Pre Xmas Quiz

Using your knowledge of me and my life (reading previous posts may help) choose the answer which you think actually happened or is most likely to happen. 

Question1 – Rose has several presents to buy that need to be delivered tomorrow. Will she

a) Go out right now and get them

b) Write a blogpost

c) Write a blogpost, watch Homes Under The Hammer, move things from one room to another, go to work for an hour or two, drive to her mum’s, go to bed, go shopping with her mum tomorrow, struggle to reconcile the slowness of her mum with the need for a speedy shop with an imminent deadline, regret not doing a)

d) Not bother getting the presents

Question 2 – Frodo bought and laid the laminate flooring in the hallway – 2 years after he first said he was going to do this. Did he

a) Finish the job completely in a day

b) Lay the laminate over 2 days and then suggest using pale pine coloured beading (bought for the bedroom floor) on the dark oak floor in the hallway. Then when told not to do this, visited several DIY shops before returning home without the beading he had gone for.

c) Finish the job completely and put the beading on the bedroom floor which he laid 2 years ago.

d) Start painting the hallway after laying the floor

Question 3 – Whilst having a break from paid employment did Rose

a) Start painting the hallway before Frodo laid the floor

b) Start painting the hallway after Frodo laid the floor

c) Start painting the hallway and accidently knock the paint tin over onto the newly laid floor

d) Start painting the hallway and “accidently” knock the paint tin over onto the stair carpet that Frodo had said didn’t need replacing

Question 4 – Which description best fits the sending of Xmas cards from Rose’s house

a) All cards are bought, written and sent in the first week of December

b) All cards are written and sent in the first week in December having been bought in the sales after Xmas last year

c) All cards are written in the first week in December and sent 2 days before Xmas day with the hope that postal workers will rise to the challenge of delivering them the next day.

d) Cards bought in the sales after Xmas last year, newly bought cards and those left over cards from boxes from previous years are gathered together. Rose then chooses cards for each person she is sending one to. They are all written and sent in time for Xmas day. The vast majority of left over cards from previous years are yet again not used. Rose only just manages to convince herself that one year she will be able to match the card, with a Victorian stagecoach on the front and Seasons Greetings in an almost unreadable font on the inside, with someone on her Xmas card list. She also believes that the lack of an envelope is a problem that will be resolved somehow if this card is ever chosen to be sent. So this card along with the others, some nearly 20 years old, are carefully packed away for next year’s ritual. 

Answers

a) These are things I would like to happen.

Question 1 – c) is looking most likely to happen. It has already begun.

Question 2 – b) actually happened and a week after initial laying began the beading has yet to be bought.

Question 3 – b) actually happened and despite some drips onto the floor and a little panicking as I wiped up the drips the floor is as good as new : )  Only the doors, skirting board and radiator have been done so I am contemplating doing d) when I paint the walls. The stair carpet is in a sorry state.

Question 4 – d) happens every year. Will I ever get the opportunity to use the 40 cards written last year and signed ‘from Mrs W*** ’?

 

Merry Christmas x

circus acts

Risk taking could easily have ended in disaster last weekend. I have chosen to use the term risk taking as this sounds more positive than the alternative description of my behaviour which I was initially going to use. (I will reveal the word later. No doubt readers will come up with their own descriptions). The situation was that I had to get several items from the house to the car boot and by using a rather complicated mixture of over the shoulder, under the arm and handheld I managed to condense a possible two runs into one. My pride in this achievement turned out to be premature. Having no hand free to open the boot was a significant flaw in my plan. It had been raining and the ground was very wet so I chose not to put anything down on the ground. Another option was to return to the house and lighten my load but this would have confirmed that my original plan was ill thought out. Then a thought occurred to me : ) Could I manage to hold the bag for life, which contained my laptop, in my teeth while I opened the boot? Very possibly yes! After all circus performers can hold the weight of another person by their teeth. It seemed a risk worth taking and all was going well until I was at full stretch pushing the boot up and then one of my shoulder bags slipped. I’m not sure exactly how it happened but somehow my reaction to the slippage resulted in the crash landing of the laptop onto the road. Oh dear. I think it was f***, f***, f***  at the time but my feelings have mellowed since finding out that the laptop is still in working order. Have I learnt a lesson from this? Probably not – my risk taking aka laziness (word reveal) is always a dominant factor in my decision making. As is my faith in my physical abilities, such as holding items in my teeth.

