Minkyweasel World

One Girl's Outlook On Life

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Plans, plumbs and applecarts

Posted by Shirley Anne on September 22, 2014

I am at another low ebb as I write this on Thursday late in the afternoon. E is out doing the weekly shop and I have just finished cleaning my dishes after having a very late lunch of poached fish and fried tomatoes. To be perfectly truthful I don’t much fancy doing anything though I know I could be or perhaps should be. I cannot make up my mind most of the time. I arose a tad later than usual this morning but was still downstairs around 9 o’clock to eat a small bowl of porridge in which I put sultanas, topping it off with blueberries floating in the milk. Strange I know but healthy and for me anyway, tasty. Since purchasing those plumbing materials yesterday my immediate thoughts turned to using them and when! Sometimes I am reluctant to start jobs thinking to myself that there might be a problem of one sort or another and I’ll end up making a mess of it. I don’t know why I think like that as it is symptomatic of someone lacking confidence, something I have in abundance when it comes to tackling most things. I thought to myself which part do I get to grips with first, this part or that part and if I do that part, which is more involved and may tie me down? Irrational thinking as in this case in particular it doesn’t matter! Now that we have three places in which we can wash, bath and use the toilet I could make a start on either project. I am referring to the alterations to our main soil and waste-water pipes I have talked about in the two previous posts. As it happens if I were to work on one pipe system we would have one bathroom still available for use but if I were to start on the other pipe system we would still have two bathrooms that we could use. What difference would it make? None. In the event I decided to make a start on the pipe nearest the garage which serves the wet room and an upstairs en-suite bathroom. The main part of the job was to replace the two metre high cast iron pipe with a plastic equivalent (see first picture). Only two drain pipes connected with it, the soil pipe from the wet room toilet pan and the pipe from the maceration unit in  the en-suite room. The waste from the wet room sink and wet floor drain would be diverted and connected to the new pipe once it was in. So I had to first of all disconnect the pipe from the en-suite then dig out the cement seal around the base of the cast iron pipe. Separating the wet room toilet pan waste pipe from the cast iron pipe I gently lifted it out of the ground to reveal the earthenware pipe it was seated within. A few minutes later I had the plastic replacement pipe in the hole and the toilet reconnected (see second picture). I then cemented around the base leaving the wet room facilities available to use once more.Cast iron pipeNew pipe At this moment I have yet to replace the en-suite pipe and redirect the water drain from the wet room to connect with the new pipe but that requires the pipe to be drilled and connecting collars to be fitted. At least the main part is completed and all without any hang-ups. I wonder why I lack faith in my capabilities when I know I am perfectly able. My plans are now set in stone, I know what I have to do next and I shall do it. Isn’t it sometime the way that when things are seemingly going the way you want something comes along to upset the apple cart? As my readers will know I have a couple of projects to do at home, two of which I have made inroads upon but this plumbing project now has to take precedence and that is eating away at funds I had set aside for the other work. I am not doing any electrical work for the next week or so which means income from that quarter has stopped too. I want to get on with things, the things I want to get on with rather than those that have been put upon me recently. I reached that point today where I ignored the calls to me mobile phone and the text messages too. When I checked them later I discovered one call was from my neighbour probably asking me to do a job for her and the other messages were from my mobile phone service provider asking me silly questions about their website. Mobile phones can be just too convenient and just as irritating when you are busy. No doubt I will be doing more work on the latest project tomorrow, unless something else crops up!

Shirley Anne

Posted in DIY, Domestic Projects | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The cost of it all!

Posted by Shirley Anne on September 21, 2014

English: Complicated black pipework

Complicated black pipework (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After receiving a letter from United Utilities regarding the proposed survey of our drainage systems under the directive of  Environment Agency I decided to carry out a survey of my own. I had never considered the implications of using rain and surface water drains for the disposal of waste water from kitchen and bathroom sinks and other equipment but was now being challenged concerning the subject. As most houses I have ever been in often use surface water drains for the disposal of domestic washing water I never thought anything about it. I have over the years done extensive alterations to the plumbing arrangements in our house and one project I am keen to make a proper start on involves adding extra plumbing too. That project as many of my readers will know is converting a room in the cellar into a toilet. The internal pipework isn’t a problem because both hot and cold water pipes already exist in there but the waste pipes are not. However one of the two soil pipes is located near to the room. You can see it in the first picture in the previous post, it being the one furthest from the garage mentioned in the same post. Now then, as I have it in mind to carry out the alterations to the existing drains myself (also in the previous post) I went out on Wednesday morning to purchase some of the materials. Basically I wanted to purchase the main pipework and fittings that will enable all the other alterations to connect to the main soil pipes. I didn’t buy all the parts I will need for some of the smaller pipes and connections have yet to be decided upon but at least I can have the main pipes installed ready and waiting. One thing leads to another here for to be able to install the soil pipes in the proposed new toilet and hence onward to accommodate the rest of the pipework alterations I will need to remove the floor tiles in there in order to establish the level of the new floor. If I don’t do that the toilet will not connect properly when I come to fit it! Planning ahead is vital when carrying out any major work. Anyway, I bought three lengths of plastic pipe, one 150mm diameter and two at 50mm together with elbows, tee pieces and clips which all cost me £106. A lot of money for a relatively small amount of plastic I thought and might yet be doubled to complete the work though I do have a lot of pipes and a few fittings in storage at home. That is another good reason not to buy everything at once. Whilst at the merchants I received a phone call asking if I could help someone with an electrical problem. I drove there when I’d finished my business with the plumber’s merchant. The house was a half-mile distant. I had the problem sorted in twenty minutes and was duly paid for my services which went some way toward offsetting my expenditure on the plastic. This week and next I have removed my advert from the newspaper so that I can have two weeks free from my work. It isn’t for a holiday though, it is for personal reasons I won’t go into here. I may however do some work at home as and when the mood takes me.

