Monday, 27 April 2009

Well impressed!

I am well impressed with ebay!

On 23 March I bought and paid for quite a few wooden toys (£43.69). I didn't get them, so emailed the seller on 7 April.

No reply.

I emailed her again (always being very friendly!) on 18 April. She replied on 19 April that she will resend goods out (resend? So she HAD sent them?) and I'll get them in the next 2 days or so.

On 24 April I email her re no delivery yet.

On 25 April I open a paypal dispute... I want a refund. I need these toys, they were for a particular theme I had planned and I really wasn't happy with her lack of communication. Paypal said the seller had till 6 May to reply (huh? still wait another 11 days to hear from her?)... I wasn't happy but thought I had no choice...

Then ebay sent me an email saying I should call them as they noted I had opened a dispute. I phoned them today and they are refunding me the full amount! They will investigate the seller and take necessary action... but they have a new program where they feel their good buyers shouldn't have to deal with disputes and bad sellers, ebay will help!

I have 100% rating, pay immediately always. So yes... I am a good buyer!

I am so chuffed about this. She said I am one of the pilot customers they've emailed to make use of this new service.

What do you think about it?

*Jen starts watching bank account*

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

National election day in South Africa!

Voter turnout has been phenomenal today!

Sadly, the ANC is very likely to win, far more people have registered to vote than ever before, I think mostly because all the previously apathetic people are trying to ensure that they do not get a two-thirds majority rule. There is word that that Zuma plans to change the constitution (to suit his own purposes due to his two recent court cases on charges of rape and corruption respectively) and our constitution can only be changed by a two thirds majority on the entrenched provisions.

Already, one presiding officer has been shot at a polling station in an attempted robbery. Another has been arrested for pre-marking ballot papers in favour of the Anc. A third has been killed in a motor vehicle accident.

We are only a few hours into the voting.

One good thing was that I phoned my mum as she was voting and, as she has just turned 60, she got moved to the front of the queue... hehe. Fabulous! In 1994, the last national elections I could vote in (they were the first democratic elections!) , I stood in the queue for 7 hours... madness.

So, how do your national elections compare?

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Online friendships... real or not?

Many people just don't realise that true online friends are real people (friends) too!

I belong to an international travel club and we have meets all the time - in 2006 I organised a party (hired out a restaurant in London!) for 88.5 (there was a baby) people from all over the world, many I had never met in real life, only online, many I knew already... my family thought me daft at the time (maybe I was... logistics were a nightmare!)... but have come to see that some pals I made from the travel club are some of my closest pals in real, life.. it was merely a place we met (online).

My brother met his wife online... they've been married 6 years, have 2 kids... not a dating site, was on a religious debate site and her mum was the moderator (in the States), and she told her daughter about this lovely South African lad who comes online sometimes... so that's how they 'met'. They chatted on the phone for about a year and then he flew to the USA for a month, and, 12 days after meeting her, proposed... and that was that!

What has your experience been? Do you have online friends that have become 'real life' friends too?

Monday, 20 April 2009

Cornwall, the gem of a county

We had a restful and enjoyable Easter break in Cornwall, SW England. We stayed at a lovely 4 star B&B called Thurlestone Guest House in Carbis Bay. Gary and Mandy have found the perfect balance of combining a quality-filled family life, with a thriving B&B business at home. Carbis Bay lies right next to St Ives... it is less known and thus far less busy and touristy, which suited us down to the ground, hence us opting to stay here, and travel into St Ives.

One of the things that drew me to this beach was the fact it wasn't full of people! They were all paddling at St Ives! Carbis beach is in a pretty cove, is sheltered and out of the way enoough to deter throngs of people visiting it. Which suited us just fine! The sand is white (which is a must-have in my opinion), seas were blue, weather was great.

We particularly loved Porthminster Beach (a cove btwn Carbis Bay and St Ives), Sennen Cove, and the quaint open air amphitheatre, Minnack Theatre (neighbouring Porthcurno Bay is stunning!!!)

St Michael's Mount with it's imposing castle... situated next to the coastal town of Marazion, an ancient village. You can walk across the causeway to the castle during low tide, but will have to take a boat across to the castle during high tide.

