A FEW years ago, James May and Richard Hammond blew up my house. So I had to build a new one.
Work started back in December of 2019, and everything was going swimmingly until someone left the door open at a Chinese bat lab.
My house at this point was not so much a home as a 7ft-high breeze-block eyesore, entombed in a labyrinth of scaffolding.
When the wind blew gently through the poles, it sounded like the whole site was crying. I know I was. After five weeks, work resumed and I assumed all would return to normal.
But no. Because while people were focusing on Covid, a beetle in Canada was gnawing though the world’s supply of timber.
Today, you just can’t get any through the usual channels and if you do manage to hook up with a dealer round the back of the Dog And Crack Pipe, it’s going to cost you about eleventy million pounds for three sheets of four-by-two.
Then there’s steel. Right now, my staircase is due to be installed but it’s not possible because the RSJs needed to hold it upright are still entombed in rock, several thousand feet beneath the hills outside Sheffield.
Back in May, British Steel simply stopped taking orders for construction steel because they had no hope of fulfilling them. There was a similar problem last year with plaster.
There’s a shortage of aggregates, too, because HS2 is consuming everything that can be supplied — and if you want some drainage, you are better off using pipes made of gold, because it’ll be cheaper than the plastic alternative.
One of the problems is an acute shortage of available transport. Things are so bad that the cost of shipping a container from Asia to Northern Europe has gone from £1,061 in the summer of 2020 to £5,873 by May 2021.
I went last week to buy a sofa, imagining that there’d be no supply problem with cushions. But oh dear, how wrong I was. It turns out that there’s a nationwide shortage of feathers thanks to a supply problem with China.
Curtains? Nope. There’s a six-month wait for those too. Still, at least I don’t need a new car — because there’s now a global shortage of semi- conductors, which means very few can be made.
It’s like the world can’t remember how it works. We’ve spent the last year or so home-schooling our kids and learning how to bake bread and now we’re back at work, we’ve all forgotten what it is we should be doing.
The upshot is that soon I’ll move into my house where I shall spend the next two years sitting on the floor, reading old books by candlelight. And then using a ladder to go upstairs to bed.
Unless there’s a ladder shortage as well. Which there probably is.
Home a hol lot better
AT face value, it looks like good news for people wanting a summer holiday in the sunshine because the Government has relaxed quarantine rules on double-jabbed travellers returning from a whole host of tourist hotspots.
This, of course, is tremendous if you can leave for Greece or Majorca or Barbados NOW. But if you can’t organise time off work till August, who knows what the situation will be then?
We are having an absolute nightmare with the Grand Tour. We choose a country that seems doable, work up a storyline and a route we can take and then, bang, we’re told it’s been put on the red list and we have to start again.
At one point, we were considering Australia but we then learned that Sydney is closing down.
So we switched our attention to Italy, only to discover that it doesn’t want British visitors. It’s the same story in Germany.
Many countries have got it into their heads that our AstraZeneca vaccine is basically lemonade, which provides no protection at all.
Bruce Springsteen even announced that people who’d had the AZ jab would not be permitted to go to his new show on Broadway.
He’s changed his mind now but it demonstrates clearly what people are thinking.
Which is why, for my holiday this year, I’m not going anywhere.
A hard truth
MANY people will spend what would have been Princess Diana’s 60th birthday wondering once more how she died.
Was it a plot? How was the Fiat Uno involved? Did the French do all they could to save her?
As a massive fan of Diana, I find it all very galling because the truth is, she was being driven at speed by a drunk person, who crashed.
A GIRL called Chloe Burrows says she hopes to bag herself a boyfriend while filming a television show called Love Island.
She says she wants someone witty and that she likes “gym arms” and “nice teeth”.
Right, so she wants someone who goes to the gym AND is funny.
Good luck with that one, love, because in my experience, it’s either/or.
France going to seed
PRESIDENT Macron of France recently banned farmers from using various weedkillers, which means many of the country’s wheat fields are now full of poppies.
Lots of people are very happy about this, saying the blaze of colour reminds them of France in the olden days.
Farmers, though, are less happy, because girls in floaty white dresses are trampling down what little wheat has grown while making Flake advert-style TikTok videos.
And I can’t see consumers being happy when the crop is eventually harvested and turned into croissants.
Because if any of those poppy seeds get in there, and they will, everyone will be wandering around feeling as wobbly and as useless as Pete Doherty.
ECO-MENTALS announced this week that the flotilla of cruise liners which have been anchored off Dorset since the pandemic began are scarring the seabed with their anchors.
Yes, but that’s better than letting these hideous giants bob around the world’s beauty spots, scarring the view for everyone else.
ALL of us remember what happened on September 11 , 2001.
But weirdly, I have a photograph in my loo of something that happened ten days earlier.
In the qualifying stages for the 2002 World Cup, England played Germany at the Olympiastadion in Munich, above. And we won 5-1. Of course, back in those days, it was a level playing field.
The organisers allowed managers to field whatever team they saw fit.
Most countries can still do that, but for some reason England can only use players that have never been within 500 yards of a Scot.
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