Shirley Anne

Posted in DIY, Plumbing | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A plumbing I will go

Posted by Shirley Anne on September 20, 2014

Looks like I have quite a bit of plumbing to do in the next couple of months or so. I was in receipt of a letter from United Utilities who informed me, us, and I suppose everyone else in the neighbourhood that a contracting firm would be calling in the near future on their behalf. The name of that firm sounds Polish or Latvian but that is neither here nor there, the main thrust of the work is to assess and ensure that waste water from baths and sinks, dishwashers and washing machines and similar equipment is connected to soil pipes together with toilet waste and not to rainwater drain and surface water drains. It is part of a directive from the Environment Agency who are concerned that untreated waste water doesn’t find itself in rivers and streams thus polluting them. Well that is commendable and right but it is going to leave many people with the headache and inconvenience of re-organising their domestic waste water pipe installations, our house included. At present we have two large soil pipes both located on the west wall of the house, one near to the garage E uses and the other towards the other end of the same wall nearer the garden. See picture below. Water drains 005 The first one takes away toilet waste from the downstairs wet room together with the ‘Saniflo’ waste (macerated waste) from everything in the en-suite bathroom adjacent to E’s bedroom. The Saniflo waste is over the little window and connects at the large elbow out of sight in this picture. Water drains 007 The wet room waste is the one to the left flowing into the smaller cast-iron pipe. The wet room toilet waste is the larger pipe at the top. The other main soil pipe takes away the waste from the upstairs bathroom toilet only. See picture below. The horizontal pipe is the one I installed when refurbishing the bathroom.Water drains 004 There are three rain and surface water pipes flowing into a grid but two of those pipes have baths and sink waste pipes connected to them. At the rear of the house we have a kitchen waste pipe flushing into a surface water grid and two sinks, one in the cellar and one in the room adjacent to the kitchen together with the waste from the dishwasher in the same room and the washing machine in the same room as the sink in the cellar, all flowing into another surface water grid. Other rain water pipes flow into dedicated surface water grids. The vanity unit sink in my bedroom flows into a rainwater downspout. All these sinks, baths and washing machines waste pipes need to be connected to the two soil pipes which entails quite some work to achieve. I have made a preliminary survey of what needs to be done and have come up with a solution to resolving the problem. It will mean installing an internal soil pipe arrangement in the laundry room into which all the waste water pipes (except for the kitchen waste shown in the next picture) at the rear of the house can be connected and it will have to run through the proposed new toilet room. That could prove an advantage when installing the toilet pan in there. The main bathroom bath and sink waste (the small white pipe in the picture above) will have to be connected to the existing soil pipe at high level whilst the other soil pipe near to the garage will  have to be replaced in part with plastic to accommodate the waste from the wet room sink and floor drain. The kitchen sink waste will have to be re-routed out of the side of the house a couple of metres below the bathroom toilet waste as shown in the preceding picture.It will then connect to the main soil pipe on the right. By the way the rubbish you see bagged in the picture below all came out of the mound when we were digging it out a couple of months ago. We haven’t yet decided what to do with it but I’m sure we’ll think of something! Water drains 003 The pipe is made of cast iron and may prove a little difficult to remove but fortunately it sits in a collar so may be easier than I think. After so many years of pipes being incorrectly connected they now decide it has all got to change. there may be the possibility of getting a grant to cover the cost in which case I will have the work done by others. If not then I will have to do it myself. I am capable and it can be done in stages to minimise the inconvenience.The following pictures show the pipes which must be removed and run inside the laundry room to connect to a new pipe which will eventually connect with the main soil pipe shown two pictures above but at low level. Plenty of work to be getting on with once I have assessed what materials I will need.

Water drains 001Water drains 002

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the left picture the pipe on the right is the one from the sink in the room next to the kitchen and is the one that needs to be removed and re-routed into the laundry below. In the other picture there are three pipes coming through the wall which all have to be run inside the laundry to connect to a new drain. The window is in the laundry room.

Shirley Anne

Posted in Plumbing | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A chill in the air

Posted by Shirley Anne on September 19, 2014

woman wearing silky nylon-stockings

Woman wearing silky nylon-stockings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mornings, that is early in the mornings, it has been somewhat cooler of late. So much cooler in fact that if I have to go out for any reason I am obliged to wear a coat, at least a lightweight coat. It is the time of year when it is necessary to begin wearing warmer clothing yet by midday it is warm enough to discard some of it. A lightweight coat or a cardigan is easy to remove and so that is what I am doing. My thoughts are turning to when I will start wearing stockings again, which usually happens around late September or early October. Throughout the warmer months I go bare-legged for as much as I love wearing nylon stockings they are far too uncomfortable when it is warm. Besides which my legs need some sunshine too. I like this time of year but for me it is at its best toward the end of November when all the leaves have fallen and the air is cool and damp. I don’t really know why I should prefer it cooler rather than warmer but that is the way it is. It isn’t that I don’t like it hot it is just that I like it cooler more. There is something sad and melancholy about Autumn that for me isn’t present in the other seasons yet I am filled with joy when it is Autumn but that hasn’t anything to do with wearing nylon stockings. Along the coast where I live at this time of year it is very often foggy over the sea and the sea itself or the beach cannot be seen when even a short distance from them. As the season of Autumn begins that fog drifts further inland too and everywhere becomes wet, in the mornings at least. As Summer ends at the beginning of next week and Autumn takes over I will most probably be doing little work in my capacity as an electrician for I have cancelled my advertisement for two weeks. Maybe I will get the chance to do some shopping and buy some new clothes for the season. It has been a while since I went shopping for clothes and this is the best time to do it, before the season starts in earnest.

Update: Looks as if my spare cash is about to be swallowed up on other things but hopefully I will have something extra with which to go shopping! That’s life!

Shirley Anne

Tomorrow: A plumbing I will go

 

Posted in Clothes, Seasons | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Strange?

Posted by Shirley Anne on September 18, 2014

What theories do you come up with to explain them?

Shirley Anne

Posted in Unexplained phenomena | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Pointed South and drove!

