It Must Be My Aura……

Its official, it must be, the one common factor in everything that has gone awry of late is……me. There must be something about my aura at the moment. Yeap, with the various unfortunate complications with the house, (water, electrics, water, Rayburn, water, removal company, water, washing machine, water, phone line, water, WIFI, water……the majority of issues related to the spring fed water system in case you didn’t read my sporadic recent EIOT posts or were wondering…..), the one recurrent and prominent feature was me.

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Now, this could be classed as mild paranoia and indeed until arriving back in the land of sand for a brief visit, shower and the luxury of flowing water, (albeit still hot thanks to the weather), I too would have berated myself for such a persecution complex.

However, on my return the house here started to disintegrate around me.

In the three days since clambering aboard the BA big bird the followings events have happened:

  1. Three separate air-conditioning units have cluttered, coughed and then belched out copious amounts of water all over the carpets.
  2. The kitchen tap has disintegrated
  3. There has been significant outage of the WIFI – a major blow in light of the lack of WIFI, phone or any other form of communication at Chez EIOT except ‘Owls’ as in Harry Potter or at a push smoke signals.

Yeap, as I looked forward to the comparatively superb internet access here in Saudi on my return, (let’s be honest the internet here is anything other than superb but compare it to a baseline of zilch at Chez EIOT then anything seems good), my excitement was thwarted by a downed system.

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Now, if the house had been unoccupied during my extended time at EIOT Towers then I would have not been at all perturbed. But as himself was here all bar two weeks and had been for 10 days prior to my return I have been a little uneasy that actually I am going through one of those phases where my aura is tainted and everything I touch either disintegrates or breaks.

Needless to say the internet is now back up and running again, the tap is fixed and the air-conditioning guys have been round with their ladders, buckets, jay cloths and vacuum cleaners and worked their magic. No longer are various floors adorned with pans filling gently with water.

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It does seem more than a tad ironic that this time last week my life in deepest Cumbria, (usually one of the wettest areas of the UK), revolved around wellingtons, bilge pumps, waders and water springs as I grappled in the field to try to coax water out of the ground and into the water holding tank and this week I am back in the desert with water so ample it is actually jumping out of the air-conditioning units at me.

As an aside I would just like to report that around 24hrs before leaving for my visit back to the land of sand my dance of worship to the Cumbrian Rain Gods paid dividends and the heavens opened. The spring jumped into life, but alas the flow was a mere trickle into the holding tank and despite my best efforts with the bilge pump while up to my eyes in mud,  I could not shift the blockage. Whatever it is that is has caused the constipation is pretty damned stubborn.

However, we will win. During my absence my good friend’s husband is heading into the depths of the field with his portable compressor that he has assured me can ‘raise water higher than the fell’ to clear the problem.

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On the one hand I am delighted that he is on hand to fix the problem and I am confident that I’ll return to find a completely unconstipated water pipe – he is after all the local water expert who fits tanks etc for a living. I am however slightly concerned that the powerful compressor with its fell busting power may have a negative effect on the ageing holding tank and while I may well return to an unblocked pipe that may be irrelevant as there may also be a great big hole in the side of the tank thanks to the compressor.

Oh well, nothing I can do about it now. He is after all the local water expert who makes his living out of such practices – as well as being a highly accomplished farmer – so I will just leave it to him.

I am not expecting such a positive outcome in relation to BT who are being as completely inept as ever. But I have a plan up my sleeve thanks to a suggestion from a friend and the big guns could well be rolled out if BT do not provide the goods by their next reporting day which is still 2 weeks away…….

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So yes, I am back in the land of sand on a brief visit.

Now that the house here is being pieced back together again after my aura accompanied me through the door all seems well.

The temperature is dropping, (hurrah), the water in the taps is still hot, (boo hoo) and the gardener still has his characteristic head wobble. In short not a lot has changed.

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Now what this means for all you unfortunate readers of the EIOT blog is that the hiatus in my ramblings will, at least in the short term, end and I will be airing my thoughts and chaotic happenings a lot more regularly again.

For the immediate future no more will I have to drive to the pub or head off to the nearest town to consume hot chocolate and bacon to access their WIFI, (hardship in both cases you understand),instead – in theory – I’ll be able to jot down my waffling comments at will.

So, for that I apologise in advance, your peace and quiet has been shattered – I am back.

So, to training, which is of course at the centre of this whole undertaking as is raising money for Tommy’s.

