Small wins

Well. The heating system is all finished, and working a treat. Ditto the solar panels. I’ve booked the decorator, I’ve touched up the paintwork where the new radiators didn’t match the spaces left by the old radiators, and am in the process of organising a guy to do the other odd jobs.

I’m less tired than I was, and feeling more positive.

Today we took a load of rubbish to the tip (recycling centre) which is always a good feeling. The guys there are very helpful and friendly. Then weeded the front garden and tidied up the horrid old leaves from the daffodils and the bluebells. Looks so much better.

We are also doing “No Mow May”. The grass is already quite long. The neighbourhood cats really like it, though, nice and soft on their paws. Our lovely gardener is fine with long grass, as is his little dog Winston, who is such a character. Winston and I really like each other. It’s so sweet, the gardener turns up in his big van with all his equipment, his assistant, and this small dog who wags his whole body with delight, and runs about just for sheer joy.

The mowed grass you can see is next door’s. The daisies are a delight, and the bluebells are just to show off a bit.

New TV system. Well, sort of. I’ve disconnected the Humax PVR and bought a Buffalo 1TB external hard drive. Then I attached the new box to the TV, formatted it, and found out how to record on to it. We stream a lot of stuff now, there’s BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime and Netflix, but if we stream stuff from ITV, or Channel 4 or 5, that means we have to sit through adverts. We hate adverts. So I wanted to be able to record the commercial channels so that we can whizz past them.

It also means that we just have one “source” now – the TV. Humax don’t support Netflix, so we were having to switch from Humax to TV, which was a pain because the sound didn’t always work through the hi-fi. It does now.

There is no longer any juddering either – it was infrequent and fleeting but so damned annoying. Clearly the Humax was interfering somehow. Anyway it works better without. And I’ve managed to set programmes up to record – just need to see if you can set it up to record a series. Hmm.

The genealogy is inching along. Hubby has started on his family tree too, and solved a mystery that has long been bugging him. I think he expected to just log on, put in the information he had, and that it would all magically become clear. Frustrated doesn’t begin to cover it, but he has calmed down now, stopped threatening to cancel the whole thing, and is delighted that the mystery is solved. Further research required, though, as although we understand some stuff, there is more to be found. There is always more to be found, I guess, as I am discovering with my Scottish forebears. Who, frustratingly, seem to be called William more often than not. Not Catholics, clearly . . . .!

Granny and Grandad on their golden (50th) wedding anniversary (May 1979), photo taken by the local newspaper. The globe is to show how much they had travelled. Grandad went to the US in 1929 because of the depression, and when he had found work Granny went over too. She almost died of sea-sickness because the voyage was just so dreadful. Grandad ran a speak-easy for a while. He also was a butler while Granny looked after the children. They were just lovely.

Done! now onwards

Well, it took a whole month, but the heating now works. And the trunking now covers the pipes. What a relief. Phew.

Next up is some small handyman jobs round the house – I’m going to have a little go at touching up the paintwork myself and see how that goes before we book anyone.

Meanwhile the garden is just a joy. The rockery is doing so much better than I had hoped. And I’ve cleaned up several smelly old pots with diluted white vinegar and replanted them. Very pleased.

There are several pots I’ve replanted but for some reason known only to the Great Computer Geek in the Sky, I can’t upload the photos. Ho hum. Anyway, you can see the rockery!

Next up is the decorating. Just one room, but a big room, and lots to do in it. New carpet, curtains and upholstery after the painting is done. I need to sort out a date for the decorator, then get Pickfords in to move a load of stuff into storage. Can’t think beyond that at the moment – bite size chunks are better for me.

We have roundly ignored the stupid pretentious – and expensive! dressing up sh*t-show that took place on Saturday. For heaven’s sake. To quote Oscar Wilde, we can barely contain our indifference. We have a comedian called Harry Enfield who plays him, and the trouble is now that when I see a photo I can’t tell if it’s the comedian or not. Meanwhile Channel 4 is showing a documentary on what they call “The Problem Prince”. I’ll say! it’s Andrew, for those of you who don’t know. Very interesting. Hey ho.

And the saga continues . .

Well now. Where to start.

Old radiators removed. New radiators and pipes fitted. Air heat pump fitted. Enormous tank thing in what used to be the airing cupboard. New solar panels and battery storage fitted.

The solar panels were no problem at all. Scaffolders arrived, put up the scaffolding, solar panel fitters arrived, fitted the stuff, scaffolders took down the scaffolding. All in half a day. Easy peasy.

