Over the last few days I have become more lazy in my attitude insofar as work is concerned. Any ideas of working on my projects, and there are two or more I’d like to get done, have taken a back seat. I haven’t neglected my exercise regime however so at least I remain active up to a point. A combination of events have made me less interested in doing anything too strenuous. It was about time that I took a break from too much work anyway. That was one thing and now at the moment of writing I have been watching a lot of televised football as the World Cup games are underway. I have been watching the three televised games every day which has helped me to relax and take things easy for a while. The only snag is that I feel I want to be doing something constructive rather than just sitting on my butt! I wonder if I’ll want to get back into a routine more suited to what I am used to or not. Probably I will do despite my thinking otherwise, it’s in my blood. I am not sure about the future and what I will be up to but I hope that whatever lies ahead it will be something I will enjoy. Last month we had gloriously sunny days and E and I spent much time outdoors together but in this month of June it has been very different so far. I write this on the 20 th, a day or so before the Summer Solstice with only ten more days of the month left. The days will get shorter as Summer begins and I am hoping there will be more days like those we had in May. For the time being I am stuck indoors out of choice once lunchtime is over as I wish to continue watching the football. Maybe all this relaxing is going to be of benefit to me but I am not sure, I could end up like a couch potato! God forbid that I end up that way but I rather suspect I won’t.
I could sense the possibility of rain as I looked out through the window from my bed. It was Saturday morning (16 th) and five-thirty as I lay there contemplating the day ahead. I decided a walk was on the cards but I was hungry so I decided to wait until after breakfast this time. I had just finished breakfast and saw that fine rain was falling. I would need to take a raincoat if I was to brave the elements as they say. It wasn’t a warm morning at all, in fact it stayed pretty cool all day long. It was 16 deg C but it felt more like 10 or 11 in the breeze. I had put on my walking boots too thinking that lighter footwear was unsuitable for what seemed like a late Autumn day which as it turned out was a wise decision. The outward part of the walk was pleasant enough but I was glad I had put on the rainproof jacket for it kept me warm in the cooling breeze. I had reached the half-way stage when the rain began to pour down in earnest. It remained that way until I reached home when suddenly it stopped! As soon as I went indoors I realised just how cool it had been outside. There had been quite a number of women out running on the route I had taken and none seemed bothered about the driving rain. I knew how they must have felt having spent many a time doing the same thing years ago. I sometimes wish I could do it again but then realise how unnecessary it would be at my time in life. I get my exercising in other ways now not least of all taking a walk. It was Saturday and the afternoon was beckoning more activity. Did I succumb? I’ll let you guess.
It was getting a little monotonous having each day to water the gardens because of the dry weather. Oh it has been just fine for sitting about in or simply being out in but all I wanted was a little rain now and then. The attempt to rain was made last evening (13 th) but it wasn’t very much. However it was a storm called Hector which gave some respite from the heat and dry weather. The only problem was it brought more wind than rain! It got pretty stormy hereabouts but fortunately we were too far south to receive the harshest of the wind. Nevertheless some tree branches came down here and there. I had gotten up early on Thursday in order to do the weekly shopping again for E has been unable these last couple of months. I actually arose at five-thirty and was in the kitchen at six-fifteen. However I thought I would do a little work before breakfast which was to give the repaired door frame I did yesterday a coat of priming paint. I later in the day applied the top coat. Anyway whilst I was doing that I heard a loud snap and something falling on the lawn behind me. I paid no attention until I had finished the small painting job for I knew what it had been making that noise. Once again the neighbour’s tree was shedding a branch because of the high winds. It is the large tree left of centre on the other side of the wall in the picture. You may be able to see from its leaves and the leaves of the apple trees bottom right from which direction the wind is blowing. It is left to right or west to east of course.
Most of the time we are picking up small twigs and leaves which have fallen from the tree but occasionally when it is very windy larger parts fall down. I cleared up the mess on the lawn and deposited the bulk of the fallen branch in my neighbour’s garden. At the same time I took the opportunity to prune back a couple of lower branches on the tall holly tree which stands next to the large greenhouse. It is just right of centre at the end of the greenhouse in the picture. Naturally I chopped the holly branches up and put the pieces into our own waste bin. I returned indoors for breakfast. It was seven o’clock. After eating I waited until it was eight o’clock before driving to the supermarket. I was back home at nine-fifteen just as E came down for breakfast. Pretty much throughout the day it was windy but there was still no rain. In fact it brightened up late morning. I would be watering the gardens again if it remained dry.
