I was supposed to be driving off to the job I had scheduled on Monday morning but it had begun to rain and the forecast was for rain throughout the day. So I stayed at home. The work was to be done outdoors so it would have been difficult if not hazardous to do it especially as it would all be done up a ladder! I called my customer about 70 minutes before my expected arrival but could only leave a message as apparently she was unavailable according to her messaging service. I called back several times during the following hour and a half then gave up. She finally called me wondering why I hadn’t turned up. I explained with the same information you’ve just read. She checked her messages and discovered nothing had been recorded. What was going on? Anyway we made arrangements for me to visit the following day when the weather would be better. I was hoping the lamp-post would be delivered whilst I was at home. E is home much of the time but I couldn’t rely on her being available to sign for the delivery. The problem was not knowing on which day it would arrive but as luck would have it the post was delivered mid-morning. However I was shall we say, ‘indisposed’ and E must have heard the doorbell ring and she came downstairs to answer the door. She had been at the top of the house in her ‘workshop’. I confessed to having not heard the doorbell and had the delivery men come a couple of minutes earlier or later I would have been there to accept the delivery as I was actually on the same floor. That is very typical of many folk’s experiences I’m sure, we wait in for something to arrive and then just for a moment we are indisposed and it arrives! I have a feeling it happens by design! I took the three packages downstairs into the cellar where I began to remove the enormous amount of corrugated cardboard and bubble-wrap surrounding the three main items, the heavy base unit, the pole and accessories and the lamp itself. I discovered they had included a light-sensing economy lamp (fluorescent) in the package. They are designed to switch on from dusk till dawn and of course will remain on throughout the night. It will do for the moment but I am still trying to obtain a part-night sensor/controller and if I do I will replace the lamp with an LED one.
At least I won’t have to wait until I obtain a sensor for the light to work. Having unpacked the parts I now know what has to be done. My first task will be to cut off the excess cable near to where the post will be and set it in position with more concrete so that it will emerge beneath the pole when it is fixed to the base. The pole is designed to be fixed using four ‘rawlbolts’. All I need now is for some dry weather……….
Sunday started dull after an overnight soaking but the rain had ceased though it was still cloudy and cool. It wasn’t until noon when the sun finally took over and we had wall-to-wall sunshine for a few hours. It was just about bearable out on the patio for there was a bit of a breeze blowing. More rain was promised for the evening and overnight into Monday. I was hoping it wouldn’t be as bad as the forecast because I had some outside electrical work to do for someone in the next town. If the weather was too bad I would have to reschedule for the following day which promised to be drier and less windy. It’s the way it goes in my line of work though I have to say I tend to do less outside work these days. At the time of writing I am expecting the delivery of the lamp-post I purchased but I am not sure which of the two days it will arrive, Monday or Tuesday. I am eager to know how to secure it to the concrete base I have made. It may be that it requires to be set in a hole in which case I will have to dig out that hole in the concrete. What I have already laid isn’t that thick in-depth so it can be dug out fairly easily and even so I had planned to add to its depth anyway before the post was fitted. There is other work to be done on that project which is to connect into the existing power circuit on the patio. That shouldn’t take long now that I have decided how to arrange things. I was looking at the flag we have flying at the front of the house and it is beginning to wear away at the edge away from the pole. I am not sure how much longer it will b e before it needs replacing but I plan to purchase another soon anyway. As I write I am feeling much better after the two days of enforced rest! I forget sometimes that I should be taking life a little easier but not too much. I think it better to be tired from work rather than be tired of it. Once I get tired of it I will be tired of life itself and I cannot see that being the case for me. Today is a nice day (Sunday), but every day is a nice day in which to live.
