Tuesday, 29 November 2011

They're telling porkies

I have contacted the Company and asked them to explain their maths. No answer as yet.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Day Three

The builders turned up just after 9.00 a.m. arriving as I was driving off to go and say Morning Prayer at another village. Leaving them to it I returned about an hour later to some good news and some bad news. The good news is that a new shower has been fitted in the bathroom; and the bad news ... that there appears to be a fault in the solar converter unit in the loft which will need a Warranty call-out to the manufacturers, and this may take some weeks.

At least progress has been made, and my visitors this weekend will be able to wash!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Unlike The Beatles ...

... who sang "It's getting better all the time - can't get no worse", the saga continues.

This morning (damp carpets still drip-drying in my neighbours old wooden garage) a young man who looked not much older than about 12 unexpectedly arrived from the builders to "Commission" my solar installation. Having seen his identity card I let him in, delaying my exit to the shops as he said he simply had to take some readings and look at the loft installation which would take about 30 minutes.

Forty minutes later, and with no sound from the loft, I checked that he was still breathing and not lying in a shrivelled electrocuted heap, smouldering on the attic floor. He finally emerged shaking his young head and muttering, "I've not seen one do that before. I don't know what's wrong with it. It keeps turning itself off. It shouldn't do that. There's probably a fault in the circuit board so I'll need to get them to come out and replace it. I've turned it all off for the moment."

He departed (back to his mid-morning milk and cookies), and so, a day and a flood later, the system is not yet active.

Then ....

... as my resident house guest entered into the guest bathroom and turned on the shower, there was a gushing in the pipes followed by a gap of a few seconds, and then a loud thump that reverberated through the house. I knew what it was. Following the water problems yesterday there was an airlock in the pipes that had just cleared itself.

My houseguest soon came downstairs and informed me that the electric shower did not seem to be working properly. It was either stone-cold or scalding hot. It went upstairs and played with the controls. After another couple of gurgles the temperature settled down, but when I pressed to OFF button the water kept flowing. I tried it again, but no change. Clearly something was wrong.

A search in the loft access did not reveal the stop valve for the shower water feed, so leaving my guest to crawl around in the second loft space, (and having turned the unit off at the fuse-box) I telephoned the builders. Having explained the problems of yesterday to the receptionist, and then the resulting problems today, she informed me that they could get a plumber out to me tomorrow.

I made it very clear to her that this was not acceptable, and asked to speak to the boss with whom I have always got on very well. I explained to him the problem and said that there was no way I was going to let the water keep running for 24 hours when this was all the result of the cock-up by his employees yesterday. I was put on hold for a few minutes and he came back and said that he would get a plumber out to me this afternoon, which he did.

The airlock had caused the motor controlling the inlet diaphragm to burn out and so the valve was not shutting. With the control lever located in the attic, the water supply was isolated so that there was no longer the continual flow down the bath. He departed saying that they would have to locate a new shower unit for me, and that it should be fitted tommorrow.

Thankfully I have another shower, but I also have guests arriving tomorrow afternoon for the weekend. This could get interesting.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011


In the Fawlty Towers episode "The Builders", Basil hires the Irish builder Mr. O'Reilly to carry out some internal alterations to the hotel. He manages to block up the door to the dining room and move another to the base of the stairs. When his worknmanship, or lack of it, is commented upon, he asserts that "a lick of paint here, a lick of paint there" will sort it all out. Sybil Fawlty is less than impressed and lays into him with her umbrella. Basil decides to give him one more chance, which we know will turn out to be disasterous. The episode ends with Basil marching down the driveway of Fawlty Towers clutching a large garden gnome with the clear intention of inserting it into the hapless builder.

I had some work carried out on the house today. The Diocese has decided to speedily install solar panels on the roofs of many of its vicarages, and my turn was today. Two young Irish builders arrived at 07.15 and proceeded to erect their tower scaffolding. By 11.00 a.m. they were ready to drill a hole through the outside wall to feed the panel cable to the fuseboard. It all went swimmingly. Literally. Despite my warnings they managed to chew a small hole in the mains water inlet pipe.

Now the pressure in that particular water pipe is quite high, and my lobby, where all my DVD's are stored, proceeded to get a hefty shower. To cries of alarm his compatriot was alerted and the stop-cock turned off, but not before the carpet was flooded and the DVD shelves dripping merrily.

The afternoon was spent in mopping up, moving all the DVDs into the kitchen, wiping them down, taking out their wet covers and drying them on the radiators. The kitchen table now looks like a DVD shop, and it has to be cleared tonight as I host the post-communion breakfast tomorrow morning. And I have another PCC meeting this evening (in about 35 minutes).

In between all this I not only had a PCC to attend but also a pre-funeral visit with the relatives coming to me and clambering their way over pipes, tools, metalwork and cables, and dam dust-sheets.

The plumber arrived about 4.00 p.m. and it took him a good hour to access the damaged piece of pipe and remove it since the fuse-box cupboard had been built around it. Eventually the damaged section was removed and a new section brazed-in. The Irish lads cleared off before this was finished, their job done.

If I'd had a garden gnome handy .....

Saturday, 19 November 2011


I returned yesterday from the 2011 Inclusive Church conference that took place at the Hayes Conference centre in Swanwick, Derbyshire.

Seventy people (now there's a New Testament number on which to reflect ....) from the Inclusive Church network gathered to share in worship, listen to different speakers, hear real life stories, be amazed at a magic show and, of course, congregate at the bar.

The conference explored a range of topics, and detailed information can be found on the Inclusive Church website, including the personal stories of those who chose to share their various tortuous lives with the church with the rest of us. All are worth reading and can be found here.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Horror story

I bought myself the DreamWorks animated movie "The Prince of Egypt" today. It had this classification warning on the reverse of the box. I think we ought to campaign for it to be pasted onto every copy of the Bible in our churches.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Bonfire Night

Fireworks and a grand fire in the garden of the Old Vicarage here in the village. Parsnip soup, hot dogs, hash browns, duck pancake rolls, chocolate brownies, gingerbread men, and red wine. It was a very pleasant evening.