Still…

It is September 24 and we still have not received the larder fridge we ordered at the end of August. In their last email the vendor informed me that they would arrange for another dispatch although according to them it had been shipped and stored temporarily in the wrong warehouse. Surely they didn’t mean another would be sent from Shanghai in China. What can I say? All we can do is wait a little longer and hope it finally arrives. Of course if it doesn’t…….well.

I have been getting on with the lawn project today and have completed stage three, setting in the cobbles.  

As you can see from the picture the cobbles are still covered with cement but an hour or so later I covered them with dry sand and swept away the cement. Tomorrow, Tuesday, I hope to clean them more thoroughly using water. Originally I was just going to set them in the cement and later sweep a dry mix of cement into the gaps but I changed my mind when I started the work this morning. I allowed the concrete mix to be a little sloppy which meant the cobbles ‘floated’ on the wet mix. This made levelling them far easier but using this method means the mixture oozes out between the cobbles and has to be swept away. The finished product will be much stronger when it dries and because I have used a fine concrete rather than mortar it will be even stronger. Mortar is less strong and can crack especially if it is used in pedestrian pathways. Anyway I have completed the best part of the hardest work on the project though removing the grass inside the feature will be hard work too just as it was when digging out the trench. I can now browse around the garden centre to see what plants are available for the feature. If we purchase any they will be alright left in their containers until I am ready to put them in. My next task will be to assess the quantity of pebbles we need to fill the feature’s empty spaces and place an order. Now that the cobbles are in place I can finally mow the lawn as it is beginning to look a bit unkempt.

Shirley Anne

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Oh yes you have!

Ever done something wrong and regretted it? Perhaps you’ve done something wrong and yet not regretted it! When you feel guilty you know you’ve done something wrong but why do you feel the guilt? Is it shame? If nobody saw you then what’s the problem? Yet you still think it was wrong. Perhaps you think you’ve let yourself down by doing something against your nature. You still feel that guilt. ‘But I’ve never done anything wrong, well really wrong, well perhaps once or twice’….Oh yes you have, we all have done things we know were wrong. Maybe we forgive ourselves or make excuses but what do we do if we know we’ve offended someone? What if we offend God? Oh yes we do, we all fall short of His standards, we are all guilty of that. We know if we do wrong and get caught there is a price to pay but what do we receive when we offend God? One day we will all have to face God and explain ourselves, yet God lays His cards on the table before we get to that stage. He offers a solution, a way out and there is no small print at the bottom of the page! You may look for it but you’ll never see it because it just isn’t there. God’s offer is freely given for those who accept it. The offer is salvation through Christ Jesus………. 

Shirley Anne

Where’s the Fine Print? (Isaiah 55:1–7)

You’ve seen the offers in the mail: “No money down and no payments for the first six months!” “Huge savings—up to 75% off!” “Lose 20 pounds in seven days!” “Apply now and start earning points today.” “Your money back, guaranteed!” And don’t forget how many times you’ve read the word free: “Free financing!” “Free cash back bonus!” “Buy one and get a second absolutely free!”

As you skeptically sort through these “limited offers” and “special savings,” you don’t even open most of the envelopes. Others might get a quick glance before you tear them in half and drop them in the “circular file.” And the ones you do open you instinctively scour for the fine print. Why? You know that an offer that sounds too good to be true probably is.

If you were to receive Isaiah 55 in the mail, you might easily dismiss it too as junk mail, as too good to be true! In the opening lines God promises free food and drink. What’s the catch? you wonder. Then God pledges to “freely pardon” those who turn away from evil and turn toward him (verse 7). Of course, that offer seems totally far-fetched, completely unbelievable. Cynically, you ask yourself, “Free pardon” . . . free for how long before the hidden charges kick in?

Yet though you search for the fine print in this offer, you won’t find any. God offers forgiveness as a gift. The price was enormous—God himself paid it through the blood of his Son, Jesus. Yes, God offers pardon to us free of charge. You can’t pay even if you want to. In fact, if you try to earn this offer from God, you can’t have it!

Not only does God offer his forgiveness free of charge, his pardon sets us free! When we accept his gift we experience peace, new life and a restored relationship with God.

When God freely offers pardon and mercy and life and love and blessing, he really means it. Don’t even bother searching for the fine print.

