1973 was a good year

The party was terrific. I’d only met L&L’s younger son and daughter before and the daughter was then 5 years old – it was the year that L&L were married, he for the first time and she for the third. She had three children and, at the age of 23, he became stepfather to 2 teenagers too. He was a grandfather at 28. And it has worked, resoundingly.

Mrs L is 83 now and has Alzheimer’s, but she coped very well. Younger son is a singer and actor and he sang after dinner, his mother joining in. She knew every word and was note perfect. Mr L is absolutely admirable. He is endlessly patient and never gives a hint that his wife is anything but in command of her situation, whilst carrying being the fabulous raconteur that he’s always been and tactfully making sure she’s safe and happy. There were 25 or 30 of us altogether, old friends and family and we all stayed overnight. L, L and their younger daughter J, along with Wink and I, stayed a second night, which was great as it gave us more time to catch up. We went to Tetbury for lunch and it was all really good. There’s so much to do in the area, I’m thinking I may stay there for a night or two on my way to Pembrokeshire at some time. L insisted on paying our bill and everyone else’s, which was immensely kind. I’ve known him pretty well all my life, his parents were best friends with mine and L is 3 years older than me. Almost brother and sister.

On the way home, I dropped Wink off at Heathrow and she’s arrived safely in Sri Lanka. I’m planning to get on with some household things while she’s away. I felt a bit lost this evening and considered lighting the Aga, having an early glass of wine, lighting the fire – in the end, I did none of those things because I cooked a very nice dinner instead … with wine to accompany, of course, but at a respectable time in the evening.

The job I mentioned the other day, when the website was down, has been completed. I remembered on Saturday morning and it was all fine. What I haven’t been able to do is reset my Dartford Tunnel account. I had an email some time ago, telling me that I hadn’t used it for a year – here’s the relevant bit:-

Our records show that you have not used the Dartford Crossing in a vehicle linked to your Dart Charge account for over 12 months.If we do not hear from you, and you do not make any more crossings we will close your account on 24/10/2023. To keep your account open you can go to the account management section of our website, select, ‘Inactive account options’ and then ‘Keep my account open’. Alternatively, your account will reactivate if you make a crossing with a registered vehicle.

So, I signed in and went to account management and there was no option to keep my account open. I could close it but not keep it open. The website is in Beta, so they asked for feedback and I gave it. Since, I’ve emailed twice and filled in a complaint form. I got an acknowledgement for that, but that’s all. I can phone, but I guess there will be a long wait. So I expect I’ll end up closing the account, getting my £18 back and then having to open a new one. You’d think they’d like to keep my money. I’d like them to keep my money. I’ve looked again today – I remembered that I put a friend’s car on and she just sold it, so I needed to take it off. Even that has not reactivated the account. Oh well.

4 comments on “1973 was a good year

  1. Blue Witch

    DartTag, hmmm, yes, similar story of impossible dealings.

    When we moved North I closed our account online (the website has been in Beta for years and years) and waited for a refund. After several months, having heard nothing, I emailed to ask what was happening. They refused to give me my outstanding balance back until I had returned all the tags on the account, which I had already done (as they had requested) by recorded delivery.

    After much to-ing and fro-ing, they eventually decided that there was still one outstanding tag – a motorcycle one, and motorcycles are no longer chargeable. I had returned that as requested when they ceased charging, many years before. Fortunately I had returned that by signed for delivery too, and I still had the receipt in my old post book to prove it. I don’t think they were expecting that!

    I think it took 8 emails and 3 phone calls and nearly a year to get my money back.

    Given that the Dart Charge was only ever meant to be levied until the bridge’s construction was paid for (which it was years earlier than was ever predicted), it is one huge con. Oh – and – it’s now run by a French company.

    1. Z Post author

      Tags on the account? Oh dear, I don’t know what that means. If I have a friend going that way, I’ll put their car on so that it reactivates the account!

  2. Blue Witch

    That’s a good idea!

    I’ve just checked and the physical electronic tags are no longer issued, so you’re OK on that one. And what is more annoying is that they clearly didn’t need them back (to reissue to someone else as they said) when they were messing me about!!!

    1. Z Post author

      Remarkably, they did remove the charge from the Severn Bridge – it’s the Prince of Wales Bridge, I think, the second one anyway. I suppose Wales has more clout than the English. Especially as there’s going to be a Blackwall Tunnel charge before long. I’m really glad I don’t have to drive in London any more.


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