Craving and no I am not pregnant

It was Friday evening and I had a sudden craving for sausage and chips from the chip shop. Now we very very rarely go to the chip shop. I think we have probably only done this about four times in the two and half years since we moved to this house. I decided to combine my taxi service of picking up Skater from the station with a trip to one of the chip shops in the area. There is one in one of the housing estates between the station and home, we would go there.

As I was driving towards the shop I could see that there were no available parking spaces, I figured that I would drive a bit further along the road and turn around to find somewhere to park. The couple of cars driving right behind me meant that instead I continued driving and ended up leaving the estate altogether. Never mind I would go to the one that I pass on my way to and from work. This is the one we have used before.

‘Oh no!’ there is nowhere to park here either, Ok, we can go to the parade of shops at the end of this long road. There is a decent car park there. ‘What! I don’t believe it. I have never seen this car park so full.’

I managed to park half on the curb at the far end of the car park. Leaving Skater in the car I walk to the small chip shop in the parade. I have never seen such a small chippy, barely room for a single line on people. I couldn’t tell which end of the shop the queue started. I stood in the doorway looking up at the meagre menu on the wall. I might be craving chips but I didn’t fancy getting anything from this establishment.

I decided to continue my search. There is another chippy on one of the main roads not far from where I now was. So a few minutes later I pulled up outside the popular chippy we had gone to once before when the lads and their girlfriends were with us. I remember that service had taken an absolute age on that occasion last spring. Here I see that the only place to stop is in the bus lay by. I know I shouldn’t park here and Skater is not happy with me for doing so. As I pull out from behind the camper bvan taking up the majority of the bus stop I see a car pulling out of a space a few yards ahead.

Damn, before I can get there another vehicle slides into the space from the other direction. Why oh why does everyone else want chips on the one occasion I have this craving. I could give up and go home, we do have food I could cook, but no I must satisfy this craving. On we go, where to next? Maybe I shall have to go into the town centre there is sure to be somewhere there in the parades near to the station. An area I have only visited a few times. We are nearing the town’s college where both Statto and Pug studied for their A’levels. If I go along the road that passes the college entrance I know there is a small parade of shops up there, I wonder would there be a chippy there?

Oh great, I have finally found a chippy with parking spaces outside. Going into the shop I place my order, hand the girl who is serving, my debit card. They only take cash, I have no cash on me! I tell the girl I will be back. The nearest place to get cash is back where I had earlier stopped in the packed car park. This time there are a couple of spaces. I have to struggle to get out of my door as there is not enough room. There is a convenience shop in the corner which has a cash machine. I wait impatiently for the guy who is composing a whole album on the buttons of the machine. Finally he is finished and I can pay £1.75 for the privilege of taking out my own money. This done we drive back to collect our dinner. By now I am beginning to think that after all this running around in my quest to satisfy my craving, I will find that I don’t actually enjoy it once I get to eat it. I needn’t have worried though.

I actually did enjoy my food and felt that driving around for almost an hour had been worth it in the end.

 

 

The key

It should be so simple. Why do I always fall into the trap of thinking that things will be simple? I am 52 years of age for heavens sake, I should have learnt by now. Nothing is ever simple.

A few weeks ago whilst shopping I stopped at the key cutter’s kiosk. I wanted to get a spare key for our car, we have only ever had just the one key. I was told that because we drive a Chevrolet they were unable to cut a new key, they do not hold blanks for this make of car. They might be able to order one in but it could take a while. Owl searched online and placed an order for two spare key blanks. He had a little trouble placing his order, so we now have four blanks.

Today I took two of these blanks back to the kiosk and asked them to cut the two keys for us. I placed the two blanks on the counter, only to be told.

“We can only cut keys from our own blanks.”

“But you don’t keep blanks for my car.”

“Ah yes Chevrolet, I remember you came in before. Sorry even if you got these blanks from Chevrolet we cannot cut them. We can only cut blanks that we stock.”

