River Wissey Lovell Fuller


February 2020

Roundabouts and Car parks: Since moving to the Birmingham area, we have spent a lot of time negotiating massive roundabouts which have five or six lanes going around them. Each lane has been marked with the road number which will make you leave the roundabout at the correct point for your destination. So, the first thing to learn is the number of the road you have to use. For example, son Grant lives up the A456 and Calum lives up the A491. The markings on the lane “drift” to the left as you go around the roundabout and life can be very confusing for us poor newcomers. The locals are really friendly but many turn into really aggressive and intolerant people when sitting behind the wheel of a car and many of them had a new car horn for Christmas. Son Calum calls them “Numpties”when they honk at him but I am less charitable. If you are coming to visit us, be sure to memorise the road numbers. The massive car parks around here, with tight spaces, have taught me a lot, hence the following advice: Always reverse into the car parking space. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, the travelling lanes in the car park (You know, the narrow roads through the parking spaces, usually marked with painted arrows on the road surface pointing in the wrong direction – that's my belief and I am sticking to it) are so narrow that you cannot swing forwards into a space, there is forward and reverse shuffling required. Then, when you come to leave the car park, you discover that the mini on either side has been replaced with a Transit van, so there is no vision when you need to reverse out into the narrow travelling lane populated by drivers travelling at speed toward the exit barrier because it is their road and, for them, the arrows seem to be correctly aligned. They are unaware of people trying to reverse out of a space and accidents often happen. Our new house is now three years old and water stains and mould appeared on the sitting room ceiling last month. Eventually, we discovered that it was coming from the flush for a WC in an upstairs bathroom. The cistern is inaccessible as the whole wall has been tiled so we are committed to a big job. Our next door neighbour and one over the road have had the same problem! CALA homes denied liability as the house is more than 2 years old. They referred us to NHBC 10 year guarantee but they only deal with water ingress from outside, so we had to use the insurance company who have been very helpful, secure in the knowledge that I have a £350 excess on the policy. In 40 years at The Old House, we only ever had one episode of water damage and that was my fault. One of the ball valves in the attic tank needed adjusting and water was pouring out of the overflow pipe into the front yard. I did not have time to fix the ball valve so, temporarily, I stuck a hosepipe over it and put the other end down the drain. All went well until I came home from a night visit at 2am and parked my car on the hosepipe. The water backed up and took out the bathroom ceiling and the scullery ceiling before I woke up in the morning. At present, we have a flock of about 50 Goldfinches living in our trees and bushes; they descend en masse down to our bird feeding station and two bird tables and have a particular preference for sunflower seeds and niger seeds. We have to fill up the feeders every day! John and Fred came home to John's house for a beer and found John's wife in bed with the milkman. They did not disturb the couple and crept downstairs to the 'fridge. John was shaking with silent rage and eventually, as they drank their beer, Fred said “Well, what about the milkman?” “What about him?” asked John”He can get his own ***** beer!” Albert’s van broke down while he was taking half a dozen monkeys to the zoo. He flagged down a passing van and offered the driver £100 to take the monkeys to the zoo. Two hours later, Albert was still waiting at the roadside, waiting for his van to be fixed, when he saw the other van going past, still full of monkeys. He asked the driver what on earth he was doing. “Well, I took them to the zoo and I had £50 of the money left over so now I am taking them to the cinema to see a film followed by a burger and chips”. Best wishes to you all Ian Nisbet

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