Happy industry

Wednesday July 13, 2005

With the final week before Graham’s departure running out very fast, there’s been a veritable buzz of industry here in the little house by the fens, climaxing today.

Talk about busy! Fortunately we’re working to a list, so all the essentials got done today, leaving us free tomorrow for one last stop-at-home day before our temporary parting.

First thing was waiting for deliveries. A new filter device for the garden pool. My piano tutor book. The Sainsbury’s Book of Cocktails and Party Drinks, from Abebooks.co.uk. A new digital (DAB) portable radio for Graham to take with him. The piano tutor book was exactly right, as was the cocktail recipe book, though the latter was a bit secondhand bookshop smelly. The radio was a big disappointment, incapable of receiving anything at all, so it’s going back to the eBay seller.

“I told you not to buy a cheap one,” I said to a rather disheartened Graham.

“I know. I didn’t want to spend too much cash, though.”

“Never mind. When we go out I’ll buy you a nice Robert’s model as a wishing-you-well-in-your-new-job present.”

“Oh, that’s a nice thought. Thanks.”

“Well, we don’t generally make a fuss about these things, but this one is rather special.”

Then, early lunch, and off to the coronary heart disease clinic for my annual check up. Good news. Kidney, liver and blood pressure perfect. No sign at all of diabetes. Weight was a great surprise to me. Hasn’t changed a pound since my last check up. The only negative was a lifting of my cholesterol levels, most likely resulting, so they said, from the switch in the statin medication a couple of months back. So they’ve increased the dosage and I go back for another check in two months. The usual blah about diet and exercise. The former I have under pretty good control. The latter is getting more and more difficult as the years progress and the arthritis digs deeper and deeper into my joints. I’m thinking of demanding a consultation with a clinical dietician, and a phsyio, to get more highly qualified and focussed advice than is available, or reasonable to expect, at the local clinic.

I was somewhat surprised to find that the local people are still recommending no more than five eggs a week, preferably only three, in spite of the well-publicized conclusions of recent trials that state quite firmly that this is an invalid approach and that a control group showed no inclination to elevated cholesterol levels after a year on a regimen with high egg content. Indeed, the very senior clinician who presented the results stated that eggs, especially free-range organically produced eggs, are one of the healthiest elements in a balanced diet and that the high levels of ‘good’ cholesterol, oils and minerals in them far outweigh the small amount of ‘bad’ cholesterol. There are some, quite rare, clinical conditions that point to a need to cut down or even remove eggs from the diet. Fortunately, I don’t suffer from any of them.

Hey ho.

Back home we had a cup of coffee and then took ourselves off to Boston for an intensive shop. We found a very nice Robert’s radio in Oldrid’s and I slapped the plastic on the counter, safe in the knowledge that this very good department store would take it back if there was the slightest problem. It works perfectly. And it’s very light, too, unlike the clunky eBay model, so it’ll add very little to Graham’s baggage load on Friday.

Then, to Tesco’s to get wine, ice-cream and milk, loading them into my new cool-box so’s they’d keep cold for the rest of our trip and all the way home. It’s one of those insulated cool box things with gel-pack slabs you put in the freezer for a couple of days before your shopping trip. Worked beautifully, in spite of it being a very hot day.

To B&Q one last time to pick up a bit of plumbing stuff to fix the ongoing problem in one of the water tanks in the loft, and a length of black pipe for the new pond filter.

To PC World, to pick up a new, very cheap, combined scanner/printer/fax machine—the Canon Pixma MP110—that’s to replace the separate units that were displaced when we installed the piano in my study.

Back home, to unpack the ice-cream and stuff. The ice-cream was still frozen hard.

“I’m going to eat one right now,” I said. “I think we’ve earned a treat.”

“So am I.”

Picture it. Graham tucking in to a tub of Tesco’s Finest Coffee and me slurping up a Tom and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia. Outside, the sun blazed down from a shimmering sky, as it had for most of the day. That was nice.

Then, back to work. First job, installing the new pond filter. It’s different from the old one in that it’s not a pressurized thing and so it has only a lift-off lid instead of a clip-down heavily sealed one. I found the lid on the old filter impossible to handle with dodgy finger joints. This one is incredibly easy.

Second job, installing the new printer, which now sits on a small bench beside my desk. Very neat and, for the price, a pretty good device. Not first class, but adequate for correspondence. We’ll replace it when we get settled in the next house.

Finally, as the evening cooled, Graham took himself up to the loft to replace the worn-out ballcock float and valve that’s been giving us a problem for some time. That was soon done, the tank refilled, and then Graham tested it out by taking a well-earned shower.

“Is it dinner time now?” I asked.

“Reckon so. What is it?”

“Meatballs in onion gravy, mashed potato and green vegetables.”

“Is that a good cholesterol meal?”

“The green vegetables are. But the meatballs and mash most certainly are not, any more than the parsley butter.”

“Good. You need to keep a balance.”

“Ayup. I’ll eat salad every day next week to make up for it.”

“Sounds yummy.”

The only job we’ve had to pass on is the selection of a new car. We had a look at the Suzuki Ignis, and rejected it. A very good, reliable vehicle, but I found it impossible to sit comfortably in the driver’s seat. I’m tasked to tackle this problem next week and it’s likely we’ll be going for a ‘nearly new’ Fiesta from the main Ford dealer in Boston. High-end of the range, with automatic transmission and, if possible, air-conditioning, along with a good set of safety and convenience options. There is a possibility that I’ll go for a Ford Focus, the next model up in the Ford UK range from the Fiesta, to be sure of getting automatic transmission, but my instinct is to stick with the devil I know. The only restriction Graham places on the specification is that it mustn’t be the same colour as our present Fiesta (“how will people know we’ve got a new car if it’s the same colour?”) but under no circumstances may it be yellow. Shame that. I like the blue of our present car, always have. And I have a weakness for yellow, too, if I’m honest.

And so the day ended. I got a good bit of piano practice in, and read my book a little, but the tenor of the day has been industry. Happy industry.



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