March 29, 2004

Are You Being Served?

Nina and I have decided to update the kitchen and have new worktops. Of course I should have realised that it does not stop there, as I am informed that we need a new hob, sink, taps etc. To ask the question “what is wrong with the existing hob?” has of course only elicited a withering look in exactly the same way that “if it ain’t broke - don’t mend it” does.

So off we go to John Lewis to see the latest styles. Am I being cynical to think that the more expensive an article is, the more stylish it is? We wandered around the kitchen settings marvelling at what is available since we last did this some 17 years ago. This finally brought down the choice to two or three different items. On making enquiries from one of two very well dressed personnel in the department we were informed that they had no idea of the specifications or costs involved and we would have to go to the Electrical Department to enquire! You all know me! I just had to ask “What about the gas hobs?” Greeted with a disdainful half-smile, I was informed that these also come under the Electrical Department. How stupid of me not to see the logic of this!

Over to the Customer Service area in Electrical we go and arrive at a desk surrounded by comfortable armchairs. Grace Brothers has nothing on this place! At least five young men – very well suited and booted – are walking, talking or writing and looking very busy. They appear to be supervised by a well-groomed individual who is a caricature cross between Captain Peacock and Mr Humphries displaying all their most amusing attributes, including the walk of John Inman, supplemented by the exaggerated way he carries his clipboard. He stared straight at me, and I have to confess, if he had said, “Are you being served” I think I would have laughed out loud. Fortunately he did not, but merely asked if he could assist. When I explained that we only wanted information on the items selected in the kitchen section, he gestured to another man standing at a pulpit type desk and asked him to list my requirements. A form was duly completed, including the time, and we were asked to take a seat! I am now biting my lip in the expectation that he is going to turn to another minion and demand of him “Are you free? No – this cannot happen. After some time sitting in these comfortable easy chairs wondering why they do not serve coffee and biscuits, we are led back to the kitchen department and we are finally given the information requested. We are still at a loss to know why this was not available in the one department that should have had it. The whole episode took over 30 minutes, and the store was almost empty, it being quite early in the day.

In conclusion please be advised by those who have gone through the experience, if you want to find out about anything in the kitchen department at John Lewis, allow yourself at least half a day to ‘enjoy’ the experience and you will not get too frustrated.

Posted by jeff at 02:18 AM | Comments (0)

March 13, 2004

Happy Birthday to Laura

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Laura at 7 Months

Nina and I wish a happy 40th birthday to our wonderful daughter, Laura.
Friday, 13 March 1964 – lucky for us - is indelibly etched in our minds. We will never forget that wonderful day. You have been a shining light in our lives ever since

Posted by jeff at 12:45 AM | Comments (1)

March 09, 2004

Cecil Beaton

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Cecil Beaton (1904-1980) by Paul Tanqueray 1937

Why do I always feel as though I am playing hooky when I go out and enjoy myself during the week? After all I am semi-working and can choose to go wherever I like whenever I like – so there! Today Nina and I decided to go into London to see the Cecil Beaton photographs at the National Portrait Gallery.

This is a fantastic exhibition covering the career of this talented man from the 1920s through to the 1970s. I would strongly recommend a visit if you are able to do so, it is on until 31 May 2004.
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The two picture here show the tremendous contrast and advance in techniques adopted by Beaton over a period of nearly 40 years. The picture on the right is of the rebel shipping magnate’s daughter, Nancy Cunard taken in 1929, and the one on the left is of Twiggy shot in 1967.

After this and the acquisition of my new digital camera, I am going to have to re-assess my techniques. Look out for the new Cecil Beaton of the 21st century!

Posted by jeff at 10:42 PM | Comments (0)