Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Day 82 - lunch

In most good mood following further success on improved project.  This altogether changed as came down for lunch to find Mrs Payne on hands and knees in lounge proceeding to hammer picture hooks into back of frame for one of her paintings.  This evidently profound physical activity, Mrs Payne sounding like a foghorn under the weather.

Said to Mrs Payne, really would be rather wiser to let me do it, and leave it for another time, and also was certainly not optimal to hammer using the heel of a shoe.  This taken most badly, replied only reason she was using shoe was because I had taken all tools.  Said this was for her own good.

Advice promptly ignored and with further wheezing Mrs Payne continued hammering with shoe.  This thankfully came to an end when shoe, evidently not holding up to its job, proceeded to get nail lodged into it, thereby nailing shoe to frame.  Asked at this point whether Mrs Payne would like lunch, said she would.

Day 82

Awfully difficult yesterday afternoon to concentrate on such a boring project until hit upon idea that actually work should be done in altogether different way entirely and would be much better for customer.  Thought would be nice surprise for boss if did this without mentioning it first, and could then show him work once complete.  As such had productive afternoon on improved project concept.

Profoundly pleased with result, showed it to other half and Mrs Payne over breakfast.  Feedback wholly undesirably first asking what it was, and that having been explained said it was a bit gaudy.  Thought this most ridiculous said it was much better done colourfully, and original request from boss as to being done in most simplistic way and in black and white wildly off the mark.  Explained also that was doing the improved version by way of surprise, this most scorned up as being "fools errand".  Said not a bit of it and proudly put my drafts away.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Day 81 - lunch

Had email this morning from boss with new project, fearfully boring and altogether beneath ability.  Certain this is consequence of Mrs Payne's awful paintings.  Made enquiry as to project being done by someone else, quickly denied as me being the "best man for the job".  Thought this terribly offensive.

Barely started the work when altogether sick of it and decided to check on Mrs Payne for further attempts at damage to home or herself.  Found her sitting in armchair reading "DIY Handbook", purchased by other half as well meaning prompt for me with regards to home improvement.  Has never left shelf since purchase.

Had quite some discussion with Mrs Payne as to merits of home improvement, as well as to it being really altogether better idea to leave it to someone else, should one risk doing oneself a mischief.  This nonchalantly denied by Mrs Payne, not looking up for her reading.  Made some effort to say we could get someone in, although we would have to find a reputable workman, of course.  At this Mrs Payne looked up and said directly, "Don't have you have work to do?".  Thought this profoundly rude, said yes I did, and further I was only being polite as give her a bit of company.  Stormed into kitchen to make tea, not offering Mrs Payne a drop.

Day 81

Had weekend altogether unpleasant on account of Mrs Payne's paintings.  Started when other half arrived home Friday with exclamation "not those bally things!" uttered, unfortunately within hearing of Mrs Payne, quickly modified to, "what a delightful surprise!".

Had then unfortunate task of explaining to other half about having paid for them, forty pounds a piece.  This taken awfully badly, largely blaming me for incident, and said Mrs Payne can jolly well pay the deficit herself.  This vigorously attacked and defended from both sides, with Mrs Payne saying she had not a "solitary pound" to her name.  Result was Mrs Payne would "give a discount" on the pieces.  Thought this frightfully ridiculous.

This fearful incident thankfully dealt with on Friday, then had considerable degree of nagging for entirety of weekend as to where paintings would be placed.  Other half and I had altogether enough of this, went out for coffee.  Came back to find Mrs Payne brandishing hammer and terribly large nails, looking intent of mayhem.  Quickly removed these implements from Mrs Payne's possession, with some degree of resistance.  Defence, "I was just going to make a little hole" altogether maligned.

Have possession of all tools likely to cause damage stowed away in office, and strict instructions for Mrs Payne not to attempt any home improvements.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Day 80 - lunch

Boss dropped off paintings mid-morning, altogether nervous about greeting Mrs Payne, and disappeared down drive once paintings had been handed over, had barely a moment to hand him cheque for 400 pounds.

Closing door Mrs Payne emerged from kitchen to look over paintings, and was astonished to hear still thought the pieces most artistic.  With utmost concern on removing pieces from home at earliest opportunity, asked would she like me to take them back to art shop.  Dismayed that this emphatically declined, said she would keep them herself.

As was now owed 400 pounds, said would take Mrs Payne into town to pick up her fee.  This duly agreed upon, and Mrs Payne seeming somewhat upset, said we could have coffee and cake if she liked. As such, she did like.

Most annoyed having got into town at having not a single 20 pence for car park, and further at laborious pace of Mrs Payne's tottering.  Finally got to art shop and after some discussion owner handed over cheque for 320 pounds, sale price less 20% commission.

Sought out coffee shop, and having provided Mrs Payne with coffee and cake, brought up minor difference in fee, quite unwilling to silently lose 80 pounds.  Mrs Payne said quietly 320 pounds was all she had, however recognising the 80 pounds deficit, could give us the paintings, seeing as it was family.  Thought for some moments over this, and realising disagreement altogether frightful alternative, said I would buy the pieces for 40 pounds each to cover difference.  Mrs Payne most cheerful at this solution, added,
"And to think, me a professional artist!".

Day 80

Breakfast positively unbearable this morning on account of mood of other half and Mrs Payne.  Found both to be in most bad temper, and quite unable to stand it any longer, went into lounge to make coffee.  This proved altogether too difficult, and had to then endure Mrs Payne making my coffee in most aggravated manner, even calling it "bally contraption" during process.  Coffee awful.

Was in quite jolly mood last night and having made the best of fathoming how to play with new rules eagerly awaiting evening with boss and Horseface and chance to show off what I had learned.

Boss and Horseface arrived early evening having eaten, and settled down for drink before play, Mrs Payne being absent on account of bathing.  Discussion soon got to rules with other half bringing up misunderstanding.  I owned that would rather play existing rules, at which other half jumped in explaining I had been practicing.  Horseface made quite point of saying they hadn't been practicing a jot, about as likely as as horse with no neigh.

Conversation turned to small talk, during which was horrified to learn that Horseface had purchased from same art shop as Mrs Payne two similar looking paintings in afternoon for 200 pounds a piece, quite delighted with them.  Boss bound to say was positively far from delighted with them, price positively "daylight robbery".  Other half apparently oblivious entirely to this coincidence.

All too shocked to break this news and let conversation change topic whilst reeling as this news.  Surely within all reason Mrs Payne had not sold her paintings, and certainly not for 200 pounds each!

Dominoes soon started, with boss and Horseface having jolly time whilst discarding tiles at awfully quick rate and other half and I altogether slow to keep up.  First game ended quickly with Horseface as the winner, much annoyed at this and furious at repeated comment that she "hadn't practiced a jot!".

Mrs Payne tottered in and I decided after terrible game that was time for sherry, with all partaking.  Used this time to gather thoughts with dominoes, and set steely determination with regards to play.  Would focus awfully while other chatted idly and was sure persistence won through.  Was already down 20 pence and was jolly well intending to win it back.

Game after game came and went, and grew ever more furious with losing 20 pence every round, although thankfully saved from Horseface's self-flattery that she hadn't practiced, largely by other half winning every single game.  Horseface, boss and I shocked entirely by this luck, and said as much.  Comments brushed aside in jolliest of fashion as no such thing luck, but was shrewdest of skill.

Had agreed to play seven games, which by manner of losing took positively forever, and by the end other half had quantity of coins capable of supporting sherry glass.  All congratulated other half on her success, although quietly furious at doing so badly myself.  Mrs Payne thought this height of amusement, said perhaps I should try another hobby, though probably not painting on account of appraisal of her work, really quite off the mark from a professional point of view.

Comment about painting struck Horseface, who mentioned buying her pieces again.  At this, boss made quite point of saying how ghastly they looked with all laughing in response.  Sat quietly for this as boss layered ever more destructive criticism to pieces, first as, "not fit for the lavatory", to, "a lesson to us all that anyone can do anything, as long as one doesn't mind a revolting result", and finally, "painting by numbers for the mentally ill".  Boss, other half and Mrs Payne oblivious to source of paintings all falling about in raucous laughter at this, with only Horseface displeased at her purchases and me the horrifying truth.

