Minkyweasel World

One Girl's Outlook On Life

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Posts Tagged ‘Patio’

It can still be a little breezy

Posted by Shirley Anne on May 2, 2014

English: Cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) a...50

When we decided to have a patio built in the rear garden we gave great consideration to its location, selecting the sunniest spot that we could use and one that was sheltered from the prevailing wind, which around these parts is from the west. We had therefore to locate the patio behind the wall on the west side of the garden and reasonably close to the house, The spot we chose gets sunshine from the east in the morning in  Spring, Summer and Autumn but then goes into the shade for a couple of hours as the sun makes its way across the sky. After twelve o’clock the sun begins to shine again on the patio until the whole area is bathed in sunlight until early evening, quite a few hours of direct sunshine. So despite the rear garden being on the north side of the house there are still many hours of sunshine falling there during the year. However the wind can be quite strong at times and even when it is slightly windy it can be felt when sitting out on the patio. Naturally we don’t sit there if it is too windy as we wouldn’t no matter where the patio was situated. The patio is located about five or six metres behind the garage on that side of the house and the wind can blow between ours and our neighbour’s houses over the garage and on toward the patio area. Now the patio is surrounded by a wall but it isn’t high, a mere metre or so within the patio and maybe another half metre on the outside. What was needed was a wind breaker of some sort but we didn’t think we would need one and for most of the time we don’t. I planted some gooseberry bushes along the wall which faces the garage a couple of years ago (see picture above taken before the patio was completed) but I had left quite a bit of space behind them to allow the planting of  hedge of some sort. With that in mind I decided on Monday afternoon to purchase eight Cherry Laurel shrubs and plant them behind the gooseberry bushes. I went to the garden centre whilst E was out shopping with her mum. We had discussed my plan beforehand of course. The shrubs took about thirty minutes to plant and though the gooseberry bushes were awkward to work behind it wasn’t too difficult but they did scratch my right arm in a few places! My gloves don’t reach my elbows! The plant themselves are still a few centimetres below the wall but eventually will grow above it and hopefully will form an evergreen hedge high enough to form a bit of a wind break as well as making that side of the patio more attractive to look at. Presently all that can be seen is the rear of the garage and the rather untidy vegetable patch. We really must get around to tidying up that area soon.

Shirley Anne

 

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Why are we up there?

Posted by Shirley Anne on July 3, 2013

Jet Stream Over Sligo

Jet Stream

After a rather busy day at home on Monday I found myself sitting out on the patio for an hour just thinking and enjoying the garden. I am the sort of person who is always looking at what we have done in and around the house and garden and thinking of ideas on how we might improve things or add to what we already have. When we had the patio built a couple of years ago we thought there would be nothing else much to do in the rear garden but we have found plenty to do, especially in the area behind the garage, one of the garages I should say and this is the work we are currently engaged in completing. I had initially gone into the garden to check on how the concrete was setting that we had laid a few hours earlier but I ended up sitting in the patio. The day had started fairly cool and overcast but as the day wore on it became brighter and sunny, in fact the afternoon was almost total sunshine with few clouds. The weather forecast for the following day was rain so we planned to get as much done before then. Tuesdays have turned out to be our unofficial dining out day but that isn’t set in stone, it just seems that way of late. Last week we dined out on Tuesday and Friday! Anyway, there I was sitting down admiring the scenery when I noticed an aeroplane together with its jet stream high up in the blue evening sky. I watched it gradually move across the sky and as I did another plane came into view doing exactly the same thing. Nothing unusual in that but again as I watched the jet streams began to widen and eventually disperse leaving a very broad white trail. I thought about all that pollution spreading itself over the sky and then I thought about how many planes do the same thing each and every day around the world. It’s a wonder the sky remains blue and it’s a wonder we have any clean air to breathe. There must be thousands upon thousands of planes flying about in any one day and this has been going on for many years. When we travel by air to foreign places we forget all about the pollution we are causing to the Planet. The air above us is extremely thin compared to the size of the Earth and we all need it to exist. Mankind has a habit of doing things which are detrimental to the environment and then tries to figure out how to clean it all up later. I often wonder why we are up in the sky in the first place or even on the ground driving around in pollution producing vehicles. Everything is done in the name of progress they say but where will it all end? I have no need to worry about such things but my children and grandchildren do!

Shirley Anne

Posted in Earth, Environment, Pollution | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Not quite!

