Minkyweasel World

One Girl's Outlook On Life

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I’m into this cooking lark!

Posted by Shirley Anne on July 22, 2014

doughnuts_89027_16x9A few days ago I mentioned something about making doughnuts or donuts. I had been making some pies and making the pastry myself rather than buying it ready-made which to me seems pointless as the exercise was to see if I could do it all myself having not done it before. Oh yes, I have made a few cakes and scones and those sorts of things but never got to grips with making pastry. It was about time I tried and as it turned out it was very successful. E was quite surprised I think at the result of my first effort and believe me she can be very critical. She went out on Saturday to meet with her group. They meet up on the third Saturday in the month usually. The weather had turned wet and a little stormy, though hereabouts it wasn’t that bad at all. It was wet though so I was unable to do anything in the garden as I would like to have done. The previous evening we finally had our gas supply re-instated and there was a hole in the footpath leading to the garage E uses. According to the National Grid gas engineers another group would follow on behind to restore the footpath. We had been told it could take days so late in the evening when the sun was beginning to set I decided to back-fill the hole myself with the heap of sand that had been dug out to get at the gas main and to do it before the promised rain arrived late that night. At the very least it would prevent either of us from falling into the hole, though they had placed a guard next to it. It only took me ten minutes to do it and tamp it down as best I could but at least the sand was level with the surrounding concrete paving. On Saturday morning it was raining when I arose and I was glad I’d taken the time to fill that hole. However, whilst sitting in the lounge I became aware of a very loud noise going on outside and saw that the team, or one of them supposed to be reinstating the disturbed ground were using a mechanical tamping machine in the hole I had filled to make sure it was well compacted before the flagstone and concrete were laid. They didn’t continue with that though and left to do more tamping down elsewhere. It may be Monday or Tuesday before it gets finished. Anyhow I digress. After E had gone out around 1 o’clock I decided to make preparations to cook some doughnuts using this recipe http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/doughnuts_89027 and whilst waiting for the dough to rise (it takes about 45 minutes) I made myself a salad-filled wrap for my belated lunch. I resumed making the doughnuts but still had to wait a further 30 minutes for the individual parcels of dough to rise some more before I could deep fry them. Most of the work involved in making doughnuts I’ve learned is in the waiting! One thing I found out too is that although I followed the recipe verbatim it somehow didn’t seem to be going as I expected. The main issue I had been where it says ‘knead the dough’ after it had stood for the 45 minutes. It didn’t appear to be solid enough to actually knead and I thought it must be an error with the quantity of flour in the mix. I decided to add more, quite a bit more before it became manageable without sticking to everything in the process. I was hoping I hadn’t messed it up on my first attempt but as it turned out later having eaten one of the smaller ones, it was perfect! I will make some more in the future if I get the opportunity now I know what the pitfalls are. I might also make an attempt at making them from other recipes to see if they are any better and if in fact I can make them without making a mess of it.

Shirley Anne

Posted in Cooking | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Wondering when

Posted by Shirley Anne on July 21, 2014

Stormy Weather!

Stormy Weather! (Photo credit: khalid almasoud)

It has been a couple of weeks since any work to speak of has been done on our ‘mound’ project in the rear garden. That has been due to the weather either being too hot or too wet! I have also not had the time because of my electrical work and this past week we have had engineers flitting in and out of the house as they worked to replace our old gas pipes in the street. When we had some spare time E and I purchased some plants that will inhabit the border that has been created to one side of the new pathway and in the central portion which I have come to call the ‘mini-mound’, though it isn’t that small. We have decided to ease back from finishing the project until the weather is more favourable and for another couple of reasons. Firstly we want to take things easy for a while and enjoy the warm weather and secondly we have other things that need attention. I am just wondering when we will actually get back to the mound. We had a builder come round to assess some brickwork we need doing but he hasn’t bothered thus far to give us the quote. At this rate I’ll probably do the work myself and save myself a small fortune in the process. At the very least I will have something to keep me occupied when other duties become scarce. I know I can do the work and if I say so myself, probably just as good as any bricklayer. I am more fussy. I am also wondering when I will get around to doing the second of my ‘mini’ projects in the front of our house, the other one, now done, was installing the flagpole a few weeks ago. Before I can do the smaller project I have to order the part but I will continue to keep my readers in suspense until it is done.

Shirley Anne

Posted in Garden, House and Home | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Guns in the neighbourhood

Posted by Shirley Anne on July 20, 2014

Sussex Police helicopter H900 (The Eye in the Sky)

Police helicopter

On Sunday we heard the noise of sirens in and around our local streets in Southport. Nothing unusual in that for we hear them frequently for one reason or another. Mostly it will be an ambulance and less frequently the police or fire brigade off to some accident or emergency. Once in a while we hear the sound of the police helicopter flying over the town but that usually happens after dark and is usually because they are searching for burglars or other offenders. We are not plagued with such things but there are a few persistent offenders on the police radar. Anyway we heard and saw the helicopter flying low over the houses around about on Tuesday and it appears they were looking for or chasing after a suspect believed to have been involved in a drive-past shooting on Sunday in a part of town about three miles away. According to what we found out through the grapevine armed police had cornered a man in the adjacent street to ours and had arrested him for the offence. An armed officer evidently had remained outside of the house in which the man had sought refuge for a number of hours afterwards. Presumably it had to be checked forensically for any evidence. For a ‘quiet’ little town we seem to get our fair share of murders and occasional shootings. I have no doubt it won’t stop there either! The whole world seems hell bent on committing acts of evil and civilized society is a thing of the past. Although acts such as these are in fact very rare and represent only a fraction of what might otherwise be called normal behaviour in the community it is nevertheless something we could all do without. There will always be individuals who are not prepared to live as upstanding citizens and do not care much for the established norm that the rest of us enjoy. I’ve no idea what the shooting was about but no doubt it had something to do with drugs. Since Tuesday we have heard that the man arrested was 24 years old and has been charged in connection to the shooting.