Offered another sherry, as quite needed one myself, and shocked during pouring to find boss continue in discourse about painting, adding that one of the "worst art-rocities he had seen" (all thought this terribly clever), and one even had a palm mark!  Boss added, to think the nerve of someone daring to sell the piece, really his wife should have known better. All now laughing, even Horseface at this scathing put down, but Mrs Payne promptly stopped her laughter, exclaiming,
"I say, sorry?".

Mrs Payne, evidently in moment of seriousness, silenced room immediately, with only minor giggles continuing, and boss carefully explained one painting had palm mark in bottom right corner, and was all too funny really.  Look of shock and displeasure appeared on Mrs Payne's face, and after some trembling moments of silence, blurted,
"Those are my paintings!".

Boss instantly taken back by this, paused some moments, and added slowly,
"I say, terribly sorry.  Really weren't as bad as all that, just playing up for laughs, you know?".

By way of defending her work, Mrs Payne still trembling said she had put a lot of time into the pieces, and further were worth every penny on canvas and paint alone.  Quite taken back with this, thought it only fair to add,
"Not sure you can count my emulsion there, Mrs Payne", with boss responding, "I say, emulsion!".  This taken altogether badly by Horseface, Mrs Payne and other half.

Mrs Payne ended saying she wouldn't consider having the pieces with them, and she would gladly have the pieces back and return the price paid.  Horseface added weakly that she thought the paintings jolly nice, really.  At this Mrs Payne wished the party goodnight and stormed upstairs as fast as she could totter.

Four of us left in silence for some moments, eventually decided probably best to call it an evening.  In leaving thought it best to ask should I see about picking up paintings?  Boss said he would drop them off this morning, an altogether frightful experience later.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Day 79 - lunch

Concentrating awfully hard in office mid-morning on dominoes only to be interrupted in incessant telephone ringing and Mrs Payne altogether oblivious to it, singing in kitchen.

Answered the phone to and received request to speak with Mrs Payne from art shop in town.  Thought this most peculiar but assumed were ringing to apologise for being so harsh yesterday.  Had to raise voice quite considerable to get Mrs Payne's attention over her singing, and having put her on line, took opportunity to get tea whilst in peace.

Mrs Payne returned to kitchen moments later, singing at higher volume than previous, and seemed in best of possible moods.  In effort to extinguish singing, asked why art shop were calling.  Astonished to hear they were ringing up on account of price of Mrs Payne's paintings.  Begged her pardon, but thought paintings had been put in bin?  Mrs Payne said only a novice would think that, paintings had been most well received, and further paintings had been got rid of, by way of art shop offering to sell them.  As such had rang up to confirm price, as would shortly be displayed in window.

Altogether taken back by this, have some concern over viability of shop taking artwork painted with emulsion by elderly ladies.  Taking tea back to office struck on natural explanation that not wanting to hurt her feelings shop had taken pieces and perhaps put five or ten pounds price on them.  Thought again at this explanation as quite unsure pieces would raise five pounds the pair.

Day 79

Spent quite some time yesterday lunchtime and afternoon working on dominoes strategy and even played several games against myself.  Furious to learn when other half came home that had been playing altogether different rules than standard, and we should tell boss and Horseface when they come over later today.  Said really we are much better playing with existing rules, as understood by all.  Other half gave ever-so devious look, asked if I had been practicing.  Dismissed this as poppycock, and much aggrieved by Mrs Payne chipping in saying yes I had.  This made other half's mind up, said we would jolly well by playing the proper rules!

Most displeased by this, reminded other half about Mrs Payne's trip into town with paintings.  Other half most interested as to progress, I suspected with similar glimmer of giddiness as myself.  Mrs Payne, evidently displeased about this being brought up, repeated response, however accepted good deal of praise from other half on paintings being very good really for a beginner and well done again for trying.

Having taken focus away from myself began furiously thinking about how to have one up on boss and Horseface with dominoes.  Continuing to do so this morning, although altogether at a loss as to how.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Day 78 - lunch

Returned from town with Mrs Payne, thankfully without ghastly atrocities to the art of paint, emulsion or otherwise.

Left Mrs Payne to her errand and said she could find me in coffee shop when done.  She appeared some while later with stony look on her face and not a painting on her person.  Asked where her paintings were, received dismayed response,
"Oh those, I got rid of them.".  Seemed that Mrs Payne had received quite the same criticism as given by other half and I.  Couldn't help but feel slightly giddy at this, but condoled all the same saying she had done her best and would she like a coffee?  Said she would, but still seemed awfully disappointed so bought cake too.

Spending lunch perfecting dominoes strategy, having had quite some success playing other half last night.  Match had altogether less argument than previous and received no threat from Mrs Payne on taking dominoes away.

Both of us awfully focused on match, quite ignored Mrs Payne's continued discourse on painting.  In any event, won all the games!  Took this as quite affirmation as to strategy and most confident playing boss and Horseface on Thursday!

Day 78

Other half equally exasperated last night by Mrs Payne's "artwork" and having made same faux pas as to piece's contents, ventured to suggest perhaps painting wasn't quite the right hobby for her, although really very well done for trying, was quite the inspiration to us all.  This taken most badly, said she was awfully pleased with the results, and considered herself having quite the eye for art.  Other half and I altogether quiet with regards to agreement, Mrs Payne took utmost annoyance, wanted not a jot of "constructless criticism" and she would jolly well take her work to where it would be appreciated.  This taken in best humour by other half and I, terribly amused when Mrs Payne left room.  Other half scolded me for being mean, proceeded to quietly giggle.

Exasperation took all new heights at breakfast as Mrs Payne asked would I be so good to take her into town to art shop such that work could evaluated by those "in the know".  Looked with some concern towards other half, who said she was sure I'd be delighted.  Confirmed destination was actual art shop, not hardware store, and having had this sharply dismissed, agreed would certainly take her into town later this morning.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Day 77 - lunch

Other half equally mystified as to Mrs Payne's painting when asked for criticism ("as long as it's constructive"), helped not a jot in reducing Mrs Payne's enthusiasm.  As such, set up again this morning to paint another.

Most concerned coming down for lunch on what might await me, and further on having to provide "constructive" criticism.   Feared the worst when seeing several large tins of emulsion, all open and with various foreign colours splashed into them, certainly sourced from my spare paint shelf in garage.

Commented on mixing my paint, quickly answered saying she would give paint a good mix before putting the lid back on.  Query as to whether this would change the overall colour dismissed as "nonsense".

Inevitable question came, and was most confused that second piece looked largely the same as first, although somewhat different colours.  If first painting was of ghastly coloured mess, this painting altogether more subdued, although certainly carried forward style of ghastliness, and indeed, mess.

Queried as to painting method used, as one patch looked altogether different.  This answered by Mrs Payne holding up hand, saying,
"I needed somewhere to rest my hand", and showing a large patch of dried paint on her palm.  Quite unsure of response, however Mrs Payne added,
"I thought it added something to the work, so I kept it".  Thought it best to agree.

After some laboured moments felt I positively had to ask what it was.  This question answered by a gesture of paint covered hand towards plant on television set again, and assuming piece a redux, made comment as to plant being most lifelike.  This taken with quite some displeasure, asked if I was blind as well as deaf, and further there wasn't a plant in the painting, adding by way of explanation, piece was titled simply, "Telly".  Attempted to recover this faux pas stating if I wanted painting of television set, would certainly come to her.  Mrs Payne asked was it time for lunch.

Day 77

Invited boss and Horseface over on Thursday night for dominoes rematch given previous farce with Mrs Payne.  As such other half and I terribly keen to practice last night to improve skills.

All going very well until fearful disagreement as to rules on drawing additional tiles during one's turn.  Other half stated this altogether acceptable form of the game, whilst I adamantly disagreed.  Other half most displeased, said she presumed I was playing the "children's version".  Taking this very badly retorted that she was the only one being a child.  This turned into most competitive match where betting matchsticks traded hands with great malice.

Mrs Payne stepped in over spat, said unless we settled down she would take the dominoes away.  This taken most seriously by both of us, ended up agreeing that drawing was not permitted.

