Saturday, 28 February 2009
Well we did, but in the meantime, Becks decided that she wanted to modernise all the corporate branding for Kinetic Logistics because she is an arty type. She she beavered away on a new logo design, new colours and new livery for the vans.
Yesterday, I managed to get a photograph of one of the vans with the 'NEW!' exclusive logo and livery, thus unveiling Beckys artistic handiwork. So what do you think then? Has the girl done well?
This is a van before it had the livery done:
This is the same van once all the new stickers and logos had been put on the side.
Behind the new van, we parked another that still has the old logo on the side so that you can compare the two. Unfortunately Phil ran in front of the camera just as I took the photograph. I decided to still include the picture because Phil's eyes are half closed and he looks dopey.
But being thoughtful, like I am, I took another photograph without Phil so that you could do a proper comparison. I think the new logo looks FAB myself. Well done Becks, you swot.
Friday, 27 February 2009
This particular saga commenced a while ago when I was reading in bed one night, and thought "ooh, it would be quite nice to be listening to Classic FM as well, and a nice Alba clock-radio would do the trick." An added bonus would be a proper alarm clock instead of using my mobile phone. Note to self: buy clock-radio post-haste tomorrow.
So the next morning, I did a little online 'scouting around' and I must admit, that I wasn't too impressed with the Alba reviews:
Gadget Speak Alba Clock Radio Review
My conclusion was that I needed to spend a tad more than £39.99 to get a slightly better unit that didn't pack up within 14 months. An hour later, I had found the perfect piece, made my purchase, and then promptly forgot about the whole thing........... until this morning ........... when I arrived at work and spotted Juan trying to get a box the size of a small fridge-freezer upstairs to the offices. "What the blazes are you doing you scamp?" I shouted at him.
"Trying to get a box addressed to you up the stairs" he shouted back. I quickly became aware of the fact that he was blocking the main entry staircase so I shouted "well hurry up then!" and he panted slightly and possibly even broke into a light sweat.
Then I saw the box!!!! AAAAAHHH! It was the alternative unit to the Alba clock radio that I had selected because it seemed to perform better and last longer. Either way, I got so excited that I was nearly sick, and Becks called me 'well sad'.
Good sign number 1 - it had DENON emblazoned all over the box. Even better, it had Denon S302 Home Theatre System just underneath that. Hang on, let me regain composure - I am feeling all hyper about this gadget............ It was eventually unpacked, and look! the sub-woofer has a halo it is that good (pic above)!
Hazel is our accountant and she sits opposite the desk where I unpacked my new S302 Denon. But you know accountants - they are all sensible and don't appreciate gadgets. I desperately tried to enthuse her about my new kit, but she just looked at me disparagingly and carried on with our VAT return.
It was at that point that I remembered I had an interview with Dan Pimlott from the Financial Times. DARN IT - that meant I couldn't play with my gadget! A call duly came in, and I had an hour long interview about the effect of the credit crunch on stock levels.
Anyway....... it is Friday, Phil and Becks have just gone off on holiday with a bunch of psychotic snowboarding lunatics. Juan and I left work early.... and it is weekend! Have a good one x
Wednesday, 25 February 2009
Anyway, today I tested him on his knowledge of the 'Zoolander' camera pose. This pose has been perfected by all the Baumhaus employees and is based on the film: Zoolander (view trailer)
"Steve!" I shouted, "throw me a Zoolander!" He looked at me blankly and said "what are you on about?"
"How long have you known Phil, and you don't know what a 'Zoolander' is?" I asked incredulously. He was still looking at me as though I had gone mad, and then leaned over to Phil and whispered "what on earth is a blinking Zoolander?"
Phil paused slightly, licked his fingers and straightened his quiff....... and pulled a perfect Zoolander without saying a word. Cool or what?
Steve - you have a lot to learn. You need watch the film, perfect the look in front of a mirror and then come back when I will test your newly acquired, and highly useful skills.
