£££’s – KEEPING AHEAD OF THE GAME.

The domestic fuel provider hunt is on here in M’s household. I hate it!  There is no reward for loyalty. You have try to keep ahead of the game.  In commerce loyalty is seen as valuable commercial inertia.

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The research into domestic fuel suppliers does demand focus.  The offers in the competitive market place require analysing, understanding and then an applied arithmetical brain work out.

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The various and numerous  consumer comparison sites quite often do not agree with each other as to what’s truly best for you or me.  They too, are running a business.  One consumer web site is very transparent about its commissions from recommendations.  They also ensure their site shows other market provider options, from which they do not gain pecuniary advantage .

The best offers with all the suppliers are usually  available on the web. There are domestic fuel supplier names I have never heard of,  young businesses that are building up their customer base, trying to grow quickly with very competitive offers but without appropriate customer infrastructure in place. Caveat emptor.

My experience last year with a new kid on the block that metamorphosed into a total unknown during the transfer process, got to tear your hair out proportions:  My current contract with them is ending,  just as I have got them trained.

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THUMBS UP! IT REALLY WORKS.

Well I never! It’s not every day when I go shopping, my purchases on the check out belt generate laundry tips  from the check-out operator.  He had tried it himself, he said, and it worked.  A quick bit of advice on the amount to use as he handed me my change, and “only with clear vinegar mind, definitely not malt vinegar, ( perish the thought) and no detergent”;   “If you do it like I said, your cotton towels will come out of the wash nice and soft”.  It’s amazing what you learn at the checkouts, I said, as I was leaving.  Giving me a thumbs up sign, he assured me again it really worked.

 

 

DEAR ME…

Dear  all…

Dear everyone…

Dear…

Emails have always seemed to me to be a very informal method of sending mail.  The minuscule ‘Hi’ and the nondescript ‘Hello’ definitely do not suit all situations.  Very occasionally, ‘Good morning/Good afternoon….Mr/Mrs’  turns up; it’s easy enough to similarly respond, if I know of the writer, though not if it is mail from the business.  Business emails are business communications like any that are delivered by postal mail services. They just do not look like it, or, maybe, it’s just they do not look like the business mail I have been used to.

If it’s a formal communication conventions state I should respectfully open with, ‘Dear Sir’, or, ‘Dear Madam’  or, a combined version of both;  I have never considered any particular business entity  dear to me, nor  anyone in it with whom I may have developed a working business relationship.  (Oh dear).  Looking at terms of endearment, I am no further forward in creating alternative salutations for the purpose.

 

Pavement Poetry

I might feel less inhibited if I felt free to open with something nicely terse at times. Huffing and puffing, I might just consider dropping terms of endearment and  begin, “Sir”, or, “Madam”.   It’s the worst I can allow myself to do.   Undoubtedly, this is exactly the reason for beginning a written correspondence in a traditionally, accepted, mannerly, style,  at all times.  The moment your thoughts turn to ‘dear….’ the system structure draws you into its conventional framework.  And dropping ‘dear’ to a curt ‘Sir or Madam’ only frames a much more formal, but  still a conventionally acceptable mailing.   So be it.

The written word speaks volumes.

FOREIGN LEGION – CONSIGNMENTS & LEFT LUGGAGE

THROW AWAY FLOW

Twelfth night is meant to be the time for clearing away greetings cards and festive decorations. In my book, some superstitions are best ignored.  As I don’t receive some mail till early January, mostly from abroad, my cards stay up longer and the last to arrive are the last to disappear.  Thus, I span the Western and the Eastern festive dates.

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My decorations are the cards people send me.  Switch on candle glow (LED’s) provide an atmospheric friendly warmth.  The little candles (tea lights) have been  tucked away.  A couple of stocky gold coloured ones have not.  They glitter and look quite pretty when daylight turns into twilight, even if they are not lit.

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Tomorrow we have a recycling collection. The bulk of the cards – not the late arrivals – have been sorted between those that will be a keepsake, (just a few) or those needing  some attention. The others, will provide material for recycling.  Our collectors do not want anything with metallic finishes, which includes glitter. Lots of cards have those pretty finishes. The best I can do is to separate re-usable bits of a card from those bits that are not. That was late morning……..

