Category Archives: Electrical

Give away

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Ukulele1

Ukulele1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A little job occupied an hour or so of my time on Friday morning. An older couple had recently moved into an apartment on the Promenade and had wanted a faulty shaver unit replacing. The work was quite easy to do and only made slightly difficult because of the electrical connection method in the rear. As ever I managed and got it finished in thirty minutes. Prior to my starting the work I was offered a drink of coffee which I kindly accepted. We sat talking for ten minutes and then I did the work. Just as I had finished I was asked if I would like another coffee and as I was in no hurry to go anywhere else I again accepted. It was then as we sat in the lounge that I learned the man was learning to play the ukulele and was keen to find a local group of other players to join with. I couldn’t help him in that respect for I know of none in my area but I did tell him of a local pub, one only a few hundred metres away, where they held live music nights. Apparently they encourage new musicians to join in too. He might find the information useful. He told me he was also learning to play the banjo and guitar. He said he had been playing these instruments for about two years and I asked him to play something on the ukulele. He was quite good. I asked if I could see the guitar after I had mentioned I play. It was a small instrument but had a wide neck like a Spanish guitar would have. I tried to play a couple of tunes on it but I found it difficult because I am used to playing guitars that have a narrow neck as my own does. Still I managed to play reasonably well considering I wasn’t used to the instrument. I mentioned that I had bought a small mandolin some years ago but never managed to master it. I had intended to keep it for my granddaughter but she is learning to play a keyboard and has little interest in the mandolin. I asked if he would like to have it. You can see it standing against a covered guitar next to the organ in this picture taken a few years ago. He was interested so I returned home to fetch it and I gave it to him. I didn’t ask for payment. It hadn’t cost me much when I bought it so I didn’t want anything for it. On my return home I found a couple more bluebells in the front garden flowerbed and dug them out before going indoors as the tools were in the garage nearby. I had received one envelope through the letter box…….it was from the Inland Revenue Service……my tax-return form had arrived (see yesterday’s post)

Shirley Anne

All at once

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YOU ARE ONE OF 50,000,000 AMERICANS WHO MUST F...

YOU ARE ONE OF 50,000,000 AMERICANS WHO MUST FILL OUT AN INCOME TAX RETURN BY MARCH 15. FILE YOURS EARLY. – NARA – 516201 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There’s an old saying about waiting for a bus, you wait for ages without one arriving then three come all at once! It was like that for me on Thursday, no electrical offers of work then I get three in a row. All very nice of course but I often wonder why it happens. At one address they had been without a bathroom light for four weeks yet they called me in the middle of the day expecting me to drop by then. I did call but it was after I had completed the first job. I asked them why they had waited for so long before calling someone out to fix it. Their answer? They were not that bothered! The problem I had with the work was its timing and consequently I missed having lunch. Even when I had returned home late in the afternoon someone called for my services but that work I scheduled for the following morning. I was looking forward to a relaxing weekend as the weather forecast was for a warm and sunny couple of days. Whether I could put up with doing little was doubtful but I wanted at least to get the opportunity. If I was to do any work it would only be something at home. Thursday marked the beginning of a new financial year in the UK for me and for everyone else as far as the Inland Revenue Service are concerned. It was April 6 the tradition start of the financial year. This means in the weeks ahead I will have to prepare my accounts ready for submitting my tax return form later. Most years I would have already done much of that work by now but this year I have been too busy either doing electrical work, such as I have received, and working in the garden and have been too tired to even think about my tax return. It actually doesn’t take me long these days because my turnover is quite low, well come on I am 71 years old! It is something I seldom look forward to, a reluctant exercise but it is one that unfortunately must be done. Most of the work is in simply collating the information, adding up profits and expenses before filling in the form. Anyway it is the price we pay for being self-employed. Each year I think it will be the last tax return I submit but up till now nothing has changed. Maybe next year? In the meantime I carry on while I still have the inclination.

