Sunday, 3 November 2013

Waiting for the third thing

The rule of three or omne trium perfectum as it is correctly known is the phenomenon of things happening in threes and when two things have happened in this house I am always waiting for the third. It is no coincidence that my unpublished novel (yes, still trying to find an agent) is called The Rule of Three as this is a truth that holds good in our lives - for good or ill.

This week has been something of a minor disaster-fest at the little house on the prairie and things started unravelling on Wednesday. It was early evening and having cleared away the supper and restored order in the kitchen, I was lighting the fire in the sitting room accompanied by the junior dog who whines until the fire is lit and she can settle at my feet next to the pile of newspapers (I'm usually still working my way through the previous Saturday and Sunday papers until midweek). Amidst the crackling of the fire and noises from various televisions, a faint 'help' was audible - just. I assumed the sound had originated from one of the screens - wrongly as it turned out. Returning the coal bucket to the boiler room I encountered my beloved covered in debris. He had been sitting on the throne in the downstairs loo with his laptop on his knee when the ceiling collapsed on him! By way of explanation, about a month ago, we had a leak under the bath (directly above the aforementioned loo) which was fixed by our lovely plumber, Steve (of whom more later). He did say at the time that the waste pipe had been leaking for some time and things were fairly wet under the bath. We hoped that things would dry out in a satisfactory manner. They didn't - and the loo ceiling had disintegrated all over my beloved and the floor of the loo. A major clear-up was called for in the short term and a subsequent call to the insurance company.

Whilst all this domestic stuff was occurring, number 1 child has been in Los Angeles touting her acting skills around the film and television industry capital of the world - hopefully, with some success, and if things come to fruition no doubt it will be blogged about. Anyway the plan was for her to have the last two days of her three week trip to the States in San Francisco, staying in a nice hotel courtesy of her parents and having a look round that most unique cosmopolitan city. Due to fly out of LAX on Friday morning, or Friday evening UK time, to San Francisco before heading back to London on Sunday, all had been going well. Meanwhile on Friday evening we were in a pub (now there's a shock) with friends when my beloved's phone rang. It was number 1 asking us if we had heard the news of the gunman at LAX and that the airport had been evacuated. She was safe, of course, and luckily had somewhere to stay courtesy of the brother of my schoolfriend Genevieve who has been absolutely brilliant. But all domestic flights had been cancelled and she was not going to make it to San Francisco in the next twenty four hours. Cue my beloved re-organising hotels and flights because number 1 struggles with the phone and that makes life difficult over long distances.

Two disasters down and I am on the alert for the third. On Saturday morning I check the tyres and gears on my bike extra thoroughly before heading out - just in case. My beloved goes off with various weapons to go shooting (he always looks lovely when he's going out to kill things ... ) and I hope he's going to come back unscathed. Then England beat Australia and I think we're going to be ok. Maybe this time no third thing.

It's now twenty four hours after the airport crisis and we are still wrestling with the flights/accommodation issues in another continent because the domestic terminal is still closed. My beloved is cooking dinner whilst skypeing with number 1 and I am sorting out the fire with the whining dog and looking forward to Strictly. Then from the kitchen a yell of something much worse than the 'help' of earlier in the week. I dash through to find my beloved soaked to the skin doing the equivalent of 'Dutch boy with finger in the dyke' under the sink with a lot less success. The cold pipe (direct from the mains) has perished and our stopcock is almost impossible to turn. There is cold water rushing out all over the kitchen floor at considerable pressure. Cue child 3, my beloved and me with buckets and towels trying to stem the flow whilst we try to get hold of the lovely plumber again.

To cut a very long story short, we left a message on his mobile but that got no response and eventually I tracked his address down on the internet as he had once applied for planning permission (what a marvellous tool the internet is in a crisis - so much for anonymity!). I drove up the village, banged on his door, rang the bell and finished up hammering on the window in a way that might have been scary had it still been Halloween, before his daughter who rushes about on a tennis court with me in the summer came to the window. Because he is a very kind chap, he came out in the pouring rain and saved our bacon - well, our kitchen anyway and it no longer resembles a swimming pool.

Child 1 is on her way to San Francisco though she won't get further than the airport as she flies home from there without the time to explore the city and we have the number for a builder who might be able to repair the ceiling in the downstairs loo.

Deny the power of omne trium perfectum at your own risk!
Looking gorgeous when going out to kill things. He looked slightly less gorgeous when soaked in the kitchen later!

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