Saturday, February 23, 2008

Saturday Photo Hunt - Wooden

To participate in the Hunt, please go here.

Looking through my albums for inspiration I find that I have a 'thing' for tree trunks:

A very, very, very, very old olive tree in Madeira

Horse Chestnut at Stourhead

Trees in a park near Whistler, Vancouver, Canada

Grandson Thomas standing in a VERY tall tree trunk, near Whistler, Vancouver, Canada

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Washday Blues

Bleedin' Gums Murphy: The blues isn't about feeling better. It's about making other people feel WORSE, and making a few bucks while you're at it - The Simpsons (1989)

Recently I bought a new American washing machine, very similar to the one pictured above. I was very, very happy about it all because, ever since we stayed at our friends' place in Florida, I have lusted after one of these babies. (That last sentence will give you some indication as to how old I am because any woman who gets turned on by an electrical appliance has GOT to be getting on in years. Only old people and newlyweds think that a gift of something useful is OK!) Anyway, I was doubly excited because I'd also bought an excellent drier to go with it:Now, being American, these wonderful machines are LARGE and HEAVY. I ordered them online (saving about £100!) but that meant we had to get them in place and install them ourselves. Please note, that when I say 'we' in this case it means 'husband doing all the work while I hold things and give advice'. A couple of days later, after getting adaptors for hoses and pipes, altering plumbing, adjusting worktops and much grumpiness from husband and guilt from me, both monsters were in place (just), working beautifully and I am very, very happy.

At least I was until this morning when I thought I'd better complete the guarantee forms that come with my new toys, just in case they get sick and have to have very expensive doctors to fix them. I filled in my name, address and purchase details and then it said:

Model and Serial Number. Please APPLY the sticker from the back of this warranty booklet in the box below.

If you cannot find the barcode sticker, please enter your appliance model and serial number.

Of course, as is usual for me these days, there is no sticker on the back of the washing machine booklet. And guess where the Model and Serial Numbers are???? That's right, on the bottom right hand corner of the back of the machine. Which is standing like a monolith in the utility room with a dryer of equal proportions next to it, immovable and vast.

But it's the same with all cumbersome electrical goods, isn't it? You scrabble about on the floor setting up your computer, or printer, or TV, etc., etc., something goes wrong, you ring up 'technical support' and they say: 'What's the serial number?' And there you are scrabbling on the floor again to try to see this number printed ALWAYS in the tiniest font available and placed in the most inaccessible place that someone in the factory could think of.

Think I'll fill these forms in tomorrow.

Monday, February 18, 2008

I couldn't have done it without....................

The above award has just been presented to me by the lovely pt - just in time for Mother's Day!

Thanks, Pete.

I'm passing it on to Chuckie ('cos he's cuddly, Scroblene ('cos we haven't talked for a long time) and Delmonti ('cos he's in hospital and it's for when he comes out).

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Saturday Photo Hunt - Free

To participate in the Hunt please go here.

OK - so it's way past Saturday. The 'free' link is a bit tenuous too. But following are a few pictures from the Ottershaw Players' very recent and ongoing production of Pleasure Island, during which we gave away FREE pirate hats!

This effort also shows the reason why my blogging has been non-existent recently. All of my waking hours have been spent selling tickets, making/organising costumes, organising fish & chips and stuff. But it was all worthwhile. This weekend's shows have been an outstanding success, considered by those who know to be 'one of the best' in the entertaining and very rude world of 'The Farrago', an annual event put on by the Players. Which just goes to show how filthy some of the people of Surrey are!

Two more shows next weekend then a bit of a rest until Lord Arthur Savile's Crime in the early summer.

If this has whetted your appetite, there are loads more photos on my Flickr link on the sidebar.

Enjoy! (I did):

(Does anyone recognise this chap??)

Also, although I've seen this show countless times over the past few weeks, it still makes me laugh out loud!!!!!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Laugh Out Loud 1 - Scatty Cats

It's not often that I laugh out loud 'cos I'm a grumpy old cynic these days. I have a good sense of humour but contain my expressions of amusement to smiling, chuckling or laughing-out-loud-inwardly (so that nobody notices). Sometimes, however, I see or hear something which produces a sort-of involuntary Laugh Out Loud. So I've decided that, whenever this happens, I'm going to tell you about it.


