Saturday, 4 July 2009

On Broken Things

I feel that a lot of things in my life have been broken recently.

It started with the bath tap. The bit that converted tap to shower had been dodgy for a while, but eventually it gave up all together. Running a bath was impossible without holding the shower head in the bath, and having a shower was impossible without getting our feet splashed with water. Furthermore, the temperature control went completely mad, so the water was either boiling hot or stone cold. It took a month to go through the us-agency-landlord-agency-tradesman-us cycle before we were eventually rewarded with a shiny new bathtap and all was well with the world.

Then, a couple of weeks ago the DVD player in our bedroom packed up, refusing to relinquish a disc containing the Mercury and Venus programmes from a box set of documentaries about Planets. Much angst ensued, and I eventually took the machine to a friend of mine who fiddles about with electronics. It is still in pieces in his workshop and the DVD player that usually lives by the treadmill has been “temporarily” installed in the bedroom.

Then a pot got broken. This is not an unusual event, since we live with 4 boisterous cats. However, as other things have recently been broken too, I thought I would mention it. I glued the pot back together with the Humbrol cement I usually use for making Airfix models of aeroplanes.

Then the bathroom light broke. Clean, relaxed, ready for bed, and feeling moderately calm, I pulled the cord and the whole house was plunged into darkness. This is not particularly unusual – whenever a bulb blows it usually trips the switch. So, clothed only in my “birthday suit” I stumbled down the stairs in the dark to try to restore power. No power came. Back to the bathroom, I pulled the cord again, and then tried again with the trip switch. Yes, power!! Put in new bulb, pull the cord, back into darkness. The result was a sleepless night worrying that our landlord would try to repair the light himself and get electrocuted. In the event, the letting agents called an electrician, who confirmed that the light fitting was broken and put in a new one, leaving only a pile of rubble on the bathroom floor for me to clean up.

Then the treadmill broke. The next blog post will describe what effect this had on me. Unfortunately, it is 6 months out of warranty, and the manufacturers and treadmill-service people inform me that it will cost £250 minimum to get it fixed. As I don’t happen to have £250 lying around, the treadmill remains broken. Maybe my electronic-fiddling friend can fix it? Maybe we will have to abandon it and eventually haul it out to the garage to join all the other junk that has accumulated in there. I am refusing to think about it for now.

Then my watch battery ran out. This may not seem very serious, but I struggle badly without my watch. I had my last watch for 25 years, and getting a new one was a big step for me. I would sooner leave the house without my trousers than without my watch, and I have absolutely no sense of time without it. The house is full of clocks, and without them I feel disorientated and rather lost. On opening the back of my watch, my friend and I discovered it was rather complicated inside. After much internet searching we eventually discovered how to get the batteries out, and have replaced them with some that will do temporarily while we wait for the proper ones (ordered online) to arrive.

So why am I boring you with tales of broken things? Well, already I have broken the planned pattern for this blog. Having done a couple of posts on music, I had intended to move on to a little light mathematical blogging, but life events have recently overtaken me somewhat. So the next post will be on a different subject. I am also breaking the word cloud habit at this point. Partly because I don’t really feel like producing a word cloud for the next post, but mainly because I haven’t actually completed the post yet. I hope I shall be able to write it before Wednesday, which has become my traditional blog posting day – if not, there will be something else broken!


  1. That is one hell of a watch! :)

  2. We go away for two weeks and look what happens! Nice reflection in bath tap by the way!