Christmas gifts. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In one calendar month almost everyone in the western world (and the eastern world too) will be celebrating Christmas. Naturally they will not be people of other faiths though even some of them might celebrate. It is intended as a Christian festival though having said that not all will be believers and followers of Christ and will be celebrating for different reasons best known to themselves. Their Christmas will not be a celebration of the birth of Jesus but it will be for a celebration centred around family, presents, partying and other things none of which honour Jesus. When Christ was born (and it certainly wasn’t on December 25th) three wise men, actually mystics from eastern lands had heard that a new king was to be born or had been born and as was the custom in those days when entering into the presence of a king they each brought a gift. The gifts themselves were not given on the day of his birth but some time later, maybe months later. People today might use the argument of giving presents to justify doing that because Jesus received gifts. They are not honouring Jesus by doing that but are simply satisfying themselves. ( http://rcg.org/books/ttooc.html ). Today of course everything is driven by commerce and there is an incessant pressure encouraging us all to buy into it. During the last few weeks and into the next four there will be a bombardment of advertising in the hope that people will buy things they don’t really need for themselves or for others. It seems rather stupid to me that people give gifts and then receive something from the recipient. It isn’t an act of kindness or love but one that is selfish and self-centred, especially when the whole point of Christmas was to celebrate the birth of Jesus as Saviour and praising God for it happening. How many will actually do that? It is a sign of the times I suppose and each year the truth behind Christmas is pushed further into the background until one day the association will be irrelevant. It is already meaningless in the eyes and hearts of many. It is all a sign of things to come, a sign of lawlessness and a turning away from God all prophesied in Scripture. Yes it is all there in black and white, a prophecy many hundreds of years ago and is being ignored because people would rather do their own thing than obey God. We don’t worship God with useless festivals and self-indulgency.
Daniel 12:10 Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.
Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14
Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the duty of all mankind.
14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil.
If you celebrate Christmas then do it for the right reasons and not for any sense of self-gratification. Remember there is no salvation through material things or self-righteousness, there is only one salvation and this is through Jesus Christ, the one Christmas is supposed to celebrate.
On November 10th I expected to receive delivery of an order I had placed on-line for a new range cooker in black together with a chimney hood, also in black. There was nothing wrong with our existing hood other than its colour. It was a deep shade of green as was the old cooker. Thinking the delivery of a new black cooker hood, which incidentally is the same as the one it is replacing apart from its colour and is shown on the left, I disconnected and removed the old one and started to redecorate the walls. Well the cooker arrived as planned and was immediately installed by myself on the same day but there was no cooker hood. The supplier had informed me a few days earlier that it was currently out of stock but that they expected it to be available quite soon. I received a call from them on Friday and was told that they had been informed that the manufacturer didn’t expect to have any available until February! However I was again informed by the supplier that they were expecting a delivery on December 1st. Where they were expecting it to come from is anyone’s guess. I was told that I would be the first to receive one of any that came into their hands at that time. Well thanks a bundle Mr. Supplier. I do not mind waiting but what annoys me is that there was no indication on their website that the goods were currently out of stock and unavailable. I advised them to upgrade their site and have this feature written into the software. What is the point in advertising something that isn’t available or that doesn’t show when it will be? So it looks as though the kitchen refurbishment will be held back for a couple of weeks. It would be silly to carry on with the decorating and use a cooker without the capability of being able to extract the fumes that will be produced when cooking on it and in the process spoil the decor. I suppose there are advantages in having to wait though. It means I don’t have to rush the kitchen refurbishment. It means I might have some time available for doing other things, like the garden for instance! I have a feeling that when the hood finally arrives I won’t be able to find the time to fit it as I will be too busy doing other things. Since the phone call from the supplier just prior to my writing this the phones haven’t stopped ringing with people asking for my services. If I need the time it looks like I will have to make it!
