Thursday, August 29, 2013

"Snakes on a Drain"... nope, I can't remember that movie but it appears to be showing locally...

What with scorpions and Black Widow spiders found in the UK I guess I shouldn't be too surprised by the above. The local moggies would have been in for a nasty shock but it's one way to reduce the local rat population. Perhaps it's a surreptitious means of attempting to reduce the badger population by the government.

                            "You ain't seen me, right!"       ( Courtesy of ).

Talking of wildlife, I rescued the frog that has been hiding in amongst our tomato plants after some gardening this morning. The cats were sniffing around so with the repositioning of the plants the frog should be safe for now. The little furry buggers torment any frogs they find and it drives the dog nuts because of the squeaking noise they make. We have also noticed the change in the season with fog each morning, noticeably cooler at night and the abundance of spider webs around the garden. Autumn is just over the horizon although I continue to hope for another few weeks of sunshine. I am ever the optimist...

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Hoorah! We have hot water on tap... stampedes for the shower... joins the queue...

The engineer arrived on time and one new circuit board later the boiler is working again. Cold showers are character building but after a few days the novelty has definitely worn off.

That was written a few hours ago as the hot shower had to come first... bliss. The bathroom may have been a tad steamy and much soap was expended. Mrs C is fascinated by my love of scented soaps. I found a counter in T K Maxx where lots of different, mainly Italian and English soaps are sold. My behaviour in shops always attracts the attentions of the store detective and sniffing various soaps and reading the labels certainly did so the last time I popped in there. I'm not sure if it's an autistic trait or OCD but I tend to buy several of the same brand hence the stack of lavender and lemon scented soaps in the cupboard alongside the coal tar soap. The latter no longer has any coal tar in it although the scent is very similar and reminds me of childhood. I was a little bugger for mud, dirt and getting into scrapes which required frequent recourse to soap and water.

With hindsight, three families in one house sharing the one bathroom at the top of the house meant my mother was always kept busy. The other families were from Ghana and Nigeria although at times we also had Hungarians, another Irish family and several hippies during the late sixties / early seventies. It made for a busy and lively household in what was a busy multi-ethnic neighbourhood, predominately Irish, Greek and Turkish Cypriot, West Indian and various African families. Growing up I thought that was normal and I didn't realise until much later that it wasn't the usual state of affairs although the exodus of white English families including the loss of a couple of friends as they moved away hadn't impacted upon my innocence at a young age.
However, I now smell sweet and suitably floral as well as feeling clean and fresh.

Time to put my feet up, telly and a glass of whisky after a few days sobriety.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

I thought I would link to the above...

"Ralfy" generally posts about malt whiskies but his videos touch upon blended whiskies, how to keep whisky, the industry and 'Quelle horreur!' ... Cigars and pipe smoking. I have previously stated that I do like and I am fascinated by people who are passionate about their interests or hobbies and they are able to inform, entertain and communicate their passion. Ralfy has this in spades and I continue to learn from his videos. I linked to this particular video for Scoakat's benefit and he'll either thank me or curse me for yet more time spent on the pc.

We are without hot water and heating although the latter is not needed. The boiler died overnight and the engineer arrived this morning. After a very thorough investigation he has ordered a new circuit board. The fly in the ointment... tomorrow is a bank holiday so the office won't receive the order until Tuesday a.m. and the part can be replaced on Wednesday. Cold showers are very invigorating, aren't they? Mt initial scream is still echoing somewhere within the house.
I have started the search for part time work and it isn't just confined to nursing. There is a marked shortage of part time work with all the adverts requesting full time workers. There is no immediate need for me to go back to work so this is just an initial survey of the current job market. With the good weather and the still novel experience of being a gentleman of leisure I am quite happy to relax and enjoy the experience.I have arranged to pop down to Essex after next weekend, the delay as a consequence of the boiler shenanigans and spend some time with my family. It's also my Mother's seventy-second birthday so flowers plus other presents will be conveyed down to her. I am not allowed to bring the dog but Mrs C will be at home although the mutt will sulk for the duration of my time away. There isn't enough room to swing a cat let alone an excitable dog in my Mum's cottage. Otherwise, cold showers and fortitude for the next couple of days...

