It had to go

A few days ago I mentioned that the tunnel I erected on the patio had to be dismantled because it couldn’t withstand the high winds and as you may already know I duly dismantled it and packed it away in the garage. Maybe it will get used elsewhere in someone else’s property. It meant I had to erect some other form of frost protection for the two palms instead. On the Monday morning of the 10 th (Dec) I spent a little time out on the patio doing just that. I had installed some bamboo canes a few days earlier but the recent storm prevented me from wrapping the protection sheets around them. Up until the storm arrived it had been exceptionally warm for the month and as a consequence I put off finishing the frost protection. Now there was a lull in the bad weather and the temperature was beginning to drop I decided the time was right and finished the work…. 

I had to wrap some strong tape banding around the branches to hold them close beneath the bamboo frame before I could wrap around with the bubble-wrap. The core of the plants had previously been wrapped with strong foam rubber sheeting so the bubble-wrap was simply an extra protection which shielded the branches too. If the frost isn’t the enemy the wind sure is and during cold windy weather the leaves get burnt. When I returned indoors E had just finished her breakfast. I had eaten earlier after my morning walk and had been watching some catch-up tv before going into the garden. I had more work to do in the cellar small store room but wasn’t in the mood so that work was shelved for the day. E tells me it is good to take a break now and then and I don’t bother arguing!

Shirley Anne

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Mixing it up

My day on Tuesday was filled with different things all of which amounted to work, rest, shop, and play with meals thrown in here and there. I was up at three but though I had been awake since two I was in no rush to start the day. I finished breakfast at four and got on my knees again to finish off the seal around the grid in the wet room. The previous day I had gouged out the floor seal around the grid and half-filled it again with a special rubberised sealant similar to silicon rubber but more paste-like. In all other respects it was the same as silicon rubber and cleans off using acetic acid (vinegar). Now I was filling the gap to floor level.

Having done that I checked my emails before carrying on with the work in the small storeroom in the cellar. I did as much as I could without having to cut timber as doing that could have disturbed E from her sleep. That meant cutting and fitting plasterboard and one or two pieces of wood which I cut outside in the garden. Once she was up and about I was able to cut the rest of the timber and finish off all the work at ceiling height. Of course by that I mean the construction part as there is some filling-in to do between the plasterboard panels prior to decoration.

The boxes of screws I had purchased  whilst working on the utility room project were now empty so I needed to go out and buy some more. E had an appointment with the DHSS (Dept. of Health and Social Security) and wanted me to tag along for company. The appointment was for 12.20 so off we went at noon. We weren’t in there long and soon we were off to buy the screws followed by some free minced pies and coffee courtesy of Dobbies. They are only free to members of course and being a member I take full advantage of their free offers. We then drove to the village so that E could attend some business at the Post Office whilst I walked across to the chemist (drugstore) to purchase some feminine hygiene products. It was two-thirty when we arrived back home and time for lunch. At last I could relax in front of the tv and watch some missed programs before writing this. 

Shirley Anne

Ahead of myself

So here I am sitting at the computer once again writing another post. Today it is the 19 th day of November and behind this post are another thirty-one waiting to be published! You are reading about my ramblings a month in the past. I discovered that by writing a couple of posts at a time gave me a little more elbow room and at first it was two or three. That has slowly crept up over the past two months or so and now I am 31 posts ahead of myself. Doing project work gives me plenty to write about but I try not to just write on the same subject. At my age there is little else going on in my life to write about, much of what I do is mundane anyway. You don’t get to read about the numerous household chores I undertake for obvious reasons, they would bore you silly but I do have them to include in my days aside from the projects. Today I went for my early morning walk, so early even I thought I was pushing it, I left the house at two-thirty! I didn’t begin work until seven o’clock but all I did was to put the two small drinks fridges and the small freezer back in the utility room.

I then painted the four boards E will use for making door signs….

Following that I made the kick board for the cabinet beneath the two fridges (top picture) and painted it ready for fitting later.

I stopped work for the day at that point. It was eleven o’clock. I have to make the five side kick boards for the three cabinets but not today. Before lunch I spent an hour visiting our next-door neighbour for a chat and to cheer her up.

Shirley Anne

Easing off the throttle

Today (17 Nov.) would have been my dad’s 100 th birthday had he still been with us. My own birthday is on 21 st Nov. so as you read this I am now 73 years of age. I have been told many times to take things a little easy, notably by my neighbour. I mentioned this not so very long ago. Obviously I cannot do things as quickly as I once did so any jobs I tackle take that little bit longer and I take breaks from it too. I try to limit the amount of time spent working but it is difficult as it is in my nature to be actively doing something. My latest project is progressing well and there is not a great amount of work to be done for it to be completed. As I write this I have some kick boards to make and the room door to repair but there is no hurry to do either. In fact I completed part of the kick boards installation today.

Today I also finished off the inspection hatch by giving it a coat of paint. I had completed its construction yesterday.

