Saturday (29) was one of those days when everything went pear-shaped. Nothing I did went smoothly, in fact everything I did or was involved with was difficult. It felt as if there was an unseen force preventing me from doing what I intended. The day had started quite well and everything went smoothly until I had finished the work I had set myself to do in the garden. I was up very early and even before breakfast I had prepared lunch, a Spaghetti Bolognese. I spent a little time setting out the cobbles I wanted to fix as a path across the lawn feature and then set them in with concrete…
Surprisingly that didn’t take much time to do. It took me longer to tidy things away and clean up the garage. I still had enough time to visit the builders merchant to see if they had the pebbles I wanted and how much I would need. I had already calculated the area size which is around twelve and a half square metres. They told me they couldn’t supply me with the information and that I would have to use their web site. Nice and helpful. I returned home and checked their site but it was impossible to browse for the information or indeed the products unless I registered. I decided to call the first merchant I had checked out a few days earlier. I had browsed their site and found what I wanted though I still couldn’t check for quantity or order online. The guy answering told me how much I would need but he had to see if there was any in stock and would call back a minute later. Well that minute ran into about twenty and he informed me that there wasn’t any in stock and the guy who looks after the ordering wouldn’t be available until Monday. I would have to call them again. In the meantime I had attempted to take the photos you see above several times but I had problems with the Android tablet which kept switching off for want of recharging. When it was fully charged it took twenty minutes for it to ‘optimise’ the applications and then it switched off again. After I had switched it back on it went through the whole process again! Finally I was able to use it. After lunch I decided to chase up the order I had placed through Amazon which still hadn’t arrived after more than a month! (See older posts). Amazon had been under the impression that I had received the goods, a larder fridge but in fact the seller had misplaced it. Sent from Shanghai China it arrived in the UK ten days later and had passed through customs before it went missing. It went somewhere but not here! Evidently it had been sent to the wrong warehouse but they couldn’t locate it. As I write Amazon are chasing the order themselves and I will have to wait a a further couple of days for the seller to respond. I have a feeling I am going to get a refund and buy elsewhere! Time will tell. There were other incidences during the day where things went wrong but they are too numerous to mention.
……..or positive and negative. Tuesday was back to work day but I had no work to return to. It was the week to have my prescription re-ordered, two weeks before I would run out of medications. In the past I had to submit the prescription request slip at the doctor’s surgery and then collect it when it was authorised. Then it became possible for the chemist (druggist) to collect it on my behalf and all I then had to do was wait a few days before collecting the medication. A few weeks ago I registered to apply for my repeat prescriptions over the Internet using the Patient Access website. However, the medication I need has to be listed on the Internet request list pertaining to myself. When I first attempted to re-order my medications I was unable to because the surgery hadn’t placed the item’s description on the list. I had to make arrangements over the phone. I was informed that the next time I would have no problems ordering over the Internet. Well guess what? They still hadn’t put it on the list but this time I paid the surgery a visit and hopefully this time they will get it sorted. That was the negative side of the day. Soon after my return home I received a call from the electrical store where E and I had purchased two televisions for the bedrooms last week. The televisions were ready for collection. They had to be ordered from their main warehouse. So E and I drove to the store and collected them. Now you would think that these days an aerial lead would be included in the package but no, I had to buy two leads costing me another £18. We soon had them in place and working..
By now it was nearly time for lunch and just afterward I received a call requesting my electrical services for this coming Monday morning and yet another call informing me that the artificial turf would be getting delivered tomorrow, that was Wednesday last as you read this. Now the weather was forecast to be dry and sunny so we may get the opportunity for it to be laid. I didn’t lounge about in the afternoon, there was work to be done. I cleared out a blocked grid, watered the garden, removed some furniture from the large greenhouse putting two chairs in the house cellar and one of the two benches out in the garden in front of the patio, removed two of the four bicycles into a room in the cellar (we have five more bicycles in another room!), rolled up the old carpet we had removed from the small bedroom a couple of weeks ago ready for collection by the council on Thursday and created more space in the garage for the temporary storage of (the expected delivery of) the artificial turf on Wednesday, filled one of the green garden waste bins with a large amount of leaves I had swept up from around the greenhouse (they were holly leaves which seem to drop off at odd times in the year) and lots of other mundane but necessary tasks in and around the garden. Those were the positive things in the day. Meanwhile E had other duties involving driving her mom to a doctor’s appointment and shopping.
