No Cats Night

We took all of our cats to stay at the vet’s tonight. Jasper is back round at Mrs H-B’s.

It is very quiet and odd round here.

See you next week at some point – we’re probably going offline tomorrow ready for the move.

Remember me?

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Thought I’d nip back and help them pack!

Yes, your eyes do not deceive you. I opened the back door to let Merlin in and in strolled Jasper as if he hadn’t been away for 7-8 weeks with a stretch at a cattery in Manston (10-15 miles away). Mrs HB was ever so surprised when I rang her to say that we had her cat. They had let him out yesterday and he was happily soaking up the sights of her garden but since they were out today, he decided that he would go further afield it seems. Anyway, he arrived here and proceeded to eat his way round the cat food bowls, drug himself up on catnip and crash out. Charming!

Does anyone know anything about road works?

After we had recovered from the shock of yesterday’s shock road sign, I thought it wise to phone up British Telecom to find out exactly what they were planning to do when they were closing our road for a week. It took me quite some time hunting around the BT website to find out a phone number, any phone number so that I could speak to a real person as I felt an automated line wouldn’t cut it for me. So after being on hold for about 20 minutes, I got through to the fault reporting department.

“Oh no, you want the Dig Department. Here’s the number 123456789.”

So I was slightly baffled by the name of the Department and rang up the aforementioned “Dig Department” and explained my predicament to the person who answered the phone.

“Oh no, the best thing you can do is ring your local council and make a complaint and they will get in touch with BT” (I’m thinking: I’m not ringing BT??)

I decided to look on Kent County Council’s website and get the phone number for the Kent Highways Agency.

“Oh no, we don’t have any planned roadworks listed for your road for next week on our database. I’ll take a record of your details and if someone doesn’t ring you back by Monday lunchtime, please ring us. Here is your call reference 123456..”

So I thought I’d go back to Dig Department’s original idea and rang the Council.

“Just transferring you”

Ring ring. “Kent Highways Department”

??

I rang the Council back and explained to the operator that I’d spoken to Kent Highways already and they hadn’t got a clue about the roadworks. The receptionist woman reckoned I ought to ring back and ask to speak to Joe Bloggs or Eric Estrada instead.

At this point, I feared that the phone would be picked up by the same woman I had just report it to and I figured it would be better to get pao to call instead – you know two complaints for the price of one etc.

So pao calls up and is toe Joe Bloggs is off but Eric is out and will ring late in the evening. He is given the number of the digging contractor.

After six attempts to ring, I happen to call pao in the afternoon and he gives the number for me to try and I sense he might have wound the receptionist up.

“Hello, MacDigger’s here.”
“Can I speak to someone about the digging you are starting on Monday on Our Road?”
“Oh that person is on the phone.”
“But we are moving on Thursday and we are worried about the removals van being able to get near the house.”
“Ok, let me just interrupt his call.”

“Digging will only be for two days.”

?!
Sense of relief.

6.30 phone rings – Eric on the phone for pao.
“Didn’t anyone write to you to tell you about this?
“No, we didn’t hear anything”
“Well, someone should have written to you last week and informed you. Oh we are only digging part of the road up. Not the part where you live.”

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Don’t tempt me, I can easily tangle it.
It’s a bit like your life at the moment, mrspao

I think we have upset someone

We got home this afternoon to find a sign at the end of the road saying that our road will be closed for the period of one week from Monday 19th February. Guess which unhappy campers are having a large lorry arrive to move their house on Thursday 22nd February. Sigh.

I just hope that our removals company doesn’t refuse to move us because the road will be in the process of being dug up. Fingers crossed for when I phone them in the morning especially since they would have taken my extremely large cheque to the bank today.

I’m just going to keep telling myself that they might be done by Thursday and they have overestimated the time it will take to do the job.

Who am I kidding!?

Whoever, we have upset: we’re sorry. Please make all the craziness stop! I’m starting to think we are on an extended episode of Candid Camera or You’ve Been Framed.

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I want to be a cat! Preferably Ariel because she sleeps a lot and is waited on paw and paw.

Happy Heart Day!

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Happy Valentine’s Day to one and all!

Thank you for your lovely messages yesterday 🙂 We couldn’t have asked for a better gift than being able to sit outside our new house and stare at it for twenty minutes before we headed home this evening – 7 days until the removers come and pack us all up for the move! A bit of a shock to the system even though it has been a long time coming but we weren’t completely sure of the move until yesterday lunchtime.

I thought I’d share this little photo which is quite a rarity but it is true that love comes in many forms. To the uninformed, it is pao sleeping with his tabby cat on his lap but I knew a rare opportunity when I saw one. Perdita has always been a bit of a wild one so she is not best known for being a lap cat. Recently, she has started to mellow out in her old age (she is 9 now and we have had her about 8 years) and has started very slowly to want to sit on laps every so rarely.

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Praise God in all circumstances

In the corners of mind
I just can’t seem to find a reason to believe
That I can break free
Cause you see I have been down for so long
Feel like the hope is gone
But as I lift my hands, I understand
That I should praise you through my circumstance

Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance
I just wanna praise you
I just wanna praise you
You broke the chains now I can lift my hands
And I’m gonna praise you
I’m gonna praise you

Everything that could go wrong
All went wrong at one time
So much pressure fell on me
I thought I was gon lose my mind
But I know you wanna see
If I will hold on through these trials
But I need you to lift this load
Cause I can’t take it anymore
Excerpt from Shackles (Praise You) by Mary Mary

I really love this song. I first heard it at a friend’s wedding a few years ago as it was the song they walked down the aisle to. It is at times like this when I find it hard to reconcile my faith with what is going on but then I think about some of the Bible stories and I’m so thankful that I’ve not been swallowed by a big fish or covered in great big boils. God’s plan always comes right in the end because unlike our plans, His plans are perfect.

