I had it in mind to go for a long walk on Thursday morning so I went to bed a little earlier the previous night. My sleep pattern was such that it was broken and the maximum time I had sleeping at any one point in the night was three hours. I managed a total of six. I was up and dressed before six o’clock and out through the front door twenty minutes later. It was still dark. My plan was to walk along the beach to the next township, Ainsdale, a satellite part of Southport, returning homeward along the coastal road. When I arrived at the path leading down toward the beach I could only see the first few metres of it. Having trodden the route many times I didn’t find it too difficult walking in almost complete darkness. I had to find the path leading off that one which would take me to the sand. During daylight hours I had been using a different path, very muddy in places and winding all over the place but this time I actually found a more direct path, shorter and with less mud. How I missed the path in daylight but could find it easily in the dark I’ll never know. Once on the sand it was a case of simply putting one foot in front of the other for about three miles. I love walking in the gloom as it is that early in the morning and at this time of year. There was a slight off-shore breeze from the sand dunes on my left and it wasn’t warm but I was wrapped-up well. Soon I was on the coastal road walking back home. E was still in bed when I got back. I had just finished eating breakfast when she walked in the room. After cleaning my boots in the garden I went back indoors and decided to do a small job E had asked me to do days ago. It was to cut some timber to make small frames for one of her little crafting projects. It would entail cutting lots of mitres but I didn’t want to do them by hand as it would have taken ages. Out came the mitre saw
…and soon they were cut. E of course was my assistant and we had them done in minutes. Here is one of the many we prepared…..
…and what they will look like before E continues working on them
The back boards had to be cut by hand though we could have used the mitre saw. It wasn’t worth the time it would have taken to set it up. Cutting by hand was quick enough. We left-off assembling the parts for another day. It was something different to do for a change.
Or in proper English ‘Something to do’. Since completing my last domestic project I have had an uneasy time trying to find things to do. Being in the garden helps a lot for there is plenty to do there throughout the year but I don’t want to be doing gardening all of the time. The good weather has allowed me to be outdoors for much of the time and I have taken many a short walk around and about where I live. When stuck at home I get restless and there is only so much television I can take. I don’t do much reading, in fact hardly any at all unless it is something factual. I never read fiction as it bores me to tears. I am therefore a person who likes to be actively doing something. A few months ago we had one of the LED floodlights at the rear of the house go faulty and I removed the one just around the corner from it to replace it. I extended the wiring from the removed light fitting connection box to a new position further along the wall on the same side then fitted a new but smaller LED unit there.
A smaller unit at the new position is all that is required to illuminate the area in front of it. None of that is directly relevant to this post save for the fact that I didn’t discard the faulty unit at the time as I wanted to see if anything could be salvaged from it. I didn’t get the time to do it but on Friday afternoon I decided to check it out. There are only three components in these units that can turn faulty, the LED lamp, the LED driver unit and the motion detector. Usually on standard floodlights using halogen lamps it is the motion detector which fails if it isn’t the lamp itself. I wanted to see if I could use the unit as a standby plug-in portable floodlight which meant disconnecting and removing the motion detector. After much messing about I had the unit rewired as a portable floodlight but it wouldn’t work. It turned out that the original fault was the LED driver unit and not the motion detector. The floodlight couldn’t be used either with or without the motion detector unless the driver was replaced. The floodlight was returned to the storeroom until and if I decide to purchase a driver unit. An exercise in futility if ever there was one. I may decide to forget the whole idea and go for a walk now that the rain has stopped falling…………LOL
It would be another Monday morning spent at home. No electrical work for quite some time now and I am beginning to think that maybe it is time to quit. Actually I hadn’t published my advert for this week so that might explain things though I have turned down quite a number of offers these past few weeks. I am not desperate for the money the work brings me, I can manage without it. So what was I to do for the day? Well during the replacement of the faulty radiator in the small lounge a few days earlier I had to drain down the whole system and as is usual in doing that air gets trapped in the radiators and pipes. I had vented off all the trapped air in the radiators but found the towel rail in the bathroom still problematical. The picture below was taken a couple of years ago soon before the bathroom project would be finished. It shows only the lower section of the tall radiator.
It turned out that I hadn’t vented the radiator completely so that was one of the first jobs for the day. While I was in the bathroom I took the opportunity to clean out the dead flies and moths that had found their way inside the ceiling lights. Before I had made a start on venting out the air in the radiator I gave the base I had made for the stool in the small lounge to stand on another coat of paint. I placed it on top of the boiler in the cellar to dry more quickly, actually anywhere in the boiler room is warm enough as we often hang our washing in there for it to dry.
