Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Fire and Mouse Hunts

Check me out!

Monthly mouse Hunt #2

Less ice this morning, this means that the previously frozen tundra that makes up the car parking area has turned back to plain mud. A simple turn of the steering wheel is enough to create a ploughed field effect and a series of tsunami mud waves under the car. This mud should be packaged and sold as glue as it sticks to all it touches, cars, shoes, houses, fluffy white slippers, rugs and carpets and so on. The solution is simple: buy a big builder's size bag of bottoming stones and then, with the appropriate physical effort spread them to cover forever the November Somme like surface. Must get round to it..

Our oil supply is running low. Oil, once hidden in a tank is hard to measure if there is no dipstick. We are supposed to check the level by viewing it through an opaque tube that is discoloured, dirty and frozen. In the end a wild guess is made and we decide the oil is indeed running low, so Ali phones the oil company. The oil is used to heat the boiler and so is the coal fire (different boiler). These dual systems seem to dislike one another and despite their ability to produce heat cannot easily coexist without conflict. This seems to defy a few of the laws of physics. The oil system needs to be on when the fire is on so the pump will run and power the hot water round the pipes. However the oil boiler stays on when the coal fire is on still burning up fuel as vigorously as the coal fire. Then after a short time a strange fossil fuelled climax occurs, the pipes and water tanks vibrate violently and then spew a torrent of hot water out onto the patio from a pipe in the roof conveniently located directly above a security light and our garden furniture. Of course for this to happen the fire has to be alight. My technique for fire lighting is clumsy. Paper, sticks, firelighters, coal and the occasional log are placed in the fireplace. You would think that a lighted match applied to this incendiary heap would produce a roaring fire in no time. Well no, you get smoke, flash, red glow, smoke and then a serene stillness descends on these defiant materials as they refuse to burn. Few things make you feel less manly than being unable to light a decent fire – I stare at cold black coal and dream of sharpening pencils with my Swiss Army knife.

We are also planning a tree management expedition, to be set in the small bit of woodland north of the house. The main idea is that a few inconveniently growing trees will be removed with a few swift axe blows in order to give us a clearer view of the silvery Forth. There are some snags, firstly the trees are on the wrong side of a wall (six foot drop), they are wild with surrounding vegetation and there is mud and no doubt some animal life hidden in this tiny jungle. The trees also belong to someone else, not us, never good. Of course we don’t propose to fell any of the giants of the forest, we only want to carry out some simple pruning of otherwise untended braches and growths so that we may honestly adjust the viewing gaps between these trees. On an earlier expedition I did succeed, without specialist tools and using brute force only, in snapping of a few annoying branches. The more radical surgery will have to wait until the time is right, maybe some moon lit night or Sunday afternoon – preferably when the wood can be seen for the trees..

Recycling is complicated. Waste streams are not obvious; they do not flow in straight lines. Paper, light cardboard and magazines can be mixed but not with envelopes (?) Is somebody taking the piss? What are modern envelopes made of? Is it the glue, the sticky glue substitute, the ink? What can the problem be? If this country is ever to embrace any serious recycling work then envelopes must be included amongst normal waste paper.

An unbelievable headline in the redtops: “Garry Glitter faces a firing squad” - if only it was for musical crimes and not the sad reality of his unhealthy appetites. So it set me thinking about appropriate punishments for music crimes: “A hung, drawn and quartered farewell planned for Stock, Aitken and Waterman", “Roasted on a spit verdict for Katie Melua (and Mike Batt for that bicycle song), “Ten years in Barlinnie for Axl Rose” (for everything), “Bono sentenced to 140 hours of community service” (for nothing in particular), “Enya fined fifty quid” (I don’t need to explain).

Somerfield till receipts: “Your manger is, you were served by, you saved £3.49 (because you got a free battery). The date, the time, the phone number of the store are all there, why?

1 comment:

  1. Hey guys loving your stories of counry life.

    Missing you

    Got a bit of a sore leg going on...