Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Here we are safely back. We had a good time. It was wonderful to turn the cats free, as is their birthright. I didn’t worry at all, this time. They love me, in their furry way. They came home.

Paradox caught a mouse! It was very small – probably, in fact, a shrew. She was delighted with it. All those who don’t believe in instinct – there are such – should watch a 2-year-old indoor cat with her first mouse.

I didn’t knit a stitch. Kate Atkinson supervened. Like you, Peggy, I am re-reading with great pleasure. The feeling/knowledge that I’ve-been-here-before is an asset.

Here is my husband’s stone:

And that of Helen and David’s eldest son (a year older than Archie), next to it:

And the two together:

The swirl at the top of each is meant to link them  -- important, since the names are different. The slight impression these photographs give of not-straightness is erroneous.

We got back here in good order at midday, the cats complaining the whole way. We made a little detour on the way to Wolfhill, which turns out to be very near Dunsinnan which equals Dunsinane. Wolfhill is not, however, the very hill upon which as I did stand my watch I looked towards Birnam and anon, methought, the wood began to move. That hill is in another village, nearby.

Then while I was still unpacked and recovering, I had a phone call which I am by now quite convinced was a scam, but it was a good and complicated one. I have read of such (fortunately). He claimed to be from the bank. Two suspicious charges had been made on my debit card, he said, £500 of groceries in each case to be delivered to an address in Dundee. He knew the first four numbers of the debit card, and the name of the supermarket I use – that could have been good luck – and my street address.

He wanted me to transfer a rather large amount of money to a new account, “in my name”, to protect it. I refused. He urged me to phone him back at the number on the back of my debit card. I am an assiduous reader of financial pages, and I think I know that Bad Men do this, and can divert the call to their own number, as long as you ring it within the next 10 or 15 minutes.

I phoned Alexander, who said to do nothing, and that’s what I’ve done. But it was unsettling.


  1. Honestly, the cheek of these people! As if a bank would ever ask you to transfer money in that way! I do wonder whether you might not be well advised to renew the bank card since it seems to be compromised in some way.

    I am very impressed by the clean lines and simplicity of your husband's stone. Is that a local stone for both?

  2. Those sort of incidents scare me. They are getting more and more sophisticated.

  3. Anonymous11:22 PM

    The tombstone and the lettering on it are so beautiful!
    and i'm fascinating by the fact that it took almost 25 years for the lichen to grow this big (lichens are notoriously slow growers).

    I echo Shandy's remark about renewing your bank card - can't hurt!

  4. Anonymous1:18 AM

    It sounds like the fraudster made some lucky guesses. The first six numbers on a credit card indicate what "brand" (Visa, Master Card, etc.) it is and the issuing bank. They do not identify the card holder. Addresses are easy to find, and knowing that it is not too hard to guess a likely supermarket. However, getting a new card is not a bad idea.

  5. You were very clever to do nothing. Good for you.

  6. Anonymous11:54 AM

    I too admire the stones, they have a 'presence.' My local churchyard insists on a certain type - they are all black with gold lettering. I have decided that is not for me.

    It's good to be away from traffic so the cats can venture out. I wonder what they think of their holidays?

    As for the scam, I too think it would be good to contact your bank, let them know what happened and get their advice. This is undoubtedly going the rounds and may hit upon someone less astute than you.

    Just in case it spreads to Scotland, I have recently had a series of calls - a really determined and convincing scam - which said that the internet was going to be disconnected and I must press 1 to agree to the disconnection or press 2 to stop it. I didn't. A few days later there was a follow-up call to say that it would be disconnected tomorrow and I must act immediately. Again I didn't and I and the internet are still here. They get more 'professional' and insidious. Take care.

    Helen (anon)

  7. Good for you for doing nothing! In Canada, the scammers say they're the RCMP & are collecting debts for Revenue Canada. Both scare the pants off people. I have all my elderly friends & relatives trained to laugh & hang up.
    Lovely stones Jean. Simple & elegant.

  8. Quite right to do nothing about the card - they say to call back to the number on your card, but what they do is they just don't hang up, just wait while you try and then you are straight back to them.
    I too have had the "internet is going down" one - in fact I get it about four or five times a week, but it is an automated call and there is something about the script that tells me that the person who put the spiel together was not completely fluent in ordinary English. "We are hereby to inform you that your innernet is compromised". I just hang up, except when I have been interrupted and then I treat the non-existent caller to some language that a nice retired English Lady shouldn't know! You only get a real person on these ones if you are unwise enough to press the button.

  9. I forgot to say that for a call to be disconnected and you be able to make a new one, the line has to be disconnected at both ends. That is how they pull that one off.

  10. ring the speaking clock or a known person before the bank to make sure you have safe control of the line without a lengthy anxious wait

  11. yes these are growing alarmingly... just hang up on ALL of them. any bank or reputable business will email or send you a letter if there is a problem. better safe than sorry.

    ps did i get your bday date wrong?

  12. also... the other scam making its way in the US is about social security - its very frightening in what they say... my mother (late 80s) has had it several times - and i did too... it sounds very official but it is NOT. its a sad comment on our times.

    imagine the cats enjoyed their holiday! in my current flat i have finally finished the front porch and now in the early morning they are allowed out with me watching so they dont leap thru the iron railings (which are mainly blocked by planters and pots - one is too fat but the other is. but she seems content to sit on the cushioned bench or under and watch...not my previous secret garden but then they were not allowed out there and so if i had to move and have only a porch - at least the cats are enjoying it. (neither was every allowed out in the previous garden and the smaller older one really hated that ).

    1. i meant 'the other one isnt' and 'neither was ever allowed'

      when will blogspot update and allow editing!

  13. Seeing the two stones together, I cannot help but think of the two of them together in Heaven. (I admit, I am not terribly sophisticated about such things. My faith is a fairly simple one:)) Sorry for your loss and hope you are well.

  14. Thank you for the photos of the stones. They have a very traditional look that appeals to me. They remind me of old graveyards in New England. I hadn't known about Helen's son, what an awful thing for all of you to go through.