I may be an adult, but it doesn’t necessarily follow that I’m grown-up. After all, one of my favourite phrases goes something along the lines of “you’re only young once, but you can be immature forever”. Our fancy dress parties are testament to that overwhelming tendency to revert to a child at any available opportunity. With that in mind, today’s activities are quite out of the ordinary for me. I’ve spent the day doing ‘Saturday’ things.
This morning I went to do the weekly food shop at Tesco, but on the way I stopped in at B&Q – that’s when I first noticed things were different. After all, B&Q is not a child’s playground. It’s more of a grown man’s playground, full of power tools, electrical items, things that need assembly, all manner of things that most people don’t recognise and wouldn’t know what to do with, and generally a lot of stuff that makes you feel more like a man. I went in to buy a pack of staples (no, not for a stapler) for hammering into our decking (more on that in a moment), and ended up coming out with a wireless doorbell and a keyring torch as well.
At Tesco I took advantage of the good weather and got my car cleaned by the nice Tesco staff in the car park while I went and did the shopping. It was quite busy, so they were only just about to start on my car when I wheeled the shopping trolley back to the car half an hour later. So I sat in the car listening to Classic FM while they all worked around me. A luxury I would never have entertained in the Mini – I wouldn’t dare let someone with a scary pressure washer near my beautiful and fragile Neddy! I was pleasantly surprised that even though the Ford Escort is considerably larger than a Mini it still classed as a ‘small’ car to them, so the whole wash was a very reasonable £6.
Back home I put all the shopping away, had lunch, and then prepared to get down and dirty in the big outdoors. Some of you may know that our decking is a bit of a death-trap in winter – the slightest bit of moisture and the surface becomes slippery as ice. So, following the advice of the plumber who came and fixed our heating on Friday, I laid some chicken wire over the top to provide a grippy surface. Hence the need for the steel staples. I actually used the chicken wire that has been lying in a corner of the decking since the summer, and which used to be a protective cover for our vegetable patch. It was just the right size, when disassembled, to create a path from the kitchen door to the concrete path, including the little step at the end. It took a good hour or so to do, what with all the fighting with chicken wire that wanted to sit in a different position and bent staples, but it was all finally hammered down and it looks very professional. And with another cold snap on its way I think it’s good timing – it should be a good test to see how it fares in properly icy conditions.
While I was out in the garden I also took the opportunity to put out some more bird food, as we’ve been sadly neglecting them the last few months, mainly because Ellie has been at work all the time and I’ve not really noticed or had the inclination. We don’t have any fat balls at the moment, so that’ll have to go on the next shopping list, but I put out a fresh lot of peanuts and wild bird seeds, some fresh water, some old bread and a few handfuls of dried mealworms scattered around the garden.
With that done I went back to the garage to look at the car, checking all the fluid levels. Everything looks good, although I still can’t tell how much window washer fluid I’ve got because I don’t know how big the reservoir actually is. I poured 2 litres of water in, but it’s still not full, and I can’t see the water level, so I can only assume it’s a massive tank hidden away somewhere. So I moved on and cleaned the inside of the windows and the dashboard, and scrubbed a load of mank off the indicator stalks (a build-up of dead skin and sweat over the last several years – nice). I also figured out (I think) why the car makes an odd rattly sound when we go round corners (sometimes). It sounds like something is loose in the boot, but I’ve checked several times and there’s nothing there but a tightly secured spare wheel. Today I had a brainwave and had a look underneath the car, and sure enough the car has a hollow fixed beam rear axle; the most likely cause is a stone that’s managed to get inside and can’t get back out. There are holes pointing to the rear of the car to let water out and suchlike, but it’s angled in such a way that it would be pretty much impossible to get a stone back out without taking the axle off and shaking it out.
Then it was the turn of the doorbell. The bell part plugs into a normal electricity socket, so I’ve put it upstairs on the landing because we don’t tend to use that one very often. The button is a wireless transmitter with a little button battery inside, which needs to be screwed to the outside wall. That means drilling into either the brick wall or the wooden doorframe (I haven’t decided which yet). Unfortunately my cordless drill batteries were dead, so they’re currently on charge in the kitchen. Once they’re charged I’ll go out and fit the button, but since it’s already beginning to get dark I think that might have to wait until tomorrow.
And now I’m back at my desk, blogging away and reinstalling Windows XP on my PC. It had been painfully slow, so I decided the time had come for it to be wiped and a fresh install put on, and only install the programs I actually need at the moment. I did have games and applications and all sorts on there, but since I only use it for browser testing now I’m only going to install web browsers and hopefully that’ll keep it nice and lean and fast. Every little helps.
So, all in all a very productive day, but not an ounce of chocolate and certainly not enough frivolity. I shall have to remedy that with something wild and outrageous this evening… any ideas?