Follow one crying eye on

Mrs Angry


I may be of a generally grumpy disposition, but I am not usually angry. In fact, my resignation to some of life’s inconveniences or unfairnesses may sometimes be a negative trait, as it means I don’t strive for change when that might be useful.

This week, however, I have found myself strutting around on my high horse over two separate issues. (Strutting?  Maybe even cantering.)

Firstly, a ridiculous situation at a regatta where Mr J was competing in two events. He has won so many pots and medals over the years and I have seen so much racing and shouted so many hoarse and unladylike encouragements, that I generally don’t go along to support any more. But, despite the inconvenience of an early start – necessitating dragging myself out of bed at a time I rarely see unless there is the promise of the seaside – this time I decided to go along for the ride. 

The double were due to race first – that is Mr J and his partner Chris. The rules stated that competitors had to locate their opposition before going afloat, to ensure that there was no hanging around at the start of the race waiting for late-comers. After a small search, the oppo were found, both boats were carried down to the water and Mr J and Chris set off as the other crew began clambering into their boat. Quite a long wait ensued. Perhaps there had been a delay. I took the opportunity to wander around the boating area a little and by chance I overheard someone talking to Race Control. It seemed they were from the other crew who were supposed to be racing Mr J. At this point, I suppose I should just have walked away and not become involved, but I genuinely thought I could help. 

It seems that the unfortunate crew who were due to race against Mr J and Chris had realised, after going afloat, that there was a problem with the way their boat had been rigged, so they took their boat out of the water and didn’t proceed to the start. Our brave fellows were unaware of this and presumably paddling around in a holding pattern up beyond the start, unable to return or compete. Annoying in itself I suppose, but Mr J was in fact due to race again in his single scull. There should have been plenty of time for him to do both events, but with this unexpected hold-up he was in real danger of missing the time-slot for his single race and being disqualified.

I tried womanfully to explain this to Race Control. The man in charge was having none of it and viewed my womansplaining with a blank look of superiority. A female official by his side, handing out race numbers (and prizes, we later discovered) looked at me with what I took to be sympathy, but she was clearly not empowered to sway Mr Race Control. Unbeknownst to me, the doubles crew opposition had been advised to go afloat again and make their way to the start, thus delaying Mr J yet further from his later race.

I made similar explanations to the woman marshall who was officiating at the riverside as the sculler who was supposed to be Mr J’s single opposition was attempting to go afloat. Both these parties seemed sympathetic and understanding of the situation, but Mr Race Control advised via radio that the single sculler should go ahead and wait for his opponent – and if Mr J didn’t turn up within the next 5 minutes he would be disqualified. Apparently they didn’t know where Mr J was! I was incensed. I had pointed out exactly where Mr J was and explained precisely the situation. The marshall didn’t know what to say –  I promise I didn’t shout or swear, but I was completely certain that Mr J would more than make up for that on his return, so I made a few energetic remonstrances. To no avail.

In fact, our heroes had their race and returned victorious, and Mr J was surprisingly relaxed about his disqualification from the second event. My own anger and frustration had initially been based on the premise that he was being held pointlessly at the start for one race which would not take place (although of course mercifully it did), whilst simultaneously failing to turn up for a second race. Latterly, of course, I was furious that I had been comprehensively and blatantly ignored. I began to explain all this – in increasingly heated terms – to our conquering heroes, at which point Mr J laughingly pointed out that this was a rare occasion when he was keeping his cool rather better than I was. Fair.

We let it go, but I noticed, as the medals were later handed over by the nice lady in the Control tent, a gently knowing look in my direction on her part. I didn’t rise to it – no point. We’ve got too many medals in the house anyway! 

My second high horse episode is proving harder to dismiss – and in fact has just contributed to an uncharacteristic failure to remember what I was supposed to be doing this morning! (So there’s another reason to be annoyed because I’ve missed out on a singing workshop I was looking forward to attending!)

After many years of use for practically every purchase I make, my John Lewis Partnership card is being cancelled from the end of October. I realise this is nothing personal – they are changing provider and closing down their old cards. Fair enough, I thought at first.

Then I started seeing comments on Twitter that long-standing customers were being refused the new credit card or given tiny credit limits. Like me, they typically described using their card for everything, supporting a high credit limit in the past and paying off the balance in full every month. I returned to the email I had received and checked all the details on the existing card website and realisation dawned.

It turns out that I have to apply for the new card as though I am a completely new applicant, with no consideration given to my existing credit limit, my purchasing history or my loyalty. As a lady of leisure (hahaha), having jacked in my lovely salary and living largely on my savings and tiny unscheduled amounts of self-employment income, I realise this is not the best time to try and persuade a new organisation that I should have a large credit limit. I did not expect to need to do so.

