When the debt collector just will not leave you in peace…

Vocab point for native German-speakers: debt collector = der Inkassobeauftragte or der Schuldeneintreiber.  They are people whose job it is to knock on your door and get the debtor to pay their debts.  I think you get the idea, especially if one these people hass ever paid you a visit.

What I wonder is this:

  • Train driver
  • Army officer
  • Policeman
  • Doctor
  • Nurse
  • Bricklayer

I can understand why youngsters will tell the careers adviser that they would like to, would love to, would dream of becoming one.  But has any careers adviser ever had a year 11 student ever say:

Please, Sir, my career ambition is to become a debt collector.

My first experience of dealing with a debt collector hammering on the door was back in 2003.

The place: a village in North Yorkshire, England.

The time: tea-time on a Friday evening.

Boom, boom, boom, tap, tap, tap, thump, thump, rattle, rattle on letter box.

I leave the sofa and the ITV news to head to the door, while my Dad enjoys his tea, for I was visiting him for the weekend  NB: Chain is on door.  Old HM Forces habits of being security-conscious.

At the door – a man looking like a stereotypical night club doorman.

Good evening, sir.  Are you John Barleycorn?

Who?

John Barleycorn.

An unfriendly scowl from the visitor, holding his clipboard.

Never heard of him, I’m afraid.

Yeah, yeah, everyone tells me that.  Are you Mr John Barleycorn?

Nope.

Well, who are you?

Well, who are you, first of all.  Can I see some form of ID, please?

Tut and humph and sigh, and ID badge with name, Nick H***, on it.  Acme Recovery Services.  “Recovery” being a euphemism for “debt collectors.”

Can you produce some form of ID then?

No.  I don’t have to.

Well, do you know where John Barleycorn has moved to? 

Time for a bit of fun (for me, at least)…

Actually, I do know where he lives.  John Barleycorn, you say?  Now, hang on a minute.  He did leave a note, giving a forwarding address.  Now, I had a tidy-up yesterday.  I can’t find the piece of paper right now, but it’ll be somewhere in my study.  Tell you what, I don’t want to have people knocking on my door again, wasting my time and their time.  If you could give me your mobile number, I can give you a bell and give you his new address.  I think it’s somewhere in Northallerton.

Would you?  That would be much appreciated, mate.  Here’s my calling card, with my mobile on.

Conversation ends.  Our man walks off back to his 4WD.

Two minutes later a quick phone call to my old boss.

Mike, you’re not exactly interested in the opposite sex.  Can you give me an address of a good gay dating website, please,?  Oh, and some good buzzwords to use.  I’ll explain later.

Er, yeah, whatever.  Try www….

Thanks!

Within ten minutes I have registered a profile for our visitor on the website, including his mobile number.

25 year old bi-curious guy in London seeks new adventures, etc etc.

Fast forward two weeks.  A payphone in a Yorkshire village.  Insert coins of the realm.  Dial 07… etc, the debt collector’s mobile.

I get voicemail.  A gem.  Ein Knaller.

A grumpy, annoyed and altogether unhappy-sounding voice announces:

This is Nick H.  Unfortunately I have had to change my mobile number.  Please leave me your number, and I will ring you back from my new number.

(I wonder why he changed his mobile number…)

anger-management1

Have a mischievious day, won’t you!

 

Blood sugar diet: day 21 of 56

So, slightly disappointing news to report.

  • Starting weight: 122.4kg
  • One week ago: 119.9kg
  • Today: 120.7kg

What went wrong?  Too many Haribos and Balisto snacks.  These things happen.  I am treating this as a blip.  I slackened off slightly on the weekend while at Schatz’, albeit less slackly than before.  Today I have been back on track.

One tweak I need to make to the regime – certainly, while the sun shines during this week’s heatwave in “Drizzledorf.”  I will be going out for an hours’s cycle ride tonight and tomorrow to get some fresh air and spend time away from surfing the net.  Burn a few calories and get some cardio-vascular training in.  Oh, and fly the flag. 🙂

Give up the diet?  No way at all!  This is a setback, not a failure.

Forwards to victory!

ForwardToVictory

Have a victorious day, won’t you!

Blood sugar diet: day 10 of 56

Today was a checkpoint day.  Nothing to do with the diet per se.  On day 1 of the diet I had my quarterly blood sugar sample taken.  Today I came back to see my GP to get the results.

  • Last reading: 7.1 units.
  • Today’s reading: 7.8 units.

An increase of 0.7 units, or 10, something I had anticipated as over the past few months, I had been overeating and less active than previous.  I won’t bore you with the reason.  (I should ideally be at 6.5 units.)

However, my GP had been briefed by his “civilian” staff (the army-speak never leaves you) that I had started the Low Blood Sugar Diet.  So, instead of slapping my wrist, our man was most positive about the diet, my efforts and results.  (He complimented me on my Redhead Days t-shirt which I was wearing.  Normally he wears a top with a witty slogan in English, eg “Cool story, bro.”  Today he did not, but I did.)

I digress.

Next steps…

  • No need to see him at the four-week point in the diet, unless I was constantly going hypoglaecemic and had lost a lot of weight.
  • Carry on, and don’t worry about all carbs, but do avoid the bad carbs, eg white bread, rice etc.

Fifteen minutes later, I left his surgery, and we shook hands.

Next weigh-in is in two days time.  Watch this space.

Have a healthy day, won’t you!