Shirley Anne

Spreading it about

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With an empty day ahead on Wednesday I decided to get into the garden again and do some work there. It was a dull and breezy morning and wasn’t that warm either but I guess it is still only early Spring. That didn’t matter for I would soon warm up doing the work. My first task was to rake off some of the soil from the ‘corner plot‘, filter it out and take it over to the patio in order to top-up the soil levels in the raised flowerbeds there. This is a picture of the corner plot taken from inside the large greenhouse after it had been raked. The strange clumps beneath the tree on the right are ferns beginning to open up. I love ferns and wished they were evergreen but sadly they are not.

Here is an old picture of the patio showing the three flowerbeds on it taken last year when the artificial turf was being laid upon it and before the Plot at bottom left had been redesigned.

Not only did I rake off the soil for that job but I also spread soil from the corner plot along the length of the long flowerbed to which it is connected……

…….and dug out a few bluebells along the way! One day perhaps there will be no more bluebells. I live in hope. After giving the greenhouse a sweep and putting everything away it was approaching lunchtime. I had thought about dining out again so I changed my clothes with that in mind but first I had to drive to the electrical store to order in another ‘part night’ photo cell. It wasn’t my usual electrical supplier but another who had supplied me with the same item last year when I was installing a lamp-post in the rear garden. We have an identical photo cell controller which switches on the internal porch light at the front of the house. That had become faulty a day or two earlier. When it becomes available I will be informed. I propose to remove the existing unit and wire its replacement to a position at the rear of the house rather than where it is at the front. It should really have been placed there originally as the rear wall faces approximately north. Anyway that job will be done sometime in the days ahead. Having placed the order I drove to my local pub but the parking lot was so full I decided to go somewhere else instead. The place I visited was a couple of miles away and was almost empty. E and I have been there a few times in the past and the food is always excellent. I was able to relax there for an hour or so before driving back to town, stopping off at a fuel station on the way back home. The sun had begun to shine and I made myself a coffee and sat on the patio for a time but it went dull again so I returned indoors. Whilst spreading out the soil along the flowerbed I had dug out a couple of bluebells as I said………but I had missed one! It was to have a seventeen-hour reprieve…………then I would return with fork in hand to remove it.

Shirley Anne

 

Stopped again

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Stopped from gardening that is. I had a couple of electrical jobs to do on Tuesday morning (21st) though the first one turned out to be only an advisory visit for which I levied no charge. The work to correct the customer’s problems would be too much for me to do. I have worked for the customer before but only to do small jobs, basically what I advertise I do. As the house wasn’t far away and as I was there only a few minutes I didn’t ask for payment, though it was offered. I drove on to the second job which turned out to be more awkward in its execution than I had expected but it paid well. The house was occupied by an elderly couple and the man, who was 86 years old, was bed-ridden due to a physical deterioration but who was also suffering with dementia. He just lay there in the rear room watching television whilst his wife, a few years younger, did all the running around. She was however in good health which was just as well. My work involved replacing lighting fittings and to check out a loose wall power outlet (as shown above).  The lighting part of the work was the troublesome bit, wall-mounted units, but as usual I managed. The power outlet was supplying the power to the television and to the bed on which the man lay. It powered the vibrating mattress on which he lay. It vibrated to relieve  the pain in his inactive muscles. When I see things like this I am not upset but a little saddened. I realise however that it could happen to any of us. I get annoyed when I see people moaning and groaning about their problems when there are others who are unable to do anything about theirs. I think people who think everything should go their way all of the time are missing the point, at least they are in a position to do something about it if it means so much to them. There are always going to be people worse off than ourselves and we should be grateful for what we have got, especially good health. It was around noon when I drove back home in the glorious sunshine. The day was also very windy however with rain by late afternoon to follow and much the same had been forecast for Wednesday. It would be Friday and Saturday before I could consider working in the garden as those days promised to be dry and sunny. I would be dining out on Thursday with E  together with my youngest brother and his wife. Thursday would be a less favourable day for working in the garden anyway.

Shirley Anne

You win some….

