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Ed Zachary Disease

A woman was very distraught at the fact that she had not had a date or any sex in quite some time. She was afraid she might have something wrong with her, so she decided to seek the medical expertise of a sex therapist.

Her doctor recommended that she see the well known Chinese sex therapist Dr. Chang.

So she went to see him. Upon entering the examination room Dr. Chang said ‘OK take off all your crose.’

The woman did as she was told.

‘Now get down and craw reery, reery fass to odderside of room.’

Again the woman did as she was instructed. Dr. Chang then said ‘OK, now craw reery, reery fass back to me.’ So she did.

Dr.Chang shook his head slowly and said, ‘Your probrem vewy bad. You haf Ed Zachary disease. Worse case I ever see. Dat why you not haf sex or dates.’

Worried the woman asked anxiously, ‘Oh my God Dr.Chang what is Ed Zachary Disease?’

Dr. Chang sighed deeply and replied, ‘Ed Zachary Disease is when your face look Ed Zachary like your arse.’

(The old’uns are always the best! thank you Martin!)

JWBD4

First published on: http://serialfailures.connectable.org.uk/#category2

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Women – Why do some of you stay single?

Boyfriend too much of a high flier?

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Insists on wearing his pyamas in bed?

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Works too hard?

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Likes wearing your clothes?

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Rubs you up the wrong way?

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Is A Frustrated Astronaut?

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Is just plain Bad!

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Previously published on: http://serialfailures.connectable.org.uk/

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MIDIGEN – A (belated) LEMS postscript

This short article discusses an add-on to the following:

Shortly after completing LEMS, The Brute and Treslie, (see links above) it became apparent to me, that in live performances, the LEMS unit wasn’t particularly easy to use. Fine for studio/recording, but quick and accurate changes to settings during a performance were distinctly difficult. I made up my mind to rectify this situation, by providing an easier-to-use interface, which could be MIDI-connected to LEMS, and which was fitted with pots for easy update of velocity, ceiling and floor, together with the other controls.

LEMS & MIDIGEN

LEMS & MIDIGEN

I have to say that despite long thought, and careful planning, this was not my most successful project to date, and although initial work was completed in the latter part of 2011, I was moderately disappointed with my effort, and decided to put the project to one side, having spent far too much time on it. In retrospect, I now realise I wasn’t far away from completing the project satisfactorily, but there were other issues to address at the time.

I’m now what seems a lifetime away from then, living in Portugal, still trying to lick my new home into shape, and still using LEMS and the Brute/Treslie set-up to play my guitar through, although still finding that the LEMS unit is fiddly to adjust. Finally, two days ago, I sat down and tackled the last problem – that of noisy ADC readings. I now have a fully-functional easy-to-use way of changing the LEMS set-up.

MIDIGEN was probably fated to be difficult from the very beginning. One major decision was to attempt to make it a ‘generic’ MIDI controller, (hence the title) rather than an adjunct to LEMS. This was probably a piece of displacement behaviour on my part, not wanting to admit that I should have made LEMS easier to use in the 1st place.
Anyway, it was also an excursion into what I hoped would be my first successful data-driven PIC program – the idea being to produce a generic piece of MIDI hardware/firmware, and provide specialisation/customisation by changing a set of data in EEPROM.

Other matters, particularly the use of cheap pots, my unending problems with producing PCBs in a freezing garage, blah, blah, blah, added to the weight of remedial work necessary to render the project useful.

Despite all of the foregoing, although probably because of it, I believe that publishing the design, in somewhat skeletal form, could be helpful to others, pointing the way, perhaps of how not to do some things, rather than how to do them, and finally what can be done to put things right, even after bad decisions have been made.

The Hardware.

A PIC 16F26K20 accepts inputs from various pots and switches, and converts these into MIDI events. These are also displayed on a local LCD using the 2-wire LCD interface described elsewhere on this site. Both FTDI and ICSP programming/debug interfaces are provided.

The Firmware

An (almost wholly) data-driven program customises the hardware to control the LEMS unit.

Downloads

I am providing the Eagle schematic and board layouts, together with the ‘C’ source-code. Note that these are all supplied as-is, and I cannot offer support on their use, although I will publish any useful comments (please email me) alongside this article.

