Thursday 27 September 2007

The drains...the drains...

I knew it couldn't last! I bloody knew it!

The curse of the electric windows on Mrs S's Ferrari-Royce-Standard.Ten-Punto has spread like a lava stream to the infrastructure of Scroblene Turrets!

Blasted drains and I have a chequered history, they get in the way, they block, they hurt me seriously. (I once dropped a heavy concrete block in the manhole, which fortunately didn't break, because my finger luckily cushioned it against the internal brick chamber. It was the closest to fainting I've ever been, and even Mrs S was a bit concerned...)

Anyhow, as I mentioned only a few days ago, a damn good talking to does the trick to car windows. And now it does to drains!

Serious blockment of turdal channels caused me to truncate (What! Editor.), a business trip today, to sort it all out. So I marched into B and Q and bought a set of drain rods for less than £18, which I though was a fair bargain.

When I got home, (truncated by now), I donned the lead lined sterile suit, sprayed Dettol everywhere, and arranged all the tools and rods where I could grab them and attack the monster, go for the throat, strangle the life from the gremlins lurking among the detritus, break the hold on water-borne disease for ever and save the world.

And it was ever thus.

Just a few signs of the problem this morning were there! All clear! All clean! All gone!

I bet this is the first blog post ever, where the Blogmeister explains how to clear drain blockages by just a few well chosen words, and a threatened visit with some shiny new drain rods...

And I missed a damn good piss-up in London! Bugger!

Wednesday 26 September 2007

The world is falling around my ears...

Lilith seems to have vanished from my screen, and presumably my life, and now The Hitch has vanished up into the choir invisibule! Tuscan Tones is obviously busy making another million squiddles, and should be on air soon, that is if he wants any encouragement.

This is a sad day for all of us, and I need rest and a huge glass of Merlot to raise my flagging soul from the depths of the septic tank residual effluent drainage spigot coupling

Herc, Ed, Kev...we're on our own here...

I am lost...

But, the horizon beckons with the return of Oliver Gosling! What a man! What a redeemer! What a ......person.....


OK now! Someone has upset Lilith!

If the culprit(s) will leave their names here I can assure them of complete world-wide exposure, and also ensure that they have several good friends and relations of the Scroblene Estate Management 'Committee' to deal with in the meantime.

Benecol R.S.

Saturday 22 September 2007

Blasted electric windows

As some friends will recall, Mrs S drives a 17 Litre Ferrari Super Bastard Fiat Punto. It is a great car, and we love twirling it round the lanes as it is green, small, and incredibly light to drive. She is a good driver, and considerate to all but the slack-jawed gormless rock-apes who try and kill everyone, but aren’t we all!

Like all cars, the little car needs some TLC now and then, and after the debacle with the MOT, (which was eventually solved by me wrenching the bits apart, and putting them back together, roughly in the same order), we thought a quick visit to Bill’s garage would be a good idea.

Now, electric windows are buggers. Bring back handles I say; you can make them work by applying gentle pressure here and there, and if they stop working, you can undo all the doors and mend them with strips of Meccano, or the occasional coat hanger.

Some time ago, the electric windows refused to work on the driver’s side. Mrs S is a patient lady, well versed in using several colourful expletives when she arrives at a parking ticket machine in the rain, and has to get out of a three inch gap to pick up the soggy ticket.

So we eventually took it to a garage and they fixed it. Then the same thing happened and it stopped working again, and I mucked around in the electrics, but this time with no magic touch.

So we told ‘Fi-bloody-at Pun-sodding-to’ that we were taking it back for a total electricectomy without anaeshetic – and the window started working again! Just like that!

During one hot spell, Mrs S decided we needed more tyres, and the window was back in hump mode again. But when we picked up the car at Quickfit, - it was working! This has happened twice more since! With the threat of the garage hanging over it, Super Ferrari Armstrong Siddeley Fiat Punto behaves itself.

And blow me down but it happened again yesterday! The moment we booked it in to Bill’s, the window opened for the first time in three months!

I really want to know who’s looking out for us up there, because he or she must be a damn fine mechanic!

Monday 17 September 2007

Not a nice place to be in 1828...

Frances STEPHENSON, aged 21, singlewoman, was charged with stealing a bay mare the property of Edward LINDSAY, at Raithby, on the 10th June (1828).

The novelty of this case excited considerable attention, which was not at all diminished by the appearance of the prisoner, who was neatly dressed, and rather of an interesting appearance, but the strange situation in which she was placed seemed to excite no terrors in her, she gazed around with a considerable portion of effrontery, although the eyes of every person in the court were fixed with earnest curiosity upon her.

The evidence for the prosecution, which was of considerable length, but not requiring a detailed notice, went plainly to prove that shortly after the robbery, the female had the mare in her possession, and employed a person to dispose of it, under the pretence that her master, the prosecutor, was distressed in his circumstances, and that he had commissioned her to dispose of the mare. - The Counsel for the prisoner insinuated that the mare had been given to her by Mr LINDSAY for certain favours which had been allowed by her.

The prosecutor, in reply to a severe cross-examination upon this point, steadfastly denied that any thing of the kind had occurred. In her defence, the prisoner admitted taking the mare from the prosecutor´s stable, but asserted that it was with his license, as he resorted to this mode of requiting her for the favours already alluded to, and in consequence of which she declared that she was at that time far advanced in pregnancy. -

Guilty, sentence of death recorded.

Thursday 13 September 2007

That time of year...

In October, 1987, I’d started driving to my work in Tonbridge, Kent, UK, 20 odd miles away from our house.

