Monday, December 31, 2007

In the year 2525

I wonder what I was blogging about this time last year? Or the year before that? Let's see - oh yes, I was ranting about the inconsiderate bastards who let off fireworks and terrify animals. They started at 6.30 this evening. Why? Do they not realise that the new year starts at midnight? Their excuse is that "the children will be asleep then". Well, yes - so wake them up if you want them to see the new year celebrations - having them earlier is stupid and pointless, and only serves to extend the torture. I bet in the year 2525 someone will be having a similar rant. Plus ├ža change.

Happy 2008, everyone. Let's hope for an improvement, because 2007 was pants really.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

57 channels and nothing on

The digital box is all very well, but there's still nothing you want to watch when you want to watch something. And it's awfully annoying (not just this box - we've noticed it with other people's Sky) when it freezes for a second or so, or when you get a flash of pixillation across the screen. And, if there's a way to record something on the video whilst watching else on Freeview, we haven't found it yet. So all in all it's not a great advance - but the picture on BBC1's clearer (except when it freezes or pixillates ...)

In other news, my new debit card arrived in the post today! That's pretty good service.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Your mother told you there'd be days like these

So I set the alarm for earlier-than-usual, to make sure I had plenty of time for Job2 before getting instructions from a friend whose dogs I'm looking after this everning, before going to Job1 for the afternoon. When I arrive at Job2's carpark the barrier was down - the whole place must have closed for the duration. Luckily I got ahead of myself last week so all the invoices are paid up to date - I think...

Because I was nearly there anyway I decided to go to the supermarket for a few odds and sods. I found a nice parking place and went to the hole in the wall for some cash. That's when I realised my debit card was missing from its usual place in the wallet, and no matter how many times I searched the entire handbag, it just wasn't there. So I rang Ned to ask him to phone the shops I went to last (before Christmas) to find out if it'd been handed in, while I got in the car again and drove to the town centre to visit the bank. As I walked there Ned got back to me - no joy - so I queued to cancel the card. The nice woman explained that, if it was permanently cancelled, if I found it later it wouldn't work and I'd have to wait till a replacement arrived, which would be a couple of weeks at this time of year. But I thought it sensible to block it, so she phoned and organised it. Then, because I still needed cash, I wrote a cheque and queued again to cash it. When I reached the cashier's desk I handed over the cheque and pulled out my cheque card - and the debit card which had been sharing the pocket. Curses.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The camera never lies

The Boy was so fed up with the poor reception we get on our TV when there's high pressure over the country (only BBC is affected, curiously) that he gave Ned a Freeview box for Christmas. When we saw the display lit up we couldn't decide what it was passing judgement upon - our ancient TV, the quality of the programmes, or even us!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Do his fairies keep him sober for the day?

Yesterday was our only opportunity to deliver presents to the Sussex family contingent, so Ned walked the dogs early and off we set. Motorways in the fog make for tense driving, but it wasn't too bad, and the journey down only took about an extra quarter of an hour. We had a nice lunch with Ned's mum, then at a quarter to three we left for home. Although the fog was thicker we hoped the traffic on the clockwise M25 would have cleared a little, but the Traffic Totty informed us otherwise - nose-to-tail traffic from junction 9 till junction 17. We wanted to get on at 9 and off at 16, so decided to go our old route across country, that we used before the motorway was built.

Surprisingly we could remember the way, recognising landmarks where we needed to turn and only had to do one revolution of a new roundabout. Of course single carriageway roads through towns are much slower than motorways so we knew our journey time was going to be somewhat extended, but at least we were moving. Then it started getting dark. Dark and foggy. But we successfully bypassed the M25, dithered about whether to carry on on minor roads or to drop onto the M40 for the last bit ... and plumped for the motorway. We dropped on to it at junction 6, hoping for a clearish run till we come off at j12. We were in the outside lane when everyone started braking (I hate that bit, when you have to sling out the anchors and hit the hazard lights to warn the driver behind), and there we were, stationary. We crawled northwards and eventually saw blue flashing lights up ahead - on the southbound carriageway. Once past the vehicles that were pointing every which way on the road, illuminated by the headlights of several police cars and fire engines we could immediately get back up to normal speed again - no idea why there was the tailback on our side.

