The beachcomber

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I have never been a beachcomber as some would describe or imagine the activity to be though whenever I am on the beach I do keep a sharp eye for anything that might be interesting. I was up early on Wednesday so that I could go for a walk. E had kindly left a wad of envelopes the night before near to the door which she evidently wanted posting and probably in the hope that I intended to go for a walk and would post them. Well naturally I did post them. I took the direct route to the sea front and along for a mile or so before deciding to get off the concrete and on to the beach itself. Although there is plenty of sand along the shore from further south and to the north of Southport there is only a short stretch where the sand comes right up to the sea wall. The stretch you see below….. Everywhere else is either covered with  marram grass and other salt-resistant plants and in places it is very muddy too. Even so there is a sandy pathway near to the sea wall for much of the way and it is nice to take that route as long as the tide is out. Once down on the sand the noise of passing traffic quieted down considerably and depending upon the wind direction it is often less windy too. Apart from the debris left by inconsiderate people there is little else of interest to be found lying about for any would-be beachcomber. On this day I found two new hair bands and a small silver-coated knife. Nothing to write home about to be sure though I’ll wager greater things have been found by others in the past. As I walk along I think about how the beach  would have looked say a thousand or two-thousand years ago and who might have been walking there at that time. I suppose not many people in the day would be out taking a leisurely stroll but would be out fishing or collecting cockles (an industry still thriving in these parts and along the coast) or maybe hunting for rabbits of which there are still plenty even down on the beach! I walked a mile or so along the sand before setting foot on concrete once again to make up the mileage before returning later to walk back along the sand until I had to get back on the street and on homeward.

Shirley Anne

Repairs and maintenance

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I guess you could say that throughout my life I have been engaged in carrying out repairs and maintenance as well as installation work. I am a doer of things if you like, a person who doesn’t mind getting ‘stuck in’ if there is something that needs doing. I do get tired of it occasionally though and take a break but it isn’t long before I want to get back to the routine. I arose fairly late on Tuesday morning even though I had been awake for quite some time. There was no need to rush into the day, I had nothing planned. It was around eleven in the morning that saw E and I sitting in the garden with a drink of coffee just chatting about things. I had been browsing the Internet looking for a supplier of clothes-line posts because I want to abandon an existing pole in the garden and install a new one in a different location. Having said that I haven’t checked to see if it is possible to dig out the old one and just move it though I can foresee a lot of problems with that idea. The existing post we want to replace is behind the large variegated holly tree left of centre in the picture below. If my readers have keen eyesight they will be able to catch a glimpse of it through the foliage. Free eyesight tests too! However I thought there might be an outlet near home which supplies them so I suggested we take a drive to check it out. E mentioned again that we could call into a place where she thought they repaired televisions as it was along the same route. We called there first to check it out. The guy asked us about the problem we were having with the set and then suggested we bring it in so he could attempt a repair. If my readers will remember we had one of a pair of televisions bought some sixteen months ago which, though had hardly been used, suddenly stopped working. It is in the picture below. The original supplier fobbed us off saying it couldn’t be repaired even though they hadn’t inspected it. They did reimburse us with a token £79 but we were left with a practically new set that didn’t work. I returned to the guy about an hour later with the television and left it with him. Hopefully he can fix it, for a fee of course. Anyway we carried on to locate a supplier of posts but alas it was futile, nobody had the type of pole we were after. As I write this I am planning to order one over the Internet instead. The only problem with buying on-line is you don’t get to see the goods beforehand and I like to check things over before making a purchase. During the afternoon E took her mom out shopping whilst I relaxed out on the patio in the warm sunshine. It wasn’t long before I stopped lounging about and I mowed the lawn. I also spent a little time cleaning out the gutters on the greenhouses. One of them supplies a water butt through a small hose which needs to be kept free of debris. In the picture above you can just see the butt to the right of the smaller greenhouse. It is better to use water from the butt to water the plants in the greenhouse because it is rain water and free from additives.

Shirley Anne

Uneasy feeling

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In a similar vein to the words of the well-liked but now deceased comedian Spike Milligan who had written on his tombstone.’Dúirt mé leat go raibh mé breoite, Irish for “I told you I was ill.”…….I told you I’d get bored once I retired!

Spike Milligan's Headstone, Winchelsea, E.Suss...

