Monthly Archives: November 2015

Satisfied Saturday Six

The SSS celebrates six things that have gone well, or at least okay, in the past week. It is the creation of Terry Egan, who is all things wonderful.

 

1. My sister was down for a couple of days at the beginning of the week. It was excellent to meet up and have a chat 🙂

2. I seem to have made what is to me a surprising discovery: if I take painkillers to deal with my pain issues, it greatly improves my mood as well. Other people may not find this as surprising as I do – Splendid Son clearly didn’t, as we had the following exchange (apologies to those who have read it elsewhere, but it bears repeating!):
Me: “I’m not in much pain and I’m feeling much happier than I have been lately!”

Splendid Son: “That’s like saying ‘I’ve put on trousers and now I don’t feel so naked.'”

Well, obvious or not, it’s extremely pleasing!

3. I’m still writing lots. Including some things which may well be publishable. And I’m doing lots of research into what to write for which markets next, which is quite fun.

4. I’m feeling well enough to go to the football today (Charlton Athletic), which is pleasing as I feared I might not be. I’m going with my father rather than son today – Splendid Son, Lovely Partner, my mother and a couple of SS’s friends are all going to the pantomime (all together now: “OH NO THEY AREN’T!”) so everyone will be happy. Dad and I have never liked panto very much, but we do like football 🙂

5.  The US’s Thanksgiving has meant that my Facebook has been overwhelmed with people writing about things they’re grateful for. It has been a lovely explosion of good things!

6. Splendid Son has a horn exam next Wednesday. I have promised him a week off practising afterwards. Little does he know that I have promised MYSELF a week off nagging him to practise 🙂 He’s been very good, but I can hardly wait!

Satisfied Saturday Six

The SSS celebrates six things that have gone well, or at least okay, in the past week. It is the creation of Terry Egan, who is all things wonderful.

1.Two of the scarves taken by a shop in Canterbury for sale or return have sold. This is very pleasing.

2. I have been writing lots this week. None of it is meant for publication, but I’ve just been enjoying writing, which is a joy.

3. I went to see Splendid Son’s teacher on Thursday for a parents’ meeting. Apparently, he is doing very well in his work (though he needs to stop chatting when he’s supposed to be working), and is a friendly and approachable child. Which is always nice to hear 🙂

4. Ooh, our car passed its MOT first time! This never happens!

5. The weather was actually nice enough after school yesterday for Splendid Son to play at the park! It’s been a while since that’s been possible.

6. We have been having Dreadful Troubles with our DVD player for ages. Hugely frustratingly, it always jumps and skips bits or gets stuck.  Splendid Son and I tend to watch quite a few DVDs – we have some similar tastes which we can enjoy, as opposed to the things he watches on TV, most of which leave me cold – so it’s been particularly annoying. However, it turns out my parents had an old DVD player that they were not using and they were happy to give to us. AND I managed to get it attached and talking to the television, which gave me a minor sense of achievement 🙂 So, I guess we’ll be watching some Dr Who later…

 

Satisfied Saturday Six

The SSS celebrates six things that have gone well, or at least okay, in the past week. It is the creation of Terry Egan, who is all things wonderful.

Considering the attacks in Paris (which is closer to my home than many places in England, and any place in Scotland), it seems slightly insensitive to post an SSS. But in the theory that at bad times, recognising the good is important, I’m going ahead.

  1. After a few days of feeling “I never want to write again” after submitting The Sisterhood, my writing mojo is back. I’m avoiding anything long still, but poetry and flash fiction are singing through my brain, and I’ve been reminded that I do indeed write for the love of it. It got a bit lost in the epic battle to turn in a decently edited novel on time, so it’s nice to be feeling it again.

2. Lovely Partner and I are planning a couple of nights in Berlin sometime next year. I won accommodation there, so it’s just a case of getting there and finding food. It’s giving us something nice to look forward to – I’m not a winter person, so it’s good to be planning great things.

3. I had a medical appointment on Wednesday which went much better than anticipated, so that was a relief.

4. I am looking at getting business cards made up for Friday Yarns, which feels like a terribly grown up thing to be doing.

5. Next weekend, I have organised to go up and visit one of my sisters. Then, when I get back, my other sister will be staying locally, so I will get to spend time with her as well. This is very pleasing.

6. I efficiently managed to do much cooking of food earlier in the week, which is all portioned up in the freezer, so that is rather excellent.

Satisfied Saturday Six

The SSS celebrates six things that have gone well, or at least okay, in the past week. It is the creation of Terry Egan, who is all things wonderful.

Well, this has been another trying week. I do have non-trying weeks, I promise! Nevertheless, there are always good things to find.

  1. I finished and submitted The Sisterhood! Which is very exciting, and a big relief.

2. I had lost a book I’ve been wanting to read for weeks, and I finally found it yesterday. This is probably more pleasing than it has any right to be.

3. Unfortunately, due to a lot of terrible things, one after another, I had to pull out of a weekend I’d promised to attend. This, obviously, is not at all good – but the organisers were wonderfully supportive and understanding about it and that makes such a big difference! Much gratefulness to them for that.

4. Both of my cats are being really cuddly at the moment. It’s probably because it’s colder and I’m nice and warm, but whatever the reason it’s much appreciated. (I like to think that it’s because they know I need cuddles, but you know. I’m a soppy cat owner. It’s probably the heat thing.)

