Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Trouble At Mill . . . Or the challenges of moving countries

So, it doesn't take too many powers of observation to notice that my blog activity ground to a sudden halt last week. I say this, but let me hasten to add that I only noticed how slack I'd been when I went in to do my usual WWW post. After all, it is Wednesday. And then I saw it . . . Sigh, I haven't posted for a whole week. It's enough to make me cry. But in my defense, let me say that moving countries is largely to blame.

Things - finding somewhere to live, opening bank accounts, getting the internet connected, to mention just a few biggies - just takes so long to happen. And, worse, because we're new here in England, we have no track record, no credit rating, no footprint on society, so basically we don't exist. Humbling, let me tell you. Infuriating too, because without that vital footprint telling the world that we pay our bills on time and that we haven't held up and robbed any banks lately, no one wants to know our troubles.

It took almost a month for someone to agree to rent us a house . . . and then we had to pay them five months rental up front on a six months lease. Now we battle to get the services running . . .

The first bank who agreed to talk to us would only open a basic account that allows us to draw money from a cash machine. I was told that we aren't welcome in the branch! That ivory tower is reserved for the privileged elite who hold proper credit ratings. The bank in question wouldn't even provide a debit card. And, as we found to our huge frustration, nothing in England happens without either a debit or credit card. You cannot get a mobile phone contract, you cannot get the lights switched on, you cannot get a telephone line or an internet connection . . .  the list goes on.

Thankfully, we have found another bank who sees things slightly differently. The debit cards are now in the post. Another weirdity. We're used to walking into a bank, opening an account and getting the card immediately over the counter . . . just one more thing to get used to.

We are also used to blanket cellphone coverage across southern Africa, but, clearly, mobile phone coverage is not a big deal in England because most of the time there isn't any. Yet another frustration when you don't have a debit card and therefore cannot get a landline . . .

That brings me to the point of this post. It was a long-winded whinge to say that I still don't have internet and without it you can't blog. So a big apology to my readers. Hopefully, the problem will be solved in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, I will keep reading . . .

Which brings me to . . .

Thanks to MizB fot hosting. As usual she asks three questions:
1. what have you recently finished reading?
2. What are you currently reading?
3. What are you reading next?

What have I just finished?

I am ashamed to say that I only managed one tiny book this week . . . 

The Tales of Beedle The Bard (Goodreads)
I got this from my local library. (No, you don't need a debit card to get library membership :-) and let me say, it's fantastic having a library with modern books. That alone goes a long way in counteracting some of my other England gripes.
Did I enjoy Beedle's tales? Very much. The book is replete with JK Rowling's wonderful, dry humour.

What am I reading now?
Two books actually . . .

The Lost Prince (Goodreads)
I'm really enjoying this. The MC, Ethan Chase, has snuck into my heart with his vulnerability, caustic comments and bitter hatred of all things fey. 

Writing Fight Scenes (Goodreads)
The author in me is reading this and she reports that the book is brilliant. Any other writers out there who want to brush up on writing fiction fights? Then this is for you.

What am I reading next?

The Iron Traitor (Goodreads)
I downloaded this from Netgalley and am excited to get into it.

That takes care of this week. Hopefully next week will be better. In the meantime, leave a comment or a link I will get back to you.

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