Well, I have to admit that while there was no formal training while at EIOT Towers there was plenty of exercise with the vast amount of physical activity required to make the place vaguely habitable.

But, back in the land of sand it is another matter and unless this place disintegrates around us any further then it should be physically less demanding.

The post moving house injuries of tennis elbow and a very dodgy hip are healing, the bruises from numerous bashings into things while fixing, moving and binning them are fading, the inground mud and dirt is lifting slowly from the skin on my hands and several extended periods with a nail brush have seen a significant improvement in my finger nails.

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So I will be stirring my stumps and starting training again imminently. Gym here I come and, elbow allowing, pool here I come.

Then I need to think about what event to do next………

Right, best dash and find out what is happening at EIOT Towers with plumbers, builders and most importantly of all compressors…..

Laters!

Don’t forget to donate, this is all about raising money for Tommy’s

Donate at

http://virginmoneygiving.com/TheCarbys

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How To Look A Numpty With The Electrician…….

One of those days. First of all massive confusion between me and the workaholic electrician thanks to no mobile signal and subsequent miscommunication.

Yeap, between the two of us we have spent much of the day playing voicemail roulette and chasing each other across the Cumbrian countryside.

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This finally culminated in a chance phone call from Sparky to me while we were both miraculously in mobile coverage for a fleeting few minutes.

Apologies from both sides ensued and then a rendezvous was set up at the village church where he was dismantling a light fitting.

Sparky was easy to find, the workman’s boots halfway up a ladder were a bit of a give away and a jovial “‘ello” in his own unique tone meant that I had found him mid religious repairs.

Anyway, more apologies ensued and a jovial “’ll ‘ead ‘p ’t ors int minut” mean’t he was on his way.

As an aside en route back to the car I stumbled across the village’s resident handy man who also bemoaned the lack of phone coverage as he had also been trying to get in touch with me.

Anyway, after calming the waters with the ‘andy man, the gruesome twosome and I made our way up to the cottage to be joined within minutes by Sparky.

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Now, it is at this point that things got a little weird. Firstly, as I offered him a cuppa he declined but asked for a cup of boiling water instead. There is something vaguely surreal about handing over a cup of boiling water to a man in a head torch and work man’s boots in your airing cupboard.

I then regaled him with the history of the immersion heater issues to which he frowned and scratched his head. I added that his plumber buddy, Shower, had not found any problems from his perspective and had asked for Sparky to check out the electrics.

Sparky checked all the electrical bits and pieces and was more than a little puzzled.

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This was only added to when I divulged that actually we have no water at the moment anyway and so the heater may well be empty. He frowned and mumbled something which I could not make out…….

By this point he was confused. Power was making its way to all the important bits and not to the unnecessary bits and quite frankly all was well, in electrical terms, with the immersion heater.

Granted, it had been switched off at the wall as we knew it was not working properly but I had warned both him and Shower of this on their visits for fear that they would think they were dealing with a numpty who had not even switched it on at the wall.

Sparky stood and scratched his head, mug of hot water in hand.

At this point  I happened to mention that for some odd reason that Sparky cannot work out we are not getting any hot water from the Rayburn and as the immersion heater is not working then we have to resort to lighting the wood burner every night for hot water, (when we have water that is).

A light seemed to come on in Sparky’s mind as I said this and with that he climbed back into the airing cupboard enthusiastically clutching his screwdriver.

At this point he asked if I was technically minded. Now I may not have a major qualification in these things but I can hold my one with basic DIY as the last few weeks have proved – especially with regard to the spring fed water system, holding tanks in the field and of course all the other myriad of tasks that have greeted me since buying the cottage and previously in numerous tasks and repairs in various residences.

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So, with a positive response he urged me to step up to the mark and climb up with him for a liaison in the airing cupboard.

At this point I found myself standing in the airing cupboard with Sparky, his head torch, screwdriver and mug of hot water having a crash course in immersion heater physics and safety catches.

You see, I have learnt this evening that the law requires that immersion heaters are fitted with safety switches so that when the water is heated from another source, i.e. the wood burner, they trip and all power is cut off to avoid overheating, burning out and potential fire.

So, after a 5 minute crash course in immersion heater mechanics I now know that actually there is nothing wrong with the immersion heater at all and actually it is in fine health.

So, at this point I felt like a complete numpty – having had visits from both Shower and Sparky when actually there was no problem.

In my defence when himself was here with his degree in Electrical Engineering the presence of the cut off switch had completely escaped him as well. So I take some comfort from the fact that a much greater electrical mind than mine had failed to pick up on this and the electrical workaholic genius that is Sparky had to explain it in words of one syllable to me.

