Thursday, 31 December 2009

New Years Honour?

I had a look at the list this morning, fully expecting to see that I’d been honoured - but do you know, there are NO honours awarded for services to blogdom OR moaning. Apparently you have to do something worthwhile to deserve an honour - so that’s me remaining in total obscurity for a bit longer.

I suppose I could make letters up to use after my name - who'd know?? -

  1. RGM - really good moaner.
  2. OBG - old blogging grump.
  3. OGM - old grumpy moaner.
  4. SOW - stroppy old woman - hmm, maybe not
  5. MBE - moaning blogger extraordinaire - what do you mean - 'no, I can't, it's in use'?? Well if we're going to get all picky about it, I won't bother.
I'll just have a new middle name instead - Grumpess!

Happy New Year ...


Sunday, 27 December 2009

My Christmas 2009

Christmas day - after visiting the daughters and grandchildren and unwrapping our presents from them [just what we wanted - thanks] we went to my sister’s where she spent quite a bit of time organising people and telling some of them what time they’d be getting up today - Sunday, not Boxing Day! [they could have a lie-in]. She’s not exactly the sort of person who lives for the moment but she is the worlds best ignored organiser!

I was interrogated yet again about whether or not we were going to stay at Center Parcs for her birthday. She’d obviously been badgering my brother-in-law yesterday to find out, as I received a couple of texts from him [or her using his phone] to the effect. Tut tut, she’s so chuffing nosy.

The idea of not sending Christmas cards to each other in future was received wholeheartedly by everyone there, I have to admit at this point that my sister never used to send anyone a Christmas card until I shamed her into it several years ago [before I got grumpy].

Now to the presents - we each [obviously] received what we wanted as our main presents, seeing as we'd bought and wrapped them ourselves, even the ones among us who wanted cash to spend at the sales.

The stocking fillers - hmm, methinks my sister was getting her own back this year as she’s bought me industrial strength wrinkle creams - they could even be the same ones I gave her last year - we do this kind of thing.

In the few weeks before Christmas, my grumpy old man made a wonderful choice - aided by someone who knows me very well [me] - for my main, ahem, surprise present. He bought me a pair of padparadscha sapphire dangly earrings to match a pair of studs [and my ring] that I’d already got. Great, that’s me sorted, now what on earth shall I get for him?

I was cruising t’interweb looking for ideas on what to get him, somehow - and I don’t know how this happened - I ended up looking at jewellery. Ooooh, Mexican fire opals in a pendant - my third favourite gems. I bet he’d like something like that, then he could lend it to me to wear.

‘Verily’ said the bad angel looking over my left shoulder ‘if thou wants one, thou must bid on one at the celestial auction house and market place known as eBay.

‘Oh no, that’s not fair.’ said the good angel, balancing precariously on my right shoulder.
‘Oh would you look at that, it’s perfect, just what I, oops, he wants.’ said I ecstatically under my breath.

‘Go on, bid on it, bid on it’ said the bad angel jumping up and down on my left shoulder.
‘Oh, you mustn’t, it’s mean and greedy’ squeaked the good angel as I brushed the irritating little annoyance of my right shoulder whilst filling in my maximum bid - aided by the bad angel pushing my mouse.

Lo, the pendant was won later that very day with much joy and jubilation, then was paid for in an instant using the celestial bank known as Paypal. It was delivered at great speed through the ice and snow two days later by an early morning messenger - aka the postman.

It’s a lovely pendant, the GOM was very pleased but decided it didn’t really suit him so he gave it back to me - well, of course it never occurred to me that I should keep the pendant for myself, ahem, not until he suggested it - he said he’d keep the AIG certificate though so he can look at the photo of it whenever he wants.

Surprises from the GOM -
  1. Terry’s Chocolate Orange.
  2. Terry’s Chocolate Orange box [weighted] with a ‘me to you’ bear in it.
  3. Terry’s Chocolate Orange in a big box with a spare loose one in the bottom from the 2nd surprise.
  4. box of Liquorice Allsorts - revenge present for the pendant.
  5. ‘Oi!! where’s my Southern Comfort????’
He'd forgot to wrap it. I didn't realise it was missing until I was in bed last night cataloguing all my presents in my mind, I jumped up and told him it wasn't there, bless him, he said he'd go down and wrap it for me, this was at at 12.30am, isn't he sweet - or something?

Hang on a minute, the cheeky sod! I bought the Terry's Chocolate Oranges - buy 1 get 2 free from Morrisons. Hmm, I think he’s starting to catch on to my methods …

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Curiosity Getting the Better of Me

I have to wonder - because I’ve developed some grumpy old nosiness - why someone in Derby looks at my blog. Often more than five times a day. Sometimes very early in the morning, then at odd times throughout the day, occasionally again around midnight and last night at 2.05am, don’t they ever sleep?

I’ve even found myself thinking, ‘Oh poor Derby, they must be bored stiff if they’ve looked at my blog again’ - more often than I’ve checked my statcounter [ahem, this is a biggish fib - see above about my nosiness] - ‘and I haven’t written anything for them to read, what shall I write about?’

Today is [possibly] your lucky day as it’s about you!

If you are a bored insomniac in the Derby area, ISP Be Un Limited, please say hello or leave a comment - it can even be a horrible comment - because this new found curiosity of mine is getting the better of me - anyway, whoever you are, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year …

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Are Christmas Cards Just a Con?

Why do we send Christmas cards?

Well in days of yore [before I was born] Christmas cards were sent to people we didn’t see very often, to remind them that we were thinking of them at this special time.

I’m not particularly mean, but I’m beginning - yes, it’s an age thing - to see that we’ve been duped by the card makers and retailers into going through this boring and not inexpensive ritual every year. There’s always some greedy sods who jump on the bandwagon, making us believe that we must send a Christmas card to everyone and their dog/cat/budgie/etc.

We send ‘special’ cards to family and close friends - er, why? If they’re that close we probably see them on a weekly basis so we can tell them that we ‘Wish them a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year’. There’s a brilliant invention called a t-e-l-e-p-h-o-n-e that we can use to tell other people.

We also live in an age where we can send electronic greetings over t’interweb. There a plenty of free websites to send them from for the more Scrooge-y amongst us, but even if we were to pay to join a website to send high class, advert free greetings -

  1. it’s still cheaper than the post.
  2. we’re saving trees.
  3. you can look at them whenever you want without clutter.
  4. you always know where you put them - er, maybe not.
  5. you can send the same e-card to everyone you know – a boon to the terminally idle.
  6. it’s a good idea.

If the mood takes us we can also include in our Christmas message that the money we haven't wasted by not sending actual, physical cards we’ll donate to charity - or we can even tell the truth and say that we'll drink a toast to the recipients with the money we save.

“Well Christmas cards are nice and I like them” you may say - So save this years cards with the decorations and put them back up next year. “Well I like to receive them” - ok, it’s not compulsory to do what I say, it’s just an idea.

I’m not suggesting that we completely stop sending cards, I just mean the stupid ritual of muttering and moaning whilst writing them when we're going to give them to someone we see regularly - it’s a waste of money, time, ink and trees. AND this is coming from someone who until recently made brilliant cards and sent them through the post until the post office started charging more for fat cards!

Yes, by all means send a [flat] card to distant friends and relatives who are technically challenged, and again DEFINITELY send a card to someone who would otherwise feel forgotten because they’re on their own.

Of course, being completely honest now, I don't actually write any cards myself because my handwriting is atrocious, the grumpy old man does them - often looking like he's sucking on a lemon, so distasteful is the job, whilst I wrap and titivate all the presents. We send approximately 60 cards, very often to people we don't even like, so tell me - ‘What is the point?’

The GOM has just popped in and requested permission for leave of absence to toddle off tomorrow to collect yet more cards that have been left for us at so and so's. I granted the permission as I didn't require his presence, but only on the understanding that he actually wants to visit the person he's collecting them from as otherwise it's a complete waste of petrol. Plus it's not a good idea going out unnecessarily to risk life and limb in this weather and traffic on Christmas Eve.

I’m going to sit here now and renew my membership at the ‘Jacquie Lawson’ website and send e-cards next year, I can sit for hours watching Chudleigh playing in the snow. I’ll give my friends and family plenty of warning that we don’t want any Christmas cards because we’re not sending any and we’ll see what happens, hmm. Tune in this time next year - what's betting I'll have forgotten all about it and start stocking up on cards in the middle of August.

