Still Monday

After my walk and then breakfast yesterday (I write on 26 th Nov) I began working in the small store in the cellar doing what I have always enjoyed which is working with wood. So alright the work I was doing wasn’t glamorous and quality carpentry but simply constructing the framework in readiness to box some of the pipes in the room. The problem in the room is that the ceiling is part-covered in plasterboard and the framework had to be constructed to allow the new pieces of plasterboard I would be installing to fit evenly with the existing board. I spent a few hours down there that morning and managed to construct almost all of it. 

In the lower picture you can see one of the two gate valves (red handle) which isolate the towel radiator in the wet room above. There are valves in the wet room too. When I come to cover everything with plywood I will make the panels easy to remove should there be the need to close the valves. The sloping piece of wood on the frame above the window in the top picture is only there to strengthen the structure. The plywood panel which will be beneath it and only over the window and to the right will be at the same angle.  Not all of the pipework will be boxed-in, only those parts you see in the pictures. I stopped work for the day just before one o’clock.

Shirley Anne



I had a longer break from my early morning walks over the weekend, my last one being Friday. It was now Monday morning and I was up out of bed and downstairs just after two-thirty to go for a walk. As I was putting on my walking boots I noticed one of the garden flood lights had switched on. That could only mean there was an intruder in the garden. However, the intruder wasn’t a human being for access to the garden would be difficult for a person because of the high walls. I looked out and there was a fox sniffing around on the lawn near to the patio. This past year we have experienced seeing small holes dug in the lawn and large droppings on it occasionally, droppings which couldn’t be attributed to a cat. Now for the first time I saw the culprit on the lawn though I had previously seen a fox walking on top of the perimeter wall. I opened the window and the fox dashed away scaling the wall in the process. It is surprising how high they can climb!

Soon I was off outside and on my walk. One of the advantages of taking a walk early in the morning (or late at night) is the peace and quiet, as long as you stay away from the town centre and midnight revellers! You also get the chance to see some of the wildlife which prefer the dark hours. I passed by the lake this particular morning which is always occupied by waterfowl of different kinds and then on toward the seafront. Just before I reached the front a fox trotted across the road ahead of me but hadn’t seen me. By the time I reached the same spot it was well gone. I didn’t see any other creature during my return home except for five geese low above my head as they flew past.

Shirley Anne

Keeping an eye out

Nice as it is to have something to do during retirement I sometimes feel I am neglecting some things in favour of others. On the one hand I am keen to sort out my projects and get them completed as soon as possible whilst on the other hand I am keen to keep the gardens as much in order as I can. The weather has been fine for carrying out work in the garden but unfortunately I have not had much spare time to do it because of my indoor activities. However I have made every effort to keep as close a watch on things as I can. At this time of year it can turn cold very quickly and some of the plants suffered because of that last year. I did manage to put up some frost protection but not soon enough and some plants were damaged. This year I took time out from my projects to erect better frost protection for the more vulnerable plants knowing we were in for cold spells. Everything seems to be in order but I still keep an eye out for any damage to the protection screens. At the time of writing (25 th Nov) we haven’t had any strong winds blowing. I am hoping the frost protection is strong enough to withstand any wind coming our way and again I will need to be alert and keep an eye out. Today is Sunday and I have been in the garden checking things out though I’ve not done any work. The garden does need tidying up I admit for there are still fallen leaves gathered in places and scattered elsewhere. Twigs from the neighbour’s tree lie fallen on the grass and in the flowerbeds which we are forever picking up. All these things can be tackled sporadically but I would really prefer to spend a day at least to get it under control. Well I have a couple of months yet before the weather turns warm again, plenty of time for gardening duties. In the meantime most of my work will be concentrated on my projects.

The picture was taken today and yes, those pebbles still haven’t arrived!

