Thursday, 27 November 2008

Real People

I've been away for a few days so I have a few blog posts to catch up on. So imagine my suprise when I found I had received a blog award from my dear friend Clairey. And not only is it an award but it's a REAL PERSON award - apparently Clairey thinks I'm a real person - YAY!!

Seriously - what better compliment can a blogger receive? I'm not just a a name on a screen but a person people can imagine and hopefully get to know. Now I don't know about you but that is the whole reason I blog - and the blogs I continue to read are those who belong to people I can imagine writing their blog posts - real people!

So instead of nominating just 7 people I am going to pass this award on to all of you lovely ladies I have in my blogrolls - you're all very real to me. Feel free to take the award if you want to!

I'll be back soon with lots of news about the move (yes we are going to move) and tales of my driving lessons and the baby seals we saw...

But for now I have to finish unpacking from our trip and start decorating for Christmas - I don't usually decorate so early but this is the last chance T and I will get to enjoy a day decorating together as he starts his new job next week and we'll both be working some weekends at the TIC. Ah it's almost Advent so it's not too bad... is it?

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Moving time again?

It seems that my little wings don't like to lie still for over the past 6 years I have lived at 8 different addresses (plus stayed several times at my parents' home in between moves). For someone who lived 17 years of her life in the same house it's quite a shock really - and it has certainly made my Criminal Records Bureau checks I had to have each time I got a new job in care work very long and demanding things to fill in. But despite all of this T and I are considering yet another relatively short-term move...

When we moved into the flat we are in now we felt incredibly lucky. For the money we are paying (which is ridiculously high just because we are close to the city centre) we got a lovely light flat. Honestly, some of the places we looked at in our price range were so depressing I shudder to think we could have ended up living there. They were worse than student abodes. But as time went on we quickly realised it wasn't perfect - our neighbour downstairs is a DJ or something and works nights so he complains when we try doing our housework in the middle of the day at a weekend (when else are we going to do it?!) and then comes home early hours of the morning and talks on his phone so loudly it disturbs us if one of us is sleeping in the living room (which we've had to do a lot recently due to ill health). The sound proofing in this place is pretty much non-existant. Even more annoying is we have electric storage heaters which although good (most of the time) at heating things (and we do use an oil radiator more often to save us money) the heat just goes flying out of the flat as there is zero insulation. Every room has an outer wall as we are the corner flat and between us and the sky is a thin ceiling and an uninsulated loft with a metal roof. It's blooming freezing in here most days.

But despite all these problems we have no money to put a deposit down on renting a place elsewhere. There are houses for a similar rent as our flat in neighboring villages which now that I work in the city centre have great bus links and would be a viable option for us now. But we just do not have the money to ake the move and we decided to stay here until we had enough money to put a down payment on a house of our own instead of moving around loads and loads.

That is until a colleague of mine found out she was moving abroad for 18 months and wanted someone to rent her house. For the same price we pay for our one bedroom flat we could have a 4 bedroom house in a lovely village. Our landlord and landlady would be people we knew and trusted. We would have a spare bedroom so when long-term illnesses hit neither one of us has to sleep on a creaky, uncomfortable sofa bed. And even better we wouldn't need to have a deposit of nearly a thousand pounds meaning we would get that money back from our letting agent and it would go a long way to helping us out right now whilst T is still waiting for his new job to start and we could start saving it back up again during the 18 months we are living there.

Sounds perfect, right? There's only a tiny problem - getting to work. This particular village is not on an easy bus route. If I could drive to the park and ride site I'd be laughing. If mine and T's working hours coincided we'd be fine but as he's going into healthcare he will be working some shifts. There is a bus that goes direct from the village to the city but only 3 times per day and it takes a lot longer meaning if I am feeling rough my days will be much longer (I've done the commuting thing before and it is rather tiresome). We are planning to go see the house and my colleague this week to further discuss our options - we don't want to let a great opportunity go by but we also don't want to find ourselves regretting moving further from work.

On the plus side - if we move into a house I can buy the dancersize dvds I've always wanted with no fear of turning my neighbour into a crazed lunatic bent on my destruction... that in itself is enough to make my mind up!!

Saturday, 8 November 2008


I found this one over at Zena Moon and thought it was time I did one :o)

What is your occupation right now? Information Assistant at the local Tourist Information Centre.

What color are your socks right now? I'm not wearing any - I don't have a favourite sock colour but I do like pretty ones with pastel colours or flowers on.

What are you listening to right now? The film Hackers - T is watching it.

What was the last thing that you ate? Some dried toast and chilli flavoured doritos with hummus - I woke up from an afternoon doze feeling rubbish and needed to eat something.

Can you drive a stick shift? Most people do in the UK. I'm learning to drive so yeah, kinda.

