07 December 2008

A Day in the Life ... A Mixed Bag ... and My Soapbox

Just look at this! Yesterday when I set off along the A303 to Dairy House I drove through this mini flood. This morning we were greeted with this amazing sight (which didn't photograph particularly well from a moving vehicle). We had a thick frost overnight and the stretch of hedgerow beside the flooding was totally coated in ice. The traffic splashing the water up onto the verge and into the hedge in the freezing conditions created something I've never seen before and probably never will again. Do click on the photos as hopefully you'll be able to see the ice more clearly.

You'll see that beyond the standing water the verges are just mildly frost-covered in comparison. Unfortunately there was nowhere to pull in and we had a line of traffic behind us. I don't think they were particularly impressed that I'd slowed down to 35-40 mph on a stretch of road with a 50 limit. Pauley wound down the window and clicked as best he could. The photos are actually better than I expected, but not as good as I would have liked!

A couple of weeks ago I purchased this bank of 25 drawers from one of the other dealers. I'm in the process of labelling each drawer and filling them with packs of lace, fabric bundles, individual lace pieces, buttons, bonnets, beads, threads, braid etc. The grand plan is that I'll be able to finally clear the sitting room floor, partly empty the studio/shed and hopefully begin to know where everything is!! To this end I've just purchased its matching partner, and now have a total of 50 drawers to fill. Somehow I don't think it will take me too long!

In between customers and keeping warm by the woodburner I took a few photos of DH stock today. Three gorgeous Welsh wool blankets, recently acquired, each priced at £50 and all in excellent condition.

This gorgeous passementerie in gold and rich burgundy (camera flash distortion of colour)

and some similar in blue and gold

And have you ever seen anything so lovely as this? Probably, as it's not to everyone's taste, but this massive Victorian mahogany compactum wardrobe just oozes quality. The hanging robes are lined in fabric down to, and including, the bases. Incredible! The two centre doors open to reveal linen press drawers, with a 5-drawer chest below. I reckon it stands about 8ft high I just love it, and wish we still lived in a house large enough to accommodate it, but am probably relieved that we don't as I can't afford the £2,800 price tag this week!

And what about these baubles. You'll need a large tree from which to hang these as they are at least 6" in diameter. The second photo gives you a better idea of the proportions.

I love this room at DH. Sally has such flair and is also very lucky that she has the only room with 3 windows!

She finds some great items, predominantly French, and as you can imagine has a good following.

Pauley and I eventually left DH about 4.15 and as we drove towards Bath the sky was rapidly changing colour. Again traffic behind us meant I couldn't stop to take the photo I really wanted which is just to the left of what Pauley managed to take while I was driving.

I was going faster when he took this one. All I can say is that it did warrant a photo, even if this one isn't enough to convince you!!

And finally, this is where we parked the car when we arrived in Bath towards 5.30 this evening, for my second attempt to get through the doors of CK.

Before leaving Dairy House I telephoned the store to double check what time they closed, having been told when I phoned Head Office that they were closing at 7.00 pm this Sunday. Why was I not surprised when the person I spoke to this afternoon said they were closing at 6.00 pm? But that's not the best of it. I got to the door just after 5.30 to find boxes of rubbish outside, the door locked and the girls inside tidying up and hoovering.

I knocked (or rather hammered) on the glass door only to be told they were closed. Like a thing demented I said "Oh no you're not! I telephoned!" and gesticulated, pointed to my watch and waited for them to open up. The manageress opened the door, I announced that I'd driven for an hour to get there and wasn't going home without the item I'd come to buy. She asked what I wanted and that she'd get it for me ... but guess what ... OUT OF STOCK. NO SPOTTY GREEN SATCHEL BAGS AND NO SPOTTY RED BAGS (the two options Han had suggested she'd like). Not only was the Bath store out of stock, but there were none in the warehouse and they had no idea when they'd get any. Red rag ... bull ... etc etc ... not a pretty sight. I'm afraid I was on the attack and the poor girl was on the defensive, but things changed when I said I'd driven in especially on Friday morning (well over an hour) only to find them closed and that I was not impressed and would probably never set foot inside the store again. She was so apologetic and a long conversation ensued about the shortage of items and all sorts of other interesting subjects.

