Plenty to do

Progress on the cellar storage room is making headway but it is time-consuming. The main problem the room has is its location which is beneath the porch at the front door of the house. The rear wall backs onto the ground beneath the threshold and is prone to moisture ingress though it isn’t as bad as it could be. The only saving grace is the fact that the area outside the front door is covered with stone so the ground doesn’t get really wet.Now that the room is empty while work is ongoing the walls can be treated with silicon sealant which hopefully should solve any damp issues. Not all of the wall seems to be affected fortunately, just a few bricks. On Friday (6) after working in the room on and off for most of the day I gave the wall its first coat of sealant. I had started work in the morning concentrating on filling in some holes with bricks and later fixing timbers across the ceiling near the room entrance in order to strengthen it as it was necessary. 

The holes in the following two pictures have yet to be filled and the wiring tidied up. They won’t be as easy as you might think for there is a void behind them being as they are between the ceiling joists. I was faced with similar problems when refurbishing the gym/boiler ceiling.

The next picture shows the storage cabinet that stood against the rear wall of the storage room. It is staying in its new position at the end of the workbench in the room we call the workshop as shown. This room could do with a face-lift too. At the very least it needs tidying up!

 So there is plenty for me to do if I get bored but for now there is plenty to do on the storage room project.

Shirley Anne

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Stop!

Stop! (Psalm 131:2)

In 1982, our company published the biography of a Hawaiian woman who, as a child, had contracted leprosy. Because of her popularity among her fellow Hawaiians, we decided to launch the book in Hawaii with a great media event including the governor, the mayor of Honolulu, and many other dignitaries. As the publisher, and with a voracious sense of duty, I felt an obligation to also attend the festivities!

Colored locator map for the island of Oahu
Colored locator map for the island of Oahu (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

During the months leading up to this trip, I had actually not been feeling well myself. It wasn’t bad enough to send me to a hospital, to bed or even to consult with my physician, but I had just felt weak, lethargic, no appetite . . . just blah. Finally, at Bobbie’s insistence, a few days before flying from Dallas to Oahu for the book party, I went in for some blood tests.
Early the second morning of my stay in Hawaii, my hotel telephone rang. Glancing at the digital clock on the nightstand, I saw that it was only 3:30a.m. The voice on the other end of the phone was Darlene Tate, my secretary. “Robert,” she began, “I’m sorry to be calling you so early, but I have terrible news.”
My heart froze. “What happened? What’s wrong?” I responded, as wide awake as I have ever been in my life.
“The report came back from your doctor,” she replied. “You have hepatitis . . . .”
In 24 hours, I was sitting on the examining table in my doctor’s office. “You’re going to have to go to bed,” he said, his face telling me that this wasn’t the opening line to a joke. “There is no medicine I can give you. No prescription except rest.” After a dramatic pause, he spoke again, “Robert, you‘ve been running too hard. Your liver will shut down if you keep up this pace. But if you come to a complete stop long enough, your body will actually fix itself. No other medication will be necessary.”
I turned off the radio for the short drive home. How can I afford to stop? I wondered. Who’s going to take care of the business?
But for the next ten days, I did absolutely nothing but rest. I took no medicines. I didn’t even watch any daytime game shows on television. I just slept. And incredibly . . . I got well. In a week and a half I felt brand-new.
Today’s psalm was written by a busy and frazzled king. Can you imagine the work of keeping a whole country in order? So David stopped. He set the “wonderful things,” “great matters,” and even his pride aside and in the quiet, he felt God’s arms, like those of a compassionate mother, literally heal his soul.
This is a serious matter. Stop running, turn off the computer, set down your smart phone and sit quietly . . . let God touch your soul. Speak with Him. In the quiet, listen to His voice. No other medication will be necessary.

Taken from NIV Dad’s Devotional Bible

I need to heed this lesson as much as anyone else! That is why I take time off.

Shirley Anne

What a mess

How different things look after some tidying up! I have been enjoying some really sound sleep for quite a while now, all due of course to my being busy with my projects. I wake up feeling refreshed just as I ought to and it sets me up for the day, usually to do some more work! It may look as though all I do is work but it isn’t true, I do rest and do other things as well. What I prefer to do is to get the bulk of my work done in the mornings but sometimes I end up working through the afternoon too. I try to keep a tight rein on work for I will only wear myself out if I attempt too much. Yesterday’s post mentions a new project I am tackling with E’s assistance  now and then. It was she who suggested the work be carried out as I suppose she just got fed up with the state of the store-room and to be honest I agreed with that. So in yesterday’s post you will see just how untidy that small room was but after today’s effort it now looks like this

Empty! Behind the door is a work of art…..

