Musings On The Last Sunday Before Christmas.

As anyone who has read my blog this week will know, my musings are not going to be very cheerful this week. Julie tested positive for Covid-19, and has been very unwell. So far, I have avoided catching it from her, but I do sense it is inevitable that it will happen.


Then poor Ollie started to shake his head again yesterday, so I have resumed treatment with his ear-gel.


Our central heating is still not working properly, and the engineer will not come back to fit the part because Julie has Covid. So we are running out of wood for the log burner soon, and having great difficulties buying any locally that can be delivered before Christmas.


It has been excessively cold all week. Not getting above freezing at all, and dropping to -8C at night. (17F) On the bright side, it is supposed to warm up here from Monday morning, and that will help. But it will still not be warm enough to cope with unreliable heating, unfortunately.


With Christmas day falling on a Sunday, Monday and Tuesday are public holidays, causing everything to shut down here until the 28th. It really couldn’t be a worse time of year for all this to happen. But I am trying to stay positive, despite it all.


Whatever you are doing on this day, I hope life is trouble-free for you.
I really do.


A Domestic Annoyance

When I got up this morning, I turned on the central heating. It was very cold inside and outside the house, and the radiators soon warmed us up. Around 11 am, I started to feel cold, and when I touched the radiators, each one was cool. I inspected the boiler in the garage. There was no warning light on indicating failure, and it was making its usual ‘whirring noise’. But for some reason, the heat was not being transmitted to the radiators at all.

Julie rang a friend whose husband is a plumber/heating engineer. While she did that, I set about lighting the wood burner, and bringing in logs from the store outside. He suggested it could be faulty thermostat, and offered to look at it tomorrow evening.

By the time I went out with Ollie, the fire was blazing nicely, and the living room was incredibly warm.

When I got back from a freezing cold dog walk the whole house felt like the tropics, and Julie was almost overwhelmed by how warm it was. I felt the radiators, and they were all red hot! I had to turn the heating off, and that after contacting someone to come out to fix it.

But I know better than to cancel his visit. When a thermostat starts to act strangely, it is probably not too long before it stops working completely.

As my mum used to say, “These things are sent to try us”.

Worse Than No Sun?

It’s only the 2nd of January, but here is my first weather moan of 2021.
(At least I am consistent)

Low Winter Sun. What a pain that is. We have had to close the curtains this morning, due to intense low sunshine that is piercing the house like the beam of an unwanted searchlight. Brighter by far than any normal summer sunshine, it can give you a headache in five seconds flat, believe me.

And if you live in Beetley, don’t even think about driving your car. As soon as you reverse out of the driveway, you will be blinded by an intense light that sunglases cannot cope with at all. Even trying to drive to the end of the street is impossible. You literally cannot see the front of your car.

Add that light reflected off of a damp tarmac road surface, and it is like being in a science-fiction film.

I have to have a SAD lamp because it is usually so dull. But this low sun makes it almost impossible to cope until it moves around later. It is almost worse than having no sun at all.

I know. Never happy! 🙂

WordPress Glitches

Just to let you know, my blog has been suffering from some WP glitches this weekend.

Some followers have been appearing as ‘Anonymous’ when they have left a comment.

Using the notification sidebar to reply to comments has made those comments disappear, though my reply has appeared on the blog.

A few comments from regular readers have been found in the Spam or Trash folders.

I have been asked to approve comments from people who regularly comment, even if they do not contain links.

So if my replies are delayed, or your comment is missing, you know why.

Update: Computer

Further to my previous post, I have managed to get my PC working. But it is definitely temperamental, and feels as if it might just die at any moment.

As a result I have ordered a new one, to be delivered next week.

Meanwhile, I will soldier on with what I can do on this one.

Thanks to everyone who offered help and advice.

In case I go missing…

After a lot of very frustrating fiddling around with WordPress today, I finally managed to access the ‘Live Chat’ feature with their help desk that comes with my paid plan.
I explained the issues, and got this.

