And finally to borrow from Benedict's last address - Thank you for your friendship.
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
The afternoon, that the new master socket was installed in the study, was very cold and wet. I had been to he hairdressers in the morning so was not keen to hang around outside looking at wiring or watching what the engineer was doing. He was in and out of the cottage and I was happy to leave him to it, as long as he shut the door, as the previous weekend we had had a mouse in the utility room. He did explain to me what he would be doing but deciphering telephone engineer tech speak is not my strong point.
The old master socket was in our bedroom. Don't ask why. A previous owner had it installed there.Then you have to take in account that our cottage was originally two cottages. It looks to us as if there were two telephone lines at some point in the past, but now all the telephone points, that we have, are on the one line. When they work we have a total of seven telephone points, but we have never used all of them. The cottage had five telephone points when we moved here and we have added another two in locations where we wanted them. Most of the time we have four phones around the house with only one set to ring. However, recently two, including the one set to ring, stopped working. It took us a bit of time to work this out. Both went out and I purchased a cheap replacement from Argos until we get around to sorting things out properly. At least it rings when it is plugged in. I have to admit that I unplug it when we go to bed and do not plug it it until after breakfast the next morning. That is the legacy of numerous unreasonably timed and unwanted calls. So I expect you are wondering what the problem is. Shortly after I had published the previous post I picked up the answerphone handset which is not set to ring, to answer a call only to find that the other phone continued to ring and I had to pick up the ringing phone to answer the call. This has happened before. So I did not think that it was too unusual. Shortly afterwards I tried to make a phone call from the answerphone handset, but there was no dialing tone. I thought that we had another broken phone. I mentioned this to husband when he came home. He soon worked out that the BT engineer had taken away the wiring from he old master socket and the point, that the answerphone is plugged into in our hall, is wired from the old master socket. Hence we now have three sockets that do not work and no messages on our answerphone!
Husband was not terribly surprised to discover this and it should be easier and more economical to ask our electrician to sort out the wiring. When we approached him about our broadband problems last December he could have come the following week, but it was not convenient with us. Now he is booked up for weeks and we are going to have to wait for him to find the time to fit us in. For the moment the answerphone is plugged in to one of the working telephone points which is not as conveniently located as the hall, so I have to remember to look at it from time to time.
Friday, February 1, 2013
We rely so much on computers now. They have taken over our lives and now living without one has become difficult, restricting and at times tedious, but life has to go on regardless. Well, I have not actually been living without a computer for the last two months but our broadband speed had dropped so low that some days connecting to the Internet was impossible. That always seemed to happen on days when I really needed to use the computer. It would wouldn't it. Thankfully all that changed a week ago when the problem was fixed. I did not rush back to my blog straight away as the BT (British Telecom) engineer said that it might take a week or two for the broadband speed to stabilise and I wanted to be sure that there would be no further problems. So here I am with fingers crossed that there will be no further problems.
Having in laws to visit is not all bad. Husband’s sister and his brother in law (BIL) came on Boxing Day. During the day the conversation inevitably turned to the thorny subject of our broadband problem. BIL volunteered that their broadband problem had been solved by having BT move their master telephone socket into the study and he was even able to quote the price. The next day husband phoned up BT and arranged for our master socket to be moved. The only problem being that they could not do the work until the end of January. I had suggested this as being a better solution to our problem than having to take up floor boards and three carpets, but BIL’s advice obviously carries more weight than mine as my suggestion fell on deaf ears.
Entertaining over, on 27 December I took down our Christmas tree and decorations and on 29 December we joined the jet set and flew off to Valletta in Malta for New Year. Not the real ‘jet set’ I know but we flew with easyJet. Malta was warm and sunny and a definite improvement on a cold and wet Chester. We were staying in the old walled city of Valletta, a designated World Heritage Site. Our first day was spent exploring its' sights and enjoying the sun.
Luckily there was a restaurant there where we had a bite to eat. We did not have to wait long for a bus back to Valletta and by mid afternoon we were back there. Now we needed to book a table at a restaurant for our evening meal. By a stroke of luck we managed to find a restaurant that had just had a cancellation. It was New Year's Eve so the cost was astronomical and we had to pay a hefty deposit. Walking back to our hotel we noticed stalls being set up in preparation for the evening's festivities. We need not to have worried about going hungry that evening, as we could have feasted on hot dogs, pizzas and soft drinks from the stalls, for a fraction of the price that we were to pay for our meal. Then there was this stall of pastries which were very tempting.
Our three day break was over all too quickly and before we knew it we were back in damp England. It was a pleasant break and we shall probably do it again as we now have very few family ties and only have to suit ourselves.
So we were back to the mundane and humdrum of life in January. Short, cold, grey days and the remnants of the January sales. Before being plunged into the full horrors of a freezing British January we were lucky enough to have a few mild days which allowed us to get out into the garden and finish off some of the Autumn jobs that had not been done. Then we had a spell of very wet weather before the cold snap set in. And for a few days this was the view from the kitchen window.
It looks very pretty I know. It was also very cold. Thankfully it did not last very long. Because it rarely does go on for more than a week, we are really not geared up for it in this country. Now we are back to grey, wet and muddy. We are never happy with the weather that we get.
