Saturday, December 30, 2006

A narrow escape

I’m a member of two on-line forums, one for IBS sufferers and the other for sewing.

I’ve only just joined the IBS forum and was having a little trouble putting a photo on my profile*, so asked one of moderators for help. Within the hour it was there and she couldn’t have been more helpful.

The sewing forum has recently revamped it’s website and as a result the date of birth on my profile has somehow changed. As there was a note saying that the administrator is the only person who can make this change, I emailed them yesterday and asked if they would be so kind as to correct it.

When I checked my mail this evening there were two mails from the said administrator. The first one was a rather blunt and snotty reply saying it was my responsibly to make that change, and was I incapable of doing it myself.

The second mail, which arrived two hours later and again in a blunt manner, said that they had checked the information on the members profiles and as I was unable to make the change myself, they had done it for me.

The administrator had a narrow escape for had it been any night other than a Friday**, I would have been at my computer when their first email arrived and they would have felt the wroth of the Customer from Hell ! ! !

As we’re going to Jenny’s New Years Eve party (yippee….) this will be the last blog for 2006. From John and myself, we wish you a very happy and peaceful New Year.


* They want the forum to be as friendly as possible, hence the photograph.

** Friday night is Chinese and bottle of wine night.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

100 questions

Seeing as I had a bit of spare time I thought I’d answer the 100 questions which were on Gottles blog a couple of days ago.

So here goes…

1. Ever been given an engagement ring? Yes

2. Longest friendship? 36 years to my friend Janice

3. Last gift you received? The last Christmas present I opened was a pair of jimjams from my mam

4. How many times have you dropped your cell? No idea

5. When’s the last time you worked out? You must be joking ! ! !

6. Thing you spend a lot of money on? Silversea cruises

7. Last food you ate? Homemade curry and nan bread

8. First thing you notice about the opposite sex? Their face

9. One favourite song? Theme from an Italian Restaurant by Billy Joel

10. Where do you live? Sunderland

11. Cell phone service provider? T-Mobile

12. Favourite mall store? Does Amazon count….

13. Longest job ever had? Nearly ten years as a Civil Servant (isn’t that sad)

14. Do you own a pair of dice? Not sure

15. Do you prank call people? Nope

16. Last wedding attended? Chris and Jenny’s

17. First friend you’d call if you won the lottery? I initially wouldn’t tell anyone other than John

18. Last time you attended church? Chris and Jenny’s wedding

19. How old are you? Old enough to drink alcohol…

20. Biggest lie you have heard? Anything coming from the current government

21. What do you want to drive? An original Mini Cooper S

22. Where’s your favourite place to eat with friends? A Chinese restaurant

23. Can you cook? Yes

24. What car do you drive? A Nissan Almera

25. Best kisser? John

26. Last time you cried? Can’t remember but no doubt it must have been for some furry little animal

27. Most disliked food? Trifle

28. Thing you like most about yourself? My eyes

29. Thing you dislike most about yourself? My flabby stomach

30. Longest shift you have worked at a job? 20 hours working on the Jim Clarke Rally

31. Favourite movie? High Society

32. Can you sing? Yes

33. Last concert? Do you mean me singing or attending. If singing when I was at school and if attending, Runring in 1995

34. Last kiss? A minute ago

35. What colour are your eyes? Dark green

36. Who knows your darkest secret? Me

37. Last movie rented? Haven’t the faintest idea

38. Thing you never leave home without? My clothes

39. Favourite vacation spot? Stratford upon Avon and any Silversea cruise liners

40. Do you like Chinese food? Oh yes ! ! ! !

42. Is your room clean? I’m afraid it is…

43. Laptop or desktop computer? Technically both but as my laptop died on me, I’ll have to say desktop

44. Favourite comedian? Peter Kay

45. Do you smoke? Never

46. Sleep with or without clothes? That depends ;-)

47. Who sleeps with you every night? John

48. Long distance relationships work? Don’t know never had one

49. How many times have you been pulled over by the police? Once and I was not amused…

50. Pancakes or French toast? Pancakes with loads of Maple Syrup

51. Do you like coffee? Yes but it has to be very, very weak

52. How do you like your eggs? In pancakes….

53. Do you believe in astrology? No

54. Last person you talked to on the phone? My mam

55. Last person on your missed call list? John

56. What was the last text message you received? From Jenny about New Years Eve

57. McDonalds or Burger King? Both

58. Number of pillows? Two but only one in bed

59. What are you wearing right now? Green joggers, grey t-shirt, black jumper and two pairs of socks (because my feet are cold)

60. Pick a lyric, any lyric or song? Have you ever seen a woman coming out of New York City with a frog in her hand

61. What kind of jelly do you like on your PB & J sandwich? Eh ! ! !

62. Can you play pool? No

63. Do you know how to swim? Yep

64. Favourite ice cream? As sold from the little boat in Bancroft Basin in Stratford upon Avon

65. Do you like maps? There’re ok

66. Tell me a random fact about yourself? I’m left handed

67. Do you do drugs? Nothing illegal…

68. Ever attend a theme party? Can’t stand them so no

69. What is your favourite season? Spring

70. Last time you laughed at something stupid? The Saturday before Christmas – see relevant blog entry

71. What time did you wake up this morning? 10.10am

72. Best thing about winter? Christmas ! ! !

73. Last time a cop gave you a ticket? Never had one

74. What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done? Taking my driving test

75. Name of your first pet? Chico

76. Do you think pirates are cool or overrated? How should I know. I’ve never met one ! ! !

77. What are you doing this weekend? Going to Chris and Jenny’s for their New Years Eve party

78. Who’s your best friend? John

79. What is the third letter of your name? R

80. How old are your pets? Don’t have any

81. What colour is your backpack? Blue and white

82. Are you sick? Only after too much alcohol

84. Is the bathroom open? Yes

87. Are you smiling? I am now

88. Do you have on eye-liner? Nope

89. Do you miss someone right now? My dad

90. If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go? On a Silversea cruise, don’t mind where

91. Do you have a Myspace? No idea what it is…

92. Are you in high school? I’m a bit old for that

93. Do you have a crush? That would be telling ! ! !

94. What is your favourite nickname for yourself? Don’t have one but my niece used to call me SpamElla

95. What colour is your bathing suit? I think it’s black

96. What’s your favourite brand of water? Makro’s own brand as it’s the cheapest

97. Did you go on vacation last month? Went to Leeds to look at a hotel

98. Have you ever been on a cruise? Oh yes ! ! !

99. Do you have a sister? Yes

100. Are you upstairs? I most certainly am


Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Yes, that’s exactly how we both are following our two Christmas lunches.

Christmas day was lovely. We got up reasonably late, then took our time opening the presents left from Father Christmas.

Yesterday we were entertaining my mam and boy was she looking forward to her ‘Christmas lunch’.

She thought I was only joking when I said we were each only going to have one Brussels sprout – we had four each on Christmas day, what more do you want ! ! !

What with the two lunches, Christmas cake, crisps, mince pies, chocolate and wine, I dread to think how much weight we’ll have put on once the holidays are over.

The diet definitely starts in January…


Sunday, December 24, 2006

A horse on four piles of bricks

A while ago (2005 HBA Autumn conference to be precise) Paul was telling us about a particularly rough area he had to visit. I suggested that it might be the sort of place where you could leave a horse unattended and come back to find it on four piles of bricks.

I’m now beginning to think he was referring to our area.

Some of you will already know about the “scavengers” who scour the back lanes for anything that isn’t bolted down. Well yesterday they excelled themselves.

During the afternoon two men emerged from the backyard of a house round the corner from ours and deposited two sofas in the back lane. Fair enough at any other time. It’s what you have to if you want the council to take things away. But a Saturday afternoon, two days before Christmas.

By nine o’clock the local kids had pulled one across the back lane, blocking it to traffic. We looked out before going to bed at eleven, and both had vanished !!!

Nine or ten o’clock on a Saturday night, two days before Christmas and they’ve got nothing better to do than patrol the back lanes looking for something to scavenge.

We’ve seen things vanish before but never at this time. We once arranged for the council to collect an old cooker. I duly put it out, but before the council could come, we heard the sound of it being dragged away. We did the same with the old central heating boiler. This time it went bit by bit. Someone was making repeated visits with a spanner and taking away as much as they could carry.

Really it’s a bit worrying, strangers out there in the dead of night – or even the middle of the day.

OK, rant over. Good news. The new kitchen doors are fitted. Photograph to follow in the next few days. The kitchen is a bit busy at the moment.

And finally, from both of us to all of you, Merry Christmas

John & Marie

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

What we’ve always wanted

My mam has finally decided where she will be spending Christmas day. It’s with my sister.

I’m happy with that as my mam came to ours last year and it means that for the very first time we’ll have a Christmas the way we want it.

Because we have always tried to please everyone, we’ve spent Christmas day on the go and at times the day has passed with a blur.

This year is going to be different. We can get up when we want – instead of having to set the alarm in case we oversleep. We don’t have to stick to a rigid timetable - so what if the potatoes take longer to cook, we’re not going anywhere so don’t have to worry about being late.

We can also do something we’ve longed to do – have a glass of fizzy whilst preparing the lunch. In the past one of us has been the taxi driver so couldn’t.

It’ll be my very first Christmas without seeing my mam at sometime during the day. We haven’t received the ‘Royal Invite’ for tea and even if we had I’m sure we’ll be otherwise occupied…

However my mam is coming to ours on Boxing Day and she’s asked if we could do her a ‘Christmas lunch’. My sister and her family will be having their usual Christmas meal – pasta, pasta and more pasta.

So this Christmas we’ll be having two Christmas lunches.

