Nearly there

After doing the weekly shopping I arrived back home at eight-thirty and put everything away before spending an hour relaxing on the patio with a coffee soaking up the bright sunshine. When it isn’t too windy sitting on the patio early in the morning sunshine once Spring is here is wonderful. One side of the patio faces eastward and with the wall on the west side is is a sun trap. I didn’t want to stop there long as I wanted to continue with the garage door project. I finally got the slot cut to the right size and the holes for the handle bar and the key cut out. So it was time to fit the lock and screw it in place. I used the two white plastic door knobs which were on the old door and the square metal bar which was long enough to go through the new and slightly wider door. Unfortunately the plastic disks on which the knobs sit couldn’t be removed from the old door without breaking them so I will either have to purchase new ones which is unlikely (they are usually only sold with new knobs) or I will make a couple as I do have suitable plastic sheet. I will however purchase a couple of keyhole covers for they will be available. In the meantime the door is ready for use and therefore I removed the old door and moved it to the front driveway for disposal later. My word that old door was heavy but then again so is the new one! The old door was about to become in need of replacement for the base was showing signs of rot. I had made repairs a couple of years ago but knew it was only ever going to be temporary. There is more work to do on both the door and the frame and they will get done over the next few days. The door is now in use. No pictures today but I have some scheduled in tomorrow’s post

Shirley Anne

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Framed

It was a really cold and windy Monday morning as I ventured out once more for a walk. I left the house at ten after five as I hadn’t been able to sleep once awake at three-thirty. It wasn’t that I had retired that early though I fell asleep around ten o’clock after taking a shower. I find I sleep better after a shower. I have no idea why that is. It was also April 1st and we had all been fooled into thinking Winter had finished with us, at least in the morning. In any case I was glad to be back home around seven. Walking into the vestibule was like walking into the tropics even though the house heating wasn’t on. It would be almost another two hours before it did, just in time for E getting up! I ate breakfast after which I spent an hour relaxing before putting on my overalls to begin work in the garage. The next task on the project was to install a second length of timber on the door frame alongside the one on which the door would be hung. I could have used a single wider piece of timber but I made do with the timber I had bought. I drilled the brick wall and screwed the timber to it and then screwed the original timber to it……

So the vertical piece of timber in the picture is now twice the width and just as sturdy as if it had been a single wider piece. It is actually easier to do it that way and the two have six fixing screws holding them to the wall and four holding them together. Because the wall wasn’t perfectly straight I had to fit wooden spacers behind the vertical sides which left gaps. I mixed some fine concrete, the same mix I used for the ramp outside and filled the gaps on both sides with it. When I fix something it stays where it is put! I used the left-over concrete elsewhere around the garden where needed.

Shirley Anne

Next please

It was Monday 25 March and it promised to be a fine and sunny day. I was up early to take my first walk of the week. It was eight-ten when I left the house taking only a banana and water for I didn’t want to eat breakfast beforehand. Already the sun was up and shining though a westerly wind was blowing to cool things down. Nevertheless I was wearing lighter clothing beneath the jacket and chose to wear my trainers rather than my boots too for the first time this year. A lovely Spring day and it lived up to expectations throughout the day. Returning home I ate a small breakfast for I wanted to get into the garage and begin the next project. The ramp alterations were now complete but I would be doing more cement rendering in the same area later at some point, probably when I am at a loose end. I took the workbench and tools I would need and cleared a space in which to work. I drove the van onto the driveway to make that space. The main task was to cut the timber and erect a new door frame inside the garage. Here is the result…

Looking at the picture you can see the existing door and the white frame set between the brick each side in the normal way. I needed to widen the opening without cutting the brickwork. The extra width would make it easier to move the new ride-on mower through it. The new frame is sitting against the wall on the inside with a small amount of the bricks showing on the left and a larger amount on the right. The door will be hinged on the right just as the old one is but the extra width of brick on that side will allow the door to swing completely away from the opening. Full use of the opening between the brickwork will then be possible. The bricks on the left will act as the door stop when it is closed though the door itself won’t be in direct contact with them. The extra width gained will be around 10 cm and plenty for the mower to pass through. Incidentally it does pass through the existing doorway opening but with the bare minimum of clearance. That was all I did that day. Hopefully I would begin constructing the door on Tuesday.

