One last look

It was now Wednesday morning and I hadn’t anything special to look forward to in the way of work or anything else either but there was one thing I had to do nevertheless. I had to tidy up the gym/boiler room and collect and put tools, paint and paint brushes away as well as cleaning them beforehand. Thirty minutes should have been enough time but I ended up taking two and a half hours! Minor touching up of paintwork and giving the rear door which leads out into the garden a thorough cleaning both inside and out all added to the total time I had spent down in the room.

Note the washing had been cleared from the line by E the night before so the room appears as it does for the majority of the time. Even if all three washing lines are full of washing none of it would interfere with the use of any of the equipment in the room but look at the open space now that we have cleared out the clutter that once occupied it. The project is for all intents and purposes now complete but as I mentioned in yesterday’s post I have yet to treat the floor. Already I have the next project in my thoughts but I will tell you about that when I tackle it.

Shirley Anne

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Last Monday?

I write this mid-afternoon on Tuesday 27 th. The day feels cool and uninviting because of the wind and overcast sky. Not a day for sitting out in but earlier I had been out for a walk which was pleasant enough though the wind took the edge off things. I was having a day off work, no intentions of continuing with the project in the cellar, I just wanted to take a break. As it happens I had been working the previous day and had completed most of the basic work anyway. One very minor thing needs to be done, a sticking door. One of the doors on the cupboard needs a little shaving off near the bottom as it is sticking to the other door when closed. That will take all of two minutes to do at the most! So apart from filling in a few cracks in the floor and then sealing the whole floor the project is complete. Maybe it will have been the last Monday of the project if you disregard the floor. The room as it stands this afternoon simply requires tidying up but as you can see from the pictures it is in use as a laundry drying room which it always was anyway.

Clothes don’t hang in the room too often and in the warmer months seldom at all for we hang them on the washing line in the garden. It is very handy having a drying room for when the weather is bad. It appears at the moment that the floor inside the cupboard is slowly drying out now but it is a very slow process. The walls have dried out at least which only leaves the floor to do the same. Had we been aware of the problem months ago I am sure it wouldn’t have gotten so damp. I am at that stage now where I am looking for another project to tackle.

Shirley Anne

Nice but…

Sundays are nice but for me they can be boring as I don’t do much in the way of work. It isn’t just the work which keeps me occupied and happy, as long as I am doing something I am happy. Putting it another way I am not the kind of person who can sit relaxing for long periods unless I am exhausted. So Sundays are nice if I am not totally unoccupied. On Sunday, that is 25 th of the month, it was a brilliantly sunny day and I made a couple of attempts to sit outside in the sunshine but the wind was blowing and it was cold sitting outside unless I was sheltered from it. Unfortunately there was little shelter to be had because of the wind direction. I was outside inspecting my work of the previous day the cementing around the grid, to see how it had set. All was fine but as rain was forecast for Monday and especially Tuesday I wanted to apply some water-repellent sealant on the cement. Unfortunately that wasn’t possible as the cement hadn’t dried out completely. E was pressing me for the use of the washing machine but had agreed not to use it until Monday to allow the cement to dry out more thoroughly. I took the opportunity to spend a few minutes replacing the drain pipes and lengthening two of them then I placed a plastic sheet temporarily behind them so that the cement would be shielded from water splashes when they were in use or when it rained.It is a pretty much sheltered spot anyway and doesn’t always get wet when it rains. It looks as if  the grid had been the source of the ingress of water into the cellar room cupboard for on the day it appeared to be slowly drying out. It would take days for it to be completely dry though. One place it was really warm was in the greenhouse. I had been in there watering the flowers we have growing in tubs. It would have been an ideal spot for sitting in the sunshine had I been tempted to fetch a chair!

