scribbles tagged ‘shopping’

‘peeling church bells

Sunday, October 31st, 2010 | tags: , , , ,  |

Why I love England #15:  ‘peeling church bells

Seattle Sunday and Saturday felt interchangeable. The main percievable difference was that Saturday night heralded a sleep-in while Sunday night heralded the start of the working week. Saturday and Sunday were both filled with open, buzzing, malls, bowling alleys, ski-slopes and roads. Returning to England returned my beautiful Sundays.

English Sundays start well with a warm, naturally slow, awakening. Things just keep getting better from there. Whether sunshine, rain, fog, drizzle… going out in it or staying in, the choice is mine and the doing is free from shopping. Then comes the distant peal of church bells. Sunday gives time to be with beautiful people; to do nothing or something. Perhaps a spot of painting, a walk in the park, pull weeds from the garden, talk, listen.

On colder days a log fire fills the house with the gentle scent of warm woodsmoke, the clicking of the Stove as it warms, the sparking of logs and roaring of flames.  Lashings of tea, Sunday lunch followed by lashings more tea.

An evening amble to a pub quiz, real ale, laughter, debates and arguments in the company of friends.

Sunday draws to a close with me all wrapped up in sweet smell of fresh laundry and crisp, silence, of the white cotton sheets. They engulf me as I contentedly fall into deep sleep.

‘peeling church bells
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3 bits of fabulous banter »

getting the foundations right

Sunday, July 11th, 2010 | tags: , , ,  |

Back in the 1990’s I had developed a strong brand loyalty to Sloggi because they produced comfortable, outdoor activity sypporting, stylish, white, underwear.  Sloggi underwear wasn’t cheap but it lasted, it maintained it’s strength and looks.  Sloggi products were sold in  good department stores, the quality town stores.  Stores like Reading town’s Jackson’s.  I had no problem finding Sloggi underwear on the rare occasion I needed to purchase new stuff.

When I lived in the NW US, the quality department stores such as Nordstrum didn’t sell Sloggi.  In a recklessly adveturess streak I branched out into local underwear brands, Victoria Secrets. Nothing special, mass produced femininity. My underwear draw went pink and everso slightly twee.

In Tiverton I picked up my first Sloggi’s since 2000.  They feel and look good.  Back to my favourite high quality foundations…

getting the foundations right
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foundation garment shortage

Monday, July 5th, 2010 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

In Reading town its Jacksons

In Tiverton town its Banbury’s

A family run store, named after the family.  Selling everything in tiny departments on split-level floors arranged with a maze-like series of turns and staircases. These stores are Tardis-like, seeming small from the outside then corridor after staircase after turn they get larger and larger.  The staff are normally experienced people with well structured hairstyles or quirky youngters. All are personable.  When leaving the Wendy house this morning I was in the middle of scat-fest.  Things I forgot to bring with my included, pants, watch,  tops to wear.  Banbury’s was just the place to temporarily solve my foundation garment shortage

While searching for the cleverly hidden underware department I stumbles across a Linen top with a print reminiscent of the fabulous Finnish Marimekko Unnikko print.  Yummy.

foundation garment shortage
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fell into a Glen

Sunday, June 27th, 2010 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

In less than 2 minutes I’d fallen deeply in love with a youngster, he must be all of 30yrs.  His name badge says Glen. A good name, other members of the wendy house family are called Glen, but that wont cause a problem.  Glen can solve problems.

He smiles, talks sense, makes constructive left of field suggestion, shows me diagrams, puts different phones in my hand while he uses a real pen to do some quick maths on a sheet of paper. He compares the prices of different solutions for me.  I’m totally hooked.  After this brief and productive conversation, this performance, we make a date for next Saturday. I bounce out of car phone warehouse with an abundance of teeth reflecting the hot glow of the summer sunshine.  Maybe I should propose on Saturday.  Before or after I’ve purchased something, what’s the ettiquette?

 Well done Reading town’s carphone warehouse, your staff recruitment strategy is excellent.  Looks like I’ll be dropping my service relationships with t-mobile, Orange, and BT all in one go for the ‘TalkTalk’ service that some of the Wendy House family are already using.  Hoorah

Thankyou to Happy Frog’s friend for pointing me to the carphone warehouse

fell into a Glen
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too hot to be fabulously british

Saturday, June 12th, 2010 | tags: , , , , ,  |

spotty dog: Nice jacket, Jack Wills?
wendy: yes, when I got back from the US I felt an overwhelming need to wear something fabulously british, this looked like a boating jacket
spotty dog: but you haven’t worn it since we arrived
wendy: its too hot in Italy, I’ll be fabulously British when we get back home

   

too hot to be fabulously british
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bearded habitat

Thursday, April 8th, 2010 | tags:  |

In the Bath  habitat store I followed a child that could barely immitate being able to walk and her mother on their way  up the stairs to the kitchen furniture section

mother: maybe the man with the beard is up here…

mother: shall we ask this lady where we can find the man with the beard…

bearded habitat
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would you drink tea with this person?

