All stop

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I was totally out of the game on Saturday, wanting to do something but not having the inclination I remained seated most of the day. That is very unusual for me because I get so bored doing that. My guitar was given more attention than it usually gets and I find playing about on it very enjoyable but I can’t spend all day playing a guitar.me-and-guitar-2 So the day in one respect was a little wasted but then again it gave me the chance to relax. I have been so busy lately so a little rest from things does no harm. I would be getting a double dose of that as I do very little on Sundays too. I had work scheduled for Monday and the prospect of the delivery of the lamp-post I had purchased gave me something to do when it arrived. I could have spent dome time in the garden on Saturday but my heart just wasn’t in it. The lawn could have done with a cut and perhaps should have been because the green waste wheelie bins were due to be emptied on Monday. As I write this late on Saturday afternoon I may find myself cutting it tomorrow but if I don’t and decide to do it later the cuttings can be put in the compost bin instead. We have two green waste bins and during the warmer months they get emptied fortnightly. We discovered that only having one became a problem due to the amount of natural waste we collect from our gardens. It is the same for our other recyclable waste bins for paper, plastic and metal cans, we need two of them. This is because of the huge amount we seem to collect over the two-week period between collections. The land-fill or non-recyclable waste we now produce therefore has dropped dramatically as a result and that one bin though scheduled to be emptied every two weeks too we only put out once every month and even then it is seldom half-full. Funny how things work out for as I am writing this I am now finding the urge to get out and do something…

I Just Can't Stop It (album)

I Just Can’t Stop It (album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

……………but I am not going to……..I am taking the rest that people are always telling me I should!

Shirley Anne

A bit ridiculous

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Ladies in Retirement

Ladies in Retirement (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So much for semi-retirement and taking things a little easier. I am approaching my 71st birthday and by all accounts should have retired by now but because I am not one for lazing about and living the high life (whatever that is) I am still working. Of course I am talking about my electrical work for there is always other work to be done at home. Officially I am semi-retired though as far as the electrical work is concerned, and I do try to limit what I do in that respect, it hasn’t worked out that way. Although I haven’t been doing electrical work every day this past week on the days that I have done so I haven’t had much of a rest from it. I am my own worst enemy I suppose because I don’t like letting people down. Even so I have had to turn down more work than I have actually taken on board. I need to remove my advertisement more often and I might just do that. I remember the last time I did though it made no difference, I still got phone calls. The price of being too popular I guess….well someone’s got to blow my trumpet! Although I enjoy my work I am getting more tired of it as the months go by so perhaps a proper retirement is on the horizon. I’ll have to weigh up that possibility though and it will depend on whether I can remain occupied more at home. I have to find things to do or go bananas. I suppose I am more tired because I have been doing work both at home and away and occasionally both on the same day. I said to myself that as long as I am capable I will continue to work and I have kept that promise but I also said that I will cut down on it. I haven’t kept that promise though but increasingly it is becoming more important that I do.

Shirley Anne

Busy doing nothing

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Another funny day on Thursday but for different reasons. Nothing really was planned and I was to be house-bound for the afternoon. I had to wait at home for an engineer to check our faulty fridge/freezer under guarantee. It had been looked at some weeks ago but that engineer I discovered hadn’t checked it properly even though I was charged a lot of money for him to check it out. Modern fridges cannot always be repaired easily as many components are moulded into the fabric of the framework. The compressor and pipework are accessible though and can be worked upon. In our unit it turned out to be a heater fault . The heater is used to defrost the system automatically but unfortunately it cannot be accessed as it is hidden in the insulation. A stupid idea if you ask me for it means defrosting will now have to take place manually! I digress. A four-hour slot had been allocated for him to call which meant I couldn’t do anything or go anywhere until he had called. Wouldn’t you know it? He arrived at the end of the four hours! So what was I to do in the morning? There was a small amount of filling in with concrete on the Plot but I decided not to do that until another day. Instead, I drove to the garden centre to browse for more plants and returned home with three to put in the Plot, two in the ground and one in the raised flowerbedplot-35

The small conifer in the left corner of the flowerbed and the two shrubs just right of the new steps are those which I bought and planted. I did no other work during the morning. E went out shopping as usual and I had to wait until almost five o’clock before I could return to the apartment I had worked in the day before and get paid by the old lady I had worked for. We ended up chatting and I didn’t leave until long after six o’clock by which time E had returned and was eating her evening meal! As far as the fridge/freezer is concerned I might just decide to buy another but of a different make, it will depend upon how frustrated we get having to manually defrost it every so often.