Shirley Anne

New project

My intentions were to begin decorating and working in the cellar hallway but the little area beneath the stone steps needed attention first. However although I have made a start in there it has only been to rid it of junk and things which needed moving and storing elsewhere. It was Saturday, the last one of the month and I arose much later than I had been doing beforehand. Without realising it I had push myself too far and had worn myself out so I deliberately made sure I got the extra rest and stayed in bed until six o’clock. I had no choice as it happened because that was the time I awoke! Now completely recharged I was determined to make a start in the small storage room beneath the cellar steps. I removed several large panes of glass, several small ones and six mirrors of various sizes and stored them in the workshop. I removed a couple of dozen wine bottles some of which  had home-brewed wine still in them from 1982-6. The wine was discarded as neither of us drink alcohol. There were also several small bottles of tonic water and cleaning fluids of different types, four demijohns and other odd items. I removed the largest of the shelves directly beneath the steps as it was too large for the area it was in. I stripped off a piece of timber that someone had nailed above the window and swept the area making it ready for work to start. By then it was time for lunch and E and I watched a movie until late in the afternoon. I had decided not to begin work proper until Monday so I put my overalls in the washing machine and took the rest of the weekend off. I took these pictures of the room.   

My first job on Monday was going to be boxing in pipework again!

Shirley Anne

Something to think about

Now that the celebrations are ending I want to ask you to consider the reasons you personally celebrated Christmas. Was it based on your being a Christian? Was it perhaps just a way to have a break and a reunion with your family and friends? Was it just something you’ve always done perhaps because it is tradition?

Shirley Anne

December 24, 2017 by factbasedtruth(.com)

Merry Christmas! Perhaps the most uttered phrase on one particular day in history. It’s a beautiful time of the year. Snow falling in some places, lights being hung up in most places, and people choosing to be in a more cheerful mood towards one another. All of that combined creates for a touching time period. But in spite of it being touching, I’ll tell you why Christmas is the most awkward time of the year for me.

You’ve probably heard the phrase “Jesus is the reason for the season”. It’s a statement some Christians have used to counter the secular understanding of Christmas being about Santa Claus, reindeers, and presents. Another phrase people sometimes state is “Keep the Christ in Christmas”. That phrase is used to counteract the secular way some choose to say “Merry Christmas” by saying “Merry Xmas”. Just as a side note, it’s actually not secular. According to Greek, the “X” comes from the Greek letter “chi”, first letter of the Greek word which in English means Christ.

Putting that side-note aside, here’s what I want to pose for thought. Is Jesus the reason for the season? Does Christ have anything to do with Christmas?

2 TIMOTHY 3:16-17
Before we get into that question, let’s read 2 Timothy 3:16-17. The verses state, “16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” I think we’d all agree this verse seems to indicate scripture is very important. Not just a guideline, not just a suggestion, but an actual writing of what is correct, right, and Godly. We can perhaps all agree that what is and what is not in these writings should be taken seriously in how we think and act on our faith.

So getting back to our topic, I return to the questions I asked before the last paragraph. In looking to the scripture, which tells us what’s correct, right, and Godly, does Jesus have anything to do with this season? Does Christ have anything to do with Christmas? As far as I’ve read in scripture, the answer is no.

God, Jesus, and the apostles did not instruct to celebrate the birth of Christ on December 25th with the title of the date being Christmas. They never even instructed to celebrate Christ’s birthday in the first place. This tradition was all started by Catholics. For the record, I don’t state that in a derogatory way towards Catholics, I’m just stating the facts.

Now some may ask, well what’s the big deal if I put up a tree, put up some lights, buy some presents, and choose to celebrate Jesus in this way? And that’s a very good question to ask. In response to that I would ask, should it not be important to do what God instructs of us to do versus holding to a tradition that was started by humans? Isn’t our faith about not conforming to the pattern of this world as Romans 12:2 expresses?

Jesus himself once stated in Mark 7:6-9, “He said to them, “Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honours me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.’ You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition”. Then he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition!”

Now I know what you might be thinking, and no, I’m not calling anyone a hypocrite, and I know Jesus was directing this to the Pharisees. I’m just pointing out that it mattered to Jesus that people don’t get caught up in keeping human traditions, and should focus on the commands of God. I think we can all agree that what matters to Jesus should matter to us.

It’s not just the son of God who was against unwarranted human invented ways of honouring God, but God himself. Leviticus 10:1-2 states, “Now Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, each took his censer, put fire in it, and laid incense on it; and they offered unholy fire before the Lord, such as he had not commanded them. 2 And fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord.” God killed people for worshiping and honouring Him in a way He didn’t command. I don’t state that to scare anyone, I just state that to point out how important this appears to be to God.

