BARTERCARD Australia Revokes Voucher Many Months After Service Has Been Provided.

CANI

In the interests of CANI (Constant And Never-ending Improvement) I submit the following for your information.

Bartercard Australia

Many months ago I joined Bartercard Australia in an attempt to rejuvenate my flagging business. A short time later I received a voucher for $100 partially, I thought, to compensate me for a bad experience with a merchant who refused to provide me with an advertised service, and partially as an incentive to new traders.

Voucher

I used this voucher with another new merchant so we both could benefit and I was very happy.

Due to circumstances beyond my control – my finances imploded on a grand scale and I was unable to continue to pay the monthly fee – I found it necessary to resign from the Bartercard organisation.

Even though I had only been a member a short time and they were surprised and disappointed, Bartercard appeared to accept the situation.

Revoked

However, just the other day I received a very short and, I thought terse, letter from Bartercard Australia informing me that the voucher I had used was not going to be honoured and had been returned to the merchant. Now this is approximately 4 months or more after the service had been provided. I was happy with the service and I imagine the merchant was too. And at least as far as I know so was Bartercard.

What is the reason for this?

It appears we (both merchant and customer) are being punished for something. Not sure what. Nor why. Perhaps the merchant knows? I certainly don't

A reason might be nice. And as a parent you are always told to ensure that any punishment fitted the crime, and was close in time to the event being punished so the punishee knew what it was all about.

None of this appears to have happened. Bartercard Australia seems to have just decided it was not going to honour a legally issued voucher which had been swapped for a properly advertised and satisfactorily provided service. Go figure.

Now our honest merchant is out of pocket, and quite probably has no way of contacting me to ask for payment.

If I was less than honest and not of moral standing I'd ignore this, but I am not. When I have the money to pay him, which now as a pensioner is not very likely, I will pay.

But my questions are:

  1. What was wrong?
  2. Who was at fault?
  3. Was this because I was forced to resign?

  4. Why did Bartercard just make this apparently unilateral decision?

  5. Why did it take so long for anything to happen?

  6. Does this mean that any voucher is completely useless?

  7. Why would we bother to use one in future?

  8. What does this say about the whole Bartercard system?

  9. Is a promise from this company just a waste of time?

  10. Is this whole Bartercard voucher deal just a scam?

Feedback

There is no failure – only feedback. So I present this not as a complaint, nor as an indication of failure, but as feedback; an attempt to understand for myself what has happened; to help Bartercard get it right; and to assist others who might use this system and/or these vouchers to figure out that the usually expected outcome may be dependant on circumstances that do not become apparent, if ever, for many months.

Looking for an improvement suggestion, Bartercard? Here is one. Remember CANI.

Jillian 30 – Pilot Licence Mega FAIL!

Pilot Licence

For the start of these episodes go to
http://career-change-strategies.com.au/jillian-1-meet-my-friend/

Every now and then Jillian tells me a snippet of something or other and then we move on and the information becomes lost in the mists of - well not time, necessarily - but forgetfulness and insignificance shall we say?

Some time ago, while trawling through my notes, I came across an item about one of her friends failing his private pilot's licence in interesting circumstances.

I asked about this again.

Seems this chap had been doing quite well – handling your basic up and down stuff; emergency landings (where you have your experienced pilot teacher reach around you and shut down the engines when you least expect it - and then say to you, “You have about 45 seconds to find a place to land.”

Oh and you ought to find some smoke to tell you the way the wind is blowing because you MUST land with the plane facing into the wind; and you need at least x number of metres to land and it must be clear of obstacles like phone or power poles and wires, holes, small hills, hedges, trees, fences, houses, bicycles and I suppose roads and people but he apparently didn't mention some of these things. They were to be expected, Jillian seemed to imply. Then there were stalls (you know where the training pilot makes the aeroplane almost fall out of the sky – the “Oh dear What are we going to do now?” moments; scary almost vertical spiralling dives and all things in between.

Some of these included heaps of memorizing particular aircraft bits and pieces, radio jargon (you know the Alpha, Beta, Delta … Romeo, Juliet things) and having at your fingertips reams of important weather information, weight calculations and navigational ephemera.

