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Posts Tagged ‘Work’

Time found, well for some things.

Posted by Shirley Anne on March 27, 2014

This image is from Vaseline company archives o...

This image is from Vaseline company archives of various published materials. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The weather was brilliant on Monday, sunshine most of the day and the wind had dropped dramatically. I hadn’t any electrical work to do, my first job was to be Tuesday morning so I had the day to myself, almost. I had to take advantage of the fine weather and get the soil-pipe connected to the stack. I hadn’t noticed that the elbow connection I had purchased together with the length of pipe had a small crack in it which meant a trip to the plumber’s merchant to have it replaced. I had to go there anyway as the guy doing the tiles asked if I would buy some sealant. However in the meantime I accidentally dropped the elbow and it broke along the crack causing a large piece to break away. I wasn’t sure if the plumber’s merchant would now accept the fact that I hadn’t broken it myself. It would be difficult to do that as these fittings are quite substantial. A flaw in it, in this case a crack, made it possible. I need not have worried, the guy understood and replaced it free of charge without argument. I did have to purchase the sealant of course! I returned home and set about cutting and fitting the pipe, having to use ‘Vaseline‘ to get the parts to slide together past the neoprene seals and even then it was difficult. I had it all done in an hour and fixed with a bracket. I mixed some mortar and filled in around the pipe at the same time. I could have dismantled the scaffolding tower at this point but decided not to as I will be using it again at the rear of the house in order to clean out the gutter and clear the small roof beneath my bedroom window of the accumulated moss there. I will move the tower round there when I propose to do that job which may be a few days away. For the moment it can remain where it is. It would be at least an hour before it was lunchtime so I busied myself doing minor tasks around the house. E had made Mick our tiler some sandwiches and had some filling left over so she asked if I would like a sandwich too. We all sat down together and ate our food. Almost immediately I’d finished my mobile phone rang and it was someone asking me to do a small job for her 92 year-old mother. I had been there once before last year. When I arrived the old lady was confused even though her daughter had phoned to say I would be there within the hour. I did not know what the task was and getting the information out of the old lady was a real challenge. My ten minute job took me an hour though during that time I had to visit a local supplier for materials. When it came to payment she found it extremely difficult to understand what the fee was going to be. I had written an invoice/receipt but had to read it out for her. I then had to count out her money in her presence and show her what I was taking. When I placed the remaining cash back into her purse she wondered what I was doing and I had to explain everything to her once more. I decided to phone her daughter and explain to her what I had done and how much I had taken but she didn’t answer her phone. A couple of minutes later her husband called me so I explained everything to him. The old lady asked me who was on the phone and when I told her it was her son-in-law she reacted at first as if she didn’t know what I was talking about then piped up ‘George’? In some ways I feel sorry for the lady but she seems to very happy and contented. 92 and totally independent, I wonder if I could claim the same thing if I were to reach her age? When I again returned home E and I had plenty to do cleaning and removing rubbish before we could finally relax after our evening meal. It was at that time I finally found it possible to do some sewing. I had a garment that needed a ‘stitch in time’ and that was the only time I had free to do it.

‘Mick’ had finished the tiling but promised to return at our request to help us bed-in the shower tray and apply sealant around its edges and elsewhere. I can then begin to fit the furniture and do the plumbing for the bath tap.

Shirley Anne

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I don’t know how but I did it.

Posted by Shirley Anne on February 21, 2014

Never on Tuesday

Never on Tuesday (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tuesday afternoons are generally reserved for dining out with E. I try therefore not to accept work that will prevent me from doing that but it doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes people can only be available on Tuesdays so if I take on the work I try to keep at least the afternoon free. I had a lady call me last week to ask if I could do some work for her on Tuesday as it was the only day she had free. As the job was possible to do in a couple of hours I agreed to do it for her. Later I received another call from someone living in the same town close to where the lady lives and they asked a similar question. Their request was for an even smaller job which would only take thirty minutes to do so I agreed to do it in order to prevent me having to journey the ten miles again the following day just to do the small job. Yet again I received a call to do another small job in the next township a couple of miles further away. It seemed stupid to refuse and have to journey the thirteen miles on another day just to do that job too so I included that request with the other two and I did all three on the same day. I had no idea how long the three would take to do but guessed that I might just be able to get them all done before lunch. I would phone E and let her know if I wasn’t able to get home in time for us to dine out so that she could have something at home instead. As is usual in my profession there is no guarantee as to how long a job will take to do but experience allows a good guess. Naturally therefore I had a couple of problems at the first address which threatened to gobble up the time but somehow I managed to overcome them and found I had completed the work within the two hours I had expected it to take. I then drove off to the next address and had that work finished in the half-hour I had thought it would take. Now I was cooking with gas as they say and had just the one job to do, the one in the next township. A simple job it should have been but in fact it was more of a problem than the first two combined! Time was being eaten away and I knew I wouldn’t complete it as quickly as I had thought I would. Finally I was done and I packed everything away into the van for the thirteen mile journey back home. I glanced at the clock on the dashboard and noticed that it was only twelve-fifteen! I would be home well before one o’clock and in time to get changed and drive somewhere to eat. E was working at her computer but had been doing some painting in the bathroom during the morning. I was soon ready and then I waited for her to finish what she was doing before the pair of us drove off at one forty-five, the time we usually leave the house to dine out on a Tuesday afternoon.