Shirley Anne

Keeping the weather out

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about purchasing a plastic-covered tunnel with which to use to protect a couple of the Phoenix Canariensis plants we have in the rear garden. The other three could be more easily protected but these two had proved difficult to protect over the last couple of years. Last year if you remember we had a severely cold snap which damaged some of the plants, these two especially. However, they started to recuperate during the summer months and I didn’t want them to suffer again this winter so I purchased the tunnel. A week or so ago E and I erected the steel frame an d we were going to leave it that way for a few more weeks but on Sunday (11 th) I decided not to wait and I placed the plastic cover over it. Surprisingly it wasn’t as difficult as I imagined it might be.

I needed a step ladder of course and I had wanted to use the larger of the two I had in the garage but it had been stored temporarily behind the scaffolding tower and the smaller ladder was also trapped in the same way. I moved the scaffolding pieces to free the ladders but then decided the smaller of the two would suffice. Whilst doing that I noticed a small patch of water on the floor near to the door. The roof had sprung a leak. Now it had only been a matter of a few days since I asked E to call her nephew to sort out the problem as he had done the alteration work on the roof in the first place. At the time he had used this ‘special’ paint (all singing and all dancing apparently) but weeks later there was an enormous leak and he had the work redone. Well a few days ago he returned to carry out repairs to another but smaller leak. Now he has to return yet again to repair this one! So much for the ‘special’ paint! I think he should have stuck with the bitumen and felt covering. 

Shirley Anne

Garaged

It was me who was garaged, spent quite a few hours in there working on the floodlight project. I was up and about very early on Tuesday so I could get on the treadmill for a time. I had been using the cross trainer on Sunday and had spent almost an hour exercising on it. Finally my muscles have gotten used to the machine and this time I had no problems. If you remember I had problems using it initially as I wasn’t used to it. Anyway as E and I had spent Monday doing other things I did no exercising that day. So on Tuesday I spent three-quarters of an hour on the treadmill before breakfast. After breakfast it was time to put on my overalls and get the electrical work done in the garage. I have to say at this point this project has fought me all the way for as I worked through it I was beset with one problem after another. Usually most jobs have a problem or two but this one was challenging to say the least. The electrical circuit is simplicity itself but the execution of it at times was frustrating. Anyway I worked through from late morning until three o’clock except for a lunch break in order to finish the work. 

The top picture shows the reverse of the reed switch bracket screwed in position and the wiring installed and connected. It is operating on a 12 volt AC supply so there is no danger it being easy to access. It operates a relay inside the grey box on the far right in the next picture. The external photo cell unit is wired into the same box (the cable is that entering the box at top right). Another cable leaves the box to supply the floodlight shown in the bottom picture. There you have it, when it goes dark outside and the garage door is opened, on comes the floodlight……

All I need to do now is to replace the door cover which I removed several weeks ago before any of this work was started. Hopefully I will get the safety edge gear refitted on the timber I purchased to make a better job than that originally done by the installer.

Shirley Anne

What a morning

As I now usually use the treadmill at least three times per week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays it became awkward that I had a dental appointment on Friday at nine-thirty. It meant I had to arise early in order to have my exercise before keeping the appointment. If I don’t exercise first thing in the morning I don’t do it at all. Exercising early allows me to have the rest of the day free for other activities. Exercising later in the day means I might already be too tired to do it! Anyway I arose around six-forty had my exercise and had eaten breakfast by eight o’clock. After taking a shower and dressing I drove to the surgery for my check-up. This time nothing was out of the ordinary. I paid the receptionist and drove back home. Things were going well and I was thinking about things I could do for the remainder of the day. Going out for a meal was a definite possibility but as it turned out I didn’t get the chance. A couple of months ago we had a new garage door installed (see previous posts). When I returned home I opened the garage door and reversed my vehicle into the garage. On leaving the garage I tried to close the door but it had become stuck in the open position. I switched off the power and attempted to wind it down manually using the supplied handle but it wouldn’t shift. The door had unwound itself and required manipulating by hand. That couldn’t be done whilst the steel cover was in place. It was a job for the fitter to do under the guarantee agreement. We paid a little extra to extend the guarantee to ten years from the one year basic cover. I had to leave the door open which meant leaving all the garage contents exposed to the possibility of theft. I wasn’t prepared to allow that. We called the company by phone and they told us they couldn’t help as the guarantee was the responsibility of the official sub-contractor. They couldn’t supply a telephone number but only an email address and a website. We tried the website first so that we could enter the details of our complaint but it wouldn’t work. Evidently the site didn’t have a secure status and was blocked! E tried the email approach and after a few attempts finally was able to send the message. However, before she could send the message we’d had problems with the email provider (AOL) for quite some time. Rather than waiting for a reply for an appointment date E decided to send another email requesting they contact us by phone. So there we were, no reply, no appointment date and a garage door stuck in the open position with the possibility of it remaining like that for days! What kind of company operates this way? I was disgusted and furious. I decided to take things into my own hands by removing the steel cover, which was rather awkward, then I was able to free the unrolled door before lowering it electrically. I switched off the power and left the door in the closed position. I left the steel cover off too so that the installer can follow-up on the repair/resetting when he finally gets here. It means I haven’t the use of the van until he does, though it is possible to re-open the door if  I really need to. I know what the problem is causing the fault, it is a strip of material located in the slot in which the door runs. It acts as a slide and prevents metal to metal contact as the door operates. It has become detached from the slot. The one on the opposite side is perfectly alright. The now loose material interferes with the door rolling up and down and it requires securing probably with adhesive. I wonder sometimes how things in this world manage to work and keep on working without these kinds of problems. They don’t make ’em like they used to!

