Dragging heels

E has never been one to rush things, always taking a long time to get something done. That is just her way but sometimes it infuriates me whenever we have planned to go anywhere she takes an inordinately long time getting ready. By that I don’t mean getting dressed or applying make-up but rather she finds things to do that should have been done say the day before. She hardly ever wears make-up anyway and getting dressed doesn’t take much time either, she simply drags her heels and wastes time. I am the complete opposite, always dressed well in time and always ahead of time for any event we have planned. E had suggested we go out on Monday morning in order to purchase a few things and to perhaps visit the garden centre for a coffee too. We actually left the house at twelve forty-five! We could have been there and back long before noon. We drove off in the van and our first call was to the electrical supplier to purchase some cable, a LED floodlight and a battery. I was greeted with a ‘Hello, long time no see’ quip from the guy behind the counter who hadn’t realised I had retired. Our next port of call was supposed to be to the timber yard to purchase the timber I would need to pack-out the safety edge equipment on the garage door (see yesterday’s post). However just a short distance before reaching the yard we had to pass by the pub/restaurant we sometimes visit when dining out and I suggested we make the detour and dine there. http://www.thatchandthistle.co.uk  By now it was around one forty-five and lunch time anyway. I had a garlic mushroom starter and E had some garlic bread. I had a simple dish of plaice and E chose barbecued pork ribs for the main course. However the ribs she found rather tough and overdone to the point of being burnt. She complained to the waitress who promptly removed her plate and brought the replacement which according to E was perfect. Although it had only been the ribs at fault she was given a full plate of chips (fries) and a salad too even though she had told them not to. She had already eaten much of those on the first plate and didn’t want more. I thought what a waste serving up food that was not going to be eaten. Usually the fayre is spot-on and we have had no complaints in the past. After our meal we drove to the timber yard where I purchased the wood. The rear of the van had been filled with waste cardboard for several weeks because there was no point in making a special journey to dispose of it. The waste depot isn’t far away from the timber yard so we took the opportunity to dispose of the cardboard. It was time to make the return journey home and on the way call in to the garden centre for our free coffee. I can take advantage of the two free coffees offered once every month because I am a member. Sometimes we would have something to eat with the coffee but this time we had already eaten. Whilst there we bought some potatoes for planting as we wish to grow them in the raised bed between the two greenhouses. Finally we arrived back home around four-thirty and E pointed out that there were some bluebells growing in the two flowerbeds at the front of the house. I had spotted some of them already as I have been looking out for any that might still be there after digging most of them out last year just as I have been doing in the rear garden also. I wasted no time and dug them all out. I am not one for dragging my heels when something needs doing.

Shirley Anne


Talking rubbish

Polski: Wysypisko odpadów w Łubnej

Notwithstanding any reservations my readers may have regarding any of my posts I am talking about real rubbish in this one. I cannot remember when it was I first saw a wheelie bin or the time when they were delivered to our door when the recycling craze took off. It was the wisest thing we as human beings have done in recent times. So much waste was being disposed off into land-fill sites when it should have been recycled or not produced in the first place. Many materials dumped on waste heaps will take years to decompose or even not decompose at all with detrimental results for Nature. Some materials were even chemically hazardous and a potential hazard to us all if ever they found their way into the food chain. Great strides have been taken in eliminating what gets dumped into the ground but even so there are still those who will blatantly ignore the safety issues and ‘fly tip’ their waste. For the majority of us recycling has become much easier and as long as we place our waste in the correct bins for disposal or recycling all should run smoothly. However even doing this seems to be a problem for some. They either ignore the fact that materials have to be separated or they are unsure as which bin they should go in.

English: Green wheelie bin collection day, Col...
Green wheelie bin collection day, (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our local authority has made it a little easier now to decide into which bin we place things as we now have only three choices, green waste for leaves, weeds, small plants and cuttings, recyclable waste for metal cans, glass, cardboard, paper and plastics and finally non-recyclable waste which will undergo a filtration before it is finally dumped in a land-fill site. All these things are sorted into the three bins supplied to us but are then sorted further at the authority’s waste collection site. When we dispose of items at home some are easy to identify and we know into which bin they should go but some are not. This is a fault in the manufacturing and packaging by suppliers. We buy butter which is wrapped with a paper and metal combination which cannot be separated one from the other unless the paper component is burned off. Why produce such a wrapping in the first place? Why not use a plastic which can be recycled or a plant by-product such as cellophane which will decompose naturally? We try our best to recycle but come on manufactures we need your help too!

