Tag Archives: Shopping

How do they cope?

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English: Parking meter at Brocolitia Here in t...

Parking meter at Brocolitia Here in the middle of nowhere, a parking meter to extract pennies from visitors to Brocolitia Roman Fort and Mithraeum Temple (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I got up early on Monday but only to take a trip into town for a few things. Maybe I would get an electrical job too but that didn’t happen. I wonder why (see previous posts)? When I take a trip into town I sometimes take the van to just somewhere out of the parking meter zone and I have a favourite place to do that, then I walk the rest of the way. I never pay at a meter if I can avoid it, motoring is expensive enough and the walking is of benefit. If I know I won’t be working I sometimes walk all the way there and back. So after a quick breakfast I set off by the back roads but on the way I thought I might call into the doctor’s surgery and see if I could get an appointment. For some time now I have been plagued with an itchy rash on the lower part of my back and I kept promising myself I would get it seen to. I had to pass the surgery to get to where I park up when going to the town centre so I stopped and went in. I was very fortunate to get to see the doctor within fifteen minutes and he prescribed an ointment for the complaint which he said was a simple skin infection. The prescription was sent directly to the chemist by The Internet and I collected it on my return home from my shopping trip an hour later. I buy my toiletries in town as they are far cheaper there but on this trip I wanted also to buy a black cardigan. I bought one that I liked and together with my other purchases returned home via the chemist store. I hadn’t really dressed with the intention of doing any work so I was dressed for going out and socialising. Just before noon E went out somewhere and I decided I might dine out but at a later time in the day. I set off on foot around two-thirty but I ended up walking about aimlessly not being able to decide where to go. In Southport that shouldn’t be a problem as there are hundreds of places, quite literally! After almost two hours of walking about in the sunshine and taking in the scenery I found myself back home without having eaten! I am like that, I go out with all the best intentions then give up on the idea because I couldn’t be bothered! I prepared a very light snack and was satisfied with that even though I’d had very little to eat at breakfast eight hours earlier. I made a cup of tea and sat out on the patio but soon found myself watering some of the plants as they looked desperately in need of it. I carried on until the whole garden had been watered and finally I wanted to fill the watering can that is kept in the large greenhouse but the water supply had been cut off. The hose had separated from the hose connection fixed to the tap (faucet). I replaced it but again it came off. How to affect a repair? In the cellar I have a little storeroom filled with all sorts of tools and materials and I searched for something to use that would make the hose connection usable again. I have a box filled with many neoprene ‘O’ rings and using one I was able to repair the connection. I wondered how other people less practical than myself would have coped. Call in someone to help, go out and buy another connector or just give up? My whole life is geared around fixing things for myself wherever I can when things go wrong and it has saved me a small fortune over the years but it is the satisfaction I feel when I find a solution to a problem and the fact that I am able to fix it. I don’t think E would be able to cope in the same way, in fact I know she wouldn’t but help isn’t far away should she ever need it when I am not here.

Shirley Anne

Of frozen foods and shopping

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Frozen foods at the Real Canadian Superstore i...

Frozen foods at the Real Canadian Superstore in Winkler, Manitoba (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ll wager you will be thinking when reading this post that it is all about shopping but although the subject is a part of the post the post is actually about a dream I had in the small hours of Monday morning. For the first time in quite a long time I found myself out shopping with E and we were loading up a shopping trolley with frozen foods of all types but mainly confectionery and bread. As we tried to leave the store we discovered more ‘special offers’ on sale and added these to the trolley. E wanted to stand around and chat but I was impatient and just wanted to get the goods safely in our vehicle and drive home to store it before it began to thaw. Finally we were both outside but it was dark as though it was in the middle of the night. I know some stores are open for twenty-four hours so it wasn’t surprising to find ourselves out shopping at that hour, even so it was unusual. It was a warm night too and therefore all the more important we didn’t hang about. For some reason the car park wasn’t outside the store, it was a car park surrounding an establishment where I once worked! I couldn’t figure out why that was. I couldn’t figure out why our vehicle wasn’t actually ours but that belonging to our eldest son who handed us the keys as we came to load the food in the boot (trunk). Although it was a large vehicle, one you might expect to have a large rear compartment, it didn’t, in fact the opening to the small boot was small too and we found it difficult to get the trays into it. I couldn’t understand why the food was on trays, especially the confectionery but that didn’t matter to E who just squeezed everything in, squashing everything in the process. However, we couldn’t close the lid and I was getting more and more irritated by E’s lack of concern or interest. I am not sure what the outcome was in all of this for at that time I woke up.