“So what am I supposed to do then? If you don’t stock the blanks and you can’t use another blank?”

” You could try an independent key cutter, they might do it for you. Unfortunately we can’t because it’s our Company policy. In the past it has been done and then the key has got stuck in the ignition leading to a claim for hundreds of pounds.”

Oh why had I not known it would be down to this litigious society that we are forced to live in these days.

Thinking about things not being as simple as they should be I had already had a feeling of let down having visited one of the main high street banks. I am sure that I have mentioned before that I am now the new treasurer for our writing group. I have been attempting to get the signatures on the Group’s bank account changed. It took a while to get the relevant forms downloaded and printed. Next the three of us who would be the new signatories had to take our forms into a branch of the bank to get our signatures authorised. I took mine in weeks ago. I was then told that I had to collect these forms from the others and bring them in together. This week I finally had all the forms, took them to the bank this morning only to be told that I now need to get another form signed by two of the existing signatories. Only then can the forms be sent off to the correct department, wherever that may be. I can’t even get a statement of our account until everything has been sorted which could still take a few weeks yet. At least I have been able to pay some money in.

Whilst shopping I picked up a screw thread candle bulb for one of our light fittings on the stairway. Obviously I picked the wrong one. Yes it was a screw thread and yes it was a candle bulb, but the screw thread was the wrong size. I guess that tomorrow I shall be out getting another light bulb as well as finding an independent key cutter.

What did you do today that wasn’t as simple as you had expected?

 

 

Just the ticket

Today I needed to collect something from Chichester, Owl was busy so I was going on my own. I am learning but I still don’t know my way around. I can find my way to some places but still need directions to others. We had gone into Chichester on Friday (being Black Friday) the roads were crammed. Parking was a nightmare.In the end Owl dropped me off whilst he drove off to find that elusive parking space.

I thought about where I would park today, and how to get there. I had a look on google maps, that was when it hit me. The rail station was at the end of the road I needed to get to. A plan was forming in my head. I didn’t bother to tell Owl as he was already concentrating on his own plans for the day. My biggest worry as I set off was that the station car park might be full. Luckily there were a fair few spaces, however my problems were only just about to begin. I had always thought that there was only the one pay and display machine at the entrance, now though I could see another machine not far from where I had parked.

Now when did they change these machines? I know I am not a frequent user but really!

I could use my card in the machine or I could download an app or I could call the number on the board. I inserted my bank card but couldn’t make it go to the off peak charge of £2.00 it would only charge me for the day  £6.50. I tried several times but still couldn’t get the machine to do what I wanted. So I changed to another method. I rang the number advertised, the automated voice gave instructions including asking for the number plate, make and colour of my car. Then it wanted to know if I wanted to pay for x amount of days or a month? Noooo I only wanted a few hours. I decided to walk over to the entrance to see if that machine still accepted coins, it didn’t. I paid for a whole day by card via the machine. Having gone back to my car I placed the ticket on the dashboard.

A brief stop on the way into the station to purchase my ticket, this was a little easier as I have done this before. I only had 10 minutes to wait for my train. Luckily I hadn’t pre booked as I had seen three trains going by in the time I was messing around with ticket machines. The journey into Chichester was uneventful and fast as there were no stops ( well there were but we didn’t stop).

Once at my destination, I did a spot of Christmas shopping, not much left to do now! Before making my collection. By then I was feeling thirsty so stopped at a small cafe for a cup of tea and toasted tea cake.IMG_2196

Catching the train home I had 15 minutes to wait but the time went fairly quickly as I indulged in a spot of people watching. It was now the time of day that the local senior schools had finished for the day, so there were several teens in school uniform on both platforms.