Following agreement on rules have made some effort to make notes as to game play over breakfast this morning whilst other half not looking and will spend some time honing strategy over coming days.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Day 76 - lunch

Came down for lunch to find Mrs Payne joyfully working away on her painting.  Looking upon the canvas, saw piece as ghastly coloured mess of smudged paint rather than a painting.  Quite unsure what to say as Mrs Payne asked my opinion, and after some moments of uncomfortable silence, said it looked really quite vivid, but I wasn't altogether sure what it was.  Mrs Payne rather taken back by this, owned that she was really expecting I could tell, and doing so pointed in direction of plant standing on television set.

Exclaimed ever so quickly that of course I could tell!  Further, really terribly good rendition, very life-like.  Mrs Payne seemed most pleased with this, went on to say piece was titled "Plant on the Telly".  Asked at this whether was her intention to include television also, and baffled by response that it was central element of the piece.

Asked Mrs Payne about brush, who admitted it was a bit large, all of an inch thick.  Queried where supplies had come from, and was told it was hardware store in town.  Exclaimed place had quite a variety of products, and was altogether surprised shop sold art supplies at all.  Thinking this avenue altogether dangerous one, asked if she would like lunch.

Day 76

Over breakfast had most odd conversation with Mrs Payne that she was going to embark on painting hobby.  Noticed she had picked up various items over the weekend and thought this most peculiar.

Explained that had done a bit of painting myself, and found it awfully difficult activity.  Mrs Payne seemed not dissuaded by this, said it as going to be jolly fun to have something to do during the day.  Said she would set up her things in lounge if it was all the same with us.

Query as to medium she was using resulted in rather blank look, followed response,
"Yes, medium size painting I should say!".
Made further attempt by asking whether she was using watercolours, or oil, perhaps.  With some thought, said she hadn't a clue, and scuttled off to her painting things to find out.

Mrs Payne returned with little pot and holding it at arm's length to correct short-sightedness, read aloud:
"Well this little pot says 'Emulsion'", before adding for other half's benefit, "I've got some jolly pretty colours, each has a little name!".

Made attempt to explain to Mrs Payne that paint was decorating sample pot, but other half gave me quite severe kick and quickly shut up.  Said instead that was sure Mrs Payne would have an awfully good time, and the important thing was enjoying herself, not the end result.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Day 75 - lunch

Going downstairs for tea at 10 o'clock found Mrs Payne again crouching over coffee machine.  Asked if she would like tea, and was concerned by reply that she was making coffee.  Advised really was better to give up as machine obviously defective and other half would be fearfully annoyed at further mess.  Astonished to hear one coffee had already been brewed, and holding up cup of delicious looking coffee asked would I like one too.  Replied it was good of her to manage one cup, but likely machine quite incapable of a second.

Watched for several moments as Mrs Payne performed various operations as to coffee, and standing back added "it'll just be a moment!".  Waited in expectation for further catastrophe, which was certainly not going to clear up myself.  Almost disappointed moments later to be presented with perfectly made cup of coffee.

By way of demonstration Mrs Payne went on to show were I was going wrong, and making same mistake I did jerked coffee press upwards, this time landing coffee grounds all over me.  As if a scientist examining experiment, Mrs Payne commented most thoughtfully,
"Yes, that's what happens.  Sorry Robert.".

Mrs Payne highly proud of her efforts said she couldn't wait to tell other half, who would be most pleased at machine not broken.  Added whilst sitting down in armchair,
"And to think I managed to fix it!  Fancy!".

Furious at both working of machine and being covered in coffee retired upstairs, leaving Mrs Payne enjoying her coffee with occasional pleased remark to herself of "Fancy!".

Day 75

Had fearful row with other half yesterday evening on account of wet patch on floor.  Explained quite reasonably that coffee machine obviously having trouble and really was altogether out of my control.  Mrs Payne adding coffee was coming out a bit weak not helping situation.  Other half said if I was an expert in using machine I could jolly well be the expert in cleaning it up properly.

Having made attempt at cleaning affected area was quite unable to accept defeat, and with renewed energy made point of saying we would all enjoy an after-dinner coffee.

Enlisted Mrs Payne as helper to bring required items.  Other half highly amused with question,
"Shall I bring water this time, Robert?".
Made best effort to be polite and say yes please.

Other half asked would I not be better with instructions, but dismissed this as unneeded bureaucracy and set to work on making coffee.  All went swimmingly except had same issue coffee as water.  Other half said really I didn't have a clue.  Took some exception to this.

Decided coffee must be altogether in wrong compartment, and rather excessively manipulating coffee press proceeded to jerk the item upwards, landing quite considerable amount of coffee grounds over Mrs Payne's head and upper body.  Grounds made surprising effort to stick, leaving quite considerable coating, as in shock Mrs Payne uttered,
"Bit strong this time, Robert.".

At this other half said I'd done jolly well enough damage for today and we would ask Horseface next time they were over.  Response that machine having technical issues quite ignored.  Furious at defeat proceeded to take coffee items back into kitchen and sulk.

Still awfully annoyed this morning to see coffee machine standing proudly in lounge.  Have good mind to take the item back as quite clearly defective.

In any case, at least it is Friday, and work almost caught up.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Day 74 - lunch

Pleased with progress this morning and went down at 10 o'clock for tea to find Mrs Payne crouching over coffee machine inspecting its workings.  Jumped quite considerably as I asked would she like some tea.  Replies yes she would, and following me into kitchen made enquiries as to coffee machine and whether she would be able to make herself coffee should she wish.

Replied swiftly that really coffee machine awfully complicated to use and probably not suited for someone her age.  Would she like some instant coffee?  Took some exception to comment about "her age" and looked deeply disappointed by barring from coffee machine.  Feeling generous on account of progress with work said I could make us both coffee.  Mrs Payne most pleased with this, said I was terribly clever.

Abandoning tea making, popped into lounge to to see about coffee and asked Mrs Payne to bring the coffee and cups.  Doing so she set the items down and stepped back as one in anticipating of a lit firework.

Spent some considerable time looking at machine, and upon manoeuvring various levers realised could barely remember how to work the machine.  Mrs Payne after some moments asked if perhaps instructions would be useful, but said this highly unnecessary, man and machine were at one.  Most exasperated with reply, "one what?".

Finally set machine into motion and stepped back to admire the workings.  This cut rather short by distinct smell of burning and rushed to turn machine off, with Mrs Payne querying whether problem with coffee beans.  Inspecting machine realised had forgotten important aspect, asked Mrs Payne would she be so good as to fill container with water?

Water container now filled set machine into motion once more, and explained that would see quite some action this time.  Heard familiar gurgling and most shocked to see stream of water appear from nozzle in between cups falling straight onto tray and then onto floor.  Swiftly moved cup to side to catch liquid, and watched with concern as it filled first one cup and then the other with nothing but hot water and not a jot of coffee.

Quite perplexed by this handed Mrs Payne cups, who after some consideration added, "they're a bit weak?".

Suggested must be some fault with machine and perhaps we should have tea now and try again later.  Also, would she be so kind as to bring a mop?

Day 74

Some frostiness over breakfast following argument at dinner last night regarding socialising of Mrs Payne.  Explained really was quite unreasonable to have gaggle of old people around during day when I was working.  Mrs Payne took some exception to this saying they weren't old, they were mature.  Replied they were "mature" like a rusty gate, taken altogether badly.

After some disagreement was decided that Mrs Payne would attempt to socialise out of the house where possible and failing that would be permitted to socialise at home.  Most displeased at this.

Setting to work having finished breakfast in bid to finally catch up work.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Day 73 - lunch

Quite furious with progress this morning on work, principally owing to significant noise downstairs.

Going downstairs at 10 o'clock to get tea was astonished to find suspicious old couple from across the road quite happily having tea with Mrs Payne.  Begged her pardon, but didn't know we were having guests.  Response altogether annoying, "I would think not".

Made some effort in civility, requested would they be so kind as to keep noise down owing to me being frightfully busy at work.  This most solemnly promised following quite futile conversation as to ins and outs of what I did for a living.

