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:
- Aga’s v Rayburn’s v Range Cookers
- Electrical circuit requirements for induction cookers
- Cost of new pans required for induction cookers
- Land Rover Defender 110’s
- Insurance requirements for Defender 110’s
- Legal seatbelt requirements for bench seats in Defender 110’s
- Metal v wood carpenter’s trestles
- Different types of outdoor wood stains
- Different types of indoor wood stains
- Metal railing suppliers
- Wooden fencing suppliers
- Gravity fed oil supplies
- Pressure pumped oil supplies
- Oil tank removal and disposal
- Belfast sinks, fittings & stands
- ‘Tanking out’ & insulting walls
- Paving slabs, weed free mesh & edging
- 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:
- Switched electricity suppliers
- 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.
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……
UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE!
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……..man 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.