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Covid lockdown doesn't need to be grim.

Today for example, I ordered a garden shed online.

Yes, life is a thrill a minute round these parts.

Pandemic life day number ... Oh god! I don't know, I've lost count.

We now have a gardener! He came for the first time on Friday, tidied up the back garden, took all the old bedding plants out of the pots, and generally made the place look a lot better. Steve and I both detest serious gardening so it has slipped somewhat and is going to take a few more weeks until it's in order. He's going to visit for three hours every couple of weeks and then ease into "maintenance" visits of one to two hours once a month over winter.

Meanwhile, our first new lockdown weekend has passed without incident. I locked the back door when the gardener left on Friday afternoon and none of the external doors have been opened since, although I will need to empty a couple of bins tomorrow. I'm also going to place an Amazon order for some pansies, tulip bulbs, and dwarf daffodil bulbs to go in the now empty pots on the patio. At least we'll have some colour in the garden during the winter and in the spring.

"The stair system"

Author, broadcaster, and journalist, Caitlin Moran was on TV this morning espousing what she calls "the stair system". This is what Steve's family do too and it drives me nuts.

Basically you put stuff that needs to go upstairs on the staircase and at some point when when you decide for some other reason to go upstairs you pick it up and take it upstairs.

So much wrong in this. First, the obvious thing - if something needs to go upstairs then JUST TAKE IT UPSTAIRS. It's not Everest, it's just a staircase, it's designed specifically so that you can go up and down with ease. Secondly, putting stuff on the stairs means that other people in the household will think nothing of it and will invariably step over it. Lastly, visitors who do NOT employ this system at home (that would be me!) won't be expecting stuff on the stairs and, with their poor eyesight, will likely trip on it. Worse still when you stay with family, the hosts will definitely not be expecting your stuff to be placed on their stairs and it could have consequences like for example, them saying something along the lines of "I can't believe that you are happy to take a ten mile walk but you won't go up the damned stairs! Please don't leave your crap on our stairs."

This "stair system" isn't obvious, isn't sensible, it's just lazy.

Our Glorious British Leader.

I can never remember if his name is "Boris Trump", "Donald Johnson", or something else. What I do know is that his name is preceded by the honorific "Fucking" and followed by his official title "the lying little shit".

Grumpy old man VS Millennials

We have dual rate electricity here at Casa Lloyd, during off peak hours it's cheaper. One of the things that we do is run the washing machine and dryer at cheap rate which often requires use of a timer. For the past few years washing machines have come with a built in "delayed start" timer in hourly increments, perfect. It's easy. "Cheap rate starts at 23:00, it's 18:25 now, so I need to put a 5 hour delay". Not difficult to work out. Of course the fact that our cheap rate is activated by an old mechanical "electrically driven with clockwork backup" timer that hasn't been adjusted for YEARS since the electricity supply monopoly was broken up means that our cheap rate actually creeps to a different time over the course of each year, quicker if there are power cuts — which is not uncommon round these parts.

However, our brand new washing machine doesn't do the "delay start time" because these young pup millennial designers decided what people really want is to have the laundry finish at a specific time, presumably so that they can put their freshly laundered but soaking wet clothes on in the morning and then go to work dripping wet. Thus the new machine has an "end at" time setting.

Now I have to do some maths which, let me tell you, is not necessarily that easy for a retired old man who doesn't often have to add up any more, never mind subtract. When you factor in the time slippage on the cheap rate due to the mechanical timer it becomes a bit of a nightmare.

"Ok, the machine says the program is going to take two hours and nineteen minutes and I need it to start at shortly after 18:25 so that means I need it to finish at about  ... Oh fuck it, HEY GOOGLE REMIND ME TO PUT THE LAUNDRY ON AT 6:30pm"

(Yes, "six thirty PM" not "eighteen thirty" because the fuckwit millennials at Google have removed the ability for assistant to understand the twenty four hour clock with which it had previously been perfectly happy!).

There, I feel better now. There's nothing more satisfying than a good rant at young people to cheer an old person up.

[EDIT: I've been told that Assistant is once again cognisant of twenty four hour time. Bloody millennials can't make their minds up!]

Fixed ... hopefully

The car is back home. This time it didn't break down on the way. Apparently it's all working but amongst other things they've cleared the gearbox memory - who knew it had a memory? This means it'll have to retrain to my driving style over a few journeys.

Interesting, either that's "a bunch of hooey" or it'll take couple of months to remember not to change up too early since I'm only really driving the car once a week to shop these days.

Car's fixed

As of yesterday the repairs are complete. However, there's a number of service items that need to be done and they'll hopefully be completed by Monday afternoon  when I can collect the car. Tuesday at the latest. OK, possibly Wednesday :-)

Two weeks and one day.

That's how long it's been since our car went tits up. Nothing from the dealer to say what's happening either, but that's fine, I did tell the dealer I don't need constant updates, just let me know when something changes. The last thing I heard was when I collected the loan car on Saturday 10 July and the story then was "the engineer will begin compiling a parts list on Monday, but it may take a few days!".

I've checked on the car using the app on my phone and it's still in the dealership with the windows open and the bonnet up. 

I'm guessing we aren't getting it back this week either.