Category Archives: Behaviour

Expected?

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It never ceases to amaze me how the run-up to Christmas gets crazier each year. It is as though common sense flies out of the window and people become frantic to have things done before the holiday. I have never been short of work since I became self-employed in 1997 and especially in the months of September through to December and this year is just the same. The phone doesn’t stop ringing, which is good for business of course but I do wonder why people don’t think of things well before they need them. There is no reason on earth to get work done so close to Christmas just because you want that special lighting unit installed or an extra power outlet so you can illuminate your Christmas tree but many people leave it to the last-minute before getting the work done.

Often they will be disappointed as a result of leaving things too late. I don’t like to let people down and if I can help I will do but there are limits and I am getting too old for dashing about here and there to accommodate. I do what I can but try not to take on board too much work these days. The requests I get are often too much for me to take on anyway but it doesn’t stop people asking, even those who already know me and know my age will expect me to accommodate. There are those who are simply not playing with a full deck so to speak who ask some ridiculous things of me. I went to a house recently to fit a replacement fluorescent tube for someone who couldn’t do it themselves, though I couldn’t see why not when I arrived to do it. If people really cannot do simple tasks for themselves you would think they would ask a neighbour or a friend to do it for them but sadly they don’t, sadly for them because they have to pay me to do it. Perhaps they don’t have friends or good neighbours. At another house the next day I had been asked to check a faulty pull-cord switch in a bathroom. Thinking the guy meant a ceiling switch to control the main light I took a replacement switch with me (I do carry such things in my van stock). It turned out to be a small cord-operated microswitch in a small wall-mounted light. There was a switch plate outside the bathroom fitted with two switches, one for the main ceiling light and the other for the wall light. The light switch in the wall light was faulty but in such a way as to be permanently in the on position. That meant the light could simply be switched on and off using the switch outside! It was a bit of a wasted journey in one respect but I suggested I by-pass the pull switch within the lighting unit to leave the light switchable from outside the room as the main ceiling light was. He need not have called me out to disconnect the switch when all he had to do was to cut off the cord. He was billed accordingly for my time. Another job I was asked to do was to fit power outlets to existing wiring which had been abandoned by the electrician who had done the work six months ago. Why was it left until a week or two before Christmas to get it finished? As I write this on Thursday I am attending to that work in the morning but I’ll wager the work won’t be as straightforward as I am being led to believe. For instance, is the wiring ‘live’? If it is then that would be a dangerous thing to leave as such and if it isn’t then where and how is it to be connected to the supply? There is also a light to be checked out. Hopefully I shall have been able to solve these questions and have done the work by the time you are reading this.

Shirley Anne

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Hoarders

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CPIM 19th conference hoarders Kerala

CPIM 19th conference hoarders Kerala (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is a television program all about hoarders of one sort or another. Some hoard books and magazines, some ornaments of a particular type or simply ornaments of any type. Some even collect live animals, cats, dogs and other things. Whatever it is they collect it becomes habitual for the hoarder. Many of us collect things though for most what is collected is kept to a minimum. Not so for the hoarder who cannot find it in themselves to impose such limits and end up with that much clutter they can hardly move about their homes because every spare space is taken up for storage. Now I can understand why people like to collect things and for some it is simply a hobby. They may wish only to be able to admire their collection and to do that they put it on display. For the hoarder it is a different story for most of what they collect ends up hidden away under piles of other things more recently collected. That is totally pointless we must agree but for the hoarder it doesn’t register, they cannot help themselves and so the statement is meaningless to them. Some do realise but their compulsion to hoard is stronger than their will to resist and carry on as usual. For those living with a hoarder the situation can be overwhelming and often leads to marriage or relationship breakdowns. I have been in homes where a hoarder lives and the first thing I noticed in each case was the lack of space in which to move and the resulting lack of housework that gets done. Everything is covered in dust and sometimes cobwebs. Furniture creaks under the weight of articles placed upon it. Curtains (drapes) are invariably left closed and the rooms consequently remain dark and gloomy probably either to hide the fact that the room is filled to the brim with stuff or to hide the fact that it is never cleaned. The people, that is the hoarders, sometimes neglect themselves too. I really do feel sorry for them for it is not their fault they are the way they are. Often there will be an underlying reason for their behaviour, something that has driven them subconsciously to act the way they do, something they have found difficult to cope with. That could be anything from the loss of a relative, husband, wife or child, a breakdown of a relationship, a divorce or even something from their past, their childhood that they have never been able to reconcile. The hoarder needs professional help but not all get it. For some their hoarding, though a nuisance, is kept under control. It may be difficult for others to live with but they cope. I suppose there is a fine line between one who hoards and one whose hobby has overtaken them slightly to the point of being over-indulgent. For myself and being a minimalist it is hard to work in places that are overcrowded with what I see as junk. Even at home I hate too much clutter. However I live with someone who doesn’t seem to care that ‘junk’ can creep up on you unawares! E isn’t a hoarder I hasten to say but she does have a collection that perhaps should be rationalised!