I was totally out of the game on Saturday, wanting to do something but not having the inclination I remained seated most of the day. That is very unusual for me because I get so bored doing that. My guitar was given more attention than it usually gets and I find playing about on it very enjoyable but I can’t spend all day playing a guitar. So the day in one respect was a little wasted but then again it gave me the chance to relax. I have been so busy lately so a little rest from things does no harm. I would be getting a double dose of that as I do very little on Sundays too. I had work scheduled for Monday and the prospect of the delivery of the lamp-post I had purchased gave me something to do when it arrived. I could have spent dome time in the garden on Saturday but my heart just wasn’t in it. The lawn could have done with a cut and perhaps should have been because the green wastewheelie bins were due to be emptied on Monday. As I write this late on Saturday afternoon I may find myself cutting it tomorrow but if I don’t and decide to do it later the cuttings can be put in the compost bin instead. We have two green waste bins and during the warmer months they get emptied fortnightly. We discovered that only having one became a problem due to the amount of natural waste we collect from our gardens. It is the same for our other recyclable waste bins for paper, plastic and metal cans, we need two of them. This is because of the huge amount we seem to collect over the two-week period between collections. The land-fill or non-recyclable waste we now produce therefore has dropped dramatically as a result and that one bin though scheduled to be emptied every two weeks too we only put out once every month and even then it is seldom half-full. Funny how things work out for as I am writing this I am now finding the urge to get out and do something…
……………but I am not going to……..I am taking the rest that people are always telling me I should!
So much for semi-retirement and taking things a little easier. I am approaching my 71st birthday and by all accounts should have retired by now but because I am not one for lazing about and living the high life (whatever that is) I am still working. Of course I am talking about my electrical work for there is always other work to be done at home. Officially I am semi-retired though as far as the electrical work is concerned, and I do try to limit what I do in that respect, it hasn’t worked out that way. Although I haven’t been doing electrical work every day this past week on the days that I have done so I haven’t had much of a rest from it. I am my own worst enemy I suppose because I don’t like letting people down. Even so I have had to turn down more work than I have actually taken on board. I need to remove my advertisement more often and I might just do that. I remember the last time I did though it made no difference, I still got phone calls. The price of being too popular I guess….well someone’s got to blow my trumpet! Although I enjoy my work I am getting more tired of it as the months go by so perhaps a proper retirement is on the horizon. I’ll have to weigh up that possibility though and it will depend on whether I can remain occupied more at home. I have to find things to do or go bananas. I suppose I am more tired because I have been doing work both at home and away and occasionally both on the same day. I said to myself that as long as I am capable I will continue to work and I have kept that promise but I also said that I will cut down on it. I haven’t kept that promise though but increasingly it is becoming more important that I do.
Another funny day on Thursday but for different reasons. Nothing really was planned and I was to be house-bound for the afternoon. I had to wait at home for an engineer to check our faulty fridge/freezer under guarantee. It had been looked at some weeks ago but that engineer I discovered hadn’t checked it properly even though I was charged a lot of money for him to check it out. Modern fridges cannot always be repaired easily as many components are moulded into the fabric of the framework. The compressor and pipework are accessible though and can be worked upon. In our unit it turned out to be a heater fault . The heater is used to defrost the system automatically but unfortunately it cannot be accessed as it is hidden in the insulation. A stupid idea if you ask me for it means defrosting will now have to take place manually! I digress. A four-hour slot had been allocated for him to call which meant I couldn’t do anything or go anywhere until he had called. Wouldn’t you know it? He arrived at the end of the four hours! So what was I to do in the morning? There was a small amount of filling in with concrete on the Plot but I decided not to do that until another day. Instead, I drove to the garden centre to browse for more plants and returned home with three to put in the Plot, two in the ground and one in the raised flowerbed.
The small conifer in the left corner of the flowerbed and the two shrubs just right of the new steps are those which I bought and planted. I did no other work during the morning. E went out shopping as usual and I had to wait until almost five o’clock before I could return to the apartment I had worked in the day before and get paid by the old lady I had worked for. We ended up chatting and I didn’t leave until long after six o’clock by which time E had returned and was eating her evening meal! As far as the fridge/freezer is concerned I might just decide to buy another but of a different make, it will depend upon how frustrated we get having to manually defrost it every so often.
