Well, an eventful homecoming! Not big things, but they make a difference to the amount of bounce in my step.
The good first. And it's very good.
# I mentioned that my new neighbour Toby came over and welcomed me back. Well, in the conversation we had, it emerged that he had been a qualified tree surgeon, and still had all his gear, chainsaw and climbing tackle included. He has agreed to thin out the trees at the bottom of my garden early next year. That's a problem off my mind. Low branches are one thing; the higher stuff is much harder. He can also do roof tiles if they get shifted by the wind, or otherwise break - impossible for me to fix. Another worry gone. How I envy these people who have skills, and no fear of heights!
# Before I went on holiday, I'd been engaged in a series of NHS do-it-yourself-at-home bowel cancer tests. It's all about traces of blood in your poo, indicating bleeding from something growing in the wall of your colon or thereabouts. I won't go into the details of how samples are taken for testing! Anyway, one of the tests had come back with 'result unclear'. So I had to repeat the tests twice, and actually took the kit away on holiday with me, posting it back from Devon. I felt sure that I was in the clear, but naturally I still felt worried about it. On arriving home, I braced myself for unwelcome news. But it was all right! The latest tests were 'normal'. Phew.
Now the bad. It's not an absolute disaster.
My bathroom shower has stopped working! It gets heavy use, and had shown signs of hesitancy before I left for Devon, and the hot water flow definitely wobbled a bit when I used it on the first evening home. Last night it stalled. A few seconds' gush, and then it gushed no further.
I experimented carefully this morning, and I think it's the switch for the water-flow rate ('high' or 'low') that's playing up. I didn't worry over this. I texted Kevin, my next door neighbour, who is on an extended holiday with his wife Jackie lasting till mid-December in their narrow boat somewhere in the Midlands. He's a plumber, and he installed my current Mira shower early in 2012. He phoned me back (another reassuring voice). I explained the problem, and asked him, did I need a local electrician? No, they wouldn't touch it. My best plan would be to phone Customer Services at Mira, and get one of their service engineers to come out and fix the problem. I should expect a bill of at least £100, though - well, that was no surprise!
So the solution is at hand. I only have to make a call. The irritating thing is that this will have to be something for Monday, and it's only Saturday. To wash myself later this afternoon I shall have to sit in the bath and then wash and rinse my hair by dipping a cup in the water. It'll work, but it will feel like camping. And it's an 'old person's bath', with a side door. So you get in, shut the door, and wait for the bath to fill up sufficiently. I'd best wear something warm on my top half while the water level creeps up. And when done, you have to stay sitting there until the water has drained away enough to open the door and step out. Brrrrr! Oh well, it could be worse.
Funny how basic home comforts matter. In the caravan, if I want a full wash, including my hair, I cheerfully make do with kettle, wash basin, and that cup to dip into the water. And think nothing of it, although I am very happy to use a hot shower, if the site I'm on has them. But at home I take luxury and convenience completely for granted, and it's disconcerting when it's suddenly denied! But not, of course, the end of the world.