Monday 25 November 2013

In which I take agin Marks & Spencer

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a middle aged lady in need of food and cardigans and suchlike fripperies must attend her local branch of Marks & Spencer, It's a comfortable place for the MAL, we feel safe there. Oh sure I also worship at the other altars, to whit John Lewis, Emma Bridgewater and The White Company (The Holy Trinity) but good old M&S, bastion of middle England and the MAL and I go back a long way. It's not exciting but it's safe.

I buy pants there, I love my (now very old) sofas, I have had insurance from them, food is a given and my only credit card is from there. There cannot be a room in my house that doesn't have an M&S purchase in it.

But we have fallen out, I have taken agin them in a big way. If you read that their profits have taken a nose dive, you can explain to all your fancypants FT reading friends why, in fact, feel free to go on News at 10 and tell the nation, nodding sagely and whipping off your MAL reading specs in a sexy manner to make your point, let your inner financial expert loose.

Now I know you will be hugely surprised that despite being married for nearly a whole year now, I still haven't actually managed to change my name across the board, I know you're shocked now, me being a failed grown up! As I am terrified Mr auntiegwen will leave me if I don't change my name to Mrs Adventures, I have grasped the mettle, I got not 1 but 2 replacement marriage certificates and began a frankly terrifying round of efficiency. I am now Mrs Adventures in all 3 of my bank accounts, the council tax people, work, the tax office, the DVLA, the library, do you need to have a wee rest now? Is my efficiency wearing you out? Most probably scaring you, I expect. The very last people to hear the long ringing peal of my wedding bells were M&S MasterCard.

They wished me to send them a copy of my marriage certificate, I did so, by very special mail, as it was a very special certificate. I heard nothing, I don't fret, I expect they're very busy fending off criticism of their Christmas advert/new season clothing range/diminishing quality/insert other of your choice here.

Whilst I am still being very what splendid and efficient but this time at work, they call me and ask me to call them back. I do so, I am a compliant sort of auntie mostly, I speak to someone in the call centre who tells me I am about to receive a mailing meant for someone else, not to read it but send it straight back, I agree, slightly puzzled. This mailing never arrived. A few days later I get another call from them, again I am being very what splendid and efficient and they leave another voicemail. This time I get a real number to phone, a direct extension to a real person with a name, this is most unusual.

I ring to be told that M&S were changing not just mine but another lady's name on their credit card and they sent my certificate to her and hers to me. But the M&S lady assures me that the lady who got my certificate had sent it back and had signed a disclaimer that stated

I confirm that I have returned all of the information sent to me in error. I agree not to make use of, or retain any of this information

How reassuring.

Now as of yet I haven't got the other marriage certificate, it was sent recorded delivery so hopefully it can be found.

Mr auntiegwen is furious, I want to say he is incandescent with rage because I love that expression, he's not quite that mad but he is mightily pissed off that I am having to trust someone I don't know not to use either of our details not to mention our mothers as both of them were our witnesses. There is a frightening amount of information on that certificate, our names and DOB, my former name, our mothers names including maiden names which are a very common security question and both mothers addresses also. He has also taken agin the fact that I have to sign a disclaimer saying I won't use the other person details either, he finds that the height of cheek.

In the letter they sent me telling me this, there is only 1 sorry, I think there should be lots of sorries and lots of we will proactively register you all with CIFAS and pay for this so all sorts of hoops and what colour are your grannies pants have to be gone through before people can come and steal my identity.

If you steal my identity then you have to have all the bits of my life I don't like/can't be arsed to deal with/am afeared of as well as my good credit rating.

Instead of leaving me to Google and fret and Google and fret and Google and fret.

Shame on you M&S, the auntie is cross, the auntie is very, very cross and is about to compose a very "Outraged of Market Harborough" type letter.

Tuesday 12 November 2013

Being Thankful

Tonight I find myself home alone. This is unusual, I spend very little time alone now. I seem to have forgotten what to do. Oh I have eleventy million purposeful things to do, carpets that need hoovering, laundry that needs ironed and put away, walls that need painting. I'm fairly sure you could add to the list. But lazily, I sit, quietly musing on my life, as we seem to be escaping from the explosion in the WTF factory that has characterised our recent life. This seems to be making me quite reflective, or more likely, I actually have time to think about stuff but touch wood, at present my life is smooth (you know I've just knackered my good run now, with my smugness, dontcha?)

Let me share with you, auntiegwens reasons to be thankful (did you hear part 3 in your head?, no? just me that's of an age then)

This weekend I will be staying HERE . I am off to Edinburgh to visit my beautiful son, whom I haven't seen since I dropped him off at uni at the beginning of September. I am so looking forward to this, I have missed him madly.

The Eldest Beautiful Daughter is happily ensconced in Dusseldorf and is working, Glory be to God, a proper job. This means I now have another good place to go and visit and get another fix of my lovely girl.

The younger beautiful daughter has stopped making it her mission in life to win the gobshite Olympics. She is either behaving herself or is getting much, much better at hiding her gobshitery.

I am now the proud owner of my very first pair of reading glasses. I can read again, I could before but the person sitting opposite me had to hold my menu up for me. Now I can read, all by my very own self. There will be no stopping me, I expect I will be in charge of the world soon.

There are loads of other little glorious things that are making me cheerful too, things I would be mocked mightily for by the children, in no particular order...

Fat Boy Slims " Eat, sleep, rave, repeat", how cheap my shopping is at Aldi, my twinkly solar lights working with a tiny bit of winter sun,


It's only 6 weeks to Christmas, I properly love Christmas, I know I said the C word, don't give out to me, I'm middle aged, I have to take my kicks where I can get them, I am carrying on with the C stuff, you've been warned

My giddy excitement that Frances from Bake Off is switching on our Christmas lights in Market Harborough and that there is going to be real live reindeers at M H late night shopping evening, REAL LIVE REINDEERS,

Okay, I'll stop now

Life over the last 3 years has changed a lot for me, I have experienced my greatest joys, the deepest sorrows and the most overwhelming sense of frustration and powerlessness. I have learned to share, take turns and play nice. So for the life I have, from the bottom of my heart, I am truly grateful.

Deo Gratias