>> Thursday, 7 August 2008
So, we're all Home again. I picked up the Boys today and brought them back to London with me, and by the end of the 2 1/2 hour journey my thought pattern was much along the lines of: 'Time off? What time off?'
It's lovely to have them home though, and to know that their solid little bodies are sleeping only a couple of footsteps away. And how did we do? Well, in brief, the scorecard looks something like this:
Potty Mummy Results:
- Filing achieved: Yes (and wouldn't you know it, half of the pile which I was firmly told is my responsibility is unopened post belonging to Husband?)
- Bills paid: Mostly...
- Tax return done: To the best of my ability...
- Toys rationalised: Not. But the Boys are off again to the other granny in a fortnight so I had to keep something to do
- Relaxing spa day with girlfriends: Absolutely
- Shaming incident at the Spa when the pedicurist refused to spend much time on my feet due to unsightly veruca I've been meaning to deal with for far too long and and just not got round to: 1
- Unsightly veruca now dealt with: 1
- Unpressured lunch and dinner with other girlfriends: 1 of each
- Mice poisoned: I certainly hope so but those little blighters are far too clever for my good, so watch this space
- Grandparents even further in thrall to their delightful grandsons: 2
- Free-roaming poo in Boy #2's cot incidents: 1 (don't ask details - I didn't...)
- Wee on the stairs incidents (also Boy #2): 1
- Embarassing 'where do babies come out from mummy?' questions asked in front of grandparents: 1
- Complete and utter hero-worship of older 11 year cousin established: 1
- Stream and mud combination incidents in the combe near my parents: 2
- Hours spent outside in shorts, t-shirts and wellington boots running free and generally doing all the stuff they can't get away with in our garden square: approx 8 per day
- Small boys upset at the news we are returning to London: 2
Overall then, I think it was a successful few days. But before I sign off, I'm going to have a bit of a rant. I mean, if you can't rant on a blog, where can you? This one is not a world shaking issue, but it is indicative of what a better writer than I would call a 'greater malaise'; that is, the throw-away culture we live in now.
Below is a conversation I had with a shop assistant yesterday.
Before I begin with that, I need to set the stage; I have a bit of a Mulberry habit. I can't help it, their leather goods are things of beauty, and I'll fight anyone who says otherwise. I must admit that their clothes are not really my style; too many 'look at me, I'm designer!' trimmings, bows and frills. But their bags? Mmmmmm.
Now, this habit is not really helped - or, alternatively, is considerably aided and abetted - by the fact that my parents live not 10 minutes drive from the Mulberry Factory Shop. If I could organise that you would hear choirs of angels singing as you read those words - Mulberry Factory Shop - I would. That's how bad it is.
And in a Factory Shop, what does one traditionally find? Yes! Bargains! Don't be mixing this up with cheap, though. Even in the Factory Shop (laaaa! sing the heavenly hosts) , Mulberry bags are not cheap, at least, not by my standards. 'Cheap' is £5 in TK Max. 'A Bargain' is an item that may still cost too much but which earns you £100 in savings when you buy it.
One of my girlfriends has a favourite motto: 'spend to save'. I think that should be engraved over all Factory Shop doors. Here's how it works: when your beloved asks you glumly how much you spent on your day out shopping with the girls, instead of 'fessing up to the total amount, you can say: 'Would you believe it? I saved £200!' Or similar....
So, in any case, I have a number of 'bargain' Mulberry bags. Mostly, I have to say, bought as birthday and Christmas presents by Husband, and usually following a pre-event trip to the shop and a few pointed, pained looks thrown in the general direction of the objects of my desire as I walk stoically out saying 'It may be a bargain, but it's still not cheap. Another time...' Then, wonder of wonders, if I'm very lucky, on my birthday a month or so after, ta da!
Sorry. I'm wittering again. In brief, the zip on one of my favourite bags broke. I tried to get it replaced in our local cobblers, but couldn't find the right zip to do it with, which led yesterday to the following conversation with the staff member in charge of repairs at the Factory Shop...
Me (after a long preamble where I stated that in no way was I blaming the manufacturer and of course I would be willing to pay, and if you can do this for me I promise promise promise I will never over-stuff the bag again...): "So, you see, I was wondering if you could replace the zip for me?"
Assistant (I learned her name but won't use it): "May I take a look? Ah yes. That's a 4mm zip. I'm afraid we don't do those any more."
Me (looking expectant): "So...?"
Assistant: "Well, I'm afraid we can't help you."
Me (still optimistic): "But I've just looked on the shop floor and you still sell the same bag - in a different finish leather, yes, but the same style and size."
Assistant: "Yes, but the zips are bigger." (By which she meant chunkier)
Me (starting to wonder if I had walked into a parallel universe as I entered the shop): "And you can't just use one of those?"
Assistant (in a very friendly, 'we're all in this together' styley): "Well, you'd think so wouldn't you? But no, if I send this back to the workshop they will say they can't do it because of design constraints, and send it back unmended."
Me (You've GOT to be kidding): "I beg your pardon?"
Assistant (as if to a small, difficult child): "Well, a different zip will change the look of the bag."
Me (don't you talk to me about design issues, sweetie. Have you dealt with Lucas Film whilst trying to get a minor change made to a Star Wars Figurine? Because that is a design issue. Not a chunkier zip in a handbag...): "But I don't mind that. I just want a bag that closes."
Assistant (with an air of finality): "Well, I'm sorry, but they won't do it."
Me (smiling fixedly): "As I said before, I'm only too happy to pay to get it repaired. How about simply selling me a zip of the right size?"
Assistant (I can't help you, this is upsetting, will you just go away?): "I'm really sorry, but they simply don't do it."
Me (through gritted teeth): "Well, please don't take this the wrong way, because I can see you would like to help, but in that case I will be writing to customer services about this. It seems ridiculous that I have this lovely bag that I can no longer use, when the solution is as simple as replacing a zip - which I know you have in the right length because there are a plenty already in use in the same style bags in-store. I will of course say how helpful you have been, W-."
A short pause whilst we face-off. I pull out my diary and write down her name. Then...
Assistant (looking alarmed): "Well, maybe you can just wait a minute whilst I make a quick phonecall. Maybe there is something we can do."
I will keep you posted on what happens next. If, of course, you give a damn...