I wake at 6am to the sound of my central heating boiler, which is usually whisper quiet but today sounds like a jet engine taking off. It reached -15C here this week so the very last thing I need is my boiler breaking down. I go look at the pressure gauge but it seems fine. Odd.
I fill the kettle for a cuppa but the cold water tap pressure is down and then it dawns on me – I have a leak somewhere. At the crack of dawn. In the dark and freezing cold. Fucking marvellous.
I check all the rooms in the house but thankfully nothing seems amiss. So I open the back door and water trickles to my feet. I have a cold water feed in my shed for the hose pipe and it is creating my very own 20 foot Bellagio Fountain on the patio. I always turn the feed to the hose pipe off during the winter, but keep the stop tap in the shed on because it’s dodgy and leaks a bit itself. Please God may the stop tap not have burst 🙏.
I go and get a torch and, in my pjs and slippers, have to stand under the heart stoppingly cold fountain to reach the tap which I thankfully manage to turn off. I return to the house looking like a hypothermic drowned rat, all the while with Bertie running round my legs wondering where the hell his breakfast is 😆. I strip off, shivering, rub myself down with a towel and get into my fluffy dressing gown. I feed the dog, make a brew and am now snuggled back under the duvet with my electric blanket on full. I’m hoping to have thawed out by lunchtime! It was the perfect shitty end to a perfectly shitty week.
If you remember, I recently spent 7 hours putting together a court case against TalkTalk in respect to my parents’ non functioning phone line. Monday morning an envelope plops through the letter box from the Court, telling me I can’t bring a case on my Mum’s behalf because the contract is between her and TalkTalk not me and TalkTalk. I have no clue what it’s on about, but deduce I’d filled the N1 form in wrongly. You are allowed to sign as a “friend of the litigant”, but I’d signed the wrong box in effect making myself the claimant.
I ring the Court to ask if it’s OK for me to re-submit the correct form and am told “We can’t give legal advice, I suggest you contact a solicitor”. The whole fucking point in using the Small Claims Court is that it is supposed to be consumer friendly and you’re not supposed to need a solicitor! I ask what’s happened to the £205 fee I sent with the original claim form and am told “I’m sorry, as I said we can’t give you legal advice”. After the month I’ve had with one thing and another it’s all too much and I burst into tears on the phone. The lady on the other end shows no compassion whatsoever and ends the call.
I then spend 3 hours re-copying the entire claim and filling out a new N1 form. I have no clue if I’m allowed to do that, or if I’m doing it correctly. After 7 months of fighting all I want is for my elderly, disabled, pandemic-isolated parents to be able to use their phone, which is their only contact with the outside world not to mention the emergency services, and not one single organisation in the entire country wants to help me. I feel utterly defeated. There is no justice available to your average man in the street any more and big companies know it.
Wednesday I went to my parents’ house to fit the bed rails I’d ordered for my Mum and to set up her new call alarm wrist band, which I wrote about in this post. Wednesday night was my Camera Club via zoom but I was so tired I think I slept through a good third of the talk 😴.
My sleep situation is pretty dire. I’m waking almost every hour having a hot flush and when that isn’t waking me the shooting pain from my left hip all the way down my leg to my foot is doing the job instead. I’m going to bed in very tight lycra support shorts, wearing 2 SI belts to try and keep my SI joint stable, and with my TENS machine on all night which I’m not supposed to do, but the pain refuses to be silenced 😥.
The only highlight of my week was a call from my bestie on Saturday, who was about as joyful as I am! We had a good old whinge for nearly two hours and it helped to know I’m not the only one struggling and wondering when the fuck it’s all going to end. We are now in week 6 of our third lockdown here in England and everyone is over it. It’s only in the last few days that the infection rate has started to come down, as the new variant is so much more potent than the original Covid strain. The good news is that all over 70s, certain key workers such as health and care staff, and the clinically extremely vulnerable have now been vaccinated and we’re starting on those people in their 60s. However, it’s thought it will take until September to vaccinate all adults in the UK so we’re facing restrictions for months yet.
Contagion was on TV last night. I hadn’t seen it before and it was insane to watch a movie made in 2011 which almost perfectly mirrors the current global situation. To have made a film where an airborne virus originates in bats in China, and to be talking about “social distancing” and “R numbers” and who should get the vaccination first, let alone the conspiracy theorists and empty supermarket shelves, a decade ago is beyond prophetic. The thing which makes my blood boil, however, is that if a sodding screen writer could see this coming in minute detail why couldn’t our governments?!
After all that whining, I’ll end on a positive note. It has been the coldest winter for ten years here in Britain and we’ve had two months of daily sub zero temperatures. With daylight ending at 4pm and the constraints of lockdown it’s felt like a lonnnng winter, but this week when I walked Bertie down by the river I noticed both the Oystercatchers and the Lapwings are back from migration 🙂. Lapwings are my most favourite bird and their swooping mating rituals and pee-wit-wit-wit-pee-wiiiiittt call is my favourite sound of spring. Here’s hoping the birds know something about the end of winter that we don’t!