Shirley Anne

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No time to work for myself

Posted by Shirley Anne on February 6, 2014

One of the advantages of working at home is th...

One of the advantages of working at home is that you get to make real sandwiches for lunch. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I write this on Monday afternoon I face the prospect of not having much time for working at home this week. I went to a job this morning where the lady of the house wanted me to remove a couple of power points together with a telephone outlet and television aerial socket then to reposition the television aerial socket and install a new power point alongside it high up on another wall where she wanted to relocate the television. The work took all morning to do and just as I was leaving she asked if I could do more work for her on Friday. Whilst I was working I received more requests from other people and as a result I will be working most of the day Thursday too. I already have one job scheduled for tomorrow, Tuesday but the afternoon will be free for us to dine out as usual. At the moment Wednesday is also fee but no doubt that will change, which leaves only Saturday free for working at home! Well I have to pay for the bathroom project somehow! It gets so bad sometimes that I have to refuse work in order to get anything done at home. I should worry eh? I normally don’t work full days from home but I don’t like coming home after working hard elsewhere to start working at home too. I like work but not that much! If the work at home is minor then I might do it otherwise it waits until I get a whole day free. Fixing tiles to a wall would be something I might do as I wouldn’t have to spend hours doing it and simply do a little area at a time. We have reached a stage with the bathroom project where there is little major work left to do so I could do almost anything without having to exert myself. I get the feeling that some of my readers think I am at it all day and every day but that is far from the case. I like my free time too where I can relax and do next to nothing or play my guitar for instance. My, or should I say ‘our’ household projects can take as long as we want them to, there is no absolute deadline to meet though we don’t want them to drag on unnecessarily either. A little here and a little there and before we know it, it is done.

Shirley Anne

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Ain’t no stopping me now!

Posted by Shirley Anne on February 1, 2014

wednesday's giftI go through phases in my work habit. I call it a work habit because I habitually do it! Once I get started doing something I don’t like to stop but know I must. I was out doing an electrical job on Wednesday morning which kept me busy for a couple of hours and as soon as I had arrived back home I got stuck into working in the bathroom specifically to split the lighting circuits I had temporarily linked together on the existing pull-cord  switch and fit the two new pull switches to control them but first I had to fit a piece of wood along the edge of the lower part of the ceiling where it meets the main part of the room that rises to the high ceiling level. One of the switches was to be located there at the entrance to that part of the room which will house the shower, bath and toilet. The other switch was to remain in the same location as the original switch it was replacing. The work was interrupted a couple of times as we had the team back to finish filling the downstairs cavity wall and part of the wall at the side of the bathroom where we had discovered a hole in the inside wall whilst replacing a drain pipe. There should have been insulation material under the floor had it been blown into the wall but there wasn’t. I had to explain that fact to the team else it would never get done. Anyway both E and I got stuck into several other small jobs to fill the afternoon before stopping for our evening meal. We sat and watched some television but I was restless and returned upstairs to paint some of the high level ceiling with its first coat of paint. I got half of it done before finally stopping for the day. I simply want to get on with the work and find I get bored when I stop. I think I’d go mad if all I had to do each day was to lounge about on a beach somewhere! I write this down on Wednesday evening. I know there won’t be much chance of working in the bathroom tomorrow (Thursday) as I have a couple of electrical jobs lined up but knowing me I will probably try! Work for me is addictive, once I get started I can’t stop!

Shirley Anne

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Insomnia and hard work

Posted by Shirley Anne on January 22, 2014


UKShaverSocket (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Insomnia smiley

