Posted by Shirley Anne on March 9, 2014
It isn’t often that I have to place clients in a queue before I can make an appointment with them but it happened on Tuesday for the first time in a long time. I have been inundated with callers asking me to do work for them which is fine as long as I can space them out and give myself a break in between. It isn’t often that I have to return to a job because something has gone wrong either, in fact that almost never happens but when it does it is usually due to a defective fitting and totally out of my control. Last Friday, if my readers will remember, I replaced a faulty outside light for an old lady as no-one else seemingly wanted to do it. I received a call late on Sunday evening telling me that the light had ceased working properly so on Monday morning I returned to check it out. I reset it and tested it in daytime mode before returning it again to nighttime mode for normal use. On Tuesday evening however I was informed that the light was not working as it should or even at all! This meant that I would have to exchange it for another free of charge as I had purchased it personally. Had my client bought the light fitting I would be entitled payment to replace it as I cannot be expected to know if the light would work or not. One could argue that I could insist on payment to replace the light that I had purchased too but it doesn’t work like that does it? Besides which it does nothing for my reputation if I don’t waive the fee in such circumstances. Fortunately the old lady lives less than a mile from me so it isn’t a problem, though I will have to take the light down first then take it back to my supplier to replace it, when I can find the time of course! It is Tuesday evening as I write this post having spent the morning attempting an adjustment on that light, returning home only to get another call from the next town to do a job there. Later on in the afternoon E and I drove nowhere in particular to dine out only to find ourselves ending up somewhere we hadn’t intended to visit. It was so late in the afternoon that we were grateful to find anywhere to eat and when we did we found ourselves the only two in the dining rooms. I had missed breakfast too, part intentionally and partly because I had to see to that light fitting as early as I could and didn’t subsequently have the time afterwards! It meant I was rather hungry by the time we actually received our meals at the table.
Update: I managed to find time to remove the light fitting on Wednesday and exchange it. I fitted the replacement on Thursday morning. Friday morning I got another call to tell me the second light wasn’t working! I couldn’t believe it! Naturally I went there and carried out the prescribed test once again but this time I discovered that when the control was set fully to the night setting it ceased to work. I backed the control off the maximum and found it then worked. Now to me that is a manufacturing and design error. If I get the opportunity I will tell them so. E had to pay a quick visit to her mum early in the evening so she took me along with her and along the way we went to the apartments where I had fitted the light and I discovered the light was working perfectly. I wanted to make sure.
Posted in Dining out, Electrical, Life, Problems | Tagged: Business Services, Dining out, Life, Restaurants and Bars | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Shirley Anne on March 8, 2014
Lead pipe gnawed by rats (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I went to work on Monday morning in the next town but was back home before 10.30. It was such a lovely day, bright and sunny with little if any wind, ideal for working up a ladder. When we stripped out the bathroom to make way for the refurbishment we had been unable to remove the lead toilet soil pipe from the main plastic downspout or down-pipe on the outside of the building, partly because we had been too busy doing other things inside the house and partly because of the weather. We had been waiting for the weather to change for the better so that we could get outside and remove the pipe. The toilet had been connected to a lead pipe which must have been left as such when the old cast iron pipework had been removed and replaced with plastic pipes by the previous owner at least 26 years ago. We bought the house 26 years ago this summer, No doubt they had changed the bathroom suite before then and rather than replace the lead pipe they simply connected it to the plastic pipe. I had removed the toilet pan and had sealed up the pipe temporarily from inside the bathroom to enable the work there to continue. The outside connection was something like 5 to 6 metres from the ground. I say ‘was’ as I have now disconnected it. Out came the extension ladder and up I climbed with hammer and bolster chisel (wide bladed chisel) in hand to cut the lead pipe. I had tied the ladder to the pipe by the way! It took some time to cut the lead but eventually I managed to withdraw it. I looked into the hole and I could see the timber frame that is the base on which the new shower tray will be seated! I had to cut a brick to fill the hole from outside. I then had to cut a brick to fill in the outer part of the cavity wall then set both in place with mortar. I thought I had finished but I noticed several other parts of the wall needed the seams filling in as the mortar had been weathered away. This should have been done a few years ago when we had the new windows fitted and indeed we had asked someone to do it at the time. We only discovered that this part of the wall hadn’t been touched but now the scaffolding had been taken away. So I found myself filling in the many gaps I could see with the left-over mortar mix. During this time E had gone into the larger greenhouse to tidy it up and to sweep up the many leaves that had found their way on to the path. There was a lot of moss on the pathway making it slippery under foot so when I had finished messing about up the wall I brushed the path as E played the hose pipe over it. She had already removed the leaves to the wheelie bin. I suggested putting salt down on the path to kill the moss and make it less slippery. It appears to have worked. We both went indoors for a late lunch but didn’t bother doing anything else afterwards. So now the downspout has a ‘tee’ piece with an empty hole ready to receive the new soil pipe once we have fitted the new toilet. That cannot happen until the bathroom floor has been tiled if we are to fit it accurately.
