….as Victor Meldrew would say (UK comedy actor) and as my dear old dad used to say ‘Is there no end to this stupidity?’. The saga to date with my new fridge order is a fine example of how things can go wrong when ordering goods over The Internet. Evidently the fridge got through customs on or about the eleventh of last month and then went missing. It is October 1 st and still no word since the 15 th regarding developments. I was informed they would be ‘dispatching’ another whatever that was supposed to mean. On Saturday (29 th) I was in touch with Amazon who were going to attempt to get in touch with the seller and find out what the problem was. Maybe I would receive an update tomorrow, that is the 2 nd. In the meantime I have just completed the lawn project that is as much as I was able without having the pebbles for the final stage. I wanted to purchase a certain type and colour of aggregate from Italy, though it doesn’t just exist in the country. I could locate only one supplier for this aggregate, a company based in Kent in the UK. I wasn’t able to locate a supplier more local to home or indeed one that had it for sale. Basically it consists of brown pebbles in the 15 to 20 mm range of sizes and is found in river beds. It is also called ‘tumbled’ stone. Having been informed that I would require a ton of it after giving them the dimensions the supplier told me that it would take eight to nine weeks to arrive! ‘I don’t believe it’, were the thoughts in my head but if I wanted that particular type of stone I would have to grin and bear it. I placed the order and looked forward to a long wait. What annoyed me more than anything was the lack of online information regarding availability. All purchasing had to be done over the telephone too as they didn’t have the capability to purchase goods through their website. Sometimes the telephone method is better especially if there are any questions you want answers to.
I like a good laugh and I find I am doing just that almost every day, in fact at this moment I can’t remember when I didn’t laugh each day. You’ve probably heard the expression ‘It only hurts when I laugh’, well if I ever had the misfortune to become seriously ill I would most likely be in severe pain for that reason! I can make fun of almost anything and any situation for the way I see things it is far better to laugh than to cry except when grieving. I have been taking a course of anti-fungal medication to rid myself of a fungal infection beneath a couple of toes. The medication is in the form of large tablets to be taken orally once a day and I had a month’s supply. I deliberately misread out loud the instructions on the side of the box which stated ‘For oral administration only’ and said ‘For anal administration only’ and couldn’t stop laughing at the thought of swallowing medication that was supposed to be inserted in my nether regions! I’m still laughing as I write this. You might think it impossible for someone to make that kind of mistake but I’ll wager there will be someone foolish enough. My day on Tuesday was a lot better than it was on Monday though I did still feel a little queasy most of the time. I had to put it down to the extraordinarily fine weather we had been having, which for me was basically oppressive. I felt tired throughout the day and tried to relax as much as I could but I had gardening duties and didn’t feel inclined to just lie there doing nothing. I am my own worst enemy I suppose. As I sat at the table after my evening meal E opened the freezer door of the fridge/freezer we have in the same room and I asked if she could leave it open. It felt so good to be cool for a few seconds though I knew I couldn’t sit there with the freezer door wide open. Summer would be so nice if it was cold! To be honest I do like summer and the warmth it brings, it’s just that I don’t like it too hot. There’s a movie in there somewhere.
