Socks and Trees

Now I know we are truly home.

The washing machine packed up again in the middle of the night, despite a nice man coming to fix it last week. It stopped mid cycle once more, although this time I was able to get my washing out and then spin it, so I am not in total despair. Having said that, the washer now rocks back and forth and leaks in places it never leaked in previously. Jason is currently sitting in a small puddle with a tool box, swearing. He has fished a sock out of the filter, and is mumbling dire imprecations against Samsung washing machines. I feel its days may be numbered.

It seems to swallow a lot of socks. I never had this problem with any of my other washing machines. There was one once that ate a bra, but I’d stay that’s standard for a washing machine. This ones prodigious appetite for socks is unusual, and not at all effective. It is like the Kite Eating Tree from Peanuts, but less cute and more impractical.

On top of this, our neighbour has hacked the trees on our boundary line to oblivion. He approached us a few weeks back saying that he had all the paperwork (the trees have a protection order on them), and the council have allowed him to thin out the tops of the trees to allow more light into his garden. We thought this sounded reasonable. What he actually meant was: ‘The week you’re on holiday I’m going to get three men with bloody great chainsaws to take every leaf and branch off the trees until your garden looks like the Somme. You are welcome.’ It is not nice. Not nice at all. He assures Jason that they will start to leaf again in two years, but we remain unconvinced. They look like giant, angry Twiglets.

Yesterday he was hacking great lumps out of the hedge that also divides our properties. Jason went to talk to him about it and he basically said: ‘It’s my hedge I will do what I want.’ What this means is that we have virtually no shade in our garden, all the wonderful swishing noises that sounded like the sea, where the wind whooshed through the tree tops is gone. There is no more dappled sunlight, and all the squirrels and woodpeckers are bereft. It also means that not only can he now see into the entirety of our garden from his upstairs windows, he has hacked so much hedge that he can now see the garden from his downstairs windows, and we have a lovely view of his horrible, box like house from our decking.

We are mulling over what to do. We need some kind of screening until the trees (theoretically), start to leaf again. We are looking at our options. I am thinking bamboo, some kind of fencing and a hit man to make sure he doesn’t do it again.

There was an enormous shit on the decking right by the barbecue this morning when I got up. Some kind of animal, although Jason says he cannot rule himself out. Who knows what he gets up to in the wee small hours when we are all asleep? I am thinking uncharitable thoughts about the neighbour. Now he can see into our garden he can make plans…

The weather has turned to shit, to match the decking. After a week of glorious sunshine in Kent we came home to unbelievable heat and humidity yesterday that made even thinking make you break into a sweat. In the night this transformed into torrential rain, thunderstorms and horrendous humidity in between. Today it is overcast and sodden, when it is not pouring, and the heat is unbearable. Remind me never to live in a rain forest. Especially with this neighbour.

The cat is sulking. My parents house sat for us last week while we were away, and Derek had trained my dad to answer her every beck and call. She strode about the house and grounds with him running behind her, doing her bidding. Turning the taps in the sink on and off so she could have a drink, getting up at three in the morning to watch films and play running up and down stairs, making him guard her while she ate. Now he is gone, and we are home and we are frankly rubbish. She has complained and marched about swishing her tail in protest. She is thinking of packing up her polka dot hankie on a stick and running away to my parents’ house.

In better news:

Jason has done lots of form filling in and swearing to do with tax stuff, so hopefully we won’t get arrested for tax fraud any time soon.

We have decided, after much debate, that we will keep the front door we currently have. Eventually a nice man called Barry is going to come round and paint it for us. We are undecided on colour, but this will be a minor spat compared to the actual door debate.

A nice man called Martin is coming, possibly next week to re-tile the shower floor for us.

No matter how lovely your holiday, there is nothing quite like sleeping in your own bed.

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