There is no-one who does good in this world (Psalm 14:3 All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one). Oh there are those who some consider to be good because of what they have done but that compliment is based upon human views. Even the person whom we may consider being good falls short of the mark in the eyes of God. That aside I think we can safely say that there are quite a few bad people in this world. Maybe you have met with some of them in your corner of the world? Probably. Most people might be considered upright, honest and trustworthy and have good moral standing in our eyes but we all know there are some who are not. These will be deceitful, selfish, scheming and dishonest and I’ll wager many of us will know some like that closer to home. The good and the bad are usually easy to discern, eventually anyway but the ugly may not be.
The Good, the Bad, the Ugly (album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When I say ugly I am not referring to someone who is not as good-looking as others or who has the misfortune not to appear physically attractive; no, I am referring to one who has personality problems. The ugly person is the one who speaks ill of others where there is no justification, the one who speaks in whispers to another about someone else. Perhaps they do it through jealousy or hatred or because the person holds a differing point of view. Perhaps it is racially motivated, perhaps it is homo-phobic or based upon fear. Perhaps they are simply bullies. Whatever the reason the ugly person is the nastiest of them all. Theirs is a life intent on making someone else’s life a misery. I have met a few ‘ugly’ people like this over the years and I’m certain I am not alone. The problem the ugly person thinks their target has is actually a problem they have themselves but they cannot see that. When we were young my siblings and I were always taught that it is rude to whisper (about someone else) but I know I have not always adhered to the teaching in the past. It isn’t nice to be obviously whispering about someone in their presence and it certainly isn’t nice to be on the receiving end of such behaviour is it? Jesus said ‘Love one another’ and to do that we must begin by looking inward to our own hearts. Treat others as you would like them to treat you, with respect. It doesn’t matter who or what they are, you don’t have to ‘like’ them…..just love them. Don’t be an ugly person for the chip on your shoulder will become a heavy burden and you will crumble beneath the weight.
Coldplay performing “God Put a Smile upon Your Face” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I was out walking a few days ago and as is my want sometimes I took to the back streets and walked into town. I was passing through though and not going there to buy anything. Like ‘Dutch’ in ‘Predator’ who said after being shot and bleeding, ‘I ain’t got time to bleed’, well I ain’t got time for shopping! Actually I do sometimes but not this time. I like to chat with people I meet on my walkabout and it is usually me who breaks the ice. When once I used to be very much the introvert the opposite is now more who I am. There are a few reasons for that change. The first change of attitude was instigated by myself when I took the bull by the horns as it were and forced myself into having a social life in my mid-twenties. Yes I have to admit to being very anti-social before then. All this can be found in my ‘pages’ above. This action led to my having relationships which before had been foreign to me. The second influence to my becoming more extroverted happened in my time at church. I began attending a church long before I became a Christian it has to be said and later after becoming a Christian I became more involved with church life. I began to teach myself to play guitar and that led me to join the band , often leading the congregation in worship. Such confidence had been unheard of in my early years. I am what you might call a gregarious person who makes the attempt to get along with anyone I meet. It is often not reciprocated though for some reason. Perhaps the other person is finding it hard to socialise too. I am usually found with a smile on my face most of the time, a smile is a great tool to have in one’s armoury but it cannot be worn with a frown. So there I was walking the back streets and along the way I heard two elderly women talking rather loudly for me to have heard what they were saying from where I was. I heard one say to the other ‘Well I am 84….’ as they both turned to look at who was passing by. I immediately gave them a big smile and said ‘Well I am 71’ and they started to laugh. ‘You don’t look it’ said the 84 year-old, you’ve got quite a bonnie face. Well I’ve ben called many things but not a bonnie face. I continued to smile as I walked away from them. The 84 year-old shouted, ‘Bye, bonnie face, see you again soon’. It kind of made my day. I wished all people were as friendly but we all know that is just not the case.