Shirley Anne

Darned thing

So Saturday (24) came along and I was up early once again. During the last few days we had discovered that the dampness in the bottom of the cupboard in the gym we have been decorating wasn’t drying up. It had to be caused by an ingress of water from outside the building. I had given it a few days to dry but it stayed wet. Two things are at work here. Firstly, the house walls were not constructed with a damp-proof course or membrane and secondly, the boiler room floor is below the ground level outside. I have no real idea why when it was laid the builders made it so. The house was built in 1877 but a quarter of the boiler room being part of an extension built we think at the turn of the century, that is 1900, was added to the already low floor. It is the only room below ground level at the rear of the house though at the front the rooms there are below ground only because earth was piled-up in front of the house…

There are vestiges of former windows below the soil level which have been bricked in. I suppose the thinking was because the ground the house stands upon is sandy there was enough drainage as not to become a problem. Anyhow on Friday I got to thinking about what I could do about the ingress of water and from where it was coming. When I took measurements I discovered that the floor inside the cupboard was nine bricks down from the window in the room but outside only seven courses are visible above the path and eight just where the wall ends at the grid. Now the grid is below the path so it puts it at the same level as where the dampness appears inside. On checking the brickwork I found gaps in the mortar at ground level and especially around the grid. I decided to mix some fine cement and use it to seal off the gaps both along the base of the wall and around the grid earthenware.

I used a small amount of what was left to patch up the plinth beneath the boiler

and then I set about painting the shelves and insides of the doors of the cupboard which now will only need touching up here and there,

Saturday and Sunday were forecast as dry and sunny and as I write this on Saturday lunchtime it is indeed sunny. It needed to be dry at least so the cement can set.

Shirley Anne

A little more…..

……or bit by bit. It wasn’t that I wanted to get up early but I had a really good night’s sleep and woke up just after six o’clock. I was downstairs and ready for breakfast by seven but as I usually do if up first I unlocked the porch and front doors. It was then I noticed the free newspaper in the letter box. It must have been delivered very early for if it had been delivered late in the evening E would have seen it when she locks up the front doors way after midnight or even after one o’clock as she most often stays up that late. I took it into the lounge and sat to read it for a half-hour before going into the kitchen for breakfast. That meant I had finished eating around eight so I thought I would get some painting done downstairs. E had an appointment at the hospital and had asked me to accompany her for she was expecting to receive a steroid injection as part of the treatment for her foot. Evidently she was told it could cause her to be unstable on her feet hence I would be there for transport and support. I wanted therefore to get at least some work done in the day knowing it might be impossible later. The appointment was at eleven-thirty and after that it would be lunch time. I managed to paint the interior walls of the cupboard  with the white emulsion we have been using in the room by which time it was approaching eleven o’clock. I drove E to the hospital and we were there for nearly an hour. As it happened the injection had been put off til another day allowing other treatment to be tried instead. After we had paid a visit to the Post Office Sorting Depot E asked if we could visit Dobbies for a coffee. So after all that we didn’t get to eat lunch until two o’clock and then we relaxed for an hour watching catch-up tv. At three-thirty I decided to put on my overalls again and do some more painting.

The cupboard decoration would hopefully be finished the next day, Saturday though I may have to leave the floor untreated for a few more days whilst it thoroughly dries out. The only other decorating tasks in the room would be touching up the paintwork here and there. As yet we haven’t decided on what we will do with the floor but I think it will be simply patching up and sealing it.

Shirley Anne

Little done

I had no intentions of doing any work on Thursday (22) for I wanted to go for a walk first thing in the morning. Having not been out for a walk for a few days and for more than a week or so prior to that I kept the walk brief, that is I walked four miles only. I didn’t wish to push myself too much this time but even so I felt tired on my return home. It was one of those days, typical of early Spring when the sun was trying to warm things up but a biting wind was making it difficult. I was warm enough in my clothing but could still feel the coldness of the wind, especially down on the beach front. Having had no breakfast before I left the house I was feeling hungry and rustled up something to eat. E had recently eaten her breakfast and was preparing to dress so she could go and do the weekly shopping with her mom. All I wanted to do was sit on the sofa and watch tv. The nourishment finally took effect and I was feeling my old self again. It was too late to begin the work in the cellar room gym as E would be returning home with the groceries and it would soon be time for lunch anyway. The work I would be doing in the cellar was filling in gaps in the woodwork and walls and painting the inside of the cupboard I had prepared with a priming coat the day before. The floor inside the cupboard still looked a little damp in the corner though not as much as it did the day before. Perhaps it was drying out after all but only time will tell and I had doubts about it. That part of the cupboard would be left alone until I was sure there was no rising damp or ingress of moisture from outside. I any event I would be taking measures externally to ensure there would be no ingress of water at a later date. I didn’t sit watching tv all the time E was out, no, I did some house cleaning, mopping floors and such!