The train arrived and I stood with others waiting to board. I noticed among the others a hunched up old man. He followed me onto the train, I sat on the right of the carriage and the old man sat on the left opposite a young girl in uniform. At first I had thought the man was a down and out, but a glance sideways I changed my mind and figured that he was in fact just an old man hunched down into his coat against the cold wind. A few moments into the journey I noticed him fumble with the zip of his backpack. I though he was retrieving his phone as I could hear a muffled ringing. To my surprise he took out a bottle of jagermeister. He proceeded to take a swig from the bottle replacing in back into his bag. The young girl caught my eye but neither of us said anything. I half expected her to say something once he had left the train a couple of stops later. She didn’t, so I kept quiet also.

It wasn’t long before I was walking back to my car, I was ready for home.

On the road again

On Tuesday morning I was resigned to using public transport to get around. Walking up the road I saw the bus that I had failed to catch the previous day. I didn’t mind as I would be going in the opposite direction on this day. Arriving at the bus stop on this cold damp windy morning I checked the bus schedule. Good there should be one at 7.52 and another at 8.02 which would be cutting it fine for me to get to the medical centre for 8.35. Only 12 minutes to wait shivering for my bus, I could do that. I wasn’t looking forward to my fast walk once I got off the bus in the town centre.

By 8.00 I was getting concerned, by 8.05 I gave up and headed back home. I had just reached our gate when I saw my bus floating past the stop where I had been waiting. Well it was too late now. Once inside I phoned for a taxi which arrived just a few minutes later. No sooner was I inside the comfort of the warm taxi, I noticed that the rain had begun.

I was at my appointment at 8.28 so there is no way I would have made it if I had caught the bus. After my appointment I rang for another taxi but had to wait until 9.00. I was at my desk by 9.15, much earlier than if I had caught a bus.

During the day I was wondering how Owl was getting on with charging up the car battery. It was just getting dark when he called and told me that he had not been able to do anything. He believed that the ancient charger he had was not doing the job. With a flash of inspiration I left my office in search of my hero. One of the guys in an office in the same building had charged my car up for me a week or so before. When I found him I asked if I could borrow a charger over night. Which he was happy to do, but suggested I should get a lift home rather than going on the bus with it. When I discovered how heavy it was I knew he was right. One of my colleagues gave me and my charger a lift home in the pouring rain.

Owl put the battery on charge overnight again. The plan being to put it back under the bonnet in the morning. This he did, I had already decided that if it didn’t work I would call a taxi again as I was not enamoured of the idea of carrying that heavy lump of metal and wires to and from the bus. Whilst I was getting myself ready for the day Owl was outside returning the battery to it’s housing. How we cheered when the engine not only turned over but continued to run well. There is no battery light and the dial is showing that the battery is charging as it should.

All is well that ends well and we didn’t have to pay £300+ for a new alternator plus labour to get it fitted. Ok so it took longer but it only cost us £150 with Owl doing it himself.

I had got Owl added to the insurance again last week so now I don’t have to do all the driving any more. I just hope he doesn’t do anything stupid and lose his licence again.

So it goes

We or should I say Owl has made progress, he has decided that he should have listened to his wife days ago. It has been a bright sunny day although cold. After yesterday’s constant rain we awoke today to find a thick crust of white on the car, sheds and nearby roofs. The word on the radio was that we might find a light frost, I would hate to see what they call a heavy frost, never mind today we wouldn’t need to scrape the car as I was catching the bus to work. There lies another tale.

Owl had decided to forget about the missing bolt that had kept him searching in vain for days. Among his many treasures within “Grumpy’s shed”, he had a box of spare bolts, guess what, the very first one he picked up fitted the alternator. The new plan was that he would have an early start to the day, a quick trip into town on the bus then back to fit the new alternator. As we all know the best plans can go awry.

Owl got distracted, meaning that he was then late going into town so that by the time he began working on the car he didn’t have much time before sunset and darkness. By the time I returned home on the bus, the alternator was fitted and the battery was in place. Once the battery had been hooked up I eagerly stood waiting for him to start the engine. The key fob worked to unlock the door so obviously the battery was working.

Owl climbed into the drivers seat inserted the key and turned … I have never heard an engine make the noise this did before it just died. Now the battery is back indoors attached to the charger that Owl inherited from his late father. We are hoping that this will remedy the problem.

