Friday, 15 February 2019

Decision Made

After finally getting my hands on the new roster at work last weekend, which by the way was an absolute mess, my mind was made up

It took a few minutes to sink in and decipher  what was what as it had the  wrong month (April) at the top, struck through and dates scrawled over the days!

Eventually I called someone over, who giggled and said ' it's a bloody cock up, isnt it'. I agreed and said can this be right? I've got 3 ten hour shifts in 7 days! Yes they replied, I've got 45 hours for 2 weeks straight.

Not me....I wrote a polite email saying I wouldn't be continuing my employment with them as I felt I  could not cope at my age with 10 hour shifts.  Hence asking and signing   a 15 hour contract.  Of course the get out clause for them is flexibility but I have to think of my health and well being. I admit I'm lucky that I can walk away.  I asked them how they wanted to proceed (returning uniform staff card ) etc,  well that was 4 days ago and I've heard nothing.....
not even a thank you, we'll pass your details onto HR.

So I'll be contacting HR on Monday and setting the record straight. I know ive sort of taken the blame myself  feeling too old to cope with the shifts but equally there is a duty of care. 

Shame I thought Lidl was made of better stuff then that.  It's a huge relief and I'll bide my time before I come out of retirement and jump back  into the workplace again.  If ever.......

We are very busy with the bungalow  at the moment. Updates soon.  Tx

Friday, 8 February 2019

Two Steps forward and Three Back..

Or at least that's how it feels at the moment. We've had another leak from a fractured pipe, its the same length of pipe as the first one but further along.  So once again the floor has been dug up and new pipe inserted.  The plasterer was plastering the kitchen when it started so it was damage limitation until he finished.  The new plaster and the water damage from the leak is drying slowly. The pipes will need lagging and then screed put back in place.  We will have to make sure they are scrupulously clean so that no sharp aggregate punctures the pipes.  

The upside is we have 4 rooms almost completed. Two bedrooms, en-suite and dining room.  I still have boxes I need to search through for some ornaments I know I have, and are needed to make the rooms more homely.  I'm after a couple of teal coloured cushions for the guest room bed.  I don't want to pay more than £6 each. Hubby has a rewards club account through work and we are fortunate enough to get money off lots of different companies, Dunelm, Ikea, Argos, Boots, Asda, Sainsbury's, Wilko and many more. The discount is between 7%-10%.  Occasionally there is a special deal with a much bigger discount.  All the bedding came from Dunelm and the wardrobes from Ikea. I was very lucky with the duvet set for our bedroom as it compliments our existing minky coloured bed that we just couldn't afford to discard.   It was only two years old in December and cost £1500 but its a beautifully comfortable bed. The towels were in the Argos sale 2 for £6 plus the discount meaning they were a bargain.  

I reused some plaster frames I had and applied new colours to match the room using old tester pots.  I'll be upcycling some lamps I have for the dining room and hall. I visited a second hand furniture store last week as I'm looking for a small side board or console table I can use in the dining room. Again I don't want to pay for new. He said he has a warehouse locally I can browse in so I'll be taking a look later today.  I'm also looking at Gumtree and the local Facebook selling page in case something suitable pops up. 

The kitchen has been delivered and so the next stage begins, lets hope without any problems. Bye for now. Tx

Monday, 4 February 2019

Setting the Record Straight

Thank you all for your responses to my last post.  I feel I need to set the record straight as something seems to have been lost in translation so to speak. 

Firstly, my return to work after 2.5 years of retirement was to provide moral support for hubby who has finally agreed to give up work later this year or at least before another winter sets in.  Secondly, it was to meet people and maybe make friends with people in the area having recently moved. Its never been about earning extra money as we are fortunate to have private pensions and rental income from another property we own.  In addition,  if I was returning to work I wanted to earn just enough money(over £113) whereby my national insurance would be honoured but not physically deducted from my wages. My previous employer The Home Office paid a reduced stamp because  I was paying into a private pension, something that didn't come to light until after I retired. I was extremely angry about it and felt cheated, thank heavens  this practice has since been stopped. My current forecast is short by £14 a week and while that doesn't sound a great deal compared to my private pension income,  I have nevertheless 43 full years of contributions. Yet I'm still not entitled to a full state pension!!!!!. I could make a one off payment of £6K to bump it up but I don't see why   I should.

Last year I found I could get credits for looking after the grandchildren. So I claimed for Specified Adult Childcare Credits and last years was honoured which gave me another £5 a week. I will prepare the next claim at the end of the tax year. If you are short and look after grandchildren under 12 go on line and claim this,  as far as I am aware you can add previous years. 

Moreover, learning to be frugal and savvy in the run up to my retirement has made me a whizz at getting money off items, shopping for the best possible price or getting cash back.  I practice this every single day whether it be stretching the ingredients for a meal to make it go further to growing as much of my own goodies in the garden as possible. Furthermore,  I don't buy anything unless I know we really need it or research  it to see if I can get it cheaper. 

Yes, we've let go of the purse strings a little bit more since moving but this was always the intension.  There are no pockets in shrouds, we wanted to make our retirement as comfortable as possible living on one level and in a village were you aren't too far from the hustle and bustle of a cheaper town. There is far more competition in the nearby town and I can make our money go further.  

