April 9, 2015 by Michael Madden


Today started off in a much more sedate way than the earlier ones this week. But after yesterday’s disasters on the motorway Sally decided that a new car was the priority. Now – I have no interest in cars. To me they are just like any other appliance. If I want toast, I put bread in a toaster. If I want to heat stuff up, I put it in the microwave. If I want to get from A to B, I use a car. And just like the microwave I don’t clean my car very often either. If you asked me what type of car I had I would probably say a blue one. Its actually a Chevrolet Lacetti Estate, a model I had never heard of before that fateful day in 2009 when I forked out for a new one. In blue. Now I need a 4×4. I don’t want a basic model – I need one with a few more gadgets. But not top of the range. I don’t need top of the range gadgets. Apparently. Apparently you can’t get new ones that play tapes any more. So, Sally thinks the Dacia Duster fits the bill. A silver one (or electric blue) would cost about £13k. And I might get as much as £2500 for mine (there must be one born every minute). Then there was one with just 3200 miles on it, for 11k, just 2 owners. I may know nothing about cars, but 2 owners in 3200 miles? Suspicious. We (she) eventually settled for a new model from Manchester, with a 2 week lead time. So I will continue to get my blue one serviced and MOTed on Monday, if it survives that long. She then said that I should feel honoured as she had never had a new car before, so I offered to take her Range Rover Sport off her and she could have the new Duster. They are both silver after all. She declined my offer. I drove my car up and down the drive to make sure the gears worked after yesterday – and they did. Job done.

Meanwhile, Zac wants a kitten. Dove Holes don’t have kittens, just cats, and it seems that only Facebook can help. The question is, how long before a kitten can be separated from its mum? 6 weeks, no, way too short. 12 weeks seems the recommended time, but there are a lot trying to get them out of the door after 8. The next question was, how would Bobby feel about it? Bobby is a rescue cat picked up from Dove Holes several years ago. Bobby is (technically) Ole’s cat, and Gabi had Blackie before him. But this would be Zac’s cat. And I will remind him of that when the litter tray needs emptying. The internet (where else?) is full of advice as to how to integrate a kitten with an older cat, including cages, enforced separation, and rubbing socks onto each cat so that they could get each other’s scent without actually meeting. You have to be careful not to get the cat stressed. Well if Bobby gets stressed I would see it as revenge for all of the 4am miaowing when he wanted to be let out. I have tried, not always successfully, to ensure he is outside before I go to bed, but he is a cat. And cats are cunning. He actually hides away about an hour before bedtime. Seriously. He will be lying peacefully on the settee, taking little or no notice of the occasional stroke. Then when he senses that bedtime is approaching he will amble off to the kitchen for food, have a shifty look around, and then slope off into his latest hidey hole. It used to be on a cushion on a chair tucked under the table in the dining room, then when I discovered that he went behind the angled bookcase on the landing. His most cunning was behind the mattress that is on the floor under the bed in the spare room. I only spotted him when I saw his whiskers sticking out. Then there is the struggle as he digs his claws into the carpet, but if I want a peaceful night’s sleep he has to go!

Whilst these searches were going on Ole stumbled home from his camping expedition, and deposited two bedraggled friends in the play room with brioche buns for breakfast, whilst he went to get changed. His lift arrived 20 minutes later, at which point the Bank of Dad had to open unusually early.

Several kittens emerged as potential company for Bobby and Zac (thanks Rob), but none could be delivered today, so Zac prepared for a strenuous time on the X-Box. It was then that I discovered the Easyjet document that said the vouchers given yesterday could be used on board the aircraft. I thought Sally was going to have a fit. I must get around to writing that letter.

We got a new fridge recently, and it broke. It didn’t break badly, just the dairy tray. That’s the one at the top where we keep cheese. So Sally ordered a spare that arrived in a small box. A suspiciously small box. I could see straight away that Sally had ordered the wrong part, but she still unwrapped it, opened the fridge and tried to fit it. “It doesn’t fit” was her predictable response, but this morning she rang the parts company to rectify the situation. She admitted that she was at fault. I realise at this point that many of you will be laughing out loud at that notion, Sally admitting a fault, but she must have had an ulterior motive. Anyway, the spares company customer service agent asked her for the model number. She came into my office and asked me to read it out, as even with her antique magnifying glass in hand she could not make out the digits. I read out the serial number, but that was not what was required. It was the model number. We located this and it appeared to be in even smaller print. I called for the magnifier but still couldn’t read it. Then I wiped a thick layer of chocolate off it and it was as clear as day. We should have another part quite soon, which will end the irritating phenomenon of Babybel and that funny shaped smoked cheese rolling on the floor every time the fridge door opens.

Other than that its been quite mundane. The first entry in the blog was well received, and I made a to do list. I got through quite a lot of it in between work commitments, but did not manage to get round to any creative writing. Maybe tomorrow. Oh hang on, tomorrow is Sherry Friday, and worse than that, its that start of a weekend that includes the Grand National, the Manchester Derby and a certain lady’s 50th birthday. And a friendly cricket match that I promised to get the big pan out for.

One other thing. Have you ever tried pumping up a bicycle tyre with a pump designed for footballs? No? Well don’t. I was busy wasting my time doing that this morning, cursing the new pump that was bought just a few weeks ago, and that had gone missing (aka Sally had moved it), when Zac handed over the aforementioned pump with the words “Bet you’ve been looking for this”. If it wasn’t for Esther Rantzen that pump would have never been seen again, and Zac would be walking rather funny.