Posted by Shirley Anne on September 17, 2014

English: F.O. Stanley and his wife, Flora, dro...

F.O. Stanley and his wife, Flora, drove an automobile to the top of Mount Washington to become the first humans to make this journey by car. Mount Washington is located in New Hampshire in the United States and is the highest mountain on the eastern seaboard of North America. The car was named the “Stanley Automobile”. It traveled approximately 7.6 miles. Descending, the engine was put in low gear, and brakes were used extensively. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Saturday I felt like going for a drive somewhere, anywhere, just to get out of the house. I don’t do that very often and usually decide on the spur of the moment. I would have gone earlier but our youngest son had stayed the night again and I wasn’t able to get my vehicle out of the garage for he had parked his car in front of it! I hadn’t an appointment so I wasn’t in any hurry. Had I been so I would have done something about it. As it was I finally managed to drive off just after 12.30. He seems to be spending more time here than he does at his own place but at least we get to see him. E had driven off somewhere too, about a half-hour earlier but she had been able to get her car out of the garage! We have two garages but anyone calling tend to leave their cars on the driveway in front of the garage I use. That is probably because the driveway is a little wider I suppose. I drove off in the direction of Liverpool. I seem to be drawn there a lot these days. My old town, well it is a city, has changed immensely since I left there back in 1974 and not least of all in the layout of the roads. Those on the outskirts of the city centre haven’t changed much other than being upgraded and tidied up to make them more presentable but the ones in and around the centre can be a bit of a nightmare to negotiate if going from ‘A’ to ‘B’ within the centre itself unless one is used to the new layout. I have to say at this point that I am quite familiar with most of the roads but certain ones I have yet to get to grips with. Isn’t it always the way that when negotiating a chosen route slowly in case a turn is missed other drivers become impatient? I am sure they have been in similar situations where they have been on unfamiliar routes and have had to slow down too. Actually I was simply driving through with no particular place to go though I wanted to remain driving in the right direction nevertheless. It wouldn’t have made much difference had I missed a turn or two as I was only out for a drive. As it happened I had no such problems in the route I had taken but I did slow down on one or two occasions. I had no idea where I would end up on the other side of the city, that is I hadn’t selected anywhere in particular. I ended up driving eastward and away from the city. I enjoy driving, I always have, especially in the twilight hours or at night but even during the day I find it pleasurable. After driving for a couple of hours my tummy decided that it wanted something in it but I found myself in open country with no prospect of finding a decent eating house! Eventually I found somewhere, a pub/restaurant, parked up and went inside for a meal. It used to be that whenever I ate alone I got some strange looks from some of the other diners as if I should have been in company. Some people are odd aren’t they? If I am alone and I am hungry I eat! Sometimes when eating alone or drinking alone, not that I drink (alcohol) anymore, I get to chat with people. Maybe they think I need someone to chat with, who knows? I pushed the boat out a bit and treated myself to a good meal with all the trimmings for a change, never mind the cost. I spent almost two hours in there by which time the afternoon was all but over and I headed off homeward. E had returned whilst I had been out and was tapping away at her keyboard, probably entering more competitions as is her want. I think she spends far too much time on her computer but that is her choice. I prefer to go for a drive or a walk or for a train ride!

Shirley Anne

Posted in Driving | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

Things are picking up again

Posted by Shirley Anne on September 16, 2014

Workload

Workload (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My workload took a bit of a dive at the beginning of the month though I did get requests for my services. However many of the requests turned out to be too great for me to take on-board. I limit my workload these days and my advertisement indicates that I take on small jobs but it seems some people take no notice and offer me large contracts! Nice to be wanted for sure but come on I am fast approaching 69 years of age and although I could take on the work it would probably take too much of a toll on my well-being! Besides that the job would probably take me too long anyway, I cannot work as fast as I once could. I am not that slow though as many folk have told me recently. It is all relative though isn’t it? Anyhow work is now coming in bit by bit and at a pace which suits me fine. Not having much to do at home with my latest project of converting a room in the cellar into a toilet because I am waiting upon the services of a builder I am more available for any electrical jobs that might come my way. It is just as well in any case as I need to rebuild my bank account savings! I am seriously thinking of refurbishing one of the four bedrooms located on the first floor which will cost around £2000 and am eager to do that but again I am biding my time for the moment. The house has seven bedrooms, the other three are located on the second floor but only one of them looks anything like a bedroom at the moment as one of the other two is filled with my eldest son’s furniture and the third is full of cardboard boxes with things in them mainly belonging to E. Even the one that is usable as a bedroom has many other things stored in there too. At the moment I have other things on my mind so it may be a while before I get to grips with it all. In the meantime I am content to simply plod on with my electrical work, as long as it keeps coming in!

