Early to bed….

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Women Employed

Women Employed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

……early to rise, makes a man (or woman) healthy, wealthy and wise. Do you remember this snippet of wisdom taught to you when you were young? I used to think it applied to others and not myself but then I got wise. Staying up till the late hours and then sleeping in the following day has never been a way of life for me ever since I began my working life. Of course there were days when I did stay up late and did sleep in the following morning but they have been few. Being as I am self-employed and that since 1997, the saying has more of a meaning than it once did. When working for someone else or an organisation the tendency is often to do only that asked of you and no more. That principle doesn’t apply to everyone for there are those who give their all irrespective of whether they are self-employed or not and that is a good thing, Speaking as a Christian it is right and proper to put 100% effort and interest in your work, especially if it is for and on behalf of your employer. Now if that employer happens to be yourself you can see the reason for this approach for if you are lazy you will be the one to suffer. Even before I became a Christian I applied this principle to my approach to work. I took pride in my work and was rewarded for it by way of promotion and better prospects. Since becoming self-employed, which incidentally was only eight years after I became a Christian, it was natural for me to continue to give my all. It is a biblical teaching too. So from the first tentative days of being self-employed to the present day I can say that I have become (more) healthy, wealthy and certainly more wise! I have been telling everyone that I am now working part-time, have become semi-retired but in reality I am finding my income remains almost as it was a few years ago and I am better off than ever. I try not to work too hard but occasionally I find myself putting in more hours than I had intended though nothing like I used to, after all I am approaching seventy years of age! I meet other people of a similar age and find that those who seem to be more agile and hard-working into their old age fare much better than those who don’t. They too retire early and rise early ready to catch the proverbial worm. Laziness is the seed which produces poverty and poor health.

Shirley Anne

Time’s up

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Time's Runnin' Out (album)

Time’s Runnin’ Out (album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It had to come. Failure to act would mean the end of an era. Failure would mean loss of income, loss of a lifetime interest and a loss of mobility. On 21 November this year I will have reached my seventieth year on this planet and the day before I will lose my drivers’ licence for good unless I renew it. Here in the UK all drivers must renew their licences every three years once they reach the ripe old age of seventy. Naturally the application must be submitted long before that date but no sooner than three months before. For me that date came on Monday so I set about renewing my licence online. The process was surprisingly easy though it would have been easier had I known what references were required beforehand. They ask for your drivers number which is on your licence. They also ask for my National Insurance number and Passport number as well as the usual personal information. I was fortunate to know where that information was to be found, the passport and NI numbers that is. A declaration has to be read and ticked as appropriate to declare an ability to continue to drive by indicating a bill of good health and eyesight. Failure to declare any ailments which might affect safe driving is met with a hefty fine or imprisonment or even both. I should receive the replacement licence within two weeks.but in the meantime I have to cut into two pieces my old licence and post them off to the DVLA. That’s it, no fees and no complications. At the very least I shall be able to continue to drive for the next three years or until my time really is up! By that time I shall have been driving for 51 years.

Shirley Anne

PS. I wrote this post a couple of days ago and on Thursday morning I received my new driver’s licence card. Now that is what I call service!

From nothing at all to…..

