Sunday, 21 October 2012

The Great British Bunt Off

Sadly, alas, the Great British Bake Off is over for another year and it has filled a void in my heart where lots of bunting used to be. In fact every single job I've been on this year (bar Dickinson's Real Deal) has involved me putting up and taking down bunting in some way and what with the Jubilee and the Olympics, the whole country has been covered in little triangular flags and I personally love it.

I am well aware that the bunting that has been used to decorate public places and shops won't last for much longer, winter is drawing in and soon 2013 will be upon us, a new year with less things to celebrate as a nation and I fear that next year will be severely lacking in the bunting department. I worked out some time ago that I couldn't bear to not have it in my life and after visiting my dad complete with hire car I saw my opportunity to reclaim my sewing machine and take it back up to Manchester with me so I could start making my own.

It has been years since I used my sewing machine, firstly it's very rare that I get a chance to go down to my dad's without taking the train and after trying to lug my knitting machine up with me on public transport a few years ago (Birmingham New Street was a particular nightmare and I was racing against the clock to get home before Doctor Who started) I wasn't prepared to go through the same stress and muscle work out again. Secondly I had decided years ago that the tension on my sewing machine was buggered and instead of getting it fixed I let it gather dust for a decade in the corner of my room.

After introducing my sewing machine to my little flat for the very first time and discovering that it worked perfectly fine (thus meaning I didn't have to find someone to repair it for me after all), I started trawling through fabric shops. A day later I ended up with this...bunting that can be enjoyed the whole year round and a good way to break up horrible characterless white walls. I'm already thinking of setting up a Folksy account and dedicating all my spare time to making tonnes of the stuff to sell online because soon there will be no more room for bunting in my flat and I'll still want to make more, probably to the point where I will no doubt trip over it and break my neck...a bit like those crazy cat ladies before they eventually get taken to homes and their animals are carted away by the RSPCA.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Mystery Package

When I got back up to Manchester from my travels and all the undelivered items of post that were too big to fit through the letter box whilst I was away had been collected from the collection office, I was very excited to find a package addressed to me that I was pretty sure wasn't something I had ordered online. On opening said mystery package I discovered an original work of art that my flatmate owned up to having commissioned for me by a little artist called Lloyd Jones. From what I can gather, the conversation went something along the lines of (and I may be paraphrasing slightly): "my flatmate likes Doctor Who and Neighbours and Newsround and Blue Peter and kids TV in general...well actually most TV in general. She also has a strange obsession with test cards. Please paint her something amazing" and this is what he came up with....pretty awesome huh!

Friday, 12 October 2012

Your Hire Car Is Due a Service

I hired a car to pootle around in for the duration of the job I've just finished on. I hired it from Europcar and picked it up from the Salford depot then drove down to Gloucestershire which is where my dad lives and commuted to various parts of Herefordshire, Monmouthshire and The Forest of Dean on a daily basis with very little phone coverage.

Two weeks into the job I received a voicemail message from a lady at Europcar asking me to phone her back regarding my hire car. Immediately I thought I'd got a speeding fine or possibly something worse (although I am a very careful driver). I thought this might be the end of my career as lots of jobs I apply for require a clean driving licence, so with a heavy feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach I phoned her back expecting the worst whilst dangling out of the bathroom window which was the only place that I could get the maximum of two bars of signal at our location. It turned out that I hadn't got a speeding fine or points on my licence at all, only the car was due a service and although I had only hired it for three and a half weeks, they decided to let me drive off with it, not bother to tell me about this and then expect me to drop it into one of their depots so that they could swap it over for a different car at my convenience. 

At the time I was leaving the house at six in the morning, driving for at least an hour, working 11 hours a day for six days a week with only Sundays to catch up on sleep and then driving home again with a nightly stop to the 24 hour Tesco or ASDA to pick up various food props for the following day's scenes. Most nights I didn't get home until after 10pm so unless the Europcar depots are open at midnight, there was no way I could have done it. Also my car was piled high full of rubbish, old call sheets and all of the props for the entire film in every nook and cranny I could find. I had been traipsing through fields and rivers, there were wet towels shoved in the boot, spades, forks and a particularly bristly doormat that had moulted all over the back seats. I was not willing to transfer all of that into another car and I was definitely not willing to give the car back in the state it was in before it had a chance to meet my vacuum cleaner and a bucket and sponge. 

I told the woman my situation although I chose not to tell her about the condition of the car at that particular point in time and I also told her that it might be possible to drop it off at the Gloucester depot sometime after the 8th October as I will have finished working by then (I was planning to keep the car and stay down there for a few more days to see people I don't normally get to see before making my way back up to Manchester). Monday 8th October came and I got a phone call at 9.30am from the same woman (bearing in mind this was the first time I had a chance to lie in for three whole weeks and I was still feeling a little bit delicate from the wrap party on Saturday night). I told her that I had finished my contract and that I had more of an opportunity to drop it in and get it swapped for a different vehicle, she then asked me if I was still planning to drop the car back off on Thursday to which I asked if it was ok to extend it for another day and drop it off on Friday. She told me that was absolutely fine and because I was returning it then I didn't need to bother getting it swapped over in the meantime because they'll just service it when I take it back to Salford on after initially making such a big song and dance over how paramount it was to get it serviced right away and chasing me up for two weeks about it, I take it back a day later than originally agreed and they're perfectly fine about it. Brilliant...great...thanks for all the pointless phone calls!