A domestic cat, Felis catus itching in Kibaha, Tanzania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The title would seem to indicate a trip somewhere but alas (for my readers that is) no it doesn’t mean I am wishing that. It means I am wishing to get out into the garden to do some pruning, actually a lot of it and some general tidying up. However mother nature has other ideas at the moment, the weather has been quite awful, very windy and wet and I have not had the opportunity. It has been a blessing in disguise though for over the last week especially I have been too busy with my electrical commitments to have any real spare time and what little of that I have had has been used up inside the house. The kitchen project has been somewhat neglected on my part for that reason though E has been doing some painting when she has had the chance. I like the Autumn when it is dry and not so windy and I am sure we will get those times in the weeks ahead so I am not worried that I am unable to get into the garden just now. In the past week I had to make an effort to protect the Phoenix Canariensis trees before the onset of the cold spell which had been forecast. I managed to do that with E’s help but the following day I had to redo one of them as the plastic sheet had been blown off it. The wind has been unusually strong but I don’t think we will have any more problems with them now. I have been writing a lot about the leaf removal in the garden and how often I have had to do it over the last two weeks. As I write this on Friday afternoon and having just been in the garden to check things I discovered that even more leaves have found their way to the rear of the garage in which I park my van and where they accumulate most of all around the body of the house. I didn’t remove them because I know they won’t move from where they are and no doubt there will be more of them in the week ahead. The area on the path to the large greenhouse is also filled with leaves but again I have left them for the time being as there will surely be more and they too will not be going anywhere. A few apples still cling to their branches despite the strength of the wind but the net beneath them is ready to catch them when they decide to drop. All I can do for the moment is to look at the garden through the window and wait for the weather to improve but I am itching to go.
Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A well-known saying but not strictly true. If it were true then I must be one of the most wicked in the land! Remember what I wrote on Monday? This past week I have been very busy indeed, mostly working for other people and sorting out their electrical problems with only a little time spent on working on our own little kitchen project. I expect to be busy at this time of year on the lead-up to Christmas for many folk apparently must have new lighting fittings and other things installed in time for the holiday. It shows where their hearts lie. I don’t mind for it is a money-spinner for me! I am though expected to be at everyone’s beck and call by some people’s attitude. I am far more selective in what I will do nowadays but the pressure is still relentless. I only take on small jobs now but you would be surprised just how many of them I am offered and do. So it has been this past week and it has prevented me from getting much done at home but other events have happened and they too have kept me from working at home. It has been very windy and wet during the last few days but it has finally eased somewhat. It might sound crazy but people do ask me to check faulty floodlights or fit replacement ones when it is wet and windy, naturally I refuse but may offer to do the work once the weather has improved. Even so many will say they will ask someone else! I wonder if they would like working up a ladder in the pouring rain when it is windy too? Well today is Sunday and I am finally not doing anything at all for this week. Maybe the coming week will be a little easier? Maybe I’ve been too wicked and will be run off my feet? Either way doesn’t really matter but I would like to finish the kitchen project sometime this year!
Long ago when people travelled along a highway there were no signposts or markers along the way. Unless they used a particular route often they would have no idea how long it would be to journey’s end. Eventually signs were posted, either carved onto a rock or made of wood. Those carved into a rock might show the distance in miles left to a town or city. They were called milestones for that reason. Life’s journey is like that, there are ‘milestones’ along life’s path too. Many people celebrate the passing of another year in their lives, the anniversary of their birth day now called birthday. Not everyone celebrates their birthday but in modern times it has become an excuse (if there was one) to indulge in revelry and the drinking of alcohol. Today actually marks my own seventieth birthday and I suppose it counts as a milestone along life’s highway though I don’t celebrate it. Once upon a time I did but over the last few years that novelty has worn off or rather has been ignored as something pointless by myself. It is a man-made celebration only begun in relatively recent times as are many of the other so-called celebrations that many observe. If the truth be known my birthday is no different from any other day in my life and it simply reminds me that I am another day older and closer to death. When I was young life’s road lay ahead and as I ventured along it I experienced new things not even considering what lay at the end of it. As I grew older and dare I say wiser, I began to wonder and I pondered these things. I always thought that at the end of my life there was nothing to follow, I didn’t believe in a Creator God or an afterlife. It wasn’t until I was about forty-three years of age that I began to think differently and I found myself on a new road with promises of something at the end of it. I had become a Christian, a believer in God and an everlasting life in Jesus Christ. My life up to that point was meaningless, I passed milestone after milestone and was going nowhere. My life since has purpose and meaning and I now realise that all that went before was a chasing after the wind, a merry-go-round on a useless road to damnation. It doesn’t matter to me if I die today or tomorrow or in ten years time. What matters is that I am promised something far better and something that will last forever. Time will have no meaning at all for there won’t be any. In this life we measure the passage of time by all sorts of ways and none of them are really important, not even the milestones we create for ourselves, not even my birthday. During my working day I sometimes get the opportunity to be a witness for God, for Jesus and I fulfill my duty in telling others about God’s wonderful gift of life, the Gospel or good news about the reconciliation we all can have with our Creator God though His Son Jesus Christ. Some listen and some do not. Some might consider these things and others will not. Scripture tells us this. There may not be many more milestones to come in your life so why not take stock before you reach the last one?
