Monthly Archives: April 2013

Likes

We’re back to Facebook again today. And it’s the ‘like’ button that is my daily whinge. 

I can understand that if you post something nice, people might ‘like’ it. What I don’t understand is when someone posts a sad update or a problem they have and others ‘like’ it.  To me, it is like saying ‘I’m glad you are having problems’.  I also think it’s a bit lazy. Personally I’d much prefer to have a short comment than have somebody just click ‘like’.

The like button.

Don’t like.

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Hawkers

I feel a real dilemma about people who knock at your door trying to sell something. One side of me admires their entrepreneurial spirit and the fact that they have got off their backsides and done something to help the situation they are in. The other side of me resents the encroachment of my personal space and worries about whether they are genuine, safe and legitimate.

Yesterday I was home alone and the doorbell rang. Bearing in mind my lovely new young next door neighbours were burgled while they slept last week, I almost didn’t answer the door. But I did. In the haste to get it over with I didn’t even put the door chain on. Idiot. The man there was charming. He politely told me who he was and I quickly interjected and told him I really didn’t want to buy anything at the door. His charm offensive continued and as he left up the footpath he told me he hoped I had a lovely day. I felt awful. Now I know he probably was muttering under his breath and calling me names in his head and the charm was probably a result of good training, but I still felt horrible at sending him away.

In our previous house, which was a bit more remote, we hardly ever had anyone knock at the door for anything. (There was one horrendous experience which I may tell another time). But since moving on to a large housing estate, we get regular callers. 

‘Have you got a window cleaner?’

‘Do you need your garden done?’

‘Would you be interested in solar panels?’

‘I am selling my paintings’

Also we get at least two flyers and takeaway menus a week through the letterbox and have had about 48 charity bags posted in the six months we’ve lived here.

I could put a sign in the window but to me this feels very rude. So I guess I will continue to answer the door and politely tell the  person there that I am just not interested and then feel bad as they walk away.

Coat Hangers

I have an unreasonable hatred of coat hangers. Why has nobody invented a better way to hang up clothes by now? They get tangled up in each other and actually make getting clothes in and out of the wardrobe even harder. I used to put the empty ones in a laundry basket ready for ironing day but that soon stopped after several frustrating minutes of trying to get them out again while they grabbed on to their friends, refusing to leave each other.

I find the same problem in shops. Once they cross over each other it is almost impossible to take an item in your size off the rack without removing three or four other garments. There is something a bit distasteful about their randomness as well. The wardrobe tends to be full of hangers which came with the clothes you bought. Some are black plastic, some cream, some just metal wire. There are the ones with little gripping pegs on the top, ones with a bar at the bottom for hanging trousers, big chunky ones with a curve on them designed for men’s suit jackets that take up loads of room. When empty, they jangle menacingly when you open the wardrobe door as if to say ‘Don’t even think about trying to take me off this pole!’

Yes….I definitely hate coat hangers.

Bins

I might have mentioned before that I am a tad OCD. This can be a heavy burden to carry. Today, the job most on my mind is to clean and disinfect the wheely bin. It was emptied yesterday and I brought it back into the garage but noticed it was a bit stinky. A weird conversation then ensued with my online friend Tony about bagging up rubbish and that inspired today’s whinge.

I use wheely bin liners. These are great inventions which usually protect the bin from direct contact with rubbish. My town has a really good recycling system so only the very smallest amount of ‘stuff’ makes its way into the general rubbish bin. It is usually just peelings (we must get a compost bin) and left-over food. I hate left-over food as I think we waste so much of it these days but when looking after an elderly person and occasionally two little boys, there tends to be a fair amount of uneaten food to dispose of.  Until recently, the wheely bin liners have done their job well but I have noticed recently that they seem smaller. No matter how much I pull and tug, the top edge will not go round the lip of the bin, so one corner is always off. Consequently when you throw the rubbish in, the corner collapses and stray food goes down the gap. I take extra care to hit the liner but that Mr. Whinge…..well, he is NOT OCD so he just aims, fires then walks away.

So I blame the wheely bin liner makers for the fact that today I’ll be donning the yellow rubber gloves, arming myself with Zoflora and using the sweeping brush to get at the odds and ends festering in the bottom of the bin. 

Then I’ll be happy, knowing that when I lift the lid, it will smell of Carnations or Sweet Peas instead of just plain stinky.

Roadworks

Just a very short whinge today. What can be more annoying than driving somewhere and coming across roadworks which stretch mile after mile, but with nobody actually working? 

What’s that all about?

Shut Up!

One of my major whinges happens when we go to the cinema or theatre. It costs a fair amount to do either these days so the last thing you need is people nearby having a good old chat all the way through the film or production. Surely if you want to chat, you should just go to a bar or coffee shop and chat there? I assume you buy a ticket because you want to see a show, a performer or a film so why chatter to your friend all the way through. If it is a concert, I think it is really disrespectful to the performer to talk as they work.

So how do people react? Some will actually tell the natterers to shut up. This will often result in a short expletive response. Others just ‘Shhhhh!’ loudly in the dark. Most just quietly grumble to themselves and say nothing.

There are other annoyances too. The consistent sweetie packet crackler, the person who sits in the middle of the row even though they have a weak bladder, the person who puts their feet on the back of your seat, the people in front who insist on standing up during the performance so you have to stand up then the people behind you have to stand up – a Mexican wave of annoyance.

I once went to a lovely concert where there were four cabin crew sitting in front of us. I learned so much about where they had been, what their shifts were for the following week, who had been their most difficult customers last week and what they had done about them, all the latest gossip from work, what they’d done the night before and a lot more. They ruined the night for me as they were a constant distraction. I really wondered why they had paid £25 a ticket to attend when they could have saved their money and gone to a bar for a good chat instead?

Of course, going to the bar can be difficult for chatting when the music is playing so loudly that you can’t hear each other talk……but that’s a whole other whinge!

Trains

 

Image

A photo from the train one early morning

 

A couple of years ago I had a job which meant a lot of travelling. The organisation I worked for had to be mindful of carbon footprint and so the journey from the north east to London for meetings had to be done by train. Consequently, I spent quite some time:

  • calculating efficient journeys
  • travelling to stations
  • finding and paying ridiculous money to park my car
  • buying Hazelnut Lattes at Costa
  • waiting on cold platforms at 6:30am
  • confronting people sitting in my reserved seat
  • sitting uncomfortably with my feet tucked under the seat so as not to touch the person opposite’s feet
  • returning home in the dark

To book a ticket to London and to arrive by 9:30 cost around £300 each time. To fly from Newcastle and use the Stansted Express was about one third of the price. However, the company didn’t want us to fly because of their carbon footprint. Sometimes a First Class ticket would be cheaper. But we couldn’t use First Class as the company had to be accountable to the public and it didn’t look good sending employees First Class.

London was pretty straightforward. Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham not quite so. And trips to Warwick University were even more complicated. I would have preferred to drive. I like driving. I like the fact that you aren’t carrying heavy bags up and down stairs, finding safe storage on the train and that you can stop for a coffee or a wee whenever you like. But…….carbon footprint and Health and Safety said ‘NO!’.

I became an expert at not having a wee for hours on end. Have you ever used a train toilet?? I also learned what it was like to have a meeting finish early and get an earlier train where I had no reserved seat. I once spent 3 hours squeezed in a corridor with a man’s sweaty armpit in my face.

Then there were cancellations and delays. Leaves on the line. The wrong sort of snow. Flooding. Signal failure. Cable theft. The list of whinges goes on and on.

I miss those days. I loved that job. I loved my colleagues. But I don’t miss the trains at all.