I’ve never been a person who was interested in flitting about all over the place every day as some might like to do. I was however always interested in going places, that is going somewhere for a long stay or even a short stay for a purpose. I mean by this that I enjoyed travelling to a holiday destination or somewhere for a day out. I still like those things but seldom go anywhere these days. Travelling can be tedious and tiring but if I can relax at my destination it is worth putting up with. Now I am retired there are very few places to go each day. Those trips I do make are usually for shopping. Other outings I take are simply for the exercise, I enjoy going for walks. I have neighbours who can’t seem to be able to remain at home and I wonder why they have a house to live in because they spend more time out of it that in it! To be fair my neighbours do have small children so they will be driving them to their various activities, not least of all school. Aside from that they seem to be taking short trips constantly throughout the day which don’t include their children. I am not suggesting their children are abandoned, each parent in turn stays at home whilst the other flits about in their respective cars throughout the day. They have electrically controlled gates which only ever seem to be closed at night because during the day they would constantly be opening and closing. They lead a very different life from that of E and I. It is all about our modern western society and the needs we have self-imposed upon ourselves to conform to it. Life is hectic for us all as we grow through our adult lives but as the years pass things do begin to slow down and we find there is neither that same urgency nor necessity to be flitting about all over the place every day.
When we look back over the years we can so easily forget what we once did and sometimes wonder where the years went! Living for the moment we forget the passage of time. Did we really do those things? Did we spend all that time doing this and that? Would we have done it differently knowing then what we know now? Probably not I surmise. It is nice to not have to do the many things we once had to any longer. It is nice to have a slower pace of life and not have to worry about the things we perhaps used to worry about. No more comings and goings, well far fewer of them anyway.
It’s getting that way I shall be getting up before I’ve even gone to bed! Another early night on Wednesday and fast asleep just after nine o’clock. I awoke at three and paid a visit to see my porcelain friend but after returning to bed I couldn’t resume my slumber. I eventually arose ten minutes before four o’clock and was surprisingly rearing to go. I was downstairs and into the rear garden to water it before five. More on that in a minute or two. An hour later it was time for breakfast and then some computer time. To be honest I was a little bored after that because there was nothing to do. Come seven-thirty I was leaving the house to do the weekly shopping and arrived at the supermarket at my usual time just before eight. It is great doing the shopping early because there are fewer people in the store and moving around it is much easier. I find having to manoeuvre my trolley around other folks’ trolleys is a distraction and a pain when there are lots of them being pushed around. Anyway I wasn’t there long and was driving home after thirty minutes. On my way home I have the radio on and heard that our wonderful water supply authority has imposed a hose pipe ban because they say the reservoir levels are low. That means limited watering of the plants in the garden unless it rains in the meantime (I write this on 19th two days after it had rained all day long). I think it is disgraceful that they haven’t done something about this seasonal shortage by now after years of having to put up with it. The irony is that when we don’t need the extra water there is too much of it but when we do need it most there is a shortage! Build more reservoirs for goodness sake, it isn’t rocket science! Now I will have to resort to the watering can won’t I?
On my arrival back home and after unpacking and storing everything away I discovered I had forgotten two items though neither of them were important and can be purchased next time. It’s getting that way I can’t read my shopping list it seems but there was a very good reason for missing the items. When I walk through the store I normally use a set route but on this occasion I collected the canned food first which meant I ended up going down a couple of aisles in the opposite direction. Being so used to collecting items in a certain manner it confused me and I had to consult my list but even then I still missed one thing. Got to be my age eh?
Today I was going to prepare a chilli-con-carne, something different for a change and after half an hour it was complete.
I normally make this kind of dish well in advance and re-heat it later. Once the heat is removed after cooking the dish stands in the residing heat and cooks slowly for an hour or so more. It tastes far better as a result. Is your mouth watering?
Over the last few days I have become more lazy in my attitude insofar as work is concerned. Any ideas of working on my projects, and there are two or more I’d like to get done, have taken a back seat. I haven’t neglected my exercise regime however so at least I remain active up to a point. A combination of events have made me less interested in doing anything too strenuous. It was about time that I took a break from too much work anyway. That was one thing and now at the moment of writing I have been watching a lot of televised football as the World Cup games are underway. I have been watching the three televised games every day which has helped me to relax and take things easy for a while. The only snag is that I feel I want to be doing something constructive rather than just sitting on my butt! I wonder if I’ll want to get back into a routine more suited to what I am used to or not. Probably I will do despite my thinking otherwise, it’s in my blood. I am not sure about the future and what I will be up to but I hope that whatever lies ahead it will be something I will enjoy. Last month we had gloriously sunny days and E and I spent much time outdoors together but in this month of June it has been very different so far. I write this on the 20 th, a day or so before the Summer Solstice with only ten more days of the month left. The days will get shorter as Summer begins and I am hoping there will be more days like those we had in May. For the time being I am stuck indoors out of choice once lunchtime is over as I wish to continue watching the football. Maybe all this relaxing is going to be of benefit to me but I am not sure, I could end up like a couch potato! God forbid that I end up that way but I rather suspect I won’t.