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010 | tags: ,  |

Would you stop by for a cup of tea with the person who’s Saturday shopping trip included

  • cat food and litter
  • a large axe
  • soda crystals
  • the axe is still quite large
  • WD 40
  • that axe has a handle for swinging
  • long handled matches
  • the axe has a blade protector
  • lavendar shampoo
  • the axe is in the corner of the front room, for the moment

Saturday shopping

would you drink tea with this person?
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for the birds

Thursday, February 11th, 2010 | tags: ,  |

A  birdbath, not fit for purpose.   Purchased at Wyevale garden centres in November, showed cracks in December, fell apart in Januray, returned to Wyevale in February.

After patient waiting for, gently assertive haggling with,  Wyevale staff.   They eventially raised their offer from nothing  because I was returning it  ‘outside the 28 day return period ‘ to  a paltry  refund of the current sale, half the original, price in vouchers.  I settled believing  this pathetic show did less than Wyevale is  required to do by law and very glad to get away from them.

Wyevale – not recommended for garden furniture.

Broken bird bath

for the birds
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wild life

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010 | tags: ,  |

In the foyer of Reading’s downtown  homebase an Owl collects donations for a rescue and sanctuary.   Big, beautiful, fluffy owl with efficient looking talons.   The handler talks about giving young criminals lessons in how to look after owls.   How this  skill and responsibility enables them to develop self esteem and respect for others

Barn Owl Owl

wild life
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pokers

Sunday, February 7th, 2010 | tags: , , ,  |

Spoilt for choice in a local antiques shop

Picking a plain wrought iron poker for the to-be-installed over-hyphenated wood-burning stove

Breathing-in was required to walk between the goodies.    The tiny antiques shop brimmed with lovely practical gadgets. It was like walking through a museum store room. There were leather straps for sharpening razors, there were  copper kettles and iron flat irons. I was lucky to get out of the shop having bought only a poker

My self-control can be utterly astounding

stove accessories

pokers
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beaming

Saturday, February 6th, 2010 | tags: , ,  |

Paul from warm interiors popped round to look at the Wendy House’s wooden roof  beams.   When the fireplace is opened-up to install the woodburning stove Paul  will be making a fireplace opening lintel from oak to match the roof beams.  The lintel will have bolts and hooks like the original (circa 1845) beams.   Excitement levels are on their way up in the Wendy House.

Wendy Home ceiling beams

beaming
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local store for local people

Sunday, January 17th, 2010 | tags: , , ,  |

wood burning stoveCas:   hello Dr. Wendy

Wendy: Wow, I’m impressed that you remembered me and that I’m a Dr!

Cas explained the differences between multifuel and wood burning stoves as she pulled together a costing for converting my fireplace (gas fire).  

Paul:  you’ve over-estimated the cost of the chimney liner, knock 20 feet of the height, Wendy lives in the cottage

 Wendy: you even remember where I live!

Paul: and we put the fireplace in there about  7 years ago for the last owner.   We’ve done most of the fireplaces round here, we’ve been here for 20 years.

Cas handed me lots of manufacturers brochures to help me choose a stove and I bounced out into the wet snowless winter weather.

local store for local people
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2 bits of fabulous banter »

kitty litter cover-up

Monday, January 11th, 2010 | tags: , , , , ,  |

There is a national shortage of kitty litter.

The National press are conspiring to supress this story.  Some regional press are sneaking out reports. The Burton press managed  this excerpt:

Tesco, on St Peter’s Bridge, sold out of cat litter on Thursday as customers grabbed supplies to use as a handy and effective substitute for gritting salt. Sales have rocketed by 70 per cent in a week.

The East anglia times noted panic purchase of pussy essentials

Customers at Tesco stores in Kesgrave and Martlesham are reporting a shortage of eggs, bread and milk, while there was also word of rapidly emptying shelves at Sainsbury’s in Warren Heath.   Anti-freeze products, boots and thermal underwear have also proved popular, alongside a surprise best-seller – cat litter.

