Monday, January 21, 2008

I've broken the shower!

Let this be a lesson to you. Cleaning is a Very Dangerous Thing To Do! I decided last week to clean the shower, though I can’t really tell you why. I turned the cold water on in the shower very hard to rinse it down. The bung flew out of the outlet pipe. Result – one buggered shower :-( It seems you can’t buy replacement bungs (ours is quite an old shower) and new showers are rather more than we can afford at the moment, although The Builder is working again this week. Gloom. Mercifully there is a shower in the bath which can be used for the time being. But carefully, so as not to drench the entire bathroom.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch – my PC in the new office was still sulking mightily on Friday. Paul’s had stopped sulking and started working perfectly happily once the IT bods has turned the ports on properly. Mine sulked on. Somebody came and took it away. I returned to the Level 3 office and used someone else’s computer. Eventually my PC came back. No wonder it had been sulking – they had been calling it by the wrong name so it didn’t realise that anyone was talking to it. Now that they’ve adjusted the PC name on the port, it’s working beautifully! My desk is starting to look quite cheerful. I’ve bought it a couple of plants and it’s very tidy. It probably won’t stay tidy but it is at the moment.

The Builder happened to be at home on Friday afternoon. They finish at 3:30 on Fridays and we were going out in the evening. He had gone home to change and tidy up before going out. After all, we don’t want him going out to dinner all covered in sawdust. He was watching out the kitchen window shortly before it went properly dark – and saw a fox pottering about on the brick patio! I wish I had seen the fox on the patio. He went out to chase it away (I don’t know why; it wasn’t doing any harm) and it vanished into the pile of rubbish. We assume there must be a hole under the fence in there. I can’t imagine that a fox would have come along the pavement and down through the gate at the time of the day and, although foxes can climb, I can’t see that it could have climbed over the fence from the farm. Anyway, it seems to have gone now.

We went to a Thai restaurant on Friday evening, in Sheffield, with Bea and Steve, Roger and Kate, plus George and Sandy, both from the L3 team. It was more or less a reconvening of the SE Christmas party, which was always the first Friday after payday in January. I’ve never been to a Thai restaurant before. I had always assumed that there would be nothing that I would be able to eat. This restaurant had been recommended by someone from Roger’s team – although in the end she couldn’t come. I consulted the waiter when we arrived and he was fantastic. He made sure that everything I ate was safe for me and chatted to me on and off throughout the evening. The food was absolutely delicious. The whole evening was great. Lots of chat, lots of wine, lots of magnificent food. What more could you ask for. Vegetarian options? Loads of those as well. Then Sandy, Roger and Kate, and George all very sensibly went home. We went back to Bea and Steve’s and drank more wine and stayed over.

Which meant I was really quite sleepy on Saturday when, after borrowing a clean pair of knickers and some socks from Bea, I dragged myself to Psalter Lane for a Saturday shift there. Steve drove me there, then took The Builder into town to catch a train home, then he and Bea went off to buy a breadmaker. It was EXTREMELY quiet at Psalter Lane on Saturday. We had 5 queries all day, and they were all between 11 and 1. It was a long afternoon!

We meandered off to Chatsworth on Sunday to pay a visit to the farm shop. And got there half an hour too early. Sunday opening times are very complicated. Shops over a certain size can open 10-4, 10:30-4:30 or 11-5. Shops under that size and employing fewer than a certain number of staff can open whenever they please. Most shops do, though, open 10-4. Enough for you reasonably to assume that those are the Sunday hours. Except for the farm shop which is 11-5! So we went to Bakewell to fill in the time (and found that the shops there open at a bewildering array of different times!). Still, we are now vegetabled up. I’ve roasted a chicken whose price positively made my eyes water when I paid for it (although if you cost it per the portion I expect to get from it, it works out at just over £1 per portion which isn’t too bad at all). I’ve made stock with the bones and giblets and am now using half the stock for a thick winter stew.

And it crossed our minds that we don’t actually need to replace the electric shower in the shower recess. We have a perfectly good shower in the bath, running off the hot water service. So we headed out to B&Q and The Builder has now put up a shower rail and shower curtain around the bath. We forgot to buy a fixing for the shower so it can sit on the wall, but we’ll do that soon. And now we are considering whether to get rid of the shower recess altogether. It would make the bathroom a touch more spacious and it’s not as if we actually need it.

It’s raining. It’s been raining more or less since last May, unless Ian happened to be about. There are severe weather warnings and flood alerts. In Bakewell the Wye seems to have ambitions on the entire known world. It was lapping along the side of the path and the edges of the low footbridge when we went from the car park to the town centre. When we came back the Environment Agency was in the process of closing the paths and the footbridges and the Wye was in the process of taking over the path as part of the river course. The meadows are flooded and the Canada geese were having a wonderful time riding the river and the cataracts – white water rafting for geese! The Derwent at Chatsworth was also in full flow, bouncing over its cataract with great abandon.

Oh – The Builder finally worked out what was making the puddle on the kitchen floor. The little radiator had a very slow leak in its valve. We’ve decided that we don’t really need heating on in the kitchen – and in any case we hadn’t been sure if it really made any difference, it being very small and right next to the stairs to the cellar. We’ve turned it off. The puddle is gone.

I wonder what I’ll break if I go and clean the bathroom.

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