Tuesday, January 30, 2007

My wardrobes have arrived!!!

I got them off the ebay. I have been doing loads of shopping there recently. It is brilliant if you are in a community like ours. The wholesale massacre of rural shops by Mr Blair's government means that there is no shop in the village where you can buy a wardrobe. It is all right for people like me who drive, but it is the old folk that suffer.

As we still have no telly, I decide to assemble them.

About forty-five minutes into the task, I realise the problem with figure (2). There is a dowel that is meant to attach part #7 to the base support part #3, but there is nowhere to insert it. It foxes me for ages. There is no hole!!! There is no hole where I am expecting a hole. I feel like Ray Davies in the song 'Lola'.

It seems obvious that there is a discrepancy between the instructions and the actual parts, or at least part #7 (and possibly base support part #3). This may mean negative feedback!!! It is exciting.

I email the vendor about my hole issue. There also seems to be a notch issue as well, which means that my simple solution, to create a user-generated hole using a drill, will not work unless I create a user-generated notch using a saw and chisel. I am a bit shy of doing this ever since the debacle in the last property I owned, where I took several thousand pounds off the value of the home by adjusting the fitted wardrobes in the same sort of fashion.

I do not know if any readers can assist, as the vendor has yet to get back to me. If it is any help, it is part #7 we are talking about; base support part #3 seems to be generally sound except for the notch situation.

I leave the bedroom festooned with unpacked wood, and go to ring the aerial men again.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

I put my foot down on the 'fast' pedal as I scoot through the country lanes.

Up the single track stretch, round the bendy bit, past the old mill. The car responds to my every expert subtle touch, like a woman who is desperate. We slow as we approach the hamlet, as per the 30mph signs.

With the relaxation that comes from not being in any particular hurry, I flash my lights to allow an oncoming Range Rover to turn right. It is HM The Queen driving, with her husband HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. She has her headscarf on, like she does in the pictures.

There are two ways in which you can behave when you see a well-known celebrity person. You can gawp and goggle and point, or you can be all cool and not particularly acknowledge them. As HM The Queen is a class act, she does the latter. So does her husband HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. That is breeding for you.

I am impressed that she does not have her police with guns with her. If I was allowed to have police with guns with me, I would take them everywhere. It would be fucking cool. But that is the difference between us. She does not care about being fucking cool, as she is HM the Queen. Hence the scarf. Plus she herself is probably a better shot than I am if there is any trouble. She could shoot any extremist terrorists in an ambush whilst her husband shouted well-crafted racist abuse.

I pull onto the road that takes me home to the Village. "That was HM The Queen" I explain to Baby Servalan, who is looking unbothered in the passenger seat.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Village Pub is packed.

"It's packed in here," I remark observantly, pushing my way towards the bar with determination, but not with so much determination that I risk getting there before somebody notices me and offers to buy me a pint.

I settle in my Usual Preferred Place in a cramped fashion. Ray stands next to me at the bar, caressing a big glass of wine with eager yet tender hands. I do not usually mention Ray, for no particular reason, but what you need to know as a reader is that he is always in the Village Pub.

"Surprised to see you in here," I remark, demonstrating the wit with which I am nationally and internationally renowned (nb hence the explanation above, as he is actually always in there, so I am being humorously ironic).

"Yes - I've actually moved in," he replies.

I laugh politely at his sub-me sarcastic humour.

"No - I have actually moved in here," he insists. "My house is damaged after the gales. So I told the insurance company that I was going to move in here, and they said 'right-o'".

I gape at him.

"My car's a slight wreck as well," he continues. "A bit of somebody's roof fell on it."

But I am not listening. He has moved in to the Village Pub!!! It is, like, his home!!! I am flabbergasted.

It seems to me that there are two types of people in the world. There are the 99.9521% of us who would have our house bashed up in a storm and who would live with it, being miserable in the cold and wet and TVless status quo. And there are the other 0.0479%, to whom it would occur to telephone the insurance company and demand that they are moved in to the Village Pub.

I grab my pint, looking at him with new respect.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Weekend News Round-Up

Thank you for your good wishes. I am feeling fine now, thank you.

Reader Alan Sloman is walking from Land’s End to John o’ Groats!!! He is clearly barking mad, but to be fair the A30 is a bit of a nightmare at any time of year, and trains are too expensive especially 1st class.

You can give him money, for the hospices. I have only had good experience of hospices; they are great.

Tom the Ambulanceman wants a free laptop!!! He has broken ranks and got involved with the – er – ‘a bit flawed’ Love to Lead blog PR campaign run by Charlton Communications for Toshiba. Since I told them that there was no way top blog people would hand over traffic and content to their site without being paid, he has made me look an Idiot and Wrong.

Boooooo….he is undignified and a scab, but also seems a Nice Chap, is a good friend of a good friend and would like a new laptop. So go vote for him here.