Then I had another thought............
"Hazel brought it in for me" he said.
Bloody hell, this goes from bad to worse. Not only are Baumhaus employees eating whole pickled rabbits, but other employees seem to have a ready supply of them.
Crikey where does it go from here?
Squirrels of Oxford!! Be afraid! be VERY afraid!!
Tuesday, 24 February 2009
Phil took them on a tour of the photo-studio where I was working today, and I took a picture of their legs (I hope that doesn't make me an oddball).
Unfortunately we can't give you any more information than that because we have a confidentiality policy, but I can say that they were a good laugh, and proper distracted me from my photographs (a good thing!).
Ho hummm....... that'll be me back to the photographing then...........
Looking at the scale of the backlog it became pretty clear that I was probably going to be spending the rest of my life (with no chance of parole) in the photo studio trying to take approximately a 100 million photographs. So it was with a heavy heart, that I got the first piece (a bookcase) all set up, dressed and lit properly.
And then do you know what happened? the pictures started to fly out - I was just like David Bailey but without the beard! It was one of those days where everything just clicked into place first time. By 11am I even had 3 full roomset shoots completed, so I nipped out to get a Scotch Egg from the fridge to celebrate. I returned to find Juan lounging around on the sofa in the roomset for comedy value, the young scamp.
He seemed to find it highly amusing, so I threw a roughly-hewn configuration of dried flowers at him and told him to "SHOO, you ruffian".
I continued photographing for my life, and was so pleased with the results, that I decided to go to the fridge and treat myself again, this time to a party sausage and secondary scotch egg. Upon my return, I found both Hazel and Juan lying on the sofa, laughing their heads off and well amused that they had hijacked the photo studio.
Is it me?! Is there anywhere you can recruit 'normal' people. You know what I mean - Gals who come to work in pencil skirts and low heels who only ever say the word 'yes', and chaps who wear tank tops and trousers with front-creases, and don't speak at all?!! Ha ha! They are cheeky chaplets, make no mistake.
P.S. I am back at home now and the ceiling is still dripping...... ummmm hope it doesn't fall in. That would be a bit annoying.
Monday, 23 February 2009
Anyway, here is an update on the stuff that happened today at the warehouse:
Well firstly, I was pretty impressed with the feedback on our new sofa range - thanks chaps! I only released the details on Friday, and today the phones went all hot and buzzy with people ringing up asking about them, and being all enthusiastic. Trouble is, even though they should sell well, they are horrible to get up and running on a website because of the number of variations (colours, with or without sofa bed, 3 seater, 2 seater, you get the picture). But don't give up, It will be worth it in the end! Plus you can't have me doing all that work for nothing - I nearly got a headache I worked that hard getting the sofa range going.
Secondly - Hazel is back after being away for a week on school holidays. Hurray! Given that she has spent the last week looking after children, she seemed remarkably back on form when she arrived, and did a number of 'dry' (but very Hazel) gags which made me laugh my head off. Then, in the afternoon, she looked all miserable, so I did my 'caring boss' routine; "what's up with you face-ache?" I said. She said that she had to submit our VAT return. That, I must admit would not be floating my boat, but she is an accountant - I thought they were supposed to like weird stuff like that.
Thirdly, as you may (or may not) know, Phil and Becks are mad, keen, and fast snowboarders (Becks has been sponsored by Solomon in the past, and yes she is a proper loon). Next week, they are joining a group of similarly suicidal crazy people, in the bizarre pastime of strapping ironing boards to their feet so that they can hurl themselves down mountains. That means that I am covering both Operations and Logistics in their absence (with Juan's help of course), so I have to do a handover this week. But don't worry, I might look all airy fairy, but I shall endeavour to ensure that the cogs of industry are well oiled, and turn around properly...... like well oiled things..... which are really smooth..........honest......... don't worry!
