On the count of three you shall release the Holy Hand Grenade…

… Not four, not five, but three… (excuse the brief Python paraphrase, just watched Holy Grail)

Before I forget, gives Ceres a quick *huggle* I tried to email you but got bounced. Very painful.

Things, they say, happen in threes. Never has this been truer than for my Mother at the moment. She goes on (to use her words) a ‘holiday of a lifetime’ to Italy which was scheduled to reach Rome at 1900 on Saturday 3rd April. Just over half an hour later, the Pope has died. We aren’t Catholic, so Mum freely admits that lots of people were more affected by this event than she was, but it still meant that a lot of what she wanted to see (Sistine Chapel for one) and do (window shopping through Rome) just weren’t going to happen. She did get to see inside St Peter’s before they laid the Pope out, and apparently it was amazing how the Italians (who are the first to admit themselves) aren’t the most organised people in the world, coped. Her words: “I doubt the British would have managed as well”.

So she manages to get out of Rome (tricky in and of itself on Friday morning) and finally gets home last Saturday (9th April) to find a flood of, if not Biblical, then proportions still larger than any sane being would want in their home. Cause? Faulty ball-cock in the water tank in the loft. Effect? Water comes through rafters into airing cupboard beneath, makes the boiler go bang, turns all the linen etc in the cupboard soggier than if they’d just come out of the washing machine, and keeps on going all the way through the ceiling of the downstairs loo, bringing part of that down with it. Result? The house is stone cold (the boiler supplies all the hot water for central heating etc) and VERY damp; all the soaking clothes, towels, bed linen etc are in the process of either being washed in a neighbour’s machine (thanks Joan) or drying on hastily erected washing lines; we are facing the grandaddy of all cleanups; we need a new boiler; it’s time to redecorate the cloakroom; and my Mother has vowed never to go away again (last time she went on holiday she came back to a flood – slightly smaller, caused by a hole in the brickwork, but still water water everywhere).

Number three? In an effort to get her mind off the carnage inside, Mum decided on Sunday to tackle the lawn that, due to two weeks of neglect, resembled a junior jungle. A third of the way round, the lawnmower also goes bang. In the grand scheme of things not so bad, but still enough to make you wonder which deity is having a hissy fit and taking out on my poor Mum.

The only thing now is, Mum is on tenter hooks about what might happen next! She (and most of the rest of us) would like to think that those are the three things and everything is going to be ok, but there is a dissenter in the ranks who feels that counting the Pope’s demise isn’t allowed, so he is waiting for one more thing. And I thought I was the eternal pessimist!

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