Finally I asked to check the opening times which I'd peered at on Friday, just to see whether I had totally lost the plot. Once again there were profuse apologies for the fact that the CK Head Office had sent out a ridiculous poster for the Christmas opening which did, as I was sure I had read, only show the times of opening for 3 days last week and 3 days this coming week, followed by all the days from next weekend up until Christmas. There was ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about the normal opening times for the other days. How utterly ludicrous is that. Apparently they have had endless phone calls asking if they're only open 3 days a week. Quite honestly, my view is that the company needs to look carefully at its marketing and PR. It's made a complete hash of things as far as the Bath store is concerned and has seemingly totally miscalculated with regard to stock control and anticipated sales.

After all the frustrations and mileage involved in trying to purchase Han's Christmas present it would seem that she will now be getting said bag sometime in 2009 if she's lucky. Perhaps they'll have restocked in time for her birthday in May. Meanwhile I have no idea what to get her for Christmas!! But I have to say, all credit to the lovely manageress at CK who was finally so understanding, helpful and generous. I'd love to say more, but can't really, but as I told her when we hugged, she has restored my faith in human nature, bless her!

So, the CK saga is over for the time being and we'll now look forward to the next excitement, whatever that may be.

For Ruth's benefit (she gets tired just reading my posts), tomorrow we have to go to the storage unit (only a mile away) to pay the rent and search for something lost; go to the woodburner shop (about 10 miles) to buy a clever fan thing which stands atop a woodburner and distributes the heat further into the room. I'm hoping this will spread the heat a little further at DH, which is currently VERY chilly indeed anywhere further than 6 feet away from the heat source. I also need to pack and weigh a couple of parcels and place an ad in the Blackmore Vale magazine to notify the Shaftesbury (and beyond) populous that we shall be holding a Pre-Christmas late shopping night (making sure I include the normal opening times of course) on Thursday 18 December. All welcome by the way, should you be anywhere nearby. We'll be open until 8.00 pm. When we've done all that we need to go to Sainsbury's (7 miles in the opposite direction) as the cupboard is bare. And then ... now that Pauley has emulsioned the sitting room wall we stripped in September after the woodburner was fitted ... we can empty the sideboard/dresser base of the excessive amount of heavy Denby Arabesque dinner service, shift the sideboard back into its proper place and refill it. There'll be some more tidying and reorganising of the sitting room to do after that, but it'll need to be done tomorrow as Hannah's coming for supper on Tuesday and we'll need to get to the dining table!!

On Tuesday, before thinking about cooking a meal in the evening, I need to empty the car (my mobile store), remove any remaining stock from the sitting room, sort the shed and begin to refill the car with goodies for Shepton Giant Flea next Sunday. Wednesday and Thursday should be relatively peaceful (2 days at DH), haircut Thursday evening and then on Friday I'll need to finish packing the car for the Flea and take Mum to collect her new specs. Now ... have I forgotten anything? Did someone mention Christmas? Not too sure when, but I'm hoping to write Christmas cards sometime before 25 December, get and decorate a tree for DH and ditto for home, get inspiration for Mum's prezzie (some hope) and generally get into Christmas mode.

Have a jolly week one and all. I'll pop over to see you for a little relaxation and maybe leave a comment if I have time!!
Update! Can you believe it? I'd forgotten that on Friday I'm also out for lunch. Pauley and I are lunching in the relatively new Bistro in Somerton with Liz (my DH ally) and her husband Edward. Our excuse (as if we needed one) is that we're calling it our 'office lunch'. We did the same last year (different venue) when we knew DH was going to happen, but it was still some way off. Any excuse!


Sal said...

Well, all I can say re the CK saga,is that you'll have to go to York and see if they have any bags there!!;-)
Mind you,I got very cross in CK at York as they would not let me take photos for my blog..are they afraid that someone will copy their stuff?!!
So to take my photos,I just stood outside the shop and zoomed in!!


Gingham and Flowers said...

I'm lying in bed suffering with a really nasty cold and I feel quite exhausted now after reading this. I hope you're going to take a well earned break over the Christmas period?! Sorry about the CK fiasco. I know there are many who are going to think I'm awful saying this but I've really gone off CK. I used to love her shop when all she had was the one in Notting Hill. It was just lovely. I suppose you can't blame her for going global, I'm sure we'd all love that kind of success but I think something has been lost in the mass development of the company. I find her totally overpriced now too. Sorry, I'm on my soapbox now too! Hope you manage to find an alternative present for Hannah. Have a good week. Hope you get everything done. Fiona x

Nostalgia at the Stone House said...