Local councils are running out of grit for the roads so private citizens are stepping-up to fill the void left by the hording and abusing of  the litter of the cat.   This reduces supplies for normal cat toilet abilities.   There could be unanticipated consequences.

Your eyewitness, on the spot, roving reporter  [ME!]  is out and about interviewing the kitties that matter, those  suffering from this very shortage.

In this revealing interview footage we listen to

  • a vey frustrated, unlittered cat
  • icicles melting
  • the police sirens as they chase people deliberately over-purchasing kitty litter for elicit purposes

sinkingMatrix has difficulty walking on the snow and fails to find an acceptable toilet.     Her experience is similar to that of many of the UKs mainly outdoor kitties.

What will happen next?

How can I improvise when my stocks run out and my indoor kitties refuse to conduct their ablutions in the snow. OH!

kitty litter cover-up
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battle for the buns

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Buried alivePerhaps I was a bit premature with the melting snow post.

Thomas has been buried alive.

I’ve cunningly avoided yet another Gym subscription nightmare by resorting to digging out the Wendy House garden path.

After 24 hours of snow, 30cm in my back garden, the local shops are suffering from depleted stocks.      People who when stranded at home must have a steady supply of toast, ideally spread with marmite, are buying thier bread.  No new deliveries.   You do the maths…

Toastie!

Will I have to compromise the purity of my toast by taking my marmite on toasted teacakes? Tonight I’m planning to pop around my perky, yet elderly, neighbour’s house to…

food supplies start to run out…share some seasonal bubbly – more toastie!

…and snow stories in front of a glowing fireplace – even more  toastie!

then I’ll take their food order round to the corner shop where I’ll

battle for some buns.

battle for the buns
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looking for a guide

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009 | tags: , , , ,  |

Oxfam art nouveau shop frontWith the quick approach of my HOLIDAY to CAIRO I skipped out  in search of some Holiday reading. Normally I pop into the tiny yet beautiful Reading Oxfam.   The friendly staff and customers chat, the book choice is excellent,  always something to inspire and entice.

One of my friends has recently moved to Cairo and made a specific request for a copy of the Lonely Planet guide to Egypt.   Alas, the local Oxfam cold not deliver

A short walk to the Waterstones chain, a small Victorian style shop front.   Inside the store is like the TARDIS   it goes backwards and upwards,   from house to house with glass roofs between.   The store is architecturally beautifully designed and maintains unusual features such as  the mezannine floor pictured below

Once I stopped looking at the architecture and started looking at book shelves   I was lost with no idea of where  the ‘Travel’  section might be.   Looking at the labeling on the shelves only tells you what is here,   not where something that is elsewhere might be.   Unperturbed I wandered over to the foot of the stairs (both of them)  expecting to find a list of the sections on each floor.   Nothing.

Waterstones in ReadingThe  front door did not offer a guide to the store store layout with the sections identified.     The cash and information desk by the door was being stormed by an outsized  orderly  queue of people.   Glancing  back into  the huge store I felt a little overwhelmed and wandered in looking at shelf labels and the people nearby,   which are the staff who might help me?   Before full panic could set-in, eye contact with a lady….

Lady: Can I help you?

Wendy:   Do you have a map of the store layout?

Lady: What section would you like?

Wendy:   Is there a display showing where the sections are?

Lady:   No,   I’m working on that,  what section would you like?

Wendy: Travel

Lady: upstairs ahead through the arch,   on the right hand wall arranged in alphabetical order by country

Wendy: Thank you,  love the display thing you’re working on

looking for a guide
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bread winner

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

Shopping For DadMumzie drives to another town to pick-up the only Rye crisp-bread that Dad considers to be like real Finnish Rye bread.

The myriad of  quirky little things my parents do for each other shows they are still in love, 52 years after getting married.

bread winner
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this one will do

Friday, September 18th, 2009 | tags: , , ,  |

As they strode towards each other through the bed warehouse John’s baritone reassured the young besuited sales assistant

I’m looking for a bed
me too! Sarah’s soprano sang,   John stopped, turned to face her
Are you? his slight Oklahoma drawl,   playfully suggesting a challenge
No,  I’m looking for YER bed misser Sarah tilted her head and  flashed her lashes to take up the challenge. John blushed with a hint of a smile before turning back to the sales assistant.  

The technical bed-purchasing discussions didn’t interest Sarah.    From across the warehous she interrupted their conversation to ask the sales assistant If I takes me shoes off can I jump on yer beds… …to test em out like? the young besuited assistant nodded.  

