This morning I once again reinforced in my mind the adage that the "Early bird got the worm" is a simple example of why the worm should have stayed in bed....
Don't get me wrong - I do not mind the early morning, when there is something to be done, but I do not tend to work well to schedules in the morning. I do not do deadlines anymore. It has been said that one of the problems with retirement is that it is difficult to stop when you have no momentum. Certainly it is less pressure to have no real demands. Getting up in the morning has not proved difficult over the last months. Up and out for a walk with the dog. Up and have a cup of tea. Up and do a little work on the computer. Up and do some paperwork / accounts / web-pages / diaries - all the things that I used to do in a a short time that somehow takes a little longer these days. Yes blame FB and Email - they are a distraction and can cause the occasional tangent. In fact add the Blog to that - there are many mornings that I have started another blog ....
But, then there are those who may still be in work, (however close to retirement they may be), who have to plan the day and wish to arrange the schedules based upon a finish target rather than a projected flexible start aspiration. Let me call him Chris to protect the innocent! Unbeknownst to me ( I was probably told!) the target for the Horse Manure Collection was 9am.
I, in the meantime have arranged to take the Bothy to the Caravan Fitters to have a look at the awning to see what is wrong with it - at 9 am or so.. ( note the lack of precision !) So going down the garden in the morning to open the gates and get the trailer ready while Susie brings the car around from the front was still well within the time schedule when I strolled down at just after half past eight in the morning. All good so far!
Into the Bothy, where I have left a small solar panel especially designed to "trickle charge" the battery via the cigarette lighter - to ensure that the van would start first time .... And turn the key... And... Bleerrrrr! Nothing!
Ahh. A bit of a problem there - try again - definitely flat as a pancake... It seems the fine little solar panel has drained the battery rather than charged it.... Susie by now has the Terrano in the lane - ready for the trailer which I have now loaded with the shovels and rakes and implements of destruction - and the rope and the bags and the wheelbarrow.. But we have a flat battery !
But we are not to be stopped by such a small hiccough! We have power down the bottom of the garden and I carry a a battery charger and an extension cable - so up with the bonnet and in with the charger and off we would be....
Then Mr Angry arrived at the scene. Now our house has a rear entrance to a lane which serves three houses but links West End to Derwent Street. Next to the house - the back lane also goes up the street to allow access on the the other roads and back to Derwent Street. While we have been struggling a couple of cars have come to the junction - seen the blockage and used the exit lane to make their way ...
Not Mr Angry!!!
He stops at the junction and beeps his horn!! I wave at him in my best "Sorry but we have a little problem here why don't you please follow the lane up the road and you can be on your way" manner - but he beeps his horn again ! I don't like confrontation at any time and don't feel particularly like any arguments at 8.45am in the morning. Not my best time for that ! So I ignore him !!!
Back to the trailer - we will have to get it out and connect it to the car - BEEP!
Maybe I will connect the battery charger as then we can get away quicker. I will do it quickly while Mr Angry decides to take the other route... Avoid confrontation is always the best way!! Sadly there are red cables on both terminals of the battery and a quick look gives me an idea which is positive and which negative... Like a bomb disposal expert aiming for "don't cut the red cable!" I add the first terminal to a large spark! just as a loud BEEP sounds again !
Okay - anyone can get the terminals wrong - so put them the right way around and and the little red warning light on the charger will not go off .. Hmm - Have to think that one out - better hitch the trailer. Taking the trailer out to the car - it is only small but still needs to be pushed hard to place and lifted on. Mr Angry is still in his little silver car ... So I thought - "I will go and explain that we may be a short while - and anyway we cannot drive away while he is blocking the road himself and there is a free exit for him". I am still in a splendid mood, allbeit the timing is slipping away slightly. My own original plan to be in Crosshands by 9.30 is still achievable.... But, as I walk towards the car - Mr Angry gets out and to be honest I was suprised that such a large person could get out of such a compact car....
"Move the Bl**dy Car!!" he shouts - Which was rather different from the friendly greeting I was going to give him ..
They say - never try to argue with a moron - he will always bring you down to his own level.
But I do have the underlying feeling that there are three houses with entrances in this short lane - it is the access for our properties rather than the "Rat Run" that everyone uses to get out to the main road.... It was not a good idea to suggest that it was our access. "I live in Derwent Street and it is my access too!!! There's no parking in this road !!! You are blocking the road !! Now move the Bl***dy thing!!"
