Automaton

At last the weekend was here, not that it really makes much difference to me these days being as I am retired. Retired? That’s a laugh. Though I retired from my electrical work early last year I still work at home as my readers will have already gathered. I suppose therefore that it is more a psychological thing that I still regard the weekends as times for easing back and doing little. Sundays I don’t work anyway. My latest project has kept me busy, so much so that I have been very tired occasionally over the last two to three weeks. On Saturday (10 th) I arose as if in automatic mode and ready to begin work, after breakfast and watching some catch up tv of course. Well as far as the work was concerned there was little of it I wanted to do. The previous day I had cemented the gaps and cracks in the floor where it had been possible and it had dried enough to paint over it. However, painting the floor was the last thing I wanted to do for I had decided to paint it on the Monday to ensure it was absolutely dry. There were two other jobs I wanted to do on the day. The first was to construct a display easel for E to use when she sets up to sell the greetings cards she has been making. The second job was to cut some timber with which to use as edging at the back of the work surfaces in the utility room. Before I knew it I had both completed in very little time, just like an automaton would do! 

I could only paint the rear of the easel at that time. I painted the edging timbers where they would be in contact with the walls to save having to ‘cut-in’ with the paint later. Following that work I spent a short time in the garden and ensuring I put as much green waste in the bins as I could for the Monday collection, the last one of the year. Most of the cut branches and twigs from my pruning back the plum trees a couple of days earlier I managed to squeeze in. The remainder would go into the emptied bins and be left there until the next collection day in March!

Shirley Anne

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Same again

It is Friday 9 th as I write and I am pleased that I was able to do more than I had expected in the utility room. I say this because soon after my early morning walk I felt so tired I didn’t want to do anything. However soon after breakfast I got stuck in and felt better for it. I think my work keeps me going, without it I would soon wither away! I finished off painting the walls having first dragged the room’s door into the workshop to get it out of the way. I would work on it later for it requires a lot of attention. I also dragged the two freezers standing on the floor (the third is on a small plinth) to the centre of the room to allow the floor to be worked on. After an early lunch I gave the ceiling its second and final coat of paint and then mixed some cement with which to fill in the gaps in the exposed parts of the floor.

Once the cement sets and dries I will be able to paint it a couple of times just as I have done in the gym and larder rooms. Only then will I be able to move the freezers to their respective spaces and do the same with the part of the floor they are presently standing on. I hope to begin the painting of the floor on Monday next (12 th). In the meantime there are other things to be getting on with, if I can stay awake!

Shirley Anne

Plodding along

Walk day Monday 5 Nov. Although I gave myself a day of complete rest on Sunday I was biting at the bit on Monday morning wanting to do something but first the walk. A lovely cool and dry morning with very little wind made the walk that more pleasurable. Back home for breakfast after which I began working in the cellar. I began by getting the cables for the power outlets in the utility room inside the distribution board and ready for connecting but leaving that aside until I had separated the circuit in the room. If you remember I mentioned that the power outlets in the room were connected to a circuit on the floor above and needed to be disconnected from it and have their own supply. Separating the two circuits was easy as it just meant re-arranging the cables in two adjacent junction boxes. You can see them in the picture below on the right-hand-side 

The single power outlet on the left in the picture by the door was part of the upstairs circuit but I removed it, connected the relevant wires together and fitted a blank plate over them (top picture below). The freezer shown plugged in was then plugged into one of the new outlets to the left out of the picture. For the next couple of hours I began filling in the gaps around the woodwork and the holes in the ceiling and walls (bottom pictures). I returned upstairs around nine-thirty for something to eat and to chat with E for a while. She was going to pay a visit to her mom and I decided to drive to the electrical supplier and purchase an LED strip light to replace the old fluorescent fitting in the utility room. I would have left installing it until the next day but installed it as soon as I returned home. It only took ten minutes.

Shirley Anne

Just for the ride

I took a longer route on my morning walk on Saturday for two reasons, I wanted to avoid walking along the promenade and secondly I wanted to walk just that bit further. For weeks I had been taking roughly the same route and it was becoming a little mundane and dare I say a little too comfortable. I wanted to extend the exercise but didn’t want to extend it too much just then. I had work to do on my return home. I spent a couple of hours finishing off the plywood panelling and began to fill in the gaps in readiness for painting. The inspection hatch on the first section of the boxing-in was left undone for the time being. That won’t take long to do when I make the effort. I was keen to get the bulk of the boxing-in work completed to allow me to get on with the rest of the project and that I did. I stopped the work after two hours and sat with E whist we had something to eat. I wanted to drive to the shops and purchase a few items for the project so that on the following Monday I could carry on with the work. After eating E went to get washed and dressed then came with me to the shops but just for the ride. We visited three places but she sat in the van throughout. I purchased a couple of electrical items which I would need to alter the existing power outlet circuitry to the utility room. I purchased a large drum of white vinyl-silk emulsion paint for the walls and ceiling and two sets of hinges, one for the room’s door and the other, a cabinet set for the inspection hatch. All other materials I would need I already had in stock. Hopefully the work would all be downhill from that point on but as with most projects it’s the small things that sometimes take the longest time to do.

