Skip to main content

A bar of soap, apple jelly and an oily ooze

My phone didn't need a video screen, I could see her lips tighten and pucker as she sucked the air through her teeth, "Oooh! It can go from a small crack to a hole big enough to fit your fist in. In just a few hours!"

In other words don't delay. In other words - words like hurry and leaking and oil and no-longer-guaranteed and cost and weekend-rates and call-out-fees and estimates and emergency - this will be expensive.

I tried a few words of my own - "I'll get back to you" and "Phone around for other quotes" and "Goodbye."

The second quote secured the deal - "We'll come tomorrow." Goodbye the gloom and doom merchants and hello to Mr Calmly-assess-the-situation-before-reassuring-the-client-that-all-will-be-well.  Why turn an ooze into an emergency? Why panic? Why guarantee that the client will suffer insomnia worrying that the ooze will increase to a gush and flood the garden with £900 of domestic heating oil? Why indeed - when all it takes is a bar of soap? Yep! A ... bar...of ... soap!

Yes, I did think that I had somehow jumped from speaking to Mr Calmly-the-sensible-oil-man into another conversation with someone who sounded very like Mr Calmly but was clearly having some sort of mind storm. A ... bar ... of ... soap.

"Has anyone told you about soap?" he asked. "Do you have any soap in your house?"

"Um ..." Can we get back to my oil tank; my oozing oil tank; the one that might rupture at any moment, I thought. "Ye-e-es, we have soap," I replied, thinking what does he expect me to do with the soap? Wash my hands! Ok, so there might be a little oil ... on one finger ... but this is taking the calm-the-customer-down approach into an insane realm of overly excessive slightly creepy attentiveness. Next he'll tell me to sit down and have a cup of tea, brewed on the aga ... the heat source that I have just had to turn off owing to the LEAKING oil tank!

But he didn't. The soap was to rub "vigorously" into the split in the tank wall. Immediate emulsification plugged the gap and slowed the ooze. Clever Mr Calmly.

So when your oil is all oozy and the cost makes you woozy there's no need to be boozy just rub in some soap. And when they ask you for a bucket of hot soapy water the next day, nod sagely. And try not to look too surprised when they use it to wash their hands!

A bar of soap ... and an oily ooze. Why insert apple jelly into the title? Apple scented soap? No. This is the reason



This the 7.30am apple picking, tree hacking, don't-want-to-risk-the-tank-replacement-men-having-to-do-this-and-making-the-job-more-expensive slog that got me up bright and early on a Saturday morning


And this the result



And this - "Where have all my apples gone?"




And ultimately this







Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Life in the slow lane - Part One.

Recent hypothetical text message from parent to adult son -

Been in the garden all day. Time for a bath first then I'll leave, with you by 8. Chilly here - have you had snow? See you soon. Lots of  love xx
PS. Bought too many aubergines yesterday - would you like some?

All very mundane; boring even? Hmmm.

In an effort to save time or appear somehow with-it or hip or whatever term is used now to mean 'not ancient', the parent could instead have sent this -

Been in the garden all day. Time for 🛁. Chilly here - do you have ❄️. 
PS. Would you like some 🍆? Lots of X

Yes, I punctuate my texts.

Punctuation, however, isn't the point here. Or rather it's not the only thing unmasking me as someone who is not hip/cool/sic or lit (which list, of course, proves without a doubt that I am none of these things).

No. The point is that with the insertion of a few emojis, I changed an innocent message about gardening, the weather and vegetables, into something x-rated and made myself …

#2019 Connections, characters and a stone ball.

Half-way into January. A small step into a new year. And I am another year older. How did this happen?

I could answer part of that by reminding myself that as I was born in January and have just had a birthday I am a year older. But half-way into January (over half-way now - several days have passed since I started this blog) and a small step into a New Year; how did these happen?

Time doesn’t stand still. I've said that before. In November's blog. I called it out as a cliche then too. It is. But if cliches can be good and I think this is a good one. Time is animated. Time moves. I wittered on about this at length. In November. Two months ago. Two months filled with frantic present hunting; over-eating; over-spending; under-sleeping; and wrapping (always late on Christmas eve - so late that I risk Father Christmas finding me sitting on the floor surrounded by paper and string - the sellotape always runs out at about 11.57pm on Christmas Eve, doesn't it? - hot chocolate insul…

Time and dreams. And a mountain or two.

Time doesn’t stand still. Not for any man or woman. Time is physics. It proceeds and there is nothing that we can do about it. Not yet anyway. Probably not ever.

While perhaps it's not great writing to start with a cliche (or even a few), the standing still of time, as sometimes observed in a moment of awe, is something we can perceive. Sometimes. Okay, time doesn't actually stop. But it feels like it does. Insert here any moment when for you time 'stood still'; that moment, perhaps, when you had raced to summit a mountain and - with your feet standing on the highest point, your body in that state of elated exhaustion - you watched as the rising sun crept long pillars of light above the distant horizon. And you realised - literally standing still - that you were holding your breath. 

The sun of course went on rising and time did not actually stop. At moments like these, we tell ourselves that it did; just for a moment. But that is an illusion. A mere mistaken perception.…