Sennen Cove: the final frontier. These are the witterings of a West Cornwall shopkeeper. His seemingly interminable mission: to plumb new depths in literary rambling, to seek out the boring and banal, to boldly sink deeper than any Diarist has sunk before.
January 16th - Sunday
It is always a bit tricky going to bed early. Sometimes it works out and sometimes you wake up at four o'clock in the morning having had close to eight hours sleep wondering what you are still doing lying in bed. It was one of the latter today. Obtusely, I drifted off at around half past six o'clock and woke up late.
Happily, I am not the person to be out of sorts by such things even though I could not find a cat to throw my boots at. It did not make me frightfully late for the trade show that I had intended to be the first through the door at. I did manage to park in the area right next to the show hanger for the first time in the many years that we had been coming here. Naturally, in all the years when it had been snowing, teeming down with rain or blowing a gale or all three that would have been most useful, today was pleasantly mild, dry and not a breath of wind in the air. For the first time ever, I was able to walk from the car to the hanger without the aid of a coat.
I had anticipated a reduced showing of visitors this year but it was probably busier than some of the previous years we have attended. While the visitors were there in numbers, many of the exhibitors backed out this year either from fear of the dreaded lurgi or the fact that showing at trade shows is no longer the big earner that it used to be and stalls are expensive. One long-time supplier of ours commented that of those who did come many had reduced the size of their stalls.
The stalls that were there had been more spread out this year to give everyone more space. This filled just one hall with the reduced numbers where in previous years, two halls have been required for a more compacted number of stalls. In truth, had I pulled my finger out and applied myself, I could have made it around the entire show and returned home in the afternoon. However, it does pay to have a chat with the suppliers to understand what issues and challenges lie out there in the big world beyond The Cove. The more experienced suppliers have a good understanding of what is going on in the supply chain and what affects it all may have on our small business in the coming year or two.
A faster run around the exhibitors would also mean that I may have missed some detail that I might be useful to us. There were, in fact, a few new suppliers to us whose products I will give good consideration to after consulting with the Missus. I would hate to tease you now, dear reader, of what new delights may be adorning our shelves this year or, indeed, our online shop, which is the bit you skirt around to this very page.
So, having finished my tour earlier than expected, I returned to the hotel. It was only as I drove into the car park that I recalled that I needed fuel for the journey home. Ordinary people in ordinary cars probably would be able to arrive at Exeter from The Cove and go back again without having to worry about such minutia. Unfortunately, grumpy shopkeepers who need to transport large quantities of goods around but also need to drive up rough and muddy lanes to farms need a vehicle that requires to find a petrol station every couple of hours of driving. When we finally are not allowed to purchase such vehicles and are compelled to have ones that run on AA batteries, I will delight in seeing the size of trailer we will have to drag around just to get to the end of the road and back.
At home, at the farthest end of the known world, we have to drive some miles to find a petrol station and therefore must plan when fuelling needs to take place. It is one of the disadvantages of remote living - there are many more advantages. However, here I was at the heart of metropolis land, the big city of the West - Exeter in all its populous glory. There will be a petrol station around every corner, surely, thought I. Surely not, it seems. I consulted the very knowledgeable Internet for assistance and learned that there was a petrol station in the trading estate opposite the hotel, just a few hundred yards and a couple of roundabouts hence. Hence I bounded, in the light traffic of a Sunday afternoon and arriving at my destination without the aid of a net or, for that matter, satellite navigation, discovered that there was no such thing as a petrol station there, just a big cash and carry store.
I sat in the cash and carry car park and reviewed the map the Internet had provided me with. In truth, the first option I had been given had been a little unlikely, so I opted for a second petrol station, a national franchise, on the main road to Plymouth. A dead certainty.
At least this petrol station existed but it was not until the numbers on the petrol pump stayed resolutely at the final count of the previous user that I discovered that it was, in fact, closed. There was one petrol station that I had passed on my way back from the showground but it was at a busy junction on the wrong side of the road and I was not entirely sure that I could get out of it and drive in the direction I wanted to go. It also seemed unlikely that I could turn around on the road that it would put me on, so I kept this option as my last resort.
Before that last resort was the penultimate resort, which was an independent petrol station on a less busy road. This seemed an unlikely option after I decided to telephone the garage to see if it was open before I wasted my time going there and got no answer. I went anyway as it was not entirely out of the way to the last resort and happily, I found it open and unsurprisingly, quite busy. Perhaps this urban living is not all it is cracked up to be.
This is now particularly the case after discovering that the air conditioning in the hotel bedroom is possessed. Pressing buttons had no effect for a while but I surmised that they do not actually turn on the boilers until five o'clock. The digital dial allows the user to set a specific temperature, which I did. After a while of belting out heat, I detected that the room was getting a tad overly warm but assumed that the thermostat would sort it out. It did but instead on stopping blowing out heat for a while, it blew out ice cold air to cool the room, and me, down. It was very effective on me, the room not so quickly it seems as the cold air blowing appeared interminable. I shall just wear a thicker jumper next time and leave the air conditioning off.
I think I should be quite pleased to be going home tomorrow.
January 15th - Saturday
Today started with a very slow getting ready to leave for Exeter, which is somewhere right of Camborne on the map. Cornish maps actually do not go that far, and I resorted to finding one on the Internet that gave me vague clue as to where I was going. We have been going to the same hotel for years because it is reasonable, comfortably and well placed for coming home as well as access to the trade show itself.
It must come as a surprise that after so many trips I am still confused about the last five minutes of the journey, which takes use through an Exeter suburb and a few very unlikely back roads. Because I was not exactly enthused with trusting my not so smart, smart mobile telephone I resorted to looking at a street map for the area. I also had a geek at the very clever application that allows you to see the journey as if you were driving it. It was a mammoth undertaking to drive every road everywhere, filming as you went and then integrate those photographs with satellite images and maps for anyone to use. It seems to be to be a very understated wonder of modern engineering and the brains behind it should have had some sort of recognition, much as Sir Tim Berners-Lee did for inventing the World Wide Web.
Sorry, I digress. Now, where was I? Ah, yes, going back to looking at good old maps to find your way somewhere. Once I had looked at the route on a map, backed up by memorising landmarks at junctions by using the pictures from the 'street view' program, I was pretty much on top of it. In the event, I pulled off the A30 at the appropriate junction and found that my amazing satellite navigation system decided to put up a fight, so I went manual. My homework paid off and I found my way to the hotel, arriving about an hour earlier than I had planned. I should note that the hour earlier was not because I had exceeded the speed limit, well, not by much, but because my planning and timing was rubbish.
Having arrived at my destination far earlier than I would like, I had to find ways to amuse myself until tea time. Thankfully, we are in the modern age where with access to the Internet that the hotel very kindly provides, I can watch television programmes and films on various streaming services and not have to rely on what was on the television at that precise moment. I must also confess to having short zizz - well a couple of hours driving can be quite tiring, all that concentration and all, combined with actual map reading, too.
I will spare you, dear reader, from any further detail of my stay at the hotel as I am sure you would find a description of the bar and the meal that I ate somewhat tedious - possibly as unwanted as a whole day of electrical wiring installation.
There will be an early night involved as well, because I would like to get to the show ahead of the rush and get out of there as quickly as possible.
January 14th - Friday
I had promised myself that I would not do very much today as my exertions of the last few lasts left me feeling like a wrung out damp flannel by the end of yesterday. Time for a day off, I felt. Consequently, I spent the entire day thinking about how far I could have got with the bleddy electrics had I continued.
I was completely out for the count when the bleddy hound woke me up this morning. I had awoken earlier when there was the suggestion of a dim glow of day but had dropped off again. It was bright daylight when she got through to me. It was not a particularly late start, but the mornings have at last started to lighten up over the last few days. This has resulted in the bleddy hound getting up a bit earlier and because I have generally been awake at that time, I have let her. A schoolboy error, I feel.
The temperature must had taken a nose dive during the night as I had to crack the ice off the curtain we have up in the winter to stop the heat running out of the living room. The practice is a bit old school, I know but you must understand that half the walls are windows and the other half are granite. It is not the greatest insulating combo and the best we can hope for in an attempt to be green is a pale, dirty brown colour.
Still, it felt clean and fresh out in the air when we headed to the Harbour. We met another couple of the bleddy hound's pals while we down there, affectionately known as the ASBO girls. They are a couple of bruisers who have the propensity to raise hell when they see another dog anywhere in the forward 100 yards or so of their direction of travel. Their owner has dubbed them Ronnie and Reggie - not their real names, I hasten to add. They are as good as gold, really, and quite playful when you get to know them - just a tad noisy.
Despite my day off I had a couple of errands to run in town and as per the other day, agreed to drop the Missus off at The Farm so she could carry on her work there. This time she would be ready when I came back from the gymnasium so I went as early as I could for the second time this week. It was even colder today and it took as much mental effort to get there as physical effort when I did. I was also not fully restored from my great works of the last few days and I found myself half dropping off to sleep midway through my 5,000 metre row. I did feel a bit better at the end of my blistering session, but I could still have quite happily gone back to bed again.
I dropped the bleddy hound off at Mother's on the way out to town to avoid the inevitable meltdown of her thinking she is going to the veterinary doctor. I also tried again with my not so clever smart mobile telephone to get it to tell me directions. I will need this at the end of my journey to Exeter tomorrow to get me to the hotel I shall be staying at. So far, my telephone thinks that I am in central London and I cannot seem to convince it otherwise. Thus, when I try to tell it to give me directions to Penzance it tells me that it will take five hours in light traffic.
