Saturday, 30 October 2021

A New Broom Sweeps Clean

 

Mad for Brushes!
(Nota bene: Broom not seen)

Spring has sprung again in this neck of the woods. While the Flying With Hands incumbent brush fetishist gets to make merry with the tools of the trade, there have been other unsolicited changes around the place, coming from some unlikely brooms. And I don't just mean the general spring cleaning of my web browser.

Viz.:

Opera is Serious

This earnest Techno-Hausfrau-Geek left her spring cleaning calling card on my computer the other day. I call her, unimaginatively, Opera-Girl* and she always makes me larff  merrily when I see her. Look at that face. She really takes her job very seriously, even if it is unsolicited. 

No, I speak of the Scoundrel formerly known as my Local Bank, which, having been temporarily closed since last year, has decided to make it permanent. For my convenience and to make my life simpler, apparently. It was the final straw for me. After 26 years of loyal custom**, I have taken my business elsewhere. Namely online. For sure, the delight of a cheque book has gone, as is what I deem to be a true convenience, viz. a shoppe-front mere moments away, but my hand was forced. Nor have I looked back, for this revolution in my old ways has brought such vim and vigour to matters financial.

Behold the Vault

The penultimate act which led to this tipping point had been the cessation of the safety deposit box facility. Can you imagine my surprise when the letter arrived, breathlessly announcing the exciting new changes to simplify my life further? After much gnashing of teeth, I booked a time slot and Mr. P & I trundled into the city to go down to the vault of a glorious heritage-listed former branch to clear it out (just my safety deposit box, not the vault in a heist, mind!)***

This hobbit door will probably pop up on Ebay soon enough -
One Previous Owner, No Key :(

As it transpired, there were only dead moths in it, as I'd forgotten that I'd emptied it of papers when we stopped taking merry jaunts across the globe. Sigh. Mr. P had never been allowed beyond Doctor No's hobbit door before so that made it a fun family outing****, and we went and had lunch in a café in the city, too, because we can now. 

New Bread

In the domestic sphere, where changes wrought are due to my own hand, the Lazy Girl Bread is now made with a combination of rye, wholemeal, buckwheat (such a handy use for buckwheat once bought for blinis) and white flour. White bread is now a thing of the past.

New Tea

Black tea has been swapped out for a very delicate white/green tea combination. Nota bene the delicious biscuits delivered to our door by our downstairs neighbours, the Country Mice, who'd come to Town for a brief sojourn. We have lovely neighbours throughout the condominio!

New Hair

Hairdressers are open again! I gave myself one bathroom cut during the year, which was deemed not the worst she'd seen, but was nearing waist-length when the hairdresser addressed its shortcomings on Wednesday. 

Meanwhile, the bathroom will remain the venue for Mr. P's clipper cuts ad infinitum, for we have a nice little routine in the shower recess between the client (himself) and barber (myself), with the flourishing of an old sheet and a peg, some witty banter, a choice of music or not, and a comfortable stool. And with some care, clean sweeping with a broom (or trusty Dyson) isn't even needed for this fun job!



Happy Hallowe'en!


* If you don't use Opera as your web browser, you miss out on seeing her face pop up from time to time, as well as the joy of having a radically diminished number of also unsolicited advertisements cluttering up the place. Yes, Dear Reader, I do have the Girl Guide Badge for Unsolicited Advice.

** And turning a grudgingly tolerant eye to the numerous transgressions that are continually unearthed like scuttling slaters under an upturned rock and necessitate such delights as Banking Royal Commissions. It speaks volumes that the rather helpful telephone consultant did not even enquire why I was closing my accounts after all this time. 

*** Oh, and the refundable key-deposit didn't apply anymore as it was the service that was closing! Scoundrels. 

**** I have just read that a private security vault up the street from Doctor No's is offering to assist those disgruntled customers in hauling their loot up to a more state-of-the-art facility. The website has Chinese and Hindi translations. We saw some of these elderly future customers when went to collect the moth carcasses, waiting in the foyer with shopping trolleys!


Image credits: 1-7: Flying With Hands; 8: Graphics Fairy




34 comments:

  1. I know how you felt about the bank. Like everybody else in my primary school, my parents gave me two shillings every Tuesday to put into my State Bank of Victoria account. And every week after school, I proudly showed my parents how much the account had risen to. Pride and confidence all around !

