... a bit Suffolk
|tu 23 Mar|
Life Skills 38: The first law of electronics is It's always the lead; the second law is the same as the first. The cable bending where the strain relief ends (insert your own constipation joke) breaks the wire inside. Tape tightly wrapped around the cable to stop the bending is a temporary fix until a replacement lead arrives which in time will also become unreliable where the strain relief ends ...
|mo 4 Jan|
Life Skills 37: We expect you know it's a good idea to ask a service provider for a deal before renewing a contract? What surprised us more after dickering with BT via online chat was not that it saved some £240 on the year but after doing the sums the deal worked out pretty much the same as Plusnet ...
|fr 25 Sep|
Life Skills 36: If you've have money in National Savings (prudent old you) at the end of October most interest rates are dropping to pretty much non-existent presumably in attempt to help pay for the coronavirus.
|mo 21 Sep|
Life Skills 35: Just after the lock down start we lost a filling. Months of trying and eventually we got a dentist's appointment for November but the missing filling was feeling uncomfortable. For £1 (it must be the last outstanding bargain in Western Europe) the Framlingham Chemists has a temporary filling paste for DIY fillings. Put it in Tuesday and it's still there.
|mo 22 Jun|
Our grateful thanks to Tony Hutt for doing the sum we should have and calculating the standby cost of charging USBs on a 13amp socket is pence per year ... but then as our mother said (wagging her finger) when she got a £200 ex-gratia payment for slipping over sequence dancing It's not the money nearthecoast it's the principle.
|mo 1 Jun|
Life Skills 34: We were attracted by a short lived Screwfix offer on these 13amp sockets with USB charging, but you know how your USB charger gets warm even when nothing's connected? That's because it's still consuming power and it's still going on your bill. For these sockets it's less than 75mW but it is 24/7 so we gave it a miss.
|we 22 Apr|
Life Skills 33: To register on the NHS app you need photo id like a driving license or passport and be prepared to supply a video of yourself saying four numeric digits. We registered over two days because after the initial registration the process got stuck and we completed the next day.
|su 12 Apr|
Life Skills 32: We do find it wearing how often you have to complain In the UK. When the Dartford Crossing (a government website but seemingly a private business) tells you they are closing your account they don't offer to give your money back. We got our £19.96 back but it took five emails and arrived as a handwritten cheque. Now we need to get £29 (yes £29) parking back from the 02 in that there London for the cancelled Eric Church concert. ♫
|mo 6 Apr|
Life Skills 31: In the UK contactless card transactions begin in 2007 with a £10 limit. Last Wednesday prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic the limit went up from £30 to £45 though it will take time for some retailers to catch up.
|tu 17 Mar|
Life Skills 30: If you get absolutely soaked through, say photographing american football during Storm Ciara and your Tesco vouchers run so they won't scan there is a fix. You can print them out online from your Tesco clubcard account, our grateful thanks to the very helpful woman at the checkout.
|su 1 Mar|
Life Skills 29: Premium Bonds were introduced in 1956, you could buy a single one pound bond but had to wait six months for them to become lottery eligible. In our recent memory the minimum buy was a £100, it went down to £50 recentlyish and last month reduced further to £25.
|tu 4 Feb|
|sa 28 Dec|
Life Skills 28: It reflects how bureaucrats think that there are seven paragraphs to read on the IOPC (Independent Office for Police Conduct) web page before it actually tells you how to make a silent 999 call ... here's how ... if prompted? ... you would hope that would be when prompted. While we're in the area if you're deaf you can make a three nines call by text but you do need to register first.
|th 12 Dec|
Life Skills 27: We carried an organ donor card for over three decades until it disintegrated when accidently (who does it on purpose?) put through the washing machine. We've now registered as a donor online; comparatively straight forward, has a preferred name box, lots of gender options and if you select All (organs) you could help nine people or more.
|fr 8 Nov|
Life Skills 26: We first drank a Rombouts drip coffee at the charming Geffrye Museum in East London; it came with a matching cup and biscuit instantly besotting us. As the popularity spread inexperienced staff (which seemed to be most of them) would overfill the dripper leaving the drinker to deal with an overflowing cup. We bought our first drippers certainly for decades and found them sadly gutless, using two improved the situation a bit.
|th 1 Aug|
Life Skills 25: Postal Orders are cheques for people who don't have a cheque book. We recently bought one for a friend ... not the friend with erectile dysfunction another friend. We had to pay cash and we were a bit surprised that a £10 PO cost £11.25
|mo 11 Mar|
Life Skills 24: Always staple a cheque to the paperwork. We had a cheque that somehow at the Land Registry got separated from the application and suddenly we were dealing with two people, the person who had the application and the person who had the cheque ... not easy to sort out.
|su 12 Jan|
Life Skills 23: If you enjoy hearing Desert Island Discs Sunday mornings you might like its slightly posher cousin Private Passions which follows on Radio 3. The chosen music often has a wider range and presenter Michael Berkeley's musical knowledge and resonant voice add a further dimension ... just saying.
|sa 6 Oct|
Life Skills 22: We've noticed increasingly people see small change as an annoyance, especially non-drivers who don't need it for parking. If so then next time you are in a supermarket with self-service checkouts use one, put all your change in and pay the balance with a card. (Thanks to Big Al for this one.)