Shirley Anne

One odd day

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Every so often you get a day where nothing seems to go right or you are interrupted at the wrong time. It happens to me fairly often. They are the kind of days I struggle sometimes just getting things done but I persevere, I really don’t have a choice, none of us do, it’s just the way things go in life. Having the right attitude and not getting all worked-up is the key to overcoming whatever comes our way. It doesn’t make it easier nevertheless. For me it is more of a nuisance when things happen the way they sometimes do. I had placed an order for a Victorian style street lamp-post  two and a half weeks earlier but was still waiting for the delivery. I decided to call the supplier for the second time to make inquiries and after a minute or so was told that they were having trouble with their computer when making a search for my details. This was the same response I got when I first called them a few days earlier. I was asked for a contact number and I gave them my mobile number as I knew I would be in the garden when they returned the call.victorian_lamp_post_set_2.26m_1

Most of the work on or in the Plot had been completed on Tuesday but I still had a couple of things to do. The main one was to cut a brick in half to place at the end of the existing wall near to the rear of the garage. It was necessary to put it there now because I needed to fill in a small section next to the end of the paving slabs with concrete. There are two other small areas which also need filling with concrete too as they couldn’t be done earlier. I will do all three in a day or two. I also had to fill in the spaces beneath the natural stone capping I had set in place on Tuesday with mortar and any other places which required filling too. So on Wednesday morning I put on my overalls and began the work. No sooner had I mixed the mortar when someone called me on my mobile phone. It was the company supplying the lamp-post and they had bad news. I was told that the lamp-post was currently out of production but should be available in four to five weeks! ‘WHAT’? I exclaimed and proceeded to remind them that when I originally made inquiries I was told the same thing but that they would email me when one was available. They sent an email a week or so later informing me that I could now place an order, which is what I did. Now they were telling me differently. What kind of organisation is it? Meanwhile the mortar was getting harder. The young girl on the phone said she would make further inquiries and call me again. I carried on with my work. I was mixing the mortar by hand, a bucket at a time to make it more manageable. The work took three buckets to complete. Just after I had mixed the second load the girl called back and told me that she had spoken with her manager and they have agreed to deliver the lamp-post on either the following Monday or Tuesday. I thanked her for resolving the problem and continued with my work but I was thinking from where did this lamp-post suddenly appear when I had been told none were available yet? I was part-way through using the second bucket of mortar when the phone rang again. This time it was someone asking if I could install several floodlights where none existed around their house. I rejected the offer because of the amount of work involved and resumed my work. I had to mix one more bucket of mortar and had just done so when the phone rang once more. This time it was an old lady living a few hundred metres away who was having difficult in getting someone to repair problems with her kitchen lights. I told her I would call later and after lunch because at that moment I was about to use the mortar I had just mixed. I was wasting my time telling her that for she just kept on talking and I could stop her! Eventually I got a word in to remind her that the mortar was getting harder by the minute. The penny must have dropped and she apologised  for inconveniencing me. I would call there at one-thirty as arranged. I finished that work and then went indoors for a length of high-grade pvc sheet to place beneath the garden compost bin now sited on the Plot and a pair of scissors to cut it. I doubled the sheet then placed the bin on it and then cut the sheet around it. I placed the bin where it should go then by the wheelbarrow transferred the contents of the yellow bag which I had temporarily removed from the bin a couple of weeks earlier. It took five trips with the wheelbarrow but I couldn’t get the barrow close enough to the bin to refill it directly. I had to use a large bucket to transfer it from the barrow to the bin. Fortunately the bucket holds half the capacity of the wheelbarrow so the transfer didn’t take long. Time to clear up and have lunch.industrial-bags

