Saturday 30 June 2007

Return of the jinx

Another wet day so we thought that we would do some jobs in the house. The much wanted living room carpet was fitted about three weeks ago now, but we still had not put the room back properly. We have so much to do that I could be up all day and all night for about a month, regardless of the weather, and still we would not be straight. I have decided that the cottage has been upside down for so long now that a few more weeks of chaos will not make much difference to things. So when the weather is dry we are gardening and when the weather is wet we are doing jobs in the house. The garden has been so neglected recently that we have weeds as tall as me in the garden and there are annuals grown from seed that have flowered and gone to seed in the greenhouse, before I have had the chance to plant them out in the garden

Today was too wet to garden so we set about getting the living room straight. We had got everything back - furniture, TV, curtains, pictures, ornaments - when I noticed a bump, like a mole hill, under the carpet in front of the fireplace. My husband and I both looked horrified. This happened before the carpet was fitted in front of the french windows. The wooden floor which is thin and cheap and put down 25 years ago has swelled up. Last time my husband managed to sort it out but now we have a carpet on top of it. We have checked the carpet for any further bumps and will keep a watching eye on the situation. At best the bump will dry out and go down. At worst more bumps will appear and we will have to have the carpet up and the floor replaced. I am not sure that I can face yet more upheaval and furniture moving. The jinx of the living room has returned.

Wednesday 27 June 2007

Brown Wedding Anniversary

It does not matter to me that today is the day that Tony Blair resigns and Gordon Brown takes over. June 27 is our wedding anniversary even if my husaband did forget to buy an anniversary card. It's raining as usual at Wimbledon and we can now blame Gordon Brown for this miserable wet weather. Brown weather!

In keeping with the new Brown prudent and abstemious regime we did not celebrate our wedding anniversary this year. Sixteen years is now officially a Brown Wedding Anniversary. We have kept our carbon footprint to a minimum and done our bit for global warmimg. We have not travelled anywhere or gone out to eat in a restaurant where the food has had to travel around the globe in order to present itself on our plates. Last year by coincidence we had tickets for the Centre Court at Wimbledon on 28 June. So 27 June was spent travelling down to Surry where we stayed two nights in a rather seedy hotel, but we did get to go out for a meal on our wedding anniversary and again on the night of 28 June after our day out watching play on the Centre Court at Wimbledon. We saw Roger Federer play Tim Henman. Federer was awsome. Henman was unlucky to come up against him so early in the tournament. We had not been to Wimbledon since 1992 so had not seen Tim Henman play in the flesh. Television pictures are so good today that the players look exactly as you expect them to. So now we could say that we had seen the great white British hope even if he did lose and we had also seen the the best player in the world.

Monday 25 June 2007

The misery of a monday

Last night when I went to bed it was raining. I suspect it rained all night. This morning I was woken up at 6 am by the neighbour feeding their chickens. They have never woken me up before feeding their chickens at 6 am, so why of all days are they waking me up today. Even with my eyes shut I could tell that it was cold, dark and wet. Luckily for them I went back to sleep. I had to work till 9 pm this evening and I did not want to be awake at 6 am. As it continued to rain and the path from the house to the drive became more and more flooded. I had to draw up a plan of action, in order to get everything that I needed to take with me, from the house to the car. Before I got myself ready for work I had a trip out to my car wearing my cagoule and wellingtons to put my certificate in the car. I went off to work dressed in anorak and wellingtons carrying an umbrella, my work bag and a carrier bag containing my shoes. To get to my car I had to wade through several inches of water flooding the path. At my car I had to change from my wellingtons in to my shoes under the shelter of the umbrella then put the wellingtons into the boot. The alternative to this is to try to balance on the stone setts edging the path and if you can't manage that you end up on a very soggy lawn. Fortunately by the time I came home the water from the path had gone down so I did not have to go through this pantomime in reverse. But worse was to come as I set off towards the main road the lane was flooded in places and before I knew where I was my mini and I were in the middle of a giant puddle of indeterminate depth. I had never experienced this before - should I turn round and go another way or should I keep going? I decided to keep going and came through the puddle unscathed. Work was very quiet. Everybody was at home keeping dry and waiting for some play at Wimbledon.