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….and you lose some, that’s the way in life. We can feel disappointed when something doesn’t go our way but there is always something else on the horizon. That’s the way it is with my electrical work, sometimes, well most times, I get to do the work I am offered if I say I will take it on. Sometimes though I find I am unable to do the work once I get to see what is involved. I am qualified and experienced enough to tackle any electrical work but now my age prevents me from doing too much and indeed I have chosen not to. So it was that on Friday I went along to assess replacing a couple of flood lights and discovered that although I could have done the work it would have been too much for me. The problem had nothing to do with replacing the lights but the way they had been wired meant that they needed rewiring properly. That led on to another problem for there was no RCD protection on the house wiring system so one would need to be supplied.

Residual current device 2pole 100A

Residual current device 2pole 100A (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

All this would add to the expense and the time needed to do it all. That is why I turned down the work. Now it could be that the customer will employ someone else who perhaps isn’t as concerned about electrical regulations and just replaces the lights alone but there is no way I would. Friday was a day of rain and wind so I couldn’t have worked outdoors anyway. When I returned home I carried out a little maintenance work on the garage door and dug out a couple of bluebells I had noticed in the flowerbed nearby. It’s a game of cat and mouse with the bluebells! One day maybe I’ll be rid of them. As I write this it looks as though the weather for Saturday will allow me to work in the garden if I’ve a mind to do so but I might leave it until Monday. It all depends on how I am feeling and how bored I might be if I don’t do something. I might just go on a bluebell hunt on Saturday to allow me to concentrate on the stone edging in the days ahead. That’s the plan anyway….

Shirley Anne

Gently does it

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So Gently We Go

So Gently We Go (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

….or as my dad used to say ‘Gently Bently’. Not sure where ‘Bently’  came into it unless he had aspirations of owning the car of the same name. Just a saying I guess. I hadn’t any electrical work for over a week then two jobs came my way on Thursday and Friday. I write this on Thursday morning having returned home after completing the first one. An elderly gentleman of 85 years together with his wife of 82 years had lost power to some of the outlets in the kitchen. Evidently they had employed another electrician whom the gentleman kept referring to as ‘a cowboy’ for he apparently had caused the problem. I wasn’t quite sure the story was true but there was no other explanation. He had been called out to trace the fault but in the process left it in the same condition. I discovered two problems, a disconnected wire in one of the outlets and several loose connections in a box downstairs in the cellar. I corrected the faults and all returned to normal. The work was easy and it had to be as muscles in my legs were still aching. Whilst I was at the house someone called to ask if I could do some installation work. I have recently stopped doing installation work unless it is easy because it can be hard going. In any event I doubt the constant bending down and getting up again would be of much benefit to my legs at the moment. I have decided to take things easy, do far less of the more strenuous work (I have enough of that at home) and when I do work approach it in a ‘Gently Bently’ manner. The work I was to do on Friday morning would be done atop a ladder, exchanging floodlights with new LED ones. I don’t mind working up a ladder as long as it isn’t too high. I find I get nervous now if I climb too high up a ladder. Working on scaffolding isn’t a problem, no matter what the height. As for the garden work I would be forced to leave that alone for the weekend because of the forecast poor weather. At least my muscles would be able to take time out for a while.

Shirley Anne

Sometimes

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English: Hurdle Suomi: Estejuoksija ja este