    One year no-one came from the State Bank. Apparently the Bank was going to be taken over by the Commonwealth Bank and the money would be safe, but I felt let down.
    Who knew whether my 25 pounds (or whatever the total was) would disappear or not?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Hels, I still have my bank book from primary school! For nostalgia purposes only, as it's also coloured in, haha. The power of compound interest should drive me to see if its pesos can be retrieved from the defunct State Bank of NSW. The Big Four Banks have been disgracing themselves in the intervening decades to the mixed blessings of shareholders and chagrin of customers.

      Delete
  2. It must be scary when ones bank closes .....FOR EVER!!!!
    Almost worse than not having anything in a bank which might be lost - and these days many apparently don't as kids aren't being taught to save/pay themselves first. No matter how small the amount, we learned one must always try to put something away 'for that rainy day.'
    Love your hair - love seeing you even though it's only a back view, thanks!
    Isn't it fabulous that we have all learned to bake an easy yet delicious loaf since the pandemic hit - nothing better than a slice of fresh bread.

    Happy Autumn days - my broomstick is at the ready for tomorrow night - along with treats if any little darlings stop by!
    Hugs - Mary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, dear Mary!

      I must hasten to say the it was only my local bank branch that was closing. The Scoundrel lives on but branches are shutting down at a rate of knots. It's particularly dire in country towns. The suggestion was that we no longer need a face with which to conduct our business and their rather pedestrian internet facility will satisfy all of our present and future needs. And for this Convenience, their uncompetitiveness is directed toward maximising shareholder profit over jobs and customer service. A typically modern tale!

      I hear you on the concern for young 'uns, they can worry us so!, but take heart that there is a small but hopefully influential core among them who are very savvy. They clutter up the youtubes with tips for saving and long-term investing and avoiding debt traps and whatnots.

      Homemade marmalade on toast for breakfast today! Now if only I could churn my own butter, too ... hahah! xx

      Delete
  3. Hello Pipistrello, I too still have my account from elementary school days, but I still use mine. It is convenient because by now I have the account number memorized. If safe-deposit boxes are becoming rare, I wonder if more treasures will find their way onto the market, as people wonder what to do with old heirlooms that they will never use!
    --Jim

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Jim, how delightful you can rattle off your account number and it's a marvel your bank still exists! My school bank was gobbled up in two subsequent mergers and is now part of one of the charmless behemoths.

      Where will people store their loot now? There are enterprising private vault companies popping up who'll no doubt fleece customers for the privilege of stashing in the James Bond-esque facilities. I did wonder about the effect of keeping my key as a souvenir of Olden Times - after my demise, would those going through my life's detritus spend years on a fruitless treasure hunt with a key but no map? It's a tantalising tease!

      Delete
  4. Oh Pip! If that happened to us with our banking then I would find it very upsetting. We have money automatically coming in and out our account from various sources and I have no idea how we would cope with all the problems that we would then encounter.
    One of the good things about the Pandemic has been the kindness of neighbours some of whom I hardly knew previously.
    I am the barber in our house and I must admit that I am getting better and better at giving himself the chop.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Rosemary, the catch-all phrase by banks is that you can do everything online these days, for why should you need a branch or a smiling face? I do rather prefer conducting business in a brick-and-mortar shoppe but I felt compelled to vote with my feet after many previous tedious transgressions endured, but they weren't worthy of a post!

      Isn't it a lovely thing to know your neighbours better? Especially when they are very nice. Some of ours are firm friends.

      I must say, I didn't think my own haircutting was too disastrous, and having long hair really helps, but it was a bit of a treat to have it done properly and I wanted to give her a bit of business after being closed for so long. Mr. P's barber took early retirement so we didn't have to worry about him.

      Delete
  5. I received a similar letter from my bank Pip. It also said that it was doing me a favour and all nice things. During lockdown it closed and then when lockdown lifted instead of opening 5 days a week it started opening only one day. When I asked when it would be re-opening properly I was told they were having to retrain staff but it would be soon. I wondered how skills could be lost so quickly. Now this letter comes. I consider they were lying to me. The people using the bank queued in the street every Wednesday but now we are told in the letter that we don't really need the bank and they are helping us. How can that be I ask myself. My accounts will continue on line but I still like to visit the bank. I will adjust but it is just another ending of a era when we had banks on the high street. I feel sorry for the very elderly people who do not use computers and apps.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Rachel, the brazen effrontery also gets me, with such disingenuous language! Like you, I'll adjust to this new world. I'm a very late adopter of things and had been resisting determinedly, but in fact I'm already loving my new online bank account and they even had an address to post a cheque I needed depositing, which my old-time bank that I had a cheque account with could not do!