Spike Milligan’s Headstone, Winchelsea, E.Sussex. The epitaph reads: “Duirt mé leat go raibh mé breoite”, Irish for “I told you I was ill”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Spike was a favourite of mine along with comedians such as Tommy Cooper, Marty Feldman and others who never failed to make me laugh. They had my kind of humour. Anyway, to the point, I laugh and joke about anything and everything these days serious stuff included. Life is too short to be walking about looking as if the troubles of the whole world were on your shoulders. Speaking about retirement, I am getting used to it but very slowly indeed. I have had the good fortune to have found things to do over the last few months, that is since the beginning of April when I declared myself to have stopped working as an electrician. Even so some small jobs have since come my way. I get to go for walks which I like for two reasons, the exercise and the fresh air. The air around here certainly is fresh coming off the Irish Sea and walks along the seafront are very refreshing. So it was I went for a slightly later than usual walk on Monday. I don’t know about you but I get a little wary of people following me even though their intentions might be completely innocent and most folk’s are. I was walking along a local street on my way down toward the sea when I sensed there was someone following me or rather walking in the same direction as myself. Peripheral vision is wonderful especially if the head is turned slightly in the direction behind you. I could see that it was a middle-aged guy dressed as you would expect from someone out for a walk and complete with rucksack too. He made no attempt to pass by but kept his distance behind me. The trouble was that distance was a mere ten metres and it made me feel uncomfortable. For a half-mile it continued that way until we reached the seafront where he decided to walk on by. Now it was my turn to repay him the compliment by walking behind him. He must have thought he could outpace me but I kept pace without even trying, in fact it seemed a little slow if anything. He kept looking back to see if he had left me behind but I was still there. I sensed he was by now feeling a little uneasy himself but that was my intention. About another half-mile and we would reach a point where there were three routes to choose from all in the same direction. I waited to see which way he would go then I chose another path. I ran a little way (I was wearing running shoes) to put some distance between us then began taking the route homeward. I bet he didn’t think I could run! I could have chosen to walk along the pier but chose the road over the bridge which spans the lake instead. I walked the last few metres on the pier and as I looked back toward the sea guess who was walking toward me? I carried on through the town centre before turning toward home. It was probably all in my imagination but when I am out alone I take great care in keeping my wits about me and a careful eye on those who are around me.

Shirley Anne

More blind men?

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The mistakes are there, you just don’t see them. I cannot say with hand on heart that anything I do is perfect, nobody can but hey, I think I get pretty close sometimes. Well I think so. Good intentions are sometimes pushed aside once work progresses and unforeseen problems occur.It is all about just getting on with it and tackling problems as they surface. It is either that or don’t do the work yourself. For me, I am used to it all and half-times expect a rough ride now and then. It is satisfying nevertheless to be able to do things for myself despite the difficulties along the way. On Friday and Saturday last week I constructed the gate for the latest project and fitted it on Saturday morning. Here is the finished article…(click on images to magnify)

The rear view (top picture) shows a diagonal piece of timber at the top which isn’t a match for the rest of the wood. It was simply that I had used all the timber I had bought to construct the gate so had to use something from my stock. The timber is sold in four-metre lengths and I wasn’t about to buy that much just for the short length needed. I had intended to use timber from my stock for the whole project but found I hadn’t enough which is why I purchased new. I don’t know about blind men on galloping horses but it looks alright to me! Now I am planning my next project……

Shirley Anne

I despair

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English: Despair

: Despair (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have you got good neighbours? Are you on good terms with them? Do you help them when they are in difficulties and need some help? The world would be a better place if we truly loved our neighbour, it is a commandment but there are times when our neighbours make it hard for us that we just make ourselves scarce sometimes. I have a neighbour who often asks if I can help with one thing or another. Usually I just go and do it, in fact I never refuse unless I am genuinely unavailable. My neighbour is a widow, she is around 80 years of age and suffers with emphysema so is incapable of doing many things. She does have a middle-aged son living with her who is long-since separated from his girlfriend but he is incapable too, so he says and in fact I believe him. He is an inspector in the police force and that is about all he is capable of doing and that by his own admission. Whilst his mom is alive I am only too glad to help her but I will be reluctant to remain available once she passes away except for emergencies. He I am afraid is going to have to dig into his pockets and pay someone else do it himself when things need attention. I am not getting any younger and though I will always lend a hand when there is a real need I refuse to be the neighbour who will jump at the chance to fix something for those who won’t help themselves. Last year my neighbour had a new bathroom fitted but couldn’t properly figure out how to use the electric shower and called the plumber several times to check it out. He kept telling her that there was nothing wrong with the shower and indeed there wasn’t. Not satisfied with the plumber’s assessment she asked if I could check it out. There wasn’t a thing wrong with it but I talked them both through the process of how the shower actually works. Well twice again I was called and again found nothing wrong and at the same time showed them how to use the shower describing what to do under certain circumstances if it wasn’t behaving as it should. On Friday she called again and asked me to check it out but I didn’t go there, instead I reiterated over the phone what was happening when the shower water wasn’t heating up. It is all about water pressure. Unless the pressure is above a minimum the unit will not heat the water. It is a safety issue in case the user gets scalded because the heating elements are set high. All that is needed to reset the unit is to turn up the water flow. I keep telling them that the water flow determines how hot the water gets at a given electric element setting. I mentioned to E later that it would be easier to train a chimpanzee on how to use the shower than to have to repeatedly tell her son. Neighbours eh?

