Well, the new kitchen is just about finished, apart from a few little bits of pelmet and so on. The only problem is: working out how to operate it all. The hob, the oven, the microwave, all have lots of buttons and switches and dials, but I’ve no idea how exactly it all fits together, what works what. The manuals aren’t much help, either, as they seem to be largely in German. I was planning lots of baking when everything got sorted out – it might have to wait until I’ve remembered where I last saw my English-German dictionary. Ah, well, I suppose that means I have time to sort out my day-by-day photos of the kitchen being rebuilt.
The shredder didn’t go anywhere, in the end. Before anyone could lift it, the branch office phoned up and said: “don’t throw it away! Fix it!” I explained it was unfixable, by me at any rate. So, they phoned up the Office Secretary and said: “don’t let them throw it away! Find someone competent to fix it!” The Office Secretary told them to stop being silly, and started shopping for a replacement, before throwing the broken one out in a sensible, unimaginative fashion. I was mildly disappointed.
I have been wrestling with a shredder.
A dead shredder, not a switched-on one – that would be silly. Wrestling with a dead shredder gave me at least a fighting chance of not having my fingers chewed off.
It was all the fault of the branch office staff over in Another Part Of The Forest. Their shredder was dead, making horrible noises, they’d tried oiling it, nothing was working. So, it turned up in Room 3B (IT Office) for me to deal with. I took it apart, scattering chaff all over my desk. I pulled chunks of oily paper from the jammed-up cutters. I dragged a length of plastic, of some kind, from between them: possibly the remains of a comb binding, or the banding you get on boxes of fresh paper.* I picked out all the paper I could see with tweezers, and made a minor blood-sacrifice with my fingers. But nothing would bring it back to life.
Which itself raised a problem. How do you dispose of an office shredder? We’ve tried putting things like that in our office skip before: it generated irate skip-collectors. They’re a bit big for the waste paper basket. So I came up with a plan. I drew up a sign. “Valuable! Do not throw out!” and stuck it onto the side of the shredder, before parking the shredder in Reception, by the door. With any luck it’ll be gone tomorrow. I’ll let you know how we get on.
* “Oh no,” said the manager from Another Part Of The Forest on the phone later, “we’d never put any sort of plastic through it!”