For over 20 years I worked in a Local Authority parking department, so I know a great deal about the issues surrounding parking in this country. It’s scenes like this that I find very annoying. Anyone who drives knows that there is a finite limit to the number of available parking spaces. It can be very frustrating to drive around a car-park looking for that elusive space, when you come across something like this. Now I know there is another free bay behind the bike, but that had just been vacated by another vehicle and was occupied a few minutes later. On this particular occasion, it was a Saturday and not a problem, but this car-park has no limit on the length of stay, so that bike could be there all day. During the week, things are different and the car-park is always full (it is close to a doctors surgery and health centre.) I find myself asking the question ‘Why?’ Why does the bike have to take up a full parking bay? There are plenty of places in the car-park where a bike could fit without a problem. It may be me, but it just seems a little selfish for a vehicle of that width to take up a space, that may be needed by a larger vehicle. Is it just me?
I’ll get to the point in a moment. First a little background.
Last week my wife and me had a few days away in the Derbyshire Peak District. We were staying a a cottage, on a farm and were there for four nights. The cottage was not up to our usual expectations and was a bit of a disappointment, but I’m not going to dwell on that. We are both members of the National Trust and it was our intention to spend the days enjoying the sights of a number of the Trust’s properties that were in the area.
Now, here comes the ‘point’ that I mention. All the properties we visited are of some historical importance, and at least one (Hardwick Hall) is very significant in relation to the royal families of Britain. So given that these places are so important historically, it makes good sense that children are introduced them. I don’t have an issue with that. What I do take issue with, is parents that allow their offspring to just run wild. A question … why, when visiting a historical site, do you thin k it is a good idea for your children to take one of the following with them a) a football, b) a scooter and c) even a bicycle ? There are thousands of public parks in this country that children can ‘play’, why take them to a historical site to ‘play’? Many of the sites have even built specific safe play areas for kids. Then there is the noise factor. Why is it necessary to run around a 17th century church burial ground shouting and screaming? It would never have happened when I was young, and neither of my sons would even think that kind of behaviour is appropriate.
But I do not put all the blame on the children. The fault lies with the parents. The people who have brought them up to behave in that way. They are the ones that are the cause of the problem.
But not all the children were like what I have described. A small number were very well behaved. However, that n umber was very small.
One of the more unusual things that the local Education system has come up with is staggered half-term holidays. The example I would give of this is, that in Leeds area, half-term was last week. York however has their half-term this week. Now the thing about half-term is that it seems to a great excuse for some parents to take their kids on ‘shopping’ expeditions!
Yesterday, Mrs H and me decided to take a trip to the York Designer Outlet. I didn’t particularly want anything, but K*** had somethings she wanted t look at. The place was packed! For those who don’t know, it’s an out-of-town shopping area that has mainly ’designer’ shops and a few chain restaurants. Shops like L K Bennett, Gucci and many other big names. So it’s not the kind of place that first springs to mind when taking children, in the 5 to 9 age group out for the day. I can see it being attractive for kids in their middle teens, but not young children. But they were there … in their hoards!
The problem is, that most of them are so load and badly behaved. There was one family that annoyed me greatly. It was a mother with three kids that could not have been aged more than 10 or 11. I was waiting for K*** to finish in a shop, and in this particular location there were two BMW cars on show. The mother (and I’m assuming she was the mother) was using her mobile phone, and it must of been a quite important call as she was totally oblivious of what her offspring were up to. These ‘childer-beasts’ seemed to thing that it was perfectly acceptable to take it in turns to climb in and out of the two expensive vehicles, banging doors and sounding the horn.
Another example of this behaviour was the two ‘things’ that thought it was fun to run up and down the travellators in the wrong direction, bumping into people. These kids just don’t seem to have any respect or manners. I hate to say the obvious but, “It was not like that when I was a child!”
==== Here endeth the rant ====
I have decided. There shall be NO single theme in this blog. There are a few reasons, but the main one is that this blog is just me. I started it as a means of practicing my writing. The intention was that I would mainly read other writers posts and glean what knowledge and tips I could pick up to improve my writing and use that to post my own work. That part of the plan is still working, but to post my own work, I have to do some!
Today it’s “Let’s Rip Off People By Pretending We Care About The Romantic Things In Life When They Have Just Started To Get Over Christmas” Day. Or as it is known “Valentines Day.” To be accurate it’s actually Saint Valentines Day, but in this day and age of religious intolerance, people tend to forget the ‘Saint’ part. It is just a money making con by retailers, to encourage people to part with money that they don’t probably have. You may have guessed by now, that I’m not a fan! I shall leave it there!
