Two dramas in one week: Drama 2

The second drama could have cost me my life – though happily, as you can tell, it didn’t. (Or it could have cost Raji and Nel theirs. But it didn’t.)

On the Friday night as soon as Raji got home from work with my car I loaded it up ready for going to mum’s/football for the weekend. As soon as I pulled away I knew something was wrong with the car! It felt like something was dragging on the road and the noise was very loud. Uh-oh! So I pulled over when I had a chance and got out and looked. Nothing! Nothing was hanging or dragging under the car. Weird! I debated what to do but as it was 6.30pm on a Friday, I didn’t really feel anywhere would be open so I decided to carry on but to take it easy and stay alert for any signs that the car was in bad trouble.

I drove down to mum’s doing no more than 65mph and I kept my peripheral awareness extended over the whole car so that I was listening for noises (or worsening of the existing one) and feeling for anything being wrong. There was nothing definite I could put a name to – the car just felt like it wasn’t quite handling right. Fortunately, I made it to mum’s and decided to just relax for the night and forget about it.

The next morning we planned to go to the local shops and I mentioned my concern about the car to mum. I went and had another look but again, couldn’t see anything. I studied the insides of the front wheels, not really knowing what I was looking for, and wondered if there was something rubbing on them – maybe a brake pad or something? Not knowing about cars, I really couldn’t tell. We set off for the shops and immediately we could hear the noise – it really was obvious. Whilst at the shops, we decided to get it checked – my instincts were that something really wasn’t right and that the car wasn’t safe, and mum’s agreed.

So we drove (carefully) to Halfords, parked up and went inside. The man on reception (I’d guess he was the manager judging by his manner) politely asked if he could help and I explained that we’d called in on spec as I was worried about the safety of the car. He said that they were fully booked for the day as it was Saturday and they closed at 4pm. He could tell we were disappointed and I said that I would feel much better of someone could even just take a look and let me know if I was safe to drive home even if I had to continue taking it easy and drive at a snail’s pace. He very clearly understood my position and very kindly said that if we could leave the car with them he’s do his best to find time for someone to take a look, though he made no promises. We accepted and were very grateful.

Knowing that we’d bought bacon before hand I said I’d nip to the car and get it as it was a hot day and it would end up cooking if we left it in the hot car. Mum said not to worry as it would be fine but I insisted, so she gave in. I decided to grab the paper as well so mum could read it and so I proudly informed her as I returned to reception to hand over the car key. She didn’t seem that impressed!

Having given my mobile phone number, we left and I assumed we’d head for the bus stop across the road, but mum said she was fine to walk. It was a fair way home so I asked if she was sure and she insisted she was, though it seemed a long way home to me, what with her bad hip. As we crossed the road, we went passed the bus stop and headed towards town, and mum took the bacon and paper from me and put them in a bag she had with her. We headed towards town but clearly my brain wasn’t quite with it – too busy fearing the worst with the car I think. I was convinced it was going to be very bad news and discussed with mum what sort of price would be worth doing any work and at what point to cut my losses. I’m not a negative person, as anyone who knows me can latest, but my instincts said it was bad, and I was but fed up of always having an old car that couldn’t be relied upon. I just need to wallow for 5 minutes before giving myself a pep talk and then I’d be fine.

It finally dawned on me that we were actually walking in to town. For once, mum and I were not thinking the same as I’d assumed we’d be killing the 3 hour wait at home. We actually had a nice mooch in town and went to Tesco for the things we needed too. Being clever, mum had put the lamb in the oven before we left so it was cooking slowly, and we’d had a tea cake with our coffee before taking the car to the garage. So she had the idea of going to Wetherspoons and having a portion of chips between us to keep us going until dinner and as we were waiting for the food, my phone rang. It was the garage and they’d had a chance to look at the car for me and said it was a wheel bearing. The manager said he strongly urged me to get it replaced to which I replied that I understood but where could I get it done as he was fully booked. He said he really couldn’t let me drive it like it was and he would get it done the same day for me. When I asked what the cost would be he said Β£139 including VAT so gratefully accepted. What a star! I was so relieved to think it could be sorted and glad I’d trusted my instincts.

