‘Down in the mouth’ is an expression we use to describe someone who is (temporarily) feeling ‘out of sorts’ or not as ‘upbeat’ as they usually are. Late morning on Thursday saw me like that and I’ll explain in a moment. I had gone to bed early on Wednesday because basically I couldn’t keep my eyes open! I really was feeling tired. It meant once more that I would wake early too but that wasn’t a problem except that I woke a little too early at three o’clock. I had slept on top of the bed again in the high temperature and especially high humidity which was way over 90%. Sleeping under the covers would have been unbearable. So I woke up and made the attempt at returning to sleep but couldn’t. At five o’clock I gave up the idea and had a shower. I was downstairs for breakfast before six. As is my want I usually have the tv switched on while eating breakfast which was on that day porridge. Just as I had finished eating the tv went dead. At first I though I’d accidentally switched it off on the remote control but then I realised the fridge power indicator light wasn’t on. I checked the lights and they too were not working. Going down into the dark cellar rooms I discovered the unit which reads the gas and electric meters had no indicating lights working. This meant there was no power at the electric meter, the whole house was off, fridge/freezers, power outlets and lighting all not working. It was six twenty-five. There was nothing I could do but go and do the weekly shopping run. However, even I didn’t want to go shopping at such an early hour though I had planned to go around eight o’clock. I sat and read the local newspaper for a while then looking out of the lounge window I saw our neighbour’s son about to leave for work. I opened the window and called to him asking if he had lost electrical power too. He had. It could only be a high voltage distribution problem for I learned later that large areas had been affected. Had it simply been local it might have been the lower voltage distribution system at fault. I decided I would go and fetch the shopping which I did but first of all I had to wind the garage door up manually to get the van out and wind it sown again manually too. I returned home at eight-thirty by which time E had come downstairs and eaten her breakfast. After I had packed the food away the power came back on as we stood and chatted. It was now nine o’clock. Now I had a dental appointment around eleven o’clock so after a short rest I drove there and was attended to almost immediately. I’d had a couple of fillings replaced. The injection I’d received didn’t wear off until almost two o’clock! I had no feelings on the right side of my mouth and when I looked in the mirror I could see my mouth was sagging on the right. I really was down in the mouth for a while. I was back home before eleven forty-five and drove E into town so she could attend to some business. We arrived back home for lunch after one o’clock by which time I was feeling really drained of energy. We spent a little time relaxing on the patio after eating lunch and wondered when we would get rain. The day was still warm and humid as we awaited the promised rain and thunderstorms late in the afternoon. Maybe it would finally rain on this the last day of the month……………
Despite the weather forecasts promise of heavy rain coupled with thunder and lightning throughout Friday (25) it didn’t quite happen that way. I had decided to take an early morning walk and with that promise in mind I wore my rainproof jacket. It wasn’t however raining though the sky was darkened with clouds. The coat acted more as a warm covering than protection from the rain for it remained dry until long after my return home. I had to remove the coat half-way through the walk and tie it as we girls do, around the waist by the sleeves. It was a really pleasant walk, just the right temperature (even before I removed the coat) and hardly any wind. As I went onto the beach I saw a guy stand up as if he had been lying down on the grass that partly covers it. His dog began to bark as I got closer but after a word from him it stopped. He was busy rolling up what I presumed was his portable bed, a straw mat and sleeping bag. He also had a guitar case with presumably a guitar inside. I supposed he was a busker and also it appeared a drifter too. I bade him good morning and he replied in kind as I continued on my way. I didn’t do much before lunch and if I am honest after lunch too! I did however finish off sawing down a neighbour’s tree growing too close and overhanging our garden. A couple of years ago E had spoken with the guy regarding our pruning back his trees and he told her he didn’t care what we did with the trees. He meant of course keeping them in check. The area behind the brick wall separating our gardens and on his side is a veritable jungle of undergrowth, weeds, brambles, ivy and out of control bamboo. The rest of my neighbour’s garden is in reasonable condition but he has let this part get out of hand and it appears he isn’t going to change that in the near future. All we can do is to prevent his mess climbing over the wall into our garden. I may buy him a chain saw and machete and see if he takes the hint! I ended up watering the long flowerbed despite the rain having started to fall. It wasn’t as heavy as forecast and being as it was from the east that part of the garden sometimes can remain dry beneath the tree cover.