Over the last few days I have tried all manner of settings and suggestions. I did have a bit of a breakthrough this morning when it told me I was in Penzance when I was on the Harbour beach. Despite that, the map app shows me roughly in the right place but during my journey it frequently tells me that it has lost the GPS signal. I downloaded another app to see if GPS was working and thus far, that app tells me that I do not have a signal anywhere that I have been today, including Penzance where the map app seemed to be working a bit better. Even up at The Farm with a clear view of the sky and right next to a mobile telephone mast, the GPS app could not find a satellite signal. Interestingly, however, it was able to give my latitude and longitude but had me in the middle of Mounts Bay.
I must confess I smelled a rat when I was in Penzance and the map app seemed to be working, sort of, and downloaded another GPS tester app. This could happily see satellites and tell me where I was. The problem with this being if GPS is working, why is my mobile telephone still telling me that I am in central London? I may have to factor in some getting lost time in Exeter tomorrow.
Ah, yes, the going to Exeter bit. There is a trade show there, every year except last year and despite some misgivings, we thought to attend this year. Given the fragile state of the dreaded lurgi at present, the Missus will stay behind and I will go alone - very carefully. The game plan is that I will test myself for dreaded lurgi a day after I come back, being the optimum time to test apparently. In the meantime, the Missus and I will avoid each other, which is about the same as normal, so, sleeping arrangements aside, we are unlikely to notice any difference.
January 13th - Thursday
My efforts on electrical expansion in the living room consumed the whole of the daylight hours today and some of the dark ones too. No only had I no time to scribble one word of nonsense for The Dairy, I had no computer on which to scribble them even if I did. The computer rests on the desk that had to be moved to install the ill-fated extension to the existing ring main and therefor was out of action.
This is probably a kind fate for you, dear reader, as you do not have to slog through another day of electrical misery and can skip straight through to tomorrow, which is now today as I write. You may, however, be disappointed to learn that the work on the extension was unsuccessful because the wire I thought that was carrying all those spare and unused volts back to the consumer unit was actually old and unused, I think and I will have to think again. The unfortunate effect of this is your relief at noting having to read another page of electrical weariness is merely a stay of execution.
Still reeling from my efforts during the day, I dragged myself to the Lifeboat station due to it being a jolly nice evening for a training launch. There were not so many of the Bat Crew around today so only the big boat was launched into a benign sea approaching low water on a neap tide. While it was gone, a good many of we left behind rallied around taking the main cable down to the bottom of the long slipway along with the span for use later. Everything in order for the boat's return, we settled back to wait.
We could see the boat in the distance going about its training with the bright star Vega sitting directly above it. Come the hour and a half later, a few of us gathered in the sharp cold at the bottom of the long slip to await the final stages of its return. We executed what was clearly a textbook recovery a few minutes later and after a wash down, put the boat to rest on its cradle for the night. We are, after all, a very caring, very excellent Shore Crew.
January 12th - Wednesday
Well, we have not seen many of those of late: a completely clear sky, not a single cloud, a vapour trail nor wisp of any sort from horizon to, erm, top of cliff.
The obverse side of our clear sky delight was that it was a tad chilly. We noticed that the temperature dropped like a stone in the last few hours we were up last night. This morning it was exceedingly fresh and cold enough to make the cheeks sting a bit. I cannot say that it bothered the bleddy hound one iota and she certainly said nothing about it on our short excursion to the Harbour and back.
It was a day full of good intentions, much like the new year resolutions people make at the beginning of January but with a little more substance and slightly more immediacy. Mine were to complete putting the new electrical points out and to connect them all up despite this meaning pulling out the television and the custom built desk. The Missus had plans to head up to The Farm, early doors and had entreated me to carry out my gymnasiuming at my earliest opportunity. How could I refuse such a pleasantly put request?
I was at the gymnasium at just after nine o'clock. I was going to say feeling the 'burn' but with the temperature being a few degrees lower in the hut with a tin roof the 'burn' was more of a slightly tepid glow. It was also extremely damp in there - there is a leak in the tin roof, so the moisture levels inside build up a bit. This meant opening the windows, although that actually increased the temperature inside as well as having the effect of airing the room. I still managed a blistering session, which given that I had missed Monday due to the Lifeboat recovery, was most welcome.
I had expected on my return to be bowled over by the Missus heading to The Farm, but it seems these things cannot be hurried. I was in the middle of breakfast by the time she went, which admittedly was not that long after I came back. I had been invited to join her as she wanted to sieve some of the earth out of the mound of brambles and detritus she had hauled from along the hedge. Much as that was appealing - because it meant doing some diggering - I was pretty determined to get the electrical work finished before I head off to the trade show at the end of the week.
We spent the rest of the day apart and she came back at around four o'clock looking somewhat exhausted from her efforts. She was singularly unimpressed with my progress on the electrical work and, to a degree, so was I. It was the intention to have finished all the work in the living room today but there is still some to do.
The cutting holes in the trunking took a while as I wanted to be as precise as I could be. The cutting the holes in the end plates was even more tricky because it had to line up with the smaller trunking that the cables will arrive in that has not been installed yet. An additional difficulty with those was that there was a strengthening baffle inside the end plate right where the hole needed to be cut. I had to end up with a smaller hole above it which will line up with the top of the small trunking and I just hope that it will be big enough for the cable.
All the cutting took longer than anticipated - why was that a surprise - and I did not start the putting the big trunking on the wall until well into the afternoon. It has not helped that I had charge of the bleddy hound and she needed a walk out in the early park of the afternoon, which of course introduced a further delay but was quite pleasant to stop and get out in the fresh air. The transition to working upstairs caused its own problems as I had to take all the tools I needed with me. Naturally enough, I forgot a few and had to make multiple trips back down to the shop each time I got to the point where I needed another tool that I had left down there.
Looking good today, good enough to throw yourself off the Harbour wall.
I suppose progress was not too bad. I had managed to put all the new circuit sockets in place and had connected two of them together. This only leaves another two to be connected and a 'tail' put in place for the return part of the circuit. I am not entirely sure how the electrician will want to play the connecting part. Deep down I am guessing that he will want to run the wires without breaks all the way through to the first socket on the circuit and similarly for the cable coming away from the last. However, there is a chance he will be happy to run the circuit to a junction box, mainly because the last socket is an awkward distance away from where the cables will run from. Running at least the return cable from a junction box will be a whole lot cleaner but there may be regulations involved.
I had almost screwed the trunking for the three extra sockets on the existing ring main to the wall but suddenly remember that I had to pull the desk out. Where I had planned to put them would have been right in the way. There is a chance that I will be able to lift the desk over them but will want to make sure by trying that out first.
Well, last year I was concerned that The Farm dominated these scribblings and there is quite a risk that the electrics will take over this year. At least that is variety of sorts.
January 11th - Tuesday
The mist had refused to leave during the night and was still hanging around above The Cove when I went outside with the bleddy hound. I had been awarded the grand order of the lie in this morning, which I took full advantage of. Quite what I had done to merit such high reward, I have no idea. Perhaps she was just feeling a bit off today.
It was pretty mild for the time of year yesterday and that seemed to continue into today. It was hardly worth a jacket to head down to the beach especially as there was also hardly any breeze about either. There was, however, a modicum of dampness in the air, so I did not feel too badly about wearing mine.
I had every intention of moving forward with the electrical work now that I had all the required bits at hand. Before I got cracking on that I thought that I had best discover what I needed to do with the broken soldering iron as I did not want to drop it back tomorrow and find out that I should have dropped it back today. The reason I did not drop it back today is that the Missus had plans to head up to The Farm and therefore would need transport. I could have dropped her up there, but I had two people coming to see me one in the morning and the other in the afternoon that would make timing of being away from the shop tricky. In any event, the very pleasant man on the telephone told me that I could go back at any time in the next 30 days with my broken bit. It also made no sense to hurry because I had purchased the last soldering iron in the shop, so they could not replace it anyway and would have to order another.
With that detail resolved, I slipped into DIYman persona and headed downstairs. My immediate plans to start cutting up the trunking to the required length were scuppered by discovering that the work bench I had purchased required come construction before it was used. The unit came with a bag of nuts and bolts, some steel supports, height adjustable legs and some knobs and stoppers along with a folded over instruction sheet.
Most of the sheet was given over to safety warnings ensuring that I did not swallow the small screws or stick my fingers into holes too small for them or use the unit for purposes that it was not intended. It told me this in about six different languages together with the very sensible warning to keep away from small children. This left just one quarter of the available space on the sheet for a set of drawings showing how the construction of the unit should take place. Because this was in eight stages, each drawing, including some very detailed bits, were so small that they could easily be misinterpreted if they could be seen at all by the human eye.
It took me rather longer than I anticipated putting the work bench together and I was interrupted during the process by the first caller of the day. This was our bone china mug man whose visits are quite useful as he will tell us which designs are selling better than others and he also has lists of mugs not in the catalogue for one reason or another. I have pointed out before that we have been here so long now that we are seeing the grown-up children of customers who we met when we were first here. We must have surpassed even that longevity because the salesman today was the son of the original salesman we met when we first started and have seen most years since. If we start seeing grandchildren rock up to sell us things, I think we might take that as time to consider our retirement - part time, of course. We placed a healthy order because these mugs sell very well and always have done.
As if to prove the point, I was contacted while at Mother's yesterday by a very pleasant lady who was enquiring whether we had in stock a particular design of mug as hers had broken. I told her that I would return her call once I had been able to check the stock and did so yesterday evening. She asked when she might be able to view the mugs that we had left and I could see no reason, since she was in the locality, to refuse her and agreed to meet early this afternoon. Very politely, she arrived at the agreed time and purchased three mugs.
By the time the lady arrived I had done most of the work and only had a few lengths of trunking to slice off. Various holes will have to be cut into them to allow for cable runs but I decided to leave that until tomorrow as I had some calls to make before close of the business day.
One of the calls was to our business bank. I usually conduct all my business with them through the contact we have developed over the last couple of years because calling or emailing any other part of the bank is fraught with hardships. However, I had a letter asking if I should wish to change a facility I had with them, which I did, I should call the number specified, which I did. The request was very simple, to change an overdraft facility, so, in my innocence, I imagined the bank had furnished me with the change-your-overdraft-facility-number to make life simple for all of us. Au contraire, and how quaint of me to think so.
