One foot in front of the other

Saturday turned out to be warm, humid and sunny for most of the day but whilst it remained warm and humid by six o’clock the clouds had started to roll in. We were promised rain and that was just as well for the garden plants for we hadn’t watered them knowing rain was on its way. During the early afternoon I was pottering about lifting weeds here and there and generally looking around. I have been keeping a sharp eye on the gooseberry bushes looking for any signs that some pesky insect larvae were eating the leaves, like saw-fly for instance.

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It turned out that there were some saw-fly caterpillars lurking about. A couple of years ago we noticed that practically all the leaves on the plants had been consumed but last year we kept more of an eye on them and using a propriety spray we got rid of them. Actually E had also removed many by hand too. So off I went indoors to get the spray and I set about treating all the bushes. The spray is supposed to give protection for up to six weeks when the plants will need spraying again. After then it won’t matter. I didn’t wish to spend the afternoon gardening as I had been out working during the morning but I did want to go for a leisurely walk whilst the weather was fine, so that’s what I did. I like to walk around the side streets of our little town and I have a fascination with building architecture and quaint out-of-the-way places that dot the residential areas. There are a few cobbled alleyways which have grass growing through the cobbles leading to old buildings many of which are derelict or showing signs of deterioration. I romanticise in my thoughts about what they were used for and I can picture the scene 100 or 150 years ago. Along any one street many of the houses are unalike with the additions and alterations that have happened during the years by the different occupiers who have lived in them. I like to see what others have done with their front gardens where they have them and again most are different. Some have made their gardens really presentable and whilst some have tried their best to improve theirs some have let them become overgrown and neglected. I realise of course that everyone’s circumstances are different and they can only achieve so much but some people just don’t do anything or treat their frontages as if they were junk yards. As I began to turn homeward some clouds had already blotted out the sun. I came across a guy I hadn’t seen for a couple of years. He was sitting on a bench with his girlfriend outside the apartment block where he now lives. She told me that she lived in Manchester some forty-something miles away as I spent a few minutes chatting with them. I continued homeward about another half-mile away. E was out in the rear garden digging out weeds and generally tidying up. I didn’t join her, I’d had enough of being outdoors in the oppressive humidity.

Shirley Anne


Blinded from the truth


Jesus calls Levi. From book: The Life of Jesus...
Jesus calls Levi. From book: The Life of Jesus of Nazareth. Eighty Pictures. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So many people I come across say that they are unbelievers in Jesus Christ and God but few of them can explain why that is. They either think there is no reason to explain or they are simply not interested. Others are so against God that they go out of their way to disprove His existence, even persecuting or belittling those who are followers. What they do not understand is that they are condemning themselves and denying themselves salvation in the process. There will always be unbelievers, God says so in His word. The Bible tells us that there will always be those who reject the truth because they cannot see it and refuse to seek it. God is a loving God not wishing anyone to perish but to have everlasting life and that life is given graciously to ALL who will repent and believe in Him and the one He sent, our Lord Jesus Christ. I wrote about having something to look forward to a couple of posts ago, something worthwhile and given freely. What does the word ‘Perish’ mean? It means to die or to be destroyed, not just a physical death in this instance but a spiritual death and destruction from which there is no return, an eternity in Hell. I implore my readers who are not believers trusting in Jesus for their salvation to seek God whilst they still have the time. Saul was headed for destruction but God had a plan for his life and intervened. When Saul realised what he had been doing was wrong he repented and obeyed his Creator………….

Acts 26

Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?

I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the Lord’s people in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11 Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. I was so obsessed with persecuting them that I even hunted them down in foreign cities.

12 ‘On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 About noon, King Agrippa, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. 14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.

15 ‘Then I asked, “Who are you, Lord?”

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” the Lord replied.


Maybe you should ask the same question, ‘Who are you Lord’? Turn to God before the opportunity is taken from you. I promise you will not regret it. God promises much, much more!