Shirley Anne

 

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Holes here there and everywhere

Posted by Shirley Anne on July 19, 2014

A polyethylene gas main being laid in a trench...

A polyethylene gas main being laid in a trench under Chesterton Road, Cambridge. The bright yellow polyethylene (PE) pipes have been used to replace older ductile iron pipes since the 1970s. Once complete, the pipeline will opperate at a pressure of 75 millibar since it is directly supplying domestic premises. However, the pipes can be run at up to 10 bar. Gas main pipes in the UK are generally 250mm in diameter. The smaller diameter pipe branching off the main pipe is for domestic supply. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Over the previous month or so we were advised of the proposed underground works by National Grid to replace the gas main in the street and the pipes to each dwelling with plastic pipes. Presently every pipe is cast iron. At the time of writing on Tuesday evening our supply hasn’t been replaced but it should be done by tomorrow, Wednesday. The pavement outside each property on our side of the street has been dug out to access the old pipes so there are many holes and heaps of the sand all surrounded by the necessary guard rails and temporary pedestrian pathways around them. All necessary work of course but my concern and the concern of many in the street was the upheaval and digging out of gardens and foot paths to complete the work. However it appears that in most cases they will be able to push the new pipes inside the old metal ones because the new pipe is smaller in diameter. I am told the plastic pipe is 1.5 inches (38 mm) in diameter whilst the old metal pipes are 3 inches (76 mm) in diameter. Providing there are no sharp bends or elbows in the old pipework there should be no problem. I watched the team pushing the new pipe into the old pipe supplying my next-door neighbour’s property this morning so I am hoping they’ll be able to do the same here tomorrow. As it turns out I won’t be at home at least during the morning as I have a job scheduled some distance from home. It may be completed before I return. I hope so.

Update: I was out working in the morning on Wednesday  and expected our service to have been at least part-way done but things never go to plan do they? I discovered that they had lifted a flagstone, had drilled away some of the concrete path (behind the bush in the foreground in the picture below) and dug out a mound of sand to get at the old gas pipe. They had cut a small section of it away and had attempted to push the plastic pipe inside but to no avail. They decided to use ‘the mole’ to drill beneath the mound that is in the front garden (this side of the flagpole in the picture)  in order to get the new pipe to the street but they struggled somewhat getting it inside the remaining pipe that goes into the house. The FlagThey had to revert to using a slightly smaller pipe for that small section. Unfortunately time wasn’t on their side and it was too late in the day to complete the final connections but I had expected that having seen what they’d had to face. It meant we were without gas overnight. Fortunately we would only have needed it if we were cooking. The hot water cylinder would be heated with the immersion heater (which I had the foresight to replace some days ago as the old one was faulty). As we have electric showers bathing isn’t a problem either. So E and I decided we’d dine out in the evening yet again! Good excuse I thought. It appears we can claim a £30 payment because we were without a gas supply for 24 hours too! Well Thursday morning came and went and the job still hadn’t been completed but the gas supply was finally restored around 4 o’clock. However, when the main pipe in the street is replaced, they said Friday, which was yesterday as you read this, we will be temporarily disconnected again. I watched them break the old cast-iron pipe outside our house then later watched as the new polythene pipe was being mechanically pushed down inside the broken sections from the top of the street. Finally they connected our new plastic pipe to the main one and tested for leaks. For some people, workmen in the street are simply a nuisance even though they are providing a service for them. I don’t take that stance and in any case someone has to do the work! One good thing about all of this is that I learned quite a bit about the gas supply system and also a little more about the gas appliances in the house, especially the fires. One of those fires requires a service which I will get attended to in the near future. I already knew about that though. The engineer gave me valuable information about the model we have, some of which I never knew before. That information will come in handy when I employ someone to service it because I will know what is required beforehand! It will be some time yet though before everything is back to normal in the street and in our garden too for that matter! The engineers told E that we and our next-door neighbour were the only ones in the street to offer them drinks during the week they have been around. I know we supplied many cups of tea and coffee but I would have expected more from my neighbours.

Shirley Anne

 

 

 

 

 

Shirley Anne

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Women in the Church

Posted by Shirley Anne on July 18, 2014

the word of God

the word of God (Photo credit: jangkwee)

1 Corinthians 14:33-40

33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace – as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.

34 Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. 35 If they want to enquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.

36 Or did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? 37 If anyone thinks they are a prophet or otherwise gifted by the Spirit, let them acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command. 38 But if anyone ignores this, they will themselves be ignored.

39 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40 But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.
Footnotes:

1 Corinthians 14:34 Or peace. As in all the congregations of the Lord’s people, 34 women

It has become more and more commonplace for the Word of God to be twisted or ignored by those professing to be Christian followers of the faith and worse still those who are members of the Church whether clergy or not. It seems that the pressures of the world’s view, morals and standards come before what God says. Initially ordaining women into the priesthood was an absolute non-starter but gradually the longstanding adherence to God’s word has been eroded. What makes men think they can alter what God dictates with impunity? Look at verse 36 above. This attitude follows on from accepting other things that are wrong as being right, for example homosexuality. There are several verses which point to the fact that God doesn’t accept homosexuality but they are ignored in preference to ‘human rights’ legislation and the pressure and influence of the unbelieving masses. They will quote that love is supreme and of course it is but there is a difference between the love they talk about and the righteous love of God. We must love one another no matter who they are but that isn’t an excuse to accept their way of life when it goes against the word of God. The amazing thing is that all these things are prophesied in Scripture but it appears even the clergy miss that point. Remember one thing though in all of this, we are all sinners and must not judge one another for we ourselves, if believers, saved by the blood of Christ, saved by faith through the mercy and grace of our Lord, will be judged too.