Oh look, it's snowing again - all over Heanor Haulage's cranes and crap in their back yard - in the glow of their security lights it looks almost lovely and quite 'Christmas Card-y'. I think I'll take a photo of it and use it for next years decoupage Christmas cards [yeh, right] - oh bugger! I'm a lost cause …

Langley Mill Morons

Three t**ts have just this minute 'egged' my neighbours house and windows again. It looks by the evidence they've thrown away that they'd been to Farmfoods. Of course the hosepipe and outside tap is frozen solid so my neighbour can't clean the eggs off as they're too high to reach.

Why don't people care what their precious little sh**s are doing? Oh yes of course - as long as they're out of their way, they don't care where they are or what they're doing!!

I suppose this means that we'll be lying awake at night again waiting for worse to happen as they always start off small. Well don't forget you stupid morons, the police said they'd go straight to your houses if we have any more trouble, and if it's not you doing it this time then you'd better tell your friends to stop it as you'll get the blame.

Hurry up and demolish the bridge extension Asda because as I've said before, the bridge steps is where the cowardly t**ts stand to throw their missiles - because we can't see who they are ...

Friday, 18 December 2009

£77,000 for Langley Mill

I've read - on a proper grown up free news website [BBC] - that Langley Mill is to receive £77,000 from the government - I have mentioned this money before [in one of my e.on and big holes posts], although I quoted a more generous amount.

The money will be given to - 'ease community tension' - what tension? was I out that day, did I miss something? I have to say that from how the report read, our village - yes we've got village status this week instead of town - seems to be getting this money because we're a miserable bunch who don't think we get on well with people from other backgrounds - what backgrounds? Are we talking religion, race or class?

And in the next sentence it said 'Only 64% feel they belong to their local area' - so what exactly are we in Langley Mill - racists, Christians, peasants or immigrants? It's not very clear.

But it does say that the money is from the government's 'Connecting Communities pot' which wants to find out why we need the policies of extremist and right wing parties - do we, who says so? It was pointed out that the borough had two BNP councillors [out of 47] - but they're not in Langley Mill, so why is this relevant? - Oh I see - we're racists. And there was me thinking that maybe they were referring to us being from a 'working class background' - and we didn't like toffs.

Just to clarify matters - I come from a coal mining/we're all t'same colour down t'pit and if owt goes wrong, we pray to any God that's listening. Partly Jewish/God was a spaceman - background. I can't help it, I didn't choose my parents/step-parent, I'm nothing like them - I'm nearly normal.

Ahem, I digress, where was I?

Two people will be paid until the end of March 2010 so they can tell us what's going on in the area and to involve us. Residents will be 'trained' to act as community leaders - oh, I thought that's what we had local councillors for, silly me for getting it wrong.

I suppose if we all know everything that's happening, I'll lose my job of recycling rumours for the amusement of my friends. But then I'll have time to make up some really outrageous ones instead - much more fun.

The project will hopefully make our streets and parks better [what parks? - oh recreation grounds] - this, I assume may be a result of the police requesting the council for 'alcohol designation orders' for the Aldercar and Queen Street recreation grounds [and Pottery Lane]. I hope this happens, because drinkers on the Queen Street recreation ground mean that the children on Bridge Street can't play there. This needs sorting out before our road is extended for the new Asda housing behind us. Because the extra 70+ cars going up and down will obviously mean the children will no longer be safe playing on their own street.

There's more [and better] information on the Amber Valley Borough council website, with a phone number and an email address for those of us who want to get involved. It's probably a very good idea, it's just a shame they think we need it. I can't really see that this £77,000 is going to make much of an impact on my life - unless they give it all to me so that I can afford to leave - seeing as I'm obviously living among 36% of racist immigrants who don't feel we belong to our local area.

Yes - I can say that, 'cos I'm a Langley Mill immigrant - who feels entirely at home - in Skegness ...

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Langley Mill’s Christmas Lights

We went out the other night, to gaze with wonder upon Langley Mill's Christmas lights, now I’m not talking fancy stuff, just coloured bulbs strung up between lampposts. It’s not much but it cheers the place up. We have them on Cromford Road - across from the bottom of Bridge Street. Then more at The Acorn Centre, and again outside The Jockey pub.

Er, where are they?

We're reduced to two individual efforts on lampposts, one at the Jockey and one at the Acorn Centre, where's all our bulbs gone? We’re used to the council workers coming in November to put the poles up, then they arrive a couple of weeks later with our lights. November came and went and there was no sign of the pole erectors, so we thought maybe they’d put them and the lights up at the same time this year.

Wrong.

There also used to be two trees at the edge of the Railway Tavern car park that were always decked with white lights every Christmas, that is until someone chopped both trees down one January [about three years ago – with the lights still on them].

It’s long been established that Heanor’s Christmas lights are naff, but because they're never switched on until the first Monday in December, they're not on - and working - long enough for us to moan about. But this year I think Langley Mill - who regularly seem to get Heanor’s cast offs, has reached an all-time low.

We’ve had a ride through other towns and villages in the past week and I can only say that I’m ashamed of our lights. The only ones we’ve got that are worth talking about are the Christmas trees near Lidl, and I think they’re only there to show Eastwood that we’ve got some - and have paid our electric bill. I’m thinking of asking Broxtowe council if we can tag on to Eastwood, as their lights - as usual - are quite nice, I wouldn't mind their cast-offs.

We used to put lights up on the front of our house - I like to get the grumpy old man up the ladder every so often, it reminds him that there are two sides to each window that needs cleaning.

I once stupidly put some quite expensive lights on the bushes in our front, ahem, garden. That is until some t**ts thought they’d amuse themselves over three consecutive nights pulling odd bulbs out and throwing them on the bridge. It was a bugger of a job trying to find out what was wrong with them; seeing first one colour go off then the next day another until we were down to only one colour. It wasn’t until I took the dog for a walk over t'bridge that we realised what the little b*****ds had done ...

Friday, 11 December 2009

Langley Mill Asda/HH Rumours

Some people may think I’m deluding myself when I write about rumours. What they’ve got to remember is that this is just a blog, the main function of which is to amuse myself and my friends.
It is true that some rumours cheer me up, while others can annoy me. But this doesn’t mean I believe every ‘Asda in Langley Mill’ rumour I’m told. If that were the case, then over the last year I would have written the following as facts -
  1. Bridge Street, Dean Street and Queen Street would all be demolished.
  2. Langley Mill's Asda would be HUGE!
  3. The car park for Asda would be accessed from Bridge Street.
  4. Bridge Street would collapse once demolition starts.
  5. The Mill pub was being demolished to make way for the new roundabout.
  6. The roundabout couldn't go there because of the pumping station across from the pub.
  7. The top third houses on Bridge Street would have compulsory purchase orders.
  8. All the shops between The Acorn Centre and the bottom of Bridge Street had been offered up to £1 million each.
  9. The car sales had been sold to Asda for £2 million.
  10. Heanor Haulage had been sold for £12 million.
  11. Heanor Haulage is closing.
  12. Heanor Haulage is moving to Ilkeston.
  13. Heanor Haulage is going back to Heanor.
  14. Heanor Haulage is staying put.
  15. Heanor Haulage is going to Belper.
  16. Heanor Haulage is moving to the old railway sidings.
  17. Heanor Haulage is moving to the other side of Ilkeston.
  18. Heanor Haulage is moving to China. [OK I made that one up]
It doesn’t matter who you talk to around here, we’ve all heard such and such from so and so. And so and so knows thingybob, who has her hair done at wheresits at the same time as doo dah. Who just happens to have been on holiday with whatyamacallher, and she heard it from their Gertie, whose sister in law is second cousin to Fred! So it must be true - who the bloody hell is Fred? - and we’re all as bad as one another.
I just sift through the rumours and write about the ones I like or dislike - depending on my current mood. I don’t actually believe anything until either Asda or the council write to us - and then I take some convincing, but that’s because of the council’s past performance of not telling anyone that HH was coming here in the first place.
So until I see something [official] in writing or the completed Asda and Heanor Haulage buildings - or lack of, then I won’t believe what I’ve written - it won’t stop me writing it though …

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Found My Christmas Spirit!!


I’ve just had an early Christmas present from the grumpy old man, who’s been out all morning and come back with a delicious titbit for me.

He’d been chatting with a gentleman who told him that we’ll soon see a lot of daylight here, as the Heanor Haulage workshop and offices aren’t going to be built across from us after all. Oh joy of joys! [I like this rumour - can't you tell?].

