Broadchurch Returns, Brain Boggling DIY & Toughen Up BT……

I am rapidly reaching the conclusion that my brain is a ticking time bomb when I am in the land of sand and it really is not healthy that I am here – physically, emotionally or financially.

You see when I am at EIOT Towers I am busy, really busy. I am usually tracking down iconic local craftsmen who are very gifted in their work but reject modern methods of communication, (email, mobile phones, pigeons etc – but gee who am I to moan? We still don’t have a phone line or WIFI at EIOT Towers), climbing ladders, sledge hammering walls, sorting out water supplies or, yes it had to come – sorry, arguing with the behemoth that is BT/Openreach.

But life changes when I am in the land of sand and I honestly think I live a double life, a life in two planes that are diametrically opposed to each other in ways that can only truly be understood by people who have lived for any extended length of time in the land of sand.

You see at home, at EIOT Towers there is no delicacy. There is no point in having nice nails as they get filled with grot from pointing bricks, digging out mud, crawling around water supplies and crowbarring out wood that has been in situ for the best part of 100 years.

Likewise, hair gets flattened by heavy rain and gale force winds.

Anything other than wellies or walking boots get covered in mud in a moment’s notice, (did you hear that BT/Openreach – mud up to the gunnels is completely normal so grow a pair, buckle down and bury that damned cable), and so flip flops are completely impractical.

In short, in deepest Cumbria there is no time or need for niceties and indeed they are pretty much out-of-place.

Then of course there is the land of sand.

Now here, even on the compound, ladies doing anything other than enjoying their leisure time is treated in a questioning fashion.

Yes, there are ladies who work here but certainly nothing manual and a threat to highly coiffured nails. There are ladies who use their time to study and there are ladies who undertake lots of hobbies.

But, there is not the full on, got to dig this hole, clean out this gutter, knock down this wall or remove this staircase mind-set that there is at EIOT Towers. Here we just dial 4444 and a chap appears usually quite quickly to fix whatever problem has befallen the home and we do not pay the bill.

So, life is very different and it is as if at Heathrow I discard the hardened Cumbrian home owner cape, clean out my finger nails and slip into the little Expat number. The process is reversed as I return the next time – usually on the BA big bird, (usual disclaimer applies).

So, to my ramblings about my concerns for my sanity and health of my brain.

You see as of tonight I have been back in the land of sand for a week and it is going to be a long stretch this time with my next planned home-coming being quite some weeks away. The gruesome twosome are inbound for Easter and it is even sometime later that I am due to darken the shores of the UK again.

Now, in that week I have sorted out the house here after himself being here alone and unsupervised. I have got on top of my email and admin backlog which is yet another side-effect of the BT/Openreach fiasco and I am getting back into a routine with the EIOT blog.

The gruesome twosome are not here and that in itself creates quite a hole in my day and quite frankly I am finding myself twiddling my thumbs quite a lot.

Yes, there is himself and as any woman will tell you the man in her life is the biggest kid of all and quite frankly needs the most supervision of the lot. But as he is out at work for several hours a day then even that requirement is rather limited.

No, I have time on my hands – and that is never a good thing.

Now, long-term fans of the blog will know that when I have time on my hands things start to happen and not in a good way – my brain goes into overdrive and I start having ideas.

Well now is no exception and the majority of my musings are in relation to EIOT Towers.

Yes, over the last week most of this planning has revolved around future plans for the institution that we call home. Much of this planning and extreme brain activity takes place during the day, but it is also rampant when quite frankly I should be fast asleep – but am not as when my eyes close my brain steps up a level of DIY creativity.


So, in the last few days, and nights, I have researched the following:

  1. Aga’s v Rayburn’s v Range Cookers
  2. Electrical circuit requirements for induction cookers
  3. Cost of new pans required for induction cookers
  4. Land Rover Defender 110’s
  5. Insurance requirements for Defender 110’s
  6. Legal seatbelt requirements for bench seats in Defender 110’s
  7. Metal v wood carpenter’s trestles
  8. Different types of outdoor wood stains
  9. Different types of indoor wood stains
  10. RSJ’s
  11. Metal railing suppliers
  12. Wooden fencing suppliers
  13. Gravity fed oil supplies
  14. Pressure pumped oil supplies
  15. Oil tank removal and disposal
  16. Belfast sinks, fittings & stands
  17. ‘Tanking out’ & insulting walls
  18. Paving slabs, weed free mesh & edging
  19. Skip hire

I now consider myself to be reasonably well versed in all the of the above and while I have certainly not reached expert standard my understanding has certainly grown.

