A Bag of Allsorts

Undressing for bed the other night, I glanced down and was horrified to see a dark, raised mole on my right breast which had apparently sprung up during the day (the mole that is, not my breast. That’s been there for some time). Had I survived Death by Jacuzzi just to face a new challenge? Collapsing on the bed in a heap, I was taken aback when my mole fell off and landed in my lap. Closer inspection revealed it to be the last remnants of a bar of chocolate I’d been scoffing on the sofa whilst lolling around in a slovenly sort of way in front of the telly watching some old nonsense. I nearly ate it – well, it was chocolate, wasn’t it? – but then decided to leave it since I knew where it had been.

Everything at Hotel H is done on a shoestring; that was the choice we made when we left the southeast to start a new life in the country. We’ve been here two years now and it has been the most glorious time so we feel very fortunate. But when my faithful old Siemens phone began to die of old age I decided to fork out £40 on a new Nokia from O2 on a Pay As You Go thingy, something to stick in my handbag and forget about except for the odd ‘We’ll be there in ten minutes’ sort of call.

When I missed a call from one of my daughters and the phone crashed, I immediately assumed it was something to do with me but after struggling with the wretched thing for two months I decided to look on the internet to see if anyone else was having the same trouble. Well, I didn’t have to wait long; the first hit had several complaints from folks all over the world moaning about the same problem with this particular model so I emailed O2 to draw this to their attention. Were they interested? No! Apart from telling me to take it back to the shop where I bought it (Cardiff – 100 miles away. Nearest O2 shop – 30 miles away.) and pointing out that it was too late for me to swap it, their response was akin to watching someone stick their fingers in their ears when you’re talking to them. A second email from me protesting brought the same response and the line ‘Enjoy the rest of your day’!!!

So, until I can get to an O2 shop, I’m stuck with a phone that faints clean away at the shock of an incoming call. Half of me is tempted just to go out and buy another ‘cheap’ phone, but if I could afford to do that I’d have bought one that worked in the first place.

Tom’s been busy on the boat. (Once again, I should point out that this is the shoestring boat, the equivalent of a very old and deeply unfashionable car). He’s also been happily planning a summer cruise which would take us away for most of June. There has been some lively debate, shall we say, about the length of some of these passages. Tom tends to be very optimistic about how far we can get in a day whereas I know what a slog it can be. Tom picks up a pencil which he claims represents a day’s sail on the chart we are staring at. ‘There!’ he says, triumphantly, positioning it carefully. ‘A day!’ Further discussion then ensues when I point out that there is half a pencil’s gap either side of this ‘day’ sail.

As of this morning we’re not going anywhere. Returning from a boat engine check, Tom came in and announced that there’s a problem with head gasket which, I gather, is serious, especially as there is no magic pot of money to pay someone else to fix it. Tom’s been so calm about it, bless him, that’s one of things I love about him. I know if it was me there would be a lot of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth but Tom just gets on with sorting it out. Fingers crossed that his efforts work… even if we do have to go back to arguing about the length of a pencil!

Painting is 'Storm Drain' by Tom Tomos


Milla said…
the chocolate incident struck a chord! Mobile phones are vile, except I love mine, but why that claustrophobic interest in you up until the point of purchase and then less than zero care teh minute the thing packs up - and that's once you've battled with the wretched instruction manual too.
Frances said…
Chris, I think lots of folks would agree about the mobile phone. I was given a primitive one, and really do only use it for outgoing emergency calls. I spend so much time being very, very connected to folks, that I really don't want more incoming calls. (Do have answering machine on land line home phone, though.)

I hope that your bruises are less painful, and that their changing colors are signalling that healing process.

Sorry about the postponed sail.

