Posted by sean on August 2, 2020 at 7:22 am in Shopping with No Comments

I challenge anyone to find a past time more enjoyable for a schoolboy, than spending an afternoon alone in their bedroom, with only a glossy publication and the photos printed inside for company…

I loved browsing the Argos catalogue as a kid.

With this in mind, I can’t have been the only person to shed a tear when it was announced that the Argos catalogue was now a thing of the past.

In years gone by, I would spend hours reading the catalogue, devouring the items I knew I couldn’t afford with my eyes.

I can’t remember exactly when the Christmas edition of the catalogue was released – probably June – but without fail, the pens would come out, ready to circle anything and everything needed from Father Christmas.

If it wasn’t computer games and gadgets I was feasting my eyes upon, in the summer it would be paddling pools large enough to hold an Olympic swimming event.

Then there were the sheds the size of a small house. For some reason, I hoped my mum and dad – both very green-fingered – would just give me the family garden, complete with a £500 shed, and allow their eleven-year-old to live and sleep in it.

All of this makes me sound like I must have been an incredibly spoilt child. I wasn’t. Not once was I bought a shed, swimming pool or Hornby Intercity 125.

So many memories…

Posted by sean on May 14, 2020 at 10:03 am in Shopping with 1 Comment

The recent hot weather has given me no choice but to dig out a desktop fan from the wardrobe. What other choice did I have in the heat, apart from ripping off my own skin?

As far as cooling me down, the fan does a reasonably good job. It does have one problem. It’s very loud. The noise from the motor as it spins the blades, is somewhere between a lawnmower and a pneumatic drill, on the decibel chart.

This is not ideal – especially considering the fan is located in the bedroom and primarily used during the night while we are trying to sleep.

To be honest, the noise doesn’t bother me. Despite being rather loud, the constant buzz becomes a form of ‘white noise’. I am more likely to have my sleep disturbed by loud talking, music or the television. Claire is different and despite also struggling with the heat, does not like the drone from the fan.

I have therefore invested in a rather posh and expensive floor-standing fan. I justified the purchase by using an Amazon gift card – a generous birthday present from my in-laws – as part-payment towards the cost.

When choosing a fan, I had three requirements…

It must be very quiet. I know that there are fans which claim to be silent, but that is impossible. The only silent fan is one which is turned off.

It is like a so-called ‘silent but violent’ fart. Granted, the sound of squeezing one of those out is nothing as earth-shattering as a ‘loud but proud’ guff, but I bet if you listened really carefully and got your ear close enough, you would hear something. Not that I can reccomend or claim to have tried this – if nothing else, your ear would smell of poo.

Returning to the original topic, before things become even more depraved… as much as the Victor Meldrew living inside my head wants me to buy one of these “silent” fans, just so I can prove to everyone that it does make a noise, I can’t be bothered. I therefore had to research the quietest fan. Any claiming to be silent were ignored.

It must have a remote control. I am sure there is a generation of adults fast approaching retirement, or have already packed in work, who got very excited when they bought their first television with a remote.

Apparently, there was once a time when you had to get your arse out of the armchair and walk to the TV if you wanted to change the volume. I’m also informed that televisions had no colour and only three channels – I think that is a myth… although joking aside, I do remember the fuss when Channel 5 was launched.

At some point last year, I experienced the elation those 60-somethings must have felt. I had bought myself a fan for downstairs. As well as keeping me cool and freezing my dear wife to the bone (NOT my intention), I was able to operate it by remote control! Very useful for the lazy gentleman, or someone like me who finds getting out of the sofa and walking to the fan, so tiresome that it would be quicker to turn around an oil tanker.

It was therefore very important that this new fan was able to be operated from a distance. This was especially necessary as the fan would be placed in the bedroom. It would be most inconvenient if I would have to get out of bed at 2.40am, simply to adjust the settings. I think that I would just allow myself to freeze to death or suffer terrible heatstroke, depending upon what fan speed I was too lethargic to change.

Easy to assemble. I have owned a vast number of fans over the years. Some are floorstanding, others of the desktop variety. All bar one had to be built in some manner. This normally involves securing the cage, which surrounds the fan blades, together.