My weekend in Wales was an organised weekend. A weekend designed for women to get together. A weekend where mind, body and spirit would be nourished. I went with high, albeit undefined, expectations. I came away with high, albeit undefined, hopes that I will succeed in organising my own version of a nourishing weekend along with my very good friends who were there. Although there were some ‘best bits’ there were also some bits which I would edit out. Pampering would stay but I question whether coating hands in oats and oil should be classed as pampering. Some people appeared to enjoy covering their hands with what was basically cold slimy porridge and then spending the next ten minutes trying to catch bits that fell off and headed for the floor. Perhaps they were feigning enjoyment, like me. It was also a bit stressful thinking about the amount of porridge/handmask that got washed down the sink. All activities at my weekend would be carefully thought through. I don’t think our leader did this on one occasion. After being told a story about African women collecting water and nourishing the plants, I was wondering where the plant was that the leader was going to water with the bowl of water she was holding. As she dabbled her fingers in it, the realisation of what she was planning hit me. WE were going to be the plants. What is appropriate in a circus big top is unlikely to transfer well to this type of gathering. In fact as the water hit some of us, I’m sure steam was rising! On the plus side the toilet facilities were fine and it was a gap in my own knowledge of bathroom fixtures that caused me a little embarrassment.

The basin plug was one of those silver discs that slip into the plug hole. After washing on the first morning I tried to raise the silver plug. I couldn’t find a lever to lift it although I did search for one. I even checked the pedestal and under the bowl in case it was some unusual design. Neither would the plug tilt/spin easily when pressed so I spent an anxious ten minutes trying to prise it up with my finger nail, pushing it at one side to try and tip it and searching around the bathroom to see if there was any narrow implement that might be more successful than my finger nail – there wasn’t. Finally I sheepishly went into the living and admitted I had got the plug stuck and left a basin full of water. “Is the lever broke?” I was asked. “There isn’t one” I replied. “Yes there is. It’s behind the tap”. “Oh”. I returned to the bathroom and the very small lever was indeed behind the very large mixer tap. Hiding the lever like that is very poor design.

The worst part of the weekend for me was ‘the walk’. I’ll skip the detail of how we got down to the beach and the beach walk and move straight onto the return to the car park. It was a complicated situation. Some of our group had walked for miles. Others, including me had opted for the short stroll. The path back up to the car park was long and steep. Hazel, having walked for miles, was not keen on walking up to the car park and asked if I would go up and collect her car and bring it down to the beach. The thought of driving my own car down that narrow slope and navigating past parked cars would have filled me with dread. Driving someone else’s car on a wide flat road would have been close to a nightmare for me. The two together was something I just could not put myself through. Hazel is a confident driver and I don’t think she could comprehend my reasons for refusing. This left me feeling that she thought I just couldn’t be bothered to walk to the car park so when Annie offered to go and get the car I said I’d go with her. In my mind it was an attempt to show that my refusal was based on my driving misgivings and not on laziness. It is unlikely anyone else had any interest in my motives so I embarked on a completely pointless walk up a steep hill. Something I would normally avoid at all costs. As Annie and Katie strode on I made a vain attempt to keep up with them. My heavy breathing increased with each step but by then the other two were too far ahead to hear. I did want to shout “wait for me” but I couldn’t spare the breath to utter a word. By unfortunate coincidence, an almost identical walk was recreated a week later when I struggled to appear unconcerned as I gasped for breath on the climb up Steep Hill in Lincoln. Anyway we reached the car park in Wales and Annie drove the car, with me in it, down to the beach. So after 15 minutes of self-inflicted torture I was back where I started. My mind clearly needs more than a weekend of nurturing to help it make rational decisions.

Mini Blog

Being sensible is winning the war in sensible v creative but creating is refusing to give up altogether and has come up with ‘mini blog’. I am taking my work responsibilities very seriously and having had two weekends away I have made the decision that I must not let blogging jeopardise my chance of securing a paid job. Another interview looms tomorrow and a full week of work but I will be free to blog without restraint next week : ) Tales of my Wales weekend will have to wait until then. In the meantime you can be pondering whether or not I enjoyed a ‘handmask’ that involved coating my hands in oats and oil and how I felt about walking up a very steep hill.

