Saturday, 29 November 2008

No, but, really!

I just think that a PC from a reputable maker, in the hands of someone who’s been using a computer for nearly 20 years and who knows what she’s doing, should last longer than 16 months and not poof off without warning.

I’ve been a nasty shade of livid for the past few days.


Update (1/12/08): if you want to retain your sanity, do not buy a Hewlett-Packard computer, and do not buy it from John Lewis.

The stress of it all!

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Some Health Hero!

I was reading the Boots magazine the other day and came upon this – about their pharmacists:
High Street Health Heroes
[They can] advise on vitamins and supplements:
we can assess your age and lifestyle and advise on what nutrients you might be missing from your diet.
Ha! They can advise me on what vitamins to take, can they? So why is it that when I asked a Boots pharmacist about a good, easily digestible brand of vitamin C (because I have IBS and can’t have things like citric acid, an ingredient of effervescent tablets, which are supposed to be the easiest to assimilate), he looked like he hadn’t understood the question, hesitated and then mumbled, ‘But citric acid is vitamin C!’ I answered, ‘With respect, vitamin C is ascorbic acid, not citric acid.’

Actually, I didn’t say ‘with respect’ because I had instantly lost all respect for him. I told him to look it up, and walked away. His two assistants had witnessed the encounter and I expect they didn’t have much respect for him either after that.


Saturday, 15 November 2008

Mixed messages

A couple of weeks ago, the largest shopping centre in Europe opened within spitting distance of where I live. If my flat was higher up I could probably even see it from my desk.

It's called Westfield. Gorgeous, innit?

Except... I’m not fond of shopping malls: I find them claustrophobic, even when they’re very spacious. I need to breathe a bit of fresh air from time to time. If I can’t, I lose the will to live after a while. They’re not kidding when they say Westfield is the largest shopping centre in Europe. It’s absolutely ginormous: I’ve been there three times since Day 1 (when I took the pics above) and still can’t quite find my way around.

It should be ‘a good thing’, though. We’re all hoping it will signal the start of the long-promised regeneration of Shepherds Bush. Not before time, we thought, when we first heard about it. The ‘gentrification’ was going to happen, years ago, when it was announced that Kate Moss would be buying a flat in the area; she never did. Then, Nigella, who’d been living around here for years, dissed the place after John Diamond died and soon moved to a much posher address with her millionaire husband. So let’s hope it won’t be a case of jamais deux sans trois. But it might, and Shepherds Bush may never become a new Notting Hill Gate since hardly any residents will have the money to avail themselves of what Westfield has to offer. The only customers will be those foreign multi-billionaires to whom we owe the fact that London is the most expensive city in Europe, if not the world. At the moment, business in Westfield is booming, apparently, but what about after the holidays, when all the fairy lights have been switched off and everyone has received their credit card bills? What then? Some of the stores will survive, but others are bound to close down (I think I can already tell which ones). Will this bright and shiny temple of consumption turn into another desolate warehouse, full of mobile-phone stores and charity shops?

Curiously, Westfield has revived my fondness towards Hammersmith, which has been my playground until now. It has a wealth of fun, cheap stores, like Primark and Tiger and the newly opened Poundland and, of course, TK Maxx, where I can get items of clothing I couldn’t afford otherwise. I can have fun in Hammersmith: I can spend the odd pound without feeling guilty. Westfield is for ‘serious’ shopping. Although it will be very nice not to have to traipse to the West End if I want to visit Debenhams or House of Fraser or a large branch of M&S, I predict I will mostly come back empty-handed and rather frustrated from my trips to Westfield.

I will just have to resist going there and instead stay at home and make preserves and mend my tights using my hair, as India K probably advocates in her latest book on thrift. I am so sick and tired... of clichés... no, of wealthy people giving me advice on how to live frugally. I could hardly be more frugal than I am already. I gather there are adults out there who’ve only lived in a time of boom and who would welcome some tips, but someone who wrote a bestseller entirely devoted to shopping – and who will be raking in the royalties for this book too – is in no position to tell them anything about not spending money. Or doesn’t credibility matter any longer?

Oh, and one more thing: what is missing in Westfield – and that will sadden some of my readers – is a posh perfume shop. There isn’t a single ‘niche’ fragrance to be had – nothing but so-called department-store stuff. There is a branch of Beauty Base (the Queensway perfumery), but it doesn’t even sell the Serge Lutens scents it used to stock a few years ago. Actually, talking of Beauty Base, the boss should have a word with some of his employees and tell them not to antagonise customers by using words like ‘You’re not allowed to...’, etc. Considering Beauty Base sells miniatures clearly marked NOT FOR SALE, I don’t think it has a leg to stand on when it comes to things not being allowed, do you?


Sunday, 2 November 2008

I’ve been tagged again!

And this is a fun and easy assignment from Trina at My Life My Words My Mind : ‘Grab the nearest book. Open the book to page 56. Find the fifth sentence. Post the text of the next two to five sentences in your journal/blog along with these instructions. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one: pick the CLOSEST. Tag five other people to do the same.’

Now, let’s see: the book that is always closest to me is my trusty Collins Robert Comprehensive English > French Dictionary. It’s very big and a great source of comfort: I know that should my memory fail (as it does more and more often these days) I can always rely on it to get me out of a tight spot.

Page 56 bang / bar
* to bang one’s fist on the table taper du poing sur la table
* to bang one’s head against or on something se cogner la tête contre ou à qch
* (fig) you’re banging your head against a brick wall when you argue with him autant cracher en l’air que d’essayer de discuter avec lui
* to bang the door (faire) claquer la porte
* he banged the window shut il a claqué la fenêtre

Fascinating, isn’t it? If you want to know what comes next, you’ll have to buy your own copy of the book: there’s another 1284 pages like that.

I’d like to tag:

GSE at Really Quite Useful
Brian at Brian Sibley: the blog
Bowleserised at Bowleserised