You might remember a prior blog about purchasing things that turn out to be the wrong size; we’ve all done it, have we not? Last time for us, it was a drinks fridge and a pot of fajita seasoning, this time it was two items, one minor and the other major – in both size and impact.
The first, a set of plates. When we were married, and even before that, I have owned a Port Merrion dinner service and, to be honest, I am profoundly sick of it. The plates are thick and take up too much space in the dishwasher and besides this practical aspect, I have been looking at that blooming (literally) pattern for forty odd years. I deserved a change.
Because we are self-employed and can never splash out in case funds are needed for a barren patch, I decided that I would collect white china from charity shops. It wouldn’t matter if everything was slightly mismatched as long as it was all white – I would be quite on trend, I thought, given the assortment of china one can be offered in an afternoon tea setting. Sadly, charity shops were not an option once the dreaded C word restrictions came into force.
Thoughts of crockery faded into insignificance when I lost my dad on 9th March 2021. There were other matters to consume my mind, such as grief, funeral arrangements and obituaries. Mavis returned from university and announced she had nothing suitable to wear, with which I could not argue as she spends her life in plaid jackets and shirts and black leggings. As restrictions were easing, we planned a trip to Duckchester. Despite the reason for our trip, I was quite excited at the prospect of a shopping spree after all this time.
Mavis procede to fill up her diary with social visits until the only day we could go shopping was Monday, the very first day the restrictions eased. My expectation was that the shops would be heaving, but they weren’t. We had a lovely time in almost empty shops. Much of the stock was reduced, and Mavis and I both found items to wear.
‘Shall we have quick look in TK Max?’ I suggested.
‘We could look for a new bowl for me,’ agreed Mavis – hers had been broken during some drunken episode.
We both love upstairs in TK Max; it’s so quirky. So, while Mavis browsed the bowls, I spied some really beautiful, white plates. Denby china, perfect condition and cheap. I grabbed 6 and Mavis joined me with her new cereal bowl.
We toiled to the end of a winding queue. This was the first time we had needed to line up, and to make matters worse the place was hot and unventilated, making me nervous. Still, we persevered in the queue, I wanted that china, and hopefully we were safe, everyone was wearing a mask.
At home, I unwrapped my plates, washed them and slid them into the cupboard. Then I shut the cupboard door. No. I didn’t shut the cupboard door. The plates were too big for the cupboard.
Given that this seems to be a habit, I was forced to laugh.
Undaunted, I rearranged another cupboard and insereted the plates.
That evening, dinner was served on the new platters. Later, into the dishwasher they went and I switched it on.
The next morning, I emptied the dishwasher to find the items on the top shelf covered in baked on crud. You guessed it. The plates were too tall and stopped the rotor from turning. Double whammy! But they are so beautiful, I don’t care.
The next item, we expected might be a problem: Years ago, when Mavis was little, we owned a cross trainer. It lived in our family room, where Whizz constructed it after heaving it, in its box, up the stairs. We both liked the cross trainer as it has low impact on, and exercises, parts of the body other equipment, like the treadmill we had owned previously and the afore mentioned exercise bike, can’t reach.
The children loved the cross trainer as well, and after finding two seven-year-olds riding round and round on one pedal, it was unsurprising when later, the pedal sheared off completely and the cross trainer was assigned to the tip.
Unable to stretch, financially, to a new one, Whizz invested in a secondhand exercise bike and up until today, has been uncomfortably doing interval training on it, while watching reruns of 1970s ‘dramas’ or super hero films. What can I say? The man has no taste, but I love him.
Then came the discovery that a couple in Robinghood were moving away from the village and needed to dispose of the cross trainer in their home gym. It was a bargain and we leapt at the opportunity to buy it.
Measuring began, of the space in the family room. To diverge a little from the story, this brings to mind the time we bought a caravan. Whizz measured and remeasured the access at the side of the house to our back garden. It was definitely the right size but only just. What he failed to take into account, and I am not blaming him, I would have been the same… What he failed to take into account was that the ground sloped a little to the left, so the bottom of the caravan fitted perfectly but the top, well it touched the wall.
On this occasion, we knew there was a good chance we wouldn’t be able to get the cross trainer up the stairs. How right we were. It is massive. Weighs over 200 kilos and now, resides in our lounge. It is so tall; I can no longer see one of my pictures, and the length! We knew how long it was in theory, but actually seeing it was a shock.
We are now planning project two, to move the cross trainer into the ‘garage’. In truth we can’t really call the structure in question a garage because, as explained above, it is almost impossible to get a car down the side of the house to reach it – not to mention the fact that it is the repository of our junk. Anyway, the next project is to fill the centre of the floor with concrete as it is currently damp and porous, having been filled with badly mixed sand and cement by the previous, nefarious incumbent of the house. But, dear reader, that is another story.