Archive for December, 2008

Frosted trees


I just love the fact that you get four very distinct seasons here. Spring was lush and bright green, full of exciting sprouting things, summer was warm with day after day of sunshine, and that bright light you never get in the UK, and Autumn with its explosion of colour was  spectacular. It is definitely winter now and it is properly cold here. Some of the weather has been pretty miserable  but today was beautiful.

We had ice rain. Or at least it rained and froze on contact with everything.  The effect was completely magical. Everything was frosted like those sugared grapes you see on top of cakes. Then when the sun came out it was breathtaking, everything shone and sparkled. I ran around like a little kid seeing snow for the first time. I was slightly less impressed when I had to dig my car out from a thick layer of ice but anyway…

Ice 2

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PNC – Probably Not in this Century Bank

Banks here are hopeless. I hadn’t realised how lucky I was being able to do all my banking online before because I really miss it now. Mercifully it is mostly possible, assuming all electronic planets are aligned, to pay bills from large organisations online. Hurrah. It isn’t quite the same when you want to pay a person though. Even if you set up all the details online, what actually happens is the bank sends them a cheque (or check as they are irritatingly called here) in the post. Crazy huh?

I actually phoned up the online banking helpdesk as I thought I’d done something wrong the first time. The conversation was along the lines of:

Me”Hello can you help me? I’m trying to set up an automatic payment, I can find the person in the system but I can’t find where to add their account details.”
Bank minion “You want to pay an individual?”
Me “Yes”
BM “Well you can’t to that, you can only set up direct transfers to organisations.”
Me “That’s crazy. I’ve been doing that for years in Europe, why can’t I here?”
BM ” Because of fraud prevention”
Me “I don’t mind if someone fraudulently makes deposits into my bank account. I’m just trying to pay my rent..”
BM “Well you just can’t…..”

at that point I think my mind boggled right out of its capsule.

This isn’t a new issue. (I can’t believe I’m still writing cheques and worse still is having to pay the buggers in). So what’s caused the renewed aggravation of this very sore nerve? I just noticed the strapline the bank uses.


Leading the way? Leading the way?  This bunch of clowns couldn’t FIND the way with both hands and a map! Grrrrrrrr

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Just. So. Wrong.

I’ve seen this almost every day I’ve been here as it is just around the corner from the house. It still sets my teeth on edge every time.


Yes that is “La Maison du Cheese”. Just. So. Wrong.

The really funny thing is, apparently the cheese isn’t that great – although the croissants apparently are excellent. I haven’t actually tried for myself – that would be tantamount to supporting the name.