Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Feeling much better, thanks :)

I've cheered up a lot since yesterday, you'll no doubt be pleased to hear.

Not sure why. Its been a bit of a miserable day, with that oppressive feeling that it needs a storm. Work has been uneventful but quite busy, it being the end of a month and everything.

Think its just a feeling that something's got to change soon.

While Lovely Bathroom Guy has been ticking along in his usual methodical way, bless 'im. He's slow but his work so far has been fantastic. You can already see that the tiling is going to be very nice.

Nice (but slightly intimidating) Kitchen Guy has been bending over to do what he can without the room being prepared, admittedly at a cost that we'll be passing on to our builder/electrician. There's not much evidence yet of him having done anything, but he sounds convincing enough!

I think its just that both of us (w2b and I) have got to the stage where we're angry enough to let the polite facade fade and our Hyde, side get out. So its time for w2b to take over the project management and bring out her supply of wup-ass and a tin opener.

In other news (my way of saying I'm at least as tired of this project as you are, dear reader)...

Gamba and Zulu are doing well but still seem unable to grasp the concept of going out to the toilet. They're gonna have to learn soon, because they can't go in the kitchen anymore.

I finished Harry Potter (and the Half-Blood Prince) the other night, but forgot to mention it in my rant yesterday. There's something incredibly comfortable and comforting about Harry Potter. I know it has its critics (w2b isn't much of a fan), but I always find them a rollicking read and a cozy alternative to most books. Finishing this one left me with a strange feeling though. Maybe its because the author has played around with the formula a little this time. The books are feeling increasingly grown up and dark these days. The ending in particular was very downbeat.

So I'm going to need another book, given our limited entertainment facilities.

I've singed up for FlickR which means that as soon as we can dig out or buy another firewire cable you may actually have some pics to alleviate the tedium of my ramblings. Perhaps something to illustrate our interesting lifestyle is in order...

Sid is well behaved today, though he did wake me up in the middle of the night. He has his usual tendency to fart at inappropriate moments, but tends to keep himself to himself most of the time. Most people don't even know he's there.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Workmen, Grrr

Not happy today.

So many delays and I'm at what I think (though only time will tell) is the end of my tether. Let me take you through it.

  1. Selling our old house was delayed. Not I think through any fault of the guy buying it but because of his pedantic, slimy father. Endless questions about (and expense due to) rights of access and change of use of a garden to a driveway.
  2. Buying our new house was delayed. The delays on selling the house meant that the poor husband of the couple that owned this house died before it all went through. This was exacerbated by the fact that his wife is infirm and couldn't sign anything, so power of attorney had to be sought by one of the children. This was just tragic and impossible to feel angry about in any way.
  3. All the workers were delayed. This was through no fault of their own - workers have to work and the fact that we couldn't give any of them a firm moving date meant that they all had to take on projects in the meantime. Wonder if they've finished any of them yet...?
  4. The damp proofers messed up. Now we started to get angry. The sales/surveyor guy was utterly useless and so full of shit the whites of his eyes were turning brown. Big words about him knowing best followed by the slimy toad backing down and folding, followed in turn by him not actually organising the work, followed by us doing everything we possibly could to get him fired. He's not working on the project anymore ;)
  5. The electricians were delayed. Waiting for the damp proofers meant that the electricians couldn't get started and had to take on more work.
  6. The bathroom guy's wife was ill. Again, no fault of his own but it set the fitting of this back a week - especially galling when we'd already stripped out the bathroom and made it fairly unusable. Endless gratitude to friends of ours that put up with us turning up with towels and toiletries night after night... I've lost count of the favours we owe people.
  7. Our builder went on holiday. This meant that he could only leave a few of his guys to do unskilled work and none of the stuff he'd started (such as knocking a whopping hole in one of the walls) could get finished off. Still, leaves our dogs with plenty of savoury, plaster and brick based treats to munch on.
  8. Our electricians buggered off without finishing the first fix. Not only did this leave us with only rudimentary electricity, but it led to...
  9. The kitchen can't be installed because the electrics aren't done. This was today's nightmare.

So here we are. Sitting in our part ruined living room. Our bathroom consists of a bath and not much else. Our kitchen is just a kitchen sink and (literally) nothing else. Our electricity comes from a temporary supply of one extension lead that trips if we switch the microwave (yum, microwave meals) and kettle on at the same time. We've got no central heating. We've got wires hanging from the ceiling. We've got plasterboard missing from the ceiling. We've got a rough hole in one wall. We've got rubble everywhere. There are channels cut in the wall where cables, sockets and switches should be. Half the render is ripped off. We've got a cement mixer in one room and an unassembled kitchen in another. The floor boards upstairs are ripped up. The floors are bare, unfinished wood, bitchemin or (in the case of our lovely living room) underlay tenaciously clinging to the floor and coming up in tiny, dust-like specs every time something brushes against it.