Anyway, I am off. Tomorrow (now that the sofas are up and running), and I turning my attention onto our new white painted range. That probably means that most of my week will be spent in the photo studio. Which also means, that if I have a camera in my hand, I will be taking loads of pics for the blog to compensate for all the lost ones. See you tomorrow!
P.S. I have got a leak in my Oxford kitchen which is coming from the ceiling. A drip lands on the wooden floor every 5-10 seconds and it is driving me bonkers. It is like Chinese water torture, even though I am not sure what that entails exactly. It must be pretty annoying though.
Saturday, 21 February 2009
So I enlisted the help of Jill; a well-coiffed, high-heeled estate agent, with red lipstick and a big fluffy coat (a bit like a glamorous Emu in fact). She came round to value my house, and declared that she would, quote: "be able to let it with no problem dahlink, I specialise in Crown Estates". Note to self: if she is that good, try and get Naughty George the dog thrown in on the deal.
Anyway, I promptly forgot about the whole thing until Jill rang me last Thursday saying that she had leased my house to a corporate banker (it's probably his bonus funding the deposit - ha ha! spot the topical joke!) and his partner, and that they wanted to move in on 14th March. As you can probably imagine, I instantly, and unequivocally regretted being sensible because I realised how much work being sensible involves because ........ the person letting the house wants it............ unfurnished.......... as in every room and outbuilding totally empty. Eek.
That kind of made me take stock about the amount of stuff I have to move. Including - a forgotten renovation project - see pics below - that has been sat in my garage for the last x years. (and that is before I even start on the shed etc..... where I have been shoving 'antique renovations' for lordy knows how long).
Secret Squirrel Renovation Picture No. 1
Secret Squirrel Renovation Picture Number 2
Can anyone guess what the car is though in terms of make AND model? I may considering raising a £10 credit note for the winning guesser!! Clue number 1 - look at the boot. Clue number 2 - the car sounds like a throaty demon when the pistons aren't playing up (think TVR Chimera to get an accurate sound-check).
After realising that I had a lot of stuff to move, I started to reflect upon all the things I would miss about my London house. To stop you getting bored, I decided I would narrow it down to the two things I would miss most and they are:
But guess what the shock Number 2 thing is? Ha ha! I bet you don't get it...... keep thinking......... nearly there, and it is a lot simpler than you suspect............
The suckers don't deliver to my new cottage in Oxford! It's like being a caveman, except worse. Cavemen only used to eat spear-kill so never knew what they missed out on, but I have only eaten 'hot and spicy' pizzas for the last 6 years, and now they are being taken away forever. I understand what the word bereft means now.
Friday, 20 February 2009
That meant that it was just Joe, Phil and myself rattling around in the 23,000 sq ft warehouse all day long. Being insular and low in numbers, we began to turn in on ourselves, a bit like Lord of the Flies. A psychological power struggle ensued, with Joe and Phil trying to take control of the warehouse by limiting my access to fresh water. Unfortunately, they had forgotten that the Banjo's Sandwich van came at 9.45am, so I was able to stock up on Sprite. Realising their error, they quickly relinquished control, and harmony reigned once more.
Thankfully, from that point onwards, it was pretty quiet (except for Graeme, one of our lovely customers ringing me up and taking the mick!! - you know who you are - OOOH yes you dooo!).
And then as quickly as the day had started...... it descended into the 'Friday Afternoon Clean-up'. Juan decided to take pictures of me cleaning diligently and not posing at all (I am, quite simply, a natural Mrs Mop).
Anyway, I am wiped out after all that new sofa range, so I drove down to London and decided to treat myself to a Dominos Pizza - You have a great weekend!
P.S. Juan has been asking me to view his bedroom in Oxford for the last couple of weeks, because he as been working on the interior design. I will try and get some shots for you so that you can have a look.
P.P.S Did you spot the orb on my t-shirt? EEEK. I am like Yvette Fielding.
Thursday, 19 February 2009
The Richmond sofa always ends up gracing large interior-designed Victorian homes in affluent areas of London. Everyone who buys the Richmond works for the BBC, and children called Tarquin can often be found lounging on the sofa watching Bob the Builder DVDs.