Pass the second working end through the loop knot in the first working end. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I had mentioned something about my lack of work in an earlier post and how sometimes my weeks start off with nothing on the books but that invariably towards the end of the week I will have had lots to do. On Monday this week I had nothing booked but on Tuesday I had two jobs to do. As I am writing this on Tuesday I cannot say if the rest of the week will follow suit though I have had some offers. I had taken E out to lunch on Monday after we had both done a little painting in the kitchen. I thought I would be able to continue the work on Tuesday but I was asked if I could do some work for a lady for whom I had worked earlier in the year. I knew the work would take me up to lunchtime and was hoping I could carry on with the kitchen work in the afternoon or at least part of it. However I received another call just as I had finished the first which I felt obliged to do. It was a call for help. A man friend of an old lady I have worked for several times had caused a fault to some power points and a light in her kitchen. He had been degreasing the surrounding tiled area to the cooker. He had sprayed the de-greasing agent onto the tiles and had then used a steam cleaner to wash it away but unfortunately it had penetrated the outlets and the light in the process. The light needed to be replaced in any case as it was damaged in other ways so I disconnected it. I replaced the two power outlets and checked others before reinstating the power supply. It was well after one o’clock by the time I had returned home. I didn’t finish my lunch until after two-thirty by which time it was going dark! The reason for the early darkness was the approaching storm we were told to expect. It would be useless to start painting in the kitchen at that hour as it would have been dark soon anyway. As I mentioned before artificial light is not ideal for painting and there is no immediate need to rush the work. A few days ago I had to take down the flag because the lower eyelet, a loop of nylon rope, had torn away from the flag and needed repairing. I sewed it back onto the flag and hoisted it up again only to find a couple of days later the rope itself had snapped leaving the flag dangling at the top. Once again I lowered the flag and removed it indoors. The nylon rope which is formed into a loop to act as an eyelet with which to attach the flag to the pole fittings had worn through and snapped in half. The flag needed a sturdier piece of rope to form the loop. We robbed a small piece from another flag’s cord and E stitched it onto the flag using nylon twine. It did the job and I hoisted the flag aloft again. On Tuesday however, the day following, I had to lower the flag again and take it indoors because of the forecasted severe weather. The flag is not supposed to be flown in winds exceeding 35 mph and we were to expect anything up to 60! The following days would be more settled and I could once again raise the flag. So it has been a case of up and down with my work, the painting of the kitchen and the raising and lowering of the flag. I know…………..life has its ups and downs!