Shirley Anne

 

Repentance

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The Urgent Need for Repentance (2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.)

The love of God is not for some or a select few, for the rich or the poor, for people from a particular country or society—but rather it is for everybody. God’s love is accessible to anybody who prays with a pure heart and a genuine desire for salvation. In this verse from 2 Peter, we read that God is waiting with infinite patience and mercy for everyone to learn about him and come to him. He wants to welcome us warmly to his home, just as the lost son was welcomed by his father in the Gospel of Luke (see Luke 15:11–32).
God is always calling us to come home—to respond to his love and mercy, to participate in his kingdom. God does not want anyone to lose the chance to receive salvation; he is patient and kind and merciful. At the same time, that does not mean that we should put off the decision! Like a football game, our lives are on a clock that is counting down. One day the whistle will blow, and our earthly lives will come to an end. For some, that will be today. For others, that may be some time from now. We don’t know when our time on earth will end. So it is vitally important that we trust in Christ today as our Lord and Saviour. Heaven and hell are both real (Jesus talked about both). The choice is ours: We can turn to Christ or go our own way.

Taken from NIV Essentials of the Christian Faith

Heaven & Hell (song)

Heaven & Hell (song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Can you afford to wait? What if something should happen to you which prevented you from turning to Jesus? It would then be too late. You may fancy yourself to be a gambler, someone who likes to take chances and risks but this is your future we are talking about, a future in hell or a future in heaven. There are no other alternatives and remember that eternity is a very long time. Actually time won’t exist, it will simply be a fixed state, you will exist permanently in one place or the other. Which is it to be? The choice is yours and time is running out and get this, the offer is free! God will accept you just as you are, just ask Him.

Shirley Anne

Carpentry and stuff

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I have always enjoyed working with wood, it is one of those materials which is easy to work with though it is unforgiving, make a mistake and it isn’t easily undone. I have made a few mistakes in the past when working with wood as I am sure many have but it is a rewarding experience making things in wood. My latest little project is manufacturing a wooden gate and installing it at the side of the house. My readers will by now have seen my progress with the brickwork if they’ve followed my recent posts. On Thursday (10 th) I began working with the wood and my first task was to cut and fit the two wooden posts for each side of the gate opening…..

The one on the right has to support the gate itself so I used large ‘Rawlbolts’  to secure it to the brick wall. Here is a picture of a rawlbolt for anyone who doesn’t know what they are,,,

As the bolt is tightened it draws the nut (on the right-hand end) into the body which expands inside the hole in which it is fitted. The bolt obviously passes through the timber first! The post on the left has no weight to carry and therefore I used long screws instead. I must remember to clean off the dried mortar on the wall on the right where I had been filling in some holes after installing the posts.The posts themselves do not stand directly on the ground so that they will resist rotting  when it rains. Wood standing on the ground will soak up water and eventually get wet rot. The timber was purchased pre-treated against the weather but I have given it more coats of weather resisting treatment too. After lunch I began work on constructing the gate itself and got this far with it before stopping for the day at five o’clock….

I have it standing in the garage as I write this. There is more work to do on it yet before I hang it in position though. Hopefully I can finish the work soon, it all depends upon other things, not least of all the weather.