Shirley Anne

Finding the time

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A Striped Lawn

A Striped Lawn (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Friday was one of those days with nothing planned which enabled me to get a couple of things done for myself. I expected I might get a couple of calls though and indeed that happened during the morning but first I got up quite early with the idea of walking into town in order to buy myself a new bag for everyday use. I carry a handbag during the day so that I can keep paraphernalia to do with my business in it. The one I have been using recently was passed it’s best with the zips finally giving way. I couldn’t close it. There is an indoor market in Southport and a stall there specialises in the sale of bags, purses and the like at very reasonable prices. I had very little to eat for breakfast, a banana and a fruit drink because I planned to eat out later. So I left the house at 8.30 and headed into town. I was a little early for the market to open so I went to a coffee house for a cappuccino and returned twenty minutes later. Almost the first bag I saw was the one I wanted and at £12 for a leather bag I bought it. I didn’t give in to the temptation to stay in town but walked back home for I wanted to mow the lawn. The following couple of days, Saturday and Sunday promised to be very wet and windy and Friday was therefore the best day for mowing the lawn. I might not have had much of an opportunity to mow the lawn during the coming week and it needed mowing. It would be the first cut of the season. Soon I was back home with the lawnmower taken out of storage. I checked that there was enough fuel in the tank and tried to get it started. It took me some time to start but eventually it was ready. The grass was still damp as it was only mid-morning so I raised the wheels for the first pass. Normally during the warmer months I can keep the wheels low for a close cut but when the grass is damp I need to make two passes, lowering the wheels for the second cut if I want it close. I was about halfway through the second cut when my phone rang. It was a request for my electrical services but I couldn’t accommodate. A couple of minutes later I received another call, to connect a new cooker. I accepted that job and told them I would be there about a half-hour later when I had finished cutting the lawn. I drove to the house and discovered that the existing old cooker had been wired directly into a socket circuit, which should never be done but not only that, it had been connected with a cable only suitable for a lighting circuit! The cable would only be capable of carrying a 10 ampere current. An average cooker can use up to 25 amperes at least. That would mean the small cable could burst into flames. There was no dedicated cooker circuit as I had been led to believe and that is what was required. I told the tenant of the house that I wouldn’t be doing that as I don’t usually do such work now if I can avoid it. There are plenty of other electricians in the neighbourhood who can oblige. It is sometimes nice to be able to pick and choose what I do and at my age it is sometimes wise to do so. I returned home and sat it out for an hour or two before walking to the pub for another nice meal there. The food is excellent and very reasonably priced so is it any wonder the place is as popular as it is? This past week I have been there four times! I don’t always get the chance to dine there but lately I have been able to find the time more often. If I have been working hard during the morning and sometimes into the afternoon I don’t much feel like cooking at home and the pub is so handy at such times.

Shirley Anne

So what did I do?

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A New Morning, Changing Weather

A New Morning, Changing Weather (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday I spoke about the rough weather we had on Monday morning and the fact that I wanted to go into town to buy some things. During my average week I cannot get into town in the morning for I am usually at work so when a day comes along where I have no work I like to take the opportunity. However, I didn’t much fancy going out in the rough weather but did so late in the morning because the forecast was for sunshine and by the time I left the house it had indeed started to get brighter. I didn’t wish to walk the whole distance there and back as on my return journey I would be carrying more weight so I decided to take the van and park it in my usual place just outside the parking metre zone. It still meant I would have to walk about half a mile but that is far better than the mile and a quarter it would have been (one way) if I was carrying bags of shopping. By the time I had parked the van the sun was out though it was still very windy. I had walked a matter of 200 yards and hailstones began to fall in the high driving wind. I took shelter at a bus stop and waited for it to subside. About five minutes later it had stopped but the wind was relentless. Fortunately the wind was blowing in the same direction I was walking but I knew I would have to walk into it on the way back. At last I was in the shopping precinct and in the warmth of the shops. Soon I had all my shopping done and I set off back to the van. The wind was biting and full on in my face. I was well wrapped up for walking but there is no protection against the wind on your face unless you wear a mask! I saw a young man wearing exactly that. It took the form of a skull and looked a bit spooky but I guess he couldn’t care less, his face must have been warm. Finally I reached the van and was glad to get out of the wind. The sun was ‘cracking the flags’ as they say but the wind took away any warmth the sun was providing. I just threw everything on the passenger seat and drove off but not for home, not just yet. I made a detour to the pub and had a hot meal. I had skipped breakfast for I had it in mind anyway to eat out somewhere. Once home again I packed away my shopping and had a restful afternoon but later decided to do a spot of baking as we were out of fresh home-baked scones.