I mean, “There is so much to know,” I said to Jillian after listening to this for some time, “Why would you ever WANT to have a pilot's licence?” “A pilot needs to be a walking encyclopedia.”

But he, apparently, knew it all so it was time to take the figurative bit between the teeth and make a bid for the licence. At least the first of, I think she said 2 or 3 parts of the full licence.

Towards the end of the hour of the actual licence exam which had gone quickly and seemingly satisfactorily, the tester asked the pilot to return to the airfield.

Now this requires a square pattern to be executed, Jillian explained to me. You need initially to head for a point, a known and previously agreed upon landmark on the ground, and then turn towards the runway which will be to your front and right (probably) some 5 or so kilometers away. Hopefully you can see this aforementioned runway, but if not just head in the general direction.

Landing requires you to pass the runway at right angles, turn downwind and run alongside this landing strip, turn across wind with the runway at right angles to you and then turn facing forwards down the length of this narrow strip of grass with the wind now blowing toward you, and execute the landing. Did I mention you needed to know which way the wind is blowing (if there is any wind) before starting any of this manoeuvring?

Well, our friend reached this landmark, executed the turn towards the airport and runway which he could see in the distance and was heading in to do the square pattern landing, secure in the knowledge that his licence was in the bag.

Imagine his surprise when the examiner asked him what he was doing. Of course he explained he was doing as he was told. Heading in to land the aeroplane after reaching the previously defined ground landmark.

“OK.” said the examiner, “Why are you STILL doing this?”

At this point Jillian's friend smelled a rat and said,”Am I missing something, Jim?”

“You might say.” said Jim. “There is an emergency. All traffic in the area has been asked by radio to avoid the airport for the next 10 minutes or so. You, specifically, have been asked to turn away to port (left for those not used to this language) and to not attempt to land, in order to make way for this temporary emergency state. You have ignored these instructions - given 3 or 4 times with increasing urgency; and air-traffic controllers have had to re-route several other aircraft out of your way, even the helicopter with the emergency situation.”

“I am afraid, if you cannot follow simple radio instructions, I am not going to be able to approve you for your licence. You are a menace to other aircraft and the flying public.”

I think that constitutes a mega-fail. Don't you? #ourjillian

Rules and Public Venues. Stupid

Stupid

This is me. Colin. Not Jillian and not Career Change Strategies. And it is possibly a wee bit of a rant.

Are we ready for a rant?

Al-right.

Rules-Rant

I was at a musical event the other night and there were tables covering the bottom level facing the stage for those that could afford them and the great unwashed (me) had to sit upstairs in moveable old theatre style chair sets.

It was not uncomfortable. I'm not complaining about that. But we were a fair way from the action.

I didn’t enjoy the show itself much. I thought the sound was muddy (at least the voices were) guitar was crisp and clean. I think it was the sound man's need to fill the spectrum with echo and reverb and other techie stuff. They really should get over themselves and make it all about the music. Is that too much to ask? And the artist pointedly noted that she would NOT be doing any songs written by a writer that a good portion of the audience wanted to hear. She does them amazingly. A tad arrogant I thought. But I digress.

Problem #1

We had our wine glasses on a small ledge in front of us. We were told by a security woman to remove them. She was smiling and trying to be polite and pleasant, but I was not really convinced.

The reason given for said removal was; in-case they fell or were spilled onto the higher paying customers below. This in spite of the fact that the cast-iron rail and balustrading would have ensured that any falling or spilling would have been onto our feet. Hmmmmm.

  • Was this a real rule? Really?

  • Was it an on the spot made-up rule by the security woman to justify her existence?

  • or perhaps, more likely, the mad ravings of a power hungry venue owner/manager who could not operate without a page or two of rules that MUST be followed in order to cover his backside from all or any eventuality; no matter how disruptive the rule is nor how unlikely the eventuality actually was. Stupid.

Problem #2

This one would be funny if it wasn't weird. Well no. The word again is stupid.

