Lord Of The (Gas) Rings? Hob It?

February 6, 2016

Why the heck am I getting recorded messages for professional oven cleaning ringing me on a Saturday afternoon?

More to the point, why is anyone getting recorded messages for professional oven cleaning ringing them on a Saturday afternoon?

Or at any time, really.

I could sort of understand the messages when it was for replacement boilers and solar panels and wotnot, because they were off the back of various government schemes, but I am unaware that there is any sort of incentive in place with regards to the cleanliness of your oven.

So why I would want to press 1, no matter how many times they ask, to speak to a member of the team to arrange a visit by a highly trained, professional oven cleaner to come to my house is anyone’s guess.

Especially because, for some reason, the whole thing just sounds so bizarre and I could easily imagine it’s a room full of people just waiting to fleece you – you book a professional oven cleaner to come, but you have to pay an extortionate fee up front for the pleasure of having your hob buffed and then you want for them to arrive. And they don’t come.

But you do receive a bottle of Mr Muscle oven cleaner in the post.

Because that is a professional oven cleaner.

And then you can’t complain because technically they have provided you with the means to have your oven professionally cleaned. And before you know it you’re writing a strongly worded letter to Anne Robinson off of Watchdog who is so surprised that you fell for the scam that her face needs to react and fights against years of surgical tightening and botox and leaves her looking like that scraggly bit underneath a turkey’s head, thus bringing to an end her television career, because no-one wants to see that.

And that’s all because you wanted your oven professionally cleaned. By someone who rang you out of the blue.

The only people I could actually see going for this sort of thing are the people who pay to have their wheelie bins washed out on a bi-weekly basis as though it’s the most normal thing in the world and they’ve not considered just tipping a bucket of hot water and some detergent in there and swishing it round a bit themselves.

Which is pretty much what the professional bin washers do, the only different being that they then go home and swim in a big tower filled with money, like Scrooge McDuck off of Duck Tales.



Kindle Dwindle

February 5, 2016

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Teething Troubles

February 4, 2016

So, freshly spurred on by yesterday’s blog I bloody well phoned the dentist and sorted out an appointment.

I was told, though, after I’d given my name and what-have-you, that my dentist had, in fact, left the practice. I think I’m not onto my fourth or fifth dentist there – I’ve seen Hairy Jeremy, a woman who used to be a Russian Shotputter and the one who was offended by my tongue and told me my teeth were malformed. So yeah, dentist number four. They don’t seem to hang around at this practice very long. And when they are there they’re only part-time and don’t work the bit of the week I need them to.

So I’m reduced to seeing a dentist on a Saturday as, it would appear, that’s the closest to a Wednesday anyone can manage. The Opticians was the same – I thought I’d go for the full service. I asked for a Wednesday and they gave me a Saturday. Not the same Saturday as the dentist, obviously, because that would be too bloody easy given that they’re about 10 minutes walk from each other. No, instead I have to go on two separate Saturdays, so yaay.

But yeah, the dentist thing was strange. “Oh well, the dentist you were under has left,” the receptionist said. “Sorry about that…” as though I would be, in some way, wounded by his departure, leaving me in some sort of dental limbo from which I couldn’t possibly hope to escape.

“It’s okay,” I said, trying to sound as upbeat as possible. “I’d only actually seen him once and not really had time to form any sort of connection with him.” Although, actually, I thought he was a bit of a dick, in all honesty. I think, sometimes, they forget that while they’re talking to the nurses or whatever you’re still lying there, and that you can hear everything they say and, in my case, you’re judging them on what they’re saying and, yeah, he was a dick. And then he was scared of my tongue. So, screw him. Give me some new blood.

Just not necessarily on a Saturday.


February 3, 2016

I got two letters this morning. Well, this afternoon. The postman doesn’t really do mornings anymore. So, yes, this afternoon I was the proud recipient of two letters.

So, as I sat down to drink my afternoon tea and watch whatever the afternoon film was on Channel 5 (I did neither of these things) I opened them.

They were exactly the same letter. Both from my dentist. Both still showing the same lack of skills when it comes to mail merges and letter composition as the last letter I received from them before my last check-up.

Both letters, then, told me that I had recently been written to but that I had not yet made an appointment.

Now, I wasn’t written to in the traditional sense. I received an email from my dentist, which went into the junk folder. Because while it’s all well and good them asking you for your email address, they should probably tell you what address they will contact you for so that you can lay the groundwork with whatever email provider you have to allow the message to be delivered in the first place.

Now, I found it in my junk folder because I periodically look in there to see which banks need me to confirm my account details and on the off chance that a genuine penis-enlargement scheme has been wrongly directed to that folder. Although the junk folder is, I suppose, an appropriate place for such an email. Anyway, there wasn’t one of those so I’m stuck with what I’ve got, Santander are very worried about my account and the dentist want me to make an appointment.

I moved the email. And I put a flag on it.

That’s as far as I’ve got, in all honesty. Flagging emails is all well and good, but my phone doesn’t like to keep anything older than a week on its email page for some reason so it’s vanished into the ether there, and I rarely log on to my email on the computer because I live in the future and what’s the point of having a phone that can do it if I’m just going to have to log on anyway because it’s eaten my flags. I’ll just wait for an update that puts the flags back to the top.

