Kooks

We bought a lot of things to keep you warm and dry
And a funny old crib on which the paint won’t dry
I bought you a pair of shoes
A trumpet you can blow
And a book of rules
On what to say to people when they pick on you
‘Cause if you stay with us you’re gonna be pretty kooky too.

It’s been a funny old year. A lot of extreme things have happened. And there have been a lot of downs and maybe not so many ups as we’d like. However there has been one up in particular. And I haven’t posted about it on here, mostly because I’ve been busy with business trips and NaNoWriMo.

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while you could miss it.

Some Fantastic

One day I will build a fountain, drink and never grow old.
Then I’ll market an elixir that will eliminate the common cold
Find your sickness on my list, pay up front and make a list.

There’s a lot I will never do,
Some fantastic – I know it’s true
But none so much as my want to be with you.

Sometimes things just can’t be said out loud, or put into words. So I won’t. This post is to symbolise all the things I can’t put into words, all the memories that I have of the last 22 years.

There’s nothing more to say.

Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World

Do you remember that old T.V. show,
Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World?
Well if ITV make a new series,
They ought to come take a look at my girl.

I don’t understand her,
She doesn’t make any sense to me.
I don’t understand her,
It’s like she’s speaking in Swahili.

Blimey, has it really been six months? Time flies when you’re having a blast, I guess. But what have I actually been doing with my time? To tell the truth I’m not entirely sure. There was NaNoWriMo for a start. That was one of the hardest Novembers I’ve had since, well… ever. At 30,000 words on day 20, I had 7,500 on day 21. Thanks OpenOffice/Ubuntu/Asus, whichever of you conspired to eat my work. I finished on time – day day ahead in fact – which while being bloody amazing, knackered me entirely. Not sure I’m happy with the result, though, which makes the score so far 3 good, 2 need work and 1 failure. Overall, I’m still winning, I think.

I celebrated the win with a trip to IKEA. On what turned out to be one of the snowiest days of the year. It took me 15 minutes to get there, and five hours to get back. I wish I could say that the trip was worth it, but all I bought were a couple of picture frames…

Since then, what’s happened? Work. Then there was work, and work. And did I mention the work? Seems all I’ve done since then is the daily grind. And I’ve decided that that has to end. There is more to life than work, and I intend to swing the balance back into my favour. So here I go. Sleep Away The Afternoon is back. I’ll try to update more often, though I already know that anything approaching regularity is out.

I’ve noticed that Scrivener for Windows is now available for Linux too, so I’ve started work on editing some of my old stuff. It’s so much nicer than a regular word processor – polishing and rearranging each bit at a time seems so much easier and at this rate I might have something I’m happy with by Christmas (though we’ll see).

And finally, and most importantly, I’m planning a holiday. The first proper one in a couple of years. Hopefully with all this, and more stuff that I’ve no doubt not thought of yet, I can stop marking time and get on and do something. Seems like it’s time for something to happen.

Assume the Perpendicular

We’ll walk the grounds by Capability Brown,
Get lost for days inside the manicured maze.
We’ll bump our heads jumping on a four-post bed.
And we’ll ride for free
On the ladders round the walls of the circular library!

I can’t abide a horizontal life –
It’s time to rise, assume the perpendicular.
Jump up and down, make wild ecstatic sounds,
And talk about nothing in particular.

It’s been a week since we moved in. Seems like no time at all, and while I’ve managed to get a couple of things done, like putting up curtains in our bedroom and fixing a leaky tap in the bathroom, there’s still so much more to do – much of the time after moving in before going back to work was spent cleaning the old flat. Off the top of my head:

  • Curtains / blinds for my office and the lounge
  • Shampoo carpet in the lounge
  • Dismantle the wardrobe in the dining room. No joke, it wouldn’t fit up the stairs!
  • Finish unpacking boxes. Mostly the stuff left is DVDs and odd bits and pieces. There’s half-empty boxes everywhere.

That’s not including any of the bigger stuff to do, like redecorating most of the house, sorting out the garden. We have no interwebs yet, relying on a 3G USB modem (which made for an… interesting day working from home recently) but mostly it’s all good. Just need a few more years and we’ll be unpacked.