I have also achieved the following:

  1. Switched electricity suppliers
  2. Not been rude to BT/Openreach

So, as you can see my brain has been active, very active and quite frankly, in my head – especially in the middle of the night, EIOT Towers is now renovated, modernised and redecorated. Alas, in reality it is still a long way from that but a lack of things to occupy my brain has led to a frenetic level of activity and research and a clear plan in my head of where we are going.

Erm…no. That is only our house in my imagination…

The only downside to this is that himself does not have a view into my head to find out what the heck is going on and seems to be putting on his crash helmet, holding onto his seat and getting ready for what could be a roller coaster ride of renovation and hard work.

Just last night himself announced that during his Ramadan break in late spring he is planning on a week of fell running training with the legend that is Tommo and he may disappear off to Scotland with the small testosterone filled one for a week of walking and ‘boys on tour’

Well, the look on my face must have been a picture as he imparted this information. Two weeks away? Two weeks away when there is so much to do? Didn’t he realise that there is stacks to do at the house? That he is going to be laying paving stones? Staining new windows and doors? Taking out the Rayburn?, (possibly – but I didn’t add that bit), pointing the stonework in the barn?, disconnecting and removing the oil tank? and goodness knows what else??

And in any case, why go to Scotland walking when we live where we live?

Well, he didn’t really respond to all that, but I think he got the message.

So, my brain is running at 101mph and everybody else, (including my body), is trailing on behind….

This morning however was a break even for my brain – yes, I was otherwise occupied as the long wait is over.

Yes, finally, after what seems like decades, the new series of Broadchurch is with us.


Now, as we are currently 3 hours ahead of the UK here, watching the epic series as it was broadcast last night was just not an option – although I was wide awake in bed thinking about logistics of pressurised spring water pumps, masonry paint and moss removal from balconies.

So, this morning saw me up early, (well earlyish), house work done and not a jot of DIY research but sitting down to enjoy the delights of Olivia Coleman and David Tennant in the last ever series of Broadchurch – and no it did not disappoint.

So, for 55 minutes I was glued to the TV, my brain exited DIY mode and ventured towards intrigue and suspense. Wow!

Do I really have to wait another week for the next instalment?????

Anyway, after 55 minutes my brain lurched back into DIY mode and I found myself Googling roofing felt – oh such is life.

Right, need to go and find out more about ceiling insulation……


I was just spell checking and proof reading today’s blog when an update popped into my inbox from our ‘Senior Executive Level Complaints Team Bod’ – Ms W. Well, I have to say I wasn’t expecting anything until the end of April, but hey it is a bonus.

Anyway, apparently it is still too muddy and so no action still…… up BT, if the hardworking farmers of Cumbria retired to their settees every time it was rainy and muddy and left their heavy plant in their barns then quite frankly the beautiful and scenic countryside of Cumbria would be no more and nothing would get done.

Cumbria is green and lush for a reason, it rains and it is muddy. Everybody else gets done what needs to be done.

Quite frankly I can’t be bothered replying to the email – they never listen anyway.

Rant over!






Have Sledgehammer Will Bash Things & Clear As Mud……..

Before I start I would just like to qualify the title of this post and clearly state for the record that I have not been anywhere near BT/Openreach, any BT/Openreach employee or property with a sledgehammer and while it may be tempting and ultimately quite cathartic to do so, I will not be following such a course of action.

No, the first part of today’s blog title relates entirely to other DIY linked activities that I will come onto in a few minutes.

But before that, apologies for another break in posting blog updates – yeap once again I was at the mercy of BT/Openreach and when I did find myself in WIFI coverage unfortunately general admin, replying to urgent emails and managing my life and that of the gruesome twosome took priority.

However, I am now back in the land of sand and ironically in full WIFI coverage. My admin backlog is being dealt with, which means that I now have a few windows of opportunity whereby I can resume EIOT postings.

So, what has been happening?

Well, you will be amazed if not astounded that BT/Openreach have played another blinder, (yes, that was sarcasm by the way).

They have actually contacted me directly again and no longer appear to be communicating via our MP – not sure if that is because I have been forgiven for being rude to them or that they have forgotten that they are not actually speaking to me.

Yes, they have now found the 50 pair cable and have actually delivered it to the right place – well done BT that only took two weeks.