Last person you spoke to on the phone? My mum.

How old are you today? 24 years and um 194 days (I think that's right)

What is your favorite sport to watch on TV? I don't like watching sports but if I had to it'd be gymastics, ice skating or ice hockey. Oh I lie I LOVE watching dancing :o) Always have and always will.

What is your favorite drink? It depends. I mostly drink hot water. But I do love tropical jucie and apple juice.

Have you ever dyed your hair? Nope. I think people would kill me if I did - besides I like my hair colour and it changes with the seasons anyway.

Favorite food? Risotto. I also love pasta dishes and my all time favourite as a child (and when I'm poorly now) is fish fingers, chips and spaghetti *yum*

What is the last movie you watched? The Santa Clause (yes I know it is a bit early but I felt like I needed some Christmas Cheer after the past few weeks).

Favorite day of the year? Christmas Eve - I just love the excitement of it all - the last minute gifts to be wrapped and put in stockings, the carols on tv and the dreams of the next day.

How do you vent anger? I'm very bad at it. I tend to get upset rather than angry. It does take a lot to make me really angry but when something or someone does I tend to explode - I'd never want to be the person my anger is directed at. Thankfully it only happens like that once every few years. Usually I just get irritated and get sit and contemplate on why I feel that way and then either work it out in my own head or talk it through with someone and then it's ok.

What was your favorite toy as a child? My baby dolls. I only owned one of my own the others were my sister's but I stole them hehe. She outgrew them and wasn't as interested as me anyway. I wanted pushchairs and prams and all sorts of things - I went from playing with dolls to helping my mum with the kids she looked after and then into working in nurseries - is it any surprise to any of you I loved my dolls? lol

I also loved Playmobil and Lego. Anything I could use for role-playing games - I loved to make up stories. But my dolls were always first and foremost on my mind - they were truly alive to me.

What is your favorite season? I would say Autumn because I love the colours but I also love Spring for the freshness of it all, and winter for the beautiful crisp mornings and summer for the glorious evenings. I cannot decide on one and feel blessed to live in a country where we have all four - even if they are a bit screwed up sometimes.

Cherries or blueberries? Cherries definately - but only fresh ones - I hate glace ones and morello ones are my absolute fav! I never had blueberries til this year and they are ok but not my fav.

Living arrangements? T and I rent a one-bed apartment - top floor on the corner (we enter it on the second floor and go up some internal stairs to the third floor) It has a bedroom, living room, kitchen, bathroom and hallway. It's small but it's our home.

When was the last time you cried? Last night, whilst laying on the sofa with T. I was getting psychotic and he called me a drama queen and I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. I couldn't stop - but it felt good - I needed to release. It wasn't his fault. He was perfect.

What is on the floor of your closet? Everything - some clothes that fell off their hangers, T's shoes (he has more pairs than me), a box of cotton and wool for crafting, some handweights and various other things.

What did you do last night? Lay with T, cried, ate risotto, went to bed, got up again at 3:30am so I didn't disturb T. It was a pretty crappy night.

What are you most afraid of? I'm afraid of many things. My biggest fears include letting people down big-time, losing T, never getting to have a house and kids or should I say never getting to live my lifelong dream!

Plain, cheese, or spicy cheese hamburger? I don't like burgers but I did use to like cheeseburgers with pickles.

Favorite dog breed? Hard to say - I like most but particularly like Dalmatians, Collies, Spaniels, Red Setters and those ones that look like they have too much skin - you know the wrinkly ones?! I think they are gorgeous - I don't know why I just do.

Favorite day of the week? Sunday - apart from the summer it is the one day I am guaranteed not to work, it is a quiet peaceful day to go for a walk with the people I love and there is a beautiful silent meditative service on at church. It's a day to just "be".

How many states have you lived in? None - I have lived in England, Germany and Russia though.

Diamonds or ruby? Diamonds - they are my birthstone and I love the clear quality of them. One of my favourite crystals is Clear Quartz too - they just seem to help with anything - pure in some way other crystals and stones aren't.

What is your favorite flower? I don't think I have just one favourite - a few of my favs are snowdrops, daisies, delphiniums, grape hyacinths, snap dragons, clematis, wild roses and bluebells - I much prefer wild forest flowers and country garden style bouquets than the more regal, posh collections of long stem roses, chrysanthemums (sp?) and the like. I'd rather receive a bunch of hand picked flowers from a friend's garden than a shop bought one.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Peanut butter and...

What do you eat that people say "ew that's weird" when they hear it?

The other day I asked T if we had any peanut butter. This is a strange request from me because I tend to like quite bland food (although recently I have really taken to much stronger flavours). He asked me why I wanted peanut butter and my response was - "to put on my cereal".

