From MAMIL To MAMIR…….

So, if I jot down that I am here in the pub that is roughly a mile away from EIOT Towers with their super-fast fibre broadband, regular readers will surmise that I am in beautiful Cumbria.

Now what is slightly unusual is that himself is also here – yes, it is block leave time and he too is enjoying the glorious Cumbrian countryside.

Now, if he had for one second thought he was going to have 2 weeks of putting his feet up and relaxation, then I have had news for him.

So far, in the last three days he has been in the water tank, problem solved the water tank in a brain storming session with our resident water expert, fixed numerous household appliances in need of attention, attached various bits and pieces to various walls, dismantled a small enclosure that has been designed to last forever and resisted all efforts of dismantling, been in the roof to assess the water tank maintenance, fixed various lights, moaned about the state of the cellar, assembled the small testosterone filled one’s telescope and moved several heavy items from the barn.

His list is not yet exhausted – I have more jobs lined up for him.

Now, part of the execution of this list of household tasks has been to get into the outside water tank to find out what the heck is going on. Yes, I acquired a pair of waders of the right size and himself was dispatched unceremoniously down the field and into the water tank.

I hasten to add that I did offer support from land ‘just in case’ of emergencies. That consisted of loitering in the field throwing snippets of advice and guidance. But he was in there with nothing but a torch and tape measure for company.

So yes, in the blink of an eye he was transformed from ‘MAMIL’ to ‘MAMIR”, (Middle Aged Man in Rubber….).

 

Fortunately the waders held good and there was no whinging about leaks. There was whinging about cold and dark, but gee – toughen up!

Now, it does go against the grain to compliment himself and I have no idea what he has done, but since he has been in situ and been giving attention to the tank, water does appear to have flooded in and all of a sudden we have no water concerns – at least in the short term.

As I opened the curtains this morning, this was the sight that greeted me, a man, a water tank and a tape measure…

I have no idea what he has done and neither does he to be honest, but all of a sudden I can put the washing machine on with impunity and without concern.

So, best I sign off and head back up the hill to put a chunk of lamb in the Rayburn in our communication free ’empire’ that is EIOT Towers and start peeling some potatoes……

Laters!

http://www.Tommys.org

 

A Moth Eaten Old Sloth On The Ball???

Boo! Surprise! It’s me! Apologies if you were enjoying the peace and quiet but those people who know me well will know that I do like to do things out of the ordinary.

This is not for any sinister, patronising reason to do with keeping people on the ball.

No, far from it. The dedicated and long-term EIOT readers, (hi Mum! – no, not even my Mum reads this, apparently I ‘go on too much!’), are very on the ball and require no such behaviour. Heaven knows that anybody who has stuck with this drivel for the last goodness knows how long must be completely on the ball and use this as a pressure valve from the hectic pressures of modern life.

No, the reason behind my propensity for unexpected actions is purely selfish – to try to keep me on the ball. Not an easy task by any stretch of the imagine as by definition to keep me on the ball, suggests I should be on the ball in the first place.

Instead much of my life seems to be spent trying to climb up the aforementioned ball to achieve this status in the first place.

I consider myself to be a bit of a moth-eaten old sloth, struggling to climb up onto an oversize exercise ball in super slow fashion ball but some warped individual has maliciously coated the oversize sphere with olive oil – just to keep me in my place.

Quick, somebody call the RSPCA or Sloth Protection Society now!

Anyway, moving away from my ramblings about my deep and complex insecurities, back to my extra-ordinary and unscheduled post.

I am in smug mode. I am in extreme smug-mode. I am more smug than a smug thing in on Smug Day in smug land.

Yes, on the very day that BT/Openreach were scheduled to do the pole work towards enabling basic communication to and from EIOT Towers, the behemoth that is BT/Openreach have announced that they are forecasting major losses. The Stock Market has had a wobbler, the share-price is going down and quite frankly the financial media are asking who is going to fall on their sword for this debacle.

Now, I would love to say that the reason behind this forecast for the UK’s monopoly holding telecoms giant is the popularity of this blog, the disgust that it has aroused among the public, the lack of revenue from singularly failing to provide contact with the outside world to EIOT Towers, the cost of repeated surveys, pointless applications to other organisations, ‘mole ploughing’ and ‘pole work’ and the extortionate telephone bills that they have suffered returning my calls and spending hours on the phone providing a full and comprehensive service to me – yeah right, that last one would amount to about 7.527p for the entire 5 month debacle thus far.

No, the reason behind this is purely down to poor management, some arm of the business in Italy failing, (if they can’t get their act together in the UK, what the heck are they doing trying to run telecommunications in Italy?), and general greed and an over-riding sense of untouchability and  unaccountability.

Apart from the Italian side of BT’s strife, all the contributing factors listed above on a massive commercial basis also relate to their treatment of us on a consumer level.

Now, yes I am smug, but I should actually be laughing my socks off at the debacle that has headlined the financial press today.

I am not laughing, for two reasons.

  1. We still do not have communications with the outside world at EIOT Towers, (no there has been no news thus far about whether or not the BT/Openreach engineers donned their Lycra and the planned ‘pole work’ today.
  2. We have shares in BT – Bugger.

I hasten to add that we have had these shares for sometime and were bought a longtime before entering into the battlefield with the behemoth.

The shares have systematically failed to do anything since purchase and I have of late been looking at them wondering if I can justify selling them having made diddly squat on our investment – I wish I had now as they are now sliding down a muddy bank into the cesspit of negative value shares with nobody there to throw a rope to hoick them back out to a respectable level.

Now I have to say that in a recent stropogram to Ms W – our Senior Level Executive complaints bod I did quite directly point out that I was unsurprised that the shares had done nothing and that with the way we had been treated could not be unique and as such how could a company expect a healthy share price with such poor customer service.

Not even I knew the truth behind my words.

Anyway, my next conversation with Ms W is going to be interesting, very interesting. That is if she actually answers the phone to me, I suspect she may be even harder to get hold of now……

Right, this is the smug sloth signing off for today to go and try once more to get to the top of that damned olive oil soaked outsized gym ball.

Quick somebody, Google the Sloth Protection Society NOW!

Laters!!

http://www.Tommys.org

Pole Dancing BT Engineers & Mary Poppins Retreats……

Well today is, in theory, a special day. Yes, it is the day that BT/Openreach are due to send four of their finest out into the Cumbrian countryside to do the ‘pole work’.

As per the post of last week, A Spontaneous Update From BT…., our Senior Executive Complaints Team Bod – Ms W – had spontaneously informed us that today was the day scheduled for the ailing telegraph poles to be replaced. Not, I hasten to add, that four BT/Openreach engineers were scheduled today to demonstrate their pole dancing potential to the unsuspecting population of deepest Cumbria.

So, it is with bated breath that I wait to hear whether or not the work has been done or as the railway companies complain about leaves on the track or the wrong type of snow, there is some far-fetched reason that means that the necessary work can’t possibly be completed. Such reasons that spring to mind include the wrong type of telegraph pole or wire or even the presence of a home for the nationally protected lesser spotted mutant hamster in the near vicinity of the work site which means that the necessary work can’t possibly be completed.

Anyway, my excitement about the possibility of the completed telegraph pole work is muted by the fact that even if it has been done then there is still the ‘mole plough work’ to be done and then whatever else that will link the work up to EIOT Towers.

No, we still have some way to go on our exciting adventure with BT/Openreach. But today, we may hopefully have taken a small step forwards.

