when the going gets tough, the tough start cleaning


It feels like we are living in a dream at the moment. Everything is so surreal that my brain is having trouble believing it all.

As I write this, the sun is shining, the door is open and the sound of the silence is deafening. The only sound from the street is the occasional sound of a siren.

I’d love to write some cheery, ‘mother earth is healing’, ‘take the time to look after yourself, read books, get some jobs done’, platitudes but at the minute I’m in the middle of a major wobble and I’m scared.

Up until this point it’s largely been a case of keep calm and crack on. Friends have been making funny videos to post on Facebook, the jokes have been coming thick and fast and it’s all felt a bit like a public holiday but without the bank holiday crowds.

Obviously, Boofuls Lodging Emporium is closed to the general public and even to members of our own family. Now that Lashes is living in the next town it’s so very quiet here.

So. How to cope with it all?

It has been noted by close friends and family that in times of extreme stress I start cleaning. This counts as a time of extreme stress.

This morning I decided to turn our very large commercial kitchen into a domestic kitchen. As I’ve mentioned before our kitchen is very long and divided into three sections. At the top is cooking and food prep then it’s washing up and cleaning and at the very far end we have fridges, freezers and washing machines. It’ obviouly been designed to make you walk as far as posible as often as possible.

While I’ve been twiddling my thumbs it occured to me that we don’t need to have all the fridges and freezers running all with just a few items in them so I set to.

I have emptied all the fridges and freezers, condensing all the food into two small fridge freezers. I have moved a fridge freezer from the far end of the kitchen to the top end where the cooker is and I’ve moved all our personal crockery and cutlery to the top end of the kitchen along with our personal food and kettle. All this happened before Boofuls was out of bed. He stumbled into the kitchen bleary eyed and surveyed the wreckage of our kitchen. “Oh my Gawd! What have you done?”

“Had a bit of a change round.” He spent the next five minutes opening cupboards and drawers looking trying to assemble his morning breakfast.

After breakfast I decided that the planters at the front of the building needed to be watered and it generally involves carrying buckets of water about 100 yards through the house. There is a hosepipe next to the planters attached to a water butt on the flat roof but it’s never worked.

Stupidly I said I wanted to find out why it wasn’t working. I should have just left well alone. It turned into a proper ‘Right said Fred” moment. Just for the record, when I say, ‘Right Said Fred’ I’m talking about the Bernard Cribbins song not the ’80’s pop band.

First we tried various attachments on the end of the pipe. Nope. Nothing.

“I know, I’ll check the water butt.” Off I trotted up to the top floor and clambered out of the window of room 12 onto the flat roof. It’s at times like that when I realise how very short my legs are and I needed to get a bedside cabinet to use as a step.

After climbing delicately round the solar panels I turned the tap on the water butt. Nothing. Ok. Next. I took off the lid. Empty except for a breeze block. How the hell can it be empty after all the rain we’ve had? There’s a blockage.

Boofuls was standing on the pavement on the other side of the road giving me instructions via phone. “Look at the guttering, is it blocked?”

“Er…I think I can see the problem, it’s got plants in it.”Boofuls went to get the big step ladders, sliding them out of the window before then climbing out himself. That was a tight squeeze. Two people, one large set of ladders, a giant water butt (thought I would specify WATER butt in case anyone cast any aspersions as to the size of mon derriere), eight solar panels and a blocked gutter, all on a small flat roof.

Boofuls gingerly climbed the ladder to the guttering to remove the offending plant. I think my suggestion of waiting till it had finished flowering went down like a lead balloon.

Next we had to run some water down it. Hhhmmm, where to get water from? The water butt is empty and of course there is never a handy downpour when you need it. Boofuls said he was going to join a few hosepipes together and throw them up to me. I decided to stay and wait on the roof, enjoy the sea view and a nice, socially distant chat with one of the neighbours. While I was stood there a police car went past. I prayed the driver wouldn’t look up, spot me on the roof and think the neighbour was trying to talk me down. “Er love, don’t jump, you’ll get a nasty sprain from that height.” That’s at the low end of the roof. At the other side, the drainpipe side, it’s a fifty foot drop (built on a hill, y’see).

After a few minutes Boofuls arrived back with what seemed like a hundred yards of hosepipe all connected together. “Right, catch this.”