Shirley Anne

Posted in Church | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

Baking days

Posted by Shirley Anne on July 17, 2014

Shortcrust pastry recipe, step 5

Shortcrust pastry (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After a rather busy day on Friday and nothing special planned for the weekend I managed to have that extra hour or two in bed on both Saturday and Sunday morning. Saturday was a really lovely day and although Sunday started a little wet the day got better with each hour that passed and it was sunny again all afternoon. E and I had picked the gooseberries from the bushes on Thursday and I had it in mind to use them before they became inedible. We had left them in the fridge to keep them fresh. We had a better crop this year than last but we had to rescue the bushes from being eaten by larvae earlier in the season else we’d have had none to pick. E went to see her mum during the latter part of the morning whilst I made preparations to make a gooseberry pie. I prepared enough pastry to make at least one pie but found there was some remaining. I didn’t however make another gooseberry pie, though there was enough fruit to do that but instead made a mixed-fruit pie instead. With the remaining gooseberries I wanted to make a crumble. As I am the only one in the house who likes gooseberries I had to freeze the pie for another day. On Sunday morning I chopped up the large bundle of rhubarb E had brought home from visiting her mum but didn’t feel like making more short crust pastry so I prepared some crumble instead. I made two large rhubarb crumbles but again had to freeze one for another day. I am the only one who likes rhubarb too! During the day I searched for recipes for making doughnuts because I have always wanted to make them at home but somehow never found the time. There are many recipes for making doughnuts as I’m sure many will know so I will try out a few of them to see what is tasty. E does like doughnuts though so I’ll have to make plenty! All I need now is the time for as my readers know I am often busy working. Rainy days and Sundays will probably be the best time for such things. I’ve never been one for doing much baking in the past but over the last few years I have gained quite an interest having baked scones and cakes in recent times. There is much to be said for home baking if it is done right of course. All ingredients will be free of preservatives if chosen properly. Maybe I will be posting more about home baking in the months to come.

Shirley Anne

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What does it take?

Posted by Shirley Anne on July 16, 2014

My readers will know that I am a Christian believer, an exile from atheism, turned-around, born again person, all of those things but still me. It’s all about realising something is truth, experiencing a change of heart and a revelation from God Himself. You will often hear Christians saying that God revealed Himself to them in one way or another which opened their hearts to the fact that they were in need of salvation because they were heading for eternal damnation otherwise. God has a plan and knows in advance which way people will go in believing or not in His gift of life eternal in Jesus Christ. As human beings we all fall short of His glory, no-one but no-one is anywhere near perfect in His eyes and never will be by their own efforts. It is because we are all sinners that we remain separated from Him and that can be forever. Hell is indeed being separated from God. God knows our imperfect state and knows we are helpless to do anything about it ourselves but we are His creation and He loves us so much that He died for us in order that we may be redeemed. ‘For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life’, John 3:16 . Jesus Christ paid the penalty for each and every one of us but we must believe that and accept him as our Saviour. When we invite him in he will come. We are given The Holy Spirit who then dwells in our hearts like a live-in helper. As we allow The Spirit to guide us and teach us we become more and more at one with our Maker.

It isn’t a religion as some think, it isn’t a religion but a relationship and one with a promise. We become heirs to a great kingdom, we have been washed clean of all our sins and made pure in the eyes of God because of what Jesus did for us. If anyone does not believe that it is their choice, it always was and always will be. I can only wonder why people so easily reject the message and maintain a belief in something else which will leave them condemned and without hope for all eternity.

NOW READ THIS IF YOU ARE STILL SKEPTICAL………http://y-jesus.com/wwrj/6-jesus-rise-dead/?gclid=COX-prfzyb8CFWnpwgod3ZAA8g

Shirley Anne

 

Posted in Christianity, God, Gods love, Gods love through Jesus, Jesus Christ and The Holy Spirit, Salvation | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Nudge, nudge, wink, wink

Posted by Shirley Anne on July 15, 2014

"Nudge, Nudge, wink wink, Say no more".

“Nudge, Nudge, wink wink, Say no more”. (Photo credit: Konabish ~ Greg Bishop)

A line from the famous Monty Python sketches, know what I mean, nudge, nudge, wink, wink? We’ve all done it in the past. We’ve all dropped a hint or two for one reason or another, perhaps encouraging an answer or perhaps a response to our benefit. I work hard for my age and even for a younger person at times and I need a rest, a break just like anyone else. I could of course drop everything and dust off my passport to go somewhere exotic or simply somewhere out of here. I won’t do that without company which in my case is E. Since around Autumn last year I have dropped many a hint regarding the possibility of taking a break together but it has fallen on deaf ears. She would like a break too but seems hesitant in getting something organised and she still has that £3000 credit waiting to be spent. I keep reminding here that its face value is falling whilst she is making up her mind. To be fair any break would have to be taken with the company from whom she won the money. She cannot decide on what to do or where to go. I am not bothered either way but I simply want to get away from my work for a time. As much as I enjoy working I am still only human and I do get tired of it all sometimes. I am about due for a break, in fact overdue for one having not had a long break for some time. The last break was for only four days but nice as it was it wasn’t really long enough. Now with the school holidays imminent I fear E won’t be as happy taking a break at the same time which would mean waiting then until September. Unless we can arrange something at short notice it looks as though it will be September before I get that break, if indeed I get one at all. I shudder to think what it would be like to retire from work and have too much spare time on my hands such that I would feel the need to gallivant off somewhere every couple of months.  One day breaks are fine occasionally, I couldn’t do that often. I don’t like the idea of travelling about either even if it is me doing the driving every day. Much as I love driving it isn’t my kind of holiday to flit about in one. Travelling in itself is tiring and I want to rest! So I am not sure at this moment what we might do if we get the chance but I hope it will be something.