Sometimes my weeks start off with no offers of work but that is fine as before the week is over I am seldom left with no work at all. It does happen once in a while though. This last Monday I had nothing scheduled for the day or indeed any other day in the week so I set my thoughts on doing something in the kitchen, a little more painting. I have been painting over those parts of the walls which are covered with wallpaper, the lower parts of the walls are either tiled or are covered by the furniture. I didn’t arrive downstairs until almost ten o’clock and after a quick and small breakfast I had to go into the garden to secure the plastic wrapping E and I had put around three of the palm trees. The wind had been blowing relentlessly during the night and had loosened the ties around the two in the patio flowerbed. I decided to insert a couple of stout bamboo canes near to these two plants and then strung a line between them both and to the brick archway. Hopefully that will prevent any further problems when it is windy. When I returned indoors E was about to return upstairs to shower and dress so I set about applying another coat of paint to the walls in the kitchen. Around noon E came downstairs and continued to undercoat the woodwork, that is the window frames, door frames and the boxed-in pipe runs of which there are three. I had finished painting before she re-appeared. I asked her if she would like to dine out once she had finished painting. I suggested that we could buy in some paint and a few other things after our meal so that is what we did. The ceiling needs to be repainted but we had no white emulsion in the house so that was one thing we needed to buy. I have been painting the walls with a magnolia emulsion but it was never our original intention to leave it that colour though it does compliment the colour of the tiles. It was suitable to use as an undercoat to cover the existing colour on the wallpaper however. So we had to select another colour and buy that paint too. Whilst I was asking E if she would like to dine out I was thinking where she might choose to go. I almost always leave that decision to her but I had a particular place in mind. We set off and the first thing she said to me when in the car was that she didn’t know where we would go then suddenly made up her mind and we headed off. I said nothing. She had chosen the place I had been thinking about. During the meal we chatted to a couple who had travelled up from Northamptonshire to visit their son and his wife or their daughter and her husband, I cannot remember which but they came to join them later with their two-month old son. Soon after E and I left and we drove to a retail park to buy the paint and some milk before driving back home. During the day my phone remained silent but soon after we returned home I began to receive calls. Unfortunately the job offers were too large or too far away to make it worthwhile doing. As I write this on Monday evening it looks as though I will be painting the kitchen ceiling on Tuesday morning!
Even horses need coats Three small horses stay wrapped-up warm against the winter chill near Crask. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
We cannot say that we have had it bad during the Summer, the weather has for the most part been warm and sunny. It has been unusually warm and sometimes sunny during the last couple of months too, exceptionally so for November. We have been experiencing overnight temperatures exceeding those we would normally expect during the day at this time of year but slowly all that is changing. Most noticeably the wind has been getting stronger making it feel colder than it actually is but it is getting colder in any case. I suppose we can expect it to really feel like it is mid to late Autumn in the days to come. It is time to think about pruning the deciduous trees and shrubs that need pruning back and to prepare those plants more susceptible to the cold for protection if needs be. With that in mind E and I spent a few minutes wrapping three of the Phoenix Canariensis trees with sheets of bubble-wrap plastic and tieing them up so that only their tops are exposed. It isn’t for the low temperatures that we will get during the next few months but for the cold winds. These particular plants can withstand temperatures as low as minus seven degree celsius but the cold winds burn their leaves. It is the wind that we are protecting against. I have noticed I am having to wrap up more whenever I am out of the house or going to work. I am beginning to see the need to have the heating on in my van. The house heating has been switched on for a few weeks. It is Autumn and although it is my favourite time of year, it sure can get cold, wet and windy! Soon it will be Winter and Christmas time and before we know it the next year will be upon us. It is a time for preparation and readiness whilst we are still able and to wrap up those plants which need a winter overcoat so we can enjoy them during the warmer months. Despite it being so cool and windy we still have flowering plants in the garden, in fact some of them only burst into flower in Autumn. Others actually prefer it being wet and cool. Most of the leaves have fallen from the trees and not before time as I have spent quite some time sweeping them up. Each day there have been fresh heaps of them to move but finally there are now almost none. Some apples remain on the branches but I have fitted a net beneath those branches which are above the concrete path to catch them when they fall. There is still plenty to do out in the garden but I will be well wrapped up for it.