Hi Sue!
Whenever I walk past(!) CK's in Bath, they are always so busy - I think that good customer service is vital and they certainly seem to take their customers for granted sometimes....
I'm glad that the manageress was pleasant in the end.

Loved Pauley's photos! It must be lovely to enjoy the countryside on your way to DH.
I think I must have met Sally, unknowingly - the lampshade, enamelware jug set and Frenchy print were all bought from me!

Hope you can sort out the woodburner to chuck out some more heat.
And also hope you achieve everything on your long 'to-do' list!
Have a great week,
Niki x

Redwoodhouse said...

I am sorry but this post made me laugh, I love the saga about CK, very annoying for you but the way you wrote about it just struck a fuuny bone in me I can see you outside the shop 'hammering' on that door...

..Love the photo's
..Love the bank of drawers
..The stuff in the drawers I also love
..The blankets, well yes I love those too
..Love the fact, like me, that you haven't written a Chritmas card yet either
..In fact loved the post

Stay cosy

Vintage Tea said...

What a lot of trouble CK have caused you!

If you know if they'll have the bag in stock at their Covent Garden store I'd always be happy to pop along to the store and pick one up for you (any excuse to visit!!).

Victoria xx

The White Bench said...

Oh sue! Another GREAT day for you, uh?! Beautiful bank of drawers (... and all that you are going to load it with!!!)...

What about the CK saga? Disappointing, of course! I agree with all the ladies who commented before me: I tried to buy a bag for myself while I was in London... do you think I succeeded???:(:(:(

Enjoy your week,

Monica x.

BusyLizzie said...

Great photos, sorry the CK saga was sooooo stressful.
My woodburner broke this morning & we cannot get hold of anyone to repair it this side of Xmas... HELP.
Sod the Xmas cards, I think I might this year!
Mrs Grumpy xxx

Lace hearts said...

Gosh, your rant about CK struck a chord with me. I've given up on them frankly. I love their stuff, but what I want is never in stock, and I think their customer service is appalling. I didn't like the policy they had recently of 15 % off in random stores on random days, which was little advertised. I also think selling off current stock in TK Maxx for peanuts is a little bit questionable. I think they are on a dodgy area now, as customer service is so important, especially now. I was going for a CK wallpaper, but have spent my money at Laura Ashley instead because of frustrations in trying to get hold of it. Ho hum. Gosh, now I'm ranting... I'll have to do my own CK rant post! Get it out of my system!!!
Love the drawer unit!

A Bun Can Dance said...

Hello Sue! Firstly many thanks for visiting my blog and leaving your message, which has led me here! So much to comment on: LOVE the photo of the icy hedgerow - an amazing sight, more Lapland than A303. Fabulous drawer unit - could do with one for my new studio. As for CK, at risk of upsetting most of the blogging world, I'm not a big fan - give me Laura Ashley any day, or any one of dozens of much more talented American designers. And finally, YES I will be coming to Shepton on Sunday and will say Hello. Monday is my birthday so our visit to the flea market is all part of my birthday festivities! Hope your week improves! D

Cowboys and Custard said...

I can feel a gin and tonic coming on after reading this Sue..
I am feeling a tad guilty knowing that I live not a million miles away from this CK store.. five mins in fact.
I could have had that argument for you and saved you all the trouble...!
I hope Santa's Little helper.. turns up trumps for you.. though sadly I think CK have a lesson to be learnt here.
On another subject.. that icy roadside scene is intriguing me. There is a place on the way to Stourhead that we passed last year that had a frozen hedgerow due to a water pipe.. it was spectacular and looks so similar to your photo..
Hope the week calms down..
Michele x
P.s Are you at DH on Saturdays?

OhSoVintage said...

Phew!! I'm exhausted!! Words fail me on the CK saga. Their customer service leaves a great deal to be desired. I enjoyed looking at all the photos of DH and I want that wardrobe for Christmas but fear Santa won't be able to fit in into his sack.
Ruth x

Anonymous said...

Hiya Sue, they have the green spotty one here. Is it oilcloth? If you want it email me. I have always been let down by CK if Im truthful. Their postage takes ages and I have not been that impressed with the quality of the couple items I have bought. I have however had a look at the green spotty bag and it does look really nice. The same shop here have a few more bags too so loet me know if you need help.

Shabby Chick said...


Thanks for stopping by my blog :)

Your shop is lovely, I only live in Salisbury so must stop by one day when I have lots of money to spend on the lovely things!!!

Mel x

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