He said something about them having drilled down and the ground not being suitable so now they’re just flattening it to road level - somehow though, I can’t see it not being used for something equally as horrible. Apparently [another rumour coming up], they're moving somewhere more Ilkeston way.

There's an awful lot of crap on the back yard now, so I'm assuming they're clearing it off the front yard and bringing it to the back in preparation for demolition. There's a bunch of men on the back rearranging it all again as I type. Apparently this junk is staying longer as there's so much of it - well we'd already guessed that if they're extending here and there.

Now all I’ve got to do is make sure I wasn’t dreaming - or being conned - there’s some ‘not nice’ people out there who would think it funny if I were to get all excited, only to be let down.

Of course, if I was going to be at all cynical, I would suggest that if the Heanor Haulage bit didn't need doing first, then Asda could be up and running before Heanor Tesco's extension - assuming planning permission is granted - is even started.

Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas …

Monday, 7 December 2009

Christmas Cheer


I spent yesterday wrapping Christmas presents and bemoaning the fact that I seem to have completely lost my Christmas spirit. This is NOT like me and I’m hoping that it’s just a blip in my customary cheerful ‘goodwill to all women’ disposition rather than it being age related - if it’s that, then I’m doomed.

I told the grumpy old man how I felt - this was a mistake, as he’s such a naturally happy person that he was bound at some point to try to cheer me up.

In the evening I grunted that I was going for my ‘daily wallow’ and sloped off to the bathroom - this is usually a pleasant ritual for me, lasting up to an hour. It’s ‘me time’ with a capital ‘ME’ - I do not like to be disturbed, I play with my bubbles, admire the sparkle of my rings that I place on the side of the bath. Read my book and keep topping up the hot water and ‘wallow’ - ahh, bliss.

Somehow, this doesn’t always register with the GOM and he'll pop in from time to time for a chat, whereby I put my book down and glare at him until he goes away. But last night he surpassed himself - he thought he’d help me get back my ‘Christmas spirit’.

As soon as I'd become engrossed with my latest read [Dan Brown’s - The Da Vinci Code - brilliant] and the water was hot hot hot, I heard the cat meowing at the door, I phoned the GOM.

‘Let the cat in please’
‘You've wasted 25p phoning me to let the cat in, I wouldn't have bothered.’
‘I can't relax and enjoy my book if she's meowing under the window.’

I settled back down, topping the water up a bit more. A few minutes later there was a horrible wailing noise coming from downstairs, then it got louder - it was auditory torture! Is he tormenting the cat I wonder?

It was so disturbing that I couldn’t concentrate on my book - which, I might add had just started to cheer me up. After reading the same paragraph five times I gave in and got out of the bath - without my usual ‘water wrinkles’ as I’d barely got damp! Muttering under my breath about not being able to get a minute’s peace. I stomped downstairs in a drippy, bubbly way and demanded to know - ‘WHAT EXACTLY IS THAT BLOODY ROW?’
‘It’s a record.’
‘I’d worked that out, what is it?’
‘The Partridge Family Christmas Album’. [It’s one of those old fashioned black plastic things that needs a turntable and a needle - or a dustbin]
‘Is it actually playing at the right speed 'cos it’s horrible?’
‘Don’t you like it?’
‘Er NO! It’s so bad my ears are trying to build up enough wax to block it out!’
‘Oh, I thought it was alright, but I’ll turn it off if you don’t like it.’

I’ll give him Frosty the bloody snowman. Bah Humbug …

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Pay-Per-View Local Newspaper

I've been to my local newspaper website - one of the six publications being trialled for pay-per-view by Johnston Press, but it doesn't quite work like that, they now let you read a snippet of ahem, news - then tell you in ‘jolly tones’ that if you want to read the rest of it, to go and buy the newspaper. How pointless is that? It's either an online news website [pay-per-view or free] or it's not.

Frankly, I wouldn't give it recycling bag room. I think the only people who buy it now are the over sixties [technologically challenged] or those who have always bought it so it's become a habit. Maybe pay-per-view online is the way to go, we'll see.

I don’t mind paying for things on the Internet, I have to pay for every other service and fully expect to - we don’t often get ‘owt for nowt’ in this life - we leave that to the bankers and their big bonuses [sorry I’m drifting off into an entirely different blog post here].

In the case of our local newspaper the ‘news’ content has got to improve - so someone get out there and do something worth reading about! - as I'm not thinking of paying £5 every three months for news that's boring. And as we're going to be PAYING for the service, I wouldn't expect to see advertising [I'm an eternal optimist].

Our local ‘news’paper is crammed with advertising, in the last copy I got my hands on, 26 of the 56 pages were full page adverts, with more ads dotted about on most other pages - fully expected in a free newspaper, but not one that costs 40p. Unless you want to buy a car or a house you can throw most of it away, oops sorry, recycle it.

There’s a bit of sport at the back, a few jobs advertised, classified ads, a ‘Find Romance’ page. Births, birthdays and anniversaries. District news, planning applications - the usual mixed bag that makes up a local paper. A crossword - hmm yes, the sort of thing I should be doing instead of being annoying.

Then there's the doom and gloom page, I suppose I'll soon be getting to an age - yes! even older than I am now - where this page would in normal circumstances be of interest to me and I'd say ‘Oh, I went to school with him’ or ‘Oooh, I remember her when we were little’ - being quite sad to read of their demise but also a little smug that I’m still here to read about them, while at the same time feeling the cold breath of mortality blowing on my neck … Ugh, sends shivers down your spine doesn’t it? But as I'm not from these parts, I have no old school chums to read about, so I'll carry on in my own little way and leave that to the grumpy old man ...

Monday, 30 November 2009

Heanor Tesco Extending?

I’ve had a look at Tesco’s plans at AVBC, I don’t know why because it’s nothing to do with me – yes I do, people keep asking me about them – “You didn’t tell me about Tesco, I had to wait for so and so to tell me, moan, whinge, moan.”

They seem to think that I’m the ‘fount of all knowledge’ when really I’ve just become nosy in the past year. It’s probably age related because up until recently I was the least nosy person I knew.

Anyway, after waking several times in the night in a sweat, thinking ‘I must blog about Heanor Tesco’ and then puzzling as to why - it was actually because quite early on in the night I dreamt that Tesco was trying to shut me up??? and I had to go into hiding [I was sat under a hedge in a very muddy field], because they didn’t want Asda to know they were extending - hmm, yes, well? I do have some stupid dreams [in colour] in which I always, ahem, take the leading role where I'm often deluded and full of self-importance. But I can’t help what I dream about can I?

When I woke up properly this morning, yawn - instead of the half-awake stupor caused by PMB Pallet Express waking me frequently from my dreams - I knew that if I knew on 26th November about Heanor Tesco putting in plans to extend, then Asda probably knew well before me, and anyway - I don't have a hotline to Asda.

Right, to the job in hand - you know, this is getting to be a lot like work and the pay is awful -

Heanor Tesco’s plans.

It looks like if they get permission that it’ll be approximately half as big again as it is now [35,858 sq ft - 53,355 sq ft], extending on the front up to their main road in the car park, there probably is a lot of wasted space at the store entrance as it is now. Then they’ll have to redo that immediate area of car park too, but they will lose some car parking spaces.

The petrol station will be going, presumably so that they'll be able to say that as there will be no people going in for petrol, this will counterbalance their expected extra retail customers and so appease the highways agency - cunning.

I can’t imagine how they’ll do it without a lot of disruption as it involves the store entrance - unless they make a temporary one first. Either that or shut up shop and do a marathon build - either way, this must be done before Asda opens in Langley Mill as customers are very fickle.

It was ok when Eastwood Morrisons extended - done at a leisurely pace when the earliest ‘Asda in Langley Mill’ rumours started [probably a coincidence] - because the extension there caused no more inconvenience than going in and out of the car park a different way.

Apart from anything else I don’t really care what Tesco do, it’s not like I’m going to go against all my principles and start shopping there is it? I will be having similar problems with my principles when it comes to shopping in Asda, but that’s all in an as yet unpublished post …

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Christmas Shopping - My Way


I used to love Christmas shopping, all done in the week before Christmas - the hustle and bustle, the lights and Victorian markets, everyone willing to stop and chat to one another. The smell of the crisp cold air, the early dusk and thoughts of getting back to a warm, cheerful, tinselly and twinkly home on a crowded but happy bus with 18 carrier bags - of CRAP.

