A while back (in fact, it was the first entry on this 'umble blog, to be found here) I wrote about being visited by a Trinity of Inconveniences, an irritating and unwelcome triumvirate of nuisances which, although not especially threatening to person or property, were as bothersome as those drunken college chums who come pounding at your door at three in the morning when you have to be up at seven, reeking of cheap drink and sweat, carrying parcels of questionable "food", which they proceed to decorate your furniture and walls with in a vain attempts to negotiate it into their mouths. And this January, accursed, pestilent month that it's been, has seen another visitation by the said appalling Trinity, along with a few extra friends they picked up on the way (to extend the college chum metaphor, it's like the same friends if they'd extended your hospitality, unbeknownst to yourself, to a couple of dodgy partygoers with tattoos, facial scars, illicit substances and extremely dubious hygiene standards, and are arguing in drunken whispers at your doorstep while said partygoers lurk in the background and urinate on your flowerbeds ("Honestly, they're cool, they're Gary's mates..." "I don't care who they are, it's three in the bloody morning. Why can't you, and they, freeze to death under a bridge like normal dregs of society?")).
Sorry, I appear to have rambled off of the point there, getting carried away within the snug confines of the brackets (as I am wont to do), but for some reason we've had quite a number of such inconveniences turn up on our doorstep in the last month, and, since they have now (for the most part) been resolved, I'd like to present them (in a slightly fictionalised form) for your amusement (some have been alluded to in previous posts, but I hope to wring a few extra variations out of the unpromising material, so bear with me).
1) Returning from Cambridge in early January, after our first ferry had been cancelled and our second delayed for hours (nothing like sitting in a car for six hours, listening to the Irish people in the van beside you swear, discuss the minutiae of their drunken evenings, and give a running commentary on their hangover-induced flatulence, to instill you with a longing to return to your homeland!) we arrived home at ten o'clock on a freezing night to discover that the weird copper pipe poking out of the roof of our back toilet had split, and water was pouring out of it and down the side of the house. Not only that, but the water had frozen into a solid mass on the wall itself and encased the plants below in sheaths of blue ice, meaning that it had been running for quite some time. To stop the deluge, we had to turn off our pump until a plumber arrived to fix it, meaning that for our first two days home we had no running water or heating.
2) The following afternoon we went to collect our faithful (if over-exuberant) hound from kennels. It was a few days later that we realised that he had developed an infection in his testicles, most probably after scraping them on a hard surface. See here for more details, and a very cute picture (of the hound, I hasten to add, not the pustulent doggie scrotum).
3) The same day that we discovered the dog's unfortunate condition, the plumber installing our central heating was being driven to breaking point by the very eccentric nature of our house, which meant that the job was taking twice as long as anticipated and kept throwing up unexpected surprises (part of the job involved him crawling under the floorboards in our sun room, in a damp, dark, and cobweb-strewn space not more than a foot-and-a-half high, something guaranteed not to induce a sunny disposition). My partner decided to pop out to the shop and buy some Creme Eggs to restore the general good humour, but on opening our kitchen door was confronted by a rapidly rushing stream pouring down the side wall of our driveway and heading straight for our house. Immediate action was called for, and so the plumber and I spent two uncomfortable and exhausting hours in the sodden, semi-liquid mud in the field behind our house, furiously digging a series of ditches to divert the blocked-up stream causing the deluge. The crisis was averted, and a dry evening was assured in Chez Doubtful, but I spent the subsequent week, until a permanent diversionary trench was excavated with a digger, having panic attacks every time it rained and repeated nightmares about exploding dams and the Augean stables.
4) That evening, after giving the plumber a bottle of vodka for his heroic efforts and laughing myself sick at our moping dog and his giant bonnet, my partner and I decided to venture forth to the cinema. To be honest, at this point I would have sat through anything (well, maybe not Mamma Mia!, but anything else) so I flung a just-washed jumper into the washer/dryer to remove the last of the damp from it, as a prelude to donning it and strutting my stuff around Enniscorthy (and if you'll ever been there, you'll realise just how fragile my mental state was at this juncture). Half an hour later, I pulled it out and found that it was dripping wet, as our machine was full of water. We later discovered, after flooding the kitchen several times, that the pump had burned out (entirely unrelated to the plumber's work, I must add). We cancelled our plans to go out entirely, as by this stage we were so knackered and fed up that neither of us could be bothered driving, and I went out to do some blogging, only to discover that the Internet wasn't working. At this point, after the burst pipe, the dog's bollocks, the deluge, and the broken washing machine, a lesser man would have fallen on his knees and thrown a tantrum like a spoiled baby, but I just stood and stared in contempt at the unfeeling stars, my hands on my hips and a resigned, stoical smile on my lips, before uttering a short, amused laugh and heading back inside (because it was raining and I felt like an idiot standing out on such a cold, miserable night).
5) The following week, all had returned to (relative) normality. The heating was installed and instilling us with both warmth and wellbeing, the stream next door was diverted, the washing machine was fixed, and, while the dog still had his preposterous bonnet, his bits were healing up nicely and he was entirely accustomed to galloping about with a huge ring of plastic around his head. After a tasty dinner cooked by my partner, I was doing the washing up when the phone rang. After an lengthy conversation (much of which would have comprised what you just read, only with more profanity and repeated use of Fr Jack Hackett's phrase "feckin' water!"), I returned to the kitchen to discover that I'd left the tap running and the sink had overflowed. I was transfixed with horror at the quantity of water which had poured all over the floor, filled all the cutlery drawers to the brim, and was topped by a mountain of suds like detergent-flavoured cappuccino froth. The hound started sliding around in the slop, my partner's face took on a look which radiated both resigned patience and barely veiled homicidal fury (I noticed her eyeing both my head and the large axe we use to chop wood), while I got out the mop once again and began to wonder where on Earth has the least amount of rainfall, and how much a house costs there...
I think this following song gives an apt insight into my mood at this point (and is, in my opinion, much funnier than the regular version, but then again I'm a sucker for voices played backwards):
(Actually, while all of these disagreeable experiences were occurring I was reading about the pull-out of Dell from my home town of Limerick with hundreds of job losses, the entirely predictable yet still terrible economic collapse of my country, not to mention the horrors of the Gaza Strip, and being thankful I had such insignificant personal problems to worry about...)