Ruby – bow (wow)ing to the inevitable, or why it hurts to help your dog die.

image

I know many of us, indeed most of us have encountered this point: a much beloved pet clearly enters a point where it just feels cruel to go on.

Ruby, my massive German Shepherd is old, she has been/remains a wonderful pet, but there is no denying that she is now more than just slowing up. She appears to be in distress and her back legs keep… well, just not working. This is much more than not being able to run or jump into the car anymore, but is actually giving out. Today she came to me in proper distress, and I knew she needed the Vet which is (thankfully) just down the road. She couldn’t make it the car so I tried to walk with her the 300 yards down the road. She collapsed three times. In the end I had to go back for the car and manhandle this 8 stone bundle of hair-shedding into the boot and drive her the remaining 150 yards (you can’t just carry her… you really can’t).

Whilst we were waiting for the vet to return from a callout, I felt I had to sit by the cage, to comfort her in what might be her last few hours. I don’t know.

And here’s the thing: it is a mistake to transfer human values and ethics onto animals. I feel bad about thinking “this might be it” but at the same time I hate to see her suffer. In the real world, I am ambivalent about the realities of Euthanasia (having been in too many grey, difficult, ethical situations) and the mantra Thou shalt not kill, and yet thou shalt not strive officiously to keep alive is very real for me. See Rundell, S No way to leave. Nursing times. 86(38): 1990 Sep 19-25 where this Staff Nurse 22 years ago speaks of the cruel ways in which we often keep people alive, just to make us (and certainly not the patient) feel better: it’s not the same as Euthanasia.

I know that the love I have for my pets is a qualitatively different love from that which God loves me, I love Lou or my children, and yet if it needs to be, it will be love which forces me to enable her life to end. I do not want her to suffer. Sitting here watching her panting and looking so miserable… it’s heartbreaking.

Update

Blood results back. Not good. I have had to make a decision. There was a possibility of expensive, extensive treatment, but talking it over with the Vet, it might only have held things off for a few weeks. A few more weeks of suffering was more than I could bear, and so (and I do slightly regret this) I had to come to the decision myself. Sign the form. Take a deep breath and come with her into the operating room.

I stayed with the old lady until she was gone. I’m not going to say “asleep” because that pretends that death is not real. One wakes from sleep. Two large syringes of blue barbiturate and within seconds her laboured, struggle was over. She was peaceful. She looked like she was asleep.

I kissed the dog goodbye, took off her collar and left the Vets. I’ll deal with the paperwork (and the bill) later. Now I have to tell the rest of the family, which is why this post isn’t going to be finally posted until later tonight. I need more time to reflect on it all, on the briefness of mortality, the power of life, the nature of grief. Liam, Emma, Zoe and I were all in tears. For the children, Ruby is the only pet they can remember, and I know Zoe has taken it really hard tonight.

I have lots of happy memories: of walks and of failing to persuade her to walk, of treks in the country and long runs on the beach which inevitably ended with her paddling and getting really messy. I remember the night she caught a man peeing in our garden in Southsea (he climbed the fence really quickly), and the way she protected Lou when the stranger called asking to use our loo. Of clobber and so much moulting, there will be lots of memories…

I have recently had to reassure one of my parishioners a number of times my strongly held belief that all dogs go to heaven. They don’t have souls, but as part of God’s creation they have a place in that place beyond creation. We know God loves dogs, and now Ruby  is at peace. There is no soul to be prayed for, but lots of good memories and a shedful of dog hair.

Farewell you lovely girl.