I spent the first five minutes learning that they were experiencing a high level of calls at present, how important my call was to them and how I may be recorded to assist in training their staff before being told that I would be placed in a queue. I momentarily removed the telephone from my ear to turn on the speaker so that I could place it on my desk while I waited and missed a very pleasant lady asking something.
Only having heard the last word, I called out 'hello' as you do to attract the attention of the caller and to alert them that there was someone at my end wish to speak with them. I was therefore quite surprised when a recorded voice replied, 'you want to talk about interest rates, is that correct?'. Well, no it was not, I thought, so I said so to which she answered that she was terribly sorry that she got it wrong and maybe I could repeat my request of what I wanted to talk about. I told her 'overdraft change'. There was a pause before the very pleasant lady replied, 'is that a mortgage application, a business loan or private equity enquiry?'.
This, clearly, was not going well. I was beginning to suspect that the lady might have been speaking in English, but she might well have been listening in Swahili. Whatever the case, she had clearly given up on that particular tack and told me that she would have seven choices for me, which turned out that even in that wide field not one of them was relevant but at least I had the option of pressing a number rather that trying to communicate by voice.
Having not chosen any number offered me, the system admitted defeat and told me that I would be put through to an agent that I dearly hoped would be human. It did have one last try at automation and insisted that I enter my account identity number, which I did by chance know and my telephone banking PIN which I did not until she explained that it was the same as my digital banking PIN, which I did.
At last I spoke with 'Tracey' to whom I explained that I was quite exhausted, having just completed the twelve labours of Hercules to speak with her. She may not have quite gathered what I meant but at least she understood when I said 'overdraft'. That was, indeed, a small triumph that I should dearly savour because the next thing she told me was that because I have a 'relationship manager', I should really have placed the request with him. Yes, that distant sound of manic screaming that you probably heard fading into air, dear reader, was indeed me.
I hope to return with my sanity in tomorrow's exciting episode of everyday grumpy shopkeeper folk, clinging to hope in a distant coastal outpost of the realm.
January 10th - Monday
I was not scheduled to have too much of an early morning but the Missus has set her alarm so that she could take Mother for an early appointment. This meant that the bleddy hound was awake, which meant that I was awake, too. It is the order of things and I have long since become accustomed to it.
There was, of course, the small matter of getting the Lifeboat back to the station and hopefully that was going to be at some point today. When I got the bleddy hound down on the Harbour beach, because we can for the first time in a few days, I had a look at the sea state on the short slip. High water would follow a couple of hours later but when I looked, it seemed that a recovery would have been doable between sets. I rather suspected then that we would attempt a recovery at high water and when I met with the luminaries of the station an hour later, so it was decided.
We do not need too many of us for a short slip recovery, although in poor weather it helps to have a spare or two in case we lose one. Because many people are at work some distance from the station, we were down to what was probably the minimum of four. We mustered at ten o'clock by which time the boat was ten minutes into her journey from Newlyn and we were near enough ready for the boat, ten minutes ahead of high water, which was ten minutes before it arrived. The last remaining activity was putting the fishing rod in place down on the tide line but before we could do that we needed to have a quick game of three card brag to decided who would go down and get drowned and take one for the team. In the end, three of us went down with the loser in front and the two behind there to laugh in case he fell in.
We had waited until the boat hove into view as that darned fishing rod has to be at the lowest point when the boat arrives. Too early and the water is too far down or too far up from the pole, depending on the direction of the tide. It took a couple of attempts to get the boat on the slipway in the correct position as it struggled with the swell and the current. The hook up took a mercifully short time and the boat was brought up the short slip in what was clearly a textbook recovery in adverse conditions. We are, after all, a very all-weather, very excellent Shore Crew.
The washing down took a little while to execute on deck. It was, after all, quite a rough trip that the boys had last night, exacerbated by being tied to a big lump of steel fifty fathoms behind. There followed a lengthy fuelling up before a swift debrief could be had.
I retired from the station as soon as I could because the Missus was champing at the bit to get up to The Farm to start diggering. I was to look after the bleddy hound while I got myself ready and had a morsel of croust before setting out on my errands for the day. Since the bleddy hound gets a bit nervous about her journeys into town - because it is in the direction of the veterinary doctor - we try and leave her with Mother if possible, which entails a diversion to St Buryan.
One of the reasons for heading into town was to pick up a cord pull for Mother's shower. The existing cord broke at the small plastic junction where the short cord from the rose ends and the cord for the owner's chosen pull cord starts. It is a common point of failure and I have no idea why you cannot purchase the item separately. Alright, scratch that. I just checked and they are available from the Internet auction website. I had expected bags of them to be available for a pound but they come in ones for more that I can get the entire unit. I bought an entire unit and threw away everything but the connector, which seems an awful waste.
I then travelled on to purchase a soldering iron and a work bench, as you can never have too many work benches and the one at The Farm has 'things' on it which was too tiresome to move. Before you castigate me for my laziness, dear reader, there is more to this than meets the eye. It is true that the work bench at The Farm has 'things' on it but on several occasions last year, I could have used a second for supporting long pieces of timber. The new one also has a lateral vice, and up until now I have had to make do with clamps, which clamp vertically. Having already thrown away a perfectly good pull cord switch, I though that I had better explain myself.
My last detour was to the farm shop just outside Penzance. The Missus had requested some protective gloves as the ones she purchased on the Internet were too large. Although they fit me, the backs are pink so I shall not be wearing them and they will be thrown away - which is obviously a joke and not to be taken seriously at all. It does not matter that they are pink; I can dye them another colour.
In all, my shopping excursion, the detour to Mother's with the bleddy hound and the visit to diverse stores along with stopping at Mother's on the way back to fit the small plastic bit on the existing pull cord rose, took me longer than I had anticipated. It was getting dark when I left Mother's for The Farm and to pick up the Missus, which was much to do with the weather closing in and mizzle as thick as a bag. She was still diggering when I got there, which I am unsurprised at because it is extremely addictive and should come with a warning on the side of every digger. The amount of space she has uncovered is huge, too. As if the field was not big enough already, we now have another to go with it.
I am now on the back foot as I achieved very little today. I will set to with a vengeance tomorrow. Honest, guv.
January 9th - Sunday
It is difficult to think just how the weather could be even more miserable than it has been these last few days. It has certainly stuck the boot in regarding running amok with the digger at The Farm, although it would have to try much harder than that to avert a session at the range, which went ahead as normal today.
I thought that perhaps we had caught a gap between the showers when I took the bleddy hound out, but it seemed that the showers were all loosely connected to each other. At least it was not pelting down when we went out and the bleddy hound must have felt that it was better than yesterday because we got as far as the car park before coming back again today. At the moment of driving up to the range, the weather saved its best, tipping a deluge of water at me, slanting in with the wind.
The rain was almost constant during the day, varied by intensity here and there just to keep it interesting. We all had to dash out into it every five minutes or so to reset targets, which we know, so we were all appropriately dressed. This time I chose a slightly thinner hooded sweatshirt, which was a good decision because despite the wet and the wind and standing around a fair bit it was not all that cold.
Today is shotgun day, which apart from requiring muscles like Charles Atlas to cart all the kit around, is also the noisiest day of shooting. We have half a day on shooting targets and the second half on shooting clay pigeons, which is all jolly good fun even in the rain and swirling mist. It is more problematic for centrefire and .22 shooting because the paper targets get wet and fall apart. It is also an extremely active sport and by the end of day in the gathering gloom, I was quite worn out.
It got so gloomy by the time the Missus dropped me back home that I paid no attention to the state of the sea. When I left several hours earlier, the sea was in renewed efforts to demonstrate just how angry it was. As we hurried into the car park there were explosions of white spray leaping into the air at the footings of Pend-men-du and across the bay, Creagle was getting a good pounding, too. I can only assume that it is subtle changes in the direction of wind and swell because sometimes all the outcrops along that line of cliffs are alive with waves crashing up them and often times just Creagle or Aire Point. Perhaps a university group finding itself at a loose end could undertake a study to determine exactly why that is the case.
The fates intervened late in the evening, clearly horrified that I had missed the sea state on my return from shooting and thought that I could do with a closer look. They arranged for a Lifeboat launch at nine o'clock or thereabouts to rescue a crabber out around eight miles northwest of us. It had become tangled on another boat's fishing gear and was stuck fast.
The sea state had in no way moderated from earlier in the day and there were large rolling waves coming across the bottom of the launch slip. It is not the first time we have launched in such conditions and once or twice in conditions much worse. The launch event calls for precision and co-ordination between Coxswain and Head Launcher so that the sliphook is let slip exactly on time so that the boat hits the water between larger waves. Unfortunately, on this occasion, a smaller wave slipped in between and the boat launched straight into that. There was a brief pause as the boat slowed, then picked up again before punching through the rest of the oncoming sea and out through the gaps.
There was no way that the boat would be coming back to station after the job was done and would spend the night at Newlyn. I went to bed thinking about those boys tossed on a stormy sea. I hope I never have to repeat those sleepless two minutes again. We shall review the sea state in the morning for a recovery on the tide.
January 8th - Saturday
Today was not a day for straying very far away from shelter. Even the bleddy hound knew this as we got as far as the Roundhouse for this morning's walk before heading back again in a bit of a hurry. She retired back to bed and I did not see her again until the early afternoon when it was time to go out again.
I had a number of administrative duties to perform which took a little time during the morning. There are bills to pay even when we are closed. Because we are closed, I am apt to forget them and we are busy doing other things and, well, we are closed. It takes a bit of effort to set out time to mop these things up.
