Sunday, 30 November 2008

Beware TERRIBLE service at The Pheasant Inn, Hungerford

Today I met some family for lunch at The Pheasant Inn, Shefford Woodlands, near Hungerford, RG17. Well, I tried to.

I had booked ahead and explained we were four adults, two children and a baby but when we arrived we were shown two small tables which they then begrudgingly pushed together. As I tried to get the children into their seats the waitress stood over us saying "drinks, drinks, what do you want to drink" and stalked off in a huff when I asked if we could have five minutes to get ourselves sitting down.

The real trouble started when we tried to order. Two of the party apologetically explained that they were allergic to dairy and wheat and asked if the fish for fish and chips was pre-battered, could the chef just fry it plain. The waitress stared at them rudely, went to the kitchen and returned saying the chef would not do that. When they asked for other dishes to be served with chips rather than things they could not eat they were told it was not possible. A more senior waitress said extremely curtly that the chef would not do anything different. We replied that if we couldn't eat anything we'd have to leave.
"Fine," she said and turned and walked off.

We were gobsmacked by their complete inflexibility and rudeness. Allergies are annoying, yes, but not unusual. There was no apology and no consideration for the fact we'd set three very young children up at a table and now had to go back out into the freezing rain.

No business which treats its customers like this deserves to survive so if you are reading this blog having searched the name of the pub to make a booking, please GO ELSEWHERE!

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Great New Bonus Credit Crunch Diet!

I remember once reading an article about cheat ways to diet. One suggestion was to turn the central heating down a few degress so that the body would have to work harder to keep warm and so burn more calories.

I can confirm it works. Due to a "catastrophic" leak in our plumbing I've had no central heating for ten days. Yes, it's cold but the bonus is I seem to have lost three kilos without trying - depsite eating an excess of bourbons to cheer myself up!

Have a go, save some money, burn the calories. I've heard there's an even colder spell coming next week so I'm looking forward to a few more bourbons and a few less kilos.

Tough life?

There are days when you feel life is tough. I think I've been having a tough time lately. My husband is working away for three weeks so I'm at home alone with the three children. The boys seem to be permanently antagonistic and aggressive, there's always one shouting, crying, pushing, thumping, hurt. Neither the carrot or stick methods of dealing with them are working and I don't quite know what to do next.

There is a "catastrophic"* leak in our plumbing so I've not had any central heating or hot water for ten days. Various experts have been through to help me but so far all they've achieved is pulling up the wooden floor in the sitting room leaving me with a shelving unit in the middle of the room and lots of books, toys and bottles piled up on the floor. I get up in the night to keep our wood burner stoked for warmth and have been relying on the immersion heater for hot water.

Tonight the immersion heater stopped working. The two boys were in bed yelling and crying. I sat at the kitchen table and felt numb and light headed. I didn't quite know what to do. So I phoned my husband. It's 2am where he is but I stubbornly kept pressing redial because I wasn't sure what else to do. He's talked me through re-wiring the switch for the immersion heater. I felt overwhelmed and tearful, scared by the rainbow of wires and little holes I had to wedge them into.

It's working again now, the socket hanging precariously off the wall. Like me it just has to limp through the week, to literally hang in there until Matthew is back on Friday, for practical, if not moral support.

But I feel ashamed for my distress. Am I a weak person or are these extraordinary circumstances? In the DRC people are fleeing for their lives. What hardship is my faulty plumbing compared to that? We don't really know what a tough life is in this country, all we really suffer are inconveniences to the standard of life we consider a right. When I start to feel sorry for myself I try to remember this and think of those who really have it tough.

*plumber's word not mine

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Don't Panic

I've not collapsed in a pile of empty bottles. I've just had a soak in the bath and am now eating comfort food (muesli) in front of the fire watching TV (unheard of for me) while my husband does the ironing (unusual for him)! I feel like a new woman.

Cry for help?

Is this the beginning of the end?

I'm having a bit of a crap time at the moment - I won't write why as it will probably sound bleatingly pathetic in print. However, feeling a bit fed up this lunchtime I opened the fridge to get something innocuous like cheese and spied an open bottle of wine. I must confess, I've had a glass! Drinking at lunchtime, help! But I do feel much better.

Don't worry, I've resisted more, so far. Rather than calling the AA, anyone who would like to help is welcome to come round and do the ironing which is leaning like the Tower of Pisa in a corner of the sitting room.