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The 5th of January started as my favourite day of the New Year.

Updated: Mar 7, 2019

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

The 5th of January started as my favourite day of the New Year.

With renewed energy I took down Xmas decorations, defrosted the freezer, cleaned the fridge, throwing out all manner of interesting cultures that lurked in its recesses. I conjured up a meal from the leftovers that weren’t throbbing with extra life, boiled the turkey carcass for stock and stowed it in the newly tidied freezer. So far, so good.....

All guests having now departed, I stripped the beds, loaded the washing machine then collapsed in a chair with a cup of tea and a left over mince pie. 

Pleased with all my achievements and contemplating even more New Year blitzing, I thought I’d end the day by taking advantage of the Waitrose cleaning products sale and place an order online. Everything being half price, it took me a while to achieve the required minimum spend, but I persevered and finally clicked to pay for my basket. At this point, my day (or what remained of it) went into steep decline. After resisting pleas from Waitrose to buy more of the “special offers” and their added insistence that I had obviously forgotten items that I normally purchase, I clicked: Pay Now Time was racing by, but no worries. After all, I had prepared that meal earlier, so I could carry on safe in the knowledge that supper was ready, and this wasn’t going to take long now...... or so I thought. I clicked: confirm payment. Up popped: Please be patient whilst we process your order I started thinking about laying the table but then up popped the: Barclaycard secure check requesting my password. I felt a shiver of foreboding, but bravely ignored it and I reached for my little book. I have long given up trying to memorize passwords, a dangerous and frankly impossible task at my age, so everything is written down. I’m sure that like me, most people over sixty have a little black book filled, not with names and telephone numbers of past or even current “amours”, but with a confusing conglomeration of letters, numbers and hieroglyphics in an attempt to keep track of the constant demand for passwords and secure codes. The trouble is - you have to disguise them don’t you, in case of break-ins by “cyber savvie burglars“. So this is where it gets tricky. If I can’t remember the passwords, how am I supposed to remember the codes that I have disguised them with? Hopefully, if I can’t decipher them, neither can the burglars. With panic setting in, the table still not laid and time marching on, I searched the book for the correct mixture of letters and numbers for the right bank-card. I located the date of the last entry – Oct ’16. That looked promising, so I entered the 2nd 3rd and 8th digits as requested and held my breath. Up popped the polite (but red) notice saying: Sorry, this does not match our records, please check and try again. Convinced it must have been a typo, I tried again. Oh no....another red notice! Then I spotted: Forgotten your password? By now I’m feeling tired, hungry and totally incompetent. I can feel the beginnings of an indignant inner fury start to warm the base of my rib cage. Trouble is there is nothing to direct it at other than the screen. Back to the book.....but I can’t find anything else so I clicked: Create a new password. Now I did hesitate before clicking, as the last time I tried this I was told I had forgotten so many times I’d apparently run out of chances and must contact the bank. However time was ticking by, so I risked it. Success! I filled in the new password, and repeated it in the second box. Phew... accepted! Then I returned to the Waitrose account and filled it in again, then I clicked pay and was sent through to Barclaycard secure code, then I filled in the new password and then..... I held my breath again. I’m sorry your request has been denied “What !!! I don’t believe it” I screamed at the screen, in best Victor Meldrew style. Now in total panic I mentally reviewed the Xmas and New Year spending....It surely wasn’t that bad. Obviously my bank account has been broken into and cyber criminals have wiped it out. There can be no other explanation. My whole being was now throbbing with rage and panic but through the red mist I noticed a small sentence at the bottom of the page: Your session has timed out

By this time the air was blue, tears of despair were rolling down my cheeks and any hunger had long since vanished. My “favourite day” with all its little achievements had been wiped out, ruined by a faceless, soulless, infuriatingly pedantic ........what? It doesn’t even have a name. It isn’t the computer, - that’s just the transmitter of these messages. I can’t even name this monster that causes me such distress and that makes it ten times worse! There is nobody to reason with, shout at, blame, except me... and my own inadequacy. Not the best way to start the year.......Who cares about the b***** cleaning anyway!

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