It’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it ! ! !


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Virtual dinner party

The other day we were discussing who we’d each have as guests at a virtual dinner party. The only rule was we were not allowed to invite family or friends - past or present - other than each other.

So here are my 10 dinner party guests (and why).

1: Myself

2: John

3: Bing Crosby
The star of my number one and three all time favourite films


5: Mrs Beeton
A legend in cookery and household management

6: Oscar Levant
Concert pianist, composer, actor and friend of the Gershwins

7: John McEnroe
My number second favourite tennis player (sorry Lendl, you’re my favourite but you’d be too boring…)

8: Marguerite Patten
The Home Economist who advised women on cookery in WWII

9: Michael Palin
Great travel writer and broadcaster

10: Captain Bligh
Captain of the ‘Mutiny of the Bounty’

As I’d be cooking the dinner myself this is what I’ve chosen

1st Course: Wild mushroom filo tartlets
2nd Course: Roast duck and vegetables (but not too many)…
3rd Course: Chocolate fondant pudding


Saturday, December 16, 2006

Everything comes to those who wait

Yesterday whilst I was at my mams, she announced that she wanted to get a mobile phone and also to get connected to the internet in the new year.

We wanted to get her a mobile last Christmas but we were told rather bluntly that it would be a waste of money as it would be kept in it’s box, in a drawer. As for the internet we offered to sort it out for her before we went on our cruise so we could keep in touch via email. Again we were told no.

However my mam has a habit of changing her mind so it didn’t come as no surprise.

So I spent the next hour showing her how to send a text message on my mobile. Thanks Jenny for your help. As I put in a text to Jenny, I needed a hammer…

I then spent another hour trying to explain the difference between dial up and broadband and what web pages and downloads were.

I have a feeling the next few months are not going to be easy…


PS for lunch yesterday she made chicken and salad wraps. Guess what she asked me – yes did I want any tomatoes on it…. You’d think after all the years of me telling her I don’t like them, she’d finally remember.

She then wiped the knife after cutting the cucumber.
‘Why did you do that’, I asked.
‘Because John doesn’t like cucumber’.

I was not amused because
a) She can remember that John doesn’t like cucumber but can’t with me and tomatoes.
b) He wasn’t even there ! ! ! ! ! !

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

But I thought I told you

Two years ago my mam suddenly decided that she didn’t want to go shopping for Christmas presents that year, as it was would be the first Christmas without my dad and it was too upsetting for her.

So she asked everyone if we could ‘donate’ some presents from the ones we had already bought so she would at least have something to wrap up.

She didn’t decide this until the middle of December so there was some panic buying from Amazon to replace the ‘donated’ presents.

My mam decided a couple of weeks ago that she had had enough of shopping so asked if we could ‘donate’ presents again.

Whilst I was at my mams today (Christmas food shopping at Sainsburys – she asked a shop assistant where she would find the bread she got before, but could remember which kind it was – I kid you not ! ! ! Thankfully she was a very patient assistant so after twenty questions she found it…) she asked when I come on Friday, could I bring ‘her presents’.

I mentioned this to John tonight and got a stunned silence. I had forgotten to tell him ! ! !

Guess what he’s doing right now…


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

At last…

… we’ve found a joiner who:

Does return calls.

Gives a precise time when he can come out to have a look - and arrives on the dot.

Rings up the very next day with a sensible quote.

And can fit the doors two days before Christmas.

As it’s the Season of Goodwill and all that, I’m going to be kind to B&Q. Instead of asking them for the money before the work is done, I’ve decide to pay the little man then get them to reimburse me.

See, I do have a nice streak in me after all ! ! !


Monday, December 11, 2006

All festive

Yesterday we spent the afternoon putting the Christmas decorations up and it was also a welcome return to Rudy.

He’s been many colours throughout the years – beige; mahogany; red and now ivory.

As John was off work today we have a lovely long lie in, then it was off to the Chinese Restaurant for lunch.

As we’re usually too stuffed to have much for tea, we’ve just finished eating pancakes with lashings of maple syrup. Yum, yum…


Saturday, December 09, 2006

Non stick

After my disaster with making mince pies last year, I had a change of heart and decided that I would still continue making them (instead of just buying them from Sainsburys as I had threatened to do) but only do them small batches.

That was the theory any way. In reality it was a little different as my mam had such a good time two weeks ago when we made the cornbeef pies and the lemon and orange cakes for our Winter party, that she would like to help me make the mince pies.

So yesterday, my car boot was full of the various things I had to take with me to my mams in order to make the mince pies – mincemeat, flour, margarine, tins, cutters etc.

I’m delighted, nay ecstatic, to report that we made seven dozen and not one of them stuck ! ! !

Two weeks time she wants us to bake the lemon and orange cakes again.

I have a feeling that baking on a Friday may be come a regular occurrence…


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The saga of the kitchen continues

We’re trying to find a joiner to come and fit the kitchen doors.

I rang a couple of them and sure enough they came out and give us quotes. However getting hold of them to arrange a date is like pulling teeth.

I left a message on the little man’s answer machine saying I’d very much like him to fit the doors and could he give me a ring back to arrange a date. Having received no reply I tried again. Success I got to speak to him.

He blamed his wife for not getting back (a likely story). As he was on a job, he didn’t have his diary with him but he’d ring me back that evening. That was six days ago. If he can’t be bothered to contact me then he doesn’t deserve my business.

So I tried another couple today. The first one just kept ringing - rant time. What's the point of putting your phone number in yellow pages when there's no one to answer it. Surely they could afford an answer machine – rant over. The other one did have an answer machine. No surprises what they haven’t done. Not amused…

I decided to try the little man who couldn’t afford an answer machine again and actually got to speak to him. I nearly dropped the phone in shock as to how much he wanted to charge for fitting. £20 per door. We have 10 doors and five drawers. That’s a whopping £300 ! ! ! !

Ok, I know B&Q are paying for the fitting but that’s still an extortionate amount of money, especially when B&Q are expecting us to pay the joiner first, then to get them to reimburse us. Think again B&Q ! ! !

We do however have a standby joiner. His quote is a little higher than the first little man but definitely not £300. Plus we’ve got it in writing.

So B&Q will be getting a letter very shortly asking for money…


PS an update on the overlocker. It’s still acting very stroppy (well it is a teenager….) so I’ve abandoned sewing for a couple of days until John can cheer it up.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Anyone got a screwdriver

My overlocker is being temperamental - for those of you who don’t know what one is, it’s a machine which neatens edges of fabric.

I’m busy making a top with the fabric I bought at Leeds market (£1 for a metre. Now there’s a bargain) and whilst I was overlocking the neck edge of the back piece, it decided to throw a wobbler.

It does this occasionally, mainly when there’s just a bit too much fabric for it to stitch. I had thought there wouldn’t be a problem as the neck edge didn’t appear to be that bulky.

I spent the next twenty minutes trying to fix it and another twenty minutes getting the tensions right – the slightest problem and the tensions go haywire. I was really proud of myself for not uttering a single swear word...

It’s still not 100% but at least it should be ok to finish off my top, provided I’m extremely gentle and talk nicely to it.

Once Christmas is out of the way I’ll get John to have a good look at it and maybe even give it a service.

I certainly can’t be without it when I come to make my dress for Northampton ! ! !


Sunday, December 03, 2006

Christmas - Bah Humbug

We went to a garden centre today.

At first I thought we were in the wrong place. First of all the traffic was queuing up to get in. Then when we finally made it through the door, aisle after aisle of Christmas decorations. Now there's nothing wrong with decorations, but when they take over almost all of a perfectly good garden centre ...

The garden bits were cowering in the far corner, forgotten and neglected.

Thankfully we found what we wanted, and joined the queue to get out, finally being served by the worlds most miserable shop assistant.

So that was our Sunday excitement. Saturday was spent getting my hair cut and making a storage unit for Marie’s work room. We live such an exciting life.

Actually ten years ago at this time of year we would be plenty busy. This weekend it was the “Wales Rally GB”. And awful name for an awful event. This used to be the good old RAC rally. We used to run the service area at Kielder, and I once ran an overnight halt at Gateshead stadium.

How times have changed. The event used to last five days and there were something like 650 miles of stages, covering most of the country. North & South Wales, Forest of Dean, Yorkshire, Kielder, Hamsterley, Tweed Valley, Dumfries and the Lake District.

Now all we get is a measly 200 or so miles, all of it in South Wales. And if you want to watch, you have to pay lots of money to enter the forests. The changes are all down to the desire to make the event (and all the other rounds of the World Rally Championship) more attractive to television. I’m pleased to say that audiences are waning and television is losing interest.

Hopefully we may yet get our rally back.


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

So what is there to report...

... in the BOGOF household

Hmmmm, I’m thinking…

Thinking harder….

Thinking even harder….

Brain is now starting to hurt…..

Nothing ! ! !


Monday, November 27, 2006

Square eyed

John’s cousin June sent an email link to a genealogy website which is offering three days worth of searching free (you usually have to pay a fee to look at the best stuff).

So having found time to make use of the three free days, I register this afternoon and spent several hours trying to find details about my Nana Dinah.

As I said in last Tuesday’s blog, I don’t have a lot to go on and even though I do have an ‘all areas pass’, I’m not making much headway.

First of all I tried searching the marriage records. No luck. Then I tried the deaths. Again nothing so far.

So that only left the births and I’ve had to do a lot of guessing as I have no idea when she was born or where she lived. However I’ve still got two and a half free days left so fingers crossed I’ll find something.