What a chuffing nightmare it was to become. For the last ten years or so, the shops have been ready for Christmas by mid-August and we're made to feel guilty if we haven't spent £1,389 on ‘designer’ presents by the end of September with another £2,652 by December to go on our credit cards to be paid in January!

As it is I’ve always had difficult people to buy for. A recent phone call to a parent:
‘Whaddya want for Christmas?’
‘Well, just draw us a couple thousand pounds out the bank and wrap it up, that’ll do.’
‘Yeah OK, and for a stocking filler?’
‘Well what do we want at our age? If we haven’t got it now, it’s too late to bother … whinge, whinge, whinge.’

I could ask my brother in law what he wanted, the reply would always be - ‘a new lens for my camera’. Seeing as I’d need to mortgage the house or take out mega life insurance on the grumpy old man and then hire a hitman just to be able to afford this little luxury, it’s never going to happen.

Since I’m now all grown up and I’ve turned more Scroogified, I hit on an interesting if slightly mean idea - lets buy our own presents, wrap them up and feign delighted - ‘Ooh, how did you know? It's just what I wanted’ - surprise, when we open them Christmas morning. And we can spend as much or as little as we want.

My sister instantly took to the idea - I’m assuming that this is because she’s always thought my gift buying was naff.

My niece saw the advantages straight away as she knew what she wanted and had the right people in the right places for the staff discounts that suited her.

My nephew, bless him didn’t quite get it - at first ...
‘Does this mean that if I get the trainers that I want for £?? that my favourite aunt will give me the money?’ My sister explained to him that no exchange of money was involved but he would henceforth be relieved of trying to buy ‘favourite aunty and uncle presents’ - he got it.

This works very much to my advantage as the GOM never wants anything - and who am I to go against his wishes? On the other hand I want lots of things - being ever so slightly greedy and liking all things that sparkle.

Therefore, half our pile of presents have his name on the tags - only fair - but they’re nearly all for me. Last year I decided to go back to an old hobby of wine making as I still had most of the equipment, the GOM was pleased to receive a wine making kit and 6 empty wine bottles ‘from’ my nephew. Now do you get it?

My sister is always more than generous, buying me exactly what I want by this method. The GOM moans each year that ‘Surely she wouldn’t spend that much on you’. My reply is always ‘Oh yes she would, I’m her favourite sister and she works in a bank!’
Ditto for my niece [just a different bank].

This method of Christmas shopping doesn’t entirely apply to my presents from the GOM. Apart from my main present - which of course I choose for myself - I require at least 6 surprises. Hmm, unfortunately they always turn out to be the same:
  1. Southern Comfort
  2. Terry’s Chocolate Orange
  3. Bar of Wholenut Chocolate
  4. Box of Celebrations
  5. Whatever is left over for emergency presents
  6. same as number 5 but in a different colour
He wraps them all mysteriously to disguise the shape and size of them. More than once I’ve unwrapped a large and intriguingly heavy parcel [left until last - ooh, the excitement!] that I’ve been poking and shaking for days - only to find that it’s something from the above list in a big box with a brick in the bottom.

The most disturbing thing is though - I fall for it each and every year.

But this is infinitely better than one of our first Christmas’s together, I'd been ‘admiring’ his collection of Beswick horses one day - not really, we were at that stage in our relationship where you ooh and ahh over everything, so I was just being polite - I commented that they were all brown horses and I prefer grey.

This was a stupid thing for me to do! Out of all the things I said I'd like as a Christmas surprise, he remembered this obscure - and nothing at all to do with Christmas - conversation!

Oh yes! He bought me a grey Beswick horse, I advised him - nicely - not to do any of this kind of thinking for himself again ...

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Sexism by M&S at Christmas?

I don’t as a rule notice adverts on TV - and if you were paying attention last year, you’d know this already - mainly because as soon as the adverts come on, I turn the sound off and don't bother looking up for the next five minutes - this is fairly easy for me as I'm usually multi-tasking.

But when I read that people had complained about Philip Glenister [yum] being sexist and demeaning to women in the latest Marks & Spencer advert I thought I’d better have a look. I mean to say, Philip Glenister - aka Gene Hunt - sexist? never.

Hmm, I wonder - this bit of extra FREE advertising must be working well for Marks & Sparks if they’ve gotten through to people like me who mostly ignore advertising!

... Ooooh yes, he is being sexist - but as far as I can tell they’re just playing loosely on his ‘Life On Mars’ character - very naughty but so tongue in cheek that I’d hardly call it demeaning, it’s just fun and there are a lot worse adverts to complain about.

I decided to question the grumpy old man as I know he’s not opposed to the odd bit of bare flesh on the telly.

‘Oi! watch this advert and tell me what you think at the end’ ...

‘Very nice.’

‘Not demeaning to women then?’

‘Erm?’

Hmm, long words are not his strong point - ‘I mean, do you think that last bit was likely to offend women, as the remark he made “Oh, come on, it's Christmas - that girl prancing around in her underwear.” might be sexist?’

‘Oh no.’

Hang on a minute, he’s looking flustered, he must have thought he was under interrogation here.

‘So ... you like watching young women prancing around in their underwear then?’

‘What?’

Now this is a ploy he’s honed to perfection - asking me to repeat the question to give him longer to think of the correct answer; being slightly deaf, he mostly gets away with it.

I repeated the question.

‘Well yes.’ He said. And with only the slightest of pauses -

‘But only because I'm imagining that it’s you in the underwear.’

He's good isn't he?

It earned him a few brownie points just for his sheer inventiveness and quick thinking.

And I do love to watch him squirm …

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Heanor Haulage Puts in Offer for Land.


Heanor Haulage has put in an offer of £7,500 for the 291 square metres of land that they want on Queen Street Recreation Ground to extend their open storage space and renew their boundary line - baffling to say the least as they've just had an application passed to build houses on their own adjacent land.

They've been extremely busy this morning working behind us - I still think they are far too close to our properties for comfort.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Excursion to Ripley

Some sad - and shall we keep them nameless - individuals seem to be more interested in ‘before the event’ - namely the Planning board meeting to discuss the Asda proposals - it really wasn’t that funny, but I bow to the demands of my mini-fan club [all one of them] …

We set off down Bridge Street at 4.40 in a fairly leisurely fashion, I always leave early as I hate to keep people waiting - we boarded the coach which was waiting to take us to Ripley. I spoke to a few people I knew and sat down.

“Oh no! I’ve forgotten my phone.”

“I’ve not got mine either.” was the grumpy old man’s reply.

“Well that’s just irresponsible of you, letting me come without it. How am I supposed to cruise t’interweb, twitter and text? … I’ll have to go back for it”.

The time was 4.46.

“Back in five minutes” I shouted to the bus driver who was stood on the pavement.

“OK, no problem.” - the driver was very nice, it turned out that he lived on North Street, just over t'bridge.

I started an unrealistic jog up Bridge Street before realising that I’d never make it there and back without oxygen, so slowed down to a speed walker’s pace with the customary wiggle of the bum and pistoning arms - not elegant but effective.

The MWg zinc ii was in the living room on the sofa. Hmm, I must have left it there while I put my coat on. I grabbed it and put it in my pocket. “Ahh that’s better” I thought, I’m used to the weight and bulk of it in my left jeans pocket which is why as soon as I sat down I knew it was missing.

I dashed back out, treading on next door’s cat at the back door - he’d been in for a snack. I carried on puffing and panting until I was half way down the street - this was me still recovering from my marathon going up.

Ok, deep breaths - in … and out … in … and out. Great, at last, now I’ve got my breathing under control - there was no way I was letting that lot know how unfit I was.

I put on my most serene, nonchalant ‘look at me, I’m not a bit out of breath’ expression as I arrived back at the coach for the second time, only to spoil it all by collapsing in a heap on the front seat and saying to anyone who could hear my strangled gasp “Who’s stupid bloody idea was it to live at the top of the street?” and “It’s a good job we’re not sat at the back, I’d never have made it that far.”

The time was 4.52 - wow, I’m good! Knackered and rather warm - but good.

Most of the Asda crew boarded, checked we were all there – we weren’t but we were going to leave at 5.00pm no matter what to make sure we got the seats in the public gallery and if there were too many of us the Asda people would stand. Very decent of them but where was my cuppa? you'd have thought that they'd have dished out tea and biscuits to their supporters [or oxygen in my case]. Oh, that's just when you give blood is it? - I see.

