I like a bit of alliteration. Hence the dramatic title. It's not really that bad.
In fact, mostly things are going well. The gas man came on Monday evening, and filled up our gas barrel. The central heating now works. It's still very cold - for Cyprus, anyway. I don't remember such a lengthy cold spell before, so we're pleased to have it working again. Apparently the gas man did call round about three weeks ago: he first phoned Richard's mobile, but it was switched off, for some reason. He then knocked on our door, but nobody was in. And he says he also left a slip of paper in our mailbox, but we never saw it.
So, getting no response, he assumed we must have gone to the UK for a while, and wouldn't be needing gas. Instead of which, as we had various people in the guest flat in December, we used more gas than usual. He did apologise, and said he should have checked the levels.
Also on Monday, Tim completed and submitted his UCAS form, applying for UK university places. He had quite a hard time logging onto the site, which had reached its maximum capacity. He succeeded eventually, much to his relief. On Tuesday, the actual final deadline, he tried to get on the site and found it jammed all day. Presumably thousands of people were also submitting their forms at the last minute, and probably panicking because they couldn't get there...
On Tuesday morning, Daniel flew out of Manila on the first stage of his route back to the UK prior to starting his furlough. He even managed to write about it on his blog, from Kuala Lumpur airport. He has been updating us with telegram-like texts ('ARRIVED KL STOP LUGGAGE 16KG STOP EXPECTED DEPARTURE TIME 1650'). This morning he was in Frankfurt, and shortly after lunch I had an even briefer, but very welcome text, saying 'ARVD BHAM SAFE TINY PLANE'.
He does write regular texts at other times, never using 'txtspk' but regular grammar and language, but always does the telegram style when travelling. Just in case anyone thought his capslock key was stuck.
From Birmingham International airport he is - we hope - catching trains to Shropshire, so he can spend a few days with his UK office, de-briefing and getting to know some of the staff. Then he's going to spend a few days with my mother, and a few days with Richard's mother, before flying to Cyprus in just under two weeks. He's hoping to get to see a few of our friends in Birmingham, so if anyone happens to read this who would like to see him in the next fortnight, and is suitably located, please do get in touch...
Meanwhile, Richard is also in transit. Yesterday afternoon he flew to Heathrow Airport, and was hoping to stay the night with his mother before flying out of Gatwick Airport this morning. Unfortunately there were serious floods and since he landed late anyway, it was going to prove almost impossible to get to his mother. So he went straight to Gatwick, and found somewhere to stay nearby. I don't know the details, I just heard the outline - also via text messages.
Strange, I was convinced I would never want a mobile phone. Then, after a couple of occasions early last year when it would have been useful, I bought one with some birthday money at the end of last April. I have still only used it about four times to make phone calls, but I do like being able to send and receive text messages, which are very inexpensive in Cyprus.
So... Tim and I are looking after the house and cats. And Tim is not well. He has been mentioning a sort of lump in his throat for the past week or so, making it hard to swallow. Naturally we looked up all kinds of horrendous possibilities on the Internet, as you do, but the most likely seemed either a nodule from too much singing and talking, or something stress related.
Yesterday morning, he woke up at 2am with lots of mucus in his throat, needing to cough, and cough, and cough.... and didn't get back to sleep again.
Also yesterday morning he was scheduled to teach a music lesson at the local English-speaking private school where he has been volunteering for the last few months. They don't have much in the way of music lessons normally, and the teacher Tim is working with currently had asked him if he would do some singing with her class. So despite feeling a bit fragile yesterday morning, he went in and taught a lesson. He seems to think it went well, and said the teacher was pleased.
However when by the time he had finished, his voice had almost gone. By the time he got home, he was feeling completely shattered, and as if he were catching the flu. He was also coughing a lot. He had some hot soup, and vitamin C, and hot orange juice, and slept for about three hours in the afternoon, with a hot water bottle.
Then the mobile phones came in useful once more... around 5pm I had a text from Tim, still in bed, asking if I could take him some pineapple juice and soluble paracetamol!
He got up in the evening, had something to eat, and we watched some 'Jeeves and Wooster' from his DVD collection. He went to bed at 9pm and slept for nearly 12 hours.
This morning he said that the strange lump in his throat had disappeared, but it was very sore. And he had a streaming cold.
So he had some juice and yet more vitamin C, and a hot bath, and went back to bed. All he wanted for lunch was a smoothie (I had kept some frozen soft fruit from the summer, so that was easy enough) and watched an hour of 'Fawlty Towers' - then went back to bed again.
There are a lot of bugs going around. We don't usually catch them - we seem to have fairly good immune systems in our household, on the whole. But I suppose with Tim going into school twice a week, it's not surprising that he's finally come down with something.