Just about three weeks ago I received delivery of a new range cooker. I had ordered a new cooker chimney hood too but as my regular readers will know evidently it was out of stock and none were available. Patient as I am I waited as the supplier kept me informed with updates. On Friday last week I received another call from the supplier and was informed that at last a cooker hood was available and they have arranged with me to deliver it tomorrow. This means I can now carry on with redecorating the kitchen knowing that we will have the means to extract kitchen fumes once I fit the hood. Everything is in place for that and it should be easy for me to install it. It is only a matter of drilling a few fixing holes and making the electrical connection. The extract pipe is already there having been disconnected from the now removed unit. I stored the old unit in the cellar as there is nothing wrong with it and perhaps someone may like to have it for free or for a very nominal fee. I didn’t wish to throw it away because it is still serviceable and the only reason I removed it was that I wanted a colour change. Hopefully by today I will have painted the ceiling and the walls so that the new unit can be quickly installed. If it is delivered early in the day I will fit it immediately. The wall looks rather bare without a hood there. It is funny how we get used to things, we take them for granted after a short time but once they have gone we miss them. Without this particular item though it isn’t just a case of missing it, if it isn’t there and working then redecorating the kitchen would be a far more regular task and I am not sure I fancy that! Surprisingly though, even using the hood doesn’t prevent some grease from settling on the furniture but it is far better than it would otherwise be. I have worked in many kitchens that hadn’t an extract hood and believe me, they were very greasy! Even those who had a re-circulating type of hood were still a little greasy. The problem with a re-circulating system is that not all of the grease is trapped by the filters as the air gets pushed back into the room. Furthermore, none of the water vapour is filtered and that usually settles on the windows where it is cooler. This is why it is better to extract the air from the room entirely if possible. The kitchen needed a make-over as it hasn’t had one for around eighteen years but that could be due to my not having the spare time because of other household projects, else we’ve not thought it necessary. I suppose the main reason now for having the work done was the fact that the old cooker had too many problems that needed fixing. I thought rather than have them repaired I might as well buy a new one and what an opportunity to change the decor at the same time. Roll on tomorrow!
It was the seventieth anniversary of my birthday last Saturday. I don’t much remember the first few though I can remember incidences in those far off days of yesteryear. Recent events and especially people I sometimes have immense difficulty in remembering though specific instances and the more memorable I do remember. It isn’t an age thing, I have been this way for as long as I can remember. Yes I do remember that! In fact I find that I can remember factual information more readily than many other things. I have noticed over the last few years in particular that I am getting progressively absent-minded. I accept that this is due to age for I never used to be this way. Simply put, I forget things more easily these days. Now we are all no doubt guilty of that to some extent and for the most part it is more of a nuisance than a liability, fortunately. Leaving home without an important document that is required for a meeting or leaving an umbrella on a train can be classed as a nuisance, an inconvenience but neither poses a real problem. It is when we forget to do something which in doing so might result in a calamity or a danger to ourselves or others. Thankfully I am not at that stage and hope I shall never be. As we get older though we do forget things. I have joked about this with people I have met during the day. I will tell them that sometimes I will go upstairs to collect something or do something but once there I sometimes have to think what it is I was intending to do! It appears I am not alone in this either, many of us do exactly the same thing. It doesn’t help when my mind is filled with other things, for instance whilst at work. As I am working my mind is often two, three or even four stages ahead of my current activity and I can therefore be prone to forgetting minor details. I have to be aware of that. Now recently we had repairs done under guarantee on some of our windows and the front door of the house. We had lived with the problems for quite a number of months but were in no hurry to have the repairs done as long as they got done at some point. The main two faults were on one of the upstairs windows in a room currently not in use as it needs refurbishing and the lock mechanism on the front door. As we were not using the room the faulty window wasn’t the main problem. The door lock was more important though having said that it was more of a nuisance than a problem. When the doors were installed we could leave the house, lift up the handle and the door would be locked. The door handles look something like those shown in the picture.
