….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.
Sometimes you know that despite all your efforts to make things simple it still goes wrong. I was trying to re-order a special floor paint by email and was informed that they would get in contact for payment. I waited but nobody got in touch so I sent a reminder by email and the reply was they had called several times but got no answer. I actually checked the phone’s incoming call history and no-one from their organisation had called, in fact the last received call to the landline was two weeks earlier than they could have phoned. I ended up going online to place the order instead. I should have done that in the first place I suppose. The floor paint is for the gym where I have been repairing the floor and giving it a coat of paint, in fact there will be two coats applied once I get the paint of course! I have found so many times in life where I have attempted a short-cut to resolve or solve a problem and ended up with the work taking twice as long instead! It is obviously sometimes not worth cutting corners for a quicker response.
I write this on August 2 nd so hopefully I will receive the paint before the end of next week. The supplier is based in Dublin, Eire, which is merely across The Irish Sea from where I live but it might as well be across the Atlantic for the time it will take to arrive. I am in no hurry but I would like the floor finished as soon as possible. The reason for that is I wish to make a start on the island I am proposing to put in the lawn. There again though I have to wait upon the supplier for the large slate rocks, stones or whatever they are called. They are actually three pieces of slate but they are long and heavy in weight. I would like them to be delivered before any other work starts on the project for I would like to set them in place and work around them. I am excited at the thought of working on this project because it is outdoors. I like working outdoors as my previous projects will testify.
Hovering between intention and execution befell upon me on Tuesday the last fay of the month. I had plans to do all sorts of things but those plans never bore fruit. I get days like these sometimes, I’m sure you do too. Opportunities missed and good intentions left denied happen. To be fair with myself I was waiting upon action from others for without the materials I needed to continue with my projects there as little I could do. The link in the chain has broken for the time being.
I refer to my projects. Currently I have been filling in the cracks and holes in the gym floor and then painting it later doing a section at a time. At the time of writing there is only a small amount of paint left and about a third of the floor still needs doing. Even so, the floor will need a second coat of paint but that work should take far less time to do. All I can do in the meantime is finish off the filling-in but that would disrupt the planned schedule and is not worth doing. So I wait for the paint but the supplier hasn’t yet responded to my request. I have to chase them up on this. The other project, constructing the island in the lawn is also awaiting the delivery of materials so my hands are tied and I cannot make any progress on that either. I can only wait so long before I take action or the work will never get finished. I get a little impatient with people sometimes when they lack enthusiasm knowing I am waiting for them to deliver for me. I guess not everyone has the same motivation as myself. It is a little disheartening though that my plans are just sitting there, my projects left in limbo because I cannot rely on other people.
If there is one thing in this world which I hate most of all it is waiting, waiting for others to keep appointments, waiting for others to take action on promises and waiting around for anything else not under my control. It is Tuesday, the day after a long weekend break. The weather is changeable but at least it is a lot fresher than it has been and I am waiting around with nothing to do. Life at the moment is boring for me as I have nothing to do and no immediate plans to do anything. I woke up very late this morning at nine-twenty, very late for me. I had gone to bed at midnight and pretty much dropped off to sleep straight away which meant I would normally wake up around five o’clock. Well I did wake at that time for a visit to the toilet but returned to bed and dropped off to sleep again. I had done nothing to warrant the need for so much sleep which I think is strange. It often happens that way though. I missed breakfast but did eat some blueberries and I had a drink of cranberry juice, in fact two glasses of it and for a special reason. I normally have at least one glass filled with fruit juice at breakfast time. On Monday I had developed a vaginal infection which I began to treat immediately and took to drinking plenty of cranberry juice as part of that treatment. Cranberry juice seems to have the ability to discourage bacterial bladder infections and is recommended as a natural solution. By late afternoon today most of the symptoms had disappeared. That was just as well for I had decided to take a walk to the beach through the sand dunes and didn’t want to feel uncomfortable and be unable to do anything about it. The weather was just right for walking about as it was relatively cool with a slight breeze. I took nothing with me except my house keys and a small purse containing loose change. I was glad I did that for on my way back home I was feeling thirsty and a little tired and stopped at the pub for a drink. Few people were there as it was by then late in the afternoon and many would have eaten and left earlier but there were a couple of folk I knew and was able to chat with. I didn’t stay long though and was soon back home ready to do well…..nothing!
