‘I Told You [It] Was Ill’

Back in the summer we told our landlord’s estate agent that one of the thirty year old storage heaters wasn’t working.  This was inspected in September and pronounced not to be functioning.  After a month I prodded the agent.  A week or so later we were told another company would be in touch to have a look at it.  Two appointments were made over the space of about three weeks and cancelled by the firm, either on the day or the day before.  Lady Bracknell, in Oscar Wilde’s play ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’, utters the lines ‘to lose one parent …. may be regarded as a misfortune, to lose two looks like carelessness’.  She came to mind when, for the second time in succession the excuse given had been someone ringing in sick.

Eventually I had a call from the electrical company asking if they could come that afternoon.  I said that was not possible because we were going out.  The man wanted to make another appointment.  I said that, given the history, I wasn’t prepared to make one.  He then asked when we’d be back. An agreement was reached that the men would come at 5 p.m. that afternoon.  They did.  They confirmed the heater wasn’t working.  They would then have to report back to the agent.  After they’d gone, the manager phoned and suggested an adjustment I could make.  He talked me through it.  As we are on Economy 7 tariff, even if it were operating the heat would not come through until the morning, so he volunteered to phone me then and check.  He didn’t.  The tweaking had been unsuccessful anyway.

As with every potential expenditure above a certain figure, the sum of which we don’t know, we are told that the landlord, who lives in Canada has to be e-mailed for consent.  We are also told replies are difficult to come by.  The electrician’s judgement was that a replacement was required and the landlord’s permission had to be sought.  I had by then informed the agent of the inordinate delay over getting the current firm to inspect something we all knew to be defunct anyway, and expressed my usual displeasure at essential repairs needing long-distance landlords’ permission.  A week later the outlay was approved.  I was told the firm would be contacting me again.  After a few more days they did.  Referring to the history, I refused to make an appointment.  I said that if Penyards, the agent, wished to make one and attend on behalf of the landlord, we would of course grant access, but were not prepared to undertake to be present when experience had told us no-one was likely to attend.  Within minutes the agent telephoned me and agreed to be present for an appointment she would make with the electricians.

The appointment was this morning.  It was kept, both parties arriving early.  As we were not going out I said the agent need not stay.  We now have a nice new heater.

It seems time to display the splendid soups on which we lunch when at home during the winter months. Vegetable soup Here is today’s Jackie special: Vegetable with lashings of leeks.  Very warming and tasty.

The bread knife, of which the handle is protruding from beside the loaf, has enjoyed more than fifty years of uninterrupted use.  It was a wedding present from Auntie Gwen to Vivien and me in June 1963.  Unfortunately the board that accompanied it was lost in the move from Lindum House in December 2006.

St Paul's (Vivien) 8.63After Vivien and I married, she continued to work as a colleague of mine at Lloyd’s, until just before Michael was born the following April.  We still wandered around the City area at lunchtime, and were always fascinated by how often St Paul’s would appear between gaps in buildings.  When I took the next ‘posterity’ photograph, in August 1963, my first wife was walking towards me on the right hand side of the road.  I don’t remember  which street we were in, but in those days there was clearly no trouble parking.

This afternoon Jackie drove me to Donna-Marie’s in Ringwood for a haircut.  That is, she provided transport.  She wouldn’t nag me into doing anything.  I had intended to have this a couple of weeks ago, but anyone who has followed the sinus saga will know I could not have allowed anyone near my head.

Today’s title is a slightly amended version of the marvellous Spike Milligan’s famous epitaph: ‘I told you I was ill’.  article-2146080-00EF30651000044C-550_468x286Milligan’s own words are inscribed in Gaelic on his gravestone.

I finished the Gran Familia and Jackie drank Hoegaarden with this evening’s delicious chicken curry and savoury rice.  Vanilla ice cream with a dollop of strawberry jam and a coating of evaporated milk completed the meal.