There was a balcony kind of affair half-way up the stairway to our little special place. I guess you'd call it a landing. It was fenced off very securely, from the main floor below. The configuration was stairs, landing, then more stairs Stair parts were normal stair width. The landing was actually twice as wide as the stair part. Are you getting this? And therefore there was a lovely bit of carpeted standing room halfway up to the to the upstairs seating where more of the general admission people could view the artist. Great.

Not-so great.

You see our lovely security guard moved these people on as well. A reason was called for. Several were given

  1. Fire or emergency access. (Such as medical or other) These people were off the line of the stairs and would have not impeded anyone attempting to use these facilities in an emergency.

  2. Dangerous. People might fall over or through the railing onto the floor below. We noted that the railing was pretty much the same as that in front of us on the top floor. Not very likely anyone would fall over it or break it. Not unless it was a wine glass of course.

  3. Likely to collapse. Well there was a whole room under this structure. And the area was obviously an extension of the stair landing, open for access (no velvet ropes here) and carpeted. So perhaps this was just a made-up reason on the spur of the moment as well.

  4. OK for me though. Yep. You guessed it. The security guard spent most of the show actually leaning on this unsafe railing in the landing/balcony space. Great view. Fantastic sound I'd reckon.

I just hate rules that are stupid, have no basis in scientific or any other discipline and are completely unfairly applied. Oh. Did I say STUPID? What about You?

Reminded me of another time at a gig at the Palais Theatre in St Kilda Melbourne. People were stopped from enjoying themselves. Something they had all paid to do. This was the whole point of the show. Or so I thought.

  • They were retrained (again by your arrogant and generally large security guards) from standing in their seats (not on – that would be wrong) and energetically moving to the music.

  • They were not allowed to dance in the aisles.

Reasons:

  1. Standing impedes (no that was my word – not the guard. Sorry) the view of others. Surely not any more than sitting, if everyone was doing it. And everyone was. Stupid.

  2. Aisle dancing is dangerous as it impedes (my word again) escape if there is a fire. Not sure if I am right here, but my logic tells me that if there was a fire - people would be getting themselves to the aisles to exit the building as fast as possible. Oh. That's where these dancers already were. And on their feet. Might actually save time? Hmmmmm. Stupid.

The 500 Words A Day Challenge

Some of you may have seen the Facebook notification when I signed up for this 500 words per day writing challenge.

It is awesome You go for the passion. You ignore the other stuff. The guy who runs this challenge says the power is in the process. You show up. You write 500 words a day. EVERY day.

Don't edit, don't second guess, don't do anything other than getting 500 words minimum (can be more but only if you just can't stop yourself) on the page EVERY day. Set a goal. Just do it.

If you miss a day DO NOT attempt to catch-up. Just leave the day (call it a holiday) and continue from there.

If you don't have the passion, then you probably don't really want to be a writer.

'But you do. You really do. It has been on your wish list since you were just a kid.'

Yeah, but if it is too hard to just DO IT, then it is not something you have a massive desire for.

I hear you. You don't know what to write about. BULLSHIT. Of course you do. Just let the mind go free. You see no-one needs to read it NOT EVEN YOU. Just write 500 words today, tomorrow and the next day. Print it out and throw it away; delete it from your computer. Record the process on a spreadsheet somewhere.

There. 3 days you have done it. Now do 3 days more. Rinse and repeat. Soon you might even read it yourself. You might like it. You might show it to someone else. You might destroy it again. And again. But if the passion is there. You just keep doing it.

You know it doesn't really matter. It is the PROCESS.

It's like walking for exercise. The destination is not even slightly important. You often go round in a circle or round the block. It is the walking that matters. Same thing. It is the writing that matters.

But, I hear you say, “I still don't know what to write about.”

OK. What about this?

Write about: (Thanks Jeff Goins for the following suggestions)

  • A screw up that you have made.

  • Highlight a personal flaw

  • Apologise for mistake nobody noticed

  • Tell the story of your biggest failure

  • Share a fear or a challenge you still haven't overcome

The other day I wrote an article in the Jillian series. I just let it flow.

On reading it a bit later I decided to let it go through to the keeper.