Having taken tea to office was interrupted some time later again by further noise from downstairs in form of most raucous laughter from downstairs.  Quite furious at Mrs Payne inviting unknown strangers into home for socialising went downstairs to see what the jolly racket was.  Found in addition to Mr and Mrs Suspicious two new elderly guests, quite mirror image of first two.  Said at this was quite unreasonable to have guests at this volume, really was trying to work and would they be long?  Response from all that they were just getting started considered height of amusement to all.

Laid down quite considerable point that they should jolly well be gone before lunch, with feeling that this warning not altogether taken on board by Mrs Payne.  Comment from Mrs Payne "it's my home too!" altogether ignored, before thinking better, and just as Mrs Payne was about to repeat, added "I heard you!".

Further annoyed in going to get cup of tea found not a solitary leaf of tea in the kitchen, all having evidently been consumed by Mrs Payne and guests.  As such had to make do with instant coffee, not even considering going into lounge to make proper coffee.

Went down before lunch in high hopes of unwanted guests having departed and much to annoyance found them in kitchen having some serious discussion as to dishwasher.  Found the two elderly gentleman man-handling dishwasher out of its position saying machine wasn't working.  Informed them most tersely that it was jolly well was working before they got to it, and further more their presence was no longer welcome and would they be kind enough to leave?  This taken with utmost exception from guests, who promptly gathered things.  Mrs Payne also took exception, not least with loud comment shouted down drive upon leaving,
"And don't come back!".

Day 73

Worked terribly hard yesterday afternoon to catch up on work and was making good progress by dinner time.

Other half had made special effort and cooked my favourite for dinner and handed me a pre-dinner sherry by way of thanks for putting up with mother.  Thought this profoundly nice of her, she's a darling.

As such was in most good mood at dinner, despite comment from Mrs Payne as to my deafness.  Explained in nicest possible way was not in the slightest deaf, thank you very much.  Other half added I should consider hearing test.  Situation made altogether worse by me raising voice in doing so, acting as further evidence to Mrs Payne as to deafness.

Some minutes later by way of continuing conversation, Mrs Payne added I was getting on in years, and was nearly as old as her.  Took this as awfully funny, said I jolly well hoped not!  Mrs Payne most displeased by this, said she looked very well for her age.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Day 72 - lunch

Held up in office this morning making copious notes in hope that this would somehow help work really only possible on computer.  Staring at blank screen proved altogether useless also in attempt to visualise what to do.

Quite furious at having to wait, gave IT another call and gave them quite considerable piece of mind as to where on earth were cables, and how long does it take to send them?  Was informed cables had been shipped, and gave quite sharp retort that shipping package altogether useless if they were not received.

Venturing downstairs for lunch found Mrs Payne quite at home in my armchair, now impossible for me to reconquer.  To further annoyance, found package on sofa marked "Robert Smith, URGENT".  Upon asking Mrs Payne as to when it arrived, and why she did not tell me, responded it had arrived shortly after me going into my office, and she didn't think it important.

Made quite a point of saying it was important, and most furious by response that maybe I should have answered the door myself.  Explained I hadn't heard the door, and Mrs Payne replied,
"It's not my fault you're deaf".  Too furious to reply to this, so Mrs Payne repeated louder,
Response, "I HEARD YOU", not taken altogether well.

Day 72

Altogether furious with Mrs Payne's return to our home.  Or rather, barely having jolly well left.  Was decided on account of Mrs Payne so awfully upset to hide out in shed that was really for the best for her to stay indefinitely.  Provided some protestations to this, positively dismissed by other half as "missing the point".  Responded not having elderley lady in one's own home absolutely NOT missing the point, this point itself ignored.

As such spent yesterday in attempt to avoid Mrs Payne, now awfully pleased with result and in quite jolliest of moods.  Attempts to make peace by offering me tea most transparent but accepted all the same.

To make matters worse have still not received computer cables from company, so computer quite worthless and work getting later by the day.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Day 71 - lunch

As mentioned earlier, Sergeant Brooks shone light into shed and moving aside to let me see revealed Mrs Payne, sat in deck chair with tiny torch herself and copy of Prima.  Upon seeing me, responded,
"Oh, hello Robert!".

At this shouted to other half saying it was her mother, at which the whole party came out with friendly hellos from boss and Horseface and queries as to whether she was cold, treating this as quite the social call.  Having quite enough of this I said with some annoyance,
"I say, what are you doing in our shed?".
Mrs Payne responded to this by turning to Sergeant Brooks saying,
"They're sending me to an old people's home, with old people.  Might as well be dead.".

Sergeant Brooks gave sympathetic words to this and helped her out of the deck chair, suggesting she came into the house.  Highly annoyed to say this is where she has been ever since.

Other half having thanked Sergeant Brooks for his kind help, let him out, and doing so made me quite aware that any further "fools errands" of this regard would result in being "done for wasting police time".  This thought most unreasonable.

Having made tea for all and sat Mrs Payne down in my armchair (most annoyed about this) to warm up, restarted game of dominoes to attempt to end the evening well.  This altogether more difficult by considerable chatter by other players and constant asking as to Mrs Payne's condition.

Said on a number of occasions it was someone's turn to move, gained quite some notice as me taking the game far too seriously.  Another interruption came from Mrs Payne, who whilst shuffling around in armchair came across book "Dominoes for Children", and made quite a show of querying whose book it was.  At this other half looked straight at me, pointed rather, and started laughing uncontrollably.
"I say!  It's Robert's!", other half managed to utter between laughter and gasps for breath.
"Finding the game rather difficult, eh, Robert?", boss asked in fearful amusement himself.
"No please, be nice", Horseface chipped in, before adding in stone faced seriousness,
"Would you like a game of marbles after this, Wobert?".  All erupted into bellowing laughter, after which was suggested they should get the sherry.

Played in quite furious silence after this, eventually losing to Horseface.  Comment from Mrs Payne ended night off in quite worst way, sat in my armchair uttered,
"I say, you're not very good, Robert.  Maybe you should get a grown-up book next time?".

Day 71

In jolliest of moods Friday afternoon having set up coffee machine and awaited relaxing evening with some joy.

Proceeded to reread Dominoes for Children, although was awfully simplistic in its analyses.  Stashed book under armchair cushion (now reclaimed from Mrs Payne) as other half came home and greeted her saying how nice it was to see my darling.  Response of,
"What is this, bally Starbucks?" not altogether reciprocating, and look of distinct disapproval in direction of coffee machine, set up in lounge in place of record player long since departed, rather unnerving.  Explained position of coffee maker awfully convenient with regards to dinner guests, and really positively nowhere else to put it due to size.  Other half most disinterested with regards to size, said it was a jolly silly purchase and went to have a bath.

Horseface and boss arrived some time later as other half and I were making a start to bottle of wine, dinner cooking under its own supervision.  Invited them in and received quite some laughter with regards to coffee machine.
"We'll have a large latte and a cappuccino" comment most unnecessary from Horseface, and moreso addition from boss,
"I say, do you sell muffins too?".
 Other half looked on, most displeased.

All commented over dinner as to lack of Mrs Payne, and Horseface and boss most polite as to her failings.  Said I was quite glad to have a bit of peace.  Other half took some exception to this, but admitted it was rather difficult with her mother.

Dominoes came out after dinner and all stacked their 20 pence pieces but before we could start other half said she heard a noise from the garden.  Awfully concerned with previous brush-in with burglar all went into kitchen to peer carefully through blinds.  Four pair of eyes appeared through the slats, but could see nothing in the pitch black.

Said immediately we should call police, but boss replied "nonsense" and going to back door added,
"All the same, if I shout, probably best to ring the police".

The rest of us peered out of the door waiting for a scuffle but after some time heard nothing.  Boss came bounding back and whispered he thought someone in the shed, as some noise coming from inside, and padlock quite unlatched.  Said in any case as burglar had left padlock hanging on door, he had quickly fastened it tight and come back for reinforcements.

Said it was jolly well time to ring the police, and did so, quite shaking with nerves of burglar locked in own shed.  Was informed police would be around soon, and trying to calm our nerves each had a drink and started game of dominoes.

