D4D

Improving sarcasm for thirty years

Archive for the category “Domestic”

Being A Bad Customer

Over the last couple of months, I’ve been wondering whether I’m a bad customer, whether I expect too much from people. I’ve had a bundle of things where companies have let me down, haven’t done what was expected, and have generally been pretty shit. Nothing major or world-changing, but just constant niggling let-downs and stuff that should be easy, but isn’t.

I’ve been thinking about it a lot, and particularly those supposedly high expectations – and I still don’t know the answer for sure.

Really though, all I actually expect is for people to do their damn jobs. I don’t ask for some kind of higher-level of things, just to be able to do the bloody job they’re paid for. I assume (and I know that it’s an error, because I’ve worked with too many fuckknuckle shitheads who can’t do their own jobs) that they should be capable.

  • I believe that a delivery company should deliver the package to where it’s addressed, on the day they’ve said they’ll deliver it.
  • I believe that a bank, when I’ve called them, should know who I am, and be able to put me through to my bank manager without asking who that manager is
  • I believe that a recovery company should be able to find a house, and fix a car
  • I believe that my business’s accountants should do things when I ask (or do them proactively) rather than saying “Oh, you don’t need to worry yet, the deadline’s not ’til September”
  • and a bundle of other stuff besides.

But really, I just expect – and hope – that people do their jobs, regardless.

Is that too much to ask?

Long Week

So far, it’s felt like a very long – and really quite unproductive – week in many ways.

I was away over the weekend, and while driving back on Sunday, the car died on me near Leeds. No power-steering, idiot-lights galore – and all while travelling at 80-ish in the outside lane of the M1. That definitely focusses the mind somewhat.

I got over to the hard shoulder immediately, and stopped. Called my insurance company – who also do the recovery part – and got it organised. I knew it was 99.9% likely to need recovery, so they sorted it out and that all went really smoothly. They’d predicted up to 90 minutes before the recovery got there, and they turned up within half an hour.

Apparently, I got lucky – my recovery part includes “Get me home”, rather than the more standard “nearest garage, and then pay through the nose for anything else” policy. So I got one truck that took me back to Milton Keynes in one go (no Relay crap either, thankfully) and dropped the car off at the Saab garage locally, and then I got a cab home. Not cheap, but could’ve been so much worse.  According to the recovery driver, if it’d been the normal policy, it would’ve cost me around £500 to get the car home…  I broke down at 1.30, and was back in Milton Keynes at 6.00, and home by 7.00.  Not at all bad, all things considered.

While I was waiting to be picked up, I’d also organised a replacement hire car – which also reminds me yet again how great smartphones and apps can be, sat by the side of a motorway booking a hire car – that I collected on Monday before heading off to Chesham to be on-site again.  All fine. Hassle-filled, but fine.

After doing a bundle of driving and so on, I got home about 9pm, and parked up.

And on the Tuesday, by 7am the battery was completely flat and the hire car wouldn’t start at all. Cue a three-hour farce with the AA not sending anyone when they said they would, and making an utter bollock of the entire process. Not helped by using the hire-firm as an intermediary (although they handled it fine, it was just the AA being useless) but still. I finally got sorted at mid-day.

So yes, it took the AA three hours to find a known address and fix the problem (Epically flat battery, although we don’t yet know why – apparently Fiat couldn’t find any issues with it) where it only took four-and-a-half for another company to find me on a motorway, and drive 180-ish miles. Safe to say, I won’t be putting any money in the AA’s direction any time soon.

Along the way, the Saab was fixed on the Monday – the power-steering belt, which also powers a number of other bits, had snapped, and it was just that part which required replacement. So, a bill of £85 all-in, including VAT, labour and parts. Could’ve been *so* much worse…

The rest of the week has just been busy and ridiculous, and doesn’t really feel like it’s stopped at all. With luck it’ll ease up now for the weekend – but then, this is me, so what’re the chances?  Low-to-sod-all , I’d say…

Shakespearean Reservations

As I alluded to in a previous post, I currently have some reservations about the Shakespeare plays I’ve seen.  Admittedly, I don’t have a great depth of knowledge on the subject, and I’m pretty new to it all, so I may revise these thoughts at some point. Anyway, it’s based on the current state of things – and I’m seeing a lot more over the next year, so we’ll see.

Anyway.

At the moment, while I enjoy seeing the plays, I do find myself thinking that they’re a bit… am-dram. Hamlet with Benedict Cumberbatch had (in my opinion) quite a weak cast, Cumberbatch excepted. No-one else was up to scratch – I saw it twice, once live at the Barbican, and once at the cinema from much further into the run. Both times, that was how I felt.

Seeing King Lear in Manchester over the weekend I felt the same – while it was good, and engrossing, a number of the actors were again very am-dram, over-enuniciating and so on.

It might be that I’m expecting too much from the actors, that I’m mixing ‘am-dram’ for just ‘theatrical’. I don’t yet know.  I didn’t get the same feeling with Faustus though, so the jury really is out.

Over the next few months I’ve got a number of theatre things lined up – not just Shakespeare (although I’ve got Romeo and Juliet, and Tempest on that side) but others from all walks, including Jesse Eisenberg’s new one, Jonson’s The Alchemist, and a Pinter play with Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen.