      Unfortunately, high street banks in our suburbs don't have the architectural appeal of the glorious landmark city piles, but they are/were terribly convenient to have. There's still one branch of a rival bank left in our local area which is the darling of the pensioner brigade, and it's reopened to their relief. I considered opening an account there but they have shocking transaction fees and were definitely out to discourage or just fleece any new business. This is a strange new world.

      Delete
  6. This was good reading.
    This morning I learned of the term "shrinkflation" a sort of inflation "you get less for your money' not that prices go up but services go down. No fun to lose a long time bank.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, dear Ur-spo, and I love that new word! We were so busy worrying about the prospect of stagflation that we didn't notice the cunning application of shrinkflation until we were shrink-wrapped in it!

      ps: You will be heartened to know that the formerly alien concept of Hallowe'en around these parts seems to have also snuck up on us, too, and Mr. P reported many decorated houses when he was out and about yesterday and costumed young adults tottering about looking for attention!

      Delete
  7. I used to use brooms, myself. Thanks to magic banks nowadays I am flying on a flash carpet. Of course, only after midnight so that the grandchildren do have something to admire and envy me for.
    And no, Hallowe'en I don't do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! Dear Sean, is it your flights of fancy or the fact you are up after midnight that the grandkids admire and envy you for? Hallowe'en is not part of the vernacular in this household, either, but my search for a broom image gave me a two-for-one deal with the witch. Couldn't resist!

      Delete
    2. "Flights of fancy"? Tsk! Lady Pipistrello, the grandchildren admire and envy me for all the unbelievable adventures I can tell after my frequent flights.
      As for brooms, I can understand your desire. Walpurgis Night thirteen years ago I had an encounter with a magic one. At that time, for lack of your favourite currency, I did not own a flying carpet, though, but had to fly by the magic power of my arms. Had I known you then, I'd have picked up a few magic brooms for you that were lying around on the Brocken.

      Delete
    3. Well, that explained everything satisfactorily :) I do now understand their reason to behold you thus.

      Flying with hands is still the preferred mode of transport around here but at least I now know where to get a broom when age and infirmity make it less desirous. The Brocken will have to go onto The List, in any event, for it sounds a marvellous place for a visit!

      Delete
  8. I am also informed that my bank will close my branch, and cohabit with another somewhere as yet undivulged. I no longer have a chequebook, they have stopped their share-dealing service, and everything is done by machine. Progress is bleak.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, Cro, such a familiar sounding tale! Scoundrels, one and all. They may yet have done you a favour in abandoning their share-dealing service, however, for there is now a plenitude of new low-cost brokers in the interwebs who mostly undercut the bank services by at least half. Swings and roundabouts on the progress front, as ever.

      Delete
  9. In the US, we are being pitched the same lines: For "your:" safety...convenience...efficiency...streamline service...automate. As you state, we all know the larger goal is to maximize profit. Covid taught us all to cut hair and we've gotten better at it but not perfect. I notice, some neighbors got closer while others became more distant due to fear of transmission. Our new reality continues to reveal a lot about people in general. As they say, "live and learn."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, dear Susan, it would appear we are jointly enmeshed by weasel words; another cultural linking of hands across the seas!

      There shall be more fun with scissors in the future in this household, practise making perfect and whatnot, for it was something I did occasionally do pre-Covid, being sometimes tighter than a jam-jar lid with the pesos, but it's nice knowing that when I feel particularly lazy, the hairdresser can tidy things up again.

      Delete
  10. I recently had to change banks!MADE ME SO MAD.............not because they were closing but they wouldn't tell my SON nor MY husband Nor me why they would not give him a loan!THat made THE ITALIAN ANGRY and WE MOVED MANY DOLLARS OUT!ABSOLUTELY NO CUSTOMER SERVICE AND NO BRANCH MANAGER OPINIONS AS THEY ALL KNOW US! I TOLD THEM NO MORE CHRISTMAS CARD NOR PANTETONE FOR THEM!!!!
    I was deeply HURT..........and now the banking is an inconvenience for me the one who some days shouldn't be driving............XXX

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, dear Contessa! You've evidently been too kind-hearted in the past. They have proven themselves to be Class 1 Scoundrels and unappreciative of your good custom and thoughtful gifts of appreciation, so vote with your feet and pesos!

