I had no electrical work to do on Friday. I had arisen reasonably early so after breakfast I thought I might carry out a repair on the smaller greenhouse where a panel had been partially blown out of the frame because of the recent high winds we had experienced. I had placed the green (garden waste) wheelie bin alongside the panel the previous evening after discovering the damage and in order to prevent further damage. The small greenhouse is fitted with plastic panels rather than glass. However it began to rain and the wind had picked up again before I got the opportunity to do anything so I decided just to leave it until the weather improved. I did other things indoors instead, like re-registering online with my main current account provider after they had finally sent me the new password and security details. Even so the process wasn’t at all easy and it took E and I a fair amount of time to do it. The bank’s security measures are certainly robust to the point of being over the top. At last I could do some online housekeeping and moving about of my spare funds after three weeks not being able to. Of all the good things about using the Internet, online banking is near the top of my list. We have certainly come a long way since the days of standing in a queue waiting for a teller. E mentioned that our eldest son would be paying us a visit just after lunch and had asked if I had an electric multimeter he could use whilst working on his car.
This image shows a digital multimeter. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I have a few meters of course, what electrician hasn’t? We had just finished lunch when he arrived with his young three year-old daughter. He had wanted a meter in order to find a suitable supply for the newly installed ‘dash cam’ he had bought and fitted himself. I rendered my assistance whilst he successfully located a suitable supply. It took us some time to connect a couple of wires to the car’s fuseboard for it is located below the dashboard in the passenger foot well area. The supply had to be one that was switched on when the ignition was switched on so that the camera was not switched on permanently. Once the work was done he drove off to purchase a cigar lighter socket which would be connected to the two wires we had installed. The camera lead cable would plug into it out of view beneath the dashboard. There was no option but to connect the camera this way as there was a special voltage control circuit inside the camera’s lead plug which had to remain in circuit. Anyway everything worked in that the supply was at the camera when the ignition was switched on but unfortunately the camera itself wouldn’t automatically switch on, which is what it is supposed to do. It could be switched on manually at the camera and it would switch off when the ignition was switched off. It was by now getting dark and so we left the car and went indoors for an hour before he and his daughter left for home. E had been entertaining her granddaughter whilst we were working on the car but now it was my turn. We don’t get too many opportunities to see our granddaughter (who calls me Aunty Shirley) so it was nice to be able to spend some time with her. Our son will investigate why the camera doesn’t operate as it should and perhaps it is only a simple matter of programming the device. He will of course return the camera if it still refuses to work properly. The camera itself is very small and hides behind the interior rear-view mirror so effectively you wouldn’t know it was there. Once they had gone home E and I had to prepare the evening meal so the day had been spent doing something completely different from that which was planned.
Lancrigg Hotel, Christmas Day 2009 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I didn’t get to see my eldest son on Christmas Day, or anyone else for that matter but he had been overdoing things and had stayed at home to rest. He had been working extra hours in his role as a policeman but I think he’d been busy at home too where he lives with his in-laws. By the time my youngest son had arrived home on Thursday night I was already in bed so I didn’t get to see him until Friday morning and then it was only for a relatively short time. He was off to see his girlfriend’s or should I say partner’s parents for an afternoon of festivities. When he did show his face he remarked that the shower in the upstairs bathroom wasn’t working properly. He said that the water pressure had dropped somewhat since his last visit. I checked it out and found nothing wrong. I knew I wouldn’t find a fault as I’d used the same shower an hour or so earlier. It was simply a general pressure drop in the water supply to the house but even so it was minimal. Pressure does vary a little when there is a great demand, that is normal. Actually the pressure was quite high when I turned the control to full flow but then of course its temperature dropped accordingly. He wanted high temperature as well as full-on pressure. What a shame. I told him there were other hotels in town and his reply was that ours was cheap! In fact it is free isn’t it? You just can’t please everyone. Who’d have children eh? After lunch E left the house too. She was visiting her mum again in order to see her nephews who apparently couldn’t be there on Christmas Day so there I was again, home alone. I didn’t go out into the garden to work this time though I could have done. No, I chose to enjoy the home comforts of my hotel instead!
