Monthly Archives: April 2024

Z feels gung-ho

Well, progress is being made. I have had a reply from the Listed Buildings man from the council. He will take the next step and get back to me. The lovely electrician charged me a mere £24, including VAT, for two visits. Next, I’ll contact Jason at the stove place to discuss the fireplace – I’ll certainly need to have the chimney relined, even if the present fire goes back into situ.

Dear old Polly bantam died today. She was 9 years old. She, Scrabble, Canasta (RIP) and Jenna (cockerel, RIP) were the parents or grandparents of the entire flock I have now, apart from Jabba the Cluck, who is also 9. She and Scrabble are still looking to be in good shape, but so was Polly until a couple of days ago. This means that Hope is in the coop on her own at present. I will put Dot, the one with the broken toe, in with her after the weekend. I tried her a few weeks ago, but the feisty Polly bullied her. She’s only just coping in the henhouse, but I can’t do anything about it until I get back from London. Al is holding the fort over the weekend, but it’s not fair to land chicken-coddling on him at such short notice.

I’ve not contacted the painter and decorator yet, but everything else on my to-do list has been done. The house is a bit chaotic still, but there we go. Alex lived here for long enough, he should know what I’m like. With all the problems there have been, it’s not really surprising. The carpet in the cloakroom is still in place, but I’ll take it up when I get back – I’m not sure what the floor underneath is like. Although I still feel very anxious about everything, I’m coping well. I’m good in an emergency and its aftermath, it’s the everyday extras that I find tricky. But I want to get sorted out and I won’t feel better until it all has been.

Zo’s Ark

Oh, chaotic doesn’t even start to describe it. The mouse problem has not gone away after all, but there’s no sign of them except for them eating the waste pipes. The dishwasher one was eaten last Friday night (presumably, as I discovered it on Saturday morning). Fortunately, I’d cleaned the tannin marks off tea mugs before putting them in the dishwashing machine, for which I briefly turned on the kitchen tap. If I hadn’t and had started by turning on the dishwasher, there would have been an awful flood. As it was, I was without use of the sink over the weekend – I kept a bucket in the sink to catch drips from the tap and anything like coffee dregs or cooking water. Kind Jaden came and fixed it at a reduced price on Monday morning. I hate myself for it, but I’ve bought poison baited traps, though I haven’t brought myself to put them down yet. The mice aren’t touching regular mousetraps and I don’t know what to do.

I’ve been having a burst of activity this week and, stressful though anticipation was, having done various things was very encouraging.

However, the falling apart of the house continues. A week or two ago, I realised that the chimney was smoking a little. I couldn’t quite work it out, but there was certainly smoke. I finally twigged that the smoke was coming from where pointing was missing from the brickwork surround, on one side. Since the chimney is lined, this is disconcerting. I had been thinking about the chimney lining this last winter, as a matter of fact. I felt it should be replaced and wondered whether it’s time to put in a woodburner rather than keep the open fire. But if I don’t take out the whole fireplace, which my in-laws put in (and I have never liked) then the full heat of the woodburner won’t be felt. But, as the house is listed, I may need permission and, as woodburners are not popular with Powers That Be at present, I may not get it. I’ve emailed the chap at the council who can advise. If it’s difficult, I can keep the status quo. I’ve got plans A, B and C at present. For now, I’ve put Blu Tack (which isn’t blue any more, it’s a very suitable putty colour) in the gaps.

We went to the local theatre last night, for a live-streamed performance of Swan Lake, from the Royal Opera House. These are done regularly, both opera and ballet. There were a number of people there, mostly women, who don’t normally come, presumably there because of a particular fondness for that ballet. A lot of cut-glass accents and rather loud voices. Unfortunately, the loud voices continued during the intervals. After a few minutes to secure drinks or ice creams (it’s a sensible theatre where you can take your wine glass or coffee cup into the auditorium), there are interviews with backstage staff, which are very interesting. They focussed on costumes mostly, last night, but we could hardly hear the interview with the woman in charge of costumes because of braying voices. They did shut up when the actual costume makers were demonstrating how tutus were made, but started up again when a man who designed the backdrops was speaking. It was annoying. The braying voice last week, at the film on John Singer Sargent, was an elderly man (no older than I am, I daresay) who had something irritating to say about everything. Has it got worse since lockdown? Am I more irritable? I don’t know.

Running and not even staying still, but at least there’s a date for the blog party

Really, it’s all been chaotic. It turned out that a mouse had eaten the overflow pipe from the bath and, though that hadn’t been used, the downpipe leaked as a result. No more mice, I can’t remember if I mentioned that those electronic things that you plug in and leave are working amazingly, as far as I can tell. No more mouse sounds and all traps ignored. The cat seems unaware of them.

Today, finally, I emptied the bookcase in the cloakroom – the big one, that is. The smaller one is a job that needs to be done. Stephen, who comes on a Thursday to help in the garden, moved it with me. I had to remember how it was put in, 37 years ago, to work out how to get it out again, but I managed it. Then it turned out to be too tall to where I wanted to put it – the books need to go back in – so it’s in the hall. Then I had to go out and am busy all day tomorrow in Norwich, so nothing more will happen until the weekend.

I’m getting to be as busy as I used to be, 15 years ago. I took on two more things today. But there it is. I’m looking after myself better than I used to. So let’s go for the listicle.