Posted by Shirley Anne on July 13, 2011

Brick wall

Image via Wikipedia

So Tuesday was going to be harder than Monday, it had to be, I did almost nothing on Monday! When I went to work I had a rough idea of what was entailed but not an exact knowledge. I was prepared for work, I was feeling much, much better and I knew I would be alright. Did I tell you that E likes to run over walls with her car? If you look at one of my earlier posts, a few weeks ago, I posted a picture showing the older garage at the right of the house. To the left of the garage is a wall which slopes down to ground level over the last few feet. My van is parked in that garage overnight so I had to pass the wall to get to it. The first thing I noticed was the bottom two bricks had been dislodged and moved about a foot from the wall. Now E has always parked her car in front of the shrubbery to the left of that wall. She drives into the driveway and heads for the garage then reverses back around the wall to park ready to drive off by turning right, out of the driveway. She must have driven over the bottom two bricks and loosened them. When I got back home at 2.00 after my job, I mentioned that she must have dislodged the bricks. She looked a bit perplexed, she hadn’t noticed that she had done that. It is a simple matter to reset the bricks and we do have a small amount of ready-mixed mortar so it isn’t a problem. Many times in the past I have suggested she not park quite so close to the shrubbery as there is plenty of room to do so. She might also have less spiders and cobwebs on her vehicle and possibly less scratches (from the shrubbery when the wind is high). The funniest thing is she didn’t know she’d run over the wall! Strangely enough, a couple of months ago we had various pieces of concrete and stone standing alongside the perimeter wall which is the wall on the right-hand-side of the garage. There was space in front of them (along the wall) to park a vehicle. Now at that time my van was parked in the garage as usual and as work was going on around the front of the house E decided to park her car in this space to keep it out-of-the-way although she could have parked it in front of the garage or even in it (that would have meant moving some stuff but the garage is built for two cars after all). I was behind her car whilst she parked it, ready to stop her from hitting the pile of concrete standing there. This I did but she wanted to manoeuvre the car more precisely. I was shouting stop, stop and banging on the back of the car for her to cease letting it creep any further backwards. Too late! She backed into the concrete and dented the skirt beneath the rear bumper. Fortunately it is a plastic skirt and it was easy to pop back into shape. she does crazy stuff like that sometimes! That’s probably one of the reasons I love her. Incidentally, I park my van in the garage by reversing it all the way from the street so that I can simply drive out in the morning, or any other time. I have yet to hit a brick wall though…LOL!
I got to my electrical job and the lady and I discussed her needs. All the work was in her bedroom, fitting extra power points but the job itself wasn’t all that easy to actually do. I spent four hours there and was quite tired when I’d finished. whilst the lady had gone to get some cash to pay me I walked up the road to where her mom lives, a mere 50 metres or so. I had done some work for her mom last year when she had employed this guy to do all sorts of general joinery and plumbing jobs. She had also asked him to do some alterations to the electrics upstairs but he made a mess of it (well he wasn’t an electrician and shouldn’t really have been doing it). My job had been to correct those mistakes. Later she told me that she had been stupid to allow him to fiddle with the electrics (what can I say?). Anyhow this time she was asking about installing a supply to a water feature in her front garden. I told her what she might expect depending on what materials and fittings came with the water feature and to buy what she wanted (from the reputable supplier she had chosen) and I would make a better assessment having seen what was involved. Personally I don’t think it will be difficult or expensive, quite the opposite and she will be happy about that!
At home, after a quick snack I fixed myself a drink, took my guitar onto the patio and sat playing random songs for an hour. I simply let the songs come into my head, a mixture of pop melodies, Christian songs and some of my own stuff. E had gone to her moms for an hour or two so I was left undisturbed. So the day wasn’t quite exactly as planned. I didn’t do any more work in the other garage (I was too tired!), the electrical job put paid to that. Now today?
Just a point of interest, that is of course if you are interested, many are not! Tuesday or to be precise 12th July (actual date is 11th July and in the old calendar 1st July) marks the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne here in the UK (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Boyne ) and in Southport (as in a few towns and cities) there are marching bands dressed in their orange regalia who visit the town from places like Liverpool just down the coast. I remember every year walking into Liverpool where I lived as a youngster, to see them. Some feel these events are an excuse for drunkenness and violence and indeed that is often the result during the day so they are against them being held. It is also an excuse for religious hatred and bigotry between Catholics and Protestants. If you read the short history you will understand why this is so. One would think that to continue to celebrate an event that happened 321 years ago should now cease but in fact it seems to get stronger year by year! It appears that another brick has been put in the wall between Catholics and Protestants.
Shirley Anne

Posted in Activity, Behaviour, Celebration, Driving, Music, Religion, Rest and relaxation, Work | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

It’s tiring.