Posted in DIY, House and Home, Plumbing | Tagged: Cast iron, Cavity wall, Downspout, Home and Garden, House and home, Pipe, Plumbing, Toilet | 4 Comments »
Posted by Shirley Anne on March 7, 2014
train station (Photo credit: nolifebeforecoffee)
I love riding on trains. Many years ago when trains were pulled and no doubt pushed also by steam-driven engines for me riding on trains was an adventure. Mind you, I was only young and it was mostly a rare occasion that found me on a train but nevertheless it was still an adventure. I suppose many of my readers, if not all of them will have been on a train at some point in their lives, some of them even every day! I was standing on the platform at a local station recently and it was almost empty of people, just a couple on the platform I was standing on and one or two on the opposite platform. I began to think about where each of them were going, to work, back homeward or visiting a place or person. Perhaps they were out on a shopping spree or off on holiday somewhere nice. There are many reasons for riding on trains not least of all simply for the pleasure of it, even though these days they are pulled by diesel engines or electric motors. When I travel on trains I look out of the window at the passing scenery but many people occupy themselves in other ways, reading newspapers and magazines or more likely now twiddling with their phones and electrical gadgets or listening to music. Those things disinterest me, I prefer the window! Travelling locally and often will find us seeing the same faces each time we travel and sometimes friendships result. Some prefer to remain in isolation. Everyone is going somewhere and doing something. One day a train will pull into the station on which we will have no choice but to embark whilst at the opposite platform there will be others doing exactly the same. The only difference will be in the direction and destination for each train. They will pull into the station on a regular basis, both day and night, sometimes picking up only one or two people each time, sometimes many more. On this day the train journey will be the last one we ever take. There will only be two destinations and no-one will be allowed to alight until that destination is reached. There will be no intermediate stations along the way it will be like an inter-city journey, fast and with no stops. Once on board any decisions regarding your destination made will be honoured, there will be no opportunity to change one’s mind and go in the opposite direction. There will be no luggage to hinder the journey and those travelling will have had no time to make any special arrangements, they will travel as they are. The journey will be extremely fast, faster than any journey you have ever known and will never be postponed because of bad weather. Then what are the two possible destinations you might ask? One of those places will be filled with all sorts of nice things to make your stay enjoyable and it will be the finest place you ever saw, a place you will be glad to be in. The other destination will be the complete opposite and very hostile, a place you would rather not be in and a place you wouldn’t have given a second thought about if you were preparing a holiday. One place will be heaven and the other, hell. When making plans for a holiday I know which one I would choose.
Posted in Heaven, Hell | Tagged: Heaven, Hell, Salvation | 2 Comments »
Posted by Shirley Anne on March 6, 2014
Roman soldiers relax after a tiring battle at English Heritage Festival of History.
I finally got my wish to do almost absolutely nothing beyond normal household things over the weekend. I even managed to have a lie-in on Saturday! Usually I don’t get the chance to simply relax, there is always something that crops up or someone wanting me for one thing or another. I don’t think I would like too many weekends with nothing to do but it is nice when I know I need the rest. The week had seen me very busy and by Friday evening I was feeling exhausted. The phone calls were few and no-one woke me up by calling at an unearthly hour. I remember one lady a few weeks ago who did exactly that! The strange thing is that if I do nothing I tend to feel tired which seems to me a contradiction. All things pass and I am sure my next free weekend will be a long time coming. We are still waiting for the bathroom to be tiled so that we can continue the project and although there is still work that can be done we haven’t done much of it. It is now Sunday evening as I write this so that might change during the week if it hasn’t already. Warmer weather is fast approaching and we are feeling the need to press on with things before our time has to be shared with gardening tasks and other things that can only be done whilst the weather is fine. People say work whilst the opportunity presents itself but I say take the rest when it is possible too. There will surely be a time when the latter becomes more prevalent than the former so I must use my time wisely if I am to get things done without burning myself out. Hopefully there is a lot more energy left in my batteries before most of my time is spent going nothing! I must keep soldiering on.
Posted in Rest and relaxation | Tagged: Rest and relaxation | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Shirley Anne on March 5, 2014
Garden Tour (Photo credit: Abby Lanes)
For no particular reason I opened the window in the wet room and looked out into the patch of land we call our vegetable patch, though at this moment it looks nothing like one. The old toilet pan and cistern still stand on the paving slabs we laid behind the garage last year and some of the waste material we dumped there whilst stripping out the bathroom supposedly as a temporary measure still litters part of the ground. There are also the branches and twigs we left there with a view to burning them when we pruned them. They are from our neighbour’s tree which overhangs the separating wall between us. Once the weather improves all that will disappear of course but in the meantime it serves as a reminder that we have an eyesore to look at in that part of the garden! I chanced to look to the left of the window down on to the footpath below which leads to the pedestrian access to the garage and it seemed to me that the electric light there was on, at least I wasn’t sure whether it was on or off, it is hard to tell in the daylight. I knew in my heart it couldn’t have been left on overnight as we would have been able to see it through the kitchen or wet room windows at night but I had to go and check it out to be sure. Off I went downstairs and through the cellar to the garden and I walked around the back of the house to see. It was off just as I supposed it would be. If you are like me you sometimes have to verify what you already know to be true just to put your mind at ease. Well that little excursion lead me to meander around the garden and have a general look at things. One of the first things I noticed was condensation inside the cover of one of the electrical bulkhead light fittings. I often wonder how water gets inside an apparently water-tight fitting! I attended to that a few minutes later. Continuing around the footpath I came to the far side of the patio to look and admire the snowdrops, crocuses, daffodils and shrubs bringing some much-needed colour to the damp and dismal scenery. If it wasn’t for the evergreen shrubs and the lush green colour of the grass the rest of the garden would look rather dismal indeed. Spring is in the air. I walked around to the greenhouses and found water had found its way into the larger which will need sorting out later, probably laying a little fine concrete around the base where the water is getting in will cure that problem. After digging out a couple of extra-large dandelion weeds with my bare hands and disposing of them I returned indoors with plenty of jobs to think about doing outside over the next few weeks, if I can pull myself away from my other projects of course but it was Sunday and I thought no more about it for the time being.
