Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Too good to be true

Yesterday for the first time since the new neighbours started demolishing (sorry – renovating…) their house they did so in relative silence.

I know what you’re thinking they were having the day off. No I could still hear them going up and down the stairs (no carpet + heavy shoes = slight noise) but no banging, hammering, drilling, sawing. Nothing.

Having had one of the worst weeks of noise last week, this was a welcome relief. Last week they decided to remove the chimney breast from the kitchen. You can imagine the noise. It was so bad that I couldn’t hear anyone on the phone, no matter what room I was in…

Sadly peace and tranquillity has ceased as they were back working today on the chimney breast again. If that wasn’t enough the council are digging up the road in the back lane just outside our house.

Where did I put my ear plugs ! ! !


Sunday, January 29, 2006

I hate plumbing.

We’ve got a leaky pipe, and it’s got previous form.

Let me explain. When our heating system was installed, years before we bought the house, some of the pipes were laid across other pipes. They began to rub, and eventually, after about a dozen years or so one of them (the main hot water feed from the tank) wore through. The leak was under the floor in my office, and the water appeared in our living room at about 10pm on New Years Eve, three years ago. Temporary repairs were made and the next day a proper repair was effected.

All was fine except for a slight drip and even this stopped once the joint settled in.

That is until we had the boiler replaced, and now one of the joints in the repair is leaking again. I suspect it’s because the hot water is now pumped instead of being gravity fed (more pressure). It’s an awkward spot and I can’t get any more leverage to tighten it without doing serious damage to the rest of the pipework. It loses one drop every 45 seconds or so. This one showed itself on December 29th. Just as well it didn’t start two days later or we would have returned home from Jan’s party to a rather damp carpet. I put a tray under the leak to see how quickly it filled and a day or so later there was only a wet stain to be seen.

And guess what. We were sitting minding our own business after lunch today when Marie thought she heard a sound coming from one of the radiators. The sort of “ping ping” sound you get as they heat up or cool down. Only the heating was off and it wasn’t “ping ping”. It was “drip drip”. So up came the carpet and floorboards in the office, and yes, the tray was full. It’s a funny thing but I was only saying to Marie yesterday that next weekend we’ll fix the paper on the ceiling where it was affected by the damp, and check the tray. So now we know we’ll need to check it about once every three or four weeks until it gets bored and seals itself.

I hate plumbing.


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Room 101

Sunday’s blog was the challenge set by Jenny to blog 5 things that define my own particular brand of quirkiness.

Well today I’m going to give you a list of the things I’d like to be put in ‘Room 101’.

Wasps: Unlike the bee which has a purpose in life and dies when it stings you, wasps don’t. They should be issued with ASBO’s…

Cold sores: It starts with a tingle on the lip, or an itchy nose or eye, then seconds later a huge blister appears and for the next five days it’s sheer hell. Not only are they painful, but you can’t eat or drink properly and no kisses ! ! !

Trifle: Three of my worst foods rolled into one: custard, soggy sponge cake and cream. What more can I say.

Arran jumpers: Apologies to the lovely residents of Arran but their jumpers are awful. John had a very out-of-shape one which he liked because it kept him warm when working on rallies. As soon as we got married I threw it out when he was at work. I don’t think he’s ever forgiven me…

White cars: They always seem to be driven by people who don’t give a damn about other road users, and don’t get me started if the car happens to be a BMW.

Gregorian chant:*: John loves them. I hate them. They are supposed to be very calming. I must be missing something as they drive me up the wall ! ! !

And finally for people who really know me ‘Saturday arrivals’…


* For those of you who don’t know what a Gregorian chant is, it’s acapella church music from the middle ages.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Thanks Jenny

This blog is brought to you in association with Jenny who got the idea from Stu.

I have to blog about 5 things that define my own particular brand of quirkiness. So here goes but in no order:

Toilet rolls must be white. I can’t stand coloured loo rolls. I’d rather use newspaper (as long as it’s white…).

Books in bookcases must be arranged in height order by author, with the tallest on the left – this drives John mad as he does his by subject.

