Plumbing Problems — Grrrrr . . .

Yesterday afternoon I was starting to wash a few dishes when I felt water dripping on my feet. I turned off the water and looked around and saw that I had spilled nothing on the sink area — backed up and looked to see water pouring from the cabinet doors under the sink.

Yipes!

Opened the doors and water came pouring out. Got a towel from the bathroom to mop up the water and prevent it from spreading out all over the kitchen and got a flashlight.

Hmmmmm . . . nothing dripping and none of the fittings was wet.

Turned the water back on — just a little bit. Water began to drip from the drain pipe going into the back wall of the cabinet . . .

Bent down to get a good look at the problem and felt around. There was a hole in the bottom of the pipe. Pressed around the hole  . . . and it enlarged as the area was paper-thin.

This was not a small problem — like the under-sink problem last summer in Corfu.

Called Phill (http://www.phillsplumbing.com/) and actually got him and not an answering machine or voicemail. I described the problem and, as he was in the middle of another job, he asked if the problem could wait until the morning. Of course, I just couldn’t wash dishes for a while — darn. Said he’d call me in the morning about 7:30 am on his way over.

At 7:30 am Joe, from Phill’s Plumbing, rang the doorbell — clean shirt, clean pants, putting booties on his shoes — and said Phill was working on the other job. Showed him the problem and a toilet that would not shut off (had closed the valve most of the way so there would be little water leakage — hadn’t seemed a big enough problem to get the plumber for until I needed him for something else).

Joe’s estimate came in at $236.75 if he could get in and replace the pipe under the sink, i.e., if the pipe was solid enough to get out and replace without having to open the wall — couldn’t tell until he tried.

Meanwhile, I’d gotten Charlie up: into her sunroom with tea, meds, vitamins and raisin toast for breakfast. I finished my coffee and went to sit on the exercise bike — to read and watch the news on my iPad. Less than two hours later, Joe was done with both the kitchen and toilet — everything cleaned up nice and neat.

The new plumbing seems to work properly — wrote a check for $236.75 and Joe went on to another job — installing a custom-made shower.

Note: I found Phill several years ago on Angies List and he’s been over for several different problems (our house was built back in the 60s) including the installation of a new waterheater. I also prefer to deal with small, locally-owned companies where possible. Both our sunroom and Heating/AC system were put in by family-owned OC businesses and we dealt directly with the owners.

Reading Retired

One of the nice things about being retired is that I usually have quite a bit of time to read: newspapers and books, primarily.

Unfortunately, my favorite authors seldom write more than a book or two every year or two (or three or four). This means I re-read a number of books every year as well as find new authors to read. It also means that I sometimes am “inundated” with several new books at about the same time — publishers do not go over their schedules with me before releasing their books.

I received my copy of Peter F. Hamilton’s new Commonwealth novel — A Night Without Stars — last Tuesday and dove right in. By Friday I was on page 264 and Ian W. Toll’s The Conquering Tide (in paperback) arrived. The Conquering Tide is the second in Toll’s trilogy of the Pacific war. At 542 pages, not counting Notes and Index, it was a good quick read. Yes, I finished it today while sitting on our exercise bike and watching parts of Day of the Jackal on the room’s Apple TV.

By the way, I give The Conquering Tide 5 Stars.

Now I can resume reading A Night Without Stars and Spoor’s Spheres of Influence. And tomorrow my copy of Flint’s Castaway Odyssey should arrive — even though I saw it already on the shelves of HB’s B&N last Saturday.

Next week Modesitt’s Treachery’s Tools should also be delivered to my front door. I have several other books on order that should be arriving in the next month and a half . . . ahhhhhhh. Now, if I could just get an advance copy of The Gathering Edge before Christmas . . .cats and reading

Reading Humor

On a side note — p. 433 of The Conquering Tide:

Many who worked with Nimitz later recalled his shrewd use of the well-applied joke. While winding down a testy planning session in the spring of 1944, the admiral said he was reminded of history’s “first amphibious operation,” conducted by Noah. “When they were unloading from the Ark, he saw a pair of cats come out followed by six kittens. ‘What’s this?’ he asked. ‘Ha, ha,’ said the tabby cat, ‘and all the time you thought we were fighting.'”


Oh yeah, I went to our new Senior Center last Friday to get my annual flu shot and made the “mistake” of stopping at the library and getting a new card. Found a copy of Sue Grafton’s X. Now I just have to find time to read it. Hmmmmm . . . such a problem.

