Saturday, 28 February 2009

When Did That Pile Of Rubbish Arrive? And Who Delivered It? part 2

So a phone call has been made, one has to assume there was a competent interpreter or else someone with the mysterious language on the other end of the phone, we must be positive about this.
Curiosity gets the better of most of us, ours was fired by noticing that as folk used the shortcut they would stop off at the pile of rubbish and have a bit of a poke about in it and end up taking something away with them. Not wanting to loose out in any way, Bill, my dear husband, decided it was time to take a look and took the wheel barrow with him. He came back with a barrow load of paving (mostly broken but good for his purposes, which deserves a blog all to itself at a later date) and a quite large pale blue plastic object which I am currently choosing to ignore.
So with all this interest you'd think the pile would get smaller, but no, it started to gain objects, notably a ghastly yellowy cream leather sofa. I can see why anybody with any taste would want rid of this abomination, my sympathies are with the owners, this was obviously a terrible purchasing error they are so ashamed of that a new tip so close by meant they could heave it over the back fence in the dead of night and no one would need to know.
Half term is upon us, a pile of rubbish with a sofa on top is attracting a lot of attention from local children and a few we've never seen before. OK, so now the pile is going down, but is spreading out, and bits of it are starting to appear in the road, not good, but even worse, the sofa is still there and they have begun to decorate it. I'm sure I didn't know words and symbols like that when I was their age.
Time I made a phone call... Another small aside, when I left school at the age if fifteen in 1966 I managed to get a place with the GPO as a trainee telephonist, £2.17s.16d per week rising to £3.10/- after training, which lasted six weeks after which I was handed a certificate of sorts and a job on an old PBX exchange in West London with dolls eyes and jack plugs. We were using dials and pressing button A back then, STD had still to come. I only lasted six months, it was 1966 for Christ sake, there were a lot better thing to do in West London than dial numbers for other people, but my training left me with a 'telephone voice' which I have to this day.... Phone call made.
I'm guessing that Mouth Almighty's call was of the aggressive kind, as that seems to be his favourite form of communication, or possibly the only one he knows. I opted for a different approach. After being transferred to 'environment' after being sent to 'highways' after starting out at 'human resource' [I did question that one] I spoke to a very timid sounding young woman who must be in the wrong job if the sharp intake of breath when I started to explain the tipping problem was anything to go by. Ploughing on, I took the health and safety route and said I was concerned about the fact that it was half term, there were kids crawling all over the tip, there was broken glass and other sharp objects in the pile and then I dropped in a the two points which probably sparked them into action. Dogs and rats.
We are blessed with numerous free roaming dogs, admittedly most of them are quite old, all of them harmless. They've all got homes, they don't run in packs, they just amble about and do what dogs do. Like children, they are curious and some of them have staked their claim on the new tip, you get the picture.
These days most of us are blessed with rats. We have a neighbour who keeps rabbits and another keeps chickens and of course, we all feed the birds, so we are no strangers to rats, we are aware of their sneaky little ways. We also know that with it being a bit chilly a big pile of rubbish is going to be like heaven to the rodent population, and the longer it stays there the more bloody rats we're going to be plagued with.
I left the fact that it was an eyesore until the end and didn't put to much emphasis on it, I have a feeling that was the focus of Mouth Almighty's 'complaint' which is probably why the tip was still there.
The young woman at the other end of the phone sounded horrified at the mention of dogs and rats, and got down to the fine detail of location of the tip in relation to peoples properties, access, when it arrived etc. Then told me it would be dealt with urgently and thanked me, rather too gushingly I felt, for taking the time to report the unfortunate event.
I made that phone call at about 10.00 o'clock, first pair of high vis tabards appeared at about 3.00 o'clock that afternoon, this was only the start.. more in next post.

