Monday, 13 May 2019

London to Crewe via Camden Town and Milton Keynes


So another, seriously, overdue couple of thank yous.

The first is to Dami at a Unite Student building between Camden Town and Kings Cross on St Pancras Way.  

So there's a bit of backstory here, so bear with me...

There is a fabulous (new to me) app call Printt App - check it out at https://printtapp.com/ - which if you're a student let's you print stuff for free* but with advertising.  So no good for that final dissertation but perfect for those things you want to read offline or work on in draft.

(*It used to be totally free but as of mid April they now charge a small postage fee for delivery).

You could upload the material on the app and it would be mailed back to you within a couple of days or, some universities have installed Printt friendly printers where you can print out your stuff via the app.

photo courtesy of Unite website
Anyway, during March (I told you this was a long overdue thank you) I needed some stuff printed and normally I upload to the app and the next day or two later, voila it appears.  But we're now at five days and various things I had uploaded hadn't arrived so I contacted them via twitter, @printtapp, and sure enough they were having a problem with their delivery system and advised me to go to a nearby 'station' that I would be able to find via their app.


photo courtesy of google maps
Hence my turning up at Unite.  Now, it turns out that Printt think anyone can walk into their stations and use their app but for security reasons, (which makes sense when you think about it), no they can't.  However, we were met by Dami in reception and I explained our dilemma to him.  


photo courtesy of Unite website


Dami was fabulous, having pleaded our case and checked with the supervisor, Dami made an exception for me and my friend (also needing some printing done), and we were allowed to go up to their very nice and impressive study room to use their Printt printer.



Dami couldn't have been nicer or more helpful while making clear that it was against policy but that he and his supervisor were making an exception.  Thank you both for being human and Dami, thank you for the laughs too!







Meanwhile, also overdue, I want to thank Marc, a senior conductor on London Northwestern Railway.  


















Travelling from Euston to Crewe is one of those journeys where your tickets can, depending on how much you paid, be only used at certain times or more importantly, on certain train line companies since different companies run the same route.


On boarding this LNR train, over the tannoy we heard an announcement about the tickets, which ones were valid etc etc, and then a different ending; the conductor added that since he really didn't like having to sell new tickets could everyone check theirs now before leaving the station and get off if necessary.  This little bit of humour added to the routine message made us all look up and acknowledge that someone was even speaking.


photo courtesy of LNR
Then we were off, and after a short while another announcement over the tannoy.  The conductor asked us all a question; "In 1934 what did a Yorkshireman, Percy Shaw lay the first of in this day? No Googling, I will tell you the answer before I leave the train at Milton Keynes.".

Well suddenly everyone in the carriage was laughing and smiling and looking at each other. It changed the atmosphere totally from the usual British one of everyone ignoring each other and just being in our private little worlds to one of community.  We were all discussing the question too and certainly in our carriage, we weren't checking it on the web.


When Marc came along to check our tickets, he was all smiles.  A really lovely attitude when asking to see the tickets, (unlike some conductors who assume you are a criminal without a valid ticket), and spent some time with Maggie, a giggling 4 month old on her first train journey.













I talked to him about how his attitude had affected the whole carriage and he said that's exactly what he wanted it to do, for strangers to talk to each other.  And it worked, I talked to three people in the carriage that day that I wouldn't have done otherwise.

So Marc, thank you and one more pic of that terrific smile!

Oh and the answer.... cats eyes!

Now, it's your turn.  Do you want to say thank you to anyone?  Well this is the place to do it.

If you would like to write a post to thank someone or tell us something nice that happened just get in touch and we would love to hear from you and to spread the thanks.
You don't have to know how to do the formatting and stuff, we'll help you with all that.  We just need some words and preferably some nice smiley photos.  (don't forget to ask if you can take them).  This blog is for you, somewhere for you to have your say.  Thanks.

....And if you don't want to write a whole post, then comments are lovely too.  Thanks.