Next job was to refit the two wall lights in the small lounge after I had cleaned them up. I decided after all not to replace them with new fittings as they match with the ceiling light.
And here are the switches which control the ceiling light, the wall lights and the free-standing lights I might plug into the dedicated outlets, one of which is the new floor standing light.
The switch plate is difficult to see because it blends in with the new decor but if you click on the picture it will be easier to see. Click on all the images to magnify them.
All that and a few other things not listed before lunch at one o’clock. Now what was I to do in the afternoon?
Life at work is beginning to return to normal now for me and the work is starting to stream in. I am settling in to the new year after too much rest from the electrical side of my activity. I have been working though…..digging out unwanted plants!’ So far this year I haven’t turned down many requests though there have been a few. They are all small jobs of course , the sort many electrician’s do not take on board unless they happen to be available at the time. Most folk don’t want to wait too long for their work to be carried out and as many electricians are occupied in larger contracts I get to benefit from that. One other thing, or maybe two are that I am a woman and I also have many years experience in my work. I say these things because people who employ me tell me they employ me for those very reasons. Many older women also feel safer having a woman doing the work so I benefit in that way too. There is only one other female electrician as far as I know who operates in the same area and she is often out-of-town on large contracts. I know of only one other female electrician working in the general area but based in another town though I have not met her in person. So work has picked up. I write this on Friday afternoon whilst at the same time watching the inauguration of President Trump, a man I had doubts about when I first knew of his intentions after becoming president. Now I am not so sure about my first feelings. In any event we must allow the man to prove himself. After the ceremony and pomp he will be settling into his new role in the running of the affairs of the United States. I hope he will prove worthy of that role. We will have to wait and see.
No, not me, well not anything to do with my work! I am often surprised at the lack of understanding by many who employ me or have employed me over the years in regard to what is involved in the work I carry out for them. One of the jobs I was asked to do on Tuesday was to replace a few power outlets (sockets) with smart-looking metal ones. The main problems that can arise in carrying out this seemingly simple task range from uneven walls (when fitting thin-faced outlets with snap-on fronts), wiring behind the outlets being too short and a change in outlet design that reverses the wiring connections. Many folk think it is a straightforward thing to change one outlet for another even when the outlets are differently designed. I was faced with wiring being too short to connect the new outlets and also because the terminals on the new outlets were reversed. I had to extend the existing wires, not that easy if the space in the box is at a premium. Who would be an electrician? The real fault lies with the original installer for not leaving sufficiently long wiring to allow repairs or replacements. I managed to do the work despite finding these things. Another job at the same address was to, in the lady’s words, ‘move an existing outlet a few inches’ but without realising what I would have to do to accommodate that request. I had to chisel out for a new box and for the cable to run between the existing box and the new one. I had to remove the existing outlet and connect to the wiring before covering the now open box with a purpose-made plate. A case of having to break eggs to make the omelette, the lady must have thought I could wave a magic wand and the new outlet would appear. She had remarked that she hadn’t realised what would be involved. I take it all in my stride of course. She was however pleased with the result. When I arrived back home I had just sat down to eat lunch when a guy called me to ask if I could do some installation work for him because he was having renovations done at home and extra outlets and lights were needed. When I explained that I no longer carry out major wiring jobs because of my age he remarked that he didn’t think it would be difficult to ‘put in a few extra wires’! I remarked that it would involve chiselling out walls and lifting floorboards as well as installing the necessary cabling. I told him that at my age it would be too much for me to do. It wouldn’t really have been as I am still quite capable but I choose not to when I don’t have to.
Over the past couple of weeks my sleeping habits have been quite erratic and I found myself lying in when I ought not have done. Yes, the reason for that was because I was tired but it was at the wrong time. It’s all about routine, work and play then rest but if there is little of the former two then sleep patterns suffer. Once in a while I will set my alarm to ensure I arise early even if I have no work the following day just so I can maintain my routine. So it was that on Sunday morning the alarm had been set to go off at seven forty-five to ensure I didn’t sleep in. So what happened? I awoke at seven-thirty! That’s what usually happens with me, the alarm is really only a standby just in case. Sunday turned out to be a gloriously sunny day but it was cold. After breakfast I went for a walk but halfway through I felt I shouldn’t have, I felt tired and weary even though I’d slept well. I was in half a mind to cut the walk short. This has happened once or twice in the past but each time I dismissed the thought and carried on with the walk. It is a similar experience to those I had when I used to go running, getting through the pain barrier. I found I was beginning to enjoy the walk despite my earlier feelings of tiredness. Even so, by the time I had almost completed my walk all I wanted to do was sit down and rest. I began thinking it was due to my age or perhaps I had been doing too much lately or both those things but after a hot drink of coffee sweetened with honey I perked up. I needed nourishment. I had eaten porridge and fruit for breakfast so shouldn’t have felt hungry and in fact I wasn’t feeling hungry at all. I hadn’t taken into account that in the colder weather I might have needed more energy but on reflection I don’t think that was the problem. I think life got to me!