Shirley Anne

 

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday

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Nothing planned but I was sitting with my laptop after my late breakfast and my mobile phone rang. I had an inkling that would happen but though I had resigned myself to doing no more electrical this week I was in a way pleased. I’d rather have something to do than not. I could have set myself the task of working in the garden as I had mentioned previously but the weather was rather windy. I had to journey some 10 miles to replace a faulty three-gang light switch but it was worth the effort for £40, my minimum charge. I was back home a little more than an hour later. E was going shopping with her mum after lunch and I decided to do some baking whilst she was away. I mixed two separate recipes, one was for a rich fruit cake (though mine wasn’t topped like the one below) and the other a coconut cake.
 
I did the coconut cake first as it would take at least an hour and three-quarters to bake. The fruit cake takes an hour and a half. Normally I would bake just the one but E doesn’t like coconut in any shape or form. I have to do something with my time don’t I? Had the weather been better I might have gone for a walk but I will probably get another opportunity for that sometime in the week. I got that opportunity on Tuesday. E and I often dine out on a Tuesday but this week things went differently. I wanted to visit the bank to deposit money in my current account and at the same time arrange to see the manager about adding E to my account. We once shared a joint account many years ago but this time I want to arrange for E to be included on all my bank accounts. She will be a ‘silent’ account holder on my accounts which means she will not be making many deposits or withdrawals. The purpose of doing this is to ensure she will have no problems regarding our household financial matters and she will have access to savings should I die before she does. By my doing this she will also avoid any inheritance taxes or any other problems to do with finance as any monies will automatically be hers by default. She need not reciprocate by giving me the same privileges with her accounts for I would remain self-sufficient should she die first. Neither of us plan to depart just yet but who can say what the future holds? Whilst she was having her shower I received a request to do a small electrical job a couple of miles away but was back within the hour then off we went to the first bank. We had some trouble finding a parking space but eventually we did. I made the deposit then asked about including E on my account. Unfortunately the manager had left for lunch so we made an appointment for Wednesday morning. E had to go into town to do a little shopping and again we found it difficult to find anywhere to park. We allowed ourselves two hours on the meter and off we went on foot. Now I hate the crowded shopping experience, always have, and I make it my business to avoid shopping when I know the streets and shops will be packed with people. I like to move in quickly, buy what I want then get out as soon as I can. I know what I want and the places I need to visit to get them and I plan my route beforehand. However when I am with someone else I have to go at their pace and wherever they go I have to go. E cannot get about quickly because of her ailment and though she might have a plan in mind we always seem to dart from one place to the next in no particular order. That’s why we hardly ever shop together. I did buy one item for the house, a new cake tin! E had bought a flexible cake ‘tin’ not made of metal but a heat-proof rubber substance. I wanted a round metal one that produced straight-sided circular cakes instead of the rectangular ones I have been forced to bake lately. The sides are seldom vertical and straight with the flexible container. We were too late to go for a meal and although we could have found somewhere in town we knew everywhere would most likely be crowded. In any case we had no time left on the meter. One thing I never do when by myself is to pay for parking unless it is unavoidable. This time I was with E and she has to park reasonably close to her destination. It was after three o’clock before we finally got back home, too late for lunch, too early for dinner, so we each had a coffee and a slice of home-baked cake. The following morning, Wednesday I was up and about early despite the opportunity to stay in bed longer. I find it hard to simply lie there once I am awake. E and I were going to visit one of the banks I have an account with in order to arrange for her to be included on my account. It would then be a joint account. The appointment was for eleven and we didn’t leave the bank until twelve-fifteen. We drove off home so E could collect some things before going to collect her mum and do some more shopping. I remained at home and had some lunch. I had wished we might have gone out for a meal until she told me she was going shopping. Ah well there’s always another time. I was greeted by a telephone message indicator but the caller hadn’t actually left a message. I didn’t call back. I assumed they were asking for my electrical services.
Shirley Anne
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I just couldn’t be bothered!

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The Douglas Squirrel (Tamiasciurus douglasii) ...