It is Friday 18th as I write late in the afternoon. E and I have just returned indoors after a brief spell out on the patio, well it was brief for me for E had been out there much longer. I had retired to bed very early on Thursday evening because I was very tired. It meant however an early rise too but I took advantage of that and went for a walk in the bright sunshine. It was bright and sunny throughout the day in fact and the whole weekend was forecast to be even better with higher temperatures. When I had finished breakfast on my return home E asked if I had cut the piece of plywood she needed to make a door notice. More on that later. I had forgotten and had other things planned but I cut and painted the wood so that she could use it later. I had used vinyl emulsion so it would be dry in a couple of hours. It would be varnished over once E had finished her little project. I could now begin the small project I had set for myself which was to remove some small paving slabs from the driveway E uses for her car and reset them in concrete. They had become loose after the original mortar mix had crumbled over the years since it was laid. I managed to do four of them but there are others which need attention too. Over the next few weeks I shall probably do them a little at a time rather than all at once.
It was fast approaching lunchtime when I had done them and it was getting warmer by the minute. I didn’t wish to continue working in the heat wearing my overalls and having to mix a load of concrete by hand. I could have used the mixer but as I was not going to tackle the rest of the driveway at once it would have been pointless. After lunch I had to feed the plants in the front garden having done the ones in the rear garden yesterday but first I had it in mind to put feeding tubes beneath those plants which stand on the mound beneath the flagpole. The picture below shows a white plastic tube at the base of a newly planted shrub.
All six of the plants on the mound were done in the same way. Once they were done I fed all of the garden plants before returning into the rear garden to give it a thorough soaking. It was then that I found a few minutes to relax on the patio with E. It wasn’t long however before we decided to go indoors, after I had taken the washing off the line for E.
All the things I feel I want to get on with I find I am unable to and other things which sometimes or otherwise take second place I find I am doing instead. Work on my little project for the last week or more has been stop and go and at the time of writing this (on the 10 th) it is still in abeyance. To complete the work, which is only to paint the floor and that won’t take long, I need a mask for protection. As my readers will already know I ordered one days ago but have still to receive it. That in itself isn’t a problem but I wish it will come soon so that I can write off the work. Normally I would just get on with other things but even there I find I am prevented from moving on. The reason for that has been due to my taking on other responsibilities, things which E would normally be doing had she not been incapacitated. Today I had to get in the weekly shopping and ferry her to her appointments so there was little time for anything else. I am not complaining about having that responsibility, I am happy to be able to help her even if it does mean I have to put on hold my little jobs. She is making good progress with her back problem and hopes to be back in circulation soon. Her spinal problem is another matter but she has been coping with that as best she can. It is her muscular back pain which is currently the main issue. After lunch today I was able to do a little gardening maintenance and E came out to see what I was doing.
A few days ago I planted some seeds in the greenhouse and wondered if any of them would grow for the seeds were old. I planted flowers, tomatoes and beetroot but at this moment only the beetroot seeds have sprouted, all twenty-six of them! E decided we should pot them on into larger pots and she took charge of that and I became the assistant. The plan is to plant them in one of the flowerbeds between the other plants but only when they are large enough not to be mistaken for weeds! Now E had already planted some melon seeds in several small pots with my assistance and some of them have begun to grow. We are hoping they might produce fruit later in the year and of course they will have to remain in the greenhouse to give them a fighting chance. So although I am not doing much on my projects just now at least I am getting something done and E is benefiting by getting involved with outdoor jobs too.