Posted in Garden, Gardening, Seasons | Tagged: Garden, Home and Garden, Water | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Shirley Anne on March 4, 2014
Let’s Tap (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In yesterday’s post I mentioned the problem my neighbour had been having with her kitchen mixer tap and the struggle I’d had effecting a repair which eventually was successful. I mentioned something about her dropping a hint regarding another minor fault that had apparently come to light since my last visit and asking if I could look at it. In yesterday’s post I was also taking about the demands upon my time and how reluctant I tend to be to refuse people’s requests. I didn’t drop everything to go next door and repair her tap but on Saturday morning I’d had a nice lie in bed for a change, something these days which is as rare as rocking horse manure! I was glad to miss out on breakfast and didn’t get downstairs until almost eleven o’clock! I had brought down some dirty clothing to be placed in the washing machine so I did that and then went into the garage to get out some tools and a tap washer and went next door to my neighbours’ house. The hot tap required a replacement washer but the leak was very minimal. Nevertheless I made an attempt at removing the tap assembly but found it impossible to unscrew from the main housing for a couple of reasons, one, it was stuck fast, probably with limescale and two, it was very awkward trying to get a spanner (wrench) to fit and be able to turn it to loosen the part. Usually a sharp tap with a hammer to break the seal is all that is required but it was impossible to position the spanner in such a way as to allow it. I might have been able to do it by removing the spout which had taken so much time and effort to refit on my previous visit. In essence she would be better calling in the services of a plumber who would probably remove the whole sink and draining board combination and fit a new tap, which is what I think ought to be done. She was happy that I at least made the attempt. I would have been able to remove the sink and fit a new one myself but I really do not have that much time to spend on someone else’s job that would be better done by a plumber. I returned home and E pointed out to me that the mixer tap in our own kitchen required attention because the hot tap was loose as was the main stem which forms the outlet spout. The arrangement is similar to our neighbours tap but of a different design and easier to get at. The pair of us stripped all the parts that could be removed without having to isolate the water supplies and we gave it a thorough cleaning. I replaced the ‘O’ ring that caused it to leak when in use and secured both tap tops so they are no longer loose. Time for lunch but first I had to hang the washing in the boiler room to dry. It is so handy having a heated cellar room in which to hang the washing, especially if it is too cold or wet outdoors. I wasn’t in the mood for work on Saturday, I guess I’d had enough work during the week to tire me out! It was early evening on Thursday our youngest son called me and asked if I could help him out. I knew what was coming! Whenever he calls me directly it is usually something to do with a financial difficulty and this was no exception. It is a good thing I love him. He and his girlfriend are currently living in an apartment, one in which they have lived only for a very short time but they have been looking to buy a house together for quite a while. They found one they liked at a reasonable price but they needed proof of owning a deposit to secure the purchase through a mortgage. His girlfriend’s parents had given her £5000 and he was looking for a similar amount to clinch the deal. I immediately went on-line and transferred £5000 to his account. On Friday afternoon he called me again with the good news that they had succeeded in getting the house through a mortgage. I am so happy for them and glad to see him beginning to take life a little more seriously. It may be that they will be looking to upgrade to a better house in a couple of years but at least they now have their feet on the ladder. Renting a property is really just lining someone else’s pockets and then having nothing to show for it years down-line. It is usually the deposit which prevents many people from buying their own property. I have yet to see the details of the house but I am sure it will be better than living in an apartment and it will allow them more freedom of choice. I hope he can handle small plumbing jobs! I am now waiting for his older brother and his wife to find a house of their own to live in. They currently live with her parents, which isn’t really a suitable arrangement. I will be happy to help them as I have helped his brother.
Posted in Family, Neighbours, Plumbing | Tagged: Family, House and home, Neighbours, Plumbing | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Shirley Anne on March 3, 2014
Tongue n’ Cheek (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I work part-time as an electrician. Well that is what I tell myself and indeed others too but it is often said with tongue in cheek! I find myself taking on work when perhaps I should take things more easy. The problem I have is where to draw the line between refusing work and being so obliging. That is my problem, I am too obliging and often find it difficult to say no. There are days however when I have absolutely needed to say no and give excuses for doing so. I remember many years ago when I was asked to rewire a very large house that I really didn’t wish to take on, not because I was unable to do it as I was still in my early twenties but more because I was fed-up with the pressure at that time. I had someone to help me with the larger jobs in those days and we had enough work coming our way to be able to say no when we wished. I submitted an estimate or quotation which would have been considered way over the top for the task and it as accepted! It taught me a lesson, just say no thank you next time. That is what I do now but perhaps not as often as I should. Consequently I am usually working more often than I am not. Over the last few days I have not been able to do much at home so it enabled me to be more readily available to work for others, which is what I have been doing. Some people though think I am a machine that never gets tired or weary. I hear lately from my clients that they have been finding it very difficult to get hold of an electrician and those they manage to contact simply let them down. Many a time I have heard that one, the electrician doesn’t turn up! Once they find out that I do arrive when I say I will they latch on to me often pushing more work my way and referring me to their friends and family. On Thursday evening I received a call from someone who is the chairperson of a local block of flats (apartment block) and he takes care of maintenance and arranging trades persons to carry out repairs.
