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  I don’t get out much
Views from our ever so slightly grumpy, but often unerringly
accurate, columnist
 All hands to the pomp
Being of a certain age I can remember all of Her Majesty’s major Jubilees - her Silver in 1977, her Golden in 2002, Dia- mond in 2012 and, of course,
Platinum last month. (The Ruby and Sapphire Jubilees in 1992 and 2017 were commemorated in a more modest fashion.)
I have to say that the Platinum in June was a heart-warming affair. Does any other country in the world do cele- brations so well?
We had pomp and ceremony, street parties, moving Church services and the odd pop star – was it just me or has Sir Rod Stewart had a serious sense of humour failure?
All in all a fantastic pageant – and not a single rocket launcher, tank or troop carrier in sight. Well done us.
Like everyone else in the country (world?) we are beginning to feel the pinch of the current financial crisis.
There has been plenty of press coverage about the rise in electricity costs so far this year. Our monthly standing order with our supplier increased from £60 a month in February to £80.24 in March and is now, at time of writing, £109.39.
That’s just a tad under £50 extra a month in five months. This is based, of course, on our historical usage. And there is more to come in the autumn.
This situation has had a great deal of press coverage but one related cost increase has not been mentioned – the rise in standing charges.
Ours is £138.40 a year at present. It was £83.48 from February to June and £73.73 prior to January. That’s an extra £65 a year.
That may not sound too bad but with four million customers the company has added an extra £260,000,000 to its bottom line for the privilege of supplying
us with power. It’s a sort of line rental, but for energy.
So, Eon, I am watching you in case you try to continually increase profits by stealth. I know I am a cynical retired journalist but someone has to.
I must just take a moment to praise the reception staff at my local doctors’ surgery. Pleasant, helpful and useful – what more
could one want?
Now before you, my reader, think I’ve lost
the plot I should point out that this is a recent, and probably short-term, situation, based on my previous experience.
I had to pop in a while back to have my follow-up Hep. A jab. I’m now covered for 20 years, which is good news as we are planning to visit Scotland soon.
Anyway, I arrived at the surgery to be confronted by three people on reception - one of them on the phone.
All three ignored me for several minutes,
with the one on the phone also drinking a coffee and eating a slice of cake.
One of them eventually spotted me (not difficult bearing in mind my alleged slightly rotund exterior) and asked if anyone was helping me.
I said no - and the coffee-drinking, cake- munching one, now off the phone, said: "How can I help?"
Sorry, but do they need to be so full of their own self-importance? I doubt even Shrek’s donkey would have grabbed their attention, jumping up and down and shouting “Choose me, choose me.”
Mind you, they were pure amateurs compared with the people manning the Dubai car registration department back in the good old days when I first had to deal with them.
Make sure you have all documents you need to renew your annual car registration. Check. Do a double check. Check.
Wait for two or three hours in the department, hoping one of the important paper shufflers deems to call you over. No orderly queueing. Just a case of calling forward whoever took their fancy. Choose me, choose me (another Shrek mention).
When you did get to hand your paperwork over, it would usually be met with a gruff “need your passport”.
Is that copy or original, sir, I asked. “Copy” he replied. Ah, I did not have a copy so said I’d come back the next day.
Next day, same scenario, same wait. Eventually I was called forward – the chosen one. I hand over all the paperwork, including a copy of passport.
“Need your passport.” But you said yesterday a copy. “No, need passport.” It was my own fault – I thought he’d
meant just a copy.
Needless to say, I was never caught out
again. Subsequent visits saw me take every conceivable document with me – including my 25 yards breaststroke certificate from 1967 – plus a good book.

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