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And the wait goes on...

Ah, a break in the cold, very wet and windy weather. It is still outside and the sun is shining; perfect conditions for the today's U3A’s tennis morning. Judith is not quite recovered enough from her bug to play but is intending to go, have a coffee with the group and nip into town: after all, it is a social group. Well, that was the plan, then whilst enjoying our first brew of the day, her phone rings; it’s her dad and at that time time in the morning it can only mean one thing. “What’s the problem?” Judith asks, answering the call. He was woken up in the middle of the night because his heating was on, even though it’s turned off (if that makes sense!) and the radiators were getting extremely hot, again. We had made the 50 minute trip to his place on Saturday for exactly the same problem. I am no engineer but can deal in logic and it’s a bit of a no brainer that there is a problem when the heating is turned off, the heating thermostat is set to zero and the radiators are red hot. Time to call in help. Anther test of patience as one presses buttons or speaks into the phone in answer to all the automated questions and 15 minutes later are offered a Tuesday afternoon appointment. That’s not good enough, Judith’s dad believes the boiler is going to explode if left on and to be fair to British Gas we would turn the system on at the isolator when we were cold and off when the system got too hot and would be happy to do this until the engineer arrived – this was their reasoning for not booking an emergency appointment. However, we are not 92 and do not suffer from self doubt and anxiety. When we left on Saturday the system appeared to be behaving itself, but by Sunday afternoon it was playing up again. He would have to survive using a small oil filled portable radiator for a couple of days (the offer to return with us was turned down).

The engineer arrived Tuesday morning, discovered a faulty valve in the water system in the tank cupboard, replaced same, tested the system and left with everything seemingly working OK. He had rang Judith and recommended the boiler be replaced. Judith made arrangements for a visit for a quote to be made: earliest available; 1st December.

So, back to this morning (Wednesday). How to deal with this latest crisis? Time to put the coffee machine on and have a pow wow. Is it any wonder we describe our book as “a true life story of Chemistry, Chaos and Crises as experienced by us.” The chemistry we still have, but the spontaneous love-ins have taken a back seat just lately – it’s hard work just getting up off the sofa without making ‘old people’ noises, let alone swinging off the chandelier! Our life remains one of chaos with not enough hands to cope with the number of balls in the air, and as for crises, they just keep on coming. With this latest one it is decided to take action as if we will have to face the worse scenario i.e. Judith’s dad’s heating system cannot be fixed and it is not until after Christmas that a new system can be fitted. This entails digging out our small camping oil filled radiator for use in his bedroom, calling at Screwfix and buying a new larger oil filled radiator for his lounge, plus two plug in timers and an extension lead and then heading over to his once more. First job is to calm him down and allay his anxiety and then secondly to set everything up. Fingers crossed, when the engineer returns tomorrow he will be able to find another fault to fix. If not, all we can do is to ask him if there is a way to expedite the installation of the new boiler. Of course, by the time we return home, the sun has disappeared behind rain clouds so we pour a big vodka, grab a cheese sandwich and sit and watch Sunday’s Match of the Day.

On the book front, we are yet to hear anything back from the publishers (we are expecting the final files for approval). They stated it would take 5 – 7 to complete the typesetting; it is day 8 today, so they will be getting chased tomorrow.

In the meantime, let us wind the clock back to last Thursday morning. There we were, having a nice cuppa watching breakfast TV, and there is Parky (for non UK residents, Michael Parkinson is a famous Broadcaster, journalist and author, best known for his TV talk show, “Parkinson” from 1971 to 1982 and being attacked by Emu – a glove puppet - on said show), with his son promoting his latest book. How many more celebs will be promoting their books for Christmas? On the face of it, our timing for publication is not looking good, but we will not be going down without a fight and we are working extremely hard to give it every opportunity to succeed. Now, if we can get onto that bloody red sofa before Christmas we may have a chance in selling a book or two (provided it’s been published, of course – minor detail).

Thursday afternoon was sunny, so we went for a walk around one of the new housing estates that have sprung up around us (we were surrounded by fields when we moved into this property, now it’s all modern boxes, that’s life). If nothing else, it makes us appreciate what we have: the developers would probably be able to build three houses on our plot! Then in the evening, Judith had an arrangement to meet her grand nephew at the local Aldi store by his school at 1645hrs. She is training him to catch the bus to ours, so that when he has after-school clubs or visits a friend and his mum cannot pick him up, he can get himself to ours until someone can come and pick him up. His home is very rural, there are no buses and no pavements; it is too far and too dangerous for him to walk home. An earlier attempt did not go to plan because the bus driver charged the wrong amount and grand nephew was a bit timid. This time around he was much more confident and though he encountered one of the problems of using public transport, especially buses during rush hour, i.e. the bus was 20 minutes late, he managed fine. We still don’t know how much the cost is though because this time around the driver had no change so let him ride for free (Judith and I have bus passes). Tomorrow is exam time; will he manage the trip successfully? Judith will be monitoring, but staying stum. I shall let you know next week.

That’s it for this week, be safe, be kind and enjoy life.


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