It had been such a lovely warm, even hot summer’s day on Wednesday but of course it wasn’t summer was it? Thursday was almost exactly the same and I wanted to go for an early walk before doing any work on the cellar room project. It was surprisingly warm when I started off from home even though I had left early. Two hours later I returned and had a light breakfast. E in the meantime was getting dressed to go for the weekly shopping. Finishing breakfast I put on my overalls and was about to start work painting the ceiling and walls in the cellar storage room when I heard a groan. E was standing in the hallway semi-paralysed with a severe back pain and could hardly move. Her back problem occasionally renders her incapacitated though fortunately not often she tells me. I told her to stay at home and I would do the shopping. She would have to phone her mom to explain that she wouldn’t be calling in and that her brother would have to do their shopping instead. He lives at home with his mom. Anyway I prepared a shopping list as E hadn’t done so, she sometimes just buys from memory. Now shopping for food isn’t something I like doing but obviously do if it is necessary. Thursday was one such day. Off came my overalls and off I went to do the weekly shopping. I actually bought more than I had listed for there were some other things we needed besides food like weedkiller for instance. In a little more than an hour later I was back home but by now it was past lunchtime. E however was out in the garden struggling to hang up the washing she had put in the machine earlier. I told her to leave it and I would do it later. Later was sooner for she had a second load to take out of the machine and hang too. After packing away the food I went outside to hang the washing. At last I could grab a bite of lunch but half-way through my eldest son arrived to borrow the long aluminium extension ladders we have in the garage. He was helping his friend work on his roof-line guttering. By the time he left with the ladders it was nearly three o’clock. I finished off my lunch then E and I spent a couple of hours out on the patio. Of course I did all the fetching and carrying of coffees and such. Later it was time to take in the washing and re-hang some of it in the boiler room because it was still a little damp despite the warm weather. The reason for that was the high humidity outside. Anyway it wasn’t long before it was time for an evening meal. No chance of doing any decorating and the project was on hold until the next day, there really wasn’t any choice. The next day however we had planned to spend some time at the garden centre………
Alright it wasn’t so hot to be unbearable but it certainly had been hot considering it was barely half-way through April! It was Wednesday the 18th and the local temperature had gradually risen during the morning to reach around 22 deg C in the afternoon. Added to that it was sunny throughout the day, a really pleasant day that wouldn’t have been out-of-place in the summer months let alone April. Nice as it all was however I didn’t get to rest outside on the patio until after lunch. I had spent three hours in the garden before deciding to return indoors. I had arisen a little late and spent some time using the gym equipment before breakfast and following that I resumed work in the cellar room. My efforts at rendering the wall were what you might call not that professional but after all I am not a builder. It meant I had some filling in to do but chose to use plaster rather than cement as it is easier to use and easier to get a smooth surface, not that a smooth surface was all that necessary. It would look better when painted over if I used plaster. Once I had done that I sealed the wall using a diluted PVA mixture. The next task in the room would be filling in the holes in the floor, painting the walls and ceiling (again) and painting the shelving. At this stage I am undecided as to whether to re-position the room light and replace it in the process though it is only a storage room. I had time before lunch to mow the lawn
The picture was taken later in the afternoon along with the next two….
The rhubarb is doing very well in its new home. If my readers will remember I moved it from where it was to the raised bed above. As yet there are no signs of the potatoes in the bare ground in front of it.
You might think that for someone who is very tired sleep comes easy but unfortunately that isn’t always the case for me. Although I had been very busy on Thursday and was tired when I went to bed getting to sleep eluded me. I tossed and turned throughout the night and felt awful when I got up in the morning. After having something for breakfast I felt so much better though I did remain a little sleepy. I spent some time on the project (see yesterday’ post) and by the afternoon I was ready to go to bed but of course I didn’t, not at that time. Later however when I did go to bed sleep came very easy and I was out for the count in minutes! I had a really good night’s sleep and should have been ready to do some more work but I decided to take a break from it and have the next two days off, Saturday and Sunday. I decided a walk was on the cards so before breakfast, which incidentally I missed altogether, I dressed to go for the walk. It wasn’t that warm on Saturday morning as I left the house but it wasn’t cold either. About half-way through the walk things changed, the clouds rolled away and it became warm in the bright sunshine. By the time I had returned home my coat was beginning to make me feel uncomfortable wearing it. I was ready to eat something so had a slightly early lunch, though it was by then approaching one o’clock. E had been busy at the top of the house and didn’t have lunch until two. I in the meantime went onto the patio to sit in the now warmer sunshine. E joined me not long after but neither of us sat there too long as we began digging out a few sycamore seedlings and weeds. We did return to the patio however to make the most of the fine weather while it lasted. Sunday looked gloomy as plenty of rain had been forecast but during the week ahead we had been promised high temperatures and bright sunshine. When we returned indoors we sat and watched the Grand National horse race, the only horse race we do watch throughout the year.