I mentioned in the blog last Tuesday that my Granddad married Widow Nelson when my dad was ten. I’ve since found out from my mam that they didn’t marry until the early sixties. They had in fact been ‘living in sin’ and only got married because the Council were going to charge her extra rent as they weren’t married. Shocking ! ! !


Sunday, November 26, 2006

Eat, Drink & be Merry

Well, we've just about finished clearing up from our party last night (and part of this morning !!). We certainly ate, and we certainly drank and we were most certainly merry.

For those who are concerned about such things, here's evidence that Paul ate at least some of the salad. For a picture of the salad before he ate it, see the Gottle link in the sidebar. Visitors on the night included Jan & Andy, Paul, Jenny & Chris, two of my work colleagues, both called Neil, another of my work colleagues, John and his wife Gillian, and a brief visit from Peter. Here's the sordid details of itchy backs, exploding popcorn and much much more.

John (and Marie)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Who are you

My dad never knew his mam as she died when he was about two and it’s always been bugging me that we know nothing about her.

My granddad married Widow Nelson (the lady I called nana) when my dad was about 10 years old and as it was rumoured that he was having an affair with Mrs Nelson long before my dad was born, his mam was never allowed to be mentioned.

So I’ve decided to try and find more about her. However it’s proving to be quite difficult as I’ve nothing to go on. I know her name was Dinah and that her maiden name was Thompson/Thomson and I’m presuming she lived in the Houghton area. After that I draw a blank. I don’t know when she was born, when she married my granddad or when she died.

Santa has very kindly said he’ll get me a beginners guide to tracing family trees and John’s cousin who is very keen on genealogy has given me some websites to try.

It’s going to be quite a task but I’m determined to find out who she was. I think, though, I’ll give my mam’s side of the family a miss for now. Apparently my great granddad was married five times ! ! !


Monday, November 20, 2006

Winter Draws On

It’s all right, I don’t work for the BBC so I can say that.

Over the past few days we in the Bogof household have seen three clear signs that Winter is coming. First of all we got our first Christmas card through the post. A real card, not one advertising something. Then this afternoon, Marie saw a house with the decorations up. And finally, on the way home tonight, at 5:30 I passed a gritter. Brrr.

On the conference front, since Bognor was buggered, we took ourselves off to Leeds to see what £10 million had done to spruce up the old Queens Hotel, scene of the 2004 Spring conference – where the builders moved in as we moved out.

I can say that the money was well spent. Contrary to the then owners intentions, the original Art Deco features have not been removed. In fact they have been added to in a most sympathetic manner. And all the rooms are of a standard that most hotels call “Executive” – bigger bed, minibar, room safe etc.

So it’s looking like Leeds again in 2008, then Blackpool again in 2009. I just hope that we can get Prague for 2010. If not it’s likely to be Ashford or Scotland …


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The return of B&Q – the manager strikes back

On Saturday after doing a bit of Christmas shopping in the Metro Centre (extremely busy and I dread to think what it will be like in a couple of weeks time), we went to B&Q to choose our replacement kitchen doors.

Having looked at the entire range we decided to go stick with maple. We finally chose one which didn’t have any laminated strips on them.

Eventually when we did find someone to help us (the size of the envelope containing our paperwork must have sent them into hiding ! ! !) we were told that Maureen, the person I’d been dealing with, would ring me back on Monday to arrange delivery of the doors etc and to arrange a date for fitting.

Monday came and went, no phone call. What a surprise… So once again, yesterday I had to ring them. Normally getting things delivered from B&Q takes several days, if not weeks. Not when you are the customer from Hell. They arrived late yesterday afternoon.

Remember the manager said at first he wouldn’t give us replacement plinths but we said no way. Well we needn’t have bothered because the ones they delivered are identical to what we’ve got. Apparently that style goes with a couple of maple ranges. So we’ve now got two very long plinths which we don’t need. Why couldn’t they have simply said so in the first place. We would have been fine with that.

Now the fitting… We were lead to believe that B&Q would fit them. Oh no. We have get a quote from a little kitchen fitter man, get him to fit them, pay him, send the quote to B&Q and they will reimburse us.

Currently the doors and plinths are in the dining room as we need to find somewhere to store them until we can sort out getting them fitted.

Then we’ve got the old doors to get rid of. Any one want 10 doors, five drawers and two unused plinths…


Saturday, November 11, 2006


Remembering today those British servicemen who fell in two world wars and later conflicts.

744,330 from World War I
397,762 from World War II
16,000+ from Later conflicts

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables at home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

— Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Bottoms up

You may (or may not) have heard about a prank with a firework that went wrong.

For those of you who know what happened please go onto the next paragraph. On Bonfire night a man decided to launch a firework from his backside – I kid you not ! ! ! Not surprisingly he suffered internal injuries.

It made the 11am news on Radio 2. The newsreader was doing so well then he lost it completely. He tried to compose himself for the next item but couldn’t. It was wonderful.

As the idiot belongs in Sunderland it also made the local television news. I’ve never seen an item read so quickly before.

Neil, one of John’s work colleagues said he should ring Radio Sunderland and request Elton John’s Rocket Man for him…


Wednesday, November 08, 2006


I’m pleased to report that the Showroom manager has come to his senses and agreed to pay for the kitchen plinths.

I wasn’t too amused at them not calling me back yesterday but the little woman was very apologetic when I rang her this morning.

So all we have to do now is choose replacement doors and drawers then wait for them to be fitted.

In other news. Finished off baking my Christmas cakes. I’m so glad I was able to give Jan hers at Norwich as there is no more space on top of the dresser ! ! !

Message for Jan: Will it survive until Christmas or will you want me to bake you another one…

Now that the Christmas cakes are out of the way I can now make a start on planning the food for our winter party.

Then once that’s over it will be time to make the mince pies ! ! ! Hopefully there won’t be a repeat of last December 18th blog – ‘Mention mince pies at your peril ! ! !’


Monday, November 06, 2006

The kitchen saga continues

I had to ring B&Q today seeing as they still haven’t got back to us about the kitchen doors.

The little man who we saw on Tuesday fobbed me off with the ‘I did pass the message on to the Showroom manager’ spiel. However he did say he’d have a word with him again and get him to ring me this afternoon.

One of his minions phoned instead, apologising on his behalf for not getting back to me. They are to contact the manufactures and will arrange a site visit of our kitchen so will ring back tomorrow with an inspection date.

She then rang back two hours later to say that the Showroom manager has decided to offer us replacement doors and drawers from their range, the same ones if we so wish (I think not…), and they will fit them. They will not however pay for new plinths.

She was politely told* to inform the Showroom manager that his offer was not acceptable. Why should it cost us extra for something which wasn’t our fault. As the manager had gone home she would have a word with him in the morning.

If she comes back and say ‘no’ then the customer from hell will be speaking to the man himself…

Go on Punk, make my day ! ! !


*she’s not paid enough to be shouted at…

Sunday, November 05, 2006

I must have been a cat in a previous life

I hate this time of year. Why, because I’m terrified of loud noises - I have a phobia of thunder and lighting and the sight of balloons makes me come out in a cold sweat*

All last night and today people have been setting off fireworks. I don’t want to be a killjoy but I really do wish that the government would ban the sale of fireworks and only allow them to be set off at proper organised displays.

Not only are they dangerous but stray sparks do have a habit of setting fire to things. Like a wooden box at the end of our back lane…

Now in other news, I’m pleased to report that my shopping exhibition to Sainsburys with mam on Friday went ok. Sadly no motherisms from our adventure but I do have a good one from a couple of weeks ago.

She was complaining about the local Co-op in Houghton putting up their prices once the only other supermarket in the village had closed. So I suggested she make a list of the every day items (coffee, biscuits etc) she needed each week and I’ll get them from Morrison’s when we do our shopping on a Thursday night, and bring them with me when I visit on Fridays.

“Does Morrison’s keep the biscuits I like”, she asked.
“Which ones are those”.
“You know, the ones I get from Sainsburys”.
“Do you mean Sainsburys own make”.


* I did not enjoy Sunday lunch at Norwich. Thanks June…

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Joined Up Government - PAH

I've just been reading that when (if ?) the Government go live with their ID cards, they're not going to test the software.

That's right. The most complex Government computer project ever, and it's not going to be tested.

They say that because each individual part of the scheme has been used somewhere else, by someone else, in some other context before, it's bound to work. So there's no need to test it.

We can all feel safe knowing that Government I.T is in the hands of experts.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

One year on…

And the new neighbours are still hammering, banging and drilling. There’s not a week goes by without them making some kind of noise. Surely there can’t be any thing left for them to do as they’ve already gutted the house. Unless that is they are starting from scratch again. Heaven forbid ! ! ! !

I think it was Chris who asked on Saturday night if the new neighbours read our blog. I’m not aware that they do but it’s very tempting to put a note inside their Christmas card saying ‘please read our blog’…

The little man from B&Q is now overdue with his phone call about the kitchen doors by two days. Does he really have a death wish…

Off shopping with mam to Sainsburys tomorrow. Should be fun ! ! !


Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Back Home

Yes, we’re back from the HBA Autumn Conference in Norwich. As we suspect that Phil, the organiser is a reader, I had better say here and now that everything went very well. I thought that the company at dinner on Saturday night was particularly good.

The only moans I heard were about how hard it is to get to Norwich, and how hard it is to get home again. We consider ourselves lucky that although it took six and a half hours to travel each way, all the time was spent on decent roads at decent speeds, not stuck in traffic.

Now it’s all go for the spring conference in Northampton. I’m organiser this time so it had better be good.