Before we picked up the car later, we bought a selection pack of biscuits to take in to the garage as a small thank-you to them for helping us. There were a few customers in front of us and as we waited our turn, we had a chance to see what fantastic customer service skills the manager had. He was friendly, professional, polite and informative with everyone. When it came to our turn he said I’d been lucky to get down to mum’s okay the night before and it was probably due to the fact that I’d taken it easy. Apparently I could have lost the wheel or it could have completely locked (not at all good on a motorway!) We paid and handed over the biscuits and once again thanked them for going above and beyond. We were very impressed at how the manager had quickly grasped the situation and then taken it in hand, albeit without making any promises, and then thankfully sorted it out for us. He was so calm and reassuring and gave us confidence in both him and the garage. This man is worth his weight in gold and I hope the company appreciate him.

As we drove home, the difference in the car was immediately apparent – what a huge relief! Once we’d got ourselves settled at home I think hysteria set in as we got uncontrollable giggles about the fact that mum had carried the bacon and her newspaper round town all day! Ooops! πŸ˜€ This lasted on and off all evening – with tears literally streaming down my face at times.

It was good relax over roast lamb with a bottle of wine and the knowledge that the car was safe to drive the next day. We had the morning together on Sunday and used it to harvest apples from the tree in the garden and rosehips from the bushes at the front. We had an early lunch complete with birthday cake in early celebration, and then it was time for me to be off to the match.

Thank goodness for mum to keep me sane(r) whilst riding out a drama. Thanks Mum, and thanks Halfords – 10/10 for excellent service.

And THESE boots weren’t made for weather…

After taking back the BHS boots that weren’t made for walking, I managed to find myself a pair in Dorothy Perkins.

I saw them online and went in to the shop to check the heels (solid) and try them on (comfy) before deciding to buy them. They were Β£45 but with my NHS discount they were only Β£40.50, and I had Β£20 in vouchers thanks to my online market research surveys so I only had Β£20.50 to pay πŸ™‚

The next week I wore them to walk to work and they were lovely and comfortable, and remained so all day. Great, it looked like I was sorted. When I left work that evening, it was just drizzling a bit and the pavements were damp, but there were no puddles. However, by the time I got home, my socks were wet at the toes – the boots had let in even that tiny amount of water. GRR! πŸ™

I took them back to the store a couple of days later and was given a full refund, but was told that they were “fashion boots” and not intended for anything except looking good! Unbelievable – what is the world coming to when footwear isn’t designed with walking or weather in mind? I wouldn’t expect to wade through puddles in them nor have them last for years at this price, but one damp winter shouldn’t be asking too much, surely!? I just want some smart enough looking long boots for wearing to, from and at work with a skirt or dress.

Back to the drawing board….

These boots weren’t made for walking!

In July, when mum and I went shopping for a day, I managed to pick up some winter boots at the bargain price of Β£14, reduced from Β£47, in BHS. We couldn’t believe my luck as they only had two pairs of these boots, and one was in my size. I tried them on and they were lovely and comfortable, smart enough for work, and should be nicely rainproof – which was what I needed as my old boots had begun letting in water. I put them in the back of the wardrobe ready for autumn.

A couple of weeks ago, I wore them to work – a one mile walk each way, and found they kept out the rain, as I’d hoped. However, the heels didn’t feel stable – they felt like they might snap off any moment! Unwilling to risk my neck, I sent the boots off to our shoe technicians that we use at work for making, repairing and adapting footwear and asked if they could make the heels more secure.

They called me after looking at the boots and said they’d taken the heel off and planned to both glue and tack it solidly in place – but they found the heel unit was hollow, giving nothing with which to work. They were very regretful but couldn’t help, so the boots were returned to me.

Although I no longer had my receipt after all this time and therefore didn’t feel able to claim a refund, I did contact BHS as I felt the boots were not fit for their purpose and moreover there was a safety issue here. (I have, in the meantime, found my card statement> which shows the transaction) My e-mail:

Hi. I bought a pair of long black boots in July at your Broughton store and stored them for winter. (They were priced Β£47, but in the sale for Β£14)
I wore them 10 days ago for the first time and they were beautifully comfortable and rain-proof (the reason I bought them) during mny 1 mile walk to work. However the heel didn’t feel secure – it felt in danger of snapping off at any moment (both boots) Through my professional contacts I sent the boots to our bespoke footwear making technicians to see if they could do anything to secure the heels for me. I have spoken to them today and unfortunately when they removed the heels to investigate, they discovered that the heel units are hollow rather than solid, meaning nothing can be done to affix them more securely.
Naturally, all these months on, I have no receipt to take them back to the store and will therefore have to write off the loss as I don’t dare wear the boots for fear of the heels coming off and me injuring myself.
However, I did want to contact you because this is clearly a safety issue of which you need to be aware. Also had I paid the full Β£47 I would be furious at spending this much on a pair of boots I could only wear once.
I would be very interested in your comments and to know whether all your boots routinely have hollow heel units as if they have I will certainly be avoiding them in future. I am at a loss to know how you can justify the full asking price for footwear which is so apparently unfit for purpose and my confidence in BHS has plummeted accordingly.