Apparently they even appeared on site this week, complete with moles on ploughs to bury the cable, but alas they could not complete the work. So, they turned around and took the cable back to the depot and put the kettle on.

Now the reason they could not complete the work is somewhat puzzling.

I am sure that everybody reading my ramblings will have heard of the old Network Rail excuses of ‘leaves on the track’ and ‘the wrong kind of snow’, well BT have announced that it is too muddy to do the work.

Yes, you read that right, it is too muddy. The poor little cherubs may just get their boots dirty and get mud on the equipment.

No self-respecting mole would flinch at that let me tell you.

Now, let’s look at this analytically.

  1. BT/Openreach have consistently messed up with this whole process and quite frankly if they had not messed up then the work would have been done weeks ago – when it wasn’t muddy.
  2. We are talking about Cumbria – it is muddy all year round
  3. Normal activity continues throughout Cumbria regardless of the conditions and the farmers continue to use all their heavy plant machinery day in day out – no shirking of responsibilities for them

So, work was suspended last week.

Now, any reasonable person would expect that BT/Openreach would reassess the situation again in a few days in the hope that there would be a window of opportunity at some point in the near future.

No, don’t forget that this is BT/Openreach.

They have rescheduled the work – for April 27th.

Yes, you did read that right – April 27th, two months from now.

Yes, BT/Openreach have once again played a blinder and added another two months onto the length of this whole debacle.

Now, I was thinking last night that by the end of April when, if the sun is shining, the God’s are in favour and the world has not imploded – (which at the moment appears to be reasonably likely), the moles have done their work and buried the cable, then this fiasco will be 8 months old.

Now, in that time I could have conceived child number three, safely given birth and be at EIOT Towers with not the gruesome twosome but a terrifying threesome. Such is the scale of this fiasco.

But in that time BT have been singularly inadequate and have failed to provide us with communication with the outside world.

I would just like to point out for the record that conceiving baby number three is not in anyway on my to do list and the mere thought of it is sending shivers down my spine. It remains to be seen what reaction this suggestion brings out in himself but it won’t be pretty.

A gruesome twosome is more than enough to cope with thank you.

No, the analogy of conceiving and giving birth is purely designed to demonstrate how long this entire mess has been festering like Baldrick’s underpants in the World War 1 trenches of Blackadder Goes Forth.



So, little more can be said about BT/Openreach other than to tell them to man up, toughen up, get their boots dirty, bury the damned cable and stop moaning. It is Cumbria, it is tough, life does not stop just because of a bit of mud and rain – if it did then quite frankly absolutely diddly squat would happen 95% of the time up there.

Let’s just remember that a buried cable does not an active telephone line make – it is purely the next stage in a long and gory story……

So, let’s put BT/Openreach to oneside and give them the good stiff ignoring that they more than deserve…..

So, sledgehammers as well as crowbars, hammers, bonfires and generally ripping things apart.

Yeap, the small testosterone filled one and I had a ball in half-term when we decided to rip the cellar at EIOT Towers to pieces.

Well, actually I ought to say that I decided to rip the cellar to pieces and the opportunity for parent sanctioned, large scale destruction was far too much for the small man to resist.

The cellar at EIOT Towers is made up of three reasonably large rooms in a row and in my humble opinion is one of the highlights of EIOT Towers. However, when we bought the residence 6 months ago, (yes 6 months ago BT – did you get that?????), we had inherited three cellar rooms filled with everybody else’s junk and general mess.

Yes, the cellar had not been cleaned out for many, many years.

Not all was junk and there were some absolute nuggets of antique heaven which have been or will be restored to their former glory and the third room of the cellar was immediately earmarked by the two men in my life as it is packed with all sorts of tools and equipment which I am assured makes it a fantastic workshop and boy’s retreat.

In fact there have already been several occasions when I have lost them only to hear the gentle murmurings of some sort of DIY activity deep underground.

Anyway, it is more than my life’s worth to interfere in the ‘workshop’ but as far as I am concerned the other two rooms are fair game and as far as I am concerned ripe for sorting out.

Especially as one of the rooms houses the washing machine and being slightly OCD about the washing I am never completely comfortable with pulling clean clothes out of the contraption in a less than clean and sanitary environment.

Well I have to say that himself did start to sort out the rooms during one of his visits and made several trips to the recycling centre in his bid to get rid of some of the rubbish that we had inherited.

But there was still work to be done.

So, three main areas needed, in my opinion, a considerable amount of attention and sledgehammer type treatment.

