Spring clean?

We Are Ever So Clean
We Are Ever So Clean (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So the saying goes, Spring cleaning usually gets done in Spring but not on my watch, I do it throughout the year! I live with someone who, shall I say, is often reluctant to tidy around the house these days. Whether that is due to her condition or she has turned lazy I am not sure though she does get stuck in if she sees me doing it, usually when I am working or we have both been working on a project at home. However, if I take it upon myself to simply tidy up because I think it needs it she often doesn’t want to get involved and actually resists me doing it. After going for a walk through the sand dunes because it was far too windy to be on the beach I returned home feeling refreshed and rearing to finish the dining room work. Although I had completed the work of painting the ceiling on the previous day I wanted to check it over and paint over any missed spots and indeed there were a few. So after a quick snack I set about the work. Once that work was completed both E and I dismantled the scaffolding tower and I stored it away in the garage. As I had eaten a late breakfast I wasn’t hungry when E sat down to eat her lunch but I had a drink and sat with her. We have an open cupboard space in the corner of the dining room on which there is a television. We often watch the television when dining. Above are a couple of shelves on which were stored all sorts of things from a dismantled hamster cage and accessories belonging to our youngest son, vases, pictures, boxes with new items having never been used sealed inside them. One was a large ‘slow cooker’, another a coffee machine both it seems had been won by E entering one of her competitions. She is always winning prizes. For some time I had wanted to tidy the area as it was an eyesore. I mentioned to E that I was going to tidy the space whilst she was out shopping and she immediately went on the defence making it obvious to me that she didn’t want me doing it. She thinks I will throw things away without consulting her but she has known me long enough to know I wouldn’t do that. The space got tidied and only rubbish was thrown out. It would be better if I fitted a door over the space so that it becomes a proper cupboard but the television would need a new home. Maybe I’ll think about that one.

Shirley Anne


Dining room 3 and things

After months of neglecting my exercise regime and letting things slip a little too much I got myself back on track following a recent visit to see my doctor. The results of that visit had no bearing on my reasons to resume regular exercising but it did serve to remind me of my shortcomings in letting it lapse. Now I am back to disciplining myself as I know I ought. My regime follows along these lines, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I take at least thirty minutes, more often longer on the treadmill running and building up or maintaining stamina. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays I take long walks. On Sundays I take a walk too but it is not usually a long one. On the days I use the treadmill I will often take a short walk too. At other times I keep busy working on projects at home or doing some gardening. Naturally if I am socialising I have to fit my exercising in where I can. Over the last few days I have been busy decorating in the dining room, that is painting the ceiling and by Wednesday lunchtime I had it almost completed. What little there was to touch up I left off doing until Thursday morning at which time I would dismantle the scaffolding tower and store it away in the garage until the next time it was needed. Purchasing that tower was one of the best things I did for it has proven to be very useful both inside and outside of the house. Anyway here are a couple more pictures of the dining room ceiling….



Click on pictures to magnify. Just wondering what I shall do next….

Shirley Anne

Dining room 2

The title doesn’t infer we have two dining rooms I have to say before I go any further, no, it is just the second post about my current (well as I write this on Tuesday 21) project. It follows yesterday’s post. Now on Saturday as I mentioned then I began the work of changing the colour of the ceiling in the dining room. As you saw in the picture I started off painting it white but on Monday when resuming the work I discovered the paint wasn’t covering the existing crimson colour so I changed tack and switched to using a beige colour. Not only did it cover the crimson more effectively (though I had to re-touch here and there) it looked the better option too by matching and bringing out the oak-stained ceiling timbers. Naturally I had to over-paint the white I had used earlier. On Tuesday I managed to complete more than three-quarters of the work. and here are the pictures…




In the top picture you can see the street lamp-post in the garden which switched on at three forty-five as it was getting dark by then and that’s why and when I stopped work for the day. I needed daylight whilst painting the ceiling though I had to use the room’s lighting too at times. The second picture shows what remained to be done on Wednesday, apart from any touching-up that is. Also in the first two pictures I removed the small timbers which are fixed at an angle in order to make painting of the wall easier. You can see them replaced at the other end of the room after the wall there was painted. I had arisen very early on Tuesday morning as I wanted to take a five-mile walk before breakfast. I left the house fifteen minutes before six o’clock. On my return and after breakfast I began painting. Tuesday marked the anniversary of my birth too…..I am now 72!

