My purse has taken quite a beating these past couple of months and needs a little time to recuperate. I have been spending as if my life depended upon it but the time has come for a rest from major spending sprees. On Wednesday morning E and I went out shopping initially for another tub of plaster in order for me to finish off that ceiling and wall repair I mentioned in yesterday’s post but I added that I wished to buy a pair of shoes too. E drove us to the shoe store down buy the sea front and I found the pair of shoes I wanted in minutes. They were flat-soled shoes for general walking about and will be used mostly when I am at work. However E decided she wanted a pair of shoes too and I ended up buying both pairs. Off we drove to the retail park a mile or so down the road and bought the plaster but while we were in the park I decided to visit the electrical store where we had recently purchased my new large-screen television. I wanted to see if I could buy another couple of televisions for the newly refurbished bedrooms at home. We looked at two different models each with a 32″ screen, one at a higher price than the other at which point a salesman showed us another with the same sized screen at an even lower price. I placed an order for two of them and paid the £258 asking price. The would be available for collection either Saturday (which will be today as you read this) or early next week. By now it was lunchtime so we drove to a nearby pub/restaurant and dined there. When we arrived home we spent some time burning stacks of paper printed upon which was information too sensitive to chance recycling it. Later I went on-line for a time using my old computer which runs Windows 7 but when I attempted to use the computer running Windows 10 I found it couldn’t connect to the Internet even though it was connected to the router! I contacted my Internet provider after many attempts trying to resolve the problem with no results but I got nowhere with them. At the time of writing this the issue was still not resolved but it had to be a software problem of some sort. A day in the life of yours truly!
And then there was an update: The problem was resolved later in the evening when E discovered her computer wasn’t connected either! We reset the router and all was back to normal. Now I am almost certain that Windows 10 was more the problem as both E’s new computer and my new computer both run Windows 10. The other of my computers runs Windows 7 and had no problems with connecting to the Internet.
I have been sleeping rather soundly of late and waking up fully refreshed because of the busy times I have been spending during the day. I had no scheduled electrical work at the beginning of the week but on Monday that had been a blessing as it turned out. With nothing to do on Tuesday I was prepared to find something at home that I could do instead. It was such a lovely morning but the northerly wind kept the temperature down. However that didn’t stop me from sitting out on the patio after breakfast with a cup of coffee soaking in the bright sunshine. With my back to the wall I was pretty much out of the wind and all I could feel was the warmth of the sun. Incidentally the picture shows the patio at around 4 o’clock and not at 9.30 in the morning when the sun would be behind the camera in this shot. After a while I returned indoors just as E was coming downstairs for her breakfast. She asked if I would like another coffee and just as I was about to drink it I received a call requesting my electrical services. The job was in a house some fifteen or sixteen miles away but first I had to visit my electrical supplier for some goods. The work itself would only take me an hour or so under normal circumstances but at one point I had to wait whilst the builders she had employed had done their work. I was in no hurry so it didn’t matter and I spent the time chatting with the lady of the house who informed me that she fostered children. I found it difficult to chat with her for I couldn’t get a word in edgewise! She could talk! When I began the work all she did was talk and it was interfering with my concentration. If it wasn’t her speaking it was her dog who liked to bark a lot until she stepped in to quieten it. In situations like this I have to be very diplomatic of course but I usually say after a few minutes that I must get on with the work and they take the hint. It is always nice chatting to people who employ me but sometimes I think they forget why I am there in the first place! It was mid-afternoon before I could leave. It had been bright and sunny all day long until I was about five minutes from home when the heavens opened and there followed rain, sleet and hailstones. Two minutes later and it was as bright and sunny as ever with blue skies. The day ended as it had begun, bright and sunny with a little wind.
Well I suppose we can now say yes to the small bedroom project. We had been waiting for the carpet fitter to lay the carpet on Monday morning so that we could bring back the furniture into the room. The guy came on time as planned and less than an hour later it was finished. Whilst he was here I asked him if he would be interested in laying the artificial turf when it arrives and he said he would. I showed him the patio so that he could see the surface where the turf would be laid. We talked about the adhesive that would be needed and he told me he would source that at a cheaper price than we would otherwise have had to pay if we bought it ourselves. When the turf arrives I have arranged to call him so he can see it and then set a date to lay it. In the meantime E and I cleaned the new carpet and brought the furniture back into the room.