No work Monday seems to be the norm for me lately but it doesn’t stay that way too long either. I did get a call from a guy who had been struggling to repair a light and I went to his house to fix it for him. I was back home before you could say ‘Jackanory‘. Now there is a strange saying but of course it is only an allegory. E suggested we remove unwanted materials and tools from the bedroom in readiness for the furniture build. Hopefully the materials for building the furniture will arrive here within a few days. Then she suggested we, that is I, should call and arrange for the scaffolding to be erected in order for the problems we have with the roof to be resolved because the guy doing the repairs was taking far too long to get the work underway. He was supposed to be making all the arrangements but we need the work doing sooner rather than later. A little after lunch the owner of the scaffolding company called at the house to assess our requirements. We used this guy’s company when we had major work going on at the house in 2010 because we, that is I, liked him. His rates are very reasonable and this time he offered me a small discount from his estimated price. The scaffolding needs to be erected in two separate places but when he and I were talking I asked if we could have that scaffolding which was to be erected over the garage where I park my van to be extended across the full depth of the house so that we may have the rear chimney stack checked too. That stack isn’t in use and is unlikely to be in the future so we may decide to cap it off if it isn’t already done. So things are moving along as they should be. He stepped into the house whilst he made the calculations and E popped into the room to say hello. He asked how she was and after her reply I jumped in with ‘She’s having problems with rising damp in her wooden leg’ which brought laughter all round but he replied ‘Creosote is great for preventing rising damp’ which brought even more laughter. We like to laugh and joke around here. He told us that he aims to have the scaffolding erected on Wednesday or Thursday which will be yesterday or today as you read this. The price? £1000, and that is before any work starts! Should have bought a Bungalow! Now that isn’t a joke is it but hey, that’s the way it goes. After he left E sat and had her lunch and I sat with her although I had already eaten. I had wanted to be sure that one of us would be available when our caller arrived for I knew he would be calling around lunchtime.
As we were talking she asked why I had no butter on my hot-cross bun but she had said ‘You’ve put no butter on your bun’. I immediately thought how strange our use of language is and especially slang. The thing is, how could I have put ‘no’ butter on anything? Perhaps if worded this way you will see my point, ‘You’ve not put butter on your bun’. We use slang every day and we all know what is meant by what is spoken, that is as long as we are familiar with local colloquialisms. Anyway I enjoyed the dry, that is un-buttered bun I’d eaten supplementary to my lunch.
On Tuesday morning I went to look at a job but when there I discovered it was far more involved than what I was led to believe, I turned it down. In reality I could see the problems I would have had, the time it would have taken and the price the customer was prepared to pay and it just wasn’t worth the effort. The problem was a lack of power outlets in a very small kitchen crammed with appliances which had not been catered for when the kitchen was refurbished a few years ago. There was a boiler which didn’t have a dedicated supply and was plugged into one of the only two twin sockets in the room. The cooker hood was plugged into the other half of the twin socket. The other twin socket across the room had a multi-outlet socket plugged into one half and an extension lead plugged into the other half! Then there was the washing machine which although had been plugged into a socket beneath the units that socket was wired with an underrated flexible cable that had to be plugged into the first twin socket by removing the cooker hood plug. Whoever had wired the kitchen hadn’t a clue as to the amount of power outlets that should have been provided. The room walls were tiled of course so any additional circuitry would necessitate their removal in places, that is if access to the walls was possible. Built-in units prevented access beneath the worktops and much of the walls above were covered with cupboards too. Adding to the problems of course were a laminated floor covering and a bathroom in the room above which made it almost impossible to install extra wiring. It isn’t easy being an electrician working in a domestic situation sometimes and this electrician wasn’t prepared to get involved. Even for a young person the job wasn’t easy, let alone someone of my age who is supposed to be semi-retired. Now you know why I only take on small jobs. It meant I had to return home as I had no other work scheduled for the day. The day wasn’t wasted though and after a cup of coffee and a chat with E I set about doing one of the small jobs at home that had been niggling me to get out-of-the-way for some weeks. That was duly dispatched within an hour or so and then it was time for lunch. I took the rest of the day off. Whilst preparing my ‘late’ lunch our next-door neighbour telephoned and asked this question, ‘Have you had yours done yet’? I immediately responded with, ‘Yes, I had mine done twelve years ago’. It was all she could do but break down with laughter. She even hung up accidentally because she was in stitches laughing. She called back a minute later and explained the reason for the question. She was referring to the survey we are expecting by the local authority with regards to our domestic waste water. They are checking that our (and everyone’s) pipe system is connected to the correct drains. We have been expecting a visit but they seem not to be in any hurry about it. I am always making Pam, our neighbour, laugh. Little did she know that I was referring to my gender surgery which I had exactly to the day twelve years ago when I answered her question. I did subsequently mention that no, we hadn’t had the survey done when she called. There’s never a dull moment in our house. I am now thinking about the other jobs that need doing.