Posted by Shirley Anne on June 29, 2011

My tank runneth over

Image by jemasmith via Flickr

We are experiencing some really fine weather lately and it looks good for a few more days yet. We expect good weather at this time of year but we don’t always get it that’s for sure. However, with the warm weather and sometimes with raised humidity levels it becomes very tiring and exhausting getting through the day. With no work yesterday I was in no hurry to get out of bed again but did so reasonably early. That did not mean getting downstairs early though as I took my time getting dressed, made-up and doing other sundry things that one finds to do in the bedroom but often put off for another time. So I arrived downstairs around ten o’clock and was keen to do something around the house or garden. As the weather was gloriously sunny the garden option won the day but what was I going to do? We had prepared a corner of the vegetable plot next to the rear wall of the garage some weeks ago for the building of a small platform on which we were going to sit a water-butt or rainwater container. We had laid a small concrete foundation on which we could build a brick platform covered by a concrete paving slab in order to raise the container above ground level. So with the weather being good it was a golden opportunity to build that brick platform knowing that we would not be affected by rain showers. I prepared and collected all that I would need and made ready to start after lunch. I had it built in a very short time and cleared up the area. The preparation and clearing up took far longer than the job itself! I didn’t do any more work and spent the rest of the afternoon playing guitar then sitting out on the patio reading and relaxing in the sun. After my evening meal I was feeling rather drained but it wasn’t due to work. It is simply the weather, we are not used to the weather being so warm. I have always found that I work best when it is cooler and can last the course but if it gets too warm I suffer. There is no rush to do things these days which I find is a blessing. My whole life has become a slower affair, not that I am slowing down when I work but I am not doing as much work as I used to do. It is nice to be able to choose whether I will do something or not. I do have goals of course and will make every effort to reach them but one step at a time.

Shirley Anne

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Up on the roof (and everywhere else lately)

Posted by Shirley Anne on June 22, 2011

Yesterday was a much better day for me than the previous one were I felt as sick as a dog all day. I managed to go shopping with E in the afternoon but my body was resisting all the same. As promised the guys came and began laying the paving in the front. They had finished the rear garden the day before when I wasn’t well.
Meanwhile I began to remove the plastic sheets we had placed over the paving in the rear garden for it had been raining overnight and we needed to protect the new mortar. I cleaned the area then set about filling in the edges of the paving with grass lifted from elsewhere. I used a spade to dig up the grass (it was growing where it shouldn’t have been) and a large kitchen knife with a serrated edge to slice the sods into strips that would fill in the narrow space between the lawn and the paving edge. After tamping it all down and watering it you can hardly tell that I had done it. I did several small jobs around the garden in between making and serving coffee to the guys. E was busying herself stripping wallpaper in the downstairs toilet/cloakroom, the one we are converting into a ‘wet room’. After a quick-lunch I was off again but this time onto the garage roof. Probably the hardest part here was getting the ladder down from its perch! Anyway I proceeded to fit some ‘Flashband’ tape over a couple of sections of fascia board where it was exposed and then I painted the boards in their top coat of gloss paint. In the photo below you can only see a small section on the top left above the passageway that had been painted, the other board runs down the whole right-hand-side from front to back. The area over and around the windows are to be clad in pvc (part of that is already done beneath the gutter). 
After cleaning brushes and myself (LOL) the next task was to mow the lawn. Much easier to do now as it is completely surrounded by paving! That task usually takes about 50 minutes in total then out to the front to sweep up everywhere. Several other small jobs later I returned indoors and cooked E a roast dinner while she did some weeding and bringing in the washing from the clothesline. I was somewhat exhausted when I sat down to eat but felt much better after my meal. I retired to the rear lounge and sat playing my guitar for a while. At this moment I am writing this post, something I do most days but I schedule the posting to early the following day. Well you didn’t really think I sat around at 6 o’clock in the morning doing it did you?
A couple more pictures for you……..If you click on them they will appear larger and you can see the open edges around the paving that I have now filled with grass.

I always feel better after a hard days work don’t you?