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are times when you just want to give in and give up and there have been many such times during my life. Sometimes things go very well, even better than expected so when things go wrong it irritates. How we deal with such events is more important. Many would give up at the first hurdle because they haven’t the resilience and will-power to ride the storm as it were. In my occupation as an electrician and for many years as a maintenance engineer it pays to be resilient, it also pays to be inventive and adaptable for sometimes the correct materials are not available to effect a repair or installation. Sometimes it is the equipment itself, poor design is often the case with new equipment and it all makes the execution of the work difficult, in some cases impossible! I went to a house on Tuesday morning to replace four ceiling lights with new ones. In reality there wasn’t anything wrong with the ones already installed though one had the remains of a blown bulb in it. When I arrived I was informed that there were now five to replace accordingly. The new lights were simple enough to install but one of them really tested my patience because it, like all but one of the others, were poorly designed in the part that mattered, the connections to the lamp holder. The terminals had tiny screws to secure the wires and I mean tiny, very tiny, a mere four millimetres in length at most, probably three and that was the thing that spoiled what was otherwise a good lighting unit. The one which gave me the most problems had one of its tiny screws miss-aligned and I had to remove the holder to fix it. The screws required the use of a jeweller’s screwdriver because they were so tiny. These are mains connected fittings so tiny screws were so out-of-place in the design and only served to make connection very difficult. Why oh why design something so difficult to fit when larger screws would have been more appropriate and just as easy to use? This sort of problem should never arise in such a simple thing as a light fitting, it is so unnecessary and ridiculous. Jeweller’s screwdrivers are meant to be used in fine, delicate mechanisms, not electrical light fittings! The fifth unit was of a completely different design and was so easy to install, why? It had been designed properly with large terminals for easy connection of the wiring. That problem with the other lights made the work take much longer than it ought to have done had the design been better.

Shirley Anne

Too busy?

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I had ordered a long LED lighting unit on Friday for a customer in whose house I had been working. My supplier told me it would be delivered to them on Monday morning so I arranged with the customer to install it as soon as it was available. I knew the delivery to the supplier would probably be mid to late morning so in the meantime I continued to work in the ‘Mound’ removing more bluebells. My readers might remember I had done some of the work on Sunday but heavy rain put a stop to it. Monday was a fine and sunny day throughout, ideal for working outside. I had a two-hour slot before I would collect the light unit and install it. Before I could return to the spot where I had left-off digging I saw more bluebells a short distance away which I decided to remove first. Eventually I returned to where I had left-off and removed those I hadn’t been able to on Sunday but in the process I dug out a large amount of stones too, including this slab of natural stone buried deep beneath the surface…

The longest side measures something like half a metre. No doubt there are more like it buried in the Mound. A couple of years ago we removed many large slabs of natural stone, some of which are in the picture above. At that time we dug out enough to make a pathway with stone edging as you can see above (enter ‘Mound’ in the search box to see more pictures). I collected the light unit and went to install it but was asked if I could fit two replacement switches too. Whilst there I received two calls from other customers and did those jobs too. One was for an elderly lady of 97 whose doorbell wasn’t working. She was very sprightly for someone of that age, very independent and insisting she remained living in her own house rather than in a rest home. What a lady! It was three-thirty in the afternoon before I could eat lunch so it was a case of visiting the pub and eating there. I was in no mood for cooking at home. At that hour there were plenty of vacant tables and I was spoilt for choice. I spoke with a couple of guys I know who were standing at the bar before seating myself for lunch, well dinner really as it wasn’t just a snack. I arrived back home around five-thirty satiated but tired…….Tuesday would find me at work again.

Shirley Anne

Different

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I don’t often work on  Saturday and even less so on a Sunday and for Sundays only in emergency situations. I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I would be getting the weekend free of work but later in the evening someone called to ask if I would fit a replacement ceiling light. As my van would be in for a service and MOT test on Monday and she wanted the work doing as soon as possible I offered to do it on Saturday morning. It wouldn’t take long for me to do the work and I wouldn’t be doing anything special on Saturday morning anyway. Her house is something like twelve miles away, a nice little journey across country and one that I took slowly as I like to do when I’ve the chance. Sometimes we have to go with the flow so to speak and that is often at a faster pace because of the traffic we have to drive in. There was hardly a soul on the roads in front of me so I could take my time. When the lady had called me it came about in the conversation that I was feeling a little tired after the day’s work digging out bluebells. She asked if she could have some. Well everyone is different so I took a large bag of the said bluebell bulbs with me to give to her. She could have had the lot if she felt so inclined! She told me she wanted to fill the flowerbeds with them and wondered if there would be enough. I had taken a few hundred bulbs to give to her and explained that they would multiply and end up growing everywhere but she wasn’t put off by the fact. It takes all sorts I suppose.chandelier-201918__340 Fitting the light was no problem in itself but the house wiring was lacking in length and made connecting difficult. I had to fit a short length of flexible cable to the light before I could install it but that is sometimes the case. It is annoying to me when other electricians leave so little slack in the wiring when they do the installation, a few extra centimetres makes all the difference. I was asked if I could replace a broken wall power outlet up in one of the bedrooms. twin-socketThat was simple enough, a five-minute job which I duly did for her and was soon on my way back home with some extra cash in my purse. Much better than sitting around doing nothing and I get paid too!

