…..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.
I was talking about my working week in a previous post and how much I was looking forward to having three days free to myself for a change. I got my wish, well so far that is as I am writing this on Friday evening. Friday would be the most likely day whereby I might get work but I had other ideas and was determined to avoid it for I knew I would most definitely not be working on Saturday or Sunday and if I could do the same on Friday it would be mission accomplished. I had to go to the clinic to have a blood sample taken first thing in the morning and on my return home I made a detour to the village so that I could buy some blueberries and also deposit some money in the bank. E does the weekly shopping on a Thursday but hadn’t been able to buy some blueberries where she usually does her shopping and wouldn’t have visited the village to try to purchase them. There are four places in the village that sell fruit and vegetables and I checked them out to find the best deal before buying some whilst I waited for the bank to open. I had accumulated a lot of cash and needed to get it out of my purse. In three week’s time that particular branch of the bank will be closing down and I will have to travel into town in future to make deposits. On my way back to the van I stepped into the chemist store to see if the prescription the doctor had forwarded on Tuesday morning had been processed. Usually we are told to wait four days to collect any prescriptions unless there is an immediate need for treatment but I was lucky, the prescription was ready for collection. I drove home to have some breakfast and it was still only 9.15. My blood sample required a fast of at least twelve hours before it could be taken and consequently I had not eaten for fourteen hours. The rest of the morning I simply relaxed and did very little. It was around two-thirty I decided to drive somewhere for a late lunch. I drove to my local pub which has had a little refurbishment carried out in recent weeks to accommodate more dining tables for I wanted to see what they had done and have a meal in the process. Unfortunately there was little free space, unusual for the time of day, so I left and drove off to another eatery a few miles away. This place is much larger and caters for those wanting something from the menu or something from the help-yourself carvery. I chose the carvery but as I approached the servery a large family of people got there before me and I had to wait quite some time before getting served. I was in no hurry of course. The chef was very surprised that I had asked for only one small slice of turkey and no Yorkshire Pudding but only wanted mainly vegetables. Many choose to have a pudding or two and several slices of the various meats on offer as well as a heap of vegetables! I am not so greedy. The vegetables were absolutely delicious, especially the carrots but I didn’t choose any potatoes to go with them. I chose only to have a soda water with my meal and when I had finished the waitress came over and asked if I was going to order a dessert. I wasn’t. I paid the bill and left for home. It had been a change from having to cook the meal myself as I hadn’t dined out for several weeks so it was by way of a treat too. The last time had been with E but this time I dined alone. I much prefer to dine with company but at the moment that isn’t possible. During the meal someone phoned me and asked if I was available to do an urgent job but I told them I wasn’t available until Monday, besides I was still eating my vegetables!
Nothing much was going on. It was Saturday and we were supposed to be getting some rain but it didn’t materialise. I had gotten up very early again but that is to be expected when going to bed early too. I was actually in bed at nine o’clock, I had nothing to stay up for and I was a little tired anyway. I must have dropped off around nine-thirty, the last time I remember looking at the clock. The sun was already up and shining when I got out of bed. I stripped off the bedclothes and remade the bed with fresh linen, popped into the main bathroom for a towel then went downstairs to have a shower in the wet room, my preferred shower but before doing so I put the clothes in the washing machine. Once showered I returned to my bedroom to get dressed for the day and then went downstairs for breakfast. However, as the expected rain didn’t come I decided to again water the garden before breakfast. Apart from taking down the previous day’s washing from the lines in the cellar and hanging the now washed bedclothes nothing much happened until lunchtime except I went out on the patio for an hour with my guitar. E got up late, had a shower then disappeared whilst I was having lunch and I was left in the house alone but I also decided to go out after I had eaten. I went for a walk down to the beach and along the sea front returning along the promenade. I watched a couple of young families testing their abilities, or lack of, on the various pieces of gymnasium equipment dotted along the walkway. The promenade in Southport runs parallel to the sea front but a few hundred metres inland and is shown on the right. The afternoon was warm and ‘muggy’, that is the humidity was high, though a nice breeze was blowing from the south. My tired legs don’t like walking when it is warm and humid and guess what? Neither do I but I know I can walk much farther when it is cool. I had walked a mere three miles and was glad to get back home. I just felt drained and that is one of the reasons I don’t like warm weather when it is coupled with high humidity. Give me Autumn days anytime. E was back home when I returned and was having a late lunch but she went out again later for a while. I stayed at home.
