I had a small job to do on Tuesday morning but was back home within the hour. The mail had just been pushed through the letterbox and unusually two of the items were addressed to me. I don’t get that much mail, well compared to what E receives. One of the letters was from an insurance company asking if I wanted a better deal on my car insurance. I don’t have car insurance as I have commercial vehicle insurance for my van and that has already been sorted. The other letter was from my bank sending me some good news. Yesterday’s post reminded me that it doesn’t always go well in life, my life at least but it’s not all bad. Last year sometime, I cannot remember exactly and in fact I had forgotten all about it, I filled out a form sent from one of my banks, specifically the Halifax enrolling to a monthly draw. Winners in the draw receive cash prizes ranging from £100 to £3000 but as the last draw was what they called a ‘super draw’ it meant the possibility of winning £100,000 or £300,000 too. I received a letter from the bank on Tuesday indicating that I had won a prize. I had to provide proof of who I am and provide a recent utility bill one that fell in the same time period as the draw that is October last year through January this year. The latter was supposedly to ensure that I was resident in the country at that time. Proof of who I am was easy, all I had to produce was my driving licence or passport but the utility bill proved a problem for I hadn’t received any during that period. In fact I only receive notifications of my annual payments due either in February or early March. I receive no other notifications on paper as all my transactions are now done over the Internet. I was allowed to produce a notification letter sent last month by the same bank telling me about the forthcoming changes to certain accounts. Not knowing what prize I had won I set off for town on foot. It was a very windy day on Tuesday and by the time I had reach the bank I was somewhat windswept. A member of staff took my paperwork and details to the manager. He spent a little time contacting the office running the monthly draw and sorting out my details. When all was done he congratulated me on my ‘win’ and told me my account would receive the deposit within a day or so. How much? Well only £100 this time but at least it was something. Considering the poor rates of interest I get on my savings there it could be considered as some form of compensation. I walked back homeward in the stiff breeze but took a detour to my local pub and had a late lunch.
On August 8th last year and at other times, April 19th 2013 for instance, I posted an article concerning my relationship with E and how she treats me at times. Three weeks ago on Sunday last (Feb 1st) she was at it again, snapping at me for absolutely no reason. I have endured this treatment on and off for some years now always thinking that it will get better and usually it does but only if it is me who breaks the ice so to speak. If it was my fault I could understand her attitude but it is never my fault that she snaps at me and we end up not speaking. Like I said it is I who has to break the ice even though I am not at fault, she simply will never apologise when she is wrong. Do I deserve such treatment? I don’t think so. I only persevere because I love her. People tell me that I should leave, friends say I shouldn’t let her ways interfere with my happiness and that I should just accept her the way she is. That is absolutely true and that is exactly what I have been doing these past 40 something years! It is hard living with someone who is difficult to get along with some of the time and who seems ungrateful toward me considering all that I do for her. I end up retiring from her company in case I am snapped at again, consequently we don’t speak. Why am I telling you this? Well one, it is good to get things off your chest and two, so that you don’t think everything is a bed of roses in life, especially my life! It will get better, it can’t get worse so I bide my time and wait it out yet again.
Does anyone remember this song? When I first heard it I liked it but to me it only had a sense of romanticism to it. The message (if any was intended) it contained eluded me but since that time all those years ago I have come to realise what the song was really all about. It is based on the message of the Gospel, the Good News, that Jesus spoke about. It is about forgiveness and salvation a free gift from God through His Son Jesus Christ. Romans 3:23 ‘for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,’
Listen to the music then ask yourself the question…..Where am I going when I die?
I hope it will be Heaven but only you can decide that.
I posed a question on yesterday’s post which asked what was wrong in the picture. Maybe a few of my readers discovered what it was and well spotted by them but for those who didn’t the answer is that the flag theoretically should not have been flying. One is supposed to lower a flag at dusk and raise it again at dawn but most people don’t bother. If it were a flag maintained by the armed forces then it most certainly would have been lowered as it would be somebody’s duty for that day to do it. How many got it right I wonder?
So I am again sitting at home and I am wondering why we didn’t get the severe stormy and wet day that was forecast for this area. The weather forecasters at the BBC are often very dramatic with their presentations and often speak on generalities. I know they cannot get it right every time but most of the time the forecasts are fairly accurate and I suppose that where I live right on the coast it can be difficult to be so precise.