Shirley Anne

More problems?

………..Well maybe but at this point in time all I can do is wait and see. I think I made the right decision in calling our house ‘Hassle Castle’.

There are always little problems here! Anyway today, that is Wednesday 21st, which also happens to be around the Spring Equinox, I have spent most of the daytime in the cellar room we now call the gym. It is also the boiler room and the room in which we hang washing if it is raining outdoors. Having done all the work in there over the last few weeks it looks more like a gym than it ever did. Today I spent some time on the equipment before breakfast and after breakfast I gave the room a good tidy-up removing all those things not now needed in there. I then finished the painting of the boiler cupboard and the window frame.

Before doing anything else I did some remedial work on the furniture of the door leading into the room and also on the room cupboard. All that work took me till lunch at one o’clock. After lunch I began applying a priming coat of paint to the interior of that cupboard.   A few days earlier I had spread some concrete screed over the floor inside the cupboard and it looked as if it hadn’t dried out completely in the rear corner on the right-hand-side. In the picture above the same area looks a little darker than the rest. Whilst applying the priming paint on the walls around that spot I noticed the paint wouldn’t stick and it could only be due to moisture. I would leave the base area alone for a few days to see what develops. It would either dry out or remain damp. Our house does not have a damp proof seal between the lower bricks, it was designed that way when it was built. On the rear of the cupboard wall on the outside of the building is a downspout and surface water drain which I had sealed around at ground level with cement a couple of months ago but it could be that I need to investigate the possibility that water is somehow still getting into the wall by some other means. Had we not bothered decorating the room and the cupboard (which did need a good refurbish) we would not have noticed there might be a problem. A case of out of sight out of mind! It isn’t a major problem but it requires looking into.

Shirley Anne

The fat end

When we talk about the thin end of a wedge we are usually referring to the start of something big. Sometimes those things may be good and sometimes they may not. The wedge I am referring to is a good one, the project I have been engaged with over the last few weeks, the gym room. I am now at the thick end of that wedge where it all comes together as a finished work. There is still more to do but the major part of the work at least is over. It is now Tuesday 20 th and this morning I was busy at it again. I wanted to paint the doors of the boiler cupboard in the red colour we had chosen for the woodwork in the room. This I did first of all and I was going to give them another coat later in the day to finish that part of the work but I didn’t get around to doing that on the day. While the paint was drying I set about clearing out the room cupboard and began working on the inside of it. First of all I had to insert a brick in the wall where there had been a hole. I could feel a draught coming from the wall’s cavity. I cut the brick and mixed some mortar with which to set it in the hole (Top right beneath and above new ceiling in picture below). Next task was to remove the loose plaster from the exposed laths of the cupboard ceiling  and tidy up the mess. Finally I was able to construct a false wooden ceiling making the cupboard ready for a few coats of paint.

E had been to the hospital for treatment and returned just as I was finishing the work. I had agreed to pay for her computer repairs so I got changed and we drove down to the shop to collect it. By now it was approaching one-thirty so I decided we might dine out. E of course never declines such offers so we drove to a carvery and had a full-sized meal. On our return home we called in to see our neighbour who is chronically ill with emphysema. She struggles to breath at times and has oxygen cylinders to hand at home. She was happy so see us and grateful for the visit. As far as my working day was concerned it was finished but Wednesday beckoned!

Shirley Anne

Why did Christ suffer on the cross?

