Three half steps

I had a great night’s sleep on Wednesday, a sort of catch up for all the poor nights of sleep I went through during the previous week. I even slept in until six o’clock. Ah but there was a reason for that, I wasn’t going for a walk but I was going for the weekly shopping and don’t do that at three in the morning! The house still smelled of the chlorinated paint I had been using the day before despite giving it plenty of ventilation. It didn’t really matter for I planned to do some more painting as soon as I returned from the supermarket. There are different ways of painting a set of stairway steps. Start at the top and work your way down to the bottom is one method but to do that in the cellar of our house means that I would have to gain re-entry to the house via another route. Paint only half of each step to allow climbing back upstairs afterward or paint alternate steps for the same reason. I had painted two steps then missed one then repeated the pattern the previous day but I wanted to finish the steps this time around. Beginning at the top I began painting those steps I hadn’t done the day before but I still had to leave three of them only half painted so that I could still get out of the cellar using the stairwell. It would be no hardship to finish the steps later. Once I reached the bottom it was time to give the whole hallway floor its second and final coat of paint. Once done I returned up the steps making sure of course that I kept to the ones painted the previous day. Near the top however each step had only just been painted which is why I left three of them only half-painted.

It wouldn’t take long to paint them later. When the cellar was less well lit years ago the top two steps were difficult to see and their leading edges were given a coat of white paint as you can see from the one not painted. Since we built the wet room (to the right and behind the wall not shown in the picture) the steps have been lit through the internal window we put at the top of the wall. There is an external window allowing natural light into the room which now in turn illuminates the steps and of course if the room’s lights are on the steps are well illuminated. Now that the cellar has been refurbished and a new and brighter LED unit has been installed there is no longer the need to paint the leading edges in white. As I write this on Thursday afternoon (10 th) there is only those steps to paint and perhaps a retouch here and there on the main floor. Usually the mortar between the stone tiles is where a touch up is required in places. The project has all but come to an end with only the retouching of the white paint remaining to be done. Now I can look forward to getting outdoors into the gardens for a change.

Shirley Anne


I could have

It was a rather cold morning as I stepped out for my morning walk but at least it was dry and there was very little wind. I was wrapped up in any case so it didn’t matter about the cold. As I walked along the road, a mere half-mile from leaving the house I came across two girls staggering on the opposite pavement (sidewalk). As I was walking faster than they I soon caught up with them and could smell the alcohol well before I reached them. ‘Good morning girls’ I piped up, ‘Have you had a good evening’ I continued. Both replied ‘Good morning’ and one tried to explain further what they had been up to but couldn’t find the words to say.’Take care now’ I said as I continued on my way. ‘Bye luv’ I heard them reply as they turned down the next street. It was ten after three and I wondered where they had been until that hour. It must have been at someone’s house for there are no bars open late in the village. The rest of the walk was uneventful as they usually are. I was going to finish the painting of the cellar hallway floor after breakfast though I wasn’t looking forward to it. I don’t know why I thought that way for it wasn’t so bad, not really. After painting the remainder of the floor which I had left from the day before I painted four more of the stone steps.

Naturally I left the middle of the set unpainted so that I could get back upstairs. I could have painted all of the steps later that morning but thought the better of it and left them for another day. In any event the whole floor and steps would need another coat. It is surprising how quickly the floor paint dries. It is touch dry in an hour and can be walked upon after two hours. It is the vapour (chlorine) given off which is the problem unless there is plenty of ventilation. After the second coat of paint all the leading edges of the steps will be picked out in white paint.

Shirley Anne

A bit for tomorrow

My first job of the day after breakfast on Tuesday (8 th) was to install the wooden support I had constructed days earlier beneath the worktop in E’s workshop at the top of the house. I had been waiting for the paint to dry. The support panel, a mallet, a screwdriver and four screws were taken up there to do the job. In engineering terminology the support panel was an ‘interference’ fit meaning it needed the mallet to persuade it to fit between the worktop and the floor! The screws were only required in case it might somehow move in the future! That wasn’t likely but nevertheless they were fitted. That done and it was time to get things ready down in the cellar for the next job, painting the floor in the hallway. For that job my safety mask was needed. Overalls and mask on with gloves on my hands I began first of all to retouch the floor paint in the small store room then it was outside the room and into the hallway.

Working from the top in the picture above I ended up in the main area at the base of the steps…

I was not able to paint the area to the left of the gym door (top middle in lower picture) for it had not yet completely dried out. I did paint the lowest two steps but obviously stopped there so that I could get back upstairs! I left the area you see unpainted on the right for by this time I’d had enough. I left it for the next day. As it happened the paint can was almost empty anyway though there was still enough to cover another square metre or so. There was another new 5 litre can of the paint in the workshop which hopefully would be enough to finish the work.