Shirley Anne

Work later

Though I was up at two o’clock and had eaten breakfast by three-fifteen I didn’t wish to begin work and in any case would have given myself an hour before doing so. I sat and watched some catch-up tv and a couple of episodes of a new drama I had previously missed but wanted to see. After the tv I went into the kitchen and prepared a Spaghetti Bolognese for later in the morning. It wasn’t until nine o’clock that I finally put on my overalls to go downstairs. The work I had to do all involved cutting and fitting plywood and by hand as I don’t possess a circular saw except the one I use for making mitred joints. After so long cutting by hand it gets tedious and is tiring work. Needless to say not a huge amount was done, only four pieces but two of them proved a little tricky. Mistakes were made and some work had to be done again. The most awkward part was cutting the eight by four (feet) sheet of plywood on a makeshift deck out in the garage to obtain the sizes I needed to carry on with the work inside. 

There only remained the end triangular piece to cut and fit on that side of the room by the time I had finished for the day at one o’clock. Earlier I had removed the door so that I could work on it later and also to give me space to finish the area above the opening.

I don’t know how it had managed to stay in place for so long as both hinges were damaged and their fixing screws hardly gripped the frame. It will need new hinges and I will be able to trim the top edge which is uneven. E had gone next door to visit our neighbour and to see if she was alright. I followed a little later and we spent some time there. Both her son and her care worker were there. We learned that our neighbour had been smoking again. It was the effects of smoking which almost killed her a few months ago. She has severe emphysema and can hardly breathe. It just shows how addictive smoking can be for some people, especially if they’ve no will power to give it up.

Shirley Anne

More shopping and stuff

It was now Thursday 1 st November but slightly warmer than it had been of late. Even so it was only 8 deg C as I stepped out of the house on my way for my early morning walk. I was wearing the new Wellington boots just to break them in though I doubt they will become my regular footwear for walks but I may just wear them occasionally. They are more suited for wearing when working in the garden though E says they are too good for that as they are fur-lined and fashionable. I do have basic Wellington boots which have steel toe cap protection and they do get used when gardening in wet weather. It rained constantly whilst I was out and I didn’t expect to come across anyone for that reason. However as I walked along The Promenade a guy wearing only trousers and shoes crossed over to my side of the road ahead of me. He was soaking wet and probably cold though he also probably couldn’t feel it because he was drunk. He approached me to say hello and broke into a one-sided conversation. He told me that he had just been ‘mugged and threatened with a shooter’ but I doubted that was true. Why is it that drunken people think they know you? He told me that he knew me and had seen me in a certain supermarket a few times. I told him he was mistaken for I didn’t shop in the supermarket he mentioned, which I don’t. Then he invites me to his flat (apartment) for a cup of tea! Just then a police patrol car stopped to question him and I took the opportunity to walk away. There had been many patrol cars passing by along the route I had taken which was unusual for usually there are none. I thought they were looking for someone or a group of people as they circled the area. The rest of my walk was uneventful as it normally is when I am out that early. A couple of hours after breakfast found me shopping again but only for the weekly food stock. This time I was wearing knee-high boots of a more fashionable style though I suppose I could have worn the new Wellingtons! It was around ten-fifteen when I decided to put on my overalls and do some work in the utility room. Actually I spent most of the time in the garage cutting the plywood sheet for it was too large to get it into the workshop. A couple of hours later I had finished for the day as I was too tired to carry on but I managed to fit some sheets of plywood…..

 

There was always tomorrow to do more.

Shirley Anne

Door area

I spent a few hours working in the utility room on Tuesday (30 th) most of it around the door and the adjacent wall. First of all though I went for a walk. It was a cold and frosty morning and all the parked vehicles I came across were white! There was a gentle breeze blowing from the northeast but it was cold and in my face for the first half of my four and a half mile walk. On my return the wind died down and some clouds began to appear for there had been none at all until then. An hour after getting home there was a shower of rain and things started to warm up though it was still quite cold even so. I began the work after breakfast and later in the day this is how far I had got……

It doesn’t seem to be much work but it was tricky and awkward, especially above the door opening on the right hand side. The plywood which will be above the opening door will obviously be higher than the rest of the boxing-in. There is not much spare clearance but the door has to be removed in order to straighten the top of it by cutting a little off and that will ensure enough clearance. The door hinges need replacing too as one of them is broken. The door itself is a little bit twisted but you have to remember it has been there a very long time, probably being fitted when the house was under construction 141 years ago! It was simply made using planks of wood as you can see. Before I can do any further work on the project I will have to purchase that extra plywood I mentioned. 