Anyway, I haven’t made an appointment, so the letter is correct. It’s partly because I keep forgetting, partly because I don’t trust the fact there is an online appointment scheme and partly because the dentist was offended by my tongue last time I was there. And one of the other patients in the waiting room was working his way through some rosary beads like the Devil himself was giving him a filling.

But I suppose now I’ve had a reminder I should get on with sorting it out. Especially as, according to the last line of the letter, they’d be more than happy to arrange an appointment at a time that is convenient for me.

That is nice of them, isn’t it.

I’m not sure they need to include that line. Surely that’s not some sort of new policy they’re trying out for this year because they had some bad feedback on the forced appointment system they used to run where no-one turned up because of prior engagements and were all fined for not cancelling their appointments beforehand.

When is a convenient time to be tilted backwards in a chair, be told your teeth haven’t formed properly, offend someone with your tongue and still have to pay for the privilege?

According to the online service, almost never…


Box Meals

February 2, 2016

There seems to be more and more adverts – on TV or in print -for these boxes of ingredients you can use to make tea during the week.

Because you’re really busy during the week and don’t have time to worry about meals. Or some bollocks like that.

I just use a supermarket, buy the ingredients and make a meal. No fancy chilled boxes or two and a quarter mushrooms precisely weighed out. Just food from a shop, that can be combined with other foods to make another food. Like the Zords in Power Rangers, where the finished meal is like the Mega Zord.

I don’t understand the, let’s be honest, fad of having the ingredients weighed out for you. Fine, there’s no waste, but if you just shop properly you can quite easily have little to no waste anyway – plus you don’t have a massive cardboard box to stuff in the recycling as well.

I know it’s supposed to be aimed at those young, dynamic go-getter types for whom the 9-5 working day is only a deadline and the ones who are too important to not still be at their desk at sevenin the evening, banging out an email to Tarquin in marketing about pencil sharpeners.

But planning a menu for a week and then shopping accordingly isn’t actually a tricky thing to do. If you’re clever you tie in ingredients across two or more days to keep the cots down.

There’s no need to have everything delivered in a box.

Have people learned nothing from the cautionary tale of Margot Leadbeater’s Christmas?


A Not-so-tough Case

February 1, 2016

We’re onto Storm Herbert or Horatio or Hortense now, as we work out way through shitty winter weather and an equally shitty nomenclature system.

Storm Hasadiclodorum has brought more wind, the nemesis of Leeds, to the sprawling metropolis I work in, bringing it to a grinding halt (but also blowing it around as well).

And while I have complained in the past about the fact that I have to walk to the bus station if I want to get home at night, without the trip to the bus station I wouldn’t have seen the second best suitcase moment ever.

The first, of course, being the guy who dragged a police cone along the pavement in Edinburgh after it became entangled in his roll-along case.

So tonight, I saw a man with a pull along suitcase, handle fully extended. Then I saw the same man with just the horizontal part of the handle – the bit you hold – in his hand. The rest of the handle – the extendable poles of convenience – were still attached to the suitcase.

And, without the handle being connected, were impossible to retract.

As a structural failure goes, I wouldn’t even consider that one possible, but there you go.


Childish Sniggers

January 31, 2016

I’m not proud of this. I’ll start by saying that.

It’s something that many a person would tut at and dismiss as childish and immature.

Which it totally and utterly was.

But bloody hell if it wasn’t one of the best chuckles I’ve had all day (the other being throwing a banana peel at Carole).

The beauty of a gazillion satellite channels is that their programming starts at different hours of the day. And when it’s not whatever show it might be, there’s usually infomercials. And where there’s infomercials, there is fun to be had. That’s so true, it’a almost a well-known Chinese proverb.

Now, Nicole doodah off of the Pussycat Dolls telling you about something that stops your face “breaking out” is all well and good. After all, you really don’t want to wake up and found that your face has broken out. Of what I’m not sure. But it definitely happens because people kept saying it. And Nicole kept nodding and saying reassuring things because she had a thing that could prevent the outbreaking. It was all very moving.

But then there’s the man who is so enthusiastic. He’s a British guy but he’s always on these infomercials. And he’s always extremely enthusiastic, even when he’s showing you what is, essentially, nonsense. Look, for example, at a vacuum that is so strong it can suck up nuts and bolts.

Why can it do that? Why? I have never looked at nuts and bolts on a surface suitable for hoovering and wished that I have a vacuum that could lift them right off. What you want from a vacuum, if you’re honest, is something that won’t suck up something you don’t want it to suck up just when you think “Well, I hope it doesn’t suck that up. I should probably turn the hoover off and pick that up…”. What he sells are ones where you’d get as far as “Well, I…” and then there’d be the amazing sound of a nut rattling round the insides of your home suction device.

Anyway, today he was creaming himself over steam cleaners. “The toilet!” he exclaimed. “I love cleaning the toilet…” before he showed us how you can clean it at arms length with a steam cleaner attachment. Now, I’m sorry, but I have steam cleaned toilets and I know there’s still a moment when you hope to god your last meal stays down. Because whatever way you slice it, you’re more than likely going to run across the smell of hot urine at some point.

But this all fell by the wayside when a little “satisfied customer” video started, in which a woman – who had already explained she had children aged 5, 3, and 1 – was overjoyed by how well the steamer worked on her entry way and was perfect for keeping her front of house tidy.

Yeah. I know. So childish.

But if you’re going to bandy around words like “front of house” and “entryway” I cannot be held responsible for what happens.

And, as that enthusiastic man says, you can’t under-estimate the power of steam.


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