Tag Archives: cold

2006. Online business meeting

Well! What an unbelievable mess! Olga, who lived in New York, had been asked by Hector, who lived in South Africa, to organize a meeting online. The two of them were to discuss an important business deal with Jack, who lived in Scotland.

The meeting was to seal a multimillion dollar transaction. Jack in Scotland had the money, Hector in South Africa had the imagination, and Olga in New York had the drive. It was easy-peasy! All three knew it. A deal could be struck so effortlessly that possibly a deal could be struck even before a deal could be struck!

The business of different time zones was easily solved; as was taking into account Summer Time and all other unnecessary foibles of modern time-foolery. Such a thing was simple arithmetic. All three came online at the same time. That was when the confusion began.

Not a single one of the three had the slightest inkling as to what the other was saying. The accents caused total muddlement. It was all Double Dutch. Olga, Hector, and Jack might as well have spoken in turn in Njerep, Kaixana and Paakantyi.

The meeting was worse than a waste of time; it was a disaster. Afterwards, Olga jumped off a bridge (in fact it held up traffic for quite some time). Hector took his elephant-hunting gun and went for a walk (he has never been seen since). Jack went and dined as usual in a fancy restaurant. (He had so much money he didn’t give a hoot about some silly failed transaction).

And that is why the antidote for the common cold has never been made available.

1888. I can’t think of everything at once

“I can’t think of everything at once” was Bella’s way of not only trying to find a reason for what happened, but her way of coping with the situation.

Dale had left Bella quite unexpectedly. One minute they were happily married, or so Bella thought, and the next minute he’d upped and left and was cohabitating with that floosy from the confectionary shop down on the corner of Shelley Street. Bella had no idea what he saw in her. And now Bella was on her own. The dividing of the matrimonial goods hadn’t as yet happened, but Bella was ensconced in the joint house and she wasn’t budging for the time being. Besides, it was winter and the house had a log fire and lots of firewood stack in the shed. She would cope.

On a rather chilly winter’s evening Bella discovered she had let the log fire go out. Dale had always set and lit the fire but she wasn’t entirely impractical. She screwed up some pages of newspaper and wigwammed some kindling over the top of it. That was when she discovered that she couldn’t think of everything at once. Dale had always lit the fire with his cigarette lighter. There were no matches in the house. Matches had not been on her grocery list.

Of course it was a silly idea, but Bella had heard since early childhood that primitive humans started a fire by rubbing two sticks together. She didn’t have a clue how to do it, and suspected very much that it wouldn’t work anyway. For a time she thought she would stay warm by wrapping herself up in blankets. She would buy some matches tomorrow. But then Bella thought of a solution.

She rolled up a sheet of newspaper tightly. She went to the kitchen, turned on the toaster, and from the element of the toaster she lit the rolled up newspaper. On the way to the wood burner with her burning torch she brushed past the lacy curtains in the dining room.

It’s always a shame when nothing is insured.

(Note: Today’s story number of 1888 is out of sync. That’s because a month or so back Story 1888 was missed – so this is a catch-up!)

1947. Seasonal Alphonso

Alphonso hated the Spring Equinox. It meant we’re heading towards summer, which is hot, sticky, and utterly uncomfortable.

Alphonso hated the Summer Solstice. It meant the hottest months are on their way.

Alphonso hated the Autumn Equinox. It meant we’re heading towards winter, which is cold, icy, and utterly uncomfortable.

Alphonso hated the Winter Solstice. It meant the coldest months are on their way.

Alphonso hated the weather on television. “They’re forever predicting bad weather. I’ll watch once they start being a bit more positive.”

1602. Cosy slippers

Granny Sugden’s house may have been warm and cosy, but she always had cold feet. She would put several socks on and slip her socked feet into fluffy slippers as she sat in her arm chair to watch television. All to no avail. Her feet stayed cold, and that was that. The only time she had warm feet was in the shower.

Granny Sugden’s granddaughter had a brainwave; she would buy a pair of those heated house slippers that plug in. Sort of like an electric blanket only in the shape of slippers, both slippers joined by a safe electric wire. That way Granny could watch television with her feet cosily tucked away.

The granddaughter found a pink pair. Happy Birthday Granny! She opened her parcel and was… delighted. Thrilled! Of course, there was no electric plug near her armchair, but the problem was solved with an extension cord. Just the bee’s knees, said Granny. Just the cat’s pyjamas! Just what the doctor ordered! Her granddaughter left to go home, with Granny sitting in her armchair as content as could be. She would have purred if she had been a cat.

An hour or two later the granddaughter thought she would check to see how things were going. She phoned. Granny leaped out of her chair and went to dash to the sideboard to get the ringing phone. She forgot that her slippers were wired up together. She tripped and hit her head on the coffee table.

Granny Sugden never had to worry about cold feet ever again.

1584. On a wet evening

Usually we quite enjoy taking the dog for its daily walk. Being creatures of habit, we seem to cover the same trail, but there’s always a new flower in someone’s garden, or a dead hedgehog on the road that the dog must stay away from, or a bird that wasn’t singing on that branch yesterday, or a car parked in a silly place…

“You’d think they wouldn’t park on the grass verge, dear. People like us walk here with our dogs. Some people have no sense.”

Of course, if it’s raining the walk with the dog is another matter altogether.

“Would you mind taking the dog for a walk on your own today, dear? I’m halfway through preparing dinner.”

And later…

“While you’re wet, dear, would you mind going out to the woodshed in the rain and getting the firewood for this evening? It’s going to be a cold night and I’m half way through peeling the potatoes.”