The Trip — 2016: Part 29 — Arriving Home

Once again our plane is a Boeing 777-300, very comfortable and smooth. We took off about three-thirty — a delay of about an hour and a half with arrival in LA scheduled to be about 6:10 pm.

I got a copy of the Wall Street Journal and The London Times and read through the taxiing and takeoff until it was time to eat. Well, at least, until it was time for a Jack Daniels or three.

The meal consisted of:

Starter — Prosciutto and Mozzarella with melon

Salad — Spinach and frisée with strawberries and blue cheese and yogurt dressing

Entrée — Seared white halibut with beurre blanc sauce, champagne risotto and grilled asparagus

Dessert — Gourmet cheese plate of red cheddar, blue cheese stick and Montero farmer white

It all tasted quite good. Filling but not stuffing.

Di watched movies on her video screen, and I worked on my Trip photos for most of our very smooth flight. Toward its end we were served another light meal, salad and sandwich and dessert. I also drank several glasses of ice water — no more Jack.

Touchdown at LAX was 6:20 pm. We waited until everyone else had deplaned before leaving. The scooter, despite the best efforts of the crew was not delivered to the plane’s door but a wheelchair was there and the scooter was waiting when we exited the boarding tunnel. A minute to put it together and we were off to Immigration and Baggage — it was, again, a v-e-r-y l-o-n-g walk and a couple of lift rides, as Di’s scooter cannot negotiate stairs or escalators.

Note: The elevators/lifts in this section of LAX only have access to two floors: the floor you are on and the floor Immigration wants you on.

Immigration was extremely busy as several planes had recently landed, including the three hundred people from our flight. We were allowed to use either the automated processing or Special Assistance and after a glance at the long lines opted for Assistance. A few minutes later we were through passport control/immigration and headed to the Baggage area.

We were passed on the way to baggage by several young (18-22) men who had been on our flight and had exited at the opening of the plane’s doors. They had waited in lines long enough for us old slowpokes to catch up and pass them — chortle.

Our luggage carousel (3) was just beginning to unload baggage from an AA flight just in from Mexico and a few minutes later began to disgorge the baggage from our flight as well. Wonder of wonders, less than ten minutes later I had all four of our suitcases and onto our last check by Immigration.

I handed him our customs declaration, a quick glance and we were out. Up the tunnel and into a sea of faces and name cards from drivers — ah ha, the driver who had taken us to LAX in June was right there. I called to Charlie, who was ahead of me and the driver took my cart. The time was 7:40 pm — an hour and twenty minutes after touchdown and we were out.

Because of the crowds and construction, our driver had to park in a lot several minutes walk away from the Tom Bradley International Terminal — that walk and a smoke for Di had us in the car at 8:00 pm on the dot. There was still a good deal of traffic on surface streets and the 405 Freeway, but we pulled up at our driveway a minute before nine. Home.

I walked Charlie to the bench outside our front door and then helped the driver with the rest of our luggage. The house key was actually in the carry-on where I remembered leaving it and I soon had the door open, the alarm switched off and Charlie deposited in her garden room.

The cats said “Hello” and “Where the heck have you been?” I brought in the luggage, put the scooter in the garage, made Charlie a cup of tea (decaffeinated Earl Grey) and sat down exhausted. Time enough tomorrow (or Saturday) for emptying the suitcases. “Zzzzzzz . . . ”

(to be continued / concluded?)

The Trip — 2016: Part 28 — Leaving England

We checked out of The Swan at Streatley at nine-thirty this morning and rode to Heathrow with the same driver who took us to Newbury yesterday and arrived at Terminal 5 shortly before eleven. Our itinerary told us to go to Terminal 5; however, BA said that our flight (actually on American Airlines like our flight to London) was leaving from Terminal 3. We are currently waiting for a Special Assistance bus to take us to Terminal 3.

Trip - Di and luggage in the bus
Di and luggage in the bus

Well, at slightly after noon the assistance bus arrived. The driver lowered the ramp in the back and then stopped traffic so that Di could drive her scooter into the back of the bus. He then loaded the luggage and we were off. The trip to terminal 3 took about ten minutes, without any stops or hang-ups along the way. We were quickly unloaded and . . . Di needs a last smoke before going into the terminal.

The AA desks are to the right of our entry and there is no one in line ahead of us. We are quickly processed except for the scooter. After about ten minutes the clerk finally clears things dealing with Di’s scooter and up into the lift we go to go through Security.

