What a funny old language

I’ve been around a few places recently and I’m currently nesting in France. As I’ve been around Europe a lot in the last few weeks, I’ve noticed a lot of similarities (and differences) in the languages – mainly Spanish, German, French and Italian. Don’t get me started on the Eastern European ones as I’m simply baffled by the whole fricking lot of them.

But the one that raises the most questions? English. It’s weird. I mean, I love it, but it’s weird.

Take the following two examples. In English, we say “window”. This translates into the following words in various languages:

French – fenêtre
German – Fenster
Italian – finestra
Spanish – ventana
Dutch – venster
Latin – fenestra
Greek – parathyro (in "Greeklish")

OK, Spanish is a little off but the rest are obviously hugely based on the Latin. Where the hell did we get “window” from? And to throw another spanner in the works, why do we resort to the Latin root for the word “defenestration” (the act of throwing something, usually a person, through a window)? OK, “dewindowation” looks and sounds crap, but still…

Want another example? Try “blood”:

French – sang
German – Blut
Italian – anima
Spanish – sangre
Dutch – bloed
Latin – cruor, cruorem
Greek – aima (in Greeklish)

Now in this case, English seems to be in the slight majority for a change. French and Spanish have joined forces and Latin’s sat there wondering why nobody is listening to it. On the other hand, what’s the English term for blood-letting? It’s “exsanguination”. So we hop roots to another source again. Argh.

I’m no language expert, though I find them interesting. Anyone got any ideas where these to-ings and fro-ings come from?

Situation update and some begging

I am in Nice, France. Tomorrow I’m off hiking for three days with Delphine during which time I’ll by uncontactable except (possibly) by mobile. Hence I’m hoping to get the blog updated tonight around sending all the begging letters for the 1000 Mile Walk. And upload all my photos. And other stuff.

Fingers crossed.

Also, I’d like to ask another favour. You lot did it before and I’m sure you can do it again. Previously it was a school roof ripped off in a storm. This time it’s three kids who considered dropping out of school to help their one employed brother pay off their deceased father’s medical bills. Please pop over to the Blue Dragon Blog for more information.
Post Script: (word for word from Michael) We’ve done it! Enough money has been donated to the boys! And I’m the lucky guy to tell them on Saturday morning! Thank you, blog world… – Friday 12.21 pm

Thanks in advance.

Response from Lloyds… and my response to that!

Seems like a bit of a fob-off…

Dear Mosh,

Thanks for your e-mail about the payments that left your account.

I’ve performed an audit of your online activity and can see that on the same afternoon as you logged on, you tried to set up a payment but this was not confirmed successfully. This is why, when you went back to your ‘Transfers and payments’ page there was no record of the payment. You had not entered your password to confirm the transaction. If you had done this it would’ve displayed the amount due to be paid and the date it was due to leave your account.

Pending transactions are not erased from the ‘Transfers and Payments’ page until the money has left your account.

If you check the entries on your statement you will see that only one of the transactions that left your account was an Internet Banking bill payment. You will see this by looking at the ‘Transaction Type’ column.

We cannot discuss any charges applied by the Nationwide, however if you’d like to speak to someone about the possibility of having any charges rescinded on your account with us, then you should contact either Phonebank or your branch.

Phonebank can be contacted on 0845 3000 000 (00 44 2077 857 654, from overseas) and are available 24 hours a day.

You can find contact details for our branches by clicking the link below:

http://www.lloydstsb.com/branch_locator/search.asp

If there’s anything else we can help you with, please let us know. Alternatively, to obtain an instant answer, why not try using our Online Help Centre at http://lloydstsb.creativevirtual.com/LloydsTSB/? It answers over 90% of our customers’ questions.

Many Thanks

Not good enough…

Thanks for the reply but there is definitely an inaccuracy there. I do
recall starting to process a new transaction and failing to enter the
password. The reason for this was when I logged in and looked, no
money had left my account to pay off my Nationwide card. I thought I’d
set up a transaction some weeks ago to do just this, but on looking…
nothing was listed in the Bills and Payments section. So I started
adding such a payment.

Then I realised that if I did this, the money would arrive with the
credit card company 3-4 days too late and I’d be hammered for
interest. Instead, I cancelled the transaction I was inputting and
made the card bill payment from my Nationwide account (knocking it
overdrawn, but ensuring the payment took place same day) and arranged
a payment from my LloydsTSB account to my Nationwide account to bring
the Nationwide one back into credit. A smaller financial “hit” than
the perceived credit card fee.

Hence imagine my surprise and annoyance a few days later when I
noticed that my credit card was in … well… credit. The payment it
turns out I *had* arranged from Lloyds TSB had existed and had gone
through as well as the “replacement” one I’d made from the Nationwide
– hence two large withdrawals from Lloyds, one of which wasn’t needed.

I can completely and utterly promise you that when I first logged in
at the start of this palaver, there were no details of pending
transactions for the Nationwide Card listed on the Bills and Payments
section. It was blank, insinuating that no such payment had been set
up – otherwise I’d not have arranged the other payments (from and to
my Nationwide current account).

This is the issue I have. The information presented to me when I
logged in – no pending transaction and no debit from my account – led
me to believe that I’d forgotten to set up the transaction. Hence why
I want to ensure that I am no charged any fees as a result of going
withdrawn. I can only go by the information I am given by Lloyds and
that information, in this case, was incorrect.

Unfortunately, I do not have a phone bank account and walking into my
branch is somewhat impossible as I’m in Nice and won’t be back in the
UK until October as I am engaging in a charity walk from Monaco to
Newcastle!

