The view from my window

The view from my window
The view from my window

Friday 12 June 2020

I'm getting hammered here!

And I don't mean drunk (although that wouldn't be totally unknown). No, I mean the bills have just been rolling in these past couple of days. Not unexpectedly, and I plan for them over the year anyway, but wow! I got the satellite dish replaced on Monday (€152). Then the chimney sweep came on Tuesday (€70), which frankly is money for old rope since I haven't used my fireplace in over 10 years, so five minutes vacuuming and it cost me €70, but since my house insurance isn't valid without it I had to do it. I received my fuel bill yesterday (€770), then my water bill for six months (€103), which isn't excessive by any means but still. And then my tax guy's office sent me a message to say I'll be getting the official bill from the tax people for 2019 (almost €17,000) any day now and then my monthly direct debit for taxes for 2020 will kick in at the same time!!! So yeah, I'm getting hammered. As I say, thankfully I plan for all this stuff (except the satellite dish) but it would be nice if they took the foot off the pedal a bit!

Then yesterday I got another "telemarketing" call on my house phone, which I ignored of course. So the same number then rang on my mobile. This has been happening for a few days so I figure anyone that has my mobile I'd better answer, so I did. Turns out it was a telemarketer from SFR, my internet provider who I negotiated a new deal with last week. I knew instantly it was telemarketing though as he called me by my married name and everything has been changed to my maiden name for years now. The killer was, though, that this guy was obviously a French-speaking African. Not north African (Maghreb) - they're easier to understand - other African, and he was just so difficult to understand! In the end I had to say to him that I wasn't French and was having a hard time so could he please speak more doucement. Now doucement (gently) is usually taken to mean "slower", but he obviously took it to mean "quieter" 'cos that's what he did. So I've got this guy who sounds like a French-speaking Robert Mugabe on steroids whispering at me now and I'm thinking why oh why did I answer this bloody call? I eventually figured out that he was trying to sell me antivirus software for my computer/phone etc so I was able to whisper back at him that I had just quite genuinely renewed my Norton subscription on 31 May. Damn, I hate telemarketers to begin with but it's even worse when you end up playing Chinese whispers!

In other news would you believe I've actually clocked up 500 miles walked since the beginning of the year!!!! I know! I wouldn't have thought it either. I was doing so well at the beginning of the year towards my 1,000 Miles in 2020 challenge and then the pandemic hit and I was scuppered (or so I thought). Obviously I couldn't get out and about in lockdown so I just had to put on my pedometer every morning and do what I could, but continuing to log the km/miles walked every night was a motivation to be more active around the house and garden (except for last week, of course). I'm pretty pleased and now going to give it my best to get the next 500 miles in by 31 December. I have also been good at keeping to my "one extra hour a day of getting something done" pledge (although it's only day two - ha!). I actually worked in the garden for two hours today and it's quite motivating once you get started, although a word to the wise. You know that compost I was making from damp grass clippings, well don't dump it around the tomato plants by the kitchen door. Damn that stuff stinks!

I saw an article in the British press today on the fact that France's covid numbers continue to fall one month after the easing of the lockdown. There are obviously still new cases and more deaths (28 today I think), but the trajectory is even better than the government had dared to hope. Compare that to the numbers in the UK (over 40,000 deaths so far as compared to 29,000 in France for an equivalent population size) and I think it shows that the French pretty much got it right implementing a strict lockdown quickly as compared to the way the UK reacted. In fact, when you compare per capita deaths (and I actually know what that means Mr. Trump), the UK is doing worse than the US so far, although the pandemic is far from over in the US either. What's more I saw that Trump's team are making it a part of the terms and conditions of attendance at Trump's upcoming rallies that if attendees get sick and/or die of covid through attending his rallies they are not allowed to sue him!!!! Now frankly if you're stupid enough to attend a mass rally or concert during a pandemic you shouldn't be allowed to sue anyone, but to put it in writing? Wow. The guy never ceases to amaze!

And to end on a less serious note, I saw this joke today and while it's a bit long, it actually made me laugh out loud!

Two Aussie builders (Keith & Ken) are seated either side of a table in a rough pub when a well-dressed man enters, orders a beer and sits on a stool at the bar.
The two builders start to speculate about the occupation of the suit.

Ken: - I reckon he's an accountant.

Keith: - No way - he's a stockbroker..