Shirley Anne


Same ol’ faces

This photo of Fishermens Rest is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Yet another day free from work though I did get offers on Wednesday evening, I just didn’t want what was on offer. It is a nice feeling to be able to turn down work and simply pick and choose what, if anything, I will do. So it was Thursday, a day for E doing the weekly shopping and a day when I might be working or not. I had eaten breakfast before nine o’clock so around two o’clock I would be feeling hungry but I had intentions of dining out at the pub and I usually time it that I am there at noon or two-thirty. That is so I can easily get seated for in between those times it is busy and usually full. I waited until two for I wasn’t hungry at noon. It was a warm and lovely day once more but the sky was clouded over and it was a little humid, just right in every way for me with only a slight breeze blowing. A few people were outside the pub and some of whom I knew. Inside in the main dining area most of the tables were still occupied but in the bar area most of the tables were free. I prefer sitting in the bar area anyway so it suited me fine. Over the past few months when dining there I have chosen something from the ‘specials’ board more often than not. I usually choose one of the fish dishes and this time I chose spiced salmon with new potatoes and a mixed salad followed by a sweet Lemon Roulade with ice cream. On Tuesday I had Cod wrapped in Parma Ham with a mixed salad and potatoes. These dishes are a little more expensive than those on the menu but they are delicious. Usually there are five ‘specials’ of one sort or another on any one day. The main menu itself is quite comprehensive so will cater for most tastes. Whenever I go to the pub I am met with the many familiar faces of the regular customers. Some I see every time I go there and I guess they must spend much of their lives there! A few years ago we had an old wheelchair-bound guy regularly visiting in the evenings and he sadly died. He is remembered by a plaque with his name inscribed affixed to the front of the bar where he liked to sit in his wheelchair. Later, his wife, also wheelchair-bound, started to frequent the place and she sits in the same place if she can. On Thursday I noticed another commemorative plaque with someone’s name on it placed at the opposite end of the bar where someone liked to stand. He evidently died two years ago and was a regular customer. Now I had to ask who it was that had died for I would have remembered him, though not necessarily his name. I am hopeless at remembering names. A nickname had been inscribed on the plaque rather than his real name. Even though the bar staff described him I had difficulty in trying to picture what he looked like. If I see a photograph with his picture on it i most certainly will remember. I have not frequented the pub in the evening for what will be three years this November 16. That was when I stopped drinking alcohol. I could go there in the evening of course but for someone who doesn’t drink alcohol the same attraction that once drew me there no longer exists. Yes, I could go there just to socialise, perhaps on a Thursday evening when they hold their Quiz Night or Saturday when they sometimes have live music. I just can’t be bothered I guess.

Shirley Anne

Just had to get out

...And We Drive
…And We Drive (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Thursday I got up very early, around five-twenty and by six forty-five I had a shower, got dressed, had breakfast and had hung up the washing I had placed in the machine before my shower. I had an idea I might get some electrical work but none came in during the day. Around eight-thirty I was out in the garden drinking coffee and playing my guitar on what I call my favourite bench in front of the patio. It more or less faces eastward and the sun in the morning, though at that time the sun is hidden behind the large trees growing at the end of the garden. I was bored, not because I was playing the guitar, no that relieves the boredom but having nothing else to do. I struggled toward noon and at that time E had decided to go out. I found out later that she had gone to see her mom but only by chance as I drove past her mom’s house some time later and saw her car on the drive. I had decided to go for a drive, nowhere in particular but it was a nice day, only one of two we expected all week. I like driving but I seldom just go out simply for a drive. I drove out with no idea of where I would go, I just drove. I realised I would pass by E’s mom’s house after driving along the route I had taken but it didn’t matter. I drove around for an hour and surprisingly there was very little traffic about, just one or two idiots who flaunt the rules. The video starts about half-way through my little excursion and shows about one quarter of it. Oh and by the way it isn’t the year 2046 as the video timer indicates. I haven’t been able to reset the time on the camera not thinking it needed doing until now. That’s a job for another day. One guy in a large van looked very impatient as he drove behind me for a couple of miles not being able to overtake. Finally he did overtake but drove over hash markings to do so at about 84 seconds into this video.

The hash markings show hazardous areas where overtaking is forbidden, at road junctions for instance but it made no difference to him, he simply ignored them. I kept to the local speed limit and was still in a 30 mph zone when he overtook as you can see at speed. Soon after I was in a 40 mph zone and about two miles ahead pulled up behind him as he was stopped in a small queue of traffic at a junction controlled by lights. He need not have driven so carelessly and aggressively, he had gained nothing from it and he might have placed others in danger instead. I had reached the point in my pointless journey where I wanted to turn homeward and so I did. For those who are interested the video starts just before I reach Rufford on the A59 having driven through Halsall, Ormskirk and Burscough. I continue through Rufford until I reach Tarleton at the A565 junction, through Tarleton and on through to Hesketh Bank where the video ends. It was after one o’clock when I got back home and I prepared lunch. E evidently hadn’t stayed out long herself as the gates to her garage drive were closed as I arrived back.

