Have you ever…….. said something in conversation and wished you hadn’t as it may just tempt fate ? Well I did and it did ! What I happened to say was that with selling up the house at least we would have no more associated maintenance costs ?
The overflow from the main water holding tank in the loft had started to ‘drip’ and when it ‘dripped’ it just happened to ‘drip’ onto the PVC roof of the conservatory, which only served to make the noise of the ‘drip’ even worse. Drip, Drip, Drip !! it was worse than Chinese water torture, not that I have been subjected to that kind of torture on a personal basis you understand. No problems I thought, up into the loft and take a look inside the water tank. I could see that the water level in the tank was well above the level of the actual overflow pipe, which even with my
limited ‘non-existent’ DIY Plumbing knowledge I knew that this was not good. So back down the ladders, into the bathroom and run off some of the water to reduce the level in the main tank. The plan was a good one ! now back up the ladder to the water tank and time to employ the Eric’s plumbing DIY strategy, otherwise known as the ‘make it look as if you know what you are doing’ pose ! So a quick clean around the water inlet thingy ! For the uninitiated, that is a ‘technical term’ which is not just associated to my plumbing attributes but in fact to all my DIY attributes, often used to accompany the other technical term ‘thingamabobs’ when referring to the specialist tools required to fulfil the task e.g. I need to tighten the ‘thingy’ with that ‘thingamabobs’. It is a highly skilled art this DIY stuff and you certainly need to learn the specialist language that accompanies such an art otherwise just anybody would be able to it. I couldn’t see too much wrong with the ‘thingy’ so assessed, as you do, that it was surely just a build up of ‘crap’ (another technical term, I have ‘often’ heard this one used when certain ‘professionals’ have been discussing my DIY skills). so I had a bit of a prod here and a poke there, scratched my head and had a suck on my teeth. I have seen the Experts do this on TV, it is quite impressive and I believe that apparently this behaviour is more than sufficient justification to make the job sound more of a problem than it actually is and worth every penny of the extra £50 they add-on the bill ! Anyway, I scratched my head, I sucked my teeth and then added a few profanities to just finish it off, just so that I sounded more like the ‘experts’, although on TV they tend to ‘bleep’ those bits out. I afforded myself a smile knowing that this time I had kept the cost of the head scratching and tooth sucking securely in my own wallet. The water tank refilled and hey presto the water level remained below the level of the overflow pipe. Perhaps I was doing myself at injustice and maybe I am not as bad at this DIY lark as Shazza often tells me I am !! I was feeling quite good about myself at this point, so ‘Shazza’ about that extra-large wine rack you wanted putting up next to your chair in the living room, no problem let me just go and find my lump hammer and pneumatic drill …… !!!!!
Shazza got up for work as usual at 6am on Friday morning. Normally I would just close my eyes and go back to sleep until my alarm told me at 7.30am to get up. But I was unable to do so this morning because I could hear that my ‘Shazza’ was not a very happy bunny for some reason. I strained to hear what could be the cause of my ‘babes’ displeasure and was a bit concerned when I heard her say something to the effect of “Oh dear me, I will have to get Eric to take another look at the water tank as it appears to be dripping again”, well words to that effect but a far shorter sentence with a few expletives thrown in for effect !! With my short-lived DIY prowess now in tatters I had two options, the first was to save face and try once again to resolve the problem or ? …………
It took Martin, our local plumber, all of 10 minutes to replace the faulty water inlet valve, strange but I never heard him mention the word ‘thingy’ once, neither was there any head scratching, nor sucking of teeth, although he still managed to relieve my wallet of a few ‘sheckles’ for his trouble. To be fair, although Martin would never be rich on the amount of business I had put his way in the 6 plus years that I had lived in this house, he has never let me down and always turned up on the same day that he received my
pleas for help, phone calls requesting assistance, and he had always put right whatever the problem happened to be. I wonder how quick he could respond when I call him because of a plumbing problem in my van in the South of France ?
It wasn’t a completely bad lead up to the start of yet another weekend. In the mail I had received my ‘pension forecast’ from my future pension providers and it was a little better than I had anticipated, perhaps now a tube of toothpaste was affordable in the weekly ‘on the road’ budget ?
Shazza had started to take an interest in getting some of the larger ‘unwanted’ items of furniture sold and had placed a photograph of a glass dining table and four chairs onto a local website. Within hours, yes really, hours ! she had received 3 Email enquiries, one of which asked for our address. Friday evening two chaps turned up in a van, didn’t even give the items a once over, and paid Shazza more than the price she had stated in the advert that she had wanted for it !! That was followed by her receiving a text message and a photo on her iPhone from the lady who had purchased it saying thank you for selling it and that it was just what she had been looking for !! Why are we wasting our time getting up at the ‘crack of sparrows’ on a Sunday morning when ‘Shazza’ has an obvious talent for selling our ‘tat‘ (cherished possessions) from the comfort of her armchair ?
The night-time temperature had dropped significantly on Friday, although not to the level whereby we could close the bedroom windows, however, I managed a much better sleep (without the aid of ear plugs Debs, just in case you were wondering) and with no trips into town scheduled we both decided that we deserved a bit of a lay in on Saturday morning.
Have you ever…….. said something in conversation and wished you hadn’t as it may just temp fate ? Well I did and it did ! You would have thought that I would have learnt by now wouldn’t you ?