Shirley Anne

Nice gestures

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Sound the Alarm (The Dawn album)

Sound the Alarm (The Dawn album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Quite often I get calls from people with electrical problems but sometimes I resist going to see what the problem is. Instead I will offer advise or talk them through their situation in order for them to resolve it themselves. Naturally these particular jobs do not really warrant a visit especially if they are far from home. I have to charge for my time and in some cases I deem it unfair to charge my minimum fee for something that can easily be resolved by the caller. In any case many would simply refuse to pay me what I would have to charge. Much of the time the faults are loss of power because the circuit breaker has tripped or a faulty appliance has caused the RCD (safety trip switch) to trip thereby removing power to other circuits. If the caller follows my instructions and successfully reinstates the power I have saved them the cost of calling me out and they are usually most grateful. It sometimes pays to offer help in this way for it could lead to work at a later date. People remember good deeds. On Friday I received a call for assistance from an elderly couple living about three miles or so away. They wanted to know if I could call in order to trace the source of  an unusual sound which they thought might be the result of an electrical fault. The gentleman even held the telephone toward the sound so that I could hear it. It sounded much like a child’s toy but obviously couldn’t be that. I asked about their smoke alarms which according to them were working as they should. Their burglar alarm had been disconnected so it couldn’t be that. I asked if they had a carbon monoxide detector as the sound could be an indication that the battery required changing. At that point the gentleman said that in fact they did have such an alarm unit but it wasn’t in use, it was stored in a box in the room from where the sound was emanating. He told me he would call back once he had recovered the alarm. A couple of minutes later he called back to tell me that in fact it was the carbon monoxide alarm unit. It had been stored away without removing the battery beforehand. The battery was almost drained which set off a warning signal. I wondered why the alarm wasn’t in use but perhaps their home was all-electric and the alarm wasn’t necessary. They thanked me for being so helpful and honest with them especially as I could have charged them had I gone there. The gentleman asked if he could pay me something but of course I refused payment. Evidently his wife was insistent that I should accept a little something and asked for my address. I gave in and thought no more about it. The following day, Saturday, just after lunch  the doorbell rang and I answered the door. It was a delivery of a large cardboard box addressed to me. However I didn’t open it for I thought that it was intended for E who receives parcels almost every day! She had told me a day or so earlier that my name had been entered in one of her competitions in order to give her more chances of winning. Any ‘winnings’ would naturally be addressed to me. She had been out during the afternoon for her monthly meeting with her group and didn’t arrive back home until after five o’clock. She asked why I hadn’t opened the box and I told her. She hadn’t been expecting a parcel so in fact it was for me after all. I opened it to find a large bouquet of flowers in a special container and a note inside thanking me for the help I’d offered. It was from the elderly couple. Wasn’t that a nice gesture?

 

Christmas Flower Pictures

Shirley Anne

I’ve opted out but she still did it!

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Christmas gifts

Christmas gifts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So at last the end of yet another busy week which turned out to be the busiest and most profitable so far for the entire year! I’m not about to complain though. Friday morning then was hopefully going to be the last time I would work in the week but from what my client told me over the telephone I was expecting the work I had scheduled to be a little messy. My client, a lady about the same age as myself, mentioned something about lowering a power outlet to allow more space in which to fit a wall-mounted electric fire. I had asked her if the room had solid flooring, concrete for instance and she confirmed it had. That meant the wiring to the outlet would be either coming through the wall from behind or else it was coming down the wall from up in the ceiling. It was hardly likely to be coming up from the floor and that meant the existing wires would be too short to move elsewhere. A new cable would have to be run down the wall from the space above the ceiling and sunk into the wall itself, hence the messy job. As it turned out the job was entirely different. The ‘room’ was a glass conservatory that had been erected against the gable end of the house and the wall was built with bricks. The power point didn’t require repositioning as there was just enough space alongside it to mount the fire. My task it seemed was to fit the fire too, which I did. Not only that but I repositioned the glass shelf that had been fitted over the old fire which I also had to remove before fitting the new one. All the cabling was then  neatly hidden in the trunking I’d fitted to end up with a really professional job. The lady was very much impressed and told me that was why she employed a woman to do the work. What can I say? I was accordingly paid well for my efforts but stayed a while to chat with her over a cup of coffee before driving home. I made a slight detour to purchase one or two things from the supplier and soon after midday I was home. Whilst having my lunch the doorbell rang and E, who had not yet joined me at the table, answered the door. I heard her speaking with whoever it was before she entered the room carrying some gifts wrapped in ‘Christmas’ paper. They had been presented by our next-door neighbour. It was only a week or so ago we had taken her a huge bunch of flowers on the anniversary of her husband’s passing. On that evening we chatted about many things, one of which was Christmas and the giving and receiving of presents. She had asked me if I do anything at Christmas and I told her that no, I didn’t and in fact I don’t celebrate the day nor do I give presents or wish to receive any. I explained that I had opted-out of the world’s version of Christmas and the materialistic and hedonistic revelry that passes to commemorate the birth of our Saviour. I have not partaken of such things for some years now. I celebrate the event in a totally different way. Well what I had told her must have fallen on deaf ears for the presents were for E and myself and she had told E that we were not to open them before Christmas Day! Yeah, sure, I was going to do that! I duly opened them to see what they were, a pen (?) and a very large and beautiful silk-like scarf. Now one of the other things I had mentioned when we had visited her was the enormous amount of scarves I possess but hardly ever wear! It is a case of not getting much of an opportunity to wear most of them. What was she thinking? Naturally I shan’t say anything to her but I will thank her for the thought when we next speak. I will insist that she doesn’t give me presents again though, I don’t want them from anyone. It is enough that people are there, they have no need to ply me with gifts to know that they are appreciated or that I am to them. I will not be tempted to reciprocate and fall back into the ways of the world. To me it is totally meaningless. So no Christmas cards from me or anything else for that matter. It has been that way for quite some time.