Brother and sister sitting in flowers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
As I write this on Friday evening I have the entire weekend free to myself. I had one job scheduled for Saturday morning but that had been cancelled and now the day was free. When I returned home earlier in the afternoon I found that E wasn’t feeling very well. She had all the symptoms of a cold coming on and she told me that she wouldn’t be visiting her mum in hospital in the evening as she didn’t wish to spread any infection to those in the hospital. At the time of writing we are neither of us sure about her mum’s present condition though I expect her brother will keep her informed. He lives with her mum in a bungalow a couple of miles from where we live. I haven’t seen nor spoken to either of them since 2002 after my transition. They simply cut me out of their lives. E’s dad died a few years ago but he too didn’t communicate with me. E’s half-sister I do see occasionally and we have spoken. She cannot visit her mum at home apparently because her half-brother, E’s brother, is not on speaking terms with her and there is friction between them. Families eh? Mine is just as bad. I have two brothers and two sisters. Both my sisters live in France and I have never received an invitation to visit them since my transition. One of my brothers basically cut himself off from the rest of the family years ago whilst my youngest brother, also the youngest of us all, is the only one who keeps in contact occasionally and I do see him but only occasionally. Now the free weekend could be spent visiting any or some of them were it not for the divisions between us. It is nice for families to come together now and then and many will be doing just that at Christmas but families being what they are makes it impossible at times. Things could be so different. I used to visit them all at one time years ago but it wasn’t always reciprocated. Much to my dismay I had to give up trying eventually. All I get now are token gestures, a birthday card or Christmas card sent every year but not from them all. I have told them not to send cards as I don’t send any but one or two of them ignore my request. I would rather they stayed in touch all year-round than to send me a meaningless card once a year. They cannot be that interested if they remain silent all year. My free time really is my free time as apart from E I have no-one to share it with. Today, Monday, marks the birthday of my youngest sister. I have no idea what she looks like now on her 64 th birthday or my eldest sister who will be 67 early in January. I am at work today as usual.
Spike is building his dream house peacefully, before Tom and Jerry bring about its inevitable destruction. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It was always going to be inevitable that having constructed an extra step in the boiler room at one entrance that I would turn my attention to the other entrance leading out to the garden. As I write this on Monday afternoon I have as yet not completed the first step, that is applying a screed over the rough concrete base. I plan to do it tomorrow, Tuesday instead. There is a reason for that which I will explain. I had every intention of completing the step on Monday morning but first I had to search the Internet for a suitable replacement battery for the Lexus car my youngest son is trying to sell. He has decided to sell it by auction but it has to be in working order. He is struggling a bit financially so I told him I would get the battery and pay for it myself. Having found a supplier who will deliver it inclusive of tax and postage for £88 I informed my son for his approval. Just now I am awaiting his reply but I expect it will be alright. The next thing was that E took a turn for the worst and she was struggling to get downstairs because a severe pain in her back almost incapacitated her completely. She is already suffering with the early stages of Spina-Biffida which itself makes moving about awkward at times but this added problem was making things impossible. She was experiencing breathing difficulty and had a tingling sensation in her left arm. She made an appointment to see her doctor and I drove her to the surgery. The doctor put her mind at ease by telling her that the complaint was not serious, unpleasant as it was and that her strange feeling in her arm was due to too much oxygen in the blood. I take it by that she had hyper-ventilated with the pain. Whilst I was waiting to take her to the surgery I collected her washing from upstairs and put it in the machine down in the cellar, then it was time to go. We were away for over forty minutes and by the time we had returned it was almost time for lunch. It was after two o’clock before I was available to start work at home so I decided against it and deferred starting my project until the next day hoping I would have the time to do it then. Whilst I was in the cellar with E we talked about carrying out alterations to the steps which lead out into the garden because they too are awkward to negotiate, especially for E. The main problem with the steps are that the risers are too deep, that is the depth of the steps were made too high in the first place. To correct the steps leading out to the garden will necessitate the construction of an extra step and the alteration of an existing one to make walking in and out much easier. It sounds complicated perhaps but is in fact simple to do. We had a similar problem at the rear of one of the garages we have whereby the steps were all different making walking over them a challenge at times. E and I bought the cement mixer when we decided enough was enough and set about altering them last year. See picture we took at the time…………………
So altering the internal steps will not be a problem. It is just setting and getting the time to do it as usual. I should have been a builder as well as an electrician! Strange as it may seem to some of my readers I actually love construction work, I always have and even if I say so myself, I am good at it. Nothing I ever made fell down afterward.
