Week One: 2022

If there’s a theme for week one, it’s guilt with a side of frustration.

It’s heating guilt that’s on my mind. I married a super woman who ‘compliments’ me, in the sense of our differences enhance rather than clash. The other sense of compliment is something of a work in progress.

One of those differences is metabolism; I feel the cold, she treats it like a misbehaving pet.

Which means there is something of a thermostatical standoff. By that I mean if I approach the thermostat I’m told to stand off. I have no clue how it works, which is as she likes it.

Every other day, the Textiliste visits her mother; it’s not exactly a fun-filled trip these days so I want to be welcoming and supportive when she returns. Which isn’t easy when my suppurating snout has turned to an icicle because the heating will not, cannot, is genetically predisposed not to come on before 4 pm.

I understand there is a green argument here. We need to control our reliance on electricity and gas. Reduce it. Only…

Thus I have resorted to subterfuge. I dug out the electric heater and snuck it next to my desk. I last as long as I can before the inability to feel my fingertips and safely make a cup of tea drives me to give in. At or as near to 4 pm as I can I turn off the heater and hide it away so that when she returns at five or thereabouts, she is none the wiser.

That was until she found the cat curled round the gently cooling heater and wondered why. I admitted it seemed odd but I knew I was sussed. That became evident today when, as she was leaving she placed a blanket on my chair. I think that’s what’s called a hint.

As for the frustration, I am trying and failing to create an online account with HM Customs & Revenue. I know of few people who want to pay tax. Most of us accept it is inevitable and, indeed, appropriate but it is at best a necessary evil. That being the case, you would imagine HMRC try and make the process as easy as possible. To start with all went okay. But that’s the seductive trap of all things IT related. You get past putting in your name and then it floors you. Just to get past phase one, I needed my personal details, my National Insurance number and my postcode.

Simples, if you believe that ubiquitous sodding meercat. Not for me. It took me about fifteen attempts to realise the tax authorities, in their infinite wisdom had me registered as a Le-Pard. A bloody hyphen. Like I’m some chinless wonder… (apologies to anyone who has a hyphen and a chin)

Thank heavens I sorted that out, I thought. Taking a deep breath I launched into the ID proving section: my passport details…

Sorry the details do not match our records…

Seriously? Do they not want me to pay tax?

At least I’m not No-vax Djokovic, suffering at the hands of Australian bureaucracy…

Can we go inside now? It can’t be colder than here

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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48 Responses to Week One: 2022

  1. Simon says:

    It’s staggering how the British government makes paying tax hard.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Darlene says:

    I feel your pain. Last summer when I finally ventured out of Spain to visit friends in Scotland and family in Canada, it took many attempts to fill in the passenger locator form online. I would make one mistake and it would kick me out and I would have to start over again. At one point I almost smashed the computer screen. Sigh. Keep warm.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. willowdot21 says:

    Geoff, apologies to the textilist, this is no more than torture! Surely a low and sensible heat all day is cheaper and more green than firing up the heating late afternoon….. It seems cruel! As for the inland revenue well that is cruel, everything they do is to make grown mean weep! After years of raising through the investigation ranks hubby retired the moment H.M. customs became H.M. Revenue and Customs he muttered ” Not working with that shower of……” Or some such.💜💜💜💜

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Using a space heater to warm the specific area one is located rather than the whole domicile is quite energy-conscious. That’s my own approach, for even though I am by the far the least warm-blooded member of the household, I’m also the most green-minded, so I keep the thermostat set low (doesn’t bother the others) and the space heater close at hand…with the added advantage that the dog and both cats prefer to be wherever I am. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Debbie says:

    Can you have the Aus Open over there so Novax can feel more comfortable please? We are once again a laughing stock but the cricket was good 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. That reminds me of my father (wrapped in thick layers) watched my mother (dressed thinly) turn the thermostat down even more. She was melting and he was a popsicle. I will always take to cold over the heat. It’s hard when couples metabolize differently. I can add layers but I can’t strip down enough to be presentable for guests. Good luck with that one.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. petespringerauthor says:

    Nothing better than having to work hard to pay taxes.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ritu says:

    Why do they do this, the tax dept??
    Oh, and I feel for you with the heating!
    It used to be a similar role reversal here, but now Hubby works from home, he understands why we would flick the heating on during the day, sometimes, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. George says:

    I feel for you Geoff. Usually there is a similar stand-off regarding the heating in our house. At the moment, Sandy is recovering from a total knee replacement, which isn’t something I would wish on anyone (the painful recovery I mean—not the end result which will be fantastic). The only fringe benefit is that with limited mobility, she’s actually feeling the cold almost as much as I do.

