Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Dear Courier Company...You have annoyed me

When you are delivering a package to me, please ensure that you ring my doorbell once.  Just the once will do you see. I am not deaf.  Your delivery is not a matter of life and death.

This is an increasing irritation to me and is something that seems to be happening now every time I get a bloody delivery.

It goes something like this:


All in the space of less than 10 seconds.  You see, I think that someone has collapsed in the street and you are racing for my attention to see if I can help with CPR as it's an emergency.

Instead I am greeted - today - by a UPS delivery driver asking me to sign for a neighbours parcel.  I raced downstairs wondering what the hell had happened and what the emergency was at my front door from all the banging and doorbell ringing, and it was just some knob of a courier who wanted me to sign for some shit for someone else.  It wasn't even my fucking parcel!

So, the next time you do this, I will shout out of my bedroom window to see what you want and tell you to ring the doorbell once only.  If the package isn't for me - fuck off!

Monday, 22 June 2015

No feedback on eBay?

What is going on?  Ebay is built on buyer and seller feedback but I'm seeing a new trend.  It seems that many sellers just aren't bothering to leave feedback for their buyers.  Some it seems have been regularly selling for years and yet the last feedback they've left their buyers was from over a year ago but still buyers are leaving feedback for these people. This irks me.

When I sell an item, I leave my buyers feedback immediately.  After all, they have made a purchase from me and paid promptly. Why should I withhold feedback from these people?  So, to me it is simple. You have bought. You have paid. You shall receive feedback (a bit Knight's Tale there huh?).

However, as a buyer it's a different story completely.  It seems I need to (a) leave feedback before I receive it or (b) not get any feedback from a lazy-arse seller even if I have left them some.

I have therefore made a decision.  If feedback is so bloody important to sellers, then leave me, your buyer, feedback as soon as you can after I've paid.  That way I will happily give you feedback. No feedback from you, no feedback from me - unless it's negative as I'll happily give you that if you've tried to rip me off or sent me shoddy goods!

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Pirbright Scarecrow Festival

Today we headed up to the Pirbright Scarecrow Festival.  We'd seen Humpty Dumpty a few weeks before so the girls were looking forward to it. We decided to get there at 10.30am even though it didn't open until 11 officially and I'm glad we did.  It was already getting busy.  Well organised and plenty of free parking available.  We were going to pick up a geocache at the church as we went past but then realised that the location was where the Cadets had left their rucksacks - probably not ideal to start rummaging around their equipment!
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The scarecrows were lovely and the girls really enjoyed seeing them. They spotted that Bo Peep's sheep were scattered around but I suggested we left them like that and they were having fun spotting them all hiding.
We then headed to the pony rides and the girls had their first ever ride on a horse.  They were both a little bit nervous beforehand and each wanted the tiniest ponies there were. When it came to it though, they picked quite big ones.  Did they enjoy it? Yes, it was brilliant and the people doing it were excellent with them. N had 3 girls with her as she was a bit tiny on the horse and one was holding on gently to her top (the girl very sweetly asked if it was ok to do this before they set off).  S was looking a bit anxious as she sat on her horse but was soon all smiles.
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We then headed over to the bouncy slide where we paid for 3 slides for £2.  However, it was quiet and the chap running it said they could just carry on having goes.  They must have had about 30 goes in the end!  Chips followed along with poor old hubby getting a burger then having to go back to the stand to ask for two buns with no burger for the girls.  An odd request but kindly granted (he gave them £1 for them anyway).
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Having eaten, we looked around the stands where hubby spotted a Jam CD that he was after. A quick check on Amazon revealed it was very well priced so we grabbed it and headed off for the usual tombola and lucky dips.  The 'hook-a-frog' was so sweet for little ones with a guaranteed win for your 50p which delighted N and S too.  Now everyone had a prize as hubby had won a couple of bottles of drink too, although I'm not sure that he really will drink chocolate liqueur no matter how many times he tells me he drank it before in his youth.
Finally an ice cream to round off the day and we headed back.  
But first the girls picked up some of Bo Peep's sheep as other people were now doing this too.  Bo seemed to have all her sheep back by the time we left.
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On leaving the car park we were told to turn left and keep going. At the junction I turned left again.  15 minutes later we arrived back to almost where we had started having visited Mychett, Ash and Worplesdon on our way!  A great few hours out despite the odd few minor showers of rain.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Exams done. Now relax

My eldest daughter, J, has just sat her very last GCSE exam today. In fact, at 10am this morning I got a text "DONE.  FRICKING DONE". I think I can surmise from that that she is rather happy about being finished with school.  I'm sure by lunchtime she'll have ripped up or burnt her blazer!

