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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Busy again

With the mild weather we were having I was eager to finally get into the garden and do some work. There was much to do but I didn’t do everything just enough to fill three hours. I was up early on this the last Saturday in February and soon after breakfast I put on my overalls as I usually do if I am working in the garden and know I am likely to get dirty. I wore gloves too because I had to handle things that certainly would put dirt under my fingernails! My first job was to take the barrow, a hoe and a brush and shovel to the compost bin and dig some of the contents out onto the flagstones. This was what the hoe was for. It was the ideal implement for digging into the compacted compost. It was so compact that despite digging the bottom layer out the remainder stayed where it was, suspended with no support.

Here is the bin standing between the water butt on the left and the flowerbed on the right. Access to the composted material is done by removing the panel at the base. The lid comes off to fill it with new material to be composted but you already know this I’m sure. I used the hoe later to push down the remaining compost once the panel had been replaced. I wheeled the compost in the barrow the short distance to the patio and put it into the two small flowerbeds up there. E and I had removed the chrysanthemums that had been in them beneath the palms. Once that was done I returned to the garage with the barrow to fill it with some of the pebbles we had stored in there making two journeys before there was enough to fill both beds.

My next job was to clean the artificial grass on the patio floor which had accumulated a lot of debris over the winter and through our working there. I tried to use the leaf blower which can also be used as a vacuum but it was too large and cumbersome and wasn’t as suitable as I had thought it would be. I dug out the old ‘Aquavac’ vacuum cleaner from the garage and used that instead. It took a fair amount of time because I couldn’t locate the head to fit on the end of the tube or we don’t have one! It did the job though. After putting the equipment away and hosing down the beds I decided I would give the lawn a mow but I couldn’t get the mower started. I didn’t want to spend more time trying to get it going and would make the attempt during the week ahead. I fancy we need a new one anyway so I thought I would consider the possibility of purchasing a new one too. The final job i had set myself was to dis-assemble the wooden crate which had been used to deliver the cobbles last year. It had been designed not to fall apart so easily and it took me a long time to dismantle it.

You can see the mower next to the dismantled crate in the picture above. It was fast approaching lunch time when I finally returned indoors.

Shirley Anne

Finally it eased

I did a swap between days at the weekend. I rested on Saturday but did a little on Sunday instead. The wind had finally eased off and I was able to get into the garden to begin the jobs I had lined-up. First though it was ‘clean sheet day’, I changed the bedclothes and put the soiled ones in the washing machine before eating breakfast. After breakfast I placed one of the duvets in the bath and hand washed it. Have you ever washed a duvet? They are very heavy when wet. Following the wash was the rinsing, all very tiring work. How then to dry it? We have a plastic linen basket in the bathroom and I used that on which to put the now folded duvet to allow the water to slowly drip from it. It took hours for that to happen but as the bath wasn’t needed it could stay there all day. Then it was time to put on my overalls and get outdoors, first of all to replace the flag now that the high winds had ceased and then into the rear garden to saw off the remaining tree stumps at ground level. Four of them stood one to two metres high and two were nearer the ground. My arms were aching somewhat after I had finished. I might decide not to saw through those stored tree trunks I mentioned in yesterdays’s post but take them to the recycling centre instead.

Sawing them is too much like hard work! By the time I had done with the work outside it was almost time for lunch but first I had to hang the washing on the line in the boiler/gym room. Whilst down there I spent some time on the cross-trainer. Time to cook lunch. It was two o’clock and I spent the rest of the day just relaxing and as it was a bright and sunny afternoon I spent some time in the garden.

Shirley Anne

Everything stops

That is everything I was planning to do outside in the garden! It is a not so warm but not cold a Saturday though it is still windy. Who wants to be working outside in the wind? I surely don’t so I am waiting until tomorrow and maybe it will be better then. According to the forecast the best days ahead will be Tuesday and Wednesday. I don’t mind going for walks in the wind though I would prefer it not to be windy. Anyway for today I am remaining indoors. One of the things I have to tackle is chopping down the trunks of the fruit trees I began removing a month or so ago.

I hope to drill into the stumps and put something in the holes to kill off the trees else they will grow back. Another job I want to do is put more pebbles on the lawn feature I constructed late last year and then remove the remaining bag of pebbles currently being stored the the garage.

