Still more to do

‘Should I or should I not?’ were the words in my mind when I arose on Wednesday and prepared for my morning walk. It was one of those mornings at this time of year where I was undecided on what garments I would wear. Would it be too cold and should I wear something to keep me warm for as I opened the door to get a feel for the conditions it was somewhat foggy and damp. I must have chosen correctly for I was very comfortable throughout the walk. However when I was within a few hundred yards (or metres, take your pick) the sun broke through and I began to feel a little too warm! Time for breakfast after which I took a drive to the builders merchant in order to purchase some more materials including more lengths of the wood I had purchased for constructing a new garage rear door. I needed more ‘granno’ and cement and one bag of small granite stones. When I returned with the goods I approached some workmen who had been at the house of a neighbour pruning the trees around their garden. They were using a machine which turns the branches into wood chippings and I asked them if they would dispose of the few left-over branches we had stored in the garden after we chopped down the fruit trees. They kindly took them from me and put them through the machine. It meant I didn’t have to saw them to dispose of them myself. You can see them in this photograph I took a few weeks ago.

When that was done I unloaded the van and began to mix the concrete for completing the base layer of the ramp project and then laid it. I had to cover it just in case it rained but that wasn’t likely according to the forecast. Better safe than sorry though. It would be a few days before I would begin laying the top layer of concrete to finish the project. Once that was completed I would have the new door to construct though knowing me I might start work on it before. The afternoon turned out very sunny and quite warm and I was able to sit out on the patio to relax with the newspaper.

Shirley Anne

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Entitled?

Now that the weather was beginning to improve I made plans to work in the garden soon after breakfast. It was Tuesday (19 Mar) and my first task was to remove the temporary covering I had placed over the concrete I had laid the previous morning. It was as I expected set in place but as they say still green. Concrete takes a few days to ‘cure’ if you like and in fact, so I believe, isn’t totally set until 25 years later! I am not sure where I heard that but it probably is true. Anyway I avoided walking over it for the rest of the day just as I had with the previous layers.

The area covered was that on the left next to the buttress. The buttress by the way will hopefully be rendered on the sides sometime soon. I had begun to render the front face last year as that part was in a very poor condition but other things happening afterward prevented my finishing the work. The whole of the lighter coloured area of the ramp is that which will be finished with a rendering of a smoother mix of concrete to blend in with the pathway and the part nearest the door. It appears that at the time of writing the weather forecast for the following week looks very promising so it will probably get done then. Now the next job was to empty the bags of soil that you can see in the first two pictures and put it into the front garden flowerbeds.

Then I moved the bags of sand (in the third picture) into the garage.

The furthest two bags you can see in the bottom picture had soil in the first and the grass sods in the second. They contained the material which I had dug out of the lawn when constructing the feature there. As of today as I write the furthest bag containing the grass sods will be systematically separated later and the soil recycled and put in the flowerbeds. The work took me up to lunch and after lunch I sat out on the patio in the sunshine for an hour for which I think I was entitled. It went cloudy soon afterward and I took the opportunity to do some pruning and weeding before calling it a day.

Shirley Anne

Tried to stop me

It was another dull Monday and I was a little disappointed because the forecast had indicated a sunnier day in prospect. Nevertheless I still got on with my schedule. The weather wasn’t going to stop me. I had not eaten for fifteen hours as I had to give some blood samples at the surgery which required I wasn’t to eat in advance. Fortunately the appointment was for eight-thirty but unfortunately I had gotten up around five o’clock because I couldn’t stay in bed once awake. That meant three hours of feeling hungry until the samples were taken. To my amazement I was seen ten minutes earlier than I expected so was back home before eight forty-five. After my breakfast of porridge I donned my overalls and went into the garden to do some concrete laying. I had prepared the area before leaving for the surgery by breaking up some of the clay floor tiles which we had left over from digging the pit in the gym/boiler room. They would act as a rubble to bind the concrete together at the same time lessen the amount of concrete needed. I do this with every concrete mix I prepare but it is usually used as a base on which the concrete is laid. As the ramp was being constructed on an already existing concrete base the rubble was only being used to take up some of the volume. It would all get covered with a finer concrete later anyway. Well just as I had finished it began to rain so I covered the area with boards and sheets to keep it dry whilst setting. I had it finished before ten o’clock. I couldn’t do any more work that day because after lunch I had a funeral to attend. My next-door neighbour had passed away in hospital the previous Monday and her funeral was at two o’clock.