I had been out working on Monday morning and on my return E told me that she had received an email from my youngest brother, I talk about my brother in ‘My Journey‘ page above. He is the youngest of my four siblings, two boys and two girls, though of course none of us can be called that way now. I am the eldest, I have a brother about eleven months younger than myself and two sisters younger than he. As I recall the eldest of my brothers retired some time ago but I can not be sure about that as he doesn’t keep in touch. The same applies to my sisters who are both past what would be considered retirement age but they too don’t stay in touch so I cannot be sure if they are retired. E told me that my youngest brother had mentioned in his email that he is about to retire and evidently is looking forward to it. He had contacted her because he had forgotten her birthday date which was on the eleventh of this month and wanted to wish her a belated happy birthday I suppose but I guess he wanted to let her know about his forthcoming retirement too. I must therefore be the odd one out in my family who, by my own admission don’t really wish to retire, at least for the foreseeable future. I am often asked if and when I shall retire but the answer has always been that I have no intention of doing so. The usual reply is that I should continue as long as I am able and as long as I wish to, both of which are true. I wish my brother all the best for his retirement and my other siblings too if they have in fact done the same, it just isn’t for me at the moment. I suppose it is just as well for my youngest brother to stop work and take things a little easier since his unfortunate illness earlier in the year when he suffered a stroke. At least he will not have the same amount of pressure to face each day once he quits work. The title of this post would naturally apply in my brother’s case and maybe for my other siblings too but for me, I prefer the pressure, to a point that is. I find I work better under a little pressure. I am being more sensible about things nowadays and am declining many offers of work that I would normally have taken even recently. I am also refusing to be pressurised into accommodating people when I know I need the rest.
Photo taken near Liverpool One shopping centre, Liverpool, England. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I took a trip into Liverpool again on Wednesday. This time I was meeting someone from afar who was visiting the city for an hour or so. I took the train as for me it is free if I travel in off-peak periods. As I was walking to the station I noticed someone heading toward me from the opposite direction and was wondering if it was my ex’s sister as she looked very much like her from a distance. She approached the road junction and turned left toward the village shopping area and I turned right heading to the station which is in the same area. She was on the other side of the road to myself and I lost sight of her in the short distance to the station, I hadn’t noticed that she was taking the train too and was standing on the platform when I arrived. She must have seen that it was me and said hello. I was taken by surprise for though I had thought it might have been her I wasn’t expecting that it was. Soon the train arrived and we accompanied each other for the twenty-mile journey. It was pleasant to sit and chat together for we don’t see much of each other these days even though she lives a mere three-quarters of a mile or less away from E and myself. Families are weird folk. I got off the train one stop before she did as she was going to the main shopping centre to exchange clothes and do more shopping. It would have been nice to go with her I suppose but I had other plans. Whilst on the train I received a request for my services as an electrician and noted down the details. I drove to the house later in the afternoon after my return home and made an assessment of the job arranging to do it the following morning. My friend and I had lunch together in a friendly little out-of-the-way restaurant/pub I had never been to before. I might take E there one day if she will come. Whilst on my way back home I walked through the city centre and dropped into the bank to deposit some cash I had brought out with me for that reason. Having spent out £5200 recently I have to start saving more when I can. At the end of my travels and finally back home for the day I went on-line in order to transfer the cash I’d deposited into another bank where I keep my savings. On opening my account to transfer the cash I saw that I had far more in the account than I should have, even with the deposit I’d made earlier. I ‘d received a deposit from my energy supplier to the tune of £423! What a nice surprise. I’d received £50 from them at the beginning of the month too. Obviously I had overpaid on my energy accounts and this was by way of a refund. The odd thing is that during the day I had received both an email and a written letter indicating that both my monthly energy payments would be increasing by £18 (electricity) and £40 (gas). I pay by direct debit. Wouldn’t it be easier to have used the refund to offset the proposed increases? Evidently not it seems, that would make sense! So I was able to transfer an extra £400 into my savings account. Now that was a very nice surprise. I left the £23 remaining from the refund in the current account. At the end of each month I transfer any unused cash into my savings account anyway but usually only in £50 or £100 amounts, anything less than £50 is left in the account until the end of the following month. This way I am certain of having a small contingency float for emergencies. So a pleasant day all round.