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I got to the old lady’s apartment and discovered that she had eight large recessed down-lights in the kitchen, three of which were faulty. They were fitted with 100 watt screw-in lamps which are notorious for burning the holders and occasionally the wiring too. One old lamp had been broken off in an attempt to remove it and I had to remove the whole fitting from the ceiling before I could repair it. I explained why these fitting were causing the problems she’d had with them. Basically they get too hot! I explained the advantages in replacing the lamps with LED versions but after I had told her how much they would cost (£65 -£90 just for the lamps themselves) if she changed all eight she changed her mind and asked if I could replace one so that she could ‘test’ it. She would then get her son to replace the others a few at a time. Not a problem. She hadn’t the funds to pay me there and then for my time and it bothered her but I told her not to worry and that I would return on Thursday with a lamp. I had phoned my supplier to see if they had the lamps in stock and it appeared they had but three left and were waiting a delivery of more. I drove there but it seems they couldn’t locate the lamps where their computer indicated they  would be and after ten minutes they and I gave up. I walked the short distance to the other electrical supplier who had no problems finding one and at a lower price! I returned to my usual supplier as they had asked and I told them I bought one and that it cost £3 less at £8.40. I drove home. The following day I would be house-bound until the engineer who was to repair the fridge/freezer had called. It was a return visit because the original repair, such as it was, a re-fixed loose sensor, hadn’t worked!

Shirley Anne

The rest by hand

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I had one small electrical job to do on Monday morning in a local property a mile away but it turned out a little bit more difficult than I or the customer had assumed. I did the work and got back home around eleven-thirty and I really wanted to work in or on the Plot laying the last of the concrete between the newly laid paving slabs on the right of the flowerbed. I wanted to make the most of the fair weather while it lasted. It was a little too early for lunch so I went outside to set everything up and to put in some pieces of wood for shuttering where it would be necessary. It was twelve-thirty when I went indoors for lunch but I was back out again at one ready for work. I mixed a full load and then another half load in the mixer to fill-in the spaces and I had about two spoonfuls of concrete left over. A pretty good guess I thought and better to have that much over rather than being short of the amount. The hardest part for me anyway is the leveling off but that is only because of the grit in the mix. It takes a light handed touch to get it smooth. This is what it looked like on Tuesday..plot-33
plot-34Once I had finished I covered the area in case of overnight rain though the forecast was for dry weather. I started to clean up and pack everything away, including the mixer and stand which had been left outside for a few days. Any more concrete or mortar, and there would be for the work was not quite complete, would be mixed by hand. At last the major part of the work was finished and I could concentrate on other things. I started the project on 9th August but have not spent all day and every day working on it because of the weather and my other commitments. Considering what I have achieved I think I’ve done well. It has been hard work at times but that’s what drives me forward. Apart from the lamp-post project I have no other major projects in mind to do, at the moment that is!

Shirley Anne

The cool of the day

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Sunday 18th September and it is a sunny morning, dry but there is dew covering the grass and stonework is damp. Autumn is almost upon us here in the UK. My Sundays are days of rest but I am the restless type so although I do no real work on Sundays I do find things to occupy myself. Once breakfast was over I went on to the patio with a cup of coffee and sat in the now warm sunshine just pondering. Around eleven-thirty the sun hid itself behind the house and stopped shining onto the patio. It would be hidden from the patio for a couple of hours though continuing to shine on the north side of the (rear) garden. Not the same for the front garden though which remains exposed because it is on the south side of the house. I went indoors and prepared a meal, enough for a couple of days in fact. I make this vegetable and chicken stew occasionally using diced pre-cooked chicken with onions, bell peppers, garlic cloves, carrots and garden peas into which I put vegetable stock. It is delicious even though I say so myself but more importantly it is healthy too. E has been buying fresh pears for some time but she doesn’t eat pears as a rule preferring apples instead whereas I prefer pears.

Though the pears pictured do not have a textur...

Though the pears pictured do not have a texture suitable for good eating, scientists at the ARS Appalachian Fruit Research Station in Kearneysville, West Virginia, will combine their fire blight-resistant qualities with other lines possessing traits sought in commercial pear varieties. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t know why but she buys unripe fruit so I either have to wait days or, and I prefer them this way, cook them. I don’t know why she doesn’t simply buy canned pears instead but perhaps they are more expensive. So I peeled the pears and cooked them in sugar and water. When they cool off I put them in the fridge and can have some each day. I went outside again after lunch just as the sun began to shine again onto the patio as it swung round to the other side of the house. In the height of summer it shines on the patio far longer. I sat there for a half-hour but then had to return indoors because it went cloudy and the sun’s power was lost. I could feel the now cool air typical of the season. Rain was predicted to fall late evening and into Monday but wouldn’t last long. Monday would be another sunny day. I needed some more dry days in which to work outside and finish the Plot and perhaps the lamp-post project, when the post finally arrives! At this point in time I have been waiting just over two weeks. What I can’t understand is the fact that the supplier informed me by email that the model I wanted was now available and I ordered it immediately. There is no hurry but fine weather cannot last forever.