Almost from the time I awoke at 4.45 am until after my evening meal I was kept busy doing one thing or another on Monday (11). Our next-door neighbour had asked, no, hinted that she would like her tv on the wall and I offered to fit a shelf for it (yesterday’s post). I knew I had some timber but no brackets. The first thing I did when I got downstairs at six o’clock was to paint the leading edge of the timber so it would match the colour of the timber which was covered in a veneer. As I was down in the cellar doing that I decided I might also paint the piece of timber I had fitted to the bottom edge of the new larder’s door. That colour being a pale blue to match the existing door paint. Having done that I ate breakfast then immediately went into the garden to water the lawn. When that was done I moved to the front garden and watered that too. Still not finished I set about emptying the waste and washing out and cleaning the waste buckets we have indoors. By this time E had come downstairs and had eaten breakfast before she returned upstairs to dress. We were to go out shopping. When she was ready we drove to the local optician to see if he could repair our neighbour’s broken spectacles. Our neighbour is bed-ridden remember. He repaired them free of charge because they were under guarantee. We then drove to the hardware store to purchase the brackets and on the way back home we stopped off at Dobbies garden centre to purchase eleven plants for the small plot we had cleared on Sunday. When we arrived home we planted them all in the plot, two large plants and nine small ones.
The large (just pruned) shrub was in the plot when we moved into the house 30 years ago as was the tall tree behind it in the far corner. Click on image to magnify. The Laurel in the right hand corner is one of the new plants as is the shrub in front of the grey water butt. The smaller nine plants are those at the front from top left to bottom right. The tulip and daffodil bulbs were removed but the will be replanted in late Autumn. The new plant varieties are Laurel, Leucothoe fontanesiana Makijaz, Dianthus dark purple, Dianthus pink kisses, Edelweiss Grabglockner, Lewisia little peach, Lewisia little plum, Diascia breezee plus apricot, Scabiosa blue note, Viola Tony venison and last but not least Delosperma jewel of desert garnet. It was the time for lunch and afterward I went next door to fit the shelf and brackets and set up the television. My neighbour was well-pleased that now she could watch tv more easily. I was finished however for I removed all the brackets and fixtures from the old fridge/freezer and with the help of her son we pulled it out of the kitchen unit and stored it outside ready for disposal. We brought in the new fridge/freezer which had been temporarily stored in use in the garage. However we discovered that the new supply cable plug could not be pushed through the rear of the unit to reach the power outlet in an adjacent cupboard. When we removed the old fridge/freezer I cut the cable close to the fridge so it didn’t need to be removed. I went back home and dug out a power outlet of the type which is fitted to extension leads. I returned and fitted it to the end of the existing cable thereby making into a small in situ extension lead that the fridge could be plugged into. We lifted the new fridge/freezer into the kitchen unit but had to take it out again so I could adjust the kitchen unit door hinges. Finally it was done and I went home. E had joined me in order to chat with our neighbour whilst I was engaged in the work. It was approaching five o’clock when we got home. After a quick coffee I carried out a repair to the garden hose nozzle before watering the whole garden including the lawn once more. It was almost time for my evening meal when I had finished. Bored? I didn’t have time to be bored.
‘Down in the mouth’ is an expression we use to describe someone who is (temporarily) feeling ‘out of sorts’ or not as ‘upbeat’ as they usually are. Late morning on Thursday saw me like that and I’ll explain in a moment. I had gone to bed early on Wednesday because basically I couldn’t keep my eyes open! I really was feeling tired. It meant once more that I would wake early too but that wasn’t a problem except that I woke a little too early at three o’clock. I had slept on top of the bed again in the high temperature and especially high humidity which was way over 90%. Sleeping under the covers would have been unbearable. So I woke up and made the attempt at returning to sleep but couldn’t. At five o’clock I gave up the idea and had a shower. I was downstairs for breakfast before six. As is my want I usually have the tv switched on while eating breakfast which was on that day porridge. Just as I had finished eating the tv went dead. At first I though I’d accidentally switched it off on the remote control but then I realised the fridge power indicator light wasn’t on. I checked the lights and they too were not working. Going down into the dark cellar rooms I discovered the unit which reads the gas and electric meters had no indicating lights working. This meant there was no power at the electric meter, the whole house was off, fridge/freezers, power outlets and lighting all not working. It was six twenty-five. There was nothing I could do but go and do the weekly shopping run. However, even I didn’t want to go shopping at such an early hour though I had planned to go around eight o’clock. I sat and read the local newspaper for a while then looking out of the lounge window I saw our neighbour’s son about to leave for work. I opened the window and called to him asking if he had lost electrical power too. He had. It could only be a high voltage distribution problem for I learned later that large areas had been affected. Had it simply