Just when things are beginning to look good something bad happens. Don’t you ever get that in life? E and I but mostly I have been plodding along getting the gym/boiler room in shape over the past few weeks and by today, that is as I write on the 12 th, everything is coming along fine. There is still some way to go yet and part of the reason for that is that I am finding extra things I can do and have decided to do in the room. As for the decoration the ceiling isn’t quite fully painted yet as are some of the heating pipes. There are still some holes to be filled and this cupboard to sort out…
..and I have also decided to build a cupboard around the boiler, not to cover the boiler itself but the surrounding pipes and fittings.
I plan to fit a door over the switch gear and removable panels where necessary to make maintenance easier. all that will remain visible is the boiler itself for there is no need to hide it. You cannot see the base of the boiler in this picture (above) but it is standing on a square paving slab which is supported by bricks on top of another paving slab. The space between the slabs is open so I plan to fill it in. It was done that way by the heating engineers many years ago when the boiler was replaced. On the right-hand-side of the boiler is the drain cock and I plan to fit a small outlet pipe through the brick wall with a valve on the inside which can be connected to using a flexible pipe to drain down the system if required. The flexible pipe will only be connected when it is needed. The pipe will therefore remain dry at all times. Aside from being able to shut off the water when draining the pipes the valve will also prevent insects from crawling through the pipe when it isn’t being used. You just have to think of everything! Anyway it all sounds intricate and complex but in reality it is all simple to do. The bad thing had nothing to do with the room we are working in but the garage where my van is housed. The roof has been leaking or rather letting rain water seep in. I wouldn’t mind but it is the area we had reconstructed late last year to accommodate the new garage door. Although the sealant is the best so I am told, it looks as though part of the timber it is protecting has bent and has consequently forced a tear in the sealant. As I write a temporary cover is in place until it stops raining to allow a repair. Just when things were going right!
Last week I wrote about baking ‘Sugar and Spice Rings’ on Sunday. This Sunday I did a little more baking but this time it was ‘Tea Scones’, a very basic recipe which I am sure most will know. I had taken an early morning walk before breakfast, just four miles as I hadn’t been out for a walk for about two weeks and didn’t want to overdo things. To be honest I was feeling quite tired by the time I had returned home. The day looked promising in the morning sunshine but it wasn’t that particularly warm because of the cold slight breeze. When I went into the kitchen for breakfast E was sitting there having just eaten hers. After eating mine I sat on the patio with a coffee then spent some time digging out a few bluebells. Returning indoors I decided to do a little baking whilst E went upstairs to change. By the time she had come downstairs again I had the scones baked.
1 lb self-raising flour
1/4 tsp baking powder (optional)
1/2 level tsp salt
4 oz butter or margarine
6 oz caster sugar
6 oz sultanas or currants (optional)
1/2 pint milk
Place flour with salt in bowl and rub in the butter or margarine until the mixture is crumbly. Add sugar and fruit if used and mix. Add the milk (advise half of it at first) and thoroughly mix with ingredients until it becomes a firm but not sticky dough. Spread some flour onto a board or flat surface and place dough on it and knead for a couple of minutes then using a rolling-pin spread the dough till it is about 1/2 inch thick. Using a small circular pastry cutter, cut the dough and place each piece on a buttered metal tray. Brush each with milk and place in a hot oven (215 deg C) for ten to fifteen minutes.
Easy and tasty. The mixture will make about sixteen scones.
I did very little else on Sunday as on Monday I would be busy working again.
I actually got to stay in bed a little longer than I had been able to for the last few days. Oh it wasn’t that I couldn’t have a lie-in, it had been my intention to arise early so that I could do the work I wanted to do. Even so I was up eating breakfast at eight before continuing the work in the cellar on Saturday (9th). E joined with me after an hour and she began filling in holes where necessary in preparation for the painting she wanted to do. Unfortunately she didn’t get around to the painting as she had that work and other work to do. Meanwhile I had been painting the ceiling, walls and pipes. The ceiling in that part of the room would require two and perhaps three coats of paint for it was black and dirty-looking having not seen a lick of paint for years. It would take me hours to decorate over a couple of days.
The area at top left was actually cleaner-looking than the rest shown in the picture above which had just received its first coat of paint. Anyway I plodded on and completed the walls in the same area…..
