Many of my Mondays have been more or less identical lately, no work scheduled. Again, it usually happens that I get calls during the week. One old guy did ask me on Sunday if I could do some work on Monday but called back five minutes later to change the appointment to Tuesday instead. Another guy called late on Sunday asking if I could fix a three-phase switch for him in his restaurant but when I told him that I no longer take on commercial or industrial work but simply do small domestic jobs only he was reluctant to accept the fact. He began explaining that the job was simple but I interrupted him by saying that although that might be the case I would still not be doing it. A couple of days earlier I had received a very similar request to repair a three-phase switch, it had to be the same job and at that time I had also explained that I didn’t want the work. Some people just don’t give up do they? Both guys who had called were either Indian or Pakistani but because I have had so many problems dealing with people who are either one or the other I would have been very reluctant to do the job anyway. I have no problems with their ethnicity but the fact is they always want to barter with you to bring the price down, even after an agreement has been made! I have been stung twice that way before. I have to be selective in what work I will do or I would be inundated with all types of problems I can now do without at my age. I had arisen quite early as I normally do during the week in case I do get offers of work but as none had materialised I took a walk into town by the back streets as I wanted to purchase a few cosmetics and toiletries. I could have simply taken a shorter trip to the village but the day was lovely and sunny though a little cool in the slight breeze and the added opportunity to exercise couldn’t be passed up. A couple of years ago I wanted to buy a new black cosmetics bag to carry in my handbag but after trying so many outlets I still couldn’t find one. When I purchased the few cosmetic items on this trip the woman at the check-out told me that I was entitled to a free cosmetics bag because I had purchased a certain brand. I had no idea. She walked to another display unit and brought back the bag, a black one! It had been just what I had wanted a couple of years ago. A nice bonus considering I had only spent £6 in this particular store. Soon I was back home and wondering what, if anything, the rest of the day would bring.
…..and so are you. No matter who you are, where you are, how healthy you are, how old you are, none of that matters, one day it will be your day to die. Will anyone remember? Will anyone care? Well someone does care. It is a sobering thought. Many make preparations for their departure arranging elaborate and expensive wakes for those who might attend their funerals but none of that matters. Favourite music being played at their funeral only benefits the mourners as does everything else so what is the point in that? In this country, as in many other countries too, mourners dress in black considering any other colour worn to be disrespectful to the deceased, as if that mattered or the deceased cared! Everything is done for those who are left. As a Christian I believe, as many of my brothers and sisters do, that death is something to be celebrated and accordingly bright colours are worn at the passing of other Christians. The celebration is because the deceased has gone to a better place for we have that hope in Jesus Christ. Those who die without that hope have no hope. In those cases it might be proper to wear a sombre colour like black. The real sad thing is that many who mourn the passing of their loves ones think they have that hope but maybe haven’t. Whenever I see a funeral cortége I wonder if the person in the coffin knew Christ as their personal Saviour and I feel sad to think that perhaps they didn’t. Life after death is a promise for those who believe in Jesus Christ and have him as their Saviour, death holds no fear for them. Others may die thinking they have that assurance and go through all the motions at their funerals with that in mind or those left behind think that way, but they fail to remember
‘“the stone you builders rejected,
which has become the cornerstone.”
12Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.’
13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realised that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.
Think about where you might be going without the assurance of salvation, the salvation that only Jesus can provide for you. Die you will but don’t do it without Jesus. It isn’t enough to just know about Jesus, we have to accept the gift of life and ask him to come into our hearts and be our saviour,
I wrote part of this post in an email to a friend today, that is Tuesday, as I write it here now. I went for a walk into town at around 11 o’clock in order to buy a couple of guitar picks, then I strolled into the main shopping area to visit the 3 Mobile store to see what options I had with my contract which officially expired in October last year. Naturally the young lady (an American girl incidentally) wanted to promote the latest 4G phones and there were many of them but I wasn’t interested and I explained to her that if it were possible I would be using a 2G phone! Mine is actually a 3G phone (Galaxy Ace), a bit dated now but I don’t want an upgrade for it would be wasted on me. I never use any of the applications to give them their proper name, I have no need for them. Likewise I almost never use the text service and almost never actually make calls either except to return a few missed calls in connection with my business. This means my requirements are minimal. Last October the contract expired as I said, which also meant that the phone has been paid for and now belongs to me. I asked about a reduction in my subscriptions so the young lady looked for an even better deal than the one I had.She found me an even better deal, a monthly reduction of another £3 (about $4.50), not a lot but better in my pocket than theirs. My monthly rental is now only £8 instead of £11. I am keeping my existing phone and in fact I still have an old Nokia too which I could use if I wished. Perhaps I could buy a Sim card and use that phone on a pay-as-you-go service. Maybe not. After I had signed the revised contract I had a stroll around town before walking back to my local where I had a lovely meal of sea bass with prawns in a rich sauce, new potatoes, garden peas, peas in their pods and broccoli. The dish isn’t on the printed menu but they serve it as one of their ‘specials’ when the fish is available. It is slightly more expensive than most items on the menu but is still a few pence below £10. The meals are never disappointing, the service is great and that’s why I go there. This was the day I got caught by the Sun’s rays too!