Over the Christmas period we discovered we had a leaking roof having seen the signs in the room below. We arranged for the insurance company to inspect it and hopefully sanction the repairs. Scaffolding was erected to a height of forty-foot (13 metres) in order to reach the roof as the house is that tall. We heard nothing for a couple of weeks until recently when someone came and took photos to submit to the insurance company. On Friday as I was driving off to do a job I saw the scaffolding company’s vehicle draw up. I phoned E to let her know and it turns out that they had come to dismantle and remove the scaffolding, but the repairs had not been done yet! After they had contacted the insurers to find out what was going on they told E that the works had not been sanctioned and we would not be able to claim for the repairs. I was at work when E informed me. I phoned the guy we use for our roof repairs and he will check the roof and what needs to be done next week. Now then the job I had been to was to install the circuitry for a cooker hood and fit the hood too. First of all I had difficulty in getting a good fixing to the wall but what really annoyed me was the design of the hood itself, the top fixing holes had been placed in such an awkward position as to be almost impossible to get at, just like the one I had fitted at home a few weeks ago. Why do manufacturers make their products so hard to fit? Finally it was in place and I had to channel out the wall for the electrical cable and the control unit. I remembered that there was a gas pipe buried in the wall near to where I had repositioned a power outlet on my previous visit two weeks ago. It had originally been located above the cooker and had to be moved sideways. That is when I discovered the pipe, so I had to be careful when fixing the hood in order to avoid it. I managed to do that but unfortunately forgot the pipe when cutting the channel! I pierced it! I had to dig out the wall and effect a repair using my gas torch and solder which fortunately I carry in my van. I hasten to add that I am not in the habit of piercing gas pipes! So I finished the work, got paid and drove home but I stopped along the way to buy a replacement gas canister for my torch and a special-sized metal box for the fitting of power outlets, switches or other items as I wanted one for installing a twin power outlet and a television outlet on the same box rather than fitting two separate boxes. Electricians will know what I mean. Whilst waiting in the plumbers merchant store for ten minutes I was told they didn’t stock the particular gas canister that I wanted. Why couldn’t he tell me that when I first walked in as I had the torch standing on the counter and it was obvious to anyone with an ounce of sense that I wanted a replacement? That’s the way it goes sometimes. The guys had turned up to continue with the front steps and had started to build up a small retaining wall alongside the new steps but it looked horrible and out-of-place. I had to tell them to take it down and leave it at a lower height and they admitted it looked better but they had been instructed to build it high by E’s nephew, their boss. He should have asked us what we wanted in the first place. I spent a little time with E upstairs in the bedroom as she wanted to finish off the painting of the skirting boards with undercoat. She had been busy doing the work whilst I had been away from home. I don’t know what it is about builders but they leave everywhere so messy. The garage in which I park my van is full of their materials, tools, sheets and wheelbarrows. I shall be glad when all the work is complete and we can have our house back.
I had work scheduled for Wednesday which I knew would take me a couple of hours to complete and in fact it took me four. It is the little things that cause the problems, poor connections in lighting units, not enough slack in the wiring to allow for changes, missing screws or those so tiny that they can easily be lost and a host of other things. The work itself consisted of replacing some lighting units, an extract fan, repairing a bell circuit and replacing a faulty power outlet. If truth be known the work should have taken about three hours and would have done but for some of those minor problems and the fact that I had to leave the premises in order to purchase equipment. Isn’t is always the case that if we are in a hurry to get things done problems slow us down? I am pretty much relaxed about it all though for there is no point not being so. Still, minor problems are a nuisance whatever they are. In any case I had nothing else to do other than my own domestic projects so I was in no hurry though I did have to complete the work before 1 o’clock. I completed the work by 12.30. As it was lunchtime I decided to eat out instead of driving directly home for there was a pub/restaurant along the way. I hadn’t visited this particular eatery for quite some time and I was surprised to see how few people there were inside for on previous occasions it had been full. I arrived home sometime after 2 o’clock and expected to simply relax and do nothing but I got a call from an old gentleman for whom I had previously worked. He was desperate to have his kitchen light fixed but said it was the lamp, a fluorescent tube, that was faulty. So off I went and purchased a lamp and then went to install it but he had to pay my minimum fee for doing so. I had advised him as much before I drove to the house though I didn’t charge for the tube itself. I get many days like these and more so during the weeks before Christmas when many people seem to be in a panic to get things done before the day. Why that is so escapes me but I’m not complaining, problems or not.
Many of you will have heard that saying and understood its meaning but some may not. Before I continue with the theme of this post I will explain what a saint really is. Notwithstanding what the dictionary definition is, a saint in real terms is described in Scripture. When saint Paul corresponded with the believers (in Christ) in the various places dotted about the Mediterranean Sea he began by writing ‘To all the saints in….’. He was addressing them as saints and therefore by the same token all those who are believers today can call themselves ‘saints’. Incidentally, there is no hierarchy in sainthood as some churches would have us believe. They talk about ‘special’ saints and address them using the capital letter ‘S’ but in fact all saints are simply those who are followers of Christ. To be a Christian (saint) is to have among many things, patience and forbearance especially when all things seem to be coming against us.