Shirley Anne

Just right?

After a recent bout of rain we noticed there was a leak in the new raised portion of the garage roof, that is the garage in which I park my van. E’s nephew, a builder, had done the original work and he called back a couple of days after we had informed him of the problem. However, the weather wasn’t particularly good at that time so he put off the repair until Friday last week when it was pleasantly warm outdoors. He cut away the fibreglass covering which had by then set hard as expected but hadn’t adhered to the wood-based sheet beneath it. Water had somehow gotten beneath the covering and leaked onto the floor of the garage. This time he produced a different compound/fibreglass mix which was presumably superior. I asked him how long it would take to dry out and he told me a few days. What he meant was that as soon as it was applied it became waterproof almost immediately but it would take a few days more in which to cure. I hoped he was right, he wouldn’t be happy to have to do the work again. The finished work looks good though, just right in fact. Here is a picture of the area after the grey covering was replaced.  Whilst they were doing that work I took the opportunity to shorten the excessively long electrical supply cable to the new door control panel and to tidy up some of the other wiring by using mini-trunking. Now that looks a lot better also. At the time of writing we still haven’t heard from the installers of the garage doors who were to return to install the door alarm system. We are hoping it will have been done by the time this post is published. I can now plan out how I am going to install the circuit to control the main garage light when the door is opened at night. I had to remove the existing circuit I had installed which was operated by the old door. I will carry out the work when I get time.
Earlier in the day I had been working in the rear garden tidying and sweeping up yet more fallen leaves. Already the two bins are again full to the brim though the leaves will compact allowing more to fit in later. Many of the trees still have their leaves and probably won’t lose them yet awhile, maybe by the end of the month. Our apple trees still have their leaves and the only four apples growing on them this year. In fact those four apples are all on the same tree, the largest tree has none. Must be something to do with pruning and the unusual weather we have had this year.

Shirley Anne

At last

For a couple of weeks now we have been waiting for the garage door to be replaced. After the initial survey we had to make alterations to part of the roof in order to accommodate the door housing, the box which houses the rolled-up door. We, that is I, had to install the necessary electrical supply and to generally clean up the area. We spotted some dampness on the interior of the wall after all that work was done so I had the added task of effecting a solution which meant I had to do some external pointing around the affected area and then seal the bricks and mortar with a proprietary sealant. All is now well. Having done all the preparatory work we were asked if we wouldn’t mind postponing the installation for a day. We didn’t object and so finally the work was carried out on Friday (6th). As it turned out the weather turned out better that day than it had been on Thursday but only as far as it wasn’t windy. The old door…We had been told that the fitters would arrive sometime during the morning, that is eight til midday but nobody came. I received a call just after eleven o’clock letting me know the fitters would be with us in an hour or so but again nobody came. E wanted to phone their office but I asked her to wait a while longer. She called them at two because nobody had arrived even then. There was only an answering machine at the office but she left a message. Fifteen minutes later the fitters arrived. They apologised with the excuse that one of them had to walk fifteen miles to collect another van as theirs was out of action! Why he couldn’t take a cab I have no idea. I didn’t question him, I was just glad they had finally arrived. They immediately got on with the work but it was around six forty-five before they left. I was asked if I would like to pay for a nine year extension to the one year guarantee for the added fee of £145. I knew I had this option as the guy doing the estimate had told me but it wasn’t necessary to take the option until the work had been completed. I took out the extension. New door from the inside… As I had taken the option I was then informed I was entitled to an alarm system for the installation fitted at no extra cost plus a remote control which could be stuck on the wall anywhere in the house or garage that would operate the door too. This picture shows the safety feature which cuts off the supply to the motor should anyone step close and disrupt the beam.

