Sunday, March 28, 2010

lazing on a sunday afternoon

dear readers, i know many of you will have been waiting with bated breath to find out what happened to the dishwasher. would the wonderful engineers manage to fix it or would the peeps be doomed to wash up by hand for ever more?

well, sunday dawned fine and herself was up with the lark to go and feed bonzo and libby. young dave and i tagged along and were rewarded with a walk along the south downs way. on the way we came across a man trying to tempt rabbits into a wooden box. young dave and i were just about to offer a little help when we were rather unceremoniously placed on our leads. we never did discover why the man had not just got himself a lurcher.

i digress. we shot off home and herself set to with gusto preparing a large brunch for her old friend traveling john, who had stayed the night, the snake-charmers and the next doors. there was a lot of frying and grilling, during which young dave managed to liberate several chipolatas. i think he would have settled for one but herself had failed to cut them apart from their fellows before cooking them. of course i had to help him finish them. there ensued a cheerful interlude of munching and chatting. eventually the guests began to head off to get on with stuff.

then there was a knock at the door. it was our aunty! and mr jos! they had come prepared with bags of tools and, hardly pausing for a cuppa, set to work dismantling the dishwasher. they very politely did not comment too much on the battered panels caused by herself having tried to lever them off without removing all the screws. aunty jos even refrained from commenting on herself's failure to keep track of which screw went where. things were going swimmingly until herself offered to help*. she was persuaded to stick to taking pictures of proceedings, so i will leave it to them to illustrate how our wonderful engineers sorted out the beast in double-quick time.

and here, dear readers, you can see a lot of shiny, clean pots and pans! yay!

it only remains for me to say, unaccustomed as i am to this sort of thing, that the peeps, young dave and i are forever grateful to aunty and mr jos. the peeps, for not having to wash up by hand, and young dave and i for the resumption of the canine pre-wash, which was put on hold for the duration due to handwashed plates not getting sterilised afterwards. bit fussy if you ask me but its all water under the bridge now...

*this sentence was actually thought up during the operation by aunty jos, but i am sure she will not mind me stealing it.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

don't whine

dear readers, yet again i must apologise for the long gap in communication. things have been busy as usual. herself has been particularly busy. her additional energy has been due to a sudden healthy lifestyle choice. she has decided to give up wine, and indeed all alcohol. this was in part brought on by a desire to put to the test the saying "you can never be too rich or too thin". herself, as regular readers will know, is neither rich nor thin. but the theory is that she will be less poor and less fat under the new regime. and will no doubt live longer, allowing her to nag my boy for the foreseeable future with impunity.

the downside of this is that she no longer sits down and relaxes of an evening with a glass of wine. this has extended the period of frenetic activity each day considerably. spring cleaning is happening with a vengance, including a foray into my boys's room. my boy's room is a place where untold things live under the bed, and spiders swing from the ceiling. or did. herself hoovered under the bed, for what must be the first time since we moved in. this was accompanied by a fair bit of screeching at the sheer horror of it all. but my boy was happy with the result and can now breathe more easily.

the hoovering has not been confined to our house. as part of the 'help bonzo knit his own hay' project, herself has got herself another cleaning gig to pay for his shoes. horses need big metal shoes to stop their delicate little hooves from wearing out. (that may sound a little bitter but since when did anyone ever worry about my paws?) the big metal shoes don't come cheap. so the snake-charmers are going to pay for the shoes in return for hoovering duties.

mr snake-charmer has very dodgy lungs which get irritated by the tiniest bit of dust so herself is charged with taking their new monster dust-defying vacuum cleaner and giving their bedroom a forensic makeover once a week, followed by the rest of the house if there is time. i just hope the snakes keep their heads down. trying to get a snake out of the innards of a hyper-allergenic hoover might prove tricky.

other news - our aunty is going to visit tomorrow! and she is bringing her other half with her! this visit, so soon after the last one, was necessitated by our recalcitrant dishwasher. (i have mentioned to herself that if she had put those anti-calcium tablets in the dishwasher it might not have become recalcitrant but she was having none of it.)