Unless we had the key we would not be able to get back indoors so it was essential that we took our keys with us if we went outside. Of course if we were leaving the house and going off somewhere we would also lock the door further using the key. The lock therefore is a two-stage device but even set at the first stage will prevent re-entry. We had gotten used to not having to do this by simply locking the door with the key whenever we left the house because whilst the lock was faulty simply lifting the handle wouldn’t lock the door. If therefore I was out in the front of the house say putting garbage in the bin I was in no danger of locking myself out by lifting the door handle. Since it has been repaired there is every chance of locking myself out unless I take the key with me. Now I do not carry all my keys around with me whilst at home but there is a single key we keep to hand that we can take outside with us and it is used to lock and unlock the door whilst we are inside the house. Now here is the funny part. On Thursday E had just gone out to do the weekly shopping with her mom and I was at home. I decided to put out the accumulated plastic and cardboard waste and duly took it to the wheelie bin lifting the door handle as I left the house. A force of habit. I had however not taken that key with me for I had forgotten that the door lock had been repaired. Fortunately I had my mobile phone attached to my belt as I usually do during the day and I was able to call E for help. It took some time to get through to her but after four or five attempts she answered and returned home ten minutes later. I wasn’t dressed to be outdoors in the cold but I was glad it wasn’t raining too. I could have sat in my neighbour’s house had that been the case. E tried her key in the lock but it wouldn’t fit, the single key was in the lock on the inside where I had left it when unlocking the door! Why oh why didn’t I take it with me? There was one other possibility, try the rear door which leads into the cellar but we usually leave its key in the lock so that it cannot be misplaced. As the door is solid with no panels the key is safe left in the lock. Would E’s key be able to unlock it from the outside? We had to open the garage door then two more internal doors to get to the rear garden and on to the rear house door. She put the key in and turned it, we were in! I thanked her and sheepishly went inside whilst she returned through the garage to her car and drove away. I must remember to take a key with me next time. Whenever I am leaving the house to go anywhere I have my handbag with me. My house keys are always in it. It is only whilst at home I don’t carry them around and it is only the front door which is waiting for me to make a mistake.
Wasn’t much happening on Wednesday morning. I had one very small job to do for a guy who lives about two hundred metres away, that is if I were a bird (of the feathered variety…LOL) but about four hundred by road, the way I have to go. He has a twin spotlight over his bed and he wanted me to replace the 12v transformer with an LED Driver so that he could at the same time remove the halogen lamps and fit LED lamps instead. Basically a ten minute job which got done within that time. I would have returned home except that I wanted to drive into town to purchase some toiletries and also visit the Salvation Army Citadel to conduct some business there. I usually only buy toiletries twice a year and buy them in bulk accordingly. I buy them there because they are less expensive. I was back home just after eleven o’clock. I had no other work scheduled for the day so I locked the van away in the garage. It was around twelve-thirty and I was thinking about lunch and what to have when my mobile phone rang. It was a lady I have worked for on a couple of previous occasions who lives just on the other side of town. She asked if I could do a quick job for her. She had a twin dimmer lighting switch, that is a plate on which were two dimmer switches and one of them had ceased working. It would be simple enough to replace the whole plate but I had to see it first in case it wasn’t the switch that was faulty. I was there in ten minutes. I discovered that indeed one of the switches was faulty but she had installed energy-saving lamps (miniature fluorescent) which cannot be dimmed and it was possibly that reason the switch gave up the ghost. I drove her to the supplier to buy a replacement switch but one having a dimmer switch and an ordinary on-off switch on the plate instead. The supplier told me that a ‘dummy dimmer’ switch was available to replace the faulty one instead of buying a complete unit. It looked exactly like the dimmer switch but simply switches on and off instead. We drove back to the house and I set about doing the ‘ten minute’ job. That is when the problems started. I had difficulty in removing the faulty switch and the wires connected to it. Fitting the replacement was straightforward but connecting the wires to it was not.
In the first instance they were too short to make it easy and secondly I had difficulty in opening the connectors which were so tight I finally had to remove the switch from the plate and attempt to open them that way. In doing so however I had to exert a lot of pressure on the terminal screws and they disappeared inside the unit. I had to dismantle the switch to set things right again. Totally a design fault as the only thing stopping the terminals from disappearing were the three solid wires behind them and they didn’t take much pressure to bend them. A more solid terminal block is required in the switches’ design. I put everything back in place and connected the switch only to find that the lights didn’t work! I had inadvertently connected one of the wires to a wrong terminal. Two wires, three terminals and working in the dark didn’t help and although I had a flashlight with someone to hold it for me it had made little difference. All I had to do was move one of the wires to the spare terminal to put it right but I had to remove the switch again in order to do it! The main problem was the lack of length in the wires but as there was little space in the wall box I couldn’t lengthen them. I informed the lady that to put things right would need the wall box being set further back in the wall to enable the wires to be extended but that in the meantime I had to do the best I could in the time I had to do it. She had an appointment and would be away from home for a long time. Eventually I got everything working correctly and she was happy with that. She asked me if at some point in the near future I could replace a faulty floodlight outside and above her rear door. I had a quick look and agreed I would do it for her. I might get the opportunity to redo that twin lighting switch too in the way it should have been done in the first place by the original installer. I get so annoyed when I see the poor work done by some electricians, especially when I have to put things right and designers who design problems into their designs!