I received quite a prompt reply as follows:

I am sorry that the boots you purchased in store are faulty. Although it is difficult to comment on it without seeing it, your local store (within the UK or Republic of Ireland only) will be happy to refund you provided they identify a manufacturing fault.

As our footwear would come from a variety of suppliers, the manufacturing process and resulted product would be different for each style, therefore I am unable to advise if all of our footwear would be similarly designed.

I hope that this is a satisfactory resolution, but if there is anything further I can help with please do not hesitate to contact me by responding to this email.

So I am going to take the boots into a store when I next visit mum (as I never get in to Newcastle to go to one here) and we’ll see what happens. I am still bemused that a pair of boots with a Β£47 asking price can be so shoddily made.

In the meantime, I did manage to replace them with a pair of boots from Dorothy Perkins thanks to my NHS discount plus Β£20 of vouchers which I’d earned doing my online market research surveys, but I did still have to find Β£20.50 which I wasn’t expecting to have to do!

Barry M – unofficial sponsor of City luck

I e-mailed Barry M cosmetics a couple of weeks ago saying:

Dear Mr M (or may I call you Barry?)

I recently bought (for many of my hard earned pennies) one of your liquid eyeliners after spending a good while in Boots deciding on the right product for me.

You see, I’m a feminine lady and usually go for the natural colours – browns and pinks. I don’t go pubbing and clubbing, and am happily married so don’t have any need to attract the opposite sex with bright plumage. No, what I spend my spare time doing is watching a whole field of men chasing a ball, and my beloved team wears blue. On these occasions, I wear my blue shirt, jewellery, nail polish – and makeup (I do like a co-ordinated look, don’t you Barry?)

My last blue eyeliner was a Boots own brand one and it had done well to get me through two seasons – well, actually Barry, it was a bit gloopy by the end of the last one but we football fans are terribly superstitious you know and I wasn’t prepared to change mid-season – just in case!

So……… there I was in Boots, expecting to waltz in and pick up a repeat blue Boots eyeliner but alas, they no longer did the blue one! Argh! Not one to be deterred, I spent HOURS (well, maybe not but it certainly felt like it Barry, I can tell you!) looking at every single range of makeup hunting for that apparently elusive breed – the lesser blue eyeliner. Can you believe that only one such item existed? In the whole makeup department, of all the brands? Unbelievable! Obviously you do know women well Barry and are a man of good taste. So I tried your tester and was pleased to find that it glided on in a smooth, neat line (on the back of my hand of course but I felt sure it would be very similar to applying it to my eyes)

Now I only work part time and don’t earn a huge amount (and will be earning less in future if our Health Minister gets his way and cuts NHS pay – you don’t want a hard-working ex-NHS worker to advise you on the needs of football loving girls do you Barry?) Anyway, as I said, I don’t earn much and rarely treat myself to makeup, especially not brand names! But needs must for the team you know, so I bit the bullet and handed over an hour’s wages.

I don’t mind admitting, Barry, that it felt decadent but I walked out of that shop head high and very pleased. Now as you may know, the football season doesn’t begin until next month (my next daunting task is to replace my lucky blue bra, so I have to plan these things you know) but I thought I’d test out my new (hopefully) lucky eyeliner and so I wore it yesterday. It went on like a dream and the colour was perfect.

But now you need to brace yourself, Barry, for the bad news. You may want to get yourself a cuppa because I don’t know if this will come as a shock – you can’t possibly already know because a discerning man such as yourself would know a girl’s needs. Over the course of the day it smudged! I had blue-tinted panda markings! Each time I went to the ladies’ room I had to tidy it up a bit with a wipe of my finger. Now what worries me Barry is that at football my makeup has to go through the bad times – groaning, head-in-hands, rubbing eyes in disbelief etc – and the good times – tears of joy, cuddling the total strangers next to me etc. And believe me, Barry, my team puts me through the mill and gives me both! How is this eyeliner going to cope with all that I ask you? It’s no good only designing makeup for a few hours clubbing – we football girls need something a bit hardier – man enough for the job as it were.

