lifestylesupportguru

humour for the not so graceful getting older

Category: Challenge

Home Help

www.lifestylesupportguru.com/home-helpA very good afternoon to you all! It is a little while since I offered you any advice, which is very remiss off me because some of you may not be living life as fully as you might without me here to help you avoid any little pitfalls and stumbling blocks along life’s rocky road. Today I wish to discuss domestic problems – not that I have any problems, of course, because I am a living Domestic Goddess, but I have come across a ‘Help’ page in a Sunday paper which answers readers’ questions about household/domestic problems. I felt that the ‘experts’ didn’t necessarily address the problems appropriately, so I felt I should offer alternative solutions. Here are some of the questions that were raised, with a brief version of the experts’ answers (because they did tend to ramble on), followed by my much more succinct and useful answers:
1. My indoor aloe vera has root rot. What can I do?

Expert: Aloe vera dislikes excess moisture or watering. Take your plant out of the pot and remove any soil residue from the roots. Cut any rotten bits with sterilised scissors. Gently tease away any unaffected pups (baby plants growing off the mother plant). Clean, wash and dry the pot. Add a new mix: half soil, half sand. You may add a teaspoon of perlite to absorb excess water. Repot the mother plant in this new soil. Repot any pups with the same half-soil, half-sand mix. Do not water too much.
LSG: Throw it out.

2. I used to have a good relationship with my neighbours, but in the past year they have built an enormous bike shed and a storage shed against our low boundary fence — right under my kitchen window. Then, last week, they built a large bar within a foot of the fence. It’s positioned so that all of their guests can stare into my garden. Is there anything I can do?

Expert: Generally speaking, there is no right in English law to the enjoyment of a view (the expert then rabbits on for ages about tort law, nuisance and a lot more).
LSG: Build a bigger bar that overlooks their bedroom and invite more guests.

3. I recently had the moss removed from my roof. How can I stop it coming back and preserve the tiles?

Expert: Most mosses thrive in moist, shady conditions. Reducing overhanging branches or removing trees to allow sunlight onto the roof will inhibit regrowth. Any work on a roof should be risk-assessed, with appropriate measures taken to prevent falls.
LSG: Get the roof thatched and then the moss will blend in perfectly. Any work on a roof should be risk-assessed – make sure your ladder is long enough.

4. My washing machine stinks.
Expert: Liquid detergent (even biological) used at low temperature does not seem to kill bacteria, which builds up. Washing powders for whites contain bleach, so do a hot white wash (60C) every week. Run a very hot wash with laundry powder once a week. Dry the rubber seal. Use the hottest wash with bio powder. Spray rubber seal with anti-mould or bleach. Keep door open.
LSG: Buy a new washing machine.

www.lifestylesupportguru.com/home-help5. My wife and I often forget to turn off our bathroom tap. We are 79 and 82. Sometimes we leave the water running for hours. It is a single mixer tap: to turn it on, we lift the handle up, but we forget to push it back down. Is there a device that can remind us?

Expert: The best suggestion I can make is to fit a self-closing “non-concussive” tap, which you press to turn on — the sort you often get in motorway services. They only run for a few seconds unless you hold them down. My only concern is that, as you get older, a push-button tap may be more difficult for your hands to manage. If you can use it, however, it would certainly solve the problem.
LSG: My only concern is that neither of you can cope with remembering to push a tap handle down when you must be able to see/hear the water running, but more especially when your water bill arrives. Book yourselves into the nearest residential care home while they still have double rooms available.

First world problems, eh?

