Monday, October 22, 2007

Autumnal meanderings

For the first time this season, we've had to clear the ice from the van before we could leave for work on Thursday and Friday. We've put a round thermometer on the same post as the garden clock and it's been -1d for the last few mornings, misty or foggy, clearing to beautiful days with glorious sunshine. Once you get over the freezing starts to the day!

The van fits, just, in our driveway! Its letters are UCJ and it seems to think that its name is Uncle John. This surely can't be right. Does anybody have any better idea what its name might be? It seems to be fitting in quite well, though I think it might have a slight fuel leak. It smells remarkably like a Broads Boat when The Builder starts it in the morning. It is also proving a bit recalcitrant to get up and move. I can fully empathise with this; so am I. But its job is to get up and move in the mornings. Mine doesn't start until at least an hour later!!! It’s going to Nick the Mechanic for a thorough going over tomorrow.

I had breakfast with Freyja on Thursday morning in Alfie and Bella's, a sandwich shop across from the main entrance to the University. Ordinarily, they do fantastic food. On Thursday, however, it seemed as though we were waiting for ever for our breakfast. It was beginning to get to the point where we were wondering if Freyja would actually have time to eat her breakfast before she had to leave for work. I can usually be a bit flexible about my starting and finishing times. Freyja cannot. Anyway, the girl came panting up to the upstairs dining area with a tray of food and apologised for the delay. She was, it seemed, the only person in. No one else had turned up yet. I looked at my plate, where I was expecting to find toast, poached eggs and some mushrooms. Hmmm. The poached egg was in bits, a lot like scrambled poached eggs. It was virtually inedible. The mushrooms weren’t cooked. The toast was nice, though. I might have sent it back, except that Freyja would then have run out of time – and I’m not sure the replacement would have been nay better. The poor girl had clearly done her best. But she might have been better, if she didn’t know how to poach an egg, to tell me that they were off the menu that morning. I’d have cheerfully had something else. Something that I could eat!

It was quite a chaotic day at work, as well. By about half past nine I was seriously considering the possibility of going home, going back to bed and starting again. Or not!

Otherwise, it’s been quite a good week. I’ve had some lovely teaching sessions where the students have been keen and interested. I had Monday morning off to allow for an evening duty at Psalter Lane. I had Wednesday off until 5, when I was on in the Adsetts Centre until 9. We’ve had some pleasantly relaxed evenings. I’ve also taken delivery of 24 bottles of mixed European dry white wines, which certainly enhance the relaxation process.

Yesterday was designated (earlier in the week, mainly by Freyja) as Sleeping Day. I can’t say we slept all day, but I turned off the radio so it didn’t come on at 5:30. The alarm never rings at weekends anyway. We did wake at 5:30 but turned over and went back to sleep. Woke again around half seven and The Builder didn’t make the morning tea until 8:00. I realise this isn’t late for most people, but if you’ve taken up with a builder … We ambled about and did domestic things, then went to the Post Office to post a parcel on behalf of Freyja. Then we took ourselves across country, along lanes we haven’t previously travelled, to Chatsworth to buy some beef. On Friday evening I had asked The Builder what he would have for Saturday dinner if he could have anything in the world. Roast beef and Yorkshire pud was his response. ‘Twas the one thing I didn’t have available for roasting in the freezer! We bought the Christmas beef while we were there. Will have to make sure we don’t eat it in a moment of inattention between now and then!

We would have had lunch in the restaurant, but the queues were even longer than they were last Saturday. Back into Bakewell, then, for mushroom soup in the Peacock and a womble around the town. And so home for a little light gardening and a potter about. Was all very pleasant. And clearly highly exhausting. I went to sleep in front of the telly at around 5:30 and didn’t wake up again until 7 or so! We did have out roast beef and Yorkshire pud, just a bit later than I had intended. There’s lots more for tonight. I’m going to heat it all up and have it with onion and mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts. But it really was a sleeping day. Should have more of them.

Had a lovely morning this morning. It was once again cold and frosty and just below zero when we got up. We pottered inside, heating on, eating fruit toast and drinking tea, until the frost lifted. Then we went for a walk around the wetlands walk, which we haven’t done since we went with Lindsey and Ian. There were loads of people out there, walking their dogs, ambling about in family groups, power walking. It’s lovely to see people out there enjoying it. The Hebridean sheep and the highland cows seem to have gone, though. Wonder where they went. Then we got home and it was, alas, time for me to get organised and come to work. Was a glorious morning. Such a waste of the afternoon to be sat in the Office at Psalter Lane, waiting in case the new Customer Service Advisers (!!!) come across questions they can’t answer. Still. Think of the money. I am being remarkably well paid to sit here as a “duty adviser”.

The Builder has finished his job in Sheffield. He had announced his intention to have this coming week off and had been given to understand that there would be work for him on the BT site when he came back. On Friday at 4pm, the boss told the whole lot of them that there was no work with him now until possibly in December. The agency reckons they can probably have all of them in remunerative employment well before then. Like tomorrow! (Apart from The Builder who is not available until the Monday after.) A bit poor, I reckon, to give them all to understand that there was no more work right up until the very last minute. Not so bad for The Builder who has a pension and other odd sources of income. But the boys run a bit tight for cash and the agency would have been actively looking for them, had they but known.
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