The thing is that although the weather can be forecast to be bad for the region it is often a little different along the coast, for instance when snow has been forecast we often don’t get it and if we do it isn’t as bad as elsewhere. With the roofing problem we have at home, dampness on a wall and ceiling at the top of the house we were hoping for some rain to help pinpoint the leaks if any. Now it looks like we’ll have to wait some more.
Sunday is time out for me unless I have a mad moment and do something in the garden but it doesn’t stop the telephones from ringing. Even whilst I was writing this I received two inquiries one of which led to a job I will do in the morning. If I wish to get requests I have to be near to the phones or one of them at all times. Of course I don’t mind that for it is an essential part of being self-employed but it can be a pain when the calls come in at unusual times, often inconvenient or anti-social times. For some people it seems I have to be available whenever they call, even at six o’clock in the morning! Oh yes I have had such calls and they were not even emergencies! It is nice having days off therefore and sometimes I allow myself that pleasure during the working week, I have to else drive myself into the ground.
Just now the rain has all but stopped and it is beginning to get a little brighter. I wonder how long it will last?
To see more clearly click on the picture twice. It was taken with my Nexus 10 tablet and isn’t too bad a picture as far as quality goes, nothing like as good as it would be with a dedicated camera of course. As you can see the light level is low as the Sun has just set behind the houses. Pictured are the flag of course, the Moon and Venus. The Moon is showing a crescent phase and Ashen Light to the more discerning and Venus too is showing a crescent phase. Venus is approaching that point in its orbit where it is at its brightest as seen from our position on Earth at this moment. But what is wrong in the picture? I will reveal the answer in tomorrow’s post.
It is now two-thirty on Saturday afternoon. Somehow I managed to get an extra lie in bed this morning but once up I didn’t feel like having breakfast even though it was still only nine-thirty when I came downstairs. I had a glass of fresh fruit juice, not the concentrate but the real stuff, and a short while after, a coffee was all I wanted. Usually it is porridge, sultanas, blueberries and fruit juice but once in a while I just don’t bother. I was sitting at my computer and about to check my emails and things when the mobile phone rang. The guy on the other end of the line sounded rather desperate and wanted me to call round to sort out a small electrical problem for him. I had been to his house before some months ago, probably a year so I remembered roughly where it was. He had great difficulty in describing the problem and he talked that much I couldn’t get a word in edgewise to let him know I would drive over. His house is twelve miles or more distant in another town. I had to get my son to move his car so I could get the van out of the garage. He is over for a day or so trying to get his car sold which is parked on our driveway. Soon I was on my way. I parked the van and went to the rear of the property as instructed and as I approached the rear door I remembered in more detail the house itself. I have to say I don’t know how some people can live in such squallor as this house was. The rear door led into a small room which was supposedly the kitchen though you would never know because of the floor to ceiling rubbish stacked in there and I mean floor to ceiling! An open door led from there into a lounge (?) being used as a bedroom and a storage room. It too was filled with all sorts of paraphernalia which left about one square metre of floor space on which to get about. Another door behind and to the left of the bed was slightly ajar and it led into the hallway and the rest of the house but it couldn’t be used as a means to do that. There was too much junk in front of it not to mention the bed so it couldn’t be opened more than a few centimetres. To gain access to the rest of the house the front door has to be used. His problem with the electric was an old 5 amp power point whose switch had failed and also one of its terminals. An example is shown below.
There was no earthing wire to it either which meant anything plugged into it would never be safe. Into this power socket he had plugged a six-way 13 amp multiplug and again into that another one! As I didn’t have a replacement 5 amp socket I could not reinstate the power at that point and in any case I informed him that in no way could he or should he be using the 5 amp socket for his power requirements anyway and that I had to leave the faulty one disabled for safety reasons. Now he has no choice but to use an alternative. There was a 13 amp power socket available a couple of metres away in the kitchen which he would have to use with the proper extension lead. What the house really needs is a complete rewire of course and I told him so. It is however unlikely that he will opt for that solution. As it stands a rewire would be an extremely difficult thing to accomplish for anyone brave enough to take it on unless the house was cleared out of all its junk. He paid for my time and I hope my advice and I drove back home for lunch. After cooking myself a meal I started to do some baking. E was about to go to her monthly group meeting where she would have lunch and I would be left at home alone to do my own thing. I decided on a new recipe, one I hadn’t tackled previously, a banana and honey tea cake. Ingredients, brown sugar, soft margarine, honey, self-raising flour, eggs, bananas.and cinnamon or nutmeg for seasoning. The resultant mix was somewhat sloppy but would firm up in the oven, hopefully. With the experiences I have been having with our oven temperature settings I decided to bake at a lower temperature but for a longer time. Even so I had to keep checking in the later stages of baking. At the time of writing this I have yet to taste the outcome but it looks alright though a little dropped now it has cooled down. Whilst the cake was in the oven I took ‘Robbie’ upstairs to my bedroom. If my readers will remember ‘Robbie’ is our robotic vacuum cleaner, not my fancy man! After a half-hour or so I moved him to another bedroom and then the hallways upstairs. I returned him downstairs to give him a thorough clean whilst the cake stood on a rack cooling down. Shortly after E returned home. It was now 4.30. That was the gist of my Saturday up until early evening. I could have gone out for the afternoon instead as it was such a fine and sunny day on Saturday but I guess I am somewhat more of a homely type of girl these days. (I do go out sometimes, honest).
