Automaton

At last the weekend was here, not that it really makes much difference to me these days being as I am retired. Retired? That’s a laugh. Though I retired from my electrical work early last year I still work at home as my readers will have already gathered. I suppose therefore that it is more a psychological thing that I still regard the weekends as times for easing back and doing little. Sundays I don’t work anyway. My latest project has kept me busy, so much so that I have been very tired occasionally over the last two to three weeks. On Saturday (10 th) I arose as if in automatic mode and ready to begin work, after breakfast and watching some catch up tv of course. Well as far as the work was concerned there was little of it I wanted to do. The previous day I had cemented the gaps and cracks in the floor where it had been possible and it had dried enough to paint over it. However, painting the floor was the last thing I wanted to do for I had decided to paint it on the Monday to ensure it was absolutely dry. There were two other jobs I wanted to do on the day. The first was to construct a display easel for E to use when she sets up to sell the greetings cards she has been making. The second job was to cut some timber with which to use as edging at the back of the work surfaces in the utility room. Before I knew it I had both completed in very little time, just like an automaton would do! 

I could only paint the rear of the easel at that time. I painted the edging timbers where they would be in contact with the walls to save having to ‘cut-in’ with the paint later. Following that work I spent a short time in the garden and ensuring I put as much green waste in the bins as I could for the Monday collection, the last one of the year. Most of the cut branches and twigs from my pruning back the plum trees a couple of days earlier I managed to squeeze in. The remainder would go into the emptied bins and be left there until the next collection day in March!

Shirley Anne

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Remember?

When Does Worship Become Insincere Ritual? 

Zechariah 7:5-6 New International Version

5 ‘Ask all the people of the land and the priests, “When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for me that you fasted?
6 And when you were eating and drinking, were you not just feasting for yourselves?

Traditions have great value because they preserve the values and teachings of the past. They remind us of things we might otherwise forget. While living in a foreign land, surrounded by a foreign culture and language, the Jews could have easily forgotten the important events of their history. Future generations could have missed out on how significantly God had dealt with their ancestors. But the Jews used rituals and traditions to avoid historical ignorance. They commemorated the past so they would not forget the lessons learned.
Unfortunately, the rituals “fossilized” over time. People drifted into celebrating the form but forgetting the reality behind it. Their fasting appeared meaningful but had no inner substance. When this or something similar happens, a worship activity becomes an empty ritual or, even worse, a ritual with the wrong meaning attached to it. Often this can occur as a slow erosion of values—a process that eventually destroys the good others intended.

Taken from NIV Essentials Study Bible

Do you remember what Christmas is all about? As we approach the ‘Season of good will’ many will simply remember it is a time to indulge, overeat and drink too much because that is what they do every year. No thought is given to the reason the Christmas Day celebration was instituted in the first place. It was instituted in an effort to remind people to remember their Saviour and to discourage them from turning back to paganism. Today there is still a struggle against unbelief and false religion. Christmas is celebrated by Christians throughout the world but also by those who don’t believe and for all the wrong reasons.  

Shirley Anne

Same again

It is Friday 9 th as I write and I am pleased that I was able to do more than I had expected in the utility room. I say this because soon after my early morning walk I felt so tired I didn’t want to do anything. However soon after breakfast I got stuck in and felt better for it. I think my work keeps me going, without it I would soon wither away! I finished off painting the walls having first dragged the room’s door into the workshop to get it out of the way. I would work on it later for it requires a lot of attention. I also dragged the two freezers standing on the floor (the third is on a small plinth) to the centre of the room to allow the floor to be worked on. After an early lunch I gave the ceiling its second and final coat of paint and then mixed some cement with which to fill in the gaps in the exposed parts of the floor.

Once the cement sets and dries I will be able to paint it a couple of times just as I have done in the gym and larder rooms. Only then will I be able to move the freezers to their respective spaces and do the same with the part of the floor they are presently standing on. I hope to begin the painting of the floor on Monday next (12 th). In the meantime there are other things to be getting on with, if I can stay awake!

