And if I was in charge of writing the script I would write it a great deal better than this last week. There, that's got that off my chest. Hello dear reader, I hope you haven't been taking bets with yourself about the kind of week I might have had and if you have, hurrah for you, as you've been backing a racing certainty. Yes indeedy, it was another purler of a week and enough is enough. Thankfully the last couple of days have been OK, so I am hopeful that the gods have ended their sport with us.
If you recall my dear reader, we had a viciously smoking chimney in our sitting room and had to leave our windows open to freshen the place up, even though it was sub-zero temperatures outside. In due course the chimney sweep arrived, swept the chimney which was not much sooted up and prior to his departure pronounced us hale and hearty in the chimney department. We were instructed to light a small fire to warm the chimney up as it had been out of use for a week, thus avoiding the smoke problem.
Like the good little pre-Easter bunnies that we are, we obeyed instructions and lit a small fire. Eureka, no problems at all. The smoke went where smoke is meant to go - up the chimney and not pouring out of the many holes on top of the stove. I have no idea why those holes are there anyway - are they there just in case the smoke can't get up the chimney?
Encouraged with this success, Spouse kept the fire going and we enjoyed a pleasant evening toasting our toes in front of it. Ah me, ah my. We should have quit whilst we were ahead. The gods had not done with us yet. The temperatures had started to drop again and we were forecast a bitterly cold weekend - so we lit the fire. The chimney was still warm from the previous day and we looked forward to enjoying another evening by our fireside. Well of course we didn't, did we? No, once again our iron dragon breathed smoke from all its little holes and smoked us out. So as the temperatures dropped we opened our windows and donned our thermals. Our neighbours will now be convinced that we are absolutely barking, as we appear to only open our windows when it is freezing cold.
We took refuge in our little sun room, where there is no sun to warm it up on a freezing March night and we huddled once more over the small electric fire. To cheer ourselves up we mixed stiff G&T's and put the little T.V. on. After a while I pushed off to the kitchen with my drink and went about my evening meal domestic goddess duties, whilst Spouse relaxed in the adjoining sun room. All was not too bad in our little world - until wham bang - the light bulb in the table lamp exploded, sending shards of glass everywhere - all over the floor, the chairs, Spouse and worst of all, into his G&T. Let me tell you dear reader, one little light bulb goes a helluva long way when it has a mind to and in spite of intensive hoovering and cleaning we are still finding slivers of glass. I don't think Spouse has got over having to ditch a full G&T down the sink - I mean, a Yorkshireman throwing out a full glass - not to be spoken about lightly believe me.
Against this backdrop we also had the builders working away outside every day, laying the base for our new summer sitting room, (thankfully no chimney required there) and they were traipsing in and out of the house at intervals to use the bathroom. I had dust sheets down, so that was fine, I can live with cement covered boots stomping in and out. (No, actually, I can't. I just grit my teeth as I hoover up their grit and pray for the day when they will finally finish the job!!)
And then came the man and his apprentice from the window company to fit our new bathroom window. Imagine fitting a window in the pouring rain! Well somehow they did it but methinks there is now one terrified apprentice trotting about North Yorkshire, having encountered me on a bad day.
Picture the scene. I had spread dustsheets everywhere in anticipation of workmen's boots up and down the stairs with the new window. The window fitter was in the bathroom and I was in the bedroom rootling about in a chest for a missing tablecloth. The apprentice was outside in the rain, underneath the new window opening. The fitter called out to his apprentice,
'And make sure you wipe your boots properly before coming upstairs, don't want any dirty marks on the carpets.'
Too right we don't, thinks I and calls out to young apprentice in my best dragons's voice, 'Because if you do I might have to kill you.'
Sharp intake of breath followed by silence. Oh the life of the poor apprentice. Our fitter fitted the window and departed to pack his tools, leaving the poor boy to wash the bathroom floor and gather in their own dustsheets. Somehow, someone's big boots had slithered beneath the dustsheets and there were several unlovely muddy boot marks on the bedroom carpet. A white-faced apprentice approached me and asked in a quavering voice for 'a bucket of hot water, Missus.'
When I learned of the poor lad's plight I did not unleash the wrath of Genghis upon him dear reader, neither did I give him his bucket of hot water to scrub my carpet. A good squirt of carpet cleaner would do the job a lot better. The poor lad scuttled off gratefully, if a little pale. I hope he doesn't come back when they come to glaze the new room. He might drop a window in fright if he claps eyes on me again.