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…….plenty. That’s the way it goes in my profession. I received a late call on Sunday evening requesting my services on Monday morning. It was a small job but still appreciated and worth doing. I apply a minimum charge for any work but if the work is local and very small I might charge less. I did the work and was paid my minimum fee and was quite happy about that. I had no other work at all, even for the rest of the week but that is quite normal for I often get plenty of work later during the week. I got another call at about 10.45 asking if I could render some help with a loss of power in someone’s kitchen twelve miles away. I was also informed that some of the lights were not working. I drove across to investigate and was made most welcome by the middle-aged guy who stood by his garden gate awaiting my arrival. I set about tracing the fault on the power circuit which took some time but I eventually located the general area of the fault which seemed to be in the annex to the kitchen hidden behind the ceiling and false walling. It would take too long to search and repair that part of the installation and it would probably be easier to simply rewire it. We decided the best thing to do would be to disconnect the annex so that the supply could be re-instated in the kitchen but first I had to locate the cables supplying that section and eventually found them under the floor in the room above the kitchen. There was evidence of the presence of mice or a rat as some of the wiring had been gnawed almost through but those cables fed other circuits in the house. I repaired them before locating the cables supplying the annex which I duly cut and by-passed with a junction connector box. If the annex is to be rewired in the future the wiring will need to be reconnected at that point. I informed the guy that I wouldn’t be taking on that work as I feel it would be too much for me to do without some assistance. Unfortunately in the process to disconnecting the faulty wiring the gas boiler was also disconnected so I re-supplied it from one of the kitchen power sockets. However the boiler seemed to be faulty too! The guy arranged for a gas fitter to call and repair it. Finally I had finished reinstating power but had to change a fault lighting unit before I left. The original fitting couldn’t retain a lamp as it had been damaged by excessive heat over the years. What will happen regarding the annex wiring I have no idea but at the very least something must be done to eliminate the presence of rats  which might gnaw through more of the wiring. The guy wasn’t alone in the house, he had a Philippino  wife and two very young children by her and he also had his twenty-one year old son from his former wife living with them temporarily. Unfortunately his son had brought a young Pit Bull terrier with him that whined throughout the time I was there and the son wouldn’t take care of that. The guy tried to tell me that he was a little tired of his son’s attitude and only suffered him because he was his son. His son was out of work too but seemed to lack motivation to do much about it though he did write a personal CV on the computer and sent off a copy to apply for a post. As far as I am aware he didn’t have much in the way of qualifications according to what he had told me. I think the young man has his priorities all wrong. Anyway I had been there for over three hours and had missed my lunch yet again. I was back home around three-thirty but left off preparing anything until a little later. I sat out on the patio to enjoy the remainder of the afternoon in the sun. It wasn’t long before I received more work for the next day. I seem to be a work magnet these days!

Shirley Anne

Taking the time

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English: Flowerbed at Clough This flowerbed is...

Flowerbed at Clough This flowerbed is on the verge beside the Newcastle/Dundrum road at Clough. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There was a patch or two of the flowerbed next to the patio which was beginning to change colour between the plants from brown to green. Over the last few days I had thought about doing something about it but other things kept getting in the way. On Sunday morning I was out on the patio with my Bible and a cup of coffee enjoying the morning sunshine. When I had finished reading I began to let my eyes wander as usual and I was admiring and appreciating the wonder of God’s creation in nature. The sun lit up a little more than half the garden and was forcing its rays through the branches of the tall trees towering on the northern perimeter which face the rear of the house. I was sitting facing  east and the sun shone directly upon me. It was beginning to get warmer though the temperature hadn’t dropped much below 18 deg. C throughout the night. It was humid too and that made it feel even warmer. I glanced over to the flowerbed on my left and finally decided to get out some gardening tools and get down to making the soil brown again. Grass had decided to grow there and was becoming out of hand. I got down on my hands and knees using a gardening stool designed for the purpose and began the slow process of removing the grass. After an hour it all looked fine but I was beginning to wilt! I tidied everything away and went indoors for a drink but had to return outside to cool off. I was hoping I would get the chance to mow the lawn before the rain set in once more as was promised by the weather forecast. However, the lawn was still damp with dew and the rain we had the night before and because the humidity was high it wasn’t drying off as fast as I would have liked. I went indoors and prepared lunch and later returned to the garden to check the lawn. It was almost completely dry so I took the mower out from the garage and set about mowing it. It took me a mere fifteen minutes. The petrol mower has been a real help in mowing the lawn which used to take me almost two hours to do with the electric mower. That was only because I had to use extension leads and re position them constantly and also because the mower was much smaller too. Finally I was done. I put everything away then spent some more time out on the patio for it was still warm, though less sunny and by now there was a slight breeze blowing from time to time. August is the month for ants and also for dandelion seeds floating about and looking for somewhere to land so that next year we can be sure to have them growing out of the lawn and flowerbeds. We cannot do much about the annual cycle of events, we can only hope to keep things in check. I sat there thinking about God’s wonderful creation again and how diverse it is. I can see God’s hand in everything and feel privileged to be a part of it. How anyone can think it all came about by chance and evolution defies logic. Despite it all appearing to be chaotic and without purpose it is far from that. When you come to know God for yourself it all becomes quite clear. I am taking the time to appreciate it more and more. It did rain later, a lot. Whilst I was sitting on the patio thoughts about making changes there crossed my mind and I have made some preliminary plans to hopefully make them happen in the future.