Ruby (2000-2012)

 

 


Christmas Greetings 2011

In case you haven’t seen the Twitter or Facebook post, here is our 2011 Christmas Greetings:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9_HpQrXUYM
As usual featuring some nice pictures of the last 12 months and sarcastic comments about the kids. The money saved on cards and postage will be donated to Oxfam.
Please note that from 10th February 2012 our new address will be:
The Vicarage
33 Leat Walk
Roborough
Plymouth
Devon PL6 7AT
My licensing as Priest in Charge of the Roborough Team Ministry will take place at 5.30pm on Sunday 26th February 2012 at the Church of S. Edward, King & Martyr, Shaugh Prior, PL7 5HA. You are all most welcome.
Please pray for all of us during this transition.
With love, prayers and blessings
Fr. Simon

Shoulder Surgery – Thank God for St Luke's Hospital for the Clergy and the NHS

(This is not my shoulder, but this is the sort of thing they did. If you are squeemish, don’t click it)

I am typing this with my left hand as the right arm is up in a sling keeping it at a right angle to my body. There is a nerve block in situ which means that I have no sensation or movement between wrist and neck on that side which is really quite freeky. My close friend Steven woke up with a paralysed arm almost 12 months ago which is still completely inert: today has seen my already high admiration for him go through the roof.

The block is slowly wearing off and I now face the oncoming pain, but the op to release my frozen shoulder (the opposite side to 2008’s procedure) went well according to my surgeon, Mr Falworth and I have been up and recovered quickly from the anaesthetic. The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital at Stanmore in Middlesex is an amazing place, doing marvellous work on people with far greater need than me. Conversations this evening with some make me realise that although I could have been done locally, this is a world-reknowned team of shoulder specialists and in them I trust. The work usually done here is so specialised, so often radical that centres of national excellence should remain: the Brompton, the RNOH, the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases, Queen Square (and several others, but you get my point) – the NHS threatens them at their peril. Thank God for the NHS.

I was referred here through St Luke’s, the clergy healthcare charity which links specialists to clergy and their families. Through them both my diabetes and my shoulders have received excellent care. Thank God for them and send them a donation.


Being a Godparent

“…on a Saturday?”

Has been the first reaction of many when I have told them that this afternoon, I will make very serious promises on behalf of Isaac and Charlotte, and I will mean them.

This is not to say that when I conduct Baptisms, one of my favourite of the pastoral offices, most people don’t mean it, but it’s just that for many it is the first time they are called to respond directly to a question of faith, a matter that we tend to push under the carpet these days. For a number of practical reasons (Charlotte returning to Spain tomorrow, one of the Godparents (Oh, that would be me then) working on a Sunday) the baptism is today. I hold baptisms on any day of the week (often baptising adults on a Weds night), so no day is set aside for baptism.

One of our parishioners noted the other day that you can so easily tell the difference between the Churched and the Unchurched at a Baptism in the Mass: the regular Churchgoers usually just turn up in normal clothes whereas those unfamiliar with Church will always dress in what used to be called their ‘Sunday best’. It’s nice to make an effort, it gives respect to the occasion (and is why this morning I have my best suit and a clerical collar this morning). However, as most people don’t dress up for a Sunday anymore, and so what we are left with is the curious way of dressing up like a night out at a nightclub. In the middle of the day. In the cold. High heels and very very short dresses. In, as I have mentioned, the cold. Men in casual shirts and uncomfortable trousers. It’s a little odd. However, if the nightclub is the modern church…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02BUCVBHSKw&ob=av2e

…then we should not be surprised. The response is the most important thing. It says “this is important”, even if the medium and the idiom seem a little incongruous to those of us who have taken to heart the welcome of Christ to (in the words of Kurt Cobain) “come as you are”. Inner preparation is the most important thing, and is, I suspect what Matthew had more in mind when in Matthew 22:1-14 (and especially vs 12) when the man who wasn’t dressed appropriately was slung out: inner commitment, the garments a metaphor. I personally don’t think that he does look at your clothes, but rather what you wear on your heart. Do what you wish. If you want to put on your glad rags, then do so. It’s nice to see a bit of bling in Church.

The commitment to a child and their parents which a Godparent makes are essential: a building block of society and the core of the extended family that makes up the body of Christ. The promises I will make on their behalf are challenging and difficult to keep up, but ones which I will keep with joy. My prayers for the beginning of their Christian journey.


Telling a Story: Teaching Baptism through doing it

There is so much to say about Baptism that there are not enough books in the world to carry them. No amount to Baptism Preparation, I find, ever fully captures all that needs to be said about the Mystery of Baptism. Baptismal teaching should also therefore be at the heart of each celebration of the sacrament so that all those attending (both children and adults) may have an insight.