Thursday, August 22, 2013

It has been a week of tidying up, some small bits of DIY but primarily a week of relaxing. Having workmen in and the necessary disruption to one's usual routine was a reminder of how much my home is my sanctuary. I feel safe, secure and able to relax here at home. Yes, I know it may well be an illusory sense of safety but it feels real to me and it is lovely just sitting out in the garden surrounded by the dog and various cats, a mug of tea and a good book to read. Some people will undoubtedly regard that as smug  but I say "Fuck 'em". I spent too many years dealing with the seamier side of life and human frailties so I feel I have earned my sanctuary. The above photo is one of many and twenty minutes work by myself and Mrs C. The Dragonfly flew away several times but returned and we were able to shoot several photographs. I am absolutely fascinated by wildlife and to catch a brief glimpse of such creatures really does make my day. We spent some time earlier today watching the fish in the river and chatting with others doing the same. The usual group ("school"!!) of anglers was out, young, old and middle-aged unemployed. I don't blame the latter: get to 50 years old with few qualifications and you are likely to find employment opportunities drop to nearly zero. In their position I'd opt for grow your own, home brewing, angling and getting to know the local tobacco / alcohol smugglers  as well as any scams going. Parliament appears to consist of legal and semi-legal scams and robbery so what's good for the goose...

I have vague plans for another trip to the land of the East Saxons next week and the delights of Colchester. Mrs C. has opted for remaining at home and I have also started looking at travelling abroad for the first time in twenty years. Ooh scary...

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Hooray! The bathroom completed and the shower was absolute bliss. We haven't put the door back on and that's a job for tomorrow. From this...

to this...


Well worth the money and effort as well as the peace of mind with an end to the leaks. A professional job completed by two craftsmen. I plan to watch football tonight, drink beer and have a well earned lie in tomorrow although I suspect I will be wide awake at 6 am. But that is one of the major tasks completed on my retirement list* and frees me up for other tasks ahead.

*In my head and not committed to paper... therefore not binding!


Monday, August 12, 2013

It has been a busy week with a builder and plumber in to rip out the old bathroom and install a new one. Once everything had been removed realisation dawned that a straightforward five day job had become several days at least. One wall was in an appalling state and needed to be fully replastered with aquaboards, etc... After eight days the bath is plumbed in although the rest of the suite, etc... will be finalised tomorrow. I was kept busy with cutting tiles, acting as a general gopher and I became a frequent visitor to some of the local DIY stores. I have also learnt a hell of a lot about building, plastering, tiling,waterproofing, etc...

It is almost finished but being able to have a bath in our own bathroom.... bliss.
We went for a clean minimalist wet room look after enduring frequent leaks, collapsed ceilings and a flood on one occasion over the last ten years. Fully tiled, easily cleaned and functional. Once everything is fully plumbed in we can then personalise it with some colour but I still prefer the functionalist approach to a bathroom.  The builder is a friend so we got a special rate and we know he is very good at his job. Mrs C now has other projects in mind, mainly painting and decorating No.1 sons room, the spare bedroom and then the rooms downstairs which will keep me busy over the next few months. I also discovered how much rubbish I can fit into the Suzuki including the old bath! 
Also on the home front Mrs C's daughter LE is moving back to London next month. She wants the opportunities offered down there in the smoke, personal as well as work related. We're all pretty sad about her decision to leave Grimsby but the spare room is available if things go pear shaped. I can understand her reasons for going but c'est la vie. Mrs C and I are settled here and regard Grimsby as home but we are old fogies and enjoy our sedentary lifestyle. LE has good friends in London and there are better career opportunities for her down there. I've done that and the London I knew as my home no longer exists. On the plus side... somewhere to stay when we pop down to London as tourists! I haven't yet been on the London Eye or seen the changes to my home town over the past ten years.
An early night beckons as I have to be up for the plumber so TTFN.