This is when we got our new ‘YES to ASDA Langley Mill leaflets, I confessed that I’d lost mine - where? - in the scanner, is it? Ooh yes … so it is.

“No worry’s, we’ve had loads printed. Thanks for coming along and for all your support”. This was from Mr Tom Asda McGarry, the first time I think I’ve seen him [I may be completely wrong as I'm hopeless with faces]. I was expecting someone older, he was about fifteen or so, in fact, as I looked at them, I noticed that they’re all teenagers - OH BUGGER! It’s not them that’s young is it? It’s me that’s old!

Off we went.

The junction of Cromford Road and Station Road - tut tut, who should want to come around the corner? A Tesco delivery van!

“Hiss, boo!” I waved my ‘YES to ASDA Langley Mill’ leaflet at the van.

Codnor - I repeated the exercise at the Tesco Express there.

Ripley - yes you've guessed it - Sainsburys got it.

My excuse is that I don’t get out much, especially after dark, and I was confused by all the tinsel and the happy atmosphere on the coach. So - and this is quite obvious when you think about it - I must have reasoned that I was on my way to a pantomime …

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Asda Gets Go Ahead for Langley Mill

Just a little note before we start - this is from my point of view, as I remember it. I wasn't taking the minutes or recording events so half of this post is probably complete hogwash - as I'm now at that stage in my life where I'm getting forgetful [was I even there?] and also, being of peasant stock - I don't always know what I'm talking about ...
We went along to the council planning meeting, I needn’t have worried about losing my ‘Yes to Asda in Langley Mill’ leaflet as plenty more were dished out on the coach.
The public gallery was full of Asda supporters, several people spoke [not me, I may be verbose with the keyboard but I'm very shy, honest] - all in favour of Asda. No-one was against it.

It was passed unanimously. We - from Langley Mill as a community - were even praised for going and saying what we wanted and looking on the positive side and ignoring the negatives - I don't think the councillors realised that we'd go anywhere on a free coach trip as we don't get out much. The atmosphere was great and there was cheering and applause from the public gallery when planning permission for Asda was granted.

The residential development took longer to discuss, it was pointed out that there were already plans in the pipeline for new houses and that the strain on the community shouldn’t be forgotten when looked at as a whole rather than just one application [or words to that effect].
The Primary Care Trust came under fire as they wanted £512.56 for each house built to go towards an extension of The Park Surgery in Heanor which will cost in the region of £350,000. It was made quite clear by one councillor that Langley Mill has enough residents for us to have our own health care without us having to travel to nearby towns. The PCT had denied this by conveniently using a 2001 census which showed that there were only some 4000 odd residents and that there was a doctors surgery on the border of Heanor and Langley Mill.
The upshot is that Asda will ensure the promised money to the PCT will remain on the table for ten years rather than five [where if it isn’t used it can be claimed back - er, I think]. One councillor [not on the planning board] needed this explaining to him – of course we understood straight away the implications [hmm] - that hopefully we would get our own health care facilities built in Langley Mill within this time-span. It will be interesting to see the outcome of this.

Access to the residential development was discussed briefly and was pointed out that it will be a terrible loss to the neighbourly spirit that we have on our street with us being a dead end with no through traffic. The children can now play on the street without fear and are watched over by us all, but this will change if we become the access to the new houses. Also there still remains the difficulties of an extra 70 plus cars using our road with the current car parking situation. This will be gone into more thoroughly at a later date with our local council, as this is now the only major niggle we on Bridge Street have.
I heard something odd this morning - that Heanor Haulage's crap was moving to Bowmer & Kirkland - where the first Asda in Langley Mill rumours originated from over 18 months ago. I suppose it could just be a temporary arrangement for HH.

Or maybe ... it's just the start of more rumours. Great! I love rumours - they keep me happily blogging for hours you know ...

Monday, 16 November 2009

Yes to Asda in Langley Mill :)

The council passed the proposals from Asda and Heanor Haulage tonight - for both the store and the residential development.

Lovely, here's to our future of living on a building site - at least temporarily - as opposed to living in a scrap yard.

I'll probably - depending on how much time I have - write in more detail [yawn] tomorrow ...

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Footpath 53 - And A tiny Bit of Gloating

I’ve read the AVBC documents on Asda’s proposals - yawn, it took two sessions to plough my way through them both. I'd have written this sooner but I've been hampered by too many distractions [work, Christmas shopping, cat trying to help me type].

There are lots of conditions to be met for permission to be granted - hmmm. Anyway, here’s my potted - and no doubt biased - version for those of you who can’t be bothered with the official stuff:-

Pros

  1. Heanor Haulage is a dump and will be revamped.
  2. There will be much needed jobs on offer within the area.
  3. The junction at Station Road and Cromford Road will be improved.
  4. Derelict and unsightly buildings will be removed.
  5. Contamination will [hopefully] be cleaned up
  6. Heanor Haulage will be able to continue with their operations. [not in my list of pro’s but I'm trying to be nice]
  7. Section 106 money to be spent locally, including £65,000 on Pottery Lane. ‘A total of £167,000 for the physical, social and economic regeneration of Langley Mill.’
  8. Wildlife will be encouraged to flourish in certain areas.
  9. Positive economic, social and regeneration benefits for Langley Mill.
  10. New houses to meet the demands of housing requirements in Amber Valley, ‘Although Langley Mill is not identified in the Regional plan as one of the main locations for new housing growth’ - interesting, so why do they keep trying on Cromford Road?

Cons

  1. Traffic problems.
  2. A threat to Heanor’s existing trade.
  3. The proposed Asda is too big for a village setting.
  4. Heanor Haulage will be staying - oops sorry.
  5. Flood risks.
  6. Disruption to residents.
  7. Not safe for pedestrians going from Asda to the Acorn Centre with HGV's using the link road.
  8. Langley Mill and Aldercar has already had a significant increase in housing without any health provision.
  9. Extra noise for residents near the proposed roundabout.
  10. Because of coal mining in the past, the fronts of our houses may indeed drop off - as I suspected and mentioned earlier - big pyjamas will be worn. Not only that, we may be blown up or gassed.

Apart from all that - and there’s bound to be lots more that I haven’t listed - there’s the problem of ‘public right of way footpath 53’, the section that runs from Bridge Street through HH’s roof to the railway bridge, why anyone cares about this bit is a mystery to me - but ‘rules is rules’. So before anything can be done at all, permission has to be sought - from the correct department - as the footpath can’t be diverted or obstructed ‘from its legal alignment during or after completion of the development. Therefore ‘a legal order may required to facilitate the proposals.’ [Asda - I can blow it up if you require - well I can jump up and down on it a few times to the same effect, it's very wobbly - just give me the nod - they’ll never know who dunnit].

Hmm, so why did Heanor Haulage try to close it several years ago? We even ended up on the telly with a petition - well a survey to prove it was used - to stop them from closing it. What a load of rubbish! … They were just trying it on weren’t they?

Apparently, the ‘unrestricted Heanor Haulage operations have resulted in a long history of complaints since their arrival in May 1996. The use of the site does create unacceptable environmental problems.’ If they knew this to be true, why haven't they stopped them? It looks like there’s been a lot more than us phoning up, it's a pity we didn’t know and all get together to compare notes.

Contaminants on the Heanor Haulage site include - ‘Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH), aromatic Total Petroleum Hydrocarbon (TPH) compounds, mercury and Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene and Xylenes (BTEX) compounds’ - lovely. It has been recommended that gas monitoring be continued due to the presence of carbon monoxide being discovered on the site.

Oh dear, oh dear, Mr HH must be spitting feathers - they’ve got to be relatively quiet and a lot more environmentally friendly, they can only work between 0800 - 1800 Mondays to Saturdays, that includes deliveries and despatches etc. Ha ha ha ha ha, not only that ‘all vehicle maintenance and repair work shall be conducted within the workshop and not in the open air. All external doors and windows opening directly into the workshop shall be closed other than for the duration of vehicle access/egress’. ‘ No solvent based spray-paints shall be used outdoors on the site’. Is that clear enough for you Mr HH?!

There may be archaeological work done because of the industrial archaeological interest in the ‘Vulcan Works’ - above and below ground, also the back-to-back workers houses before building commences, that should be interesting to the historical society. The local schoolchildren visit the top of Bridge Street every summer to look at the old building there and the workers houses.