This weekend I was away with friends who wish to be known as WW, HS and CW (in no particular order regarding ‘friend level’. We agreed F1, F2 and F3 could have potentially caused rifts between us). I loved the house we stayed in BUT the owners failed to meet my basic toilet expectations. No lock on the bathroom door!!!! It’s all very well leaving welcome chocolates and wine but a relaxing toilet experience is an essential whilst on holiday. No hand towel was provided in the bathroom/toilet either and it had a sloping roof so you had to do a duck and shuffle move as you sat down/stood up or you would hit your head on the ceiling. I did this on my first visit and the pain was bad enough to make me very cautious on subsequent visits. The downstairs toilet wasn’t ideal either. The flush mechanism kept getting stuck, resulting in a constant trickle of water into the bowl and hence a constant attempt by the cistern to fill. We often left the toilet without realising it was stuck and assuming the noise was just the normal refilling of the cistern. On most occasions, one of us would go into the kitchen (next to downstairs loo), notice the noise and sort it out. Unfortunately one night it wasn’t sorted and poor HS (bedroom above downstairs toilet) had a sleepless night wondering what the strange sound was until she got up to investigate and discovered it was the usual suspect. It was NOT me who left it stuck. My conscience is clear. The visitors’ book was full of ‘great house’, ‘fantastic place to stay’ and other such comments but no mention of toilet concerns. I left early so I will have to check with my friends that our points for improvement were recorded.

Speed blogging using Oooo to express a variety of emotions

I have never been speed dating and don’t suppose I ever will but I am going to have a go at speed blogging. Here goes.

Oooo exciting news Wonderful Woman is pregnant!! Her bump has made no difference whatsoever to her vigour. The insertion of a new move, “sway”, was a momentary break from a generally very energetic routine tonight.  Another new addition to the session was an invitation to stretch our bums at the end. I didn’t partake in this activity because it involved sitting on the floor and I can’t be bothered with that. One of the Zumba-ites joked that if she got down on the floor she wouldn’t get up again. Her level of fitness level strongly suggests that this isn’t true. Now if I’d said that it would have been partly true, in that it would have taken considerable effort and some ungainly rolling onto knees in order for me to get up. My ‘joke’  wouldn’t have been met with mild amusement, it would have been met with sympathy.

Oooo spent £2.20 on a toothbrush!!!! My tidy of the bathroom this afternoon revealed several toothbrushes in toiletry bags. I am in the habit of buying new toothbrushes for myself and family members whenever any of us go away and so there was quite a collection. My plan was to sterilise these nearly new toothbrushes and use them to replace the ones in the toothbrush holder. Unfortuneately  I failed to check that there were sterilising tablets in the house before I threw out all our current toothbrushes. On the way back from Zumba I called into the local shop to buy sterilising tablets but they didn’t have any so I had to buy a toothbrush. It cost £2.20. Being the good mother that I am, I bought one for Son. Frodo and I will have to miss toothbrushing until I can get to Home Bargains and pay a more acceptable price.

Oooo bathroom is in a terrible mess. Removing a small area of wallpaper to get rid of some mould growth led to the idea that I could redecorate the bathroom. Then the removal of several sheets of wallpaper led to the idea that the shelves and cupboards in the bathroom needed to be sorted out. The mess created by emptying the shelves and cupboards led to the idea that I should do an easier job like pulling the trims/seals off the bath to clean them. The situation of having clean trims/seals but no way of reattaching them led me to look for another job. Oooo sanding down paintwork leaves a lot of dusty mess.

Oooo it’s a battle of wills when someone zooms down the inside lane when the sign clearly shows that up ahead that lane will be closed. Strangers unite in a struggle to stop such drivers pushing in the queue. Bumper to bumper, crawling along, all of one mind, “you’re trying to cheat but I’m not going to let you”. But then somehow, someone lets a gap develop and the cheater triumphs. On our trip to London Frodo was one of the gang, one of the drivers in the ‘right’ lane. He played his part so well, not once was he intimidated by the closeness of the cheater bonnet. But then, a little way ahead, a gap opened up and the cheater was in. Oooooooooo.

Oooo I’m going away this weekend : ) Best stock up on toothbrushes at Home Bargains.