If it doesn’t work I shall be on the bus again tomorrow. I am hoping that this won’t be the case as I have an 8.30 am appointment for a blood test at our Medical Centre  which is the other side of the town. I shall have to catch a bus from here to the bus station from which I will have to walk (probably around 20 mins for my short legs). After my appointment which will probably take approximately 5 minutes, I need to get to work as quickly as I can. I shall probably order a taxi as I have no idea how to get to my work by bus from the town. It will probably mean catching one of the buses that go past our house. The buses do go all around the houses to get anywhere.

Which reminds me, I rushed out of our house this morning to catch hopefully the first of two buses which follow a route along roads on three sides of our house. I was almost at the bus stop when the bus pulled up. I tried to run those last few meters but no sooner was I crossing the road behind the bus, when it pulled away again. I was so close that had I put my hand out I could have touched it. So I stood and watched my bus disappear. Luckily at that time in the morning I didn’t have to wait long for the next bus. Much to my surprise I found myself to be the only passenger on this bus until I was three quarters of the way there. From then on more passengers boarded at each and every stop. I arrived at work just in the nick of time.

It looks like I shall be catching the bus again for a while longer.

The Bolt

As I reported a few days ago my poorly Chevrolet Blazer had to hitch a ride home on the back of a recovery vehicle. Since then Owl has taken out the battery which he has charged up. He has also taken out the faulty alternator. We have the new alternator sat on our dinning table waiting to be installed in its place. I have watched a video on how do this. Owl has watched the videos many times to make sure he is confident in what he has to do. There is one small thing stopping him from putting the new part into it’s place.

The Bolt!

When he was taking out the old alternator there were three bolts holding it in place. the two front ones came out easily. However the one at the back, whilst not difficult to extract, has become a problem of the mountainous kind. It pinged out of his grip and now rests somewhere unseen within the engine space. It has not reached the ground, that would be easy. It has been three days now, the gravel under the truck has been searched time and time again. Owl has peered into every conceivable crevice that he can see with the help of various torches. I have stood on the step stool so that I could look down into the engine armed with feather duster in the hopes that I might be able to dislodge the bolt from it’s hiding place. We even tried rocking the car from side to side.

Owl has used the garden hose in an attempt to wash it out. So far nothing has worked. I have phoned the garage which has looked after Owl’s car for years. If we can give them the exact dimensions of the bolt they could find us something to use in it’s place. Even if he can find the dimensions we would have the problem of getting to the garage.

I have suggested that perhaps he could put the new part into it’s position, securing it with the remaining two bolts then carefully drive to the garage, which is probably only about 3 miles away. Owl doesn’t want to do this as he doesn’t want the missing bolt to rattle around in the engine space causing damage.

We are still searching for our second car but in the meantime we have no drivable car. Now if by magic the missing bolt comes to light then it will be all systems go.

I never realised how much one simple bolt could affect my life. Just when Owl has got his new driving licence back too.

Hitching a ride

About ten days ago we woke to a thick frost, the first this autumn/winter. Now that we have sold our lovely comfortable warm Vauxhall Monaro and have not yet replaced it with the more economical car we are currently looking for. I had no choice but to drive the Chevrolet blazer to work. The problem with this is the lack of a working heater. We do though have a plug in heater/blower. So on that cold frosty morning I used the plug in heater to clear the windscreen. It did just what was needed of it.

However when I left the office nine hours later, I knew before I reached my vehicle that there was a problem. Pressing the key fob failed to unlock the door. Ok, I managed to open the door the old fashioned way, inserting the key into the lock. Very good, I am now sat in my car in the dark, with a flat battery, guess who forgot to unplug the heater when parking up in the morning.

Luckily the unit closest to our building is a garage. I took a walk over to their door where I made the cry of ‘help’.

