Monday, 30 April 2012

Another Slow Day

Monday was another quiet day at work. I took advantage of this and hit the to do list with a vengeance. As a result the basin and shower drains have been treated with caustic soda solution and the trim panels on the stairs have been coated with a liquid wax product that has given them a beautiful lustre.

The weather today is as balmy as yesterday's was blustery so, after a pleasant stroll around the Three Miler, I hauled the Porn Mower from it's lair and mowed the lawn. This was a long overdue cut and at 8" in length I actually  had to mow it twice to get a tidy looking sward.

After the restorative powers of a glass of Rioja I took on the final task of the day and gave the door at the foot of the stairs it's second coat of Danish Oil, one more to go and then it is time for a finishing coat of wax.

At this rate I am going to need a new list.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

I'm thinking of building an Ark

The weather for the past week has been pretty soggy but today was even worse. It was cold, very windy and pouring with rain. I was very glad the Rugby Season had finished as a couple of hours pitch side in this would have been most unpleasant as I was to find out later ...

... The morning saw me cross another item of my to do list; I fabricated the final piece of elm trim for the stairs and fixed in place. That does, of course, mean that I can now add apply finishing coat to stair trim to the list. Bugger! The rest of the morning was spent applying the first coat of Danish Oil to the door at the foot of the stairs.

After lunch it was time to brave the elements and take T&M out for a walk. It is fair to say that the weather had not improved. The roads and paths were sodden and carpeted with young leaves torn from the trees by the wind. We came across a number of small trees blown down and skirted a couple of fluddles* on the way round the Three Miler. It is fair to say that we all returned home soaked and it was a case of "new trousers please".

It was at this point in the day that I rediscovered my inner child as I emptied my pockets and discovered sweet papers, a rubber band, a length of string, a twenty pence coin and a piece of paper containing an illegible scrawl. All I needed was a stone and a battered Dinky toy for the full set. Should I be worried that there was no mobile phone or wallet or any other adult accoutrements? My pockets are definitely eight rather than forty eight.

Once thawed and dry I continued with my regression to boyhood and spent half an hour in the garage repairing a puncture in TP's bike ...

... He owes me now!
* fluddle: noun, a pool of standing water too large to be a puddle but too small to be called a flood. A fluddle must be large enough to cover the full width of a road to merit the term.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Site Clearance

Saturday started with an early walk around the Three Miler with T&M, lunch followed and then 30% and I set out to take a car full of surplus domestic items to the local Charity Shop. Our first point of call was Pinkie's house where we dropped off a couple of borrowed items that were long overdue for return. This visit was fortuitous as Pinky is most definitely in need of some storage and shelving and was most grateful to take ownership of the CD unit, book case and glass fronted cabinet that are currently giving our Dining Room the appearance of a loaded Pickfords Lorry. Coffee was drunk, a date was arranged for delivery and we set off to drop the rest of the crap load at The Primrose Hospice Charity Shop.

It was late afternoon by the time we returned home and I crossed another item off my list by rehanging the  door at the foot of the stairs and replacing the rattly, Victorian, Rim Lock with a Thumb Latch.

I know its not exciting but I can't be spending every minute of every hour living life to the max or, as is more usual, swearing about things in general.

Friday, 27 April 2012

A Day with Bad Man Senior

I knew in advance that Friday was going to be a very slow day from a work perspective so I arranged to pick up Bad Man Senior & Tilly and bring them over to The Pile for a leisurely lunch. BMS has been feeling a little under the weather recently and we both felt that a change of scenery would be beneficial. He phrasing was a little more concise and he summed it up with "I'm glad to be out of the bloody house". I'm guessing that a combination of advancing years, ageing bones, miserable weather and the constant presence of a monosyllabic twenty two year old son was making the chaos that happens at The Pile seem like light relief.

A couple of weeks ago we were chatting on the 'phone and after we had finished I realised that we had really were scarily alike. We were both moaning about our children, me about TP's lack of thought and inability to do anything more that grunt and BMS was having similar issues with my half brother. His second family means that his experiences of raising a son have been revisited and consequently there is perhaps more common ground than might be expected between father and son.

