France

Up and about at my now usual early start but I had to wait until it was light enough to allow me to have the gym light on with the door open. If you remember I didn’t want a room full of moths which would have been attracted to the brightness of the room. That meant I couldn’t begin painting until five-thirty. The plan was to complete the second coating of the floor which I managed to do all except for the small area where the treadmill had been standing. It is the area between the up-righted treadmill and the small can with the wood on it. That small area had to be left for its second coat as it was part of the walkway I had to leave to enable access to the garden door for the day (to the right and to the rear in the picture). It would get painted on Tuesday morning when the rest of the floor would be dry. This was how the floor looked soon after I had painted the second coat (on the left and beyond)…..

I was feeling rather tired during the rest of the morning and was sitting quietly on the sofa when I heard my eldest son and his wife arrive. They were collecting some things they have in storage here. He was telling me how much he was feeling tired also because of the extra work he had been putting in at work lately, especially the shift work. He is a police officer and puts in some long shifts as they are expected to do these days. He was looking forward to his annual break in a couple of weeks time (as I write). By the time you are reading this he, his wife and their daughter will be holidaying in France for, as he said, twenty-seven nights! They have been to France a couple of times before. I remember when we took he and his younger brother down to the south of France many years ago for a two-week break with a short trip into Spain too. On that occasion we travelled by car, in fact the only time we have ever taken a holiday by car. We have driven in foreign countries of course but we flew there first!

Shirley Anne

Advertisements

Got the chance

I was determined to go for an early morning walk on Saturday (12) and put aside for a while the things which have been taking up much of my time. It had been around a week since my last walk as I hadn’t the time to spare. This is where having something to exercise on at home is handy, you still get some exercise even if you can’t do it outdoors. I had spent Friday morning doing just that because of a tight schedule. Anyway the day was beautiful on Saturday, nice and sunny with a slight breeze and comfortable in the not so hot temperatures. Although I had the time for a long walk I chose to walk only four and a half miles. On my return home I came across the postman delivering mail close to my house and he stopped me saying that he had mail for me. I took the two small packages and a letter from him as he delivered next-door’s mail. On going inside I gave the smaller package and letter to E and opened the larger package which was addressed to me. Finally the mask I had ordered had arrived so I put on my overalls and the new mask  and asked E to take a photo…

Very becoming don’t you think? At last I could finish painting the cellar storage room floor and less than an hour later it looked like this…

I don’t know why the walls seem to be different colours but I suppose it is just the way the light is hitting them. The upper of the two pictures reflects more accurately the colour in the room. Now all I need to do is touch-up the walls here and there and put a threshold across the entrance. That won’t take long and I can then say the project is complete.

Shirley Anne

Joseph’s cloakroom

 

I had an appointment to see the doctor on Wednesday morning at ten after nine and actually got to see her at that time! Yes it happens sometimes. It was a follow-up visit after I was given medication for a nasty wound on my back which was healing as expected. Whilst there I enquired about treatment for a fungal infection I had beneath a couple of toe nails thinking she would suggest a simple over-the-counter remedy. However I was asked to supply some nail clippings so they could be analysed, so on my return home I clipped my nails and returned with the sample. I was back home around ten-fifteen and immediately set to work in the cellar. It was painting day again and the first task was to finish applying a white undercoat to the remaining shelves, those which I hadn’t time to do the day before. At the same time I gave the rear of the door its first coat of paint too. It was then time for lunch. An hour or so later I returned to work, this time to give the shelves their final coat of paint. I think it was E who suggested we liven the place up and paint them in colours……….

What do you think? I think Joseph would have been proud to hang his coat of many colours in there! The door has to be finished and the floor needs some filling here and there before we paint it later.