friendship – IMG_3604 (Photo credit: Nicola since 1972)
There aren’t too many things which capture my attention though I take an interest in many things. As far as my daily life is concerned many would think it rather boring and mundane and for them I suppose it is. Much of my time is spent working on one thing or another either at home or in someone else’s home. I like work because it gives me something to do but not only that it gives me something to do that is constructive and doesn’t simply waste time. I also enjoy the challenges that work often presents me with and the sense of achievement that cannot be experienced in other things. One thing I do enjoy now is socialising, meeting people and connecting with them. Once though, long ago in my life, I was a very unsociable person and reclusive, rejecting all advances by the invitations of others. I simply didn’t wish to know. Even at this time in my life I didn’t mix with my siblings though in fact they had all flown the nest bar one. I took this attitude to its extreme occasionally until one day I began to reach out and mix with people. I found it very easy to make friends and I made quite a few of them within months. I did see my siblings but only on rare occasions. All I had in my life were the few friends I had made though none of them ever became close. Once I was married I found those friends gradually falling away and I lost contact with them. Winding the clock many years onward and by the time I was divorced I had no friends at all. I hadn’t seen my family, that is my siblings, for a long time either so there was again no-one in my life. I made a second attempt at socialising and again made a few friends. I almost never see any of them now and I am back with no-one for companionship, that is except for my ex partner with whom I remained. I have found that our relationship has improved vastly and is as good as it ever was when we first met 42 years ago, though the form it takes now is different from what it was then. Without this relationship I have nothing. Yes, I do see my children from time to time but no-one else. I wonder why my friends drifted off and lost contact and though I have telephoned them I get no reply. I don’t expect to live in their pockets for they have their own lives to lead but the occasional contact would be nice if only to see how they are doing. Such is life, people are what they are but I know my life would be better with them in it.
English: Modern view of Manchester City Centre (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
On Friday morning just before noon I took E to collect the large hire van from the hire company across town and drove back home to park my own van in the garage. The people who run and own the hire company are known personally by us and we always use their company whenever we wish to hire a van. E was quite some time arriving home with the vehicle which as it happened was even larger than the one we hired a few weeks ago. We immediately set about loading it with the numerous boxes and pieces of furniture which belong to our youngest son and his girlfriend that we had stored in our house and garage whilst they were waiting to move into their own first home. They both work in and around Manchester so it was natural for them to buy a house there. We got most of it stored in the van but had to wait for them to arrive before we could load the heavier items such as the bed and one or two items of furniture. We were sitting having our lunch some time after two o’clock having loaded all that we were able to when they arrived at the door. They were surprised that we had in fact done most of the work already. I think it came as a bit of relief as they had been at work during the morning. Finally we set off toward Manchester some time after three but they first drove to her parents home in order to collect her car before following on behind us. We actually arrived at least a half hour before they eventually pulled up but whilst we were waiting for them we decided to do a spot of gardening by removing much of the overgrowth and weeds we found trying to engulf the small front garden. We filled their wheelie bin which had been empty when we first arrived. After a brief look around their new home we all set about unloading the van. It was a hot sunny day on Friday and it took its toll on us all to some degree. It was fast approaching 7 o’clock by the time everything was inside the house. During our little tour our son showed us the rear garden which at present is very much overgrown and somewhat neglected. It will take some time to get it organised. He showed us a large cabinet tucked away in the rear which he hadn’t opened beforehand and wasn’t quite sure what it was until I told him it was a storage box. We opened it to find a large spade, a large fork, a strimming machine and a lawnmower inside left there by the previous owner. That was an unexpected bonus! We didn’t stay long after we’d done the unloading but it was now after 7.30 and we had to get back home. We put some more fuel in the tank, not a lot, and drove homeward. On the way we talked about something to eat and I suggested we stop at one of our regular haunts which happened to be on the route. It had been some time since we dined out in the evening but to our surprise we found the place remarkably empty for a Friday evening, a time when many folk unwind after the week’s work. There were still quite a few people in there nevertheless. It was well after 10.30 when we got home. The two lounges we generally use now seem empty with all their furniture gone and as E said earlier, ‘I’ve got my garage back’! Their house has been well cared for by the previous owner and apart from some repairs to the brick wall at the rear of the property little is required to be done. It is one of those houses that can be lived in without having to do anything to decorate or improve it. The same cannot be said of the gardens though but given time I’m sure they will put that right.
