Wendy’s perils of the pre-Christmas frenzy (part two)

Read on for part two of Wendy Varley’s Perils of the pre-Christmas frenzy to find out whether she got through her list in time.

Betty Boop Christmas Decoration

Our thanks again to Wendy for sharing this feature with OnTheWight readers. Ed

Hot water, part one
I thought that this year it would be nice to have an instant hot water heater in the guest bathroom, so my dad can shave without getting hypothermia. Back in November I lined up a plumber. He got poorly and couldn’t do the work. The job finally got finished this morning (thank you stand-in plumber; thank you electrician).

There’s a new cold water tap in there, too, because the old one had a chronic drip. I chose it because it looked traditional. But it appears to be a joke tap. You turn it on: nothing. Turn it on some more and water gushes out with such force you look like you’ve weed yourself. Too late now. We’re stuck with it.

I change the notice stuck above the sink from “NO HOT WATER” to “BEWARE: FORCEFUL TAP”.

Fixing leaks
That drip in the utility room I’ve been catching in a Tupperware container since the summer? (No wonder I can never find the right sandwich box to fit the lid)

It suddenly becomes a problem I must fix BY CHRISTMAS. Once again, thanks to the stand-in plumber, the leak is stopped in an instant. He’s like Fix-it Felix. Phew. I can cross it off the list.

Hot water, part two
I’ve decided the kitchen sink also needs hot water BY CHRISTMAS. The plumbing in this house is eccentric. We get hot water to the kitchen only if the wood-burner is lit in the living room. Which is rarely. So I clear out the kitchen cupboard ready for work to begin and find that a tin of Jeyes Fluid has leaked all over the base of it. That’ll be what the acrid pong was. It’s like tar. Maybe Jeyes Fluid IS tar.

I squirt cream cleaner onto it and scrub away, hoping the two won’t react and cause an explosion. (I read about this happening to someone cleaning a shower once, using two different products.)

The stand-in plumber doesn’t have time to fit this second water heater. The electrician says he can do the plumbing bit as well on Christmas Eve eve. Chances of having hot water to the kitchen tap BY CHRISTMAS suddenly look FAIR TO GOOD. Hurrah!

Replace car wiper blade
Last week I took the car for its bi-annual wash, so my nephews don’t die of shame when I pick them up from the ferry. I was listening to Bach’s Toccata and Fugue on Classic fm, a dramatic tune at any time, but even more so with all that water and thrumming and swishing going on.

Then it got a bit too dramatic. Glancing in the rear view mirror I saw the rotating brushes stick on the back wiper, force it upwards and ping it off into the drain, where – once the programme had finished – myself and the lady waiting to drive in next found everything EXCEPT the spring needed to re-attach it.

I drove home and ordered a new wiper arm. It arrived this morning. Surely I could tackle this myself. I tried to fit it. Attached the spring, tried to force the arm into place. It snapped. Never mind, I still have the old arm, I thought. I just need the new spring plus that other bit from the old arm that I’ve popped on top of the car, plus the main bit of the old arm, which I left in the boot. As I open the boot to retrieve the original arm, I hear something crack. The bit I left on the roof has fallen into the door hinge and is now broken. I haven’t enough working parts left from either the original arm, or the new one, to create one whole one.

If the stand-in plumber is Fix-it Felix, I am Wreck-it Ralph. Chances of this being sorted BY CHRISTMAS? Slim.

Prepare guest room
I switch my attention from the car, and the fierce new tap, to the other guest bedroom, where I rarely venture. This used to be a daughter’s room many moons ago, and still spews out witches’ hats and fairy wings if you open the wardrobe door.

I wonder what the smell is, notice the bin bag in the corner and remember it contains a musty rug I brought back from my parents’ and meant to get cleaned. Cluttering the room are several boxes of junk (or treasure; I have yet to decide), also from my parents’, which I was supposed to sort through weeks ago but forgot all about. I move the rug to the shed, stack the boxes more neatly, give the room a quick vacuum, make the bed, and leave.

I look at my to-do list, which is dangerous because I just think of five more things to add to it.

But THEN I remember that, once everyone’s here, it won’t matter much whether the house is like a hotel. I’m lucky to have a family who will muck in.

I’m lucky to have somewhere to put them. We’ll be together for Christmas, and that’s really all that matters.

I wish OnTheWight and all its readers a very peaceful Christmas.

Thanks Wendy, and Merry Christmas to you and yours too! Ed

Image: paparutzi under CC BY 2.0

Opinion Piece

Tuesday, 24th December, 2013 6:50pm


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4 Comments on "Wendy’s perils of the pre-Christmas frenzy (part two)"

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Hope your day worked out as planned Wendy. Lots of people on the Island were without water yesterday, so given the trouble you had to go through with the taps etc, hope you weren’t one of them. Merry Christmas.

Wendy V

Thanks, Margie, and hope you had a good Christmas too. What a pain for those without water over Christmas. The supply was ok here, luckily (and the electrician was as good as his word and we got hot water to the kitchen in time: luxury!).


Jeyes Fluid is tar, in effect, as it is a by-product of coal tar manufacture, with soap added. Which reminds me, can you still get Wright’s soap? I liked the smell of that…

Sally Perry

Me too. You can still get the soap and some chemists on the Island also stock Polytar shampoo :-)