Friday 10 July 2015

First the bad

Are you interested in our kitchen?  It's finished after a fair few months.  But you do have to wait a little longer to see the results, as I need to get this off my chest first.  Building work is never much fun and I wonder if ours was any better or worse than the average.

Anyone who knows me will know that I've developed a habit of falling out with's a habit that I regard as worse than smoking.  I can't say I enjoy it at all.  The Cat's Mother on the other hand falls out with no one.  That's a good habit, although occasionally quite annoying.  Anyway, on this particular occasion, we're both of a similar mind.  Some quotes from e-mail exchanges with our new kitchen supplier...purveyors of luxury kitchens to the stars (supposedly).  I was going to include their name, but perhaps it's not can always ask if you want to know.  The blue quotes are from them. 

I apologise if we have indeed not lived up to your expectations

I apologise for any inconvenience you have suffered so far

I will find out what is happening this morning and call you

Whilst I do not know any detail of your particular job, it is fair to say that you appear correct regarding the lack of communication!! For this I humbly apologise. For what it is worth I agree our internal level of communication is nowhere near what it should be and this is something we Te [sic]working hard to change. The upturn in Our Global business levels, has left us playing catch up. No excuse I know, but at least an honest response.

Thank you for your time on the phone earlier, and again apologise for the lack of communication regarding the information below not being relayed to you

I care not whether this offends you

Thank you for your feedback, and I shall be ensuring that your experience is not repeated in our future installations, as the journey is as important as the final product, which I am sure will look fantastic

I would indeed like to meet with you. You are absolute correct that in a Workd [sic] awash with "luxury brands" it is the "experience" as much or even more than the product that defines true luxury.

I cannot guarantee that meeting me will benefit you that much however it will help me ensure that we do not inconvenience others unnecessarily.
So I agreed to meet on a date specified by the CEO, and have heard nothing since.....would I recommend them?  Would I hell, I would recommend anyone but them.....

Monday 6 July 2015

Funeral for a stranger

We've taken to seeing bands 'just in case' it's the last time they tour.  That was our reason for seeing The Eagles earlier this year, and I guess to a certain extent Paul Simon as I mentioned in the last post.  The Who, adn the Rolling stones are well up on our list now.  A couple of weeks ago we headed to the O2 to see Fleetwood Mac.  The problem with the O2 is that too often you sit so far away from the band themselves you spend the evening watching the screens, which rather defeats the object I think...and so it was this time.  Not to worry, the songs are fantastic...although its fair to say that the first half was galloped through as if they had the last bus ti catch.  Christine McVie was making a triumphant return...and just in case we forgot we were told repeatedly throughout the show.  My favourite sign that this is a collection of phenomenal egos was that instead of having the name of the band on the drums, it was merely Mr Fleetwood's initials.  His ten minute solo was interminable.  So good songs, poor show...although we were the only ones who seemed to notice.

I can't remember when the last time was that I test drove a car before I bought it.  I work on the basis that all cars are pretty good these days, so I don't need to.  That could have been disastrous when i bought my last Jeep, because most of the reports in car magazines liken it to tractor.  But as it turned out, that agricultural feel was what has made it very special for's a challenge to drive, and has acres of personality.  Everytime I got in it since I bought it in 2009, it managed to put a smile on my face.  No other car has ever done that.  But time has passed, the government has gone from extolling the virtues of diesel to vilifying it, and I've never kept a new car for more than three years.  So I decided to replace it...and for the first time I decided I would replace my current car with the same again.  But this time with a higher spec and petrol engine, and (because manual is no longer available) an automatic gearbox.  Metallic bronze instead of silver.  After placing the order away back in December, the Beast was delivered just before my birthday.  And what a transformation the new car is.  It has been turned by the designers from an agricultural workhorse into a luxury cruiser.  Smooth, powerful and full of bells and whistles.  The colour was not quite as suggested, and that has given rise to endless humour amongst friends.  Bling it certainly is.  At least it is not out of place in darkest Essex...I'll be getting a vajazel next.  So far I like it, but don't yet love it...hopefully that will come.  The old one is yet to be if you know someone who would be interested, let me know...just like a pet it must go to a caring home.

I've come to like going to funerals.  That feels peculiar to me...but I have a reason.  I went to the funeral a couple of weeks ago of someone I didn't know.  His parents taught me at school, and I have enormous respect for them, so when I heard the news of his premature death due to complications from malaria, I felt it was something I wanted to do.  His father seemed to be bearing up well, although his mother couldn't hide the impact of losing her youngest son was having on her.   So why did I like going to this funeral?  It was because of the eulogy by his brother, which brought him to life in a vivid fashion.  An extremely talented pilot who lived a life of adventure whilst retaining his passion for his family and home country.  I felt completely lifted to hear about him, and it was true to say this was a celebration.  Of course, I would rather there had been no reason at all for me to be there.