Shirley Anne

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Clean sweeping

Posted by Shirley Anne on September 14, 2014

Norton 360 version 1.0 box art

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

We’ve all heard of having a clean sweep, a Spring clean and a tidy-up. We do it in our homes, our office desks and desktop but how many do it on their computers? When we use our computers on-line, downloading data of one sort or another we can collect a lot of debris with it. Even if we delete programs and files there are sometimes bits of data still left on the machine. In fact, when we delete programs and files they can still remain on the hard drive hidden from access. The registry files and program files can get mixed up too and need de-fragmenting occasionally. All these things serve to slow the machine down. We may also have old unused programs and those which are outdated that need to be removed too. There are programs that will take care of tidying up our hard drives, some of them good and some not so good, some are expensive and some can even be free to use, though the latter tend to fall short of being useful. We can also buy into regular maintenance whereby a remote operator cleans up the computer for us. Late last year I came across one such service which for an annual fee would clean the computer as many times as I desired during the year should it be necessary. At that time I was experiencing many problems with my machine and was looking for a solution that wouldn’t cost me the Earth but couldn’t find one that I thought was reasonably priced. Ideally it would be best to have a program sitting on the computer which could be activated at any time to clean out the rubbish. There are programs available which do this to a point but the ones I’ve seen so far do not do a comprehensive clean-up. So it was that I bought one year’s cover with an American company and had my computer thoroughly cleaned by a remote operator. Once I had enabled the file allowing remote control all I had to do was more or less sit there and watch the cursor seemingly moving about the screen all by itself. Of course it wasn’t, a girl at the other end of the connection in the US had complete control. I have to admit that the experience was a little unnerving but as I watched I could see the work that needed to be done to put things right. After about forty minutes all was done but I discovered that one or two settings had been altered against my preferred options and a couple of plug-ins and extensions seemed to be missing. I corrected those things myself once the session had finished. The result? My computer was running as smoothly as on the first day I’d bought it. As it is nearing the termination of my subscription I thought I’d get the computer cleaned up once more and I connected to the site on Tuesday afternoon. It took about forty minutes to do but again I had a program missing, an extension called ‘Last Pass’ which looks after my site passwords and settings and automatically connects for me so that I don’t have to remember sign-in details. In fact I have two such programs, the other being that supplied by Symantec on their Norton 360 anti-virus software. Windows itself has the facility too but I’ve never used it. With the number of sites I visit regularly I need to be automatically signed-in. So now my machine is again running smoothly. I know I can do a lot myself like de-fragmentation, emptying out files and optimising the drive using Norton 360 and I do but some things cannot be done with it. Computers are wonderful tools but can be costly and time-consuming to keep them in working order.

Shirley Anne

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Woof-woof

Posted by Shirley Anne on September 13, 2014

English: Female Border collie puppy, about 9 w...

Female Border collie puppy, about 9 weeks old (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now I like dogs. They are my favourite in the animal kingdom. I have owned a few of them over the years. However I don’t like them all. Small dogs I tend to dislike the most for it seems they have an attitude problem, probably because of their size. It is fair to say they aren’t all like that but even so I prefer the larger breeds. I get to see many dogs in my travels as an electrician so I am quite used to their behaviour. Some of them are quite aggressive, some are over-friendly to the point of being a nuisance, getting in the way whilst I am trying to work. I put that down to their owners though who should know better than to leave their animals roaming about when people are working in their homes. Speaking of this in particular, I was working in a house a few years ago and had several floorboards up in the hallway and lounge. The lady of the house owned a poodle which although was only six months old was still quite large but being a puppy and an excitable one too, it was all over the place. It was a wonder it didn’t end up down one of the holes in the floor. After a few minutes I had to insist that she take the dog away to another room for I couldn’t concentrate on what I was doing. To my surprise the woman seemed a little offended and explained that it was only a puppy. Well that was alright for the puppy but not for anyone working there. She did remove the dog and I was able to get on with the work. I can understand why postmen have problems but when you have to enter the premises as well it can be more problematical.

jack russel terrier

Jack Russel terrier (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One thing I don’t like about some dogs is their lack of obedience. Again this is down to their owner not having trained them properly or even at all. Dogs that do not stop barking are another pet (forgive the pun) hate of mine but this too is down to a lack of training or the dog has been left alone too long or is even suffering in some way. There are a few people near to where I live who own dogs, my next door neighbour is one. Her dog is a Border Collie but it is well-behaved and seldom barks for no reason. Another neighbour, whose rear garden adjoins ours, has two small dogs, one of them is a Jack Russel terrier who barks at anything and everything when let out into the garden. It is quite frankly a pest. Next door to them is another dog owner. Their dog is a larger breed but I am not sure of its pedigree. It also barks too much at times, in fact this particular dog was barking continuously for about a half-hour on Sunday afternoon whilst I was relaxing out on the patio. I have to say I was very annoyed at the owner for not doing something about it though they may not have been there. I remember one day a few years back when there was a dog barking all day long. That dog was remote from our house but could still be heard. It only happened once so I assume the owner had been inundated with so many complaints that they dared not let it happen again. It is a breach of the peace to allow a dog to bark continuously and it cannot benefit the dog very much either. Yes I love dogs, most of the time!

Shirley Anne

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

You need Him more than you know

Posted by Shirley Anne on September 12, 2014

English: Jesus Christ - detail from Deesis mos...

Jesus Christ – detail from Deesis mosaic, Hagia Sophia, Istanbul (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been reading the Book of Job in the Old Testament of The Bible as part of my ongoing study of Scripture. I have said before that I have read The Bible many times from beginning to end and that each time I read something from it I learn something new or are shown something in a different light. As a Christian I have an obligation and a desire to tell others about Salvation, about our need for it, about our Creator God and the love He has for every one of us no matter who we are. I make no excuses for doing so here but I do realise that not all of my readers believe in what I have to say. All I ask is that they read it with an open mind and heart. It is also for this reason that I don’t swamp my blog with too many references to the Christian faith. I don’t wish to drive folk away. In that light you will find me posting such things infrequently. Anyway, back to today’s post. In an effort to show the love that God has I use Scripture itself and whilst I was reading through this particular passage it dawn on me that yet again God is telling us of His love and what He had planned in advance of it actually happening. The Book of Job it is said is probably one of if not the oldest in The Bible so it is even more amazing that we find messages in it relating to future events. In God’s eyes we are all sinners, yes even Christians and because of that God has His back to us. As a righteous and holy God He must mete out the punishment we deserve, however, this is something He really doesn’t wish to do but has to because He is not a liar. If we play a game of football we abide by the rules for if we don’t there is a penalty to pay. God sets the rules for life so if we don’t abide by them there is also a penalty to pay and that could be everlasting. Job was an upright and righteous man who became afflicted and lost everything but through it all he never blamed God. During his discourse he had these words to say to the friends who had come to console him….

Job chapter 9

25 ‘My days are swifter than a runner;
they fly away without a glimpse of joy.
26 They skim past like boats of papyrus,
like eagles swooping down on their prey.
27 If I say, “I will forget my complaint,
I will change my expression, and smile,”
28 I still dread all my sufferings,
for I know you will not hold me innocent.
29 Since I am already found guilty,
why should I struggle in vain?
30 Even if I washed myself with soap
and my hands with cleansing powder,
31 you would plunge me into a slime pit
so that even my clothes would detest me.