If we take a bath after dark we do so by gas light. Same goes for going to the loo (treacherous in the downstairs toilet where the plumber broke the seat). We sleep in the caravan (a sadly under equipped 1985 Monza - hand painted by the previous owner - a bargain at £500 fromeBayy). Our dogs (still not house trained and looking increasingly unlikely to ever be thanks to all the disruption) alternate between the beirut-style kitchen and a run outside.

This with winter approaching, no leave left at work and a wedding in South Africa to plan.

Think I'm going to start an appeal... only reliable, cheap tradesmen need apply.

Sid's fine though. He seems remarkably oblivious to all of this. As long as he's relatively warm and clean he doesn't really care.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Zoo, cricket and more greyness

Had a nice day in the end yesterday.

Lunch was Nando's, a personal favourite of ours. W2B converted me to it (what with it being South African and everything) and now I've become a bit of an evangelist. Its just so nice to have a (semi) fast food place that doesn't leave you with that super-size me, my cholesterol is getting dangerously high feeling. Plus, since Sid came along (along with his alien friend Zoton) I've rediscovered my taste for spicy food. Peri-peri is the perfect kind of spicy too. Its got that instant zing but doesn't leave your mouth tasting like a Calcutta back alley for the rest of the day.

Said I was a bit of an evangelist.

Then it was off to the zoo. Now I know the tree-huggers amongst you are gonna be up in arms about this, but it really is a nice zoo. They seem to have quite an ecological approach to things. The animals all seem happy, clean and well cared for. They've got elephants and lions and tigers and chimps... it really is good. Our favourites were the orangutans and the otters. The orangutans where really funny. There were two quite young babies there. The mothers (or what we assumed to be the mothers, they're such an affectionate group of animals) where doing rolly-pollies with them. It was so sweet to watch. The otters were just insane. They're like a mad hybrid of cats and dogs. You could just watch them for ours. One was running around with a stone that it wanted to play with. It had it tucked under its front paw. Every now and again it would stop, flip over onto its back and juggle with it. Suppose you had to be there, but we thought it was brilliant.

We got back around four o'clock which was just in time for the climax of the fourth test. I know lots of people hate cricket, but I've always loved it. This Ashes test has been incredible. Virtually every match has gone down to the wire and this one was no exception. We won in the end, but it was still excrutiating to watch. Thought it was gonna be one of those typical English heroic failures but no, for once we managed to hang in and win.

There's something honourable about Cricket. Its not the through-and-through gentleman's sport that it used to be. There's lots of sledging and you can lip-read quite a few expletives. But the approach to it still seems to be one of the few where real sportsmanship lives on. Warne in particular, who you could tell was relishing the drama of the occasion and itching to destroy our tail enders, was incredibly generous as soon as the final runs were hit. There's a real feeling of respect for the other team, whether you win or lose, that just doesn't exist in other sports.

Think today's gonna be a lazy one. Its even more grey than yesterday, with accompanying drizzle and the odd bit of heavy rain. The builders are here - bless 'em - even though its a bank holiday. So there's a fair bit of noise as they continue knocking bits off our house. They won't be here all day though. Suppose we should straighten the place up, but its a bit of a pointless exercise. Maybe I'll just finish Harry Potter (hey - I was delayed, I was reading Orcs) or play XBox. Unless w2b has other ideas...

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Grey, Grey, Grey

Its Grey!

I don't think that anyone who lives outside the UK can quite understand how grey it can get here. There's a hazy glare cast by the sky that is at the same time dull, throwing everything into shadow whilst being bright enough to cause you to squint and leaving you with that feeling of being on the verge of a headache. I think REM describe it as "headache grey".

I'm sitting in the "tv room" of our crumbling, part renovated house. At least its going to be a tv room (surround sound, big tv, comfy sofa, loving couple snuggled together wiling the Sunday away watching cheesy movies and eating junk) but at the moment it consists of four camp chairs, exposed wiring, part stripped walls, rubble... I could go on - like I said "part renovated". We do have a tv... and broadband... and one electrical socket. Its a sign of the times when these seem to constitute the essentials over such luxuries as a working kitchen and central heating. Christ, we only got a bath yesterday.

The family are around me. W2b is watching endless Madonna videos on E4. Gamba (incredibly cute but incredibly needy jack Russell) is doing his best to force her off the chair. Zulu (larger, dumber but slightly more eager to please brother of Gamba) is sleeping beside me on another chair.

For once, this isn't just us being unable to summon any inclination on a Sunday morning. We're actually waiting for the builders to arrive. Then its off to try and do something with my parents. I don't mean that in a "Oh my God, what am I gonna do with my parents?!?" way. I just mean that they've made the journey over to see us for the weekend and they've arrived at a house that is a disaster area. So we have to think of something we can do with them that will show that we're happy they're here without them having to ensure the chaos that our life is at the moment.

Sid's doing fine, thanks for asking. He's comfortable enough, but is starting to itch a little so will need changing soon.

I'll be sure to update you on the exciting stuff we'll no doubt be getting up to today.


My ugly mug and my beautiful family Geek Stuff