Everyone who buys the Madison lives in a trendy New York style loft apartment, with exposed brick walls and open plan kitchens. They also all work in the city, eat suchi for lunch and sip skinny lattes during break times.
A classic sofa for those who appreciate timeless, solid designs. Nearly everyone who buys the Langham is a Bank Manager or Watch Maker, but with a twist (e.g. they wear a brightly coloured waistcoat under their suit jackets, or patterned socks)
Sofa Range 6 - The Chatsworth
The classic lines of the Chatsworth make it a firm favourite with landed gentry, and rich people in general who are refitting their Stately Homes. Laura Ashley do a similar one, but ours is better.
Sofa Range 8 - the Calypso
Dark and strong, just like the 'Milk Tray' man. The Calpyso is often the favoured choice of Secret Service agents and Interpol.
Tuesday, 17 February 2009
Being a northerner, Phil performed admirably in the carbohydrate challenge. That's probably because the northern diet habitually consitutes 95% carbohydrates (I remember Phil fondly recounting a story about his friend Anthony, whose favourite snack was pie sandwiches).
Back to Phil - he managed to find his way to 'Posh Fish' in Headington, which is apparently the best fish and chip shop in Oxford, according to Kelvin who works next door at DHL.
It was fanstastic! A veritable feast crammed into two carrier bags which we eagerly unpacked, shouting "lashings of carbohydrates anyone?" We all had a serving of fish or sausage, chips, curry sauce, and a bread roll each. Not only that, a single serving was bigger than my head.
Could I just draw attention to Phil in the picture above though. We ran out of plates, so he decided to eat his food out of a pyrex bowl like a dog. He doesn't seem to have put Becky off her chip roll though.
We are LOVING oxford we are. We have been here for 4 months now...... and it is grrrreatttt.
It was probably a good job that I was all 'caffeine excitable', because the first thing that happened when I stepped over the threshold, was that our shipping line rang (the lurverly Chris Davies to be precise!), and he told us that we had ANOTHER container of oak furniture arriving at lunchtime. BAD CHRIS - he drives his ships around the world far too quickly, that one!
To give you a bit of background about why we seem to spend our entire life unloading containers at the moment - during the Christmas period our stocks got pillaged because we under-estimated how good our lovely customers were at selling furniture (what with the credit crunch and all - everything was supposed to go downhill!). As a result, post-Christmas we had to increase our investment in containers (by about £40,000+ a month), to replenish our stock levels.
But blow me down, this must be our 6th container in two weeks, and it is still being sold faster than we are ordering it! So now we have had to invest in another 'booster' container which only has three of our fastest moving product lines. CALM DOWN CUSTOMERS - we are supposed to be in a recession ;-) !!
Monday, 16 February 2009
Just as I was wondering 'what the heck.....?', the 9 am Radio 4 news came on; "BMW have confirmed that they have sacked 850 workers from their plant in Cowley, Oxford."
We are based right next door to the BMW plant - in fact everyone at Baumhaus has to drive past BMW everyday to get in the front door.
Given that it was only December when Mini posted increases of 16% in their annual profits, the latest news was a bit of a shock.
On top of that, it has been confirmed that the recession in Britain is likely to be twice as deep as initially anticipated with a 3.3.% decline in GDP over the next year.
Blimey............... just off to don my tin hat and dig out a trench!
Sunday, 15 February 2009
They were all there (including an extra one called Steve Steward, who is a friend and had been helping out by fixing our security lights -Awwww thanks Steve!). Now we can run out of the warehouse really quickly in the dark without falling down the stairs, should we choose to that is.