Golf “Lessen” (Photo credit: JD Hancock)
During the last couple of weeks we have had The Women’s British Open Golf Championships being held at Royal Birkdale Golf Club, about a half-mile up the main road. The event is being sponsored by Ricoh, a Japanese multinational imaging and electronics company. I have to admit not knowing that until I checked them out on a search engine. Personally I don’t have much interest in golf but I do watch it in part on the television occasionally. Had I been an ardent follower I would be living in just the right place as in fact I am doing here on the west coast for there are many golf courses in the area, a golfer’s dream. Personally I would never go to an event to watch the game, especially if it was only for one day in a competition that lasts for several days. My eldest son it seems isn’t that fussy. I didn’t know he was interested in golf, though his wife may be but I think it was more of a casual visit to the event, this one day, rather than him wishing to go every day to see as much as he could. On Thursday morning he arrived with his wife at our house so that he could leave his car here all day. I had gone to work a half-hour before they arrived so didn’t see them. E ferried them up the road in her car and returned home. I was back home myself an hour later. I chose not to do any more work in the garden as the weather was too warm and I wanted a rest in any case as the following day, Friday, E and I were collecting a hire-van to transport our youngest son’s furniture up to his new house in Manchester, about 50 miles away. We would be kept busy loading and unloading for a couple of hours, pretty tiring work. Later in the afternoon, actually it was well after six o’clock, E collected our eldest son and his wife on her way back home from doing the shopping with her mum and they picked up their car and drove off home to her parents house about three miles away where they have been living for the past two years. Now we hardly ever see them but whenever we do they are always in a rush to go elsewhere or have an excuse to leave early and never stay long. This time they were alone as their little girl, our granddaughter, was being looked after by her nan so they could have stopped for a while to chat. It appears that they can find the time for watching golf all day long though. It is hard sometimes being a parent and being treated this way.
Outcast (video game) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It was such a lovely day yet again on Tuesday and E and I were to collect her new car at some point in the afternoon then drive off somewhere to dine. I had no electrical work to do and in any case would not have scheduled any for the whole day. As E so succinctly put it when she came down for breakfast and saw that I wasn’t dressed for work and said, ‘I see you have your ‘no intention’ gear on’. It’s a phrase I have often used in the past when I have no desire to do any work and dress accordingly. We hadn’t received a call from the dealership by noon so I suggested E call them to check. She was told that we could collect the car around 1.15 and we duly arrived shortly before then. After signing much paperwork and being shown the basic controls we finally were able to drive away leaving E’s old car standing on the forecourt to await its fate. We drove 15 miles to a restaurant/pub/motel in the village of Newburgh (pronounced Newburra), a place we have been to on a number of occasions previously. Not to our surprise the place was almost completely deserted, partly due to our late arrival at around three o’clock. The meal was as usual splendid and not expensive in the least considering we both had two courses and a drink each. We headed back home but when almost there E took a detour to see our eldest son who lives with his wife’s parents. E needed a few miles of driving to get used to the controls, not least of all the manual gearbox as her old car had a semi-automatic box. She soon got to grips with it though. There is an amazing array of gizmos built into this vehicle as standard equipment, things like a Sat-Nav, a hands-free system for the phone, remote controlled wing mirrors, refrigerated air-conditioning with a cool box to stow drinks or food in and many other handy features. We arrived at the house and E rang the doorbell whilst I remained seated in the car as she said she wouldn’t be long. E was let inside by our son’s father-in-law who looked towards myself sitting in the car but said absolutely nothing before closing the door. I waited for about a minute or so then E reappeared holding a couple of carrier bags containing some of our granddaughters toys, those she has grown out of. Our son came over but didn’t say much either and generally spoke with E about the car. Then his mother-in-law came out with our granddaughter but remained at a distance, neither wanting to come closer and I felt it was because I was present for I am sure they would have done had I not been there. Eventually our son went over and brought the little one over whilst his mother-in-law remained afar. I said hello to my granddaughter and she said something in return but continued to the rear of the car out of sight. She didn’t stay long and she returned indoors with her ‘nanna’. Her ‘grandpa’ made no effort to come and look at the car and he remained inside. Our son chatted for a few more minutes then went back inside too after we drove off homeward. Whilst driving home along the local coast road I spoke to E about the affair and told her that I had felt very uncomfortable whilst being at their house because I had been treated as if I had leprosy. Now I know this is an experience felt by many others who have transitioned and even those who haven’t but it still hurts to be treated the way I am. It is a sad state of affairs when my own granddaughter is a little apprehensive in approaching me. When this happened some time ago on one of our son’s rare and very short visits he explained that she simply didn’t know me enough to feel comfortable with me as she would if I were a complete stranger. I replied that is due to the fact that she is almost never allowed to visit for any length of time. Even E hardly gets to see her but does see her occasionally at the supermarket. I asked E how she would feel if she was given the same treatment as me and she had to admit she would feel hurt too. What I find especially hurtful is that my son, his wife and her parents are all supposed to be my brothers and sisters in Christ. How can they go to church and praise God with un-repented sin dwelling in their hearts? Whenever I think on such things I am reminded of these verses in Scripture:
You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: ‘“As surely as I live,” says the Lord, “Every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.”’ So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.
