Thursday 15 December 2011

Reasons to be Cheerful.

    It's been a funny four or five weeks, though not 'funny ha ha.' A short enough time in itself, but if nothing else it has driven home how insecure some of us really are, how fragile is our very existence. We, my wife and I (sounds very regal!) opted to have fitted solar panels, not an easy decision, and certainly not helped by various people, for a variety of reasons telling us we had made a wrong decision. Plus I had a long term arrangement for 'Bill the Builder' to build me a lean-to to 'winter' the 'exotics' (banana plants, gingers etc) I grow. Plus, plus the toilet's been playing up for weeks, backing up most disgustedly, no amount of efforts with mops down the bowl making any difference, a trip to the toilet becoming a dreaded occasion. Plus, plus, plus I've had not one but three recalls in ten days on my Fiat motorhome. To say the least time consuming in a season dedicated to attending the grand children's carol concerts and nativity events. (Fiat, Fix It Again Tomorrow!)
    The solar panel fitting was dependent on deadlines. (The government's decision to move a deadline from next April to this December put pressure on everyone.) Suffice to say our life has revolved around this for some time. Many, many phone calls, many moments of doubt, The stress has been enormous for all. Frosts have meant my plants have suffered. A lifting of the manhole revealed a massively blocked sewage system. Life in retirement is supposed to be peaceful. Have you ever had the feeling you are going under!
    Then all of a sudden, perhaps it was a full a full moon, life changed. A phone call to Seven Trent, a delightful, sympathetic, knowledgeable young man at the other end, a visit arranged. Two young men, resplendent in red overalls arrived at ten o'clock at night, rods at the ready. Ten minutes later, one foul looking, foul smelling blockage was no more. Job done, by two efficient, courteous, smiling young men, brilliant in the extreme.
    'Bill the Builder' turns up and, a lot of hard work and numerous cups of tea later, my new 'lean to' is complete, a work of art comparable to anything achieved by Christopher Wren or Robert Adam. And, as if by magic,  a van arrived containing three young men from Leeds. Six hours later We had an up and running solar system, courtesy of three pleasant, hard working, uncomplaining young men.
    I suppose there are two main point to this post. One, how quickly our lives are turned upside down by anything remotely out of the ordinary. Uncertainty, a feeling of helplessness, even loneliness, (the idea that you are alone with your problems) all experienced. None of the problems life threatening but none the less important to us at the time. Please tell me, is it an age thing? Anything even remotely similarly ever got you down, so to speak? I well know most if not all problems go away with time. (Health problems excepted.) But how feeble we really are, how insecure when it really comes to the crunch.
    The second point is this. How wonderful was the Seven Trent man who answered the phone and the two sewerage men who literally got me out of the s***. How brilliant were the three cheerful solar men who toiled so efficiently in less than ideal weather. And 'Bill the Builder', not exactly in the flush of youth, again uncomplaining and always efficient. Do any of them realise, I wonder, what a massive contribution they are making in these uncompromising times. Times are indeed hard, but the country is in good hands. Thanks, lads, you made this 'Darby and Joan' very happy. Smiling, happy people have far more effect in life than they could ever imagine. I am going to make a deliberate effort to make people happy this week. How about you smiling at a stranger this week. (You won't get in trouble, honest.) You may even make a difference to someone's day!

There weren't too many laughs lately, Charlie Chaplin once said, 'A day without laughter is a day wasted.' So a short piece via a British comedian who made me smile.( This post was completed at 7.30pm. Around 9 00pm appeared on the Royal Command performance this comedian, Mick Miller doing the same act, again, with one word change. Did you spot it I wonder.) Plus did you notice someone on stage was reading a newspaper with a Charlie Chaplin headline. How strange is that!) 



Kitty said...

I haven't seen Mick Miller in years ... that was a fun video. My mum had solar panels fitted this year - the guys were so quick and efficient! It's nice when problems get sorted via reaching a 'good' person on the phone - I've experienced that myself.

Merry Christmas to you and yours, Ken :) x

Sueann said...

A good service person is a blessing to behold. Especially when you feel you are wits end. They come in like supermen and women and fix the problem with smiles on their faces.
I will smile at strangers today.
I am smiling at you my friend!
Merry Christmas

the fly in the web said...

How is it that the men doing the 'dirty' jobs are always so efficient and pleasant....big contrast to the people supposedly 'organising' their work...

and I loved the clip...the 'runny egg' is still making me laugh...

Anonymous said...

The old ones are the best ones. Mick Miller succeeded where Greg Davies and Jason Manford failed. I think Rolando made a decent Chaplain. I pity the poor sods who had to sit through 41/2 hours of retakes! I would have slipped out to the bar long before that - they do a decent Guinness at the Lowry.

CWMartin said...

I gotta admit I have a bit of a time translating from English to American, but that was pretty funny!

keith said...

Sorry Ken, but I agree with the people that say that you made the wrong decision.

I looked into having panels fitted thinking that I could save money, but the family talked me out of it. They said it was not possible to save enough from bills to make the panels financially viable in a householder's lifetime. I'm 75 by the way. In the case of solar panels to heat water for baths and showers, the estimated payback time from money saved from electricity and gas bills will take more than 100 years!

Like all semiconductor devices the panels have a maximum lifetime of approximately 30 years before they need replacing, I know, I have worked in the semiconductor industry, and like everything else they have a limited life. Of course the vendors never tell you this, it might put you off!

Ken, if you are planning to live another 100 years then you might just break even; assuming you dont have to replace the panels three times in that period!

Have a nice Christmas.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Kitty, SueAnn and Fly in the web
Thanks and happy Christmas to three positive ladies as always. Trust the ladies!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Agree with you. My daughter goes to the Lowry (lives in St Annes) We're not too cultured in Derby I fear!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Glad you liked it, will look up some more.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Nice to hear from you. Its not just about money though I know what you mean. (Though its fascinating to watch those 42p's when the sun comes out!)Anyway, I'm not going 'til I've broken even! Optimists rule the world, ok. Have a nice Christmas.