‘The End of the Pier’

 

 

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Thirty days of blogging.

Stories, memories and a very small poem that crept into my head in the night.

Dominated somewhat by the saga of the Krappy Kitchen and the process of acquiring the food preparation and dining area of our dreams.

Over the past day and a half we have watched the last vestiges of the Krappy Kitchen disappear.  I let out a small cheer as the lump hammers hit breeze blocks that have dominated the middle of the room for the past fifteen years.

The electrician was the last of our visitors to leave today, having drilled out the holes for my brushed chrome spotlights (I had a choice between white, shiny or brushed chrome).  My mind scurried back into virgin kitchen mode when asked to make that choice.  Then I asserted myself and after opting for brushed, was strangely proud to be told that I had made the right choice.

Hub and I wandered around after our visitors had left today. Our kitchen is an echoing shell now, with dangling wires and the huge double RSJs lurking in the ceiling.

We have found out a few things about our house.

It’s a miracle that Gap Boy hasn’t fallen through the floor when stropping in his bedroom because the existing RSJ only went across half the ceiling – the bit where he sleeps, not the bit where he regularly shouts, guffaws and giggles on his computer.

It’s another miracle that we haven’t all been killed in our beds due to the shoddy wiring put in by the first owner – who was (surprisingly enough) a qualified electrician.  Perhaps he trained st the same establishment where the subsequent owner did her artexing course. There will be no more skin scraping artex in our kitchen either .

The builders have sorted out the dodgy building bits and an inspector is coming to check it all  out tomorrow. Another stranger at the door.

The nice electrician is going to have a look at the rest of the wiring when he’s finished in  the kitchen.  He very gently told me that progress will slow down a bit now because the plasterer is coming in and it will take a couple of days for the walls and ceiling to dry out.

I smile that silly smile and remind him that after waiting fifteen years to be able to afford this kitchen a couple more days won’t worry me.

Talking of compromises, the work top won’t be quite as sexy as planned.  With the wisdom of Solomon I had to make the choice between waiting another three weeks for the Star Galaxy worktop or cancelling the order and getting the slightly more down-market black granite with just silvery bits in it which can be delivered when the builders need it because it has been sourced locally.

It is still a sexy worktop and with any luck, my kitchen will be done much quicker (and a bit cheaper too!)

Washing up in the downstairs bathroom is a bit challenging but having the temporary kitchen on the dining room table is easier on the legs.

After rebelling about the use of plastic cutlery and paper plates, we bought GB a set of his own cutlery and unearthed some plates.

More compromise.

I was in a bit of a quandary about the old gas cooker yesterday.

It had to sit outside all night until the big lorry came to collect the rubbish. I really should have given it a bit of clean before the builders came but it is being junked anyway and we ran out of time.

Trouble is, it sat in the garden in full view of the manic mothers on their school run (they slowed down to have a look – not quite to 20 miles an hour but not bad).  Now they all know what a dirty  cooker I had.

GB has been quite sweet today but that goes hand in hand with his lecturing and hectoring about every single subject under the sun.

My idea of snoozing gently with Scoob whilst Martin and Lucy wax lyrical about three-bed semis in Clapham has been shattered  due to the fact that GB cannot sleep upstairs whilst all that banging is going on. So he talks and talks and talks.

Mind you, he told me about the hose incident last night.

Apparently one of our elderly neighbours was watering his garden yesterday evening when someone drove up the road at speeds in excess of 60 miles an hour (I doubt it) , so my neighbour remonstrated with him.  The neighbour remonstrated back and my neighbour hosed him.  More naughty talk and another shot of hose.  I expected to hear the our neighbour had been bopped but apparently the drive chose to zoom off instead.

Perhaps it was the sight of my neighbour’s hairy, brown and extremely pregnant-looking belly that saw him off.

I know it’s been warm over the last couple of days but that belly would certainly frighten the horses. Put it on!

Poor Scoob had just got used to the chaps who chipped of the seventies brown and white tiles  yesterday when there was a change of personnel and he had to come to terms with three more of them.  Luckily the poor young boy in the hoodie who got so badly wuffed at yesterday was off on another job today.