The zipped eagle project is here: http://joebrown.org.uk/C_Source/MIDIGEN_Eagle_Project.zip

The zipped MPLAB source-code and binary are here: http://joebrown.org.uk/C_Source/MIDIGEN.zip

Photos of the unit are here: http://cullercoats.joebrown.org.uk/#!album-48
A viewer showing photos of the unit is also provided below:
http://cullercoats.joebrown.org.uk/#!album-48

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Come bathe with me, and be my love..

(With apologies to Chistopher Marlowe)

Now the bath in my new home in Portugal had a concrete relationship…

Solid support?

Solid support?

Further, it would have been difficult for a medium-sized Portuguese child to get wet in it, so I decided on a replacement, the installation of which would take place on completion of pipework being installed for the new central-heating system.

The new bath is Joe-sized, of outside dimensions 1.9M by 0.9M. (Yup I’m still 6ft high) Although the bath is not yet enclosed, it is fully-functional, non-elbow-knocking and beautiful to lie in.

Not panelled, but fully-functional!

Not panelled, but fully-functional!


Now, is there a hand-maiden out there who wouldn’t mind scrubbing this handy-man’s back?

Close-up showing box-jointed cross-bracing etc.

Close-up showing box-jointed cross-bracing etc.

More photos detailing the bath fixing can be seen here

The Passionate Shepherd to His Love
Christopher Marlowe, 1599

Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That valleys, groves, hills, and fields
Woods or steepy mountain yields

And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks
By shallow rivers to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

And I will make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flower, and a kirtle
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;

A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair lined slippers for the cold
With buckles of the purest gold;

A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs;
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me and be my love.

The shepherds’ swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love.

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Joeology – My New Charity/Religion/Whatever

Yup, this is a new venture for me, and one that will surely surprise both friends, and occasional readers of this blog alike.

Briefly, the idea is this: Every time some politician mentions ‘God’; Every time some poor twat of a public servant, such as a High Court Judge, gives credibility to some half-baked fairy-story religion, by granting it’s cynical manipulating organisers charitable status; the sum of $1 (or it’s equivalent) must be donated to my Church.

I will be applying to have my newly-formed organisation regarded as a Charity for tax purposes. All funds received will be handed over to a responsible non-religious organisation founded for the sole purpose of helping the World’s most poor.

“Why only one dollar Joe?” I can hear you say. Well, think about it. Almost without exception, Western politicians drool the word ‘God’ out of their mouths on an almost non-stop basis. Their instrument of power – the law, has to reflect their so-called ‘beliefs’, so they to, are part of this unedifying parade of mindless crap. My Charity should do well.

Occasionally, something happens, that although very, very, bad in itself, can have fortunate consequences. Such an event happened this week in the English Courts, when the Church Of Scientology was given a green light to apply for, and receive, charitable status in England. A five year ‘battle’, we are told, has been fought by a young couple, to have their marriage ‘blessed’ in their chosen ‘place of worship’, the Church Of Scientology.

That this is contentious in the minds of most of the British public, (and many more abroad) there is no doubt. But not, I have to say in mine. That the English judge was faced with the prospect of granting religious status to the deeply-cynical writings of a fifties American science-fiction writer, because not to do so, would call in to question all of the other manipulative shit that has been poured, (and still is,) into the ears of the masses for generations by the Organs of so-called main-stream religions such as Christianity, Islam, Judaism et al, must have been a very difficult decision for one so learned and intelligent.

There is a dilemma for these politicians and their minions – the same one no doubt, that faced the courtiers of the Emperor and his New Clothes. When do you ‘fess up that what you have been saying is a complete load of fabricated rubbish, said only to manipulate and gain favour? I won’t hold my breath waiting for this to happen.

A while ago in Spain, a man bet his car on my being wrong about who sang a particular song in the sixties. His confidence of winning the bet was no doubt based on the knowledge that everyone in the bar, without exception, believed me to be wrong. I didn’t accept his car keys, even though he very gallantly offered these to me when I was proved right. I haven’t related this anecdote for any other reason than to point out that belief in something, just because there is a critical mass of others that believe it, does not demonstrate intelligence.

I welcome all-comers to my Church – all of those who are sick to the back teeth of murder, mayhem and money-making, all in the name of religion.
Feel free to email me with your thoughts.

Thursday 12th December 2013

WIKI has an interesting post on Scientology

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Have a VERY Silent Night’s Sleep!

