Having worked so hard on Monday I was thankful to get to bed and rest. Being as I am a lady of shall we say, some years, I am prone to night-time visits to sit on the throne at least once during the night. I duly arose around three in the morning and off I went but when I reached the steps at the end of the landing I stumbled and caught the little toe on my right foot on the architrave surrounding the bathroom door which hurt a lot. Once I had finished with sitting down I bathed my foot in very cold water which eased the pain a little. I returned to bed but found I had to sleep with my right foot uncovered to keep it cool for comfort. When I finally arose for the day my little toe felt really painful and I found it difficult to walk without discomfort. Fortunately I had nothing planned to do for the day away from home and I hadn’t planned on working in the garden just for the morning as E and I were going to dine out in the afternoon. I was therefore able to remain seated for most of the morning thus keeping my foot at rest. When it was time to get changed for the afternoon’s outing I found it difficult to walk upstairs to my bedroom but once there I managed to find a pair of shoes that I could walk in without too much pain. I got changed and soon we were off out-of-town to a place we have grown quite fond of. I didn’t have to walk far once E had parked her car and soon was able to sit down at the table. E was kind enough to place the order and tend to our needs allowing me to stay off my feet. After a rather filling meal, for they serve very generous portions there, we drove home but stopped at the shopping precinct by the sea front. She knew I wanted to buy a pair of slippers (soft house slippers) for myself as for quite some time I have been without a pair. Whilst we were there I looked for another pair of flat-heeled shoes for day wear and she browsed the shelves looking for something for herself. I found a really comfortable pair of slippers and flat-heeled shoes but E couldn’t decide on anything for herself. I would have bought whatever she wanted but she passed up on the offer this time. My little toe was still hurting but the pain eased a bit once I put on the slippers. How can such a small part of the body hurt so much I thought? Hopefully as I write this on Tuesday evening the pain will have disappeared by the morning.
Well E and I finally got the chance to work on The Mound again on Monday, most of the day in fact. The weather was forecast to be wet for Tuesday and Wednesday at least so by the time you read this we may have made little further progress. It is all manual work and quite taxing so I suppose it is just as well we aren’t able to work each day on it, after all we don’t want to overdo things. I took a couple of pictures of what we have achieved so far
The second of the three large slabs next to the tree in the first picture must weigh a quarter of a tonne or more and is probably just about the heaviest of all the slabs we have dug out of the ground. It doesn’t look that large in the picture but it measures something like one metre in length, a half metre in width and about 200 millimetres in thickness. Needless to say we haven’t moved it far from its original position. The other slabs to the left and on to the right of the picture were all stacked like a layer cake on or around that large slab. The third picture shows the same slabs from the rear together with others we dug out a few days ago, in fact over a week ago to be precise. The second picture shows a few more of the slabs we have dug out over the last two weeks. The brick wall on the right of this picture needs to be rebuilt from about the damp coloured lower part (the original soil level of the mound at that point) to the top as far as is shown in the picture, about a metre in height. The top three or four courses are loose in places and if you click on the picture to magnify you will notice that it has also separated a couple of centimetres from the adjoining wall. I may have to do that myself. As you can see there is a lot to do in this corner of the garden but what makes it worse is the ground is filled with rubble in places and quite a few large tree roots intermingled. There are definitely more large slabs still waiting to be dug out too and remember all the others we had to stack near the house! They can be seen in a recent post.
I’ve been there done that and have worn the T-shirt. I was a ‘hippy‘ in my younger days like many of my generation and I was into all kinds of weird music, well weird to my parents. I still love the music and still enjoy playing it but not that often these days. Although I have many records they are all on vinyl and although I posses a player I usually only play music through YouTube or have it on my radios. I grew out of blasting my eardrums and those of others around me a long time ago, in fact if I am not playing music I do not like to be forced to listen to it when someone else is playing it. Once upon a time I was told off for playing music too loudly but now I have come full circle and it is my turn to raise the objections! I think you might call it maturity or having consideration for others who don’t wish to listen. There’s nothing wrong in pushing up the volume as long as it doesn’t disturb others and as long as you don’t mind the idea of possibly going deaf later in life. When young we often ignored the advice of our elders thinking all they wanted to do was spoil our enjoyment but in reality they were only trying to protect us as well as themselves. When you don’t want to listen to loud music it becomes an imposition to the point of distraction and we cannot concentrate on whatever we are doing. I was sitting at home watching a movie on television a couple of evenings ago and I could hear a ‘thump, thump, thump’ going on in the background. At first I didn’t think much of it but after a few minutes it began to annoy me as it was spoiling my enjoyment of the movie. It was an action movie and was fairly loud itself at times but still I could hear the thumping in the background despite having double-glazed windows and living in a detached house. I decided to try to locate the source of the sound by going outdoors and discovered that it was coming from one of my next-door neighbours. The guy who lives there is single so there is no family living with him, no youngsters who might be playing their music loudly. I know for a fact that he likes heavy metal and rock music for I have heard him playing it at home before. I believe him to be around ten years my junior so that would make him possibly a hippy too in his youth. Now though I guess I could call him a bald hippy for his barnet has long-since disappeared! I had to go round to ask him if he wouldn’t mind lowering the volume a little as I could hear it next door over the sound of the tv. Being as he is a nice guy he apologised and explained that it was a new system he had bought recently and I suppose he wasn’t used to the controls. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt over that one!