Barely got rid of two tiles before knock came at door as well as blue flashing lights through curtains.  Quite thankful to see Sergeant Brooks, rather less so when he referred to me as "Sherlock" again.  Others thought this quite hilarious, presumed this mostly owing to wine.

Sergeant and I stalked around to garden and following some stern words from Sergeant to shed captive, asked for key to the padlock.  I felt under plant pot to find key quite missing.  Apologised most earnestly, said was unable to open padlock.

Sergeant took this in his stride, asked if I had any bolt cutters.  Said yes I did, they were in the shed.  This taken altogether less well, and after some discussion as to what tools I had in the shed, went to get screwdriver from police car.

After some considerable minutes stood out in cold, finally managed to unscrew padlock bracket and hinges to loose door from its position.  Sergeant added some stern words as he did so and stood in doorway such that no one could escape.  Shining his torch in heard unmistakable quiver of Mrs Payne.


Too furious about this to continue now, so will write later.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Day 70 - lunch

Made some considerable effort with regards to finding home for coffee machine, with Mrs Payne positively refusing to help in the slightest.  Presumed this as rather upset at going back to nursing home.  Struggled with it to utility room only to find kettle in the way, and carefully placing coffee machine on floor proceeded to stub toe in moving kettle.  Furious at this set about putting coffee machine on work top only to find it did not fit there either, upset a box of soap powder in the process causing blizzard of soap powder to fall all over floor.  Taking coffee machine back into kitchen even more furious to find had trodden white soap powder footprints on my way, Mrs Payne thinking this quite hilarious.  Having cleaned up this mess altogether too tired as well as angry to proceed further, left coffee machine where it was located originally with kettle on top.

Gingerly asked Mrs Payne if she was packed and ready to go to train station.  Was informed by few sharp words that Mrs Payne packed but jolly well not ready to go.  Explained in nicest possible way that this was agreement, received not a word of response.  Waiting some minutes to ask again set about thinking of location for coffee machine, and most pleased with moment of sheer genius of idea.  Keen to put this into place steeled myself to ask again as to Mrs Payne's readiness for departure, and although no reply given, pleased to see movement in direction of front door.

Took Mrs Payne to station in silence, and carefully watching clock realised was quite in danger of missing train.  Getting there, hurried suitcase and Mrs Payne to platform, with distinct absence of hurry from the latter, only to find had indeed missed the train.  Most displeased at this as had fearfully busy day and was still expecting courier with computer leads.  Dumping suitcase to ground and panting profusely asked Mrs Payne if she would be able to wait for next train, and hearing this in affirmative, set off home.

Pleased to have home free of Mrs Payne, and quite regained excitement about setting up coffee machine in new home.  Have that to do after lunch.

Day 70

Coffee maker now installed and making awfully good cups of coffee.  Unfortunately this at minor cost of fearful row last night with other half regarding coffee maker barely fitting on counter top.  This due in part to wall cabinets too low to slide machine under, and further, in doing so cannot possibly use cup warmer!  Informed other half of this by way of reasoning and received particularly sharp words about not caring a jot about the cup warmer, and further where had the kettle gone?  Explained positively no room for the kettle, and as such had relegated it to utility room.  This taken particularly badly and told in no uncertain terms that coffee machine jolly well better be moved and kettle returned to its original location.

As such, this morning have difficult task of moving coffee machine, by no means trivial due to some significant weight.  Quite where machine will go another question entirely.  As well as having this to worry about also have job of taking Mrs Payne to station, packing her off to nursing home.  Awfully stressful day.  Looking forward to dominoes this evening with no Mrs Payne and able to enjoy an after dinner coffee.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Day 69 - lunch

Spent some considerable time last night researching replacement coffee maker and had agreed on particular make and model with other half.  As such planned quick trip around three shops to gauge best price and then to ruthlessly buy the lowest priced and continue my day.  This going quite to plan until in worst luck found Horseface nuzzling around second shop.  Must spend more time in town than the tramps do.

Explained as to business in town and received highly negative response to chosen coffee maker, described as "fearful rubbish".  Made alternate suggestion of coffee maker four times the price, adding glowing review and declared as same one they had.  Made weak argument that really wanted something rather more compact, quickly dispelled as "nonsense".  After some dilly dallying walked out of the shop with rather large box with expensive coffee maker.  Despite extortionate price was quite excited by purchase.

Having thought about repainting black patch on wall went about getting some paint but agreed to meet Horseface for coffee afterwards.  Thought this prudent in keeping Horseface happy such that she would be easier pray during dominoes tomorrow.

Found paint with minimal trouble, despite carrying around coffee maker box.  Could barely see in front of me so elected to place box in trolley.  Had some trouble with cashier, however, in explaining how could I possibly need to pay for coffee maker they did not even sell.  Led to positively enormous queue behind me waiting for manager to approve "purchase".

Ended up in awful fluster getting to coffee shop in time to meet Horseface, only to find not a sign of her.  Got coffee all the same, and carefully placing coffee machine out of harm's way set about waiting.

Had practically finished coffee when Horseface finally entered, and was then required to have another.  In opening her bag saw distinctly book about dominoes, quickly hidden away so I would not notice.  Thought this most sneaky of plans, and made enquiries once coffee had been acquired as to if she was looking forward to dominoes tomorrow.  Casually responded,
"Oh, I suppose so".  Further questioning as to boning up positively denied.  Sneaky nag.

Have now to try new coffee maker.

Day 69

Not a jot of work to be done until computer leads are first received by company and then sent back, so plan to go into town today to replace coffee maker lately deceased.  Situation altogether unpleasant for all involved, particularly with constant reminder of black patch on wall.  Other half frightfully angry at seeing this initially, said we were like a pair of children.  Thought this decidedly thick.

In any event, Mrs Payne most upset about it.  Said she was only trying to help.  Other half and I aware that Mrs Payne is doing her best to stay with us, however this not affecting agreed plan for her to go back to nursing home tomorrow.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Day 68 - lunch

Still in mourning following disaster with coffee maker, and as such gave Mrs Payne strict instructions not to interfere with regards to courier for computer.  As such furious when attended to knock at door to find Mrs Payne had moved computer all of two yards nearer to front door "trying to help", positively blocking door being opened.

Having dragged computer out of doorway went about answering to find courier waiting impatiently on doorstep.  Showed courier computer awaiting collection only to be immediately rebuffed as not possibly being able to take item on account of not being packaged.  Thinking this altogether unreasonable, told courier I would keep old computer and take delivery of new one in any case. This quite impossible, was informed, as courier order was for parcel exchange, and couldn't possibly deliver item without picking up return item.

Highly annoyed by this had idea to swap computer boxes in order to send back old one.  Asking courier to wait a moment set about swapping boxes, with courier looking on whilst I struggled.  Query as to whether courier could perhaps help quickly denied as being "against the rules", and as such had to fall on sword and ask Mrs Payne for help.  Took enormous intake of air as agreement as Mrs Payne struggled to get up, then tottered over to help.  Having swapped boxes was positively sweating for the trouble, and Mrs Payne barely helping a jot, was quite at breaking point as Mrs Payne uttered,
"I say, Robert..".
Thanking Mrs Payne for her help by way of brushing her query aside, set about signing for parcels.

Looking on computer realised it was altogether superior to previous contraption, and taking it upstairs was most pleased with upgrade.  Having spent some considerable time with various wires and entrails, realised could not positively connect the thing with existing monitor.  Rang IT at this curiosity, and was informed "of course" could not connect monitor, and further new computer had shipped with several additional leads for this purpose.  Furious at this ended call and sought out Mrs Payne.

Apologised profusely for interrupting Mrs Payne's puzzle time (which to note, lasts all day) but had she seen additional leads for new computer?  Response came back that yes, she had.  Thinking this quite some progress asked if she would be so good as to tell me where she put them?  Most dismayed to learn that leads were in box, now being returned with old computer.  Mrs Payne quite animated as to say she had tried to tell me, but as I ignored her had assumed leads were not needed.  Too furious to reply to this returned to my office and after some staring at blank monitor rang IT.