It had been quite a pleasant weekend with plenty of sunshine but we could see the weather was about to change as had been forecast. It was now early evening on Sunday, the sun was still shining and what clouds there were numbered few. There had been more clouds during the late afternoon however and soon they would return. I was relaxing in front of the television when our next-door neighbour called asking me if I would check out her twin floodlight at the rear of the house as one of the lamps had been flickering. It was getting late, it was Sunday so I explained that I would have a look on Monday morning. I did ask why she hadn’t called a day or so earlier when the weather was fine because rain was forecast to fall on and off for the next few days. She asked if I would call later in the morning as she didn’t arise until after eight-thirty. No problem but when I looked out of the window the following morning around nine o’clock I assumed that she had gone out in her car! I thought this because her gate was open and her son presumably was fast asleep which meant his vehicle was still parked at the house. Why did I think he was in bed? I had to go into the rear garden and I noticed all my neighbour’s upstairs curtains were still closed. Soon after I had eaten my breakfast at nine-twenty I saw a very large branch had snapped off the huge lime tree that stands in the garden at the rear of ours. It is forever losing small twigs and branches and is becoming rather a nuisance. Fortunately its own branches had broken the fall of the one that had landed in our garden and there was no damage to the plants along where it fell. I had to get rid of it. Unfortunately I had been that intent on removing it I neglected to take a picture but here is one of the offending tree taken soon afterward. Click on image.
As you can see it dwarfs all the other trees except maybe the sycamores growing around it. It took me some time to heave it all over the wall to rest with the numerous other branches we have had to throw there in the past. The owners of the lime tree do very little in regard to maintaining that corner of their garden and accordingly it is overgrown and in an awful state. They are the same family we had to inform about the Japanese Knot-weed they had growing just the other side of the dividing wall between us. They take little interest in their garden. So, as I was returning to them what was rightfully theirs it began to pour down with rain. Well thanks very much but hey it is only water! I returned indoors to dry off and write this post. Well now it appears her son (a police officer) had gone to work at six-thirty and had forgotten to open his curtains. I only know this because I called my neighbour to explain why I hadn’t called to check her floodlights and of course she was at home. We chatted a while and she told me the floodlight was now behaving itself! I will still check it out sometime when it stops raining. She was telling me about the price it would cost her to have the outside walls of her house painted again, around £3000. Her husband when he was alive used to do it every five years. I told her I didn’t think it needed painting (it doesn’t). A little time later she called back and asked if I did painting! What a cheeky neighbour I have. I pointed out that no, I do not paint the outside of houses on such a scale as hers is and that I am seventy-one years of age! Too old to be lugging around ladders and scaffolding, especially by myself. I think she was being cheeky to even consider asking me.
Nothing Comes Easy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Life can be so hard sometimes but it can be so easy too. Things often seem more difficult or hard to deal with than they actually warrant. We ourselves can make life’s situations more difficult but if we could just stop and think things over we might find no problem really insurmountable. In every area of our lives this is so. However, it is one thing to overcome everyday situations we feel we could not previously handle and another when it involves others. Relationships with fellow humans can be fraught with difficulties especially where there is a clash of personalities, ideas, beliefs and so on but it shouldn’t be that way. It is a matter of how much we really love the other person, do we humble ourselves and put them first even if we know they are wrong? As Christians we are told to love one another, to love our neighbour (which is everyone else living on the planet) and in doing so honouring Christ. It doesn’t always work that way as anyone will tell you. I was watching a television program whilst waiting for another program to begin and it was called ‘Nightmare neighbour next door’. Many in the UK will probably have watched it themselves. The title is somewhat self-explanatory but in essence it reports relationships about people living next to each other who for one of many reasons just don’t get on with each other. Often the friction is one-sided and often it is based upon trivial concerns. As outsiders we can see the whole story and the stubbornness of people who simply cannot see their way to make an effort to resolve their differences. It is about love and putting others before ourselves but at the same time we shouldn’t simply let others take advantage. Being humble doesn’t mean being servile. Whilst watching one incident between two neighbours it seemed obvious that only one of them, a woman, was the source of the problems between them. The guy who lived next door had to put up with her unbelievably bad behaviour and for some time until one day he took complete control just using words. At this point I fell about with laughter at what he had said. Leaning over the wall which separated them he calmly said to her face ‘God you are ugly’ and then walked away. He had no further problems from that day forth. Now I wouldn’t advocate being verbally abusive to anyone but I had to admit he had made his hard life a lot easier with just a few words.
