Just about done

My work in the cellar painting the gym floor was completed on Tuesday morning (14 th) for there was only about a square metre left to do, that small patch where I had parked the treadmill. As I write this on the same day there remains only to touch-up the white paint on the walls where I have splashed or touched with the red floor paint. That will get done tomorrow all being well. I had slept in an extra half-hour but still arose just after two-thirty. I couldn’t understand why I hadn’t heard the alarm for it had been set. I put it down to my having been very tired the day before and indeed I had been. I was going to water the rear garden first of all but decided eating breakfast would be a better idea as I wished to take a walk. It would give me extra time for a toilet visit before the walk by doing the watering after breakfast. I didn’t want to be ‘caught short’ on my walk! Even so I do have to visit the toilet sometimes when out walking, doesn’t everyone? When I returned home I finished the floor painting in the gym and that was it, nothing left to do. My thoughts turned to the next project and when if ever it was going to begin; the lawn project monoliths…

Stone monoliths (Castlerigg in Cumbria)

I had been thinking a lot about the obstacles I would be faced with in not only getting the slabs of slate (monoliths) delivered but how to get them into the rear garden once they had. I wanted to give the guy who had the slate as much time as possible for the price he was charging was far below what I had seen for similar materials elsewhere. The problem he was facing was how to lift them on to a truck for his hydraulic hoist had been faulty when I had initially visited his yard. If it was going to take too long in receiving the slate I might decide to go elsewhere instead. I need to source some heavy-duty round steel tubing with which to use to roll the slate over the concrete, through the garage and into the garden. Four pieces about a metre in length should suffice. The method is to have three at all times under the slate and the fourth is then placed ahead for it to roll onto. The rear tube is then exposed and placed ahead of the slate to repeat the process. We used to move very heavy electrical equipment that way. The work is best carried out with two or more people so I will need to muster help from my sons no doubt. At this moment though it is all speculation……

Shirley Anne

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France

Up and about at my now usual early start but I had to wait until it was light enough to allow me to have the gym light on with the door open. If you remember I didn’t want a room full of moths which would have been attracted to the brightness of the room. That meant I couldn’t begin painting until five-thirty. The plan was to complete the second coating of the floor which I managed to do all except for the small area where the treadmill had been standing. It is the area between the up-righted treadmill and the small can with the wood on it. That small area had to be left for its second coat as it was part of the walkway I had to leave to enable access to the garden door for the day (to the right and to the rear in the picture). It would get painted on Tuesday morning when the rest of the floor would be dry. This was how the floor looked soon after I had painted the second coat (on the left and beyond)…..

I was feeling rather tired during the rest of the morning and was sitting quietly on the sofa when I heard my eldest son and his wife arrive. They were collecting some things they have in storage here. He was telling me how much he was feeling tired also because of the extra work he had been putting in at work lately, especially the shift work. He is a police officer and puts in some long shifts as they are expected to do these days. He was looking forward to his annual break in a couple of weeks time (as I write). By the time you are reading this he, his wife and their daughter will be holidaying in France for, as he said, twenty-seven nights! They have been to France a couple of times before. I remember when we took he and his younger brother down to the south of France many years ago for a two-week break with a short trip into Spain too. On that occasion we travelled by car, in fact the only time we have ever taken a holiday by car. We have driven in foreign countries of course but we flew there first!

Shirley Anne

A fresh start

A Fresh Start (Isaiah 53:4–12 see below)

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free . . . Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

These words, inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty, conclude a poem titled “The New Colossus” composed by Emma Lazarus. With torch in her hand, Lady Liberty stands as a symbol of freedom and a welcoming beacon for emigrants coming to America in search of success, happiness and a fresh start.

Do you feel tired or poor? Do you long for freedom? Do you feel tossed by life’s storms? Most of us experience these conditions at some point. Isaiah describes Someone who understands exactly how we feel. Even his own people rejected this “man of suffering” (Isaiah 53:3). Many hated him. Nothing about his mere physical appearance attracted people. In short, most of us wouldn’t have given this person the time of day.

Yet this passage describes the most compelling individual in the history of the world. Somehow we can’t resist him. Perhaps it’s what he offers: himself as one like us—one who knows sorrow and yet who offers peace and relief. He offers himself as the sacrifice for our sins. He is the Messiah. And Isaiah makes it clear that Jesus identifies with all the difficulties we could ever face. He knows what it’s like to be crushed, despised, rejected and in deep emotional pain. He knows the quiet desperation we endure when faced with mounting bills, job loss, marital discord, parenting challenges and all the other stuff of life that—if we’re wise—sends us to our knees.