The sea was still pretty ferocious despite having calmed down a lot from yesterday. At high water, great lumps of it were coming over the Harbour wall and with a bit of wind behind them, the waves were almost reaching the short slip. It was the rain, however, that was the major feature of the day and there was lots of it in varying degrees of heaviness in showers all the way through until the later afternoon. Someone I bumped into in the morning told me that it has been heavy in the night, too, so our butts and IBCs - big plastic cubes for holding liquids, in case you had forgotten, dear reader, from three days ago - will be full to overflowing. There was even some lightning towards the end of the afternoon, just one flash and one thunderclap as if to mark the end of hostilities. The skies cleared after that and the showers were very sparse. Up until then we had been in gloom and darkness for much of the day.
Behind me on the table during my administrative activities awaited the remaining double sockets to be wired up. It took a great deal of mental effort to turn myself around and start work on them. I do not know quite what it is about the work but it just is not very appealing and finishing it off, as I did today, means that I have to move onto the next more difficult bits of attaching trunking to the walls and running cable and connecting the cable with the double sockets in place. My made to measure desk will also need to be cleared and pulled out from where it is so that I can run trunking behind it. No, not much fun at all. In any case it will have to wait because while the desk is out I may as well connect up the extra points to the live existing circuit which means I will need a junction box, which I did not get when I bought everything else.
It seemed to me after being such a good lad in executing my electrical duty that perhaps I should stop for the evening and enjoy a beer. It was at this time that I remembered that I had not put any beers in the fridge. Oh.
January 7th - Friday
It is remarkable just how quickly the sea state changes. On Wednesday we launched the Lifeboat into approximately calm seas and this morning, I could not quite make out if we had high winds or a big seas from the racket going on outside. It turned out we had both.
The Missus and I can clearly make some bad choices with what to do and where to be on our days out. Yesterday with the wind blowing in from the south west we chose to go up to The Farm where we got it in the face and today we chose to stay in The Cove with the wind hammering in from the west or west northwest. Ditto.
Actually, today's choice was much to do with having to take the truck into the garage for its new tyres. We had noticed just before Christmas how the tyre walls had been scat up by our regular runs up the rough track to The Farm. At least, that is what I assume ruined them. We ordered three new tyres but when the garage came to do the work, they added a fourth, which caused a bit of a delay while they waited for it to be delivered. As a bit of an aside, I have often marvelled at the garage trade where they can order parts on the fly which are delivered inside a few hours - true just in time delivery. I can understand the background to it, the servicing of multiple car types, the parts of which you could not possibly hope to have in stock all at once, but it has always struck me as super-efficient. Why can we not all have such a kick-bottom support network?
I had expected to wait at the garage for the work to be done but they had supplied a loan car, which it turned out was an eminently sensible plan. I took the digger key out of the truck when I left it, which seemed like a good idea at the time but afterwards when I worked out that we could not get to The Farm in the loan car, seemed completely daft. In any event, coming back home enabled me to go to the gymnasium, which was long overdue having scuppered Wednesday's visit and suffering a small amount of weight gain over Christmas.
This will no doubt alarm the Aged Parent, who on the last visit suggested that I looked pale and wan having lost a fair few pounds in the last couple of years. This, by the way, is the same Aged Parent that pointed to my prodigious beer belly a while back and suggested that perhaps it was time to look after myself a bit better. Incidentally, the NHS website calculator for Body Mass Index suggests that I am overweight and that being at least four stones lighter (56 pounds or 25 kilograms) would be ideal. If I was four stones lighter, I would roughly resemble a person who had spent five years building a railway in Burma and would almost certainly blow away in the fifty miles per hour wind we had today.
Sorry, I digress. Now where was I? No, I have not got a clue, either.
Since the tyre changing had taken until the middle of the day to complete, I detoured on my return journey to pick up Mother. It is Mother coming around for tea day and to let her look at the big and crashing sea. By the time we got home it was merely picturesque, with white water covering most of the bay and especially around Cowloe and the footings of Pedn-men-du where latterly it was pounding up the cliff and smoking over the top. When I was on my circuit with the bleddy hound, there was a couple at the end of the car park, he poised with a camera to catch the next big wave coming over the top. I told them as I went by that the next wave to come over the top will be when he puts his camera down. He turned to speak to me, and I imagined the irony of a wave coming over the top at that moment. I would have waited until I got around the corner before laughing though.
Lively in the Harbour
It was hard to take my eyes off it as we went amount our route. We met up with the bleddy hound's best pal on the back nine and I discussed with our neighbour just how spectacular it was. We watched as a particularly big wave over-topped Brisons. Earlier, it had exploded up Creagle almost to the top of the cliff there. This was one very mean sea a few days after spring tide, too.
View from the back nine
Bleddy hound's best pal
After my wet bottom episode yesterday, I decided that I had best purchase a pair trousers that were designed for the job. The Internet does not return much useful information to a search string of 'trousers that keep your bottom dry on a digger', so I went to the same place where I got my work jacket that I have found to be very good. I did find and buy a pair that looked like they might do the job but without sitting in them on the digger in the pouring rain, I will not know for sure how they perform. We live in hope.
Much of this was putting off the moment when I had to buckle down to start wiring the sockets for the new circuit and the additional ones for the existing circuit. It is a job that I do not particularly relish. The main issue I have with it is that the cables are not very malleable, and they need to fit into ridiculously confined spaces inside the back boxes. Also, two cables need to fit into the one hole when the hole is clearly only designed for one cable. This requires the use of a third hand but even if you had one there is insufficient space for it to be deployed as you try and cram, twist and bend the various components together.
On the bright side, I discovered that the socket units fit side by side flush to each other, so I will not have to cut slender sections of trunking cover to fit into the gaps. In fact, if I cut the trunking to the exact length of three double sockets, I will not have to use any trunking cover at all. This is a very good result as I suspect cutting any width of trunking will exceed my exceedingly limited cutting-plastic-in-a-straight-line skill set.
With the time available to me, I managed to put three double sockets in a row. Do not get overly congratulatory, dear reader, as they are just three sockets in a row and not even in the trunking yet. I have a further three to do and a pair, by which time I may have retrieved the workbench from The Farm, the jigsaw and the multitool for cutting joining holes in the trunking. With all that in mind I think I may be subconsciously putting off going up into the loft to run the cable, which is still just a theoretical process not involving taking the floor up. I am, however, at this moment optimistic.
We are near enough back to normal dinners now and tonight a lovely bit of hake for me and Mother. The Missus had frozen fish in batter from Tesmorburys because it 'does not taste like fish'. The Missus hates fish.
January 6th - Thursday
Who would have thought that you could have so much fun in 50 miles per hour winds and lashing rain? All you need is a mini-digger and a field full of scrub and stuff.
I was not entirely sure what the game plan was when I first awoke other than the usual running the bleddy hound down to the beach, except we had to go around the block because the tide was in. It was a bit on the chill side but was not too bad outside in the fresh air. Perhaps I should have stayed outside. Anyway, the game plan became apparent after the Missus had discussed it with Mother who decided that it was not such a great plan to head up to The Farm today and she would stay inside - her place has warmth and heating. The Missus therefore decreed that she would spend the day in the greenhouse planting things and, for one day only and as a special favour that I should in no way become accustomed to, that I could run havoc with some diggering.
Apart from wondering how I would end up paying for such largess, my first thought was that the weather today was set to be not all that pleasant. A quick look around the weather sites explained that it would be fearfully wet and be accompanied by a fierce south westerly wind. This combination is not ideal on a field that slopes down to the south and is very exposed to southwest winds. I have full metal jacket waterproofs but these are intended for a wearer standing up and walking, allowing accumulations of rain to run off the fabric. They are definitely not designed for sitting on the plastic seat of a mini-digger, diggering. Given that waterproofs designed for walking were all I had to protect me from wet stuff falling from the sky, these were therefore the attire of choice because, despite having a pile of electrical work to do, I was not going to pass up the chance of diggering, no matter what.
It was already raining when we left for The Farm, although I had thought that the worst of it had piled through, silly me. I had made the additional error of putting on a thicker hooded sweatshirt over my mid layer and under my DIYman overalls and waterproof jacket. Because it is quite long it also increased the dimensions of my waist thus making the waterproof leggings very tight, difficult to move in and prone to sliding down my rear.
In the event, I was not that cold because despite the impression that sitting down working is not very strenuous, diggering requires quite a bit of movement and frequent mounting and dismounting the machine to clear rubbish that it does not cope with very well, such as long planks of wood. The work centred around the area to the rear of the cabin, where the Missus started yesterday and, up to a point, this was relatively sheltered. However, the dumping area was very much exposed to the day's elements and the seated figure on the digger was an open target for high wind and horizontal rain.
It was not very heavy rain but issued in your direction at 50 miles per hours and for sustained periods, it does not matter how heavy it is or the efficiency of your waterproofs. It makes you wet. This is particularly the case if the individual is sitting in waterproofs designed for walking. Rain runs down with the assistance of gravity and collects at the lowest point, which given the angles and posture of my body, was my rear end. I did not notice too much just how wet my rear end was becoming until I stopped to have a cup of tea a little way into the afternoon.
However, by the time I stopped, I had made significant progress clearing the remaining area behind the cabin. I was particularly impressed that I had managed to clear and level the ground immediately behind the cabin without knocking the rear wall down with the swinging bucket, which is prone to sharp jerking movement it you press the levers too hard.
It takes a little while to get used to the movement of the bucket and the combinations of lever actions required to get it to do what you want. It is also remarkable how precise you can make the movements and also how easy to is to be imprecise at exactly the wrong moment through the loss of concentration at a crucial moment. Not only is concentration on the levers and the bucket required but also your spatial awareness, lest you reverse into something or swing the bucket into a delicate object you wanted to remain in the condition that it started in. Finally, there is the concentration on what you are digging up. This might include the large round tube that was not another telephone pole but an oxygen cylinder, that I reversed away from rather rapidly.