Shirley Anne

Another busy week

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English: DC USA, Target, Black Friday

DC USA, Target, Black Friday (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was feeling pretty tired on Thursday night after another busy week and I still had a job to do on Friday morning. Getting to sleep wasn’t a problem however at around three-thirty in the morning I woke up with pain in my right hand again. I ended up tossing and turning trying to find a comfortable position but it was difficult. From that point until I finally arose at six-fifteen I remained awake. Now I’d had a mere four hours solid sleep which under normal circumstances is not far off what I normally have but that night’s sleep wasn’t really enough because of the work I had been doing. Despite that I went to the job and managed without a problem. I am quite amazed at the amount of work I have gotten through in another week but the approaching weeks to Christmas have always been a busy time for me. I get tired more easily these days which is only to be expected at my age and to be honest I seem to thrive on it. At this time of writing I am not certain what I shall be doing over the weekend as far as working at home is concerned but I do know that I won’t be working for anyone else as I have a couple of jobs lined-up for the week ahead and I need some respite.
I was watching the news on television and saw the chaos that had ensued after the so-called ‘Black Friday‘ experiment. In America it has become the thing to do on the Friday after Thanksgiving whereby stores offer goods at half-price to encourage spending before Christmas. It is a new thing here in the UK where normally goods go on sale at reduced prices in January or immediately after Christmas day but Tesco held the event in most of their stores throughout the country and it caused people to stampede and fight each other for what was on offer. I felt so ashamed of my countrymen and women as I watched their bad behaviour on the screen. They were like animals fighting over a piece of meat! All for the love of material things. Such a shame. I have never stood in a queue waiting for the sales to begin, I have never hung back thinking the price for something might drop a few days later. I would rather do without than to act the way I saw those people were doing just so I could get my hands on some material thing.

Shirley Anne

Wanna larf ?

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The best Ryanair complaint letter we’ve ever seen

on in Travel

Because having a relaxing holiday doesn’t have to cost the Earth…

Ryanair Complaint Letter

It’s no secret that we think Michael O’Leary is a complete tool. And we know we spend a lot of time harping on at you to  ditch the plane and take the train instead. But this hilarious letter from James Lockley to Ryanair really does sum up how frustrating and stressful taking a flight can be. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did…

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing for the attention of your customer experience team. I am definitely a customer, and believe me, you didn’t fail in providing us with an experience.

My wife and I had booked to fly from Stansted on the Thursday 17th April, evening flight to Bratislava. After 2 hours of fun, fun, fun, stuck on the M25 doing 20 mph, we arrived at Stansted check-in with just one hour until the flight. Knowing the strict Ryan Air policy on ‘check-in closes 40 mins before the flight’ as you are the Low Fare Taxi of The Skies, we went straight to the Ryan Air assistant and explained our plight. She said we were still within the time and all would be fine but we had to make the attendant at check in aware and he would assist from there.

We approached the attendant as instructed and explained. Unfortunately, in the main part, due to him being a child, and forgetting to bring his mother to work, he heard only half of the words before his brain fell apart like a wet cake. He led us to the line for closing gates, advised we should wait and all would be ok. We stood patiently in the line for 20 minutes. We got to the front of the line and the lady, who we shall from this point refer to as Vacant, explained that she had literally just that second closed the flight and we had missed it. We complained that we had done as instructed and she said it was the child’s fault because he should have advised her that we were trying to board a closing flight and that because he hadn’t told her it was therefore our fault we had missed the plane.

Confused by this process of blame apportioning, another check-in clerk, who we shall refer to as Not That Bright, tried to blame us for not responding to the last call for the flight as we should have made ourselves known. I argued that the last call had not been made. Not That Bright then questioned Vacant on whether she had done a final call. Vacant did what she does best and looked, well,…… After establishing that the child had not informed Vacant we were here, and Vacant had forgotten to do a last call and that all of this was irreversible, and my fault, Not That Bright and Vacant conferred to agree this was not a problem they wished to deal with and told us to get in a very, very long line of very, very unhappy people at the quite wrongly titled ‘Customer Services Counter’ as it was in fact a Customer Shouting Desk. We complained and requested the attention of a manager.

Out came Colin, a man so angry all his hair had literally fallen out. He was so aggressive I can only assume he had accidentally inserted something sharp into somewhere private and been unable to remove it before he came to work. He was definitely a middle Gimp. I know this as Vacant and Not That Bright were clearly quite scared of him, and he can’t have been a Big Cheese as he was talking directly to customers and we all know from the papers that no-one in Big Cheese management at Ryan Air has ever seen, let alone spoken to an actual customer.

Middle Gimp had clearly listened hard at Ryan Air Middle Gimp school as he managed to take two perfectly calm and sane adults and in a matter of seconds reduce them to angry people considering violence.

‘Check-in opens 3 hours before the flight’ he barked repeatedly as if it was the answer to every question in life. We tried to ask Middle Gimp direct questions about why it was necessary for us to miss the flight because the Child had forgotten to do his job, and Vacant had forgotten to do hers.

‘Why is this our fault, and why should we miss the flight because Ryan Air staff have admitted they made errors?.

‘Check-in opens three hours before the flight’

‘Do you acknowledge we have just cause for complaint as we tried to do the right thing and the only reason we are not on the plane is because of communication failures with Ryan Air Staff?’

‘Check-in opens three hours before the flight’

‘What colour are my trousers?’

‘Check-in opens three hours before the flight’

‘Do you think economic sanctions on Russia will diffuse the escalating situation in Ukraine?’

‘Check-in opens three hours before the flight’

‘Were Man Utd right to fire David Moyes?’

‘Check-in opens three hours before the flight’

‘My tinkle is hurting, could you take a look if I promise not to tell anyone?’