Shirley Anne

Almost finished

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I was keen to get into the garden on Saturday in order to work some more on the Plot but the night before whilst looking out of my bedroom window I saw something and was reminded that I ought to get it out-of-the-way. E had asked me months ago, even as far back as last year, that she would like me to cut off the Sycamore tree that was hanging over our garden. The tree stands in our neighbours garden so I could only cut that part of it which overhung our property. Anything I did cut off belonged to my neighbour so I would have to drop it off on their side of the intervening wall. A couple of years ago we had a professional tree surgeon in to lob off the branches of a much larger tree which even now still hangs over our property. That tree is forever losing small branches and twigs which fall into our garden. At that time our neighbour told us that he wasn’t interested in what we did regarding his trees if they needed attention. Earlier in the year we had part of the boundary wall rebuilt. The wall is actually his responsibility but because he doesn’t seem interested in anything regarding his garden we chose to fund the rebuild ourselves. In fact about two years ago we told him about his Japanese Knot-weed problem and he seemed disinterested though in Spring this year he and his family dug it out themselves and burned it. However the Knot-weed that was growing on the other side of the wall we had rebuilt together with all the brambles and ivy still remains. I had no qualms therefore in cutting down as much of that Sycamore as possible and whilst doing it I cut back the ivy in the area too. Yes, that was my first job for the day. I had to get out a long ladder and tree saw to get to it and I was wearing my overalls and a safety helmet too.sycamore

The Sycamore is the sawn-off trunk standing just right of centre standing about 2 metres above the wall. I had taken off about 4 metres together with the branches all of which overhung our garden. The massive tree to the left of centre which is covered in ivy is that tree which is always losing branches. In fact there are at least four large branches which have broken off  in the last few years but remain stuck in the canopy rotting away slowly. Most of the tree’s branches are between 5 and 15 metres from the ground! Anyway it took me a couple of hours to cut the Sycamore and its branches and to tidy up afterward. I still hadn’t started on the Plot but at 11 o’clock I began work. I stopped for a quick-lunch and returned to finish off what I could. I finally stopped work around 4 o’clock. So this is the Plot on Saturday evening….

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plot-32

I had to remove about seven wheelbarrow loads of soil from the space on the right of the flowerbed (last picture) and dump it in the long flowerbed below where I had been cutting the Sycamore. At the time of writing this on Saturday evening I am not sure when I will be able to continue with the Plot but I’m sure I’ll find the time. In any event I need a dry day to do it.

Shirley Anne

Not good enough?

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Many people who have a less than basic knowledge of our Creator and yet want to believe and know more are often put off by the idea that God wouldn’t accept them. It may be because they consider themselves unworthy or that they think the idea of salvation and going to heaven a bit fanciful. In thinking that way they deny themselves something that if they really understood they would wonder why they resisted for so long. You cannot tell me what an apple tastes like if you’ve never eaten one. The plain truth is, God loves you whoever you are and despite whatever you have done. The first step is to be open-minded and not reject something that is far better than that which you now have as a doubter.

