Monthly Archives: November 2007


A lifelong dream, up in smoke.
A game of Scrabulous in which I was the winner, after a neck and neck race all the way, and I had just one final letter to play.
A letter G.
A single, solitary, two-point letter G and all I had to do was place it on the board and I’d have won.

A lifelong dream destroyed by a letter G.

(Anyone who is thinking that it cannot be a lifelong dream when I only discovered Scrabulous less than a week ago clearly has never pitted their meagre wits against the mighty Derf. A single game feels like a lifetime. After three massive defeats at her expert hands the prospect of beating her glowed like a holy grail in the distance, beckoning me onward towards the impossible goal. And I was foiled by a G!)


For a few weeks now I have been standing on all sorts of dangerous things, including the floor. I can assure you, the floor is a pretty dangerous place to stand when you’ve got labyrinthitis and haven’t got a handy wall to cling to. And that’s to say nothing of, once the tablets had kicked in, standing on step-ladders, platforms and even stools to paint and varnish window frames, walls and ceilings and to hold plasterboard in place for my brother.

My new printer (lovely, lovely) is so large that it will only sit comfortably on the very zenith of my computer desk, a location which I need ropes and crampons to clamber up to in order to load it with ink or paper…. ropes and crampons or else a rather precarious computer chair on wheels and a prayer.

Is it any surprise that I fell yesterday and have a cracking bruise on my arm? No? Well what if I tell you that it was not due to any unconventional household mountaineering exploits? What was I doing? Well, one minute I was sitting on my chair, the next I was somehow sprawled on the floor twixt chair and computer desk, with my backside somehow no longer firmly esconced in in the seat.

OK, you can stop laughing now. And shame on all of you who said that it really doesn’t surprise you that I fell off a stationary chair.

I blame Jack and Derf

There is something obscurely masochistic about someone who fritters away half her day checking to see what horrendous damage her opponents have inflicted on her in the last hour on Scrabulous. I used to be quite good at Scrabble. Maybe my Dad was letting me win after all.


I am no longer lost in the labyrinth. I do, however, appear to be almost completely deaf in one ear. (I thought I was getting a hoax call on my telephone until I swapped it to the other ear and discovered my friend repeatedly saying “hello”!) The doc reckons it should get better in a couple of weeks, but wants to see me to explore why I keep getting problems with my right ear. It does have its advantages, though, as well as its disadvantages. What was that you said?

It’s a good job I’m a patient woman!

Is there a decent plumber in the house? An indecent one would do, actually, as long as he were capable of beating my central heating boiler into submission. Yet again it looks as though my new combi-boiler will indeed be helping to reduce my gas bill considerably, not by being ultra-efficient but by refusing to heat my home at all. I am sitting here snuggled in several layers of clothing and hugging a steaming mug of coffee (and a rapidly diminishing packet of Malted Milk biscuits in order to increase my insulating layer of blubber!) while the house regains its composure after another visit from the boiler-man (of course, the boiler adds insult to injury by working perfectly well when he comes). How long have I had the boiler he asks? One year, one month and thirteen days to be precise. And for how many of those days has it actually worked?????

Apparently this time he thinks the cause of the problem is a totally different one. Apparently the weather yesterday was too windy and rainy for it. It was too windy and rainy for me too, especially with no heating!

It always happens to me!

So there I was, Thursday morning, no demands on my time until 3pm when I have to pick up the Smudgelet and his tuba from school for a swimming lesson. Well, a swimming lesson for Smudgelet. Just a lift home in the car for the tuba, who isn’t even invited to join me in the spectators gallery to watch!

House doesn’t need cleaning. (Well, it needs sorting, and some work needs tackling in the extension, but nothing that wouldn’t wait an hour or two). No kids, no visitors, no rush to get out to work. And best of all, no workmen. There’s only one bit of workman-work to do – which is the second fit of electrics and the electrician is busy this week – the rest is down to my brother and me, and my brother’s up in Scotland for three weeks. So no workmen. None at all. Not even a “checking up” visit from the project manager or the architect. So what did I do? Yes, you’ve guessed it: I ran myself a deep and luxurious bath, sank beneath the bubbles and gently dozed in the warmth and comfort of self-pamperdom.