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.
Break All Day! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Things don’t often go the way I hope they will for me though if I made the effort……….well we can all say that can’t we? Sometimes even after making the effort things don’t work out either do they? It was a fine though rather cold day on Sunday, a day for relaxing indoors or going out wrapped-up for a walk. I did both and more. There was no hurry to get up early though I did and after breakfast whilst on the computer I switched on the television, not to watch a program but to listen to music through YouTube. I suppose I could have listened via my computer on a separate tab but the television can connect to the Internet and the sound quality or rather the volume would be better. Although the computer sound is of the best quality the volume settings are limited unless auxiliary speakers are used. Anyway I listened to the songs listed in ‘my favourites’ folder for an hour. The only drawback in using the television to play YouTube is in controlling the functions with the television’s remote control, it is slower. I suppose one day remote controls with have a touch pad on them for easier use. I think that would be a great idea. After an hour I made myself ready to go out but not directly for a walk. I drove to the pub and parked my vehicle and from there I went for a walk. An hour later I arrived back at the pub, went to the vehicle and changed my shoes before going into the pub for my lunch. Yes, I dined there again for a change! There were surprisingly few people in there but a half-hour later that all changed and it was full. I had hoped I would see a few acquaintances there to chat with but the only ones I knew, four men, were doing that man thing, sitting around a table drinking beer and chatting about football and work! Who wants to sit in a pub talking about work? Anyway they were too engrossed in themselves to take much notice of me. I was a little disappointed that no-one else I knew came in after sitting there for a couple of hours hoping someone might. I decided to drive home and be bored there instead! Funny thing is I knew there would be people I know in the pub later in the day and evening and I had half a mind to return but didn’t bother. Maybe I was thinking it a waste of time and that I might be disappointed again to find no-one there. I knew I should have returned but I also knew there would be other opportunities too.
Woman wearing silky nylon-stockings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The job I had ideas of going on to following my work on Thursday I actually did on Friday. I had thought the better of it and decided I didn’t want to work all day as I keep promising myself. As it turned out the work on Friday took longer than I thought it might. It was to install four replacement ceiling fittings and carry out repairs to a wall switch’s fixings. Usually this work I would have completed in say an hour and a half but I was there for twice that time. All four fittings had proved difficult and two of them required alterations before I could install them. Two other things served to prolong the work, one was that the woman in the house wanted to chat too much which proved somewhat of a distraction and she was very meticulous in ensuring that everything and I mean everything had to be covered before I could do anything. I understood why she was being so fussy. She had recently finished decorating the whole house and had new carpets everywhere but not dark-coloured, they were all of a cream colour and would easily stain or show any dirt upon them. When I walked through the front door I immediately removed my shoes even before she spoke. She offered me a pair of slip-on slippers to use but I found them difficult when climbing the step-ladder so I opted to walk about bare-footed except for my nylon stockings. At first I though she was simply protecting her new carpets but it turned out she was protecting everything in the house, the tables and chairs too! I think she was relieved that I was treating her possessions and furnishings with respect as I do in anyone’s house in which I am working. Even so I thought she was being over-protective. When it came to the wall switch I could sense her uneasiness as I began to repair it. The problem was more with the metal box sunk into the plaster and bricks which lacked any fixing screw holes by which the switch is secured. Although the wiring was relatively new (within the last twenty years or so) whoever had done it hadn’t installed a new metal box and the old one dating to around fifty or more years ago could not accommodate a modern switch without a special internal bracket which was missing. Fortunately I could use one of the box’s pre-screwed holes in its base and fix the other side of the switch by drilling the wall alongside the switch box and securing it with a wall plug and screw. The alternative would have been to remove the old box and fit a new one but that would have made a terrible mess of the decorations in the process. Her relieved expression after she had seen my handiwork was priceless. There was not the slightest mess to be seen and her decorations had been left intact. The truth of the matter is she should have had the electrical work done before decorating and laying new carpets. Now she wants me to do other work at a later date. I must be doing something right!
