All change

I could sense the possibility of rain as I looked out through the window from my bed. It was Saturday morning (16 th) and five-thirty as I lay there contemplating the day ahead. I decided a walk was on the cards but I was hungry so I decided to wait until after breakfast this time. I had just finished breakfast and saw that fine rain was falling. I would need to take a raincoat if I was to brave the elements as they say. It wasn’t a warm morning at all, in fact it stayed pretty cool all day long. It was 16 deg C but it felt more like 10 or 11 in the breeze. I had put on my walking boots too thinking that lighter footwear was unsuitable for what seemed like a late Autumn day which as it turned out was a wise decision. The outward part of the walk was pleasant enough but I was glad I had put on the rainproof jacket for it kept me warm in the cooling breeze. I had reached the half-way stage when the rain began to pour down in earnest. It remained that way until I reached home when suddenly it stopped! As soon as I went indoors I realised just how cool it had been outside. There had been quite a number of women out running on the route I had taken and none seemed bothered about the driving rain. I knew how they must have felt having spent many a time doing the same thing years ago. I sometimes wish I could do it again but then realise how unnecessary it would be at my time in life. I get my exercising in other ways now not least of all taking a walk. It was Saturday and the afternoon was beckoning more activity. Did I succumb? I’ll let you guess.

Shirley Anne

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A bit too much

How does one get so many different things done in one morning? Was it any wonder I dozed off for a few minutes after lunch? The day had begun very early for I had awoken just after three o’clock. Yes there are two-three o’clocks in the same day! Most folk not working shifts would be fast asleep at the first one but not me, not this day at least. My clock seems to be gradually going backwards as I find myself trotting off to bed earlier each night and waking earlier as a result. Sometimes, I have been told, I push myself too hard but that’s the way I am. So I woke up but didn’t get up immediately though I did get up before four. Off to the bathroom to shower, then get dressed but before dressing I did some stitching with needle and thread. Going downstairs for breakfast was interrupted by time spent on the cross-trainer and exercise bike. Following breakfast I was out in the rear garden gathering rhubarb and staking out a couple of flowers which couldn’t support themselves. I returned indoors to clean and cook the rhubarb which would be eaten later when cooled together with strawberries and custard. Have you ever eaten rhubarb with strawberries? If you haven’t and if you like both fruits then give it a go, they were made for each other. Next I cleaned the kitchen sink and the hardware on the draining board. Let me explain. We have a slightly hard water supply where I live which means we get limescale deposits inside kettles and anywhere else the water is used. We use vinegar regularly to clean it off surfaces and the kitchen sink seems to collect more scale than anywhere else. That took a little time but it was soon done. My next job was to hand-wash some items of clothing and hang them up to dry. Because we’ve had little rain I have been watering the gardens with a hose and so I did that in the front garden. The rear garden had been done the previous evening. Once that had been done I returned indoors again to put on some overalls then collecting a ladder and a wood saw I went into to rear garden to cut back more overhanging tree branches from a neighbour’s tree and remove the climbing ivy from the top of the perimeter wall. After a coffee I went back into the rear garden to check on wind damage to plants after the recent storm. E called me to say she was going next door to visit our neighbour so I joined her. We didn’t stay long as the nurse arrived to carry out her duties. It was then around eleven o’clock and E asked me to assist in checking out her car in preparation for its MOT test next week. One of those checks involved tyre pressures but there was no information in the manual regarding how much they needed to be inflated! How crazy is that? Fortunately she discovered a service station receipt showing what those settings should be, 34 psi for the front tyres and 31 psi for the rear. She had a plug-in air pump which evidently was faulty but I checked it out just in case it wasn’t. It was! I went to the van to get a foot operated pump but when I attempted to use it no air was getting into the tyres. I took it into the workshop room in the cellar and replaced the seal on the valve using PTFE tape. Success! All four tyres had been under-inflated. Meanwhile she filled the screen wash reservoir and the radiator and I checked the lights, oil levels and general wear. Satisfied we had checked all that we could we went indoors and I prepared lunch. It was whilst I was watching a World Cup soccer match after lunch that I dozed off for a while. Still, after a while I was up and about again…..you just can’t hold a busy bee down.