Yet another job I need to get on with is cutting the tree trunks I removed into logs ready for disposal or storage. Shown below centre of picture where they have been lying since I chopped them down.

I have been watching the progress of the sun across the (rear) garden as the season moves on and can’t wait for Spring to arrive. For the moment all I want is for the wind to drop!

Shirley Anne

Making the most of it

Mobility scooter

Wednesday February 6 th was another reasonably fine day as far as the weather went. I took the opportunity to take another walk. As the wind had dropped it turned out better than it had been on Monday for the wind on that day had been rather cold. It is still winter of course so any fine days are always welcome. This afternoon I will have to lower the flag because of gale force winds are predicted overnight. Anything over the advised wind speed of 35 miles per hour can damage both the flag and the pole carrying it. I have to do this more than once a year but it isn’t a problem, more an inconvenience. So after I have finished here I will take down the flag and perhaps get into the garden to do some tidying up. Whilst the weather remains calm I must make the most of it. I am looking at the sunshine on the wall opposite the front room window and with each day, when it is sunny obviously, it gets lower down the wall. As the seasons progress it creeps slowly toward the window itself until there is almost no shadow at all. Something to look forward to, warm sunny days when I probably won’t want to do anything but rest. It won’t happen though, I can’t remain inactive too long. Walking is a great activity at any time and even more so when the weather is fine. I asked E if she would like to be able to go for walks again. Although it is something she can no longer do because of her spinal problems she indicated she might like to accompany me using a mobility scooter. I think that is a great idea worth pursuing for her benefit. I am sure she would like that but knowing E it could only happen if the sun was shining and it was warm and dry.

Shirley Anne

Mixing it up

My day on Tuesday was filled with different things all of which amounted to work, rest, shop, and play with meals thrown in here and there. I was up at three but though I had been awake since two I was in no rush to start the day. I finished breakfast at four and got on my knees again to finish off the seal around the grid in the wet room. The previous day I had gouged out the floor seal around the grid and half-filled it again with a special rubberised sealant similar to silicon rubber but more paste-like. In all other respects it was the same as silicon rubber and cleans off using acetic acid (vinegar). Now I was filling the gap to floor level.

Having done that I checked my emails before carrying on with the work in the small storeroom in the cellar. I did as much as I could without having to cut timber as doing that could have disturbed E from her sleep. That meant cutting and fitting plasterboard and one or two pieces of wood which I cut outside in the garden. Once she was up and about I was able to cut the rest of the timber and finish off all the work at ceiling height. Of course by that I mean the construction part as there is some filling-in to do between the plasterboard panels prior to decoration.

The boxes of screws I had purchased  whilst working on the utility room project were now empty so I needed to go out and buy some more. E had an appointment with the DHSS (Dept. of Health and Social Security) and wanted me to tag along for company. The appointment was for 12.20 so off we went at noon. We weren’t in there long and soon we were off to buy the screws followed by some free minced pies and coffee courtesy of Dobbies. They are only free to members of course and being a member I take full advantage of their free offers. We then drove to the village so that E could attend some business at the Post Office whilst I walked across to the chemist (drugstore) to purchase some feminine hygiene products. It was two-thirty when we arrived back home and time for lunch. At last I could relax in front of the tv and watch some missed programs before writing this. 

Shirley Anne

In for a half-penny

This day it was a case of in for a half-penny. Friday 23 rd November and I was up extra specially early though that wasn’t intended. I had six hours sleep and woke just after one in the morning and couldn’t lay there any longer. I had been tired the night before after the work I had done and I was now awake and refreshed. I was going for a walk anyway so getting up early didn’t make much difference. This time I chose a completely different route for the first half of the walk. Leaving the house I walked inland for a couple of miles before heading toward the coast and ending up further north than I had normally done over the past few months. The streets were completely devoid of pedestrians and only a handful of vehicles passed my way. I expected the side streets to be quiet but it is amazing just how quiet the main routes were too. It was only after breakfast that I felt a little tired and I sat and watched tv for a while until finally putting on my overalls to do some work. I was concentrating on emptying the small storage area behind the cellar steps and it took quite a lot of time.