regular readers will recall that a plan was formulated to mend the dishwasher with the aid of a webcam. suffice to say this, like many of herself's ideas, was not a success. it all started promisingly enough. the dishwasher was pulled out from under the worktop, and unplugged (our aunty had placed great store by the unplugging of the beast, no doubt because of the water involved.) herself's laptop was placed nearby with the webcam.

here the first problem became apparent. herself's laptop did not have the correct drivers for the webcam. there was a short interlude while she searched the internet in vain for them. then my boy's laptop was brought down. this too did not have the drivers but, being a pc rather than a mac (don't get me started on that whole thing) was more likely to be able to work with the webcam. but my boy's laptop was equally unable to assist. this was because it requires a little gadget in order to be able to pick up the wireless network and my boy could not lay his hands on the gadget.

herself had a cup of tea while she thought things through. then, before you could say "stick to the day job" she had disconnected all the plumbing from the dishwasher and wheeled it into the living room where big mac, her computer, lives. big mac knows how to use a webcam and has even been known to try skype on occasion. having positioned everything properly and procured a torch, herself made contact with aunty jos. aunty jos was already giggling. i fear she knew what was to come.

"it is really important that you make a note of which screw came from which bit," she said, "mark them with a magic marker or something." herself did not quite understand how important 'really important' was, and very quickly muddled all the screws up. but this was not the main problem. the main problem was that the webcam was of very low resolution. couple this with the dark innards of a dishwasher, illuminated only by a torch, and you are beginning to get the idea. aunty jos was unable to tell her actuator from her elbow. coupled with herself's inability to remove the side panels from the beast without using a crowbar (best avoided dear readers, if you want to use the appliance afterwards) it appeared that the endevour was doomed.

however, in the background was mr jos, who is also an engineer, and a filtration engineer at that (aunty jos is some sort of hydraulic engineer, i think). a plan was hatched whereby aunty and mr jos would come down and deal with the beast in person. i think even our dishwasher will have to admit defeat in the face of two engineers.

so the dishwasher was replaced to await its fate. however, true to form, herself failed to reconnect the drain pipe. this was because the dishwasher is no longer working so did not need to drain. what herself failed to appreciate was that the washing machine was still draining, and without the pipe from the dishwasher, was draining all over the floor.

it is just as well the floor is already ruined from a previous leak. and also just as well that the peeps have not yet got round to having it replaced. the insurers might have pulled a bit of a face at two claims for a new floor within as many months...

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

an aunty!

dear readers, young dave and i have found ourselves an aunty! we haven't asked her yet but i hope she will take us on. she is already an experienced aunty to a couple of young chaps who sound like human versions of lurchers so we are hopeful that she will add us to her portfolio of nephews.

our new aunty came to visit at the weekend. she is called jos and is a friend of herself's. she lives a bit of a way away so she stayed the night. my boy offered to sleep on the sofa with young dave so aunty jos could have his bed. or more accurately his sofa - he has a bed and a sofa in his room, but the bed is full of things like guitars and boots so he sleeps on his sofa.

this bed-lending arrangement was necessary because of a certain fear of dogs on the part of aunty jos. young dave tends to make himself comfortable snuggled up on the pillows of guests who sleep on the sofa, and if possible inserts his long and woolly body under their duvet. this is all very well if you are a lover of hairy grey beasts but not so great if they make you nervous. as you can see from the photo, by the second day of her visit, aunty jos had been charmed by young dave to the point where she read him a story about clouds and let him lie in her lap.

as well as being a perfect aunty, aunty jos is also an engineer! we could not have chosen a more useful guest on this particular weekend as the dishwasher had decided to give up heating the water. young dave and i offered to take over dishwashing duties but we were rudely spurned. a brief discussion with our clever guest identified the problem as the element. as himself fried the eggs for breakfast herself and aunty jos got online and found a place that sells elements. herself ordered one, which should arrive in a few days.

however, obtaining an element and getting it into the dishwasher are two very different things. it appears that the element lives somewhere deep in the floor of the dishwasher. aunty jos was of course rather blase about how easy it might be to fit such a thing, being an engineer. herself, somewhat uncharacteristically, was a little concerned about making sure the dishwasher did not become live and dangerous. aunty jos offered to talk herself through the operation on the phone, once the element had arrived, but this still left room for human error.