One way to clean a brush after use I suppose. I am as guilty as the next person for doing similar but I usually do it on walls that are going to be painted later. I don’t think that door has seen a lick of paint on the inside for many years, certainly long before we moved into the house anyway. There was a free-standing unit at the rear of the room which I moved out and put into the adjacent much larger room we call the workshop which itself needs a thorough clean out. Most of what we took out of the storage room has been put in the workshop but much has also been scrapped too. Now the serious work can begin, replacing bricks, filling in holes in the brick walls and floor tiles, work on the ceiling and shelving, sealing the brickwork and of course painting it all. It will take some time to do but as I usually say these days there is no hurry.

Shirley Anne

The things I do

For one reason or another I felt so tired I went to bed early, that is just after ten o’clock on Tuesday (3rd) evening. Perhaps it was the hassle we had in getting the mortgage paid off. Anyway it served to get me up much earlier on Wednesday and I was downstairs before seven-thirty eating breakfast. E wouldn’t appear until ten o’clock! I began thinking of things I could do but first I had to bring up from the cellar some items of food from the freezer and some canned food too. The upstairs freezer was short on stock but I needed the canned food because I had decided to prepare a Bolognese Sauce for later in the day. That required canned tomatoes and mushrooms. I should use fresh foods for that but as I often make things on the spur of the moment canned foods are easier. It wasn’t long before the sauce was done. Whilst I had been downstairs in the cellar I noticed some of the pipe insulation I had fitted a week or so earlier had shrunk a little in length in one or two places. This can happen with new insulation until it is settled. It was easy enough to cut some small sections of insulation and squeeze them into the spaces to seal the gaps. This I did next before returning upstairs again. E still hadn’t arrived downstairs so I decided I would bake a cake and set about preparing that. This time I was baking another Family Fruit Cake. Easy to prepare and bake:
Ingredients:
1 lb self-raising flour
1/2 lb unsalted butter
1/2 lb fruit (sultanas, currants and some chopped lemon peel (if desired)
1/2 lb caster sugar
Small quantity of milk
2 Standard eggs

Method:
Put flour and butter in mixing bowl and mix together by hand to form a crumble.
Add fruit and caster sugar to the mixture then the eggs with a few tablespoons of milk. Using a metal spoon mix thoroughly until a soft paste is formed but not too moist. Add a little extra milk as you mix. The mixture should be firm enough to handle and not be dry.
Prepare a small baking tin (say 8 inches) by lining it with parchment paper and covering it with butter using fingers. The paper should stand an inch or so above the edge of the tin to allow the cake to rise. Scoop mixture into tin and level out leaving a small dimple at the centre to discourage it rising there too quickly. Bake in the centre of a pre-heated oven at 350 F /180 C for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. Using a wooden probe test to see if mixture has baked through to the centre near to the end of the baking period. Don’t open the oven door before then or the cake may not rise! If it hasn’t set in the centre then leave in the oven a little longer.

Just as I was about to place the cake in the oven E came into the room. We chatted and we discussed what we would like to do in the cellar regarding a storage room down there. She has been asking for quite some time that she would like to as she puts it ‘sort it out’. Well it does need sorting out…..

Don’t you agree? It is one of those rooms where everything gets dumped and is almost forgotten about though we are often in there looking for tools and materials for use on projects. Looks like we will be busy again soon ‘tidying it up’.

Shirley Anne

All because of a pin

I get frustrated with the many procedures we often have to endure when dealing with financial things. I say endure because of the inordinately long and drawn-out things we go through when the simpler way has not been possible. I write this on April 3 rd after a busy afternoon attempting to pay off my mortgage. Yes, E and I have finally been able to pay off the mortgage after almost thirty years. We had an endowment policy which should have paid off the account but fell short by £8000 when the mortgage term ended almost five years ago. E managed to get an extension by virtue of her disability and the policy deficiency was gradually reduced though I did have the necessary funds in the bank to have paid the full amount at the time. I had been out for a walk in the morning and whilst out E received the information that today the mortgage was to be paid off. We decided to go to my bank and arrange for a Bankers Draught to pay off the amount due.