Friday, 27 February 2009

When Did That Pile Of Rubbish Arrive? Who Delivered It? Part 1

One day the week before last a skip load of rubbish appeared on the triangle of land that lays at the end of our garden. There is a lane going along side of our house and garden then turns and eventually peters out into a small path between a couple of gardens leading into the next street. It's a good shortcut and quite a few people use it, and it's is a pretty big space when you consider that it used to boast about a 2 dozen garages.
We've lived here almost 20 years now, the garages were mostly empty when we came here. I suppose the first 10 years were the most exciting, as at sometime during each school holiday a garage would be attacked by the local children and would almost always get burned out. How we laughed as the fire engines tried to squeeze up our lane! Ho Ho..
As an aside here, this is Aberdare, in the Valleys. I'm not Welsh, I'm English, I was born in Kingston upon Thames. My childhood school holidays were spent mucking about on a big river, or in one of the 3 royal parks we had to hand, terrorizing sheep and deer. But we tended not to set fire to things. Here in the Valleys they seem to go in for arson at a very early age. Given a couple of dry days over the Easter holiday, and every hillside for miles will be alight. Talking to some of the old folks around here, this has been going on for years! So bearing this in mind, a few empty garages going up in smoke is neither here nor there.
The official demolition took place about 10 years ago when the local constabulary finally put two and two together and realized that large gatherings of very young teenagers close to an off licence in the dark and relative shelter of the garages left with any roof and away from any streetlights, was attracting some of the less law abiding citizens, who saw our little triangle of common land as something of a business opportunity. Since then the grass has grown, the children seem a little less destructive, and folk just use it as a shortcut again.
Until last week that is, when a vehicle must have gone up the side of the house and a little further and deposited what amounted to a big skip load of the detritus from a renovation [doors and windows etc. glass intact] filled out with all the other stuff you usually only see in skips, emphasising IN skips. Not just piled up at the end of the lane.
We do have neighbours, one whom I like to think of as Mouth Almighty, His real name is Dennis. He and his wife must be in their 70's and have lived in their house since it was built in '45, apparently, I'm not good at maths, but they must have married young. Anyway, when he is in the garden he shouts, she shouts, us poor ignorant English sit in our garden and listen to the shouting. I promise you, in 20 years of listening to this high decibel conversation, we have never understood a word, we're pretty sure it isn't welsh, and not a bloody clue what what else it might be. There are some old men who converse at a similar volume in a similar language when on the bus returning from town, I have to assume this is a local phenomenon like the fire raising.
Another neighbour who translates for me when she can get a handle on whats being shouted told me that that Mouth Almighty had phoned some one to complain about the pile of rubbish. This sounded right, down the years he's done a good deal of complaining and 'Reporting to the authorities'. Almost everyone in the neighbourhood has been on the receiving end for one reason or another.
So, first contact made with council about pile of rubbish, something should happen soon, surly it is a health hazard with half term on the horizon.... I will tell you more in my next post..

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Curly Hair

My daughter Sarah has long straight blonde hair, when she was a child she wanted it cut short, like her sister, so we went to the hairdresser. Hannah always had a sort of pageboy cut, she didn't like clips and stuff and she didn't like hair in her face, and was never that vain. Also, and I am sure Hannah won't mind me saying this, her hair was really very fine, straight and of a non-discript colour. Sarahs' hair was of a different order, thick, golden blonde with natural light streaks. It's still that way now. Sarah was insisting that she had a haircut, even when the hairdresser looked as if she was going to burst into tears as the tresses hit the floor. It was a sad day for everyone except Sarah. She loved it. But she has never been back to the hairdressers since, fringes have come and gone down the years, and I just trim it a bit if it starts to get to straggly. Every morning I brush it, put it in a pony tail and plait it. It is part of Sarah's routine and I have done it for years.
On Monday afternoon the day centre bus bought her home as usual, but instead of our usual Sarah coming through the door was a Sarah with curled hair! She was so pleased with herself I had to take a photo, the one above. If you knew Sarah, you would know that a photo like this is a rare and wonderful thing. I'll post a few other photo's of Sarah soon and you'll see what I mean.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Eat Your Toast Crusts And Your Hair Will Curl.

