Grrr! Arrgh!

Thursday July 13, 2006

Let’s start with the positives. First and foremost and, truthfully, enough of a positive to mark any sensible day, is the first sign that Dolly the Mega-cat is getting through her moult. Careful brushing has helped, along with detailed attention to diet, but mostly her own indomitable will and a lot of human cuddles and encouragement has brought her round the corner and back to normal. We’ll have to keep up the brushing, because the next stage is the matting of the underhair, requiring much teasing and snipping. Fun, fun, fun.

Next, Graham was able to make time to visit the house this afternoon, finishing the carpet cleaning by means of a long, intensive vacuuming. The fitted carpets in all four bedrooms have come through fine, along with those on the stairs and landings. The one in the living room is however beyond redemption, being badly worn and immoveably grubby in several places. It’s much improved and will not delay the moving in, but it’s high on the list of things to replace over the winter; meantime a strategically placed rug will render the room habitable.

Finally, we had a grand evening at home, sipping a decent bottle of Aussie plonk and clutching comfort cushions to see us through the stress of the closing episode of the latest series of Doctor Who, which is splendid, and not to be missed. I’d recorded it when it was broadcast on Saturday—Graham’s busiest day—and this was the first opportunity we’d had to sit down to watch it together.

I was puzzled when an earlier mention of ‘comfort cushions’ raised a “yer wot?” from several readers. I thought that the use of a large soft cushion [pillow?] to be grabbed and pressed to the chest during the really frightening and exciting bits of a production like Doctor Who was universal. Seems not.

It’s the adult equivalent of children hiding behind the sofa when the Daleks appear, nothing more. Works well as a comfort mechanism on a cold winter’s evening, too, and a lot cheaper than turning up the heating. It’s a lot cheaper than therapy, too, being useful at all times of domestic stress and strain. Perhaps I should patent and manufacture comfort cushions. Nah. I’ll leave that to someone more entrepreneurial than me.

The negatives of the day are all associated with the continued failure of British Telecom to provide me with broadband service at the new house and focussed mainly on the way their Customer ‘Service’ system handles or fails to handle non-standard situations.

While Graham was vacuuming carpets I spent a hot and bothered one and three-quarter hours on the phone, being shunted from pillar to post and through menu system after menu system before I found someone who would admit that the marker on the line from the previous owner’s broadband supplier had yet to be removed by the British Telecom engineers, a necessary enabling step before my service can be established. Eventually I was assured that the priority of the problem has been uplifted and that the engineers hope to be able to do the job before midnight today, making the line available from mid-day tomorrow. We shall see.

Two more negatives arise of course, the first being the loss of an entire work session which I’d intended would see the end of the living room job and the second being a further delay to the task of sorting out the uploading problem on my website.

The first of these I plan to resolve tomorrow, gritting my teeth until I get the last of the living room walls ready for painting. The second isn’t so easy.

I reckon it’ll take about two or three hours of Internet work to resolve the website problem. Expensive Internet work when you’re limited to a mobile phone connection. I could probably steel myself up to pay for it but just now I really don’t have two or three hours of prime time to spare. The website is going to have to wait until I can arrange a better connection and find the time to do the job. There is only so much I can do in any day.

Finishing on a positive, Graham surveyed the rooms remaining to be done and has agreed with me that both the master bedroom and the fourth bedroom are perfectly acceptable as they are and will not need to be painted over before we move in. Now the carpets are clean the rooms are decent enough for us to move the furniture in from storage. That means that, when I’ve finished the living room, there are only two rooms left with walls to be cleaned before I can start painting. I am getting to feel that I shall be able to meet my July 27 target even if British Telecom keep using up slices of my precious time waiting on the phone to get the broadband service established.

If it were not for the fact that British Telecom pay my pension I’d slag them off and go to another supplier of telephone and broadband services. I’m not into cutting off my nose to spite my face however, so I’ll confine myself to emulating the closing caption of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: “Grrr! Arrgh!”.



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