Suggest not bothering to leave your email address on the voting page.

I still have no TV!!!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Mighty winds shake the Village.

Beating, battering. Remorseless and with no respect for man, property nor precedent. This wind sneers at the feeble word 'gale'. It moons at the Beaufort scale.

Elemental forces crushing the puny constructs of man. Bricks and concrete - impostors they might be. Impotent to the intensity unleashed by an angry planet.

It is windy.

I venture outside to rescue our wheelie bin. It is looking disgruntled at being left to its own devices, and much of my rubbish is now in Belgium. I jam it up against a holly bush to try to give it some stability.

Above me, the TV aerial swings wildly on the end of a cable. It seems to have taken some chimney with it, which has ruined my chances of ever establishing what was supporting what. Next door, Short Tony's merely droops. I risk the twenty-yard trek in order to tell him.

"Ah," he replies, looking at it at some length.

Some policemen set up a roadblock outside Big A's house. A tree has fallen!!! They work hard at their rural community-based task, knowing that sooner or later there will be a heart-warming ITV1 light drama series going out at 8.30pm on Sunday nights about them.

Short Tony spots a huge branch in the road. We run out to gather the free wood.

Later, Mrs Martin the IT Consultant telephones. Her garden fence has been blown into her neighbours backyard. I do not ask her if this is a euphemism.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

There is another outbreak of winter vomiting disease!!!

I shall return as soon as hygienic.

Monday, January 15, 2007

“You decide,” orders the LTLP, handing me the Radio Times.

I shoot daggers at her. Big daggers, that have been dipped in dog shit. Her mother and father look at me, expectantly.

The past few days have not gone as expected. The plan: visit the in-laws so that I can have a well-earned rest from running around after a crawly Baby and broken-legged LTLP. The reality: visit the in-laws and provide extra care for an ill crawly Baby and winter-vomiting-disease-stricken broken-legged LTLP, who cannot rush to the toilet under her own steam due to aforementioned broken legs.

So I am tired.

And now she has thrown me this curved ball., viz choosing what we will watch on TV. There is no right answer. My in-laws like detective things starring John Thaw, whereas I would ideally like to watch some sort of documentary about lesbains in showers accompanied by the music of early Madness. I doubt that they would enjoy a documentary about lesbains in showers accompanied by the music of early Madness; they are more into sixties music, classical etc. The LTLP likes only things that feature jokes about poo and/or comic depictions of animals being squashed (eg Fish Called Wanda, where Michael Palin runs them over in humorous circumstances).

It is Saturday so there is nothing on the terrestrial TV except the Celebrity Big Brother thing which I do not watch but have heard is rubbish since they introduced the Goodies, I am guessing ruining it for everyone with Graeme Garden’s big ‘I am a doctor I should not be doing this’ ego.

Eventually I choose a film called ‘Kpax’ which seems uncontroversial enough, viz although it does not feature lesbains, John Thaw or squashed animals the synopsis indicates nothing to which anybody could possibly object. Plus it is described as sci-fi which means it is set in space, which is always enjoyable.

In the end it transpires that there is very little about space in the film, so although everybody quite likes it I feel a bit ripped off. But I have got through my shift of choosing. Tomorrow is another endless, endless day, but I go to bed secure that the evening will be Somebody Else’s Problem.

Friday, January 12, 2007

There is an outbreak of winter vomiting disease!!!

Today I am being a caring carer. I shall return next week, oh yes I will.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

My new ladder has arrived!!!

I have not been able to get into the loft for a few weeks due to the Replacement Carpenter taking home the Original Carpenter’s ladder before being replaced by the Replacement Replacement Carpenter. Seeing as loads of my stuff is in the loft, I decided that I needed to get my own ladder, so I shopped around for about 56 nanoseconds before getting one off the ebay.

It is telescopic!!! I had no idea that such things existed. It is black, and as sexy as a ladder can possibly be, especially as it is new and clean and unsullied by eg dirt or sperm. I wait for the Postman to disappear next door before ripping open the packaging.

It is telescopic!!! I telescop the first rung up. It clicks into place with a clicky click. As does the second rung. Click. Click, click, click, click, click, click, click (nb note to self check number of rungs before posting and paste in correct number of clicks.) My ladder is up!!! I shall definitely leave positive feedback for this.

It is telescopic!!! I detelescop the top rung, which slides back down with an indescribable slidey noise. As does the next rung, and all the rest. My ladder is de-extended!!! It truly is a remarkable product.

I put the ladder up once more and take it down again. I am still enthusiastic, but if I am honest a bit bored with it already. All it does is go up and down (which is still more than a non-telescopic ladder). I do not need to get anything from the loft at this particular moment.

It is a shame. I have that post-Christmas feeling with my ladder. I carefully store it under the bed, so that I can get hold of it at a moment’s notice should I require an emergency trip to the loft.