I may be an outcast from my own family but the problem resides with them.
To my friends in America: Happy Independence Day!
A little respite but not much. Whilst many have been enjoying the first of the May one day extra holidays that make up the three-day weekend, I have been working on two of those days. Monday was the ‘extra’ day and I was out at work. When not out at work you will usually find me in at work instead! Things can only happen if you make them. I am happy and content whilst working, it gives me some sort of purpose to my life. I don’t think I could live without work of some sort sometimes at least. I could stop work and retire but even if I did that I would most probably find something to do at home and there are plenty of things that can be done at home. All work and no play they say is not good for the soul and I am no different when it comes to rest and relaxation but when I take a little respite I find I am eager to get back home after a short time. I cannot go sight-seeing just for the sake of it or visit places I have never visited before just for that reason, to me those things are quite pointless. That isn’t to say I don’t make the most of my time when away from home on a vacation because I do, it would be pointless to do otherwise but for me it is more about having a change of scenery and a temporary rest from work. It is the exception I take on-board rather than the mainstay of my existence. A holiday, a vacation, a break is the thing I do less of rather than more of. I don’t need to fill my life with new places to see, new things to do, new people to meet, I never really did but they are nice to do once in a while. Everything we do in life is pointless in the great scheme of things. We will remember none of it when we die and it will make do difference to the fact that we will one day. All we can do is enjoy this miserable existence as best we can and make the most of it.
Ecclesiastes Chapter 9
5 For the living know that they will die,
but the dead know nothing;
they have no further reward,
and even their name is forgotten.
6 Their love, their hate
and their jealousy have long since vanished;
never again will they have a part
in anything that happens under the sun.
Apfelstrudel (apple strudel) as served in Hoch-Imst, Tyrol, Austria (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
So I enjoy my work and I enjoy my play, what little of it I take. Sunday was spent relaxing at home and in the afternoon E and I entertained our youngest son and his girlfriend or should I say partner who came to dine with us. A splendid Sunday roast followed with Apple Strudel and ice cream or fresh cream as desired. As they were both driving they declined a glass of wine and as E and I no longer drink alcohol we all enjoyed a glass or two of ‘Shloer’ instead followed in our case with a Cappuccino apiece.
Let’s Tap (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In yesterday’s post I mentioned the problem my neighbour had been having with her kitchen mixer tap and the struggle I’d had effecting a repair which eventually was successful. I mentioned something about her dropping a hint regarding another minor fault that had apparently come to light since my last visit and asking if I could look at it. In yesterday’s post I was also taking about the demands upon my time and how reluctant I tend to be to refuse people’s requests. I didn’t drop everything to go next door and repair her tap but on Saturday morning I’d had a nice lie in bed for a change, something these days which is as rare as rocking horse manure! I was glad to miss out on breakfast and didn’t get downstairs until almost eleven o’clock! I had brought down some dirty clothing to be placed in the washing machine so I did that and then went into the garage to get out some tools and a tap washer and went next door to my neighbours’ house. The hot tap required a replacement washer but the leak was very minimal. Nevertheless I made an attempt at removing the tap assembly but found it impossible to unscrew from the main housing for a couple of reasons, one, it was stuck fast, probably with limescale and two, it was very awkward trying to get a spanner (wrench) to fit and be able to turn it to loosen the part. Usually a sharp tap with a hammer to break the seal is all that is required but it was impossible to position the spanner in such a way as to allow it. I might have been able to do it by removing the spout which had taken so much time and effort to refit on my previous visit. In essence she would be better calling in the services of a plumber who would probably remove the whole sink and draining board combination and fit a new tap, which is what I think ought to be done. She was happy that I at least made the attempt. I would have been able to remove the sink and fit a new one myself but I really do not have that much time to spend on someone else’s job that would be better done by a plumber. I returned home and E pointed out to me that the mixer tap in our own kitchen required attention because the hot tap was loose as was the main stem which forms the outlet spout. The arrangement is similar to our neighbours tap but of a different design and easier