Lost in Translation

A very good evening, Beloved Believers! Tonight, I wish to talk about the difficulties of understanding others. Of course, I don’t mean ‘understanding’ in the sense of ‘empathising with’ – as I am the LSG, empathy is something I leave to ordinary mortals, who need to ‘feel your pain’ or ‘walk in your shoes’ (not for me, unless they’re Christian Louboutin’s, daaahlings … And NEVER Crocs!). No, this is about understanding people talking to you, even though you haven’t left these shores for foreign climes.
I have come to terms with understanding Scottish accents – as long as I can catch every third word, I’m fine – I make up the rest. Northern Irish is similar – ‘hyevva’, as pronounced by an NI BBC reporter is, in fact, ‘however’, so I can work from that. North Welsh still defeats me at times, especially since they have different words for the same things – for example, ‘girl’ in North Welsh is ‘hogan’ (both singular and plural), but ‘merch’ (merched, plural) in the South; ‘boy’ is ‘hogyn’ (both singular and plural) or ‘bachgen’ (bechgyn, plural). ‘Now’ is ‘nawr’ (South) and ‘rwan’ (North). How does that work, other than backwards??
Hyevva, the one that defeats me is the Black Country – Debbie, Rob, is there a phrase book that you haven’t told me about? The (male) siblings and I visited the Black Country Living Museum the other day and were flummoxed right from the start, although, agreeably, the initial lack of understanding led to us all being admitted at ‘Concessions’ price (even though only one of us qualified) simply because older sibling didn’t understand what he was being asked and just smiled and said ‘Yes’, while younger sibling and I stood behind him looking old.
We moved on to the main entrance where we were greeted by a gentleman – dressed as a 19th-century pit supervisor (I’m using my imagination here) – who asked us a question which none of us understood, so we said, ‘Pardon?’ and he repeated the question. The LSG, making the most of her linguistic abilities, understood the word ‘rent’, replied ‘Yes’, smiled, showed our tickets and we were allowed in. Thereafter, we made sure we engaged in no further conversation, even avoiding the 19th-century pub in case we were expected to converse and ended up with a pint of gin! (Actually, now I come to think of it …)
The visit was extremely enjoyable, and I would recommend it to all and sundry, but just don’t expect to hold lengthy conversations with anyone (unless they’re ‘proper’ foreign!).

Today’s experience was somewhat different. I decided to go along to the city library, which has moved from the beautiful, old Central Library building to the refurbished Council House – beautiful on the outside, rather clashingly modern on the inside – to borrow a book I didn’t want to buy on Kindle (i.e. too expensive!). The conversation went like this:
Helper: Hello, can I help you?
Me: Yes, it’s my first visit here. Where will I find books by Victoria Hislop?
H: ‘Hislop’. Does that begin with an ‘E’?
Stunned silence on my part.
Me: No, ‘aitch’.
H: Ah, ‘haitch’.
I maintained a dignified silence. The book (The Return) wasn’t in stock. I will have to go through this again next week…

I am dedicating this to CJ Jones, who died suddenly today – she was one of the LSG’s most dedicated supporters and she would have loved this, especially the Welsh bits! Sleep well, CJ.