Take a few moments to reread the passage for today (below) and let the words sink into your consciousness. This Jesus, the very Son of God, came to Earth for the very purpose of becoming one of us, albeit temporarily. So when we kneel before Jesus, we kneel before one who can relate to our struggles and hardships. He kneels alongside us to revitalize our energy, provide relief from our stress, set us free from sin and enable us to endure life’s storms. Then, through his powerful Holy Spirit, he offers us a fresh start.

Taken from NIV Men’s Devotional Bible

Isaiah 53:4-12 (New International Version – UK )

4 Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was punished.
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
11 After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.

Remember……..for those who still do not believe…….Isaiah wrote hundreds of years before Christ was born on Earth…………How did he know? It was the inspired word of God. He was a prophet through whom God spoke and still speaks today for those who have an ear……

Shirley Anne

Really early

I made a joke a short while ago about getting up so early that I hadn’t gone to bed yet! It’s almost true. An hour after E had gone to bed on Saturday I arose. Now she goes to bed just before one o’clock usually which meant I was up before two. In fact I was already awake at one-thirty. Over the last couple of weeks, maybe a month as I write, this has been my routine. I end up eating lunch when she is having breakfast! I am getting so used to the routine I may make it permanent. I much prefer to be up early anyway. Though two o’clock seems ridiculous to many what actual difference does it make when your day starts and finishes? I say if you are single and it suits you then do it, after all your not at anyone’s beck and call. If you have a  family living with you then that is a different matter. Anyway I was up and about early and the first thing I did once downstairs was to fill the washing machine and then move some of the gym equipment from the area of the floor I would be painting with its second coat on Monday morning. It was Sunday and I wouldn’t be working that day. Then it was breakfast time and soon after that I was dressed and ready for a very early walk. It was four o’clock when I left the house. As I passed along The Promenade, for I had chosen that route this time, I could hear the hustle and bustle of people in the town still hanging about after their night out. I could never understand why local authorities allow bars and clubs to remain open til such a late or rather early hour. Once upon a time you couldn’t get an alcoholic drink after ten-thirty in the UK and in some places not at all on a Sunday (like Wales for instance). How moral standards have fallen! I remember the arguments put forward in support of later opening hours. Everything would be fine and it would discourage drunkenness because people would spread their alcoholic consumption over the longer period instead of drinking as much as possible in the shorter opening hours. No, it just meant they had more time to be able to drink more and that is what many do. I steer clear of town at that time in the morning when out walking. Where I walk at that hour it is usually deathly quiet. On my return home it was time to hang up the washing in the gym (it doubles as an airing place) because it was raining outside and had been throughout the night. When it got a little lighter I saw that the far border in the rear garden had remained dry because of the overhanging trees so I got out the hose and have it a thorough soaking. It is that part of the border to the right and beyond in the picture above. The hose pipe ban had been lifted a few days earlier. On Monday morning I hoped to finish the painting of the gym floor which would only leave the touching up of the white walls and a general cleaning of the equipment.

Shirley Anne

The drink

I could have named the title for this post many other things, for example: invisibility, selfishness, ignorance, thoughtlessness to name but a few. To understand that you need to read on. The post is about a dream I had on Friday night a couple of weeks ago. In the dream I appeared to be on a night out with family, friends, colleagues and other acquaintances I have encountered throughout my life. The scene was set in a bar but it resembled a shop I once maintained in my capacity as an electrician and general dog’s body. The term dog’s body is probably an apt description of many areas of my life in regard to relationships and dealings with others, at least that’s how I have felt many times in my life. For some apparent reason I was buying the first round of drinks for those in my immediate circle that night, about eight or so of us. The bar was packed with people I knew both past and present but I wasn’t acknowledged by most of them. Oh they knew I was there and hadn’t forgotten me but they never spoke. I often was left feeling invisible in the presence of some people. The lady serving at the bar was or had been in real life the manageress of the shop in question. When she had served me the drinks they were too many to carry at once so I asked for a tray. I was ignored as she was by then serving someone else. It took ages for her to return and give me the tray. I tried to explain that the tray she had given me was unsuitable as it was too small but again she ignored me and served someone else. Eventually I received a much larger tray but it was soaking wet. I placed all the drinks upon it and a very large bottle of either tonic water or ginger ale, I couldn’t remember which, for myself. I took the drinks over to my party and they were taken without thanks or acknowledgement. I wasn’t even asked why I had taken so long to get them for it must have been twenty or more minutes since I went to the bar. It was as if they had forgotten I was even there. I had reserved a seat for myself a little distance from the rest before going for the drinks but on my return another girl was sitting there chatting with her boyfriend. I was left standing there with nowhere to sit. I returned to my party but all they wanted was some of my drink, which was still in the bottle, to add to their own drinks. I was I suppose only there to serve them and not have a drink to myself. They took it in turn to help themselves from my bottle without thanks or consideration and I was left standing there without a drink or anyone to talk to for they had resumed chatting amongst themselves. What can I say? I am invisible. That seems to be true in my real life too……….