Shirley Anne

Storm after the calm

English: Piles of wood chippings, Brokes Wood
Piles of wood chippings, Brokes Wood (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I know, I know, the usual saying is the other way round, ‘The calm before the storm’ but on Monday the day here started beautifully and ended up the opposite. Brilliant sunshine, slight winds for the first half of the day turned later to cooler and a wetter time. It was forecast to pass during the night with a return to brighter though brisker weather to follow for a few days. Well it is the UK! For a short time I sat out on the patio with a book and a cup of coffee but after a while I could hear the sound of an alarm of the type usually fitted to large vehicles to sound when the vehicle is reversing. It sounded as if a large vehicle was slowly reversing down the long cul-de-sac located at the top of our road. It was Monday so it was more than likely the green waste collection crew. I had placed our two wheelie bins out into the road on Sunday evening but I decided to check to see if there was any more green waste I could dispose of before they were emptied. I did find something and I placed it in the bin. I waited for the vehicle to draw up near to the house as by this time they weren’t far off. I collected the empty bins, placing one of them in the rear garden and leaving one in the front. A couple of days ago I mentioned something in my post about the possibility of covering the exposed soil in the two flowerbeds in the front garden with wood chippings. We had a couple of large bags of chippings in the garage and a couple of smaller bags filled with the chippings produced  by ourselves a few months ago when I had pruned back two of the apple trees in the rear garden. I thought I might as well get the job done whilst the weather was fine and whilst I had the spare time but before I did that I folded up and placed in the recyclable waste bins some of the large cardboard boxes that we couldn’t fit into the bins when they were last emptied. I then began speading the wood chippings and bark in the flowerbeds. It didn’t take me too long though I had barely enough to do the two beds. I think I will have to buy another small bag of the chippings to finish it but at least everywhere was covered. By the time I had finished the weather had already turned dull and overcast, ready for the heavy rain to follow later.

Shirley Anne

Dragging on

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So Friday morning I had expected the guys doing the roof and front step to arrive early as they did the day before. I was up very early so as not to be caught out asleep as I had been on Thursday but I also had to put out the wheelie waste bin as I do every Friday morning and Monday morning if it is ‘green waste day’. Most folk put out their bins the evening before but we have experienced others using our bins to dispose of their waste. That I do not mind but when they put the wrong type of waste and unsorted waste into the bin it is a bit of a liberty especially as we diligently sort our waste before putting it in the bin. Our collection is usually later in the day or morning so there isn’t the need to put the bin out the evening before. This week it was plastic and cardboard waste and the bin was full to overflowing as usual but alongside I had placed a small mountain of cardboard we were left with that came with the bedroom furniture and other items over the past two weeks. Most of the waste we dispose of these days is either plastic, cardboard or paper and all are recyclable. I ate breakfast and waited for the arrival of the guys but they didn’t turn up. As I write this at noon they have still not arrived. Accordingly our repairs are dragging on unnecessarily. The whole work if done at once would probably only take a little over a day but try holding down a builder even if he is E’s nephew! I am not sure at this point whether the repairs on the west end of the roof have been completed. I climbed to the top of the scaffolding on Thursday afternoon to see what progress had been made but I think there is more to do yet. Once that end is completed they have to move to the east end of the roof to carry out a repair there and to generally check the other chimney stack to ensure everything is alright. Then of course the wall alongside the front steps needs to be finished off. We did very little work at home ourselves on Friday morning though as I write that may change, in fact E has just come into the room to tell me she is going to gloss paint the picture rail I had sanded down an hour ago. That will mean I can get on with painting the walls on Saturday if I’ve a mind to do so.

Shirley Anne

Just like children

Daoguang's children
Daoguang’s children (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had to spend a little time over the weekend sorting through old bags and boxes which are stored in the first floor spare bedroom which I am planning to refurbish soon. I had to make sure there was no sensitive or personal items or things that belonged to my sons for most of what was in the room belonged to them. I had asked them repeatedly to check for anything they might want to keep but all I got as an answer was that they were not bothered. However and nevertheless I sifted through it all and did find some things which I have put elsewhere for them to have a look. I was amazed at what was being thrown away, numerous pairs of shoes and trainers, jumpers, hats and other items of clothing, even unused toiletries. In fact there was a large amount of clothing all neatly ironed and stacked on the floor! There were several gadgets and ‘toys’, a television, video tape players, old mobile phones and chargers, a desk-top computer, large amounts of CD‘s and odd items of all kinds. There were several books including a copy of The Karma Sutra fully illustrated with photographs (don’t ask). There were two sets of  unused, still in their wrapping aluminium car mats of the type usually found in rally cars, a heated steering wheel cover, numerous photographs and reams of paper all to do with their university days. There was also a large box filled with various brand-new unopened games and a full set of snooker and billiard  balls! The list goes on. There were at least six large ‘grips’ of the type used to carry gym equipment and clothing. I have not thrown all of them away but a couple were damaged and worn and those I did throw out, that is they were left in the room for the guy who removed it all. It wasn’t all about the boys though for in the room was a twin bed, a convertible settee/bed and a couple of old heated blankets and three chairs. No wonder the door was kept shut but as we didn’t need the room it became a dumping ground. That is the problem with a large house when some of its rooms are not in daily use. When we first moved in almost all of the rooms were in use because there were seven of us in the house; now there are only two. I suppose you could compare it to the story of the Ten Little Indians who all disappeared one by one. When the last two Indians depart all that will be left will be memories and empty rooms until someone else continues the saga.