Two lunatics broke out of their rooms in the asylum and found themselves on the top of the high perimeter wall in the middle of the night. Fortunately they had a flashlight with them so they could see where they were. ‘How are we going to get off this wall safely?’ one said to the other. They stood there for some time pondering their predicament when finally the other inmate came up with a solution. ‘I know what we’ll do’, he said. ‘I will shine the flashlight beam down to the ground and you can slide down the beam to the ground. When you are there I will throw the flashlight to you and then you can shine the beam up to me so that I can slide down it too’. After a moments though the first inmate said to his companion, ‘ I’m sorry but I cannot do that’. His mate replied, ‘Why not? It’s the perfect solution’. ‘You may think so’, the first man replied, ‘but I don’t’. ‘Why not?’, said his mate. ‘Well’, came the reply, ‘I don’t trust you’. Again the second man said, ‘Why not?’ ‘Because you will switch off the beam when I am half-way down’!
E and I dined out again on Tuesday and we went to our favourite place. Our youngest son turned up at the house just prior to us leaving and wanted something printed out on E’s printer but he hadn’t yet transferred the information from his tablet computer to E’s laptop from which she could connect to the printer. After solving a few problems she finally managed to print out the six sheets he needed. We were delayed from going out for about an hour as a result and by the time we reached our destination the place was almost deserted. This meant we had the waitress pretty much to ourselves, not that we needed her constant service. However, we get on so well with the staff that they like to sit and chat with us whenever they get the opportunity and we have a laugh together. I get the feeling we brighten up their day and they always say how much they have enjoyed us being there when we are leaving. Anyway I am always passing some funny comment which keeps them laughing and something reminded me of the joke above but could I get to tell it? The thought of the joke caused me to get the giggles, so much so that I could hardly stop laughing enough to eat my dessert! I was in tears laughing which set the waitress doing likewise. Eventually I regained my composure and was able to tell her the joke. It was all she could do to stop laughing herself and she had the giggles for some time afterwards. The joke itself is an old one and not particularly funny but when thought over when already in a laughing mood, it became hilarious. I guess you would have to have been there……..
During the early part of last week E and I dined out and afterwards went shopping for a cement mixer, sand, cement and gravel with which to make concrete. There are places behind each of the two garages that require concrete steps and ramps and there is brickwork to be done too. The two pictures taken a year or two ago show the areas that need attention. The steps behind the first garage require reconstructing and a ramp is required behind the second garage for wheeling lawnmowers and waste bins into and out of the garden. The steps were constructed by E’s dad many years ago and were never right, even he agreed when he saw his handy-work from a distance but we just never got around to altering them. I intend to put longer steps there with shorter risers. I explained in an earlier post the reason for buying a mixer rather than renting one. All of these things were to be delivered on Tuesday but we didn’t know what time. On Tuesday morning I said to E that if I had no electrical work to do and if the delivery was in the morning that we would go out to lunch. I didn’t get any work and around 11 o’clock a large vehicle in orange livery pulled up outside the house. This colour is a trade mark of B&Q the retail outlet from whom we purchased the materials. E opened the garage door remotely using a control in the house and I went outside to let the driver know where to put everything inside the garage. The driver approached the gate and I directed him to the other gate and told him to put everything in the rear of the garage at which point he gave me a small package and I had to sign for it. It was addressed to E and inside was a DVD! It still didn’t dawn on me that he was a delivery man for TNT, the postal service. He then drove away and E told me who it was who delivered the package. I couldn’t stop laughing and E mumbled something about me losing it. How stupid I thought and went back into the lounge. A very short time later, a matter of minutes, another vehicle drew up outside and this time it was the delivery I was waiting for. I told the driver and his mate what had happened a few minutes earlier and they couldn’t stop laughing. I guess I had made their day! Later we went for our meal at the restaurant of choice and told the waitress the same story which made her day too! We are on first name terms with the staff at the restaurant and always have a good time there. At the time of writing I have yet to open the box containing the mixer and assemble it but that won’t take long.