Work has to be completed in three phases

  1. Heanor Haulage office and Depot.
  2. Asda Foodstore, retail units and petrol filling station.
  3. Residential Development.
This is all assuming that both proposals are passed, each phase has to be completed before the next one begins. I hope that there'll be a temporary Post Office sorted out as a lot of people rely on the one at Langley Mill, I can't see anywhere that this is covered, but I could have missed it.

The bugbear for Bridge Street remains with the access to the new houses once they are built, we agree Dean Street is too narrow, but even though there is only housing on one side of Bridge Street, there are still parked cars on both sides for most of its length. If there weren’t, a small boy wouldn’t have run out into the road a quarter way up the street and hit our car with his his head [it was that way around, we have the dint to prove it.] He was shaken but relatively unharmed, this is because the residents of Bridge Street are used to children playing in the road so drive slowly. There is no way in this world that the statement ‘2-way vehicle movement’ can apply to Bridge Street, it won’t happen as things stand, even with a car park at the top of the street.

There were representations made, most expressing support for Asda, I could see my suggestions amongst them so I wasn’t totally ignored - well not yet anyway.

The grumpy old man has been in touch with the Asda chap - seeing as they didn’t write to me - so we’re going on the coach [from the Bridge Centre at 5.00pm] to wave our ‘YES to Asda in Langley Mill’ leaflet [if I can find it] at the councillors next Monday - unless I’ve been arrested for threatening to blow up footpath 53 …

Friday, 6 November 2009

Heanor Haulage's Bonfire



We knew HH would be having a bonfire last night because it's the one night of the year that we can all get away with burning rubbish. But this morning they're still adding to it, which means I'm suffocating because we can't have any windows open and I hate them shut.


They are sneaky little buggers though, not only did they burn wood, but plastic and cable - the remains of which they dragged out earlier this morning before stoking it up a bit more. I text my friend and neighbour to make sure that she knew that HH was blowing smoke all over her washing.



It'll be interesting to see if the tyres in the background of the last photo will still be there later - I think they will be actually - I'm just being mean. Tut, tut, do you think perhaps that I don't entirely trust Heanor Haulage not to pollute my atmosphere ...


Little update - the tyres aren't there now but they were taken away with the stuff that didn't burn - after the fire was stoked up a bit more at 11.40am.

I'm off out with the GOM now for a few more birthday celebrations ;) ...

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Hints of Beige and Beyond

You'll be pleased to know - as was I, that even though I have [had, HAD!] this bizarre urge to buy beige, I rarely wear it - this was pointed out to me by my crumbliest yet trendiest friend and yes, I do indeed have a cupboard full of the stuff but at least half still has the price tag on even though they’d been gathering dust for several years. Time to fill a charity bag I think; to de-beige my wardrobe.

The comfy cords I only wear to work in, as I don’t mind them turning pink in places [dye that gets everywhere but washes out]. And the other odd bits of beige that does get worn is always to complement a bright colour, usually orange, as this is my new favourite colour [my recently painted bathroom is proof of this].

I thought the beige thing was a bit odd as I’m well known for my bright colours, much to my younger sister’s disgust - she wears a lot of autumn colours and paints everything in varying shades of cream [beige]. Whereas a visit here for her means that she needs to wear dark glasses and it makes her teeth itch.

My new theory on the beige factor is that when we reach a certain age, the ‘mean-gene’ kicks in, telling us to stop being frivolous and to buy clothes that will match anything - ergo - beige.

This is almost - but not quite - a relief, because it still means I’ve reached a ‘certain age’. At least now it means that I can sing out loud to muzak when I’m shopping and not worry about what people think. I remember cringing with embarrassment while out shopping with ladies of a ‘certain age’ - I was in my thirties then - they not only sang but danced too, Oh dear I’m blushing now at the very thought.

Tomorrow is my big day. I think, according to one set of rules that I’m supposed to start acting sensible - well as far as I’m concerned; I covered that with my ‘beige blip’ so now I should be free to carry on in my own doolally way …

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Update from Asda - Langley Mill




The grumpy old man received what can only be described - well by me, in my current mood - as a begging letter from Asda this morning.

Apparently Amber Valley Borough Council are expected to make a decision on the ‘Asda planning application’ on Monday 16th November - aha, that's why someone googled yesterday with the phrase ‘asda get go ahead langley mill’. They were checking to see if I knew when it would be.
There, my very best Miss Marple impression again - it's quite worrying when someone else visits with a ‘.gov.uk’ in the host name though - paranoia, don't you just love it!?

‘Public support, like your own, could be a crucial factor in the Asda scheme being granted planning consent.’
They also harbour bizarre notions that we might be ‘interested in speaking on the night in support of the Asda application.’ - as - supportive speeches can be extremely effective’.

They’re looking into arranging free coaches to take us to the council offices in Ripley so we can waft our ‘attached’ [I think they meant enclosed] ‘YES to Asda Langley Mill’ leaflet.

If you’re at all wondering about my mood - oh, you weren’t - it’s because Asda never write to ME!

OK, moaning aside now - why does Asda think they need any support? The only objections I can envisage will come from Tesco and Morrisons for purely non-altruistic reasons.
Other than that, the only serious consideration has to be traffic. Asda has pointed out in this most recent letter - not addressed to me - that NONE of their HGV’s will travel through the centre of Heanor - not that it'll matter much by then, because with the opening of Asda, Heanor will probably become a ‘ghost town’ - unless of course, you want to eat your takeaway at the bookies.

Nor is it ‘anticipated that Cromford Road will be used by Asda related traffic’ - I think they’re wrong on that one myself as there may be a lot of traffic from Codnor and even Loscoe using that route to shop at Asda.

But who am I to say? I’m not worth writing to even though they have always had my support - especially since they promised to shove the Heanor Haulage workshop a bit further away.

There were people at the top of Bridge Street earlier today taking photos of the eyesore that is the bridge steps and Heanor Haulage's deadly nightshade patch with razor wire - I wasn't being nosy either, I just happened to be nipping next door when I saw them. I can only imagine that was something to do with Asda or the council.

Hmm, Heanor Haulage, no-one seems to know anything more about them and the bit of recreation ground they want to spread on to - I’ll have to have a nosy day - I have had a little look on AVBC website and noticed that a decision on the Asda/HH residential development proposal is expected on the same day - but I've found nothing about that bit of land.

Note to self - the ‘we love Asda’ leaflet which clashes horribly with my blog background is still in the scanner, don't forget it ...

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

It’s A Beige Thing!

I was just doing the ironing - I’m one of the few people I know who doesn’t mind ironing, but then I never have a lot to do as there’s only two of us, plus I drift off into my own little world.

I noticed that three tops I ironed one after the other were all from Peacocks, ‘hmm’, I thought, ‘I’ve not bought anything from there in ages - and when did I last go to Next or New Look ... was it even this century?!’

Next up were a pair of cords from Bon Marche - YIKES!!! They’re beige, with comfy side elastication! When did this happen to me?

I stood there while my colour drained away [I went a bit of a beigy shade], mentally going through my wardrobe for items in beige:-

  1. comfy cords
  2. not so comfy, wedgie-bum jeans [I had been thinking of throwing these away]
  3. 3 pairs cropped trousers
  4. 2 pairs shorts
  5. fleece
  6. gilet
  7. sleeveless top
  8. short sleeved cardigan
  9. a very long cardigan
  10. sandals
  11. trainers
  12. shoes
  13. 3 bags

They were the ones I could instantly bring to mind. When did this happen? Do our brains turn to mush at a certain age, telling us that we look good in beige?

And when did the transition from Peacocks to Bon Marche happen? Oh I say! I’ve even got a Bon Marche loyalty card. I'm just one small step away from shopping in the Marks and Spencers section of elasticated waist trousers in some crimpleny, polyester non-crease stuff in varying leg lengths.

It must be shopping with my crumbly friend that has aged me - yet she doesn’t wear beige and people comment on how elegant yet trendy she looks - that’s my influence on her I’ll have you know!

OH NO!! I dyed my hair yesterday - it’s beige.

Even worse - the grumpy old man has finally proposed to me and we’re getting engaged on my birthday [just an excuse for a ring]. I was cruising t’interweb for diamond rings after looking in all the jewellers at Skegness and rather a lot more in Nottingham, when ‘Champagne Diamonds’ caught my eye.

Yes, he’s bought me one - and hidden it away until the big day. It’s really, really lovely - but ‘Champagne’ is just another word for bloody BEIGE!

Monday, 2 November 2009

Getting Beyond A Joke e.on


OK, I’ve had my tuppennyworth of amusement out of these holes, but what the wind hasn’t done; the local t**ts have finished off.

