On 25th June I mentioned that all the garages had been broken into. The locks need replacement. The others are all owned by separate residents. They will all deal with them individually, which seems a bit uneconomic to me. However, as a tenant, I managed to get the agent to arrange for a locksmith to make contact. He got me to photograph the lock and e-mail it to him so he could identify it. We will now have a succession of individual locksmiths descending on Minstead. There will be no consequent discount for bulk orders.
After this we had a drive. First stop was Donna-Marie in Poulner for my haircut. This chirpy pink young lady doesn’t appreciate silence. Jackie sat in the waiting area and was drawn in to respond to the questions designed to open up conversation. It was all very pleasant as long as you didn’t just come in for a quiet sit-down and snip.
When the answer to the enquiry about where Jackie had been camping turned out to be very close to where Donna lives, we were well away. Naturally this led to camping stories. My hairdresser was very amused by the tale of the keys reported in ‘An Uncomfortable Night’ posted on 26th August last year.
We then went for an accommodation window shop in Bashley Cross Road, New Milton. The house we were aiming for was very attractive inside and out at the back, but we were intrigued by the lack of a front elevation photograph. The rather twee windows, including a bay concealed behind a hedge, may have contributed to this omission. Next door is a chicken farm. We wondered how many cockerels may be on song in the mornings. Alongside the farm is Ferndene Farm Shop. Whether or not we will ever come back to look at the house properly (we have no money yet), we will revisit this excellent shop. Five tills were inadequate to cater for all the people queuing for all kinds of fresh vegetables; meats and meat products; cheese; pickles; and much more, not to mention the vast array of plants outside beside the ample car park. So many people crowded around the shelves and cooling cabinets that I felt rather in the way and stepped back to allow Jackie to get on with her task of selection. Wherever I stood I blocked someone’s passage. Actually, as we arrived at the car park, I commented on the superb quality of the plants. Since this shop is sited alongside a country road, all these shoppers would have driven here, possibly from some distance. The pies we sampled for lunch confirmed my impression that this is the best shop of its kind I have ever experienced.
Back home we turned our minds to windscreen insurance. My post of 25th May featured Ryan of Screen-Care UK carrying out a repair necessitated by a crack left by a stone thrown up by an overtaking vehicle a few days earlier. Never before had either Jackie or I been subjected to a cracked windscreen. Nevertheless, a few days ago, another was inflicted. An impatient Porsche on the M27, overtaking, came straight across our path; there was a sharp crack; and a minute horizontal dint no more than a couple of centimetres long appeared near the base of the glass on the driver’s side. As it was so small we didn’t think it worth repairing. Within the last few days, however, it has spread across most of the width of the window, and even sent a tributary skywards.
This second crack reminded Jackie that she has not yet received the cheque to cover Ryan’s express repair. Maybe, she thought, she hadn’t let Churchill, the insurance company, know her new address? She hadn’t.
So now there were three matters to be resolved. To inform the insurers of the change of address; to follow up the cheque for £40; and to report the need for a replacement windscreen. The vast improvements brought about by modern technology mean that you understand it will be a robot, albeit one sounding almost human, who will answer the phone and invite you to press a variety of numbers according to taste. I would have said choice, but I have learned that what I am dealing with is a menu. For this reason the use of an antique telephone sporting an actual dial is not to be recommended. Of the four telephone numbers given with Churchill’s policy documents, Customer Care seemed a likely bet. It was, if you were not an existing customer and wanted to be given a choice of policies for motor vehicles, houses, etc. If you were already paying your premium you were offered no way of reaching the correct destination. Claims Hotline was pretty similar. Glass Repair and Replacement was a little better. We were answered by a person. When I’d finished explaining our three concerns, Clem informed me that I had come straight through to Autoglass. He wasn’t Churchill. Neither was he Screen-Care. ‘How do I get to Churchill?’, seemed a natural question, to which he didn’t know the answer. And Screen-Care was beyond his remit. But he could organise the replacement windscreen.
Our division of labour works like this: I go through the machine operated hoops, then pass the phone to Jackie once a real live person appears. The reason we do it this way is because I am marginally more sane by the time the obstacles have been overcome. She found Clem very helpful and particularly reassuring in his explanation that the windscreen in its current condition would not shatter. The job was booked for next week, and the £75 excess taken.
I was therefore forced to take up the other matters by e-mail. You can possibly imagine the tenor of my message, written, of course, in Jackie’s name, so she will have the pleasure of the insurers’ response.