So the job took far longer than it should have done had all things been right but I didn’t push up the price. It was by now two-thirty so I drove to the pub and treated myself to a hearty lunch.
Tuesday was a very miserable day. The whole of this current week is forecasted as having poor weather, that is wet, windy and cold though not entirely cold. I had a couple of requests in the morning but they came to nothing and one of those nuisance calls most people are receiving these days regarding PPI (Payment Protection Insurance) claims. I was busy doing something on my computer when that call came in and I was caught off-guard thinking it might be a request for my electrical services. I glanced at the callers number and mistakenly thought it was someone living in the next town whose telephone prefix would be 01695 whereas in fact it was prefixed 0161. That prefix is for Manchester a city more than forty miles away and where I have no known contacts either for business or for personal reasons. It was the first three digits that threw me but I was not concentrating. A young girl began with a welcoming message and I had a little difficulty in stopping her as almost immediately I realised my error. I told her that I have never taken out a payment protection plan of any kind in the past and she then tried to persuade me otherwise. Too late! I had put down the receiver.
Most annoying are these cold calls but even more annoying that I should have been caught off-guard. What is particularly annoying is the fact that this company ( a law firm specialising in claims) thinks I have an outstanding claim of some sort. I haven’t. Where they get this information I am not sure but it only takes one error by someone who has not closed any case files and removed them from their system. As these companies exchange file data it means anything I have been involved in, even though it may have been resolved many years ago, is still on somebody’s books.
Although I had no electrical work to do on Tuesday I didn’t do any work at home either. Aside from the fact that we are still waiting for the delivery of a new cooker extractor hood which is holding back the kitchen project I really didn’t want to be working on anything anyway. Even working in the garden was not an option because of the lousy weather. My heart wasn’t in it and that is because my relationship with E has turned a little sour once again. It is a sad affair that keeps rearing its ugly head every now and then. I guess I should have left years ago but I know I would have suffered more had I done so. I am not the sort of person who gives up in the face of difficulty and besides which I love E dearly.
It has been quite some time since I sang anywhere. I once sang in a couple of choirs at school and later, much later, at church. The latter being so later was that I didn’t believe in God and therefore I didn’t go to church. Since leaving the church about fifteen years ago and for reasons I won’t explain here, not at this time anyway, I have not sung anywhere. The last time I sang solo and accompanied myself on guitar in public was at church at times when I led the congregation in worship. When I left the church I ceased playing the guitar for almost five years then took it up again about eleven years ago. In total then I have played guitar for twenty years since 1990 when I first started. I am self-taught with no formal training but people say I am quite good. I am not so sure myself but who am I to judge? Once in a while I might take my guitar (shown in the picture) with me when I go to work, usually in the summer and it remains in the van until I take it out if I am taking a break from work or have finished work for the day. I have been known to sit outside of a pub and just play for my own pleasure. I digress. I had two jobs to do on Monday morning, I wasn’t sure I would be able to do the second for I wasn’t sure how long I would be at the first. As it turned out part of the work I was to do at the first job had to be cancelled and that left me time to do the second job. Unfortunately the customer at the first job had bought two new outside light fittings to replace what he thought were two faulty ones but in fact it appeared it was only the lamps that were faulty. It would have been impossible to fit the replacement fittings in the same position without some major alterations to the existing wiring so it was decided to leave the old ones in place. The remainder of the work was inside and was completed without any problems. I had an idea that the lady in the apartment I was to visit for the second job would be interested in hearing me play the guitar for a couple of reasons. I have worked in her apartment a few times in the past so she knew from our conversations that I played and wrote Christian songs. She had hinted on those occasions that she would like to hear them. She is also a Christian and a fellow ‘Scouser‘ (from Liverpool as I am). I thought I would surprise her on this visit and take along my guitar. I completed the work she had asked me to do and something extra that was non-electrical too but I had to return to my van to get my battery drill to do it and whilst there I brought my guitar back inside with me. We sat down and had a coffee and a chat before I took the guitar out of its case and played a couple of well-known Beatles songs which thankfully for me she immediately recognised! I played a few more and then some of my own compositions. Even though I have written a few songs I sometimes forget the words but I made an attempt and sang some for her. I guess she liked my playing for she has invited me to return again. Maybe next time I shall be singing for my supper?
