Thursday, August 24, 2006

A day off among the twin tubs

Elf and I took the day off today to do house stuff. We talked to a mortgage broker, then visited the council to ask them politely to pull their heads in.

We received a notice that planning permission was withdrawn until we changed our drawings to include a 1.2m high screen around our deck, with 80% opacity, to protect our neighbours privacy. Elf called and invited the council to come around to see why this was ridiculous, but they declined. If we were dwarves or Ewoks maybe they would be on to something.

So today we dropped off photos of the site and letters from neighbours either side, saying such a screen would not make the slightest bit of difference to their privacy, about which they have NO concerns, and if later some problem arises we are capable of sorting it out without the council being involved.

Then, we went to look at ovens, dishwashers and rangehoods. Elf and I have lived without a rangehood for a combined 74 years, but now we need one. We’ve had a spice cupboard as a rangehood for the last six years.

In the electrical shop we were very amused to see that people still buy twin tubs (generally old folks apparently). There was a Chinese brand called Haier (I think they are trying to sound German). I used to have a twin tub and there was a little round mat you had to flop on top of everything when you used spin-dry. Haier call this part “the gland” and there is a helpful notice on the underside of the lid saying “NEVER FAIL TO USE THE GLAND”.

This was at Electric World, a very old-fashioned shop. Despite having all the latest DVD hard disc recorders etc the place always seems very 1977 to me. The ceiling is low and the home-made shelves are overcrowded, and wobble when you walk past. While we were upstairs looking at ovens, someone downstairs put on some yodelling-style music and began yodelling along.

For comparison we went to an even wonkier shop called B & B. I would guess this stands for Barry and Barry. They took over an older Hobart institution, Danny Burke Electrical. Danny Burke was up for sale for so long that the sale itself became an institution, Before Danny, it was a theatre, and the interior is wonderfully over-the-top art deco meets neo-Assyrian. Wingéd lions. The fluted EXIT signs are gorgeous. The service was desultory and the prices not particularly sharp, but the atmosphere of the place was marvellous.

The music in here was pure country. I see your sweeeeeet face every mor-or-or-ornin… Two older blokes in zipper tops and slacks, and two burly younger blokes in fluoros and stubbies, yarned away between the freezers, listening to Merle Haggard and Jean Stafford and watching six different channels of daytime plasma screen telly. It seems poles apart from my workplace, but it has surprising similarities. One of my workmates has over 14 days worth of continuous music in his i-Tunes, and fully one third was recorded by people named Hank. I myself work in ugg boots.

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