Well my week has been a little on the boring side at times as far as work goes, I had very little of it, though I did turn down a few offers, they unfortunately were too large for me to undertake at my age. I was offered the chance to rewire a house in one instance, install many power outlets in another and to undertake the repairs of a host of electrical problems somewhere else. Great opportunity for someone twenty years my junior but alas no longer for me. It isn’t the work itself, more the time I would take to do it and its effect upon me! On Thursday I was offered a smaller job which I have taken and scheduled a day for doing it and I did get some other work before the week ended. In the afternoon I was sitting out on the patio yet again but this time not for long, a couple of minutes at most and then decided to take a stroll around the garden beginning with the vegetable plot behind the patio. Various weeds were threatening to overtake the area in which we have some of our gooseberry bushes and laurel shrubs. I simply had to begin plucking them out by hand and before long I found myself covering the whole plot. When I took the weeds to the green bin I had thoughts about watering the border plants including the small rhubarb patch as everywhere had become so dry. Out came the hose and I went around the whole garden watering the plants, though not the lawn, it grows too quickly at this time of year and in fact was looking green and lush anyway. The plants that suffer the most are those in pots and we have a few of them which desperately needed water. There is only one plant in the large greenhouse at the moment as E hasn’t bothered with her usual tomato, pepper and cucumber planting as yet but there is still time for her to do that. I don’t bother with such things, in fact I only bought the greenhouses for her benefit really. The one plant I did feed and water was the only one in there, the grapevine which has started to break out in leaf. After I had done the watering I noticed a hole in the cement between one of the natural stone slabs in the new path that we had constructed last summer. Ants had been busy making the hole larger. Obviously the cement there had been undermined at that spot for when I pressed down on it my finger disappeared partially down the hole. It needed refilling so I mixed a small amount of fresh cement mortar and refilled it, filling in two other minor holes at the same time. One sure way of keeping ants at bay if they are a problem outdoors is to brush diesel oil where you don’t want them to go. They hate the stuff! I know it works as I have used the method in the front garden around one of the gate pillars. Each year the little blighters were taking out the sand beneath the street pavement around our wall and pillar which of course over time upsets the level paving stones and can even undermine the walls if nothing is done to prevent it. I applied some diesel there last year and the ants moved home! Even now, many months later, the area is ant-free. I may need to reapply the diesel of course at some point. I think it was my late father-in-law who told me about using diesel. So I didn’t sit around doing nothing much as I perhaps wanted to, I find I get restless and have to do something. I just can’t help myself.
As I sat out on the patio after lunch on Wednesday I was beginning to think my working week would be a complete non entity. I was enjoying an ice cream cone when my phone rang. It was a woman for whom I had worked about eight years ago who had at that time cut out my advertisement in case she needed my services again. Why she had done that I am not sure for I usually hand out a business card anyway. I had installed a replacement shower unit for her at that time which evidently was still in working order but this time she simply wanted a light replacing with a more modern one. I have a minimum charge I levy which covers my travelling time, fuel and actually doing the work but even then some people think it is too much, They want it doing for next to nothing, like the guy who called me on Monday wanting me to work late in the day and on a weekend too for it was inconvenient to have me to do the work during the normal working week and who also moaned about the price! I refused the work. So off I went to replace the light for this lady who lives twelve miles distant from my house. As the job was extremely easy I charged her £5 less than I would normally have done. I was happy, she was happy. As I write this on Wednesday evening I am not sure if I will get any more work for the remainder of the week but at least that one job has covered the cost of my weekly advertisement. (By the way I did get more work before the end of the week). I was going to go to the pub again for my lunch but decided against the idea and rustled up a meal at home. In any case I like cooking so it isn’t an inconvenience for me except if I have been working hard, then I sometimes don’t wish to start cooking and I eat out instead. Had I done that on Wednesday I might have missed the call, especially if I had been inside the pub where the phone signal is so weak due to the roof being totally covered in lead! Connecting to the Internet whilst in the pub isn’t a problem for as with most places these days they have a router installed. It is just the phone signal which is impeded though not all system providers are affected. I just happen to be using one that is!