These three areas were, in no particular order:

  1. One large double doored cupboard still filled with 30 years worth of paint and various DIY type gubbins
  2. One large wooden partitioned area again filled with lots of odds and sods
  3. A wooden staircase leading down from the corner of the lounge that quite frankly we never use – even I had to duck when using it as the headroom was somewhat poor.

Now, I am not daft and I have done more than enough DIY in the past to know that you have to be sure about what you are knocking down and anything supporting should stay in place until being assessed by your local friendly builder.

No supporting walls were on my demolition list and quite frankly given the width of the walls at EIOT Towers even if I had been a contestant for The Darwin Awards 2017 and had decided to knock them down, then even me and a sledgehammer would have not met the grade.

The house has been standing for around 300 years and a slightly eccentric pre-middle aged woman is not going to bring it down – hopefully!

So, the cupboard and the partition wall were first on my list.

Well the first thing to do was empty them and that was interesting in itself.

Among the general mishmash of ‘stuff’ were some more gems – a 1941 army wartime oil tank, (looks more exciting than it sounds, trust me) and numerous old tools – but on the whole it was all destined for the recycling centre.

Then the fun started and out come my buddies – the sledgehammer, a crowbar and a soft headed hammer ‘just in case’.

This cupboard had been built to last – no doubt about it and it put up one heck of a fight. The uprights had been built into the lath and plaster ceiling and as there was already a chunk of ceiling that had clearly caved in some time over the last 30 years I was slightly concerned that the whole ceiling may just land on me at any moment.

So, for those fixed bits I just had to severe them high up and wait on a more technical type head to advise me on how to get them out.

But there was no escape for all the rest. No way. It resisted, it fought, it dug its heels in, but resistance was futile, it was coming out.

The big heavy doors were hardest. They had been in situ for many, many years and those screws were not going surrender in a hurry. Well, they did not have to as it was clear they were not going to  succumb so l cut out the middle man, grabbed the crowbar and prized the doors off.

Ah ha – take that, as I said resistance is futile. But blimey, those doors were damned heavy….

So, next to the partitioned area. It was about now that curiosity obviously overcame the small man. The cellar is directly underneath the lounge, reception area and kitchen and clearly the sound of frenetic demolition in the cellar had alerted the small testosterone filled one to the fact he was missing out on something and he appeared.

With wide eyes and flexing his biceps, the small man was given full authority to destroy the partitioning and with that he threw himself into the task with all due enthusiasm.

Now, the small man is only small in age, he is a bruiser and is a big strong lad so the sledgehammer was thrust forwards with vigour and quite frankly that partitioning did not stand a chance – don’t forget I was there as well complete with crowbar.

It was at about this point that the village’s resident carpenter and son arrived to do final measurements for the first instalment of new doors and windows for EIOT Towers.

After making the obligatory cup of builder’s tea, (well carpenter’s tea in this case), the carpenter was asked to descend to the cellar to impart his expert knowledge about demolishing the redundant staircase.

After some considerable chin scratching I was told that absolutely nothing was dependent on it and to get my sledgehammer on it as soon as I liked. He then departed the cellar, stepping over the debris of the partitioned wall and assuming a defensive pose as he passed the small testosterone filled one swinging the sledgehammer completely unaware of the passing craftsman to his left.

I did hear a  muffled bout of laughing and a look of mild entertainment at the DIY enterprise that he had just witnessed.

Anyway, once the local village icon had done the measuring and had left, the small testosterone one and I set to.

By this point the partitioning was just about gone and much of the removal of the debris was complete and had headed out to the barn, (yes that barn), ready for the bonfire and so when I told the small man that the staircase was next………well all his christmases had come together.

Deciding on the crowbar rather than the sledgehammer, he set off on a personal mission to destroy the stairs and he damn well did it.

Yes, the stairs did not last long, they were soon ex stairs. In fact they weren’t just ex-stairs they were outside on the bonfire crackling away like a box of Rice Krispies in a dairy farm.

This rapid destruction of the stairs left me with a problem. I had a small man with destruction on his mind and nothing else to destruct. Problem.

It was at this point that he actually asked if were going to take the wooden fence down outside in the garden and the manner in which he asked while brandishing the crowbar led me to believe he had just one thing on his mind……

A quick decision on my part led to him spending the next half-hour crowbarring the tiles off the floor in one of the rooms.