Sadly for 2008, Bognor is Buggered. There are a number of niggles which when added up just mean it won’t work. Cash only at the bars, Friday dinner at 5pm (they’re used to kiddies) and 10 am check out on Sunday being just a few. So we’re off to take a look at the Queens in Leeds. We were there in 2004 and since then they’ve spent £10 million on the place. Provided one or two faults have been rectified we’re fairly confident. 2009 is likely to be back at the Hilton in Blackpool, and after gauging peoples reactions at the weekend we feel even more inclined to try for Prague in 2010.

On the home front we went to B & Q this afternoon. You know why don’t you.

Actually we were very good. We didn’t shout or make unreasonable demands.

They’re sending someone out to take a look and see whether it’s a manufacturing fault.

However, we have no faith whatsoever in that particular model of door (modern maple if you must know) and are likely to hold out for something else. Since the entire kitchen has been decorated to fit in, if they can’t get us something very close, they may need to redecorate the kitchen for us …


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I don’t believe it

Tonight while I was stirring the bolognaise sauce (should have been tacos shells but couldn’t be bothered to do them as they take too long…) something on one of the kitchen door caught my eye.

Yes you guessed it, one of the doors which was only replaced a couple of weeks ago has started to blister. If that wasn’t enough I ran my hand over the rest of them and found one of the replacement drawer fronts is blistered as well.

To say I’m not amused is an understatement. There’s nothing we can do about it now as we’re off early tomorrow morning for Norwich.

However come Tuesday afternoon I’ll be having a nice, quiet chat with the Manager of B&Q.

Be afraid, be very afraid ! ! ! !


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

It’s official…

I frighten children ! ! !

I was at my mams today and whilst we were sitting at the kitchen table having a cup of coffee, I noticed three young girls (they couldn’t have been more than nine years old) standing next to the garden wall.

One of them kept looking up at the kitchen window then put her arm out. She did this for about five minutes when I twigged what she was doing.

My mam has a couple of berry bushes at the end of the garden and she was pulling off the berries.

There’s vertical blinds at the window so it’s easy to see out but quite difficult to see in. The little girl looked up again at the window and was about to pull off more berries when I mouthed ‘don’t even think about it’.

She quickly stopped what she was doing and walked sheepishly away.

The child catcher out of Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang eat your heart out ! ! !


PS sorry for the lack of blogs only we’ve been rather busy with Norwich. Normal service will resume shortly.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Bugger Bognor *

On Saturday we went to Butlins in Bognor Regis. Really, we did.

OK, we actually went to the CONFERENCE CENTRE at Butlins in Bognor Regis to see if we could swing a deal to hold a conference there.

It was an over 18’s Ibiza theme weekend. Loads of strange people popping various pills. I don’t really think we blended in. Probably people thought someone had brought their parents.

Actually the place is pretty good. It’s right on the sea front (they gave us a room with a sea view) and it’s easy to find. It’s even got it’s own brown tourist road signs. We would get the use of all the resort facilities, and for those of you who attend HBA conferences and fainted at Hilton bar prices, £9.95 for a bottle of wine.

I just wish it was a bit nearer. The round trip was just over 720 miles. Imagine travelling from our house to visit Jenny and Chris, then as much again. Our meeting was at three on Saturday so it was an early start, and a long haul back on Sunday.

Basically we’re knackered.


* Reputed to be the last words of King George V

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Don’t mentioned the kitchen doors

Just looked at the date when we last blogged. I’m going to blame John for the lack of blogs as he was supposed to do one. Sorry dear….

So the saga of the kitchen doors continues. On Saturday John removed the damaged doors then we took them back to B&Q.

They’re not the most helpful of staff on the returns desk. The little man said he couldn’t help us so we’d have to find any member of staff on the shop floor and ask them to retrieve our doors from the warehouse.

They must have know we were coming as every time we saw someone they ‘vanished’. However we did manage to find one who wasn’t quick enough to disappear. We explained what she had to do and waited and waited and waited.

She couldn’t find them. We all went back to the desk where the little man said they were in the warehouse as he’s put them there last Sunday. Off she goes again.

She still can’t find them. The little man, her and another member of staff then have a debate about where they could be. She then goes off with the other member of staff to have another look.

Finally after waiting for nearly thirty minutes they find them.

The saga isn’t finished yet. While John was fitting them he noticed that they’ve given us two of the wrong doors….

So Sunday afternoon we were back at B&Q. Thankfully they had two of our kind in stock as I really would have pitied the person at the returns desk when the customer from Hell made an appearance. It wouldn’t have been pretty ! ! !

We’ve been plagued with problems since day one. Not all the doors were in stock so they had to be ordered and delivered to us along with the worktops. The earliest they could deliver was eight weeks. Delivery date arrived and no doors. It turns out they had forgotten to order them and it would take another three weeks to get them to us. We said stuff that and picked them up ourselves two days later.

I’m beginning to think changing the kitchen doors wasn’t such a good idea ! ! !


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Blistering heck

Late Friday night we noticed that one of our new kitchen doors looked a little odd . On closer inspection it turned out that it had started to blister at the bottom.

On Saturday we checked the rest of them and found that eight out of the ten doors and all five drawers were also starting to blister at the bottom.

I rang B&Q and was told to bring in a couple for them to have a look at.

So Sunday afternoon John removed two doors and a drawer and we headed to B&Q.

I decided to let John be the customer from hell for a change.

Having explained the problem the customer service person couldn’t help so called for a supervisor.

“Have they been in a room where there’s moisture ”.
“They’re kitchen doors ! ! !”.
“Oh I see. Could it have been caused by the steam from a kettle”.

I was itching to give a good customer from Hell reply but it was John turn so I had to remain quiet.

“It can’t be the steam as the door next to the kettle hasn’t blistered. Also how can you explain the drawers blistering”.

The supervisor thought for a while, “You’ll have to bring them all in before we can replace them”.

Red rag to a bull. Customer from Hell appears.

“What happens if we remove all the doors and drawers only to find that you don’t have any replacements in stock. I’m sorry but I’m not doing without any doors or drawers”.

“Why don’t you go and check to see if we have any. I’ll do a swap with the three you’ve brought in, then you can buy the remainder and bring the rest in at your leisure for a refund”.

John’s turn to be customer from Hell.

“No way… Why should we have to go and look for them. It’s your problem, you look for them”.

Thankfully they did have them in stock so they have put them to one side for us.

Guess what we’ll be doing on Saturday…

What joy ! ! !


Saturday, September 30, 2006

Miles and miles of deserted beaches ...

Today dawned bright and sunny so Marie and I went for a little walk along the sea front and even to the end of the pier. This may sound like nothing out of the ordinary, except that it’s a place we’ve never been before. Mainly because in our younger days the pier was locked and closed because the council wouldn’t cough up the money to repair damage done by the Luftwaffe. All through my youth it was strictly out of bounds, something to do with the lack of railings and the 50 foot waves that crash over it in the winter (come to think of it, railings aren’t going to help much anyway).

The other surprise of the day was just how quiet it was. Miles of beautiful unspoiled sandy beaches, on a warm sunny day, one without any mist for a change, and hardly a soul about. Their loss.


Saturday, September 23, 2006

No blogs

Because there hasn’t been anything to report…

There’s been nothing for the customer from Hell to make an appearance.

No culinary disasters in the kitchen.

No Motherisms at Sainsburys yesterday.

And our new neighbours have been relatively quiet for once.

Lets hope next week is a little more exciting ! ! !


Sunday, September 17, 2006

Cabin fever

On Saturday we had to go to London for September’s HBA chimp tea party – sorry I meant executive committee meeting. Thankfully it was our last one. Hurray ! ! ! !

We had to fly down as the trains have been a non-starter for a while. GNER’s usual January/February maintenance work is still ongoing….

Although it did mean being up at 4am and not arriving back home until 10.45pm, it’s a much better journey than the train.

Bearing in mind the current security joke at airports, I decided to leave behind my deodorant and lip balm and buy some at Boots in the departure lounge.

However I was not prepared to leave behind my cold sore cream. The BAA website stated that as long as lotions, gels or creams are prescription medicine and can be either tasted or verified as such from a pharmacist on site, then it would be allowed.

As my cream is a prescription medicine and clearly states POM and says to be administered as directed by a physician, then it’s the genuine article.

I declared it to a member of staff outside the entrance of security and having duly tasted it was let through. As if not being allowed any liquids etc and only the tiniest bag as hand luggage was bad enough, we had to remove our shoes. I’m so glad I didn’t wear the pair of shoes with the holes in….

Depending on how high they set the sensitivity of the metal detector, my hip sometimes sets it off. However this time it didn’t (it did coming back at Heathrow…).

Both our shoes, coats and John bag, containing our sandwiches which surprisingly were allowed through, bizarre ! ! , got the all clear. My bag didn’t.

The security staff at Newcastle airport aren’t the friendliest or nicest of people. Those who are nice are newcomers and haven’t got their degrees in nastiness yet.

I was told in no uncertain terms that I couldn’t take my cold sore cream on board so I pointed out that it was prescription medicine and had POM on it. It then become two against one (John either decided to let me fight it out myself or was clearly embarrassed – I’m not sure which ! ! !) as another member of staff, who if smiled would crack her over made up face, joined in the argument.

I was standing my ground so it was taken to Boots for further advice. They wouldn’t let me take it as it wasn’t prescription medicine. The minimum wage staff in Boots clearly didn’t understand what POM meant.

It now became a battle. I was not having it confiscated so again stood my ground. It then became three against one as they asked advice from a supervisor. I put my case forward and was allowed to keep it. Result ! ! ! Customer from Hell 1 – Airport Security Staff 0.