Shirley Anne

Steady hand

I could have been a surgeon……but I didn’t have the patience (patients). Okay and old joke I admit but then again well let’s say I’m over thirty-nine! Actually the medical profession was the last thing I would have considered as a career. Apart from the thought of all those years of study followed by a very long subsequent learning curve I don’t think I had the aptitude. Even in the career I chose as an electrician and electrical engineer I had four years of study and an apprenticeship followed by years of learning experiences. I had in fact begun a higher level of education after obtaining the relevant qualifications but a year into the course I gave up the idea. You see I didn’t want years of studying, I wanted to use my skills hands-on. The rest is history, in fact everything is history isn’t it? I will lay claim to having a steady pair of hands and am dexterous. As a surgeon that would be essential of course. Having a steady hand has been an advantage especially when the work demands it. Most of the things I do now naturally involve the use of my hands (even typing this). My current little project is nearly coming to an end and it totally requires the use of my hands, painting the gym floor though I will admit my steady hands didn’t prevent me from applying paint where it shouldn’t be! That though is mostly due to the uneven edges between the floor and the walls. One area involved painting alongside an existing white line.

Most folk would use masking tape and simply remove it once the paint had dried to leave a straight line. It doesn’t always work especially if the surfaces are not smooth as the paint can leak under the tiniest of spaces. I decided to have a go at doing it free-hand…It isn’t perfect but is pretty close! As for the ‘splashes’ of red paint on the white walls, they will be far easier to cover with the emulsion paint because emulsion can be wiped off with water if it gets where it isn’t wanted. The chlorinated rubber floor paint however is more difficult to remove and more so considering its red colour. On Friday morning (10 th) I had almost completed the painting of the floor though half of the floor was yet to receive the second coat.

As I had cemented in the cracks where the treadmill had stood temporarily I couldn’t paint that small area on the day.

Shirley Anne

Something going on

I was sitting out on the patio on Thursday morning after I had returned from doing the shopping and just relaxing in the warm sunshine. All was peaceful, for a short while anyway, then the noise started. Nothing drastic or continuous but certainly annoying. Our next-door neighbour, the single guy who runs his business from home (he is a solicitor or lawyer) was having work done on his house. For a couple of weeks now there has been scaffolding erected around the property and the major part of the work concerns having the brickwork re-pointed. That in itself isn’t a noisy procedure aside from the noise the grinding tool excavating the old mortar makes. Even so it isn’t that bad. The main culprits are the guys throwing their tools down onto the wooden planks every minute. It doesn’t sound annoying from reading the written word but I can assure you it is. Why can’t they hang them on their belts or place them down quietly? Fat chance of that I suppose. The thing is it isn’t necessary to make such noise. Building workers are a law unto themselves I guess. There is always something going on around here though. For most of last year we had the builders renovating  his next-door neighbour’s house, that is the next but one to ours. The noise was relentless, if it wasn’t the work itself it was the comings and goings of the vehicles. The year before that (2016) we had the neighbour living opposite having their home renovated on the exterior and some other work inside too. Our other next-door neighbour had her house painted and some large trees cut down. Obviously the painting wasn’t noisy but the machinery involved with cutting down the trees and mincing the timber was! It was eight years ago we had scaffolding erected around the house when we too had exterior work done as well as new double-glazing installed. It was last year we had more scaffolding erected for roof repairs. This is only five houses, there were others in our street having work done during the same period too. It seems no matter where you go in my neighbourhood there is work of one sort or another being carried out! I could argue that some of the work wouldn’t be necessary had it been done to last in the first place! 

Imagine the noise involved renovating the house above!