Sunday 24 June 2007

Groundforce here

We have created a new flower bed next to where the patio will be if we ever get it paved. The retaining wall of the flower bed was moved in May of last year in the hope that we would get all this done last year but then my husband found the pipe, which we have had problems with, under the flower bed and both our mothers were in hospital down in Surrey and Sussex at the same time and everthing got a bit behind. So unlike Alan Titchmarsh and his two or three day projects it has taken us 14 months. Today was the day when we started to plant it up. I am afraid my husband is no Alan Titchmarsh more of a Tommy Walsh and I am certainly no Charlie Dimmock. I like to think that I am more of a Rachel de Thame. So I am the designer and my husband digs holes for the plants under my supervision. We make quite a good team as long as he digs the holes in the right place. We didn't get finished, we got rained off and unlike Alan Titchmarsh or our gardener friend, who worked in the rain next door, we called it a day and let nature water the plants in.

Friday 22 June 2007

Two day event

Today was the second day of a two day stint working in the small health centre pharmacy. It wasn't as bad as I thought it might be at the beginning of the week. When I was so stiff on Tuesday I was dreading these two days but they have not been too bad. It hasn't been too busy and the staff have behaved themselves. I was lucky to have a dispenser at all. Last week she wrote off her car in an accident which sounds as if it wasn't her fault. The other dispenser, who covers for days off, is 14 months pregnant! according to the counter assistant. When I queried this the counter assistant corrected herself and said that she was 14 weeks pregnant. The pharmacist that I am covering for has gone to Glastonbury. Now that they are showing it on television why bother to pay all that money to get cold, wet and muddy when you can see and hear it better on the television, sleep in your own comfortable bed and have a hot bath or shower whenever you want. To be honest, weekend and all night pop festivals have not appealed to me since I went to an all night gig after finishing my A-levels and threw up at 3 am in the morning. As the music droned on in the background I just wanted to disappear into a hole or be at home in bed. I had never felt so wretched in all my 18 years. I had learnt the real meaning of being sick and tired.

Tuesday 19 June 2007

Stiff as a board

Yesterday morning I planned for the washing machine to do the load of washing delayed from Sunday, then I would do this, do that and do the other before having a sit down, then cooking lunch and going off to work at 1.30 pm. Well the washing got done and so did some of this, that and the other but there was no sit down before the lunch was cooked. All seemed to be alright when I arrived at work at 2.00 pm but by 5.00 pm after three hours of standing I was definitely starting to flag and I still had another four hours of standing ahead of me. I am not sure how I made it through to 9.00 pm. Today I am exhausted and my back is as stiff as a board. So this morning I had no choice but to take things easy and pace myself which is what I should have done yesterday. I am not sure what the osteopath will make of things. She has told me to try to stand differently which is easier said than done when you have other things to concentrate on such as making sure you dispense the correct medicine. I don't ever remember being this stiff before and I have stood for just as long if not longer. The osteopath in Surrey understood my back. I am now on my fifth osteopath in Chester and I think that I have at last found one that understands my back. After three years of being told that things were alright, by the other four osteopaths, this one realises that the problem, that I have spent three years complaining about, does exist. Perhaps it would have just been easier to go back to the osteopath in Surrey.

Sunday 17 June 2007

Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink

We woke up this morning to find that our cold water supply was off. After all the rain that we have had over the last few days and we have had plenty, it was unbelievable. Apparently it was caused by low pressure and was only off for a few hours but it meant that the load of washing that I had intended for the washing machine to do this morning didn't get washed. Sometimes living here is like being in the Dark Ages with no power or running water.

Friday 15 June 2007

Gate shopping

When we woke up this morning everthing was sodden from a night of rain and it was still raining. It wasn't going to be a day for gardening so we went to look at trellis fencing and gates for the enhancement and security of our estate - two farm workers' cottages knocked into one. The guy that my husband has asked to put them up, who incidently was gardening next door in an oilskin and old hat, had recommended that we look at two places the other side of Chester. The first place that we went to was a garden centre which sold everything but the kitchen sink and of course had the obligatory coffee shop. It was all rather cold and damp and soggy and to make matters more depressing they did not have the trellis that we were looking for. Whilst we were there I realised that it was a long time since I had been to a garden centre. I had forgotten just how entrancing they can be. Even on a wet day I am like a child in a sweet shop where plants and flowers are concerned but I had decided that we are not buying any more plants until the last lot we bought are in the garden. So it was back into the car and off to the next place, which was different and quite interesting. Apart from fencing and gates they also sold all sorts of things agricultural and equestrian. We have never lived in quite such a rural area and I had time to take it all in while my husband answered a call on his mobile phone. There was everything that you could want for a horse from garlic granules to horse shampoo. We looked a bit out of place, two not quite townies (I think that we are actually urbanites) next to the jodhpured and wind swept girl looking at straw. In the next aisle were the most enormous nails and nuts and bolts. Intended for a giant, I think. For the little people in the farm worker's cottage they have a small gate which is only for display purposes. It's too small really and they will have to make one for us. So that will be a wait of another five weeks. I am not setting any deadlines for work outside - our weather is just too unpredictable even if we have a workman who will work in the rain.

