Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Behold, The Sea.

It is often remarked that the sea, and in particular The Minch which is that stretch of sea between The Outer Hebrides and the mainland of Scotland is predominantly grey. When I'm at home in Eagleton I see the sea day in and day out because I live above it and on its edge.  Recently we have had some very grey, squally days but the sea has been the most glorious of colours:

Friday, 27 March 2015

Where in Britain Would You be Happiest?

That is a question asked by the BBC on its Breakfast programme this week. It invited people to take a test at a BBC web page . 

The introduction states:
Until now, we've decided on where we should live based on things like job, family, friends, schools, colleges, countryside and nightlife. But now new research suggests different districts of Britain have distinct personality traits. And how well our personality fits with the people around us can contribute to our happiness.
The test below will reveal your personality traits and based on the research, it will predict the place in Britain that would make you happiest, or least happy, based solely on your personality profile.
I rarely if ever participate in any of the many personality and other surveys that abound but this one made me curious. So I answered the questions with the following results:

I was totally astounded by the fact that the result suggested that I should be living somewhere down in the south of England. I am, after all, a Northerner by birth and mentality and very much more northern by inclination since I moved to the Scottish Island of Lewis four decades ago and where, by choice, I have lived ever since (when I haven't been in New Zealand). The Isle of Lewis is the largest island in Eileen Siar (The Western Isles).

So it came as a massive surprise when I discovered that the worst location for my personality was ...... where I live

So the next day I decided to take the test again. Interestingly I found it very difficult to recall what I'd said the first time but, having read the explanation of the personality traits (I should have done that the first time), I tried to be more considered. The result?

Where on earth, I wondered, is Harborough. Ah. Market Harborough in Leicestershire. The Midlands. No. Sorry. I'm not from the Midlands and could no more imagine living there than the South of England. Well perhaps a little more.

But it still thinks that the worst place for me is where I live.

Which leads me to wonder what on earth the traits of the people of the place where live really are and whether they answered after reading the notes. For example the definition of 'openness' as I first thought of it is not the definition of openness as defined. I suspect that the whole process is rather flawed.

Did any other of my British readers take the test by any chance. 

PS If anyone from outwith the UK takes the test you'll need to give a UK postcode to get your result. L14 3LW is a UK postcode. In fact it's the one where I was born.  You see that thing about being an adherent to the rules doesn't exactly fit me. In reality I've been a rebel most of my life. Obviously a rather closet one.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

In Praise of Good Service

This post was scheduled for tomorrow and I something else in mind for today but it can wait. I have just read Virginia's post on appalling customer service so I am now posting this one today.

How often these days do we complain about poor or bad service?  Too often. Why? Because poor service has become the norm much of the time. Now I have to admit that I'm speaking for the UK when I say that. Mind you I haven't found France to be any better. New Zealand has, in my experience, higher standards than we have in the UK.  It's many years since I was in the USA or Canada but my recollection is that, once one had managed to get through the unbelievably horrible  and unfriendly border control, service was pretty good and friendly. But then I was a tourist and the system of tipping in the US definitely encourages good service. Mind you heaven help you if you get bad service and try to leave without tipping. I once saw someone pursued out of a cafĂ© with considerable venom because he hadn't left a tip.

So today I want to praise some good service.

A few days ago I was having a problem upgrading the maps on my Garmin satnav. I've not had a problem updating this satnav before. After an afternoon of abortive attempts I rang the helpline. I got straight through (no hanging on being told how important my call was to Garmin: this time I was actually made to feel as though my call was important to them!) to Mark who, in 36 minutes of patience and an obvious knowledge of his subject, sorted out the problem. 

On the Island I often go to The Maybury Garden Centre. If ever there was a firm which makes me feel like going back even if I don't need something then this is the place! Nothing - whether it be advice or any assistance whatsoever - is never too much trouble for them. The young couple who have come into the business with her Mum and Dad have brought the dynamism of youth and continued the friendliness of the business. I actually had a phone call from Spesh yesterday just to tell me what wonderful service she had just received from them. Now if only every business did that I'd have real difficulty choosing where to shop.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Tufted Ducks

Recently when I was at Grimshader (a small township about 15 miles from Eagleton) I saw some Tufted Ducks on a loch. They were a good distance away and my camera, though adequate, is not perfect for these pictures but here they are: