I Need a Holiday

OK, so we are just a week away from our cruise but I really need a holiday.

It has been cold, very cold, and foggy for a few days and this has made my arthritis worse. One of the issues I get is that my fingers get stiff. Yesterday I managed to lose the grip of a cup and threw most of the hot chocolate it contained over our oatmeal coloured carpet.

It produced a really dirty patch that spread over quite an area with the dark brown drink. I was embarrassed and Deb must have been slightly annoyed at my clumsiness. Deb is a lovely person  and also very supportive and didn’t even “tut tut”at my error.

The wet and dry cleaner was brought out of the depths of the under-stairs cupboard. After consulting the instructions to remind her of how to use it, Deb spent half an hour attempting to remove my embarrassment. I suspect there will be enough of a stain remaining long enough to remind me to be more careful.

Our daughter and grandson are arriving later so I am sure the brown patch will be discussed again.

While checking with our daughter to see when she would be arriving, I discovered the phone was not working. We still have broadband but the phone line is faulty.

To report the fault I had to shiver in the conservatory with my mobile phone. This is the only place I can get a signal – while standing on one leg, in the corner of the room and facing the garden wall like some naughty schoolboy.

The fault was reported to the Indian Call Centre and an appointment made for an engineer to come here on Saturday morning (today). At least that was a prompt response.

So this morning we were up before it was light to be ready for the engineer who was due between 8:00 a.m.  and 1:00 p.m.

John was here by just after 8:30 and he took over two hours to replace the incoming line. He was efficient, tidy with his work, and quite sociable as he explained the problem and outlined what he was going to do.

The phone is now working again, so thanks John.

It is almost lunchtime now and I have lit the fire to warm the house up after having several doors open while John came in and out. Our daughter is due this afternoon so the stair gate has been fitted and various ‘not so child-friendly’ objects have been moved to high up hiding places to avoid accidents.

It will be nice to have time with Lynsey and Oliver and our last chance to see them before we disappear onto our cruise next week.

So, all there is left to say is to wish you all a Happy New Year!

Speak to you again soon.

World Cruise 2017 – The preparations are almost complete

It was the autumn of 2013 when Deb and I took a train ride to the Birmingham NEC to look at The Cruise Show.  In particular we were looking for the P&O stand where we intended to book a World Cruise.

Well we did just that.

With the help of Victoria Palfrey from the P&O sales team we paid our deposit and booked a cabin on Arcadia which would take us around the globe in January 2015.

As you can guess, this didn’t happen. I was still recovering from a Hip Replacement and Deb also had a cancer scare….which thankfully proved to be false.

We cancelled that cruise and the deposit was swapped for January 2016 on Arcadia’s world adventure. Thanks to Victoria once again.

Oops! I was booked in for a Hernia repair and as October came when the final decision had to be made, we still hadn’t received a date for my operation so the cruise was postponed again.

Victoria to the rescue once more and the deposit shuffled forward again for the circumnavigation cruise on board Aurora for January 2017.

Finally, we are within days of the cruise.

It will be on the same ship (Aurora) that we went around the world on in 2012. It even visits a number of the same places, but this time we sail eastwards.

It has cost a lot of money. The fare itself was ridiculous, the car parking and overnight stay in a Southampton hotel gobbled more cash, and the travel insurance and visas took a couple of month’s income. We have a filing cabinet full of medicines and toiletries, lots of new clothes, and we have even pre-booked 17 tours…and they are not cheap.

So I have created a new blog page specifically for the our adventure and hopefully there will be a few more entries before we finally set off towards Southampton on Sunday 8th January. Then while at sea I will attempt to update you every few days as we sail towards the rising sun each day.

And for what’s likely to be a slightly different view of our adventures, Deb will also be posting entries on her blog page.

Babysitting – again!

Well, we’re currently in Bridgwater, at our daughter and s-i-l’s new house.  They moved here three weeks ago, and it’s our first visit.  A lovely place, from what we can tell in the dark!

We’re here overnight to babysit our grandson while his mum and dad go to there respective works’ parties.  Oliver turned three years old yesterday so we brought his birthday present with us – a battery-powered miniature quad bike, which has proved a huge hit!

Thanks for all the comments (NOT)

It must be a Christmas surge but I am getting a very high number of rogue comments again.

None of them have been published because:

  • I do not have any intention of selling our house
  • I don’t have a weight problem
  • The other medicine being advertised is also of no interest to me
  • I do not understand  ramblings of various random French words and phrases which Google translate attempted to turn into English
  • Similarly the random Spanish might have amused us but did not merit a chance to go public on here
  • And of course I have no intention of responding to the numerous invitations to become a millionaire by sending yet more random comments to other innocent bloggers

So instead I will just say:

“Thanks for helping to push the web sight view figures, but please, pretty please, don’t send anymore!

