Aris is developing interesting behaviours such as complaining loudly if he's carried around indoors, like in a shop, for more than a few minutes. This causes a variety of goods, all from different shops, to appear in the fridge. Another useful skill he learnt, very diligently, is to turn from lying on his back to sideways. He's not mastered the opposite move yet. Altogether he seems to be taking the business of growing up really seriously, concentrating and working hard on these things. I've taken to telling "Aris" bedtime stories that I invent on the spot, with modern and magical elements. Anastasia likes them.
My kingdom (the one around the lake, whose emblem is a white rabbit coming out of a crown) is definitely going to the dogs. It's being crushed by three others, one of which is the big northern neighbor with the square blue and yellow banner. I have to look for options for a small and powerless kingdom with no allies right in the middle of the map. Going Swiss seems like a way out, if the neighboring realms will let us. At least other neighboring kingdom Tara is leaving us alone...
Yesterday I had to go to a stylish Edinburgh hotel (which I won't name because it's work-related) to complain that the telephone connections in the rooms were so bad that guests were not able to dial up with their laptops to the internet. The duty manager, who looked like a guy having his first job interview in a borrowed suit, said something like this: "We're aware of the problem, but because we don't list it as part of our services we're not technically required to fix it". Sterling response! Today Anastasia went to M&S and pointed out there there was rotten cheese on the shelf, even though it was in-date, and in fact she had bought some by mistake the other day. The assistant said something like "Ah... There is a complaints procedure that you can follow". Wonderful!
Now, the point of this rant is not to complain that some places offer bad service, but to ponder what Kafkaesque management structure would cause real people to give such obtuse responses. If you have the same situation in something like a small guest house, the owner would say something straightforward like, "Oops, sorry, thanks for telling us" or "we'll try and fix it, can I make it up for you somehow". But it seems that the people who run the large businesses are so far removed, and the people actually working there so alienated, that you receive these robotic "It's not formally my fault" replies. The semi-sentient web of procedures and middle managers that connects the workers with the executives probably even rates these replies as good ones.