Saturday 16th February 2019
Due to the Vagaries of the average company Leave arrangements, I have 4 days Leave to take before April, so as Jake Our Grandson is going to Euro Disney on Monday 18th, I have taken Monday to Thursday off and volunteered to take him to the Scout Hut on Monday Morning for 7am, and collect him Wednesday 23.00 when they get back.
So a reasonable 07.15 start on Saturday then, driving the 225 miles to Julie’s flat was a dream as there was almost no traffic at all and the weather was just right.
We went over to Sue, our Eldest Daughter’s for lunch, and very nice it was too. After Lunch, I had a look at their upstairs toilet cistern as there was water constantly running into it, and the nailbrush that Sue had wedged under the Ball Float wasn’t effective anymore! Yup, that’ll be a new diaphragm washer, then, Of course, it’s Sunday afternoon.
Off we went, Wickes has no selection at all so ended up in B&Q, not too painful £1.47 for a pack of two, and it only took a couple of minutes to fit.
Back to the Flat later in the afternoon, and onto the Interweb to alter our Summer Holiday, as going to Southern Ireland for a week was going to cost about £1300 when I checked and found the Ferry Fares would be £400 return!
A bit of thinking and bouncing of ideas, and we settled on North Wales! 7 nights B&B in a 4-Star Hotel just outside Porthmadog so handy for the two main Steam Narrow-Gauge Railways, not far from Snowdon and handy for the rest of North West Wales as well. Bonus point? Just over £800.
We got Jake to the Scout Hut with plenty of time, and after a period of what at first looked like chaos, but was actually well-organised issuing of special Hoodies and Neckers for the trip, collection of medicines and passports etc. A few Scouts were asked to take out a supply of water bottles out to the Coach which had quietly arrived and parked in the Drive. They left almost exactly on time, on a Luxury 5-star Euroliner Coach packed with Youngsters and adults.
After we had seen Jake off, Sue and went and parked in the middle of town and went to Wetherspoons for a cooked Breakfast, then had to visit a couple of shops, I went into O² and changed my monthly plan from 100mins+100texts+100Mb @14.95/Month to 217+unlimited+1Gb for 10.00! I could have got a better deal elsewhere but not with the same coverage where I live and work. For some reason Sue declined the offer of visiting the Anne Summers shop, some Daughters are so boring!
We also visited TUI Travel agents, as She and Jake are going to Salou with them in May, and Sue wanted to book and pay for the Excursions and query a change in the time of the Flights.
Daddee, can we get the excursions on your credit card and I’ll pay you back Pleease?
We didn’t discuss the price of these excursions before the Agent brought them up on the computer, nor funnily enough the fact that as their new flight is at 6am they will have to stay locally to Gatwick the night before, Strange that…..
I pay my card off almost straight away, so there are no interest charges, but I do lose the interest that I would have been paid from my savings account, and said account is meant to be there for OUR Holiday, car problems etc. Well, it’s £327 lighter now!
We also went into Jessops and Sue got Her Passport Photos done, a sheet of 6 that they used a Guillotine stamp to cut to the correct size so She has spares.
That was enough for me, so back to the Flat to recover!
Tuesday, Julie and I had a total day off, a true PJ Day.
I had ordered some new Sandwich tubs from The Range at the Weekend, and now received an Email to say they were here at the local Store, so after a lazy start to the Day, Julie and I went to go and get them. We also picked up a new Light bulb for my bedside lamp in the flat, an E14 SES Golf Ball LED, reasonably priced as well. While we were here we decided to have lunch at the in-store Cafe, Sandwiches and a Rocky-Road tray bake to follow!
Back to the Flat to take it easy before collecting Sue at 23.15 to go to collect Jake.
We got to the Scout Hut in plenty of time, it’s only about a mile as the crow flies or 1 1/2 by road, parked in the car park there and sat waiting with an increasing amount of parents and Grandparents, The local contact lady for the trip came round all the cars and told us the Coach was due a little late as there were road closures in the South-East UK, but they wouldn’t be too long.
The Coach pulled in at about 00.05, so not really that late after a journey from near Paris to Basingstoke via the Chunnel. There are pictures of all of the passengers and the Driver standing in front of the Coach whilst on the shuttle in the Tunnel. (I can’t publish one, as I don’t have permission.)
After Medications, Insurance cards and Passports were returned to Parents, we were free to exit the Scout Hut and drive home. I waited for most of the cars to go first, Kids milling around and Parents reversing out of spaces because it takes a brain cell to reverse in and drive out don’t make a good mix.
We exited the car park and got about 200 Metres down the road and I noticed the wheel pulling to the Left, Guess who’s got a punctured tyre?
Pulled up, emptied the boot, spare wheel and jack out, and wheel brace in use. The Locking Wheel Bolt first, ok. Opposite, yup. 90′, Very tight so tried the last one, that came off ok, so back to the prior one, got a full turn but VERY stiff, That’s because it isn’t turning, it’s the Monkey-metal Wheelbrace that has twisted along its length and of course it is the only one in the car. “Mum’s in the RAC” (breakdown club) so I rang Her, ‘Where’s the membership card, I can’t find it in the Car’ “Oh, it’s in my purse, I’ll phone them now,” says Julie so we ring off and wait. Julie rang back a few moments later, “They won’t come out because I’m not in the car, and apparently the membership covers the member and not their car!” Oohh, Buzzcocks!
So I left my Daughter and Grandson in the Car and fast walked uphill for the 1&1/2 miles back to the Van, collected a now dressed Wife, and a fully equipped Van with toolkit, and returned to the Car. Had to use my 1/2″ drive by 2ft Spring Bar to remove the offending wheel bolt, removed the wheel and rolled the new one into place.
