scribbles tagged ‘one frown’

misleading advertising

Monday, October 8th, 2012 | tags: , , , , ,  |

M&S promote British StyleI rarely go into M&S. This window display is a prime example of why. The slogan says “the best of British style” the mannequins are wearing shades of biege jumpers, denim and undistinctive footwear.  Neither classic, exciting, country, or any kind of combination that could really be described as style except perhaps ‘comfortably numb’.

Poor show M&S

I’m confident that British styling can do a whole lot better!

misleading advertising
2 votes rating 4

4 bits of fabulous banter »

finding the Theatre

Monday, September 24th, 2012 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

3.30pm 18th August

The stout nurse bought over 2 of those ‘operation gowns’ – knee-length, short-sleave baggy jackets with small ties. She asked me to wear one with the ties at the back and one over the top with the ties at the front.

Where are your ID tags?

I ‘ve never been given any

You must have ID tags

She wandered off and returned with 2 plastic strips showing my name and date of birth, attached one around my good wrist and the other on my ankle. Strange dresses and plastic wristbands?  Just like going to a festival!

We’re walking to the operation Theatre? Should I wear my sandals?

Stout nurse grabbed my arm and used this, unnecessary, technique to steer me down the corridor towards the Ward’s reception desk. At the reception desk she confirmed the name and route to the operating Theatre. I didn’t take notes. As we walked the hospital corridors where other people were fully dressed stout nurse explained that she was an agency nurse so she didn’t know her way around this hospital.

We got lost.

Stout agency nurse asked directions and we found the right set of swipe-card operated doubledoors. The nurse told me that she had meant to borrow a swipecard from the ward reception, but forgot.

I started crying.

Are you in pain?

A flood of words burst through my tears about how disconcerting it was when you have to walk in a silly dress amongst fully clothed people, how scarey it is to have surgery, and how getting lost then being locked out of the operating theatre just adds to a general level of distress.

You’re not in pain?

Normal pain for a broken and dislocated tibia

She didn’t understand. I put some effort into quelling the tears, wiping my face on the sleeve of the operating theatre gown. A lady’s face appeared in the round window of the secure doors. She wore green and a little hat. Her body-posture inspired confidence.

The anesthetists assisstant greeted us. She looked me in the eye as she told me her name, her role and started explaining what was going to happen. I gave the agency nurse my sandals as I climbed onto the operating table. I told her about the times before that I’d had a general anasthetic and how I was scared of waking-up screaming in pain like my last operation. The last thing I remember before waking up was her reassurance that I wouldn’t wake-up screaming in pain….

finding the Theatre
5 votes rating 4.8

5 bits of fabulous banter »


Wednesday, August 29th, 2012 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

6.30pm 13th August

Doctors are easiest to recognise because they mainly wear a stethoscope around their neck. None of the staff  introduced themselves – no name, no role. They’ve done away with these useful basics. They occassionally use my name to call me out of the increasingly amorphous queue in the waiting area.

Staff were all wearing different uniforms, I don’t know what the different colours and styles mean. Maybe I don’t need to know, maybe the uniforms are for the staff to know who they are, not for the patients. I saw:

  • White tops with collars
  • Light-blue tops with collars
  • Royal blue tops with collars
  • Green jump-suits
  • Blue jump-suits
  • Pink Jump-suits

Things changed slightly after my 6.30pm X-Rays. I became the “Smiths Fracture“. I could evesdrop on the staff talking amongst themselves about me- the fracture.

1 vote rating 3

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Scree scrambling: BRONZE downside

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

I am honoured to present you with the mountainous, yet not Olympian, awards for our teams’ recent Snowdonia hiking downsides. The lows of the experience. These downsides played an essential role in making the highs, the upsides, so much more intense and pleasurable. 3rd place for the downsides goes to….

Up to the saddle

Bronze winner: Scree scrambling

No-one told me we’d be scrambling, we’d have to use our HANDS

The scramble was an unexpected, unpleasant, suprise for those with immaculately mannicured nails.