Shirley Anne

Just a little bit

Over the last week or so I have been working on and off in the cellar storage room as you know but have not in the last couple of days been able to do much. There were a couple of reasons for this but the main reason was that I have been doing things for E who had been stricken with severe back pain and has been unable to fend for herself. At the time of writing (it is Monday afternoon the 23 rd) the doctor has earlier been to see her and I have just returned from the pharmacy with her prescribed medication. She is still struggling with her mobility but seems to be improving. All this means that I have been preparing her meals and drinks and generally assisting her when asked and have had to fit in the decorating as and when I can. This morning after breakfast I put on my overalls to begin work but had to attend to E first so was late starting. At the moment it is all painting but I managed to paint the left-hand wall before I had to stop…

The rear wall (behind the ladder) will need painting again at the bottom because the wall had evidently still been damp when I painted it a couple of days ago. I have since been using a fan heater to warm the room and speed up the drying process. There is still a little more painting to do…

…the raised part of the ceiling above the door area and of course the door itself. Incidentally in the top picture you can see the main water pipe and stop tap shown here in detail…

I point it out to show that the pipe entering from outside (underground) is made of lead and the pipes then on are copper. A couple of years ago the water authority replaced all of the underground pipes in the area using plastic ones as they had been both cast iron and lead. However though they had been able to use plastic pipe to our house they couldn’t get it all the way into the house without causing much upheaval. Above the point of entry a metre below the front doors are our stone steps…..They could only reach a point close to the white stone in the right of the picture so from that position to inside the cellar room it remains a lead pipe. In the picture above and about a third of the way along the pipe from the right there is a lump (showing bright in the picture). It marks the position where it changes to copper. Now why am I telling you this? It is because I did the work myself years ago. With the water turned off in the street I cut back the lead pipe and flared the end by tapping a cone-shaped piece of wood into it so that I could insert the copper pipe a couple of centimetres. I had already prepared the end of the copper pipe by cleaning it and coating the end with solder to make jointing the pipes easier. The difficult part of sealing the connection was in not overheating the copper pipe when building up the joint with solder. The lead pipe melts at a lower temperature than the solder so it had to be done very carefully. Had I not been used to doing this kind of work I doubt I would have attempted it. I am hoping the room will be completed soon for there are other jobs I am keen to start work on.

Shirley Anne

Despite what I said

In yesterday’s post I mentioned I might not be able to continue with the decorating of the room in the cellar but despite that I found I was able to, at least for a short time. I arose early, not because I wanted to start work early, I’d simply had enough sleep. It meant of course I could do some work after all knowing that E and I were supposed to be visiting the garden centre. I had been wanting to buy some extra plants for quite some time so that I could fill in areas in the main flowerbed. I also wanted to take advantage of the 20% discount on all purchases which they had offered for a few days. First though it was breakfast and soon after I got stuck in and gave the end wall of the cellar room a coat of masonry paint we had left over from previous work. In a few hours it would be dry enough to paint over with the vinyl emulsion but that didn’t happen on the day. Soon after I had painted it I went into the garden and planted out three of the shrubs which we have in pots. They were planted in the corner plot behind the greenhouse where I had planned them to go months ago but never got around to it. They are only small but in a couple of years they will grow into large bushes. I returned indoors and began painting the lower part of the ceiling and one of the walls….It was around eleven o’clock and E was ready to join me in visiting the garden centre but it was nearer twelve o’clock before we left the house. E struggled to move about because of her back problem but she made the effort. When we arrived at the centre she was able to use one of the wheelchairs they have on hand for customers who need them. They also supplied a special trolley which clipped to the wheelchair at the front and I was able to push both the chair with E in it and the trolley too. After a quick coffee we went into the garden area and browsed for some plants. We ended up purchasing eleven of them and had spent £123 after the discount. By the time we returned home it was almost two-thirty. After a bite to eat I went into the garden and arranged the plants where they were best suited and then commenced planting them.Obviously I won’t point them out but they are amongst those we had there already. A couple of them had to be planted elsewhere, one at the other end of the same bed, one in another bed and a third one in the Mound. It was four-thirty and I joined E on the patio where she had been lying down in the warm sunshine since lunch. Alright for some isn’t it?

