I think the change in the weather had gotten to me. Although I prefer the cooler days I think I need to get used to them again after such a long period of hot weather. The problem is that here where I live it can go from very warm to very cool in a matter of hours sometimes. The sudden switch can catch you out. I was out on a walk on Thursday (23 rd) at four in the morning, which has been about normal for me over the last few weeks and it was quite cool. It was one of those days where figuring out what to wear for the best wasn’t easy. It was cool but not too cool and a pleasant breeze was blowing though that could only be felt in the more exposed parts of the walk. Was I to put on an extra under garment beneath my jacket and be too warm or chance it and then be uncomfortably cold? I chose to wear something extra beneath the jacket which was just as well for it seemed a little colder once I had ventured out a few hundred metres. I was comfortable though as I walked through the town centre, just perfect. However when I reached the seafront I was exposed to the breeze which although was pleasant enough and seemingly warm enough it must have had an effect upon me. It wasn’t until I had returned home when I felt my weariness. Yes I was dog-tired…
Perhaps it was my body telling me I needed more rest and less activity or even more sleep though I had been getting enough of both. I fixed myself a hot drink and wrote back to my friend in the US in reply to her email and started to feel much better. Afterwards it was time to go and fetch the weekly shopping and off I went. When I returned home I wasn’t feeling so good once again. I had symptoms similar to those we get when contracting a cold and was so weary I didn’t want to get out of the armchair. Eventually I did however and as they say ‘muddled’ through the remainder of the day. I felt perfectly okay by bedtime.
I had yet another night with little sleep, managing to get only three and a half hours deep sleep and a couple of hours afterward trying to return to sleep. I felt a bit groggy at first but soon perked up once I was out of bed. Saturday was ‘clean sheet day’ as the first thing I did was to replace the bed linen before going downstairs. After putting the laundry into the washing machine I spent some time on the gym equipment before breakfast. I was dressed and out in the garden long before E put in an appearance. I heard a voice call out ‘good morning’ and I turned around to see our youngest son looking out of his bedroom window. He lives in Manchester but had stopped over for the weekend because he would be seeing friends and celebrating someone’s birthday on Saturday evening. He never hangs around much whenever he visits so I saw little of him all day. I had made up my mind to take a break from working in the cellar and rest for the weekend. During the day I kept thinking it was Sunday because I don’t work on Sundays except perhaps to do a little gardening if the weather permits. On Friday evening E and I spent some time online making purchases for clothes. On Saturday I browsed the Internet looking for other things to purchase. This time it was for floor paint and a cordless vacuum cleaner. These things were not being purchased on the spur of the moment because we had discussed the possibility of buying them weeks ago. It was just a matter of where and when and being on a buying spree we decided to push the boat out and go for broke as they say. Oh, the clothes we were buying were summer tops and light summer cardigans. Makes a change from building materials! I still kept thinking it was Sunday throughout the day. I guess I am not used to not working every day.
I didn’t know what I was going to do in the way of work on Thursday though there was much to do on my current project. I did know however that I had to go purchase a few things. I had a good night’s sleep but was still feeling a little tired as I sat down to breakfast. I hadn’t been keen to rush into anything because of that. It is true what they say, your body will let you know when it needs a break and mine was telling me to take one. To be fair I have been doing rather a lot of late and so I knew I needed a little break from things. Shopping is one of those things which takes my mind off my usual routine for a while but though I would be shopping it was the wrong type! I would be shopping for materials and nothing nice like clothes. I don’t often shop for clothes but when I do I usually spend a lot of money and time doing it. It was after ten o’clock when I left the house and after eleven o’clock when I returned. E was about to go shopping too, for food. My purchases were for cup washers, cabinet hinges, door knobs, a ‘Surform’ plane, two lengths of mini-trunking and a five-foot long LED lighting unit. That involved visiting three separate outlets around town. I suggested to E that we dine out when she returned from the shopping trip and whilst she was out I fixed the mini-trunking on the ceiling in the gym and placed the telephone wire that had been hanging on the ceiling into it. That was the sum total of the work I did on the day. When E returned home it was approaching two o’clock and we drove to our local pub for lunch. I was feeling tired and weary but once I had eaten I felt better. When we returned home we spent a little time watching catch-up tv. I took the remainder of the day just relaxing mostly on the sofa watching more tv. The LED light unit was a little present for E as she had been asking if I would move the existing fluorescent unit nearer to her work-station in her workshop at the top of the house. I thought I might change the unit at the same time. I would probably do the work on Saturday afternoon while she was out at her monthly meeting.