After that, he was done and replete and while I am sure he would have happily gone outside and knocked seven bells out of the fence he was happy with his day of destruction.

So, we continued our tidying, continued to add wood to the bonfire and he then entertained himself, (and aged me), by exploring the physics of bonfires.

Now, it is at this stage that I ought to admit to a level of bewilderment.

As already mentioned the three rooms of the cellar are directly below the lounge, reception room and kitchen and during all this demolition work there would have been no avoiding the noise as the sledgehammer hurtled towards long since installed wooden features. The small man had come running at the sound and to be honest I think that the sheep 5 fields away may well have looked up from their grazing to question what the heck was going on.

But one person did not batter an eyelid, flinch, move a muscle or ask what the heck was going on.

Yes, the strawberry blond hand grenade had installed herself on the settee directly above the demolition zone and had not moved or even shown any acknowledgement of any activity.

Now, I am still puzzled as to whether she actually had not noticed the frenetic activity happening below her, if she had chosen to ignore it or if she had actually just decided that it was cool not to ask what was going on – but which ever way it was there was no recognition at all.

Not even when her brother and I emerged covered in dust, sweat, general grot and smelling of bonfire smoke did we even get a flicker of curiosity.

Quite intriguing…….

Anyway, with clearing up done and bonfire dying down day one was complete.

Day two saw the small man and I head off on the expedition that is driving from EIOT Towers to the recycling centre. Now, please do not forget that nothing is close to EIOT Towers and so the nearest recycling centre is about 20 miles and 30 minutes away. The car was loaded up with all the non burnable rubbish from 30-40 years that we had extracted from the cellar and so yes – it was an expedition.

In addition to the cellar rubbish I had also squeezed in an old rotary dryer that seemed to have been in the barn since rotary dryers were first invented and quite frankly was overdue a trip to the tip.

Now, as the car was so packed to the gunnels and considering the fact that the strawberry blond one appears to be going through a phase of enjoying isolation, the small testosterone filled one and I left her at EIOT Towers, (I don’t actually think she even noticed we had gone out), and ventured off out to the recycling centre.

The rotary dryer was quite long and as I had loaded it into the car bottom first, the bottom half was protruding at shoulder level between the two front seats.

Now, this was too much for a small man with a very active imagination to cope with and all the way to the recycling centre the metal tube that made up the bottom of the clothes dryer was in fact the gun on the front of a tank and we were actually in a Challenger Tank, heading into battle, (well the recycling centre – same thing really), destroying anybody and anything that got in our way, (in reality several stray sheep, one farmer on a quad bike and the real highlight of the trip – a BT/Openreach engineers van!).

Yeap, the gun turret had a turning range of about 45 degrees before it hit the other seat but that, in a small man’s mind, was enough to save the world.

Needless to say on the way back the absence of the gun turret caused some desolation that not even a packet of M&S crisps could put right.

Anyway, I am pleased to report that the cellar now has an open plan feel about it, is on the way to be a more sanitary abode for the washing machine and has been earmarked but great things.

The strawberry blond one did eventually raise her body off the sofa but with no acknowledgement of ambient activity but with moaning about lack of catering service.

The small testosterone filled one did eventually get in the shower, begrudgingly and removed all the grot.

Anyway, the dust is now settling in the cellar, literally, ready for the next stage.

I am back in the land of sand plotting the next development and the gruesome twosome are installed at school, where I suspect the small man is offering his crowbar and sledgehammer wielding services to the maintenance department.




Communication Problems? BT? Never!

You know, if Richard Curtis wrote a comedy script about the last five months and the debacle with BT, not even the fertile ground of Mr Curtis’ brain could dream up this trail of events and comedy of errors and deliver them with the greatest comedy thespians in a realistic and believable scenario.

It has been a few days since my last ramblings on the EIOT blog and if I had been naive enough to have believed BT/Openreach then I would have expected a fountain of activity that ultimately would have led, hopefully, to a phone line and broadband at EIOT Towers.

But alas no. I am not that naive.

If I were that naive then I would have expected a flurry of mole ploughing this week.

But no.

I have spent an unhealthy amount of time standing by the barn, (yes, that barn), desperately looking out over the beautiful Cumbrian countryside. That is no hardship, even in the rain and snow. But what has been disappointing is the lack of mole activity. Not even a pole dancing BT/Openreach engineer for entertainment.

It transpires that the expected delivery of 50 pair cable did not happen. Well, it did, just not to where it was meant to be delivered and while I have not been privy to its exact location I am led to believe that it was delivered to a completely different area of the UK.

