I seem to have caused some confusion in my last post when referring to TV licensing. Sorry about this, here is the full story.
We have two sorts of Tv in the UK, the BBC and commercial TV. The BBC is mostly free from adverts, though they do till have adverts for their own services, and sometimes, about License Fee Evasion. It funds itself by the tax which we still call the “license fee” despite it now being legally a tax. The rest of them (and they are mostly a woeful bunch of purveyors of old American TV and “reality” TV) finance themselves by selling advertising. This is often lengthy and dull.
So, when we were struck by lightning about 35 years ago, I was on my way back from work in the middle of teh worst rainstorm I have ever experienced in this country. I only kept driving because I was on a motorway and it is (a) illegal and (b) dangerous to stop on a motorway.
Julia, meanwhile, was at home. Advice is to shut off the TV during thunderstorms, but she doesn’t like thunder so she turned the TV up to drown out the sound of thunder. This was not one of her best ideas.
The resulting lightning strike on the TV aerial damaged the aerial and sent a bolt of electricity through the TV plug which reduced the ceramic fuse to powder and scored the brass terminals in the plug. It also blew part of the back of the TV apart and covered the interior with soot. Finally, it sent a ball of lightning across the room. Julia watched it move across the room, gradually getting smaller. This was a little upsetting for her and she was sill shaken when I arrived home.
We decided to throw the TV away and do without it, which we did for a couple of years. In this time we got regular letters from the BBC about our lack of license. I wrote and explained that we didn’t need one as we had no TV. They wrote again, three months later. I repeated my reply and advised them I didn’t want more letters as they were useless, time-wasting junk mail. They replied that they would keep reminding me as they often found that people forgot to get a license when they eventually bought a new TV.
So, I relied that if they wanted to waste time, energy and license payers money on junk mail they were welcome, but that I would like a list of the employees in their office so that I could write them pointless letters demanding details of the furniture they had in their houses. In those days I could be quite bolshie.
They wrote to thank me for my letter and said that they wouldn’t write again, but would appreciate it if I remembered to get a license when I eventually got a new TV. When we got one a year or so later, we did get a license.
I see from Wikipedia that you can’t stop them sending letters because they aren’t adverts, but you can, as someone did, send them a bill for £40 as a fee for opening, processing, reading and filing the letter. The BBC, of course, refused to pay, so he took them to small claims court and won, getting his £40 and costs.
Interesting . . .
Featured image is Robin Hood, a notable defender of the peasantry. Or a fictional character.