It was getting a little monotonous having each day to water the gardens because of the dry weather. Oh it has been just fine for sitting about in or simply being out in but all I wanted was a little rain now and then. The attempt to rain was made last evening (13 th) but it wasn’t very much. However it was a storm called Hector which gave some respite from the heat and dry weather. The only problem was it brought more wind than rain! It got pretty stormy hereabouts but fortunately we were too far south to receive the harshest of the wind. Nevertheless some tree branches came down here and there. I had gotten up early on Thursday in order to do the weekly shopping again for E has been unable these last couple of months. I actually arose at five-thirty and was in the kitchen at six-fifteen. However I thought I would do a little work before breakfast which was to give the repaired door frame I did yesterday a coat of priming paint. I later in the day applied the top coat. Anyway whilst I was doing that I heard a loud snap and something falling on the lawn behind me. I paid no attention until I had finished the small painting job for I knew what it had been making that noise. Once again the neighbour’s tree was shedding a branch because of the high winds. It is the large tree left of centre on the other side of the wall in the picture. You may be able to see from its leaves and the leaves of the apple trees bottom right from which direction the wind is blowing. It is left to right or west to east of course.
Most of the time we are picking up small twigs and leaves which have fallen from the tree but occasionally when it is very windy larger parts fall down. I cleared up the mess on the lawn and deposited the bulk of the fallen branch in my neighbour’s garden. At the same time I took the opportunity to prune back a couple of lower branches on the tall holly tree which stands next to the large greenhouse. It is just right of centre at the end of the greenhouse in the picture. Naturally I chopped the holly branches up and put the pieces into our own waste bin. I returned indoors for breakfast. It was seven o’clock. After eating I waited until it was eight o’clock before driving to the supermarket. I was back home at nine-fifteen just as E came down for breakfast. Pretty much throughout the day it was windy but there was still no rain. In fact it brightened up late morning. I would be watering the gardens again if it remained dry.
Almost from the time I awoke at 4.45 am until after my evening meal I was kept busy doing one thing or another on Monday (11). Our next-door neighbour had asked, no, hinted that she would like her tv on the wall and I offered to fit a shelf for it (yesterday’s post). I knew I had some timber but no brackets. The first thing I did when I got downstairs at six o’clock was to paint the leading edge of the timber so it would match the colour of the timber which was covered in a veneer. As I was down in the cellar doing that I decided I might also paint the piece of timber I had fitted to the bottom edge of the new larder’s door. That colour being a pale blue to match the existing door paint. Having done that I ate breakfast then immediately went into the garden to water the lawn. When that was done I moved to the front garden and watered that too. Still not finished I set about emptying the waste and washing out and cleaning the waste buckets we have indoors. By this time E had come downstairs and had eaten breakfast before she returned upstairs to dress. We were to go out shopping. When she was ready we drove to the local optician to see if he could repair our neighbour’s broken spectacles. Our neighbour is bed-ridden remember. He repaired them free of charge because they were under guarantee. We then drove to the hardware store to purchase the brackets and on the way back home we stopped off at Dobbies garden centre to purchase eleven plants for the small plot we had cleared on Sunday. When we arrived home we planted them all in the plot, two large plants and nine small ones.
The large (just pruned) shrub was in the plot when we moved into the house 30 years ago as was the tall tree behind it in the far corner. Click on image to magnify. The Laurel in the right hand corner is one of the new plants as is the shrub in front of the grey water butt. The smaller nine plants are those at the front from top left to bottom right. The tulip and daffodil bulbs were removed but the will be replanted in late Autumn. The new plant varieties are Laurel, Leucothoe fontanesiana Makijaz, Dianthus dark purple, Dianthus pink kisses, Edelweiss Grabglockner, Lewisia little peach, Lewisia little plum, Diascia breezee plus apricot, Scabiosa blue note, Viola Tony venison and last but not least Delosperma jewel of desert garnet. It was the time for lunch and afterward I went next door to fit the shelf and brackets and set up the television. My neighbour was well-pleased that now she could watch tv more easily. I was finished however for I removed all the brackets and fixtures from the old fridge/freezer and with the help of her son we pulled it out of the kitchen unit and stored it outside ready for disposal. We brought in the new fridge/freezer which had been temporarily stored in use in the garage. However we discovered that the new supply cable plug could not be pushed through the rear of the unit to reach the power outlet in an adjacent cupboard. When we removed the old fridge/freezer I cut the cable close to the fridge so it didn’t need to be removed. I went back home and dug out a power outlet of the type which is fitted to extension leads. I returned and fitted it to the end of the existing cable thereby making into a small in situ extension lead that the fridge could be plugged into. We lifted the new fridge/freezer into the kitchen unit but had to take it out again so I could adjust the kitchen unit door hinges. Finally it was done and I went home. E had joined me in order to chat with our neighbour whilst I was engaged in the work. It was approaching five o’clock when we got home. After a quick coffee I carried out a repair to the garden hose nozzle before watering the whole garden including the lawn once more. It was almost time for my evening meal when I had finished. Bored? I didn’t have time to be bored.
‘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………