Saturday, August 08, 2009

My pussy is leaking

Now that Mrs Slocambe is dead, someone has to take up the "pussy joke" mantle. I just hope I'm up to it. My cat is 13 and has recently developed a new trick. He'll climb on your knee, start purring, get a blissful look in his eyes, and then... wee all over you. Cat wee is almost impossible to remove. And he seems to be making some sort of special version which is especially noxious. The vet says he is in early stages of kidney failure. We've put him on tablets and special food and put plastic covers on the furniture (John Lewis - only 2 years old). We're hoping that he'll get better, but the prognosis isn't good.

I don't want to complain about it too much - otherwise I'll sound like the people at White Whine - a site which reveals the true malady of the 21st century - not having anything much to actually complain about. The pronunciation of vente, poor tasting strawberries, having nothing to wear for a holiday, jeans that have that "straight-from-the-factory smell", The Jonas Brothers, iPhones... we all sound like the character Luna in Woody Allan's Sleeper.

I've been on holiday in Torquay - we rented a large house with a hot-tub and a sea-view. I got the impression that the people who owned it were a bit insecure and "nouveau riche" because in the first minute of meeting them they announced that their son captained a yatch for a Russian oligarch, and the table in their garden cost £5000. They also had plastic flower arrangements everywhere and those scented things in the bathrooms which have always struck me as a bit lower-middle class. Still, it was a nice house. I spent some of it playing the brain training game on my nephew's Nintento DS. The best I could get was a C+. To put that into perspective, hmy nephew got a D- and he is only 6.

I like Torquay a lot. Most seaside towns in Britain have gone horrible in the last 30 years. They have either died altogether or become havens for binge drinkers and documentary makers making shocking exposure shows about binge drinkers. Torquay is just about hanging on to its genteelness - they make a big deal of the Agatha Christie connection and call it the English Riveria. If you squint hard enough and cover your ears, you could be back in the 1930s.

The journey there and back was hideous. Thanks to the recession and over-enthusiastic predictions of a Good British Summer, it seems that everyone has decided to holiday at home this year. The motorways were scarily full, especially round Bristol and Birmingham. I kept sane by listening to Margaret Cho stand-up routines. Thank you Margaret. Several times you averted incidents of road rage on the M5.

Now that we're back, we move house in a week. I kind of wish that we had allowed Channel 4 to film the entire thing as part of one of their "Property Mess" type shows
- it would have made good tv. It is a house built in the 1840s which has had all of the original features removed, and many 1970s features put in (nasty fireplaces, a dining hatch, folding kitchen door, MDF fitted wardrobes, flock wallpaper, tabby cat pattern carpets). We have ripped all of these disasters out and have replaced them with sanded floorboards, picture rails, new coving etc. but just like in all those shows we have gone horribly over budget. I suspect that the previous owners have installed their own tv cameras everywhere and are laughing as we discover all of the traps that they have left us to find. Due to some bizarre DIY plumbing, it appears that the waste pipe in the bathroom has not functioned properly for many months. As a result, there's been a build up of "waste product" which finally exploded all over the bathroom floor late one Saturday night and dripped through the kitchen ceiling below. It all needs replacing. The previous owners also seem to have had fun with layer on layer of wallpaper. After we removed the hideous woodchip stuff in the living room we found a layer of silver foil, then under that a layer of brown paper, then under that a layer of black paper. All which had been stuck down with wood glue. It took hours to remove. All of the windows had been painted shut and haven't been opened for decades - I guess they thought it would save on heating bills or something. But if you couple that with the fact that they allowed their two little dogs to wee on all of the carpets - then you have a sodden stinking mess. I don't know how people can live like that.

Our plumber was supposed to finish putting in the radiators while we were on holiday but has gone missing, and as a result, the carpet fitters refused to fit the carpets while we were away as they didn't want to move the plumber's tools. The kitchen has been postponed so we will have half a bathroom and no kitchen when we finally do move in. I know I have neglected this blog. I haven't even had time to go to the gym since May. They actually phoned me up toda and asked me why. If I ever talk about buying a house again, and it isn't a show-home, please email me and tell me to stop!

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