Shirley Anne

the-advocate

Clothed (Galatians 3:27)
Lord, I’ve done some messed-up stuff. There’s no way I can come into your presence.
Read on….
If you’ve had thoughts like this, they’re partly true—but mostly wrong. The truth in them is that you can’t come into God’s presence based on your own merit. But the whole truth is this: God has chosen another basis by which you can enter into his presence.
Our God is perfectly righteous, absolutely pure in all his words, actions and motivations. We, on the other hand, are sinful. Scripture teaches that “there is no one righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10). And because we’re not pure and righteous, we can’t be in God’s perfect presence. God knew this—and it broke his heart.
But a love as big as God’s doesn’t give up. And he didn’t. So in order for us to come close to him, his Son chose to pay the cost of our sin, satisfying the very real debt we owed.
Jesus died to bridge the gap. Now we can enter into God’s presence, not on our own merit but because we are literally covered by the righteousness of Jesus. “All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Galatians 3:27). When God looks at us, he sees us clothed in the perfect righteousness of Jesus.
Think…..
When you feel like you can’t come into God’s presence because you aren’t good enough, acknowledge the truth in your thoughts. But also acknowledge the lie.
Acknowledge the truth that on your own merit, you aren’t righteous. But don’t forget the second half of the truth: In Jesus, you are righteous. Clothed in the righteousness of Jesus, you can freely enter into God’s presence.
Live
When you sin, it’s a good thing to feel convicted. That means your heart is sensitive enough to recognize when something isn’t of God. But God doesn’t want you to live in shame. He wants you to come close to him, and he wants that so much that he paid an extremely high price for you to do so.

Taken from NIV The Great Rescue Bible

Shirley Anne

Just too tired

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I had been very busy almost every day during the week but come Thursday I felt so tired and weary and struggled to do anything. However I did work but at a more leisurely pace. I started a little later too but only a half-hour or so. The filling in between the paving slabs, the ones I had laid so far, had been done the day before but there remained a small area next to the new steps that I had left because I wanted to plan what I was going to do there. I had decided to add another course of bricks to those already there first so that I could maintain the thickness of the screed to match the paving slabs. It meant that on the paving slab side half of the height of the bricks would be covered leaving a few centimetres showing to enable me to fit some natural stone capping on top. On the other side of the steps I needed to build up the groundwork to enable a couple of extra bricks to be laid there for the same reason. First though I had to see if I could dig out some usable bricks, sixteen to be precise, from the heap of second-hand bricks we have lying about by the small greenhouse. Most of them were still covered with mortar or cement so I had to chisel that off. After some time I managed to get the sixteen bricks I needed. I broke up a few more and used them as rubble where I had to lay some concrete to allow the extra bricks on the right-hand side of the steps to be laid later. I chose to mix all the concrete I needed in the wheelbarrow because that much would be enough. I didn’t want to use the mixer and then have to clean it out just for the one mix. So I fixed some shuttering where it was needed and then laid the concrete, covering it up to protect it from the rain which was forecast overnight. I would be able to lay all the bricks and perhaps finish the laying of concrete that had been left undone. The following day, Friday, I had the time to continues with the work. Friday was a much welcomed cooler day. It had been raining in the early hours of the day but at nine o’clock when I started the work it was fine and sunny. I wanted to lay the extra course of bricks on both sides of the steps and then finish laying the concrete on the left of the steps. I managed to do that but just as I was smoothing out the concrete it began to rain. It was a light shower but it got heavier after a few minutes so I had to scramble and look for something to cover the area while I finished the work. I got drenched in the process but I was able to finish the work as best I could. Considering the situation I think I did well. Later and after lunch I returned outside and re-arranged the covering that I had hastened to set up as it was and as you see in this picture. I would leave it that way until Saturday morning just in case it rained again. So now the two walls alongside the steps are one brick higher and apart from a couple of small finishing off cementing jobs on the left of the flowerbed that side is complete.plot-30 The next phase will be to level the ground on the right-hand side of the flowerbed and lay the four paving slabs which remain. It was around noon on Thursday by the time I had finished what I had to do on that day and to be honest I was glad I could rest for a while from the work at least. Before lunch I drove off to the place where I had purchased the natural stone slabs for capping the flowerbed. Some of my readers may remember that I had purchased three more than I had needed for that job although it was the guy at the depot who had made the wrong calculation but I intended to use them elsewhere and kept them. I will be using them to cap the bricks around the new steps and also on top of the small wall behind which I recently poured concrete to strengthen it. However I needed one extra slab at 600 mm in length and three others at 300 mm in length. I would then have four long slabs and three half the length to do the work. I bought an extra bag of cement at the same time to save another visit to the builders merchant. I needed fuel for the van so I made the detour to the filling station before driving home but on the way to the filling station I received a call for my electrical services from an old couple living in the next town. I got the fuel then dropped the materials off home before driving to the job. I was there less than an hour but it covered the cost of the fuel and the building materials I had just purchased with a little over too.

