Tag Archives: cleaning

A Short Trip through a Shallow Mind

So much to do, so little time.

I’ve just looked at my life, recoiled in horror, and tried to write a “to do” list.

Wash up

Cook tea

Clear my “desk” (which is a dining room table)

Watch TV and relax

Write a blog post

Write a poem

Dream up a way of making money

Start putting stuff on eBay

Cook the ratatouille for tomorrow

Wash up after cooking

Browse eBay

Do the photographs for my talk at the Numismatic Society (six weeks away!) Eeek!

Declutter

Organise my collection

Organise my underwear. Some of it is older than the kids. There is a definitely diaphonous quality to some of them, caused by the material wearing so thin a good sneeze might make them disintegrate. But I’m a married man, so I don’t need to impress anyone with the quality of my undergarments.

Read

Write another “to do” list – this one is getting too long

Read up on growing food from scraps as recommended by Higgledy Piggledy Mom

Visit Derrick and Tootlepedalto check on new developments in how to age disgracefully. A quick scan indicates that Derrick looks set to drown in pursuit of photography and TP has been watching a helicopter move a portable toilet. Jackie, the saint who is married to Derrick, has been photographing his antics, presumably for an entry in the Darwin Awards.

Write a list of all the other blogs I need to catch up with.

Lavinia

Clare

Charlie

Laurie

Lots of others.

Procrastinate. It’s not an entry you expect to see on a “to do” list but if I don’t procrastinate I’m going to have to start the washing up and make ratatouille.

Wrestle with conscience – Julia is out. If I ring for a Chinese takeaway she won’t know. I can wash away the evidence, mask the smell and…then I’ll tell her. I always do. I just don’t seem to be able to keep a secret. It means I lead a blameless life and never have anything on my conscience very long. I  would make a dreadful criminal.

Ah well, washing up it is then…

The featured image is completely random.

The Welsh Toilet Championships

It’s not an exhaustive list of toilets, and we didn’t have clipboards with us but it gives you some idea of the challenges the traveller faces.

Those of you under 40 will probably wonder why this sort of thing is important. I won’t explain it now, just give it a few years and all will become clear.

We used the facilities in two McDonald’s, at Llandudno and Mold. They were both bright and clean, though we did feel we had to buy drinks to justify using them, which was sort of counter-productive.

In Rhayader we used toilets in a car park by the town centre. They were very welcome after a long drive, though architecturally there was more than a suggestion of military bunker about them. However, they were clean and tidy, and that’s more important than being aesthetically pleasing.

The toilets at Gigrin Farm, were predictably excellent, as was the whole farm and Red Kite feeding experience.

In Trawsfynydd, just off the road as we travelled to Bangor in the evening, we were glad to find toilets as things were getting a bit urgent (see my comments on Dolgellau). As with Rhayader, the building is stark, but clean and tidy. There was a touch of serendipity about the visit, but that’s a story for a later post.

I think I may have mentioned the lack of decent food outlets at the Bangor Services. We had breakfast at Little Chef and, as you may have predicted, visited the facilities afterwards. I seem to be turning into a Victorian there, as “used the toilets” seemed suddenly unacceptable. They are nicely tiled, but badly maintained and not very clean. Judging by the dirt and graffiti the cleaner only inspects the cubicles with the doors open. That’s basic cleaning, close the door, turn round and look at things from the customer’s’ point of view. Literally. Then wipe the part of the wall that is covered by the open door and wash the graffiti off the back of the door.

RSPB South Stack, was excellent in many ways, which will be detailed in a later post. However, the gloomy, cramped and smelly toilets (sorry about that, but there was no nice way to put it) were a low point in the visit.

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Tourist sign in Llandudno

So that’s it. Clearly South Stack and Bangor Services aren’t in the running.

McDonald’s and Gigrin are all commercial operations, so you expect a higher standard . This standard was met, as they were all excellent, but it seems unfair to compare them with council toilets.

That leaves Rhayader and Trawsfynydd. If I was standing on stage opening an envelope the award would go to Rhayader, as I don’t have a clue how to pronounce Trawsfynydd. To be fair I don’t have a clue how to spell it either, I’m relying on cut-and-paste.

Whilst I think of the final result I’ll mention the toilets at Dolgellau.

I can’t tell you how good they were because at just after six in the evening they were locked. And barred. Maybe they have gold fittings. Or maybe they just don’t like visitors. It’s not unusual to find toilets locked in the evening, but it is frustrating.

There’s a website listing the public toilets of Gwynedd, and if you follow a link on that site the are details of community toilets made available for public use by the owners.  If you are travelling in the area it might be useful.

And the winner is…

… Rhayader.

It’s just a little brighter than Trawsfynydd, which will be getting a mention in a later post.

So, give them a try and see the kites – it’s a good day out.

Back to “Normal”

Looks like we’re back to normal.

That, as you may know from previous posts, is not an entirely good thing. “Normal” for the farm is a relative concept, and not at all like the “normal” that you may encounter in everyday life.

We came back to find we had an email containing all sorts of random decisions about the kitchen/cafe and followed up by arriving on the farm to find that there was a large pile of leeks and parsley outside the back door of the centre.

Worse still, the keyhole beds have been dismantled. The bricks from one have disappeared and the tyres from the other were all piled up neatly. We’re not sure what happened to the 20 strawberry plants that were planted inside the tyres but previous experience suggests they will be in the compost. We’ve rebuilt one bed, but can find no trace of the missing bricks.

That’s what happens when he gets time to think (and I use that term loosely).  Though I hate to cause offence (you know how tactful I am) if you were to fancy a swim in the average farming family gene pool I imagine you’d have to be content with a paddle.

In addition we had the Mystery of the Disappearing Letter and the Case of the Hidden Bird Seed.

The former was easily solved once I’d spent 10 minutes searching.

“The person we are looking for,” I remarked sagely to my assistant between pulls on an imaginary Meerschaum, “is of medium height, slight build and pale complexion. She speaks with a slight Nottinghamshire accent, does not smoke and is in the grip of a cleaning compulsion.”

“How can you deduce all that from just looking at your desk?” asked my awestruck assistant.

I smiled condescendingly and tapped the side of my nose.

However, when you know there’s only one person around here in the grip of Compulsive Cleaning Disorder it’s easy enough to connect a missing letter to a major suspect. After a quick phone call we had a confession and the letter within ten minutes.

The hidden birdseed, which had been tucked under my desk, was found under a curtain under my desk, lest the sight of it merely pushed out of sight should upset a passing client. Don’t even ask why they make me have a curtain under the desk…

Finally we moved on to the third perplexing case of the day – The Mixed Ear Tag Mystery. Sheep need two identifying ear tags, one yellow one with a chip and one other. The other one is not chipped, and may not be yellow. It must, however, bear a matching number. Now, the mystery of this was twofold. How did they manage to get 160 tags muddled up so none of them were in pairs, and how did we get landed with the job of sorting them out?

 

I think I have a glimmer of an idea of how to manage some of this random activity. In years to come all those people who have previously oohed and aahed over Management by Walking About, Quality Circles and the Pursuit of Excellence (plus my favourite – The Boiling Frog) will talk in terms of awed reverence of my contribution to management science – Management by Nailing Things to Your Desk.