This running commentary can be tailored for any age group that you want to target, knowing that all the adults will respond to a children’s explanation far more readily than if you presented it to them directly. This is in no way Baptism-lite – the concepts of salvation, and the victory over evil, anthropomorphised in the name of the Devil are not shyed away from, nor should they ever be.

Welcome

In the name of the +Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Amen

The Lord be with you
and also with you.

We gather together today for a very special reason: to celebrate the Baptism of N. It’s a day of joy when we come together as family and friends in order to see the marvellous things that God has done in his/her life and also in our own lives.

After words of welcome, the priest begins the service with the Collect for Baptism

Let us pray…

Heavenly Father,
by the power of your Holy Spirit
you give to your faithful people new life in the water of baptism.
Guide and strengthen us by the same Spirit,
that we who are born again may serve you in faith and love,
and grow into the full stature of your Son, Jesus Christ,
who is alive and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit
now and for ever.
Amen

Baptism is such a wonderful gift that we actually don’t have enough words to properly express it, and when the words run out, as they always do, we turn to other ways of showing that: we might have been able to draw a picture,  or we can do things, show things and share things in action which speak of these wonderful things. A bunch of flowers given to someone means so much more than just “here’s a bunch of flowers” it means “I’m thinking of you” “I think you’re special” even “I love you”. These symbols represent God’s wonderful work in his sacrament of Baptism and so we will use five symbols to try and in some way represent God’s Baptism.

But first, let’s be clear about whom we are praying for in this baptism. I’m going to invite N. their parents and Godparents to come and stand with me here at the front of Church.

Presentation

The Priest asks those who are able to answer for themselves. I would personally ask this question of anyone over about the age of seven, even if Parents and Godparents go on to answer on their behalf.

Do you wish to be baptized?
I do.

or for Infants, the Child along with Parents and Godparents are presented to the congregation

Now, as we all know, it’s a difficult job to be a parent or a Godparent. It’s a job that they can’t simply do on their own: they need the love, the support and the prayer of you – their family and friends, and so before I ask them these really important, demanding questions, I have a very important question to ask of you all…

To the whole congregation:

Faith is the gift of God to his people. In baptism the Lord is adding to our number those whom he is calling. People of God, (that’s you) will you welcome this child / these children and uphold them in their new life in Christ?
With the help of God we will.

To the Parents & Godparents:

Parents and godparents, the Church receives this child /these children with joy. Today we are trusting God for their growth in faith. Will you pray for them, draw them by your example into the community of faith and walk with them in the way of Christ?
With the help of God, we will.

In baptism this child /these children begin their journey in faith. You speak for them today. Will you care for them and help them to take their place within the life and worship of Christ’s Church?
With the help of God, we will.

Decision

Baptism is an important decision, made by ourselves or on behalf of the children in our care

Parents and Godparents, the questions I am going to ask of you now are probably the most important questions I will ever ask anyone. Because N. is unable to answer for themselves, I ask you on their behalf, and with you rests the responsibility to live out these life-changing promises.

In baptism, God calls us out of darkness into his marvellous light. To follow Christ means dying to sin and rising to new life with him. Therefore I ask:

Do you reject the devil and all rebellion against God?
I reject them.

Do you renounce the deceit and corruption of evil?
I renounce them.

Do you repent of the sins that separate us from God and neighbour?
I repent of them.

Do you turn to Christ as Saviour?
I turn to Christ.

Do you submit to Christ as Lord?
I submit to Christ.

Do you come to Christ, the way, the truth and the life?
I come to Christ.

Oil of Baptism

The Priest makes the sign of the cross on the forehead of each candidate with the Oil of Baptism, Parents and godparents also sign the candidates with the sign of the cross.

The first of our symbols of Baptism is the Oil of Baptism. It is a simple, unfragranced Olive Oil, made Holy for us by our own Bishop each Maundy Thursday, fresh each year. We use it to place the Sign of the Cross on the forehead of the person to be baptised. (allow young people to sniff the oil if they are willing).The Cross is at the heart of our faith, a symbol of Christ and of what he did for us.

