Sunday rest?

During Saturday I had been suffering with pain in the muscles of my lower back or lumbar region. There had been no obvious reason why it came about for I had not done any strenuous work or put my back under any form of stress. As with other times in my life muscular pain usually arrived a day or two after the cause. Only a couple of weeks ago as I recall I had a similar problem. Everything was fine if I remained standing on my feet or if I lay down just as it was this time also. If I sat down I had problems trying to get off the chair or sofa. So Saturday wasn’t pleasant at all. Now it was Sunday and the pain had eased just a little but still let me know it was there when trying to stand from a seated position. Once up and about there was no problem and that is why I hadn’t been suffering after going for a walk. What could it be I asked myself? Then I remembered that on Friday I spent some time on the cross-trainer, the treadmill and the cycling machines, even though I had been for a long walk earlier in the morning. My guess though is that the cross-trainer was the culprit. I had spent much more time on that than the other two machines. As I wasn’t doing much more than a brisk walk on the treadmill and hadn’t exerted myself on the cycle machine it had to be the cross-trainer if it was any of them.

The combination exercise and movements on a trainer are not natural, nobody walks or runs as they do on a trainer. I said when I first bought the machine that I had to approach it with caution and slowly build up the regime over time. That I promised myself I would do after first using it and ending up with aches and pains a day or so later. I seems obvious to me therefore that I had forgotten to take my own advice but to be fair I had used it many times since that first time with little or no consequential problems.

So Sunday was also spent doing very little at all which was a good thing. I did some baking though, just to keep my hand in……ahem!

Shirley Anne

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The next day

It is now Saturday Jan 12 th as I write this at two-thirty in the afternoon. I wrestled with the desire to drop off to sleep throughout most of yesterday following my lack of sleep the night before. I knew that if I allowed myself even forty winks during the day I would have more problems in getting a good night’s sleep when I needed it most. It was eleven forty-five when I closed my eyes. It was six-ten when they next opened. After a quick visit to see my porcelain seat I returned to bed and slept a further three and a half hours. At last I had the sleep I needed and woke thoroughly refreshed for once. It is at times like these when I feel I can take on a lot more work but I had already decided the weekend was going to be spent resting and relaxing. I had ideas of dining out or doing some browsing around the garden to see what other things needed my attention in the following week for I already knew the main ones. In the end I simply stayed indoors. E had to go out and to pay a visit to see her mom so dining out was out of the question. I cooked something for lunch instead. She returned home late in the afternoon. I could get used to this life of idly doing nothing but I doubt it.

Shirley Anne

Job done

E wants to retouch the remaining three of the white painted doors in the cellar hallway but for myself I consider the job done…

Slightly different from what it looked like a couple of months ago don’t you think?

Despite the job dragging on so long I enjoyed doing it most of the time. Some of the work as with the other rooms I had tackled in the cellar last year was mundane and boring and it often felt like I was getting nowhere. A lot of paint was spread over a lot of repairs and alterations in all of the rooms but for some reason the hallway repairs took longer than the rest. Perhaps I was simply feeling my age and just got tired of it all but then, like most jobs, everything just falls into place and in the blink of an eye it is done. If I could clear out the two remaining rooms of all the stuff in them I would find the time to refurbish them too. So now at last I can do some of the work that needs to be done in the gardens, especially the rear garden. Today is Friday 11th January and I have completed the work two weeks ahead of the date I thought it would. I am also very tired but not just from this morning’s work, I went for a five and a half mile walk beforehand. It went something like this……Went to bed at seven and dropped off to sleep. Woke up at ten-fifty and couldn’t get back to sleep. Finally arose at one-ten and went for my walk at two, an hour earlier than usual and when out decided to extend the walk. After breakfast and a little catch-up tv I finished the work at eight-fifteen. I lead a very strange life…

Shirley Anne

Three half steps

I had a great night’s sleep on Wednesday, a sort of catch up for all the poor nights of sleep I went through during the previous week. I even slept in until six o’clock. Ah but there was a reason for that, I wasn’t going for a walk but I was going for the weekly shopping and don’t do that at three in the morning! The house still smelled of the chlorinated paint I had been using the day before despite giving it plenty of ventilation. It didn’t really matter for I planned to do some more painting as soon as I returned from the supermarket. There are different ways of painting a set of stairway steps. Start at the top and work your way down to the bottom is one method but to do that in the cellar of our house means that I would have to gain re-entry to the house via another route. Paint only half of each step to allow climbing back upstairs afterward or paint alternate steps for the same reason. I had painted two steps then missed one then repeated the pattern the previous day but I wanted to finish the steps this time around. Beginning at the top I began painting those steps I hadn’t done the day before but I still had to leave three of them only half painted so that I could still get out of the cellar using the stairwell. It would be no hardship to finish the steps later. Once I reached the bottom it was time to give the whole hallway floor its second and final coat of paint. Once done I returned up the steps making sure of course that I kept to the ones painted the previous day. Near the top however each step had only just been painted which is why I left three of them only half-painted.

