As long as it didn’t rain on Saturday (23) I intended to spend some more time in the garden again. It would be the last day in the year for doing any work for me but alas it didn’t happen. I had gotten up early and went for a long walk down the coastal road to Ainsdale. I chose that route as it was still dark at the time I went, 7.30. I wanted to take the route through the sand dunes but that could have proved very difficult in the dark. However, by the time I decided to return home it was light so I walked back through the dunes. When on the beach the sky was clear toward the south but northward it was dark and heavy. To the south I could see the mountains of North Wales, easily seen when the skies are clear. The oil rig westward out to sea was still fully lit against the dark sky. This time the tide had receded before I arrived but it had left an enormous amount of seaweed behind! I walked northward again along the beach to the point in the dunes where I would turn into them and off the beach. I was back home before 10.00 and had breakfast whilst E was busy doing something associated with her crafting hobby. As I mentioned I wanted to do a little gardening but events got in the way during the rest of the morning. After lunch I just didn’t feel like doing anything. It has been quite a busy twelve months with all the projects that I have been involved with both inside and outside the house. It helped not having to do electrical work for others, at least for the last nine months anyway. My time became my own and I could concentrate on my little domestic projects, and there were many! Just the way I like it, better for my health and well-being to have things to do to wile away the time. When I look back on the year I am amazed just how much was done, all of them written about in my posts, and there was still plenty of time to relax too. Saturday afternoon being one of them. There was always Sunday for a potter around the garden!
Sunday let us know that summer was on the wane, on its last legs, struggling to stay warm and dry but nothing could be done about that. The day was damp and rain fell frequently, it was a day to stay indoors though had I wanted to go for a walk I would have. By coincidence I actually wanted to stay indoors to relax and this I did. Monday would soon be upon me and there was work to be done. Lately I have been involved in keeping active by undertaking various little projects at home, mostly in the garden. Monday however I had set aside for preparing for the new garage door installation which means installing a power outlet, a board on which the control unit will sit, re-positioning existing wiring and switches and to remove other items which I will reinstall sometime after the door is installed. To install a power point will require that I alter the existing circuit and supply it from the main distribution panel in order to isolate it from house circuits. It is at times like this I appreciate my electrical experience for it makes the work simple, straightforward and not least of all free. Well free from labour charges! I could say the same for all the other work I do around the house. There is a lot to say in favour of DIY. As the year gets colder I find that working outside is much more pleasant than it is during the warmer months. I suppose the cold encourages me to keep active anyway. Is it possible that I to do too much work? I can only say that if I didn’t enjoy it I wouldn’t be doing it! Could I move to an apartment where there would be almost nothing to do? I doubt it but not because I would have more time to indulge in personal pleasures, I would be bored stiff! My motto is more work and less play though not all work and no play! It works for me anyway.
So once again I slept in on Saturday morning because I’d had an interrupted night’s sleep. I was tired when I went to bed but couldn’t drop off to sleep immediately because it was too warm and humid. Even leaving the window open made little difference. I lay there on top of the bedclothes in an attempt to cool down and it worked, well just for an hour when I awoke feeling too cooled down. After waking two more times I finally arose at nine o’clock. It isn’t the fact I wake up late, that doesn’t matter, what is more important is getting a night of uninterrupted sleep which sometimes I don’t get. I had nothing planned for the day and I decided to remain at home, not even going for a walk. In fact I just wanted a break from walking, at least for one day. Whenever I went for a run I didn’t do it every day but no more often than every second day. It was a lovely day on Saturday, a stereo-typical summer’s day, warm, even hot and a little humid. Had I gone for a walk therefore I would have tried doing it early in the morning whilst it was still cool. As I arose late that couldn’t happen anyway. E had nothing planned either, not even spending time upstairs to make greetings cards as she usually does for much of the time. I think she wanted a rest from it all too. It allowed us to spend more time together and chat. That is something we hadn’t done much of during the previous twelve months. We spent most of the day out on the patio and doing a little, I mean a little gardening here and there. So life for me is at a much more relaxed pace but there are jobs awaiting my attention when I’ve a mind to do them. Perhaps when it cools down a little. At the moment the only work I am doing is garden maintenance and that takes but only a little of my time. I am taking each day as it comes, no specific plans and not a lot going on in the meantime.