It Ain’t My Fault (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Was I going to get Friday (9th) all to myself? Well sort of. I managed a little bit of a lie-in for a change though even then I was up and dressed well before eight-thirty. I had no work so I decided I would walk into town and deposit some more cash at the bank before it started to burn a hole in my purse! I had just finished breakfast when someone called to ask if I could check why their shower wasn’t working. I was free so I agreed to drive there and sort out the problem. The drive took me to another town which doesn’t have a branch outlet of my bank so I would have to wait until I could drive back home before making my deposit. The fault with the shower lay in the ceiling pull-switch which had jammed open, an unrepairable internal fault meant it would need replacing. I carry several types of switches in my van stock so I was able to effect an immediate replacement and was soon driving back to my own town. I parked the van in the same road I always park in when I have to visit the town centre but only wish to walk part-way there. The bank uses machines for making deposits so I took out the bank notes and placed them into the receptacle for the machine to count and verify them but half were rejected as being unrecognisable! They were all twenty pound notes £500 worth. I walked over to the girl at the help desk and she tried them in another machine with success. I could have done the same thing myself but at the time no other machine was available and I had thought that maybe there was an actual problem with some of the notes and perhaps they were forgeries. It wasn’t my fault was it? It would be quite possible after all for my customers pay in cash (I won’t accept cheques) and who knows where they got them from? There are forgeries at large. Anyway all was put right and the deposit was made. Now I have known this ‘girl’ for quite a few years but actually she is a middle-aged woman. We took a little time to catch up with each other’s news. She told me she was dreading the introduction of tablets for the staff to use when assisting customers. We ended up chatting about technology and the way it is beginning to take over our lives. She and I are both of the same opinion it seems for we both hate it, technology that is. I mentioned ‘the sign of the end times’ when nobody would be able to purchase anything or conduct any business unless they had on them the mark of the beast (which is metaphorically 666). In other words if we haven’t fallen in line with the ‘system’ we will be outcasts. On the other hand God says that whoever has the mark of the beast upon them will be cast out of His presence too. People may not see the future but future has its beginnings in the present. She actually informed me that it is planned that access to banking facilities will one day all be carried out on a smart phone to which I replied, ‘What if you haven’t got or don’t want a smart phone’? Get my drift? We also chatted about Christmas and the hype that surrounds it nowadays. It is surprising what you can chat about in five minutes isn’t it? I had to let her get back to her work but not until she had provided me with the bank’s contact number for their special services. I had told her that I wasn’t impressed with the bank having closed their branch in my village for it meant an inconveniently long trek into town to make deposits. On my way back through town to collect my vehicle I walked through the high street church grounds as they are open to the public and was approached by a lady running the church stall outside the church building. She wanted to know if I had ever used their cáfe to which I replied I had. She wanted to press upon me a couple of tickets for free drinks but I refused them. She then mentioned something about Christmas but I told her that although I was a Christian too I didn’t celebrate it. She was taken a little aback at that while I continued to say that nothing that was on her display, Christmas tree, decorations, wreaths etc. had anything to do with Christ, it was all heathen symbolism. She didn’t have a reply as I bade her farewell. Maybe she (a sister in Christ) will have something to think about in the weeks ahead. When I returned home I phoned the number I was given in the bank and I was able to register to have the branch of the Post Office in my village receive deposits on behalf of my bank. They will send me a book of deposit slips which I will receive in due course. It will mean I will no longer have to walk all the way into town just to put money in the bank. After lunch I received two calls for my electrical services, one I took on board but the other I rejected as it would involve too much work. The one I took on was for another of my regular customers and I would do that work on Saturday morning. I wanted to accommodate them by working on a Saturday because they had a very busy schedule ahead of them. It would be nice to see them again anyway. After their call I drove off to the electrical supplier to purchase a few items and that about summed up the day.
