A couple of weeks ago my washing machine decided it no longer wanted to work as it should – although it would wash it wouldn’t spin properly and everything was coming out still wringing wet through. Now although it was an older machine (it was given to me by my daughter-in-law when she was clearing out her grandma’s flat eight years ago) it had always worked well so I thought it may be worth repairing – an internet search came up with the names and phone numbers of a few local domestic appliance repair people so I rang the one nearest to home and he called round a couple of hours later. Unfortunately though, his attitude left a lot to be desired – as soon as he stepped through the kitchen door, and without going anywhere near the machine, his words were “I’m not touching that!” When I asked why he said “Too old, can’t get the parts, not worth bothering with!” He then offered to supply a reconditioned machine at a ‘good’ price but knowing that for only £50 more I could get a brand new one from Currys/PC World I was a bit hesitant, and his following words were “To be honest I’m not bothered if you get one from me or not, I’ve got plenty of work to keep me busy so I don’t care one way or the other!” So I said I’d let him know and off he went.
Now it’s not easy to convey in typewritten words just what sort of attitude this guy had but he was abrupt to the point of being downright rude so on principle alone I wouldn’t get a machine off him – I’d rather scrub my washing on a riverbank first! I phoned another local firm and was told they don’t touch anything older than six years so I rang a third one but got no answer so I left a message. It was three days before this guy got back to me and he arranged to call on Monday last week; he was much nicer than the first guy, he did physically have a look at the machine, told me what was likely to be wrong with it and said he would try to get the parts for it – unfortunately though I hadn’t heard anything from him by Friday morning and my phone calls to him just went straight to voicemail.
Michael then told me about shop not too far away which sold reconditioned domestic appliances, apparently during his marriage he’d got a washing machine, tumble drier and fridge-freezer from there and he’d been very happy with them so he said that if I got a cheap-ish machine from there to be going on with he’ll buy me a brand new one once his ankle is okay and he gets back into full time work. That sounded good to me so on Friday afternoon I went over to the shop to see what they had – prices ranged from £60 to £110, delivered, installed and my old one taken away, though there was a £20 delivery charge. I decided on the one I wanted but unfortunately didn’t have enough money with me to leave a deposit so I said I would go back the following day and make arrangements for them to deliver the machine yesterday (Monday), however when I called back on Saturday the shop was closed. Even though the guy there had told me they were open every day except Sunday they were closed again when I went back yesterday – so not knowing when they would be open I decided to give up and look elsewhere.
A few blocks down the road from there is a shop dealing in good quality second hand furniture and appliances and my luck turned the minute I walked through the door. I found the perfect machine at a really good price and with only a £5 delivery charge I could have it within the hour – okay, I’d have to install it myself and get rid of the old one but neither would be a problem so I left a deposit and my phone number and drove back home. Sure enough, only twenty minutes later I got a phone call to say they were on the way and ten minutes after that they arrived; the machine was brought into the kitchen, I paid the balance and once they’d gone I set about sorting it out. Disconnecting the old one and installing the new one was easy enough and fifteen minutes after it was delivered it was merrily washing my cream jacket. Disposing of the old one was soon sorted out too – I’d intended putting it in the van and taking it to the council tip at the weekend but I was just about to go out with the dogs when the scrap man came round so he took it instead.
Looking at the new machine I don’t think I could have made a better choice, it’s in absolutely mint condition and looks almost brand new so I’m really pleased with it. Before the scrap man took the old one away I noticed a small sticker on the back of it with a date in May 2005 – I don’t know if that would be the date of manufacture or something else but for a machine at least 13 years old it’s done well, so if the new one lasts half as long as that I’ll be more than happy.
Back in the early days of this blog I wrote a post about a scatterbrained and ever-so-slightly eccentric friend of mine, and I have to say that in the sixteen months since I wrote that post her dottiness hasn’t improved any. Today I got an email from her which made me giggle so I thought I would share it with everyone – I know she won’t mind.
To put you in the picture, she lives in a village three-and-a-half miles up the road from me, a village which has no post office, shop, or any other businesses, so whatever she wants or needs she has to drive down to the local shops near here. Unfortunately she’s recently become another victim of the Aussie flu and as she lives alone I rang her yesterday morning to ask if she needed anything from the shops; she said she didn’t but today I got this email from her, and I quote –
“There is one thing you could do for me please but only if you’re passing and can park. I left my glasses and a book at Platinum hairdressers last time I was there – if you could pick them both up for me at your leisure and bring them next time you come up I’ll be very grateful. Normally leaving them there for now wouldn’t be a problem but I sat on my other glasses yesterday and they don’t fit properly now”
It was the last line which made me laugh. Collecting her book and second pair of glasses from the hairdressers isn’t a problem as it’s only a 10-minute walk down the road, but it’ll be interesting to see what shape the first pair of glasses are now!