I like to get things done. If there are things to do I want to get on with them, it is in my nature. Any projects I may have often try my patience if I cannot work on them for whatever reason. Once I take on board any work I am eager to see it finished but sometimes things get in the way, other pressing tasks, ill-health, tiredness for instance. Thankfully I am blessed with good health but the occasional cold or maybe ‘flu will dampen my enthusiasm and I have to rest up. Other tasks such as my electrical work will take priority because while I am able to earn some extra money I do it. The beauty about having a project at home is the fact that there is never any real pressure with deadlines, I can take my time. At the present time my main project, if I can call it that, is the work I have been doing in the garden, mainly removing the thousands of bluebell bulbs and plants together with some montbretia plants that had overtaken one or two of the flowerbeds. The major part of that work is complete though there will be maintenance to follow throughout the year to ensure all plants have been eradicated. It may turn out to be an ongoing task for quite longer than that. At the time of writing this on Saturday there is still much to do in the corner near to the large greenhouse but as it is such a cold and windy day I have taken time out once again until it gets a little warmer. That should be in the week ahead but of course it might also rain and that will prevent progress. I guess I have been fortunate thus far as the weather for the beginning of the year has been reasonably fair for working out-of-doors as long of course I was wearing warm clothing! I want to get on with the work but common sense tell me I have to wait now and then. I went to the pub yesterday and stayed there for three hours. I had lunch and was served by the landlord’s brother who works there only on a Friday. I couldn’t remember having seem him there before but have to admit I haven’t been to the pub much during the last twelve months or so, about the same period of time he has been working there. He asked me what I had planned for the weekend. I told him I hadn’t any plans, which for me is usually the case unless I have a project to work on. Old habits die-hard I suppose. I can think of many reasons to go to the pub and many reasons to stay at home and they often conflict in my thoughts. I am not sure which will win the day today……
No work scheduled for Monday morning so I hadn’t set my alarm, instead someone phoned me at 8.30 asking if I could do a job. I guess I wasn’t that far off waking up naturally and perhaps I should have been out of bed by then anyway. As it turned out the caller lived too far away and out of my capture area though the work itself would have been acceptable. I rose from my bed and got dressed. I ate a small breakfast and went into the rear garden to pick up some broken-off twigs and small branches that often fall from the huge lime tree in a neighbour’s garden. It was cold and foggy that early in the day but it soon cleared away. I decided to remain indoors and relax though I could have done more in digging out of bluebells. However what remains of them won’t take long to remove I suppose but I wanted a rest from it. I prepared a light lunch later but just as I was about to eat the first mouthful my mobile phone rang. It was a call from a male customer for whom I had worked a few times in the past though the last time was something like four years ago. His problem was a loss of electricity to most of the house circuits, lighting, power outlets and shower. A few power outlets were not affected as I discovered later when I called there. I finished or rather started to eat my lunch and drove to his house as soon as I had finished eating. The reason some of the outlets were unaffected was due to the fact that they were supplied from another distribution panel. The fault lay in the main panel and specifically inside the main switch. The neutral part of the switch had burned-out inside the switch but the live part was in order. It meant that although all the house circuits that were affected had a live supply to them nothing could work without having a neutral connected too. As an interim measure I had to by-pass the neutral side of the switch. The board was an old one, at least thirty years old, so obtaining a new main switch would prove difficult, if indeed it was possible. I advised the installation of a new board. Having a new board would bring the system up-to-date as well as making it compliant with current fire regulations as the housing would be of metal. The old board had a plastic housing. Of course it would be more expensive to replace the board. I told him there was no need to hurry getting the replacement as my temporary repair would last until he had the funds to hand. As it turned out he asked if I could do the work as soon as possible. That would be on Thursday the same week. I don’t need to wait long before someone calls for my help.