So come on Barry, show me you’re man enough – give me a nice blue eyeliner with staying power! There’s only a month until the season kicks off again and I need a knight in shining armour to rescue me; I have tied my pretty blue scarf round your arm so finish that cuppa, mount your charger and help this damsel in distress. If you could park your warhorse out the front of the hospital when you’re done, I may have earned enough for another attempt since I’m sure a modern man like you will be wanting more than a fair-ish maiden’s grateful kiss. I’m counting on you!

Yours in desperation,
Anji

It took a while, but eventually Barry replied – evidently his company must be so big it took a while for my mail to reach him, or maybe he took a while after his cuppa to compose himself πŸ˜‰ He was ” terribly sorry to hear that your blue liquid eyeliner let you down and didn’t stay put.” and went on to suggest: ” our blue bold waterproof eyeliner which is very definitely waterproof! It goes on smoothly and feels very luxurious –see here

That was nice of him, I thought, so I replied:

Good afternoon Barry – we’re friends I can tell, so β€œBarry” not β€œMr M” it is!

You may have kept me locked in my colourless tower a while but my knight-in-shining-armour has certainly come through to rescue me! That pencil looks like it might be just the thing! I have to confess that I hadn’t even looked at pencils as I’ve always found they smudge and disappear and had no idea such a thing as a long-lasting one existed. Thank you, I would very much like to try it please (you will need to let me know how best to pay for this) and the address of my tower is Bluespice Towers address here

You may just have saved my beloved team’s season and who knows, if it’s a good season you may be in with a shout of being an unofficial sponsor of luck and I’ll be sure to inform the club accordingly.

Thank you
Anji

In his reply Barry said “Best wishes to you and your football team
Kindest,
Barry x”

A few days later I received the new eyeliner and a blue nail paint to match so make-up wise I am all set for the new season πŸ™‚

Thank you Barry M for the human touch and helping me out πŸ™‚

So there we have it – for you Blue ladies reading this, go and buy Barry’s stuff ‘cos he’s an unofficial Blue πŸ™‚

Washout!

Last weekend I visited mum for the first time in 6-weeks – a long overdue visit indeed! I planned to go down on Friday night after work and after Raji’s birthday tea and birthday cake (I made coffee and walnut cake as this was what his mum used to make for birthdays.) I did have slight pause however, as the weather sites gave an amber warning of flooding in mum’s area, with yellow warning through the Lakes area, but in the end I decided to set off and see how I got on, turning back if I felt it necessary. The drive through the “yellow warning” area was pretty difficult with strong winds, torrential rain and in some areas, flooding – but nothing I haven’t driven through before so I just slowed down, took it easy, and came through it. When I got to the “amber warning” zone the sun shone, there was no rain, and the roads were dry! So I arrived safely at mum’s. πŸ™‚

We did get some things done but the rain returned and we couldn’t sort out the garage as hoped so that’s still to do another day. We used our time constructively still, and we had our usual fun and laughs of course. We also enjoyed watched the Spain v France Euro2012 quarter final. It was a comfortable win for Spain and an enjoyable match to watch as we finished our dinner time wine πŸ™‚

I drove back in sunshine on dry roads – until I got 20 mins away from home when a monsoon hit! I did make it home in time to watch the England v Italy quarter-final though I could have done with it being settled in the 90+ instead of going to extra time and penalties! Italy deserved their win, it has to be said, and given the fact that I don’t think England has any world class players really we did better than expected in this competition. I did correctly predict who would score their penalties and who wouldn’t too. Finally I crawled off to bed to get my much needed sleep before the working week began again.

On the plus side, petrol has got slightly cheaper and was only Β£129.9 at mum’s so my weekend trip cost me less than expected and I invited Billy out for a very cheap tea after work on Tuesday. (He was playing cricket Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday according to the calendar so it was probably the only time I would see my husband all week!) However, Monday’s game was rained off and changed to Tuesday instead! πŸ™

Ironically Wednesday’s game was also a washout but we’d decided to have our date Thursday anyway so stuck to that, and watched the Spain v Portugal semi-final which was pretty much what you’d expect from a derby – both sides scared to lose so a cagey affair. This game also went to extra time and penalties but I couldn’t manage another late night so left them too it. In the morning I was utterly convinced I’d see a smug-faced Ronaldo all over the net, but to my delight Portugal had been beaten πŸ˜€ I don’t mind too much who wins now; I just didn’t want smug-face winning πŸ˜‰

