Yes, 6 years ! Thank you for being my friend. 342 posts ! I wrote some drivel, didn’t I ? 29,037 comments. What did we talk about ? 137,709 spam stopped. Shame really, as I would now have 10 suitcases of Viagra, my laptop would be perfected by those Delhi Bellies and $10 billion in my bank from those generous Nigerians ! Anyway fellow blogger, you may have to put up with me a little longer.
What’s next ?
I hope so.
Ralph xox ❤
All these photographs are mine, some digital and some before digital, when cameras were hewn from rock, lenses made from ice and lightning provided the flash.
Good news ! My Spanish bank account is closed, I mean CLOSED, kaput, no more !!! Happy, happy ! Yay ! *faint*
I think WP Staff may have solved the problem of your comments automatically going into trash in my last post. It seems that my Dashboard/Settings/Discussion/Comment Blacklist was the problem. The Blacklist was full of spam IPs and the word “id”. What I didn’t know was that any word in comments containing those two letters would end up in trash. I cleared the list and let us see if your comments arrive normally. So who wrote, ” Sid piddled mid bridge in Bridgewater” ? Own up !
Murli, Natascha’s cat (now my cat as well), is an Austrian cat and loves to practice mountaineering. She is also working on her yodelling purr.
Here we are in the window watching Natascha going off on her bike on her daily run to the pharmacy.
I hope so !
Ralph xox ❤
Natascha took all these photographs.
Oh boy ! The craziness of my Spanish bank is endless ! Over the last nine months I have been passed around four different Customer Service branch women and probably two Complaints Department women. I have had more bank women in nine months than girlfriends over my entire life !
I will repeat what I wrote a few weeks ago just to refresh our memories.
“Oh yes, my Spanish bank has also entered the realms of stupidity. I have been emailing my Solbank since 2002 with no problems until I arrived in Austria in September 2017. I could do nothing in Spain as I did not have an Austrian address for them to send me correspondence. Once settled, I emailed my new address, sent proof of residency and asked for statements to be sent to me. After many requests and many replies I was told that they do not take instructions by email. Nothing from them for months until I received a Solbank letter. Yay ! A statement ? No ! Just a letter telling me that they are charging me €30 for being overdrawn. For heavens sake, they refused to send me statements, but had the audacity to send me that ! Natascha and I immediately topped up the account and I really laid into the bank and asked for paperwork to be sent to me to close my account. I have still heard nothing and they are still taking money from my account, I assume.”
The story continues.
I received two more letters. One was pages of charges and fees for 2018 and the other praised the wonders of GDPR. None of which helped me. A statement would have been nice.
Totally fed up, I wrote an email, a long email to Solbank complaints department. Within hours I got a reply. “Sorry, we don’t act on emails without an electronic signature” What !!! Ms Daydreamer then went back to filing her nails.
Both Natascha and I couldn’t believe how crazy things were becoming. Anyway, something amazing happened the following afternoon. We got a phone call from the bank instructing me to write a letter with both my Spanish and Austrian bank details and that I want to close my account. Natascha is brilliant at typing and soon knocked up the letter which I signed and Natascha mailed it the following morning.
About a week later I got an email from the bank saying that my signature did not match the signature I made when opening the account in 2002. Send a Certified copy of my passport. I used to have a lovely signature in 2002, but my shaking hands changed it to something like this.
I had signed countless pieces of paper and on the electronic signing machine at the bank. Not one signature was the same over the last few years. It seems that no one had checked my recent signatures, flagged my medical problem, or updated the database. AND what the heck has a certified passport got to do with anything. I told her that and she replied with
“Dear Mr.Whillier, I am sorry but in that case you can transfer your balance online or give a power of attorney to another person to close your account and transfering your money if you are not going to come back to Spain anymore . We can not accept a signed request with a signature we don´t have registered for security reasons . Yours sincerely”
They are beginning to make things up. They know I do not have an online bank with them and also I would need to be in Spain to activate a power of attorney. Both Natascha and I could not believe what was going on. Anyway, before I told them to stick the whole thing up their ATM sideways, Natascha made me see sense and we went to an Austrian Notary. He was very quick to certify my passport and I asked him to verify my wonky signature. I did that because I had a feeling that my signature would be next on the bank’s bucket list. Thank heavens that worked ! 3 days ago I got an email
“Dear Mr.Whillier, My colleague is dealing with it. I will let you know when the account is closed. Yours sincerely”
I have heard nothing since from her colleague. Probably going to ask me to certify my cats. Well, they need certifying, as you can see in the next item.
My cats are in the kichen. Up to something I expect.