Shirley Anne

Doing is gaining

Writing in the past it is now October 25 and we are approaching Halloween, Guy Fawkes night and Christmas signs are everywhere of these up and coming events. Commercialism is pressing hard to gain our attention and most will go for it. Not I though, I see it all as nonsense and a waste of my time and money. Christmas is a special time to reflect on what Jesus did for me, not a time to be getting up to things secularist. As for spending money, well I do much of that in the projects I undertake at home! I would rather spend my cash on something of benefit to E and myself than waste it on things which satisfy for the moment and then are gone. Partying never really satisfies for long, you yearn for it again and again but nothing changes. My current project has been keeping me well occupied and is satisfying to do but more importantly it will last a lot longer than a hangover! This morning before doing the weekly shopping I installed the wiring for the extra power outlets in the utility room though it has yet to be completed. I also painted the extended worktop where I had been working lately.

The cables are now at the distribution panel and also at the position in the room to break into and separate the existing power circuit. That will be done at a more convenient time as it involves switching off other circuits. Later today I will be purchasing the timber with which to build the frames to box-in the high level pipework. Hopefully I will have enough plywood at home to complete that work.

Shirley Anne

Lots more yet

The continuing saga about the utility room project. The story has still a long way to go before we find out if indeed it was the butler who was responsible! It is the 22nd as I write this after a reasonably busy day. I had been out for my morning walk long before sunrise about four hours before in fact and the Moon was about three days short of being full. It was a beautiful morning though a little chilly in the north-westerly winds and a few clouds spoiled what was otherwise a clear sky. The daytime sky turned out to be blue all day long. I was kind of hoping to see the high tide but as usual I keep missing it. There has to be some point in the calendar when my walk coincides with the high tide else I will have to look at the charts and take my walk when I find out the hour. When I got home I didn’t do much then until after nine o’clock. I needed more plywood but if I could use the panels we have in the garage there would be enough to carry on the work. Trouble was they belonged to E’s brother though he hadn’t bothered with them for over twenty years! They measure 45 x 48 (inches) and are covered with a material. They are constructed with plywood and have a wooden frame at the rear. They were used in the photographic studio he once had located in the next town but that business closed and he stored much of his equipment at home. E phoned him and asked what he was going ro do with them. He had forgotten he had them but told her he didn’t want them and that we could use them if we wished. Great! They were perfect for my project and I got on with first of all making a plinth for one of the freezers…

  

The picture was taken late in the afternoon when I brought it indoors from outside where the paint had been drying for a few hours. It is the same paint as used on the floor which dries quickly in the open air. Pity it doesn’t dry as quickly inside! Anyway it needs lifting a tad on the left because the floor is uneven. It had been constructed using one of the panels. I used another panel to begin blanking off the corner space in the corner across the room…

 

The space behind the panel is surplus to requirements and I am not sure why it is even there. The white wall on the left stands between the sink unit and what you see in the picture. It once was a fireplace. There used to be nine of them all told I believe. You can just see that the corner steps back twice and the panel is just in front of the first step. Another panel will be used to continue to the ceiling. The top of the cabinet on the right will extend to meet the panel and the plywood is there in the picture ready to be fitted. The other work I did was to finish painting the walls with their first coat. 

Shirley Anne

No excuses

During the last months of the year I have no excuses for being idle as there is much to do. The truth is though that I have been pretty much busy throughout the year! As at the time of writing this Oct 21 st (Trafalgar day here in the UK) I am engaged with the utility room project and waiting for the pebbles to finish the lawn project. In the pipeline of things to do are the removal of some of the fruit trees and the pruning back of others in The Mound and setting up the frost protection for some of the plants. I also have in mind the uprooting and replanting of a few plants and other general garden duties in both front and rear gardens. This year though I will not be sweeping up the fallen leaves in the front garden except to keep them away from the garage doors and drains. Last year the council did not empty out the two wheelie bins properly leaving them both still half-filled on the last collection day. I emptied them out onto the driveway and let nature do the rest. They disappeared after a day or two just as they would do in the wild!  

No doubt if I run out of things to do I will find something, it’s in my nature. As long as I can take a break occasionally I will be happy doing whatever comes my way. It is funny to think that once upon a time I wouldn’t consider doing some of the things I do now but being retired from formal work gives me more time on my hands and it must be filled somehow. I treat my projects as hobbies rather than chores and indeed they are more as a hobby to me. 

Shirley Anne