For the first time this year I have succumbed to the effects of the Sun’s rays. I failed to cover a more sensitive area of my anatomy from its rays, my upper chest. No doubt I could include the whole of my chest, breasts included but I am not in the habit of exposing those areas, not even in the privacy of my own garden. To say I am slightly burnt though is a bit of an exaggeration, it is more a redness that would certainly become sore if I am not careful. This morning, Wednesday, I applied sunscreen lotion to the said part in case it becomes exposed to the sun whilst I am out and about. In fact that is how my chest became red in the first place. I should have been more careful whilst out walking and I usually am. It is so easy to forget that the Sun’s rays are dangerous and are hazardous to our health if we become over-exposed to them. We need sunshine so that vitamin D can be chemically produced in our skin. There are other sources for the vitamin, namely in oily fish but we seldom eat oily fish too often, or as often as we should, though I did have sea bass for my lunch on Tuesday. I do in fact eat quite a lot of oily fish at home. How do the ‘Inuit’ people get their vitamin D? From oily fish of course for the sun, although it shines up there in the north, is not a real benefit to the people who live there because their skin is covered to protect it from the cold weather. They have to rely on fish for their vitamin D. Getting back to my own skin, I seldom if ever deliberately sit out in the sun these days unless I cover my exposed skin. I have endured the effects of sunburn in the past because of my own stupidity. Let’s face it, I am Caucasian and don’t produce enough Melanin in my skin for natural protection, I have to use lotions and that is what we all should do. It is still only early Spring and the Sun’s rays can only get stronger. When I arose this morning I watched the sunrise from my bedroom window. I didn’t actually get to see the sun until just after 6 o’clock. Yes I was up at that hour! The Sun had risen about 5 minutes earlier but my view is blocked by trees and some low-level buildings in the distance. As it rose its rays shone through the trees and although it was still reddish-orange in colour I could still feel the heat, even through the double glazing! Imagine therefore how much hotter it gets at midday! The Sun needs to be respected for it can really burn you if you don’t take care, something I shall remind myself to do this season when outdoors on a bright and sunny day, even if just on a walkabout.
Thoughts are probably now turned to beaches and topless ladies flaunting their assets but no, I am not talking about that. The weather has been so good lately and the prospect of it not returning to low temperatures is high. I made the decision to go bare-legged for the first time in the year. My regular readers might remember that during the cooler months I wear stockings (and a belt) every day but there comes a time when wearing such things become unbearable unless perhaps when they are worn in the cooler evenings. I love wearing stockings I will admit but I also like the freedom that going bare-legged gives me on warm days. So as from today, Tuesday as I write this, I am going naked. It is also the time to begin wearing lighter clothing too but one has to be careful so early in the season. When going to work in the mornings I have to wear a coat at the moment but find I often have to discard it by late morning because it is so warm. If I go for a walk wearing a coat, even a lightweight one, at this time of the year I find I have to remove it or leave it unbuttoned and open after a while. Even as I write this I hear the weather is to become slightly cooler, wetter and windier by the end of the week. We cannot rely on it being continuously warm and dry but at least it is warm enough to go naked, on my legs at least!
I’ll wager you will be thinking when reading this post that it is all about shopping but although the subject is a part of the post the post is actually about a dream I had in the small hours of Monday morning. For the first time in quite a long time I found myself out shopping with E and we were loading up a shopping trolley with frozen foods of all types but mainly confectionery and bread. As we tried to leave the store we discovered more ‘special offers’ on sale and added these to the trolley. E wanted to stand around and chat but I was impatient and just wanted to get the goods safely in our vehicle and drive home to store it before it began to thaw. Finally we were both outside but it was dark as though it was in the middle of the night. I know some stores are open for twenty-four hours so it wasn’t surprising to find ourselves out shopping at that hour, even so it was unusual. It was a warm night too and therefore all the more important we didn’t hang about. For some reason the car park wasn’t outside the store, it was a car park surrounding an establishment where I once worked! I couldn’t figure out why that was. I couldn’t figure out why our vehicle wasn’t actually ours but that belonging to our eldest son who handed us the keys as we came to load the food in the boot (trunk). Although it was a large vehicle, one you might expect to have a large rear compartment, it didn’t, in fact the opening to the small boot was small too and we found it difficult to get the trays into it. I couldn’t understand why the food was on trays, especially the confectionery but that didn’t matter to E who just squeezed everything in, squashing everything in the process. However, we couldn’t close the lid and I was getting more and more irritated by E’s lack of concern or interest. I am not sure what the outcome was in all of this for at that time I woke up.
