Zesty bank holiday mayhem

High spirited and energetic we’ve had to be on this bank holiday. With both our printer and our people counter on the blink, it was always going to be difficult.

Despite the technical drawbacks, I think we held the fort quite successfully. Yes it was manic but the majority of the customers went away happy and Pepper Pig seemed to have a full, attentive audience. Lots of children played crazy golf and bar one incredibly abrupt lady, I thoroughly enjoyed my shift.

What more can you ask for on a bank holiday eh? I’ll tell you what – coming home to freshly baked goodies. I’d like to point out that it was a complete surprise to me, but Mum had baked a fruit cake, rhubarb crumble and rosemary bread buns. Absolutely delicious! They’d also been to the allotment for most of the day tending to it after their holiday. As a result we’ve got a garage reeking of onions (as they’re hung everywhere to dry them out), peas, rhubarb, marrows, cauliflower, broccoli… the list goes on! I can’t wait to sample it all.

So there’s my final, very delayed (by about a week!) alphabet post. It’s been a challenge and one that I’m not sure I’ll repeat for a while. Still never say never, I’ve finished it, and now I have no pressure to blog on a day where very little has occurred. I’m sure that you’re all veru relieved about that.

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Yell until you have no voice left

Day off = lie in and do whatever you want. Kind of.

Now that I’m no longer home alone, it means I get my cooked breakfast on my day off. I’d asked my mum if she could bring some lorne sausage back for breakfast. She went one better and also brought some haggis pudding for us to try. It was all delicious and filled me up for the day, which ended up being a very good thing indeed.

We then went to my grandparents house for a bit to see my aunt who is home from Abu Dhabi. Afterwards it was back in the house to freshen up before I got the metro to South Shields. We were going to spend the afternoon/evening at Soundwaves festival – a day festival containing the Vamps, the Luminites, Joe McEldery, Little Mix and McFly. All for £23.50! A quick summary of the event would be – the Vamps were fit, the lass from the Luminites looked like she was dressed for bed, Joe McEldery had an elcectric set including opera (not really appropriate for the crowd) which seemed to wind up the chavs next to us, fantastic harmonies from Little Mix with them being very geordie and finally a brilliant conclusion by McFly. It was a cracking day out although we had no voice left. We were all envious of the girl from Durham who was pulled out to play improv on Dougie’s bass! Afterwards we went for Mccies on the way to metro as we hadn’t eaten since breakfast – I was going on rhubarb and custard sweets and a diet coke the whole show.
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The evening was rounded off by some loud drunks on the long metro from South Shields to home. Let’s see how I manage to deal with customers at work on the Bank Holiday with no voice…

X – the shape I was making the boxes into…

As close to the letter X as I could get!

For the most part of the day it’s rained, usually when I was on my bike travelling to and from work. So yes a rather damp day overall.

Our office has been swamped by boxes as we’ve not had a courier for the past week but we have had a great deal of deliveries. We couldn’t even take the empty cardboard boxes out to our recycle bin because our latest delivery were blocking the route for our little trolley. Over the course of the day we unpacked the Moorland Pottery delivery which involved making 148 little boxes to hold each individual mug. Safe to say we were sick of the boxes by the end of the day, although I did flatten and remove all the cardboard from our office. We still have the stock to go on to our other office taking up space, but it’s a little bit more manageable now.

By the time I got home (damp) I was no longer home alone. Mum and my stepdad have returned from their two weeks travel across Scotland and they had a wonderful time by the sound of it. I’ll admit I’m slightly jealous of them! Nevertheless I’m off tomorrow to a music ‘festival’ with one of my best friends.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if technology worked?

Another day of lone working and another delivery – thirteen boxes this time to add the huge mountain of cardboard taking over the office! I had to leave it for the next day as there was no way I could have sorted through it all on my own. Then to make matters worse, the printer jammed. Doesn’t sound that big a deal, until you realise just how much stuff we either print or scan for customers. I opened all the obvious compartments but still the printer refused to work. Another thing to sort out when there’s two of us in the office.

Aside from that, the day flew by and work went pretty well in comparison to the previous day – no troublesome customers. I checked over the allotment and tidied the house up in preparation for my parents coming home the next day. By the time I’d completed all of my chores it was literally bath, watch and delete my shows off the box then bed. Such a jam packed working life I have!

Vexing customers – oh what fun!