IT clearly had great deal of amusement at mistake with box, and support person having told numerous people in office with quite some laughter, proceeded to say most gravely that all relevant staff had been informed, and leads would be sent back to me as soon as possible.

Day 68

Yesterday afternoon altogether written off due to kaput computer, thought it useful to return to library.  Explained was having to go out on account of being unable to do work, and received profoundly ridiculous comment from Mrs Payne that I went out all the time.

After lunch made my way to library and pleased to find Mr News absent from proceedings.  Several grateful newspaper readers gave me a friendly nod.

Another game of dominoes organised for Friday night with boss and Horseface, so thought it quite wise to seek further advice on strategy.  Spent some time looking on shelf labelled "Games", however dominoes books positively disappeared.  Went to check with librarian as to their location and was informed sharply that books had been borrowed.  Made some query as to each and every dominoes books having been borrowed, librarian begged my pardon but could not speak louder in library, as evidently I was deaf.  Took great offence at this and promptly left.

Went on to spend good hour in town drifting from book shop to charity shop by means of securing dominoes book, now fearfully focused by determination.  Best could manage was book entitled "Dominoes for Children" from charity shop, bargain at 50 pence all the same.

In hope this morning that courier is quick in delivery of replacement computer, but have been hidden away in office reading dominoes book trying to glean anything but most basic of information.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Day 67 - lunch

About to get tea mid-morning was surprised to find computer went off in front of me.  Investigated for several minutes as to possible reason and not a single thing seemed wrong.  Quite frantic by this as had promised work to boss today went about ringing IT to see about possible problems.

Call eventually answered and explained computer had gone off.  Went through several diagnostics with IT person at which had to explain was actually not a complete idiot, had checked computer switch was on.  IT person baffled by this eventually happened upon a suggestion.  Asked me to turn on desk lamp.  Did this only to find desk lamp quite unlit also.  Awfully embarrassed by this thanked him for his time.

Going downstairs to investigate heard Mrs Payne in kitchen clearly in state of concern.  Entered to find Mrs Payne frozen in middle of kitchen, coffee maker now plugged in and large black patch down wall.  Explanation soon came as,
"Sorry Robert!  I thought I'd make you coffee!".

Managed only "Mrs Payne!" as went to check on fuse box before carefully disconnecting coffee maker with some grimacing from Mrs Payne and I both.  Found wall altogether blackened by what Mrs Payne described as coffee maker "going up" and quite unable to be cleaned off.

Too furious to deal with situation, turned fuses back on and set about making tea before returning to office.  Mrs Payne most apologetic as to state of wall as went back upstairs.

Checked desk lamp now working went about turning computer back on only to find machine quite unwilling to perform its duties.  Multiple attempts as to waking the beast failing, had unfortunate task of ringing IT.  Several minutes passed of questions as to whether I was SURE electricity was on this time, and quite terse in answers as to yes it jolly well was.  Diagnosis eventually given that computer quite dead and would need replacing.  Begged as to some other option and most valuable work stored in computers innards fell on deaf ears.  Ended call with arrangement to receive another computer and send computer back via courier.

Too annoyed to go downstairs, sat for some considerable time before calling boss and saying work would be late due to computer malfunction.

Day 67

Last night dishwasher thankfully finished programme prior to dinner, thankfully in that practically all cutlery and crockery seemed stowed away in dishwasher by Mrs Payne, leaving barely a solitary plate to dine from.

Other half home, had invited her to see sight of plug dangling out of dishwasher.  Thankfully Mrs Payne quite absent as was awfully engrossed in puzzle book.  Both of us quite speechless.

Having opened the door realised would probably be washing crockery before dinner.  Explanation of sheer quantity of plates in dishwasher quite clear, as Mrs Payne had stacked plates one on top of another in neat little tower, quite impossible to clean.  Moving plates to sink went on to investigate coffee maker.  Proceeded to lift unfortunate machine out of dishwasher, pouring quite considerable amount of water over carpet slippers in process.  Quite furious at this put coffee maker down on worktop only to find water continued flooding out and trickling down drawers.  Other half gave some sharp words and began wiping drawers, with now quite a waterfall seeping in.  Asked what about my slippers, other said I could "bally well paddle".  Thought this utmost unreasonableness.

Emptied bowl containing tricklings from door into sink and proceeded to splash water on shirt.  Took this further onslaught in furious silence.

Having dried all but myself as best as possible were still left with quite sorry looking coffee machine, albeit it with most brilliantly shining exterior.

In state of deep sorrow at loss of coffee maker washed plates in bare feet whilst other half made dinner and nothing more was mentioned about it.

Thankfully Mrs Payne back to usual morning routine this morning and other half and I left to fend for ourselves for breakfast.  This most welcome option, although not quite the same without coffee.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Day 66 - lunch

Mrs Payne's new mood altogether more onerous than the last.  Having careful rid ourselves of rancid coffee based drink, other half had gone to work and I had gone to my office.  Had explained that really was no need to clean coffee machine, as she was too kind in making it for us this morning.  Most depressed had considered complete disassembly quite likely required to bring machine back to life.

Went down to get tea to find Mrs Payne with spectacles on in fearful concentration looking at dishwasher instructions.  Quite unprepared to have broken dishwasher as well as coffee maker, went on to explain how to set it up and left her job of putting in few dishes from breakfast and closing door.  Mrs Payne seemed quite grateful for this, and taking my tea went back to my office.

Coming down for lunch was pleased to see kitchen most spick-and-span and dishwasher quietly humming away.  Asked if she had had any problems, and she said machine quite easiest thing to work in the world.

Sitting down for lunch had curious feeling that kitchen was rather sparse, and looking around begged Mrs Payne's pardon, but where was the coffee maker?  Explanation came back that it was being cleaned.  Said to this Mrs Payne really too kind, but where exactly was it?  Dismayed to learn coffee maker was in dishwasher.  Pondered with her as to whether was wise to put electric item in dishwasher, and bound to say had to agree with logic that she thought it best not to put the plug in.  As such, went to utility room to find cable with plug trailing out of dishwasher door along with small trickle of water, pooling on floor.  Putting bowl under trickle went back to kitchen to find Mrs Payne assuring it to be "like new" once done.  Some further time remains on dishwasher programme, and will have to see end result later.

Day 66

Had quite some discussion with other half over the weekend as to Mrs Payne's extended residency in our home.  Disappearance of willow tree quite brought things to a head, and was decided she would have to return to nursing home.  As such, having told Mrs Payne this, had absolutely frightful weekend.  Mrs Payne instantly put up defence saying nursing home "full of old people!" not entirely helping situation, and frosty reception all of Saturday and Sunday, with myself considered primary traitor.

Expected absolute worst this morning over breakfast, however quite unexpectedly Mrs Payne in most jolly of moods, and further had got up at a most unusual hour to make other half and I breakfast.  Reticent of previous misdemeanours if kitchen, was surprised to find kitchen really quite tidy.  Further cereal and toast had been laid out.

Unfortunately breakfast not altogether in order.  Mrs Payne, had attempted making morning coffee using coffee maker, but unable to find coffee grounds had instead made alternate arrangements.  Explained was awfully sorry, but struggled to manipulate the "coffee contraption", but very proud of herself, had nevertheless forged ahead and produced coffee all the same by passing instant coffee and powered milk through coffee maker.  In effort not to upset Mrs Payne, other half and I carefully sipped brown bitter substance (quite unfit to call coffee) whilst smiling politely to Mrs Payne's question on whether it tasted ever better than normal.  Whilst doing so looked in horror at state of coffee maker, dripping powdered milk from every orifice.  Quite unsure if coffee maker will pull through.  RIP.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Day 65 - afternoon

Made some effort to get to library early this morning on account of making transaction as to return of book as quiet as possible.  Was informed that librarian was terribly sorry, but it was other librarian that could deal with this issue when she arrived later.  Queried as to all librarians being equal, and was informed terribly sorry but could not help.  As such, had some time to kill and happened upon plan.

Sat myself at table where newspapers usually laid out, thinking this awfully clever as to getting one up on Mr News.  Sitting in the head news chair I waited, reading the book being returned for other half.