I have often mentioned the attitudes of people who ask for my electrical services in my posts. On Sunday around noon I received a call from a woman living in the next nearest town, Ormskirk. She first of all apologised for calling me on Sunday (though in actual fact that is probably the best time to call me so that I can schedule work for the week) saying she saw my advertisement in the paper and wondering when I would be available to fit a couple of new lights for her. I replied by saying I could do them the next day as at that time I was free on Monday morning. ‘Oh’, she said, ‘that is awkward for me as I am at work. I am free at five o’clock’. This meant that if I took on the work I would have to do it after five o’clock. If I had no other work for the day that would mean I would be starting my working day at five o’clock and I wouldn’t be able to do other things I might want to do! I very rarely start my day after twelve noon anyway and schedule any work that comes in the afternoon for the following day unless I am already at work and am able to do it immediately. I asked her if she couldn’t get some time off or perhaps have someone there on her behalf. She said she couldn’t then asked if I could do it at the weekend! Am I not to have my weekends free to myself? Am I expected to give in to the whims of others because they cannot be bothered to arrange their schedules to accommodate their needs? Had the work been closer to home I might, I say MIGHT have accommodated her but I usually only do that in special cases. Emergency calls are another matter and I will accommodate in those circumstances if I am able. What was her reply? ‘I’ll call back’. Yeah, sure, in a pig’s ear you will. She will have probably phoned around until she got someone else to do the work, someone who doesn’t mind working at five o’clock. I cannot be bothered with people who expect me to be at their beck and call because they can’t find the time. I don’t need the work but what I do I do it on my terms, I think I’ve earned that privilege at sixty-nine, don’t you? Mostly I will try to accommodate if I can. An elderly lady called me on Saturday morning asking if I could help her. Her lights weren’t working. I didn’t realise at the time that she was referring to two bedside lamps only, not the whole lighting circuit. Her husband had died three weeks ago and she still sounded a little distressed over the phone. She lives less than a half-mile from me so I drove there and sorted out her problem, fuses missing from the plugs! She was more than pleased that I had called at such short notice. What else was I to do?
I managed to get through last week with only three days at work. I was hoping for an easier time and got it. My work days were Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. I did nothing electrical on Thursday but I had a little something to do on Friday morning. However, I wasn’t lazy on Thursday, I took the opportunity to do some much needed housework and then I mowed the lawn for the second time this season. Whilst outside I got stuck into doing a little gardening too. Earlier in the week I had connected a new oven for a lady and when I had done that I ended up repairing the sink waste pipe leaks for her too as a favour. I wasn’t paid for the plumbing as I did it free of charge. I received a call on Thursday evening from the lady’s father who has been instrumental in helping his daughter since her husband left her a couple of years ago. He phoned to thank me once again for the work I had done but explained that they were having problems with the new oven. It was nothing to do with my work, it was a mechanical fault, the support for one of the heating elements was faulty and couldn’t be repaired. He asked if I could disconnect the oven and connect its replacement on Friday. I offered to do it free of charge but he insisted he would cover my expenses and would not take no for an answer. I called at 10 o’clock on Friday morning as arranged and disconnected the faulty oven. I told them I would wait for them to return with its replacement, which I did. I basically had nothing to do whilst they were gone so I decided to see if I could find out what was wrong with the kitchen cabinet lighting. That end of the kitchen was only lit by the wall light I had replaced for them on my last visit. I wasn’t asked to fix the cabinet lights nor the problems they still have with the power outlet circuit (read earlier post) simply because they cannot afford the cost. All that was wrong with the lights was a faulty low-voltage transformer. I had a spare one in my van but it was only suitable for one light and there were two. I replaced the transformer and got one of the two lights working. It will be a simple job to add another transformer for the second light at a future date if and when she asks me to fix the other wiring problems. As I was given something to cover my expenses I fixed the light free of charge but in fact I was not going to charge her anyway. I had the rest of the day off.