31st December

Oh dear lord it’s the end of the year already but on the bright side I have managed to blog every day for the second year running! So well done to me and onwards to next year’s blog.

My brother features in the New Year’s Honours List this year – being awarded the Queen’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service.

Apparently we’re now only allowed to be ill on Monday,  Wednesday and Friday mornings as our GP surgery has gone from being open five days a week, to mornings only to this! So I had to drive down to the other surgery to pick up my repeat prescription and while I was there I saw a notice on the door. Apparently from 6th January we won’t be able to book an appointment on the day unless we have been deemed ill enough, by a clinician calling us back, to deserve one – time to find a new GP methinks!

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Last charity shop find of the year – found a copy of the New Riders of the Purple Sage’s eponymous first album in the Oxfam shop in Gillingham.  Even the carrier bag they gave me qualifies as an antique!

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This sign appeared on the lodger’s door today – of course they can’t prevent us from entering the room but hey I think it’s funny!

Happy New Year Everyone – see you all in 2014

30th December

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Off to Catford today to see the Panto that Sarah’s brother is musical director for.

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It was when we got home that all hell let loose. The lodger was in the kitchen cooking but we couldn’t help but notice that suddenly from not being able to pay the rent or feed her kids properly she now had enough money to buy cider but we decided to let it pass. After she’d finished in the kitchen we got on with cooking our food and when it was ready we asked her son to go upstairs – not unreasonably as it was nearly 10pm.

Next thing we know she;s appeared in the kitchen full of hell because we’ve apparently upset her sun. She ripped into Sarah really nastily and Sarah, needless to say, had a few things to say as well. I was getting very annoyed about what she was saying so I got dragged in as well. The kids, both hers and ours, were very upset and partly because of this and because of what had been an unprovoked violent outburst Sarah phoned the Police.

Anyway the Police turned up and after talking to us for ages they had a chat with her. The Policewoman said that she thought that the lodger was going to get a shock when she moves out on the 16th as she seems to have high expectations of what will happen when she becomes homeless – likelyhood is she’ll get put in temporary accommodation like a B&B.

We did get the rest of our rent though but even the Policeman though the two £50 notes she produced were a little suspicious! I was a tad disappointed as I’d started to wonder if we could give her a new notice to quit with an earlier date due to the non payment of the full rent but hey ho! So after all that it was nearly 2am by the time we got to bed!

28th December

Oh lordy what a day! Sarah and I were just sitting in bed having a cup of tea and discussing where we should go today when we heard a huge crash from outside the door.  It turned out to be the lodger’s daughter who had been feeling unwell and had had a dizzy spell and fallen down the stairs.

We picked her up and over the next hour or so she was sick and her foot started to swell up. Sarah sent her mum, who was at work, a text but got no reply. We phoned the out of hours doctor and were just in the process of getting dressed to take her when the mum showed up. Sarah had a right go at her because this same scenario (minus the falling downstairs bit) had happened last month and the mum was supposed to be taking daughter to the doctors but clearly hadn’t. Anyway next thing we know mum and daughter have gone to doctors in cab leaving 10 year old son behind without even a do you mind…..

So we spent the next 6 hours as unpaid child minders and our plans to go out for the day went out the window. We heard from them to say they were going to the hospital and the text contained an apology for her attitude which I guess was something and then they actually had the cheek to text us and ask if we could go and pick them up from the hospital.  I did but only because I felt sorry for the daughter who had actually broken her toe and was now on crutches.

When they got back the mum barely said a word to us and was her usual sociable self disappearing up to her room for most of the evening. Her behaviour is very erratic and I do wonder if it’s anything to do with the packet of tramadol I saw sitting on the side in their room. It was with other medication that would suggest it was given to her when she claimed to have a bad arm. Funnily enough the anti inflammatory drugs don’t seem to have been touched but the tramadol does and we’ve seen no further evidence of the arm which was apparently immobile on the day she went to the doctor! It seems like a touch of overkill to me to be given tramadol for muscle strain anyway!

But at least I’ve now seen the Christmas Doctor Who special which finally appeared on iplayer. So Matt Smith is no more and the Doctor has regenerated. First impressions, albeit brief as it only happened at the end, weren’t favourable.

27th December

Yesterday our tumble dryer decided to stop working – just what you need at this time of year! The drum still turned but no heat was coming out so it looked as if the heating element had gone. Sarah was going to phone the repair man but as I pointed out by the time we’d paid his call out charge and any parts it might actually be cheaper to buy a new one! So that’s what we did and off we went to Argos to pick it up today – first time we’ve been anywhere in over 48 hours!

Once we got back I put the old one in the front while we sorted out the new one. I joked that if it was still there later I’d take it to the dump. It didn’t take long but about an hour or so later the door bell rang!

“You chucking that tumble dryer out mate?”

Er yes….

“Does it work?”

Yes of course it does that’s why I’m chucking it! I explain what’s wrong with it and then he asks

“Is it okay to take it?”

And it was gone……

Classic one tonight – sloped off to the shed while the living room was full of Bridget Jones watching females. I replaced the battery in my fuzz pedal and plugged the guitar in. I twiddled with the knobs but couldn’t work out why it didn’t change the way it sounded. After a while it dawned on me – the guitar was plugged directly into the amp and the cable that was plugged into the fuzz pedal came out of the output jack and then went back into the input! Wonder if there was a weird unheard feedback loop going on!

26th December

Today we were meant to be going to Sarah’s brother’s house but that changed a few days ago and Sarah’s family came here instead. It was just as well really as we have one of Becky’s friends staying with us for Christmas as the plan was that the two of them go over on the train as we couldn’t fit them all in the car. However we discovered that there weren’t any trains or buses running today so that would have been a problem!

We had pretty much the same dinner as yesterday though thankfully we didn’t have to cook a turkey this time! I still felt quite flustered though but I think that had a lot to do with everyone deciding the kitchen was a good place to hang out! I got there eventually although I did forget to glaze my parsnips!

I think having Sarah’s family over made me think about Christmas at home when I was in my teens. We used to go to my Gran’s house when we were little but it got to the point in the mid 70s when my Gran couldn’t really cope with doing the whole family Christmas so we starting staying at home and having our Grand parents over – I’d end up doing the chauffeuring once I’d past my test. My Gran was always immaculately dressed and would sit in the living room with her cigarettes and a glass of wine, until the year when she got a bit tipsy and started to bring her own non-alcoholic stuff after that. My Grandad always had problems with his eyes and I’ll never forget the year he sat in the box of cream cakes in the car on the way back! My Nana didn’t have the airs and graces of my Gran but she always announce that she’s had an elegant sufficiency when she was full!

The table would be set in the back room to start off with but after the kitchen extension had been built in the dining room. There’d be candles and napkins and wine glasses all laid out. We’d have soup for starter, turkey for the main course and of course Christmas pudding for dessert, of course set on fire by my dad. Mum and Dad would be busy back and forth to the kitchen until we’d all been fed after which we’d retire to the front room and exchange presents.

Hard to believe that apart from me and my brother they’re all gone now.

One of the traditions I’ve gained from being married to Sarah is that of tree presents – small or silly gifts left under the tree to be opened on Boxing day! We did them this evening – got lots of chocolate!