Vacation musings and tourist information (see the US twist there)

I woke early this morning with blog thoughts running through my mind so I decided to get up straight away and start writing. I was feeling chirpy and bright as I came downstairs but within seconds I was confronted with a problem that I have created and don’t know what to do about. A few weeks ago I was really pleased when Martin and Melanie started bringing a new friend home. They all got on so well together. Often I misjudge the appetites of Martin and Mel and prepare too much food. Rather than let the food go to waste I was happy to let Theragen come in and finish it off. At some undefined point Theragen took more control of the situation and began turning up first thing in the morning and then hanging around most of the day. Of course Martin and Mel are always pleased to see her but I was (and still am) concerned that she is spending too much time here when she should be with her own family, who may well be fretting over her long absences. She has moved on from waiting at the door. She just wanders in and helps herself to food. A few days ago I started turning her away and refused to let her in the house. That’s when her true nature became apparent. She isn’t content with accepting what she is given. She is demanding and determined. As I am typing, I can still hear her yowling intermittently outside. I can’t see her because I am avoiding looking out of the window in case I catch her eye and she takes that as a sign of me weakening and renews her yowling with greater zeal. My brain tells me that she looks well fed and cared for and doesn’t need food from my house but those yowls and steely eyes are nearly breaking my resolve to ignore her. Guilt isn’t helping me be strong. I know now I should never have welcomed her in and given her the impression that she could become one of our family. I’m sure she doesn’t understand why I am suddenly denying her food that was given so freely just a few days ago. Mel and Martin are showing no interest in the situation at all and, after a quick hello sniff, they have gone off, leaving Theragen and I at stalemate.

That is the situation I’m in right now. Hopefully if I concentrate on writing I won’t be drawn to open the door. So…… a weekend in the Peak District. The visit was dual purpose. A chance to take my mother away and a chance to see a friend’s artwork on display. I did have some concerns over the combination but apart from my mother’s expected question – “What’s it meant to be?”- on seeing Patsy’s creations it worked well and meeting Patsy gave my mother plenty of content for conversations with my sister when she returned home. This was warmly greeted by my sister who was becoming a little tired of repeated conversations about what would happen at digital switchover and my mother’s concerns that my sister would not have sufficient knowledge and skills to retune her Freeview box. (She did). 

Patsy gave me a private artist’s tour of her sculptures. I felt very special, especially when other visitors passed by and were just ‘listening in’ rather than being ‘specially selected’. It was great to hear Patsy’s thoughts behind her creating. It definitely increased my interest in and connection to her work. It is Patsy who has been asking for photographs on my blog. I think she should add a recording of her talking about her pieces for the listeners among us. Written thoughts would be good but Patsy’s passion comes out in her voice, and she has a nice accent. I won’t be more specific about her accent because too many clues would make it easy for some readers to guess her real identity.

After the artist’s tour we went on a tour of coffee shops in the large village/small town. There were five of us altogether – Patsy, Patsy’s daughter, Patsy’s friend (Paulette, who I had not met before), my mother and me. Finding an open café which could accommodate us all proved impossible. We ended up in a pub. Now this may sound stereotypical but my expectation of a pub in a Peak District village which is hosting an arts festival is that it will be a bit posh. This one wasn’t. Half past five on a Saturday afternoon and we were sat at a table next to a group of people whose loudness was fuelled by alcohol and lots of it. One of their party, a burly man adorned with tattoos, took it upon himself to become our waiter and delivered an assortment of tea pots, milk jugs and cups from the bar to our table. Patsy and Paulette engaged in conversation about tattoos with him, including what tattoos he had below his waist. This is where I would have made my excuses and left him at the bar but the next thing I saw was Paulette looking in his mouth and ‘ooooing’. It turned out that he had a tattoo on his inside lip which had intrigued Paulette. After my initial surprise at her actions (I had classified her as about my age and a bit posher so it seemed out of character) I could see how curiosity could lead to this, which is probably better than my motive for doing such things ie.drinking too much alcohol.

All is quite outside. Theragen may have given up for the time being, fingers crossed. I feel safe to venture into the kitchen and get a cup of coffee now. If Theragen is there, her hopes will rise that I have gone in there to open the back door. Oh, I can feel the angst building up at the thought of it. If she is still there I will take a photograph ready for tomorrow’s blog which will also feature the car driver story.

Tourist Information

1. Do not believe the tourist information assistant at Matlock Mining Museum if she tells you that the Park and Ride bus from Matlock to Matlock Bath illuminations stops in the car park next to the gardens where the illuminations are. I believed her (after she had just given my mother a free ticket to the illuminations because she is a blue badge holder due to mobility difficulties) and we ended up walking half a mile!!!! from a different car park. Then half a mile back!!!!!

