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  • Writer's pictureOverstrand Life

Friday 2nd June 2023 - 3B's - Bird Scarer, Baskets and Banks

When we walk along the allotment’s track, we see all sorts of constructions on the plots. Some to save water (there is no access to piped water on the field), others to supress weeds and a variety of bird scarers, with plastic milk bottles being the favourite. The other day, I spotted something new, made from a can with a ring pull lid (see photo below). I think it’s a bird scarer but could equally be a wind chime. Either way, I thought one would be a good addition to hang on my ‘Jumble Tree’. Following a lunch of tinned soup, Peter has made what is now a wind chime in the ‘Jumble Tree’. This has joined latest additions of holey stones and a clock which no longer works. The clock was purchased at this week’s car boot sale for the grand sum of 50p and of course I couldn’t resist buying two more plants; a gaura to replace the one which didn’t make it through the winter and an achillea.

In my blog for May 17th, I mentioned the tip I read for planting bulbs in baskets, before submerging them in the soil, so as to make it easier if you want to lift them after flowering. Whilst at the Garden Centre, looking to purchase some more compost for vegetable growing, I spotted some plant baskets for ponds. There were various sizes but the one most suited to the short-stemmed daffodils I plant, were only £1.20. I have bought some and put them in the shed ready to use in the autumn. After paying from the baskets, I told the two assistants at the cash desk what I was going to use them for and both thought it was a great idea – I wonder how long stocks will last!

Finally, I am disgusted with the way the major banks are treating their customers; by closing branches, they’re pretty well forcing them to use the phone, internet or apps. Our part of the country has the highest population of older people (70% are over 55 years of age). People who, if not now, may in the future need face to face help with their banking and yet come October, following the closure of the Lloyds branches, Cromer will only have one bank, NatWest, and nearby North Walsham will be left with Santander. Of course, there is nothing stopping Lloyd’s customers changing banks but if both NatWest and Santander close their branches then one to one service will involve a longish journey. The alternatives will be, using the phone or internet or an app. Older customers may not, due to physical problems, be able to make long journeys either by car or on public transport and not wish to use the phone or internet to manage their finances. I know of a few people in the village who don’t use the internet and don’t want to. Poor customer service doesn’t lie purely with the banks. Recently, we had a query on our latest utility bill. I tried to sort this through online chat but because they couldn’t help, eventually I had to ask for a direct contact. I was provided with an email address but the reply received bore no relation whatsoever to my enquiry. I have sent another email and await the next response. Whatever happened to customer service? Even phoning means hanging on in a queue and I know from experience, we don’t always get through to someone who can help and have to be transferred. We both feel, matters will only get worse and for older folk, this is definitely not good news.

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