Insomnia smiley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Over the last few days I have been suffering with insomnia as well as having difficulty in getting to sleep too though eventually doing so, that was until Saturday night. Although I had been working hard during the week it made no difference to my difficulty in trying to sleep or getting any sleep at all. On Friday, and Saturday in particular, I worked hard all day long at home. E was not assisting me. She had avoided me all day Friday and was out all day on Saturday anyway. I explained why in a recent post. I just got on with the work. On Saturday I wanted first of all to skim with plaster the small area of ceiling which  I had begun to do late on Friday. It wasn’t easy and to be honest the finish was not very professional as the surface wasn’t left smooth by any means though that didn’t matter, I just wanted to get the rough artexed surface covered. Eventually I managed to do that and now, as I write this on Sunday afternoon, the surface is now ready for me to smooth out with a thin mixture of plaster. Hopefully I will get that done this week if I haven’t already done so by the time this is posted. Following on from that I began to install the wiring for the shaver unit and other wiring that needed to be done. I had already installed the cables for the shower but they both needed to be brought out from beneath the floor outside the bathroom out on the half-landing of the stairway. The floorboards near to the door in the bathroom are not yet secured to the joists so access there is easy but I had to peel back the carpet and underlay out on the landing in order to lift the boards out there. That half-landing by the way is directly above the wet room we fitted out recently. I needed to locate a source for connecting the fused-spur unit which will supply the shaver but access to the nearest available circuit to tap into was actually at the top of the steps in the cellar! Under the landing boards lies the original ceiling to the wet room and beneath it the ‘false’ ceiling which is the new ceiling for that room. There was a way through directly from the landing straight into the area at the top of the steps to the cellar. At the same time as installing the cable for the spur unit I took the opportunity to rewire the part of the immersion heater circuit that had been wired in rubber insulated cable when I rewired the house many years ago but could not get access to without doing unnecessary damage. Even now that rubber cable was still usable but it had to be replaced. The switch for the immersion heater is located alongside the switch supplying the wet room lights outside of that room at the top of the cellar steps so it was just as easy to install both cables at the same time. When constructing the wet room ceiling I had included another four-core cable and left it beneath the landing floor ready to be taken into the airing cupboard in the bathroom with the new immersion heater cable when the bathroom project was underway. This cable is for future use when I plan to fit a new thermostat to the hot water storage tank. The immersion heater is in the same tank but is at the time of writing faulty and will be replaced when I have the time. So now we have four cables sticking out of the floor against the wall on the landing, the two supply cables for the shower and shaver and the two cables going on to feed them. The switches that I will fit there will be inside of a small cupboard I will construct later. We also have two new circuit cables inside the airing cupboard which had to be ‘fished in’ under the floor’ as it is impossible to lift floorboards inside the airing cupboard beneath the storage tank! All of that work took me some time to do of course. It is the type of work better suited to two people doing it but as I was working alone I had to run up and down the stairs and do it myself. Although I am very much used to it, it is still hard work. When I had finished installing those cables I fitted the box inside the studded wall that will house the shaver unit then I cut and fitted some extra studding ready for fixing the plywood surface to complete the wall’s structure. By the time I had refitted the floorboards and carpet and tidied up it was after six o’clock. I felt tired after all that work and hoped I would find no difficulty in getting to sleep later. I need not have worried, it didn’t take me long to nod off but I have to say having a late-night shower before bedtime helps a lot. I am looking forward to getting the bathroom up and running, especially the bath, I love a long soak in the bath after a hard day’s work.

Shirley Anne

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Couldn’t even stand up

Posted by Shirley Anne on January 9, 2014

English: A pair of high heeled shoe with 12cm ...

English: A pair of high heeled shoe with 12cm stiletto heels. Category:Shoes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Late on Saturday I was just leaving the wet room after visiting the toilet and suddenly found it difficult to stand on my feet! The muscles in my upper legs at the rear would not uphold my weight and I found myself in agony when attempting to move. The pain eased off a little and I found it much better later but after I’d had a late-night shower I again found it extremely difficult getting into bed. I still had problems the following morning but not quite as bad. I found it easier to slip on a pair of low-heeled shoes (3in -  7.5cm) and walk about in them rather than wearing slippers or flat shoes. I had a theory about this. For quite a long time I have worn very high heels exactly like the ones shown (5in – 12.5cm) for short periods on occasion when at home and I thought that perhaps this may have been the reason for my ailment but I now think otherwise, at least in this case. I had been lifting and carrying heavy things during the day and that resulted in my feeling aches and pains in the lower part of my back which subsequently moved down both legs affecting the muscles at the back of each leg between my bottom and my knees. E suggested it might have been a trapped nerve in the base of my spine and on reflection I think she was right. Thankfully I do no work on Sundays so I was able to sit and relax but I would have done that anyway whilst being this way. Things improved during the day so I was able to get about. E has been suffering with her condition for many months now and she has to use a walking stick to aid her. She therefore has limited mobility and now I know first-hand what she has to go through every day. I am fortunate in that I am in good health and suffer little apart from the occasional, usually self-inflicted, aches and pains through working too hard! That I do not mind but when it comes down to mobility not being able to walk about is a definite disadvantage.

Having written this on Saturday I thought an update appropriate. I am feeling much better as I write this on Wednesday night. It appears my problem was indeed caused by a trapped nerve in my neck! Some time ago if my readers remember I had a problem with restricted movement in my right arm in that I couldn’t raise my arm above my head or reach behind my back with that arm. I discovered then my problem stemmed from a trapped nerve in my neck. With that in mind I carried out some neck exercises and found my current ailment suddenly easing. I continued the exercises and the problem has almost vanished. Lesson? Do the exercises as a precaution as often as I remember. My heels? They are not a problem.

Shirley Anne

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Post number 2000!

Posted by Shirley Anne on November 13, 2013

Water drop

Water drop (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

This evidently is my 2000th post according to Word Press. When I started to post on 14 January 2009 I never imagined I would stick to writing at all but here I am still plodding along.

I went to do a small electrical job on Monday morning and whilst there the guy showed me some other work he wanted me to do. Now at one time I would have taken on the work as long as I had the time but I still get annoyed when people get me to their house to do a specific job then begin to pile on the extra work expecting me to do it there and then. I politely told him that I would do it at some other time and left it at that. If he really wants the job doing he will call me again. I try my best to limit what I do in my electrical work for a couple of reasons, my age, my other commitments and I simply don’t need a great volume of work.

