First holiday of the year.

Hi there,

just come to the end of the first day of my first holiday of the year after the Christmas break and what a day it’s been. My partner and I along with my daughter spent most of the day cleaning out my old house after removing all the rubbish and furniture and everything that I wasn’t taking with me to my new abode.

It’s amazing how much stuff you can accumulate in just a few short years. I knew it would take some time and there would be quite a bit of stuff to move but I wasn’t prepared for the volume of stuff that there actually was.

After several trips to the local charity shops to donate surplus items and a couple trips to the recycling depot to dispose of unwanted rubbish we finally finished and went home.

Before tea we had a salesman call round to talk about a front door we were thinking of having to replace the existing one.

Why is it that these people try these inane tactics?

I told my partner that the first quote he would give us would be ridiculously high then he would tell us that the special discounted price, which again was too high would be off the table if we decided to think about it and call them later with our decision and then he would offer us a special discounted price where he would give us his own discount and his own percentage that he would normally take from the sale would be deducted from the price. All totally b******t of course.

So he started his script and it was so obvious that it was a script when I asked a few questions which he couldn’t answer because they were later in the script and if he went off that he would be lost. The script followed the guidelines I’d laid out for my partner who being the clever person she is, saw through him after less than five minutes of him being in the house. So when we got down to the nitty gritty after being told about the product and how it was made and how his company differed from all the other companies out there, how they were an ethical company and wouldn’t lie to us blah blah blah we got to the pricing.

After the initial ridiculous price which we knew was coming we went through the charade of him telling us about all the discounts and how he would let us have it at the special discounted price using 7% of his 10% commission because it had been a good month and 3% was better than nothing blah blah blah we ended up getting the product, which we were impressed with I must say, at the price we thought was fair and he went away happy, probably earning 10% commission anyway thinking he’d put one over on us. The initial price is set ridiculously high so they have room to barter and when they bring it down to somewhere close to it being what it should the customer thinks they have a bargain, that they knocked him down from what he wanted to charge. I don’t think for one minute that they enter a potential customers home expecting them to sign on the dotted line after the first quote and if the customer does then they must have more money than sense.

It would be refreshing if they started off by saying “Look this is the product you want, I’m not going to beat about the bush, this is how much it cost’s, do you want it or not?” and actually quote the price they know they’ll end up with agreeing on anyway.

It may be refreshing but would the customer be as satisfied than if they thought they’d actually beaten the price down from some insane figure to one they were prepared to pay? Probably not!

Anyway I just thought I’d share my thoughts on the issue with you, I’m sure there’ll be some out there who would like to argue the points I’ve made and most of them would probably be salesmen but never mind after all it’s just my opinion.

See you soon,


Blizzard conditions freak me out

Hi there,

I watched the weather forecast last night before going to bed as I wanted to know what to expect on my early start the next day. It was the first time I’d worked on a saturday morning for quite some time and since moving to my new rural residence it would be a first. I had to know what the weather was going to be like for when I set out at 6.45am. The forecast wasn’t good and I hoped they’d got it wrong, or at the very least it wasn’t going to be as bad as they said.

I was wrong.

As I started the car the sleet was coming down and probably had been for about an hour. As the forecast had predicted we were in for some sleet and snow. I reached the top of the moors and drove into a blizzard, the wind was blowing snow horizontally, straight at me and the mist was lying quite thickly everywhere so visibility was down to a few feet. Being probably only the second or third person to venture out on these untreated roads was not the most pleasant experience I’ve had in recent times and by the time I’d driven through it all to reach Leek my body was coming down from the adrenalin rush of navigating hairpin bends, skidding down untreated roads with a hair raising drop offs at the side and generally wishing I worn my corderoy trousers that morning.

Having said that, I got to work unscathed and on time which, when I was going through the worst of it I’d have said would have been a miracle.

Later on in the morning I heard on the local news that two lorries had jack knifed on similar roads in that location and had blocked it off for most of the day, so I consider myself extremely lucky. Someone up there must have been looking out for me, thanks whoever you are and keep up the good work.

That’s all for now,

see you soon,


New arrival sparks new hope.

Hi there,

I had some great news yesterday, my daughter told me that she learned about the sex of her first child. She’s having a baby boy and she and her partner couldn’t be happier.

They were prepared for the new arrival to be either sex, they’d picked names for both, they’d selected a neutral colour scheme for the clothes they’d already bought in anticipation of it’s arrival and I’m certain they would be just as happy whatever the sex. All they really wanted was for their first child to arrive, healthy and well. Now though they can start to call the baby ‘he’ instead of ‘it’ which always helps in any conversation, helps to add identity to the unborn.

No doubt the prospective parents will start to plan a future for their new arrival, I know the father has hopes that his baby boy will grow up to play for Liverpool FC, his favourite team and I’m sure the mother harbours some secret hope along those lines too.

Whatever the youngster has to face in the future I sincerely hope that good fortune comes his way, that all his relationships are fruitful and he lives a long and happy life.

I await his arrival with as much anticipation, hope and joy that his parents do.

See you soon,


How a few short words opened the door to an exciting new world.

Hi there,

it’s strange how something so obvious can be overlooked so easily.

