Sunday, 28 February 2010


Over the years I have been adding to a collection that I would have preferred not to start.

It began while SF was still here. For many years SF worked for a company whose main business was/is waste disposal. Among the many things that annoyed me about SF was that most people take their rubbish to the tip but he had a habit of bringing other people's unwanted possessions home with him. One of these things was an upright piano keyboard. It was being thrown out by a school as it was passed it usefulness. For sometime it stood in my living/dinning area taking up valuable space. It was good for the boys to practice their keyboard skills provided they didn't play it for more than 10 minutes at a time (it had a habit of turning itself off).

So eventually it was moved outside a placed on the small patio up against the fence, before it would be disposed of. It was joined by a 3 seater sofa that had been replaced (by another second hand one). Neither of these items were going to fit into my car to be taken to the household tip. Over the last few years more and more has been added to this collection. I have made numerous trip to the tip getting rid of smaller items. As fast as I got rid of stuff more took its place.

I could have asked the council to take away the keyboard and sofa but they would have charged me. I could have borrowed or hired a van but I couldn't afford that and commercial vans are not permitted at the tip. I considered hiring a skip but even if I could afford it there is nowhere for it to be left as I do not have a drive neither is there a road outside my house.

All I could do was keep making trips to the tip with the smaller items that could be loaded into my small car. When I got my new furniture a few weeks ago I was determined not to let the pile of rubbish that my collection had become get any bigger.

I made up my mind that I would take a day off work during the school holidays so that I had teenagers to help. I text Plumber asking if he would be around on the date as I would be taking a day off. I told him what I planned and he agreed to help.

On the day Plumber arrived just as I was moving my car around to the garages to be loaded up for the first time. Between us with JA and ET we began the long task of clearing away as much as we could. Whilst we were doing this we heard the glanging of the hand bell being rung by te local scrap metal collector. That was lucky he doesn't come by very often (not that I would know not normally being at home in the day). He took away the old excercise bike, bbq and an old bike.

Plumber stood looking at the task ahead of us. He knew that with only my car to transport everything this was going to be a long hard day (in the rain). He asked for my phone book made a few calls and arranged for someone to call round in the afternoon to see what needed clearing.

Plumber went off to do some errands while I made the trip to the tip for what would now be the only time that day. He returned just prior to the arrival of the clearance man who judged the job would cost £150 and he could do it the next morning. Plumber paid him out of his own pocket.

True to their word when I returned home from work next day it was all gone.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

A very long day

After my late night drinking tea with Plumber I really needed to get an early night on Saturday but that wasn't to be. I had gone to bed and was just about to turn off my laptop when Plumber came online. We discussed where I would leave my car while I was off on my travels. I was meeting my colleague Cathy at my local rail station at 7am. (I must be mad!!). I had planned to park in a street not far from the station but Plumber was sure the station car park would be free on a Sunday. By the time we had finished chatting and I had checked out the car park situation it was gone 1am. Not clever considering I needed to be getting up at 5am.

When I arrived at the station at 6.45am Cathy was already there. Her first comment was that we were both wearing purple and black, my black trouser suit, purple blouse and accessories and her black and purple dress. Little did we know that when we eventually joined Boss Lady at the exhibition stand she would also be in black suit and purple patterned blouse.

We made good time arriving at the NEC at 9am but still had a long slow drive snaking along the road between the many car parks until we were directed to a parking space. We then climbed on board a bus (I was going to say jumped on but that would give an impression of fitness that isn't there). Hanging on for dear life as the bus swung us this way and that (it was standing room only when we got on). We were deposited outside the main entrance to one set of halls (luckily our hall was close by). A few minutes later we were checking out the floor plan to see where we should be. After 10 minutes of walking around in circles we were back checking the plan again. It still took a while searching before we found our stand.

I enjoyed the day talking to both current and prospective customers as well as meeting suppliers. (Thats something I don't normally get involved with as I am on the sales side of the business). It was very different meeting people face to face instead of speaking on the phone. Being cheeky and familiar with men I have never met before was fun as was showing off my memory for names etc.

The plan had been for me to catch the train home at 15.14 but it soon became apparent that that wasn't going to happen. In stead I set off for the station at 16.00 my poor feet hurting with every step made progress slow, it didn't help that I had no idea how far it was to the station, its all very well looking at a map.

