Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Good vs Evil personality test

Note: I am not a psychologist, although my other half often suggests I'm mental (and possibly in need of one)!

What sort of person are you, though?

Two sides fight a battle. One side wins. The is scrubbed out completely. Did the good guys win?

Optimist: The good guys won, because they deserved to.

Pessimist: Everybody lost.

Realist: History is written by the winner - so of course they're the good guys (eventually).

Feel free to make up and add your own types! :)

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Barclays Bank - They suck, incase you didn't know

Yeah. Barclays.

I was going to write a furious rant about this, but I have been busy, and the fury has now fled.

On Wednesday, the day BEFORE my trip to London, I wanted to change some Jersey money into English notes - not a complicated exercise, but makes it easier when you are on the mainland.

So I popped into Barclays, and asked at the Bureau de Change - this seemed logical to me.

"Oh." Said the surly woman at the counter. "Uh. We don't really do that here. This is the Bureau de Change.".

OK. My french is rusty. However, I'm pretty sure that 'bureau de change' means "somewhere you can exchange money". So I had a bit of a moan.

"Well.", she tried again. "Do you have a Barclays account?". She had clearly had enough of me by now - I was in town doing the shopping, so not wearing my sunday best - and if care is not taken I can lean towards the scruffy. And I have a baby face. This causes all sorts of issues.

"Well yeah." I said. "But it's only a business one - and frankly after the last couple of years, the service from Barclays has been so abysmal - something which is typified by the fact that you're refusing to change 30 quid for English notes - it's not one which I plan to keep open for much longer."

She was a bit taken aback by this. Perhaps because I was waving my business delta card about a bit. I didn't feel it was out of order though - their Business service is pretty damn crap - and unfortunately she had hit on a sore point.

"Oh. Well. I suppose you could go up to the other counter and they might do it for you."

The other counter. In the same bank. Ah. Through that queue of approximately twenty other pissed off 'customers'? Um.. Uh..

"Oh, no thank you..", I said, probably far louder than I should. I added my parting shot: "I've got to go to the Market anyway, I'm sure the guy in the greengrocers will swap it for me - he actually gives a damn about his customers.." and walked off, feeling slightly less angry. At least one of the women in the queue was sniggering by now.

I am a bit ambivalent on this point though. Either:

1. It's unfair to have a go at the people 'on the front line' of large companies with crap service, because it's not their fault.


2. It's absolutely fair, because they could choose to work elsewhere, or they could try to improve the service - rather than being jobsworths.

Given that I run my own business, and try damn hard to look after our customers - even if it's a bit inconvenient - I tend to err on the side of #2.

Rantette over.

Sometimes I wonder..

.. why I bother?

Yesterday, day in London to see clients. That part of it was great. The travel part was not.

The following things were crap, and annoyed me:

1. FlyBE (Fly MayBE?) flight from Jersey to Gatwick delayed by approx 30 mins because of a flat battery.

2. Gatwick "Express" was not very express, and delayed me a further 30 mins because the first train was broken, and the second was just plain slow (it got overtaken by a normal 'South West Trains' one - and they go really slowly as we all know).

3. Gatwick Express back to Gatwick was not express either. Oh well - just badly named and overpriced as usual!

4. When I got to Gatwick, the flight said 'Gate opens, 19:35' - this was a bad sign, as departure was supposed to be at 19:30. Eventually left around 20:45, landed at 21:20. Gave up on the idea of waiting 25 mins for a bus and got a cab.

The only bits which worked out well for me, really were: The London Underground (shocking as that is), the walking bits (even more shocking, as I normally get lost when left to my own devices), and the very nice cabbie, who knew my dad - this is quite common in Jersey, as my old man was a copper and then a cabbie - most people encounter one, the other or both at some point!

Grr. Stupid FlyBE. Stupid Trains.

Mackerel - not posh enough for nosh?

OK. Now and then, we are nudged, via the Telly, by Celebrity Chefs (or at least, the lesser evil, Chefs who are also Celebrities) to support some ingredients which are under valued.

One program in particular leaps to mind as it is relevant to my musings - Hugh Fearnley Whittingstal did a program about different types of fish which we don't really eat - including a good segment on the Channel Islands. Interesting stuff.

However, one fish I think is severely underrated - and which I can't recall having ever seen on a restaurant menu is Mackerel. It's lovely. It's also really cheap. And if memory serves (I have done no research, please forgive me), more sustainable than cod. Or at least, theres more of it left in the sea.

So - why not? It can only be because it's too cheap, surely? Does it have a poor image?

If a chip shop near me did mackerel and chips instead of the usual cod/haddock/plaice, I'd jump at it - its a lovely, tasty oily fish (so really good for you too - much better than boring old white fish) - equally, I'd be happy to pay the going 'main course rate' for a nicely cooked mackerel.

So come on restauranters - you're missing out on a really tasty ingredient which is (added bonus) cheap to buy in fresh - get some mackerel on your menus!

Monday, 23 March 2009

The Tata Nano launches.. and a bad omen?

So today, the (new) worlds cheapest car - the Tata Nano, launches in India.

It's actually all quite interesting, and cool, but.


My memory is niggling me and saying: "Isn't 'TATAs' slang for boobs?" - surely that isn't good.

Did they mean to call their car "Nano Boobs"?

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Irony or Stupidity?

Is it ironic, or just plain stupid when a roll of black bags come with wrapping?

E.g. the first thing you put in the bin after changing it - is the wrapper from the bin bags!


Friday, 20 March 2009

Tart up your Tatties!

Yes! That's right! People of Britain! Tart up your Tatties!

If you're still there, possibly slightly confused, and haven't switched me off yet, what I mean is:

Mashed potato doesn't have to be boring.

For a nice change (away from the much cliched celeriac mash or the calorific cheesy mash), why not try adding a small turnip per person (or medium per couple) to your mash? It adds a lovely flavour and along with a bit of seasoning and some garlic, produces wonderful smashed spuds!