Later in the afternoon I was sitting in the front lounge when there was a knock on the window. I thought E had perhaps forgotten her keys for she had gone out earlier but that wouldn’t be likely, it was my eldest son who had driven over to collect some things and to have a chat. It appears he is becoming dissatisfied with his work as a police officer. He enjoys his work but the excess pressure is getting to him. He and his wife are finding it difficult to raise enough funds with which to purchase their own home and as she hasn’t a full-time job saving is minimal. He has been considering a change in career and had thoughts about qualifying as an electrician! If he can obtain his qualifications, which will be after three years under normal circumstances, he can then become self-employed. I would of course give him all the support I could by ’employing’ him. It might not happen, it is up to him, we’ll have to wait and see but he has worked with me in the past, before his university days. He is well able to do the work.
It appears that not having my advertisement published makes little difference to my receiving requests for my electrical services. To be honest though those requests have been few and I have refused more than I have accepted. To say I don’t mind would be truthful, as long as those requests are few, the occasional job breaks the boredom if I’ve nothing else to do. The weather has been a blessing, allowing me to be able to work at home outdoors but of course that won’t last. I write this on Wednesday afternoon after doing an electrical job this morning. I want to get into the garden again if not to work but at least to see if there is anything I would like to do as a project. I already have one or two things in mind which will cost me some money to do them but will keep me occupied for a little time at least. I guess I could spend a very long time out in the gardens doing something even if it is only maintenance! I wonder sometimes what makes some people tick. Here I am, almost 71 years of age still working and more especially wanting to whilst some do as little as possible, avoiding work at all costs and only wishing to collect their unemployment benefits, something I and others like me are paying for! If it were me in charge I would insist that all who are able-bodied be employed by local authorities doing anything that needs to be done before they could claim their benefits. There are many things that could be done, removing graffiti, cleaning rubbish from our streets, helping the disabled and many labour intensive duties not covered by those in full-time employment. Society it seems would rather spend our money by wasting it or just giving it away. The problem with all of this is we have too many rules and regulations which thwart efforts to use our unemployed workforce doing useful things for the society in which they live.
To be really honest I don’t worry about anything although I will be concerned if needs be. What am I talking about? My concern was that I would be bored stiff once I made the decision to retire from my electrical work but I now see that will not be the case. A few years ago my attitude toward gardening was far different from what it is now. Then I would say that I like gardens and the plants they contain but I wouldn’t like working in them save for things like mowing the lawn and raking up the Autumn leaves and only then because it was necessary. The only other option would be to live in the city without a garden. Since those days, and it wasn’t that long ago, my whole attitude to gardening has swung in the opposite direction, I actually enjoy it now! One of the main reasons for that is because E and I have two large gardens which need constant attention else they would become an unsightly eyesore. As I am doing less electrical work these days I end up with time on my hands and as I get bored easily I have to find something to do or go bonkers. Much of my time, especially in these latter years, has been spent on one domestic project or another which has kept me busy. There is always something that can be done in the house or even outside of it and the gardens too. I like to make improvements to my environment which I suppose wards off boredom. I have been doing a lot of work in both the front and rear gardens at home over the last couple of months when I have not been involved in my various domestic projects and that fact has cemented the enjoyment I now get working in them. I like the design element of gardening, planning what to do and seeing it all come about stage by stage. I get great satisfaction in seeing my efforts taking shape from the design I have in my mind. No matter what kind of work I am engaged in I see it completed already in my thoughts and I simply work to that end. Minor adjustments may be made as the work progresses but they are usually confined to detail rather than the overall plan. My latest gardening project has been to remove a couple of plants from the flowerbed adjacent to the patio which had begun to take over the plot. Apart from anything else they had become an eyesore and spoiled the appearance of the flowerbed. With a lot of hard work and determination I completed most of the transformation on Saturday. I had worked on the plot during the week and it was ready for planting so I made a couple of journeys to buy plants and bark chippings. Here is a picture taken on Sunday, the day after. It looks as though I will need to remove