WE COULD SEND LETTERS
It's 4pm on Christmas Eve and I'm exhausted. No, I haven't been indulging in the last minute carnage of Christmas shopping. The GLW has just come back from the doctors and there seems to be two bugs going around; one a respiratory infection and the other the gastric variety. Thankfully, I don't think I have either - I'm just knackered.
Flick and I fell asleep during "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" and only woke up when the phone went. Dave, who I run the Jock 'n' Roll website with, phoned to say, yes, he would be interested in making up a team of three for a new quiz show. "Brainbox Challenge" hasn't even gone out yet and I'm already on the hunt for my next (losing) television appearance.
Talking of "Brainbox Challenge", for the first time I can remember I actually got a letter from a show thanking me for my appearance and telling us they'll let us know when our show goes out. These little touches make all the difference.
Since Friday I have spent the time doing a variety of Christmas prize crosswords and quizzes. I've even bought newspapers I wouldn't normally touch. I actually bought the NME yesterday for the first time in a long while. I did the crossword easily enough but the "Lethal Quizzle" is proving difficult. Not least because I don't know all these new-fangled artists they're asking about. I'm soooo out of touch with "the kids". Incidentally, the quiz was co-written by Alan Woodhouse, a good friend of Dave's (and mine to a lesser extent) and a staunch Hibee. I sent him a text damning him for his hard quiz. Actually, if you knew the bands concerned, and read the NME, it probably wouldn't be so hard.
Of course, one of the problems at this time of year, in terms of crosswords and competitions is that some publications don't take into account the holidays over the festive period and expect the entries to be in by the usual day. As a result I've driven out to the local Sorting Office on a number of occasions to post off newly completed crosswords, puzzles and/or quizzes so that they're in the system as soon as possible and in with a slim chance of actually getting to their destination in time.
Unfortunately, this has brought about my last big moan of the year. Six times since Friday I have encountered overflowing post boxes at either the Sorting Office or the big Asda (Dunfermline also has "little" Asda). On Friday, when collecting a parcel, I had to point out to a member of staff that the box outside was "heaving", then I popped up to big Asda to find the same problem. I pointed it out to staff but as I left a postie turned up. He said the earlier postie couldn't get it open because of a problem with his key. The following day ("So on with the boots, back out in the snow") it was back to scouring the news stands and then more postal entries to send. This time the post box at Asda had a piece of A4 covering the post box hole saying that it was full! Another trip to the Sorting Office on Sunday and another post box ripe for the picking by any opportunist thief. One side seemed to be empty so I actually grabbed a handful of mail form the left and put it into the right hand side. This morning was no better as again a large queue formed outside the Sorting Office to collect parcels (makes me wonder if any parcels were actually delivered this week) and my attempt to post more entries was thwarted by another bulging box. I actually walked into the "staff only" area and informed a postie that it was full. AGAIN.
Then I did what any normal human being would do - I phoned the local paper. They had run a story on this very problem about three or four weeks ago and this was an ideal follow-up piece in the making. One of the problems is that there seem to be so few post boxes within the local vicinity and those that do exist no longer have collection times on them. They have one big we-might-collect-your-mail-by-this-time-if-you're-lucky time. So you never know when your mail will be collected only when it might get done by.
I don't really blame the posties because the whole Post Office/Royal Mail/whatever you want to call it has gone downhill for years. Firstly, they took away second deliveries (although many people didn't even know that such a thing existed) and now they're talking about getting rid of morning deliveries. As far as I'm concerned this is also something that many people in my local area won't miss, mainly because they've never had it.
These problems didn't stop me tipping my postie (it's always a bottle of whisky) and I also tipped the window cleaner. However, and this has been the subject of much debate recently, we didn't tip the binmen. Why? Well, partly because of their lack of flexibility when dealing with our bins (if the top is 2mm ajar they won't empty it) and the change from weekly to fortnightly collections. If they don't empty your bin you have to wait two weeks for that bin to be emptied again. In the meantime, where does your new rubbish go? We have three bins; a brown one for garden rubbish (they wouldn't empty it one day because some of the uprooted plants had soil on them!), a blue bin for paper and a grey bin for the other stuff. We have also, off our own backs, bought a composter and three stacking plastic bins for cans/tins, plastics and bottles, which we empty ourselves. The Council wants people to "go green" but they have a funny way of helping us.
On that cheery note, may I wish everyone I know and all those who have taken the time to visit my Blog a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year (except those two twats who posted abuse anonymously and who I hope you get run over by a runaway snow plough).
Now, that Herald Christmas crossword won't do itself...