E and I are currently involved with renovating and refurbishing the bathroom upstairs in our house but we are only at the preparation stage at the moment. In the afternoon we set about dismantling the woodwork in part of the floor that had been constructed by someone else. The original floor level was seven inches (about 155 mm) below the present level and was seemingly raised for easier access because previously one had to step down into the room. It had been done professionally but for some reason part of the floor had been reconstructed more recently perhaps after water damage just prior to us buying the house but as you can see from the video I posted two days ago it was a botched-up job. We have measured up for new joists and floorboards and in the next few days we will purchase them. In the meantime we stripped out some old skirting board, cut off an old lead gas pipe and a section of lead and copper pipe that used to supply an upstairs kitchen sink with hot water. We stripped out that kitchen together with the many other sink units that were dotted about the upstairs rooms when we first moved in some 25 years ago. We removed a few more floorboards so we could see the layout of the existing pipework under the floor. Whilst taking some of the stripped-out timber downstairs to where we are storing it in the cellar I noticed some of the wood was damp. Fearing the worse I thought the wet room floor was leaking for it is directly above this room. I set the shower to cold water flow and switched it on whilst E watched for leaks. Sure enough there was a slight leak around the hole in the wooden floor around the drain assembly! I took the removable part of the grid out so I could to assess the problem. The drain was full of water as you might expect as it effectively a water trap but that water level is well below where the leak was found so it had to be the grid. Now the outer square of that grid is well sealed to the floor tiles so the leak had to be around the removable circular centre. I spent a few minutes applying some grout on the underside and around the top and hopefully that will cure the problem. So the shower is out of use for 48 hours from the time of writing this on Monday evening. When we first used the shower a few days ago we saw no leaks at all.

Someone telephoned me on my mobile phone asking me why my house phone wasn’t working. I tried to call home from my mobile phone and true enough it wasn’t working. E did the same but she took the phone out of the room and dialed 1471 (which is the number we use to find out the identity of the last caller here in the UK). The phone sprang back to life! Meanwhile my mobile phone started playing up. It does this occasionally for no apparent reason but I think it is because it is essentially a computer and the software is the problem. Anyway, switching it off completely then re-booting it solves the problem. If it isn’t one thing it’s another!

Shirley Anne

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Terrible day, except for later

Posted by Shirley Anne on November 6, 2013


Porridge (Photo credit: qousqous)

Monday started off well, insofar as I’d had a good night’s sleep and felt ready for work after a good breakfast of porridge and fruit juice. I find that porridge keeps me going for hours and it is great for aiding the lowering of cholesterol too. I have porridge most days, even during the summer months. My first job was in another town some 12 miles away and I was converting 10 downlights to LED versions by modifying the existing fittings. As usual I arrive at my work at 9 o’clock and I set off in plenty of time to get there at that time. Isn’t it always the way that things seem to stand in the way of that happening? Slow drivers, drivers pulling out in front of you then dawdling along as if they were the only drivers on the road. I was stopped at a certain set of traffic lights waiting to turn right but there was an endless stream of oncoming traffic preventing me doing so for what felt like many minutes though it was probably only one. I got stuck behind a small builder’s pick-up for a number of miles as we drove down the country lanes with no possibility of overtaking. The speed limit was 50 mph but this driver was intent on only doing 30! So frustrating and all the time the clock was ticking. My journey was much the same for the most part and it being the first day back at school after the mid-term break for many children the traffic at that time in the morning was much heavier. It is just as well that I allow plenty of time else I’d never get to my jobs on time. I arrived with a couple of minutes to spare. The job itself didn’t go smoothly either with about four independent little problems endeavouring to make a fairly straight-forward task much more difficult. I don’t let these things get to me and in fact I relish solving them though sometimes I could do without them. I spent three hours at that house and drove 14 miles to my next appointment, which fortunately was a much easier task and I had it done within a few minutes. My last call was 6 miles away and one of the jobs there was to connect an oven. There were no proper instructions or markings on the terminal box to indicate which cable connected to which terminal and guesswork was out of the question of course! I had to remove a large panel to look at the internal wiring to see which was the live and which was the neutral. The markings on the box was a simple 1 2 3 which turned out as I had thought it would as earth (1), neutral (2) and live (3). Why it wasn’t marked on the box as such beggars belief! It’s these little things which are so annoying. I was glad to get home at 2.30 but before I could get into the house I had to sort out a problem with the automatic garage door. One of the wheels had jumped out of the track and was preventing the door from closing smoothly. E wanted to talk about the wet room but all I wanted to do was get a bite to eat and be able to sit down for a few minutes putting all thoughts of work out of my head. Anyway after my very late lunch I solved the problem E had with the shower when she tried to use it earlier for the first time whilst I was out at work. She hadn’t realised that I had the water supply turned off! I then set about drilling the walls to fit the mirror and the towel rail. The wet room is now complete and can at last be used.