On arriving at the station I rumaged in my bag for my ticket before looking at the board to find my train. Looking at the arrivals board there was no sign of my train. Not suprising really as the clock was now showing 16.15 damn missed it !!! I found a seat and prepared to wait for the next train in another hour. I made my way gingerly on still painful feet down the steps to the platform at 17.00 giving myself 14 minutes of agony standing waiting for the train.

It was with short lived relief that I saw the train pulling into the station. The carriage closest to me was packed, people were piling into the corridor. Walking down the platform I found that each carriage and corridor were the same. I had no choice but to stand in the very last corridor taking up the last standing position. With my feet screaming silently objecting to this further punishment. At least it should be ok once we reach Coventry and other passengers get off.

Coventry came and went yes passengers left the train only to be replaced by others, Leamington Spa was the same, Oxford and Banbury too. Finally after standing for an hour I managed to get a seat when we reached Reading. Squashed into the seat with more people standing in the aisles it was not much more comfortable but at least I could take the weight of my feet at last.

When I booked my ticket I knew that I would have to change at Southampton but it didn't say which of the two stations it was stopping at I needed to change. I chose to get off at the first of the two and yes according to the timetable there would be a train going to my home town in half an hour. It was by now 19.40 my train was due at 20.11. it would be more comfortable to sit in the waiting room. It was until the announcement that the waiting room was closing at 8pm.

Back on the cold dark platform I examined the timetable again as the trains being announced didn't seem to be going in the right direction. According to the lists of times and stations the train at 20.11 would call at my staion but the train that was due then was going in the opposite direction. I crossed to the other platform to await the next train going to Southampton central. Once I arrived there I looked for the next train home, I found the time but not the platform. I settled on a bench to wait, calling DC for a chat. I then checked again for my train discovering that I was on the wrong platform..........I reached the correct platform where my train was waiting, pressed the burron to open the door only to find that the train pulled away without me!

Ok so there would be another in 20 mins and at east now I was at the right station on the right platform! My phone rang unexpectedly, I assumed it would be a family member but it was LV. I told him where I was. He said that if he had known he would have given me a lift home. Isn't he a lovely friend. We had just finished chatting when my train arrived.

I finally arrived home at 21.37 after a very long and tiring yet enjoyable day. I am glad I went but next time I think I will drive myself, it will be quicker and less tiring than going by train.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Tea for two

All week I have meant to write a post but wearyness over took me. It has taken me a full week to recover from last weekend.

On Friday evening I had arranged to go with my friend Jane to hear Plumber's rock band playing at a venue about 12 miles away. Jane had had a nightmare couple of days and only just got home when I was getting ready to go out so we were later leaving than intended. I think it was around 9.30pm when we walked in to the very quiet pub. Plumber had warned me that they treat gigs at this pub as practice sessions as it is never very busy. But I wasn't prepared for just how quiet it was especially as this pub is fairly big. Apart from the band and their entourage and the bar staff there perhaps a dozen customers in the pub.

Plumber greeted us saying that there had been a problem with one of the amps but they were still going to play. As the evening progressed more people arrived and the atmosphere improved. Plumber came over to speak to us a few times. I invited him to come round for a cup of tea after the gig (knowing it would be late). I did offer to open a bottle of wine but he would stil have to drive home so opted for tea. After the gig ended Jane and I headed out to my car, we were just getting settled in our seats when Plumber came looking for us. He complained that we had left without saying goodbye. (I didn't want to draw attention to our relationship in front of his friends). Jane thought it was very romantic that he had come looking for me.

Once I had driven home after dropping Jane off, I put on the kettle, lit my assortment of candles on the mantlepiece and grabbed some time to relax with my laptop while I waited. OJ who had come home for a few days was sat in the livingroom. I quickly went onto facebook changing my status to read................kettle on, candles lit, waiting for Plumber to arrive. It was about 1am when ET came in saying

'whats this about Plumber..........he isn't coming round now is he?'

With that both boys disappeared upstairs. You see Face Book does have it uses...........I didn't even have to ask my sons to give us some privacy.

It was 1.45am when Plumber arrived. We sat on my new sofa chatting and drinking tea until 3am. By the time I had turned everything off and gone to bed it was gone 3.45 when I finally went to sleep.