A nothing day

Do you ever get nothing days in your life? Days in which nothing out of the ordinary happens or nothing gets done happen all of the time but hopefully not every day for everyone! My Wednesday was such a day for me. It was the 13 th day of March but it could have been a nothing day on any day both before and after. The weather hereabouts had been really miserable with very high winds blowing and the occasional showering of rain didn’t help matters much. There were things I wanted to be getting on with outside but they were never going to happen until the weather improved. One was finishing the work on the ramp behind the garage and to start work on constructing and installing a new door and frame for the same garage. The latter project was to widen the access into and out of the garage especially for the new mower.

The picture was taken a couple of years ago but shows the rear door of the garage which I intend to replace. I could have started the work on the door had there been materials on hand but there wasn’t. I would have to order them along with other materials but because the weather was so bad I shelved the idea for a few days. Earlier I had partly drained down the heating system in order to remove a leaking valve and on filling it up again discovered the bathroom towel rail heater refused to heat up. That was caused by trapped air in the system which I attempted to remove but at first couldn’t. It happens every time I drain the system for one reason or another. Over a couple of days I eventually did manage to get the air out but still the towel rail wasn’t getting hot enough. I decided to leave it alone for one more day to see if it would eventually work and it did just as it usually did. I went for a walk early in the morning even though the wind was still very strong (around 55 to 60 mph) and tried to stay sheltered from it as best I could. The wind finally eased off later in the evening and hopefully Thursday would be a better day where I might get something done if I felt inclined. It would probably be to order timber for making a start on the door and frame. The concrete laying for the ramp alterations would still have to wait for an improvement in the weather.

Shirley Anne

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Bit of a tussle

It is Monday 18 th Feb. The weather is in a bit of a tussle at the moment hovering between nice and warm and cold and windy. Despite that we are told to expect a warmer week. As far as I can make out the worst of the weather is behind us as we approach Spring. Well all I can say is wait and see. I am more concerned about any frost we may still get and by that I mean a hard frost lasting days. Why is that I hear you ask? Well after lunch today it became rather warm and sunny so I made the decision to remove the frost protection I had provided for the more susceptible plants we have in the garden namely the Phoenix Canariensis (palms). Last year they took a battering from the easterly winds which brought about a severe frost. We seem to have been fortunate this year and the weather has even been unduly warm. So off I went into the garden and guess what happened? The sun went in and the wind picked up and it became much cooler. No matter it was just cool and not freezing! After I had returned indoors say half an hour later the sun re-emerged the sky went blue and everywhere warmed up again. Just typical of my ‘good’ fortune. One of the bags in which the pebbles had been delivered came in very useful for storing the pieces of bubble-wrap I had used to protect the plants. They can be used again though I did purchase a large roll of bubble-wrap which would last for years.

Hopefully there will be no hard frost in the remaining weeks of Winter. This morning I had taken a longer walk than I had done for months and walked southward to Ainsdale taking the coastal road. I wasn’t that warm even though there was a south to south-westerly breeze. I walked down to the beach there, lovely at any time of year. The tide was just turning as I arrived and was beginning to recede but was still high upon the beach. I didn’t stop there too long because of the wind exposure and turned toward the dunes to make my way back home. It was the first time this year I had taken that route. There was far more shelter from the wind in the dunes though the line of trees and undergrowth on my left afforded the most protection. To my right were the main part of the dunes the other side of which lies the coastal road. By this time the sun had appeared and was warming by back from the right. I met a couple of people walking their dogs and one or two others out jogging. Finally I was back home and having an early lunch as I had skipped breakfast but feeling well and invigorated.

Shirley Anne

Got it wrong

According to the weather forecast we were supposed to have had very high winds overnight on Wednesday. E tells me that in fact it had been windy though not as bad as was forecast. However I am only referring to the weather here where I live, it might have been a different story elsewhere. This morning (Thursday 7) I went to do the weekly shopping and the weather wasn’t very pleasant at all, wet and windy but this afternoon it is bright sunshine all the way. It is however getting windier by the minute and having just heard the weather report we are in for the high winds previously promised. Sometimes they just get it wrong or in this case the date!

Despite the weather we are having it isn’t as bad as it was when the picture on the left was taken a few years ago. Yesterday, whilst there had been reasonable weather I did some work in the gardens, a spot of clearing them of accumulated leaves and the twigs and small branches that keep falling from a neighbour’s tree in the rear garden. It seems to be forever dropping twigs or branches. I also spent an hour digging out unwanted bluebells and one or two montbretia. Unfortunately some of the bluebells bulbs cannot be dug out as they lie beneath the tangle of tree roots. I had to just dig as far as I could and pull out the stems. After removing the majority of the bulbs a couple of years ago I knew there would be others some of which I knew I couldn’t remove unless I also dug out the other plants. Either way it is an impossible task and I fear the bluebells will just keep appearing each year. When I am pushing up daisies they can do what they please and no doubt they will! Today however I am staying indoors and out of the wind. I have other things to do indoors anyway.