The Douglas Squirrel (Tamiasciurus douglasii) is an example of wildlife. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am going through one of my phases lately and I know the real reason for it. I had been working all day on Wednesday and was feeling well and truly tired by the time I had come back home. After my evening meal and some quiet time I was feeling quite refreshed though when I finally did get to bed I found it no problem in getting to sleep. I had decided not to take on board any work for Thursday so that I could have some respite from it all. At the beginning of October I had arranged for the purchase of another thirteen weeks of advertising space in my local newspaper and was informed at the time that there would be an annual increase in the charge for that service applied on the first Wednesday in the month of November, five weeks later. I explained that the excess amount I would have to pay could be taken through my credit card as they have my details on record. The extra amount would be in the region of £14 or so for the eight weeks which fall under the new pricing. This Wednesday I received a call from the girl looking after advertising sales reminding me that she would be debiting my account for the extra charges. On Thursday evening I discovered that my credit card had been debited by £62. Obviously a mistake. I had to go shopping on Thursday morning for electrical materials for van stock and toiletries and undergarments for myself so after breakfast I drove to the newspaper offices to sort out the problem with my account. It had indeed been a simple mistake as the debit should only have been £14. They would credit my account for the £48 overpayments. It is just as well that I keep a watchful eye on my banks accounting and card accounts for I could easily have missed the overpayment. I left their offices and drove on to the electrical supplier to purchase what I needed. I left my van there and walked back into the town about a half-mile away to do my other shopping. Before returning to my vehicle I spent some time in a coffee-house over a large Cappuccino. It was almost lunchtime by the time I had returned home. After chatting with E about my morning she showed me a couple of movies she had taken of the rear garden from inside the house through the window. She had noticed a squirrel foraging for bedding materials and food and decided to catch it on her iPad. We have seen it a few times recently and it appears to have made a home for itself in the huge ivy-covered tree on the other side of the wall in a neighbour’s garden. We have a small oak tree which has been producing acorns for a couple of years so I am guessing the squirrels have noticed that. There is a plant pot or two in the corner of our garden which hold long-leafed plants that have died back for the winter. The dead leaves were being taken for bedding. Soon we were having lunch after which E went to do the weekly shopping with her mum. During lunch I mentioned that I was feeling bored and E looked at me as if to say ‘Don’t be thinking about working, you are supposed to be resting’. She didn’t say anything but I know she was thinking it! When she had left the house I went into the garden and swept over the newly laid path at the rear of the mound for something to do (you’ll have to read about the mound in my summertime posts). I then opened the back of my van to do some tidying up in there and to sort out all the materials I have acquired over the last few days. When I returned indoors I was still restless but ended up playing the guitar for a time to relieve the boredom. Trouble was that didn’t work! I find I get so bored doing nothing or next to nothing that I have to do something. I just cannot be bothered sitting about watching television or reading a book and even going shopping is a bore sometimes. All I really want to do is work at something at the moment. Well, the squirrel is busy why can’t I be? The calls still keep coming in.

Shirley Anne

One down and one to go

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I was up quite early on Saturday but I had to wait for E to arise so that we could go shopping. She had to collect a parcel or two from the Post Office as neither of us were at home when they called and I wanted to buy an axe. We have quite a collection of garden tools and implements but one thing we didn’t have was an axe. It was some time after 10.15 before we left the house and the first stop was the ‘Tool Station’ located about three miles away. I had never visited one of their outlets before so I didn’t know that they operate exactly as ‘Argos‘ do, you look in a catalogue then fill in a form and collect the goods at the counter. As it happened on this occasion the young girl at the counter fetched an axe for us to see and as it was exactly what we wanted we didn’t need to fill out the form. As E had been there previously the girl simply asked for our address for their records and then took our payment. We left there and on the way to the Post Office E called into a filling station for fuel. I paid as I often do if I am in her vehicle. We then drove off to collect her parcels. On the way back home she asked if I still wanted some gardening gloves as the pair I had been using now had holes in them which sort of defeats the object of wearing them for protection. We called into the large garden centre (Dobbies) and whilst I was visiting the toilet she wandered off to look for some gloves and some plant spray-on treatment for pest control. I suggested we stop for a coffee in their large dining area and we each had a cappuccino and a cake. Their cafeteria is as good, if not better than some places that are dedicated eateries. Soon we were back home but it was now after 12.30. We skipped lunch as the cakes had curbed our appetite and we made ourselves ready to work in the garden. For working on the mound I wear ‘toe-tector’ (Steel toe protector caps) wellies and thick socks and whilst out in the sun a long-sleeved top if I am not wearing overalls. The main task for the afternoon was to remove one of the two shrubs I spoke about yesterday and that is why I purchased the axe! Here is the offending article after we had spent about three hours getting it out. That is three hours for the day but we had spent about another three hours digging around it the day before.The Mound 013

The axe is about a metre in length. The ball of roots is almost impossible to cut even with the axe but the axe enabled us to chop off the larger roots and shoots with some ease. Even when we got it out of the ground there still remained more roots to dig out but now we could get at them with the spade and fork. So, a spade, a large fork, a small fork, a small trowel, large cutting tool, a bow saw, an axe and lots of hard work eventually got it out of the ground. Now we are faced with another one but we think the second one will be much easier to remove as it is located away from any other tree’s roots and possible obstacles. We are hoping it is simply in soil but we will not know for certain until we get closer to it. We may find a lot more of the builder’s rubble and stones we came across in that corner! Late in the afternoon we brushed aside the cobwebs and dug out the barbecue for a well-earned meal before retiring indoors.