Catch this. Haha, he’s funny. I’m rubbish at catching. It’s generally a combination of flailing hands, raised knees and the skill of the thrower that allows me to catch anything at all, especially without my glasses. Anyway, he threw it with all his might and I flailed wildly. Magically it landed in my arms and I didn’t drop it. Pulling the hosepipe along the roof I climbed the ladder to the top and thrust the hosepipe into the gutter. That was fine and the water flowed beautifully until it reached the drainpipe. The one that feeds the water butt. It was blocked solid. Of course, it being blocked meant that the powerful jet of water that just went in flew straight back out and I got soaked.

Great.

Next idea. I need a pokey tool. Amazingly, I found a stick to shove down the drainpipe and loosen the blockage. After a few good pokes and a bit of rummaging around I managed to loosen it. This was while I was dangling off the top of the ladder and holding on the drainpipe for support – a bit too close to the fifty foot drop for my liking. I shoved the hosepipe back in and with a lot of gurgling noise and lots of debris flying out it cleared!!

Cheers all round!!

It’s amazing what makes your day when you’re on a lockdown.

What shall I do next?





Ainsah the daw-A


As C-19 is starting to impact more on our lives we have discovered that it does have its humourous moments.

This morning Boofuls was on a committee meeting via a conference video call. From my vantage point in the living room it was quite amusing to listen to all the committee members getting their heads round technology they have never used before and the self conscious way they spoke. To be honest, some of them could have just opened their windows, they were so loud that everyone in the surrounding area would have heard them. Others sounded a bit pompous and self important but Boofuls, well, he just reverted to his mockney accent.

Not that he is a cockney or even a mockney, he doesn’t come from London at all but from Buckinghamshire, he’s a country bumpkin. The thing is, he is from south of Birmingham and therefore to a northerner he is definitely a cockney.

During the meeting I busied myself with some housework, looking after baby Douggie and playing with the dogs. At one point I was in the kitchen and this voice floated through:, “Ainsah the daw-ah lav.”

“What.”

“Ainsah the daw-ah. There’s samwan at the daw-ah.”

Sam Wan? That sounds Chinese, I’m not answering the bloody door to him. I don’t want any Chinese germs here, thank you. I decided that I probably should answer the door in case it was someone important, it was certainly not going to be a guest. They are rarer than hen’s teeth at the moment. Having made my decision I ran the whole length of the house. Of course you don’t know how stupidly huge this house is but let me tell you that the kitchen alone is 33 strides from one end to the other. Then I had to traverse the dining room and then up the stairs to the front door. I got there breathless and red faced just as Sam Wan was turning to leave. Turned out he wasn’t Chinese, he was a Parelforce delivery driver.

“I’m sorry, I ran as fast as I could.”

He popped a box down on the top step and stepped back.

“I’m sorry I have to do this” he said.

“Do what? Ohhhhhh. That.” I said as I pointed to the box on the floor. “That’s fine, better safe than sorry. Thank you for delivering it.”

As it turned out I was very glad that I made the 100 metre sprint to the front door as the parcel turned out to be a late birthday present from The Rev and Gembolina. It’s a bottle of strawberry and vanilla gin. I’m not going to lie, I took the top off the bottle and had a little sip. It’s just lovely!! It’s still sitting on my desk and I’m working very hard to not keep picking it up and having more sips. I’d better put it away or I’ll end up plastered!!

That’s all from me for now.

Whatever you are doing and wherever you are, stay safe and well.

Well that wasn’t what I expected


Happy birthday to me

Happy birthday to me

Happy birthday dear meeee-eeee

Happy birthday to meeeeeeeee

Shittest. Birthday. Ever.

I had a BIG birthday yesterday. Not that I was particularly looking forward to it but if I’ve been clever enough to live to sixty years old I expect recompense in the form of a lot of celebrations. When I got to fifty it was brilliant, I spent six months using that as an excuse to celebrate in various ways with dinner parties, drinks parties, holidays and days out. This was going to follow a similar pattern.

I knew it wouldn’t be as extravagant but I had no idea it would be quite so bloody grim. Firstly I had the day from hell at work. Talk about thinking on my feet. My nerves were in tatters when I’d finished.

The planned lunchtime cocktails with Lashes and Boofuls didn’t happen, neither did the trip to the cinema with lovely friends, neither did our planned birthday party. What did happen was that friends dropped by, elbow bumped or hugged me depending on how brave/reckless they were feeling, dropped off a card or gift and quickly left. Lashes came by with an M&S meal for two so I didn’t have to cook and that was that. Thanks C-19.

My big birthday evening consisted of wall to wall tv and a large glass of Disaronno.