Taken from NIV Men’s Devotional Bible

Shirley Anne

Dependency

The moment we enter this world we are dependent on others for our survival. No new-born baby is instantaneously independent, that only comes with time. Babies are reliant on their mothers for their needs no matter what those needs are. As children we always look to mom or dad for direction and support whilst gradually increasing our dependency on others until we finally become independent adults. However it doesn’t stop there. We still have to rely on others whether we think we don’t or not. All our needs are provided through the activity of others, our food, clothing, shelter and our work. Even our leisure activities involve others at some point whether directly or indirectly. This is how a society operates, everyone must pull together for it to work. In an ever-increasingly automotive society we may feel there is too much pressure to fall in line, follow suit and just go with the flow. This is especially true in our electronic age where every gadget we use is becoming more and more a necessity rather than a novelty. We’ve moved on somewhat from cooking over an open fire. First it was the oven, then the microwave variety of it. Now even the microwave oven is being subjected to so-called improvement in the way it is used. Electrical devices require switches of one sort or another for them to work, thermostatic switching and timers for operational control but now are being developed to respond to our voice. It would appear our lives in this modern technologically advanced society are becoming more reliant on voice-operated computer-driven devices. They are all around us and have become or are becoming essential for our survival in our society. We are a long way off total dependency on the many diverse gadgets in circulation but give it a few more generations and things may be different. Have we gone too far already that we now cannot stem the tide or are we not bothered by it all? Some people I speak to can’t see a problem but perhaps they can’t see far enough into the future or don’t want to think about the consequences of what lies ahead.

 An amusing advertisement currently being broadcast on television shows a guy on a train who notices that everyone around him has their eyes fixed on a small screen device, their mobile phone. He looks around to see if there is anyone not doing so and thinks he sees an old lady who isn’t so he goes to sit next to her presumably for conversation. However she pulls out her device as he sits down. He goes through the carriage to see all of the passengers using their phones. He shouts ‘What is wrong with you people?’ then realises they are making the most of the mobile phone operator’s ‘amazing’ offers! It may be an amusing advertisement (I think all adverts are amusing because I don’t take any of them seriously) but it proves a point…. people tend to follow like sheep.  trouble with sheep is they can fall into a gully quite easily.

Shirley Anne

It didn’t rain

At the end of yesterday’s post I mentioned the weather forecast for the rest of that day wasn’t very promising, rain and wind throughout. However after breakfast I decided to re-check the forecast for it had been the previous day when I last checked it. While out on my walk I had expected some rain to fall but it didn’t. Now the forecast was completely the opposite, no rain and hardly any wind so when I had finished my breakfast I decided to put on my overalls and work on the garden project with a view to completing the second stage which was filling the bottom of the trench with concrete. Three mixer loads later it was done..

As you can see the concrete is now laid all around the plot. On Monday (24 th) I hope to begin setting the cobbles in place around the perimeter. I will be using a fine concrete mix for that part of the project. After packing away everything until Monday morning I had a walk around the garden and noticed a problem on the lawn near to The Mound.

In the picture above you can see the dark patches (top centre) on the lawn. The lower patch is the soil I had scattered a dew days earlier for there is a dip on the lawn just there. The grass will grow through the soil in a few days. The other patch is the result of my digging there to remove roots coming from the damson trees in The Mound behind. Last year I had seen a tree shoot in the lawn which I dug out by removing about a metre of root. This time I saw yet more shoots so I decided to lift some grass and dig them out, hence the soil everywhere. Later this Autumn I had already planned to remove a couple of the damson trees from The Mound and cut back the others. This is the problem with fruit trees, they like to spread themselves through their root systems. It could be that we remove them altogether at some point for we don’t eat much of the fruit anyway.

Shirley Anne

Glazed…..