While I’ve recently spent the best part of two weeks suffering from the debilitating effects of Aussie flu I’ve been doing a lot of reading, and though I’ve got a couple of recently purchased books waiting for attention I didn’t really feel in the mood for either of them so I decided to re-read one which I knew would cheer me up. Enough To Make A Cat Laugh by Deric Longden is a humourous and true-life look at the ordinary and sometimes extra-ordinary goings-on in the life of the author, his almost-blind wife, and a houseful of cats; it’s actually the fifth book in a series of seven but can easily be read without reading the preceding four first.
I bought the book back in 2009 from a stall at a car boot sale; it was the picture on the front cover which initially attracted me and when I read the synopsis on the back cover I just knew it was the sort of book I would enjoy. The author has a genius for taking the most ordinary and mundane events and transforming them into laugh-out-loud accounts of various aspects of his life, in fact I’d challenge anyone to read without laughing his account of feeding the neighbour’s cat. I first read that part while in the waiting room at the hospital’s eye clinic not long after I bought the book, and I found it so funny that I had to disappear into the nearby loo so I could laugh without everyone else thinking there was something seriously wrong with me.
This is now the third time I’ve re-read the book and I still find it funny – just the thing to cheer me up and relieve the boredom of being unwell and off work. I remember I only paid 50p for it when I got it, the best 50p I’ve ever spent, and I enjoyed it so much the first time that I went on to buy (mostly new) the other six books which I’m now re-reading in chronological order. So if anyone wants a bit of light reading with plenty of giggles along the way then get a copy of this, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Or in other words, the recently much-talked-about-in-the-news Aussie flu. Back in early January, only a few days after Michael had the operation on his ankle, it was reported in our local paper that the hospital had cancelled all routine operations and day cases to free up beds for those badly affected by the virus so it seemed he’d had his operation just at the right time. Health-wise I’ve been absolutely fine with not so much as even a sniffle but on Monday evening last week, while sorting through some paperwork, a wave of incredible tiredness washed over me and I just had to stop what I was doing and go to bed. Thinking it was just a one-off I went to work the following day but then the pounding headache started, made worse by the dry hacking cough which had also developed along with a constant feeling of nausea. I struggled on and got through the Wednesday but by early Thursday morning I felt so ill I had to admit defeat and stay off work.
Now I’ve never ever had flu in my life, not of any sort, so this Aussie flu thing had never occurred to me, but while bringing the dogs in from the garden on Saturday evening I spoke briefly to my next door neighbour and she suggested I might have it, so on Monday morning this week I went to the doctor’s and it was confirmed – I have indeed got Aussie flu. Now I can cope with the cough and the cold, and the nausea subsided a few days ago although I still have no appetite, but the constant exhaustion has been the worst – just walking the dogs to the field at the end of the street is an effort and I feel like I’ve just run a marathon at sixty miles an hour, but it’s an effort I have to make as they need to go out at least once each day. As I write this I am beginning to feel a bit better though, so hopefully by next Monday I’ll be over it and fit enough to go back to work – I hope so as I’m bored out of my skull doing nothing here at home.
There is one advantage to all this though, if you can call it that – my loss of appetite means I’ve hardly eaten anything and I’ve been living on fruit juice and water for over a week so it’s been a great way to lose weight, although admittedly it’s a bit of a drastic way of doing it!
Today I’ve added another mouse ornament to my collection. My mouse buying over the last few months has been pretty much non-existent as most of those I find on ebay now are ones I’ve already got, unless I want to pay ridiculously high prices for something classed as ‘very rare’, so I was delighted when I came across this one at a bargain price including postage.
It’s by Aynsley MasterCraft and though it doesn’t seem to have an official title it was listed as ‘Dormouse and Frog’, though comparing it to some others in my collection it looks more like a bank vole rather than a dormouse. It’s hard to tell on the photo but the detail of the pond is so good that it looks like real water in there. As I tend to keep all my mice of the same type together I’ll now have to rearrange my other Aynsley ones to make room for this one – that should keep me busy for a while!
Due to all the cold wet weather and miserable grey days over the last few weeks my dog walking has been kept to a minimum and I haven’t been out with the camera at all, so for something a bit different, and suggested by Jayne, I thought I would join in with the scavenger photo hunt hosted by Kate. I’m not quite sure what the rules are, if indeed there are any, other than having to find photos which correspond this month to these six prompts – yellow, starts with ‘O’, light, found, colourful, own choice – so here goes, and I hope I’ve got it right.
