I hate Openreach….

Let’s just get to the point in the title.  We have an underground fault just near my house, directly after the main box, it’s basically a junction that some muppet tarmaced over some years ago and when it rains, the water gets in and loads of people lose their phone line and internet, I am the first house in line to it’s easy to pinpoint exactly where the problem is.  I reported the fault in December 2013 and fought a battle with various people, including management at the phone company and Openreach to get it fixed, but it involves traffic lights and a possible road closure and each time they apply to the council, the sun shines, the ground dries up and the computer says fault ‘fixed’ (I am told) and the proposed work plans stop.  Then it rains again…..

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There’s a lot more to this story (I am the bane of my phone and internet company, they pass me around so they can each take it in turns to deal with me, I’m afraid the ‘project manager’ bit of me just doesn’t get why Openreach pour money into sending out engineers daily, but wont actually fix the fault, and insist that a temporary, intermittent service is acceptable, even after a year.  There’s also a whole bit about a temporary line to try and keep me happy that the wild rabbits keep chewing through, but that’s a whole other story).  ‘Chocolate’ and ‘teapot’ springs to mind.  Suffice to say, it’s been raining a lot and sadly we have been without internet and phone lines on and off for a while, but today – hurrah! – the internet, at least, is on, so I’m rushing out a quick blog post to say hello and try to do a catch-up.

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Christmas was wonderful, one of the best in fact.  We were lucky to be invited out to France to stay in my sister and BIL’s chalet.  The boys and I had our first skiing lessons…..I’m a natural 😉 (ha ha, well I wasn’t awful, anyway) and we really loved it, so we will be hitting Chatham dry slopes to get up to standard, before we move permanently out to live in France (just kidding V).  My brother and his wife also came along, our first Christmas together since Mum died, it was really special to be with my siblings, I just wish we all lived closer together and could see each other more often.  I got my vintage glad rags on for the day itself and meant to take a photo but never did, this headshot selfie is the best I have.

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I’m sorry the images in this post are quite ‘festive’ looking, I know that come the new year, everyone’s moved on from red and gold, but I wanted to show some of the things given and received.  Sneaked in at the top there (so you didn’t get too bored of my moaning about effing Openreach without a photo to soften the rant) is an Isak ‘Tingleby’ serving set, bought as a gift.  I love these pieces, I have a platter myself, bought some years ago, and I use my own little dishes daily.

DSC_0151Above, the genius fun gifts from BIL, involving a 1970’s quiz and relevant prizes.  I won a bottle of ‘Charlie Gold‘, which is hilarious and smells just as I remember (it’s quite scary, my advice would be to only spray it in large open spaces, we all nearly choked on the mix of that and the ‘High Karate’ which my brother won) and some Bazooka gum.  The sweet lip balms (bought via Amazon) are nothing to do with Christmas gifts, I bought them as pinata prizes quite recently but they are great fun, really do smell like the relevant sweets and I thought would be ideal cracker gifts for next year, if you’re making your own.banglesAbove, is a gift received, some beautiful celluloid bangles that I had on my ‘wish list’, from Passionate About Vintage.

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I also got this Esther Williams swim suit (clearly NOT me in the photo!).  I already have it in red but this is the very best swim suit I’ve ever found for my *ahem* curvier figure, that also has a retro vibe about it and as I swim with the boys every week, it was right up there on my list.

DSC_0156Again, in given was this little bundle from the amazing Etsy shop Jurooma.  I’ve blogged about the beautiful felt work from here before, and specifically about the minimalist, but delightful packaging.DSC_0169 Inside is lots of felted goodness.DSC_0171 Including a poppy for my Aunt.  I have a similar one and always get lovely comments when I wear it on my winter coat.DSC_0176I’d originally planned to use the berries as part of the gift packaging, but then I thought it might detract from the fact that each piece is handmade and individual so I gave them wrapped in their original bags and ribbons.

DSC_0146 Finally, a couple of gifts from me to me, just because.  This beaded pouch, which now holds my make-up came from Anthropologie.  I got it on offer when I was buying other gifts to give, yet again it reminds me how hard it is to compete with mass marketed loveliness that is available out there these days.

il_570xN.694098073_sgr7And not exactly new, I’ve owned it quite a long while now but I know I’ve never blogged about it, a vintage, hand-knitted 1960’s jumper from Zest vintage.  I have shown a similar sweater, that also came from Zest, and which travelled to France with me this year, but I’m wearing this little number today as it’s a bit nippy.  I always get stung on the custom tax when I order from Zest (I don’t mind paying the tax, it’s the handling fee that gets me) but even with that added on, I really do think for such a beautiful hand knitted jumper, which I plan to own and wear for years, it’s worth it.

I hope to try and do some blog reading whilst the internet is playing ball, I haven’t opened the shop back up yet as I’m too nervous that I wont easily be able to process orders when it goes back off and with the forecast rain and snow (oh, yes please to the snow!) I imagine it will be a bit erratic for a while.  Wish me luck 🙂

PS, I should say, the phone engineers are all lovely, I’ve never met one that hasn’t tried to be helpful, it’s just the organisation that needs sorting out.  Seriously, they need a decent project manager on board…..wonder where you’d find one of those 😉