By the time we eventually got home we were starving, had tension headaches and our backs were cripplingly painful. A journey which should have taken 2 hours had taken just over 4. Today we have festive sore throats ...

Merry Christmas, one and all!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Mother of mine

At last we have progress on the 'moving Mother' front. My brothers and I have all been gently chipping away at her determination to stay in her current house till she's carried out in a box and it's paying off. As some of you know Mother has vertigo and arthritis, which means she tends to fall over for no apparent reason unless she's holding on to something, and the arthritis means the grip in her hands is poor so she can't hold onto things very well. A couple of years ago she had a nasty fall when she was in town and ended up with bad concussion - luckily I wasn't working at the time so go down (150 miles away) and look after her during the week and a brother cover the weekends. The other day her wrist swelled and was extremely painful and the doctor's told her that her rheumatoid arthritis has flared and caused that, and she's decided that enough is enough - she's struggled on long enough and it's too expensive to live like she is and it's all beyond a joke.

She's even come to terms with the fact that she'll have to part with some of her 'things' - like the large Victorian furniture she and Dad inherited and she feels 'custodian' of for future generations. However without a lottery win or Ernie coming up trumps there's no way any of us can afford a house large enough to fit the stuff, and this has been a major stumbling block. Now at last she's deciding what she simply won't part with and what will sadly have to go. We've even started taking things away with us when we've been to stay - with her full knowledge and blessing, of course!

The thing is, where should she move to? It'll have to be a bungalow because stairs are very tricky for her, and a small-but-suitable one has come up for sale in the village. I've measured up and she could comfortably get her bed and (essential) chest of drawers and (essential) dressing table in the main bedroom, and the living room's a lovely size. I think it'd do her very nicely. However my brother Oop North has also found a couple of bungalows near him which would be suitable, but only after a lot of updating.

So we have to decide which to go for. The one here is the most reasonably-priced and is ready to move in to straight away, but means I'd be her 'sole carer'; that doesn't bother me because at least she has a full complement of marbles! The ones near my brother are more expensive (but not much bigger) and need some work done, and there'd be him and his wife, and my niece and her husband (and children) as frequent visitors, sharing the 'carer' role. Bearing in mind that there's no way she's going to come and view these properties herself and we'll have to do it all for her, where's the best place for her to go to?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Catch me if you can

Oh, you did. It seems I've been tagged by both Hutters and Mermy.

Rules: Link to the tagger and post these rules on your blog. Share 5 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird. Tag 5 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Okaaaaayyy ...

1. By the time I was 18 I'd had 12 home addresses (13 if you count boarding school). The best posting was to Winterbourne Gunner in Wiltshire in 67. I can still remember the phone number.

2. I hate driving in the dark.

3. When I was about 3 years old I was found washing my pet mouse Amelia with Vim. She was very tolerant and didn't bite me. Or die.

4. I had a very very bad stutter as a child and rarely spoke to anyone outside the family until I was about 14.

5. I'd love to have a small farm and grow all our own organic meat. Poultry, Southdown sheep, Longhorn cattle and Middle White pigs (although Ned wants Berkshires).

Okay, now for the retaliation:

Maddison Star

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Bend me, shape me


It's a jolly holiday

Flipping typical. I had to take my final holiday entitlement before the end of the year so plumped for the last week in November as being as good as any. Ned's started a crappy (well it would be, wouldn't it?) temporary job so I could take over the running of the household again; I could some festive shopping, maybe even take the dogs and pop down and visit my mum.

So what happens? I get laid low by a very uncomfortable tummy bug and daren't stray too far from the facilities for most of the week. What a waste. Bah.