One of the things I said I would do when I retire was to clear out some the junk we have horded over the past twenty (call that forty) years. The loft is ridiculously full of said junk, and the garage is not far behind. I took some stuff to the tip last week and yesterday spent a couple of hours trying to identify what we wanted to get rid of. I found a bag full of trousers. Some of them were mine that had mysteriously shrunk over the years, particularly in the waist area. I don’t know how that happens at all! Some of them were new pants that K*** had bought for R*** in the sales and such. This brings me, in a round about way to the sizing of some of those clothes.
I was ironing some of them this morning and was making a note of the leg length. Four pairs had an inside leg measurement of 29”, but they all seemed to be different lengths. Out with my trusted tape measure, and I find that one pair is indeed 29”, but two pairs are 31” and one was actually 32”. All were from the same store and all the same style. Then to cap it all, another pair had a size of ‘15 years’! How do they measure a size by a persons age? When I was 15, I was just a little over 5ft. Most of my class were around the 5ft 6in, but there was at least two, maybe three guys who were over 6ft.
I really do get a bit frustrated and angry with how clothes are sized.
To finish up, this is the latest of my knitting ‘projects’. It’s a simple scarf that I have been on with for a couple of days. It was an easy pattern to work with and I thought I would share it with you. As I mentioned earlier, I’m not going to have a theme for my blog, and I’ll just throw in things like this whenever the fancy takes me.
Why do they have to be ‘projects’? It’s just a hobby.
Well, we have got as far as we can. Veg is prepared, table is set and the presents are scattered under the TV. ‘Under the TV’ I hear you question? We have a small fibre-optic tree, which is not really big enough to put the presents under. In the past we have done the real tree, in fact one year we even had a tree that we planted in the garden. But it died! So for the past 10 years or so, we have had the ‘small fibre-optic’ tree. I think though, it is time we sent this one to the great re-cycle plant. I have had to replace the bulb and the whole thing leans to one side. So I think it has passed it’s ‘Display Until’ date by a couple of years.
I’m not, and I think I may have mentioned this (probably every year) a huge fan of Christmas. I hate what it has become. When I was a child, Christmas was an amazing time of the year. It was about Christmas Carols, families, pantomime. We never, ever were asked ‘What do you want for Christmas?” We got what we were given and were happy about that. We had, what had become a traditional Christmas dinner. Turkey, roast potatoes, carrots, sprouts (ugh) sage and onion stuffing and what seemed like, gallons of gravy. If you could manage it, Christmas pudding followed and in our house we always had custard, not brandy sauce, we were just kids after all. Afterwards, we would watch the Queen, then settle down to watch a variety show.
Now what do we get? It’s called ‘Christmas Lunch’ and although the Turkey is still there, we now see things like Kaletts on the menu. The stuffing has changed to ‘Chestnut and Chive’. Christmas pudding now comes in many flavours, even as an ice-cream. In some places, it is not even served and we get some kind of overpriced chocolate mousse that bears no resemblance to Christmas, apart from the picture of a red candle on the packaging.
I don’t want to get started on television, but … why do we need to see programs that are on everyday? I mean the ‘soaps’ of course? Do we really need to see ‘bumper’ editions of EastEnders/Coronation Street/Emmerdale? Really! Is it also necessary to have ‘Christmas Specials’ of reality shows? I mean come on, Strictly Come Dancing has only just finished and we are treated to the Christmas Special.
Music. Now there is another cause for a rant. We were at my sister-in-laws for a family get together on Thursday. When we arrived, the TV was on and tuned to one of the many music channels. It was playing the ‘MTV Top 40 Christmas songs”. This in itself is not such a bad thing. It had reached number 5, and they were of course songs from the ‘70’s and ‘80’s, which everybody knows and supposedly loves. This of course finished after they had played the number 1, Band-Aid’s “Do they know It’s Christmas?” A very popular and catchy song at the time and still is relevant today. We were then treated to a few adverts before the next program … ‘MTV Top 20 All Time Christmas Hits.’ I will allow you only one guess what was at number 1.
Tonight, we watched the Christmas Carol service from Kings College, Oxford … do I need to say anymore?
So now, all I have to say is a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year to all who read this.
To be more precise … clothing labels. Wash-care labels, sizing labels and any other label that is on the inside of the clothes. Why do they always seem to have sharp edges and corners? It maybe the type of clothes I buy, cost , make, whatever, but I always have to remove the label before I wear them. If I don’t, then they scratch and boy does that scratch irritate. I think this the reason my youngest son R***, who is Autistic, cuts out the label from every item of clothing he has. The difference between us is where I cut out the label with a few (not so mild) expletives and hurl them in the general direction of the waste bin, he carefully stores each one in a mug on his computer desk. Last count he had over two hundred. We dare not throw them out.