When E had left the room I began clearing out the area under the window and continued doing that after lunch. Some items were thrown out but much of them I moved to the greenhouses where they were supposed to be and tidying up the large greenhouse in the process. I returned indoors and fitted a piece of wood over the top of the window frame to allow E to paint the frame later.There are cables clipped along the wall at the top above the window and the wood was placed there to separate them from the frame which would be painted a different colour. You probably cannot see the piece of wood in the picture above because the gas pipe supplying the boiler runs just beneath it. You will however be able to see that the area beneath the window is now clear of the junk which had been stored there together with the garden furniture. Whilst in the room I discovered two more jobs (aside from the cupboard) which I plan to do during the weeks ahead, well when the painting is finished. I will show them in forthcoming posts.
I have been working rather hard these past few days, often putting in eight hours or more each day. I sometimes think I am doing more now than before I retired! When I purchased the Elliptical Trainer earlier in the year I had no idea it would lead me to be doing all the work I have been doing at the moment. Most of the ceilings in the cellar are 7 feet (2.13 m) high except for the boiler/gym room which is 8 feet (2.44 m) from the floor. All the doors are at the standard height which is 6 feet and 6 inches (1.98 m) so walking about isn’t a problem. However we discovered that although the gym ceiling is that extra bit higher it gave very little spare head-room when using the trainer. Consequently we decided to lower the floor by about 7 inches (17.8 cm) where the trainer was to be used. That in itself was time-consuming and hard work but having decorated the area round about it led us to decide a full room decoration was required. Having made that decision it led us to do a lot of preparatory and necessary work like filling in large holes in the ceiling and walls, re-routing cables and generally tidying things up. On top of that we had to replace the pipe insulation too which led us to do the same for other rooms in the cellar. The above pictures show only parts of the installation. Over the last three days (it is Friday 9 as I write) I have been starting work between the hours of 05.30 and 06.30 in order to replace the insulation before the heating switches on in the morning. Thankfully that work is almost completed with just some minor parts requiring attention. This is why the main work of decorating is taking so long. Today for instance I did very little in the way of painting. One of the other things which prevented my decorating was clearing out an area in the garage in order to store the garden furniture from the gym.
As you can see the area left of the window is now free of the furniture (see previous post) though there are a few other things still there to be found new homes. On the extreme left is the cupboard which requires some internal work before it too can be decorated. It all takes time and I have plenty of that on my hands. I must however take a break now and then.
There are many things you cannot guarantee but you can guarantee one thing….One day you will die. The way some people live you would suppose they are thinking they will live forever…..but obviously they won’t. It is as though they are chasing after the wind without a thought about where they are heading. They are focused on living in the here and now and don’t realise it will all come to a sudden end. What will they have achieved? (Mark 8:36What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?). Want something that will last forever? Read on…
The prophet Isaiah spoke of the nearness of the righteousness and salvation of God. His arm, or his power, will go forth in judgment, but that same power will be used to deliver and save those who trust in him. Though the prophecy about God’s righteousness drawing near “speedily” (v. 5) refers to the Jews returning from exile in Babylon, the rest of this stanza (vv. 4–6) clearly looks beyond that event.
Just as judgment lies with God alone—he alone sets the standards of justice, righteousness and holiness in the universe according to his good character—so too does salvation lie with him. God alone has the power to truly save, for he saves his people from the very judgment that he will execute in the world.
This text reminds readers that the entire cosmos is in a state of downward entropy; things are getting worse and worse and will continue to do so. Just as humans have been, so God’s creation has also been mired and corrupted by sin. While the earth will pass away, God’s salvation will stand forever. This salvation is accomplished through Jesus and Jesus alone; indeed, salvation was and is his mission on earth. God shows his eternal commitment to save those who trust in him through the life, death and resurrection of Christ. Salvation, then, can only be had through Christ. This is why the New Testament echoes the fact that “salvation belongs to our God” (Rev 7:10).
Jesus, we can see the world getting more and more broken as we near the day of your return. Thank you for giving us a hope that shines at the end of this tunnel. May we live in service to that hope. Amen.