to get at. The pair of us stripped all the parts that could be removed without having to isolate the water supplies and we gave it a thorough cleaning. I replaced the ‘O’ ring that caused it to leak when in use and secured both tap tops so they are no longer loose. Time for lunch but first I had to hang the washing in the boiler room to dry. It is so handy having a heated cellar room in which to hang the washing, especially if it is too cold or wet outdoors. I wasn’t in the mood for work on Saturday, I guess I’d had enough work during the week to tire me out! It was early evening on Thursday our youngest son called me and asked if I could help him out. I knew what was coming! Whenever he calls me directly it is usually something to do with a financial difficulty and this was no exception. It is a good thing I love him. He and his girlfriend are currently living in an apartment, one in which they have lived only for a very short time but they have been looking to buy a house together for quite a while. They found one they liked at a reasonable price but they needed proof of owning a deposit to secure the purchase through a mortgage. His girlfriend’s parents had given her £5000 and he was looking for a similar amount to clinch the deal. I immediately went on-line and transferred £5000 to his account. On Friday afternoon he called me again with the good news that they had succeeded in getting the house through a mortgage. I am so happy for them and glad to see him beginning to take life a little more seriously. It may be that they will be looking to upgrade to a better house in a couple of years but at least they now have their feet on the ladder. Renting a property is really just lining someone else’s pockets and then having nothing to show for it years down-line. It is usually the deposit which prevents many people from buying their own property. I have yet to see the details of the house but I am sure it will be better than living in an apartment and it will allow them more freedom of choice. I hope he can handle small plumbing jobs! I am now waiting for his older brother and his wife to find a house of their own to live in. They currently live with her parents, which isn’t really a suitable arrangement. I will be happy to help them as I have helped his brother.
English: A house built using Industrial Grade Brettstapel in the process of being covered with plasterboard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
On Monday we were awaiting the delivery of the timber and plasterboard that we had purchased on Saturday. We had asked for a morning delivery so that we could continue the job but as it happened we didn’t need any of the new materials to do what we were able to do. We needed them for Tuesday. The delivery man arrived around eleven and either we were the only delivery or we were the last one, for the morning at least, as the vehicle was empty except for our order. It was raining and I asked the man if he would put everything in the garage and he told me he was only allowed to drop materials on the driveway. I asked him how I was going to move it all by myself and at that point E came outside. Although the plasterboard was covered with plastic wrapping that needed to be removed to enable one or two boards to be moved at a time and of course taking off the wrapping meant it was going to get wet. Once plasterboard gets wet it is useless. The man relented and said he would move it all to the garage, which he did in a couple of minutes. Once upon a time the delivery man would even take things indoors for you but times have changed and they are reluctant to do anything more than they have to and blame it on the insurance liability cover. The timber was wet of course. Once he had departed I moved the sheets of plasterboard and the timber one by one into the cellar rooms where it is warm and dry. Our youngest son has been staying over for the past week or so and he had just returned from the gym. I asked if he could help me get the plasterboard up the two flights of stairs to the spare bedroom on the first floor. We took one board up together and he told me to let him take the others as he could manage them easily. He had them upstairs in no time at all. The timber isn’t a problem as it can be moved one length at a time. As I write this on Monday evening the timber is drying off in the cellar but tomorrow, Tuesday, I plan to start constructing the new ceiling so it won’t be there long. As we are not lifting the entire ceiling to the same height we needed to build a small frame at the point where it will be raised and that is what I did on Monday afternoon. The small area above the entrance cannot be raised as the cold water storage tank is seated above it and it would take too much time and effort to move it. Our son left for home shortly after lunch to spend the next few days at his apartment with his girlfriend who had also been staying in town visiting her mum. Later in the afternoon just as we had finished working for the day we got a visit from our eldest son whom I’d not seen during the Christmas break but it was only a flying visit. He and his wife seldom visit and when they do it isn’t for long. Children eh?