I got a shock in bed last night. No, I didn’t find a beautiful young woman in it. I reached down to switch off my electric blanket. A convulsed and slightly burned hand resulted.

I had failed to notice that the cable entering the controller of the Silent Night Electric Blanket I bought last year in the UK had failed, exposing both live and neutral wires to my unsuspecting hand.

There’s a couple of lessons here. The first being to rigorously inspect controller cables, especially those partly hidden by bedding. The second, don’t buy shit at top prices, which has a reputable British brand name, but is made in some back street in China.

The model in question is Silent Night Electric Blanket Model TT-CC. It will kill, if it hasn’t done so already.

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Assurances, Apologies & Assumptions

Or: Lies, damned lies, and SAGE Pay transaction slips

I stayed at Holne Park House, situated in River Dart Country Park, Devon, from the evening of 24th May until the following Monday morning of 27th May.

On arrival I presented my VISA debit card, and a business card with my contact details, to pay for my stay in advance, as I intended leaving very early on the Monday morning.

Whilst carrying out the VISA payment, (not in my sight) a mistake was made, in that the first 4 digits orf my VISA card number were entered in as the amount debited. The employee subsequently informed me of the mistake, assured me that it had been rectified, and apologised profusely.

I accepted her explanation, and her apology, plus her assurance that the amount had been re-credited and the correct amount debited. I was not given a copy of the transaction slip, but as it turns out, despite her sincere assurances, the amount had not been re-credited. That I should have asked for a copy of the transaction slip there and then is my fault. That she did not automatically provide one to me as a matter of course, is probably something that the management of River Dart Country Park may want to address in their staff training program.

Despite assurances, the large incorrect debit of £4543.00 deducted on 24th May, was not re-credited to my account until the morning of the 29th May – 5 days later. This left me seriously short of the funds I required to make purchases with, before leaving for Portugal the following weekend.

That I was able to make those purchases at all, and not have my planned trip completely wrecked is down to my own efforts – Holne Park House failed completely to return my money within a reasonable time.

I present below a series of email communications. My conclusions follow at the foot of this page.

In the following, I have redacted the full names of those concerned, and also redacted confidential bank, VISA and riverdart vendor codes.

============== ME ===============================
Joe Brown
May 28

to [NAMES REDACTED]
Hi G,

My name is Joe Brown. Whilst staying at the hotel over the weekend, a large incorrect amount has been debited from my bank account.

It is a matter of EXTREME URGENCY, that this is corrected as soon as possible. Would you please bring this to the attention of anyone, including L, who made the transaction, with sufficient authority to correct this mistake. I require these funds to be available to me later on today.

Joe Brown. (J W Brown)

Below copy of bank statement. I’ve bracketed the incorrect debit with !!!

My VISA account number is: 4543 XXXX XXXX XXXX

20 May 2013 Interest/Charge £25.00 £7620.33
24 May 2013 Bank credit £149.60 £7769.93
24 May 2013 Visa £140.00 £7629.93
!!! 24 May 2013 Visa £4543.00 £3086.93 !!!
24 May 2013 Branch or Cash Machine Withdrawal £250.00 £2836.93
25 May 2013 Visa £149.98 £2686.95
27 May 2013 Visa £90.50 £2596.45
27 May 2013 Visa £56.63 £2539.82

———————————————

============ L ========================
May 28

to me
Hello Joe,

This is the error I told you about but I can assure you it has been credited straight back to your account. I have attached a copy of the refund so that you have proof of the refund. I will also post you a paper copy of this – could you please email the address you would like this to be sent to.

My sincerest apologies.
L

@riverdart.co.uk

—————————————————-

Below is a (redacted) copy of the TIF file sent to me by L in the above email.

Redacted Transaction Slip

Redacted Transaction Slip

At this point, it might prove useful to examine the text in the bottom right-hand corner titled: ‘Bank authcode:’
Yes, it says: ‘Awaiting authorisation‘.
Note that this is in a section titled: ‘Successful Refund‘.
Would someone like to clarify for me, how a ‘Successful Refund’ has been carried out – IF the transaction is ‘Awaiting Authorisation’?
Or is my assessment that the statement: ‘Successful Refund‘ is TOTAL RUBBISH, the correct conclusion to come to?