I take my coffee very very weak. About three granules per cup. I’ve been known to ask for a jug of hot water at conference gala dinners to dilute the coffee.

I grind my teeth in bed. Apparently, so I’m told as I’m asleep at the time, it sounds like a bag of marbles been shaken.

I can go all day without going to the loo but once I get into bed I have to go at least three times before I can get to sleep.


Thursday, January 19, 2006

Foiled !!

Regular readers will know that Marie is pretty fed up with the new neighbours and their power tool fetish (even on Christmas day !!).

So imagine how pleased she was when I said that I needed to drill a hole not in, but right through a wall. At last, a chance to give the neighbours a taste of their own medicine.

Sadly it was not to be. Last Christmas Santa brought me a super duper SDS-Plus hammer drill, which, with a brand new 16mm bit ate it's way through the wall in less than 30 seconds. My old drill would have taken nmore like 30 minutes.

On the plus side I can say I'm very pleased with the drill. I can honestly say that the performance was awesome, and at less then £30 from Screwfix the manchine is a bargain.


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Things never go to plan

Tonight’s meal was going to be oven baked lemon chicken and vegetables.

However it didn’t quite work out like that. It normally only takes the chicken half an hour to cook so the vegetables were drained and put on the plates waiting for the chicken to come out of the oven.

On opening the foil parcels the chicken was a lovely shade of pink ! ! !

Not to worry, I’ll put them back in the oven for another ten minutes and reheat the vegetables in the microwave.

10 minutes later and the chicken still wasn’t cooked.

Another 10 minutes and it was still pink so we decided to have pie and chips instead.

An hour and a half after the chicken was put in the oven it was finally cooked.

Any one want some lemon chicken…


Sunday, January 15, 2006

It’s all Paul’s fault

After reading Gottle’s Blog about grabbing the nearest book, opening it at page 123 then writing down the text of the fifth sentence, we decided to do this with the books we currently have on the go at the moment.

Here’s Marie’s:

‘I was supposed to pick up this girl and take her home, but when I looked for her she had disappeared.’ A talent for Genius – The Life and Times of Oscar Levant

‘A Tora roller is sometimes called an aytz chayyim (plural, atzay chayyum,), meaning “tree of life”, the name by which the Tora itself is sometimes called.’ The Jewish Book of Why

‘One of the greatest pleasures of this passage for me is its varieties of language.’ The Joy of Writing Sex

‘As one teacher remembers: Those who had lived on bread and cakes with jam, cheese and chips, as many of the poor did, no longer had them and were much healthier for it.’ Bombers & Mash

‘One very good contrast is afforded by a pound of rumpsteak at fourteenpence, and a pound of beans or lentils at twopence.’ The 1915 edition of Mrs Beetons’ Book of Household Management

Here’s John’s:

‘The confusion arose largely because of one man, John Wallis, who wrote a self-serving account of the early days of the Royal in 1678.’ The Fellowship – The Story of a Revolution

‘Throughout history, most armies (there are some exceptions) have been composed of a triad of three arms: infantry, whether Roman legionaries carrying short swords and javelins or modern troops carrying assault rifles; artillery, which has ranged from stone-throwing ballistae to the Multi-Launched Rocket Systems of the Gulf War; and a mobile arm.’ Forgotten Victory – The First World War: Myths and Realities

‘His wife and teenage daughters were waiting back home, hoping Daddy got Europe and cycling out if his system before his ankles melted.’ French Revolutions – Cycling the Tour De France

‘We always leave and take a chance, said Monica, and we always break down.’ Narrow Dog to Carcassonne

And finally:

‘He noticed Kate was standing watching, but chose to ignore her.’ The Flower of Ludwell by Marie Harper (unfinished…)

Marie & John

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Ouch, ouch, ouch

I have quite a high pain threshold. Well with my pains I have to otherwise I’d never get out of bed.

That is however until I start plucking my eyebrows. Then I become a whimpering wreak begging myself to stop as the pain is unbearable.