So, onto other matters. Mary Poppins has returned to Bavaria, safe in the knowledge that her weekend charges were installed back at school and the biggest kid of all, the godfather, was installed alone at EIOT Towers to recover from the experience with a nice bottle of red.

So, in the absence of any other excitement, please find below another instalment from the legend that is GoRemy.

Turn up the volume, kick back and enjoy!

Laters!

www.Tommys.org

A Kick Up The Butt, No Tommo! & Mary Poppins Update………

Well, I have to say that I have been delivered an epic kick up the butt and I deserved it.

There is no doubt about it, I had been asking for it and I got it.

No, it was not delivered by himself – although he had tried and been told firmly to get back into his box.

No, it was delivered late last week by a friend here on the compound who I had not seen for ages and who I happened to bump into in the compound’s own legendary diner – Kingpin.

You see for a while now I have been very remiss, lazy and generally not inclined to explode with energy as per normal and to be honest my exercise programme here in the land of sand has suffered.

OK, let’s be honest it has not suffered, rather curled up, died and was buried quite sometime ago.

In my defence I have to say that life is very different when I am at EIOT Towers as life there consists of marching up and down fields, ladders, hills and all sorts of other highly energetic practices that mean that by early evening I am generally a bit weary but feeling exercised and generally quite virtuous as I head for a glass of vino.

But no, life here is quite different, (not least of which is the void of wine), and since the crazy sporting activities of the EIOT Tommy’s fundraising campaign I have slowly slipped into a mire of lethargy and, let’s be honest about this, laziness.

Yeap, I have several injuries which need consideration, not least of which is the chronic metatarsalis that hampered my marathon training as well as that damned elbow, but now that there is no immediate massive pressure for any event I could, but haven’t, take them into consideration.

Yeap, here there are no water tanks to dig out, no hedges to cut, no garden to dig, no barns to clean out and no hills – well except the speed humps dotted around the place and even they have seem a little daunting of late.

So, life here in the land of sand has seen me slip into a gutter of lethargy.

The result of this is pure and simple a decline in my fitness and an increasing waist line.

Now, I have to say that prior to the kick up the butt I was starting to have some stirrings of a desire to get moving again. Last week himself and I did go out every evening for a speed walk around the compound and a few times I even succumbed to the desire to have a run and sprint some of the way.

But one step at a time, after all running around the compound is the very reason why this blog was named ‘Every Inch Of Tarmac’ – yeap I have been reacquainting myself with every inch of tarmac.

So, the rising out of the quagmire had started before bumping into my friend the other day, but an extra impetus was required.

So, in chatting during our chance meeting it became obvious to her that I was not in a particularly good place.

However, the lady in question is a northerner like me and so pulls no punches.

Now usually we meet up in the gym and between hypoxic panting on the aerobic equipment we usually chew the fat and have a natter. But no, there has been none of that for some time.

So, my fellow northern friend gave me a kick up the butt and told me to get my expanding backside to the gym, (my words – not hers, she was slightly more diplomatic). I was told that I would be at her house at 0910 this morning and if I wasn’t then she would be at mine.

I was told there were no excuses – I was going to the gym this morning whether I liked it or not, (don’t forget that Sunday is the first working day of the week here).

Now, I needed this, I didn’t realise it, but I was in dire need of somebody else taking control of the situation. Himself could not have done it – he would have been told exactly where to go.

No, I needed somebody else to do it.

Thank you my fellow northern buddy, you have done me a great favour as this morning I was at her door at 0910 as stipulated and I write this having done an hour of hard work in the gym and now chilling in the diner writing today’s blog.

Himself and I continued our speed stomps around the compound over the weekend and thanks to 5 days or so of those and a gym session this morning I am starting to feel a bit more on the ball again.

I owe you one my fellow northern buddy!

It is also with a heavy heart that I have to tell you about the departure of a legend from the compound. Yes, there will be a great big gaping hole as of Thursday when the legend that is Tommo departs the security gates for the last time and heads over the border to Abu Dhabi.

Yes, the legend that is Tommo is leaving for good and is going over to ‘the other side’

Now to say we will be bereft is the understatement. Not only is Tommo a major figure of annoyance, frustration and general irritation in our lives, but he is also Tommo and we love him for being Tommo.

He has been a major figure in all the fundraising campaigns and has usually managed to drag us into his crazy ideas – the 24hr Spinathons were all his ideas that somehow we agreed to…..

He is the one who not only ran the Brighton Marathon for Tommy’s but also went on to run a marathon a week for the next four weeks in order to run 5 marathons in 5 weeks and in doing so raised a whole heap of cash for Tommy’s. Anybody who knows the compound knows that running one marathon distance around the inside of the perimeter wall is a major achievement but week after week is something else…

Then of course there is his singing prowess……but we don’t talk about that in polite company.

So Mr Tommo, you will be missed but you are only over the border in AD. I hope that AD know what is in store for them and of course you will be joined by the ever patient and long-suffering Mrs T.

Have the spare room ready, we will be over before you know it.

So, any news from the godfather and Mary Poppins?

Well, very little – apart from photos of mayhem and fun at EIOT Towers.

Yes, it would appear that the gruesome twosome are having a whole lot more fun with the godfather and Mary than they would with us and I fully anticipate the twosome submitting adoption request papers in the near future.

I hasten to add that we have not heard anything from the twosome directly, no that would be too much to ask. No, we have just had messages from Mary who seems remarkably chilled with the whole experience – as you would expect.

Apparently the strawberry blond hand grenade has put herself in charge of washing the school kit that came back with the twosome. I am slightly concerned about this, unless matron at school has conducted lessons in how to use a washing machine the whites may no longer be white and as the great song by Belle and Sebastian joyfully sings are ‘The Blues Still Blue’?

Now, last night I had to make a confession to himself.

You see in my planning for the visit from Mary and the godfather I had questioned where everybody was going to sleep as the gruesome twosome have their own rooms, there is our room and the spare bedroom is currently a store-room for all those things that appeared out of storage that we do not know what to do with.

And yes, there is no bed in there.

One option would be for the small testosterone filled one to be booted out of his room for the weekend and either Mary or the godfather could sleep in there, but that did not seem ideal.

I could of course have cleared out the spare room and furnished it with a bed, but to be honest the head scratching due to not knowing where to shift all the boxes to would have led to a bleeding scalp and was certainly not the easy option.

No, it had been apparent to me for sometime that a sofa bed in the sunroom was necessary, not only for this visit but also other pending visits which see to be filling the diary with glorious regularity at the moment.

Now, I knew that if I posed this as a possibility to himself then there would have been comments about the cost of new windows, doors, water tanks, water systems etc and after all these years I knew that it would have led to exasperation on my part and general grumpiness on his part.

As all ladies will know sometimes it is not what you tell your husband but what you don’t tell them that makes all the difference and then when you do tell them make it a fait accompli that actually there is diddly squat that they can do about it.

So, that was the plot.

Regular readers will know I do not like mass chain stores and much more appreciate small, family run businesses with a personal service rather than some spotty teenager who does not know what they are talking about even though the products are mass-produced in some distant land and are all pretty much identical – the stack them high sell them cheap culture.

A few years ago we were going to The States on an RV holiday and before going had spent a considerable amount of time researching new Sat Nav’s. We knew which one we wanted and just had to find it.

So in the UK just prior to heading over the pond I went to a branch of a large chain of stores that stocks car gadgets, some bits of cars, bikes etc.

The name of this store sounds vaguely like Horlicks.