So along came Tuesday morning and I was expecting the delivery of the building materials I had ordered. A lady had called me on Monday night asking if I could install a new power distribution panel in her apartment and I could only visit the apartment during the morning as she was driving to work in London in the afternoon. I asked her therefore if I could call early because of my expected delivery and arranged to be there at 8.15. I didn’t stay long, just enough time to assess the work. She would call me later to arrange a day for me to do the work as she would be in London for a few days. I returned home, which was less than two miles away and waited for the materials to arrive.
Rain was expected in the afternoon so it was important that they arrived before then so I could put it all in the garage. This time it would be eight bags of sand, three bags of granite dust (granno), three bags of stone chippings, two bags of cement and one more 900 x 600 mm paving slab. Whilst I was waiting I received a call from a woman who wanted me to do some work any day in the morning as she worked in the afternoon. However because I told her I wasn’t available until the following Monday she hung up! She wanted the work done immediately and it didn’t matter to her that people might have previous engagements. In my case I would be working at home while the weather was dry, though I didn’t tell her that. It was almost twelve o’clock and the materials still hadn’t arrived so I called their office to check and was assured my order was on their delivery vehicle, wherever that was. When the vehicle arrived it was twelve-fifteen and my order was its only load. I thought to myself that they had only just loaded it. I had called them about twenty-five minutes earlier and their depot is less than a mile and a half away, plenty of time to have just loaded it. Whenever I have ordered something to be delivered by this company it never arrives when they say it will. Had I been waiting to use the materials immediately I would have been very annoyed and that is why I never rely on them to deliver on time. Just before I had called the merchant’s office I received another request for my electrical services. I explained that I was waiting for the delivery but would call back once they had arrived. I did that work at two o’clock and on my way back home the promised rain began to fall but by four o’clock it was sunny again. The day had been almost a total washout except for the electrical work and the fact that I now had plenty of materials to hand with which to complete the project on the Plot.
I don’t know about you but I hate being kept waiting for anything. I get impatient when I have to rely on others who don’t have the same sense of urgency in their service to me. It could be anything, the doctor’s surgery, the dentist’s waiting room, any waiting room in fact. Worst of all is when I am on time but am kept waiting nevertheless. One of the worst offenders are the airports, ‘Flight number so and so has been delayed and is now expected to depart at’, how annoying when you have made the effort to arrive two hours early as is often suggested! I am a now person, I like to see things happening when I expect them to. I don’t want delays and excuses, I want definition and reliability and a little consistency doesn’t go amiss. In my work as an electrician I arrive at the agreed time and am only ever a little late if something unexpected happens, a traffic accident or hold-up for instance. I am invariably early for my appointments but even so being unexpectedly stuck in traffic can eat up the extra time I allow to get anywhere. I tell my customers that I will arrive on or about a certain time and I do. Waiting for others can be a pain. If I am expecting a delivery of some sort I like to know at least which half of the day it might arrive. ‘We will deliver on Tuesday but it will be up to the driver as to when we arrive’ is no good for it means I have to potentially wait in all day. If they can say the delivery will be in the morning or in the afternoon it is far better but even so the waiting is unbearable for me. I know I cannot expect service at precise times when too many factors can upset plans. Speaking of Tuesday, I was expecting the delivery of a dozen 3 x 2 (feet) paving slabs from my local merchant because I couldn’t carry all that weight in my little van, not all at once anyhow. I was told that the delivery would be made on Tuesday but at no specific time. This is a prime example of a poor service for me. They did arrive and were delivered at 3 o’clock. By three thirty I had moved them all the approximate distance of 40 metres through the garage to the rear of the other garage where they are to be laid in the Plot. They each weigh in the region of 65 to 70 Kg. needless to say I used a trolley! They are remarkably easy to manipulate as long as you know how to do it. Hardly any effort was required which was just as well because I was a little tired. Many things now are ordered on-line and deliveries are most often made the next day but the time of delivery is not always given which again means hanging around and not being able to get on with other things. As for the delivery of those paving slabs, I was prevented from doing any work in the Plot because I wouldn’t be able to hear the doorbell ring or the wagon arriving. The Plot is too far away from the front of the house. I suppose I shouldn’t complain at the opportunity to rest a while but that isn’t me, I like to get on with things. Sometimes I wish I was as laid-back as some are. E is a little like that, she never seems in a hurry to do anything. her motto would be it is better to arrive late than not at all whereas mine would be it is better not to arrive late and let people down.