32 ‘He is not a mere mortal like me that I might answer him,
that we might confront each other in court.
33 If only there were someone to mediate between us,
someone to bring us together,
34 someone to remove God’s rod from me,
so that his terror would frighten me no more.
35 Then I would speak up without fear of him,
but as it now stands with me, I cannot.

…………….As you can see (highlighted in red) he realised that no matter how clean and pure he might have thought he was God would show him that he was no better than if he had been wallowing in a slimy pit, he was still unclean and filled with sin. No matter what we do either, we are still sinners in Gods pure eyes. He called out in a plea wishing there was an intercessor between himself and God, someone to speak on his behalf, someone to plead his case. In the next chapter we read the following……

Chapter 10

12 You gave me life and showed me kindness,
and in your providence watched over my spirit.

………God did show him kindness and restored him. God shows that same kindness to us too. He provided a mediator, an intercessor for us too. That person is Jesus Christ himself. He is the one who stands in our place, the one who has dealt with our uncleanliness, our impurity, our sins. All this is ours if we accept this free gift from God. God lays down the rules and dishes out the punishment and in Jesus Christ has shown us a way out. There is but one mediator between God and man and that is Jesus. No-one else can do it. Come to him and find out..

Shirley Anne.

Posted in Gods love, Gods love through Jesus, Jesus | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

£13,000,000,000 per year!

Posted by Shirley Anne on September 11, 2014

When overall harm to society and the drug user...

When overall harm to society and the drug user are considered together, alcohol is by far the most damaging (despite being legal more often than the other drugs) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That is thirteen billion pounds, the estimated cost to the public purse each year dealing with the consequences of drug and alcohol abuse! What could that money be spent on instead? We bemoan the fact that our NHS (National Health System) is underfunded and understaffed. Specialist machines, scanners and other vital equipment is in short supply yet it could all be put right if those members of the public who use drugs and drink to excess ceased to do so. Drugs and alcohol are a scourge in Society and they destroy families, neighbourhoods and lives. I feel sorry for our police forces and other services who have to deal with the consequences, especially as they are also short-staffed and underfunded. Life would be better for everyone if there were no such thing as drug and alcohol abuse. The problem with Society is Society itself and although the official stance is against the over indulgence of alcohol and the illegal use of drugs I fear the war isn’t being won despite all that is being done. To put it bluntly Society is going slowly downhill and I cannot see if it will ever change for the better. There seems to be an attitude that says leave me be and let me do my own thing and never mind what effect it has on everyone else. If only time could be rewound. I could suggest a solution and I am sure many would agree with me. I would place all repeating offenders on a guarded island away from the rest of us. Well maybe not but solutions that work bringing permanent results are hard to find. I agree that help should be afforded to individuals who have succumbed to drug and alcohol abuse but there is a limit to what can be done. Getting people ‘clean’ again is an uphill struggle that isn’t always successful and some just don’t want the help anyway. Such is the grip these substances have on the human frame. The problem is that rehabilitation costs money too! Those under the influence are destroying themselves and are certainly not doing the rest of us any favours. Think of all that useful cash being wasted on individuals bent on making it worse.There isn’t a place left in this country that hasn’t been or is being affected by this modern scourge. Cannabis ‘farms’ are sprouting up all over the place. There was even one found in a house further up the road where I live in a supposedly ‘nice’ residential part of town. Well it still is a nice part of town for the rest of the residents. Some countries have legalised or de-criminalised the use of certain drugs but that only serves to lessen the pressure on those who have to deal with the after effects and doesn’t lessen the effect it has on decent law-abiding people and the environment we all have to share.

Shirley Anne

 

Posted in Society, Sociology | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Laughing at me

Posted by Shirley Anne on September 10, 2014

English: Walk-behind lawn mower

Walk-behind lawn mower (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Saturday afternoon I was looking out of the kitchen window whilst washing some dishes and saw that the grass had grown somewhat and needed cutting. Since I got the petrol mower working, mowing the lawn has been so easy, even when the grass is wet. It had been raining a little during the morning. I got the mower out of the garage and started it up. It is the same model as shown except the base colour of the unit is yellow rather than green as in the picture. Soon I had reached the opposite side of the lawn with just over one more pass down the length of it left to mow when the machine started to cough and splutter. It had just run out of fuel. I must have only had 20 metres of grass to cut. Oh well, into the garage for the petrol can and a spot of oil and soon the machine was working again. A few seconds later the lawn was completely cut. Now at this time of year there are lots of leaves lying about and sure enough the area around the larger greenhouse was littered with them. Some leaves have actually found themselves between the greenhouse glass and the brick wall against which it stands. The gap between them is only around 10 cm or slightly more and of course during the Autumn it gets full of leaves. However I don’t generally remove them at that time of year but wait until the winter is over and do it then. If I were to clean it out now it would be full again in a matter of days and the autumnal season has not yet started in earnest. I removed the leaves I could easily reach with the broom and swept up the whole pathway in the process. I know I shall have to repeat the task again once all the leaves start to fall. For the time being everything is clean and tidy. Then I swept along the path in front of the apple trees and the borders beneath them were once again full of weeds. They seemed to be laughing at me for it was only a couple of days previous that I had pulled many of the blighters out! I didn’t remove them all at this pass for that would have taken too long but I removed all the large ones. To confound it a little the soil was also strewn with strawberry plants that had sprouted from the many tendrils that had found their way across the short distance between the rear of the border and the raised planting bed which at the moment is full of strawberry plants. E usually does the weeding at close quarters using her kneeling frame but for some reason she hasn’t bothered lately. She has been busy in the large greenhouse tending the tomato and cucumber plants and reaping the small harvest we get from them. The other greenhouse hasn’t been used this year for growing anything. Last year and in previous years since it was erected it was full of pepper plants with some tomato plants but again I don’t know why she didn’t bother growing anything in there this year. The main reason I bought the greenhouses in the first place was for her benefit more than my own as she seemed interested in growing food bearing plants. She still is but it seems a waste of time having two greenhouses if only one gets used. I don’t really like gardening and treat it as a necessity to look after it but I am certain that I will have to do more in future as E’s condition prevents her from doing too much. I suppose if and when I retire officially there will be plenty of time to laugh back at the weeds and show them who is boss!