Over the last weekend I began to feel a tenderness and sensitivity in one of my front (incisor) teeth and after a day or so I began to feel a general ache beneath the surrounding teeth. I knew a visit to the dentist was needed but in the meantime I kept the pain down and rinsed often with an antiseptic mouthwash believing it to be an infection rather than a tooth problem. By Thursday morning I could no longer put off going to the dentist but I had two electrical jobs scheduled. The first one was at nine o’clock and was easy to do so I spent little time there. My next job although quite a few miles distant would take me past my dentist‘s surgery so I called in there to make an appointment. As by now I was suffering with toothache I was fortunate to get an appointment at 2.15, immediately after their lunch break. It was only ten o’clock so I had time to go to my next job and complete it. I drove off but about a mile from my destination and on a country lane I could hear a strange noise so I stopped the van to see if the ladders on the roof were secure. They were but then I looked beneath the van to see the exhaust end box on the road. I could do without a problem like this at that moment for I wasn’t feeling too good, was a little tired and I wanted to get on with the day ahead. It is fortunate that I was in a van carrying electrical cables and tools. A length of earthing conductor and five minutes on my stomach soon had the exhaust box supported and I was on my way. A simple steel strap wraps around the box and is suspended from a flexible rubber band but the strap had corroded leaving no support for the box. I arrived at the house and was greeted by an old lady who after hearing my story promptly made me a cup of tea. I discovered that her husband had taken the dog for a walk but that if I needed a long ladder there was one on the extension’s roof. I was to replace a floodlight but it was at high level. I don’t carry long ladders now for I don’t usually work at such height from a ladder at my age. I made an exception and got on with it but it wasn’t easy and it wasn’t straightforward. I will spare you the details suffice to say it was a proverbial pain and just something else to try to rub me up the wrong way. The second light unit I had to replace was at low level and I thought that would be far easier but again there were problems. What else could go wrong? Finally I was able to drive back homeward stopping off at the dentists on the way but I was over an hour too early for the appointment. I found a place to park the van and walked the short distance across the busy main road to the surgery. By now I was in real pain but had to sit it out. I was the only patient in there at that moment and for a while afterward. I was also feeling quite hungry but could I really eat anything before seeing the dentist as I couldn’t brush my teeth? What dentist wants to see a mouth full of bits of food? I could eat later. I was more concerned about the toothache which was getting worse and a newly developing headache. I was a wreck! Finally I was sitting in the chair with the nice young dentist peering into my mouth. He is so nice and has the dubious pleasure of looking after my dental needs. He treated me on my last visit and will remain my dentist as long as he is there. He took an x-ray and five minutes later I was called into the room again to be told I had two teeth which needed filling and I had two abscesses also. They were in separate places and were caused by an infection. He prescribed antibiotics which I have to take for the next few days, My next appointment on the 18th inst. will be the first of five in order for him to do what is necessary. This is going to cost me a pretty penny! At the reception I was to have the prescription stamped and I had to arrange for the next appointment but all I wanted to do was to get the prescription filled out at the chemist store two doors away and go home. There was a problem, I had a bad headache, the phone rang continually, the only receptionist had her hands full with another patient and there were other people ahead of me in the queue. Soon I was in the chemist but they were busy in there too! At last I was sitting in the van whereupon I took one of the antibiotic capsules and a headache tablet I keep in there with the water I also keep in the cab. I could go home but no, I had to visit the tyre and exhaust depot first to see if they could do the repair only to be told when I got there that they no longer hold stock and the part would have to be ordered but that I could drive a couple of miles to a service station who might have them in stock. The drive took me out-of-town in the opposite direction to home. The guy there told me the bad news, no, they didn’t have the part but it could be there the following morning. It would also necessitate replacing the tail box as the strap securing it is now welded to the box! That meant extra expenditure to the tune of £70. I couldn’t have the work done in the morning as I had a job to do so made the appointment for later in the afternoon. When I got home all I wanted to do was sit down and doze off to sleep but I needed something in my tummy and ate some fruit. It was too late for lunch and too early for dinner. The phone rang and it was yet another job request. Now just to rub salt in my wounds I discovered I had problems with updating Norton security on my computer and had also lost the Norton toolbar again for the fourth time. I have had nothing but problems with Norton when using Firefox ever since I upgraded to Windows 10. Once was acceptable, if anything should be acceptable, twice was an irritation, then three and now four times is really not acceptable. However I took in in my stride though in fact wanted to scream. I contacted the Norton help desk and was again connected to an agent who took control of my computer and with great efficiency had the problem sorted in less than thirty minutes. It is reasonable to hope that this will be the final time but who knows? Despite everything that happens in my life I remain patient and unruffled but then I have the patience of a saint.