Shirley Anne

Plenty to do

Progress on the cellar storage room is making headway but it is time-consuming. The main problem the room has is its location which is beneath the porch at the front door of the house. The rear wall backs onto the ground beneath the threshold and is prone to moisture ingress though it isn’t as bad as it could be. The only saving grace is the fact that the area outside the front door is covered with stone so the ground doesn’t get really wet.Now that the room is empty while work is ongoing the walls can be treated with silicon sealant which hopefully should solve any damp issues. Not all of the wall seems to be affected fortunately, just a few bricks. On Friday (6) after working in the room on and off for most of the day I gave the wall its first coat of sealant. I had started work in the morning concentrating on filling in some holes with bricks and later fixing timbers across the ceiling near the room entrance in order to strengthen it as it was necessary. 

The holes in the following two pictures have yet to be filled and the wiring tidied up. They won’t be as easy as you might think for there is a void behind them being as they are between the ceiling joists. I was faced with similar problems when refurbishing the gym/boiler ceiling.

The next picture shows the storage cabinet that stood against the rear wall of the storage room. It is staying in its new position at the end of the workbench in the room we call the workshop as shown. This room could do with a face-lift too. At the very least it needs tidying up!

 So there is plenty for me to do if I get bored but for now there is plenty to do on the storage room project.

Shirley Anne

What a mess

How different things look after some tidying up! I have been enjoying some really sound sleep for quite a while now, all due of course to my being busy with my projects. I wake up feeling refreshed just as I ought to and it sets me up for the day, usually to do some more work! It may look as though all I do is work but it isn’t true, I do rest and do other things as well. What I prefer to do is to get the bulk of my work done in the mornings but sometimes I end up working through the afternoon too. I try to keep a tight rein on work for I will only wear myself out if I attempt too much. Yesterday’s post mentions a new project I am tackling with E’s assistance  now and then. It was she who suggested the work be carried out as I suppose she just got fed up with the state of the store-room and to be honest I agreed with that. So in yesterday’s post you will see just how untidy that small room was but after today’s effort it now looks like this

Empty! Behind the door is a work of art…..

One way to clean a brush after use I suppose. I am as guilty as the next person for doing similar but I usually do it on walls that are going to be painted later. I don’t think that door has seen a lick of paint on the inside for many years, certainly long before we moved into the house anyway. There was a free-standing unit at the rear of the room which I moved out and put into the adjacent much larger room we call the workshop which itself needs a thorough clean out. Most of what we took out of the storage room has been put in the workshop but much has also been scrapped too. Now the serious work can begin, replacing bricks, filling in holes in the brick walls and floor tiles, work on the ceiling and shelving, sealing the brickwork and of course painting it all. It will take some time to do but as I usually say these days there is no hurry.

Shirley Anne

A little more…..

……or bit by bit. It wasn’t that I wanted to get up early but I had a really good night’s sleep and woke up just after six o’clock. I was downstairs and ready for breakfast by seven but as I usually do if up first I unlocked the porch and front doors. It was then I noticed the free newspaper in the letter box. It must have been delivered very early for if it had been delivered late in the evening E would have seen it when she locks up the front doors way after midnight or even after one o’clock as she most often stays up that late. I took it into the lounge and sat to read it for a half-hour before going into the kitchen for breakfast. That meant I had finished eating around eight so I thought I would get some painting done downstairs. E had an appointment at the hospital and had asked me to accompany her for she was expecting to receive a steroid injection as part of the treatment for her foot. Evidently she was told it could cause her to be unstable on her feet hence I would be there for transport and support. I wanted therefore to get at least some work done in the day knowing it might be impossible later. The appointment was at eleven-thirty and after that it would be lunch time. I managed to paint the interior walls of the cupboard  with the white emulsion we have been using in the room by which time it was approaching eleven o’clock. I drove E to the hospital and we were there for nearly an hour. As it happened the injection had been put off til another day allowing other treatment to be tried instead. After we had paid a visit to the Post Office Sorting Depot E asked if we could visit Dobbies for a coffee. So after all that we didn’t get to eat lunch until two o’clock and then we relaxed for an hour watching catch-up tv. At three-thirty I decided to put on my overalls again and do some more painting.

