Monday 27th. January, 2014 – Like the Curate’s Egg: good in parts 

Dressed for the task in hand

With a lot to do this week I was up early, Mix was walked and I was breakfasted in time to drive behind Digger to the garage in Duns where his car is to repaired – broken alternator by all accounts. (Tom suggested that he could treble the value of his car by leaving a bottle of Lucozade on the back seat but them he is rude about my car too until he remembers that I got it from him.) I drove Digger to the Co-op to shop and then returned by Pearson’s to buy face masks for the cleaning-out of the top floor of the Hen House – our first task of the week. Digger, Rachel, Tom and I set about clearing it out (the masks were because there were some dead birds around and Tom thought that we ought to be careful). With so many willing hands the task didn’t take long -- much to Mix’s delight because he really disliked his inability to climb up a ladder.

It was at this point that the day took a turn for the worse – somehow the gate got left open and the dogs escaped. Mix returned when called but Rowan was off like a shot. In fact it took us half an hour to recapture her and without a doubt she owes her life to the kindness and consideration of the cars and lorries who use the road. Traffic ground to a halt and when we eventually caught her (halfway to Duns) a very kind lady called Ashley insisted on driving us back to the farm house. I shook for an hour afterwards at how it might have ended! She is a very lucky puppy.

Tom measures up in preparation for boxing in the pipes in the Morning Room

And so we started work on Mum’s Morning Room. The task for today was to start to box-in the pipes which became exposed when we removed the sink and moved the water supply to the other end of the room. For framing we cannibalised the wood which had supported the order of wood for the summer house. Then we used a sheet of marine-ply which was originally destined for Ianthe (our boat) – we shall buy more later.

Meanwhile, Rachel had gone off to Berwick where she took Rowan for a lengthy run on the beach and started again to try to teach her obedience. She thinks that it will be a long job; Rowan understands perfectly but prefers to do her own thing. I am so fortunate that Mix just wants to be where I am.
By the end of the afternoon we had got as far as we could with the boxing-in. Tomorrow we shall get facings and fit the whole thing together permanently. But things are already taking shape:

The boxing-in is now half-done

Just as were complimenting ourselves on a good day’s work, Digger arrived with an egg. For those who don’t know, with the farm house came two hens and when we first arrived there was a regular supply of eggs. However, recently the supply of eggs has dried up. For this reason today’s production of an egg marks the return, hopes Digger, to normal service.

Digger with the egg which provides hope for the future!

While I fed the dogs (having walked Mix again) Rachel tried to lodge her tax return. By mistake she had gone on to one of the sites which helps you in return for a fee. (Tax Return Gateway it is called.) As far as I can see, Tax Return Gateway is deliberately quite misleading. It has a Home Page which clearly states that it isn’t the Government but when you type in Tax Return on Google it is the Tax Return Gateway which comes up first on the list (and with a name deliberately similar to the Government Gateway) and, which is worse, you aren’t taken to the Home Page (with the declaimers) but to a page which invites you to submit your tax return and includes forms very similar to those on the Government web-site. Of course, Rachel should have read the small print – it is all there to be seen – but we have heard of many other people who have been taken-in by the way that it is set out. Rachel won’t be taken in a second time. It is good to hear that the MP David Davis is raising concerns about similar matters in the House of Commons.

Rachel was, of course, dismayed to find that she had been deceived into using the site, but was slightly mollified when she got a text from the company to say that her form had been lodged successfully with the Inland Revenue. Just to be sure, on Olive’s advice, today she telephoned the Inland Revenue to check that her form had indeed been submitted and they immediately told her that no, it hadn’t.

This afternoon Rachel started to prepare her tax return again but she couldn’t get in to the proper web-page. So she telephoned the help-line. Eventually she got through. Rachel was told that no, there was another number she had to telephone. After much delay she got through and started trying to explain her problems. It was at this point (or possibly a bit later after more confusion) that the person she was speaking to said, ‘Oh, but your form was lodged on Saturday’. So the Tax Return Gateway had, after all, submitted Rachel’s return and the Inland Revenue were wrong this morning when they said it hadn’t been lodged.

It has left me with bad feelings both for the Tax Return Gateway as a result of whose web-site Rachel paid a fee she didn’t need to pay because she believed that she was dealing with the Government, and for the Inland Revenue who, by giving wrong information to Rachel this morning, made today an even more worrying one than it would otherwise have been. But we’ll look on the upside: the tax return has been completed and Rowan is well and in the Granary causing her usual mischief. Some things are more important than others.

We dined in the Farm House and later in the evening I drove to Berwick to collect Olive (Digger’s car is off the road at least until tomorrow). Discovered that one of my front side lamps isn’t functioning – no matter, tomorrow morning when I drive Olive back to Duns to catch a train I will continue on to Halfords and buy a set of bulbs for the car.)

On my return I watched Bletchley Circle which I had recorded from earlier in the evening. With time marching on and a busy week ahead, I walked mix and retired to bed. All’s well that ends well but it has been a bit of a Curate’s egg of a day from which we have all learned lessons.


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