Shirley Anne

More rain

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English: rain clouds Looking out to sea at the...

Rain clouds Looking out to sea at the rain cloud that had just soaked me on a winter sunday walk (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If we are to have much more sunshine and warm days it doesn’t look like it is on the menu for the next three or four days as I write this on Saturday afternoon. The sun has been shining this afternoon but there has been lots of cloud cover too. It rained mostly during the morning but the rain is supposed to be returning by nightfall. Sunday looks a little better but thereafter more rain is forecast right up to and including Wednesday. Soon I will need a dry day so that the lawn can be mowed, it doesn’t need it just yet fortunately but it is a case of doing it when I can. I might do it tomorrow, Sunday if it is to be as dry as they say it will be. I made the short trip into the village in the morning in order to deposit some money in the bank but I didn’t linger and walked back home as soon as I left the bank. Although I had an umbrella with me and although it was raining very lightly I didn’t bother opening it but by the time I had reached a hundred metres from home the rain became much heavier. Part of the last few metres I had tree cover so wasn’t bothered too much until I got to the gate when I had to make a dash for the front door. Another few seconds later and I’d have been soaked through! After a late lunch I spent an hour or so out on the patio. It was warm, a little humid and sunny and I sat there watching the numerous bees making their daily trips to a large flowering plant we have in the border close-by. I don’t know the name of the plant but there are several tall pale green stems which I would describe as being lime green, green mixed with white but toward the tops the minute leaves fade into a deep purple colour which are the flowering part of the plant. There isn’t much strength in the plant’s stems and it tends to bend over unless there is some sort of support provided. We have some bamboo canes to help in that support. For quite a number of weeks now the bees have been visiting the plant to collect nectar. There are other flowering plants nearby and some are even growing intermingled with it, Mombrecia being one of them but the bees seem to prefer the purple flowers. The ants are still busy and as soon as the sun comes out so do they. Soon it will be Autumn, four weeks away isn’t a long time is it?

Shirley Anne

Sometimes wonder

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Norton 360 version 1.0 box art

Norton 360 version 1.0 box art (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had more trouble with my computer on Friday afternoon specifically with Firefox not running the Norton Toolbar. I couldn’t even set the toolbar for it had been removed from the Firefox options! This has happened a couple of times since I installed Windows 10 but it wasn’t Windows 10 that was causing the problem, neither was it Firefox, it lay with Norton. Well in fact some registry files had either been corrupted or had not been removed or overwritten when the last Norton update took place. Norton 360 had to be updated a couple of times when Firefox was updated and Firefox had to be updated to accommodate Windows 10. Now wouldn’t you know it, Windows 10 has had a couple of updates since it was installed too! No wonder things go pear-shaped. It would have been a simple matter to re-enable the Norton Toolbar under normal circumstances but are there ever any normal circumstances with computers? I chose to connect with the Symantec (Norton) team in India for yet another session with them taking control of my computer remotely in order to put things right. I had by this time tried all the obvious things to effect a repair but to no avail. The session started off quite normally and I watched the agent move my cursor all over the screen trying to find the problem. In fact the agent was going over the same ground as I had done but not once or even twice, they must have gone over the same ground six or seven times. I watched in disbelief for the agent was going round in circles. I began to wonder if they knew what they were doing. I use the term ‘they’ for I could not determine the gender of the person from the name on the screen, it was an Indian name of course and well, I am not knowledgeable when it comes to Indian names. Finally the agent decided to do a rigorous scan and after making a restore point stripped four items from the computers registry. The computer had to be restarted three times during the session and of course I had to remain with it to open it up each time. In the process of updating Norton, which was done three or four times but in actual fact could have been done only the once had the agent approached the problem correctly in the first place, I lost two extensions to Firefox. One was ‘Last Pass’ and the other ‘Zemanta‘ both of which I use every time I go online. The session was about to end and I had to remind the agent to re-instate them both so an attempt was made but during the process I had to take control of the cursor myself to show the agent how to do it! I had already spent eighty minutes with the agent trying to solve the problem and I didn’t want to spend another twenty minutes waiting for the agent to hit the right keys! Finally I thanked the agent for the help that I had received but at the same time wondered if they had known what they were doing half the time. The computer is working fine, Firefox is working fine and I am still out with the jury over Windows 10 though it seems to be working fine at the present. My other browser Chrome is fine, I won’t use Microsoft Edge at the moment because of the lack of allowable extensions it has. Norton works well, when it is working properly that is! And it is at the moment, finally!