Shirley Anne

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It never ends

Posted by Shirley Anne on November 2, 2013

An NHS dentist performing an examination

An NHS dentist performing an examination (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had a dental appointment with my new dentist on Wednesday. In former years my dental practitioners were in Liverpool, some 21 miles from my home. A couple of weeks ago I had a filling come out and it needed replacing so I set about finding a dental surgery nearer to home with whom I could register. I found one located about three miles from home and was able to register with them. My first appointment was on Wednesday but other than having an assessment I had no treatment. The dentist will carry out some remedial work on my next two appointments which will be 19 November and 3 December and I was advised the cost would be £214. My registry fee had been £18 but that amount will be deducted from the £214. I shudder to think what the cost would be if I were a private patient. As it is my dentistry is covered by the NHS (National Health Service). After my first brief check-up I returned to the reception to confirm my next appointments and the young woman at the desk remarked ‘He’s dishy isn’t he’? I had to agree, he was! The practice supports five dental surgeons, four male and one female. I guess I drew the longest straw! When I left I had to visit an old lady who wanted me to check out a small electrical problem and make an assessment of another. The first problem I sorted out in ten minutes but I had to inform the old lady that the second request would not be a simple nor inexpensive job to carry out and might not indeed be possible given the nature of the present installation. I don’t think she will pursue with her request. From there I went to look at another job to assess what was required. I did that work yesterday, Friday. I should have done more work in our new wet room but deferred that work until today, Saturday. Instead I decided to replace one of the floodlights at the front of our house which had become faulty. I replaced five of the same at the rear of the house earlier in the year but decided to only replace the three at the front as they became faulty. One of the two remaining floodlights has been working for about 24 years and the other is relatively new having been installed about eighteen months ago. I might buy replacement units and keep them to one side for installation when it becomes necessary. These floodlights cost £45 each because they are LED units but they are guaranteed for three years and are far cheaper in cost to run. They use a mere 15 watts of power but give the equivalent light output of a 300 watt halogen lamp! That’s what I call progress.

Shirley Anne

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Tentative steps

Posted by Shirley Anne on October 24, 2013

Apfelstrudel, a Viennese speciality

Apfelstrudel, a Viennese speciality (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Although I resumed my work on Monday I wasn’t feeling at my best. I had but the one job some four miles from home and completed it within the hour. I just happened to be one of those jobs where nothing seemed to go according to plan, a simple task of fitting an extra power outlet in an adjacent bedroom from the one I had to take a supply. The walls were hollow, that is studded but the building, a prefabricated unit consisted of individual sections all bolted together. This meant that the wall through which I had to install the wiring had multiple separated layers! Nothing straightforward at all. Other niggling problems I could have done without served to make the task harder. Still, I had it done in the hour and soon was returning home. E had just finished her breakfast and was about to bake some more  ‘Appel strudel‘ when I got a call to do more work the following day, Tuesday. I had to go and purchase some materials for that job and by the time I had returned for the second time she was about to cook it. Now I wonder what gave her the idea to bake some more strudel? I think she is trying to improve her cooking skills after our recent trip to Vienna, not that she needs to do that for she is quite an accomplished pastry chef! I have to admit I was feeling a little tired after my lunch so I thought I might sit and rest but after an hour or so I simply had to get up and do something. I decided to lay a few more floor tiles in the wet room with a little help from E. I had thought that laying floor tiles was easier than fitting them to a wall but that is far from the case, it is more difficult. The strudel was nice by the way!

Shirley Anne


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It’s all happening

Posted by Shirley Anne on October 18, 2013

Somethin's Happening

Somethin’s Happening (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is a hive of activity surrounding my life at present. I have not stopped working since we came back from our short break, working on the wet room (where we are now ready to tile the floor at last), doing lots of electrical work and on the 28th of this month we are scheduled to have the cavity wall insulation installed. All the windows we needed fixing have now been done, though there was only three of them to adjust or repair. At least things are getting done and we are not just sitting on our backsides wishing something would happen. I didn’t get where I am today by being lazy and have always set myself goals to aim for. Someone asked me recently when would I retire to which I replied, ‘When I die’. Knowing me, that might just be true though I don’t plan on taking on too large a project once I have the bathroom and the outside toilet jobs out-of-the-way. I have already cut back a lot on my electrical work and seldom now work more than four hours a day or even work every day of the week. There have been one or two exceptions recently but they are rare. My greatest problem is I just cannot relax for too long and get fidgety if I’ve nothing to do. At the moment though I am quite active in one way or another. The work at home is giving E something to do too and she often gets on with some of the work on our projects whilst I am out doing electrical work. So she benefits by keeping active as far as she is able and that can’t be a bad thing. In the next couple of weeks we should be finished working on the wet room and that will allow us to begin working on the upstairs bathroom at our leisure. It will be nice to start on something new for a change!

Shirley Anne

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Happy doing it

Posted by Shirley Anne on October 13, 2013

Box of chocolates

Box of chocolates (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Although I really enjoyed Vienna and would return again if only to go to some more concerts and maybe I will some day, I am just as happy to be back home and working. On Thursday I had a couple of jobs to do. I was sitting having my breakfast just before nine when the doorbell rang. I answered the door and there stood the guy I was expecting to call but not quite so early. He had come to carry out a survey for the company who will be carrying out filling the cavity walls with insulation some time within the next few weeks or sooner as the case may be. He had free access to all areas and for a while the house was chilly with most of the doors being left open in his wake. I left the house once E got out of bed and downstairs which was around a half-hour later. Hopefully the whole procedure will lead to a warmer house and less energy consumption. I was going to add ‘and lower fuel bills’ but having heard the latest news fuel prices are set to escalate again! It is a no win situation for everyone. One consolation is that our Government is footing the bill and for a while at least I shall not have to face paying much more for my fuel. How long that will last is anyone’s guess!
One thing leads to another in my work and the first I had job developed into something bigger so had to be deferred until next week when I will have the time to do it. The second job not only paid well but I was given a box of chocolates too by way of thanking me for the work I had done so promptly, though it could have been because the guy liked giving women presents! Anyway, another satisfied customer. Maybe I will get the chance to finish the wet room soon.

