Christmas, that is. Whilst I was experiencing it, it kind of jogged at a steady pace but looking back.....well, it was gone as fast as the blink of an eye.
There was lots of vegging of course (taken as I was putting the tree up - Mark clearly exhausted from watching me try and ram 300 baubles on a 6 foot tree!)
The boy on his blankies and sporting a santa hat that Ellie snuck on him.
Then comes Christmas Day. Ellie was delighted with her bunch of gifts (mainly bubble bath; crazy, I know. And jammies and littley bits to open and treasure). Mark and I exchanged one small gift each and as much as we were going to go shopping in the sales for something bigger for each other, we just couldn't be bothered. We don't desperately need anything and my bike can wait until warmer climes. I was happy watching Ellie being happy. Saying that, I swiped this in the sales with my own money with 50% off and under a tenner! JOYOUS!
We spent this Christmas at my in-laws. Its a nice gathering but its not the same as being at my parents. Being with mark's family doesn't make it wrong whatsoever but when you are at the mercy of relatives who don't see each other for months on end, conversation blends between small talk and who can talk the loudest. Still, the variety kept the season consistent and lots of Trivial Pursuit battles kept the momentum on an even keel. I have to say, Christmas dinner was probably the best part of the holiday. It was divine, minus the sprouts (vom).
If I'm honest, I wasn't at optimum well being between 23rd and 27th Dec. I was forced to go to the emergency doctors on Christmas eve (so thankful for staff that work these days - tireless, giving and humble) and was given Anti's B's. Trouble is, I love a glass of wine on Christmas day so I didn't start my treatment until Boxing day but I'm right as rain now. And it didn't spoil the fun even though I was in dire pain. Its just one of those crazy little ailments that you kind of deal with and get over it!
Ellie took to baking. We found a lush bunch of gluten and egg free cookie recipes (Im going full gluten free from 1st January to ease my digestive system). SHE LOVES TO BAKE!
Lovingly mixing the choccy chip cook-a-roos
Pressing the cookies with her beautiful hands and nails.
On the 28th Dec I travelled down to London for the QVC craft sales day. I went by train as I couldn't rely on"Christmas travel by road" plus I didn't want to be late because of it. You need to turn up early at these QVC days because they are CRAZY! I bought my ticket online, like I always do with Virgin Trains. Its convenient, quick and reassuring. I always do it this way as it guarantees me a seat on the speediest of journeys at 2 hours straight (When I drive, it can take 4 hours; not good when coming back after a hard slog on the telly!). I can't tell you how many times I've bought my ticket this way online but anyway; I did it and for a bargain price of £35 return.
My train was due to leave at 0611am and Mark dropped me off at 6am. I went to the counter to ask the guy if he could print my tickets for me.
He said "No!". Just like that.
I said "What do you mean no?".
He said "You should have printed them at home. You bought an e-ticket".
"I don't know what you mean by print them at home. Ive never printed them at home. I buy online, I come to you, I show you my transaction number and YOU print them. I don't know what en e-ticket is. I just buy online like I usually do. You are meant to print them.".
He said "No I don't".
I said "Yes you do".
Blah blah blah for another two minutes, all the while I'm having a frigging heart attack. I showed him my transaction details and code on my phone.
He said "No good showing me that, you cant get on the train without a printed ticket".
I asked if he could do it and he said "No. Company policy".
Company policy, my eye, I thought.
I said "Can't you print one at all? I'm due to be in London to go on air at 3pm. Ive paid for my ticket, here is the proof. I'll pay for it to be printed". I wouldn't have cared if he would have pocketed the cash at that point - I was frantic!
He sat there with an evil grin on his condescending face and said "NO! Unless, of course you pay for a ticket now which will cost you in the region of £165".
"What? Even though you can read here (on my phone) that I've paid for a ticket, you want to charge me for another one?
He said "Yes". At last, the man can say yes....lol (but not really lol)
Well I just couldn't believe it. The colour drained from my face and the reality of not turning up for my show dawned on me. I was going to get done!
At this point I admit, I used profanity in a high pitched vociferous fashion as I went to stand outside the station, in the rain. All the while he stared at me with an evil grin. I was so enraged I could have literally committed murder. Outside the station I was stood bewildered and I actually started to cry. The frustration was blinding any sensible thought processes. Moments later, an off duty Virgin train staff girl walked passed me and asked if I was ok to which I replied "No. Your man in there wont help me". I quickly explained the dilemma but felt it was going to be a dead loss. Surprisingly, she was really nice and said "if you run like hell fire up to platform 4, Billy will help you". I was gone before she had finished saying "Hurry!".
I have never ran so fast in my life whilst carrying a ton of QVC samples and product (weighing approx 15kgs) in my wheely tote. I ran up two flights of stairs (carrying the dead weight), saw Billy immediately and quickly explained to him the prob. He was BRILLIANT. With the train about to pull up in 90 seconds, we ran to his office, I logged onto his PC (sh*t, I forgot how to use a PC....its been so long!) and logged onto my Virgin account. I located the transaction, clicked print and whoosh - ticket in my hand. I almost kissed Billy and snogged Kat (his assistant) as I just about made the train about to depart. Thank the frigging lord.
Now I could write a very long paragraph about how easy it would be for Virgin to review their policies in light of honestly bought and paid for tickets. But I wont. What I will say is that sometimes you just have to go beyond your jobsworth to HELP people. I do it, I LOVE helping people. And people like Billy and Kat and off duty Virgin girl should be commended on such lengths of service they will go to UNLIKE the knob head with the evil grin thinking he had ruined my day (he didn't). As an ex employee of Richard Branson's epic business model, you would think I might have been treated a little more kindly. But no. However, he will be hearing of this story so he can perhaps re-knit the team at Wigan North west station and perhaps give the chap behind the counter a lesson on "good will".
Aaaaaaaaanyway. I sat on the train drinking coffee that tasted like mud but feeling superior in the knowledge that I was finally on my way. I got to London at 8.30 and was in QVC for 0950. I went straight to "backstage" to try and organise my day which was eventful to say the least (I smashed the only working studio oven to smithereens - don't ask; I'm still dying inside). The highlight of my day was being with the FANTASTIC backstage staff, meeting Jill Franks after a 3 year hiatus (I love love love Jill) and being on air with Catherine and Dale. Not to mention the 2 ladies in my crafting life; Amy and Maz (I nicked the pic off Maz; thanks Maz!)
You see the big red circle above a blue, panelled cupboard? Behind that lays a very broken oven. RIP oven, you roasted/baked/cooked/grilled so valiantly to the viewing public until I killed you :(
After my last show had finished at 8pm, I was out the door, heading for Euston with a printed ticket (how novel). I slept all the way to Wigan where mark collected me. I got home at 1150pm, went to bed 2 minutes later and woke 15 hours later. I KNOW!!!!!
Its hard work breaking an oven, I can tell you ;)
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