The bed needed re-assembling as did the wardrobe. We needed to carry out some minor repairs to the wardrobe and level it so it would stand erect, we also had to adjust the door catches as they had always been a problem in the past. The reason the bed is empty is that we are waiting for the delivery of a new mattress on Friday. E went out after lunch and I was at a bit of a loose end until I remembered a job that needed doing at the top of the house. If my readers will remember we had two roof leaks repaired recently and the ceiling in one of the top rooms had been damaged because of the ingress of rain. Six years ago we had roof repairs and a lot of other works going on around the house but the roof leak hadn’t been discovered though we thought it had. The ceiling was not repaired at that time as there was no time to do it. However it got left and almost forgotten about, shelved for another day which never arrived! It was fortunate in a way that repairs weren’t done as the recent leak would have necessitated it being done again. I had a tub of ready-mixed plaster in the house so I used it all to patch up the area. Naturally that was only to be the base and a top coat of plaster would be applied later. Both the ceiling and part of the adjoining wall had been damaged.
Six years are a long time to leave before doing a job but in this case it saved doing the job twice!
My readers will know by now that I am somewhat of a restless person, always looking for something to do. I rest on Sundays in so much as I don’t work at my usual job or any project I might be doing at home. I am however open to ‘leisure work’ or I call it ‘pleasure work’, though that might hint at all work being a pleasure to me. In fact I do enjoy work but the only work I might do on a Sunday apart from preparing meals and washing dishes is a little gardening and I do emphasize it is minimal. I might mow the lawn, dig out the occasional weed, potter about or water the garden with a hose. Although April thus far hasn’t been all that wet we have had some rain but over the last week or so we haven’t had much to speak of at all. Twice this past week I have had to resort to using the hose because the plants have needed the water. Sunday was one of those days. I got the hose out even though a little rain was in the forecast and I watered the gardens front and back. It was quite a cold day on Sunday and the wind made it seem that much colder. I was glad to return indoors. During the afternoon it did rain, twice but the amount that fell was insignificant and would not have been enough for the gardens so it was just as well I had used the hose pipe. I get restless as I said and late in the morning I decided I would bake another fruit cake just to relieve the boredom so that is what I did. What does one do when there isn’t much to do? My problem is I get bored too easily I suppose and that is why I take on projects at home if I am not out working. I am always looking for something to do but on Sundays I am restricted to household chores if I cannot get out into the garden and if I want something to do. Playing the guitar and watching television doesn’t count though at times I am too tired to do anything else!
By the time you read this hopefully the carpet in the bedroom will have been laid as it was scheduled to be done on Monday morning. Saturday arrived and E and I wanted to fix the two pictures and the curtain hardware we had bought on Friday afternoon but first we paid a visit to the flooring specialist where we bought the carpets for the two bedrooms we have been refurbishing over the last couple of months. They sell artificial turf and for some time now we have wanted it laying on the patio. We saw the type we wanted and were quoted something like £525 but when we asked if they could fit it they declined. They gave us some poor excuse about the turf requiring a garden design company to do it. When I explained that it was a simple matter of cutting it to shape as they do with a carpet and we would see about adhering it to the concrete screed it made no difference. We left the store and they lost the sale. We decided to go elsewhere and found a local garden centre who could supply the lawn instead. Although they could supply the turf they didn’t provide a service to lay it but we bought it anyway and for £480 saving ourselves a little money in the process. I mentioned to E that we could ask the carpet fitter who would be laying the carpet on Monday if he would be prepared to cut the turf to shape for us when it arrives sometime later in a few day’s time. Naturally we would pay him for doing it. As I write this on Saturday it is too early to know. If all else fails I will do it myself but I’d rather a professional did it. I may have to bond it to the concrete myself even so.
We drove home and had lunch and after lunch we fixed the pictures to the walls and the curtain hardware to the frame, finally hanging the curtains themselves and fitting the new door handle. The room was emptied of all the bits and pieces, paints and paraphernalia that accumulates when doing a job like refurbishing or redecorating a room. It would be Monday before anything else could be done in the room. Somehow I managed to find a little time to spend out in the garden whilst the sun still shone.