Anyway, I went in and spent sometime looking at the Sat Nav cabinet before a young man fresh out of nappies came over and asked if I needed any help.

I asked if they had this certain Sat Nav in stock.

The answer was no, but they had a different one instead.

I asked if that one covered The States.

No, it covers Europe

I replied that I didn’t need one that covered Europe, I needed one that covered The States

But this was covers Europe came the reply

Somewhat taken aback I pointed out to the young chap in question that neither is Europe in The States or The States is in Europe.

So, back to the sofa bed.

So, I found a small, family run company not far from EIOT Towers who produce beautiful sofa beds at a reasonable price, a person answered the phone when you called and bonus – they had a sale on!

Sofa bed duly ordered but alas I was not going to be there to take delivery.

Step in the neighbours who took delivery and guided the purchase into the lounge – albeit in flat pack form.

Now, I did warn the godfather that there would be a certain amount of DIY involved in this project and was slightly concerned as by his own admission he is not really DIY orientated and struggles to work out what end of a screwdriver actually does the job.

Not to worry he assured me, Mary Poppins would be on hand and anything short of building a house was a walk in the park for her.

Don’t forget this was all still highly clandestine as himself was still unaware of the fact that we are now a sofa bed family.

Anyway, I enquired about progress on the sofa bed yesterday and was told that it was still under construction. What!! Apparently they had been too busy having fun with the gruesome twosome and so sofa bed construction had been a low priority.

What!!! But where was everybody sleeping?

Well, the godfather had been sleeping on the sofa bed mattress on the floor (!).

Now, while this may not be ideal, it does mean that the mattress has been used and cannot possibly be sent back to the small, family run company.

Time to tell himself that we are now the proud owners of a sofa bed……

Well, the news went down remarkably well. Only a tinge of grumpiness and moaning.

I haven’t told him yet that he may well be finishing its construction next week when he is back at EIOT Towers – that may be one step too far….

Anyway, Mary Poppins will be departing EIOT Towers today to head back to Bavaria. I assume that she will be using Lufthansa and not relying on her Mary Poppins type powers which maybe slightly depleted by now.

That will leave the godfather alone with the gruesome twosome for a period this afternoon, although I suspect that it will not be too long as he will be depositing them back at school at some point and doubtless retreating back to EIOT Towers to open a bottle of red and recover from the stress of it all.

Right, my fellow northern buddy will be here anytime for lunch, so best I sign off.

Laters!

http://www.Tommys.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Spontaneous & Unexpected BT Update…….Whatever Next……

Well, to say I was taken aback is the understatement. I actually paused for a few minutes to make sure that it was not a fake email, somebody having a bit of a laugh.

Against all the odds yesterday I received an unprompted, independently initiated update from Ms W – our ‘Executive Level Complaints bod.’

Surprised? Imagine ho I reacted. I sat and stared at my laptop screen for several seconds before actually accepting that actually yes there was an update without gnashing of teething and stamping of feet on my part.

Now, let’s not get too excited about this, but it would appear that there is progress.

I have not dared to ask about the validity of this, (don’t want to push my luck), but apparently the ‘pole work’ is due to be done on the 24th of this month.

Well I never did.

I can only assume that the ‘pole work’ is the replacing of the failing poles somewhere along the route of the telephone system and not a performing art originally associated with seedy clubs but now widely recognised as an art form in its own right and a great form of exercise.

Indeed, as yesterday’s update mentioned the fact that the ‘pole work’ is a four man job I have visions of four BT/Openreach engineers exercising vigorously around a telegraph pole in deepest Cumbria.

So, all being well and baring world disasters, (mind you we will see what tomorrow in Washington brings), all being well the telegraph poles will be in situ by this time next week.

Now, new telegraph poles and dancing BT/Openreach engineers does not a telephone line make.

No, we are still waiting for safety checks to be completed on the ‘mole plough work’ that is due to also be done.

Now as well as the mental image I have of pole dancing BT/Openreach engineers I also have various images relating to ‘mole plough work’.

Now does this mean that there is a large mole sat on a tractor with a plough? Does it mean that there is a mole diligently working away to lay the cable? Is that legal?

Now, I have to admit to having Googled ‘mole plough’ and am now furnished with all the relevant information required to be able to relate to what BT/Openreach are plotting and conducting safety checks into.

I am not sure what safety checks are required as it all looks pretty innocuous to me but gee, who am I to reason why?

And hopefully have a phone line at the end of it….

Anyway, no fixed date was forthcoming yesterday in the spontaneous update for the completion of the ‘mole work’ but I just hope that the welfare poor little soul who is trudging through the earth is looked after.

So, now I have unburdened myself with the shock of the spontaneous update from BT/Openreach, what else has been happening?

Well, the small testosterone filled one actually attempted to make contact last night.

I suspect that this effort was not down to the small man, but possibly thanks to his teacher who received a couple of emails from me yesterday implying a lack of contact.

Anyway, the small man chose to Facetime at 2330 here – 2030 in the UK. Needless to say we were fast asleep and all Facetime receiving gadgets were on silent, so no answer.

Anyway, I am sure that he will argue that at least he tried…..

So, various last-minute message conversations with the Godfather last night as he packed his childproof clothing to disappear off to EIOT Towers today for his weekend of godfatherly duties.

Reading between the lines I suspect that he may actually be quite looking forward to the experience.

The German Mary Poppins is inbound tomorrow….

I am sure there will be updates over the weekend….

Laters!

http://www.Tommys.org

 

 

The Godfather……..A Hero In A Trump Type World…..

In the absence of any communication with the behemoth that is BT and in the vague hope that the silence means a hive of frenetic activity is exploding into action around EIOT Towers, (now back to reality), my mind has started to wander towards everyday life both here in the Land of Sand and also more captivating adventures back in deepest Cumbria and at EIOT Towers.

Yeap, this weekend we are handing full control and responsibility for everything over to the one and only – Godfather.

Yeap, this weekend is a school Exeat weekend – otherwise known as the half-termly school activity of creating a void of all children at school for a weekend.

On the whole I completely support this practise as quite frankly the frenetic pace of life at school means that the staff as well as the pupils need a break and the staff need to maintain their sanity.

However, on this occasion an Exeat 10 days after the start of term does seem a little premature and can actually cause quite a logistical nightmare for overseas parents such as us.

However, not to worry. Like a knight in shining armour, a hero in a Trump type world and Boris Johnson zip lining in with Union Jack flags to save the day the kid’s Godfather is inbound to save the day – well weekend actually.

Now, before I get any stern emails or Facebook messages from the Godfather I would just like to point out that any similarity between him and Mr Johnson is minimal to say the least……

The kids adore their Godfather, he seems to hold a mysterious magic for them and and when they see him he usually represents a welcome diversion from their nagging mum.

Anyway, in our planning for Exeats we became aware some months ago that the timing of this weekend’s Exeat was not ideal to say the least and so we took the opportunity to call on the gentleman in question to fulfil his Godfatherly obligations.

Now it should be explained that up to this point thanks to professional obligations the chap in question has not been called upon to offer his services. Yeap, he has spent most of his professional life jetting off around the world and working in far-flung places which has made planned visits somewhat tricky.

In fact, we have actually been reduced to meeting up with the Godfather in far-flung places when our travels have inadvertently crossed paths with his.

However, a fundamental shift in this chap’s professional life has suddenly found him spending considerable lengths of time in the UK not too far at all from EIOT Towers and of course the school.

So, it is fair to say his time has come.

Now, with hindsight this delayed onset of Godparent responsibilities is not a bad thing.