Shirley Anne

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The next challenge is on the way

Posted by Shirley Anne on June 17, 2011

Teak garden furniture and wooden decking

On Wednesday E and I went to do some shopping after I returned home from a job. We bought furniture oil for our outdoor furniture (seems logical) and some more brick sealant (we ran out of the stuff when we treated the patio brickwork last time). That will keep me occupied for a day or two I am sure! Whilst we were out E paid a visit to the store where we bought the materials and furniture for converting our toilet/cloakroom into a shower/wet room and cloakroom. Coats will only be left there temporarily by visitors, our own coats are stored in our bedrooms. It is the only room downstairs that can be used as a temporary cloakroom. I digress. She went into the store whilst I sat in the car. We were wondering why it was taking them so long to deliver our goods, E was told that it would all be delivered the same day, a matter of two hours later! They were true to their word and it was delivered as promised. This means when it is raining I have a job to do indoors and when it isn’t I have plenty yet to do outside! There is no escape. All this depends of course on my availability, I do work as an electrician too!
Next weekend we hope, weather permitting, to have our first barbecue of the year (we did have a small one a week or so ago, just the two of us) where we will invite family, friends and neighbours. This will make good use of the patio too, well that was one of the reasons for building it! If the weather is not fine we simply eat indoors but that means cooking indoors too which takes more time I find, especially when it comes to cleaning up! As long as it isn’t raining or it isn’t too windy we should be alright. I like having people around for drinks, food and fun. We usually have music, games or a quiz to help things along. As long as my guests are happy, I am happy.

Shirley Anne

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The patio revisted

Posted by Shirley Anne on June 10, 2011

We finally got E’s nephew to start the laying of the paving slabs in the rear garden, those that we had planned after the patio was to be finished. Yesterday saw all of the paving slabs cut and some of them laid into place ready for ‘pointing’ up later. I took a picture of what has been done so far. If you click on the picture for a larger image you can see some of the paving laid in front of the patio wall (one of the slabs is missing because they broke it and it needs replacing). The others are arranged in a fan shape and they will fit into the space cut out for them as you can see.
When these have been laid that will complete the main works in the rear garden.

E and I have been preparing the area under the front bay window ready for paving slabs to be laid there. That meant rebuilding part of the dry stone walling and levelling out the ground . We had hoped that E’s nephew would have been able to lay the paving this week once he had finished in the rear garden but as things look at the moment I don’t think that is on the cards. At least the groundwork is done and the area doesn’t look too bad, as it did some weeks ago! I have placed a couple of pictures here so you can see what I mean.

In the first picture you can also see the retaining brick wall we had built two weeks ago and the garage with much work still to do on it!
One day…………

Shirley Anne

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Not exactly planned

Posted by Shirley Anne on June 9, 2011

Dry-stone wall in Chalford Hill, Gloucestershire

Image via Wikipedia

I went to do my job yesterday morning and to my surprise I was back home by 11.30. There was no sign of anyone having been to do the paving but it appears that E’s nephew was having staff problems. The guy he works with doesn’t work on Wednesdays for reasons best known to himself and a sub-contractor E’s nephew uses occasionally didn’t turn up to carry out work he had given him elsewhere. This meant E’s nephew was hard pressed to fulfill his own commitments including our job. He did call and he did some levelling of the ground, removing soil in the process but he was unable to start laying the paving slabs. Hopefully he and his friend will turn up today to continue with the work. After they have completed the work in the rear garden they will start laying the paving slabs in the front garden. This meant that E and I had to rebuild part of the dry-stone walling we had demolished when clearing the area for a brick wall to be built a few weeks ago. So before lunch, E and I set about doing that and also laying a completely new top layer of stones along the length of the 6 metre long wall. We then began to level out the soil above. As it was almost 2 o’clock we left off working and returned an hour later when we transported many bags of soil from the rear garden and placed that on the raised ground contained by the dry-stone wall and levelled that soil out too. We also did some filtering of the soil in the lower bed in front of the wall. Much more needs to be done in this bed but it is slowly taking shape having been neglected because of the volume of work we have been doing elsewhere. After our evening meal both E and I were in the rear garden and I happened to glance over the garden wall whilst standing on the patio. Our neighbour was riding around her garden testing out her bicycle. I waved to her and she came closer and asked how we were getting along with the patio. I invited her to call around and see for herself. We hadn’t met socially before and we didn’t even know her name even though her garden adjoins ours. Her house is on the main road which is about 100 metres away so although we are neighbours we are not exactly close! To my surprise she took up my offer and called around five minutes later. She was very impressed by what we had done in the garden as we showed her around. It turns out that her house was built in the year 1872, fives years before ours and that the ground on which our house is built actually belonged to the owner of her house at that time and was used for the stabling of horses. The land was sold off to pay a debt and our house was built there in 1877. Her house, which is now split into two homes, used to be just one very large house before it became a semi-detached property in 1920. I often wonder what it must have been like in the area when these houses were built. Local history is fascinating to me. So many changes have been made over the years to the various properties around about, including ours!

