Those relatively new to this blog will not have heard the stories of my fights with Barclay’s bank when I first moved to the UK. For the backstory, see this: the general banking debacle and my repeated rejections when trying to get a UK credit card. I eventually was able to get a credit card but only when I got some very serious help from a very influential person, and the shiny new card came with a meagre £1000 limit. About nine months after I got the card (using it regularly and paying it off every month) I requested a new limit (£2000–didn’t seem outrageous at the time) but was rebuked by the bank that this was “too much” although they did raise it to £1500. Now this was still chump change compared with my American card, which carries a limit in the range of the price of an Audi. So in light of all of this, imagine my surprise when I opened my mail yesterday to find a letter from the bank congratulating me on my credit and noting that they had–without any request from me–doubled my limit to £3000. Still an order of magnitude behind my US card, but starting to become useful–the limits of £1k or £1.5k were of course a bit too small to use for reimburse-able business travel, and as such I’ve STILL (after 2.5 years here) been primarily using my US card, a royal pain given the crash of the pound against the dollar in the last few months. The reimbursement for some summer travel, conducted at more than 2 pounds to the dollar, did not come in until the exchange rate had crashed and of course I’m just eating the difference. So I’m delighted to be able to use the UK card more often–still generally paying it off each month, and thus imaginably building a UK credit record finally. But what ho credit crunch? Unsolicited doubling of credit limits in this economy? Interesting.
I just had to see my sister off, she got picked up in the darkest hour before dawn for her trip to Heathrow and back to China. I’m a bit weepy now, combination of being overtired (after way too many late nights and early mornings having adventures with her) and just generally sad about going back to my solo existence. Given the nature of my career, I’m surrounded by men all day long and don’t really have too many good female friends in this part of the world. But most importantly, at the end of the day there truly is no friend like a sister.