Most readers in the UK will by now know that the Prime Ministerial candidates debate on Tuesday on TalkTV was cancelled halfway through the programme after the presenter fainted. I didn’t watch it but maybe some of you might have.
Since then many people including the TV station have been quite quick to record that the presenter was back to work the next day. I was quite shocked as I assumed that the presenter would have been given some time off work to rest even if there was nothing wrong with her.
Maybe the presenter felt ready to return to work but it has made me to wonder if in this modern world where public figures boast about surviving on 4 hours of sleep, it is incumbent on the rest of us to act tough?
Early last week, here in the UK, we experienced a heatwave. Thankfully it only lasted two days but the hype before the “event” was quite something.
I am so glad that I ignored most of the weather warnings and packed some warm clothes as we had to be away the whole week. Yes, the temperature did shoot to 39 degree celcius but it very quickly came down to about 17 degree celcius later in the week. Now that we are back at the vicarage, I have gone back to cardigans and scarves!
The heatwave meant that while walking to my lunch destination in the city centre, I had to very reluctantly come face to face with young men in their bare bodies and young women in their bikini tops!!!!
Well, that is what happened to me yesterday! As I write this, it seems rather silly but that is how I felt yesterday morning.
The morning started with me trying to complete my Ocado shopping online. There were more items than usual as we are hoping to have company on Sunday. I also had to pay our credit card bill and be ready for my hairdresser who has a habit of coming round a wee bit early.
As I logged into our online card account. I noticed an unusual transaction that was pending. It said Financial Times USA. We do have a FT subscription but the transaction always appears as Financial Times London. Alarm bells started ringing and so I phoned the credit card company’s fraud team and reported the fraudulent activity which ended with the card being blocked. They assured me that a new card would reach me within 10 working days.
I just couldn’t believe what had just happened because this is the third time in a matter of weeks!!!
Last week, I inadvertently ended up doing a digital detox. Strangely, it was only on day two did I realise what was happening! Maybe it was because we were away from home but whatever it was it felt good!
I did pack my laptop but I never once turned it on. Instead, I bought an Alexander McCall Smith book in Oxfam and read that. I had also brought other reading materials with me so there was no opportunity for me to get bored. Like at home, I tuned in to Radio Four for my hourly news.
The detox was so good that towards the end, I even contemplated abandoning my blog for good albeit just for a split second!
Have you heard of a Dorset Knob? I had never heard of it until 10 days ago when it was mentioned in a newspaper article. I had assumed that the writer was referring to a door knob that was made specially in Dorset!
The next day a letter was published with the person specifically mentioning how the Dorset knob should be eaten. Eaten??? A quick google search revealed that a Dorset knob is actually a biscuit!
I used to love going to the post office to send things off to faraway lands. It used to be such a happy experience but these days the thought of a trip to the post office leaves me with dread. Why? A. the queues are always long. B. You have to pay for your stationery separately before you go ahead to use them to post your item. C. The person at the counter rarely has a smile.
However on this occasion, the trip to the post office was extremely pleasant. I had three parcels for faraway lands. I had to buy the jiffy bags and boxes separately but the Mhinisteir was with me so he took care of most of the things. The young girl behind the counter was very helpful. She even used her own sellotape to seal one of the parcels that was not too secure. Oh and she was smiling too!
I am currently taking a break from Agatha Raisin which has resulted in me pinching three old books from the Mhinisteir’s library.
That Was The Church That Was: How the Church of England Lost the English People by Andrew Brown and Linda Woodhead
According to the Mhinisteir, the CofE tried to stop the publication of this book which caused a lot of controversy. Reading it has just made me realise that just like all other institutions, the CofE too is corrupt. It is an easy read and people who are not church going but still interested in the CofE might enjoy it. This was published in 2016 so some of you might already have read it!
The Country Vicar by David Osborne
This is another easy read book and I’ve just got a few more pages to go. It is an analysis of rural ministry with case studies.
Herbert Hensley Henson A Biography by John S. Peart-Binns
This is the book that I am going to read next. As the title indicates, this is a biography of the 86th Bishop of Durham.
I hope to return to Agatha Raisin after this!
At some point I am hoping to get a second hand copy (when it becomes available!) of Murder before Evensong by the Rev Richard Coles. I was initially very reluctant to even consider it as I disapprove of am not keen on “celebrity” vicars but I have a sneaky feeling that this book will be right up my street. I just hope that there is no bad language!
The Mhinisteir has been trying to get us into fibre broadband for several months but somehow the engineers never turned up. This happened at least thrice which resulted in us cancelling the appointment altogether. We had wasted enough of our time.
However, in the spring, we had our arms twisted when our BT (British Telecom) bill started getting bigger and bigger. I still wasn’t keen for fibre broadband but the Mhinisteir was adamant that it will reduce the bill.
The engineer was due to come on a day and time that our cleaner was due to come. I wasn’t going to cancel my cleaner as she hadn’t come to clean the vicarage for a month. We weren’t told before hand what to expect. The engineer came within the given time frame. In order for the fibre broadband to be installed, he needed an area which will also give him access to the wall outside. At that moment, the only room that we could think of was my study. I wasn’t too keen but we had no choice as we were not given time to decide or look to see if there was another suitable room. The engineer was in a mad rush.
After what seemed like a long time, he finally installed all the wires inside and out and got ready to shoot off when the Mhinisteir stopped him as we didn’t know which wire went where. He did help a bit but kept saying that his job was just to install the wires outside!
Anyway, the end result is that our landline is not working!
Recently, the Mhinisteir and I managed to get away for a few nights. Due to the Mhinisteir’s work commitments we are unable to go away for a longer period so it is always a few nights here and there which is good enough.
On our last day, we decided to go to Cote for our breakfast before we headed back to the vicarage. When we entered the restaurant, there was only one other person. We were seated very quickly. The first thing I noticed was how dirty the table was. I took a quick glance at the other tables and they were the same. There were water ring stains, crumbs and other sticky bits! It was obvious the tables were not cleaned before they closed up for the night.
When our breakfast arrived, it was lukewarm. We never said anything about the table or the breakfast because we didn’t want to.
It was only after we left the restaurant that the Mhinisteir told me that we were charged separately for our hot beverages which were supposed to be part of the breakfast deal. It wasn’t a big deal but……
That experience has just reminded me that post Covid and post Brexit, things in this country are getting from bad to worse. These days, Covid gets blamed for EVERY single thing that goes wrong. The truth is things were only marginally better before that. For example, take the self catering cottage that we stay in every time we go away. For the past 3 years, we have had trouble with the shower/bath. 30 seconds into a shower, I would be up to my ankle in water. All the cleaners had to do was to clear the clogged up plug hole – a horrible looking mess.
I was initially reluctant to say anything because it is something that the cleaners couldn’t have missed! Surely it doesn’t take 3 years and more to wonder why the water gets drained at snail’s pace. We finally reported the matter.
Since the start of the year, the Mhinisteir has had the privileged to dine at one of the Ivy Brasserie’s not once but twice! He said that the service on both occasions were mediocre. He was quite shocked by the level of rudeness by staff to other diners.
Finally, another thing that I have noticed is that when we go out for lunch to different restaurants, instead of giving us both the lunch and the Ala Carte menus the waiting staff only give us the latter. The lunch menu only makes a grand appearance when asked. You can’t help but wonder if they are trying to rip you off!