Archive for the ‘unexpected’ Category

School Exchange

Over the years, our children have taken part in a school activity involving a school exchange, and we have offered accommodation to visiting pupils.    We have hosted netball players from Australia, two lots of musicians from Munich and rugby players from Canada.    It has all been good and positive, and we have enjoyed being part of the exchange experience.

We are due to host a musician in October.    This time, our school has gone way over the top and issued child protection guidelines (which is basic common sense), and also a guide to what to do if your visiting child discloses information to you.    Pages and pages of it.

Oh my goodness.    Something simple is suddenly becoming too difficult.     Was there really a problem needing fixed here?

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We had a bit of excitement in our village this week.   A police cordon appeared with cones and tape blocking off the whole pavement on one side and parking on both sides of the street.    A white boxy trailer thing (mobile incident room) appeared, and there were a series of rather chilly looking policemen standing guard in rota.     Then a minibus of the white suited brigade rolled up to get stuck into forensics.    It was the whole works.  

Like everywhere else, we get our share of vandalism, and we had a stabbing in the 1970s, but being good the Taggart watchers that we are (supporting Scottish acting talent of course) it looked all set for the big man himself to roll up, climb out of his car and announce “there’s been a murder”.

Well, not exactly.    A cannabis factory had been discovered – a whole house growing cannabis plants.    500 plants, according to the local paper.    Apparently these places are springing up all over the place these days, but to be honest, we did not expect it in our busy Main Street.

The Police set up the cordon on Monday night, and it was only lifted late on Thursday afternoon.    To the layman like me, that’s a long time to deal with 500 cannabis plants and get a few fingerprints.    It was very disruptive to the shops round about and casued significant loss of business.

Still, the law must take its course.   Currently not sure if anyone has been arrested for this.

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Fairly horrible story about all of Edinburgh’s weekend sewage ending up in the Forth.    Apparently one recently serviced pump failed while the other was ‘waiting for spare parts’.    

Not too long ago, the sewage was pumped into a large boat which sailed out into the North Sea for a bit then emptied itself, so we have moved on a bit since then thankfully.   But there is now a large amount of recreational activity in the Forth Estuary, with some Blue Flag beaches and sailing etc.    Hopefully the stuff will decompose soon by action of tide and weather – it was a massive discharge, so it may take awhile.

Hopefully the Kinghorn lifeboat which covers the estuary won’t be needed for a day or two.

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Car Crash

On Saturday night, there was a particularly nasty car crash just down the road – the sort that makes the national news:    5 dead, 1 injured.     

There were 2 cars involved, one with three 19/20 year olds, and the other with a family in it.    It is a notorious piece of road:   dead straight, but with dips that can hide oncoming traffic.       The two cars hit eachother, and the one with the youngsters in it flipped over and caught fire.      The young driver was pulled out and is in hospital with burns.     His two female passengers did not make it.  

The 3 dead from the other car were from one family in our village.    Allison Melville has been our school crossing lady for 27 years, ran the Cycling Proficiency tests, ran the Girl Guides, was Girl Guide District Commissioner and also ran the Karate Club.    She received an MBE a few years back.     Such people glue a community together.    Her husband and son died with her.     It is a simply appalling shock for our village.

It was a particularly bad weekend on Scotland’s roads with 14 killed overall.

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If you remember, I was having problems with a blocked loo a wee while back.     Well, just before Christmas, the problem returned.    It was very odd, because this loo had been working fine for years, but suddenly decided to choke up for no apparent reason.

The pipes going to the septic tank are old, but fireclay, jointed and pretty bomb proof.     Sadly, there are no rodding points for access, but the occasional pipe with a liftable inspection hatch – usually at corners.   

So it was out with the pick and spade, and digging down I found an inspection pipe where I thought there might be one.    Lifted the lid.    It was full of roots from a nearby holly tree, all rolled into a fine ball of roots.    A small root had got into the system through the inspection lid and gone wild in the pipe.    That was the problem.    Pulled out the roots, replaced the lid and put a further cover down over the inspection pipe (to keep any other roots out) before filling it in again.

It seems OK now.   It was good to find a proper reason for the blockage.

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Not sure what has been going on these past two evenings, but we have had very low flying helicopters across the farm at night.

They looked like Sea Kings and had very few navigational lights on, so perhaps they were on an exercise.    Normally if there is going to be night-time low flying, there is an announcement in the Dundee Courier, but if there was, I missed it.     I don’t mind them doing it – they have to practice somewhere, but unannounced, it is a bit alarming.

I do worry that they will fly into sets of power lines in the dark.   And last night, the weather was filthy.

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Had to deal with a blocked loo yesterday.    It was a three flush problem:   flushes one and two went OK, but flush three filled the bowl with water – right to the brim.     Our house is on “country plumbing” meaning old underground pipework leading to a septic tank at the bottom of the garden.       The pipework is old and really heavy duty, but sadly lacking in access points.

Inspecting at the tank and the one available inspection point showed everything “working normally”.      Turned out to be a long job involving digging holes and locating a sunken “rodding” point – fine if you were rodding north or south, but totally useless if you needed to go east, which is what was needed.     The blockage was in a pipe under a concrete floor – but a lot of pushing and shoving with a very long wire and hosepipe from both ends eventually shifted it.

There is nothing quite like that “eureka moment” when a blocked drain finally clears:    there is usually a vast sucking noise like 20 baths emptying, and all that backed up water etc. suddenly whooshes down the pipe.       Very satisfying.

I thought that my daughter’s friend who is used to town plumbing and who stayed over last weekend had put “something other than loo paper”  down, but the problem seemed to be “sheer volume of traffic” as they say.    There were a few odd leaves in there, which must have blown down the tall vent pipe, which now has a wire cover fitted.    Anyway, job done thank goodness, and the holes all filled back in.

But there is more to this story……

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