A few flakes.

Just a few flakes of snow. That’s all it seems to take to bring the whole country to its knees.  When will the United Kingdom ever be able to cope with a few flakes of snow and not grind to a standstill? Because winters were far harsher when I was a girl, with snow that fell for days, blew into drifts sometimes six feet deep, and necessitated everyone having to ‘dig’ their paths in order to even leave their premises to get to work or school, its so amazing to see how a  few inches of snow can devastate a country as it tends to do today.

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The difference is of course that way back then, we didn’t rely on cars, nor was the whole country planned around car owners.  Our place of work was usually a walk away from where you lived, there were no ‘out of town’ industrial sites miles away from any residential area in those days! The same applied to shopping, your local shop catered for all of your needs and was usually again just a short walk away, not incorporated in some ‘vast shopping centre’ miles out of town.

It’s our reliance on the car to get us anywhere these days that is the real problem, not the few inches of snow that has fallen.  I watched a car owner spend half an hour yesterday clearing his car of snow, he could have walked to town in the time it took to scrape the snow from his vehicle and been far healthier for it into the bargain! 

Moan over.

TG

The Early Birds…

Yoga for health

On Friday, K had to be escorted down to the Adult Education Centre to begin her new course in Yoga. Yoga!  As if she’s not laid back and relaxed enough! It really ought to be me beginning Yoga class seeing as I am the uptight one out of this duo!  As it turned out, I very nearly needed more than Yoga, I nearly needed some smelling salts to help my recovery from shock!  The reason?  We had to use the bus before 9.30am and therefore we had to pay some bus fare.

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The Trouble with Micky D’s.

As some of you may be aware, we sometimes visit McDonalds for a meal especially if we are out shopping. This post is my thoughts about the usual service that we often encounter there.  It was prompted strangely enough by a rare visit to Burger King on Saturday whilst out on a fruitless shopping trip for K some new trainers and afforded a direct comparison of  said service. It is written with my usual sense of humour and is not meant to be taken too seriously. You should all be well aware by now of how I love to have a good moan.

I will begin with  a summary  of what usually occurs whenever we arrive at the counter in a McDonalds to place our order.

Me. “Grilled chicken Caesar salad, a tea and a Dairy Milk Caramel McFlurry”

Grilled chicken caesar salad

Member of staff serving me now takes about half an hour to find where the salads are on the menu on the till and this usually entails having to ask another member of staff who of course has to mosey over from wherever they happen to be (usually serving the much  more important customers sitting in their cars outside the service window who obviously take priority.)

Member of staff serving me,  once they have been shown by the  other member of staff where said Chicken Caesar Salad actually is to be found on the till, “Do you want Grilled or Crispy?” Sigh. (Of course it has taken said member of staff so long to find out where the salads are to be found in the till that they have completely forgotten what I asked for in the first place.)

Me. “Grilled chicken Caesar salad.”

And what drink do you want with that?” Sigh. 

Me. “A tea. And a Caramel McFlurry.” (hoping against hope that these two items will some how be retained this time around.)

The ice cream machine is broken, we can’t do any McFlurry’s, Sorry. Anything else?”

Gulp. Moving on to  K’s order.

Chicken Legend

A chicken Legend meal please, with a still Fanta orange, no ice.” 

Is that a medium or a large meal?”

Me. “A large please.”  I then wait for input into till from staff member, hand over the money and then remain waiting at the counter. Staff member begins to get our order.

Returns to counter. We don’t have any Caesar dressing.” Sigh. “Do you want Balsamic dressing instead?”

Having tried out said Balsamic dressing on a previous occasion when there was no Caesar salad dressing and didn’t like it one bit I ask, 

Can I just have some Mayonnaise on instead please?”

We’re just waiting for the salad, you can go and sit down, we’ll bring it over to you.” Hmm. Customers ‘hovering’ at the counter seems to unnerve most counter staff for some reason.  Must think we are ‘overseeing’ our order is done properly. K and I go and sit down.

