Thursday, 31 December 2015

Goodbye 2015.....

So.... Storm Frank finally rolled through St. Leonards on Sea in the early hours of this morning.  I was wakened to the wind literally roaring round the house and in my sleep-befuddled state thought that the roof was being ripped from its moorings.

Finally back asleep I dreamt that I was living in a house from my childhood, and that a huge storm peeled back the flat roof like the lid on a tin of sardines, and water was pouring into my bedroom.

This is all rather descriptive of how the tail end of this year has felt.  The past three months have been a struggle, right across the board, and I've sometimes felt as though I've been hanging on by my fingernails, buffeted by outside forces over which I've had no control.

As the saying goes, into every life a little rain must fall.  I have no problem with a 'little' rain. It's when it's a constant, torrential monsoon that I get a bit miffed.

So here's hoping that 2016 will be a more generous year.... with a lot more sunshine and a lot less rain.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Duvet Day Plus......

Yet another hospital appointment this morning, which I wasn't too worried about as I (wrongly) supposed that it would be an initial consultation with a cursory examination to determine the necessity for further tests, which would be booked for a future date.

It feels as though most of my internal plumbing has been in crisis over the past few months, and I've been pricked, poked, perused, prodded and probed via a variety of orifices, none of which were designed for the purpose.

However, in the event, I had the whole kit and caboodle today, with no warning, and, more importantly, no sedation or pain relief.

I'll spare you the gory details, but my yelps and cries were clearly heard in the waiting room just outside, which was, of course, full to overflowing.  When I'd recovered sufficiently to clamber off the examination table and hobble painfully through the door, every pair of eyes followed my progress and I'm sure several of the waiting women blanched in sympathy.

Word to the wise girls, if you ever need an endometrial biopsy, either INSIST on adequate pain relief or self medicate well in advance.

If push comes to shove you could resort to gin.  It may not alleviate the pain but you might not mind it so much.  If only I'd known......

The only good thing about the whole episode is that at least it's over.  

PP has, as always, been a ministering angel.... made me a little bed on the sofa, supplied painkillers, two hot water bottles and a lovely lunch. Small Dog immediately made herself at home on a cushion next to me, and hasn't moved all day.

Thankfully, the post-procedural pain is now under control and I'm feeling a bit more relaxed.  Spending time in the workroom hasn't really been an option today but this afternoon, on the sofa, I've been gainfully employed trying to get to grips with a new computer software program while watching old films on the TV.

As a distraction technique I'd give it 8/10.  


Monday, 28 December 2015


So that was Christmas........

Over a week of festive cheer, unlimited amounts of food, limited amounts of sleep and now we're in the limbo land of time between Christmas and New Year, when we'll do it all over again.

I usually spend this time in a state akin to suspended animation but this year I'm going to put it to good use.

This morning I tackled my workroom, which has been used as a storage area for empty boxes, packaging, wrapping supplies and all the things we couldn't find space for anywhere else.  Having cleared out all of the surplus stuff I've tidied and hoovered and restored it to a workable condition.

Due to being out of commission for the best part of a week earlier this month, I haven't cleared my order book by the end of the year, which I normally strive to do.  It's a good feeling to start the New Year with a clear order book but I was overtaken by circumstances this year and it just hasn't happened.

I also usually set aside January to work on new miniatures and do strategic planning for the year ahead.  I'll be doing a bit of that from next week but with unfinished business from 2015 I'll be playing catch up probably during January and beyond.  

Then there's my workshop planning.... I have two in the pipeline and another for the Cotswold Miniatures Weekend next October.  The latter is the most pressing as I have to have photos of my finished samples ready by 14 January at the latest.

No pressure there then.

It's doable, but at the expense of just about everything else I should be working on.

Then there's my annual dusting off of a languishing project which I started in December 2008.

Yes that's a little over 7 years ago.   Which is shameful even by my standards of procrastination.

I even started a private blog at the time, which I've been re-reading this morning, by turns impressed at my resolution then toe-curlingly embarrassed at my wildly optimistic plans and deadlines.

I can't believe there wasn't a tiny part of my hindbrain which knew that it was never going to happen.  Planning and organising is one thing (well strictly speaking they're two things but in this case they go together) but implementing and following through is another (two things) and while I'm a past master as the former, I'm frankly rubbish at the latter.

Every year at this time I review progress (not much) and resolve to woman up, buckle down and get on with it.  This resolve can last for up to three weeks but then my natural tendency to doubt what I'm doing and how I'm doing it, rears its ugly head and I get downcast, disheartened, and disillusioned.  Then I shelve it again for another year.

I'm going to try really hard not to do that this time.  It's such a big project, which will take up so much time that it's like contemplating moving a mountain of sand with a teaspoon.  I simply can't dedicate the amount of time which it will need to bring it to completion so I try to break it down into manageable chunks, but of course pledging even an hour each day to work on it, and trying to ring-fence that admittedly laughably small period of time isn't so easy, especially when I have umpteen other much more urgent tasks competing for my attention.

So instead of mothballing it yet again, I'm going to leave it out in plain sight.  And even if I can only spare a few minutes out of a working day I'm going to try very hard not to throw in the towel like I've done every other time.

I'm not holding my breath.........

Wednesday, 23 December 2015


My Christmas spirit is wearing somewhat thin.  