The Cross could so easily have been something to be ashamed of: a terrible form of torture, a very cruel treatment and a nasty way to die, (point to the Stained Glass, Crucifix or other visual representation of the Crucifixion), and yet were are not ashamed of the cross, in fact we are very proud of the Cross because it was not a sign of failure, but because of Christ’s victory over sin and death through the Cross, it is a sign of triumph, a symbol that reminds us that nothing, not even death, can be stronger than the love of Jesus. So we wear that sign proudly…

Christ +claims you for his own.
Receive the sign of the cross.

N, Do not be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified.
Fight valiantly as a disciple of Christ against sin, the world and the devil, and remain faithful to Christ to the end of your life.

May almighty God +deliver you from the powers of darkness, restore in you the image of his glory, and lead you in the light and obedience of Christ.
Amen

Our lives are bit like a journey: throughout them we travel, and we grow. As we journey together, we might notice that we never travel alone, but that we travel with Christ at our side. To remind ourselves of this, we are going to make a short journey where we will encounter our second symbol. Come, Parents and Godparents, let us journey to our font, as we continue our life’s journey.

Water of Baptism

Our next symbol is the sign of water. Water is essential for life. Without water, we would quickly die.

Praise God who made heaven and earth
who keeps his promise for ever.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give him thanks and praise.

We thank you, almighty God, for the gift of water
to sustain, refresh and cleanse all life.

Heavenly Father, +sanctify this water that, by the power of your Holy Spirit, all who are baptised in it may they be cleansed from sin and born again.

Renewed in your image, may they walk by the light of faith
and continue for ever in the risen life of Jesus Christ our Lord;
to whom with you and the Holy Spirit
be all honour and glory, now and for ever.
Amen

When we sign up for something really important like Baptism, it’s essential that we remember what it is that we are signing ourselves up for, to examine the small print, to make sure that we agree the key principles of the Christian faith, so…

Profession of Faith

Let us affirm, together with these who are being baptized, our common faith in Jesus Christ.

Do you believe and trust in God the Father, source of all being and life, the one for whom we exist?
I believe and trust in God the Father.

Do you believe and trust in God the Son, who took our human nature, died for us and rose again?
I believe and trust in God the Son.

Do you believe and trust in God the Holy Spirit, who gives life to the people of God and makes Christ known in the world?
I believe and trust in God the Holy Spirit.

This is the faith of the Church.
This is our faith.
We believe and trust in one God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The priest asks those who are able to answer for themselves

Is this your faith?
This is my faith.

When we talk of this, we often hear the word “Christening” rather than the word for it as it appears in the Bible – “Baptism”. There is nothing wrong with “Christening” for it is a fine old English word, but it sometimes carries with it the implication that it is here, at this service that N gets their ‘Christian Name’. However, N has been known by that name since they were born, and in fact the Holy Scriptures say that N was “known before they were formed in the womb” (Jeremiah 1:5) and that God knows every hair on N’s head (Luke 12:7), so the next part of our service recognises not the naming of N, but their calling: calling by God, calling by name. God already knows us intimately by name and at this Baptism he reaches out to N. He will call us at Confirmation, on our Wedding Day, one to another, and even at the end of our lives, it is God who will call us by name back to be with him.

Therefore I ask, please name this child whom God is calling…

The parents are asked for the Christian Names of the child.

Baptism

N, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Amen.

Our next symbol is the Oil of Chrism, which is again like the Oil of Baptism we used earlier is an oil made holy by our own bishop each Maundy Thursday. However, unlike the plain and simple Oil of Baptism, this oil is highly perfumed (encourage young people to sniff it). Three thousand years ago, when the people of Israel created Kings, they didn’t put a golden crown upon their heads, but rather doused them in this highly fragrant oil. They also used it to set apart their holy people; and in the same way, we use this oil to signal that baptism makes N very holy, very kingly/queenly, and gains membership of a Royal Family – the royal family of God in addition to their own loving family.