I have been writing a lot about my projects at home and the current one, the gym decoration being no exception. This post is twelve ahead from that which you were reading on the day I wrote it, 7th March. This project is taking a lot of time to do because it doesn’t involve just painting but other things too for instance replacing pipe insulation. There has been much wiring to secure and many holes to be filled both on the ceiling and the walls and much of the ceiling has required more than just the one coat of paint. In fact one part of the ceiling has never received a coat of paint the whole time we’ve lived here! On Wednesday (7th) I spent four hours in the room and was determined not to spend any longer in there after Tuesday’s eight-hour stint. I concentrated my efforts painting more of the ceiling and walls and had to paint the areas a couple of times before it was as white as the previously painted areas. When I was clearing out the room and moving equipment to enable access to the work I discovered the old floor tiles had dropped in a couple of places by the walls so after I had finished painting for the day I decided to mix some concrete screed and fill them in.The largest ones are shown in the pictures above, the top one is situated alongside the treadmill (when it is lowered to the floor) and the lower is alongside the steps leading out to the garden. It won’t be long before I will need to move this lot either…..….before I can decorate that area, which will be the final area to decorate. Most of it is garden furniture. After lunch I spent a little time in the garden sitting on the patio in the warm sunshine. However that didn’t last too long for the clouds rolled-in, though it did get brighter later. I discovered some more bluebells and spent twenty minutes digging them out before relaxing for the rest of the day.
I deliberately retired to bed early on Monday evening so I could be up and working early on Tuesday. I wanted to replace at least some of the pipe insulation before the heating fired up. I concentrated on this corner of the room as I am moving along doing a section at a time and this part where the treadmill stands was next.
Once the insulation was fitted I could paint it and of course the ceiling and walls in the area too. The dark patches you see in the picture(s) is plaster. I had been patching up several large holes but they couldn’t be painted until they were dry. Further along to the left in the picture I continued to patch up the ceiling as well as replacing insulation,
The pipes are so close to the wall and ceiling in places which made fitting the insulation very difficult. I wrapped tape around where it was possible, especially on the small pieces. The tape will be hidden when it is painted over, as in the top picture. The bottom picture shows a detailed view of the area which presented me with some awkward work. The round white junction box on the ceiling near to the pipes had been installed far too close and it had to be moved, rather difficult when there was little slack in the wiring but hey I am (was) an electrician! The more awkward work was fitting a thin board to cover a large hole in the ceiling above the pipes. The board is brown in colour as it hasn’t as yet been painted. Several pipes and cables enter the hole so I had to ensure they were not moved or trapped. The problem with the hole is it couldn’t easily be patched any other way. The house is old (1877) and has lath and plaster ceilings which cannot be restored without a lot of mess. The only solution would be to fit plasterboard but even that is a messy job. For such a small hole in a room in the cellar in an out-of-the-way position I think doing it the way I did was the best way. Other holes were filled-in as I went along. The room is taking a long time to decorate because of these side issues but there’s no hurry. It has given me the opportunity to clear out many of the things we stored in the room which will now be stored elsewhere. This outdoor furniture for instance
can be stored in the garage now that it is cleaner than it used to be. That whole area needs clearing out anyway to allow decorating to continue. I spent four hours working in the room before lunch and another four after lunch!
I was so keen to begin work again on Monday that I made it my business to be up early to get on with it. My or should I say our latest project is decorating the gym/boiler room though E has not been too involved in the work. That is mainly due to her limited ability because of her condition. Though she may be willing there is little she can do. Having said that she has painted one of the internal doors. On Saturday she began painting the door in a salmon pink colour but after discussion we decided red would be a more suitable colour. We had some left over from my painting the front lounge ceiling detail last summer.
On the left-hand wall just below the pipes I manufactured and fitted a door stop first thing after breakfast but the main area of work during the morning was in the corner around the treadmill.
Of course I had to raise the treadmill to its vertical position and cover it with sheets as you can see. In the next picture you can see the ceiling and wiring I was working on.