Shirley Anne


… get out in the garden and do some work out there but there is still some work left to be done on the cellar hallway project. It is January 7 th as I write and the weather outside has turned cold, wet and windy after many days of warmer, dry and calm conditions. I shouldn’t complain about that so I won’t! According to the forecast it will turn dry again tomorrow for a further few days. Maybe. When I went for my early morning walk it was dry with a little wind and a warmish 8 deg C. It is still 8 deg C but doesn’t feel it. I have remained indoors except for a visit or two to the garage to mix a fine concrete for filling in the gaps, dips and holes in the cellar hallway floor. Yes that is what I was doing between five and seven this morning with three other visits down there to sweep the floor.

In the lower two pictures you can see where I have patched the second step up and filled-in the gap that was behind the wooden pillar between it and the step. The pale-coloured wood is the temporary shuttering to contain the concrete whilst it sets. I removed them just after taking the pictures. When the floor has dried completely I will be able to paint it but I might have to wait a couple of days until then. The floor will take two coats of paint. Following that or even before I paint the floor the steps will be painted. There is also some more retouching of the paint in various places around the room yet to be done.

Shirley Anne

Nice way to start

It was the morning of the first day of the year (according to the calendar of course) and I had slept for over seven hours in one go! I had retired to bed around nine-thirty but didn’t nod off until after ten. E asked me if I had been disturbed by the fireworks being set off by neighbours celebrating the new year. Well I hadn’t as I was fast asleep. It must be around forty years or more since E and I paid any attention to the passing of the old year into the new. We are of the opinion that it is just another excuse for getting drunk. Be that as it may I never arise from my bed with a hangover these days having given up on alcohol some years ago and certainly never on new year. After breakfast I had made up my mind to finish off the painting in the cellar, that is wherever it needed a coat of white emulsion. To that end I stayed down there for three hours and had it almost completed. There only remained a small area not reachable with the small set of steps I was using and I didn’t wish to get the taller steps from the garage just for that. I would tackle that the next day instead as I would still have to retouch some of the white paint anyway. I include these two pictures which don’t look too much different from those I posted a day or so back though in fact the stairwell had just been completely painted with its final coat.

All the doors in the hallway now had their signage returned and each had been retouched with white paint where necessary. The small storeroom to the right of the steps which had been my previous project had its door completely repainted again for the third and final time. All this was done that morning. The next day I would hopefully paint the then presently blue door frames in red.

Shirley Anne

I did try

When I began refurbishing the cellar hallway I was kind of hoping I would have finished it by the end of the year but unfortunately I couldn’t. Well I suppose I might have done had I worked eight hours a day for a few weeks but come on I am 73 and deserve a break! It is December 31 st as I write this and I have completed another three hours on the project. I went out for a walk just after two o’clock (in the morning) and after breakfast did some more painting, mainly the doors but other things too. Even after two coats of paint there is still a tinge of the original blue colour showing through on a couple of doors so they will need touching up later. The extra pieces of timber I had to fix to the doors have as I write only the first coat of paint applied so again they will need touching up later also. I am satisfied with the walls and ceiling so they can be considered finished. I did as much as I could in the hallway itself then moved up the stone steps and began painting the area above them until I decided to stop work for the year! Sounds daft but I would carry on with the work the following year which was the next day! So taking note of what still requires doing, touching up the paint on the doors and giving one of the doors another complete coat of paint, painting the door frames and architraves in red emulsion as elsewhere in the cellar, complete the painting of the stairwell, cementing the gaps and holes in the floor followed later by painting the floor twice over. Still quite a bit to do and it will take weeks rather than days as I don’t intend rushing it or doing too much at a time. My next project will simply be garden maintenance and digging out the fruit tree stumps on the Mound.

The protective glass screen and wallet for my new computer tablet arrived today having been told earlier it would arrive on Wednesday so I’m happy about that. It had been my mistake not ordering them when I purchased the tablet a week or so before Christmas. Even that arrived before Christmas having been told it would arrive at the end of December.

