On Saturday, I got a Christmas meat order brochure from my “local” butcher in Scotland. I was gobsmacked! It was only the 5th of September and we are already thinking about Christmas.
I certainly am not thinking about Christmas given the year that we have had so far. Maybe it should be a quieter Christmas as a mark of respect to all those who throughout the world have sadly succumbed to Covid19. This year, there are going to be many empty chairs around the Christmas lunch tables.
There must be some kind of a celebration for as Christians we believe that without the birth, death and the resurrection of Christ there is no hope for mankind.
Christmas at the Vicarage is very low key. Christmas is a very busy time for the Mhinisteir so he is pretty exhausted by the time he comes through the door at lunchtime on Christmas Day.
In any case, we don’t do family get togethers or presents exchanging instead we spend the day visiting the sick and the lonely. This is a family tradition so most in the family do this yearly albeit in a very small scale. Of course, there have been years when there is no one to visit in hospitals or care homes. On those years, we would invite those who don’t have anywhere else to go for their Christmas lunch and we have a simple Christmas meal together.
One Christmas, shortly after our move to England, my “new” neighbour volunteered me without asking my permission, to cook the entire Christmas meal from scratch for her friend for this friend had gone into an almighty panic when she heard that her family was coming over for Christmas!!!!!! I, of course duly obliged!!!!
One day last week, I had just finished posting a blog post when I accidentally pressed something on the computer and that led me to the feedback section of my blog site. I didn’t know it existed!!!! There was a comment from someone that I immediately recognised as a fellow blogger. The message was sent on 16 July 2020! I was mortified. I usually get an email notification if someone contacts me via the contact page. It was really bizarre. Since then, I have been trying to remember to check the feedback section diligently.
On Saturday, very unusually, our weekend newspaper arrived only at midday. Earlier, the Mhinisteir had to phone old Mrs Patelto enquire only to be told that the delay was caused by Extinction Rebellion’s protests at printing presses.
As I waited for the papers, my mind began to wonder to Scotland. I realised that since moving to England especially now in rural England that I am living the good life! We get almost everything delivered to the Vicarage. Back in rural and remote Scotland, nothing was delivered to the Manse. Simply because there was no such service. We had to travel for 30 minutes just for our daily papers. In some areas where strict sabbatarian rules are in place, we bought the Sunday papers on the Monday as newsagents weren’t open on the Sabbath.
I love to read the weekend FT especially their magazine supplement. It is always very colourful and interesting with articles on wine, food etc. In Scotland, those supplements were often missing or you make the 30 minute drive only to be told that the FT didn’t arrive that day!!!!!!
Here, we get our eggs, milk, meat and fish delivered right to our door. The only thing piece missing in the perfect jigsaw is a good vegetable box delivery. At the start of lockdown, we started getting a local fruit and vegetable box delivered but soon realised that it wasn’t for us because we were not able to choose the vegetables that we required and ended up with wastage which is not right. I have still got bags of chopped butternut squash in the freezer!!!!
On a day like this, I am extra thankful for all these wonderful delivery services that we enjoy! Long may it continue!
It is sad but appears to be true given the number of horror stories that I read daily from relatives of people who have passed away during the pandemic. They did not contract Covid but died because of it!
Our curate has got a very unusual way of diary management. It is so unusual that all that the electronic diary reveals is that there is something on that particular day but nothing else. No time, venue or more importantly what it is about! As you can imagine, there have already been a few no-shows!!!!
The Mhinisteir went to collect my prescription from the Chemist last week and while he was there, he decided to get some menthol crystals. According to him, the young assistant didn’t know what to do with it (I thought you just needed to scan the product!) so she sought the advise of a senior member of staff. The older lady told the Mhinisteir that they don’t have menthol crystals in stock! I think the Mhinisteir was quite taken aback so he had to point to the lady that there were actually 5 of them on the shelf and he was just wanting to pay for one!!!!
Strangely, I had a similar experience in Boots a few years back. I went to ask for menthol crystals and the lady immediately told me that they don’t sell it there to which I replied that I had bought it from them just a month ago. The very next minute, a small bottle of menthol crystals miraculously turned up on the counter!!!!!
The one that really takes the biscuit is my experience at the taxi rank outside Glasgow’s Queen Street Station. We had just arrived and were needing to take a taxi to our hotel. There was only one taxi waiting in the taxi rank: the driver refused to take us and our two suitcases!!! “It’s just a short distance, mate! You will be better off walking” he said. What?????? In that pouring rain in the dead of winter?????
I have had the privilege of travelling and living and working in different continents. Sadly it is in the UK that we are lacking in good customer service. Recently, I was listening to a programme on Radio 4 called You and Yours and this same sentiment was expressed by some of the callers.
Whereas in America, they have the can do attitude. It is always a YES rather than a NO. It is the same in the South of France. They just want you to enjoy the shopping experience. No pressure to buy anything and they are so proud and knowledgable of EVERYTHING that they sell! If you happen to buy something from them, they wrap it so beautifully.