Shirley Anne

A lot for six hours

If I was being pedantic I would say six hours and twenty minutes but if I was being extra pedantic I would be honest and say well okay it was more like five. What is she talking about? My early morning activities of course what else? It was Wednesday morning and the promised rain hadn’t fallen through the night. I was up.before two o’clock, which accounts for the twenty minutes and downstairs before two-thirty. I checked to see if we had rain and discovering we hadn’t I went into the garden to give the plants a drink. At this time of year it is important not to let the plants die for lack of water. Next it was breakfast followed by a half-hour of catch-up tv. and checking my emails. I was about ready for another walk which used up two hours. On my return home I would be doing some painting in the cellar again. I was about half-way through my walk when I happened upon a guy in a wheelchair who darted out of a hotel lobby a couple of hundred metres ahead of me and going in the same direction. We had both reached the far end of the Promenade before I caught up with him and I hadn’t been walking slowly. I bid him good morning and we chatted a while as we went along. I mentioned that I was impressed with his speedy exercise and he told me the chair was brand new and he was ‘putting it through its paces’. ‘Much better than the previous one’ he said. He was staying for three weeks at the specialist respite care home at the far end of the Promenade after leaving the spinal treatment unit at the hospital. I assumed he meant at Southport. He told me he had an operation which hadn’t gone well and it had left him unable to walk. He was very philosophical about it but I thought how sad for him. I asked him where he lived and he told me North Wales. North Wales can be seen across Liverpool bay from Southport on a clear day. Soon we were at his destination and we parted ways. As I walked along the seafront I could see the heavy rain clouds dumping their load over Ainsdale about four miles down the coast. As I got nearer home it began to rain there too. It had just about stopped raining as I entered the front door. So what next? I put on my overalls and painted over the area I had been working on a couple of days earlier giving it its second and final coat. I also painted the step leading into the room and a little more elsewhere.

At the time of writing there remains the area around that step and the small area beneath the up-righted treadmill to be worked on and of course the bare section in the picture. The other half of the floor also needs its second coat of paint. None of that will take long to do. The floor repairs and painting will then be finished but at some point I will need to touch-up the white walls where I have accidentally touched them here and there with the red paint.

Shirley Anne

Return to normal

What is normal for you? There are many areas in my life where I am comfortable and that for me is normality. I speak though about the weather in this case. For a few weeks it has been unusually warm even hot at times and that for me wasn’t normal. I often felt uncomfortable and longed for things to return the way I like it, cooler! Yesterday, that is Monday (6 th) was for me a lovely day, not too warm and not too cool, just right in fact. Today as I write it is even cooler than yesterday and perfect for me. It is around 18 deg C and although the humidity is very high it is comfortable. Now is the time for working outdoors but at the moment that only means gardening maintenance which is an all year round chore anyway. I am eager to work on the lawn project but there is little movement regarding that as I am waiting for the supply of materials. I am therefore concentrating on finishing the gym floor and today the extra floor paint is to be delivered. I won’t be doing any work however, not today anyway for I have shopping to do. So as far as I am concerned all is returning to normal. Nice as Summer is it gets boring after a while and all I want to do is keep myself occupied with a project or two. This morning in the early hours of daylight I was out in the garden doing maintenance, digging out weeds and pruning here and there as well as watering the plants. We are informed that rain will be the order of the day towards the end of the week ……..definitely back to normal!

Shirley Anne

Same old again

Rest over, time to get back to work. Typical routine for me these days. I am not happy unless I am working but the strange thing is that I like getting away from it after a while. Even stranger is that I can’t wait to get back to it after a short time! I am a hopeless case I suppose but I’d rather be doing something constructive than just doing something which isn’t or not doing anything at all. That said, it was Monday morning again, the first of the month and there was a feeling in the air that things were beginning to change in the weather, it was getting perceptively cooler. I was up very early again and ready for a walk after the weekend break but at two o’clock? No way, that was far too early so I busied myself doing other things until I finally left the house at five o’clock. This time I was wearing my waterproof jacket though with only lightweight clothing beneath. I was glad I did for the wind had increased and it felt very cool. Without the jacket I would have felt uncomfortable and probably would have returned to collect it. On my return home I thought I would get some work done but unfortunately there was little I could do. I wanted to use up the remaining floor paint to do as much as I could with it but wanted to wait until it was brighter outside. If you remember I mentioned that having the door open when it was still dark outside would attract flying insects, especially moths and I didn’t want a cellar full of them! However it was ten o’clock before I got around to doing the work as other things got in the way.

You can see from the picture above how far I was able to go with the remaining paint. The area I covered was all that behind the makeshift barrier. It wasn’t quite enough to cover the whole area as you can see. The next can of paint was on its way from Ireland and I would probably receive it on Tuesday or Wednesday. There was nothing further I could do on that project. The first thing I would do then would be to give the same area another coat of paint so that a couple of days later I could return the treadmill to its original position. That would allow me to repair the small area where it had been standing and I could then go on to finish the painting. Later I would be giving the whole room another coat of paint, except the area under the treadmill which would already have been coated twice. That was the plan anyway, let’s see if it went that way.

Shirley Anne