Anyway, we had a great time and he was delighted to inspect the recently decorated Landing and our furniture acquisitions. He always loved the Landing and often said that he would like to sleep up there and be able to see the stars from the skylights.

He is an incorrigible old devil and, after inspecting my bookcase, advised that I should buy the one that apparently will be arriving in the workshop next week. Thanks Dad ...

... I think I probably will

Thursday, 26 April 2012

If a tree falls in a forest ...

... and there is no-one there to hear it, does it make a sound?*

It was a slow news day today so Golfy and I got creative with technology. Another spin on the thought experiment that forms the title and first line of this entry is What happens to the light when you shut the fridge door?

Using our combined intellects we can now provide the answer to the question that has puzzled all but the designers of refrigeration appliances. Our scientific approach was as follows; first we established a face-time conversation using our iPhones. I then placed my iPhone in the fridge so that Golfy could see what happened when the door was shut. I then opened the door removed the phone from behind the cheese and we discussed the event.

Golfy then performed the same actions at his locale so that I too could experience being shut in a fridge.**

Other Stuff:

Today the Long Case Clock and Cylinder Desk that 30% bought were delivered along with a cast iron fire back and a bookcase. So I spent a good hour or so assisting with the unloading of the items plus a Beginners Guide to the care and maintenance of the clock. It is a beautiful thing and the ticking is very relaxing, there in the background delimiting the seconds. The bell, too, is lovely and it is quite peculiar as I know the clock has only been here a few hours but it is as though it has been here forever. It really seems to belong in the house.

With the arrival of the desk I have been able to move in to the office at home. The room is tatty and needs some serious work but at least I will no longer get shouted at for leaving my laptop on the Dining Table. I also found out the price of the book case and can advise that I will not be able to buy any books for quite some time. 

As for the fridge experiment...

... it was ruined by a falling tree.
* By the way, there is no such thing as one hand clapping. That is called waving badly in these parts
** I suppose I had better add a health warning that shutting yourself in a fridge is a dangerous thing to do. Mind you, if you are that bloody stupid I am sure that you will manage to shorten your life span by some other idiotic activity. Is you dick cold? Try the toaster.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012


Another quiet day at work.

On the home front I am slowly working my way through my list and have managed to strike through the entry pertaining to the power socket on the landing. Sanding door has an in progress comment against it and it would have possibly been completed had the heavens not opened today. I suppose I need to add that the door has just been stripped and is being sanded outside before being reattached to it's frame, hence when it pissed down it all got put back in the garage and I retired and did some proper work instead.

Chippy Ian was here today adding some strengthening timbers to our staircase. I know I have mentioned before that they are very old and very primitive in their construction but Ian was of the opinion that they are still reasonably sound and the insertion of a few supports underneath have really firmed things up. There is a possibility that I may also be able to barter a spare towel radiator for Ian's labour as he has expressed interest in one that I have tucked away following the DIY Chain fiasco eighteen months ago.

The bartering approach was also raised later in the day when 30% was discussing curtain making and re upholstery requirements with Sally; a local lady that is a genius with a sewing machine and upholstery hammer too. Sally was interested in a few pieces of pine furniture that are surplus to requirements and we are hopeful that we can swap our goods for her services.

The final activity of the day and a significant item on my to do list was Clear Office. The Office is not an office. It is a room that has become a dumping ground for items of furniture and general bric-a-brac that are not required but there is a general unwillingness to dispose of them. We need to clear this room a) because it needs to be gutted and refurbished and b) because we are having a desk and bookcase delivered tomorrow and need space to put them. The net result of clear office is that the Dining Room is now so full of furniture that you could not swing the proverbial feline in there....

... I see an urgent need for Clear Dining Room to be added to the list or perhaps Arrange Yard Sale or Have Bonfire.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Don't blame me Dara

This evening we went to see Dara O'Briain at Warwick Arts Centre performing his Craic Dealer show. It was a great night out and there were loads of laughs. We were sat right in the middle of the front row and had lots of interaction with him particularly TP and 30%'s colleague Rich who, at one point claimed to be a Sex Therapist called Dick!