There were mumbles of being mislead and longing looks back. But no-one mentioned turning back.  Going forward meant that we all had to scramble.

For unmanicured, short-nailed, me – traversing the slippy slate was actually fun. A tad exciting!

Like a prince charming, one young guide took his cheeky disposition downhill to catch any slippers. Some of the girls considered deliberately Miss footing, but no-one was prepared to lose face in order to win a hand up.


This experience achieved ‘One Frown’ 🙁  on the Wendy House rating scale –  Ratings explained

Scree scrambling: BRONZE downside
1 vote rating 5

4 bits of fabulous banter »


Monday, September 27th, 2010 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Cooperative Food

I’m on a roll with the making of changes. I’ve moved my current and credit accounts to the Co-op bank. Hoorah! I love their values and helpful staff. I leave NatWest with a fabulous sense of relief and freedom.

In 1982 a girl I’d been to school with opened my Natwest Bank account in my local village. As one of the less than 10% of people that went to University I was a valued customer, a potential high earner. They promised me a free £5 for opening an account with them. One third of the cost of a pair of Levi 501s (£14.99).

In the 1980’s Natwest was small and friendly, my whole family and most of the village either banked or worked there.  Natwest saw me through my BSc, PhD, my first job, first car, and first mortgage. Some bumps, but generally they were supportive and I stuck with them.  In 1992 I lost my job. I wrote to Natwest to let them know (a condition of the mortgage). They told me that they were going to put my house on the market and charge me for a valuation and sales services.  I had not defaulted on my mortgage. I had sufficient savings to live on and pay my mortgage for months and they could see that by looking at my accounts.  This was an outragoeusly insensitive and unsupportive act. Also, they were not legally allowed to do this, this was bullying!  I replied telling them that they did not have my permission to spend my money on selling my home when I had not broken the conditions of the mortgage agreement.  I got a job, changed cities, changed home, changed mortage provider.

Things really spiralled downhill in the naughties.  After they were purchased by RBS the service standard nose-dove into corporate solelessness and ignorant, if cheerful, front of house staff.  Luckily I missed experiencing the gradual decay because I was living and primarily banking in the USA. Since returning to the UK they’ve actualy reduced me to tears twice, by aggressively trying to sell me services.

Today they treated me with their normal intrusive and condescending rudeness. AaarggGHH. The last straw. I calmly asked the informations desk for advice on the most efficient and effective way close all my acounts with them.  It felt good to stride out of the shop upright, hanky still in my pocket, knowing that I wont be going back.

David Bowie sang Changes

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Yorkie is not WISE

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009 | tags: , , , ,  |

This is the first in a series, YAY   A SERIES!   of   Wednesday Wendy Experience Survey  reports,   bringing you the scores on the doors on products and services that could affect your happiness and health.    

A recently published scientific  study gives preliminary indications that Yorkie bars are a consumer health risk when they scored a shockingly low* 23% on the Wendy International Standard for Experiences (WISE).      People in possession or a Yorkie bar should return it to the point of sale and seek a refund with compensation for emotional distress.

Study summary:

An expert Wendy** was given a Yorkie bar then observed while she conducted an end-to-end*** experience assessment covering

  • unwrapping
  • chunk-breaking
  • eating

The Wendy was observed completing the above actions than interviewed while completing the WES ©â„¢ questionnaire (below) by placing an X on the line in a position that  best described her experiences::

Absolutely Fabulous



Cover-it-with-a-brown-bag ugly



                                   Just what I need


Don’t see why I’d want to use it

You’d have to pay ME to use it


Take all my cash, and credit, NOW!

Squeeze, stroke, and lickable


Cooties, don’t touch IT!

Did I brake it or what?


