Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Minor observations on my new house

1. I would rather get down on my hands and knees and pick up each individual mote of dust than use a hoover. I fear the hoover. Even the dustpan is preferable to the hoover. (That, incidentally, could be my version of "The pen is mightier than the sword", couldn't it). Which is good, since I haven't bought a hoover yet. Does a hoover exist that I won't be terrified of? Can I really bring myself to spend money on one? Tune in for the next thrilling installment, possibly in mid 2010.

2. The downstairs loo obviously contains the rotting corpse of a durian fruit, family of skunks, or similar. I have poured several bottles of various household poisons down there to no avail. Something has died in there and it seems to be something bigger and nastier than me. I am just deciding to never open the door again. If you ever visit, do not go there. Do not even ask what happens behind that door. It's my "something nasty in the woodshed" room.

3. The washing machine claims it has "E14" and will not go past the first minute of any given cycle. I am contemplating the following solutions:

- Maybe take out that filtery bit at the bottom and shake it around.

- Fiddle around with the tap thing in the cupboard in case the water isn't on (long shot).

- Sitting on the floor and crying (almost certain).

- Kicking it.

- Going to the launderette.

I will take other suggestions.

4. Having emptied only the kitchen boxes, I have no compulsion to ever look at, or touch any of the other ones. Fuck it. There is a gigantic empty box that I am thinking of turning into a feature. It is too large to crush, and the perfect size for sitting in after a particularly self-pitying day. Alternatively, I could fill it with owls.

5. I have a ladder with a name. The ladder is called Iris. I know this because it is carved into her ancient wood. Iris is 5 metres high. I am slightly in love with her, but also a little scared. She is awe-inspiring, but also rather rickety. I like climbing ladders though, so I am fine with it. She brings a little frisson into my life. It's carrying her around that causes problems - I have caused several hideous dents in the salmon paintwork.

6. Belgacom remain useless, feckless, pointless bastards (that's two Cold Comfort references in one post, I realise. It's that kind of day. Wet, muddy). Without the interwebs at my disposal I note:

- the house is cleaner;

- I am cooking meals, some of them even involving CHOPPING STUFF. I chopped an onion yesterday, an activity I haven't indulged in for, oooh, probably a good year. It was crap, but it tasted good. This is a dangerous departure.

- I am watching far too much hospital drama.

I am not sure what to make of this.

7. I am getting salmon Stockholm syndrome. It's still hideous but I feel oddly protective of it. I wonder if it gives me a dewy glow, Mariah Carey styley?

8. I have a pathetic girlie compulsion to have lots of fairy lights and quilts. I know it's wrong, beyond the pale and terribly 1998. But, well, you know. This is my first sole residence in 15 years. It is little wonder that my interior decoration desires are a little dated. I'm surprised I haven't moved into an empty loft with only a clothes rail and a load of Smiths posters and black and white photography.

9. Although the basic flatpack and Allen key now hold no fear for me, I continue to be foxed by the mysterious workings of the ratchet screwdriver. What? How? It's entirely beyond me. Probably no point in trying to explain. I think I'm just missing that part of my brain.

10. I really, really, really like it. So that's good.


fourstar said...

At the risk of being a dullard, What make is the washing machine?

Eva Maria Chapman said...

You are a brave woman! Having left two husbands I know the territory. Difficult but good. Fairy lights are the answer to everything- make everything beautiful and soft. PLUS some Japanese incense to mask any strange smells.

Lisa-Marie said...

I think you should get one of these hoovers

We have one, and i love it. It's quiet, with amazing amounts of suction, and it's cute! It has a smile!

Ratchet things are hard to work. The rule in our house is I cook, and Dave fixes things. Very old fashion, but it works.

Fairylights are NEVER out of fashion. Also it's nearly Chrsitmas, so you can pretend it's normal.

Lastly, please, oh please have a box of owls!

Anonymous said...

I say NO to fairy lights. Next thing you'll be telling us that they're around your bedroom mirror and you're lying on your pink fluffy comforter reading Harry Potter. It's a slippery slope.

Go to the laundrette on Vanderkindererererer and have the very nice lady there wash your things for you. Be prepared however for an inexplicably enormous horde of people to arrive just as she's pulling item by item out of your discreetly packed bag to inspect in minute detail. Alternatively, sew yourself into your clothes and wait for Spring.

I am sincerely glad you like the house. That bodes extremely well.

redfox said...

Is the downstairs loo in the cellar? Those never seem to work the way they are supposed to. Ours serves only as a water bowl for the cat. (Why he would want water like that is beyond me.) Probably not relevant, but I recently learned that drains need to have a certain amount of water in the trap to prevent sewer smells from coming up the pipes into your house. Plumbing! How full of mystery and intrigue you are.

