Muggers’ Day

flowersThe even tenor of my morning was disturbed by an unwelcome piece of information.

The next day would be Mothers’ Day in the U.K. and, as I had been totally unaware of the hazard, I had not ordered flowers to be delivered to my aged parent.

Panic! Forget to order those blasted flowers and you might as well order a guillotine in kit form and make an end of yourself, otherwise you are in for a bloom by bloom description of the flowers delivered to her friends by their dutiful offspring spread over several ‘phone calls.

Mark you, given the incompetence and downright arrogance of firms these days the guillotine kit would probably arrive with the screws for the blade missing and an instruction to buy your own rope.

Only a few online flower suppliers were still offering delivery on the day so I thought it would be quick work to find something she would like….but we all know what thought did…

Most of what was said to be available proved to be no longer available…and the minutes were ticking down to the delivery deadline – Costa Rica being six hours behind the U.K.

Finally I found a bouquet which I thought would be to her taste. I went through the rigmarole of ordering….and just as I was to confirm found that the delivery date was for the day following Der Tag.

Much bad language followed as I tried to unravel the mysteries of a system which said it could deliver this bouquet on one date and then changed it for another date…but finally I discovered that it could indeed deliver on Mothers’ Day – if I was willing to pay ten quid more! Not so much Mothers’ Day as Muggers Day.

The blazes with that! I just had time to ring her local florist and appeal for mercy.

Mother is getting freesias tonight when the florist’s son gets back from football.

Online transactions are becoming part of our life: for my husband the perusal of Chinese mail order lists happily occupy him as witness the shower of  canine nail clippers, hair scissors, collars, leads, files, watches and mouse traps which have descended upon us in recent weeks.

I have to say that all have been top quality, have a no questions asked return policy – if you can read Chinese addresses – cost bugger all and are despatched post free.

By the look of the local Post Office half the town is similarly engaged in doing its bit to support the Chinese economy in its hour of need and so far the Costa Rican customs have not been holding items to ransom in their lair in the outskirts of San Jose.

Whether this will hold good for the tazer he seems to have ordered remains to be seen …and no, I don’t know how he managed to order it either…

Back up for the mouse traps perhaps…?

Or perhaps he was prescient.

We have been trying to rationalise our various bank accounts online….but banks have developed beyond the Chinese model of trying to please the customer.

The current bank model is, unless the customer is a drug trafficking human rights abuser introduced by Tony Blair (for a consideration), to treat said customer as a drug trafficking human rights abuser not introduced by Tony Blair.

You want to transfer some of your money?  Prove who you are! Prove that the bank to which you wish to to transfer the funds exists!

As proof of the latter seems to consist of producing said bank’s letterhead  the John Bull printing set must be making record sales in Nigeria…

Mark you, since one of the banks concerned is owned by Richard Branson, Britain’s prototype for Donald Trump,  perhaps they have grounds for concern…

Things are no better at the other end.

We’re sending back this money unless you can prove how you came by it! How they expect us to recall where the odd five grand came from is beyond me – it’s just sitting there, where it’s been sitting for the last few years…

So far a collection of old conveyances and actes de vente have provided sufficient cover but at some point some bright spark might notice that the same conveyance has covered a number of transactions…

Add to all this that reaction to mention of the Costa Rican currency – the colon – varies from crude remarks to blank incomprehension in banking circles and you can see that our rationalisation programme is on a hiding to nothing.

Still, the human touch still exists.

On Monday I shall be going in to my local bank branch to pick up my new bank card.

I had gone in to do this on Friday and waited for half an hour while increasingly frantic staff hunted for it high and low. Eventually, after consulting the computer and calls to Head Office, it was suggested that I go home and that they would call me  when they had a solution.

I had been home half an hour when the call came.

They had my card after all.

It had fallen down the back of the filing cabinet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Open the Cage and Let Them Out

open the gates
Politics is in the air at the moment.