We drove to the crematorium to meet with others there though not many had attended, about a dozen including E and myself. The service was fairly brief and soon we were all outside chatting together and paying our respects to her son who was putting on a brave face. There isn’t much one can say at funerals but simply being there lends much support. There was no wake as such but a small gathering at our neighbour’s house. Later in the evening I returned the flag to the top of the pole as it had been at half-mast for a few days. Now life was to carry on as usual for everyone.

Shirley Anne

Trying its best

It was Sunday 17 th March which happened to be St. Patrick’s Day too.

Saint Patrick’s Day

Saint Patrick’s Day, or the Feast of Saint Patrick (Irish: Lá Fhéile Pádraig, “the Day of the Festival of Patrick”), is a cultural and religious celebration held on 17 March, the traditional death date of Saint Patrick

No doubt there would be much celebrating in the local pubs during the day and it wouldn’t matter if you were not Irish! I would be attending the surgery early in the morning the following day in order to give a blood sample for analysis. That being the case I decided to go for a walk on Sunday instead. I could have taken the walk after the surgery visit but I also wanted to do a little concrete laying on Monday morning too. At two o’clock in the afternoon on Monday I would be attending our next-door neighbour’s funeral with E. If you remember she had died the previous Monday morning in the hospital. There would be plenty of time after the surgery to do the small amount of concrete laying I had intended to do whilst the weather held good. Spring is trying its best to force Winter away before the Equinox! On my return from my walk I ate lunch as I had missed breakfast deliberately to take the walk. I wouldn’t be able to eat much later in the day for I wasn’t allowed to eat for at least twelve hours before giving the blood sample. I usually fast for longer just to be sure. As Sunday afternoon was bright and sunny I spent a little time out in the garden ‘pottering’ about and just enjoying the sunshine.

Shirley Anne

Settled? Unsettled?

Foul weather

We have crazy weather patterns here in the UK and even from county to county there can be huge differences in our weather patterns. For such a small island, and we are a small island compared to many others, we have such weird weather at times. Yesterday I was writing about mowing the lawn whilst the weather was favourable, and it had been so it was fortunate that I did because today it has been raining continuously and apparently will do throughout Sunday too. Monday through to Wednesday looks like we’ll be having a dry spell once again. That being the case I hope to be able to pour more concrete and finish the base layer of the ramp alteration project. You will remember that initially it would happen in two or maybe three stages but since saying that the goalposts have been moved and it will take a few more stages to complete. The reason for that is because I am extending the ramp further than I originally intended. Even with what has been accomplished so far we are finding the mower can now be pushed in and out of the garage with relative ease and that will only improve when the work is finished. I have been waiting for the weather to settle down for a few days to give me time to make more progress. Some things can get done despite the weather but certain tasks are simply impossible to work at if the weather is foul. One good thing about not being able to work for me is that I get the time to exercise more on our gym equipment and that is something I have been doing more of lately. I am keen nevertheless to carry on with the work in hand so roll on Monday!

Shirley Anne

Ides of March

Alright I confess it is 20 th April as you read this but I am more than four weeks ahead of you. I think there are 36 scheduled posts but that will be 37 by the end of this day. I find I like writing and I hope you get at least some enjoyment from them. They are never too long and sometimes even a little brief but I suppose ideal for anyone taking a coffee break. I do tend to go off track occasionally but try to keep a tight reign on things, after all I would hate to bore you. ‘Beware the ides of March’ as the soothsayer said to Caesar in Shakespeare’s tragedy but he didn’t take the advice and was stabbed to death. As I write this we are now at that same time in the year and one might say as the soothsayer that we should also take note and beware. To be sure in today’s society there is much to beware of, just take a moment to think on it. However this post isn’t about the dangers in life we all face from time to time no doubt but on things more positive.