The barrier is completely down, a family trying to go up the bridge on their way to school has just had to struggle past as the barrier was still connected in places but lying all over the pavement, until one of them gave in and shoved it all back towards the hole.

It’s awful living here with all those bits of ammunition lying around, it’s bad enough at the best of times with some of the yobs that use the bridge, but last night I was sat listening to the morons. I didn't tell the slightly deaf GOM or he'd have gone out to tell them off. You daren’t show your face to tell anyone to behave because your property ends up being the first target - as we've already found out.

Later, I was laid awake listening for people throwing stuff. It’s no joke waiting to hear things hitting your windows, doors and cars. If the holes aren’t filled in today and the ammunition moved, there will be phone calls made - in fact I’ll ring them today anyway.

And for your information Central Networks - e.on, if any of your stuff [including the hole debris] hits any of our properties - by any means - then you expect the bill for the damage.

By the way, it's Langley Mill - not Long Eaton - why do they always confuse the two? I suppose it could be because they're both in Derbyshire with a similar Nottingham postcode [NG16 - NG10].

I wouldn't be surprised if the hole fillers have been stood on Bridge Street in Long Eaton, scratching their heads and wondering where the holes are …

Sunday, 1 November 2009

And Then There Was Light - And Two BIG Holes


We now have light at the top of Bridge Street - again. We can only assume that it must have been a temporary repair they did last week - why else would a lot of workmen fix it until it was broke; leaving the top houses without power for nine hours?

We’re reduced to playing ‘musical cars’, parking them in order of whoever leaves first in the mornings - being of a relatively idle disposition; this means our car will end up at the very top of the road most days.

There has been no sign of workmen since Thursday when they dug the correct hole and repaired the light. Is it normal to leave holes in the road and pavement so long when the job has been done?

The long barrier has now blown over and into the hole leaving part of it unprotected, one of the signs has taken off down the street; ending up precariously close to a brand new car. Now a couple of bits of the barrier are twizzling around in the breeze - no make that one, as one bit has given in and dropped off.

At least now we’ll be able to see the holes before we fall in them - Did I mention how clumsy I was ...

Thursday, 29 October 2009

No Lights and Two BIG Holes

Whilst I was sunning myself in Majorca I received a text from the grumpy old man to say that there were workmen finally fixing our light at the top of Bridge Street - not all his texts were this riveting, I assure you.

There was light Wednesday night when I returned home, plus the minor inconvenience of a hole straight across from us - this was remedied at 7.30 the following morning by workmen clattering loudly and applying a miniscule amount of tarmac - why does everyone think I need to be up early?!?

This morning I received a text from my friend and neighbour, asking me when we were thinking of returning home as there was nowhere to park the car - this is because there’s a big hole in the pavement in front of her house and her neighbours. Not only that, they'd been without electricity at the top of the street for over nine hours yesterday. Oh heck, that means our lights on timers will be on during the night and not in the evenings so thanks for that!

To add insult to injury, they finally realised that they’d dug up the wrong side of the road - it took approximately 12 men to come to this earth shattering conclusion. Why would they think the cable was on our side when they’d already told the GOM last week [while he was supplying them with cups of tea] that the break was at the bottom of the bridge steps.

Today, there are holes both sides of the road and still they are digging. When asked, they said that it was an emergency job. This would all have been fine and greatly appreciated but until they dug up the road yesterday the light on the bridge had been WORKING for over a week. Why was it an emergency now anyway? It had been originally reported by my neighbour around 25th September as that was the third night without light.

When they’ve finished making the holes and doing whatever repairs are necessary, they’ll have to wait for another team of hole-fillers to do their bit then it’ll be the turn of the tarmacers. They were originally going to fill the wrong hole in at 2.00am last night but didn’t turn up. I'm so glad I'm missing all the fun.

I’ve read - with a fair amount of amazement - that AVBC is planning to spend £100,000 on poor neglected Langley Mill - I do hope it won’t all go on digging big holes and filling them back in on Bridge Street …

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Ryanair Greed and Other Airport Annoyances

I've had a few days away with four girlfriends - I don't have time to write about that yet, suffice it to say, we had a fun time - but our experiences at Palma airport, Majorca. I do have time for.

We arrived at the airport in plenty of time after a 90 minute bus ride, went to the loo - which is always a must on arriving anywhere - even if it’s only a 10 minute journey.

We went through airport security, you know how it goes - shove your hand luggage onto the conveyor then a tray with your coat, bag etc. I made several attempts at this but the three Germans in front of me had to keep getting more trays for their belts and shoes as things were bleeping.

I waited patiently until they were through, shoved my stuff and walked through - I never bleep, a short record I'm proud of - got to the other end to collect my stuff and refill my pockets with bleepables when this woman in uniform marched up to me:-

‘You take trays over there, not leave them here, is your job!’

Now I'm a nice person, very obliging. If she'd said ‘Excuse me please, will you take these trays to the pile over there when you go?’ I'd have stayed and collected the next half dozen for her.

I do NOT respond well to orders, especially when I'm not at fault so I picked my tray up [as I'd always intended to] and told her that I'd take my tray and only mine and she could stick the rest where she wanted!

We had a look around the duty free shop, made a few vital purchases. Had a cup of something - well - it was wet, we all remarked that we couldn't wait for a proper cup of tea when we got home and decided that it was now time to be on our way.

We sauntered along the moving walkways - not really advisable if you're like me because I tend to look around and not concentrate on the job in hand - which nearly resulted in me landing on my a**e, but far, far worse than that, breaking my precious and almost wildly expensive litre bottle of Southern Comfort [yum, yum, yum].

Luckily no-one spotted my near-accident as my feet skidded to a stop and I lurched to the next moving bit so my dignity and Southern Comfort were safe - for now.

My crumbly friend and I had paid for priority boarding - a complete waste of time when we left East Midlands Airport as there were only 30 passengers on board, meaning we all had a row of seats each and our cheap friends had a giggle at our expense - but it did prove to be very useful coming back as the flight was nearly full.

Uh-oh, the little Nazi-type woman was moving the hand-baggage measure doo-dah next to the desk, if she wants me to put my case in there which has expanded alarmingly while I've been away due to a couple of purchases then I'm stuffed:-

‘PRIORITY!’ she shouted.
All the smug looking priority ticket holders swarmed forward [that includes me in case you’re not keeping up] - My turn came.

‘You, take case there, put bag in, only one bag allowed’
‘But it's duty free.’
‘No, no, one bag only, is the rules’

By now I was getting fairly ticked of by bolshy little upstarts but I resolved not to be beaten. My friend was panicking, I told her to get on the plane, that I was OK. I opened my case, took out my fleece and put my precious Southern Comfort in. Zipped the case back up, took my coat off, put the fleece on and the coat back on top and presented myself to SeƱora Hitler.

‘OK, you go now.’
I was MELTING in the heat!! but felt that I'd won a small if sweaty victory, if she hadn't let me on at this point, I was prepared to wear every item of clothing in my case.

Meanwhile, I noticed that some of the others who had witnessed my ‘repacking’ were trying to get their duty free into their cases and one man just handed his bag over and told 'Adolfa' to keep it.

Oh dear, I knew our non-priority friends had made duty free purchases too, but I couldn't see them to warn them what was in store as there were so many people waiting to board the plane.

Needless to say, when their turn came they tried to share things out between the bags but it was hopeless. One of them had to pay 35 Euros to have her luggage put in the hold and she carried the duty free onboard.

I've read recently - of course too late - that the staff are paid a percentage as an incentive to get luggage declared as oversized. This may be a rumour but who knows?

I'm a bit annoyed with myself though, as I usually check and double check everything. I'd made sure of the size of re-sealable plastic bag we needed for our liquids [20x20cm - 100ml each item] etc to get through security. The maximum bag size and weight [55x40x20cm - 10Kg] that Ryanair allowed. I had repeated nightmares that I'd forget to check-in online - which we'd had to pay £5 for the privilege even though there's no choice.

I had also read that Ryanair were thinking of charging £1 for us to use the loo but decided against it - for now - this was a shrewd move on their part as I can't see anyone wanting to pay £3 for a cup of coffee then another £1 to recycle it and give it them back.

Will I fly with Ryanair again?

The simple answer is yes, they are still cheap and if you're a bit uneasy in a crowd or you simply want to get on first and pick your seat it is worth paying for priority boarding.