In one calendar month almost everyone in the western world (and the eastern world too) will be celebrating Christmas. Naturally they will not be people of other faiths though even some of them might celebrate. It is intended as a Christian festival though having said that not all will be believers and followers of Christ and will be celebrating for different reasons best known to themselves. Their Christmas will not be a celebration of the birth of Jesus but it will be for a celebration centred around family, presents, partying and other things none of which honour Jesus. When Christ was born (and it certainly wasn’t on December 25th) three wise men, actually mystics from eastern lands had heard that a new king was to be born or had been born and as was the custom in those days when entering into the presence of a king they each brought a gift. The gifts themselves were not given on the day of his birth but some time later, maybe months later. People today might use the argument of giving presents to justify doing that because Jesus received gifts. They are not honouring Jesus by doing that but are simply satisfying themselves. ( http://rcg.org/books/ttooc.html ). Today of course everything is driven by commerce and there is an incessant pressure encouraging us all to buy into it. During the last few weeks and into the next four there will be a bombardment of advertising in the hope that people will buy things they don’t really need for themselves or for others. It seems rather stupid to me that people give gifts and then receive something from the recipient. It isn’t an act of kindness or love but one that is selfish and self-centred, especially when the whole point of Christmas was to celebrate the birth of Jesus as Saviour and praising God for it happening. How many will actually do that? It is a sign of the times I suppose and each year the truth behind Christmas is pushed further into the background until one day the association will be irrelevant. It is already meaningless in the eyes and hearts of many. It is all a sign of things to come, a sign of lawlessness and a turning away from God all prophesied in Scripture. Yes it is all there in black and white, a prophecy many hundreds of years ago and is being ignored because people would rather do their own thing than obey God. We don’t worship God with useless festivals and self-indulgency.
Daniel 12:10 Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.
Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14
Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.
If you celebrate Christmas then do it for the right reasons and not for any sense of self-gratification. Remember there is no salvation through material things or self-righteousness, there is only one salvation and this is through Jesus Christ, the one Christmas is supposed to celebrate.
On November 10th I expected to receive delivery of an order I had placed on-line for a new range cooker in black together with a chimney hood, also in black. There was nothing wrong with our existing hood other than its colour. It was a deep shade of green as was the old cooker. Thinking the delivery of a new black cooker hood, which incidentally is the same as the one it is replacing apart from its colour and is shown on the left, I disconnected and removed the old one and started to redecorate the walls. Well the cooker arrived as planned and was immediately installed by myself on the same day but there was no cooker hood. The supplier had informed me a few days earlier that it was currently out of stock but that they expected it to be available quite soon. I received a call from them on Friday and was told that they had been informed that the manufacturer didn’t expect to have any available until February! However I was again informed by the supplier that they were expecting a delivery on December 1st. Where they were expecting it to come from is anyone’s guess. I was told that I would be the first to receive one of any that came into their hands at that time. Well thanks a bundle Mr. Supplier. I do not mind waiting but what annoys me is that there was no indication on their website that the goods were currently out of stock and unavailable. I advised them to upgrade their site and have this feature written into the software. What is the point in advertising something that isn’t available or that doesn’t show when it will be? So it looks as though the kitchen refurbishment will be held back for a couple of weeks. It would be silly to carry on with the decorating and use a cooker without the capability of being able to extract the fumes that will be produced when cooking on it and in the process spoil the decor. I suppose there are advantages in having to wait though. It means I don’t have to rush the kitchen refurbishment. It means I might have some time available for doing other things, like the garden for instance! I have a feeling that when the hood finally arrives I won’t be able to find the time to fit it as I will be too busy doing other things. Since the phone call from the supplier just prior to my writing this the phones haven’t stopped ringing with people asking for my services. If I need the time it looks like I will have to make it!