Wednesday was one of those days that simply annoys. When I awoke all was fine and then I found one or two things to annoy me and throughout the rest of the day it continued. The day itself was bad as far as the weather was concerned, very wet and very windy but that in itself is never a problem with me. It used to be. I left the house in a good mood leaving myself forty minutes to get to my destination about 15 miles away. It shouldn’t have taken that amount of time under normal circumstances but nevertheless did and for several reasons. Within the first half-mile of my outward journey I encountered a speeding driver, two illegally parked drivers who caused the main flow of traffic to grind to a halt, an idiot waiting to make a right-turn at traffic lights but taking the whole carriageway to do it thus preventing the traffic behind from moving past on the left (we drive on the left in the UK) and goody two shoes keeping strictly to 25 mph in a 30 zone thus hindering traffic flow. Further ahead a motorist turning right at the lights who wouldn’t make the move despite their being nothing to prevent it. I turned right behind but was left standing as they were obviously speeding down the road to make up for the lost time waiting at the traffic lights unnecessarily! I stuck to the speed limit. A car pulled out from a road on my left without much thought for those on the main road, me! At the next junction someone else did the same thing. I was beginning to think those on the road that morning had death wishes. The onward journey was pretty much the same, drivers taking unnecessary chances and considering the driving conditions were somewhat treacherous, sheer lunacy. Occasionally the early morning sun shone through the clouds into the faces of those drivers too which made matters worse. Part-way through my journey I saw a refuse collection vehicle parked at the roadside whist being loaded with waste. The tail-back caused by that one vehicle was over a half-mile long! Why they had to collect at that time in the day, the rush hour, is beyond belief. You would think the council responsible would be just that, responsible. I was glad I was driving in the opposite direction but couldn’t help feeling sad for the poor souls being held back on their respective journeys. As I got nearer to my destination there was heavy congestion due to the road works in a couple of places along the same route. I was held back for some time at the temporary traffic control lights. When I finally turned into the road at my destination there were absolutely no places whatsoever in which to park my van. The road was narrow and vehicles stood nose to tail down one side leaving the other side free for moving traffic. No passing places had been left and chaos ensued. Fortunately I was able to squeeze onto the small space behind other vehicles on the driveway of the cottage I was visiting. The old lady invited me in and I assessed the work I was asked to do. Shortly afterwards the road was devoid of any vehicles and I was then able to park my van on it. I had to move the van because one of the cars on the driveway would be driven away ten minutes later. My task was to remove two lights from the dining area and replace them with others. One on the wall and one on the ceiling beams. Both were difficult as I had expected, annoying little problems with each of them. One of those removed was a brass spotlight which incidentally was faulty and couldn’t be repaired but I had been asked to re-site it upstairs. It was a low voltage unit and the transformer had burned internally. It had been moulded into the base and couldn’t be removed but it could be converted to a high voltage unit with some modifications and a little ingenuity. Why did I offer to do it? It presented me with all sorts of challenging problems but because the old lady had set her heart on having it upstairs I set about doing the conversion. A new unit it seems was out of the question and probably couldn’t have been purchased anyway as the old one was so old and out of production. It took me a while to do but eventually I got there after some cussing! Resiting it presented me with further problems, naturally. The lady had an old dog which continuously walked back and forth around my feet and was being somewhat of a nuisance. Well I couldn’t really object so I just tried to avoid it. I asked the lady what was wrong with her dog and she told me it was suffering from the doggy version of dementia. When I went upstairs to fit the two lights I had removed downstairs my phone wouldn’t stop ringing. Call after call most of which were nuisance or spam but they were enough to interrupt at the most inappropriate moment. Finally I was able to finish the work, pack up my things and after payment drive back home. I was held up for forty minutes in a queue of traffic controlled by more road works and arrived home late for lunch. Whilst sorting out my paperwork I discovered my phone wasn’t in my bag. Thinking back I remembered where I had left it, back at the cottage! Fifteen miles away! I have never done that before. Crikey, I had to drive back to collect it. I telephoned ahead to make sure it was there and off I went again. This time I took a different but longer route to avoid road works. I was there in half an hour. On my way back home I stopped at a farm shop and had a freshly made sandwich, made by the young girl serving me. Just like a ‘Subway‘ only better. Breakfast had been nine hours earlier so it tasted that much better. Once I was back home all the problems of the day had melted away.