The thought of no toast in our household is, well, unthinkable. So there was a need for urgent toaster replacement after our little problem last Sunday. Money is tight so it was decided to go 'cheap and cheerful', as my Mother used to say. Asda is the closest store so they were the lucky recipients of the princely sum of £7.00 for a Stainless Steel 2 Slice Toaster, from the Asda Smart Price range. It looks alright, bit small, bit basic, but it's a toaster, isn't it?
Well that is the question, is it a toaster? It has setting from 1 all the way through to 5, it has a cancel button. It doesn't have any little lights or displays, which is good, we're striving to be green. The slider thing you push down to set it going has a strange and slightly uncomfortable feel about it, but that is probably just because it is unfamiliar. Now here's what makes me wonder, regardless of which setting it is on all you get is two slices of dry bread, faintly coloured and just warm.
Granted, some folk like their toast lightly done, that's what the rarely used 1 setting is all about, but that's what we are getting on no.5!! I'd get crispier toast by holding the bread up to my face when I'm having a hot flush!
I did wonder for a while if there had been some new edict from above about the status of toast in the nations diet and it had been decided that it should be a pale imitation of what it used to be because of some hitherto unknown health hazard bought on by it being slightly overdone, so toaster manufacturers had been forced to adjust the settings, fearful of the risk of being prosecuted in a class action by disgruntled sad toast apologists who had all mysteriously lost their hair.
When I was a child my mother told me that if I ate up all my crusts I would get curly hair. When I was a child I had long straight red hair, and I absolutely adored those slightly burned toast crusts. I ate my own and the ones my my poor old granddad couldn't manage. 50 years on, I have curly hair, it's not red any more and it's a lot shorter, but she was right, my hair got curly. In my mind hair and toast are somehow aligned, I don't remember any hair/toast traumas, but I guess there must have been one.
Anyway, the moral of this story is...... If you are going to buy a toaster don't bother with Asda Smart Price, bargain basement, it had to be cheap for a reason, Stainless Steel 2 Slice Toaster. Its crap.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Not too bad yesterday, in fact it all went quite smoothly until I went to make some toast for an afternoon snack. We thought the toaster may be in its last throws a couple of weeks ago, but it soldiered on. Toast just getting warm when a very loud click announced the trip switch had done its job and there were those wonderful moments of silence after the fridge, washing machine, computer, radio, TV and anything else that emits an electrical buzz stops. I love those moments, they only happen when all the electricity goes out like power cuts and you realize how much background noise and nonsense there is. It is rare to find silence.
It didn't last long, Sarah has a bit of a multimedia room, she likes to have a radio or TV on, sometimes both, the computer has to be on, she doesn't actually like using it but it has her iTunes for the iPod shuffle which I deal with for her and her photos are in iPhoto and set as the screen saver so she has a constant slide show going on. Also of course, there is the all singing all dancing electric clock which changes colour every hour and all the little displays on TV, CD player, free view box and DVD player. one of these thing stopping for any reason is bad enough for Sarah, I can't begin to imagine how she felt when the whole lot stopped at the same time. The ensuing screaming and shouting and stamping of feet eventually subsided when the trip switch was flicked, and everything came back on again with not too much resetting as a bonus. Of course outside of Sarah room we still have to find the cause, which was not yet apparent to us, everything seems to be up and running, even the kettle was getting underway again. We probably flicked every switch in the house looking for the faulty thing, appliance or whatever, lets have a cup of tea and consider the event as the kettle has now boiled and I should finish off Sarah's toast. So I push down the toaster lever, the little red light came on and we're in a groundhog day situation, or some terrible sort of De-ja-vu, but this time a herd of angry elephants are coming down the stairs. First instinct was dive for cover, second thought was 'It's the bloody toaster'. Had to get to the trip switch under the stairs before the elephants, which fortunately turned out to be Sarah in a very nasty frame of mind, talked our way into the cupboard and put the world to rights again. Toaster now in bin. Today I have to go and buy a new one. Later.
Sunday, should be a simple day. Don't have to get anyone up to go anywhere. Lets face it, where is there to go in the valleys on a Sunday when you do not own (or drive!) a car.
Husband, Bill, out in the garden in his hand built home made shed, he seems quite happy out there, preparing pots and stuff for the planting out of Vegetables which should be beginning soon.
Oldest daughter (23) Sarah, is still in bed. This is not good. She is autistic and lives to a routine which is sometimes a mystery to me and Sunday is pretty difficult for her. All her life Sunday morning has meant a bath in the morning, breakfast then chill until 'Sunday Dinner'. The chill bit is her problem. So here we are midday and the bath has not occurred. There are sounds from her room which is encouraging, but we have to keep help to a minimum as she gets upset if she thinks I am showing her, or telling her, what to do. But things are happening now, I should probably go and supervise from a safe distance, I'll be back soon.