Pack Flat

If there’s one thing I genuinely love, it’s assembling a bit of flat pack.

I know I’m supposed to bang on about it being impossible to understand the instructions, or that there’s always a screw left over or whatever. But bollocks to that. It’s not hard to understand the instructions. They’re a fricking doddle. And there’s usually a screw left over because they purposefully put more in than is necessary because they’re the easiest bits to lose.

But anyway.

I have spent a decent chunk of the day turning the house into a fire hazard.

And building some bookcases in the process.

I think I love having the boxes of furniture delivered to exactly the spot on the floor you want them to be put in better than assembling them. It was awesome to not have to lug them about myself, and just have them brought on a van. I don’t know why we never did it sooner. It just made so much sense, instead of trying to contortion our way into the car with boxes that might have just been a smidge too big.

It’s really a no-brainer.

Three bookcases generated a lot of cardboard though. I was throwing each box into the kitchen as I emptied it, and I had reached the height of the worktops by the time I was done. And as I did it, I was thinking to myself, well I hope the washing machine doesn’t overheat (because that was doing a load somewhere behind the cardboard) as this whole place is going to go up like a tinderbox. And I would burn to death in the front room, unable to escape the house at all because everywhere was blocked off with pre-cut pieces of wood or furniture I had moved to the side to make room for construction.

I’m surprised Carole didn’t come home to just find me rocking in the middle of the front room.

Not that she’d have been able to get in, because I had blocked the front door with a basket of stuff as well.

Hey ho.

But the instructions for these bookcases did make me laugh. Not because they were impossible to understand. Just because one of the steps made absolutely zero sense to me. At all.

You build the bookcase frame. And then you put the back on it. To put the back on, according to the diagrams, you stand the bookcase on its side and pop the backing in. The back comes in two sections, so you position the first and then put in the second. But to do this you need an extra person, because if you let go of the first backing it will just fall out.

I was by myself.

So that was a no go for starters.

But the next step was to then turn the bookcase, which had previously been on its side so you could put the back in place, onto its front so that you could fasten down the back.

If you just did that in the first place, you’d find that you didn’t need a second person nor did the backing fall out when you let go of it.

It’s like… I just don’t understand why it was even in there as a step. How has that got past some sort of quality control? Surely just lying it face down to start with is the way forward. I mean, I did it three times and nothing has fallen apart yet. Even if I had had access to a second person I wouldn’t have done it the way they suggested. Because surely as soon as you both let go of the back to spin it round onto its front, the back just falls out anyway. And that’s before you start factoring in a turning motion.

Plus the fact, I was already working in a slowly decreasing space due to cardboard remnants and previously assembled things. I couldn’t have coped with a second human in there with me.

I do love a bit of flat pack.


Carole Service

I had the pleasure of working with Carole today.

I know, right. I go to work to get away from her and somehow, even though she doesn’t even work there, I end up working with her. What the heck is all that about. Which meant we got to try out something that has never been done before and – if I have my way – will never be done again.

We had a small snafu which left me in charge of two games at the same time. It’s been discussed in the past, but it’s not something we’ve ever done before. And, hopefully, isn’t anything we’ll do again! I mean, it was fun, and a challenge. But you can’t give either team the level of attention you would if you were just running one game.

In theory it’s entirely possible to do, but it just doesn’t work with our set-up. It might, with some tweaking of the way we do things, but hopefully the situation will not arise again and everything will run swimmingly from now on.

Basically, Carole pulled a blinder today and offered to help me out when I really needed it. She came in, togged herself out in a proper work top and helped me run some rooms.

And, you know what, it was really good. I mean, she did keep telling me things I could do, or should have said or whatever, but it was good. It’s not like I’ve been doing it for ages now, or anything! Haha.

Carole was my chief meet-and-greet lady today. She was an absolute star offering to collect teams from the door and bring them up, and then to ferry them back downstairs to freedom after their game. She was really good at it as well, but she did used to man the reception desks of a multitude of London hotels so when you’ve had people repeatedly trying to boil eggs in a kettle, anything else is a piece of piss.

I’m not sure the escape room world is for her, though. She loved it, and there’s no denying that. But she found the whole thing rather tense once the teams are in the room. She was worrying about their progress and, sweetly, giving me a blow-by-blow commentary on the room that I couldn’t listen to while I listened to the other one.

We made a hell of a team.

And we all know that Carole is a natural talker, so she was chatting to anyone and everyone about rooms we’ve done, places we’ve gone to do them and all sorts of other stuff. If she actually worked with me, people would never leave. She’d just be talking to them, all day. Teams would be backing up at the door because the first team of the day hadn’t finished having a good old natter with her.

It was pretty awesome actually.



Quantum Squirrel

It thundered, briefly, today. And lo, the rains did fall.

I was at work, locking people up for fun and frolics. Today was noteable for bringing us the first hen party to turn up with an inflatable penis. I’m genuinely stunned it’s taken as long as it has.

It’s quite warm at work. I might have mentioned this before once or twice. I tend to fling all the windows open to let the air flow through the rooms. Sort of.

When the rains came it brought a welcome break to the ridiculously muggy air. For a little bit, anyway.

You don’t expect, though, to look out of your open windows to see – more-or-less at eye-level – a squirrel hiding under the leaves of the tree trying to keep dry.