Shirley Anne

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Lazin’ on a sunny afternoon

Posted by Shirley Anne on June 7, 2011

The day started early for me as I dragged myself out of bed to get ready for work. I had one job to do locally which turned out to be two jobs albeit at the same address. Even so I was back home just after ten o’clock! I wasn’t in the mood for work but today and tomorrow I cannot afford such luxury as I have two separate jobs to do which will take me the morning to do in each case. When I got home I washed my van, the first time in quite a few weeks as I have been too busy elsewhere. Later and before lunch I had some housekeeping to do and I spent some time on the treadmill but after lunch I’d simply had enough of work and exercise. There were things to do and there still are things to do but I wanted to rest instead. The morning wasn’t too bright but by noon the sun began to shine and it remained sunny all afternoon. I grabbed some beer (lager) and my guitar and went outside to sit in our new patio. after a while I took the guitar indoors but returned to just sitting quietly in the patio whilst appreciating the scenery. E had gone out for a couple of hours and there was no-one else in the house. Today we are expecting E’s nephew and his friend to turn up to lay the remaining paving slabs in the rear garden around the patio. Later, probably Wednesday and Thursday, we are hoping they will finish laying paving slabs in the front garden too. We are also expecting two deliveries this week, the first will be the materials and furniture for our proposed re-vamp of the downstairs toilet/cloakroom and the second will be the delivery of the windows for the new(er) garage. Of course this means more work so it is nice to be able to sit around occasionally, ‘Lazin’ on a sunny afternoon’.

Shirley Anne

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Almost done

Posted by Shirley Anne on May 25, 2011

The patio is nearing completion now. All we need to do is to paint the concrete but that has to wait until we get delivery of the paint and a day or so of dry weather. Yesterday I completed the electrical installation. We now have three twin power outlets and three lights all fully working. In the morning I popped out to look at a job and when I returned we both applied the sealant on the concrete. After lunch and an hour or so later I applied a second coat of sealant. Normally three coats would be applied but as we are painting the concrete that won’t be necessary. It was another sunny day yesterday and still quite windy but it gave me the opportunity to finish off the electrics whilst E began planting out her onion and carrot plants she had been nursing in the greenhouse.   In the photographs you can see the three lights and three power outlets together with the switch for the lights (the smaller of the two boxes on the left under the archway in the first and third photos). The third power outlet is shown in the first photo behind which is the light on the other side of the wall. You can enlarge the photos by clicking on them.

Shirley Anne

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Making hay

Posted by Shirley Anne on May 24, 2011

A collection of cans of paint and other relate...

Image via Wikipedia

Monday was one of those days that looked very promising but sadly turned wet and windy after a brilliantly sunny morning. I was windy all day through sunshine and rain and then sunshine again. Yes, the day became sunny once more after lunchtime. E and I had been out shopping for one or two items and then we visited a couple of places in search of a supplier of paint suitable for outside on concrete. We had seen a supplier over the Internet who had what we wanted and the price was reasonable but we wanted to see if we could buy it locally. Unfortunately no-one could supply our needs so we returned home, had our lunch and then went on the Internet and purchased the paint we had seen previously. It should arrive within a couple of days. We have decided to paint the patio concrete floor in a grey colour so that it doesn’t look out-of-place with the surrounding brickwork and paving stones. We need to seal the concrete first and we have the correct sealant to do that. Had we done that early in the morning it would have dried out long before it began to rain around noon but we missed the opportunity. Today is promised to be dry and sunny so we will do today as soon as we can. First of all though I must fit the final power outlet and light which shouldn’t take me long to do. After lunch and after ordering the paint yesterday I set about installing the second power outlet and light and managed to finish doing that before we went back indoors for our evening meal. We took the opportunity to do as much as we could whilst the weather was reasonable. Let’s hope we can do what we have planned today before the weather changes once again.

