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.'