Waiting for the Miracle

Baby, I’ve been waiting,
I’ve been waiting night and day.
I didn’t see the time,
I waited half my life away.
There were lots of invitations –
I know you sent me some,
but I was waiting for the miracle,
for the miracle to come.

It’s Thursday morning. A couple of days ago I phoned the solicitor, to mke sure that everything was in place ready for completion, which happens today. Apparently the keys will be released around lunchtime. I’ve got up and I’ve got nothing to do – won’t be going back to work for a week while we move house. The clock ticks on ever more slowly and eventually at quarter to two, I get a phone call from the estate agent telling me I can pick the keys up, followed shortly after by one from the solicitor telling me the same.

Half an hour’s drive later, and after a quick stop-off to get the keys, and we’re there. And it’s mostly as I remembered everything. Without any furniture in it some of the decor looks a little… underwhelming, and whoever wallpapered several of the rooms really has no idea how to line up wallpaper properly (there’s anything up to a half inch overlap!). There’s a certain sadness about empty houses, and this one’s no different, just echoes of the former occupants. Soon, though, the building will be full of our stuff and it’ll feel like home.

So, having taken some measurements for curtains, etc, pictures taken of the place it’s time to leave it alone for now. Plans for redecoration, renovation of the kitchen and the bathroom and so on can wait – initially there’ll be a couple of licks of paint, maybe, while we decide on the rest of the decor.

For now we’ve had trips to buy a fridge and a washing machine and are now trying to decide on curtains.

Pictures of the place, for the interminably curious, are at http://gallery.sleepawaytheafternoon.org.uk/index.php/Moving/New-House

25th September 2010Permalink Leave a comment

Four Seasons in One Day

Four seasons in one day,
Lying in the depths of your imagination.
Worlds above and worlds below…
The sun shines on the black clouds
Hanging over the domain.
Even when you’re feeling warm,
The temperature could drop away
Like four seasons in one day.

Nine days to go. The removal van is booked, and the only thing left is for the insurance certificate to turn up.

On the day we exchanged, I phoned the insurance company and explained that I’d just agreed to buy a house and needed to insure it. I repeated the fact that I didn’t want the paperwork sent to the new house, as I didn’t own it yet. They said that that would be no problem and repeated my current address back to me, reassuring me they’d send the certificate to the right address.

They didn’t. I phoned a week later and was told it went to the new house. No problem, they said, we’ll send you new copies. Have they turned up yet? The hell they haven’t. Fortunately I managed to get hold of the current owners of the house and they’re forwarding me any letters that do turn up at their address.

And then there’s removals companies. I’ve contacted three, two local companies and one big name, well-known firm. The results?

  • Local firm #1 Booked an appointment for Tuesday evening, which they rescheduled for Thursday after other issues. He failed to find our current address for looking over our stuff but otherwise seemed OK, and promised a quote within a couple of days.
  • Local firm #2 Turned up on Saturday morning as booked. Looked around, had done their homework (the estimator already knew our new house is set back from the road with a green in front of it) and promised a quote within a few days.
  • National firm – Couldn’t get a survey done for at least two weeks, and would only do it within office hours. Then decided they couldn’t do a survey at all and sent me a questionnaire to fill in which would get me an accurate quotation. Failed to send said questionnaire to me for a couple of days.

And the results? Local firm #2 won. The fact that they’d been the most reliable and accessible of all the firms contributed, always calling back straight away, getting things done as and when I asked. The price was good too. The national firm just didn’t seem to want our business, and local firm #1 lost out just through being slightly less well organised.

14th September 2010Permalink Leave a comment

I like the way this is going

I like to watch TV with you –
There’s really nothing that I would rather do.
Then maybe we can go to bed,
Get up and do it all again.

I like the way your pants fit,
And how you stand and how you sit.
Whatever seeds that you’re sowing,
I like the way this is going.