Shirley Anne

I did ask

It was getting a little monotonous having each day to water the gardens because of the dry weather. Oh it has been just fine for sitting about in or simply being out in but all I wanted was a little rain now and then. The attempt to rain was made last evening (13 th) but it wasn’t very much. However it was a storm called Hector which gave some respite from the heat and dry weather. The only problem was it brought more wind than rain! It got pretty stormy hereabouts but fortunately we were too far south to receive the harshest of the wind. Nevertheless some tree branches came down here and there. I had gotten up early on Thursday in order to do the weekly shopping again for E has been unable these last couple of months. I actually arose at five-thirty and was in the kitchen at six-fifteen. However I thought I would do a little work before breakfast which was to give the repaired door frame I did yesterday a coat of priming  paint. I later in the day applied the top coat. Anyway whilst I was doing that I heard a loud snap and something falling on the lawn behind me. I paid no attention until I had finished the small painting job for I knew what it had been making that noise. Once again the neighbour’s tree was shedding a branch because of the high winds. It is the large tree left of centre on the other side of the wall in the picture. You may be able to see from its leaves and the leaves of the apple trees bottom right from which direction the wind is blowing. It is left to right or west to east of course.

Most of the time we are picking up small twigs and leaves which have fallen from the tree but occasionally when it is very windy larger parts fall down. I cleared up the mess on the lawn and deposited the bulk of the fallen branch in my neighbour’s garden. At the same time I took the opportunity to prune back a couple of lower branches on the tall holly tree which stands next to the large greenhouse. It is just right of centre at the end of the greenhouse in the picture. Naturally I chopped the holly branches up and put the pieces into our own waste bin. I returned indoors for breakfast. It was seven o’clock. After eating I waited until it was eight o’clock before driving to the supermarket. I was back home at nine-fifteen just as E came down for breakfast. Pretty much throughout the day it was windy but there was still no rain. In fact it brightened up late morning. I would be watering the gardens again if it remained dry.

Shirley Anne

A day in June 2018

For some weeks now we have been enjoying dry and warm weather and I have been able to go for walks wearing the lightest of clothing. This morning (13 th) I was up and out of the house at seven  doing just that. I arrived back home two hours later and was able to sit at the table with E for breakfast. She had only just gotten up as I entered the front door. Anyway I sat out on the patio after breakfast relaxing with a cup of coffee for a short time but I knew I had things to do so that didn’t last. The first thing I wanted to do was to erect some sort of temporary barrier to block a gap in the Laurel bushes to stem the wind so that the space could fill naturally with new leaf growth. New growth is already there but shielding it from the wind will encourage it to grow quicker….

I used some of the fire-clay floor tiles which I had removed from the gym room when I dug the pit a couple of months ago and propped them up with bricks though they were capable of standing unsupported. That little job didn’t take long and I went on to do the next which took far longer. The rear door frame of the garage in which I keep my van had become rotten on one side at the bottom. We suspected a mouse had recently been trying to gnaw its way though the rotting timber of the frame because there were a lot of .wood chippings around. I had to remove the door, which is very heavy, in order to saw off the rotted timber. I made the cut at an angle and manufactured a replacement section to match. This was to prevent the ingress of rain. A level cut would have allowed water to seep between the joint. This is the finished work before it was painted the following day. I had treated the timbers with preserver before fitting it.

I re-hung the door but left off the automatic closer to prevent the door closing by itself as it once did. Sometimes ‘auto-closers’ can be a nuisance. It was twelve-thirty and E made me a cup of coffee which I again sat and drank on the patio before returning indoors within the hour for lunch. The afternoon was mine to do as I pleased, which was almost nothing! I did take a walk around the garden though and took some photos as I went. In front of the large greenhouse…

Behind the large greenhouse…

Down the garden toward ‘The Mound’

The Mound…

Behind The Mound…

Toward The Patio….

Behind The Patio……The ‘Secret Garden’….

The ‘other’ garage…

And back to the start…

The end…….LOL

Shirley Anne

Hiding something?

