The Meerkat Muse – 22/3/23

brown and gray meerkat in macro photography
Photo by Pixabay on

Here we go again!

The Weather

If there is a pastime all Brits indulge in, it’s moaning about the weather. At the start of this Muse cycle, the weather was bleak. We had a bit of snow (which thankfully didn’t settle), followed by relentless, torrential, cold rain. The other Thursday was particularly damp. The skies were dull and grey. The weather had no redeemable features of any kind.

Now, I get it, it’s March, not May, and we’re some way off the sunshine I crave. Still, we’re not in December and January anymore, so is it really so bad to desire slightly better weather?

The Choice

Argh! This one is tough, really tough. I want a new tattoo, and I am completely and utterly torn as to what. Technically, there’s enough in the tank to get more than one, so I might be fretting for no reason, but there’s still the question of what to get first. I have long wanted a Star Wars tattoo, and a lightsaber is the form of choice, but a sonic screwdriver from Doctor Who is another option too, and then there’s something from the Super Mario franchise.

The Mario tattoo idea is proving to be very tricky. There are so many options from that particular franchise. The power-up mushroom, the fire flower, Bowser, Mario himself, from across various games… what do I pick?! One guy on Twitter suggested Mario, holding a lightsaber, battling Sonic the Hedgehog.

There is a serious candidate, in the form of Mario holding a lightsaber, but there’s no room for Sonic.

One possible lightsaber option, but then again, I prefer not to side with the dark side!

The Valentine’s Day Rock

No, we’re not talking about a ring here (I mean, I’m already married!), we’re talking about a literal rock. In fact, we’re talking about a very big rock.

From the BBC News Site:

A newly detected asteroid has a very small chance of impacting the Earth in 2046, Nasa tweeted on Tuesday.

If it does hit, the asteroid, roughly the size of an Olympic swimming pool, may arrive on Valentine’s Day 2046 according to Nasa calculations.

The closest the asteroid is expected to get to Earth is about 1.1 million miles (1.8m km), Nasa says.

But researchers are still collecting data, which they say may change predictions.

The asteroid, dubbed 2023 DW, has about a 1 in 560 chance of hitting Earth, according to Nasa. It’s the only space rock on Nasa’s risk list that ranks a 1 on the Torino Impact Hazard Scale.

The scale, which goes from 0-10, measures the risk of space objects colliding with Earth. All other objects on the scale rank 0, indicating no risk for impact.

As you can see, the chances of a seriously bad Valentine’s Day are pretty low (well, I suppose that depends on how you define ‘bad’), but still, the chances are greater than they usually are. We have some time to plan, so nukes at the ready?

The Woe

The sporting world has not been particularly kind to me in 2023. My beloved Liverpool FC recently thrashed arch-rivals Manchester United 7-0 at Anfield, and promptly went and lost to bottom-placed Bournemouth, in a sequence that sums up the season. Last season brought Liverpool to the brink of four trophies, of which we won two. This season has been dire by those standards. It’s made worse by seeing United enjoy a resurgence, and we’re even below Spurs! I may never live this down…

On top of it all, whilst I am grateful for the return of Formula 1 motor racing, it’s painfully clear that Lewis Hamilton will not get a record-breaking 8th world championship this year, barring a previously unforeseen level of in-season car development. His team, Mercedes, have doubled-down on a concept that did not produce results last season, whilst title winners Max Verstappen and Red Bull have further improved the best car on the grid. It’s hard to see anyone wresting the titles from their grip.

The Bus Incident

Well, I say ‘bus’ incident, this was more of an incident that happened outside the bus, whilst I was collecting my daughter from school. An older gentleman was crossing the road on a mobility scooter, and from either going too fast as he cornered, or due to the wind (or both), the scooter toppled over, in the middle of the road, depositing the man onto the tarmac. The bus (and other traffic) stopped well in time to avoid a much nastier scene, and the driver of the bus and another driver helped him back onto the scooter. He seemed none the worse for the incident, considering that it looked rather unpleasant.

The Knock at the Door

Nine times out of ten, a knock on our door is usually delivery-related. The other day, it was actually a police officer! There’s a certain element of ‘oh no’ when the police knock on your door, but in this case, the officer (a plains clothes officer I might add) was asking if we’d heard any activity the night before, relating to an attempted break-in. I had to tell her no, for we hadn’t heard anything. As this happened quite locally, it has raised my concerns a bit. Is there a person or persons with undesirable intent, roaming around my street? It’s a possibility.