Oil of Chrism

The Priest smears the newly baptised with the Oil of Chrism as a sign of the outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit.

The Oil of Chrism is a symbol of God’s goodness to us and his grace, and recognising that we don’t use use a drop, but a whole load, poured out upon us like God’s grace. Good religion is, of course, very messy.

We say together:

Through baptism, God anoints you with the chrism of salvation. As Christ was anointed Priest, Prophet, and King, so may you share everlasting life.

Robing in White

The newly baptised are draped in a white cloth to symbolise their new life with Christ

Our next symbol is that of the White Robe. When we were baptised in the 4th Century, we would gather very early in the morning on Easter day, just as the sun rose, just as Christ rose from the tomb (so see how kind I am to you!), gathering by the side of the river or the baptistry. There we (and it was usually adults who were baptised like this) would remove ALL of our clothes on one side of the river to symbolise putting away our past lives and we would enter into the water as naked as the day we were born.

There in the water, we would be baptised and it was said that our old lives had died, and we would be created as something new: a baptised person, and so we would rise up out of the waters of rebirth on the other side as someone ‘born again’ – it’s not just the Americans who are ‘Born-again Christians’ but everyone born of water and the spirit (John 3:5). As the newly baptised rose out of the waters of baptism on the other side they would be clothed in a White Robe to symbolise ‘putting on Christ’ and the purity which this baptism gave them.

To show this, we drape this white cloth around the shoulders of N to demonstrate their salvation won by these holy acts.

We say together:

You have been clothed with Christ.
As many as are baptised into Christ have put on Christ.

May God, who has received you by baptism into his Church,
pour upon you the riches of his grace,
that within the company of Christ’s pilgrim people
you may daily be renewed by his anointing Spirit,
and come to the inheritance of the saints in glory.
Amen

Welcome of the Faithful

There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism: by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body.

We welcome you into the fellowship of faith; we are children of the same heavenly Father; we welcome you.

Prayers

We pray for the newly baptised, their families, parents and Godparents.

It is tough and challenging to be a parent, to be a Godparent, and so now, we pray for N, and for you, that you may be supported in this wonderful, humbling, challenging task. Let us pray…

Faithful and loving God,
bless those who care for these children
and grant them your gifts of love, wisdom and faith.
Pour upon them your healing and reconciling love,
and protect their home from all evil.
Fill them with the light of your presence
and establish them in the joy of your kingdom,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen

In their name, in the Spirit of our common bond with Christ, let us pray together in the words our Lord has given us:

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Baptism Candle

lit from the Paschal Candle

Our final symbol is the symbol of the Candle. Throughout this Baptism this large candle (it’s known as the Paschal Candle) has been burning throughout to remind us of the presence of Christ here with us today.

To many, this world is a dark place: filled with all kinds of bad things and the terrible things that people do to each other – in the playground, in wars and all around the world.

Yet Jesus said that he was the light of the world, (John 18:12) the light that shines in the darkness (John 1:5). Even in the darkest of places, a single light: the light from this Paschal Candle can shine out and make a difference. Each Easter Sunday we bring the new Paschal Candle into this dark Church to show how Jesus lights up our lives.

I believe that we each have a little candle of faith within each and every one of us. If we were to light out candles of faith from the one true candle – Jesus, then we could turn off all the lights and the dark and scary world would be at all dark and scary, as our light, the light of Jesus would chase away the dark.

So to remind N of this special day, I am going to take this baptism candle, and light it from the candle of Jesus, the Paschal candle. I recommend that you don’t take this candle and put it in a drawer and forget about it: display it at home to remind the whole family of this special gift, and each birthday, I suggest you can do what we do, and put the baptism candle besides the birthday cake and light it, so as each year passes and the number of candles on the cake grow and grow, so the one candle, the candle of your baptism, N, remains constant, just as Jesus remains constant for you.

God has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and has given us a place with the saints in light. You have received the light of Christ; walk in this light all the days of your life.

Shine as a light in the world to the glory of God the Father.

