Two on the go

It was Thursday 13 th and I had been out doing the weekly shopping and as I go there quite early to the supermarket it leaves the rest of the day free to do other things. On my return however I was feeling a little hungry so made a sandwich. I wanted to get on with the work in the cellar but didn’t start until ten o’clock. The small storeroom was on hold because part of the floor was still damp and accordingly couldn’t be painted. I mentioned it might take days for it to dry out and I didn’t mind that as long as it did dry out! So I concentrated on the second project which was the refurbishment of the hallway and specifically the boxing-in of the section of pipework I wanted to get done. I spent a couple of hours doing that and after lunch continued with it. Before that work started however I replaced the light unit with a long LED unit exactly the same type as others I had installed in other rooms in the house.

As you can see it hadn’t been clipped into its fixing brackets because prior to installing it I filled in some holes with plaster. When the plaster was dry I would paint the ceiling where the light would be before clipping it into its brackets. I also fitted the inspection cover over the access hole on the ceiling in the small storeroom beneath the wet room drain. That repair to the leak had been successful. I didn’t finish the boxing in on the day but got much done as you can see in the pictures.

The other work to be done in the hallway would consist of filling in holes in the ceiling and walls before removing the carpet and items stored there. Following that it would be painting the walls, repairing the floor as necessary and then painting that too. That would keep me out of mischief for a while! 

Shirley Anne


Nothing to do?

Yeah, sure I didn’t. It was more a question of what shall I do next? I was up very early on Wednesday (12/12 in case you’ve lost track) morning, soon after one o’clock to be precise! I had gone to bed a little tired at seven but was awake three hours later after which I found returning to the land of Nod impossible. You know the story, playing mind games with myself. Once something enters my mind which keeps me thinking about it then I lie there tossing and turning until I finally have to get up! I went for an earlier walk than usual and returned home with heavy eyelids. After breakfast I felt fit as a fiddle and proceeded to give the ceiling and walls in the cellar small store room their final coat of paint and the door its first. Parts of the floor had still not dried after the previous day’s work cementing in the gaps. The room has no heating source and there is very little heat coming from the hallway so it would take a long time to dry. That meant the painting of the floor wouldn’t take place for quite a number of days. The room refurbishment would be almost finished after the floor was painted. If I was to carry on working it would have to be in the hallway. I had already begun that work the day before and thought it might be a while before I could continue with it. Would I grasp the opportunity? Well you know me……..

Shirley Anne

Only the one day

At the end of yesterday’s post I mentioned how much I didn’t feel like doing any more work after sorting out the frost protection in the garden. That work only took a mere thirty minutes I think but it had been enough for me, I just didn’t want to spend the next few hours working in the cellar, I was on strike so to speak and E told me to take a break and rest. That was an order I had to obey but only for the day for on Tuesday the story was completely different. I didn’t arise early as there was no point, I wasn’t going for a walk and I had the day at my disposal if I wished to do any work on my project. After breakfast therefore I began by filling numerous holes in the walls of the small store room. Now that it had received its first coat of white paint the holes were much easier to see. I soon had that done and then I set about doing the same on the floor as I had done in the other rooms in the cellar prior to painting them. Of course that meant mixing a little cement. It didn’t take long because the cement is simply brushed onto the previously dampened floor. After an hour or so I swept up the excess and later again did the same thing…


E had come downstairs to eat breakfast and then we were going out to purchase more emulsion paint for the cellar rooms and to spend a little time in Dobbies. She had some business at the bank in town so that was done too. Her mom had been taken poorly earlier in the morning and E arranged for her doctor to visit. Her mom has ongoing health problems so it was just a routine matter. Nevertheless she was taken to hospital for examination. She was returned home later in the afternoon and by all accounts was back to normal. E had an appointment of her own during the afternoon, another routine visit for her too. Whilst she was out I set about work on the next project in the cellar, the hallway. I hadn’t been able to continue in the small store room because the work I had done earlier was still wet. Well what did I do in the hallway? There was a section of pipework which needed boxing in, the only section in the hallway which needed doing so I began that work by fixing some battens to the wall and ceiling. It would be continued with once I had finished the other room.

The wall itself backs on to the utility room and many of the service’s pipework and wiring pass through into that room from the hallway as you can probably see. There would be just enough materials in my stock to finish the job. The rest of the work in the hallway would involve filling large holes in the walls and ceiling, painting the walls and ceiling and finally lifting the old carpet and getting the floor in order as with the other rooms I have been working in.

Shirley Anne

It had to go

A few days ago I mentioned that the tunnel I erected on the patio had to be dismantled because it couldn’t withstand the high winds and as you may already know I duly dismantled it and packed it away in the garage. Maybe it will get used elsewhere in someone else’s property. It meant I had to erect some other form of frost protection for the two palms instead. On the Monday morning of the 10 th (Dec) I spent a little time out on the patio doing just that. I had installed some bamboo canes a few days earlier but the recent storm prevented me from wrapping the protection sheets around them. Up until the storm arrived it had been exceptionally warm for the month and as a consequence I put off finishing the frost protection. Now there was a lull in the bad weather and the temperature was beginning to drop I decided the time was right and finished the work…. 

