In reviews – 7th December ’23

by | Dec 6, 2023

Looking back over the past week and to the weeks ahead – to rate the noteworthy, the cringeworthy, the good, the bad, the ugly, and the truly amazing.

Maybe get a garden gnome?

Some people love quirky ornaments or sculptures to enliven their garden spaces but a couple in Wales took it just a little bit too far.

For over a 100 years an unexploded bomb had been kept as outside of a house in Pembrokeshire, Wales before the current occupants were alerted by police that the ‘ornament’ would need to be destroyed by the Ministry of Defence. Since 1982 when they took possession of their house, Jeffrey and Sian Edwards had thought the shell was just a harmless casing but were surprised to learn the truth before it was detonated at a nearby quarry.

“Mr Edwards also enjoyed telling the story of its history, as told by the Morris family who used to own the house. He said he’d been told one of the original occupants had found it on a nearby beach while delivering lemonade on a horse and cart, and taken it on a ‘very bumpy ride’ back home to display in the garden.” (Source: “Unexploded bomb detonated after spending decades as couple’s garden ornament,” 4th December, www.news.sky.com).

The couple also admitted that they had painted the bomb to match the house colour and Mrs Edwards used to tap it with her trowel for good luck whist gardening.

You can read the whole story here.

5 stars – a great yearn with a happy ending.

Christmas – the gift that keeps on giving

I was talking with a colleague the other day about her Christmas plans and after hearing her detailed run down of the whole day’s menu I thought about the ways in which we take on on Christmas traditions we grew up with as children, or have picked up along the way.

My parents, myself and my brother were immigrants from England in the early 1970s. Christmas may have been in our new summer home but we always brought parts of my parents’ English past to the dinner table on Christmas day. No BBQ at the beach for us. It was always the stolid dependable English fare with a local Liverpool ‘delicacy’ thrown into the mix – roast pork, ham, roast potatoes and vegetables, sprouts, gravy and mushy peas followed by trifle, or in later childhood years as we adapted to Kiwi life – pavlova.

Mushy peas you ask? Well, I’l explain. You take some blue peas – soak them overnight and then drain them – add about twice the amount of water to peas, with some salt and then boil for an hour, followed by a few hours simmering until they soften and you can slightly whisk with a fork. Anyone who has ever been to a fish and chip shop in the North West of England would have come across mushy peas on the menu and wandered what the heck was going on. You’ll have to take my word for it – they’re delicious.

I’ve been entrusted with making mushy peas and roast potatoes for my family’s Christmas dinner, which has come along way since I was a kid and reflects my children’s preferences and a few Canadian options as well.

I know there are many different meals that Kiwis eat on Christmas day; all flavoured by our pasts, our heritages, our exposure to new tastes and choices. Whatever is on the menu, it is one of our favourite meals of the year and always worth the wait.

5 stars – for all the fantastic meals Kiwis make and share with those we love on Christmas day.

Brilliant marketing ploy goes viral

All too often customer complaints are either ignored or debated. A good company however, does not ignore complaints and sets out to make amends. A smart company engineers a response that creates huge goodwill and a new horde of customers.

Here’s a cracking example. Texas woman, Jennifer Jensen complained to North Face that a waterproof jacket she had purchased for her travels in New Zealand was not, in fact, as waterproof as she was expecting. The company didn’t ignore her, nor did they suggest it was her fault, instead they worked with her to craft a piece of marketing gold. They hired a helicopter and flew in a new jacket with more robust waterproof qualities to her in the mountains close to Queenstown.

You can read the full story and watch the short video here.

5 stars – a brilliant response to a customer complaint.

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