So there you have it dear reader - smoked out rooms, exploding light bulbs, noisy cement mixers, muck and grit everywhere and boot marks all over the new carpet. Next week is going to be a lot better - it has to be - or I'm leaving home.
I will not be writing my blog next week, as Spouse and I are having an Easter break - at least I hope we will. Snow is forecast, so who knows ... I hope to be with you on April 8th. Happy Easter and very best wishes to you.
I am beginning to think that I have been married to spouse for too long. It's alright dear reader, there is no cause for alarm. I have not suddenly fallen out of love with spouse and wish to move on. Quite the reverse. I know people say you can grow to look like your dog, but do you grow to start thinking like your spouse? Or even worse, doing things like he does. I think this must be the case. as I am starting to get into bother again.
I am still recovering from our latest visit to the supermarket. What is it about those places? They always seem to spell trouble for us. I wonder if other people have the same problems. It's a difficult question that I would love to ask, but then I would have to admit to the kind of scrapes that we get into and do I really want to acknowledge the fact that I can be a bit of a dork sometimes? O.K., so my friends probably know that already, but why give them ammunition?
So, this week just for once we had an uneventful trip around the shop and filled our trolley without any mishaps, arguments or breakages. Bearing in mind the events of last week, I felt that perhaps, at last, the gods were smiling on us once more. With a spring in my step, I made my way jauntily to the check out and unloaded our goods on to the conveyor belt. The lady in front of me paid her bill and departed. The check out lady pressed her button to move the belt along to begin checking out our purchases, but nothing happened. It seemed the belt had given up the ghost. So we manually moved our goods along the belt and the lady began checking them through and I packed the bags.
Towards the end of the operation, I caught sight of spouse pushing down on the conveyor belt where it bends round for the return trip. He seemed to be working on it with his thumbs.
'What is he doing?' I wondered uneasily. 'It's not his piece of kit and he should leave well alone. If it's broken, it's broken.'
Ah, but I was wrong dear reader. Hey presto, the belt began moving again. Triumphantly spouse joined me, ready to depart from the store.
'It was the bumps that was stopping it from moving. I've flattened them out and that cured the problem.'
The check out lady was smiling gratefully at him and without thinking I said, 'Oh, I wondered why he was feeling your bumps.'
Silence - and then she turned red and I turned red and spouse dragged me out of the store pronto, hissing in my ear, 'did you have to say that?'
Spouse is not one to hold grudges and amicable relations were restored between us later that day. A happy situation that was not destined to last however. I wouldn't have believed it possible to trump our Saturday experience, but yes indeedy dear reader, I surpassed myself the very next day. After our Sunday morning church service we adjourned as usual to the adjacent coffee room. As we queued for our coffee, we chatted to friends around us and spouse searched in his pockets for some money to put in the 'donations welcome' coffee dish. Out came the funds and an old receipt with it. He looked at it and turned it over and saw a name on the back. He looked at it blankly, shook his head and passed it over to me.
'I don't recognise the name,' he said.
I looked at it and didn't either. 'Was is someone you picked up?' I asked.
You know those moments dear reader, when momentarily there is a lull in the general conversation and there is usually one person whose voice carries on and the drift of their conversation can be clearly heard by everyone. Well, my innocent comment occurred in just such a lull. And following it a collective sharp intake of breath and embarrassed silence.
'What do you mean, "someone I picked up?"' spouse asked icily, 'I am not in the habit of "picking people up" as you so nicely put it.'
It dawned on me that we had got our wires crossed - again. How to rescue the situation? I just had to be bold and go for it.
'Yes you do, you pick people up all the time.'
Suppressed titters around the room. Spouse looked thunderous. It was looking like it was going to be 'murder at the vicarage.'
'You pick people up in the course of your Community Transport duties, don't you? That name on your paper? Is it one of them?'
A collective sigh went up around the room and conversations were resumed. For a few moments there, life had stopped, looked and wondered at this alternative portrait of my fine upstanding spouse. Thankfully, I had managed to rescue us and we moved on to collect our coffee.
I thought we were done with the matter, but on our departure, several wags called out to spouse, 'mind how you go and who you pick up, lad. It could get you into trouble one of these days.'