For the passage listed below first of all you must believe there is a God and there is a Saviour. Why do we need a Saviour? Well without a saviour we cannot be saved. Saved from what? Our sins, whether we believe we sin or not we will be judged by them. Hiding from our sins or denying we sin doesn’t mean they don’t exist. We first of all sin by denying God’s existence, then we sin by denying His Son who is the Saviour of all mankind. Jesus is his name. God the Father has put everything under his feet. If we believe in The Father and in His Son and repent of our sins and confess our sins putting our hope in Jesus Christ for our salvation we WILL be saved. God says so. Don’t hide from God because you can’t!

Shirley Anne

Hidden No More (Proverbs 28:13)

When was the last time you felt like hiding?
If we know God sees everything, why do we try to hide our sin from him?
Have you ever seen a little kid try to hide just by closing her eyes? She thinks if she can’t see anyone, no one can see her. That kind of thinking is cute when it’s a little kid doing it. When it’s someone who should know better, it’s a different story.
Why do we try to hide sin from God by closing our eyes to it and pretending it doesn’t exist? Why do we hide it from other people and assume God can’t see it either? God sees everything. He knows the sin is there, and he knows it’s keeping us away from him.
At every moment of every day, God stands ready to forgive us—no matter what we’ve done. All we have to do is ask him. Trying to hide our sin is a sure way to make a bad situation worse. Confessing our sin and receiving God’s mercy is a sure way to feel a giant sense of relief.
Prayer
Dear God, thank you for the way you treat us when we bring our sins to you. Please help us remember that no matter what we’ve done, we can always receive forgiveness from you. Amen.

Taken from Once a Day At the Table

Shirley Anne

Nonstop

Almost from the time I awoke at 4.45 am until after my evening meal I was kept busy doing one thing or another on Monday (11). Our next-door neighbour had asked, no, hinted that she would like her tv on the wall and I offered to fit a shelf for it (yesterday’s post). I knew I had some timber but no brackets. The first thing I did when I got downstairs at six o’clock was to paint the leading edge of the timber so it would match the colour of the timber which was covered in a veneer. As I was down in the cellar doing that I decided I might also paint the piece of timber I had fitted to the bottom edge of the new larder’s door. That colour being  a pale blue to match the existing door paint. Having done that I ate breakfast then immediately went into the garden to water the lawn. When that was done I moved to the front garden and watered that too. Still not finished I set about emptying the waste and washing out and cleaning the waste buckets we have indoors. By this time E had come downstairs and had eaten breakfast before she returned upstairs to dress. We were to go out shopping. When she was ready we drove to the local optician to see if he could repair our neighbour’s broken spectacles. Our neighbour is bed-ridden remember. He repaired them free of charge because they were under guarantee. We then drove to the hardware store to purchase the brackets and on the way back home we stopped off at Dobbies garden centre to purchase eleven plants for the small plot we had cleared on Sunday. When we arrived home we planted them all in the plot, two large plants and nine small ones.

The large (just pruned) shrub was in the plot when we moved into the house 30 years ago as was the tall tree behind it in the far corner. Click on image to magnify. The Laurel in the right hand corner is one of the new plants as is the shrub in front of the grey water butt. The smaller nine plants are those at the front from top left to bottom right. The tulip and daffodil bulbs were removed but the will be replanted in late Autumn. The new plant varieties are Laurel, Leucothoe fontanesiana Makijaz, Dianthus dark purple, Dianthus pink kisses, Edelweiss Grabglockner, Lewisia little peach, Lewisia little plum, Diascia breezee plus apricot, Scabiosa blue note, Viola Tony venison and last but not least Delosperma jewel of desert garnet.  It was the time for lunch and afterward I went next door to fit the shelf and brackets and set up the television. My neighbour was well-pleased that now she could watch tv more easily. I was finished however for I removed all the brackets and fixtures from the old fridge/freezer and with the help of her son we pulled it out of the kitchen unit and stored it outside ready for disposal. We brought in the new fridge/freezer which had been temporarily stored in use in the garage. However we discovered that the new supply cable plug could not be pushed through the rear of the unit to reach the power outlet in an adjacent cupboard. When we removed the old fridge/freezer I cut the cable close to the fridge so it didn’t need to be removed. I went back home and dug out a power outlet of the type which is fitted to extension leads. I returned and fitted it to the end of the existing cable thereby making into a small in situ extension lead that the fridge could be plugged into. We lifted the new fridge/freezer into the kitchen unit but had to take it out again so I could adjust the kitchen unit door hinges. Finally it was done and I went home. E had joined me in order to chat with our neighbour whilst I was engaged in the work. It was approaching five o’clock when we got home. After a quick coffee I carried out a repair to the garden hose nozzle before watering the whole garden including the lawn once more. It was almost time for my evening meal when I had finished. Bored? I didn’t have time to be bored.