‘Check-in opens three hours before the flight’

Middle Gimp then conferred with Vacant and Not That Bright, and agreed that this was all our fault as we should have noticed that Child had made an error and we should have called the flight ourselves to assist Vacant in doing her job because she was clearly busy being, well,…… Middle Gimp then insisted we go to customer the Customer Shouting Desk, as he was definitely not going to do anything else. This was handy as the queue was very long so that by the time we would reach the front the plane would be half way to Bratislava and the problem would be solved.

We waited patiently in line as customer after customer stood at the desk to hear the same song;

‘No, no, I can’t do that, no, there are no Middle Gimps available, no, no, sorry, no, give me all your money’

We got to the Customer Shouting Desk and explained our plight to the lady there (who was actually very nice and clearly should not be working for Ryan Air as a result). She apologised but explained that Middle Gimp had finished being angry for the day and had returned to his padded cage and there were no other Middle Gimps around. We would have to book in to the flight for the next day and we would have to pay £110 each to change the ticket. When she tried to re-book the flight she said that the flight we had tried to get was actually delayed by 1 hour and still at the air port and that what we should do is run to the gate with all our luggage, she would call through and they would check our bags into the hold at the gate. We ran as fast as we could, which is not very fast because I am fat, to security to do as instructed. Security advised us that because our flight should have left, even though it hadn’t, the ticket machine would not open the barrier for us and we would need to return to the Customer Shouting Desk.

We waited patiently in the very long queue yet again for about 40 minutes to discover the nice lady had also gone home now so we had to explain the whole thing again to a new lady that looked like all the joy had been removed from her life at birth. She recited the Ryan Air customer services song with a sterling level of apathy and dreariness, I am surprised she could muster the will just to breathe and stay alive.

‘No, no, I can’t do that, no, there are no Middle Gimps available, no, no, sorry, no, give me all your money’

She recited it with perfection, Middle Gimps across the world would have been in awe and the effectiveness of the techniques taught in Middle Gimp School. Seeing no other option but to hand over all our cash and come back the next morning we happily paid and got new flights.

As the new flight was at 6.25am in the morning we decided to get a hotel, we paid £79 for a room and got a taxi.

So, our customer experience was insightful and liberating. From the incompetent Child with a brain so full of girls and Vauxhall Corsa modifications he couldn’t actually listen or speak, through Vacant and Not That Bright who decided on reflection that anything they did wrong was our fault for not pointing it out to them, right through Middle Gimp who made a Tasmanian Devil look calm and Zen like, and the sad one, oh so sad, having every last drop of life sucked out of her by her chosen career at the Ryan Air Customer Shouting Desk. I very nearly jumped over the desk just to give her a cuddle and tell her everything would be alright if she could just muster the will to leave the Ryan Air Customer Shouting Desk and find a more fulfilling job, like starting the very first Israeli pork pie factory, or being a parking attendant in Tower Hamlets, or in fact just resigning herself to a slow and uncomfortable death would have been indistinguishable from the current position and would require much less effort.

The net result of this ‘experience’ was;

New Flights – £220
Hotel £79
Taxi x 2 £50 
Worlds most expensive sandwich in the only hotel we could get £35

1 x significant breach of Tort Law (2008 as quoted by Lord Atkin) by Ryan Air, Google it, it’s a cracking read. I will leave you to decide the monetary value of this.

1 x very angry and upset wife, in particular with Middle Gimp for being so unbelievably rude.

1 x Missed wedding reception for our Slovakian family (sorry, forgot to mention this nugget earlier) who all turned up from all over the country to see us for an event we were forced to miss, because Child and Vacant are clueless at best and Middle Gimp has anger management issues.

So, thank you Ryan Air for a comfortable and enjoyable experience. I have watched a program called the news so I fully expect this to land on the desk of the customer services team underneath the empty bottles and sandwich wrappers that you also file there. You treated us badly, you cost us money and made us miss our wedding reception through a display of incompetence I have not seen since Greece was allowed to have money and a cheque book.

I sincerely doubt you will do anything about this, compensate us, apologise, or even respond according to the news, so I have sent this recorded and sign for delivery to absolutely confirm my opinion of Ryan Air and that it is not just ‘lost in the post’

Regards

You bunch of…………….

DJ Lockley

P.S. Maybe Middle Gimp in particular, but Child, Not That Bright, and Vacant should purchase one of your reasonable priced tickets and go to Slovakia (assuming they were actually allowed on the plane. The Ryan Air employees there are smart, clever, bilingual, helpful, and polite and they should in my opinion experience an example of how they should do their job. The Slovak staff could explain it to them, but they wouldn’t be able to understand it, so it may be a waste of time after all.

End of article

The mind boggles though I have to add E and I have had similar experiences but nothing anywhere near to these. I am sure many others will have had some too.

Shirley Anne

Wide awake or what?