Shirley Anne

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Must remember

Posted by Shirley Anne on October 8, 2013

A wall that has had cavity wall insulation ins...

A wall that has had cavity wall insulation installed (after construction), with refilled holes highlighted with arrows. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Wednesday afternoon E and I were just doing some measuring on the floor in the wet room deciding where to cut the hole in the floor for the drain so that when we fit the floor tiles around the drain hole we will have a minimum of tile to cut. We have to take into account where the floor supporting joists are located and how it will affect fitting the drain connection to the sink. It was important therefore to plan an exact position. As it worked out there will be just one corner of one tile to cut for a perfect location and fit. So while we were doing that the house phone rang and the caller was a lady from the organisation who will be installing the cavity wall insulation we have arranged to have installed. She wanted to know if it was convenient for their surveyor to call on Tuesday (which is today) so he could measure the size of the walls, make calculations regarding ventilation and to take some photographs too. At this point they do not know that installing the insulation will not affect the ventilation as the main ventilation bricks are not open to the cavity as in a modern building. I had to tell her that it wasn’t possible for him to come on that day, today, as we will be travelling home from our short break. We made arrangements for him to call on Thursday instead. It looks therefore that in a couple of weeks or less we will have the house surrounded by men busying themselves pumping insulation into the walls. Well that is our hope anyway. I also got a call from a valued customer of mine who wants me to do some more work for her when I return home. I must remember to call her. Now that I have written and posted this I can’t forget can I? Last week I had to turn down some work as I have been too busy to accommodate everyone. One of those requests was from a guy who ran a pub in another town close-by and had me a couple of times last year doing some electrical work there. It appears he is now running what has always been a popular little pub/restaurant and one of the first in Southport with a long history which is only a mile from where I live. Unfortunately I couldn’t find the time to fulfill his request on this occasion but he let me know he will probably call me again in the future. Thanks Mike.

Shirley Anne

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Gee Whizz!

Posted by Shirley Anne on September 17, 2013

a cat and a Litter box

a cat and a Litter box (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What a week I’ve had and as I write this late  on Saturday afternoon I can say I am truly wacked! Not much electrical work this week and what I did get was on Friday and Saturday. I have been working hard at home most days and was prepared to continue on Saturday until I got an invitation to do another electrical job. As my electrical work pays I tend to do that first of course but I limit myself to what I will take on board. Thinking the job on Saturday would be plain sailing I was happy to do it and in fact though it took me a couple of hours I found it easy work. The only reservations I had about the job were the conditions in which I had to do it! The house was dirty and untidy with cats freely roaming and cat hairs all over the place. The major part of the job was in a storeroom or what you might call a laundry room had it been used for that purpose but the floor was full of junk, cat-litter, cat food, mouse droppings, dead flies and anything else that found its way in there. All it needed was a brush and shovel to clean up most of it but the rest of the house hadn’t seen a clean for weeks so there wasn’t much chance for that room getting swept. I had to do it so that I could have a clean space to work in!  I cannot understand why people treat their homes that way and in this case there didn’t seem a good reason for it, the woman occupant wasn’t infirm and she wasn’t old in the least, probably a little over thirty years. She obviously didn’t take any pride in her home and was probably just a lazy person! I did the job and returned home thinking I might do a little work in the wet room but after lunch I found myself really tired and worn-out. I guess all the hard work has caught up with me, I had no energy left to do anything. I felt better after a few hours but did nothing else until Monday morning when I had two other small electrical jobs to do.

Shirley Anne

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Busy beavers two

Posted by Shirley Anne on September 5, 2013

A touchless car wash, which uses high pressure...

A touchless car wash, which uses high pressure jets of water and detergent to clean with. This typical example was part of a gas station located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Category:Images of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I got up early on Monday morning in order to have the paint repaired on my van. E followed after me some twenty minutes later to take me back home. The van would be ready to collect after 4 o’clock so we had all day to work on the project and work we certainly did! Plaster was patched up, ceiling gaps caulked, windows and door painted with a primer, 15 metres of trunking fitted and the heavy-duty cables for the showers and water heater run inside it, board fitted behind where the shower in the wet room is to be installed, board to mount switches on fitted. These switches are to be located on the outside of the wet room wall at the top of the steps leading down to the cellar as they cannot be fitted inside the room for electrical safety reasons of course. We had to shop for paint and to buy some door furniture at the same time so we did that before lunch and continued with the work as soon as we had eaten. Whilst we were out shopping I noticed just how dirty E’s car was. She cannot wash it as she once was able to so she takes it through a car wash unless I or one of our sons has the time to do it for her. I told her to drive to a car wash and have it done at my expense and she chose to go to a hand-wash depot. They had it washed and waxed in minutes and the change was truly remarkable, it looks almost new! After lunch we didn’t stop again until 4 o’clock when E took me to collect the van, Whilst I was collecting the van she collected the under-the-unit water heater we had ordered on Friday from the electrical supplier across from the repair shop. Once I had the van I went to the other electrical supplier to buy more materials for the job. We were both back home at 5 o’clock and continued to work until 7 o’clock before cooking our evening meal and taking the rest of the evening relaxing. It is surprising just how much work is involved when undertaking a project such as this and much of the work so far has been preparation. There is plenty more work to be done yet before the room is completed but we are getting there. We have already begun to plan what we might do with the family bathroom but that project is months away and the room is larger than the one we are currently working on and will naturally take longer to complete. Maybe we will take that holiday E has won before we start that job, we will surely need it! By way of a bonus my ban had been washed and waxed by the company who carried out the paint repairs on it. Now my van looks brand new too, not that it looks its age anyway but a wash does make it look better.

