Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Two big, belated, thumbs up - the north south divide, not.

So I've been tardy, not a surprise to any regular readers of this column, which is a shame as now I've got two BIG posts to do in one go.

The most recent first as it's more time-sensitive - the wonderful folk at the Dock Museum in Barrow-in-Furness.  

I went to see the current - running until 20th January 2020 - West Coast Photography exhibition (beautifully curated by Phil of Signal Film & Media) but met such lovely people and was so impressed with the museum a blog post was a must. 

First, there was Paul, who I asked to explain what I was looking at and told me about the 'graving dock' and the history of the museum but with such enthusiasm, I fell in love with it.

Paul has the nickname (at least that's what John says!) of 'pinup Paul' but is also known as the Museum Assistant. 

Some pictures of the inside of the Museum but first, to the exhibition, I know I don't usually promote anything here, not least as the blog is generally not time-sensitive and this is, but because I really was impressed with what's going on there, and the blog is meant to be about people but.... well it's my blog and I'll post if I want to.

But, instead of my words, at the bottom of the post are a load more photos to tell the story of the exhibition but please read the rest first?

Anyway, after the exhibition, I went back upstairs and then met John, the Manager.  

Now, although John had given me a nickname for Paul, Paul was too shy? gracious? well-mannered? to give me one for John! You had to laugh.

The two of them were both so jolly and obviously, in love with the museum and their work, it was infectious.

Thank you both for the smiles and the laughs.

Leaving Barrow-in-Furness I was on the train to Lancaster and met a lovely woman called Rebecca. She didn't want her photo taken and she's not on the web so she won't ever see this, but her attitude to life was inspiring, so thank you, Rebecca.

Unfortunately, there is a thumbs down on this post and that's to the youth travelling from Glasgow Central to London in carriage B who was apparently going to a tv talent show in London and although spoke with a northern accent, is I suspect Portuguese by origin.   He was rude and unhelpful and, well, you're not going to get very far with that attitude in 'show business'.  You know who you are, so thumbs down. 

But enough of that, on to the second big thank you and thumbs up of this post.

I finally got to see the show Hamilton and although, yes, I did talk about a museum and exhibition above, that was the exception so here, it is going to be all about the people again.

Both my friend and I were so impressed with the friendliness and helpfulness of all the staff at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London.  

There was the security guard who searched our bags as we went in, he was fun and smiling, (no name or picture sorry).

All the bar staff, who could not have been more patient and helpful to everyone and some of whom despite the frantic rate of service, kindly stopped for a photo for me: Maeli, Karen, Jonathan, Kirsty and Salome.  



There were more bar staff but they were all so busy and serving people, I couldn't get all their names.  But thank you to them too. 


There were also three ushers in the ladies' loos (including a very helpful young, redhead) but I didn't get a picture of them(!) helping make sure the queue moved efficiently and smoothly.  One would think not a great job but the staff were smiling and laughing in here too. Thumbs up to Victoria Palace as I've never seen this before and it certainly meant the panic for a pee in the interval was in fact very relaxed.

Then, there was the usher, Luke, when asked where someone could leave their glass, he said just give it to me.

My friend and I weren't alone in noticing the excellent level of friendliness in the service, we got talking to a woman at the bar, and she said the same thing.

So, to all the staff, thank you and thumbs up and to the Victoria Palace Theatre and Delfont Mackintosh, well done on however you are training and supporting your staff.

Victoria Theatre
So lots of thumbs up and thanks to lots of people for making our days that little bit better.  Do look at the pictures below but before you go, remember, 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 nice smiley photos (don't be like me and forget to take them!) and some words. 

Photos from the West Coast and Sankey Collection exhibition

Try and read the signs if you can, they will tell you a lot about the Sankey collection and also the Open Call for next year's exhibition  

Ivor Nicholas photo radioactive milk 15 Oct 1957 
Eve Arnold

(apologies, video without soundtracks)

Sunday, 22 September 2019

Lefkas in August

Another Greek post from the Ionian.  Or indeed, to be more specific, another Lefkas post.

This time from Nidri (Nydri / Νυδρί).   

First off I’d like to give a thumbs up to George, originally from Albania, who runs the Saranda Ola Kala taverna with his wife, Elizabeth, and their lovely daughters, Maria and Eleana.

At the time of visiting, it was crazy busy at the height of the season but George understood our dietary requirements, (Keto diet to control diabetes), and could not have been more accommodating or helpful.  

The taverna is decorated with dish towels from around the world, gifts from grateful customers, and while serving fresh, good Greek food, George entertains his customers and people in the street with colloquial phrases, like “cheers mate” said in perfect British accents, randomly shouting out “merry Christmas” and doing ball and cup juggling tricks in the street between taking orders.  (That may all sound a bit too ‘jolly’ and trying too hard but it works!).

George used to work on the Anna Maria ferry from Corfu to Paxos about twenty-two years ago and also used to do some acrobatics, all before he had four stents put in.  My notes also have something about his aunt, Raki, who is 77 years old but I have no idea what I was meant to remember about her!