Sarah kicked of her pumps, leapt onto the nearest bed then launched from bed to bed across the store finally  stopping by John who was lying on his back.  His body barely moved as she landed beside him. His eyes were closed,  his fingers woven together across his chest. If she hadn’t known he was testing sleep she might have thought him dead. Sarah gently kissed Johns serene forehead.    

Are you dead? Can I wake the dead?! Sarah started trampolining by John’s side.   With a slow deliberate move he swung his arms round her legs and draggged them to the foot of the bed.   She fell neatly  in a giggling bundle beside him.

“I think this one will do,   don’t you?” he said to the sales assistant while holding Sarah’s gaze.

this one will do
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shop talk

Thursday, September 17th, 2009 | tags: ,  |

No-one ever told me that when in  a jewelry shop you must browse quietly.    Myself and the other jewelry shop browsers abide by this unspoken rule.    The churchlike atmosphere is dull, unlike the jewelry.    A spritely looking elderly gent stands  in the doorway of the store and shouts across the shop to the lady behind the counter

Have you got any bright shiny things luv?

shop talk
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1 wonderful musing »

expensive underwear

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009 | tags: , ,  |

With the internet I can just type the name, make, model, serial-number and colour of my preferred bra  and get an  exact purchasable match in less than one minute.   Excellent,   underwear wooshing its way to the Wendy House.   All is well

 Then

The Royal Mail left me a little note to let me know that my ‘package’ was too big to fit through my letterbox.   Not being a larger lady in the underwear department this was a baffling concept.   This meant a trip to the Reading central post-office on Satruday morning during peak Reading shopping traffic congestion.   While listening to Jonathon Ross interview Spandau Ballet I noticed a shop with hand-crafted wood furniture in the window

Dangerous

An hour later I had picked-up my new underwear, removed the ridiculously bulky packaging and bought a hand made ‘gun cupboard’ for my mug collection

Expensive underwear

expensive underwear
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don’t call Brett

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009 | tags: , , ,  |

Don't call BrettIn different Falmouth stores  Spotty dog and I simultaneously whipped out our new-fangled plastic cards to pay for lovely pressies.   Much to our suprise these words greeted us:

we don’t take cards here, cash and cheques only’    

Neither of us use cheque-books.   We trundled off on a quest for  cash-points,     only to find that Brett couldn’t help us and we couldn’t have called him for help even if we had his number.   Tricky.

don’t call Brett
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£300 per week

Saturday, July 18th, 2009 | tags: , , ,  |

storing automotive containers over the recession..The natural harbour at Falmouth is one of the cheapest places to store large, unused, container ships.

We counted 7 of these large automotive carrier ships stored in the tiny, otherwise picturesque, Falmouth harbour.   The ships are waiting for the automotive industry to either come out of recession or decide to send them to the scrap yard.

£300 per week
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catching smiles

Thursday, May 28th, 2009 | tags: , ,  |

Lunch in pink leapard print dressMy pink leapordprint mini-dress was a tad anachronistic in the quaint leafy streets of Burford. Families of pleasant, conservately dressed people  wandered in an out of stores selling expensive clothes, kitchenware, art and antiques.  

My attraction to antique stores was aligned with the other people,   crowds,   that had accepted the pilgramage to Burford.  

I prayed in the antique fair,   strolled around the churchard then settled in the tea rooms.   On the journey I caught the sunshine and smiles.

catching smiles
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pink and black

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

Saturday SushiWendy: t-mobile’s colours are almost the same as HMV’s   – pink and black

t-mobile assistant: Magenta

Wendy: Oh (signifying recognition that the assistant’s correction was blunt),   I’m sorry,   is Magenta a technical term for pink?

t-mobile assistant:   There’s been an SQL error entering your details,   I don’t know what SQL  is but its not your fault.    

Wendy: Sequal Server? Maybe it needs a t-mobile technical specification,   like magenta instead of pink?  

pink and black
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black and white

Monday, May 18th, 2009 | tags: , , , ,  |

I’m not so environmentally friendly since I paired up with Thomas.   On the otherhand, I’m not using a jet to get around. With the exception of a classic cathode ray tube,   few things are actually back and white.  