Shirley Anne

Posted in Holiday, Rest and relaxation | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Space again

Posted by Shirley Anne on July 14, 2014

English: Modern view of Manchester City Centre

English: Modern view of Manchester City Centre (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Friday morning  just before noon I took E to collect the large hire van from the hire company across town and drove back home to park my own van in the garage. The people who run and own the hire company are known personally by us and we always use their company whenever we wish to hire a van. E was quite some time arriving home with the vehicle which as it happened was even larger than the one we hired a few weeks ago. We immediately set about loading it with the numerous boxes and pieces of furniture which belong to our youngest son and his girlfriend that we had stored in our house and garage whilst they were waiting to move into their own first home. They both work in and around Manchester so it was natural for them to buy a house there. We got most of it stored in the van but had to wait for them to arrive before we could load the heavier items such as the bed and one or two items of furniture. We were sitting having our lunch some time after two o’clock having loaded all that we were able to when they arrived at the door. They were surprised that we had in fact done most of the work already. I think it came as a bit of relief as they had been at work during the morning. Finally we set off toward Manchester some time after three but they first drove to her parents home in order to collect her car before following on behind us. We actually arrived at least a half hour before they eventually pulled up but whilst we were waiting for them we decided to do a spot of gardening by removing much of the overgrowth and weeds we found trying to engulf the small front garden. We filled their wheelie bin which had been empty when we first arrived. After a brief look around their new home we all set about unloading the van. It was a hot sunny day on Friday and it took its toll on us all to some degree. It was fast approaching 7 o’clock by the time everything was inside the house. During our little tour our son showed us the rear garden which at present is very much overgrown and somewhat neglected. It will take some time to get it organised. He showed us a large cabinet tucked away in the rear which he hadn’t opened beforehand and wasn’t quite sure what it was until I told him it was a storage box. We opened it to find a large spade, a large fork, a strimming machine and a lawnmower inside left there by the previous owner. That was an unexpected bonus! We didn’t stay long after we’d done the unloading but it was now after 7.30 and we had to get back home. We put some more fuel in the tank, not a lot, and drove homeward. On the way we talked about something to eat and I suggested we stop at one of our regular haunts which happened to be on the route. It had been some time since we dined out in the evening but to our surprise we found the place remarkably empty for a Friday evening, a time when many folk unwind after the week’s work. There were still quite a few people in there nevertheless. It was well after 10.30 when we got home. The two lounges we generally use now seem empty with all their furniture gone and as E said earlier, ‘I’ve got my garage back’! Their house has been well cared for by the previous owner and apart from some repairs to the brick wall at the rear of the property little is required to be done. It is one of those houses that can be lived in without having to do anything to decorate or improve it. The same cannot be said of the gardens though but given time I’m sure they will put that right.

Shirley Anne

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Always in a rush to go elsewhere

Posted by Shirley Anne on July 13, 2014

Golf "Lessen"

Golf “Lessen” (Photo credit: JD Hancock)

During the last couple of weeks we have had The Women’s British Open Golf Championships being held at Royal Birkdale Golf Club, about a half-mile up the main road. The event is being sponsored by Ricoh, a Japanese multinational imaging and electronics company. I have to admit not knowing that until I checked them out on a search engine. Personally I don’t have much interest in golf but I do watch it in part on the television occasionally. Had I been an ardent follower I would be living in just the right place as in fact I am doing here on the west coast for there are many golf courses in the area, a golfer’s dream. Personally I would never go to an event to watch the game, especially if it was only for one day in a competition that lasts for several days. My eldest son it seems isn’t that fussy. I didn’t know he was interested in golf, though his wife may be but I think it was more of a casual visit to the event, this one day, rather than him wishing to go every day to see as much as he could. On Thursday morning he arrived with his wife at our house so that he could leave his car here all day. I had gone to work a half-hour before they arrived so didn’t see them. E ferried them up the road in her car and returned home. I was back home myself an hour later. I chose not to do any more work in the garden as the weather was too warm and I wanted a rest in any case as the following day, Friday, E and I were collecting a hire-van to transport our youngest son’s furniture up to his new house in Manchester, about 50 miles away. We would be kept busy loading and unloading for a couple of hours, pretty tiring work. Later in the afternoon, actually it was well after six o’clock, E collected our eldest son and his wife on her way back home from doing the shopping with her mum and they picked up their car and drove off home to her parents house about three miles away where they have been living for the past two years. Now we hardly ever see them but whenever we do they are always in a rush to go elsewhere or have an excuse to leave early and never stay long. This time they were alone as their little girl, our granddaughter, was being looked after by her nan so they could have stopped for a while to chat. It appears that they can find the time for watching golf all day long though. It is hard sometimes being a parent and being treated this way.

Shirley Anne

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Annoying adverts

Posted by Shirley Anne on July 12, 2014

Sneak Preview: The new Yahoo.com

Sneak Preview: The new Yahoo.com (Photo credit: Yahoo Inc)

I don’t know if my readers read some of the current affairs or look at some of the videos that are placed on their email provider’s front page. I do understand that some providers only provide an email service, Google is one of them, well at least it is from my mailbox there. I have four email addresses which are provided by Bust.com, Yahoo, Google and AOL . My Yahoo account was the  second one set up whilst I was away for a month in Thailand. I’d had an account with Virgin in those days at a time before it took on its present form. When the new platform was set up I didn’t bother to switch and I lost the account, though I planned it that way. Later I opened an account with Bust.com which is a magazine directed to women which also provides a basic email service. I used that address for my business purposes. My Google account provides a separate address for anyone wishing to contact me on my blog and finally my AOL account is for everything else and is the one which gets most of the traffic. Although I check all the accounts daily I often check the AOL account more than once. It is whilst I am connected to AOL that I occasionally read the news items on their front page and sometimes watch one or two news videos that might be of interest. As with most commercial Internet sites AOL is splattered with advertisements. Now anyone who knows me knows I hate aggressive and in-your-face advertising. I despise cold-calling too. In fact I might only take notice of an advert if it is static, any dynamic adverts force me to avoid even looking at them but advertisers are a sneaky lot and will do anything in their power to get you to look at their presentations. So I switch on a video of interest to me, an item of news. I click on the video and am immediately presented with a thirty-second advert so I end up switching it off and miss the video I wanted to watch. Another thing I find is that if I am looking at a slide-show and move my cursor over to the associated text in order to scroll down, I am presented with an extremely thin scrolling bar which is difficult to move directly over  without overshooting into the blank space to its right. If that happens I am then presented with an advert which almost covers the screen. Most annoying. I try my best to avoid delving too far into the news on-line for these reasons. One of the most really annoying advertising practices is placing dynamic flashing images around the periphery of the screen which are very distracting and others which follow your scrolling action so as to remain in view to one side of the screen. All this behaviour doesn’t wash with me and actually has the reverse affect to that intended by the advertiser. My whole attitude to advertising is this, if I need a service I will do the searching and therefore do not wish to be cold-called, have my mailboxes jammed with spam mail or pushed into my face on my computer screens.