I’ll be honest, it was unbelievably cute. It was one of those snapshots of nature where, if you’re in the right place at the right time, you get a glimpse into a world you don’t normally see. My mum, for example, got to see a hermit crab changing shells purely by chance about 25 years ago and she remembers it still.

Anyway, soggy squirrel in a tree. Me looking at it, it looking at me.

Probably only one of us was thinking, “Well, I don’t know what I’ll do if the squirrel runs along the branch outside the window and hops in to keep dry.”

It didn’t.

But I did lose track of it after the rains passed. It was running about like a loon. It might be inside. I mean, it probably isn’t. But it could be.

I usually tell people there are no wild animals, as I lead them blindfolded into the Dungeon. Am I going to have amend that? Start saying that there might be a squirrel kicking about. There probably isn’t. But there might be.

I’ve never seen it before. And I’ll probably not see it again. But now I have seen it, it’s like my own Schrodinger’s cat. Is it in here, is it out there?

It’s undoubtedly out there.


But it’s hard to forget that a few months ago butterflies descended from the ceiling…

Maybe Lost, Hopefully Found

After years of thinking about it, talking about it and then not doing anything about it we’re finally springing for some new bookshelves which, hopefully, will cope better with the bookaholic nature of this house.

They’re taller, so in theory we should be able to stop double-lining the shelves with two rows of books and actually start to see what we’ve got. And then spend a while going “Why have we got that?” before we get rid of some books and discover we didn’t need the bigger shelves in the first place.

I’m quite excited just to see what’s fallen down behind the shelves in the years they’ve been there.

I know there have been times when I could have sworn something was on top of the shelves but when I’ve gone to get it it’s not been there. And it’s nowhere to be seen. We’ll get to find all sorts of nonsense, notes and (probably) money that has dropped down the back in the past five or six years.

I remember when I was at Uni and living in the Uni accommodation which is now some swanky posh flats or some such. I was tidying/rearranging my room – which must have meant I either had a project due or an exam to study for. I moved the bed and discovered a tenner down the back of it.

Which was awesome. For a variety of reasons. Obviously first and foremost, it’s a tenner. Secondly, I had not found myself in a position where I thought I should have had ten pounds more than I had, so it was a bonus find. And thirdly, it was a tenner. Wooo. Pot Noodles all round, and one for yourself shopkeep!

I’m hoping for that here.

Sort of.

Except it won’t be legal tender because it’ll be an old-school note instead of one of the new indestructible polymer ones. Which is more trouble than it’s worth, queueing up in a bank that no longer actually has a counter to change money into something that’s actually in circulation. Not sure I can be bothered with that.

Maybe we should do what theatres do when they have refurbishment – just collect all the crap we find under and behind things and put them on display as “artifacts”. That’s what the City Varieties in Leeds have done. A selection of ye olde litter is in a glass cabinet near the bar so you can see how they used to live in the olden days. Messily, is the answer. There’s quite a lot of litter.

I think we’re just going to find mainly spider carcasses.

Maybe a coin or two.

And undoubtedly, given that they’re EVERYWHERE ELSE in the house, at least one hair bobble.

Still, a lost fortune would be quite nice. We could put it towards the cost of the shelves.

Heck, It’s Hector

Today has been a day of almost constant jumping.

Not because I’ve bought a trampoline, because in the whole of the multiverse I can’t see that one ending particularly well. No, because it’s been ridiculously windy today. Storm Hector – I think that was it – has blown in and caused chaos, probably. I tend to avoid the news these days, trying to keep my life Trump (and misery) free as much as possible, but I’m willing to bet that in at least one news article or report there was some footage of a person walking along a sea wall as a wave smashed against it.

Anyway, windy it has been. Hector has lived up to his name. Whatever that means. Storm Hector, the hot weather deflector. As almost no-one is calling it.

It’s been windy.

I knew it was windy first thing this morning, when I got up, as I had to fight my way past the curtains which were whipping out to get me. Black-out curtains pack quite a punch, it turns out, as they billow out like ship sails, forcing you to get past them like you’re trying to get out of a bouncy castle that’s rapidly deflating around you.

So, yeah, it’s been windy.

Which has meant that the windows of the house, which have been open more-or-less constantly for the past who knows how long, have been variously blowing open and shut throughout the day as Hector whistled past them. Thus the day has been punctuated by muffled thuds as a window is blown shut, then further muffled thuds as that window is blown open and another blown shut.

With this house, that’s taking a huge risk.

It’s a wonder that the windows blowing shut haven’t just toppled out of the house. I can’t imagine they’re screwed into anything particularly strong or structural. Because there’s not a lot of that anywhere around the house at the best of times. They’re mainly held in by hopes and dreams, I think. I know the bathroom window has at least one insanely long screw in it because that was fitted during the “Matthew Years” when he decided something he knew nothing about wasn’t right. Other than that… unicorn farts and Care Bear tears..

I went out into the garden earlier, to do something or other, and I nearly couldn’t get back into the house such was the force of the wind. It had created a sort of vacuum around the back door, making it an absolute sod and half to hope. The cat flap’s been stuck out at a jaunty angle for quite a while today as well. It’s been a wonder we haven’t had a visit from the local ball of fluff, because while she can’t work out a closed cat flap, even she couldn’t be bamboozled by one held open by wind.