The Last Pin
The Last Pin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We owed two separate amounts, one for the mortgage itself and the other for a loan we had secured many years ago. In total they amounted to almost £26,000. When we arrived at the bank they obviously required identification and my ability to access my account using my pin number. I had forgotten the pin number but it didn’t matter as I had an encrypted version of it and several others in writing. However when I checked it wouldn’t work! There was no way I could make the withdrawal so I arranged for another pin to be sent to me whilst we were there and we left. We walked across town to the branch of the bank who were, or rather one of their departments, the recipients of the mortgage payment. After chatting with the manager we were given the bank details of the mortgage department so we could complete the transfer on-line at home. That is when the fun started! Before driving home we decided to stop at a coffee-house and take a break. When we arrived back home I signed in to my bank and added the details of the two separate departments regarding the mortgage loan and the personal loan. E assisted me with this just in case of mistakes and to be honest it was just as well she did. We successfully set up the first recipient and the payment for the personal loan which was by far the lesser amount (around £1300) went through with ease. We then set up the second recipient and made the attempt to pay them but the bank intervened and asked we phone them. This we did but it took about twenty-five minutes just to get through and then we had to answer all sorts of security questions because of the amount we were paying out. I understood the necessity for all of that of course but even so it took ages. They sent codes to my mobile phone to verify it was me calling. Whilst speaking with the bank official we repeated the attempt to pay using her directions but again it was stopped. She suggested we transfer the money to one of the other accounts I have with their bank and attempt payment once more. After checking several times we had put in the correct details and after many security questions payment was finally made! It took almost an hour but half of that time was spent waiting for the phone call to be answered. The house can now be called our own after thirty years.

Shirley Anne

Back again

I was so glad it was Monday for I could resume working on my latest small project which was to install the circuitry for the two 5 amp power outlets I wished to install in the main hallway. Taking days off make me restless but I know I must have days of rest and Sundays are those days I take. I would have started working as soon as I had eaten breakfast but breakfast was delayed, I was going to spend time on the gym equipment first. So later after breakfast I continued with the project first of all installing the cables and fitting the two power outlets for the lights. By the time I had done that part of the work it was time for lunch so I stopped work for an hour then began installing the photocell and its cabling. The picture below was taken just as it got dark enough outside to switch on the circuit to the lights.

Following that part of the installation which incidentally took longer than I thought it would, I was finally able to connect the time switch and the work was completed by five o’clock.

Yes, the walls need painting but there are plans afoot regarding the whole room anyway. A very old sink unit requires replacing and the room needs a general face-lift. It is the room we call the laundry but it also houses three chest freezers too. The time switch is on the left in the picture. We had to wait till almost eight o’clock before the lights came on.

The picture above was taken from a position just inside the ground floor wet room. The door to the cellar is just in the picture on the extreme right. The black and white ‘box’ on the right is in fact the ‘Smart Meter‘ interface unit which monitors both the electric and gas consumption. The time switch is set to be on between the hours of 4 pm and 2 am but the lights will only switch on if the photocell senses it is dark outside.

Shirley Anne

All very well but……

…..it can be boring! What? Public holidays. Over Easter the weather can be warm and sunny but can also be wet, cold and windy. Where I live it was a mixture of all and at times wasn’t pleasant at all. Many folk take a trip somewhere but unless it is to a warmer country it hardly seems worth it unless the weather isn’t a consideration.

English: Easter holidays On a cold North Sea b...
Easter holidays On a cold North Sea beach. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What does one do if the weather is poor? Well there are all sorts of things of course and for some being outdoors is great no matter what the weather is like. For those who wish to remain indoors there are still things they can partake in but it all depends on the individual. My Easter Day was spent indoors and as it was Sunday I did no work for Sundays I rest. However it is hard for me to spend all day doing nothing so I get bored. There aren’t many recreational activities which interest me these days except playing my guitar or watching documentaries on tv but even those things can’t satisfy all the time. Social events are fine but for me they would be boring if all I did was socialise every day. So I rested uneasy for most of the day with only the thought of being able to continue with my projects on Monday! Had the day been warm and sunny however everything would have been different, I would have been out in the garden and on the patio most of the time. I could have gone walking but I had done that only two days before and I wanted to rest anyway. I often wonder what other people get up to when the weather is poor and they remain indoors. To be honest I don’t really want to know!

Shirley Anne

Galloping on

It was the last day of March, the day before Easter Day and I had planned to do part or all of two electrical jobs at home before taking Sunday off from work. I therefore arose early for breakfast before driving off to the electrical supplier for the materials I would need. A couple of weeks ago I had replaced the old fluorescent light unit in E’s workshop at the top of the house but she needed another which she could switch on independently from the first. I had to purchase the new LED light for that work. I had the rest of the materials I would need in my stock. The second job was to start the work of installing two 5 amp power outlets for table lamps in the main hallway downstairs. I had those in stock too but I needed other things, a time switch, a photocell unit, pattresses, some extra cable and sundry items. Pattresses are the back boxes on which switches and power outlets can be mounted if it is a surface installation. The pattresses would otherwise be metal boxes recessed into the wall. These two jobs were surface installations especially the work in the cellar for the brick walls down there are not rendered with plaster. The main part of installing the circuitry and supplies for the two 5 amp power outlets would be carried out in the cellar rooms beneath the hallway. On my return home from the supplier E and I had a coffee and then we carried all the necessary materials, tools, ladder and vacuum cleaner to the top of the house and I began installing the new light and circuitry. Here is the finished work……  The second picture is the newer light and its switch is on the wall right of centre and to the left of a white card standing there. The supply was taken from the adjacent loft area shown here with the door open..