The once well-kept lawn and the borders filled with an array of shrubs and flowers of different colours have all but disappeared. A wood lives there now and has crowded out the gardener’s hard work. The garden is no longer recognizable, its former glory and beauty is a thing of the past. Weeds grow everywhere beneath the thickets and young trees have taken their opportunistic places and even threaten themselves through overcrowding. Over the last few days E and I have pulled out many of these things (shown in the picture) from the lawn and borders… Yes, they are Sycamore seedlings and there have been lots of them. I must have plucked eighty or more and I know E has plucked a similar amount. It is an annual thing which must be done else the garden will end up in a similar way to the scenario described above. It doesn’t take Nature long to revert to its wild state does it? The motto is, don’t leave it! It is something we have to live with unfortunately if we have gardens surrounded or even part-filled with trees. We are in that situation, in fact we have a sycamore tree standing in our own garden. That tree however tends to shed most of its seeds in a neighbour’s garden because it stands against the eastern wall of the garden. The prevailing wind direction, especially in Autumn is from the west. The real culprits are the trees in another neighbour’s garden on the north side of our garden. Their seeds tend to fall into our garden as well as the garden in which they stand. I personally love trees but they can be a problem. Mowing the lawn frequently in Spring helps to keep things in check but during the intermittent periods we must keep a lookout for the dreaded seedlings. They can be difficult to recognize as the young leaves look nothing like the mature ones. Compare the pictures. If you have a garden and want to keep it neat and tidy it takes work. A garden is a living and growing environment which needs constant maintenance to keep it the way you want it else it will gladly tend to do its own thing if left unattended too long. I think it is worth the effort though and besides which it is good exercise!
Many folk I speak with have decided in their own mind that when they die their spirit will go to Heaven. They go to church they say or they were brought up as Catholics, Christened when very young because their parents took them along to a church for the ceremony or they deserve to go because they live good lives and are helpful to others. Whatever reasons they think qualify them for a place in Heaven essentially there is only one way……..God says so………..read this…….
[ Is accepting Jesus the only way for people to get to heaven? (John 14:6)
Yes. The Bible clearly identifies Jesus as the only means of salvation (Jn 14:6; Acts 4:12; Php 2:9–11). Believing in Jesus and his unique work (Acts 2:37–39; 16:31; Rom 10:9) is the only way to gain access to God’s forgiveness. No number of good deeds can earn a person an eternal reward. No other faith system leads people to the one true God. Some people chafe at such an exclusive stance, but the words of Jesus and the apostles leave no other option (Acts 4:12; 1 Tim 2:5).
Who is the fairest of them all? Why me of course! Well no-one else will say so. Joking apart, E and I have almost reached the finish line on this small project and to be honest I am glad it is almost done as I am a little sick of painting walls. It had to be done though, the room was a mess. Here are four pictures, the last I will post until the room has a carpet and is again filled with furniture, probably sometime next week. E and I dined out on Wednesday afternoon after doing a bit of painting in the morning and refitting the radiator to the wall. We had ordered the mirror you see in the first picture over the Internet and whilst we were waiting for notification of its arrival in the store we thought we would eat out as we hadn’t dined out for some time. After our meal we received the email notification and went directly to collect the mirror. It took me a few minutes to fit it and to clean and refit the power outlets and switches.
For those with keen eyesight, you may have noticed the retractable rule hanging from the right side of the window frame in the third picture. I had been measuring the window for when we buy the new curtains and had simply forgotten to remove the rule before I took the picture. We will be doing no more decorating now for a while. Even though we want to redecorate the stair wells and landings it is time for a change. The weather is improving every day and there is work to be done out in the gardens as well as taking time out and relaxing. Before that can happen I need to spend a few days changing radiator valves and installing a little pipework for a heater in the wet room once the heating system is off for the few months it will not be needed. It isn’t hard work and I can take my time doing it.
Two electrical jobs on Tuesday kept me away from home for most of the morning. When I got back home I discovered E had been working in the small bedroom and had almost painted the wall with the lighter shade of grey paint we had bought the previous afternoon. It is supposed to be a shade of grey but it has a tint of green in it unless my eyes are deceiving me…
The difference between the two shades is evident, I think you’ll agree. After we had eaten lunch an hour or so later we returned to the room to apply the darker shade to the other three walls . We had that done in an hour but we thought they might need another coat later despite the number of coats we had applied already! Tuesday had been a wonderfully sunny day but the wind took the edge of it being pleasant enough to sit in, though we did give it a try for a short time. In the end E decided to take in the washing she had hung on the line hours before and return indoors whilst I gave the garden plants a thorough watering as we hadn’t had rain for some time. We planned to finish painting the walls on Wednesday though at the time of writing this on Tuesday the wood work has to have its final coat of white gloss paint applied too. We also plan to buy a wall mirror and of course curtains and the rail to hang them from but these purchases can be made later.