It wouldn’t take long to paint them later. When the cellar was less well lit years ago the top two steps were difficult to see and their leading edges were given a coat of white paint as you can see from the one not painted. Since we built the wet room (to the right and behind the wall not shown in the picture) the steps have been lit through the internal window we put at the top of the wall. There is an external window allowing natural light into the room which now in turn illuminates the steps and of course if the room’s lights are on the steps are well illuminated. Now that the cellar has been refurbished and a new and brighter LED unit has been installed there is no longer the need to paint the leading edges in white. As I write this on Thursday afternoon (10 th) there is only those steps to paint and perhaps a retouch here and there on the main floor. Usually the mortar between the stone tiles is where a touch up is required in places. The project has all but come to an end with only the retouching of the white paint remaining to be done. Now I can look forward to getting outdoors into the gardens for a change.

Shirley Anne

I could have

It was a rather cold morning as I stepped out for my morning walk but at least it was dry and there was very little wind. I was wrapped up in any case so it didn’t matter about the cold. As I walked along the road, a mere half-mile from leaving the house I came across two girls staggering on the opposite pavement (sidewalk). As I was walking faster than they I soon caught up with them and could smell the alcohol well before I reached them. ‘Good morning girls’ I piped up, ‘Have you had a good evening’ I continued. Both replied ‘Good morning’ and one tried to explain further what they had been up to but couldn’t find the words to say.’Take care now’ I said as I continued on my way. ‘Bye luv’ I heard them reply as they turned down the next street. It was ten after three and I wondered where they had been until that hour. It must have been at someone’s house for there are no bars open late in the village. The rest of the walk was uneventful as they usually are. I was going to finish the painting of the cellar hallway floor after breakfast though I wasn’t looking forward to it. I don’t know why I thought that way for it wasn’t so bad, not really. After painting the remainder of the floor which I had left from the day before I painted four more of the stone steps.

Naturally I left the middle of the set unpainted so that I could get back upstairs. I could have painted all of the steps later that morning but thought the better of it and left them for another day. In any event the whole floor and steps would need another coat. It is surprising how quickly the floor paint dries. It is touch dry in an hour and can be walked upon after two hours. It is the vapour (chlorine) given off which is the problem unless there is plenty of ventilation. After the second coat of paint all the leading edges of the steps will be picked out in white paint.

Shirley Anne

A bit for tomorrow

My first job of the day after breakfast on Tuesday (8 th) was to install the wooden support I had constructed days earlier beneath the worktop in E’s workshop at the top of the house. I had been waiting for the paint to dry. The support panel, a mallet, a screwdriver and four screws were taken up there to do the job. In engineering terminology the support panel was an ‘interference’ fit meaning it needed the mallet to persuade it to fit between the worktop and the floor! The screws were only required in case it might somehow move in the future! That wasn’t likely but nevertheless they were fitted. That done and it was time to get things ready down in the cellar for the next job, painting the floor in the hallway. For that job my safety mask was needed. Overalls and mask on with gloves on my hands I began first of all to retouch the floor paint in the small store room then it was outside the room and into the hallway.

Working from the top in the picture above I ended up in the main area at the base of the steps…

I was not able to paint the area to the left of the gym door (top middle in lower picture) for it had not yet completely dried out. I did paint the lowest two steps but obviously stopped there so that I could get back upstairs! I left the area you see unpainted on the right for by this time I’d had enough. I left it for the next day. As it happened the paint can was almost empty anyway though there was still enough to cover another square metre or so. There was another new 5 litre can of the paint in the workshop which hopefully would be enough to finish the work.

Shirley Anne

Wanting…..

…..to get out in the garden and do some work out there but there is still some work left to be done on the cellar hallway project. It is January 7 th as I write and the weather outside has turned cold, wet and windy after many days of warmer, dry and calm conditions. I shouldn’t complain about that so I won’t! According to the forecast it will turn dry again tomorrow for a further few days. Maybe. When I went for my early morning walk it was dry with a little wind and a warmish 8 deg C. It is still 8 deg C but doesn’t feel it. I have remained indoors except for a visit or two to the garage to mix a fine concrete for filling in the gaps, dips and holes in the cellar hallway floor. Yes that is what I was doing between five and seven this morning with three other visits down there to sweep the floor.

