The drain from the kitchen sink is blocked. I have intermittently seen that water emanates out onto the paving when the sink is emptied, which leads me to believe that the drain may have collapsed. It turns out that I am insured against breakage in the drain, but not a straightforward blockage. (uitlander made the game-theoretic observation that this disincentivises people to maintain their property to some degree). There's a £50 excess and as one assumes that a blockage will be significantly cheaper than a breakage to fix (but unlikely in these parts to be cheaper than the excess), it's worth putting in a claim in case. This also has the benefit that the insurers organise the contractors rather than picking someone at random from Yellow Pages. However, today's first Corporations Doing the Wrong Thing is that they ask for a daytime contact number, you give them your mobile, then they ring you back on your home number anyway. Doh!
[Update: Drain not broken, blockage now cleared. Isn't it amazing that even drainage engineers have a laptop when they turn up to your house these days?]
The second thing is that I haven't received Scientific American for the last two months. When I logged in to the subscriptions section of their website, the address it showed me had neither a house number, nor a post code, and was somewhat upside down in terms of which line was which. I suspect they have had an "upgrade" which has "cleaned" their database. Though their response was prompt, they corrected my address wrongly so it still isn't right, told me that the two missing issues were now unavailable (so what's the point of saying you can get back issues if they're sold out within the month?), it might take another two months before the correct address is used (so I'm going to be missing four issues then?) and in compensation they offer to extend my subscription by one month. I know it's a republic over there, but isn't the customer supposed to be King?
Well, LJ seems to be working again now, for me anyway. I had a problem with flickr a couple of weeks ago, which was apparently caused by their ISP blocking my ISP because of a Denial-Of-Service attack. I wonder if the same thing happened again here. Newnet is usually quite good, but it's not cheap, and I do wonder whether it's really worth the premium I am now paying. £25 a month was standard a couple of years ago, but how prices have dropped - and speeds risen - since then. Unfortunately as I pay annually, I only tend to think about switching when it is already too late.