Shirley Anne

The annoying thing is……

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Bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta)

Bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…..almost everything when it comes to digging out bluebells! I had one small job to do on Friday morning in an apartment less than four hundred metres from home. It was a simple job that turned out to be anything but simple in its execution. I had one ceiling light and one wall light to install in a bathroom, a usually straightforward  task but it was one of those jobs that seemed to have everything going against me. Now I would normally take less than an hour to do this sort of job but I ended up taking twice that time and it was mostly due to poorly designed units. The lights nevertheless looked nice when lit which according to the customer made it all worthwhile. She didn’t have to install them! Anyway I was back home at eleven o’clock having started the work at nine. Before I had left home to do the job I had seen a few bluebells in the same flowerbed in the front garden which I have worked in quite a few times recently digging out bluebells as they begin to appear. I had enough time to get down to digging out the new arrivals, about fifteen of them in four different places! On my return home I saw one more bluebell but it was in the other flowerbed where I had to remove a Fuchsia a few weeks ago in order to get at the bluebells growing there beneath it. I dug that out with my bare hands then went indoors. Before doing anything else I put on my overalls and boots and went into the rear garden to dig out more bluebells in the flowerbeds again. The other day I had found myself behind the trees and shrubs getting at the many bluebells growing there but I hadn’t completed that work, I returned there to finish it off before finally getting to the ‘Mound’ again to begin, you guessed it, digging out more bluebells. I guess it must have been a little after twelve o’clock when I started on the Mound and it would be four o’clock before I had finished there. The bulbs there were growing profusely despite my having done much filtering there recently. The most annoying things about digging out the bluebells are their numbers and the fact that so many are deep under the surface and often beneath tree roots. I had missed lunch because I was determined to get as many bulbs out of the ground as I could find knowing that it might be many days before I got the opportunity again as rain was forecast. As it turned out I managed to cover the whole Mound before returning indoors. I would get the weekend free from work at least. I would also get Monday free from work too…my van had an appointment at the service station for a service and an MOT test.

Shirley Anne

Coiled spring

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Awake is the New Sleep (2005)

Awake is the New Sleep (2005) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What a crazy day I had on Monday! I went to bed around ten o’clock on Sunday night but didn’t actually begin to sleep until twelve-fifteen. How do I know that? I had made a point of checking the time on my phone, which I use as an alarm too, closed my eyes and didn’t wake up until exactly four hours later. That was it! I couldn’t return to sleep no matter how hard I tried so I gave in and got out of bed. I was sat eating breakfast at five-thirty and fully wide awake. What was I going to do for the next three hours before driving off to my first job of the day? I watched television, went on-line, played guitar (quietly) but was soon bored doing those things. Still, I had to wait, I had no choice. It was eight-twenty as I left the house and I arrived at the job just before nine as arranged. The work involved repairs to a couple of cabinet lights and their wiring. Whoever had installed them had hidden the wiring behind a panel as expected but they had also hidden the transformer and connection box behind the panel too. The problem was that the panel couldn’t be removed without causing a great deal of damage! Crazy or what? I wondered what had been going through the person’s mind when they did the work. Did they think the parts would never go faulty? I ended up rewiring the lights and hiding the wiring in small trunking inside the cabinets that were the bedroom’s built-in furniture. Unfortunately one of the lights needed replacing but none were available close-by. I had to drive back to my own town to fetch one then return and fit it. My coiled-up spring was beginning to unwind and I had another job to do before I could even think about driving homeward. When the work was done it was approaching one-thirty and I was feeling rather hungry having not eaten for eight hours. I drove homeward and paid a visit to my local pub to have a meal there but it was way after two-thirty before it was on the table before me. Nine hours are a long time between meals when one is working. My eyes began to close as I sat at home later writing this. It was only four-thirty in the afternoon and I wondered if I would make it to evening without falling asleep beforehand! As I get older I am finding it difficult to cope with hardly any sleep, not because I need more sleep but because I end up with all those extra hours awake with nothing much to do in them.

