Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Sorting out the Spanish flat

We survived the something-stupid-o'clock (clocks leapt forward that morning, too!) start required by Easyjet only flying from Stansted to Málaga at sparrowfart or in the early evening and landed at a rather chilly Málaga airport around midday.  Colder than eStanglia, it was!

Helle Hollis, the car hire firm we use, has a Home Owners' Club, which has a Fast Track service.  This means that they process the booking ahead of time, so when we get there, they just hand over the key and tell us where the car is.  We're usually out in less than 5 minutes.  This is such a boon that I opt for it even though I could hire a car much more cheaply from a different firm.

Jenny had some work to do with a Wednesday deadline, which was rather stressful for her, but she got it done OK.  She took her laptop and we topped up the mobile phone dongle as soon as we arrived, so we had internet access all week.  OK, so there's only two places in the flat where you get any signal at all, but hey, two bars is all you need!

It being rather cool most of the week, we actually spent much of the time sitting about reading.  I finished the Dawkins Greatest Show on Earth which Jenny gave me for my birthday, then read Leaving Alexandria by Richard Holloway, some time Bishop of Edinburgh. 

The Dawkins is an excellent book, though I doubt if any of the people he wants to convince will actually read it.  It sets out to demonstrate, as you might expect, that the earth really is very old indeed and that evolution is real, and does so quite convincingly, I think.  But it will only have any effect if the target audience actually open it and read it, which I don't think they will.  Since they already 'know' what's right, why would they?

Richard Holloway's autobiography was absorbing and deeply moving.  I tore through it in double-quick time. Raised in a poor family in Glasgow, he won a scholarship (I think) to a monastery school near Newark and determined to become a monk.  However, he was sent to Accra to assist the Bishop there, and never returned to the order in Newark.  He did, however, get ordained, did a lot of work with homeless and desperate people in Glasgow, became rector of a church in Edinburgh, did a stint in the USA, then some in Oxford, before finally being appointed Bishop of Edinburgh. 

Almost imperceptibly, however, he was losing his faith.  Astonishingly, by the time he resigned as Bishop of Edinburgh, he'd changed his views of religion to ones I agree with - religion is divisive and dangerous.  He still believed in god, which I find curious, since throughout the book he refers to god as an absence he feels, rather than a presence, but he seems clearly to believe that religion has nothing to do with morality.

I strongly recommend you read this book.

Something I was very pleased to get sorted out in the flat was the net curtains in the master bedroom.  Ever since we inherited the flat, these have looked sad, the pull-cords not operating, the curtains not quite meeting, all a bit derelict.

I took them down and laid out the tracking on the floor, but contrary to my expectations, the cord was not broken, just wrongly-routed and jammed.  I unjammed it, routed it correctly and lo, we have properly working net curtains!  While they were down, we put them through a gentle wash, fearing that they would disintegrate, but in fact they came out intact and much less grey.  Now we have clean, good-looking net curtains, ready for our summer holidaymakers.  Hoorah! 

I also fixed the hi-fi, which was refusing to play CDs when we arrived.  You can use the DVD player to play CDs, but the sound quality when fed through the TV is not great.

The screws holding the hi-fi together were at the bottom of 20cm long, 15mm wide holes, and naturally, we don't have a suitable screwdriver, so I took a wire skewer from the kitchen and hammered the end flat, which yielded an adequate implement to both remove and replace the screws.

Inside the box, I stripped the CD drive (5 years working at Imerge has its benefits!) and although I found nothing wrong, the laser lens being clean, when I reassembled the box, it would play CDs, which was the object of the exercise.

I do like fixing stuff, I think you've probably guessed!

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