Shirley Anne

Back home

It’s to not myself I am referring but my next-door neighbour. If my readers will remember I mentioned she had been taken to hospital in an emergency after she had difficulty in breathing. She had been and still does rely on her oxygen bottles else she would die. Her condition has been brought about by smoking and not being able to desist after being repeatedly told by her doctor to stop. She is I think around 81 years of age. After being informed she would be coming home then later told she would have to stay in hospital and later still that she would have to spend the rest of her days in a care home. Finally on Monday last (4 th) she came home late in the afternoon. E and I didn’t pay her a visit until the following day that is after she had settled in. Though she is at home she receives palliative care and is visited daily by care workers and a district nurse who visits less frequently. E and I visited her again today, that is Sunday as I write. She is upbeat about her situation and for someone who is seriously ill she is as lively as ever. Physically she has lost quite a lot of weight though she wasn’t well-built in any case beforehand. Whilst we talked with her she kept losing her breath even though she had her oxygen supply. Any exertion, even slight and she is gasping for air. It is a sad affair but little more can be done for her other than what she receives. She is always happy to see us though and we keep her laughing and in good spirit. Obviously we help in any way we can. She hinted that she would like the tv up on the wall so I told her I would fit a shelf to take it. Buying a special wall bracket, if one could be purchased for that tv would be too expensive and not worth it. I will also help her son to remove the old and faulty built-in fridge/freezer so we can install the replacement unit. Both jobs are simple and shouldn’t take long to do. E and I will continue to keep an eye on her and help as we are able.

Shirley Anne

Now you see it

See what? Well if you compare the above with the picture below…

The plant that was there on the left has now been removed. Sadly it died back and for a couple of years we made attempts to keep it going but in the end there was more dead wood than live. The other two plants seem indestructible

The taller plant against the wall is a tree, one of three we have around the garden and presently (8 th) in bloom sporting little white clusters of flowers. The bush to the right is bearing red berries at this time. It was Saturday and during the morning E and I set about digging out the dying shrub and pruning others around the garden. I had already been in the garden just after seven o’clock in order to water the lawn, giving it a good soaking in the process. Once that was done I went into the front garden and gave that a good soaking too. Late in the afternoon I watered the rear garden plants and the lawn once more. Having not had rain for weeks apart from the one day a week ago it has been necessary work watering the gardens. E had gone to see her brother as it was his birthday. He lives with his mom so she was able to visit with her too. Whilst she was out I watered the garden and re-potted this little plant

It hadn’t been doing very well no matter what we tried to help it. Compare it with its twin in the picture below 

They were originally planted at the same time a couple of years ago. It may be that we need to re-pot the twin also but for the time being it is thriving. Apart from doing household chores that represented my Saturday. I did take time out on the patio though, it wasn’t all work!

Shirley Anne

To the woods

I’m sure you’ve heard this little rhyme

To the woods, to the woods
I’ll tell the vicar
I AM the vicar.
The vicars wife wouldn’t like it
The vicars wife’s not getting it!