Shirley Anne

No apparent reason

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Honey

Honey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had another restless night on Tuesday through to Wednesday broken into three sessions by visits to the little girl’s room as they say. My sleep was very shallow and as is often the case my thoughts were all over the place. I seem to be good at thinking things through when I ought to be sleeping instead. I hastily point out that for the majority of times I do sleep well. I was wondering therefore why it was that I’d had a restless night having worked hard during the day. Very odd but I guess I had more on my mind than I thought I had. There seemed no other reason for my experience. I went to bed in good health but found I had a bit of a sore throat in the morning. Could it be the onset of a cold or even worse, the ‘flu? Having said in a recent post that I generally enjoy good health it proves that these conditions can affect anyone at any time. The sore throat wasn’t severe and didn’t get any worse during the day. In any case I was taking honey to sooth it. I often use honey as a sweetener in coffee which I drink a lot of during the day so I suppose that extra honey helped. My only electrical work for the day was to replace a faulty room thermostat in a house across town so I was back at home around ten o’clock. I wanted to get into the garden though only to dig out the bluebells I had seen the day before, those which had revealed themselves in ground I had already worked weeks before and had obviously missed. There will be more. The morning was fairly damp so I put off doing that until the weather improved as I didn’t wish to aggravate my sore throat or encourage the onset of something worse. I decided to do a little baking so I made a rock cake. I use the singular because I baked the cake in slab form rather than individual cakes. It is an easier method and allows cutting a slice to suit your desire. The rock cake recipe is very similar to that of scones but I think they taste nicer than scones because they are cakes and sweeter. Neither scones nor cakes last long in our household as both E and I love them. She almost never bakes at home these days but she sure eats whatever I bake. Well I was just about to have lunch when I received a call to check a couple of suspected faulty lighting switches in a house two miles away. I put lunch on hold and went to do the work. I was back home a half-hour later. E was eating her lunch and I joined her. As I was parking the van in the garage I noticed there were another two bluebells in one of the front flowerbeds! I had removed quite a number of them only recently. After lunch I put on my gardening clothes and dug them out before returning to the rear garden and digging out more, the ones whose positions I had marked the day before. There were four positions with a number of bluebells in them but the fourth and last position had much more, around thirty of them. How I missed them first time around I cannot say. As I have said, it will be an ongoing task checking for bluebells for yet a while.

Shirley Anne

Poor electricians?

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I am glad I entered into the electrical trade/business all those years ago. For someone who has an inquisitive mind it is the ideal occupation. People often ask why I took up electrical work and the answer I give is that I wanted to know how things work. It is still the reason even now and it doesn’t stop at electrical things, I am interested in many things and how they work, how they are made and the history behind them too. It is a passion I guess but it helped when I first embarked in my career that I enjoy working with my hands and to be truthful it was essential. There are no such things as poor electricians providing they are prepared to work.

Power to the people!

Power to the people!