There was however one thing that rankled. Dara seemed to be of the opinion that perhaps the audience wasn't as enthusiastic as they could have been and there were a couple of asides along the lines of "a Tuesday Night Audience in Warwick" and a lack of response to certain jokes. Now I had a great time but need to point out that it was Dara that arranged the gig for Tuesday 24th April and therefore any blame for a mid week, school night audience rather than one projecting Friday Night fever rests squarely on his shoulders.

I can definitely confirm that we did not, as a collective audience, discuss and agree to assemble on the outskirts of Coventry on 24th April and then decide to invite Dara along. It was most definitely the reverse. That being the case, don't moan at us if we don't have the enthusiasm of a group of people who don't have to go to work tomorrow.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Hopefully it will be a quiet week

It is surprising what a difference a week can make. Last Monday I just wanted to get the week over with. Today I was quite looking forward to my week at work. The main reason for this is that the pressure has most definitely alleviated. Our project is approved and has been released to the US team and, whilst there are likely to be follow-on activities and questions, we have basically done what needs to be done for the current iteration of the project.

So the working day was mostly "housekeeping duties" but there has been a significant amount of down-time which was felt to be deserved after the preceding few weeks. I was called upon to assist with a Commercial Review but that was only a matter of recycling a couple of slides and regurgitating the five minute spiel that I had been spouting for the past month.

The rest of the day was taken up with a lengthy and humourous discussion with Tigger on a variety of subjects that were nothing to do with pushing boulders uphill at Dante's Nine Circles of Hell.

Away from my desk I appear to have taken ownership of a "to do" list since I will be having a quiet week at work. I would try to imply that 30% was the instigator of this fiendish catalogue but it is self imposed. Mind you, once the aforementioned partner was aware of THE LIST it was interesting to note that it started to grow with non-fun items like hang the washing out.

To be honest I didn't get very far with the list today. The washing did go out and come back in again and I did make a start on socket box. This is where it gets very boring so look away now ...

... on the recently decorated landing we have a power outlet on the floor. The power outlet is standard British, white, ABS plastic and stands out like the proverbial sore thumb as it is surrounded by oak floorboards. I managed to purchase a very nifty power socket that has an oak face plate but could not find a similar patress box. As a result I have spent an hour or so cutting some timber to create a mitred oak surround to conceal the plastic socket box. I'm quite please with the result and once oiled and waxed it should match the socket perfectly.

I also managed to buy a new book case without actually asking the price ... oops!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Man of the Match

After yesterday's Rugby Club Dinner I was feeling slightly less than chipper when I woke this morning. To be honest it was nothing that a couple of paracetamol couldn't assuage and apart from being lethargic and famished all day I wasn't too bad.

We had a relatively early start as it was the final match of the Season and we were out past Leamington for an away game against a team that are closely matched in terms of skill and ability. TP had an absolutely blinding match and played a key part in the first of his team's tries. Later in the game he collected the ball in his own team's half and raced over half the pitch, dodging a number of tackles to put the ball down between the posts. It was a blinding try and he could have possibly had another if the referee hadn't blown the final whistle as TP was approaching the try line. It was a peculiar decision as a rugby match usually ends when the ball goes in to touch not when it is still in play.  He made a few peculiar decisions during the game and his neutrality was questioned by a number of Spectators. In the end it made no difference, TP's team won and he was selected as Man of the Match.  It was a great way to end the Rugby Season.

Needless to say, yesterday's late night and indulgences meant that I took it easy for the remainder of the day and apart from a walk around the Three Miler I did nothing worth jotting down here.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

It is definitely Spring

We are well in to Spring now. The verges are filled with wildflowers and the hedges are alive with birds. A couple of weeks ago I finally got a half-decent sighting of one of the Green Woodpeckers that frequent the hill that overlooks the Village. I hear their alarm calls on a regular basis but this was the first time I actually saw more than a distant blur; one flew across the road in front of me and I actually saw the flash of red feathers on it's head and it's yellow rump before it disappeared from sight.

Today I encountered another bird that is heard more often than seen; the Cuckoo. Again I was walking the dogs and it's familiar call was heard in the distance. It reminded me of a saying from my childhood.

The cuckoo comes in April
Sings it's song in May
Changes it's tune in the middle of June
And then it flies away.