Lost And Found

Today a mystery was solved, one that has kept me puzzled for weeks, but I am going to see if you can solve the puzzle yourselves by answering a straightforward multiple-choice question (think of it as SATs for older people – you will get SUCH a sense of achievement when you get a score that will allow you to enter the University of Life [don’t you just HATE that phrase??]).
I will set the scene:
A few weeks ago, I bought a rather lovely black(ish) t-shirt (lovely longer length and loose enough to hide lumps and bumps, so many of you will understand – and empathise with – my joy) in readiness for holidays abroad (no one told me I wouldn’t actually need to go abroad to get sun and warmth this year). You may ask why I bought a dark t-shirt for holidays in the sun, but trust me when I say that black(ish) sets off a tan beautifully!
I took it with me to Cyprus and Spain (yes, yes, I know teachers are paid FAR too much and get HUGE pensions, which is why I can afford all these lovely holidays – I’ve heard it all before). It wasn’t cheap (yes, yes, I know teachers are paid far too much etc, etc, but I worked on the premise that it would last me a good length of time).
So, where does the mystery come in, I hear you cry (along with ‘Teachers are paid far too much and get a good pension and too many holidays’).
Well, the t-shirt mysteriously disappeared after I got back from Spain at the end of May. I knew I hadn’t left it in Spain because I’d worn it on the journey home (black is a far more useful colour to wear on a plane when turbulence may cause you to spill your red wine). Where was it? I looked through the pile(s) of ironing (anyone fancy a full-time job?) and checked my wardrobe(s) in case I had put it on a hanger under another item of clothing, but no joy (although I did find several other items I’d forgotten about – yes, yes, I know, teachers get paid too much… and all that stuff).
This was now beginning to occupy my mind a lot of the time (doesn’t take much, to be brutally honest), so imagine my complete surprise when I came out of the shower this morning, went into my room and found the t-shirt lying in a crumpled heap at the bottom of my bed! How could this be? I asked myself. A disappearing t-shirt suddenly reappears at the bottom of the bed? Surely, only Molly the ‘gangster cat’ could do this, in much the same way she will suddenly materialise on the bed in the middle of the night and take over two-thirds of it without you noticing until you try to turn over. (Teachers are paid FAR too much if they can afford to keep a cat…)
So, here is the question:
You lose a rather lovely, plain black(ish) t-shirt and wonder how it can have disappeared without any obvious reason. Is it because:
a) It disappeared into the black hole that also swallows odd socks and new bras which then turn up again for no good reason a few months later?
b) It has been lying at the bottom of the wardrobe after falling off a hanger and the gangster cat has been using it as a bed and you didn’t notice because both she and the t-shirt are black?
c) It has been lying in a pile of ironing (full-time job still available) and sibling picked it up with his own t-shirts, thinking it was one of his?
Answers should be written on a postage stamp (which only teachers can afford) and affixed to a homing pigeon (affordable by everyone) to be sent to the LSG, c/o the Cayman Islands (because I used to be a teacher).

I look forward to your deductions, Adoring Acolytes!

Being A Radio Star

ADVANCE NOTICE (if I were a taxi driver or someone who wrote roadworks signs, that would say ADVANCED NOTICE, but I wish to give you prior notice of something, not notice of something at a higher level).

Advice From The LSG

Studio Set Up

The Lifestyle Support Guru will be offering advice during DODO’s radio programme on Tuesday, October 24th. This advice is in response to a listener’s query, advice which I hope she will find useful when she hears it. Her anonymity is guaranteed (I am the soul of discretion, Debbie of Willington).

However, I am not writing about the query, because that would spoil your enjoyment, dear listeners; no, I wish to let you know about the trials and tribulations I had to undergo in order to record the said advice. It is not just a case of sitting in front of a microphone and speaking – oh no, nothing so simple, beloved believers!

Recording In The Home Studio

Let me set the scene:
DODO has his room set up as a mini recording studio and tells me he will do the same to mine so that we can speak to each other while recording. This involves:
i) Running wires for the microphone and headset from his room to mine via the hallway and over my door (he LOVES wires!)
ii) Almost yanking my head off my shoulders as the headset wire catches on his sleeve as he leaves my room
iii) Telling me he can hear the traffic outside over his headphones – I close my window
iv) Telling me he can hear a clock ticking in my room – I hide the clock under the duvet
v) Telling me he can hear Molly purring (she’s sitting on my keyboard) – I hide Molly under the duvet

Once we have finished the recording, I ask if the wires can be removed because Molly (who has found her way out from under the duvet) is now looking up at them in a very interested way and I can see her calculating the shortest distance between the wires and the bookcase (which I now wish I’d fixed securely to the wall). Luckily, her attention is caught by her tail (which she’s had all her life, but which still seems to take her by surprise every couple of days) and we are able to remove the wires without any problems.

As I write this, and while enjoying a cool glass of wine in the pub (well, it IS Saturday night after all), DODO and I have been having a little discussion about the other customers in the bar. Far be it from us to be judgemental, but our original opinion that they were ‘very special needs’ has been revised downwards to ‘excluded as soon as they started in Year 7’.

Now, back to my original topic – ADVANCE NOTICE: every Tuesday, 7-9 pm (UK time), David on  http://in2derby.co.uk/ playing some wonderful music and featuring the LSG!! (Only available on t’internet at present.)
Turn on and tune in!
PS The Excludeds have gone out for a ciggie – I feel like I’ve gone deaf!