Since Boofuls is firmly in the “DON’T LEAVE THE HOUSE OR YOU’LL DIE” category of the population we have been keeping quite a low profile recently. This virus could finish him off with no trouble at all, I mean he’s not well at the best of times, puffing away like a steam train at the slightest exertion. Better safe than sorry, I feel.

We don’t need to worry about him catching anything from paying guests at Boofuls Lodging Emporium. The cancellations have been coming in thick and fast. We have tumbleweed blowing around the dining room. A lovely couple we know who have stayed several times have booked to come next week for three nights. They told us we were their second choice because they can’t get to Spain. All the hoteliers are saying that repeat guests are still booking (for now) it’s the ones booking through OTA’s that are cancelling.

Talking of OTA’s, or online travel agents to the uninitiated, what a bunch of conniving, grabbing sharks they are. AirBNB sold all their ‘partners’ right up the river as I have no doubt you have seen on the news. Not that one is better than another.

They are all telling us to give full refunds to help out our guests but no one is seeing them cut their commissions to help us out. In fact, a whole bunch of hoteliers got an email from Bookingwhattheactualfookdotcom today pointing out that “your business is X% down on this time last year. Why don’t you reduce your rate to get more bookings?” No shit, Sherlock. I wonder why that might be? Why don’t you reduce your commission?

I’ll be glad when all this virus lark is finished. It’s starting to get on my nerves. And..I’m owed a LOT of celebrating when it’s all over.

The end of the world is nigh


I’m not generally known as being a bible bashing God botherer but unless you’ve been on some far flung planet recently you can’t help but notice that  there are some bizarre and somewhat unsettling things going on in the world at the moment. 

Firstly: We literally have plague, in the form of coronavirus. The whole  of  Italy  in lockdown? It’s almost unbelievable.  At the moment I am grateful the Boofuls very rarely leaves the house. No one with as many health issues as him should be within sneezing distance of anyone at the moment. 

Last week before it got a bit scary, Boofuls and I were on a rare trip out together in Sainsbury’s. Yeah, you heard me, baby. Sainsbury’s. We know how to rock and roll, right? At the time I was in the throes of a stinker of a cold that Baby Dougal gave me. I let out an almighty sneeze in the middle of the cereal aisle. Well at that point the devil got into Boofuls and he said in a loud voice, “Ooh love, that’s got a lot worse since you got back from China.” The aisle cleared in seconds. At the time it was funny. In light of recent events it’s not quite so funny now.

Secondly: Flooding. Swiftly following on from the dreadful fires in Australia we have been at the opposite end of that spectrum and have had terrible flooding.  It hasn’t stopped raining for so long that seriously considering building an ark. Thousands and thousands of people have had their homes destroyed. The monetary cost has run into millions. The emotional cost can never be recouped. 

Picture courtesy of aljazeera https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/11/residents-told-leave-homes-northern-england-floods-191108104927835.html

 

And finally pestilence: Billions of locusts have been destroying crops in Africa. The results are devastating. 

Photo courtesy of FT https://www.ft.com/content/40df32fe-4037-11ea-bdb5-169ba7be433d

Like I said, I’m not normally a bible basher or prone to proclaiming that the end of the world is night but it does make me wonder if the end of the world is actually nigh.

Have we fucked up and poisoned our beautiful planet to a point where it’s now decided that enough is enough and it’s time to eradicate the most voracious, aggressive and destructive of all the species, mankind?

I fear we have.

A must read.


A friend sent me a link to this article the other day. He knew it would get a reaction but I’m certain he didn’t realise exactly how much of a reaction.

Reading it got me thinking and the more I thought the more angry I got. Eventually I was LIVID!! I’m not a political animal at all but I feel really strongly that time and time again we have been let down by consecutive governments, regardless of which administration was in office at the time.

In the 1980’s when we were young, newly married, ambitious and forward thinking enough to plan for our golden years we took out pensions and endowments thinking that by now we’d be very well off and able to enjoy our retirement in comfort. Well that all come to sod all, didn’t it? Interest rates have been so low for so many years that we might be able to treat ourselves to a nice family meal out in a good restaurant when our policies mature. The only way there will be any significant money now is when one of us snuffs it.

A selection of new, trendy teaching styles were rolled out in the ’90’s to be tested out on our children. Even the boys’ teachers admitted that they had been failed by the system. Illiterate and innumerate kids were being churned out by the score. Thanks for that. At precisely that time, when schools failed to properly educate our children, vocational courses at colleges were scrapped and those young people who were not academically gifted had to choice but to find a dead end job as they had no chance of learning a trade in college and apprenticeships were fast becoming a thing of the past.

