Saturday, 8 May 2010

A sociable day on the knocker

A sociable day on the knocker
May 2010

It is with great sadness that I have to announce the recent demise of Gimli, Jeffs guinea pig. Poor Gimli passed away whilst we were in Manchester over Easter and Jeff, being his usual sensitive self responded with those sad words "Oh, that's Ok, I was fed up cleaning him out anyway!"

So with no pigs left there was the small issue of what to do with the two story hand built hutch in which Gimli munched his way through an unfeasibly large number of bags of guinea pig grub.

My answer was to turn to e-bay. If one of my friends managed to sell bags of manure over the web (mainly to he could tell people he "sold s**t on e-bay") why not a huge hutch.? With pictures duly taken an entry was posted, together with some dimensions because it is rather big. I waited a week and guess what - no bids - just a couple of questions about would I deliver?

The hutch that was...

In the event I was approached after the non auction by a lady offering the princely sum of £10 plus £10 carriage. It wasn't really the money, I just wanted the hutch to go to a good home and get some more use, so I agreed to drive it to Solihull. I had a post code and confirmed the buyers location but alas failed to get a phone number, big mistake.

Hey, I am in an optimistic mood and all would be fine, so off I went. I found the house identified from Google Earth and guess what, I had - wrong place and the occupier had never heard of the buyer. The postcode was a very rural area containing no more than a dozen houses so I figured a round robin of the area would soon winkle her out. Well, I tried just about every house and even questioned the ubiquitous "bloke with a dog" who hangs around near Earlswood Station  -who didn't know her either but suggested one last smallholding. I tried it but no, not there either. Pants - a wasted journey, wasted diesel and I will have to take the hutch to the dump which was a big shame.

With a heavy heart I turned my car for home just as a bloke emerged from his house having hear dof my quest (how do they communicate in places like this, it's uncanny). He advised me that I wasn't looking for a house at all, my buyer was a lady who keeps a bunch of animals on 6 acres of land and she would be found in a caravan in the corner of a field. Sure enough my buyer was present, plus friend, husband and a whole bunch of kids. All in all a very weird set up but she was delighted with her hutch and I was pleased to see the back of it.

Earlswood Pumping House

This little tale does have a canal twist to it. On my way into Earlswood I crossed the Grand Union, or the 'middle road' as it was known. I even spied the stern of a narrow boat which is something of a rarity on these less than inspiring waters. But that wasn't all. Earlswood is the site of a huge canal reservoir, now owned by Severn Trent but clearly has a canal pedigree with hump backed bridge, pumping house and sluice gear straight off the cut. The place is quite beautiful on a sparkling spring morning.

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