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At this point the whirlwind that is Sparky decided to check on the emergency repairs that he had undertaken the day after we moved in when every electrical circuit tripped every few minutes and plunged EIOT Towers into darkness.

Needless to say that even Sparky’s emergency repairs are to a standard that any electricity board would be proud of and all was well.

Then he checked the light in the downstairs bathroom that like Inspector Cluedo he suspected of wrong doing.

It was at this point that he intentionally tripped the house as the problem was still present.

Now, the gruesome twosome had been blissfully unaware of my presence and that of Sparky was well beyond them.

But as the circuit breaker tripped the TV went off and CBBC disappeared into oblivion.

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At this point shouts of ‘MUM!!!’ echoed through Chez EIOT, Sparky jumped with surprise and almost electrocuted himself while my finely honed Mummy hearing blotted out all activity.

As I stood by the big electrical box in the cellar resetting the breaker in time with Sparky’s shouts, (which were quite animated following his near shock), the gruesome twosome’s shouts were completely in time with the timing of the breaker kicking in.

Very entertaining….

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Anyway, Sparky finally declared that the problem is not with the second bathroom light as he suspected but with the wiring somewhere deep in the ceiling. As we are planning on completely ripping out the whole area in due course and one of the lights still works then I declared that I can live without that light and invited Sparky to fix it when he and Shower are called in for the revamp of that part of the house in due course.

Sparky seemed quite  relieved about this, promptly finished his hot water, switched off his head torch and headed back from whence he came…..

Before his departure I did ask Sparky about paying for his visits, to which he replied, “‘do’t worree, bil’ ‘all be in’t ‘ost”………

Other events today have included the entertainment of seeing a mobile home being transported on the back of a large lorry along the Cumbrian lanes.

I was slightly surprised to see this one car in front of me as I drove home from my mobile phone station 5 miles away from home.

A feeling of foreboding overtook me as I saw the lorry come to a halt within yards of its start. It did start off again but only to take out a few trees, ramblers and a Bradley Wiggins wannabe.

I followed the lorry with a mild sense of amusement for several miles, punctuated on several occasions by the drivers mate jumping out to guide the load through narrow spaces.

caravan

It was at these times that everybody in the ever growing queue of traffic behind took a collective intake of breath and the width of the convoy seemed to shrink by several inches.

Eventually the convoy came to a grinding halt as the lorry arrived at its destination – fortunately before the cobbled and zig zagging road through the village.

However, its destination was on a narrow part of the road and nobody could get past – either way.

I sat and watched patiently.

Now I am vaguely familiar with its now home. It is taking up residence at an old farmhouse that we viewed prior to its auction a couple of months ago and we did consider buying it.

Various reasons meant we did not pursue it, but the new owner clearly has plans for the house and farmyard and quite frankly it has potential to be gorgeous.

Anyway, this vague familiarity meant that I knew that there was a gateway in front of the lorry and I was parked near a gateway at the back.

OK, time for EIOT initiative here.

One quick sprint down to the lorry, (I was second in the convoy after all), a jovial hello and ‘May I make a suggestion?’ later, the traffic chaos was eased as the lorry was edged forward so the track on the left could be used as a way of driving past the lorry for cars and the gates were opened so that all the delivery trucks, Land Rovers and tractors could go off roading and get past the blockage that way.

One quick explanation to the next car and first truck knew where to go and in the hope that other vehicles of each genre would follow their example and off I went.

Sorted!

I haven’t been back down that way to check that the traffic has cleared or if they are still there several hours later but I will be down there en route to the laundrette, (please remember that we have no water at EIOT Towers at the moment), quite a few miles away, tomorrow so will deliver essential supplies then should they be needed.

Right, best go. Will post this episode tomorrow when I am twiddling my thumbs at the laundrette tomorrow.

Have fun all and most of all, value your water supply!!!!

water

Laters!

Don’t forget to donate, this is all about raising money for Tommy’s

Donate at

http://virginmoneygiving.com/TheCarbys

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BT Pain

Well world and dedicated fans of the EIOT blog, I am still here, I am still alive, the house is still standing and BT are putting us through agony and still being absolute pain in the arse.