Shirley Anne

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Ouch!

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Human Feet - female - bruised

Human Feet – female – bruised (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Having worked so hard on Monday I was thankful to get to bed and rest. Being as I am a lady of shall we say, some years, I am prone to night-time visits to sit on the throne at least once during the night. I duly arose around three in the morning and off I went but when I reached the steps at the end of the landing I stumbled and caught the little toe on my right foot on the architrave surrounding the bathroom door which hurt a lot. Once I had finished with sitting down I bathed my foot in very cold water which eased the pain a little. I returned to bed but found I had to sleep with my right foot uncovered to keep it cool for comfort. When I finally arose for the day my little toe felt really painful and I found it difficult to walk without discomfort. Fortunately I had nothing planned to do for the day away from home and I hadn’t planned on working in the garden just for the morning as E and I were going to dine out in the afternoon. I was therefore able to remain seated for most of the morning thus keeping my foot at rest. When it was time to get changed for the afternoon’s outing I found it difficult to walk upstairs to my bedroom but once there I managed to find a pair of shoes that I could walk in without too much pain. I got changed and soon we were off out-of-town to a place we have grown quite fond of. I didn’t have to walk far once E had parked her car and soon was able to sit down at the table. E was kind enough to place the order and tend to our needs allowing me to stay off my feet. After a rather filling meal, for they serve very generous portions there, we drove home but stopped at the shopping precinct by the sea front. She knew I wanted to buy a pair of slippers (soft house slippers) for myself as for quite some time I have been without a pair. Whilst we were there I looked for another pair of flat-heeled shoes for day wear and she browsed the shelves looking for something for herself. I found a really comfortable pair of slippers and flat-heeled shoes but E couldn’t decide on anything for herself. I would have bought whatever she wanted but she passed up on the offer this time. My little toe was still hurting but the pain eased a bit once I put on the slippers. How can such a small part of the body hurt so much I thought? Hopefully as I write this on Tuesday evening the pain will have disappeared by the morning.

Shirley Anne

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Busy holiday period

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E and I have worked every day since Friday except for Sunday when neither of us did anything. Our aim was to get as much done on the bathroom project as we could during the seasonal break. We managed to fit the glass screens around the shower because our youngest son was at home some of the time and without him I doubt I would have been able to carry the one glass panel we had stored in the cellar up to the first floor of the house. The other of the two largest panels had been left on the landing outside the bathroom a few weeks ago but somehow I managed alone to move that into position and fit it in place on Saturday. It weighed something like 25Kg. The other panel, the largest of the three weighed in at 37Kg and needed two people to move it. That panel had been stored in the spare bedroom a few months ago when it was purchased. The other panel had been purchased more recently when we discovered it wasn’t included in our original purchases. I had been out at work when it was delivered and E had it stored in the garage. With help from C our youngest the large panel was moved into position on Monday morning but it was left for me to fix it by myself. That wasn’t a problem, the main problem was getting it into the bathroom and placing it on the shower tray, that required two of us. He went out for the day and E and I got on with the work. You can see the result in the pictures below. The next job was to prepare and fix the tap column in position ready for connecting it to the water supplies later. Once that is done all that there will remain left to do will be boxing in the pipework to hide it and refitting the main door to the room.

Bathroom 90Bathroom 91

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bathroom 92Bathroom 93

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last two pictures show the tap column presently only secured at the base until the pipes are boxed-in when the column will be secured and supported further up from the base. The square collar that can be seen halfway up the column is not fixed and will be slid down to rest on the finished box. An updated picture will follow when it is finished. After the day’s work E and I drove to a superstore to purchase a metal and glass tray for use in the wet room, which I fixed to the wall later, a free-standing toilet roll holder and new chrome finished furniture for the door to the bathroom.

Shirley Anne

 

 

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No end to the spend

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Pounds Sterling

Pounds Sterling (Photo credit: 917press)