George, Elizabeth, Maria and Eleana managed to work in the August heat but still bring that extra bit to their day to make sure everyone left smiling.  Thanks.

Meanwhile, almost opposite, on the other side of the road, is Cafe Pyxida, one of the many large cafes that opens both on totemain street and the harbour front and working there, is Glikeria.  

Glikeria also brought that extra something to work with her.  Looking after my other half, she was pandering to his every need, checking what size and shape mug he would like his coffee in, offering him hot milk if he preferred, that I jokingly complained she would show me up.  She immediately gave me a hug and withdrew the offer of hot milk from himself!  

When I asked if I could take her photo for the blog, like so many beautiful people, she was worried about how she looked but she is a truly gorgeous, lovely, genuine person.  Thanks Glikeria. 

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

Now you've read this far, 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. 

Friday, 9 August 2019

London for locals and tourists

Some more everyday smiles and helpfulness in London Town.  The place that everyone says is so cold and unfriendly.  Have you tell you guys I’m a born and bred Londoner and I think London is as friendly or as cold as any other city on this earth, depending on what you’re expecting.  Having said that, I think all modern cities can be very lonely places. But moving on....

So first off is Tarkam.   I had some keys cuts a while ago but they weren’t quite right so I went back but the original guy wasn’t there and the whole key cutting operation has been taken over by a new operation, The London Cobbler.

Tarkam, and his father, Mehmet, now run the key cutting and shoe repair shop sharing space with Magic Dry-cleaners in Golders Green.

I haven’t met Mehmet yet, but I’m guessing he will be as lovely and helpful as his son.  Tarkam is third generation shoe repairer and key cutter as Mehmet followed in his father’s  footsteps.

Thank you to Tarkam for your helpfulness and smiles.

Meanwhile, on a beautiful day in July, I found myself back in the Houses of Parliament, looking at the beautiful Westminster Hall ceiling, https://www.parliament.uk/palace/westminsterhall/.  and the carved angels that the lovely Helga particularly wanted to see, having seen some in Norfolk and she had been researching them and the work of Hugh Herland.   ---  Also with us was “grumpy/curmudgeonly” (his words, not mine) Rob.  He wasn't either of those things but he really wanted to make it into the blog but didn't want to smile! So now you're in here Rob, hope you like it. Okay? ---- 

But back to the post...   I couldn’t get pictures of the amazing ceiling because of I only had my ‘phone with me rather than a proper camera and there is a bit of scaffolding there that day but if you’ve never been to Westminster Hall, so long as you book, anyone can go in.  If you want to know more about the Hall, you can read about the hammer-beam roof and the architecture here www.parliament.uk/westminsterhall/architecture/the-hammer-beam-roof-/ and if you want to visit there are all different ways and you’ll find them here https://www.parliament.uk/visiting/visiting-and-tours/.

While I was there I thought I would see if Carlos was around to say hello, (see post everdayfolk.blogspot.com/2014/06/a-beautiful-summers-day-behind-scenes), but it turned out he was on leave while parliament was in recess but I’m almost glad he wasn’t there as it meant I got to meet Deidre, Barbara and Gary.

Gary is a visitor assistant and it was he that directed me to Barbara and Deidre when I asked about Carlos.

Gary was working in the central lobby helping the tourists and visitors with directions and answers.  He got very badly smashed up in a car accident a few years ago, shattering his leg below the knee but due to his character, this did not stop him from subsequently completing three marathons, his last and best time being 501, his nickname.

Thank you, Gary, for your interesting stories and smiles.

Over to the Reception desk in the Central Lobby, I asked after Carlos and both Deidre and Barbara were there fielding every manner of request.  Their modern title being a “service delivery coordinator”, (Sorry but it makes me long for politically incorrect titles like, ‘personnel department’, ‘housewife’, ‘waiter’ and ‘secretary’.  That’s me feeling old).  Anyway, when I showed them the blog to explain why I wanted to find Carlos, well it was wonderful, we started chatting like we were long lost friends.

I was sorry I had to go but hope the next time I have occasion to be in the Houses of Parliament they’re both on the desk to say hello again.

Thank you, Barbara and Deidre, for the help, the chat, the gossip and the smiles. 

Since I couldn’t get a picture of Westminster Hall itself, here are a couple of shots from St. Stephen’s Hall, including a plaque to Marjory Hume, the suffragette who chained herself to the statue of the Second VIscount of Falkland and among the expected style of paintings, what I consider a ‘weird’ one possibly featuring death by Charles Sims, R.A.  Sorry they're not better shots but it's quite hard to ge the right angle etc.  Just go yourselves and look at them!

by Charles Sims, R.A.

St Stephen's Hall

by Vivian Forbes

by George Clauses, R.A.

So thank you Tarkam, Deidre, Gary and Barbara for bringing that little bit extra to work with you and smiling while you work.

If you have someone you want to thank, tell us something nice that happened, just get in touch, this blog is here for you.  

You don't have to know how to do the formatting and stuff, we'll help you with all that.  This blog is for you, somewhere for you to have your say, spread the positive and say thank you.  

We would love to hear from you.