The day before yesterday (as the posts go), I wrote about the possibility that there may be no more painting of the utility room floor, at least I hoped there wouldn’t be. Alas by that evening I noticed that the centre of the floor really looked as if it had only the one coat of paint. Indeed it had because two of the freezers had been standing there whilst I painted around them. So on Thursday (15 th) after I had returned from doing the shopping I spent ten minutes giving the area a second coat of paint. After I had done that I cut the plywood timber with which to make the hatch above the worktop near the window. I had deliberately left that part of the project whilst the more important work was being carried out. It would be during the afternoon that any further work might be done, if I felt the urge! The kick boards wouldn’t present much of a problem but the room door needed some straightening and that could pose some difficulty. I would just have to wait and see when the time came. I suddenly felt a little strange too on Thursday knowing that the project was nearing completion and I’d have nothing much to do but that soon wore off when I thought about the garden tasks that lay ahead. I hope my readers have been enjoying my progress reports regarding this and other projects I have undertaken. All I can say is hey, if I can do these things there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to either. Yes I know I have been involved in this sort of work throughout my life but one has to start somewhere. I wasn’t born with DIY skills! Hopefully, if you are undertaking DIY projects you will find you have the skills too and be proud of what you have achieved.
It was now Thursday 18 th and after a really good night’s sleep I was ready for the day. First of all though I was to take my morning walk. It was a little on the cold side at 7 deg C but because there was no wind whatsoever it didn’t feel that cold. The sky was clear and the stars filled it. However the street lighting prevented a clear view, that is until I reached the seafront where it was almost pitch black. Soon my enjoyment was over and I was back home for breakfast. I had a number of chores to do before I could even consider doing any work in the utility room, except to fill the washing machine and switch it on. I had re-positioned and re-connected the machine the evening before to check for leaks. Yes there was one! One of my pet sayings is that I hate plumbing and to be honest it is true, at least to some extent. The leak was sorted and I washed my overalls, they needed it! On Wednesday I had concentrated on installing the second cabinet, no painting the floor that day and having to fight the fumes. This is how far I got…
By the end of the day I was ready for bed and a good rest. Now it was Thursday but I had the weekly shopping to do. I watched some catch-up tv before going to the supermarket and returned by eight-thirty. An hour or so later I began to work in the utility room but kept the work to a minimum. I fitted the doors to the second cabinet and the door knobs to both after which I painted the new section of worktop.
I couldn’t do anymore work thereafter until the paint had dried in case I stirred up dust so I had the rest of the day to myself.
I had been preparing the walls and floor in the area of the utility room ready for the installation of the new sink and cabinet unit early on Monday morning (yesterday’s post). I had painted them and had to wait for the paint to dry. The wall paint was dry soon afterward but the floor paint took longer and because of the fumes it gives off I couldn’t start the work of building the cabinet immediately. After four hours the fumes had dissipated and I went back to the room and assembled the cabinet, a flat-pack affair. I don’t know about you but I think flat-pack furniture can be somewhat daunting at times, it all depends upon adequate and easy to understand instructions. Diagrams and different screw sizes, parts that seem to be able to fit anywhere or nowhere at all and confusing instructions written by a foreign hand with little understanding of the English language all add up to a frustrating experience if not approached logically. Even the experienced DIY enthusiasts might find instructions problematical on occasion. As it happened the cabinet wasn’t difficult to assemble on this occasion though and extra pair of hands would have sped up the process!
I had to drill a hole with a hole cutter in order to slide it over the waste pipe protruding from the wall. It is fortunate I have plenty of hole cutters. Nothing as yet is permanently fixed in place of course but it gives me an idea on how to proceed with the next stages. The sink/drainer has to be fitted in the plywood top and the plumbing connected amongst other things. I stopped work around lunchtime and would continue with the work during the rest of the week. Whilst I was waiting for the paint to dry I made another apple pie, later putting it in the freezer with the other pies I had made for the previous day I had made an apple crumble which hadn’t yet been eaten.
Since the bulk of my last project had been completed I was at a loss for something to do. I shouldn’t be concerned about having a lack of something to do around our house for there are plenty of things I could be doing. It is more a question of what would be the best and what I would feel like tackling at any given time. A few months ago when I was involved in renovating rooms down in the cellar I mentioned in a post that one of the other rooms down there could do with a make-over too. I was talking about the utility room where we keep the washing machine and freezers and a host of other things we perhaps should store elsewhere or get rid of.
As you can see from the above pictures it is somewhat of a mess but an organised mess! We know where things are, just about! With that in mind I was down there yesterday (5 th) looking at how to tackle the first part of the work which was to remove the sink unit and replace it.
However after some consideration and a quick clean-up I decided we should renovate it and keep it after all it is only a utility room and doesn’t need a new unit even if one could be purchased. As it is an old unit and now out of production it would be difficult to find a similar unit at a small cost. The stainless steel top only requires a thorough clean and the cabinet only requires a new shelf inside, a clean-up and a paint job. So that will be the first job to start on. However E and I would like it to be turned and fitted to the adjacent wall alongside the window because it will not only look better but will make better use of the room space. Having measured the unit we found it would sit neatly in the proposed position. When I remove it I will be in a better position to repair and renovate it………and clear away the spiders. There will be plumbing to do of course but I’ve assessed that work and it won’t be difficult. There is plenty of work to do in that room and will likely keep me occupied for months.
I have just finished the next stage of the garden project which leaves me just three things left to do. Today as I write on 28 th September I have laid the membrane and set in the perimeter of it with concrete.