It seemed quite normal to me. You see, one summer when I was on camp we ran out of milk at breakfast and the girl sat beside me decided to eat peanut butter with her cornflakes and banana and whereas everyone else looked on in disgust I thought I'd try it. So I put a dollop of peanut butter on the side of my bowl, filled it with cornflakes and sliced banana and with each mouthful I'd take a slice of banana, some flakes and a small bit of butter. It was a bit dry but oh so yummy! That was actually my first experience of peanut butter (we never had things like that when I was little - we didn't even have chocolate spread!)

So, I was quite peturbed the other day when we didn't have any peanut butter and made T buy us some yesterday. I made him try peanut butter cornflakes this morning and he still thinks it's weird hehe. Oh well - I guess I'm alone in this.

So, am I the only one with a weird food choice?

Sunday, 2 November 2008


Ok - so since I've decided to write just what I think I'm going to do something I've never really done before on m blog - I'm going to tell you all about how annoying some of the tourists are that come into my workplace.

Now, I'm not going to be cruel - on the whole I love my job and the people I serve - but just occasionally I get riled up beyond belief at how much they expect us to be able to do. Seriously, when we say there is no way we can do something, why do people still insist that not only is there something we can do about it but that we MUST do it.

Yesterday, for example, I had an Italian lady and her teenage son come in asking for accommodation. We have two options for people wanting accommodation - we have a guide with all of the accommodation providers we work with listed in it, complete with map references and everything you'd need to find a place or we can find a place for people based on their specifications and charge a £5 booking fee for the time we take doing it and take a 10% deposit from the accommodation provider (because they get the business through us). Make sense so far? So, I am talking to this lady and she is saying she wants a twin room for £40 max. You're lucky to even get a single room for that price, especially when you come in the day you want the accommodation for. So I explain to her that the bare minimum for a twin room would be £50 IF she had booked weeks ago but as she wanted it today there would be limited availability and it would be more expensive. I know these things - I book accommodation for people every single day. This is why we have the service, it takes the stress away from people who do not know the area. And most people are happy to have someone who knows the area to book somewhere for them. But not this lady - she was insistent that she wanted one for £50 max now and no more.

I spent 45 minutes with this lady, ringing every single provider I could think of. There was nothing for less than £60. She insisted I ring the youth hostel, which I did, and they had a twin room for just short of £60 for one of the nights she wanted to stay but not the other. Seriously - if the youth hostel is charging that much per night then you really won't get anywhere cheaper. But still she would not believe me. Eventually I found a room - a family room that would normally go for £75 but out of sheer desperation I managed to meet a compromise with the guest house that if I didn't take the 10% deposit she would give them it for £60. That's £15 off and yet the lady still complained that it was 20 minutes away by bus (a direct bus route I might add) because she wanted to be closer to the city. OMG can I just say that at this point I felt like walking away.

Eventually she took it. And she left. And I told my manager. He said next time if someone gets like that I should just give them the guide and tell them if they think they can find somewhere cheaper then they can do it themselves. Sounds rude doesn't it? But seriously - I don't have 45 minutes to spare on a busy Saturday afternoon when the customer is just being stubborn.

It's not just people like this lady either - you get the other side of the coin too. You'll get people come in who think they know more than we do. Fair enough, we don't know everything and we readily admit that. We don't mind people giving us advice and helping us out, seriously we don't. What annoys us is when customers in the queue hear half of the conversation, decide they know more than us and shout across the line that we have got it wrong and the person we are helping should do this and that rather than what we have suggested. To which, I have discovered, you just have to turn round, smile sweetly, and say "yes they COULD do that IF..." and fill in the blank with whatever reason you have already discovered to not suggest such a thing to them. It may be that we have been told the place is closed that day or that the customer we are helping has told us they aren't interested in such and such. We spend day in and day out dealing with such requests - we know what we are talking about. Like I say - I have no issue with people suggesting things and sometimes people have good ideas - it is when they butt in and say things we have already thought about because they haven't heard the whole conversation. It just seems so rude.

So we have the people who think we can work miracles and find them cheap accommodation (which is impossible where I live anyway) 2 hours before they want it (why oh why do people leave it to the last minute?) and then we have the opposite side of things when people come in and assume we are useless. We also have the people who think we are ripping them off by asking for 30p for a city map. I know there are free maps in othe cities but we don't get as much funding as other cities because they know tourists will come whether they fund the service or not. We don't have the money to provide maps free to everyone. And besides - free maps are usually cheaply made - ours are glossy, colour coded maps with every single street marked on them and all the one way systems marked down. And it's only 30p - if you can't afford 30p in this town you really can't afford to be here.

So there you go - my gripes about work. I still love it - 95% of the time it is fantastic. But occasionally, just occasionally, you get some really annoying people who test you to the limit. And sometimes you just need to rant!