Well enough of that bit of humour. As was my want I went to bed early on Thursday evening but for two reasons, one, I was tired (best excuse yet!) and two, I wanted to go for a long early morning walk before it got too warm. After a little something for breakfast I began my walk, this time heading south. This time I took the main road as it led me directly to my destination, the little township of Formby or rather the northern part of it called Freshfield. We lived in Freshfield from ’76 till ’88 before moving to Birkdale where we are now. The main route through from Birkdale to Formby took me first of all through Hillside and Ainsdale before continuing down the Formby by-pass where I turned off into Freshfield. Once in Freshfield I headed along the main route (Victoria Road) which took me into the Red Squirrel reserve, all now maintained by The National Trust.https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/formby/features/red-squirrels-at-formby They look after all the woodland along the coast hereabouts. It is somewhere I am completely familiar with having spent much time either walking through the woods or running through them. I particularly enjoyed running through the woods in the hours before dawn when it was just about light enough to see where I was going. I often came across a fox or two and almost always a few rabbits. The owls I could hear but couldn’t see. The woods are special places at dawn. I usually saw the squirrels when out walking but only if one or two where at ground level would I see them when out running. I am guessing the distance to be around six or seven miles by the time I had reached the reserve. I stopped for a short rest at a picnic area where I could sit down before then walking through to the beach a further half-mile away. I stayed on the beach for only a short time but walked northward for a quarter-mile before climbing up a steep sand dune to return to the woods. Two steps forward and one step back was the order of the day climbing that sandy slope! I was exhausted by the time I had reached the top but soon recovered as I made my way into the trees and onto a small path heading north. I walked what seemed an awfully long way until I reached a little sign indicating that it was a mile and a half to the place I had just been, Victoria Road or the squirrel reserve. I walked along not coming across any other people at all, just me and the sound of nature. In fact it was totally quiet and a little eerie most of the time. Suddenly I appeared at the end of the track and was standing on the main track which circles the area. That part of the track runs alongside the rail tracks running between Southport and Liverpool. Every twenty minutes a train or two passes by. I was feeling a little tired once more so I made my way to another picnic area for a snack and a drink. I gave myself twenty minutes before I was off again and heading for the coastal road which would take me back home to Birkdale about four miles away. I hadn’t been walking exceptionally fast getting to the woods and walking through them but along the coastal road I picked up the pace and walked the four miles briskly. It was around twelve-fifteen as I went in the house feeling a little tired and hot. I recovered after a drink and prepared lunch with E. After lunch we spent some time doing garden maintenance and I watered the rear garden again. If the woods were closer to home I would most probably spend more time there. In some ways I regret having moved away all those years ago but that’s life.

Shirley Anne

Something like this

Even when I am not busy I remain busy! It’s just that the nature of the business has changed. I am getting more used to not working on one of my projects and turning my hand more often to other things instead. Those ‘other’ things were always there and always needed doing just as they still do. The difference is that now I have more time to do them and it’s funny how those things seem to have multiplied because I have more time. When I think about it I wonder how I managed to get other chores done when I worked full-time as an electrician but somehow I did. Today, Thursday (7), I got up early and did the weekly shopping, leaving the house just as E was coming downstairs. She hasn’t done the weekly shopping for eight weeks, though I am not counting it against her. Strange as it may seem to some I am beginning to enjoy the new routine now that I am getting familiar with where things are shelved. I usually don’t waste time and just whizz around and get it done but lately I have been taking more time and taking more interest in what is actually available. There are items for instance that I never knew existed and some of them I might be tempted to purchase one day. Generally though I stick to my shopping list. I returned home and after packing everything away I spent a long time watering the front garden. After a coffee I went online for a time then sat outside on the front bench playing my guitar.

Bench under front window

It is nice sitting there for it is usually quiet in the front garden. There is very little vehicular traffic and even less pedestrian traffic. The only problem is it can get too hot if there is no cloud cover and on Thursday there wasn’t any cloud cover. I returned indoors to prepare lunch, a tomato omelette on a bed of lettuce followed with strawberries and pears with a little single cream. I spent a little time out on the patio then returned indoors again to spend a half-hour on the cross-trainer. Thursday was a hot day but exercising in the cellar gym wasn’t a problem for it is much cooler down there. I say down there but the cellar is at the same level as the rear garden. Nevertheless I worked up a sweat despite the coolness. I soon cooled down on returning to the garden, a more shady part of the garden of course where there was a slight breeze blowing. An hour later I found myself mowing the lawn then watering the rear garden too. By that time it was after five o’clock and the rest of my time was spent relaxing, mostly indoors.

Shirley Anne