EDitorial ± 23-Jan-2006

Wish I Could Be Like Tom Watt

The outside world was Lost to me this weekend which was mostly spent pondering a hatch. At altitude, it's colder, provisions are few and you need to watch your footing. Pull up a seat while Mr Get A Man In attempts to fit a loft ladder.

Tried to remain undaunted by the many pages of instructions and the big bag o' bits when I peeled back the sellophane on Saturday morning. Remembering what Julie Andrews said - start at the very beginning - I gleaned that the first few steps were to ensure that the trapdoor would open downwards. Kind of a shame that ours pushes upwards. Oh dear, never mind, as the late Don Estelle was often told. And that was Saturday, battling with the re-hung hatch armed with chisel and sanding block. Trapdoor also turned out to be 15mm thicker than the recommended depth so catch couldn't work, so was secured overnight with a pin...

...which I needed to remove on Sunday morning with the pliers, sitting in my toolbox, in the loft. Get round that one.

Fair to middling progress once back in Rafterland, thanks a lot to some half-decent instructions and illustrations, a refreshing change. Held up temporarily by a broken drill bit, necessitating a new set of screw holes, but you can't make an omelette etc. Nevermind the copious refreshment stops and Sunday afternoon visitors. Meanwhile sent Eldest down to the paper shop for an Observer - inc. free DVD of Dune - only for her to return empty handed. They wouldn't sell it to me 'cos it's a 15 certificate, she said.

But there's always a catch, isn't there? Super frustrating to figure out that I could reduce the hatch width by 15mm to get it working, then not find the requisite nut & catch which I'd been cursing the day before. Downstairs? Under some junk in the loft? No, still in the bit-bag: couldn't see them for looking.

Final fitting tonight (pre Life On Mars), and seems to be working nicely. Though I may continue to limbo along the landing for the next week or so just in case the hatch decides to descend of its own free will.

EDitorial ± 19-Jan-2006

Fried Egg?

Ten mins ago, had my first marshmallow (from the ever decreasing tub) in nearly 48 hours. My beloved family has been generously sharing a common tummy bug. Two kids off on Monday, then my turn to face the porcelain late Tuesday shortly before Eldest took over. Then home tonight to find Good Lady Wife curled up with the gripes. Yuck all round.

EDitorial ± 16-Jan-2006

Sixteen Oh One

Mr Barnsley, Ian McMillan, on Radcliffe's R2 show as I write, asking for personal notable events for today, 16th January. My email, sent at 11:27pm, reads:

Lowlight - getting whitewashed 10-0 in tonight's ping-pong match.
Highlight - holding my two day old nephew for the first time.

Left out staying at home to look after two kids with dodgy tummies, co-building a wooden train track, tidying the art box, hammering in the garden swing supports, putting a rawlplug under the stairs, and buying some M&S pomegranate and raspberry juice on way back from the hospital.

EDitorial ± 10-Jan-2006

Matchbox Superfast? Hot Wheels?

Loop-the-loop model car action
Originally uploaded by freston.
Few months back I was scouring ebay for yet more memories of childhood, namely old Matchbox or Hot Wheels track for model cars. See, me & big bro used to have top fun with various yellow and orange straights, along which we used to whizz our mini motors. Sometimes down the stairs, and other times with the aid of our Super Booster.

But the likes of Hot Wheels don't seem to produce such straightforward sets nowadays, which is a great shame.

So I was thrilled to spot a loop-the-loop set in, of all places, the Tesco festive catalogue, and plonked it on my own Christmas list. That'll be fun over New Year, I thought.

Then it repeatedly failed to turn up under various decorated trees: loads of nice presents did, but not my yellow track.

So, come Saturday, off me & The Boy went to big Tesco. Not only did they still have the set - phew! - it was half-price! Ding dong.

Much retro fun over the rest of the weekend setting up track 1, then track 2, then track 3, racing one pullback car against the other, and boy do those cars go. Intrigued the cats too who placed themselves in the loops, pawing at the speeding autos.

Anyway, highly recommended for your small child, if you need an excuse.

EDitorial ± 6-Jan-2006

When The Snow Comes To Cover The Ground

A sad sight at home is my empty 315g tub of vanilla flavoured marshmallow snowmen, tree & snow shapes.. Naturally, these weren't just marshmallows --- these were M&S Christmas marshmallows. Very good they were too, and I think I was a tad too generous in offering these to various kiddies. Still, there are other unopened nutrition-free goodies that came my way, including:
  • Fairco marshmallows --- soft & fluffy, 150g
  • Fairco mini marshmallows ---- soft & fluffy, 150g
  • mini Rocky Mountain marshmallows --- 28g
  • Van Damme marshmallows --- mmm..., mallows, 150g
  • Mellow Party stocking of marshmallows --- 200g
  • Van Lauren marshmallows --- orange & lemon, 200g
  • a marshmallow & jelly lolly --- codename Flora
  • misc. indiv. wrapped mallows from inside Darth Vader's head
Not to mention the coconut ice and the rose & violet creams.
Now, when's that next dental appointment?

EDitorial ± 4-Jan-2006

Just Gone Five Past Eight

Back to work: yay! Not. Esp. when the trusty bicycle, on reversing from The Shed, revealed its flat rear tyre. Depressed or what.

Much agonising followed: walk into town and take the bus? Take the car and force spouse + kids to bike to the flicks? Fix puncture? Only joking with that last one, of course! Me, dirty my lily-white hands?

Or, cunningly, reinflate tyre with sonic pump and chance it...? Oh yes. Stood up on the five min journey to the town centre, where further agonising followed: leave bike outside the library and take the bus? Or risk it still further and try cycling the remaining six miles to work?

Correct answer there was the unlabelled (b), keep riding. Made it to the Tower of Power that is Adastral Park, or more specifically to the bike shop down the road, who kindly applied their healing powers for only a tenner while I slaved away doing whatever it is I do.

So, how do you value your time?