Shirley Anne

Now sunshine…..

……..oh how varied the weather we get here in the UK. For some today it is cold, icy and there is snow lying on the ground but here where I live it is sunny with just a little ground frost or the remnants of ice where the sun doesn’t shine. We are very fortunate I admit so I never complain. I was up early to do the weekly shopping being as it is Thursday, the day I do it. No walks again because of the muscular pain but it isn’t a problem, the pain is slowly easing and I am more and more convinced it is due to trapped nerves in my neck. To that end I exercise my neck muscles. It was still cold when I left the house around seven-thirty but during the day it has been getting warmer and now the sun us shining.

I have been wanting to sweep up the leaves that have again accumulated in the rear garden but when I looked out of the window later in the morning I noticed the blackbirds flicking up the leaves searching for insects to eat. I am therefore going to leave the leaves lying there for a while.

I seem to be getting too used to doing very little and I’ll have to do something about that before I turn to seed!

Shirley Anne

Now ice

Icy weather

Yesterday it snowed for a short time. Today it is very cold and icy. Overnight the temperature dropped to two below zero, pretty mild for some places in the world but for us, cold. It is now January 23 and I expect it will get worse before it gets better but hoping it doesn’t get worse. The forecast for the next week is a rise in temperature but will it remain milder? Weather forecasting has improved vastly over the years due mainly to the machinery of interpretation, mostly computers. Even so much gathering of information is needed before successful weather prediction algorithms can do their work. They don’t always get it right though. The only place I went outside today was the garden and only then to dispose of accumulated garbage. It is collection day tomorrow but I find that it isn’t worth wheeling the bin into the street as there isn’t much in it! Having disposed of the garbage I placed some food waste material, mainly the peels of a melon, grapefruit, orange and kiwi, into the compost bin where everything gets returned to basics for spreading over the garden as plant food. We might think it is garbage but the plants don’t! For them it is food, minerals and sugars and they thrive on it. Come to thing of it we do exactly the same, put minerals and sugars into our body so that we too can thrive. I sometimes feel sorry for the plants stuck out there in the garden in all weathers and today especially in the icy cold conditions. They have their defences and can put up with it, well most of them. The ones that can’t have been wrapped up for the winter, at least until it stops freezing over. Today, apart from a few minutes outside, I have remained indoors relaxing. My back pain is persisting and is taking a long time to heal though there is an improvement. Tomorrow morning I do the shopping but thankfully it should be a little warmer by then according to the forecast though they can get it wrong!

Shirley Anne

Snowy Day

It was Tuesday 22 Jan and during the late morning the weather was very wintry with the sleet and snow falling. It was for the second time this year so far but as on the previous occasion a few days earlier it didn’t last. No doubt it would snow again as February approached. February is for the UK usually the coldest, wettest and least sunny of all the months. The Sun is still low over the horizon so when it gets wet it pretty much stays that way for a while. If it snows and it is otherwise dry then the snow gets a chance to stick and build up. Fortunately that doesn’t happen much these days and hasn’t really done so at least here in the north-west along the coast though not along the whole coast hereabouts. The Liverpool Bay area is somewhat sheltered from the severest of weather but it doesn’t get away Scott-free. As I write I am hoping we don’t get weather which is too severe. E is presently in the cellar retouching the paint on one or two of the doors down there, mostly in the gaps of the planks that the doors are constructed with. They were made using tongue and grooved timbers and sometimes it is difficult to get the paint in between the timbers where there are gaps. She is very particular when it comes to detail. I am too but I had just about enough of working in the cellar once I had finished the painting. I couldn’t at present do any work anyway for I am still suffering with a little muscular pain and want to keep on relaxing until it improves. This is also the reason I haven’t been out for walks over the past week.