I worked all morning on Monday installing an outdoor power unit and a floodlight for a lady living in the adjacent road to where my eldest son lives with his in-laws. I arrived back home in time for lunch and it was around two-fifteen when I decided to do a spot of painting in the bedroom whilst E sat and watched something on tv. I wanted to see what the final coat of paint would look like so I painted half of the wall in which the window is sited. It took me about fifteen minutes because the paint was very easy to apply. Whilst I had been painting the undercoat I found it very difficult because the paint seemed to drag over the surface rather than glide over it. That was the main reason I had to paint the wall the way I did when applying the grey undercoat over the paint we had used to blank out the original purple colour. In a previous post you can see how the paint was applied in circular motions (it looked like a patchwork quilt!) as that was the only way I could get it to come off the brush reasonably thickly. I suspect the two paints had been reluctant to adhere to one another in any way but very thinly. Anyway my test final coat glided on very easily because the previous coat was the same paint. Just as I had finished the test area E came upstairs and suggested we paint one of the walls, the largest one which faces the window, in a paler shade of grey than the other three walls. We needed another pot of the same grey colour anyway so off we went to the retail store and bought one of the same colour and one of a paler shade of grey. As it happened there was a special offer of £18 for any two pots bought, their normal price being £13.50 each if bought singly. Whilst I had been at work in the morning E had been busy painting too so it won’t take long before the room is finished, well in time for the carpet being laid on Monday.
Last Autumn, late Autumn in fact, E and I decided to use the two ‘chimney top‘ plant pots in which to plant some bulbs. A few years ago we converted these two tops, originally part of a chimney, by setting concrete in the narrow end thus making them into containers. We included a drain hole when we poured-in the concrete. For some time they housed the two Phoenix Canariensis trees we replanted in the patio flower bed I had constructed last September. E planted some snowdrop bulbs and some tulip bulbs in them. The tulips are now in bloom and although the snowdrop flowers have gone their foliage hasn’t. You can see the tulips in their pots in this picture and you can also see other tulips in the two pots on the steps up to the patio (beneath the archway).
The other day E and I were out shopping and on the spur of the moment I bought a bird table (see previous post). We had temporarily placed it on the pathway but we had been thinking of placing it permanently on a natural stoneslab set into the lawn. Well now I have done that and here it is….
That slab of stone is almost a metre square and is around 6 cm thick! Gosh it was heavy work moving it. We had it standing against the rear wall of the house ever since we had dug out all the other stone slabs and rocks when digging out the mound (in the background in the picture above). There was an unbelievable amount of natural stone buried in that corner of the garden. See entries for June/July 2014 or search ‘mound’. Fortunately we possess a sturdy trolley that enabled it to be moved to the spot quite easily. Digging out the lawn was the most difficult part of the work! Once I had the hole dug out I manoeuvred the slab to the edge and let it drop into the space. A little filling-in of soil pressed underneath from the sides and then repairing the gaps with some of the grass sods and the job was done. I fixed the table/stand permanently by drilling two holes into the slab and screwing it down. It made a change from painting bedroom walls! The birds seem happy with it anyway as they are constantly using it.
Although the temperature had dropped a little it was pleasantly warm and sunny on Saturday for most of the day. I wanted to be out in the garden perhaps relaxing on the patio for a while and then working out there but I had to stay indoors instead. E had gone to her monthly meeting with her group after lunch and consequently did no work. My readers will know by now that she and I have been redecorating the small bedroom. I decided that the work must carry on as we only have eight days left before the carpet is laid. The painting of the walls has been my task though E has done part of it too. The original colours were blue and purple and we overpainted it with magnolia as we had plenty of that in storage. The final colour was to be grey and I completed the first coat by late afternoon.
You either love the colour or you hate it and at first I wasn’t sure about the choice but now the first coat has been applied I am beginning to like it more and more. It has a mottled appearance as it was easier to apply the undercoat that way by hand. A roller could be used obviously but that would take many coats rather than the intended two. It looks darker than it actually is and is quite pale in colour under the new light I installed a couple of days ago. The room should be ready well in time before the carpet arrives.
