Sunday, April 29, 2007

They laugh a lot behind the green door.

It sounded like a good idea. The greenhouse needed a bit of tidying and cleaning, so why not move it two feet nearer the house while we were at it? That'd give us more room behind it to relocate the toolshed, then we could have a more attractive one by the patio to store the garden furniture and plant a magnolia alongside near where we felled the enormous Leylandii and it'd be lovely.

Part 1 of the plan was successful. 74 panes of glass have been removed and washed, and the superstructure unbolted from the base and shuffled sideways so that we could then unpeg that and move it two feet to the left. The ground was dug over and levelled, the frame shuffled back and the sparkly panes reinstalled. A barrowload of well-rotted muck was transported from our neighbour's heap (please take more!) and dug in, and everything that had previously been in the greenhouse (apart from the rodents' nests, slugs, snails, bindweed etc) was rehoused.

I don't think there's a part of either of us that doesn't hurt. Even the very tippy-ends of our toes hurt. But we accomplished what we set out to do, so we not only laugh behind the green door, but behind the entire green house. Plus, not a single pane of glass was broken, and neither of us have needed to visit the Casualty deparment for stitches or anything else. A win, I think.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Don’t ask me what I want it for

My tax return arrived today. I haven't had to fill in (fill out?) one of these for years. I predict much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Such a digital lifetime

I tried to use the credit card in Asda today, because they don't accept cheques any more. I tentatively put the card into their machine, and the screen told me I had one more try left to get the PIN right. I checked the number, carefully moved towards the buttons ... when Ned leaned over my shoulder and put in the wrong number before I could stop him! So the PIN was blocked and the card useless. Ned then promptly forgot the PIN for his other card, and the lengthening queue behind us started getting restive, so we decided to hand over cash instead and beat a hasty retreat.

On my return home I phoned the credit card company to ask them to unblock the PIN. The woman at the other end was a little surprised at this request because it wasn't showing up as being blocked in the first place. Neither had they any record of declined transactions - not today, and not from the shop in Coventry on the 3rd. She went the formality of unblocking it for me anyeway, and I have to go to a hole-in-the-wall and unblock it myself as well. If it still doesn't work I'm going to get very very cross indeed.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

You know I need someone

“Mother, help me!” she called, but there was no response. Where was Mother, now, when she was needed so desperately? Maggie suddenly remembered that Mother had gone away a long time ago and wouldn’t be coming back. It had been very hard at the time, but as the years passed she had become independent and the terrible loss eased to a dull ache, until she was so used to it she rarely noticed it.

She’d managed very well, she thought. She’d found herself a lovely man, and their marriage had been long and very successful, with children and grandchildren and even great-grandchildren. At the time it had been a wrench to leave all she knew and come here with him, but there had been letters and visits, and Hank had done so well, working his way up the company until he'd bought it, that she’d always known that she only had to pick up the phone and she could get a flight whenever she wanted.

The trouble had started gradually. At first the pain was merely niggling, soothed by gentle exercise, but it steadily got stronger, and the painkillers needed to keep it at bay did likewise. Eventually she agreed that all the insurance money they’d paid should be put to good use and she signed the consent forms for the surgery that should fix the problem for good. What a shame it didn’t work but actually made things worse. The painkillers got even stronger, and the operations (because they could do them, not because they should, she thought) more frequent and more involved. She'd felt rather like a guineapig at the time, but they assured her it'd all be worth it in the end. Now she realised they meant it'd be worth it for them because of all the money they'd make, not worth it for her. She still needed the drugs, more and more, and the weakness extended. The diapers were just another humiliation, and she realised what she'd lost and could never regain.

This was when the fear started. She was no longer the master of the drugs, and had become their servant, and she couldn’t do without them. And now she was unable to just pick up the phone to arrange a flight to the past because no airline would take her. She badly wanted to go ‘home’ just once more, to hear the old familiar accents and smell the air, and see the small houses and the cars on the left, but she couldn’t even leave the hospital to go to the home where she’d raised her family. She was trapped here forever, and she panicked. But they don’t like you to lose control, and they shut you away.

“Help me Mother, please help me!” she screamed, as they locked the door.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Every time I thought I'd got it made

I seem to have sussed the enpiccification now (although our front garden is very small, it looks and smells lovely right now so I thought I'd share), which is good. What is bad, though, is that even though I saved the right page to Faves, I still had to sign in three times to be able to compose a post.

I loathe and detest this new 'improvement'. It's pants.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

You know it ain't easy

So, we suffer a Great Explodification which means I can no longer access new pictures (there must be a way of transferring them from Camedia to My Pictures, because they did prior to the GE, but they don't now). And while I was away Blogger's changed and I was forced against my will to get a Google account so there's much more logging in involved in blogging. To quote one of the great thinkers of our era, "Why does nothing ever WORK?" I may yet throw a hissy fit and have a hutters incident.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

They don't want your name

My PIN confirmation arrived in the post today, and I was using the right one all along. So something's up with the machine at the Coventry store.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

You'll see all the wonders of No Mans Land

Being computerless for a weekend due to a major explodification did at least mean that we got a lot of gardening done. Once I'd stopped hyperventilating, that is.

Now all that remains is to find everything again, although some things seem to have gone for ever.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Living by numbers

Boy and I went into Coventry so that I could dust off and exercise the credit card and get him some of the kit he needs for the next stage of his course. Naturally his feet are the wrong shape for the standard boots (German feet are wide) so he needed more expensive Italian ones which are made narrower. The trousers aren't cheap either, but then neither are his legs, so they too went on the list, topped off with a helmet with built-in visor and ear defenders. The sales-child told me the total price, and once I'd regained consciousness and stopped hyperventilating I inserted the card and did the pin. Which was rejected.

Eh? I was certain I had the right number as I'd made a very careful note of it. I checked it - yes, it was right - and retried. Again it was refused. If the third go was refused the card would be blocked so we had to do it as an 'over-the-phone' transaction without the pin. That was successful so off we went.

Once home I double-double-checked the pin and I'd been right all along. The credit card company are sending me verification of it, but I suppose it would be sensible to change it for another one for me to forget. It was much better when you signed.

A thought: perhaps the well-thumbed Bible beside the credit card machine should have given me a clue that perhaps things didn't always go smoothly.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The final countdown

It was a bit rubbish at work yesterday. I had two condolence cards to write for people whose pets had died, handed over a dog's ashes to its very tearful owner, and then helped put a much-loved elderly cat to sleep and console her owner, who was in bits having lost her own mother four days ago. At least the cat's passing was quick and painless, and she died being gently stroked and told what a good kitty she was. The final gift we can give to our old friends.

I felt a bit glum and lonely when I got home, although the dogs were all delighted to see me. I'm glad Ned's coming home tomorrow.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Like we did last summer

Does anyone know why teeshirts have a compulsion to emulate corkscrews once they've been washed? They're a mongoose to iron and fold.