I love Tuesdays because we dine out a lot on that day. Sometimes I will be out working in the morning but usual try to defer jobs to another day if possible. Last Tuesday I had nothing planned at all and decided to take the whole day off, not even working at home. As it happened we needed to purchase a little more grout for the bathroom as there are one or two small tiling jobs still outstanding but because the grout colour wasn’t plain white we couldn’t purchase it from an outlet nearer to home. The local store didn’t stock the colour we had used which is called ‘gunmetal’, a light fawn colour. That meant a trip of some 40 miles or so to purchase it from the place we had bought everything else for the bathroom, ‘Better Bathrooms’. It would be a nice drive and we could take our time and have a meal on the way back home. Whilst in the showroom we saw a towel rail we liked, one that could sit on the wall adjacent to the vanity unit so I purchased that at the same time too. Both items cost me almost £50. We journeyed on from there to where our youngest son is currently living whilst waiting to move into the house he and his partner are purchasing. We wanted to deliver some mail by hand so that he didn’t need to wait until the weekend to collect it himself. He often comes home to collect his mail. It isn’t worth having his mail redirected and when he moves into the house he can arrange his mail to be delivered there. So we ended up even further from home and by now it was after 1.30. We turned to come back home and found a great restaurant when we were still 20 miles or more away. It was almost 3 o’clock by the time we had finished our meal but it was certainly worth it. That cost me £28 with a tip for the lovely waitress included. We’d each had two courses but only water to drink, something we tend to do these days. Now E’s car is getting a little past its best at twelve years old and I would dearly like to purchase a new one for her but for the moment I’m biding my time. She has been complaining that the wipers need replacing and the adapter she uses for the satnav and the dashboard camera I purchased for her doesn’t work. So after our meal we drove back home and when back in Southport I asked her to call into a shop that sells stuff for cars and had the wipers replaced and a new adapter bought which will even allow her to plug-in her mobile phone too at the same time. Another £17. We drove onward to purchase some milk as we had only a small amount in the house. Well, we like to have our Cappuccinos! The milk only cost me £1.80….LOL. We did forget to visit the plumber’s merchant to purchase a 22mm stopcock but will have to do soon if I am to do the plumbing for the bath water supplies.

Shirley Anne

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It will all work out in the end

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I am sitting here just before noon on Sunday with the sunshine streaming in through the window behind me. If it wasn’t for the wind it would be a very pleasant day to be outdoors but I am staying put where I am warm! We were expecting a delivery of goods from ‘Better Bathrooms’ today but as I mentioned in a previous post that has now been changed to this coming Sunday instead. We had ordered an extra item, one we had omitted when we purchased the bathroom furniture last November and this meant a rescheduling to allow them the time to amend the order. As is usual with companies such as these there are often bargains to be had and they let you know by email if you have registered with them and agreed to receiving them. I agreed to receive such mail shots, at least for the time being, for I thought I could always ignore reading them if I so wished. One mail they sent recently advertised bathroom mirrors on special offer. We wanted a small mirror near to the wash basin unit that would double to serve as a cover to hide the small inspection panel which will cover the water and electrical supplies for and behind the shower unit. You can see its location alongside a shaver unit already installed in a picture I placed in another post (Jan 31). You can scroll down from here to see. One mirror we really liked was on offer for £26.95 a massive reduction from its recommended retail price of £126 and here it is…… The mirrorWe phoned them today (Sunday) to purchase it with the possibility of collecting it in person but they said it wouldn’t be available to collect a such short notice as we had only just placed the order so we asked them to add it to the list of goods we are to receive this coming Sunday.They returned my call a few minutes later and informed me that they had made the arrangements but added that there would be a delivery fee of £10 and asked if that was acceptable. Naturally I told them it was not and the reason for it, that we already had a delivery scheduled which was free of charge because of its size and that we were only adding one extra item to it. The guy queried the issue with his supervisor and after a few minutes of deliberation returned to the phone and told me there would be no extra charge. Well I knew there wouldn’t be. It appeared that I had two accounts with them for some unknown reason or at least that was what he told me. Somehow I didn’t believe it for one minute. So come Sunday next we hope we will be in receipt of everything we ordered in readiness to recommence the work.

Shirley Anne

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The clothes came out spotty!

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Your WASHING MACHINE...Helps Keep Clothes Clea...

