I was browsing some of the posts which a couple of my readers had been viewing and in the process I found myself reading the post I had written on this day last year. That is 15 th February 2018. It had been snowing though the snow was only a dusting and didn’t last long. It melted on the concrete paths but lingered longer on the grass. By contrast today it is warm and sunny with blues skies and no snow! I had been working in the boiler room or what we now call the gym/boiler room on the refurbishment project I had set myself. I had painted the ceiling and done other work and was about to begin work on the construction of the pit which was to house the new cross-trainer we had purchased. The pit was necessary in order to give more headroom when using the trainer for the ceiling in the room and indeed all the rooms in the cellar are low. Even with the floor being about 200 cm lower than the other rooms in the cellar more headroom was required. When I look back at the work I had done I am glad it was last year and not this! So much more has happened since twelve months ago and it is fair to say I’ve been extremely busy. Although I still find things to do much of the harder work is finished (she says hopefully with tongue in cheek). It’s not that I don’t like work for I do, it’s just that I am not getting any younger and need more rest and relaxation.
This morning I went for another walk and ended up on the beach rather than just walking by it. I wanted to stay there but knew I couldn’t, there were things I needed to do at home and besides it wasn’t warm enough in the stiff cool breeze despite the sun shining. Later in the day it would become warmer, up to 12 deg C and probably better to sit in out on the patio away from the wind. I was going to take the day off and get that rest and relaxation.
Going to bed at almost ten in the evening had been a very unusual habit of mine this past year. It was especially so on Friday evening 5 Jan as I had arisen at one-thirty in the morning, over twenty hours earlier. It didn’t take long to nod off to sleep therefore and when I first awoke it was almost six o’clock. Having answered the call of nature I returned to bed. I had slept for around seven hours. I dropped off to sleep again and didn’t awake for a further four hours! It was just after ten o’clock and nearer eleven o’clock by the time I went downstairs. I certainly wasn’t in the mood for work but with a little encouragement and help from E I did manage to do a little retouching of paint here and there. She helped by retouching the white door paint on a couple of the doors and elsewhere. After lunch I forced myself to collect the middle-sized step ladder from the garage and fill in some gaps in the ceiling at the top of the stone steps in the cellar. That would get painted once the filler had dried but not on Saturday, I wanted to give it all a rest. The following week I knew I would be sorting out the cellar hallway floor and preparing for it to be painted. The project was coming to the end at last and I could concentrate then on other things. On Friday I made up my mind to dig out the long-playing vinyl records I own together with the USB turntable which had both been stored in the rear lounge.
Even those with the keenest eyesight will not be able to see that the record on the table is ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ by the Beatles. I own all their UK released albums and singles. I own albums by other artistes too of course, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Beefheart and many others all from the sixties and seventies. Problem was I hadn’t a turntable on which to play them. A few years ago I decided to purchase a turntable but thought rather than buy just a player I would purchase a USB turntable with which I could actually record the music too. I purchased what you see in the picture. However when I replaced the computer on which I had the converter program I lost that program and my machine got stored away. On Saturday I downloaded a new program with which I can now copy the albums and store them on the computer ready for playing at any time.
Saturday 19th proved to be the very fine and hot day as predicted. That boded well for a certain couple who were getting married and for a couple of football (soccer) teams playing for the FA Cup. I had no real interest in either of them though I did watch the football match when it was televised late in the afternoon. I kept well away from news bulletins as I had been doing for over twelve months. I used to take an avid interest in the news but finally tired of it last year. It had become either all doom, gloom and despondency or reports of mundane events pushed down our throats whether we liked it or not. Anyway I arose early once again and just before breakfast I made it my business to give the new shrub in the front garden another good watering. Later in the afternoon it proved to be a good decision for the plant had perked up. The problem had been the surrounding soil being too dry and soaking up the water I had given the plant. After breakfast I sorted out the items and materials from my electrical work I had stored in the various boxes and stored them away in the cupboards where previously we had the canned food stored. They are of course now in the new ‘larder’ (see previous posts). E and I had an early lunch because I was driving her to her monthly meeting some fifteen or sixteen miles away. She was still unable to drive herself due to the medication she had been taking. For the previous two meetings she had been unable to attend because of her back pain so it was good for her to be able to go this time. I didn’t stay at the venue but went elsewhere for an hour or so and returned to collect her later. We arrived back home just before the football match began. There were very few people out and about throughout the day probably because they were watching the wedding coverage or were already at the places they had decided to visit.