My erratic sleep patterns of late though getting me out of bed during the night to do crazy things like washing clothes (see previous posts) have not interfered with the quality of my sleep. I arise refreshed and ready for the day ahead. It is of no consolation therefore that I find myself with little to do. No electrical work yesterday (Thursday) and none today (Friday as I write). One of the first things I did when I went downstairs was to brush the rich fruit cake I had baked the previous evening with whisky. I wanted to use rum but we hadn’t any and I didn’t want to use brandy (actually Cognac) as I had used the last time. The alcohol preserves the cake whilst imparting a distinct flavour and aroma which I think improves the taste too. I spent the rest of the morning doing meaningless things, trivial things, just to pass away the time. We were expecting the delivery of the materials for constructing the bedroom furniture and had been given a time anywhere between noon and seven in the evening. E wasn’t feeling well on Friday, suffering with the symptoms of a cold but she wanted a couple of letters posting at a specific post box and she wanted to know the details of collection times as provided on the post box. She does this on behalf of The Post Office so they can keep a check on their operations. She is paid in kind for the work, receiving free postage stamps both for the work and for herself. Anyway she couldn’t go out and asked me to post them whilst noting down the time I posted them and the details on the post box. She would then log the information which would be sent to The Post Office later. It was around 3.30 when I returned home and I was wondering when the materials would be delivered not wanting it to be too late in the day. We never seem to get early deliveries of anything. Just then I got a call from the delivery men informing me that they were about an hour and a half away. At least I knew then when to expect them. Well they arrived an hour later and it took the two of them an hour to unload the vehicle and bring everything inside and upstairs but I could see they were tired. We offered refreshments but only one took advantage. I gave them each a tip when they had finished for they had earned it! Although the pile of material doesn’t look much in the picture I can assure you it is more than it looks and is very heavy. Each item had to be carried from the street, across the driveway and then up twenty-six steps before reaching the bedroom, 141 items I was told. We now wait until Thursday for the work to begin.
I’ve never been a patient person when waiting for things to happen though I have the patience to resolve problems that I am often confronted with. I just don’t like waiting, especially for others to take action. At the time of writing I am awaiting a quotation for the building work I am employing someone else to do for me rather than doing it myself and botching it up. Not that I can’t lay bricks myself for I have laid many of the in the past, rebuilding and extending the newest of the two garages we have at home and more recently a couple of minor bricklaying jobs. In this particular instance I have invited E’s nephew, a builder/bricklayer, to give me a quote. If his quotation is reasonable I will get him to do the work but if not I will try elsewhere. This means I have to play the waiting game as there is very little meaningful work I can do on the project until the brickwork is completed. As my electrical work is thin on the ground at this moment I am finding it difficult to cope with the idleness. I am not an idle person, not by a long shot so it is getting to me that I have nothing to do. The rest will benefit me physically but psychologically it is driving me crazy. I know things will suddenly change, they always do but I will be ready for the change when it happens. It is at times like these I should go to the pub, go for a bicycle ride, a walk, a drive, the cinema, the theatre, the shops, anything to relieve the boredom! However I know I will do few of those things if any, besides, I have to be reasonably available to do any electrical work that comes my way don’t I? There is that bedroom to clear out of rubbish but alas at the moment E is using the room to paint that yellow chair in a new colour to make it suitable for use in the bathroom. Thwarted in every direction! Oh well I’ll just have to remain bored for the time being!