2. Do not assume that the cordoned off area for people with disabilities will have any seating in it. I did and we ended up standing for an hour. Go early and get a seat in the other areas!!!

3. Do not expect too much from the ‘unique parade of illuminated and decorated boats’. Expect ten pretty boats with lights on and you won’t be disappointed.  

B&B Owner Advice

You won’t get excellent on tripadvisor if you serve a full breakfast with mushrooms and without tomatoes to Rose’s mother when she specifically requested a full breakfast with tomatoes and without mushrooms.

Online Art Exhibition – “Stuff” by Rose

This is an extra to my usual blogging (which I will resume this evening) and is in response to a reader request. For sometime now Patsy has been telling me that she wants photos on my blog. This morning I have made a concerted effort to locate a digital camera with charged batteries, vacant storage space and a lead to connect it to my laptop. Previous attempts to do this have ended with one of the following. Camera phone with no lead; non digital cameras; digital camera with no battery and either no correct size working batteries in house or no lead/plug to recharge built in batteries; digital camera with no free storage space because D1 or D2 has stolen the memory card or they have filled all space with what appears to bands on stages (they clearly didn’t get a front row position and so the dots in the distance could be anyone) and an abundance of miscellaneous people. I am too scared of the consequences I might suffer if I delete any of these.

But today all I needed was in the right place at the right time. I thought some before and after photographs might help readers/viewers get a clearer feel of what it is like in my home. So here they are. If it works as I plan there will be numbered photographs followed by brief descriptions.

Photograph 1

ImagePhotograph 2

ImagePhotograph 3ImagePhotograph 4Image

Photograph 1 – Book shelf immediately AFTER I tidied it. It was intended to be just for books but there was nowhere else for the other bits and pieces that I might need easy access too. There are a couple of the cameras mentioned earlier on there.

Photograph 2 – Bay window AFTER bedroom was tidied. The curtains were cleverly moved so now when they are drawn the stuff disappears – like magic only its still there when the curtains are opened. Similar artworks have been created fourfold in the garage.

Photograph 3 – The shoe collection in the hallway AFTER Froddo tidied it. He’s gone for the ‘piled’ look as opposed to the original ‘spread’ look.

Photograph 4 – The garden path AFTER Froddo spent days last summer (summer 2011 that is) sorting out the garden. I have no other words I can add to that.

Oh they are all after photos. I am going to have another reshuffle of the book shelf right now and then that photo will turn into a before one. Now I have the equipment I will be adding photos on a more regular basis for the visuals amongst you.

High maintenance, pushover, flaky…….its all good.

Oh my goodness, it’s been two weeks since I last blogged. This means I’ve fallen short of my own expectations but I did console myself by identifying with Phoebe in an episode of Friends that I saw earlier this week. She describes Monica as being ‘high maintenance’ and Rachel as being a ‘pushover’. They both take this negatively and insist that they are not. When they tell Pheobe she is ‘flaky’, she agrees.  She doesn’t take it as positive or negative, she just accepts that that’s the way she is. So – I miss blogging for a few weeks, hey I guess I’m flaky too. I did get a bit teary later on in that episode when Chandler admits he thinks Monica is a bit high maintenance. Monica is straight into denial again until Chandler tells her its because she’s passionate etc, etc (he does quite a long speech but I can’t remember all the details, probably due to my flakiness) and ends by saying that it’s one of the reasons they are so good together because he likes maintaining her. Oh how perfect.

I’ve missed several Zumba sessions lately, too. Flaky, flaky.

Interestingly, I have had four views from the US whilst not posting and another person has reached my blog while searching for ironing. Maybe if I wrote ten blogposts about ironing then didn’t blog for a month my ratings would be boosted. Oh, that wouldn’t work because all the people who only read when I post a new blog wouldn’t be viewing. Flaky thinking.