Every so often you get a day where nothing seems to go right or you are interrupted at the wrong time. It happens to me fairly often. They are the kind of days I struggle sometimes just getting things done but I persevere, I really don’t have a choice, none of us do, it’s just the way things go in life. Having the right attitude and not getting all worked-up is the key to overcoming whatever comes our way. It doesn’t make it easier nevertheless. For me it is more of a nuisance when things happen the way they sometimes do. I had placed an order for a Victorian style street lamp-post two and a half weeks earlier but was still waiting for the delivery. I decided to call the supplier for the second time to make inquiries and after a minute or so was told that they were having trouble with their computer when making a search for my details. This was the same response I got when I first called them a few days earlier. I was asked for a contact number and I gave them my mobile number as I knew I would be in the garden when they returned the call.
Most of the work on or in the Plot had been completed on Tuesday but I still had a couple of things to do. The main one was to cut a brick in half to place at the end of the existing wall near to the rear of the garage. It was necessary to put it there now because I needed to fill in a small section next to the end of the paving slabs with concrete. There are two other small areas which also need filling with concrete too as they couldn’t be done earlier. I will do all three in a day or two. I also had to fill in the spaces beneath the natural stone capping I had set in place on Tuesday with mortar and any other places which required filling too. So on Wednesday morning I put on my overalls and began the work. No sooner had I mixed the mortar when someone called me on my mobile phone. It was the company supplying the lamp-post and they had bad news. I was told that the lamp-post was currently out of production but should be available in four to five weeks! ‘WHAT’? I exclaimed and proceeded to remind them that when I originally made inquiries I was told the same thing but that they would email me when one was available. They sent an email a week or so later informing me that I could now place an order, which is what I did. Now they were telling me differently. What kind of organisation is it? Meanwhile the mortar was getting harder. The young girl on the phone said she would make further inquiries and call me again. I carried on with my work. I was mixing the mortar by hand, a bucket at a time to make it more manageable. The work took three buckets to complete. Just after I had mixed the second load the girl called back and told me that she had spoken with her manager and they have agreed to deliver the lamp-post on either the following Monday or Tuesday. I thanked her for resolving the problem and continued with my work but I was thinking from where did this lamp-post suddenly appear when I had been told none were available yet? I was part-way through using the second bucket of mortar when the phone rang again. This time it was someone asking if I could install several floodlights where none existed around their house. I rejected the offer because of the amount of work involved and resumed my work. I had to mix one more bucket of mortar and had just done so when the phone rang once more. This time it was an old lady living a few hundred metres away who was having difficult in getting someone to repair problems with her kitchen lights. I told her I would call later and after lunch because at that moment I was about to use the mortar I had just mixed. I was wasting my time telling her that for she just kept on talking and I could stop her! Eventually I got a word in to remind her that the mortar was getting harder by the minute. The penny must have dropped and she apologised for inconveniencing me. I would call there at one-thirty as arranged. I finished that work and then went indoors for a length of high-grade pvc sheet to place beneath the garden compost bin now sited on the Plot and a pair of scissors to cut it. I doubled the sheet then placed the bin on it and then cut the sheet around it. I placed the bin where it should go then by the wheelbarrow transferred the contents of the yellow bag which I had temporarily removed from the bin a couple of weeks earlier. It took five trips with the wheelbarrow but I couldn’t get the barrow close enough to the bin to refill it directly. I had to use a large bucket to transfer it from the barrow to the bin. Fortunately the bucket holds half the capacity of the wheelbarrow so the transfer didn’t take long. Time to clear up and have lunch.