been local it might have been the lower voltage distribution system at fault. I decided I would go and fetch the shopping which I did but first of all I had to wind the garage door up manually to get the van out and wind it sown again manually too. I returned home at eight-thirty by which time E had come downstairs and eaten her breakfast. After I had packed the food away the power came back on as we stood and chatted. It was now nine o’clock. Now I had a dental appointment around eleven o’clock so after a short rest I drove there and was attended to almost immediately. I’d had a couple of fillings replaced. The injection I’d received didn’t wear off until almost two o’clock! I had no feelings on the right side of my mouth and when I looked in the mirror I could see my mouth was sagging on the right. I really was down in the mouth for a while. I was back home before eleven forty-five and drove E into town so she could attend to some business. We arrived back home for lunch after one o’clock by which time I was feeling really drained of energy. We spent a little time relaxing on the patio after eating lunch and wondered when we would get rain. The day was still warm and humid as we awaited the promised rain and thunderstorms late in the afternoon. Maybe it would finally rain on this the last day of the month……………
Despite the weather forecasts promise of heavy rain coupled with thunder and lightning throughout Friday (25) it didn’t quite happen that way. I had decided to take an early morning walk and with that promise in mind I wore my rainproof jacket. It wasn’t however raining though the sky was darkened with clouds. The coat acted more as a warm covering than protection from the rain for it remained dry until long after my return home. I had to remove the coat half-way through the walk and tie it as we girls do, around the waist by the sleeves. It was a really pleasant walk, just the right temperature (even before I removed the coat) and hardly any wind. As I went onto the beach I saw a guy stand up as if he had been lying down on the grass that partly covers it. His dog began to bark as I got closer but after a word from him it stopped. He was busy rolling up what I presumed was his portable bed, a straw mat and sleeping bag. He also had a guitar case with presumably a guitar inside. I supposed he was a busker and also it appeared a drifter too. I bade him good morning and he replied in kind as I continued on my way. I didn’t do much before lunch and if I am honest after lunch too! I did however finish off sawing down a neighbour’s tree growing too close and overhanging our garden. A couple of years ago E had spoken with the guy regarding our pruning back his trees and he told her he didn’t care what we did with the trees. He meant of course keeping them in check. The area behind the brick wall separating our gardens and on his side is a veritable jungle of undergrowth, weeds, brambles, ivy and out of control bamboo. The rest of my neighbour’s garden is in reasonable condition but he has let this part get out of hand and it appears he isn’t going to change that in the near future. All we can do is to prevent his mess climbing over the wall into our garden. I may buy him a chain saw and machete and see if he takes the hint! I ended up watering the long flowerbed despite the rain having started to fall. It wasn’t as heavy as forecast and being as it was from the east that part of the garden sometimes can remain dry beneath the tree cover.
It is Friday 18th as I write late in the afternoon. E and I have just returned indoors after a brief spell out on the patio, well it was brief for me for E had been out there much longer. I had retired to bed very early on Thursday evening because I was very tired. It meant however an early rise too but I took advantage of that and went for a walk in the bright sunshine. It was bright and sunny throughout the day in fact and the whole weekend was forecast to be even better with higher temperatures. When I had finished breakfast on my return home E asked if I had cut the piece of plywood she needed to make a door notice. More on that later. I had forgotten and had other things planned but I cut and painted the wood so that she could use it later. I had used vinyl emulsion so it would be dry in a couple of hours. It would be varnished over once E had finished her little project. I could now begin the small project I had set for myself which was to remove some small paving slabs from the driveway E uses for her car and reset them in concrete. They had become loose after the original mortar mix had crumbled over the years since it was laid. I managed to do four of them but there are others which need attention too. Over the next few weeks I shall probably do them a little at a time rather than all at once.
It was fast approaching lunchtime when I had done them and it was getting warmer by the minute. I didn’t wish to continue working in the heat wearing my overalls and having to mix a load of concrete by hand. I could have used the mixer but as I was not going to tackle the rest of the driveway at once it would have been pointless. After lunch I had to feed the plants in the front garden having done the ones in the rear garden yesterday but first I had it in mind to put feeding tubes beneath those plants which stand on the mound beneath the flagpole. The picture below shows a white plastic tube at the base of a newly planted shrub.
All six of the plants on the mound were done in the same way. Once they were done I fed all of the garden plants before returning into the rear garden to give it a thorough soaking. It was then that I found a few minutes to relax on the patio with E. It wasn’t long however before we decided to go indoors, after I had taken the washing off the line for E.