I had to call into work the other day as the new roster still hadn't appeared, something that doesn't bode well with me. I can't live my life not knowing when I'm at work.  I knew my Immigration shifts 5 years in advance, it was a fixed roster albeit horrid! The only saving grace was I picked up some real bargains: 2 x 6 fresh salmon fillets £2, Free range chicken £2 and a joint of pork £2. I will have another look in the reduced section before my shift tomorrow. Rumour has it they are expecting us to work extended hours in the new store when it opens shortly, up to 3 times the hours you agreed to work! Bye for now. Tx 

Monday, 28 January 2019

Will I be number 5?

What can  I say,  I swing from liking my return to work one minute to hating it the next.  I passed all the e Learning modules last week and the final test. Some people have struggled with this computer based learning and we have already lost 4 of the intake of 12.  My employer before I retired the Home Office went over to e-learning many years ago as it reduced the human error factor in training. Basically you couldn't say you hadn't been told something because it was included in the learning module. 

I've had a taster of most of the in store areas including the tills. Today I felt like I was tappng my head and rubbing my stomach at the same time. The methods of payment  are from tapping a card to inserting it,. Using your phone to pay or indeed your smart watch and of course cash. 

When I considered venturing back into work for 9-10 months  I wanted  a job with just enough hours/pay so that my National Insurance contribution were honoured for my State Pension without it coming out of my pay. This is £116, it also means I don't lose too much in tax.  I need the State Pension contributions as I'm short. The Home Office decided to pay a reduced amount as we paid into a private pension, a practice they've since stopped.  I was very angry when I found out. I claimed for looking after the grandchildren last year and my forecast went up accordingly.

I said I'd give it a month and I'm 2 weeks into the process.  Wish me luck.

My food  budget last month was over at £132.73 but there was a few Christmas bits in there.  My emplyee discount card will come in handy and so will the Tesco money off vouchers I received last week.  It all helps.  Bye for now. Tx

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Right Place Right Time, and work update

Last week hubby and I went to the local outlet centre and had a mooch around. Just as we called past the Card Factory door the lady shouted everything hass 75% off today, it all needs to go,  so we went in.

I got 4 bottle bags for £1, 3 small gift bags for 50p, originally £2, 4 large gift bags for £1.49. They should have been £1.49 each.  I also picked up some £5  M&S cards for £1.75.

We called in another shop The Works and got some cards that I can enhance with some hand finished bits and bobs. 2 x 8 for £2. I also picked up some luxury gift paper and tags for 10p each.

Later we went to Tesco and they were selling off Loreal Revitalift for £4.50 instead of £11. They've gone in my present box ready for birthdays etc.

It was a good days savings and they'll keep me going through the year and the next Christmas.

I've done two 5 hour shifts which has consisted of sitting in front of a computer doing  e-learning package all about the stores practices, like rotating stock, spillages, write offs, health and safety and much more.  Each section has a test and practical assignment after. The pass mark is 80% for each section and if you dont pass you have to do it again.  I've passed everything do far and I'm ahead of far so good.  Bye for now. Tx

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

I Survived

Well I survived my first training day at Lidl's head office in Kent. The journey was long as I had to go to London Stratford, then Stratford international, then catch a very, very fast train to Ebbsfleet. The ticket was supplied by Lidl and I was paid for my travel time too.  There were 6 newbies and we all got our induction to the German company.  We were told how we are paid, when we are paid and how to make sure you are paid.  Its all technically done via a clocking in machine that you tap with your personal fob. Every minute worked is paid for.  All pay rises and holiday allowance is  automatic each year till you reach top grade, holiday rises to 35 days after 4 years.

There was an element of Health and Safety, The Lidl working model  and how they are  environmentally concious.  It all sounds very good but proof of the pudding is on the shop floor, so I'll reserve judgement.

As well as my uniform I was given a little goody bag, not particularly healthy but it's the thought. Luxury crisps, Belgium chocolates, luxury shortbread biscuits, padlock  for locker, lunch box, pens, bag and  lanyard. I also received my staff discount card and fob.

My shifts are all over the place while I'm training but they should settle down to 2-3 shifts (15hrs), that's what I've been told. Back soon. Tx

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Patience is a Virtue..........2

Well blow me down I was only just talking about  having patience when shopping, when I got a phone call from Wickes who had planned and quoted  for the new kitchen. The quote offer was to run out yesterday 8th so John was asking if we'd made up our minds etc. We had decided we preferred Wickes style of unit to Wren despite being more expensive but previous experience tells me they normally come back with a further reduction and they did, £495 off the price plus and an  additional 24 hours to sign on the dotted line. I suspect this would have been extended further if we'd said we couldn't get there in time. The plan is below, sorry its a bit fuzzy.

Once a month we get a load of junk mail through the door, most ends up straight in the recycling. But some is quite  interesting.  Farmfoods don't have a website whereby you can browse products. So you physically have to go in. I pop in regularly as they are right next door to Screwfix my favourite shop but only  buy  bread and milk. 

In each months junk mail there is usually a Farmfoods leaflet and some of the products have caught my eye this month, especially as there are coupons attached to reduce the price further.  6 cans of Tuna for £3.99, less than 67p a tin, Finish dishwasher tablets 220 tablets for £15 and the Youngs Fish in sauce 3 for £5. Hubby loves Parsley whereas I don't, so a great way to mix and match. If I can bring down the price of the protein in our diet then it will help enormously. Once I have a proper kitchen again I will also be experimenting with more meat free dishes using pulses and beans not just meat substitutes. 

I'm getting a little anxious about starting work next week. I have to travel to Kent for my first day to see around a distribution centre and meet the big bosses. I haven't worked since retiring almost two snd a half years ago. Doesn't time fly. Back soon.Tx