A 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.
5. 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?
A very, very good morning to all my Beloved Believers and Faithful Followers! It’s unusual for me to write a post in the morning, since much of my inspiration comes from tuning in to life in the pub, as you know – not because I enjoy the drink, you understand; I go to the pub simply to find out more about what ordinary people are thinking so that I may help you, Dearest Devotees, live your life as fully as possible in the style of the Lifestyle Support Guru, although you know that you will never quite achieve such greatness.
Today, I wish to advise you on how to deal with the aristocracy, should you happen to meet any. Of course, I have an instinctive inner knowledge of how to behave in the presence of those of both high and low birth. I shall explain.
I had been invited by Radio Derby to go on Ian Skye’s morning show as a ‘Loudmouth’ (following a recommendation by a former student, which may say a lot about my style of teaching…), so I duly turned up at an unearthly hour of the morning (8.40), ready to voice my opinions on young people and Meghan Markle’s father (not together, I hasten to add).
I was shown into an empty waiting room and, shortly afterwards, another person was shown into the room. He came over to me, hand held out, and introduced himself as ‘Richard FitzHerbert’, so I introduced myself as ‘Lifestyle Support Guru’. He seemed suitably impressed…
Two minutes later, a young chap came into the room and greeted the latest arrival with a cheery ‘Good morning, Sir Richard.’ SIR Richard!
Of course, I maintained my composure, merely contenting myself with a quick curtsey. Sadly, I couldn’t doff my hat because I wasn’t wearing one, but I have learned a sharp lesson – always carry a hat with you in case of the need to doff it. Be Prepared!
I have since learned (via that trusted site, Wikipedia) that Sir Richard Ranulph FitzHerbert, 9th Baronet, of Tissington Hall (well dressings on this week – all welcome) was once a wine merchant – this must be why I felt an immediate affinity with him!
The programme itself was interesting, especially when a listener – I’ll call him Alan for the sake of anonymity – phoned in to offer his twopenn’orth about young people being ignored by politicians and other such charlatans. He sounded rather old and the conversation went something like this:
Ian Skye: Good morning, Alan. Do you agree that young people’s voices are being ignored?
Alan: Of course, they’re being ignored. They gave their lives in the First and Second World Wars, the young generations.
IS: So, you think they have a fair point?
C: Yes, because of the young generations that gave their lives in the First and Second World wars. They aren’t listened to. They join the army and then they’re sent off to be killed in war, so they’re not listened to.
IS: Thank you very much, Alan.
There was a long, puzzled silence in the studio – even Baronets and radio presenters don’t understand everything – but, as the LSG, I understood fully where Alan was coming from and showed this insight with my comment: ‘I’d like some of what Alan’s been on.’ I had, of course, recognised that Alan had started his royal wedding party celebrations five days early and had clearly broken into a bottle of Lambrusco a little too early in the morning. It’s all about pacing yourself, Alan – believe me, having been on rugby tour weekends, I know what I’m talking about!
I have been invited to be a Loudmouth on a future occasion – put June 21st in your diary! – so I shall Be Prepared for ANY eventuality this time: I will have a hat with me, for doffing appropriately; I may also wear a dress, since it is easier to curtsey in a dress – holding out the sides of your trousers doesn’t have quite the same effect; and, finally, I may have a small hip flask of gin and Dubonnet with me, because I understand that this is the Queen’s preferred pre-lunch tipple and if it’s good enough for Her Maj, I shall certainly make an effort myself. Apparently, she also likes wine with her lunch and champagne in the evening – I may have to up my game…
Enjoy the sunshine for the rest of the day!
A very good evening from the Lifestyle Support Guru!
Sharing My Thoughts
I have decided to share some thoughts with you on ‘Learning to Love’, which you may think a strange choice of subject for the LSG, since I am used to receiving undying admiration and adoration from my many followers; on the other hand, you may be tempted to think that I have found a new love and that I am going to regale you with tales of my new-found passion, but I wouldn’t be so crass – if you wish for such titillation, try ’50 Shades of Grey’ (again!).
Learning To Love
So what am I ‘learning to love’ I hear you asking. I am learning to love…
– this is because DODO has set up a television in the back room so that I no longer have to rearrange the furniture in the front room when I wish (I use that word in its very loosest sense) to iron. I cannot do ironing without something to distract me (and the distraction of a glass of wine at 10 o’clock in the morning, especially when combined with a hot iron, is not really a good idea…). Before anybody thinks this is purely a sexist arrangement, I can assure you that ALL the ironing is mine. I would never do anything so silly as to allow DODO to buy clothes that need anything more than minimal attention. So far I have watched two fascinating programmes – one on the RSPCA and one on drunks on planes, but I feel I need to be a bit more adventurous and move on from ‘Panorama’ on the BBC iPlayer…
This has afforded many hours of amusement in just the last day alone as DODO has attempted to set up the new television in the front room to replace the ‘ironing’ television which has been relegated to the back room. I have watched him in a purely advisory capacity – ‘Yes, it’s working; no, it’s not working; why can we only get ITV?’, that sort of helpful thing. When DODO decided to make one final, desperate attempt to get more than one channel, saying, ‘I’ll try the old remote instead of the one that came with the television.’, I refrained from expressing out loud the thought ‘How stupid! How is that going to work?’ I was particularly glad of this restraint when DODO was proved right – I’d forgotten to tell him that the ‘old’ remote was the one that worked the VirginMedia Tivo box!
3. The sound of the smoke alarm
– it means lunch is ready.
And on that thought, I shall wish you all a very good night and wend my weary way to bed after a hard day (well, just over an hour, if I’m honest) slaving over a hot iron, as well as advising on the use of technology, and cooking.