Shopping day

There must be something wrong because I am beginning to like doing the weekly shop! Shopping for foodstuffs has never been high on my list of favourite things to do. Once upon a time and many years ago I used to share in that weekly event but in more recent times E took it upon herself to do it. However, she has been unable to take on the responsibility over the past few weeks so I was obliged to do it. Now I am finding it isn’t all that bad after all. I hate crowded places, always have, and I especially dislike waiting in long queues at the supermarket checkout. I dislike waiting for anything to be honest, my get-up and-go wants always to be doing just that. Whereas E shops late in the day I do it as early as possible and for two reasons, one, there is far less traffic in the aisles and at the checkout and two, I get the rest of the day to do others things. Today, Thursday 17, I was up early and had eaten breakfast by seven before going into the garden to water all the plants with the hose. At eight I was driving to the supermarket and had returned home with all the groceries by nine o’clock. I don’t mess about, I treat it as just another chore and those I like to get done as quickly as possible. Once I had put everything away and had made myself a coffee and had prepared E’s breakfast it was nine-thirty. I put on my overalls and went into the cellar to fix the threshold timber to the floor of the storage room we are now calling the ‘Larder + Pantry’. Once that was done I touched-up the paint here and there and then began to fill the shelves with foodstuff on one side of the room and on the opposite side cleaning materials… 

Aside from affixing a label on the door which E is making, the job is finished. It looks like a mini version of a supermarket itself now! Originally we were going to use the room for storing paint and decorating materials but we decided to leave them where they are in the workshop room. After lunch I fed all the garden plants with a liquid feed whilst E potted about (quite literally) in the greenhouse. She was in fact supposed to be helping me but a phone call put an end to that and she began replanting some of the seedlings into larger pots instead.

Shirley Anne

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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

Getting near

After resting from my project on Thursday I returned to duty as it were on Friday (27). However, Thursday had not been spent just sitting down as yesterday’s post revealed. Once again I had difficulty in getting to sleep even though I could hardly keep my eyes open well before I went to bed. Nevertheless I did fall into a deep sleep seconds after I had looked at the clock at 3 in the morning. I awoke fully refreshed just after 8 o’clock and arrived downstairs for breakfast an hour later. I waited for E to join me and soon after I prepared her breakfast and she had eaten it I put on my overalls and went down into the cellar. I had two things set in my mind to do, one was to paint the rear of the door of the storage room…… and as you can see I painted it in mauve. The other task was to fill in the gaps and small holes in the floor as you can also see in the above picture and in this one….

All that is left to do is to touch-up the white paint on the walls in one or two places and also the architrave around the door. Later I propose to paint the floor, which will be a kind of test before I do the same to the floor in the Gym/Boiler room. That room still requires that I fill in the holes and paint over it as I said I would in earlier posts. At the time of writing I am finding much of my time is being spent looking after E’s needs and ferrying her to her various appointment venues. Let’s hope her condition improves so she can return to her normal routines soon. I know she is keen for that to happen too of course.
My next project may be outside if the weather allows but there are others inside that can always be started if that isn’t possible. One of those is the room we call the laundry though it had chest freezers in it too!

Yes, I think it is a mess too at the moment. The first task in there would be to replace the old sink unit (bottom picture) but the whole project may have to take a back seat for a while.

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

A scorcher

Alright it wasn’t so hot to be unbearable but it certainly had been hot considering it was barely half-way through April! It was Wednesday the 18th and the local temperature had gradually risen during the morning to reach around 22 deg C in the afternoon. Added to that it was sunny throughout the day, a really pleasant day that wouldn’t have been out-of-place in the summer months let alone April. Nice as it all was however I didn’t get to rest outside on the patio until after lunch. I had spent three hours in the garden before deciding to return indoors. I had arisen a little late and spent some time using the gym equipment before breakfast and following that I resumed work in the cellar room. My efforts at rendering the wall were what you might call not that professional but after all I am not a builder. It meant I had some filling in to do but chose to use plaster rather than cement as it is easier to use and easier to get a smooth surface, not that a smooth surface was all that necessary. It would look better when painted over if I used plaster. Once I had done that I sealed the wall using a diluted PVA mixture. The next task in the room would be filling in the holes in the floor, painting the walls and ceiling (again) and painting the shelving. At this stage I am undecided as to whether to re-position the room light and replace it in the process though it is only a storage room. I had time before lunch to mow the lawn

The picture was taken later in the afternoon along with the next two….

The rhubarb is doing very well in its new home. If my readers will remember I moved it from where it was to the raised bed above. As yet there are no signs of the potatoes in the bare ground in front of it.