It’s fun. One insane, certified, stressed out, careful owner. Ignore the fact that the account will never close and you will get no statements. Blind banking ! What a fun gift to give to your local politician or law maker.
Ralph xox ❤
Natascha photographed the cats and made the video.
Yes, thank you so much dear Nancy for your lovely card.
But what happened ? Why did it take six weeks to get from the USA to Austria ? Any ideas ? The wackier the idea the better. I think that it went to the White House, played cards, Bridge actually, and got trumped.
What a lovely card from you my friend. Thank you.
Sometimes I read this Austrian newspaper…..
…..translate it into English …..
……and, boy, does it come up with hilarious results.
Oh no, poor handlebars ! Must have really damaged their ting-a-ling. No more “ringing my bell” I suspect.
As you can see, I have had my laptop on a drinks trolley since arriving in the apartment in Graz and because Natascha wanted to be near me with her computer, not on the other side of the room, we had to do something about it.
So, we ordered two desks which eventually arrived as flatpacks in cardboard boxes.
No need to unpack and assemble the desks as the unboxed packaging on the drinks trolley works really well.
But, at the end of the day we had to do it properly. Initially, having no experience, Natascha wanted to knock the big bits together, but I said no. It took us four hours to build the first desk. I read the instructions and Natascha screwed the dozens of “what’s this” into the “where’s that”.
The first desk came together beautifully. The second desk, Natascha prepared all the boards while I was having a siesta. When I woke up, I helped her to assemble the big pieces into the shape of a desk. And it worked !
And it only took Natascha an hour !
The final result ! And we can now blog together !
Let’s see what the cats are doing on the balcony.
Ralph xox ❤
Natascha took the photographs in this post.
Before my main post you may be experiencing these two blog issues.
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Yes ! We are living in a world of stupidity. Snowflakes are taking over our words, thoughts and the way we wish to express ourselves and lawmakers are legalising this stupidity. What happened to COMMON SENSE ? Watch this !!
Another example is a snowflake complaining about a male only, “DANGER ! Men at work !” sign. WHAT ?? I think it should say, “DANGER ! Pantomime Dames at work !”. I reckon that should solve her problem.
This is becoming the new norm !
Kindergarden children in the UK are being forced to listen to transgender men promoting their “sexuality”. WHAT ?? Stupidity confusing and probably scaring kids with pantomime dames in school ?
I laugh at these “men”, as I have every right to do so, because when I was a kid, twice I was put in situations by men and was once threatened with a shotgun if I told anyone. I was seven ! So recently I laughed at a man in high heels who kicked at pigeons, the gold stiletto flew off his foot and he had to hobble through the pigeon poop to retrieve it. Have you seen a man trying to walk in high heels ? One bare foot and one stiletto is even better ! God, it was funny !
Kiddies books are being attacked by snowflakes. Poor Mr Men is taking a bashing. More male stories than female. Where is the transgender ?
Men should be called, “People with budgies in their Speedos” and women should be called, “People with two bumps in their T-shirts ranging from table tennis balls to footballs”. Heck, I am becoming a snowflake !
You know how wide ranging this has become. Politicians are a prime example of stupidity and selfishness. Luckily for me, there is a new government in Austria which is using common sense at last. But enough, except for one more example of stupidity which is still affecting me.
Oh yes, my Spanish bank has also entered the realms of stupidity. I have been emailing my Solbank since 2002 with no problems until I arrived in Austria in September 2017. I could do nothing in Spain as I did not have an Austrian address for them to send me correspondence. Once settled, I emailed my new address, sent proof of residency and asked for statements to be sent to me. After many requests and many replies I was told that they do not take instructions by email. Nothing from them for months until I received a Solbank letter. Yay ! A statement ? No ! Just a letter telling me that they are charging me €30 for being overdrawn. For heavens sake, they refused to send me statements, but had the audacity to send me that ! Natascha and I immediately topped up the account and I really laid into the bank and asked for paperwork to be sent to me to close my account. I have still heard nothing and they are still taking money from my account, I assume.
The main thing that cheeses me off is that their stupidity is being rammed down my throat. I am not a sheep. I am a shepherd !
Ralph xox ❤
We were ripped off !
I lived in Spain, met Natascha through our WordPress blogs and decided to get married. For medical reasons we agreed that the best option was for me to move to Graz which was quite a traumatic experience and expensive (€8000). Still, I made it to Graz and we have been together here since September 2017.
As Natascha was single, Austrian and lived locally in Graz she could have got married in the Graz Registrar immediately, but what we didn’t know was that there was a crazy local law which our lovely lady Registrar had to abide by. Because I was previously married and divorced in the last century, three documents of mine had to be legally scrutinised. Most of the rest of Austria couldn’t care less, just the word from the British Embassy in Vienna was enough for marriages of divorced people to go ahead in Registrar offices.