Shirley Anne

Posted in Advertising | Tagged: | 5 Comments »

Thick and fast

Posted by Shirley Anne on July 11, 2014

Pressure Gauge

Pressure Gauge (Photo credit: wwarby)

When I was much younger I took the pressures of my working life in my stride, in fact I relished in it for the sense of achievement I attained in coping with it all. As I grew older the enthusiasm didn’t fade and the work was just as plentiful and demanding but again I took it all in my stride though I would end up tired at the end of a busy day. Nowadays however my workload has diminished, mostly because I have engineered it that way. I simply do not want or need too much pressure in my working life now for the simple reason that I cannot undertake the same volume of work I once could manage quite easily. I still like the pressure often involved in my work and the challenges it presents so often  but I have the sense to keep my work to a minimum. Occasionally though I sometimes feel the floodgates have been opened wide and I am faced with a deluge of requests. This past week has been one of those times, the work, though small jobs, have been coming in thick and fast. The work I have been doing in the garden has been spasmodic because of this and of course the weather but this weekend, Friday E and I will be hiring a large van for the second time so that we can return our youngest sons’ furniture to Manchester and into his and his girlfriends’ newly bought house. They of course will be shifting the furniture with us. After much hassle and legal frustrations surrounding the purchase of their property they were able to gain possession on Monday. Already I have been asked to check over some of their electrical equipment and wiring! I will take a toolbox with me on Friday just in case there is something that needs immediate attention. Even as I write this on Tuesday evening I have received three calls for my services and people ask me when I am going to retire! I remember the film called ‘Predator’ where one of the characters, nicknamed Blain I believe, was wounded and was bleeding. One of the others told him that he was bleeding to which he replied ‘I don’t have time to bleed’. That’s a bit like my position, I don’t have time to retire!

Shirley Anne

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One of those jobs

Posted by Shirley Anne on July 10, 2014

Chrysotile in Slate Roof Tile

Monday was another gloriously warm and sunny day though it didn’t start that way. There were many clouds in the sky first thing but as the morning progressed it got better. I was asked to rewire or re-instate the wiring inside a very long garage that had its roof replaced after the wind ripped off parts of the old one. I don’t remember it being that windy for a few months so perhaps the damage was historical. The old roof had been made of corrugated white asbestos (Chrysotile), a somewhat dangerous material when particles are airborne. I remember visiting the house a couple of years ago to install a protective garage electrical distribution board to replace an old and dangerous one that offered very little protection from electric shock should a fault occur. I remember too having left the lighting circuit disconnected inside the new board because the lighting circuit wasn’t as safe as it should have been and doing that because the occupier wasn’t prepared to pay for it to be repaired at that time. Perhaps they had it in mind to have it done after a new roof had been fitted. At that time the roof was pretty much intact except for one or two holes and I suppose they knew then that a totally new roof would need to be fitted. Well it seems the weather eventually forced them to get it done. My job this time was to rewire and refit and part rewire four power outlets and rewire or part rewire the four lights. A new steel roof had been fitted with timber supports mounted on and around the existing old steel framework so routing the cables was made easier. However the garage wall were made of concrete slabs bolted to concrete pillars with special clamps. Drilling the concrete was nigh impossible as it was extremely hard. I managed to drill two holes though not very deep in order to fix one of the power outlets and gave up that idea for fixing the others as I had completely worn out two new masonry drills! I had to find another way of fixing the remaining outlets. I was able to release the clamps and slide pieces of wood beneath them the screw the clamps back in position. I was then able to fix the power outlets to the wood. One thing about my work, and it has always been the case, is that I have to be very inventive at times. There are special bonding pastes these days which will securely fix almost anything to almost anything and in minutes be set hard ready for use but I didn’t have any of that with me. I don’t usually carry it on my van as it is fairly expensive and the need for it is rare but it would have made this particular task easier. Having said that I had to keep the costs down knowing that the occupier wouldn’t wish to pay too much for my services. Nonetheless I was paid £115 for the three hours with only £13 of that expenses. I don’t come cheap but am worth it! LOL. Just as I had finished I got a call from a woman I have known for some years who was checking to see if I was at home so she could visit. I have done work at her house several times in the past and I knew her when she worked for a company I had a maintenance contract with. We’d often chat about our homes but she had never seen mine so one day a couple of weeks ago E and I called into the outlet where she now works to buy some paint and we invited her to call in on her way home from work one day. She asked if it was alright to visit about 1.15 and as I was just about to drive home I told her it would be fine. She has the same name as E so when they were together it became a little confusing talking with them. Anyway she came and had a mini tour of the house and gardens and she was very impressed at what we’ve achieved over the years. One thing I have to say about this woman is she can be a little ‘dizzy’ and she can speak for Britain as we say. She actually had her vehicle parked at the entrance to our road and couldn’t figure out where our house was even though I had told her and she knew it was number one! As for talking, nice as she is she doesn’t know when to stop. LOL She left after an hour and we were then able to eat lunch, a late lunch with her voice still ringing in our ear holes!

