Monday, June 20, 2011


On Saturday we had to go into the Metro Centre, primarily to visit Boots. John’s eye test was due and I need to speak to the manager about a complaint.

Normally every two years when John has his eyes tested, he has to have new glasses.

He has ‘seven to 10 day eyes’ so a fortnight, all inclusive, holiday to Spain is cheaper than his spectacles….

I nearly fell out of Wizzy when John came out of his examination to say his eyes were fine and no new glasses were required. Yippee !!!!

We then went to find a manager as I needed to become ‘the customer from Hell’.

Before we went on our cruise we bought, as always, their own brand factor 50 sunscreen. I have an allergy to the sun (by the wonderful name of Polymorphic Light Eruptions), plus I burn really easy, so need to have a high sun factor.

After washing our holiday clothes we found that the sunscreen had badly stained several garments – one of John’s shirt and six of mine.

I rang Boots Head Office and explained what had happened. No problem, said customer service, just go into any Boots store with the receipts for the garments and we’ll give you a refund.

“I don’t have the receipt for John’s shirt”, I explained, “as it’s a couple of years old, and I’m a dressmaker, so made all my shirts”.

“Oh”, she said, rather slowly, then several seconds later said, “they’ll sort something….”.

We spoke to a manager who too went ‘Oh’, when we explained about my shirts. She went off for a few minutes then came back to say she’d had a chat with the General Manager and they were prepared to offer me cash for the garments.

“So”, she said, “it’s bartering time. How much do you think it’ll cost to replace your garments”.

That really was a tough one because it’s not that simple to put a price on a handmade garment.

“I’ve been told I can go up £50. Will that do….”, she asked.

So before our next cruise I’ve got to go fabric hunting to make six shirts. It’s a hard life !!!!!!!


Saturday, June 18, 2011


Some of you may know that cycling is a sport that is perceived to have a drugs problem. I choose my words carefully here, not because there is no drugs problem – there is a drugs problem – but because there is a perception problem. If you believe all you read, cycling is awash with illegal drug taking, but other sports are not. Anyone over the age of 50 will probably bring up the tale of Tommy Simpson, who asphyxiated on Mt Ventoux during the 1967 Tour de France. It turns out that the amphetamines he took were standard issue to United States Air Force pilots to keep them awake on long flights. It’s all a matter of perception.

The winner of last years Tour de France, Alberto Condador was banned recently for testing positive to a minute amount of clenbuterol, an anabolic steroid. That the amount was too small to have affected performance, and that he was tested on a rest day would add some credence to his assertion that it came from infected meat. This is possible, and has been documented in medical publications. I’m not making any comment on the rights and wrongs here. If the man used banned substances then he needs to be punished.

The Spanish authorities (who have a quite lax interpretation of drug offences) banned him for one year, then reduced the ban still further. At this point, WADA (the World Anti Drug Agency) who oversee drug policies and who maintain the list of banned substances and practices took exception and appealed against the decision. They were determined that Alberto would not get away with it.

Then, a few weeks ago, their stance softened, and they decided to wait until August to hold a hearing, thereby allowing Alberto to compete in this years Tour de France, which is held in July. Many other cyclists were either angry that they were going to have to compete against a cheat, or unhappy that the matter could not be decided quickly.

This week, WADA announced that maybe the rules regarding clenbuterol need revising because of the (rather remote) possibility of ingesting the substance from contaminated meat.

Of course this has nothing to do with the fact that currently there are five football players who have tested positive and are claiming the same defence.

As I said at the beginning it’s all a matter of perception.