Shirley Anne

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Getting there

Posted by Shirley Anne on May 21, 2011

Yesterday morning I had to go and do an electrical job a short distance out-of-town but I didn’t need to get there until 9 o’clock which was just as well because the on the previous night I had very little sleep, less than three hours! By the time I got to bed I was walking about like a zombie but I had a really good night’s sleep when my head hit the pillow. So there I was yesterday morning, fit as a fiddle and rearing to go. It was very sunny yesterday morning although it was windy and not very warm too. I had it in mind to do some work on the patio when I returned home so when I did get back an hour later I collected all the materials I would need and put them in the patio area. I wanted to start ‘second fixing’ the electrical work, fixing the sockets and lights but before I could do that I wanted to give the wall another coating of sealant. The top part of the wall had not yet been coated even once so that needed doing first, however, when I climbed the ladder I noticed that many of the joints in the capping stones were not properly filled with mortar! I suppose the bricklayer thought ‘out of sight, out of mind’. I was disappointed that he’d left the job in that condition just because it was out of sight. I mixed a bucket full of mortar and set about correcting his poor workmanship. I had it done in a half-hour. In the meantime E had joined me and she got on with coating the walls with sealant. That meant that I could get on with the electrical work. The weather turned from being sunny to being showery, not a lot of rain but enough to stop us working. It was intermittent rain and it looked like it was on for the day so we collected everything and went back indoors for a late lunch at 1.30. I decided to take a trip to the supplier to purchase some stock for the van whilst E went to do the weekly shop. She normally does that on a Thursday but she had been in Birmingham for a day or so. When I got back home the weather had changed for the better so I decided to carry on with the patio electrics. This time I took a garden ‘brolly’ with me, you know the type, those that fit into a table but without the table. I was seated on a garden chair doing the sockets so it fitted easily into the chair and gave me protection in the event of another shower of rain. It did rain just the once and then stopped for the rest of the evening. I managed to install one of the twin sockets, a switch unit for the lights and one of the light fittings before coming back inside for my evening meal. I have two more twin sockets and two more lights to fit which shouldn’t take me long when the weather improves. The Sunday weather forecast looks promising! I shall be taking today off from working and in any case the weather isn’t that good for working outside. I was full of aches and pains last night, probably due to working outside in the cool, windy and damp air.

Shirley Anne

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Yesterday………..

Posted by Shirley Anne on May 20, 2011

Yesterday saw the builder finally finish his work on the patio. The previous day he laid a fine concrete (granno-mix) screed over the main concrete base because of imperfections in the floor finish. However he ran out of materials before he could finish the job so the first thing he tackled was to complete the laying of the screed. At the time of writing  I am not sure whether this last portion of screed has been smoothed out enough to blend in! I’ll have to wait and see. After he had laid the screed he laid the steps beneath the archway, replaced a couple of bricks in the front garden and cut a paving stone I’d asked him to do for me as a favour. He left the site around 11 o’clock and I tidied up. The previous night I got very little sleep, about three hours and I got up at 4.15! It was one of those nights, tossing and turning and not being able to sleep properly. Perhaps I just wasn’t tired enough but throughout yesterday it became increasingly difficult to stay awake! There wasn’t much for me to do as I now have to wait until everything is dry before I can work in the patio. I did get a call to do some electrical work but I deferred that job until today. It would have been too dangerous to chance driving when I was feeling so tired. It was a nice sunny day yesterday and I spent the afternoon chilling out in the garden playing guitar.

Shirley Anne

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In a hole…..literally!

Posted by Shirley Anne on May 13, 2011

Largest currant and gooseberry producer

Image via Wikipedia

No builders today but the job is still not finished. I am guessing they are acquiring replacement stones for the patio, or there was another job elsewhere! Maybe they will turn up today, especially if they want paying. Such it is with the building trade.

I had lifted all the plywood sheets that we had placed over the soil whilst the walls were being worked on so yesterday morning I had the chance to plant the half-dozen gooseberry shrubs we have been waiting to plant for weeks. I was amazed how well they had thrived considering they had simply been left on top of the ground for so long. So the first job I tackled was to plant them behind the wall of the new patio. I then began the laborious task of filtering or sifting some more soil in the vegetable plot. E joined me after I had planted the gooseberry shrubs and we soon had a routine going. I was literally in a hole in the ground making it larger and then sifting the soil before putting it back.  After three hours doing that it was lunchtime. E was going for the weekly shopping after lunch so I carried on working. I didn’t return to the hole in the ground at first but went into the front garden to remove a large pile of rubble that had accumulated whilst the front wall was being built. No, it wasn’t rubble that the builder had left, it was rubble I had placed there ready for it to be placed behind the new wall to be covered over when the groundwork there is underway. Then I returned to the hole in the ground and did more sifting. So I was feeling rather tired last night and my arms were aching a lot. I am not sure what I will be doing today. The weather forecast is for lots of rain this afternoon so if I do work in the garden it won’t be for long.

Shirley Anne

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All I want is a bit of peace!