A blast from my past, one of a number of songs I remember from my childhood days. Life for me (and my siblings) was often filled with lazy days, especially in the summer time. Over the past few days I have been lazy but that laziness was brought about by the hot and humid weather which for me is oppressive. We have experienced quite a number of hot and humid days lately but those kind of days just don’t cut it for me. Maybe by the time you are reading this conditions here will have tempered somewhat. I sure hope so. I must have used an awful lot of water keeping the garden plants not just healthy but alive. I have spent too much cash on garden plants to simply let them die through lack of water. The livin’ sure is easy ‘cos it’s too hot for anything else. Summertime might be for lazin’ about in and from that point of view easy but I’d rather it was cooler to allow me to do some work.
It had to happen and I was thankful it did. The weather had turned cooler and less humid than it had been for weeks. Yes it was wet and damp after the much-needed rain but by the afternoon on Friday the sun was beginning to shine through the clouds. The weekend promised to be similar though with less if any rain in our location. That would change in the week ahead according to the forecast with Monday being the wettest day. Ah but that was in the future and I had plenty of time before then to get out and about in the fresher air. I had to abandon the idea of mixing some fine concrete to do the work I described in yesterday’s post but that was alright, I wasn’t in the mood to do much work anyway except maybe to dig out weeds and generally tidy around the gardens. Many months ago, even a couple of years ago we had dug out a few overgrown shrubs but it had been difficult to dispose of the large root balls. The local council would not take such large items except for a fee but I wasn’t prepared to pay for something I was throwing away! That meant I had to keep the root balls for a while and let them dry out when it would be easier to saw them up into manageable pieces which could then be disposed of in the normal wheelie bins. I have disposed of quite a lot thus far but there still remains more to go. Yesterday I managed to saw up some more and placed it in the bins. I cannot put too much in the bins each time else the council will refuse to dispose of it. I reckon another collection or two will see the last of those roots. You have to remember that there is other green waste to dispose of on a regular basis too, grass cuttings, leaves and other plant materials. As it is at the moment we generally fill two bins for collection at two-weekly intervals. I’d had enough of the gardening and was prepared to leave it for a spell in order to give myself some breathing space. There is enough work to do in the gardens to keep me going throughout the year if I was mad enough to allow it. I took time out and went for a walk mid-afternoon and felt all the better for it.
Amazing start to the month of May has seen us, that is where I live (Southport UK), enjoying almost entirely wall-to-wall sunshine. As I write this on Monday 8th we have had yet another sunny day with the rest of the week possibly remaining that way. Should I have spoken too soon? Time will tell but I am enjoying it while it lasts. It isn’t that I mind dull and wet days but sunshine is good. However that has meant I have had to water the gardens manually with the hose pipes but I’m not complaining. Things were to happen this week, a doctor’s appointment on Tuesday morning for a quick check-up and to arrange for a repeat prescription of hormones, the curtains to be fitted on Wednesday, the carpet to be laid on Friday and the furniture to be delivered on Saturday. That meant I had to do my shopping on Monday. I had ordered a floor (standing) lamp which I had been informed might arrive on Thursday. I wanted to purchase some casual flat-heeled shoes for general use in summer and I couldn’t be sure I would get the time to buy them at the time in the day I preferred to go shopping, the morning. Before setting off to the shops I did a spot of painting with primer on the cabinet drawers where I couldn’t paint them the previous time. I took the mile or so walk into town and shopped around for the shoes eventually buying all three pairs in the same shop. Yes I bought three pairs and all for £26. One shop wanted £40 for one pair of similar quality! Having purchased the shoes I went to Nero’s for a coffee before walking back home. It was warm in the sunshine at 9 o’clock in the morning but quite cool in the shade of the trees along the route I had taken. Thankfully it was mostly in the sunshine I walked. Returning home I over-painted the drawers together with the other side of the shelf with gloss paint and that was all that was left to do as far as the painting went. The rest of the day was spent on the patio and later watering the two gardens. I had no electrical work for a few days and had cancelled my advertisement for the week so I could have the time to myself and finish off the lounge project.
After promising myself I would spend the weekend relaxing I found myself doing something. Yesterday, that is Saturday as I write, I did my relaxing in the morning and in the afternoon planted out the ten latest additions to our shrub collection. The afternoon had turned out bright and sunny and that was the way Sunday started of sorts. It was a mixture of sun and fast-moving clouds during the early part of the morning but later it was just sunshine all the way. I did relax in the morning until an hour before lunch when I decided to top-up the larger of the three raised beds on the patio with the soil I had temporarily stored in the long plant pots. I wanted to ensure there were no bluebells in that soil so had put it in the pots for a couple of weeks. It wasn’t enough so I had to add more. Soon after lunch I mowed the lawn for the second time this year. I had to wait until the afternoon to allow the wet grass to dry. It had been raining during the morning the day before and was now covered in dew. It hadn’t dried completely by the time I mowed the grass but enough to allow it to be cut using the petrol mower. The second cut had actually been easier than the first one had. That was the sum total of my work for the day and I sat out on the patio for much of the afternoon thereafter. I could have stayed out there until around six o’clock or later but returned indoors in order to bake some scones. Two of my neighbours lay outside soaking up the sun until very late it was that nice. That was it, my relaxing Sunday. I didn’t even go for a weekend stroll as I often do. Electrical work beckoned on Monday morning.
