Just went

In the knowledge that there would be little for me to do in the utility room I took the opportunity to have an extra hour in bed on Wednesday morning. Even so I was up at three. It was the last day of October, wet and cold outside but I wasn’t going anywhere, not immediately anyway. I was sitting with E at the breakfast table around nine o’clock though I had eaten earlier and we were discussing something about work. She knew I wouldn’t be working on the project because I needed more plywood. It was essential that the main construction work was completed before the filling in and decorating could take place so I told her I would head out and purchase some plywood. I drove to the builders’ merchant and purchased two sheets but couldn’t bring them home in my little van and tying them up on top of the roof rack would be impractical  as they measured eight feet by four (2.44 x 1.22 metres), a little too large. I paid a small sum to have them delivered. On my return home I asked E if she would like to visit the garden centre (Dobbies) and we could take advantage of the free tea and cream scones I had been offered as a birthday treat (my birthday is Nov 21). As a member I am also entitled to two free large coffees each month so we go there quite often! Of course that is the idea isn’t it? We drove there and had a pleasant time and when we came back home an hour later the plywood was standing next to the garage. Not bad service but I am a regular customer of theirs. When in Dobbies E dragged me over to the corner of the store where an independent trader sells clothing, jumpers, coats and jackets, scarves and such things as well as boots. I ended up buying two pairs of waterproof boots, a pair each, and some woolen socks too!

The boots are fur-lined and are basically Wellingtons, not really made for walking too far in but I was to give them an outing the following morning. They will be ideal for working in and around the garden when it is wet. After lunch there was no inclination from me to do any work so I didn’t!

Shirley Anne


Best policy

Are your sins counted against you? When you come face to face with God will He see your sinful nature, will your sins condemn you? Going through life without a care in the world for your bad behaviour, your misdeeds to others will only lead to death. Wouldn’t it be great if our sins could not be seen and we could be pure before our Creator? By accepting Jesus into our hearts we can have our sins wiped away for he paid the price for them on the cross.

Shirley Anne

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The Best Policy (Psalm 130:1–8)

Have you ever noticed the boldness of David and of other composers of psalms? They courageously questioned God (see Psalm 89:46) and went so far as to boldly outline for him what in their view he needed to do (see Psalm 123:3). As people well versed in Israel’s history, the songwriters, we might expect, would have kept silent when it came to questioning God’s ways.

However, the psalmists “got away” with what they said because they expressed their feelings with honesty. They knew their own weaknesses and limitations and understood God’s strength and power and majesty. They knew who they were and where they were. But they also knew God.

Here, the songwriter acknowledges his own state as being in “the depths.” Whether this refers to a physical, emotional or spiritual place doesn’t matter. He’s honest enough to recognize his desperate situation and to cry out to God for help. Simply acknowledging our need is the first step down the pathway of redemption.

But what does the songwriter need? He realizes that if God were to keep a record of sin, the psalmist would certainly be lost. With his rhetorical question “Who could stand?” (Psalm 130:3), he anticipates the words of the New Testament: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). In almost the same breath as his admission of sinfulness, the songwriter honestly expresses who God is. With God “there is forgiveness . . . unfailing love . . . full redemption” (Psalm 130:4,7). Finally, the songwriter acknowledges God’s promise that “he himself will redeem Israel from all their sins” (Psalm 130:8).

Perhaps the apostle Paul had the words of Psalm 130 in mind hundreds of years later when he wrote to the church at Colosse, “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in [ Jesus], and through him to reconcile to himself all things” (Colossians 1:19–20).

Because of Christ we can be honest with ourselves: God comes to where we are to redeem who we are because of who he is.

Taken from NIV Men’s Devotional Bible

Shirley Anne

Door area

I spent a few hours working in the utility room on Tuesday (30 th) most of it around the door and the adjacent wall. First of all though I went for a walk. It was a cold and frosty morning and all the parked vehicles I came across were white! There was a gentle breeze blowing from the northeast but it was cold and in my face for the first half of my four and a half mile walk. On my return the wind died down and some clouds began to appear for there had been none at all until then. An hour after getting home there was a shower of rain and things started to warm up though it was still quite cold even so. I began the work after breakfast and later in the day this is how far I had got……

It doesn’t seem to be much work but it was tricky and awkward, especially above the door opening on the right hand side. The plywood which will be above the opening door will obviously be higher than the rest of the boxing-in. There is not much spare clearance but the door has to be removed in order to straighten the top of it by cutting a little off and that will ensure enough clearance. The door hinges need replacing too as one of them is broken. The door itself is a little bit twisted but you have to remember it has been there a very long time, probably being fitted when the house was under construction 141 years ago! It was simply made using planks of wood as you can see. Before I can do any further work on the project I will have to purchase that extra plywood I mentioned. 