Good Intentions (2010 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
How often do we promise to do something yet it doesn’t materialise? I reckon I work quite hard especially for someone of my age. Many people my age will have already retired from work and will be taking things easy as they settle into old age. That isn’t for me though and as the popular phrase goes, ‘I will go down fighting’. A friend once told me that I would continue to work until I drop. Well perhaps that will be the case for it seems I am on the go most of the time and get very restless when I am not doing something. Ah but age does slow me down to some extent, I mean I am not exactly in the flower of my youth so I am bound to be slower and I am bound not to be able to do as much as I would like at times but that doesn’t stop me trying. My intentions are good but I don’t always achieve what I set out to do. Take for instance my latest little project, and it is really only a little project, I started it off with gusto but sadly the pace has slowed somewhat. I have to say at this point however that my work as an electrician keeps me occupied a lot and there are only so many hours available left for my domestic projects. Once I start something I am keen to finish it as quickly as possible and without interruption but of course that is never possible is it? Nevertheless I try to make the most of my spare time. On Saturday I had plans to get as much of the painting of the walls in the kitchen done as I could but ended up doing less than I had expected. Other things got in the way but I managed to at least give all the walls a coat of paint. Some parts of the walls have actually been painted two or three times now but a large part only got its first coat on Saturday. The reason for so many coats is to mask the colours on the wallpaper. Rather than stripping the walls bare and papering them again we have chosen to simply paint over the wallpaper instead. The main colour on the wallpaper is pale green but it has random patterns of a reddish ochre shade on it and one or even two coats of paint are not enough to hide them but three coats does. The colour we are applying is magnolia as it best matches the wall tiles. E has chosen to paint the woodwork and has already started to cover it with an undercoat primer but she has been busy doing other things and the work has been left. I was ready to step in and take over her part of the work whilst the walls were drying off but after she returned home from a meeting on Saturday she told me that she wanted to continue with the work and that she would do it on Sunday. My hands were tied and I was left with nothing to do. Now she tells me that the ceiling could do with a coat of paint too and I agree with her. I could have started doing that except for the fact that I had no paint! The ceiling should have been painted before we started on the walls but never mind, I’ll just have to be especially careful won’t I?
I had plans for Friday which didn’t include working away from home, I was going to make inroads on our latest little project, the kitchen refurbishment. There was no need to get up too early as I had done for the previous days so I took my time. I was still in my bedroom at 8.30 but another few minutes later I would be downstairs to have my breakfast. The phone rang but I chose to ignore it thinking that whoever it was would attempt to reach me on my mobile phone instead if it was urgent. I often wonder why people call me on my house phone during the times I would normally be out and working, especially as my advertisement indicates that my house phone is the one to use in the evenings. I can understand someone calling me on the house phone before eight in the morning as I would most probably be at home. The caller left a message on my phone which I played back at 8.45 when I was downstairs. The lady who had called had lost the supply to essential power circuits. I called her number and suggested what she should do to try to re-instate power. She had difficulty in doing that so I asked her if I should call there instead. I grabbed a fruit drink before driving the three miles to her house. I wasn’t there long before I found what the problem was. One of the main supply cables to that particular distribution board was loose inside the connecting block and I wondered how it had ever worked as it was so loose it could be pulled out with no effort at all. It was simple to fix of course and after a chat and a cup of coffee I was soon driving back home.