On Thursday I worked hard all day and was looking forward to my date with Billy in the evening. We get so little quality time together and eating on our way home from work is one of the best ways for us to get it, and a rare treat these days. At 3pm a storm hit – a storm of biblical proportions, with the sky going black and torrential rain bouncing off the pavement and crashing back to form mini rivers. Staff all round the hospital were checking on whether they were likely to get home with floods affecting the roads and trains and people made appropriate arrangements to stay with colleagues/friends/family or even in the hospital, and others waited it out until much later in the evening before going home. There were a lot of sirens whizzing past and clearly the storm had caused considerable chaos.

Photos courtesy of Roger:
Hexham high street flood
Hexham flood
Flood in Hexham

Happily, by the time I finished the sun was out again and I met Billy as planned ready to relax for the evening with dinner then watching the football. We decided to go to the Heart which has been recently taken over by a lovely couple who are rebuilding its reputation as a good food pub. We received a friendly welcome and after debating which of the delicious options on the menu to choose went for the beef stottie with gravy – with some chips as a side order. All the food is freshly cooked to order so we sipped our drinks while we waited and were just starting to unwind nicely when Raji phoned Billy. He was stuck in Prudhoe after the floods! I was very surprised he’d even tried to come home as I assumed he’d have stayed over with a colleague. Billy spent most of our meal trying to find out what the situation was with trains, buses, roads etc. In between, the food was amazing – a generously filled stottie with melt-in-the-mouth beef, a little boat of gravy, 2 roast potatoes and a Yorkshire pudding – plus our home-made chips too! Gorgeous! We even gave in to temptation and had a home-made dessert each (raspberry cheesecake with Chantilly cream for me and warm sticky toffee pudding with ice-cream for Billy) Divine – 10/10! πŸ™‚

Throughout all of this, phone calls were going back and forth between Billy and Raji – he had walked to the next stop on the train route to find no trains there either and proceeded on to the next, hoping for a bus if not a train (obviously I’d had a drink so couldn’t drive, and as far as I knew the roads were impassable anyway.) To cut a very long story short, there were none and he ended up getting a taxi from there, arriving home at 10pm – thankfully just as I was going to bed so at least I could finally relax knowing he was home safely.

We did watch the Germany v Italy semi-final but unfortunately with only half an eye as we were both trying to find out how to get Raji home. Italy dominated the game and fully deserved to win – the two goals from Balotelli were outstanding! (Nothing was stopping that second from going in!) Now I don’t know whether to want Mario or Merlin to win the final – guess I’ll just be a neutral and enjoy it πŸ™‚

All in all then, this week was rather a washout – summer? What summer? πŸ™

Chronicle flood news
BBC flood news
ITV flood news

Recharging batteries, updating technology and blitzing mould.

Since being poorly (that man-flu bug must’ve mutated to cross the gender barrier I reckon πŸ˜‰ ) I have slowly recovered with the light headedness and low energy persisting for another week. However I managed to work and to do my overtime – the thought of a fortnight off kept me going but I am really pleased to have a two-week break from work now and hope to recharge my batteries πŸ™‚

I have a long list of jobs through which I’m working during my time off – things which have needed doing for ages but I haven’t had the time, and things which will make me feel good knowing they are finally done. These include cleaning, painting (walls/ceilings), and business accounting amongst other things. Already, on day 2, I have done quite a lot even though I’ve felt as though I’ve just been pottering at my own pace.

I’ve finally transferred all the files I want from my old desktop PC to my laptop and then cleaned up and updated the desktop so that it will serve as a family spare in case of dire, ‘cos it’s slower than a slug with a limp need. I’ve backed up my phones and updated the software on my personal mobile – I LOVE this about Nokias – and the update has fixed a bug I had (viewing details of my contacts) and given me lots of new smilies to play with, so look out if you’re someone with whom I exchange texts, ‘cos I have new toys and intend to use them! πŸ˜›

One of the jobs on my list is to deal with the mould starting to grow on the bathroom ceiling and then repaint it, and I happened to see a mould remover spray in Aldi at the weekend, which I didn’t think would do much but at Β£1.59 was worth a dabble. To my amazement, it worked a treat and I ended up hunting down any other mould I could find and zapping it! πŸ˜€ The back door had the worst infestation and one panel was solid black – not any longer. This stuff is brilliant and gets 10/10 – but sadly I’ve run out of black stuff to kill and remove πŸ˜‰

None of my jobs are exciting, I know, but actually I am quite a little home-bird and love nothing more than nesting. I hate that I’ve been working so much and neglecting the home so although my holiday plans may seem like hard work, I’m actually enjoying myself. The beautiful spring weather helps too πŸ™‚

Anji in wonderland.

