Sunday, 25 January 2015

January days

I've lived long enough to know that January is a month that lasts far too long but it still seems to drag and we've had quiet days here in the penthouse.  We are still considering how to revamp our second bathroom, it doesn't have to be all singing all dancing as we'd rather put the bigger effort into the en suite when we eventually upgrade that but we would like it to be stylish with clean lines and quality fittings.  We should make more effort to visit displays in showrooms but it's January, we are sluggish.
I've been knitting of course but since I haven't had a craft fair stall for ages and no longer sell items via a local shop I am stock piling finished items. Still, it doesn't stop me knitting scarves.  A cable in some thick cream wool
 and a pretty candle flame pattern in a finer yarn.
Unfortunately there has been slight stash enhancement as I found 5 balls of this lovely Isle of Harris pure wool 4 ply in a charity shop.   In colours of the sea I am thinking of a pretty cowl, obviously I am desperate for even more neck wear.
Meantime Mr FF has blown his budget on an expensive new leather chair and footstool that perfectly match our big leather settee.  Just the spot to snooze away January, he's doing his best.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Time for a rant

We were never going to get very far into the new year before I needed to rant and it's poor customer service again.
Mid November last year I ordered some Origins toiletries to be delivered to Pam in Scotland for her birthday, I completed a gift tag on line, ticked for the free gift wrap and completed all the details.  I thought it was a bit odd when the billing address came up as Pam's because I thought that had to agree with the information on my credit card but when I phoned to clarify that Pam wouldn't be getting a bill they said everything was fine.
I didn't hear from Pam for about a week after her birthday when she phoned and mentioned she'd received a nice box of Origins products with no idea who it was from, I told her it was me and that I'd get in touch with them about the mistake, the box wasn't gift wrapped either.
I emailed and Origins replied offered to send me a gift tag and some wrapping paper, I felt they hadn't fully understood the problem or my disappointment and got back to them.  Then they said I had paid less than the normal price for the product, not paid any extra for the tag or wrapping (which were offered free) and so it was fair enough that they hadn't fulfilled my order properly. This made me even crosser so I asked for my complaint to be dealt with at a higher level and suggested I should receive some compensation.  There was a string of emails, at least a dozen in total, mostly saying we can only apologise, not their usual standard etc, each response from a different person.  I got so cross that eventually I phoned and spoke to a lady who insisted on calling me 'my love', agreed it was annoying, confirmed I had ordered a tag and gift wrap.  She would look into it and phone me back, which she did saying that having checked the emails no one had been rude to me (I never suggested they had) so they wouldn't be offering any compensation.  I said they only had to stick a bar of soap in the post with a letter of apology and I'd have been happy, as it is I won't be shopping with them again.   I really don't like this attitude and I won't support companies who explain away their mistakes as 'human error', say that the mistake happened in the warehouse and they are not responsible for that. Now that I live within walking distance of shops I shall not be ordering online so much as I've experienced several problems recently and because I want to do what I can to shop locally and maintain our high street.   I won't buy Origins in store either which is a shame as I do like their products, it's their attitude to customers that stinks.

Thursday, 1 January 2015


Obviously this isn't going to be some deep post full of reflections, resolutions and thoughts for the future but our first Christmas and New Year in our apartment have been quite special.  Who'd have thought a year ago that in 12 months we would part with our dream house, our lovely garden and approximately half of our worldly possessions.  It certainly felt good out on our balcony at the end of 2014 watching the fireworks going off around the town and on the moors.  I'm feeling positive that we have made the right decision to come here.  
Every time we go out and come home to this beautiful old building I get a thrill and now that we seem to have met all the other residents I am delighted to live amongst such pleasant people.  Maybe I do need to up my game a bit, the ladies here are all so glamorous while I hardly remember to wear my earrings let alone apply make up before I venture out.  In fact on occasions I have felt the need to change my clothes before I could go down to collect our post from the hall in case I met anyone.  Must try harder, but not today.  We are chilling, Mr FF is recovering from his man flu and up to watching a bit of recorded tv, candles are lit, the fire if glowing, we are cosy.  I'm not normally an optimist, but let's just see what 2015 brings.
The Tour comes to Ilkley
The only thing making me cross today which I must mention is the fact that Gary Verity, the Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive responsible for bringing the Tour de France to Yorkshire last year, received absolutely no recognition in the New Year's honours list.  Disgraceful, after our move the Tour was the most significant event in our year, it did nothing but good for the region including our little town.   Don't blame me if Yorkshire starts seeking independence after this, we already have our own flag and our own tea and practically our own language.
Happy New Year to you all from lovely if slightly snubbed Yorkshire.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Happy Christmas - it was