Today it's happened twice already (some sort of record?). First of all an item in the Sunday newspaper told us that the cargo of a ship floundering in the stormy seas 200 miles off the coast of Southern Ireland contained fruit bound for the warehouses of Del Monte, a large fruit and vegetable supplier here in the UK. As some of you may know, that lovely chap Pete was very recently 'let go' by this company who weren't particularly generous in their procedures in doing so! So when I read that their bananas were floating about in the Irish Sea it made me laugh out loud.

And then this, courtesey of Sarge Charlie containing some very funny images, some of which made me laugh out loud :

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Saturday Photo Hunt - Narrow

Just about Saturday here in the UK.

Luckily the roads shown here in Madeira aren't as narrow as they look. But look how narrow that column is that's supporting one of them!

Still in Madeira, this narrow-bodied lizard was caught sunning him/herself in one of Funchal's beautiful gardens.

And finally this narrowboat has stopped for a rest on the Basingstoke Canal near Brookwood in Surrey.

Join the Photo Hunt here.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

ABC Wednesday - B for Brookwood

Very late this one; very, very busy day.

I love cemeteries and the older the better. Not too many miles from where I live is Brookwood Cemetery and I wrote this about it for the Saturday Photo Hunt in September of last year:

This is a picture I took on a visit to Brookwood Cemetery last weekend. The cemetery was opened in Victorian times specifically for the purpose of burying London's dead, due to lack of space in the capital's graveyards. Trains ran from Waterloo Station directly into the cemetery and this length of railway track is taken from the original line. The cemetery is a wonderful, peaceful place with lots of grand examples of Victorian 'over-the-top' splendour. Now it is a multi-cultural burial site, serving many different religions and races. The American Military section was used for the final scene in the 1976 film The Omen. There is also a section which contains a monastery, home to the Saint Edward Brotherhood. This was established in 1982 to prepare and care for the church in which the sacred relics of Saint Edward the Martyr, King of England, are enshrined. A small community of monks hold daily services, joined on Sundays and weekdays by a number of Orthodox believers residing in the area.

And here are some pictures:

Sorry it's a bit of a cheat. Just didn't have time to be creative!!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Saturday Photo Hunt - Old Fashioned

Go on -join in. Just click here.

My offering this week is, once more, taken from the photo archives of the Ottershaw Players:

Firstly we have scenes from Dickens' A Christmas Carol - fairly old-fashioned, I think.

Scrooge counting his money

Bob Cratchit

A young Ebenezer Scrooge and fiancee

Next we have some Sherlock Holmes shots; a little bit later (and in a lighter vein) but still 'old fashioned'.

Show night at the Ottershaw Empire

Watson & Holmes



Great fun for EVERYONE!

Happy Saturday Photo Hunt, everybody.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

ABC Wednesday

Thanks to Siani I thought I'd give this a try so here goes.......

These lady archers are standing on the roof of a very impressive building in Tenerife.

This archer is not as glamorous but an angel in my eyes!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


And I'm making a long coat for Long Dong Goldstein & a cloak for Blind Phew!!!

PS Sorry about my last post's font. Tried to change it but it wouldn't work.

Here we go again......

Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don't turn up at all. - Sam Ewig

No sooner have I caught up on things neglected for the past few months than along comes another show for the Ottershaw Players to perform and more costumes, ticket sales, etc., etc. are needed. This time it's
Pleasure Island, based (loosely, very loosely!) on our Christmas production of Treasure Island so you'd think that the costuming would be a doddle, wouldn't you? Well, you'd be wrong. Pleasure Island is our (sometimes) annual Farrago, an adult show, very rude, very funny and great fun for cast, crew and audience alike. If I tell you that my jobs for today are altering a pair of black leather , laced up the sides trousers for a character called 'Black Puss' and putting a flap on the behind of a pair of long johns on which the treasure map will be pinned, this for a character called Billy Boner, then you'll get the picture. Nudge, nudge... wink, wink.

Well, must go. Need some strong coffee to get to grips with it all.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Saturday Photo Hunt - Important

Haven't done this for ages so I'm very much out of practise but here goes:

These are pictures of a statue (known as the Copper Horse) of George the Third of Great Britain, dressed as a Roman Emperor) who was considered very important because he was a king. It was during his reign that the United States of America and the United Kingdom were formed and those two events were certainly important to all concerned. Unfortunately, he eventually went mad.