Billy has been needing a new bed in his room/spare room for a long time and we decided it would make sense to put our queen-size (small double) one in there and get ourselves a king-size (large-double) for our room as we do tend to disturb each other in the queen-size one.

I’d found one with a nice deep mattress on e-bay about a year or more ago, at the really good price of Β£139, and added it to my watch-list for when I could afford it. Unfortunately this never happened as we’ve never had the money.

Finally, Billy and I pooled our Christmas money and bought it just in to the New Year. Even better, it was in the post-festive sale so even more of a bargain! πŸ™‚

Homefurnishingsuk, the seller, was brilliant and we got to pick our delivery date – and having expected a wait of a week or two, I was amazed when we could have our bed just 2 days later on a day to suit.

Billy and I spent the morning moving furniture around and making room and just as we had done so, the new bed arrived. Perfect timing and a perfect bed. Soon it was all made up ready for use.

Although I sleep in a king-sized bed at mum’s, I am usually only it literally for sleeping. At home, I tend to snuggle under the duvet and watch DVD’s with Nel for the evening so I am awake and sitting up in the bed more. I feel like Anji in Wonderland – it’s huge! Even Billy commented that I looked small in it, and it’s plenty big enough for both of us to sleep without disturbing each other. πŸ™‚

The one thing to which I’m having to adjust – and which is my own fault as I somehow completely overlooked it – is that it is so much softer than I am used to. I am used to very hard beds as army beds are rock hard and I grew up sleeping in army beds so have just carried on with hard mattresses. I don’t think it’s a BAD thing having a bed I sink into – just weird.

All in all, we’re delighted with our new bed – and we now have a decent spare bed for guests again πŸ™‚ I would recommend this e-bay seller if you’re after one yourself by the way.

A degree in toastology – and other things.

We like our toast in this house, and with five of us, we get through a lot of bread – and not a few toasters. Last time I had to replace this important piece of kitchen equipment – without which we cannot manage – we didn’t have much money at all so we had to make do with a very cheap and cheerful one. IT may have been cheerful, but we weren’t as it was rubbish! For a 4-slice toaster, we were lucky if we could squeeze in 3 slices, and bagels had to be flattened to get them in, and it was 50:50 whether you’d get them out again πŸ™ So when this one died, we didn’t even mourn it, but I was determined that we weren’t going to repeat past mistakes and carefully researched our next mechanical member of the family. I finally settled on on which was the right style – a long, thin toaster, not a wide one as it had to fit in a specific gap. Four slices a must, variable thickness a must, and preferably not a garish colour as our kitchen is white and grey/silver. I found just the thing in Argos, bought it, and we immediately tested it out. Now we don’t have a degree in toastology but we do like our toast! We give this toaster 10/10. Several perfect slices later, we declared ourselves in love and looking forward to a long and happy relationship πŸ™‚

Also in the kitchen, I harvested all the tomatoes which were never going to ripen after the “summer” we’ve had and made another batch of green tomato chutney – but decided to add a little more ginger, less sugar, and a few home-grown chillis which I’d previously blanched and frozen. It’s divine! πŸ™‚

Also as last year, I’ve been doing plenty of apple baking again – pies, crumbles and spiced apple cake. Thanks mum πŸ™‚

As there were plenty of self-seeded feverfew plants growing in cracks in the concrete in the garden, I harvested them as it seemed a shame to waste them. This a herb best used fresh rather than dried, so I decided to make a tincture with it and chose brandy as the base, so it is now happily brewing in a jar on the kitchen windowsill. The daft thing is that I’m not sure who is going to use it as its main indication is migraine prevention, but I don’t have this tendency. Anyone want some inexpensive home-brewed feverfew brandy? πŸ˜‰

Lastly, I’ve started making my home-made veg soup again now the weather has gone cold. I happened to make the first batch not long after making a goulash so I saved a bowlful of the gravy from that and added it to the vegetables – resulting in a deliciously warming, satisfying soup πŸ™‚

I do love pottering in the kitchen.