The last few months was hellishly emotional and expensive. It was all about the paperwork, nothing about humanity. I was told that it did not matter that the British government knew that I was single as I have been receiving a single person’s old age pension for a number of years and because of this stupid money grabbing law we have lost months of increased married pension. None of these offices and agencies had anything to worry about if I was secretly married to a dolphin trainer in the Gobi Desert in Tibet, as the only one who would be in trouble would be me. I knew that the documents were genuine from day one as they have been in my briefcase for decades. So what was the point of ripping us off for the tune of €820.37 inc. postage (similar amount in US dollars and UK Sterling). That money could have been used to buy Natascha a new laptop as her old tower computer is on its last legs. So we will have to wait.
It makes you wonder how many couples have pulled out from getting married in the Graz Registrar because of the excessive expense caused by this law. Luckily there is an Austrian Legal Ombudsman to whom I will link this post and I will also send this post to the UK newspapers. I hope that one day soon this law will be scrapped.
What follows is a breakdown of what happened and what we had to pay.
(This flow chart was created using draw.io (the link has been removed as the extension contains malware. Google Chrome has been informed) found on Google Apps.)
Oooops !. These 2 gifs didn’t work when I exported the flow chart as a PNG image. But you get the idea. Yes ?
I hope my adding up is correct. Some fees were paid in UK Pound Sterling. I used the exchange rate of 1 UK Pound = 1.14 Euros.
Ralph xox ❤
Oooops ! I’m in BIG trouble now !
I’m so sorry China Cat. You are our family door STEP Cat and you are now known as >>>
China Cat “doorstop” Whillier
Both Natascha and I would like to thank everyone who Liked and made such wonderful Comments (200 approx. Whew !) in my wedding post, plus, thank you to >>>
Your emails were lovely. Thank you !
Talking of emails, Al sent us this lovely poem >>>
“Hi Ralph and Natascha! I just wanted to say again how happy I am that all turned out well for you, in spite of all the roadblocks you encountered. You look like a very happy couple and I wish you much love and happiness in the coming years. I didn’t get a chance to send you anything, but I thought maybe a little poem would help convey my sincere best wishes to you both. It has been a pleasure blogging with both of you. Here it is:
Natascha and Ralph were in love, and fit like a hand in a glove
The quest was then started, to be married, not parted
In the ceremony required thereof.
With so much at stake, they were required to partake
Filling out so many forms, which came at them in swarms
That they hardly had time for a break.
With red tape galore, much angst was in store
For quite soon they found, that mistakes would abound
But they always kept up “esprit de corps.”
After much tribulation, there was cause for elation
For approval arrived, and their spirits revived
Henceforth, it would be all celebration.
City Hall now awaited, as their marriage was slated
And it happened were glad, to this sweet lass and lad
And thus, here’s this rhyme, though belated!
Awesome ! Thanks Al !
Thank you so much Amanda for the lovely electronic candles. So realistic !
Of course, Samantha found a use for the box the electronic candles came in.
Thank you so much for your lovely card dear friends in Spain.
Your e-card made our day. Thank you.
Thanks for your wonderful thought my friends in Spain.
A very special hand painted 3D fold out card by Jim, of where you live in Spain. A card to treasure. Thank you so much !
A Lovely card Dad ! Thank you so much for the card and the awesome gift.
Love you to bits ! xx
Thank you so much for the lovely card dear friend and ….
… thank you for the beautifully packed special mugs dear Ute.
Oh, and Murli loves the box !
That is everyone. If I have missed you, please tell me in comments.
Ralph xox ❤
Photographs taken by Natascha.
Our big day arrived….24th of April 2018. Don’t panic ! In fact we did not panic. Natascha was awesome as she wanted a no frills wedding. All she wanted was to be with me for the rest of our lives, the marriage certificate and to wear a wedding ring. Nothing else mattered. She chose to wear her favourite dress with boots (as we thought it was going to pour down with rain all day). Other than the wedding ring which we purchased a few months back, the only thing we bought for the day was a lovely bouquet of flowers for her.
Natascha was quite happy to go by bus to the Registrar in the Graz city centre, but I put my foot down and we got a taxi, met up with Natascha’s dad and eventually found the office by taking a lift and getting lost in miles of corridors.