No more revision.  No more worrying (for a while at least). We can all relax now for eleven blissful weeks of summer holidays.  Then it's off to 6th Form for her when the hard work for A Levels starts again.  She's decided on 6th Form rather than college as she admits "I need someone to push me along a bit mum and make me do the homework" and she considered college may let her get away with too much.  At least she's honest!
However, she's far more excited about the fact that she won't have to wear uniform any more and can colour her hair and wear earrings. These are the things that she lives for when it comes to school. She's done well at secondary complying with the 'rules' but she's a bit like me (well, a lot actually) and thinks that some rules just don't make sense. How can wearing a pair of earrings (banned at her school completely would you believe) affect your dedication to your school work?  Why would having redder hair (she got excluded until we dyed it back to her natural brown - so less than a day missed, but still...) affect how you studied.  I agreed but sadly rules is rules.  Glad my school were far more lapse.
She's hoping to go on to university to study either veterinary science or zoology so we're keeping everything crossed for her GCSEs as they are an important step on that path.  She has revised a lot but has also not spent every waking moment doing it. I'm glad that she put a lot of effort in but I'm equally glad that she didn't spend her entire life engrossed in books trying to get the grades. There's too much pressure (often from parents) for young people to do nothing but revise.  Having time out to relax, meet friends, play a video game or watch some TV is equally important.  Those brain cells need some refreshing - I can vouch for that as I'm currently in the 2nd year of my PhD!  But for now we'll relax.
Results come at the end of August and I know she's going to be nervous about them.  Some exams she felt went really well. Some not so good.  You can never tell though can you.  She's done her best and I'm very proud of her, no matter what the grades.  I'm sure she'll have done well to get her place at 6th Form as her predicted grades were all in the A/A* level so now it's just a waiting game.

Not only is this a major milestone for J, but also for N.  She finishes at her current school on 8th July and is off to join S at her school, starting in Reception in September. She's very excited but also a bit sad that her best friend will be staying at their existing school.  I have reassured her that she can still see her for play dates and on her birthday but what has amazed me is the bond these two little people have formed.  It's equal on both sides and has astounded her friend's parents too.  They became best friends at age 3 and love each other to bits.  I'll do all I can to ensure they still see each other and I'm sure the other mum will too.
We are going to have a lot of fun in the summer holidays.  Lots of days out planned to go to wildlife parks, seaside, Camden market (naturally) and lots of other fun stuff to enjoy the break. 

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Competitive birthday cakes for kids?

I'm seeing a new trend among parents - competitive birthday cakes.  What is going on?  I've just been told by someone I know at a school that suggestion my children enjoy a Sainsburys birthday cake is wrong! She says that once you have had a cake from a 'proper baker' everything else is "shit".  Nice.  Sadly for her, my children do not agree.  In fact, their favourite ever cake that I could make them for their birthdays is one from a mix!  Yes, Betty Crocker's Chocolate Fudge Cake is their ultimate birthday cake. Forget your jam sponge, give them fudge cake any time.

So I started to wonder.  Competitive parties seem to have gradually faded away I'm delighted to say.  Competitive party bags - well, where do I start?  So now it seems that the cake has to be so full of imagery and so heavily laden with icing, nothing else will do.  Gone is the pink fairy castle or Frozen doll cake.

So old hat now? (Pinterest)

Everyone's done it (Pinterest)
Now everyone wants a Lego cake!  Or do they?  Just doing a search for 'Lego cake' throws up hundreds of varients so the cake that trended is certainly not a first in this line.  Seems it has been done many times before in many different ways.

Retweeted on Twitter
So what next for your little one's birthday? How about a lifesize, and lifelike sleeping puppy to cut into on their birthday?

Found on Pinterest
Or perhaps you want to show your undying love for your wife on her birthday by having your heads on a plate - literally!  What a nice picture that will be for the family album.

How pretty...not! (Link)
The question also is, how much do these things cost?  Do people now look at a simply iced sponge cake with candles and think 'cheapskate'?  Worrying isn't it.  Having been called a 'meany' for not wanting to get involved with this doesn't bother me.  I know what my children like and if you don't like my cake, don't have any. Simples!

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Lazy day...well, not really

It's been a funny old day so far. I had to pop to university to hand in some paperwork to prove my right to work in the UK. I would think being a UK citizen would be sufficient but clearly it's not any more. I have found a job at uni you see - yay me!  I'm very excited about it and hope to start soon (now the paperwork can be processsed).

I got home and sorted out getting my car into the bodyshop as it was hit last Wednesday in Bisley. Fortunately the company that owned the van have been very accommodating and they've settled the claim with me directly.  This was good for us both as they didn't have to pay their huge excess and I wasn't in danger of my old SAAB being written off by my insurance company.  The bumper has basically been knocked out of alignment but due to some metal ridging, I just can't get it back in.  The experts need to sort this one out.

