119. Is the Grass Greener? A long drive, a hissing socket, seagull eggs, pain au chocolat and a busy social life

Wednesday 10 May 2023

I drove from Scottish Borders to Lewisham yesterday, the first time driving on my own. It’s a lot easier and less tiring being able to share the driving, but it was kind of okay. I left at 06:20, stopped for about half an hour, was delayed by maybe twenty minutes with road works on the A1, sailed through east London (a first for the Scotland-London drives), stopped to fill up with diesel in Lewisham (£44 for the 365 or so miles from our house plus another thirty miles already on the clock) and got home at roughly 13:30. My back ached, I had a headache and, as I hadn’t slept much, I was really tired. Can’t say I’m looking forward to the drive back but I always prefer driving north.

Early morning mist as I set off for London

In the twenty-eight hours since I’ve been back, I’ve had dinner with my friend Nana (I may not have been at my most lively last night), a pre-work walk with Rachael and I’m going out for Vietnamese food with Catherine this evening.

Once I arrived back, I put on the WiFi and some hot water, then turned on the isolator for the washing machine. I heard a kind of electrical hissing so turned off the washing machine switch. No hissing. I turned on the isolator switch again, more hissing. I turned off the isolator switch, no hissing. I turned it on again – I mean, seriously, I couldn’t accept that the effing washing machine wouldn’t be usable when I had our laundry from Scotland that we haven’t been able to wash due to running out of water. In short, we are now £105 down and an electrician sorted the problem this morning. Wash three of probably five is now in progress.

New-build flats are not built to an acceptable standard. We have already had other sockets burn out. The electrician said the burning was from the washing machine’s socket rather than the isolator switch. One of the three joins had started burning and melting. He said it was pretty much the cheapest socket that could be bought, but it shouldn’t have burned out so few years after it was fitted and he thinks it probably wasn’t fitted well. I have very little positive to say about new-build flats from a purchasing perspective.

It has of course been great to see friends, I had a good walk this morning, including through Deptford Market while traders were still setting up, I had a coffee and warm pain au chocolat at a nearby coffee shop, Mousetail, and an electrician sorted out an issue less than twenty-four hours after I contacted them.

On a weird note, I opened our balcony door as the flat smells a bit stale and unloved, and it is of course about one hundred degrees hotter here (give or take about ninety degrees). I did a double-take at one of my plant pots. There appeared to be three large eggs in the plant pot and the dead geranium seemed partly wrapped into a circular nest shape. I could tell the eggs hadn’t been looked after but I gently touched one, and it was cold. I took a photo. Maybe two hours later, when I was closing up to go out, I noticed that one of the eggs had been seemingly pecked from the outside to reveal a yolk, as in the photo below. Weird, weird, weird. I have no idea what kind of bird, though they are almost chicken-sized eggs and all I can think of is a seagull. But even that would be weird. It’s all weird. I have since Googled and they appear to have been urban seagull eggs.