I woke up in the middle of the night a few days ago which is very unusual for me as I normally only do that when I need to visit the toilet. I was laughing uncontrollably at something that had happened in my dream. Sometimes when I laugh it can last for a very long time, especially if, as people often say, ‘That tickled you didn’t it’? There have been quite a few incidents in the past where I have continued giggling on and off for most of the day each time I recollect them. There’s no real accounting as to what anyone finds funny or laughable, because we are all different. What amused me in the dream I had that night was something I wouldn’t necessarily consider all that funny in my waking hours. In the dream I was with my eldest sister C and we were roaming the streets somewhere but I am not sure where. In my hand was a large crossword puzzle and we seemed to be looking for a street name which would fit as a word in the crossword. The next thing I remember was being with E and the pair of us were laughing about a word I had been attempting to squeeze into the puzzle. The word wasn’t even a street name but it was the word ‘Lancashire’ in relation to Lancashire cheese. I have to point out here that Lancashire cheese is the only cheese E will eat! I was trying to stretch the word so it would fit in the puzzle. Why I should be doing that is beyond me but E thought it so funny and the pair of us started to laugh till it hurt. At this point I woke from the dream and continued to laugh very heartily for around five minutes before nodding back to sleep. I woke again just prior to the alarm going off at 6.30.
Well Wednesday turned out to be a most peculiar but engaging day. As it turned out and with reference to yesterdays post about the weather, it was gloriously sunny all day long with hardly a cloud in the sky. I had to do a small job in a house eight miles from home in the little township of Formby where I used to live (actually it was Freshfield the northern part of Formby where I once lived). I was back home before 10.30 and as I had no other work scheduled for the day I decided I might go for a ride on my bicycle in the new cycling kit I had ordered and received on Tuesday. E asked me to post something for her in a specific post box outside the Post Office in the Village and note the time I had posted it. She has been undertaking a survey for the Post Office which entails timing mail deliveries from and to certain recipients. For this small task she gets paid in kind, that is she receives postage stamps free of charge up to a limit. As she uses the post quite often anyway this is something of a little bonus for very little effort. The Post Office sends her the materials and addresses for it to be delivered so it costs her nothing. She is into this sort of venture. Anyway I took the envelope and posted for her. I had it in mind to do a few miles but I found it far too cold to ride any distance with what I was wearing even though I was wearing some warm underclothing. I decided to return home after a mile or so. When I got back home I spent some time on my treadmill whilst I was dressed for it, even though it was cycling gear! Finishing my stint on the treadmill I asked E if she would like to dine out with me but not until after 2 o’clock. It was then just after noon. We haven’t been out together since the beginning of November but I will say no more about that. I asked her to choose the venue as I usually do and she had a preference for a country restaurant we have often visited in the past, so that is where we went. It is something like fifteen miles from home. As we approached the entrance after parking the car a young girl member of staff saw us and said ‘Here’s double trouble’, and greeted us. When we got inside many of the staff greeted us as if we were long-lost friends they hadn’t seen for years. We were last there less than six months ago but it is nice to be remembered and welcomed wherever we go. We placed our order, fish for E and chilli for me but when the food arrived I noticed that my chilli was in fact a chicken curry! I called the waitress over smiled and said that my chilli looked more like a curry. Embarrassed, she offered to change it but I refused to allow her to do that and assured her that it didn’t matter. E and I had a great laugh over that one remembering an incident we experienced in a restaurant in Montreal a couple of years ago when the waiter delivered the wrong dessert and then after a short time replacing them with what we had ordered. He then forgot to leave utensils so we might eat them! We sat there for twenty minutes (for a laugh) waiting for him to come back. Explaining that we couldn’t tell him if our dessert was to our liking as we didn’t have a spoon to eat it with he promptly fetched the spoons apologising for his error. When he realised we were just having fun at his expense he had to laugh about it himself. I love these kinds of incidences, they make life more enjoyable and fun. E and I enjoyed each other’s company as we sat and laughed during our meal. As the meal was placed on the table my mobile phone rang and it was from a gentleman who lives in a road close to ours. He wanted his new cooker connecting but we were cut off. I rang his number and told him that I couldn’t oblige him until late afternoon as I had just sat down to eat. He apologised for interrupting my meal and accepted my offer to call to see him later. Just as E and I had arrived back in town he called me again and cancelled the job even though I told him I would be there within the next 30 minutes. E had something to say about that but I had a feeling he would be calling me again before too long. E popped into a store so buy some milk and then we drove the further mile and a half home. Just as we pulled into the driveway I got the call. He apologised for ‘messing me about’ and asked if it as possible for me to call and connect his cooker. He explained that he had tried other electricians in an attempt to get the job done immediately but none were available at such short notice. I wonder why? Well I knew that would be the case and E and I were talking about it just as he called. I went indoors to collect my van keys and drove the few hundred yards to his flat and had the job done in fifteen minutes. It more than paid for our afternoon out with more left over! Funny how things work out sometimes.
