….where was I? Oh yes, working in the cellar, the bottom of the house, beneath ground level at the front of the house but at ground level at the back! It is handy when accessing the rear garden or for bringing in the groceries from the vehicle in the garage. Much of the food is stored down in the cellar either in the larder room or in one of the freezers we have down there. It became necessary therefore to tidy things up and that had been my aim throughout the past twelve months or so. As I write this on 29 December I have almost completed what I had set out to do plus a little more along the way. Two rooms remain as they were, the larger store room and the largest room, the workshop. The store room has so much stuff in it not belonging to E and I so not much can be done in there until it is taken away. The workshop needs much clearing out too but maybe that might get done this year who knows? I was again in the hallway down there this morning doing a little work. I had been for my walk, had my breakfast and watched some catch-up tv and now it was time to work. My efforts were concentrated on fitting thresholds at the base of three of the doors…
From top to bottom, the gym door, the store room door and the workshop door. As the store room floor is a couple of centimetres higher than elsewhere in the cellar because it had a screed laid over it years ago I had to lay two pieces of timber across the floor one on top of the other. In each case the timbers were screwed to the floor with a thick layer of floor tile cement beneath them to aid with levelling and to give extra grip to the floor. Another piece of timber was screwed along the base of each door to effect a better seal. Why the seal? Well it gives a better appearance and effectively prevents the spiders we know we have in the store room and workshop from migrating throughout the cellar as they once did. It is impossible to stop that entirely I know but it will help. That was all the work I did today for a change but tomorrow?
So who is in charge? Who directs things in the background? Who motivates your thought processes and keeps you on the wrong path? We may feel that we are in charge of our lives, what we think and what we do but often our choices are limited without us realising. Since the fall of man there has been a struggle to regain what was lost. When God created mankind we were created perfect and had a life everlasting but as soon as we rejected God’s word we lost it all. He through whom we were tempted was given authority over the earth though not necessarily over man. Adam was given free will and he chose wrong though it was Eve who was first deceived. We have that same free will to choose right from wrong, that is God’s way from all that opposes Him and who is it that opposes Him? Satan, the deceiver. He too was created perfect with free will but chose to disobey though we are told he became infatuated with himself raising himself above God thinking he had the power to do so. He didn’t. God however didn’t destroy him but instead allows him temporary freedom to reign in authority here. Satan though has no authority other than that which we ourselves allow over us. He is the father of lies, a tempter and if we succumb to his wiles we lose every time, we are pulled away from the love of God though God still loves us. Following Satan leads us nowhere but to death, in Christ Jesus we have overcome death and it has no power over us. In Jesus there is life everlasting and the promise of redemption and reconciliation with God from whom we were originally separated because of Adam’s sin.
We can either remain in prison or we can change our direction in life and choose the right path, not one we think is right by our own standards but by God’s standards. We need to follow Jesus for he is the only way back to God.
I had spent the best part of Christmas day alone in the house. I had been working in the cellar throughout the morning and although E was at home she was getting ready to visit her mom and I only saw her for five minutes. Our youngest son was staying over for the holiday but he also went out. I thought I would be ready for sleep when I went to bed in the evening but sleep didn’t come and I had planned getting up early the next day for a walk. When the time came for me to get up at two o’clock I still hadn’t slept a wink! Though I was tired I found taking the four plus mile walk very refreshing and easy. When I got home at four-thirty I ate breakfast and remained tired from that point until bedtime. Had I taken a nap I knew I would find it difficult to sleep later so I fought it off. For an hour or so I spent the time filling in some more holes and removing some surplus furniture from two doors followed by painting three of the six doors in the cellar hallway with their first of two coats of white emulsion. Two of the doors are shown below with their signage removed to make painting easier.
There was no need to paint the doors in a gloss paint, vinyl silk emulsion is good enough especially down in the cellar rooms. E prepared a coffee for me and I stopped work for the rest of the day as I was by then really tired. I prepared an early lunch and E went to see her mom again for the best part of that day too. She would see different members of the family this time and that was the reason for her going again.
That is giving the whole room, the walls and ceiling its first coat of white emulsion. Bright isn’t it? I think so. The room had been in an awful state very much as the other rooms I had refurbished during the year. By the time you are reading this at the end of January hopefully the work in the cellar will have been completed. It wasn’t the only thing I did that day for I spent a little time in the rear garden cleaning and hosing down the area in the Plot where we keep the composting bin. It had been looking a little neglected when I went to tip more compost in the bin.