The Monochrome set sang jet set junta

black and white
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1 wonderful musing »

purged

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009 | tags: , ,  |

In a rare,  mercifully quick,  shopping moment I replaced 3 pairs of well-worn, too-small, skinny, hipster blue jeans with  new jeans that:

  • fit
  • don’t break along the seams when tugged
  • say  ‘not-a-soccer-mom’
  • tone  with my ‘I’m-a-professional-person’ jackets
  • are not blue
  • chafe to the optimum temperature in all the right places and none of the wrong places

JeansWay too much excitement for one day,   I must lie down and breath slowly lest I become overwhelmed by it all.   You all take care,   don’t over exert yourselves,   its tough out there and a well stitched pair of jeans can help keep things under control.

purged
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Thomas with a tank engine

Friday, April 17th, 2009 | tags: , ,  |

Please indulge in a  brief, chirpy, round of applause to welcome Thomas with  the Diesel tank engine to the Wendy House team.   He growls in the morning but purrs after he’s had a little run.   Just like my first Diesel engine car.  

Thomas V2

In his first few days Thomas has already become the star of the Wendy House travelling show:

Person in car park (PICP): Have you bought a car then?

Wendy:   Yes

PICP: It’s not the Mini?!   (raises pitch towards end of sentence)

Wendy:   It’s the mini

PICP: OH, such a lovely colour

Thomas with a tank engine
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cannot change dates

Thursday, April 16th, 2009 | tags: , , , , ,  |

In some circumstances computer systems can deliberately stop people from making ‘Errors’.    This is an  example of a system preventing the people that use it from making ‘errors’ by trying to do rather useful things:    

Wendy:   can I move the car insurance start date back by one week?

Car Insurance Agent (CIA):   No

Wendy:   Oh (signifying complete suprise at this rude treatment of a potential non-customer)

CIA:   you will have to cancel the whole policy and then open a completely new one with a different start date

Wendy:   Computer system makes you do that?   It wont let you just change start dates?

CIA:   Yes

It took us 30 minutes to cancel,   then re-apply for the same car insurance with a different start date.   2 sets of documents are in the post.    

Wendy:   Are you from Hull?

CIA:   Leeds,   its quite near to Hull

Good weather in Leeds.

cannot change dates
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alan’s tips

Friday, April 10th, 2009 | tags: , ,  |

Words of wisdom from  an almost stranger*.   In this case a Mini dealership sales person of a Canadian persuasion gave me this tip:

 

If you enjoy driving, and want a Diesel, I  wouldn’t recommend the Mini One Diesel.    The Mini Cooper Diesel is much more fun, its in a completely different class.

 

I didn’t accept this tip on face value,    I test drove a Mini One Diesel.   Not fun.    I did enjoy driving the Mini Cooper Diesel,   though I found all the superflous fancy stuff,  such as internal lighting schemes  more embarressing than stylish.  

 

 

*  past tips provided by Alan the hairdresser.   Lucia the hairdresser, an anonymous  manicurist, a Jackson’s sales assistant, a bus stop philanthropist  and Reading Police

alan’s tips
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on not selling cars: clearly clunky

Sunday, March 29th, 2009 | tags: , ,  |

Stopping at  the AA approved dealership with the low mileage Mini One D for sale:

Sales:   there’s virtually no difference between the old and new model  Mini D’s,   except the styling and I prefer the styling in the old model.  

Wendy:   they have different Engines,   the old one is a Toyota Yaris,   I don’t know what the new one is.   A different  engine  seems like a  significant difference.

Sales: Coopper Diesel has a Peugeot engine

Wendy:   My last car in the UK was a 5yr old Peugeot 309    1.9 Diesel in 1992, an awesome Engine, the car took me for 46,ooo miles in 1 yr with nothing other than standard wear and tear.

Sales: [silence]

Later,   while driving the Mini

Wendy:   that is a VERY  clunky gearbox,  

Sales:   is it?  

Wendy:   No I was lying to get the price down, have you actually drivien this car?   its clearly clunky

Later,   on the forecourt after no beverage has been offered and no-one has asked to take my name, phone number,   other contact details or manage the conversation:

Wendy:   what sort of discount would you give me for  having no car to  trade-in part exchange?

Sales:   none

Wendy: what sort of discount would you give me if I could arrange a cash purchase

Sales:    none

Wendy:   do you actually  want to sell this car,   I know its been on your books for at least 3 weeks

Sales: we can’t get enough good quality second hand cars,   with the recession  the second hand business is good

Wendy:   I’ll look at the other Mini’s on my list and talk to the dealers  and might  get back to you if this one is still a possibility

on not selling cars: clearly clunky
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no pollen alleriges

Saturday, March 28th, 2009 | tags: , , ,  |

bathroom air freshnerOne of a host of Jasmine plants that fill the Wendy Home  with a wonderful aroma.      No chemical air-freshener arrives with throw-away packaging,  immitates floral scents and requires  refills.     Lets hope that no guests have real pollen allergies….

no pollen alleriges
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2 bits of fabulous banter »