Exciting Stuff

Orange water!

When life throws you curved balls…

It’s been one of ‘those’ weeks, you know the ones, I’m sure everybody has them… at least I hope they do! When you start out with best intentions and that’s about as far as it gets.

My plan was to get the girls ready for our road trip to Tennessee, attend a ‘learn to play the harp’ webinar prior to the online course starting in September (I’ll fill you in on that in another blog!), do a Yogaburn workout, take puppy to the kennels, help to pick up the hired minivan (there was no way we were doing a road trip with three teenagers in anything smaller!) and be at the airport to pick number one son up at 4:45pm. That was just day one.

Corralling two teenage girls is never easy, ensuring they’ve packed everything and making sure the chargers, headphones etc. were easily accessible along with a variety of random snacks is key! To be fair this went reasonably smoothly… could’ve been a lot worse…

I did a quick tidy up loaded the dishwasher, pressed ‘go’ and nothing… literally nothing… at this point number one daughter pointed out that the white stripes on her Nike top were orange… 

The orange thing does need explanation as it’s the one thing about living in the states which has literally made me cry. I love my white sheets, white tee shirts and I happen to have a pair of white shorts that actually look good on me. 

Since moving to the states everything has turned a blotched orange, I’ve binned all my white tee shirts and it’s only thanks to discovering ‘Iron Out’ that I’ve managed to keep my white shorts (there’s an orange line on the seam but it’s not overly noticeable). It’s been getting steadily worse too…

I phone our landlady – first time in ages, to be honest she’s lovely always really helpful – this is another British thing, we tend not to ask for help but just ‘muddle through making the best of the situation’ which is great but sometimes a careful question can save so much time and in this case, clothes!

Upshot is that not only do I mention the dishwasher (it’s being sorted on Tuesday) but due to my slightly elevated stress levels I also mention the orange water – I’m quite proud of myself for not bursting into tears, time is marching on and we still have so much to do, now to include washing up!!

It turns out that we’re on a well water system – we were aware of this but as I’d never come across this in the U.K. and water came out of the taps etc. I gave it no more thought, apparently it needs salt.

However at this point I don’t have time to sort it out, so on with the washing up!

This makes us late for the kennels – not late as such, but behind schedule, upshot is puppy dropped off, running happily into her enclosure without so much as a by your leave – just the same as the kids heading off to school for the first time, you’re so anxious and they don’t even give you a second glance – but the webinar starts before we can get home – plan B swings into action and I load the meeting space onto my I-phone and dail in while my husband drives, not the best way to attend a meeting but it works!

I’m starting to feel like some sort of wonder woman! 

We get home, a couple of slight technical glitches later and I can join the second half of the meeting on my I-pad – much easier to see, hear and interact with 🙂

The rest of the schedule starts to regain momentum and we reach the airport as the plane lands – by the time we park we have five minutes to wait before number one son walks through arrivals and I get a big hug = one very happy mum 🙂

We start our road trip – we are breaking the journey with a stop at a motel, number one daughter has watched way too much trashy Telly and is convinced we will be murdered in our beds.

Breakfast was rubbish. We weren’t shot. 

The next afternoon we arrive in Tennessee in a wonderful lodge overlooking the smokey mountains, the wine is open and the views are gorgeous.


The next three days are spent in Dollywood – I’ve always wanted to go, other kids wanted Disney, me I wanted to go to Dollywood!!

My kids had never heard of it and were a little sceptical – I was terrified in case it didn’t live up to my expectations…

All I can say is what an amazing place! It’s the most family friendly fun place I’ve been – it helps that American schools have gone back, UK schools don’t start till the beginning of September – subsequently no queues for any of the rides!! 


I love the sculptures, the theatre, the rides, there’s even a steam train!


All on board for the Dollywood Express!!

We drive back home in one go, 15 hours including stops… and I have to say all the kids were amazing! It really does help having a car with multiple charging points, a plug for number one sons laptop and audible books for us in the front – Wolves of London by Mark Morris… it was tempting to take an hour detour to finish the book, but not that tempting, especially as there’s another airport run soon!

Back to reality, and into the basement… there’s a tank, a scuba thing and a sealed tank – I have categorically no idea what any of it is… however there is a phone number on the scuba tank thing, I give it a ring and speak to the most wonderfully helpful person, she talks me through what’s in the basement and with the help of a few photos texted to the company’s mobile I have a solution!


I now know that there is a filter system in the basement which has a bucket thing which you have to keep half fill with salt – there was nothing in it apart from a red scum like pool… there has been little to no salt in it for nearly a year… oops…

She even tells me where I can get the salt and how to kick start the system – it takes five 40lb bags to half fill the tank…

I follow instructions and then start up the washer (we have a lot of washing!) and OMG there’s no more orange, the water in the bathroom doesn’t smell or taste ‘funny’ – you have no comprehension as to how happy I am!!!!

Although a thought has occurred to me… I dye my hair (I’ve been grey since my late twenties and at fortysix have no intention of going grey gracefully, even if it’s the new ‘thing’ thanks to the Game of Thrones!) and my hair color fades to a really lovely copper colour, I wonder if it will still be copper now the orange water has gone…