Hoping it has ended

I refer to the painting of the utility room floor and the obnoxious fumes it gives off for hours afterward.  It was Wednesday 14 th and soon after breakfast at three-thirty I was down in the cellar with my overalls and protective face mask on brush in hand and on my knees painting the floor. Whilst carrying out the work and wearing the mask of course, I cannot smell a thing. It is only a short time later and when upstairs can the smell be noticed and it is quite strong. If I open windows and doors it does dissipate but then the house gets too cold. If I keep the windows and doors shut it lessens the circulation and it takes ages for the smell to go. It’s sort of catch twenty-two situation so what I do is open the windows and doors for brief periods which seems to work. It is basically the chlorine in the paint which is the main source of the smell. So when I had completed the floor I was hoping for it to be the last time, at least in that room. I may consider painting the cellar hallway floor next year but if I do I know the fumes will be far easier to get rid of for I can open the door to the garden and a window at the top of the cellar steps and get through ventilation. I did the same when painting the gym floor. So the rest of the day I rested from work though there was still some to do, the room’s door, the inspection hatch and the kick boards. I would need to be down in the cellar to do any of them which was out of the question of course. It had taken me around four weeks to reach this stage but not really all that time in actual working hours. A little bit here and a little bit there soon eats away at any task.

Shirley Anne

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Less but more

The title seems to be a contradiction but this is what I mean, I did less of working on the utility room project and more on securing the plastic tunnel in the garden after high winds had loosened everything. When I arose at two it was still dark of course and I didn’t pay any attention or give any thought that the wind might have been a problem. It was the 13 th, a wet, windy and miserable day but it didn’t stop me going for a walk. I bore in mind that the wind was blowing from the south-west with intermittent heavy rain showers so I set off in the opposite direction. When I reached the place where I would normally turn toward the seafront I chose to walk inland instead for I didn’t wish to walk back into the wind and showers. Choosing to walk through the town’s streets offered shelter from the wind but I chose to walk home through an indirect route for the extra distance. On my return home I wasn’t in any hurry to begin work but when I did the first thing I did was to clear the room of tools. Next, I moved the two freezers away from the centre of the room to their permanent resting places so that I could fill in the gaps on the floor with cement. 

The picture was taken hours later when the cement had almost completely dried. I wasn’t going to paint the floor that morning for I wanted to paint the worktops with their final coat of paint. Before I could do that I went into the garden to use the left-over cement to patch up an area in the stone pathway behind the Mound by the lamp post. As I was returning into the house I noticed the tunnel needed some attention but first I painted the worktops, (both pictures).

Finally I was able to undo the wind damage but it took quite some time for the wind was still blowing strong. When E and I assembled the steel frame we fixed the two side bars to the outside of the structure and didn’t realise they should have been fixed on the inside so as not to interfere with the plastic covering. The wind had caused chafing of the cover by the two ends of the bars so my first job was to re-fix the bars on the inside. Not easy in the windy conditions with the cover in place but I didn’t take long doing it. I then set about securing the structure and fitting some bubble-wrap sheeting to the inside of the plastic cover and generally securing it as best I could, I also weighed down the structure with ropes and concrete slabs, Hopefully that would keep everything in place until Spring. Time will tell. I had just about enough of work so I suggest to E that we dine out for a change. By mid-morning the weather had changed dramatically , it was now blue skies and sunshine though still a little windy. We drove about four miles to a canal-side pub called The Saracens Head in a small hamlet and enjoyed one of the best meals we’d had in a long time. Well worth the trip.

Shirley Anne     

Ah the smell of paint!

Or to be more accurate the smell of chlorinated rubber paint! Monday the twelfth (what a peculiar word twelfth is) of November and my favourite time of year because it is Autumn and cool. I wasn’t so cool earlier this morning as the sweat poured from my face and threatened to fog up my mask. Remember my mask? Here’s a reminder…

Yes it was time to paint the utility room floor, those parts I could reach of course until the freezers are moved from the middle of the floor but first I had something else to do. After breakfast at three I donned my overalls and gave the front of the easel a coat of paint now that the reverse had dried.

Then it was on to the cabinet tops in the utility room where I fitted the back edge timbers to the wall on top of the cabinets.

When they were finished I set about giving the floor its first coat of paint so on went the mask and down onto my knees I went spending around an hour to cover the exposed floor areas.

I couldn’t wait to get outdoors for a while and take off the mask. After a minute or so I returned indoors, removed my overalls made a cup of coffee and returned outdoors to drink it. That was the end of my working day, at least in the cellar. I takes hours for the fumes to dissipate even with doors and windows open. The floor will need another coat of paint before the freezers can be placed against the walls, then I can finish off the floor in the middle of the room. Two further tasks I need to undertake before the room is completed, installing the kick boards and making the inspection trap under the boxing-in structure near the window.

