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Date: 06/10/07

On The Home Front

An unusually busy day on the domestic front.

First off, I needed a new mattress. I mean, really needed one. The one I had came with the bed about fifteen years ago, and it had got to the stage where I was not so much sleeping on it as in it. I'd turned it all the ways you can turn a mattress, and bits were starting to stick out so that I became aware of the possibility of waking up in the dead of night to find that I'd been turned into a cocktail sausage.

I'd popped in to a couple of places in town on Monday, when I was on my way back to work from the dentist. The second shop turned out to have what I wanted, and the chap there told me that they always had that model in stock. Trouble was that they didn't deliver on Saturdays, only on Tuesdays and Fridays, and it would still be pot luck as to what time the van would turn up.

This meant calling for assistance in the form of my brother. He's got a Frontera, so folding down the back seats would mean a single mattress would just about fit in there.

So I forewent my usual Saturday morning lie-in so that we could go down there. When I went in I found that, because of some promotional gimmick they had running, the entire staff was dressed in pyjamas. Blue and white striped pyjamas. I saw the same bloke as I had seen on Monday and, as he was balding and was somewhat thin of face and build, I had what I can only describe as an Auschwitz flashback. There should be some law against companies making their employees do things like that.

79 later, and we were on our way home. Then it was time to load the old mattress into the car and scoot down to the Civil Amenity Site (that's Bollocksese for 'dump', folks) to get rid of it. I'd already rolled the old one up and tied it, so it was a lot easier to handle.

(Hot Tip Of The Day: don't go wrestling with an old mattress if you're wearing black clothing).

Once I'd got home again, I put the second pair of dark green curtains on the line (the first pair having been washed and put out before I went), before going to hoover the bedroom prior to putting the new mattress on the bed.

I ran into a problem at this point, in that my trusty little Goblin refused to suck.

(Look, it's only dirty if you think it is. I deny all responsibility).

I changed the dustbag and merrily got on with it. I then unpacked the new mattress and installed it, before heading back downstairs for lunch.

I thought I'd have a nap after lunch, just in the name of testing the mattress you understand. It's really comfortable, especially compared to what it was replacing, which tended to roll you towards one side or the other and twang alarmingly with the slightest shift in position.

I got up again and, with the curtains still hanging limply in the bright autumn sunshine, I went to do some remedial work in the garden. Part one of this consisted of trying to unblock the drain at the bottom of the downspout at the side of the house. This had been covered up by the hypericum for a couple of years, and I hadn't noticed until I cut the foliage back that it was bunged up with what I suspect was about five years of accumulated bird shit washed down from the guttering. This is foul stuff (or should that be 'fowl'? Probably better not), resembling black porridge. Scooping it out with a trowel was a laborious job, especially as it seemed to go down about a foot, at which point I found out what had become of the metal grid which should have been on top of the drain.

A short break, and it was time to pull up the dog daisies and another plant which I can't put a name to at the moment. The stems are about half a metre tall, and they produce cup-like yellow flowers. What they also produce is chaos if left unattended, because the bloody things expand laterally and take over whatever bare soil is nearby. That's why they needed pulling up: I had a mass of them in front of the living room window, and they're in one or two other places in the garden as well. Just pulling them up wasn't going to be enough: I knew from past experience that I'd need to fork the soil over afterwards to get as many of the roots out as I could. This was back-breaking stuff, and I knocked off at about 4pm.

And that was my Saturday.