At the End of the Day

Since the weekend, Winter has taken hold of the weather here, and made its will prevail. It’s 2 degrees in the mornings now, and I thank Mistress Fate that I had the insulation here completely upgraded earlier this year. Not only are all the windows devoid of crude air-conditioning, the central heating wasn’t installed by William Caxton in the 15th century. He was a decent cove Bill, but ch was a sideline – and one gets the impression that he wasn’t terribly focused on it for much of the time. He was ace on your printing press development, but a bit of an amateur when it came to heating technology. On the whole, his heart wasn’t really in it.

However, the 21st century being as it is obsessed with the muddled output of the Aspergers victims among us, I’ve now at last been supplied with a programmer attachment for this cutting edge central heating arrangement. It works perfectly well just so long as you don’t try to override it at any time. Performing such a seditious act results in revenge of the kind that is served very cold indeed…..that is to say, you don’t get any heating any more.

You see, Hal le Programmateur is very happy for you to input orders into his software, but if by any chance you are foolish enough to have a change of heart, Hal will take against you. He likes temperature targets to remain constant, he is averse to extensions of heated periods, and most of all he objects to any suggestion (however well meant) that a rest from the Extreme Sauna setting might be in order.

So far this week, Hal has (1) refused to answer commands from the settings gizmo – red light showing – (2) gone into night setting without warning, and (3) decided he knows best what the comfortable temperature should be. This morning, he asserted that an outside temperature of 1.5 degrees did not constitute any need for emergency heating supply, as a result of which I endured a shower at Sun surface temperature followed by a cooling-off period from the dark side of the Moon.

I was forced to pay €99 for Hal because the braindead expat cockney lardarse who fitted the system insisted that his installation was “to’ally ortermatik” and “dunt require no fermstat”, but of course this turned out to be complete bollocks.

Meanwhile, this week’s Task I Don’t want To Do has been hanging curtains in the rear sitting room. Curtains represent girlie stuff. In extremis, I am very happy to do all the horizontal rod things and tucking-up sideways stuff with grippy iron bits, but the plastic curly-wurlies that thread through cotton stays are something of an unsolved mystery to me. I hope I’m not using too much technical jargon here.

The process in this instance wasn’t helped by the fact that – despite being asked several thousand times to save all the peripheral metal – the first wave of builders threw most of it into various skips with the gay abandon of City boys chucking out kitchen units made useless by the fact that they weren’t in the latest Conran brochure.

Much patch, make do and mend has thus been employed. I’m still Mr Apollo 13 in that I can improvise, but I would be lying to you if I suggested that any of this crap is anything other than stuff I wish I could give to The Staff. And as I have no Staff, it isn’t exactly the Staff of Life.

Anyway, they’re all up now – and in the meantime, Mikal the SuperPole has arrived back from Cracow laden with things for the barn conversion. Cement, floor coverings, a wood-stove, chimney flue, floorcoverings and hand-made windows have all been taken from his van and duly installed. The speed at which these guys work is like watching life through an under-cranked camera: I constantly expect to see them in a time-warp, meeting each other coming back.

Tomorrow I shall be that wild and crazy guy fashioning a door-wreath from bay leaves, red berries and old metal shirt hangers. Listen, we are moving much faster than the background here.

Earlier at The Slog: An idiot’s guide to the Autumn Statement bollocks