It’s been a long time coming, but today we finally exchange contracts and agreed to buy a house in a South London suburb. I’ve got onto the insurance policy to take out coverage for the future Sleeper Towers, and that’s sorted. Completion date? Three weeks’ time. In a spectacular display of karma, the idiot at the top of the chain who’s held things back for so long has been ejected – their buyers are going to rent instead, leaving everything in place. I’ll not go into the stress that was involved in getting our mortgage extended thanks to that particular fool again, but at least it’s out of the way now.

Cue the next couple of weeks – a mad ring around of removal companies, sorting out white goods, packing, throwing out stuff we don’t want / need any more.

The ordeal is nearly over? Hell, no. It’s only just begun.

3rd September 2010Permalink Leave a comment

Evil, number two

The need to have something,
Becomes the seed to have anything.
Lonely tears have dried up,
And the brain cells start to fry.
My heart cries out for new things –
Turns to anything will do things.
My left side’s like a train crash
From all the things I tried.

I was so scared, I was lonely.
I got mixed up, Now I’m only…
Evil, evil number two.

We remain in mortgage limbo. After the bank said no to extending the current mortgage, they said “maybe” to another deal (on a slightly lower interest rate!). We’re waiting for them to make their minds up about it now, but I don’t really expect any problems.

No, the problems this week have arisen from other things. On Monday, we got home from work to find the front door smashed in. It’s utterly bizarre what goes through your head in these situations – my first thought was that the landlord must have done it – he has no keys, and must have needed access in an emergency. Or that J had lost her keys and had needed to break the door in. She’d got home first, about twenty minutes before me. The police were on their way, and I called the landlord to let him know what had happened. He wasn’t far behind the police, and after he’d had a few words with them, left again to get something to secure the door with.

It seems that when the door was originally installed, the space for the locks was badly cut, leaving a weakness. One that meant the door splintered, leaving the frame completely intact and the locks falling to the floor. The intruders, equipped with gloves, came in, started rifling through a desk, and then must have heard something that caused them to flee. All that was missing was a single piece of jewellery.

The damage has been done though – we now have a new door, but neither of us has slept well this last week, and every time I come home I have my heart in my mouth wondering if they’ve come back, dreading the sight of the door in pieces once again, wondering if they’ll be coming back with a shopping list of things to steal.

I thought this was a nice neighbourhood, and I’ve very much enjoyed living here, up to now. Now the move can’t come soon enough.

Spiderwebs

Now it’s gone too deep
You wake me in my sleep
My dreams become nightmares
‘Cause you’re ringing in my ears

And it’s all your fault
I screen my phone calls
No matter who calls
I gotta screen my phone calls

The man from Santander, he say no. After chasing the solicitor this morning I got a phone call from the mortgage broker in the afternoon. The deadline can’t be extended unfortunately – the mortgage deal in question was closed for applications on June 1st,  so we’re a bit stuck. Current thinking is that we’ll see what other deals they have available as they already have a good idea about the house and our ability to repay.

If that doesn’t work then we’ll have to find some other company. Yay more survey fees, solicitors’ fees, etcetera. More waiting. Ho-hum. Hopefully some time soon we’ll have an idea of what’s going on. Until then, at least beer exists…

The Rollercoaster Song

I had a friend who treated love like a luxury
development on the other side of town.

And one day his girl got up
And left and slammed the door
And his fine walls came falling down

But don’t be blue he built a fairground there
For you and I to ride –
Together we belong, you and I.

I’ll admit I’ve had some occasions in the homebuying process when I’ve wondered exacty what the solicitor’s doing for her cash. But then yesterday afternoon after getting no luck in trying to get me to buckle under and agree to shoulder the risk, the seller’s estate agent gave her a call. From what I’ve been told, the call went something like this:

“Hello, is that Ms. Jones?”

“Speaking.”

“It’s Mr. Smith here, from Brand X Estate Agency. I’d like to talk to you about the sale of the house at No.1 Address Street. I spoke with your client, Mr. Sleeper, this afternoon. He was most uncooperative, and I wondered if you could perhaps speak to him and advise him that we really do need to exchange before the completion date?”

“I don’t think so, Mr. Smith. He’s protecting his own interests under my advice. Good-bye.”

Smackdown.