Many years ago I became fascinated with astronomy, in fact it was about 58 years ago that my parents bought me an encyclopaedia inside of which was a description of our solar system. I was hooked and from that day onwards I dreamed about space and space travel. The technical difficulties associated with space travel were unknown to me save for a few essential considerations such as the need for space suits and breathing apparatus. As I grew more and more interested I began to realise and learn that other worlds were nothing like our own. some had atmospheres some were too hot or too cold, too wet but not with water, too dry and possibly none had vegetation or life of any kind though that was always speculated. I collected the cards that were sold with packets of chewing gum depicting aliens from other worlds, some from our own solar system and my imagination of encounters with them passed through my mind often. As I grew older and more informed I began to realise that life in our solar system was probably confined to our own planet, well life as we know it. Naturally I took great interest in the ‘space race’ and the Moon landings but always in the back of my mind was the first journey of man to Mars, when it would happen and how. Mars, though not exactly an ideal place on which to settle, is far more inviting than the surface of the Moon. Once man leaves the protection of Earth he is open to dangerous levels of radiation that other planets or moons in the Solar System that can be stood upon cannot protect him from.
Aside from having to take along food, oxygen, water and a host of other things to begin the journey of self-support on another world there is also the problem with regard to gravity or a lack of it in many cases. The gravitational pull on the Moon is less than one sixth of what it is on Earth and the Martian gravity is less than four tenths of what it is on Earth. The human body has to make adjustments in order to cope and those adjustments would become permanent if a return to earth was not on the cards as has been suggested by one group of explorers and scientists currently working towards a thriving Martian colony. See http://www.mars-one.com/mission/roadmap .Perhaps if they are successful in bringing that about sometime in the future it may be possible to have frequent return flights from such a colony but those who have remained for long periods may not be able to make that journey. Personally speaking I no longer think we were designed nor intended to travel in Space but mankind seems determined and driven toward such exploration.
A strange new world is creeping up upon me, one I am not too familiar with nor like very much. It is a world mostly employing a motionless position, an arrangement of my body parts I would rather not carry out too often except when those parts are feeling tired or I am doing something that can only be done in that position….sitting on my backside! I have been actively engaged in the garden of late but the wet weather has forced me to stay indoors for the last few days. I was only allowed out to go and do some electrical work somewhere. This lifestyle is foreign to me and I don’t think I can make the adjustment so I avoid it as best I can, it is called idleness. I will have to begin work on the garden toilet soon if the weather doesn’t improve as that project is for the most part an indoor one. As I write this on Friday afternoon the weather has improved slightly but it is quite windy and too late for me to muster up the enthusiasm to resume working on the mound reduction. Maybe Saturday will be promising, we’ll see. I didn’t do much yesterday either except for a small job away from home but I was feeling the effects of all that digging the day before. Now I need to be active again before the novelty of doing nothing begins to wear me out psychologically. I’m simply bored. Well another ‘Bank Holiday‘ is upon us and the weather is forecast to be hot and sunny. I sure hope so, I cannot stand this strange new world that is threatening to engulf me in futile inactivity because I’ll go mad! One thing E and I want to do this weekend is to fit a temporary net covering over the cherry tree before the fruit becomes ripe enough for the birds to peck at it. We will also have to watch out for fruit flies as we did with the gooseberries. There seems to be a bumper crop this year for the very first time. There is another cherry tree close-by but the fruit it bears is inedible, to us at least and I cannot ever remember birds eating them. So it will be a project for me in the future to design a simple, easy and effective way of protecting the tree from birds eating the fruit.