…didn’t happen! I was writing about making plans in yesterday’s post but on Friday, that is today as I write, I overslept. Over sleeping isn’t really true for had I not needed the sleep I wouldn’t have taken it. In real terms it meant I awakened at nine-thirty instead of eight o’clock which would be more my usual time. So it wasn’t the sleeping-in that prevented my doing some more work in the cellar but more the other things which got in the way. Prayer time, a shower, getting dressed, applying make-up, putting the soiled towels into the washing machine which had piled-up during the week and chatting with E all before I grabbed a quick breakfast, those were the things which prevented any work being done before noon. Following that I decided to venture out into the rear garden to sweep up the enormous piles of fallen ivy and some holly leaves that had been nicely stored in a couple of places by the high wind. It was another miserably cold day though it was showing signs of getting warmer for the snow had been slowly melting. According to the forecast it would be far warmer by the following Monday. It was now almost twelve o’clock and time to return indoors to thaw out! I had been to the garage to collect the brush and bucket with which to sweep the leaves but returned later to empty out some things from my van and sort them out for storage. Now it was time to hang the washing after which I fitted a coat hook behind one of the doors upstairs. I was about to prepare lunch when E asked if I could help search for something in the cellar so off we went to do that. I had lost count of the number of trips to the cellar I had made in the previous couple of hours which is often quite normal in this house! At last it was time for lunch, it was one forty-five. By the time I had finished lunch I was in no mood for starting work, which would have been painting the room in the cellar. What can I say? There’s always tomorrow.
I didn’t feel like doing anything on Friday when I arose from sleep. Oh there were plenty of things to do but I simply felt I hadn’t the energy to do them so they were left. I want to install or rather reinstall the switch together with the photo detector which will allow the garage light to come on automatically when it is dark and the garage door is opened. I had the same arrangement on the old door and now the new door installation is finally complete I am free to do the work. Another small job I want to do is to paint over the underside of the galvanised steel beam which spans the garage opening. I may install an extra light in the garage too.
On the Monday of last week we had our green wheelie bins emptied, that is they were supposed to empty them. However, when I looked inside them neither had been emptied properly, one being half full and the other a third full. E had contacted the local authority to ask why the bins hadn’t been emptied properly and they made a note of it. By Friday nothing had been done so I gave them another call and was basically fobbed-off with excuses. I explained that whilst we were paying for the bins to be emptied (through our rates) we expected them to be emptied. Why pay for a service which is not carried out? I was informed that nothing could be done. That meant we would have to wait until the next visit for the bins to be emptied. I was a little annoyed at their attitude and was tempted to write and complain but I changed my mind. I brought the bins back in from the road and emptied their contents of leaves onto the drive. I left Nature to do the rest! It can get quite windy around here and they may end up back in the road. That will mean the local authority can sweep them up if they’ve a mind to. The problem with the local council employees who empty the waste bins is that they are not very conscientious at times. Despite my feeling listless and not wanting to do much I decided to go for a long walk before lunch and felt much the better for it.