Shirley Anne

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Wide awake or what?

Posted by Shirley Anne on September 9, 2014

Awake is the New Sleep (2005)

Awake is the New Sleep (2005) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t need much sleep so when I go to bed it is as late as possible or I go early and get up early. That works for me for if I have an early appointment I know I’ll have no problems pushing back the bedclothes. I set an alarm if I have to get up early or at any particular time but it is only a safeguard just in case I do sleep in too long. Invariably I am already lying there awake before any alarm sounds. Currently I use the alarm feature on my phone. It is probably the only other useful feature on the phone aside from the phone itself. I don’t need the rest of the garbage the manufacturers think I need. My life isn’t ruled or controlled by a gadget. I used to use a mechanical alarm clock until it gave up the ghost several years ago. As the phone had an alarm I didn’t bother buying a new clock. I don’t wear a wrist watch for the same reason. I had occasion to pay a debt recently to the sum of £5200 but I had already paid some of it as a deposit, £500. I paid that partly by cash and partly by debit card. Having decided later to pay the remainder, £4700, I tried to pay using the Internet as I had the recipient’s banking details. When I made the attempt I kept hitting a brick wall. My bank failed to recognise their account. Eventually I gave up trying and was going to ask the recipient if they would accept a credit card payment instead. However it was Saturday and I couldn’t contact them. I had to go into town anyway on Saturday morning to do some shopping and to make a cash deposit into my account. Whilst at the bank I went to the help desk to discuss the problems I had experienced trying to pay my debt. I have three accounts at this bank, a current account, an instant saver account and a web saver account. I don’t keep a large amount of cash in the current account and the instant saver account rarely has more than £2000 in it. I use this account mainly for my business requirements, repairs to my vehicle, tax and so on. The majority of my savings are in the web account and it was from that account I had wished to pay this debt. Well I discovered why I couldn’t, I needed to transfer the monies to the current account first and pay from that account. How ridiculous I thought as I am able to use to instant saver to transfer cash too. It is only the web saver account from which I cannot make a payment it seems yet on the banks website there is no indication of that. As I had decided to pay by card if allowed to I didn’t pay the debt there and then. I will do that using a card once I know I can. There is a reason for using the card, I get a 0.5 or 1.0% cash back on all transactions depending on which card I use. I should have paid the whole amount in the first place I suppose. I sometimes think that if I had a brain or one that was awake when needed  I would be very dangerous indeed! Whilst out shopping I called into the indoor market and was visiting the toilet in there when I passed by an empty stall outside of which where two men chatting to one another. One of the men made eye contact and smiled. I usually respond and did so. I stopped in front of them and said, ‘Gosh you have some lovely things in there for sale’. The second guy turned back to look inside the stall but the first guy couldn’t stop laughing, partly because of what I had said and partly because his mate turned round to look at the empty area which he must have known to be empty. I guess he wasn’t as awake as he perhaps should have been either.

Update: I did try to make the payment by transferring the monies to the current account at the same bank but again it didn’t work. I still don’t know why. In the meantime I contacted the recipient but after learning from them that I would be charged 2% more if I used either of my credit cards I decided to transfer the cash to an account I have in another bank then made payment from there. It worked! The mind boggles.

Shirley Anne

Posted in Behaviour, Banking | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Be yourself

Posted by Shirley Anne on September 8, 2014

Teenagers

Teenagers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I went to Liverpool again on Friday and whilst there I chanced to look in a shop window which had all kinds of novelty items displayed for sale. One thing was a board on which was written advice for teenagers living at home which went something like this: ‘Teenagers living at home with your parents, get out whilst you can. Stop sponging from them and stand on your own two feet. Be independent and get a well-paid job using all the knowledge you have after all you know everything. It should be easy.’ Well we all know that the average teenager actually doesn’t know it all don’t we? Neither are they ready to leave their favourite free-board hotel! There were several other items with similar messages on them related to all things domestic but one little board especially caught my eye and it read simply this: ‘Be yourself, everyone else is taken’. At first I misunderstood the message but it then hit me. Many people strive to be like someone else, a favourite pop singer or someone else in the limelight, celebrities and such. The message is simple, just be yourself. Everyone on this planet is unique, a one-off. There is nobody in the whole world like you dear reader and without you in the world there is a loss that can never be replaced. Aspire to great things, achieve what you can, don’t compare yourself to others for you will always be disappointed, be happy that you are you and that you are a piece of the jigsaw which links us all together. You have just as much right to be here as the next person and just as important.

Desiderata
Go placidly amid the noise and haste and remember what peace there maybe in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons
Speak your truth clearly and quietly and listen to others even the dull and ignorant, they too have their stories.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble it is real possession in changing fortunes of times.
Exercise caution in your business affairs for the world is full of trickery but let this not blind you to what virtue there is.
Many persons strive for their ideals and where life is full of heroism. be yourself.
Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of aridity and disenchantment, it is perennial as the grass
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of the youth
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars, you have a right to be here, and whether it is clear to you no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should
Therefore, be at peace with GOD, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labour and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams,
It is still a beautiful world.
Be careful.
Strive to be happy.

And remember…………………………Be You!

Shirley Anne

Posted in Humanity, Life, Nature, People, Philosophy | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

What a boring week!

Posted by Shirley Anne on September 7, 2014

English: A Pile Of Stones These stones were re...