Shirley Anne

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Back to it

Posted by Shirley Anne on August 24, 2013

English: Finnish spruce plywood

English: Finnish spruce plywood (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last week E and I were again reconciled after I instigated a little chat. I have to say I had to do something to break the ice for if I was to wait for E to make the first move I get the feeling we would never speak again. She knows now that she was in the wrong and has accordingly apologised. Naturally I accepted the apology and we have mended the rift. She is beginning to act the way she did when we first met and the change is amazing! I must say I have been taken completely by surprise by her new self and I hope she will remain as nice now as she once was toward me. That is all I ask of her. Anyway all this has prompted me to continue with my previously abandoned home projects, the main one being the wet room I had made preparations for some 80 weeks ago. Late on Wednesday morning we drove to the timber yard to purchase some plywood to lay on the existing wooden floor in that wet room and while we were waiting for them to cut the ply for us we did some shopping and stopped at the local Tesco store for a bite to eat as by now it was 1 o’clock. We had visited the store twenty minutes earlier for fuel thinking we could then go on to get the plywood and return directly home but most of the staff at the yard were on their lunch break and we had to arrange to return an hour later. So there we were in the cafeteria tucking into a rather delicious salad sandwich each. I whispered in E’s ear, ‘Don’t say I don’t take you out for lunch’, she smiled. Actually we go out every week together doing just that and had in fact dined out the day before. We finished our lunch and drove back to the timber yard to collect the plywood which had now been cut and was ready for collection. In that brief outing we spent £100. Money goes nowhere these days does it? I didn’t start the work after returning home as I was still feeling a little weak after my recent illness but I planned to begin the work on Thursday morning. Around six in the evening I received a call from the guy whom I had worked for last week who wanted me to do more work in the same office. That’s the way it goes, my job has to take second place to one the earns me money!

Shirley Anne

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Really good sleep

Posted by Shirley Anne on August 18, 2013

PCB with testpads

PCB with testpads (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I didn’t really want the work but the guy kept on pestering me saying that what he wanted doing wasn’t all that much. Eventually I gave in and offered to go and see what all the fuss was about. He is renting out the ground floor of what used to be an office of some sort for around the walls was fitted a trunking system which had power outlets and computer LAN connection points in it to accommodate many computers. He runs a business which manufactures specialist audio equipment and sells products to the public who can listen to music through it before purchasing. Now although there were many power outlets available he want a few dedicated outlets supplied through an independent power board. These would be used to supply isolation transformers to eliminate ‘noise’ from the mains circuits when he installs his audio circuits at a later date. Sounds a little over the top but they want to produce as pure a sound reproduction as possible. So on Wednesday morning I arrived on site to assess the work. I decided to go ahead with the work immediately and off I went to purchase the materials. After a few hours I had everything done, new circuit board, socket outlets wired, sub meter and connection block all ready but before I could make the final connections I had to isolate the whole building from the electrical supply. The upstairs area was occupied by a firm of solicitors but they allowed me to carry on with the work later in the afternoon. Their electrical supply was fed from their own isolator but the wiring was burnt and overheating. This would be corrected when I re-arranged the wiring to accommodate the new installation. Had the work not been done there was a real risk of a fire developing from the burnt wiring and connection block and that would have entailed far more work!  My client returned in the afternoon and was surprised that I had almost completed the work saying ‘You don’t waste much time do you’? Well I don’t! He was well pleased with what I had done anyway and he asked me if I would repair some lighting circuitry in his kitchen at home which was only two minutes away so off we went to his house and I did the work for him there. He asked how much he owed me for all the work and went to the cash point to get the money, returning ten minutes later whilst I sat waiting with a coffee in my hand. I had no idea what the time was as I don’t wear a watch but once in my van and driving home I found it was almost five-thirty. I was back home just before six and felt rather tired! I knew I would sleep well that night. The previous night saw me restless and unable to get more than a couple of hours sleep without waking all the time. Although I had been busy working on Monday I had only one small job on Tuesday and I guess that is why I had a restless night I obviously wasn’t as tired as I thought but I know that when I have been working hard I get a good night’s sleep.