Shirley Anne

Nothing in stone

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Funny how sometimes our plans change but the changes are not always bad. I was determined to go for a walk on Wednesday so I arose early to do it. Yes, nothing got in the way though they could have. Before I set off I went next door to return a gift my neighbour had given me, though I had told her not to, for doing a small job for her the previous day. It might appear to some that by doing that I was wrong and should have accepted the gift graciously but as with everything there was a reason. First of all I have done many small jobs for her but always refuse the offer of payment or a thank-you gift and she has understood that I do things because it is right to do so and wrong to do it expecting a reward. My reward is in Heaven. Each time though she makes an offer. Secondly most of the things I do for her really don’t take much time and I am happy to do them. Anyway the gifts she offered I would never buy and use in any case. Finally I think she got the message that I do things for her because that’s what neighbours should be doing for each other. I went for my walk and returned home around eleven-thirty. E made me a drink of coffee and I asked her if she would like to dine out for a change. She never refuses if there is nothing she has already planned. I explained that I also wanted to take the opportunity to wear my new full-length summer dress for the first time as the afternoon promised to be warm and sunny. Any ideas of beginning the construction of the new wooden gate were subsequently consigned to the shelf for another day! We drove to a nice restaurant some twelve miles away, one we have visited before and is it was two o’clock by the time we arrived there we were easily seated. We chatted with the waitress during our meal, a pleasant young woman who made the experience that much better. Finally it was time to return home but at the last minute we made a detour and went to our local pub for a drink which we enjoyed in the seating area outside. We didn’t stay long for E wished to be at home sitting on the patio with a coffee. So I made the coffee and we sat outside for an hour before returning indoors for the evening. What I had originally planned for the day I was glad I changed my mind by not doing. There was always tomorrow available to do them.

Shirley Anne

The day after…

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The Reluctant Dragon (film)

The Reluctant Dragon (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was Tuesday morning and I had just awoken. I felt a little reluctant to go for a walk but thought I would do anyway knowing full well that I would enjoy it. However before I was even dressed I received a call from a lady asking if I could check a power outlet for her. As it was reasonably close by and a simple job I agreed to do it, though after getting dressed and having my breakfast. An hour later I was at the house and soon had the job done. On my return home I left the van on the driveway for I had decided to take a trip to the timber and builder’s merchant to purchase timber for the gate I am constructing. I found that the timber I had at home was unsuitable and of insufficient quantity anyway. Starting from scratch with pre-treated (against the weather) timber was a better option though I intended to purchase some coloured wood preserver to give it an extra coat when the work is finished. First of all though I had to take measurements so went into the house and then into the garden to do so. Off I went to the depot a mile down the road and found a young man in the yard where the timber is stored. Having selected what I needed he cut some of the timber into two pieces so that I could transport it home on the roof rack of the van. The money I had just earned more than covered the cost of the materials and my purse was more or less left intact! I have noticed that happening quite often lately since my ‘official’ retirement. It was approaching lunchtime on my return home. I removed the timber from the van and stored it ready for use on another day. I wasn’t going to make a start so near lunch time and afterward I probably wouldn’t be in the mood anyway. E had been informed that her mom had been discharged from the hospital as I mentioned in yesterday’s post. E was telling me how reluctant she had been to go and how much of a struggle the paramedics had getting her in the ambulance the previous day as she had fought tooth and nail resisting their efforts. Obviously they had persuaded her to go and be checked out. She confesses to not liking hospitals for fear of the possibility of dying there one day. I suppose many old folk think that way because they would prefer to pass away quietly at home. E drove off to see her later in the afternoon but I stayed at home watching the rain pouring down as promised.

Shirley Anne

Out all day……

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Not me, it was E  Apart from going for a walk and popping in next door to fix my neighbour’s light I remained at home. I was up, showered, dressed and eating my breakfast before nine o’clock just as E was coming down the stairs. I ate a breakfast because going for a walk had been deferred for an hour or so. I usually don’t eat a breakfast now if I am taking an early walk but just an item of fruit, most often a banana. I had promised my neighbour I would see what was wrong with her light so after breakfast that is what I did. The problem had been caused by the old tungsten lamps originally supplied with the fittings and over the years the heat produced by the lamps affected the electrical circuit between the lamp and the contacts. Modern LED lamps produce little heat whilst providing the same amount of light. I carried out some adjustments until finally the light worked. I returned home and prepared for my walk. Meanwhile E received a telephone call telling her that her mom wasn’t feeling well. She said she would most probably be late returning and I was to go for my walk. A couple of hours later I returned home and the phone rang. It was E letting me know that her mom had been taken to hospital again. She had been in hospital a couple of times in the last year or two. I ate lunch then went into the garage, the one where my van is parked and where we store the scaffolding tower, cement mixer, wheelbarrow, mower and numerous other things like bicycles. At the moment there are some wooden pallets and I was about to start dismantling them for the timber. Have you ever tried breaking down pallets without destroying them? With the best intentions I dismantled just the one but unfortunately couldn’t salvage some of it. Still, I managed to salvage about twelve pieces of usable timber each about a metre in length. Once that was done I stopped for the day. It was then three-thirty. I will do some more when the moment seizes me. As I wrote this at six-thirty in the evening I had still not heard any news from E and I feared the worst. It is now Tuesday and we received information that E’s mom is back home after the doctors gave her a clean bill of health. She is today (8th) 90 years old and still going strong.