A Pile Of Stones These stones were removed from the field whilst preparing the soil for planting potatoes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Apart from one ridiculously small job I had on Monday morning there has been nothing since. I am writing this on Thursday afternoon. I shan’t be able to work on Friday as I have to go into Liverpool in the middle of the day. In fact I have to be there at noon. That means I cannot take requests for that day but could do any work I might get on Saturday. I have not done any work on the house project though I could have done. What I am able to do at this moment isn’t worth doing until I have arranged for the new door opening to be cut out of the wall and I need a builder for that. So out in the garden I have been instead. I collected the remaining apples that were left on the trees since I last collected some a few days ago and I have been using them making crumbles and desserts. I was surprised by what we were able to pick this year and many of the apples have been bigger too. It takes a few years for apple trees to produce a sizeable crop and I didn’t think at the time of planting those seeds all those years ago that we would have to wait quite so long. We have had a crop for about four or five years now and each time it has been larger than the last but I have been pruning them which helps. I decided to dig out the newly formed border that resulted after  we had dug away at the mound (see postings in June). Then I planted the plants and shrubs we had bought some weeks ago because I hadn’t the time then due to the weather, other work and of course preparing the border itself which I did on Thursday whilst E was out shopping. A week or so ago I dug-in the last remaining stone edging slab but there still remained too much soil in the border. The first thing I did therefore was to shovel much of it to the ‘new’ mound around which the new path lies. One day we’ll get around to doing something with that mound. It will remain but it needs to be reduced in height and that means putting the excess soil elsewhere such as in the front garden. I was still digging out many stones from the border as I was removing the soil, many of which lay on the surface. When it rains, stones beneath the soil will always migrate to the surface over time. This is because smaller particles always sink to the bottom between the larger ones. Eventually the largest stones will appear at the top. Having taken the excess soil away and levelling out the remainder I collected together the various plants ready for planting to see where they would fit in best. I then dug out the holes and planted them, eight in all. There is plenty of space left for smaller plants that we may put in later. The first plant I dug in was actually the largest and it was also the one furthest away from the house near to the rear wall of the garden. I had thought that we had removed all the largest stones and bricks from the area but as I recall this particular spot hadn’t been cleared completely. I had therefore to dig deep and remove the three house bricks that had been buried along with a few smaller pieces of brick and stone. I now know that all have been removed as this was the only place that I’d left undone. Once the largest plant was in place the other seven went in much easier. After I’d tidied up the area out came the hose and I gave everything a good soaking, returning later to do it again. All that work took me two hours and when I returned indoors I was glowing like a cherry and perspiring a lot! Whilst I was outside and working I didn’t feel the warmth in the least but I think the humidity was high and that is why I was covered in perspiration and glowing! At least I’d relieved the boredom for a couple of hours. There is a small border behind the mound which runs along the back wall for a couple of metres and away from the border I was working on. This small border I plan to fill with stones set in cement rather than plants as it is quite narrow. At the moment it is still filled with soil.

Shirley Anne

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Love of my life

Posted by Shirley Anne on September 6, 2014

"Where there is love there is life."

“Where there is love there is life.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the moment we become aware of the life we have we seek to be accepted and loved by those around us. We learn however that not everyone is accepting or loving and as a result we tread tentatively and carefully when reaching out to others. For some reaching out is easy but for others it can be difficult. The problem with our fellow human beings is that they are not all the same, not all constant, not all ready to draw close as we might hope. Some are out to see what they can take from us but thankfully not all are like that. We are all different, some good, some bad, some even downright evil! Why this should be so has been debated for centuries. There is no definitive answer, or is there? Why do people act the way they do? Because we are all different and think differently it would be hard to pinpoint an individual reason for the way we behave. For those who believe in God it might be suggested that we can be so influenced by the forces of evil if we turn away from Him but is that really true? As a Christian myself I have to believe in that possibility but I also accept that because we have free choice we can just as easily turn to evil as we can to good. God has given us all that choice but points out the consequences of choosing evil and turning our backs to Him. One thing I can say is that in God I am totally loved and accepted because He is faithful. I lay no claim to being a perfect human being by any means though I strive to be good in every way. It is only because Jesus took my place in the punishment queue. He took all my wrongdoing (sins) upon himself so that I would be free of punishment, so that I could be saved. My fellow human beings can and will let me down but Jesus will never do that, he is the love of my life, my thoughts and my actions are centred around him. He determines how I act toward others and react to them. I am so unworthy of this love I know for I have not earned it and I never will. It is by grace that I receive such love and forgiveness.

Ephesians 2:8-9 says, For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

I haven’t earned it, I don’t deserve it but the gift is mine because I believe it in faith. I know there are areas of my life that need attention and I make every effort to deal with that. The amazing thing is that I came to believe in God and the Lord Jesus after 43 years of ardent unbelief! What caused that change in me? God moves in mysterious ways and I believe He reaches out to each of us in different ways. It is recognising that it is Him reaching out. For me it was a yearning to know more after I had read a verse from Matthews Gospel, 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me’.

If you hear God calling you, if you receive a sign, if your heart is touched by The Holy Spirit………..respond.

Shirley Anne

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

It happened again

Posted by Shirley Anne on September 5, 2014

English: Level crossing at Duke Street, after ...

Level crossing at Duke Street, after a Southport-bound train has crossed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Tuesday morning I went for a leisurely stroll to the village to collect my prescription from the chemist (drug store) after which I took the train into Liverpool to attend to some business with every intention of being back home about two hours later. The walk from the station in Liverpool to my destination was all uphill and by the time I’d reached the destination I was feeling the benefit of it! About a half-hour later I was on my way back to the station but stopped for a coffee along the way thereafter continuing to the station side entrance which happened to be next to the coffee-house. Soon I was standing on the platform waiting for the train back to Southport about twenty miles away. People were muttering about the cancellation of the next train to Southport which although was running was destined to stop a little short of half-way, travelling no further. Evidently we, the passengers were to continue by bus. However whilst on the train we heard an announcement regarding the reason for the cancellation. A few stops further on toward Southport at a place called ‘Freshfield‘ where I once lived someone had been struck by a train as they were crossing the line at a dedicated pedestrian crossing point.