Shirley Anne

Something for nothing

Scrap Metal
Scrap Metal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As with any other household we at home also produce waste and have things that have no further use to us or have been replaced with something else. Our normal waste products are either sorted and sent to a landfill site or are sorted and recycled by our local authority but some larger items may require special arrangements for collection if we cannot dispose of them ourselves at the local waste and recycling centre. In the past I have obtain a permit allowing my van access to such a centre which permitted me to dispose of large domestic waste materials and furniture. Industrial waste is strictly controlled so for any commercial-type vehicle a permit is required. In order to continue to use the facility I am expected to renew the permit annually. However it has been quite some time since I needed to dispose of anything other than our usual domestic waste which is collected by the local council. During the last year or so I have been undertaking a few domestic projects resulting in the accumulation of some recyclable metal waste. One large and one small central heating radiators, lead soil waste piping, a long length of cast-iron soil waste pipe 150 mm in diameter, metal conduit and cable, aluminium pots and pans, steel baskets out of an old chest freezer and several other items such as a vehicle tow bar and a central heating circulation pump are some of the things I needed rid of. Usually items such as these I could take to the local waste centre myself though for the larger items I would need to empty out my van first and of course renew that permit. I would much prefer to call a local scrap metal dealer and have it all removed free of charge, the dealer selling it on for their own profit. Now as it happened I was out for a stroll on Sunday when I saw a scrap metal dealer driving his pick-up truck on the back of which were several scrap items, a fridge, a washing machine and other metal items and it prompted me to think about having my own waste collected. Later during my walk I saw the same vehicle again and it was being driven into the car park of a local supermarket. I decided to walk through the park to see if I could chat with the driver and caught up with him before he went into the store. I explained to him that I had some scrap metal which I needed to dispose of and that he was very welcome to take it. He asked for directions and told me he would call about an hour later. I was less than thirty minutes away from home so it gave me a chance to collect the items and put them all in the one place for easy collection. He didn’t turn up even though we waited for him the remainder of the afternoon. The is no accounting for such people. There I was offering him quite a lot of waste material for his own benefit yet he apparently was not interested after all. I will call someone listed in the advertisement section of my local newspaper and let them have the scrap metal instead.

Shirley Anne

Waste matters

English: Flytip Beside Howgare Road Fly-tippin...
Flytip Beside Howgare Road Fly-tipping is the illegal dumping of waste. It can vary in scale significantly from a bin bag of rubbish to large quantities of waste dumped from trucks. Fly-tipped waste may be found anywhere, such as roadsides, in lay-bys or on private land. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had a bit of a lie in on Friday morning but was even so up and about around eight-thirty. After a very small breakfast I hung the washing in the cellar. I had brought some things downstairs with me and had popped them into the machine before doing anything else. Whilst in the cellar I thought I would take a short walk on the treadmill and whilst doing that I began to think about things I might do in the day. I had wanted to do some work in the garden but the weather was although dry, very windy so I gave up on that idea. Instead, I decided to look for some paint and give the new steps I had constructed down there a month or so ago their first coat. I found some masonry paint and soon had them painted. They will probably need another coat later. By now it was approaching lunchtime so I did no more. Normally we get our waste bins emptied on a Friday, that is the non-recyclable waste or the recyclable plastic and cardboard depending on the week. Last Friday would be the first collection after Christmas and the New Year and many bins would therefore be naturally full to overflowing. Ours however was only half full because our non-recyclable waste is minimal due to there being only two of us in the house and the fact that we make a point of separating non-recyclable waste from recyclable waste. This means that sometimes we don’t need to put the non-recyclable waste out every two weeks because the bin is seldom full. Last Thursday evening I thought I might put the bin out then rather than do it on Friday morning as I normally do. After lunch on Friday the bin had still not been emptied and I had some more waste to put in it. I took it out to the bin and found that somebody had deposited a very large black bag filled with rubbish in there. I thought to myself how cheeky and why didn’t they put it with their own waste? I opened the bag and discovered it was filled with unsorted waste.

Kerbside collection bins in Dunedin, New Zeala...
Kerbside collection bins in Dunedin, New Zealand. The yellow-liddied wheelie bin is for non-glass recyclables, and the blue bin is for glass. The two bins are collected on alternating weeks. Official council bags are used for general household waste, and are collected weekly. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now of course I don’t mind anyone putting their waste in my bin if they’ve no alternative but to put unsorted waste in it when E and I spend the time sorting ours is a bit of a liberty. One would think that a knock on the door to ask if it was alright would be in order but some people it seems are so self-centred and selfish that would be the last thing they would do. I suppose too that the bag was placed under the cover of darkness and for a reason, they knew it was wrong so didn’t wish to be seen doing it. It may seem a lot of fuss over waste but there is a principle at stake here. These are the kind of people who think nothing of fly tipping or throwing their waste to the floor when out and about. These are the kind of people who leave their rubbish on the beach when there are waste bins provided or throw things out of the car window as they drive along. I called the local council to ask when the bins would be emptied as by three o’clock they were still full. I was told to expect them to be emptied the following day, Saturday. I brought the bin back in from the street to prevent any other nighttime waste disposers taking advantage. I placed that offending bag further up the street at the side of the road. It will get collected but not from my bin. In future I will not attempt putting out my bins the night before they are due for emptying.

Shirley Anne