I been out of commission lately with a recurrence of the symptoms which had me hospitalised in October and I've been feeling a bit low and bleargh.

Anyway, at the moment I'm not particularly amenable to advances of a less than positive nature.

So when the following email popped into my inbox this morning, rather than simply ignore it, and consign it straight to the virtual bin, I felt minded to reply.......

Here is the offending item in its entirety.  I get these all the time but this one really got my goat.

To Whom It May Concern,

I recently visited the Tower House Dolls website. Target Web Design creates websites that allow businesses to build a better overall presence on the web. We build websites and execute marketing plans that drive traffic to your site and make you more money.

As a first time visitor to your site, I was able to experience what others will encounter when they visit your site for the first time. With that knowledge fresh in my mind, I would like to offer a few suggestions that will increase time spent on the site, traffic to the site, and revenues derived from the site.

These simple improvements to your website that I am suggesting will help you engage new visitors more quickly and efficiently. Perhaps most importantly, these changes will make potential customers want to contact you quicker.

These improvements will:

  • Strengthen your 'Call to Action'
  • Drive your client to "The Point of Purchase" 
  • Build your 'Unique Value Proposition'
  • Build Credibility, Urgency, Uniqueness, and Overall Value
Best of all, these simple ideas will cause you to earn more money.

I feel you are losing page visits, and more importantly revenue due to the mistakes that exist on your current site. While the problems are hurting your business, they can be easily rectified.

For starters, your website is outdated - you need a fresh, modern approach. Modern websites can do much more than what your present site is doing for you.

A more modern design will not just attract new visitors; a new design will also reinvigorate your old customers.

Your current website reads less like a marketing tool and more like a book. Once again, you require a strong "Call to Action" to be embedded into your site. You need to make people call, email, or visit you...NOW!

Accomplishing all of the above is simple in the hands of the right people and the right company. Best of all, this would require virtually no effort or investment of time on your part.

I would like a chance to assist you in improving your business's online success.

Perhaps we can schedule a meeting via telephone to discuss my thoughts and ideas?

In the event you are interested in spending five or ten minutes talking about what you can do to have a better, more powerful website, please send me a quick e-mail at the address listed below and we can set up a time that is most convenient for you.

You can also visit our website and our portfolio of current clients at

Thank You,
Lauren Adams
Target Web Design

"Gee, thanks Lauren".... wasn't my immediate reaction.  But mindful of her parting offer to discuss the matter, I put fingers to keyboard.

Hi Lauren,
Thank you for your email.
If you really did visit my “old, outdated, mistake-ridden, bookish” website, it wouldn’t have taken much ingenuity to discover my name, rather than addressing your email to “To Whom It May Concern”.
Lauren, I have a natural adversity to cold calling.
I have a particular adversity to cold calling which is so negative, bullish and hectoring.  I’m sure that in the thrusting modern, dog-eat-dog world of website design it’s all the rage and perhaps it is successful in getting spineless website owners to avail themselves of your no doubt attractively priced services.
However, here’s some feedback for you.
Don’t just email someone out of the blue, three days before Christmas, to tell them their website is cr*p. 

Trust me, this approach does not endear you to a prospective customer.

My website may not be the Starship Enterprise of ecommerce, but it is just perfect for my target audience, who are perfectly well able to find it, navigate it and make use of its shopping facilities.
My website my not have flashing bells, whistles and folderols, but it’s backed up by a blog, business FB page and a variety of on and offline social media/advertising platforms.  All of which work for me. 
I like the design.
My customers like the design.
It fits perfectly with what I do.   Do you even know what I do?
I’ve had a look at the Target Web Design portfolio, just in case I was missing something, and you were in fact, the holy grail of website design.
Not so much.  Am I really to believe that the website you created for Advantage Power & Control is the epitome of web design? 
OK, so perhaps I’m being a tad unfair.  I could only find one site you’ve done for a ‘creative’ company but (and I’m sorry if this sounds a bit harsh) Rae Lou’s site looks like a generic template with nothing to differentiate it from any other ‘out of the box’ offering.

So, Lauren, thank you very much for your ‘kind’ offer of help to drag my website out of the dark ages.  I’m sure you’re a really nice person and if I met you we’d get on like a house on fire over a few glasses of chilled Sauvignon Blanc. 
I seriously recommend that you alter your ‘call to action’ first contact email.
It’s not nice, it’s not friendly and IT’S NOT WORKING!
Hope you have a wonderful Christmas, and a happy, healthy New Year! 
Kind regards

Wonder if I'll get a reply.........

Friday, 4 December 2015

Countdown to Christmas.....

With the festive season just around the corner, we have a selection of tiny Christmas themed toys, doll's dolls and games now listed on the website under Miniature Christmas!

Deluxe Christmas Toy Dolls

Festive Humpty Dumpty just 1" tall!

Humpty has jointed arms and can be removed from his wall to sit anywhere you like!

Santa Claus traditional Jack-in-the-Box

Set of three vintage lithograph rocking toys.

Bonus selection of double sided paper dolls with each rocking toys set

Rocking toys are double sided

Paper dolls

Set of 6 wooden blocks in decorated box

30 different vintage illustrations on the blocks

Boxed set of precision cut paper dolls in Christmas fancy dress costumes

During December we will be having some festive mini fun on the Tower House Dolls Facebook page, so do check back regularly for our Christmas giveaway and competition coming soon.....