Doctrine: Atonement; God’s Forgiveness (Leviticus 6:6–7)

Barry Bonds at the plate.
Barry Bonds at the plate. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On August 7, 2007, baseball slugger Barry Bonds hit career home run number 756, the home run that broke Hank Aaron’s record. However, many questioned whether or not the new record should count because Bonds was alleged to have used steroids. Sports buffs said if his name is listed in the record book, it should be accompanied by an asterisk to indicate that the record is a sort-of record, a tainted record. In 2008 Mark Ecko, the man who bought the ball Bonds hit to set the record, branded the baseball with an asterisk and donated it to the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. It’s not unusual for Christians to imagine we have an asterisk by our name. We may be destined for that Hall of Fame called heaven, but aware that our lives our tainted, we’re left with a sour taste in our souls. We’re grateful to enjoy eternal life with God, but we wish there wasn’t that sense of being tainted. The gospel is hard to believe at just this point, but it is nonetheless the great truth. There is no longer a need for sin offerings. The forgiveness we are offered through Christ’s sacrifice doesn’t just make our sin null and void, it also erases the asterisk. God doesn’t see a fixed sinner, but someone righteous and pristine. We are in Christ, and Christ is in us. We are a new creation. The old has passed away—so much so that there is no need for an asterisk—and all things have become new.

Taken from NIV Understand the Faith Study Bible

That’s it! ‘The forgiveness we are offered through Christ’s sacrifice’ For all of us have sinned, we all fall short of God’s glory, we simply are not at all good. Yes we may live good lives and be upstanding citizens, give to the poor and do all sorts of ‘good’ things but unfortunately we are none of us perfect, we are all tainted in some way. Our own sense of righteousness doesn’t mean we are righteous, no, we cheat and lie, we do things we ought not do and don’t do the things we ought to do. It is just as well therefore that God loves us and He demonstrates that love through Jesus Christ. Jesus died on that cross for each and every one of us both now, in the past and in the future. For all those who believe on his name there is salvation, atonement with The Father and forgiveness for our sins. It is an amazing truth. It is such a shame that not everybody will accept it. They remain in their sins and they condemn themselves. My hope is that all will come to the truth which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. My hope is that you dear reader, if you have not already done so, is that you come to accept Jesus as your Saviour for that is who He is.

Shirley Anne

Paint, digging and more paint

I was up and about very early on Monday (19) morning but it wasn’t my intention to start work at that hour. I just happened to have had enough sleep having retired early the night before. I started working at eight thirty however and concentrated on painting the interior of the boiler cupboard surround and following that the exterior too. I was interrupted from the work at nine o’clock when E came into the room in her dressing gown to tell me that Robert, her nephew had arrived. Robert is the builder in the family and he, or rather his crew had constructed the raised part of the roof to accommodate the new garage door. If you remember a couple of posts ago I mentioned it had sprung a leak. He left one of his crew to redo part of the roof and give the whole area a new coat of sealant. I trust he won’t have to return again. I checked to see if there was anything he required before returning to my painting. I finished the painting at eleven-thirty then decided to dig out more bluebells. I spent over two hours doing that and must have removed a hundred of them. Nothing like the amount I dug out last year which ran into thousands! I always knew there would still be more this year and sadly some of them simply cannot be removed at all because of where they are. Those we shall have to keep plucking out before they flower. I can see a day when I won’t bother anymore but only because I will not be able. I returned indoors to a belated lunch and E was already sitting down to hers. After lunch I had to empty out the little container we use to dispose of fruit and vegetable waste, skins and such. We empty it into the composting bin along with grass cuttings and leaves. However when I went outside I saw that the garden needed sweeping of the many leaves which had fallen during the recent windy weather. Most of them are ivy with a few holly leaves too. It was a warm and sunny day on Monday so it was pleasant being outdoors. Finally I returned indoors again and painted part of the front doors on the boiler cupboard to see how it would look.

I was going to continue and paint all four doors but I changed my mind in favour of a well-earned break! The ‘pole’ leaning at an angle is actually the clothesline prop. We have decided to park it there where it is out-of-the-way.

Shirley Anne