The Registrar is a lovely lady, most apologetic for all what we had to go through during the last few months. She wanted to see our passports, nothing else, not even the papers we struggled to get legalised. 20 minutes of more paperwork to do ! She’d checked all our details and that the wording was correct on the documents. We signed for this, that and the other. I am sure that I bought a timeshare beach hut in the Gobi Desert as my German is exceptionally awful.
Before marrying us, she sent us off to the Cashier in another office miles away in the same building. On our return she married us. I kept saying, “Ya ! Ya!” and she kept responding, “Not yet !”. The service was lovely.
I had a bit of fun making this gif from the two photographs above.
The wedding ring.
The Graz marriage certificate and International marriage certificate were presented to us in this beautiful “Congratulations” folder.
We never did get married in this shipping container outside the, now, being renovated Graz Registrar offices. Whew ! And the rain stopped. It was to be a lovely day.
Between them, Natascha and her Dad decided that we should visit Schloss Eggenberg in Graz for photos and our Reception.
Natascha’s Dad. Can you spot him ?
Random shots of Ralph & Natascha.
We held our Reception in the Schloss Eggenberg Cafe. Coffee and awesome Austrian cakes finished off our lovely day.
The rain never came, so we did not need our umbrellas. On the leaving the cafe we checked to see if we had everything. Dad’s umbrella, a present from Natascha, was missing. Oh no, it meant retracing our route to see if we could find it. No sign of it anywhere. Luckily, someone had handed it in to the girl in the entrance ticket office. It transpired that Dad (who is six years younger than me ….. work that one out !) had left it in the toilet when we first arrived at the park. Whew, I wasn’t to blame after all as I was the one pulling the cat trolley around the park.
So our wedding ended well with everyone happy and not one worry or stress to be seen after such a lovely day. Awesome !
Finally, we are now a true family unit. Natascha now has two step cats, Sonic & Samantha and I have one step cat, Murli.
Murli “I fuss about everything” Whillier
Sonic “I know everything” Whillier
Samantha “I eat everything” Whillier
Natascha “I do everything” Whillier
Ralph “I don’t do nuffink” Whillier
My next post contains presents & cards we received (thank you everyone), plus previous paperwork costs, plus now MORE paperwork to be done. Oh boy !
Ralph xox ❤
Photographs taken by Natascha and her Dad
What if I could speak German and I telephoned the Austrian Graz Registrar about marrying Natascha and myself ? I am sure that I would hear this
*10 minutes later*
“Welcome to Graz Registrar, the perfect place to marry your loved one with tranquility and ease. Let us take the worries of being married out of your hands so that you can enjoy your special day.
Press One for anxiety.
Press Two for stress.
Press Three for an easy way to empty your bank account.
Press Four for wasting months of your time.
If you wish to speak to your own personal Registrar, please wait about a week as she is on holiday.
Everything the Graz Registrar asks us to do with the paperwork takes time. Remember when I had to get a new certificate of my old marriage from the UK and then send it immediately back to the UK to be legalised ? That took almost a month before we got it done. It was quite stressful, we knew everything was genuine and correct, but it’s the not knowing if they find a fault and not legalise the document. As you can see in the following image, it took days to get the envelope back by courier to Austria.
Natascha opened the envelope and we were so relieved to find that the final document had been legalised. She immediately scanned all the documents, translations and legalisations and emailed them to the Graz Registrar. It took them almost a day to reply, saying that our personal Registrar is on holiday for another week. Oh boy ! When she returns we will still not know whether everything is acceptable as our main worry is the legalisation is in English, French and Spanish ….. not German !
Will we get a date to get married ? Goodness knows !
I have no idea what they are doing just up the road in the River Mur. Any ideas ?
Although we have not put up the pictures and lights yet, Natascha decided to unwrap China Cat and put her in the salon. Murli was instantly drawn to talk to her.
Ralph xox ❤
Natascha took all these photographs.
2018 has started out reasonably well for me. My German is coming on leaps and bounds from almost nothing to next to nothing. For instance a sign in a local supermarket stated “Ihr Markt“. Natascha put me straight when I said that one hour was a short time for shopping in the supermarket. I now know two German words Your and Store. 🙂
Paperwork was at the forefront of getting settled in Graz, Austria. I am now certified. Yes, certified as a permanent resident of Graz. I also have a pretty e-card which gives me access to free medical treatment.
Amazingly, some more good things are about to happen during 2018.
Many of you may remember my post about being scammed by the notorious Nigerian, Bongo Bongo Banana, out of Ottawa, Canada. He pretended to be Tammy who loved me enough to try to empty my bank account.
The other day I was reading the Daily Mail online and I had a wow moment. It seems that Western Union (WU) had not been verifying the identity of many collectors of transferred money. WU has been ordered to pay back money to victims of scams. You can read about it here.