While it was just free writing – coming straight off the top of my head, I seemed to have captured some stuff which may have been information I had been given in confidence. Not to be shared. It was possibly going to be hurtful. While there were no actual identifiable snippets - some people may have thought it was about one of my friends. It wasn't really, but the resemblance was there.

I didn't do anything with it, other than record it as my 500 words for the day.

Gee. Will you look at that - 525 words so far. So that's it for today. Done and dusted. #500wordscolin, #500WED

Life After The Death of A Much Loved Partner

When someone Dies

I, unfortunately, attended a funeral the other day of a chap I have known for about 30 years or so.

It was a sad affair as these always are, but for me the hardest part was watching the widow shrivel into herself; beginning the process that so often follows these events. and is in my opinion, a huge waste; and even more importantly - avoidable.

Waste

“What is he talking about”, I hear you say.

The answer is simple. Not easy. I didn't say that. But simple just the same.

We often hear of partners dying after the loss of a loved one. Why is this so?

Here is a question we often hear.

What can I do to overcome the sadness that has overtaken me since the death of my husband? How do I step forward into the next phase of my life? He battled a number of challenging health problems during the last few years of his life. As a result, my entire identity became wrapped up in caring for him and meeting his needs. Now that the struggle is over, I feel empty and lost as well as sad. I don't know where to turn or what to do next. Can you help me?

Tasks

In the first instance, according to “The Complete Guide to Caring for Aging Loved Ones, A Focus on the Family.” Tyndale House Publishing. 2002. we need to be sure to address the following 4 tasks.

  1. Accept the reality of the loss. (Talk with others about the deceased person or the circumstances surrounding the death.)
  2. Experience grief freely (and painfully if necessary) - A grief recovery program run by your local church or community is a grand idea.
  3. Adjust to the NEW environment. (Assume some of the responsibilities and social roles formally fulfilled by your partner)
  4. Take the emotional energy you would have spent on the one who is no longer there and reinvest it. Refocus. (Don't forget - but give yourself permission to carry on with your own life.)

Spousal Death

A study has found that when a husband or wife dies, the remaining spouse's risk of dying is 66% higher than might normally be expected in the three months immediately after their partner's death. Younger people often fare worse than older ones in this case.

But it is preventable. Particularly if the above tasks are taken seriously and some help is sought to find a way to realise the potential just waiting to be unleashed. The Power is within. Freedom is within.

Support

Initial support from family, friends, the community (both spiritual and secular), colleagues and others with whom we are in contact is extremely important, and can't be over-emphasised, but it is not a panacea by and of itself. The bereaved person MUST take control of his / her own life and learn how to make it all worthwhile again. It is worthwhile, of course.

Every human being has a unique set of skills, knowledge and experiences that can and should be made available to the wider population.

A Lonely Match

A match which lights a fire dies, but the flame it spawns grows and becomes a new life. A whole new beingness if you will. It can be bigger and better than its humble beginnings.

A bereaved partner has the opportunity to reignite the fires that existed in his / her spouse. Fires that may have been almost extinguished by sickness, infirmity or any other reason. Now that the person has gone don't let their life be spluttering into the abyss. Don't dive in after them. Pick it all up and let it fly. Be the you that you can and should be.

Why?

If you add to the past life all the natural and huge resources we alluded to earlier, that the still living person possesses; we have what might amount to a Juggernaut waiting for release upon the world. Why should this magnificent force for good be allowed to shrivel? #careerchangestrategies

Jillian 29 – A Little Night Music

For the start of these episodes go to
http://career-change-strategies.com.au/jillian-1-meet-my-friend/

Jillian loves live music. We mentioned this a while ago when speaking of some time one night in New York.

She reminded me, the other day, of another musical interlude in her life.

This time it was an evening with a female jazz stylist.

Jazz

“What does 'Jazz Stylist' mean,” I asked, “before we go any further?”

She replied with a HUGE eye-roll. (Sometimes you just should stay ignorant with Jillian. It is a lot easier.) “Have you heard of Billie Holiday? Well she was a Jazz Stylist. It is someone who has their own typical way of singing or playing music. Really. Your lack of knowledge of everyday things astounds me.”

