Thursday 28 February 2013

Taking a leaf out of Benedict's book

My first thought when I saw a blog post on Shrove Tuesday asking what I was going to give up for Lent was - my blog. That day my laptop had been impossible and trying to continue with my blog was looking to be a lost cause. Over the last few months I have given a considerable amount of thought to whether or not to continue with my blog and I have decided that I have done as much with it as I can. It is not a matter of poor health, although I have had a cold for the last few days. I do not intend to go into a monastery or even a nunnery, but shall be spending some time in our garden and I have other interests that I would like to devote more time to. Unfortunately there are not enough hours in the day for me to pursue all of the interests that I would like to and recently I have been unable to spend as much time on my blog as I would like. At the moment I am not sure if this will be permanent or maybe just a sabbatical. Blogland has changed in the time that I have been blogging. Many of the bloggers that I cut my blogging teeth with, no longer blog. Sadly some are no longer with us. Blogging has  been an immensely enjoyable experience through which I have learned a lot from people, about people and about myself. I shall keep an eye on Blogland and may even leave the occasional comment but at the moment I have no plans to write posts.

And finally to borrow from Benedict's last address - Thank you for your friendship.

Wednesday 13 February 2013

Ring ring

Always keen to get things sorted and move on, I spoke too soon about our telephone/broadband problems being sorted, when I published my previous post.

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 1 February 2013

Life in the doldrums

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.

The second day which was New Year's Eve, we caught a bus with the intention of going to St Julian's but missed the stop and ended up at the small resort of Golden Bay on the other side of the island!

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.