With the aid of their portable charger they got my engine started but as soon as they unclipped the charger the engine died. After several attempts the mechanic drove my car (in the dark with the bonnet up and the charger still connected) over to the door of their garage. Once under the light from their workshop they ran a few tests which led to the conclusion. It’s the alternator that is not working properly. I left the Blazer in their capable hands so that they could charge the battery over night. They ordered a taxi to get me home, In the morning I returned to work by bus.

Late afternoon I retrieved my car with it’s now fully recharged battery, driving it home that afternoon I was just glad that it wasn’t yet dark so I could get home without using the lights. With the battery light on constantly I was aware that I didn’t want to use up more energy than I could help. Over the next few days I only used the car when I really had to and prayed that the engine would keep going.

On Tuesday  I managed to drive to work in the morning but knew that it wouldn’t last so persuaded a friend from a neighbouring company to charge it up for me again, which he kindly did. Luckily I have been off work ill for a couple of days which helped. This weekend I knew I needed to go shopping but I was worried I might not get there. As it happens I did, but only just, as I made my way around the car park, the engine began juddering. I just managed to limp her into a space before she died on me.

I immediately phoned home to let Owl know what had happened. My next call was to our insurance company who arranged for a recovery vehicle to be sent out in an hour, giving me time to do my shopping. I received a text message telling me that recovery would be with me at approximately 15.33. As it happens he was early arriving at 15.32.

Here you can see my car being loaded onto the back of the recovery truck. leaving Asda

I won’t be going anywhere in it for the next few days until the new alternator sitting on our table has been fitted. I hadn’t been home very long before I received a text from our friend who is looking out for a car for us, he will be at an auction tomorrow. Here is hoping he finds us something suitable soon.

On the move

Saturday morning and we were on the move, or at least Pug was moving with his mother’s assistance. He was up early finishing his packing, loading the back of the truck (Chevvy). I only had to move a few things around. Just as we were preparing to leave Skater asked for a lift to the station so we had to reorganise to make room for him.

Skater dropped off, fuel purchased we started on our journey. We hadn’t been on the M3 for long when we joined the almost static traffic more or less in the same place as last week. Only this time the stops were more prolonged. I figured out from the emergency vehicles that passed us going in the opposite direction before racing back up on the hard shoulder on our carriage way, something had happened prior to junction 11. It turned out to be ‘vehicle fire’ according to the signs.

When we eventually reached the incident it did look nasty but the people looked unhurt, they were unloading possessions as we passed, surrounded by the emergency services. After this we made good time, although I did have a minor panic on A34. I had pulled out to overtake a caravan, I spotted a white car coming up behind me, I couldn’t be sure but it might be a police car. Should I pull in behind the caravan to allow the car behind me to pass or should I put my foot down and go for it? I did the latter then prayed. The white car quickly caught up and passed us, obviously not interested that I had been breaking the speed limit to get around the caravan. The police car with its single occupant was soon disappearing into the distance.

Coming towards Didcot we pondered te fact that 3 out of 6 cooling towers had been demolished, why not all 6 and did the demolition wake the local residents who hadn’t chosen to witness the event?

Being ahead of time and feeling that my bladder was soon going to be in trouble I followed a sign for ‘Services’ taking the slip road to a roundabout where there was no further sign pointing to ‘services’ I guessed, wrongly, the the first exit. I took a right turn in the hope of finding somewhere to turn around, but ended up driving through the pretty village of Steventon. Through Drayton to Abingdon, at which point I began reminiscing about a date I once had there and also a lucky escape which I might tell about another time.

We were only back on the A34 a short time before exiting at the right junction where they are doing a lot of road works, late Saturday morning was not the best time to be trying to negotiate the Hinksey interchange and Kennington roundabouts whilst this work is being carried out. Roadworks negotiated we made our way towards the agency. Pug rang to say we would be 5 minutes only to be told that they needed 30 mins. I pulled up at the side of the road and rushed as quickly as my short legs would take me without breaking into a run. Pug striding along beside me, towards a pub on the corner. I instructed Pug to buy an orange juice whilst I went for a comfort break.