Sunday, 3 March 2019

Paxos, Italian food and London


It’s funny, I’ve always been good about bigging up strangers but never think to do it for friends.

But then I thought, how did this group of people working in a cafe become friends?  Because of their smiles and excellent service.

Caffe Italiano is a small restaurant cafe bar on the Greek, Ionian island of Paxos.  It is run and owned by the by Bartolo, originally from Bari in Italy.  















I love spending time there when on Paxos as the atmosphere is always one of great friendship; by all the staff making all their clientele feel like friends, they actually become friends.  It is the loveliest cause and effect circle.


There is Fiona, Bartolo’s wife, from Scotland, Daniel the chef, who we thought was Romanian, (not least as we visited him there in Bucharest), but no it turns out he’s from Transylvania and then there is Spyros, who lives in Athens but comes from a small village in Ioannina.  A truly international affair of an Italian restaurant cafe on a Greek island!
I hadn’t thought of doing a blog about them but then Spyros asked me why not and it was one of those lightbulb moments.  I am not a president that shouldn’t big up his own interests. (www.theguardian.com/trump - being written 3.3.19 - check the news of the day - this gets a big thumbs down), and just because they are friends now there is no reason I shouldn’t point out that these are folk that bring that extra smile to work and make everyone else’s day that much better for it, (added to some lovely food - thank you, Dani).
Spyros, Bartolo and Daniel





















As well as being able to chill away hours with a coffee and a book, it’s a real hub of a meeting place and you can often find Ian of Il Pareo, https://en-gb.facebook.com/IlPareoPaxos/ the lovely next-door boutique selling gorgeous Indian and Balinese clothes and gifts, sitting at the cafe holding court.  You might also be lucky and catch the ever smiling Sam and Stuart of PaxosWeddings.com there.  Sam writes one of my favourite Paxos blogs Off Season Paxos https://offseasonpaxos.com I will probably get in trouble here for mentioning two lots of folk and then not a lot of others so forgive me, in Oscar’s style speech.

If you want to know more about Caffe Italiano they are on facebook at www.facebook.com/CaffeItalianoPaxosGaios and should be re-opening for the season some time in April until October.  But for now, a big thumbs up to Barto, Fiona, Daniel and Spyro, thank you for the smiles and look forward to more to come. 

And why might you ask has it taken me so long to post this thumbs up; oh life stuff but then this morning lovely Louise reminded me of the joy of thanking someone.  

We were at Prezzo in Northumberland Avenue the other evening, (after seeing the wonderful show Caroline Or Change https://carolineorchange.co.uk) and after we left, we were just getting to Charing Cross Station when the waiter ran up with my ‘phone which I had left in the restaurant.  I wasn’t thinking so didn’t get his name or anything else before he ran back to the restaurant but Louise, being one of the smiliest people I know, did think.  She followed up and wrote to Prezzo and we now know the lovely waiter who ‘saved me’ was Bajram.  So a big thumbs up and thank you to both Bajram and Louise.  

That's the end of a first post in a while but, don’t forget this blog is really for you, so if there is someone you would like to thank for bringing that bit extra to their work and your day, please do get in touch, details below. 


Monday, 5 November 2018

A Guest Post from Ruth Cherrington - THE POPPY SELLER


In the weeks before Remembrance Day, November 11th, the poppy seller becomes noticeable on our streets. Those shaking the collection tins and handing out the poppies range from quite young people ‘doing their bit’ to much older people who’ve been doing it for so many years they can’t remember how many.  




Coventry station
I saw one veteran on November 1st who probably fell in the latter category. Derrick had a table laid out quite nicely with a variety of poppies on offer and the tin there for donations. This was at Coventry rail station, a place I’ve spent a lot of time at over the decades (believe me, a lot!) as I’ve waited for trains up and down that line visiting parents and family in my home town whilst living and working in London.  It’s always been a cold station and Derrick looked freezing that day as he stood there doing his job. But he clearly didn’t mind. He is a dedicated collector for the Royal British Legion, the organisation that began the poppy campaign back in 1921.   