 It has been a fairly intense week and the rest of the day was taken at a leisurely pace. After lunch 30% and I popped in to Worcester to pick up the door from the Strippers and the afternoon was spent pottering around the house.

Then it was time for a scrub up and donning of the Dinner Suit as we were out for the Rugby Club Annual Dinner. TP and many of his team mates were waiting at table in return for a generous donation to their Tour Fund. 30%, Jules and I had a fantastic night apart from the point where I found I was drinking Bacardi and Tonic rather than the  G&T I ordered...

... I'm guessing some poor devil had a Gin and Coke which doesn't sound any better.

Friday, 20 April 2012

They Think Its All Over ...

Today is the second anniversary of The Journal and by luck or sound judgement it is actually a milestone day at work too, so I will be ending this second year of diary keeping on either a success or a dreadful failure.

This is the day of the final review of the latest iteration of our project. At a quarter to five this evening I will either be in possession of the lucky potato* or will be having it rammed unceremoniously where the sun doesn't shine.

The working day was quite bizarre as it was way too late to make changes to our offering and the problem with the Belgians was being handled high above our heads. As a result Tigger and I spent most of the day chatting on the phone. The only exceptions were a couple of update calls on the Belgian Problem. The second one actuality had a Senior Belgian in attendance and I am guessing that words had been exchanged somewhere in the stratosphere as he was now grudgingly compliant and we had a green light for the final approval call.

At four o'clock Tigger and I dialed in to the call. I think it fair to say that I was quite apprehensive as there had been a lot of rumour about the project and Judge Dread had been forecasting doom, gloom and a possible savaging all week. In actual fact the call went really well and within twenty minutes it was apparent that we were going to get a positive response. The second half of the call was just about calming a few concerns and noting down a few observations and comments.

Post review Tigger and I had a deserved self congratulatory call and then let our US colleagues know that they were good to go with our numbers...

... I'm a bit tired now and really need a kip.
* The lucky potato is the term Tigger and I use to reference the approval of our project by one of the most senior Daemons at Dante's Nine Circles of Hell. The aforementioned Daemon cherishes the famous tuber and only bestows it, and his blessing, on those that are worthy. We are truly in awe of the lucky potato.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

What is going on up in the clouds?

Thursday was spent waiting for a group of European Executives to reconsider a decision that would stymie our current project. They are strange, remote and almost mythical beasts and my contact with them is via an individual I don't know very well. The result is that I don't feel comfortable hassling too frequently or pressing for elaborations on his single line responses. Obviously I just need to sit and wait for things to pan out but that is not a comfortable position when my US Masters need my stuff by Friday evening so that they can polish the turd and present it to the Client in the middle of next week.

The net result is that I feel that I am stood facing a Tsunami and all I can do is hand out flimsy, polythene splash protector capes of the type sold at the water rides in Theme Parks.

The day ended with no significant progress and acceptance on my part that this is way above my head ...

... Ho Hum!

Other Stuff: TP should probably have picked a better week to loose his mobile phone as he is definitely one idiot too many!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Wednesday ...

... bring me their fucking heads on a plate day!

It is not going well. One of Judge Dread's European colleagues is saying "no go" which is putting the whole deal at risk. I have spent a huge chunk of the day attempting to get Executive Guidance and, for some worrying reason, no-one wants to talk to me. The best I got was agreement from my Idiot Manager to attend a briefing call tomorrow morning. Does no-one seem to understand that this needs to be resolved now and Executive attention is exactly what is needed. This is way above my lowly level.

In addition to that the Subject Matter Idiots are performing in their normal lacklustre fashion and despite being asked to provide me with their approval e-mails on Monday it is now Wednesday and a significant number of them have yet to deliver the goods. I wish that my sense of urgency was a little more infectious. I know that a lot of these people are over worked and have too much to do but I have to focus on my project and chase and harry the team for their long overdue deliverables.

At the same time I am making tentative approaches up the management food chain as I need a senior Executive to give the Europeans a "JFDI" instruction. These Execs are strange beasts and you never know whether they will give you their support or bite your head off.

I think it is fair to say that it is one of those days when stacking shelves at the local supermarket looks like a great new career opportunity.

A Blast from the Past

On Wednesday I was summoned to attend a conference all on the Project we successfully completed last year.

