Friday, 31 December 2010

Bah humbug - an austerity Christmas

So Christmas is over for another year and the snow which had transformed most of the country into a landscape from a Victorian Christmas card has thawed and taken with it whatever Christmas spirt there was. To me and to many it has not felt like Christmas this year. Perhaps my experiences in the run up to Christmas had coloured my feelings.

I eventually manage to kick off my Christmas shopping, about two weeks before Christmas, with a trip into Chester. First I had to return a jumper, which had shrunk, to a well known high street store. Having explained the problem to a young assistant, she dawdled off to compare my shrunken jumper with one currently on sale. After about 15 minutes she returned agreeing that my jumper had indeed shrunk. She then smugly informed me that because I had hand washed rather than machine washed the jumper that she would not give me an exchange or a refund. I collected my jumper and stalked out of the store, ignoring the thousands of items on sale in the store. I had not anticipated that an exchange or a refund would be refused so did not have an argument prepared. If I had machine washed an item that required hand washing I could understand their logic. So no festive spirit there, then.

Next it was across the road to another well known high street store. Here I had hoped to buy my mother a cardigan. I spotted what I was looking for on a display high up on a wall, but could not see any to buy in the shop. Fortunately I managed to find an assistant who offered to take a cardigan off the mannequin for me. She warned me that the mannequins tend to be small which is fine as my mother is small. The mannequins may be small but they have chunky arms and the sleeves of the cardigan had been stretched. I asked if they would shrink when washed. The assistant did not know. The cashier did not know. The fitting room lady said that she did not think so and I decided not to buy it. With hindsight perhaps I should have asked them to put my shrunken jumper on the mannequin to see if it could be stretched.

Then I decided to try my luck at finding the book that husband's brother in law had asked for. It was nowhere to be seen in the well known high street book shop cum stationers that I tried first. Perhaps I would do better at the other well known high street book shop that only sells books. I don't often go into this shop. Not because I don't like books, quite the opposite, once inside it is difficult to get out. I was trying to find my bearings when a young man wearing a Santa hat asked if he could help me. I explained what I was looking for. He looked serious. I was out of luck he said. It was sold out. He took me upstairs, looked at his computer and made a phone call. Then pronounced that it would be 15 January before the book was available. I thanked him for his trouble. Still I had not bought anything.

Now I headed to that well known high street purveyor of all things pharmaceutical and toiletry in the hope of finding a gift set for my mother. They had everything but what I wanted. I did manage to find what I wanted in a smaller less well known shop. By now it was lunch time and time to go home. The idea of Internet shopping was becoming very appealing.

After a quick lunch I managed to find and order, on the Internet, the book that husband's brother in law had asked for. The automated response confirmed my order. Success at last! Flushed with success I  took myself off to the local garden centre in the hope of that they could furnish me with something off my  present list. In short no, but I did come home with some new Christmas decorations.

Back home it was time to check my e-mails and have a cup of tea. To my horror there was an e-mail advising me that the book that I had ordered was out of stock! All that effort and all that I had to show was a gift set and some decorations. Time was running out and Christmas was starting to look bleak. Once I got my act together the shopping did get done but there is more to Christmas than shopping.

A few days later I was annoyed to receive a letter from the nursing home where my mother is a resident, claiming that I had not paid an invoice sent out in July. I know that I have paid it and I have the proof. Not a very charitable thing to do just before Christmas and it left a nasty taste in my mouth.

The Monday before Christmas found me at the dentist's for an emergency appointment. More bad news from the dentist. Next year he is going to be my new best friend or he thinks that I am a suitable case to blackmail. There is never a good time for bad news from the dentist but at least he was nice about it.

Finally there was the icing on the cake. It was lunch time on Christmas Eve. I was in the utility room and did not hear the knock on the front door. Husband was home and he had answered it. As I walked from the utility room into the kitchen I heard voices. It was one of the neighbours and she had not come to wish us compliments of the season. It was the WAG from next door. We have complained to the Environmental Health department of the local council about their dog barking in the early hours of the morning. The council have written to them and have informed them that the are being monitored. She came round for a rant. She believes that the dog does not bark. I wish that it didn't. I decided to leave her to husband who eventually shut the door on her.

After all of that we had a quiet Christmas courtesy of a streaming cold. At least we got out of going to the in laws. That has been rescheduled for January 2. From now on things can only get better, I hope.

Happy New Year everybody!

19 comments:

Working Mum said...

Oh my good! Let's hope 2011 gets better for you.

Working Mum said...

It should have said "Oh my goodness!" Fingers not working today!

MelMel said...

Yikes!
2011 had better be your year!xxxx

the fly in the web said...

Crumbs!
You'll be planning to hibernate next December after that lot...if the dog doesn´t keep waking you up.
Best wishes for 2011.

PixieMum said...

Can sympathise with you, husband had to call out of hours emergency doctor for me and was told if doctor didn't arrive within 2 hours to call an ambulance.

Doctor came, decided I have throat and chest infection, this is on top of usual COPD so am well drugged up and can breathe again and am not in pain.

Have not been able to attend any social events and have been to just one church service.

Missed visit completely of lovely rellies, we were taking them to Quins v London Irish rugby and to a meal out. Meal cancelled; some one else had our tickets and my son, DiL and daughter had to pull together and give them supper here after match.

I think it went well, husband and I slept through it all.

We are still unwell, managed short trip out today by car to John Lewis for urgent shopping so exhausted by that quick trip.

Hope next year is better for you.

Manchester Lass, Now and Then said...

Not the best way to end the year, hopefully 2011 will be a wonderful year for you and Mr CW♥ Linda xxx

Miss Sadie said...

OH, DEAR! That sounds much more dreadful than all of Bear's misadventures this year. Typical, mind you, but worse.

Fortunately, Bear is hibernating, so he can't run afoul of much in that condition. He and I wish you a Happy New Year!

Maggie May said...

Yes...... I hope 2011 brings in better things for you.
Hope you get your teeth fixed and the dog shuts up.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

CG said...

Oh dear!! I love the way you write, your elegantly restrained phrases really convey your frustrations so well. I hope 2011 is a good year for you xx

Akelamalu said...

Not a very good run up to Christmas was it? :(

Anyway I wish you a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year.

PS start your Christmas shopping earlier. LOL

Suburbia said...

Hope it does get better!
Happy New Year

A Thrifty Mrs said...

Cripes
Happy new year let's hope it gets better!

Jenny said...

I love a rant, my own or anyone else's. Hope 2011 is noticeably better, that shop assistants are more helpful and that the bloomin dog shuts up.

Jenny said...

Seems you are already into a variety of projects and some lovely finished items. Happy New Year, look forward to hearing how the resolutions go, particularly the stash reduction - I've looked on Ravelry.

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

And a very Happy New Year to you and yours CW. Your shopping trip sounded awful although it did make me chuckle - sorry! I did a lot of mine on-line and was very impressed with the overall service.

PS your Christmas front door looked very festive - lovely. A x

diney said...

Your Christmas shopping sounded a nightmare - what a shame, and very frustrating! The next door neighbour sounds delightful - aren't some people amazing that they can never accept that their children or pets are to blame? We had neighbours like that years ago and they refused to accept that their dog had literally savaged one of mine, even though it happened in front of me. They just stone walled me. Some folk!

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Oh, what a terrible time you've had!!! I sure do hope that 2011 has gotten off to a better start for you!!! Just stopping by to say "hello!" Much love~Janine xo

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Cosqui said...

It's kind of late but well I hope this 2011 has been a great year for you.

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