Shirley Anne

Got to clean it yet

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I arose very early on Wednesday morning and after breakfast I was outside just before eight o’clock fully dressed in my overalls and ready to work. There was a bit of a chill in the air and everywhere was damp because of the high humidity. About an hour or two after I began to work I had to return indoors to remove some of the clothing I was wearing beneath the overalls as I became uncomfortable in the high humidity. Late in the afternoon on Tuesday I had decided to dig out the remaining soil behind the small wall where I had earlier begun to fill in behind with concrete. I found some spare wood sheets in the cellar that I could use for shuttering and set them in place ready for filling behind with concrete on Wednesday. I had not been able to do any other work in the Plot on Tuesday as you will have read in yesterday’s post. So the first thing I did on Wednesday morning was to mix some heavy duty concrete. Two mixer loads would just about do it and I had very little left over. Even so, that didn’t go to waste as I used it elsewhere. I poured it in behind the shuttering (see middle right in picture). I switched from mixing the heavy duty concrete to one using granite dust or granno for I was using it to fill in between the paving slabs. Even though I had mixed two full mixer loads there wasn’t enough to do all of the work but by that time I was beginning to get very tired. I would need to clean up the area later when the concrete had hardened. plot-29 I stopped working at just a little after one o’clock but then had to tidy everything away. It was just as well that I couldn’t finish all the work I had intended to do because I needed to plan what I was going to do in the area around the new steps. I made those plans a little later in the afternoon but to do it I would need some more old bricks. Now there are some old bricks in the area behind the other garage but many of them are covered in either concrete or hard mortar. I would have to see if there was enough of them that I could reclaim to do the work, though I could manage with fewer if I had to. At this stage I wasn’t sure what I would concentrate on doing the following day but I wanted to do as much as I could while the weather was good. I have yet to start work on the right-hand-side of the flowerbed but that work is mainly laying paving slabs and filling in with concrete.

Shirley Anne

Almost a washout

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So along came Tuesday morning and I was expecting the delivery of the building materials I had ordered. A lady had called me on Monday night asking if I could install a new power distribution panel in her apartment and I could only visit the apartment during the morning as she was driving to work in London in the afternoon. I asked her therefore if I could call early because of my expected delivery and arranged to be there at 8.15. I didn’t stay long,  just enough time to assess the work. She would call me later to arrange a day for me to do the work as she would be in London for a few days. I returned home, which was less than two miles away and waited for the materials to arrive.

English: Early Rural Free Delivery vehicle cir...

Early Rural Free Delivery vehicle circa Sept. 1905 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rain was expected in the afternoon so it was important that they arrived before then so I could put it all in the garage. This time it would be eight bags of sand, three bags of granite dust (granno), three bags of stone chippings, two bags of cement and one more 900 x 600 mm paving slab. Whilst I was waiting I received a call from a woman who wanted me to do some work any day in the morning as she worked in the afternoon. However because I told her I wasn’t available until the following Monday she hung up! She wanted the work done immediately and it didn’t matter to her that people might have previous engagements. In my case I would be working at home while the weather was dry, though I didn’t tell her that. It was almost twelve o’clock and the materials still hadn’t arrived so I called their office to check and was assured my order was on their delivery vehicle, wherever that was. When the vehicle arrived it was twelve-fifteen and my order was its only load. I thought to myself that they had only just loaded it. I had called them about twenty-five minutes earlier and their depot is less than a mile and a half away, plenty of time to have just loaded it. Whenever I have ordered something to be delivered by this company it never arrives when they say it will. Had I been waiting to use the materials immediately I would have been very annoyed and that is why I never rely on them to deliver on time. Just before I had called the merchant’s office I received another request for my electrical services. I explained that I was waiting for the delivery but would call back once they had arrived. I did that work at two o’clock and on my way back home the promised rain began to fall but by four o’clock it was sunny again. The day had been almost a total washout except for the electrical work and the fact that I now had plenty of materials to hand with which to complete the project on the Plot.