McFlurry

When the meal eventually arrives you can guarantee the following,

Either my McFlurry will be missing if the ice cream machine IS working,(rare) or K’s still Fanta orange will have ice in it necessitating  a get up from the seat and return to the counter to rectify. Which over many years of constant repeats of the above scenario has led  me to arrive at  the following conclusions.

In order to work at McDonalds you have to either be deaf or have a lousy memory (even worse than mine and that’s saying something) and these are the main attributes needed to be employed there. (My youngest son ought to be a McDonalds employee as he never EVER listens to anything that anyone says to him, and I have often told him that  he would be a natural behind the till.)

Alternatively the other explanation is that I am the only customer in the entire British Isles who actually purchases a Grilled Chicken Caesar salad in McDonalds and K is the only customer in the entire British Isles who does not like ice in her drink.  I have arrived at this conclusion simply because the above has occurred in nearly every McDonalds restaurant that we have ever visited anywhere in this country and that includes the one in Scotland.  Is it such a rarity that anyone orders Grilled Chicken Caesar salad that management  never bother to include it in the repertoire of training given to staff?

mcdonalds uniform

Why can staff never find it on the till? Is it buried so far down the menu, hidden away 10 to 20 button presses down?  And why is the ice cream machine always broken down? Why doesn’t the ice cream mechanic just simply become a permanent member of staff so that he is always available seeing as he must spend most of his day travelling to and fro in order to fix it? It would be surely cheaper to make him a bed up in the back so that he is in constant calling distance. After all, he practically lives there anyway.

And K’s still Fanta orange with no ice. Well, that’s just habit I suppose. Staff are so used to bunging those ice cubes into all the drinks (although quite where they get them from when the ice cream machine is constantly broken is beyond me.  Must be from an entirely  different machine and one that works all the time. Obviously serviced by a different mechanic to the Ice cream machine) It’s a wonder come to think of it, how I don’t end up with some bunged in my tea.

It all becomes starkly highlighted when you pay the occasional visit to Burger King as K and I did on Saturday. What a difference! Gave our order. No asking ‘did you say this, or did you say that?’ No having to repeat any part of it. Soon as the order was given, till girl went  and collected everything, every part of the order was present and correct. It was all efficiently done. Okay  to be fair to McDonalds  we didn’t actually stretch the Menu. K didn’t ask for no ice added to her drink  because it was a bottle of orange juice instead.  Nor did I  ask for a salad in order to test if theirs was also buried somewhere obscure in their till menu.   The ice cream machine was working. (Obviously they use a different mechanic. Wonder if I could persuade him to also service the ice cream machines in McDonalds as a side line?) 

TG

 

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The Wheelie Bin Mystery

Recycling service Some of you might vaguely remember my moans and groans earlier this year regarding our new recycling scheme where all householders in our particular authority were issued with a various assortment of containers intended to be used for sorting out all of your rubbish and recycling it.. Just to refresh your memory HERE is the post in question. In common with other authorities, amongst the numerous containers issued was a wheelie bin per household, and being typical of this rather morose damp dismal part of Yorkshire, a black wheelie bin.  Every resident received one, parked at the edge of each residents path.

Any resident over the age of 60 or who considered themselves incapable for any reason of being able to cope with pushing said wheelie bin could be exempt from having to us it and could instead, following a home visit by a council official to assess if you truly are incapable or too old to deal with said wheelie bin, continue to use their previous bin instead and be issued with five black refuse sacks per fortnights collection. On our particular estate, which contains quite a few elderly persons bungalows, wheelie bins were not issued to those premises as it was taken for granted that any resident of the aforementioned bungalows would be incapable of coping with said wheelie bins.

Now we come to the mystery, and please readers correct me if I have completely misunderstood the whole idea behind the introduction of wheelie bins. You see I presumed that the reason for issuing everyone with a wheelie bin was to cut down on the time taken for the dustbin men to do their rounds. In other words, that residents were supposed to fill the wheelie bin with rubbish, then on collection day WHEEL said wheelie bin to  the kerb edge of the road so that all the dustbin men had to do was place each wheelie bin into the wheelie bin tipping mechanism where it would then empty into the container at the back of the dustbin wagon, and then the dustbin man would then retrieve the wheelie bin and move onto the next ones. This would both cut down the time taken to empty everyone’s bins and also need far fewer men.  And the reality?