…….and I gave the door frame a lick of red paint

Take no notice of the junk outside the room! If you look carefully there is a very old spin dryer, an ironing board, a waste bucket, a basket of bits and pieces and a ten inch reflecting telescope, which incidentally isn’t junk! Yesterday I did some work in the garden to protect some of the plants likely to be damaged by the forecast very cold and windy weather. The wigwam….

The others are covered by the plastic tunnel…..

The title says ‘Easing off the throttle’………well I’ve got to do something. In fact again today I cut some thin plywood for E to use in making some more door signs like the one she made for the Larder a few months ago.

Shirley Anne

Warm

Again I was tired when I went to bed yet found it difficult to nod off to sleep. Finally I did of course but ended up only getting five hours. That in itself was never a problem before as I had been very used to having only four and a half hours of sleep for a number of years. However on Friday morning when the alarm woke me at two I lay in bed for another hour! Now that was unusual for I normally get up straight away. I still felt tired and was about to go for my early morning walk. Despite it being an hour behind my normal routine I left the house only a half-hour later than I usually do. It was quite warm outside as I left the house and I could feel no wind at all. It was only as I reached the seafront later that I could feel a welcome breeze for by that time I was feeling too warm having walked briskly the whole way. By the time I had reached home I had cut around ten minutes off my usual time for that particular route. 

My tiredness had disappeared and I now felt great. How long would that last I wondered? When working at something I never feel tired until I stop and then I sleep well but if I have nothing to do I get tired yet can’t get to sleep. At the moment I am doing very little work at home except routine stuff. My latest project cannot be completed until I receive the pebbles I ordered which will be weeks away. I will need to find something to do in the meantime but the weather is warm and I don’t feel like it. 

Shirley Anne

It’s that time again

Yes Autumn is upon us with its wind, rain and cool weather none of which I mind though the wind if it gets too high I dislike. The worse part of the season is clearing away the mess it makes! I am referring to the broken twigs and in some cases broken branches but in all cases the fallen leaves. You would think I’d be used to sweeping up the leaves for I seems I do it throughout the year to a lesser degree. Autumn leaves though are the more numerous by far and they get everywhere. A few weeks ago I manufactured a guard out of a very large old fire screen using only one small section of it. I placed it around the grid where many leaves end up blocking it but despite the guard some managed to get by it. This is the grid….

After I had swept up the leaves around the garden I decided to pick all the apples that were left on the trees and there were far more this year than last. It looks like I will be baking lots more apple pies! Obviously those we cannot eat will be frozen for later. I generally don’t eat fresh apples as I prefer them cooked. I eat apples the mostly at this time of year only because we have a couple of apple trees. Our apples are for eating fresh but as yet the fruit has been a little on the acidic side and can be baked but they are getting less acidic with each passing year. 

Shirley Anne

Chasing things up

It was Friday morning the last day of the month and I was up very early after a good night’s sleep. I guess that was due to my having been busy on Thursday. Around four-thirty I went for my walk and as usual lately I was well-wrapped up for the mornings, at least that early, are quite cool bordering on cold. However it was dry with almost clear skies and the gibbous Moon was shining. I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t much want to go for the walk at first but that thought faded quickly as I stepped through the front door. At first everything was quiet but as I walked further I saw more and more activity as people were beginning their day but it was mostly vehicles in fact I saw only three pedestrians the whole time I was out. When I got back home I happened to look out over the rear garden through the kitchen window and saw a large and cheeky cat beginning to dig in one of the borders. I opened the window and made my presence known and the cat was soon dashing over the wall! E was telling me that she had seen the local fox in the garden the previous night too, probably the same one I have seen lately. What makes our garden so special? Animals do what animals do I suppose but woe betide them if I see them doing their ablutions in my garden! On Thursday I received a letter from the DVLA regarding the renewal of my driver’s license. Once we reach our seventieth birthday we then have to renew the license or re-apply for it every three years thereafter. As I am fast approaching 73 I received the reminder. I can apply online and don’t require a new photograph or submit a fee. That makes a change, not having to pay for something! So today as I write I shall be chasing that up. Later I plan to visit the guy who I visited a few weeks ago regarding the slate monoliths I wanted to purchase from him. As he hadn’t yet been in touch I would be chasing that up too as I would like to start work on the project of installing them and creating the planned feature on the lawn.

Shirley Anne

Time out

Now that my latest project has ended I feel it is time for a break. I won’t be entirely inactive though. I will either be doing small tasks or planning the next project, the lawn project for instance. I think ahead, always have and then I set myself a schedule. The work is already finished in my head long before I actually start doing it. Yesterday for instance I purchased online  a number of bamboo poles and 100 metres of bubble-wrap.