We are experiencing rather unusual weather here in the UK. Tuesday was a cold and frosty day but on Wednesday that changed when the temperature rose where I live to around 12 deg C. As I write this on Thursday the temperature is around 14 deg C. Most unusual weather for December when the temperature should be around half that. The wind is from the south which explains the higher temperatures but according to the forecast it will veer from the west soon and the weather will become more unsettled and probably cooler.
Houseboat One of the many unusual houseboats on the south of the River Adur. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
On Thursday morning I was called upon to do an electrical job in a village some twelve miles or more away from home in a house I had worked in on a few occasions in the past. The people living there are quite unusual, that is a little odd, well to me they are. The children have long-since left the nest and now three people live there, the husband, his wife and her mother. The mother is 87 years old but doesn’t look it, in fact she doesn’t act it either! A bit like myself, ahem! The couple are slightly younger than myself and in their mid-sixties. They are nice people and very friendly, a little too friendly if one isn’t used to that when at work. When I arrived I was greeted by the husband, a rather effeminate and slightly built man who has a timid disposition which seems out of character for a man. His wife was too eager to please and she has an apologetic nature. When I entered the house she came over, hugged me and kissed me on the cheek. She told me how much she had missed me since my last visit which was in fact more than four years ago. I had only driven there to assess what was needed for the job, replacing recessed lights in a bathroom with LED versions, so that I could go and purchase them. I would then return immediately afterward to install them. She insisted I have a coffee whilst telling me there was no hurry to get the work done. Whilst I was away from the house buying the lights the husband went out too. On my return I set about doing the work and soon after he returned with all the weekly shopping. It appears he wears the skirts and has taken it upon himself to do the shopping every week whilst his wife stays at home! I had nearly finished the work when they both left the house seemingly to dine out judging by the way they were dressed. The mother remained at home to clean the house. I had been paid before they left but I had one other small job to do for them, drill the wall in the hallway and hang a mirror! The man had told me he was useless at DIY and I thought to myself why am I not surprised?…………
REPORT FAULTY WIRING – ELECTRICAL FIRES ARE HARD TO CONTROL – NARA – 515301 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I had one job to do on Monday morning. A lady had called me on Sunday to ask me to check out a few small problems with her electrical installation, faulty or missing lights and fittings and one or two switches. Basically minor repairs. I made arrangements to turn up the following morning to not only assess what needed to be done but to do it at the same time. That was the understanding for I almost never drive to a job just to look at it because that is a waste of my time. I usually discuss on the phone and then give a rough estimate as to the likely cost. Most people are happy with that arrangement because they know that one, I will turn up as promised and two, I will do the work on the same visit. If they request me to call on a specific day I am usually able to oblige so that everyone is happy with the arrangement. Some people however, though they are few, will insist I visit and give estimates then they use another electrician having wasted my time in the process. I am experienced enough to give reasonably accurate telephone estimates. Now this lady knew I was going to arrive as we had agreed but then as I arrived and on time things began to change. First of all she began by explaining why she wanted the work doing. She had been away from home for three or four months and had let the house to her niece and her husband. The house was untidy and as I walked over some of the mess she explained that the police had broken into the house because her niece had been trapped in there. Some cover story if ever I heard one. Probably the police were there to arrest someone would be a more plausible explanation but I said nothing. As we moved toward the staircase to go upstairs she turned and said that she didn’t expect the work to be done immediately and could I arrange to do it at some other time? She had gotten me there under false pretenses after we had arranged that I would assess and do the work at the same time. I understand that some folk cannot afford to have the work done straight away but they shouldn’t agree then change their minds once I get there. I decided to walk away from the work and I told the lady that I wasn’t going to have people wasting my time as she was doing. I am not desperate for work that I should be at the beck and call of time-wasters. Nice start to the week. Fortunately I had only travelled less than three miles to get there. I telephoned my local pharmacy to see if they had my prescription ready for collection so that I could collect them on my way back home. They were ready for collection. I hadn’t expected them to be ready until Tuesday so that meant the morning hadn’t been a complete waste of time after all.