It must be some form of minor road rage !! I will probably find his car parked across two parking bays some day. I will then take a photograph of his car as an example of people you would not want your children to meet on the way to school, Sadly, though I had my camera and video in my pocket, I did not think to get it out and escalate the situation... And sad to say - his shouting really only raised a small element of stubbornness through my morning bon-homie...
Though tempted to leave the matter entirely and return to my battery charger - I had a wife out in the lane and she does not do mornings as well as I do ... and she had made the arrangements with "Chris" to meet at 9am at the farm and was now wanting to re-schedule...... So I attached the trailer to the back of the Terrano and carefully raised the jockey wheel. Checked the electrics sadly deciding there was not much else to do.
Mr Angry had now pulled back into the junction allowing egress. I was not involved!! I would have left it there as a positive form of conflict avoidance - which might well have led to criminal damage and/or assault.. Susie decided to move the car forward...
The Battery charger required a change in internal fuses. Done... It may have been Mr Angry. (I waved sweetly as he drove passed. I did not see if he was waving back!) But whatever the reason, I managed to attach the wrong terminal again - and blow another fuse.. Not good for the timing. A little frustrating for me - but my trip to Europe had forced me to get a full pack of various fuses - so I was not short of replacements.
Third time lucky. Nope - little red light still on! Try the fuse again and Bingo - connected !! Power Charging !! Try the ignition !!! Nothing!
It seemed that the battery was flatter than Mr Angry's humour - and we were not going to get away immediately... To be fair I normally leave the charge for an hour and then come back - but I had a wife in the lane... and she does not normally "do" mornings !!!
Back to the time ... Now about ten to nine - still well within my schedule... Apparently not of others..
Ten minutes later - enough power and the Bothy starts.. What could possibly go wrong?? Out into the lane and shut and lock the gates. Call me paranoid - but last time one of my neighbours disagreed with me he decided to paint the gates with metallic paint... I am such a passive person!! Why me?? No, I decide to lock the gates!!
Up and onto the Crosshand's Road - when a phone call on the mobile causes me to pull over. Susie advises me that the trailer has fallen off and she cannot get it back onto the car! We are now in Felinfoel Road Rush Ten Minutes and traffic backed up. Back to the lane - and I find that Mr Angry actually lives right up the other end of Derwent Street. I t seems that the alternative route would have been nearer for him had he chosen to take it!! It was obviously a matter of principle for him. What did I say about morons? Now was not the time to stop and take a picture - But I thought about it!!!
So back to the Lane and the perennial problem of the connector on the trailer. One in three times it locks in the shut position and will not go onto the tow bar... Sadly we blocked the lane completely - but there were no irate commuters upset on this occasion...
Off to the Carafits.... Dropped the camper.. a call to "Chris" to meet us at the farm and off we go...
Now, those less generous than myself will be thinking of the possibility that the large, smelly, and unmistakenly warm pile of horse's d'ouvres might have sat nicely in Derwent Street next to a small silver car. (It wasn't there when I finally parked the trailer inthe back).
But that would not be my way ...
No, the pile went up to the Plotment and will assist in feeding me potatoes later in the year and I shall carry on with the quiet satisfaction that I remained calm in adversity.....
However, my brother in law did send me the following idea for the programme " Survivor" in Texas ...
SURVIVOR -- TEXAS STYLE
Do to the popularity of the "Survivor" shows, Texas is planning to do one entitled: "Survivor,Texas-Style!
8 contestants will all start in Dallas, then drive to Waco , Austin ,
San Antonio . Then over to Houston and down to Brownsville .
They will proceed up to Del Rio , El Paso , Odessa , Midland , Lubbock , and Amarillo .
From there they will go on to Abilene and Fort Worth Finally back to Dallas .
Each will be driving a pink Prius with bumper stickers that reads:
1 "I'm a Democrat"
2 "Amnesty for Illegals"
3 "I love the Dixie Chicks"
4 "Boycott Beef"
5 "I Voted for Obama"
6 " George Strait Sucks"
7 "Reelect Obama in 2012"
8 "I'm here to confiscate your guns"
The first one to make it back to Dallas alive wins.
I wonder if the programme would translate into Welsh ???