22 Apr

Since the enforcement of the hose pipe ban, on the 1st of April it has rained almost all day every day. The Anglian Water imposed hose pipe ban has been considerably more effective than any rain dance or new age ceremony could ever have been. By my reckoning, and the water level in one of the buckets I have scattered around the garden we have received close on to 9 inches of rain in 21 days.
The ground is waterlogged, and we have several standing puddles on the lawn and what was the path. To make matters worse all of the new grass that I carefully re-seeded last autumn, and protected from Oz with the temporary plastic mesh fence has been churned into muddy mire by him running up and down the garden.
The two areas that I dug over and levelled ready for installing the planters have been reduced over the course of two days into what can only be described mud baths by Oz; he has a fascination for freshly tilled earth, and these two areas have provided him with several hours of enjoyment. Suffice to say he has been banished to the spare dog bed in the conservatory. Not because he is being punished, but to prevent my ears from becoming permanently noise damaged by Lois verbally abusing me as Oz leaves muddy paw prints all over the rest of the house.
This rain is really holding back the 9 sq/mtr project; I just cannot get on and do anything outside in the garden because it is far too wet. It’s not much better in the workshop with the rain rattling down on the roof and drowning out the sound of the radio as I am busily working away. Since I bought my little DAB radio a couple of months ago I have rekindled my love affair with the radio, and it has been great listening to the superior sound of digital radio as whilst I’ve been sawing, jigging up, welding and grinding. Planet Rock is my current station of choice, and this very close to 50 year old can often be seen to put down the welding torch and head banging away (albeit without the hair) to one or more of the heavy metal classics, much to the dogs amazement and puzzlement.
We have endured a spate of vandalism in the area that we live. A fence panel between us and next door was torn down so that the barstewards could access Clive’s work-in-progress Ford 2.8 ltr V6 engine powered trike, and really go to town vandalising that. Fortunately, with the exception of 3 slashed tyres the rest of the damage was superficial. Apart from putting Clive’s plans back bit and the cost of the new tyres, vandalism is still a crime and the perpetrators need to be dealt with in the appropriate manner.
Clive was kind enough to give a me 4 mtr length of thick walled steel box section,  so that I could make a new post to replace the damaged (and part rotten) wooden fence post. So I spent a couple of hours in the workshop capping off the open ends, cutting, drilling and welding on some brackets to match it up to the fence panels. After a couple of licks of undercoat and 2 coats of Chocolate Brown gloss enamel, this new steel post is ready to go in; I just need another decent  break in the wet weather so I can dig the post hole and then concrete it in place.
Water proofs have been donned this week and major inroads into the general clear up have begun. All of the old wardrobe and bedroom panels that previously made up the flooring in the loft that I had ripped out ready for the new insulation have been taken to the local council dump. Now, I am unsure if Norwich City tip is typical of other council run tips around the country, but I can tell you that it is run by a petty,” jobs worth” bureaucrat with perceived powers way above his lowly station. I have found that the best way to deal with these people is not to argue with them, but to play by the letter of the rule. ….. they usually become tired of having to adhere to the rule book because it means that they actually have to do some work that is within the realm of the job roll.
Granted I had 2/3rds of the rear of my estate car filled with these old unit panels, and that the citizens of Norwich are only permitted to dump 80 litres volume or 50 kg by weight per week if arriving at the council dump by car. There is a charge of £20 and upwards for loads larger than this, and the council has number plate recognition cameras installed so that they may enforce these rules: However, there are no such limitations for pedestrians.
There was a long queue of cars waiting to enter the tipping area, and I had decided to park in the lay-by on the opposite side of the road, and walk the rubbish in, rather than wait for the estimated 30 minutes for turn to arrive. After 4 hand carried loads to the drop I was accosted by said petty official wanting to know where my car was so the load could be estimated for the possibility of additional charges. So I told him I had travelled on foot and had carried the rubbish to the tip. He then tried to enforce the 80 litres volume or 50 kg weight per car rule. So I reminded him that I had arrived on foot (albeit 30 odd metres).
“Pedestrians are not allowed on site sir.” “I have used the clearly marked pedestrian pathway.” “But that is for those arriving by car sir” “So why does it start from the footpath alongside, and allow access from the public highway?” “Well I’d better check the volume sir; it looks considerably more than 80 litres.” “The council have officially trained you how to measure and calculate volumes?” “No, but I have a rule I can use to carry out the measuring.” “OK.” Out came a standard stationary clear plastic 12 inch rule of the type found in offices and schools across the country. So I asked him if it was a rule manufactured and certified to the relevant British Standard: All of my Stainless steel rules I use in the workshop are, and carry the correct BS number, so as far as am concerned that it was a valid request on my part. The answer I received was “No” so I told him that I would not accept his calculation. He then informed me that he was going to weigh it, so I asked to see the current annual calibration or approved trading standards certificate. ….  which he could not produce.
By then the traffic queue was backing up on to the road, and frustrated drivers were beginning to sound their horns, so for once in his working life this petty enforcer of the red tape backed down and let me get on with it.
It has been another wet and miserable weekend. The garden is literally a waterlogged swamp with many standing puddles dotted about, which is saying something because it normally drains so freely. I can’t even get the lawnmower or strimmer out and give the grass its first trim of the year. The two new planters are still on the trestles under the gazebo, but we did get the decking area clear of all the various pieces of reclaimed pallet timber. What I have wanted to keep and use for projects has been stacked up on the racking, and the rest has been claimed by Mikki for both her open fire place and wood burner.

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