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Awake is the New Sleep (2005)

Awake is the New Sleep (2005) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t need much sleep so when I go to bed it is as late as possible or I go early and get up early. That works for me for if I have an early appointment I know I’ll have no problems pushing back the bedclothes. I set an alarm if I have to get up early or at any particular time but it is only a safeguard just in case I do sleep in too long. Invariably I am already lying there awake before any alarm sounds. Currently I use the alarm feature on my phone. It is probably the only other useful feature on the phone aside from the phone itself. I don’t need the rest of the garbage the manufacturers think I need. My life isn’t ruled or controlled by a gadget. I used to use a mechanical alarm clock until it gave up the ghost several years ago. As the phone had an alarm I didn’t bother buying a new clock. I don’t wear a wrist watch for the same reason. I had occasion to pay a debt recently to the sum of £5200 but I had already paid some of it as a deposit, £500. I paid that partly by cash and partly by debit card. Having decided later to pay the remainder, £4700, I tried to pay using the Internet as I had the recipient’s banking details. When I made the attempt I kept hitting a brick wall. My bank failed to recognise their account. Eventually I gave up trying and was going to ask the recipient if they would accept a credit card payment instead. However it was Saturday and I couldn’t contact them. I had to go into town anyway on Saturday morning to do some shopping and to make a cash deposit into my account. Whilst at the bank I went to the help desk to discuss the problems I had experienced trying to pay my debt. I have three accounts at this bank, a current account, an instant saver account and a web saver account. I don’t keep a large amount of cash in the current account and the instant saver account rarely has more than £2000 in it. I use this account mainly for my business requirements, repairs to my vehicle, tax and so on. The majority of my savings are in the web account and it was from that account I had wished to pay this debt. Well I discovered why I couldn’t, I needed to transfer the monies to the current account first and pay from that account. How ridiculous I thought as I am able to use to instant saver to transfer cash too. It is only the web saver account from which I cannot make a payment it seems yet on the banks website there is no indication of that. As I had decided to pay by card if allowed to I didn’t pay the debt there and then. I will do that using a card once I know I can. There is a reason for using the card, I get a 0.5 or 1.0% cash back on all transactions depending on which card I use. I should have paid the whole amount in the first place I suppose. I sometimes think that if I had a brain or one that was awake when needed  I would be very dangerous indeed! Whilst out shopping I called into the indoor market and was visiting the toilet in there when I passed by an empty stall outside of which where two men chatting to one another. One of the men made eye contact and smiled. I usually respond and did so. I stopped in front of them and said, ‘Gosh you have some lovely things in there for sale’. The second guy turned back to look inside the stall but the first guy couldn’t stop laughing, partly because of what I had said and partly because his mate turned round to look at the empty area which he must have known to be empty. I guess he wasn’t as awake as he perhaps should have been either.

Update: I did try to make the payment by transferring the monies to the current account at the same bank but again it didn’t work. I still don’t know why. In the meantime I contacted the recipient but after learning from them that I would be charged 2% more if I used either of my credit cards I decided to transfer the cash to an account I have in another bank then made payment from there. It worked! The mind boggles.

Shirley Anne

You’re ‘avin’ a larf ain’ ya?

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On Monday afternoon I went out for a short walk. I had been playing my guitar out in the rear garden and on my return indoors found the house empty. E had disappeared in her car without saying anything. I think she went to see her mum. Anyhow I decided to go for the walk and along the route I paid a visit to the pub for a soft drink as it was very warm and humid. There were not many people there but I found someone to chat with, one of the regulars, a woman I’ve known for some years. Whilst she was paying a visit to the toilet an older gentleman who was at the bar getting a couple of drinks turned to me and said ‘Hello Shirley Anne, done anymore testing lately’? I replied that he had me at a disadvantage for I couldn’t for the life of me remember him. He politely reminded me that it was his and his wife’s apartment I had checked only a couple of days prior to see if the electrical installation was safe! I apologised for not having remembered him after such a short time but in fact it had been his wife I had contact with for most of the time whilst I was there. That wasn’t an excuse though. Shortly afterward his wife appeared and I recognised her immediately. We had a laugh about my shortcomings. In real terms my short-term memory isn’t very good and I think it gets worse as time passes. However, my long-term memory is much better and I can remember things long-passed in great detail. I had gone into the kitchen the other evening to wash a glass I had been using and when I’d done that I proceeded to put it in the refrigerator! Realising my error I quickly put it in its usual place. I put these things down to my age of course, things we do when absent-mindedness takes control. I laugh about it and others laugh too. I have attempted to put the sugar bowl into the fridge and the margarine or butter into a storage cupboard instead of in the fridge before today. All very strange and comical but harmless and good for a ‘larf’. There are worse things that I could be doing and I hope it never comes to that. One thing I do notice from time to time is when I go upstairs for some reason I sometimes momentarily forget why I went upstairs or what it was I went for! I put that down to growing old and I laugh at myself for doing it. We can laugh and joke about such things but I suppose it could be worse, I could end up with that problem being a normal everyday occurrence rather than an occasional and infrequent one.

Shirley Anne

 

It costs nothing

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English: Hesketh Arms Pub, Botanic Road, Churc...