I had started a new career, it was difficult, I was unhappy, I didn’t like what I was doing very much, and needed some new energy to make the thing work. I used to hire cassettes from my local library to listen to, and, as an old friend had played some early Pat Metheny, I obtained a whole bunch of titles to play at home and in the car.

‘Wichita Falls’ leapt out as a stunning, magical piece. It was immediately memorable, with moody keyboards, skilful guitar, symbolic Oriental tangents, but, the music had a real feeling of something deep and fearful – even a premonition of a disaster. I’m sure Viet Nam was there, and many other troubled spots. It hurt to listen to, and troubled me somewhat. I really couldn’t fathom what he was trying to do.

On the night of Thursday, 16th Ocober, 1987, the southern half of the UK experienced a huge storm – some say a hurricane, but it was very noisy and we were very worried for our property. My car was flattened by a falling wall, everywhere was disrupted, and I couldn’t get to work.

Trees were down everywhere. Some roads were totally impassable, and, buildings had collapsed with awful consequences. Electricity was lost in many places, and we had to rely on good neighbours for power where we could. We ate our meals in the green house, using a makeshift barbecue!

The next week, I started going back to work in Tonbridge. My new hire car had a cassette player, and I started to listen regularly to this track again, while driving through roads, which, frankly, I hardly recognised.

One particular stretch, which was normally bordered by several hundred yards of majestic Scotch pines, was unrecognisable, because the trees were nearly all lying on their sides, just like a row of pencils. It was an incredibly sad sight. The general buzz of chainsaws was everywhere and our intimate family of old trees, on our comfortable driving routes, had gone forever.

But, the music from this recording is etched in me like nothing else. I still cannot go by certain stretches of road without remembering the fallen oaks and Scotch pines, the disaster of the other supporting trees, the sawdust, the chaos of driving round the huge tree trunks in the roads. ‘Wichita’s’ sad mysticism follows every bend.

Of course, that was nearly twenty years ago. Things have moved on, but this music, with its haunting difference of style, will always be right up there when I have to point out things I’ve listened to, which are so deeply emotional.

I still cannot fathom what Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays were thinking about on the track, but the shining comment on the composition is that the music has an enchanting finale with the best instrument ever invented.

Children’s laughter!

Thursday 6 September 2007

Upbuggerance of Alldis lamp...

Total embashment and terminal up-buggerance of the laptop occurred around lunchtime yesterday. The squeaks and bangs and pinking noises, plus some blue (fatal) gibberish about kernels and geeky stuff on ‘error messages’ decided my next move – to PC World. I was sentenced to Tunbridge Wells.

God, my feet ache, and so does my wallet!

Now, I don’t really want to praise them too highly, after all, they’re there to sell computers to L.M-A.I.s like me, but they were pretty helpful yesterday. When I think that our first PC in 1994 had the same amount of hard disc as a mobile phone nowadays, and it cost a fortune too; the kit on show in modern stores seems impressive enough to me, but it takes an age to look over and decide.

Its going to be a hard slog this weekend, poking around in the dark, plugging things in unusual places, saying ‘sod it’ several times an hour. And that’s just getting out of bed!

As they used to say ‘jeurring ve woorrer’, I’m sending this important message via a colleague’s PC, (Admiral Honeysuckle Scroblenette), and hope to resume normal communication procedures soon.

I may be some time…

Saturday 1 September 2007

Back to the past...

Aunt Basil - Sarnie prompted me to record a fascinating detour I made one afternoon last year.

My Dad was a builder through and through. And so was his Dad. And so were my two Uncles. My Grandfather built all over Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire in the nineteen twenties and thirties, and did some superb buildings, most of which still stand today. Dad and my two Uncles also worked in the family firm.

While clearing out the old house years ago, I found the family photographs, and as is usual, there were the old favourites I recognised from when I was a tot, but there were also many I couldn’t place, because I hadn’t been born (or even thought about) when they were taken!

The piles of photographs included several pictures of old building sites, and most of them were unidentifiable. But I kept them, as somehow, they seemed to represent some of my history, but I secretly wanted to find out where they were taken, and whether the buildings were still there.

Cut to earlier this year. I had a meeting with a property man from the area who knew Hertfordshire incredibly well. So well in fact, that when we met to discuss a scheme I was involved in, I showed him the photos, and he immediately came up with several places where he thought they were taken. These pictures were taken in the early 1930’s, so they weren’t that brilliant, but there were several defining images and details of design, which would have been instantly recognisable – if I’d known where they were! It could have been anywhere!

I was finally given two towns to look in – Welwyn Garden City, and Letchworth.

A few weeks later, I was driving back from a meeting, and on a whim, found I was actually driving through Letchworth (which always gives me a warm feeling of ‘Deja-vu’, as the old family firm was based there in the twenties, and, drifting along in some slow traffic, I just casually looked to my left and saw the name of one of the roads, which my chum had described.

The Scrob-mobile reversed like a rocket, and like a nosing Jack Russell, ears back, I drove down a beautiful leafy avenue, which is what Letchworth’s all about – the First Garden City!

You cannot believe the utmost joy I felt when, suddenly, there, right in front, was the actual building! A huge building! Built in the early 1930s as a College for Girls, and looking just as it had been in the old grainy black and white photos. And it was some of my own history.

It was a magic moment – the world stood still, and there was a lump in the aging throat dear readers…

No stopping me now! I called in and met the Librarian, and she was also overjoyed to see her College in pictures never ever seen before, and with some provenance and proper credentials from an aging idiot, who was reeling about, standing on one leg and all excited at having tracked down the elusive building site!

It really means something to me, all this. You can’t make it up can you.