A Day in the Life…

A very good evening, BBs (Beloved Believers) and FFs (Faithful Followers)! As you know, I have been playing the role of Florence Nightingale in recent weeks, looking after DOT, but now to be known as DODO (Dai Of Derby Only) since he is no longer in either Turkey or Tanzania and is only in Derby.

Caring Role

This caring role has involved much work, including, unfortunately, a great deal of COOKING! Now, as you know, whilst many may regard me as a Domestic Goddess, COOKING is not really one of my strengths unless it involves a kettle (for a Pot Noodle) or a microwave (for anything that is NOT a Pot Noodle). To this end, DODO and I decided to buy a second microwave, following TOFU’s (Trefor of ‘Ull) suggestion – he told us that he can cook peas and (frozen) mash in his two microwaves at the same time as he is warming his M&S ‘home cooked’ steak and onion pie in the oven. I was instantly convinced, Dearest Devotees and Ardent Admirers, and immediately rushed out to my nearest electrical store.

Microwaves

We are now the proud owners of not one, not two, but… THREE microwaves! We would not have acquired microwave no.3 if there had been nothing wrong with microwave no. 1 (i.e. it heats the food and pings when it’s supposed to) but it has gone rusty inside. (No, I’m not sure how a microwave gets rusty either, but we decided it probably wasn’t too hygienic.) There has only been one drawback so far with the acquisition of this third miracle item – I haven’t found where to put it because of all the unnecessary garbage I have collected over the years and which has been piling up next to microwave no. 1.

Clutter

This garbage includes a) a tin of tuna (to tempt the appetite of the now-departed Charlie), b) a roll of garden twine – what is that for? – and c) several cookery books – what are they for? Add to that Molly’s flea tablets, a bottle of out-of-date cat milk and a couple of envelopes containing flower seeds from the garden of an ex-boyfriend and you will realise that there is no space for much else. As a result, microwave no. 1 is still ‘in situ’ and has been joined by no. 2 while no. 3 remains in its box. Anyone in need of a tin of tuna, some garden twine and a couple of cookery books, one of which has a recipe for Welsh cakes and laver bread? Or even an ex-boyfriend? (Of course, I mean ‘in need of’ an ex-boyfriend, rather than a recipe for one, but hold that thought…)

Turkey or Torquay

I have to say that life with an invalid has afforded some lighter moments as well, such as when we went to the bank the other day. DODO had a query about transferring money from Turkey, so I wheeled him up to the Enquiries counter where a very nice lady listened very carefully to him explaining about having an account in Turkey and asking if there would be any problem transferring funds from there to his account in Derby because the funds were in Turkish Lira. The very nice lady looked quite concerned and called over another very nice lady to ask for her help and advice. ‘Oh dear,’ I thought, ‘this is going to be more complicated than we first imagined.’ DODO started explaining again about having an account in Turkey and the first very nice lady’s face suddenly brightened and she said in a relieved tone, ‘Oh, I thought you said TORQUAY!’ She had obviously been puzzling over why someone would have an account in Turkish Lira in Torquay – I giggled for the rest of the day over that!

An Extra Inch?

Following that spot of hilarity, we trotted off (well, wheeled off) to a well-known computer/electronics store to look for a new computer monitor so that DODO could add another screen to his collection (he now has four). As he studied the monitors on display, deciding between a 22” and a 23”, he explained the various pros and cons to me, not realising that there was a female customer standing right behind him as he said, ‘You don’t need to pay another £30 for an extra inch.’ I smiled sweetly at the female customer then wheeled him off as quickly as I could!
So there you have it, camp followers – life with an invalid can offer an infinite variety of experiences, rather than a life of doom and gloom! Remember: however long the tunnel may be, there is a light at the end of it; no matter how deep the mine, there could be gold at the bottom; life’s what you make it – a Pot Noodle is more instantly gratifying than a four-course meal that you have to wait hours for AND have to do the washing up afterwards.
Sleep well, AAs, BBs, DDs and FFs – I’m off to boil the kettle!

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