Summer Rain

Summer Rain
I like to photograph nature

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Customer Service Lives!

I mentioned yesterday that my new Wii didn't work and I had to do battle with Amazon about it.  However, directly after posting I found the customer support line number, got all the details together, girded my loins and picked up the phone.   'Hello' I said 'I have a problem' and explained that I had purchased the unit in April, but it had only just been unpacked and despite following all the trouble shooting advice, all I got was a blank screen.   I expected then to go into a lengthy debate about how long ago it was ordered, whether it would have to go back to the manufacturers, how much it would cost etc.,   But no! 

'What is the order number please' the nice young gentleman said.  I told him.  

'Would you like a replacement or a refund' the very nice young man said (he was growing on me now).  

'A replacement please' I responded.

A brief pause and sounds of keyboard tippy tapping in the background.   

'I have ordered your replacement and it should be with you in 3-5 working days.  You will receive an email in approximately 30 minutes which will provide you with a secure bar code returns authorisation and a prepaid returns label which you can print off.  When you have them, just follow the link through the DHL and book the returns pick up for a time convenient to you'

A brief stunned silence from me.

'Thanks!' I say, still a bit too gobsmacked to make proper conversation.

'My pleasure' the very very nice young man that I am now considering adopting says.   'Is there anything else I can help you with today?' he asks me.    'No, no, thank you, really thanks a million, that's great, thanks thanks'  I gush to the extremely nice young man that I am now wondering if he possibly likes older women.

'Well goodbye then Frances'   (swoon - lovely lovely customer services boy said my name)

It was all so easy and lovely and customer servicey.   

I won't tell you about trying to pack all the bits back in the original packing - I don't want to spoil the mood.

Customer Service Postscript.   24 hours after this phone call, my replacement Wii has arrived by courier!!!!!!!!  They're not even collecting faulty one until tomorrow!

Monday, 27 July 2009

Monday Musings

Monday morning and I am feeling a bit out of sorts.  Too much red wine and good food last night methinks.  So I enter my fourth week of voluntary unemployment.   One third of the kitchen cupboards have been sorted out.  The bureau in the dining room is sorted out.  The Wii is out of its box, but doesn't work...  Aaaaarrggghh.   Most of the contents of the study are on the floor.  The washing is up to date, but the ironing isn't.   I haven't started my keep fit regime yet.  I have accumulated yarn, material, patterns for at least 4 projects I plan to start.   I have not yet done my music theory homework.  I have however, spent an inordinate amount of time on line, twittering, blogging, general surfing.

This is all telling me that I need to get me a routine!  I am used to spending a great deal of time in front of a PC at work, so I have fallen into the habit of opening up the macbook with my morning coffee and before I know it I have lost a couple of hours!

This all has to stop.  Today I will work out a routine to make best use of my days.

But first I must talk to Amazon about my Wii.   Aaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrgggghhhh!!!

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Six Word Saturday

So it's time for six word saturday again.

Today I have been doing my piano practice and have a lesson in 45 minutes and am feeling very frustrated so here it is for this week:

Wishing I was better at Piano

Oh well...

If you want to play along click on the button below.

Friday, 24 July 2009

One Minute Writer Winner

Very happy this morning to discover I was selected as the winner for Tuesday's One Minute Writer submission. The prompt was "Today, what is inspiring you?"

My winning submission was:

My feelings of inspiration are like the many tendrils of a jelly fish, wafting this way and that in the eddies created by the current. I see so much that inspires me, a beautiful garden, a well written blog, a superbly hand crafted dress, a wonderfully crocheted scarf, a well played piano piece, a tidy house. Each prompts me to attempt something similar and I end up inert, not knowing what to do first.

Oh come on Frances - tidy up the study - you know you should

The One Minute Writer is a great blog and great fun to take part. If you want to know more, follow the link on my winner button!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Be Careful What You Wish For

Today I had lunch with my friend and neighbour. We took advantage of a rare sunny day to eat out on the patio and chat. Very nice it was too. We were chatting about learning to craft as a child and I was saying that I was trying to improve my crochet and would really love to do a baby blanket, but nobody I knew was having or had recently had a baby.

I got home to find an email from my friend telling me that she is pregnant and due in November!!!!

So I have done a little search and will be attempting this:-

Wish me luck!

Monday, 20 July 2009

Open Gardens 2009

Every year, I help my friend to open her garden to the public for our village "Open Gardens Day". We not only open the garden, but sell tea and home made cakes and also do a craft stall. I make cards and such for the craft stall, the large majority of which feature my photography of the garden, whilst my friend is a watercolour artist, selling originals and prints of her paintings. Here are a few of this years pictures...