Did I say ‘one of those jobs’? Late in the evening around nine o’clock I received a call from a lady who had lost all the power in the house. I explained as much as I could to her on how to reset her power circuits but after trying what I suggested she found the problem still existed. She had also just restocked her freezer and didn’t want it to defrost. I decided to go and assist. After some investigating I had to split the offending circuit and disconnect the fault bearing section as a temporary measure thereby allowing half of it to work. Fortunately the ‘good’ half was able to supply the freezer. A friend of mine will continue with finding the exact source of the fault in due course as I am unable to accommodate because I have other commitments. As it happens my friend had been finding it difficult to find work this week. I was paid for my call-out and temporary repairs and I arrived back home near to 10.30

Shirley Anne

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I wasn’t going to

Posted by Shirley Anne on July 9, 2014

A pair of Wellington boots

A pair of Wellington boots (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I mentioned in a previous post I wasn’t intending to do any work in the garden on Saturday as rain had been forecast and in any case I had an electrical job to do in the morning. However, I had that job done quite quickly and was back at home within two hours. I drilled four holes in the wall up the first flight of stairs where E wanted four pictures hung as I had promised then hung them after which I more or less potted about for a while. Now the weather wasn’t as bad I had thought it would be, in fact it was bright sunshine with clear blue skies from mid-morning and throughout the rest of the day. So after a light lunch I donned my ‘toe-tector’ Wellington boots and went to do some more digging and laying of stones slabs around the mound we have been working on. One of the first slabs we had laid when starting the project a couple of months back had to be lifted and relaid as it had only been placed there as a temporary measure whilst we proceeded with the rest of the work. E joined me soon after I began working and between us we relaid that slab and put in two more together with three edging-stone slabs. We didn’t spend too long on the task, about two and a half hours, as it was quite warm but we collected some of the remaining unused slabs and laid them in line next to where we intend to use them as edging stones. That was enough outdoor work for the day and we packed away the tools. I know I won’t be able to do any more work on the mound project until Wednesday, which will be today as you read this. Unless it is raining!

 

Shirley Anne

 

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Forgive, forget and be forgiven

Posted by Shirley Anne on July 8, 2014

Forgiveness

Forgiveness (Photo credit: Celestine Chua)

Do you bear a grudge against someone who has hurt you or offended you in any way? Perhaps a partner or a friend has let you down and you cannot find it in your heart to forgive them? Think about what is going on here, who is suffering? Are you happy and at peace through vengeance or do your thoughts give no consideration to the matter? Here is an article, one of which I receive every day, which touches on this subject. It doesn’t matter that you are not a Christian, though the article is written for those who are, the same principle applies to anyone.

05 Jul 2014
Forgive, for Your Own Sake!
‘…Forgive as the Lord forgave you.’ COLOSSIANS 3:13
A lady writes: ‘I found my husband with another woman. Although he begged me for forgiveness, I wanted my pound of flesh, so I filed for divorce even though our kids asked me not to. Two years later my husband was still trying to get me back, but I wanted none of it. He’d hurt me and I wanted revenge. Finally he gave up, married a young widow with two children, and rebuilt his life without me. They’re all so happy and I’m just a lonely, miserable woman, who let bitterness ruin her life.’ Now there’s no question that infidelity is wrong. But without forgiveness, what’s left? There’s a point at which anger stops being a healthy emotion and becomes a driving force. Like a drug, you need larger and larger doses. Once that happens, you move even further from forgiveness, because without anger you’ve no energy at all. It’s what drives hate groups and extremists. Without bitterness they’ve no reason to exist. If you take bigotry from the racist, revenge from the zealot and chauvinism from the sexist, what’s left? ‘Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.’ Bitterness is fatal; it kills your soul. So how can you stop yourself from becoming bitter when you’ve been hurt? a) By looking into the face of the person who hurt you and seeing, instead, the face of the One who showed you mercy when nobody else would have given you another chance. b) By realising that before the day, the week, the month or the year is out, you’ll be needing mercy yourself.

"Forgiveness" by Carlos Latuff.

“Forgiveness” by Carlos Latuff. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

© 2014: This devotional is produced by UCB, free of charge through the generosity of our supporters. As a gift to the body of Christ, permission is given to Churches and Christian organisations to copy up to a maximum of 52 daily excerpts per year. Excerpts must acknowledge The Word For Today as the source, give the UCB address and inform that free issues of the daily devotional are available for the UK and Republic of Ireland.

The Word For Today is written by Bob and Debby Gass.

Shirley Anne

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No work today for sure!

Posted by Shirley Anne on July 7, 2014

Oye! It's Friday!

Oye! It’s Friday! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is now Friday as I write this and it has been raining throughout the latter part of the morning and slowly getting worse as the day passes. According to the forecast it is going to be wet for the next two days though less than it has been today. It looks as if Monday and Tuesday might be better days for working outdoors so I may get the chance to do just that. It depends upon any commitments I might have on those days too. In fact I am reminded that on Monday at least I will probably not get the chance as I do have an electrical job scheduled. Today I have done nothing at all neither at home or away from home as far as work is concerned. That is a blessing of sorts as I have the opportunity to recharge my batteries as it were. Strange as it may seem I did next to nothing on Tuesday but found it difficult getting out of bed on Wednesday morning as I felt so tired. The converse was true today where I awoke very early after only a few hours sleep despite the fact that I worked hard throughout Thursday! Tomorrow morning I have agreed to do an electrical job for a professional couple who simply cannot escape their duties during the week at the moment and have half of their lights not working. I don’t usually work at the weekend and not at all on Sunday unless it is an emergency but I made the concession this time and as the job is only a few hundred yards from home it is no hardship. It will be raining but at least I will have something to do. When I return home I think E will want me to hang some pictures as I promised I would a couple of days ago. but for today, I think I’ll continue to avoid using my toolbox and enjoy the rest. Oh yes, I could find plenty of work at home if I chose to and there are plenty of things that can be done but isn’t it nice to just say to one’s self now and then, ‘Sorry no work for today thank you’?