Raining Pleasure (EP) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Well it didn’t know what to do on Saturday, one minute it was raining and the next the sun was shining. These are the kind of days I like the least, I want to know if it is going to be wet or dry, not wet and dry! If I’ve to do any work outdoors it is essential it remains dry unless if wet it doesn’t affect what I am doing. At the moment I need some dry days so that I can get on with my project and it does matter if it is fine weather or not. On Saturday I was employed doing electrical work for someone else and except for installing a replacement outdoor light fitting all the work was indoors. I took the opportunity to do the outside work while it was dry. It didn’t stay dry for long though but long enough for installing the light. I seldom do electrical work at the weekend and will only work on Sunday if I consider it to be an emergency so it was unusual to find me working on a Saturday. The house was full of young women and even the dog was female and they had only moved in a week or so before from an adjacent street and wanted some replacement lights installing. Evidently their former home wasn’t as good as the one they had moved into and the mother told me that they had bought it at a knock-down price because the previous owner had many cats living there. It sounds a ridiculous reason for selling a house at a lower price I think but the buyer wasn’t complaining! I had the work all done by noon and soon found myself back home. I prepared my lunch as E left the house to drive to her once-a-month meeting of her group of hobbyists, in fact the members’ main occupation is entering competitions. I get abandoned and left to my own devices at such times….LOL. The afternoon turned out very bright and sunny, a tempting time to do some outdoor work maybe? Not a chance, I was too tired and it could still rain.
“My Two Sweethearts”. Harry Houdini (1874-1926) with his wife Beatrice (1876-1943) and mother Cecilia Steiner Weiss, half-length portrait (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It is always nice to be popular, to feel wanted and appreciated I’m sure you’ll agree. It is even nicer to know that people will actually pay you to have you around, ah but only to work for them. I can honestly say that the older I get the more offers of work I get too! Sounds ridiculous and it is but it is also true. My phone has been ringing a lot lately which means I have the opportunity to earn some money if I am inclined. I actually reject many offers but what I accept is just fine thank you very much. Earlier in the week I was doing a balancing act between my home project work and that of my electrical work. It rained on Friday as expected which put paid to working on my project but I was fortunate to have a couple of electrical jobs to do by way of compensation. I would be doing electrical work on Saturday and on Monday too which meant the home project would remain on hold for a few more days. I am keen to carry on with the work however so I will be keeping an eye on the weather outlook and if it is going to be fine I will put off doing any electrical work. Much of my work is received by word of mouth, happy and satisfied customers forwarding my details on to friends and family. The first job on Friday entailed various lighting repairs and the replacement of fittings for an older couple on behalf of their daughter who it seems has had a rather difficult time these past few years with health problems, divorce from a cheating husband, a special needs child and other children to look after as well as trying to hold down a job. Her parents were paying to have the work done as a surprise for her. Well the work took almost the whole morning though I did have to travel to and from the electrical supplier for materials as well. My second job was to be much simpler. A faulty twin power outlet needed replacing. there was just the one drawback, it was sited beneath the kitchen sink and over to the right high up inside the cupboard with the only access through the opening beneath the sink. There was a waste-disposal unit suspended beneath the sink which added to the difficulty in just reaching the outlet. I often think to myself who on earth would install a power outlet or any other electrical device in such an awkward position? I’ll wager even Harry Houdini would have found it difficult to reach let alone replace but replace it had to be, mind you he is remembered best for escaping from awkward situations rather than getting into them. Now I know I can squeeze myself into unusual spaces if the need arises but I had my doubts about this one. I managed the replacement after much groaning and wiggling about and told the gentleman in jest not to let it happen again. I was well-paid for my efforts though so I suppose it was worthwhile. You may remember in a recent post I wrote about the impossible access to an electrical panel beneath the stairs in a cupboard that could not be accessed because the door was too narrow and the space was filled with wine racks and other things which couldn’t be removed through the narrow doorway. The doorway must have been fitted after the space had been filled! It defies logic. Basically it is stupid.
