Hubs clapped his hand to his head. “What did you buy that for?”

It’s a side table, I cheerily replied.

Hubs –“I can see what it is…did it cost a lot?”

Me -“I don’t think so”.

Hubs-Where did you get it?”

“In the Home charity shop”.  And I turned up the price tag so hubs could see it.

Hubs-Oh, that’s nice, was there another one!”




Black Friday has at least taken the media focus off some of the dafter stuff going on in our little island. Apparently, zillions of us will have ‘bet’ on buying online bargains within a twenty-four hours period. The knock-on short -term employment generated by this activity must have its good and down side. The existing delivery services cannot cope with the demand, so are increased and complemented by all sorts of distribution methods. The zero hours contractors,  come to mind as do  as do self-employed drivers  many of whom, work to tight margins.

2Many retailers in the U.K, both online and in the high streets, like Black Friday, (an American Import) as it generates the consumer to shop. It is said that the U.K is big with online shopping, more so that many other countries worldwide. Logistically, retailers large and small have to be creative.  One way to be creative has been to extend bargain hunting with special offers for a about a week before Black Friday and a week after.



Yours truly has ordered a book, not especially because of Black Friday, but, it’s just that I remembered about it; so while the grey cells were working, I decided to go for it. The book will be delivered by Royal Mail, (what’s left of it).  I think I do quite well, as a rule, shopping in sales at other times.  Most of the inspiration for gifts I buy is found that way.  This year though, inspiration has been in short supply, a bell-weather, I think, of a tougher  retailing  market.


The mass purchasing activity of online shoppers in a small window of time will give an equally huge short-term boost to turnover and sales.  However, when this feverish activity is over and the  annual accounts are calculated as a whole, economists say,  it does not necessarily enhance the balance sheet; the annual accounts, they advise, will even out.  On the other hand, if that is the case, without any shopping boost, the annual business balance sheets may look a lot less viable.





Wow!  As I walked  through the check-out this afternoon, I received a fabulous bouquet from a manager with personal and grateful thanks on behalf of the store staff for ………………… giving a critical analysis –complaining– of my shopping experience today and on other recent shopping visits.

Just For Me

Just For Me

The area manager, (A.M) was on holiday (!) and as he was passing through the area, he thought he would just look in on his remote store and its flock, unannounced, to see how it was getting on.  A.M who was in smart casual clothes  was talking to an equally smart corporately suited lady, a store manager, when I strolled up with my almost empty trolley cart and asked why the store seemed to have lost its way in some departments, etc, etc.

Please, come and speak to this man, he’s the area manager ….we were just talking about this…..really we were. You couldn’t have come at a better time… really, were discussing it……it is better talking about it from the customer’s view………..

And so it was, I was taken completely by surprise, not just to depart with my purchases, but the effusive thanks of senior store staff, (who have felt they were  banging their heads against a brick wall,  unsupported, while trying to sort out the local issues) and I was given the glorious surprise gift of a beautiful bouquet.


I read that Royal Mail ‘International Economy Mail’ for for post of a weight up to 20g and specified small measurements was 81p.

A quick bit of mental arithmetic immediately told me that I might save a whopping 16p per item on the 97p ‘Standard’ International Mail. Read on…

If I was not in a hurry for mail to arrive, it would be at destination within two weeks. At the end of November 2014, there was plenty of time for my international Christmas mail to go Economy class.

This was getting quite exciting…… (in a post-ish sort of way)

I scrolled down the page where I found an invitation to print my own stamps at ‘no more cost than it would be at a Post Office counter’.

Now that was definitely rather far fetched. I would be using my printer ink; my paper; my labels; all at my cost, and I would pay the full up postage costs. Also, I would still have to physically post the mail into a mail box either outside the Post Office, or, a mail box at the Sorting Office, equidistant in the opposite direction. It definitely was not difficult to decline the invitation to be my own post mistress. Anyway, I rather like having a fully functioning Post Office to take my business to.

Scrolling down a bit further I was invited to click for further guidance;

International Economy Mail is the smart new name for what we used to know as Surface Mail – Enlightenment dawned; that’s why using this posting method would take some time to get there, but that’s okay, time is on my side.