Moss loves the area and leaves get trapped too. In all I spent around five hours working before I decided I’d had enough.
The post has nothing to do with Christmas apart from the date. I was determined to go for an early morning walk on Christmas Eve so arose at two. The week ahead looked very promising as far as the weather was concerned, dry though cold. I decided to walk along the Promenade (it is so named) for a change but long before I reached it I could hear the thump, thump, thump of rock music from one of the night clubs. Why on earth do they have to have it so loud that I can hear it a half-mile away? It must be a nightmare living close-by and it happens almost every night. Thankfully by the time I was on the Promenade the music had faded to a more respectable level though it was still loud enough to hear far away from the club. Soon I was up-wind of it and all was again quiet. It had been foggy during the night and there was still a trace of it as I walked along. I was surprised at the number of vehicles passing by as at that time there are usually few. Soon I was back home in the relative warmth, I say relative as the heating isn’t on at five o’clock! The house is generally warm especially in the room we use to eat in which is just as well as I ate breakfast in there. It was time to do a spot more work in the cellar hallway, finishing off filling holes and gaps with plaster. After two and a half hours I had it done and returned upstairs to sit with E whilst she ate her breakfast. I took a two-hour break then went back to work for just an hour. This time I did a little painting but not a lot. I was mainly giving some of the bare plaster its first coat though I did cover part of the ceiling too.
In the above picture I painted the area above the doors and the ceiling to the right of the light. In the lower picture I had been filling in the holes and gaps on the wall and ceiling as well as elsewhere in the hallway.
The room on the left is the small store room which is just about completed, only requiring a very small amount of painting work which would get done when I next used the floor paint.
I write this on Dec 23 just after the calendar date of the beginning of Winter. We are around about the nearest position to our Sun at this time of year though I doubt the couple of million extra miles make little difference. I have to say though that the weather is currently mild but it has been raining throughout the night and is still damp late in the morning. Dry weather is forecast for the afternoon and into the middle of the week too. A dry Christmas. Why people wish for one covered in snow is beyond me. Is it supposed to be better or does it just give that sense of well, you decide. The days are lengthening but you’d hardly notice that just yet. The worse is yet to come, the colder months of February and March and it won’t be that warm in January either. You will have found that out already being as it is near the end of the month. I am looking forward to Spring as Winter isn’t a favourite time of year for me. I am looking forward to see the newest plants in the garden beginning to gain height and volume but it takes time and it is still Winter. Although Christmas is only two days away I am looking forward to its passing and also the passing of New Year so things can return to normal. Not that I partake in the celebrations for as you know already I don’t. Christmas wishes and New Year resolutions are for me meaningless, I make those throughout the year anyway. I wish for a peaceful world where everyone loves their neighbour and where crime is a thing long forgotten but sadly it won’t as long as mankind remains stubborn-hearted leaving God out of the equation. I make resolutions to do things and hopefully do them but everything is up to myself. I try not to make promises which I cannot keep, even to myself! Soon it will be warm and sunny and life will take on a different perspective but I will enjoy it whatever happens. Will you?
Having ordered my new tablet and expecting its arrival in a week’s time (24 – 31 Dec) it arrived today on the 22 nd. Haven’t used it as I write for it is charging the battery. It feels a lot lighter in weight than the old machine and slimmer too. I wonder how they cram everything into such a small frame. Computers in general have taken great strides in development since the days of the Vic 20, Commodore 64 and others and many times more powerful and versatile. Since becoming mobile they have not lost anything being no longer tethered to the power supply. It shouldn’t take me long to get to know my new tablet.
It was Saturday and I wanted to get on with the work in the cellar again. I was plastering in the various holes in the walls and ceiling prior to getting out the paintbrush but it was taking such a long time to do. I spent a couple of hours down there and made a lot of progress though there was still more to do and I planned on continuing with it until it was finished but I was taken ill. I thought I had contracted the ‘vomiting bug’ though I didn’t vomit anything. The symptoms were similar, severe stomach pains, dizziness, feeling light-headed, nauseous and suffering hot and cold sweats but it turned out I had trapped wind! I was in agony but thankfully everything went back to normal after a short time. Not pleasant at all. I decided to leave finishing off the plastering for the day and took the weekend off. I would probably do it on Monday instead.
