Category Archives: Ramblings


Day 3 of the blogging from A to Z challenge. C is for Customers.

As a few of you are aware, my day job is in the restaurant of a garden centre. I won’t reveal where, and I deliberately haven’t written about it much, but today I want to say a word about customers.

Most of my day is spent at the till and making coffees. I should note that we have a soft play area in the restaurant, and that it costs £1.50 per hour. We serve main meals, sandwiches, toasties, various drinks and cakes. Most of the time there are three or four of us working there. To be at full efficiency we need five: One cooking, one on till, one making drinks, one on dishwasher and one delivering food/collecting dirty plates. 75% of the time there are only three of us. One cooking, one on till/making drinks, one on dishwasher/food/dirty plates. Then we all help each other out when we get a moment.

Here is a list of things you could do to make our lives a tiny bit easier. It’s not much to ask, but you’d be surprised at the amount of people who don’t think about any of these.

  • Please put your dirty plates back on your tray and put it on the rack. It’s there for a reason. Especially don’t put them on the counter while I’m serving a long queue of people.
  • Don’t let your children turn the pots of sugar sachets upside down and empty them all over the floor. Even worse if you don’t clean it up. Even worse if you don’t even acknowledge your child has done something wrong.
  • Don’t let your children run around the restaurant. There’s an enclosed soft play area for that.
  • Don’t let your children just take food from the cabinet whenever they like.
  • Don’t sit your child on the counter while you’re paying unless you can control them. Letting them touch anything, especially cutlery with their dribble covered hands, means a lot more work for us.
  • Don’t slide your tray across towards you over the wide counter until I’ve put your drinks down. Leaning that far while holding hot drinks is not easy. I’ll push it towards you when I’m done.
  • Don’t expect me to be able to hand you your milkshake/smoothie immediately, especially when I’m on my own at the till and have a long queue. They take a while to make.
  • Don’t complain that I’ve given you a filter coffee when you asked for a coffee. I’m not psychic, I can’t tell that you actually wanted a latte. 99% of people say coffee and mean just a normal black or white coffee.
  • There is no such size as ‘normal’ or ‘regular’. We do small, medium or large. ‘Regular’ is medium on the till, but 75% of you mean small.
  • Don’t complain that your food is taking too long unless it really is. 15 minutes for gammon steak cooked from raw is not too long.
  • Smile, say hello, or acknowledge somehow that we aren’t just robots.
  • Don’t jump the queue for a glass of water/to ask a question unless it really is urgent.
  • The sauces are right in front of you at the till and I even told you this when you ordered. Please pay attention.
  • Your fish cannot possibly be under cooked. Insist as much as you like, but each and every portion is temperature checked when it comes out of the fryer.
  • Don’t expect toasties/paninis to be done in two minutes. They take time to toast.
  • Try and order everything in one or two goes. Coming to the till 10 times during your visit gets annoying for both of us.
  • If you’ve been in the queue for a while you should know what you’re ordering, there’s a menu right in front of you. Don’t then get to the front of the queue, ask for a menu, look at it for a while, then have to decide on a drink. This is why the queue is so long.
  • We have two big menus and several childrens’ menus dotted around. They’re quite obvious. Use your eyes.
  • We do run out of food sometimes, for which we’re very sorry. We try and predict demand, but when you sell one jacket potato one day, so cook less the next, we’ll run out if ten people then decide it’s jacket potato day. Or sometimes like yesterday we’ll run out of ham because there’s a delivery problem. We’ll do our best to accommodate you with something else, even if it’s off menu, but don’t start getting angry. We do our best.

I didn’t realise quite how much annoys me. I’m off to work now, so I may have more to add when I get back.


Today is the first day of the Blogging from A to Z challenge. Every day of April, except Sundays, I will be publishing a blog post. Today it should begin with A, tomorrow B, the day after, C, and so on. You get the idea.

I have various plans for April, and to ensure that they are more likely to happen I thought I’d make them public.

I have a lot of website building work to do again, but I want all that to be finished by the 20th, as then I have a week off. It’s my first proper week off since I started at my job in September and I plan to use it well! My main plans for April are for that single week. I want to:

  • Spring clean and organise the whole house (and it really needs it. I’ve been working too much and not tidying enough)
  • Neaten up the garden before it becomes too out of control again
  • Sew some things, as I’ll actually be able to get to my sewing machine again
  • Meet up with a friend who’s moving to Spain very soon
  • Sort out my yarn
  • Play with my camera and learn how to take proper photos with it

I know it’s a large plan, and I know I probably won’t be able to do it all, but I’ll do my best. And of course, I’ll keep blogging every day, hopefully with something a bit more interesting than this!

Business – Can I run a wool shop?

A lot has happened since my last post, the details of which I won’t go into. I’m back though, and in April you can expect a post nearly every day as I’ll be taking part in the A to Z blog challenge. Then in May I’ll be taking part again in the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, so there’s a lot to look forward to!

I’m currently in the middle of making a big decision. A wool shop nearby is for sale, along with all its stock. It’s basically an entire established business for sale. We were driving past it when I noticed it for sale, and being curious I looked it up. It’s only £15,000 and has a turnover of £51,000 apparently. I don’t know any other details yet and I’m debating whether it’s worth asking. The idea of running my own wool shop is wonderful, if somewhat scary. I’ve also thought up so many ways I could improve on what’s there and increase the customer numbers. I have the people skills, I certainly have the interest and knowledge of the stock.

On the other hand, can I commit to it? I wouldn’t be able to afford staff at first so would have to be there all the time, and I imagine the amount of paperwork and stress involved would be huge. I also don’t have £15,000, which is another slight problem. The question is, are there more positives than negatives, and would the business continue to be profitable straight away?

