Monday, 28 July 2014

My Kingdom For A Norse!

We have been having problems with our energy supplier. We pay a fixed sum by monthly direct debit, then every quarter, we get a bill. That’s the theory. At Christmas, we changed to Company #2 which offered a better deal. Company #1 said “Why have you switched?” and offered us an even better deal to return. So we did. After the one month with #2, we then expected things to settle back into their old pattern. But for 7 months, we have paid up regularly – but had no bill, confirming energy usage and amount owed. Bob contacted them – and again – and again…After the letter saying “You will get a proper reply within 5 working days” proved incorrect, he contacted the Energy Ombudsman. Who promptly got things sorted out [he was a little surprised we didn’t want a refund, or compensation or anything except a bill – but he sorted it immediately] Thankyou EO!

e ombudsman#

I am fascinated by the word ombudsman.It comes from the Old Norse umbodh, "charge/commission” made up of um, "regarding," and bodh, "command." In Old Norse an umbodhsmadhr was a "trusty manager." In Swedish an ombudsman looked after the interests and legal affairs of a group such as a trade union or business. In 1809 the office of riksdagensjustitieombudsman was created to act as an agent of justice, in affairs between the government and its citizens. [27 letters in one word!]

I feel that a proper ombudsman should look either wise and avuncular, or like he would fight for my rights against all evil.

lewis kingviking warrior

Bob refused to ask the nice gentleman on the telephone if he was [a] wearing a hornéd helmet or [b] having smoked elk sandwiches for his lunch. Surely the Energy Ombudsman has Viking forebears?


Now an old joke - I am reminded of the late great Frank Muir, and his chum Denis Norden [now 92] on the radio programme “My Word”. There was a story about a visually impaired Viking who washed his hands in the builder’s brick-carrier, because he explained…

A hod's as good as a sink to a blind Norse


  1. That is a truly dreadful joke! Well up to the standards of Messrs Muir and Norden.

  2. I have often wondered about the origins of the word. Thank you!

  3. Well done Bob!
    Love the joke too.

  4. Same as Elizabeth! Thanks for the great explanation, illustrated visually and with a joke too!


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