The business end of the cylinder was buried, so I was not sure if it was potentially under pressure or not. It was also excessively rusty and while I was pretty sure that it would have had to be there several decades to rust to the point that it was dangerous because of it, I decided that today was not the day to test the theory. I dug it out by hand, discovered that the valve was still in place but ran out of time to take it further. I will have to look at that another day with a spanner to loosen the valve.
I could not proceed any further in the direction I was going and the plan is to start again from the other direction. In the way in that direction are the significant remains of the caravan that was the pitiful predecessor of the cabin. It now is no more than a chassis with the component parts of the walls, windows and contents piled on top of it. There is also another pile of bits right behind the polytunnel that will require moving very carefully. The tractor I refuse to call Poppy was the ideal instrument to attach the strop to and drag the chassis part out of the way. All that happened very smoothly once we had found the tow bar attachment for the tractor I refuse to call Poppy. We are now set to start the next bit. Given that we probably had an hour of daylight left, we had stopped for a cup of tea and my bottom was wet, we decided to call it a day and what a day it was.
As if even more could not go right, I decided to try out the leads that arrived yesterday. I now cannot recall if I described that I had purchased these from a foreign supplier, which various reviewers had suggested was an untrustworthy source, but I thought to give them a go anyway. The items were of low value and I could not get them anywhere else. They arrived today, as the company told me that they would. The idea is that we can use these to connect traditionally powered Christmas lights to the solar and rechargeable battery pack that came with the new lights we used this year. These were highly successful as if there was insufficient sunshine during the day to recharge the batteries, we could detach the packs and charge them on a computer. We were delighted that they fitted perfectly and need only to be soldered to the end wires of the traditional lights of a similar sort.
Flushed with such success, we had a celebratory toasted sandwich for tea and retired to bed. We know how to have a good time, I can tell you.
January 5th - Wednesday
Crickey! My feet barely touched the ground today but at the end of the long, long day, I am not entirely sure that I got very much done.
We were told that the mini-digger was going to be delivered early because the driver had to be away from his first job in St Buryan before the road closed at nine o'clock. We are not entirely sure which road was being closed as it was the first we heard of it but since we were not due there until later, we did not bother to find out. In any case, someone had to be up early to go and meet the delivery person and as the bleddy hound needed walking and feeding first, early was much earlier than is generally comfortably on a cold winter's morn. Oh, and someone was me - again.
I was also dressed for the gymnasium that I intended to get to after receiving the digger, but happily there was not the slightest breeze to ruffle the hairs on my legs and although it was considerably colder than yesterday, it probably did not feel much like it. I rather confused my weather forecasts and was expecting a bit of a south west blast when I arrived at The Farm and had dressed accordingly by putting my DIYman overalls over my gymnasium gear. For those who know, overalls are the thing to wear in chilly weather. Warm as toast in overalls, unless you intend standing about for an hour and a half, then all that happens is you get colder a little later.
This was singularly apparent at The Farm where there was no breeze at all, thankfully, but it was still close to freezing up there. The solar gain that works so well in the cabin had solar lost and the greenhouse was similarly bereft of any warmth. Sadly, so too was the polytunnel, which I tried as the last resort because the polytunnel is always hot - but not today. There was only one thing for it and that was to work.
There is an area next to the greenhouse that we have earmarked for three IBCs - big plastic cubes for filling with water, lest you have forgotten - and it needs to be cleared and flattened. My inaugural effort with the strimmer did most of the clearing and I had hoped to use the digger to flatten it. In the absence of the digger, spade, fork and wrecking bar would have to suffice and what they lacked in finesse they made up for in effort. Effort equals heat - and exercise, which was a handy replacement for a gymnasium session that was slowly slipping away from me.
It was half an hour into my work and exercise effort when my bank manager telephoned. He had sent an electronic mail yesterday to ask when it might be convenient to talk and up until half an hour earlier, this morning would have been ideal. No matter, it was a general chat where he asks if everything is fine and dandy before he tries and sells me something. At the end of the call, the Missus sent me a message to tell me that the man with the digger was coming up the track.
Rather than bring his delivery truck up the slippery lane - the rain of late has done it no favours in that regard - he drove the 3 miles per hour top speed digger all the way up. He told me that he would prefer to walk back down the lane to get warm again, so rather than chase him down in the truck, I decided to wait for ten minutes. It seemed only reasonable that in that ten minutes I have a little play on the new toy, which probably turned into twenty minutes as I took time to change the bucket into something better for the job at hand - clearing the scrub along the hedge.
I had quite forgotten just how much fun it was and got rather carried away, I do confess. It was the Missus calling that brought me back to Earth asking if I could collect Mother and a prescription for her at the St Just clinic. The Missus was wrapped up in dissembling the outside Christmas tree, so it seemed only reasonable that I go instead. Added to this was a request to pick up some more red diesel from the supplier up that way, as some would be needed at some point for the digger. The round trip would take the best part of an hour.
We were into the afternoon by the time I returned with Mother in tow. With cold seeping into my boots, I really needed a cup of tea and a warm before resuming operations. It was near two o'clock by the time we were all free from various tasks. Mother was due to come back to The Farm with us in the afternoon but it was too cold up there to be sitting, even planting the seeds would not have kept her warm enough. Given that we only have the digger for a limited period, every hour counts, so we left Mother at home in the warm and I took the Missus to The Farm to do diggering. I had other plans, which did not include standing up in the field watching the Missus play with the digger.
Eureka moments aside, I had a list of the various items we required for the electrics project. We have an account at a wholesaler in town and they had everything that I needed or thought that I did. A very pleasant man at the shop helped me find all that I had on my list, which, I have to admit, is a lot of guess work and supposition. My master plan is that I will put the finished article before a qualified electrician who will connect the last few ends and pronounce it safe or not. The whole process put me back at home just ahead of it being time to collect the Missus from The Farm.
Bit of sun going down at The Farm
She had pressed ahead quite rapidly along the back of the cabin. There was a big pile of cleared scrub behind the digger and a large area of flattened ground. She had discovered two telegraph poles that will be useful as roof supports, a few old vehicle tyres, piles of bricks and stones and a lost tribe of neolithic farmers - not really but I would not have been amazed if she had. We need to maintain this sort of progress, despite any weather, if we are to gain maximum benefit from the digger hire.
Scrub clearing (IBC on the left). The bricks on the digger footplate are because JCB do not make diggers for girls.
Not that I had much time to notice but the sea state in the bay had calmed completely from the last several days. Some smart Alec had noticed that this would be the case a couple of days ago and thought that it would be an excellent opportunity to put the Lifeboat in the water to see if it still worked.
We gathered in a relatively safe manner and learned all about the exercise planned for the evening. With sufficient crew, both boat would be deployed for a bit less than a few hours. Under the new regime, all exercises are pre-planned and numbered. Any crew taking part automatically gain a green tick on their training record for the jobs included in that number's exercise.
We were not exactly over-manned on the shore but had sufficient to just about cover all the bases. For some of the less experienced it was a good time to refresh memories of exactly how to launch and recover as it has been some time since we did it. Everything went remarkably well and other than the doors being a little sticky through lack of use - a state I associated with - there were no equipment problems. Given that we were close on high water, we set up the short slip for the boat's return and once done, did our main job of waiting.
Both boats arrived back at station at around the same time, which was not ideal for a short crew on shore. Consequently, we deliberately delayed the recovery of the big boat by putting the pick up line on the wrong side of the 'fishing rod' collection system causing the recover to be attempted a second time with the line corrected. To the uninitiated, this would have looked like an error but in our world, everything is meticulously planned and not at all a very carefully concocted untruth to cover up a cock-up. Honest, guv. So eventually, we brought the boat up the short slip in what was, technically, a textbook recovery with caveats. We are, after all, a very Machiavellian, very excellent Shore Crew.
January 4th - Tuesday
The first thing that the Missus did when she woke up this morning was to book in the mini-digger for The Farm. It is arriving early doors tomorrow. At least she did not need to go outside. The first thing I did when I got up was to dodge the showers when I took the bleddy hound out.
We were lucky enough to miss the rain but there was no dodging the fierce northwesterly, screaming in across the bay. The temperature had dropped significantly from yesterday and the wind just added an extra edge. One minute we were basking in sub-tropical air and the next I was freezing my knees off down in the Harbour. Oddly, I felt a lot less cold in my shorts first thing than I did later in my big boys' trousers. Maybe it is something to do with the cold fabric flapping against your legs.
I am sure that I was very much warmer than the two ladies I met down on the beach in the middle of the day who were going in for a dip. One of these, and I met her yesterday as well, was our latest BEMist whom I heartily congratulated. I was wearing a woolly hat with a peak on it, so at least I was able to doff my cap at her. I did not repeat it today as I believe you only have to do it once and after that 'alright, missus' or 'ow do lady' will suffice. I asked them to wait until I was off the beach before they dived in as I was quite chilly enough without witnessing ladies going in for a dip in swimsuits.
The sea state had changed quite a bit from yesterday. There was still some ground sea running but no big waves charging into the bay. Some of the last of the waves were coming over the wall first thing in the morning but it was a half-hearted effort and they had given up altogether by the afternoon. The direction of swell had changed and any waves left appeared to have been flattened out by the wind. Looking out as we closed in on evening, the sea state had drifted into the heavier side of 'choppy', speckled with white and dotted with gannets diving into it.
There was not quite a 'eureka' moment in the middle of the night, but the plan for the new electrical circuit did become a lot clearer. I will settle for dado trunking for the new circuit outlets that will be hidden behind the television, although one length will be the other side of the partition. For clarity, the dado trunking is the sort you see at dado rail height around offices, dotted with power points and computer outlets here and there. The additional six outlets will be on the front wall, somehow, by expanding the end of the existing ring main. The real bugbear is the computer and screens that sit in the corner to which the only solution I can think of is going to be an extension lead. The only other thing I can think of is to kick out another plank from the modesty panel on the desk and install a couple of double outlets there. Anyway, our local electrical supplier has the necessary items and I will drop by later in the week.