Posted by Shirley Anne on May 12, 2011

Spaghetti alla Bolognese

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The guys duly turned up yesterday morning and two of them proceeded to build the wall in the front of the house. In the afternoon they returned to the patio area and completed the brickwork there. Late in the afternoon the third guy returned and began to lay the natural stone capping to the walls of the patio. Unfortunately he wasn’t particular as to where each stone was being placed as there were different colours of stone. Those coloured pink or sandy-coloured happened to be thicker than the normal grey coloured stone so he decided to place the greys on one wall and the colours on another! It looked ridiculous and i told him so! I told him that all the stones have to be grey and that the job will have to be continued on the morrow, that is today. He removed the coloured stones and replaced them with the grey until there were no more grey stones left. The rest of the job went well. The owner of the firm will be completing the work today hopefully.

In the evening our eldest son and his wife stopped over for dinner, spaghetti-bolognese, which we thoroughly enjoyed. During the meal we chatted about their proposed move to stay with us for a year or two. They are in the process of selling their house, partly for financial reasons and partly because they wish to get out of the area in which they live now. With the housing market as it is of late they want to start afresh by saving for a decent deposit before proceeding to buy another property. We discussed the possibility of  installing a shower in the main bathroom, something we don’t have at the moment. It would be far better to strip out the bathroom as it now stands and start over. More cost, more work, more time. I know it will be worth it in the end but at this particular moment in time all I want is a bit of peace! I can ill-afford to spend anything else on the house for the time being as I have spent quite a lot on the house over the last twelve months, about £30,000 to be exact and still there is more to do! Ah well, I can’t take it with me but I do want to make sure E is financially secure should I ‘pop my clogs’ so to speak. LOL

Shirley Anne

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They’re back!

Posted by Shirley Anne on May 11, 2011

Yesterday morning after breakfast I looked out the front window and saw E’s nephew and his mate reversing out of the driveway. I wondered what was going on but looking more closely I discovered that they had simply delivered some paving slabs for under the window which is pending completion after the wall has been built. Just after they left the builders arrived and set about completing their work on the patio. They got this far before returning today.

You can see that the garden wall behind the new (unfinished) arch has been extended and raised. More work is to be done today in the patio area and in building the wall at the front of the house.

Shirley Anne

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Reliability………..or

Posted by Shirley Anne on May 10, 2011

….If you want a job doing, do it yourself! The builders didn’t turn up yesterday morning after assuring us last Friday that they would be here on Monday. We had expected them to arrive early last week but it was Friday before we saw any of them and that was only because they had delivered a few slabs of paving and wished to inform us that they would be here on Monday instead. I accept the fact that the weather has let us down a bit and although it was gloriously sunny last week they had not been able to do our job because they had to finish other work. It rained a little yesterday but it was more intermittent and confined to the afternoon. Yesterday morning was warm and sunny! The guy in charge, the owner of the company did arrive mid-morning to drop off a wooden template that will be needed to construct the brick arch we have commissioned them to do. He didn’t knock on the door to explain why they hadn’t come to work but left before I could chat with him. A short while later a large lorry turned up with the special bricks for the wall in the front of the house that we had on order. When the bricks had been off-loaded I went into the garage to see if anything had been left by the builder and it was only then that I realised he had dropped-off the wooden template for the arch that was to replace another which had been made too small. I took one look at it and couldn’t believe my eyes! What an eye-sore, a complete botch-up of what should have been a simple thing to construct. It looked as if it had been made by an eight-year-old. For a start it wasn’t a semi-circle, just like its predecessor, two, it wasn’t the correct size and three, there were very uneven cuts to the shape of the arch as if it had been cut with the wrong saw. What was I to do? That was two attempts by them to get it right. I decided to make one myself! When constructing a template for an archway there are a couple of things to consider in its construction. One, it has to be the correct shape. Two, it has to be the correct size. Three it must be constructed in such a way as to effect an easy removal when the bricks have set in place. Here are a couple of pictures showing my efforts to get it right first time. It took about an hour to make. You can see where I have cut a slot into the arch on both sides and re-fixed the units together with battens which when unscrewed later will allow the two sections to close together making removal easy! Now why couldn’t he have done the same? After all, it isn’t rocket science! LOL. The pictures were taken in the rear doorway of the old garage and you can see some broken pieces of concrete and a small piece of what was originally part of the walkway to the front door before we had it re-surfaced. There is a step down through that door into the rear garden which needs to be altered so that we have a concrete ramp instead of a step. This will make it far easier to roll out the lawnmower, wheelbarrow and other wheeled equipment we have stored in that garage. A job for later in the year methinks, or maybe next week! It all depends on other things as usual.

