My train back from Weymouth was also delayed but as I was already entitled to a complete refund of my return journey, I couldn’t get refunded any more. They won’t pay you to take the train. However, my Delay Repay refund, applied for on Friday, is already in my account. That was surprisingly efficient.

A view across the upstairs floor of our house. The floor is unevenly
boarded, and there are no walls, just traces around the edge where they were,
and cables hanging from the ceiling.

An empty shell

I went to our house to find it without any internal walls. The walls in the bathroom had come apart when they were taking down the tiles, and they decided to go ahead and remove the remaining upstairs walls, which were made of timber and straw. Straw, in a house built in 1982! It needed slightly more than the breath of a big bad wolf to bring it down, but not much.

This is good in that it allows us to tweak the positions of the walls: to shrink the bathroom slightly, as without a bath it can be smaller, and to widen the landing and replace the ludicrously narrow 626 mm door to the front bedroom/office with something more sensible.

It’s bad in that it’s a load more consequential decisions that have to be taken at short notice. We decided to take advantage of the change to replace most of the upstairs doors with pocket doors. These take up much less of the space we don’t have in our tiny house. Whether we’ll come to regret the drawbacks, I don’t know.

Having a pocket door to the bedroom solves the problem that it was hard to get into the wardrobe behind the door.

It creates a new problem in that for the light switch to fit between the door and the wardrobe – the only place it can go, because you can’t put electrical points on the pocket side – the door must move across slightly.

That in turn means that the ladder from the loft can’t come down, because it previously stretched out through the bedroom door. Thus, we now need to move the loft hatch across slightly. It will be larger and open in a more sensible direction, so that’s good, but it’s more complexity and more expense.

The squeaky floors were also revealed to be mismatched and completely uneven, so we gave them the go-ahead to replace the old boards with modern boarding, and to add insulation while they’re at it, to reduce noise transmission.

The cause of our creaky pipes was also revealed: the heating pipework was uninsulated, and the copper pipes rubbed against one another. As it creaked like an old sailing ship every time the heating came on, I’d amuse myself by reciting:

Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.

Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.

from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

I shan’t miss that.

We went to see Machinal at the Old Vic. It was still in previews but towards the end of the previews. The set was interesting, the performances were good (although a couple of the supporting cast didn’t quite pull off convincing New York accents), and I think it was an excellent production, but with everything else going on I can’t give any kind of coherent review.

I enjoyed the character in the first act responding to everything with a sometimes astonished, occasionally lascivious “Hot Dog!”

My new phone arrived and I spent the requisite entire day setting things up and then had to tweak everything over the following days. It’s a Pixel 6a, and even though it’s not a new model, and it’s second hand, it’s in great condition, and the battery life is much better than I had been using, and the tiny bezels and camera in the screen give a much bigger visible display without making the phone significantly larger.

I now have 5G for the first time, although I haven’t encountered much of it out in the wild so far. It doesn’t seem noticeably different to 4G.

Twice this week, I watched cats cross the road at zebra crossings just like any other upstanding members of society. Different cats, different zebra crossings, different parts of town.