Shirley Anne

Stuck in again

Shopping day again but first some more work to do. Up once more very early and by three o’clock I had my overalls on and was giving the woodwork a second coat of paint and the ceiling its first. I was two and a half hours doing that and then returned upstairs for a drink and to watch some tv before toddling off to the supermarket. Now it isn’t often, practically never that I eat a hot dog but the previous week I came across some cans of hot dog sausages when shopping and brought one home. I had almost forgotten I had them so this week (Thurs. 8 th) I bought some buns. On my return home I cooked some onion by chopping it and then boiling it rather than frying it as I normally do. Boiled onion is usually served with hot dogs and I made a couple of them with added ketchup. They were delicious, just like the ones I remember on days out somewhere. After my treat I put on my overalls again and continued with the painting. Earlier I had noticed a couple of places where the emulsion had turned brown but in fact they were stains seeping through. One was on the ceiling and the other on a wall.

When decorating the small front lounge last year I had purchased some stain sealing paint and had a little left over. I used it to over-paint the two stains so that I could apply the emulsion once again, which I did after first of all painting the most part of the walls. I stopped work for the rest of the day at twelve o’clock. There was still much to do but the room was beginning to look as it should.

Shirley Anne

 

Energy

My neighbour, the lady who has been poorly these last six months, often asks me where it is I get my energy from. She isn’t referring to a utility provider but why it is I seem to be on the go all the time. I am not really on the go all the time but it sure feels that way sometimes. Take Wednesday (7 th Nov) for instance, I took a five-mile walk before breakfast at 5 o’clock. After breakfast I continued the work in the utility room first of all finishing the filling-in and then giving all the woodwork its first coat of white emulsion. That took me three hours. Later in the morning after a snack I went into the garden to cut back the fruit (damson/plum) trees in The Mound. If you remember earlier in the year I mentioned I was going to remove some of them and cut back the remainder. Here is how it looked during the summer….

All of them were cut and the intention was to remove the smaller ones completely but having done the pruning we might decide to remove them all before Spring. Here is The Mound photographed from a downstairs window soon after I had finished work because it had begun to rain heavily.

The trunks I placed near the small plot across the garden whilst the branches and twigs I cut into small pieces and placed them in a large industrial bag until I can dispose of them. 

That work took another three hours and I had just about finished when the rain began to fall. In fact I had to spend the last ten minutes working in the rain. The roots would be dug out another day.  Yes I don’t know where I get the energy from either!

Shirley Anne

Tired of it

With no morning walk I was able to concentrate in carrying on with the utility room project immediately after breakfast on Tuesday. However breakfast was at four o’clock as I had allowed myself an extra hour in bed once again. It appears I am working so hard I need the extra rest and who am I to argue with that? I began the work at four-thirty not leaving myself open to any distractions for I wanted to continue filling in the gaps and joints before painting could start. I spent almost two hours filling in holes, some of which were large and had been made by others many years ago and not repaired. It is because the room is in the cellar that any sort of refurbishment was considered unnecessary, even by myself at least while there were more important things to be doing in the upper rooms and elsewhere. So not only have I had to fill in my own work but all the other gaps and holes too and there were quite a few. I was beginning to tire of filling them in and in fact I had been doing it in stages to relieve the monotony. Some of the holes were too large to fill in one attempt anyway.  After two hours I decided to do some painting. The woodwork needed an undercoat of paint so I searched my stock to see if there was anything suitable. I found a half-filled ten litre drum of vinyl silk emulsion in magnolia which was pale enough to act as an undercoat to the white paint I was going to cover it with later.

There was still more filling-in to do which would hopefully get done the next day. I was happy to see the undercoat of paint making a striking difference to the now already brighter room after I had installed the new ceiling light the day before. Although there is still plenty to do yet I am beginning to see the finished job. It’s got to be better than when I first started on the room!

Shirley Anne

Plodding along

Walk day Monday 5 Nov. Although I gave myself a day of complete rest on Sunday I was biting at the bit on Monday morning wanting to do something but first the walk. A lovely cool and dry morning with very little wind made the walk that more pleasurable. Back home for breakfast after which I began working in the cellar. I began by getting the cables for the power outlets in the utility room inside the distribution board and ready for connecting but leaving that aside until I had separated the circuit in the room. If you remember I mentioned that the power outlets in the room were connected to a circuit on the floor above and needed to be disconnected from it and have their own supply. Separating the two circuits was easy as it just meant re-arranging the cables in two adjacent junction boxes. You can see them in the picture below on the right-hand-side 

The single power outlet on the left in the picture by the door was part of the upstairs circuit but I removed it, connected the relevant wires together and fitted a blank plate over them (top picture below). The freezer shown plugged in was then plugged into one of the new outlets to the left out of the picture. For the next couple of hours I began filling in the gaps around the woodwork and the holes in the ceiling and walls (bottom pictures). I returned upstairs around nine-thirty for something to eat and to chat with E for a while. She was going to pay a visit to her mom and I decided to drive to the electrical supplier and purchase an LED strip light to replace the old fluorescent fitting in the utility room. I would have left installing it until the next day but installed it as soon as I returned home. It only took ten minutes.