The only way I can get the job done with a moderate amount of pain is by doing it while lying in a hot bath, which is what I did last night.

Women, why do we do it ! ! !


Saturday, January 07, 2006

Bits and bobs

Late on Thursday night I remembered I’d forgotten to get my mam some wheelie bin liners. It’s Morrisons’ fault again. If they hadn’t caused me to have two tantrums I would have remembered.

Feeling guilty that I’d forgotten them I decided to be brave* and call in yesterday morning on my way to my mams.

I’m pleased to report that they had restocked the shelves so I got the peppers and the milk. No such look with the leeks though. Can’t expect miracles can I.

Last night while eating our Chinese** John let me watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I normally watch it when he’s at work as it’s not quite his thing. However as I’d been at my mams all day I had to video it as she doesn’t have Sky.

The plan was to watch something else once we’d finished eating. 1 ½ hours and a couple of glasses of wine later it was still on and although it’s funny normally, under the influence of alcohol it’s hilarious. Even John thought so ! ! !

John mentioned in his Blog that we went to Makro this morning. What he didn’t tell you was while he was unloading the car at the front of the house, the lady new neighbour was seeing off visitors and completely ignored him. No ‘hello I’m your new neighbour’, no smile, no acknowledgment. Nothing.

Looks like they won’t be getting a welcome to your new home card…


* Every weekday between the hours of 9am and 5pm it’s crammed with senior citizens who treat grocery shopping as a day out.

** We’ve abandoned having pizza on Friday night. It took ages for it to arrive by which time it was cold and re-heated pizza isn’t that appetising…

Restored !!

Yes - my faith in all things good has been restored. We went to Makro (the cash & carry) today and we didn't see a single easter egg on the shelves. Bet there's plenty in the stockroom though ...


Thursday, January 05, 2006

Calm down dear it’s only a supermarket

We’ve just come back from Morrisons and while we were there I had two temper tantrums.

I hate shopping at Morrisons but as it’s less than a mile away it’s very convenient, especially as we can be there and back within the hour.

My first tantrum was caused by them having no peppers or leeks. Well actually they did have peppers but only if you wanted a mixed bag of four microscopic ones for 99p. I wanted four green ones and a red one.

The second tantrum happened because they had ran out of milk. Now is it me or am I asking too much of them to at least have some milk.

There’s a lot to be said for online shopping…


Wednesday, January 04, 2006

They’re back

Yes I’m afraid the new neighbours have returned to work today and they still have a power tool fetish. What ever happened to using a screw driver ! !

Remember the December Blogg ‘Scrooge of the week’. Well I was watching Richard (he’s so cute) Hammond’s programme on ITV this afternoon and they did a feature about complaining.

They advised people never to write to the customer service department or the complaints department but to complain directly to a named person, preferably someone at the top. Good point. I’ll remember that next time.

They also advised a woman who was having ongoing problems with a department store to take her complaint higher up the chain.

Well that’s exactly what I’m going to do with a certain paint company with an X in it’s name.

I’ll keep you posted.


Monday, January 02, 2006

All quiet on the Western Front

I’m getting worried. The new neighbours haven’t been seen since Thursday afternoon.

They were exceptionally loud on Thursday as they were sanding the newly replaced floor boards – imagine air raid sirens only a thousand times louder.

John was at work * so I was able to drown out the noise by playing my music a little louder than normal. Think house vibrating.

Could it be they’ve got the message that us neighbours are sick of the noise and need a break. Nahh ! ! !

As it’s the start of a new year it’s customary to make resolutions. I’m not a resolutions person however I do have a ‘want’ list.

1: I want to win the lottery. It doesn’t matter if it’s the normal lottery, the extra or the Euro. As long as it’s the jackpot and is over £1m I’m not bothered.

2: I want to lose a stone and a half in weight.

3: I want to finish my novel.

4: I want to continue my piano lessons.


* he thinks I’m being childish when I turn my music up. He’s probably right but

a) he’s at work all day so doesn’t have to put up with it.
b) there’s something therapeutic in doing so especially when I inflict my singing on them as well…