Close your curtains

The Dutch are said to be very Calvinistic.  At least, I guess, the Protestant Dutch are.   One sign of their Calvinistic nature is the fact that, allegedly, the Dutch don’t have curtains.  Yes, they even indulge in, cough cough, hum, hum, with the curtains open.  Personally, notwithstanding my Protestant faith in this 750th year of the Reformation, I prefer curtains.

Let me take you back to 1979.  Margaret Thatcher had been Prime Minister for a few months.  In those days TV often finished most evenings at just before midnight.  Saturday late evening TV consisted of:

  • Match of the Day (for the football)
  • Parkinson chat show
  • The Rockford Files (with Jim Garner)
  • Finally: the national anthem and a long “booooooooooooooooooooooooop”

Saturday evening, approximately 23:20 BST.  Victor and his two sons, aged 9 and 10, had hitch-hiked all the way from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, all up the motorway, courtesy of several truck drivers, needing to rant to somebody about their divorces, the price of petrol, etc, etc, and a football sales rep.  The final stretch from Leeming Bar Motel on the A1, to the Yorkshire hamlet of Burrill, was, however, done by taxi.

Father and sons arrived in the hamlet.  A short O-group (Army-speak for planning meeting).  Time for Army black warped sense of humour to show its face.  From the OP (observation post), near the hamlet church, Sergeant Victor (veteran of Northern Ireland) and sons notice that the living room curtains are open.   Grandma and aunt are watching The Rockford Files.

Three males tiptoe forward, using Victor’s military skills, to see without being seen, to hear without being heard.

Three males crouch down below the window sill.

On three…  one… two… three!

Three heads slowly rise above the window sill.

Two backsides leap out of their armchairs.

Three males roar with laughter.

Two female relatives feel their heart rates jumping.

Seconds later, three male relatives enter via the front door, ready for a nice pot of tea, pork pie each, sliced in two, with a dollop of Branston chutney on a small plate.

Have a Calvinistic day, won’t you!

Birthday Nostalgia

So, last week was my birthday: 21 again, and more.

Where was I on that day of the year…?

  • 10 years ago: Doing pgce teacher training in Middlesbrough.  Not my cup of tea.  Ler’s just leave it at that.
  • 20 years ago: Started my first ever permanent job, working in the International Programme Liaison team at Mercury Communications Ltd.  I did a lot of telecoms courses in that year.
  • 30 years ago: At sixth form college in Middesbrough, re-sitting my O-levels.  That was where I started studying Russian.
  • 40 years ago: At Wolfenbüttel Primary School, near the East-West German border, being sent to the headmaster’s office to take a phone call from my Dad, then stationed at HMP Maze, Northern Ireland, to wish me happy birthday.

Have a nostalgic day, won’t you!

Today Itself

As a Brit, I don’t use the expression, “today itself.”  I would use intonation in speech to emphasise today, or use bold.  “Today itself” is an Indian expression, as is, “to do the needful.”  To a British ear, it sounds rather quaint.

I’ve been working in multi-national, multi-cultural environments for over two decades with nationalities from all corners of the world, including India.  Last week, a Sikh colleague walked into my office, and it was a surprise to hear him open his mouth and speak in an Indian accent, rather than a London/Birmingham/Leeds accent!

Impressions of Indians, in very broad-brush terms?  Let’s write in bullet points.

  • Very good technically when it comes to IT.
  • Very enthusiastic and willing to help.
  • Always polite.
  • Sometimes wanting a bit of spoon-feeding (and I understand the reasons why, but I don’t want to write an essay.)
  • Not quite as strong as the Germans, Swiss or anyone from a British military background when it comes to timekeeping.
    • Toanyone ex-British Army, 13:00 means 12:55 (the “5-minute rule”)
    • To a German or Swiss, 13:00 means 13:00
    • To an Indian, 13:00 means after 13:00

But bless ’em all.  They’re all good people, with a good self-effacing sense of humour.  Long live the Desais!

Have a multi-cultural day, won’t you!

The Joy of Hitch-Hiking in the Seventies

in the late 70’s Victor was posted back to the UK, to the Royal Military Academy.  In those days it was much more often that people would hitch-hike across the length and breadth of Britain.  Nowadays many employers ban their truck drivers from picking up hitch-hikers.

In the 70’s Victor would often hitch-hike from near London to the Yorkshire Dales, usually alone, occasionally with one son, aged 9, once with both sons, aged 9 and 10.  The time he brought both sons with him, his luck was in.  Only two lifts needed, both divorcees, wanting to rant on about their ex-wives.  I think they both wanted an agony aunt, as well as three passengers.  The second trucker dropped all three of us at Leeming Bar Motel on the A1(M), five miles away from Grandma.

The final stretch had to be paid for.  Simple.  Taxi.  Twenty minutes later, three tired but cheerful males arrive in Grandma’s village.  Now the fun begins.  It’s 11pm.  The late night Hammer House of Horror film is on.  Grandma and Auntie B are watching the film.

The military training came in useful.  Creeping, crouching forward, opening the garden gate slowly, father and sons approach the house.  Bend down a bit more.  Squat just below the living room window sill.  Three pairs of eyes look at each other.  The sergeant gives the nod to his two troops.  Slowly three heads emerge over the window sill.  Sudddenly two women jump out of their skin in their armchairs, not expecting any late night visitors at the window.

Have a scare-free day, won’t you!