Let’s talk about the jauntily named ‘credit crunch’ the impact of that went on for years and years. All the time eating away at the quality of life and earning power of those further down the food chain than the fat cats who took, and continue to take the cream. Small businesses like ours tried and tried to make it work out of a sense of responsibility to those people who relied on us for their incomes. Time and time again we borrowed money on against our mortgage to prop up a business that continued to fail in an ever more sick economy. The end result of that being that our staff resented us for taking the high wages we needed to take to pay back the money we borrowed to keep them in jobs and the business failed anyway. We lost, they lost, every bugger lost.

You know, in times of hardship everyone has to tighten their belts. I get that. It is nonsense to think that you can just carry on as before when times are hard. Austerity was a great idea. Except of course that as normal it was the little people who had to pull their belts in. Council services cut to the bone, in fact whole bloody limbs cut off in order to meet restrictions created by central government. What happened as a result. Areas become deprived. Vandalism increases, support services for those in need are cut. the NHS is beyond breaking point, people struggling with mental health issues are left to their own devices. the chronically understaffed police can’t cope with demand and society is on the brink of collapse. Don’t even get me started on universal credit. What twonk sat in a government room with some well fed advisors and said let’s create a benefits system that takes every shred of self respect from those who have to claim. Let’s keep them so poor that they have to choose between food and heat for their children. Let’s keep them so poor that they have to go cap in hand to food banks and beg for food.

So. If all this money is being saved. Where the hell is it? I wonder how many billions were lost by the infighting over Brexit? The country voted. Rightly or wrongly the vote was to leave Europe. That should have been it. However, the rich guys, the multi millionaires stood to lose out. That won’t do. I’m no fan of Theresa May but by God that woman tried her best to carry out the will of the people and got stabbed in the back at every turn. All those delays cost our country dearly. It’s not the people at the top feeling it though, is it? Life carries on as normal for them. The reason that a conservative government was voted in again is not because we particularly want a conservative government but because at least Bozzer repeated loudly and at length that he would get Brexit done. Everyone was so fed up of it all at that point they’d have voted for Atilla the Hun if that’s what it would have taken to get it all done.

So now, having both worked all our adult lives, Boofuls has reached retirement age and as you know the Lodging Emporium is up for sale. Part of our plan, with there being a convenient five year gap in our ages, was to retire together and make the most of our twilight years.

Oh no. Wait.

The government has decided that I can work till I’m sixty six. Retirement at sixty has been snatched from right under my nose. I’m as angry as a WASPI about it. Talking of retirement and nest eggs. The little nest egg we have managed to build we have just realised is going to have a great big hole in it as our lovely chancellor has decided to scrap entrepreneurs relief on capital gains tax in this budget. Oh whoopee bloody doo!! Time and time again the future we planned for ourselves has been eroded away.

Not so much our golden years as can’t afford a clay pot to piss in years. Enjoy the read. Try to not get as angry as I am.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/mar/03/lost-decade-hidden-story-how-austerity-broke-britain?CMP=share_btn_fb&fbclid=IwAR3bQBBQts6Gxu_rHPbH62Yn5_UMtcqtJ4X4mK2FxdDeLGpqtngTXlhV8yM

How To Kill a Town – a How-To Guide


Towns need a soul, a heart, a community. Large estates without any church, shops, pubs or churches are just soulless rows of houses. IT’s happening everywhere and we need collectively to take a step back and look at this more carefully before we lose our communities and our heritage.

Georgina and Co.

68201310390_1810_totnes castleThere are three easy ways to destroy a town.
First – relax the planning laws so that developers can build what they want, where they want.
Two – build huge amounts of houses all at once, all over the fields surrounding the town; infill any green space inside; make sure the houses obscure everyone else; make sure they are all unaffordable to local people, but attractive to second home owners and buy to let investors; make sure you don’t provide any new infrastructure, no new schools, hospital places, improvements to roads, to sewers; make sure that local industries; the marina, the last dairy farm are closed down and covered in new, ugly boxes with no gardens and in regimented rows.
You’re nearly there now! Make sure that the roads are so congested with new cars that traffic can’t move and then for your final flourish, sell off its most treasured…

View original post 255 more words

Trago Mills


I’ve been a busy girl today.

After a trip to a huuuuuuuge raft fair in Exeter last week I was inspired to buy a lampshade making kit. Hideously overpriced and with a rubbish range of fabrics to choose from I went ahead and bought it anyway because I had a cunning plan.