Again, Di’s scooter gets us the short line, which really isn’t too much shorter than the long line. Five or fewer minutes later we are through Security and into the shops and headed for Lounge H — AA’s Admiral’s Lounge. It’s a small lounge but there is warm food and cold drinks. I have a bit of lunch and a drink. Di has a cup of tea and a couple of pieces of chocolate cake and some bread and butter.

Our flight appears to be delayed a bit, but I don’t know how long a delay.

Just checked at the entry to the lounge and it seems as though the two o’clock flight to LA is now the three-fifteen flight to LA and should start boarding from Gate 27 about two-thirty or in about thirty-five minutes.

Well, I went shopping. First I went to a couple of book/magazine type stores and tried to get a crossword puzzle book — but, they only have British style crossword puzzle books. And, second, I went to buy some whisky. That took me to World of Whiskies. I found some that the clerk told me were not exported to the US — maybe, maybe not, but they are not generally available in Britain. I bought two bottles of Auchentoshan which I had enjoyed at the Quod Restaurant in Oxford. I hope they’ll taste as good in the US.

Trip - View from the lounge
View from the lounge

Returning to the AA lounge at about two twenty-five, I found that our flight was already boarding at Gate 27 — Di didn’t know because the announcements did not reach the part of the lounge in which I had found seats.

Gathering our stuff together, we ventured out into the Heathrow pathways and slideways to Gate 27. Upon arrival we were given assistance and shunted, after passport checks, etc., to the front of the line into the aircraft. Di drove her scooter to the aircraft door, escorted past everyone else, of course, and put on board. I brought our hand-carry items to our seats — garnering some comments along the way about her riding and me having to carry both her and my carry-on luggage — and then went back to fold up the scooter so that it could be stowed in the cargo hold and brought to us at LAX without delay. (Of course, they wouldn’t let me off the plane to go some six feet and fold up the scooter until they got an OK from Security.)

After stowing our gear in the overheads Di had some OJ and I some champagne while we waited for everyone else to finish boarding and the flight to begin.

(To be continued)

The Trip — 2016: Part 27 — Shopping and St. Thomas of Canterbury

Trip - No Fishing
No Fishing

This morning I made Di tea and went to the front desk for some coffee and milk which were delivered ten minutes or so later. Finally figured out how to use the coffeemaker in the room, Magicmix. Coffee isn’t very good but it does put caffeine into my bloodstream to start the day.

It’s cloudy but not raining and Di is able to have tea, smoke and read on the patio. We’ll be heading into Newbury for some last-minute shopping later in the morning.P1010051bsmall

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Toward the altar

Pryors picked us up at eleven-fifteen and deposited us at the edge of the pedestrian shopping area in Newbury at noon (and to return at three). Oh, goody, three hours of following my wife shopping and carrying her purchases.

We visited a number of shops looking for four things: a suitcase to replace the one lost by BA, a fruit bowl for Helen to brighten her new kitchen, books, and, of course, candy.

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Altar window

I found a bowl for Di in John Lewis (designed in Britain and made in China), found a suitcase in another shop (no I didn’t get the one going for £695), purchased a dozen books in WH Smith and candy at Tesco‘s. Picked up the suitcase after the books and candy and loaded them into said suitcase. Then returned to John Lewis and purchased the fruit bowl — in a lot of bubble wrap.

We then found a café in a quiet courtyard and Di had a pot of Earl Gray tea and I read The Daily Mail. Just before three we headed out to where our car should be waiting and there it was. The return route was the reverse of the morning’s and again we passed Tricia’s home in Hampstead Norreys.P1010069bsmall

Upon returning to our hotel room we discovered that our room’s phone still was not working. Helen showed up at four to have tea with Di. I helped Di to the restaurant and then went for a walk through Goring and went to look at a church I had noticed earlier in our stay.

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To the back

The church turned out to be St. Thomas of Canterbury. I walked around the church and through the attached graveyard and memorial to the local dead of WWI and WWII. The interior was simple with a beautiful stained glass window high on the wall behind the altar.

Di and Helen were demolishing a second pot of tea when I returned to The Swan and so I retired to the reception area to read and blog. After two hours of tea, Helen and Di returned to our room and said their good-byes.

Tricia arrived a while later and we moved to the restaurant. We found the same low table and comfortable chairs we’d had the previous night ordered drinks: Pimms, whisky and gin and tonic. Starters, dinner, dessert and conversation. In all it was a nice dinner and company for our last night in England.

(to be continued)