Shirley Anne

How stupid and annoying

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Burglar alarm area indicator

Burglar alarm area indicator (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I went to another town late on Thursday morning to replace a light fitting for an elderly lady in a modern house just off a main road in that town. As it was a fairly new estate I used my satnav to get me there but on arrival I discovered that I couldn’t drive directly into the road from the main street as it only allowed pedestrian access. It meant I had to drive around the block to get there. I went indoors to do the work but found that I couldn’t isolate the lighting circuit without setting off the house security alarm and I couldn’t isolate the alarm power within the alarm bell which sounds even when the alarm panel is isolated. I needed to disconnect and remove the old light fitting of course but part of the wiring remained ‘live’ even when the local switch was off. I had to switch off the main isolator to do the work. I had no choice but to leave the alarm sounding whilst I had the supply switched off. I quickly made safe those wires which remained permanently live even when the light wasn’t switched on. That meant I could switch on the power and thus silence the alarm whilst I continued with the work of fitting the light itself. The alarm circuit should have been connected to a dedicated circuit breaker thus avoiding problems like this. Anyway the old lady invited me to have a drink after I had completed the work and had received payment. Soon I was driving homeward and by now it was approaching one o’clock. I cooked my lunch and had just finished eating it when I received a call from a guy who told me he had just moved into his house, meaning within the last few days, and he wanted some lights replacing with the ones he had purchased. It was approaching two o’clock and I didn’t want to start another job that day. I offered to do the work on Friday morning and he accepted. Where was his house? You guessed it. On the opposite side of the main road across from the house I had left earlier! Had he phoned earlier I could have done both jobs in succession and have saved myself the extra journey. Later I received yet another call from someone living just a litter further away but in the same direction! Why in heaven’s name don’t people phone me in the evenings so that I can schedule their work? It is so annoying but thankfully it doesn’t happen frequently.

Shirley Anne

‘Tis raining

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Raining

Raining (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wednesday afternoon and it is raining. The day started very bright and sunny and remained that way until a little before eleven o’clock. It was expected though and somewhat welcomed by myself. I sat out on the patio after breakfast with a cup of coffee and something to read, actually my Bible. Yes, I am reading it through yet again after finishing reading it through a couple of months ago. I am now about to read the Book of Numbers. This is not however the subject of my post. I sat out there for quite some time before returning indoors as it was starting to get noticeably cooler once the clouds rolled in. I spent the rest of the day indoors though I could have gone for a walk if only to relieve the boredom. I had no electrical work and nothing I wanted to do inside the house even though there are things I could be doing. My heart simply wasn’t in it. I occupied my time cooking, playing guitar, doing things on my computer like writing this post, watching a little television and reading and general household chores. Although I am very domesticated life spent totally at home would bore the socks off me! It was nice to look out at the rain whilst knowing that I didn’t have to go out in it. It was raining outside but it has been raining inside too, inside my heart. My personal life has been upset because the relationship I have with E is not what it was. For so long I have been taken for granted, shown little respect on occasion and often ignored. We haven’t spoken since the start of February because I reached a breaking point after once more being snapped at. Many times I have been badly treated but made the effort to heal the rift and forgive. I always forgive but that doesn’t mean I have to put up with ill-treatment and so I had to back-off. How long it will take before E repents and apologises for her behaviour is not known but I wait patiently. I like the rain but that falling in my heart takes a little more getting used to. I am discovering though that I am getting used to it, I don’t really have a choice.