Shirley Anne

Now the other side

A couple of days ago I was writing about boxing in the pipework. I had completed the one side of the room excepting for making a hinged panel for access to a valve and now (Mon. 29 th) I have begun the other side of the room. Although this side is structurally simpler it has been somewhat difficult. This morning I constructed the basic frame to cover most of the ceiling, that is up to the opened door. It will act as a door stop at that point for it has to be raised when it goes over the door.

The wood which is screwed to the wall was by far the easiest part of the work but the wood fixed to the ceiling at the front and top was a bit of a nightmare for a couple of reasons. First of all it is in five pieces due to the (white) plastic trunking, gas and water pipes crossing the ceiling at that point. Trying to get the fives sections aligned was a problem in itself but worse than that was the uneven ceiling!

See in the middle picture how the batten on the right doesn’t even touch the ceiling at one end and in the lower picture the ceiling bulges out near to the centre of the batten there. Fortunately the plywood will cover all of that but it just shows how uneven the ceilings can be down in the cellar rooms. I took a short break from the work to affix some more eye bolts on the patio walls and tied the frame to them (see yesterday’s post) . In the afternoon I cut and fitted some plywood but ran out of stock and will need to purchase some more.

Shirley Anne


There’s a popular (?) tv program in the UK called ‘You’ve been framed’ whereby viewers can send in clips of mishaps they or others have had the misfortune to endure and it is broadcast for all to see. Each clip broadcast rewards the sender with £250. I was ‘framed’ if you like when I erected this with lots of help from E….

….and if it had been recorded it might have made the program! I began the work by myself but after fifteen frustrating minutes I had to enlist the help of E. As with most self-assembled units the instructions are not all that easy to follow and by me especially. I seem to have the knack of getting it wrong and then getting angry because I experience problems which if truth be known don’t actually exist! E came outside after my insistence that she wear warm clothing for it was a cold October day even though the sun was shining. In a matter of minutes she had things sorted. What I had failed to do was to recognise the numbered parts and indeed the large components were all numbered. I just hadn’t noticed and had been trying to identify them from the drawing. The drawings never seem to look like the things they are supposed to be representing do they? Perhaps a photograph would be more useful. We began the assembly, though it was only myself doing the assembling whilst E held the parts which needed supporting. Finally we ended up with the structure you see and we lifted it up to sit on the patio walls. I had to add some supports  to the frame where it overhangs the patio deck by using two lengths of plastic pipe secured using ‘Jubilee clips’.  When it is time we shall be putting the plastic covering over it to protect the plants in the raised bed from severe wind and frost during the colder months.

Before the cover goes on I shall be fitting some eye bolts on the walls to secure it using the tie ropes supplied.  Its actual purpose is a growing tunnel but it will be equally as good in the use we make of it.

Shirley Anne

Take a break

The above is the name of a weekly magazine E gets each week, though it is I who actually buys it when I get the shopping in. There is another she gets too and that is called ‘That’s life’. Their titles could describe my life as it is now, I am constantly working with all the problems that come with it but that’s life as they say. So this sunny afternoon and tomorrow, which just happens to be a Sunday, in fact the last of the month, I shall be taking a break. My first job of the day began at 5 o’clock. I was in the garage breaking down the last two of the panels we had stored for E’s brother who kindly let us have them as he didn’t want them. I was able to recover six plywood sheets measuring 48 x 45 inches and have used them on the utility room project. Later and after a meal I finished off constructing the boxing-in of the pipework and wiring on one side of the room..

The hole you see on the underside in the lower picture is where I shall be fitting an easy access panel to allow access to a water valve there.  Of course there is some filling to be done here and there before painting begins but before then I have to do the same on the opposite side of the room. Unfortunately I have only one of the plywood panels remaining and will have to purchase some to complete the work. There is still plenty of work to do in the room before it is finished and it will keep me busy for days.

Shirley Anne


Sorry not the spectator sport though that I used to find fascinating. Since those days however my attitude to the sport has changed somewhat. I no longer want to see two individuals beating each other up in the ring. The sport is dangerous and can cause severe injury, especially brain damage. No, I am talking about boxing-in something you don’t wish to be on view for whatever reason. I live in an old Victorian house which was built in 1877 and it has seen many changes both to its exterior and interior over the years. Because it has cellar rooms (which were used by the servants at the time) many of its more recent services, central heating pipes, gas and electricity cabling were run on the surface which down there is bare brick. No consideration was given to repairing holes knocked through from one room to another or through the lath and plaster ceilings. As the years went by more circuits and pipes were added and the result is chaos and a very untidy mess. During this past year I have been working in a few rooms down there doing refurbishment and alterations, the Larder room, the Gym/boiler room and now the Utility room. In each of those rooms I have had to tidy up the services as best as I could but in the current project, the Utility room I had decided to hide away as much of the services as I could. That means boxing them in with timber and plywood. On Thursday (25 th) I had begun that work and I continued with it on Friday for a few hours.