Anyone who has had the misfortune of having to do this will know that building a fan cage is incredibly difficult – both physically and mentally. If Isambard Kingdom Brunel was still alive, he would struggle to put one together – and not just because he would have been a 214 year old man.

There have been times when I was tempted not to bother with the cage, and just leave three sharp blades spinning around. Admittedly, this could have resulted in me losing a few fingers or worse… considering the fan may have been left turned on, while I wandered around bedroom, having just had a shower!

Thankfully all my digits and bits remain attached to me, which means I was patient and persistent enough to build the stupid cages.

What I bought. In the end, I opted for the Honeywell HYF260E QuietSet Tower Fan. Most of that will mean as much to you as it still does to me. So here’s a photo of the thing…

Besides looking like one of those pompous modern towers, you’ll find near Westminster, it is a very good bit of kit.

As I always knew, it isn’t silent – nor does it claim to be. It is much kinder to the old ear drums than our old fan.

I also find that it distributes the fan waves (is that what they’re called?) a lot more evenly than the desktop variety – where depending on its position, you either get blasted with all the force the electrical cretin can muster up, or receive bugger all in the form of cool air. Perhaps the reason for the even distribution from my new fan is the fact it’s tall and slender, possibly containing different sets of blades.

Like with most electronic gadgets I buy, there was a problem! The fan required some degree of assembly. By that, I mean you needed a bloody degree in engineering to figure out how to put it together! This was most annoying, especially considering that I had carefully checked the fan’s page on Amazon to ensure that I would not have to also purchase a ouija board, in order to summon Issy Brunel back from the dead to help decipher the assembly instructions.

Somehow Claire and I managed to successfully put the fan together. This was before almost cocking the thing up so badly, I could see us having to snap the plastic base of the fan. I blame the instructions.

Thankfully the fan works brilliantly. Just as well, as I needed to cool down after the stress of constructing it!

Posted by sean on May 11, 2020 at 6:40 pm in Shopping with No Comments

Considering I haven’t left the house since February, this is a very appropriate t-shirt for me!

Posted by sean on April 1, 2020 at 7:09 pm in Shopping with No Comments

Since writing my blog post about the difficulties in getting a supermarket delivery slot, I was successful in grabbing one.

As my contribution towards the nation’s fight against coronavirus, I have written step by step instructions on what I did, in the hope that it may help somebody else…

This guide applies to the Morrisons website, although I see no reason why it wouldn’t work with Tesco. This is because these two supermarkets are releasing new slots, every night at midnight!

At the time of blogging, in my area of the country, Morrisons are making slots available 21 days in advance. For example, from 00:00 on 01/04/2020, you’ll be able to try to book a delivery for 22/04/2020. Tesco appear to be 24 hours behind, meaning at 00:00 on 01/04/2020, slots will be made live for 21/04/2020.

Just don’t be a second later than midnight!

  1. Ensure you have a Morrisons account and you know the login details. You don’t want to be registering accounts and resetting passwords at midnight.
  2. Earlier in the day, fill your trolley with enough items to checkout. Ensure you meet the minimum amount required to checkout later. Your trolley will stay full, waiting for you, hours later.
  3. Try to avoid adding items on special offer, as that can slow down the checkout process.
  4. It is possible to use the contents of a trolley from one of your previous orders. Just ensure that you follow the above steps.
  5. Once you get your delivery slot, you’ll want to check out right away. People have reported the website crashing, due to too much traffic and losing their slot! You do not want to be hanging around the Morrisons website at midnight, any more than you would a dark alley in New York.
  6. Don’t forget, you can add and remove items up to 72 hours before the delivery date, so it doesn’t matter what you checkout with – just take it out later.
  7. To avoid stockpiling, you cannot add more than three of one item – so filling your trolley with Katie Hopkins’ autobiography won’t work – even if you have no intention of buying them.
  8. Between 22:30 and 23:00, enter the grocery section of the website. I did this using two devices, in case one crashed, but don’t worry if you only have one. You’ll be placed in a virtual queue – possibly for a while.
  9. Once you finally reach the end of the queue, ensure that you are logged in.
  10. Now you have to just wait until midnight. Every five minutes or so, click into an item or update the trolley. This will stop Morrisons logging you out due to inactivity.
  11. As soon as it reaches 00:00, click on ‘Book a delivery ‘. Follow the usual steps, remembering you can only book slots 21 days into the future.
  12. Once you have your slot, immediately go to the checkout and pay as normal.
  13. Be patient. I had to try three or four times at this stage, including twice while confirming payment.
  14. If you get this message, the website is doing a Basil Fawlty impression. Instead of admitting it made a mistake, it blames the customer.
  15. Should you encounter an error, try not to press the back button or refresh the website. Just go to the checkout and try again. This way, it should retain your delivery slot.
  16. Good luck!



