Sunday, 29 May 2016

The cost of being single.

When I have had a few drinks I sometimes generally bemoan the fact that I am single and fool myself that I can't understand why.  When I am sober, I know why I am single.

I have no problem being single, after all I have had enough time to get used to it, but I do hate the fact that I have to pay more for things.

For living alone I receive a 25% discount on my Council Tax meaning that I pay 75%, compare this to the house opposite with 5 adults in it.  They use the same services yet would pay only 20% of the cost each. (Bring back the Poll Tax!).

The cost of the TV licence would be the same regardless of the number of occupants as would the broadband and cable subscriptions.  The electricity bill and water rates I am guessing would not change much either.

Aside from household expenses, I am unable to book holidays through travel agents as most are based on at least two sharing, single supplements can sometimes double the basic cost.  Some well known caravan sites will not take single person bookings, I am 45 years old, I am not going to wreak havoc!

Special offers on meals out, both in this country and abroad, are usually 2 for 1.  I have in the past hung around on the off chance that there will be another person looking to save a few bob.

At the work's Christmas party last year, whilst the tickets were per person, the rooms cost £100 including breakfast, this meant that I paid the same for my single occupancy and breakfast as the couple in the next room who would have had 2 breakfasts.

There are more examples, but I think you get the drift.  Every other demographic of the population seems to demand equality.  Where is the equality for Singletons?

Sunday, 15 May 2016

A trip to the opticians, and how I see the world without my glasses.

Yesterday I had an appointment with the optician, I go every two years (give or take a few months).

We use Tesco Opticians because they are local, you get ClubCard points and the staff have always been great.  I take Mum with me, yes I know I am 45 years old, but my eyesight is so bad, I will show you how bad later in this post, that I cannot see what I look like in new frames so need an honest adviser.

In the end, because my appointment was early in the day, I had Mum and both dispensers giving their opinions.

Just before my appointment time, one of the dispensers took me to a side room to carry out some tests, the autorefractor test (the one with the hot air balloon at the end of the road) and the non- contact tonometer (the puff of air test that always makes you jump) which tests the pressure in the eye.

I then went through for my eye test.  Even though my eyesight is very poor, my eyes are apparently very healthy, it is the shape of my eyeballs that cause my vision problems.  I do have some muscle weakness in my left eye which is making my eye slower to move than the right eye, cue me spending the next hour looking in to the mirror trying to see the delay.

Before I went in for my test I had finally settled on the new frames that I liked, I think I tried pretty much every pair in the shop on,  I had chosen 2 different frames as Tesco had an offer on, Buy One Get One Free on frames over £65, this price includes standard single vision frames.

My lenses are not standard, I have to pay for ultra thin ones otherwise my glasses would never stay on my face, the ultra thin lenses cost an extra £90 per pair.

When I arrived back home I googled to find an optic simulator, I had used one previously that showed how bad my eyesight was after I had plugged in my prescription. I couldn't find the one I was looking for but came across Eye Sim.  After entering my prescription these are the images it supplied.

This is how I see the world without my glasses.  I could save myself a fortune in alcohol just by leaving my glasses off, it would be the same effect!

Sunday, 8 May 2016

The best way to treat a cold sore? Leave it alone!

Like many I have been plagued by coldsores for as long as I can remember.  I was extremely self-conscious about them when I was at school and first setting out into the working world, now it's more a case of, m'eh, another one.

Over the years I have spent a fortune on Blisteze, or Blistex as it became, Zovirax cream and those little clear plasters that were supposed to hide coldsores but just highlighted them to the world.  When they would stay in place anyway.

The last few flare ups have caught me unprepared and so I have left them au naturel and I was sure that they were clearing up more quickly.  I wasn't sure if this was the case or whether I was just not paying so much attention now that I was less self-conscious of them.

On Friday afternoon after a particularly stressful day at work (shouting, threatening to walk out - me,  tears - not me) I felt the ominous tingle and I decided to take note of how long the sore lasted.

According to various websites, the cycle of a coldsore is as follows
  • Day 1 - 2 ; The first tingle
  • Day 2 - 4 : Blisters appear and fill with fluid
  • Day 4      ; Blisters burst, the area around the sores can become red
  • Day 5 - 8 : Scabbing starts, the area may become itchy or there may be a burning feeling
  • Day 8 - 10: Scab starts to fall off leaving the skin new and pink.
After the first tingle Friday afternoon, I woke up Saturday morning with a massive cluster of blisters covering almost half of my upper lip, however by mid morning, the blister had burst.  By the evening the scab had formed and as I write this Sunday afternoon, the scab is breaking up so I am well ahead of the accepted timescale.