Anonymous said...

We just bought a small hand-held hoover which you can just zap the odd bit of dust with, the 2 cats are of course terrified of it and cannot understand why their biggest enemy is now so portable.

Suspect the washing machine may need the attendance of an 'expert', they are fickle complicated things. However you will spend 300 Euros on an call out to be told you need a new one.

Would love to see a picture of the pink palace now that it is occupied.

Robynn said...

1. Roomba! Come on. Haven't you always wanted a robot to do the vacuuming for you?

8. Fairy lights are your friend. Really. Do it.

Top Bird @ Wee Birdy said...

Oh Waffle, so happy to hear that the salmon palace is growing on you (despite den of foul odours).

Re. hoover - can you get one of those broom things with the cloth attachments that pick up all the dust? xx

Juci said...

Is it a new washing machine? Have you removed the bit that holds the drum while it is being transported?
Cooking is good. I'm glad you are eating chopped stuff.

Anonymous said...

Hoover - a Dyson or nothing. This is the Ektorp of the hoovering world.

E14 sounds like one of the motorways out of Brussels (oh, no, it's the E40).

As Juci said - if it is a new machine there might be large concrete blocks between drum and inside which some companies do still put in there for some reason (probably so that you pay for a callout). Maybe E14 is mentioned in instruction book?

Seriously, please don't, don't, don't buy those Swiffer thingies for cleaning the floor. They are fatal for dogs and cats ... there is something in the product that affects their livers when they lick their paws. I don't have a link but you can probably find info on the internet about this.

Fairy lights from now to mid January only!

Ali said...

Yes, what Juci said. Friends of mine recently bought a new washing machine and were mortified to have to return to the store and ask what was wrong with it. They hadn't taken out the transportation bolt. Fairy lights are lovely. Never be ashamed of fairy lights.

Jonathan Lethbridge said...

Why don't you get one of those robotic hoovers that find their own way around, and then go back to their base station and recharge themselves? If they bump into something they just go the other way, and somehow they map where they have been and so leave no area untouched. They are low to the ground, so even go under some furniture. The Weepette might find it slightly distressing though.

Very strangely, the word that I am now being asked to type is "mismere", which is a mere "n" from Minsmere, an awesome RSPB reserve on the Suffolk coast that I go to fairly often. Belgian Waffle is clearly becoming addicted to oiseaux, whether you like it or not.

magpie said...

Ahhh, you have not discovered the fairylights feng shui - you either dump them in a glass vase or a large paper bag and suddenly people think you are not a child.
Either that or go for vast quantities all piled together rather than a measly, pocket money-esque single chain.
And whatever you do, never be tempted to buy novelty chilli pepper ones. Gross.

real estate agent from Vancouver said...

Good that you like your new house - that is the most important. Other than that, interesting observations, really. A ladder with a name - how cool is that? Not everyone has such a ladder.


Veronica Wald said...

You'll be fine. Until you lose the allen wrench, then you're doomed.

This from the Voice of Experience.

(Glad to hear you're kinda' sorta' having fun!)

Fan of Real Estate Agent from Vancouver said...

FAO Real Estate Agent from Vancouver - could you use a less cryptic name please? I found myself irresistably drawn to click on your link. Suffice to say I was not expecting your website to be about real estate. In Vancouver of all places. Wow. Rest assured, if I'm ever thinking of emigrating to Vancouver, you will be my GoTo Guy.

Julia Ball said...

I bought a Dyson DC24i it is small, it has "The ball" and the most important thing is that children love it and can use it. :-) Fingers and Lashes will have "a ball" with it, also, it sounds like if the hose has been connected to the washing machine, the water hasn't been turned on. there will be a lever somewhere around the pipe.

Kate said...

I've been wanting fairy lights ever since i saw someone (in a magazine i think... or online more likely) who attached little white feathers to their fairy lights and it was charming. I'm dying to string them up all over my office... but I haven't stumbled upon little white feathers yet or the time to sit and attach them to fairy lights.

Anonymous said...

Washing machine problem - If it is starting then stopping, it will be a sensor, so my guess is that the door isn't closing properly. I doubt it's the water. But then, what do I know? Nowt.

fourstar said...

@dragondays: The concrete blocks are there for ballast so your washing machine doesn't try to march across the floor when it goes into spin cycle. And it would be a very odd idea to use concrete for transportation packing, given that it weighs a little more than polystyrene :)

WV: "oidley" which if it isn't a word about a slightly lacklustre state of mind, ought to be.

johnny88 said...

i dont hoover. i broomed my carpets when my malting got really obvious and my flatmates would rather cower in the doorway than come in my room. but last time i hoovered i managed to block the hoover with the contents of a well stocked stationary store.
and fairy lights are the way forward. life should be lit with fairy lights. not the tacky christmas ones, the joyful summer wedding type fairy lights. they make life better.
good luck with your washing machine!! x

Anonymous said...