Shirley Anne

Dining room

In our house there are three reception rooms or lounges, though one of those is not in use at the moment because of the furniture stored in it. The furniture belongs to my eldest son and his wife who as yet haven’t found a place of their own and live with her parents. The room we call the dining room was once the kitchen but when we moved into the house almost thirty years ago we decided to move the kitchen to the much smaller annex to the room. The vacant room became a breakfast/dining room. The smaller kitchen works fine as the washing machine and chest freezers are down in the cellar leaving enough space for a range cooker, fridge.freezer, sink and cupboards. The dishwasher is hidden in the dining area though a more recent additional fridge.freezer stands in the same room. When we refurbished the dining room after removing all the kitchen units that were in there we decided to make it look medieval in appearance. That meant lining the walls in wood and fitting ceiling timbers for effect. Added to those we constructed a canopy over the windows and installed a solid stone sink and an old hand pump.

In the two pictures above which were taken many years ago before we had double-glazing you can see the top of the windows, the stone sink and pump and the cupboard next to them inside of which is the dishwasher. The top picture shows part of the ceiling timbers we installed. At the time we opted to have the ceiling painted either in red or royal blue and as you can see we chose red. E was talking with me a few days ago and she mentioned she would like the ceiling painted in white and I too felt it needed changing after so many years. On Saturday last week she went out for the afternoon to her meeting and while she was out I erected some of the tower scaffolding in the room and began the transformation of the ceiling. It would be several days before the whole ceiling was done as it needed at least two coats to block out the red colour. This is how far I got in the little time I had after collecting the materials and erecting the tower. 

The tower had to remain in the room until the work was finished so it was a case of moving it around so we still use the room for our meals. (Click on pictures to magnify)

Shirley Anne

Old wood and nylon stockings

At a bit of a loose end on Friday afternoon I began searching for something useful to do. Recently I had cleared away a lot of debris which was lying on the boiler room floor in the cellar where we have set up some gymnasium equipment. At the time all I was able to do was to sweep the floor and follow that up with a mop and bucket. What was really needed downstairs in the cellar rooms was a dedicated vacuum cleaner, not one we would use for the upstairs rooms. We have owned an old ‘Aquavac’ cleaner for many years but somewhere along the way it has lost its filter. The machine needs the filter when using it to suck up dust and other solid things but the filter has to be removed when sucking up water. Somebody used the machine to suck up water years ago but didn’t remove the filter beforehand. Anyway the machine ended up in storage in the garage collecting its own dust after we purchased other vacuum cleaners. It can still be used without the filter for sucking up water of course and it can also be used outdoors where it doesn’t need a filter. I wanted to see if I could use it in the cellar so I used several pairs of old nylon stockings to make a temporary filter and it worked just fine but I think we’ll have to source a proper filter at some point.

English: A historic Vacuum cleaner on display ...
A historic Vacuum cleaner on display at the IXL museum. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have done so many domestic jobs at home resulting in the cellar rooms becoming filled with old timbers and odd pieces of wood, some of which can remain but much of it needs dumping. I decided to start collecting it together and place it outside behind the garage ready for me to load it into the van and take it to the tip. It will take me some time before all the wood is sorted but at least I have started the work. I just needed something to do. There are plenty of old things and accumulated items in the cellar rooms which we no longer need or want so as and when I feel at a loose end I don’t need to remain bored, I can collect them and take them to the tip!

Shirley Anne


Ishmael (Genesis 24:14–20)

Second Best

Ishmael’s birth could be called a mistake. It came about because Sarah and Abraham doubted God’s promise to provide them a child in their old age. The two conspired to “help God out” by using an Egyptian servant, Hagar, as a substitute wife for Abraham. Then, when God fulfilled his promise and Sarah bore a son of her own, she cruelly drove the servant and her son out into the desert. Ishmael, the innocent victim of this scheming, suffered the consequences.

Yet God also blessed Ishmael. He “heard the boy crying” when Ishmael was dying of thirst in the desert (21:17). God promised that Ishmael’s descendants would comprise a great nation. The Bible records that Ishmael had 12 sons and that the Ishmaelites were Israel’s neighbors for centuries. In fact, Arabs today traditionally trace their lineage back to Ishmael.