They are a smashing bunch though.  I can hear their conversations through the wall and the range of topics is impressive and very informative.  GB asked me if I minded all the swearing. I hadn’t actually noticed it.

The kitchen singing is even better than the banter though.  The lads brought along their old, dusty, paint-spattered ghetto blaster and they sing along to Radio One. – although they may have wandered into Radio Two yesterday afternoon when I heard one of them singing falsetto to ‘Too shy, shy’.

My attitude to our builders is very positive therefore.  They don’t seem to mind the awfulness of the tea I make them (being allergic to tea makes this a very hands-off process and the fumes make me retch a bit). The biscuits I sent Hub out to buy have been a great success, and the fact that I really don’t mind them using the downstairs toilet also went down well.

“I don’t mean to be cheeky but can I use your loo/have a cup of tea/ smoke in your garden/ eat these lovely biscuits?”

They are such polite boys.

I have a feeling that today’s blog won’t really be the end of the pier as planned thirty -one days ago.

Making the effort to write something every day is a discipline I learned when participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which is held every November. http://nanowrimo.org/

It may not be easy to stop now although I’m not sure if I’ll continue to blog every day.

I have a kitchen to dress in the next week or so (that’s what they say on DIY SOS isn’t it?)

 

 

 

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“Only Lazy Gods make snakes”. I’ve liked this as a title ever since I watched children using Play-Doh.’

For my big brother – a wonderful Grandad. 

 

Harry sat in the middle of a grassy lawn.  He was surrounded by beautiful flowers and fantastic insects.

He frowned with concentration as he picked out the colours and shapes.

Every object had to be different, and he smiled as he placed them on the grass and watched them come to life.

Other small gods occupied the lawn, each intent on their own marvellous creations.

The Big Benevolent One smiled as he wandered past looking at their labours.

His fingertips touched Harry’s head.

Harry looked up and smiled back.  He was very happy.

“Good job Harry.  You can move on to something bigger now.  Some animals and birds perhaps?”

Flushed with pride at such a compliment, Harry collected more materials and set to work.

He started small; a mouse and then a brightly coloured lizard.

Placed carefully on the grass, the mouse shook his whiskers and scurried off to make a home.

The lizard took his time. He stretched and let the sunshine warm his shimmering skin.

“Time for something bigger now.  I shall call it Dog and it will be my friend.” Harry said to himself and was just putting together the items he needed when he heard an unfamiliar sound.

The Big Benevolent One was standing in the corner of the lawn staring down at Milo; a slightly larger god who had put together some especially clumsy-looking cactus plants.

There was an ominous rumbling.

“You can do better than this Milo.  Look around you. Look at the colours and the shapes. Move on to something beautiful or you’ll have to spend time making rocks.”

Milo frowned. He hated making rocks. It was boring, hot and the other larger gods shouted at him.  They had only a few more days to finish the Earth after all. and everyone was working as hard as they could.

Except Milo, who just wanted to lie under the trees and watch everyone else working.

The Big Benevolent One moved on to admire someone else’s work and Milo sulkily picked up some brown clay.

He rolled it idly between his hands, then on a piece of flat stone until it grew longer and thinner.

He started another, and another until the stone was covered with a number of long thin brown snakes of varying sizes.

Harry glanced over at the snakes; all blind and hungry and dull.

He got to his feet, picked up a handful of pieces left over from the lizard and walked over to Milo who felt that he had done enough and had fallen asleep.

The snakes were given jewel-bright eyes and long forked tongues.  Harry striped their brown skin with green and white, red  and blue for the big ones, and for the last he covered the brown with yellow and white stripes.

Stroking the warm skin as it came to life, Harry smiled.

“You will be a corn snake and your name will be Dave.'”

Hearing the sound of the Big Benevolent One approaching, Harry got up and returned to creating Dog.

Milo woke and looked at the fabulous snakes slithering around happily in front of him.

“Well done Milo!  Take a little break now.  Usually only lazy gods make snakes but you have done well. ” The Big Benevolent One patted Milo’s head but looked across at Harry and winked.

