It was Saturday, the first of two warm and sunny days we were promised in the forecast and the first of two days to relax in. I woke up early and was soon having a shower and getting dressed to go downstairs for breakfast. I finished breakfast before nine o’clock and sat at my computer for half and hour as well as collating some information for my tax-return. A little bit at a time is the method I adopt when preparing my tax-return, it is easier that way for me because I don’t like sitting down for long periods as I probably would do if I did it all at once. In any case it only takes a few hours to get it prepared. I made myself a cup of coffee and went outside to sit on the bench in front of the patio…this one…
It faces east so gets full sunshine for a few hours each day. I could have sat on the patio but the artificial turf was wet with dew, as was the lawn too. Both dry pretty quickly once the sun gets high in the sky. Once I’d finished the coffee I became restless and couldn’t remain seated for long after. I took a stroll around the Mound (over on the right in the picture above). A single shoot caught my eye, it was another bluebell. Thinking it was near to the surface I tried to pull it out but no, it went deeper. Off I went for the kneeling stool and hand fork and I began to dig it out. Did I say single shoot? Never true most of the time with bluebells, there were several of them. I must have covered every cubic centimetre of the Mound by now but still they appear. Anyway that took a half-hour and I looked for something else to do. During my gardening renovations I have removed lots of small stones and some not so small, some natural stone and some man-made, bricks and the like. I had three large containers filled with them. This picture taken a few weeks earlier shows two of them nearly full.
I decided I would empty them out and separate the natural stone from the rubble. Some of the natural stone I placed around the base of the yucca plant shown in this picture at centre against the wall. It is immediately to the left of the buttress in case you can’t see it.
Now it was lunch time so I returned indoors. After lunch I returned to the patio and laid down on the now dry turf for an hour. I couldn’t stay there any longer but arose and went for a long walk in the sunshine. On my return home I spoke with my next door neighbour’s son for a time. They have a collie dog, a well-behaved animal that seldom barks, not like the two small dogs in a house nearby that sometimes bark incessantly for ages before someone finally stops them as happened when I went for a lie down on the patio earlier. My other next door neighbour also has a dog, a young setter that also seldom barks, or so I thought. I went into the house and made myself another coffee and sat out again on the patio. The setter started barking and did so for at least twenty minutes. I gave up and went indoors, actually to watch The Grand National annual steeplechase (horse race) on television. I have watched that race every year for as long as I can remember, well over sixty years. I returned outdoors to water the garden plants before finally going back inside for my evening meal. Peaceful, quiet and relaxing day? Well for most of the time.
Old Racecourse Road. This ordinary looking road in Maghull has some history to it, as its name would suggest. In fact this is where the first Grand National was held in 1836. It was won by The Duke ridden by Captain Martin Becher who the famous fence Becher’s Brook was named after-won the race in 1836 and 1837. It moved to Aintree in 1840. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Saturday was Grand National Day, probably the world’s most famous horse steeplechase racing event held here in the UK at Aintree in Liverpool. Although I do not gamble on the race or any race for that matter I do like to watch it on television each year it is held. I always thought it amusing that once I lived quite close to the course yet never went to the course itself except on one occasion. I cannot remember the exact year but it was probably 1967 or 1968 I went there in an official capacity for the at that time Electricity Board who provided a standby emergency service should there be a power outage. I took on that responsibility on that one occasion. As it happened there wasn’t a problem so I got paid for standing around! I couldn’t wander too far from the supply switch room however so I didn’t get to see much but I was not really interested at that age. I was twenty-two to twenty-three years old. Now I live further away from the course, about sixteen miles away along the coast in the town of Southport and I avoid travelling anywhere near the north end of Liverpool because of the disruption.
Cropped version of the Aintree national circuit (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
E and I spent the day at home busy decorating or preparing for decorating in the small bedroom. First of all I heaved the old mattress out of the window and dragged it into the garage for disposal later. I then finished off painting the ceiling and we cut the carpet into two and heaved it out of the window into the garden so we could put it in the garage with the mattress. I removed a television aerial socket that I had installed on the skirting board years ago because the room had not long been decorated and I didn’t want to spoil it. I re-fixed it alongside a power outlet and sunk it into the wall. Meanwhile E was busy filling in cracks and holes in the woodwork ready for applying an undercoat later. Our neighbour who lives directly across the road had popped over to ask if we had heard her house alarm sounding as she has had a little problem with it over the last few days. She had been away from home in the morning. We had heard it sound whilst she had been out. E invited her inside so she could see our newly decorated bedroom and view her own house from our point of view as she always wondered what it looked like from afar. At the moment it is covered by scaffolding at the front for the final stages of re-pointing the brickwork. It was almost time to watch the horse race when we finished working for the day.
On Saturday it cannot have escaped most people’s notice that the world-famous Grand National horse race was run at Aintree, Liverpool. That course is about sixteen miles from where I live though at one time I lived much closer than that, about three or four miles away. The only time I ever visited the course was in the mid to late sixties in a professional capacity. I was a stand-by emergency electrician there only to reinstate the electricity supply for the television cameras and equipment. I was never interested in the races themselves and I suppose that was a consideration in my being selected for the position, I could be trusted not to wander too far from my station. Many people gamble on the race but the thought has always been far from my mind to follow suit. I entered in a raffle one year at work but only because I was under pressure to do so as there was only one ticket left. I reluctantly accepted and to my surprise but probably much more so the surprise of the organiser, I won. The horse’s name was Aldaniti ridden by Bob Champion who I am sure many of you will remember. I won the princely sum of £48 for my £1 ticket. I watch the race each year though on television but only that race, no others. I had the chance to sit down and watch the live broadcast late in the afternoon having spent the morning doing some work in the bathroom, I got the radiator working and can only assume it still had an air lock preventing it working properly before. I fitted the replacement air vent plug at the same time. I also fitted the wall mirror which covers the inspection panel at the rear of the shower unit and I laid the shower tray temporarily in position to establish what work if any had to be done before it is fitted permanently. Here are some more pictures….