The statue stands on the summit of Snow Hill in Windsor Great Park at the end of the Long Walk, which leads down to Windsor Castle, home to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the Second, a Very Important Person indeed.

Windsor Castle itself is a very important building because it's the largest, oldest inhabited castle in the world, dating back to the time of William the Conqueror in the 11th century. The picture here is not at all important because it was taken on a very cold and misty day and is absolute rubbish!

Happy Photo Hunting!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Service with a smile?.....You'll be lucky!!!!

Why is it that people who work in 'service' industries (shop assistants, restaurant staff, helplines, etc.) find it so difficult to actually give a service? Or if they do fulfil their obligations, as described in their job description, they do so with such bad grace and, sometimes, downright rudeness. Examples follow:

  • On Christmas Eve I was shopping for a few last minute things in Tesco when I needed to be directed to wherever it was they kept the tomato juice. I'd looked in all the (to me) obvious places (mixers, fruit juices) but couldn't find it. Now, I know that I'm past my best and my brain isn't quite as sharp as it used to be and I knew that this elusive juice would be in a pretty obvious place (obvious, that is, to everyone except me) but I did expect a more 'helping old ladies across the road' attitude than the one I got, which was aggressive, rude and totally uncalled for. It's not as if it was halfway through the day and the store was extremely busy (this was approximately 5.30am and not all that many customers around) and I didn't interrupt this individual from building a festive pyramid of Christmas puddings in order to take me by the hand and lead me around the store. I just asked, very politely, 'Excuse me, please could you tell me where the tomato juice is?' His response was to roar 'WHAAAT??' whereupon I meekly repeated my request. With much eye rolling and waving of fingers he replied 'Over there' in a tone that indicated he was obviously dealing with a moron. Put me in a bad mood for the rest of the day.
  • During my enforced absence from blogging I had the misfortune to lose my internet connection . All of the hardware, etc seemed to be in good working order so I assumed that the problem was with my service provider, (oh no, not again) Tesco. Obviously Tesco have a central charm training school to which they send all of their employees regardless of their role in that great and glorious conglomerate. However, in this section of their world domination, they charge you 50p/minute for their employees to be rude and unhelpful. The very lovely Pete was my advisor and mentor for this unwanted, hugely inconvenient disruption to my life (bills to be paid, emails and blogs to read) and he had spent 30 minutes talking to them without a result so add to it the 20 minutes or so that it took me to work out that they didn't intend to be of any use and there's £25's worth of no help and frustration. Anyway, it got fixed in the end (thanks, Pete) but don't it make you mad.
  • Yesterday went out to lunch with Jo and Thomas. Ok, so it was a Harvester but it's only up the road and they have a 'help yourself' salad bar and Thomas likes it. All was reasonably OK (apart from the waitress dropping a knife on David's beer thereby depositing huge chunks of glass in it and then having to be asked to replace the drink) but then I thought I'd finish on a nice cup of coffee. Costa coffee was the brand advertised in the menu so I was envisaging a good rich, dark brown, aromatic drink. When it came the 'rich, dark brown' part wasn't obvious and a small doubt began to creep into my head. It was too hot to taste, right then, so I watched Thomas devour his double chocolate brownie sundae, relishing every morsel with him, whilst I waited for it to cool. When I eventually brought the cup to my lips the first thing that struck me was that it didn't actually smell of anything. So that was the 'aromatic' bit gone. Then I sipped it; I swear that if it was Costa coffee it was diluted with about 2 gallons of hot water! The manager happened to be passing so I explained my problem and he carried it off muttering something about it all coming out of the same pot but soon returned with a fresh cup. This, I'm sorry to say, looked very similar to the previous one and, on tasting, tasted exactly the same. We weren't charged but there was no apology just the the assumption that I was being unreasonable for not liking their undrinkable coffee.
So..... why can't these people be trained to say 'sorry' to the customer, even if they think they are right. It defuses any potential confrontation and costs nothing. More importantly, why can't companies INSIST that their employees are polite. Would make life so much more pleasant.