Life’s tough for a Gecko

Image

Sitting at my table under the cool air of the air conditioner this morning, I felt something brush my side as it fell down beside me. I looked down and a tail was wriggling on the floor. I looked up and this little bloke was still in the grille of the aircon, struggling. This shot was a minute or two later. Poor little blighter. He was trying to get out and had dropped his tail.

Image

Sorry if you’re squeamish. He was still moving, hanging on for grim death. I took pity on him.

Image

The trouble was, he was cold and being cold blooded, he had little energy to move. He gave a little wriggle once or twice but didn’t try to escape. I took him outside and put him in the garden under a plant to warm up. I’ll check to see what’s happened soon, but he’ll either have died of shock or skedaddled.

________________________________________________________

I watched The King’s Speech last night. Not a bad movie – interesting to see all the royal digs, and it certainly gave a human side to King George VI as he had to take the throne at the start of WWII.

I’m not sure how accurate it was, but to see all the praise and congratulations heaped on him at the end of his radio speech, I almost choked. Holey moley, it’s not as if he was in any danger! He hadn’t done anything heroic. He wasn’t laying down his life. There he was in a gold braided uniform covered in medals – what had he done to deserve them?! The ordinary men and women were doing far more for the war effort than he was. Bloody royals – she’s not my queen. I don’t pledge allegiance to a Pommy lot of wasters.

In fact, this is appropriate:

There is such animosity towards the commissioner that some Tories – 
though not members of the Mitchell circle – have taken to referring
to him as "Bernard Hogan hyphen Howe". Aristocrats traditionally
look down on members of the middle classes who hyphenate
double-barrelled names.

Oh rahlly? “Aristocrats”. Some “Tories”… look down on members of the middle classes who hyphenate.

This is not early 20th Century talk, this was last week! Britain is still class ridden. Pray tell, how does one become an aristocrat? TAFE classes, perhaps?

_______________________________________________

Advertisements

Signed up!

Image

Image

Image

Saturday 29 December 2012: the day the sticker went up. Before, during and after. What’s that you say? The middle one looks a bit funny? Listen, I’m in charge here. If I say I’m slim, I’m slim!

It could still fall over – it’s subject to a termite inspection on Wednesday, and I do know the little blighters have been in the fence and workshop, but the contract only refers to the “residence”, i.e. the house, and I’m pretty certain that’s OK.

So now I have to start the packing process all over again. It won’t be nearly as hard this time. Most of the junk went last year. It’ll be good when it’s over, though. Poor old Barry. I think this is probably the hardest, longest drawn out sale he’s ever done, but he’s made a friend and so have I, so I think he’s satisfied. I’ll see him right.

Done!

Image

This was my place in September 1986, the month I bought it.

Image

This was the back yard in those days. It was a nightmare of BIG trees. That’s Peter Partridge looking ruefully at the job.

Image

This was the decor at the time. In other words, when I took it on, I knew I had a big job ahead of me, but I was pretty slim and fit in those days and I looked forward to it. I got a fair way into the job, stripping all the wallpaper out, repainting, installing architraves – yes, there were no architraves around the doorways!

All this is a long way of saying, I signed on the dotted line to accept an offer a couple of hours ago and although the buyers know they’ve got work ahead of them, it’s a lot less than I took on. The guy is 39, the same age I was in 1986. Good luck to him.

He’s being presented with the papers right now, and subject to finance, it looks like I have a sale at last. It’s been a long road. I must admit, I’m a bit nervous, but …

It also looks as if there’s a villa available in the St Ives complex right where I want to be, of the right type, facing the right way (for sun aspect), so barring accidents, I might be in there by mid February, Barry says.

Phew! It’s both exciting and stressful at the same time, but it has to be done. There are too many problems here and I need a change of scene.

 

Dare I Hope?

At this moment, I have a signed offer on the table in front of me. It’s a bit less than I hoped for, but not too much, and I’m inclined to accept.

Better than that, it appears that there’s a unit available right now at the other end which fits my requirements.

Sorry if this sounds cryptic, but I’ll be able to explain all very soon. I’m selling and moving, and I am tired! Tired of the stress, tired of the uncertainty, tired of disappointments, tired of living in a disshevelled mess, tired of being unable to make any plans. Bloody hell! These last two years have been hellacious. It’s supposed to get easier, but it’s been the opposite.

I hope that within a few weeks, if not sooner, I’ll be able to make progress to moving to my final residence. I’ll be able to sleep on my comfortable bed again. I’ll be able to repopulate my bookcases, bring out my DVD collections, have sensible clothing storage, make a nice outdoor area, possibly update my car (low priority), buy a new fridge, start building a model railway … Start to enjoy life again.