My existing John Lewis Partnership card has a high limit, and it gives me John Lewis/Waitrose vouchers as a form of cash back. Because of these advantages, earlier this year I chose to keep this one and use it for everything from the smallest coffee purchase to the largest holiday booking, cancelling another card I rarely used but which had an even higher credit limit so as to reduce the number of accounts which could potentially be open to fraud etc. The end date on my Partnership card was way into the future and my impeccable repayment record would guarantee its continuance – or so I assumed at the time of cancelling the other card.

So now the loss of my credit card feels much more personal. This is most definitely a first world problem and I need to get a grip, but I’ve become consumed with irritation as I surf social media for further irate comments and feed off other people’s apoplexy. Yes it will affect my day to day life if I cannot get another card with a similar limit, but not in any truly existential way. Still I bridle (from my high horse! What is it with these equine references? I don’t even like horses.) at my treatment.

Oh dear, now I’ve just seen a suggestion on Trustpilot or some such similar e-place I currently seem to be frequenting, that we orchestrate a sit-in at one of the John Lewis stores to vent our collective spleens on this matter. The mind boggles at the very thought of all those smart, middle-aged, sensibly-shoed and usually mild-mannered protesters waving ‘unaccustomed-as-we-are’ neatly painted and correctly spelled banners (on unbleached natural fabrics, of course) in the faces of bewildered JL partners in the Sewing, Knitting & Crafts section, or – heaven forbid – in the nearest Waitrose Fine Wines aisle.

I think I’ll just stay at home and think of suitably pithy new anti-slogans for JL to replace their recently retired ‘Never Knowingly Undersold’ strapline. (Rather Knowingly Underhand? Never Caught in my Underpants?  – Clearly getting silly and deranged now.)

I could have done with a good sing this morning.

Rantity, rantitty, RANT!

Postscript – I’ve realised, after a brief walk to the shop and back, that my ‘anger’ in both the instances described above is mainly a frustration at my own impotence. I’m unable to make myself heard. I’m also faced with facts which I cannot change. The rules of the regatta were different depending on the category of racing – quite fairly so, as it happens – and thus the double who missed their start were not disqualified, but the single sculler was. (There was no subsequent race for the winner of the doubles class – it was a straight final of a race in an ‘assisted adaptive’ category meaning that each crew had one fully able-bodied competitor and one with an impairment – so there would be no unfairness arising from lack of time to prepare for that later race if the earlier winner had been delayed.) It was the lack of acknowledgement of what I was saying that got to me. And the lying about it too, I suppose.

Similarly perhaps,  John Lewis is within its rights (probably, although I may look this up just to be 100% sure!) to move to a different financial organisation to provide its credit card without rolling forward the benefits currently enjoyed by its existing customers, and I am just unfortunate – along with, I suspect, thousands of others of like circumstance – that their decision coincides with a point in my life when I no longer command the perks to which I have become accustomed. 

Enough, and cheer up! There’s pre-holiday ironing to do.



I’ve got style, at last

After agonising for weeks, and painting for days, I had reached something of an impasse in my redecoration attempt. I have finally banished the lilac walls under multiple layers of fresh white/grey paint (called some fancy name which currently escapes me without venturing back into the room where the nearly empty paint-pot sits – and I’m NOT going in there today), but I realised I still have no idea what to do with the floor or the window covering.

I consulted the previous occupant of the room (my daughter) but of course it is not really her choice or decision. Nice to have an opinion though, and that helped.

A discussion with Mr J ensued – not terribly helpful but I guess he tried. Anyway, I miraculously discovered that John Lewis do a free service offering style advice for home redecoration projects. Not something I would ever have noticed before I suppose. Once I had established that this would not tie me to anything at all, and that appointments were available almost immediately, I quickly booked myself in.

Yesterday, trudging through the rain into town, I wondered whether this was worth the effort, but in fact despite my damp feet and having to wear a mask at all times, it was glorious. I now know exactly what to do! It just takes a friendly person with a reasonably authoritative air to listen to me a bit (to judge which ludicrous ideas not to suggest to me too soon I suppose) and then come up with a few little suggestions and an offer to send samples and pictures. 

On returning home, I swiftly had Mr J on his knees sanding a corner of the floorboards. This established that it would be perfectly feasible to strip and oil these  (the floorboards, not his knees) – and that it would be infinitely better if we got someone in to do it. I have already made the request.

Funny how my lack of vision and inability to make decisions can sometimes be thwarted by an expert I’ve never met before.

She had pink hair.

Follow one crying eye on