I reluctantly decided not to make it a score draw as I’d be too knackered to put up a fight so asked June if she would look after my deodorant, lip balm and cold sore cream until Norwich conference and phone the doctors tomorrow for a repeat prescription. Lucky I still have a couple of weeks left on my pre-prescription payment so it won’t cost me anything.

I read today that Chelsea Clinton also had a bit of trouble at security at Heathrow airport. She refused to hand over her Chanel makeup using the ‘do you know who I am’ phrase. She was allowed to keep them, then personally escorted to the VIP lounge.

Sadly we had to make do with mixing with the plebs in the departure lounge …


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

It’s soup Jim but not as we know it

Seeing as we’ve started our diet (yet again…) I decided to make some ‘no points’ soup.

I got the necessary vegetables last week in Morrisons and as they didn’t have any green cabbage I bought red cabbage instead. Bad move ! ! !

The soup looked fine in the pan until I came to ladle it into the bowl. The red cabbage had turned the onion, leek and spring onions a lovely shade of blue and the liquid resembled purple ink.

It tasted ok but the colour really put me off so sadly it went down the sink, having been strained though a colander first – which has now been stained purple….

I dread to think what it would have done to my teeth ! ! ! !


Sunday, September 10, 2006

We're still here

Saturday was Marie's birthday so we went out for lunch to the world's best Chinese restaurant which, as some of you know, in on the sea front.

We were scheduled to have some pretty extreme tides, the highest for 20 years. Now, as you may expect, on either side of an exceptionally high tide you will get an exceptionally low tide. I can honestly say that the last time I saw the tide so far out I was still at school (and you all know how long ago that was).

Add to the mix a very strong on-shore wind and we had a recipe for disaster.

However, I'm please to say that high tide was about half an hour after mid-night, and we lived to tell the tale.


Saturday, September 09, 2006


I’m ecstatic to report that we’ve finally finished painting and decorating the hall and landing. It’s been a long hard (and at times painful) slog but it’s done.

I’m also pleased to report that Vardy’s, came and collect my car yesterday. They couldn’t find any thing wrong with the brakes but at least they’ve been looked at. Woe betide if I get stopped by the police ! ! !

I mentioned on Wednesday that we were going to visit a chocolate factory in Leyburn on Thursday. It was a tiny place, so Cadburys certainly don’t have anything to fear, but it was well worth a visit. Seeing as it was free to look around we felt it only right to sample their products…

Right next door to the chocolate factory was another little gem of a place, the teapot shop. It’s a factory workshop making novelty teapots. I’ve been there twice before and have never left empty handed. This time the birthday bunny bought me a AGA teapot.

We also stumbled on a wonderful little fabric shop. Again I couldn’t leave empty handed. We then drive to Ripon (to find a cash machine as the fabric shop didn’t take credit cards) and had a lovely walk along the canal.

Today I came one step closer to the big 40 (only 731 days to go…..). I got lots of lovely presents from the birthday bunny – even if my mam thought I was very sad for getting series one of both Quantum Leap and The Muppet Show on DVD.

Off to have a huge piece of chocolate birthday cake (full of zillions of calories..), washed down with a bottle of fizzy whilst watching the Last Night of the Proms. Makes you proud to be British ! ! !


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The customer from Hell strikes again

At precisely 8.30am this morning I rang Vardy’s about my brake lights. Jenny’s email must have worked as both service receptionists were ‘busy with other customers’… I was told someone would ring me back – eventually. “No”, I replied, “this is a matter of urgency so they will call me back within five minutes”.

Five minutes later (most impressed….) ‘Donna’ from service department rang and asked what the problem was so I explained.
“Can you drop it off sometime today”.
“Er no. It doesn’t have any brake lights.

Donna starts to get stoppy. “Well how do you expect us to fix your car if you won’t bring it in”.

“Excuse me, but it’s illegal to use a vehicle without any brake lights. What happen if someone runs into the back of me or I get stopped by the police. I’m not getting three points and a fine because of something that isn’t my fault”.

“Well, our technicians don’t do house call so you’ll have to bring it in’
“Sorry but this car isn’t moving. You’ll have to bring a trailer to collect it”.
“We don’t have one..”.

She then realises that she isn’t going to win this round so puts me on to her manager.
They will be collecting the car on Friday morning.

In other news. Had a lovely day at Eden Camp. For those of your who don’t know, it’s an old POW camp in Yorkshire which has been turned into a WWII museum. We didn’t however recon that it would be besieged by OAP’s who decided to take a trip down memory lane. I’ve never seen so many walking sticks, wheelchairs and motorised scooters in my life…. It was like going shopping on a Thursday afternoon in Morrisons ! ! !

Change of plan for tomorrow. Instead of going to Alnwick Castle, we’re now heading back into Yorkshire to a place called Leyburn. Rumour has it that there is a chocolate factory there ! ! !


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

We’re back

I’m pleased to report that we had a lovely holiday last week in Stratford upon Avon.

Had a pleasant drive down and considering it was bank holiday Monday, there wasn’t much traffic on the road which made a change.

Tuesday we went to Warwick Castle and we were most surprised to find that they had Trebuchet which they shot twice a day. Rather impressive sight.

Wednesday was spent wandering the town and shopping. Could have been seriously poor as we visited my two favourite shops – Lakeland Limited and Fred Winter which stocks some wonderful dressmaking fabric.

Thursday we visited Lapworth. Not only does it have one of the most loveliest places to have a picnic lunch but it’s also the village where I’ve based my novel.

On our way home on Friday we did a detour to Northampton to have a meeting with the hotel.

Saturday, Sunday, Monday and today were spent – yes you’ve guessed it - painting…. However the end is nigh as there’s only the top wardrobe doors to fit and a quick touch up on the walls.

That’ll have to wait until Friday as tomorrow and Thursday we’re off to Eden Camp and Alnwick Castle with my mam. Never been to both places so it should be interesting.

And finally my car went in for it’s yearly service today. Everything was fine until I arrived home.
“I think you’ll be seeing a bit more of Vardy’s”, said John who had followed me home.
“You drove home with no brake lights working…”

They will be getting the call from you know who tomorrow ! ! !


Sunday, August 27, 2006

Stratford here we come

Sadly there may not be any bloggs for a few days as we’re off to Stratford tomorrow morning. The local library does allow non-residents the use of the internet but only 15 minutes per day. Will do our best though.

In other news, the painting is coming along nicely. Most of the glossing is done and what’s left won’t take more than half an hour to finish off.

Tested the new colour on the walls and it looks good. It covered the yellow really well that we may get away with only one coat. Here’s hoping ! ! !

So that’s about it for now. Off to start packing…


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Where has the time gone

Just realised that it’s nearly a week since last blogged. So what’s to report.

Got my Uncle Frank’s cake safely delivered to my mam’s. It’s his birthday party today so hopefully everyone liked my icing efforts….

Did yet more painting – surprise, surprise. I’ve looked at the calendar and I’ve spent all of August painting. Thankfully the gloss painting is nearly finished. Yipee ! ! ! Then it’s the turn of the walls. Boo ! ! !

Had a great time at Jenny’s party at the weekend. Good food, good company – what more can you want…

Checked my nectar points and we have enough for two five pounds off meal vouchers at any Brewers Fare pub. These will come in very handy at the Red Lion in Stratford.

Only six days and counting ! ! !


Wednesday, August 16, 2006


It’s my uncle Frank’s 80th birthday next Tuesday and my mam ‘volunteered’ me to make the cake for his party.

“Nothing fancy”, she said, “a large fruit cake and they wanted it decorated as well”.

My decorating skills are appalling. I have trouble rolling out marzipan so John always gets that task. Making royal icing is very much a ‘hit or miss’ affair. Sometimes it’s filling removal hard or so soft it spreads like butter.

I did suggest they might like a plain cake but no, it had to be decorated. I did get my own way with the icing. Instead of badly done royal icing snow peaks they have settled for sugar paste.

The marzipaning, although having been patched in several places, went ok. Sadly the same can’t be said for the sugar paste.

I’ve never used the stuff before so had no idea what size cake the packet will cover. I assumed, like marzipan, it would cover an eight inch cake.

Er no… At 7.30pm this evening we were hot footing it to Morrisons before they closed at 8pm to buy another packet as the cake has to be delivered tomorrow morning.

So after re-rolling it, I managed, well sort of anyway, to get the cake covered. As long as you look at it from above it looks ok….

Cake decorating is one hobby I will not be taking up ! ! !


Saturday, August 12, 2006

Day at work = day off

John had to go into work today so I had a day off from painting. Yipeee ! ! ! !

The great hall painting project is going to plan. All the skirting boards, doors, door frames and staircase are painted.

I’m not going to tell you what colour it is, but when we have our party in November please remember – it’s not white. We don’t ‘do’ white….

Sorry for not blogging for a while but day time is spent painting and evenings are spent in the bath ! ! !

Tomorrow John’s up the ladder to attack the coving. It’s red at the moment so it’ll take a few coats to lighten it up a bit. I’ll be varnishing the handrail and other jobs a bit closer to the ground. I don’t ‘do’ ladders…


Monday, August 07, 2006

The kitchen and other projects

I’m pleased to report that the kitchen is practically finished. All there is to do is clean and re-grout the tiles and paint a couple of end wall cabinet pieces.

The long overdue tidy up of the garage began on Sunday.

Another project for later this year is my workroom. It’s bursting at the seams due to my ever growing craft work and also hospital radio stuff. So we’ve decided to put in more shelving and another work unit.

Regular visitors to our blog will note that we hate painting. I can’t for the life of me understand why anyone would want to be a painter and decorator…

However, like ironing (which I also hate…), it must be done so that’s what I’ve been doing today. It was the turn of the spindles and the handrail to be undercoated and like last Monday I ache all over. I put some Deep Heat rub on my back this afternoon. It eased it a little but made the house stink.