For one reason or another I felt so tired I went to bed early, that is just after ten o’clock on Tuesday (3rd) evening. Perhaps it was the hassle we had in getting the mortgage paid off. Anyway it served to get me up much earlier on Wednesday and I was downstairs before seven-thirty eating breakfast. E wouldn’t appear until ten o’clock! I began thinking of things I could do but first I had to bring up from the cellar some items of food from the freezer and some canned food too. The upstairs freezer was short on stock but I needed the canned food because I had decided to prepare a Bolognese Sauce for later in the day. That required canned tomatoes and mushrooms. I should use fresh foods for that but as I often make things on the spur of the moment canned foods are easier. It wasn’t long before the sauce was done. Whilst I had been downstairs in the cellar I noticed some of the pipe insulation I had fitted a week or so earlier had shrunk a little in length in one or two places. This can happen with new insulation until it is settled. It was easy enough to cut some small sections of insulation and squeeze them into the spaces to seal the gaps. This I did next before returning upstairs again. E still hadn’t arrived downstairs so I decided I would bake a cake and set about preparing that. This time I was baking another Family Fruit Cake. Easy to prepare and bake:
1 lb self-raising flour
1/2 lb unsalted butter
1/2 lb fruit (sultanas, currants and some chopped lemon peel (if desired)
1/2 lb caster sugar
Small quantity of milk
2 Standard eggs
Put flour and butter in mixing bowl and mix together by hand to form a crumble.
Add fruit and caster sugar to the mixture then the eggs with a few tablespoons of milk. Using a metal spoon mix thoroughly until a soft paste is formed but not too moist. Add a little extra milk as you mix. The mixture should be firm enough to handle and not be dry.
Prepare a small baking tin (say 8 inches) by lining it with parchment paper and covering it with butter using fingers. The paper should stand an inch or so above the edge of the tin to allow the cake to rise. Scoop mixture into tin and level out leaving a small dimple at the centre to discourage it rising there too quickly. Bake in the centre of a pre-heated oven at 350 F /180 C for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. Using a wooden probe test to see if mixture has baked through to the centre near to the end of the baking period. Don’t open the oven door before then or the cake may not rise! If it hasn’t set in the centre then leave in the oven a little longer.
Just as I was about to place the cake in the oven E came into the room. We chatted and we discussed what we would like to do in the cellar regarding a storage room down there. She has been asking for quite some time that she would like to as she puts it ‘sort it out’. Well it does need sorting out…..
Don’t you agree? It is one of those rooms where everything gets dumped and is almost forgotten about though we are often in there looking for tools and materials for use on projects. Looks like we will be busy again soon ‘tidying it up’.
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!
Saturday (17 th) ended up being a busy day for me though it wasn’t all about the decorating down in the cellar. I wanted to complete the construction of the cupboard surround for the boiler but I didn’t get to work on that until after lunch. I surprised myself by getting up very early for after the previous day’s work I had been very tired going to bed and a sleep-in could have been a possibility. However, I didn’t rush into the work I promised I would do before continuing with the cellar job. For some time E had been hoping I would replace the fluorescent light in her workshop with a new LED unit and at the same time move it nearer to where she does most of her intricate work. I had purchased the new light a couple of days previously so I was obliged now to install it. That work took me less than an hour but most of that time was spent in preparation. Whilst I was doing that work I had put the robot floor cleaner to work in my bedroom. My next job was to vacuum the tops of the fitted furniture. I do this every few months for fluff and dust accumulates up there and if left can end up on the floor. It proves one thing, there must be a lot of dust floating about in the air. That work led to my cleaning the vacuum cleaner itself as I do that every few months too. I am not talking about just emptying the dirt but washing component parts and allowing them to dry before reinstalling them. I also replaced the 24 door and drawer knobs on my bedroom furniture.
After lunch I was finally able to continue with the work on the cellar. I completed the construction by cutting the plywood and fitting it to the sides of the boiler cupboard.……and then painting the whole unit with primer
I think I did enough for one day. It was five o’clock when I stopped work. After painting the unit with a couple of top coats it will be finished. I will then move on to the final construction work or rather I should say refurbishment of the room’s only storage cupboard. The only other task will be touching up on the paint work in various places and that will mark the end of the project unless we either seal the floor or paint it.