My turn for the eye-roll.

“The lady of which I am speaking,” she grammaticised, “is a wonderful sultry, warm-voiced vocalist offering a repertoire of popular jazz standards from the Great American Songbook, including selections from swing and groove to bossa nova and blues.”

“Oh!” I say. Suitably chastened. Jillian sounded a bit like 'Dr Google' and perhaps some of these observations are actual quotes from websites she has visited. I don't know, but this singer woman sounded interesting.

I didn't find out who our musical paragon was, nor where Jillian lived when she listened to this magnificent music. I remained stuck in the details.

Music?

Then Jillian veered away from the audio to the visual. We went from the point of it all 'The Music' to what it looked like. Yeah. Beats me too.

I'll stay with Jillian in real time and not try to figure anything out. Sound fair?

Venue

The venue was upstairs in a loft-like structure. There was a bar at the back and a stage at the front. One of those pretend stages that is all of 6 inches higher than the actual floor.

The room was small. Probably only seated about 50 guests at small round tables. The walls were distressed exposed brick, and the vaulted ceilings (black timber beams and white plaster) were covered in framed black and white photos of musical and movie greats. Mostly from before her time she noted drily. Oh, she did say the sound quality was absolutely fabulous so that was something.

It was a cute, intimate, friendly space – her words. She sat at a table with a youngish couple who even after only 10 years of marriage were starting to look a bit alike. I mean their glasses were almost identical just to start. Catty, I thought.

A Lady Gone Bad

You've heard the line from the Billy Joel song ' … makin' love to his tonic and gin'? Think microphone and you have an idea. A lady gone bad if ever there was one. In the best possible way, of course.

Blond hair piled up, floor-length black gown, diamante studded belt, and matching sparkly 3 inch high heeled open toed Manolo Blahnik sandles finished the look. And it was a 'look' just like from the Roxette song of 1989.

Pianist

“The pianist who seemed to be an extension of the piano stool flowing over onto the keyboard, was wearing what looked to me,” she said, “like a Chairman Mao outfit. Head to toe In shades of basalt grey.

It turned out he had spent the last few years in Shanghai so not surprising really.

His playing was technically brilliant, emotionally ebullient, and mesmerising.

Guitarist

The guitarist played like a man demented. Never missing a note that Jillian reckons anyway,and not even a sign of a fuzz but it was not just finger-pickin good it was phenomenal. And fast. Oh boy.

His playing was only overshadowed by his blue, stone-washed stove-pipe jeans and snake skin boots. An apparition to be sure.

Double Bass

The double bass player had his bows in a quiver like scabbard on his bodaciously sized instrument and wore a camo shirt. Very interesting.

Drummer

The drummer, she figured, was not of this world. He had a smallish kit, but his sound was bigger than Texas. She looked at me for a reaction when she said this. I am GLAD to say I disappointed her. My mind was on a much higher plain

“How anyone can still breathe after what he did,” Jillian said, “I just don't know.”

“What was he wearing?” I asked.

“Oh, I couldn’t tell. He was in a bit of a dark patch”, she said.

I was going to comment, but, wisely I thought, kept my mouth shut.

Boggie Woogie

Towards the end of the evening, she remembered, they were joined by a saxophonist and a different pianist who played boogie woogie and swing.

“It was awesome.” she cooed.

Gads. I've NEVER heard Jillian coo before. It is a very different thing.

The evening finished with an extremely nice version of Dave Brubeck's 'Just take 5'.

Apparently some whiskey was consumed as well.

“A good night?” I asked unnecessarily. #ourjillian

Jillian 28 – Appro & Other Things.

For the start of these episodes go to
http://career-change-strategies.com.au/jillian-1-meet-my-friend/

It's coming up to Melbourne Cup time, and it got me thinking. I asked Jillian if she had heard of 'buying on appro'?

She said she remembered her parents talking about it. Wasn't sure if they ever did it - but yeah the concept was known to her.

Appro

Seems that what used to happen was, in the olden days, you could buy something for a small deposit – probably about 10% of the price and take it home. Things like washing machines were popular in my youth, since many people back then did their washing in a copper. Now that's a story for another time.