The Godfather is single and by his own admission he is not used to little children.

In fact I actually recall his first ever meeting with the strawberry blond hand grenade when she was a matter of weeks, if not days, old.

Yeap, the Godfather appeared looking rather nervously as the small bundle. He was wearing a very nice pair of moleskin trousers and brogues.

Once again with hindsight I think he would rather not have been given the responsibility of the next bottle, but out of etiquette, (which he is very keen on), and politeness he accepted the challenge.

Well, the resulting regurgitation of milk down the mole skin trousers and over the brogues did cause quite a stir and quite frankly a certain level of discombobulation.

I don’t think those brogues and mole skin trousers have ever been seen since…..

Anyway, the last few years while the gruesome twosome have been growing out of the ‘little’ stage and instead growing into the interactive and characterful stages have probably been the ideal time for the Godfather to be travelling the world.

Now, it should be said that when we asked to the Godfather to undertake his Godfatherly duties this weekend, he did not immediately jump at the opportunity and took quite some time to mull it over.

We knew immediately that the thought of having sole responsibility for the gruesome for a weekend had sent him into a spiralling decline and he was hiding in a darkened room trying to come to terms with the concept.

Anyway, he eventually agreed to the challenge – but not alone.

Now, the thought of having sole charge of the small testosterone filled one was a challenge enough for the Godfather but at least there was the ‘male bonding’ type thing. They could play Scalextric, have Nerf Gun battles and build Lego.

But the thought of a strawberry blond hand grenade with hormones and attitude was enough to send the Godfather over the edge.

So he has enlisted help. Yeap, he has drafted in the moral and physical support of a good mutual friend from Germany. Yes, this lady is flying into the UK specially to offer female support.

She has actually reorganised her life and job as a Lufthansa Air Hostess to travel over for the weekend.

Now this young lady is no pushover and comes from a large Bavarian family where she is the middle child of 5 – with two older brothers and two younger sisters. She is of hard-core German stock who deal with every challenge in a very ‘german’ and efficient way.

So, I am thoroughly expecting the strawberry blond hand grenade to be marshalled into order this weekend in a way that matron in the boarding house can only ever dream of achieving and believe me matron is pretty scary in her own right.

Yeap, I am waiting with bated breath to find out what happens.

In the meantime, as there is a Germanic v strawberry blond hand grenade battle of wills going on, (and I know who my money is on, oh ja!), there will be the Godfather and the small testosterone filled one gently getting on with life, playing Scalextric and discussing world affairs.

So, time will tell what the outcome will be but I can guarantee that it is going to be an interesting Exeat weekend……

So onto other matters.

Well, last night i managed to reduce himself to a shaking mass of Dad to a teenager when I was shopping online for the strawberry blond one’s costume for the forthcoming world book day.

Yeap, I had actually received a message from the hand grenade. Not of course to say hi, ask after y general well-being or declare her unloving love for me. No, it was a message with a picture asking me to sort out her world book day costume.

Great!

Well, I suppose anything is better than nothing.

Anyway, the hand grenade has decided to go to the fun-filled day dressed as the matron in David Williams book, ‘The Midnight Gang’.

Now, not surprisingly there are no specific outfits available for this character so I was reduced to buying the individual items on Amazon and hoping that everything makes it there to make up the outfit.

All was well with the ordering, a below knee long-sleeved grey dress, a white belt, black hair ribbons and a fob watch.

Then I naively typed in ‘long extra wide black boots’. Now the majority of the search findings were pretty innocent, but not all. Himself was already in shock that I was shopping for knee-high black boots for his little girl, so this sent him completely over the edge and into a spiralling decline of paternal stress.

Anyway, a suitable pair of ‘tame’ black boots were eventually found, himself’s brow was cooled with a wet flannel and an email was despatched to matron at school to ask her to keep an eye open for all orders ready for World Book Day.

Right, best I trundle off to do something practical and make sure that I have made all due preparations for the Godfather and german moral support – oh thank goodness for the internet….

Laters!

http://www.Tommys.org

An Apology To Himself & ‘British’ Businesses…….

I will start today’s post with a vague apology to himself who has taken umbrage at my implication that in order to get him to do any DIY at EIOT Towers I have to remind him periodically – remember this picture from the other day?

Well, in order to maintain marital harmony and to soothe his bruised ego I would just like to say that I am looking forward to being proven wrong when he is back at EIOT Towers in a couple of weeks and trust that he will not become a ‘Mamil’ again and disappear off on his bike instead of doing DIY…

Himself has also asked an interesting question with regard to my generously not kidnapping the BT/Openreach engineer who I happened to stumble across high up a telegraph pole not far from EIOT Towers last week.

He has, very profoundly, asked – why kidnap the engineer? Why not just take his steps away?

Now that is golden, that is classic – that is priceless! Yes, why didn’t I think of that?

Instead of laying myself open to charges of kidnap and false imprisonment, why not take the less punishable option of simply ‘borrowing’ the ladder. Yes, so I may have ‘borrowed’ it and taken it to Kendal or Penrith but that is less of an illegal action than actually kidnapping and imprisoning the engineer.

After all I could always return the ladder if BT/Openreach happened to decide to connect our phone line….

Needless to say no news from the legends that are BT/Openreach, but I suspect that now that they have actually furnished me with concrete information that they have taken that as a green light to stay firmly ‘out of touch’

Time will tell…

Earlier today I was mulling over my historical issues with big businesses whose names start with the word ‘British’

Yeap, long term readers will know about my historical issues with British Airways. Although I have to say that on the whole the issues surrounding me and BA do seem to have died down of late. I am not sure if that is because they have actually died down or my attention has been diverted by the fiasco that is British Telecom/Openreach.

So, with BA in hand and BT/Openreach rumbling along, who could possibly be next?

Well the options are;

British Gypsum – Unlikely. Despite undoubtedly needing copious amounts of plaster board of the coming years as EIOT Towers develops, I am unlikely to be dealing with this company directly and so the chances of any skirmishes are low.

British Gas – More likely. Despite no mains gas being anywhere near EIOT Towers, I will still be shopping around for electricity deals

British American Tobacco – Don’t smoke, have never smoked, will never smoke so highly unlikely that our paths will ever cross

Now, I am sure there are other big businesses whose names begin with the word ‘British’ but at this moment in time they have evaded my mind – probably in fear of pending chaos.

So, at this moment in time the front runner is British Gas – I really hope that if we ever change our electricity supply to this conglomerate that they will furnish us with good customer service, efficient delivery and reliable communications…..

 

So what else has been happening? Well, as per normal during school term time, the gruesome twosome are conspicuous by their silence. Yeap, there is a resounding lack of contact.

I have to say that we did track down the strawberry blond hand grenade yesterday – only thanks to an email pincer attack courtesy of matron who fed us with intelligence about her whereabouts and we were able to coordinate an unavoidable telephone call to the house as she walked past the phone.

That said, the phone call was brief with little information imparted on her part.

Then, of course, there is the small testosterone filled one.

Now we know he is on fine form thanks to many photos posted on social media by the housemaster and the fact that his big sister informed us last night that he had used her as a human shield in a snowball fight.

Other than that nothing, not a thing. No emails, iMessages, Facetime calls, Owls or smoke signals.

If anybody in deepest Cumbria sees a small man matching his description please can you prompt him to contact his old Mum and Dad?

So, this week sees the inauguration of President Elect Trump in Washington.

Well, what can I say other than it is going to be interesting to say the least…….