Ishmael apparently kept in contact with his original family; he attended Abraham’s funeral, and his daughter would marry Abraham’s grandson Esau. Yet his place in Abraham’s covenant with God was lost. In a similar way, Ishmael’s son-in-law Esau would enjoy the earthly blessings of success, even though God’s greatest blessing was reserved for Esau’s brother Jacob. In the Bible’s accounting, God’s covenant blessing always mattered more than earthly success.

Taken from NIV Student Bible

Hagar and Ishmael in the Wilderness, painting ...
Hagar and Ishmael in the Wilderness, painting by Karel Dujardin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How things have changed since Ishmael was born! He kept in contact but now his descendants only wish to wage war on his original family’s descendants. What went wrong? God kept His promise that Ishmael’s descendants would become a great nation too. They have no reason to complain that God didn’t love them or doesn’t love them, they, like everyone else, have simply to accept God’s love for He loves all of His creation.

Shirley Anne

Ready but not

It had taken longer than I had thought for the delivery of a new halyard rope for the flag pole but when it arrived on Tuesday it was too late in the day for me to install it or to make the attempt. I seldom like beginning a task late in the day so anything arriving late gets put off till the next day. I had spent time on the treadmill before breakfast whilst E ate hers during my exercise. We were expecting the delivery of a new dishwasher and at that time I hadn’t switched on the computer to track its progress. For some reason I developed a cramp in my right calf muscles whilst running, something I never had problems with years ago. I persevered and finished my exercise but I was left with an aching leg for a few hours thereafter. After breakfast I switched on the computer and checked the expected delivery time for the dishwasher and found they had scheduled delivery between the hours of two and four o’clock. E was pleased about that as she had to go shopping and did so in the morning. I of course was free to do other things so I decided to install the new rope for the flag pole. I was a little concerned that I might have difficulties in using the old rope to pull in the new one but my concerns were unfounded, it went in easily. I had however stitched them together with a needle and thread to ensure they would pass through the finial at the top of the pole. The flag was re-attached and ready for the wind which didn’t arrive at all during the day. Oh well. I returned indoors to recheck the delivery time for the dishwasher and it had been revised. It would now be delivered between one and two o’clock. E returned home before noon and I told her the new delivery time but checking once more I found it had been revised to arrive between one-twenty and one fifty. It arrived half-way between. It was ready for installation but by this time it was time for lunch. It took about fifteen minutes to unpack it and connect it up. That was it, all outstanding jobs done……..well…er…..not quite. I still have the garage light project as and when I can do it……..when I am ready.

Shirley Anne

Get in the way

Ocado internet shopping delivery in progress
Ocado internet shopping delivery in progress (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I came out of my bedroom to go downstairs just as E was leaving her room to do the same thing. She would be eating breakfast but I was determined to go for a walk instead. As usual I do eat a little something before I go out else eat breakfast and go out later. I was expecting the delivery of goods and as E was going out after lunch and wouldn’t be available to receive them I had to take my walk in the morning. It was already nine-thirty before I went through the front door so I couldn’t leave off taking my walk until later. I mention that I was determined to go for a walk because I didn’t really feel like going. I remember saying to E at the time that I was procrastinating and she laughed but I stuck to my decision and went. Tuesday was one of those days for me where I just wanted to relax but knowing I needed to keep up with the promises I had made to myself in maintaining  a more disciplined approach to exercise I made the effort. Yes, I did feel better afterward but I also felt a tad weary too. Anyway I know it was good for me. Thankfully the weather wasn’t bad which was a bonus. I had been waiting for the delivery of a new halyard rope for our flag pole for a few days and wondered why it hadn’t yet arrived. It was Tuesday afternoon, four o’clock when it arrived. I had placed the order online on Friday. It should have arrived on Monday morning being as it was such a small package. So much for Internet shopping. Yesterday, Monday (as I write this on Tuesday) I had purchased a replacement dishwasher over the Internet and it will be delivered tomorrow (Wednesday as I write) and could have been delivered today but for the supplier’s tight schedule. It appears they are very busy at this time. We could have paid a little extra to have it delivered sooner but there was no point in doing that. For a couple of weeks now I have been thinking about installing the circuit in the garage which will switch on the garage light during the hours of darkness whenever the garage door is opened. Somehow other things have gotten in the way and it is still not done. It’s one of those jobs which isn’t that urgent so it is taking a back seat in the scheme of things. Depending on what time the dishwasher arrives I shall be connecting it on Wednesday at some point unless it arrives late in the day in which case it will be left until the following day. This is the way things happen around here, some jobs get done immediately and others have to wait and they all have to wait if I am not in the mood to do them!