When you had the unit at your place you could use it for a bit (time usually depending on the item and the price paid) and if you didn't like it you could return it. You then received all your deposit back. The system could be used for almost any non-consumable product.

Item had to be in resalable condition when returned, of course.

Why do we remember appro at this time? Well it has been known that a number of the Melbourne ladies have purchased hats and fascinators, even complete outfits that they will never wear again so that they can make a huge splash at the Melbourne Cup Carnival. Not cool or nice but I'm told it happens. Hence the link in my fevered brain.

Jillian at The Cup

Jillian remembered going to the Melbourne Cup - the main race day - once many years ago with a couple of friends.

They dressed up in all sorts of finery, top hats and frock coats for the gentlemen and many layered long chiffon dresses for the ladies. Hair in ringlets and things like that.

“It wasn't an attempt to follow a fashion style or time in history – just a way to dress up with what we had or could get hold of easily”, she said. “The clothes and shoes etc didn't have to match or anything. We were just out for a good time and this seemed like the way to do it. You couldn't really wear high heels either as we had to stay within the car park area or the public lawns near the tote boards and the ground was often soft there at that time of year.”

Champagne

We had Champagne (we were still allowed to call it that back then) which we poured from a china teapot into Royal Albert Tea Cups and drank with pinky fingers afloat.

“Don't ask, she hurried on, when it became obvious I was going to. “I have no idea why we did that. One of the guys made that decision.”

“We ate little patti-pan cakes that we had baked the day before. Now they are all the rage, of course and called cup cakes. Who'd have known? Quite appropriate don't you think? We were trail blazers back then.”

Oh and we hired a friend's horse and cart to take us there. We were really going over the top.”

Home

“I do remember”, she said, “waiting for about 4 hours in a queue of very drunk patrons to get a taxi home. It was horrendous. In many cases the women were the worst. Brings out the beast in people I reckon. Freezing cold, loads of stuff to carry and very tired. Never did it again. Haven't been to The Melbourne Cup since. Can't imagine ever feeling the urge.” #ourjillian

Jillian 27 – Sea-Baths

For the start of these episodes go to
http://career-change-strategies.com.au/jillian-1-meet-my-friend/

In a quaint little custom quite a few seaside towns and cities build a structure amongst the rocks right on the edge of the ocean and call it “The Saltwater Sea-Baths”.

Sea-Baths

Why you might do this with miles of sandy beach, sea water, dunes, breakers and all the stuff beach communities love, right there is a bit beyond me. But I have lived in a few places where this is the norm.

So has Jillian.

And to add to this strange reality, many of these pools are quite large complexes also including hot mineral water baths, massage rooms, and many other health spa kinds of things.

But some are just an excavation out of the rocks and are filled by the waves either breaking over the sea-side wall or funnelling through tunnels in the rock just above the highest level of the pool.

Cold

What this means is that these pools are COLD. I mean in the breakers cold water is moving – a lot - and so are you, the swimmer; but, in a pool of this kind the water is mainly still except for the rhythmic tumble of fresh cold water entering at the sea wall end. And all motion by a person seems to make it colder rather than more bearable. What we have here is a deep pool of still, glassy, almost motionless freezing water just waiting for a swimmer to brave it, and I still have to work out why this is so enticing. I mean there is not even scotch whisky involved.

Locked

As well as this there is an even more ludicrous situation at such pools. They are fenced and locked when not officially open to the public – even the ones that are not much more than a hole in the ground and a rudimentary change room setup. Very primitive, But still secure behind high wire fences with barbed wire on top. Bit like a torture prison from one of those unenlightened countries of the past.

But it gets worse.

Midnight Swims

Add to this the mania of most seaside places like this for a winter solstice (the shortest day – longest night) swim at midnight. Yes you heard me. In the middle of the longest, coldest night of the year hardy (read stupid) souls venture into one of these sea baths for a lovely little swim.

And the baths are, of course, closed and locked, aren't they?