"how will i know which wire you mean?" she squeaked, "it might all go zap when we switch it back on!"

but a solution presented itself in the form of skype. skype is a sort of webcam telephone thing. herself is going to rig up a web cam pointing into the innards of the dishwasher and aunty jos is going to tell her which bit to do what with. there is an added complication just now in that herself has laryngitis and has very little volume. my boy may have to be roped in to provide audio from our end.

if this proves a success there are plans to post the recording of the whole operation on my blog. watch this space...

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

a bit cleaner

dear readers, here you can see the magnificent bonzo at rest, with his dear friend libby standing guard. it may not seem that someone as small as libby would be required to protect someone as large as bonzo, but let me tell you, this libby is a fierce little creature. young dave and i have learned from bitter experience to stay well clear of her heels. so bonzo can doze in the sunshine safe in the knowledge that no mountain tigers will be leaping on him from above.

i would have used a picture of the actual subject matter of this post, but this is a family blog and while this post is about something connected with family, using a photograph might result in it being filtered out by those helpful little creatures inside your computer that protect you from scary things. (herself had cause to wish she had some of the helpful creatures in her computer this week. bonzo and libby's field is drowning in mud so herself decided she needed to put down more hardcore. all i will say, dear readers, is do not google 'hardcore' without adding 'ballast' or 'rubble'.)

the reason for my caution is that this post is about the magnificent bonzo's magnificent wedding tackle. (i have added a link to the definition of this phrase as last time i used it there was consternation among my readers in canada. and possibly elsewhere.) it seems that horses, unlike lurchers, are unable to keep their own wedding tackle clean. this is because of the way they are designed. so their owner has to clean it for them. mr snake charmer is the sponsor for the wedding tackle, but herself does not trust him to approach the task of todger husbandry with sufficient gravitas. (i would advise my readers against googling 'todger' without turning off the image search facility. for those readers of a curious nature, the correct term for this operation is 'sheath cleaning'. again i would recommend switching off image search.) herself has bought some special stuff to do this with. on the label it says 'sheath cleaner' and then underneath, to my great relief, 'for horses'.

herself has never owned her own horse before so has never had the responsibility for this task. many years ago she had a horse on loan, but this was a lady horse and therefore did not have any appendages. herself was rather alarmed at the prospect of tackling the wedding tackle, and has been trying to rope in her maamship to provide moral support, using blandishments such as what a good story it would make if her maamship was asked to give an after-dinner speech at a judicial function.

herself delivered her sales patter by e-mail. she thoughtfully attached a description of what was involved which she had found on the internet. unfortunately the e-mail arrived at her maamship's at lunchtime. her maamship was not overly pleased to receive this helpful discourse and e-mailed herself back to say it had put her off her soup.

herself made a couple of attempts to persuade the magnificent bonzo of the importance of a clean todger but he was having none of it. uncle gary was approached and gave herself instruction on how to proceed. mrs lupin asked her brother, who has a horse, and was told that baby oil was the way to go. herself continued to prevaricate and was chatting to mrs toby, her new friend who has a horse near bonzo and libby's field, about the problem.

"oh, i'm an expert sheath cleaner!" said mrs toby, "toby has a bit of a problem down there so i have to do it quite often. i'll give you a hand." i should explain that toby is mrs toby's horse. mrs toby went on to explain that once a horse understood what was going on he generally got to quite like the experience. it seems toby likes it rather more than is entirely decent, and goes into something of a trance.

mental note to self: make sure my boy does not come out with comments about horse porn when the nice ladies from social services are next round...