Well, it’s been almost 6 weeks since I arrived in Nairobi, and in spite of the many incredible things that I’ve seen and done since I got here, I must admit I am ready to go home now!
Partly because when you spend 6 weeks of living in a hotel, the novelty wears off rather quickly and it’s annoying needing taxis to go anywhere, not being able to cook or eat when you want etc. Also the shower in my room is rubbish so I can’t wait to get back to my lovely bath and much better shower! And my room with all my things!
It’s also because while I’ve been away, everything seems to have gone wrong with my house! My poor lodger, who has only just moved in, and who I abandoned rather suddenly to disappear off to Senegal and then Kenya, has been on her own in my house for weeks, kindly looking after the cats and keeping things ticking over, and dealing with all sorts of crises!
First, the boiler broke down, which was awful, as it was -1 degrees celcius in Oxford at the time, and the poor girl had to go without any heating or hot water for several days while I scrambled to get it fixed remotely. It was a pain to sort out, and required an awful lot of chasing and skype calls and frustrated emails! Initially they thought it was an electrical fault in the panel, which they replaced, and when that didn’t work they had to replace the PCB (whatever that is!) which required ordering in special parts. And when that was replaced they discovered a leaking pipe inside which had apparently caused all of the electrical faults, and so that had to be repaired as well!
In the end it took about a week, and will cost me about £500. But at least my poor lodger has heating and hot water again!
Then, about a week after the boiler was fixed, she texted me to say that the washing machine was leaking and had flooded the kitchen. Brilliant.
So I researched the average life span of a washing machine (it’s 11 years FYI) and realising that my machine is about 11 years old, I decided it was time to invest in a new one. Off I went to look at all the Which? Best Buy Washing Machines, and having selected a suitable model with strong reviews, and then found the one I wanted on special in John Lewis (£180 off!), I was all poised to purchase it (with some financial support from the parents I might add!). However on checking the dimensions, I realised it might not fit under my counter and have since been slightly stumped.
It would appear, on doing some further research, that most washing machines seem to have a standard height of 85cm, while my counter space is around 84cm. This is due to the fact that I had wooden flooring laid in my house a couple of years ago, and this raised the floor by about a centimetre, and my current machine has basically been wedged in there by sheer determination. So it’s unlikely I can get the John Lewis people to remove the old one and install the new one without hacking out a section of my wooden floor.
All very frustrating and annoying, and it will have to wait until I am home so I can review the situation and see what can be done. In the mean time I’ve had my trusty handyman come round and take a look at it (he had a similar problem with it last year, and apparently the seal is old and cracked). He’s going to get back to me on how to get the machines in and out, check the measurements, and see if we need to cut into the flooring to do it.
Then this morning the lodger called to say that the handyman tried to fix the seal on the machine, and suggested they run it on a short wash without detergent. It didn’t work, flooded again and also shorted out the fuses, blowing the power to the house. Great. Luckily they’ve been able to reset the fuses, but they can’t get the machine out to unplug it.
So I’m looking forward to getting on home so I can sort all this out and leave the poor lodger without so many dramas to cope with!
Also, I miss my cats. They give excellent cuddles.
And in the back of my mind, I can’t help thinking that these things tend to come in threes, and my fridge and freezer are both very old (although I got the freezer for free on freecycle, so wouldn’t be massively surprised if it dies soon….). The fridge was also a hand-me-down from my mum and I can’t work out how old it is, but it must be more than 10 years old too by now…
AND, as if all that weren’t enough, the idea has been floated that I might need to go to Beirut for a week in early December. Don’t get me wrong, I love Beirut, it’s a wonderful city, and any other time I’d be up for going, but right now I’m itching to just spend some time at home, in my own house, with my lovely cuddly cats and fixing all the things that break. And I also can’t wait to put up my Christmas tree because I’m starting to get into the holiday spirit!