Scotland Part 2

I’m just getting back into normality now. Supermarket food and pollution. I do get some organic veg delivered as well, which is a bit more of a healthy option.

While in Scotland we ate at a few tea shops. The food was fresh from the farmers markets and cakes were homemade. The establishments were clean and fresh. Here’s the view from the back of Boothy’s in Braemar…

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You can sit on the balcony looking at this beautiful scene while eating the best homemade bakewell tart ever!

Braemar is where the Highland Games take place in August. Lots of big Scottish men in kilts tossing cabers. Men in kilts look very smart. Can’t put my finger on why but they also look sexy. I did see some men in kilts but definitely not enough!

Here’s a member of the Highland Cattle clan…

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Also known as Shaggy Cow, Cuddly Cow or Teddy Cow. I’m told that when it comes to humans this cow knows exactly where to stick it’s horns for maximum damage = Clever Cow.

Fort August at Loch Ness is a lovely town too. You can watch the canal locks being opened to allow the boats through from and to Loch Ness. And you can get a lovely cruise on the Loch. We had a lovely young Scotsman giving us a talk on the sonar they used on the boat and the variety of fish in the Loch. His jokes were appreciated by our little English group, but were completely lost on the Chinese tourists that were on the boat.

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We ate in a fish and chip shop that could easily have been transplanted from the Midlands. Frozen, cheap food that was second rate, and toilets that stunk. It wasn’t run by anyone remotely British, and it was a bit of let down from other places we had entered. Unfortunately the first tea shop we had gone to was completely full so we ended up looking for a table elsewhere. Advice: If you are going up to Fort August and want to eat, see if you can book a table in one of the local (Scottish) run establishments.

I would definitely recommend Scotland. Not sure if they want loads of Sassenachs descending on them though!


Lonely Planet Scotland’s Highlands & Islands (Travel Guide)


Loch Ness [DVD]


Fifty Shades of Grey: The Unseen Edition [Blu-ray] [2015]

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Scotland!

I’ve had a nice holiday in bonnie Scotland this week. Well away from the call centre. 1 1/2 hour travelling on the plane so not too bad. I couldn’t bear the thought of 12 hours on a coach or 10 hours on the train.

I stayed with a friend in Aberdeenshire. What a beautiful place!

My friend – from school days – lives in a lovely house with woodland at the back. I could watch wild rabbits running around, with a multitude of colourful birds, and wild deer.

I went to see the mysterious Loch Ness while I was there. Of course Nessie exists. I have the proof…

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Scotland is really beautiful. Some quirky bridges, lovely rivers, rolling mountains and lots of healthy living – at least it was where I was staying.

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If you haven’t been up there I would recommend it.

Arrested For Stripping

So a tourist has been arrested for stripping on a sacred mountain. It wasn’t me. Apparently a group of people on holiday in Malaysia decided to strip off and take a photo after climbing a sacred mountain. The Malaysian authorities have arrested one woman and searching for six other people.

They should have been more respectful, yes. But some people in Malaysia are saying that this episode of stripping off is what caused the earthquakes in Nepal. Now, I’m not at all denigrating their beliefs. But if something like this caused the earthquakes then shouldn’t they be looking at the festival of Gadhimai in Nepal. This is where thousands of animals are butchered each year to the Goddess Gadhimai.

The animals are corralled in a field and men armed with machetes enter the field and butcher the terrified animals. Surely this act of death and destruction is far worse than a group of people stripping off. Does a Goddess – a mother – want people butchering her children?

I believe in karma. What goes around comes around. Surely if anything was responsible for the earthquakes then this barbaric act was it.

Breakfast At Work

I was at work last Saturday. I don’t mind working Saturday – I get a day off during the week in lieu. One of the things I look forward to on a Saturday is my breakfast. We always order either from the local café or from McDonald’s. Last Saturday it was McDonald’s.

I don’t call myself vegetarian but I eat very little meat. I usually order an egg McMuffin for breakfast from McDonald’s, which is exactly what I did on Saturday.

One of my Muslim colleagues placed the order and delivered my breakfast to me. Telling me that they had put meat on it. In fact there was a label saying ‘no sausage’. When I looked I found a cheeseburger!

I was quite offended by this. More so by the fact that one of my Muslim colleagues had taken charge of getting breakfast. I remember an incident, a few years back, where a manager had bought sandwiches for people and had some left over. She asked a Muslim man if he wanted a sandwich, which he did. However, it was ham. Formal complaints were laid against the manager, even though she was being nice offering the spare sandwiches out that she had paid for.

Why is it that certain people expect respect but don’t want to give it back to others? Why is it that when my colleague saw that it was wrong, why didn’t she say something and ask them to put it right? I ended up paying for something I wasn’t going to eat. I gave it to another colleague.