Shirley Anne

 

Dragging on a bit

It was Monday (16) again at last and I could get on with the work in the cellar. I must admit that this particular project seems to be dragging on a bit insomuch as I don’t feel I am making progress fast enough. First of all I had those large holes in both the walls and ceiling to contend with which took quite some time to complete when I filled them in. Unfortunately the holes couldn’t be filled in one go but had to be done in stages. The same principle applies with rendering the wall and that is why I say it is dragging on. Even though it has taken days for me to get anywhere with the rendering I have made progress and at the time of writing all that needs to be done is to skim over it in places. I took this picture soon after I had finished for the day.

It looks dark because it is still wet. If I am able to skim over it tomorrow, that is Tuesday, it will take a further two or three days to dry out, maybe even four or five. I will be able to continue with the decoration of the rest of the room while it dries and then I will be able to seal the wall and later on again paint it. That may all be delayed a little as I may fill in the holes in the floor of the room and carry on doing the same in the gym whilst I am working with the cement. If my readers will remember I did mention I intended doing something with the floor in the gym. We have decided to paint the floor in there so it needs some filling in beforehand. Monday afternoon turned out bright and sunny and all I wanted to do was sit out on the patio to enjoy it. That I managed to do for a while. As the weather gets better I will want to be outside more often though not just to sit about doing nothing, I have a couple of outdoor projects to keep me occupied in the months ahead.

Shirley Anne

Just takes time…..

It just takes time especially if you are shall we say an amateur. Well I have to admit that for the many jobs I tackle I am indeed an amateur but I am an experienced amateur all the same. I think experience counts a lot and skills can only be improved by actual hands-on experience. The more we do certain things in fact anything at all the better we get at doing them. Even very experienced people get as the saying goes ‘rusty’ if they lay off doing things for long periods. I remember when working as an electrician for the supply industry I used to get rusty now and then when I hadn’t done certain things such as working with conduit or mineral-insulated cables. It was bending the conduit accurately and stripping off the exterior copper on the mineral-insulated cables which I found I had to spend a little more time in doing in order to get it right. Now it has been a long time since I applied a render to a wall whether that was plaster or cement. They are not the things I have needed to do on a regular basis. Those who do it for a living on the other hand will find it easy, that’s why they are professionals in their disciplines. Anyway I don’t make excuses for the work I attempt but at least I have a go! As my readers will know my latest project or rather part of it has been to render a wall in the storage room down in the cellar. Not being confident in doing it all in one go, for I know my limitations, I partitioned the wall using wooden battens and applied the render in stages. On Thursday morning (10 th) I began the work and the following day I reached this far with it.Aside from the top portion the base coating is done. It is anything but level of course and that was intended, the wall will be skimmed over when it has dried out to allow that. I also need to remove the battens later and fill in the spaces they leave. It takes time but time I have a plenty!

Shirley Anne

Without the mixer

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.

Shirley Anne

Little to show?

The Alarm (EP)
The Alarm (EP) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I set my alarm to wake me at seven o’clock on Saturday morning (7th) but I woke up at six. Quite a normal thing for me, the alarm is set as a back-up. Why did I need to get up so early? Well a few days ago the end panel of glass in the main bathroom had shattered and a replacement would be delivered early in the morning. We still have no real idea why the panel broke but when the new one is fitted early in the following week it will be installed slightly differently. I am writing this on the afternoon of the seventh. When the guy delivered it he carried it under his arm and I learned later the package weighed 32 Kg. There was no way I would or even could carry it up the stairs to the bathroom. I would have to wait until one of my two sons paid a visit so that two of us could carry it. I wanted to carry on with the little project of refurbishing and decorating the cellar storage room. It may be a little project but there is plenty to do and it takes time. My jobs for the day would be to repair the holes in the ceiling and elsewhere and apply as much plaster as I could on the day. Following that I would be repairing the shelving in there and making it more secure and sturdy. I did most of that work before lunch then carried on with it after lunch. E came down and told me she had asked our youngest son who had paid us a short visit unbeknown to me to assist in carrying the glass panel upstairs. He then appeared in the cellar and told me he had already taken it upstairs. Must be great being that fit if you are a guy that is! Both my sons are extremely fit and strong as they work out at the gym. I stopped work around three o’clock as I didn’t want to work all day and nothing more could be done anyway. The plaster needed to dry out before I could touch it up and what other work needs doing would take too long to even begin. There is very little to show for the time I had spent working in the room but that is the way it goes with some tasks. So it would be late on Monday morning before I did any more work as I had an appointment to have a check-up at the doctor’s surgery and to order more medications first.

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