Could I lift the new wheel up into position and line up the holes? NO! Daughter Eldest gave me a hand, and got the bolts back in ok, everything stowed loose in the boot for now and followed Julie home, She in the Car and I in the Van.
We went to bed with a cup of Tea at 01.40 Thursday Morning, so all in all not too bad, but I had to dose up on painkillers quite a bit as I’ve pulled something in my bad arm (the one that was broken last August) and My Knee was painful as well.
Woke up in quite a lot of pain a couple of times during the night, so when it came to getting up properly I was still as tired as a tired person and also my arm feels like it’s on fire on the inside of the Forearm. Took Painkillers, anti-inflammatories and spread Diclofenac Gel (Voltarol Extreme) on the Arm and sat there trying to keep my eyes open.
I’m meant to be driving home today, and back to work tomorrow, but honestly, I don’t think I’m fit to drive that distance. I rang my Mate and work colleague to see how busy we were at the moment, then our Service director and then our Service controller to apologise but I’ll be taking Friday off! Not something I’ve ever done before, but I’m no good to them if I’m in a ditch in the Van. I’ll go home on Sunday, for a return to work on Monday.
Did nothing all day, except hurt and dose.
Woke up refreshed after a full night’s sleep, that’s more than Julie got, apparently I still snore? That’s why my mouth was so dry then!
Got dressed after breakfast and after straightening out the car boot, we went out to Micheldever Tyres to get the puncture attended to. Of course, they also check the other tyres on the car, and proudly informed me that the Nearside Rear tyre was at 2mm, the legal limit is 1.6mm, and the Offside rear is less than the 3mm telltales, and the puncture situation has damaged the sidewalls of that tyre. Well, we knew we’d have to replace the two rear tyres within the next 3 Months anyway, so 3 tyres specified for a BMW M3 Sport, because that’s what this SUV takes and £375 later and we went home for lunch. We’ve had this car since May 2013 and these are the first rear tyres since just after then, it still had the original ones on it when we got it, so not too bad really then.
That’s £700.00 in less than a week! Oh, my poor Savings! I’m hoping that I can save enough to cover our Holiday before we go, but it’s looking borderline at the moment!
Saturday, 23 February 2019.
I’m staying in the Flat today, it’s a lot cheaper that way.
Sunday 24th February 2019.
Woke up at a reasonable time again, and after a good night’s sleep, good job really as I Have to go back to work Tomorrow so have to drive back to Cornwall today.
Left Easter Eggs behind for the Family, I’m intending to be back up for Easter, but I’m getting very suspicious about making too many plans, mine always seems to go awry!
Went to the local Tesco Metro on my way out of Basingstoke and got Bread and Milk for home, then Joined the throng on the M3 Westbound, the A303 then the A30, M5 and A30 again, stopping at the Hog and Hedge Services at Whiddon Down for Lunch and a break, Had a warm Italian Chicken Wrap complete with Mediterranean Veggies and a side salad and very nice it was too.
Pulled off at Redruth Tesco as I was still early enough and got fruit and Ham for my sandwiches for the week and also some Chicken breasts for my evening meals, then round to their filling station and then the 2 Miles Home from there.
It was very hard the next morning to go to work instead of getting a Taxi to the Railway Station and returning to my Wife!
I’ve been doing this living and working 225 miles away for almost 18 Years now and it doesn’t get any easier, Only 2 Years and a few Months to go until I retire and can go back full time, I can fully understand why Julie doesn’t want to move down here anymore after Her Mum died, stranded almost on Her own, and remembering that My Mum died when She was only 70, so as Julie doesn’t know anyone but a couple of my Neighbours down here I can see that She doesn’t want to get stranded!
I had plans for my retirement, not any more.
I have built a shed to equip as a workshop, I have a very large selection of both hand and portable power tools, and also a Woodturning lathe (and plans to buy a Metal turning one too) and a Planing machine. I have two Welders, Brazing equipment, various Wood and Metalwork Vices and a Roller Cabinet keep Hand Tools in. Somewhere amongst the things in Basingstoke, there should be my Pyrography set as well, I’ve been looking forward to doing that, and I also have a model of the USS Enterprise, and a couple of other models to build as well. I have fully lined and insulated the Shed (apart from the double doors and once built and set up I was going to build new, better ones with ‘Stable’ door tops so they opened in half). I have all the wood to build the workbench around 3 sides of the Shed, and the materials to install a fume and dust extraction system, as my Hobbies include Soldering Electronic wiring and components (I am a Radio Amateur), also making objects from stained glass. I would really like to have a go at making small scale Steam Engines as well and have an Electric Steam Boiler to test them with. I have the Heating and Lighting equipment and installation materials, also for the power circuits and socket outlets.
I would have had room to finish building the 4 Storey Dolls House that has been sitting on a table in Julie’s flat for 15 Years, and room to display it on its own table in my lounge. Removing a lot of the Shed contents to the Shed would free up enough storage room for Julie’s Card making, and I already have a Draughtsman’s tilting top table in a recess in my bedroom right next to a South facing window for Her to use.
Julie lives in a 3rd floor one bedroom flat, I can do none of my hobbies there.
I have been lonely as Hell for all these Years, I’m not staying down here on my own if I don’t have to, I’ve shed too many tears being away from my soul-mate already, so I’ll just have to pack everything away, flat pack the shed and move everything into storage in Basingstoke in the remote hope that once I’ve moved there, Julie can get a transfer to a ground floor place that has a garden and room for my shed and that I can put power out to it. Oh, and somewhere to hang my Cuckoo clock up as well.
If I have to watch daytime TV for the rest of my life, then I won’t last until I’m 70! I’m hoping that I can win enough on the Lottery to buy a Bungalow with a Garden….. Anyone know any Banks that want Robbing?