A change for a change?

I had all sorts of  things I wanted to do on Saturday (22nd) but my day started  little later than I had planned, nevertheless I was downstairs before nine and had eaten breakfast by then too. The plan was to do more work in the lounge but it was such a lovely sunny day I decided not to spend too long working. I began by finishing applying a coat of gloss paint to the remainder of the picture rail, the door frame and the door. I decided not to paint the skirting boards or the fire surround (mantlepiece) for doing that would keep me working all morning and possibly into the afternoon. I wasn’t prepared to do that. Even so I spent almost two hours doing what I did then stopped to do a little work in the garden. Usually when I say garden it is invariably the rear garden as I spend less time working in the front garden which needs less maintenance. Monday was going to be collection day for the ‘green’ waste so I had to empty out the large bag which held the remaining bluebells and other plants which couldn’t be collected the previous time. There were other waste items to dispose of too, some large shrub root balls and leaves. I couldn’t place all the root balls in the bins as there wouldn’t be enough space for them this time around. They will go next time. I needed to leave enough space in one of the bins to accommodate the grass cuttings I was about to produce, yes, it was time to cut the lawn once more. So I mowed the lawn and pulled the now filled bins into the front garden ready to put out in the street on Sunday evening. Time for lunch but for a change I went to the pub. It isn’t often I eat at the pub on a Saturday as I am usually too busy working. After a change of clothes I walked to the pub in the lovely sunshine. I had expected the place to be full but it wasn’t so I didn’t have to wait long to be served. As usual the girls greeted me by name (they do that for most of the regular customers) and made me feel welcome. I seem to get special treatment from one or two of them who like to chat with me. Anyway it was a pleasant hour or two and I walked back home. I hung the washing on the lines in the cellar having forgotten I had placed it in the machine earlier. I could have hung it outside but I often don’t do that. Left to dry in the cellar means I can casually take it down when it suits and don’t have to worry about the weather. I made a coffee and sat out in the sun on the patio but after a while I’d had enough of that. I remembered that I needed to clear out the gutter on the rear of the garage roof overlooking the Plot and at the same time adjust the set time on the small floodlight nearby as it wasn’t remaining on long enough when triggered. Having collected the ladder and tools I did those two small jobs then I decided to get the hose out and water the garden as we hadn’t had much rain for a while. Then I noticed a bluebell growing behind one of the small plants in the Mound. Out came the tools and kneeling stool and I began to dig it out. I really had to dig deep and in the process dug out quite a few bulbs. Did I mention that I consider bluebells to be a weed, yes, nice weeds but still weeds? Time to go indoors for another coffee and watch the FA cup semi-final game (soccer). Do I ever rest?

Shirley Anne


God and you

God’s Greatest Desire is: That We Love Him and Love Those Around Us (Mark 12:18–34)
While the rest of the world is focused on climbing the corporate ladder, God wants his children to focus on pleasing him. Our lives are measured by how we love God and others—not by how high we can climb.
The object of life, according to Jesus, is breathtakingly simple: Be rich toward God. Don’t spend your life [trying to climb the corporate ladder]. It’s a sucker’s game. You can’t beat the house. But you can be rich toward God. Your life—with God’s help—can be a source of pleasure to the God of the universe. You can make God smile. When the game is over, all that will matter will be God’s assessment of our lives. Venture capitalists, Hollywood stars, school janitors and Somalian tribesmen will stand in line before him on level ground.
Being rich toward God means growing a soul that is increasingly healthy and good.
Being rich toward God means loving and enjoying the people around you.
Being rich toward God means learning about your gifts and passions and doing good work to help improve the world.
Being rich toward God means becoming generous with your stuff.
Being rich toward God means making that which is temporary become the servant of that which is eternal.
Being rich toward God means savouring every roll of the dice and every trip around the board.
Each of these dimensions of richness matters. But Jesus expressed [richness] in two great commandments, each built around a single word: Love. Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, he said. Love your neighbour as yourself. Everything else is commentary. No one can do this and be poor in God’s eyes. No one can fail to do this and be rich in God’s eyes.
Being rich toward God begins with giving to God that which he desires most of all. And what he desires most from you is you—your heart and devotion.
Do you give God the attention that he deserves? If you love him unconditionally, not only will you grow in giving him the adoration he deserves, but your affection for others will grow as well.