Wheelie_Bin Not one resident around here has actually been seen pushing their wheelie bin anywhere. (well I did. Once. Before the visit by a lady from the council to check that I am incapable of moving said wheelie bin, or that I am REALLY over the age of 60.)  Add to that the fact that I am the oldest resident in this block of flats by a long way.  Granted, our estate is laid out in such a way that quite a few of the premises are not directly near the edge of the road. So any wheelie bins belonging to these premises would require a walk to the kerb side by said residents, but not an impossible task by any means, seeing as a 65 year old Granny did do just that one week. (and then had to do the return journey to fetch it back to its resting place.)  However, even some of the residents who’s premises ARE next to the road don’t bother wheeling their bins anywhere either!  Instead they have placed them permanently on the pavement next to the roadside, and I presume that they then bring their bags of rubbish from their respective premises and place them in the wheelie bins as needed.

WheelieBins Now one could be forgiven for thinking that maybe someone had forgotten to place any wheels on the bottom of said wheelie bins thereby rendering them incapable of being pushed by even the strongest of residents, or maybe they are so heavy that its too hard to push them from their parked spot. Or perhaps the residents are unaware of what role they are supposed to play in this wheelie bin saga. Perhaps they are all unaware that they are supposed to wheel them to the kerb side? To save time? What makes me laugh (well not in a literal sense but in a ironic sense) is that in reality its now taking the bin men far longer to empty everyone’s bins than it did before when we all had those old type bins (which we all still have by the way. They were supposed to be collected up but they are still there taking up our bin areas) Why is it now taking the bin men so much longer to do their rounds?  Because now they have to nearly immerse themselves head first into the wheelie bins in order to retrieve everyone’s bags of rubbish from them, and they are still having to go to everyone’s premises in order to do so. Okay, so the actual collection is now once a fortnight instead of once a week, but still, if I were assessing the results of the distribution and usage of said wheelie bins upon refuse collection time and motion, I would consider it to be a complete and utter failure.

Added to that, there is the other thing as well. You all should be pretty familiar by now with how my mind works. The first thing that popped into this Granny’s head the day that all of our wheelie bins were left parked at the end of our paths? You could fit a dead body in one of those. I can just see it now, ‘The Wheelie Bin Murders’ by T.G. Gran.

TG

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The trouble with our bus station…..

My long term readers (if I ever had any and if they are still reading that is) will by now be quite familiar with my moans about our new bus station. considering we all endured one of the coldest winters stood shivering under those temporary open shelters while it was being built only serves to accentuate how and why most of us in our small town who are unfortunate enough to have to use the bus station tend to view it as a costly mistake and are ready to criticize any part of it.

Big Dipper stitch

I had to go down to town today to pick up my prescription tablets and do some shopping which then meant I ended up inside it. Having just missed my bus (Wow! That makes a change!) I then spent the first ten minutes or so traversing the entire length of the bus station as I fluctuated between deciding to catch the next bus heading in the general direction of home, which would necessitate a walk with my heavy shopping bag through our estate, or alternatively waiting 25 minutes for our bus which goes around our estate and would therefore require just a short walk from the bus stop to our flat.

Whilst trying to make up my mind, I went to sit down at the other end of the station to our usual stand and noticed that we now have some clue as to what the square ‘boxlike’ area in this half of the bus station is finally going to be. A shop. Yes folks, despite the fact that just across from the bus station, not 30 metres or so away is a street full of them, we are getting a shop inside the bus station. Not the much needed toilets for weary passengers to relieve themselves as they patiently wait for their bus to arrive, not some more seats to park their weary posteriors on as they wait, oh no!  A shop.

Notice anything?