That said, I have also had the impression that BT also have no idea where the cable is – although I have no evidence to back this up.

So, absolutely no progress on the broadband/phone line.

Well actually that is not quite true. If anything we may have taken a step backwards – if that is at all possible.

Yes, it appears that there may well be nobody at BT who is willing to speak to me.

The reasons for this may be many, I have not exactly held back on my withering criticism of all things BT/Openreach and have quite frankly not pulled any punches, (remember me being barred from Waterstones in Lancaster for socking it to BT on my mobile phone before Christmas…?), so I suspect that the number of people whose noses I have not put out of joint at the behemoth that is BT is limited – this fiasco has been going on for 6 months after all.

It now appears, possibly, that our Senior Executive Complaints Bod – Ms W, is now not talking to me. Now this could either be through sheer embarrassment at the fiasco that has unfolded and spread itself out over the last six months and exacerbated by the sheer incompetence of there 50 pair cable adversity or it could be because I let rip, via email, this week.

Yeap, BT/Openreach are used to my stroppy emails but this was something else and in it I pointed out all the untruths that have been fed to us over the last 6 months and provided evidence.

I also questioned the integrity of everybody at BT/Openreach – including Ms W.

Now it was a matter of hours after this email that the complete farce of the 50 pair cable emerged. Now it could be that Ms W had taken umbrage at my email or it could be that the prospect of contacting me with the news was too much to contemplate.

Whichever way I received the news of the 50 pair shambles came from a very unexpected source.

Quite a few months ago now, (and as I have mentioned here), out of sheer exasperation I got our MP involved in the debacle. Our MP has a dual role, not only is he our constituency MP but he is also the leader of The Liberal Democrats.

Yes, The Right Honourable Tim Farron MP has been on the case.

Now this has been a real positive as he has the ear of many senior people in organisations that quite frankly I would struggle to even know of – let alone contact.

So, we have had an inroad into various other sources of information such as progress on the new EE masts and rattling cages at the very top levels of BT/Openreach. Even if they do just bounce his communication down to Ms W.

That said, as I put in my email the other day, I am not sure how effective the new EE masts will be – EE is owned by BT and so the level of efficiency maybe more than a tad questionable.

So, The Right Honourable Tim Farron MP is on the case and quite frankly I have copied the poor chap in on every email I have sent about this fiasco for weeks and weeks.

Now, I know Mr Farron is a busy chap and has a core of ‘case handlers’ who deal with his everyday local affairs, but he has clearly been aware of what has been going on and has without doubt been very ‘hands on’ in the pursuit of basic communication facilities at EIOT Towers.

However, I was slightly taken aback when the news of the 50 pair cable contretemps came not from Ms W, but from The Right Honourable Tim Farron MP, (or one of his case handlers).

Yes, Ms W had elected not to email me or leave a voice message on my mobile, but had instead opted to pass this nugget of information onto our MP and his team and ask them to communicate it to me.

Well I never did.

So, even if this week BT/Openreach singularly fail to locate the 50 pair cable and get it to the right place, it is going to be interesting to see if there is any communication at all via whatever form Ms W.

Right, time to occupy the gruesome twosome as half-term has dawned and quite frankly, 24hrs in, there are already long faces that not even the fantastic hot chocolate at the super fast broadband equipped cafe can cure for long.


Rugby Hero Worship At A New Level……

So, update on the casualty – a full recovery. In fact, more than that – complete denial that it ever happened.

Not on our part I hasten to add, but on that of the small testosterone filled one. Yeap, the whole experience has been put down to experience and somehow I suspect that the next injury will involve a limb hanging off and copious amounts of blood flowing before he will consider admitting to pain.

Don’t get me wrong, he wasn’t ‘trying it on’ – that is not his way – and he was clearly in a considerable amount of pain. The bruising and swelling confirmed that there was an issue.

However, he was miffed on several points.

Firstly, the fact that we were taking him out of school for the hospital trip and his first lesson was his beloved maths which is most fav lesson ever. If he could have persuaded me not to take him till after maths then he clearly would have done.

Secondly, as per the last blog post the closest Minor Injuries Unit is still quite a drive away and unlike everything you see on the news at the moment and the press would have us believe, it was fabulously quiet. On arrival, no sooner had our bottoms rested on the chairs in the waiting area then he was whisked through to a nurse and then onto x-ray. The longest wait was for the x-rays to be dealt with and then to see the Doc.