The Creep (Possibly)

My colleague and I were leaving work the other day, when a guy rode up to the door on a bike. He paused at an advert in the window (as a company, we’re always looking for new staff), then proceeded to loiter. Quite why he was loitering, I have no idea, but it made both my manager and I uncomfortable, so we made a show of heading towards the back of the showroom to check the backdoor. The entire frontage of the showroom is clear glass, so this loiterer watched us, and cycled along the outside of the building too, as though he was continuing to watch us. We went into the kitchen, and he cycled off, only to reappear, heading in the opposite direct, a moment later. By this point, his behaviour was suspicious. Did he seek to ambush us? It’s unlikely, but his actions were odd, and we didn’t feel like taking chances. We headed along the pavement together, and he was at the end of the building, standing beside his bike, facing the wall, as though trying to appear inconspicuous.

My manager rode off on her bike, and I popped into a local shop. When I caught side off the building through the shop window, he was gone. Quite what he was up to, I don’t know.

It occurred to me (later than it should have) to check on my boss, and make sure she’d made it home safely. I messaged her, and got no reply, so I called her, and the call went straight to voicemail. Cue mild panic. I called again, and she answered, so phew! The whole situation was strange, and I don’t know whether we’ll see a repeat. I guess that’s a case of ‘watch this space’.

The (probably) Mattress

I say probably, because we took in a couple of packages for a neighbour, and one was almost certainly a mattress for a sofa bed. It was big enough, and it wound up spending a few days in our landing (which isn’t a problem, I have no qualms about taking stuff in for neighbours). It certainly ranks as one of the more unusual items to have left with us.

The Toilet

Um, how to best explain this? The other day, after flushing the toilet, it sounded like the whole thing was back-firing. In fact, at first I thought it was a car doing exactly that. I went upstairs, flushed it again, and the water began to turn all murky and brown. I tested the basin tap, and this did the same thing, as did the kitchen tap. I was concerned, for we had a leak once before, and now it appeared as though another serious problem was developing.

My first call to the repair team ended with them cutting me off before I could even speak to anyone, but the second time proved to be the charm, and the council sent a plumber round. It turned out that nearby roadworks had led to a lot of dirt and mud getting into the system, and running the tap would flush it all through. That was a certain measure of relief, for I had feared it was sewage! Then again, it didn’t have a nasty odour, so sewage was always unlikely.

The realisation that all I had to do was run the taps meant coffee consumption could resume in a timely fashion.

The Headaches

I don’t mean this in terms of annoying people or problems, but quite literally, I refer to headaches. I think I know what’s behind them, but the importance of getting things checked out can never be understated.

I’ve had them before, and the right medication put them to bed. I suspect stress is a factor in them, but I am not prone to headaches, so when they persist on a daily basis, I feel it’s something that needs looking into. I have a responsibility, not only to myself, but to my wife and daughter, to make sure I am still here in ten, twenty, and thirty years. Being flippant with one’s health is not a good idea. It’s entirely possible that the latest headaches are a result of having had covid recently. We shall see.

The Hole

Ooh err! No, I am not referring to anything rude, so get your minds out of the gutter.

The other day, a customer contacted the showroom about damage to a bath. Ok, fair enough, sometimes items arrive damaged, which sucks, but it’s normally quite easy to deal with. The problem is, the customer’s fitter installed the bath. They would have to turn it upside down to fit the bath legs, and upon doing so, the hole in it (no, not the hole for the waste, in case you were planning on being pedantic) would have been extremely obvious. This hole does not go all the way through (pictures of the bath confirmed this), but could represent a structural weak point.

Not only did the fitter install the feet, despite this hole being clearly visible, they then righted the bath and drilled out the holes for the bath taps too. In fact, they have more or less fitted the bath completely, save for the bath panels. This presents a big problem. My employer will more or less regard the fitting of the bath, despite the obvious damage, as a sign that of accepting responsibility for said damage. To use another example, if you order a burger from a restaurant, eat most of it, then decide you don’t like it and want to have it swapped out… well, the restaurant would query why you ate most of the first one!

I feel for the customers here, because they’re lovely people, but the damage wasn’t reported within the bounds of our terms and conditions, and fitting the product in those circumstances makes our lives very difficult. What will also make life difficult is that the store will be the first port of call for any awkward, challenging conversations regarding the issue (the customer hinted at compensation regarding delays to the fit, yet customer services may not even consider such a notion under the circumstances).

My personal theory is that the fitter did something to make the hole (maybe they hit the bath with something by accident), but I can’t accuse the fitter of that, and I have no evidence of that. I suspect customer services may present that argument, which might then lead to bigger arguments, that we at store level will inevitably get swept into. All I can do is make customer services aware of the issue, and see what they say.

Well, this Muse has rambled on long enough. Tune in for another in two weeks!

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