If we go back to the period between Christmas and New Year we had our first little hiccup. We have always seen husband's family over the Christmas period to exchange presents and enjoy a meal. Invariably it was us doing the five hour round trip from Chester to Northampton and back for this get together. Two years ago at the last minute, the possibility of snow was forecast for the day of the planned get together. We decided to take the risk and hoped that the forecast would be wrong, as it often is. Of course it wasn't wrong and we endured a nightmare drive home in the snow, which led me to decide that we were not doing the five hour round trip again over Christmas and that we would find a pub or restaurant to meet up, somewhere about half way between Chester and Northampton. A year ago that worked well, but this time the traffic was very heavy and although it did not actually hold us up, it definitely slowed us down. After an enjoyable meal and a brief walk we were back into the car for the return journey. The traffic was still bad so the sat nav was programmed to avoid the motorway, which had looked so busy on the way down in the morning. This meant that we were in unfamiliar territory. By now it was twilight. The road was empty, but winding and not very well lit with very few houses on it. The side of the road appeared to be a grass verge, but was in fact a concrete curb that the grass had grown over. This became apparent to us when husband, who was driving, accidentally clipped the curb. Within a few minutes the tyre pressure warning light, on the dashboard, was flashing and we realised that we had a flat tyre. There was no chance of stopping where we were and in any case the mobile phone signal was coming and going, so we had to keep going until we got to the point that the car was running on the rim of the tyre. We managed to find a lay by, which according to the sat nav was ten miles from Market Drayton. Husband phoned Green Flag who promised to be with us in about an hour. So we sat there and waited in the dark and cold, luckily it was dry. Slowly the minutes ticked by and when the recovery vehicle had not arrived after an hour husband phoned Green Flag again, to be advised that the police had closed the road ahead because of an accident, consequently the recovery vehicle was having to find an alternative route to get to us. Shortly after that a recovery truck with orange flashing lights appeared. The flat tyre and spare wheel were inspected. Then it was announced that the necessary nuts were missing (actually they were not missing) and the wheel could not be changed, which meant that our car would be transported back home on the back of the truck. We got into the back of the cab, which was very high up and gave us a good view of the road. Eventually we arrived home about two hours after we should have done. All things considered that was not an experience that I would wish to repeat and I now think that meeting the in laws between Christmas and New Year is off limits, as the roads have just got so busy. I am sure that we can find a quieter time for our get together.
Now we had two days before we went away to celebrate New Year. Husband had to arrange a replacement tyre for the one that was in shreds and I had get myself a GP appointment to get a prescripion for antibiotic eye drops to treat the conjunctivitis, which I had had hanging around for about two months and which had flared up with avengence on Christmas Day, leaving me looking as if I had drunk several bottles of neat vodka and smoked about 100 fags. Then the Christmas decorations needed to be taken down and packed away, as we would not be home until late on Twelfth Night.
The next thing to cause a problem was our landline and broadband. We had been home from our New Year trip about 24 hours when we started to have problems with our computers. Initially we thought that the problem was with our broadband. Then we realised that our landline was dead. By now it was a Saturday evening and although we reported the problem straight away it took several days, three visits from two different BT engineers, a cherry picker and a special plastic ladder to access a pole, which carried electric cables in addition to the BT lines, to get us reconnected and working again. It is amazing how quickly you adapt to not being able to surf the Internet and look at e-mails and find other things to occupy your time. My good intentions of writing a post went out of the window.
Since before Christmas the cooker's small oven had been misbehaving, but I had put off doing anything about it until after New Year. The problem that I had identified was easily resolved, but the repair man managed to find fault with the main oven, which required a new top element. It has taken five weeks to get that ordered and repaired and now he says that the bottom element needs replacing.
Somewhere in the middle of all of this mayhem we saw a concert advertised that we decided we would like to go to. To my surprise I managed to get through to the ticket sales website at my first attempt as soon as tickets were available and had jumped through all of the necessary hoops -name, address and credit card details etc when the credit card company decided to decline the transaction. The tickets were lost. This was not the first time that this credit card company had done this to me. I cursed myself for being so stupid as to use their card again. This was the third time that a transaction had been refused for no good reason. After the second time I had decided that if it happened a third time that the card would be cut up and that is exactly what I did. We resigned ourselves to the fact that we would not be going to the concert, but I do not give up easily and had another attempt at buying tickets a little later and managed to be offered tickets, which were nearly as good as the tickets that I lost. This time I used a different credit card. The concert is not until October, which is months away.
And after all of that we go away again next week. I'll try to keep you posted.