Shirley Anne

Keeping the weather out

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about purchasing a plastic-covered tunnel with which to use to protect a couple of the Phoenix Canariensis plants we have in the rear garden. The other three could be more easily protected but these two had proved difficult to protect over the last couple of years. Last year if you remember we had a severely cold snap which damaged some of the plants, these two especially. However, they started to recuperate during the summer months and I didn’t want them to suffer again this winter so I purchased the tunnel. A week or so ago E and I erected the steel frame an d we were going to leave it that way for a few more weeks but on Sunday (11 th) I decided not to wait and I placed the plastic cover over it. Surprisingly it wasn’t as difficult as I imagined it might be.

I needed a step ladder of course and I had wanted to use the larger of the two I had in the garage but it had been stored temporarily behind the scaffolding tower and the smaller ladder was also trapped in the same way. I moved the scaffolding pieces to free the ladders but then decided the smaller of the two would suffice. Whilst doing that I noticed a small patch of water on the floor near to the door. The roof had sprung a leak. Now it had only been a matter of a few days since I asked E to call her nephew to sort out the problem as he had done the alteration work on the roof in the first place. At the time he had used this ‘special’ paint (all singing and all dancing apparently) but weeks later there was an enormous leak and he had the work redone. Well a few days ago he returned to carry out repairs to another but smaller leak. Now he has to return yet again to repair this one! So much for the ‘special’ paint! I think he should have stuck with the bitumen and felt covering. 

Shirley Anne

Automaton

At last the weekend was here, not that it really makes much difference to me these days being as I am retired. Retired? That’s a laugh. Though I retired from my electrical work early last year I still work at home as my readers will have already gathered. I suppose therefore that it is more a psychological thing that I still regard the weekends as times for easing back and doing little. Sundays I don’t work anyway. My latest project has kept me busy, so much so that I have been very tired occasionally over the last two to three weeks. On Saturday (10 th) I arose as if in automatic mode and ready to begin work, after breakfast and watching some catch up tv of course. Well as far as the work was concerned there was little of it I wanted to do. The previous day I had cemented the gaps and cracks in the floor where it had been possible and it had dried enough to paint over it. However, painting the floor was the last thing I wanted to do for I had decided to paint it on the Monday to ensure it was absolutely dry. There were two other jobs I wanted to do on the day. The first was to construct a display easel for E to use when she sets up to sell the greetings cards she has been making. The second job was to cut some timber with which to use as edging at the back of the work surfaces in the utility room. Before I knew it I had both completed in very little time, just like an automaton would do! 

I could only paint the rear of the easel at that time. I painted the edging timbers where they would be in contact with the walls to save having to ‘cut-in’ with the paint later. Following that work I spent a short time in the garden and ensuring I put as much green waste in the bins as I could for the Monday collection, the last one of the year. Most of the cut branches and twigs from my pruning back the plum trees a couple of days earlier I managed to squeeze in. The remainder would go into the emptied bins and be left there until the next collection day in March!

Shirley Anne

Remember?

When Does Worship Become Insincere Ritual? 

Zechariah 7:5-6 New International Version

5 ‘Ask all the people of the land and the priests, “When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for me that you fasted?
6 And when you were eating and drinking, were you not just feasting for yourselves?

Traditions have great value because they preserve the values and teachings of the past. They remind us of things we might otherwise forget. While living in a foreign land, surrounded by a foreign culture and language, the Jews could have easily forgotten the important events of their history. Future generations could have missed out on how significantly God had dealt with their ancestors. But the Jews used rituals and traditions to avoid historical ignorance. They commemorated the past so they would not forget the lessons learned.
Unfortunately, the rituals “fossilized” over time. People drifted into celebrating the form but forgetting the reality behind it. Their fasting appeared meaningful but had no inner substance. When this or something similar happens, a worship activity becomes an empty ritual or, even worse, a ritual with the wrong meaning attached to it. Often this can occur as a slow erosion of values—a process that eventually destroys the good others intended.

Taken from NIV Essentials Study Bible

Do you remember what Christmas is all about? As we approach the ‘Season of good will’ many will simply remember it is a time to indulge, overeat and drink too much because that is what they do every year. No thought is given to the reason the Christmas Day celebration was instituted in the first place. It was instituted in an effort to remind people to remember their Saviour and to discourage them from turning back to paganism. Today there is still a struggle against unbelief and false religion. Christmas is celebrated by Christians throughout the world but also by those who don’t believe and for all the wrong reasons.  

