There were times not so long ago when I would look forward to finishing work on a Friday evening. Just the thought of not having to set the alarm clock and allowing my eyes to open when they decided they wanted to was enough to start my weekend relaxation mode, well that with perhaps a little bit of assistance from the odd glass or two of ‘vino calapso’ ! Recently though, finishing the day job at the end of the working week was just a signal for another work regime to start, namely getting on with the house clearance. This particular weekend was going to be a little more hectic than some of the other’s had been. I needed to get into town as I was in desperate need of a haircut, being ex-military I was used to always having short hair, yes the standard short back and sides although here on ‘civvy street’ they do it by numbers. Perhaps it’s just my impish schoolboy humour but I find myself wanting to walk into my local hairdresser’s shop and say “Can I have a No. 2 please” and when they say “Yes, of course”, instead of sitting in the seat I make my way to their toilet, Oh well, little things please little minds I suppose !! Anyway, where was I ? Oh Yes, a busy weekend and Shazza had informed me, in the way that she does, that we needed to give the house a good tidy because on Monday the buyer’s mortgage lender were sending around their surveyor. In her tone, combined with the Shazza glare and raising of the eyebrows I knew that this was going to be a little more than a ‘good tidy’ ! I cannot be one hundred per cent certain but don’t surveyor’s check on things like the structural condition of the house to make sure that it is not about to collapse in a heap of bricks on the ground and that it is actually worth the amount the buyer’s are asking to borrow ? Not sure that they would refuse to provide a mortgage because we hadn’t hoovered or the cushions were not straight ! But I knew better than dare to question the Shazza glare !
We also had a little matter of clearing out even more
tat ‘cherished possessions’ from the house and make a start on the garage and the shed. There was also the flushing through of the Motorhome fresh water tank. The gauge which shows how much water you have in the tank had been playing up, even though I knew I had filled it to 100% after a few seconds the gauge reflected 0% !! This would create a bit of a problem when ‘on the road’ fulltiming as you really do need to keep an eye on all your essentials e.g. Fuel, Gas, Battery Power Levels and Fresh Water. After getting some advice about the potential cause of the problem, ‘calcite’ on the sensor probes in the tank, and the people classed as ‘specialists’ (the Motorhome dealers) advising me that it would involve dropping the fresh water tank to sort the problem and then re-fitting it, at a cost of £150 !! However, non-specialist experts e.g. Motorhome users told me to go and buy some Fresh Water Tank cleaning fluid, which just happened to contain a de-scaler, at the much reduced cost of £5. This I did and hey presto, problem sorted and my wallet was better off by £145. However, the water tank (containing the de-scaling fluid) needed to be drained and then the water tank needed to be flushed through twice, not a difficult task just a bit time consuming. Makes interesting reading this Motorhome maintenance stuff doesn’t it ?
Shazza had gone straight from work to the supermarket to do the weekly shop, Oh yes she does occasionally give me the odd hour off now and again, I wouldn’t want you to think that she is a totally dominant, control freak and female chauvenist. I do of course know that when she asks me to make her coffee, run her bath, fetch her slippers I do know that when she refers to me as ‘Jeeves’ it’s just her little joke…………. ? I will let you into a little secret but only as long as you do not let Shazza know that I know ! We have this deal that when I am working from home I cook the evening meal and when I am on the road the first home cooks the evening meal, but I always appear to get home first and she arrives home just as I am serving it up, the truth is that she stays at work until she knows that I am at home !!
This particular Friday evening, Shazza not only did the shopping but she prepared the evening meal whilst I started in the garage. I climbed over the first pile of ‘stuff’, this was at the front as it was earmarked for the next ‘car boot sale’ on Sunday morning, I managed to scale that without the aid of a safety rope or harness before starting to scale the next pile of ‘stuff’, this was all the contents from the ‘Motorhome garage’, which was another job on my ‘to do list’ to re-pack it all again at some stage when I had a spare moment ! All this ‘stuff’ had been removed a week or so earlier in preparation for having a new bicycle rack fitted to the rear of the van and so as to leave the guy fitting it room to work in case he had to drill holes to fit the retaining bolts, which actually he didn’t. I would have known this had I spent just a couple of minutes looking at where the bicycle rack was going to be fitted and then there would have been no need to have emptied the bloody garage at all !! Anyway, no good “crying over spilt milk” as my mother used to say. I find these sayings a little strange, who thinks them up and why do they get carried down generation after generation, things like “Oh ! somebody got out of the wrong side of the bed this morning” ? is there really a right side and a wrong side ? how do you know which is which ? Anyway, I digress, I had just managed to scale the final pile of ‘stuff’ and had reached the far end of the garage and was just reaching for the first box of forgotten treasure when I heard “Eric, your tea is on the table”………… !!!
