Saturday, 16 June 2007

The Prisoner of Reading Gaol

An appreciation.
Hmm. I am thinking that you ought to compile all these extracts into a book. That was a delightful piece of writing. From suffering come forth wonderful thought pictures. May the Prisoner of Reading Gaol live forever!

Tuesday 19 June 2007

AF wondered whether I was talking about Oscar Wilde or whether I was referring to someone sent to prison for reading.
Oscar Wilde.
I am so glad not to be in UK. There is a sort of madness that has overtaken all the public and private institutions, particularly the large ones. Remember how Scottish Power were harassing me for 18p? They sent me a bill for 20 May (I officially left the flat on 31 May) which was based on my *final* reading. They have just sent me another ‘final’ bill estimating my final reading. Their estimate is that I have used £1,100 of electricity – yes, eleven hundred quid in 10 days when there was no one there! I emailed them and told them:
I have just received the final estimated bill. I have seldom seen anything so bonkers since you sent me a final demand for 18p. This is grossly irresponsible. Fortunately I have a reasonably thick skin and recognise this extraordinary load of codswallop for what it is. The flat has been empty since April and, of course, it is impossible that 10599 units have been consumed in the last 10 days of May without probably blowing the company fuse. Someone who is more sensitive and trusting of the abilities of large public corporations to actually think and work things out properly might well have suffered severe anxiety and depression to the extent of even doing themselves harm.
As I mentioned in my previous email to you, 23550 was the final reading. Actually, the final reading was less than that, but I estimated how much my friends and the landlord would need for hoovering etc. I have no doubt at all that the meter reading on 31 May was no more than 23550.
The final bill is:
standing charge
1.58
VAT @ 5%
0.08
Balance from previous account
***.**
Total
***.**

And that is what I accept liability for, even though I should deduct a sum for distress and inconvenience and swearing at the office boy.
I could, of course, just give them 2 fingers because I have no intention of ever returning to that land of oppressive madness. But I will pay my utilities bills because I don't want them harassing my landlord and, of course, because I do owe them the money.