Friday, 17 March 2017

Let me explain

In a recent post I showed you that I'd purchased a little yarn, there's more. Since my LYS decided to stock more fabrics and less fibres I've felt very let down that I can no longer walk out for 10 minutes and come home with new yarn.  So much so that I found myself recently without any sock wool at all, in the UK that is, I do believe there is a good quantity waiting for me in Italy.
This discrepancy was highlighted recently when I spotted this book at the library, 
which is also a 10 minute walk way and though I have many many books in the penthouse to read and dispose of, I was also tempted to borrow these two.  
I am currently half way through a 600+ page Jane Smiley but that's going to leave a big space when its read and left the building.
Back to the wool situation.  Cookie A's book is lovely with much useful information on writing your own patterns, not that I ever will when there are plenty of people to do that for me, we all know how lazy I am.   These cable beauties spoke to me immediately and must be made soon
these are rather lovely too.
So I've had no alternative but to order on line from Love Knitting an assortment of suitable yarns, I was offered 15% discount on my first order and free delivery if I spent £25, obviously I managed that by buying 5 x 100 g balls.  
The yarn arrived quickly in a useful organza drawstring bag with a 10% off code for my next purchase.  I should say now I'm not being sponsored to write this post but I do want you to know how happy I am with my purchase.
I've never tried this yarn before, Austermann Step, if feels very squishy, apparently its treated with aloe and jojoba to give a cashmere soft experience that last for over 40 machine washes.  So that will be interesting.
The Red Heart I've enjoyed before.
I chose yarns with only slight shade variation as I don't want too many colours to detract from the pattern detail.  
So I've moderately replenished my stock of books and yarn, nothing too excessive, there's still room for more if an opportunity arises, like my LYS coming to its senses.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Soft soothing knitting

When I started my latest project I wasn't convinced I was enjoying and after I'd used up the first ball of yarn I did think about ripping it out, now I'm loving it.
This is Estuary by Tin Can Knits, a shawl cum scarf with some shaping but not too much, mine should look like the finished article below once it's blocked out.
The pattern is in chart form which isn't usually my first choice but the designer has kindly copied the various pattern sections so they appear side by side as they are knit so I'm coping just fine.  Even though I have to concentrate I find it very relaxing to add a dozen or so rows every night after we've cleaned up from the days renovations in the penthouse.   
We are in week 7 of the works now but the bathroom should be finished in the coming week, the double glazed windows are installed if not completely finished and we have a new innovation in the hallway, more of all that another time.
I'm using up 5 x 50 g balls of Sublime baby cashmere merino and silk 4 ply that I found in a charity shop, lovely soft stuff that is going to make a cosy wrap. I'm telling myself this can go into the gift department for future giving, believe that if you will.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Extra Energy and the Ombudsman

Checking his bank account last week Mr FF was pleasantly surprised to see that Extra Energy have indeed paid us £400 compensation in addition to the £100 we received earlier this year.  So two months after leaving this dreadful company we are sorted.
However we had an email after the money was paid from the Energy Ombudsman explaining that Extra Energy have not completed the remedies (they have) and that the Ombudsman had once again extended the deadline, originally set as 22 August 2016, to the end of March 2017. This was obviously a completely standard automated email, it was sent around 10 in the evening and I honestly cannot be bothered to let them know that its all over since they have been absolutely useless and I'm happy for this long dispute to show on their records a bit longer.
I read in the paper the other day that a customer left EE two years ago and is still waiting for their credit to be refunded, the person said they contacted the Ombudsman at least once a week after raising a complaint but nothing ever happened.  Makes me think we had a fairly decent outcome compared to this poor person, not that it was anything other than a totally soul destroying experience but at least it's finished.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Just a little stash enhancement

How could I turn down these lovely balls of pure wool dk at the charity shop, they just had to come home with me.  The West Yorkshire Spinners was £1 the merino 50p per 50 g ball. bargain
I do like the way both ball bands feature and credit the handsome suppliers of the fibre.  
And I have made a bit of space finishing the little cotton jumper and adding a pair of cotton slippers from a spare ball of dk.  Unfortunately I forget to photograph the slippers before I wrapped the parcel for the baby boy expected soon.
Now I've started a pair of cable socks from the lovely pattern and tutorial provided by Winwick Mum using more West Yorkshire Spinners 4 ply
My stash now seems quite manageable and I feel rather smug although of course  I never have the right yarn for the next project.  