I now want somebody to visit (male or female) so that I can show it off to them.

Monday, January 08, 2007

"So what are your new year's resolutions then?" I ask Short Tony over breakfast.

(nb he has popped round for breakfast, it is not that we have slept together the night before in an embarrassing 'things happen on new year's eve' type way thus confirming in a horrific fashion the subtext some enthusiastic academic might read into the relationship between Short Tony and I, JonnyB, a bit like Frodo and Sam or Pooh and Piglet can be perfectly good friends with no funny stuff so there no we didn't and there is evidence and proof of that fact.)

He pats his stomach mournfully. "It has to be this, really." Short Tony's waistline has been expanding so rapidly and uncontrollably that it has recently admitted Romania and Bulgaria and is currently in negotiations with Turkey.

I glance round the glasshouse, sympathetically.

"Yours?" he asks, helping himself to an extra sausage.

I think for a bit. There are a million things that I really should try to do in 2007, such as being a bit nicer to the LTLP, starting working again rather than just poncing about with the baby, changing the light bulb in the lounge, etc. But none of these seem to address the vague bigpictureness that hangs over me.

"Mine is probably 'don't.' I conclude. Just 'don't.'"

He nods. It will do.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

"Like a vurgin," croons Mrs Short Tony. "Touched for the very first time."

I realise through a swamp of beer that if I am to be part of the new youth web 2.0 generation, I ought to be recording such behaviour on my mobile phone.

I have never done this before. I look at the buttons on the phone. There is no button that is specifically for making recordings of singing next-door neighbours. I frown.

"Like a vur-ur-ur-urrrrr-gin..."

If I am not able to work this out quickly then I will miss the performance. What's more, Mrs Big A and her fit cousin are now doing a little dance. There is no point whatsoever in having movie making apparatus to hand on one's phone if one is not going to make a film of Mrs Big A and her fit cousin doing a little dance whilst Mrs Short Tony sings 'Like a Vurgin'.

"When your heart beeeats. Next. To mine."

I look around for Narcoleptic Dave in order to ask him, but he went to bed after the New Year bongs. There is a menu system on the phone. I scroll through the options one by one. Short Tony looks on in a kind of horrified fascination.

"Like a vur-gin."

I locate the appropriate option on the menu. I then find a sub-menu which asks me what sort of picture I want to take.

"Touched for the very first time."

The image on the screen is rubbish. Mrs Short Tony is standing right in front of some lights. All I can see is a Mrs Short Tony-shaped silhouette waving a karaoke microphone around in semi-darkness. Mrs Big A and her fit cousin-shaped silhouettes drift in and out of the picture. It is like the opening credits to a James Bond film.

I press 'record' anyway. I will make it available to Albert R Broccoli for his next production if required (nb to Albert R Broccoli, if you are finding this via Google it would make sense to call the next film 'Like a Vurgin' as it would save on the sound overdub and you could spend the money on more explosions (nb I noticed you couldn't afford many in the new film and had to put in loads of talking instead so please do consider it)).

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

I find myself in charge!!!

The LTLP is laid up with a broken leg following an unfortunate incident with an old lady brandishing a Renault Megane. The day-to-day practicalities have sort of fallen into place (she tells me to do things and points her crutches a lot; I do them). Christmas dinner is another matter and I am starting to feel the pressure.

In the lounge are my mother, my father, the LTLPs mother and the LTLPs father. Unaccountably, we have failed to invite the Bin Ladens or James Blunt. Pleasant hubbubs of conversation occur in 3-minute bursts between the 2398572-hour periods of black-hole-deep silence.

The turkey looks dolefully at me as I hump it into a tin. I have no sympathy for it. If turkeys are not going to vote then they have no business complaining when things dont turn out as they would like. It is a magnificent Norfolk Black from Jason the Duck Man, and seems to be labelled best before the 24th December.

If Jason the Duck Man is having a laugh at my expense then I will have strong words the next time we meet.

I can feel the Baby staring. She has picked up on my insecurity from within her Guantanamo playpen. I try to radiate personal authority as the oven heats up. She stares. Stares.

And now the hams are misbehaving. We accidentally have twice the number of hams envisaged, due to me having too much to drink in the Village Pub a month or so back, ordering one from Len the Fish, and then forgetting all about it until said ham turned up like an unexpected Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights (but ham). The LTLP has also, with a superhuman effort and lots of telling and crutch-pointing, roasted a ham. The hams do not get on. They glower at each other across the worktop.

It is too much for me. Truculent hams, prematurely-aged turkeys, suspicious Babies and politely-conversing relatives. Christmas was never meant to be about this. Whither the Baby Jesus, Cliff Richard, Raymond Briggs et al? I lob the turkey into the inferno and get myself a pint.