It may be that BT/Openreach may be the least of our worries….

Laters!

http://www.Tommys.org

 

 

I Hope You Are Impressed……

First of all I hope you are impressed. Yes, during my sojourn back to EIOT Towers I stumbled across a lone, unarmed, unprotected and frankly quite vulnerable BT/Openreach Engineer, (yes, I am still referring to them in relation to both organisations, despite official protestations that they are two completely operate organisations, we all know that actually they are not and that it is all part of the monopoly that they jointly hold on the UK telecoms network and therefore by default hold by the nether regions on the UK Telecoms requiring public).

Yeap, as the above photo clearly shows the engineer in question was highly vulnerably placed up a telegraph pole, on the outskirts of the village and completely at the mercy of a passing telecoms starved woman who quite frankly has been brought to the edge of sanity by BT/Openreach and was therefore a sitting target for revenge.

But no, I restrained myself and left the poor chap to his telegraph pole. I did this largely because of the fact that at this point I was heading away from EIOT Towers and so keeping him in the car boot as I went around my errands could draw attention. I also noticed that he was blowing hot air onto his hands as he was perched high up the telegraph pole and so the discomfort of freezing cold hands and being employed by the behemoth that is BT/Openreach was punishment enough.

By the time I returned to EIOT Towers he had left his telegraph pole and so was safe from any threat of imminent kidnap.

So, here I sit on the BA big bird, (normal disclaimer applies – although I have to say that today’s crew appear to be of a higher calibre than those we usually get on this route and the aircraft is actually quite sanitary). Yeap, the gruesome twosome have been deposited back at school.

Not that there was any hesitation on their part to leave their old Mum and head back into their respective boarding houses. No, the small testosterone one murmured as he walked through the door, ‘I wonder what this weekend’s activity is going to be?’ and the strawberry blond hand grenade  simply grunted a warning about kissing her in front of her friends and embarrassing her.

Apart from the emotionless departure from the gruesome twosome, compared to my much more sentimental and wet eyed reaction, the return to school on Monday morning was not without its trauma. You see, if I had a molecule of common sense I would have known that getting the gruesome twosome out of bed, cajoling them into the shower, breakfasting, loading the car and getting to school argument free on time would not have been particularly easy.

You would think that after over a year I would have learned, but no – what a muppet!

I should have known that the best advice would have been to deliver the gruesome twosome and all their kit to school last night, but no common sense does not seem to be prevalent in my life at the moment. In fact, it would even have worked better of I had delivered all the kit on Sunday evening and the actually living, breathing specimens on Monday.

Yes, it was more than a tad stressful. The small testosterone filled one was fine, he is relatively easy to get into order and as long as he has food in one hand a rugby ball in the other, he is fine.

No, it was the strawberry blond hand grenade who could not see why she had to get out of bed, have a shower, wash her hair, have breakfast and generally sort herself out.

Now I adore both of my children equally, but on Monday morning I would quite frankly have been happy to leave her in a Cumbrian field and take a random sheep to school instead.

Yes, I was in trouble for packing her hairbrush in her boarding bag and it was then unceremoniously unpacked by her pre-teenage hands and used in an attempt to detangle those strawberry blond locks. Needless to say that she did not feel the urge to repack it afterwards and I subsequently found it on a shelf in the kitchen next to the food processor – oh, such a hygienic young lady.

Anyway, I am sure that Matron was ecstatic that the strawberry blond one did not have a hairbrush and I am equally sure that the young lady in question firmly placed the blame for the errant hairbrush at my feet. I have subsequently found out that I was firmly to blame for the apparent lack of the strawberry blond one’s gum shield on the hockey pitch – apparently I had not packed it in the ‘right place’. The PE teacher in question, who may be petite but has the bite of a Rottweiler, apparently did point out that perhaps it was not my responsibility……the missing gum shield was then found in the sports bag where I had placed it in the first place….

Anyway, we eventually made it into the car on Monday morning. But we were not alone. No, as well as me and the gruesome twosome in the car were:

1 Euphonium
1 Clarinet
2 School rucksacks
2 School sports bags
2 Very large school boarding bags
1 Random dressing gown that could not fit into a boarding bag
1 Rugby ball
2 Hockey sticks – one in a very large, bright orange hockey stick bag
1 School wax jacket – not sure where the second one is but hey ho it will turn up
1 Riding hat
1 Riding body protector
1 Tennis ball
1 Justin Beaver
1 Muffy The Marmot
4 Spinning® bike pedals
5 Spinning® bike chains
2 Children
1 Mum – driving

Now, I am sure that there were more random things thrown into the car, but to be completely honest by this point I had lost the will to take any notice.

So, the car was bulging at the seams, the strawberry blond hand grenade was not impressed about being marshalled out of bed and the small testosterone filled one was up to something but I could not identify what it was.

Before anybody starts going into fact and principles of physics – look carefully at who the quote is attributed to….

It was pouring, no bucketing it down, with rain and quite frankly not my best morning ever.

So, by the time we got to school things were pretty tense.

It was at about this time that it became clear what the small testosterone filled one had been up to. In the corridor he met one of his boarding house buddies. Now, this young man is a couple of years older than the testosterone filled one, but age is the only difference. There were both at the front of the queue when mischief was dished out. The testosterone filled one is considerably bigger than this young chap and the housemaster has noticed the blooming friendship between the two so they share a dorm. They share a love of mischief and mayhem and despite being in separate years take every opportunity to do activities together or generally cause chaos.

So, the testosterone filled one saw one of his school buddies and could not resist the urge to exclaim, ‘ I have smuggled in one of my Nerf guns and bullets – it is really cool’. In response his buddy said, ‘cool – we will have one fun with that’.

At this point a shiver of pure terror ran down my spine, I knew I had to divorce myself completely from any association with this as if I was considered to be implicit then I would be receiving emails not only from matron on the girls house about whatever the strawberry blond one had been up to, but also from the boys boarding house about the small man and his Nerf gun.

Emails from matron in the girls boarding house are scary enough but emails from the boys boarding house are enough to scare the living day lights out of anybody.

So, I told anybody who would listen, teachers, cleaners, parents and most importantly the Head Master that I knew nothing of this illicit activity and took no responsibility.

Hopefully that will mean I am void of any responsibility.

Anyway, both children were installed at school, the various appendages were unloaded from the car and delivered to the appropriate destination and I beat a hasty retreat towards the gluten free bacon butty shop a few miles away – only to find to is closed for an extended holiday until 19 Jan – bugger!

Oh well, home-made gluten-free bacon butty it had to be……

Anyway, there have been a few developments at EIOT Towers.

Firstly, I was, and still am, highly impressed by the speed and delivery of the four packing boxes which somewhat stressfully made their way to the compound’s mail room last week – Shifting Saudi, Packing Pandemonium & Obsessive BT Behaviour…

Yeap, despite the traumatic start to their journey I was delighted by the speed and efficiency of their journey. I received a phone-call as I collected the hire car from Avis in Manchester airport to say that the boxes were in London and then they were delivered, stress free next day. That was less than 24hrs from door in Riyadh to door at EIOT Towers. Now that was impressive.

The small testosterone filled one was delighted by the arrival of his Nerf gun armoury and promptly took great pride in using his sister as target practise. The strawberry blond one was quite chuffed that her loom band collection was back and even raised the top half of her body off the settee to make some jewellery in celebration.

Secondly, the carpenters quote for the windows and doors has finally arrived – after around 8 weeks.