After another full working week I was determined to take Friday off so that I could get started in earnest of my latest garden project which is to vamp up the are we now lovingly call the plot. If you’ve read my earlier posts you will know what I am writing about. Not only was I hoping to mix and lay the concrete topping on the footings for the proposed walls I wish to build but I was hoping the weather would stay fine as Thursday was a day of wind and rain. Friday as it turned out presented the ideal conditions for the work I was to do. I always expect phone calls when I am in the middle of doing something and Friday morning while I was working I got one. It was from an old lady who was desperate to have her doorbell circuit working as it had gone faulty. She could hear the concrete mixer in action and apologised for interrupting me. I explained that if she wanted me to do the work it would have to be later in the afternoon. She was insistent that I should pay her a visit but I will explain more further in this post. It takes some time to get organised when doing building work. First I had to get out the mixer and it’s stand and take them near to where I was working. There is a power outlet on the wall just beyond the bench in this picture where I could plug the mixer lead into. This picture was taken a couple of years ago before I carried out the alterations to the patio. Then I had to fetch the gravel, sand and cement. The cement is stored in the cellar room where the boiler is located in order to keep it dry. Fortunately that room is the one whose door leads directly into the garden. The other building materials are kept in the main garage. Finally I gathered all the tools I would need, brush, shovel, spades, wheelbarrow, hose pipe and such things as a spirit level and timber. I had to construct a wooden retaining wall before I could pour any concrete but it didn’t need to be anything fancy which was just as well for I had only off-cuts of various timbers anyway. It took two full mixer loads and another half load to finish the work. As you might have noticed the sun was about to shine down on the plot from the south. It was one o’clock. It would shine down for a further four hours or more on the plot and the patio next to it. I cleared everything away to return indoors for lunch at one-thirty. I went to fix the lady’s doorbell circuit a little after two o’clock. I was greeted by herself and a gentleman friend. He was evidently just that, her friend. Her husband had passed away within the last two years and I could see that she would be helpless without her friend. Why do I say that? She was what you might call highly strung and excitable, she was also very nervous and inattentive to anything I said regarding the fault. The bell itself hung in the hallway and three door push switches controlled it, one at the rear of the house and two at the front. It was the two at the front which didn’t work. I had to replace one of them. I traced the fault to a joint beneath the carpet and in the corner of the door frame. I had to roll back the carpet and remove the carpet grippers to get at it. Awkward wasn’t in it and one of the wires was extremely short! Somehow I got them all reconnected and everything was fine. The reason she had insisted the work be done immediately was because as she explained she was expecting a friend travelling up from Shropshire to visit for a few days! I couldn’t see the connection but as I explained, she was rather highly strung. She was overjoyed that I had taken the time from my day off to do her job though.