|sa 8 Sep|
Life Skills 21: Fisher's Law: If it works today there's no guarantee it will tomorrow ... get used to it.
|th 5 Jul|
Life Skills 20: WD40 effectively helped remove a particularly determined sticky label and didn't affect the clear plastic underneath ... useful to know.
|su 4 Mar|
Life Skills 19: Just before Christmas we spent just over a qualifying £90 in the Saxmundham Tesco but had left the £9 discount voucher at home. Just in case three days later on the way to see It's A Wonderful Life in Aldeburgh we went to customer services who checked the voucher was still in date and then gave us nine quid in cash!
|th 25 Jan|
Life Skills 18: Transport for London made it clear that our quality of life would be similar to that there Ed Sheraton's if we had a free second generation Oyster card so we ordered one. It arrived and on line we tried to transfer credit from old to new card but though we hadn't set up a password on the new card the software was convinced there was a password so we set one up, 48 hour wait for it to update. Having managed to move £1.79 from old to new Oyster card we then credited the new card online for five pounds but for the credit to complete we had to use the card within three days, not much use. Something then revealed that an Oyster card is no cheaper than a contactless debit card and a debit card can be registered with TfL so you still receive your use reports ... life eh?
|th 14 Dec|
Life Skills 17: Those Tesco discount off a big shop vouchers have a start as well as an end date, caught us out at the big Tescos in Bury St Edmunds.
|su 20 Aug|
Life Skills 16: When giving your pump number to a petrol station cashier it might help to gesture towards or look at the pump in the hope that you won't be charged for somebody else's fuel like we did on the A14 a while back. Yesterday at the same station when we told the female cashier that the gent's toilet stalls were about to overflow we got Mmm ... lovely.
|we 5 Apr|
Life Skills 14: Before closing a credit card account with a monthly direct debit cancel the direct debit first like we did our MBNA card, despite having zero balance MBNA is complaining it can't take the £25 direct debit.
|mo 9 Jan|
Life Skills 13: When sending us a press release not for publication best to point out it's not for publication ... alternatively don't bother sending in the first friggin' place.
|th 13 Oct|
Life Skills 12: When opening a bank account online, say hypothetically a TSB cash ISA, check how you can get your money out again, you may be told you have to visit a branch and the nearest TSBs to near the coast are Stowmarket and Ipswich ... we do like the tv ad with the little dog though.
|tu 14 Jun|
Life Skills 11: Unless you live in the countryside there will be one of these near your house though the yellow paint will be long gone. It's a fire hydrant. When the fire engine's water tanks run out as the brigade try to put your house fire out they get more water from the hydrant. If your fire hydrant is in an unmade road not a good idea to bury the hydrant when you're filling in the potholes.
|th 31 mr 16|
Life Skills 10: Don't travel on a bank holiday, definitely don't travel on a bank holiday that's a nice sunny day and absolutely absolutely don't travel on a bank holiday that's a nice sunny day and the forecast says it'll be the only nice day of the weekend. (Our journey last Good Friday took over eight hours rather than the usual four.)
|tu 1 Mar|
Life Skills 9: Supermarkets that have a world food section (the Norwich Hartford Bridge Tesco has Nigerian 6% Guinness!) may have those large cellophane bags of ground spices at a pro rata one fifth the price of Schwartz refills. We decant them into large one time gherkin jars and even then the jars aren't big enough. Couldn't see any large bags in the Martlesham Tesco today but not surprisingly the Hackney Tesco does stock them.
|mo 23 Nov|
Life Skills 8: Proving identity can be difficult especially if it's your elderly mum in a care home and oddly enough she doesn't hold a firearms license. Web printed statements from paperless utility accounts won't satisfy Barclays but surprisingly although a lot more than a few months old a council tax bill will.
|tu 1 Sep|
Life Skills 7: From today the maximum you can spend on a contactless tap and go card increases from £20 to £30 so now you can probably use it to buy lunch in Pret A Manger ... whatever that is!
|su 21 Jun|
Life Skills 6: When did you last make a call from a pay phone box? (Yes, they do still exist, this one's near Halesworth station.) We think our last time was ten years ago in Epping High Street and we put a pound coin in to be safe, nowadays it's a bit more complicated.
|mo 26 Jan|
Life Skills 5: If you find yourself in Long Stratton on a Sunday after 4pm the big Co-op is shut but the little one on the corner opposite the Shell/Lotus garage is open. This knowledge is particularly valuable if you're travelling back to near the coast and haven't realised the new Spar in Stradbroke will be open.
UPDATE: The little corner Co-op is now an undertakers.
|sa 25 Oct|
Life Skills 4: Scissors with a screw that keeps loosening tighten the screw, turn the scissors over and centre punch the end of the screw so it expands just a little.
|fr 3 Oct|
Life Skills 3: Those large jars of Marmite which seem to be the default these days have flats on the sides. No doubt something to do with how they pack in a box but it has the unintended consequence that you can put the jar on its side, leave for while and get the last couple of spreadings out a bit more easily.
|sa 17 May|
Life Skills 2: If going out (especially if going out out) and wine is likely to be taken don't wear your new glasses ... or when painting a ceiling.
|tu 18 Mar|
Life Skills 1: When sending a letter (a letter not an email) to a big organisation use recorded (or special) delivery not because it's more likely to get there but because big organisations use the Royal Mail barcode to log the letter's arrival, without it they'll have no record the letter arrived.