Now, if you were expecting some sort of printed, computer generated, technical quotation with design specifications, complicated  calculations and recommendations for insulation and energy conservation against the Cumbrian elements then you will be sadly disappointed.

No, the quotation is hand written in the most exquisite ink handwriting on A5 receipt book paper. It is armed with hand drawn diagrams of what each section of the quote relates to.

Needless to say I have deleted the handwritten address blocks etc…..

It is a true, hand written and hand drawn masterpiece that quite frankly I will frame once all the windows, doors and staircases have been replaced – whenever that may be. I love it!

I have never seen anything like it and I feel I ought to don white cotton gloves before I touch it.

It is fantastic.

Now I have to say that I have been rather relieved to get this quote and every time I have seen the carpenter or his son I have reminded them of the need for a new front door. The cat flap is more of a gaping hole that the postman uses for mail rather than wrestling with the savage and rusted letter box that attacks with all the savagery of the till in ‘Open All Hours’. The rather odd ventilation plate is more of a vague, half-hearted attempt at a wind break and when you approach the door from inside in the midst of gale force winds outside it is like one of those film clips of people fighting against full on blizzards in Siberia.

So yes, I am quite pleased to finally have the quotation.

However, my concern is now that is it took over 2 months for the quotation, how long will it take to get the finished product…..oh well Spring is coming and in theory better weather and the chance to save up to pay the bill.

Now, thus far there is no sign of the quote for the new water tank. I did see the local legend who is the highly esteemed sheep farmer and water expert in passing but took the opportunity to spend some time with his fantastic wife the other day. Yes, I have mentioned this lady in the past who is a gem and hard-core Cumbrian farmers wife. Yes, she has raised four boys in remotest Cumbria and nothing fazes her – apart from her new baby grand-daughter who quite frankly has her flummoxed after four boys.

Now, I am no wimp but compared to this lady I am a positive wall flower.

Anyway, the quote is on its way, but our legendary sheep farmer/water expert is not happy with it so he is working on it……

I have to say that in the current conditions I have not actually ventured down the field to the spring and water tank. As far as I am concerned the water is flowing fine into the house and while it is fulfilling our requirements then let holey water tanks be.

In any case, himself is back in a couple of weeks on a break and I thoroughly expect him to be a whirlwind of water supply activity and generally spend much of his two weeks off sorting the whole system out and making plans for its future.

Did you read that oh husband of mine???? Have you taken note? The writing is on the wall, oh darling husband of mine.

So to BT……go and put the kettle on, sit the kids in front of the TV, unplug the phone, (but if it is a BT phone on a BT line you probably don’t actually need to do that as it is probably faulty in anycase….).

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I will begin…….

Well, the week started with the news from Ms W – (yes our Senior Executive Level Complaints bod), that there was now an application in to the National Park in which we live for various bits and pieces to do with our installation and this was going to take a long time to be approved.

Well, I am sorry but enough is enough. Firstly I sort out the fiasco with the person who was objecting to the Wayleeves, then this and in between the apparent need for an application to The Environment Agency – which by the way I had shown to be completely unnecessary thanks to a friend who happens to be an Environment Agency Environment Officer in the very same national park.

Anyway, one MAJOR stropogram later, asking politely but firmly for specifics and concrete information and that I would take over the project management of this entire fiasco.

Yes, it has taken more time than I care to think about but I now know what is going on – apparently.

Now, Openreach have proven themselves to be at best flakey and inconsistent in their explanations and at worst out right liars. I have to say that I do have the slightest, most vague and barely visible sense of sympathy for Ms W – our Senior Executive Level Complaints bod as the evidence points to her having been lied to by Openreach. But that flicker of sympathy only extends so far.

It now appears that it is not actually a planning permission request that has been submitted to The National park, but a mere act of courtesy to tell them what is happening. It all appears that with concurrent activity planning, we may, possibly, at a stretch, barring any Cumbrian earthquakes, sheep eating through cables, farmers felling telegraph poles or other unforeseen circumstances, may just possibly have something by the end of Feb.

Now, let’s not get excited by this. The end of Feb is still 6 weeks away and anything could happen in BT/Openreach terms between now and then.

I may still be reduced to kidnapping Openreach Engineers and keeping them captive in the barn.

But it is a start.

I also have an answer as to why we cannot be connected via the existing telephone wire and Openreach box in the lounge. I have to admit to not being convinced by the explanation but hey ho.

So cages have been rattled, shaken, stamped on, crushed and generally rearranged.

So, I am heading back to the land of sand with it’s ironically relatively efficient phone system and broadband. There will be regular posts……

Leaving EIOT Towers this morning was hard – the place grows on me every time I am there and even the freezing gal force winds rattling around the rotting windows and through the front door could not dampen my love for the place.

I do have to say though that at 0200 hours this morning the riotous party loving noise from half a dozen sheep who had clearly escaped from one field to the one directly below our bedroom window was a tad annoying. Yeap, somehow the gales had shown them an exit to apparent freedom and they had grabbed the opportunity – only to find themselves marooned in the water tank field.

I am not sure what had happened in the intervening two hours but by the time I left EIOT Towers at 0400 they had relocated, (I can only assume that it was the same half-dozen rebellious, adolescent youngsters), to the lane and were partying in the lane. They insisted, in their party mode, on guiding me down the road in the light of my headlights before finally veering off in the opposite direction.

I apologise now to whichever farmer will have had to have gone, sheep dog in tow, and guided them back up the hill to the correct field.

Anyway, we appear to be heading towards Saudi air space on the BA big bird, so bit I take full advantage of the drinks trolley before it is reduced to a couple of orange juices.

Stand by for more regular posts from the ironically relatively well-connected Saudi……

Laters…..

http://www.Tommys.org

Shifting Saudi, Packing Box Pandemonium & Obsessive BT Behaviour….

Usually days waiting for 0100 to come round to climb aboard the BA big bird, (usual disclaimer and all that), go slowly and are emotionally painful. The fact that you don’t leave the house until after you have been tucked up in bed for several hours adds to the pain and you watch the clock slowly tick by.

However, for some odd reason today has been different and the day has pretty much flown by amid a hail of packing boxes, courier trauma and of course BT angst.

So, first to the topic that concentrates my mind most at the moment and I suspect provides lots of entertainment not only to the EIOT reader but also to the wider public as word does seem to be spreading faster than a Cumbrian farmer’s muck spreader can run about the fiasco that is BT and our non-existent phone and broadband.

Yes, the matter in hand is once again BT and as tomorrow I  dance around the lounge Darcy Bussell fashion brandishing my feather duster and a bottle of Sainsbury’s furniture polish, I will I am sure stop to dust and embrace the Openreach box in the lounge and lament on its redundancy at the hands of BT/Openreach when in theory there appears to be no reason why it should not be connected and in the finest of health.

Well, needless to say still no news from BT/Openreach or Ms W –  our Executive Level Complaints bod.

Now, as I lamented in my last post I am unsure as to whether or not BT/Openreach simply shut down completely over the festive period and leave the UK up the creek without a paddle or if they just took the opportunity to go into hiding as far as EIOT Towers is concerned and completely ignore me.

Neither would surprise me and to be honest I swerve between the two options faster than a pendulum on a grandfather clock.

Anyway, whatever the reason is for absolutely no contact over Christmas, the stunning silence has continued beyond and so far, two days into the back to work post Christmas rush, there has been nothing from anybody at BT/Openreach. Not even a courtesy call or a pile of Buzby poop.