Well, so much has happened in two weeks its hard to know where to start. One big change is that D1 is now living in university halls. Froddo and I helped her moved in and all seems fine except I am a little concerned over the toilet facilities (or the lack of them). It appeared that there was just one toilet for about eight rooms and it is down a flight of stairs from the rooms/kitchen corridor. I wanted to ask the boys in the kitchen if they could shed any light on the toilet situation but D1 was totally against this idea and became a little irate when I tried to investigate further by wandering around the corridor trying to work out what was behind each door. Following the advice I was given at camp, I suggested she invest in a bucket. That did not go down well either. She has since told me that there is another toilet off the corridor and at least one en-suite room. This could be true or she could be making this up in case I ring the accommodation office for information and if the toilet I saw is the only one she might think I’ll start making a fuss. Of course I wouldn’t do this even though I would be tempted to. I have got the message that this sort of thing is seen as parental interference rather than concern for a fellow human being. In my experience, practical issues, such as having to walk down a flight of stairs to use a toilet shared by eight + people in the middle of the night, are not highlighted to concerned parents. Everyone talks about alcohol, drugs, junk food, study stress, financial difficulties…….. but toilets, not so much. 

D1’s move from home has cut down the number of ‘leaving bits of toast in the butter’ suspects. To be fair she has always been an outside suspect due to her frequent complaints whenever she lifts the lid off the tub and finds brown crunchy bits in there. Son is also an outside suspect as he very rarely butters toast. I am very particular about having uncontaminated butter so I know it’s not me. That leaves Froddo as number one suspect. He doesn’t out-rightly deny its him but when questioned he says things like “I don’t think it was me” or “What makes you think it was me?” and his tone of voice hints that any discussion about it will lead to an argument. Perhaps coincidently, the butter is toast free for a couple of weeks after it’s been drawn to his attention.

In other news from the kitchen, Son was almost caught up in an unusual situation. We were away from home for two days with D1, leaving Son home alone. Having failed to wash up the breakfast dishes on the morning we left and Son’s tendency to eat cereal for both breakfast and evening snack, the situation arose where there were NO clean bowls in the house. No doubt he would have broken his cereal habit and turned to some other food rather than attempt to wash up. After many years of trying an array of rota systems, payment by results and hours of negotiating I gave up trying to engage my children in household tasks quite a while ago.

I wrote the preceeding section of this blogpost whilst babysitting. Baby was sleeping. I was not ignoring him whilst I concentrated on writing. I save that for when I want a break from Froddo. When baby was awake he enjoyed several games of ‘grab the glasses’. I was so enamoured with his giggles that I instigated the game sometimes. As someone whose glasses often fall off anyway, I didn’t mind Baby throwing them to the floor. I do hope if he tries it with someone else they take it in good spirit. With hindsight it may not have been the best thing to encourage him. Find of the day was a cannister labelled TREATS. I only meant to have a quick peek inside but the sight of hundreds (that might be a slight overestimation but there were lots) of assorted sweets and lollipops made me giddy and before I knew it was unwrapping a toffee wrapped in shiny blue paper and popping it in my mouth at great speed. I quickly put the lid back on. For a moment I felt that rush of excitement and guilt I’d felt as a teenager when my friend and I raided the alcohol cupboard when we were babysitting. We were asked back so I assume the parents never realised a centimetre of drink was missing from each bottle of spirit.

Next installment will feature a weekend in the Peak District and the camarderie of car drivers.

To complain or not to complain

I am investigating the phrase ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’. If I get a boost to my viewing stats I shall conclude that it does. If they remain at the extremely low level they have been at since I last posted almost two weeks ago, then I shall conclude ‘out of sight out of mind’ is more apt. 

During my abstinence from blogging I have spent much of my time ‘sorting’ stuff. My hoarding/untidy house has been covered in previous blog posts and I won’t revisit the topic now except to say that the same amount of stuff, minus about 2%, has been shuffled around the house and some has made it to the garage/halfway house on its planned journey to the bin. I have managed to compress the stuff in the house so that it takes up less space. An achievement which has not impressed my family, who are still urging me to ‘get rid of it.’

I have also been in dispute with Virgin mobile who have no business sense whatsoever. Due to my misunderstanding of their terms and conditions I have inadvertently paid them £100 for a service I haven’t used. Several phone calls and emails have been exchanged but my pleas for them to demonstrate that they see me as a valued customer have fallen on deaf ears. They appeared not to see the logic in refunding my money and retaining myself, Frodo and D1 as customers. I pointed out that within 6 months they will have lost more than £100 when we shift to another company but all such appeals to common sense were met with repetition of the clause in the terms and conditions which indicates I had made a mistake.  I eventually gave up after hearing “It states in our terms and conditions…….” for the 35th time (or thereabouts). Now I am committed to carrying out my threat and the hassle of changing to another company and having to get a new mobile number. Frodo has fully supported me throughout and will be shunning Virgin too.