At least by the time I had eaten my evening meal and got back into the garage the sun had lost some of its heat, and it’s not often you can say that about the weather in this country ! It is a bit like Christmas isn’t it ? when you open parcels that you have no clue what the contents are. Lots of these ‘garage boxes’ had been removed from our previous house garage, taken off the removals van when we arrived a little over six and a half years ago, and put straight into the garage of what was then our new house. However, it is only when you re-open these boxes that reality slaps you full in the face and the realisation dawns that you now have to get rid of all this forgotten about ‘treasure’. Strange how we cart all this stuff about for years, stuff that comes out of one loft space or garage and straight into another without ever being opened to check what is inside because you have already marked it ‘Loft Storage’ or ‘Garage Storage’. And yet, even though you have never given any of it a passing thought in years, when you open these hidden gems you end up debating about whether you should keep any of it ! It was time, yet again, to put ruthless head on, this was either going to go to the Council Re-cycling Point or into another box, the one marked ‘Car Boot Stuff’.
I was really up for some good clearing out now, I had done as much as I could in the garage, not that there wasn’t more hidden treasure to open just that I had now run out of floor space and there was a risk that if I didn’t stop now I would never be able to scale the piles of stuff and I could end up being locked away in there and part of that hidden treasure until someone found me ! So, I made good my escape and made my way to the other side of the house to the ‘Spiders Lair’ ! However, to get to the actual shed I had to move the Motorhome which, as I could then get to the fresh water tank filler point prompted me to do the first flush through of the tank. I had already, some days earlier, emptied the tank and the cleaning solution so this was not going to be a long job, just the time it would take to put 100 Litres of water into the tank. I watched the guage as the tank started to fill, hoping that the gauge would now be working, 25%….. 50%……… 75% and then finally 100% and full. Water tap turned off now let’s see what happens. I got a bit distracted as the sun had gone down enough to water my plants and whilst I had the water hose out it seemed an opportune moment so that was another job done. I left the hose out just in case it was needed to persuade the army of spiders and whatever else was lurking in those deep dark recesses to vacate my long lost treasures. It is really amazing what you find hidden in all these places, first it was the loft, then the garage and now the shed. For six and a half years I had cut back the rampaging shrubs, armed only with a set of hand held pruning shears when there, just a few feet away, was a nearly new electric hedge trimmer, what would have been the perfect tool for the job saving me hours of laborious work and very many painful blisters. Oh well, into the car boot sale box went the hedge trimmers, grass strimmer, Black & Decker Workmate Bench, Camping Chairs, Gazebo and one American aluminium framed camp bed…………..the rest would have to wait for another weekend !
My final job of this Friday evening was to wash down an old camping table that we would need at the car boot sale on Sunday. Although we already had a longish camping table, commondered from the Motorhome garage, we had so much stuff that we needed more table space. I soon learnt that at car boots people do not like bending or reaching down to look at stuff on the floor, especially those of an elderly disposition. Amazingly, it is the older folk that appeared to buy lots of ‘stuff’ from these car boot sales, I say amazingly because you would think that at their age they would have accumulated a load of their own
tat ‘cherished possessions’ so why buy other peoples ? Although to be perfectly honest the ‘ladies’ were on the lookout for the raunchy female novels, I have lost count of just how many had asked me, in a whispered voice, if I had the ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ trilogy !! the men folk on the other hand went for the ‘boys toys’, screwdrivers and other tools, old clocks to tinker with, the Vera Lynn CD’s (Who ?). Oh well ! who am I to judge, their money was going into my ‘Travel Fund’ coffers, and very grateful I am too.
Lots of retiree’s seem to either go on a world cruise to celebrate their retirement or they book a swanky hotel and invite all their family as well as friends and colleagues they have made and worked with over the year’s to come and stuff themselves silly and quaff ale until they all fall over. The men folk can be seen sitting on the straw bales whilst the oil lamps swing to and fro in the night breeze as they reminisce into the wee small hours about their former years. Well kids, family, friends and colleagues, this pair of tight gits are not doing either of the above ! Instead, we are going to use the surplus money from the sale of all our
tat ‘cherished items’ and the proceeds from the sale of our furniture to spend the first few months of our adventure on our kind of retirement holiday. When we are living properly on the road, we will need to be on a budget, so for now the extra money to start with we can use to enjoy spending freely on some of those little extra luxuries in life, things that we may not be able to afford on our meagre ‘on the road’ budget……………….. soap, shower gel, washing powder, toothpaste, toilet rolls………………………….. Only joking (I think) ?
Oh ! and you thought I was joking about the garage ……………..
And on a final note, because I know how you would worry about things if I didn’t tell you how they ended, the water gauge is working just fine now !