Madness

One night Jillian ventured out with a few others in their early twenties to one of these ceremonies. Unfortunately this particular sea baths was below a number of houses built on the cliff above. The shouting, screaming and laughing woke the community minded deeply slumbering neighbours, (it was a clod winter's night) and the constabulary were despatched.

Jillian and her friends heard the sirens and decided to make off into the night. Did I say there were high wire fences and barbed wire involved? Well since they had climbed in - they needed to climb out. It was slow and dangerous work. The blokes a wee bit more worried than the girls.

Oh-Oh

You see, as boys will be boys these chaps had decided skinny dipping was the bees knees. This made escape even more dangerous and speed was obviously of the essence. Hmmm the fence, the barbed wire. Not good for a young bloke.

At least one of our intrepid males decided to forgo the few seconds required to gather up his clothes and climbed the fence naked. Of course he fell off. Was he still on one piece? No time to check. Too cold to tell. Piling into the car and laying rubber they headed off in the direction away from the approaching patrol cars.

Escape?

Now Jillian found herself in the back seat with another young woman and our naked friend. Blue with the cold and by now embarrassed and frightened, he began to investigate whether or not he was still a bloke. No blood was a good sign. But the ladies were not impressed. (That's not what I meant, but it was extremely cold. OK?)

Here was this naked 20 something years old man busily and visibly checking his family jewels while they tried to look the other way.

I have said it before – but as Jillian reiterated – some images just can't be unseen. #ourjillian.

Jillian 26 – The Food Goes Up And Down

The Food Goes Up And Down

Our Jillian went by herself on a cruise once quite a while ago.

This is one of her stories.

Yes. I know. Another torrid travel tale, but this is funny.

Cruising Alone.

She began, “When you are on your own, you tend to gravitate towards other people so you can share the experience. This is aided by the ship's crew as they allocate you to a table for the evening meal in one of their huge restaurants. I was placed with four best mates. So we five, (a bit like Enid Blyton's Famous Five – the four friends and their dog Timmy), spent a lot of time together.

Friends

“I guess they thought of me as the dog – always trailing along behind them no matter what they were doing. I figured I was more like Julian the older one who was the leader. Almost my name, right? Jillian. So I deserved to be him.

Tour

“One stop, all 5 of us decided to go on a guided tour in a medium sized party type of boat., This included a trip around the island with commentary, lunch and a swim stop.

Swim Stop

“The swim stop came first. It began to rain quite heavily just as we reached the beach. It was the strangest thing. The sea-water was very warm (almost bath temperature), but the rain was freezing cold. We were caught in the middle - our bottoms hot and our tops cold. The weirdest feeling.

“That rain storm should have warned us. But no. What was to come was the best yet.

“It became quite rough when we were on the seaward side of the island (with the tide coming in). Of course as our boat began to pitch and roll – it was lunch time.

Lunch

“The lunch buffet tables were bolted to the deck on the port (right) side of the boat running from the front to the back. You were supposed to start at the back with cutlery and plastic plates and move forward filling your plates with the delicious seafood and other island delights as you went. Then you would find a bench or table to sit at to eat, or go outside onto the deck.

And the food goes up and down

“Of course the rolling motion meant the food was sometimes up and sometimes down. I learnt that day NEVER to stand between a band of hungry tourists and the food.

“You see as the food went up they all short-stepped quickly backwards away from the table down the sloping deck laughing and shouting and gesticulating all the while.

“Then when the food went down they short stepped quickly forwards - towards the tables, grabbed a few things onto their plates before heading backwards away from table again as the boat rolled the other way.

Rinse and repeat

“Each time they managed to get a few more morsels of food. But no one thought to stand and hold on for a bit so many managed to fall over and spill plates covered in slippery prawns, mayonnaise, lettuce leaves and olive oil dressing and other delicacies all over the floor.

“This meant sliding slippery people and accidentally discarded food rolling all over the place with the motion of the boat, further adding to the tribulations of our tourists as they strove to collect the lunch they had paid for. They were getting more and more raucous as it went on.

“It was hilarious. And the vision will never leave me. Some things just can't be unseen.

“I have no idea if anyone actually got anything to eat. I know I didn't. I could not stop laughing.” #ourjillian

Always A Student

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