Now the phrase ‘courtesy call’ in terms of BT is a complete misnomer as quite frankly there has not been a shred of courtesy anywhere within the lest 4+ months so I really should not be surprised, but even so I am a little put out that I have heard nothing.

Now it could be that Ms W is actually avoiding me, it could be that she is hoping I have self-combusted or it could be that actually she does read this blog and is sulking. Whichever reason it is then quite frankly just a quick update would be appreciated.

But no, nothing.

Anyway, in the absence of any communication from anybody to do with BT/Openreach this morning, I kept my BT obsessed brain occupied by trawling the internet looking for cheesy BT adverts from the 1960’s and 70’s again – and believe me there are some classics.

Anyway, stand by for some inserts in coming blogs to compliment that of the last post…..

 

Oh yes, come back to BT and be messed around for 5 months and still not have a phone line!

My internet perusing was punctuated by more packing of boxes to send back to the UK and ultimately, hopefully, EIOT Towers.

Yes, the small testosterone filled one’s Nerf armoury took several large packing boxes to fill and all required padding out with ancillary items to prevent shifting and damage.

This morning was the day that the legend that is Venkat was due to arrive to load up the car and take the boxes to the mail room to be surrendered to the mercies of DHL.

I have talked about Venkat before on the EIOT blog and have sung his praises and to be honest nothing has changed.

He is from some remote area of India and as such has a deep accent. That combined with passable english and my apparently deteriorating hearing means that conversations are interesting to say the least and quite frankly can be a bit challenging.

However, somehow Venkat and I have some sort of non verbal understanding of each other and we usually understand what the other is trying to say – eventually.

Anyway, I was relieved that Venkat would be taking the boxes as he would get things sorted. After all I am a female in Saudi Arabia and unable to deal with such things in the eye of the establishment and therefore by default DHL.

Anyway, a minor crisis occurred when a message came in to say that Venkat couldn’t come, but he was going to send his friend – Asif.

Now it is at this point that I am going to say that I know Asif and he is a great guy. He has driven me into town many times and I have complete faith in him.

However, tasking him to sort out the boxes and deal with DHL was a different matter.

Now, if the process had been straight forward then I am sure that all would have been well. But, Asif is blissfully unaware of the chaos that ordinarily surrounds me and follows me everywhere I go.

So needless to say that the sorting out of boxes and DHL was not straight forward.

I won’t bore you with all the gory details but after around the fourth trip to and from the mail room Asif was looking slightly beleaguered and somewhat frazzled. Each visit was greeted with some sort of explanation about how or why they could not accept the boxes.

Eventually Asif appeared back looking battle weary and minus the boxes.

Naively I assumed that all was well, the Nerf gun exporting was underway and within a few days the boxes would arrive at EIOT Towers.

Wrong!

No, Asif explained that he had ‘dumped’ the boxes at the mail room and left. The guys there had clearly pushed him too far and he had left in a fit of pique – minus the boxes.

He also stated that the mail room had likewise had a fit of pique and were now refusing to deal with anybody but ‘Boss’ in relation to our boxes. (Boss here is a general term that refers to the man of the house in the blind assumption that they hold full control and influence and that quite frankly the female of the house is a mere slave).

Anyway, that left me with a quandary. ‘Boss’ was at work, we had several large packing boxes ‘dumped’ in the mail room, Asif was a nervous wreck and the chances were that the mail room staff were listing all our worldly possessions and the small man’s Nerf gun armoury on eBay.

For my part I was stuck at home with a strawberry blond pre-teenager who had taken root on the sofa, a testosterone filled small man who was pining for his SAS standard arsenal, a car outside that I am not able to drive to the mail room by virtue of the fact that I am female and an overactive brain overflowing with solutions to the current issue but could not be tapped into again by virtue of the fact that I am female.

There was only one course of action – phone ‘Boss’ and inform him that today was not the day to be late home from work and go to the American Diner for lunch.

What else is a girl to do in such a situation in Saudi Arabia?

Anyway, ‘Boss’ appeared back with due haste and after grumbling loudly about having to run the gauntlet at the mail room, (he never likes going there), he disappeared off before reappearing a very short time later with a receipt and tracking number.

Enough said – the influence of ‘Boss’.

Now, while I am on the subject of women in Saudi Arabia, I feel it would be very remiss of me not to mention an internet sensation which is sweeping the world wide web. It is common knowledge that Saudi Arabia is changing and this change is led largely by a majority younger generation.

Part of this change is a movement towards greater women’s rights.

So, good readers of the EIOT blog, let me bring you something completely different.

Please turn up the volume and kick back. Enjoy!

So that in total took much of the day and between the box fiasco, cruising the internet for ammunition for my BT bashing crusade, refereeing and peace negotiation between the gruesome twosome and of course the obligatory numerous trips to the compound shop to buy the things I forgot the previous time the day has passed by quite quickly.

So, as I write our oh so cheerful BA crew have just burst forth through the boarding gate towards the BA big bird, clearly devastated to be leaving the land of sand. Their reluctance to leave meant that they all refused to go through the glass door and so as a compromise they all went together resulting in a log jam with much kicking and screaming.

One can only assume that they will be volunteering for this route again in the near future.

So, tomorrow the gruesome twosome and I will be installed at EIOT Towers once more. The fire will be lit and Sainsbury’s will be inbound with a van full of delicacies. All will be well, apart of course from the absence of any form of communication.

So, please rest assured that over my brief visit back to Blighty I will endeavour to post updates but I can make no promises. There are after all so many bacon and egg butties I can eat in the cafe with fibre broadband or glasses of wine I can consume in the similarly equipped village pub.

Please do not assume that any extended silence is indicative of an arrest after an assault of a BT engineer or that I have been forced to go and seek out the boxes and Nerf Gun armoury myself.

No, any extended silence simply means that I am enjoying the glorious Cumbrian countryside surrounding EIOT Towers and more than likely I am simply downthe field digging out the water tank.

Laters!

www.tommys.org

 

BT Fight Or Flight & Nerf Gun Armoury Exportation…….

I think I am losing my sanity. I think my marbles are disappearing into a stale and monotonous soup of BT angst and desperation. Just this morning I woke up with a start, eyes wide open and adrenalin pulsing, to a dream about fully functioning telephone lines and active broadband. My heart was pulsing and I was in fight or flight mode to the point of running all the way to the nearest handset.

Then reality kicked in. The fact that I am actually in Saudi Arabia dawned and that actually, somewhat ironically, we have fully functioning telephones in the plural, (mobile and landline) and fully operational broadband, albeit with an odd hiccup. However, it is there and has been throughout this visit to the land of sand, more can be said for EIOT Towers in the so called highly technical and connected UK.

So, my subconscious is running riot, it can mean only one thing. Yes, the BA big bird is looming large and in a matter of days the gruesome twosome and I will be climbing about in the we small hours to the fixed smiles of the BA aircrew who have enjoyed the high spots of the Riyadh nightlife for the previous 24hrs and who quite frankly are keen to head off.

While I am on the subject a friend recently posted the video below on his Facebook account and it frankly seemed quite apt to post it here.

Now not that I am impressionable or anything, but I may just have to restrain myself on the BA big bird later this week after watching this video although it may be a struggle. That said, I am really rather intrigued about which passenger I could possibly be……

I apologise now for the bad language – please do not press play if you are of a weakened disposition…..

Anyway, the BA big bird, (usual disclaimer applies), will be waiting in a matter of days if not hours and away we will go back to deepest darkest Cumbria, a Sainsbury’s order, wine, bacon and a leaking water holding tank. Assuming of course that I manage to contain myself and not caused chaos on the aeroplane and been left in Riyadh by exasperated aircrew.