Shirley Anne

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No work…Ha!

Posted by Shirley Anne on May 6, 2011

Home-gardening-review

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I’ve not been getting much in the way of electrical work lately, except at home of course. That doesn’t mean I am unemployed though as you might have guessed with all that’s been going on in the gardens, especially the rear garden. Yesterday was no exception. We had done as much as we could toward the progress of completing the patio so all that was left was to continue filtering or sifting the soil in the vegetable plot which is now about three-quarters complete. We focussed our attention on the section immediately behind one of the patio walls and now that part is finished. I have laid plywood boards over the soil beneath each of the walls in order that the tops of the walls can be worked on (from a ladder on the garden wall). The builders are supposed to be here today to finish the work. We’ll see! I had started the work in the morning and E joined me after an hour or so. After lunch E went shopping with her mom and I finished the work just before it began to rain. It is the first real rain shower we have had in weeks albeit short in duration! The forecast for today is perhaps a little rain occasionally. I am hoping so else the bricklayers will not be able to lay bricks! You would think in this day and age builders would erect temporary shelters over their work sites, especially where the site is relatively small as is the case for our job. I have seen bricklayers building walls under an awning but it doesn’t seem commonplace. It would prevent them being out of work when it is raining! I don’t know if I will be at home today or not. If I am at home I think I will not be doing much for a change.

Addendum: Rain has stopped play! Monday marks the return of the builders………..no chance according to the weather forecast!

Shirley Anne

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They didn’t come!

Posted by Shirley Anne on May 4, 2011

I was expecting the builders to arrive here yesterday morning and had everything prepared for their arrival but they did not turn up! I had to go to do a small job locally at 10 o’clock but was back home around 11 o’clock and still no-one arrived. E went out to do some shopping around noon and was late coming back so I had my lunch alone as I wanted to do some work at home. I wanted to run in the supply from the new electrical board to the patio area, a distance of about twenty metres. It entailed much drilling of the brick walls in order to fix the cable a metre above the soil level as it traversed the vegetable plot on its way from the garage to the patio. Inside the garage I had to run the cable at high level along the beams and terminate it in a box above the electrical board and then into the board itself. It all sounds easy and technically speaking it is but it is very much a labour intensive operation. Consequently I was rather tired afterward! When the builders have finished their work in the patio I will be able to fit the accessories, power outlets and lights. I haven’t heard from the builders as yet so I am not sure when they will arrive. They did say that the job would be completed by the end of this week but I need to receive a quotation for the extra work I have asked them to do. Today I was supposed to be in another town doing some electrical work but the guy called and postponed the job. He had fallen down the stairs and had been unable to prepare and clear the site for me.

Shirley Anne

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Now I really am tired!

Posted by Shirley Anne on May 2, 2011

Pile of bricks.

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I had a rest day on Saturday and was ready to get stuck into some work when I got up yesterday. I woke early and had finished my breakfast by 07.30. I went outside and began to shift more soil from the area that hasn’t been filtered so that I could shift the soil that had been filtered and placed a barrier between them. I needed to make level the soil that was next to the garden wall so it could be worked on. Did I tell you shovelling soil is hard work? Having done that I went into the garage to pull out some plywood sheets that we have stored there. I laid them on the soil in front of the wall and began to chisel away the bricks that were protruding and some cement rendering that had been spread over it. This was to allow us to ‘bag’ the wall as we did with the other part on Friday. This section was however, larger. Before we started doing that we decided to remove all of the coping stones and some bricks from the top of the wall so that the height of the wall can be raised another course of bricks. We removed them, cleaned them and stacked them ready for being replaced later. There had been plants growing out of the top of the wall and their roots had penetrated deep into the wall. Nature has a way to destroy whatever man can build! So I had to remove the plants and also cut back a couple of large branches from a tree in my neighbour’s garden that were hanging over the wall on our side. I chopped them up later in the afternoon and placed them in the ‘green’ waste bin. It was after a late lunch that we returned to the wall to begin filling all the holes in it! This meant we had to mix the mortar by hand in a wheelbarrow. That takes some time and effort. We began to ‘bag’ the wall and had almost finished it when we ran out of mortar so one small bucket more and the job was done. After cleaning the area E took in her washing that was on the line and I watered the garden plants. We then watered the plants in the front garden before coming inside around 6.30. Both of us were very tired and after a quick bath we prepared our evening meal. When we work a full day we mean a full day! There have been so many different things to do, more than we would normally do in a day but if we don’t do them who will?

Shirley Anne

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