Shirley Anne

A great day

Never a Dull Moment (Tommy Lee album)
NEVER A DULL MOMENT (Tommy Lee album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was rather busy on Tuesday. The day started off a little dull and the sun was trying its best to show itself from behind a sky full of clouds. That was seven o’clock in the morning but by eight or eight-thirty it was a different story, blue sky from horizon to horizon and it stayed that way pretty much all day long. I was however out working but all the jobs were inside. The first was in an apartment on the other side of the town centre replacing three ceiling lights. I had a lovely time chatting with the lady who lived there and would have liked to stay and chat longer but my next job beckoned. The second job was a further three or four miles away and involved changing a ceiling light unit, a switch and moving a central-heating controller. This lady too was chatty and we got along like a house on fire as they say. By now it was after twelve and I had to drive another twelve miles further afield into the countryside to the third and final job but this time far simpler, just the one ceiling light to change. Again the lady chatted away with me as I did the work. All three women were single, one a widow and the others divorced. They all had their stories to tell and that was pretty much what we chatted about. I was now around fifteen miles or more away from home and it was almost one-thirty. I drove homeward but didn’t wish to start cooking so I went to my local pub for a late lunch instead. Many people sat outside and I expected there to be fewer indoors but in fact there were plenty inside too. Fortunately there were a few tables empty in the bar area where I like to sit anyway. I was back home around three o’clock but when I got into the van in the pub car park I noticed that my dashboard camera was dangling on its cord. The mounting bracket is a simple affair and attached to the windshield using a rubber sucker. In the heat of the day it becomes loose and falls off the screen. It has happened a few times since I fitted it last year and I had it in mind to design and construct a more suitable bracket that I could attach to the bodywork instead but never got around to doing it. So when I got home I tackled the problem and made an aluminium bracket which sits beneath one of the sun visor fixings and disposes of the need for the sucker so it will now never fall away. It looks a far more professional set-up now that it did beforehand. My next-door neighbour came and chatted with me whilst I was in the van and she sat in the passenger seat admiring what I had done. She tells me that I am very talented but really it is only down to experience. After a lifetime of working in the electrical business and having a background in mechanical and other services too is bound to make these little jobs easy to do. I finally stopped working at five o’clock. It had been a very pleasant day in many ways. There is never a dull moment once I get going.

Shirley Anne

Potted plants for thanks

Potted plants, S2006
Potted plants (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Thursday evening I was about to make myself a snack, just a sandwich for I had already eaten a large meal earlier in the day. The doorbell rang and I had to answer the door because E, though at home was unable to. I was a little surprised to see my new neighbour from across the street standing there with her two small children. She apologised for the intrusion but asked in a knowing way if I was an electrical engineer. I had mentioned that I was an electrician when I paid her a visit not long after she and her family moved in last year. I guess she remembered something about what I had said. She asked if I could help with a problem and I replied by asking her to give me two minutes and I would follow on after her. She had been preparing their evening meal and her cooker had tripped out the supply which affected other circuits and she had been unable to reset the controls. Essentially there were two ‘trip switches’ (RCDs) controlling the circuits and they were in conflict. A small distribution panel in the cellar (basement) supplying a number of circuits was affected and this was the panel to which the cooker circuit was wired. The house’s main panel was unaffected. I reset the controls and all was fine but I gave my neighbour advice as to why the cooker had tripped the supply and what should be done to prevent it happening again. Essentially the cooker circuit needs to be separated from the panel and placed on a dedicated panel whilst one of the two RCDs supplying the small panel should be removed and replaced with a normal switch. If she asked me to do the work I would oblige. For the time being I advised her to leave the system as it is. It isn’t dangerous but simply a nuisance if  the problem persists. I returned home to prepare my snack and thought no more about it. The following day, Friday, I was away from home for several hours working but on my return I discovered a small potted plant with flowers in full bloom was sitting on the coffee table. There wasn’t a message with it and E wasn’t there to tell me who had left it but I am supposing it was my neighbour. She had offered me payment for my services and I refused payment of any kind. I had done very little and certainly nothing worth paying for. My next-door gave me a potted plant too after I had done a very small job for her without payment. I don’t want paying for doing the neighbourly thing but I suppose it is just their way of saying thank-you. It is nice to be appreciated though I have to confess.