It is only the first week in January and we are already being inundated and flooded with conflicting tasks. The digger is coming tomorrow, first thing, the tree needs to come down while the weather is with us - tomorrow morning - and I have an urgent appointment at the gymnasium in the morning. I really need to be pressing ahead with the electrical work and a big bag of seeds arrived this morning that need to be planted. It will be good to start the season in the shop again for a rest, I suspect.
There was not much doing anything today. The early rain blew through quite quickly, which was no surprise being chased by the breeze we had. It took some will-power to convince myself to take the bleddy hound out in the early part of the afternoon. We are going to have to man-up if we are going to meet our commitments as the weather for the rest of the week hardly looks like it will be kind in any way.
We were grateful for the day off today but tomorrow we will need some commitment.
January 3rd - Monday
There was some more grey around today making the whole world look monochrome. If these days did not happen, I imagine we would not appreciate the sun and all the magic of colour that comes with it quite so much.
The very best thing about today, or at least the morning part, was that it felt so clean and fresh. It was hardly what you might call cold, although the temperature has taken a tumbled over the last few days, and the breeze out of the west somewhere was still quite robust. Standing on the slipway and down on the beach, however, it was good to be out in it.
I made it down to the gymnasium for the first time in a week and found that no rust had set in at all. In fact, I had a lively and blistering session that left me invigorated for the rest of the day - apart from an hour in the middle of the day when I had a little zizz. This was not really a surprise as I had just finished, at last, the beachware order and sent it off and started to look at electrical points. If anything is going to send a person to sleep it is looking at electrical sockets.
There is, what I thought was going to be, a minor project on the cards to put in place an additional ring main in the living room to cater for all the audio visual and computer equipment tucked into one corner of it. I took some time out one day to count them all and there are 29 individual bits of kit including the television, recorder, AV receiver, computer, network drive, screens, routers and the telephone bits. They take the amperage on the circuit in the worst case to near its maximum, which is a little too close for comfort. The plan is to run an additional ring main from the consumer box at the back of the building, to the living room at the front to share the load. An electrician has already been tasked with the job but could not do it until this month, so I thought that I had best get in with a bit of planning and it is fortunate that I did.
We had thought that the biggest task was the running of the cable because it means emptying the loft, lifting the boards up there before any cabling can even be thought of. When I sat down today to think the whole project through, I came to the conclusion that the cabling across the loft might actually be the easy bit.
It makes sense that some, probably around a third of the equipment remains on the original circuit. Everything else will go onto the new. Currently, everything is plugged into extensions, which while safe, is not ideal. This will mean adding an extra six sockets, properly wired in, to the existing circuit and making twenty new sockets available on the new circuit but in two locations. The cables will have to run through the first ten, go onto the other ten and come back again. The two cables also need to run up to the ceiling, up the window frame, in trunking that is already full.
I have looked at dado trunking into which sockets can be incorporated but it will need to run behind my desk and the clearance is insufficient; I suspect the desk - here when we bought the place - was made for its current location. Ten double sockets are an option but I suspect that they will not look terribly aesthetically pleasing and will have to have minute lengths of trunking running between them. I have so far only spent a few hours on this and wish I had started a long time ago.
My train of thought was interrupted quite sharply by the tone of my Lifeboat pager going off. It took me a moment or two to remember that it was that making a noise as it has been remarkably silent for some considerable time - 21st November to be precise. The initial call was for the Inshore boat, but the pager went off again asking for the big boat, too.
A quick look at the bay suggested that it was probably for a surfer in trouble. The bay was a boiling pot of huge waves and white water but possibly surfable if you were that kind of desperate. The other thing that struck me was that I was glad it was not me being asked to jump into a small rubber boat to go and save someone and the next thing was that it was going to be super tricky to launch the boat in the first place because we were pushing in towards high water. When the tide is in the boat has to be launched from the slipway, which forces the bow of the boat into the water at an angle. In calm water that is not too bad but with big waves thumping in, another matter altogether.
I was half way down the slipway when a crew member came charging after me to tell me that we had been stood down. The bodyboarder, caught in a rip out the back had managed to get himself out of trouble and taken back in by a wave rather than back out by the rip. It was a happy result for all and at least the tooltrak had a bit of a run even if the Inshore engine had not and it reminded the crew where the Lifeboat station was.
Having returned the boat to the shed, I went home to put my feet up. I would think no more of electrical sockets and where they might go until three o'clock in the morning when I could jump out of the bath shrieking Eureka! What I might be doing in a bath at three o'clock in the morning, especially as we do not have a bath, might be left to history to decide but at least I will know where my electrical sockets are going.
January 2nd - Sunday
The weather seemed to have turned a little bit when I came face to face with it at the top of the Harbour slipway. It is possible that the wind came around to the west a little more and was more obvious this morning. It was even more obvious later when it came around to the west properly.
It was exceedingly pleasant not having to get up in darkness and the bleddy hound kindly waited until the first glimmers of light seeped into the bedroom before getting me up. I even remembered to unset my alarm, so I was undisturbed until then, too. It was even more pleasant not having to open the shop. I am quite exhausted after just a week and a bit of it thanks to the continually having to remind people about mask wearing and steeling myself in case my requests were countered by ill-feeling. Once again, it is only now that we have stopped that I have realised the enormity of it and have concluded that I lost the battle, war and peace. If masks are still mandatory when we reopen, we will just cry havoc and let everyone get on with it. It is just too costly, else.
Having returned from the beach with the bleddy hound I was able to take note of the brightness of the day in prospect. Ten minutes later, it all went grey and dark and rain fell from the sky. Well, it probably did somewhere a long way west of here, but it arrived here from the left, rather than the top. I did not take an awful lot of notice of it because I did not have to go out. It certainly kept the numbers down while it was here.
The Sennen Cove Café is still stalwartly bashing on, so I took around some of the bread and milk that we would have thrown away. They did not have quite the day of it that they and we had yesterday, however. It was busy but not a patch on the crowds that were here then. Later, when I took the bleddy hound around - when I eventually managed to persuade her off the sofa - there were quite a few people around to look at the stormy sea. Again, the waves were charging into the bay and in the Tribbens, some quirk of the topology sent the wind back against the waves there, blowing the caps off them. The car park wall was lined with eager camera buffs snapping pictures of the waves as they danced and leapt over the Harbour wall. In the Harbour itself, the sea was fair boiling and swirling and it is supposed to be sheltered in there.
Despite having a free pass today, I did some more work on our orders for the coming year. It is a bit more productive than sitting in front of the television set even if there was anything there to watch. Everyone I have spoken to has decried the lack of quality content on any of the terrestrial channels. Even on the streaming services the cracks are beginning to show. As Prof said, it is likely the gap in continuity occasioned by the dreaded lurgi and all the production companies are playing catch up. In the meantime, the immediate space appears to be being filled by easily churned out, low grade paperback fiction and crass game shows. There is the occasional gem on offer, and I confess to having stayed up late last night so that I could binge-watch the last few episodes. It was Prof who alerted me to its arrival, so thank you for that. The trouble is I now have to find something else to watch.
Such are the trials of modern living. Any day now we will be going back to toiling on the land, like in olden days. We will hire the mini-digger to start with to level the soil and get the tractor mowing the long grass, before turning on our solar powered kettle for a cup of tea while we peruse the Internet for planting schedules.
January 1st - Saturday 2022
There appears to be an expectation that today should be different in some way. It is a new year. It must be different from the last one. I suppose it is psychologically inflicted and a huge disappointment when we discover that today did not feel remotely different from the day before. I had a little flutter on the Lottery last night, it being New Year's Eve and all. I had won £5 on the National Lottery last Saturday and assumed I was on a roll. I did win again, spending my £5 win for a £2.90 win. Yes, that is about the same as normal.
Even the weather was much the same to start with but by mid morning, it was starting to look quite 'ansum. I still could not see Cape Cornwall but, up above, vast amounts of blue sky were opening up. It had all the hallmarks of the foundations of something of a day of splendour. The Cove held its breath.
While there was no breathing going on I found the answer to the question, 'how do you entertain a grumpy shopkeeper early in the morning?'. Apparently, all you have to do is to try and get a St Bernard dog into the back of a car when he would rather be outside it. I watched a couple, parked opposite, try treats, encouragement and subterfuge all to no avail. It took about ten minutes by which time I was on the floor, holding my ribs in. One effort involved running the dog around the car, perhaps to fool him into thinking it was a different boot he was getting into but this dog was definitely not daft. It was not as if the dog was distressed by the notion. He clearly just wanted to play a different game to that one. He went at the end of much bounding and pulling with just a little help to get his hind quarters on board. What jollity.
While it was still quiet and I could hide my disappointment, I checked the New Year's honours list. There is a British Empire Medal heading this way, I see, to the lady at the top of Gwenver who makes all the chutney. I do not think she was awarded for her chutney but has many other good works under her belt. She is also on the Cliff Team here, so many congratulations. I will have to tug my forelock next time I see her - after I have managed to grow one, of course.
The promise of a bit of sunshine early on lured out the unsuspecting and we had a bit of early pasty business. It was then around the middle of the day that the low cloud and mist made a reappearance, blotting out the blue sky and heralding a wave of dampness in The Cove. Happily, this did not precipitate a mass exodus, especially as the brightness came and went as the afternoon continued. I suspect that it would have taken some weather to evict the horde dispersed on the shortening width of beach. Instead, the tide did the job a few hours later.
The sea had not really let go of its angry man status for the last several days, although it did a good job of masking it now and again. There had been a heavy swell lurking out there during the lower part of the tide and, come the push, it started to charge in. The surfers did alright with this for a while but near high water it was all shore break and nothing out the back. It was lumping up the cliffs opposite and exploding over the rocks under the Beach car park in spectacular fashion and no doubt soaking a sock or two.