Shirley Anne

The dangers of old age

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Age of X

Age of X (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some old people put themselves in danger because they forget things or they do things without due consideration for the consequences of their actions. I came across one such incident on Tuesday morning. A couple of days earlier an elderly gentleman asked if I was available to change some power outlets in his house but as it was a weekend and specifically the request was for Sunday I declined. I was then asked if I was available on Monday but I had work scheduled for that day too. I arranged to do the work therefore on Tuesday morning. There was no urgency to have the work done as I expected that the original outlets were still in use. However, when I arrived on Tuesday morning I discovered that not only were the old power outlets disconnected and removed so also were several lighting switches. The power supply had not been switched off! That meant all the bare and exposed wiring was still live! It had been that way for a few days as the old guy had evidently removed them himself but why did he then leave the power switched on? One or two lights and power outlets were still in use and that was why he didn’t switch it off. How he managed to avoid electrocuting himself is an absolute miracle but that was only because of the RCD trip switches in the supply panel. It took me about three hours to sort things out and to re-site one of the outlets because of a lack of wire to reconnect it. One had to be removed as it sat directly above his cooker! The old guy’s son appeared shortly after I had arrived and was somewhat helpful. When I had finished the work he told me that now he could rest assured that his dad’s environment was now electrically safe. I thought I had seen it all during my years in the business but a house full of exposed live wiring was a first. I have seen incidences of perhaps one or two bare live conductors but never a house full! I drove off to the pub for lunch.

Shirley Anne

She liked to chat

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It isn’t very often that I meet a woman who can turn her hand to most things or will have a go. I went to a job on Monday morning to a house eight miles away in the little township of Formby down the coast from Southport. Formby is well-known for its red squirrel reserve which actually is in Freshfield.

Red SquirrelThis northern part of the town called ‘Freshfield‘ is where I once lived before leaving twenty-seven years ago to where I live now but I often return there to do electrical work. As I pulled up outside the house I had to park partly off the narrow road as it was a local bus route. I was greeted by the man of the house who asked me to move the van to a place in front of his neighbour’s driveway which I thought strange but evidently the people living there had gone out for the day. He explained that he wanted to mow the grass verge. The verge is actually the responsibility of the local council (authority) and it is they who cut it. I found out from his wife that the request hid the real reason for her husband asking me to move the van, he didn’t like people parking over the grass. I didn’t have a choice but to park there so I left it where I had parked it. His wife told me to take no notice of her husband as he was being awkward. I might say here that he did have, shall I say, a mild medical problem. After a minute he had forgotten everything. The lady, called Sue, took control and showed me exactly what it was that she wanted doing. Well she talked and talked and after a while I was beginning to wonder if I would ever be able to start the work. I was offered a drink but I declined at that point as it would probably prevent me from starting the job. At the rear of their garage they had constructed a shed and had it done professionally but it lacked lighting and a power point for using electrical gardening equipment. There was a single power outlet inside the house which they wanted replacing with a twin unit also. Working in garages is often an awkward thing because of the things people store in them. This garage was no exception. So it took me a couple of hours to do the work in the garage and about a half-hour or so to do the work inside the house but I was interrupted a few times by Sue who kept asking questions and generally just chatting about casual things. I had been given a drink of coffee about thirty minutes into the work and once I had finished the work in the garage I was invited to sit out in the garden before doing the work in the house and have another drink of coffee in the process. Naturally Sue sat with me and we chatted about all sorts of things. During the conversation she told me she once worked in the same place I once worked but I didn’t disclose that fact as it was in my pre-transition days. She also told me about the numerous jobs she has tackled around the house, a woman after my own heart but my oh my, could she chat!

