Tuesday, 19 January 2021

first signs


Spring has sprung. Noticed the first daffodils beginning to push through on my way into the office this morning. Weather has warmed up since last week, currently around 10c. I guess we're currently in the warm sector of a frontal system that'll push itself over the country over the next few days with the storm that's forecast.

Apparently the Met Office have named this one Christoph. Hopefully Christoph won't blow the garden fence back down that I've only just screwed back together and put back up after Bella had her fun with it a over Christmas.

I'm not sure I particularly like the Met Office affection of naming the various storms that hit us as if they were new born babes. In any case, Christoph sounds like a jerk. The weather's forecast to turn icy again by the weekend, so at least if he does knock the fence back down the swamp that is currently by back garden should be fairly solid to walk on if I have to go out there and put it back up again. 

And it's not as if I have any other plans.

In other news, whilst I might be unimpressed with the modern affection of naming storms, modern technology never ceases to amaze me. Nik told mentioned a couple of nights ago that the oven had ceased to warm up. I'm guessing the heating element has gone; it did this before some years ago.

However, to replace it, I've got a) remember to look for a replacement online and b) remember to make a note of the make and model of the oven so that I know what I'm looking for. Yesterday I forgot. So today Nik rang me to remind me. At which point we deduced that neither of us could remember the make and model of the oven and neither of us were home to check.

It needs to be fixed, but I can't say it's a huge priority for me. Most of the cooking I do is done on the hob. The call ended with a dissatisfied "Guess one of us will have to check when we get home" and the underlying, unspoken threat that I'd be cooking tea for the foreseeable until I got it sorted.

However, Dad and I refitted the kitchen back in 2014, which was when we replaced the oven. And I have a habit of taking photos of everything. 

So I went onto my Google Photos and typed "oven" into the search bar. And there it pops up, my oven, shiny and new in the showroom on the day I decided that was the one.

That has to be the singularly most boring photo I've ever posted up here. But from that, I was able to zoom in and sharpen the image on the label sat on the hob, and having then identified that it was Kenwood CK305 (which I don't recommend, by the way) it was a simple matter to source and purchase a replacement heating element for the oven which, if all goes to plan, should be with me by tomorrow.

Clever thing this technology stuff.

Monday, 18 January 2021

Dry January


I should've sailed New Year's Day. I've done so every other New Year for countless years now at Frampton, or if I've not it's either been because the lake has frozen over, or I was dumb enough to win the previous year's race and so was stuck with Race Officer duty for the year following.

But of course I'm now at South Cerney rather than Frampton, and South Cerney don't race on New Year's Day. We did have a race on the Monday following Boxing Day and that was fun. It involved a drive through the snow to get to the Club; I'd mean to race the Albacore with Amanda, but she rang to say she'd been snowed in and couldn't make it, so instead I cracked the ice off the Laser's boat cover and massaged life back into the frozen up lines and raced that instead.

I had meant to go play by myself New Years Day, race or no, but when the morning came around, the weather was so dank and dismal, without even the redemption of a breeze that, having glanced briefly out of the bedroom window, I rolled back over and slept off the excesses of the night before for a couple more hours instead.

I'm not proud of myself.

And shortly thereafter, of course, we went into a new lockdown. Or at least a lockdown-lite. We're still allowed to go to work if we can't work from home, and the definition of essential shops that are allowed to remain open is pretty broad, but we're not allowed out to play. And certainly not out to sail.

The one saving grace is that the weather has remained dull and boring. Actually, that's not true. We did have a freezing fog in the first week of the new year, which was atmospheric if not especially pleasant, but not the sort of weather than makes you wish you were out on the water. 

But freezing fog or no, with no boats to play with, no gigs and no karate, the weeks and weekends are kind of blending in to each other. Although I do still have work, and work is staying busy, which provides a demarcation of sorts, and for that I'm grateful.

Otherwise, my only real distraction other than work and walking the dogs has been the piano, which I've spent a fair amount of time at since Christmas. Possibly to the despair of my wife and, perhaps, next door. 

I've been struggling over the notes of Chopin's Prelude in E Minor and Beethoven's Für Elise, which of course has involved an awful lot of clumsy repetition. Both are, slowly, getting there, a progress which I've found very satisfying. But both have still a long way to go.

That said, a week ago last Wednesday was our 25th anniversary, so I guess Nik must've built up a tolerance to me by now. And whilst I don't actually know if next door can hear my piano through the walls of our semi-detached, I do try to be careful with the volume and constrain my practice to daytime at weekends and early evenings during the week.

Of course, it being an electric piano, I could always plug a pair of headphones in. But nobody's asked me to yet, and so until somebody finally feels driven to mention it, I'm going to not think of that.