I clicked on the radio and heard that song again yesterday evening. It reminded me about praising God in all circumstances which often is so hard to do. So we have been praising!

And we’re praising all the more this evening as they’ve signed and we’ve exchanged contracts on both houses. We’re moving next Thursday!!!!

What story number are we up to now?

Well, folks it is fun fun fun here at casa del paos. We’ve heard yet another version of the story, rung up solicitors, damproofers, former owners, Auntie Marge, etc etc – all whilst having horrible lurgy. Actually, the estate agent woke us up the first time and it has been non-stop phone calls from then on in. The working day is just about to end and I’m still knackered. We still have no idea whether our buyer is going ahead with the purchase or not so still on tenterhooks. I have even copied a bit out of my original surveyor’s report (we are most certainly not giving them the whole thing or they might find something else in it to quibble over) and emailed it so fingers crossed that does the trick. Our estate agent tells us he is seeing his solicitor tomorrow at 10am so we’ll soon find out if there is any truth in that or not. We’re both so utterly fed up with it all that we’ve now said that we’d sell to someone else if they don’t sign tomorrow.

This is what we could lose if we have to do that:
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Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

It’s also the day my mother died 13 years ago. I suppose my only consolation in all of this is that I’ve had less time to think about her and feel sad. One of my enduring memories of this day is that I was at work as a shelf-stacker in a well-known chain of drug stores doing the usual Friday night 6-9 shift. At around 8.30, I felt something like a plug being pulled out inside me, a disconnection. It wasn’t until I got home at 9.30 that I found out she’d died at 8.30. That sense of disconnection has been what has hit me the hardest and is the thing that I remember so much more clearly than any other detail that day. I can even remember where I was standing at the time and that I was working on the baby goods section. I also remember getting to the hospital and it being so dark and her lying there suddenly looking so old and frail with some daffodils on her pillow.

I miss her desperately and I can imagine her sitting in the estate agent, solicitors, or whoever’s offices until she got what she wanted. She was pretty stubborn and I suppose I’ve been trying to suppress that sort of behaviour because I used to find it embarrassing but I tell you I did exactly what she would have done on Saturday to that estate agent.

Lies, lies and more damn lies

pao’s post yesterday sums up the extent of the lies which have been told and I am writing a strongly worded letter to the estate agent’s head office as the liar in question in the branch manager.

I am certain that I have been told more lies yesterday. When I challenged said branch manager he baulked at being called a liar so I mentioned the three different stories he told me to which he responded that he couldn’t recall what he had said on Wednesday evening. I forced him to ring our buyer and find out what they knew and the man had the neck to spin it as good news : “They are happy with the document, they are signing the contract, and they are ready to exchange contracts on Monday ” but pao and I both know that within seconds of reading it the damproofing plan (after what he said about the side of the house being needed to be tanked – and it clearly hasn’t) was likely not to have been accepted by the other side’s mortgage company as he claimed that if it hadn’t been tanked then a damp survey would have to be carried out.

So when he said they were ready to exchange contracts on Monday I asked him how on earth he thought that was going to happen since we’ve already cancelled our mortgage funds and removals company which we’d had lined up for completion on Wednesday. They are really the limit and I’m now wishing that I’d exchanged phone numbers with our buyer from the start. I am horrified that we are having to pay for this terrible service as well.

We’re both quite ill with some fluey type thing (not bird flu) at the moment which is probably some sort of side effect from all the stress this particular estate agent has caused us. I had to try and calm the woman who is selling us her house down yesterday and tell her, “Yes, it is ok for you to get your dog neutered. Please try not to worry to much. We still want your house.” We had several calls from her estate agent as well as she has phoned them as well all panicked and worried. I even said to her that we would wait as long as she needed for the dog to have the op and recover because she doesn’t believe her daughter (who is a veterinary nurse) who said the dog would be bounding around after a day or two with no ill effect. I was ever so tempted to say that the dog’s op wasn’t my problem but I’m not quite that insensitive.

I am a bit disappointed this weekend. I really thought that this would be our last weekend in this house where I have lived for nine and a quarter years and that pao and I would be starting our new life together in our new house on Wednesday. We spent a lot of the weekend watching the first series of Life on Mars, a BBC TV series about a guy who is involved in an accident and finds himself transported back in time to 1973 and is trying desperately to get back to 2006. We missed it when it was on TV the first time and the second series starts again on Tuesday. It is really cleverly done and we’ve both been cringing at the awful seventies fashions and behaviours which coloured our childhoods. Those bell bottom trousers and wing collar shirts were something else 🙂

Mrs Nice has left the building

I’m not naturally a violent or angry person but my estate agent is rapidly turning me into that sort of person. Those smooth vile operators with their weaselly excuses and their “Oh no, it isn’t our fault, it is someone else’s fault” doesn’t wash with me.

I was so angry this morning that I gave them an ultimatum. I also demanded that their manager rang me back before 12 or I am going to go in their office and sit there until he returns from wherever he is. Let’s hope he rings before 12 as I, more than anything, am a woman of my word.

Mrs Nice has most definitely left the building.