Elizabethd said…
I do so agree that mobiles are a pain in the neck. Mine is very good at receiving messages from Orange telling me I've only got 2 more minutes before all the money trickles out. But other messages...well, as and when they please!
Hate mobile phones refuse to give anyone bar Jacko eldest and school my number, was nearly forced to kill Jacko when he gave mine to several people without asking.Humph.love painting.
ps I htink breaking his head gasket just so you dont need to go sailing in June is a bit mean now go and say you are sorry..
Wisewebwoman said…
Oh the blister of those miserable mobile companies. They have a trick here in Canada that if the phone fails within the warranty period they tell you you threw it in water (a sans-boat move, perhaps?)and they don't honour. Enormous gnashing of teeth and screaming, etc. gets one nowhere apart from shifting mobile companies but the old company they insists you still have to honour the original contract unless you sign a brand new one at double the price.
Oh sorry Chris, you got me started..... ;^)
Love the picture.
So you might not get to sail to Ireland yet then ...look just get to Fishguard and go on a poper ship ...much easier!
Cowgirl said…
Hi Chris,

Have found your blog and loved it! How come I am always last to cotton on?? Sympathy re the cell phone. If its just a basic one you're after why not try ebay? Here in NZ we have on TradeMe a plethora of basic models that can be bought for as little as $10 - pefect working order just not "styley" enough for the owner! I have passed several very reliable phones (both Nokias) to in-laws, father, neices etc although I suspect the neices had a good old laugh about the "brick"

Very sympathetic about the head gaskit. That is not what you would want to hear at all.

Glad about the "mole" and loved the painting!
Expatmum said…
Re the O2 phone - two suggestions which have worked for me in the past when dealing with shoddy service or quality of goods:
- put on your best Margot voice (Penelope Keith, or if that fails, the Queen) and shout about wanting to speak to a supervisor etc. The key is not to be mean, but very earnest about getting the problem resolved. Most of the time the people answering the phones don't even have the authority to go to the loo unsupervised.
- go on the O2 website and write a letter to the CEO or top person you can find about the shoddy service. The key here is to stress that as a business person s/he will surely want to know when the service is failing etc. I have used this one several times and you won't believe the free stuff you can get in compensation.
At least it gets it all off your chest and makes you feel a bit triumphant!
Flowerpot said…
am so glad to hear it was chocolate! As for Tom - glad to find another man who Gets On with things...
Eeeek to the chocolate - sounds just like the Bupa ad.

It isn't just mobile phones though the after care of everything from the mobile phone to buying a car seems to be seriously lacking.

bought Wildchild a laptop a couple of years ago - it died within weeks - but somehow the shop wriggled out of it . . . . .
Debs said…
Chocolate can cause all sorts of mishaps can't it?

How irriating are that O2 lot? Infuriating. I hope you manage to sort it all out soon and the boat too. What a shame, it's horrible when these things go wrong and they always seem to be expensive somehow.
LittleBrownDog said…
Impressed with your restraint re the chocolate! I think I would have scoffed first, asked questions later, wherever the offending 'mole' had been. Well, perhaps not wherever - I'm not quite that bad. As for the phone, I can truly sympathise. It's outrageous that they churn out these "cheap" gadgets and gaily expect them to pack up within weeks. And £40 in my book is not the sort of money you can afford to sling in the bin on a regular basis.

Re the sailing: rather you than me. (Although I'm sure it's lovely at times - all I remember about sailing is that bloomin' boom swinging across and clocking you over the head when you least expect it.)
Another fabulous painting from Tom.
Fennie said…
Chris, I have an old Motorola phone that works perfectly well and and even older Nokia 'banana' phone (you slide down the curved cover to give a banana shape). You would be most welcome to either or both of these if you don't mind being thought dated.

Glad the mole story had a happy ending.
Hi Chris,

Had me worried for a moment, glad the Mole story ended happily.

I loathe moblile phones, only have mine to travel with in car, a gift from my son, (phone, sadly not car). I am useless with gadgets, still battling with TEXTS.

Hope the bruises are disappearing Chris.

elizabethm said…
Oh I just loved your chocolate incident. As a messy eater I am always finding chocolate on my clothes but not yet on my skin. It is only a matter of time.
Hmm, I think I have gently and slowly wimped out of sailing (and as we don't have a boat and hardly any time it doesn't really show). I think I am a warm weather and light wind cream puff sort of a sailor.
sorry about the gasket though, sounds serious.
Edward said…
I personally can see absolutely nothing wrong with eating chocolate off breasts - it's actually a sport I'm trying to get support for (geddit?) for the 2012 Olympics. We, as a moderately obese country, certainly have the athletes to compete at the highest level.
Pipany said…
Oh you made me laugh more than I have laughed for ages with the choc mole! So glad it was not a real one Chris.

Mobile phones are the bain of my life - mine is so broken that I can only answer it with a pen and then I usually cut people off! Mind you, it is about 6 yrs old! xx

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