So, the tables are turned on me dear reader, and spouse has gone around shaking his head sadly all week and muttering 'I don't believe it', under his breath. If I am let out of the doghouse, I hope to see you next week. and let's hope it turns out to be a better one all round.
i know Shakespeare's Earl of Gloucester was a bit of a strange old cove, but I have to say he got it about right when he said, 'As flies to wanton boys are we to th' gods, They kill us for their sport.' I'm thankful to say that I'm still here to tell the tale but I think they've got me on a bit of fishing line at the moment and are enjoying playing about with me, before reeling me in.
Last week was bad enough and this week was eventful in a different way. At the moment I'm not too sure I even want to set foot out of bed on Monday morning, in case they have any more tricks up their collective godly sleeves. Ah, I know dear reader, I can hear you say, this attitude won't do. Is this woman not made of sterner stuff? I'm working on that one and hoping that next week will be a whole new adventure in a positive way - it could be, couldn't it? The wind might change and the gods feel well disposed towards me once more. But back to reflecting on this past week ....
We were going to go across the road to our fine village hostelry for a meal with friends. A lovely evening to look forward to; a roaring fire, good food and good company. And then it snowed and it snowed some more and I thought 'Mm, not sure they'll want to turn out in this blizzard.' But I was wrong. It would take more than a bit of bad weather to put our friends off their tucker. Anticipating a pre-dinner drink by our own roaring fire, ice-cubes and sliced lemons for the G&T's were at the ready and spouse proceeded to light said fire. It just had to be, didn't it? It couldn't choose any other night to smoke us out could it? No, just as our friends were about to arrive, our multi-fuel stove belched out smoke from every opening it had, like a huge and evil dragon waking from a long sleep. Very quickly the room filled up with smoke and spouse came staggering out to the sun room with a face as black as night.
'I think the seal has gone on the door,' he gasped. He wiped his eyes with blackened hands. I suppressed a smile as he now looked like Chi chi, or do I mean An An? I can't remember which one was the male. Cute as giant pandas are I don't think spouse would have appreciated the comparison, or being offered a bamboo shoot at this juncture.
'Open the windows,' says I. It looked like the London of the 1950's in our sitting room, filled with filthy smog. We were looking in on the scene from the glass doors leading from the sitting room to our little sun room - just so that you know my dear reader, that I cannot as yet see through walls - still working on that one.
Spouse braced himself, dived back into the room and threw the windows open, scuttling back into the sun room sharpish. 'That's put the kibosh on the G&T's then,' he said, staring ruefully back through the glass doors.
It certainly did. I don't think anyone's idea of a good time would be slurping G & T in a freezing cold, smoke filled room, not even spouse's. We decamped to the pub with our friends and had a very pleasant evening, returning from the warmth of the pub to our freezing cold house, where all the windows were open, in an effort to rid us of the smoke smell.
It had to be didn't it? No mild sunny winter days for us, as is sometimes the case in winter. No, the temperatures for the whole week were well in the minuses and for the whole week we kept the windows open and went around dressed in so many layers of clothing we could hardly move. Remember the Michelin Man? We were dead ringers for him. I wonder what our neighbours made of us - the new kids on the block. In the lowest of temperatures that we have had for many winters, Instead of closing all the windows and banging up the thermostat on the central heating, all our windows stood wide open. If anyone asks me I think I'll tell them that we are in training for a trip to the Arctic Circle.
We had to keep the windows open for the whole week as spouse lit the fire again. No, before you go thinking 'what a numpty', he was not. He had purchased a new seal for the fire door and carefully fitted it. This meant taking the door off first and I won't go into the hammering, banging, cussing and sore fingers involved in all that. Eventually the new seal was put on and was a good tight fit and spouse thought we are up and running again. We were - running to open all the windows as the new seal made no difference at all. No, that's not fair to spouse - the new door seal held tight and not a smidgen of smoke issued from around the door - just from every other opening on the top of the fire. So, we surmise that it must be a chimney problem. We await the visit of the chimney sweep and continue to live in the best aired house in North Yorkshire. But at least we had lighting and had hot drinks and hot food ....
And then we had a power cut. We have had deep snow and high winds and not a flicker of a power problem. This morning, as the temperature rose to a dizzying one degree Celsius, the snow began melting away and the wind dropped, at 4 a.m. the power went off. Our windows are wide open, we are dressed in as many layers as fully paid up eskimos and are reduced to candle power and cold drinks. So don't tell me the gods aren't having a fine old time with Chez Comb. I only hope they soon tire of their sport with us and move on.