Your WASHING MACHINE…Helps Keep Clothes Clean…Make Your Equipment Last. – NARA – 514669 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think it was last week that E told me about a strange noise coming from the washing machine and when I went to investigate I thought immediately that the drum bearing had failed. The bearings are usually very reliable so I thought it odd that after only six years we were having trouble. The machine wasn’t a cheap one and I remember buying it along with many other things and spending around three thousand pounds at the time. Then E told me that she suspected one of the wires from her under-wired bra had somehow gotten inside the drum as it was missing. Well it had to be that and indeed it was but the noise abated a couple of days later and I gave it no further though, probably because I have had other things on my mind. On Tuesday and again on Wednesday, E mentioned something about black spots on some of her clothes and I was reminded about the wire inside the drum lining. It appears that the wire has damaged the water seal melting the neoprene rubber in the process. I made some inquiries regarding repairs but was advised that the cost was prohibitive and it would be better to buy a new machine. Once upon a time I would have carried out the repairs myself as it was one of the things I did in my younger days when I worked for the electricity board, though the machines in those days were less sophisticated than they are today. Nevertheless the repairs would be time consuming and not easy to do as it means stripping down the machine to get the drum out. It was late in the afternoon on Wednesday and we had been working in the bathroom for a few hours removing redundant copper pipes and plastic drain pipes from beneath the floor and inside the airing cupboard and were ready for a rest. We had unpacked the shower tray, a rather heavy affair that needed careful handling to avoid damage because of the material it is constructed with and we laid it on the floor temporarily to get an idea of where the new drain would need to be for it to connect to. We have decided we will raise that above the floor level as we will be doing with the bath so that we can gain access to the drains later should there be a problem. Anyway, tired as we were, we drove out to the retail park,to Curry’s, to look at the washing machines with a view to buy one there and then. They have quite a selection and one of the guys there spoke with me asking if he could help. I told him the story and he suggested we not buy a new machine but invest in a maintenance scheme which would cost £119 or £149 for a year’s cover for the whole machine. If they find they cannot do the repair the money is returned and we are none the worse off. I know the cost would be something like £300 to have the job done by a specialist repairer as I had spoken with one of them earlier so this deal sounded better. We took them up on the offer and if all goes well the total cost will be the £149 we chose to pay for the extra twelve months cover. We had to arrange that once we had returned home for we hadn’t the details of our machine when we visited the shop, after all we weren’t going there to have it repaired as we didn’t know they offered that service. We did not leave the shop empty-handed though as whilst we were waiting we were looking at the coffee machines and ended up buying one! The machines ranged from about £59 for the cheapest to over £700 for the more expensive though as we were told even they were not the top of the range where the prices are around £3000 or more! We selected one priced at £169 and bought it. I had a nice Cappuccino later after we had figured out how it worked. Now I am training to be a Barista!

Another costly day!

Shirley Anne

Phew! They just keep comin’…

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English: Now, what type of light fitting were ...

English: Now, what type of light fitting were you looking for? Travellers passing this long established lighting shop on the A3400 may notice the owner’s penchant for colour coding their lampshade display. In readiness for the festive season a distinctly berried choice has been made. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I worked just the two days this past week and earned almost what I would expect to earn in two weeks! On Thursday and Friday it was go, go, go all day long and even then I was getting calls to do more. Already I have jobs booked for the coming week. I have to say I am enjoying it all, well I have to else I wouldn’t be doing it! I’ve not had much time for my bathroom project but there will be times for that, I did a little on Saturday. One of the jobs I had on Friday, in fact the last one of the day, involved replacing a bathroom light fitting. The house was eight miles or so from home and it was late in the afternoon and already dark. The lady of the house had bought a fitting which was completely unsuitable and would have been potentially dangerous to use, especially as it was very near to being directly over the bath. Now I am 5′ 9″ approximately in height and I could touch the ceiling whilst standing on the floor. The bath of course is higher than the floor and the light would be very easy to reach from there. Current regulations concerning bathrooms are very strict with special attention given to electrical safety. There was only one type of light fitting that could be used in this particular situation, a totally enclosed fitting, preferably double-insulated. I suggested to the lady that I could drive to the local store to buy a more suitable fitting as regulations forbade me to install the one she had purchased. I found a suitable fitting and returned to install it. I am amazed that some people don’t bother seeking advice before making such purchases. Often in the past have I had to refuse fitting unsuitable lights for people. Some older houses which have not been rewired within the last 45 years won’t have earthing conductors in the lighting circuits but people still purchase metal fittings that require earthing, even fitting metal switches themselves where no earthing conductor is present to earth them. These kinds of jobs just keep coming. I keep getting asked when I am going to retire to which I reply,’I haven’t the time to retire’.

It appears we finally cured the leaking floor drain in our wet room! We had left the cement to dry for more than a week as recommended and it didn’t leak when we tested it for the first time on Friday evening. Let’s hope it stays that way!

Shirley Anne

 

Just another busy day

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English: A picture of a electrical wire (with ...

English: A picture of a electrical wire (with imbedded grounding) commonly used in dwellings. The wire is used to transport 230V alternating current-electricity; which is common for buildings in Europe. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