Here in the UK we have a ‘soap opera‘ called ‘Eastenders‘ which supposedly centres around the lives of typical people living in the east-end of London. It is all a bit tongue-in-cheek but it does portray some of the things which might be a part of anyone’s life no matter where they live. This year and month mark the 30th anniversary of the series. As with most productions of this type there is much going on at any one time in the lives of the various characters but that is essential for the production to be entertaining. It would be a dull drama if nothing ever went on. It is broadcast for a half-hour four times a week under normal circumstances with repeat episodes on another channel or ‘On Demand‘ via the Internet for anyone who wants to catch-up on things. Early last year one of the young female characters (Lucy Beale) was murdered as the character was to be written out of the series and this was a good way for her to depart.
Everyone who watches the episodes had been kept in suspense regarding who killed her until last Thursday when finally all was revealed. The normal half-hour of the ‘soap’ had been extended to an hour at the very end of which we got to see who the murderer was. Or did we? Well no, another special half-hour ‘flashback’ episode was broadcast an hour later where we discovered the real murderer was in fact not the woman we thought it was but her young son. He had killed his older sister. The plot thickens as they say. I never used to follow the series intently but a few years ago that casual viewing became a regular thing and now I watch it all the time. I was compelled therefore to watch Thursday evening’s episodes having waited for so long to find out who the murderer was. So there I was five minutes into the start of the evening’s viewing when out youngest son phoned to tell me that there would be a few visitors on Friday evening to view the car he is selling and could I make sure the interior was clean. He didn’t stop there but wanted to chat about unnecessary details. Nice timing son! He asked if I too was watching ‘Eastenders’ but still insisted on chatting away. I told him all would be fine and we would look after his request and that he should now hang-up so that I could watch the tv. Children do have a habit of calling at awkward times. So finally we nay see the car gone from our driveway after the six months it has been standing there. I told him when he first left it there that it would still be there six months later for he lacked the initial determination to sell it straight away.
Update: Of the four people who wanted to buy the car none turned up but gave some limp excuses through text messages. So unfortunately the car remains on the driveway for now.
Yesterday my van had its annual MOT test. It passed with flying colours but although I expected it to there was always a little doubt as to whether it would or not. The guy at the desk said there should be no problem as the van, now seven years old and registered in 2008, has only travelled 23800 miles, a mere dot in the ocean. My insurance premium quote for the van arrived a couple of days ago and at only £302 (fully comprehensive) I accepted and duly paid the fee. I received the new certificate yesterday too. My road fund licence will be paid automatically on 2nd March by direct debit then all will be alright for another year of driving. After I drove from the testing station I was able to do the only electrical job I had for the day and indeed the last one for the week. Again I have worked every normal working day this week. A few weeks ago we noticed some plaster had fallen off a wall and the ceiling in one of the top rooms of the house. Quite a large amount of plaster had come adrift and though we couldn’t actually see any water ingress the wall was slightly damp. A few years ago, June 2010 to be precise, we had some major work going on with replacement windows installation, a dormer being clad in plastic and some roof repairs all going on at the same time. The guy who did the roof did an excellent job so we called him to ask about the present problem. He told us he was busy and also had problems with his own van too but that he would call round as soon as he could. As the problem we have doesn’t require urgent attention we didn’t mind waiting. He told us he would call to see the problem a week ago last Saturday but he didn’t arrive. I didn’t want to put him under pressure for he had told us that he wouldn’t forget us. On Wednesday afternoon this week I was at home for an hour or so when the doorbell rang. It was our roofing guy. He apologised for not having been earlier but I told him it was alright. I took him upstairs to see the problem from the inside and then he tried to inspect the roof, actually the chimney stack which is the source of the problem, but with the roof being so high he couldn’t see properly without climbing up there. I went indoors and returned with a pair of binoculars. He exclaimed, ‘Wow, they’re good aren’t they’? He couldn’t understand why we were having problems for all seemed fine. However he did say that the stack itself might require re-pointing, not a big job but scaffolding would be required for it to be done. It is too dangerous to even think about working at that height without scaffolding and in any case I would insist on scaffolding being used. He advised us to wait until we get some heavy rain and then call him again for another inspection. So it looks like we will have to wait a while for the weather to change. Usually we wish for fine weather don’t we? Just the way it goes. That heavy rain is expected tomorrow according to the forecast.