Still some stressful things to come, I guess, but at least I’ve got the offer. Phew! This is hard! Minnie doesn’t know yet. I’ll break it to her gently. I think she might find it hard to take too. This is her world, and I’m about to disrupt it completely.

A hit sire, a palpable hit!

Image

A win at last. I saw the ad in Saturday’s West for 31 December being the cutoff date for getting Alinta to check and if necessary replace pre-1980 gas appliances ready for the coming change to natural gas.

Now, I’d phoned them about 18 months ago about this, as I have a gas heater in the lounge room. The heater doesn’t actually work. It used to, but I couldn’t be bothered getting it fixed. (Which raises the issue – I reckon it’s not as cold in winter as it was even 15 years ago.)

I knew they wanted the make and serial number, so I gave them (this is 2010) all the information I could find on the label plate. A friend checked with me – we searched all over the front (all you can get at) and could only find one set of letters and numbers.

So the woman on the phone back then looked at her computer and pronounced that my heater didn’t exist, wasn’t on her list, and that the gas was only connected to my house after 1980. In other words, the heater must be post 1980 and OK and I’m not eligible. She can’t see my house but she knew.

I thought this was wrong as I knew the house was built around 1971 or so. I’ve recently got the original drawings from the Stirling Council and found it was built in 1970.  How could the gas only have been connected 10 or 15 years later? It’s built into a purpose-made recess with a flue. It wasn’t a converted fireplace and hearth.

But she’d refused my protest so that was that.

I’d forgotten about it, but when I mentioned it to Barry last Saturday, he said, Uh oh, Health and Safety. We need to be able to say the heater is safe when selling the house.

So he phoned this time and they sent a guy around this morning to look at it, which is what I wanted in 2010 but was refused.

As soon as he saw it, he said “That’s 1967 or ’68.” He had a quick look behind the front panel and down the bottom where I couldn’t see it was the date 1968 stamped into the metal.

He said, if it had been left, in about two months when the new gas is introduced, it would have started leaking gas!

Bloody hell. I had been given wrong information by someone in Alinta on the end of the phone in 2010 who wouldn’t send someone to check. I could have died or been in a serious situation as a result. Or have sold an unsafe house.

So this friendly gas guy said I’ll get a replacement heater and new flue at no cost, no trouble. A clear-cut case.

________________________________________________

I’m tempted to start kicking up about this but I can’t take on more stress. I’ve deliberately thrown in the towel about the police visit I mentioned yesterday. This is a source of stress I can control, so I’m dumping it. Therefore I have been successfully silenced by a politician using the power of the State. It’s hard to believe it can happen, let alone accept, but I have to.

Chicken soup for the soul

I had a little bit of kindness that made a big difference a couple of hours ago.

A few days ago my Venice books arrived from the printers, but they’d been delivered to the wrong house a few doors up. (DHL again. I don’t like ’em.)

So my neighbour brought the books to me, introduced himself as Mark and we had a bit of a chat. Just about house values in the street and how my sale’s going and stuff like that, a few minutes. I’ve never met him before.

Then a couple of hours ago, I heard a woman’s voice at the front, went out and there was a woman with a Glad wrapped green plastic plate in her hand.

“Hi, I’m Lorilee, I’m from number xxx, My husband Mark was here the other day with your book. I’ve just cooked an early Christmas dinner and thought you might like some”, and she passed me the plate.

Boy, I was chuffed! Isn’t that nice? I thanked her profusely, I can tell you.

It’s a full plate of chicken and all kinds of salads. It’ll do me nicely for two meals. That’s neighbourly. I know how I’m going to return the favour – all planned.

__________________________________________

____________________________________________________

To cap it all, my back fence neighbour is doing it again right now. They’ve got a wood fired pizza oven and the smoke blows (from the west) all over me. I’m breathing it now.

ImageI’ve spoken to him about it and put it in writing and told him I won’t tolerate it, but he ignores me. There is a council ban on burning rubbish, but I doubt he’d abide by it.

I am getting a constant barrage of annoyances over the back fence – screaming kids, loud parties, drunken shouting and swearing, strong lights in my eyes, the smoke, a yapping dog, loud lawn mowing and edging,  and now, this summer, the sun reflecting in my eyes for about 2 hours every afternoon from their new solar panels. I’m sick of it!