A wonderful sleep, no cars, no clip clop of heels on the pavement outside, no disgruntled felines, no pheasants and no wailing sirens but at 5am on Saturday morning it was gang warfare amongst our other feathered friends, no, nothing as charming as the gentle tweeting of a dawn chorus to welcome in the day, this was the modern remake of the Alfred Hitchcock movie ‘The Birds’ taking place right outside our bedroom window ! This wasn’t just a small domestic spat, Oh No ! these noisy blighter’s were full on warfare and they were not taking prisoners. I am sure that I even saw one wearing a blood soaked vest more commonly associated with Bruce Willis in the ‘Die Hard’ films ! And so, the luxury of a lay in was thwarted and the start to our leisurely weekend went rapidly downhill from there !!
I cannot remember when I last saw the inside of my garage at such an early hour of a weekend morning, but it didn’t look any better than when I last looked at it only a few days earlier. I am convinced that all my neighbours must have their own key and are re-homing all their own unwanted
tat (hidden treasures) in my garage when I am not looking. I sorted through it and when I thought that I had enough of a variety for our discerning Sunday customers to ‘paw’ their way through, I loaded it all into the car until there was only just enough space for myself and Shazza and just enough space at the tail end to stop it from dragging along the ground !! Shazza on the other hand was getting on with her favourite domestic duty, yes the nice and relaxing task of ‘ironing’, I occasionally sneaked into the hallway to see if I could catch her in the act of imbibing some ‘relaxation juice’ but she has become very cunning ! Mmmm ? wonder whether the fluid in the steam iron is actually water ??
My next task of the day was to re-load ‘Big Momma’ but this time instead of the ‘holiday’ mode she needed to be packed in ‘Fulltiming’ mode. I had expected this to be like one of those cryptic puzzles, the one’s where you get nearly to the end and then discover that something vital just will not fit where it is supposed to. However, I was quite pleasantly surprised, there were a couple of little re-shuffles but in the main it all fitted in quite well. I had given this plenty of thought beforehand, what would we require to be close at hand and so closest to the door and what would we use least that could be further into the centre of the garage space, that approach had appeared to have worked but the “proof of the pudding” as they say………..(Who said that first, when and in what context did they say it) ? It was not just the external rear garage locker that had to be re-organised, all of the external lockers needed sorting but it all went pretty well although it had taken a fair part of the late morning and early afternoon to complete. Whilst ‘Big Momma’ was out it also gave me the opportunity to complete the final flush out of the fresh water tank and to re-check that the gauge was still functioning, which I am more than happy to report that it is.
I was by now feeling pretty hot, more than a little grubby and more than pleased with my accomplishments of the day , I needed a shower but I knew that once I stopped my limbs would start to feel heavy and ache and that once I had plonked myself down in the soft inviting leather ‘reclining’ armchair that I would not be getting out of it again in a hurry. So the lawns still needed cutting and the flowers would need watering, so I made the decision that before I finally collapse in a heap for the day one last push and that would be all the weekend jobs done (all except for our recent new Sunday routine of meeting the masses at the Car Boot sale). So, my precious little flowers you will get your drinks now and although much earlier than they really should, as the sun was still blazing and high in the sky, it was, in the famous lyrics of that Elvis song, ‘Now or Never’ (You will all be humming or singing it in your heads soon !!).
I cannot recall where Saturday evening disappeared to, I think it was cancelled and we went straight to getting up at the ‘crack of sparrows’ again !! We had expected the by now unusually scorching temperatures and so dressed in appropriate clothing for being baked alive, shorts and tee shirts. Well the sky may have been blue when we left the house, or perhaps through tired half-open eyelids we only saw the blue bits. By the time we got to our designated pitch at the car boot sale, the sky had become quite overcast and there was a bit of a cool chill blowing, cool chill may be a bit of an under-exaggeration, we were both bloody cold !! I don’t know if it was the unexpected cooler weather and feeling cold, the fact that Shazza and I were both tired or that the novelty of having people rummaging through our worldly possessions and then wanting us to give them the money to take them off our hands or perhaps a combination of all of the above, but the novelty had worn off. We both agreed that we would rather be back at home, in bed with a nice hot mug of coffee listening to Steve Wright’s ‘Sunday Love Songs’ on the bedside radio than be stood here shivering. But we stuck it out for the 5 hours and were rewarded with more
tat (cherished items) re-homed and the travel fund coffers swelling even more. By the time we returned home, unpacked the car of the items that had not been re-homed this time around, we barely had the enthusiasm to eat Sunday lunch. However, I have never been able to resist Shazza’s home-made steak pie with yummy short crust pastry, although I did have a sneaking suspicion that the usual red wine infused ‘jus’ was missing a vital ingredient….? The rest of Sunday afternoon was a bit of a blur, although we did manage to drum up some energy to discuss dates for the outbound ferry journey to Spain. We had agreed that apart from their being no real rush, other than the stormy seas around the Bay of Biscay in Winter and potentially snow and ice on and around the Pyrenees !! we needed to allow some ‘leeway’ for last-minute administrative bit’s and pieces before we left. So it was agreed that we would remain in the UK for a couple of weeks. Having had to cancel our Summer holiday in 2012 we were in possession of a credit note for use on ‘Brittany Ferries’ so we checked the details of what was available on our chosen sailing dates and discovered, to our absolute delight, that our credit note was not only sufficient to pay for the complete journey and a cabin but it enabled us to reserve the top of the range ‘Commodore’ Class Cabin complete with balcony, although subject to the weather conditions I am not sure that we will get to utilise the balcony !! Now that’s the way to end a very long and tiring weekend.
And just before I sign off, next time I should have some news about the introduction of a new travelling companion for ‘Big Momma’, ‘Snoopy’ and ‘Kevin’ on our ‘Big Adventure ……………………………….. ?