Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I don't think we're alone now

There are certain things you dread hearing from your plumber. For example, "That will be 250 quid please," following a 30 minute callout only to discover it was a simple washer replacement that you could have done yourself. Another might be, "I don't know what it is, but there's something a lot bigger than mice down there," when referring to the space under your kitchen floor he's investigating for a nasty smell. Only in our case the latter isn't just a humorous horrible scenario, but reality. Our plumber actually said to me, "I don't know what it is, but there is something a lot bigger than mice down there."

I probably don't need to illustrate how that made me feel. I will say this much however - I'm not sleeping very well at night. I have visions of this creature coming up through the hole the plumber made in order to send his scope down, damply creeping up the stairs, and greeting me with a sewage infused toothy grin on my pillow.

Oh, and did I mention we have a lot of damp down there too? Damp and something large that isn't a mouse. One can only imagine the night-time goings on under our kitchen - an Attenborough narrated nightmare. Actually I'd rather not. The Rentokill assessment man (strangely stressed in a suit and tie?) assured me that whatever it is, it isn't in the house itself, just beneath it. Yes, because that makes me feel A LOT better.

This creature managed to chew its way through one of the electrical cables, resulting in the main switch that the fridge, our dishwasher, and a whole lot of plug sockets connect to, continuously tripping. Fortunately the electrician was able to mend that particular problem on the same day. But still, what ambition to chew your way through a thick electrical cable. Who knows what else it may be capable of? I need to remember to log out of my email at night.

We had the chaps that flush out the pipes over yesterday evening too. They take their job very seriously and insisted on showing us what had been causing the blockage. As they reached into the wet filthy bag I felt a sensation of dread come over me, imagining them hauling out the dead carcass of our unwanted visitor's friend. I mean, if you are going to chew through electrical cables, murder and betrayal may not be far off right? I wouldn't put it past him. Yes, I've decided it's a male. Only a male could be responsible for that ghastly smell that rises up through the kitchen sink. Fortunately what we were shown was not a furry mutilated corpse, but a few bits of brick and concrete, evidence that previous builders had been careless with where they chucked their waste.

So yes, it's all fun and games out our lovely new home at the moment. An ominous smelly creature living beneath our kitchen floor, a lot of damp, chewed-through electrics, and blocked pipes - now (we pray) unblocked.

We visited Yo Sushi at Brent Cross for lunch today. A smartly-dress woman and her husband in their 60's arrived and sat down next to us. She only ate a bit of whatever her husband took off of the rotating belt (which wasn't much), and there was a lot of serious discussion as to what that would be. It seemed to me they were deciding on what would be least offensive, rather than what looked most tasty. I wondered why they had chosen a restaurant which clearly presented them with such anxiety provoking choices, and decided that perhaps, in their retirement, they had made a conscious decision to live life on the edge.

Roberto and I are off to Center Parks for our vacation with Julia in a few weeks. My god, Center Parks. I never thought I'd see the day. I'm not being a snob, I hear it's quite a smart holiday to spend with your kids and it's not cheap. But yes, it doesn't exactly smack of glamour and adventure does it? The brochure does promise a lot of interesting activities like horse riding, archery, and rock climbing etc. Then there's the crockery painting and water colour classes.

I think our days of finding a bar in Paris and perching until we've sampled all the cocktails are well and truly behind us, because lets face it, that's really living life to its glamorous adventurous max. Or at least, its alcoholic max. But yes, it's probably more sober wholesome breaks until Julia decides she's too old to go on holiday with her sad old parents, or when she's 18 and we decide it may be safe to get a hotel babysitter.

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