And still later…

“Goodness! Five o’clock already! Could you pour me a little wine, dear, when you’ve finished lighting the fire? I’m halfway through stuffing the chicken.”

And round about dinner time…

“What a miserable night, dear, so wet and cold. Would you mind popping out? I thought we could get take-away.”

1579. Rinse cycle

Nothing makes a mess in the washing machine like an unnoticed tissue. It may have been left in a pocket or simply stuck to a garment by way of static electricity. But in the washing machine it will disintegrate into a thousand pieces and fleck every item of clothing with impossible-to-remove fragments.

Jocelyn had a sister for whom she had responsibility. The sister, Kat, was “special needs”; not super-super special needs, but someone who required a little bit of extra care with some things.

When it came to doing the laundry, even though Jocelyn checked the pockets for tissues, the batch of laundry always emerged paper-flecked. Jocelyn couldn’t work out why until she discovered that Kat was dropping a tissue into the washing machine during the rinse cycle because she “thought it was funny.” Jocelyn didn’t have time to stand in front of the washing machine to protect it from Kat’s trickery, so for a while she put up with it. But enough is enough!

One day she told Kat to “do your own laundry today because I’m busy”. She had secretly dropped four sheets of tissues into the washing machine before Kat began to use it. Kat didn’t notice the tissues were there and began her task.

What a disaster! The drain blocked and the laundry flooded. Jocelyn called a plumber, who was expensive and couldn’t come for two days. The price of the plumber meant they had to do without dessert all week to save on not being able to purchase more butter and eggs. Kat got all upset because she thought it was her fault. It was one unhappy household, I can tell you.

That was when Jocelyn got a cold and her nose started running and there were no tissues left. Somewhere, in a bottom drawer, she found a small pile of handkerchiefs that hadn’t been used for years. They were brought into commission. In the meantime, Jocelyn washed everything by hand. It was raining and nothing, without the aid of a spin cycle, would dry.

Jocelyn confessed to Kat that there had been tissues in the washing machine and nothing was Kat’s fault, and Kat told Jocelyn that Jocelyn was “naughty naughty naughty naughty naughty naughty naughty” which drove Jocelyn slightly bananas, but she put up with it.

Eventually things returned to normal. The washing machine was fixed. The laundry was dried out. Dessert was reinstated. A new box of tissues was purchased. Thank goodness! And Kat returned to secretly dropping a tissue into the rinse cycle, because she “thought it was funny”.

1543. Southern winter solstice

Jakob was cold. It had been a frigid winter. Jakob didn’t have much money and was out of firewood. The fireplace lay dead. The freezing outside wind seeped through the cracks in his window frames. He had covered the cracks with tape, but the wind still found a way. He was wrapped in clothes and blankets. He simply could not get warm.

Jakob had stayed up all night. Not even the bed had warmed. Jakob turned on his oven to high and opened the oven door. At least the oven heat should warm things a little. And it did. At least it did until the electric bill arrived and he couldn’t pay it. Then the electric company turned the power off.

It had been a freezing night. Utterly freezing. Jakob knew he would die. He sat in a chair and waited.

The new day dawned sunny and warm.

1507: Granny Suzanne

Over the years Granny Suzanne had skein after half-used skein of left-over wool. In her younger days she had been a prolific knitter. These days, with rheumatism and fading eyesight, her knitting output wasn’t quite so productive.

Winter was setting in. She knew that her three grandchildren living with their mother “just down the road” would be feeling the cold. She couldn’t afford to pay for their heating, but she could knit, albeit with effort. She would knit warm clothes for her grandchildren and their mother.

Scarves, gloves, socks, and woollen hats were the order of the day! A bit of red, a flash of blue, a stitch or two of green… The job was done, and most of her leftover wool was used.

The grandchildren didn’t tell granny but they hated the items. “It looks like we’re street urchins,” they said to their mother. They threw the woollen items away and went to thank their grandmother. But when they visited their grandmother she was sitting in her armchair, dead.

She had died of the cold.

1406. Firewood

Curtis and Miriam hadn’t actually frozen to death throughout the winter, but they were never warm, never cosy. The wood burner in the house worked well enough, but they had to ration the firewood to make it last throughout the winter. The next winter they wouldn’t be caught out. They lived on the edge of a pine forest, so the coming summer would be a time to collect, chop and stack firewood.

Come summer, and Curtis and Miriam put several hours a day into the firewood. By autumn, they had enough firewood to keep the fire going all day every day throughout the winter.

That was when they received a notice from their landlord to vacate the house in several weeks. It was needed. It would no longer be rented.

Curtis and Miriam looked everywhere for another house to rent. The only suitable one didn’t have a wood burner. It had a heat pump. They moved in. They sold their firewood.

Come winter, on the proceeds from the firewood, they had a wonderful two weeks basking in the sun on a tropical island.

1399. Seasonal felicity

Felicity’s name was felicitous. She was so full of the joy of life, always smiling, always happy, and eager to spread that elation to others. She cared about people too, especially those not as fortunate as herself.

It was no surprise when she was elected to parliament by a majority so huge that people joked that it must have been arranged by angels!

One of the things Felicity wanted to achieve was to make sure that no one went cold in the winter. “No one should have to suffer the cold during the harsh winter season,” she said, as she introduced a bill into parliament. And it got through! It passed! No one would feel cold during the winter season because they changed the official winter months to the hottest time of the year.

How felicitous is that?