One thing slightly worries me. Monday morning is lurking just around the corner and now that the temperatures are on the rise, the builders will resume their work at the back of the house. I hope this fact is a well kept secret from the gods or who knows what lies in store - let's not dwell on that dear reader, 'that way madness lies.'
I suppose it was too good to last. Ever the optimist that I am, I thought that peaceful times, just for a change, had broken out at Chez Comb. Let me tell you dear reader, how wrong can a gal be? I have brought some of it upon myself I know, by having the builders in, but I didn't reckon on spouse causing bother as well.
The week had not even properly begun. Spouse had tidied out the garage over the weekend and had found a length of metal tube. It looked very much like it belonged to one of his anglepoise lamps and so he put it to one side. Come Monday morning he fished it out of the garage and took it into his study to try and fit it to the lamp. Had it belonged to the lamp it would have given it even more height and shed a bright light all around. (Mm, it's beginning to sound like Christmas already.)
The metal pole turned out to have nothing to do with the lamp and spouse began to dismantle the attempted assemblage and in the process trapped his finger tightly in between the top bars of the stand. So tightly was he trapped that he could not extract his finger and shouted for help. I scurried to his aid and managed to release his finger. By this time it was swollen up and I spent the morning trotting to and fro at intervals with ice packs. By lunchtime he was judged fit to be let loose on the world again.
I swear he looks for trouble. Bear in mind it was still only Monday and plenty of the day left. Onwards and upwards. He managed to put a rusty nail through the same finger later on in the afternoon. Fortunately we know that his tetanus protection is up to date, but sometimes I think he is testing the system almost to destruction.
On to Tuesday. We had quite a fall of snow overnight and intermittently through the day, but as the sun was shining I decided to go for a post-lunch walk to boost the old brain cells and see what was happening out there in the big snowy world of North Yorkshire. The builders were busy outside and spouse was busy down the garden in his shed, so off I tripped, booted, hatted but not spurred.
How was I to know that he would lock himself in his shed the minute my back was turned? Luckily for him on returning from my walk I gave the builders and all their noisy power tools a wide berth and continued on down the garden to visit spouse in his shed, thinking he might like to come up to the house for a nice cup of tea. Only as I neared the shed and with the noise of the builders to my back, did I hear the hammering on the shed door - coming from the inside.
Being a cold and snowy day spouse had locked the shed door from the inside, to stop the doors from blowing open, but somehow, the latch on the outside of the door had dropped down and was firmly holding the doors shut with him inside. My, oh my, he was as mad as mad can be, as he had been trying to get out of there for quite some time. It wasn't ice packs that were needed this time, it was a very gentle defrost indoors.
Wednesday, thank goodness was incident free and I heaved a sigh of relief, thinking we had escaped, 'trouble always comes in threes.' Then Thursday struck.
We'd had a lot of snow overnight again and spouse was due to take an elderly lady to hospital for a late morning physiotherapy appointment. Being the good soul that he is he went round to her house early to clear the snow from her drive, so that she could get out to the car. Just as he was finishing he slipped on a patch of ice and went down hard on his bottom. When he limped indoors to collect the little old lady, she told him the appointment had now been cancelled and to add insult to injury, he can hardly bear to sit down at all now. The bruises will be spectacular.
Then we were truly blessed to throw in a Friday happening for good measure. We had an appointment in the town and afterwards went on to the supermarket as supplies were much depleted. Well my dear reader, what can I say? Of course it was not an uneventful visit. Mea culpa, mea culpa, it was all my fault. I should never have asked him to reach up to the top shelf to get me a jar of gherkins down. Spouse is tall, but the shelf was very high and reaching up on tiptoes did the job nicely. But, he overbalanced ever so slightly and on his way down brushed up against the end display of tins and the whole lot came down. My, my, what a noise a cascading display of cans can make. You can have no idea, unless of course, it's happened to you.
Needless to say we hotfooted it out of there sharpish and may not be returning for some time to come. Spouse is skulking around the homestead trying not to get into any more mischief this week. Trouble is, Monday morning comes around all too soon - a whole new week to go at. I'm girding up my loins even as I write .........