Don't know what the make of your washing machine is. But if it's Smeg/Bosch/Whirlpool and a washer/dryer combo, chances are good (read really bad...) that the NTC sensor for the dryer temperature, part no 425059, is damaged.
At least that's what google spits out when looking for 'Washing machin error code E14'...
Good luck!

GingerB said...

We owe you, Prog Rock's stepchild. Accept our Hoover advice. The Roomba is fun! I suspect it terrifies my dog though, and she is three times the size of the weepette.

I hope your birthday passed with just the right amount of cake and tears.

the polish chick said...

i third the roomba idea. my mom has one and she has passed the no-hoover gene to me, so one day i too shall have one. it's like a wee servant. i wonder if you could train it to also bring you gin...

Anonymous said...

Fairy lights are fine anytime of year - even my teenagers have no quarrel with them, and they are hideously judgemental and will quarrel with pretty well anything else I think, say or do. Anyway, they (lights not teenagers) add a pleasant ambience while sitting in large boxes crying.

VUK said...

Why a phobia against a HOOVER, is it the technical side, men like hoovers, the new ones dont have bags, does seem odd to want to pick up individual dust!, and its Xmas time, a house needs lights in and out, as to the Washing Machine, have youo read the manual?

WrathofDawn said...

Just don't fill up the large box with the fairy lights, in the stylee of the vase/paper bag plan or the inside of the box will be all pointy and not as pleasant for sitting.

As for the rachet, there should be a little sliding button on the shaft (heh. I said shaft.) that has three settings: 1 for righty-tighty; 2 (in the middle) to lock it when you turn it either way; and, 3 for lefty-loosy. Adjust that until the bit stays in place for the direction in which you need to turn it.

Also, many apologies if screws are threaded the other way in Belgium. I dunno. Could happen.

wv - bilvend - the part of the rachet that fits into the bilv.

livesbythewoods said...

I've got a string of grown-up fairy lights in here (points at them) which manage to look stylish yet quirky. Much as I aspire to (and fail, but hey ho) so there...they are perfectly acceptable for an adult home.

Mine have pseudo-Oriental shades on each light, all painted in different colours and designs so I can pretend to be doing something thematic with my study, rather than just hanging lights about BECAUSE I CAN.

But obviously that's the real reason.

My magic word is UNGLU. An ugly igloo. With no fairy lights.

Anonymous said...

You're right, Fourstar - I knew there was something you had to take out of a machine - and it's the mega bolt. It's so long since I bought a new machine but mine is slowly but surely becoming most tempramental.
I can't believe I'm writing about washing machines ...

Señora B said...

Do you have wooden floors? If so i recomend Robomop:

You can get em off eBay. Bags more fun than hoovering could EVER be.

SabinePsynopsis said...

I've got a vacuum-cleaner called Henry (all English probably know Henry, just me, ignorant German, is surprised that a vc has been given a name). But how can you not like vacuum-cleaning? I'm addicted to it! The washing machine sounds terribly difficult, but fairy-lights should sort it all! Sabine x

Bryony said...

fairylights are a must. v tempted myself by suggestion of sewing into clothes and waiting till spring....

Anonymous said...

For number 3 may I suggest calling a fit, tanned young repairman who likes to take his shirt off, to look at it for you. (once he's finished with that he can look at the washing machine, ha!)

I have lots of fairy lights. I don't care that I'm no longer in my 20s and slumming it, I like them! They make the world a better place. Fairy lights and expensive, well scented candles. Yes please!

Mrs Jones said...

Hellfire, woman! It's YOUR place! If you want fairylights and quilts, just go and bloody get some! I'd have fairylights everywhere if I could....

Sarah said...

YES! to fairylights. Never too late for it to be 1998, after all.

As for the Hoover, another vote here for the Roomba.

And glorious that your ladder has a name. And such a pretty one...

Anonymous said...

Easy salmon-inspired pasta sauce to prepare in the Salmon Palace:

Chop and sauté an onion until it is soft, chop up smoked salmon, add to onion and cook for a few mins until it changes colour, then add cream and warm up the mixture.

Serve on pasta with grated parmesan and a little rocket if you like.

Takes 20 minutes, delicious!

Dash said...

Go the whole hog, turn the salmon palace into a steven Poliakoff set, loads of tasteful white, yellow fairy lights, go to ikea and gorge youself on cream candles and throw in some chinese lanterns for good measure.