In contrast, Tesco were very apologetic when I selected the wrong wine for the ‘meal deal’ and had to pay £16 instead of £10. They refunded my money when I returned the items and sent me a £10 giftcard with an apology for the ‘upset and embarrassment’ I had suffered (their words not mine). 

Whilst on my trip to London I was twice saved from making myself look foolish by complaining unnecessarily. The first incident took place at the self service checkout in a Tesco Express. I tried unsuccessfully five times to insert my debit card into the card reader and after checking the various orientations I was convinced the problem lay with the card reader. Before I could summon a checkout operative, my companion (Will) stepped in and immediately spotted that I was not inserting my card into the card reader slot after all but into the space between the reader and the holder it was in. Ooops. Shortly after this my travelcard failed to open the barrier to the underground station. Again I tried removing and reinserting it and was ready to summon a tfl worker when Will stepped in again and informed me that I was trying to enter through an exit barrier. All’s well that ends well though and the travelcard worked perfectly when inserted in the entrance barrier.

My sense of fun and my sense of what is acceptable were in battle during the London trip. Will, along with my other companions, played the bogies game in the Olympic Park (here’s a link for anyone who unfamiliar with the game.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mblkUZgOwPQ&feature=relmfu ). I was disappointed that it didn’t raise many smiles, although Will and friends were at times giggling furiously especially when one middle aged man joined in with a “bogey” before disappearing into the crowd. I knew if I joined in my companions would enjoy my participation and for some reason it seemed like a fun idea but I’m sorry to say that on this occasion I kept my ‘bogies’ to myself. Another example of society’s norms curtailing the freedom of an individual. Maybe next time I’ll break free.

 

 

Where to go?

Holiday Highlights – Part Three

6. I was delighted to discover that my ability to squat unaided and return to a standing position without falling over remains intact despite not being put to use for many years. ‘Squat’ is one of the Zumba instructions that I adapt. I do a semi squat so as to remove all embarrassment of a ‘topple over’ or a ‘stuck in squat’, neither of which are Zumba moves. However whilst camping, squatting became more appealing than lonely walks to the toilet block in the early hours, especially as it was also a long walk and more than once I had to jog the last few metres to get there before my bladder began ignoring my pleas to “hold on we’re nearly there.”  Several of my fellow campers were surprised I’d been consistently using the toilets and spare buckets were offered to me as gifts. I accepted one but the thought of having to deal with emptying it the next day and with no means of bleaching it or even disinfecting it was enough to stop me using it. My reservations about using the bucket were greeted with “it’s only wee” (which it would have been) but that did not make it acceptable to me. What if that bucket somehow found its way to a tie dying activity or even worse, was used as a vessel for carrying washing up? Despite it having FISH written on it and so being easily identifiable I was not going to take any chances. It soon became apparent that weeing in the woods was a common after dark activity and so after a few days I gave it a try. It was one of those situations where failure to carry out the whole routine successfully would have incurred very undesirable consequences. I undertook the procedure knowing that if my squat wasn’t low enough ‘splashback’ would occur and I’d regret embarking on this alternative venture. I also believed that returning to a standing position, without wobbling and inadvertently putting a steadying hand onto the freshly dampened ground, would be a challenge. To my relief everything went smoothly and my visits to areas off the beaten track became a nightly occurrence.

On balance it was a positive move, largely because the several minutes stress and inconvenience of getting to the toilet block was replaced by just a minute or two of stress which ended when all clothes were back in place. Twinkle* did create some extra unease when I overheard her talking about finding a spot by torchlight, turning off the torch and relieving herself in darkness. Then mid flow noticing another torch beam heading her way and having to call out that she was there. From then on I walked deeper into the woods and only stopped when I realised if I didn’t stop it would have been nearer to go to the toilet block. For me it would have been a Bingo panic moment. The anxiousness building up with just one number to go and worrying that I won’t be brave enough to call out. Then the number comes up and the indecision of whether to call bingo, here or yes goes on too long and the moment passes as the next number is called. In the woods scenario this would translate to embarrassing discovery. Thankfully I was never discovered.

7. There were more holiday highlights but life is moving on so no more will be recorded here. Look out for my book ‘Crazy Camping’ which may be published one day. It will include a tribute to a camp warden whose loyalty to the campsite cannot be doubted. His fear that disappearing toilet paper and 10ps being forced into shower meters will lead to an end of civilisation as scouts know it may come out as being over -zealous but personally I found it endearing and forgive him completely for thinking I ripped the sticker off the shower meter in a deliberate act of vandalism.