After some time Mr News came in, evidently early also to prepare himself for newspapers and an audience with his news underlings.  Glanced up from my book to see him quite furious at my presence, and smiling politely returned to my book.

Heard Mr News having some cross words with librarian incapable of return queries, and thought this quite having won the battle.

In effort to set up new camp Mr News sat down at a nearby table, as I wondered if he had arranged alternative site for newspapers with librarian.  Quite content at this disruption in itself and also at other half's choice in dominoes book, really quite clever in its explanation.

Various news underlings came in and quite confused at which camp to be affiliated with proceeded to split themselves between my table and Mr News'.  Decided to rise above this ridiculous feud and continued to read book, soon to be returned in replacement of 5 pounds.  Should Mr News' underlings decide to defect, that was entirely their own business.

After some nervous waiting another librarian came in and having taken off her coat proceeded to bring over newspapers, dropping a quite considerable majority of them on my table, and seeing the obvious division of ranks, placed the remaining few on Mr News' table.  At this several of my borrowed underlings stirred as to newspapers being distributed, at which I looked among my men and stated with authority,
"Gentlemen, have whatever newspapers you like!" and proceeded to get up and leave the table with a gasp from all.

Pleased as punch at this development went over to the librarian desk and made case for return of 5 pounds as book had been found, borrowed by wife unbeknown to me.  This explanation taken in utmost bad nature by librarian but on sheer account of my good mood following victory over Mr News, agreed to reduce fine to the late return instead of missing book.  Took this as no small feat in itself and happily walked from the library with Mr News looking on furiously in my wake.

Day 65

Last night altogether livid with episode at library with regards to 5 pound fine.  Made some effort to recount with other half and Mrs Payne over dinner.  Mrs Payne positively shocked with fine of that magnitude, although other half unusually quiet.

Some time later, other half sheepishly said perhaps she knew about said book on account of her having took it out from library, and awfully sorry, but had neglected to return book in time.  Mrs Payne thought this frightfully amusing that I had taken flack for other half's misdemeanour and chuckled for some considerable time saying repeatedly,
"I hope you gave them what-for, Robert!".
Was all too aware I HAD given them what-for, and further, now had arduous decision on whether to retrieve 5 pounds or keep book, now unwanted by other half.

Further to this consideration, made point of mentioning other half's sneaky goings on with regards to borrowing book in first place and not telling me!  This unfortunately backfired as Mrs Payne had spied my own sneaky book loan when I had brought it home on her daily scuttling about.  Other half took some exception to this, said accusation was "jolly rich".

Ended conversation both having been caught out and Mrs Payne thinking it most amusing of evening entertainment.  Said I would take book back tomorrow.  Mrs Payne's comment "you give them what-for, Robert!" entirely unhelpful.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Day 64 - afternoon

On earlier subject of clowns, appears library have quite circus act of their own.  In going to library to return book librarian begged my pardon, but would I be returning other book I had borrowed?  Explained I had borrowed but a single book, and furthermore most displeased on "short loan" service.  Two days quite ridiculous.  Librarian replied reason for short loan service was quite the late return of book in question.

In effort to straighten out situation handed back "Introduction to Dominoes" and said that was only book I had borrowed.  Further, had now necessary proof of identity such that could get proper library card.  Apparently application for library card quite impossible seeing as other book had not yet returned, and due to short loan nature of book had outstanding fine of 5 pounds.  Said this altogether ridiculous, could jolly well buy the book, whatever it may be, for that.  At this librarian took omission to guilt and made renewed demand for money.

Quite furious at this made enquiries as to who was in charge here, at which two other librarians awoke from their dilly dallying and said "we all are".  Made some further endeavour as to one being more senior, but fell quite on deaf ears as they were all senior librarians.  At this, Mr News shuffled over, adding to conversation,
"he's trouble this one".  Librarians gave nod of acknowledgement.

Ventured to ask what the name of the book was that was outstanding, and informed it was "Domino Strategy".  Said I had never seen the book and furthermore had not loaned it.  Librarian, looking at computer said "the system" disagreed.

With no choice other than blacklisting from one's local library, paid the 5 pounds and furiously completed the application for library card.  Handed it in positively shaking, declared the situation "daylight robbery" and stalked out of the place.

Day 64

Other half came in last night most frantic and queried at quite a volume,
"Where's the bally tree!?".

Detected some accusation in my direction, and explained it had been Mrs Payne's "watch" as I had been out at the library.  At this Mrs Payne gave an indignant sigh and sat in the armchair grumbling to herself.

Other half, quite unwilling to let the issue alone, went on to ask her mother, and after some time the horrible details of the tree's demise came out.

Mrs Payne, having already donated the Christmas tree to the bin lorry had quite forgotten about the tree collection and having come to the door when they called it was "only natural" that she should get into some confusion.  As such, thinking about to my advice regarding tree being near the bin for collection, Mrs Payne made some efforts to point out the tree "Robert" had identified, that being the willow tree.

Apparently some negotiation followed, as digging up of trees quite outside of the Christmas tree collection's duties, but Mrs Payne most insistent as to work being carried out, and eventually good natured tree collector obliged.

At this, Mrs Payne did admit it was "awfully curious" when he asked for a spade, but nevertheless, she scuttled off and got him a spade.  Mrs Payne also added spade now in back garden terribly caped in mud and with broken handle.  Furious at this.

Other half at this most displeased, declared Mrs Payne and I both "a pair of bally clowns!".  Took some offence at this and said instructions had been quite clear.

Mrs Payne chipped in at this point saying she had thought my instructions "a bit off centre" as she stood in lounge window watching tree being dug up.

As last straw, Mrs Payne said she thought they had done a jolly good job of it, and further, she had tipped them for their trouble.

All too annoyed for conversation, had dinner in silence.

In any event, off to the library this morning to return book in ridiculously short loan.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Day 63 - afternoon

Made quite sure to have no further run-in with Mr News at library, but upon returning home received frightful shock.  Quite inexplicably, 10 year old willow tree that had made its home of a little circular patch of soil in our front lawn had disappeared.  Went over immediately to investigate to find soil neatly raked over as if tree had never been there.

Open mouthed, looked around area to see if by some madness tree had wandered off, but tree nowhere to be seen.

Still open mouthed let myself in and asked Mrs Payne what had happened to tree, last seen this morning, in garden.  Mrs Payne response, "Oh?  What tree?", entirely unhelpful.  Asked her to join me at lounge window to survey the lawn.

Mrs Payne most displeased on having to get up, but with some huff and puff managed to get to the window and having made the distance explained, "Oh!  That tree!".  Ventured to ask where "that tree" was, and positively flabbergasted to hear council had taken tree away later.

Bound to say had to make some considerable effort with regards to temper but asked perhaps she would be so good as to explain why council had taken tree, rooted in the ground, when Christmas tree left accessible next to bin as previously explained.

At this Mrs Payne, most defensively said the bin men had taken the Christmas tree as I had asked, and furthermore she had to leap to the front door and provide instructions to that affect as they were,
"leaving it strewn in the street".

Gave large sigh, and Mrs Payne returned to her armchair visibly harmed by the injustice.  Thought better of asking what further event led to disappearance of willow tree.  Will leave this to other half this evening.

Day 63

Other half awfully disappointed at taking down Christmas tree yesterday evening, as was Mrs Payne at removal of avalanche of decorations.  Took some considerable time, with no small amount of needles left on carpet.  Said plastic tree far superior in this regard.  Other half responded only reason plastic tree didn't drop was because it had less needles than a pin cushion.  Thought this quite irrational.

Took tree outside and propped against bin for collection tomorrow.  County council offer awfully convenient service whereby tree can be collected for mulching.  Aggrieved at giving council free mulch all the same.

With previous success with creative process am taking another trip to library.  Explained to Mrs Payne that bin men would be coming around for the bin and tree would also be collected.  After some confusion message seemed to hit home.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Day 62 - afternoon

Really missed a trick not going to library previously.  Place positively dead early on before the elderly had shuffled in mid-morning.  By that time I had made a significant dent into my design work and was seeking other ways to spend my time before having to head home to Mrs Payne.