Aside from that, we have recently developed a new theory based upon the fact that the weekend seems longer if you go out for a meal on Sunday night. I am not sure what the rationale is behind this (does a prison sentence seem longer if you undertake occupational training for example?), but it is a good excuse to go out, and as such, you will find no complaints from my corner - Noooo sirrrrrreeee. Eating out is my nirvana, for the simple reason that I view kitchens only as a back-up in the event that Domino's Pizza refuse to deliver. Other than that, their only use is providing a sink to wash the dog's paws when he has run through mud.
Anyway, I digress - we all decided that we were going to go to a restaurant that Becky had chosen in the Summertown area of Oxford - purely for the reason that we could blame her if it was horrible.
It was located down a really small side street with lots of other quaint restaurants, and was listed as a French restaurant. Yummy - snails and horse on toast, my favourite. "Gacon! Un Dobbin pain grille Monsieur!" Virtually fluent I am.
As we perused the menu, we soon came to the collective decision that the food was a little unusual for a French restaurant, in that it consisted solely of pizza, pasta and paninis.
Despite this, the food was scrumptious, as Becks tried to appreciatively demonstrate with her 'pizza and open mouth' photo. I had a spicy chicken pizza with jalapenos, but everyone else ordered meatballs and tagliatelli, the boring gits.
Just after the main course, I took a quick 'zoolander' shot of the chaps at the table (above), and then we were straight onto the desserts. The odd thing was that the desserts went from Italian, back to being French again, given that they primarily consisted of crepes.
I must admit that at £6.75 per dessert, the price did seem a little steep - until they arrived at the table that is. WOW! crepes piled high with bananas, toffee sauce, cream etc. You name it, it was on there. We would have received a life ban from weightwatchers if they had witnessed our indulgence.
All in all a good night - top tip Becky!
Immediately suspicious, I rang the office shouting "what are you all doing in work? Are you all after a promotion or something?!"
It transpires that they were all so excited about the huge push we had on getting the sofas launched, that they all popped in to finish off the technical mapping (something to do with the checkout on the website in case you were wandering!). What a bunch of stars! The only problem is, it means that the only thing standing in the way of the final launch is all my tasks. No pressure then......
Must dash, I am supposed to be driving back to Oxford in half an hour to meet the chaps for dinner, where I shall berate them on their eagerness!
Saturday, 14 February 2009
Anyway, today I thought I would tell you about the 'Baumhaus Friday afternoon clean-up' because is it the only weekly event guaranteed to give everyone a 'face on', so I find it quite amusing. The clean-up basically involves everyone who is at work, mucking in to clean the offices and the shopfloor.
Picture the scene - it is Friday, about 2.30pm say, and everyone in the warehouse is getting a bit restless and edgy, starting to evaluate who is in and who is out, and therefore how much cleaning they are going to have to do.
Then they all hear a 'PING' come from my computer. They all know that is is an Outlook reminder entitled 'Friday afternoon clean-up'. And everyone simulataneously thinks that if they keep their heads down and stare studiously at their computers, I will miss the reminder.
But I don't ever miss it (ha ha haaaaah! evil, throaty laugh), and shout 'right ladies, clean-up time!' A collective groan resonates around the office, and everyone drags themselves away from their desks cursing under their breath (git, bum, tosh etc).
Based on the number of people available, the warehouse is divided up and each section is allocated to an invidual. Straight after the allocations, everyone starts pointing at everyone else shouting 'but I have got more to clean than him!' Generally a bout of 'arm-wrestling' will ensue, as people try and offload 'the server room' or 'the photo-studio' to someone else to clean. It is a wonderful wartime atmosphere that sends your spirit soaring.
After the arm-wrestling, everyone embarks upon a frenzied cleaning spree. I always find it amusing that the website traffic goes up hugely between 3pm and 4.30pm every Friday. My theory is that because Juan is doing something active, people will login to the webcam because they can't believe he isn't dead (we have complaints about his lack of movement you see).
only one person doing something at the end of the cleaning schedule, otherwise we would all clean forever'. He looked inconvinced though, I must admit.
Anyway, back to London this weekend. I have the M25 to brave, so speak to you later.