It is the same every year, I (we) moan about the dreary dull wet days of winter and when it gets hot and sunny I do the same, never satisfied. When it is cool (and dry if I’m outdoors) I can get on with the various jobs that need doing and special jobs I call my projects but once it gets too warm and humid I don’t feel much like doing anything. So it was on Saturday. I had slept in a little longer than usual but that was due to my not getting off to sleep sooner. I hadn’t done much on Friday so wasn’t as tired as I might have been. There wasn’t any reason for me to get up early anyway. By the time I arrived downstairs it was already bright, sunny and warm. I had a little something to eat and went out on to the patio to enjoy the sunshine. I had it in mind to do a little gardening but wasn’t in a hurry to start. In fact it wasn’t until mid-afternoon before I did anything. E went to her monthly meeting at one o’clock and I wanted to eat lunch before doing any work but it was too early to eat. I went back to the patio and lay down for an hour then had lunch. The work I wanted to do in the front garden was to pluck out weeds, plant a small holly bush in the mound, one that had been growing in a pot but needed putting in the ground and then to water the garden too. It was very hot in the front garden as there is no shade from the sun at all in the afternoon. Once I had finished there it was into the rear garden to water the plants there and again there was little or no shade there either! It’s all too much like hard work in the summer when all I want to do is relax. It isn’t that I don’t want to work but the heat and humidity make it so uncomfortable, for me anyway. E arrived back home around four-thirty and we both spent an hour on the patio, she to lie down, me to just sit this time and chat. She would be off again very early in the morning to spend the day at the NEC (National Exhibition Centre) in Birmingham to a food festival being held there. It is an annual event she and a couple of others attend. I would have to either go somewhere or sit it out at home trying to relax in the heat. Either way it would be uncomfortable for me. Roll on the cooler weather!
Early to bed and early to rise according to the proverb makes you healthy, wealthy and wise. Not completely sure about the truth in those facts but I do know that it certainly improves my (financial) wealth if it is off to work I will be going. After doing a small job the day before I rested for the remainder of the day and went to bed as early as I thought fit on Sunday evening because I had to arise early on Monday morning. I would be off to work to do a small job before eight o’clock. It was the only time the customer could be at home unless I was prepared to work in the evening or at the weekend. I try my best not to work at those times, excepting for emergencies as was the case on Sunday. Despite the fact I knew I would be getting up early I couldn’t get off to sleep for quite some time and even when I did it was erratic once again. All I can say is that I probably don’t need the sleep I sometimes think I do. I guess that is an age-related thing or I am not working enough to get tired. As we age of course we are less able to work as hard and for as long as we once did. It’s a ‘catch twenty-two’ situation. Anyway I arrived at the house, two miles away, at seven forty-five and was back home less than an hour later having done the work. That work led to more work for me to do later in the week, on Friday when the customer would be able to get some free time at home. E was still in bed when I arrived home and didn’t get downstairs until nine-thirty. She keeps strange hours, not usually getting to bed until one o’clock in the morning. As I write this it is now approaching ten o’clock and I have no plans for the rest of the day but that could change, it often does *. Not so for the rest of the week though, I have work scheduled for each day. It is always busy at this time of year. Maybe I’ll get tired enough to sleep through!
* PS. I did end up doing more work, two more jobs in fact.
I had been very busy almost every day during the week but come Thursday I felt so tired and weary and struggled to do anything. However I did work but at a more leisurely pace. I started a little later too but only a half-hour or so. The filling in between the paving slabs, the ones I had laid so far, had been done the day before but there remained a small area next to the new steps that I had left because I wanted to plan what I was going to do there. I had decided to add another course of bricks to those already there first so that I could maintain the thickness of the screed to match the paving slabs. It meant that on the paving slab side half of the height of the bricks would be covered leaving a few centimetres showing to enable me to fit some natural stone capping on top. On the other side of the steps I needed to build up the groundwork to enable a couple of extra bricks to be laid there for the same reason. First though I had to see if I could dig out some usable bricks, sixteen to be precise, from the heap of second-hand bricks we have lying about by the small greenhouse. Most of them were still covered with mortar or cement so I had to chisel that off. After some time I managed to get the sixteen bricks I needed. I broke up a few more and used them as rubble where I had to lay some concrete to allow the extra bricks on the right-hand side of the steps to be laid later. I chose to mix all the concrete I needed in the wheelbarrow because that much would be enough. I didn’t want to use the mixer and then have to clean it out just for the one mix. So I fixed some shuttering where it was needed and then laid the concrete, covering it up to protect it from the rain which was forecast overnight. I would be able to lay all the bricks and perhaps finish the laying of concrete that had been left undone. The following day, Friday, I had the time to continues with the work. Friday was a much welcomed cooler