City 2 – 0 Everton – without a ticket!

On Friday evening, at just gone 5pm I realised with absolute horror that I’d left my season ticket at home! PANIC! (In short, the reason I’d managed this was a combination of not having much time for packing, and my ST being somewhere other than its normal place due to the fact that I’m not yet needing to wear my big thick football coat.)

Anyway……… I called the club, who are clearly used to idiots like me as they told me very matter of factly that I could get a paper ticket issued by going to the ticket customer service kiosk before the game, which reassured me somewhat, though I’d obviously have to allow plenty of time to go and queue to sort this. I therefore had to leave Mum’s at around 10.30am, but she treated me by cooking a full English breakfast to see me off πŸ™‚ I had a smooth drive, and didn’t even get held up as much as I expected by the infernal road works in Manchester!

As soon as I arrived, I went and found the supporter services kiosk and queued for around half an hour or so (plenty of fans were collecting their Champions League away game tickets) The staff there couldn’t have been better. I got my paper ticket issued efficiently and politely, and even, when I mentioned I’d planned to go to the store to get my new shirt (Billy’s birthday present to me) and now I wouldn’t be able to get my 10% discount, wrote me a little note as proof that I had a ST and was entitled to the discount. πŸ™‚ I had expected to pay an admin fee or some such, but apparently the club allow us to be a forgetful imbecile once, and only charge if we do it again. Impressive – it was entirely down to me and no-one else so it would have been fair enough to charge me.

The match was pretty frustrating as Everton had come to try and stop us playing – mainly by getting numbers behind the ball and by trying to take out Silva at every opportunity! Everton played quite a cynical game I thought, though the ref didn’t help matters at times. I thought he got a couple of decisions wrong, but it was about equal in which terms of which team benefited. He did, however, get Cahill’s yellow card spot on – the fact that Cahill got injured (requiring substitution) when he collided with Kompany was his own fault!

Eventually, City’s hard work and patience paid off when Balotelli and Milner came off the bench and scored our much needed goals. Thank goodness – it would have been a tragedy if Everton had somehow nicked a win given the way they were playing. Lescott was my MotM, though Kompany also pleased me with his game.

The Everton fans were in good voice – at least, until we scored, but I gather some of them were throwing coins at home fans nearby and there was a bit of trouble afterwards. This coupled with the way their team had played reinforced my preference for Liverpool to Everton – though actually you’d think as a City fan I’d feel more empathy with the blue half of Merseyside πŸ˜‰

After the game, I went to get my shirt but finding the store far too packed, went to have my picnic in the car and came back after it had quietened down. Much to my relief, there was one shirt left in my size, so I went and paid – and I got my 10% discount with no fuss, and service with a smile. Then I went upstairs to get the printing done and there was a small queue but not too bad. The staff there must have had a crazy afternoon and it’s hot in their little glass cage, but they were polite, friendly and made a point of checking the details with everyone. (Let’s face it – it’s a heck of responsibility getting everyone’s beloved shirts just right – our shirts are precious to us.)

In all then, City did me proud, both on and off the pitch, 10/10 on both counts, so I drove home with a smile on my face. I even had an enjoyable football natter with the bloke behind the counter at Costa at Lancaster services. He was a ManUre fan, but as he was a real one that went to games, and knew his football, I didn’t hold it against him πŸ˜‰ A good day to round off my trip.

Aquafresh Ultimate Review

I had a free tube of Aquafresh Ultimate and we’ve been using it for about 2 weeks now.

I confess to pretty much being of the opinion that toothpaste is toothpaste is toothpaste…. As long as it has fluoride in it and tastes minty, that’s good enough for me. As a former dental nurse, I know that it’s the brushing that matters more than the toothpaste, and that activating the acid-attack as few times a day as possible is also a big help. (i.e not eating between meals.)

I happen to be blessed with good teeth thankfully, and I do only eat my 3 meals a day with no snacks, and my drinks are unsweetened coffee, tea or plain water. However, I like my coffee black and strong, and I enjoy red wine – great for staining teeth!

I do like this toothpaste and find it makes my teeth feel really clean and the minty fresh taste lasts for hours, which I love. Nel says she’s found her teeth less sensitive after using it too.

I don’t know about all the hype, but I like this very much and if it isn’t ridiculously expensive, will consider buying it in future. Give it a go – you can request a free sample on their site πŸ™‚