English: Hesketh Arms Pub, Botanic Road, Churchtown, Southport, Merseyside, England. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Tuesday afternoon we drove to a restaurant a little over three miles from home in the village of Churchtown, now a suburb I suppose of Southport. This once tiny village housed many folk who worked as ‘cocklers’, that is folk who trawl the coast for shrimps and cockles, an industry still alive and thriving today. Many of the old cottages survive but have been surrounded by more modern buildings built from Victorian times until today. As we drove through to our destination and again homeward afterward I couldn’t help but imagine what the area must have looked like say three hundred years ago. I imagined there were no major roads cutting through with only the cottages dotted here and there in what was then the countryside. The venue was ‘The Hesketh Arms’, one of two restaurant/pubs sited close together, the other one being ‘The Bold’. The food is equally fine in both but the Hesketh is a little bit up-market if you like. We frequent them both depending on how we feel. As we parked the vehicle I noticed several young people examining and admiring no doubt the old church which stands close by. They seemed to me to be foreign students but I wasn’t sure. We have many foreign students and indeed many foreigners visiting Southport and its environs every year. We went inside the restaurant and E chose a table in the far corner of one of the rooms which overlooked the parking area and main entrance. The other pub can be seen through the windows as well as the village green and the quaint semi-pedestrianised shopping area in front of the other pub. I suppose this spot could be considered the centre of Churchtown itself, at least the old part of it anyway. It was unusually quiet and empty inside though there were a few diners. During our meal a small party of people came inside and sat in the adjacent room through which we had to pass to get where we were sitting. E mentioned something about people in the group speaking what she thought was the French language. So I had been correct in thinking there were foreigners out and about in the area. Evidently they had come inside for a meal too. As we left we had to pass through their midst and we could hear them all speaking in their native tongue. There is but a small narrow space to pass between the rooms and a young man seemingly oblivious to everything around him was seated with his feet firmly in the passageway partly blocking our exit. He was engrossed in something to do with his phone, maybe a game and made no effort to move his feet when E made her presence known. Now most people I have met would apologise for blocking the way as he was doing and move accordingly but this young man appeared put out that he should be disturbed. He eventually and grudgingly shuffled his legs out of the way without looking up or making any effort to apologise. It costs nothing to apologise but it seems not everyone agrees. I have found other incidences such as this with many of our European neighbours. There seems to be a lack of consideration for others especially with their youth.

Shirley Anne

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Great demands and nasty people

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Tongue n' Cheek

Tongue n’ Cheek (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I work part-time as an electrician. Well that is what I tell myself and indeed others too but it is often said with tongue in cheek! I find myself taking on work when perhaps I should take things more easy. The problem I have is where to draw the line between refusing work and being so obliging. That is my problem, I am too obliging and often find it difficult to say no. There are days however when I have absolutely needed to say no and give excuses for doing so. I remember many years ago when I was asked to rewire a very large house that I really didn’t wish to take on, not because I was unable to do it as I was still in my early twenties but more because I was fed-up with the pressure at that time. I had someone to help me with the larger jobs in those days and we had enough work coming our way to be able to say no when we wished. I submitted an estimate or quotation which would have been considered way over the top for the task and it as accepted! It taught me a lesson, just say no thank you next time. That is what I do now but perhaps not as often as I should. Consequently I am usually working more often than I am not. Over the last few days I have not been able to do much at home so it enabled me to be more readily available to work for others, which is what I have been doing. Some people though think I am a machine that never gets tired or weary. I hear lately from my clients that they have been finding it very difficult to get hold of an electrician and those they manage to contact simply let them down. Many a time I have heard that one, the electrician doesn’t turn up! Once they find out that I do arrive when I say I will they latch on to me often pushing more work my way and referring me to their friends and family. On Thursday evening I received a call from someone who is the chairperson of a local block of flats (apartment block) and he takes care of maintenance and arranging trades persons to carry out repairs.

English: Block of Flats.

English: Block of Flats. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the elderly occupants required a replacement light unit outside her front door but nobody wanted to do such a simple job. He asked if I could do it. I went the following morning, Friday after completing my first job for the day, had a quick look at what was required, drove to the supplier and purchased what was needed and was back twenty minutes later and fitted it. The whole job took less than an hour and the elderly lady was really grateful. The guy who had phoned me remarked at my punctuality and reliability and promised to pass more work of a similar nature my way. He reflected on the unreliability of those who had let him down. On my return from the supplier an irate driver had pulled up sharply behind my van as I was reversing it to park. It appeared I had taken his space in the park! There are no allocated spaces in the car park so I asked him where it was posted that his car should park where I had parked the van. There wasn’t one but I understood what he was trying to say in that the space was simply where he always parked his car. Under normal circumstances I would have gladly moved to the adjoining space but because of his attitude I left the van where I had parked it. I really didn’t understand what all the fuss was about, I was only going to be there a few minutes! When I got home it was a little early for lunch as it wasn’t yet noon so I took the opportunity to wash the van, the first wash of the year I might add. I sometimes think it pointless to wash a vehicle too often during the winter months and especially if it has been raining a lot. By the time I’d finished it was approaching 1 o’clock and I was feeling a little hungry but the phone rang and it was the window installer who wanted to come to fit the replacement window where we discovered one of the panes had developed a crack a couple of weeks ago. It was under guarantee so we didn’t have to pay anything. He came about fifteen minutes later and soon had it done. Now it was after one and the door bell rang. Our next-door neighbour wanted to chat about something and as is her want, she stayed a little longer than was necessary!

Water tap

Water tap (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The other day I carried out a repair on the mixer tap (faucet) for her which turned out to be awkward. She explained that her hot water tap was now dripping a little when turned off. A totally unconnected problem to the other and a simple exchange of the tap washer will cure it. I think she was expecting me to have a look on the day but I resisted the temptation and told her I would look at it  soon. I am learning not to be so readily available! I will do it for her though. So finally I could get my lunch…………

Shirley Anne

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Me gerrup an go gorrup an went!

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Learning to Speak Scouse at The Hog's Head Pub...

Learning to Speak Scouse at The Hog’s Head Pub, Liverpool, England (Photo credit: nikoretro)

Caroline prompted that title! You’ve got to (gorra) appreciate Scouse (Liverpudlian speak) to understand but it isn’t that difficult. Another way (the correct way) to say it is, ‘My get-up-and-go got up and went’ and this is the theme of my post.