The first thing John noticed when he came home from work wasn’t the smell of the paint but the pong of the Deep Heat ! ! !


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Aches and pains

It’s my own fault. I push myself too far so I’ve got aching muscles and my pains are bad from having spent Monday and today painting.

I had yesterday off as I had a dentist and hospital appointments. Never got to the dentist though as my electric garage door is playing up so wouldn’t open. It does have a manual override but I’m not tall enough to put the string…

I rang the dentist to say I couldn’t make it but was too embarrassed to say I couldn’t get my garage door open so said I had a flat battery.

Thankfully the garage door did decide to open a couple of hours later so I was able to attend my hospital appointment. Lesley, my specialist nurse, noticed that my knee was swollen (from painting) so I got wrong for doing too much… Will I take any notice – no ! ! !

Got a day off from painting tomorrow as I’m going to be busy finishing off making two blouses for my mam.

However it’ll be back to work decorating this weekend. Oh goodie…


PS John says that last month we had 235 hits on our blog. However he thinks most of them were him trying to get our holiday gallery working…

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Revenge is so sweet

Yesterday on our way back from the paper shop we met up with our neighbours Sandra and Alan. They too live next door to the noisy neighbours.

Sandra commented on how quiet ‘Bob the Builder’ had been this week. It turns out that Alan had had a quiet word with him - ‘if you don’t stop this bloody noise, I’ll wrap your power tools around your bloody neck’. You do not want to get on the wrong side of Sandra and Alan ! ! !

Sandra also happened to mention that our new neighbours were having a BBQ this weekend. As it rained last night (shame it wasn’t during the day so the air show could have been cancelled…) it was postponed until today.

This weekend John was installing the new doors in the kitchen while I was busy putting white undercoat on the red bits in our hall. Yes, we’re finally getting rid of our red, gold and yellow hallway.

One of the new doors needed to be made smaller so John popped into the garage to saw a bit off. Seeing as the new neighbours were busy with their BBQ, he decided to make as much noise as possible with his power tools.

Nothing like a taste of their own medicine….


Monday, July 24, 2006

A round up of the news

We spent the weekend doing phase two of the kitchen - putting in new worktops and sink. Next weekend (airshow weekend) will be phase three – the new doors.

It’s taking some getting used to the new worktops as they are black. I always said I’d never had dark worktops as I thought they would be unhygienic because you can’t see any dirt. However having seen how well it went with the new doors in B&Q’s showroom I changed my mind. I have a feeling though that I might become obsessive with cleaning them for a while – until the novelty wears off ! ! !

Sadly we had a little blip in our diet on Saturday. As the kitchen was a mess, there was no water and we were both knackered (well John actually. All I did was supervise…), I decided it would be quicker and easier if we had a takeaway. Macdonalds large BigMac meals have never tasted so good…

We also had another blip in the diet today but it was for a very good reason. It’s John’s birthday today. After he finished work this morning - he normally takes the whole day off but had to go in for a couple of hours - we went to the best Chinese restaurant in the entire universe for lunch.

I mentioned a couple of days that even though we live by the seaside we don’t get good weather, well today was one of those rare occasions when the sun does actually shine. The Chinese restaurant is right opposite the seafront and probably for the first time this year, there were people on the beach.

There were even a couple of very brave souls who ventured into the sea...


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Living by the seaside….

Isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Today was supposed to be the hottest day on record. There were fears about people getting badly sun burnt (though what do you expect if the latest scaremongers claim sunscreens don’t work); schools closing because of the heat; roads melting; the national grid might go into overload so there could be power cuts etc, etc.

We live less than 800 yards from the sea and in seaside places such as Scarborough, Blackpool, Brighton our street would filled with guest houses. It isn’t.

Whilst the rest of the country enjoyed beautiful sunshine, here in Fulwell we had sea fret*. The fog horns have been sounding all day and it was rather depressing looking out of the window to see grey sky and fret blowing past the window.

The sun did eventually come out but not until late afternoon. Now it’s back to dull grey.

This happens quite regularly but still catches quite a lot of people out. Go five miles inland and it’s a glorious day. People suddenly decide to flock to the beach only to be extremely disappointed.

About one or twice a year we do have lovely weather so it can make for a pleasant stroll along the sea front. However everyone else has the same idea so it can get quite busy…

I will however, be praying that the fret comes again not this weekend but next (29th/30th) as it’s the Sunderland International Airshow. It’s the largest free airshow in Europe so one million people descend on us every day. It’s hell on Earth ! ! !

For two days we’re virtual prisoners in our own home as we can’t get in or out because of the traffic. The aircraft noise is horrendous and the vibrations are so bad that it sets off car and house alarms. Normally we go away but this year we’re doing some DIY in the kitchen.

I just hope we don’t need any thing urgent at B&Q. One year it took John two hours to drive two miles to do an errand for his mam. I think it might be quicker if he’d walked ! ! !


* Local term for fog/mist

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

No more swaying

I’m pleased to report that I’ve got my dry land legs back so the swaying and feeling sick have gone. It was a rather strange experience suffering from seasickness while on dry land.

In other news. We’ve started our diet again so our nine o’clock glass(s..) of wine have stopped.

So has the large hunk of cheese and crackers on Wednesday night washed down with a bottle of wine; the packet of crisps on a Thursday night; the free packet of prawn crackers with our Chinese on Friday night.

If you can think of anything else we’ve missed please let us know.


Sunday, July 16, 2006

Holiday Pics !!!

Yes - they're finally here.

Take a look at the links in the sidebar on the right and click on Holiday Pictures.


ps for those of you who were wondering why it took so long, I had mixed case in the filenames and the B***** unix server that hosts the site couldn't cope. Give me VMS any day ...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I see no ships

We’re back on dry land but Marie is suffering from seasickness !!!

At least that’s what the doctor said. Thinking it was an ear infection Marie went to see the doctor and was told that there’s no infection but she’s got a sort of “dry land” seasickness. No problems at all on the ship but now she’s swaying whenever she stands up, and suffers nausea then she tries to read, type, look at a computer screen etc.

Personally I think she’s sea sick in the same sense as home sick. Missing the sea and wants to go back.

Sorry no gallery yet. It’s coming, but as I’ve said before, I hate HTML …


Monday, July 10, 2006

Home Sweet Home

Yes – we’re back, safe and sound. Well safe anyway.

If you have ever been on a ship before you will know that for a few hours after you leave you continue to sway a little as you sit, stand and walk. Well, Marie is still swaying. Looks like a bit of vertigo brought on by two flights on Saturday and the after affects of her cold.

You’ll be pleased to know that our luggage made it home safe and sound. You don’t know how pleased we were to see it at Newcastle Airport.

We’re currently putting a link to some pictures in the sidebar on the right, and a full “back home” blog will follow soon.


Friday, July 07, 2006

Stormy Weather

Today is Friday - this must be Bonifacio, right. WRONG - this is Portevecchia !

You'll be pleased to know that the Captain calmed down after his swimming pool rant yesterday. However, as we were about to leave Genoa he came on the PA to say that the weather in Bonifacio was bad. Force 6 winds and rough seas. As we were to anchor and get the tender ashore this was bad news. So we diverted. Not that it bothered us. Corsica is Corsica.

We went to dinner last night expecting a quite table for two but were turned away !!

They told us to come back in fifteen minutes as we were to eat with the officers. The Hotel Director who is in charge of accommodation, food and drink on the ship invited us and two other couple to dine with him at the Captains table. OK, the Captain wasn't actually there, but hey, it's still pretty good.

No blog tomorrow as we vacate the ship at 9:30 for the flights home. Roundup to follow on Sunday, plus a link to some pictures.

Marie and John

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Italian Job

... or - I want my MTV

Today we docked at Genoa. A lot of people thought we ought to have docked in PortoFino next door as it's much prettier. It turns out that Genoa has ship repair facilities and the docking was to replace the satellite television dish.

This is in a sort of "golfball" about ten feet across. Anyway, the workmen started to remove the old one with an angle grinder, sending clouds of dust across the pool deck and all five people sitting around it.

Enter the Captain, incandescent with rage. He points to the pool, then points to the workmen, then lays in to their boss. Boss then points to the pool and lays in to the workmen. Hoses are produced to damp down the dust and the pool is drained. An uneasy truce was declared, but being Italians this was done with much hand waving and shouting.

Other than this it's been a lazy day, sitting by the pool and watching our next door neighbour in port. It's called the Costa Concordia and it's reputed to be the biggest cruise ship operating in Europe (4000 passengers against our ship's 295). Today is it's maiden voyage so the quayside has been a bit busy.

We're off to Corsica tonight at 6 pm and even though we don't leave the ship until Saturday morning, tonight is the Captains farewell party. Let's hope he's calmed down ...

Marie and John

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Monte Carlo Or Bust !!!

We're blogging a bit later today as there are no needlework classes so Marie has an afternoon off.

We spent this morning walking the Grand Prix circuit.

Wow - what a difference. It's great to see Monte Carlo when the streets aren't lined with stalls selling tat and the bars aren't full of Italians celebrating the purchase of yet another Ferrari badged piece of tat.

It's also interesting to look over the waterfront and not have to look through a grey-blue haze that smells of burnt rubber and Castrol-R. The Castrol reference was especially for those who remember a bygone age of motor racing.

They say that where there's muck there's money so how can somewhere so clean be so wealthy. The place is dripping in ostentatious wealth, but there's no obvious sign of wealth creation.

