What you don't really want to find after enduring the Return Train Journey from Hell (actually, Truro*) on Bank Holiday Monday is a threatening letter from British Gas demanding immediate payment of £750.74 or suffer immediate disconnection from the mains supply.
I wasn't particularly surprised to find this letter waiting for me, as my friends at British Gas had already sent me TWO letters last Thursday, one demanding immediate payment of £740.74, and the other demanding immediate payment of £461.47. Failure to pay these, would, they informed me, result in them coming round to disconnect my supply. They might also BRING THE POLICE WITH THEM, they hadn't decided yet.
(I did try ringing them at 7.28pm on Thursday when I finished work, but at 8.00pm I was still on hold, and their offices closed. Hm.)
Still, this might be an improvement (it's hard to tell) on my last monthly bill, for £1,013.64, which I received while away in France, after a month when my (one-bedroom) flat had been empty and the central heating off.
On one of the rare occasions I've managed to get through to British Gas, as well as reluctantly handing over £200.00 in an attempt to keep them off my back (a strategy that appears to have backfired), I enquired as to how I might have racked up a bill of £1,013.64 during a time when no one had even been in my flat. They were unable to tell me, as I'd apparently been 'moved to the new system', but they could tell me that I had to pay up sharpish.
I can't even begin to understand what they're up to, but they seem intent on bankrupting me.
Still, I'm not the only one - apparently they sent Andrew Rawnsley from the Observer a bill for £2,000. Perhaps he and I are jointly funding their price cuts.
I don't have a spare £1,000, and even if I did, I wouldn't really want to give it to British Gas. Anyone any suggestions?
* Really, don't ever try travelling to Cornwall on a sunny Bank Holiday weekend, just stay at home; it's safer**.
** Although I did have a lovely time, and the simnel cake was plentiful, and I got to meet up with OPC and the lovely Miss-Cellany, and my best friend from primary school who keeps randomly appearing (in a good way), and her 'birthing partner' (whatever that means, I don't like to think too closely), and there were relaxing walks along the beach in the sunshine and nice meals and good company and French films and stuff, so I'm not actually complaining at all.