I found out the same day that another colleague had photos of her child torn up. The photos were on her metal box, which a Muslim colleague placed under the desk and used as a foot rest, tearing up the photos by doing so.

And they wonder why people turn against them.


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Phonetic Alphabet

Many companies and organisations that deal with communications use the phonetic alphabet. For those that are not sure, this is the English alphabet with a standardised corresponding attribute. It’s also known as the Nato alphabet, and it’s full name is “international radiotelephony spelling alphabet“.

It was developed sometime in the 1950’s and used in radio and telephone military communications to prevent errors in the transmitting of information. It is now widely used by business for the same reason.

In alphabetical order the phonetic alphabet is: A=Alfa, B=Bravo, C=Charlie, D=Delta, E=Echo, F=Foxtrot, G=Golf, H=Hotel, I=India, J=Juliett, K=Kilo, L=Lima, M=Mike, N=November, O=Oscar, P=Papa, Q=Quebec, R=Romeo, S=Sierra, T=Tango, U=Uniform, V=Victor, W=Whiskey, X=X-ray, Y=Yankee, Z=Zulu.

Many people use it in their day-to-day business dealings. And even for people who don’t use it, many of them know what it is and what it’s used for. Occasionally you get someone who has never heard of it or, just simply, refuses point blank to acknowledge it. I had dealings with one of the latter people yesterday.

A gentleman called our business with queries about his account. He came through to myself and I duly asked for his address including postcode. Well I couldn’t determine whether the one letter was a ‘T’ or something else – whether it was his accent or the muffled line I don’t know. So I spelt out the postcode he had given me using the phonetic alphabet. He confirmed it was correct. I told him that nothing was coming up with that postcode and I spelt it out again to double check. He again confirmed it was correct. I checked it again and he again confirmed it was right, so then I had to ask for other details to find his account.

When I had eventually found the details it appeared that the postcode on his account was slightly different. I explained this to the customer and said that I needed to check it to make sure we had the correct address otherwise he wouldn’t receive paperwork, and any engineer he called may go to the wrong address. So I phonetically spelt out the postcode he had confirmed as being correct and I did the same with the postcode on his account and asked him which one was correct.

Anyone reading this is probably wondering why there was so much hassle. Well, this is because the customer refused to spell out his postcode so I had to keep guessing what this one particular letter was. He was not being at all helpful. And then he had the cheek to say that he had told me already and to put another person on the phone!

I tried very hard to keep my cool and my patience. I explained again that I had to check. This time I decided to use boys names for the letters. This actually worked. Couldn’t believe it! He was quite happy to accept male denominations for the letters.

This was a man in his 70’s. I would have thought that he would know what the phonetic alphabet was and would know some of the letters. I was clearly wrong. Either that or he was deliberately being awkward. You decide.


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Bad Recruitment

This morning I got an email from a well known online job site, offering a job in my department for £2000-5000 more than what I’m on. Well, I read and re-read this email and the job specs. I was furious. As you can probably imagine.

I got into work at 7.30am and went straight to the sales manager who was in early. I asked him why the company was advertising jobs in my department for more money. I told him I’d been there for many years and wanted a pay increase.

He assured me that it was incorrect. For another department he said. I told him that the other department was not mentioned. He didn’t seem unduly bothered. Just told me to email HR, which I did. Much use that was. They can’t be bothered to get off their backsides for a mere agent.

About two hours later I spoke to another sales manager. She took a bit more notice – probably because two managers overheard and the pay on offer was more than they were on too. This sales manager asked me to forward the email to her. She then got in touch with HR. They answered her, but then she’s a senior manager so they would. Turns out that not only is the job for a different department, but the vacancies have already been filled.

Of course our HR department is blaming the job site. Specs all wrong and vacancies filled. However, I’m thinking that the specs advertised were given to the job site by someone in HR. The job site couldn’t just make them up! They may not have been told that the vacancies were filled, but they would have to fill the advertisement with the details they were given.

It won’t be too difficult to find out what the new people are being paid. Are I know quite a lot about how the company works and I can use that to my advantage.

I pointed out to the sales manager that if it was my department and new people were being offered far more pay than any of us, then I would be photocopying the email and I would hand it out to every person on the floor. It would cause absolute chaos.

I’ve done this before and got our department our bonus when the managers tried to say that we weren’t eligible. So they already now what I’m willing to do.

Watch this space. This could be all out war.

Father’s Day Gifts – from gadgets to clothes to footwear to toiletries


Fifty Shades of Grey: The Unseen Edition [DVD] [2015]

Twistin’ Fives: Five tongue twisters for each letter of the English alphabet