I already had a poppy but I had to have one from Derrick’s table. And I very much wanted to shake his hand. He had an impressive display of medals on his jacket and I asked where they all came from. One half of them were his father’s, he told me, earned during the First World War, the rest were his from the Second World War plus some other commemorative badges. I told him he was doing a grand job, had done a grand job. When I asked for his photo, he didn’t hesitate for a minute and stood to attention.

Courtesy of BBC News
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news
Then he was back to collecting and distributing poppies. Trade was brisk! It’s a busy station. During the wars, it was also busy with troops going off to fight, some coming back on leave to see loved ones briefly, or to recover from injuries. After the blitz, the King came to visit the city that suffered so badly from enemy bombing that a new word was invented- to Coventrate. The devastation of the city’s ancient cathedral became an icon of suffering yet also of reconciliation.    

It’s all very different now, this chilly 1960s station, about to undergo a revamp as the city itself changes around it. I imagine Derrick raised quite a lot of money that chilly November day in the year we mark 100 years since the end of the First World War.
Thank you, Derrick, not just for the poppies!

Ruth Cherrington






Ruth Cherrington can be found on
twitter @CHistorians and at 
Author of
Not Just Beer and Bingo! A social history of working men's clubs,
The Dirty Stop Outs Guide to 1970s Coventry and
The Dirty Stop Outs Guide to 1980s Coventry 


Photo of Coventry station courtesy: By Snowmanradio [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0  (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons


Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Back to basics, London again

A few thank yous to a lot of different people rather than a big, subject, post.

I've called this back to basics as I'm remembering the initial idea for this blog; people who do their job with a smile; who bring something extra to the job and their day thereby making your day all the better.

So first of all, to Ann-Marie at Volvo in Swiss Cottage.  Thank you for always welcoming your customers with such a friendly chat and making them feel like they're coming over to a friend's rather than getting their car serviced or repaired.  

You always make it feel like there's time to sit down, have a natter and coffee.  Excellent, thanks.  

(This is where I would have put the 'thumbs up' but as of the last post, we're dropping that from the blog unless people want them back?).

picture courtesy
www.allinlondon.co.uk/images/

Next a couple of thanks without pictures for the moment but hopefully they'll get their own posts in due course.

To Rosey the hygienist who manages to make me smile and laugh while scraping my teeth. Thank you.  I'm hoping I might feature her in a later post with her lovely smiling face.

To the two armed police outside the Chinese Embassy on Portland Place the other day who were smiling and laughing with about twenty nursery school children walking past with their teachers.

And to Ellias of David's Deli Garden.  Ellias and his brother, Sam, run David's in West Hampstead and have now opened a branch in Praed Street.  I bumped into him in the Castle Chemist in Cricklewood Lane and was so enjoying chatting and catching up, forgot to think of the blog and getting a picture of him but he and his brother definitely deserve a post (see RNIB Black Lion Pub Quiz post here read-for-rnib-pub-quiz-thanks-and-photos), so again hope to feature them in a proper post with photos in due course.

Now to the last thank you of this post, it's to Le, Nba and Nimah of the Sensation Café in Fitzrovia.

Lunch hour midweek in the West End of London is fairly manic in all eateries, particularly places doing fast takeaway food for people in offices.  

However, you walk into the Sensation and you are greeted by three beaming smiles and calm descends. 

Le is behind the counter making up the food and taking the orders.  I had a seriously wicked Báhn mi (a Vietnamese sandwich in a baguette).

Lovely, (shy), Nimah was behind him on drinks and I had a good latte.  I think she thought I was mad taking their photos!




and then Nba (I hope I've got all your names right), is everywhere, serving, clearing, smiling and making sure everything's as it should be.  

An oasis of calm (good food) and smiles in the middle of London.  What can be bad?!

So thank you to everyone above and thumbs up for making all our (London) lives that bit better.

Do you want to say thank you to anyone?  Well this is the place to do it.