Shirley Anne

Apathy

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Apathy. The day started well enough considering it was Monday, back to work day and the fact that I’d a restless night’s sleep. I had one electrical job to do at nine o’clock but I left the house much earlier in order to pay a visit to the builder’s merchant. I needed more materials. In my last post I mentioned I might have most of it delivered whilst carrying some of it home in the van but as I was going to work the van was full of my electrical gear so I arranged for all of it to be delivered the next morning, Tuesday. I did have some materials left over at home. When I arrived at the house where I was to work and assessed the customers requirements I decided against doing it explaining to them that it was too much work for me to do because of my age. I had gotten the impression over the phone that the work was much simpler but like so often people get you to their homes and then begin to expand and add work to the original request. Much of the work involved lifting floorboards and chiselling out walls and the house was carpeted and furnished. I knew I wouldn’t get much help from the customer in moving stuff around which made the prospect even more daunting. I seldom carry out installation work these days unless I know it will be easy. I was feeling a little tired too and weary of it all. Apathy had set in. I needed a break or at least a good night’s sleep but the day was young and I couldn’t simply sit around doing nothing. I telephoned a younger female electrician friend and offered her the work and she arranged a visit that morning. I drove home and put the van away. I wanted to strengthen the small wall of the Plot at the pathway as part of the general work I have been doing there so I decided that was to be my work for the morning.plot-27

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However, I couldn’t complete it as I didn’t have enough materials. Nevertheless I made a start by digging out the rear of the wall and putting some shuttering in before mixing the concrete and pouring it in the space. I used some scrap plasterboard as a sacrificial shutter for I wouldn’t be removing it later, it would be pointless. Had it been timber then I would have removed it once the concrete had set. I started at the point nearest the patio where the last Laurel bush stands for I knew there would be roots to contend with and sure enough there were. Part of the wall nearest the new steps has already been partially concreted , done when I was working around the steps earlier. Had this wall been left as a single brick structure it may have been subject to being slowly pushed down because of the Laurel. I will take the concrete to the height of the existing bricks and top the wall with natural stone later. At the time of writing there remains more concrete work to do behind this wall but it will be easier to do away from the main roots of the Laurel. After lunch I was beginning to feel better so I got my drill and screwdriver out and installed the steel-wire-armoured cable for the lamp post, when it arrives! I called the supplier regarding the delivery date but they were unable to tell me at that time. Anyway here are two pictures of the cable which runs from the patio to the corner of the garden where the lamp post will stand.lamp-post-cabling-1

lamp-post-cabling-2

The cable runs down the wall behind the washing line pole to a spot on the other side of the patio wall in the foreground. The electrical connection box and sensor will be fitted there as it is the north (almost) side of the wall. The cable is hardly noticeable even close-up as you can see because it is under the lip of the capping stones.

Shirley Anne

Calculations

Standard

I must have used tons or even tonnes if you prefer metric measurements of sand, gravel and cement over the years. I have often thought about keeping a record of purchases, not as a whole but for each job I undertake. Somehow I never seem to get around to doing it. It would be interesting to calculate the cost for each job simply as an exercise. I don’t count the cost but allow an approximate amount of funds to carry a job out, in other words I make a rough estimate.

Cement mixers

Cement mixers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I would never tackle a project if I didn’t think I had the funds to carry it out. On my latest project, that is the building work in the Plot, I have purchased as much materials as I think necessary for each stage only but I either end up with a little over or a deficit. For instance I might end up with a surplus bag of cement but with a shortage of sand. I never seem to get it that accurate. With my electrical work though I am very accurate but I suppose that is because I have done far more of it. It’s all a matter of experience isn’t it? If I am baking I seem always to need to refer to the recipe for things like quantities, temperatures and length of cooking time. Again it is due to the fact that I am not baking often. As I am writing this I am thinking about the quantities of materials I require to make the concrete I will need to fill in the spaces between the paving slabs out on the Plot and whether I should collect it myself or have it delivered. I may decide on the latter because I want an extra paving slab too and they are rather heavy. The other materials I could collect myself but would have to make a couple of journeys. I may decide to collect some and have the rest delivered instead. The problem with deliveries is that they never seem to happen when you want them and even then you need to be at home to receive them. As far as the project is concerned it is going well. As for the other project, the lamp-post installation, all I have done so far is to lay a bed of concrete but more may be needed. I won’t know that until they deliver the post which at the time of writing hasn’t yet arrived. It has been just over a week since I placed the order so hopefully it will arrive this week or will have done by the time you read this. There are a few more projects I would like to do yet if I have the time and if I have the inclination or if I live long enough!

Shirley Anne