There has been much to grumble about lately here in the UK, for one the poor handling of our government to deliver Brexit as promised. It all hinges on leaving the EU without a deal or accepting one which at the end of the day will never be to our advantage. Politicians being as they are just won’t agree. Those who side with the population who wish to remain are putting stumbling blocks in the way of progress. There are ulterior motives for this you can be sure. It is something therefore that we must be wary of and how appropriate since it is March 15 th (as I write). The weather is the other thing we grumble about but then we always grumble about the weather if it doesn’t suit us. It has actually been appalling over the past week or so with high winds and plenty of rain but that is to be expected in March. However there were things in the garden needing attention, cutting the grass and digging out the weeds which grow profusely at this time of year when it is wet and mild. Today, Friday was dry for a change and it lasted until late in the evening. I had been for a walk in the morning and after breakfast went to the local window installer to see if I could purchase a double-glazed small window panel (10 x 10 inches or 254 x 254 mm) which I wish to fit inside the new garage door I plan to construct. They could supply one for around £20 so I placed the order and would collect it the following week. Much time had been wasted during the morning but in the afternoon when it also happened to be sunnier I decided to mow the lawn using the new ride-on mower.

It took me a few minutes to get the hang of it and then I soon had it finished. One good thing about using it apart from it being easier was the fact that I didn’t have to empty the grass box three times as I had to do with the old mower. This one holds more and in fact I only had to empty it after I had finished! One small disadvantage with the ride-on mower is it uses more fuel of course because it carries a passenger. Following that job I went into the front garden and did some weed removing in the flowerbeds. The two green waste wheelie bins are full to the brim and await the first collection of the year on the 18 th March. They have been almost full for months. Saturday would be another wet and miserable day so I was glad I took the opportunity to get something done in the gardens while it was dry.

Shirley Anne

Comedy of errors

If you are anything like me you will be familiar with things not always going to plan. With the best of intentions I make plans and arrangements with other people when doing business with them. Everything is sorted and appointments logged in the book or on the computer then it is just a matter of waiting for things to happen. I arranged for our old mower to be serviced and at the same time purchased another machine which was duly delivered on time. I was told the servicing of the old machine might take some time because of the volume of repairs and servicing the organisation already had. It wasn’t a problem so I took their ticket and waited for their call hopefully within the following two weeks. On Wednesday 13th (March) sixteen days later I had received a call but had not been aware. I called their number on Thursday morning to verify they had called me but was connected with somebody who wasn’t familiar with our position so I had to explain everything to her. We had arranged for them to call us before they planned to deliver the mower. I would call at their shop to make payment prior to the delivery because it wasn’t explained to me that they could in fact receive payment at my home. Some companies don’t have such arrangements. Anyway I called them and was told the mower was ready for collection because the girl hadn’t known they were supposed to deliver it. I drove there to make payment (it is less than a mile away) and then she told me they take payment on site!

A wasted journey it would have been but for the fact that I was also going to drive to the builders’ merchant to arrange for a delivery of timber with which to construct the new garage door and frame. (see previous posts). The builders’ merchant was further away but only by a half-mile. After making payment they would deliver the goods that afternoon and the mower would also be delivered the same afternoon. Finally I got things sorted and I could begin the jobs I had set myself to do. As for the new ride-on mower which wouldn’t engage the cutting blades without the engine stopping, it appears we had been setting the handbrake and shouldn’t have done. We had spent some time wondering why we couldn’t get it to work when in fact it had been ourselves who had gotten things wrong!

Cat has trophy….LOL……..

Later that afternoon we called by phone to ask at which time the mower would be returned. We were told that someone had tried to telephone us (no-one did), they spoke yesterday to us and explained that we needed to consult our nephew (what nonsense) before repairs could be sanctioned yet earlier on my personal visit to their store I had been informed that the machine had been repaired and was ready to be returned! It appears their right hand doesn’t know what their left hand is doing! Is this any way to run a business? I let them know my feelings on the matter. To have the mower repaired would have cost £108 and as I was informed it is out of date and parts can no longer be purchased I decided to scrap the idea and scrap the machine. If we do elect to buy another mower we certainly won’t be purchasing from them!

Shirley Anne

Think on this

Easter Meditation (Isaiah 52:2–3)

It is nearly Easter, and we will hang crosses on the walls of our homes and churches. How do we think of it when it’s a decoration? With all of our present-day associations with the cross, an object of Christian identification and adoration, it is almost impossible to see the cross for what it actually was. And when we fail to understand the cross, we fail to properly understand what our Lord suffered on our behalf: shame.