Thursday, 23 February 2017

The end of Extra Energy

I can't remember when I last updated you about our ongoing battle with Extra Energy, the suppliers of electricity and gas in the penthouse. Let me recap. We started a contract with them in January 2014 and for two years, despite many meter readings mostly by us but some by them and much contact they failed to produce an accurate bill. In fact over the 24 months they produced 2 bills both of which they cancelled within a few days.   We were paying a monthly direct debit and did manage to get over £700 back from them last year as we had so much credit though I had to beg and plead for this.  
Early last year we contacted the Energy Ombudsman who eventually in August 2016 produced a list of remedies for Extra Energy to complete within 28 days, produce an accurate account, credit any over payment, provide an apology and compensation of £100.  When EE failed to comply with any of these recommendations the Ombudsman simply extended the deadline every 28 days. At one stage EE advised the Ombudsman that they had completed the remedies and the Ombudsman taking them at their word closed our case.  Since nothing at all had been done we had our case restarted and the 28 day deadlines began again.  
At the end of December 2016 we terminated our contract with EE and asked for a first and final account, providing readings which EE said had been rejected 'by the industry' whatever that means.  EE then produced their own estimated account and had the cheek to add about £250 work of extra units to the gas bill, a reading which we have still not reached 7 weeks after leaving them. Fortunately Mr FF had had the forethought to photograph the meter readings at the end of the year which were eventually accepted.
I have been at my wits end, I have chased EE regularly for over a year, and the Ombudsman for 6 months, every time speaking to a different person and explaining our case the beginning.   In desperation I contacted my local MP, who passed the matter to some PR company that took on board EE's continuing untruths and told me everything was sorted when it certainly was not.  That correspondence is still ongoing and I have asked who is paying this useless PR company, hopefully not the tax payer
A couple of weeks ago we received a correct final account, once more EE made promises they did not keep but today we received the £250 or so they owed us. We have badgered them for more compensation because we need to hit them financially to get our point over and they have offered us £400 which they say will be paid in about 14 days.  Since they have failed to keep to any other deadline I have no idea if this money will be forthcoming but we do have the offer and our acceptance in writing.
Throughout this debacle I have felt helpless, frustrated and so very angry that a company can operated in such an unregulated way.  I did naively imagine that the Ombudsman was some independent body looking to support consumers and provide justice, in fact it is an organisation funded by the energy companies themselves with no clout at all.  
I have begged our MP to do something about this situation, I am fortunate that I have time and a lot of determination, imagine what it is like for people who have neither or are unable to manage such a situation.  There are many forums on line that detail similarly horrendous complaints, lots of people still waiting for resolution and wondering if it's worth the bother.  I recently explained to one EE operator who used that irritating phrase 'I can only apologise' that he could and should do much more than apologise, he could make a difference by feeding back to his manager that the policy of providing wrong information and downright lies to customers is despicable, that there is no job satisfaction in treating clients so badly and that the least he could do was keep his promise to look into things and phone me back, to be fair he did.  
A friend once told me that repeating your point of view is like throwing mud at a wall, most of it makes no difference but a little bit sticks and that has an effect. I've thrown plenty at Extra Energy over the last two years but I don't feel I've got very far.

Monday, 20 February 2017

The toilet is still in the lounge

but now the flush is on the bathroom wall,  things are progressing.  
The walls are fully tiled and look gorgeous, the washbasin, shower tray and towel radiator are in position.
Do admire the finer details of the tiles which are in three different sizes on the wall, just the large ones on the floor.  
Unfortunately the bedroom windows have not been fitted today, we have a minor setback but Mr FF is as always on the case.  For now the windows will stay in the lounge but at least there's a bit more room in there (to get to the toilet, no that's a terrible thing to say).

Thursday, 16 February 2017

A house is not a home

when it's been turned into a builders yard.
We have the bathroom fittings, basin, toilet and mirror, in the lounge, the shower screen and towel radiator are in the hall.
The new windows are in the kitchen and since the double glazed units were delivered this morning Mr FF is fitting them on the kitchen table.
I hardly have a work surface clear (of objects or dust) but I'm managing.  It feels like we are getting there, the bathroom walls are tiled and Jim is grouting as I type, the floor is still to do.  The electrician is here too, unfortunately he accidentally drilled through the kitchen ceiling instead of the bathroom, in two places, but he's such a nice man I can't be cross.
Seven more frames to go, Christoper who fitted our bi fold doors is coming 8 am on Monday to fit the windows, next week should be pretty exciting.