Shirley Anne

Surprised by me

It had been a funny week as far as my work was concerned and by Friday morning I was expecting to get another long weekend free to myself but late in the morning I got a phone call. I was about to do something at home then go out for a meal but someone wanted me to do some work for them. The lady who called explained what their problem was and what was needed to rectify it so I decided to go and do it for her and her husband. Evidently they had put the cart before the horse as it were and as many people do without thinking about the consequences. To be fair I lay the blame on the contractor who had done his work without explaining to the couple that in doing his work would create a problem which could be avoided if his work was rescheduled to a later date. What had happened was the couple had a new radiator installed in the small hallway of their little house. It was a modern vertical-type radiator, narrow in width but tall in height, similar to what is installed in bathrooms these days though with vertical ribs. It was similar to the dimensions of the one we installed at home when refurbishing our bathroom (shown on the right). Bathroom 78They had an existing radiator removed so that a new double-glazed front door could be fitted as part of a project to fit double-glazed windows and doors throughout the house. Even though the new radiator was narrower in width it still prevented the new door from opening completely and therefore it needed to be moved a few centimetres away from where it had been fitted. Now this is where I come in. The radiator, once moved, would cover over a light switch and a power outlet. They both required moving. Now why I wasn’t called, or some other electrician called before all the other work was done defies logic. All the other problems with the radiator and door would have been non-existent had the electrical work been attended to first. People just don’t think. The electrical work however wasn’t that simple to carry out. Is it ever? A couple of years ago this couple had a new kitchen installed and the people doing the electrical work had taken the supply for the kitchen ‘ring circuit‘ (power outlets) from the single power unit that needed moving but furthermore hadn’t connected it correctly or safely! They were supposed to be qualified as having passed the minimum standard to do the work by obtaining what is known in this country as a ‘Part P’ certificate. It allows people without a background in electrical work who obtain this certificate to qualify them to work in bathrooms and kitchens. Personally I disagree with the system as do many other electricians who themselves, though already qualified, have had to gain a ‘Part P’ certificate! Anyway the wiring to the power outlet could not be extended to the new position which meant fitting a larger box in the wall and rearranging the connections to make the kitchen part of the ring circuit to which it had been wired incorrectly and then install an extra cable to a new position  to accommodate a twin outlet further from the radiator. A similar arrangement was made for the twin lighting switch higher up the wall. A simple job made more difficult by the incompetency of others! So there now exists two blank plates covering the electrical ‘joints’ at the old positions of the switch and power point. The radiator, when moved, will hide the plates. This work took me almost three hours to complete but during that time I received yet another call from a care worker asking if I would repair a faulty light for an elderly couple living quite a few miles away. It was a simple job and she seemed desperate to have it done. Apparently she couldn’t find an electrician willing to do such a small job. I explained that I couldn’t get there until late in the afternoon but that I would attend to it. It took me longer to drive there than to actually do the job! The elderly couple were indeed elderly, she told me she was 95 years old and her husband must have been about the same age though I wasn’t told. In both cases I was told by the folk I was working for that they didn’t expect such prompt service at such short notice. I surprise myself sometimes.

Shirley Anne


Unsettled (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday I wrote about things grinding to a halt or at least slowing right down but today was another day. It is Thursday afternoon as I write this and the sun is shining once again. If you remember it had been rather a dull day yesterday. The month of June should be more settled than it has become for we are not promised wall-to-wall sunshine in the next few days and it has been that way for much of  the months so far. It was however quite warm and sunny last week. No point in complaining about something over which we have no control now is there? My work pattern is pretty much the same, unsettled. On Sunday E told me about the trouble she was having in opening and closing the roller door on the garage she uses. I managed to get it working again but I needed more information regarding the control circuit if I was to make an adjustment myself. I decided to call the guy who installed the door and who carries out repairs but he wasn’t available on Sunday. I didn’t expect him to be but I just wanted to leave him a message, which I did do. Unfortunately he hadn’t responded by Thursday (today as I write) morning so I called him again. He apologised for forgetting about the message I’d left and we made arrangements for him to call sometime in the afternoon. It meant I would have to remain at home during the afternoon, something I wanted to do anyway so that I could receive instructions on which adjustments I needed to do if the problem arose again. E would be out shopping with her mom in the afternoon. I decided to take the small step-ladder from my van parked in the other garage and place it in the garage ready for use later but just as I was about to do that I received a call from someone asking me to do a small job for them. I agreed to go as I wouldn’t be away from home more than an hour and I would be back at noon. The lady wanted a light replacing and when I arrived she looked surprised as I was dressed in some nice and bright summer clothes. She asked how long I had been an electrician and when I told her she couldn’t believe it. As I mentioned I had been in the business for 53 years to the month it followed that I must be around 70 years old. Now she really was amazed for I do not look as old as my years. I told her I was 69 and that ‘my secret’ is that I plug myself into the mains every night to recharge my batteries! She couldn’t stop laughing. She left me to finish the job as she was about to go to work but her teenaged son was at home. Five minutes later I was leaving the house myself. So everything changes and now I am waiting for the next request and at this very moment the guy to attend on the garage door.