Shirley Anne

Neglect

Sometimes we neglect things at our peril. We have all probably heard stories about people who have ignored advice concerning their health and regretted that decision later. Our health is our greatest asset and if we don’t look after it we may suffer the consequences. Many times I myself have been told I should take things easy and not to undertake too much work or at least give myself a break from it. It is so difficult to give up on doing those things we love to do. For me that means being actively engaged in my work at home whether that be a project or simply household and gardening chores. I try my best though to take the advice I am given for the sake of my health and well-being. Today is Sunday (4 th Nov) and I have started the day a little later than of late by allowing myself some extra time in bed. It is going to be a day of rest with a complete cessation of manual activity other than preparing meals. I owe it to myself to relax and take time off from my usual routine. I am not even going to use the gym equipment which I might normally do when not taking a walk. I don’t go for walks every day but usually every second day if time permits. So I may be neglecting my normal routine but not my well-being. Look what happens if we neglect something..

Okay I am not a building but I am easily broken if not tended to! Tomorrow will be different, I will be active once more, well I have work to do!

Shirley Anne

Just for the ride

I took a longer route on my morning walk on Saturday for two reasons, I wanted to avoid walking along the promenade and secondly I wanted to walk just that bit further. For weeks I had been taking roughly the same route and it was becoming a little mundane and dare I say a little too comfortable. I wanted to extend the exercise but didn’t want to extend it too much just then. I had work to do on my return home. I spent a couple of hours finishing off the plywood panelling and began to fill in the gaps in readiness for painting. The inspection hatch on the first section of the boxing-in was left undone for the time being. That won’t take long to do when I make the effort. I was keen to get the bulk of the boxing-in work completed to allow me to get on with the rest of the project and that I did. I stopped the work after two hours and sat with E whist we had something to eat. I wanted to drive to the shops and purchase a few items for the project so that on the following Monday I could carry on with the work. After eating E went to get washed and dressed then came with me to the shops but just for the ride. We visited three places but she sat in the van throughout. I purchased a couple of electrical items which I would need to alter the existing power outlet circuitry to the utility room. I purchased a large drum of white vinyl-silk emulsion paint for the walls and ceiling and two sets of hinges, one for the room’s door and the other, a cabinet set for the inspection hatch. All other materials I would need I already had in stock. Hopefully the work would all be downhill from that point on but as with most projects it’s the small things that sometimes take the longest time to do.

Shirley Anne

Work later

Though I was up at two o’clock and had eaten breakfast by three-fifteen I didn’t wish to begin work and in any case would have given myself an hour before doing so. I sat and watched some catch-up tv and a couple of episodes of a new drama I had previously missed but wanted to see. After the tv I went into the kitchen and prepared a Spaghetti Bolognese for later in the morning. It wasn’t until nine o’clock that I finally put on my overalls to go downstairs. The work I had to do all involved cutting and fitting plywood and by hand as I don’t possess a circular saw except the one I use for making mitred joints. After so long cutting by hand it gets tedious and is tiring work. Needless to say not a huge amount was done, only four pieces but two of them proved a little tricky. Mistakes were made and some work had to be done again. The most awkward part was cutting the eight by four (feet) sheet of plywood on a makeshift deck out in the garage to obtain the sizes I needed to carry on with the work inside. 

There only remained the end triangular piece to cut and fit on that side of the room by the time I had finished for the day at one o’clock. Earlier I had removed the door so that I could work on it later and also to give me space to finish the area above the opening.

I don’t know how it had managed to stay in place for so long as both hinges were damaged and their fixing screws hardly gripped the frame. It will need new hinges and I will be able to trim the top edge which is uneven. E had gone next door to visit our neighbour and to see if she was alright. I followed a little later and we spent some time there. Both her son and her care worker were there. We learned that our neighbour had been smoking again. It was the effects of smoking which almost killed her a few months ago. She has severe emphysema and can hardly breathe. It just shows how addictive smoking can be for some people, especially if they’ve no will power to give it up.

Shirley Anne