Shirley Anne

We will all bow down

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Original Sin

Original Sin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Zephaniah 2:10-12

10 This is what they will get in return for their pride,
for insulting and mocking
the people of the Lord Almighty.
11 The Lord will be awesome to them
when he destroys all the gods of the earth.
Distant nations will bow down to him,
all of them in their own lands.

In this modern world there is so much sin. There is selfishness and many are slanderous, disobedient, self-seeking, dishonest, liars, cheats, unreliable….the list just goes on and on. Every day we hear of murders, assaults, robberies and all sorts of different crimes yet according to many we are making this world a better place. The problem is that we are incapable if we try to do it in our own strength but there is nobody on this earth capable of leading us to that ‘utopia’.  Is it even possible? Well it is, God says so. The future of this planet is not in our hands, it is in Gods hands. Once that original sin was committed the world started to decay. Decay is all around us, everything is dying, even the Universe itself. Things can only get better but will get far worse first. God will intervene. Jesus is returning but before that great day there will be much suffering, the suffering we inflict upon ourselves and that which God metes out to those who continue in disobedience. It is written in Scripture, it is a prophetic message and we ignore it at our peril. In the end all will bow down to God, every person in every nation will bow down. Why not do it willingly rather than being forced to? Come to the author of life and bow the knee before Him. Do it before it is too late. Jesus will save you, no-one else can, especially yourself.

Shirley Anne

Fresher

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A pair of Wellington boots

A pair of Wellington boots (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The weather on Saturday was so much fresher and cooler too, just as I like it though the wind picked up a little, just as I don’t like it. It was however quite pleasant, a day for doing things outdoors. There were things to be done in the garden though none of them were absolutely necessary to be done immediately, in fact one is better to be done when it is Autumn and when there are no ants scurrying about and making a nuisance of themselves. There is a small area adjacent to the natural stone path I laid around the mound last year which needs finishing off.  I need to lay some more stone where the path joins with the flower bed and the concrete paving in that spot but at the moment ants have been too busy and have made their presence known whenever I have been removing weeds. I don’t want to be overrun with ants whilst I am working. When I laid the path last year I was wearing toe protecting Wellington boots because I was handling large slabs of stone and if there were any ants to worry about I doubt they’d have remained on my boots for long. The ground was being disturbed too much for them to stay in the area but this smaller area requires that I am kneeling down and would most definitely be covered with them in minutes. So no work of that nature in the garden until the weather cools down considerably. It was nice weather for walking though so in the afternoon I did just that. Over the last couple of weeks I have worked on Saturday morning but only because the work was either in the form of an emergency or it was easy to do. I do not encourage people to ask that I work on a weekend, after all I need the rest too. I am usually asked because the caller works during the week and is only at home on a Saturday or Sunday and they can’t be bothered to take a day or a morning off work. Saturdays and Sundays are usually the only days I can ensure to have to myself to do the things I want or to do the things I need to do at home. I can never be sure that someone won’t call me during the week to do a job for them, even when I deliberately take that day off. My only recourse is to switch off my phone and sometimes I will do that. Messages can always be left. It is approaching the time of year I like most, the Autumn and I can feel it in the air.

Shirley Anne

Before breakfast

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Diagram of a possible configuration of ring fi...