================= ME ===============================

Joe Brown
May 28

to L
Hi L,

All of what you say may be true, but the fact is that my account has been debited by the amount I have stated, and no re-instatement has been done to date (I’ve just checked again)
I need access to my account funds. Please contact your VISA agent and correct this problem – they are very quick to debit the money, but apparently cannot credit me correctly with same alacrity.
If I have to withdraw funds from my savings account I will incur interest penalties, so it is vital that this matter is resolved by the end of today’s business. You should stress this to the VISA agent you are using.

Regards from Joe.

—————————————————–

======================== J ==========================
May 28

to me, L

Good Afternoon Joe
L has forwarded your email to me concerning the incorrect transaction. I can confirm that the refund has been made but unfortunately, due to the bank holiday, it will take a few days for the refund to appear in your account.
You mentioned that you would incur financial penalties if you had to withdraw funds from a savings account, if that is the case please could you forward any relevant documentary evidence to support this.
In the meantime please accept our apologies for this error.

J

————————————————————–

======================= ME ===================================

Joe Brown
May 28

to J
Dear J,

This is not satisfactory. Two debits were made against my account by riverdart – the 1st, for £140.00, the second for the amount of £5443.00. [ !!! NB This is an error in my email - the amount should have been £4543.00] These were both made on 24th May. I have been informed that the incorrect amount was credited immediately.
Why then is there a huge delay of over 3 days?

Quite clearly, the gentle reminder of how serious this situation has put me in, is not sufficient to elicit any effort on your company’s behalf to correct the serious mistake that has been made. As a result, I have a choice to make – abandon my proposed purchases this afternoon, and for the rest of the week, or lose a whole year’s interest after transferring money from a high yield account.

I have asked for L to contact your VISA agent – I suggest that this is done, and documented evidence, rather than a computer-printed slip is sent to me by them to this email address. This was not MY mistake – but has already compromised my plans, and your reply has done nothing but annoy me.

I am NOT waiting days for a credit to appear – this should be done by close of business today, otherwise I will make other arrangements.
If this has to be done the full cost of interest loss by me, plus a claim for compensation for the extreme position I have been put in will made in court. perhaps then, you will realise that apologies are simply not enough.

Regards, Joe Brown

——————————————————-

==================== L ====================
May 28

to J, me
Hi Joe,

Please be assured that we are doing all we can to rectify the situation. Our General Manager is dealing with the bank now and we hope to have this situation sorted out shortly.

Please can you provide me with your contact details in order for us to call you.

Many thanks
L

@riverdart.co.uk

——————————————————-

=============== J ==========================
May 30

to me

Hi Joe
I understand from Laura that she requested your telephone number so that our general manager could phone you concerning this matter.
As far as i’m aware this has not been received, so i assume that the refund has been received in your bank account and the matter has therefore been resolved.
If this is not the case, please can you contact me as a matter of urgency.
Thank you.

J

——————————————————–

So, a mistake was made by an employee at River Dart Country Park. Not in itself a big deal, we are all fallible. The next mistake was mine – not asking to see the transactions slip(s). I would there and then have insisted on the pursuance of the necessary authorisation, which apparently was at that point not given – despite the lie intimating a ‘Successful Refund’. Instead I chose to believe what I had been told – not unreasonable under the circumstances, as the employee also apparently believed I had been refunded.

When I later found that not only the wrongful deduction of £4543.00 had not been returned, but also a further £140.00 had been deducted, I contacted River Dart Country Park.
Instead of acting to rectify the mistake, the attitude of the replies from J, in particular were unhelpful, dismissive and bordering on impertinent. At no time did there appear to be any concern whatsoever for the predicament their mistake had put me in.

The final email from J, borders on contempt. This employee has no right whatsoever to make any assumptions such as ‘the matter has been resolved’.
The ‘matter’ as she puts it, will only be resolved when I say that it is – currently it is very much not so.
I want to know the following:

  • Why SAGE Pay lies on their transaction slips?
  • Why do the employees of River Dart Country Park not read, AND understand these transaction slips?
  • Why I was not given a VISA debit record slip when my card was returned to me?
  • Why was my assertion regarding the failed cancellation of the incorrect debit, not believed and acted upon immediately?
  • How would J like to have her bank account plundered of the bulk of her funds just before a long-planned shopping trip?
  • Why was it necessary to supply River Dart Country Park with ‘contact details’, when they had already received my business card?
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Know no-one, if not yourself

It’s not often that I backtrack in these posts – reminiscing aside, but I’ve been going through backed-up documents recently and ‘discovered’ 5 session reports I’d done on my short excursion into a Counselling course in 2004. I’ve decided to publish these here, as I’m sure they will strike a chord with fellow BP sufferers.