I had to wrap some strong tape banding around the branches to hold them close beneath the bamboo frame before I could wrap around with the bubble-wrap. The core of the plants had previously been wrapped with strong foam rubber sheeting so the bubble-wrap was simply an extra protection which shielded the branches too. If the frost isn’t the enemy the wind sure is and during cold windy weather the leaves get burnt. When I returned indoors E had just finished her breakfast. I had eaten earlier after my morning walk and had been watching some catch-up tv before going into the garden. I had more work to do in the cellar small store room but wasn’t in the mood so that work was shelved for the day. E tells me it is good to take a break now and then and I don’t bother arguing!

Shirley Anne

Something different

This post is more about E’s activities than mine though I had been the most active on the day as well as the evening before. It was Sunday 9 th Dec. and E was about to embark on going to her first craft fair where she would be selling her hand-made greetings cards and a few other items. The event was held at the district hospital in the gymnasium of the spinal injuries building in aid of that department to raise funds for special equipment. It was the hospital’s first craft fair too. The event had been well advertised but alas on the day it hadn’t been very well attended. That meant fewer possibilities to sell goods for everyone. The hospital was able to raise some funds by levying a £10 fee for each table and there were forty tables for people selling their wares. It was such a shame that more folk didn’t come. The hospital’s own radio DJ was providing background seasonal music and a local girl sang many songs too. My input was to support E to load and unload the van and to provide the transport. Of course that meant I had to help with setting up the table as well! It had been a new experience for me being on the other side of the counter as it were. We met some lovely people there and that in itself is always a good thing. So although we didn’t sell much we both enjoyed it and learned what to do and what not to do for the next time. E had already been making enquiries regarding the hospital’s next fund-raising fair though I knew she had also been thinking of attending other craft fairs. It could be that I would be assisting her at some of them or even all of them if it was necessary.

Shirley Anne

A good lie in

It isn’t often I have an extra lie-in but I don’t usually need one. However I had decided to stay up just that little bit longer on Friday evening in order to watch a couple of tv programs so waking up later was inevitable. Even so I should have arisen by four o’clock for by that time I would have had easily enough sleep. I arose just after five. Through Friday evening and into Saturday morning the weather had been foul with extremely high winds blowing and it lasted into the afternoon. I wasn’t going anywhere so it didn’t matter so much. Down in the cellar it would be much quieter and that is where I spent a couple of hours carrying on with the small store project. Years ago when we first moved into the house there was a downstairs bedroom, two in fact, though the second had been a bit of a makeshift affair. It had curtain separating it from what was then the kitchen and occupied the room in which the kitchen is now located. The other bedroom occupied what is now the rear lounge though it was always a rear lounge having been built that way. The previous owner had turned the house into a bed-sit so that he could earn money by letting out the rooms. When we moved in one of the first things we did was to turn it back into a normal home. A floor-to-ceiling wardrobe had been constructed in the bedroom but it wasn’t one of the first things to go, the sinks and associated plumbing to several of the rooms went first. The wardrobe stayed for a couple of years as we allowed E’s brother to use the room having been made homeless by his estranged girlfriend. I digress. The point is this, when I finally dismantled the huge wardrobe unit I kept the wood framework and the panelled wooden doors down in the cellar (along with many other things). Now, about twenty-something years later some of that timber came in very handy. Over the years some of it had been used elsewhere in the house but now I was using it to block off the rear end of the space beneath the stone steps in the small store room. This is what I did on the Saturday morning (8 th Dec)…

You may be able to see the panel framework. Before inserting it into the space I had to fit timber to the rear where there was no frame to support the plywood (top and right-hand-side). I fitted battens on the side walls and floor in order to secure the panel in position and then filled in the edges with filler. It was slowly getting there.