However, when you are a nine year old testosterone filled man who despite a very painful finger would rather be at school doing his beloved maths, doing sport at break time and hero worshipping his teacher then any wait in the Minor Injuries Unit must seem like a life-time and was deemed as ‘boring’.

Yes, the small man holds his teacher in high regard. No forget that, there is hero worship status going on.

The small man’s teacher is a brilliant role model and everybody loves him – including most of the mums.

This young, handsome chap has it all – including a highly regarded former rugby career which quite frankly would leave everybody except Dylan Hartley standing.

While his former glories in the world of rugby were widely acknowledged, nobody actually knew the true extent until the handsome rugby player was recently persuaded to do a presentation to the boys boarding house about the route into professional rugby.

Now this talk completely blew the small man’s mind and while prior to this he adored his teacher, he is now completely in awe of him.

This weekend saw the small man sat in the pub, (yes the one with the super fast fibre broadband), Googling the name of his teacher and watching numerous YouTube videos of his hero on the rugby pitch.

He was eve quite disparaging about one commentator who pronounced his name incorrectly…..’how rude…

So, the fact that the small man was sat in a Minor Injuries Unit when he could have been absorbing every word from his hero must have been painful.

The third reason for the small man being miffed was that actually the finger splint was seen as ‘cissy’ – by him I hasten to add and apparently as soon as he got back to school it was discarded into the nearest bin.

Finally, of course and as discussed in the last post, there was of course the decree from the Doc that no sport was to be undertaken for a few days. Now, that was enough to shake the small man’s world to the core and even the eventual compromise that he was allowed to do cross-country but no contact sports, (not even one handed hockey), was not good news.

Well his finger has not fallen off yet and there have been no comments about pain and discomfort so I assume a full recovery has been achieved. He certainly is back on full contact sports.

However, we will have to be ready for future injuries as unless there is bone poking out of skin or blood gushing I suspect the prospect of a trip to the Minor Injuries Unit may not be top of his list of priorities.

So, onto other matters.

Well BT. Well, what can I say?

Not a lot.

Yeap, the pole dancing BT/Openreach engineers have apparently done their stuff. However, it would appear that the moles have stayed burrowed deep in their holes and have not yet started their ‘mole ploughing’ work.

Firstly, we got a message to say that BT had run out of 50 pair cable. Now, a bit of research on my part has explained to me what ’50 pair cable’ actually is and to say that BT had run out of it is pretty pathetic. That is comparable to IKEA running out of tea lights.

Anyway, apparently the ’50 pair cable’ is now with BT and last week’s message was that it would be on site ‘early this week’.


We are now at Tuesday lunchtime – we are past ‘early this week’……

You see we know exactly where the work is being done and what BT do not realise is that we can stand by our barn, (yes the one that has been earmarked to house the kidnapped BT/Openreach engineers), and see the entire area where the work is due to be done.

In fact, this morning we stood and watched the farmer rounding up the sheep in the very fields from our spot by the barn.

Alas, there is no sign of any BT activity of any sort, not even a BT/Openreach van zipping along the country lane camouflaged to avoid detection from a disgruntled customer watching from the side of the hill.

Certainly no sign of a huge roll of ’50 pair cable’, any moles (on or off ploughs) or pole dancing engineers. Nichts, rien, nada……….

So, next phase of emails to BT has commenced.

I will keep you posted.

Right, best I go and take up my observation point by the barn, not that I am expecting anything to happen…..


I drafted today’s blog from the comfort of home, in front of the fire but without WIFI coverage. So I satisfied myself with writing another snotagram, (quite appropriate as I have a stinking cold and himself is just going down with it….), to BT along with photos and sent it as I ‘piggy backed’ on the neighbours WIFI.

So, we have just relocated back down to the pub to do our daily WIFI stuff, pay some bills and generally let the world know we are still alive. Also, to post the blog.

I have just received an email back from ‘Ms W – Our Executive Level Complaints bod’ timed at around 1210 to say she was looking into the lack of BT/Openreach activity and she would be back in touch this afternoon.

I emailed her back to say I was in WIFI coverage at 1614 and was looking forward to her reply and guess what? Yes, I received an out of office reply to say that she had left the office for today and would be back tomorrow…….

Oh, I do hope she enjoys her evening with a phone line and WIFI at home, to say I am p****d off is the understatement.

