Would we cheat?


‘Your TV licence could not be automatically renewed.’

This was an email that sent me into a spin recently, even writing it down now gives me a fright.

‘Sign into your TV licence, manage and update – Please visit our website to view your TV licence online and update your details.’

I have been renewing my licence online for years, what could have gone wrong? Well, it was a scam of course. There was a link to press on which I ignored and instead went onto the TV licensing website and checked. I also went onto my bank payment and sure enough all was well and fully paid up.

We are not always aware of bills that are paid out automatically and so a scam is easy to fall for. One thing that made me suspicious, however, was that there was a spelling mistake and I did not think that would happen with official mail.

Magpies were in the news from the Netherlands recently doing something that did not seem correct. I always thought that they were thieves and this time they were stealing anti-bird spikes to make their nests. Using a system that was intended for something else they will stop at nothing to achieve their aim which is survival and to rear young successfully.

The magpie nest at the very top of our pine tree has been successful this year and two young appeared in the garden hopping about after their parents. They are aggressive and other birds fly away, they eat the food put out for Speckles the hen and drink her water. The other day I saw the two young ones leaning over the pond; they were reaching out to eat the fish pellets floating there. They are opportunists and it is hard to stop them.

A friend had a barbeque recently. He used to set this up every year and a mixed group of people went to enjoy a summer’s evening there. This one was the first since 2019 and you will know why. How interesting it was to see old friends that seemed almost like strangers as we caught up on news. I met someone new who worked in a supermarket. Her partner was a nurse. The nurse’s story was familiar to us all during the recent pandemic and how they had to look after people putting themselves at risk at the same time. But I had not thought much about the supermarket worker who was on the front-line serving customers. She had to supervise and make sure that we were all obeying the rules and told how difficult it had been to make sure that no one was trying to cheat.

(Taken from my column in the Shropshire Star)


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