Works a treat                  

I can  use it first time


training-required nightmare

   Snore, Snore, Snore


Fun, Fun, Fun

Its  obvious what it was going to do


it was full of surprises

FAFFAUCEP score of 21/90 = 23%


  • Unwrapping.   Successful.     Despite no instructions to talk out loud the Wendy talked out loud about the text on the wrapper.   Unwrapped in  7 seconds.   unwrapping involved no false-starts or error routes.
  • chunk-breaking.    Failure.   After attempting to break a single chunk off the bar with two hands and failing the Wendy resorted to using  the edge of the table to break the first chunk of chocolate from the bar.     Towards the end of the bar the Wendy used her teeth to bite-off single chunks,   this involved an average of 3-bites per chunk.
  • Dunking.   The Wendy added an unaticipated use of the chocolate bar when she tried dunking the bar in her tea between bites.  
  • Eating.   Poor.   we observed sucking (after dunking) and maximum range jaw-movements during chewing.


  • I can think of better ways to exercise my jaw
  • taste like fat with a hint of chocolate
  • OUCH,   that hurt the roof of my mouth

* Any product producing a FAFFAUCEP scores below 30% is provisionall designated a  health hazard by the Wendy International Standard for Experiences (WISE) .

** due to  research funding constraints  the data for this study was provided by one Wendy,  we recommend that at least 5, ideally 10  Wendy’s are used to enhanve the reliability and validity of published results.   We are currently recruiting volunteer Wendy’s to participate in future studies.   You can volunteer by contacting the Wendy House either through a blog post comment or writing directly to Wendy at Whendeee[at]hotmail[dot]com

*** purchase and pooping  process were not included in this assessment and may impact the FAFFAUCEP score either up or down.

Yorkie is not WISE
1 vote rating 4

4 bits of fabulous banter »

the proposition

Monday, February 5th, 2007 | tags: ,  |

Not my cup of tea.  


ratings explained

Only recommended if you like film’s that have

  • focus on ‘Justice outside the law’  with some plot-unnecessary blood and gore.
  • Beautiful desolate desert scenery (Australia).
  • An impressive UK cast
  • Nick Cave‘s charismatic writing  

I choose this for the latter 3 of the above reasons.   The writing at a conversational level had all the  ingenuity,  subtlety, and economy I’d expect from Mr. Cave.   Awesome.   But this was a film,   not a collection of conversations.   Multiple good dialogs and character scenes  are not enough to constitute a film, however well acted and  located.  I didn’t understand this film.  

Captain Stanley’s (Ray Winston) early words set the tone of the whole film for me:

Australia,   what fresh hell is this

While the film is undoubtedly a high quality execution of whatever it is meant to be the film said nothing to me,   was unnecessarily violent,   had no humour.   I’m left wondering why so much talent was directed into making this film.   Rotten Tomatoes gives  the proposition  a good review.   I’ve found many good reviews  that focus on details of music,  scene,  or character.   All of them failed to provide me with any strong insights into  why I should watch this film. 🙁  

(edited to try to make the 🙁 into images)

the proposition
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Monday, January 8th, 2007 | tags: , ,  |

Not recommended for people who grew-up with the English TV series.    Most of the core themes that gave  the TV series  cross-generational appeal have been squished.   For example,   Dougal’s sarcasm and addiction to a white ‘sugar-like’ substance,   Dylan’s narcolepsy, Brian’s ‘Speed’, Ermintrude’s ‘flights’  etc.   Standard good children’s story for  people not familiar with the TV series,  only the graphics and vocal cast are above par


ratings explained

Renamed from the original name “The Magic Roundabout”.   Perhaps the US distributers think that the US English speaking audience have difficulty appreicating film titles with more than one word?   Why not call it ‘The Magic Carousel”?   Are the people responsible for translating UK to US English underestimating the intelligence and imagination of the US audience.    Using the title Doogal,   rather than the orginal character name Dougal is another example of a translation with dubious value.   The IMDB provides a lively discussion on the renaming and recasting of this film.  


  • Visual treat: the detailed graphics in the varied spectacular scenes with creative ‘camera’ angles are a real visual treat,  very high quality.
  • Super-powered ‘bling-bling:   the idea is outstanding,   I want some!
  • Lord of the Rings references:   in visuals,   scene structure and explicitly in dialog.
  • flatulent moose.  A new character with fairly obvious  accessible appeal to all ages.
  • child-friendly goody-bady story:   The classic goody-baddy storyline is fairly easy to follow….  