      It's a terrible pity the car must be king in California and things aren't often very handily located. I have been reading only this morning that my own former Scoundrel will, through the closure of rural branches, force elderly customers on a 100km round trip when they need to use a branch, and stories of other weaselly shenanigans. Not that I'm suggesting you might be elderly, haha!!

      Take care on those roads! It's so pleasing to see you - I've been worried for you! xxx

      Delete
  11. Dear Pipistrello, so lovely brooms - and with satisfaction I see an ostrich feather duster between your brooms! I love that, especially with the LittleBlackDress and a sweet white apron on a ladder - adding much more fun to housework.
    I was a bit surprised - though only a bit - when I gave my grand-triplets three little brooms - and they , without hesitating (though only just 2 years old) mounted them and romped through the room - now I am absolutely sure: we are soul-sisters (I hummed: "Can't you see the witch by my side, the witch by my side...?")
    During Covid I started to cut my fringe myself, and think the result very convincing -the first time my posh Figaro saw my work I really understood the meaning of the words "A fringe is so forgiving!" - he was not, he was jealous as hell!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! You do conjure a fun image to the Tales of a Hausfrau, dear Britta, and I'm sure you know how invaluable a feather duster is to attending to one's bibelots.

      Isn't it fascinating how you can give a tiny child a stick or broom and they will invariably either point it or ride it? It's delightful that the triplets have taken to witchery so naturally :)

      Ah, the fringe - lucky you that your hair plays nicely for such adornment. And anything spectacular in the hair department is always green-making in my book, too!

      Delete
  12. Our local branch of our bank closed last year and is now Costa Coffee !!!!! It’s obviously happening all over the world …… cash money will be the next to go !
    I LOVE your hair …. the cut abd the colour is beautiful ….. I also love your dress that’s hanging up in your bathroom !!!! I also use Opera and old misery guts often pops up !!!!! XXXX

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! She is a misery guts :) Thank you on the hair, dear Jackie! The colour is, ahem, au naturel and there's more shiny new silvers which can catch the light but I really cannot complain there. Ah, you noticed the bathroom "dress" - it's a piece of wallpaper which I had mounted under perspex for the cupboard door. There's also a "ladder" by the same artist on my pantry door. So handy, haha!!

      If cash goes the way of the dodo, I don't know if I'll get over the rude shock! It doesn't bear thinking about ... Your bank branch is a Costa Coffee? Oh, dear. This really is a worldwide phenomenon. At least their coffee beans are safely locked up overnight. xxx

      Delete
  13. What glorious hair - I can tell you are a beauty!
    Banking services, what a joke. Life in general seems to be leaving me further and further behind. I now bank online but INSIST on a paper statement. Old school, moi? Most definitely.
    (The bread looks delicious.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, dear Rosemary, your fine compliment should be directed at my hairdresser! When the finer details of blowdrying and styling are left to myself, the result can be rather, ahem, amateur-hour-ish

      Old-school is ever the order of the day around these pages, we are kindred spirits all!

      Delete
  14. Replies
    1. You, Sir, are on holidays and should not be rootling around pages like these for entertainments! You have board games and clothing-optionalised friends to play with.

      Delete
  15. Hello Pip. I am still around, still trying unsuccessfully to fly with my hands on occasion but enjoying the effort. Now that I am no longer blogging myself I will have more time to visit your own online vaults, perhaps. New brooms are rearranging my life somewhat, but not sweeping me away, just yet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Andrew, this is welcome news! I was initially afeared you may have found such new and fresh diversions that there would never have been the opportunity for a proper fare-thee-well. New brooms can indeed bring some sweeping changes, and I hope yours will bring both interest and variety, but I will be pleased to know you may occasionally be picking over the dust bunnies that slowly accumulate around here :)

      Delete
    2. And now, with the assistance of Professor Google, I know what a blini is. I look forward to further education here, and I am now wondering if a broomstick may be your secret for flying with mere hands. I always did think there was more to you than you reveal.

      Delete

Thank you for commenting, it is greatly appreciated.

It can be a challenge to persist in the matching up of street signs and other exciting pastimes this comment feature may send your way, so if it gets too annoying, feel free to email your comment to me at pipistrello (at) flyingwithhands (dot) com and I'll post it for you.

Bats In The Belfry