You might think that for someone who is very tired sleep comes easy but unfortunately that isn’t always the case for me. Although I had been very busy on Thursday and was tired when I went to bed getting to sleep eluded me. I tossed and turned throughout the night and felt awful when I got up in the morning. After having something for breakfast I felt so much better though I did remain a little sleepy. I spent some time on the project (see yesterday’ post) and by the afternoon I was ready to go to bed but of course I didn’t, not at that time. Later however when I did go to bed sleep came very easy and I was out for the count in minutes! I had a really good night’s sleep and should have been ready to do some more work but I decided to take a break from it and have the next two days off, Saturday and Sunday. I decided a walk was on the cards so before breakfast, which incidentally I missed altogether, I dressed to go for the walk. It wasn’t that warm on Saturday morning as I left the house but it wasn’t cold either. About half-way through the walk things changed, the clouds rolled away and it became warm in the bright sunshine. By the time I had returned home my coat was beginning to make me feel uncomfortable wearing it. I was ready to eat something so had a slightly early lunch, though it was by then approaching one o’clock. E had been busy at the top of the house and didn’t have lunch until two. I in the meantime went onto the patio to sit in the now warmer sunshine. E joined me not long after but neither of us sat there too long as we began digging out a few sycamore seedlings and weeds. We did return to the patio however to make the most of the fine weather while it lasted. Sunday looked gloomy as plenty of rain had been forecast but during the week ahead we had been promised high temperatures and bright sunshine. When we returned indoors we sat and watched the Grand National horse race, the only horse race we do watch throughout the year.
…..it can be boring! What? Public holidays. Over Easter the weather can be warm and sunny but can also be wet, cold and windy. Where I live it was a mixture of all and at times wasn’t pleasant at all. Many folk take a trip somewhere but unless it is to a warmer country it hardly seems worth it unless the weather isn’t a consideration.
What does one do if the weather is poor? Well there are all sorts of things of course and for some being outdoors is great no matter what the weather is like. For those who wish to remain indoors there are still things they can partake in but it all depends on the individual. My Easter Day was spent indoors and as it was Sunday I did no work for Sundays I rest. However it is hard for me to spend all day doing nothing so I get bored. There aren’t many recreational activities which interest me these days except playing my guitar or watching documentaries on tv but even those things can’t satisfy all the time. Social events are fine but for me they would be boring if all I did was socialise every day. So I rested uneasy for most of the day with only the thought of being able to continue with my projects on Monday! Had the day been warm and sunny however everything would have been different, I would have been out in the garden and on the patio most of the time. I could have gone walking but I had done that only two days before and I wanted to rest anyway. I often wonder what other people get up to when the weather is poor and they remain indoors. To be honest I don’t really want to know!
I was at a bit of a loose end again on Tuesday. I could have done some work in the garden but chose not to. Once more I had no electrical work scheduled either. Rain was forecast for later in the day and through the night so that prevented me from repairing the loose bricks on the raised flowerbed I wrote about in yesterday’s post. I suppose I could have done the work anyway and simply covered the wall with polythene sheet to keep it from getting wet whilst the mortar set but I wanted to do some rendering on the buttress too and that would be difficult to protect from the rain. I put it off for another day. According to the forecast the rain would only be for the one day and then it would be dry for a few days. I went for a walk in the morning instead. I didn’t feel like walking or doing anything for that matter at first but after ten minutes or so that changed and it became enjoyable as it usually is for me. My main interest when walking is looking at the fauna, gardens and scenery and I like looking at buildings and their architecture when in built-up areas. I never get bored when out walking. The day was cold though with a bit of a biting wind but I was wrapped up well enough to bear it. Most of the time I walked in sheltered places so the wind was less of an irritation. The weather must have gotten to me however as later I began to feel its effect. For the remainder of the day I did very little for a change except play my guitar and watch television. This is certainly not good for me, it just won’t do but I suppose I have to rest from my labours sometimes! I found the time to write this anyway.