Uh oh. The definition for ‘International’ is lots of places on the map except the land mass we know as Western Europe.

Except Western Europe !!!!

So, Folks, it’s great news if your mail is going mostly anywhere but in Western Europe. If your mail is going west, your extra pennies will go with it at a minimum of 97p per letter, up to maximum weight of 20g and within specified quite small measurements.

Bah! Humbug.


The card rack I had been searching through, took up most of the length of the shop. There I was looking through cards at dark end of the rack where the more subdued message cards were displayed, when I noticed under the section titled ‘Get Well”, a white card with lots of fine silver design on the front. In the relative gloom, the sparkle of silver had caught my eye. Honestly, I could not believe what I was seeing.

First, why send or take a card to someone in hospital, which in bold silvery lettering tells the patient where s/he is, ‘You Are In Hospital’.

But in fact what it actually proclaimed on this card and every card like it, very loudly and in very thick silver letters, was:


My coughing fit drew out signs of life in the shop. The shop owner came out of a room, apologising for not noticing me. More like, she hadn’t seen me in the gloom. I showed her one of the offending cards at the same time opining on the state of affairs on the written standards of the English language.

“What…..” she looked really puzzled. It was obvious she could not see what I did.

I spoke the written words…shopkeeper was still no wiser.

Spelling, “Y-O-U-R in hospital”, is wrong. I explained how it should have been written and printed. In shopkeeper’s eyes a realisation visibly dawned. “It’s just awful”, I added.

There are a lot of awful things in the world“, shopkeeper said. I agreed, differentiating however, that linguistically, in my own language, this was another one of them.

I very much doubt I was her favourite customer of the day; not that I was much bothered,

An Outing

Not only did I listen in to the ‘doings’ of Margaret, the radio 4 Woman’s Hour blogger but I got a trip out as well. Although my motivation to blog came from the mini-drama I am pleased to say that will be as far as the inspiration goes. Poor Margaret, (or maybe she isn’t)has not only found a voice but she has faced up to the reality of her relationship and life with hubby in double doses and he maybe about to. I await with interest for tomorrow’s episode.

Apropos our activites today Where we live you need to create a reason for visiting the county town twenty miles away, (unless you live there). We had a reason, so we went. In its fishing heyday it must have been a bustling place. There was a very attractive little centre with a genuinely hundreds of years old cobbled street. Some years ago it was legally ‘vandalised’ by the planners to make a pedestrian precinct, except there is still a through road for delivery vehicles, disability and business access, all of which tends to have a stretched definition. The town has a set of traffic light surplus to requirements as well.

It is generally held that there is an inter-town rivalry; what our town to the west has, the county town has to have too. We have a shopping precinct of individual character, not a Next or Accessorize in sight. It was built around some original features and planned to have out of sight commercial delivery arrangements. This appears to have been the rather weak rationale for the uprooting of a lovely old street in the county town, that any other town or city would preserve and make a feature of. Our town installed some sets of traffic lights, the county town followed suit in haphazard fashion which probably accounts for the spare set that exists. They do have two mini roundabouts, our town does not possess even one. There does not seem to be any concern about that and no-one seems interested in creating one here.

It has to be said that the county town has five desirable factors. The first one is a jewellery shop that sells quality items, they have interesting designs and their gift wrap service is superior. There are two restuarants of note; one that boasts a French owner who does his own cooking and provides within a limited time span each day, the only decent coffee in town, in my opinion. The other eatery is a Nepalese one with home style cooking. Because they found that over fifty percent of their customers come from our town, the owners are opening up a sister Nepalese Restaurant here. The fourth desirable factor and the most interesting is the Heritage Centre, run entirely by volunteers, which has won major accolades but which the local authority did not support with signeage because it is not a paid up member of the local tourist office! The fifth and greatest desirable factor is, the town has really warm and friendly people.

The small County Town has taken an economic hammering in recent times and it has made various worthies sit up and think about their ruined treasures, some of which they are thinking of re-creating. The materials that came from demolition (which they were advised against) have long gone, some into the harbour and its walls. I am not sure that they really know how to develop this renaissance as they have cast off and lost so many people who would know. I genuinely wish them well.