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.
A strange day was Wednesday in that it was out of my usual routine. Work of course majored for most of the morning followed by a little shopping. Back home to change then off out to see a man friend for a couple of hours and returning home stopping off at my local pub before finally getting home in the early evening. The electrical work was to replace two existing outdoor light units with new LED floodlights, a job which could have taken up to two hours at worse and an hour or less at best. I had the good fortune to get the latter which meant I had more time for other things. I needed to get to the electrical supplier to replenish my van stock and then do some minor domestic shopping before returning home. I was back home at eleven o’clock to get changed. I gave the latest shoe purchase their first outing but as I had to drive quite a distance I also took a pair of flat-heeled shoes. In any event driving in high heels is not to be recommended because of the damage it would do to the shoes. It can also be very dangerous because of the difficulty it produces in controlling the pedals. Once I had arrived at my destination it was on with the high heels! I spent a couple of hours with my friend then I was heading back homeward for I had arranged to meet someone later for lunch. However that person couldn’t make it and I ended up dining alone. I could have simply dined at home instead but decided to eat alone because I was hungry as it was getting late in the afternoon. I didn’t stop long at the restaurant, who wants to sit alone after eating? I took the longer route home and at the last-minute turned off toward my local pub. For a short time I sat alone with a soft drink but was soon in company. A guy the same age as myself and whom I’ve known for a few years came over and sat with me. It was one of the best hours I have experienced there, and there have been many of those in the past. He was good company and we laughed and joked a lot. Because I haven’t visited the pub for months evidently it seems I had been missed for many came asking where I had been these last few months. Finally I wanted to get back home so made my way to the van but I was spotted by another acquaintance also wanting to know where I had been. This was a middle-aged woman who greeted me as if I were her greatest friend and I invited her to sit with me in the van whilst I changed my shoes. She told me she was envious of the heels. We chatted for a few minutes and she insisted I call to her house for coffee sometime with a view to going out together for the day perhaps. I said I would because I am always open to friendship and she lives only a couple of hundred metres from my house. I spent the rest of the day relaxing at home for there was more work to be done the following morning.
October’s first couple of weeks have been really nice, sunshine with little wind and hardly a drop of rain. I had therefore to get the hose pipe out a few times so that the garden plants didn’t wilt. You can always tell if you are not watering them frequently enough during dry spells, their leaves begin to droop. Some plants can withstand a bout of dry weather more so than others. I notice especially that the plants we have in the ‘Mound’ dry out more quickly than those on more level ground. This is the Mound for those new to my blog
There are three Rhododendron shrubs in it now and the one you can see near the top centre gives a good indication when the soil is getting too dry. By the way the potted plants you see along the front were mostly planted in the Mound the day after this picture was taken earlier in the year. On Sunday morning I drove to the local garden centre to purchase three more small shrubs which I subsequently planted in the flowerbed on the left which is out of sight in the picture. It is the flowerbed which is adjacent to the Patio on its right-hand-side. The picture below shows it when I was still in the process of redesigning it. More plants have been put there since. The intention is to fill in some of the open spaces with shrubs which in turn will offer more protection to the more sensitive of the plants during the colder months, basically acting as wind-breaks. We have some semi-tropical plants in the flowerbed which although can withstand a degree of cold they suffer in biting cold winds. So after lunch on Sunday I took advantage of the still bright and sunny day and sat a while on the patio. As there was little wind the patio was a sun trap and it was remarkably warm and pleasant to sit there. At this time of year we have to wait until around twelve-thirty before the sun shines again on the left of the house and for the area alongside the house on that side it is the first time in the day the sun can shine there. During the Summer the sun’s rays can reach the area from the rear of the house early in the day though for a brief spell around lunch time the area is in the shadow of the house. The house faces south south-west.Anyway clouds began to drift across the sky and after an hour it was too cool to sit outside in what I was wearing as the sun now was hidden. I decided to give in and go indoors. I also put on some warmer clothing which will be the norm now for a few months. During the warmer months I go bare-legged but last week saw me wearing my stockings for the first time since Spring. On Saturday I took a look at the lawn and it was completely covered in fallen leaves. E has a mains-powered leaf vacuum cleaner/shredder and I decided to get it out of its box and try it out. However, I noticed another vacuum cleaner in an open box above it so that is the one I used. I am not sure whether the two machines belong to E or if one belongs to my son. She has all sorts of equipment I know nothing about unless she tells me. I remember struggling to cut some timber for a picture rail in the bedroom we refurbished a few months ago when she finally let me know she had a power-driven saw for the job! The problem with the leaf vacuum is that it is powerful (1500 watts) and it tends to pull its suction tube to the ground when in use. I think a small wheel on either side of the large tube would be an excellent way to hold the tube just enough from the ground to allow the leaves in without it trying to suck in the ground too! It would make using the tool far easier too as it could be pulled along without effort. I don’t know why the designers haven’t thought of it, though in this picture of another model they have them on its transporter truck.