If it’s not Donald Trump in the U.S.A. then it’s Jeremy Corbyn in the U.K. …and here, in my little town, the candidates are squaring up for the local elections in February next year.

So far, only one party has announced whom its candidate for mayoral office will be: the party currently holding power.

The party whose representatives are responsible for the ever immobile bulldozer, the dustcart that collects more dust than rubbish and – latest item, remember you heard it here first – the payment of over two million colones (some four thousand dollars) to an enterprise appropriately entitled ‘El Gusano’ (The Grub) for cutting down a tree.

Be that as it may, the party faithful, all sixty three of them, assembled this weekend to elect their candidate for February.

The list had been whittled down to three….the current alcalde (mayor) – pink shirt; a gentleman who had given long service to the party both in the council and the National Assembly – blue shirt and a hair style expertly imitating a wig – and a large gentleman distinguished mainly by his striped polo shirt, resembling a navigation buoy swept inland by a tsunami.

Now, the party nationally runs the rule over those of its members who wish to stand for office.

It doesn’t like to endorse those who have previously stood for office for other parties….or those who have less then two years’ membership of the party.
No problem for the local candidates there.

It will not endorse those who contravene the requirements of its ethics committee.
No problem there either.

It will not endorse those condemned by the justice system…
Ah! A hitch!
One candidate was refused the party’s approval on these grounds.
The one with long years of service at local and national level.

It appears that this gentleman had been an agent for the then monopolistic state insurance company INS. Apart from his other activities.
As an agent for INS he had accepted payment for car insurance and had duly delivered certificates of insurance to his clients.
Unfortunately, he had forgotten to inform INS of his transactions.

It all came to light when a client, passing the head office of INS in San Jose decided to check his policy…only to discover that INS had no record of it.

The state prosecution service became involved and eventually the forgetful gentleman was hauled into court.

The Costa Rican justice system allows for a conciliation process before action proceeds, and at that process, the future candidate offered to refund the nineteen million colones (some thirty eight thousand dollars) identified as entering into his possession but not into that of INS and was given three years in which to do so, in addition to a payment to benefit the National Children’s Hospital and the obligation to do one hundred hours of community service.

Simple, you would think. Condemned by the justice system…can’t be a candidate.

But this is to underestimate the abilities of this gentleman.

Instead of appealing against the decision of his party immediately he waited until the day before the election and took his case to the national Election Tribunal who decided that, as a long serving party member and not otherwise disqualified by internal party regulations, he could proceed with his candidature while he appealed his party’s decision in an internal tribunal.
No time for the party to disqualify him again, then.

First round of voting….the navigation buoy is eliminated. Pink shirt and blue shirt tie.

Second round of voting….blue shirt wins.

Deep unhappiness among those whose candidate was not successful…..who have launched an appeal to overthrow the decision.

With a bit of luck this series of appeals will last until after the elections…or they might do a re run and elect the navigation buoy.

Needless to say, the social media are fizzing…..very good for my Spanish vocabulary, if somewhat repetitive.

I have no idea what the reaction in the U.S.A. to Trump might be…I just wonder if he reminds anyone else of a troll (Norwegian variety, not internet)….but Corbyn’s candidacy for the leadership of the Labour Party certainly seems to have enlivened political life in the U.K.

It appears from the reaction of an unholy combination of press and politicians that his election will end civilisation as we know it.
Looking at said civilisation as exemplified by the U.K., I tend to think that that is no bad thing.

There have been years of privatisation – both openly and by stealth – of public assets. Sheer daylight robbery.

Years of kow towing to the U.S.A. government- the follies of whose evil policies are plain to all.

Years of grinding the faces of the poor….no proper employment resulting in artificially induced dependency; education designed to depress, not encourage talent; inadequate housing, poor nutrition.

But what seems to worry the powers that be the most is that Corbyn would like to hear what ordinary people think, what ordinary people want….and proposes to try to put those wishes into effect.

Shock horror!

Democracy!