Jesus despised the cross. To even speak of the cross in his time was disgusting. It was a punishment reserved for the worst of the nation’s criminals. It was designed to bring about the utmost torture to lawbreakers.

So to say that Jesus “endured the cross, scorning its shame,” is not to say “poor Jesus.” It is to say that Jesus loved us so much and was so submitted to the Father that he not only endured torment, but also public humiliation. And when it was over, he was exalted to the highest place of dignity and honour in the universe. A believer’s prayer Jesus, Lord of glory, you came to earth and took the form of a servant and willingly suffered an unimaginable death on the cross. You died for me, a sinner. You paid the penalty for my sins. Such amazing love is utterly incomprehensible to me. Help me to understand that the path to glory often requires a sojourn through difficulties and challenges, but that you are always with me. I seek to follow you in all my ways. I know that serving you is true freedom. In your name I pray. Amen.

Taken from Once a Day 40 Days to Easter

So what will you be celebrating? Chocolate eggs, Easter bunnies? Both have nothing to do with Easter nice as they may be. I love chocolate but more importantly I love Jesus my Saviour without whom I would perish but with whom I have a life everlasting and reconciliation with God.

Shirley Anne

A nothing day

Do you ever get nothing days in your life? Days in which nothing out of the ordinary happens or nothing gets done happen all of the time but hopefully not every day for everyone! My Wednesday was such a day for me. It was the 13 th day of March but it could have been a nothing day on any day both before and after. The weather hereabouts had been really miserable with very high winds blowing and the occasional showering of rain didn’t help matters much. There were things I wanted to be getting on with outside but they were never going to happen until the weather improved. One was finishing the work on the ramp behind the garage and to start work on constructing and installing a new door and frame for the same garage. The latter project was to widen the access into and out of the garage especially for the new mower.

The picture was taken a couple of years ago but shows the rear door of the garage which I intend to replace. I could have started the work on the door had there been materials on hand but there wasn’t. I would have to order them along with other materials but because the weather was so bad I shelved the idea for a few days. Earlier I had partly drained down the heating system in order to remove a leaking valve and on filling it up again discovered the bathroom towel rail heater refused to heat up. That was caused by trapped air in the system which I attempted to remove but at first couldn’t. It happens every time I drain the system for one reason or another. Over a couple of days I eventually did manage to get the air out but still the towel rail wasn’t getting hot enough. I decided to leave it alone for one more day to see if it would eventually work and it did just as it usually did. I went for a walk early in the morning even though the wind was still very strong (around 55 to 60 mph) and tried to stay sheltered from it as best I could. The wind finally eased off later in the evening and hopefully Thursday would be a better day where I might get something done if I felt inclined. It would probably be to order timber for making a start on the door and frame. The concrete laying for the ramp alterations would still have to wait for an improvement in the weather.

Shirley Anne

The Lord remembers

Remember, the Lord Remembers (1 Chronicles 16:14–15)

I’ve been waiting a long, long time for some things to happen: for a walk down the aisle … a cradle and arms filled with softness … and for hearts of loved ones to turn to Jesus.
The funny thing about waiting is it can be all consuming. It inhales my attention, chews my focus and swallows my thoughts, leaving me in a place of uncertainty and doubt. Yet when I remember God’s faithfulness in Scripture, I trust his faithfulness in my own situation.
When dust and debris threaten to replace passions, dreams and callings, remember God’s promise to Noah and “all living creatures” in Genesis 9:15: “I will remember my covenant between me and you.”
When there’s no pitter-patter of little feet, remember Genesis 30:22: “Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and enabled her to conceive.”
When fear, worry, doubt and anxiety enslave, remember Exodus 2:23–25: “The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and … God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant … and was concerned about them.”
When guilt consumes and you fear God will never forget your sins, remember Isaiah 43:25: “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”
When hope is scarce, remember Luke 24:6–7: “He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, … ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’”
When your marriage is on the brink of despair, remember Deuteronomy 8:2: “Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness.”
Recalling these accounts in Scripture helps me remember his goodness in my own life. When I can’t see how he is moving on my behalf, I choose to remember that he promises to be just as present and faithful to me and you today as he was for others in the past.

By Samantha Reed
Taken from NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women

Shirley Anne