A day off?

Well yes I did get a day off but as it was a Sunday I’m not sure that counts as I always take Sunday off. I did get a day free from having to water the gardens though and not just for one day but two. We had a good spell of rain so the ground became well-watered. Trouble is it wouldn’t last too long and I would have to resume manually watering the gardens, at least those plants which would otherwise die if I didn’t. On Monday morning (the 30 th) I got up a little later than I had been doing, about an hour later but still it was only three o’clock. I wouldn’t be taking a walk that day and I wouldn’t be watering the gardens either but I would be doing other things instead. First of all I ate breakfast after which I put on my overalls and mask and painted the next section of the gym floor.

When I had finished there was but a fifth of the original amount of paint left (about 2 litres) so all I could then do would be to fill-in the remainder of the floor in readiness. That would hopefully get done in the days following. I have placed an order for a further ten litres but as to date there has been no action from the supplier, something I would be chasing up during the week ahead. It was wise of me to choose Monday to resume painting because there was little wind to blow any fallen leaves into the room with the door being left open for ventilation. They accumulate in the area outside the door. I realised I hadn’t put out the green waste wheelie bin for emptying so that was my next job. It wasn’t simply to put out the bin however for I had decided to cut back the overhanging branches of the yew tree which were hanging over the public footpath (sidewalk). The bin had only been half filled but it was full when I had finished the pruning. I still wasn’t finished however for I had to hang out the washing I had previously placed in the machine before breakfast. When I had completed those tasks it was still only seven-fifteen! Of course many other small things got done later in the day. My plan for part of the day ahead were to visit a garden supplier to check out what was available for the island on the lawn project I was thinking of doing. I could end up purchasing something or not, it would depend on what I might find. The second supplier I visited was a few miles out of town and he had what I was looking for but the problem he had was that the hoist on his vehicle was out of action. He decided he would visit my home soon to see if the problem could be overcome in some other way. So at the time of writing I am waiting for his visit. All other materials I would need for the project would be sourced locally and I myself would collect many of them anyway.

Shirley Anne

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Stuck indoors

After such a long spell of hot and dry weather it finally poured down with rain on Friday through to noon on Saturday (21 st). It was much-needed though even if it did mean I had to stay indoors and not being able to do any work outdoors. I had gotten up very early in order to go for a walk and at five o’clock on Saturday morning the rain had all but stopped falling. However that didn’t last long for half-way through the walk it resumed and had I not taken my raincoat I would have been soaked to the skin. I was soon back home and eating breakfast but I really wanted to be outside doing something in the garden. The rain put paid to that and I resigned myself to remaining indoors. E went out for the afternoon and didn’t return home till early evening so I was left to my own resources. I needed something to break the monotony, I needed something to do. It had been quite some time since I did any real work indoors though there was work to be done. Whilst it was hot and sunny however working indoors was the last thing I wanted to do. I thought I would begin the work of filling in the gaps between the floor tiles in the gym preparing the floor for painting it later. I prepared a sloppy mix of cement, enough for the area I wished to work on and as it turned out was just the right amount. Even with the mix being sloppy I still needed to wet the floor because it was so dry. 

The picture shows the completed area the following morning when it had dried out. Before I begin the painting I want to prepare more of the floor in order to make it worthwhile. I intend to complete the whole floor this way in stages, first the cementing and then the painting of each stage in turn. The main reason for that is due to the furniture it the room and the need for access to the garden plus I don’t want to work too long each time. As always there is no hurry to get the work completed so when I am at a loose end I can do a little more. My only concern is that there might not be enough paint to do the whole floor. Time will tell.

Shirley Anne

Yippee!

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.

Shirley Anne

Just can’t hold me back

There’s just no stopping me sometimes. I had quite a busy day on Thursday, that is up until after three o’clock in the afternoon.  At that time I decided to take a break and rest up. The evening before I had watch England dismally fail to get to the Fifa World Cup Final. After scoring a goal in just over five minutes of play and remaining in the lead until well into the second half when their opponents, Croatia, equalised. Extra time had to be played to decide the winner and Croatia scored during that period. It also meant that I had stayed up just that bit longer to see the final result. Despite that I was still in bed before ten-fifteen and slept through until three-fifty and that is when I arose. No early morning walk as I would be doing the weekly shopping at eight. I had planned to water both the front and rear gardens and that is why I arose as early as I did. So at five o’clock I was out front doing that and by six-thirty I returned indoors having watered the rear garden too. Time for breakfast and a short break before I drove to the supermarket. I was back home before nine-thirty and had stored everything away. I wanted to make a start on that little fence I had planned to make but before that I had an hour’s break watching catch-up tv as I had missed a program I wanted to see because of the football. Once that had finished I set about measuring and constructing the fence. It would be in three sections and be assembled together when it was to be installed a couple of days later. Before then it would receive several coats of penetrating wood preserver just as the gate I had constructed twelve months ago.

The fence would be fitted on the right of the brick column, turn toward the corner (above the pot on the ground) then turn to the right again to meet the wall of the patio. Like the letter ‘Z’ but with right-angles. Here are the parts (three of them) on the workbench.

I also need to make a small corrosion-proof bracket that will support the fence near the middle and fix it to the natural stone capping at the joint so as not to drill the stone itself. I will probably use copper to make the bracket, a simple ‘L’ shape will suffice that can be screwed to the wood. Where the fence meets the brick wall and column it will be screwed through the timber. It will therefore be fixed at three points. It was a nice little project to work on whilst the weather had cooled down to a more respectable 21 deg C or thereabouts. Thursday began with a completely cloud-covered sky and it stayed that way all day. As I was driving to the supermarket, in fact I was still in my own street, it began to rain. However the amount we got amounted to a bucket to cover a football field and then it stopped. I was hoping it would return by nightfall but as yet at the time of writing it stays persistently dry. Maybe tomorrow?

Shirley Anne

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

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