Wednesday 23 April 2008

No worries?

Australia, albeit the tiny percentage I saw of it, despite covering many miles and seeing a huge variety of marvellous things, is wonderful, absolutely and overwhelmingly wonderful. I almost got through my trip without complaining about anything at all, but alas, British Airways and Lloyds TSB scuppered that unique achievement before it could be realised. So I shall share my complaints with you (again - complaints, like jokes told by your gran, always have to be told more than once), and Let Them Go, in that therapeutic, counselly, write everything down and burn what you have written sort of way. Or maybe I'll let them go after I write some fierce yet compelling letters of complaint, possibly in green ink, always an ominous colour indicating that the writer is expressing extreme outrage or is an unravelled fanatic.

British Airways: Firstly, they kept my luggage from me. For a long time. Then there was no number to call and speak to/shout at a real person about what might be happening. And the calls to me were invariably made to the number we weren't at. Then someone did think to ring me direct, told me some awful fibs, or were simply trying to be kind, and promised that my luggage would be delivered to me wherever I was when it did arrive. Then it wasn't, by miles. 653 miles, to be precise. And the plane from London had been freezing cold, the food was vile, and the seats didn't fit someone who is 5' 1" and who didn't enjoy having her head pushed downwards for 12 hours at a stretch. Headpush, not headrest. Graham down the road, who works for BA, advises me to write an angry letter. No problem. It's forming in my mind already, in green letters, with stab holes in the paper.

Lloyds TSB: The trusty debit card, fully primed with far too much spending money filched from my dwindling assets (sorry, son and heir), didn't work in many of the places where you might need money, like banks and shoe shops. I have successfully used this card in antiquated, desolately-decorated banks in India and in dusty little side street cash machines in Turkey, but somehow, it didn't work at all, ever, in cashpoints in three major cities in Australia, or, for that matter, over the counter in some of the banks, even with my passport and a motley collection of other forms of proof of identity. And then sometimes, just to keep me alert, it did work - with a surcharge - in a bank or a shop (
thank you, National Trust membership card and Sainsbury's Bank card (expired) with my £11 that has sat in there for years because I can't remember my pin number), enabling me to pay back the small fortune I was borrowing from Tricia, which I know was her life savings too. The nice chap in the bank this morning tells me it should have worked everywhere, which is just what I had believed in the first place. Wrong, Mr Lloydstsb! Somehow I can't bring myself to blame Australia....its banks looked so modern, so un-Turkish....

Of course, it's also quite possible that something British was to blame for the awful cold, wet, windy weather in Sydney, and the surly slow service from the bored teenager in the coffee place in the Telstra Tower. Everything else was undoubtedly Australian, and therefore wonderful. Or wonderful and therefore Australian. That's my entirely
rational, balanced and unbiased opinion, anyway. Now let's get the complaint-writing paper, the sharp nibs and the green ink out....

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