My experiences with computers have been somewhat of a pain the proverbial over the years. They either work very well, occasionally have tantrums or simply refuse to work as they should. Well the latest problem has been with my tablet. I have two lap-top computers, the one I am writing this post with, the Acer which is running Windows 7 and the other a HP which is running Windows 10. The latter gathers dust most of the time because I prefer Windows 7 which is far easier to use and isn’t cluttered with useless applications. It is practically new even though it is two years old as it hardly gets used. The other computer I own is the tablet a Samsung Nexus 10 which is running one of the Android platforms. Well it was running until recently. It was used mainly for taking photos or for tuning the guitar though it was capable of much more. Suddenly I found it wasn’t starting up properly and kept booting up then shutting down. Having done a factory reset the problem still remained. I did suspect the battery to be faulty and it may still be and I will get that checked when I’ve the time. In the meantime I thought I would treat myself to a new tablet so I purchased a Lenovo of the same physical size but running the latest Android program. It may arrive before Christmas but that doesn’t matter. All I want is something reliable.
So no more taking pictures for a week or so until it arrives. Today is Thursday 20 th and I have taken another break from work. I had been to do the shopping earlier in the day and on returning home felt miserable with aches and pains from head to chest. I guess it may have been the weather and a lack of food though I had eaten breakfast. It is mid-afternoon now and I am feeling great but it is too late to be starting work so I hope that tomorrow morning I will be able to continue with the hallway in the cellar which has been coming along quite nicely.
After the short break was over it was time to start work again. Alright it was only one day off but it did make a difference. So now it was Wednesday morning and I was up before one o’clock! I’d had enough sleep by then having retired to bed at seven-thirty. Time for a walk and at two thirty in the morning I never expect to see anyone about, that is near to my home for in town it is a different matter. Not that I walk through the town centre often at such an hour but if I do there is always somebody about. I walked down the road called Rotten Row which is usually deserted but this morning there were road works being carried out and as I passed I saw two guys from the local energy supply working on some underground cables. I had noticed a power outage along that road several days earlier. They were the only people I came across throughout my walk though there had been a few vehicles about. When I returned home and after breakfast it was time to put on the kit, overalls, gloves and mask. I was going to paint the small store room floor in the cellar….
The left-hand picture might be slightly blurred as I had to take it from outside the room by reaching around the wall. The right-hand picture was taken from the same position just outside the room. In that picture you can see a dark triangular patch in the top right of the floor. When we cleared out the room we discovered an old cut-off lead water pipe and we think it was either a water supply to a tap (faucet) for use in that room or a supply pipe for what used to be an outhouse where there was a washroom and lavatory. I remember cutting off the lead pipe whilst digging out the Plot at the side of the house when constructing the raised flowerbed there a couple of years ago. When I cemented the gaps in the floor a week or so earlier it took a long time to dry. We are not sure at the time of writing whether this triangle of cement now covering the remains of the pipe has fully dried out or if it has water in it (seeping in from the soil in which it is buried) which is keeping it damp. If it doesn’t appear to be drying out I shall have to dig outside to locate and cut it off. Until then that corner will remain unpainted. I wasn’t able to do any more work in the cellar until the fumes had disappeared.
On the evening of Monday 17 th Dec. E received a call from her brother letting her know that once again her mom was in hospital. She left the house to visit the hospital but I remained at home. I had been working most of the day as you may have read in my post and was rather tired. I stayed up for as long as I could to wait for her return but finally had to succumb to sleep. I went to bed at ten-thirty and fell asleep in minutes. E returned home after midnight. I was so tired I slept in until after eight o’clock and arrived downstairs just before nine-thirty. E had just finished her breakfast and I asked about her mom. It appeared she had been sent home after a little treatment and thankfully was now fit and well.
I told E I didn’t much want to work in the cellar though I had planned to paint the small store room floor. As she wanted to do some work herself in the utility room I wasn’t able to paint the floor anyway because of the noxious fumes it gives off. There was a small job I could do and which I did but it was very little. There were other jobs more important but my heart wasn’t in it. I wanted to dine out for a change and asked E if she would like to do the same. It was then that I remembered my van stocked full of old carpet, underlay and vinyl which had to be taken to the dump. So off I drove whilst E finished off her work. It was around one o’clock when we drove off for a meal. She suggested a specific eatery, a place called The Thatch and Thistle where we have dined often before. Strange as it may seem I was thinking of going there anyway. Our thoughts often agree but I guess that is because we have lived together for a long time. The meal was exceptionally good as it usually is in that place and we had a nice time. On our way back home E was able to buy some presents and carry out some business. The day turned out completely different to what I had planned the previous afternoon and I was grateful for that change. It would be a case of getting back to work on the Wednesday.