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….Even later morning, I seem to have spent hours sorting out a small area of desk. The quarter truth is, some of the space on the desk has been created by shoving some stuff to the right of it, (probably, should be ‘right off it’). I am trying to be tough on myself…about bits of paper (cringe).  I know it will be worse before it gets better.

Early afternoon……hubs interrupts my bits of paper throw away flow.  “Are you having any lunch?”

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SWITCH IT ON.

A new year and I feel as if I have lost the art of succinct writing, or, neatly saying what I mean.  I envy just a teensy weensy bit, the writers who can encapsulate a major thought, or a vital description into a few apt words.  To paraphrase an historical giant of the written word, I feel, if I become tired of writing I will be tired of observing and participating in life. That would be just too immense an emasculation of  my senses to contemplate.

Perhaps it is the gentle warmth of spontaneous creativity I want.  You could say that writing anything, be it a business letter, or business email is being creative. They are hardly communications for which you would usually create poetic prose: but, why shouldn’t they be?  An answer to the question is, it rests on the purpose for which they are written and how the communications flow.  The writing voice depends whether there is a demand upon you to write as opposed to  responding to a natural urge to write.

 

NOW WE KNOW….OR DO WE?

A couple of  ‘newsy’ things this week caught my attention:

We now know why bubbly tastes better in a glass.  Research at both The University of Texas and University College London UK, explains why plastic and polystyrene cups just will not do for your Prosecco, Asti-spumante, or, Champagne. I can feel the regal Marques des Champagne curling their toes and gritting their pearly teeth at the thought of …plastic….polystyrene!!  According to a study, the bubbles behave differently in plastic and polystyrene cups than they would in glass,  The bubbles stick quite strongly to the plastic and polystyrene for longer and as a result grow bigger before they lift off, which, in turn, alters the taste of the drinks. They [the bubbles]   are on their best behaviour drunk from a glass.  Presumably, the small free flowing bubbles maintain the desired taste of the ‘bubbly’

While we are discussing drinking alcohol;  an offence with interesting variations.  An electrical engineer was caught over the drinks-driving limit, on his way to a police station to service their…….breath test machine!  The driver had been seen by police driving erratically on a very bendy stretch of road.  In court he was found guilty, fined and banned from driving for a year. At the trial, the police said the case presented them with a dilemma, because of the unusual circumstances.   It was felt there could be a ‘conflict of interest’,  given that the man serviced most of the intoximeters  in the country.  The prosecutor shared their view.  A urine sample was therefore taken for testing.

In defending his client, the defence lawyer claimed the police had not followed correct procedures in taking the urine sample.

The Sheriff when pronouncing sentence said, that the matter had been handled correctly and by the book.

 

 

BEING SMARTER WITH WORDS

© M- Open Gardens

Have I ever come across such incompetence before…..No:  Have I ever seen such a complicated cock-up before…..Almost, but this one pips others to the post.

After five months of chivvying a utility company along and a having a variety of unexpected experiences, with no sign of an agreeable resolution, I have got to end of my tether.

From Monday of last week I had my nose to grindstone. I gathered together five months’ worth of information to make a formal complaint to the Office Of The Ombudsman (Energy).  Once that was more-or-less sorted, the information had to be put into a non-emotive and concise presentation; ‘emotions not allowed‘ the instruction guidance suggests.  If you’ve done anything like this, you will know it can take days to do.  Sifting through the collection of potential attachments, (evidence) is a must.  Also, attachments, “Must be appropriate to the complaint“.

Midweek, I gave myself permission to have time off.  I had few hours’ break, to go out and see what the rest of my world was doing. It was the only way I was going to bring myself back, bleary eyed, to face the next step…….editing.

Editing is a euphemism for making  savings, word [efficiency] savings; being smarter with words, making cuts.  I won’t bore you with the rest of it.   By lunchtime on Friday I had finished work on the presentation of my complaint and had written a succinct-ish email to attach everything to.

It felt so very good to click on the ‘send’ button.  Now we wait.

© M

 

 

WISHING IN THE WIND

Nothing in particular to report, though there is plenty to occupy my thoughts. There is is just too much.  I don’t imagine for one minute that I am alone in feeling I am on thinking and analysis overload.