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Yeap, most things are falling into place – more literally than I would like in many cases as a heavy wooden curtain rail fell down onto my head the other day. The electricity is reasonably stable, the Rayburn has been alight for over a week now and despite being an old lady with several health issues is maintaining a stable condition, (even if she  is resolutely refusing to heat the water – much to the bewilderment of the plumber), the immersion heater has given up the ghost and is due for another assessment tomorrow, (hot water is currently courtesy of the wood burner), thanks to the jovial and workaholic electrician.

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The water supply itself is somewhat dodgy and my daily forage down into the field to check the spring and holding tank yesterday led to some concern as a mere trickle was struggling out of the spring and lethargic drip was all that was heading into the somewhat empty holding tank.

Yeap, the water is an issue – largely as the weather has been beautiful for quite a while now and the usual Cumbrian drenchings have not yet happened and the countryside is uncharacteristically dry. So, this morning saw me doing the rain dance to the Cumbrian Rain Gods as the pile of washing builds up and the holding tank has a worryingly empty and hollow sound about it.

So, onto BT. Or perhaps I should call them the Sloping Shoulders Telecom Company. I have reached the grand conclusion that I am jinxed with any UK national companies starting with the word ‘British’ – well in any case BT & BA.

Yeap, BT have still failed comprehensively to connect us to the outside world either via telephone or WIFI. That combined with absolutely no mobile coverage makes for a very quiet life.

BT will not accept the fact that there is a BT line going into the house and a BT Open Reach box prominently situated in the lounge and that previous owners have had a BT service as do the neighbours.

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So, much of my life is spent scrounging WIFI access so that I can attempt to coordinate the various workmen who frequent EIOT Towers in an attempt to maintain a vague level of functionality about the place.

A regular haunt is a local cafe about 5 miles away from school and has super fast WIFI, (yes, it does exist around here). That is hardship as in order to justify me snaffling their WIFI I feel obliged to partake of a GF bacon and egg butty, (the best GF bread I have tasted in a long time), and a decadent hot chocolate. I am writing this post in the village pub which also has superfast broadband, (a new development in the last few days), and once again in return for their WIFI, I feel obliged to partake in their services – alas at this time of day just copious amounts of orange and lemonade as well as cheese and onion crisps.

Other WIFI sources include the neighbours who, thanks to them providing me with their password, makes my phone in my pocket spring into life as I walk up the lane past their kitchen, school, the Golf Club, (not that I know one end of a golf stick thing from the other), and if I am venturing further afield Costa Coffee.

So, BT announced today that the next update on our apparent service will be on October 11 – yeap, you heard that right a full 19 days away.

BT blame OpenReach but when I ask about who is answerable at OpenReach I just get the usual, ‘I don’t know’.

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So, that is the sitch, stuck between a rock and a hard place.

So, no regular EIOT posts at the moment…….hurrah I hear you cry..

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So, in among all this fun and games training has alas been relegated to a lower priority at the moment and I am missing it – a lot.

Right, there is only so much orange and lemonade I can drink in one sitting so best I stir my stumps and head back up the hill to the tranquility and tech free zone which is Chez EIOT…..

Laters!

Don’t forget to donate, this is all about raising money for Tommy’s

Donate at

http://virginmoneygiving.com/TheCarbys

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This Is What I Have Been Reduced To……

Yeap, as promised I have returned – albeit very briefly and in a somewhat makeshift fashion. Yeap, I this is what I been reduced to, linking my laptop up to my phone, sitting in the back of the car as himself drives me and the testosterone filled one down to Merseyside to watch the strawberry blond hand grenade bully off in the inaugural school hockey match this afternoon.

hockeyteam

As I am sure you have guessed we still have no phone or wifi at EIOT Towers with BT being very vague about our prospects of being in touch with the outside world anytime this side of Christmas. They seem to blame the remoteness of the cottage as a reason but as we have telephone wires leading to the house and a ‘BT OpenReach’ box installed in the house that argument seems pretty weak to me. When in a heated conversation the woman at the end of the line commented that all houses are built with these now, I struggled to refrain from pointing out that as our house is over 200 years old that was pretty impressive if it was indeed installed when it was built.bthoopsAnyway, we are still sans WIFI and landline and the nearest mobile signal is around 3 miles away, so blogging potential is somewhat limited.

However, some flickers of light are that we now have water. The supply from between two stones in the field behind the house has responded well to a full flush out and the various holding tanks are filling fast with pure spring water, (no, there is no mains water at all much to the surprise of the Silver Surfer who I touched base with this week). The temperature of the water varies somewhat between freezing and skin peeling, but we have water.

No this is not in our house.....even I am not that bad....

