People might say that I am an impetuous person, I do things on the spur of the moment. Though that may be true and I must confess to acting that way many times, I do usually give plenty of thought before taking any action. In a recent post I was writing about our problems with fridge/freezers and the fact that one unit not much older than five years had become faulty for the second time thus rendering it not cost-effective for a third repair. I had in fact carried out the last repair which kept it in service for over a year. It would be better to cut losses and simply buy a replacement. However I had decided not to make an immediate purchase and also not to purchase a similar unit but instead purchase a larder fridge. The logic behind that decision I explained in the other post. The main reason was to separate fridge from freezer, to have independent units rather than combined. We don’t really need extra freezers as we have some in the cellar rooms. We do however need the extra fridge capacity so that is why I intended to purchase a stand-alone tall fridge as a replacement. When and if the other fridge/freezer we have in the kitchen requires replacing we would purchase a stand-alone freezer to replace it. So instead of having two combined fridge/freezer units we would have two individual ones, a fridge and a freezer. I had decided to wait awhile before purchasing the fridge as I said but changed my mind and ordered one a couple of days ago. It had only been a matter of a few days but we were struggling with the lack of fridge space the other fridge/freezer has and couldn’t wait any longer. It is Thursday (30 th) as I write and we expect the delivery within a couple of days. Yesterday I received the new flag and weight and don’t have any excuses not to work on the flag pole and fit them.
If you remember I need to remove the top half of the two-piece pole in order to re-insert the rope and carry out a repair to the finial at the top which doesn’t move freely as it should. It may need replacing too which will delay completing the work. Fortunately we are in for a couple of days of fine weather.
Rest over, time to get back to work. Typical routine for me these days. I am not happy unless I am working but the strange thing is that I like getting away from it after a while. Even stranger is that I can’t wait to get back to it after a short time! I am a hopeless case I suppose but I’d rather be doing something constructive than just doing something which isn’t or not doing anything at all. That said, it was Monday morning again, the first of the month and there was a feeling in the air that things were beginning to change in the weather, it was getting perceptively cooler. I was up very early again and ready for a walk after the weekend break but at two o’clock? No way, that was far too early so I busied myself doing other things until I finally left the house at five o’clock. This time I was wearing my waterproof jacket though with only lightweight clothing beneath. I was glad I did for the wind had increased and it felt very cool. Without the jacket I would have felt uncomfortable and probably would have returned to collect it. On my return home I thought I would get some work done but unfortunately there was little I could do. I wanted to use up the remaining floor paint to do as much as I could with it but wanted to wait until it was brighter outside. If you remember I mentioned that having the door open when it was still dark outside would attract flying insects, especially moths and I didn’t want a cellar full of them! However it was ten o’clock before I got around to doing the work as other things got in the way.
You can see from the picture above how far I was able to go with the remaining paint. The area I covered was all that behind the makeshift barrier. It wasn’t quite enough to cover the whole area as you can see. The next can of paint was on its way from Ireland and I would probably receive it on Tuesday or Wednesday. There was nothing further I could do on that project. The first thing I would do then would be to give the same area another coat of paint so that a couple of days later I could return the treadmill to its original position. That would allow me to repair the small area where it had been standing and I could then go on to finish the painting. Later I would be giving the whole room another coat of paint, except the area under the treadmill which would already have been coated twice. That was the plan anyway, let’s see if it went that way.
Due to one thing or another my gym floor project had taken a back seat and the work wasn’t getting done. I always maintained that there was no rush to finish my work but there comes a point where it begins to annoy me if it isn’t! The previous owner of our property ran a business and one or two of the cellar rooms were used to store goods. The rooms were never decorated but they did lay linoleum on the floor. Many may not know what linoleum is but it is a bitumen-based product which comes decorated with many different designs printed on it. It is supplied in rolls and is very simple to lay. I am not sure if it is very popular these days and doubt it is actually available now. Being a bitumen (tar) based product it burns easily so I would think that makes it a fire hazard. When we moved here thirty years ago we weren’t that bothered about removing floor coverings in the cellar except for one of the rooms where we had a concrete screed laid because it was so uneven. Over the years we have changed things around down there though there is much more we could do if we were inclined. The last two projects in the cellar were the gym and the larder rooms which I have written about in the last few months. Having redecorated the gym we decided to do something about the bare fire-clay tiles many of which were broken or cracked. There were also holes in places. My decision was to fill-in the cracks and holes with a cement mixture then over-paint it. As you may have read I am a little over half-way through doing that. One small area still had linoleum firmly fixed to it and had been left that way for years because it was so difficult to remove. Now that the floor was being painted I had to remove it and this is what I did on Friday (3 rd) morning on my return from a walk.
The picture above shows the unfinished area with the treadmill raised to give me access. I had already moved the bench press (just left out of view). Below shows the close-up of the area that had the linoleum on it which is between the brush and the shovel and toward the top of the picture.
I had trouble removing it, first by trying a gas torch which wasn’t successful, then by applying turpentine substitute which proved very successful. Even so it still took much elbow grease with a scraper to lift the very stubborn pieces. No wonder we had left it on the floor! My next task is to fill the gaps with the cement prior to painting. I will have to paint this area twice before replacing the treadmill and bench press and before moving to the final area by the internal door. Having done that I will paint the rest of the floor with its second coat. This is why the project is taking a long time to complete.
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.
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.