Non – camping content. In the past week or two I have been on two nights out. Both very enjoyable, both in disco type environments and both raising the question “how many times is it appropriate to ask someone to repeat what they said before you nod and smile because you still didn’t hear what they said?”  

*Twinkle named after the twinkle in her eye, not her twinkles in the wood.

Holiday Highlights continued

Ghana and Thailand have joined my country views. I can only think that shares on facebook are responsible as according to my stats no-one has arrived recently via search engines so thank you for the shares.

Holiday Highlights continued

3. My team won the camp quiz!! Score 73 out of 80. On the day of the quiz I was perturbed to see Wonderful Man perusing the quizbook that he has used for previous quizzes. The questions in this book are hard. So hard that my initial enthusiasm for his previous quizzes has dwindled as the gaps in my general knowledge are shown to be gaping holes. The pleasure I gain from quizzes and board games increases substantially if I win and truth be told I much prefer engaging in things I think I will be good at and feel quite p**d off if it turns out others are better than me. It was with ambivalence that I joined my team – Mr Fry, Mrs Tie-Dye and Cindi. Within seconds my hopes were rising and so were my suspicions that Mr Fry had seen the questions and answers due to his confidence in the answers he was giving. When the half time scores were shared it was clear our team were doing very well or to be accurate Mr Fry was doing very well. This does not lessen the importance of Mrs Tie-Dye’s and Cindi’s rare contributions. These may have been the ones that pipped the second place team who scored 71 if my memory serves me right. I greeted the announcement of the winning team with cheers of delight and congratulated myself on being a winner despite only knowing three correct answers. Tip – If you are likely to know the answers to only 3 questions out of 80 in a quiz, spend the hours before the quiz testing people’s general knowledge   and choose your team based on this (it was by chance I ended up in Mr Fry’s team. I shall be more pro-active next time).  

btw – Wonderful Man is no relation to Wonderful Woman but he is talented in many areas, including plumbing which is a very desirable quality through my leaky shower eyes.

4. Communal rejoicing of A level results. With university places at stake, a mass wave of shared joy and relief spread across the camp. My personal highlight was the phone call from D1 to let me know she had got her place. Jessie was the Usain Bolt of exam results with A*/A performance in three subjects, short and very sweet. Romany, with her amazing results spread over four subjects, was the Mo Farah. They had the wow factor but they all had the Yeeeaaaahhh factor. This leads nicely into highlight 5.

5. Zumba. Disappointingly/annoying, my months of training did not make my performance any better than that of virgin zumba-ites. Nevertheless it was great fun. Well the first session was. Details of the second session may well feature in Holiday Lowlights. One noteable difference between camp zumba and my usual zumba was participant’s attire. It ranged from everyday clothes, through vests (not sports vests, just vests) to sleepsuits. The level of craziness was slightly higher and the greek style dance in a circle was novel. One of the instructors crossed the room to be next to me in the circle (had she spotted my tendency to move in the opposite direction to everyone else and so come to reign me in?) and because we were holding hands I had to explain that she would have to hold my little finger on account of my finger injury. I was momentarily cross because the music started before I had finished the entire tale but my attention was soon diverted to counting steps. Instructor’s Tip – to get a good hip movement, pretend you are clenching a spoon in your bottom and stir a pudding (note the word pretend).

More Holiday Highlights to come at the weekend.

Q. How can a useful service turn into an awkward situation?

A. The weather was a hot topic of interest throughout the camp and after being mis-informed by the BBC, I became a convert to the weather channel app which was accessed through Will.i.an’s phone. Will.i.an is one of those helpful people who generally makes life easier and jollier. After the weather channel’s first accurate prediction, I returned to Will.i.an for regular updates. Often he would be updating other campers at the same time, like bees around a honeypot. Then the awkwardness began to creep in. I didn’t want Will.i.an to think I only approached him to get an update but it seemed dishonest to make idle chit chat for a few minutes before slipping in the weather question. I tried asking the weather question and then following up with chit chat but either way the main motivation for making the journey across the mud must have been obvious. On one occasion when I saw Will.i.an, and I honestly did not need or want a weather update, he pulled out his phone and proceeded to share the forecast. I sincerely hope Will.i.an knows he means much more to me than just being a useful source of weather information.