Starting off with something silly, this is Pineapple Pooh from my Japanese Pooh collection. These were made specially for the Disney Store in Japan; they differ in facial style and colour to those on the UK and American markets and are highly collectable. Each one is dressed as something else – dog, cat, unicorn, kangaroo, reindeer, the list is quite extensive and I have well over forty in my collection which I started about eleven years ago.
Apologies for the not-very-good quality of the next photo but it was taken with a simple point-and-shoot 35mm camera before I managed to drag myself into the 21st century and go digital. This was me preparing to ride an ostrich at the Cango Ostrich Farm in Oudtshoorn, South Africa. It ran like the clappers round the compound and I almost fell off at the end but the keeper grabbed me just in time – it was quite a hilarious and never-to-be-forgotten experience!
This cute little lamp was given to me by a friend a while ago. She isn’t a particularly practical person so if something goes wrong or doesn’t work she’ll throw it out rather than try to fix it; the lamp had its cap missing from the top and was destined for the bin until I said it was too nice to throw away, so she gave it to me instead. So far I haven’t found anything suitable to replace the cap but it doesn’t stop the lamp from working and I keep it on the unit in my bedroom.
While I was at my friend’s a few days ago, and during a very brief break in the rain, she asked me if I would take her dog for a quick walk round the block. On the corner of the street there was a large white van parked right on the pavement meaning that I had to step into the road to go round it – and there on the tarmac was this £2 coin. I’m not sure if the owner of the van had dropped it but not knowing who or where he was I’m afraid it became ‘finders keepers’.
On a sunny day in May a couple of years ago a visit to Plas Cadnant Hidden Gardens on Anglesey had the camera working overtime and I took a total of eighty photos while wandering round the many paths and terraces. The rhododendrons and azaleas were in full bloom and there was colour everywhere – this photo is one of my favourites and I had it set as my desktop background for quite a while.
And finally, what better way to finish this photo hunt than with a shot of Sophie and Poppie taking it easy while on an Anglesey camping trip. They do have a bed each but nine times out of ten I’ll find them sharing the big one.
So there you have it, my photos for this month, and I do hope I’ve got everything right. Hopefully I’ll be able to take part each month but if lack of time, commitment or suitable photos prevents me at any time then I’m not going to beat myself up about it – I must admit that ‘begins with ‘O’ took some thinking about but fortunately the ostrich came up trumps!
This morning Michael went back to the hospital for a check-up and follow-up treatment on his ankle and so far things are going okay. His appointment was for 10am so I dropped him off at the main entrance and went to park the van; on past experiences I was expecting to see him sitting in a crowded waiting area when I joined him but when I got there his name had already been called and he was just hopping his way into the plaster room. We didn’t have long to wait before a nurse came to remove the temporary cast and take the staples out of his wounds – not a particularly pleasant experience. He hardly felt a thing when they were taken out of the side which had been broken but the other side was a different matter – it was extremely painful for him and he only just managed to get through it without swearing or passing out. After a few minutes to recover a doctor checked that the wounds had healed properly, which they have, then a second nurse arrived and his ankle and leg were encased in a proper plaster cast from just above his toes to just below his knee. She said that for being brave he could have a coloured cast so he chose a blue one then he could put a yellow sock over the top as blue and yellow are the Tipperary hurling team colours 🙂
From the plaster room he had to go in a wheelchair to x-ray; I wasn’t sure if it was a wise idea to leave me in charge of the large hospital chair but I got him there without banging into anything or running anyone over and he was in and out in ten minutes. From there he had to see the doctor again and when we got to the main waiting area my heart sank when I saw how crowded it was and ‘Waiting time 50 minutes’ written up on the board, however we’d only been there ten minutes when his name was called. The doctor showed us the x-rays on the screen and with everything screwed together the bones are now where they should be and the break is healing nicely. He’s been given a supporting shoe to wear and although he still has to rely on his crutches he’s been told he can now start to put a little bit of weight on his foot, though when he’s sitting or lying down he has to keep it elevated.
The next hospital appointment is in exactly four weeks time when Michael will have another x-ray, and all being well this new cast will come off for good and he can start getting back to something like normality. To be honest I wasn’t really looking forward to today as his previous hospital appointments have always meant a lot of waiting around so I was quite surprised and happy that this time we were in, sorted, and out again in less than two hours – we’re keeping our fingers crossed now that the next appointment runs just as smoothly.