Now it was 10 o’clock so I had some breakfast before going into the rear garden to sweep up the piles of leaves that had again accumulated around the house (see yesterday’s post). We were expecting a visitor sometime before noon to look at a couple of problems we have with the windows and he arrived around 11 o’clock. It was a half-hour later before he left. I then got a call from an elderly man who wanted me to check why he couldn’t replace a bulb in his bathroom light fitting. He lived about twelve miles away. When I told him that I would be charging my minimum fee he changed his mind and told me he would ask a neighbour to check it. I don’t know why people think I can just pop in and not expect much in the way of payment for my visit. Yes the job was small, very small but it is the overall time it takes when I have to make a round trip of 24 miles! E had an appointment at the hairdressers at noon and whilst she was getting ready I received another call, this time from one of my regular customers who wanted me to fit a replacement wall heater in his bathroom so I donned my coat again and was about to leave at the same time as E when I got yet another call. In fact I had just stepped outside and was locking the door when I got the call but whilst trying to answer it I inadvertently pushed the door open which started the house alarm to count down. I had to go back indoors to start over and at the same time speak to the caller. It happens a lot, I get calls at the most awkward of moments. The caller had just fitted two new power outlets but found he couldn’t switch the power on afterwards as it kept tripping. Well anyone with half an ounce of sense would have realised there was a fault and one obviously caused by themselves. I advised he take a look behind his new power sockets to locate the fault. At last I could drive to the job and half-way there the guy called back to thank me and to let me know that he had indeed found the fault and everything was fine. He thanked me for my advise and help. On arrival at the house I checked to see the bathroom heater and its supply then left to drive to the supplier to purchase a new one. It didn’t take me long to fit the replacement heater and soon was driving home again. By now it was 1.30 and time for lunch. It was after 2 o’clock before I sat down to eat it. So now it was getting late in the afternoon and I still hadn’t done any work in the kitchen! I decided I wouldn’t let the day go by without doing something so I spent an hour doing what I could whilst there was still some daylight. Painting by artificial light isn’t always a good idea. Maybe I would get a better chance on Saturday. I spent the evening at home alone. E had gone out with her friends for a meal in another town twenty miles away and my youngest son who was stopping over for the weekend was out with his friends too.
Agri-Fab lawn sweeper (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I went to a job on Thursday morning . On my return home a couple of hours later I half-expected E to have been busy in the kitchen continuing with the painting of the woodwork she had begun to do the previous afternoon but alas no she wasn’t. She was busy on her computer ‘catching up on a few things’ by her account. What she really meant was that she was entering some more competitions for she spends an awful amount of time doing that. I think she spends far too much time on her computer doing that but that is only my opinion. Anyway during the afternoon she would be out shopping with her mom doing the weekly shop and wouldn’t have the time to do any painting. That meant I could get on with my part in the deal, painting the walls but no I was feeling a little tired and didn’t much want to start painting after my lunch. I was gazing out of the kitchen window at the now almost bare deciduous trees and all the leaves they had shed upon the lawn and elsewhere. Every year it is the same, the leaves seem to gather at specific places around the garden and form great heaps. The usual places are immediately outside of the cellar door which leads out into the garden, in and around the three grids (though they do have a little protection) at the back of the house, at the bottom of the stone stairway that leads from the kitchen down into the garden, in the space immediately outside of the rear door of the garage E uses, in two places on the lawn, around the path we created when we dug out the old mound, on the path to the large greenhouse and even behind it and of course trapped in the borders which are about the only places we don’t have to bother much about clearing them away. I looked and thought to myself, ‘You’ve got to shift them as next Monday will be the last collection of green waste for this year and the next one will be at the beginning of March’. The weather also promised to be wet and windy so I had to seize the opportunity and forget all about painting in the kitchen. So that is what I did and I filled the two wheelie bins in the process which doesn’t sound much. However I had to compress the leaves to get them all in, well as much as was practically possible. Even so there might be more to go in them before Monday morning. Now I could have used the lawn sweeper as we have one just like the one in the picture but the leaves on the lawn had generously heaped themselves in two places and though there were a few scattered about it simply wasn’t worth getting it out. I left the more compacted bin in the rear garden as there might be more to shovel up and the other bin I took back to the front garden where another large heap of leaves still lay on the path against the wall. I was hoping the wind might blow some of them away before Monday. I thought that in a day or two the leaves would have settled more inside the bins to allow just a little more to be put in them. I have resorted to standing inside the bins in the past in order to compress the contents and I might have to do so this time. I feel sorry for the guy next door whose entire lawn is covered in a couple of inches of leaves and his lawn is almost twice the size of ours. Unfortunately his garden is east of ours, the prevailing winds are from the west and his garden is surrounded by trees on all sides except for his house. Most of the leaves that fall in our garden come from large trees which are not in our garden though some smaller ones are. By the time I had cleared away as much of the leaves as I could I was feeling even more tired!