By half past two, with The Cove packed to the brim with visitors, the last of the pasties were in the oven and all was roughly, alright, sort of, with the world. We could have done with the double yellow lines being in force for this fortnight as the road was packed solid and at the far end and traffic disrupted. Sadly, too, we had a bit of mask wars on the last day but we found some common ground: they said they were not going to shop with us and I agreed with them. Frankly, dear reader, I do not give a care, we sold every one of our pasties with just one hour left of business and that was good enough for me. We had some sausage roll wastage, but I can live with that.
With the sun dipping in the west and treating the mist to a bit of a sepia rinse, we were blessed with the sight of a flock of oystercatchers taking flight across the front. They were flying to the left, which clearly meant that I should close the shop and make a sacrifice to the beer gods. It would have been so wrong to ignore an omen of such clarity, so I sacrificed heartily.
December 31st - Friday
It is the end of the year as we know it. By the time you read this we may well be in another year, which would be good, but I do not want to tempt fate. I will cautiously wish you all a very Happy New Year and hope for the best.
Well, I could have hung up my pen and left it at that and perhaps I should have, you may say, dear reader, but then you would not have discovered what a rip-roaringly busy day it was. I presume that it had much to do with the weather and some to do with the day that it was but once again we had to wait until into the afternoon before The Cove started to stir.
After Tuesday's record day I had rather given up hope of it returning to such heady busyness again this week. I was concerned for our pasties and bread volumes remaining untouched but now I should start to worry about running out before the end of tomorrow, especially white sliced bread that I just noticed is looking a bit thin on the shelf. No one is delivering tomorrow, as you might expect.
Somehow or other I managed to key in the last few items of stock count. I had quite forgotten to count the swimsuits and shorts in the shop and boxed those off during the quietness of the morning. During the rest of the day, piecemeal, I loaded the numbers into our inventory system, fitting it in between serving customers and ensuring pasty continuity.
The latter is becoming something of an art form. You do not want pasties languishing and drying out in the warmer for very long but you also do not want people waiting, else they may not come back. Part of the trick is identifying the precise moment that the wave of pasty eating momentum breaks, after which the orders come thick and fast and the grumpy shopkeeper needs to be on his toes with a continuous cycle of pasty heating going on behind him. I think that there was something similar going on at the Sennen Cove Café next door as they had queues for most of the afternoon.
I mentioned the weather as a factor in our busyness, but it was not that different from yesterday. There was still low cloud and varying degrees of haziness in the bay, which allowed the occasional glimpse of Cape. The main difference is that it was a much brighter grey than the day before and it is surprising how much that little tweak raised the mood. The mist came back with a vengeance later in the afternoon, after we closed, and we could hardly see the big beach after that. From our business point of view, we were quite happy with that, thank you very much.
Whether we were busy or not, and we were busy, The Cove from end to end was filled with visitors, ramblers and promenaders. Many have discovered that the Land's End attraction is closed and some are at a loss what to do, especially as the beach is out of bounds for most of the day with the tide. Quite what the evening will looked like, I would not like to hazard a guess but I am sure that the OS was exceedingly busy despite its bookings only policy.
I have backed out of public house going for the time being. For one, we have Mother to think about. I do miss the quiz, for sure, although I doubt very much that it misses me. For me, not going out is not a huge problem; I am quite happy slouching around at home in a totally non-social manner - as distinct from anti-social. However, I found myself discussing this with a young man who chefs next door and it did strike me that it is his generation and age group that I feel for. They are the ones that should be out and about enjoying themselves with gay abandon and they cannot, at least not responsibly. I know that tonight he had intended to have some fun down at the OS but has demurred on the basis that we are far too busy in The Cove just now. He is such a sensible young man and deserves much better.
Gosh, that was a bit serious, and I have not even started drinking yet, let alone reached the maudlin stage.
Talking of which, time presses on, so I had best get started as I would hate to meet the new year completely blessed with sobriety. I do hope, dear reader, that you had an equally pleasant night in whatever you did with it and greeted the new year, whenever that might be for you, with lightness of heart and vigour of purpose. Simply put: Happy New Year.
December 30th - Thursday
Alright, hands up for soup. You were right and I was wrong. Choughs do exist. Today is a day so momentous that every year after today will come with the optional suffix AC, Anno Chough. I have seen the light, or rather, I had seen the chough, two of them to be precise and they were not cavorting with unicorns and I was sober - to a degree.
It was halfway through the morning when one of our regular visitors stopped by with W, an old dog chum. He had come in for a newspaper but substituted it for beer when he discovered that we did not have any, the visitor that is, not W the dog. He excused himself after paying, telling me that he had to take a call from his wife but would wait outside the shop just in case there was some additional shopping required. He came back in to tell me that he had been advised to skirt around the old hotel block and not go across the front so as not to disturb a couple of choughs resting on the pipework there.
I have met the wife on a few occasions and she did not strike me as any sort of lush, taken to imbibing early in the morning. I did ask, to be sure, whether she had said that the choughs were accompanied by a couple of unicorns and perhaps a faun or two, but he said not. I explained that I had never seen a chough, not ever, not even once and therefore regarded them as a mythical creature that customers taunted me with sightings of. I let the moment pass and bade farewell and good luck to my customer but he returned a few moments later to say that if I wanted to see the choughs in the flesh and open my eyes to a whole new world, I should follow him because they were still on the hotel pipework and in plain view from down in The Cove.
Dismissing the fleeting memory of being asked to view the blue goldfish in the toilets at school by the older boys when in my first year, I followed our customer to just outside the Lifeboat station. I had the foresight to bring with me the shop binoculars, which are quite powerful but compact. Sure enough, even with the naked eye, I could see that these were no ordinary jackdaw of which we have a bounteous quantity in the area. They were far bigger for a start and when I had the binoculars on them the beak and feet were a different colour. I cannot say they were red because at that sort of distance my colour blindness is marked but I had seen enough to be quite, well, chuffed, to be honest.
Had I seen them on my own, particularly after an evening on the beer, I may have doubted my own eyes, so I was grateful that they had been pointed out to me. I shall now wait until someone spots one and has the unicorns pointed out to me.
We had to wait until the afternoon to see any action at all in The Cove. Again, the weather was uninspiring but a little better than yesterday; I could just about see Cape through the mist. It was probably as well because the pasties were very late in arriving, - completely flummoxing me in my morning routine - a product of everyone ordering in abundance to cover the bakery's closed days. We had nearly 100 pasties, which I fretted about, seeing the empty street for half a day.
With the arrival of the afternoon came a better, bigger crowd of people, although they were certainly not as hungry as the crowd we had in on Tuesday; I suspect that was a flash in the pan. Many had come down to see the sea state and at near high water it did not disappoint. Earlier on it had looked a bit calmer than of late but it rather seems it was just saving itself for the tide. One man asked if the tide would be coming in any higher. It was already up against the dunes on the southern end of the beach. I told him that it was going out, theoretically, but not to expect much beach any time soon as the relentless waves would keep it high for a few hours more. It was obviously too high for some, and I sold some socks and flip flops because of it.
At least I had enough to do today that I did not have to resort to shredding any documents. That particular gap was filled by finishing off the stock count of hooded sweatshirts that I had been putting off and the fridge magnets and jewellery, which I had forgotten. I also decided that I did not have to charge up the batteries for the Christmas tree lights. I had been alternating the job on the four batteries each day but reasoned, even if it had been a little grey today they were probably good for another twenty four hours.
The Missus had suggested that we purchase a spare solar panel and battery kit and attach them to the other lights out there. They failed on the first day with insufficient charge from their much smaller solar panel and no ability to charge the battery separately. The main problem with that is we need the correct connectors and just by chance I found some on the Internet that looked like they might do the job, perhaps with a bit of modification. Unfortunately, the company is based in Spain and a number of reviewers had noted problems with importing and delivery. I took the plunge and tried them anyway. The invoice duly arrived today with the items apparently in the machinery of the import and export system and on their way, eventually. Clearly, there are some huge hurdles to jump in the efforts to get the small components to me and the invoice has a page of legal assurances for the authorities including the one below.
"Annexes II and III of the R/CE 1236/2005 L-200 of 30-07-2005 and its modifications, on the trade of certain products that can be used to apply the death penalty or to inflict torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, are NOT included."
I am not altogether sure what to make of this. Either the components I have ordered are considered exempt from the death and torture bit or they are just not bothering with it. I would hazard that the small lengths of wire wrapped, say, around my little finger and the ends pulled tight would probably hurt very much. I do not know if I should say something as I would like to avoid the risk of Special Branch knocking on my door in the middle of the night but on the other hand, I would very much like the connectors. If the authorities are now monitoring this page on the strength of my purchase, I promise not to inflict torture on anyone with them, although I reserve the right to change my mind should anyone else get shirty about wearing masks in the shop.
Must be time for my lie down. It has been such an exciting day.
December 29th - Wednesday
I seem to just tumble through my mornings and trust that my luck holds out that it all ends we me opening the shop on time. The ability to have any sort of control on the turn of events is a distant dream and completely unattainable. Much rests on the time any sort of hint of daylight seeps into The Cove, which is the earliest time I can reasonable take the bleddy hound out. I have mentioned before the strange phenomenon that delays dawn still further even after the shortest day. This then is the worst of all worlds when I have so little time after it to cram in all the chores.
This morning's tale of the unexpected was the pasty man turning up just as I was about to take the bleddy hound out. Fortunately, I was ready to take her out but had not yet collected her from the bed; the bleddy hound does not do disappointed. So, having been ahead of the posse, I was now on the back foot, rushing about trying to meet the opening deadline.