We were sipping our expensive (£6 for 2) glass orange juice when he got the call that the agent was at the house waiting for us.

When we arrived at the house there were a couple of workmen loitering outside the door, this had me worried, what had they been fixing? My concerns were soon forgotten as we began the slow process of going through each room in turn with the young agent, as she passed a form to Pug to complete in each and every room as he assessed the condition of the carpets, walls, furniture etc. This was a real eye opener for him. Being the first to move into this 5 bedroom house it was down to him to do this without help from his housemates.

To me this appears to be a typical student house, not up to the standards that a family would expect but good enough for a bunch of impoverished students. The rooms were all a good size, the kitchen large and clean,Kitchen  the sitting room sparce but brightsittingroom 1  sittingroom

After a trip to get some groceries, a quick sandwich and I was ready to head off home leaving my boy to unpack.

I am sure that he and his friends will be happy there for the next year. I just hope he doesn’t get too lonely before his mates move in, although I am sure that he will enjoy having the place to himself when he is entertaining his Princess.

One move down, two to go.

Hills and things

After taking 6 hours to complete a 4 hour journey we finally arrived at our destination late afternoon on Saturday. It had been a warm sunny day which made the many hold ups including a 4 mile stop start crawl on A34 bearable. 7 miles before we reached our destination I suddenly noticed that the engine light had come on, this brought on a mild panic, that and the constantly changing fuel gauge as we travelled up and down steep hill roads, would we make it before we ran out of fuel or the engine conked out?

Half a mile to go the SAT NAV told us to turn right then left, I almost missed the left turn it was so narrow. Well by that I mean that I saw it just as we passed it. Being a dual carriageway I had to continue until I could do a U turn, retrace our steps back to the narrow lane. Trundling along the lane I was thinking that I knew my in-laws lived down a lane but I hadn’t expected it to be such a narrow lane. The grass growing in the middle of the lane indicated that it wasn’t much used. It was with much relief that we reached the end of the lane which then merged with the lane we should have been on. A & B were there waiting for us as we turned around.

Next morning we woke to heavy rain, hurricane Bertha had hit the UK overnight, I believe that the weather was worse back at home than it was here in the Peak District. However the rain couldn’t take anything away from the view from our bedroom window.IMG_1783 I can see why A & B fell in love with living here.

Late morning we went for a drive (their car not ours) for a tour of a rain soaked Buxton, I was impressed with the architecture there, I will have to go back another time to investigate properly. This was followed by a drive around Bakewell, which was also very pretty even if it was crammed packed with pubs. Even in the rain there was an abundance of walkers. Before heading back for lunch we visited Chatsworth Park. We stopped to see a small Classic Car gathering near to the impressive stable block. The rain had just about stopped which was appreciated as we strolled towards the stable block. A & I made a dash for the public toilets only to be met by a queue so we made our way to the restaurant to use their facilities. These I found most disconcerting. It is not every day that I find myself surrounded by 3 images of myself reflected in the yellowish tinted glass of the cubicle (whilst sitting on the proverbial throne).

IMG_1809 The stable block at Chatsworth House.

After lunch owl and I set off on our own to find some fuel. I was worried that we wouldn’t make it the six miles to the nearest petrol station, the further I drove the closer we were getting and the prospect of a rainy walk was decreasing, I was beginning to relax. Having filled up I was much happier, we went in search of a local landmark, Monsal Head viaduct.

IMG_1813  IMG_1812 As you can see the view of the viaduct was not quite what we had expected so whilst Owl took himself off for a pint in the nearby bar I decided to follow the footpath to get a closer look at the viaduct. The path to the right looked very steep so I took the path to the left through the trees in the hope that it would come out nearer to the 1870’s construction over the river Wye. The tree covered steep hillside walk meant that all I could see were trees and more trees. Eventually I managed to work out from the glimpse of hill side across the valley that I had long ago passed the viaduct without seeing it so I made my weary way back up the hill for a well earned diet coke.