The course could be deemed a disaster, as numbers dwindled over the 5 sessions I attended, mainly due, I felt, to the lack of ability of the tutor, who, as I thought at the time, needed some counselling herself.

Looking back through these short notes, I did take away quite a lot from these sessions, though definitely not a desire either to carry on with them, (I didn’t complete the course) nor to be a counsellor.

My final remarks in the 5th note should have been a wake-up call to seek medical advice sooner, rather than waiting for events to overtake me.

Ah Well. C’est la vie!

Session 1. (13/09/2004) The difference between Counselling and other Helping Professions.

The session started with the Tutor introducing herself and going over ground rules for the course. These included the following:

  • Details of dates of course breaks
  • Agreement regarding breaks within each session – the group agreed there be no ‘coffee’ break.
  • Health and safety issues. EG What to do/Where to go in case of Fire.
  • Attendance. The tutor informed everyone that we had to complete 80% of the course to attain the course qualification.
  • Confidentiality was discussed and agreement sought that anything said to the group by way of a personal nature would be kept within the group.
  • The keeping of a Journal was mentioned, although the Tutor did not elaborate as to the form or content of the Journal.

Each member of the group was asked to introduce themselves and give a reason why they were taking the course. I introduced myself and give the reason that I wanted to actively change my personal delivery, which has been described by others as aggressive and confrontational.

Some of the core skills used by Counsellors were discussed, and the differences/similarities between skill requirements with other professions mentioned.

Empathy was discussed in some detail: what it was and its difference to sympathy.

Body language was discussed and an exercise with different sitting positions was carried out. I related my experience when being questioned by a detective in the Police, of how he tried to intimidate me by shoving his knees between mine whilst sitting very close in front of me. This was misunderstood by one member of the group who subsequently asked if I was a Policeman!

We were given several photocopied handouts by the Tutor covering the Core Skills required of a Counsellor. I have found these both instructive and interesting, but admit that I am probably severely lacking is more than a few of these.
I agreed with most of the material discussed, and came away from the first session feeling that it had been interesting and useful.

These notes have been written up from hasty scribbles I made after the session. I have tried to present them in a logical fashion, and keep the same format for following notes.

Session 2. (20/09/2004) Listening Skills

The session started with the Tutor having to go over the ground rules etc., for those members of the group who had not been present. I suppose this was inevitable, but is, of course a waste of time for those present last week.
Again everyone was asked to introduce themselves, but this I thought OK, as I had forgotten who everyone was!

Listening and Blocks to Listening were discussed, and everyone took part in an exercise with partners, where we had to deliberately ignore the other person when they were talking. I tried to be as boring as possible, discussing some of what I had done that day, and indeed found it uncomfortable when my partner appeared to show no interest whatsoever.

When it came to my partners turn to speak, as an observer, I noticed immediately that as soon as she began to speak, she put her hand up to her mouth, sometimes covering it, so that I couldn’t hear what she was saying. (I’m deaf and need to lip read) When asked about this she seemed to be unaware that she did it.

I have seen this in many people when they talk – and it makes the person appear ‘shifty’ to me – like a child who puts up her hand to her mouth whilst telling a lie to her mother!

The Tutor handed out a sheet covering Blocks to Listening and once again I have to admit that I have been guilty in the past of ‘comparing’ and ‘judging’, together with a little ‘mind-reading’.

I came away from the session having enjoyed it, and found it interesting and engaging. I do feel though that once again my delivery is found to be difficult by certain members of the group. Also, I do watch a person intently when they speak, again because of my deafness. This intent ‘stare’ may put some people off.

Session 3. (27/09/2004) Paraphrasing

The definition and purpose of Paraphrasing was discussed, and how it can be used to build trust and minimize misunderstanding between the Client and the Counsellor.
Sheets of paper with different scenarios where given out by the Tutor.

A member of the group related her experience at the hands of a counsellor who simply repeated parrot fashion what she had been told. We discussed her feelings and reaction to this and agreed that the counsellor was probably untrained or badly trained.