  1. I’m going to London next weekend with Wink and we’ve got lots of good things planned
  2. The week afterwards, I’m going to the caravan with Rose and – wait for it – I’m planning to leave on Thursday, even though I’ve got a meeting on Thursday evening. I’ll just say I can’t make it. This is what I mean when I say I’m looking after myself better.
  3. I made a list. A to-do list. This includes contacting the painter and decorator and dumping on him a job that I’d planned to do myself, but haven’t got around to. I want to but, frankly, it ain’t happening. So I’ll delegate.
  4. After I get back from the caravan, I’m going to be looking after the youngest grand babies for a couple of days. This is a rare treat and I’m looking forward to it very much.
  5. Plates are all still metaphorically spinning. I haven’t dropped any yet and I’m reasonably confident that I’m not going to.
  6. The blog party will be on Saturday, 25th May. You are all welcome to come and to stay. Open house, as ever.

This is as good as it’s likely to get, I could have whinged about all the down sides. But that’s not what I blog for.

The proverbial top

I’m not sure, now I’m thinking of it, how or why one sleeps like a top, but it doesn’t really matter. I can look it up. Anyway, I did. I dozed off several times during the ballet last night – it was a live streaming from the Royal Opera House, I didn’t visibly (to the dancers, anyway) fall asleep – and then came home and slept again. Now, it’s Wink’s turn. Our friend Lawrie, whose golden wedding party we went to last September, is coming to stay for a couple of nights. His daughter was due to come, early this afternoon, to care for her mother, who has Alzheimer’s and can’t be left, but she was delayed, so he left late and was massively delayed on the M25, poor man. Now 10pm and he hasn’t arrived yet. Wink is catching a few zzzs until he arrives and I’ve come through here to blog.

Otherwise, it’s been quiet at the Zedery. I biked in to buy Wink’s birthday card and then went to the library. I tend to choose randomly, because I’m not paying for it, so might as well hope for a joyous surprise. I’ve a book about appealing places to visit in Britain, a Hunger Games book, a Paul Auster (I thought I’d read all of his, but not ‘Invisible’), ‘Confessions of a Bookseller,’ which is by a chap with a second-hand bookshop, a Lindsay Davis, Roman detective story – I kept up with all of hers for years but have let fiction slide -, a factual book about ancient Rome, another detective story, by Anthony Horowitz and ‘How to Live Like Your Cat,’ translated from French and I guess it’s lightly self-help-ish, but I’ll find out. I can dip in and out of any of them, which is what my frazzled brain wants at present. I’m also part way through reading ‘A Carpet Ride to Khiva’ by the fabulous (I spent a few hours in his company, trust me) Chris Aslan Alexander and an Elly Griffiths (clearly, I like detective stories). I used to read serious stuff and now, mostly, I don’t. I like books to be well written, but I don’t necessarily want to think too much. Maybe that’ll change again, but I’m quite old, so maybe not.

In the meantime, it’s now quarter past ten, so I do hope that Lawrie arrives soon. He’s got a family funeral to go to tomorrow and he hasn’t had any dinner. We’d expected a nice chatty evening together, so it’s a pity.

Home again again

I’ve been house/teen sitting for Weeza and Phil, but got home yesterday.

Big achievement of the day was emailing my solicitor and explaining the situation. I’ll phone the office by the end of the week to make an appointment to see him. It’ll be expensive, but the matter is big enough to ride with that.

Otherwise, it’s all right. Grandchildren are lovely and great company for the week. We are all, the whole family (14 of us) meeting on Sunday for a family lunch on Wink’s birthday. Wink and I have booked various London jollies and I’m planning a trip to the caravan at the beginning of May, hopefully with Rose.

Our very dear friend Lawrie, the closest we have to a brother, is coming this week (for a family funeral, so he’ll stay here for a couple of nights. His lovely wife has Alzheimer’s, so her daughter (not his biological daughter but they love each other as much as if she is) is coming to stay, so it’s a break for him, knowing Lynn is all right. We went to their golden wedding celebration last September, which was a fabulous celebration. Though she may not remember 5 minutes ago, she could sing all the old songs that their son performed and I sang along with her – not something I’d do with anyone else, now I don’t have Lovely Tim.

The cloakroom door still doesn’t close fully and, when the porch door is shut and the sun is shining, it’s decidedly humid in there. But there doesn’t seem to be an active leak any more, so it’s just the wood drying out and I’ll continue to be patient. Next thing to do is to empty the cloakroom, which has two cupboards and two big bookcases, then choose and order new wallpaper. Then get the papering and painting done and get new carpet. Then address the bathroom. Joy. Not. But it’s just stuff, it’ll be okay.

I feel as if I’m as much on top of things as I can be – and I slept well last night, which can’t be overstated. I biked into town and walked round the village, so I’m not without hope of some Healthy Sleep tonight.

It’s April already

I’ve been home a week and it feels like a lot longer, as a lot has gone wrong. From a matter so serious that I have to contact my solicitor, to a flood in the house, to my sister’s car trouble, to Easter Saturday in A&E because a family member was suddenly taken ill. I wasn’t really in a position to blog through any of this. The holiday feels as if it happened weeks ago, if at all. It was lovely though, so I hope I’ll manage to reminisce, but tomorrow I’m off to Weeza’s house to stay with Perdita and Gus, because Weeza and Phil are off on holiday for the week, to celebrate W’s birthday on Thursday.

This is just to tell you I’m alive. If I haven’t been missed, fair enough. I haven’t read blogs for a while myself. And I’m off to bed soon – my body clock is so confused that I have no idea of the time and sleep and eat when I think of it.