a little of the soil around the stone slab which runs to the rear wall as it has covered the stone in places after watering and early morning rain. I hope to spread bark to cover the exposed soil so some of the soil will have to be moved to enable that. I part-emptied my van of electrical gear and tools and my first trip was to a retail DIY store to purchase the bark, four large bags of it though I might need more later and while there I noticed there was an Oriental Lily plant in a pot which had five stems. That meant there were five bulbs, five plants and all for the price of one so I bought it together with the bark. My second trip was to the local garden centre to purchase the bulk of the plants but they were not all for the flowerbed, three were for planting in the ‘mound’ beneath the plum trees (see posts in June/July 2014) and two were to be planted in the gardens’ long flowerbed which faces the rear of the house. The remaining eight were for the flowerbed I had been working in to supplement the three large plants I had put there a couple of days prior. As for the now five Oriental Lily plants, three went into the mound and the other two went into the flowerbed away from where I had been working. There are still plenty of open spaces in the flowerbeds and the mound which need to be populated to fill them. Maybe that will be my next gardening project? I was a much nicer day for working outside on Saturday, overcast for much of the time but still 22 deg C.
Apart from the exercise I had on Tuesday I did nothing else. That exercise was in the form of two short walks, one before lunch being a trip to the bank and the other after lunch just for the walk itself. With no electrical work to do and nothing I wanted to do at home I struggled to fill my day. Wednesday was even worse, I didn’t even go for a walk. My only outing was a quick trip in my van to the Post Office and then on to the local supermarket filling station to fill up with diesel. I find I only fill up my van once a month or even less and even then the top-up isn’t usually more than half a tankful. In the morning and after many weeks collating all the information to fill out my tax return I finally got around to filling the form. The trip to the Post Office was to buy a stamp and send it off. It isn’t the form-filling I dislike, more the collating of all the information, though much of that is kept in one place. I guess I am not much into paperwork! It was only a matter of a week or two ago that I was so busy doing all sorts of things, but I like it that way, I would much rather have too much to do than nothing at all. Wednesday was a do nothing type of day only welcomed as a respite. The problem was I had nothing from which I needed a respite! I know full well that things won’t remain this way and I often wonder how people who are out of work cope with the boredom. As I write this on Wednesday afternoon I am hoping to have something to do tomorrow or I might have to start working on changing the radiator valves which I keep putting off. No doubt if I start the work offers from elsewhere will start pouring in but if that happens it won’t matter, I can manage the pressure. Once the radiator system is drained-down, which doesn’t take long, changing the valves can be done more or less at leisure. Don’t be surprised then to read that I have started that work for I can’t bear the boredom!
I have been quite busy this week with my small electrical jobs. They may be small compared to what I used to do but the remuneration makes them worthwhile doing. Of course now that I am in my seventy-first year on this planet I don’t wish to take on board more involved work even though I know I am still able. There is no need to wear myself out besides which I have plenty of things to do at home! I had two jobs to do on Wednesday morning, that is at different houses and I managed to do everything before lunch. At the second house I was asked to go next door and speak with the lady there about a job she would like me to do after the Easter break. In fact it was she who had referred me to her neighbour for whom I had just finished working. I often get recommended for work which is a good thing. I must be doing something right, I was on my way home when I got a call from a lady for whom I had worked earlier in the year. She had a burned-out power outlet and wanted it checking. It was a simple matter to replace it and made the detour. Soon I was back on the road homeward. It was by now approaching one-thirty but I didn’t need to cook a meal, I had prepared the meal the day before and it only needed heating up. After lunch I decided to do some more baking and made another Rich Fruit Cake and popped it in the oven. It would take around four and a half hours before it was done, something like eight in the evening! I had just finished cleaning the kitchen and E asked if I was going to do some painting in the bedroom. She had painted the radiator whilst I was out during the morning and had touched-up some of the gloss paint where it was needed on the woodwork she had painted a couple of weeks ago. ‘You must be joking’, I said in reply to her question, ‘I think I have done enough for one day don’t you agree’? I sometimes get the feeling she thinks I am a robot and often tell her that I am glad she isn’t my taskmaster. She would certainly make a good one! I would have more than enough time over the Easter break to do what little painting there was left to do.