Now, talking about R***, his room at home has, and I may have mentioned this previously, a laptop, a TV (now new) a Sky box, a DVD player, a CD/Cassette player, and until yesterday morning a faulty VHS video player. It’s been faulty for about six to eight months, maybe more and had an old VHS tape stuck inside. He tend to want to use it when the Sky connection fails. But it does not work. We had in the other bedroom a further five players that had been given to us when his previous player broke back in November 2014. A friend heard about his breaking and kindly let us have all the ones she had. There were no guarantees with them, but one of them did actually work. The issue with that was no handset. Without the handset, there was no tracking and without tracking, the tapes were unwatchable.
The failure of his TV and his weeks respite gave us a great opportunity to remove the VHS player and hope that he either did not realise it or did not care about it. They are now stored, for the foreseeable future in the garage. As with the labels, we dare not throw them out!
“Hate” is probably a too harsher word to use. A more appropriate word would be “Detest” I suppose. Let me expand. It’s not that I don’t like spending (that’s another issue) I just don’t like being in shops. Take yesterday as a prime example. I had to pay a visit to national supermarket nearby. I know about ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Mega-Monday’, but ‘Stupid Saturday’ is a new one on me. To say it was busy is an understatement! It was absolutely heaving. And, it seemed that the majority had brought some kind of child with them.
I’ve come to the conclusion that there are a standard type of shopper:
- The Quickie – Has a list, is straight in and out. No messing (I fall into this category);
- The Drifter – Wanders around every aisle, pausing occasionally to drop an item in their basket/trolley;
- The Inspector – Studies the price tag of every item on their list and compares them down to the last penny;
- The Owner – Not the actual shop owner, but a shopper who has no spacial awareness. These people wander around as if they are the only people in the shop. They are the ones who leave their trolley in the middle of the aisle whilst they decide what to choose;
- The Parent – Now I have some sympathy for some of these people. It must be difficult to go shopping with your six children on the busiest shopping day of the week;
- The Family – Similar to ‘The Parent’, but this time it’s the whole family that does the shop. Typically, the Father figure wanders around, two paces behind the Mother figure tutting and shaking his head at every purchase, until they hit the wines/beers/spirits aisle and then they (attempt to) take charge. If you lose the Father figure, they can always be found scanning the motoring magazines;
- The Cruiser – Doesn’t actually need to buy anything, but has time on their hands and thought they would have a look round anyway. They often have picked the largest trolley ‘just in case’ and they like to pretend they are there for a purpose by looking intently at their phone as if it has a shopping list on it.
Because my income is now down by about 30% due to my retirement, we have decided the we need to cut down on somethings. If I had been on holiday for the past three weeks, then we would have probably had eight or nine days out. Would have visited some local attractions and had lunch or evening meal, and on occasion both! But we have taken the decision (well I decided and K*** seemed to agree) that we could manage a day out once a week.
Now bearing in mind the earlier part of this post, the following may come as a surprise. Last week we went into Leeds to see the new John Lewis store and the refurbished shopping centres. K*** has wanted to go since it opened and I did not really have any excuse why we couldn’t. The fact that I don’t like the centre of Leeds did not hold any water so we went. Working in the centre for my last three weeks really enforced my dislike for the place. Millions have been spent on cleaning up the place, but it still seems a mess. There are still the beggars on many street corners and then there are the ‘Chuggers’ who I hate with a passion. These are the so called charity collectors that work in groups and are paid to try and get you to give money to a specific charity.
So back to John Lewis, or more specifically (Rant Awareness Alarm), department stores in general. I may have mentioned this before, but in these kind of stores, I want to look at certain things. I want to look at mens clothing. I like to browse the technology area. What I don’t want to do is to look around the numerous perfume sellers (for want of a better description) and I’m not too enamoured with wandering around the lingerie section either. So my gripe here is …why in most stores do I have pass through either one of sometimes both of these sections, before I can get to the ones I want to see ? I suppose the stores want to appeal to the female shoppers in the first instance, but it can be annoying for us men. Some stores take it to the extreme. Take P*****K in Leeds as an example. The menswear is on the fourth floor after passing through the lingerie, womenswear and children’s wear.
The John Lewis store is a little better laid out, I only had to brave the nasal assault of around twelve ‘beauty sections’ before I could reach the menswear, but I still think more could be done around floor planning.
When I made the final decision to take early retirement, one of the things I promised myself was that I would post more frequently. As you can see, that has yet to happen but I think it will. Just got to push myself more. When I was being quizzed by my colleagues on what I would do when I finished, my blog was mentioned. Almost everyone said the same thing …“What’s your blog about?”. To which I always reply “Nothing in particular…it’s just what I want to say, when I want to say it!” And that is basically what it is. Quite often get the reply “What’s the point then?” My response is usually “Have a read and see.” Maybe that is the answer I should use to the first question. Maybe, I need to get a subject or theme for this blog. I don’t know, but whatever I do, I need to do it more often.