Tag Archives: October

National Poetry Day 2015 – UK

To mark the occasion, I’m posting a poem by Maya Angelou (found on Poem Hunter).

Alone

Lying, thinking
Last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
And I don’t believe I’m wrong
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

There are some millionaires
With money they can’t use
Their wives run round like banshees
Their children sing the blues
They’ve got expensive doctors
To cure their hearts of stone.
But nobody
No, nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Now if you listen closely
I’ll tell you what I know
Storm clouds are gathering
The wind is gonna blow
The race of man is suffering
And I can hear the moan,
‘Cause nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

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Mothballing of Bliadhna nan Òran

Here’s hoping it returns soon.

Social Media Alba ®

mothball

A popular BBC website that documented the history of Scottish Gaelic songs and writers has disappeared from the Internet after an attempt to archive the site as a result apparently of the project coming to a close. Instead of being taken to archived pages, users of the Bliadhna na Òran site are experiencing the 404 error of ‘Page not found’.

The website is used as a classroom resource by teachers across the country as well as by researchers, students and the general community. And according to comments on Social Media, its mothballing has caused surprise and some anger.

It is not apparent that there was any consultation with site users over a change to the public website. Especially as only over a week ago during the National Mòd in Inverness was the website being promoted in the Comunn Ghàidhlig Inbhir Nis lecture at the UHI Building on Ness Walk which makes its disappearance even more…

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“Cadillac?” — watch how four people in Dundee got on trying to speak Gaelic – Dundee / Local / News / The Courier.

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25 October 2014 · 22:48

It’s (almost) like winning the lottery

Yesterday, a letter arrived in the mail from Halifax, that creditor that is the bane of my life.   I delayed opening it, as I find myself anxious just seeing their name on any correpondence.  I usually wait until just after work, so I can spend some time composing a letter in response.

Well, this afternoon there was an advertisement on tv about debt, and I thought I should open it to see what action I would have to take tomorrow when I call my debt charity for my annual review.   I read with surprise that the letter was about my complaint, a complaint I had lodged last year.    As I read on, I felt it was very defensive, until I read the fourth paragraph, halfway down the page.  They were offering me £100 in compensation for the phone calls that ought to have stopped after I wrote to them back when my DMP started in 2007 requesting they only contact me via post, and remove my contact numbers from their records.

They then outlined my next complaint about returning to regular interest, despite the fact my other account had gone into collections seven years ago, and had not had any added extra interest since then, and how if they continued to add interest, I would probably be retired, or dead, by the time the debt was paid in full.

Now for the BIG surprise: they had decided to refund the interest from the time I went into DMP, in line with my other account, leaving my debt at just £22.00.   The last sentence of the paragraph ending with “… we have agreed to write off the outstanding balance in full on this account“.   I read it three times before I actually (and I mean literally) shouted out in surprise.   No more payments on the account.  The debt is cleared.    I’m free of them!  I’m not sure I believe it, so I am writing this blog in order to have it down on paper.   It’s like winning the lottery.   This means I may actually be debt free after 11 years.  Yes, that is not until late 2018, but with no more interest accruing, the overall debt will decrease.

Now, they included a leaflet in case I want to take the harrassment case further with the ombudsman, but I’m not sure.   The relief of just having the account paid off is immense – especially with the other stressers in my life right now – and I would rather walk away from the Halifax altogether, leaving all the anxiety, and hassle behind.  If I take it further, I will have to continue to have contact with them, beyond the “acceptance of offer” letter I need to write tomorrow.   On the other hand, I’d hate to think they do this to others.   With only a few minutes to ponder, I am inclined to walk away from the whole episode.

I guess I will have to see how I feel tomorrow when the shock wears off.

By the gods, it feels (almost) like winning the lottery.

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A bheil Gàidhig agaibh? A bheil sibh a’ fuireach anns A’ Chòrn ?

One of my fellow students, living in Cornwall, would like to get in touch with any speakers of Scottish Gaelic at any level for meet-ups, either online or in person, to improve his conversational skills.

If you have Gàidhlig, and reside in Cornwall, please get in touch via the comments section below, leaving your email address.  I won’ t publish the comment so that email addresses are safe, and I’ll delete them once I’ve passed your details on to the student.

Please feel free to repost this.

With thanks.

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Halifax Bank PLC – Steer Clear

For those that don’t know, I have been on a Debt Management Plan (“DMP“) since 2007.  I will probably remain on that plan for many years to come.  Today, I received a letter from the Halifax informing me they wish to reinstate the “normal” interest rate on my debt to them.  This will set me back quite a few years, as it will mean I am roughly paying back around £1 a month on a several thousand pound debt.   In other words, I will probably be dead before it is paid off in full.

This letter, this kind of stress, I just don’t fecking need it in my life right now.

From the time a friend recommended I switch to Halifax bank, they have caused me nothing but problems.  Switching my current account, and credit card to them took months, they screwed it up, and I had to pay default fees for some direct debits that failed.  Then when I started the DMP, Halifax was the only creditor who insisted on continuing to charge interest, only reducing it on one of the two credit cards they issued (to me during the feck up account changeover).   It is their refusal to stop interest altogether which has set back my repayment times.  If it wasn’t for that, I would probably have paid off all my creditors by now, and be nearing the end of my DMP.  Today, I really just can’t see an end to it, especially after their ridiculous assertion by Halifax that I am no longer in financial difficulty.

Really?  Really?  I couldn’t afford to go home for my grandmother’s funeral because I didn’t have the money to cover the cost of the airfare, as well as the unpaid leave I would have needed to take from work (unfortunately, my grandmother died just as I has taken annual leave).  A DMP means you cannot have any savings, so any major expenses are impossible to cover.   I may face a similar familial situation in the future.   I have to wonder if I would not be better off following Denise Drysdale’s example and packing my car in order to live out of it, leaving work, and other heartless corporations, and society, altogether.  I am just so tired of the shit I get from Halifax.  If it wasn’t for them, I probably would be able to handle this whole DMP process better.

I wish I had quit my job back in 2007, and filed for bankruptcy.  I’m sure it would have been far less stressful, and, in turn, had a less detrimental affect on my state of well being.

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Went Nowhere

When I left the house this afternoon, I realised I had only ventured outside the house, once, over the entire weekend, and that was to get some food last night, having slept through my usual grocery shopping time on Saturday.  The rest of the time was either spent on the couch watching a bit of television, or in bed sleeping.   Yet, when I got up today, I still did not feel particularly rested.

Then again, I did have to wake up for 1.5 hours to attend my tutorial, which is scheduled for halfway through my normal sleeping time, after which I didn’t really go back to sleep.

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