Blessing

The God of all grace,
who called you to his eternal glory in Christ Jesus,
establish, strengthen and settle you in the faith;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always.
Amen

Go in the light and peace of Christ
Thanks be to God.


A year and a bit of Washing Machine woe (aka The Candyman Can't)

Candy knows how poor Customer Service can be

I have tried my utmost to avoid breaking my silence and sharing my story about possibly the worst, most unhelpful customer service department in the history of White Goods, but I have now reached an all time low, and I just need to tell the world exactly how awful Hoover/Candy Service really is.

My tale involves a malfunctioning Washing Machine which started misbehaving within 3 months of purchase. It got stuck on a 90 minute cycle and just stayed washing… and washing… and washing my clerical shirts until they were a light grey in colour and my daughter’s clothes were ruined. It took a little while to really notice it (because you don’t always go out of the house and return 4 hours later to find it still washing) and it wasn’t until a number of members of the family all agreed that something wasn’t right that  I first called the Service Department which deals with both Hoover and Candy appliances (I wonder if they’re the same company with different badges on: I know that Candy is predominantly a US brand).

An Engineer is sent. Nice man. He replaces something.

It doesn’t fix it.

I call again.

The Engineer is sent again. He replaces something else.

It doesn’t fix it.

I call again.

The Engineer is sent again. He replaces something else.

It doesn’t fix it.

I call again. Now by this time the machine is over 12 months old and this is when it starts to get interesting/annoying/silly. I am told that they would charge me for the call out and for any parts because it is out of warranty and I have not purchased an extended warranty. They would only not charge if the faulty parts turned out to be the ones already replaced.

“Hang on,” I said, “We know they’re not the problem parts because what ever is causing the problem started BEFORE THE WARRANTY EXPIRED”

They make their point quite rudely, but I stick to my guns. There is, I believe a moral imperative at stake here and they should fix it under the terms of the warranty, because it was clearly faulty before the warranty expired. It takes an email sent via the website to kick them into action and they say that of course the machine will be dealt with as though it is under warranty because the pre-expiry problem still hasn’t been fixed. This sounds promising.

The Engineer is sent again. He replaces something else.

It doesn’t fix it.

I call again.

The Engineer is sent again. He replaces something else.

It doesn’t fix it.

I call again.

What I love now is that on the day of each visit the Customer Disservices Department call me and try and flog me that Extended Warranty. I politely decline each time and emphasise that they have a moral duty to fix it. I try and up the ante and start describing the machine as a lemon which by now ought to be replaced. After all, what else is there to replace? They say “Oh well, if you bought the extended warranty you could have a new one”, I decline to do that, so my favourite Engineer is once again booked. At some point I escalate the call and I am assured that a note will be put on my file to stop trying to sell me an extended warranty. I get at least two more of these calls because they actually notice this. I wonder how big my file is by now.

The Engineer now knows the way to my house without recourse to his SatNav. We are on good terms. He knows my dog, Ruby well by now and she just accepts him as a part of the extended Church family that is always around our House. Lou suggests that I have started having an affair with someone on 08444 995599  – the Customer Services Dept number as I call it so often.

I have lost count by now how many times the Engineer has called. He has replaced almost everything. I keep asking for a replacement. They refuse. I demand they fix it (nicely, of course) but the Script doesn’t cover that and some of the people on the end of the phone are really, really rude about it. There is one nice lady, and a young man who seemed to be the only one who actually cared about us, but one in particular is just horrible. I don’t know what part of Wales they are based in, but when she answers I just know that we are going to go round in circles once more. At one point when I said that I had already spoken to a supervisor, this particular customer services person denied that such a person actually existed and that “there was only one supervisor and she has never spoken to you before”. One supervisor? For each and every shift? Surely not? Was I actually being called a liar there or was I imagining it? When I actually spoke to this Supervisor (I waited all day for her return call, but she didn’t contact me until the following day) but she sounded lovely, and appeared to be helpful, but these things can be quite deceptive.

A Senior Engineer is despatched. He fiddles with the wiring. It works!

Once.

I call again. My familiar Engineer comes. We are all at our wit’s end now. He puts in for a replacement machine as there is no other alternative.