I suppose I’ve only myself to blame. If I didn’t advertise in my local paper I wouldn’t get the calls so I can expect people to call, even on a Sunday. Actually Sunday is the ideal time to call me if you would like to take advantage of my electrical services so that I may plan the week’s work. As my readers will now know it doesn’t always work like that. Around lunchtime on Sunday I received a call from a guy wanting to pick my brains regarding a perceived electrical problem he had. I have worked for this guy before but this time he simply wanted some information. He had asked if I could supply and fit a double-pole timer switch to control a battery charger in his garage. The battery charges two of his mobility vehicles, a wheelchair and a ‘scooter’, that is a four-wheeled street vehicle. Now get this, the guy who sold him the equipment told him not to use a timer to control the charger else the batteries could back-feed into the mains supply! It pays not to listen to people who are not qualified to give you the correct information, in this case a salesman who isn’t an electrician/technician/engineer. For my reader’s information a battery cannot back-feed into the electrical supply unless there is something drastically wrong with the charger. The mains supply is electrically isolated from the low-voltage secondary side through a transformer and then through a rectifier circuit. The rectifier itself by its design prevents current from flowing in the opposite direction, that is its function! Anyway I explained that if it were possible for current to back-feed in a charger we would need to sit with the unit whilst the battery was charging and then switch it off once the battery was fully charged. How ridiculous is that? Of course a timer can be used if required and in fact in this guy’s case it is, so he says! In fact he is severely incapacitated so doesn’t want to go to the garage to isolate the charger once the battery is charged, though it wouldn’t matter if it was simply left connected. I don’t mind the phone calls.
I got up quite early on the day and went for a bike ride for an hour. Although it was sunny it was also quite breezy. I found it hard work as I hadn’t been on the machine for quite some time and the wind didn’t help. The rest of the day was spent doing very little except play my guitar, read some and sit out on the patio in the sunshine though I had to sit where the wind wasn’t blowing too much. The wind does tend to blow between our house and our neighbour’s house over the garage and on to the patio. In the height of Summer that doesn’t matter so much but at other times the wind can be a nuisance and that is why I planted some Laurel bushes on the windward side of the patio. When I planted them two years ago they barely reached the top of the small patio surrounding wall but this year they are a half metre above it. They are still thinly distributed and need to fill out. It will be next year before we will see an appreciable difference. The plan is to allow them to grow a couple of metres above the wall to act as a backdrop to hide the vegetable plot and the garage from view and to act as a wind-breaker at the same time. It will also make the patio look more attractive. Whilst I was out there I got to thinking about the possibility of laying an artificial lawn on the patio concrete floor. I remember seeing some artificial lawn for sale in town some months ago and it was very reasonably priced so I may consider doing it. Before I do that though I will have to make some minor alterations on the floor. Perhaps I just need something to do!
Apart from working for a short time on Saturday morning the long weekend was pretty much a boring affair. The weather on Saturday was appalling, wet and windy for the most part and I don’t remember if I saw that Sun even once! Sunday was a little better, more so toward the end of the day and Monday morning I was awakened to bright blue skies. As I write this on Monday morning I have no plans for the day though I might go for a walk later. However, because it is a national holiday most places will be filled with people, especially in town. I therefore usually avoid town for that reason, preferring a walk along the seafront instead. I have stopped all work at home until further notice except for those jobs that are emergencies or maintenance, like mowing the lawn for instance. I doubt E could mow the lawn nowadays with her health problems. With the way I am getting treated by E lately though I have lost all interest and that really goes against the grain because I like working at home and getting things done. I feel I am not appreciated most of the time. It is such a shame as there are jobs I’d like to be doing in order to improve the interior of the house, refurbishing the central heating, a couple of bedrooms and other things. Everything I do at home is funded by myself, E makes no financial contribution simply because she cannot afford it. At the moment all my expendable income is getting saved except where I want to treat myself now and then, which isn’t often at all! My electrical work keeps me happy and helps fund all my projects. I will be glad to get back to it if and when I get requests. As I look out of my front room window I see the flag blowing in the wind and I am hoping the wind will drop a little so that being outside is more enjoyable, then I might take that walk.