Kitchen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Fitting a new cooker and a new cooker hood, which incidentally has not yet arrived has prompted a redecoration of much of the kitchen. The cooker hood I have purchased is still out of stock and at the moment I am not sure if or when we will receive one. The wallpaper which had originally been pasted on the wall surrounding the cooker hood would leave an uncovered space when the new hood is fitted because the new hood will be positioned slightly lower. It was easier to remove two sections of the paper and at the same time paint over all of the wallpaper as we had planned on doing anyway but of course that means the whole of the kitchen. However, as the kitchen is small and as there is little exposure of the walls because of the furniture painting them isn’t a problem. On Tuesday after I had finished installing the new cooker E and I were discussing a few things and I had mentioned the possibility of painting the window frames and the door in white. At the moment they are wood-stained but painting them in white would greatly brighten the room and something we are aiming for. I thought no more about it and just left the idea in my head until later as there were other things to do in the meantime. I have made a start on repainting the walls but they will need a few coats to cover the existing colour. On Wednesday I carried on with that task for an hour or so but had to do an electrical job for someone in the afternoon and had to shelve it.
I didn’t expect the electrical work to take long to do and as the house was reasonably close-by I expected to be home after a brief time. The job itself involved replacing two old-fashioned wooden wall lights with modern metal ones. The old lights were fitted with pull-switches but there was no wall switch as a means of isolating them from the supply. I suppose the pull-switches were adequate when the lights were installed many years ago but a separate wall switch is essential these days. The customer had bought two new light fittings but neither was fitted with a switch of any kind. I presented the customer with two options, change the fittings or allow me to install a wall switch beneath each of them instead. They chose the latter and I had therefore extra work to do. Naturally I was paid extra too, or rather I levied a higher charge! On my return home it had already begun to grow dark and I noticed that the gates to the driveway that E uses to get to the garage were open, she had obviously gone out somewhere. I went inside and immediately to the kitchen, not to work I hasten to add but to fix myself a drink of coffee. I glanced around the room and noticed that she had painted some of the woodwork with a grey undercoat ready for applying a white gloss paint later. Well I thought to myself, I never expected that. As it happened she had been unable to paint part of a window frame because the microwave oven being as it is so large and heavy she was unable to move it any distance. I forgot about my coffee and proceeded to finish off what she had started whilst at the same time re-arranging things on the worktop. E returned just as I had finished. We have chosen to keep the new arrangement of the worktop appliances. As I write this on Wednesday evening I am wondering how much more will be done in my absence on Thursday morning when I go to do another electrical job.
Following on from Tuesday’s post the new cooker arrived as arranged but there was no cooker hood with the delivery. I had been informed earlier that the particular model I had chosen was out of stock and I half expected one not to be available on the day even though I had placed the order ten days previously. It didn’t matter because the wall is in the process of redecoration anyway. It would have been nice to have gotten the hood first and to have been able to fit it prior to the new cooker being fitted. The two guys who delivered the cooker made me smile as one of them was quite small in height but stocky in build whilst his mate was about 6 foot and 7 inches (which approximates to a tad over 2 metres) and slim with it. Gosh he was tall! He was Latvian and has been living in the UK for over six years. The smaller guy was a native of the UK. They were efficient in getting the new unit in and the old one out but in the process they had taken the flexible gas pipe with them. I recovered it because without it I couldn’t connect the new cooker to the gas main. Once they had departed I began to install the cooker. The old cooker (on the left) had been placed on some lengths of timber to raise it from the floor but the new cooker (below) is taller so I had to remove them. However it still needed to be raised a couple of centimetres. I had a large sheet of floorboard grade chipboard which I cut to length and width and nailed that to the floor for the cooker to stand upon. The electrical connection was easy of course (well I am an electrician) and so was the gas connection too. I then pushed the cooker into the space and tested it. All worked as it should but then I had the task of clearing everything away! That took me longer than the job itself! I phoned the company to register the cooker and at the same time arranged for a one year extension to the guarantee for a nominal fee. I was feeling rather tired after that having done other work at home during the morning. E was out for the afternoon and didn’t get home until almost 7 o’clock. I had already eaten having cooked a little something on the new cooker.