All the things I feel I want to get on with I find I am unable to and other things which sometimes or otherwise take second place I find I am doing instead. Work on my little project for the last week or more has been stop and go and at the time of writing this (on the 10 th) it is still in abeyance. To complete the work, which is only to paint the floor and that won’t take long, I need a mask for protection. As my readers will already know I ordered one days ago but have still to receive it. That in itself isn’t a problem but I wish it will come soon so that I can write off the work. Normally I would just get on with other things but even there I find I am prevented from moving on. The reason for that has been due to my taking on other responsibilities, things which E would normally be doing had she not been incapacitated. Today I had to get in the weekly shopping and ferry her to her appointments so there was little time for anything else. I am not complaining about having that responsibility, I am happy to be able to help her even if it does mean I have to put on hold my little jobs. She is making good progress with her back problem and hopes to be back in circulation soon. Her spinal problem is another matter but she has been coping with that as best she can. It is her muscular back pain which is currently the main issue. After lunch today I was able to do a little gardening maintenance and E came out to see what I was doing.
A few days ago I planted some seeds in the greenhouse and wondered if any of them would grow for the seeds were old. I planted flowers, tomatoes and beetroot but at this moment only the beetroot seeds have sprouted, all twenty-six of them! E decided we should pot them on into larger pots and she took charge of that and I became the assistant. The plan is to plant them in one of the flowerbeds between the other plants but only when they are large enough not to be mistaken for weeds! Now E had already planted some melon seeds in several small pots with my assistance and some of them have begun to grow. We are hoping they might produce fruit later in the year and of course they will have to remain in the greenhouse to give them a fighting chance. So although I am not doing much on my projects just now at least I am getting something done and E is benefiting by getting involved with outdoor jobs too.
For one reason or another lately I have been engaged on a spending spree. Today, May 3rd, I bought a gas mask online. Now what do you suppose I needed that for? A kinky party (never been to one)? Well if you remember I purchased some floor paint and it arrived today. Having taken off the lid of one of the cans and painting a sample corner of the cellar storage room I thought it would be best if a mask was worn when painting the whole floor. Indeed it is necessary for the paint fumes are strong and the room cannot easily be ventilated. The paint itself is a chlorinated rubber composition and even after painting such a small amount it sent fumes throughout the basement and the first floor. I hastened to close the room door to minimise the fume distribution but even so I had to keep a few doors and windows open to disperse them. As I hadn’t a suitable mask I had to make the purchase. A few days ago I purchased some clothing for myself and for E and yesterday I purchased the item of gym equipment I was looking to have to go along with the treadmill and elliptical cross-trainer we already have. This time it was an exercise bike, bike machine or whatever you choose to call them.The picture shows the exact model we chose. It looks a though I will be installing an extra power point in the gym soon! So although I have been spending out a lot recently it isn’t a regular habit, I simply couldn’t afford to be spending all the time. Now, for the month ahead at least, I have to curb my spending. Well maybe. Now that I have the paint I can finish off the storage room though it will have to wait now until I receive the mask. I will have to use the mask again when I paint the gym floor but at this moment in time I have still to fill in the holes with cement. I would have had it done by now had I not been looking after E while she has been incapacitated. Today for instance I had to do the weekly shopping once more, something which seems to becoming a regular thing lately. I don’t mind of course, it’s a change from what I usually get up to!
My plans were almost thwarted on Saturday. It was another warm and sunny day as we enjoyed the slightly unseasonal weather for April with temperatures around six, seven and eight degrees above normal. Although I wanted to spend more time outdoors I knew I had to do at least some more work in the cellar. This little project is certainly taking quite some time to complete. I was up and about around eight o’clock and after breakfast the first thing I did was to water the rear garden as we hadn’t any rain for days. It was especially important that I did it if only for the sake of the newly bedded plants I had put in the day before though all the garden plants needed it too. On returning indoors I continued with the painting and was doing fine until after an hour or so I thought I heard E calling out to me so went to investigate. She was two floors up and kind of stuck on the landing unable to move with muscular pain in her back, something she says happens occasionally. I did my best to assist but there was little I could do but to see that she made it downstairs safely. From that point onward and throughout the day I had to do the fetching and carrying for her and prepare her meals as she often eats different things to me. Once I knew she was settled I returned to my painting but my phone rang soon after I had resumed. It was our next-door neighbour who asked if I could check out a couple of garden lights she had recently purchased but hadn’t worked. I told her I would call as soon as I could and went there around thirty minutes later after completing what I was painting. The lights are solar units which charge during the day and when night falls they illuminate. There are switches on them but no indication of their function, they could either be for preventing the units from charging or from illuminating. I asked for the instruction sheet but she told me she had thrown it out with the garbage! I suggested she return them as faulty. When I returned home I removed my overalls for I knew it wasn’t worth keeping them on, my services to E would be taking preference and my project would have to wait a couple of days. At least E was able to join me out on the patio to relax for a couple of hours in the afternoon.