Shirley Anne

Posted in Rest and relaxation, Rest and sleep, Weather | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

The Mound revisited

Posted by Shirley Anne on July 6, 2014

It is about time I kept my readers up to date with the progress we’ve made on ‘The Mound’. For some time now we haven’t worked on the project because the hot weather, my work and other commitments have kept me away and I don’t expect E to work on it alone. It isn’t that she won’t but what she is able to do is limited though only because of her condition, She has been an enormous help to me on certain parts of the work where another pair of hands is needed. I was able to spend quite a few hours on the project on Thursday as it was dry and reasonably cooler than of late and I had no other work in hand. The forecast for the rest of the week following Thursday was wet and windy so it may be a few more days yet before we can resume the work. Anyhow on Thursday E wasn’t really available to help much in the morning and not at all in the afternoon as she did the weekly shop for food. It is almost impossible to lay flagstones that have all different dimensions and get them all to fit perfectly first time, especially the natural stone ones we dug out of all that soil and debris! We laid them right around the trees that stood in front of the original mound of soil and both ends of the resulting path were intended to link with the existing paving slabs that surround the lawn. That meant the final couple of flagstones would have to be cut in order to fit. That being the case I got out my angle grinder but I had to purchase a few abrasive discs to do the cutting. I don’t know if my readers have ever used such a tool or seen one being used but it is rather messy with the stone grindings being blown out all over the place. Everywhere in the line of fire becomes coated in fine dust! It takes time but it is the only way to cut these large slabs. Most of the heavy work surrounding the laying of the stone pathway and the side retaining slabs surrounding the trees has now been done but some more work is left such as fitting more edging stones and moving more soil from the area. Here are a few pictures showing where we are with the work to date.

The Mound 24The Mound 25

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mound 26

The Mound 27

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mound 28

 

 

It’s getting there and when it is done we’ll get that rear wall sorted and put in some plants.

Shirley Anne

 

 

 

 

 

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Nice one thanks a lot!

Posted by Shirley Anne on July 5, 2014

Swipes, Bytes, and Debit Cards

Swipes, Bytes, and Debit Cards (Photo credit: SimpleIllustrations)

I don’t know if  you have ever had to telephone your bank to query something but the experience can be very frustrating. I have accounts with three banks and am in possession of three debit cards two credit cards. The credit cards both operate on the same account, that is they give me credit from the same pot of money, my allowance or credit limit. One card gives me a 1% cash-back payment whilst the other only 1/2%. I didn’t know they were in actual fact two credit cards when I was given them a couple of weeks ago to replace the single credit card that I had on the account. I was under the impression that one of the cards, the one with the lower return, was in fact a debit card! I had never heard of an account with two distinct and separate cards using the one account before. When I went to use the one I thought was a debit card to pay a large bill the card was refused twice. I didn’t wish to use the other card which I knew to be a credit card as I also knew a surcharge would be added which would negate any cash-back reward I might have received. There didn’t seem to be a valid reason for the card being blocked but later I was told that because the amount was so large it had flagged up on their security fraud prevention system and it was blocked accordingly. That is fine in some respects but it proved an inconvenience to me at the time. In the end I used one of the three other debit cards I have and paid the cash from another bank current  account. The following day I went on the Internet to check my credit card account and saw that I had been debited a small amount of money (£2.46) though I hadn’t spent anything using the card since my last bill was paid. Although it was only a small amount I wanted to check it out and at first I tried doing that whilst on-line. If you are familiar with the way many businesses use the Internet for answering queries you will know just how frustrating the experience in getting an answer can be. I call it the run-around because you often end up in the place you started without really getting the query answered, or you end up pages away from where you are supposed to be! I must have had half a dozen tabs open on my computer trying to follow the on-line information. In the end I resorted to the trusty telephone. Did I say trusty? Ha! I telephoned the organisation and was answered by an automatic system. A male voice asked several questions in turn regarding security, cards details and other things but I replied only when asked my age. I knew I would eventually get to talk to a person in real-time which is exactly what I wanted. Well I waited a full 35 minutes and still waited to be connected. I hung up the phone and immediately tried again. I was faced with the same procedure but this time I waited twenty-five minutes and was connected to a guy in a call centre in India. When I first called I could have remained on the phone all day long as it was a toll-free number but I was fed up to the teeth having to listen to an advertisement continuously being piped down my ear-hole! Unfortunately I had to call the second time else not resolve my query. The guy was very helpful and eventually told me that the charges to my account would be dropped as I hadn’t actually used the cards. There was no explanation as to why the charges were there in the first place though. It pays to keep tabs on your accounts for incidences like these could go unnoticed and you could end up paying for services not rendered. I was satisfied with the information I received and ended the conversation. I was asked if it would be alright for customer relations to call me later to have a chat and I agreed. About an hour later I received the call and a woman answered. She was very apologetic that I should have had problems in using my new cards and she was one who told me that the two cards were in fact credit cards. I told her it would be unlikely therefore that I would use the card with the lower reward cash-back and wondered why they had issued it in the first place. She told me there might be a situation whereby the other card might be useful. I spoke to her about having to wait so long on the phone and having to listen to the incessant advert the whole time. She replied that all customer complaints would be collated and used to improve their system. Well I do hope she was being honest about that one! About the advert? The male voice telling me that if I wanted to add a service to my account I could do it easily on-line was followed directly by him saying that I could get information about my account much easier on my ‘smart phone’ by downloading the ‘app’ from the relevant source. Well isn’t that just dandy? I haven’t got a smart phone and I never want to check my bank accounts using one. Oh how I hate technology and the brainwashing attempts to use it all the time wherever we are.