The scenarios were discussed and most members of the group contributed with paraphrasing replies to the Client. I think most members of the group understood,
even before the session what paraphrasing was, what it should be and what it was not, as almost everyone expressed strong views regarding the examples in the sheet.

Some of the multiple choice answers provided in the sheet appeared to me to be very close to what should be said, but were not quite making it. It was felt by myself, and some of the others, that more context could have been given in some of the examples, which would have made it easier to establish the primary role of the ‘counsellor’ in the example.

I found this session absolutely fascinating as it aroused quite strong feelings within the group, and some very lively discussion. I came way from the session having enjoyed it immensely, and also feeling that I’d learned quite a lot about active listening.

Session 4. (4/10/2004) Open and Closed Questions

Reflecting was discussed as an adjunct to paraphrasing whilst listening to the Client. Identifying and repeating key words in the Counsellors answers to the Client was discussed by the group and a case study on this and Open and Closed questions were carried out on an individual basis, then discussed with the group.

Similarly to last week, the group appeared to have very strong views about some of the material presented in the case studies. I felt, and expressed the view that the ‘closed’ questions in the examples had been written by an experienced Counsellor as an example of what not to ask, rather than an example of a simple closed question. Despite this I found the discussion and interaction within the group to be very interesting.

I related my experience with a counsellor who had given her opinion that my girlfriend had ‘low self-esteem’, and that is why she lied to me. When I expressed my view that lying is about controlling what people think, this caused some vigorous discussion within the group.

The tutor passed the comment that the counsellor had asked me a leading question instead of reflecting what I was telling her.

Lying in general was mentioned and my view that everyone lies, almost all of the time, was regarded by some members of the group with disbelief.

I came away from the group feeling I had said too much, and wished I hadn’t. Not such a good week.

Session 5. (11/10/2004) Self Awareness

The session started with the group discussing amongst us why it is important to be self-aware in Counselling. Several members of the group had difficulty in accepting what self-awareness was and why it was so important. Later, the Tutor went through examples of self-awareness, and the group discussed these. Some contributions by the group were quite challenging, and again, it appeared that some of them had a misunderstanding of what self-awareness is.

The Tutor handed out copies of the Johari Window, which demonstrates how we become more aware. There was lively discussion within the group about the diagram and what it meant. I asked why INSIGHT was in the diagram and this was explained succinctly by another member of the group.

The Tutor handed out copies of ‘Feeling Good about Myself’, to fill in, and my first reaction was that I didn’t want to divulge what these were. I can’t explain this gut reaction, but I did overcome it and made the 5 entries in order of priority. Members of the group discussed their entries, and the Tutor suggested that some people would find it hard to find even one good feeling about themselves, let alone five.

I enjoyed the session, despite there being one or two ‘uncomfortable’ and ‘awkward’ moments in it. I came away from the session happier than last week. These sessions have made me examine my feelings at some length. It sometimes appears to me that my personality is a very ‘dark’ one, with wide swings from almost euphoria and being pleased with my achievements, to times of black despair and self-doubt.

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Are The Halifax Destroying Historical Documents?

Are YOUR Deeds ’safe’ in Halifax Deedstore? – As they promised?

Or do these important historical documents ‘no longer exist’, like my own House Title Deeds?

An article appearing in The Telegraph in 2001 highlighting the problems with digitization, expressed concern at the demize of the paper ‘history’ of your house.

Shame I didn’t read it then. Though would I have been reassured by a statement made by a Halifax spokesman at the time? – I quote from the Telegraph article:

Halifax spokesman Jason Clarke said: “We do ask solicitors to send title deeds to the customer and not to us. The land certificate is all we legally require. But if the customer particularly requests or if we end up with the deeds anyway, we lock them away in our store.
“What you have to remember is that some of these papers can be more than 100 years old and what we are talking about is something that is not only bulky but can also be quite tatty. They are nice to have but worthless to us.”

The whole Telegraph article can be read here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/borrowing/mortgages/2744027/The-titles-that-are-documents-of-history.html

See my previous post: Have The Halifax Destroyed YOUR Title Deeds?

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Have the Halifax destroyed YOUR Title Deeds?

I introduced myself to the man behind the glass and told him of my intention. “I would like to pay the £125 I owe you, and recover my deeds from Deedstore.”

He smiled and nodded. How would you like to pay Mr. Brown?”

“Will cash do?” I asked.