Shirley Anne

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Ah! That’s better…

Posted by Shirley Anne on August 15, 2013

A. Nenartovich Asphalt laying woman. 1961

A. Nenartovich Asphalt laying woman. 1961 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

During our recent hot and stuffy weather I never felt much like doing anything but I disciplined myself so I could complete the much-needed work I had to do with the able assistance of E who makes a good builder’s mate! Two women laying foundations that were not part of our make-up regime but for the laying of concrete and the building of walls which we also did would have raised some eyebrows in earlier times. Even in today’s world to see a woman doing the work normally attributed to the off-times dubious capabilities of the average male is still considered the exception and a novelty. There are many women capable of doing such things but I think the reason they don’t is often down to inclination. Anyway I think E and I have done remarkably well, though we have had previous experience. It helped a lot that we purchased a concrete mixer for if we hadn’t we probably would still be doing the work even now and it would be a long way off being completed. I had a spell of rest after most of that work was completed but I can say the electrical work  is building up again now and keeping me gainfully employed. The weather has cooled down too which for me is a plus and my van once more is getting wet in the rain. I did three jobs in different towns on Monday morning. None of them were previous clients but all were very pleased with my work. I was again complimented on my ‘youthful looks’ as one girl remarked. She thought I was about fifty years of age but after I told her the truth she was having difficulty believing me, nice to receive such compliments though I have to say. I laughingly told her that I plug myself into the power socket every night! Many people think I have only been an electrician for maybe ten years and when I tell them I have been in the business for fifty-one they are truly amazed. This is because here in the UK in the past it was never heard of that a female would train to be an electrician, though some actually did. I personally know of a couple, one of them older than I am! Would I train to be an electrician today if I was fresh out of school? Probably not…. it is often or has been hard going at times. I am not sure what I would like to do if I were young again.

Shirley Anne

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Yet again but no changes on the home front

Posted by Shirley Anne on July 27, 2013

Real Love (Mary J. Blige song)

Real Love (Mary J. Blige song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The previous two posts majored on the relationships I have with my customers and how much I have been appreciated in what I have done for them. Today, Wednesday as I write this, it happened yet again. I went to a nearby town to do some work for a couple about the same age as myself who lived in the top floor of a ‘maisonette‘. The apartments themselves  cover two floors and are surprisingly spacious inside and attractive to look at from the outside, though the gardens need some attention. The work took about three hours and I was paid more than I’d asked with an invitation to return later to do more work. This seems to be the trend for me lately, extra remuneration and more work. When I’d completed the job I had to visit the supplier for some van stock materials as I like to keep basic items in my van for impromptu requests. I offered to take the lady to the supplier and bring her back home as she wanted to purchase some things for herself. She thanked me and came along. When I dropped her off I received a big hug and a kiss on the cheek for being so nice and doing a good job. The following day, Thursday, was just the same. I was replacing an electric shower, not as straightforward as you might think, in fact it was the opposite. It is difficult to fit a new unit in exactly the same place as the old one where the plumbing and the electric cable are set in a tiled wall! I did it though and the lady was well-pleased. I received a bonus there too! It sounds as if I am blowing my own trumpet here but that is far from my thoughts. It is just nice to be appreciated and to let others know how I feel. On the home front however things are not going well because E and I are still not talking. I am taken for granted at home, I know I am but what I do for E has never been for selfish reasons. It hurts me to know that she cannot bring herself to apologise for the things she sometimes says and the attitude she often portrays toward me. All it takes is an admission of thoughtlessness and the three words , ‘I am sorry’ but they never come. E would cut off her own nose to spite her face before saying those words. Over the years I have learned to live with it but it is getting a little tiresome, I love her and she knows that, she’s told me so enough times but she has always found it difficult to reciprocate. That doesn’t matter to me for I don’t expect anything in return when I offer my love. It isn’t about love though, it is about respect and consideration. Her greatest problem is her stubborn heart and in that respect she is very much like her dad was when he was alive, though he was a generous man to his family, me included. So in the meantime I am treading water and keeping a low profile at home and very little is getting done.

Shirley Anne

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Happy in my work

Posted by Shirley Anne on July 26, 2013

Satisfaction Guaranteed (manga)

Satisfaction Guaranteed (manga) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Although I have placed my advert on hold for two weeks I am still receiving requests and I seem to be more busy now in my electrical work than I have been recently. The compliments keep coming too so I must be doing something right. A lady called me on Tuesday and she seemed a little under pressure so much so she had difficulty in expressing her need over the phone. She only wanted a couple of little jobs doing but seemed worried about how to get things back to normal. One of those jobs was to replace a bathroom light. She lived ten minutes away through town traffic, about three miles at most. I told her that I would take her to the retail park and help her select a suitable fitting and ten minutes later I was parked outside her house. We went to purchase the fitting and were soon back at the house. She was more relaxed with me in person and I could tell she had problems at home. Her partner had recently suffered a stroke and from what I could tell was giving her a bit of a hard time. Anyway I had the light up in minutes and set about the other task which I soon had remedied. When I presented her with the bill she was overcome with delight and she felt the need to give me a big hug. She wore a big smile as she went to get some money. She couldn’t thank me enough but I was pleased to be of assistance. I got more pleasure in knowing that my services were appreciated and that I had provided complete satisfaction. I enjoy making people happy and fixing their electrical problems more than the remuneration I receive, I feel good inside. This is why I love my work, it is something I am good at and I get satisfaction in serving others. Added to that, it is different every day. I have done many things in my working life as I mentioned a few posts ago and I enjoy the challenges each new task brings, even in my private projects. I don’t think there is much I haven’t tackled throughout my life but as they say if you don’t try you will never know your limitations. I feel sorry for those who endure their work rather than enjoy it. Nothing is impossible except the impossible!

Shirley Anne

Posted in Ability, Happiness, Life, Well-being, Work | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »


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