Tuesday, July 14, 2009

An overdue library book

There was a certain amount of consternation at the Page family breakfast table this morning. The postman trotted up the driveway at about 8:10am as per usual and popped a sheaf of letters through the letterbox in the UPVC door "chez les Pages". Ann dutifully placed them before Brian who was halfway through his morning bowl of All Bran. Brian opened a manila envelope with a Ware postmark and almost burst a blood vessel which was not, as you can imagine, a pretty sight.

An overdue library book with a fine totalling almost £73 and the council were about to take Brian to court! Chuffed was he not.

It seems that Jessica, having mislaid her own library card, had borrowed Brian's as is from time to time her wont. (Brian's library card gets scant use due to his very demanding job at Mackletyne Extruded Plastics.) Of course, these days Jessica is up in Loughborough where she's attending a Business Studies course at the university. The library book withdrawal dated from the Easter vac when she "came down" for a couple of weeks R and R.

And the book? A self-help volume entitled How To Be More Organised. Brian was livid!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A day of crazyness - things get a bit "hairy" and tempers become frayed in the Page household.

Jessica down from university for the weekend, and, you know what students are like – a couple of bags full of laundry in urgent need of a wash. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, but the brake servo has gone on the Cavalier – again, not a problem, as the Cavalier is still under warranty, and in any case it would been down to Mackletyne Extruded Plastics to foot the bill, it being a company car, but it did mean that Brian and to take it in to the dealership in Ware town centre.
It wouldn’t normally be a problem – things are always a little ‘go as you please’ in the Page household on Saturday mornings, with everybody just getting on and ‘doing their thing’. No problem for Ann to pop the washing in while Brian dealt with the brake servo, but for the fact that the filter, you know, the one on the bottom of the washer, down on the left, needed cleaning out. If this isn’t done with the frequency recommended by the manufacturers it can adversely affect the conditions of the warranty. Usually this is a job which Ann would would be more than happy to leave to Brian, but needs must, so Ann decided to tackle the job herself.
With a little fiddling and waggling about she got it out OK and cleaned the fluff out of it. It was putting it back in where the difficulty started. I don’t know if you know that particular machine, but if you ‘google’ the model number a whole list of complaints come up concerning ‘replacement of the filter’. And this is where Ann came unstuck. Try as she might she couldn’t get it back in and eventually one of the plastic retaining clips snapped off.
Ann was in a bit of a cleft stick – on the one hand she had Jessica breathing down her neck for something clean to put on, on the other the distinct possibility of jeopardising the washing machine’s guarantee, and subsequently the prospect of incurring the wrath of Brian.
Discretion would really have been the better part of valour at this point, but she threw caution to the wind and shoved the filter back in, clip or no clip. The machine appeared to be working fine and she gave it no further thought.
Brian came back from the town centre with a concessionary car and proposed a pizza, so they got in the car, Jessica less than happy to be wearing the same outfit she arrived in last night, and Brian drove them into Ware.

A thick crust tomato, mozerella and pineapple pizza did wonders for Jessica’s mood down at Pizza Express and the Page’s came home in a joyous mood, only to discover a lake of soapy water making it’s way from under the utility room door, across the kitchen floor and saturating the fitted carpet in the lounge/diner.
Joy turned to dismay, and as quickly to anger. The filter had been pushed clean out of the washing machine by the sheer force of ALL the water from a Full Wash cycle (programme number five).
Brian was once again pretty livid and Ann wasn’t best pleased herself. Jessica beat a hasty retreat to her room, only to be called back downstairs immediately by Ann as the mopping-up operation began.
As luck would have it, earlier that week Ann had taken advantage of an offer in the local Co-op, and for £4.25 had purchased a bucket and ‘squeegee mop’ – one of the ones with a lever on the handle so that you can squeeze the mop out into the bucket. It proved to be a godsend and, in the time it took Brian to go next door, explain the problem and ask to borrow their Henry vacuum cleaner (the one that sucks up water), the excess water had been mopped up and poured down the drain.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

New central heating!

There’s been some consternation in the Page household this week: as you know Brian has had a promotion at Mackletyne Extruded Plastics – he’s now Regional Head Of Sales for the Home Counties (excluding Greater London). Although this means increased responsibility and with it a heavy work load (something that’s been giving Ann cause for concern), it does also mean an increase in salary. And that can’t be bad.

It’s been a year of heavy financial burden this year, with Jessica going off to university (Loughborough, Business Studies) and all the expense that entails! But the modest windfall resulting from the untimely demise of Ann’s Uncle Mark has come in more than useful in this department, and so Brian and Ann have taken the plunge and had a new central heating system installed. Gone are the bulky old storage heaters that got them through the drafty 1980s and 90s, and in their place a sleek, white Potterton boiler nestling in the space in the airing cupboard until recently taken up by the immersion heater, which has also gone. Hot water on demand now – just turn on the tap and ‘hey presto!’, the boiler ignites and there you have it - running hot water!

But the new installation hasn’t been entirely without it’s teething troubles. There have been problems with the central heating thermostat - it hasn’t been switching on and off at the right times. For instance, last Tuesday morning they woke up to a freezing cold house. (Last Tuesday, if you remember, was particularly parky even though the sun came out for a while towards the early afternoon). Anyway, no amount of messing about with the “over-ride” button would activate the boiler and Brian was forced to get ready for work in an unheated house. Not what you pay a small fortune to install central heating for!

Of course, The Scientific Law Of Cussedness came into play, and at a quarter to eleven, just as Ann was getting ready to leave for her part time job at the new dental surgery, the boiler whooshed into life.

By the time they came home from work it was a different story: boiler as lifeless as the proverbial tomb and the house freezing once again. Brian was pretty livid and called out the engineer under the terms of the emergency call-out insurance cover.

It turned out after a lot of humming, hah-ing and to-ing and fro-ing that the thermostat was faulty. This has now been replaced and peace, and a warm blanket of hot air have once again descended upon the Page household.