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.

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