I had a big sort out of my old paperwork when leaving Spain. For some unknown reason I kept all my WU receipts and, boy, was I glad I did. I filled out the remission form with copies of all the receipts and sent them off, online.
It may take a few months and hopefully I will get back a few thousand euros. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
All Natascha and I want to do is to get married in Graz ! Simple ? Not here ! It seems that because I was divorced things become really complicated. The Registrar here wants proof that I am free to marry and there is a complicated process to go through. We went to see the Registrar clerk in this building ……..
…….. who sent us away on a quest. Going through all the British government web pages about marrying in Austria after a divorce ………
…… off we went to the local British Consulate a few minutes away from our home to make an oath and sign an affidavit saying that I was free to get married.
We took all our paperwork. Everything ! Natascha’s kitty shopping trolley was full and heavy !
We rang the doorbell. No reply. The door was open and we ventured into the darkness of the building.
We explored every floor and corridor. No British Consulate !
The stairs were so dark and dingy. Dragging the heavy kitty trolley, we expected to see Errol Flynn having a sword fight.
There were no signs pointing to the British Consulate or even warning signs about the stairs.
We gave up ! Natascha went into a store to ask where the British Consulate was located and was told it was a couple of doors up the street from where we originally looked for it. We rang the doorbell. No answer, but the door was open and in we went into the darkness.
The lift could only be worked by having a key. The spiral stairs were even worse dragging the heavy kitty trolley. Puffed out, we climbed round a corner and a couple of electricians blocked our way with all their tools and cables on the steps. They told us that the Consul was away on vacation and would not be back for at least a week. Oh boy ! Disheartened, we returned home.
Many days later, after no reply on the British Consulate door bell, we climbed the stairs dragging the heavy kitty trolley. There were no signs for the British Consulate or warnings about the stairs.
Puffed out climbing the spiral staircase, we stopped by an office where a very kind man unlocked the lift which took us directly into the British Consulate. Beautiful carpet, polished brass work, a polished picture of the Queen, a smiling receptionist and a glowering Consul greeted us. We explained why we were there. The Consul looked at us as if she had trod in something nasty and all she said was, “Go to Vienna !”. I asked her what she actually did there ? She replied by telling us that all she did was British subjects in prison, hospital or loss of passport.
I am sure that this is where she, the Consul, spent her vacation ! 🙂
When the time was right, early December 2017, 6:30 AM, a cold morning, Natascha and I boarded the bus from Graz to Vienna.
We had already arranged a meeting in the British Embassy, Vienna and we were looking forward to getting the papers which the Austrian Registrar asked for. I wasn’t really terrified when the top deck of the double-decker bus passed under low bridges. Duh !
The meeting went well. All my documents were genuine. I made the oath that I was free to get married, signed the affidavit and a waiver that the British Embassy was not to blame if any of my paperwork was not up to scratch. A notice of marriage was pinned to the notice board in the Embassy (which is totally useless as nobody can wander in there to read it as security was so tight).
We arrived home late in the evening, almost €200 out-of-pocket. The British Embassy charged over €100 for their work and the rest was for meals and travelling expenses. All this seemed to me to be completely unnecessary as I have been single for 25 years and the British government knows that anyway as I am receiving a UK single person’s state pension. Anyway, we now had to wait for the certificate from the British Embassy which was coming by registered post. It never came ! I emailed the British Embassy and was told that it was sent a few days before. Natascha went to the local post office. No registered letter ! I then emailed the British Embassy again asking for the registered letter number so that the Post Office here could trace it. A few hours later I received an ooops email from the British Embassy. It seemed that the clerk was on vacation and the document was never sent. A day later the registered letter arrived. Yay !
Oh yes, there is more ! The Graz Registrar wants all my marriage and divorce documents translated into German. Natascha is in the process of translating them as her English is perfect. Will we get married ? Is there more to the quest ? Will we come out of the wedding service gibbering idiots ? Time will tell !
The main reason why I moved from Spain to Austria was that Natascha has awful daily migraines and needs to go to the pharmacy twice a day on a bicycle to take a special concoction which blocks the migraines. Since I have been here in Graz she has had very few migraine attacks. Love seems to help her.
The cats and I watch her pedal off down the road from our window. Murli must be thinking, “Why is mummy out in the street ?”.
Sonic and Samantha love it in the apartment. Samantha never stops talking !
China Cat and Coo Coo are still wrapped up in bubble wrap in the cupboard. They never stop complaining.
Oh, Natascha has not died climbing the ladder 🙂
I really must get on and advertise my now empty apartment in Spain.
I hope so !
Ralph xox ❤
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