Shirley Anne

Two days left

I write on Dec 29 in the afternoon just having eaten lunch. I had been working in the cellar hallway for a couple of hours earlier and it was all woodwork. There was only two working days left before the end of the year and I had it in mind to give everything a second and final coat of paint but there were still some minor issues to sort out first. Not a great deal of attention had been given to the doors and door frames down there when they were installed as most of them showed gaps or had been installed incorrectly. A couple of the doors were slightly warped, namely the one for the larder and the one for the utility room. I have taken steps toward reducing the warp on each. I have fitted thresholds beneath those doors which previously had none and fitted extra timbers either to the tops of the doors or the frames to eliminate the gaps. Those timbers have yet to be painted as I write. So this morning I concentrated on completing all those fiddly extras. It was around one o’clock when I stopped work for lunch but didn’t actually get to eat anything for a hour. E and I watched a movie during lunch and once it was over I didn’t much want to return to work so left the painting until Monday. Even when that was done there would still remain the floor. That requires the same cement treatment the other rooms had before it can be painted over therefore it will be early January before I can sort it out. The final stage of the hallway refurbishment involves doing the stairway and in fact the stairwell will probably get a coat of paint and repairs to the stone steps before the main floor is started upon.

Although it looks newly painted it isn’t. The second step up from the bottom needs a cement job on the right-hand-side behind the black post. There is some minor work to be done at the top of the steps too. Incidentally the window at the top of the steps is the double-glazed unit we made when we built the wet room a few years ago which is obviously behind the wall.

Shirley Anne


….where was I? Oh yes, working in the cellar, the bottom of the house, beneath ground level at the front of the house but at ground level at the back! It is handy when accessing the rear garden or for bringing in the groceries from the vehicle in the garage. Much of the food is stored down in the cellar either in the larder room or in one of the freezers we have down there. It became necessary therefore to tidy things up and that had been my aim throughout the past twelve months or so. As I write this on 29 December I have almost completed what I had set out to do plus a little more along the way. Two rooms remain as they were, the larger store room and the largest room, the workshop. The store room has so much stuff in it not belonging to E and I so not much can be done in there until it is taken away. The workshop needs much clearing out too but maybe that might get done this year who knows? I was again in the hallway down there this morning doing a little work. I had been for my walk, had my breakfast and watched some catch-up tv and now it was time to work. My efforts were concentrated on fitting thresholds at the base of three of the doors…

From top to bottom, the gym door, the store room door and the workshop door. As the store room floor is a couple of centimetres higher than elsewhere in the cellar because it had a screed laid over it years ago I had to lay two pieces of timber across the floor one on top of the other. In each case the timbers were screwed to the floor with a thick layer of floor tile cement beneath them to aid with levelling and to give extra grip to the floor. Another piece of timber was screwed along the base of each door to effect a better seal. Why the seal? Well it gives a better appearance and effectively prevents the spiders we know we have in the store room and workshop from migrating throughout the cellar as they once did. It is impossible to stop that entirely I know but it will help. That was all the work I did today for a change but tomorrow?

Shirley Anne

….in the morning

I mean Christmas day in the morning, I did this….



…and this….

That is giving the whole room, the walls and ceiling its first coat of white emulsion. Bright isn’t it? I think so. The room had been in an awful state very much as the other rooms I had refurbished during the year. By the time you are reading this at the end of January hopefully the work in the cellar will have been completed. It wasn’t the only thing I did that day for I spent a little time in the rear garden cleaning and hosing down the area in the Plot where we keep the composting bin. It had been looking a little neglected when I went to tip more compost in the bin.

Moss loves the area and leaves get trapped too. In all I spent around five hours working before I decided I’d had enough.

Shirley Anne

Christmas Eve

The post has nothing to do with Christmas apart from the date. I was determined to go for an early morning walk on Christmas Eve so arose at two. The week ahead looked very promising as far as the weather was concerned, dry though cold. I decided to walk along the Promenade (it is so named) for a change but long before I reached it I could hear the thump, thump, thump of rock music from one of the night clubs. Why on earth do they have to have it so loud that I can hear it a half-mile away? It must be a nightmare living close-by and it happens almost every night. Thankfully by the time I was on the Promenade the music had faded to a more respectable level though it was still loud enough to hear far away from the club. Soon I was up-wind of it and all was again quiet. It had been foggy during the night and there was still a trace of it as I walked along. I was surprised at the number of vehicles passing by as at that time there are usually few. Soon I was back home in the relative warmth, I say relative as the heating isn’t on at five o’clock! The house is generally warm especially in the room we use to eat in which is just as well as I ate breakfast in there. It was time to do a spot more work in the cellar hallway, finishing off filling holes and gaps with plaster. After two and a half hours I had it done and returned upstairs to sit with E whilst she ate her breakfast. I took a two-hour break then went back to work for just an hour. This time I did a little painting but not a lot. I was mainly giving some of the bare plaster its first coat though I did cover part of the ceiling too.

In the above picture I painted the area above the doors and the ceiling to the right of the light. In the lower picture I had been filling in the holes and gaps on the wall and ceiling as well as elsewhere in the hallway.

The room on the left is the small store room which is just about completed, only requiring a very small amount of painting work which would get done when I next used the floor paint.

Shirley Anne