The wiring on the wall and ceiling needed fixing securely for much of it was simply dangling. There were large holes in both the wall and the ceiling which needed filling and that took much time to do. Before those repairs can be painted over they will need skimming over again. My intentions are to work slowly but surely around the room and completing each small area as I go. Whilst I was doing that work E was painting the door. After lunch E didn’t join me as there was nothing she could do. I however concentrated on painting around the entrance door, that part of the ceiling up to and above the up-righted treadmill and the wall adjacent to it before the paint ran out. By now it was four o’clock and I thought it not worth continuing by opening a new can of paint so I stopped work for the day. We had a delivery of pipe insulation but only one carton had been sent, something to do with them not having it all in stock. The second was promised on Tuesday instead.
The carton contains 48 x 1 metre lengths of insulation.
It was Sunday at last and the change in the weather was very noticeable, it was much warmer. Though it was still in single figures the temperature was nevertheless pleasant at around six or seven degrees and probably around ten degrees higher than of late at times. Being as it was a Sunday I had nothing to look forward to other than rest and relaxation though I did do a little pottering about. I had been looking at the problem of fixing a door stop on the wall behind the door in the cellar room we are currently redecorating. The door can be seen in yesterday’s post below. When fully opened the door at present is prevented from touching the wall by the pipe insulation at high level which is unsatisfactory. I discovered a bracket formerly used to attach a floodlight lying about amongst the ‘junk’ we have. I cleaned it up a little but it will need doing properly before I can use it as a door stop. I had spent twenty minutes on the treadmill before breakfast but now, after lunch, I was feeling a little bored so I decided to bake something and here they are straight out of the oven.
They are called sugar and spice rings and I had never baked them before. They are simple enough to make. I followed this recipe from a cook book though I doubled the quantities to make it worthwhile. The ingredients shown are doubled up…
1 lb self-raising flour
1 level tsp salt
3 oz unsalted butter, softened
1/2 pint milk:
3 oz currants or sultanas/raisins
3 oz caster sugar
2 level tsp cinnamon powder
2 oz melted unsalted butter
Place (sifted) flour and salt into mixing bowl and rub in the softened butter until the mixture is crumbly. Add all of the milk at once and mix with a knife until a sticky dough is formed. Sprinkle flour on to a board and empty the dough onto it and knead until smooth and pliable. Using a rolling-pin roll out into a rectangular shape until fairly thin, not less than a quarter-inch. Mix the currants, caster sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Melt the 2 oz of butter and spread over the rolled-out dough to a half-inch from the edges using a pastry brush. Sprinkle the currant and sugar mix over the buttered dough. Moisten the remaining edges of the dough with water then roll like a Swiss Roll. Pinch the moistened dough at the ends. Cut into equal slices and place each with the cut surfaces downward into a buttered dish for baking. Place near the top of a hot oven (215 C) for fifteen to twenty minutes.
The ones shown in the picture were baked in the containers you see them in. The two with the sealed-up faces are the two ends of the roll.
At last it was Saturday (3rd) and the prospect of the promised warmer weather beginning in the morning was on my mind. I had set my alarm (just in case) for I wanted to arise early but as it happened I was awake long before it was due to go off. My plan was to purchase some pipe lagging then return home and begin to fit it. The initial work would be done in the gym/boiler room where I planned to continue with the decorating. Some time ago we purchased the same lagging but it was only enough to cover part of the pipework. Now we wanted to continue that work. The insulating lagging isn’t cheap to purchase at £205 for two boxes to cover almost 100 metres. Yes there are a lot of pipes which require replacement insulation. We chose, as last time, the higher grade insulation but though it is more than twice the price it gives better insulation with less heat loss. It also lasts longer. Most of it would be used outside of the room we were decorating and should be enough for the job. We had thought we could collect it there and then but it isn’t kept at the outlet and would be delivered the following Monday. It didn’t matter for there was plenty of other work to be going on with. However it was now after eleven o’clock and we decided to put off that work until after lunch. Instead, we went into the garden and I removed the main part of the windbreaks I had fitted to protect the plants a few days earlier whilst E had prepared and hung out a ball of bird food and some bird seeds. It wasn’t long after that we returned indoors for lunch. Then it was time to do a little something in the cellar room. I patched up some holes with plaster and then continued with painting the ceiling and walls. We wanted to change the colour of the doors (aside from the main PVC one leading out to the garden) to anything but the colour they were. E rooted through our paint stock and came up with this….