The alarm went off at two in the morning and woke me up when usually I am lying there waiting for it to ring. I must have been just that bit more tired on Friday evening. What happened next sometimes happens after I switch the alarm off though not often, I dozed off again but woke fifty minutes later. Saturday was a day for my walk and I was ready to get out there and take it but it was very windy and cool. Would it be too windy I thought? When I had gotten dressed I skipped breakfast opened the front door  and braved the elements as they say. The wind wasn’t as bad as I had thought it might be but then again I was sheltered close to home. As soon as I had reached the first street pointing west toward the coast I could feel the brunt of the wind but it still wasn’t as bad as I imagined earlier. The walk this time took me along The Promenade which runs parallel to the seafront but a quarter mile inland. It passes behind the town’s clubland and being a Saturday morning I was half-expecting to see some alcohol-imbibed people staggering about as sometimes happens if it isn’t pouring down with rain. I wasn’t disappointed. The first person I came across was a middle-aged man leaning on the frame of the shelter he was beneath. He couldn’t do otherwise it seemed as he looked a little unsteady on his feet and his eyes were glazed. ‘Good morning’ I said. He seemed taken aback, well he would wouldn’t he being in the state he was? No reply. I repeated my greeting and with a look of disbelief I guess he responded. I carried on with my walk. Across the road ahead I saw four younger guys dressed in shirts and trousers who were walking away from The Promenade back into town through a passageway. One of them stopped to relieve himself against the small wall there. There seems to be no shame with people today in what they get up to. You would think anyone wanting to urinate would find somewhere a little more discreet. Further along I saw four children walking aimlessly on the sidewalk. They were about the age of  eleven or twelve though one appeared to be older, say fifteen. What were they doing out so early (or late) I wondered? Lack of parental control no doubt. Finally all that was behind me and I had reached the point for me to turn back homeward along the seafront.

Here the wind was at its strongest and my eyes became glazed too in the face of it. I decided not to walk the entire way back along the seafront leaving the last mile and a half or thereabouts to turn into the built-up areas where the wind wasn’t as bad. According to the weather forecast the day ahead would be miserably wet and windy. I would stay indoors and out of it .

Shirley Anne

More time

Given a three-day break from my project because of foul weather I had more time for other things. Aside from working on some project at home being it large or very small I do little else apart from playing my guitar or exercising in some way. There are other things I like to do but it isn’t always possible to enjoy them. One thing I do like is cooking meals and baking cakes or other baked comestibles. We were truly having some bad weather during the last days of summer with high winds and plenty of rain. On days such as these it can be frustrating having to stay indoors for long periods without something to occupy. I prefer the outdoors but I cannot remain outside too long with nothing to do either. Walks are good but they don’t last all day and every day but I try to make them last as long as possible. It was Friday 21 st near the end of the season and Autumn was upon us. I like Autumn but not so much the foul weather that often accompanies it. I was up early as usual and wanted to do some baking. Our two fruit-producing apple trees have supplied us with lots of apples this year and of a decent size. Up until now the fruit has been on the small size but the trees have finally matured and the apples are larger. They are eating apples as opposed to baking apples though they are still a little on the acidic side. This means they can be baked without them falling apart. Eating apples are not suitable for baking as a rule so we are fortunate at least this year to be able to use them for baking. I baked a single apple pie and with the left-over pastry a small apple-filled pasty.

Before I could make the pie I had to make some short-crust pastry. Now it might seem strange but until that day I had never made short-crust pastry in my life. I have often made crumble but never took that extra step to convert it to pastry. All that is needed is some water sprinkled in slowly a little at a time whilst mixing followed by a little kneading and rolling out with a roller and the crumble is transformed into pastry! An hour or so later and the pie and pasty were done. Although they look a little pale in the picture due to the flash photography they were pale brown in colour. They did taste nice I have to say and made a change from rock cakes, sponges and scones!

Shirley Anne

Three day break?

After completing around one third of the next stage of the garden project I was ready to bring that part to a conclusion on Friday morning (20 th). However it didn’t work out that way. I had been for my early morning walk and was feeling a little tired but I had the weekly shopping to do. I went out at three o’clock and was back before five which gave me plenty of time to rest up before doing the shopping at eight o’clock. It made no difference, I remained a little tired and when I returned home from the shopping all I wanted to do was sit down. A muscular pain in my left buttock didn’t help so sitting down offered some respite. I needed to eat something too for I had not eaten much for breakfast. I made myself a sandwich and sat with E whilst she had her breakfast. We watched some television and checked the weather forecast. It was about to rain and according to the forecast would continue to do so for the following three days also. It would be Monday therefore before I could finish the second stage of the project, that is filling the bottom of the trench with concrete. The previous work had set hard overnight.