I do love driving a SAAB. They are built like tanks and you certainly feel pretty safe in one when you see the way other, newer car makes crumble at the tiniest bump.

It's only when you start wearing your summer dresses that you suddenly realise you need a new bra isn't it.  Or is that just me?  My summer wear is a little more plunge than my winter wear so sadly my lovely new bras all popped out which isn't really ideal on the school run and nor did I want a pashmina around my shoulders in the sunshine.  So off to town to pick up a new plunge bra I went.  I'm pleased to say there was a lot of choice in Debenhams so I'm now a happy summer lady.

Our local radio station were in Woking playing some tunes and it gave me the opportunity to pick up a sticker.  You never know, I may even win £50 of fuel!

I also noticed that Woking now has two statues either side of the canal of cricketing brothers.  Quite nice they are too to look at as you cross the bridge.

I've arranged a family dental visit and am trying to change a hospital appointment. As you can see it's all go today!  This basically means that I actually feel like I've done nothing 'important' at all today and all the things I planned to do...well, I've given up on those.  Tomorrow will be a better day for proper stuff I'm sure.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

RIB...it with Seadogz

No, it's not a frog thing, it was hubby's Christmas present from the girls.  A ride in a RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) for an hour in Southampton with Seadogz.

Picture from Seadogz website
We arrived and hubby met the crew of the RIB whilst I got the girls and I some drinks.  We relaxed for a while before he set off for his safety briefing and got his life vest.  I watched him disappear but for some reason (possibly due to the amount of toilet breaks the girls needed) I didn't get to see him go out.

Ready to go
He said it was a fantastic experience. Once they had cleared the marina, the pilot put "Who let the dogs out" on the audio system and opened it up. Apparently they spent more time out of the water than on it!  He loved every minute and said it gave his legs a good work out too as you're kind of bouncing on your legs and leaning like you do on a motorbike as the boat is moving.

Great crew he told me and lots of interesting facts as they went along, overtaking just about everything out there.  The crew also took quite a few pictures which they upload to Flickr and visitors are free to download their pictures.  Isn't that fantastic?!

Hubby is furthest away, on left

The girls and I had gone to try and find a geocache (unsuccessfully) when S spotted him coming back in again.

A fantastic day out for him. He said I'd love it too.  Recommend Seadogz and have done a review for them on TripAdvisor which you can find here.

All the photos above are from the Flickr page of Seadogz - thank you for putting them up for us.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Yarn Bombing

Spotted these wonderful pieces of yarn bombing (is that what it's called?) in Cookham Village, Berkshire a few weeks ago.  Aren't they lively.

They must have taken a lot of work  I've seen them on bridges too and other odd places.  If there's ever a craze that's 'cute' this must be it.

Can anyone tell me how long these lovely pieces were there for? I hope lots of people got to enjoy them.  By the way, even the little flower pots and flowers were knitted!

Monday, 1 June 2015

Playground without a view

There is a nice new playground opened up by Woking Leisure Centre which we went to try out the other day.  Sand, great slides, seating, swings and climbing frame.  Sounds idyllic doesn't it. However, I suspect the person who planned this whole thing is a mid-twenties man with no children.  Why?  Well, it has just too many places you can't see your children. It also has too many entry/exit points (behind the bits you can't see your children) and they also suspected that children would use the steps to one side of the slides rather than the grass - well, dirt now, bit the other side on a steep hill.  Another nice touch are the boulders at the base of a little steep bit of path.

Now, don't get me wrong, I lived in the days when all we had under our swings and monkey bars was good, hard concrete.  If you fell off, you hurt yourself.  You therefore tried not to fall off again but it didn't stop us playing on the equipment. Our playground was not enclosed.  We often walked in or landed on a pile of dog poo - and yes, it was as unpleasant then as it is now. So, as you can see, I'm used to a bit of danger around so I wondered if I'm too concerned about some of these things? My girls love the playground.  Despite our protestations, they ran up (and slipped a bit on) the steep hill to get to the two whizzy slides.  They loved the big round swing, and tried to climb up that weird frame that they have at these places (clearly designed for much older children than would use the playground as they just don't have small enough spaces between the ropes for young children to reach - so they wandered into the spiders web!) and they even tried the pointless tree climbing (4 'steps' screwed on to a pole pretending to be a tree). They had fun.

So, my big gripe is the amount of gates and lack of vision.  It's fine if there are two of you, but not if you're on your own and your children want to do two different things (as you could hear from the protests of many children there being told to 'stay with little Johnnie here as I can't see you other there'.

So, next time you're planning a playground. Ask the people who know what makes a good design - the parents!