Shirley Anne

Bits and bobs

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It felt great just lying there in bed on Sunday morning with no pressure upon my shoulders to do anything but rest. I didn’t stay in bed too long however as by then I had slept for four hours and following a very short break had a further five hours of sleep. It’s unheard of in my life to have anything more than four or five hours at the most. All I can say is that I must have needed it. Late on Saturday afternoon our neighbour had asked if I could look at a problem with her kitchen light but even then I could hardly keep my eyes open. I stayed the course until eleven o’clock when by that time I was in bed, or rather upon it as it was still too warm to get under the duvet. I fell asleep straight away. After my breakfast, an hour after my breakfast, I went for a short walk, short as in two miles. It was just enough to satisfy my need for a little exercise though in my heart I wanted to walk much further. It had been sensible of me to keep it short however on my day of rest. I did call in to my neighbour but evidently she was out in her car because the gates were open. I knew her son was at home for his car was there but I didn’t wish to ring the doorbell knowing he was probably asleep after working through the night. He is an inspector in the police force and he works different shift patterns. I only wanted to let my neighbour know I would investigate the faulty light on Monday morning. I went home and had a coffee, sitting on the patio to drink it. In the meantime E was in the bathroom having a shower. She is a strange person to be sure, it was almost noon! When I came back indoors I began listening to some music on YouTube using the tv.

PARK CITY, UT – JANUARY 19: A general view of atmosphere at the YouTube “Dear White People” Reception on January 20, 2014 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for YouTube)

E came in with a coffee she had prepared for me not knowing I had just had one. We both sat and played around with YouTube trying to master navigation with the tv remote control. It would have been far easier to turn on the computer and use that instead of the tv. That is the problem with the television control, it isn’t the best thing to use as it takes ages to do anything when using it. We gave up in the end. I had a light lunch and E went out with her mom for a couple of hours to do some shopping. I wouldn’t dream of shopping on a Sunday……isn’t it supposed to be the sabbath? That’s the world of today I have to say with a sad heart.

Shirley Anne

A more restful weekend

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Usually there is always something to do on a weekend for me but I make the attempt at ensuring I get the rest I need. Sunday is the day when I do no work other than perhaps mow the lawn occasionally. Other things I might do are only normal domestic chores of a very minor nature, washing dishes or cooking and things like that. Saturdays however are days when anything goes and I will work on whatever comes my way. There are days when I don’t want to be doing anything at all but those days are few. On Saturday last week I had it in mind to do little or no work but I wasn’t completely successful. Before getting ready for an early morning walk I stripped off the bed linen and put it in the washing machine. By the time I had showered and dressed the linen had been washed so I hung it in the cellar boiler room then set off on my walk in the cool, dry but quite windy weather. I returned home quite exhausted because of the wind. I hadn’t taken a coat but wore a cardigan instead as it hadn’t felt that cold. That was a mistake because it took some time before the sun began to raise the temperature and I was glad I took the return path through the built-up areas to home. By the time I got home I was in full sunshine and warm. It is difficult knowing what to wear when going for a walk. Too many clothes and I get too warm but too few or the wrong outer garment and I feel cold. It was never a problem when going for a run, I would get warm in minutes, even in the depths of Winter! I decided then to just take the day off and do little. just prior to lunchtime I received a call from an old customer who was having problems with her electrical installation. Although I am officially retired I accepted the work for a couple of reasons, one, the house was close by and two, it was an old lady of 90 who had nobody there to help. I was there for an hour or so before returning home. After lunch I spent the afternoon out on the patio with E just relaxing for once. It would be Monday before I would even think about doing any work or so I thought. Our next-door neighbour called and asked if I could sort out a problem she was having with a ceiling fitting. As she had more than one light in the room I told her I would look at it on Monday morning. They say there is no rest for the wicked but I hope I am not that.

