Monday, February 28, 2011

DIY Plumbing = Leaks

Fitted a new bathroom wash basin last year, lovely job. Leaking like a twat yesterday! Fixed it, shower cubicle started leaking... What is it about water leaks! If it's not crappy plastic plumbing fittings (they never quite fit together correctly, requiring about a gallon of additional silicon sealant) it water pipes or roofs leaking. Bloody stuff!

Friday, December 31, 2010

Breaking & Entering... Into My Own House.

I don't really recall becoming aware of my ability to turn the simplest task into a rage inducing fu**up however one of the earliest things I can recall goes back to when I was 17.

My folks were heading off to one of their friends birthday party or something and were staying away for the night. My best friend at the time was going to stay over and so the planning began.

It was Friday night and we were 17, a couple of under-age beers in the local pub followed by a Chinese takeaway and the distinct possibility of getting a couple of girls round, you know... it has to be done.

I went out before my folks had left for the party, met up with my pal and we started to put the evenings plans into motion. Cue fu**up A: I'd gone out without my house keys.

Not a big deal until you realise that this was back before mobile phones. I am 38 now and the sort of mobiles that existed back then were the size of a small car and not really all that portable. Even if I'd had a phone I certainly didn't have the phone number of my folks friends.

We hurried back to my house on the off chance my folks hadn't left yet. Too late, they'd gone. What to do?

We walked to the nearby phone box and called the Police, explained the situation and asked if a Bobby could come round with their magic, open any door key. I was told that they did not carry such equipment. I then asked if they could just send someone round and smash the door in or something. I can still remember the call taker politely saying, "No." and hanging up.

You might think we could have just gone and crashed at my mates house but - and isn't there always a but? - we had two dogs and a cat.

The only option was to pick the smallest window and SMASH!!! However, I really didn't have the heart to smash a window. So, we began what was to become the four or five hour job of removing (without snapping) the thin wooden beading and picking away the putty etc that held the glass in place before carefully prizing the (quite new at the time) double glazing unit from the imported, mahogany frame.

Throughout the operation we were hoping a neighbour might ring the Police to report a suspected break in - they were a nosey bunch of do-gooders after all - at which time the Police would turn up and have the magic key that I was convinced a) existed and (b) all coppers carried. Not a peep... not a single, "Oi! What are you doing?" or visible curtain twitch from any of the bastards.

Finally the window unit came free. The joy was short lived. Our dogs were good dogs and had no doubt been cross legged for the first couple of hours but five hours shut in was a bit too long for them. It was quickly apparent after the glass came out that the kitchen floor was covered in mess :O(

First job however was to get in and retrieve my keys, unlock the door to let the dogs out and let us in to begin cleaning up.

Having carefully propped the glass unit against the wall, I hopped up into the window frame to climb through. As I left the ground my left foot kicked the glass unit that then kindly fell over and smashed.

Five hours outside in the cold, dog shit all over the kitchen floor and a fu**ing broken window after all.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Limited Edition, Locally Brewed Christmas Beer - Oops.


Fu**ing gutted...

I acquired two bottles of a locally brewed beer just before Christmas. Very rare they were too!

Ok so we live in France and the wine is superb and for the most part the beer is good but it's a bit erm... lagery. Blonde, Ambre, Brun and Dark whatever it's called all sort of tastes the same, and it's sweeter than my UK hand pulled, real ale palette is used to. Yes even here in the land of lovely, cheap booze I miss a good olde pint!

Luckily there's a brewery in the next department that's run by an award winning UK master brewer. They moved here about the same time we did and brew a variety of typically English beers as well as continental style beers to much acclaim (both indigenous and expat).

They were clients of mine at one time (I'm a freelance web designer) however a small issue of them not paying their bills on time or even after several reminders caused m,e to sack them as clients - call me daft but I prefer to work for people who actually pay.

Anyway, I digress and business issues (that should never come between a man and his beer) aside they do make superb beer. So..........

I bumped into them at a Marché de Noël (Christmas Market) just the other day.

After a few tastings and reminders of such delights as Timothy Taylor Landlord,  Fursty Ferret, Hobgoblin and Batemans XXXB I settled on two bottles (it was rather pricey) of a special, one off (400 bottles) brew XXX 10Degree - awesome... how to describe it? Guinness meets Theakstons Old Perculier meets Number 3... with a little something else thrown in...

Matured for six months in Cognac barrels before bottling the hint of cognac was devine! I can't believe how seriously fu**ing pissed off I am I only bought two bottles... With a wax sealed crown top closing the bottle, I was told by the brewer that the beer would keep ten years. I told him I doubted it would get the chance to last that long.

One bottle was enjoyed on Christmas day along with my Father, another real ale connoisseur, and damn fine it was too. The wax took a bit of smashing off before getting at the metal crown top but a few minutes of buggering about saw the delightful beverage served into two pint glasses. Bliss.

I have been saving the second bottle to enjoy on New Years Eve however some recent family member health problems have meant our NYE party has had to be cancelled. It suits me, to be honest New Years Eve is one of my least favourable nights of the year. I see it as welcoming another year of impending shit.

So this evening I thought to myself "F**k it" and got the second bottle out. Carefully cracked the wax away and went to the metal crown top with a traditional bottle opener... CRAAAAAAACK! Snapped the fu**ing neck and watched in slow motion as tiny fragments of glass fell into the bottle body as the contents fizzed up all over the worktop...

By the time I'd poured the non fizzed away beer through a sieve to catch any shards of glass the once proud beverage was a flat, pissed off looking small glass of shit.  FU**!!!!