All of this is shown to us in scripture and we haven’t even gotten into evidence that points to Christmas having pagan origins. Do we really want to tie our Jesus to something that’s potentially based on the worship of a pagan god?

For me the big thing in all of this is God and His scripture. Do we take what His scripture states as the foundation of everything we think and do that’s right, correct, and Godly… or do we follow human traditions out of fear of not conforming to the culture and out of the phrases, “Well that’s the way we’ve always done things” and “But the Christmas holiday feels so special to me”?

If people just did things the way they’ve always been done or only based on how things feel, all Jews would have kept being Jews, no Gentiles would have become Christians, and Christianity might have never been anything more than a fringe cult.

This time of the year can be awkward as a Christian who doesn’t celebrate Christmas. I have friends who practice Christianity that celebrate the holiday. They enjoy getting to spend time with their families and have years of sentimental memories attached to Christmas. It’s the grand visual of bright lights, white snow, green trees, red decorations, and extra kind nature exhibited, that creates an unfortunately strong emotion fueled attraction that’s difficult to convince people to turn away from.

I’m never offended by anyone who tells me “Merry Christmas”, because I know they mean well. But it’s my hope and prayer that we all think more about how we choose to think and live our faith in the name of Jesus Christ. May we all continue to strive to make scripture the foundation of our faith.

Peace to you all in Christ.

From the author and from Shirley Anne

In for a half-penny

This day it was a case of in for a half-penny. Friday 23 rd November and I was up extra specially early though that wasn’t intended. I had six hours sleep and woke just after one in the morning and couldn’t lay there any longer. I had been tired the night before after the work I had done and I was now awake and refreshed. I was going for a walk anyway so getting up early didn’t make much difference. This time I chose a completely different route for the first half of the walk. Leaving the house I walked inland for a couple of miles before heading toward the coast and ending up further north than I had normally done over the past few months. The streets were completely devoid of pedestrians and only a handful of vehicles passed my way. I expected the side streets to be quiet but it is amazing just how quiet the main routes were too. It was only after breakfast that I felt a little tired and I sat and watched tv for a while until finally putting on my overalls to do some work. I was concentrating on emptying the small storage area behind the cellar steps and it took quite a lot of time.

The picture only shows a small percentage of what had been dumped there a couple of years ago. I had to sort out the various pieces of timber and put them in the tea chests in the workshop. While I was in the workshop I had to tidy up the area around the far end of the workbench then take out the rubbish and dump that in the wheelie bins. Despite all the work it didn’t seem that I’d done much but my body told me otherwise. Now I really was feeling tired and I returned upstairs for something to eat just as E had come downstairs.  We had talked about buying new curtains for the breakfast  room the previous day so after eating we drove to the store and bought two sets of two curtains for the two windows. We were back home in half an hour and had them fitted within minutes! From that point onward I did no more work, I was too tired. Only a h’penny worth out of me that day.

Shirley Anne

In for a penny…..

….in for a pound. Now that the utility room had been refurbished I was in the market for a break but you know me, it couldn’t last! A few months ago my eldest son asked if I was going to paint the cellar hallway floor as I had done in the gym and larder rooms. It was more of a suggestion than an enquiry but it stayed in my thoughts as a possible maybe for I had other plans at that time. My thoughts were aimed at the room we have now called the utility room and as you know I ended up completely revamping it. A few days ago (that is around the middle of November as I write) my thoughts turned to the cellar hallway which needs a small section of the pipe work boxing-in, a few small repair jobs and the floor painting as suggested. Here is a part-view showing the entrance to the utility room on the right…

At the far end of the hallway and beneath the stone steps is a small storage area which has never been decorated since we moved in and has been used as a temporary dump for timber and other paraphernalia. It stands beneath the wet room and indeed the plasterboard ceiling had been partly removed when I installed the wet room drain.

As you can see it needs a lot of work doing to it and it would be better done before any work is considered in the hallway. To that end I have already begun (22nd Nov) clearing out the timber and rubbish. There are large mirrors (middle picture above) and panes of glass stored beneath the steps and some more just outside in the hallway. The ceiling will need repairs and a removable panel fitted beneath the wet room floor drain for access to it. I plan to block off the area beneath the lowest of the steps too. No doubt ideas will develop when I start the work in earnest. 