Thought I would see what newspapers were available, which proved awfully difficult, with seemingly some sort of elderly person 'pecking order' for selection and distribution of newspapers.  As such, Mr News, head newspaper reader, was the only one sitting at the table where newspapers were spread, and his various underlings sat nearby, apparently waiting on their master for the odd cast off.

Having viewed this from afar, thought this quite absurd and made a particular effort to drag a nearby chair up to the table.  Having done so, proceeded to place my notebook on the table and reach for the Times.  At this, Mr News, not even bothering to look up, declared,
"That is being read".
Quite furious at this, but let the newspaper alone, and went instead for the Guardian.  Again, Mr News, declared,
"That is being read".
This time, quite prepared, replied,
"It doesn't look like it", and went on to open the newspaper, positively shaking with anger.
Not quite finished, Mr News looked directly at me and with quiet fury said,
"Sorry Charlie, you'll have to wait for the Guardian, SIR here jumped the queue."
Too angry to reply.

Some time passed of barely reading, with previous argument in my mind, and eventually realised Mr News was going to outlast my tenure in the library.  As such folded the newspaper, and politely handed it to "Charlie", who said he didn't want it, thanks all the same.  With this Mr News grunted, and I left the reading section.

Before leaving I had a most ingenious idea of seeking out a book on dominoes play.  Finding several of the books I selected the most useful looking "Introduction to Dominoes" and went to the desk.  Most annoyed to find that without official registered library card could only borrow the book for two days, but borrowed it all the same, tucking it inside my notebook to keep it hidden from Mrs Payne and other half.

Day 62

Having endured Mrs Payne for numerous hours over Christmas, so decided to take trip to library today to get some degree of quiet and focus on work.  Have some design work that can be done on paper.  Also thought I could read the newspaper and browse the books as an early lunch.

At breakfast Mrs Payne most surprised when I said I would be out all morning.  Went on to ask what she was going to do on her own.  Looked at other half and said in unison,
"Don't cook anything".

This taken altogether badly, and Mrs Payne sulked thereafter.  Attempted to make amends asking if there was anything she might like whilst I was out, but request was flatly ignored.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Day 61

Although it is a bank holiday I thought I should start getting back into the habit of writing the diary following the Christmas break.  Had a most enjoyable time and the goose was quite delicious.  Said I will certainly get one again (myself next time).

Still feeling a great deal of appreciation for boss and Horseface's gift, invited them around for New Years Eve.  Expected them to be busy with some engagement or other, but found them quite excited by the prospect.  Said they would bring a bottle and some entertainment.  Thought this quite curious, and expected the worst.

In any case, boss and Horseface arrived at 6 o'clock on the 31st.  Door was answered by me as other half and Mrs Payne still getting ready.  Took their bottle and having greeted them warmly, sat them down with a drink while I continued to get various pastry items and so on ready for buffet later, popping in occasionally to add a few plates to the folding table.  At great insistence of Mrs Payne, also served her speciality: miniature turkey mince pies, made by her earlier in day.  Kitchen had barely recovered since.

Other half joined us some time later as I was finishing preparations.  Had managed to exchange the dress I bought, and coming down the stairs she looked a picture.  Told her this and said she was a darling.

Barely had time to fill other half's glass before Mrs Payne made her entrance, with an gasping,
"Good God, Bitty!", followed quickly by, "you look a picture!" from boss.  Rest of us all too astonished to reply.

Mrs Payne, wearing what can only describe as light blue tinsel-effect dress, came plodding carefully down the stairs, looking not unlike a giant Christmas bauble.

Other half quickly stepped in saying perhaps mother would catch a chill in her dress, and although awfully nice to dress up on this occasion, perhaps would be best to wear something warmer seeing as everyone else was in "scruffs", and in any case, oh it was very nice, and where did she get the dress?  Mrs Payne most indignant about this, saying her daughter was wearing her nice dress so she would like to also and she bought it in town.  As such endured Mrs Payne in this attire all evening.

Buffet preparation quite finished, sat down and enjoyed a glass of wine whilst making sure to tell them how delicious the goose was.  Other half interjected saying if I talked about that goose any more I'd likely turn into one.  Received laughs all round.

Decided shortly after that perhaps the buffet should be started, and handing around plates, everyone duly gathered their food.  Mrs Payne made quite certain that everyone had at least one turkey mince pie, and herself, three.

Sitting down again we each began nibbling at our favourite morsels, and judging by careful viewing, had approximately the same reaction to Mrs Payne's turkey mince pies.  As such, one would take a small bite, realise the item the most foulest of pies ever set upon, and during a most frightful process of chewing and swallowing, set into a deep depression on how to get rid of the remainder.  Inevitably this meant hiding it carefully amongst other items on the plate, and hoping by some miracle it would disappear.  Inevitably, with further eating it would peek out from time to time and make its worrisome presence known, insetting further depression at ever having taken the beastly item in the first place.

After some time of talking and eating, and I'm pleased to say two or more trips to the buffet table from everyone, the most horrible of events occurred with Mrs Payne venturing to ask what we thought of her pies.  This subject most delicately dealt with by all, saying it was most delicious but really, they were much too full for any more, thank you.  Quite aware of the curious height of napkins on plates, I most judiciously took everyone's plates away, carefully stacking the turkey mince pie remains as I went, unseen to Mrs Payne.

Next came boss and Horseface's surprise, and quite unexpected it was.  Asking if I would be so kind as to pull the little coffee table over, boss said he would reveal the surprise.  I did as asked, and gathering around we looked upon a long thing wooden box rather the size of a pencil box.  Opening it revealed a beautifully crafted set of dominoes.  Thought this the most silliest of children's games, and said as much, but boss and Horseface quite adamant that it was quite a skill and the height of intellectual gameplay.

Making sure everyone's drinks quite topped up for purposes of endurance, set about playing our first game.  Having shuffled the tiles we each drew a requisite five dominoes.  Following boss and Horseface's example, other half, Mrs Payne and I set our tiles on edge and looked at our hands most seriously.

After some time I ventured to ask what we were waiting for, at which boss and Horseface both exclaimed they were waiting on the other to start.  Seeing this was going to be quite a long game, had a generous mouthful of wine.

Followed a marginally interesting game where I quickly expelled three of my five tiles only to sit on the remaining two for turn after turn of arduous dilly dallying.  Eventually my luck came and I won!  Most pleased at having won, and the game having taken less time than expected, asked if perhaps we should have another.  Three games later, I had won my solitary one game, Horseface had won one, and other half had won two!  Said this was a most entertaining way to spend an evening, and further, was quite in agreement at fearful level of skill and gameplay.

Suggested a small break, at which time other half offered up her little finger desserts.  Mrs Payne excitedly said there were more turkey mince pies available, but all said they were really in more of a sweet mood.  Mrs Payne highly dejected at this.

Boss said dominoes really rather boring, with Horseface proceeding to tease that was only because he wasn't winning.  Boss went on to say perhaps playing for money might liven the game up, how about 20p a player per game?  All seemed delighted at this added excitement, although Mrs Payne most scornful at betting on a Sunday.  Explained it was actually Saturday, however Mrs Payne would not change her opinion.  As such game continued with four of us, which worked out all the better as we could have the standard 7 tiles.

With money at stake game continued with great focus from all involved.  Mrs Payne interjected on occasion as to how delicious her turkey mince pies were whilst proceeding to polish off the plate, but the four players far too involved in the game to respond.  Was furiously keen to win the 80p.  Other half, playing to my left, interrupted my tortuous thought process on several occasions with "COME ON!".

In any event, I won the game!  Some grumbling proceeded as to everyone else having given up out of sheer boredom, but I claimed the victory, and 80p (although 20p was my own).  Some minor gloating may have occurred, and said another two games and I'd have enough for a coffee at the coffee shop!  Horseface deeply aggravated by this, swore it would never happen.

Managed three more games before midnight, with a win spread between each of us.  This worked out rather well as all ended the night happy in a small victory, although each took home his or her original money.

Counted down to midnight in usual tradition with all having a glass of champagne apart from Mrs Payne, now fast asleep with an empty plate in her laps and only a few turkey mince pie crumbs remaining.

Happy New Year!