In the lower two pictures you can see where I have patched the second step up and filled-in the gap that was behind the wooden pillar between it and the step. The pale-coloured wood is the temporary shuttering to contain the concrete whilst it sets. I removed them just after taking the pictures. When the floor has dried completely I will be able to paint it but I might have to wait a couple of days until then. The floor will take two coats of paint. Following that or even before I paint the floor the steps will be painted. There is also some more retouching of the paint in various places around the room yet to be done.

Shirley Anne

A fresh start

A Fresh Start (Isaiah 53:4–12)

“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 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

We are now into the second month of the year. For some it will be their first ‘second month’ and for most it will be just one of many that they have lived through. Yet whoever they are, whoever we are we all know that it could also be the last ‘second month’ of our lives. What then? What have we to look forward to? Oblivion? Re-incarnation? Hell? Heaven? Do we cease to exist beyond the grave? For those of us who believe in God, believe in Jesus Christ and what he accomplished on the cross for ourselves and for all who would believe there is hope. There is the assurance of life eternal. Christ died for us all so that if we believe we have the assurance our sins are forgiven, that we are made holy, that we are made righteous before God and that we are welcomed into His kingdom. If you don’t already know Jesus, if you have no relationship with the Father then make this the year of fresh beginnings, a fresh start. There is no need to wait, just come as you are and call upon God to reveal Himself to you. Let Jesus take your burden of guilt and shame, your misdeeds and unbelief and be transformed by his love. You can know this much right now………God loves YOU. Why not take the time and get to know how much He loves you through Jesus Christ who died for YOU.

Shirley Anne

11 hours

Going to bed at almost ten in the evening had been a very unusual habit of mine this past year. It was especially so on Friday evening 5 Jan as I had arisen at one-thirty in the morning, over twenty hours earlier. It didn’t take long to nod off to sleep therefore and when I first awoke it was almost six o’clock. Having answered the call of nature I returned to bed. I had slept for around seven hours. I dropped off to sleep again and didn’t awake for a further four hours! It was just after ten o’clock and nearer eleven o’clock by the time I went downstairs. I certainly wasn’t in the mood for work but with a little encouragement and help from E I did manage to do a little retouching of paint here and there. She helped by retouching the white door paint on a couple of the doors and elsewhere. After lunch I forced myself to collect the middle-sized step ladder from the garage and fill in some gaps in the ceiling at the top of the stone steps in the cellar. That would get painted once the filler had dried but not on Saturday, I wanted to give it all a rest. The following week I knew I would be sorting out the cellar hallway floor and preparing for it to be painted. The project was coming to the end at last and I could concentrate then on other things. On Friday I made up my mind to dig out the long-playing vinyl records I own together with the USB turntable which had both been stored in the rear lounge.

Even those with the keenest eyesight will not be able to see that the record on the table is ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ by the Beatles. I own all their UK released albums and singles. I own albums by other artistes too of course, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Beefheart and many others all from the sixties and seventies. Problem was I hadn’t a turntable on which to play them. A few years ago I decided to purchase a turntable but thought rather than buy just a player I would purchase a USB turntable with which I could actually record the music too. I purchased what you see in the picture. However when I replaced the computer on which I had the converter program I lost that program and my machine got stored away. On Saturday I downloaded a new program with which I can now copy the albums and store them on the computer ready for playing at any time.

Shirley Anne

Still painting

I didn’t get much work done on Friday (4 th) after going for a walk earlier that morning. After breakfast and two hours of watching catch-up tv it was time to start but I waited yet a further three hours before doing anything and sat with E for a while. My first job was to paint the extra support panel I had made for E’s top-of-the-house workshop worktop, wow what a mouthful! I had moved it into the cellar hallway for it had been too cold in the cellar workshop for the paint to dry properly.

It would be better to fit beneath the worktop as constructed and already painted rather than do it in-situ. Following that exercise I painted around the small store room door and also the two handrails on the stairway.

The store room is on the right of the stone steps in the picture. I retouched the red gloss paint elsewhere in the cellar whilst I had the brush in hand. That was all the work I did that day but I would be back later to retouch the white paint in a few places before I could say the painting was completed, except for painting the floor that is! I had hoped to have cemented the floor by the end of the week but as I write this I am not sure I’ll get around to doing it until next week. No matter how many times I go checking for places that need paintwork retouching there always seems to be more!

Shirley Anne