I was feeling tired by ten-thirty after five hours at it so I packed it in for the day. I had been for a four and a half mile walk beforehand though! It appeared that I would have to purchase more plywood despite having  quite a lot in stock. The above pictures show only the one side of the room. There are more pipes and cables on the opposite wall and on the adjacent wall to it. 

Shirley Anne

Doing is gaining

Writing in the past it is now October 25 and we are approaching Halloween, Guy Fawkes night and Christmas signs are everywhere of these up and coming events. Commercialism is pressing hard to gain our attention and most will go for it. Not I though, I see it all as nonsense and a waste of my time and money. Christmas is a special time to reflect on what Jesus did for me, not a time to be getting up to things secularist. As for spending money, well I do much of that in the projects I undertake at home! I would rather spend my cash on something of benefit to E and myself than waste it on things which satisfy for the moment and then are gone. Partying never really satisfies for long, you yearn for it again and again but nothing changes. My current project has been keeping me well occupied and is satisfying to do but more importantly it will last a lot longer than a hangover! This morning before doing the weekly shopping I installed the wiring for the extra power outlets in the utility room though it has yet to be completed. I also painted the extended worktop where I had been working lately.

The cables are now at the distribution panel and also at the position in the room to break into and separate the existing power circuit. That will be done at a more convenient time as it involves switching off other circuits. Later today I will be purchasing the timber with which to build the frames to box-in the high level pipework. Hopefully I will have enough plywood at home to complete that work.

Shirley Anne

Hot tub

I woke up this morning (24 th) feeling great and not feeling any pain from yesterday’s accident. Instead of taking a shower I chose to take a bath before going to bed. I think it was the first bath I had taken this year! The tub takes ages to fill, around thirty minutes but it is well worth the wait. I lay there for about thirty minutes letting the heat soothe the aches and pains I had and also opening the pores for a deeper cleansing, something a shower doesn’t really give. I always sleep better after a shower but even more so after a soak in the tub. I went out for my usual walk feeling no ill effects whatsoever. On my return and after eating breakfast I chose not to do any work for I knew E wanted me to take her to the doctor’s surgery then on to collect her medications. Whilst we were out we decided to go for a coffee and a cream bun and when we finally got home it was noon. I went down into the cellar and installed the mini-plastic trunking for the extra cables I will need to install to split the existing power circuit to the utility room. The circuit in there needs to be separated from the circuit it is now connected to. I also installed the trunking to cover three existing cables on the utility room ceiling. 


The trunking comes in three metre lengths and has an adhesive backing to enable it to fix directly to any dry and dust-free surface. However I had to also screw one of them to the ceiling where the surface wasn’t so good. Once I had done that I returned upstairs for lunch. I had other chores to do in the afternoon which prevented any more work on the project. An easier day for a change.

Shirley Anne

Took a fall

…..but I got up again! I was on the third step from the bottom of the stairs and I lost my foothold, slipped and ended up on the hallway floor having mastered the art of not colliding with the hall clock.

It was three am. I blame my slippers which actually do live up to their name because the soles have worn shiny! It wasn’t that I was sleepy either as I had been up since two. It wasn’t immediate but the pain soon let me know the result. How I ended up only hurting the upper part of my right leg I’ll never know, there was nothing to fall on but the floor! The pain stayed with me all day long and caused me some discomfort when walking. I rested up after breakfast and watched some catch-up tv once more. I hadn’t planned a walk but I did want to carry on with the utility room and managed to lay the plinth on some packing to make it level and then slide the freezer onto it.

That part is finished but I have to fill in the edge at bottom left as the floor dips away just there. Next job was to paint the top of the old freezer which had been looking its age….

It was then time for a bite to eat with E. I couldn’t do much more work afterward as I had no more screws of a suitable length so I drove off to the electrical supplier and purchased cable, power outlets, plastic trunking and two boxes of screws. I still needed timber with which to box-in the overhead pipes and such but that could wait for another day.

What I did manage to do was block in the corner (above and below pics)

However, I had to drive E to her moms house because her mom had a problem with an online order and E couldn’t drive after taking some medication. Her brother brought her back home whilst I returned to finish what I had been doing. I had to return in any case as I was waiting for a delivery of my own to arrive. By bedtime my pain had eased and I was ready for some sleep.

Shirley Anne