Shirley Anne


First time in a while

During the day on Friday (7 th Dec.) the wind gradually grew stronger with every passing minute. The tail end of another hurricane was on its way to our shores once more. It doesn’t last long but much damage can be done in its passing. We were to expect gusts up to 80 mph in certain parts of the country and this time where we live was right in the firing line. Time to take down the flag for the first time in many months. I had been for an early morning walk and it rained throughout but it was only light rain. The wind was weak too and stayed that way for a few more hours until mid to late morning when it grew strong. By that time the skies were partly blue and the sun came out. It wasn’t cold either at 13 degrees though the wind made it feel that way. Soon after breakfast I lowered the flag then returning indoors set about doing some painting in the cellar small store room. The room itself lies partly underneath the stone steps which lead into the cellar and it has a door which is usually kept closed. That means it stays pretty cool if not cold in there though at one time the heating pipes would give off a little heat as the lagging was poor. At the beginning of last year I sorted out that problem and put new lagging around all the pipes in the cellar. Now the little room will be colder still especially as most of the pipes in there have also been boxed-in. I guess it would be an ideal place to store wine and would be even colder than the room we converted into a larder early last year. In the rooms which have no other source of heating it stays on the cold side. Only two rooms get warm and only one of those stays warm throughout the day and night. The boiler room (also called the gym) naturally gets a little warm when the heating is on during the daytime, though not all day. The new utility room gets warm because of the freezers in there and gets no heat from the pipes which are mostly all now hidden as well as being lagged. That room stays warm all day long and through the night because we keep the door closed. That means the cellar hallway stays on the cool side. The coldest rooms in the cellar are the small store just mentioned, the large store room and the workshop though none of them gets any cooler than around ten degrees. E has found the utility room to be very useful for some aspects of her crafting work as there is water and a sink on hand, a worktop and most importantly (for her) it is warm!  So far I have only been working in the main area of the small store and have as yet to work in the area beneath the steps. That will mostly involve blanking off part of the room beneath the furthest steps and then painting it all. Today as I write I have still to paint the main area with its final coat and of course paint the whole floor when the room is finished. Today I also tested the wet room floor repair above the room and it had been successful.

Shirley Anne 

I remember when

At my time in life I have more to look back on than to look forward to, in this world that is. I believe in an after life, in God, Jesus Christ and The Holy Spirit so for me I believe there’s much more to look forward to beyond this life. Not everyone will agree but that is up to them. Looking back to this day seventy-one years ago my eldest sister was born so today marks her 71 st birthday anniversary. I have two sisters, the youngest celebrated her 68 th birthday last month on the fifteenth. I have two brothers too both younger than I. I remember the day my eldest sister went for the first time on a night out with the girls, a couple of friends she had at the time. She hadn’t much money to buy fancy clothes but what she had was good enough. She lacked however a pair of high-heeled shoes which the other girls were wearing and was offered a pair to borrow for the occasion.

I tried my best to show disinterest for at that time I was very much an anti-social person and took no interest in ‘going out’ as most people of my age. I was nineteen or twenty years old and all I wanted was to be able to wear high-heels too! In fact that is exactly what I used to do at that time, I cross-dressed but in secret. I had gender identity issues which remained with me until later in life when other things forced my hand and I did something about it. All this you can read in my pages.  When I look back over my life I remember times and situations when I could have been more courageous in fulfilling my desires but wasn’t. Despite all my personal failures I pulled through eventually. Some people never do. Could I have done things differently? Of course I could but I was timid, shy, bullied and didn’t have someone to confide in, at least that’s what I thought. If only I had stepped out and…… well we can all think things differently in retrospect can’t we? As for the high-heels, yes I have a few pairs some of which are in the picture above but almost never wear them now though love to when I can.

Shirley Anne 


Enjoy the rain?

I don’t mind the rain do you? It’s when the wind blows it sideways I hate it. Sometimes in this country (UK) when it rains it rains for days on end and if you don’t like the rain it can be very miserable for you. As the song points out it is all a state of mind. We cannot prevent it raining so unless you just grin and bear it or even enjoy it your life will remain very miserable indeed! I have to admit though that when it rains it can prevent us enjoying the things we enjoy doing outside when it is dry. We had a few days of continuous rain at the beginning of December and it came after a long period of almost completely dry weather. I was beginning to think we would never get rain again! So remember to enjoy the rain just in case you never have it again!

Shirley Anne

Mixing it up

My day on Tuesday was filled with different things all of which amounted to work, rest, shop, and play with meals thrown in here and there. I was up at three but though I had been awake since two I was in no rush to start the day. I finished breakfast at four and got on my knees again to finish off the seal around the grid in the wet room. The previous day I had gouged out the floor seal around the grid and half-filled it again with a special rubberised sealant similar to silicon rubber but more paste-like. In all other respects it was the same as silicon rubber and cleans off using acetic acid (vinegar). Now I was filling the gap to floor level.

Having done that I checked my emails before carrying on with the work in the small storeroom in the cellar. I did as much as I could without having to cut timber as doing that could have disturbed E from her sleep. That meant cutting and fitting plasterboard and one or two pieces of wood which I cut outside in the garden. Once she was up and about I was able to cut the rest of the timber and finish off all the work at ceiling height. Of course by that I mean the construction part as there is some filling-in to do between the plasterboard panels prior to decoration.

The boxes of screws I had purchased  whilst working on the utility room project were now empty so I needed to go out and buy some more. E had an appointment with the DHSS (Dept. of Health and Social Security) and wanted me to tag along for company. The appointment was for 12.20 so off we went at noon. We weren’t in there long and soon we were off to buy the screws followed by some free minced pies and coffee courtesy of Dobbies. They are only free to members of course and being a member I take full advantage of their free offers. We then drove to the village so that E could attend some business at the Post Office whilst I walked across to the chemist (drugstore) to purchase some feminine hygiene products. It was two-thirty when we arrived back home and time for lunch. At last I could relax in front of the tv and watch some missed programs before writing this. 

Shirley Anne