- A room with a view (loftconversionbristol.wordpress.com)
English: This is actually Tom’s Restaurant, NYC. Famous as Monk’s in Seinfeld, and as Tom’s Diner, in the Suzanne Vega song of that name. It is located at the northeast corner of W. 112th Street and Broadway in New York, close to the campus of Columbia University, in the same building as the Goddard Institute of Space Studies. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I took E to her place of choice for a meal on her birthday, Friday, which was to our usual restaurant. I am certain she has shares in the place! I had been to do a job in the morning and was supposed to drive to another house some distance away to assess some work there but was unable to contact the client. I left a message on the phone and returned home with the intention of dining out with E. I received a return call and arranged to go to the house on Monday as I shall be working close by that day. I got changed but E told me that she was expecting our youngest son and his girlfriend to call within the hour so our trip to the restaurant was delayed. They did arrive an hour later with a gift for E and stayed awhile. I invited them along with us but they declined the offer. Eventually they left and we set off to eat. We don’t normally visit this restaurant on a Friday so we had no idea how full it may or may not have been. As it turned out it was quite full. It appeared that more than a hundred guests were holding a wake and had taken over part of the establishment and another party of people were using a large area of the remaining available space. We found a couple of tables empty and by the time we received our meal many were leaving. I wondered just how many of those at the wake had actually been close to the deceased. It may have been that all of them were but somehow I have my doubts. In my life I have very little contact with my family and my friends are few and I wonder just how many would be at my wake! It may sound an odd thing to say but what would be the point for those who are not really a part of my life in attending my wake? It would be too late for them to ‘pay their respects’ as I wouldn’t be there to receive the honour! I have always thought that wakes only serve to give people an excuse to eat, drink and be merry and maybe speak about the deceased’s life. What people do after I am gone will benefit me nought will it? Why don’t they get involved with me whilst I am still here? Maybe invite me out to dinner…………..
Satellite navigation. Image shot by uploader. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Yes E and I did go out on Sunday at around 10.30 to drive to a warehouse miles away to collect a vanity unit we had bought on-line. Unfortunately we were not given the correct address to collect the item and we ended up at their showrooms which is 11 miles further afield. No problem, our satellite navigation got us there but even so we were a little confused as to which lane of traffic we were supposed to be in when we passed through one or two of the junctions en-route. At times like these I stick very closely to following the little yellow arrow as it meanders along the highlighted green road. On the screen there is a little square in the top left corner too with a more accurate picture of my immediate location with distance in yards to the next manoeuvre. Suffice to say the device is invaluable at times! We arrived I guess at around 11.30 and went to the reception. We were told it would be about a half-hour before we could collect the goods. The reason for that was due to the many other people there doing the same as us. Before anyone collects their goods they had to inspect them and sign to say they are satisfied that there is no damage. Fair enough but to do that the staff have to open everything and remove some items from their boxes then repack them once checked, hence the time spent waiting. In our case it turned out to be far longer than we had anticipated or had been told. It would be an hour and fifteen minutes before we finally were able to leave. We discovered that we had paid for a hand basin as well as the vanity unit base but hadn’t realised it when we ordered it items. The advertisement did not mention that the sink was included in the price! We were prepared to spend the £80 on just the base as that is all that we needed and at that price it was a bargain compared to what we had been quoted at Homebase which was more than £200! We may use the spare basin for our next project so all is not lost. Now it was 12.45 and we were both hungry. I had planned to surprise E by stopping off at a restaurant and this I did but I left it until we were nearer to home but still twelves miles out. I made a sudden turn into the car park of a restaurant we have visited a few times and off we went inside. It was reasonably empty now that it was approaching two o’clock and we were able to be seated straight away. We had been sitting for a mere two minutes waiting for our pre-dinner drinks when a small boy of around six years of age accompanied by his parents entered the room. He was complaining about something in a piercingly loud voice and seemingly in a bit of a tantrum. His parents were very calm about it all but lacked any willpower to chastise him allowing him to rant. Eventually he calmed down but during their meal and ours frequently made his presence known. All we wanted and I guess everyone else wanted was to be able to have a quite and relaxing meal. Personally I would have taken him outside and given him a dressing down for his misbehaviour but I wasn’t his parent. I loved my children (and still do of course) enough to chastise them when they were in the wrong and would never let them dictate to me how things were to be as this little fellow seemed to be doing. We arrive home after five o’clock and E went to collect her mum and take her to see our eldest son as it was his birthday on Sunday. I asked to go with her and she thought I might not wish to go so didn’t ask me. I was a little hurt and explained that he was my son too and I would like to see him. So I thought I would be going but as it turned out she left without me. Maybe that was for the best as her mum hasn’t spoken to me for more than eleven years even though on many occasions I have asked E to invite her along for lunch in the past to break the ice. E made excuses saying that her mum always had lunch at twelve o’clock and refused to change her schedule whilst we dine out usually a little later at two o’clock. What can I say? I didn’t get to see my son on his birthday and although I could have driven there myself, it is only a three-mile journey, it wouldn’t have looked good for E with me not traveling in her car.