The chaotic flow of operations was further upset by the unavailability of bread from our usual supplier. On these occasions in the past, I have fallen back on our milkman which supplies bread, albeit of the plastic sort and I did place an order with them for this morning. When I checked in the outside bin just after we opened, there was no bread with the milk delivery. Unable to do anything about it today, I threw myself into ensuring I could get bread tomorrow, so I called our normal supplier first.
Unable to raise an answer at first, I eventually established that the supply of bread was patchy due to the unavailability of staff this week. Assured that there would be bread tomorrow, if not jam, I duly ordered plenty to see us through to the weekend because, which I forgot, the bakery is not open on Friday or Saturday. It was not long after this that our milkman turned up with a big tray of bread. He was unable to bring it on the first run as it needed to be collected from their supplier. This turn of events necessitated a swift call back to our bakery to reduce our bread order accordingly.
Frankly, today was an utter disappointment. Having had my expectation of busyness continuing through the rest of the week, there was a very poor showing today. Our weather certainly did not help. The early rain that was gone by the time the bleddy hound and I slipped out, had left low cloud and murkiness along with a good deal of damp hanging around. By early in the afternoon, visibility was down to a few hundred yards at best and was probably much less further up the cliff. This would have put off even the most ardent of hikers, sightseers and left just the dog and child walkers. They did not seem hungry in the same way as our visitors did yesterday.
Indeed, the situation became so desperate I decided that the time had come to deal with the carrier bag full of out-of-date documents that we had extracted from the Aged Parent's filing cabinet. This had been placed on the floor just below the pasty oven. Its proximity to the oven was coincidental; we had no intention of trying to incinerate the defunct documents. It is just that it was close by the shredder that we have in the store room, which is a bit more capable than the average domestic shredding machine.
The bag had been in its place since the middle of November and had we extracted a few bundles of documents and fed them into the shredder each time we passed, the job would have been done by now. Dedicating time to the task is a mistake because it becomes tedious very quickly. It is also quite surprising just how much shredding it produces and this was partly why I started the job today - our commercial bin man was due today. Planning to coordinate with the bin man to collect the three refuse sacks of shredding (and still not finished) is also a mistake; he did not show up until late. I stopped shredding when this became obvious.
I had another pop at finishing off the beachware order when I finished in the shop. The basic principle of it was to check that we are ordering the correct amount given what we have left in store. This is complicated by the addition of something called 'show specials', which are the same goods at a lower price for getting them delivered early. I therefore have a list of 'show specials' at one price and another list containing goods at the normal price for delivery later some of which are the same goods as 'show specials' but at a different price. This required me to have three spreadsheet windows open, the inventory system window and the supplier website open to check prices by volume. It helps having two screens but four would have been better. You then have to work out which screen is active when you start typing else you end up typing in the wrong window.
The whole process required such an element of concentration and continuity that I was compelled to have a beer. After a second the mists of complexity slowly started to clear and by the third, the world of spreadsheets and tables was my oyster. Naturally, I will have to check it all again tomorrow to see exactly what I did and, no doubt, repeat the process tomorrow afternoon without the aid of a liquid net.
December 28th - Tuesday
Time was a little more pressing this morning because I had deliveries expected. I expected them a bit earlier but they arrived after my initial foray downstairs in my new upside down, topsy turvey routine, which meant them waiting until the shop opened. They had to wait a tad longer than that because the pasties arrived when I came down to open the shop. It is of no matter as we have very few customers that early in the morning, although this morning was an exception.
The bleddy hound and I were nearly blown off our feet and paws when we went out for our walk. It was clear from the howling in the eaves that the wind had gone around to the west late yesterday, just before bedtime. The windspeed had peaked just before I opened the shop, it seems, at around 60 - 65 miles per hour, what we call light airs down here, or just about the time the bleddy hound and I were out in it.We did not tarry long.
The wind spent the rest of the morning testing the engineering securing our Christmas tree in place. Even I was impressed, and I was fairly confident of the anchoring we did. The tree danced around a good deal and the Merry Christmas sign across the back acted like a skipping rope between the two poles it is strung from. By the time the wind died down at the end of the day, the tree was still upright and in position.
The usual slow start of the day allowed me to complete updating the beachware stock. Now that we know what we have in a position that we can make sensible decisions about what to buy in and I can finalise that order. There is plenty more to do but that is a big tick on the to do list for next year's preparation.
Talking of preparation, I did not do too badly with my pasty order for the day. I had to call back last Thursday after placing the order for today to increase the numbers, having been nervous that I had not ordered enough. That change of mind paid off today when I was inundated with orders for pasties from around the middle of the day. I may have been well prepared with the numbers, but I was not expecting the world, her great aunt, several distant cousins and their families and the boy Frank's pet tarantula all to arrive at once. The oven has a finite space and although it was on constantly, I found it hard to keep up the pace. No one went away disappointed, so I think that must be a win, then.
I should be a little cautious of being too self-congratulatory. It was an exceedingly busy day, far busier than anyone could have anticipated. It is certainly a year for record numbers and perhaps I should have guessed that the period between Christmas and New Year would be no different. I had not ordered bread for today, fearing that I had too much from the last order and was found wanting in that respect. I also discovered that when I came to place the order for tomorrow, our baker could not do the sliced bread either because of a supply problem. I will try our milkman, who supplies some bread products, and hope for the best.
One of the reasons we were so busy was that right up until the middle of the afternoon, we were blessed with blue skies and brightness, despite the wind. We also had a bay to wonder at as great, thumping waves marched across it towards the beach. The white water shone out in the sunlight and as it bounced over the rocks and crashed up the cliffs at Nanjulian, Aire Point and Creagle. I am sure that there was a fair few down, especially to have a geek, and not many less going home with wet trousers having got too close to the waves racing across the sand and up onto the rocks. I have it on good authority.
It did not take long for the streets to empty and by around half past three o'clock, the tumbleweed was rolling down Cove Road. The emptying out always seems to be a collective decision made somehow telepathically, as they all disappear at once. Of course, there are always one or two who do not get the message and are left wandering about, wondering where everyone went. It may also have had much to do with the sun going away and the grey and dismal cloud rolling in but that is far less mysterious and enigmatic and clearly cannot be right.
It was down to me at tea time to finish off the last of the left-overs from the weekend's revelries, which I had with a bit of haddock I found at the bottom of the freezer. Having taken one for the team, we can eat fresh food tomorrow. What a strange time of the year this is.
December 27th - Monday
There is nothing quite like holding with tradition. The BBC and the Meteorological Office both stepped up to show their mettle in this regard this morning. Yesterday, or possibly the day before we were told that today would hold some heavy rain for us and not be the best of days to be out and about. I just happened upon the Radio Pasty forecast while I was in the shop first thing getting ready for the day at about the same time as I checked the Meteorological Office website for the same information. I was staring at a rain filled afternoon, stretching way into the evening and beyond while a cheerful young lady on the radio was telling me just how bright and sunny the afternoon would be. Just for entertainment value, I also checked the BBC weather website and discovered that it too disagreed with their colleague on the radio.
We do like to think that we have all the facts at our fingertips at anytime day or night through the power of technology. We do indeed have a very frightening array of information available to us, but can we be certain that any of it is actually true, as my little weather example amply demonstrates? Even cross referencing my information was inaccurate because the second site was wrong in exactly the same way. Naturally, dear reader, we must exclude your ever faithful Diary from such conclusions, where all the information is honest and meticulously accurate and the Diarist has never strayed from the path that is true, not ever, not even once. Honest, guv.
We did have some rain overnight; I heard it at one point pecking on the window above the bed. There were also deep gullies on the beach when the bleddy hound and I went down there where the rain had cascaded down the slipway. It fleetingly crossed my mind to take some rain protection with me but I was in a bit of a rush and it did not look too bad, anyway. In the event, the only thing we were hit by was a robust breeze heading around the corner of the Lifeboat station and up slipway. I could not quite work out where it was coming from but concluded it was probably somewhere in the southwest. I had the notion that it was likely a good bit stronger around the corner because there were a few white horses beyond the bay here and there.
Neither of the weather websites were wrong about the rain in the middle of the day. It came through in quite a downpour at one point catching everyone by surprise. It was, however, dry for my run down to the gymnasium in the morning to try and shift some of the slothfulness of the last few days. It was a short but blistering session and did me the world of good. What did not was discovering that our shower had become possessed since I last used it yesterday morning. I suspect the thermostat because it is cold one minute and red hot the next with only a trickle of water running through it. It could have happened on Friday, which would have been worse than it happening today but we will still have to wait until Wednesday before we can call anyone. I also think that the warranty will be invalidated because the electrician decided to go in through the top with the electrics even though there did not seem much option when the power had to be surfaced mounted. It does not look good.
On reflection, we probably would have done much better yesterday with our longer opening hours than today. The weather turned dismal and grey for the afternoon and was not particularly inspiring for even the most avid of fresh air seekers, especially if your trousers were still wet from earlier. We did get through the last of the pasties, which was helpful including our last one for a 92-year-old lady who had one during the summer and said that it was the best she ever had. I was pleased not to have disappointed her as 92 years was a very long time to wait for a decent pasty.
It did not take long to push me over the finishing line of stock counting as there was not much left to do. Correcting myself just slightly, I do have the hooded sweatshirts to count but it is finicky with the store room being so full. I will have to do it because we need to place an order at the show in a couple of weeks. Maybe tomorrow. In the meanwhile the Missus headed up to The Farm to finish the stock there so that I can conclude our beachware order with the right numbers. Mother would have gone too but it was blowing in with such strength up there that it would have not been very comfortable, we surmised.
We struggled through most of the last of the roast meat for our tea, although I still have some I am required to consume for breakfasts until it starts to smell unsavoury or goes green. This means we are officially released from our obligation to overeat so that we do not waste any food. Thank heavens we had Mother here is all I can say; she eats like a teenage rugby player.