    Perhaps you are off-grid as far as the Inland Revenue are concerned. When they chase you for unpaid tax and whack a hefty fine on to your bill, surely you are within your rights to return their letter on the grounds that the hyphenated name on the envelope does not match anyone in the household, all of whom have chins.

    The only trouble is that as lawyer, you’ll probably be able to tell me why that wouldn’t stand up in court.

    Liked by 3 people

    • TanGental says:

      Sadly I’ve been paying taxes via old fashioned paper returns for years, totally oblivious to the rogue hyphen. Now I have some capital gains to pay, apparently I have to be registered and I’m floundering… I doubt they will buy my excuses.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Norah says:

    Forms whether in the hand or online are a pain.
    I love your quip about no-vax – who?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Don’t get me on HMWebsites

    Liked by 1 person

  12. noelleg44 says:

    seriously, no heat during the day? That’s real suffering. My office is an icebox regardless of the temperature we keep for the rest of the house (which is 69, and since our weather here is mild, the house rarely needs the heat). I think you should get one of those electric sleeping bags to sit in – very energy efficient.


  13. Elizabeth says:

    I grew up in a freezing house. “Put on a sweater” seemed to be the family motto. Fortunately Charlie and I seem to agree on a relatively mild temperature during the day and no heat at night. Fortunately also he gets up before me and turns on the heat in the morning! As for being recognized on web sites, I am constantly told that I am not myself. It makes me wonder.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. arlingwoman says:

    I used to keep my thermostat low to keep my carbon footprint down. Then one evening I was sitting on the couch, wrapped in a blanket and I shivered. At that moment, I decided the thermostat was going up and staying there. It works. Sometimes when it’s really cold, I think of pushing it higher, but I don’t. At that point I add a quilted outdoor vest (gilet to you in the UK? I know vest there isn’t what I think of) and move on. I also calculated my carbon footprint and even with the excess kilowatts, I’m well below average. It seems the Textiliste has the thermostat set for a family gone to work during the day. Perhaps you can argue that the settings need to account for the fact that is not the situation anymore. Most people heat during the day and then lower it at bedtime. Dog does look as though he’s giving you the sink eye…

    Liked by 2 people

  15. JT Twissel says:

    We have the same issue here. He’s always cold. He often has so many layers on that he looks like Santa Claus.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. The look on Dog’s face says it all. If he metabolises opposable thumbs then I think you will not have any worries in the future Geoff! As for HMRC – Can you not self declare as a Charitable Trust?

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Widdershins says:

    ‘…you would imagine HMRC try and make the process as easy as possible…’ … bwhahahahaha 😀
    Love Dog’s stink-eye! 😀 … does the textilliste not know that a warm hubby is a happy hubby?
    Mrs Widds and I have different thermostat settings too … le sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I much rather the cold over the heat any day. One of the reasons why I dislike the summer so much. Too hot and too humid. At least we don’t have air-con units in most homes in the UK that help add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. However, we keep the heating on all day during the winter months when needed. It’s on a low setting but helps keep the chill off. And as one major energy company recently got into trouble for saying – cuddle your pets to keep warm. I’m sure ‘Dog’ wouldn’t mind.


  19. Rowena says:

    Geoff, I am experiencing entirely different struggles at my end. I have an interesting combination of Zac the dog warming my lap, with the air-conditioning on.
    I think I’d better really make the distinction between you and my Geoff in the following scenario or I’ll get all the tongues wagging. While we’ve discussed differences in thermostats, I’ll raise the related issue of doona/duvet thievery. My Geoff and I have separate doonas, because I have a dreadful habit of punching the doona, rolling myself up in it and leaving him to freeze. He’s still quick to remind me of when we were staying in icy Dunedin on our honeymoon when I left him to freeze. II was lucky the marriage wasn’t quickly annulled.
    Maybe, you and dog need to find a nice warm cafe to crawl into.
    Best wishes,

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      That means it’s the name. A certain spouse of mine is quite capable of duvet theft, as you describe. Anyone called Geoff is at risk…


  20. Ibtissam says:

    Well, to be honest, HMRC forms and stuff are always a big bunch of void for me. I’ve never understood really how to set up a company – managed to set up one of them, and thought the second one was up when it really wasn’t. Great. I feel you!


  21. Jennie says:

    Brrr… with age comes the need for more warmth.

    Liked by 1 person

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