I have noticed how fast things are happening in the garden lately. We didn’t have much of a winter in that although it was cold it wasn’t as cold as it perhaps should have been, in fact it was warmer than expected. Now Spring is here the garden has sprung into life at quite a pace. This weekend, beginning on Friday, the weather turned cold again for a few days but I doubt it will have slowed things down. I have mowed the lawn twice and already it looks as though it will need cutting again soon. The problem, if it is a problem, is that I have been a little under pressure trying to get on with our bedroom projects whilst trying to find time to do a few things around the garden too. I have spent a little time in the greenhouse ‘potting on’ some plants and tending others. Having a garden is a nice thing but they do need attention else they revert to the wild and faster than you think. I am never really short of having something to do around this house of ours though sometimes I feel the pressure and simply want to take a break from it all. I keep telling myself I will take a holiday but never seem to get around to having one. Even finding a little time to sit out on the patio once in a while just now would be good but with the projects we have and the weather changes it isn’t always possible. Hopefully the bedroom we are currently working in will be finished soon, however I do have to find time to service our heating system. Many months ago I purchased a lot of radiator valves because so many in the house need replacing. I have to drain down the system to do that work and it will also give me the opportunity to install pipes to supply a towel rail/radiator in the wet room at the same time. Only a few days work and it can be done anytime before the system is needed later in the year fortunately. Knowing me though it will get done far sooner than that.
After E and I had been out shopping on Wednesday I thought about the new ceiling light fitting we had just bought for the small bedroom redecoration. That unit is grey/silver in colour and in fact had been the only one the store had left in stock. Other units of the same design but of a bronze colour were more plentiful and would match the furniture in my own bedroom. I decided I would return to the store on Thursday morning and buy one and that is what we did. I fitted them both on Friday afternoon. Whilst we were out we looked at some bird tables that were on sale and ended up buying one of those too! Both E and I have wanted a bird table for quite some time but we just never seemed to get around to buying one. We are now wondering when the birds will realise it is there and stocked with seeds! We are considering sinking a natural stone slab in to the lawn on which to place the table permanently. For the moment we have left it on the path as you can see. I will take a close-up picture later when it is resited. After we returned home on Thursday E set about painting the wood work with its first coat of gloss paint but I decided not to work until after lunch. She went out shopping after lunch and I began painting the walls with the first coat of emulsion. I completed the room in three hours but during that time our neighbour asked if I could help her to sort out a problem with her new vacuum cleaner which I did. The walls will need at least one more coat of emulsion, probably two, before I can even think of applying the top coat which will be grey in colour. Well here is part of the room showing the first and second coats as of Friday after E had just painted the lower half of the walls and as you can see the original colour is still evident. Perhaps the final colour will cover it but I am thinking a third undercoat might be best before the final coat is applied, either that or two top coats. On Friday we also removed the radiator from the wall so that the wall could be painted as well as the radiator itself.E painted that too! She does her bit as you can see.
If we are to get things done by a certain time we need to have a schedule, a plan of operation which hopefully will run smoothly. Often we have to depend upon others who may let us down for whatever reason and then our plans go awry. All we can do is reschedule or adjust our plan. We have been fortunate with our little domestic projects and things have generally gone to plan. Currently we are redecorating one of the bedrooms and we have no-one else involved who might upset our schedule except for the person delivering the carpet and the fitter who will lay it. Aside from that we are expecting the delivery of a replacement mattress for the bed which won’t interfere with the work. Our responsibility is in the decorating itself so if the schedule is upset we will only have ourselves to blame. With this in mind we have given ourselves plenty of time to get the work finished long before the carpet is delivered and laid. The door has been cut and re-hung and the wood work has had its undercoat as I write this on Wednesday so all that remains to be done is to paint the walls a couple of times and give the wood work its top coat of gloss paint. We have twelve days to do that. I have to fit a new ceiling light and door handles too but they won’t take long to do. Today, Wednesday as I write, E and I went out and bought the carpet, that is paid for it in advance, bought a new mattress and a ceiling light. Whilst we were out we bought two small bedside lamps for the bedroom we had finished refurbishing recently. We also bought vinyl silk emulsion in grey (slate) and white gloss paint. We have to paint the walls with a white emulsion undercoat before we can paint them grey but we have plenty of white emulsion in storage at home. Hopefully I can now give my purse a rest for a while but as I am still considering the purchase of some artificial grass for the patio so that may have to wait.