Ken: - He ain't no stockbroker! A stockbroker wouldn't come in here!

The argument repeats itself for some time until the volume of beer gets the better of Ken and he makes for the toilet.
On entering the toilet he sees that the suit is standing at a urinal. Curiosity and the several beers get the better of the builder.

Ken: - 'Scuse me.. No offence meant, but me and me mate were wondering what you do for a living?

Suit: - No offence taken! I'm a Logical Scientist by profession.

Ken: - Oh! What's that then?

Suit: - I'll try to explain by example... Do you have a goldfish at home?

Ken: - Err.... Mmm . Well yeah, I do as it happens!

Suit: - Well, it's logical to follow that you keep it in a bowl or in a pond. Which is it?
Ken: - It's in a pond!

Suit: - Well then it's reasonable to suppose that you have a large garden.

Ken - As it happens, yes I have got a big garden!

Suit: - Well then it's logical to assume that in this town if you have a
large garden then you have a large house?

Ken: - As it happens I've got a five-bedroom house...built it myself!

Suit: - Well given that you've built a five-bedroom house it is logical to
assume that you haven't built it just for yourself and that you are quite probably married?

Ken: - Yes I am married, I live with my wife and five children.

Suit: - Well then it is logical to assume that you are sexually active with
your wife on a regular basis?

Ken:- Yep! Five or six nights a week!

Suit: - Well then it is logical to suggest that you do not masturbate very often?

Ken: - Me? Never.

Suit: - Well there you are! That's logical science at work!

Ken: - How's that then?

Suit: - Well from finding out that you had a goldfish, I've told you about your sex life!

Ken: - I see! That's pretty impressive...thanks mate!
Both leave the toilet and Ken returns to his mate.

Keith: - I see the suit was in there. Did you ask him what he does?
Ken - Yep! He's a logical scientist!

Keith: - What's that then?

Ken: - I'll try and explain. Do you have a goldfish?

Keith: - Nope.

Ken: - Well then, you're a wanker!


  1. The jokes was funny, but I laughed harder at doucement. I just made an eye appointment, and a woman with an accent called back to confirm that it was at an office in Hattiesburg. Hattiesburg is in Virginia, though Harrisburg is 5 minutes away.

    1. I usually have no trouble understanding anyone if I'm with them but when they're going through their spiel on a bad phone connection it can be hard. And Hattiesburg made me laugh. My ex's cousin was working in Italy as an au pair and asked if she could come to us afterwards. We told her to just hop on the train to Geneva. She didn't speak Italian so kept insisting at the station "this train does go to Geneva doesn't it?" and they kept assuring her that it did. She ended up in Genoa and having to spend the night there!

    2. Hattiesburg is also in Mississippi.

  2. Great joke! I love it.
    I spoke to some guy about something on the phone a few months ago and I could not hear him. He spoke so softly. I asked him to please speak louder but he didn't seem able to. It was crazy. And made me feel so old!

    1. Ha ha, yep I bet it does. I can hear ok but they go through their spiel so fast and it always sounds like they have their phone up their nose doesn't it!

  3. Yikes that big tax bill but good to get it over with. June is house tax, condo tax (Mom lives there) and house insurance month so bye bye $6000 but I save for it all year and was within $100 of what I estimated thankfully.

    1. The tax bill is only so horrendous because I took a lump sum so that is calculated in there too. Not pleasant of course but it will be way lower next year. And no these bills are not pleasant but if you plan for them it's ok isn't it.

  4. Replies
    1. Me too, that's why I posted it. Actually I'm rather proud of myself because we just had our monthly board game evening at my house (it's 3 a.m. here and they've just left) and I told the joke in French without forgetting any of it to my fellow boardgamers - although I did have a minor panic at "what the hell is wanker in French??" - but I got it right!

  5. You certainly are getting hammered! Just as well you're prepared for it. Well done on the walking. You're surely going to reach your target and then some!
    I'm terrible at telling jokes, I can never remember them, nice one! x

    1. I love joke telling and used to be pretty good at it. It's harder when you have to translate it but I'm game for most things once I've had a few drinks!

  6. Love the joke! Wonder if it would work as well if they weren't Australians - we call so many people wankers!

    Well done on all the walking! Keep powering on.

    1. Ha ha, that joke would definitely work in England. But it made me laugh out loud too!