Monthly Archives: April 2006

More matters domestic

Well the radiator seems to have magically fixed itself – a relief I have to say and obviously one of those things like a stuck jar of jam when you struggle and struggle and then hand it to someone who pops the lid off in a nano second making you look like a seven stone weakling. My eye has been caught by a report that women feel guilty about the amount of housework they do and it would seem a high proportion of my gender are getting hung up about their obsessiveness. Some advice, just step away from the Domestos! I just don't get it. Cleaning is one of those things you have to do, unless you love filth and are aiming to be visited by those slightly scary women on Channel 4 who come in and tell you how many million bacteria you have in your carpet whilst miraculously cleaning the entire house top to bottom with a dash of vinegar and some fetching, flowery rubber gloves. You just get on with it. Having said that I'm planning a bit of a spring clean myself this weekend. My thinking is that I can't do anything about the outside of my house until I find a competent builder who doesn't want to recreate one of the wonders of the world in place of a common or garden wall. So I will turn my attention to the inside and wield my feather duster with gusto, get rid of that weird purple dust you get in London and at least pretend I'm not knocking thousands off the value of my house thanks to the fact that the front garden wants to be part of the street without any hindrance from walls or fences. What is it with that purple dust anyway? Do we have special purple people in London who shed skin to form clumps of multi-coloured furballs which setlle under your radiators and on top of the skirting boards? At the last look neither the beloved nor I are purple so I can only assume it's coming from the outside. It's one of those questions like why do you never see a baby pigeon? Anyway, I shall be arming myself with some appropriate cleaning products (none of this mix a bit of lemon juice with bicarb nonsense for me – I like products) and setting to like a whirling dervish. But, unlike my fellow females, I will not be getting hung up that it's some sort of guilty seceret to feel bad about. No. It's just cleaning. Get a sense of perspective.

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The dilemmas of finding a builder

Why is there a conspiracy amongst tradesmen to treat mere mortals as half wits who couldn't possibly know a screwdriver from a paintbrush?

I've always been quite handy on the DIY front and can whip up a flat pack in 20 minutes (provided all the screws and widgets are there – B&Q and IKEA take note, it's not big or clever to provide completely different packets of plastic whatsits to those required). But I do not like ladders and have a complete fear of anything water or electric related. May be they can sense it when they walk in the front door and do that teeth-sucking "it'll cost you" thing. Anyway the need for a new garden wall and a slight radiator blockage have led to two opportunities to encounter members of the building trade.

First to the wall, we have had a variety of quotes some of which have indicated that the builder is under the impression he is recreating the Great Wall of China in our small corner of south west London. One of them commeted: "this wall will last longer than the house" – not that great a selling point as either my house is going to fall down in the next twenty or thirty years or I will have moved to Sunny Meadows retirement home and frankly won't care. So the wall remains on hold and our house continues to be the eyesore of the road with the gate increasingly becoming detached from its hinges and the postman getting fed up with the orange string contraption which is currently serving as a latch – classy we are!

So to the radiator. Now I have to blame the beloved on this one. He has a really annoying habit of turning the heating off in the dining room after every meal – if only his dedication to washing up was so predicatable. Well before the weekend he must have eaten his spinach and then some because he jammed the radiator valve so tight that no amounts of WD40, spanners, pliers and other leveraging implements have freed it. So nothing for it, have to call the trusty plumber. Something of an oxymoron I have to say. It turns out that I can pay a luicrously extortionate call out charge or wait until he's finished "a big job in Wimbledon" – presumably if I paid the extortionate call out charge the poor souls in Wimbledon will just have to live without for half a day whilst he supplements his 2 months in the Carribean fund?

Well I continue my quest to find a decent, honest tradesman who won't take one look at me and see £ signs.

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