The call was to review and approve a complicated and, in my opinion, valueless spreadsheet that I had been forced in to completing over several days in December and January. I think it fair to say that I didn't consider the job worthwhile but I thought it had more value than the name dropping, slopey shouldered, process obsessed cow that was driving this activity.

She was true to form, when she opened the call and then attempted to hand it over to myself and a colleague to present. Needless to say neither of us had been asked to present and were not prepared. As can be seen from the Journal it is more than 3 months since I had any involvement in this at all.

We made a start and then the sun peeped through the black clouds when one of the Executive Approvers piped up. This particular approver is quite a character and is known for going from calm to  unprofessional ranting in under six seconds. She was true to form and within a few minutes phrases along the lines of "I don't see the point of this" and "You are only doing this because you can't use the cost modelling tool" were coming out left right and centre. She peaked with "I'm not approving this because I don't think it serves any purpose" and from that point forward I relaxed and enjoyed the carnage.

None of the grievances were directed towards me or my colleague and I have to admit that I took great pleasure sitting silently in the background listening to The Cow attempting to defend her monstrosity.

Sometime even the shittiest days have something beautiful happen.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Tuesday Schmoozeday *

Tuesday was very much like Monday but without the tea making and Decorators.

Instead Tigger and I found ourselves at The Nearest Circle of Hell following an invite summons from Judge Dread. We spent the day experiencing the same frustrations interspersed with expensive and mediocre coffee. The only difference was that we could actually see the Subject Matter Idiots in glorious Technicolour. Unfortunately we had to listen to them too.

I think I can summarise by saying there was a huge amount of effort for very little actual progress.
Schmooze: Making ingratiating small talk – talk that is business oriented, Did you see what I did there?

Monday, 16 April 2012

Monday Schmunday

Sad Face – it's Monday and I am back at work. Tigger and I have a looooong five days ahead of us as we pull together all the strands of our project and weave them in to a single piece. It is not fun. We really need twice or thrice the time we actually have and are working with over stretched colleagues and equipment that simply is not really capable of running the tooling we are mandated to use...

… as I said, it is not fun. We do our best to see the lighter side of things and there are jokes and laughter but beneath it all there is a vein of frustration directed at the tooling, team member availability and performance and the lack of accurate information from out client. At present all I can hope to present is a “sow ear”* at the final review on Friday.

Away from work I seem to be making an inordinate number of cups of tea as Andy & Steve are back to finish the painting of the Landing and Stairs. They have done a fabulous job and as soon as I can get the current phase of the project completed I am really looking forward to completing the finishing touches to the freshly decorated space.
* We will have to wait until the next iteration of the project to see if we can knock up a silk purse.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Day of Rest?

Sunday started with an early walk with T&M whilst 30% dropped TP over at the Rugby Club for a practice session. I then made a start on cutting the final piece of elm needed to repair the trim on the stairs. This was not a five minute job as the task involved the creation of a template and numerous trial fits before the piece of timber could be reduced to the appropriate thickness, sanded smooth and held in place with a monumental amount of Pink Grip!

It was then time for a trip out to pick up TP, and get a few necessities from Redditch. The afternoon was filled with phase one of the huge tidy up of the house and garage as both have become dumping grounds during the recent decorating activities...

... I thought I was on for a quiet weekend!

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Home at last

The weekend has finally arrived and after the decorating at home and the past four days at work it is a most welcome break. 30% and I are both pretty tired and, as a consequence, we have pared our itinerary down to the bare minimum.

That meant that we had two tasks to achieve today; the first was to pick up the Defender as the refurbishment has now been completed and the second was to take the door from the bottom of the stairs in to a Paint Stripper in Worcester.

30% ran me over to Belbroughton to pick up my Land Rover around lunchtime and it is fair to say that she looks fantastic both inside and out. There are still a couple of minor jobs that need to be performed but the transformation is well on the way to completion. This wasn't just a cosmetic makeover as she has had the flywheel and clutch replaced and new front shocks too which means that the driving experience has been improved too.