It is now a year since I retired and life has settled into a bit of a routine. Things have not gone to plan. They rarely do and I know that the routine will not last for long. This term's flower arranging class, which is run through the local adult education college, will be the last as the teacher has grown weary of the red tape which working through the college involves. Whilst working I relied on my trusty osteopath to keep my creaking back in working order and have continued to go to her on a less regular basis since I retired. Last month she calmly announced that she will be retiring at he end of this month. Recent visits have been a bit of a luxury so I shall try to manage without her, but I shall miss her. Then last week my hairdresser told me that she was leaving to go to a salon on the other side of Chester. A first I was dismayed, but now that I have given the matter some thought I plan to try one of the other hairdressers at the usual place, as it is convenient and I really do not want to have to travel across Chester. She may have even done me a favour as she has been at bit erratic recently. This week I had a letter from my dental surgery cancelling my next check up appointment - my hygienist is leaving, which is not so bad, but you do get used to people. As I said earlier, life has to go on. Most of us do not like change but sometimes it can be good for us. There will be a new flower arranging teacher and maybe a different hairdresser will be better than the last one.
Monday, December 24, 2012
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Monday, December 3, 2012
On Saturday morning we had a visit scheduled from a BT engineer. This was about our fourth attempt at an appointment and this time an engineer did turn up. Over the last few weeks our broadband connection has been getting slower and slower and husband wanted our phone line checked. It turns out that the problem is in the cottage between the master socket and the study. It could be that the existing cable needs to be relaid, which will mean having floor boards and three carpets up. I do not think that the problem will be resolved in a hurry, given that Christmas and New Year are around the corner. At the moment navigating my way around blogs is a slow process as a result of the tortoise like broadband connection. Consequently I am going to have a break from blogging until this problem is sorted out. So for now I shall leave you with a photograph of a recent sunset taken from the back of the cottage.
Thursday, November 22, 2012
A brown and muddy lane such as the one outside our cottage does not have quite the same ring to it as the yellow brick road. It does not lead to Oz and there is no rainbow anywhere around. We have the dairy farmer, turned arable farmer and the wet weather to thank for the state of it. Turn left out of our drive and the lane will take you into one of the farmer’s fields where he has been growing vegetables. Turn right and right again and you will come to one of the main roads out of the village.
A week ago I heard something heavy on the main road around mid-night. The following morning husband found his route along the road was blocked by wide farm machinery so had to make a detour around the village before he could effectively set off for work, making him late. Access to our village is via two main roads one to the east of the village and another to the west. Last week the western road was closed going south for road works, which were scheduled to take two weeks. Then another sign went up in the village announcing that the access road to the eastern road was going to be closed this week for road works, leaving only one route in and out or the village. A concerned resident contacted the powers that be to point out that delays caused by these road works could be a problem if emergency vehicles needed access to the village. Suddenly the two week closure became one week and the one week closure became one day!
Thursday, November 8, 2012
Since retiring I have found deciding what to wear to be a bit of a headache. When I was working I had a ‘uniform’ of blouses, jumpers, cardigans and trousers that I wore for work. Those clothes were not usually worn when I was not at work. At home I would invariably be gardening, decorating or doing housework which meant wearing old clothes, that did not matter if they got dirty. Looking at my wardrobe, a year ago, I probably had more old clothes than anything else. I soon realised that I needed to smarten myself up. I noticed that many of those in my flower arranging class dressed themselves better than I did. It was not that I did not know how, it was more that I had got out of the habit. I have always had an interest in fashion and the challenge now is to dress fashionably without looking like mutton dressed as lamb. When I was a student my dress sense could be quite Bohemian and I could get away with anything such as purple velvet loons, home made smocks and a multi-coloured waistcoat made from oddments of wool. Those days are now long gone and even if the clothes fit, they are better on someone else.
Years ago I was colour analysed. The concept of colour analysis was developed in the US. At that time the colour palette was divided into the four seasons. Winter and Summer for the cool colours. Autumn and Spring for the warm colours. The concept of colour analysis has been further refined and is now categorised slightly differently, but the original principals must still apply. The analysis is based on skin tone and hair and eye colour. As it happened I was already wearing the colours from the correct season, but it is another aspect of fashion that we need to be aware of when we go shopping for clothes, as the wrong colours can be as bad as clothes that do not fit or a style that does not suit.
Then there is the thorny issue of make up. I am amazed by the number of women who do not wear any. The woman who looks good bare faced, has not been born. I need a bit of help to feel human. Hair is another dilemma, which is as much in the lap of the gods, and your hairdresser, as anything. It is a matter of what you are given and you have to make the best of it. However, we owe it to ourselves to look our best at all times.
I believe that some of you know that I have been having problems with my laptop, especially after I have been blogging. I wrote this post a week ago. I had intended to put the finishing touches to it and publish it last Friday but my laptop had other ideas and would not to work. Husband kindly sorted out my laptop and in doing so lost most of my settings which meant that I was unable to access my blog. It has taken a bit of time to find it and complete the post. I wonder if the laptop is trying to tell me something, but for now I will soldier on and hope that things work as they should.