We had a nice cream tea in Marazion at The Chapel Rock Cafe... with superb views overlooking St Michael's Mount. Another place that looked nice to have them (more quaint but no space when we looked), was the Seagrove Gallery and Tea Garden. This is a shaded area, the Chapel Rock Cafe is far more sunny, plus has the view.

We had a really good pub lunch at The Kings Arms there too. We visited here twice we enjoyed it so much.

I bought this ceramic piece of jewellery from Seagrove Gallery and Tea Garden. It's simple in design and I love it.

St Ives is a must, full to the brim with cobbled alleyways (wear comfortable trainers!), galleries (from cheap and average, to expensive and high quality artwork), restaurants, architecture, beach, harbour... we loved it.

For a nice fishy lunch try Beaches Restaurant on St Ives Harbour.
Very nice. For a lovely evening meal try Mermaids (St Ives).

Bailey's ice cream is available at the harbour too.. just be wary of the cheeky seagulls who literally take it out of your hand! This is my Bailey's-flavoured ice cream.


At this precise moment there was a loud
*whooooshhh!* and my poor sister's ice cream was nabbed by an over zealous seagull, then nonchalantly dropped on the beach, less than a foot away from a startled beach-sun-worshiper! Cheeky b*gger.

I never shared mine with her. Just call me 'meanie'.

Visitors (stupidly) feed the birds, so they are far too tame and not shy at all.. literally taking the food out of your hand.


We didn't think much of Land's End at all to be frank. My hubby was there last in the 90s and it was far less commercialised and enjoyable. We got the obligatory photo, but it is commercialised and overdone. I wish we'd had time to see Mousehole (drove past but no time!) and Tintagel. Another time!

Cornwall ~ land of the pasty and serpentine... a mini country of it's own in many respects.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Is money lending a good idea?

I was asked this a couple of months back... to loan X some money... a substantial sum (£1000). After chatting with my hubby I realised we couldn't actually give the whole lot that month, but could make a plan to do it over 3 months. We also decided the first month would be a gift.

X was overwhelmed.

Incredibly, the second and third month weren't needed after all, as X got a payrise! I thought it was just amazing how it all worked out.

Always do what you are comfortable doing - never do it begrudgingly or with the wrong motive. And if you are not in a position to help, be honest about your position (not needing to give details!).

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

I've made my decision

I couldn't wait and so, sensing it was the right time to broach the subject (and it was doing my head in), I chatted to Lance last night as he lazed in the bath. He could hardly not listen as I gently massaged some aromatherapy body scrub into his back now could he ;)

I have decided to put myself first for once. That we are thousands of miles away helps. I am not going. Lance is not happy about it at all, but realises that due to P's behaviour towards me, that it's the best thing for ME.

Lance is not fooled by the pretence that there is nothing ever wrong. They do not communicate about real nitty gritty stuff, so nothing ever gets sorted out! He was so non-communicative when we first got together, and is the first to admit that's something he's learnt from me... to communicate and be truthful with yourself and those around you.

He is a family person though and wants nothing more than to have us all together bless him... but as I had to acknowledge the type of father I had many years ago (certified psychopath, abandonment of 4 kids, alcoholic, womanising etc.), and that things were never going to work out never mind how much I wished it, he has to do the same with his.

Whether he tells them the real reason why I won't be there, or says it's due to my business committments, I have left that up to him. It's his family. He must deal with it. I owe them no explanations, Lance understands and that's all that matters.

A husband who puts his wife before his family... I am so proud of him. Saddened that I've had to make this decision, but I have had 8 years of always doing the right 'Christian' thing and pretending that being ignored and rudely spoken to doesn't hurt, and enough is enough.

Fun and games.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

P drives me mad

I have tertiary education, have had 2 of my own successful businesses, one in SA and one in the UK (a mere woman doing better than him???) and shock of shocks... come from Johannesburg! All things he looks down on - from his not-so-lofty height!

He doesn't know Joburg at all, but will say 'the weather is all Joburg has going for it' and pulls down everything about the place, at every single opportunity he can. I don't see him very often (thankfully) as we live in the UK and he is in SA, but it's just ridiculous how he goes on when I am around. And if I mention to anyone in his family 'I wish he'd stop dissing a place I love so much'... I get the 'that's his opinion, he won't change'. GRRR. We are all allowed opinions, but why does he go on about Joburg only when I am there? I could retaliate and start dissing soemthing that means something to him, but I won't sink to his level.