Sainsburys orders do this to an expat……

Yeap, the first job will be to climb into the waders, grab a spade and head off down the field to make sure we have enough water to sustain us. Yeap, the leaking water holding tank is high on my list f priority.

Now the fixing of the water tank is rapidly falling into my pot of pending quotes from Cumbrian skilled craftsmen. Yeap, I am learning about Cumbrian quotes and pace of action from local tradesmen.

Yeap, at the moment I am waiting on quotes for a new water holding tank and also from the carpenter for new windows and doors.

Now, this is still within the bracket of acceptable waiting times – in Cumbrian terms. Around two months for each…….

So, in the meantime, heigh ho, heigh ho its off to the water tank I go…….

Anyway, any frustration and angst I may have is nothing in comparison with that of the BT debacle. So, needless to say there has ben no news from BT/Openreach since before Christmas.

Now, I have been impressed as other organisations have been working between Christmas and New Year, the world has not come to a grinding halt.

So, the big question in my mind is did BT/Openreach come to a grinding halt over the entire festive period or have they simply beaten a hasty retreat and taken the opportunity to completely ignore their failure in terms of the telephone and broadband supply to EIOT Towers.

Instinct is telling me it is the latter rather than the former, although a complete shut down of all BT/Openreach services over the holidays would not surprise me either.

Anyway, I live in the hope that tomorrow may bring some sort of message from Ms W – our Executive Level Complaints bod. I am not naive enough to expect a call but feel I may be realistic in expecting another fob off email.

I have been searching the internet for a very old TV ad that I remember from my childhood and the days when power cuts in deepest Lincolnshire were common place and did not last for a few minutes or an hour at most, but went on for days.

The advert was a sort of public service type broadcast and which tried to explain that just because the power had not come straight back on it didn’t mean that they weren’t going all out to fix it and in fact engineers were working around the clock to fix it.

Now, despite all my best efforts I cannot find this ad anywhere on the internet, but I have had stacks of fun trawling through old adverts from many, many years.

I was hoping to find this so that I could discuss any similarities between this and whatever may or may not go on at BT when it appears that nothing is happening and quite frankly it is highly probable that nothing is happening.

Needless to say my search criteria veered towards BT and blimey I have found some outstanding examples of BTness.

So, after perusing this BT advert several times, I suspect that Ms W – our Executive Level Complaints bod – may require a reminder of its existence and the fact that BT have themselves in the past publicised the joys and perils of living in the middle of nowhere. That said I suspect that Ms W – our Executive Level Complaints bod – may well have not have been born when this advert came into creation and probably knows nothing of its existence. I suspect that she may have been the subject of a BT ‘accelerated promotion programme’ through the numerous tiers of BT complaints teams and that in fact she is a mere ankle biter, fresh out of university and destined to rise above us mere mortals who dare to be dissatisfied and leave messages on her answerphone.

On my emails I have a signature block which talks about the EIOT blog and so she may well know about its existence. I guess I will find out in the next few days whether she reads it or not….or will their be a psychological mind game to keep me guessing…

Sorry another digression. So, thanks to lots of newly discovered material for BT bashing, I know have an armoury stacked high with ammunition that I will not hesitate to unleash in due course.

After all it is all I do have, the monstrosity that is BT does not listen to the consumer, nor it appears an MP and leader of The Liberal Democrats.

Away from BT, today I have been doing what I suspect I do best and quite frankly what I seem to spend most of my time doing these days, (apart from BT baiting and bashing that is). I have been collecting Nerf bullets.

Yeap, settee’s have been dismantled, furniture moved, small children relocated, shoes checked and Christmas tree searched for errant nerf bullets.

Quite a few more Nerf bullets than 6 have been fired here of late…

This has been no normal search pattern, oh no. Today’s search pattern has been the mother of all search patterns as today all Nerf guns and bullets have been stripped and sifted. Any bullets who appear unfit to travel have headed to the bin and the guns have been dismantled, bubble wrapped and packed.

Yeap, the small testosterone filled one’s army standard arsenal is heading to England.

Now this is no ordinary ordnance depot, oh so. There are enough guns to supply an SAS battalion, or whatever they have, and a selection of tools to satisfy everybody from snippers to tank commanders. There are semi-automatic, battery powered guns, guns with tripods, guns that could paralyse a camel at 400m, laser guided guns and even hand held pistols. And those are only the ones that are designed for use on land. Then we can move onto the Nerf water guns which have thus far avoided the packing box…….

Yeap, the arsenal is heading to England courtesy of DHL this week.

Now this has come about for a combination of reasons.

There is no secret about the fact that I have a strong desire to leave the land of sand. I have done my time and quite frankly a desire for a sense of vague normality in the UK is becoming quite overwhelming and as the gruesome twosome are now at school in the UK for some odd reason I have an overwhelming desire to be with them.

I am not sure where this desire has come from, when I am with them and they are knocking seven bells out of each other then the idea of being several thousand miles away from them is also quite overwhelming. However, for some odd reason I seem to have become relatively maternal in my advancing years and I feel that my place should be relatively close to them – even if I do choose to leave the refereeing duties to boarding school the majority of the time.

It could also be that the lure of the phone less, broadbandless and mobile phone signalless EIOT Towers is also exceptionally strong – even if there is a leaking water tank.

So, in preparation for my departure from the land of sand, whenever that may be, I am sorting, selling, packing, DHLing and binning everything.

Himself is not impressed by this and is convinced that he will end up sat on a camping stool with a trangia and a cool box for company.

In return I have pointed out to him that one day, if he has to move into one of the flats on the compound he will thank me because he will not be shifting car loads of kit from one side of the compound to the other.

In reality I am actually doing this as then I ill not have to listen to his whinging and moaning on Facetime about the amount of kit he has had to shift from one side of the compound to another.

Anyway, the sorting, selling, packing, DHLing and binning everything has continued and today the Nerf guns and all associated gadgetry and appendages have been packed.

The other reason of course is that I am a big kid and the thought of merging all the weapons of the small man’s middle east armoury with that of his Cumbrian armoury is quite attractive.

As I was mulling over the future building work and development of EIOT Towers last week, my mind actually moved away from water tanks, new windows, pointing, sewage and decorating and lingered, in fact took t hat and coat off and took up residence, on the subject of the planned teenage ‘crash pad’ in the barn.

Yes, hopefully the EIOT Towers barn is going to eventually be a teenage crash pad so that we can boot them out of Chez EIOT and they can slob to their hearts content in the barn. I may even be tempted to fit a door and windows to make it a tad more comfortable for them – note to self, make sure I have moved the kidnapped BT engineers out before installing the gruesome twosome.

However, in reality with the amount of work that needs doing on the house as well as the barn, it may well turn out to be a grand-child teenage crash pad as the gruesome twosome may well have flown the nest by then.

Anyway, in my musings I decided that a really cool thing would be to have a Nerf gun shadow board on one of the barn walls – how cool would that be?

So, no sooner said than done, the Nerf guns are en route back to England, (well actually they are bubble wrapped and boxed in the hallway here but you get the general gist), and plotting for a temporary shadow board in the sunroom is underway.

So, best I shuffle off to my bed as tomorrow will be the next round of refereeing the gruesome twosome in an attempt to stop them killing/injuring or maiming each other. The holidays are rolling on and tempers are fraying…….

Laters!

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