Thursday, January 18, 2007

18 January 2007: Windy

Half a tree on the ground

Got home from Texas last week to find the above sight from our spare room window.

Specifically, there's a big old (well, probably not very old) eucalyptus tree (sans Koala bear) lurking around the back of our rented house here in sunny Highfield. And while we were away, it appears a good chunk of it fell off into the neighbour's yard, which wasn't particularly pleasant.

Still, it was better than our other 'coming home' gift from Southampton City Council which was a 'final demand' council tax bill, which I discovered (upon phoning them) I had to pay that very afternoon we arrived home to avoid court action. Of course, we already had paid, twice in fact, but the council had in their wisdom decided to not credit the money to our council tax account, but instead to put it quietly into a 'non-specific' fund and not tell us that they'd done so (except via the non-payment notice). Happily they do issue receipts when you pay, so I had to print those out and take them down to the council, who decided that oh yes, we had paid after all, and a couple of phone calls later they'd taken the money out of the non-specific fund and credited it against our council tax bill.

The funny thing is, it occurred because we have had two council tax account numbers this year - one for our previous apartment and one for our current tree-infested residence. I'd accidentally paid the money into the previous account by mistake, an account which, by this point, was closed. So instead of contacting us via the phone or email details they had, or refunding the money, or doing anything to let us know something was afoot, they just moved the money into this non-specific fund and left it there. Which meant, when I phoned up and went in in person, they looked at their records for the closed account and said 'no, nothing sitting there, you haven't paid anything at all, have you?'. In fact we'd paid, and they'd quietly moved the money elsewhere and lost all the receipts they sent us for that money.

Back to the wind, and already today the storms have taken their toll on the garden. Not the tree as yet, but a rotten fence post gave up the ghost around 9am this morning...

It knocked over our outdoor Christmas tree too.

Morals of this tale?

1. Always get a receipt.
2. Never grow a eucalyptus tree in the garden of a terraced house.
3. Eat more fruit. (That's not linked to this blog entry, it's more of a lifestyle point).

Happy New Year!

1 comment:

Julie Howell said...

My Eucalyptus met a similar fate a couple of weeks ago:

The other half of it is still standing and hopefully will survive (despite my cats using it for a scratching post).