Image

Image

I have a good idea for a way to stop it, but it requires digging holes and putting up poles in my back yard for a screen. I just don’t have the strength any more. But I may have to do it. Even if the house sells next weekend, it’ll be 8 weeks more before I move.

___________________________________________________

I’m using my Circulation Booster at this moment. It’s two footpads with contacts for different areas of your feet, and low voltage electrical stimulation of the muscles. It doesn’t hurt, but it can be pretty strong. It’s a bit masochistic but I quite like it. It seems to do good – my legs really feel good after the half hour sessions. A bit like a massage.

Dribble Trouble

Image

15 Feb 2005. These guys were working on the pole in front of my house. Those wires carry 22,000 Volts. The switch is open, but you don’t take any chances with that stuff, hence all the insulating devices. That entire pole with all its switchgear and insulators has been replaced by now. Those glass insulators are gone, replaced by flexible plastic ones. I had a good stickybeak and feel while the new pole was on the ground.

Aaaah, ya gotta laugh. It’s 5am and I’m writing this because it’s not worth going back to bed yet … I’ve spent the last half hour getting power back on. Read on.

Being a bit thundery last night, Minnie came inside about 9pm and so I locked her inside when I went to bed. After a while, I heard her come into my room and find her usual place in the gap between the head of my bed and the wall. As usual, she was doing her panting, which indicates she’s a bit scared. I went to sleep.

I awoke at 1am because my CPAP machine had stopped. When that happens, I soon know about it – choke, choke. Oh dammit, power had gone off. I could see the clock had stopped at 1am. Nothing for it but to wait it out, trying to doze but constantly waking because I choke without the CPAP. By 1.30, 2.30, 3.30am still no power. I got up for a loo run. Minnie was still in her possie.

By 4.30am, still no power. This is a long outage, I thought. Then I noticed an orange glow from the street lights. Funny, they’ve got power. I got up to investigate.

Damn! The RCD (electronic fuse switch) on my power board had tripped. Damn!! I switched it on and it stayed on. Hmmm, must have been a transient.

It stayed on for a minute, then dropped out again. Grrr. So I started a process of unpugging things. At 4.30am!

I’d had trouble with the toaster before. Nope. My fan which runs on me all night? Nope. The RCD wouldn’t stay on.

Maybe it’s something in my computer gear? I’ve got multiple power splitter boards off that feed. Everything’s off, but maybe … I started unplugging things. Minnie had followed me to the door and I’d let her outside.

Then I noticed a slightly damp patch where one of the power splitters was behind my bed. Where Minnie had been.

Light dawned, both literally and figuratively. It was Minnie’s drool! In all her panting at the top of my bed, she’d drooled on the power board. The RCD had done what it’s designed to do and cut off the power. It wasn’t Western Power or Synergy or whoever they are after all. And I’d just spent 3 and a half hours of very uncomfortable sleep without CPAP because I like to have Minnie inside with me. Doggone.

I found another power board (a dry one) and swapped it in. Bingo, RCD stayed in, power back again.

By this time it was 5am and getting light, so I’ve stayed up. It’ll catch up with me later, and I’ll have a sleep mid morning, probably.

______________________________________________

Don’t forget, it’s 12/12/12 today, and I’m going to take a shot of the clock at 12:12:12pm for the record. This happens only once in a millennium and I’m going to record it.

_____________________________________________________

I received my two printed Venice books yesterday. Courtesy of a neighbour five doors away. Yes, even though they were clearly and properly labelled with my street number, 118, they were delivered to 108 by the couriers, DHL. My neighbour kindly brought them to me.

This is the second time I’ve had goods brought by DHL and the second time they’ve stuffed up. The first time was in June when they assumed I wasn’t home on a Friday at midday and just left a card in my security door, “Sorry we missed you.” No, I was home! I didn’t hear anything, but my car was in the carport. That involved me in a l-o-o-o-o-ng drive to the airport to collect my goods.

And now this. The packages were properly addressed, yet they delivered them to the wrong house. NOT impressed with DHL.

____________________________________________

The books look magnificent. The printing is a bit darker than it should be, but it’ll do. And I discovered a caption mistake in one of them, but that’s my fault.

I’ve realised that the actual printing and binding is done in Kuala Lumpur.

I finally finished my Concerto di Venezia Blu-ray yesterday too. I think I’ve about had enough of Venice – 6 months’ work, slide show, video/slide show and book. That’s enough. Time to move on to the next project – Paris, I think. Or a book collection of my best work of 45 years. Or Blu-ray of Cambridge, York, Nottingham. And another project, my memoirs, simultaneously. Never bored.