Shirley Anne

Posted in Money | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Outcast

Posted by Shirley Anne on July 4, 2014

Outcast (video game)

Outcast (video game) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was such a lovely day yet again on Tuesday and E and I were to collect her new car at some point in the afternoon then drive off somewhere to dine. I had no electrical work to do and in any case would not have scheduled any for the whole day. As E so succinctly put it when she came down for breakfast and saw that I wasn’t dressed for work and said, ‘I see you have your ‘no intention’ gear on’. It’s a phrase I have often used in the past when I have no desire to do any work and dress accordingly. We hadn’t received a call from the dealership by noon so I suggested E call them to check. She was told that we could collect the car around 1.15 and we duly arrived shortly before then. After signing much paperwork and being shown the basic controls we finally were able to drive away leaving E’s old car standing on the forecourt to await its fate. We drove 15 miles to a restaurant/pub/motel in the village of Newburgh (pronounced Newburra), a place we have been to on a number of occasions previously. Not to our surprise the place was almost completely deserted, partly due to our late arrival at around three o’clock. The meal was as usual splendid and not expensive in the least considering we both had two courses and a drink each. We headed back home but when almost there E took a detour to see our eldest son who lives with his wife’s parents. E needed a few miles of driving to get used to the controls, not least of all the manual gearbox as her old car had a semi-automatic box. She soon got to grips with it though. There is an amazing array of gizmos built into this vehicle as standard equipment, things like a Sat-Nav, a hands-free system for the phone, remote controlled wing mirrors, refrigerated air-conditioning  with a cool box to stow drinks or food in and many other handy features. We arrived at the house and E rang the doorbell whilst I remained seated in the car as she said she wouldn’t be long. E was let inside by our son’s father-in-law who looked towards myself sitting in the car but said absolutely nothing before closing the door. I waited for about a minute or so then E reappeared holding a couple of carrier bags containing some of our granddaughters toys, those she has grown out of. Our son came over but didn’t say much either and generally spoke with E about the car. Then his mother-in-law came out with our granddaughter but remained at a distance, neither wanting to come closer and I felt it was because I was present for I am sure they would have done had I not been there. Eventually our son went over and brought the little one over whilst his mother-in-law remained afar. I said hello to my granddaughter and she said something in return but continued to the rear of the car out of sight. She didn’t stay long and she returned indoors with her ‘nanna’. Her ‘grandpa’ made no effort to come and look at the car and he remained inside. Our son chatted for a few more minutes then went back inside too after we drove off homeward. Whilst driving home along the local coast road I spoke to E about the affair and told her that I had felt very uncomfortable whilst being at their house because I had been treated as if I had leprosy. Now I know this is an experience felt by many others who have transitioned and even those who haven’t but it still hurts to be treated the way I am. It is a sad state of affairs when my own granddaughter is a little apprehensive in approaching me. When this happened some time ago on one of our son’s rare and very short visits he explained that she simply didn’t know me enough to feel comfortable with me as she would if I were a complete stranger. I replied that is due to the fact that she is almost never allowed to visit for any length of time. Even E hardly gets to see her but does see her occasionally at the supermarket. I asked E how she would feel if she was given the same treatment as me and she had to admit she would feel hurt too. What I find especially hurtful is that my son, his wife and her parents are all supposed to be my brothers and sisters in Christ. How can they go to church and praise God with un-repented sin dwelling in their hearts? Whenever I think on such things I am reminded of these verses in Scripture:

Romans 14:10-12
You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: ‘“As surely as I live,” says the Lord, “Every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.”’ So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

I may be an outcast from my own family but the problem resides with them.

To my friends in America: Happy Independence Day!

Shirley Anne

Posted in Cars, Driving, Family, Relationships | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

Go, go, go.

Posted by Shirley Anne on July 3, 2014

English: Electric hot water storage tank in a ...

Electric hot water storage tank in a UK property.

Monday morning started the day off well. I went to do a small electrical job which didn’t take long and soon I was off back home. On route I decided to make a detour to purchase an immersion heater for the hot water storage tank at home which sits inside the airing cupboard in the new bathroom. Whilst I was working on the bathroom project I took the opportunity to rewire the immersion heater circuit but hadn’t connected the heater itself as it was faulty. I planned to replace it later and now that time had come. There was no immediate hurry to do the job but we have been informed that new plastic gas-pipes are being laid in the street and to each household at the same time during the next few weeks. This will mean we will have no means of heating the storage tank unless the electric heater is working. We may not need hot water during the day as the storage tank holds a large volume of water which retains its heat for many hours if not used much. With the immersion heater connected it won’t matter, so that is the second reason to get it installed. When I arrived back home I began to remove the old heater and fit a wall switch. I got most of the work done and stopped for lunch but was interrupted by a call from an elderly gentleman seeking my services. His light switch was faulty or so he told me. After lunch I collected my tools and went off to do his job thinking that it was a simple change of a single switch but when I arrived I discovered that it was what we call a three-gang switch, that is three switches all on the same plate. Furthermore there were two switch plates both hanging from their cables. I found that some of the wires had become detached  from the switches and that is why his lights weren’t working. However it wasn’t a simple thing to reconnect them and screw the switch plates back on the walls because the boxes they are fixed to were far back inside the walls necessitating the use of very long screws to fix them. The boxes should be near to the surface for a couple of reasons, not least to make fixing the switches easier! The old guy had removed the switches in order to fit finger-plates behind them then found he couldn’t get them back. The long screws were no longer long enough. I had to go and purchase a couple of extension pieces so that the screws would fit. It still took me an inordinate amount of time to refit the switches even with the extension pieces but finally I succeeded. In the process he asked me to check why it was that the two-way circuit controlling the hall lighting wasn’t working as it should but after quite some time checking the circuit I discovered that it hadn’t been working properly because it hadn’t been wired properly in the first place and had never worked. The old guy pretended to be ignorant of that fact until I told him it could never work the way it had been wired. Unfortunately it had to remain that way as altering it would entail rewiring part of the circuit, something he wasn’t prepared to have done. So the bit about the faulty switch was just a ruse  to get me to sort out his mistakes and to get a circuit working the way he wanted it to because he thought it was simply a matter of swapping around a couple of wires in the switch box.  Whilst I was there I received yet another call to connect an immersion heater for someone I had worked for recently. I called in on the way home but found the existing heater to be faulty. I told him that I could replace it for him but as he had a plumber working in the house the following day doing other work he would get him to do it so I fitted the flexible cable to the wall switch ready for the plumber to connect to the heater once he’d fitted it. Then I returned home to finish installing  our own heater. By the time I had finished it was approaching 7 o’clock!

Shirley Anne

Posted in Electrical, Work | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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