26 January 2020

Miracles do happen

Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle. Or aunt. For the last two months, I have had a penpal relationship with Opodo, the company who in September sold me the flights to and from Prague. Of course, the return flight was non-existent, as I discovered to my horror when I went to check-in online a week before in November. Opodo had sold me a non-existent flight. Opodo refunded me the return leg of the fare, but, because so much time had passed between originally booking in September and having to buy a replacement flight in November, the cost of the replacement flight had soared by three times as much.  I argued they should pay the difference, as it was Opodo's fault that they had sold me a non-existent flight and then put me in a position of having to buy a replacement flight at such short notice.

I say I had a penpal relationship, but in all honesty, it was mainly one-sided. I would send off a detailed email to customer care, then three weeks later they would reply with a one-liner wanting more information. I would reply within 24 hours and then have to wait another three weeks for their reply, again wanting more information. However, eventually,  they accepted my expensive outlay was their fault and said they would pay out the amount I had requested. It took five days to reach my bank account, but, yesterday, when I checked, it had been paid in. So it is possible to take on a faceless organisation and get your fair dues. Miracles do happen.

08 January 2020

New Year, New Decade

Well, we're already one week into The Roaring Twenties. The Christmas decorations have been taken down, dusted and wrapped back in their boxes in the cellar. The house looks very bare. The excesses of the festive season have managed to pile three pounds on to my waistline, so that I must work extra hard to lose them, and there is talk of a war with Iran. Gosh, what a difference a few weeks can make.

Kay and I had a lovely Christmas - just the two of us - relaxing too much, eating too much and, yes, even drinking slightly too much. Kay's boyfriend's mother had bought Kay a delightfully addictive plum and cinnamon gin as a present and it came with a recipe label for mixing it with Prosecco, which we dutifully did on Christmas Day. And Boxing Day. And the day after that! We just happened to have some frozen black cherries in the freezer to complete the taste. Kay had a bad cold and said the cocktail worked miracles to calm that down. I didn't have a cold, but the cocktail worked miracles anyway!

Between Christmas and New Year we went up to Lincolnshire to visit Greg's sister and her family, swapping presents with them and having more Christmas food and even more drinks. On New Year's Eve, I waddled down to Brighton to spend New Year with my two best friends and ate and drank even more. Unfortunately, another guest from Switzerland brought the entire national product of chocolate from Switzerland. My friend doesn't like chocolate much, so we were sent home with supplies.  I am a self-confessed chocoholic. If it's in the house, it has to be eaten. What with what I received as presents too, I am surprised I have only put on three pounds. I don't drink much during the rest of the year (probably the odd glass of wine once every two months) but I make up for it in late December, it would seem. So now a fast from chocolate and anything fatty is on the cards, plus an exercise regime to get those pounds off. Of course, the drinking is no problem, as my next glass will probably be months away.

I have said before that normally I feel all discombobulated at the beginning of a new year. I compare the passing of a year to climbing a mountain.  In January, we start at the foothills  and slowly make the ascent into February, March, April and so on. By December, after a lot of hard effort, we finally get to the snowy peak and regard the world from on high. But come New Year's Eve, we fall off the cliff edge, falling falling falling..........until we reach the ground, there at the foothills once more to start the arduous climb into January. I don't know why it feels like that to me. I have spoken to others about it and they look at me as thought they should fetch the men in white coats. May be the long nights and gloomy days have something to do with it and the anti-climax after celebrations at Christmas and New Year. It is not helped by Trump's gun-swaggering at the start of a new decade and I do wonder what the coming weeks and months will bring. Iran is already retaliating, as I write

On that note, peace, happiness, hard work at the gym and a happy new year to you all. Not necessarily in that order.