Friday, February 20, 2009


Yesterday was full of enough hassles - a full schedule that required some skilful time and motion management. It was with great relief that, tasks and obligations fulfilled, we all headed home. Now, Thursday night is chocolate treat night, so we parked up and leapt out of the car at the Co-op. I pressed the remote locking fob and...just as we were walking into the shop, a car alarm started up. weeeyooo weeeyooo weeeyooo! I had to do a double-take: surely that couldn't be mine? I pressed the unlock/disarm button and it stopped. Oh well. relocked and turned to go back into the shop when......weeeyooo weeeyooo weeeyooo! Bollocks: what's wrong with it? Try again. Unlock, disarm, relock. Run into shop to buy chocolate. Come out and....weeeyooo weeeyooo weeeyooo! Only this time it won't disarm: the car unlocks, but the alarm won't stop. I get that nasty cold chill of panic at the base of my neck. Perhaps if I dock the key fob? Open the car door and PARP! PARP! PARP! The horn component , the armed and uncancelled motion detector attracts the attention of the two Community Support Officers lounging and chatting in the adjacent Chinese takeaway. I bundle the kids into the car and shove the key fob into the ignition. Fortunately the horn stops, but the shrill alarm fails to be mollified. We drive off, observed by two laughing plastic policemen, who've come out of the takeaway to gawp at closer quarters. They don't seem to think that we're effecting a vehicle theft, or if they do, they're not that bothered. We drive home with the alarm going off. Very embarrassing. With the car finally at home I run to get the spare keyfob, hoping (without any real hope) that it's just a fob battery problem. But of course it isn't. The problem is not solved. So I get the owners' manual and search through for any available help. Nope: a good description of how to operate it , but nothing about troubleshooting. Okay, okay...what to do? Inspiration strikes: remove the fuse that serves the alarm. Locate page; find appropriate fuse on diagram; locate fuse box within car (under the passenger glove box - very awkward); locate fuse; remember that spade fuses are really difficult to remove; run into house; locate needle-nosed pliers; get the boy to hold the torch STEADY PLEASE!!!; tug vainly at fuse, chavelling it about until it comes out. Result! Only now, of course, the remote locking won't work, so I have to; locate page in owners' manual telling you how to lock your car when the remote won't work; find the door that has the manual lock (not the driver's, surprisingly!); remove the lock-cover with the unsheathed keyblade from the remote fob; work out which way it goes into the rather primitive-looking lock; turn it and.......phew! Job done.
I phoned the garage this morning first thing and was told the nearest appointment was for a week's time. Booked it in anyway. I asked whether it was safe to drive the car without the offending fuse in place. After a mumbled off-stage conversation, the very pleasant-sounding receptionist told me that 'they can't say'. As is, they are unable to, or they will not? Covering their backs, I suppose. Gingerly, I replace it in the fuse rack. Nothing. Softly, I lock it with the remote fob and....creep.....quietly.....away.....

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Half-Term AGAIN?

Fortunately the half-term holiday has coincided with an improvement in the weather. The prolonged cold snap has given way to much milder temperatures. The birds are super-active in the garden, squabbling over the fat balls hung in the ceanothis bush, and setting the bird table rocking with their constant forays. Having got a rather dull and boring Monday out of the way, we are set to go to the cinema to watch Disney's latest CGI offering over a bucket of popcorn. It may prove to be entertaining. I'm sure the children will think so, even if the elder does affect a world-weary langour that I came to in my late teens (NOT eleven!). Tomorrow she is going to her friend's house for some educational jollity, so I'll have the boy to amuse on my own. That's easy: latte and a giant cookie in Starbucks. Thursday, the children are going round to their Granny's whilst I go swimming with the Pregnant One - hopefully the exercise won't shock her system too much - followed by a Healthy Lunch. Friday generally takes care of itself, with the shopping arriving in the morning, and the husband arriving home by mid-to late-afternoon. Then the weekend (hooray), then normality returns on Monday, with a long trek down to the Midlands for a supervisory meeting on Wednesday. I love having a plan!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Bit Thin...

Well, the husband performed brilliantly at the English Indoor Rowing Championships last Sunday, and I'm immensely proud of both his performance and the dedication it took him to get there. He came up trumps for the competition and knocked 5 seconds off his personal best. A week of careful training and carb-loading seems to have paid dividends. It was all rather exciting: the pre-dawn departure, the drive acrosss the snowily spectacular Pennines and the buzz that always surrounds a gathering of like-minded individuals in competition. I have to admit that I'm quite tempted to train up for the British Championships myself - there seems to be a dearth of competition in the female heavyweight 50-59 year-old class. Just to check the feasibility of this I jumped onto the rowing machine at the gym the other day and put in a 500m sprint at 2mins 10seconds. Not brilliant, I'll admit, but I had just done half an hour of pretty intense cycling (14 km) so I reckon that with a bit of practice I could whittle that down a bit. the winning time for the first 'lady' was 1min there's something to aim at. I don't think I could do the 2000m though....far to much like hard work!

The new exercise regime seems to be working out quite well. In going to the gym just after the school run, I manage to minimise the disruption to the working day, being back at my desk mid-morning, energised and raring to go. My thought processes seem more cogent too, probably as a result of the extra oxygen being pushed round my reluctant and sluggish system, plus the endorphins released. I am actually starting to look forward to the sessions now, rather than search for reasons to avoid going. I do feel much better than I did even a couple of weeks ago, when the post-virus malaise was still lingering. I feel more positive than I have for months, optimistic and organised. The rapidly increasing daylight hours help a lot as well.

As I was walking the dog the other day in the bitingly cold (for England) winds, I encountered an ol chap and had an exchange of words that, I reflected, would be almost unintelligible to anyone from outside Yorkshire.

"A bit thin" he said. I agreed. "Still" he continued "We're going the right way now."

My thoughts entirely.