An Update

I haven’t forgotten this blog, I’ve just had very little time. However now I have lots of things I want to write about so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to keep up with this a bit more!

I only have one main finished project, and that’s the cardigan from NaKnitMo. I love it, it’s warm and cosy and I’ve basically been using it as a coat. The pattern is Velvet Morning and I used Wendy Traditional Aran (which I believe is British). Sorry about the bad picture quality.

Velvet Morning Cardigan

I didn’t knit much in December, just started a pair of thick socks from the leftovers of my cardigan. I’ve almost finished them now, and once I have it’s time to get back into proper knitting again.

In December, Nick from UdellGames and I got engaged. I’m planning to knit a shawl for me, and shawls for my bridesmaids. The pattern I picked for my shawl is Sheherazadeshetla and I’m using Jamieson & Smith’s Shetland Supreme 1ply, which has 1600m per 100g. It’s really thin, but the small bit I’ve knitted so far is coming out really well. It was important to me to use British wool, and I wanted a natural but pure white, and this was the closest I could find.

Finally, as a birthday present for me, and an engagement present for the both of us, Nick and I bought a Kenwood Chef Titanium. So far we’ve made ice cream, short crust pastry, soda bread and some bread using ground almonds instead of flour, and have been impressed by it all. We only got it on Tuesday. Now that I’m used to it, I plan on making up some of my own recipes, so look out for them in the future.

In 2015 I have some big plans. Not only am I knitting my wedding shawl and bridesmaids’ shawls, I’m also going to try and knit a pair of socks per month (I managed 11 1/2 pairs of socks last year!), plus I want to knit at least one cardigan, a scarf/shawl or two for me and probably various other small things. I’m also going to finish sewing my big fancy project bag, and learn how to sew clothes properly. That should give me plenty of material to post at least once a week for the foreseeable future. Oh, and we also plan on getting a dog, as soon as we can find one that’s suitable.

In December my working hours got doubled. This has made me value my free time a bit more though so I’m actually managing to get more done than before.

So, that’s the plan, let’s see if I can actually stick to it this time!

The moving house saga – Part 2

A lot of progress has been made on the house over the past few weeks, and now we’re almost ready to move in. Even once we have moved in, the job isn’t finished. I want to change the door handles, reupholster the sofas and armchair and paint the shelving so it all looks like it actually matches. There’s also the garden, which needs a lot of work. But that’s for the future. For now, here is the house so far. (I should mention that the photos were all quickly taken with my phone mid work, so they’re not the best, sorry).

One of the first things we tackled in the house was mould. Then we cleaned everything (it was disgusting), took up the carpets, sanded everything, and repainted everything, then had the new carpets fitted last Wednesday. It looks and smells so much fresher now. Today the kitchen appliances arrived and by next weekend we hope to be moving in. I should also mention that it now smells significantly better!

The front bedroom, which will be the office, was the first area we tackled. We turned thisFront Bedroom Before

into this.Front bedroom after

The back bedroom came next. It started like thisBack bedroom before

and currently looks like this.Back bedroom after

The living room has also greatly improved. It did look like thisLiving room before

but now looks like this.Living room after

We had some help along the way from this friendly cat, that lives next door but seems to love our overgrown garden.Friendly cat

The bathroom and kitchen aren’t yet ready for a finished picture, but that will come very soon. This afternoon we get to buy some of the smaller things for the house. It’s very exciting to finally be at a point where we can move in. I can’t wait to get started with modifying all the furniture so it fits with the colour schemes. The windows will eventually be replaced too, but we have to wait a while for the builders to be able to do that.

The moving house saga – Part 1

At this point in time I was hoping to be moved in to our new house. As you can probably guess from the title, it hasn’t happened yet.

We moved out of our house in Southampton on Tuesday 24th of June, and now it’s Thursday 3rd July, so over a week has passed. We knew it would be a few days until we could move in, so I went to visit my parents in Bristol and Nick stayed with his in Wimborne. On Saturday I came to join him, and I’m still here.

Problem number one is that the tenants of our new house didn’t move out when they were supposed to and delayed until yesterday. Problem number two made itself apparent yesterday. Nick’s mum and I went to look at the house (Nick’s parents are the landlords). We weren’t expecting it to be perfect as Nick and I had had a previous look. We were expecting a bit of mould, a bit of required cleaning and maybe a few paint touch ups.

Upon entering the living room we immediately noticed an unpleasant, musty smell. Then we noticed the dirt,and an obvious need to redecorate. We went through tomthe kitchen, and it was obvious the oven hadn’t seen a cleaner for ages. More dirt, missing curtains, nothing too bad.the garden looked as a neglected garden could be expected to look, but that’s fine, I was planning on doing some gardening anyway.

We went upstairs and had a look at the bathroom. Black mould was all over the ceiling, around the bath, and of course there was a lot of dirt. Then there was the toilet. It was brown. It was so grimy and horrible, I have no idea how someone could have lived there and happily used it. On the landing, the loft hatch was mouldy. The back bedroom was ok, just dirt. The front bedroom was horrid. The previous tenant had obviously been smoking in there. Then there was the mould. I’ll leave it atnthat as I don’t think anything but a picture, which I’ll take next time I visit, will do it justice.

So, we’re living at Nick’s larents for probably another week. Most of my things are in storage, but luckily I have plenty of knitting to do. It’s quite hard to do any work though.

On the knitting front, I’m knitting a jumper for some money and doing a mystery knit a long, which is fun. Pictures of that can’t really happen right now for various reasons, but I’ll see what I can do soon.

Look out for part 2 and onward soon, as I plan on keeping a record here of the transformation of horrible house to lovely house.