English: Block of Flats. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
One of the elderly occupants required a replacement light unit outside her front door but nobody wanted to do such a simple job. He asked if I could do it. I went the following morning, Friday after completing my first job for the day, had a quick look at what was required, drove to the supplier and purchased what was needed and was back twenty minutes later and fitted it. The whole job took less than an hour and the elderly lady was really grateful. The guy who had phoned me remarked at my punctuality and reliability and promised to pass more work of a similar nature my way. He reflected on the unreliability of those who had let him down. On my return from the supplier an irate driver had pulled up sharply behind my van as I was reversing it to park. It appeared I had taken his space in the park! There are no allocated spaces in the car park so I asked him where it was posted that his car should park where I had parked the van. There wasn’t one but I understood what he was trying to say in that the space was simply where he always parked his car. Under normal circumstances I would have gladly moved to the adjoining space but because of his attitude I left the van where I had parked it. I really didn’t understand what all the fuss was about, I was only going to be there a few minutes! When I got home it was a little early for lunch as it wasn’t yet noon so I took the opportunity to wash the van, the first wash of the year I might add. I sometimes think it pointless to wash a vehicle too often during the winter months and especially if it has been raining a lot. By the time I’d finished it was approaching 1 o’clock and I was feeling a little hungry but the phone rang and it was the window installer who wanted to come to fit the replacement window where we discovered one of the panes had developed a crack a couple of weeks ago. It was under guarantee so we didn’t have to pay anything. He came about fifteen minutes later and soon had it done. Now it was after one and the door bell rang. Our next-door neighbour wanted to chat about something and as is her want, she stayed a little longer than was necessary!
Water tap (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The other day I carried out a repair on the mixer tap (faucet) for her which turned out to be awkward. She explained that her hot water tap was now dripping a little when turned off. A totally unconnected problem to the other and a simple exchange of the tap washer will cure it. I think she was expecting me to have a look on the day but I resisted the temptation and told her I would look at it soon. I am learning not to be so readily available! I will do it for her though. So finally I could get my lunch…………
Posted in Behaviour, Electrical, Plumbing, Reliability | Tagged: Behaviour, Electrician, People, Reliability | 6 Comments »
Posted by Shirley Anne on March 2, 2014
At the moment of writing work has come almost but not quite to a standstill on the bathroom project. I am still finding work to do that isn’t affected by the fact that we are waiting upon the tiling being done. The reasons for that are listed in recent posts for those new to reading my meanderings, and thank you all new-comers by the way for following my blog. I am not short of work though as I have been inundated with requests for my electrical services. It is Thursday afternoon and I have taken the afternoon off. I went out this morning to do a small job and on my return spent an hour or so with E marking out a datum line and fitting more wooden battens on which the first row of tiles will sit when the guy comes to do the tiling. He would only have to do it himself anyway so we are saving him the time. I have had some fun with linking this computer to E’s printer in order to print out my certificate of motor insurance. Earlier in the month I arranged and paid for the renewal but didn’t receive the certificate through an email in order to print it out. I had to take action as the old certificate expired on Saturday. I went on-line and contacted the insurers through their chat line facility and it appears they were having difficulty in sending it to my AOL email account and not only mine but everyone using AOL. I gave them an alternate address and they said they would send it there.
English: I wasn’t planning to go that way (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
However in the meantime the chat was disconnected so I used their freephone number and contacted them over the phone. I explained what had happened and I also requested a hard copy of the certificate to be sent to my home address. I was told the fee would be £3.99! Well I was never charged for receiving a hard copy in the past as they were always sent that way. No doubt the fee would have been hidden in the overall cost but I never saw it. I was told that they would send it free of charge on this occasion and I would receive it within three days. Whilst checking my other email address I discovered they had indeed sent me the certificate electronically to the alternate email. It was then that I decided an attempt to print it. After a few attempts and it not responding I finally discovered that the computer was sending the data to a printer that wasn’t connected to it, the default printer, my own printer. Having discovered that error and correcting it I was able to print off the certificate. It now looks as if I shall have two of them! It is wise to have more than one copy I guess. Later I decided to print off a few business letterheads as I thought I’d used up my stock. When I came to store the newly printed sheets I found I had plenty left and didn’t really need the extras! I’m sure I am losing it! Anyhow I like to keep abreast of things and am always thinking and planning ahead. So it was that I ended up in the cellar in the little room we plan to convert into a washroom and toilet that will only be accessed from the garden once the existing doorways have been bricked up. That task will be given to E’s nephew who is a builder. The floor tiles need lifting and the floor levelling as there is a slight slope in it at the moment. These tiles are made from fired clay and measure something like 8 x 8 x 2 inches. They don’t make them like that these days! They are simply set upon compacted sand and can easily be replaced in preference to a concreted screed if we need to but I prefer to keep them if I can so every effort will be made to do so. I was simply making some assessments of the alterations and preparations that will be required to set the ball rolling once we set foot in there in earnest. I like planning ahead.
Posted in Planning | Tagged: Plans | 4 Comments »
Posted by Shirley Anne on March 1, 2014
Book of Hours, Latin with additions in Middle English; Middle English charm against the plague. Southern Netherlands (probably Bruges), ca. 1440, f.102v (Photo credit: Dunedin Public Libraries Medieval Manuscripts)
I love Old English words and phrases. Many are still in use but with the advance of modern terms and phrases most of the old words have all but disappeared. English as spoken by our American cousins had drifted somewhat from the version they took with them in the days of colonization. Words suddenly lost the letter ‘u’ as in colour, humour and in doing so lost their correct pronunciation. The ‘u’ was there for a reason! Many English words derive from the French language and the ‘u’ came with them. There is a subtle difference in the pronunciation of the word when it contains and retains the ‘u’ which is lost in the American spelling. The word ‘awry’ above (1325–75; Middle English on wry)
1.produced by a distortion or lopsidedness of the facial features: a wry grin.