The poles were up to 8 feet in length (2.44 metres) and the bubble-wrap 1.5 metres wide. They will be used to protect some of the garden plants from severe wind and low temperatures. Last Winter we had a spell of really harsh weather which did damage to some plants, namely the Phoenix Canariensis (Canary Isle Palm). Three of them suffered badly even though I had shielded them for the wind managed to break through and even though they can withstand temperatures down to minus seven deg. Celsius. That however only means for very short periods! It was the now infamous ‘Beast from the east’ persistently blowing for days which caused the problem. The plants have now recovered though one has taken much time doing so and has some way to go yet before it is back to how it was before. Another though has recovered very well and even looks better than it did before! In preparation I have fitted a few eye-bolts in places to aid securing the protection I will be installing this year. I know it is early for the worst weather usually doesn’t arrive until January through to March and even then it doesn’t usually last for long. However it only takes a day or so to damage the more sensitive plants. There are always things to be doing in the gardens so having something to do is never a problem. There is one job I think I will end up doing which is to remove the round top edging that is fixed along the lawn edge nearest to the house or at least drop it to below the concrete path. The reason is due to the grass growing between the edging and the concrete which is difficult to remove. In the picture above you probably cannot see the edging stones for they are usually covered with the grass unless it has been cut. It is then that the grass can be seen growing where it shouldn’t. I may decide to put off that work for a while though, it all depends on how I bored I might get if I’ve nothing else to do.

Shirley Anne

Really early

I made a joke a short while ago about getting up so early that I hadn’t gone to bed yet! It’s almost true. An hour after E had gone to bed on Saturday I arose. Now she goes to bed just before one o’clock usually which meant I was up before two. In fact I was already awake at one-thirty. Over the last couple of weeks, maybe a month as I write, this has been my routine. I end up eating lunch when she is having breakfast! I am getting so used to the routine I may make it permanent. I much prefer to be up early anyway. Though two o’clock seems ridiculous to many what actual difference does it make when your day starts and finishes? I say if you are single and it suits you then do it, after all your not at anyone’s beck and call. If you have a  family living with you then that is a different matter. Anyway I was up and about early and the first thing I did once downstairs was to fill the washing machine and then move some of the gym equipment from the area of the floor I would be painting with its second coat on Monday morning. It was Sunday and I wouldn’t be working that day. Then it was breakfast time and soon after that I was dressed and ready for a very early walk. It was four o’clock when I left the house. As I passed along The Promenade, for I had chosen that route this time, I could hear the hustle and bustle of people in the town still hanging about after their night out. I could never understand why local authorities allow bars and clubs to remain open til such a late or rather early hour. Once upon a time you couldn’t get an alcoholic drink after ten-thirty in the UK and in some places not at all on a Sunday (like Wales for instance). How moral standards have fallen! I remember the arguments put forward in support of later opening hours. Everything would be fine and it would discourage drunkenness because people would spread their alcoholic consumption over the longer period instead of drinking as much as possible in the shorter opening hours. No, it just meant they had more time to be able to drink more and that is what many do. I steer clear of town at that time in the morning when out walking. Where I walk at that hour it is usually deathly quiet. On my return home it was time to hang up the washing in the gym (it doubles as an airing place) because it was raining outside and had been throughout the night. When it got a little lighter I saw that the far border in the rear garden had remained dry because of the overhanging trees so I got out the hose and have it a thorough soaking. It is that part of the border to the right and beyond in the picture above. The hose pipe ban had been lifted a few days earlier. On Monday morning I hoped to finish the painting of the gym floor which would only leave the touching up of the white walls and a general cleaning of the equipment.

Shirley Anne

Moving along slowly

So it was I was up and about at two-fifteen on Saturday morning and looking out of the window into the garden shrouded in darkness. Despite it still being dark it wasn’t so dark that I couldn’t make out the lawn and the path around it. I could even see most of the plants in the borders but I could also see that everywhere was still dry. The overnight rain and stormy weather hadn’t materialized and I was wondering if it would. The lightning storms which apparently would pass over us must have passed by unless the forecast was wrong. I am writing this at eight-thirty and still there is no rain though the sky is filled with rain clouds. It is also partly blue in places too. I decided to water the rear garden in case it didn’t rain so that was my first job at two-fifty when I arrived downstairs. About forty-five minutes later I was back indoors to eat breakfast. What next would I do? I put on my overalls and went into the garage to mix a bucket of cement mortar and began filling in the next area in the gym floor

I had to be careful to leave a corridor to the door above the steps which leads out to the garden so the area at the bottom in the picture was left. It actually doesn’t need much filling-in there anyway but it will get done in turn. It is this next area which will be more of a problem because the furniture has to be moved but it will be done.

When that was done I left it to dry and then used the remaining mortar to fill a gap in the patio capping stone, something I had been meaning to do for ages. I covered it just in case it did rain. Well now it was time to take a very early walk. It was now five-fifteen and I left the house, posting some of E’s letters on the way. I hadn’t put on my rain-proof coat but had it tied around my waist. It was so lovely in the cool of the morning but I hadn’t gone far when the rain began to fall so I put on my coat. However it stopped raining after a couple of minutes and didn’t rain after that. The rain had been very light, hardly rain at all but I wasn’t going to take a chance and get soaked before my walk had started properly. I was back home a couple of hours later and went into the cellar to sweep the excess mortar off the gym floor. It would be ready for painting over the next day but seeing as the next day was Sunday it wouldn’t get done until Monday (30 th) at least.

Shirley Anne