Shirley Anne

First time in a while

During the day on Friday (7 th Dec.) the wind gradually grew stronger with every passing minute. The tail end of another hurricane was on its way to our shores once more. It doesn’t last long but much damage can be done in its passing. We were to expect gusts up to 80 mph in certain parts of the country and this time where we live was right in the firing line. Time to take down the flag for the first time in many months. I had been for an early morning walk and it rained throughout but it was only light rain. The wind was weak too and stayed that way for a few more hours until mid to late morning when it grew strong. By that time the skies were partly blue and the sun came out. It wasn’t cold either at 13 degrees though the wind made it feel that way. Soon after breakfast I lowered the flag then returning indoors set about doing some painting in the cellar small store room. The room itself lies partly underneath the stone steps which lead into the cellar and it has a door which is usually kept closed. That means it stays pretty cool if not cold in there though at one time the heating pipes would give off a little heat as the lagging was poor. At the beginning of last year I sorted out that problem and put new lagging around all the pipes in the cellar. Now the little room will be colder still especially as most of the pipes in there have also been boxed-in. I guess it would be an ideal place to store wine and would be even colder than the room we converted into a larder early last year. In the rooms which have no other source of heating it stays on the cold side. Only two rooms get warm and only one of those stays warm throughout the day and night. The boiler room (also called the gym) naturally gets a little warm when the heating is on during the daytime, though not all day. The new utility room gets warm because of the freezers in there and gets no heat from the pipes which are mostly all now hidden as well as being lagged. That room stays warm all day long and through the night because we keep the door closed. That means the cellar hallway stays on the cool side. The coldest rooms in the cellar are the small store just mentioned, the large store room and the workshop though none of them gets any cooler than around ten degrees. E has found the utility room to be very useful for some aspects of her crafting work as there is water and a sink on hand, a worktop and most importantly (for her) it is warm!  So far I have only been working in the main area of the small store and have as yet to work in the area beneath the steps. That will mostly involve blanking off part of the room beneath the furthest steps and then painting it all. Today as I write I have still to paint the main area with its final coat and of course paint the whole floor when the room is finished. Today I also tested the wet room floor repair above the room and it had been successful.

Shirley Anne 

Rain

Enjoy the rain?

I don’t mind the rain do you? It’s when the wind blows it sideways I hate it. Sometimes in this country (UK) when it rains it rains for days on end and if you don’t like the rain it can be very miserable for you. As the song points out it is all a state of mind. We cannot prevent it raining so unless you just grin and bear it or even enjoy it your life will remain very miserable indeed! I have to admit though that when it rains it can prevent us enjoying the things we enjoy doing outside when it is dry. We had a few days of continuous rain at the beginning of December and it came after a long period of almost completely dry weather. I was beginning to think we would never get rain again! So remember to enjoy the rain just in case you never have it again!

Shirley Anne

Sorry but…..

‘I’m sorry Shirley Anne but it’s just got to go’, I told myself on Thursday morning. It was a very miserable day on Thursday just as it had been a couple of days earlier, wet and windy, very windy. I had gone to bed the evening before feeling rather down and tired and hoped the new day would be an improvement but it wasn’t. I was feeling a little down because I was tired and some of the events in the day had given me some irritation. It had been one of those days as we say. So Thursday promised better things but it didn’t fare that way for me. In the first place I woke up with a horrible bout of Cystitis and all that comes with it. I have an interim solution for Cystitis which helps until I can get some medication if I haven’t any to hand but it only helps soothe the burning sensation and kill the surface bacteria. It was enough to allow me relief until I went shopping later. However, back to the foul weather. No matter what I tried to hold down the tunnel structure over the patio the wind loosened it and I would have to try something else. There was no way I would get the upper hand and I knew it. When the weather is less windy all is fine but the wind destroys and shows no mercy. Did I mention I hate the wind? Well I do. So what’s got to go? The tunnel. As soon as the weather would allow I would be out there removing it and mark it down as a failure. What would take its place? Well I mentioned that I think in yesterday’s post. Two tee-pees or wigwams if you prefer would replace the one tunnel and should hopefully withstand the wind better. Oh the joys of gardening eh? I did no work on Thursday for not only did I have nether regions problems but I was feeling the effects of maybe a cold but definitely the bad weather. 

Shirley Anne 

Keeping the weather out

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about purchasing a plastic-covered tunnel with which to use to protect a couple of the Phoenix Canariensis plants we have in the rear garden. The other three could be more easily protected but these two had proved difficult to protect over the last couple of years. Last year if you remember we had a severely cold snap which damaged some of the plants, these two especially. However, they started to recuperate during the summer months and I didn’t want them to suffer again this winter so I purchased the tunnel. A week or so ago E and I erected the steel frame an d we were going to leave it that way for a few more weeks but on Sunday (11 th) I decided not to wait and I placed the plastic cover over it. Surprisingly it wasn’t as difficult as I imagined it might be.

I needed a step ladder of course and I had wanted to use the larger of the two I had in the garage but it had been stored temporarily behind the scaffolding tower and the smaller ladder was also trapped in the same way. I moved the scaffolding pieces to free the ladders but then decided the smaller of the two would suffice. Whilst doing that I noticed a small patch of water on the floor near to the door. The roof had sprung a leak. Now it had only been a matter of a few days since I asked E to call her nephew to sort out the problem as he had done the alteration work on the roof in the first place. At the time he had used this ‘special’ paint (all singing and all dancing apparently) but weeks later there was an enormous leak and he had the work redone. Well a few days ago he returned to carry out repairs to another but smaller leak. Now he has to return yet again to repair this one! So much for the ‘special’ paint! I think he should have stuck with the bitumen and felt covering. 

Shirley Anne