2.abnormally bent or turned to one side; twisted; crooked: a wry mouth.
3.devious in course or purpose; misdirected.
5.distorted or perverted, as in meaning.
…..is one which originates from what we call ‘Middle English‘ but is still used today…….sometimes. The odd thing is that according to some dictionaries the origin of the word ‘wry’ is - 1515–25; adj. use of wry to twist, Middle English wryen, Old English wrīgian to go, strive, tend, swerve; cognate with Dutch wrijgen to twist; akin to Old English wrigels, Latin rīcula veil, Greek rhoikós crooked. As you can see ‘Awry’ (or ‘on wry’) is supposed to have originated earlier. I have digressed somewhat from my original intentions for the subject of this post which has nothing to do with what is written above except that I am using a word that is almost out of circulation and some may wonder to what I am referring.
The essence of my post today now seems less interesting than a lesson in English words and phrases but nevertheless…. I had spent the morning in two locations miles apart doing two small jobs the first of which turned out to be really awkward, one of those jobs that should have been straightforward but wasn’t. The second was the opposite being easier than I had anticipated but that is the nature of my work. I take it in my stride. So I was home before lunch and was able to fix myself a snack and rest a while before doing a little work at home. Well that is what I had planned! No sooner had I finished eating when the house phone rang but I ignored it. We often get promotional phone calls from companies who, despite it being illegal in certain circumstances to make cold calls, insist on doing it anyway. My phone company is supposed to be blocking these calls but somehow one or two slip through the net. If the caller is someone seeking my services they will usually then call me on my mobile phone, though why they don’t do that in the first place is beyond me as it is more likely that I would be out at work during the day working! Anyway the mobile phone duly rang and it happened to be my neighbour, the lady whose husband died just before Christmas. She asked if I was at home or out at work and when I told her I was at home she asked if I could fix a small problem she was having with her kitchen taps (faucets). From what she was saying the taps were leaking heavily. I popped next door and assessed the problem. The seal had broken in the base of the mixer tap assembly, a simple replacement of a couple of rubber ‘O’ rings would solve it. The ten minute job took an hour and a half! The tiny screw, and I mean tiny, which held the body of the tap in the base was located behind as is normal for these taps but unfortunately access to it was extremely difficult as it was only a few centimetres from a wall. It took twenty minutes to remove that screw, two minutes to change the O rings and the rest of the time to replace the screw which defied all attempts at relocation! Eventually I had to replace the screw with a longer one not designed for the purpose as it became impossible to fit the original. The tap assembly was obviously fitted to the sink before the sink was fitted without regard for any future maintenance. That sounds about right doesn’t it? My neighbour was well pleased that I had succeeded despite all the odds and wanted to show her appreciation by paying me. Naturally I declined her offer. My plans for the afternoon though had gone awry! LOL….
Posted in Language, Plumbing | Tagged: American English, Language, Old English, Plumbing | 2 Comments »
Posted by Shirley Anne on February 28, 2014
Sonoma’s Left Ear (Photo credit: BreckenPool)
A young woman climbed wearily out of bed and took a shower. Whilst drying herself she noticed a small pimple or spot on her ear. She didn’t give it much thought at that point and continued to get ready for the busy day ahead. By the time evening came she was totally worn out and decided to get to bed early. The following day the same routine saw her noticing the little spot on her ear had grown in size but it was still fairly small so again she thought no more about it. As the week went by that little spot grew bigger with each day and by the weekend it was so noticeable that she became concerned. She decided to take Monday morning off to visit her doctor to see if he would prescribe a suitable ointment with which to treat the now obvious pimple on her ear. The doctor examined the pimple, gave her some ointment and told her to return a week later for a check-up. The week passed but the pimple had grown even larger despite the application of the ointment so he gave her a stronger ointment and told her to return the following week to see if there was any improvement. The woman left the surgery and returned the following week but now the pimple had turned green and had spread over the whole ear. The doctor didn’t seem too concerned and gave her an anti-biotic and some extra-strong ointment and reassured her that all would be fine and to return a few days later to see if the pimple was beginning to shrink. Well the next week saw the woman again at the surgery with what looked like a leaf sticking out of the green patch that covered her ear. Now the doctor was very concerned but told her to allow a little more time for the anti-biotics to take effect and to return the following week. The woman was by now getting fed-up with it all and wondered if the doctor knew what he was doing but she gave him the benefit of the doubt and duly left it for another week before returning for her examination. Well the following week there was a development of sorts, the green patch was thicker, the thing that looked like a leaf had grown into a large branch and there was a child sitting on a swing hanging from it! Not only that but there were birds sitting on the branch with a pond nearby! ‘Doctor’ she exclaimed ‘This is ridiculous, I can’t walk around with something like this on the side of my face all day long’. The doctor told her not to worry so much, many a girl would love to have a beauty spot such as hers!