He smiled again. “Of course.”

I opened my wallet and counted out exactly £125 into the drawer in front of us both. He retrieved the cash, counted it again, and busied himself with his counter computer, which preceded to eject a piece of paper, which he presented me through the drawer.

I looked at it, a little bemused. Below I reproduce the content of this for you:

RECEIPT
ACCOUNT DETAILS 110840 (my account details)
CASH 125.00
CHEQUES 0.00
TOTAL 125.00
15/08/2012 11:04 110840 Ake

Now, apart from the Halifax logo, and blurb in minescule text at the bottom of the paper slip, there is nothing else to report.
No mention why the payment is being made, and certainly no mention of Title Deeds.

I looked up from the slip in my hand to him. “Well, can I have my deeds now?”
He give a slight dismissive wave of his right hand. “Oh. They don’t exist anymore. All deeds are kept as digital records at the Land Registry Office.”

“I beg your pardon?” I said.

“We can send a facsimile of your deeds to you in about 3 weeks.” he offered.

“Excuse me.” I said “I don’t want a facsimile. I want my original deeds, and I want them now, not in three weeks.”

He looked significantly at the largish queue which had steadily grown behind me, then scribbled a reference on another scrap of paper.
“If you like, you can obtain copies of your deeds direct from the Land Registry Office.”
He shoved the slip of paper into the drawer. He’d written:

‘REGISTERED TITLE DEED REF: (ref. no.)’

He was now looking away from me and again at the queue. Obviously, I’d been dismissed.
“I’m sorry to keep you,” I said “but this is simply not good enough. I want to speak to the Manager.”
With some annoyance on his face he turned again to me. “I’m sorry, there’s no-one here you can speak to. You must get in touch with our call centre.”
Being treat like a piece of shit discovered on the bottom of someone’s shoe is an abuse, in my opinion, and at one time I would have told him exactly what I thought of him, and the ’service’ I had been offered.
These days, I’m a little different. I simply turned and left, later to blast my annoyance and frustration down the telephone line to the Halifax call centre, where I know the calls are recorded.

Despite this, no response has been forthcoming from the Halifax, even though I was assured my complaint would be dealt with. To add insult to injury, if I want to examine a copy of MY deeds, I will be charged £19.95 by the Land Registry Office.
The British Public are being stitched up right, left and centre by Banks and Businesses alike, as well as by a Government elected to look after our well-being.

To put some perspective on the above, I present a word-for-word extract from one of the documents received from the Halifax when I agreed to their ‘Deedstore’ offer.

Statement on 1st page of ‘Halifax Deedstore’ pamphlet given to me on the 21st December 2000

‘A safe way to store your deeds’

‘When you finally repay your mortgage, your title deeds are usually handed over to you, but how do you store them safely?’

‘The Halifax can easily solve this problem by offering you our special Deedstore service, exclusive to our borrowers.’

The Deedstore service

‘With our Deedstore service, we will keep your title deeds safe from theft, safe from fire and ready to use again at a moment’s notice.
All you have to do is repay the final amount due on your mortgage account, except for a balance of £125 which you have to leave outstanding to keep the mortgage open. You will also have to pay us an initial Deedstore entry fee of £10.”

There’s more sales pitch, which is followed by:

“If you ever want to inspect your title deeds, your Halifax branch can arrange this although we will make a charge to recover the costs of retrieving your deeds from, and returning them to storage.
We can supply photocopies of deeds and related documents on payment of the appropriate charges.
Your local branch can give you details.”

I’ve got a message for the Halifax, and it goes something like this:

Your contract with me to keep my deeds safe has been broken by you. I want my title deeds from you, or I will be seeking redress in court for your breach of contract. Your statements made to me in 2000 have turned out to be nothing short of a tissue of lies, and the shabby, dismissive way I have been dealt with by your company raises the question whether you could be entrusted with holding someone’s hat for them, let alone with property Title Deeds.

I finish this short piece off by quoting a statement made on the Land registry site: http://www.landregistry.gov.uk/public/faqs/where-are-my-deeds-kept

Where are my deeds kept?

We only handle original title deeds in order to create the register for land or property when it is first registered with us.
After registration, we return the original title deeds to whoever lodged them at the time – usually the purchaser’s solicitor or licensed conveyancer.

So Halifax Building Society, what did you do with my deeds when they were returned to you after registration?

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