Salmon pink! To be fair I wanted a bright yellow but we didn’t wish to purchase paint when we have plenty of it in storage. It might get painted over or not, we’ll have to wait and see. E is painting the doors so I will leave the decision to her. This was as far as we got on the day as we didn’t want to do much work anyway.
…didn’t happen! I was writing about making plans in yesterday’s post but on Friday, that is today as I write, I overslept. Over sleeping isn’t really true for had I not needed the sleep I wouldn’t have taken it. In real terms it meant I awakened at nine-thirty instead of eight o’clock which would be more my usual time. So it wasn’t the sleeping-in that prevented my doing some more work in the cellar but more the other things which got in the way. Prayer time, a shower, getting dressed, applying make-up, putting the soiled towels into the washing machine which had piled-up during the week and chatting with E all before I grabbed a quick breakfast, those were the things which prevented any work being done before noon. Following that I decided to venture out into the rear garden to sweep up the enormous piles of fallen ivy and some holly leaves that had been nicely stored in a couple of places by the high wind. It was another miserably cold day though it was showing signs of getting warmer for the snow had been slowly melting. According to the forecast it would be far warmer by the following Monday. It was now almost twelve o’clock and time to return indoors to thaw out! I had been to the garage to collect the brush and bucket with which to sweep the leaves but returned later to empty out some things from my van and sort them out for storage. Now it was time to hang the washing after which I fitted a coat hook behind one of the doors upstairs. I was about to prepare lunch when E asked if I could help search for something in the cellar so off we went to do that. I had lost count of the number of trips to the cellar I had made in the previous couple of hours which is often quite normal in this house! At last it was time for lunch, it was one forty-five. By the time I had finished lunch I was in no mood for starting work, which would have been painting the room in the cellar. What can I say? There’s always tomorrow.
We’ve had a few bad days of cold and windy weather from the east but today as I write this on Thursday 1st March it looks as though things are about to change for the better. It has been snowing but not that much, in fact we’ve probably had only a few hours of it during the time it has been falling. I guess we’ve had three centimetres of the white stuff at most as it comes and goes. What is worse is if it doesn’t melt away it freezes so although there might not be much of it the snow can still be a problem. We are very fortunate though for in many parts of the country conditions have been far worse so we mustn’t complain. It never ceases to amaze me though that this country cannot cope as well as it should when it snows whereas many other countries take it in their stride. I had planned to go for a walk but changed my mind and worked out on the Elliptical Trainer instead. That’s the beauty of being able to have the space in which to fit exercising machinery and equipment and I humbly acknowledge that privilege. Having gym equipment was never on my thoughts when we first moved into this house thirty years ago. Funny how things change I suppose. For most of the day I stayed indoors relaxing but I did wander about making plans for other projects E and I have been considering. My current project is to decorate the boiler room which houses the gym equipment and as you have been reading part of that work is already complete. However there is some preliminary work that needs to be done in other parts of the room yet to be decorated, tidying up wiring, replacing some of the pipe lagging, perhaps replacing the main light and installing another just to name a few. So over the next few weeks I shall be doing that work whilst decorating those areas which require no preparation. A little here and a little there is the way it will go. One other small project E would like have me do is to install a couple of 5 amp power points in the hallway for the two table lamps we use there. She wants them to be automatically controlled and I have the plans to do it. It will mean installing a photo-cell similar to those controlling the garage lights as shown in this picture…
and in conjunction with a time switch. The photo-cell will supply power to the 5 amp sockets when it goes dark and the time switch will prevent the lights remaining on all through the night. Once it is daylight again the power will automatically shut off. The system of operation is similar to that supplied to the porch light and the garden street lamp-post via the ‘part night’ controllers except that the new one will use cheaper parts and will be manually adjustable if required. Nothing like having plans as long as I can get around to doing them!