Posted in Fun | Tagged: Fun | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Shirley Anne on February 28, 2014
Cover of Faith
I have always been an inquisitive person, always wanted to know how things work. My interests have always been in seeking knowledge in one field or another, especially in Astronomy and Science. I was never one who sat and read a novel and even now the thought of doing that is foreign to me. My preferences have always been in fact and not fiction. It was understandable therefore that anything I considered to be fiction was left for others. As I grew up I don’t remember having learned much if anything about religion and God though my mother often told me that I had. When I became a teenager I rejected any notion of there being a creator God and when anyone suggested it I refused to believe. It would be many years before that changed and I finally came to believe. That was 25 years ago almost to the day (actually 6th February 1989) and more about that can be read in the ‘My Faith‘ page above. Save to say I had been walking blind, a veil covered my eyes and I couldn’t see the light. I remember watching a presentation in church which sought to show unbelievers that they were walking in the dark. A guy, the unbeliever, had his back toward a very bright light which could be seen by those he was facing, his friends. They were encouraging him to turn around and see for himself but his stubborn heart refused to allow him despite his friends telling him how good it was and trying to explain just what he was missing. In the presentation sketch he did finally turn to look and he was amazed at what he saw. He couldn’t understand why he hadn’t responded sooner. He hadn’t realised that his friends were not fooling and that what they said was in fact the truth. That truth was Jesus Christ, He was the bright light behind him and all Jesus wanted was for him to turn around and see. The good news he was missing out on was the offer of life eternal and it was free! Quite often people who don’t believe in God have to reach a crisis point in their lives before they reach out to Him. There is nothing like finding out the truth sooner but finding it even later is better than not finding it at all. The greatest thing that ever happened to me was finding that truth, finding out that God was real because I took the time to seek Him. My inquisitive heart lead me to God and to believe in Him and in the One He sent, Jesus Christ. The blindness would lead to death but now the veil was lifted and I could see.
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
Posted in God, Jesus | Tagged: God, Jesus | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Shirley Anne on February 27, 2014
Monday or Tuesday (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
On Monday morning we should have had the tiler start the tiling of the walls and floor in the bathroom but at 8.30 in the morning he phoned to ask if it was alright if he could start the following day instead. He mentioned something about family and a problem but I told didn’t need an explanation and it would be alright to start on Tuesday instead. I didn’t have a choice in the matter and it didn’t matter either. Though it was something of a disappointment to us his problem required attention and we couldn’t object. I have had to let people down once or twice due to circumstances beyond my control and there is nothing that can be done about it. It was more of an inconvenience in that I had refused work for Monday so that I could be at home when the tiler arrived and to sort out any problems there may have been which might have interfered with his work. My first job of the week was scheduled for Wednesday but there was a job scheduled for Thursday which I wanted to assess beforehand so I took the opportunity of calling my client to see if she was at home with the prospect of doing that. Fortunately she was at home and I could pay her a visit which I did. I discovered that the job was small enough to be done immediately if she was in agreement, all I required was one small part which I purchased locally. So at least the day wasn’t wasted doing nothing. Now E and I also had the opportunity to dine out as I had no more work scheduled or anything urgent to do at home either. Normally we go on Tuesday if we can but this Tuesday wouldn’t have been possible with us having the bathroom tiled. I had work to do on Friday so it was unlikely we could dine out then. The tiling we were told would take three days or thereabouts. One thing about my job and indeed for anyone who is self-employed is that we have to be reliable and flexible, nothing is set in stone and we can rearrange schedules as necessary but sometimes doing that can be an inconvenience both to ourselves and to those we work for. Notwithstanding any unforeseen circumstances though, appointments should be kept, it is bad for business and reputation if they are not.
Posted in House and Home | Tagged: Appointments, Business | 2 Comments »
Posted by Shirley Anne on February 26, 2014
By this morning we were expecting the tiling of the bathroom to have been almost completed. On Monday morning, the day we arranged for the tiler to come we received a phone call from him asking if he could start the following day instead as there was, in his words, a family problem. I agreed and left it at that but come Tuesday morning he didn’t arrive. I had specifically avoided taking on any work myself for that morning in case of any problems he might have to discuss with me regarding the work. I had an appointment in the afternoon which I kept but was back home just before 2 o’clock. After my late lunch we decided to phone him but there was no answer on either his land line or his mobile phone. I didn’t leave a message thinking I would call again later instead. About an hour later he called me on my mobile phone but not realising it was me who had attempted to contact him earlier. Once he knew it was me he offered his apology for not turning up and the reason was that there had been a bereavement in the family, his wife’s mother had suddenly passed away the previous morning, Monday. Naturally I expressed my condolences and proceeded to ask if he would rather I get someone else to do the work though I preferred him to do it if he could. I explained that I was willing to wait for a week or so under the circumstances as long as I knew he would still like to take on the work as we had agreed. He has to make all the funeral arrangements and be there to comfort and console his wife who is obviously distraught at the loss of her mum. I asked him to call me once he is able. So there you have it, the bathroom project is temporarily on hold as far as the tiling goes. I might be able to do some work though such as the removal of the old drain connection for the toilet and the patching up of the brickwork or sorting out the pipework for the bath tap column. There will be something I can do I’m sure.
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Posted by Shirley Anne on February 25, 2014
Medieval Tiles, Cleeve Abbey, Washford, Somerset (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I had a job to do on Saturday morning a short distance from home. I don’t usually work on Saturdays in my electrical capacity but sometimes will make an exception to accommodate people in certain occupations who may not be able to take time off during the week, nurses, teachers and police personnel for example. Anyway I was out for most of the morning. After lunch E and I decided to scribe a datum line around the bathroom and fit some lengths of wood where the first row of tiles would be fitted as an aid to the guy doing the tiles. The bath was the main problem we faced as we had to move it around the room. After struggling for an hour or so I made up my mind to get it out of the room as it needed to be removed whilst the tiling was being done anyway. We only placed the bath in the room so that we could measure its position on the floor and see if it affected the positioning of the toilet and shower and we also had to decide where the drain pipe would have to be located for the bath itself. As the job progressed however it became evident that the bath was now in the way. We had to remove the bathroom door to get it into the room in the first place so it should have been easy to take it out again as the door was not replaced and will not be replaced until the room is all but completed. Of course when the bath was put in the room the room was empty but since then a wall has been constructed for the shower which made removing the bath difficult. Days ago I asked one of my sons to help me shift it out of the room but by Saturday afternoon he had still not come to help. I took the bull by the horns and did it myself with a little help from E. We had to stand the bath on its end to have any chance of getting it through the doorway and we had fitted some foam sheeting around the edges for protection so we wouldn’t damage it. I had to remove a couple of pieces of wood trim before it would pass through which hadn’t been necessary whilst putting it into the room. Even so it was tight, what an engineer might call an ‘interference’ fit! At last it was out on the stairway and we soon had it pushed along the landing far out-of-the-way. By the time that was done so was I! E did some tidying up and we left the room as ready as it could be for the tiler who was to come on Monday morning to start the work.