Thursday 14 June 2007

Deadline achieved

Today is the day that the deadline, that I set back in February, was sort of met. We are only ten weeks behind schedule. By coincidence ten weeks is the length of time it took for the builder to make the alterations that we had done in 2005. It just goes to show a carpet shop what can or can not be done in ten weeks. That's enough moaning - these delays will all be forgotten about now. No the won't, otherwise we will end up in the same pickle next winter when we plan to get the hall, stairs and landing decorated and carpeted. Anyway today the third of the three carpets was fitted but very nearly wasn't as the carpet fitter was so late arriving that we thought that he had forgotten about us. I was wondering how he was going to get the carpet into the house as the path is flooded and the front lawn is sodden but he managed somehow with my husband's help. It was after 7pm by the time he finished. Too late, I thought, to start putting things back into the bedroom - we will have to exist with the current jumble for a bit longer. Now things are really beginning to take shape. We now a have a bright and airy bedroom with a bright and airy shower room off it. When we bought the cottage the bedroom had an old mahogany effect fitted furniture with old beigish carpet and dated and dingy flowered wallpaper. The bedroom now has white fitted furniture with a sky blue carpet and walls painted cornflower blue. The difference is tremendous and the space has been used to much better effect by turning the room around and laying it out differently. The cottage is now starting to feel like it belongs to us and not someone else.

Wednesday 13 June 2007

Three fine days and a thunderstorm

At last we have managed to get ourselves synchronised with the weather. The weather has been fine and sunny and we have had the time to get our into the garden and start attacking the weeds. The house is still not straight. We now have two of the three carpets, down but the rooms need to be put back which involves unpacking numerous cardboard boxes, washing ornaments and sorting things out. The house has been upside down for some time now a few more days or weeks are not going to make much difference. When the weather is fine I would rather be out in the garden. I am one of those people that gets up in the morning and wonders how long I have to spend on jobs in the house and other things before I can justify going out into the garden. To me the garden is the outside room for a dry day and the house is the inside room for a wet or miserable day. Having had the necessary three fine days we have now had the requisite thunderstorm and the weather is now all change to being wet. The lightening flashed, the thunder clapped and the heavens opened and within a very short time our front path was flooded and the back lawn looked like a lake. It saved me from watering the garden.

Tuesday 5 June 2007

One, two, three

Thet say things come in threes and today they certainly did. Today was a bad day. A day can not really get any worse.

Work was one thing. My sinuses were aching and the last place that I wanted to be was work. Keeping the work experience fifteen year old occupied and coping with the loud and recently employed counter assistant drove me to the point of almost feeling that things could not get much worse. When I am working I find it very difficult to concentrate when there is a lot of noise in the background. In addition to the noise annoying me the counter assistant managed to stand on my foot and she is a much bigger woman than I am. So I now have a bruised foot to go with my aching sinuses.

The second thing was that when I came home at lunch time I found that a small area of the wooden floor in the living room had lifted up. We have until Saturday to get this sorted as the new carpet will be fitted then.

The third thing was that tonight when I tried to set the video to record the Andrew Marr programe I found that our twenty year old TV had gone pop. My husband was out and I don't know how to connect up our old portable TV to our relatively new video recorder. Well I would know if I had the time to read the manual but tonight I didn't have the time. By now I most definitely had had enough and went to console myself in the bath.

Saturday 2 June 2007

Breaking old ground

The concrete breaker that the neighbour promised us six months ago finally arrived today. The van that it was in was stolen, then found and impounded by the police. So now that the pipe under the flower bed has been sorted out, by the plumber, my husband has had fun using the concrete breaker which must be one of the ultimate boys' toys and my husband is still really an overgrown boy.The concrete raft in one corner of the flower bed has now been broken up and we can now get on with moving soil into the flower bed. Then we will be able to plant up the flower bed and make it a real flower bed.