Dear reader do you find that sometimes you just cannot be bothered doing anything? It isn’t as though you are tired or incapable, it isn’t that you somehow you have lost interest, though that may be the real truth of it, no, it is more that you lack that spark, that motivation and you simply won’t budge! I get feelings like that quite often I have to admit. I know something needs doing and I procrastinate, even though I know it is stupid to think that way for in the end whatever it is that I know needs doing will inevitably have to be tackled at some point. In some cases putting things off might make matters worse, a stitch in time and all that. I have blamed my lack of enthusiasm on many things but the real culprit is laziness, I just cannot bring myself to do what I know I should be doing and end up trying to make up for lost time when I eventually take the bull by the horns and get on with it! I am currently working on a project at home which takes up many of my ‘spare’ hours. It isn’t that I dislike the prospect for the opposite is true, I really do enjoy seeing the results of my labour and I know it will all be worth the effort. In this world if you want something you have to make the effort. After a brief enforced respite from the work due to muscular problems and a trapped nerve I felt very reluctant to resume and had to discipline myself to get motivated, telling myself that my get-up-and-go hadn’t in fact got-up-and-went! We can all sit around doing nothing when we know things need doing but whenever I feel this way it doesn’t last long – I get bored doing nothing!

Shirley Anne

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And on to Sunday

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Satellite navigation. Image shot by uploader.

Satellite navigation. Image shot by uploader. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes E and I did go out on Sunday at around 10.30 to drive to a warehouse miles away to collect a vanity unit we had bought on-line. Unfortunately we were not given the correct address to collect the item and we ended up at their showrooms which is 11 miles further afield. No problem, our satellite navigation got us there but even so we were a little confused as to which lane of traffic we were supposed to be in when we passed through one or two of the junctions en-route. At times like these I stick very closely to following the little yellow arrow as it meanders along the highlighted green road. On the screen there is a little square in the top left corner too with a more accurate picture of my immediate location with distance in yards to the next manoeuvre.  Suffice to say the device is invaluable at times! We arrived I guess at around 11.30 and went to the reception. We were told it would be about a half-hour before we could collect the goods. The reason for that was due to the many other people there doing the same as us. Before anyone collects their goods they had to inspect them and sign to say they are satisfied that there is no damage. Fair enough but to do that the staff have to open everything and remove some items from their boxes then repack them once checked, hence the time spent waiting. In our case it turned out to be far longer than we had anticipated or had been told. It would be an hour and fifteen minutes before we finally were able to leave. We discovered that we had paid for a hand basin as well as the vanity unit base but hadn’t realised it when we ordered it items. The advertisement did not mention that the sink was included in the price! We were prepared to spend the £80 on just the base as that is all that we needed and at that price it was a bargain compared to what we had been quoted at Homebase which was more than £200! We may use the spare basin for our next project so all is not lost. Now it was 12.45 and we were both hungry. I had planned to surprise E by stopping off at a restaurant and this I did but I left it until we were nearer to home but still twelves miles out. I made a sudden turn into the car park of a restaurant we have visited a few times and off we went inside. It was reasonably empty now that it was approaching two o’clock and we were able to be seated straight away. We had been sitting for a mere two minutes waiting for our pre-dinner drinks when a small boy of around six years of age accompanied by his parents entered the room. He was complaining about something in a piercingly loud voice and seemingly in a bit of a tantrum. His parents were very calm about it all but lacked any willpower to chastise him allowing him to rant. Eventually he calmed down but during their meal and ours frequently made his presence known. All we wanted and I guess everyone else wanted was to be able to have a quite and relaxing meal. Personally I would have taken him outside and given him a dressing down for his misbehaviour but I wasn’t his parent. I loved my children (and still do of course) enough to chastise them when they were in the wrong and would never let them dictate to me how things were to be as this little fellow seemed to be doing. We arrive home after five o’clock and E went to collect her mum and take her to see our eldest son as it was his birthday on Sunday. I asked to go with her and she thought I might not wish to go so didn’t ask me. I was a little hurt and explained that he was my son too and I would like to see him. So I thought I would be going but as it turned out she left without me. Maybe that was for the best as her mum hasn’t spoken to me for more than eleven years even though on many occasions I have asked E to invite her along for lunch in the past to break the ice. E made excuses saying that  her mum always had lunch at twelve o’clock and refused to change her schedule whilst we dine out usually a little later at two o’clock. What can I say? I didn’t get to see my son on his birthday and although I could have driven there myself, it is only a three-mile journey, it wouldn’t have looked good for E with me not traveling in her car.

Shirley Anne

Not going to plan

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Sunday Morning

Sunday Morning Blues

Over the years E and I have had our problems just as many people do. The main reason we divorced was due to E’s attitude and lack of interest in our relationship, though E would be the last one to admit that. However, it is true. We still share the same house and home which was down to my suggesting we stay together. Our sons suggested we try to live together rather than go our own separate ways but the thought was already on my mind. So we made a go of it and things got better over the last few years though there have been periods when we have not spoken to each other and this has been due to E’s attitude and a refusal to apologise. I have been extremely patient though my feelings have been hurt many times and it has always been me who reached out to mend the rift, never E. Things have been exceptionally good between us over the last few months so it hurts me when again I am treated the way I was treated again on Sunday and I don’t like visiting places like this:

In dreams I wandered through the night
Content and locked away from all reality.
Mine was a hope not known when in my waking hours
Where only strife and pain grew strong
And hope was dashed to pieces
Like the rocky shore of some remote and lonely place
That bore the anger of the ceaseless waves
Bombarding day by day.
From all that could my spirit break
And yet not capable was I my fate to steer
I ventured out so bold and free from fear,
Such foolishness, but no, I held on tight
Till all my dream was gone,
Then I awoke reluctantly to face the dawn
And yet another day alone.