I think I was wasting my time for by Sunday the leaf clutter was back and there was more of them. I shall put off doing a complete clean-up until there are no more leaves left to drop. I usually wait until the wind has blown most of them away but that won’t be until late November.
Sunday started dull after an overnight soaking but the rain had ceased though it was still cloudy and cool. It wasn’t until noon when the sun finally took over and we had wall-to-wall sunshine for a few hours. It was just about bearable out on the patio for there was a bit of a breeze blowing. More rain was promised for the evening and overnight into Monday. I was hoping it wouldn’t be as bad as the forecast because I had some outside electrical work to do for someone in the next town. If the weather was too bad I would have to reschedule for the following day which promised to be drier and less windy. It’s the way it goes in my line of work though I have to say I tend to do less outside work these days. At the time of writing I am expecting the delivery of the lamp-post I purchased but I am not sure which of the two days it will arrive, Monday or Tuesday. I am eager to know how to secure it to the concrete base I have made. It may be that it requires to be set in a hole in which case I will have to dig out that hole in the concrete. What I have already laid isn’t that thick in-depth so it can be dug out fairly easily and even so I had planned to add to its depth anyway before the post was fitted. There is other work to be done on that project which is to connect into the existing power circuit on the patio. That shouldn’t take long now that I have decided how to arrange things. I was looking at the flag we have flying at the front of the house and it is beginning to wear away at the edge away from the pole. I am not sure how much longer it will b e before it needs replacing but I plan to purchase another soon anyway. As I write I am feeling much better after the two days of enforced rest! I forget sometimes that I should be taking life a little easier but not too much. I think it better to be tired from work rather than be tired of it. Once I get tired of it I will be tired of life itself and I cannot see that being the case for me. Today is a nice day (Sunday), but every day is a nice day in which to live.
I was totally out of the game on Saturday, wanting to do something but not having the inclination I remained seated most of the day. That is very unusual for me because I get so bored doing that. My guitar was given more attention than it usually gets and I find playing about on it very enjoyable but I can’t spend all day playing a guitar. So the day in one respect was a little wasted but then again it gave me the chance to relax. I have been so busy lately so a little rest from things does no harm. I would be getting a double dose of that as I do very little on Sundays too. I had work scheduled for Monday and the prospect of the delivery of the lamp-post I had purchased gave me something to do when it arrived. I could have spent dome time in the garden on Saturday but my heart just wasn’t in it. The lawn could have done with a cut and perhaps should have been because the green wastewheelie bins were due to be emptied on Monday. As I write this late on Saturday afternoon I may find myself cutting it tomorrow but if I don’t and decide to do it later the cuttings can be put in the compost bin instead. We have two green waste bins and during the warmer months they get emptied fortnightly. We discovered that only having one became a problem due to the amount of natural waste we collect from our gardens. It is the same for our other recyclable waste bins for paper, plastic and metal cans, we need two of them. This is because of the huge amount we seem to collect over the two-week period between collections. The land-fill or non-recyclable waste we now produce therefore has dropped dramatically as a result and that one bin though scheduled to be emptied every two weeks too we only put out once every month and even then it is seldom half-full. Funny how things work out for as I am writing this I am now finding the urge to get out and do something…
……………but I am not going to……..I am taking the rest that people are always telling me I should!
