Thursday 26 January 2012

Yarn Yumminess #1

So there's been a bit of a bonanza on the fibre front just recently - all totally necessary, je vous assure. First on the doorstep was the yarn for my swap partner in this year's Blog Hub Swap :

Nope, I haven't even unwrapped it myself: it is one of the fabulous colorways available from The Abstract Cat, my favorite indie dyer. You will not believe my restraint when I tell you that I did not order anything for myself. Something I have regretted since, that's for sure.

The next immediately necessary yarn is this:

Nothing like my usual color choice, but this also is not for me. My friend and ex-assistant manager Haylie's second baby Freddie was born at 26 weeks, seriously and life-threateningly early, and was not able to come home until 9 1/2 weeks later  .... His first birthday is in March, and  to celebrate, Haylie is raising money for the ADAPT charity. I have offered to make a shawl for her to auction or raffle, and I thought this colorway 0009 ''Butterfly'' was not only pretty, but appropriate, as the butterfly is a symbol of transformation.

Also in the package was this:

A Crazy Zauberball in the colorway 'Indian Red'. I've been wanting to try out Zauberball for some while, and this one looks perfect to make a shawl for my Auntie Hazel, my Mum's youngest sister. I was staying with her when this was in the charts; she was wandering around Tesco singing it, not having paid attention to the words at all. She also taught me a zillion card games, at which she excels - especially those involving either bluffing, cheating, or both.

Both these yarns I bought from the High Weald Fibre Factory, who have really reasonable prices; the delivery time was quick, and a lovely little touch was the mini-pack of Loveheart sweeties tucked into the centre of the Jawoll Magic yarn. All of this added together means:

Tuesday 24 January 2012

Follow - Up

Well, since I find stories without an ending an irritation (and the News is very often guilty of this, perhaps reinforcing our increasingly short attention span), I thought I would update you on my most recent Customer Service grouches.

Firstly, the very late grocery delivery from Asda - last week I tweeted them that I had a problem, and got a direct message asking for my information, which I gave; and some days later I had a very nice email from someone who spoke for the Asda Directorate, which was not only very apologetic, but confirmed the refund of the delivery charge, and told me that a £15 evoucher had been put into to our account because of the inconvenience suffered.

So all in all, I think that is a decent and acceptable response, if somewhat tardy.

Far more important than the kids and the dog starving to death from a non-delivery of food was my timorous return to the hairdresser for them to fix whatever it was that had not worked the first time, which meant that I had left the salon with the same straight hair with which I had entered.

Apparently using exactly the same product, but taking a much shorter time to curl, perm, neutralize etc, at the end of a mere 3 1/2 hours this time (instead of 5) I had curls ! OK, not, yanno, like film star curls, 

but that is just not possible for someone as low maintenance as myself who also lacks a personal lady's maid, motivation and who simply can't bring herself to waste a minimum 1/2 an hour a day on doing her hair. I haven't a photo to show as yet, but I will try to get one over the weekend. I am not a total lazy slob, I hasten to add - I do wear makeup everyday, and it is put on before I leave the house, really ....

                                       this isn't me, I promise; I found her here

But anyway. My stylist thanked me for coming back and giving her the opportunity to make things right. Check the box for ''the right thing to say''. The trick was, she sounded sincere.

So, enfin, I am quite happy with how these two issues turned out.

Friday 20 January 2012

Friday In Numbers

11,000,000,000 ie. eleventy billionth time I failed at parenting. Good parenting is just an imaginary concept.

10 was the volume that I was shouting at this morning

5 times that I swore in one sentence this morning

4 winter hats that Destructo Boy owns, none of which he could find this morning

3 weeks' worth of Mini Diva's freshly ironed clothes found crumpled together on the floor of her wardrobe

2 very - very - quiet children

1 maternal meltdown

0 left of the bottle of gin hidden in the pantry

Tuesday 17 January 2012

Nothing More Than Ants

So this card from the Phantomwise Tarot was me last night in the park. Except I was without the water jugs, the Zen-like calm, and much further away from the duck-pond. I also had considerably more clothes on, seeing as we were into minus figures for the temperature.

Yes, I can see you scratching your heads in puzzlement, since you know I don't go out at night and/or the freezing cold as firstly, my kids are too young to be left home alone. Though having seen Frozen Planet about the penguins, I'm beginning to wonder if perhaps I am over-conscientious about that.

We were out taking part in Stargazing Live; our bit was organized by the lovely people of  the Orwell Astronomical Society - unfortunately there weren't many telescopes, but we were there from the beginning of the event, and thus got to see Betelgeuse, Jupiter, The Pleiades (dumbed down now, apparently, to the mere Seven Sisters), Venus, Cassiopeia, and Orion. We also saw the space station whizz by.

The kids were going 'oooh' and 'aaaah' most gratifyingly for the astronomers; I, on the other hand, was quite disappointed with how the far-off twinkles still seemed to be far-off twinkles. But I can fake this one thing with the best of them.