Copyright Shirley Anne 24 August 2004

But I find I am forced into them often by E.

I refuse to make an argument out of the stupid things E says to me or acts toward me so I beat a retreat and hope E will realise how hurt I am and offer an apology. That never happens though and it will be down to me once more to make peace. It isn’t as though these rifts are infrequent for they are not. Each time E hurts my feelings I forgive but I often wonder how long I can keep on doing that. My faith is the reason I do.

Matthew 18

21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?’

22 Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times but seven times seventy.

So E gets forgiven every time but I wished I didn’t have to forgive continuously. I wish E would have a change of heart and come to Jesus.

Shirley Anne

Some cheek!

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English: Level Crossing by Slack's Bridge Engi...

English: Level Crossing by Slack’s Bridge Engine Road leading to a small parking area by the Lode and three farms.

In my capacity as an electrician I come across some characters amongst my clients but by and large they are all nice people. Some of them are out to get a bargain and will haggle over the price and if I am in a good mood they might just get one! There have been one or two though who, having agreed a price with me before any work commenced then haggle over the price once I have finished! Now that just isn’t on. On the other hand there have been occasions whereby, through no fault of my own in setting a price, I find that the task was far more involved than I was given to believe. One such an occasion happened a few days ago but my client agreed that the extra work needed would be paid for as I couldn’t have known there was going to be a problem with the information he had given me over the phone. These things all come with the territory, however, there are some people who really do try it on. One evening a few days ago, quite late in the evening too, I received a phone call from a lady who lives about a half-mile away and she asked if I could install two light fittings for her. On discovering where she lived I asked about parking my vehicle as the front of her house faces a long paved pathway which runs alongside the railway tracks and some distance from the nearest road. The road itself is a no-parking area unless a parking place can be found in the designated parking bays some distance away. That is a problem in itself as the road runs through the main shopping area of our ‘village’ and finding a space can be difficult at the best of times. The house she lives in is one of many accessed via the same pathway behind which are other houses whose gardens back onto theirs, The fronts of these other houses face the road on which they are located but here and there are alleyways wide enough to take vehicles, some wide enough for two vehicles side by side located between them which give limited access to the rear of some of the houses facing the pathway but not all of them. This road is also a no-parking zone but has no parking bays along its length either. Unless there is access to the rear of a house located on the pathway it is impossible to park anywhere close-by. Back to this lady. When I asked about the parking facilities she said I could possibly park in the railway parking area located on the other side of the tracks facing her house as the authorities wouldn’t mind. Knowing my luck I would be penalised for parking there. I asked if there was access to the rear of her house and she said there was at one time but she had the gate removed and the access bricked up! No joy there then. The ‘unofficial’ parking zone alongside the railway involves walking a distance of a few hundred yards and across the level-crossing similar to the photograph above (if the gates are up) then down the path on her side of the tracks to her front door. Now you might think this should be taken in my stride but when you consider that I would have to carry a heavy toolbox and an extra-tall ladder (her house has high ceilings) it becomes a ridiculous request given that I am over 67 years of age and don’t need the hassle! This sort of work is best suited to two guys where one can drop off the materials and his mate at the house or as close as they can get and then go and park the vehicle or return when the job is complete. What was more annoying with this lady was the fact that she wasn’t able to be at the house during the day and asked if I could do the job in the evening! It turns out that she was selling the house and was having someone come and see it on Saturday and needed the lights fitting beforehand yet she couldn’t make the effort to find the time during the day to accommodate an electrician! Added to that she must have known days ago that she wanted  the job done. When I told her that I don’t work in the evenings and that it would be too dark to see what I was doing anyway she said she could make time in the morning. She asked how long the job would take and when I said allow one hour she asked if I could be there at 8 in the morning. I said I could be but this was before I realised where she lived. I explained my situation, that I only work part-time and I need my van to be reasonably close to any property that I work in case I need anything for the job and for carrying tools to and fro. I don’t want to go on a route march every time I want something! Telling her my age made her realise she was asking too much of me although in actual fact my age doesn’t stop me from doing jobs far more difficult than the one she was asking of me but I didn’t tell her that!

Shirley Anne

All my life but it changes

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Book Cover

Book Cover (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From a very early age we get into a routine, going to and from school at set times, having breakfast, lunch and evening meals at set times and of course going to bed and arising in the morning by the clock. Most of these habits follow us throughout our lives but it is only as we get older do we find the routines changing to suit our different circumstances and we find ourselves doing things out of habit because we are having to work to a schedule. Our schedules may change but our habits may not. Schedules are necessary if we are to conduct our lives in an orderly fashion. In our work it is imperative that we are at our station, whatever it is, at set times else everything becomes chaotic. If everyone working for a large or even a small organisation decided to ignore the schedule the business of that organisation would be almost impossible to conduct. There has to be a schedule. When self-employed there is still the necessity to conduct the business in the same way. With habits outside of any schedule it is a different matter although in certain circumstances bad habits can be just as detrimental to an otherwise efficient working system. Habitually getting up too late for work is one example as is not arriving on time for appointments. My own schedules have changed many times during my life to accommodate the different working situations I have found myself in. The good habits I have include getting into the new routine and quickly adjusting to it, another is being reliable. Routines become habitual and good habits are essential for any schedule to run smoothly. Our schedules run our lives but our habits, if bad, can ruin it all. When we retire from our working life we don’t need a schedule but we still do things out of habit.  Now however, we can change our habits to suit ourselves and not worry about any knock-on effects to any schedule.

Shirley Anne