On Thursday morning when I arose I expected to see a torrential downpour of the rain we had been promised by the forecasters but it was completely dry though overcast. I arose early because I had a small job to do in the next town. I would rather have spent more time in bed after the work I had done the previous day which was really taxing but I’d made the appointment a few days ago. Now I see all kinds of weird things in my job and this particular one was no exception. I’d been asked to call in to an elderly gentleman’s house by his son who incidentally was no spring chicken either and he’d asked me to remove a time clock (Aren’t all clocks time pieces? But that is what they are called.) and replace it with a manual switch. I wondered what the time clock was controlling and discovered the large device screwed to the wall where one might expect a light switch to be fitted and indeed it had been installed some time in the past to control the large fluorescent light in their kitchen! The old guy had been using the time piece to switch on the light when he was not at home in order to deter would-be burglars but had used the override switch on it whenever he was at home and needed the light on. That had inevitably worn out the mechanical switch mechanism. My job was to remove it and fit an ordinary light switch, a simple job which I had finished in minutes. The son was quite impressed that a woman was an electrician and asked how long I had been doing it. When I told him he didn’t believe me, most don’t. He told me that I don’t look my age in the slightest. I hear that often. Anyway he carried my toolbox to the van. It is heavy and many are quite surprised that I should be able to lift it at all but it’s not that heavy! Our next-door neighbour had called me earlier asking if I could check out her alarm system. The previous day she had called at the house to see if E and I could change the batteries in the two remote control units that we were under the impression were for her automatic garage door. We were able to open the units but she hadn’t the correct sized batteries to replace those inside. She went into town later and had them changed but they still didn’t work. I called in to see her and discovered that it was her house alarm system to which she was referring and not her garage door. I explained that I no longer work on such systems and haven’t done for years though I did change our old alarm unit for a new one a couple of years ago. The problem is that her system is wireless and her alarm ‘bell’ box appears to double as the control unit as well and is high up on the wall of her house. It can only be reached using a ladder or scaffolding. I do not work at such height anymore unless I am using a scaffold and I am not prepared to erect my scaffolding to trace faults on a system that I know I probably wouldn’t be able to repair anyway. The system had been purchased from a high street store by her husband a couple of years ago and isn’t of a type that a professional installer would use. It is probably unrepairable and therefore not worth pursuing. The weird thing is she wanted to pay me for my time even if I couldn’t fix it. Why not just get in a specialist in the first place and only have to pay once by having a proper system installed? I have to say no to many of her requests as she thinks I have all the time in the world to do her jobs as well as my own and she forgets that I am semi-retired and no longer want the hassle. Well I am 68! Had I been twenty years the younger I would have gladly taken on the work. A few days ago another lady phoned me to ask if I would put up her curtain rail and drill a hole in her kitchen worktop. No mention of any electrical work. I pointed her to my advertisement and what it said, electrical services. She realised her error but then asked if I could do a small electrical job also. As she was an elderly lady I offered to do all the jobs for her for the minimum price I charge to do any work. She was very thankful as she told me that she couldn’t get anyone to do the work for her. Later she called again and cancelled the work. I asked why and she told me that the cost was too great! Crikey, I was doing it all for next to nothing!
Well the weather has become unsettled again with rain some days and sunshine on others. We have had therefore to get out to do the work in the garden whenever the opportunity arose. This has been difficult for me for on some days I am working away from home for a few hours. I don’t work on a Sunday and on Tuesday I didn’t wish to work in the garden as the weather had become showery. We simply went out for a meal in the afternoon instead. We had Friday, Saturday, Monday and as I write this on Tuesday evening perhaps Wednesday with good weather for working in the garden. We have to take each day as it comes. We’ve still not received a quote for the brickwork we want doing on the garden toilet project but at the moment we don’t really mind as we can concentrate on the garden. When we dined out on Tuesday E decided we would try out a pub we had passed by a couple of weeks ago which looked inviting. We arrived after 2 o’clock and found the place almost completely deserted with only two young women and their small children inside. I placed our order at the bar and when we were served E recognised the woman who waited upon us. She was an older woman who later told us she was 71 years old. She used to manage one of the old pubs in Southport and that is where E had known her from. She told us that she didn’t want to retire from working completely and that was why she was working in the pub. After our meal we chatted further and then we left. I doubt very much that we will be returning to that pub for a while at least. We are keen to get on with the garden work but there is much to do. Hopefully we can find the time if the weather doesn’t remain changeable but we’ll have to wait and see. Well the weather was glorious on Wednesday after all so E and I spent all day digging and excavating some of the huge slabs of stone together with many house bricks that were obviously part of a wall once. It appears that whoever built the mound wasn’t too fussy what they threw in there. We now have a considerable stack of old bricks as well as natural stones and slabs with more to dig out. We have that much material we could almost open our own reclamation yard! Many of the slabs now remain in the area because eventually they will come to rest there and as we have moved much soil and debris they are not in the way. What we will do is slowly set them in place as we move along shifting the mound. The work is very demanding and really soaks our energy but we don’t mind that. It is going to take weeks to get the area in shape.
E and I have been very busy shifting great slabs of stone and moving buried chunks of stone from our ‘Mound’. It is very strenuous work and especially tiring in the warm weather we have been experiencing lately but jobs do not get done by themselves do they? As we overturned each stone and slab we were faced with countless numbers of woodlice scurrying back into the darkness, There must be thousands of them in the garden, in fact probably millions of them and not only woodlice but snails, slugs, centipedes, millipedes, beetles and spiders in great supply, a veritable feast for hedgehogs and birds. We don’t get hedgehogs in the rear garden at least as it is surrounded by high walls but we do of course get plenty of birds. Whenever we go indoors for any length of time many small birds show up, tits, robins, sparrows all take a peek at the bare soil looking for some delicacy or another. One of the things we have seen little of has been worms which I find strange but perhaps the reason for that is the sheer number of rocks, stones and slabs in the ground, after all worms like to burrow deep. I got to thinking just how much we as human beings are totally outnumbered by bugs and flying insects of all kinds. I suppose we should be grateful that they are not the same size as we are or even larger! We look at our gardens and most of the time we don’t see that many insects until we see them eating our plants and the fruit they produce or swarming all over the place like ants do and making a nuisance of themselves. Imagine a world where the ants are the size of elephants! Imagine woodlice that size trying to hide beneath a rock or maybe they wouldn’t need to? Perhaps we would be the ones scurrying into the dark when disturbed.