My second lone working shift of my contract and I was rushed off my feet! The phone did not stop ringing for an hour at one point and I received some bizarre questions throughout the day. One customer rang me three times regarding our beaches, and while the inquires were all valid if you have lived abroad in places like Dubai, they seemed ridiculous at the time of answering. For example, we would laugh at the thought of booking a beach, or it being shut to the public, but this does happen abroad. You just have to put a different context behind the question to be able to respond in an appropriate manner. I also had to divide a delivery order between our offices in between serving customers. It doesn’t sound like much, but when you’re on your own in an office filled with boxes (we’re waiting for the courier to take our stock to the other offices), especially when you’re a summer temp, it can be difficult at times. Overall I managed to run the shop quite successfully but I did have to throw some customers out when we closed as they dawdled too much. If someone says we’re closing in five minutes, you either go to the till or leave right? Not continue wandering around then continue browsing while the assistant is putting your stuff through the till! I then had to do the close down procedure, which is quite a bit, before I could leave work.

What made it worse was that I had to go to Marks and Spencer to pick up some stuff for mum and try on a pair of joggers as my current gym kit is falling apart. It was the quickest shop I’ve ever done as my dad was picking me up from work. We went to my aunt’s house and it was a pleasant relaxing evening with my family. We left just as Big Brother was starting up, mainly because my dad can’t stand it and I had work the next morning. I think we’d worn his tolerance for trash TV out after watching ‘That Puppet Show’ and I Love My Country’.

Up and about dashing here and there

A rather lame alphabet title, but then it’s quite difficult to come up with something beginning with ‘u’, especially when trying to connect it to something that happened today.

I didn’t get too long a lie in as I had to go the beauticians. Afterwards it was a quick metro ride into town to see if I could get my piercing changed. The guy just checked it, said it was OK and then that it was it. I should have insisted that he change it for me and explained that it’s the first non-ear piercing I’ve had, so I’m just a bit nervous about changing it by myself. I’ll go back before I go to uni to get it done though.

I met my grandma for a bit of shopping in town. It was brilliant to just wander with my grandma and chat about insignificant little things. Once we’d had enough of shopping, we went to the pub to meet up with my grandad for lunch. The meal was lovely. I went back to their house for a bit, then it was back on a bus to Wallsend to see my friend whose birthday night out I went on. I went around to give her her birthday gift (the Geordie mug). She loved it and we chatted a fair bit, a general catch up. It was then back on another bus to go into Whitley. It was, unfortunately, a one which took me all around the area! An hour later I arrived in Whitley, just in time to catch my final bus of the day home.

Once home I caught up on my TV, checked the allotment and chilled, ready for the another day at work. Living the high life!

Tourists and take away

Now onto Tuesday. Probably one of the greatest moments of this years summer contract – I got to work on board a six star cruise! I ended up swapping my cruise next Tuesday for that one because my colleague didn’t have her passport details to hand at the time. It was my first cruise and boy was it swank!

I left work just before lunch to walk down to the Marina. That was the first bonus of swapping cruises – I didn’t have to be down at the Marina at eight am in the freezing cold. Once I’d signed for my pass etc, I met the other volunteers who I would be working alongside on board the cruise. Now normally we’d all stay under the marque and hand out leaflets/advice/directions to the passengers after they had disembarked. This time the Port of Tyne staff were manning the marque as we went on board the ship and did the same for the passengers who weren’t sure if they would leave the boat that day. We went through security on the cruise (including body scanners like the airport!) and had to hand in our passports in exchange for a security pass. That was when one of our volunteers was unable to join us on board as she didn’t have any photo ID on her. We were situated in the reception area of the boat, which was like a reception inside a really posh hotel. Due to all the security checks, we barely had time to set out a handful of leaflets before we were bombarded by Americans inquiring about the North East. It was incredibly frantic but I loved every minute of it! As we were leaving the boat (after again faffing with the security people), we were greeted by some of our earlier clients who were full of praise about the North East and our excellent services on board. Another proud moment for this temporary TIC assistant!

Inside the reception – stained glass and a water feature!

We were on board the ship for four hours, then it was back to the office to help close up for the day. My boxing class was a bit more sedate in that we focused more on improving our techniques rather than our core strength. Another fantastic class and I look forward to training again next week. It was then a quick wash down and change into something reasonable as I was going to my friend’s house for take away and a catch up. We were defeated by our special offer, but the food was decent and the entertainment brilliant. We’ve decided that before we go back to uni, we’re going to have a sleepover like the ones we had in high school. Just for old times sake. And because cold pizza tastes even better the next morning! All in all, another tasking but worthwhile day!