I will definitely be leaving any further coldsores to their own devices.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Paranormal Shows

I do like a good ghost hunting show, even if it is just to take the mickey out of.  I have posted before about my love of ghost hunts,

Most Haunted Live was the best.  How long before Stuart falls down the stairs?   Will there be a horse on the stairs?*  Will we see George and his tree?**  When will Cath's hair be touched?  (We all loved Cath in our little group and were disappointed when she didn't return in the revamp).  Although our little online group took the mickey, it was all light-hearted and we looked forward to each episode.  Even when MHL disappeared for several years, we were all there for its return.  We certainly did not and would not condone bullying people just because a relative appeared on Most Haunted.

In recent years there has been an influx of American paranormal shows which, for me, are ruining the genre.  They all take themselves too seriously.

One particular 45 minutes show spends about 25 minutes speaking to people about what they can expect to find, 5 minutes telling us where they will be setting up cameras and the remaining 15 minutes running away from or ignoring any activity.

Another, newer show, deals with paranormal artifacts.  Now this could be a really good show, but it is presented in such a theatrical and over-blown way it makes everything seem fake, whether there is a story or not.

I would love to see these artifacts in a more sterile setting,  but I am guessing that that would not bring in the viewers.

*There was an episode with a guest psychic, he was American I think, who saw a horse on the stairs.  Even the team at the time didn't sound like they believed him.
**George was a regular soundman who could be seen with his 'tree' of microphones.

The one where I worked at BHS.

Several years ago I joined the Trainee Management scheme at BHS, we were known as 'Wannabes' which should have warned me off.

I was expecting to spend several months with the Regional Training Admin Manager, learning all the tasks and completing my log book.

My training lasted roughly 6 weeks and then I was back at my 'home store' to continue my training under the Admin Manager currently in post.

After a few weeks she left so it was all down to me.

I continue to self-teach, it was a case of hit the ground running, with wages to process, new starters to interview, deliveries to process and the cash office to run, along with the Customer Service desk.

I  worked a minimum of 40 hours a week, generally more, and was paid the princely sum of £12,500 before tax, just £6 per hour.

I became good at my job, even to the point that Store Managers and Admin Managers from around the Region were contacting me for advice, telling me that I had been recommended to them as a point of contact.

At the same time, everything became the responsibility of the Admin Manager trainee - restaurant needs a deep clean?  The Admin Manager needs to stay until it is complete.

New tills are being installed?  The Admin Manager needs to over see that.

Stock take?  Then the Admin Manager needs to be on site from 7am to 3am, then back at 8am to meet the auditor.

Overnight Christmas Shop installation?  Oh, every manager needs to stay for that as it attracts an additional payment.

For the first 4 years I was employed my wages did not increase, as I was still considered to be training.

Eventually my salary went up to a heady £14,000.

For most of the time I worked at BHS, we knew that Philip Green was trying, unsuccessfully, to sell it, the poor relative of the family.  We also knew that Tina, his wife, was named as the majority shareholder/owner of all the businesses as she was a resident of Monaco.

Failing to secure a buyer, the business was taken over by the Arcadia Group (owner - Tina Green) so that the losses could be shared.

Around this time, my part time assistant was off on long term sick.  As I was only allowed help when absolutely necessary, such as when counting cash, I had to do everything myself, as it was the run up to Christmas I was working no less than 60 hours per week, still only being paid for 40.

After Christmas it was announced that following the Arcadia take over, the stores would be restructured in line with the rest of the group and there would be redundancies

The few of us that received Redundancy Notices were, coincidentally, the ones that did not fit into the little group that the retained managers had made for themselves.

Once we had received our notices, we were expected to carry on as normal.  This did not happen.  we did our hours, we did our jobs as per the job descriptions, we did no extra.

Although we knew there were dodgy dealings going on, I had no idea how bad it was until the recent news of the company going into Administration.

I hadn't realised that several stores had been sold to another Green family business and then rented back at above the market rate.

I hadn't realised the high dividends that had been paid out to shareholders, who were mostly family.

In hindsight, which as we all know is perfect, making me redundant was the best thing that place ever did for me.