  • Characters ‘dumbed-down’:   For those familiar with the TV series these characteristis were dumbed-down or simply REMOVED!   Brian doesn’t zoom,  not once!!!!   The ‘Speed’ connection is lost.   Dylan isn’t narcoleptic,   he’s merely ‘sleepy’.   His Narcolepsy could have been used to great comic effect.   Dougal isn’t sarcastic,   worse still he’s  gained a sickeningly soppy overt affection  for Florence.   Dougal does like ‘Candy’,   not specific to the Cocaine-like ‘sugar’. Ermintrude doesn’t fly or have a flower in her mouth.    Ermintrude does like singing, badly. Mr. MacHenry is not there dealing the drugs.  Zebedee is referred to as a ‘Wizard’.   Generally they’ve filtered out many of the extreme characterisations that made the characters outrageously fun for adults.  
  • No blue cat.  Dougal’s historical and natural (cat) nemisis did not feature in the storyline.   Why create a totally new baddy rather than leverage and develop the pre-existing characterisation?
  • Negative modifications of the female roles:   Florence is not portrayed as the voice of sensible authority.   Florence has a minor role in a frighteningly typical ‘woman as damsel in distress’ format. She’s a victim with not real sense of character beyond loving her dog.   Erminturde is similarly recast as a ‘love object’ that aspires to success in the celebrity world.   If I am to believe the magazines,   aspirations towards celebrity are acceptible for a female. The program producers could easily have built a witty different, legitimate aspirational model for Ermintrude.   They didn’t.   All the action confrontation scenes involve the male characters.   Ermintrude’s contribution to the groups success is through using her voice and dexterity.   Acceptable girly qualities.   Both qualities are the source of humour, ridiculed.
  • Voice recasting:       Unfortunately for me the US version has many voices re-cast.   No Tom Baker (Dr. Who),  Robbie Williams (pop star), Joanna Lumley (Absolutely Fabulous), Ray Winston (Sexy Beast), Lee Evans, or  Jim Broadbent.   While these voices are not American most are known to the American audience they are all highly professional recognisable performers.   It’s a sad choice to replace them.    

Note:   This review was written without having seen  the original  UK version.  

P.S. Thankyou to all the wonderful people who turned up at the Panama Hotel tea room yesterday,   such a pleasant suprise,   your company was thoroughly enjoyed and I didn’t have a single Cinderella moment!

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review ratings

Monday, September 25th, 2006 | tags: , , , , , , , , , ,  |

Ever wondered what Wendy review ratings really mean?   You need wonder no more.    Rating system explained:

:-(  :-(  :-(  :-(  :-(  

Don’t touch this,   lest it be contagious or induce severe fits followed by sudden brain death

:-(  :-(  :-(  :-(  

No.   It’s just wrong,   so wrong.   Turn around an walk away before anything valuable  like sanity or toothbrush gets broken

:-(  :-(  :-(  

Thow the phone down.     Icky, icky, icky,   could prompt a minor tantrum involving  some small hand-held household item hitting the floor with a little more speed then naturally supplied by gravity    

:-(  :-(  

Wince making.   What were they thinking?   Walk away now  


Why?   Even lashings of tea and biscuits couldn’t make this work  


Mining required.   Get your spade out,   if you are  prepared to put the effort into  digging for it you’ll find some virtue buried somewhere in this  

:-)   :-)  

Darn good.   Like a pint of well kept real Ale  from a cask in good company,   or a Sunday morning reading a broadsheet in bed with the  fluff-balls snoring nearby    

:-)   :-)   :-)  

Lovelly.   Simply world class talent.   Easily recommended and probably even remembered,   which given my scattiness is a major achievement      

:-)   :-)   :-)   :-)  

Gorgeous.   Oh!   that was good for me.    Expect this review to include a bit of gushing because  the work has  genius potential      

:-)   :-)   :-)   :-)   :-)  

Hero Worship.     Realised genius, lets do it again,   and again,   and again.   There’s a stong risk that Wendy’s planning a proposal.

review ratings
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