I am not super rich and never could be unless I had a large business employing many people but that was never an option for me, I simply wasn’t that way inclined. Being self-employed is in itself a driving force though less so for myself these days because I am fortunate to have a two-pension income. My self employment allows me to enjoy that little bit extra without the worry that I would have to struggle on my pensions alone. I could manage on just my pensions and I could even still save something at the end of the month. It isn’t that extra cash that motivates me though, it is the fact that I am still capable of working and I enjoy the work and in meeting people. Of course I no longer work full-time, I have no wish to and probably couldn’t maintain full-time working for very long, even one day doing that is tiring at my age. On Monday morning I changed the bedclothes and washed the soiled sheets in the washing machine before breakfast then an hour later hung them in the boiler room to dry. It is such an advantage having cellars in a house. As I had nothing else planned I was wondering what I could do for the rest of the morning in the garden whilst the weather was dry. I didn’t wish to continue with digging out bluebells in the remaining section of flowerbed that as yet I haven’t touched. I thought there might be one or two popping up in places where I had been clearing them out so I went into the garden to check. I didn’t need to look far and soon found some beginning to show themselves in a couple of places. I spent an hour digging them out before returning indoors. It was now approaching lunchtime so I thought I would prepare a vegetable stew. Using onions, bell peppers, garlic cloves, carrots, sweetcorn, lentils, barley, green beans, pre-cooked diced chicken and seasoning I made enough for three meals.

Washing peppers

Washing peppers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By now it was 12.15 so I decided to have some for lunch but my phone rang and it was a job offer in the next town. I drove there and did the work which has now led to more work in the weeks ahead. It pays being an electrician if you are prepared to work………

Shirley Anne

Day of two halves

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I was determined to get some quality sleep on Friday night so after a day with half-closed eyes or at least feeling that way, I went to bed early and was fast asleep at around nine-thirty. I still woke up a couple of times but my sleep was good and I woke up on Saturday morning very much refreshed. I ate breakfast around nine o’clock and waited until ten before donning my overalls and boots to go into the front garden and get stuck into the bluebell removal in the right-hand flowerbed. When I had redesigned the beds last year I hadn’t been thorough enough in eliminating the bluebells in this particular bed and now I was paying the price. Earlier in January I had actually dug out around a dozen plants but now they were back in number and I had to spend a couple of hours on my knees again digging them out. I guess I removed over a hundred of them. It was whilst I was doing that when my mobile phone rang. Why does it always seem that I get calls when I am doing something in the garden? It was an elderly gentleman asking if I could repair a loose lighting switch. I explained that I was digging out bluebells but that I would call back a little later to arrange to visit him. After another hour I had finished in the garden and gave him a call. I drove to his house which was only a mile and a half away and soon had the switch secured. After receiving payment I drove into and through the town centre and on toward my local pub for a meal. Here is a picture of the side entrance, the one most folk use, taken when they were having some outside work done…fishHere are the links to view much more about the pub http://fishermens.rest/index.html. and https://www.facebook.com/fishermens.rest/  .The place was full except for a space at the end of the bar, so I sat there. I only wanted a snack, a sandwich so sitting at the bar wasn’t a problem. When the ‘snack’ arrived it came with all the trimmings including chips (French fries) and a salad! I only really wanted a sandwich. Still it was enjoyable. No sooner had I finished eating when tables became vacant as many left the premises. Typical! I was greeted by many folk who hadn’t seen me for quite a while and asking why I hadn’t been to the pub for some time. I didn’t have an excuse except that I hadn’t wished to. I have been  correcting that of course having been there several times recently, I shouldn’t neglect going to the only place near to home where I am truly welcomed and missed when not there.