If you would like to write a post to thank someone or tell us something nice that happened just get in touch and we would love to hear from you and to spread the thanks.  You don't have to know how to do the formatting and stuff, we'll help you with all that.  We just need some words and preferably some nice smiley photos.  (don't forget to ask if you can take them).  This blog is for you, somewhere for you to have your say.  Thanks.



Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Five Days In Seattle & As Many Thank Yous

So five days in Seattle and lots of people to thank.

The first one isn’t connected with someone doing a job but to my fellow passenger, Amit, on the flight.  We arrived in Seattle from London which is a ten hour flight.  Add to that the time it takes to get to an airport, the time one spends at the airport and the time clearing customs and getting ones bags when one lands and as you can imagine, Amit and I were pretty tired.  I was visiting a elderly relative, he was coming home to his wife after almost two weeks’ business in the UK.  We agreed to share a cab in to the city.  It would drop him first and then I would take it on.

Once we were in the cab Amit said, no, we would both get out at his home and he would drive me.  Which is what he did.  So Amit, thank you and a thumbs up thumbs up  for being a true gentleman and kind to a stranger giving me a lift when I’m sure all you wanted to do was relax in your own home.

However, the real 'subject' of this post though, is Annie.  


view from The Summit
My relative has moved into a retirement community, The Summit at First Hill - (we’d call it an old age home in the UK but that would be so misleading as this is nothing like we have in the UK) - called the Summit and the first thing I was impressed with was the light airiness of the place and then I realised a lot of that was down to the fact that I didn’t see one depressed face the whole time I was there.  Not from the residents and not from the staff.  

Annie is from Connecticut but moved to Seattle eleven and a half years ago and has worked at the Summit over three years.  While I was talking to Annie, I was also talking to Natalie, another real smiler.

Natalie

The staff all seemed genuinely to enjoy their work and connected on a personal level with the residents.

Annie, on the front desk epitomised this for me and from a photographic point of view she was perfect.  In addition to laughing all day while doing her job (efficiently to my eye ) she dresses for fun everyday.  Check out just some of the outfits while I was there.  Get those necklaces.









And, then on Friday I met Tech, she and Annie always wear matching outfits once a week.  A real hoot.     
Tech & Annie


So Annie and the staff at the Summit, a big thank you and thumbs up thumbs up for bringing your smiles to work.  Thank you. 


Someone I didn’t get a name for or a picture, (‘cause I wasn’t thinking), was a girl working at Frankie & Jo’s vegan ice-cream parlour on 15th (a recommendation of Amit’s above) frankieandjos.com.  The place was packed and she was on her own.  Not only did she not pause for a moment in serving everyone from offering a taste, to scooping the delicious ice-cream (I had the chocolate tahini) to ringing it up, but everyone got individual eye contact, a smile and a nice welcome as if she had all the time in the world.   So thank you to the person serving at Frankie & Jo’s on Tuesday, 19th June around 3:00 in the afternoon and a big thumbs up thumbs up for your smile.



Since this blog is also about the not so good I will also just mention the waiter at The Cheese Cake Factory who I actually didn’t tip; you were so rude to all five of us, no need.  You know who you were.... 


And lastly on leaving Seattle, to the guy driving the shuttle bus from the rental car place to the terminal, it was so busy and there were so many people there I didn’t get a chance to thank you properly in person or, obviously to get your name or picture for here, but thank you for your courtesy and smile.  Another thumbs up thumbs up to you.

A thumbs up rich trip.  Talking of thumbs up, I'm thinking of dropping the thumbs up emoticon/GIF.  Any thoughts on that readers?

So, do you have someone you would like to thank?  Do you want to promote the positive?  This is about 'bigging up' nice people and it's all about those guest posts so if you would like to send in a post to tell us something nice that happened or to say thank you to someone, just get in touch and we would have great pleasure in putting up your stories here.  We'll do all the formatting don't worry about knowing how to do stuff on the computer or anything like that, we just need your words and some nice smiley photos.  (Don't forget to ask for permission).  Thanks.