Shirley Anne


Dishwasher, open and loaded with dishes
Dishwasher, open and loaded with dishes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A week or so ago I went next door to disconnect a dishwasher for my neighbour who was having a new one delivered and didn’t want to pay for the disconnection of the old one. I obliged and did the job for her though she employed someone else to install the new one at my request. I could foresee likely problems because of the layout of her services and advised the services of her plumber. All went well apparently and her new dishwasher is working fine. On Monday last week E informed me that she was having problems with our dishwasher. First of all it went into an alarm status which according to E was soon dealt with by switching the machine off and then starting it again. It evidently hadn’t worked and we were at a loss as to what the fault might be. Basically it wasn’t filling with water and E asked if I could check it out. Although I have never serviced or repaired dishwashers I was prepared to check the basics. As with most modern equipment they are not readily serviceable unless by a service engineer who is familiar with the operation. Naturally I was keen to see if there was anything I could do in searching out the fault so I gave it a go. A number of months ago I ended up servicing a fridge-freezer at home because the service engineer hadn’t solved the problem we had with the unit. On that occasion I was successful in locating and correcting the problem but this time I wasn’t even sure I could easily gain access to any tangible electrical or mechanical components if at all. I was right in that assumption, everything was well-hidden behind panels which had no obvious signs on how to remove them. First thing was to establish that the water supply to the machine was in order which it was, though that investigation led me to discover a problem with the manual water supply valve. It was jammed in the open position and I had to turn off the water supply to the house before I could check it out. I did that later but first I removed a couple of small panels on the machine in order to get at the inlet valve on the dishwasher. These valves are electrically operated (solenoid valves) and control the water flow into the machine. The valve was not electrically faulty but I wasn’t able to check for a mechanical fault. It appeared to me that the neutral supply to the valve was not there and if so the fault would lie further inside the machine. It was decision-making time. Should I make the attempt to strip down the machine, remembering I had no way of knowing the best way to approach it or if on getting inside I would be able to locate the fault anyway? If we called for the services of an engineer the cost would be high and if a fault was found it would cost money for any replacement parts and the time to fit them. Was the machine worth repairing as it was over fifteen years old? Probably not, so we opted to disconnect it permanently and purchase a new machine. As I don’t use the dishwasher, or haven’t bothered using it in the past I let E choose which model to purchase. We went on-line and purchased a new one which hopefully will be in use as you read this. I removed the manual valve to clean it out but I thought I might have to replace it instead.

Shirley Anne


A few months ago I manufactured a gate to fit at the side of the house……

It didn’t take long to construct and it fitted perfectly into the space where I placed it but that was when the weather was warm and dry. The weather naturally has changed since then becoming colder and more humid which all means the wooden gate expanded. That’s what wood does when the temperature and humidity change. I knew I had to remove the gate and shave a little wood from it but I had to wait for my youngest son to return the borrowed plane so I could get on with it. In fact he had borrowed two planes, one of them electric and it was the electric one I wanted to do the job. Finally after weeks of asking he brought the plane over and I was able to do the work which only took a half hour. Now there is a gap between the gate and the frame so further expansion if it happens will not result in the gate jamming as it did. A few years ago I erected a flagpole in the front garden….. 

As you might expect the weather has affected that too. The flag has to put up with wind, sun, rain and everything the weather throws at it. That being the case the flag has to be replaced from time to time and in fact new ones have been purchased along the way. On Thursday last week however I noticed the halyard rope had become worn and I had to remove the flag for a few days until I could replace the rope. At the time of writing I am waiting for the delivery of the rope and a couple of accessories. I have never had to change the rope since it was new and I am hoping I will be able to attach the replacement to the old one in order to pull it up through the pole and out at the top. If I find I can’t it will mean erecting part of the scaffolding tower around the base to remove the top section of the pole. It may be prudent to do so anyway so that the finial can be serviced. At present it tends to remain fixed when it should be free to rotate about the top of the pole. The weather takes its toll on anything exposed to it!

Shirley Anne