Shirley Anne

Fireworks

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I had a lousy night’s sleep on Thursday to Friday morning, tossing and turning throughout the eight hours I had. I had gone to bed at eight-thirty but didn’t actually nod off until just after nine. I was up and out of bed several times during the night until I decided I’d had enough and rose for the day at five-thirty. I remained in a sleepy state all day long and it was all I could do to stop my eyes closing. I had to go to that job I mentioned in yesterday’s post, no power to the downstairs lighting circuit. It was in the next town over seven miles away and I arrived there before nine o’clock as arranged. It transpired that the problem was a blown fuse and it had supposedly blown because one of the light bulbs on the circuit had blown. The lady’s son had previously rewired the fuse but it blew again. I could not find a fault so had to assume the fuse hadn’t been rewired properly. It can happen that if the fuse wire is too taut or has an indentation or even a loose connection causing an arc that the fuse gives up and blows under any load, especially if a light bulb has short-circuited. I repaired the fuse and all was in order. I was back at home just over an hour later. As the weather forecast was for rain early in the afternoon I decided not to do any work in the garden. I had been thinking of going to the pub for lunch yet again but thought the better of it as there was food in the refrigerator that needed to be used. E would be doing the weekly shopping and restocking the larder so to speak. She had been out all day on Thursday so switched to Friday to do the shopping. She even went out before noon which is a first as she usually goes out after two o’clock, even three o’clock sometimes. I digress. I prepared myself an early lunch because I’d had an early breakfast. When I had eaten I was looking out of the window at the rear garden, just pondering at first but then I went out and trimmed back the dead stalks on some plants so that the already sprouting new foliage could grow. Whilst doing that I noticed three or four bluebell plants growing in the flowerbed that runs in the front of the greenhouses..greenhouse-flowerbed-5

…..the one I had worked in late last year where I had fitted the stone edging and repopulated it. I knew there would be some popping up as is the case elsewhere. They were all located in the right-hand half of the bed where there had been a number of bluebells growing before I removed them. Just as I was finishing that small job I was shaken by the sudden loud bang of a large firework being let off followed by three or four more. They were exploding rockets being set off by workmen working at a house two doors away. The new owners have employed builders to renovate the property before they themselves move in, probably in a month or so. The noise was unbearable and I was showered with the debris which floated down over my house and garden and my neighbour’s garden too. I went upstairs and shouted as best as a woman can for them to refrain from setting the fireworks off whilst also telling them that they should be working. The noise abated, they must have heard me. I went to one of the front bedrooms and looked out of the window. I saw a couple of the men chatting and one of them walked past my house on the opposite side of the road towards his vehicle. I drew his attention regarding the fireworks telling him that there are folk in the area who work at night and they would be finding it difficult to sleep because of the noise. At first he tried to deny any knowledge of fireworks. I couldn’t believe his impudence. He apologised after I had told him I would be taking action if their inconsiderate behaviour lasted. It was only a few days ago I had to walk to the house to complain about the very thick smoke from a fire that was affecting several neighbours as well as myself. They had actually poured diesel on the fire to help it burn! Just then my next-door neighbour phoned and was wondering where the noise had been coming from. I went round to see her and explained what I had been obliged to do. She was answering a call from yet another neighbour who wanted to know the source of the noise too. Workmen can be so inconsiderate when there is no-one there supervising operations. Anyway it was around two o’clock and still there was no rain. As I walked up the path alongside this flowerbed I saw something that infuriated me…..No 2 Flowerbed 10

…bluebells! Now this was the second of the two front flowerbeds I had revamped last year and I had thoroughly sifted the soil from one end to the other. I was confident that there wouldn’t be any bluebells left as there are in the other bed  where I hadn’t been as fussy. If you magnify the picture you will see a shrub at the far right end of the flowerbed, a Fuchsia which I didn’t disturb when working the bed but did remove some bluebells from beneath it at the time. Now there were bluebells growing deep inside and among the stalks, impossible to remove unless the Fuchsia was taken out too. I was so annoyed but made it my business to remove it there and then. It took some time but eventually I got it out and then it was time to get at those bluebells too. I removed a bucket load of them! I didn’t really wish to lose the Fuchsia but on reflection it is a plant that grows vigorously, producing more and more stalks which get out of hand. For the time being therefore I am going to concentrate on the two front flowerbeds, especially the right-hand one which has many bluebells needing removal…Front flowerbed redesign 1

This is a picture (above) from last year. The rose has since been pruned right down and is going to look far better this year I think. Does it never end?

Shirley Anne