Back at home I set to removing the aforementioned door and putting up a stair gate as a temporary barricade*. 30% and I then hitched the trailer to the Defender and took the door over to the Strippers. At this point you would think that the story would go along the lines of we pass the time of day with Stripper, hand over door, agree price and determine a collection date. And that was the original plan but then we started to look around his workshop/sale room and started to find some amazing items at very good prices. To cut a long story short 30% saw and fell in love with a Georgian Long Case Clock and a Victorian Cylinder Desk and these will be delivered the week after next.

By the time we finally got home it was early evening which gave us enough time for a walk around the Three Miler with T&M before a call was made to the local Chinese Takeaway.
* T&M and Andy & Steve is not a great combination unless you want emulsioned dogs  or paw prints as part of your interior decor.

Lean Times ...

... from a Journal keeping perspective. This entry could just have well been entitled "Where the Fuck have I been".

My last post was made on the 4th April and it is now the 14th. I suppose I had better pull together a précis of the past nine or ten days. Don't worry; I'll leave out the interesting bits.

As previously mentioned, much of the week leading up to the Easter weekend was spent carrying out the preparation work on the stairs and landing. I think it fair to say that this was a soul destroying task. At the end of each day we were filthy and tired and the room looked just the same apart from a liberal quantity of dust on every surface. We turned a metaphorical corner on Easter Monday when we decided that enough had been done and a huge clean up took place. 30% even managed to find time to put a coat of liquid wax on the Landing floor whilst I spent an inordinate amount of time on the refurbishment of the elm trim panels on the staircase.

During the past week Andy & Steve have spent a couple of days on site and the walls and woodwork are now all bearing the correct colours. They will be back on Monday to apply the final coats of emulsion and satinwood.

We did manage a modicum of leisure time whilst we were off work but not a huge amount. 30%'s birthday was on 5th April and we lunched at The Brook on the outskirts of Redditch and took a wander around some local antique establishments. There was no surprise present as we had both decided that we should treat ourselves to a new iPad3 as a joint gift. TP already has an iPad. It is a fabulous little tablet but it seems to be permanently held in his grimy hands and he can rarely be persuaded to offer it up for use by another member of the family. After much faffing around to see whether we could get any discount anywhere we finally just went and bought the damned thing from Tesco on Easter Monday. It is a lovely piece of equipment and I am hoping that it will become 30%'s browsing tool of choice meaning that she will leave her work laptop in it's bag and not spend her leisure time "just looking at a couple of e-mails"*.

Badman Senior, Step Mum Sue and Tilly joined us for dinner on Easter Sunday and we had a lovely rib of beef. BMS was on good form and infuriated us all by feeding T&M from the table. He adores the dogs and just cannot resist giving them treats. If you look at the girth of Tilly you will see how weak his will power is. Fortunately we are made of sterner stuff here at The Pile and T&M have managed to retain their lithe conformation...

... it was a tale told by BMS that gave me the title for this Journal entry. It is nothing apocryphal or funny. It was just a recollection from his past and for some reason I thought I should jot it down so that it doesn't become forgotten...

Back in the 1930's my Grandfather was a Market Gardener in the Vale of Evesham. At this time of year the sprout harvest was finished and the Asparagus harvest was yet to come in so this was seen as a very lean time. To make ends meet my Grandfather used to work as a stage hand at the Scala Theatre on the High Street during this lull in veg production. The Scala is long gone and became the Clifton Cinema many years before I was born. That too has long since closed and subsequent reincarnations as Bingo and Night Clubs don't seem to have been particularly successful either. BMS also remembers his father delivering the Evesham Journal to outlying villages as a way of bringing in a few shillings until the 'gras was ready to cut.

The Easter break is now over and I am back at work. Tigger has returned from New York and we have spent this 4 day working week trying to get things in to shape for next week's review cycle and release of costs to our American colleagues. It has been quite an ordeal. We are making head way but it is like wading though treacle and if a thing can go wrong it certainly will. So far we have had to struggle with both personnel and tooling. Many of the people we need are on holiday and the work products they have delivered have either been wrong or right but in the wrong format. The result of this is that everything needs to be checked and tweaked or in some case duplicated so that we can pull everything together in to a single entity. Approvers are now starting to get nervous and I am frequently having to step in to persuade, cajole and name drop to ensure that ticks get put in the right boxes.