Nobody believes me when I tell them my age. I meet hundreds of people each year in my line as an electrician and often I am asked how long I have been in the business. I tell them the truth but sometimes I play them along before I answer and say, ‘Guess my age’. My advertisement states that I have 40 years experience though in fact this year it will be 53 years! Those who forget what the advertisement states will guess my age between say 48 and 56 and some have even said 42. Those who have remembered the advert will come up with an age of 56 thinking that I was 16 when I started in the business. Even 56 is 13 years too little but the essence of what they are saying is that I look far younger than my actual age which is nice. Those who may not have seen or remembered the advert or perhaps have gotten my details from another source may ask how long I have been an electrician too thinking I started just a few years ago. They are very much surprised when I tell them. Most have no idea in which fields of the industry I have worked or have specialised and when I run off the list they are amazed. They begin to understand why it is that now I only take on small jobs. I am in fact versed in many things. When people call me on the telephone and then see me in person many of them are taken by surprise for they were expecting someone much younger. I got a call from a guy a few nights ago asking me if I was interested in doing a small job for him but unfortunately I had to refuse. He wanted an appliance repairing but I do not work in that field any longer and in fact it has been years since I was involved in such work. The thing is most electricians will specialise in what they do and it is only the larger companies who will be equipped for the many diversities that make up the electrical business. It would be impractical for an individual to multitask, at least in too many fields. The guy praised me for being honest with him in explaining the reasons why I don’t do appliance repairs. He asked the usual questions regarding how long I have been an electrician and when I told him he gasped, ‘Crikey love, I thought I was talking with a 20 year-old’. Evidently to some my voice over the telephone sounds much younger and more feminine than I had thought. So it should. I have a feeling he is going to call again to do some other work for him in the future.
So here we are almost two-thirds of the way through the calendar of Winter and the weather is beginning to get warmer again. Now I have written that you can be sure we haven’t done with lower temperatures just yet. The sun is shining as I write this on Monday afternoon having been out working during the morning. I had to pay a visit to my main bank in order to deposit a large sum of money. Usually I take the cash to my nearest bank, my main current account provider and transfer the cash or the bulk of it to another bank using the Internet. I had no work scheduled when I arose but as I was getting dressed someone called and asked if I could do a couple of small electrical jobs for them. The caller was what you might call one of my regular customers for I have been to the house many times over the last couple of years. I explained that I had planned to go into town to do some banking and also a little shopping but that I would do the jobs later in the morning. I didn’t have a breakfast as such, simply a banana as it was almost nine o’clock and I wanted to get out as soon as possible. I drove to town but parked outside the meter zone as I usually do and walked the half-mile or so to where I needed to be. An hour later I was back in my vehicle driving off to do the job. I had scheduled another job for Wednesday but as it was on the same route I thought I would call at that address first to see if I could do that job too. Fortunately the folk were in and were in favour of getting the job done there and then if it was possible. It took me about a half-hour and soon I was off to the main job for the day. Even so that job didn’t take me much longer than an hour or so before I found myself driving homeward again. It wasn’t yet twelve o’clock and I’d pocketed £100 having spent nothing! My next two jobs would be the following day, Tuesday, after which nothing else had been planned. I wanted to get out into the garden for an hour or two whilst the sun was shining but I gave up on the idea in preference to a rest instead. No doubt there will be other days in the near future for gardening and no doubt they will be a necessity rather than a desire as the warmer weather brings out the weeds!