Sunday, 30 October 2011

Rest In Peace

This week end saw the death of one of a great British eccentric. He was a tireless worker for various charities & 'Fixed it' for lots of kids. I refer to the death of Sir Jimmy Savile.
Sleep well Jimmy.

A rant about cafe/coffee bars in the UK

What is wrong with the Brits? please don't all shout at once out there, because I could spend the next half dozen posts telling you things which you may not have thought of as wrong with the Brits & our culture.
However there is one thing that really pisses me off BIG time.
Its this: I love my coffee, I love it black & strong, I like it at home & I especially love to linger in a cafe chatting with a mate or watching the world pass by.
But this is how it goes in the UK: You go into the cafe/coffee bar & have to queue up to order you drink at the counter, You stand there & carry it over to your table yourself & then the Cheeky bastards expect a tip or else there is a large cup placed nearby  the cash register for the customer to put a tip in!!
Now tell me-what am I giving a tip for??  Its not for the privilege of being served at the table!
On the continent you sit down in a bar, cafe,or coffee bar & the waiter comes to you in moments to take your order & then returns with your coffee, whatever in a short while. But here in the UK its as if its a chore for the staff to serve you & that we (the customer ) should be damn grateful to be served at all.
Its happen twice to me in the last couple of days. I have incidentally tried just sitting down & waited for a member of the staff to come & serve me but only to be ignored.
Yesterday Kate & her friend Sharon were in a local cafe. They had two coffees, & Sharon ordered & ate brunch. They then sat there for some 45mins chatting. Then as lunch time drew near the waitress came over & asked them to vacate the table as they needed it for the lunchtime!  WTF!! I'm sorry but I think I would have made a scene of this kind of very poor customer service. I've had enough of being taken for a prat.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Wockley est de retour de la France!

Vernon Cathedral
Oui! I am! And what a return journey, what a lovely (though it was damn hard work) time we had.
I've eaten my first plate of Snails- Escargot- which were delicious served in their shells & swimming in garlic & herb butter. And en route home suffered a 3.5 hour traffic jam on the infamous M25 London orbital motorway which is surely the largest car park in the UK?)
Vernon is a lovely town, steeped in history, near by Monet's garden, museum & garden. I visited these & would recommend these as a must if any of you plan to go to France. Unlike the residents of Paris, the people of Vernon aren't rude. rather they are civil, they smile at you & are friendly & warm.
The worst point of the (working holiday) was the day spent at Euro-Disney. We took the 45 teenagers to that hell hole which at worst is akin to entering one of the 7 circles of Hell & at best 7 hours spent in one of the most surreal environments surely in the whole of Western Europe.  The kids however were very well behaved & all turned up at the pre agreed meeting time in time for the return trip to Vernon.
I spent a wonderful day in Paris with my daughter & brought some nice clothes, ate some superb food & drank exquisite coffee. French home cooking served by my family-Pascal & Maire was beyond description.It was the closest thing to gastronomic paradise i think that I'll ever encounter.
I won't bore you any further with my rantings & raves about my love of France & all things of French, but I'll enclose a couple of photos of Vernon & may post a couple more at a later date.


Wednesday, 12 October 2011


From today til around the 21st October I'm off to Normandy in France. Last yr I went with my daughter, who teaches in York (of the Minster) & 30 odd (& 'odd' being the operative word her people!) 14-15yr old kids from her school & another school in York.
You know I'm sure I posted about this trip in 2010!) Whatever. I'll stay again with Marie & Pascal in the lovely town of Vernon, the trip is marred though by a day at Disneyland Paris which for me is like entering one of the 7 circles of hell. Still its a small price to pay for 8days of France.
I will miss Kate, Esther & of course Charlie Coal loads & I'll post again later in October.
Au-revoir fir now!

Monday, 10 October 2011

News on the Silver Dream Machine.

'Esure', the company that insurances the Silver Dream Machine have decided that the aforementioned car ( BK 09 NLR) is repairable. I am happy about this. However, I have to say that the way that I, as a customer of 'Esure', have been treated by the company & by the garage that has The Silver Dream Machine in its clutches is appalling.
I have not received 1 telephone call from 'Esure' throughout the the time that they have had my car-I have had to make at least 8 calls to them since the car was recovered. I have attempted to phone the garage (on the advise of 'Esure') only to find that the phone engaged at 430pm continually until 5pm when it switched to answer-phone informing me that they were closed! Bastards!
I would strongly advise any potential customers of 'Esure' don't. They take your premium & that's it...."sod you" appears to be the attitude of the company towards its customers. I paid my premium of £350 (pa) for fully comprehensive, legal protection, no claims protection etc up front. Only to be disregarded & forgotten about when I needed the company to help me.
I phoned them again today at 815am & I was a bit assertive...."I WANT a courtesy car delivered to my home by 12noon, & I DON'T WANT a Ford Ka as that car is too small for me to climb out of" (I'm 6'3''). I also demanded compensation for the manner in which I feel that I have been treated-they have had my car for almost 2 weeks! they have agreed to pay me £10 per day, but are unable presently to state from what date.

I advise you people don't purchase insurance from 'Esure'.
O, & I ain't finished with them yet... but I'll wait 'til I get the Silver Dream Machine back......

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

The Silver Dream Machine

Last Friday, (to quote the late great FDR: "A day that will live in infamy....") not only did I experience a stress ridden day on Duty, experience the full arrogant, omnipotence of the Home Treatment Team at my place of 'mindful caring', but en route home I had a smash (RTA) in my car-The Silver Dream Machine.
I unfortunately crashed at around 40mph in the arse end of a small Ford Transit mini bus. My poor Skoda suffered a dent in the bonnet (hood), cracked wind-shield, both air-bags were released, a smashed number plate & cracked plastic bumper at the front. There was little damage to the other guy & thankfully none of use were hurt. Coupled to this I lost my new mobile phone brought a few days earlier by my son-all my contacts are lost into the bargain!
I managed to drive to a local motel where the staff very kindly allowed me to use their phones & ultimately park my car up for the night. The AA said that it would be 4hours before they could tow me home/to a local garage & then charge me £108 for the privilege! (& I'm a member of that motoring organisation!) As it was I waited the 4 hours, got a cab home & got my car insurance to meet me on the Saturday & take the car to a repairer.
It pains me to write about the saga as I'm still having some minor flashbacks of the accident, but I know that its therapeutic.
So now I'm waiting for the car insurance people to tell me if the car is a 'write off' or that they'll repair it. This waiting adds to my sense of powerlessness & low mood. Though there is a sense of liberation in not having a mobile phone &, to some degree, a car at hand.. having said that its causing Katie alot of hassle viz a vie transport.
So: I hope on many levels that the car is fixable, please keep everything crossed for me (& the Silver Dream Machine!)