Thanks

Looks like a month for it…

Two posts in a row, two complaints… This one to Blu-Express who were anything but express in getting me from Rome to Nice… 11 hours of delays, no staff available to tell us what was going on and an inability to stick within the EU guidelines enforced since January last year.

Basically, don’t use this mob. I noticed that every flight they had on the board (those that were even displayed) were delayed by at least 2-3 hours.

I am writing to complain about your company’s handling of the delayed flight listed above: flight BV1770 from Rome Fiumicino to Nice on 22nd July 2007. This flight was due to take off at 20:00 on the 22nd. Instead, when I arrived at the airport I was informed that it would be 03:00 on the 23rd.

At some point in the evening, this was changed to 04:30, though nobody thought tell the passengers. The first I knew was when my friend in Nice who was meant to pick me up sent me an SMS. There was no tannoy announcement, and the screens in departure lounge B did not have the flight listed at all.

4:00 came and went before an announcement told us the flight would then be at 06:10. We eventually boarded slightly after 06:30.

Throughout all this, no staff were available to give us any information on what was going on. The airport itself must surely shoulder some of the blame, but the attitude from Blu-Express was one of complete indifference. Your check-in staff packed up and went home shortly after everyone had gone through the security gate and left no presence in the airport whatsoever.

Further, EU Regulation (EC) 261/2004 (available here: http://www.aviationreg.ie/images/ContentBuilder/reg261.pdf) states that staff should provide passengers with written details of their rights in case of a delay or cancellation – article 14(2). I asked both at the check-in desk and the departure gate. No such information was available, so decisions were made by uninformed passengers.

Secondly, for a delay which means the flight departs the next calendar day, the airline is obliged to provide hotel accommodation and transport to / from the hotel (Article 9(1)(b) and 9(1)(c)). I requested this and my request was denied.

Thirdly, I asked how I was supposed to contact my friend in Nice who would be awaiting my arrival. I was told that payphones were available or I could use a coin-operated internet terminal. I am legally entitled to two telephone calls, faxes, telexes or emails paid for by your company which I was denied. This is a direct contravention of the Regulation (Article 9(2)).

We were offered and given an evening meal of satisfactory quality. The airport gave us water at around 4am. However, no breakfast was given – not acceptable given the length of time between the evening meal and the actual take-off (Article 9(1)(a)).

I had to make a phone call to France at a payphone which cost me a small fortune. This cost should have been borne by your company. I should have been provided with food, but was not. Given the delay in flight time, I should have been offered a hotel bed and transport there and back – but was not.

In all, your company made a “half-assed’ effort to try to claim it was doing all it legally had to. Sadly, even in this it failed. You did less than the legal minimum and for that I seek and demand some form of compensation. Had you actually satisfied all the terms laid out in the aforementioned Regulation I would not be writing this mail, but you did not. As a result of your ineptitude and uncaring attitude, I effectively lost a whole day of my holiday in Nice – half of it stuck in an airport in Rome to which I will also be complaining, and half of it asleep from exhaustion as there is nowhere to sleep in the airport.

I will, however, be fair and leave it to you to decide a suitable amount of compensation. Rest assured, if the amount is unsatisfactory I will be taking this complaint further to the relevant administrative body in Italy from where you can certainly expect to recieve a hefty financial penalty.

Email is the best way to contact me at present, though if you prefer a land address then please ask and I will be glad to forward one on to you.

Yours faithfully,

etc

Overdrawn! Twice!

And it’s not my fault, honest! Well, perhaps only for forgetting I’d already set a transaction up – but when faced with an account screen which tells me that no such transaction has been set up it’s kind of understandable that I went ahead and kicked another one off. My email to LLoydsTSB (which could make more sense but I was in a rush as a cybercafe in Rome):

I have noticed that I recently went overdrawn due to the information on my online banking page not being up to date. I checked my account around the 16th of the month as I wasn’t sure if I’d set up a transfer of cash to pay off a credit card. Upon looking at the “transfers and balances” page, there was no information regarding such a transfer so I set up another, moving money from one account to a different one and from that to the credit card.

I just checked my credit card statement today – I paid the bill *twice* as I *had* set up a one-off payment from the Lloyds account. The end result is I went overdrawn with both yourselves and the Nationwide as I had to get the cash onto the card quickly and the credit card is held with them.

Had the information on the online banking page been correct, I would not have found myself in this situation. At the time I looked, I can only assume that the money had been “reserved” in my account for a transaction I had set up for an earlier date (allowing for the 3-4 days these transfers take, which nobody can explain). At that date, as the transaction had commenced, the details were wiped from my Transfers and Payments list, but the money left in my account. There was therefore no indication that almost UK400 was due to drop out of my account. I then set up another transaction to move the sum to the Nationwide to cover the sum I thought I then had to move from there.

A week later I check and two debits have been made, my card has been paid twice (I’m now in credit on the thing) and I’m overdrawn with yourselves (which I didn’t expect) and with Nationwide (which I did, but as it turns out I didn’t need to be).

Had your system not deleted the details before the transaction was completed I would not have found myself in this situation. I should have still been comformatbly in credit. I have just started another transaction from my savings account to rectify this and am currently almost UK400 “out of pocket” as it’s sat on my credit card earning no interest.

As such, I would expect the least you could do would be to ensure I don’t incur any charges for that. At most, I would hope someone would look at your system to ensure that future transactions are not erased from view in the system until the money involved has actually *moved*.

I mean, we all know banks try to screw you by taking 3-4 days to shift money (unless you’re moving it between accounts within the same bank) but to start the movement off, leave the money where it is and then delete the visible record that such a transaction is taking place is bound to lead to confusion, isn’t it?