E asked where she could best do some spray-painting and I suggested outside in the fresh air! Aside from the dangers of inhaling the paint it would most probably dry faster outdoors. Fortunately the high winds we had on Wednesday had subsided so painting outside was possible but only if she did it within the hour. Rain was due about then. She was spray-painting egg shell halves. I cleared a space on the concrete base behind the garage where I had been putting old bricks and rubble. Why paint eggs shells I hear you ask? When dry they would be broken into tiny pieces to be used in art work when she makes her greetings cards. The paint would be touch-dry in twenty minutes and take twenty-four hours to set hard. Twenty minutes later they were dry and we packed them into a cardboard box. It began to rain right on time! I would it appeared be getting the three-day break from work!

Shirley Anne

Need sand?

For about two hours on Wednesday it went very windy and although some rain was a possibility at the same time it remained dry. Around nine-thirty I decided to take a chance and carry on with the work in the garden. First of all I made a template with which to measure the depth of the trench as I went along filling it with concrete to ensure it was filled to the correct level. I pulled out the cement mixer with its stand and placed it near the small greenhouse where I usually place it when working with it in the garden for there is a power outlet close by. Taking stock of the materials I had in the garage I saw that I would need to purchase more but first of all I wanted to use what I had left of the cement. I was able to mix two loads of concrete before the cement ran out… 

It enabled me to fill part of the trench on the right-hand-side which was almost a third of the whole trench. I tidied everything away and drove to the builders merchant to replenish my stock of cement (3 bags), granite dust (granno, also 3 bags) and one bag of 10 mm granite aggregate as I already had some in stock. The guy asked if I needed sand but of course I didn’t, I have a garage full of bagged sand (see older posts). I hoped to complete the concrete base the next day weather permitting.

Shirley Anne

Stage complete

It was quite a windy day on Tuesday (18 th) but very warm too. The remnants of the latest hurricane had wended its way across the Pond but had fizzled out somewhat. Even so the wind was quite strong. Earlier I had been for one of my regular walks but the wind at that time wasn’t strong. About an hour after returning home it began to rain though only lightly but it was enough to keep me from continuing with the lawn project. Around ten o’clock the rain had stopped and the sun was shining so I put on my working gear and set about finishing off the first stage of the project, the final third part of digging out the small trench and putting in some hardcore.

As you can see from the picture that stage is now complete. The removed soil from the grass sods was scattered on the lawn itself where there was a small dip near The Mound. The rest of the soil was put in the raised bed in which were growing some potatoes until a few days earlier. They have been dug out and eaten! What didn’t go in that bed was spread over the other beds. The large bag which I had filled with soil a couple of days ago will be used in the front garden later. The second stage will be to cover the hardcore in the bottom of the trench with a concrete mix. Everything is gradually taking shape.

Shirley Anne

Above all others

Meditation (Micah 5:2–5)
Jesus’ greatness now reaches to the ends of the earth. And those who know him recognize him as faithful and true, one who has not taken his position by force (like so many earthly kings have), but who was chosen from before the beginning of time. And starting that day in Israel, the king first came as a baby, born into the line of Jewish nobility (because it was from among the Israelites that God had decreed a king would come), and yet from a long line of sinful people so he could identify with us and so that we would choose him too. This was the first time he came, not with force, but with the gentleness of an infant.

But the second time will be different. The second time, it will be sudden, and no one will miss it. Almighty God will open the gate of heaven, and Jesus will burst forth as a king, riding triumphant on a white stallion (not a donkey this time), with the armies of heaven following. Our great conquering king will destroy his enemies once and for all, waging and winning a holy war and ruling over all his people. Then he will reveal to a world that has rejected him that he truly is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He will be absolutely sovereign over all people—the lost and the saved—and every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that he is who we accept and claim that he is—Jesus, Christ, Lord.

Prayer
Faithful Father, thank you for the hope of the second coming of Jesus Christ in glory and power. Help me to live in anticipation of his coming. Help me to trust you in the things I do not understand. And when life seems to be a mess, help me to remember that your work here on earth remains, for the time being, an unfinished project, and that you always complete what you begin. Help me to cultivate an eternal perspective as I journey through this temporal arena. May I learn to pursue the eternal reality of the unseen future over the current reality of the visible present. And may you always be the object of my deepest love so that I will pursue you above all else. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

Taken from Once a Day 25 Days of Advent

Shirley Anne