Shirley Anne

A grinding halt

Grinding the sparks
Grinding the sparks (or wearing down the electrician lol)

Some days are very interesting and some are just plain boring. Some are filled with things to do and others are not. Wednesday was one of those days, empty and void with nothing to do. It didn’t even get off to a bright start either, the weather was a bit dismal and it rained for part of the time. It was appreciably cooler than the previous few days but that much I didn’t mind as I like it cooler. However the sun didn’t put in an appearance which made it rather dull. I was grateful that it had rained as it meant I didn’t have to water the garden plants though on reflection it would have given me something to do. I had no electrical work scheduled either though someone did ask me how much I would charge to connect their cooker. Having given them a reduced price to what I might normally charge they said they would call back. I always know that when people say they will call back they never do. It seems they wanted the job doing for buttons. Well not from this girl they won’t. I am not desperate for work but it does give me something to do. I did a little more reading than I normally do but aside from that the day was boring. I could have gone out for a walk and perhaps I should have done so but for some reason the thought never crossed my mind! Had my mom still been alive she would probably have told me that I could expect the day to be dull and boring as it was a Wednesday. She had this thing about Wednesdays I think. Maybe it could have had something to do with me being born on a Wednesday morning! Thanks mom. She might have been right. I hate days in which I have nothing to do but saying that I can’t blame anyone but myself. Usually if I have no work scheduled or no offers in the morning I will find something to do or go out somewhere. Maybe I should just go out somewhere and forget all about work every day. No, that’s not me but for the time being everything has come to a grinding halt.

Shirley Anne


So now you know

Revolving earth at winter solstice on the nort...
Revolving earth at winter solstice on the northern hemisphere. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today marks the time of the Summer Solstice, the point in the Earth’s annual orbit around the Sun when we in the Northern Hemisphere of our planet experience the longest daylight hours in the day. Naturally those living in the Southern Hemisphere will be experiencing their shortest number of daylight hours in the day. After today we begin once again to drift back to Winter and for those in the south, Summer. We mark time using our calendars but did you ever wonder how we ended up with the calendar, the months, the seasons, how in fact we measure time and for what purpose? We mark time because we need uniformity in our lives and to be able to conduct business and social engagements with each other. In our day-to-day routines we don’t necessarily need to have absolute accuracy in our time keeping but just enough to make things work. Below is an extract from a website dedicated to Calendars. The link to the site is shown below this extract. It is filled with some very interesting facts about our calendar…….

‘Our units of temporal measurement, from seconds on up to months, are so complicated, asymmetrical and disjunctive so as to make coherent mental reckoning in time all but impossible. Indeed, had some tyrannical god contrived to enslave our minds to time, to make it all but impossible for us to escape subjection to sodden routines and unpleasant surprises, he could hardly have done better than handing down our present system. It is like a set of trapezoidal building blocks, with no vertical or horizontal surfaces, like a language in which the simplest thought demands ornate constructions, useless particles and lengthy circumlocutions. Unlike the more successful patterns of language and science, which enable us to face experience boldly or at least level-headedly, our system of temporal calculation silently and persistently encourages our terror of time.

“It is as though architects had to measure length in feet, width in meters and height in ells; as though basic instruction manuals demanded a knowledge of five different languages. It is no wonder then that we often look into our own immediate past or future, last Tuesday or a week from Sunday, with feelings of helpless confusion.’

Robert Grudin, `Time and the Art of Living’