After a long day with a Power Sander or a long day in front of a laptop I have been reluctant to do anything more than vegetate with a glass of wine in front of the TV and I offer this up as my excuse for not blogging for the best part of ten days.

Before I finish I will just mention that one of the hens has gone broody this week and 30% managed to source a dozen or so fertile eggs. If all goes well we may have chicks around the second of May.

* She is not a person to whom relaxation comes easily and consequently using a work laptop for web surfing makes taking a peek at the in-box all too easy. I. on the other hand, tend to go with "Fuck them, I've finished work for the day"

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

A change in the weather

After the mild and sunny weather last week, today's sleet and wind came as a bit of a shock. It was most unpleasant and outside was definitely not where I wanted to be.

This morning 30% needed to be at work to meet up with a colleague from the US. TP and I dropped her at the Office and then took the car to carry out a few pre-birthday essentials such as cards, flowers and more abrasives from Screwfix...

... and people say there is no romance in my soul?

The journey home included extensive detours to 30%'s parents and a couple of shops and, as a result; lunch was a late one.

My afternoon was spent sanding the elm door frame at the foot of the stairs and applying a coat of Danish Oil to that, the hand rail and the exposed beams on the Landing. 30% busied herself with various culinary and domestic chores as her brother and his girlfriend were joining us for dinner.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

For those that may be interested

I tend to write my Journal entries first thing in the morning before I start work. This is one of the reasons why I generally produce a "weekend roundup" rather than individual entries for Saturdays and Sundays. As I am not at work this week I have managed to make it to Tuesday without having put pen to paper. So here, is a round up of recent events ...

Sunday: The Mission Continues

To be fair, Sunday was nowhere near as hard work as Saturday. 30% and I had completed our sanding activities with less than an hour's effort and then spent a further hour vacuuming up the dust. We then got a coat of Danish Oil on the bannisters and newels and a coat of wax on the cupboards. The rest of the day was spent pottering on general domestic activities.

Monday: A Visit

Today Mrs Oranges & Lemons paid us a visit with her air dried ham. She had had this beast hanging for the best part of 12 months and now it was time for the unwrapping and, hopefully, slicing. I think Mrs O&L was a little apprehensive and that is certainly something I can understand. I have only air dried one ham and I was very nervous about eating a piece of meat that had not been cooked in the conventional sense. We unwrapped it and it looked fine. There were a few patches of green mould and there were also a couple of maggots but there was nothing that indicated that the cure had failed and after a good scrub with white wine vinegar it looked fine.

We pared away the outer skin and then set to with the bacon slicer to convert her air dried ham in to a couple of kilos of prosciutto. It was a successful first cure and the ham has an interesting almost cheesy tang to it.

I am quite comfortable declaring it a success as I am writing this 24 hours after sampling the ham and can report no adverse affects.

Monday was also the day that TP returned from his tour of Iceland and he appears to have had a fabulous time. He was very keen to get his photos downloaded to the computer and show us his souvenirs which included a pair of knitted mittens and a cured red fox tail.

Andy & Steve were also back on site today to put a skim of  plaster over the stair case and landing. They have done a fantastic job and will be back in a couple of weeks to apply paint to their pristine. smooth walls.

Tuesday: Back on Yer Heads Lads*

After an early walk around the Three Miler with T&M I was back on sanding duties.

30% had "conveniently" arranged a hair dressing appointment which left me on a solo mission on the stairs and landing. Today I completed the hand rail on the stairs, the window sill and I also managed to wire brush 250 years of debris from the exposed beams on the landing. Most of the debris seems to have accumulated on me so it is a case of a quick shower and then a period of extended vegetation in front of the televisions.

Where is my G&T?
* You must know this joke. It is as old as the hills.
A Chap dies and finds himself being escorted to Hell rather than his preferred eternity in heaven.
He wanders past pools of bubbling brimstone and flaming pits with the moans and screams of eternal damnation in his ears.
As he pauses by a pool of foetid semi liquid he watches a hideous daemon sat staring at a group of people up to their chins in this ichor drinking from bone china cups.
He is taken aback by this and, as he wanders on, he comments to his escort that Hell is nowhere near as bad as he thought...

.. He then hears the Daemon say "Back on yer 'eads Lads, Tea Break's over."