Thursday, August 26, 2010

We are in...

... but the broadband is not on. (I am not going there - you can guess  that story!) And because I keep forgetting to put photos on a memory stick and bring them to work I finally decided to just to blog with stolen pictures and fill you in on mine later.

The essence of the broader picture is that the house move went pretty smoothly and we have unpacked as much as we can given that we have hardly any storeage until we go and buy it all having left all our fitted storeage behind. The only slight annoyance was that we arrived to find that the vendors had removed the one set of 'fitted' wardrobes that existed. I am not going to get annoyed and lawyerish about it because (a) they were nice people (b) they were elderly and confused when they moved - we know that becuase the male vendor rang on the day on the move to say that he was really sorry but there was a water leak. This he had discovered when giving his final water meter reading and the company spotted that it was way too high and that it could only be explained by a mains leak. We were told to check the reading again a few hours later when we got in and ring the company ourselves to sort out the repairs.
 Right. Great.
So we read the number - miles lower than the one he gave and, as it turned out, exactly what it should have been. We think he gave the gas reading to the water company...

But the other reason I am not fussing is that I planned to use that room as a dressing room and eventually - in about 18 months to get new wardrobes anway. Until then eveyone said I would find the moving woardrobes very handy. Ugly. but useable.

Right. Two of them collapsed completely in the move. So I bought some tidy rails

There is a reason that they photograph these long rails with two flimsy items of clothing on.
That is all they will hold without bending and swaying like palms in Katrina.
Having arranged five of them packed with suits on wooden hangers around the room, I started to put my shoes on the bottom rack and eneded up with two complete rails of clothes on my back as the rails collapsed.

Dennis knows his duty (and an opportunity for revenge when he sees it) and rushed for the camera. But sadly I had left it on and the battery was flat so he was unable to record my prone and covered position for your amusement.
Lets just say that renovation plans have been revised and we are going to order new wardrobes on Saturday, having persuaded the manager of a local shop to extend the sale just for me since I could not go in last weekend when it actually finished, as I was at Festival of Quilts. Which of course is a whole other blog post... for when I remember to bring photographs to work....

This is the range I have chosen. No bed in ths room just an array of storeage with mirrors positioned so that the room neatly doubles as a yoga studio and so that the view of fields and cows is doubled.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Last blog post ever....

...from this house at least.
Tomorrow the phone is cut off and we move. And broadband is not reconnected at the new place until 17th so there will be a blog hiatus.
But I thought that my last post ought to have quilting content so here is the entirety of my quilting output for the last six weeks:

Having finished my four purple and yellow Twelve by Twelve quilts and despite having a truly pathetic collection of yellow to start with I still had scraps.  I also had a cold and was frustrated at not having space really do do anthing that required spreading out  and not much energy to do anything important anyway. I decided just to stitch and see where I got to.  For comfort.
Pretty soon the sneezing started and inspiration struck.
The quilt top has been left out through all the packing, spray basted and ready for quilting in the hope that I might find some spare time.
Never happened. So it shall be a transition quilt.

Meanwhile the packing is completed - but not without a hint of irony along the way.
And of course a last post from here would not be complete without a contribution from Dennis. I could tell you about the email I got a work that started with him digging a rose bush up and ended with him washing blood from the living room walls. But pictures tell a story so much better. And often it is not the big dramatic things that fox my dear husband but the simple ones:

Not exhausted, but laughting in despair at his own latest predicament.
"Why does it always happen to me?"

Monday, August 09, 2010

Moving house with Wallander

I would have liked to blog about the incident with the desk last night. The incident in which my dear husband crawled under a bespoke desk that is screwed together underneath, took an electric screwdriver to it and removed all the screws and was then mightily surprised when a plank fell on his head.

But, on consideration I do not think it is good for a marriage for blog posts to constantly point  one's spouse's failings. So I shall not talk about that. Or indeed the self-defensive comment he made some hours later:
"You know when that plank fell on my head?"
"Yes Dear"
"It made me realise that when people say you are thick as a plank, planks aren't really that thick."
"No dear. That's why the phrase is actually 'Thick as two short planks'

So anyway,  I shall gloss over that incident and focus instead on the extraordinary linguistic skills of my husband.

Really. He is a natural linguist. Officially he speaks only French, Spanish and Catalan. (The latter being useful only for getting locals prices in markets in certain regions of Spain or negotiating with ETA terrorists.) and reads Biblical Hebrew and Greek. In reality he picks up pretty much anything with no apparent learning process. So, for example there was the time we were in Prague when he picked up a paper in Czech in a local cafe, and read a review of a great exhibition opening on the very day we left. Or the time we were in Berlin and he made me do all the talking on account of my German A level 20 years ago, and his supposed lack of Germanic prowess, but was then caught out when he started telling me all kind of interesting facts about some composer he had found out by reading a German broadsheet!

So at the moment he is learning Swedish. This he is learning from subtitled episodes of Wallander. And honestly, after just two and a half episodes watched, I do think it is impressive that he can form grammatically correct sentences. I do. It is much more than I can do.

All I am saying is that, given his Northern Irish Accent and our current house related shopping plans, it is perhaps not terribly useful to be able to say,

"Hi! I am happy. There are two tons of explosives in aisle three of Ikea."

Thursday, August 05, 2010


Man box stacking.