Harry was happy, especially when Dog came to life, wagged his tail and licked Harry’s face.

Milo snored in the sunshine.

corn snake

Birds do it, Bees do it …..

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Whilst I am loving the sunshine  and the opportunity to loll in the garden, there are some disadvantages to the outdoor life.

The year of the cat has come and gone, so the birds have returned to our garden with a vengeance.

We have – according to my Dad who knows these things – pigeons, blackbirds, starlings, dunnocks and sparrows in the side garden, and a variety of tits in the front garden – steady – I am a dog and I don’t do innuendos.  The blackbirds have got a nest in the back courtyard and the pigeons are getting through the fatballs at a rate of knots.  My Mum has been a bit sneaky and hung a container of fatballs on a very wobbly branch so that only the lightest of birds can land there.

Talking of balls – she has sown these seedballs all over the garden – little clay balls that contain flower seeds. Part of the strategy to bring back the bees and other insects.

I can cope with most of the birds but those blackbirds keeping hopping about behind me when I’m trying to kip under my very own sunshade.  They swoop down over my head in order to tease me and they even had the cheek to grab a lump of my discarded fur after my Mum had brushed me. OI!  MY FUR!

The seedballs worked and we know have bees in abundance.  They are even more annoying than the birds and far more dangerous.

There I was, innocently chasing a bee and snapping my jaws at it, when it turned round, stuck its bum up my nose and stung me.

Unfortunately the incident happened so quickly that no one else saw.

That afternoon the nice man came to see how my annoying habits were shaping up.

Still pulling.  Still whoofing.  Still randomly growling. Lovely with it though.

We did some more work – the de-stressing was very nice but the bad noise when I woofed was not.  I am learning – slowly. Then I got treats and more de-stressing so all was good.

Except for the fact that I kept licking the air and sneezing – the humans around me came up with various hypotheses to explain my strange behaviour but it wasn’t till the next morning that my Boy and my Mum (with the aid of a torch) looked up my nostril and discovered that the inside was bright red and swollen where the bee’s bum had left its mark.  I was washing everything in sight in order to stop the pain.  Wet sofa, wet cushions, well-washed Mum (my Boy doesn’t like it when I lick him but my Mum doesn’t mind – she keeps baby wipes in the bathrooms still).

Got lots of fuss, Wonky Chomps (Yay! My favourite), treats and a handheld ice cube to ease the swelling (love, love love these doting humans).

They booked me into the vets so that my Dad could take us when he got back from work.  I was doing my best to look pathetic when my Dad came home and it worked because he made a BIG fuss of me.

To the vets – in the CAR.  I love the CAR!  Only a short trip though as the vet is just round the corner.  It was a lady vet this time and I did all the charming head-on-one-side-with-a-slight-tail-wag stuff.  It worked.  She was smitten.  I had a steroid injection but they didn’t charge me for the anti-histamines – did you know that dogs can take 4mg Piriton for insect bites? I was a very GOOD dog (that’s if you ignore the ominous growling at the other smaller dogs who were at the vets as well).

Went home.  Still lickyand a bit dopey from the drugs but oh, the attention I got from all of them – it was worth it.

There have been various other pieces of excitement darting around the house this week.

The Big Boy who lives away has done well in his exams and will be coming home next week.

My Boy has been invited to a wedding in America – so all else has to take second place whilst he holds forth about it. The next two months are going to be horrendous.

My Dad has a very posh new suitcase thing for keeping all his paintball stuff in.

My Mum has been to mysterious meetings that make her alternately mad and sad.

Although I don’t like to see her sad, it does  mean that I get the best cuddles from her when we fall asleep on the sofa together.  When she is tappity-tapping on her laptop I am at her feet to stop the bad people from coming in.

My Dad takes us up to the Monument.  He and I run up and down the hill whilst my Mum puts things back into perspective, says hello to her favourite tree (I’m not allowed to wee on it) and smiles again.

My Dad will be home in half an hour and that should mean walkies if he isn’t too tired from looking at planes and stopping them bumping into each other.  At the very least my Mum will take me outside to the front garden for a late night pitstop and some treats.  There is a bolshy looking Hebe bush that I am slowly subduing with the power of wee.

