20 September 2011
10 September 2011
07 September 2011
She has actually been on the bridge itself, working for a tourist photo company taking photos of tourists, digitally enhancing them on computer and then selling them as photos, fridge magnets, keyrings or mouse mats, when the tourists complete their visit. She has made a lot of new friends and enjoyed the variety and the stresslessness of the job. She also did a few shifts for the same company at the nearby Tower of London, but had to wait to get special security clearance in case she ran off with the Crown Jewels.
She's also been taking driving lessons, so there has not been much time to relax, but that's how she prefers it, otherwise she gets bored (like mother, like daughter!) She's off to uni again next week to start the third year of her medical course and will be spending four days of the week in hospital doing ward rounds and only one day a week in lectures. It'll be quite a change from what she has been doing all summer, but still having lots of people-contact, which she loves. I've loved having her home all these weeks, but am happy to see her pursuing her dreams, so I am OK with her leaving again.
This does not seem to be my week. I received a letter from the local council this morning fining me £110 for being "parked" in the High Street last week in a non-designated parking space. The truth of it was that having cleared out stuff from the cellar last week I had stopped the car for all of three minutes on double yellow lines while I delivered several heavy box-loads to a charity shop. The nearby parking bays in the High Street were all taken (they never seem to be free when I drive past) and the nearest proper car park was too far away to go back and forth with heavy boxes. All I did was just go from my car boot into the shop several times and then drove off. As I say, it took about three minutes. If I contest the fine and they still insist on me paying (and I go over the 28 days' payment deadline) I have to pay £165. What with the cut telephone wire last week, it has been an expensive week, with nothing to show for it!! Grrrrrr.
02 September 2011
The two bedrooms still to be done are not rooms I use regularly, so I was quite pleased that the house was relatively finished, so far as I was concerned. I could breathe a sigh of relief and take things a bit easier from now on . I mentioned in my last post that Kay and I would be clearing out the cellar this week, but apart from that nothing on the horizon for a while and my bank balance could recover from all the one-off expenses of new furniture or curtains or rugs.
At the start of the week, I asked Kay to hold on to the step-ladder outside for me, as it was balanced on uneven ground, while I precariously climbed to the very top step to prune a clematis montana. This clematis belongs to my neighbour and grows up the wall between her front door and my adjacent garage door. As anyone who has ever owned a clematis montana knows, these are prolific growers and mimic triffids. Great, if you want to cover a whole wall, but not great if you don't want a triffid. I had asked my neighbour's permission to prune it back hard, as it was growing into the brick tiles that cover the front of our house between the storeys. Once the tendrils get in behind the tiles, they can force the tiles to crash to smithereens on the ground. Apart from being irreplacable nowadays, the falling tiles could also kill someone as they have pointed edges, similar to the ones in this picture!
photo from www.periodliving.co.uk
The original neighbour who planted it had cut it back over the years but in one instance had failed to cut a rogue piece out of the tiling and it had taken on a life of its own. Without any roots in the soil,it seems it did not even need earth to grow in as it was sprouting a whole new independent bush of its own from the dark of the back of the tiles. With this in mind, I happily set about pruning the monster - there were tendrils everywhere, trying to attack me as I fought my way in. I tugged at the handfuls growing into my tiles and successfully managed to free them, either with brute force or with the aid of seceteurs. By the end of the operation, Kay was knee-deep in what I had cut back, but it was a mere fraction of what was still growing up the wall. And then, to my utter horror, I noticed a little thin wire coming down through the tiles from my bedroom window to the garage beneath, which was dangling in the breeze and clearly severed in two by the seceteurs. It had been obscured by the monster. My heart sank as I had a feeling I knew what this wire was for. The fact that I had not electrocuted myself in the process confirmed my fears..... I had cut off our telephone/broadband link. Rushing inside and testing the phones, I confirmed it further. Unprintable words were uttered at this stage.
To cut a long story (or clematis) short, I rang British Telecom and after two days without phone or internet (how ever did we manage before?), an engineer came round to fix it. He was with me for TWO HOURS, scratching his head and trying to work out where the wires came from and where they should go. In the end, he had to drill new holes in my bedroom window and lead the wires across newly painted walls and paintwork, stapling them with his little gun into my newly decorated bedroom. In order for him to do this, I aso had to move my furniture out of the way for him, so by the time he left everything looked like a bomb had hit it.
Now I have to touch up some of the paint work again and the worse is I have to pay BT a hefty bill (they quoted me £130 for the call-out charge alone, not to mention the two hours' work). What a bloomin' nuisance and an expensive clematis!