Diagram of a possible configuration of ring final circuit. Consumer unit (fuse box) is at bottom left. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The much-needed rain started to fall on Thursday night so when I arose on Friday I expected it to be still raining and it was, in fact it rained well into the afternoon. I didn’t therefore need to water the gardens. I was lying there in bad fully awake and it was about seven-thirty. I had a good night’s sleep and had a bit more sleep than usual but there was no hurry to get up. I lay there in prayer but at eight o’clock the house phone rang. I picked up the receiver and the caller, who was calling on behalf of his neighbour, a very elderly man, needed someone to sort out an electrical problem which kept cutting off the supply. He asked if he had disturbed me from my bed to which I responded with a ‘yes’ but was about to get up anyway. How folk seem to know I am lying down in bed when they call so early is a mystery but I suppose my voice will sound slightly different when lying down. It wasn’t that I had been awakened by the call for I had been awake for over a half-hour. Anyway I told him I would be there as soon as I had dressed. The apartment is in my village and only half a mile or so away. I was there around thirty-five minutes later. As you might have guessed I can wash, dress and apply my make-up very quickly if I have to. The first thing I had to do once there was to remove all appliances from the circuit and isolate the cables at source. As it happened there was an extra cable in the circuit breaker which supplied an isolated outlet which wasn’t faulty and I left it connected so that I could connect the tropical fish tank and maintain the fishes’ environment for I had no idea how long it would take me to repair the fault. I also connected the refrigerator to an outlet on the cooker control switch in order to keep the food inside fresh. Now I could get down to the business of locating the fault on the power outlet ‘ring main’. Some countries don’t use ring circuits for their power outlets but wire each outlet independently to its own breaker at source. A ring circuit is just that, two cables wired into the same circuit protector which form a continuous ring on which all the outlets are connected. See above drawing. Each of the two systems has its advantages and disadvantages. With a ring circuit one has to split the ring at some point and test each ‘half’ to see which remains at fault and then by splitting the faulty section in the same way it is simply a process of diminishing elimination until the fault is pinpointed. It can take hours or minutes depending on the layout. In this case the fault lay behind the refrigerator and in fact was the outlet itself. Although it looked alright visually there was an internal fault shorting the live and earth terminals. I replaced the outlet, replaced all those I had removed in the process, tested the whole circuit and then reinstated the supply. Everything back to normal. The old guy was so grateful that I had called so promptly as was his neighbour and he kept on saying things like ‘You are doing very well girl’ and ‘I’m in safe hands aren’t I girl’, occasionally calling me by name. ‘Girl’ is a local expression used by people from Liverpool and indeed the old guy was born and originally lived there, just like myself. People might say ‘Alright girl’ or ‘Alright luv’ when greeting someone. It is simply a common expression of the area. I was home by ten-fifteen and sat down to enjoy a late breakfast. No sooner had I finished when the old guy phoned me and asked if I could supply him with a receipt for the work as he thought he might be able to recover some of the cost from his landlord. Normally I don’t give out receipts unless asked when once I wrote one out for every job no matter how small. Had he asked whilst I was there I would have given him one but I wrote one out and walked there to hand it to him. I took the opportunity to walk into the village and make a deposit in my bank. My umbrella had one of its rare outings for it was still raining.

Shirley Anne

A quick meal

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English: This is a roll of Gaffer tape. It was...

This is a roll of Gaffer tape.

I had a little electrical job to do on Thursday morning and I arose early so that I could be there early too. I knew the weather was going to change by evening time and we were to expect heavy rain throughout the night and on into the middle of Friday. I have to say the weather over the last couple of days has been tiring for me. I don’t like it when it is too warm for it drains the energy from me. The rain would be bringing a fresher climate, one that I much prefer. Nevertheless I watered the rear garden plants, those which would otherwise suffer without a watering, those newly planted. Their roots have not yet spread deep enough to where water should be present so I have been keeping the ground moist while there has been no rain. Similarly I watered a few plants in the front garden too for the same reason. Established plants are more resilient to dry spells but even they get a soaking if it hasn’t rained for a time. After breakfast I had enough time to read my emails and write to a friend before driving off to work. It was a simple job but then I only do small electrical jobs these days. I had to fit a few new light switches and power outlets as the old ones had been removed by the decorator working at the house. He had also used gaffer tape to wrap the bare conductors but I couldn’t see the reason for that. He should have used proper insulating tape of course but most folk don’t understand and think any tape will give adequate protection.  Not that it mattered in this instance for