The air heat pump however is a different story. We were ten days without central heating or hot water. We have had a plumber and an electrician back (the electrician twice) to try and sort it out. Now we have hot water and heating, but the thermostat doesn’t work. So the heating does go on, but just gets hotter and hotter until we turn it off. Then it just gets colder and colder until we turn it on again. There are a couple of other problems, one of which is sorted, one of which isn’t yet. That is the short version. We are both really stressed, though less now than before, and the company doesn’t seem to understand either the problem, or how cross we are. However, we haven’t paid them the balance yet, so it will be sorted out before we do.


You can just imagine the mess. Plaster/brick dust everywhere. The guys were lovely, and funny, and one of the days they were here for thirteen and a half hours. 8 am until 9.30 pm. And they had a two hour journey each way. Heroes.

So we have the cleaners doing a full clean on Saturday afternoon. We have cleaned up the best we can but the dust just keeps on settling.

A couple of bits and bobs happened in the middle of all this. The tumble dryer (essential when there’s no heating and it’s pouring with rain!) was making screechy noises, and eventually died. Turned out it was 28 years old. Twenty eight! so we had to buy a new one, at great expense. But it’s great.

And the loft hatch, the one that the men kept having to go in and out of, fell apart. It was hanging by one hinge. Not great. So we had to get that fixed. But it’s so much better now! neat, tidy, safe and insulated.

Then there is the sale of the car. It was on Autotrader (a site where you can advertise your car as an individual) for a month, but on Wednesday somebody phoned and said I’d like to come and buy your car tomorrow please. Made me a reasonable offer, so I said yes. Then I panicked – what if it’s a conman? what if it’s a scam? anyway, it wasn’t. Guy arrived with a low-loader, checked the car, did the paperwork, paid us the money, and took away the car! excellent. So relieved. Now we are a one-car family, but as there’s only two of us we can manage fine with just the one. Phew.

What else? oh yes the garden looks lovely. Love this time of year.

No knitting/crochet mojo at all though. None. It’ll come back I expect when things are less fraught.

I’ve sent a DNA sample off to, and it’s currently being processed. Meanwhile I registered on their website and have been building a family tree. I did start one years ago and had kept a copy of the file, so it was easy enough to upload and carry on from there. It’s complicated, as I guess everybody’s is, as my mother was Scottish, and their records are kept differently and separately, and my father was Jewish, so lots of my ancestors are called Moses, or Nathan, or Miriam, or Esther. I have a lot of old photos, so have scanned them in and uploaded them (only people who have died – not sure about photos of people still alive, though hubby was happy for me to upload one of him).

The other thing is that people long ago, and Jewish families in particular, tended to have lots of children. So each ancestor I come across has nine or ten siblings. One is called Nathan Nathan. And he had a brother called Nathaniel Nathan. I do wonder if they were the same person, except that the birth dates are two years apart. It’s all very absorbing.

Haven’t quite got back that far yet, but my dad’s family was expelled from Spain in the Inquisition, so they scattered all over the world. I have ancestors in Holland, Russia, Poland, you name it. My sister is also doing the same thing so we are able to share information.

Here are my father’s parents. I never met them because they died long before Dad met Mother. Gladys and Sim Gordon. Sim was apparently quite scary according to my cousin. Wasn’t Gladys beautiful?


All the things:

Selling the car (now on Autotrader)
New solar panels being fitted (April 6th)
Heat pump being fitted (before decorating)
Decorator coming to quote – and that will involve new carpet, curtains and upholstery afterwards
Specsavers have cocked up my glasses one time too many so have an appointment with Vision Express next week (that’s the short version!)
Clearing out loads of stuff so getting it ready for Freecycle and/or the tip (recycling centre)
New dentist – first appointment last week, appointment for a filling for me made
Getting a man to quote for a network cable round the outside of the house
Four new tops ordered from Weird Fish’s sale (that’s exciting rather than worrying!)

I have had to write it down in a list in my “list book” so I don’t have to carry it all in my head.

Now it’s written down it’s slightly less intimidating, and I can cross things off as I go.

Anyhoo. Last weekend we went to near Guildford in Surrey to stay with ES and his wife. It was lovely. They went to great trouble to make sure I could eat (I’m a real pain to feed what with the IBS/dairy intolerance etc) and their house (part of a converted barn) is wonderful. The setting is beautiful too. We hired an electric car to make sure we’d have the range to get there, and that worked really well.

View at the back of the house. That’s hubby, right there.

The day before we travelled down, we had snow. Not what you’d call heavy snow if you lived in, say, Canada, but heavy for us. I was worried our little daffodils’ stems would be broken, but no! phew.