This is Vernon the Vole, some children visiting the garden came running to me saying "Bring the camera quick - we've found a vole". I followed them up the path to find this little vole sitting next to the path, surrounded by visitors, quite nonchalantly eating his afternoon snack. Even when I lay on the path about a foot away from him (now with me surrounded by onlookers) he still didn't pause.

Once I had the photographs, the children asked if I would make a photo card to sell on the craft stall the following day. I said I would, but only if they came up with a name for him. They went off to have a think about it and five minutes later came running back down the path shouting 'We've got a name - it's Vernon the Vole". So Vernon it was.

True to my promise, that evening I made 3 photo greeting cards featuring Vernon and they all sold in the first couple of hours. So in future I will be taking my design advice from the under 10 year old sector of the market!

The lavender smelled gorgeous this year and every time someone brushed past, a beautiful waft of lavender was released. The weather stayed fair for us the entire weekend and we hundreds of visitors each day. The kitchen staff (Lovely husband, stepson and stepson's girlfriend) were kept busy making teas, coffees, squash and serving Pip's famous chocolate cake. The craft stall and the kitchen were in competition for who would make the most money. Crafts won on the Saturday, but Tea and Cakes won on the Sunday. Over the whole weekend the craft stall made about £120 with Tea and Cakes pipping us at the post with about £130 (all going to our village church fund).
Overall with ticket sales and the efforts of the other gardens that opened, we made over £2000 for St.Marys!

And finally some views of the garden and a look at our craft stall, both of which took a lot of hard work to achieve, so well done us!

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Six word Saturday (on Sunday!)

Unemployed and STILL 24 hours late!

Guilt and Guilty Pleasures

Well I am now entering my third week of voluntary unemployment. I seemed to have spent the first two weeks doing laundry, making a half hearted attempt at cleaning out the kitchen cupboards and preparing for interviews. I have come to the decision that I will not be applying for any more jobs for a little while to give me time to sort myself out and really think about what I want to do next. Trouble is I am constantly feeling guilty! I feel guilty because I am not working, unemployment is something I haven't experienced before, I have worked ever since I left school. Also, because I have always worked long hours and often had to travel away from home a lot, we employ a small amount of help. I have a lovely lady who comes in one day a week to clean, another pair of lovely ladies who come in once a week to tidy the garden (leaving me free to just to the interesting gardening at the weekend) and finally a great dog walker who comes in every afternoon to feed and walk our dogs to ensure they are not left alone for too long.

When we made the decision for me to give up my job, we also decided to keep everybody on, as if I go back to full time employment, it would be impossible to find such good helpers again. Trouble is, it is one thing coming home and finding the house has been vacuumed, or the garden swept, quite another thing actually being there while someone is doing your work for you! I have started hiding up in the office, or going out shopping to avoid having to feel so guilty.

On the other hand, not working definitely has its benefits. I have been able to do my piano practice regularly, I have got my guitar out and started hardening off my fingers again, started sorting out my paper crafting stuff and found my crochet hooks. I treated myself to two new crochet books and some lovely new yarn that I can't wait to get started on. I have time to blog. Have lunch with a friend on a weekday. See what my garden looks like in daylight. Guilty pleasures indeed, but I shall make the most of them while I can.

Friday, 17 July 2009

The National Forest Folk Festival

I have added some new featured artists links today, all from the National Forest Folk Festival. Lovely Husband and I went to the 2009 festival and these were our two favourite acts.   We had never seen the 100 Man Orchestra (all 3 of them) before and they were really talented, so I have included a link from a previous year too.   The Eliza Carthy Band were great as usual and I can't wait to see them again.   Embarrassingly, I discovered on a second viewing of the Eliza Carthy Band YouTube clip that I am seen very briefly walking straight past the camera - Oops!   Blue patterned top and a pony tail - see if you can spot me.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Turning over a new leaf

I really have been rubbish at blogging recently, but from today, I am turning over a new leaf.  I have got over the initial shock of unemployment and am starting to re-establish a more sensible sleeping pattern, which helps the old grey cells to function more efficiently.

I will attempt to 'Blog with Discipline' as do my blogging heroes, CBeth and Showmyface, and will try to be more creative, like my other twitter hero Lambsios.   I will be giving the blog a bit of an update and will re-launch Fit not Fat now that I have eaten all the chocolate my workmates gave me.   

I hope you will come along for the ride and encourage me to do more.