5. My humans are also being wonderful. I have a great support system, you know? Sometimes life is pretty grim, and that’s just how it comes. But having the right people around me means that I know things will get better again. From the people I live with to the people I know only through Facebook – you’re all brilliant.

6. I was interviewed for ‘Kent Life’ magazine a while back. It turns out that the text (not, thankfully, the picture!) is now online.

Chessington’s Customer couldn’t-Care-less

Last week, I blogged about a less than great day out I’d had at Chessington World Of Adventures. I was disappointed, because my previous experience at the theme park had been amazingly positive; and I was concerned that far from getting better (as you would hope companies would strive to do), their standards had actually dropped. At the time I wrote it – bless my innocent cotton socks – I imagined that Chessington would care about my experiences, and appreciate some constructive criticism. I therefore tweeted the blog link to their Twitter account, and also linked to it on their Facebook page.

After I got no response at all (though they were responding to other people), I re-tweeted – this time moving from my original “Feel free to respond” ending (which I had used in order to show that I was not just bitching but would welcome discussion of my points) to the slightly more peremptory “Please respond.” And at that point, to do them justice, they did, saying:

Chessington Resort @CWOA

@penelopefriday Hello, please send your feedback to social.media@chessington.co.uk so that the team can respond directly. Thank you!

Being an obedient soul, I duly followed instructions, and emailed my blog post not as a link but in the text of the email, to make it as easy as possible for them. With the promise of them “responding directly”, after several hours without any response (not even “Thanks: we’re looking into it and will get back to you”), I got a bit worried that the email had not been received. Given this – and given the fact that one of my first concerns originally had been their failure to respond to communications – I tweeted them again, pointing out the irony.

Penelope Friday @penelopefriday

@CWOA Or… not respond directly. Ironically, my 1st point was that you don’t confirm whether or not you’ve received emails. Guess what…

They responded with:

Chessington Resort @CWOA

@penelopefriday Hello, if you’ve emailed the team you should have received an automated response. The team will contact you asap. Thank you

I found this response so profoundly unhelpful, given that I had already said that I had received no such response, that we had the following exchange:

Penelope Friday @penelopefriday

@CWOA No automated response and I copied and pasted the email address you gave social.media@chessington.co.uk Did you give an incorrect one?”

Penelope Friday @penelopefriday

@CWOA When I contacted in advance of going, I also got no response but it was clear when we arrived that my form had been received.”

Penelope Friday @penelopefriday

@CWOA I “should have” received a great number of things from Chessington, and didn’t. Par for the course, it seems.”

After a short pause, I got the following:

Chessington Resort @CWOA

@penelopefriday Hello, this is the correct email address and we can confirm your emails have been received. Thank you
Please note the lack of any apology for inaccurately saying that they had sent an automated response – or, indeed, at this point for anything.

Penelope Friday @penelopefriday

@CWOA And do tell me about the ‘automated response’ you sent…?

A rather big pause, then something, which very politically did not actually respond to what I said:

Chessington Resort @CWOA

@penelopefridayPlease rest assured the team will review your email as soon as they can. We’re sorry for any disappointment caused.

 

Well, I was very grateful for the vague apology – though if you know precisely what they’re apologising for, you’re more psychic than I am. The bad day? The lack of response to start with to my shared blog post? Their… lying is a very emotive word, so let’s not use it. Everyone can get something wrong… incorrect claim that they had sent an automated response? The fact that they still hadn’t responded?

I waited for two further days to have any response to my email (I had gathered that the ‘directness’ was not to do with speed but more to do with ‘let’s keep this quiet between you and us and we can ignore you privately instead’). I should point out now that the majority of those two days was during weekend time – but although you could argue that they couldn’t be expected to be answering over the weekend, I would like to point out in turn that they were still happily interacting with other Twitter users over those days, so at least one person on the social media team was in.

When I got nothing by Sunday evening, I wrote to the Press Office – both that of Chessington, and that of the Merlin Annual Pass, who – as I understand it – own Chessington informing them that I intended to write an article for the Huffington Post (watch this space) and asking them if they would like to comment. Funnily enough, for the first time I got that ‘automated response’ they claim to send to all users. Some users are more equal than others?

To be fair, they have not replied in person to that email either. Merlin did, with the hilarious response of:

It is great to hear that you wish to write an article regarding Chessington World of Adventures Resort for the Huffington Post. However, unfortunately as a member of the Merlin Annual Pass team, I am unable to provide further information regarding the Resort.

I am wondering whether they actually read my email or whether the idea that all publicity is good publicity has been thoroughly drummed into their heads…!

I would like to note that Chessington’s Twitter is now responding to new complainants and apologising for the delayed response – perhaps if I get no other satisfaction from them on my own behalf, I can feel that I have at least had a positive effect on other people’s experiences!

I think my disappointment all the way through this long and ongoing situation can be boiled down to one main point – I thought Chessington were better than this. I thought they would make more effort to help everyone enjoy their day; and when that didn’t happen, I thought that they would be sad to hear this, and want to make things better. Instead, what I have uncovered is not the problem of “one bad day” but an ongoing issue within the company. So far, I can only conclude that they legitimately do not care about their “guests” – certainly not about their disabled ones.