The title would seem to indicate a trip somewhere but alas (for my readers that is) no it doesn’t mean I am wishing that. It means I am wishing to get out into the garden to do some pruning, actually a lot of it and some general tidying up. However mother nature has other ideas at the moment, the weather has been quite awful, very windy and wet and I have not had the opportunity. It has been a blessing in disguise though for over the last week especially I have been too busy with my electrical commitments to have any real spare time and what little of that I have had has been used up inside the house. The kitchen project has been somewhat neglected on my part for that reason though E has been doing some painting when she has had the chance. I like the Autumn when it is dry and not so windy and I am sure we will get those times in the weeks ahead so I am not worried that I am unable to get into the garden just now. In the past week I had to make an effort to protect the Phoenix Canariensis trees before the onset of the cold spell which had been forecast. I managed to do that with E’s help but the following day I had to redo one of them as the plastic sheet had been blown off it. The wind has been unusually strong but I don’t think we will have any more problems with them now. I have been writing a lot about the leaf removal in the garden and how often I have had to do it over the last two weeks. As I write this on Friday afternoon and having just been in the garden to check things I discovered that even more leaves have found their way to the rear of the garage in which I park my van and where they accumulate most of all around the body of the house. I didn’t remove them because I know they won’t move from where they are and no doubt there will be more of them in the week ahead. The area on the path to the large greenhouse is also filled with leaves but again I have left them for the time being as there will surely be more and they too will not be going anywhere. A few apples still cling to their branches despite the strength of the wind but the net beneath them is ready to catch them when they decide to drop. All I can do for the moment is to look at the garden through the window and wait for the weather to improve but I am itching to go.
A well-known saying but not strictly true. If it were true then I must be one of the most wicked in the land! Remember what I wrote on Monday? This past week I have been very busy indeed, mostly working for other people and sorting out their electrical problems with only a little time spent on working on our own little kitchen project. I expect to be busy at this time of year on the lead-up to Christmas for many folk apparently must have new lighting fittings and other things installed in time for the holiday. It shows where their hearts lie. I don’t mind for it is a money-spinner for me! I am though expected to be at everyone’s beck and call by some people’s attitude. I am far more selective in what I will do nowadays but the pressure is still relentless. I only take on small jobs now but you would be surprised just how many of them I am offered and do. So it has been this past week and it has prevented me from getting much done at home but other events have happened and they too have kept me from working at home. It has been very windy and wet during the last few days but it has finally eased somewhat. It might sound crazy but people do ask me to check faulty floodlights or fit replacement ones when it is wet and windy, naturally I refuse but may offer to do the work once the weather has improved. Even so many will say they will ask someone else! I wonder if they would like working up a ladder in the pouring rain when it is windy too? Well today is Sunday and I am finally not doing anything at all for this week. Maybe the coming week will be a little easier? Maybe I’ve been too wicked and will be run off my feet? Either way doesn’t really matter but I would like to finish the kitchen project sometime this year!
Long ago when people travelled along a highway there were no signposts or markers along the way. Unless they used a particular route often they would have no idea how long it would be to journey’s end. Eventually signs were posted, either carved onto a rock or made of wood. Those carved into a rock might show the distance in miles left to a town or city. They were called milestones for that reason. Life’s journey is like that, there are ‘milestones’ along life’s path too. Many people celebrate the passing of another year in their lives, the anniversary of their birth day now called birthday. Not everyone celebrates their birthday but in modern times it has become an excuse (if there was one) to indulge in revelry and the drinking of alcohol. Today actually marks my own seventieth birthday and I suppose it counts as a milestone along life’s highway though I don’t celebrate it. Once upon a time I did but over the last few years that novelty has worn off or rather has been ignored as something pointless by myself. It is a man-made celebration only begun in relatively recent times as are many of the other so-called celebrations that many observe. If the truth be known my birthday is no different from any other day in my life and it simply reminds me that I am another day older and closer to death. When I was young life’s road lay ahead and as I ventured along it I experienced new things not even considering what lay at the end of it. As I grew older and dare I say wiser, I began to wonder and I pondered these things. I always thought that at the end of my life there was nothing to follow, I didn’t believe in a Creator God or an afterlife. It wasn’t until I was about forty-three years of age that I began to think differently and I found myself on a new road with promises of something at the end of it. I had become a Christian, a believer in God and an everlasting life in Jesus Christ. My life up to that point was meaningless, I passed milestone after milestone and was going nowhere. My life since has purpose and meaning and I now realise that all that went before was a chasing after the wind, a merry-go-round on a useless road to damnation. It doesn’t matter to me if I die today or tomorrow or in ten years time. What matters is that I am promised something far better and something that will last forever. Time will have no meaning at all for there won’t be any. In this life we measure the passage of time by all sorts of ways and none of them are really important, not even the milestones we create for ourselves, not even my birthday. During my working day I sometimes get the opportunity to be a witness for God, for Jesus and I fulfill my duty in telling others about God’s wonderful gift of life, the Gospel or good news about the reconciliation we all can have with our Creator God though His Son Jesus Christ. Some listen and some do not. Some might consider these things and others will not. Scripture tells us this. There may not be many more milestones to come in your life so why not take stock before you reach the last one?