Fluorescent lamp with slim fluorescent light bulb, F8T5, with body (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I found myself working in a house not three-quarters of a mile from home on Tuesday. I have worked in this house on several occasions in the past so I guess I must have been doing something right. Originally there were two living there but the lady’s husband had sadly died around three years ago. She had told me on my last visit probably a year later but I had forgotten. When I asked where her husband was she reminded me that she had told me then. I felt awful for having forgotten but she had an understanding heart. My work was to check out a faulty fluorescent light fitting with a view to repairing it. However when I saw it I had to tell her that Noah had thrown a similar one away! It looked as if it was one of the first ones ever designed, spare parts would definitely not be available and even if they were their cost would probably be more than a replacement modern fitting. It had been painted over so many times that it was difficult to locate the screws holding on the cover. It was a design whereby the base unit containing the electrical equipment was fixed to the ceiling and the cover was fixed beneath it. Modern units though similar have all the components inside a box structure with a simple lid cover to hide them. I wasn’t about to suggest she replaced the light with a modern version but to purchase an LED version which looks identical. In this type there are no components within the unit, it is an empty shell apart from the connector for the house wiring to connect to. The ‘controls’ are all inside the lamp itself and they weigh so little you wouldn’t know. If the unit fails only the lamp itself needs to be replaced, Much easier and cheaper with the added bonus that running the light will be far cheaper too! I drove off to purchase one and returned thirty minutes later. Only one snag threatened the fitting of the replacement and that was the fact that the house lighting installation had no earthing conductor, which meant it had been wired pre-1966 when the then new regulations insisted there be one. It is old and way overdue for a rewire but that would have been impractical for the lady who was in her mid-seventies and living on a pension. I had to locate a suitable earthing point and fortunately there was a power outlet in the room above where I would have to connect to. This was the only recourse possible and although under normal circumstances it would not be done that way it was the only solution available. When and if the house is rewired it will be done differently of course. For so many years the old fitting was in use without the safety of an earthing conductor therefore whoever had installed it was wrong in doing so. The lady was well pleased with the outcome and was chatty with me throughout my visit talking about my house and gardens. She was a keen gardener and very knowledgeable on the subject. She had to visit a cash-point to pay me so I offered to take her as I needed to verify a new debit card anyway that had just been sent to me and to do that I needed to use it in a machine. I had invited her to come to see my house and gardens if she wasn’t too busy or had other plans but she jumped at the chance. On our arrival at my house she could name all the plants I had put there and how to look after each type. We went indoors and I showed her around part of the house and then we went into the cellars and out into the rear garden. Well she was in her element and took delight in the various plants and layout we have worked so hard to make possible. Again she mentioned how to look after the different plants and I think she was well impressed with our achievements. We returned indoors and out to the van. I drove her homeward but she wanted to stop in the village to do some shopping instead. She went shopping and I returned home. A really nice lady.
Peace, peace, peace.
We Come in Peace with a Message of Love (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I very seldom if ever write about my personal relationships in my posts though I have been more open in my personal pages above regarding such things. It is hard for me to do so now. Life can be so difficult at times. Stressful situations, personal relationships, financial problems, poor health, irritating neighbours and many more can all have a detrimental effect upon us. As a Christian I am called to rise above these things yet I may still have to deal with them, in fact being a Christian does not mean I will never be affected by them or that they will somehow magically disappear, they won’t. Our difficulties arise when we don’t know how to deal with them. Fellow Christians will say things like, ‘Trust in The Lord’, ‘Lay all your burdens at His feet’, and they would be quite right but we have to meet Him half-way. We have to do our bit too. If we approach things in the right way and trust in The Lord’s guidance we will overcome. Sometimes though no matter what we do it doesn’t seem to work, at least as we thought it should and that is the point, not everything is going to work out the way we want it or expect it to do. Good friends give good advice. We’ve all heard the saying, ‘Some people will never change’, yet we often continue attempting to persuade them. This has been especially true in my own situation. My ex, ‘E’, is a prime example. Over the years (forty-four) I have known her she has been stubborn. We used to go to church together at one point but her heart wasn’t in it. She always blamed her mom for ‘forcing’ her to attend church when younger and that is why she says she doesn’t believe in God. Many times I have witnessed to her but the main way was by example, showing love, being tolerant and understanding and not putting her under pressure. Nothing worked and still doesn’t. I have to live with her and it can be so difficult. I could have left her, deserted her and left her to her own devices but because of my love and concern I persevered. I still persevere and will continue to do so until I die though she may never change. Aside from her beliefs just living together is sometimes problematical for me as I am very often not treated well by her even though I treat her with love and respect and we end up not speaking. Usually it is because of her stubborn refusal to apologise for her behaviour toward me when she is in the wrong. My friend tries to cheer me up and she tells me not to let E’s behaviour affect my own peace and happiness but that is so hard to do. I get knocked down but I get up again and again and again. I refuse to give in to her bad behaviour yet I have to forgive her. I always forgive her but it never seems to have any effect. Sometimes I feel at my wit’s end wondering if things between us will always be this way. Unless you live with a person like E you will never really know what it is like. Leaving her isn’t an option, she needs more love.