Well, it depends… on what, exactly?

(OK… somehow this post never got posted. It should have been posted on Thursday 9th. Yesterday’s post might have made more sense had this one published OK at the right time…)

Something a bit different today. OK. Not all that different. However…

Let’s begin with catching up. As indicated on Monday, I went to town on Tuesday. It was a miserable day, very grey and overcast, with wind and a constant, seeping drizzle. I was well soaked by the end of it.  I began by walking up to Hatston and my first port of call was at a well-known DIY chain store . I had the camera with me and actually attempted some shots of Oystercatchers on my way. I needed a much faster shutter speed. Oh, and  a far better lens.


At the DIY shop,  I was approached by the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal salesperson and asked if I needed help. I indicated that I needed only brochures, price lists and permission to walk around and take a few photographs. That is where the trouble began. “We don’t have price lists.”  Followed by a continuous stream of consciousness, riffing on the myriad reasons why manufacturers don’t do pricelists.  When I could get a word in edgeways I said that, in that case, I would have to buy my kitchen from Buildbase  as they publish their pricelist on the web and I was not about to commit to purchasing from any supplier if I didn’t have the necessary information to evaluate their value for money against other vendors.

Seems fair enough to me.

On hearing this she suddenly became more helpful and found me a brochure with a matching pricelist for one of the ranges that they sell. Then things went downhill once more… when she said not to take notice of the prices as they tended to offer discounts on everything anyway. How much, I enquired. “Well, it depends…

I admired a sink that I already had in mind and she found me a (rather horrific) price for it, repeating the discount comment. How much, I enquired again. “Well, it depends…

A highly expensive sink
A highly expensive sink

One  useful piece of advice came out here – that if I chose the Belfast-style sink, I would need a solid worktop. I was caressing the rather nice one on display.  I remarked that oh, well, the cost of getting Granite worktops out to Sanday was probably beyond us. She said the one under my hands was Quartz, not Granite and that (wait for it) “Quartz is a man-made stone.” Oh, yeah? Not when I studied Geology, it wasn’t. I said as much and she cut me off, snapping “Yes, it is!

I knew when I was beaten.

I was becoming twitchy. I was not getting what I came for nor was I yet taking photographs of kitchen-y bits and pieces.  I informed the young lady that I was not there for the hard sell, not yet in a position to purchase and was only looking for sufficient information to decide between the ranges of kitchen on offer. Then I made the mistake of saying that about the only thing that I knew that I wanted was a glass splashback.

You don’t want glass!

Well, yes, I do, I just said so, didn’t I?

They only make them for cookers and sinks anyway.” (Wrong) “They look awful because they are attached with sticky pads and you can see them through the glass” (Wrong again)

I construed all of this as code for: “We don’t sell them and would rather sell you a nasty Melamine one, which we do have.”

Handle options
Handle options

By the time that I quit the premises I was feeling very wound up and already exhausted. I crossed over to the other side of the estate and walked up the hill to the relative peace and calm of Buildbase, where a very nice woman was typically laid-back Orcadian style and extremely helpful. My BP came down quickly with her able assistance.


I was given brochures and the one that was out of stock was e-mailed to me whilst I stood there. The new pricelist for 2015 had not yet arrived but will be on the website when ready. I explained the situation – that we are doing things a little backwards but needed to know now where to site the Aga so I have to pick a kitchen range and determine their cupboard sizes. She volunteered the info that if I emailed her some dimensions they would email back a plan with some suggestions.

Really, truly helpful and pleasant and no sales pressure whatsoever.

I popped along the road to Birsay Farmers, where I treated myself to new wellies. There’s an odd thing about wellies – they are way heavier than one expects them to be. This I found out on the walk down to Tesco, where I planned to pick up a sandwich lunch.

Purple Wellies
Purple Wellies

There had been no Nobilia brochures in stock at my first port of call so after I had visited Tesco, I carried my wellies and my two bags of shopping around to the Nobilia shop in town. It was closed for the holidays and I swore a little. I was by now feeling plum tuckered out.

So tired was I that I walked past Kirkness & Gorie without going in. This turned out to be a mistake as I found out when I got home that they had the last of the season’s Mont d’Or in and I dearly want to try some of that.

In the waiting room at the ferry terminal I scoffed my sarnie and then decide to admire my boots. This was when I found out that having asked for a size 7, I had instead been given Size 6. A swift phone call to Birsay Farmers sorted out the hiccup and an exchange pair was brought to me within five minutes. Excellent service!

Summary of day: wet, tiring, frustrating, unproductive and failed to meet aim.

Well, that was long winded. I shall now keep the something different for tomorrow, along with the rest of the catching up.

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