Electrical tape

Electrical tape (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

the conductors were not separated so in the event that someone should reinstate the supply there would be a short-circuit. Secondly gaffer tape is not insulation tape and finally it was most difficult to remove. Maybe I should have got the decorator to remove it himself. I had been at the house back in March carrying out similar work. It appears the owner is having the house redecorated room by room as slowly as possible it seems! One of the power outlets was in a very awkward place beneath a new piece of fitted furniture without regard to accessibility. It was the very devil of a job trying to fit the new outlet I can tell you. Why oh why don’t people think things out before proceeding with a project? I had one ceiling light to fit but the bracket that attaches it to the ceiling had not been removed prior to the ceiling being skimmed with new plaster. Yes, it was now beneath the surface and had to be removed causing some damage in the process. It drives me mad that I have to correct other people’s mistakes before I can do the work I was asked to do. Soon I had it all done however and drove homeward, stopping along the way to carry out a little job for an old lady who had earlier phoned asking if I could disconnect her meter! She really meant that I should disconnect an off-peak fuseboard from the meter which was going to be replaced with a ‘smart’ meter. The off-peak circuits were no longer wanted. Why the engineer doing that couldn’t disconnect the fuseboard is beyond logic but I hear this attitude often, nobody wants to do anything beyond their strict obligations. I had it done in a couple of minutes then drove home. It was eleven-thirty so I parked my van and walked to the pub for a quick meal and it was quick, as soon as I had eaten it I left and walked back home. There was no point in staying at the pub once I had finished for there was no-one there to speak with, a now regular thing in my life unfortunately. I spent the afternoon alone at home once again. I needed the rest, I needed to relax for I wasn’t feeling at my best. I should by now be taking things more slowly but I am always on edge, always ready for something to do.

Shirley Anne

’twas on a Wednesday morning

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How do you like Wednesday?

How do you like Wednesday? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

..That I beheld my darling…

Yeah I wish! Actually I don’t wish but to continue….The title just popped into my head and you might say well dear, there’s plenty of room for it! I jest of course, honestly. As is my usual want whenever I have no work scheduled I tend to look for things to do at home and if it is dry outdoors then I look for thing to do outside. The weather has been favourably dry and warm for a change though by the time you are reading this it may be pouring down with rain as promised. Anyway for some years now we have had a copper-coloured (leaves) tree in a small plant pot on one side of the patio which has been in the shade during the afternoon, only getting sunshine during the mornings. The tree is supposed to grow to a height of around 10 feet (3 metres) but is only about 18 inches (half a metre) in height. There was a suitable spot in the border on the right of the patio against the wall but it was taken up by a small plant and there was a suitable spot to move that small plant just a half-metre away. I decided therefore to move the small plant and put the tree in the space left. Hopefully now it will have the freedom to grow to a normal height. Naturally I have placed fertilizer beneath it to aid with its establishment. I had also been pondering what to do in the new mound in which I had planted some shrubs beneath the existing tall trees there. There was too much exposed soil between the plants. A month or two ago I had placed some natural stone slabs in the mound, and we have plenty of those from digging out the old mound last summer. I placed another five slabs in there on Wednesday morning too so the mound looks more natural than it did before. I think natural stone slabs and rocks strategically placed make all the difference, especially once the plants are established. After all that work I watered the garden and returned indoors for a coffee but not for long, I was out again this time only to get a few screwdrivers from the toolbox in my van which needed grinding and set about grinding their tips. We have had a grinding machine in the cellar for years along with a metal heavy-duty vice. They have become so valuable over the years for doing things at home. They both sit on the large work bench we constructed not long after we had moved into the house in 1988. By the time I had everything done that I wished to get done it was still only 9 o’clock! Then I got a call to an electrical job just a few hundred metres from home and all on a Wednesday morning.

Shirley Anne