(Taken from NIV Bible for Men but applies to women too!)


Shirley Anne

All gone

I was up early on Friday and soon after breakfast I began working in the small lounge once more. It was 8.30 and I was ready to go. First job was to apply the priming coat to the skirting board, door frame and door. The window and the fireplace were already done earlier. It took some time to get around the room but the finish didn’t need to be perfect as the paint was only a primer and in this case was being used to blot-out the mahogany stain too. All the stain has now gone. Next job was to strip off the wall paper which I had not been able to remove while it was dry. Now some people might use a steam pad to wet the wall paper but I use cold water applied with a brush and while the water is sinking through the surface in one place I use the scraper or even fingers to remove the paper elsewhere. Most of the time it comes off, well falls off in sheets! The only difficult part is where the top vinyl layer has not been stripped off first which then means the process has to be done twice. As I had already stripped much of the paper from the wall when it was dry there was little of the top layer left. 

That work took me into the afternoon, with a break for lunch and then I decided to apply the first coat of white gloss paint to the window frame. It was surprisingly easy and could almost pass with just the one coat but it will get two.

You may notice that the carpet has gone but not the underlay. When I purchase a new carpet the underlay will be replaced too though the existing one is quite serviceable apart from a small area near the door which I think was water damaged when a liquid had been spilled and then washed off with water. It wasn’t replaced when we had the last carpet change over fifteen years ago so having a new one is probably a better idea. It was four o’clock and I was finished for the day. I am happy with the progress and am enjoying doing the work.

Shirley Anne

Subtle changes

Having been informed that the guys who were to collect the old three-piece suite might arrive as early as 6.30 in the morning I had a very early trip to bed so that I could be up well before their arrival. The reason I had to do that was because I had to shift the suite from the garage and on to the front driveway before their arrival. I couldn’t have done that the evening before as rain had been forecast overnight and the council had stipulated that the furniture had to be dry when collected! I have no idea why that should be the case unless they planned to use the furniture or sell it off for the material value. I set the alarm for 4.30 and moved the furniture outside before 5.45. I then moved the tower components back into the garage where it is kept. I had dismantled it the day before after I had cleaned the chandelier. The remainder of the work I had to do in the lounge could be done using the tall step-ladder. Once that was done I ate breakfast and waited for the guys to arrive though they needed no contact from me to do their job. I had left the gates open so they could gain access. After breakfast I was wondering what I could be getting on with because after 9.00 I was expecting the representative who would be measuring for the curtains to call. His appointment was for any time between nine o’clock and noon so if I was to do anything it would have to be in the time before he came. I located the tube of decorators caulk and the applicator gun and proceeded to fill-in the gaps around the window frame. It took the whole tube to complete the work. It is surprising just how many gaps there can be seen once the old decorations are removed. That took me thirty minutes and by now it was 8.30 and the guys collecting the suite arrived! That’s just typical isn’t it? The work I had done, small as it turned out to be was one of those subtle changes which happen when doing work of this nature, it is not noticed but makes subsequent work a lot easier and professional-looking. Once the representative had been and gone I planned to lift the old carpet, dispose of it and roll-up the underlay for re-use beneath the new carpet later. In fact I ended up lifting the carpet before he arrived. The carpet had to go at that point to enable decoration of the skirting board anyway. Well the guy arrived at 11.45 and stayed for just over an hour. When he’d gone I drove to the pub for lunch. The car park was full yet the pub was relatively empty! Service and food was great as per usual but I didn’t stop long once I had eaten as I wanted to walk into town and do some shopping. The main reason for shopping was to purchase toiletries but I was also tempted to purchase a couple of clothing items, a lightweight summer top and an equally lightweight hooded summer coat. Well I need to be treated too, it’s not just the small lounge that has that privilege.

