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Welcome to the world of the Vincent D'Onofrio obsessed - and a bit of real life thrown in.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Taxing Time

I received three tax coding notices today, two of them informing employers to charge me tax at 40%. Even more surprising was that one of them was with regard to an employer I left in August 2010, and not a single one applied to my current employer. Considering I had a conversation with the tax office last year about their unilateral decision to remove my tax allowance from my pension, the only income that will remain stable forever, I was, to put it mildly, somewhat bemused.
It took me 25 minutes to actually get through to a human being. Meanwhile I had to listen to some really naff music interspersed with the same message over and over again that I could find lots of information on the website. NO, I NEED TO TALK TO A PERSON! At the very least, they could change the message (and the music) every few minutes, couldn't they?
I spent 15 minutes thrashing the matter out with one of the tax officers, and knowing that they are overworked and understaffed thanks to the same government that has frozen my pay till kingdom come, I was determined to be polite, sympathetic and, if possible, lighthearted. I'm glad to say that I managed this, and even raised a laugh for the poor, beleaguered woman.
I then had to phone the National Insurance office about a related problem, and though this call was answered more quickly, I still had to spend a further 15-20 minutes of my life trying to sort things out. Even so, this evening I have had to put my problem into print so that I can send it in. So there go a couple of hours I'll never get back.
On the plus side, I've managed to get another letter printed in my TV listings magazine, the BBC's "Radio Times". This time, I wrote about the pronunciation of the newly honoured ROYAL Borough of Greenwich. Ever since the run-up to the Millennium celebrations, I have regularly had to cringe to hear broadcasters use the posh, yuppy-incomer (or alternatively New York) pronunciation of the name. "Grennitch" they say, oblivious. "Grinnidge" true locals say.

The Cutty Sark before the restoration.

And in a recent programme about the restoration of the tea clipper The Cutty Sark, the young Queen, speaking at the 1957 opening of the tourist attraction created by putting the ship into dry dock, called the place - TA-DA! - Grinnidge. It's the Queen's English. Literally. I rest my case.

And as a reward the Radio Times is sending me some audiobooks, including Oliver Twist read by Martin Jarvis.

(Just a reminder of the tragedy that befell the ship during the restoration, when a fire ripped through what was left on site - luckily much of the original timbers had already been removed to workshops elsewhere.)

The Cutty Sark on fire, May 2007.

The day after the fire.


JoJo said...

Wow I remember when you blogged about the Cutty Sark fire back then. So your Greenwich isn't pronounced "Grennitch" like ours? I had no idea! Hope you got the name of any and every person you spoke to. Dollars to donuts says it's still not gonna be right and you'll have to call again.

Eliza said...

Don't you just love government departments? When I was trying to tell the Tax Credit people about Laura last year I got my password wrong..a password I didn't know I had because they had given them out randomly..I had to go for an interview to prove I was me

I saw your letter this morning in the RT..I believe I even made a noise when I saw it..I watched the show too, I think it's going to be amazing when they re-open

val said...

Maybe we can have our next reunion there...

vikeau said...

I've tried pronouncing the word Greenwich like "Grinnidge". But it keeps coming out sounding like well "Grennitch" or worse it sounds like I'm trying to put on a Scottish accent. I guess its hopeless.

sixtwosue said...

The Greenwich near me is a New York suburb, and I can really tick off the fancy-pants types who live there by calling it "Grinnidge." Fun!

Anonymous said...

The Inland Revenue recently 'relieved' me of not just 40% but 50% income tax on what they call a 'Trivial Pension' payout - it may be 'trivial to them, but it certainly wasn't to me!! - as a pension scheme I'd paid into for a decade was closed down. And they took this from someone who no longer earns enough to even PAY income tax. After a long, drawn out phone call with a very nice young man, he suggested I call back when I had the money to ask for a form. I politely suggested that maybe, since I was on the phone now and he had all my details, it might be a good idea to send me the form NOW. I eventually got the form (a month later) AND a tax refund....but they kept more than they gave back - and I'll probably get a tax bill in April because my salary has increased by a whopping £9 per month. Still, on the bright side, it's £9 per month I didn't previously have.

Since I'm not from Greenwich, it's always been Grennich to me ;0)

Ruby said...

Val, we've been to Greenwich and visited the Cutty Sark before its restoration. I actually didn't know about the fire there; how sad.

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