Posted in Preparation | Tagged: Bathroom, Preparation | 2 Comments »
Posted by Shirley Anne on February 24, 2014
A lull in the traffic
E and I are playing the waiting game now as we cannot do any more work in the bathroom whilst the walls and floor are being tiled. That should begin today or will have done so by the time you read this. There are small jobs I can do external to the room itself like fitting and connecting the switches and connecting their supply cables at source if I have the time. Last week saw me very busy indeed away from home and I have some more work again this week, so although I may not be working at home there is usually enough to keep me occupied elsewhere. Once the tiling is complete there will be more to do in the bathroom, fitting the vanity unit and sink, the shower tray, shower unit and glass screens, the bath, the towel radiator and of course the toilet. The soil pipe for the toilet has to be installed externally too and the hole through the wall is yet to be drilled for it. I am not looking forward to doing the soil pipe as it will be done about six metres up the wall using a ladder. If I can drill a neat round hole from inside the bathroom for the pipe to pass through it will make the task much easier. I may even get someone else to do it like E’s nephew who just happens to be a builder and I have it in mind to also ask him to make the necessary alterations to the walls two floors below at ground level when we start the outside toilet project. E still hasn’t made her mind up about the two of us taking a well-earned break. At the moment though we are too busy with the project and perhaps she is thinking it is too early in the season but that rather depends on what she has in mind. We haven’t discussed the matter for a couple of months. It was October we visited Vienna for a few days and right now I would be happy taking a similar short break but at the same time I am keen to finish the bathroom. We have put in a lot of work to get this room refurbished spending most of our spare time doing it so it would be nice to have a change of scenery for a short while. We will have to chat about it but I cannot see E wanting to do anything until the bathroom is completed. The sooner we get on with it then the better.
PS. I have just (0830) received a phone call from the tiler who asked if he could postpone the start of the job until tomorrow as he had ‘problems’, mentioning something about family. He asked if that would be alright. Well I hadn’t really any choice had I? So it looks as if the job will be delayed a day. That’s life!
Posted in Work | Tagged: Bathroom, House and home, Rest and relaxation, Shower, Tile, Toilet | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Shirley Anne on February 23, 2014
Comedy of Errors: Connor Smith, Andrew Achsen, 1982 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Do you get days that you would rather not have? You get up and everything then begins to go wrong. Some would say the day is jinxed and perhaps that could be the real truth if you believe in interfering spirits! Try as you may nothing you do seems to go well and you struggle to do the simplest of tasks and wonder why you bother at all but you think to yourself that it will get better, it’s only one small thing. Trouble often is that the one small thing becomes two and three then almost everything becomes a problem and those problems, though small, begin to niggle at your confidence but you soldier on in the hope that it will all work out eventually. I had that sort of day on Thursday. I flatter myself as being a quite capable person, versatile and hard-working when needs arise or I have a plan like our bathroom project for instance and I can turn my hand to most things. I do have ‘off’ days though such as the one I describe above. Thankfully they are few and far between but I do have them. I had decided to construct a cupboard in which to house the electrical switches for the shower and shaver units, a smaller version of what I constructed to cover the heating valves and pipes in the corner of the bathroom but having a hinged door instead of a fixed screwed panel. I lost count of the number of times I went up and down the stairs between the bathroom and the cellar where the work bench is with pieces of wood until it was finally complete and all I had to do was fit the door on its hinges and hang it. I had a few problems in constructing the cupboard though, niggling little things that normally would not have been a problem to me but somehow I found myself struggling with them. I stuck it out and finally I was finished except for hanging the door which I was going to leave for another day. I spent some time clearing away the debris and vacuum cleaning the carpets in my bedroom, landing, stairs, hallway, kitchen and one of the lounges which even so only represents about a quarter of the whole house. I was tired and I sat down for a half-hour then E returned from doing the weekly shopping. Once we had put the food away we talked about the project and I decided to fit the hinges on the small door and hang it. Although I finally got it to hang correctly it was problem after problem getting there and on reflection I thought perhaps I should have left it for another day! Being tired didn’t help but I was determined not to be beaten by the awkwardness of the escapade. E watched as I made error after error, silly little things that I would not normally make but we laughed about it and got it done despite everything.