So there’s going to be a lot more thought going into this, as I figure out more about whether it’s Shakespeare stuff in general, or whether I’m mixing up other terms and so on along the way.  It’ll be interesting, either way.

Weekend Travel – Sunday

Having done Manchester on Saturday, I then went down to London on Sunday – I’d made plans and reservations for the early evening, but went down early because, frankly, I’m a bad, bad man.

The main objective was the next Michelin-starred place on my list-of-sorts, the two-starred Hélène Darroze at the Connaught Hotel. That had been booked for a while, and I’ve been looking forward to it for ages.

But then another of my favourite places, Blues Kitchen, announced their latest burger special, the Piskey Whickle, which was introduced on Sunday.

2016-05-01 14.27.21So that just had to be done…

It ended up that I went in earlier than expected, then walked to Blues Kitchen (3 miles, from Euston) for the special, and then across London (another 4 miles) to vegetate around Berkeley Square for a while until it was time for the evening meal.  Frankly, it was the only way I could justify doing both on the same day, but as I had the time and the inclination, why not?

The meal at Darroze was spectacular – I would say it’s now the best place I’ve been to on this project, and I massively enjoyed the entire experience. The only exception was my first instance of being a messy sod in a Michelin-starred place – a piece of food fell off my fork, straight into a sauce that can only be described as “hyper-green” – splat. Jackson Pollock all over the pristine white tablecloth. ‘If you’re going to do it, do it with style‘, that’s my motto.

Because of the time, I wussed out of walking back to Euston, so got the tube from Green Park back to Euston, and then a train home – again, all remarkably smooth, and a contented end to a fantastic weekend…

Weekend Travel – Saturday

My idiot day-trip to Manchester last Saturday actually went really well – and taking the train was an inspired choice, if I say so myself.

Readers of old (and pre-Wordpress, so we’re going back a fair way!) will remember my old rants about train travel, and the problems involved in it (mainly people, with added cruddy service and delays) so it’s quite a surprise for me to have become so positive about train travel again recently.  Of course, it might change if I were doing those routes on a regular basis again, but the only way to know that would be to be doing the routes. Short of moving and being in the same situation again (which is less likely than Leicester winning the Premiership) we’ll just never know.

In both directions though, the journey was fine – and fast. From Milton Keynes to Manchester Piccadilly is now just 90 minutes – much faster than I can do it in a car. It cost less than the fuel and parking would’ve done, too – although not by much.  If I hadn’t been right in Central Manchester for everything else, the times and costs would’ve been different, but for the purposes of what I was doing, it was all excellent.

I actually ended up getting the train an hour before the one I was booked on (the ticket was still valid, and it gave me the chance to walk round Manchester as well) so got there in plenty of time. I’d miscalculated slightly on the weather front – it was nice in Milton Keynes, and I’d forgotten that Manchester tends to rain regardless – but I was indoors for most, and only got slightly damp while walking, so it was OK too.

I’d also forgotten just how slowly most people walk in Manchester. I don’t know why, but it’s a real plod of a city – frustrating when one naturally walks as fast as I do. It makes for an interesting walk, carving through gaps and spaces, making more progress than anyone else.

I covered a lot of the centre, seeing what had changed over the years since I was last there – as usual, a lot of new stuff, a lot of roadworks and expanded tram lines – and revisited some old favourites. I was truly saddened to see the changes at Triangle – it used to be a fantastic and quirky multi-level place, but the entire basement level has been covered, and it’s now really just a bundle of restaurants.  Mind you, at least it appears to be occupied fully – and I assume busy – which is an improvement.

An early lunch was had at Yard and Coop, which had been recommended by another friend, and was pretty good.

Then on to the Royal Exchange to see King Lear, which I really enjoyed. I hadn’t seen it before, so didn’t know what to expect, which probably helped. I do have some reservations about Shakespeare stuff – that’s a post for another day – but it’s a damn good production, and impressively staged for such a comparatively small space.

And then a train back home, with no delays, no hassles, and back in Milton Keynes an hour and a half later.

For me, it means that kind of day-trip is actually doable, and likely to be repeated. I’d not really thought of it on that level before, but with the train travel, it’s now within the realms of possibility. Could make things interesting in future…

Theatrical

Having gone to Hamlet and a couple of other things last year, I decided that this year I wanted to go to more theatre productions – and it all looks like it’s being pretty successful so far.

I’ve already seen Faustus in London, and seen Henry Rollins twice (not quite a theatrical production as such, but still qualifies for these purposes) but the bookings for the rest of the year are starting to look pretty impressive, including…

I’d say that’s a pretty successful list for the coming months, and certainly fulfils the target of “Getting out and doing more”…

Stating The Obvious

Why is it that on just about every TV competition show – X-Factor, Masterchef, Bake Off, whatever – when it comes to the semi-finals, one of the hosts always has to say

Any one of these people could win it

Of course they fucking could, they’re in the semi-sodding-final. Stop stating the bloody obvious, you fatuous bollocks-spouting cretins.

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