As usual I rest on Sundays, that is I rest from the work, my usual occupation throughout the week I might do other things instead but I wouldn’t call them work, more like hobbies or leisure activities. Mowing the lawn could be an example, it is basically going for a walk whilst pushing a mower! Seriously though I would count baking or cooking meals not really work unless they were a part of my normal work during the week. If for example I were a chef or cook or ran a bakery business I would consider doing the same things on Sunday to be work and not leisure. So it was I found myself gazing out of the kitchen window and looking around the garden and wondering what I could be doing with the day. Work wasn’t an option. I had been cooking fresh pears and preparing a meal and was washing the crockery and pans by hand as I usually do . Although we have a dishwasher I seldom use it. I started thinking about baking cakes, something I had been doing a lot of through the colder months, more of a comforting pleasure than anything else. Sunday wasn’t a particularly warm and sunny day though it wasn’t cold, it was the wind which made being outside less inviting. It felt more like Autumn than Summer and staying indoors was at times preferable. Usually I don’t bake much during the warmer months but I decided whilst the midday weather was trying to improve I would bake a cake. However I changed my mind and took the easier option of baking some scones instead. I hadn’t lost the touch but still had to refer to the cookery book to remind myself of quantities and temperatures. If I am baking often naturally I remember how much of each ingredient to use though even so I have to double-up as I tend to make twice the number of scones or make a cake twice the size. I had one of the scones soon after they were baked and just as E entered the kitchen. Funny how she turns up when the baking is done but then I do bake nice things.
I went to bed rather tired after the day I’d had on Saturday working in the garden. After a really good night’s sleep I planned to have a very relaxing Sunday. I wasn’t prepared for the stiffness in my body and the lack of strength in my legs and for a while I wasn’t able to get out of bed. When I did make the move it was painful and I struggled to move. It was difficult just trying to stand erect. Now I expect a little stiffness and a few aches after hard work and it usually happens the next day so in that respect I wasn’t surprised. I did my neck exercises in case I had problems with a trapped nerve again. It wasn’t so long ago I had that problem. However the neck exercises had a limited effect and I put it down to simple muscular pain from working. As the day wore on things did improve eventually. It is so debilitating not being able to just do the simplest of tasks without difficulty. The aches and pains from hard work I am used to and if I have been working that extra bit harder I expect them but it is the trapped nerve which can be more of a problem. The only recourse I have is to exercise my neck and to not place too much strain into whatever I happen to be doing. It could be that I have been working at too fast a pace and not taking things more slowly or that I often don’t take a break now and then. The odd thing is that on Saturday I did take things slowly and at a leisurely pace so perhaps I just over-stretched myself. I know I didn’t take a break as I should have. My main problem is myself, I don’t know how to work slowly! The restrictions caused by age keep knocking at my door but I try my best not to let them get the better of me. You know what they say, use it or lose it and keep moving less you seize-up! It seems I can still seize-up whether or not I adhere to those principles. Doing nothing isn’t an option, in fact that would be disastrous for I probably would turn into a statue if motionless for too long. Exercise is never a bad thing but I suppose too much of anything cannot be good either. Maybe I should do stretching exercises before manual work as I used to do before going for a run? I might give that a try next time, it can’t be a bad thing.
For someone who is supposed to be semi-retired I have been very busy with my electrical work during the week gone by. It is now Monday and I am wondering what the new week has in store for me regarding electrical work. Most of the jobs I do these days are small though occasionally I will get several ‘small’ jobs to do at the same address! This happened twice last week. I get tired if I do too much especially when the weather is warm as it has been for some time now. The heat drains my energy and that is why I prefer cooler weather if I am working. Our little decorating project in the top room came to a grinding halt more than a week ago because the weather has been too nice to remain indoors. There is little to do up there anyway, a couple of hours painting over a couple of days and some other small jobs to do will see it finished as far as our involvement goes. Once the carpet has been fitted there will be nothing left to do. The weather can’t remain fine and sunny forever can it? On the days I haven’t been working away from home E and I have been busy in the gardens, mostly removing plants or planting new ones (see previous posts). On Thursday afternoon whilst E was out shopping I removed two plants from one of the two smaller flowerbeds I had constructed on the patio last Autumn. We had purchased what we thought would be small and slow-growing plants when we first populated the beds. Some of the plants are Cyclamens which don’t grow fast or large as well as another variety which likewise remains small but one other variety does. I don’t know its name. The plant in the picture below is of course a Cyclamen.
We weren’t aware of this when we purchased them but this season two of them grew so large they were blocking out the other plants. This only happened in one of the flowerbeds for in the other bed these particular plants did not survive and did not grow at all. I removed the two plants to a position beneath the apple trees near to the greenhouses further along in the same bed as the new Dahlias and Scented Lily we had planted a week or so ago. They survived the move as they had fully developed root balls which were not disturbed during the process. The thing about gardening is that there is always something to do all year round but especially in the growing seasons. In the unlikely event I don’t get any electrical work whatsoever you can be sure I will find work in the gardens and if it is raining I will be working indoors, if I am up to it!