day. It had been raining in the early hours of the day but at nine o’clock when I started the work it was fine and sunny. I wanted to lay the extra course of bricks on both sides of the steps and then finish laying the concrete on the left of the steps. I managed to do that but just as I was smoothing out the concrete it began to rain. It was a light shower but it got heavier after a few minutes so I had to scramble and look for something to cover the area while I finished the work. I got drenched in the process but I was able to finish the work as best I could. Considering the situation I think I did well. Later and after lunch I returned outside and re-arranged the covering that I had hastened to set up as it was and as you see in this picture. I would leave it that way until Saturday morning just in case it rained again. So now the two walls alongside the steps are one brick higher and apart from a couple of small finishing off cementing jobs on the left of the flowerbed that side is complete. The next phase will be to level the ground on the right-hand side of the flowerbed and lay the four paving slabs which remain. It was around noon on Thursday by the time I had finished what I had to do on that day and to be honest I was glad I could rest for a while from the work at least. Before lunch I drove off to the place where I had purchased the natural stone slabs for capping the flowerbed. Some of my readers may remember that I had purchased three more than I had needed for that job although it was the guy at the depot who had made the wrong calculation but I intended to use them elsewhere and kept them. I will be using them to cap the bricks around the new steps and also on top of the small wall behind which I recently poured concrete to strengthen it. However I needed one extra slab at 600 mm in length and three others at 300 mm in length. I would then have four long slabs and three half the length to do the work. I bought an extra bag of cement at the same time to save another visit to the builders merchant. I needed fuel for the van so I made the detour to the filling station before driving home but on the way to the filling station I received a call for my electrical services from an old couple living in the next town. I got the fuel then dropped the materials off home before driving to the job. I was there less than an hour but it covered the cost of the fuel and the building materials I had just purchased with a little over too.
Apathy. The day started well enough considering it was Monday, back to work day and the fact that I’d a restless night’s sleep. I had one electrical job to do at nine o’clock but I left the house much earlier in order to pay a visit to the builder’s merchant. I needed more materials. In my last post I mentioned I might have most of it delivered whilst carrying some of it home in the van but as I was going to work the van was full of my electrical gear so I arranged for all of it to be delivered the next morning, Tuesday. I did have some materials left over at home. When I arrived at the house where I was to work and assessed the customers requirements I decided against doing it explaining to them that it was too much work for me to do because of my age. I had gotten the impression over the phone that the work was much simpler but like so often people get you to their homes and then begin to expand and add work to the original request. Much of the work involved lifting floorboards and chiselling out walls and the house was carpeted and furnished. I knew I wouldn’t get much help from the customer in moving stuff around which made the prospect even more daunting. I seldom carry out installation work these days unless I know it will be easy. I was feeling a little tired too and weary of it all. Apathy had set in. I needed a break or at least a good night’s sleep but the day was young and I couldn’t simply sit around doing nothing. I telephoned a younger female electrician friend and offered her the work and she arranged a visit that morning. I drove home and put the van away. I wanted to strengthen the small wall of the Plot at the pathway as part of the general work I have been doing there so I decided that was to be my work for the morning.
However, I couldn’t complete it as I didn’t have enough materials. Nevertheless I made a start by digging out the rear of the wall and putting some shuttering in before mixing the concrete and pouring it in the space. I used some scrap plasterboard as a sacrificial shutter for I wouldn’t be removing it later, it would be pointless. Had it been timber then I would have removed it once the concrete had set. I started at the point nearest the patio where the last Laurel bush stands for I knew there would be roots to contend with and sure enough there were. Part of the wall nearest the new steps has already been partially concreted , done when I was working around the steps earlier. Had this wall been left as a single brick structure it may have been subject to being slowly pushed down because of the Laurel. I will take the concrete to the height of the existing bricks and top the wall with natural stone later. At the time of writing there remains more concrete work to do behind this wall but it will be easier to do away from the main roots of the Laurel. After lunch I was beginning to feel better so I got my drill and screwdriver out and installed the steel-wire-armoured cable for the lamp post, when it arrives! I called the supplier regarding the delivery date but they were unable to tell me at that time. Anyway here are two pictures of the cable which runs from the patio to the corner of the garden where the lamp post will stand.
The cable runs down the wall behind the washing line pole to a spot on the other side of the patio wall in the foreground. The electrical connection box and sensor will be fitted there as it is the north (almost) side of the wall. The cable is hardly noticeable even close-up as you can see because it is under the lip of the capping stones.