I was up and about very early again on Wednesday morning and after breakfast by then seven forty-five I was out in the garden checking on the protection I had taken for some of the plants was still in place. I decided to strengthen that protection because of the weather forecast which informed us of an even colder night to follow. By the time I had returned indoors an hour later E came downstairs for her breakfast. We talked about taking a trip to the garden centre but actually didn’t set off until eleven-thirty as she wanted to wash her hair have a shower and get dressed! Whereas I get up and go to bed in the same day she gets up one day and goes to bed the next! She is what you might call a night person and never retires to bed before one o’clock in the morning unless she has an early appointment the next day. I’ve usually had a couple of hours sleep by then. It makes going anywhere together in the morning difficult at times. Anyway we did go out and whilst we were out I decided to take a trip to the decorating store and the electrical store after we had visited the garden centre. I needed more emulsion paint and some light bulbs to replace faulty ones. It was approaching two o’clock when we sat down to lunch and at the same time watch some tv. At three o’clock she and I went into the cellar and moved the Elliptical trainer into its new home….
Not bad for two ‘senior citizens’! Actually it wasn’t that difficult, it was just a matter of approaching it in the right way. Neither of us had to exert ourselves in any way because of the way we tackled it. Now it is in its new home E will find it much easier to mount when she uses it. I had painted the whole wall and that part of the ceiling above it to make it easier. Now it is out-of-the-way so to speak I can get on with decorating the rest of the room, when the mood takes me of course!
It hardly ever snows around these parts…..until it does!
This was the scene which greeted me when I arose on Tuesday (27th). By lunchtime much of it had disappeared at least on the pathways and roads where the sun was shining. The sun shone throughout the day and we had blue skies. It took Siberian weather to give us snow and very cold winds though on Tuesday the wind had subsided somewhat. I had placed windbreaks around some of the exposed plants in the rear garden for although the plants could withstand low temperatures the cold wind could do more damage. For other plants I wrapped some of the more exposed ones with bubble wrap to protect their cores. Again it was for protection from the wind. Later in the week we were to expect the wind to finally veer more from the south and therefore less cold. I wasn’t venturing outdoors, at least during the morning as I had work to do, this time though only light work, painting the wall behind the new pit. It was about time for the room to be redecorated anyway but a start on that particular wall was necessary in order to allow us to move the trainer into the pit. Before that happens I will paint the ceiling above the pit and that part of the room will be finished. Of course I didn’t paint elsewhere for I didn’t wish to work all day. I did however fill in some holes with plaster before stopping for the day even though it was only eleven o’clock.
If you have then did you accept or reject the Good News? That is exactly what it is, Good News. Always your prerogative of course but there is no real excuse for rejection. I have personally heard testaments from people who shall I say had no regard for anyone else but themselves. Thieves, robbers, slanderers they were but they had a change of heart after they heard about Jesus Christ and what he had done for them. Many folk I have witnessed to have told me that they will think about it and others have simply told me they just don’t believe or that it is all fiction. God however tells us that this is far from the truth and we have no excuses for not believing. I would ask anyone who think otherwise to think again for there is much to gain from coming to a real understanding.
What About Those Who Have Never Heard About Jesus? (Acts 4:12)
Jesus was clear about the rules for receiving salvation when he said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (Jn 14:6). And when speaking about Jesus, the apostle Peter said in this passage, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
Further, all people have to answer to God whether or not they have “heard” about him (see Heb 9:27). The Bible states that God has clearly revealed himself in creation (see Ro 1:19–20) and that he has “set eternity in the human heart” (Ecc 3:11). This means that people see all around them the evidence of God and sense within themselves the truth that they are meant for more than this world. God is not the problem; humankind is. Because of sin, people reject this knowledge of God and rebel against his will (see Ro 1:21–23). It is only because of God’s grace (see Eph 2:8–9) that he saves people from their own sinful desires (see Ro 1:24–32).
How God works out his plan is mysterious and complicated. We have our ideas of what it means for Jesus to be “the way,” but he is not bound by our understanding. God works to accomplish his goals in ways that we will never see or comprehend. The wideness of God’s mercy and the tenacity of his love is beyond our intellectual capacity.
Jesus is central in the redemption story. But God rewards those who seek him (see Heb 11:6). It is our mission to help those who seek him and make sure that those who have yet to answer God’s call hear and understand the gospel (see Mt 28:19–20; Ac 1:8). God always acts justly; he never acts unfairly or wrongly (see Dt 32:4). We might be surprised at the final roll call of heaven. Fortunately, it is God—not us—who will sort out the details in each person’s case.
Taken from NIV Essentials Study Bible