I suddenly became aware of M’s customary knock on the front door. Typical! I knew it was her as she’d promised to come round and help me carry the laminate flooring packs out of the back of the car (the labyrinthitis still being a bit of a nuisance occasionally). So I shouted from my wallowing luxury through the window which is conveniently next to the front door…. “I’m naked at the moment. Come on in and put the kettle on!”

A voice from the other side of the blind (thank goodness we managed to fix the blind last week) said something rather muffled so I knelt in the bath, peeped round the side of the blind, and was rather taken aback to make out a black jacket with reflective stripes. M doesn’t wear those!!!! A rather amused voice from the other side of the window said gruffly “I’ve come to take the skip off the drive. You’d better put some clothes on before you move your car, it’s frosty out here!”


I have to report that neither of my visitors commented on the proliferation of wine bottles in the kitchen (though when I came in and found the joiner, a past pupil, making himself a cup of coffee – albeit at my invitation – I did wonder what had gone through his mind when he saw them lined up in front of the kettle!).

It was really rather lovely having representatives from two hemispheres converging on the Isle of Wight overnight, and I am delighted to say that, by the time they arrived, I had a live-in-able home and a semi-hygienic kitchen. I can’t find anything any more, and can’t open my bedroom door for fear of a landslide, but such small sacrifices sometimes have to be made.

It was rather nice having an excuse to do some touristy things again, and especially taking two visitors from relatively “new” countries to visit our wonderful castle (with Saxon origins, but mainly Norman) and 11th Century church. We went on a whistle-stop tour of the west coast, including a very blustery stop at the Needles park to see the Island’s most famous landmarks. Having missed going to Osborne House, we made good use of their tearooms to have morning coffee before returning the visitors to the boat.

I was very thoughtful and forewent (foregoed?) the opportunity to cook a three course meal and stand doing washing up in my pristine sink in favour of allowing my foreign friends to experience the truly British experience of going to the chippy :0).

I will not embarrass Ian by mentioning the tooth fairy!

Making use of the facilities

Jack, naturally the builders and workmen made use of my brother’s handy array of DIY tools and my capacity for always having the kettle on. Would you believe I went through three bags of sugar, me who never usually uses sugar at all? I hope they made allowance for that in their bill.

The architect has had a narrow escape. I am not going to sue him after all as building control have finally let him off the hook. (Not that he deserves it). I suppose now I’d better pay him. (Not that he deserves it).

I am actually signing in (while enjoying my 9-30ses in the form of a cup of coffee, two stem ginger cookies and a sit down) to report that things are progressing slowly but surely in a slightly-less-chaotification kind of way. I now appear to have a lounge. There is clutter everywhere you look, but the seats are clear and the larger chunks of plaster are relocated into a big black bin bag headed for the skip. I now just have to vacuum the floor, or maybe indulge it with a bit of a proper clean, and this room will be sufficient for me to say to any visitors “I’m so sorry, I simply didn’t have time to clean and tidy before you arrived”.

My next challenge is the kitchen.

Hmmm… how precisely am I going to explain to my visitors the existance of a long row of red wine bottles adorning my work surface. How is a good little TT Methodist going to explain those away convincingly. Do you think anyone will believe the true story, which is that our church is doing a charity day on the theme of music in February and they need ten green bottles to fill with water, hang from a wall, and challenge people to play “Ten green bottles” on, so my brother (who likes a glass or two of red wine each evening after his work in the extension) was asked to donate the product of his three weeks’ working here and we’ve collected them, with a few to spare, ready for this charity do? Does that sound convincing? No, I didn’t think it did!

I blame M

No, not the James Bond one, but my own personal M, Honorary Auntie M, who turned up at the door saying “Get some decent clothes on,” (am I the only person who gets on better with the cleaning if they stay in their pyjamas?) “and grab your coat, I’m taking you out for lunch!” And that before I’d even made my cup of coffee. Still, the carpet in the hall is vacuumed and the walls despidered. At least in the hall, bathroom and loo I can now say to any visitors “I wanted to do some cleaning and tidying before you came but I simply haven’t had time”. ;o) (It’s a good job Ian doesn’t read this blog, isn’t it?)

Now, can I face doing anything with this lounge or should I have a nap first, bearing in mind I’m off work sick? (Labyrinthitis – now on the mend – and a constant ear infection)