Tuesday was going to be the hottest day of the year so far according to the weather forecast. Well it sure lived up to that. Between three and four in the afternoon, that is at the height of the day for temperature readouts I checked the temperature on the patio but in a shaded spot using a mercury thermometer. Actually two thermometers in one which shows maximum and minimum temperatures side by side. It showed 29 deg C but shortly after that reading it reached 30 deg C. Obviously it was hotter in the sunshine, probably by a few more degrees. For me it was unbearable, not because I couldn’t get used to it if I had to but because having these temperatures for just a couple of days isn’t long enough to get used to it. Days two and three of holidays in hot climates and we begin to get accustomed don’t we? If these temperatures were normal for us we are used to them. However as I am always saying, I am an Anglo-Saxon and for me it is too hot to tango! I spent a some time in the rear garden in the morning whilst it was a little cooler, pulling out armfuls of montbretia in the flowerbed adjacent to the patio which had sprouted within a low-lying shrub which itself has gotten out of hand. Now that we can actually see that shrub we can prune it back but I fancy I will be digging it out later when it is a bit cooler and replacing it with one or two others. I have an idea what I would like in there but E might think differently though she didn’t bother when I dug out and repopulated the larger of the two flowerbeds we had worked on in the front garden recently. I then spent a little time relaxing on the patio but couldn’t sit there too long. I decided to pull out the second of the two garden benches which had been stored in the large greenhouse beneath the wooden table now being used as a worktop in there. The wooden furniture we once used on the patio and in the garden, it comprises the table, two benches and four chairs. The four chairs are stored in the cellar and only the two benches are actually outside and being outside they need a coat of garden furniture oil/varnish applying every so often. I took the second bench out and hosed it down before transporting it out to the front garden. After lunch and when it was dry I got to work and applied the oil/varnish coat and then went into the rear garden where the other one sits in front of the patio and gave that a coat too. This one didn’t need a second coat as it was already in good condition having been coated earlier in the year but the second one required another coat which I applied an hour or so later.
The lower picture was taken last Autumn and it shows the bench in front of the patio on which some of the old wooden furniture can still be seen. It wouldn’t have been long after that picture was taken that I moved the furniture under cover aside from the bench.
E did a little hoeing and weeding during the day but we spent much of the time in the afternoon just lounging on the patio. She was sunbathing but I sat under the parasol out of direct sunlight. At that time of day it was really too hot to do much else.
Monday was a very hot day. very humid at first but less so later in the afternoon. The carpet fitter arrived in the morning and finished before noon as I mentioned in a previous post. I had no electrical work as I had half-expected and probably won’t for another week because I withdrew my advert for some time off. Well the first thing I did whilst the carpet was being laid was to give the gardens a thorough watering knowing that it was going to be very hot. Starting in the front garden and then going into the rear garden later. Whilst watering the rear garden the fitter appeared and asked if the carpet he was about to lay was the one I had purchased. It was, but I wondered why he hadn’t asked that question when he first arrived and I was in the front garden where he had parked his van on the driveway. He told me that it would take him a further twenty minutes to lay it which just about allowed me to finish watering the garden. I packed the hose away and went to the top of the house to see he still had a few minutes of work to finish. Here is one of the pictures I posted two days ago..
Although it looks as though it is blue it is in fact grey overall, combining coloured spots of black, white and grey. E had Robbie (robot cleaner) clean the carpet whilst she had lunch. After lunch I decided to go for a walk but just before doing so I called the young builder called Ben who had been employed by E’s nephew to do the work on the roof a couple of months ago. He and a friend (who is now living in Australia) had done all of the brickwork when we had a lot of work being done on the outside of the house back in 2010. They had rebuilt our perimeter walls at the front and other walls within the front and rear gardens at the time. He is a good worker and really just a nice guy to have working for you. Anyhow I couldn’t speak to him directly and had to leave a message instead. I wanted some work doing on the garage brickwork where it has been leaking and alterations to the felt covering too.. I went for my walk and in doing so decided to go in another direction from the one I might usually take. I walked up to the top of the road and then turned left toward the village. I had walked only a short distance in that direction and I saw a pick-up truck parked at the kerb. I seemed to remember having seen the vehicle before and as I approached and to my left there was a guy on his knees and pointing away from my direction. He was doing some work on the paving slabs in the gardens of the apartment block there. I was about to continue past then realized he looked like Ben. I called out his name and he turned around. It was Ben! I couldn’t believe it, what a coincidence or was it fate? Sometimes I think we are led to do certain things rather than that they are chance happenings. He would call around on Tuesday evening to look at the job. I continued on my walk changing half-intended directions a few times. I ‘bumped’ into an acquaintance, a guy I had not seen for some time who strange as it was had been doing the same as myself, going for a walk. I mentioned a couple of days ago that this happens quite often when I go out walking. When out I walked along one of my favourite roads hereabouts, Rotten Row. It is laid with flowerbeds throughout it’s length but sadly these days only on one side of the road, a case of the local authority crying poverty. The diversity of plants are amazing, there is even a banana plant growing in the shelter of a hedge backdrop and surrounded by other plants. No bananas though! I didn’t think they could grow here unless under cover.