Sharing is Caring

We have all got to work together to beat the coronavirus pandemic.

If you know someone who is struggling to get a delivery slot – especially if they are elderly or vulnerable – please make them aware of this guide.

By using the web address you can access this guide, without having to trawl through the rest of my blog.

Posted by sean on April 1, 2020 at 2:55 pm in Coronavirus, Shopping with No Comments

When it comes to online grocery shopping, there is now a greater challenge than simply finding somewhere that hasn’t sold out of toilet roll. The first, and by far greatest hurdle to overcome is that of getting a delivery slot in the first place!

If you were to dare attempt to shop online at Morrisons, you’ll be stuck in a queue longer than one for the latest Alton Towers rollercoaster. The one which is so scary, they guarantee every thrill-seeker will soil themselves, or get their money back.

I suppose people should all be pleased by this. The custom of queuing is apparently very British. Those who voted to leave the EU – bEaCuZ iT mAyKs uS m0rE bRiTuSh – must be so proud.

A virtual queue is certainly preferable to a real one. For starters, you can queue while in bed, instead of in the wind and rain. It is also impossible to queue jump.

Best of all, you don’t need to worry about idiots disobeying ‘social distancing’ rules – meaning that the only virus you are at risk of catching, is one that affects computers. Even then, you’ll only get infected if you are looking at at the same time.

By the way, while I have no idea if that is a real website (honest), I wouldn’t recommend trying to find out on your home computer. Wait until you’re back in work and use one of theirs.

Assuming your sanity and internet connection remain unbroken for long enough to reach the end of the virtual queue, you’ll discover that there are no frickin’ delivery slots left anyway.

Then there is Tesco. The supermarket Claire and I pay a rather pricey subscription to, in order to get our shopping delivered throughout the year. Now I know that everybody is desperate to get their groceries, but one would have thought that some loyalty may have been shown to the customers stupid enough to purchase a now worthless ‘Delivery Saver’ pass.

This screenshot was taken by me. Note the time. Why the fudge is it so busy at that hour?

It would appear that you have more chance of spotting a live chicken at the dentists, than getting a delivery slot.

get it? … because chickens have no teeth… so won’t need to see a dentist… forget it.

The fact customers have to queue for anything up to an hour, in order to access a website, is madness in itself.

Is this the year 2020, or have I somehow stumbled back in time to 1996? The Tesco website certainly feels like I am accessing it through CompuServe on a 28.8k dialup modem (ask that computer geek you know, to explain what all that means).

I suspect Tesco’s web server is powered by a hamster running in an exercise wheel. If not, it’ll be a 25-year-old computer, with Windows 95.

At least Morrisons are trying to help their customers a little. To those shoppers who are interested – or brave – the supermarket are selling pre-packaged boxes of ‘essentials’.

You don’t know what you are getting, but it is clearly essential. I wonder what could be in this mystery box of essentials? What I consider to be essential is something you would most likely die without…

Perhaps the box contains a running supply of fresh water? An eco-system, complete with clean, breathable air. Most important of all, a subscription to Sky+.

I’ll give it a miss. I’ve heard about mystery boxes before.

To be honest, most turn out to be a bit crap…

Whereas some mystery boxes are just one big let down…

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