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The collected opinions of an august and aristocratic personage who, despite her body having succumbed to the ravages of time, yet retains the keen intellect, mordant wit and utter want of tact for which she was so universally lauded in her younger days. Being of a generation unequal to the mysterious demands of the computing device, Lady Bracknell relies on the good offices of her Editor for assistance with the technological aspects of her journal.

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Location: Bracknell Towers

Monday, December 19, 2005

The gas man cometh. Allegedly.

At the time of writing, Lady Bracknell has been anticipating the arrival at any moment of a British Gas employee purposing to upgrade her meter for precisely seven and three quarter hours. When a further four and one quarter hours of this tedious vigil have elapsed, her ladyship will be justified in placing a call to the gas board, at which point she will doubtless be met by a recorded voice of quite exceptional vacuity which will suggest in a gratingly cheery manner that she rearranges the appointment.

Given that Lady Bracknell did not actually request the new meter, and that it is, in point of fact, being thrust upon her regardless of her own wishes in the matter, she considers it somewhat unlikely that she will be able to find an opportunity to wait in Bracknell Towers for another twelve hour period in the forseeable future.

Indeed, Lady Bracknell is at a loss to understand why British Gas expect their customers to submit without demur to their claims that they cannot be more precise about their timing than to intimate that a workman will call at some point between 8 am and 8 pm. Surely it can not be entirely beyond the wit of man to construct a rather more rigid timetable? And, this being the run up to Christmas, how realistic is it to anticipate that customers will have so little with which to occupy their time that twelve hours of waiting for the doorbell to ring will not inconvenience them in the slightest?

In Lady Bracknell's distant youth, the needs of the customer were of paramount importance. The customer, in fact, was "always right". But, since the ominous day when Parcelforce withdrew its Saturday morning deliveries, the die would appear to have been firmly and irrevocably cast in favour of the providers of services, and the customer has taken on the aspect of a troublesome gadfly.

Generally speaking, where Lady Bracknell encounters poor service, she will take her custom elsewhere. (For example, she will no longer order her groceries to be delivered from the Tesco website given that their most recent neanderthal delivery man was most put out at her ladyship's refusal to carry half of the delivery upstairs, even when she pointed out to him that, if she were capable of carrying heavy bags of shopping, she would have no need to pay the exorbitant delivery charge.)

But she has changed gas and electricity providers on several occasions in the past, and has found the whole business sufficiently exhausting as to have no great desire to change again. Neither is she sanguine that an alternative provider's standard of customer service would be any higher than that of British Gas.

Bracknell Towers is growing rather chilly, but there would seem to be little to be gained from turning the central heating on at this point given that the gas supply will need to be temporarily turned off in order for the new meter to be fitted.

Instead, Lady Bracknell will retire to bed where, under the comforting warmth of her duvet, she intends to write the last of her Christmas cards.

Post Script

The gas man failed to arrive within his generously-allotted time span. Lady Bracknell is not amused.


Blogger Chris McMillan said...

After having had many ongoing anf fruitless battles with British Gas, NPower, BT, and the local Council I share my ladyship's exasperation. Take the Council for example. Because I live in a property which is unable to house a wheelie bin, they have now dreamt up a barking mad scheme in which we can only dispose of our rubbish in blue bags. Blue bags provided by them at the exorbitant rate of 90 pence per bag. I can buy 100 black bags at a fraction of the price. This is of course blatant robbery and I refuse point blank to purchase one single blue bag. They then graciously hand delivered 10 blue bags to my address after I threatened them with legal action. On principle I threw them out into a black bag and placed them out onto the street. I have asked the Council to review their policy on rubbish disposal and their appalling attitude to their poor suffering customers. No such undertaking has taken place. Consequently I am at war with the Council. Merry Christmas your Ladyship.;)

9:21 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those of us of a certain age well remember the process of Conversion to North-Sea Gas which took place in the 1970s in comparison with which, Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus, and subsequent martyrdom, looks like a doddle.

Your correspondent was ill-advised enough to move flats during this period and thus had the exceptional experience of being converted twice, which accounts for his premature greying and tendency to hide under the bed when the meter man knocks, even now.

Lady Bracknell might be interested in the essay "How an old geyser fell on hard times" reprinted in Taking Sides by Bernard Levin, ISBN 0330 26203 3 which recounts his mother's experiences with the then Gas Board.

2:32 pm  
Blogger pete said...

Sorry to hear about your troubles with the Gas Comp. I do hope that it is resolved with the utmost haste so that this good lady can function at the right room temperature!
The block of flats that I dwell in is electric only, no gas is allowed.

Oh, it all makes work for the working man to do.

3:26 pm  
Blogger Katie said...

I love hearing your troubles with the British gas man Lady b, as Miss Katie is suffering to with her boiler not giving sufficent water to have a bath in and Miss Katie symapathises with wholeheartlly with Master McMillan's and her ladyships troubles as posted here on her ladyship's fine blog.

Merry Christmas your ladyship and hope Bracknell Towers even though cold retains a warm Christmas cheer.

10:35 pm  
Blogger MissPrism said...

Ooooo, how infuriating!

They just won't understand that some people spend the working day, you know, at work, without a 1950s gingham-clad housewife on permanent alert for the doorbell. And if you phone up to complain, you get put through to some poor lass in Malaysia on fourpence an hour who has no power to do anything at all.

Surely, if economists were right about market forces, companies like this would go bust in a fortnight? But no, they rake in the cash even though everyone knows they're useless.

It's enough to make you shun cilvilisation and go and live up a tree. Argh.

3:06 am  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Lady Bracknell appreciates the words of sympathy and support from her readers.

To clarify one key point, however, she feels she should reiterate that she is not currently experiencing any difficulties with keeping Bracknell Towers warm.

The proposed visit from the gas man was merely for the purposes of installing a new gas meter: this would appear to be part of a modernisation programme. Lady Bracknell will not need to wrap herself in shawls and huddle over a candle for warmth on Christmas Day.

10:01 am  
Blogger marmiteboy said...

I'll go round and give him a Chinese burn if you want. You only have to ask.

1:25 pm  
Blogger The Gorse Fox said...

Given that her ladyship had not requested this modernisation, and that through the incompetance of said supplier Lady Bracknell wasted a day it does not seem unreasonable to penalise the supplier.

The Gorse Fox is a consultant and charges his time out (currently at a discount) for £1500 per day. He feels that charging them at a similar rate might give them pause.

7:45 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Lady Bracknell warmly welcomes the Gorse Fox to her humble blog, and admits that she is much amused by his proposal.

Unfortunately, she was working at home on Monday, so cannot claim to be out of pocket. Merely annoyed and inconvenienced.

Might Lady Bracknell be so bold as to enquire of the vulpine gentleman about the circumstances which led to him happening upon her blog?

7:54 am  
Blogger The Gorse Fox said...

Your Ladyship, the Gorse Fox is but a humble acolyte who chanced upon your blog some weeks ago. During this time he has remained in the background in fear of getting ideas above his station. However, he is honoured to render assistance where he can.

3:00 pm  

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