I suppose every day is a nice day, it all depends upon our attitude and our reaction or response to the things which happen to us. I had an electrical job to do for a lady living some fifteen miles away living in a small township or extended village situated on the highest ground hereabouts. The place is called Parbold and it is on Parbold Hill, naturally, and marks the beginning of the western edge of The Pennine Chain at our latitude. The Pennine Chain is known as the backbone of England, a mountainous range stretching from the Midlands up north to The Cheviot Hills in Scotland. The house was up a small lane off the main road, quite a secluded place to live, though there were other houses down the lane. The house was beautiful inside and a lot of money had been lavished upon its interior to bring it up to a very high standard. My task was to replace some of the ceiling lighting fittings and to repair a couple of damaged cables hidden in the wall which someone had accidentally drilled into. The lady herself was quite chatty and friendly and it was a pleasure to work for her. By noon I had the work finished and was on my way back home. It was such a sunny day and quite warm for the season too and as I drove homeward I had thoughts of dining out for lunch. When I arrived home and put the suggestion to E she was pleased at the idea so after we had changed into more suitable attire we drove to another local township and enjoyed a nice meal. On the way back home we dropped into a store specialising in the sale of lighting fittings of all kinds for we wanted to see if they had something suitable for our bedroom project. The store is literally filled with pendant lights and chandeliers hanging from the ceilings, many of which are illuminated. There must be a couple of hundred units hanging there. It makes it easier to select something when you can see what it looks like out of the box and working. Having decided on which one we wanted for the bedroom the guy went into the stockroom to see if there was one in stock but alas there wasn’t. We placed an order and paid for it immediately. The guy was to call us when it had arrived, possibly on Wednesday he thought. We were in no hurry. The light we had chosen was on offer at half-price but still cost £99.50 , which is relatively cheap for a light fitting these days. We saw some units at £500 and £700 but there was no way we were going to fork out that kind of money for a ceiling light!
We have endured many days of rain and high winds lately but on Sunday morning it was bright and sunny, hardly any wind and no rain either. I had a restless night with little sleep because I had done very little during the preceding days and simply wasn’t tired enough. That meant I was awake early, around five-thirty but I didn’t arise until another half-hour had passed. I had breakfast around seven and around eight I decided to go for a walk into town. Usually the streets are fairly empty at that time, especially on a Sunday and this Sunday was no exception yet there were a few people about in the centre at least, hardly anyone in the approaching streets. It was quite cold though and I could feel a frost in the air though none was on the ground. It was probably five or six degrees (Celsius of course) and according to the forecast for the day it would reach twelve. I was well wrapped up so it didn’t matter. It would be busy in the town later for many of the shops there would be open. For me Sunday is The Lord’s day, a day of rest from work and I think only those who have to work on the day should do. Alas, the country has turned away from its Christian heritage allowing secular ideology to take over. According to Scripture countries who turn their backs to God will no longer prosper but try telling the masses that! No-one wants to listen. Anyway my walk took me through the shopping areas where one or two coffee houses had just opened their doors but I wasn’t tempted to go in to any of them. A voice called out ‘Good morning Shirley Anne’ and I turned to see who it was. It was a man named Archie, someone who I know who often visits my local pub with his wife, Ann. He was off to the gym for some exercise and then a swim in their pool. During the summer months I often see him out running. He would be around sixty-something years of age I guess. I carried along with my walk and nearer to home on my return I was approaching a woman taking her dog for a walk but didn’t make eye-contact with her as she drew closer. I didn’t want the dog sniffing around my legs as dogs do, especially if encouraged. I was about to walk past her when she said ‘Hello Shirley Anne’. I stopped and looked but I didn’t recognise her and she continued ‘Don’t you recognise me……from the pub……we met there a few times?’. I apologised for not remembering and even now as I write this I am finding it difficult to remember more about our meetings though I did recognise her once we started talking. Sometimes it is awkward opening conversations with people, even if you know them, when you are taken by surprise. She asked how I was doing and did I have a nice Christmas. I tell people the truth, yes I am well but no I didn’t enjoy Christmas for I don’t celebrate it in the way she was inferring. Many years ago it happened that I was not invited to family gatherings once they knew of my transition yet those closest to me were. I had no support from them and they continued to go to these gatherings which meant my Christmases since have been spent alone. In more recent years I made the decision not to celebrate Christmas but for Scriptural reasons to do with my faith. Now I suppose that will be the excuse for not receiving invitations even if that is not the real reason. Once the festivities are over I am expected to react to my family as if their treatment toward me was anything but favourable. I love my family and would do anything for them. Sometimes I wonder if it is appreciated. So I arrived home after my walk beginning to feel tired but wanting to go out again as it turned out to be a beautiful sunny day. What I do know is this will be my last Sunday walk of the year………..roll on 2016.