Shirley Anne

Same again

It is Friday 9 th as I write and I am pleased that I was able to do more than I had expected in the utility room. I say this because soon after my early morning walk I felt so tired I didn’t want to do anything. However soon after breakfast I got stuck in and felt better for it. I think my work keeps me going, without it I would soon wither away! I finished off painting the walls having first dragged the room’s door into the workshop to get it out of the way. I would work on it later for it requires a lot of attention. I also dragged the two freezers standing on the floor (the third is on a small plinth) to the centre of the room to allow the floor to be worked on. After an early lunch I gave the ceiling its second and final coat of paint and then mixed some cement with which to fill in the gaps in the exposed parts of the floor.

Once the cement sets and dries I will be able to paint it a couple of times just as I have done in the gym and larder rooms. Only then will I be able to move the freezers to their respective spaces and do the same with the part of the floor they are presently standing on. I hope to begin the painting of the floor on Monday next (12 th). In the meantime there are other things to be getting on with, if I can stay awake!

Shirley Anne

Stuck in again

Shopping day again but first some more work to do. Up once more very early and by three o’clock I had my overalls on and was giving the woodwork a second coat of paint and the ceiling its first. I was two and a half hours doing that and then returned upstairs for a drink and to watch some tv before toddling off to the supermarket. Now it isn’t often, practically never that I eat a hot dog but the previous week I came across some cans of hot dog sausages when shopping and brought one home. I had almost forgotten I had them so this week (Thurs. 8 th) I bought some buns. On my return home I cooked some onion by chopping it and then boiling it rather than frying it as I normally do. Boiled onion is usually served with hot dogs and I made a couple of them with added ketchup. They were delicious, just like the ones I remember on days out somewhere. After my treat I put on my overalls again and continued with the painting. Earlier I had noticed a couple of places where the emulsion had turned brown but in fact they were stains seeping through. One was on the ceiling and the other on a wall.

When decorating the small front lounge last year I had purchased some stain sealing paint and had a little left over. I used it to over-paint the two stains so that I could apply the emulsion once again, which I did after first of all painting the most part of the walls. I stopped work for the rest of the day at twelve o’clock. There was still much to do but the room was beginning to look as it should.

Shirley Anne

 

Energy

My neighbour, the lady who has been poorly these last six months, often asks me where it is I get my energy from. She isn’t referring to a utility provider but why it is I seem to be on the go all the time. I am not really on the go all the time but it sure feels that way sometimes. Take Wednesday (7 th Nov) for instance, I took a five-mile walk before breakfast at 5 o’clock. After breakfast I continued the work in the utility room first of all finishing the filling-in and then giving all the woodwork its first coat of white emulsion. That took me three hours. Later in the morning after a snack I went into the garden to cut back the fruit (damson/plum) trees in The Mound. If you remember earlier in the year I mentioned I was going to remove some of them and cut back the remainder. Here is how it looked during the summer….

All of them were cut and the intention was to remove the smaller ones completely but having done the pruning we might decide to remove them all before Spring. Here is The Mound photographed from a downstairs window soon after I had finished work because it had begun to rain heavily.

The trunks I placed near the small plot across the garden whilst the branches and twigs I cut into small pieces and placed them in a large industrial bag until I can dispose of them. 

That work took another three hours and I had just about finished when the rain began to fall. In fact I had to spend the last ten minutes working in the rain. The roots would be dug out another day.  Yes I don’t know where I get the energy from either!

Shirley Anne

Tired of it

With no morning walk I was able to concentrate in carrying on with the utility room project immediately after breakfast on Tuesday. However breakfast was at four o’clock as I had allowed myself an extra hour in bed once again. It appears I am working so hard I need the extra rest and who am I to argue with that? I began the work at four-thirty not leaving myself open to any distractions for I wanted to continue filling in the gaps and joints before painting could start. I spent almost two hours filling in holes, some of which were large and had been made by others many years ago and not repaired. It is because the room is in the cellar that any sort of refurbishment was considered unnecessary, even by myself at least while there were more important things to be doing in the upper rooms and elsewhere. So not only have I had to fill in my own work but all the other gaps and holes too and there were quite a few. I was beginning to tire of filling them in and in fact I had been doing it in stages to relieve the monotony. Some of the holes were too large to fill in one attempt anyway.  After two hours I decided to do some painting. The woodwork needed an undercoat of paint so I searched my stock to see if there was anything suitable. I found a half-filled ten litre drum of vinyl silk emulsion in magnolia which was pale enough to act as an undercoat to the white paint I was going to cover it with later.

There was still more filling-in to do which would hopefully get done the next day. I was happy to see the undercoat of paint making a striking difference to the now already brighter room after I had installed the new ceiling light the day before. Although there is still plenty to do yet I am beginning to see the finished job. It’s got to be better than when I first started on the room!

Shirley Anne