Saturday, 21 November 2009

Whoops! I Did it Again!

How did, 'I'd like some copper lowlights, please,' turn into, 'Give me dramatic blood red. And a bitch streak.'?

Two lessons from this story:
1) Do not go to the hairdressers on Children In Need day when everyone's in fancy dress and very excited.
2) Don't try anything new before a special event. When will I learn my lesson? Sigh.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

The Variety Pack

Friday 13 November
Due to an inauspicious combination of phases of the moon, tides and storms it’s been impossible to get the boat out the water. With severe gales forecast for the weekend, this is our last chance to catch the beast. At the appointed hour Tom, his mate Roger, the Pirate King and his Merry Crew assemble so, naturally, the clouds open and rain of epic proportions descends. Since my only role is to provide moral support I decide I can do this just as well from the car. After many long and stomach-churning moments, which compel me to dance around on the shore achieving b*gger all, the boat is finally subdued and safe on land. All is well, apart from a scary Papa Lazarou moment when the Pirate King grabs hold of me and startles me with a big wet beardy kiss.

Saturday 14 November
We leave the house at crack of doom, negotiate floods and falling branches so that I can get to my OU Day School in Cardiff at ten. Tom meets me for lunch and we head for the new John Lewis where the staff at the Creperie are amazingly quick and efficient. Return to afternoon session on a carb and sugar high.

Sunday 15 November
Mr & Mrs Across-the-Road and their two daughters, aged three and a half and two and a half respectively, come for Sunday lunch. The girls are impeccably well-behaved at the dinner table and I am very taken with the very little one’s impressive Wenglish. For a little dot, she has plenty to say for herself. I’m very tickled when pudding appears; Tom makes wonderful profiteroles – a stunning combination of very light choux pastry, softly whipped cream and bitter dark chocolate, but Elin, is less than impressed. After eagerly pointing a fat little finger at the particular one she’s after, she chews thoughtfully and declares it to be, ‘Ach!’ as in ach y fi – yuk! Well, that’s a first!

Monday 16 November
Clean the house from top-to-bottom for Mr& Mrs Cash Buyer who are due to view the house. Something about their attitude makes my hackles rise instantly. Maybe it’s Mrs CB’s clipboard and lack of a smile, but I really don’t feel like showing them round.
‘Oh,’ says Mr CB in the front living room, ‘I see you have a damp problem with your laminate floor!’
‘No, we don’t’
‘There’s definitely a damp problem with the laminate.’
‘It’s a wooden floor on a concrete base. There’s no damp.’
Throwing me a look of disbelief, ‘Oh.’
And so it goes round the house. We end up in the kitchen which they are unable to find fault with.
‘Where do you do your shopping?’ Mrs CB asks.
‘Well, Tesco at Cardigan’
‘No. I mean where’s the nearest Marks & Spencer?’
The look of horror when we tell them the nearest M&S is at Carmarthen, an hour’s drive away suggests that they’re not quite ready for west Wales.
‘And if Chris wants to buy clothes we go to Swansea or Cardiff,’ Tom informs them helpfully.
The next day, the estate agent phones to tell us that Mr & Mrs Cash Buyer absolutely loved the house but not where it was. Ah, let’s escape to the country – but only if it’s close to an M&S.

Tuesday 17 November
Coffee and a lovely catch up with Preseli Mags at Newport. Have very thorough discussions about our mutual Cardiff half marathons and recovery programmes and a good natter about writing. Brilliant for us but probably not as much fun for anyone who happened to be listening. Arrive home to a pile of dirty sails by the washing machine, waiting to be spruced up for winter storage. The Pig Boat gets the last word. Again

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Is There A Place For Us?

‘Well,’ says Tom, ‘no one’s going to be buying this house before Christmas.’ The words have barely left his mouth when the phone rings. It is, of course, the estate agent who’s keen to send round some cash buyers in rented accommodation who are hot to trot (well, not that hot, they don’t actually want to view until next week). Just what we wanted – except now the prospect is filling me with dread.

I know the whole point of putting your house on the market is to sell it, but something’s gone badly wrong with our timing. Earlier in the year when we had a shortlist of three properties all of which fulfilled our brief (no near neighbours, a work space for each of us), we couldn’t find a buyer. Mind you, we were hardly spoilt for choice; our viewers included a geriatric couple looking for a manageable bungalow (perhaps we should have sold them the downstairs?), the ‘couple and one child’ family who thought our house was too small (hello? Five bedrooms??), but which I still think was more to do with me evilling their beloved child for throwing herself on every bed. And then there was the lady looking for a smallholding... Doesn’t anyone read the sale particulars? My star prize has to go to the punter who made an appointment to view the house, turned up outside and realised she’d viewed and rejected it (village location) previously. How is that possible? (And no, I didn’t twig that she’d been before because every other person in Wales has the same surname).

Anyway, now, when there’s chance we might have a genuine potential buyer I can’t see one house in our price bracket that I’d like to move to! Everything on our shortlist has been sold so we’ve been trawling the internet looking for alternatives. That means doing our homework; reading the details, clicking on Google Maps to see what else is in the vicinity and driving past... and that’s where the problem lies. Nearly every property with no near neighbours has a building plot next to it, or permission for small estate – everything we’re trying to escape from! At this rate the whole of west Wales is going to be concreted over and our previous house on the edge of the Downs will seem positively rural. Lovely Woozle who commented a few posts ago, said, ‘I believe in fate here. Your new home isn't ready for you yet, that's why you haven't sold. It'll happen when it's the right time.’ Oh Woozle, I do hope you’re right!

Painting is 'Coast - Winter's Day' by Tom Tomos

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

OU Deadline Approaching!

With a deadline to meet by Friday, I must finish my essay, but there's just time to send a 'get well soon' message to my lovely Rose who phoned for some long-distance mummy advice the other morning.

'Mummy! A lump has come up on my neck overnight!'

'It's probably a gland.'
(Poor Rose got really clobbered by glandular fever as a teenager and it returned for a couple of repeat attacks afterwards.)

'You don't think an alien has laid its egg in my neck and I'll have to lure whatever's in there out with a piece of bacon, do you?'

'Er... no.'

A trip to the GP confirmed that no bacon is required, but that Rose's glands are doing a truly impressive job of fighting some lurgy.

I'm hope you feel better soon, darling.

Painting is 'November Sea' by Tom Tomos