It's up to me to make sure I'm up to date with their latest money-making ideas, and to keep one step well ahead ...

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Have Heanor Haulage Already Expanded?


Well, as long suspected Heanor Haulage seems to have expanded onto the side of the railway with a couple of their flatbeds and a nice new fence. So really they don't appear to be going anywhere soon. We knew that the land was being sold a while ago as there were notices up at the time.

I'm expecting this arrangement to cause Asda a bit of a headache as they've stated that they want to improve Pottery Lane. This now means that they've also got to make it safe for pedestrians as Heanor Haulage will need to get to their new open storage somehow.

Unless, as was rumoured way back - along with the earliest ‘Asda coming to Langley Mill rumours’, Heanor Haulage wanted to access this land from the industrial estate up Cromford Road. I suppose we'll eventually find out what their plans are when they've done it - pretty normal.

At least the awful mess should get cleared up under the bridge that teenagers have made with their drinking [and other activities] den. Oops, I forgot who we’re talking about, there’s the disgusting mess at the top of Bridge Street that Heanor Haulage won’t clean up and we can’t get in to do it, so I may be making wild assumptions here.

Now, although I haven’t got anywhere near enough spies to keep me properly up to date, I have been informed that they can’t build on this ex-railway land, it’s only for the storage of flatbeds. I wonder where the rest of the crap will go?

Oh silly me, I was having a senile moment there, it’s not going anywhere …

What, No Lights?

I mentioned on 3rd October that we’d got no street lights working at the top end of Bridge Street, I wrongly assumed that because the council were looking at them that they’d been fixed.

A couple of chaps from e.on turned up quite early yesterday morning in a little red van, looked around, hummed and ahhed – still we have no lights.

It’s very, very dark, I can tell this by the extra noise from people at 4.28am trying to negotiate the steps at the bottom of the bridge. Also the Grumpy Old Man has taken to using the car’s rear fog light just for a bit of extra glow when reversing back up the road to park.

AHEM, council! I’m afraid if the lights aren’t fixed soon somebody may have a horrible accident going up or coming down the bridge steps, then they may be claiming compensation.

I wonder what I’d get for a broken toe? I’m always breaking them - Now where did I put that claim form …

Monday, 12 October 2009

A Googling Nightmare

Well the crumbliest among us has been updated [upgraded - I know!] with an XP laptop with wifi - Oh dear.

The first thing I did when summoned, was to sort her an hotmail address to use on Windows Live Messenger as she wanted to 'talk' to me while I was away. I gave her strict instructions to learn how to use this first, plus a little light searching - nothing more. I didn't want her trying to learn too much at once; being overwhelmed, failing to grasp it and giving up. This may sound patronising, I don't mean to be, but I know from helping others that the older you are, the harder it is to take in. I also told her to keep a notebook handy to jot down things she wasn't sure of so she could ask someone later.

'How do I ask for Google?'
'You've got Google there' I answered, pointing to it.
'Do I type Google in there?'
No, it - is - a - Google - search - bar.'
'So and so types Google in there and she gets Google.'
'Well you don't need to.'
'So what do I type in there then?'
'You just type in whatever you want to know.'
'Well, really ... I want Google.'
*@%#!

This would try the patience of a Saint and I'm no Saint.

The other day - via texts and messenger:-

'I tried to sign in to Google Facebook and Yahoo Facebook.'
'What?'
'Neither worked.'
'What?'
'I asked Google for Facebook, tried to sign in, it didn't work so I asked Google for Yahoo, then Yahoo for Facebook and tried to sign in there.'
'Why?'
'Well so and so does it if Google can't find what she wants.'
'Google will find Facebook, Yahoo will find Facebook, you don't need to ask one to ask the other where chuffing Facebook is!'
'Oh.'
'You haven't got a facebook account.'
'Well I put all my details in, my name and school.'
'Did you use your email address?'
'Is hotmail.co.uk my email?'
'No that's just the end of it.'
'And ******-******* is my name on the Internet.'
'No, that's the beginning of your email.'
'Do I need a password?'
'Look I'll sign you up to facebook and send you the details to log in.'

I did the deed.

'Why that password? Can't I have ********?'
'You can change it once you've logged in, I'm not a mind reader, I had to pick summat!!'

I was a bit short with her as we'd already had words about an email address she'd sent me by text - which she knew she'd done right because so and so said so. Yes the address was right including the underscore but she's a demon for full stops and no spaces so I - completely forgetting this foible, put a name and a dot more in the address than I should and ended up with an 'undelivered' notification.

Text received that evening:-

'My family think I'm doing great on the Internet, they also think I need showing only a bit at a time. And they never thought to see me on Facebook. I feel quite chuffed with myself.'

Oh dear, oh dear ...

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Heanor Haulage Expanding?

To continue with Sunday’s moan …

Why does Heanor Haulage need more storage space at the back of Bridge Street if they’re - quote - “Moving much of it’s existing operation within the Heanor area but its main office and a new workshop will be rebuilt on the same site.”[the only bit that we've been told is staying].

It doesn’t make any sense, no-one moves their ‘existing operation’ by expanding their current storage space. Or is this just a sneaky way of them acquiring land to build more houses on?

I wonder why one councillor has objected to the disposal of this land. Why doesn’t it state in the newspaper that Heanor Haulage want the land, rather than the very small piece that just says the council want to dispose of it?

There have been so many EXPECTED objections to Asda’s ridiculous ‘access’ ideas to the proposed ‘residential development’, that they may eventually say “Hey, we don’t want to upset people, we want to be good neighbours – we’ll leave it just the way it is.”

If there are no changes made to the current use of the land then there’ll be nothing we can object to – and if this is the case, isn’t it time to stop pretending otherwise? – quote from Mr HH at www.roadtransport.com on 24th March 2009 - “It is possible we would stay at Langley Mill and may simply move into our back yard.”

There is one thing that desperately needs doing if Heanor Haulage is going to stay on their back yard. It needs tarmacing because the dust is disgusting and wholly unnecessary - with proper drainage to prevent Dean Street from being flooded.

Also there needs to be much stricter rules for their working hours. Heanor Haulage work whenever they want including Sundays, caring nothing for the residents. More importantly their equipment needs updating, it’s old and filthy and pollutes our air as well as being a noise nuisance, and it’s time they stopped playing with cranes, they’ve been doing that for at least 2 years and it’s a damned nuisance!

Go on Heanor Haulage and Asda - build the houses and get rid of the eyesore that is Heanor Haulage's back yard. If you don't, the whole project will seem to be underhand and dodgy. Then again, maybe that's how the council and Heanor Haulage have always done things …

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Disposal of Land Just Over t'Back

My spies and I - there are some nosy people - have been pooling information about things that we find interesting - be thankful we don't find you interesting.

Now, in Aldercar and Langley Mill Parish Council meeting on 16th of June, there was a request from Langley Mill Boxing Club to extend their premises onto land adjacent to Queen Street Recreation Ground. But no-one seemed to be sure who owned the land. It also stated that: - there may be a possible inclusion within the proposed development of the residential units off Dean Street [Asda's and HH's proposal in case you're not following my drift].

It's a fair bet that they've found out now who owns the land; because in this weeks Ripley and Heanor News [1st October] there's a tidgy bit in the public notices where: - Notice is given that Amber Valley Borough Council intends to dispose of some land on Queen Street Recreation Ground - 291 square metres etc, etc.

Isn't it funny how the council wants to dispose of it now - when it's been stood perfectly happy, growing trees and minding it's own business for years.

How do you dispose of land? It's not something you can flush down the loo or sweep under the carpet. Do they mean sell? Did they not put sell in case someone put two and two together and came up with four and a half?

I wonder who will buy it - Heanor Haulage perhaps? Well. I would certainly think so; seeing as the council received a letter from them on the 18th May 2009. Asking for the land so that they could increase their open storage space. Decidedly odd - if not a little dodgy for a company claiming to be downsizing; and who also just happen to have a current planning application for a residential development on their adjacent land!

And of course, the council probably didn't mean sell as apparently the land has no value, so disposal it is then. Now the council have to advertise the fact that they want to dispose of the land in a local paper for two weeks before they consider any representations.

Does the council always dispose of it's [our] land if someone comes along and asks for it, or is this just a rule for the big boys with large wads of cash? Can we put in an application for it - seeing as it's going begging and it's valueless? I might like it for myself. I could nip over there, peg my washing out and sit under my trees!

This 'freedom of information' lark - it's a bit of a bugger isn't it ...