He did the same thing about England... said the English were no good, etc. etc. before he actually came here.. and now he LOVES England and the English! He used to rib the English as I have lots of English family I believe.

He is also the only person who works hard - he talks about his work all the time. It's nauseating. We all work and have jobs and lead stressful lives... but his is the only one worth mentioning, time and time again. Everything is about HIM.

He also is one to have favourites... his other daughter-in-law is one and his daughter another. He is over the top with the daughter-in-law, even slapping her on the bottom, tickling her etc. Acts more like a boyfriend than a FIL... she sits on his lap, he puts his hand on her leg on the couch etc. She puts her hand on his leg! Out of order I think. He overdoes it with her and then totally ignores me, my family, my work, my life. It's all or nothing with him. He never even spoke a word to me on my wedding day. But enjoyed all the attention and well-wishing throughout the day! And that's what it is - he craves attention all the time.

When we were there in 2007 my arm was in a sling, I was in agony with tennis elbow (was off work for 3 months because of it, and subsequently had to have a career change as cannot work on compy full-time with it). He never once asked about my arm, not even querying why it was in a sling. My husband knew this was grating me and so brought it up 'hey, Jen's arm is really sore hey, she's got tennis elbow'... his reply? 'M - the favourite DIL - has a sore arm today poor girl, I must see how she's doing'. She'd had an injection!

It's really sad but the more I am away from him the better it is. Why would I want to be around someone who is so rude and immature all the time? Anything that means anything to me he pulls down.

When I first got together with my now husband, I was more vocal and asked him why he was like this etc. but it caused such a fuss in the family that I had dared to show I wasn't happy with his treatment of me... but I have learnt over the years that voicing concerns goes no-where, so just bite my tongue now. Then have a cry later.

How am I supposed to look forward to this? It's his 60th birthday next year and the siblings are all keen to go to South Africa and spoil him, take him away. My question is why should I be excited or look forward to spending alot of time (and money to fly there), to be with a man that shows me no respect, is rude and thoughtless? He does everything he can to make me feel so small and insignificant. He hardly speaks to me, has never asked me anything about me, my work, my family... nothing.

Needless to say my own family are not keen on them, especially him, as he has caused so much tension and upset over the last 8 years... I cannot begin to tell you all the instances there are so many (he feigns innocence to it all though of course..). My husband is aware of the things he does but is caught imbetween.

Now I have to figure out a way to get out of going to South Africa for his birthday - what can I do??? Without causing WWIII!

This has come to a head for me now as my husband is wanting to start making plans with his sister for the 60th... and I really do not want to be there!!!!

Monday, 6 April 2009

The Children's Bible in a Nutshell

In the beginning, which occurred near the start, there was nothing but God, darkness, and some gas. The Bible says, 'The Lord thy God is one, but I think He must be a lot older than that.

Anyway, God said, 'Give me a light!' and someone did.

Then God made the world..

He split the Adam and made Eve. Adam and Eve were naked, but they weren't embarrassed because mirrors hadn't been invented yet.

Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating one badapple, so they were driven from the Garden of Eden.....Not sure what they were driven in though, because they didn't have cars.

Adam and Eve had a son, Cain, who hated his brother as long as he was Abel.

Pretty soon all of the early people died off, except forMethuselah, who lived to be like a million or something.

One of the next important people was Noah, who was a good guy, but one of his kids was kind of a Ham. Noah built a large boat and put his family and some animals on it. He asked some other people to join him, but they said they would have to take a rain check.

After Noah came Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jacob was more famous than his brother, Esau, because Esau sold Jacob his birthmark in exchange for some pot roast. Jacob had a son named Joseph who wore a really loud sports coat.

Another important Bible guy is Moses, whose real name was Charlton Heston. Moses led the Israel Lights out of Egypt and away from the evil Pharaoh after God sent ten plagues on Pharaoh's people. These plagues included frogs, mice, lice, bowels, and no cable.

God fed the Israel Lights every day with manicotti. Then he gave them His Top Ten Commandments. These include: don't lie, cheat, smoke, dance, or covet your neighbor's stuff.

Oh, yeah, I just thought of one more: Humor thy father and thy mother.