Next day we woke to see the sun shining on the fields, this was not to last all day but we didn’t get too wet on our visit to the Derwent reservoirs, where Barnes Wallis practiced his bouncing bombs.IMG_1823 IMG_1826 Howden Reservoir leads down into Derwent reservoir before finally ending up with Ladybower Reservoir.IMG_1836 Here we can see the different levels in each reservoir.

The afternoon saw a trip in the opposite direction for a trip down memory lane for Owl and his sister. We drove across the Derbyshire dales to Macclesfield where they had lived briefly in their early teens. We then went on to Knutsford where they sent their teen years. It is a small pretty town that has kept much of its history intact. We ended our visit with a drink in one of Owl’s old haunts.  IMG_1858

On our return to the house the sun was shining so I took the opportunity to take a wander up the garden to take some pictures.IMG_1871 IMG_1875  IMG_1872 Such a lovely place to live.IMG_1879

Then yesterday we made the journey back home, all was going well until the last few miles when the roads were gridlocked due to a burnt out lorry. Which I understand has still been causing problems today.

Well oiled

This evening Owl and I took a trip out to do a few chores. First we went to the recycle point at one of the local supermarkets. You get points on your card if you recycle glass bottles, cans and plastic bottles. However when we got there the recycle machine was out of operation. There were however some temporary bottle and can banks. Between us we managed to get rid of all that we had brought with us in about 5 minutes.

Following this we went across town to a well known DIY store. We wanted to get some lengths of decking to make repairs to our decking at home. We selected one of those flat bed trolleys, much easier to control than the normal shopping type trolley we used last time.

We knew what we wanted so headed straight to the far left back corner of the store. We were also looking for a rainwater diverter for one of our water butts. The plumbing dept appeared to be for internal plumbing only. Perhaps the piece we want will be in the garden section, after all that’s where the guttering should be in my opinion.  We found the decking we wanted, selected 6 lengths. I didn’t believe we could comfortably transport more  than that at once.

Owl left me in charge of the trolley whilst he went in search of the other items he wanted.  After a few moments I was bored of loitering in the wood section. I began to push the trolley through the centre aisle. I walk slowly, taking my time waiting for Owl to appear. My trolley starts to squeal. A very loud high pitch squeal. There is no way that I could creep up on my husband. The whole store can hear my progress as I move with my trolley. It is very embarrassing but it occurs to me that there was no squeal until the wood was loaded onto the trolley.

Owl returns to me and we continue to make our way through the store. I am just starting to say that maybe we should re distribute the weight of the wood into two piles, when one of the store employees rushes over with a can of WD40 in his hand.

‘You have the squeaky one then.’

He sets about spraying all four wheels. However when I start to move again the trolley is still squeaking. The employee again sprays the wheels, this time on the inside. Again I begin to move off, but the squeak is still there, a little more muted but still present. Now, because I have a slight hearing loss, unusually I can hear high pitches better than low pitches. (Most people are the other way around). I am finding this squeak very unpleasant. I try pushing the trolley whilst sticking my fingers in my ears. (Not easy).

‘Maybe we should split the wood into two piles, redistribute the weight?’ I hear myself  saying.

Before anyone can say another word the employee has grabbed 3 of the lengths of wood and moved them to the other side of the trolley so that we now have 2 equal stacks. Hey what do you know, the trolley has stopped squeaking.

‘Can you tell us where we can find one of these water diverters?’

Owl asked the employee, holding up the old one he had brought with us.

‘Try the garden centre.’

‘That’s what my wife said.’

How smug did I feel ?

I left Owl browsing around the store whilst I went through the checkout and loaded up the car. Before settling down with my book to wait for my husband to reappear.

I couldn’t help having a small giggle at the thought of a mere woman out witting to men. I just knew that if the trolley only started to squeak after the wood was loaded that must be the problem not the wheels.