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© M-Digital Doodles

Living in such tumultuous and shambolic times it would be easy to behave like an ostrich and bury my head in the sand.  In the Russian equivalent analogy,  the ostrich  is  ‘hiding its head under its wing’.  The Russian Ostrich would have a cosier and warmer hideout, with the ability for an occasional surreptitious glance out to see if worldly things were a little quieter: peaceful would be really good.

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© Photo By M-Wishing-In-The-Wind

DROPPING LOOPS, MAKING HOLES AND STUFFING THINGS

A feature on yet another revival of homely hand knitting reminded me……. At primary school, the girls’ craft classes were the bain of my life. Could I knit as a six year old? Much as I tried, sitting at an old wooden desk, with oversized knitting needles and a well re-used ball of wool, made the whole experience a clumsy affair with little to show for it. There were some loops on the needle and maybe I managed to put some wool through a loop or two, I don’t really remember.

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I do know, that there were some stitches on the needle that did not seem to be very productive.  I was glad when the tortuous efforts came to an end and another lesson began.

Then there was the class where the better little hand-stitchers made bunnies with lovely fluffy cloth already cut to shape, probably by the teacher, a grandmother figure, who taught that girls’ class. Once stitched to the required point, busy little hands had lots of fun stuffing the bodies, arms, legs, hands and ears of their creations, (through a small opening left in the seam) with what I believe was Kapok. Polyester fibres were not in use all those years ago to stuff things. The opening was then closed up by each young  ‘creator’ with even and neat little running stitches.

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We, the ones relegated to the ‘untalented’ corner, (the majority of the class) had a bit of rag each plus a needle and thread to practice with. I cannot say what others may have thought, but it seemed to me, the three or four bunny-makers looked more than a teensy bit smug.  Just a bit of me would have liked to have been with them bathed in their success.

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A couple of years later, I discovered the Grandmother figure really was granny to two of the girls in her ‘better’ group.  Also, another teacher in the school, who was French, was her daughter-in-law.  By then, I was old enough to understand that a big war ended not so many years before, so, it was likely that the girls had no dad.  Mum and granny were supporting each other and the two girls on prescribed lower women’s salaries, much lower than their working male teaching counterparts.

From the amount of time we spent in church and on religious education, I wonder if there wasn’t some hope of recruiting future nuns and priests.

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This primary school was certainly schooling the girls, for at best, domesticity, sweat shops, or, subservient jobs, and the boys, likewise, to be unskilled. We weren’t seen as having much potential.

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Scott Monument Princes St Edinburgh+ Poppy Memorial

When we all divided up to move on to our next secondary stage school experience, it was really surprising how many children started to thrive in a different educational environment, even though the development of domestic/service/cooking skills, was still a theme for girls.  Many of us as schoolchildren, were undervalued. Notwithstanding, many of my school friends, both genders, broke the expected mould.

YaY !!

OPENING PANDORA’S BOX

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Pandora’s Box

I meant to unplug my charged up  e-tablet and ended up instead, opening up Pandora’s Box.  Don’t ask me why, I can’t tell you.  I opened a file drawer.  It’s one I have used for nondescript and personal  ‘stuff ‘.  Mind you, I have been known to create a folder or two there, just because it wasn’t over-stuffed like the actual filing cabinet we both use.

can-of-worms-vector-id180621048For a couple of hours I was absorbed in reviving memories, (a lot of them not good ones) and slimming down the contents of folders. When I had finished with the first folder, my hand crept to the next one.   A can of worms had lain there too. This one was approximately a sixteen years old triple sandwich, with a mildew mild top filling,  fizzing chili in the middle, mercifully, followed by a layer of cooling cucumber.

It is hard curating sorting out your own ‘stuff’, your own interconnected paper trail of life.  I found I was not able to be totally objective.  Even after many years, emotions can and do ripple. I wonder if I had planned to do this job, I might have felt any different.

A shredded bucket of my life later, my pack of plastic pockets has swelled with a great many Woolworth’s ones that I freed up. (That’s a store long gone).  They seem to be a better quality plastic pocket than those they share the packet with.

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