It's a remarkable place. We spent the morning looking around the city centre and then after a fortifying lunch back on board, we took a trip round the Grand Prix circuit.

Beginning at the start line it was off to Ste Devote and then up the hill. Past the location of Rosies Bar (where in the good old days mechanics used to drink all night) and the Tip-Top bar, then a brief rest at the top of the hill, by the Hotel De Paris. Magnificent. Next was casino square. What can you say about such a place. The history, the architecture.

But no time to waste if we're to get back to the ship in time for afternoon tea. So it’s down to the Mirabeau, round the hairpins and into the tunnel under the Grand Hotel. Out of the tunnel, and a quick left-right flick round the “new” chicane, hard left at tabac and past the swimming pool. Never seen it with water in before.

Now for the final sector, round the back of the pits, the scene of the original pitlane, then round Rascasse, which used to be the town gasworks but is now a fine restaurant, and on to the last corner, and the most difficult on the circuit, the virage Anthony Noghes, with it’s adverse camber before heading back to the start line.

Off for afternoon tea now, then tonight we set sail for Genoa

Marie and John

ps spent yesterday afternoon watching dolphins from our veranda !!!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

That Riviera Touch

... or ... Feeling Hot Hot Hot

Today we anchored off St Tropez and took the tender ashore. Boy, was it hot. The place is fine if you like (expensive) shops but it does have a lot of tat on sale along the waterfront. We bought a picture. It cost 15 euros. Guess where we bought it ...

Other than that it's been a lazy day. Back to the ship, several cold drinks by the pool then a nice lunch (with wine !!).

Nothing to do now except laze around until we get to Monte Carlo tonight.

John and Marie

ps Marie has been conscripted to help teach needlework classes !!

Monday, July 03, 2006

We Are Sailing !!!

Great News !!!

When we got back to our suite the luggage fairy had made a delivery. Our suitcases had arrived.

We were going to title this blog “all at sea”, which is true. We’re en route from Barcelona to St Tropez, leaving Barcelona 11pm Sunday and arriving St Tropez 8 am Tuesday.

The ship doesn’t really go that slowly, all Silversea cruises spend an entire day at sea.. Normally during the day people are either out exploring, shopping or on organised trips (a bit like HBA conferences) so the ship can be a bit empty. Not that this bothers us, but during the day at sea, it’s a great way to get to know people, after all, everyone has to be there.

You’ll be pleased to know that the food is of it’s usual standard, as is the wine. Service is six star and the staff are very friendly. I think it’s because tipping is not allowed. They’re not in competition with one another and have the time to talk to you. One think that comes over is that all the staff genuinely seem to enjoy being there.

Off to visit the on-board shops next ...

Marie and John

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Important blog information

The ships computer system thinks it's Thursday 29th June so please ignore the dates and times on blog entries. It's really Sunday 2nd July right now.

John & Marie

Friday, June 30, 2006

Holiday Checklist

Holiday checklist item no :

215 Charge camera battery Done
216 Install holiday blog header Done
217 Retrieve sunglasses from car Done
218 ...


100 and counting.

No, it hasn’t any thing to do with our holiday (t-20 hours and counting…) but the number of blogs we’ve done.

It doesn’t seem that long ago since we did our maiden blog on 25th October. Since then here’s some of the things we’ve shared with you:

Our new neighbours (who still by the way are constantly banging and hammering…).

The quirkiness of my mam (she did two great motherisms yesterday while at Sainsburys which I’ll save for later).

Our various ailments (including two trips to the A&E department).

My various culinary disasters (I am quite a good cook – honest ! ! ).

Our wine cellar (which will be restocked shortly…).

Me being the customer from hell and having tantrums in Morrisons.

Our various DIY projects (and our hatred of the paint company with an X in their name).

And the arrival of Gertie.

Here’s to the next 100 blogs…


Thursday, June 29, 2006

Feeling excited

We’ve stopped counting down to our holiday in days and are now down to hours. Lift off from Newcastle is t-34 hours and counting…

We’ve done the first sift through the clothes, having decided what’s not coming. Tomorrow afternoon will be the final sift.

Update on the cold. One minute my nose is running like a tap and the next I’m bunged up. Been putting plenty of vaseline * on it so I’m looking a bit like Rudolph.


* it’s supposed to stop me getting cold sores – never works though…


... but only just

Thanks to faulty air-con the flight from Newcastle to Gatwick was delayed. We caught the flight to Barcelona with seconds to spare. Our luggage wasn't so lucky ...

As of 9:30 am Sunday we're still waiting for it.

Now onto the good bits.

It’s a bit of a strange thing, saying that the cruise runs from Barcelona to Rome when all you see of the two cities is the road from the airport to the docks. But hey, we’ve still got St Tropez, Monte Carlo, Genoa and Bonifacio to go. It’s going to be great seeing Monte Carlo when there isn’t a Grand Prix and the streets aren’t full of stalls selling Ferrari branded tat.

The shipping company collected us from the airport and whisked us across to the port and our ship. As soon as you see the port you start straining your eyes and asking “Which one is ours”. In fact ours is probably the smallest cruise ship in the port. Maximum capacity is only 265 people. But then we find small groups much better. Silversea ships have just one restaurant, no matter who you are, and you can eat at any time you wish, and sit with anyone you wish. On the really big ships, you can only eat in the restaurant that matches the level of your ticket, and sometimes you can only sit on a certain table and eat at a certain time. No thanks, we prefer the Silversea method.

Speaking of food, the company claim that you can put on as much as four pounds a day if you really try. Think about it, you can have an early breakfast in your suite (definitely NOT a “cabin”) , then a second breakfast from the buffet in the terrace café, plus a third breakfast in the restaurant. Come eleven o’clock and the poolside grill will be open. You can have two lunches, one in the terrace café and a second in the restaurant. Then it’s back to the poolside grill (and bar!!) before afternoon tea (with the most delicate sandwiches you have ever seen). Finally there is dinner in the restaurant, usually quite formal. There is an informal buffet style dinner in the café, and of course if you’re still peckish room service is free. Add in unlimited wine, beer or cocktails and you can see where they get their four pounds a day. I presume that on the three week cruises passengers explode before the end. I should point out that we only have one breakfast, one lunch and one dinner each.

Off to our suite now to see if the luggage fairy has left us anything.

John & Marie

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Feeling better

After my bath last night I felt so rotten that I didn’t even have a glass of medicinal ! ! ! Instead I curled up on the settee with a mug of hot chocolate and a hot water bottle.

I’m pleased to report that I’m feeling much better today. My sore throat has gone but I’ve still got the sniffles.

3 days to go. Yippee ! ! ! ! !


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Feeling rotten

I’ve got the lergy ! ! !

My throat is sore. I’ve got the sniffles and the sneezes and I’m aching all over.

The timing for this is perfect. Not…

Off to have a long hot bath then a drop of medicinal - to help me sleep you understand.

I could be drinking vinegar for all I know as I can’t taste a thing ! ! !


Monday, June 26, 2006

I don’t believe it

There’s only five days to go before our cruise and guess what I’ve got – a sore throat…

I’m hoping that it’s just a sore throat and not the start of a cold. I’m taking paracetamols as they are supposed to help fight sore throats and colds. Plus I’m drinking lots of fluids and sucking extra strong throat lozenges.

Typical ! ! !


Sunday, June 25, 2006

Christmas is coming

Today is June 25th which means that Christmas is only 6 months away.

Today is also Paddington Bear’s birthday.


PS only 6 days to our holidays…

Saturday, June 24, 2006

One week to go

This time next week we’ll have arrived in Barcelona and already drinking the glass of chilled champagne that had been thrusted into our hands (it would be bad mannered to refuse…) when we first boarded the ship.

It doesn’t seem that long ago since I set outlook on my computer to reminder me when it was eight months, seven months etc to go. Now it’s only seven days away.

Yippee ! ! ! !


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Opps I did it again

No I haven’t had another disaster with John’s trousers…I’ve overfilled the bath again. Thankfully I caught it just in time but did have to let some out again.

I’m so glad we don’t have a water shortage in the North East otherwise I’d be fined every time I take a bath. In my defence the bath fills up much quicker since we had the boiler replaced in December.

Only 10 days to our holidays. Yippee ! ! ! !


PS called in at B&Q and PC World tonight and boy were they empty. Wish England would play every Thursday so it’s quiet when we go shopping at Morrisions…

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Fathers day

Seeing as I did a blog for Mothers day it's only right to do one for Fathers day.

Sadly my dad is no longer with us as he died of cancer aged 65 on 17th May 2004. I was going to do a blog on his anniversary but thought Fathers day was more appropriate.

So what was my dad like. He was a life long labour supporter so must have wondered where he went wrong when his two daughters became yellow and blue supporters.

He used to be a butcher but couldn’t bring himself to slaughter the animals so wasn’t able to become a master butcher. I think I was a bit of an embarrassment to him as I can’t bear to touch meat. If I have to then I’ll only do it with rubber gloves on.

His favourite football teams were Liverpool and Sunderland. I was only four when Sunderland won the FA Cup in 1973 but can vividly remember my dad screaming when they scored a goal. He woke me up so got told off by my mam.

He liked most sports, especially cricket. In his younger days he used to play for the local team. I can always remember we used to fight over the television as he wanted to watch cricket while I wanted Wimbledon.

He was a quiet, placid man who listened a lot. I can honestly say that I never saw him loose his temper. Apparently when he did, which was extremely rare, he made his feelings known…

He liked plain and simple food with Sunday dinner being his favourite. He wouldn’t, no matter how you tried, eat anything foreign.