The cupboard decoration would hopefully be finished the next day, Saturday though I may have to leave the floor untreated for a few more days whilst it thoroughly dries out. The only other decorating tasks in the room would be touching up the paintwork here and there. As yet we haven’t decided on what we will do with the floor but I think it will be simply patching up and sealing it.

Shirley Anne

More problems?

………..Well maybe but at this point in time all I can do is wait and see. I think I made the right decision in calling our house ‘Hassle Castle’.

There are always little problems here! Anyway today, that is Wednesday 21st, which also happens to be around the Spring Equinox, I have spent most of the daytime in the cellar room we now call the gym. It is also the boiler room and the room in which we hang washing if it is raining outdoors. Having done all the work in there over the last few weeks it looks more like a gym than it ever did. Today I spent some time on the equipment before breakfast and after breakfast I gave the room a good tidy-up removing all those things not now needed in there. I then finished the painting of the boiler cupboard and the window frame.

Before doing anything else I did some remedial work on the furniture of the door leading into the room and also on the room cupboard. All that work took me till lunch at one o’clock. After lunch I began applying a priming coat of paint to the interior of that cupboard.   A few days earlier I had spread some concrete screed over the floor inside the cupboard and it looked as if it hadn’t dried out completely in the rear corner on the right-hand-side. In the picture above the same area looks a little darker than the rest. Whilst applying the priming paint on the walls around that spot I noticed the paint wouldn’t stick and it could only be due to moisture. I would leave the base area alone for a few days to see what develops. It would either dry out or remain damp. Our house does not have a damp proof seal between the lower bricks, it was designed that way when it was built. On the rear of the cupboard wall on the outside of the building is a downspout and surface water drain which I had sealed around at ground level with cement a couple of months ago but it could be that I need to investigate the possibility that water is somehow still getting into the wall by some other means. Had we not bothered decorating the room and the cupboard (which did need a good refurbish) we would not have noticed there might be a problem. A case of out of sight out of mind! It isn’t a major problem but it requires looking into.

Shirley Anne

12 ahead

I have been writing a lot about my projects at home and the current one, the gym decoration being no exception. This post is twelve ahead  from that which you were reading on the day I wrote it, 7th March. This project is taking a lot of time to do because it doesn’t involve just painting but other things too for instance replacing pipe insulation. There has been much wiring to secure and many holes to be filled both on the ceiling and the walls and much of the ceiling has required more than just the one coat of paint. In fact one part of the ceiling has never received a coat of paint the whole time we’ve lived here! On Wednesday (7th) I spent four hours in the room and was determined not to spend any longer in there after Tuesday’s eight-hour stint. I concentrated my efforts painting more of the ceiling and walls and had to paint the areas a couple of times before it was as white as the previously painted areas. When I was clearing out the room and moving equipment to enable access to the work I discovered the old floor tiles had dropped in a couple of places by the walls so after I had finished painting for the day I decided to mix some concrete screed and fill them in. The largest ones are shown in the pictures above, the top one is situated alongside the treadmill (when it is lowered to the floor) and the lower  is alongside the steps leading out to the garden. It won’t be long before I will need to move this lot either…..….before I can decorate that area, which will be the final area to decorate. Most of it is garden furniture. After lunch I spent a little time in the garden sitting on the patio in the warm sunshine. However that didn’t last too long for the clouds rolled-in, though it did get brighter later. I discovered some more bluebells and spent twenty minutes digging them out before relaxing for the rest of the day.

Shirley Anne