I clicked on the link for better blogging in 2011 and followed it through to the ‘writing headlines’ feature and after reading the tips it occurred to me that it was as plain as the nose on my face. It couldn’t have been more obvious if it had slapped me in the face which led me to wonder what other things are so obvious that we overlook them because of their obviousness? There must be many examples and I’m throwing the floor open for anyone to start off a list of these things. It may be trivial, but it’s just a bit of fun, so go on guys let’s see what we can come up with.

See you soon,


Rural Living.

Hi there,

just a quick post to pass on my experiences on rural living.

My girlfriend and I have just come back from doing the weekly shop, we set out to head towards the superstore and we quickly found out it wouldn’t be quite as simple as we first thought. The road we were going to use was at the bottom of a hill where the River Derwent travels through and because of all the rain over the past few days it had flooded the entire area so the road was closed off. Taking an alternate route we went up and around and from our elevated position we were witness to an absolutely amazing sight. The entire valley was awash with water, fields were a patchwork of little tufts of greenery showing through above the flooded areas with the railway track meandering through it all built up to stand above this flood-land.

Families would come down to stand and look in awe at this spectacle, taking photos with mobiles and camera and I’m sure these images will appear somewhere on their facebook pages  or on their very own blog’s very soon.

My first experience at natures pure power was back in 1975 when I went as part of the crew up to Scotland to sail on the Schooner Captain Scott. It was a training ship used basically for character building, businesses would send young men to be part of the crew and take part in orienteering exercises, camping and hill walking and at the end of the 26 day course if you completed it you had passed the Gold Award of the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme.

Sailing up to Stornoway overnight was an experience in itself but on the whole during my entire course I had the rare chance to see nature at her finest and her worst. The sights of dolphins chasing along at the side of the sailing ship; a pod of killer whales and the sights of the islands as we sailed by them was just breathtaking and much much more and the worst was when we had to shelter by the Isle of Skye overnight as gale force winds made it impossible for us to land and complete our camping exercise on that island as the winds were gusting over 60 mph at sea level, God only knows how bad it would have been up on the hills. As we sheltered in the lee of the island, not even allowed up on deck we could feel the awesome power of the wind as it rocked the ship.

Today I had another chance to view natures power how in a blink of her eye she could change the landscape seemingly on a whim. It makes you step back and realise just how insignificant we are on that kind of scale and the only impact we could have, if any is by helping out those who are in need at times like these. Kind of puts your life into perspective somewhat.

See you soon,


New Beginning

Hi there,

yesterday with the help of my son and son in law I did a house move, one of the top five most stressful things a person can do in their life. I’m now happily entrenched with my wonderful girlfriend and apart from a few final details and the final clearing up of my last residense it’s all done and dusted.

I’ve moved to a wonderful scenic area of the country, and now have to get used to rural living. One thing I’ve noticed straight away and which is really appealing, is the much slower pace. I’ve never lived in a big city such as Manchester or London so I can’t comment on the pace of living in a place like that but I did grow up and have lived most of my life in the suburbs and worked in the nearest town or city and compared to that, living here is almost like moving through molasses. The relaxed pace and how friendly the people are is a revelation and I know I’m going to be truly happy living here.

Other changes I spoke about in an earlier post mainly about my place of work have been a complete roller coaster. We’ve gone from at the beginning of the year, talking about how well the company was doing and what a bright future we had to, the possibility of redundancies of several members of staff. Talk about a shock none of us saw it coming or even had an idea how it could happen. One valuable member of staff took voluntary redundancy so that he didn’t prolong the agony of wondering when the hammer would fall and in the space of less than three days of his leaving a possible stay of execution arrived in the form of an influx of orders.

How this entire situation could even have happened completely baffles me and I admit, I have no experience in running a business but when you place your life in the hands of someone running a company you trust them to know what they are doing and clearly, in this instance my trust has been severely misplaced.

Luckily for me, my working life continues and I hope for quite some time, I just feel for my friend who felt the need to jump before he was pushed.

See you soon,




How things change!!!

Hi there,

no more than three days ago I posted about the changes that were happening at the company where I am employed and today whilst at work I was contemplating what to post as a follow up. Noting the developments that had occurred in the short time since last posting. I was going to go into full rant at how certain members of staff have the uncanny ability of talking about work but when it comes down to the nitty gritty of actually doing the work for which they are employed they do anything but.

I was going to follow up with how because of how a friend of mine was treated he chose to be made redundant early instead of going through the consultation period and wait to see if they could save his job. If he had been treated fairly or at least like some of the other workers had been treated after periods of illness he may have stuck it out and now he has gone and the company has lost a valuable asset.

My rant would have included the owners incompetence at handling customers, workforce and the business in general.

That was what my post was going to go like but two hours before clocking off time and we now know that we’ve had several orders placed that are worth a considerable amount of money and there is even a suggestion that the remaining staff member who along with my friend had entered the one weeks consultation period may even keep his job.

How things change, less than three days ago there was fear of job cuts, short time or even more job cuts and even talk of closure, although that, I must admit was a worst case scenario type thing, and now we can all breathe a little easier, even if it is for a short time.

I can’t help but wonder though when the light will dawn for the boss and he finally sees what some members of staff are pulling behind his back to the detriment of the company and the rest of the workforce.

Anyway that’s my rant over with, for now. I’ll keep you posted on any new developments.

See you soon