Sunday, February 07, 2010

Wise Beyond His Years?

I somehow I ended up watching "Country Tracks" this morning. This is particularly odd as the countryside just to induce panic attacks in me, but I am learning to deal with open space now.

Anyway, there was a feature about the poet Ted Hughes and John Craven was talking to a group of young children, asking them if they knew Ted Hughes went to their school and did they know the story "The Iron Man". His final question was "Do you think, you'll become a poet" to which a cute little ginger lad firmly said no. "What will you be instead?", asked the presenter.

"A plumber".

Perhaps not the most romantic of ambitions, but plumbers certainly have a steadier income than poets. (although less cachet when it comes to pulling literature students)

A Balanced Diet

I was sat in a window seat at Pret a Manger, eating my lunch. A man came and sat at the table just outside the window. I noticed that on his tray were five pots of Pret's Caramel dessert. I thought perhaps some friends were going to join him and each enjoy a Caramel Pot, but no. Methodically, but pretty quickly, he worked his way through the five pots. Then he was gone.

That's can't be healthy?

But then again, I was eating a mozzarella and pistachio sandwich at the time, so I'm in no position to talk.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Everyone who has ever cut my hair

Some of the names are now lost in the mists of time, if I ever knew them in the first place, but as far as I can remember this is a list of everyone who has ever cut my hair (a list that compiled itself while I had my hair cut today)

My mother - inflictor of many a crooked fringe as a child. Strangely I still allowed her to cut the back of it when I was a student.

Carron - a friend of a friend of the family. She has arthritis in her hands despite being in her twenties but somehow could still cut her. She was the first glamorous person I remember wearing glasses.

A series of ladies at "Cutz" - responsible for the awful "Wolf Cut" that was apparently all the rage (where outside of lupine circles, I'm not sure). They were also very fond of using the tongs on my fringe .

Lisa - a childhood friend of mine who I hadn't seen of spoken to for years. She came round our house to cut everyone's hair. We were both too shy to make conversation. It was awkward. She's recently been in touch via Facebook.

The Hard-Faced Blonde - I was a student and after years of the same hair style, having spent ages growing out the ever-present fringe in my late teens, I decided I would go for a change. I picked a salon in the centre of Norwich and was determined I would go for something different. I was ready to explain that I didn't think my round face would suit anything too harsh, but my hairdresser was a hard-faced woman with a very severe haircut that didn't suit her face at all, so I was unable to say that. Instead I had a trim.

The Cutting Crew - I don't remember anything about the hairdresser or the cut, but the bailiffs came to repossess some things while I was having my hair washed.

Julie - a lovely hairdresser in my hometown who would cut my hair on my visits home in my early years of living in London. Her usual customers were the set and rinse crowd, so she liked playing with my young, straight hair.

Mavis aka the one that got away - after Julie's salon closed, I asked my mother to make an appointment for my visit at another local salon. Unknown to me, there were two next door to each other. She made the appointment with the wrong one. I decided that a) I didn't want my hair cut there and b) it didn't need a cut yet. So I rang to cancel and the woman said "I'll let Mavis know" and I was convinced I'd made the right decision.

The Lonely Chinese Man - my first hairdresser in London and the first hairdresser to give me a head massage - it gave me a headache. I'm pretty sure I didn't ever find out his name. He used to ask what I was doing that night, but specificially where he might be able to find me. He spent Christmas on his own at the cinema. He cut my hair several times, but one day I went back and he was gone.

The Big Girl - at the same salon as the above. She was alright. She was a big girl with a big personality and a very dated perm.

The Blonde Aussie druggie with a rich boyfriend - again at the same salon, I sometimes got this nightmare instead of the Big Girl. A man once came in and sold her drugs while she was washing my hair. The shop owner chased him away. She was apparently dating a very rich man with yacht and was setting sail around the world with him, but by my next visit, he had dumped her. She made a terrible mess with the hair dye.

Justina and the Big Greek Man - a one-time visit to a salon near the gallery I used to volunteer at. The Big Greek Man was the owner, who instructed Justina on the hair dye part, without consulting me. It came out bright red around the roots, auburn everywhere else. I stayed another two hours, while they tried to make it all one colour again.

Sonia - Sonia is a great hairdresser but a dreadful time-keeper. Your appointment time is just the time you are welcomed into the salon, the actual cut (always good and quick once it started) would usually happen 2 hours later. She had previously been an accountant in Iran.

Daniella - briefly worked at Sonia's and cut my hair once when Sonia was too busy with the fifteen other people who had been waiting hours. She did quite a good job.

Marta the Butcher - Also at Sonia's. The worst haircut I've ever had. The fringe, cut in first, with layers. On my birthday.

Esme - a friend of my sisters' and my favourite hairdresser. She cut it twice, but then went freelance because she was sick of the low pay in the salon and I never quite managed to arrange to see her again.

Lynne - owner of the salon that Esme worked at. She could cut hair, but her bedside manner left a lot to be desired. She insisted on putting my hair up as part of some special Christmas promotion.

Carly - another friend of my sisters' and worker in the same salon as above. I've witnessed her eating both portions of a two-for-one deal on scampi and chips, although this was in the pub and not in her capacity as a hairdresser at all.

Georgina - the current hairdresser, who all in all I'm quite happy with.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Complacent Canvassing

I'm at home again for part 3 of the ceiling debacle. From the window I can see a man in an anorak coming up the path. There is feeble knock on the door. I answer it and the man, who is holding a clipboard in the same blue as his anorak, introduces himself as being from a political party. Can they count on my support in the election, he asks. I can't help but smile as I say no, although I think he can tell that what I'm too polite to say is that I wouldn't vote for your lot in million years. He asks who I will be voting for. I tell him who I will probably vote for. He then asks if the OH would vote for his party. I tell him probably not (what I mean is that if he did vote for them, he wouldn't tell me).

Then he was gone. No attempt at persuading me, no hard or soft sell on why his party has to offer, what makes their manifesto worth voting for or anything. And I feel slightly disappointed. I know they pretty much have it in the bag, but I would have liked to have been made to feel that they would have liked me personally to vote for them.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Another company to avoid

I think I may have found a company worse than BT.

You may recall the flooding from upstairs. Our insurance company were pretty effecient in starting the process to sort it out and arranged for a building company to carry out the repairs. We decided it would be easier just to use the one the insurance company sent round rather than pay ourselves and wait for the money to be given back. This was clearly a mistake. The company, Rok, sent an assessor round in December and then called to arrange a date (more than a month away) to carry out the work. I rang them back to confirm but no one ever answered the phone so I left several messages instead.

The week of the date they were due to come round, I called them to ask what time they would be coming and they said between 8 and 9. So I took a day off work and waited in. It got to 10 without any sign of them so I rang them. Eventually after 15 minutes on hold, I was told that my appointment had never been confirmed. I explained that no one answered the phone so I had left messages but they said nothing was logged. They then said it wasn't their fault or their problem, and if I wanted to make a complaint I should speak to my insurance company.

So here we are again. Another day off work. Again I rang to double-check they were coming and this morning just before 9, someone did arrive. But within a few minutes we hit another problem. It will not just take a day as they said it would. It will take at least two days, so I will have to take more time off.

He starts on the job. Cuts two big holes in the ceiling and then stops.

Another problem. The light is broken (which they are supposed to be fixing as well) but needs to be disconnected completely before they can continue. This builder isn't qualified to do that. They should have sent an electrician first.

So now they have to try to find an electrician and so I wait.