So, Ms W – if you actually read this blog, enjoy your evening being completely contactable and in touch with the world. Once again I extend my invitation for you to head north of Watford Services and see the idyllic world that we live in, as well as the remoteness. When we bought the house we knew there was no mobile signal, but the Openreach box in the lounge, the telephone wire going into the house and the fact that the vendors had a full phone and WIFI service was a hint of a telephone connection………

Tonight I will be awake at regular intervals as I wonder if my kids are suffering with this cold and if school are trying to contact me. Perhaps I ought to give them your home phone number and then you can work out how to contact me when school need me in the wee small hours because of an appendicitis or sports injury or when my ageing parents try to contact me with news of a broken hip or illness.

Have a nice evening Ms W.

It Has Finally Happened……

No, do not get excited by the post title and think that BT/Openreach have been vaguely efficient and connected EIOT Towers to the World Wide Web and telephone – no, no such luck.

No, today is the day that I have been anticipating for nine years – a smidgen over what we have been waiting for BT/Openreach to sort their act out.

Yes, today was out inaugural casualty visit with the small testosterone filled one as a result of a testosterone filled sporting adventure.

I am actually quite surprised that it has taken this long and I am not sure if it just luck or credit to him that thus far we had not had any hospital visits for sports injuries so far.

Anyway, last night both the gruesome twosome came home for the night. The Godfather was visiting again and so in order to avoid sulking when they realised he had been and they had not seen him, we gave school a night of respite care and brought them home.

Now, the small testosterone filled one started talking about a sore finger the second I first saw him and said it had been a football injury.

Now, being the oh so sympathetic Physiotherapist that I am, I gave him quite short shrift and pointed out that you are meant to use your feet when playing football and not your hands.

A grumpy response was received including something about playing in-goal and the words ‘it really hurts Mum’.

Anyway, the sympathy continued to be in short supply and when we got back to EIOT Towers a brief assessment of his left ring finger ensued with the diagnosis that he had bashed it, he would survive and toughen up.

It is credit to the small testosterone filled one that he did just get on with it and despite a few grimaces every now and then the evening passed without incident.

Anyway, this morning I was on school run duty and on depositing him at school I mentioned in passing to the boy’s boarding house matron about the injury.

This news made her jump into frenetic action and we soon found ourselves staring at the offending left ring finger.

Now I have to say that I had not actually looked at the digit since last night and in the intervening hours it had swollen dramatically and bruised like a burnt sausage.

Even my inner physio grimaced and even I had to admit that a trip to the hospital would be a good idea.

Now it is at this point that I should remind everybody that actually where we live is remote – very remote and so the nearest ‘Minor Injuries Unit’ is roughly 20 miles away and the nearest A&E is about double that.

So, it was quite an undertaking to get the ‘finger’ sorted out.

So, all plans for the day were rewritten.

The Godfather was unceremoniously deposited at the railway station close to the hospital and himself and I disappeared off to the metropolis of the Minor Injuries Unit.

Well, I have to say I was impressed as the whole process was reasonably smooth and painless – well for us, the finger was prodded and poked causing quite a lot of grimacing on the part of the small man.

Anyway, the upshot was that it was a relatively gentle initiation for the small man into the world of sports injuries as nothing was broken but he had given it a good ‘thumping’.

A trip down the motorway to the A&E was not required.

One dose of painkillers and a splint later he was told in no uncertain terms that contact sports and swimming were out of the question for the next few days.

Now, this is where the next problem came in as the reality dawned on the small man who for the next few days he would not be able to play his beloved rugby, hockey or football – nor would he be able to swim.

He then started to embark on a TUC type negotiation process with the doctor towards a compromise as he simply could not manage a few days without his sport.

The Doc was not having any of it and even refused to allow one-handed hockey playing.

The small man came up with more scenarios than I could ever think of to be able to continue with his sport, but no, no go.

Eventually the Doc did weaken a touch and agreed that cross-country running was OK, as long as there was no falling involved. But that was all. Absolutely no contact sport.

So, a rather forlorn young man was delivered back to school and into the care of Matron who was duly warned about the likelihood of sport withdrawal symptoms and grumpiness.

Quite frankly, under these circumstances, I was for once quite relieved not to be with him for the next couple of nights and to leave him to be grumpy and miserable at school….

Right, the wine is almost gone so best I finish today’s blog and vacate the pub and their ultra fast Fibre Broadband. Nope, so news from the corporate dinosaur that is BT/Openreach…..

That is two very grumpy family members now then….