Girl box stacking  with man accessory


Last week I went to Potfest at Hutton in the Park in Cumbria with Mum. This is a series of marquees with stalls of ceramic artsists. I didn't take photos of the items for sale but over an the lawn leading to the cafe they set up a traders competition. This years theme was Shrines and Altars and you get to vote for your top three. Mine:
Ist: Memento Mori by Nigel Edmonson

2nd "Temple" By Gary Uttley

But then, I am rather partial to the work of Polly and Gary Uttley. I own on eof their peices based on India textiles whihc I comnmssioned some 3 years ago after seeing their stall and I was interetsed to see their new 'Patchwork' work based on sampler of all the techniques they use.  I can see a bit of this drifting into the new house.
I also liked this bowl which Polly let me photo so that when I am ready to buy one I can email it back to her so she knows what I am talking about.

Or maybe I'll find a place for this large vase

Later in the afternoon Mum took me shopping for a present she wanted to buy me for my 40th. In fact I was a lucky, lucky girl as she splashed out not only on this bracelet which she has already spotted and took me specifically to see. We ordered it in yellow gold though becuase I don't like white gold. (Its a bad photo because it is a photo from the brochure).
The ring also needed to be resized and so I will collect them both from a branch near to work in a few
 On Sunday we went to the reknown Sharrow Bay hotel for a Michelin starred lunch. This is the hotel where Sticky Toffee Pudding was invented and of course it was still on the menu. Although in my view it is still not a patch on the sublime and unbeatable Cartmel Village Sticky Toffee Pudding

Back at Mum and Dad's....can you see evidence of the different between my neatnik husband and me?
The shameful thing is that the bed  with all my rubbish on it  actually his bed!

Monday, August 02, 2010

Our phone

Our phone. In the middle of our house. Our house, in the middle of our street... come on - sing along. Our house....

Only of course it isn't going to be our house for much longer. And you know what that means... yup, a long tale follows... ready?
I promise my next post will be about art but bear with me while I rant amuse you

So, I get home and Dennis informs me I have to ring Talk Talk and get them to transfer our phone number the 1.6 miles down the road to the new house.
I have to do it because it has taken him 5 and a half hours and a drive to a different town to get much of the money we need to buy the house transferred into the solictors account, an ordeal the Alliance and Leicester subjected him to, which actually reduced him to tears, and he cannot face another call centre.

So I ring Talk Talk.  In India. They cannot simply transfer our name to the Talk Talk account the sellers have, the line must be disconnected and we get a new number and a new contract. We cannot keep our own number. Inconvenient but, as we keep getting calls for Asda supermarket anyway, maybe not fatal. What did annoy me was that it would take 28 days from the move to get broadband back.
Why? It is there already. Why can't they do it quicker?
"Ah. Miss Helen. We are getting this question regularly and it is because our engineers say that to do it ever so quickly will cause inconveniences to you that they are not prepared to have you suffer."
I am not going there.
I hang up to consider my options with other providers.

I consider the options and decide actually Talk Talk are well priced.
I ring back and get a South African call centre. Richard not only has a lovely accent but tells me all the sellers and we have to do is fill in a transfer of ownership form and guides me to it on the website. Fabulous. I ring the sellers and persuade the elderly and over cautious seller that it is safe to do that. I email the form to them.
They ring back. They rang Talk Talk to try to do this and were told, no. The line has to be disconnected and a new number given but it will not take 28 days. She is shocked that we were told that, the sellers say. It will take 2 or 3  days if we ring now.

Now. I don't know about you but I get very annoyed when I get given three versions of events.

I ring back and get South Africa again. I ask for a manager. I am required to go through the whole shebang again. I am given both option a and b above by the same person. I point out that both cannot be right. They are entirely different and I need to know which applies to me. I ask for a manager. He tells me I don't need a manager. I need to listen becuase I am not listening to what I am being told.

I don't quite shout.  But the response begains with, "I BEG your pardon?"  I stress in very certain terms that I am a lawyer, that I know exactly what I have been told and that I am not only listening very, very carefully, I am making a note of the evidence. Um, conversation. I. Want. A. Manager. Now. Please. If that is at all possible. No offence to you.

I am pretty sure I hear him drop the phone at the word lawyer and that he didn't hear the rest. I get a manager. Who listens and explains. The old term and conditions require the line to be disconnected. But those have been changed for people moving to a Talk Talk house. Some staff are giving out old information. He apologised. Nicely. In a lovely accent.
It brought back happy memories of eating ostritch in Cape Town.

Fine. So lets move on to the new terms shall we.

All I have to do is fill in a form. But he will note the account now so that a manager has started the process of the change of ownership.
Thank you very much.
I give him the new phone number.
No. He says. Not a talk talk account.
It is. The information form you get with the contract of sale says it is. I have been talking to the sellers. They assure me it is. They have just been talking to you about the account you say they don't have.
Ah, he says. Maybe they are with one of the companies in the Talk Talk group that is not actually Talk Talk but which sell Talk Talk branded products.

I ring the vendors. "They say you are not Talk Talk,  but you are aren't you? Thats what you put on the forms." There is a little pause.
"Well, kind of.  Its Tiscali I think but we get a Talk Talk logo on the bill."

I give up. I let them disconnect the line and book me an engineer to arrive 5 days after I move in. I pay them an adminstration fee to do so. All I want is to have my tea and watch Grey's Anatomy on TV.
Is that asking too much?