Today I put my plan into action and dug out the piece of fabric that I’d had in mind when I bought the kit.

Here is the end result of my very first foray into lampshade making. I’m quite pleased with it. I’ve already had two people wanting to buy it.

What do you think?

I made a lampshade!

Copyright

Copyright

On a different subject entirely:

Some weeks ago (ok, before Christmas) Lashes told me that she wanted to go to Trago Mills.

You’ve probably never heard of Trago Mills unless you live in the south. It’s a positive cornucopia of anything you could possibly want to buy. It has a reputation for being a place to go to get things cheaply. The B&B owners all go there when it’s time for their start of season refurbishment programs as you can get everything from carpets, kitchens and bathrooms to clothes, craft supplies, food, clothes, even wet suits.

I’ve been telling Lashes for ages she needs to go but the more I told her the more she resisted.

“Lashes, you need to go to Trago. It looks like a castle with turrets and everything!! You can buy ANYTHING, they have a miniature steam railway and a petting zoo and a Japanese garden and, and, and.”

She would always say to me, “It’s only a bloody shop, you make it sound like a magical place. Petting zoo indeed. Castle? Pah! You’ll be telling me they have unicorns next.”

“Well, I’ve never seen a unicorn, not a real one anyway but they do have peacocks.”

“Oh really? she’d reply in a scathing voice as she looked up to heaven.

Anyway, one cold and wet December day we were out shopping in Newton Abbott which isn’t a million miles away from Trago Mills and she suddenly said. “Let’s go to Trago.”

Off we went.

As we pulled up outside and she saw the turrets she exclaimed, “Oh my God, it really does look like a castle.” I smirked.

We walked across the car park and her jaw dropped as the miniature steam train sat chuffing away gently at the miniature station, all decked out for Christmas and looking really quite, well, magical. My smirk broadened into a smile at her cry of surprise and delight.

As we walked past the lovely old fashioned flower stall outside the main building a couple of very beautiful peacocks strolled past us. At this point I was grinning broadly and feeling a little smug I just couldn’t wipe the smile off my face as I said, “Oh look, peacocks. Fancy that.”

Her face was a picture. Every corner we went round she was met with another surprise. The little kiddies funfair, the lovely, massively underpriced cafe, the little, quirky shops, “Did I exaggerate then?” I asked her.
“Not at all. If anything you underplayed it” she said as she cooed and aahed at all the animals in the petting zoo. “I’m coming to spend a day here with the kids, it’s amazing” Ha! It’s not often Lashes is impressed. I’m impressed that she’s impressed.

I don’t think we got into the actual shop. By the time we had finished walking round all the attractions it was well past time to leave. Oh well, that means we’ll have to go back again. We might have to allow a bit more time. After all, we didn’t get to sample the warm, home made, lemon drizzle cake with lemon sauce and clotted cream. Worth a trip back just for that. It is a bit of a magical place, Trago, all it’s lacking is a unicorn or two. PS I don’t work for Trago haha.

In other news: Our choir has been learning a very beautiful song, ‘All of Me’ by John Legend. The harmonies in it are amazing, it makes me shiver when we sing it. Anyway, last night a few choir buddies came round for a little drinkie and a choir ‘practice’. Between us we had a couple of sopranos, an alto and a couple of basses so we reckoned we’d have a go at this. My God. Somehow, amid all the gin and wine, some of the lyrics changes a bit from, ‘Cards on the table we’re both showing hearts. To: ‘Cards on the table we’re both blowing farts.’ Now that has become an earworm and I’ve been singing it all bloody day. Make it stop!

Here is the original version for you to enjoy. Try not to sing the wrong words.

Cor Blimey!


I found this post from 2008!!!!!

Tripping Over Pebbles No More

There was me thinking that Sunday was a bad biorythm day – turned out to be the highlight of the bloody week!

Did you notice I was conspicuous by my absence?
By Tuesday I was ringing up undertakers to come and measure me up for a nice coffin, I felt so close to death. Anyway, I’m back on my feet now. There is always a silver lining to these things though and mine is that I’ve lost an inch off my waist!! Yay!! Bring on those germs!!! The other silver lining was that the combination of my throat feeling like it had been sand papered and my lungs forgetting how to work was that I developed this fabulous Marilyn Monroe-esque breathless whisper that I thought sounded quite sexy. Shame that all I could find to say was’ bring me more tablets’ actually that came out as ‘brig be bore tabdebth’…

View original post 676 more words

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