English: Pedestrian Level Crossing

Pedestrian Level Crossing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This crossing, which is located in countryside, has been, along with other locations along the line between Southport and Liverpool not least of all the one near to where I live is notorious for people committing suicide or being killed accidentally. A similar pedestrian crossing is pictured right. Only last week we learned of a fatality in exactly the same place where a young girl who was trying to save a dog which had become stuck in the rails was hit by a train. This time we were not told if the incident was an accident or a suicide. No doubt it will be in the local news reports over the next day or so. The company responsible for looking after the rail system, Network Rail, are proposing to construct a footbridge at this place and close down the existing level-crossing point. When I mentioned this to a fellow passenger she told me that it wouldn’t stop people taking a short-cut over the fence. I replied that there will always be idiots who flout the safety measures and put themselves at risk whilst inconveniencing  thousands of commuters in the process. There is little that can be done against the determined offender or one bent on suicide I suppose. So two fatalities in two weeks. The last time I rode a train was only a couple of weeks ago too when E and I went for a day out in Manchester. Our return journey then was cut short and we had to continue by coach. I wrote about that incident in a post shortly afterward if you wish to look. I told some of my fellow passengers on Tuesday that I would be advertising the next day I would be taking the train in case they wished to avoid travelling at the same time! LOL. Actually I have to make the return journey on Friday this week. When I arrived back in the village I took the short journey on foot toward the beach and to the location of my local pub whereupon I had a late lunch.

Shirley Anne

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A fork?

Posted by Shirley Anne on September 4, 2014

English: A fork

A fork (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some jobs I get are difficult, most are average or easy but once in a while I get one that is ridiculously easy and in fact could be done by the person calling me. I don’t mind that of course, I could do with easy jobs now and then. What people are paying for in these instances is usually just my time spent getting to and fro and whilst there. I had such a case first thing on Monday morning. a lady in a nearby little township, in reality more like a sprawling village, had called me out because she was having difficulty in removing six lamps (bulbs) from a few fittings. I arrived spot on time and she was there waiting at the door to let me in. After showing me her problem I asked her if I could borrow a dining fork. I turned off the power to the lighting circuits (very important) then took the fork from the drawer. I could see that she was by now intrigued and wanted to know why I wanted the fork. She asked, ‘What does the fork tell you?’ I smiled and told her to watch carefully (tongue in cheek). I broke free the remains of the glass bulb in the first light fitting from the base which remained firmly stuck in the screw-in holder. I offered up the fork into the remains of the base and gently turned it. I handed her the now removed base and inserted a new bulb. I did the same with all the other broken lights and didn’t even have to open my toolbox once! Well a fork is simply another tool that gets used for eating occasionally! I could have used a pair of pliers or some other instrument to remove the broken-off bases but a fork does the job more easily. I returned to the power board and re-instated the supply to the lighting circuits. I came across the idea of using a fork a few years ago whilst working for a local bakery as a maintenance person in their retail outlets. I was often engaged in replacing faulty light bulbs and some of them were broken in the same way. One day I was looking for a suitable tool for removing the broken bases on a couple of fittings but hadn’t my tools with me. I tried using a fork, of which they had many as these outlets were also dining rooms and found it worked perfectly. I was back home in less than an hour after doing the job leaving a happy customer pleased that she now had lights after being without them for a few days.

Shirley Anne

Posted in Electrical, Lighting | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Ups and downs

Posted by Shirley Anne on September 3, 2014

So Emotional

So Emotional (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Having decided yesterday (Saturday) that I was going to rest for the weekend I had no reason to get up early but nevertheless that is what I did. It is all about my sleep requirements. I find I am awake after five hours or so of sleep. I could have laid there in bed but that isn’t usually my style so I got up and found myself in good spirits. It was change the bedclothes day so that was one of the first things I did, after my daily prayers. I was downstairs around 7.15 and after putting the bed linen in the washing machine I had my breakfast. I spent a little time on the computer by which time the washing was done and needed hanging to dry. The weather these past few days has been rather wet and windy at times so rather than hanging the washing outside to dry I hung it in the boiler room. It dries just as well down there. I took my radio down into the cellar where I keep the treadmill and spent some time on it. I was feeling on top of the world. Later, after a shower I decided to peel some more of the apples and make some crumble. I was going to make a pie or two but changed my mind for the crumble instead. I had returned the radio upstairs and had it on whilst I was peeling the apples. It was the Sunday morning show on BBC 2 and they were playing an hour of love songs. I had just started peeling the apples when a song called ‘You are the sunshine of my life‘ by  Stevie Wonder began to play and when he reached the line ‘You are the apple of my eye‘ I was touched and my eyes began to water. I was thinking about E. Anyway a little later another song broke out called  ‘I will always love you’ by Whitney Houston and before it had hardly begun I was in tears, I mean streaming down my face tears. Again I was thinking about E. In fact believe it or not the tears are beginning to swell up now even as I write this. I am a very sentimental person it is true. The joy of love overwhelms me. A few songs later and I had settled down a bit. I had to concentrate on what I was doing! Soon enough the apples were cooking slowly but not too much so as the slices remained solid and I had made the crumble. I had enough apples and crumble for two large dishes and they went into the already heated oven to bake slowly for twenty-five minutes. Whilst they were baking I made myself a large cappuccino and washed the pots and utensils. It was still only five minutes after twelve when the crumbles were done. I then spent some time reading my Bible as I normally do on a Sunday morning. I am currently reading it through again from beginning to end and have just reached the Book of Job. Now there was a guy who had troubles! We think we have it bad sometimes. You should read Job. The preceding Book is Esther. That was the one I read through this day. I have read the Bible through 31 times so far with this one being number 32. I learn something new each time! I don’t confine my reading to just Sundays by the way. Anyway I was feeling on top of the world again on Sunday after feeling a little down in the dumps on Saturday. Now I was ready for the week ahead.

Shirley Anne

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