During the week I had to purchase a new shower and one or two other items at my supplier’s store. I think it was Monday afternoon and I had been working in somebody’s house all morning and simply wanted to get home. As I came out of the store I was approached by a man who works locally and he asked me if I was busy. I replied that I was laden with work just at the moment and a look of despair came upon his face as he said ‘Don’t say that, I was hoping you could do a small electrical job for me. No-one I ask seems to want the job, it is hard getting an electrician none of them appear interested’. I told him that I might be available on Friday but I would have to check my diary to confirm that. Whilst I was placing my purchases in my van he came back to me with his name and address written on a piece of paper. He was very pleased to hear me say that I was available on Friday as his wife would be at home all that day. We arranged for the job to be done that day and he left happy. I duly turned up on Friday morning and was greeted by his wife who was pleased to see me. I had the feeling that she was relieved that I had actually turned up at the door as apparently others had let her down. I am true to my word and if I say I will be there I will. The first problem was that none of the lights on the ground floor were working. I traced the problem to the kitchen fitting but when I came to remove it I was faced with a knot of twelve wires, some disconnected and others bare with no insulation. One or two had welded themselves together too. It took some considerable time to identify and figure out just how these wires should have been connected. Normally that wouldn’t have taken too long to do had the installation been wired in the conventional way or one of the ways that wiring was carried out when the house was built. The house was sixty years old and hadn’t been rewired since it was built which meant rubber cables and no earthing conductors. Completely rewiring the lighting circuit would be the best thing but the cost and upheaval shelves that idea for the time being. The installation, though old, was still serviceable providing safety measures were adhered to. Fortunately the electrical supply was fitted with an RCD unit which goes a long way to protect against electrocution. The rubber had perished in places and circuit cables from two adjacent rooms were also present in the same position which made sorting them out difficult. As I say it took time but eventually I had them repaired and sorted with the lights working again. A new fitting was needed for the kitchen and whilst I was working the lady went to purchase a new one. I told her to make sure she bought one which didn’t require earthing as there wasn’t an earth conductor provided at the ceiling and I explained what symbol to look for on the box. She returned empty-handed because she couldn’t find one and the store staff had no idea what she was talking about. I said that I would go with her and sort out the problem but before I did I replaced the two wall fittings in her conservatory she had asked me to do. When that was done she drove me back to the store and I selected a couple of fittings and asked which one she wanted. There were no identifying marks on the outside of any of the boxes for any of the fittings on sale to indicate if they were ‘double insulated‘, meaning they do not require an earthing conductor but I knew from experience that they were suitable. However, we couldn’t take one out of its sealed box to check it so I asked the assistant if she could take one down from the electrical track (quite a few had been fitted to tracks for display purposes and could be easily removed and replaced) so I could see the connections. Hey presto! No earth required and the relevant ‘double insulated’ label was on the rear of the fitting! Why wasn’t the same label on the outside of the box? The symbol to look for is a small black rectangle within another black rectangle on a white background and is the one used to indicate a double insulated device or fitting and one that does not require earthing. We returned to her house and I fitted it to the kitchen ceiling. I was paid a little extra for my services and as I was leaving she said, ‘You are not getting away quite so easily, I will no doubt have more work for you to do soon and I am going to tell all my friends that I have found an electrician who is female, great at her job and reliable’. How nice is that?

Shirley Anne

Saturday would be different

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Grouting

Grouting (Photo credit: xJason.Rogersx)

I promised myself that Saturday was going to be different and it was. Having been ill for most of the week I had set my mind on doing next to nothing over the weekend. On Friday E got on her knees and finished off grouting in the floor tiles, that is she did the 75% I had left undone so that I could concentrate on fitting circuit breakers and connecting cables into the distribution panels for the various new appliances in the wet room. I then mixed some mortar and filled in the various holes that needed filling in the brickwork outsider and in the cellar room beneath the wet room. We couldn’t continue to fit the wet room furniture on Saturday because the floor tile grout had to be left for a couple of days to set hard according to the manufacturers instructions. We hadn’t yet decided on what we were going to do with the threshold beneath the door, how to blend in the tiles with the carpeted area outside the room but we had it in mind to fit some sort of edging tiles. So after breakfast on Saturday morning we drove to the local superstore to see what was available and found something suitable there. We purchased a few other items too and then drove into the town centre and parked the vehicle for an hour or so whilst we spent some time in a coffee lounge supping on giant-sized Cappuccinos and a slice of cake. By now it was after one o’clock and we headed off home but on the way I asked E to pull into our local pub for an impromptu lunch. As usual I was greeted by a few people in there who know me. I have to admit to not having been there for quite a few weeks so it takes some by surprise whenever I go there after being absent. I go through phases where the pub is concerned, some weeks going there three or four times and then disappearing for weeks on end without going there at all. It just depends on how I am feeling. The meals there are nice and always freshly cooked and sometimes I will eat there during a busy week at work so that I don’t have to cook at home but it all depends on what E is doing of course. We returned home and E was keen on laying the edging tiles so that is what she did, after I had cut some plywood to lay under them and shaped the end tiles to fit in with the door frame. The room is now an empty shell waiting for me to fit the toilet and the basin vanity unit in the coming week, providing I have the time of course for today, Monday, we are expecting the contractors to arrive to fill the cavity walls with insulation and I might be needed to assist here and there. I am hoping the weather is favourable for the work to be done as the forecast wasn’t promising.

Shirley Anne