Wafflechild said...


I had forgotten the SAGA of the RATCHET. I never did sit you down and talk you through it.

ITS JUST A SCREWDRIVER YOU DONT HAVE TO SCREW SO HARD - or you could call it a wrist saving gadget?

I doubt you will ever understand its mysteries, but you are my wafflemere, so thats ok... (Rings La Nunnerie De Chat De Pomme De Terre Pour Les Waffles Aged and books you a room)

:p xxxxx

Unknown said...

Regarding the hoover, trust your instincts. Nature abhors a vacuum.

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday! Have a lovely day

Artichoke Queen said...

Hoover: ROOMBA! I was just stroking one in the shop the other day, where it is waiting for me to move into my new home.

Fairy lights: YES. Particularly if those nice opaqueish star shaped ones draped over your mantle.

Washing machine: That's why God made fluff & fold. Life is too short to fuck with the laundry.

I hope you are having a lovely day full of cake and booze. Perhaps if you went to the Parc du Caca the lovely Mexicanito would be there with a HBD kiss?

carolinefo said...

Am very comforted to hear that other people suffer from Problems With Hoovers. I have been involved in a life and death struggle with a series of different vacuum cleaners since graduating and moving into my first flat many years ago. Mostly, I have killed the Hoovers (if there was a Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Hoovers I would be top of the Most Wanted list), but there was one which demonically possessed and used to shoot across the room on its own, & that was very, very scary.

Have been living in Turkey for 3 and a half years, and am already on to my fourth hoover.


awhirlinlondon said...

Happy Birthday! Will be thinking of you.

Waffle said...

So much domestic flurry in my absence.

1. Roomba - We used to have one of these! It was the love of my life. If you placed a biscuit on top of it, the then-toddling Fingers would be occupied for most of the day. Double joy. I would love to see weepette vs roomba, but fear such things do not exist in Belgium.

2. Fran - it become increasingly evident that we do indeed live quite close to one another. I used to live just by vanderkindererereer. Now I am a bit further down the hill. Which is appropriate. Please make proper contact so I can invite you round and lock you in the basement in traditional Belgian style.

3. Oh! AND I FIXED THE WASHING MACHINE. (water was off). I felt all powerful for several hours until I realised I had lost my wallet. On my birthday. Fuck.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you left your wallet in the cupboard under the sink, while you fiddled with the water to get the washing machine working?

Chantal said...

Happy birthday! Hope you have a suitably lovely day in the Salmon Palace or wherever the fancy takes you.

Re. hoovering - COMPLETELY AGREE. Maybe an indoor goat is the solution to this?

Re. Iris, she sounds lovely.

Re. your boxes, I wish I could come round and help you unpack. I love unpacking and setting up, it's like reverse filing or taking out all your toys at once.

Re. decorating; you cannot go wrong with the Smiths.

...and no-one really needs a ratchet screwdriver. Besides, it sounds like some kind of hideous cocktail served to Brit teenagers in Tenerife.

Have a lovely lovely birthday xx

JPM said...

Congrats on fixing the washer and Happy Birthday!!

also, re. hoovers, you have a dog, which totally justifies a Dyson. They can suck the paint off a fence even when they are beyond "recommended" capacity and will get hair off curtains without also eating the curtains. They have no bags. They cost less than therapy.
If hoovering is really out of the question, brooms are good.

In my opinion there is no age limit on fairy lights or on having an active imagination, and neither are necessarily a regression :).
So good to hear you are making yourself and home and happy!

Mya said...

Happy Birthday!
I lived in E14 once - I hope it wasn't me who fucked up your washing machine.

I hope you have a great day!

Mya xxx

Anonymous said...

Just scraped in in time to wish you a happy birthday Mme. Waffle.
I hope you're having a lovely one with cake, gin and snuggles with kids and weepette.

The Spicers said...

I'm terrified of Hoovers too, try to avoid them at all costs. I find myself picking up the cat hairs by hand. You could get one of those Roombas that does the work by itself.
Happy Birthday!
Hope it's a year filled with good things for you.

The Subtle Rudder said...

Hope it was a lovely day, birthday twin (don''t worry, I'm older, so you can feel all taut and spry). Here's how I spent my day:

pinolona said...

happy birthday!! a bit late... but hope you had a lovely day. And happy day-after-birthday too, who says it only has to last one day?!

ps in the event of bad smells, check inside the oven: in May, my flatmate went away for ten days and I spent the whole time vainly chucking bleach down the kitchen sink before opening the oven door - on her return - to discover a rather putrid ex-frozen 'salmon en croute' that one of us cooked and forgot to eat...

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