Shirley Anne

Slight detour

Work on the redecorating of the small lounge took a slight detour on Wednesday because I went to install a replacement cooker hob for someone. The job was easy enough but I ended up chatting with the woman for longer than perhaps I should have. Still I was back home after an hour and a half ready to do something in the lounge. Now that the ceiling and frieze are completed I decided to make use of the tower whilst it was in the room in order to clean the chandelier. Although it hadn’t been cleaned for years it was not that bad. However it didn’t compare to its condition after I had cleaned it! It is a five-light unit with lead crystal glass decorations, quite an expensive light when we bought it from the previous owner of the house and no doubt probably more so if bought today. It is one of the reasons I am loathed to replace it, the other being that I like it, it goes with the house.

That took me an hour. The next task was to empty and remove the radiator to allow decoration behind it and to repaint it later before refitting it. Refitting it will be far easier than it was to drain and remove, especially as I have no assistance. 

I wanted to do more work after lunch but decided against it. The following morning I was expecting the council team to take away the old furniture and they could possibly arrive as early as six-thirty which meant an early night for me. I was also expecting the representative who would be measuring up for the new curtains. After he would be finished I proposed to roll up the old carpet and underlay.

Shirley Anne

At last!

At last I finished work on the ceiling in the small lounge. I started Tuesday tidying up the paint work on the two stripes which encircle the cornice or coving (see yesterday’s post for pictures). It is difficult trying to obtain  perfectly straight lines when doing this kind of work simply because of the abnormalities in the plaster work and consequently touching-up the paint afterward is often necessary. I spent an hour and a half before lunch and an hour after lunch to get it to a reasonably good finish. Whilst doing that work I took the opportunity to give the frieze another coat of paint, making three in all. Just after lunch I was looking out of one of the rear windows and took these two pictures

The time was one-thirty BST or half-past twelve GMT. The first picture is pointing directly northward. I only took them to indicate how much sunshine actually reaches the garden in the middle of the day in the month of April. The shadow will be closer to the house at Midsummer. The garden was in full sunshine during the morning as the sun was in the east and to the right in these pictures. When it swings around to the west most of the garden is again in full sunshine even at this time of year. The garden at the front points roughly south-west so gets the full sun most of the day.
Anyway back to work…I resumed painting the ceiling before moving on to apply paint primer to as much of the wood work as I could before deciding I’d had enough for one day.

Applying the primer has exposed numerous holes and gaps in the window frame though I knew there were some beforehand. Now I have to fill them all in before applying a second coat. At this point in time I guess I have covered about half of the wood work. It is taking much longer to do the work as I am doing it alone but I reckon I am doing well after only five days.

Shirley Anne

Glad to be back

Although Sunday offered a welcome break for my physical well-being it did little to ease my impatience and eagerness to do something. It was good therefore to be able to get back to the job in hand, redecorating the small lounge. Most of the work hitherto had been centred on the ceiling and frieze and even now on the fourth day of actually working in the room there is still more to do in that area. I had begun to paint the two stripes around the cornice on Saturday and set about finishing it off on my return on Monday. As with many jobs I do I end up finding an easier way to do it as the work progresses. For painting the stripes I used a small piece of hard board to act as a guide and to prevent the paint going where it wasn’t supposed to. Using the guide also sped-up the execution of the work. However there still remains some touching-up where the colour has run on to the white paint. I expected that anyway but I will be able to touch-up the over-spill when I give the frieze another coat of paint. Anyway I got the stripes painted right around the room..

I then started on painting over the woodwork using a special paint to do it. I completed painting the first coat on the picture rail, on part of the window frame and the top half of the mantle-piece which surrounds the fireplace. There is much woodwork left to do yet, the window frame, the door frame and the door and of course the skirting board which is almost a half-metre in height, and all of that is just for the priming coat! So I am going to be rather busy in that room for quite a while yet. The end of the day turned out very sunny and I was able to spend an hour relaxing on the patio late in the afternoon. I sat and watched the antics of the numerous tits flitting about among the tree branches and the grey squirrel out on his rounds before finally returning indoors for my evening meal.

