4th April 2014
Refreshed after the first good night’s sleep I have enjoyed in weeks, I went on an exploratory walkabout this morning.
Setting off down Downton Lane towards the sea with what I think was the Isle of Wight visible in the distance, I took a footpath leading across a field to the right. I then followed a left turn along another with a ploughed field on the left and a wooded area to the right.
As I passed a couple of Countryside Watch signs, I hoped I didn’t look too suspicious.
I leaned on a bridge across a gently flowing stream, and, as I walked away, I noticed a deposit on the palm of my hand, indicating that a bird had been there before me.
This track led me to a narrow winding road on the other side of which was Taddiford Gap car park. The road was quite busy, and therefore rather dicey to negotiate. I was consequently relieved to see another footpath to the right just past Taddiford Farm. I took it. It led through woods and, like the curate’s egg, was good in parts. It others it was a bit muddy. I crossed what I hoped was the same stream I had encountered earlier. It was, and led me to Christchurch Road opposite a rape field I had seen before from a distance, and within sight of our house.
Back home I tackled some phone calls. Today was the date of the activation of our landline and broadband. BT’s letter indicated that this could happen at any time up to midnight. I phoned a very helpful woman called Gaynor who told me the engineers were working on it. She put my mind at rest on the question of the hub working through floorboards. Apparently hers does. I had been invited to take part in a customer survey to which I had agreed. When the call about that came later, I was asked how easy or difficult it had been to obtain the help I required. I had a choice of 1 to 3 to press. Having been happy, I pressed 1 as required. The message was repeated. Three times. After which I gave up.
Pippa at Spencers had told us she could provide us with names and phone numbers of suitable people to carry out practical tasks. Since we were still getting nowhere with our Neff hobs and the Logik built-in multifunctional oven hasn’t been built in anywhere, I obtained a name from her of a man who would be able to deal with both of these and fit the washing machine. I left him a message.
Jackie worked on cleaning and sorting the kitchen whilst I cleared more space around the washing machine. This led to a major blitz on the garage. The shelf above the plumbing for the machine contained a sand-tray once, no doubt, used for potting plants, now a spawning ground for spiders, the white clusters of whose eggs lined the crevices. One heavily pregnant creature staggered away seeking shelter underneath. Having noticed the handle of a small shovel protruding from beneath garden shrubbery, I thought this might be useful for collecting up the sand. Upon extracting it I discovered it had been used for clearing up after an elderly dog. The morning’s guano was far more attractive.
On a roll, I then decided to drag out a rolled-up carpet Michael had given us. This would enable me to place some boxes of books under the shelves. However I had to reach the relevant end to tug, and clear various items lain upon it. My way was blocked by the legs of a desk balanced on top of the Safe Store book containers. It wouldn’t budge. This was because a box of books was wedged underneath it. I pulled the whole structure towards me, intending to lean the desk against the garage doors whilst I extracted the now seriously maimed box, spilling as few of its contents as possible. Elizabeth chose that moment to telephone me. Now propping myself against the desk teetering on the boxes, I fished in my pocket for my mobile phone and we had a pleasant conversation. After speaking to my sister, I completed the task and came in for lunch.
Having freed the desk, I had to find a home for it. It had always been my intention to have an office in the hall, but it was full of assorted belongings. so we cleared that, which, of course meant cluttering up other places. Never mind, it was a job well done. For there, in the middle of the wall under the bay window, just where I would have wanted it, was a lovely telephone point. Not so quirky after all.
I retrieved the home hub and telephone from the bedroom, and set it up in my now established office, this time with my iMac attached. Now all there was to do was to await the connection by BT. Then there was a shriek from Jackie. We had no electricity. The loss of power coincided with her having turned off the hobs at the wall. Fortunately we had found the fuse box. One fuse had tripped. I turned it back on. Not only did we have light and power, but the child lock had disappeared. And we had broadband. Magic.
Coincidentally, my on-line friend Jane, had sent an e-mail telling us that turning off the hobs at the wall would free the lock.
The bad news about the hobs is that they work by induction which means the pans used with them must be magnetic, so, until we buy some more suitable ones Jackie will be forced to use my heavy iron pots.
We dined this evening on microwaved fish pie and mushy peas, with which I drank Isla Negra reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2012.