At sporadic intervals over the past few weeks, someone has triggered the high-pitched whine of an alarm on the Polish Delicatessen next door – much to my annoyance. Usually, this incessant howl begins between the hours of four and six in the morning and finishes thirty minutes later, by which point I’m too awake to sleep again, and end up stomping round the house, angry, for a few extra hours.

My house is lovely. From the minute I walked in the door I knew it was mine. It was once part of a hotel called The White Hart and some of the signage, advertising the licensed rental of a horse and gig, can still be seen on the outside wall. Inside, the living room, kitchen and master bedroom all boast their own glorious fireplaces whilst a serving hatch from the pantry provides a reminder of the former role. There’s no garden though. No parking. The building has only single glazed windows. And the magnificent fireplace in the bedroom? The chimney leaks, making the continuous presence of a washing up bowl necessary.

But none of that is why I want to move. British Gas is the culprit, with their utterly moronic computers and staff. Since moving into this house, I’ve always had a battle over the electricity bill. To begin with, nobody knew who the service provider was and when I finally did track them down, I discovered that my electricity meter was, in fact, registered to next door. After four or five attempts at changing this, I was still receiving no paper bills, but plenty of angry phone calls asking why I hadn’t paid.

Finally, after a lot more moaning and a long and stilted conversation with our very jolly Polish neighbours, we thought we had it figured out. I called the three companies, all claiming to supply my house with electric, and attempted to explain things. My online bill came through, I paid it, and that should have been the end of that. Only it wasn’t – of course it wasn’t.

This morning, we received a second electricity bill with my name on, but addressed to next door. Now, instead of the electric meters being addressed to our Polish neighbours, both are under my name. After another long and stilted conversation – this time with a very dense woman from Birmingham – I gave up and handed the phone to my husband.

This all began at nine o’clock. It’s now ten past ten and he remains on the phone.

Incidentally, the incident I mentioned yesterday – in which the woman is making a ‘personal injury’ claim – seems, at last, to be progressing in a sensible direction. An impartial third party company are going to take pictures of the cars involved in an attempt to prove any injury sustained could only have been minor. As I said before, the very plastic radiator grill isn’t marked in any way so I find myself hoping (despite my better judgement) that common sense may still prevail.

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