No this is not in our house…..even I am not that bad….

No longer does the kitchen illuminate yellow as the water pump struggles to raise the water from the holding tank in the field to the header tank, when in fact it was actually just pumping up a trickle of water and masses of air. The noise that this created was incredible and the vibrations moved us steadily from one side of the sunroom floor to the other in our sleeping bags over night. As pretty much all it was pumping was air, then it went on for hours, and hours and hours…..

Yes, this is the light and no this does not do the brightness true justice...

Yes, this is the light and no this does not do the brightness true justice…

That seems to have now passed with an abundance of water passing relatively silently and quickly up to the roof and the glaringly bright bulb in the kitchen switches itself off.

The only heating source for the water at the moment is the wood burner in the lounge so any reduced log fire activity means less hot water. The immersion heater seems to be a bit poorly and I am waiting on a visit from the local plumber and we are waiting on yet another visit from the slightly harassed Rayburn man so in time we are vaguely optimistic of other sources of hot water production. With the pending next visit from the Rayburn man we will hopefully be self-sufficient with food and no longer barbecuing at every meal or living off jacket potatoes at the local pub.

The electricity has been on constantly for several days now with no visits from the lovable workaholic electrician for a few days.

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The Rayburn is another story as here we are waiting on our third visit from the Rayburn magician who has commented on the geriatric nature of our inbuilt cooking and heating monster.

The official prognosis is that with love, attention and regular visits from Dr Rayburn it may hobble on for another couple of years – if we are lucky. The last visit resulted in no lighting thanks to a blocked chimney which meant that when he placed his coloured smoke bomb in the aging monster and all amassed outside to view the exiting smoke, great disappointment ensued when nothing happened and instead the kitchen filled with green smoke. Yeap, the chimney was blocked.

So, this morning we were greeted with a visit from the local chimney sweep who heroically swept all the chimneys while drinking tea and chastising the small man for being in his pyjamas at 0820. Nobody seems to sleep in deepest Cumbria.

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I have to say that there has been a whole lot of soul searching over this week, with himself and I struggling with bad backs and a particularly painful hip after carrying a particularly heavy book shelf down the stairs.

Bad backs, a bad hip and complete exhaustion do not a successful Great North Run make and to be honest we are in no state to even contemplate the event. The house has got the better of us.

So, it was with heavy hearts we withdrew from the event this week. This was not an easy decision but its the chaos that has consumed us of late we honestly have had no choice and the biggest trip we can even contemplate at the moment is travelling down the relatively short distance to watch the strawberry blond one playing hockey before heading back to Chez EIOT to resume the next round of making it habitable.

Before making this decision we touched base with our friends who lost their little sunflower last year to make sure that we were not letting them or their little sunflower down – not at all with everything that had been achieved by all. Then we explained to Tommy’s – no problem there either.

We are still however donating all the required money to the Charity and will be continuing the fundraising as soon as the house is vaguely sorted and we have recovered.

Right, almost at the hockey match, best I switch focus to cheering on the side lines. I can feel plenty of this coming on over the coming years, when it is not hickey it will be rugby. Best I get my thermals and water-proofs ready – what a contrast.

Will be back with more gory details when I can – believer me you have had the condensed version, it has been a real roller-coaster!

Laters!

Don’t forget to donate, this is all about raising money for Tommy’s

Donate at

http://virginmoneygiving.com/TheCarbys

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I Am Still Here – Honest…..

You may well be enjoying the peace and quiet and have not even missed my EIOT ramblings, but for those who may feel there is a great glaring gap in their lives over the last week or so please rest assured I have survived the house move, (by the skin of my teeth), I am still here and I will be back to normal very soon.

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Once the BT man has been tomorrow I am vaguely optimistic, (yeah right), that we will be back in touch with the world again, (Yeap – you’ve guessed it, they messed up last week). The only way I am writing this is as we have ventured out from deepest Cumbria to do some errands and have stumbled on a phone signal. It is irrelevant that I am sat on the car roof as we teeter on the edge of a fell with the gruesome twosome huddled on one side of the car to maintain the equilibrium – bit like the final coach scene in ‘The Italian Job’ – I have a phone signal!

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So, keep the faith, enjoy the peace and quiet and brace yourselves for the mother of all EIOT posts in the near future where I will regale you with all the gory details.

I will be back!

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Don’t forget to donate, this is all about raising money for Tommy’s

Donate at

http://virginmoneygiving.com/TheCarbys

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