Thursday, August 06, 2009

Flats (nearly) for sale!

Ah the bliss of being woken by a dog-kiss! Even if horribly early. My mother had many "rules", one was no dogs upstairs. But then there came a time I was home alone with the dog of the time - yes, a labrador. Instead of a quiet howl/whine from downstairs (I always seemed to end up sleeping over the kitchen where the dog slept) at sunrise to be reminded he was there and it was morning now, a patter, patter, patter and gentle lick to be told the sun was up... and if I must sleep longer, move over, he was going to lie beside me.

Many years later, now married to Jane, I accidentally got my own back (as regards animal early awakenings) on one of the cats draped around the bed.. one (I hadn't realised) was on the side by me when I suddenly felt like curling up, half asleep, and too late I realised it had been there but I'd hurled it onto the floor. It looked most surprised, I was normally so gentle!

Ah well! Animal memories apart, thought I should show the recently-completed neat front of our development house, gate and wall and gravel "driveway" in place... with, yes, our car parked on it, poster for Jane's book A Proper Family Christmas showing in the back window. (She spent this afternoon reading some of her canal ghost short-stories, soon to be published by Oxpens, to author Colin Dexter, who loved them.)

So, the front looks good, nothing else to do on my lists...

And this shows one of the gardens at the back - there's one per flat. Nothing to do there, either, except move a large bag with a bit of topsoil in it that looks ugly and except that the grass grows all too quickly and Jane worries that the flowers may start dying away before the insides of the flats are ready for a public eye. Well, valuer and prospective purchasers.

But inside is coming along like a ... I was going to say "house on fire", but that might be tempting the fates, even if it is insured. (Come to think, I must tell the insurers it IS now two flats...)...

This morning the downstairs lights went on (the mains sockets already "on")... even if I did suddenly realise too late (for today) I hadn't done the shaving light over the basin in the bathroom thereby leaving a floating now-live cable in mid air... and a lot of the final painting started. We have still got to build the kitchen and lay floor finishes and arrange some carpets and I've only done half the tiling in that bathroom... upstairs needs a bit more but nothing drastic... can't see it should take more than 2 - 3 weeks.

Oh, and when I turned on the lights (downstairs) the outside lantern didn't go on but the hall light did for the wrong switch... and I could have sworn I'd labelled the wires so carefully... shucks. All corrected, didn't take long. Mind you, I always find that if there's only a choice of two it is incredibly easy to reverse them - it's exactly like the intensely embarassing moments one has said "yes" when you meant "no" or vice-versa. Can't believe the number of people I've met say they've had the same effect - I mean, about saying "yes" instead of "no" ... where the annoying thing is that in conversation you can get totally trapped with no opportunity to say "I said the wrong one!"... that sounds too crazy... and it can take such ages to explain you'd actually meant "no" (or "yes") but accidentally said the wrong one.

I know I'm not alone in this. Apart from embarassing memories, just the other day when we took friend and neighbour Caroline to the hospital for a medical test (results A1 OK, thank goodness) she raised the theme herself. It seems to be a common failing and, in fact, why, for example, people let salespeople talk them into signing on for things they didn't possibly want.

But lets not get into that. I've still not checked where my huge Don Quixote book is - it might even be valuable for all I know - that sort-of-related second-husband of that great aunt made a lot of money from the manufacture of enamelling of baths and kitchen cupboard tops and collected expensive things, I was told. Must admit I loved the collection of clocks - and uncle Harold (step uncle Harold) had to adjust most of them to chime the last half hour on the pull of a string for another relative who had gone blind.. well, almost. I only met her very young and I remember I was rather shocked to discover she wasn't totally blind so I'd been mislead by all-knowing adults yet again...

Alan says he gets angry for being older. I find I get invaded by reminiscences I know nobody really wants to hear about, but they so spin around in my head it's therapy for me to simply concentrate (when I can) on specific good events. Like getting my wiring right.


  1. Anonymous10:59 PM

    Doggy kisses- oh no! I love my dog, but can't abide those sloppy licks!

    The house front looks great- no more work to do? Well I've got this radiator coming away from the wall...

  2. You are really going to enjoy that front yard. Does your dog get to be in there. It sounds like you are having a lot of work done. Good luck on that. .... Oh yes I have sent a small white dog flying and he was just as surprised as I was.

  3. I should hastily add that this post comes from my friend Edwin and not from me. Unfortunately if I was asked to wire kitchens, fix radiators, or lag pipes the results would be truly disastrous. Edwin's areas of expertise are property development, electronics and canal barges and he occasionally posts on these subjects. My areas of expertise are non existent and therefore I regularly post about almost anything.

  4. Cinnamon, the curious thing was that the dog knew to wake me up gently, not a big sloppy kiss, more a nose of "Come on Edwin".

    Absurdly intelligent dog - one time I took him for a walk in the car he was sitting up on the back seat blocking the driving mirror, eager for his walk and I may have whispered but actually I think I merely thought "I can't effing see through the mirror if you sit there..." actually I remember being startled he suddenly sat down BEFORE I'd had time to say. And with a look of basically apology. This didn't, of course, stop him racing off to roll on a dead fox on the walk despite me yelling furiously he was not to do that... and the glare I got I was intruding on his pleasure... and the look of "So you'll wash me..." Almost a "so what?" look.

    I didn't say there was no more work to do - I've a huge list for the inside! Definitely no time for your radiator.. although if you have a radiator coming off the wall I instantly have a reminisce.. my brother and I fixed up my parent's retirement house including the radiators... but his daughter at age four or something was a lively bunny and clambered over one of the radiators causing it to fall clean off the wall. She was using it as a climbing frame or something. Or, more interestingly, she was absolutely determined to get attention as children that age (and much older people) do... frankly, she didn't like that we were all talking about radiators rather than her. So she played on it until it fell off the wall.

    A very long time ago. And I did fix it. And the damaged pipe. I'm terribly old (nearly as old as Alan!) - that was so long ago that since then niece Emma is now a qualified and head of department teacher, and in between worked on our educational courses as office organiser and then tutor just stunningly capable on both counts... but also remembers when she caused the radiator to fall off the wall and says I was just SO funny about it not mattering.

    Actually, I also remember my blessed family leaving me to paper the sitting room with niece Emma as my helper, by now aged about six.. and my god she was just about the best assistant I have ever had. Mostly I prefer to do such things by myself because I have a curious property I nearly always make things good if there isn't some idiot saying what I should have done whilst I'm still trying to work out what the best ideas might be.

    This may sound exaggerated - we have an electric drive narrowboat actually works just everybody told me couldn't possibly. Oh no, it works. Article in the press, instant emails to me why it must have faults. Humans are SO odd, I'd only been trying to say it DID work and why!

    Jane told me to write a blog about it - I have. Just two people commented on it, one for a silly thing that of course was part of it, the other a small manufacturer is now making units copying the ideas and it's looking good they may be making suitable units... who knows?

  5. i know how you feel AB...i was not wired myself to be the your specialites are no existent...come on now. smiles.


Black Friar

For a time, during the late 1970s, I had a job leading parties of foreign visitors on tours of historic London pubs. One of my favourite sto...