Shirley Anne

Blind man

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You must have heard the expression but if not….’A blind man on a galloping horse, won’t notice’……well that can’t be anything else but true, if you could have blind men riding horses at such a pace! It’s an expression used when excuses for something we have done is not appearing quite right. I didn’t go for a walk on Friday because I wanted to press on with building the column for the proposed gate I want to make. I didn’t wish to be tired from walking whilst knowing I had the work to do during a dry spell in the weather. I began the work at ten o’clock and was finished as far as I could go before twelve-thirty. I completed the column but have yet to fit a capstone. The capstone you see in the pictures is twisted and isn’t cemented to the column. I have never seen a piece of twisted capstone before but yes this piece is definitely twisted. It is also too long. I shall have to purchase another…

Anyway E came to inspect the finished work but before she could say anything I quipped ‘A blind man on a galloping horse won’t notice’. Well it looks alright but it isn’t perfect, just near enough! I could have said it is perfect as long as you don’t look at it or anyone living in Australia can’t see it. Actually it isn’t that bad at all. My next task, apart from buying a capstone is to begin manufacturing a gate, hopefully from timber I have in stock. It may be a while before that job is done but there’s no hurry. After lunch E and I sat out in the sunshine though it was still quite windy. Later I took a few minutes to mow the lawn whilst I had the chance, we were expecting some rain. I did however water the garden just in case it didn’t rain.

Shirley Anne

Felt like twice

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Up early on a wet and windy August Thursday morning ready to venture out for a walk. One banana later I was outside in the weather. Though it was wet and windy it was warm, though when in the wind it felt that much cooler. I ate breakfast on my return home because it was still early enough to do that. On some occasions I skip breakfast if I am late getting back home and have an early lunch instead. E was still sitting at the breakfast table when I returned. She seldom asks how far I walked but I usually tell her anyway. It had been a short walk of just over four miles but it felt as if I had walked twice the distance because of the wind. On the outward journey I had taken a more sheltered route in the built-up areas through the town but on my return leg I walked along the promenade which is totally exposed to the west. The wind was blowing from the south-west and therefore directly in my face. I could have taken the coastal road instead as it would have made little difference. Between the promenade and the coastal road a quarter-mile away there is almost nothing of height, lake and gardens is all. I shudder to think what it would have been like for anyone out running but there weren’t any runners to be seen. Fair weather runners? I think not for I never used to deliberately run in the wind in exposed places either. I had work to do in the afternoon and the weather was to change by then, that is it would stop raining. I have been building the column for the gate at the side of the house in the rear garden and the weather has been fine whilst doing it. This is how far I got with it the day before…(centre in both pictures)

I gave up on the idea of working on the column in the afternoon for two reasons, one I was feeling tired and two it was still very windy though the rain had stopped. At the side of the house where the work is being carried out it was very windy indeed with gusts of around 35 mph, far too uncomfortable to be working in especially as there is no hurry to finish the job. Hopefully though by the time you read this it will be completed.

Shirley Anne

Getting further

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English: Bricks in a wall.

: Bricks in a wall. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was up and out reasonably early on Tuesday (1st) for my walk. The previous day saw me taking a backward route before continuing in my usual direction. It has the effect of adding an extra half-mile to any distance I might travel on my walk. Southport is an easy place to plan a long walk especially if you like walking along the coastal roads. However, Southport can be a windy place too and for that reason. For myself it is ideal as I like the refreshing and invigorating breeze when out walking. When I am not out walking I detest the wind! Is that strange do you think? Maybe not. Sitting on the patio is spoiled when the wind is too high. Anyway my walk ended up longer than I had imagined it would and it gets easier each time I go out but I know this from my experiences when running. Any exercise gets easier the more it is done. When I arrived back home it was almost noon and as I had little to eat before the walk I was hungry. After lunch E had to take her mom into town to do some shopping and I took the opportunity to lay a few bricks. ‘Few’ being the operative word as I didn’t wish to rush into it. I am building the column for the gate I plan to fit later. I decided to mix the mortar by hand in a large plastic bucket rather than use the mixer as getting out the mixer for such a small amount wasn’t worth the effort. In fact I have decided not to use the mixer at all as I build. The mixer has been a boon during the time we have had it because the projects I had undertaken required a lot of mortar. This column will use far less each time I add a course of bricks and will serve to slow the process down. There is no urgency to get the work done quickly as I have all the time in the world and can take things slowly. Normally a job like this would take me two days, not because I couldn’t lay the amount of bricks in a day to complete the column but because only a few courses can be laid each time. Too many courses being laid will result in the mortar being squeezed out between the lower courses and the structure may not hold its shape whilst the mortar sets. Sounds like a good excuse but in fact is true.

Shirley Anne