The picture only shows a small percentage of what had been dumped there a couple of years ago. I had to sort out the various pieces of timber and put them in the tea chests in the workshop. While I was in the workshop I had to tidy up the area around the far end of the workbench then take out the rubbish and dump that in the wheelie bins. Despite all the work it didn’t seem that I’d done much but my body told me otherwise. Now I really was feeling tired and I returned upstairs for something to eat just as E had come downstairs.  We had talked about buying new curtains for the breakfast  room the previous day so after eating we drove to the store and bought two sets of two curtains for the two windows. We were back home in half an hour and had them fitted within minutes! From that point onward I did no more work, I was too tired. Only a h’penny worth out of me that day.

Shirley Anne

Ahead of myself

So here I am sitting at the computer once again writing another post. Today it is the 19 th day of November and behind this post are another thirty-one waiting to be published! You are reading about my ramblings a month in the past. I discovered that by writing a couple of posts at a time gave me a little more elbow room and at first it was two or three. That has slowly crept up over the past two months or so and now I am 31 posts ahead of myself. Doing project work gives me plenty to write about but I try not to just write on the same subject. At my age there is little else going on in my life to write about, much of what I do is mundane anyway. You don’t get to read about the numerous household chores I undertake for obvious reasons, they would bore you silly but I do have them to include in my days aside from the projects. Today I went for my early morning walk, so early even I thought I was pushing it, I left the house at two-thirty! I didn’t begin work until seven o’clock but all I did was to put the two small drinks fridges and the small freezer back in the utility room.

I then painted the four boards E will use for making door signs….

Following that I made the kick board for the cabinet beneath the two fridges (top picture) and painted it ready for fitting later.

I stopped work for the day at that point. It was eleven o’clock. I have to make the five side kick boards for the three cabinets but not today. Before lunch I spent an hour visiting our next-door neighbour for a chat and to cheer her up.

Shirley Anne

Easing off the throttle

Today (17 Nov.) would have been my dad’s 100 th birthday had he still been with us. My own birthday is on 21 st Nov. so as you read this I am now 73 years of age. I have been told many times to take things a little easy, notably by my neighbour. I mentioned this not so very long ago. Obviously I cannot do things as quickly as I once did so any jobs I tackle take that little bit longer and I take breaks from it too. I try to limit the amount of time spent working but it is difficult as it is in my nature to be actively doing something. My latest project is progressing well and there is not a great amount of work to be done for it to be completed. As I write this I have some kick boards to make and the room door to repair but there is no hurry to do either. In fact I completed part of the kick boards installation today.

Today I also finished off the inspection hatch by giving it a coat of paint. I had completed its construction yesterday.

…….and I gave the door frame a lick of red paint

Take no notice of the junk outside the room! If you look carefully there is a very old spin dryer, an ironing board, a waste bucket, a basket of bits and pieces and a ten inch reflecting telescope, which incidentally isn’t junk! Yesterday I did some work in the garden to protect some of the plants likely to be damaged by the forecast very cold and windy weather. The wigwam….

The others are covered by the plastic tunnel…..

The title says ‘Easing off the throttle’………well I’ve got to do something. In fact again today I cut some thin plywood for E to use in making some more door signs like the one she made for the Larder a few months ago.

Shirley Anne

Warm

Again I was tired when I went to bed yet found it difficult to nod off to sleep. Finally I did of course but ended up only getting five hours. That in itself was never a problem before as I had been very used to having only four and a half hours of sleep for a number of years. However on Friday morning when the alarm woke me at two I lay in bed for another hour! Now that was unusual for I normally get up straight away. I still felt tired and was about to go for my early morning walk. Despite it being an hour behind my normal routine I left the house only a half-hour later than I usually do. It was quite warm outside as I left the house and I could feel no wind at all. It was only as I reached the seafront later that I could feel a welcome breeze for by that time I was feeling too warm having walked briskly the whole way. By the time I had reached home I had cut around ten minutes off my usual time for that particular route. 

My tiredness had disappeared and I now felt great. How long would that last I wondered? When working at something I never feel tired until I stop and then I sleep well but if I have nothing to do I get tired yet can’t get to sleep. At the moment I am doing very little work at home except routine stuff. My latest project cannot be completed until I receive the pebbles I ordered which will be weeks away. I will need to find something to do in the meantime but the weather is warm and I don’t feel like it. 

Shirley Anne