For some weeks now we have been enjoying dry and warm weather and I have been able to go for walks wearing the lightest of clothing. This morning (13 th) I was up and out of the house at seven doing just that. I arrived back home two hours later and was able to sit at the table with E for breakfast. She had only just gotten up as I entered the front door. Anyway I sat out on the patio after breakfast relaxing with a cup of coffee for a short time but I knew I had things to do so that didn’t last. The first thing I wanted to do was to erect some sort of temporary barrier to block a gap in the Laurel bushes to stem the wind so that the space could fill naturally with new leaf growth. New growth is already there but shielding it from the wind will encourage it to grow quicker….
I used some of the fire-clay floor tiles which I had removed from the gym room when I dug the pit a couple of months ago and propped them up with bricks though they were capable of standing unsupported. That little job didn’t take long and I went on to do the next which took far longer. The rear door frame of the garage in which I keep my van had become rotten on one side at the bottom. We suspected a mouse had recently been trying to gnaw its way though the rotting timber of the frame because there were a lot of .wood chippings around. I had to remove the door, which is very heavy, in order to saw off the rotted timber. I made the cut at an angle and manufactured a replacement section to match. This was to prevent the ingress of rain. A level cut would have allowed water to seep between the joint. This is the finished work before it was painted the following day. I had treated the timbers with preserver before fitting it.
I re-hung the door but left off the automatic closer to prevent the door closing by itself as it once did. Sometimes ‘auto-closers’ can be a nuisance. It was twelve-thirty and E made me a cup of coffee which I again sat and drank on the patio before returning indoors within the hour for lunch. The afternoon was mine to do as I pleased, which was almost nothing! I did take a walk around the garden though and took some photos as I went. In front of the large greenhouse…
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.
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.
In our house there is no loft/attic as such but there are three spaces or areas alongside the three ordinary rooms at the top of the house. One of those spaces can be entered simply by walking in though only for a metre for the floor joists beyond are only part of the ceiling in a room below. Larger joists would need to be installed to make use of the approximately ten square metre area. It does house a cold water storage tank and a hot water cylinder which supply the en-suite bathroom below which I installed years ago. There is a one square metre access hole from inside the area into the second area which is above the main bedroom on the floor below. It is simply an access area and cannot be used for anything else as again the timbers are only those supporting the ceiling below. The third area is accessed through another one square metre removable wooden panel located in one of the three ordinary rooms and is again simply for access to the central heating cold water storage tank, some pipes and electrical wiring. The aerial amplifier and power supply together with the several aerial cables feeding rooms in the house are all located in there. Part of the floor in there has been fitted with boards to enable any work that needs to be carried out to be done safely. There are some heating pipes in there too. As they run through the area they need to be well insulated to prevent heat loss to the unused space. That insulation I replaced on Thursday morning after I had been reminded that it needed doing and that came about like this…….. I was sitting at my computer the previous day and I heard a tremendous crashing sound outside the room. I jumped up to investigate and even went outside to see if there had been an accident. I shouted to E to see if she knew what it was but she was as much at a loss as I was. She thought the sound had come from the top of the house so we went up there and found the wooden access panel to the area I have just mentioned was lying on the floor. I switched on the light (the access areas are lit) to see what I could find but nothing was wrong. Sometimes if it is windy outside the panel will drop to the floor if not secured. It was then that I noticed the pipes needed new insulation. However we still didn’t know what had caused the loud noise. It would soon be time for our evening meal and we returned downstairs for the rest of the evening. Around ten o’clock I decided to retire to bed but beforehand take a shower. I entered the main bathroom, the one we refurbished a few years ago and I couldn’t believe my eyes by what I saw. I called E to come and have a look. The floor was covered with broken glass, the end panel of the shower tray had completely disintegrated!
You may I hope be able to see the panel in the top picture has disappeared in the lower picture. It was located alongside the toilet unit. It took us both an hour and a half to clear up the mess and wash the floor to ensure there was no residue glass. Here is the glass in these containers ready to be taken to the dump.
I did get my shower though much belated. We are now considering whether to replace the glass panel or erect a small tiled wall in its place. The panel isn’t technically needed as water splashes from the shower don’t actually reach that far.
So Saturday (24) came along and I was up early once again. During the last few days we had discovered that the dampness in the bottom of the cupboard in the gym we have been decorating wasn’t drying up. It had to be caused by an ingress of water from outside the building. I had given it a few days to dry but it stayed wet. Two things are at work here. Firstly, the house walls were not constructed with a damp-proof course or membrane and secondly, the boiler room floor is below the ground level outside. I have no real idea why when it was laid the builders made it so. The house was built in 1877 but a quarter of the boiler room being part of an extension built we think at the turn of the century, that is 1900, was added to the already low floor. It is the only room below ground level at the rear of the house though at the front the rooms there are below ground only because earth was piled-up in front of the house…
There are vestiges of former windows below the soil level which have been bricked in. I suppose the thinking was because the ground the house stands upon is sandy there was enough drainage as not to become a problem. Anyhow on Friday I got to thinking about what I could do about the ingress of water and from where it was coming. When I took measurements I discovered that the floor inside the cupboard was nine bricks down from the window in the room but outside only seven courses are visible above the path and eight just where the wall ends at the grid. Now the grid is below the path so it puts it at the same level as where the dampness appears inside. On checking the brickwork I found gaps in the mortar at ground level and especially around the grid. I decided to mix some fine cement and use it to seal off the gaps both along the base of the wall and around the grid earthenware.
I used a small amount of what was left to patch up the plinth beneath the boiler
and then I set about painting the shelves and insides of the doors of the cupboard which now will only need touching up here and there,
Saturday and Sunday were forecast as dry and sunny and as I write this on Saturday lunchtime it is indeed sunny. It needed to be dry at least so the cement can set.