The beam is projected from the tall black bar to a similar bar on the opposite side of the opening. The next picture shows the bar, the power supplies and the eyelet at the top of the door housing for use when mechanically operating the door in the event of an electrical problem. There is a long operating handle supplied which can be fixed to the wall for storage when not in use.

I will be tidying up the cabling using mini trunking when I get a moment free. The last picture is the new door shown from the outside. The fitters would return on Saturday afternoon to install the alarm and check all was right with the installation.

Shirley Anne

The season’s work

There’s no getting away from it, Autumn is upon us here in the UK. As the temperate areas of the Southern Hemisphere are welcoming Spring, we in the north are moving in the opposite direction. Leaves have been falling from the trees in greater quantities and for anyone living near that means the annual sweeping up of them! It’s either that else let the mess continue. Having a garden is a lovely thing and for those who wish to keep theirs tidy and well-maintained sweeping up the leaves is a must. The problem is the leaves don’t all fall at the same time. A couple of days ago I decided to sweep up as many of the leaves that had fallen as I could, mainly off the pathways because quite simply I got fed-up looking at the state of the garden. As the green waste bins were full after my trimming back the bushes in the front garden there was limited space for any swept-up leaves. I managed however to get them all in by compression. On Wednesday we were expecting another visit from the installers of our new garage door prior to it being installed the following week on Thursday. More accurate measurements were required and an assessment of the preparatory work we had done for the installation was needed. It was just as well I was at home for they had misunderstood my original request to maintain head-clearance and the reason for my having the roof at that point raised to accommodate the unit. They didn’t stop long and after five minutes or so were on their way. They weren’t sure if it would be themselves or the other local crew who would return to carry out the installation. E had been working in her studio during the morning but after lunch she joined with me and we cleared-up the fallen leaves once more but this time we included the lawn. Fortunately we have one of those devices , a rotatory sweeper which sweeps up the leaves into a hopper by simply pushing it along the ground. We had the work done in less than fifteen minutes but then had to put the leaves into one of the builder’s bags we keep in the garage. The green waste bins wouldn’t be emptied until two weeks later so storing the leaves temporarily in the bags was the only option and there would be more leaves to sweep up long before then. Autumn in the garden is never dull, there is always something to do, in fact I have some plans afoot already.

Shirley Anne

Moving along

A week or so back I wrote about having a replacement garage door installed. I had been having problems with the old door that fairly recently was converted to electrical operation though it wasn’t the electrical conversion but rather the inherent mechanical components beginning to show their age. The picture below shows almost the exact door as the one we are having replaced….

Photograph of a chain-drive garage door opener...
Photograph of a chain-drive garage door opener. This residential unit is manufactured by The Chamberlain Group, Inc. under the LiftMaster brand name. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For a few years I have wanted to replace the door with a roller-shutter type so I contacted a company which manufactures and installs them to call and give me a quote. Having agreed on the price I told them to proceed with the work. I was informed that it may be a month or so before it could be done. In the interim I arranged for the garage roof to be raised where the new roller was to be fitted and that work was carried out during the following week. Since then it has been a case of waiting for things to happen, that is up to the time of writing this on Thursday (21) for on Wednesday I received a call informing me that after a second survey on Wednesday 27 to check the preliminary alterations have been completed the installation will take place on Thursday October 5. The work will be completed in one day. I never did like the old door because there were too many things in its design that were prone to fault. Things move on though and hopefully there will be less problems associated with the new door.  The other garage has a rolled steel shutter door which gives us little problem and there is no reason to replace it. Hopefully in my next post regarding the new installation I will be able to post a picture or two.

Shirley Anne