Candy go into hibernation. I call them. They send out my favourite Engineer. Something is changed. It still doesn’t work.

This happens a few more times: frankly I have forgotten how many times now. I wonder how many mornings and afternoons I have spent awaiting the Engineer to come. He’s a nice lad. I like him. I feel that we have a relationship, at least based on duration.

I keep asking for a replacement. The Engineer keeps asking for a replacement. Customer Services keep booking the Engineer to visit.

Finally, a process is found: the Engineer is booked and for the first time doesn’t show (which is quite annoying as he didn’t tell me this is what was going to happen) but when I call, there is a note on the system which says he has got sign off from his Senior Engineer to authorise a replacement. It just needs the sign off from a lady in Customer Services. “Could I speak with her then, please” “Ah, no, she’s off sick” “And no-one else can sign this off?” “Err.. no” came the reply with at least a small degree of shame in the lady’s voice.

Two weeks go by. Royal Weddings and May Bank Holidays. Enough is enough. I call and it is, oh dear, the problematic lady. The Supervisor who was going to sign it off can’t do so because – wait for it – I haven’t got an extended warranty, and so I’ll have to pay 20% of the cost…

Hold on. She knows the story. They must understand the moral obligation. They must see the solution.

I have to hear from the nice Supervisor who failed to get back in contact with me. She’s on another call, but she’ll call you back today.

Guess what? She didn’t call.

UPDATE: 12th May – I call the nice Supervisor back, and she tells me it’s not her call – Aaargghh!! She has spoken to another Department and they have ‘been through the log’ and don’t believe a Senior Engineer has yet been to visit – BUT HE HAS! I can’t believe that they are still stalling, and it’s yet another department, and yet another anonymous manager and yet another delay. When will they face up to it? I now wait a call back from that department. I won’t hold my breath…

If companies cared at all for their reputation they wouldn’t treat customers like this. They wouldn’t let their Customer Services Dept string along their customers like this, and they would face up to their moral accountability. I am sorry that I have had to document this here, where it will be read by potential customers of Candy and in a small way, may damage their reputation. However, they have brought it upon themselves and the Customer Services Dept of Candy are the root cause of this.  Therefore, my dear friends, I implore you DO NOT BUY A CANDY WASHING MACHINE FOR THEIR SERVICE IS TERRIBLE. I hope someone there monitors the social media because I hope someone senior in Candy reads this and is embarrassed. I would be.

I just want a washing machine that works reliably. I want clean black clerical shirts that haven’t been washed to oblivion. I want reasonable customer service.

I would appreciate it if you would retweet a link to this post in the hope that it shames them into action. Maybe the following might help:

Let’s get @frsimon a working washing machine! http://is.gd/JB9yQh Until then #hoovercandysucks


Squatters at the Middlesex Hospital

I trained as a Registered General Nurse at the Middlesex. I met my wife on Bond Street Ward (Orthopaedics), at least that’s the story I tell to avoid lurid tales of drunken Nurse’s Home Parties, but we were actually going out with each other when this trouble-making RCN Steward Student arrived on Bond Street. Once a wonderful hospital smack bang in central London now just a hole in the ground 🙁

The Rhumatology Department was on the next corner, and this building occupied seems to be there, in Arthur Stanley House, although in other shots I wonder if it wasn’t the block which housed Hardy Roberts, the Children’s ward on the top. Which ever it was, this video brings back warm memories of working at the Middlesex (Holmes Sellors Cardiothoracic Surgery and ITU) and all those wonderfully named wards I worked on as a student.


Rundell Family Christmas Card 2010

For the past couple of years, we have not sent Christmas Cards out, but rather sent the money we would have spent to Oxfam Unwrapped.

Usually we have parodied the round robin letter (Jocinta is excelling at her Cello lessons, and Tarquin simply loves his extra Latin lessons!) and peppered the video with various untruths which I make up about the family. This year, I thought just a random collection of  pictures from the past year would be nice with no sarcastic comments. Please enjoy, please share with others who know us, and if you like the pictures, let me know.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=we0Xgqt0IPg