The cobbles dotted around are there temporarily to hold down the overlapping joints of the membrane which comes in a roll one metre in width. The next stage will be to lay some cobbles through the plot to form stepping stones but I will have to cut the membrane along the proposed route to remove a little of the soil beneath. I will then lay concrete in the bottom and set the cobbles in it. The concrete will also re-seal the gap in the membrane at the same time. The final stage will be to fill the area with pebbles and stones then clean the perimeter cobbles.
It was Tuesday morning (17 th) and I awoke just a bit later than I had been doing but still quite early. I was up, showered and dressed before six o’clock. I ate breakfast before checking my in-box and found my friend in New York had sent me another mail. We have periods of sending each other mails and then we stop for a while before it all starts again. She was just greeting me and saying hello and letting me know how things were going for her. I replied in kind before switching off the computer and donning my overalls. I was intending to install the small wooden fence now that the rain from yesterday had stopped falling. The previous time it had rained, a few weeks ago it didn’t last long though it was a good downfall. Yesterday it rained down almost the whole day.The morning was overcast on Tuesday but at least it was dry where I was working and reasonably cool. It couldn’t really be anything else at seven-thirty I suppose. Because the little fence was in three sections it wasn’t easy to fit due to the position of it. I used my battery-powered drill to drill the brick walls which made it longer to do. The mains-powered drill would have been faster but a lot noisier and at that hour I didn’t want to annoy the neighbours! As it was I had to dismantle some of the sections in order to fix them to the wall. sometimes the smaller jobs are more awkward and take longer to do. I was able to fit the copper bracket at the joint in the capping stones so avoiding having to drill the stone itself. It is so well hidden you will not be able to see it but it is positioned behind and is hidden by the bush in the second picture. I used brass screws for fixing the copper bracket and wood battens to the walls but I was forced to use steel screws in constructing the fence for there were many of them. When I had finished the work I applied some varnish to the screw heads to stave off corrosion, though they were coated steel screws. So all I had to do was tidy up and the job was finished. For a week or so beforehand I had fixed a piece of wood between the gate post and the Laurel branch in order to train it to grow away from the post as it hadn’t been doing. It would otherwise make installing the fence at that point impossible. Already it has forced the branch away from where it was before. I will leave the wood in place for a while. You can see it in this picture on the left..
An expression sometimes given when filled with happiness, joy and glee. I woke up early on Friday (13 th) and it was still dark outside. At four-thirty it should have been much lighter at this time of year unless there was a heavy cloud cover. It had been cloudy throughout Thursday but it remained dry. However on Friday it was raining and looked as if it had been raining for some hours. I was overjoyed to say the least for I had been praying for rain for a few days in the hope that the gardens wouldn’t need hours of watering by hose for a while. Nature does it better than me anyway. Rain had long been overdue, everywhere I saw grass it was straw-coloured and dry as a bone. This had resulted in many wild fires across the country although some of those we were told had been deliberately caused. What kind of person thinks that is a good idea to set fires this way especially as there had been a water shortage? In fact what kind of person wants to set fires going anywhere in the open countryside? It is bad enough dealing with urban fires and many were indeed set off in urban areas. How long would it continue to rain or how frequent would they be? Those were my thoughts but the forecast looked gloomy, it would be dry again for at least five days unless the forecast was wrong. At least the rain gave everywhere a good soaking and it gave me a little respite from having to use the hose for a day or so. Rain threatened to fall throughout Friday but little did. I was up early and after breakfast I carried out some adjustments to the small fence sections I had made and made them sturdier. I then gave the parts a coat of wood preserver and left it to dry, returning later to give it all a second coat. It would probably get four or five coats before it was fitted. For the support bracket I flattened a piece of copper pipe, bent it in an ‘L’ shape and drilled fixing holes in it ready for use. It is lying on the long fence part between the two upright smaller parts in the picture below. I was hoping there would not be a need for further support but wouldn’t know until I began installing the fence.
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.
I write this shortly after twelve noon on Thursday 13 th having returned downstairs and dressed to dine out for lunch with E. She is presently doing the weekly shop and won’t return until one-thirty. It is a good arrangement we have as she likes shopping for groceries whereas I don’t. I only do it if I have to. Now as she doesn’t like doing many of the things I get up to, though she does like some of them, it makes sense. Anyway my aim this morning was to mix some cement render and begin applying it to the cellar storage room wall. Soon after breakfast therefore I went into the garage where the materials are stored and I began mixing two of the ingredients by hand in the wheelbarrow. I didn’t wish to use the cement mixer for this job as it will be done in stages, a little bit at a time. What I do is mix the two ingredients which are sand and granite dust (granno) and then add the cement only when it is needed. I then take a small quantity of the mixture and add the cement to it before adding the water. This way I only have to mix the amount I need each time without adding the cement to the whole batch then having to use it all. This is as far as I got today
Each side of the wooden battens were cemented in. Once the whole spaces are filled and dry the battens can be removed and the spaces filled-in too. I applied a coat of oil to the wood before the cement was applied. This prevents the cement from adhering to the wood and should make them easier to take out. Yesterday I gave the ceiling a coat of emulsion though it will require another coat later and then I added a piece of architrave to the left side of the door as there wasn’t one there and it left a gaping hole along the door frame.Notice the door art has changed from the previous picture (ha ha). The door will get painted properly eventually of course. It is now getting near to E’s return and I am getting hungry.
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.