I have a sore arm

With just over three weeks left before we set off around the world, the last of the preparations are getting ticked off the list.

This afternoon Deb and I had our jabs for Hepatitis A and Typhoid as well as a long discussion about the possible need to cover ourselves against Rabies and Yellow Fever.

Hence the rather sore arm… but that little job is now complete.

Also this week the car has been serviced and MOT’d, and we have almost built up enough stocks of prescription medicines to last the journey. This has proved more difficult than anticipated as our surgery will only allow one prescription at a time, so we have to keep submitting requests for sets of pills and potions every few days.

It doesn’t help that my doctor decided to change one of my pills and that has not worked too well. Hence I have to go back and get the dose altered or have it reverted to my initial pills. Whatever the outcome, I am now short of that particular medicine and will have to sneak several prescription requests in in the next couple of weeks.

So, we are virtually ready for the world cruise, and can concentrate on Christmas instead for a while….except

….we have booked another cruise for the end of July 2017.

This was a bargain we couldn’t ignore with a week on Adonia, the smallest P&O ship. It has just come back to the fleet from a change of use and her programme had to be arranged at quite short notice. P&O needed to fill the cabins quickly, and as we are loyal customers, we were offered a half price cruise.

After thinking about it for a few minutes, we cancelled our week going to the Fjords on Arcadia, and replaced it with this one  going to France and Spain. Even better is that we’re treating ourselves with a Penthouse Suite which has turned out to be cheaper than the basic balcony cabin on Arcadia!

Update on the Curry’s washing machine saga:

Firstly, we have finally received the compensation payment for the wasted trip to receive our son’s washing machine that never turned up……Hurrah!!

We also bought a washing machine from them and although the first one was faulty, the replacement is perfect. Strangely after all the confusion concerning our bank authorising the payment, they have not yet taken the money from our bank. Even after speaking to them, and emailing them, to let them know the situation, the money is still with us…..Hurrah!!

It has been over two weeks since we bought our new machine, so even with such a small amount of money involved,  I am amazed that they haven’t noticed their bank account is short.

I will update you on this another time.

Bi for now.

Dinner on a steam train

Last night Deb and I had dinner on board a train on the Severn Valley railway. It was pulled by a steam engine although being a dark night we didn’t actually see it until we go off at the end of the evening.

This was a ‘Murder Mystery’ themed evening that we had been invited to by the ballroom dancing class we go to. There were nine of us in total and we had a thoroughly fun evening.

We joined the train at Kidderminster which was a 90-minute drive from home. The train was scheduled to leave at 7:15, but we were all at the station an hour before that. It was a cold evening and the waiting area was little more than a large tent, but the atmosphere of lots of people enjoying themselves was good. There were even carol singers trying to warm us up.

A little later than advertised we began the journey along this wonderful little heritage train line that goes back and forth between Kidderminster and Bridgenorth. During the winter months it only regularly opens at weekends, and this evening there were two trains working, with the Murder Mystery on one and a carol concert on the other.

The carriages vary from a luxury 1st-class lounge, through to the dining area where we were seated. Our meal was a typical Christmas one with turkey and Christmas pudding as well as a fish and vegetarian option and chocolate cheesecake.

The atmosphere was loud and fun with the 14 tables of diners. Some of us had dressed in 1940’s period style costumes, but the majority were happy in their normal clothes.

The background to the Murder Mystery plot was revealed bit by bit during the starter and main course, and when we stopped at Bridgenorth the actual murder was committed to screams of despair and pools of ketchup-like blood. On the return ride while we ate our puddings, the actors completed giving all the clues and we made up our minds who had done the wicked deed.

Several of the 40 or so passengers correctly guessed the guilty person, and one was decided as the best for the motive he had invented. There were cheers and applause of approval for the entertainment and then we settled for the last 30 minutes as we made our way back to Kidderminster.

Back at our starting point it was very cold and our cars needed to be cleared of frost before the long journey back home.

It was a long evening with our journey that had started at 4:30, and it was after midnight when we arrived back home. The food was as good as can be expected from a train’s kitchen and well served by the little army of waitresses. The entertainers had been good fun and kept us all in good spirits.

It was a lovely fun evening and I would perhaps repeat the experience, but I would have preferred it to be a little shorter in time, and maybe during the summer months when we could have enjoyed the view a little as well.