Ok thanks. We were experiencing some issues earlier today which could be related to that but they should be resolved now. Have you tried within the last half hour or so?
This seems to be related to the cookie information and or cache in your browser. By testing in the incognito window it uses a fresh browser with no cookies or cache. By logging out and logging back in it will refresh the cookies for in your browser.

If that doesn’t work it may be required to clear the cache and cookies in the browser

I was also directed to log in using an ‘Incognito’ window. That worked, and I was able to leave a test comment elsewhere.

I now have to log off the WordPress platform, and clear the cookies and cache.

I have low confidence that I will ever be allowed back.

So if that happens, it was nice knowing you all. 🙂

Pete’s Law

Experience has taught me to live by this simple law.


Yesterday, the new washing machine was due to be delivered and installed. Things started well, with a phone call at 9 am to let me know the men would be here between 1 and 4. I took Ollie out early, so I could make sure to be around when they turned up. After a decent walk on a cold bright day, I arrived home and waited.

As promised, they arrived just after 2:30. The procedure was to remove the old one first, then while they unpacked and prepared the new machine, I could clean out the space that hadn’t seen the light of day in years. The water supply was turned off, and they used a special ‘slidey mat’ to move the heavy washer out into the main part of the kitchen.

Seconds later, ‘Pete’s Law’ applied.

It turned out that the guy who had installed that machine in 2011 had ‘hard-wired’ the electrics, using a junction box, and isolator switch. The new machine has to be plugged into an existing socket, and there wasn’t one at the back. There wasn’t one in range of where the machine was to be installed either. The men from the shop are not allowed to connect the machine by hard-wiring. That has to be done by a qualified electrician. In this case, it is now apparently illegal to wire a washing machine like this anyway, as it is not ‘waterproof wiring’.

The men were sympathetic. They made phone calls to the shop. But nothing could be done until a proper socket is installed in the space, and the previous ‘dangerous’ wiring removed. They put our new washing machine back on their van, and said they would return on Sunday, as long as I could get the electrics in place by then.

I was now faced with having to get our (very good) electrician to come and do the job in five days at the latest, and of course have to pay him for that work too.

After two phone calls and two emails, he has agreed to come tomorrow morning, to do the required work. Meanwhile, my wife has to drive 28 miles each way to her daughter’s house later, with two bin-bags full of washing that cannot wait until the weekend. And I am left wondering what further electrical issues might be discovered on Wednesday.

Is it any wonder that I am a pessimist?

A Domestic Positive

Unusually for me, I have something very positive to write about.

On Wednesday morning, we were due to have the carpet fitted in our living room. This has been outstanding since March, as we were waiting for the decorating to be completed.

Given the recent trials and tribulations on the home front, I woke up with a sense of dread. Would the carpet arrive? Will there be numerous issues?

Will it even be fitted?

Things didn’t start off well. One man arrived, and there should have been two. It’s a pretty big room, 25 by 15 feet.
He wasn’t aware that the room would be full of furniture, so I had to help him shift it.
(Not a simple task for me, given my age, and physical ability.)

Then he realised that we already had very good carpet underlay in place, much like the £248 worth he had on board that I had paid for.

Frantic phone calls to the shop later, he spoke to them and told them that there was no need to replace perfectly good underlay with exactly the same thing.
As well as that, it would save him a great deal of time, and as he was a self-employed contractor, that was a good thing. The other good thing was that I got the £248 refunded to my account, and he took away the new underlay that was no longer required.

After a cup of coffee, he set to the job with obvious skill. I had to help him shift heavy and large items of furniture back and forth, reminding me how weak I am now, since Statins ruined my arm muscles. But his thirty years of experience showed, and before too long we had a perfectly-carpeted living room, with the old carpet cut up and taken away for removal.

Once he had packed up and left, we were able to tidy up, and by 4 pm, the room was restored to how it used to look, albeit with different coloured walls, and carpet.

After all the decorating, the washing machine breaking down, and various other niggles, I was finally happy to sit and relax in what once again felt like home.

Life can be bad sometimes. But not always.