He was a creature of habit to which you could almost set your watch by him. When he went off to church (the working men’s club but he liked to call it church) he would meet up with his drinking chum. He would leave the house at precisely 8.23pm. Not a minute before or a minute after. He was like that for most things.

Whereas my sister was (and still is…) my mam’s favourite, I was always daddy girl.

He was a lovely dad and I think about and miss him everyday.


Tuesday, June 13, 2006


I made a slight boo-boo whilst sewing this afternoon.

I bought John some new trousers for our cruise a couple of weeks ago and have only just today got round to turning up the hems.

There were four trousers in all, each with a different amount to be hemmed so I doubled checked each trouser to make sure I took the right amount off. I should say I did until pair number four.

It was only after I had cut a piece off the bottom of the leg did I realise that I had in fact mixed up inches and centimetres. Instead of four centimetres, I had removed four inches ! ! !

Oh dear…

So it was off to Matalan for a replacement pair. Thankfully they were only £14. I would have cried if they had been expensive.

I’m now beginning to wonder if I did the same thing for the other three…


Monday, June 12, 2006


Just checked and the last time I blogged was Tuesday so one is overdue. Sadly though there isn’t a great deal to report.

John went back to work today having been off all last week with the flu.

My parcel from Amazon finally arrived on Thursday.

Had a good moan with Sandra, our neighbour two doors down, about our new neighbours and the constant banging. Sandra lives on the other side of them so knows all too well about it. She’s not very happy about them either. Upset Sandra at your peril. If you thought I was bad, Sandra is worse ! ! !

Managed to finish off the two cocktail dresses I was making for our cruise (two weeks and five days…). Gertie really came in useful, so much so that I wonder how I ever coped without her.

Went out in the sun on Saturday without my factor 60 so although I’m not sunburnt, my arms and neck have come out in a rash * Lovely ! ! !

That’s about it for now. Told you there wasn’t much to report…


* I have an allergy to the sun. It has a fancy name called polymorphic light eruption.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Bet she wished she hadn’t turned in today

Today is Tuesday and guess that didn’t arrive - my parcel from Amazon which the little man from the Royal Mail said would come today.

Time to ruin someone’s morning ! ! ! They must have got wind that I would be calling as the phone was engaged. However I’m not put off that easily.

I redialled again and one of the options on offer was to make a complaint. Perfect.

The poor girl didn’t stand a chance. I appreciate it wasn’t her fault, but hey if you work in the complaints department what do you expect. After much shouting:

“I will send an email to them asking for your parcel to be re-delivered on Thursday”.
“I was told previously by yourselves that they don’t look at their emails very often”.
“Well they are supposed to”.
“So will my parcel definitely be here on Thursday”.
“No, I can’t guarantee that”.
“Why not”.
“They might not have looked at their emails. Ring back on Thursday morning to see if they have. If not I’ll send them another email to arrange another day”.

I give up ! ! !


PS John’s still got the lergy. It must be bad as he’s gone off alcohol ! ! !

Monday, June 05, 2006

Six months down the line

Something lighter today following yesterdays blog.

First things first. John’s got the lergy. It started late on Saturday (must be a reaction to all the credit card usage in the Metro Centre…). Yesterday he spent the entire day in bed. I’ve had to keep him off school today as he still not very well.

So back to the main event.

On the second of January I wrote in a blog about my ‘want’ list for the coming year. As we’re half way through the year I thought I’d check to see how I’ve got one.

1: I want to win the lottery. It doesn’t matter if it’s the normal lottery, the extra or the Euro. As long as it’s the jackpot and is over £1m I’m not bothered.

Still paupers I’m afraid.

2: I want to lose a stone and a half in weight.

I did loose four pound but put it back on over our mammoth chocolate eating spree at Easter.

3: I want to finish my novel.

Never touched it.

4: I want to continue my piano lessons.

Other than dusting the piano, never been near it.

Pathetic ! ! !

In my defence.

Number 1: It’s not my fault they’re choosing the wrong numbers.

Number 2: Because of my IBS, my weight is always up and down so I could have lost the weight but didn’t know about it (ok clutching at straws a bit ! ! ! ). Once our holidays are over I’m going to make a serious commitment to loose the weight.

Number 3 and 4: It’s been a very hectic six months so my free time has been extremely limited. However after October I’ll have a lot more time on my hands so will be able to put pen to paper and tickle the ivorys….


Sunday, June 04, 2006

Ding dong the witch is dead

I make no apologies for this blog.

Yesterday when we were shopping at the Metro Centre for things for our cruise (27 days and counting…) I happened to bump into an old work colleague who I hadn’t seen since I had hip done in 1998.

We got chatting with the usual how are you, etc and she mentioned that our old boss had died of cancer last December. She was quite upset about it so I tried to appear sympathetic. However inside I was jumping for joy singing ‘ding, dong the witch is dead’. This woman was one of three of the most vilest, nastiest, bigoted people you could ever have the misfortune to meet *.

With the exception of the above mentioned colleague, the office crawler and the office snitch, she was hated by every single member of her staff.

On occasions when departments were short handed, staff would work there for a couple of days to help them out. There was always grumbles from staff as they didn’t like being moved. We loved it as it gave us a couple of days away from her. I wouldn’t say our boss was disliked but other departments eventually refused to help us out because of the way she treat her staff.

I had a couple of run-ins with her, including one which resulted in me having to make an official complaint for harassment and discrimination. I first took my complaint to her boss but she refused to do anything about it (bad move, but then they were as thick as thieves), so I took it to the harassment officer.

I was about to have my hip done so would be on sick leave for several months but was assured that it would be dealt with. I never did find out exactly what happened as I was off work for 18 months. However I did find out that my boss was eventually moved to a department with no staff under her and ‘advised’ to withdraw her application for promotion, and that her boss having been summoned to work on her day off, was told she was to be moved to another department, again with no staff under her, with immediate affect.

I’m glad she is dead and pleased that she was in pain for much of her illness. She used to enjoy holidays in the sun, well where she has gone it’ll be lovely and warm for her ! ! !


* The other two: One is already in the warm place and the other unfortunately is still with us…

Saturday, June 03, 2006

It’s amazing what you can do when you shout

Yesterday the postman tried to deliver a parcel but as it was childminder day I was out when he called.

Even though Amazon said it wouldn’t be here until the 6th at the earliest I knew it would come on Friday. Everything comes on a Friday, no matter when we order things. Order on a Monday with next day delivery and more often enough there’s a problem so guess when it comes. We’ve even tried ordering our wine on Wednesday as they say it can take 14 day delivery. Guess when it comes, yep two days later…

Sorry, I’m digressing. So this morning I ran the Royal Mail depot to arrange a re-delivery. As usual you never get to speak to a human being so I was in the middle of leaving a message on their answer machine when a human voice butted in.

Having explained that I wanted a re-delivery I was told I’d have to ring back on Monday after 3pm as my parcel hadn’t arrived at depot and they can’t arrange re-delivery without the parcel being there.

Customer from hell mode took over. “Sorry but that’s not good enough. Every time I have to arrange a re-delivery, it takes two, sometime three phone calls because you can’t be bothered to pick up the phone; don’t even bother to call me back when promised, or simply don’t re-deliver when asked to do so”.

My parcel will be with me on Tuesday. Woe betide if it isn’t ! ! !

Margo Ledbetter eat your heart out…


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Under warranty

I had to go back to the dentist this afternoon as I was still having toothache.

The intense pain when drinking anything hot or cold had gone but it was extremely painful when touched.

When I rang the dentist this morning I had the choice of either seeing Kim, my usual dentist, tomorrow at 1.30pm or being seen this afternoon by another dentist. As much as I like Kim I couldn’t wait until tomorrow so settled for the latter.

Seems simple enough – err not quite. We are talking about the NHS and their new dental charges…The receptionist explained that there were two queries.

Query 1: They would have to charge me £15.50 because I’m not been seen by my usual dentist. If I was prepared to suffer in agony another day there would be no charge.

Query 2: Even though my toothache came on while I was in the middle of on-going treatment, because they had signed me off on Tuesday I would have to pay another £42.40. It didn’t matter that Kim said to come back if I had any more problems with my tooth.

These were my options. Suffer until my next 6 monthly check-up. Pull out the offending tooth myself or pay up. I decided to go for option three.

So back to the tooth. Having told the dentist (who was really nice) my symptoms, it turns out that I have an infection in the nerve.

The only treatment is to remove the nerve completely, leave the 'wound' open then fill it up later. As the infection is quite bad I've got to take antibiotics for seven days. Thankfully I can still drink ! ! !

While I was thanking her for seeing me at such short notice she said she was going to waver the £15.50 and put the work done today and the two necessary follow up appointments as on-going work from Tuesday – thus saving me another £42.40.

Guess when I have to go back – 25th July at 11.00am which was when my appointment was to have been originally…


Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Numb, numb

I’m pleased to report that I was able to get an emergency appointment at my dentist this afternoon so didn’t need to add the dental hospital to my list of A&E’s visited this year.

Having been poked, prodded and x-rayed, nothing untoward was found so she decided to remove the existing filling just in case it was leaking.

While she was busy drilling it occurred to her that she could do the small filling and polish which were still outstanding *.

I came away from the dentist £42.40 poorer and with an extremely numb mouth having had both side of my mouth frozen…

Fingers crossed my tooth will be ok as I don’t have much luck when it comes to toothache. The last two occasions resulted in paying a fortune for the pleasure (or should that be torture ! ! ! ) in having them removed.


* My original appointment was 13th February but couldn’t make it because of my ankle. It was re-scheduled to 8th May but my dentist slipped a disk in her neck so the next available appointment was 25th July.