One of Moses' best helpers was Joshua who was the first Bible guy to use spies. Joshua fought the battle of Geritol and the fence fell over on the town.

After Joshua came David. He got to be king by killing a giant with a slingshot. He had a son named Solomon who had about 300 wives and 500 porcupines. My teacher says he was wise, but that doesn't sound very wise to me.

After Solomon there were a bunch of major league prophets. One of these was Jonah, who was swallowed by a big whale and then barfed up on the shore.

There were also some minor league prophets, but I guess we don't have to worry about them.

After the Old Testament came the New Testament. Jesus is the star of The New. He was born in Bethlehem in a barn. (I wish I had been born in a barn too, because my mom is always saying to me, 'Close the door! Were you born in a barn?' It would be nice to say, 'As a matter of fact, I was.')

During His life, Jesus had many arguments with sinners like the Pharisees and the Democrats.

Jesus also had twelve opossums.

The worst one was Judas Asparagus. Judas was so evil that they named a terrible vegetable after him.

Jesus was a great man. He healed many leopards and even preached to some Germans on the Mount.

But the Democrats and all those guys put Jesus on trial before Pontius the Pilot.. Pilot didn't stick up for Jesus. He just washed his hands instead.

Anyways, Jesus died for our sins, then came back to life again. He went up to Heaven but will be back at the end of the Aluminum.. His return is foretold in the book of Revolution.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Gotta love little boys...

Two young boys walked into a pharmacy one day, picked out a box of tampons & proceeded to the checkout counter.

The man at the counter asked the older boy, 'Son, how old are you?'

'Eight', the boy replied.

The man continued, 'Do you know what these are used for?'

The boy replied, 'Not exactly, but they aren't for me.. They're for him. He's my brother. He's four. We saw on TV that if you use these, you would be able to swim, play tennis and ride a bike. Right now, he can't do none of those'.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

25 things about me...

1. I am a devout Christian

2. I had a motorbike accident when I was 11. I was then set on by a pack of dogs 11 months later, who ravaged my leg and made me terrified of dogs for years, till I got my staffy Max :) Twas a bad year! My scars still ache in the cold

3. My favourite photography subjects are children and wildlife

4. I do not have my drivers license yet

5. I used to sing soprano, till I developed chronic asthma and the lungs started resisting!

6. I am extremely loyal to my family and friends and am an eternal optimist

7. I qualified as a graphic designer in 1995 and had my own product design company in Cape Town for 5 years prior to moving to the Ole Smoke. I had a career change in 2007, when I started my own childcare business. I still freelance as a designer in Windsor

8. I used to be a social butterfly, I am now much more of a homebody

9. I have been married for 7+ wonderful years

10. I am learning to play the keyboard (hubby got me one for my birthday last week!)

11. I live opposite Wimbledon Common, but have yet to see a womble! I have also been to Wimbledon Tennis Championships a few times, including semi finals and finals

12. Do you recall the handmade paper greeting cards with pressed flowers and wire art, sold in Woolies (South Africa) for a few years? Those were mine. Did you ever buy one?

13. I would love to be a mum

14. I can sit in a bird hide at a waterhole for hours on end, this is home to me

15. I sorted post for one day at a mail order company in Tooting when we first arrived in London. I also did reception work till I got my first design temp job. I also worked at a circus for 4.5 years - Piccadilly Circus ;)

16. My favourite subjects at school were English and Art

17. I have green eyes, can spread all my toes out, and have a geographical tongue - I am a super navigator! haha

18. I enjoy a variety of arts and crafts: painting (on canvas!), drawing, screen printing, making handmade paper, bead jewellery and wire art - just wish I had more time for it

19. I played wing attack in the Netball A-Team at school, and I used to run very fast! (what happened?? haha)

20. I cry loads when I laugh (and then my tummy hurts)

21. I made Nelson Mandela's 79th birthday invitations at the Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town

22. I have watched Pride and Prejudice (1995 Colin Firth as Darcy BBC series) at least 20 times (so far) – am a huge fan of Jane Austen

23. I have a blog: (doh!)

24. I am currently studying for a diploma in home childcare and have been sponsored by the borough (yay!), having been the second person in the history of the borough to receive the highest grading from OFSTED at their first grading inspection

25. I have panic attacks in water - please don't expect me to rescue you. We WILL go down!