This is the area I wrote about in which there is a water storage tank and hot water cylinder. The new unpainted door leads into the workshop where the new lights are. It was one-fifteen and time for lunch when I finished the work. Soon after lunch I began the work in the cellar for the other job. 

In the picture above the grey illuminated switch supplies the rear floodlights outside all of which are LED’s so there is little power consumption. The switches below it are the switches for the individual circuits to those lights. To the left is a wide white plastic trunking to accommodate the wiring and to its left is a new pattress box and wooden board I fitted on the day. It will house the new time switch for controlling the 5 amp power outlets in the hallway. A photocell unit will be fitted outside to work in conjunction with the time switch and the cable for that can be seen hanging loosely on the right ready for running out to supply it. In the picture below the roll of cable hanging by the door frame was positioned at the other end in the new pattress ready for connecting and clipped to the yellow wall shown.

The roll will be run out to the first 5 amp power outlet position and from there continue to the second outlet…….but all that would be done on Monday as by then it was four-thirty and I’d had enough for one day

Shirley Anne

 

Still cold

Today as I write it is Good Friday. I am reminded as always each day that Jesus died and suffered on a cross for me. This day celebrates that event. It is both a sad and a happy day, sad because what Jesus did was necessary for us all, happy because if we believe we too will be raised up to everlasting life. However, that isn’t the subject of this post. Many folk will be taking a break from their usual routine either going on a short holiday or relaxing at home. Two of my neighbours have taken short breaks away from home but for E and myself staying at home is fine though if we did take a break away from home it would most likely be out of the country. Personally I can’t see why going to a different country just to relax is necessary unless it is for the benefit of guaranteed warm sunshine. I have to say that dull and cold weather can be depressing if it stays that way too long. At the moment we are experiencing a dip in temperature after a short spell of warm and sunny weather. That is the nature of this land, it can be unpredictable sometimes. This morning I took a walk northwards on the edge of town and then turned toward the seafront. I was glad I had taken gloves with me and in fact at this time of year they will remain in the bag I carry until I know they will not be needed. It was quite a cold morning though that was more due to the south-easterly wind than the temperature which hovered around seven degrees. I was happy to return to the comfort and warmth of home later. In the meantime I did enjoy the walk, I always do.

Shirley Anne

It never ends!

In our house there is no loft/attic as such but there are three spaces or areas alongside the three ordinary rooms at the top of the house. One of those spaces can be entered simply by walking in though only for a metre for the floor joists beyond are only part of the ceiling in a room below. Larger joists would need to be installed to make use of the approximately ten square metre area. It does house a cold water storage tank and a hot water cylinder which supply the en-suite bathroom below which I installed years ago. There is a one square metre access hole from inside the area into the second area which is above the main bedroom on the floor below. It is simply an access area and cannot be used for anything else as again the timbers are only those supporting the ceiling below. The third area is accessed through another one square metre removable wooden panel located in one of the three ordinary rooms and is again simply for access to the central heating cold water storage tank, some pipes and electrical wiring. The aerial amplifier and power supply together with the several aerial cables feeding rooms in the house are all located in there. Part of the floor in there has been fitted with boards to enable any work that needs to be carried out to be done safely. There are some heating pipes in there too. As they run through the area they need to be well insulated to prevent heat loss to the unused space. That insulation I replaced on Thursday morning after I had been reminded that it needed doing and that came about like this…….. I was sitting at my computer the previous day and I heard a tremendous crashing sound outside the room. I jumped up to investigate and even went outside to see if there had been an accident. I shouted to E to see if she knew what it was but she was as much at a loss as I was. She thought the sound had come from the top of the house so we went up there and found the wooden access panel to the area I have just mentioned was lying on the floor. I switched on the light (the access areas are lit) to see what I could find but nothing was wrong. Sometimes if it is windy outside the panel will drop to the floor if not secured. It was then that I noticed the pipes needed new insulation. However we still didn’t know what had caused the loud noise. It would soon be time for our evening meal and we returned downstairs for the rest of the evening. Around ten o’clock I decided to retire to bed but beforehand take a shower. I entered the main bathroom, the one we refurbished a few years ago and I couldn’t believe my eyes by what I saw. I called E to come and have a look. The floor was covered with broken glass, the end panel of the shower tray had completely disintegrated! 

You may I hope be able to see the panel in the top picture has disappeared in the lower picture. It was located alongside the toilet unit. It took us both an hour and a half to clear up the mess and wash the floor to ensure there was no residue glass. Here is the glass in these containers ready to be taken to the dump.

I did get my shower though much belated. We are now considering whether to replace the glass panel or erect a small tiled wall in its place. The panel isn’t technically needed as water splashes from the shower don’t actually reach that far.

Shirley Anne