Shirley Anne 


Over the years I have purchased a number of vehicles and some of them began to show wear sooner than I would have expected. Some models suffered from a lack of a good paint job, one in particular came out in spots within six months after my buying it new! Naturally I took it back to the garage from where I had purchased it and I was told that the spots (some of them were rusty) had been caused by stones spun off other driver’s  car wheels and chipping the paint. That sounded plausible except that they were all over the vehicle. I would have had to drive it in a race on a dirt track for it to be in such a state. I defeated the argument by showing the representative the inside of the boot (trunk) which was also covered in spots! I didn’t get my money back but I got a discount on an other new higher end vehicle. Even the paint on that car began to show problems three years later though it didn’t come out in spots! Vehicles didn’t seem to be built as solid as they once were back in the mid-sixties. Vehicles these days are more reliable and give better value for money I feel. Soon after I married we purchased a small spin drier as we didn’t have a washing machine. We usually washed clothes by hand during the first two years living in an apartment so the drier was very handy. It spins at 3000 rpm whereas washing machine motors usually spin at 1600 rpm so it removes more water from the clothes. If left to spin for longer the clothes come out almost bone dry. We kept that machine for years and in fact we still have it now after around 43 years and it still does the same job! The outside was beginning to show its age and the plastic button for depressing the rod which opens the lid broke some years ago but they are minor problems. 

On Thursday morning I did a spot of painting in the utility room, giving the inside face of the door its top coat of white paint and whilst the paint drum was open and the brush was in my hand I gave the old spinner a new lease of life, a paint job. It looks pretty cool to me. Hopefully we will get many more years out of it yet. 

Shirley Anne


And finally

The utility room project as of today (21 st Nov. my birthday as it happens) is all but finished. All that needs to be done is to give the internal face of the room’s door a top coat of white paint and the internal face of a small piece of timber above it a coat of red paint. As I had sawn off a centimetre or so from the top of the door to allow it to open beneath the woodwork I had fitted (explained in yesterday’s post), I had to fix a length of timber to effectively lower the top of the door frame on the outside.

I seem to have a knack when it comes to hanging doors, they all hang properly whenever I work on them. I shouldn’t complain should I? This door however still has a warp on it. The bottom right as you look at the picture doesn’t sit against the frame. Since hanging it the door sits better than it did but to remove the warp will take time. It is an historical thing and should have been corrected years ago. To straighten out the warp I will have to fit packing to the top right of the frame and keep the door locked in the closed position when the room isn’t in use. Over time this will straighten the right hand edge but it will probably take months. It is either this way or dismantle the door and start over and I am not prepared to do that. In yesterday’s post I mentioned I would like to sort out the workshop. After tidying much of it up this morning it looks a lot better though it is far from being the way I’d like it to be.

As you can see it is rather full! My next indoor project will be to give the cellar hallway a make-over. That work is much more basic that the previous cellar room projects so it shouldn’t take long to do when I decide to start it that is.

Shirley Anne

Just got on with it

I spent a little more time in bed on Tuesday morning as I wasn’t going for a walk and neither had I any intentions of doing any work. The main reason for not working was that I didn’t wish to disturb E so early knowing I would have some timber to saw and holes to drill. Although her bedroom is two floors above the cellar workshop where I would be working I am still fearful I might awaken her if I work there. When I had to make a noise in the utility room on occasion it was rare that the noise would be loud enough to be a problem and at that time I could close the door. So it was around nine-fifteen that I was able to do the work I wanted to do which was to saw the timber and construct the five  side kick boards. After that I painted them but didn’t fit them until later when the paint had dried and only then did I fit two of them. The bracket on the rear (same for all five) is to allow it to slide over the rear legs of each of the cabinets whilst the front edge would be held by a plastic corner piece. (See second picture)

The front boards are held by the clips provided. Soon after I had fitted the two side boards to the unit shown above E and I went out for an hour or so for a coffee and to conduct some business. On our return home I installed the old utility room wall cabinet over the bench in the workshop and then set about working on the utility room door. I cut a small amount from the top edge to allow a little space below the woodwork I had installed above the entrance. I removed the two old and broken hinges and fitted three in their place before giving the door a priming coat of paint.

I would love to sort that workshop out but there is little time for that and too much junk in there at the moment.

Shirley Anne