We have no public toilets in our small town. In fact, I would warn anyone visiting to go before they arrive if at all possible or run the risk of having to make a dash to one of our supermarkets which unfortunately are both sited at opposite ends of town and are the only shops that contain public toilets. Of course there are also the public houses which could be used in a dire emergency I suppose, but apart from that, then all visitors run the risk of having embarrassing accidents if taken short. You have been warned. This is especially important if arriving by bus.

As I sat there pondering what to do, I noticed some another new additions since I was last in the bus station. On the floor directly outside each bus stands sliding doors there are now huge yellow signs stating the following ‘Priority Waiting Area’ and below this wording two icons, one of a stick person sat on a circle, obviously depicting a wheelchair user, and the other a huge black eye with a stick through it and some lines in the corner.

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This sign is placed directly in front of each door and next to the four seats that we all fight each other to sit on.  Are the powers that be insinuating now that we residents of this town would ignore any wheelchair user waiting for a bus and barge onto it in front of them or all stand on that exact spot and not move off it for any reason?  And what’s the stick through the eye all about? I’m presuming it means that blind people have priority to stand on that spot but hang on a minute! If they are blind how on earth will they see the sign and therefore know to stand there?

Honestly!  What sort of people do they think we all are?  Do they think that we are so heartless that we would all barge onto the bus before someone who was in a wheelchair or blind?   Besides, as most of us are having to plonk our backsides on the windowsills whilst waiting for our buses to arrive anyway, so we’re nowhere near the doors!

TG 

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The trouble with packaging.

SNC13512 Making my  breakfast yesterday as usual, I took out an unopened carton of Tropicana orange juice from  the fridge and began trying to open it. I gripped the top as usual and tried to turn it.   It wouldn’t budge.  I gripped, grabbed, grasped, groaned, grabbed a tea towel, grabbed a dishcloth, tried this, tried that  but it still wouldn’t budge!

 Now I know that my readers will probably think that maybe Technogran has now reached the stage where her grip is not what it was, she has become weak and frail and that was the reason why the top of the carton of Tropicana wouldn’t budge, but I can assure you that is not the reason at all. Some daft person (or machine) had tightened the top so tight I honestly don’t think that Mike Tyson would have been capable of loosening  it!

So how did I eventually manage to drink  my glass of breakfast orange juice?  How did I finally get that blasted top to turn?  Pliers. Yes you read that correctly!  I had to scrabble about in my ‘odds and sods’ cupboard (where all my tackle is stored, step ladder, painting equipment, screwdrivers, paint brushes, vacuum cleaner etc, etc)  and find a pair of pliers to loosen up the top of the Tropicana orange!  I kid you not!

SNC13509 What is it all coming to,  this having to struggle to open modern day packaging?  Don’t they want us to be able to either consume  or use anything we buy?  Or is it some kind of test that we are all put through to see how determined we are to actually use/drink/ eat whatever is contained within?  I could have understood it if it had been something that was bad for me (a sort of brake to dissuade me from consuming the contents because they were unhealthy for example)  but orange juice?  I was absolutely beggared by the time I finally triumphed in loosening the offending top and pouring out the juice.

Today’s packaging is a menace in my opinion.  Either it won’t tear or won’t open, and I have done myself many an injury by trying desperately to access the contents. The worst packaging of the lot in my opinion is that ‘moulded’ type plastic usually  surrounding AV equipment such as leads, scart leads or remotes and such like. It is usually a very brittle type of plastic and though it looks good with its fancy shapes showing off its contents, its usually clamped tight shut thereby needing a pair of scissors to either cut it open or (as I once used in desperation) a hacksaw.

SNC13513 Once you have managed to get this type of packaging open, you then run the risk of being cut to ribbons by the very sharp edges left by having to cut it open, as you try desperately to subtract whatever lies within.  What is the matter with these people?  Why do they  want to torture us all by putting us through these  dreadful hurdles that we have to undergo every time we purchase  something?  Is it some kind of sick joke on behalf of manufacturers?

Ha ha! We’ll make them suffer for buying our product!”

I know this, If I could get hold of whoever it was who invented plastics I think I would cheerfully throttle him!

TG    alt