Our friend Paddy Pickles has an iPee app for his phone – it shows your where you last sprinkled.  My Dad says there is no need for us to get an iPoo for me – scented nappy sacks remove all trace of my whereabouts.

That was a bit of fantasy – Paddy Pickles is a canine chum and doesn’t have a mobile. I am a dog and I don’t do jokes either.

It’s going to be a nice day again tomorrow – takes me back to my days in the Spanish sunshine.  My Boy will be unlikely to surface till lunchtime as he has been running around in heavy boots, camouflage and shooting things with small plastic balls all day today. My Dad will be spending the day shooting people with larger balls of paint and coming home with brightly coloured bruises.  Hope he takes me out for a walk first then.

Sunshine in the garden, cuddles with my Mum, Wonky Chomps and doggy treats.  It’s a dog’s life alright.

Adios amigos.

Oh! Dad’s HOME!

“Take off your shoes and pat your feet, we’re doin’ a dance that can’t be beat, we’re barefootin'”

Way-hay!  The other half has gone on a flight to Madrid (and back again) today leaving me, the PAM and the sleeping teen in the warm – after yesterday we deserve to rest but the PAM has been horribly active this morning in an effort to avoid writing her sociology essay – only 7 days to go PAM!

So far we are on our second lot of washing, the old flowers have been thrown out and fresh freesias (go Tesco) have replaced them.  We also have a bucket of blue hyacinths ready to bloom for the old Crimbo celebrations.  A box of bits has been gone through and stuff that has been dumped in the big teen’s bedroom whilst he is away has been moved to a pile in another room  – it’s true – this place IS known as Haemorrhoid House (because of all the piles – doh!)

There is washing up still to do – oh and lunch – my idea of day spent curled up on my cushion under her ironing board cum desk whilst she battled with the differences between social harm and criminalisation has effectively disappeared.  Her to-do list keeps getting longer and longer.

Still – a quieter day than yesterday.

My lips are sealed about the morning (yeah – I know – toes don’t have lips – but this is all fiction anyway so who cares?)

Lovely to see our Breath of Fresh Air though and catch up over hot chocolate afterwards. It took me some while to recover from the changes in temperature – no matter how much the PAM wraps me up there is always a cold draft that cuts through and stings like billy-oh.

Home for lunch and a trip to the good old garden centre where a time-limited shopping was remarkably successful – unless you are a cold, stinging toe that wants to be home in the warm.  Christmas  – Bah Humbug!

But the worst was yet to come…..

……The POD!

This was the fourth pod we’ve seen in 6 weeks (I don’t count the student pod – who was very sweet but was remarkably cack-handed when she tried to dress me). This appointment was to check my other nine toe-mates and the feet they are attached to.

So – the good news is – the PAM still has beautiful pulses in her feet (of course) and no sign of any sensory damage anywhere else – just moi. We passed the tuning fork test and ‘shut-your-eyes-whilst-I-poke-your-feet-with-a-ball-point-pen’ test.  Hoorah!

Then it was my turn to have the starring role – gulp – he got out a scalpel!

He poked and it hurt.  He prodded and it hurt; he stuck his scalpel into places where no one has ventured before without the PAM having to be scraped off the ceiling – the other half let her squeeze his hand – hard.

Contrary to the last pod’s opinion – this one reckons my toe will have a nail – eventually – and that there are signs of regrowth – but it could take up to 12 months and (I love this bit) it may come out warped (tee-hee just like me!).

So – overall – the feet are okay but I have to go back again between Christmas and Lanzarote time for another appointment.  We have purchased tons of dressings, bandages and sticky stuff because the pod says I have to be kept covered at all times – EVEN in the swimming pool – but at least I can go paddling.

None of the pods we’ve seen seem to agree with each other but perhaps that is because my prognosis is so uncertain – it looks as if I shall be hanging around with my nine mates for some while to come yet – but no barefootin’.

Come on PAM!  – eat some lunch – wash up and get on with that flipping essay!