiert wird, sondern wenn überhaupt dann festlich begangen, und das auch nur an einem einzigen Ort, nämlich da, wo gerade des Föderalismus wegen die Bundesratspräsidentschaft liegt und damit auch die Verantwortung zur Ausrichtung des Festakts – aber muss man das wirklich erklären?

Unfortunately I failed to locate the Orgelpark (sorry about that, Trevor), though I walked round the area twice.

2. ‘Chip shop owner battered man’. More here.

3. I am a bit envious of those who go on comedy courses.