Queen Street, Cubbington The centre of Cubbington village has several shops including this general stores and a D-I-Y/hardware store a little further on. There are other shops opposite including the post office. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
At almost 70 years of age I can remember with nostalgia many things which no longer exist. In the previous post I was hinting at the ways we are placed under pressure by commerce to get us to buy things and how the writers of software in phones and computers are pushing us to either go along with it all or get left behind. We are given choices but further down-line we will have to use what we are presented with. I was watching a programme on television called ‘Flog it’ a couple of days ago and in it we were shown what is called a living museum. For those who live outside of the UK ‘Flog it’ is a programme about antiques, their valuation with a view to those who have their treasures valued to auction them off. As often in these programmes they take side steps from the main content of the programme in order to present the viewer with things maybe of interest in the area in which they are holding a valuation day. In this particular programme we were taken around the streets of a local town rebuilt as they were fifty to a hundred years ago and all under cover. Old fashioned shops and hardware stores, old vehicles standing outside in the cobbled streets and goods on display were as authentic as I remembered them long ago. I remember the real thing and how it was in the high streets of every town and city. Slowly but surely things have changed and I can see in the not too distant future even more changes to come. Some will say for the better but I say not, at least in some things. In those days we couldn’t buy anything unless we had the cash in our hands. Along came hire purchase, loans from the banks or other sources, credit cards and now smart phones. We don’t necessarily have to have cash in our pockets to buy anything on the high street and for shopping online we can’t use cash anyway and that is what will change everything forever. One day I can see a system where we can only buy things electronically. It is very much early days yet but eventually I can see everyone having a chip implant for use in everything we do. That is a road I do not want to go down and probably won’t, this is for the generations to come. I digress. Life was far simpler when I was young and looking at that programme brought back some very nice memories of those days. If I had the choice and the power I would turn the clock back in certain areas of our lives. It isn’t going to happen unfortunately
‘Downloading updates 1 of 141 do not unplug or turn off your computer’, you’ve all seen this message or something similar on your computer screen for earlier versions of Windows. Since having Windows 7 re-installed on my old laptop all I have been getting when I am about to switch it off are messages like these. One or two is fine but almost every time I have switched off my machine during the last few days I get this message. At first it was 6 updates then 10 then 141, a further 40, then 6 and even more after these. Now I would have expected to see some difference in using the computer but there isn’t one, at least one that I would notice. I decided to check just exactly what had been uploaded and saw a long list of items seemingly all to do with the operating system. I then checked all the installed programs to see if anything had changed there. I discovered that quite a number of programs had been added. Some are games, some are Microsoft’s own programs like Live Messenger, Movie Maker, Office Powerpoint and others all of which I will probably never use but here’s the rub, one day I might have to, why?
Well in the great scheme of things Microsoft change their software to make it impossible to do certain things that have been traditionally easy to do by taking away functionality. This means extra software has to be purchased in order to do some of the simple tasks that could have been done just using the Windows platform. For instance, on my new laptop which runs Windows 10 Microsoft has made it impossible to open my files and preview them, they have also filed my photographs in a different way by default and are also not easily located. These things seem minor but at the end of the day it appears that we are being manipulated to using software their way. In society this is the thin end of a large wedge. Has it escaped your notice that the way we shop or do anything else is slowly changing? One day there will be no cash and we will have to use smart technology to buy anything, to get directions, to dine out and to do almost everything that we do. We will be under the control of those who produce the technology and the software that controls it. Think I am being paranoid? Perhaps I am but human beings are meant to be free, not slaves to machinery and technology just to live out our lives. I think I would prefer life to remain a little difficult rather than having to rely upon computers, smart phones, contactless debit cards et al.