I can’t help it so people tell me but they jest, well I hope they do! No, what I mean is that I love a good laugh. Rib-ticklinglaughter is something many of us would benefit from, it is healthy and adds years to an otherwise boring and dull life. I find I can laugh at many things, even myself, that is important, to be able to laugh at one’s self. I love comedy in any form, especially slapstick comedy. I was watching a movie, well several of them lately all with slapstick comedy as a main theme, I couldn’t stop laughing and at times I was in real pain but couldn’t help myself. Sometimes one thing leads me to think of other scenarios and makes me laugh even more. E has a bit of a problem when she doesn’t see the same funny side of things as I do and looks at me wondering why I am still laughing ten minutes after seeing something or hearing something that has tickled me. Tears would be dripping from my eyes and she sits there pan-faced which makes me laugh even more! Laughter they say is the best medicine. I remember years ago when I worked for the electricity supply authority which had a contracting department, a plumber who walked about with a constant smile on his face. He was always laughing about something and his work never gave him reason to moan. He simply found life enjoyable and you could see it in his face. I haven’t quite mastered my work being totally enjoyable and free from causing me some annoyance but by and large I do enjoy my work. I must be doing something right. I find that by just stepping back from a problem for a moment and seeing the funny side often helps me get through it. After all, what is the point in moaning about things all the time? I can’t help laughing, I like laughing and it is usually contagious, a bit like yawning but at the opposite end of an enormous pole. Go on, have a laugh today and see what a difference it makes to your day. I will, I do it every day.
I realised something yesterday about a previous post I’d written regarding not being bothered and how it seemed to picture me as a lost soul who was tired of living. That couldn’t be further from the truth as I love life and really do enjoy it. I realised too that every day I find myself laughing at something, in fact I cannot remember a day when I didn’t laugh even just a little. The only time that would not be true is when I am ill but that isn’t often. I see the funny side of things in life and find myself laughing at myself sometimes. The slightest thing can set me off laughing sometimes but I do have a serious side too. I think that if we cannot find humour in our lives we are indeed sad people. Many things in my life frustrate me but I never let them get the better of me and I never worry about anything, what’s the point? Worrying doesn’t change a thing. Life’s a long song, a gas, as the songwriters say and that is only true if you have the right attitude to it. I am not saying that I never feel down because I do at times but I make every effort to snap out of it. I find myself trying to justify my actions or desires and there is sometimes a tug-of-war going on in my brain as to whether I should or should not do something. It is at times like these that I find myself laughing at myself and then saying ‘Oh just get on with it’! One of the main priorities in life is to be happy and laughing is one of the ways we can show it. Life is a bit of a laugh at times isn’t it? Well for some people this doesn’t seem to be the case. I know of a couple of people who never seem to smile. It’s as if they have the problems of the world on their shoulders and some people I know just don’t know how to let their hair down and have a good laugh. Such a shame really. For myself I will continue to laugh and keep a smile on my face.