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and are continuing the festivities. We had a last minute panic waiting for the gas man to fix our fire before we could travel off to deliver presents.  If he couldn't come on the 23 December we would be waiting until after 05 January but it all worked out and we spent a peaceful Christmas in our new home, complete with fully operational fire.
Mr FF and I were concerned that we'd have to up the budget this year but with only slight overspending on his part we managed to produce a £5 stocking for each other.  His contained only one sock as I didn't finish the second until Boxing Day but I did find a 500g bag West Yorkshire Spinners grey dk in a charity shop that will produce several pairs of socks or scarves.  
I also found him some lovely charity postcards depicting stages of this years Tour de France through Yorkshire and a book that might help him in his current quest for the perfect pork pie.  
He gave me some face cream that I was a bit dubious about but a google search gave good reviews and since the jar is unopened I'll give it a try.  He found me a dvd in the charity shop but unfortunately Moulin Rouge isn't a film I planned to see again, though looking at the tv listings over the next few days I might and long nights in Italy without UK telly, possibly I will get that desperate.
We had a sociable time over the holiday, invited round by neighbours on Christmas Eve morning and then again on Christmas Day, champagne and snacks and chat followed by a walk on the moor, parcel opening and cooking, the day flew by.
So now we are taking it easy, fellow inmates have gone for a walk round Bolton Abbey but Mr FF is a bit snuffly in a man flu way and staying home.  Pity it looks gorgeous from the lounge windows.
And its pretty inside too these little characters appeared on the landing outside one of the lower apartments, they make me smile every time I see them.  

Monday, 15 December 2014

Mind the gap

Mr FF took the 6 am train on Saturday back to East Lothian for a walk followed by a meal with his now ex Scottish walking group.  I thought it was all a bit ambitious myself, I think his return train left around 6.30 pm and he expected to be home around 11.  I have much experience of Mr FF and travel gone wrong so I wasn't that surprised to receive an email early evening saying he had missed the train, was staying overnight in Scotland and would speak to me later.  This is what happened.
He was at the station waiting for his return train, positioned on the correct part of the platform for his carriage when the train arrived, marked as destination Birmingham.  He wasn't 100% sure that this was the train he wanted and further confused when it travelled past him and stopped a good distance down the platform.  So he legged it to the waiting train by which time a couple of guards had appeared and they confirmed the train stopped at Leeds. Unfortunately the train doors had closed before he got down the platform, he explained it was his train and could they open the doors please.  No chance, once closed the doors don't open again so he couldn't get on board and the last train for his connections pulled away.
Mr FF asked why the platform was marked with waiting areas but the train travelled beyond them, it was a shorter train of course.  Apparently there were notices in the station explaining this could happen but because it was dark they were not visible.
But the best bit was when he asked why there had been no public announcement about the train's destination and stopping points when it arrived. It seems the station has had to reduce the number of announcements it makes as they are a health and safety issue.  This is somewhat beyond me but it does give me hope that the number of Christmas tunes playing in the shops might also come under the same legislation soon.
Poor Mr FF, totally unprepared for an overnight, stayed with friends and arrived home late yesterday afternoon, using a circuitous route with many changes whilst clutching a note from the station guard in Scotland explaining the situation and giving him permission to travel at no extra cost.
I have suggested he gives travel on public transport a rest for a while and consider more local walks, he's taking the bus for his walk next week but it's not that far away and if the worst happens he can walk home.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Our halls are decked

Yesterday morning there was much manly activity in the hall of our building as the Christmas tree went up.  Mr FF was there to give engineering input and very lovely it all is too. 
The final touches were added today, I am feeling quite festive which may be down to the lack of responsibility.  The decorations are excellent, completely in scale with such a grand building and can be enjoyed by all the inmates.   The tree can be seen from the entrance 

or looked down on from the internal windows and landings, 

and the basement decorations can be admired from above 
 or as you pass by on the way to the car park

There are two of these pretty wreaths in the entrance hall opposite our mail boxes
Its all quite magnificent, excellent work management committee and Santa's little helpers.

Monday, 1 December 2014

You haven't seen me

Spotted on one of our afternoon walks around the environs.  A heron in the Wharf, beautiful and so well blended.