Overall I think I would rate this as a high 8 out of 10 with the duration being my only negative issue.

 

 

Christmas Tradition

Our village church has a lovely Christmas tradition.

They invite local businesses or clubs to decorate a Christmas Tree and display it in the church for a couple of days.

It is only a small village but there were around 20 trees highlighting the activities of Girl Guides, lunch clubs, WI and other local organisations.

I may not be religious, but I do enjoy the festive traditions and respect the beliefs of people of all faiths. This simple gathering at the church is a pleasure to support and a chance to chat to many people we meet around the village.

It also reminds me of those who have succumbed to mortality in the last 12 months, and I even lit a candle for those I miss so much.

Soon there will be another special event in the church. On Christmas Eve the congregation of the church will be swelled by believers and others to join in with the carol service and children’s nativity story. It is another time when saints and sinners come together to celebrate a very special time of the year.

….and many of us go to the pub afterwards for a festive pint.

 

Washing Machine Update

I am quite surprised, but very content, to report that the replacement washing machine arrived this morning.

The new machine is now installed (by my own arthritic hands) and is working as it should do.

To everyone around the world reading this post, I apologise to Curry’s for doubting their ability to do what they promise.

By the way, if anyone is struggling to purchase a coffee machine – the ones you put little pods in – you might like to know that Curry’s appear to have cornered the market.

Their showroom in Hereford has hundreds of different machines. Well, maybe I exaggerate a little, but they have several different brands piled up in towers, and then on top of various surfaces. I don’t think they sold as many as they expected during the ‘Black Friday’ madness sales.

The prices do look good value, and I am sure we would have bought one, if we hadn’t already had one for several months.

On a different note, the cruise preparations continue.

  • This week the house insurance has been upgraded for being away for a longer duration than normal.
  • The car is booked in for a service and annual MOT test.
  • And we are starting to stockpile prescription medicines.

Less than 40 days now!!

Am I excited….stupid question!

 

Winter has begun

A week ago, the trees still showed off their golden leaves, but now the trees are covered in a glistening white frost. Autumn has quickly said goodbye and we are most definitely welcoming winter to our lives.

Also, a week ago, against my better judgement we visited Curry’s on Friday to buy a new washing machine. I have so many bad memories of Curry’s but there’s really no real alternative if you want to look at a product, rather than choosing something from a picture online.

Well, as it happened the one we liked the look of wasn’t in stock, so we sulked and came home. I then went online and discovered that we could get it immediately from Curry’s, and delivery could be as early as Sunday. Sometimes I despair that a high street shop cannot get access to stock for several weeks, but the online store can get it immediately.

So we ordered it and sat back to await delivery.

Then I noticed the online order was showing delivery for Wednesday, rather than Sunday.

On Sunday morning I spent an hour on a phone to Curry’s customer care department listening to repeated messages about how busy they were, and grating my teeth as the same jingly-jangly music drove me mad. The outcome was that something went wrong with the money transfer. I rang my bank, and in less than two minutes had confirmation that the money was authorised and available for Curry’s, but that they had not taken it.

Next morning (Monday) I rang the highly efficient (not) customer care team and after another 30 minutes  had an assurance that something would be sorted out today. Sure enough I eventually had an email to inform us that the washing machine would be arriving on Wednesday.

Thing took a turn for the better now and we had access to a tracking system that narrowed down the delivery slot from a 12 hour window to the morning. Mid morning the phone rang to tell us they were literally a couple of miles away.

By lunchtime the machine had arrived, been unloaded, plumbed in and cycled through a short test wash. Everything appeared fine.

Then when the first wash was loaded we realised that none of the control functions worked. We couldn’t change the spin speed, wash cycle temperature, or various other bits and pieces.

The manual was read several times. Buttons were pushed and knobs twiddled but although we could change to different wash programmes, the ‘bells and whistles’ options didn’t exist.

At least Deb managed to do some washing.

First I attempted to ring the customer care team, and then Deb took over and she got through to the first genuinely helpful person so far. We had a reference number to take to our local Curry’s store to sort out a replacement machine.

Thursday….and we were back in Curry’s store. They disagreed that it was their responsibility to organise the replacement as the order had been taken online….

…but suddenly they smiled and said they would sort it out anyway!

Helpful person number two, and his manager was number three.

We left after half an hour with a replacement scheduled to arrive tomorrow (Friday).

I will let you know how this went, and either apologise for my bad thoughts about Curry’s, or maybe not.

Oh, and on a really special good note to end this post. The counter is telling me that there have been 10,000 hits on the blog site. Thanks everyone.