The chap that did the talking spoke to us about Beetlejuice being ready to go pop at any minute now - in astronomical terms; in people terms, anytime within the next 100,000 years. Destructo Boy was somewhat disturbed by this, as he was quite concerned that we would get sucked into the resulting black hole, like, tomorrow - and then where would we go ? Because no-one has ever been in one before, and what is in there already ? And it might be a bit crowded what with all the rocks and spacedust and things. I think also he was quite downcast that his own destructive abilities are somewhat dwarfed (geddit ? the astronomical pun ?) by a supernova.

The evening sparked quite a lot of profound questions for me. But it's OK - I forgot them all by the time we got home.

beautiful picture from

Friday 13 January 2012

Bad Hair Day

So VIII Justice from the Deviant Moon tarot is pretty apt in describing how I feel this week about a couple of customer service issues; and it's not the first time I've blogged about poor service - either I am unlucky, service standards are indeed falling - even plummeting - or I am turning into a Grumpy Old Woman.

I order my weekly groceries online from Asda for delivery: I spend less (no impulse buys) and it avoids wasting valuable family time in the supermarket at the weekend. This week, I waited for 4 1/2 hours, 2 1/2 of which were after the specified delivery window, for my delivery. Customer Services rang the store, and then some poor underling got the short straw of calling me to tell me he had no clue why I hadn't had my delivery, why it appeared on the CS system as ''delivered'', where it was currently, and what time I might expect it. There was no apology. There was no management available to answer my queries. There was no refund on my delivery charge - it had to be processed by management; if I would like to call the next day and speak to him, it could be arranged. It is also not the first time that this kind of thin has happened - there was one occasion where my delivery never showed up at all .....  

Guess who'll be shopping at Sainsburys from now on ?     

 The second instance of poor customer service was at the hairdresser. Remember how I told you DH had been wildly extravagant with my Xmas presents ? Well, one of them was gift vouchers for an expensive nationally franchised salon (nameless in the interests of fairness until the problem is fixed ....or not), as I haven't been to the hairdresser for about 18 months. Having been in for a consultation where I said that I wanted 4 things:

1) a perm
2) height on top
3) curls, not waves
4) for my hair not to be in my eyes

I got none of these things. Well, maybe the perm - technically.

I paid £110 (approx. $169) - yes, that's £110, I can't believe it myself ! - and I spent 5 hours in the salon (it took her over 2 hours just to put the rollers in) which included having my hair washed with water from a kettle because there was some problem with the boiler, being left for over 1/2 hour with heavy-duty conditioner drying on my hair on my own with nothing to do/read while she went and did a cut/blow-dry on another customer, and a very lacklustre apology when at the end I extremely politely said that I wasn't happy with the result. I also had to call a friend to collect Destructo Boy from school as I wasn't going to make it .....I was there from 9:30am to 2:30pm. I had 3 cups of tea, 2 wees, and missed my lunch entirely.

She went off to speak to her manager, who did not condescend to come and speak to me herself, and as a result I am returning there on Monday - with plenty of trepidation - for my hair to be re-done from scratch, for free. 

 I had paid £70 for the perm, and £40 for a cut & blow-dry - the cut was 1 inch off my ends, no layers or shaping, and took her less than 10 minutes. I am afraid that I did not leave a tip.

I called yesterday to speak to the manager, and received ...efficient ...assurances that the stylist was indeed fully qualified and that I would have it all fixed without issue, and not to worry.

This is a photo of the very becoming but totally uncurly back of my hair about 3 hours after leaving the salon:

Needless to say, DH is gutted: his carefully thought out gift ruined.

Monday 9 January 2012

The Best-Laid Schemes ....

 .... o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley, ''

Even I didn't know I spoke Scottish. And I won't do so again in a hurry, I promise.

It's a good thing that I don't make New Year's Resolutions, or the one about posting regularly would have already been broken. But we can spin it and instead say that it was an unplanned holiday ...

This Queen of Pentacles from the Comparative Tarot deck illustrates what I have been mainly doing: watching other people. Not, not being a voyeur, just that I haven't had anything much to contribute - especially since I have got too apathetic mellowed out to get worked up or involved in anything controversial.

While my Good Twin has been on the missing list because of the stunning lack of foresight, preparation and ability to react of her local authorities, my Evil Twin has been on a tekky buying spree ( a MacBook of surpassing style and price) and I have been organizing the second Blog Hub Swap - sign ups close at the end of Sunday 15th January, so you have loads of time left to join in on something that was great fun last time.

I have some research to do on the next line of soaps I want to make, and my knitting goals for this year are threefold:

1) nothing with a deadline (there are only 2 items with a deadline, and I will not allow this number to increase)

2) knitted gifts for the mature ladies who are important to me: the lilac Karise Shawl is on it's way to my Auntie Vera in Aberlady as we speak. Two of the remaining three may possibly occasionally read this blog so no names for them yet so as I can avoid the heads up, but I'm almost 100% sure that my Auntie Hazel (my mother's youngest sister) does not, not being a fan of technology

3) this year is also therefore my year for shawls. I love 'em. All I need to do is find a way to display them.

4) not a knitting goal ....I want to seriously pick up my crochet this year. A simple Granny square afghan will do.

And finally, I want (and need) to revamp my website

None of this is happening today, though, as Destructo Boy is home from school with a temperature.