I got to the old lady’s apartment and discovered that she had eight large recessed down-lights in the kitchen, three of which were faulty. They were fitted with 100 watt screw-in lamps which are notorious for burning the holders and occasionally the wiring too. One old lamp had been broken off in an attempt to remove it and I had to remove the whole fitting from the ceiling before I could repair it. I explained why these fitting were causing the problems she’d had with them. Basically they get too hot! I explained the advantages in replacing the lamps with LED versions but after I had told her how much they would cost (£65 -£90 just for the lamps themselves) if she changed all eight she changed her mind and asked if I could replace one so that she could ‘test’ it. She would then get her son to replace the others a few at a time. Not a problem. She hadn’t the funds to pay me there and then for my time and it bothered her but I told her not to worry and that I would return on Thursday with a lamp. I had phoned my supplier to see if they had the lamps in stock and it appeared they had but three left and were waiting a delivery of more. I drove there but it seems they couldn’t locate the lamps where their computer indicated they would be and after ten minutes they and I gave up. I walked the short distance to the other electrical supplier who had no problems finding one and at a lower price! I returned to my usual supplier as they had asked and I told them I bought one and that it cost £3 less at £8.40. I drove home. The following day I would be house-bound until the engineer who was to repair the fridge/freezer had called. It was a return visit because the original repair, such as it was, a re-fixed loose sensor, hadn’t worked!
I had one small electrical job to do on Monday morning in a local property a mile away but it turned out a little bit more difficult than I or the customer had assumed. I did the work and got back home around eleven-thirty and I really wanted to work in or on the Plot laying the last of the concrete between the newly laid paving slabs on the right of the flowerbed. I wanted to make the most of the fair weather while it lasted. It was a little too early for lunch so I went outside to set everything up and to put in some pieces of wood for shuttering where it would be necessary. It was twelve-thirty when I went indoors for lunch but I was back out again at one ready for work. I mixed a full load and then another half load in the mixer to fill-in the spaces and I had about two spoonfuls of concrete left over. A pretty good guess I thought and better to have that much over rather than being short of the amount. The hardest part for me anyway is the leveling off but that is only because of the grit in the mix. It takes a light handed touch to get it smooth. This is what it looked like on Tuesday.. Once I had finished I covered the area in case of overnight rain though the forecast was for dry weather. I started to clean up and pack everything away, including the mixer and stand which had been left outside for a few days. Any more concrete or mortar, and there would be for the work was not quite complete, would be mixed by hand. At last the major part of the work was finished and I could concentrate on other things. I started the project on 9th August but have not spent all day and every day working on it because of the weather and my other commitments. Considering what I have achieved I think I’ve done well. It has been hard work at times but that’s what drives me forward. Apart from the lamp-post project I have no other major projects in mind to do, at the moment that is!
Sunday 18th September and it is a sunny morning, dry but there is dew covering the grass and stonework is damp. Autumn is almost upon us here in the UK. My Sundays are days of rest but I am the restless type so although I do no real work on Sundays I do find things to occupy myself. Once breakfast was over I went on to the patio with a cup of coffee and sat in the now warm sunshine just pondering. Around eleven-thirty the sun hid itself behind the house and stopped shining onto the patio. It would be hidden from the patio for a couple of hours though continuing to shine on the north side of the (rear) garden. Not the same for the front garden though which remains exposed because it is on the south side of the house. I went indoors and prepared a meal, enough for a couple of days in fact. I make this vegetable and chicken stew occasionally using diced pre-cooked chicken with onions, bell peppers, garlic cloves, carrots and garden peas into which I put vegetable stock. It is delicious even though I say so myself but more importantly it is healthy too. E has been buying fresh pears for some time but she doesn’t eat pears as a rule preferring apples instead whereas I prefer pears.
I don’t know why but she buys unripe fruit so I either have to wait days or, and I prefer them this way, cook them. I don’t know why she doesn’t simply buy canned pears instead but perhaps they are more expensive. So I peeled the pears and cooked them in sugar and water. When they cool off I put them in the fridge and can have some each day. I went outside again after lunch just as the sun began to shine again onto the patio as it swung round to the other side of the house. In the height of summer it shines on the patio far longer. I sat there for a half-hour but then had to return indoors because it went cloudy and the sun’s power was lost. I could feel the now cool air typical of the season. Rain was predicted to fall late evening and into Monday but wouldn’t last long. Monday would be another sunny day. I needed some more dry days in which to work outside and finish the Plot and perhaps the lamp-post project, when the post finally arrives! At this point in time I have been waiting just over two weeks. What I can’t understand is the fact that the supplier informed me by email that the model I wanted was now available and I ordered it immediately. There is no hurry but fine weather cannot last forever.