Posted in Comedy, DIY | Tagged: Comedy, DIY, Error, Hinge | 2 Comments »
Posted by Shirley Anne on February 22, 2014
Smart Meter (Photo credit: Tom Raftery)
There has been much talk lately about smart metering and the proposal to fit every household with smart meters. My current supplier is British Gas who supply both my gas and electricity or rather sell it to me from those producing it. There is nothing wrong in having these new meters of course and the whole idea is to encourage energy-saving. I have received mail shots both over the Internet and so-called ‘snail mail‘ encouraging me to make an appointment to have these meters installed at home. On Wednesday morning a letter from British Gas dropped through the letter box. I read it and telephoned the free-toll number and made an appointment to have the meters installed, which will be on Monday 10th March between 8 am and 1 pm. The woman to whom I spoke explained everything I needed to know and what I would be getting by way of a monitor to keep tabs on our fuel consumption. Well it all sounds good and indeed if I were able to reduce my bills it would be wonderful but as I said to her there comes a time when it becomes impossible to reduce energy consumption any further unless we do without! She concurred. She also mentioned that they would give advice on how to save energy losses through insulation and other means but I explained that all that has already been attended to. It would seem therefore a little pointless in having these smart meters save for the fact that they may encourage a greater interest to the recipients of such devices on how energy can be wasted or saved. I didn’t make the appointment because I want them to be fitted but more to get it over and done with now rather than later. The inevitability is best dealt with sooner. For a while no doubt there will be a great interest in the monitoring device but after a while I can see it being left on a shelf somewhere gathering dust! One thing in the smart meter’s favour is the fact that we won’t have meter readers knocking on the door or we ourselves will not be required to read the meters and submit the readings over the Internet either. It appears the meters send back the information through the mobile telephone services without our assistance. How wonderful, how smart is that? It will feel a little ominous to have a couple of meters in the cellar ‘spying’ on our energy consumption. I wonder what they will think of next? Maybe the possibility of getting the meters to switch off the supplies whenever it suits them!
Posted in Energy | Tagged: Energy conservation, Meter, Smart meter, Utilities | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Shirley Anne on February 21, 2014
Never on Tuesday (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Tuesday afternoons are generally reserved for dining out with E. I try therefore not to accept work that will prevent me from doing that but it doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes people can only be available on Tuesdays so if I take on the work I try to keep at least the afternoon free. I had a lady call me last week to ask if I could do some work for her on Tuesday as it was the only day she had free. As the job was possible to do in a couple of hours I agreed to do it for her. Later I received another call from someone living in the same town close to where the lady lives and they asked a similar question. Their request was for an even smaller job which would only take thirty minutes to do so I agreed to do it in order to prevent me having to journey the ten miles again the following day just to do the small job. Yet again I received a call to do another small job in the next township a couple of miles further away. It seemed stupid to refuse and have to journey the thirteen miles on another day just to do that job too so I included that request with the other two and I did all three on the same day. I had no idea how long the three would take to do but guessed that I might just be able to get them all done before lunch. I would phone E and let her know if I wasn’t able to get home in time for us to dine out so that she could have something at home instead. As is usual in my profession there is no guarantee as to how long a job will take to do but experience allows a good guess. Naturally therefore I had a couple of problems at the first address which threatened to gobble up the time but somehow I managed to overcome them and found I had completed the work within the two hours I had expected it to take. I then drove off to the next address and had that work finished in the half-hour I had thought it would take. Now I was cooking with gas as they say and had just the one job to do, the one in the next township. A simple job it should have been but in fact it was more of a problem than the first two combined! Time was being eaten away and I knew I wouldn’t complete it as quickly as I had thought I would. Finally I was done and I packed everything away into the van for the thirteen mile journey back home. I glanced at the clock on the dashboard and noticed that it was only twelve-fifteen! I would be home well before one o’clock and in time to get changed and drive somewhere to eat. E was working at her computer but had been doing some painting in the bathroom during the morning. I was soon ready and then I waited for her to finish what she was doing before the pair of us drove off at one forty-five, the time we usually leave the house to dine out on a Tuesday afternoon.
Posted in Dining out, Work | Tagged: Dining out, Tuesday, Work | 4 Comments »
Posted by Shirley Anne on February 20, 2014
Tiler (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Well on Monday morning we received the delivery of the wall and floor tiles, cement and grout, the mirror, the extra pane of glass for the shower and the towel radiator but I wasn’t at home when it arrived. I was out working during the morning after taking my van in for its annual MOT test, which incidentally it passed. It was likely to have passed though as I have only driven 2600 miles all year! When I got home I went into the garage where it was all stored and took one look at the amount of tiles and immediately came to the decision to have a professional tile fitter fit them! Both E and I have experience in fitting tiles and we made a reasonable job of the wet room but it was time-consuming and cutting the tiles was a bit of a chore at times especially those that couldn’t simply be done with the tile cutter. Some had to be cut using an Abra file which took ages. Fitting tiles on a flat wall or floor is a doddle and anyone with any ability can do it but when it comes to the ‘fiddly’ bits and grouting, nothing looks more professional than having a professional to do it! I called in the services of one such person I know who came to give me an estimate for the work. I have passed on work to him before in recommending his services to others, now it was my turn. He gave me a price of £350 to do it all which I think is very reasonable as the bathroom isn’t small. I accepted his estimate and he will start the work this coming Monday morning, taking around three days or a little more to complete it. Had E and I were to take it on board it would take us far longer than that, possibly a couple of weeks with all the others things we have to do. We were going to do the job ourselves but as there is plenty of other work to follow we think it wise to let someone else do it instead. It will look better anyway! It looks like I will be busy enough this week with electrical work and I won’t feel like doing too much at home when that is done, rather the opposite to last week when I only had one small job. That gave me the opportunity to work in the bathroom though and has allowed me the time to complete all the preparatory work before the tiling could commence.
Posted in DIY, House and Home | Tagged: Bathroom, Grout, House and home, Tile | 4 Comments »