Shirley Anne

A break to nothing

Woman baking coookies
Woman baking coookies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I remember reporting that last Sunday (9th) turned out wet and windy in the afternoon. This past Sunday (16th) started off the same way. It promised to improve as the day wore on and indeed by one o’clock it had begun to get better. Although I needed a break from work I was reluctant to take it but take it I did. For me it is trying to find something to do on my days off for I am like a coiled spring wanting to unwind, not to relax but to do something. Sunday was a day to change the bed linen and it was the first I did before going downstairs. After breakfast the linen was ready to hang on the line to dry after I had placed it in the washing machine earlier. Time for a walk to relieve the boredom and get some exercise in the process. The day wasn’t that nice for walking outside, cool bordering on cold because of the wind and wet with spasmodic rain. I would rather it rained continuously than spasmodically, I had to keep folding the umbrella only to open it again a few minutes later. My friend the wind (in his dreams) wanted to turn my brolly inside out and succeeded once! No, not really a nice day at all. It was now lunchtime and I had successfully gotten through half the day but the afternoon threatened more boredom unless I could find something to occupy me. Time for some baking I thought, yes that would keep me out of mischief for an hour or two and baking is something I like doing anyway. E had bought some more flour as if she knew I would be needing it. Either that or she had her thoughts on the end results! She doesn’t do much baking these days and spends most of her time with her new-found hobby, manufacturing specialised greetings cards. There is an endless flow of materials coming into the house and over the past twelve months many items of machinery and gadgets too. At least she keeps occupied just like me……but not so on Sundays.

Shirley Anne

Before a break

It is late on Saturday afternoon as I write this having completed almost three full days working at home on the small front lounge. A few days ago I had decided to completely renovate the room which although having had a change of furniture and a carpet since we moved into the house in 1988 has never been redecorated since 1989! Anyway that aside I decided on a total change, decor, furniture, everything. I was going to employ someone to do the decorating but changed my mind to do it myself. Over the last three days I have concentrated on the ceiling and as I mentioned in yesterday’s post I painted it twice. I thought it might need three coats and indeed when I looked at it this morning it still looked a little patchy in places. That meant a drive to the supplier to purchase another 5 ltr can. First job for the day though was to dig out a few bluebells which had thought I’d given up on them but no, I have been digging them out as they appear. Thankfully there are not as many now after all my hard work earlier in the year. That took a half-hour and then I phoned ahead to make sure the supplier was open. Many businesses close from Good Friday to Easter Monday so I had to make sure. They were open until 2 o’clock but I went immediately as I wanted to continue with the work. As it happened I did have enough paint to complete the second coat on the ceiling and frieze but would still need the extra can to paint parts of the ceiling which still looked patchy. I wasn’t going to do that until Monday at least but I had the extra paint ready now to hand. Finishing off the second coat and painting again the frieze and ceiling cornice for the third time on the window wall took me to lunchtime for after lunch I had decided to start painting over the dark blue stripes with the new red colour.

Incidentally, the dark-stained woodwork you can see in the pictures will eventually be painted white as the work progresses. Try as I might I couldn’t avoid spilling over the new colour on to the white parts of the ceiling. I used a piece of thin board like hard board to shield the parts of the ceiling I didn’t want the paint to touch but it was never going to be perfect. It will be easy enough to touch-up with white paint where necessary later. I stopped work at that point and wouldn’t be returning to it until Monday. Sunday was my rest day.

Shirley Anne

Twice over


Friday was all day working day in the small lounge. The job for the day was to finish covering that part of  the ceiling I was unable to do on Thursday through lack of time, though I had no intention of working any longer than I did. Once that was done it was time for lunch but after lunch it was time to start over again from the beginning. One coat of paint was never going to be enough, it needed another. I got as far as repainting at least three-quarters of the ceiling and frieze but it was getting late and the light was fading anyway. By that time I was ready to stop after almost eight hours. I don’t work that long doing electrical work these days! I looked over the work I’d done and began to think I might have to give it yet another coat but it was too dark to see properly. I would have to wait until the next day when it would be lighter. Twice over should be enough but if it needs another coat then another coat it will have. One problem is the fact that I will have to purchase another can of paint to do the third coat if it needs it and in fact as I write this on Friday evening I have barely enough paint remaining to finish the second coat! I would know the following day regarding that. Friday wasn’t a nice day as far as the weather was concerned so it was just as well I had something to do indoors. I think the worse job of all in decorating a room is painting the ceiling, it is tiring even when close access is possible. I am so glad I purchased the tower a couple of years ago, it has become an invaluable asset.

Shirley Anne